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Creation: What Science Can and Cannot Say

July 2, AD2014 279 Comments

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Psalm 19A (KJV).

The laws of nature themselves tells us that not only can the universe have popped into existence like a proton and have required nothing in terms of energy but also that it is possible that nothing caused the big bang. ” Professor Steven Hawking (Discovery Channel broadcast).

But contrary to what Hawking claims, physical laws can never provide a complete explanation of the universe. Laws themselves do not create anything, they are merely a description of what happens under certain conditions.” Professor John Lennox (Mathematics and Philosophy of Science, Oxford University).

I think that only an idiot can be an atheist! We must admit that there exists and incomprehensible power or force with limitless foresight and knowledge that started the whole universe going in the first place.” Professor Christian Anfinsen (Nobel Prize for Chemistry), quoted in Cosmos, Bios and Theos.

There has been much heat, and only some light after the publication of Hawking’s and Mlodinow’s The Grand Design, a work that claimed the universe started from nothing because of gravity. I’m not going to recapitulate the excellent rebuttals of the Hawking/Mlodinow thesis (including a fine one by Stacy Trasancos), but rather expand on the proposition given in the quote by Professor Lennox above. What can science tell us about Creation, and what can it not?

Let’s first inquire what science is about. Fr. Stanley Jaki maintains in The Limits of a Limitless Science that science requires quantitative, empirical verification (or rejection) of predictions based on theory. Although this restricts true science to the so-called “hard” discipline (physics in particular, chemistry and other sciences insofar as they are quantitative), I concur. This quantitative verification requirement then puts assertions that cannot be empirically verified (or falsified) into the realm of metaphysics—thus M-theory, most interpretations of quantum mechanics and many assertions about creation should be judged as propositions in philosophy/metaphysics.

This condition applies especially to cosmology—the scientific discipline that deals with our Universe as an entity. l’ll expand on this, taking material from an article previously posted on the Magis Facebook site, which in turn summarized a review article by George F.R. Ellis.

What are the conditions that require cosmology to have a philosophic base?

Intrinsic limitations on scientific cosmology studies:

  • We can’t step outside the universe or duplicate it as an experimental object;
  • We explore the universe by electromagnetic radiation (from radio to gamma rays),  which limits the distance out and, correspondingly, the past time for which measurements can be made.  This limitation is of two types.
    • The first is a time horizon due to the coupling of matter and radiation at times before the universe was about 380,000 years old, giving an opaque barrier at distances/times corresponding to less than 380,000 years from the beginning. This means that there is a time horizon—we cannot see further back in time than 380,000 years after the origin.
    • The second limitation is a distance horizon—if the universe expansion is uniform, such that the further a point is from us (and, correspondingly, the further back in time), the faster it is moving—then there will be a distance d, such a star at that distance d will be moving away from us at the speed of light, or faster. This means that we cannot communicate at distances greater than d, since communication can only take place at the speed of light.

An important consequence of the time horizon is that we have to infer what happened before the 380,000 years from the properties of the universe we determine after that time. So theories about singularities, quantum origins, inflation can only be tested (if at all) by predictions about the state of our universe at times greater than or equal to 380,000 years from the origin.

An important consequence of the distant horizon has to do with causality.  Two events cannot influence each other (since interactions cannot travel faster than the speed of light) if they are further apart than the distance horizon. This is one of the reasons that “inflation” is invoked in the very early life of the universe. (See below.) The  early universe was larger than the horizon distance d (speed of light times age of the universe), so the question is how was a causal relation retained between different parts of the early universe to give the same temperatures and densities (approximately) for parts of the universe that were not causally connected.

There is also a practical limitation, a physics horizon. The energies in the early stages of the Big Bang are so high that there is no way that these could be duplicated in the laboratory, despite occasional claims of popular science writers to the contrary.

Thus, as George Ellis emphasizes, “Testable Physics cannot explain the initial state and hence  the specific nature of the universe.” (Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology) Accordingly, cosmology rests on philosophy, on metaphysical assumptions. Two of the most important of these assumptions are, according to Ellis:

THESIS A1: The universe itself cannot be subjected to physical experimentation. We cannot re-run the universe with the same or altered conditions to see what would happen if they were different , so we cannot carry out scientific experiments on the universe itself.

THESIS A2: The universe cannot be observationally compared with other universes. We cannot compare the universe with any similar object, nor can we test our hypotheses about it by observations determining statistical properties of a known class of physically existing universes. George Ellis, Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology

We’ll explore these issues in greater detail on my own blog site, Reflections of a Catholic Scientist.

About the Author:

Retired, cranky, old physicist. Convert to Catholicism in 1995. Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith. Intermittent blogs at Rational Catholic and adult education classes here to achieve this end. Extraordinary Minister of Communion volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC. Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group. And, finally, my motivation: “It is also necessary—may God grant it!—that in providing others with books to read I myself should make progress, and that in trying to answer their questions I myself should find what I am seeking. Therefore at the command of God our Lord and with his help, I have undertaken not so much to discourse with authority on matters known to me as to know them better by discoursing devoutly of them.” St. Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity I,8.

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  • Guy McClung

    You better get ready-you are going to be deluged with the folks who say – or who believe – or both that the only knowledge is scientific knowledge and the only scientific knowledge is what can be proven. This despite the plethora of mistakes of science and the myriad of absolutely wrong theories. These are the folks who believe to their very cores in the religion of science; they worship at the lab bench; and they profess as dogma the verifiability criterion of meaning – a statement is only meaningful if it can be verified by sense experience – all, that is, except this criterion itself – which is accepted on scientific faith. Many of these folks ultimately profess this religion of science because they do not want anyone, any entity saying something is wrong or some act is immoral or that there is a life after this physical life. Guy McClung, San Antonio

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      Guy, thanks for your comment. As a retired physicist I’m almost a Science agnostic. Please see my posts http://catholicstand.com/real-science-god/, and http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/2014/06/confessions-of-science-agnostic.html
      The problem is that the people who claim science explains everything, by and large, have not done scientific research, have not published, have not refereed, have not directed research groups, have not read anything in the philosophy of science–they get their science from the media, who of course don’t really know what science is all about.

    • Bill S

      Many of these folks ultimately profess this religion of science because they do not want anyone, any entity saying something is wrong or some act is immoral or that there is a life after this physical life.

      I have no problem pleading guilty to your accusation. Finding out the real truth provides the beneficial side effects you have described. We don’t need a deity that we have to kiss up to and that judges us.

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      Bill, I don’t believe, nor do many others, that science provides a framework for ethical decisions. I’m with Fr. Jaki, that Science (uppercase) is restricted to a domain of quantifiable, testable propositions.

    • Bill S

      I don’t believe, nor do many others, that science provides a framework for ethical decisions.

      I don’t believe the Catholic Church should have any say in decisions involving anything having to do with sex and reproduction because it has a bias toward puritanical and superstitious considerations that are inappropriate in this modern world.

    • nworder

      God’s laws are eternal and do not change for the “modern” world.
      The Church’s mission is to proclaim the Laws of God.
      It has nothing to do with “modern” “social” behaviors.

    • Bill S

      If there is no Judeo Christian Muslim God, then there are no laws of that God.

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      Bill, the people here have accommodated your questions plenty and in good faith. But this is a Catholic site, and if you’re sole purpose is to try to harm the faith of others, then we have no obligation to tolerate you.

      This is your only warning. One more comment that is remotely anti-Catholic will get you banned from commenting at Catholic Stand.

      -Editor

    • Bill S

      Why? Those arguing with me do not need me to be censored. If this is the Catholic Stand then it should be able to “stand”. What kind of stand do you have if you silence opposing views? You’re not even allowing freedom of speech and yet you wave your First Amendment rights before everyone else.

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      Bill, we are not “silencing” opposing views or censoring, as testified by the lively discussions. You cross a line when you are hateful though. You can debate without being hateful and I’ve known you to do it many times in the last year I’ve known you. If you’re truly interested in discussion, you should have no problem toning it down when asked. I hope you do.

      Thanks nworder for your input.

    • Bill S

      That sounds fair. I can live with that.

    • nworder

      Yes – but sometimes the debate with an atheist can actually strengthen the faith of others and remove their doubts as they see each question being answered.
      Bill was not abusive as you would get on many sites.
      His apostasy is common and catholics are then made aware that this could happen to them – not falling into the devil’s traps.

      Richard Dawkins actually woke up many people to the debate and probably actually converted people to faith – his silly comments allowed christians to challenge publicly whereas there was apathy before.

      His fellow atheist scientists told him to take a lower profile since he was actually
      stimulating interest as people came to realise his beliefs were nonsense.

      So Bill is our resident richard dawkins

    • CowsomeLoneboy

      In other words, don’t come to our chamber unless you’re ready to provide an echo? You don’t agree with Bill that your faith should be strong enough to stand on its own? It’s a rather startling admission if you don’t agree with him.

      Nworder makes a number of incredible assertions and states as fact things that cannot be substantiated by accepted science, not to mention that are out of line with even RCC teaching regarding science and recognition of scientific understanding of our universe and this earth. I’ve re-read all Bill’s comments here and the only fair conclusion is that only those who can brook no fairly framed challenges would view them as hateful or anti-Catholic.

      Why have a forum open on the internet if you’re only purpose is to allow like-minded people to reinforce one another’s prejudices? I will grant you that you have “allowed” Bill’s comments, but as long as he does not use epithets, vile language, or character assassination, why would you feel the need to issue the dire threat: “This is your only warning[?]” Otherwise, why not just close the site except to only those who possess the magic password and make it the love fest of those already singing in the choir?

    • nworder

      Can you tell me what incredible assertions I have made. And what things have I said that cannot be established by “accepted” science.

    • CowsomeLoneboy

      Hmm, alright, let’s start with the notion that all species that are on the earth today were present at the time of “Noah’s ark.”

      Then there’s that kangaroo fossils have been found in Europe.

      Or how about this one: “…but what we do know is that increasing numbers of scientists realise
      that there is no evidence of Darwin’s theory of evolution or of ‘self’
      creation from a scientific point of view.”

      Then there’s this recent one: “The cosmos was a show from carl sagan’s imagination – lots of film tricks without evidence – you will be meeting up sometime” There was plenty of straightforward reporting of scientific discovery in Carl Sagan’s series in which he related science that others had established and had nothing to do with his “imagination.” Your assertion that his film was “film tricks” is conspiracy theorism run amok. And just to get us into the present, Neil deGrasse Tyson has produced a new, excellent update and expansion of Sagan’s original “Cosmos.”

      There’s your misdirection (deliberate?) of quoting George Gaylord Simpson as supporting scientific rejection of the ideas of evolution.

      Just to be clear, I’m not arguing with you because I don’t intend to go down that rabbit hole, but you did ask for illustrations of my statement, so there you have some.

    • nworder

      Where do you think the species came from – answer that one
      And you did not provide proof as to why the statements were wrong .

      “”It is not the duty of science to defend the theory of evolution, and stick by it to the bitter end no matter which illogical and unsupported conclusions it offers. On the contrary, it is expected that scientists recognize the patently obvious impossibility of Darwin’s pronouncements and predictions . . Let’s cut the umbilical cord that tied us down to Darwin for such a long time. It is choking us and holding us back.”

      (Dr. I.L. Cohen, “Darwin Was Wrong:” A Study in Probabilities (1985)

      “The theories of evolution, with which our studious youth have been deceived, constitute actually a dogma that all the world continues to teach; but each, in his specialty, the zoologist or the botanist, ascertains that none of the explanations furnished is adequate . . It results from this summary, that the theory of evolution is impossible.”
      (Dr. P. Lemoine, “Introduction: De L’ Evolution?” Encyclopedie Francaise, Vol. 5 (1937)

      “Paleontologists [fossil experts] have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study.”

      (Dr. Steven Jay Gould, The Panda’s Thumb (1982), pp. 181-182 [Harvard professor and the leading evolutionary spokesman of the latter half of the twentieth century].)

      George Gaylord Simpson was a devout evolutionist .

    • CowsomeLoneboy

      “George Gaylord Simpson was a devout evolutionist .”

      Precisely, although I would quibble with your use of devout, because that term is more properly reserved for belief in the mystical and theological. And yet you offered a quotation from him as though he supports your notions of biblical inerrancy, or at least you did nothing to suggest that despite quoting his words he did not agree with your concepts. Deliberate misdirection or just sloppy misdirection?

      When the overwhelming majority of the scientific community concur about a well studied and researched scientific theory: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District/4:Whether_ID_Is_Science#Page_83_of_139, it is not incumbent on me to prove that your dissenting opinions are not in keeping with accepted science. You will have to do more than provide a couple of cribbed quotes to overcome the presumption that your beliefs are contrary to accepted science.

      Why do you ask where I think the manifold species of flora and fauna, both in our present world and in all of earth’s history, come from? You know the answer that I will give: they arose through the process known as natural selection. I know you don’t like that answer but again we’re not dealing with likes or dislikes but with what scientific consensus has arrived at. You’re essentially wanting to have it both ways: you want to argue the science, albeit weakly, but then you want to discount and discredit science by asserting the inerrancy of “God’s word” where you get stymied on your science.

      Let me ask you this: Where do you think the birds came from? There is no evidence that the many species of birds that we enjoy today were on the earth during the period when the dinosaurs roamed it. And yet more and more refinement in scientific discovery keeps reinforcing the notion that the dinosaurs and modern-day birds share a large amount of biological and genetic identity. Why would that be? If the creator labored exactly 144 hours (what was an hour before God created the sun and the earth, by the way?) and then laid down his tools and quit for eternity, how is that birds are with us and resemble dinosaurs but birds as we know them weren’t around at the time of dinosaurs that are now nowhere to be seen on earth, except as fossils in museums?

      Much of what you assert here on this self-proclaimed site for the faith of Roman Catholics is not in keeping with that Church’s own stances: http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/preview.aspx?id=236

      I believe I did state that I had provided examples because you requested them but that I hadn’t come to argue with you. I don’t have the time or the patience of Bill S. You’ve made your beliefs more than manifest. I can’t begin to agree with much of anything you’ve written. That amounts to an impasse. I wish you well.

    • nworder

      NATURAL SELECTION IS NOT EVOLUTION BUT BREEDING
      You dont seem to know the difference – evolution is one “kind” or species evolving into another kind like a cow becoming a whale or a coelacanth becoming a human .LOL.

      No I used Gaylord deliberately since if some evolutionists are honest enough to tell us they have no evidence of Darwin’s theory then that adds all the more weight to their views – most people would realise this.

      Only someone who knows nothing about science would maintain that natural selection can add DNA to a genome and change it into another genome – such as changing a deer into a whale .

      Natural selection is NOT a mechanism of evolution. For example the fast antelope which escapes “selection” by the lion has not changed its DNA one whit – indeed its DNA has survived as an antelope . Does this simplicity upset you.

      Sharing DNA means nothing – it is used to create all living things – we share up to 80% of DNA with jellyfish and 50% with bananas.

      Birds did not evolve from dinosaurs – I think you are in the 1950′s schooltext books.

      The teaching in some catholic schools which is not in accordance with the magisterium or the Bible is the schools problem – it does not mean that evolution is true – just bad teaching enforced behind the scenes by the governments.

      “”I have often thought how little I should like to have to prove organic evolution in a court of law.”

      (Dr. Errol White, Proceedings of the Linnean Society, London (1966) [an ichthyologist (expert on fish) in a 1988 address before a meeting of the Linnean Society in London])

      “The universe and the Laws of Physics seem to have been specifically designed for us. If any one of about 40 physical qualities had more than slightly different values, life as we know it could not exist: Either atoms would not be stable, or they wouldn’t combine into molecules, or the stars wouldn’t form heavier elements, or the universe would collapse before life could develop, and so on…”

      (Stephen Hawking, considered the best known scientist since Albert Einstein, Austin American-Statesmen, October 19, 1997)

    • CowsomeLoneboy

      Behold:

      You:

      “NATURAL SELECTION IS NOT EVOLUTION BUT BREEDING
      You dont seem to know the difference – evolution is one “kind” or species evolving into another kind like a cow becoming a whale or a coelacanth becoming a human .LOL.”

      Me, science, and pretty much everyone else:

      “Natural selection is one of the basic mechanisms of evolution, along with
      mutation, migration, and genetic drift.

      Darwin’s grand idea of evolution by natural selection is relatively simple but
      often misunderstood.”

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_25

      Please note in particular the phrases “relatively simple” and “often misunderstood,” with particular attention to “relatively simple.” You can “LOL” all you like–in fact, I encourage it because it’s good for your health–but there’s an old expression about the last laugh that is particular fitting here.

      Please, I beg you, please, for the sake of your own integrity and self esteem, stop writing things like this: “Only someone who knows nothing about science would maintain that natural selection can add DNA to a genome and change it into another genome – such as changing a deer into a whale .” You’re absolutely correct that no one who knows anything about science would write that but the “someone who knows nothing about science” turns out to be you, as Darwin’s theory and subsequent refinements have consistently talked about incremental shifts within very closely related organisms and never the kind of clearly ridiculous transformations you repeatedly bring up to try to make your case.

      Here, from 2005 and not 1950 (my birth year, BTW,) is a scientific corroboration of the now scientifically generally accepted theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/avians.html

      The site I provided regarding RCC teaching is sponsored by the Franciscans. I hope you will agree that they are not some isolated little wayward Catholic school. The author of the article is a nun with a Ph.D., Sister Paula Gonzalez from the order of Sisters of Charity. Here’s the lead-in to the article, which I provide because you apparently did not take the time to look at the authentication I provided: “The relatively simple scientific theory of evolution met with resistance, not only when it appeared in 1859, but also today. In this Catholic Update, Sister Paula Gonzalez explores the reasons for this resistance and why the theory of evolution is not inconsistent with Catholic teaching.”

      Now, perhaps you might be a bit embarrassed that so much of what you vehemently wrote in the way of an attempt to ridicule me I could refute with verifiable, credible sources rather easily, but somehow I suspect that won’t be the case. Either way, I mean it when I say that I will no longer respond to you. Please take care.

    • nworder

      A FALSE THEORY CANNOT BE “REFINED” after 200 years the mechanism of evolution has not even been demonstrated in the lab or in the fossil record or in the present.
      You are still thinking that BREEDING will be able to make a dog fly.
      The canine species has bred billions of times and we end up with dogs, wolves , poodles etc — dogs of different breeds not of different species or kinds.

      The term genetic drift is just nebulous – no species like a bear will “drift” into another species like whales as Darwin proposed. The bears will produce after their own kind as the Bible says.

      Migration will not change DNA into another species. Eskimos are still people not polar bears.

      Mutations are damaging or sometimes neutral – they cannot make a bat out of a mouse.

      Darwins theory proposes that great leaps must have happened or how would the whales evolve over time from mammals like pigs or deer.

      “”Evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.”
      (Prof. Louis Bounoure, Director of Research, National Center of Scientific Research.)

      “The evolution theory is purely the product of the imagination.”
      (Dr. Ambrose Flemming, Pres. Philosophical Society of Great Britain)

      “The Darwinian theory of descent has not a single fact to confirm it in the realm of nature. It is not the result of scientific research but purely the product of the imagination.”
      (Albert Fleishman, professor of zoology & comparative anatomy at Erlangen University)

      “We have had enough of the Darwinian fallacy. It is time we cry, “The emperor has no clothes.”
      (Dr. Hsu, geologist at the Geological Institute in Zurich.)

      “The great cosmologic myth of the twentieth century.”
      (Dr. Michael Denton, molecular biochemist, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.)

      “9/10 of the talk of evolution is sheer nonsense not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by fact. This Museum is full of proof of the utter falsity of their view.”
      (Dr. Ethredge, British Museum of Science.)

      “”We have now the remarkable spectacle that just when many scientific men are agreed that there is no part of the Darwinian system that is of any great influence, and that, as a whole, the theory is not only unproved, but impossible, the ignorant, half-educated masses have acquired the idea that it is to be accepted as a fundamental fact.”
      (Dr. Thomas Dwight, famed professor at Harvard University)

      “I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens, many people will pose the question, “How did this ever happen?”
      (Dr. Sorren Luthrip, Swedish Embryologist)

      “The more one studies paleontology, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based upon faith alone; exactly the same sort of faith which is necessary to have when one encounters the great mysteries of religion….The only alternative is the doctrine of special creation, which may be true, but irrational.”
      (Dr. Louis T. More, professor of paleontology at Princeton University)

    • nworder

      DINOS DID NOT BECOME SPARROWS – and tweet.
      At a Glance
      Oregon State University scientists have released a new study debunking the alleged evolution of dinosaurs into birds.

      The study focuses on the relationship between birds’ leg and pelvis anatomy and their breathing system, and notes the absence of that relationship in dinosaurs.

      This is only the latest volley in the debate over bird evolution. Expect to hear either a sharp, vocal response from other evolutionists—or total silence.

      Birds did not evolve from dinosaurs: what creationists have been pointing out for years is now buttressed by new research.

      The notion that theropod dinosaurs evolved into birds has almost certainly become one of the most widely accepted “facts” of evolution. The question for many evolutionary researchers had transitioned from “if” to “how.”

      1 Even artists’ depictions of some dinosaurs (such as velociraptors) began to include feathers.2 Except for a few notable critics, such as University of North Carolina paleobiologist Alan Feduccia, evolutionists seem to have all but agreed on birds’ dinosaurian origins.

      Now, a new paper in the Journal of Morphology presents the research of two Oregon State University scientists who don’t agree with the evolutionary dogma on bird origins.3 Doctoral student Devon Quick conducted the investigation into bird breathing and its connection with dinosaur-to-bird evolution as part of her dissertation.

    • nworder

      DARWIN DEBUNKED :-
      Its hard to admit when you are wrong – dont get emotional but study the science.

      “The theory of life that undermined ninteenth-century religion has virtually become a religion itself and in its turn is being threatened by fresh ideas…In the past ten years has emerged a new breed of biologists who are scientifically respectable, but who have their doubts about Darwinism.”
      (Dr. B. Leith, scientist)

      “The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to the power of a number with 40,000 nought’s after it…It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of Evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.”
      (Sir Fred Hoyle, highly respected British physicist and astronomer)

      “Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe a spirit vastly superior to man, and one in the face of which our modest powers must feel humble.”
      (Albert Einstein)

      “Unfortunately, in the field of evolution most explanations are not good. As a matter of fact, they hardly qualify as explanations at all; they are suggestions, hunches, pipe dreams, hardly worthy of being called hypotheses.”
      (Dr. Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried (1971), p. 147)

      “Evolution is baseless and quite incredible.”
      (Dr. John Ambrose Fleming, President, British Association for Advancement of Science, in “The Unleashing of Evolutionary Thought”)

      “The fact is that the evidence was so patchy one hundred years ago that even Darwin himself had increasing doubts as to the validity of his views, and the only aspect of his theory which has received any support over the past century is where it applies to microevolutionary phenomena. His general theory, that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin’s time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe.”
      (Dr. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1986), p. 77)

      Sister Paula is out of kilter with the bible – no matter how many Phd’s she has.

    • nworder

      But IF there is the God of Abraham then there ARE laws that He gave.
      As we can see in physics , chemistry , astronomy and all around us.

    • Bill S

      Notice I said if. Obviously, if I am wrong then we need to try to figure out which stories were written as fiction, which as poems, proverbs, psalms, prayers, parables, etc. and which as historical accounts.

    • nworder

      So which parts of the bible are you denouncing as fiction ?

    • Bill S

      Genesis and Exodus for sure.

    • nworder

      For sure ? Why have you not looked at the evidence I gave you for the exodus.
      Why do you say for “sure” without a shred of evidence – which you never give.

      Did the Romans come to Britain – yes we know because of the evidence.

    • Bill S

      We are all free to choose whether to believe stories that involve violations of the laws of nature. I choose not to believe a single one of them. Especially if it comes with an enticement to believe and a threat if I don’t believe. I automatically refuse to believe anything under those conditions.

    • nworder

      But you DO believe in the violations of the laws of nature – you believe the big bang which violates the laws of nature and the 1st law of thermodynamics.
      And you also imply that you believe through fear – the fear of man’s ridicule.
      You are such a hypocrite but cant look at yourself in the mirror. Everything you criticise is the image of yourself.
      I had to answer your ridiculous post – the temptation was too much for me.

    • Bill S

      I don’t believe anything out of fear of the consequences if I don’t agree with others. I especially don’t care if atheists want me to agree with them.

      I agree with you about random mutations and natural selection.

    • nworder

      So if you agree that mutations are damaging or neutral and cannot create new species eg turn a mouse into a bird and you agree that selection of the fittest cannot add DNA to a genome of a species but actually selects the fittest DNA for that species then :-
      You have to come up with the mechanism that created the millions of species.

    • Bill S

      I do believe that all the changes in evolution do come from mutations, but they seem to be more abrupt and more purposeful than what Darwin thought. Look at the Cambrian Explosion. Also, look at how breeds of dogs evolved from the wolf. Man has artificially controlled the development of different breeds just as Nature has controlled the creation of new species of plants and animals.

    • nworder

      BREEDING IS NOT EVOLUTION
      You are totally confused between breeding WITHIN a species or genome and Darwin’s idea of evolution which is a NEW species evolving from a existing one.
      Such as a whale evolving from the deer species or a human evolving from the fish coelacanth (once actually believed by the egg heads lol )

      The canine species or “dog” species all came from two dogs. Dogs are NOT an new species but they are different breeds of the same canine species.
      A wolf could mate with a poodle since they are still the same KINDS (species)

      Now what annoys is that I have posted this many times before but your knowledge is trapped in a groove , like a needle trapped in same record groove making the same replies , or maybe you forget, but six times ???

      Breeding is not evolution – a pig will never fly , a cow will never become a whale , a fish will never walk on land , a human will not develop wings and so on

    • nworder

      The real mount sinai is in saudi arabia as Galatians states.

      “”The evidence is staggering — to begin with, THE ENTIRE TOP OF JEBEL EL LAWZ IS **BURNED BLACK**! THIS IS NOT A VOLCANIC PEAK — THE ROCKS ON TOP OF THIS MOUNTAIN ARE GRANITE ROCKS, AND THEY HAVE BEEN MELTED !!!
      The Bible says that “The Lord descended upon it in fire” and “Mt. Sinai was altogether on a smoke”! (Exodus 19:18) — Mt. Sinai “melted”! (Judges 5:5) — It “burned with fire,” “unto blackness”! (Hebrews 12:18)

      Everything that the Bible mentions being at Mt. Sinai IS THERE AT JEBEL EL LAWZ! The Golden Calf Altar is there, the giant Rock at Horeb is there, remains of the 12 pillars are there, Elijah’s Cave, EVERYTHING! “”

    • Bill S

      Where did the two dogs come from?

    • nworder

      God created all Kinds in genesis . He said each kind would reproduce its own kind – in simple terms this means that a sheep will give birth to a sheep – not a cow. This is the simple evidence that we see. But not only that its what the top paleontologists say they have found in the fossil record.

      Humans have bred billions of times and no human has wings or flippers and gills although they have had genetic damage.

      After the flood two of every kind came off the ark – they had all the DNA needed for their kinds and each breed , if you want to call it , within that kind.

      So often a highly bred dog has lost DNA and may even be sterile – but you cant breed a dog into a flying creature no matter how you control the breeding.

      I have said all this to you before – is it deliberate that you keep ignoring the previous answer or are you forgetful of what has been said.

    • Bill S

      I know you have said it before. I just find it hard to believe a grown man believes in the Flood and the Ark. Were there kangaroos on the Ark?

    • nworder

      Of course there was – did you think kangaroos made themselves or came from a pre kangaroo. You always believe easily that creatures just made themselves starting with the single cell made by the muddy pool fairy but you find it impossible to believe that God made them.
      You are an apostate – you fate is worse than those who did not have access to the knowledge that you were given.

    • Bill S

      Is this some kind of joke? How did the kangaroos get to Australia?

      I have no fear of my doubting you making me an apostate in danger of eternal damnation. Please.

    • nworder

      How did cows get to america or how did sheep and koala bears get to australia
      - are kangaroos forbidden to live in australia ?
      Kangeroo fossils have been found in europe

      So kangeroos were worldwide – but now can be found only in australia , so what – this happens with many species – are you a schoolboy masquerading as an adult.
      When the continents were divided “in the days of Peleg” some species were isolated or they were killed off in some continents – this even happens today.
      Your questions are inane .

    • Bill S

      You should read Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth.

    • nworder

      You obviously have and swallowed it whole.

      “”Within the period of human history we do not know of a single instance of the transformation of one species into another one. It may be claimed that the theory of descent is lacking, therefore, in the most essential feature that it needs to place the theory on a scientific basis, this must be admitted.”
      (Dr. T.H Morgan)

      “The facts of paleontology seem to support creation and the flood rather than evolution. For instance, all the major groups of invertebrates appear “suddenly” in the first fossil ferrous strata (Cambrian) of the earth with their distinct specializations indicating that they were all created almost at the same time.”
      (Professor Enoch, University of Madras)

      “It remains true, as every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families, appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual completely continuous transitional sequences.” (Dr. George Gaylord Simpson of Harvard)

    • Bill S

      I’m not sure the scientists you have been quoting aren’t quacks. We should just call it a draw. Did you watch the World Cup?

    • nworder

      You are not sure of anything – you are just trolling

    • Bill S

      That’s not what trolling is. I am presenting intellectual arguments against religion. I haven’t been convinced that I am wrong.

    • MarcAlcan

      I am presenting intellectual arguments against religion
      Sorry to disabuse you of that notion. You have not – repeat – not – presented any intellectual arguments at all.
      You have presented your ideas, you have made assertions but you have not presented any intellectual arguments against religion.
      However, since you are still in this forum, maybe in succeeding posts, you will start absorbing the replies to you before you fire up on the keyboard.
      I would dearly love to hear a decent argument from you.
      The only way you will accomplish that is if you will read what we write, then start thinking for yourself. Don’t just post the same stock standard dribble that you hear.

    • Bill S

      I have been reading replies and answering questions as best I can. I’m sorry if I can’t convince you that I am right. Like I said, there is an intelligence behind all this and I do not have a good way to describe it so I just call it the Cosmos, as in the TV series. Scientists are studying it and unveiling its secrets. They are not referring to religious texts to do that because they are of no further use.

    • MarcAlcan

      And as I have said in the other thread, to call it the Cosmos is the height of stupidity because the Cosmos is the created world. Now you may want to give the Cosmos a different meaning, but that is absurd because you are in discussion with people for whom that word is already defined. Scientists – serious scientist – do not regard the Cosmos as creative intelligence behind all that is.
      You’ve got to stop surrendering your ability to think to Carl Sagan.

    • Bill S

      Cosmos

      1. the world or universe regarded as an orderly, harmonious system.
      2. a complete, orderly, harmonious system.
      3. order; harmony.

      You are right. I am using the word differently than the definition in the dictionary.

      I look at it as 3. It is the order of the universe. It is a concept. You would ask where that order came from and I would say it always was. It didn’t come from anywhere, anything or ANYONE.

    • MarcAlcan

      I look at it as 3. It is the order of the universe. It is a concept. You would ask where that order came from and I would say it always was. It didn’t come from anywhere, anything or ANYONE.

      Okay. There was always order. But what is in order? If there was order and there was nothing to be in order (since the universe had a beginning), what is this order?

      Imagine no time and space, what is in order when there is neither time nor space, nor universe.

    • Bill S

      It is fine that we all have questions about the mysteries of the universe. What I have a problem with is when people point to their god as the answer to those questions.

    • MarcAlcan

      Well then it is pretty darn stupid to have questions and not to search for an answer.
      And since the material world is unable to offer the answer, then it is only logical that people will search for the answer in other than the material world.
      What is wrong with pointing to God as the answer to those questions?

    • Bill S

      If you point to your god as the answer to these mysteries that scientists are trying to understand, and if they accept that explanation, then why should they keep searching for an alternative? Why don’t they just say that God did it and we don’t need to know how or why he did it because he is all powerful and all wise. He can do anything he wants including parting the Red Sea and letting Jonah live inside a whale in the ANE.

    • MarcAlcan

      For goodness sake, child grow up.
      Stop putting words into my mouth.
      You know what your problem is? You are debating with yourself. You are hallucinating, making your own arguments and then destroying those arguments.
      That is a sign of mental incapacity.
      Earlier you conceded that there is a Creator.
      So to rephrase my question: What is wrong with pointing to the Creator as the answer to those questions?
      You’ve got to learn to read better.

    • Bill S

      And then. Who is the Creator?

      Who made me?
      God made me.

      Who is God?
      God is the Creator of heaven and earth.

      Who made God? On and on.

    • MarcAlcan

      For a while there I thought you have developed your mental faculties. Maybe this is regress?
      What do you mean who made God? Did you not write several posts before that the Creator is the UNCAUSED CAUSE. Therefore the question of who made God is yet another stupid question from you considering that you have already said before the He was UNCAUSED?

    • Bill S

      I was making fun of catechism class.

      We’re good on believing in the Creator. You just then accept all of these things that have been said about him that I see no purpose in believing.

    • nworder

      If you saw a small sandcastle on the beach you would know someone made it but you see something a trillion times more complex like an ocean whale and you say it made itself or was always there.

    • Bill S

      I wouldn’t assume that the person who made the sand castle was God just because I don’t know who it was. I accept whatever mainstream science comes up with to explain oceans and whales and rainbows and beautiful sunsets.

    • nworder

      So what do you think mainstream science has “come up with” regarding the creation of whales , oceans . Rainbows are the product of created things – the sun and water droplets.

    • Bill S

      If you went to a reputable school, you already know the answer. You are just in denial. You got a better education than you think.

    • nworder

      So what is the answer – who designed and made the whale then ?

    • nworder

      I have not seen any intellectual arguments against religion – just old atheistic chestnuts that have been debunked many times

    • Bill S

      That’s what atheist trolls do. Chestnuts. For you to debunk.

    • MarcAlcan

      No wonder your argumentation is so dumb. You are a follower of Dawkins.
      That man is completely devoid of the capacity to think logically.

    • Bill S

      I agree with most of what Dawkins says but I do not agree with his insistence that Darwin has it right in regard to there being no teleological purpose to mutations. They do not seem to be just random defects as he makes them out to be.

    • MarcAlcan

      You agree with what Dawkins says???
      You know the link to that interview with the atheist girl that I gave on the previous thread – once she started to see the errors that most atheists fall into, she read Dawkins and she laughed. She said that it looked like the work of an 18 year old.

      And it is. Dawkins has this profound inability to reason. Perhaps he is just not evolved enough or a mutation went wrong in the philosophical regions of his brain.

      Serious scientist think he is a joke. You are enthral to this joke.

    • Bill S

      I disagree with Dawkins on some issues. But I would have to say that I probably accept at least 80% of the hardcore assertions that he makes. I don’t buy his opinions regarding Darwinism. Random mutations seem to lead to genetic defects, not new species. If I were in his field I would be trying to prove that the mutations that lead to new species are somehow purposeful and directed by an intelligence.

    • MarcAlcan

      directed by an intelligence
      Great. Then please explain why this Super Intelligence is not God.

    • Bill S

      The being that you know as “God” is a god like Zeus, Jupiter, etc. Just as stories have been made up about them and other gods, stories have been made up about God.

      Somehow, some of the stories about God have been mistaken for historical facts. When someone tries to point this out to those who see these stories as truth and not fiction, those people demand proof that it is fiction. It is impossible to prove that something that someone believes really happened didn’t. I can tell you that I was abused as a child. You could choose not to believe me. I could ask you to prove that I wasn’t abused. How would you go about doing that. Check police records? Interview people who knew me?

      When you prove that I wasn’t abused, I will prove that there are no gods, angels, demons, afterlife, etc.

    • nworder

      You can see God in the things He has MADE . This is the test – the DESIGN in the things he has MADE. This is why Paul says you have NO excuse.
      There is astounding complexity in the DNA code , bat radar , the immune system , whale sonar , wings etc etc – it is wilful ignorance.

      Zeus never made DNA and neither did a muddy pool.

    • Bill S

      Zeus never made DNA. There. Can’t you see? How do you know that Zeus never made DNA? The only difference between Zeus and the Christian God is that Christians pretty much obliterated all pagan worship and replaced it with Christian worship.

      The way you know that the god of the ancient Greeks didn’t make DNA is the same way I know that the god of the Jews didn’t make it either.

    • nworder

      WHO MADE THE DNA CODE THEN , AND THE RNA CODE at the same time.

      Even dim people know that greek mythology is precisely that – mythology – not coherent and divinely written like the Bible.
      You still have not managed to point out in detail any inconsistency in the bible.

    • Bill S

      Even dim people know that greek mythology is precisely that – mythology – not coherent and divinely written like the Bible.

      I think that’s called parochialism. People say the same thing about you that you say about the ancient Greeks. If you went back in time and told them that they would see you as an atheist.

    • nworder

      Thats right the greeks were obsessed with vain philosophies as to their origins.
      Such as Diana of Ephesus – who fell from the sky – then Paul the apostle told them the truth. Most of them listened with interest but Bill disagreed and thought a statue was real.

    • MarcAlcan

      As I said earlier, evasion will not get you anywhere.

      You said this Super Intelligence is not God. That is a plain statement. If you are going to make a plain statement like that, one would assume that you have proof that that statement is true.

      So, again, prove your statement. You are the one who made that statement so therefore you are the one who has to prove it.

      When you prove that I wasn’t abused, I will prove that there are no gods, angels, demons, afterlife, etc.
      Aaah, so you are saying you were abused? Is this what this is all about? And if you were abused, what does that have to do with what we are discussing?

      Are you now trying to play the victim and hope that playing the victim will somehow excuse the fact that you are unable to prove your own statements?

    • Bill S

      I didn’t say I was abused. I said that you can’t prove that I wasn’t. I can’t prove that the intelligence behind all this isn’t your god and you can’t prove that it is. How do you know it wasn’t Zeus and that the Christians made the Greeks stop believing in a real god and made them believe in theirs instead?

      The way you prove that, I will prove that it isn’t your god either.

    • MarcAlcan

      Yet another stupid post from you.
      I never said you were not abused!!! Do you get that at all. I don’t have to prove that statement because I never made that statement !!! Are you really that incredibly dumb? You are telling me to prove a statement I never made.

      You on the other hand did make the statement about there being no other reality than the material world.
      For a while there I thought your reasoning capability has improved and yet you are back again to grade one.
      You don’t like the term stupid but that post was incredibly so.

    • MarcAlcan

      Since you are saying that they are pure fiction, then the burden of proof rests on you.
      So, please prove that they are all pure fiction.

    • Bill S

      If you came across a page from an unknown book of article, by the time you read a couple of sentences you could recognize it as a novel or a historical account of a real event.

    • MarcAlcan

      That’s not proof.
      Try again.

    • Bill S

      It is to me. I can read the Bible and clearly see that it’s all made up with maybe exceptions such as in descriptions of the travels of Paul or the names of the kings, prophets, etc.

    • MarcAlcan

      Again, that’s not proof.
      That’s opinion.
      If you say that you can clearly see that it’s all made up, then you have to provide proof that it’s all made.
      It would have been different if you had said “I THINK” it is all made up.
      But you are making a statement that it is A FACT that it’s all made up. So you need to prove that.
      Try again.

    • Bill S

      Why don’t you pick up and read the Bible yourself and decide if a reasonable person would believe any of it if it were not presented to that person as ” the Truth” that the person must believe to be saved.

      You can’t possibly believe every word of it. How do you differentiate fact from fiction? Did Jonah really live inside a whale for three days? If he didn’t why does it say he did?

    • nworder

      If God can make the universe in 6 days why could he not keep jonah alive in a whale.
      We would expect a god to do these things – God speaks and it happens , thats why He is God. .

      It is total belief or none. How can you partially believe in God or a God who finds some miracles too difficult.

    • Bill S

      Even if I chose to accept the concept of God, I am under no obligation to believe every story told about it.

    • nworder

      But if He is God and He says He does not lie then we must believe ALL the bible says – since God would want us to know the truth.

    • Bill S

      Yes. That is true. The key word is “if”.

    • MarcAlcan

      Evasion will not get you anywhere.
      If you are going to make a claim, be prepared to prove it. Otherwise, you are just all bluster and nonsense.
      Next time, think before you hit the keyboard.

    • Bill S

      There are people who say that the thing that made them atheists is reading the Bible and being repulsed by what people accept as the truth.

    • MarcAlcan

      What has that got to do with anything?
      Evasion will – not – get – you – any – where.
      So here it is again.
      You said, that Genesis and Exodus are pure fiction. If you are going to make a statement like that, you better be sure that you are able to back your claim. So now, prove it.
      And don’t say you don’t have to prove anything because that is just pure hogwash.
      You know you can’t prove that statement and still you went about typing it. That’s nothing more than bluster.

    • Bill S

      I can’t convince the Jews that the Torah is all made up by the men who wrote it. I can’t convince Christians that the Gospel is a lot of made up stuff about walking on water and multiplying loaves and fishes and rising from the dead. I can’t convince Muslims that there is no Allah or that Mohammed was a fraud.

      I’m at a loss to do any of this as much as I think it is important that people know the real truth about religion. Its only purpose is for people to believe and follow it.

    • MarcAlcan

      There are many, many thinks you cannot do.
      But there is one thing you can do if you put effort into it. Try to think in a more organized manner. This reply is yet again nonsense and evasion. But because your other posts are showing promise with regards coherence, then I will let this pass.

    • Bill S

      Try to think in a more organized manner.

      That just about sums it up. What I said is of tremendous importance and the only response I get from anyone is to try to think in a more organized manner. I just told you that the three major religions of the world are built on untruths and you tell me to organize my thoughts better.

      Existential angst? Tell me about it.

    • MarcAlcan

      Utterly stupid statement.
      Firstly, you have not proved that there is no God. In fact, you did concede somewhere else that there is a God, just that it is not the God of the Bible.
      When you were pressed to prove that God is indeed not the God of the Bible you went mum.
      So all you have done so far is make stupid statement that you cannot prove.

    • Bill S

      I’m starting to get the feeling that you think I am stupid. I assure you I am not.

    • MarcAlcan

      Then please put on display your ability for coherent thought.
      So far, all you have done is:
      1) Make unfounded assertions
      2) Make statements you cannot prove
      3) Make bad arguments

    • Bill S

      Its funny you would say that. Theists do that all the time.

    • MarcAlcan

      Yes, perhaps some theists do.
      But in this forum, you have been doing that a lot. And you have the nerve to imagine that somehow you are more “enlightened” being scientific and all that — rubbish.

    • Bill S

      Yes. I am more enlightened than you by paying attention to the latest scientific findings and theories. Science enlightens us all. Even those who begrudgenly accept new developments and ideas.

    • MarcAlcan

      Not exactly since you some arguments rely not on science but on some kind of new age concoction of
      Carl Sagan’s and some stupid assumption by Dawkins.
      Indeed science enlightens us. But science can only enlighten us in so far as the material world is concerned. Your problem is that you are attributing to science far more than what is within the purview of science.

    • Bill S

      If science explains the material world and I am only interested in the material world, then I have all that I need in science.

    • MarcAlcan

      But that is absurd. If there is more to reality than the material world, then whether interested or not that impinges on you. So no, you do not have all you need in science.
      You yourself have affirmed that there is something other than the created world. That “other than the created world” impacts on you whether you are interested in it or not.

    • Bill S

      It is what it is. If there is more than the material universe and the laws of nature that we are still discovering, I have no interest in it affecting how I choose to live my life.

    • MarcAlcan

      But obviously it is affecting your life or you would not be here with your absurd statements trying to show how superior scientism is to those “religious fanatics”.
      If all that matters to you is that science is able to explain the material world why debate of the religiously inclined at all?

    • Bill S

      To affirm to myself that I don’t need religion, I don’t have to worry about a last judgement or an afterlife. I can pretty much do what I want and just concern myself with the material consequences of my actions. And emotional consequences.

    • nworder

      Deciding by yourself that there will be no judgement for you will not make the judgement disappear.
      Breaking the law and seeing the police coming to arrest you , can you make them go way by saying there are no courts or laws.

    • MarcAlcan

      But why would you need to affirm to yourself that you don’t need religion? Why do you need to convince yourself of that if you are find and sure of it? Why are you so afraid? I think you are pretty messed up. You are like this kid who is so afraid and a mess inside but trying to keep a stiff upper lip.
      You keep telling yourself you’re fine but in the meantime the existential angst is gnawing at you.

    • MarcAlcan

      Apropos my earlier reply.
      I actually do no think you are stupid. I think that you choose to be stupid because you chose to be an atheist.
      But if you remember our little to and fro, the more I press, the more you backtrack on what you have said before and start to correct your perspective. And example was when you insisted there was no God but then you said there is a God but he is not the God of the Bible.
      So you see, when you really think and you really read, you start seeing the errors in thinking that you have made before.
      But you are determined to be an atheist. What you don’t see is scientific -atheism is the most stupid kind there is. And because you chose to be that, then there is no way for you to become but stupid – because the whole ism is stupid. It’s like when you walk into a room with a decomposing body and you stay there for several days. In the end, all that stench is absorbed into your pores.
      So in short. You are not stupid but your scientific-atheism makes you so.

    • Bill S

      There may be stupid atheists but I’m not one of them. We aren’t all stupid just because we don’t accept the existence of gods, angels, demons, afterlife, last judgement, etc.

      I said I would call the Cosmos “God” just to point out that if it is called God it has nothing to do with the God described in the Bible. It actually wouldn’t even be a god by the classic definition.

    • MarcAlcan

      I did not say that atheists are stupid because they do not accept the gods, angels, etc.
      Atheists are stupid because the “arguments” they make against the existence of a supernatural world is stupid.
      Take for example the things that you’ve said here.
      1) the Cosmos is the intelligence behind all that is
      2) the material world is all that is
      3) I don’t believe in God because there is no natural proof for Him.
      These statements are beyond stupid because straight away there is the assumption that the material world is all there is. And that is an assumption that you cannot prove and yet you cling to that belief.
      If you people were not so dead set on “proof”, that belief would just another faith statement. But the problem is you think you are all so intelligent and here you are believing something you cannot prove. Totally and incredibly stupid.

    • Bill S

      I personally think that people who take the Bible to be the literal truth in this day and age when everyone should be able to see that it isn’t are disconnected from reality. You are using the word “stupid” when all you need to say is “mistaken”. I could just as easily say that you are stupid to think that the Bible accurately describes the intelligence behind all that is. Maybe there is not any better word for it than that phrase: the intelligence behind all that is. I’ve been using “Cosmos”. But others cannot relate to that word.

    • MarcAlcan

      Are you being deliberately obtuse so you can evade my point?
      No, I do not mean mistaken. I mean stupid.
      In my previous post I have addressed your use of Cosmos as order.
      Your use of cosmos (as order) cannot be equated with the Intelligence behind the universe. Intelligence requires an intelligent being. Order is not intelligence, but intelligence can create order.

    • Bill S

      Do you know what it means to be stupid? We are all stupid by comparison to those with greater intelligence.

      You have won the argument about the cosmos just being the order of the universe and not a super intelligence. I will stop using the word that way.

    • MarcAlcan

      Do you know what it means to be stupid? We are all stupid by comparison to those with greater intelligence
      Excellent point. But that still means that I can use the term stupid to refer to ideas that look like they are the product of the exercise of lesser intelligence.

    • Bill S

      Good. The Bible LOOKS LIKE the work of a lesser intelligence (to me). Therefore i can call it stupid.

    • MarcAlcan

      That would be okay, except for the fact that based on what you have written here, I know for a fact that yours is the lesser intelligence.
      Because of that fact, then you are in no position to assess this work.
      However, you are free to think what you like because for a change you are writing in a slightly more intelligent manner. Instead of saying the Bible IS the work of a lesser intelligence, you are now more correctly putting it in the subjective and saying it LOOKS LIKE.
      So I suppose you are learning.

    • Bill S

      You believe that there is a god that has given us laws that are to apply everywhere and for all time. That’s what you believe. I don’t. Sorry.

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      your reply doesn’t counter the argument that science does not provide a basis for ethics and is otherwise irrational. You’re entitled to an irrational opinion, but please try to give cogent arguments for why you believe as you do.

    • Bill S

      I don’t have an argument that you will accept as “cogent” nor do I need one. Science must (and does for the most part) ignore religiously motivated opposition to its progress. What science can’t ignore is the law of the land. In some cases, the religious community gets its say as to what science can and can’t do by affecting the rules imposed on science by governments, universities, commissions, etc.

      Sometimes these rules stifle progress with no benefit to anyone. Sometimes they are reasonable and necessary.

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      Bill, I wonder whether you’re like many who have faith that Science (uppercase intentional) explains everything without having published papers, refereed grant proposals, sat on review boards, and most importantly have not read any works on the philosophy of science. They all take their faith in science from the mainstream media, who are poorly educated in science, history and philosophy.
      I urge you to broaden your horizons and read some of the references cited in

      “Tipping the Sacred Cow of Science” (http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/2014/06/confessions-of-science-agnostic.html)

      Until you have shown some evidence of exploring other points of view, I don’t see much point in conversation. I’m don’t believe your assertions are carrying much weight with readers of this blog, but if you want to continue to vent your prejudices, that’s your privilege (with certain restrictions).

      By the way I haven’t seen anything in any of your comments that relevant to the post–the limitations of science in what it can say about creation.

    • Asemodeus

      “Bill, I wonder whether you’re like many who have faith that Science
      (uppercase intentional) explains everything without having published
      papers, refereed grant proposals, sat on review boards, and most
      importantly have not read any works on the philosophy of science.”

      Who is making the argument that science has explain everything? You could do everyone a favor and stop projecting your faith onto other people.

      “By the way I haven’t seen anything in any of your comments that relevant
      to the post–the limitations of science in what it can say about
      creation.”

      Who are you to put limit on what science can say? You are just coming off as pointlessly fallacious and self serving.

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      Asemodeus, you’re rather nasty and haven’t replied substantively to anything that’s been said… bill s, explicitly and implicitly is making the argument that science can explain everything. And if you want to know what I know about science, read my other posts here and at http;//rationalcatholics.blogspot. How about using rational arguments instead of invective. And if you’re not happy having me project my faith in my comments, then don’t read this blog.

    • Asemodeus

      “bill s, explicitly and implicitly is making the argument that science can explain everything.”

      He didn’t even come close. More to the fact, you will never find a scientist who has claimed that science has explained everything. They know better than to operate fallaciously, unlike you.

      The rest, I can expect, is just religious gibberish trying to impose arbitrary contradictions on science.

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      And where does your knowledge of what science is all about come from, Asemodeus? I’d be interested (and possibly surprised.)

    • Asemodeus

      “And where does your knowledge of what science is all about come from, Asemodeus?”

      From scientists. Obviously.

      There is no reason to trust theologians to get anything correct since they are in a business to never understand in the first place.

    • nworder

      Asemodeus might be Bill – a troller

    • Bill S

      Nope. That’s not me. I actually haven’t come across his comment yet but I will.

    • Bill S

      Yes. We do take our faith in science from mainstream media. I find a TV series like Cosmos to be very informative. It doesn’t treat religion with kid gloves. I’m ok with that.

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      That figures…and agrees with my original assumption about scientismists.

    • Bill S

      Yes. Scientism is some kind of heresy along with modernism. Scientismists, as you call them do have more faith in science than in religion. I think that is a very smart thing to do.

    • Asemodeus

      It’s especially ironic coming from duhem, since he is posting that on a magical box fueled by wishes and fairies.

    • MarcAlcan

      LOL. Being scientism is smart? Scientism is beyond stupid.
      Any follower of scientism is one who is not using his intellect at all and incapable of the simplest of reasoning.
      And I am sorry to have to say this but your posts are glaring examples of just how stupid scientism is.
      You guys accuse theists of believing in a God we cannot prove exist, but you cannot prove your own point that God does not exist.
      And yet here you are so passionate and pretending to be intelligent. Your belief in the cosmos is nothing more than faith in a system that cannot be proved true either from science or from philosophy. Your belief system is intellectually impoverished whichever way you look at it.

    • Bill S

      And you can’t prove that Zeus does not exist. Why should I have to prove anything to you. You believe what you read in ancient texts that obviously contain folklore. Prove that the men who wrote those stories witnessed what they wrote about first hand as opposed to collecting and recording folk tales.

    • MarcAlcan

      Why should I have to prove anything to you

      Well duh, you made a statement. You said that like Carl Sagan you believe that the natural world is all there. Now, since you are one of those atheists who are always demanding material proof, then you have to know that such a requirement applies to you as well.

      If you are going to make claims, you have to have the ability to prove those claims. Otherwise, you are just talking rubbish.

      So obviously, you have no proof at all – zero, zilch, nada – of your dearly held belief.
      I thought so. Naah. I KNEW IT.

    • Bill S

      You want material proof that there is no supernatural. That can’t be done. As an atheist, my position is that there is no material proof that any god exists. If someone believes that one does exist, it is up to them to provide the proof. I can’t prove that unicorns don’t exist. How can one prove that something doesn’t exist in any way, shape or form. I can prove that there are no monsters under your bed by showing you. I can’t prove that a god that you believe in doesn’t exist unless you accept that there wouldn’t be natural disasters if your god truly existed.

    • MarcAlcan

      You want material proof that there is no supernatural
      No. I am saying that you need to prove the claim you made that the natural world is all there is.
      I don’t care how you go about it. Just give me proof.
      Because if you can’t prove it, then you believe in something you can’t even prove to be true.

    • Bill S

      You don’t understand. I can’t prove that there is a multiverse. I can’t prove that there are no such things as dark matter and dark energy. I can’t prove a lot of things including that there are no gods, demons or angels or no afterlife. It’s all just a set of educated guesses. As it is with you and your worldview.

    • MarcAlcan

      You don’t understand. I can’t prove that there is a multiverse. I can’t prove that there are no such things as dark matter and dark energy. I can’t prove a lot of things including that there are no gods, demons or angels or no afterlife. It’s all just a set of educated guesses

      VOILA!! Finally. So therefore, you believe things that you cannot prove – neither scientifically nor philosophically.

      So therefore, your belief is much more unreasonable than the theist because philosophically, he can prove his belief in God and from there can make connections that show that scientific findings does point to this.

      Since you already believe in an Intelligence apart from the natural world, what you need to really answer is why this intelligence cannot be God.

      Your position is in fact borderline Deist – perhaps like Andrew Flew.

    • Bill S

      I might be a deist. But I don’t know enough deists to know what they believe. The Masons have a deist sort of belief. Maybe I should join them.

    • MarcAlcan

      Well, then. Before you reply further, google what Deists believe.
      If some of the tenets of Deism is what you believe, then list them and list any other tenets that signify your belief. Otherwise we will continue talking at cross purposes.

    • Bill S

      Ok. I am closer to being a deist than a Christian or an atheist. Deists believe in a Creator. For the sake of argument I will call the intelligence behind everything the “Creator” instead of the “Cosmos”

      From there, my arguments are the same and I don’t believe anything stated as a fact in the Bible unless it is just incidental information about a person place or thing that is verified by other sources.

    • MarcAlcan

      Well, finally! That was like pulling teeth.
      Okay. So you are a Deist. You believe in a Creator.
      Ergo, if there is such a being as a Creator, then that Being would be the origin of final cause of everything created.
      Would you say we can agree on that?

    • Bill S

      Ok. The Creator is the uncaused cause of all that is.

    • MarcAlcan

      Great!

      Do you think that to be Creator is just incredibly awesome? I mean think of the big bang and the beauty of the universe. Think back to any nature documentary that you have seen before and think that that Creator caused that to exist?

      Or think about the beautiful nature and the creation of all the species and the mountains and every created thing. Think about that.

      I don’t know if you’ve seen the documentary the Human Body. Think of how complicated and complex and how wonderfully we are made. Think about that.

      Would you say that the Creator is awesome?

    • Bill S

      Yes.

    • MarcAlcan

      You know what? I will leave it there. The Creator is incredibly and totally awesome.

      So go out there at night and think just how wonderful this Creator is.

      And look at yourself and see how wonderfully this Creator has made you.

      And wonder at that.

      In one of Dawkin’s documentaries, he uttered something utterly stupid for an atheist. He was before this beautiful majestic scenery and he said: Doesn’t all this just feel you with gratitude? I thought how stupid. Gratitude means that there is someone to thank. But since he did not believe in a Creator then to even think of being grateful for this beautiful nature is just plain dumb. But then he is not know for sound reasoning so I suppose that is par for the course.

      But since unlike Dawkins you believe in a Creator, then maybe you can express your gratitude for the beauty of you and the beauty of Creation and say a simple thank you.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4k8oVf9v78

      It’s been nice conversing with you. May our Creator richly bless you.

    • Bill S

      I’m good with a more appreciative attitude about the intelligence behind everything and referring to it as the Creator. I like the video as long as it doesn’t become an infomercial for Christianity. I’m ok with God Bless America as long as I don’t have to think of it as the Christian God but just as the Creator. That’s about the best I can do. I still have problems with any specific religion being presented and pushed as the one true faith.

      It would be ok if we all related to the video in our own way.

    • Bill S

      Changing from Cosmos to Creator seems minor but it has given me a slightly different perspective. The intelligence we have as humans could be a microcosm of the intelligence of the Creator. We might be made in his image.

    • MarcAlcan

      That’s very good to know.
      You might be surprised to find that if you continue searching for truth and are not afraid to follow it wherever it leads, you will find that to be deist is not really tenable by itself, and find yourself more theist than deist.
      You mentioned that you believe that there is a purpose in all these. The deistic outlook does not really offer much in terms of teleology. It simply says that there is a creator who set everything up and then left everything to itself – pretty much does not involve Himself in what He has created.
      But if you are beginning to have the inkling that we might be made in His image, then that is a very theistic idea.
      When you say that we might be made in his image, how exactly do you see that?

    • Bill S

      See this response. It addresses your question :

      I believe that the great mystery that we try to understand and that many of us call “God” is a kind of unexplainable intelligence that controls a process that ultimately results in our intelligence. We know how genes strive to make reproductions of themselves. It is as if this intelligence intended to create an awe inspiring universe and an intelligence that would perceive and appreciate it. The source is an intelligence and the end product is an intelligence. The next step is for this created intelligence to create the next generation of intelligence, which I assume would be a self replicating artificial intelligence of some sort. I think the intelligence that we see as our creator might have kind of programmed into the laws of nature a tendency for us to try to know it through religions that would evolve through survival of the fittest. Christianity was the fittest for two thousand years but I think it will be replaced by scientism. As it was a sect of Judaism that was seen as a heresy, scientism is being looked at as a heresy. So I guess I am a heretic.

    • MarcAlcan

      So I guess I am a heretic

      You are only a heretic if you are a Catholic and you are teaching these things. If you are not a Catholic you are simply a deist who has made some conclusions about the Creator.

      I believe that the great mystery that we try to understand and that many of us call “God” is a kind of unexplainable intelligence that controls a process that ultimately results in our intelligence.

      If he is “controlling” the process, then he is very involved in the ongoing process. This leans more towards a theistic (personal) idea of God.

      The source is an intelligence …….. the fittest
      But if the Creator has an intelligence, don’t you think he also has a will? After all, He has willed to create.

    • Bill S

      I think that we are made in the image of God in so much that God is a kind of pure intelligence, all truth and no error and we appear to be the end product of this whole process whereby perfect intelligence is the source and human (and therefore imperfect) intelligence is as far as this process has gotten. What happens next is in our hands unless we get wiped out by an asteroid or something. So. Is it or is it not in our hands? is there a hand of God intervening still? Or is everything running like a program and is the programer’s work done?

    • MarcAlcan

      So. Is it or is it not in our hands? is there a hand of God intervening still? Or is everything running like a program and is the programer’s work done?

      I think you first need to answer whether God has a will. And the only answer is yes because He did will to create us.

      So like us He has intellect and will only to an unfathomable pitch.

      So, if He has willed us into being, and as you said there is a purpose to creation, then what is this purpose?

      You spoke of programs. When a programmer writes a program, there is a reason why he does so. What is the programmer trying to achieve? What is the whole point of writing this program.

    • Bill S

      It is like an artist who creates for mere purpose of creating. His next urge is to share his creation with others so he opens an art gallery. It seems that our raison d’être is simply so the creator’s work can be observed and appreciated by others. We are programmed with an ever increasing appreciation of art, music, food, entertainment, astronomy, etc.

      I see no other purpose to life other than to provide a continuous supply of intelligences that appreciate creation.

    • MarcAlcan

      It is like an artist who creates for mere purpose of creating. His next urge is to share his creation with others so he opens an art gallery.
      Yes, God is like an artist. And yes, artists create because there is an urge to create and he wants to share this with others. You may not be aware of it but you are very close to Judeo-Christian theology in this respect.

      It seems that our raison d’être is simply so the creator’s work can be observed and appreciated by others. We are programmed with an ever increasing appreciation of art, music, food, entertainment, astronomy, etc.
      Wow! !! You really have no idea how close you are to basic Judeo-Christian thought bar a few more tweaks. But I will leave that there for the moment.

      I see no other purpose to life other than to provide a continuous supply of intelligences that appreciate creation.
      So we agree that God has intelligence and will like us persons.

      There is a principle that states that you cannot get more from less. I ask you to bear that principle in mind as we continue our discussion. If this principle is not very clear to you, let me know.

      So, to move on. As you said in your earlier reply, God is a kind of pure intelligence, all truth and no error. So we can maybe say that God is the perfection – the fullness of – intelligence. I suppose it is safe to assume that we can agree on that.

      Now I pose 3 questions to you and you can tell me whether you agree with them with a simple yes or no.

      1) Would you say that creation is good?
      2) Would you say that there is goodness in us?
      3) Do you love? Is there someone that you love other than yourself?

    • Bill S

      1) Would you say that creation is good?

      “Good” in what sense. As a meal is good, creation is good. As Mother Theresa was good, nature is too unforgiving for me to be able to say creation is good in that sense. When he looked at it and saw that it was good. That kind of good.

      2) Would you say that there is goodness in us?

      Yes. We seem to have a sense of right and wrong and know that we should do right and avoid wrong. In that sense, we have good in us.

      3) Do you love? Is there someone that you love other than yourself?

      My wife and two sons. Yes. Then myself.

    • MarcAlcan

      Okay then.

      Going then to the principle of more cannot come from less, we’ve established that God has intelligence and will.

      You said before that our intelligence is a microcosm of God’s intelligence. And that is true, our intelligence cannot possibly be more than God’s because more cannot come from less.

      So if we are good, (if there is goodness in the world) then that goodness is a “microcosm” of God’s goodness as well. If we love, then that love is a “microcosm” of God’s love as well.

      We cannot posses an “attribute” that is not in God except that these “attributes” are in God in perfection – perfect goodness, perfect love.

      I would add here beauty. Beauty in this world would be a “microcosm” of the beauty of God.

      If as you say we image God, then these “attributes” are also a way in which we image God.

      I will stop here and ask you if we can agree on that.
      If you don’t agree, explain why not and we can take it from there.

    • Bill S

      Your argument is hard to contradict. I do believe that our intelligence is infantile compared to the intelligence behind all this. I think it has many of the same facets of the greater intelligence but is only in its developmental phase. Can a greater intelligence evolve from a lesser intelligence? Will our intelligence ever exceed the intelligence behind all this? It is possible. We can create AI that will someday out do ours.

    • MarcAlcan

      Will our intelligence ever exceed the intelligence behind all this? It is possible.
      Well that is not possible, because more cannot come from less.

      We can create AI that will someday outdo ours
      That is also impossible because more cannot come from less. It will remain artificial and it will remain at our mercy, based on our own programming. It will not be intelligence but merely the outcome of our own intellectual programming.

      I want to know your answer regarding goodness, love and beauty.
      Would you say that we image God in this attributes as well – that our goodness is a “microcosm” of God’s goodness, our love is a “microcosm” of God’s love and beauty is a microcosm of God’s beauty?

    • Bill S

      Would you say that we image God in this attributes as well – that our goodness is a “microcosm” of God’s goodness, our love is a “microcosm” of God’s love and beauty is a microcosm of God’s beauty?

      Let me sleep on it. (Baby, baby, let me sleep on it). I’ll give you my answer in the morning.

      Nature has been programming DNA for billions of years. Now we are intelligent enough to do it. Nature has been creating beauty for billions of years, now we do it. Dinosaurs probably experienced a form of love. Now we do.

      Yes. I think creation is a microcosm of the creator.

    • nworder

      Nature cannot make DNA . Only a supernatural intelligence created the DNA code – designing and making it for all species of plants and animals in the six days of creation , not billions of years.
      Without God there is no nature. Nature is powered by God who knows when a sparrow falls to earth or a hair falls from your head.
      We are intelligent enough to COPY DNA and tweak it dangerously since we are tampering with God’s design.
      The fact that it needs scientists to copy DNA with a replicator shows that it needs intelligence.

      But even then the DNA is not alive until it is inserted into a LIVING cell with all its billions of components and cellular wall working in harmony.
      So this proves that only God creates living matter – no scientist has ever done it.

    • MarcAlcan

      That’s okay. Take your time.

      Just a few corrections though regarding your post.

      Nature has been programming DNA for billions of years
      Since we have already established that nature is created and has no intelligence as such, then nature was not programming DNA. It is the Creator – the Intelligence behind all that is – who is programming DNA.

      Nature has been creating beauty for billions of years
      Nature was not creating beauty by the same logic as per my above comment, so it is the Creator who is creating beauty. And yes, we do create beautiful things because we have intelligence.

    • Bill S

      Ok. I’ve given this a lot of thought and this is what I have come up with. Before anything ever existed, there existed from all eternity a set of laws as to how everything would come into existence and operate. How these laws came about is the greatest mystery facing the human race and at the core of all religion. The prevailing assumption is that these laws of nature have to come from an intelligence of some sort.

      The best that scientific inquiry can accomplish is to identify as many of these laws as we can and trust that these laws are consistently applied to all events in the material universe.

      Religion presumes to identify and describe that for which science has no knowledge of or explanation. The predominant religions in the modern western world are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Eastern religions include Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and others.

      Most of these religions start out by trying to explain how everything came to be, referred to as the creation. The creation seems to require a creator, which some have personified as being “God”.

      So as to go along with this personification, I will call this supposed creator by that standardized name. So, at a bare minimum, God can be described as the intelligence behind all that is.

      Beyond that, the stories about God are many and varied. Some have been compiled in books like the Torah, the Bible and the Quran. And so that is where we are in our understanding of the intelligence behind all this that we call “God”.

    • MarcAlcan

      I know you’ve given this a lot of thought but you have not answered any of my questions.

      So before we get derailed again, I re-iterate here what you have agreed with and what you have stated.

      As you said in your earlier reply, God is a kind of pure intelligence, all truth and no error. So we can maybe say that God is the perfection – the fullness of – intelligence.

      I mentioned the metaphysical principle that more cannot come from less.

      I then asked you three questions:

      1) Would you say that creation is good?
      2) Would you say that there is goodness in us?
      3) Do you love? Is there someone that you love other than yourself?

      You answered yes to all of them.

      So, since you stated that we image the Creator and our intelligence is a “microcosm” of the Creator’s intelligence, I then asked:

      Would you say that we image God in this attributes as well – that our goodness is a “microcosm” of God’s goodness, our love is a “microcosm” of God’s love and beauty is a microcosm of God’s beauty?

      If you don’t like the term God, then let me re-phrase that:
      Would you say that we image the Creator in this attributes as well – that our goodness is a “microcosm” of the Creator’s goodness, our love is a “microcosm” of the Creator’s love and beauty is a microcosm of the Creator’s beauty?

      Your detailed answer above did not come even close to answering these questions. It really only requires a simple yes or no with perhaps an explanation for this yes or no.

      Take your time thinking about the question but you need to answer it. Otherwise we will just go around in circles.

    • Bill S

      Yes. What you have said reflects the essence of God as we know him and creation as we know it. Intelligence put a whole process together with the end product a sort of mini me intelligence.

    • MarcAlcan

      Okay. Let’s me get this straight so we are clear.

      You are saying YES to this statement: Would you say that we image the Creator in this attributes as well – that our goodness is a “microcosm” of the Creator’s goodness, our love is a “microcosm” of the Creator’s love and beauty is a microcosm of the Creator’s beauty?

      So basically you are affirming that the Creator is not only the perfection of intelligence, but is also the perfection of goodness, beauty and love?

    • Bill S

      That’s not where I started out, but as long as it doesn’t lead to a quantum leap to the god of the Bible, yes. I think that has got to be true. Created in the image of God, means being a micro version of the intelligence that includes beauty, goodness, love and everything associated with human consciousness. Just no parting of seas or walking on water bullshit.

    • MarcAlcan

      You’re hilarious :-) Calm down, okay.

      The reason I am trying to get this as clear as possible is so that we both know where you and I are at in this discussion. Stop jumping to conclusions. I am doing this to avoid confused language and convoluted to and fro later.

      So, if our beauty, intelligence, goodness and love is a microcosm of God’s intelligence, beauty, goodness and love, would you say yes to this statement:
      In God is the perfection of truth, goodness, beauty and love.

    • Bill S

      I suppose. Where is this going?

    • MarcAlcan

      I suppose
      Okay then. We are agreed that the Creator is the perfection of love, truth, goodness and beauty.
      To simplify our discussion we will henceforth refer to the Creator as God.

      At this point in our discussion, I am not ascribing to God anything other than the above – he is perfect goodness, truth, beauty and love.
      Where is this going
      I had a good chuckle at that. I can sense fear in that little question. Relax. If learning is an adventure then you can take our conversation as one such adventure.
      As you may have noticed, I am not forcing on you anything. At each stage we work-out definitions before we move on. This way we avoid talking past each other.
      In a previous post, you likened God to an artist who wants to share his creation with others so he opens an art gallery.
      Below are 5 points which pick up from what we have agreed above. I ask you to ponder them.
      1) Since God is perfection, God needs nothing. He is happy in Himself, complete in Himself.
      2) Love moves us to share, goodness moves us share. I am sure you have ample experience of that being a husband to a much loved wife and father to much loved sons.
      3) St Thomas Aquinas said: Bonum Diffusivum Sui – the Good is diffusive of itself. Goodness tends to bubble over, to spread. As an example – we tend to be more generous, expansive and gregarious when we feel good.
      4) Since God is perfect goodness and perfect love, then the only reason He creates is by a sheer act of goodness and love. We can thus look at creation as a “bubbling over” of God’s goodness, beauty and love.
      5) This bubbling over of His goodness, we state simply as : God creates to manifest His glory.
      Have a think about the above 5 points and try to see if you can apprehend there a grounding and expansion of your statement about the artist and his art gallery and let me know your thoughts.
      I think I need to add a caution to not overthink but just to ponder them. Don’t jump to conclusions. We will get to the conclusions together.

    • Bill S

      1) Since God is perfection, God needs nothing. He is happy in Himself, complete in Himself.

      This is a very different God than Yahweh from the Old Testament. It is more like the New Testament God. I think that all Jesus had to work with was a concept that needed an extreme makeover. I reject the Old Testament God. I don’t need it.

      2) Love moves us to share, goodness moves us share. I am sure you have ample experience of that being a husband to a much loved wife and father to much loved sons.

      Not as much as you might think. I have to admit that, for the most part, it has become all about me. Love moves us to share. I lack that instinct.

      3) St Thomas Aquinas said: Bonum Diffusivum Sui – the Good is diffusive of itself. Goodness tends to bubble over, to spread. As an example – we tend to be more generous, expansive and gregarious when we feel good.

      That is definitely not me.

      4) Since God is perfect goodness and perfect love, then the only reason He creates is by a sheer act of goodness and love. We can thus look at creation as a “bubbling over” of God’s goodness, beauty and love.

      I like this God.

      5) This bubbling over of His goodness, we state simply as : God creates to manifest His glory.

      OK. I’m with you so far. This obviously creates a conflict with the Bible, the Catholic Church and the religions of this world.

      I can meditate on the distillation of an understanding of such a creator that can be called “God”.

    • MarcAlcan

      This is a very different God than Yahweh from the Old Testament. It is more like the New Testament God. I think that all Jesus had to work with was a concept that needed an extreme makeover. I reject the Old Testament God. I don’t need it.

      As I said earlier, don’t overthink. Here’s your problem: I write something and then you project your thoughts into what I write even when I have not said anything. It’s like you’re so afraid so you think you will pre-empt what I am going to say. Try to get away from that because that is one of the reasons discussions get convoluted and derailed.

      To get back on track -
      I take it that you agree with the first point: Since God is perfection, God needs nothing. He is happy in Himself, complete in Himself.

      Not as much as you might think. I have to admit that, for the most part, it has become all about me. Love moves us to share. I lack that instinct.

      Of course we are all selfish. But nonetheless, you do love and you want to share that with those you love. You could not possibly say about yourself that you are 100% about you to the complete rejection of everyone else. In fact, when I asked you if there is anyone you love you mentioned your wife and your sons. Love tends to the other. That’s just the nature of love. Anything that does not move out of the self is not love but egotism.
      So again, I take it that you agree that love and goodness move us to share or at least to want to share that love and goodness.

      That is definitely not me.

      So you are saying that even at your best moment, you are curved in on yourself and you do not think of anyone else? Basically you are saying that there is nothing at all good in you? I doubt that is true.

      In general, when people are in a good mood, they are indeed more generous, expansive and gregarious. Goodness does bubble over. Which is why it is best to ask for raise when your boss is in a good mood :-)

      And we know that to be true because we call people who look out for others, who are selfless in their giving as good. Goodness bubbles over.

      I like this God.

      I’m glad you do. Because THAT is God – One who created the world out of the sheer act of goodness and love.

      OK. I’m with you so far. This obviously creates a conflict with the Bible, the Catholic Church and the religions of this world.

      Again, please cut down on the unnecessary commentaries. I have not brought up the God of the Bible so there is no need to be so defensive. Stop being so afraid that I am going to ram down your throat the God of the Bible. Just take what I write at their face value.

      I can meditate on the distillation of an understanding of such a creator that can be called “God”.

      Great. I highly recommend that you do for the meantime. I have to finish a project so I will post the rest tomorrow.

      I leave you to meditate on the God who created you out of sheer love.

    • Bill S

      Sounds like a plan. Good luck on your project, stupid:-)

    • MarcAlcan

      Good luck on your project, stupid:-)

      Ha, ha! Indeed I am. It takes all kinds to make this wonderful world.

      First, to summarize: we have moved from no God, to Cosmos is the intelligence behind all that, to Creator, to God.

      You said that moving from cosmos to Creator seemed small but in fact it is actually quite a jump.

      I would say here too that moving from Creator to God though seemingly small is actually quite significant.

      When we speak of Creator, we speak of no more than someone who brought creation into being. There may or may not be purpose behind all this (as you pointed out in your artist analogy). We know that there is great intelligence and power but more than that , we can’t really say. Pretty much what deism is.

      But once you move from Creator to God – with the attributes that we mentioned of love, goodness and beauty – that puts a whole new complexion into how we see this Creator.
      As you said, we seem to be made in His image – with the intelligence, goodness, beauty and the capacity for love.

      Another thing that we have not looked at is joy. The confluence of goodness, love and beauty brings about joy.

      Well, here’s something to think about. Love is relational – the lover always inclines to the beloved. Why would God create beings who have the above attributes – most particularly the capacity to love?

      The Judeo-Christian faith teaches that God created us to be in relationship with Him. He loved us into existence because He wants to have a deeply personal relationship with us and in the process to experience profound joy.

      I suppose one way to meditate on this is to imagine the best person you can ever know in terms of unparalleled goodness and unconditional love who loves you so unconditionally that this causes joy to bubble up in you. A person who knows you so much more intimately than you can ever know yourself and loves you so unconditionally – warts and all.

      Because He is complete in Himself and happy in Himself, He can love us unconditionally – His desire is exclusively for our good – for our flourishing.
      St Thomas Aquinas’s definition of love is “to will the good of the other as other”. This means to seek the good of a person for that person’s sake alone – not for what that person can do for me.
      I’d like to leave that with you to think about and you can maybe let me know what you think about that.

    • Bill S

      The Judeo-Christian faith teaches that God created us to be in relationship with Him.

      I accept the general concept but the Bible contains extraneous information that goes way beyond the idea of a creator wanting someone to appreciate the creation. If that were the only theme in the Bible, it would be more useful than it is. For example, the problems in the Middle East stem from the Jews thinking that God has given the “Promised Land” to them and Muslims thinking that it belongs to them. What’s love got to do with it?

    • Bill S

      I leave you to meditate on the God who created you out of sheer love.

      Here is the way I see it. Let’s just take one law of nature: Gravity. Whatever I say about gravity, much of it can be applied to the other laws of nature and also to phenomina that we don’t list as laws of nature but perhaps we should. And the greatest of these is love.

      By some incredibly fortuitous circumstance that might never be fully understood, there exists (and has always existed and always will) what we call the law of gravity. It is not something that exists randomly and for no purpose. It is fine tuned to the exact strength weak enough to keep the universe expanding (after the Big Bang) and not collapsing back in on itself, but strong enough to allow matter to attract other matter into it so as to form stars, planets, moons, etc.

      Either this law had no beginning and had no end or it came about from an intelligence which we call the creator or God.

      Somehow, there exists an undetermined number of laws and phenomena with the same history as gravity. None of them seem to be random or purposeless. They have all resulted in all this.

      To gain mastery of life, we must learn about all these laws and phenomena and use the information for our own purposes by taking advantage of gravity and everything else.

      It would also be good to know as much as we can about the source, the intelligence behind all this, the creator, God.

    • MarcAlcan

      Well, I think that post quite brilliant!

      I have posted a reply a few minutes ago and I hope you read that before this one as this follows from some of the things I mentioned earlier.

      You mentioned purpose for creation. I have already mention that in my previous post but I want you to think of this quote :

      “The cosmos was created, not that there might be manifold things in heaven and earth, but that there might be a space for the “covenant”, for the loving “yes” between God and His human respondent. “ – Pope Benedict – Jesus of Nazareth

      This puts the universe in a different perspective – as a sort of a house for us to dwell in because God wants to be in a relationship with us.

      This then means that the whole purpose of creation is so God can have people who can share His joy, and His love and His goodness.

    • Bill S

      This then means that the whole purpose of creation is so God can have people who can share His joy, and His love and His goodness.

      Whether God really planned it like this or it just was in the cards, it seems that the most current, up to date, most developed end product of this 14+ billion year sequence of events is great intelligence, art appreciation, athleticism, humor and…I think you would say the Catholic Church as it is today, taking something like World Youth Day Conferences and the mass as the successful end point. I would look at things like the Academy Awards, Supernowl, World Cup, Olympics, etc. as being as evolved as we have become so far.

    • Bill S

      This then means that the whole purpose of creation is so God can have people who can share His joy, and His love and His goodness.

      I quite agree. I think that is about as far as we can get. The rest is religious mumbo jumbo :-)

    • MarcAlcan

      I quite agree. I think that is about as far as we can get. The rest is religious mumbo jumbo :-)

      Actually, not by a long shot.

      I am a bit short of time at the moment but I will get back to you tomorrow.

      What I would just like to leave with you at this stage is to think about this big shift : from creation not having a purpose, to having a purpose and in particular quite a joyous purpose for man. That is a big leap.

      You have been contemplating The Artist’s work for a long time – thrilled by it, awed by it, intrigued by it. That is great. But now I think it is time to drop contemplation of the artwork and perhaps focus on the Artist – especially since He wants to actually have a relationship with you.
      It’s like having admired “The Starry Night” and “Irises” for a long while and suddenly you realize that Van Gogh is just there and actually wants to befriend you.

      Anyway, will pick up on this tomorrow.

    • Bill S

      …especially since He wants to actually have a relationship with you.

      I look forward to what you have to say tomorrow. My comparison to the Artist includes the assumption that an artist is not looking to have a personal relationship with those who admire his works. Jesus came up with that idea.

    • MarcAlcan

      I am hoping to take up all your 3 posts in this one reply to streamline our discussion so apologies if this reply turns out to be quite long.

      In that case, spiritual laws are beyond the purview of science.

      Exactly!

      I accept the general concept but the Bible contains extraneous information that goes way beyond the idea of a creator wanting someone to appreciate the creation. If that were the only theme in the Bible, it would be more useful than it is.

      Aaah, and that is where you are wrong. The whole point of the Bible is precisely this : God’s desire to be in covenant with the whole of humanity. From Genesis right through Revelation, that is what the Bible is all about – the building of a holy people in loving covenant with Him. This is why the Bible is divided into The Old Testament and the New Testament. Testament is just another word for covenant. So basically we have the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
      When properly read , you will realize that the whole Bible is soaked and dripping with this idea of God’s desire to be in communion with us.

      I quite agree. I think that is about as far as we can get. The rest is religious mumbo jumbo :-)

      As I said before, not by a long shot.

      When people object to the Bible on those grounds, you can tell straight away that they have no clue about the Bible at all :-)

      So let’s backtrack a bit.

      We agree that God is all good and all loving.

      As I have also mentioned, love and goodness always inclines to the other.
      Another facet of that is: when you love someone, you want to know and be known by your beloved otherwise a loving relationship cannot blossom. This knowing and being known is easy enough among us humans. Even when we do not fully disclose ourselves we can discern tell-tale signs so we can have a pretty good idea about others. This knowledge of the other becomes easier and deeper when that person discloses him/herself.

      But this God who is so otherly other, so totally beyond our realm – how do we get to know Him at all?

      In days of old, people followed their ideas of who they think God is; a lot of it bundled up in superstition.

      Because God is so far above our own piddly little brains, the only way we can know Him is if He reveals Himself.

      We get glimpses of Him in His creation but only by self-revelation will we come to truly know Him – His desires for us and His Will. Without this Self-revalation, this communication from God, the most we can do is make god in our own image.

      God being all love, and all goodness, it is only natural that He will want to be known by the creature to whom He has given the capacity to know.

      We Christians believe that in Holy Scripture, we see God’s self-revelation which culminates when, in the fullness of time, He decides to enter human history.

      But you might ask, but how do we know for sure that He is revealing Himself in the Bible?
      This is when faith comes in. A very large part of this comes down to faith. We cannot prove that with an empirical proof. However, it is not blind faith because reason informs this faith. Faith is reasonable.

      Having said that, without religion, we don’t reach that conclusion.

      No, not without religion, rather without God’s self-revelation.

      There are many religions but apart from the Abrahamic religions, (I think) their holy writ never claimed to a revelation from God rather man’s attempt to understand God. The Judea-Christian religion and Islam claim that their Holy book is a revelation from God.

      At this stage I know you will ask, but how then do you know which one is indeed a revelation.

      The answer to that will involve a very lengthy explanation so I will not get into that in this discussion save to say that the Judea Christian faith is the truth and that we can reasonably prove this.

      The thought process that leads to it is not followed by scientists, except that they be influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition of a creator God.

      I would be surprised if the scientist should follow such a thought process considering as you have rightly said, this is outside of the purview of science.

    • Bill S

      The Judea-Christian religion and Islam claim that their Holy book is a revelation from God.

      You’ve been very logical and convincing up to now. Why would you want to ruin it all by insisting that the intelligence that we have agreed to call God reveals itself to us through the Bible and Quran. It reveals itself to us through philosophy and scientific discoveries. Eg. St. Thomas Aquinas and Einstein.

    • MarcAlcan

      Why would you want to ruin it all by insisting that the intelligence that we have agreed to call God reveals itself to us through the Bible and Quran?

      Firstly, I did not say that God revealed Himself in the Quran. I said that only the 3 Abrahamic religions “claim” to be a revelation of God. I then said that of these, I can prove that the Judea-Christian claim is the truth.

      I suggest you re-read the part of my post that leads to this point. If you have an objection to any of these then we can go over that. But if you don’t have a problem with the arguments, then it would be foolish to disagree with the conclusion.

      It reveals itself to us through philosophy and scientific discoveries. Eg. St. Thomas Aquinas and Einstein.

      Firstly, God is not an “it”. He is not a thing. If He were a thing then He would not be God. Since we are made in His image, then obviously God is so much more than an it.
      I think your use of pronoun at this stage in our discussion is significant. I think there is a fear there that if you acknowledge that God is a person (you’ve already acknowledge that He has attributes similar to human beings) then it would mean that God is indeed personal – that there might actually be something that He would require of you.

      Secondly, while it is true that we get an “idea” of who God is based on philosophy and science, these are all indirect knowledge that only “point” to Him. This would be a very limited knowledge of Him.

      Take your Artist analogy. Van Gogh is so much more than “The Starry Night” or the totality of his works, for the simple reason that Van Gogh cannot be captured in the harmony of colours in a canvas. To get to know Van Gogh, he needs to open himself up to others. He needs to reveal himself. As I said before, you are so focused on the artwork you are forgetting the Artist.

      Scientific discoveries only reveal the workings of the material world. True, it displays the brilliance of the One who came up with the material world, but nevertheless science can only speak of the material world.

      As for Philosophy, while it does give us a better apprehension of who God is, it still falls short. At most, it gets us to God – the Creator and even to conclusions about His attributes. But that again, is not enough. To really get to know this God, He has to make a disclosure of Himself. Without this personal disclosure we cannot know what His Will is. This only happens through a personal revelation as we see in Scripture.

      Now of course you can say that the revelation in Scripture is false, but I would say that you have no grounds for such a statement.

    • Bill S

      I think there is a fear there that if you acknowledge that God is a person (with attributes similar to human beings) then it would mean that God is indeed personal – that there might actually be something that He would require of you.

      I fear that someone thinking he knows what God requires of me tries to impose it on me.

    • MarcAlcan

      I fear that someone thinking he knows what God requires of me tries to impose it on me.

      Indeed that is a reasonable fear…… if you have not already come to the conclusion of the reasonableness of a personal God.

      If God is the God you agreed with me, the He has a will. It is then important to find out what His will is. If God has the attributes you agree He has, then to find out what He will is important.

      It is not about imposing someone’s idea of what God requires, but finding out what God requires. Philosophy and science will not be able to tell you what God requires of you.

      Otherwise we will not come to know our purpose. We will be left with Deism and the existential angst returns.

    • Bill S

      The purpose of a perfect intelligence setting a process in motion to ultimately create intelligent beings is to have someone appreciate its creation. That is the purpose of my life. To take it all in and enjoy it and pass it on, perhaps.

    • MarcAlcan

      I will answer your two posts with just this one as they are completely intertwined.

      The purpose of a perfect intelligence setting a process in motion to ultimately create intelligent beings is to have someone appreciate its creation. That is the purpose of my life. To take it all in and enjoy it and pass it on, perhaps.

      How do you know that that is so?

      You see, that is an assumption on your part which actually goes against logic.

      You agreed that God is the perfection of truth, goodness and beauty. He is thus a Person who can communicate His will. He is personal. The glimpses of His will that we discern from science and philosphy does not give us real knowledge of that Person.

      And yes, part of the purpose of your life is to appreciate creation but that is not all of it. From appreciation arises gratitude and gratitude is personal.

      The selection of a set of ancient writings over all other writings as being divinely inspired… seems a bit illogical

      Actually it is very logical. Logic has taken us so far to a very personal God. If personal, then obviously He wants to communicate His will to us.

      As I have explained before, science and philosophy can only take us so far.

      and the exclusion of the others as not being divinely inspired seems a bit illogical.

      This too is very logical because of the principle of non-contradiction. When several ideas are being propose and each contrary to the other then they cannot all be true.

      So you have to find out which is true because as you agreed with me, God is the perfection of truth.

      You’ve managed to be very convincing until you make the leap of faith of accepting the Bible as divinely inspired. The God I am willing to accept wouldn’t do something like that.

      Actually, not accepting that God wishes to actually communicate with a part of His creation – who He has imbued with the capacity for truth, goodness and beauty – is the one that is illogical.

      You may not want to accept that God makes a personal revelation of Himself, but all that means is that you are being illogical. You went so far as accepting the premises but then because the conclusion does not suit, then you reject the conclusion even though all the premises point to that conclusion.

      You see, your whole thinking is still bound up in the illogic and stupidity of those who are immersed in scientism – like Dawkins. Dawkins and his like are resolved to not believe in God, so even when the latest scientific findings allow glimmers of an Intelligent Source for all creation, they are determined to find other explanations rather than accept the obvious. So they come up with multi-verses and aliens as the source for our universe. Completely stupid but there they are, otherwise intelligent men but determined to remain in this laughable worldview.

      So yes, you can stick to your position and believe that there is no other purpose to your life than to appreciate creation and live life as you please according to your rules. No one is imposing on you the God who revealed Himself in Holy Scripture and in Jesus. Just don’t label that view as intelligent and logical because it isn’t.

    • Bill S

      So yes, you can stick to your position and believe that there is no other purpose to your life than to appreciate creation and live life as you please according to your rules.

      That might not be exactly how I would word it, but it is close enough. The men who wrote the texts that were compiled into the Bible did not know God any better than I do. In fact, they had even less information about life and the universe than I do. I trust the conclusions that I have arrived at (with your help) more than anything that was written by less informed people.

    • MarcAlcan

      That might not be exactly how I would word it, but it is close enough. The men who wrote the texts that were compiled into the Bible did not know God any better than I do.

      Now you are really talking rubbish. A couple of weeks ago you did not even know God and now all of a sudden you know God better than those who were used by God to write Scripture? I think you need to have a little reality check here.

      In fact, they had even less information about life and the universe than I do.

      Big deal. So you know more about the material world. So what? If God was material that statement would carry weight. If we were talking about the Big bang, then that with be plausible. But considering, God isn’t material , then that statement is one of your more illogical ones. Didn’t you write a few posts ago that the spiritual world is not within the purview of science?

      I trust the conclusions that I have arrived at (with your help) more than anything that was written by less informed people.

      No doubt, you trust your own conclusions. But that doesn’t say much about the conclusions themselves – whether they are right, wrong or indifferent. Many pilots who have plunged to death, have trusted their conclusions. If that is all you can do, then that ain’t much.

    • Bill S

      A couple of weeks ago you did not even know God and now all of a sudden you know God better than those who were used by God to write Scripture?

      Who were used by God to write Scripture? I don’t acknowledge that.

    • MarcAlcan

      Who were used by God to write Scripture? I don’t acknowledge that.

      Whether you acknowledge it or not, it is the height of hubris (or stupidity or both) for you to come along this late in the piece and claim to know more about a subject that other’s have been studying for centuries. You – an infant in this game – claim to know better than all the adults put together who have made this subject their life ‘s quest.
      It’s like a 7 year old who having spied Saturn from a kiddi telescope presuming to know more about the Cosmos than veteran cosmologists.

      You need to take a reality check!

    • Bill S

      Actually, not accepting that God wishes to actually communicate with a part of His creation who, He has imbued with the capacity for truth, goodness and beauty is the one that is illogical.

      God can communicate with me without any need to use antiquated texts and religions. To say that he is limited to the point that we have to read the Bible or listen to a priest to know his will is extremely illogical.

    • MarcAlcan

      God can communicate with me without any need to use antiquated texts and religions.

      Indeed He can and have done so countless of times. All you need do is read conversion stories and many of them recount how they were touched by God prior to becoming Christian. Most of them can pinpoint the exact moment of this event and how through a happy set of “co-incidences” sooner or later ended up in the Catholic Church.

      To say that he is limited to the point that we have to read the Bible or listen to a priest to know his will is extremely illogical.

      But I never said that He is limited to Scripture. Not at all. The Church has approved many private revelations. Scripture is God’s very public revelation.

      Many have become Christian by a very private and very personal movement from the Spirit. But you know what, once touched by God in a very personal way, the intelligent creature sooner or later will come to know and accept His very tender and personal self-revelation in the Bible.

      And it is not in the least illogical to expect to read the Bible and listen to a priest to know His will. If as you say God can communicate with you directly, so He also, through a priest and through Scripture. In fact, because the revelation in Scripture is very public, then there is less chance of getting it wrong.

      To claim that He can communicate with you and not through Scripture and not through a priest is extremely illogical. In fact, it is not only illogical but delusional.

      Private revelations are tricky because the evil one can communicate with you as well. And it requires great wisdom and a lot of grace to discern who is actually talking to you.

      But, since you can communicate with God, then I do suggest that you do so pronto! Why wait? Talk to Him right now. Talk to Him every waking moment: when you are appreciating His creation, while driving, while waiting in a queue. Talk to Him as you would any friend who is present. Tell Him your problems. Tell Him your worries. And yes, tell Him you don’t believe in Scripture and priests. Tell Him everything. And don’t forget to thank Him daily for every blessing He has given you. And if you think you have been hard done by, you can complain to Him as well. He won’t mind. You’ll be quite surprised how available He is to your musings and your blabberings.

      There are two books that I highly recommend. Both of these women are atheists and yet God spoke to them powerfully from where they are.

      http://www.bookdepository.com/Memory-for-Wonders-Veronica-Goulard/9780898704303

      http://www.bookdepository.com/Something-Other-Than-God-Jennifer-Fulwiler/9781586178826

      I leave you with the opening paragraph of the foreword to the New Jerusalem Bible by Henry Wansbrough – The Bible is not a book but a library, joining together dozens of writings, history, stories, poetry and letters. Almost the only common factor is that they all speak to us of God, revealing His nature, His awesome sovereignty and His tender love.

      God bless you. Tremendously!

    • Bill S

      But you know what, once touched by God in a very personal way, the intelligent creature sooner or later will come to know and accept His very tender and personal self-revelation in the Bible.

      My understanding of what I called the “Cosmos”, then the “Creator”, and now “God” does not correspond to the biblical description of God or that of the Catholic Church. You’ve done the best you can to make me believe in your god. It’s not gonna happen. Thanks.

    • MarcAlcan

      My understanding of what I called the “Cosmos”, then the “Creator”, and now “God” does not correspond to the biblical description of God or that of the Catholic Church.

      So what? You’re an infant in the field. There’s hope of course that you will mature. Time will tell whether you will but I think you will.

      You’ve done the best you can to make me believe in your god. It’s not gonna happen. Thanks.

      Indeed. Conversion is always the work of the Holy Spirit (whether you believe in the Holy Spirit or not). Many men and women of far, far greater intellect than yours , and far more convinced of the non-existence of God have fallen…. hard…. on their knees.
      It’s a battle between you and God. And I’m putting my money on God.
      So, again, I say talk to Him. You were the one who was insistent that you don’t need anyone to communicate with God. So, please have a little intellectual integrity and put your money where your mouth is. Talk to Him. Have a nice tete a tete.

    • Bill S

      A religion is only as good as its ability to make people believe in it. Jews, Christians and Muslims are particularly enticed and threatened into having “faith”. Apostasy is just about the worst thing that can happen under these religions.

      Isn’t it odd that what a religion needs most is believers and the thing these religions require most from its followers is for them to believe?

      As long as you believe, you’re in. And if you don’t believe, nothing you do or say can help you. It’s all about believing. Those who refuse to believe are looked at as just not getting it and as even a threat to the whole congregation.

      I will try to talk to God about this but I’m not making any promises.

    • MarcAlcan

      I will try to talk to God about this but I’m not making any promises.

      Hey, you don’t have to promise me anything. You don’t owe me anything.

      But it would be kind of hypocritical if you don’t speak to Him since you have already come to the conclusion that He is personal, the perfection of goodness and intelligence and above all the perfection of love.

      Since He is the perfection of love, then He loves you – absolutely unconditionally. Since He is the perfection of goodness, then He wills nothing but good for you. Since He is the perfection of intelligence, no matter the incoherent blabbering that may come out of you, He will understand.

      Why would you not want to talk to someone like that?

      And here’s something I can guarantee 100%. He really, really wants to talk to you.

      And you know the other reason why you should talk to Him? Because you are simply dying to :-) So get on with it.

      Happy conversations!

      Also, do take up my challenge and read those books that I gave links to.

      May you know how tenderly you are loved by God.

    • Bill S

      But it would be kind of hypocritical if you don’t speak to Him since you have already come to the conclusion that He is personal, the perfection of goodness and intelligence and above all the perfection of love.

      I have been careful not to say that perfect intelligence, goodness and love is a person. The Jews believed in a personal God and Jesus took that belief to an even higher level saying that the Father controls everything and knows what we are going to ask for before we ask. Muslims believe in complete submission to their god and their inerrant scriptures.

      My sense of self resists this concept. I don’t look at the world and life with a personal god in mind. I think we look at God as being personal because we have evolved to have personal characteristics. You assume that more cannot come from less and that since we are personal, the Creator must be personal.

      I understand your reasoning but it is counter to the whole process evolution from lower forms of life to higher forms, which is what happens through evolution. I’m not saying you are wrong, just that there are other ways to look at all this.

    • MarcAlcan

      I have been careful not to say that perfect intelligence, goodness and love is a person.

      Well duh! Can someone with perfect intelligence, love and goodness be any other?

      My sense of self resists this concept. I don’t look at the world and life with a personal god in mind.

      You may not like the idea (as children don’t like vegies) but whether you like or not has no bearing on whether it is or not. Our likes and dislikes do not create the reality of God.
      I don’t like the idea of increased taxes either.

      You assume that more cannot come from less and that since we are personal, the Creator must be personal.

      It is not an assumption. It is a principle. A metaphysical principle.

      I understand your reasoning but it is counter to the whole process evolution from lower forms of life to higher forms, which is what happens through evolution.

      Because you assume that evolution as proposed by Darwin is true – that it is by chance. That is one of the more stupid assumptions of Darwinists. But as you have stated before there is a purpose to it all, therefore it cannot be by chance. Chance excludes purpose.

      A program no matter how complex was still created by the programmer. The programmer may build into the program a capacity to become more complex but it still is the product of the programmer.
      In evolution, even if you were to accept the Darwinist view is not the higher life forms were not the product of lower life forms. They were the product of chance.

      I’m not saying you are wrong, just that there are other ways to look at all this.

      The other way of looking at this that you proposed fails. It just showed that you did not understand what more cannot come from less meant.
      You know what, you sort of go in a convoluted ways in your reasoning. And all to avoid the obvious conclusions. You are free to go about in such a manner but the only one you are deluding is yourself.

    • Bill S

      A program no matter how complex was still created by the programmer. The programmer may build into the program a capacity to become more complex but it still is the product of the programmer.

      It is interesting that DNA is coded in a way similar to, but much more complex than, the binary code that we use. The mystery of all of this is way beyond us all.

    • MarcAlcan

      My sense of self resists this concept.

      I think of all the things you have written, this little sentence speaks much about you.
      Basically, for you this is not about discovering the truth. Maybe somewhere inside you there is something that is yearning for the truth – not so much because you desire it but because you’re stuck in that hell hole of existential angst. Because really, I do not see why you are posting here at all.

      You’re in a real quandary. You’ve obviously pre-determined what you will believe (as you have expressed above) but your belief is really leaving you quite miserable. But when you get a glimpse of a lifeline, you will tenaciously cling to what you believe rather than admit that perhaps you were wrong.

      Your past 3 posts were a rehash of what you had proposed before and which I have shown to be false.

      So Bill, much as I have enjoyed conversing with you, I think I have already addressed all your arguments. You are going back to the same old same old that has already been done and dealt with.

      If you don’t want to believe, that is all fine. But it would not be because of intelligence or logic. It will be because you don’t want to – against all evidence to the contrary.

      I do suggest you read the two books I linked. These women are far too intelligent to be dismissed (especially Veronica) so easily.
      So I leave you to God, whether you follow the correct conclusion that He is a person or not.
      It is foolish though to say that you can communicate with God directly yourself and then turn around and say that he is not a person. That is just plain hilarious.

      I leave you to God and I know that one day you will truly know Him and how tenderly you are loved by Him. I know that He has planted in you, the hunger for Him. And no thing else and one else will do.

      May the Peace of the Lord be with you. May the Holy Spirit fill you with His grace and draw you even more into the communion of love between the Father and the Son.

      And I entrust you to our (yes OUR) Blessed Mother to lead your to her Son. Amen!

    • Bill S

      Yes. What I have come to believe has created an existential crisis for me. The idea of a personal God seems consistent with the writing of a computer program being done by a person. Let me sleep on it.

    • Bill S

      My understanding of your approach to believing in God has been improved by a most seemingly unlikely source: a lecture by Richard Dawkins. As you know, I see myself as a materialist, someone who refuses to consider that anything might exist beyond the material world. But I am totally incapable of understanding quantum physics. For all intents and purposes, it might as well apply to something beyond what I would recognize as the material world. It begs the question, what else does what I consider my materialistic view of the universe keep me from understanding. My worldview makes no allowance for any consideration of the supernatural. Your worldview assumes the existence of the supernatural that, like the natural/material, is intelligible. The gap between us isn’t much different than the gap between me and a quantum physicist.

      Religion has progressed for longer than science and truths from it cannot fit within the narrow spectrum of what I can accept as real. That doesn’t make me right and religion wrong.

    • MarcAlcan

      I see myself as a materialist, someone who refuses to consider that anything might exist beyond the material world.

      I don’t think it is so much that you see yourself as a materialist but that you do not fully apprehend your own position.

      When we first started conversing, I put you down as a materialist (in the inmost working of your mind). This is why I labelled you an atheist.

      But around 4 posts later, you mentioned that you did not agree with Dawkins and that you believe there is a purpose. This progressed to your statement that there is and has always been order and intelligence behind it all and you labelled this cosmos. Through further discussion you have come to the conclusion that it is not the cosmos but the Creator; progressing on to the conclusion that there is indeed a God – to whom we can ascribe perfection: perfection of truth, perfection of goodness and perfection of beauty.

      As I have also explained, the material world had a beginning, so God has to be above and beyond the material world i.e. He is not matter.
      To come to this conclusion (that there is such a Being) and now say that you are a materialist is to suffer from intellectual schizophrenia – a schism within the intellectual working of your own mind.

      I think this is where your problem lies: claiming to be one thing (a materialist) and yet being intellectually convinced of a reality so totally opposed to this materialist view.

      This is why I said that you have rigged the debate within you: you cling to the “truth” of materialism ( and you have to hold it true for you or else you would not believe it) such that even when intellectually, reason has finally demolished this belief, you still cling to a label which no longer fits what your intellect apprehends.

      This, I believe, is what you need to sort out within you.
      You need to be clear in yourself what you are. Are you a materialist – i.e. that you believe 100% that the material world is all there is? If you can answer yes to that, then I suppose you can indeed wear the label “materialist”.

      But the problem is, during our conversation, you have shifted to the exact opposite of that view (and you have even said that even then you were not a 100% materialist because you believed in purpose). That shift was not because someone has coerced you to it, but because you have grasped through your own intellect, based on reason and logic, that this is indeed true. And since you have given assent to that, then you really are in a quagmire unless you follow your own reasoning.

      You have to let go of one or the other. You either entrench yourself in a materialist position (which your intellect rebels against) or you can go with reason and finally firmly claim what your right reason has apprehended.

      So in the final analysis, it is not about whether or not the spiritual realm is beyond you (like Quantum Physics), but whether you are honest enough with yourself and accept that the materialism cap that used to sit perfectly on your head is now too small to encompass the wider vista that has now be opened to you. To cling to this cap takes a lot more effort (it is bound to slide off sometime) than to just accept that such a view is now ready to be discarded for a more glorious one.

    • Bill S

      You are absolutely right.

      “…but I am a materialist. And materialists don’t believe that. Does not compute…”

      I can no longer call myself a materialist (or an atheist). I’m at least a deist. And I marvel at the cosmos, the order of things. And I believe in the creator and call him “God”. And it is quite possible that we are like him in terms having intelligence and appreciating his creation.

    • MarcAlcan

      I’m at least a deist. And I marvel at the cosmos, the order of things. And I believe in the creator and call him “God”. And it is quite possible that we are like him in terms having intelligence and appreciating his creation.

      Actually, you have moved much further than that. That’s where you were 14 days ago (22nd July). Since then, you have moved much further than that but you just have not connected the dots or are afraid to connect the dots even when it’s very obvious. I think you don’t like the idea where it will lead. Deism feels safe so you prefer to stay there even when you know that there is more than that.
      That’s okay. God is good and God’s is patient.

    • Bill S

      Since then, you have moved much further than that but you just have not connected the dots or are afraid to connect the dots even when it’s very obvious.

      We have intelligence and creation is the product of an intelligence. We can see how the laws of nature work through observations.

      The next step is to acknowledge moral laws as also coming from an intelligent source. Did the intelligence that gave us gravity also give us a sense of right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable and unacceptable behavior or is this sense just a product of evolution, trial and error, natural selection?

      This is as far as I have gotten. And no, I do not want my morality dictated to me through some supposed form of revelation. This is where my concept of God and the Abrahamic God part ways.

    • MarcAlcan

      . Did the intelligence that gave us gravity also give us a sense of right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable and unacceptable behavior or is this sense just a product of evolution, trial and error, natural selection?

      You have already answered that question several posts back when you acknowledged that the spiritual dimension is not within the purview of science. Morality cannot be the product of natural selection.

      This is as far as I have gotten. And no, I do not want my morality dictated to me through some supposed form of revelation.

      YOUR morality? So there is such a thing as personal morality? What if my morality dictates that it is okay to beat you up to a pulp and do the same thing to your kids? Would that be okay with you if that were my morality?

      This is where my concept of God and the Abrahamic God part ways

      Firstly, I doubt very much if you fully realize your own concept of God. The reason I say this is everytime you get an inkling that your own logic and reason is leading you to a personal God, you straight away jump to this sort of argument.

      You said above that “this is as far as I have gotten”. But in fact it is not. You have gotten further than that but you are afraid to connect the dots because you think that doing so will lead you to the Abrahamic God and you just can’t have that because you hate the very idea of the Abrahamic God.

      Since you obviously think things through, the only intellectually honest way for you to address this issue is to put aside your revulsion at the “Abrahamic God” or put aside the idea of the “Abrahamic God” altogether and take the arguments one step at a time . Because unless you do, you end up frozen in this rigged mental game of yours– positing the conclusion even before the arguments have been truly digested, all because you are afraid that the conclusion might be other than the one you desire.

      Perhaps the first thing you should ask is why you hate the idea of revelation and why you are repulsed by the “Abrahamic God”.

      There is too, the no small matter of your very limited apprehension of the sphere of faith.
      The other day, you acknowledged that in the same manner that you cannot possibly grasp Quantum Physics so the spiritual may be similarly beyond you. But I would say that Qantum Physics is far more beyond you than the spiritual realm ever could be. For true knowledge of that realm is yours for the asking. It all depends on whether you want to know at all. The only pre-requisite is humility.

    • Bill S

      Perhaps the first thing you should ask is why you hate the idea of revelation and why you are repulsed by the “Abrahamic God”.

      The Abrahamic God cannot possibly be real. Apologists go through a whole rational argument as to why there has to be God. But once they convince the skeptic, it’s like: “Ah, so I finally have convinced you that there really is a God. I suppose now you will want to learn all about him. Just read this book”. The skeptic starts reading the Bible and goes “WTF?”

      The thought process leading to the acceptance of an intelligence that one could call “God” followed by reading the Bible is like convincing someone of the importance of Christmas and then putting on “The Christmas Story” where the kid gets a BB gun. There is no segway from one to the other. As soon as God begins punishing Adam and the rest of humanity for not obeying him, the Flood, Sodom and Gamorah, Ten Plagues, etc. that becomes a totally unrelated fictional God.

      I’m skipping all that and focusing on a God who can get me through what I am going through here and now. I couldn’t care less about Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Pope Francis or anyone else who supposedly knows him any better.

    • MarcAlcan

      The Abrahamic God cannot possibly be real.

      But that is precisely one of the “rigged” arguments in your mind. How do you know that it cannot possibly be real? This is a statement that:
      1) You cannot prove
      2) Rests on your wrong understanding of our claims regarding Scripture and of the “Abrahamic God”

      But once they convince the skeptic, it’s like: “Ah, so I finally have convinced you that there really is a God. I suppose now you will want to learn all about him. Just read this book”. The skeptic starts reading the Bible and goes “WTF?”

      But if you go back to our discussion, I did not do that. We were not talking about the Abrahamic God but of a Personal God. This is why I said earlier, you need to perhaps ditch the whole “Abrahamic God” idea and perhaps concentrate on the thought process that leads to a personal God. The problem with you is not so much the thought process that leads to a personal God but the fear that somehow someone is going to shove down your throat the “Abrahamic God”.

      I think what is in operation there is the fear that if you connect the dots you would not like the conclusion because you have already predetermined the conclusion – that the Abrahamic God cannot possibly be real.

      The thought process leading to the acceptance of an intelligence that one could call “God” followed by reading the Bible is like convincing someone of the importance of Christmas and then putting on “The Christmas Story” where the kid gets a BB gun.

      Only if you have the caricature that you posted above – “you believe in God, now read about him in the Bible”.

      That is not quite my argument.

      If you go back through our conversation, once we got to Deism ( an impersonal God who set things in mention and could not care less what happens after that) my next proposal to you was a God who is the perfection of love, truth, goodness and beauty.

      You accepted that God.

      From this ( God is the perfection of truth, goodness, love and beauty) I said that then He must be personal because love and goodness tends to the other.

      This is when you started protesting about the Abrahamic God when I have not even brought that up.

      To avoid the obvious you even referred to God as “it”.

      Well, above you’ve finally referred to Him as “he” so obviously it has clicked with you that He is a person – so being a person He must relate to persons.

      But even before that you have already acknowledged that He is a person because you said that you can communicate with Him directly without need of revelation – and I agreed with you.

      So obviously, based on all that – you are not a Deist but a Theist – one who believes that God is personal.

      At this point, that is all I am getting at: that you need to acknowledge that shift – that you are a theist. You’re fighting it and doing all sort of somersaults just to avoid that conclusion because you are afraid that if you acknowledge that you are on that road, and if you keep walking on that road you might end up bumping into Abraham’s God and that is something you would not want happen because you want Abraham’s God to forever remain a fiction as you have always claimed He is.

    • Bill S

      Ok then. I will think of God as being personal but not limited to being fully knowable through any one religion.

      It’s like when Apollo Creed said to Rocky “the thing is that I did teach you everything you know, but I didn’t teach you everything I know”.

      Religions might appear to have all the knowledge anyone needs about God, but actually we learn more about him by just living.

      I consider going back to Catholicism as going back to kindergarten. Been there, done that. It presents fairy tales about the real God. Genesis, Exodus, etc. are fairy tales told to the ancestors of the Jews to have them all follow one God and one religion and be governed by one king as one nation.

      Jesus started a whole new religion and I don’t even think we need to know about anything that came before him. His personal god was our Heavenly Father. I am willing to go with that concept.

      That’s as far as I can get. I don’t accept what Jesus taught about himself, eternal life, his return, his church, saints, angels, demons, etc.

    • MarcAlcan

      Ok then. I will think of God as being personal but not limited to being fully knowable through any one religion.

      Yes and no. Yes, God will always be beyond us. No, because humanity’s knowledge of God cannot be reduced to a conglomeration of the individual perspectives of each religion.

      It’s like when Apollo Creed said to Rocky “the thing is that I did teach you everything you know, but I didn’t teach you everything I know”.

      That is a very apt analogy. Tip hat.

      Religions might appear to have all the knowledge anyone needs about God, but actually we learn more about him by just living.

      Again yes and no to that. Yes we learn much about God in our day to day life because He does communicate with us. However, not everyone’s apprehension of God is correct. When several propositions are at odds with each other, then they cannot be all correct. So we have to find out which of these is true.

      I consider going back to Catholicism as going back to kindergarten. Been there, done that.

      Oh! So you were Catholic. This explains your comment about being a heretic. I’ve been meaning to ask you what your background is so I know where you’re coming from.

      I would not want to go into a detailed discussion about this at this stage, but I will say this: Catholicism is the most intelligent and beautiful expression of faith in God. And I can show that. But going into that will derail our current discussion. Maybe later..

      It presents fairy tales about the real God. Genesis, Exodus, etc. are fairy tales told to the ancestors of the Jews to have them all follow one God and one religion and be governed by one king as one nation.

      Only because your knowledge of the Bible and the Catholic faith is still infantile.

      You said that to go back to the Catholic faith would be to go back to kindgergarten. Actually, the more correct statement is that YOUR knowledge of the Catholic faith is at the kindergarten level. But it need not remain there.
      Do you think we would have priests like Lemaitre (who first proposed the Big Bang) or great theologians like Aquinas and brilliant thinkers like Chesterton if the Catholic faith is indeed plausible only to kindgergartens?

      Jesus started a whole new religion and I don’t even think we need to know about anything that came before him. His personal god was our Heavenly Father. I am willing to go with that concept.

      See, this is what I mean about your knowledge of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular as being kindergarten level.

      Jesus did not start a new religion. The Christian faith is a fulfilment of the faith of the Jews.
      But lest we get derailed I will leave it at that.

      You have soooo very much more to learn about the faith.

      But I am pleased that you are willing to accept God as our Heavenly Father.
      In fact, the Creed is ordered precisely in this way. It says: I believe in God, the Father, almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. God is firstly, Father. A Father who tenderly loves His children.

      That’s as far as I can get. I don’t accept what Jesus taught about himself, eternal life, his return, his church, saints, angels, demons, etc.

      That’s okay. I am glad that at least you have now acknowledged that you are a theist. What sort of theist? Well, time will tell. Although you are Christian even though you may not acknowledge it, for no other faith regards God as Father.

      So if God is Father then turn to Him as you would to the best Father imaginable.
      He will get you through what you are going through in the here and now because He loves you very much.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bsc-T5edJrU

    • Bill S

      Catholicism is the most intelligent and beautiful expression of faith in God.

      Thank you for the video. What you say about Catholicism is true. I am a cradle Catholic and only stopped believing a few years ago. My wife is devout and, this will surprise you, I accompany her to mass and say the rosary with her every morning driving her to work.

      I never went through the process you have taken me through and the God that it leads to is quite different from the God I stopped believing in. It is as if I did have a kindergarten belief that was easily dismissed after reading the books of the New Atheists.

      I could use a fatherly God right now and I have already put my troubled relationship with my son (who hates Catholicism but surprised me by saying he does believe in God he knows I don’t) in his hands. I can’t do more than that now. My wife is sticking with me through this and is sure the faith will come back to me.

      I wasn’t lying when I said I was an atheist or deist. I just forgot to mention that I am in a heavily Catholic environment and I see many things that I disagree with but I don’t want to tell anyone so I blog.

    • MarcAlcan

      Thank you for the video.

      When I was in my teens, I hated that song in the video. I had this image of God who was like a stern police – like Big Brother always monitoring what we’re doing and ready to pounce when we so much as deviate from his dictates. So, to hear in that song that He is always near peeved me even more. My sister loved that song, and I couldn’t tell her I hated it and why. I wanted to be able to do what I wanted to do without someone brooding over my neck.
      But a few years later I had a prayer experience which completely turned this around. I came to know the immense love He has for me – how unconditionally and totally loved I am by Him. From that experience I resolved that that would be one of my missions in life – to help people realize just how utterly loved they are by Him. Now that song is one of my favourites and so is the Psalm it is based on.

      I came to see His laws not as prohibitions meant to rain on my parade but rather a light for my path and ingredients for my flourishing.

      I really see myself as His child. Naughty, flawed, gets into a mess – but His child nonetheless. More and more, I realize how like a child I am – unable to accomplish the littlest good by my own efforts. So when I am weary, when the world is collapsing and I can’t seem to go on, I imagine myself as a baby held safely in His arms. And I go to sleep with that image in my head – because with that knowledge I know everything will be okay.

      When I was a child all I wanted was to be a good person and I thought that somehow I/Me/Myself will accomplish that by my own efforts. Until reality (or more precisely grace) hit and I realized how feeble I am, but that always His grace will be there and it will be enough.

      I do really recommend the books I linked before. I think you will find Jenny Fulwiler’s “Something Other than God” immensely uplifting and a true pleasure to read. I almost read it in one sitting.

      Veronica Le Goulard’s “A Memory for Wonders” I did read in one sitting. You can see in these stories how God searches out His children.

      Another thing I would say is this: as much as you love your son, God loves Him more. So much more.

      So if you still go to Mass, during the offertory, while the bread and wine is being processed to the altar, offer yourself (warts and all)to the Lord who knows you more than you know yourself. Surrender to Him all your pains and also surrender your sons (your entire family) to Him.

      In both of the books that I recommended above, the authors credit their return to God to their baptism. Both were baptised by their grandparents because their parents would not do so.

      God knows our foibles and our weaknesses but His grace is always there to lead us home.

    • Bill S

      I couldn’t tell her I hated it and why. I wanted to be able to do what I wanted to do without someone brooding over my neck.
      That is the Abrahamic God that I don’t accept. From the Garden and the Fall, the Flood, Sodom, on and on. So somehow you reconciled the love and the vengeance. That is why I see that God as fictional. 
      You have one job left to do: leave your son alone. God will only accept you back into his grace if you do this. If you cannot, then you are truly destined for an eternity in hell.
      These are the last words that my son spoke to me last week. He’s not religious so I was surprised when he said them. By the way, every age you might have assumed I am is decades lower than I am. My son who wrote this is 30. We are both very immature. I know you thought I was a teenager at one point. A stupid one at that. :-)

      I will read your next comment.

    • MarcAlcan

      That is the Abrahamic God that I don’t accept. From the Garden and the Fall, the Flood, Sodom, on and on. So somehow you reconciled the love and the vengeance. That is why I see that God as fictional.

      No, it is not that I was able to reconcile the love and the vengeance. I realized that I was reading the Bible all wrong. It is not that the view is dirty. It was because I had dirty spectacles.

      When you are ready to study Scripture properly, then I very highly recommend “Walking with God” by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins. I reckon Ascension Press should give me a commission for the amount of sales I put through for this book :-). Everyone I have recommended this book too simply loved it. It will really open the Scriptures for you. Another thing that would benefit as well is if you can join a Bible Study called “A Quick Journey Through the Bible” or the longer version (The Great Adventure Bible Timeline). If money is not a problem, I would even recommend that you buy the DVD program yourself so you can do it in your own time. But these are all just recommendations. God will show you the way.

      I can understand the pain you are going through with your son. My brother and my father had a very volatile – even violent – relationship and this sucked in the rest of the family – too much chaos and problems for everyone else as well. My father passed away with so much grief and regret on my brother’s (he was 38 then) part. Then he too passed away shortly after. But I think that despite all that, they both met God in peace.

      Perhaps what you can do is indeed to let your son be and just pray for Him. I think he talks this way because he is in pain and he thinks you do not understand. Trust in God. He has your son’s back. Surrender Him to the Heavenly Father who loves Him. If he has been baptised, then nothing can take that away from him. Every time your son comes to mind, surrender Him to the Lord. You will be surprised what this constant surrender will do for you and for him.

    • Bill S

      Every time your son comes to mind, surrender Him to the Lord.

      Wow. That’s EXACTLY what I am doing right now. This is a case where there is absolutely nothing else I can do.

    • MarcAlcan

      Praise be the Lord!

      Indeed He sends His Holy Spirit to help us to pray and clearly He has done that with you.

      This is the story of our lives: we resort to our own efforts till we realize how puny they are. Then like St Augustine we come to know that our hearts are restless until they rest in God.

      As the Bishop told St Monica regarding her worries for Augustine: ” it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.”

    • Bill S

      So yesterday I told my wife that I wanted to go to Eucharistic Adoration like we used to do before I stopped believing. We did an hour and they were doing soaking prayer which I also used to have done to me once in a while. She led me to the laypeople laying hands and they were just waiting for someone else and she put me up to having it done. I had no choice. They were two of the same people I used to go to and a friend who did her Cursillo with my wife in 2009 (a month after I did mine). I just went along with it and felt at peace. I wouldn’t say I felt God’s presence but the people and my wife were so nice to me that I couldn’t see why I would have ever wanted to be an atheist or deist and I thought that if I am a theist, I might as well keep being a Catholic theist. They gave me something called the swap where you pray for Mary’s intentions and she prays for your. I just took it and read it on the way home. Mary is taking it too far but I didn’t say anything to my wife. She gave me a big hug and kiss when we got home. There is no sense in resisting. It’s futile.

    • MarcAlcan

      I wouldn’t say I felt God’s presence but the people and my wife were so nice to me that I couldn’t see why I would have ever wanted to be an atheist or deist and I thought that if I am a theist, I might as well keep being a Catholic theist.

      I love spending time with the Lord in adoration (especially late at night when it is just Him and me which only ever happens when I go for retreats).

      To feel God’s presence is a gift from God so it is not very common to have a palpable awareness of Him as He bestows this as He sees fit. Every now and again He does make His presence felt in the most extraordinary of ways. But for the most part we keep going on faith, on what we have apprehended with our intellect.

      Prayer is always initiated by God first. Our prayers are always only a response to His invitation to spend time with Him. When God feels most absent, I to keep in mind St Teresa of Avila whose prayer life was so arid for years – and she being a mystic at that.

      I think you will come to appreciate Mary too, one day. I believe she always has a hand whenever a soul comes back to her Son. I do draw the line though at the fanaticism that I have seen in some because I think that in some cases it borders on idolatry.

      You are very blessed to have a wife who is so close to the Lord. And I think she is very blessed to have you for a husband for even when you saw your self as atheist you still kept going to Mass with her out of love for her.

      I have been praying for you (and I think some of the people on these thread would have been too) and last night I also included your son.

      God is so good. Praise to Him always.

      Below is a link to a beautiful reflection on last Sunday’s readings.
      http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/god-multiplies-what-we-give-him

    • Bill S

      I do draw the line though at the fanaticism that I have seen in some because I think that in some cases it borders on idolatry.

      I see a lot of this as fanaticism. It’s all relative though. It seems that people always want you to believe more and more.

    • MarcAlcan

      I see a lot of this as fanaticism. It’s all relative though. It seems that people always want you to believe more and more.

      Yes and no. Yes, there is a tendency in some to be fanatical with Mary. I met a woman who was so thrilled because she touched the hand of a supposed “seer”. There will indeed be some who will be focused on something extraneous to the faith but it is important to not conclude that such and such is extraneous when it is not.

      However, believing more is not necessarily fanaticism so long as it is firmly grounded on truth.

      The Catholic faith is harmonious. The doctrines that are presented to the faithful are part of a grand plan where the central point is the covenant. As we mature, we come to learn more and more about all the facets of this covenant.

      You can sort of see it like this: Imagine a piece of paper that has been folded up every which way according to the shape of the images that are illustrated there. So at first you have just this ball of paper. Nothing much. Then you unfold it at the centre and you see that there is the main picture there and you think that’s nice. Then unfold another flap and it reveals another aspect of that picture. You keep unfolding and unfolding till at last the whole sheet is opened up and the image is all before you. Everything in the picture makes sense only in relation to the central image.

      I have read many conversion stories. Many of them readily accepted some teaching and took a while (only after much studying) with others. In many of these the the Blessed Mother was the last hurdle. But in the end they came to believe as well because the faith really does make sense. Each aspect relates to all the others. It is one coherent whole. To take this or that out would be like taking some panes out of a beautiful stained glass window.

      To fully grasp and appreciate the entirety of the beauty and intelligence of the faith will take us all a lifetime – and beyond.

      What I would suggest is to just put aside anything you disagree with and just acknowledge that at this stage it does not make sense – to you. Don’t think that it will forever be something that is nonsensical.

      I do however stress that in the spiritual, we need a lot of humility.

      This little story will make this post too long but I will give it as an example.

      Several years ago, someone challenged me about a Catholic doctrine which up to that point I did not even know about. But there it was – plain as day. I had always told myself that I submit to the Magisterium and here was this doctrine that I could not accept. I really struggled with it. The guy was waiting for my response to explain and I couldn’t. I almost could not sleep for a week. Then one morning, I said to the Lord: If your Church teaches this then I accept it and believe it even though I cannot understand how this can be so. Who am I to think that my piddly little brain is better than all the saints and all the doctors of the Church and the Popes put together? So I gave assent to it even though I did not understand. After making this submission, I felt this peace come over me. I was ready to tell this man that I don’t know how to explain it but I believe it anyway. I was the one who always had a comeback and I had none except to say that I believe anyway. The interesting thing was that about 10 minutes later, all the pieces suddenly fell into place and it made sense. I was actually able to explain to him why it is so. That was pure God’s grace. He did not have to show me but He saw it fit to show me.

      So I ask you to approach the religious and spiritual matters with great humility. Every time something comes up that you can’t believe, then surrender that as well to God. Tell Him it is very difficult for you to believe this or that as it just does not make any sense. I am sure that He will sort it out for you in His time.

    • Bill S

      I met a woman who was so thrilled because she touched the hand of a supposed “seer”.

      It is a slippery slope. My wife is going to drag me to a place I don’t want to go. Ivan and those others are con artists. I don’t want any part of that bullshit. I would rather tell people I am an atheist and then move closer to God at my own pace.

    • MarcAlcan

      It is a slippery slope. My wife is going to drag me to a place I don’t want to go. Ivan and those others are con artists. I don’t want any part of that bullshit. I would rather tell people I am an atheist and then move closer to God at my own pace.

      Sadly this is one of the reasons why many are repulsed by the honor we give to the Blessed Mother. I agree with you with regards Ivan (if you are talking about the Medjugorje “visionary”). The woman I mentioned earlier said that because she shook hands with Vicka.
      But I don’t think you need to tell them you are an atheist to be able to move to God at your own pace. I am a great believer in telling the truth. Since you are a theist then just admit you are. And maybe there’s a nice way you can tell her you don’t believe in these other things. There are so many charlatans out there, out to profit from other people’s gullibility.
      I think lies can only be fought with the truth. So the better equipped you are with the truth then the better off you are when they hassle you :-)

    • Bill S

      I’m so glad you share my attitude toward Ivan and the other Medjugorje visionaries. My wife would like to visit Medjugorje and I don’t want any part of it.

    • MarcAlcan

      My wife would like to visit Medjugorje and I don’t want any part of it.

      There are so many troubling things about this whole apparition business. If I were in your shoes, I would simply tell her that I don’t believe in it and it is not approved by the Church. In fact the church has forbidden parish pilgrimages to Medjugorje.

      Maybe you can get her to read some of the articles about it
      Here are some links

      http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2009/09/what-happened-at-medjugorje

      http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/the-devil-and-medjugorje

      http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/09/medjugorje-news/

      http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope_benedict_laicizes_priest_connected_to_alleged_medjugorje_apparitions/

    • Bill S

      The Church at which we made the Eucharistic visit and I had the soaking prayer is very much into Medjugorje. You would never know that the Vatican does not endorse it. I will read your links.

    • Bill S

      Final text to my 30 year old son:

      I have to have the last word. So don’t respond and we are done. Michael got sucked back into a dysfunctional family. It was not Kay that he should have gotten rid of. It was his family. He got sucked back in when his father got shot. He could have lived a happy life with Kay. She wasn’t his problem. His family was his problem. Thus, I have argued against myself and my unwillingness to let you go. Find a Kay for yourself. 

      “If you love something, set it free. If it returns, it will be yours forever. If it doesn’t, it was never yours in the first place.”

      I never owned you. I just presumed to act as if I did and took it for granted. If you can just forget all the bullshit I heaped on you, then there is nothing to forgive. Forget it. (Forget what?). Then you are truly free. #Forgetaboutit! Love you. 

    • Bill S

      I am at BillS1225@gmail.com if you ever need to reach me.

    • MarcAlcan

      Hi Bill,
      I have noted your email. I think it might be a good idea to delete this message now and the other one as well.
      May the Peace of the Lord be upon you.

    • Bill S

      Looks like its been taken care of. Thanks.

    • Bill S

      Marc,

      You’ve made God more real and personal to me. He is not the God that I came to believe in as a Catholic but I see why Catholics do interact with God through their faith and rituals. I don’t believe that God expects us to choose the right religion. Instead, I believe that he goes along with the one we feel closest to him in following. For this reason, like speaking English, I will continue practicing Catholicism. I will not fret about what is factually true and what conveys the truth in its own metaphorical or symbolic way. That’s the best I can do for the time being. Thanks.

      Bill

    • MarcAlcan

      I don’t believe that God expects us to choose the right religion. He is not the God that I came to believe in as a Catholic but I see why Catholics do interact with God through their faith and rituals. I don’t believe that God expects us to choose the right religion. Instead, I believe that he goes along with the one we feel closest to him in following. For this reason, like speaking English, I will continue practicing Catholicism. I will not fret about what is factually true and what conveys the truth in its own metaphorical or symbolic way. That’s the best I can do for the time being.

      I think He does. But this will not be forced. He will present the truth to you at your pace and He will show you why it is the right path – and you will assent of your own free will.

      Don’t think just because you don’t “feel” your Catholicism that there is no value to it. Fidelity is what is more important. To love (to will the good of the other as other) when you don’t feel in the least the warmth of the emotion is so much more important for then it becomes an act of will.

      And I am sure that one day, as your knowledge of the faith grows, you will also become convinced that the Catholic faith is the true faith. But for the meantime, I think the important thing is to keep doing what you are doing – going to Mass and praying the Rosary with your wife. One day I am sure that God will show you the graces that this simple obedience has worked in your life.
      In the meantime, I would like to share this musing by Nabeel Qureshi – a Muslim who became Christian.

      When Nabeel was struggling with the decision whether to remain a Muslim or to follow Jesus, he asked: how is it conceivable that Allah, the highest being of all, would enter into this world? This world is so filthy and sinful, no place for the One who deserves all glory and all praise….To have to eat, to grow fatigued, and to sweat and spill blood, and to be finally nailed to a cross. I cannot believe this. God deserves infinitely more. His majesty is far greater than this.

      But then he asked: But what if His Majesty is not as important to Him as His children are?”

    • Bill S

      how is it conceivable that Allah, the highest being of all, would enter into this world?

      I like his answer.

    • Bill S

      Now of course you can say that the revelation in Scripture is false, but I would say that you have no grounds for such a statement.

      What grounds do you have to dismiss the Quran but to accept the Bible as revelation? The way you look at the Quran, I look at the Torah and the Bible.

    • MarcAlcan

      What grounds do you have to dismiss the Quran but to accept the Bible as revelation? The way you look at the Quran, I look at the Torah and the Bible.

      Firstly, the Quran came 600 years after Christianity and several thousand years after Judaism. Yet it has many teachings about Moses, Jesus and Abraham that is in contradiction to the teaching of either. That would be like someone coming 600 years after Lincoln and coming up with his own version of Lincoln and telling us this is who Lincoln really is.

      Secondly, when Muhammad first had the revelations he was convinced it was the devil who was actually making this revelations. It was his wife who convinced him otherwise.

      How did it come to pass that the texts compiled in the Bible went from being useful for teaching Christianity to actually being the revealed Word of God? The claim is not made in the Bible.

      The Bible was always regarded as God’s revelation. It was never just a useful teaching. The Bible from start to finish is about salvation history.
      And yes, it is made in the Bible that is why Holy Scripture is always regarded as the Word of God. The revelation from OT to NT increases in clarity. From God’s interactions with His chosen people up to the time when He came to fully reveal Himself in His Son.
      .

    • Bill S

      The selection of a set of ancient writings over all other writings as being divinely inspired and the exclusion of the others as not being divinely inspired seems a bit illogical.

      You’ve managed to be very convincing until you make the leap of faith of accepting the Bible as divinely inspired. The God I am willing to accept wouldn’t do something like that.

    • MarcAlcan

      Apropos my earlier reply:

      As I was reading your post, this verse from Psalm 19 came to mind :

      The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands
      In the cosmic laws, in the precision with which the Big Bang came about, we see in this the glory of God.

      A correction to your statement regarding love being another “natural” law. In the sense that it is natural to human beings, I suppose you can say that it is natural law. However, it is not entirely natural (here I mean as physical law of nature) because love is one of the transcendentals. They are not physical laws of nature but spiritual laws. Their operation is not tied in anyway to the created world though it is manifest in the created world.

      Here’s why. Even before the created world was, God is. And as we have agreed before, God is the perfection of Love so it cannot be just another physical law in nature.

    • Bill S

      love is one of the transcendentals. They are not physical laws of nature but spiritual laws.

      In that case, spiritual laws are beyond the purview of science.

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      “As I was reading your post, this verse from Psalm 19 came to mind :

      The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands
      In the cosmic laws, in the precision with which the Big Bang came about, we see in this the glory of God.”

      Marc, note that this quote is at the beginning of the post. Fine quote…expresses all that one needs to know to believe in a Creator.

    • MarcAlcan

      Marc, note that this quote is at the beginning of the post. Fine quote…expresses all that one needs to know to believe in a Creator.

      I would say yes and no. Yes, if one’s sense of the spiritual has not been deadened. No, if from the beginning one has been immersed and bombarded with the propaganda that the created world is all there is. If one is in that second category, one might conclude that the firmament is just one beautiful accident.

      This is why when conversing with atheists, I think it is important that from the start, the poverty of that materialistic assumption be exposed for the stupid argument that it is.

    • MarcAlcan

      It is like an artist who creates for mere purpose of creating. His next urge is to share his creation with others so he opens an art gallery.
      Yes, God is like an artist. And yes, artists create because there is an urge to create and he wants to share this with others. You may not be aware of it but you are very close to Judeo-Christian theology in this respect.

      It seems that our raison d’être is simply so the creator’s work can be observed and appreciated by others. We are programmed with an ever increasing appreciation of art, music, food, entertainment, astronomy, etc.
      Wow! !! You really have no idea how close you are to basic Judeo-Christian thought bar a few more tweaks. But I will leave that there for the moment.

      I see no other purpose to life other than to provide a continuous supply of intelligences that appreciate creation.
      So we agree that God has intelligence and will like us persons.

      There is a principle that states that you cannot get more from less. I ask you to bear that principle in mind as we continue our discussion. If this principle is not very clear to you, let me know.

      So to move on, as you said in your earlier reply, God is a kind of pure intelligence, all truth and no error. So we can maybe say the God is the perfection – the fullness of – intelligence.

      Now I pose 3 questions to you and you can tell me whether you agree with them with a simple yes or no.
      1) Would you say that creation is good?
      2) Would you say that there is goodness in us?
      3) Do you love? Is there someone that you love other than yourself?

    • MarcAlcan

      Yes. We do take our faith in science from mainstream media
      Then that explains why your posts are so up the creek.
      If you are going to argue from science at least properly argue from science not from some garbled report in the mainstream media.

    • Bill S

      Mainstream media includes PBS which presents shows like Nova, the History Channel which provides histories of religions, etc. It includes series like Cosmos. I am not ashamed to be informed by mainstream media, especially now that there is little or no religious influence. That makes it more impartial.

    • MarcAlcan

      The History Channel.
      The History Channel is full of rubbish and inaccuraries. PBS is sometimes good and sometimes bad.
      The MSM is to be taken with a grain of salt. If you are not ashamed to be informed by the MSM, then maaan, you should be.

      MSM is not all bad if you swallow everything they spit out then no wonder your thinking is the way it is.

    • Bill S

      I admit that MSM, with the possible exception of FoxNews, puts Christian conservative values in what I consider their proper place. And I know that is why you don’t trust it. I’m perfectly fine with that.

    • MarcAlcan

      And what is the proper place of Christian conservative values?
      Do you realize that if I were to take your “atheist non-conservative value” to its logical conclusion, I could have you tortured then murdered (if I have enough power) and that would be just all par for the course because in an atheistic world view you’re value is the same as the earthworm that is fertilizing my garden? That you are as valuable as the staphylococci that people take antibiotics for, to kill.
      After all, if we are nothing more than by products of random mutations your life has absolutely no value at all. And if you have kids, they are absolutely disposable and if someone powerful enough were to think they would want to dispose of you and your family, why you have absolutely no grounds for complaining because you are nothing more than the by product of random mutations – same as the fly and maggot that we zap with insecticide.
      And yes, increasingly that is the kind of value that your beloved MSM is feeding its minions.

    • Bill S

      I’ve already conceded to you that I don’t accept random mutations as being able to lead to new or improved species. And I do believe in an intelligence that we don’t understand. I just don’t see it as a god.

    • MarcAlcan

      Then please explain why this intelligence cannot be God.

    • nworder

      The cosmos was a show from carl sagan’s imagination – lots of film tricks without evidence – you will be meeting up sometime

    • Bill S

      I will never meet Carl Sagan. He is dead.

    • nworder

      The soul of a person lives forever.

    • Bill S

      Yes. That’s what you believe. You believe in a soul that enters us at conception and leaves us at death. And even when our brain stops working, our thinking personality continues on without the brain.

      It doesn’t work that way. (Maybe I will put that on my gravestone).

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      Guy, you called it!

      “You better get ready-you are going to be deluged with the folks who say – or who believe – or both that the only knowledge is scientific knowledge and the only scientific knowledge is what can be proven.”

    • Bill S

      “…the only knowledge is scientific knowledge and the only scientific knowledge is what can be proven.”

      But there are truths that are known and can be explained by science (if not proven) and other truths that are as of yet either unknown or insufficiently known and cannot be fully explained (and proven) by science (origins of life, consciousness, love, beauty, goodness, etc.). Whatever becomes known becomes something we recognize as part of the material universe. The question then becomes “how did this material universe come about and how does it operate?”

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      Yes, Guy.. and what continually amazes me, even after my short life on the Magis Facebook site, is how irrational most of the responses of the evangelical atheists are. I don’t believe their arguments convince anyone but themselves, and they don’t seem to want to explore other points of view. But if it helps them to vent and they aren’t vicious, I suppose we should continue to enable therapy. I will continue to pray for them (isn’t that the injunction from the New Testament?)

  • http://theyhavenowine.wordpress.com/ Bob Drury

    This is a fascinating introductory essay. I await the rest. However, I would define scientific cosmology as the scientific discipline which treats our universe as a whole (not as an entity). It is a philosophical error to consider the universe as an
    entity, e.g. as does the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God.
    An entity is properly a being, i.e. a unity, which is a single nature in existence. A mammal is an entity, but the universe is not. The universe is the conceptual whole (in the sense of a mathematical set) of material entities. To me the take home message of your post is, “Hey guys, the universe is a conceptual whole. You can wrap your mind around it, but not your instrumentation. The instrumentation can only cover an internal portion of it.”

    • http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com duhem

      Bob, I (and I believe George Ellis) agree with you about the use of “entity” for universe. It was an unfortunate choice of phrase. Thanks for your comment.

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  • nworder

    The atheists maintain that the universe popped out of a tiny speck in a few minutes or so – whereas God took 24 hours. They need blind faith to believe this.

    • Bill S

      You again. The greatest scientists in the world with billions of dollars of funding are discovering amazing things like the Higgs Boson. If they understand the Big Bang and how everything came from nothing, I am sure they are not wasting their time and talents or that they would be better off just picking up and reading a Bible left in their hotel room by the Gideons.

    • nworder

      You again ! There was no big bang – the surface of the earth was never molten as polonium rings prove. They are getting millions in wages looking at the incredible bits and pieces matter and energy while people starve.

    • Bill S

      This is too much for me. You have far too much faith in the Bible and far too little trust in modern science.

    • nworder

      The big bang is not science but a philosophy – a religion – thousands of “modern” scientist’s dont agree with it.
      You think that anything carl sagan says is modern science.
      Modern science is polonium rings in granite which proves the granite was never molten . in other granite was instantly created.

    • Bill S

      The big bang is not science but a philosophy – a religion

      Your extremism on these matters gives me cause for concern that you have your own agenda. You are skewing everything to fit your creationist worldview with which I absolutely disagree. You have wonderful arguments and references that are useful in strengthening the resolve of your fellow creationists but modern science cannot possibly be as far off track as you make it out to be.

    • nworder

      Extremism is nothing to do with truth . The agenda is truth and there is only ONE truth – that the creator God created the universe and all that it contains in 6 days and rested on the 7th. We are made in God’s image.
      The references I gave you came from atheist scientists not from creationists .
      You keep telling the same deceptions.
      “Modern” science is a meaningless term but what we do know is that increasing numbers of scientists realise that there is no evidence of Darwin’s theory of evolution or of “self” creation from a scientific point of view.
      It is to do with the 1st law of thermodynamics which is what you would call “old”
      science but it is actually the unbreakable law so it is “modern” science to use your meanigless classification.

    • Bill S

      there is only ONE truth – that the creator God created the universe and all that it contains in 6 days and rested on the 7th. We are made in God’s image.

      That is the most extreme of religious extremism. To say that there is only one Truth and it is that is delusion.

    • nworder

      How can you call truth extremism . It is either true or not nothing to do with being extreme.
      Violently persecuting the truth could be called extremism or violently promoting lies could be called extremism.

    • Bill S

      How can you call truth extremism? . It is either true or not. nothing to do with being extreme.

      This idea that something is either true or not is extreme as opposed to a story not being literally true but conveying a truth of some kind. I understand how Genesis is just one infomercial for obedience. And Exodus is a story of liberation and dedication to the god who freed the Jews. Deuteronomy is a call to self discipline, etc.

      Extremism turns those stories into strict and literal interpretations and enforcement of the laws contained therein.

    • nworder

      The ten commandments are laws which must be obeyed – the rest of the bible
      explains the application of these laws.

      Thou shalt not murder is strict and literal – it mean taking the life of someone without cause or mistake or defense as explained elsewhere.

      If you murder someone and say to the police you were using a non literal interpretation you will still be arrested and tried.

    • Bill S

      The ten commandments are laws which must be obeyed

      So. I can’t work on Sundays? I can’t wish that I had my neighbor’s wife or goods (Catholic version). I can’t make a graven image? (Protestant version).

      I follow the law of the land such as state laws and local ordinances. I’m not concerned with the Ten Commandments. There are civil and criminal laws to obey.

    • nworder

      You will find that the laws of the land are based on or are close to the laws of moses – even in non christian countries the laws of Deuteronomy and Leviticus have penetrated. 100 years back this was even more true.
      There is only one version that cannot have one dot or iota changed – the original Hebrew given to the moses and the prophets and this is mostly translated well in catholic and protestant versions.

  • GregB

    One thing that is very interesting is how the atheists and the religious fundamentalists argue about the Big Bang when the subject of the creation of the universe comes up. Of course, their presentations come from opposing points of view. The atheists think that the Big Bang does away with there being a need for a Creator, and the religious fundamentalists view the Big Bang as being anti-religious.
    *
    The funny thing is that the founder of the Big Bang theory was a Belgian Catholic priest and scientist by the name of Msgr. Fr. Georges Lemaître. His theory didn’t pose any threat to his religious beliefs. He was elected to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and became its president in March 1960. He did try to avoid mixing science and religion, because scientific theories can undergo change or be replaced with new theories. This state of change would be corrosive to the eternal truths of faith.
    *
    Recently a South Pole experiment measuring B-mode polarization of the background radiation is supposed to have captured evidence that confirms the inflationary hypothesis. I’m not a scientist, but cosmology and particle physics have been coming up with some rather interesting observations. I do agree that I don’t see how science can assert jurisdictional claims in religious matters. I remember seeing a video where a Rabbi covered the names of God and he said that YHVH in the original language of the Scriptures was a combination of three words for existence. Existing in the past, present, and future. He said that this places YHVH outside of the universe, independent of our space-time continuum. Wouldn’t this place a gap between YHVH and the measuring abilities of our scientific instrumentation?

    • Asemodeus

      ” I do agree that I don’t see how science can assert jurisdictional claims in religious matters.”

      The actual question is how religious matters can be interjected into science in the first place.

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  • Ray Sullivan

    It takes a lot more faith to say that nothing created everything on its own, than it does to say that a well ordered, beautiful universe was created by God.