Monday highlights

I was crawling on the internet and came across some very interesting articles for Monday.

Is gender a social construct?

What is the future of religion?

Who knew

For one thing, many atheists are ignorant of the religion they criticize. They think about religion a lot, especially Christianity, but most of what they think they know about it is wrong. I realize that there are plenty of thoughtful atheists who harbor no ill will against believers and respect their beliefs. The trouble was I kept running into the other kind.

and when did argumentum populum become a valid argument? And just in case you don’t know it yet, there will be no atheists in 2050. The world will have become peaceful and prosperous.

And finally something on the enlightenment

this post has no title

The week is ending or it could have ended if you are in New Zealand, like Barry ๐Ÿ™‚ and so I think we need something light to usher us into the weekend.

Most of you, I know, have been wondering what demons are, whether they are similar to angels and how many of them can dance on a pin. This problem has been answered by one Mr. Meyer. Since I know some of my readers are lazy and I will not name names, of demons, Meyer writes

Demons, as angels, can take many forms in the physical plane. The most impressive forms which demons can take are ghost forms.

There is a Catholic girl who wants your help. In her own words

Now, every belief system knows best how to convince others that they are correct. Atheists (and Agnostics if you please), feel free to recommend any resources arguing against the existence of God. My search for resources may be weakened by personal bias (and a dislike of Christopher Hitchens.

I wish yours truly could help her. I will however suggest she reads the bible, properly. I think it was Isaac Asimov who said ”

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived”

and as such, no other book is needed. I could be wrong though.

Have a good weekend everyone.

how to convert an atheist

I know many Christians have been waiting for this manual. I am glad to share with you what I found.

Say something, anything, to your atheist friends and family members. Tell them that God loves them and that youโ€™re praying for them if thatโ€™s all the time and courage you have. Share the gospel with them. Pray for them. Pray for them some more. But say something. You have no way of knowing how the Holy Spirit might use even the smallest act of love to break a sinnerโ€™s heart and bring them to repentance and faith.

I hope it works for you ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy monday

A further comment on the problem of evil

First, the freewill argument as made here

I was stating that God allows us to have free will and for the most part, the world that we live in is what we make of it. This is a very clear fact when we talk about murder, theft, assault, etc.

is insufficient to dispense of the problem of evil. One can always ask what happens to the free will of those assaulted as it is obvious it is annihilated in the process. And the bigger question is what stops god from redirecting our will to more acceptable goals unless of course our interlocutor is willing to accept that war, theft murder in some unknown way serves the purposes of god, that is, they are god’s will.

This next quote seems to be making the argument of the world/ earth as a place for learning or preparation. He writes

Perhaps the suffering caused by diseases is necessary to draw us together, and we simply make it worse by utilizing our ability to choose not to cooperate with one another, then we blame God because things seem to be too bad.

which one is forced to ask why did god not stop disease carrying organisms from boarding the ark?

And here we come to the Leibniz argument of the this is the best of all possible worlds

The secret is that things could be much, much worse.

an argument which is easily refuted by postulating a world where there is no measles.

This final paragraph does not help the case of our interlocutor

The middle class tend to compare themselves exclusively to the wealthy and ignore the poor while doing so. In this way, they focus on how things could be so much better than they are, rather than appreciating how far from homeless they are.

especially if he holds it as true that god is a benevolent provider. Then we don’t need destitution. In fact, it is possible to imagine a world arranged such that there is no destitution. The christians and muslims already imagine it and name it heaven where they have constant supply of milk and honey.

In summary, the argument that this is the best of all possible worlds is weak as an argument against the problem of evil or in trying to establish the being of a god.

On religious attitudes

Religious attitude is an attitude informed by the careful observation of, and respect for, invisible forces and personal experience and for our purposes, this definition will suffice.
The survey looked at how people feel about religion.There were 50 responses to the survey. 64% reported to be above 50 years old, 84 % had college or university education. 68% of those who responded said they were irreligious (it appears the respondents are members of the choir).
On the question of authorship of the bible (and Koran) 86% believe they are works of men with about 1% saying it is the work of men inspired by god.
92% of those who responded believe the universe is billions of years old (it appears the people I know are not unhinged). 2% believe the earth is 6000 years old and 6% believe the earth is millions of years old.
Now, the interesting bits.
50% disagree with Lloyd Geering that God is the embodiment of our highest ideals, and not some supernatural being. 16% agree and the rest are unsure.
64% believe, with Lloyd Geering that god is a humanly created idea. 22% disagree.
76% of the respondent agree with Bishop Spong that hell is an invention of the church.
What Christianity is, it seems depends on who you ask. For example, these were a sample of the definitions
Christianity is
A monotheistic religion centered on a belief that Jesus was the Messiah and savior of humanity
An unelected alternative government. (I think this respondent must be in the US of A)
One of many similar delusions.
and the answer that I liked the most
Best you ask Christians … but take it with a grain of salt. With tens of thousands of sects of Christianity, they disagree on most things
or these ones
A mythological belief system that far too many take as literal fact.
A large religion trying to rule the world through control
A behavior control device to move money from the base to the leadership at the top levels
Believing in and following the Jesus portrayed in the New testament for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life
Worship of the god presented in the bible, and belief in a magical savior
58% of the respondents agree with Renan that Jesus was a man of his time, that is, not divine. That Jesus is called son of God or God is the imagination of the biographer (John). He performed no miracles and was a victim of religious intolerance.
Whether Jesus of the gospels had any existence, only 26% agree with me that he didn’t. The rest either do not know, do not care or agree with scriptures that he existed.
Some of you think Lloyd Geering is a silly person because of the views he holds.
My conclusions from the small survey.
  1. This site’s guests are mostly members of the choir
  2. My religious friends are of the liberal fold in some aspects but not all

In the course of the study, I received comments that will be useful in future when I decide to carry out this study comprehensively. Since it was an online survey, I should have asked you to fill your countries, gender maybe and just see what we get.

Thank you everyone who participated and shared with their friends and enemies.

Pew with a bigger budget than yours truly did release this report about worldwide religious attitudes and it makes for an interesting info-graphic.