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Theology

posted by kaptein_kaffe on - last edited - Viewed by 1.6K users

Discussing religion is generally a very bad idea on the internet, but there are a lot of down to earth and rational people on this forum so I decided to give it a go.

I want to hear your beliefs. Also, try to keep an open mind and show respect to other people's opinions. I don't care weather you're a fanatic catholic, fanatic atheist or whatever. Arguing about "who's right" is just a terrible cliche.

Personally I believe that there is a god. I'm not agnostic, I believe in god, but that's just my own spiritual reflection on it. I don't judge other religions and say that "this is right", it's more along the lines of Baruch de Spinoza's take on it where you see god as everything. Maybe there's a word for what that is, I don't know. I prefer to look at everything that is beyond our understanding with humility. Most of my religious knowledge lies within catholicism and I generally agree with the ten commandments, but I also believe that the religion is blurred for the sake of politics, ways of maintaining order and fanatic influences (edit: + things that are lost in translation). In short, I'm a read between the lines kind of guy.

My knowledge on the subject is limited, so it's possible that I won't be able to keep up with the discussion. I'd just like to hear your views :)

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @Alcoremortis said: I think it's fine to believe in God and also pursue a career in science. But pursuing a career in science with the mindset that God made a clever ordered universe with a neat little set of rules is not good science. The whole idea of science is that you don't know something and you want to find the truth, regardless of what personal beliefs it might upset. It's really hard to do this, but the sound of science happening isn't "Eureka". It's "Huh. That's weird."


    It's obvious that however the universe was created, the rules of the universe aren't clean or neat whether it was by a higher power or otherwise. But, the rules (in this case, just meaning the physics and nature of the universe) are there (or else science wouldn't be able to come up with anything concrete, as things couldn't be observed as everything would be ever changing at a speedy rate).

    @Alcoremortis said: A lot of Christian scientists irritate me because of this. I'm talking the type that pursue scientific knowledge unless it conflicts with something from scripture, in which case they throw the science out the window in favor of the Bible.


    Me too, and some scientists also bug me when they dismiss things because it goes against common scientific knowledge when proof is made that contradicts it (usually in this case, proof meaning a mathematical proof or equation) without offering proof themselves on how it can be incorrect (Stephen Hawking's mathematical equation on the behavior of black holes is a good example of this). Putting yourself in one mindset without allowing the possibility that what you think may not be 100% accurate is not a good way of thinking, scientist or not.

  • @Jennifer said: Putting yourself in one mindset without allowing the possibility that what you think may not be 100% accurate is not a good way of thinking, scientist or not.


    And... we have a winner! I've been thinking of posting in this thread before, but I don't want to get into endless debates (for the record, I do believe in a God who created the universe)... but I just had to highlight this gem. Whatever you believe, don't think too much of yourself, don't get all pretentious, and never, ever, judge other people (this is why I love the Sermon on the Mount).

    Also, it's perfectly possible to be a scientist and to believe, just don't confuse the two. They're two different games, they play by different rules, although some rule sets are shared between them.

  • The general idea behind science is to not put yourself in the absolute. Not everyone does this, but the way science progresses is by overturning old ideas and replacing them with new ones. For instance, the atom. There have been loads of models of what it might look like and every time someone gets evidence that a previous model might be incorrect, they get to come up with a new version. Sometimes the scientific community rebels at this, but usually that's the result of not enough evidence to convince them, not because they liked the previous model more.

    Religion doesn't really do this in my experience.

    I gotta say, there's only so many ways I can say this but religion and science are inherently different beasties. I've never said it's impossible to be religious and also a scientist. I've only been saying that science isn't a belief system and shouldn't be categorized as one.

  • @Alcoremortis said: The general idea behind science is to not put yourself in the absolute. Not everyone does this, but the way science progresses is by overturning old ideas and replacing them with new ones. For instance, the atom. There have been loads of models of what it might look like and every time someone gets evidence that a previous model might be incorrect, they get to come up with a new version. Sometimes the scientific community rebels at this, but usually that's the result of not enough evidence to convince them, not because they liked the previous model more.


    Yes, that's how science works... ideally. Humans aren't machines though, so there will always be imperfections. I love the idea of this machine that's rolling toward a point where we know everything, but... this is all based on the assumption that we can actually find the facts behind anything and everything. Who's to say that the models we come up with have anything to do with actual truth? But I'm getting metaphysical here, and that's not really a subject I know very much about. At all.

    But I will say this: where does this human desire to know things, to find out how stuff works, this hunger for knowledge, come from? Is it just a quirk in our brains, a mistake of nature? I like to think* that it (and rather more importantly, the insatiable human desire to create) is an echo of a Higher Being who created us.

    * Warning! Opinion alert!

    Religion doesn't really do this in my experience.


    True, it mostly doesn't, although there have been admirable attempts, for instance with the Reformation in Europe, and of course the whole notion that you can actually study theology as a science. But ultimately, faith (which is different from religion, in that the latter is more institutionalized) isn't science.

    I've only been saying that science isn't a belief system and shouldn't be categorized as one.


    True, but it is a man-made system, and therefore fallible, like all human institutions (including religion/religious organizations, but excluding faith, since that's not a system; I'd say science is to truth what religion is to faith, although don't take that comparison too far or it doesn't hold).

  • First, a little background on me.
    My father was not a religious man, my mother was a Mormon. Their agreement was that their children would attend the Mormon church, but not be baptized at the age of 8, which is the custom in that church. Instead, their children would have to wait until they were 16, at which time my father felt that they would be old enough to make their own decision in the matter. My siblings and I all left the church around the ages of 13-15, for various reasons. When I got married, I attended a non-denominational Christian church with my husband for a few years, and then we left it. I have read some about different religions, because I don't like to be completely uninformed. My husband's family also has some very devout church goers, some who are Nazarene, others who attend a Covenant Church.
    I spent the last week with my extremely religious in-laws. They are not people that I could ask this question of, because they never give you their honest thoughts, feelings, or opinions. They simply recite lectures straight from church. So this is directed at some of the more religious members of the forum. Please understand that I am a very curious person, this is not a question with any malicious intent: Why was the Bible written?
    My understanding from my church experience was that the Bible was written to spread the word of God. Yet in all of the churches I have attended, and in being lectured by the ultra religious of differing faiths, I have heard the same thing: We believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly. Now, I feel that if the Bible were meant to spread the word of God, and you believe that God is all powerful, then God would not allow it to be translated incorrectly. I was taught that his people were to read it and obey it's teachings. So I find it very confusing that people believe some parts and not others. Could someone out their give me their thoughts and ideas on this?

  • This is all opinion, but I kinda have thought that the Bible was originally written (like Old Testament stuff) as a history of sorts. So that the Israelites would know where they came from and who their ancestors were. I say this because I'm pretty sure that it was compiled during the Babylon Captivity, when there was this huge danger of losing their culture, so it was compiled into one big book. I mean, the writings existed before this point, but they were never organized or anything.

    I think the New Testament was something similar, but for the Christians. I mean, you've got the original disciples all getting killed off in gruesome manners (except for John, I think) and so they wrote down the Gospels so that their memories would be preserved before the story got twisted too much. Matthew, Mark, and Luke were the authors that only knew people who knew people who knew Jesus and wrote their books about seventy years after his death, by collaborating accounts and such. It appears that John was actually one of the disciples and wrote his first person account so that people could remember what happened, I guess. I'd say that their motive was more to prevent any teachings from getting corrupted by people with bad memories.

    I hope this helps.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @dustpuffs said: Why was the Bible written? My understanding from my church experience was that the Bible was written to spread the word of God. Yet in all of the churches I have attended, and in being lectured by the ultra religious of differing faiths, I have heard the same thing: We believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly. Now, I feel that if the Bible were meant to spread the word of God, and you believe that God is all powerful, then God would not allow it to be translated incorrectly. I was taught that his people were to read it and obey it's teachings. So I find it very confusing that people believe some parts and not others. Could someone out their give me their thoughts and ideas on this?


    As for my personal beliefs, I'm a member of the Universal Life Church, which I find fits me best as they encompass all belief systems and allow anyone to join, because as I said here I believe that everything is compatible. Personally, I find theology fascinating, and believe that there could indeed be a higher power. And, I believe that if there is a higher power, that power is non-interfering (as observations and experiments would be impossible otherwise).

    The Bible was written to try to explain things in our universe that were not (and in many cases still aren't) understood by humans in an easily readable narrative fashion, and to provide a set of moral guidelines by which to live life (and as a recount of history, as Alcormortis said).

    From a religious viewpoint, the Old Testament is the word of God as told by God and transcribed by men. The New Testament is a recount of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ by those who new him best.

    Continuing looking at things from a religious viewpoint, as for God not allowing the Bible to be translated incorrectly, from a religious perspective, God's non-interfering nature is shown during the tale of Noah's ark. After God flooded the Earth as punishment, God made an everlasting covenant of peace with all the creatures of the Earth. From that point, he became non-interfering with the matters of life, letting all the creatures live their lives as they wish, leaving only the afterlife for judgement for the way they lived those lives.

    I also don't understand how people can take the bible literally in some passages, and ignore others. I'm of the mind that since it's written that the Bible was transcribed by humans, rather than by God, the Bible is not infallible.

    The stories within are mostly nice tales and some contain good messages about how to live your lives, but others are obviously written for how to live your life within the time period the bible was written, and don't apply now with modern values (passages which mention slaves for example: eg: Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property), and modern medicine (a man whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off may never join the assembly of the Lord), and science.

    It's impossible to completely live your life according to the Bible in today's day and age, and if you pick and choose, then you should be aware that the Bible is fallible. By all means, pick and choose parts from the Bible as guidelines for how to live your life (there are some good moral guidelines in some parts of the Bible after all), but don't use it against people who don't share the same values as you. Because, it's impossible to believe that a book is infallible when you live your life according to some parts and ignore others, and even if you live your life according to the entire book then you know that it teaches that it's a sin to judge others, as only God can be the judge of humans.

  • @Jennifer said:
    As for not allowing the Bible to be translated incorrectly, from a religious perspective, God's non-interfering nature is shown during the tale of Noah's ark. After God flooded the Earth as punishment, God made an everlasting covenant of peace with all the creatures of the Earth. From that point, he became non-interfering with the matters of life, letting all the creatures live their lives as they wish, leaving only the afterlife for judgement for the way they lived those lives.

    God: Confirmed for Time Lord. Or Picard.

    But more seriously, every time I think of this I can't help but wonder if there were aliens and sometime back in our history we made a peace treaty with an alien race that everyone's forgotten about.

  • @Alcoremortis said: I can't help but wonder if there were aliens and sometime back in our history we made a peace treaty with an alien race that everyone's forgotten about.

    YOU SHOULD KiLL US ALL ON SIGHT!!

  • @coolsome said: YOU SHOULD KiLL US ALL ON SIGHT!!

    That's not a peace treaty, silly! That was us being influenced by the Doctor to commit genocide against aliens we can't even remember.

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