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11/13/2005 - 3:16am

Faith & Religion


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I was born and raised Catholic, went to church every Sunday, to religious classes each week, and made it through confirmation when I was a teenager. Up to that point, I had no questions about the existance of God or the truth of the Bible. When someone challenged my faith, I would give them the standard textbook responses.

It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I started to ask questions. Being a student of logic and science, I realized a great conflict. I realized that the arguments that I made over and over again were completely circular.

A circular argument is an argument where the last point in the argument depends on the first. Each point in an argument depends on something more fundamental being true. If I make the claim that my computer is very smart, then I have to have a reason for that. If my reason for believing that my computer is smart was because it told me that the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything was 42, then I'd have to know that 42 was the correct answer to verify the computer's findings. If I believed that the correct answer was 42 because my computer is smart and it wouldn't give me the wrong answer, I now have a circular argument (point B depends on A, yet point A depends on B).

This is often an argument used to justify the existance of God (in this article the reference to "God" will mean any higher power, not just the Christian God). They say that God exists because God says he exists. That then would mean that you'd have to believe that God exists before you could believe that he made such a statement. See the problem?

Now for believing that anything is true (i.e. "It's going to rain tomorrow", "My car can travel 100MPH", etc), you have a reason for it. The reason you think it's going to rain is because of the pattern of clouds forming in the sky. Perhaps the reason you believe your car can travel 100MPH is because you've actually done it before. So what's the reason for believing that God exists?

We have to make a distinguishment here. I'm not asking what are the reasons for wanting God to exist, I'm asking for the reasons of why someone would believe that he actually does. I have plenty of reasons for wanting God to exist, namely because I don't want my physical death to be the end of my existance. However, that want is not a reason for believing. There are examples given in the Bible that demonstrate his existance.

I've read the Bible, as I was growing up, and none of the explanations seem believable. If my wife was pregnant, and a paternity test showed that the child was not mine, does that mean that it was immaculate conception, or does it mean that she had an affair with someone else? The assumption by anyone would be the latter, and probably a correct one. However, when it happened 2,000 years ago, few seem to have a problem with this. It seems to me that Mary was impregnated the same way everyone else was. Any reason to think otherwise?

Jesus turned water in to wine. They first served the wine that they had to everyone. When they ran out, Jesus took water and turned it in to wine. Did he turn water in to wine and serve it to the guests; or did they serve water to the guests, tell them that it was wine, and the drunk people believed them?

I have not been able to find one shred of evidence that God actually exists. To believe anything, there always has to be evidence of its existance. Why do people blindly accept something like this without reason? How did the concept of a higher power even begin?

The vast majority of people have a drive to over-simplify something that they don't understand, because just leaving something uncomprehended can make someone crazy. 4,000 years ago, people would see flashes of light in the sky accmopanied with loud noises and heavy rains. These conditions were seen as undesirable as they would wipe out villages and crops. It was therefore assumed that some higher power was angry and vengeful. As time progressed and science caught up to observation, we now know that the phenomenon they experienced was a thunderstorm, and we know what causes it. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with God. It seems that whenever something can't be explained scientifically, people are driven to explain it supernaturally. This is temporary, of course, as science catches up and can then explain the occurances.

So if someone named Jesus was born 2,000 years ago and had a few magic tricks up his sleeve, it would be easy for him to fool such primitive people. As people of today are so well versed in science fiction and movies, it would be too difficult to fool someone now. If you saw something odd like the color of the sky change from blue to green then back again, it would be easy enough to pass it off as some special effect.

I can find no reason for believing in the existance of God or any other supernatural being. As much as I want to believe that I will somehow exist beyond this lifetime, no evidence of it exists. And wanting something is not a reason for it being true.



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Posted by: Cynthia
01/08/2006 5:37pm

I completely agree with everything you have written here, except for one fallacy. The claim that Jesus' conception was immaculate is incorrect. It was Mary's conception that was immaculate:

In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm

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