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Unity of Science and Faith

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posted on Nov, 24 2015 @ 10:07 PM
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Sorry if the thread title does not correspond to this post - I'm not always that great at thinking of titles. One of the problems I see in the argument between atheists and theists is that they are arguing in favor of two different points and are at odds with each other. I think that we should perhaps look at things in a different way. Let's say that there is a God and there is a realm of higher existence we go to after dying. Please don't say this is impossible unless you can provide scientific evidence it isn't - which of course you cannot, since science is limited to material reality.

Now, let's say that science allows us to understand our world/universe....everything that is material and which can be experienced. Scriptural texts act as windows to a higher reality. Think of them as being like prison windows. An inmate who looks through his window gains an idea of the outside, but doesn't really know much, if anything, about it. The inmate may experience some of the outside, such as a breeze. In the same way, people reading Scripture may experience God in a way, through the texts.

Both science and theology seem to be concerned with understanding the human condition - at different levels. Perhaps the problem - and reason for so much contention - is not that they are mutually exclusive, but rather that they do not belong in the same conversation. Bringing science into a theological discussion (and vice versa) would be akin to talking about Bratwurst when the topic is Italian food.

Theists, use science to understand the world around you. God blessed you with a brain, use it.

Atheists, don't think that just because you can't experience something with your senses, it doesn't exist outside of the realm of existence you know.




posted on Nov, 24 2015 @ 10:49 PM
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a reply to: scorpio84

I can understand some of what you're trying to say.

Here is where I think the "problem" lies, or at least, the contention. This of course reflects my own experiences and opinions.

First off, I have made the assumption that you are a Christian, and have some sort of faith and belief system based on the Bible.

So when you say,



Theists, use science to understand the world around you. God blessed you with a brain, use it.

Atheists, don't think that just because you can't experience something with your senses, it doesn't exist outside of the realm of existence you know.

I see a problem arise immediately.

I agree theists should use their brains more. That is not to say I think theists are stupid or that they never use their brains. Far from that. I just think that faith often times clouds logic and reason.

Telling atheists to essentially keep an open mind is no problem, to be sure. But here is what I don't like. If you are talking about any specific religion or faith based belief system, such as Christianity, there comes a point in ones research and understanding where keeping an open mind about it is simply not possible. It's not the truth of things. There is more than enough evidence and reason to show this. It's simply not true.

You can say just because I can't experience something with my senses doesn't mean it's outside the realm of existence all you want. I would agree. But the validity of various religions does not rest on experience alone. In fact, the only thing religions have going for them as far as "proof" goes, is subjective experience.

So people like me, the atheist, are left with the question.

When the only proof of this religion, or that religion, is subjective experiences, which religion has it right? And we (or at least I) don't consider those subjective experiences as proof of much, as far as validating any one theology. However life changing they may be. And you know, we can't take subjective experiences as anything special (except to the individual) for various reasons. A big one being because these subjective experiences tend to be inconsistent with the doctrines and such of the particular religion.

It's one theological hot mess.

The theist simply can't fully embrace science and reason to understand the world around them. Not honestly anyway. If they did, they would come to understand their religion is nothing more than personal. Separate from the mythologies of sheep herders in deserts thousands of years ago. In other words, any doctrines of men are just that.

Attribute it to Jesus, Allah, The Old Man in the Sky, Zues, the Kwisatz Haderach, or whatever you want. It doesn't change the fact that all religions can be shown to be false. False in the sense of reality. Not necessarily in terms of spirituality. If I am making any sense.

I am an atheist. I have an open mind to there being more "out there". Perhaps something that could be defined as God. Not your God mind you, and not some other God either. No, all Gods claimed to exist do not. Perhaps religions connect to something but all of their descriptions and narratives.. are bull#.

Please do not accuse us atheists of having a closed mind. You will find that plenty of us have an open mind. In fact, it's that open mindedness that played a part in us questioning our faith and learning it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.



posted on Nov, 24 2015 @ 11:53 PM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer


If you are talking about any specific religion or faith based belief system, such as Christianity, there comes a point in ones research and understanding where keeping an open mind about it is simply not possible. It's not the truth of things. There is more than enough evidence and reason to show this. It's simply not true.

I agree that this is the core of the problem.

Keeping an open mind about a proposition is the correct thing to do as long as facts to prove or disprove the proposition are in short supply. But when the facts are in, and they argue conclusively against the proposition, keeping an open mind becomes a refusal to face reality.

The trouble with religious belief — Christian or otherwise — is that the facts argue against it. Religious texts like the Bible make specific claims that science disproves.

You may argue that these claims are metaphorical, not literal, and that the higher 'truths' of religion remain untouched by the obvious fact that — for example — the world was not created in seven days and has no corners. But the higher truths of religion are even worse, particular for monotheists.

What we now know about the world — what we have learned through the practice of archaeology, astronomy, biology, cosmology, geography, geology, history, palaeontology and other sciences — shows that if this world was created by some discrete, sentient entity, that entity cannot have been both good and omnipotent. You have to choose. God is either stupid, wicked or nonexistent. A being that could perpetrate viruses and parasites, a being that decrees that all its animal creations must live at the expense of other living things, a being that could destroy hordes of innocents in pointless natural catastrophes, either does not foresee the moral consequences of its deeds or simply does not care.

Religious people don't get this. I have never really understood why. The best guess I have is that religion was invented to make it possible to live with our own built-in irrationality and wickedness, and therefore 'God' becomes the repository of all that is capricious and evil in the human animal. But that is hardly an explanation; it isn't even clearly put.

But perhaps it will set others thinking.


edit on 24/11/15 by Astyanax because: of monotheists.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 12:19 AM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
Let's say that there is a God and there is a realm of higher existence we go to after dying. Please don't say this is impossible unless you can provide scientific evidence it isn't - which of course you cannot, since science is limited to material reality.


Science isn't about what is possible and what isn't, it's simply a tool used to best describe a natural phenomenon. Nothing in science is considered absolute, and science only deals with what we can observe in the natural universe.

However, just because something is unfalsifiable, does not mean it's a credible argument. Because I can just as easily say that "when you die you go to unicorn land where everyone is speared by unicorns for all of eternity" and that claim would be just as valid as your personal depiction of heaven.

Unfalsifiable claims mean nothing.


originally posted by: scorpio84
Now, let's say that science allows us to understand our world/universe....everything that is material and which can be experienced.


Not totally accurate, but close enough


originally posted by: scorpio84
Scriptural texts act as windows to a higher reality.


No. It isn't a window into a higher reality. It's just a fictional book that has the same level of validity behind it as The Lord Of The Rings does. Of course, with evidence, my statement can be proven false, however, religion requires faith because there is no evidence.



originally posted by: scorpio84
Think of them as being like prison windows. An inmate who looks through his window gains an idea of the outside, but doesn't really know much, if anything, about it. The inmate may experience some of the outside, such as a breeze. In the same way, people reading Scripture may experience God in a way, through the texts.


Poor analogy. He/she can actually, visibly see the outside world, and it's not as if they were born in prison and didn't know anything else. But, lets assume they were in your hypothetical story. Even then, they can still visibly see, and even escape and experience the outside world.

The Bible is a book, you don't have any physical connection to it's words other than touching them with your finger. It's not a portal that you're able to look through. It is as much a reality as The Lord of The Rings is reality.


originally posted by: scorpio84
Both science and theology seem to be concerned with understanding the human condition - at different levels.


No... neither particularly view 'the human condition' as a main topic source



originally posted by: scorpio84
Perhaps the problem - and reason for so much contention - is not that they are mutually exclusive, but rather that they do not belong in the same conversation. Bringing science into a theological discussion (and vice versa) would be akin to talking about Bratwurst when the topic is Italian food.


Actually, it's vise versa. You can bring science into a theological discussion if the theological discussion makes claims about the natural world, which science may actually be able to conclusively prove is false, depending on the particular subject at hand.

Sorry, but you're OP is illogical at its foundation



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 12:23 AM
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a reply to: scorpio84

I have been espousing this philosophy regarding the synthesis of God and science for years. Ultimately they both seek the same thing...the truth of human existence.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 12:28 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Very well said. Thank you.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 12:52 AM
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a reply to: scorpio84

science is faith(this is easy to explain i wont bore you),

and faith is a science,
I say this because society has created, and honed the tool they call religion to such a fine caliber that the people in charge can actually use "faith" to kill people, and/or control an individuals mind,

it is scary and sad.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 01:11 AM
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a reply to: Ghost147

First, thanks for taking the time to reply to my OP.




However, just because something is unfalsifiable, does not mean it's a credible argument. Because I can just as easily say that "when you die you go to unicorn land where everyone is speared by unicorns for all of eternity" and that claim would be just as valid as your personal depiction of heaven.


You certainly could say that - and if the infinite universe theory is true, there probably is a land of unicorns. While you are correct in that something unfalsifiable not necessarily being a credible argument, it also isn't necessarily an incredible argument either.




No. It isn't a window into a higher reality. It's just a fictional book that has the same level of validity behind it as The Lord Of The Rings does.


You make the assumption that a higher reality doesn't exist. Of course, I should have qualified my OP with an "if" so it would read, "If a higher reality exists, then we can think of Scripture as a window hitherto." When you say "it's just a fictional book" could you specify which book you have in mind? If you mean the Bible, I'd describe it as an allegorical historiography filled with scientific errors and other mistakes you may expect from ancient authors writing something over the span of several centuries. If it's the Qur'an you are talking about - I'd say pretty much the same thing as the Bible, except with more focus on divine commands (could be wrong on this - maybe a Muslim will chime in). I certainly wouldn't place scriptural literature in the same category as, say, LOTR.




No... neither particularly view 'the human condition' as a main topic source



See, I always thought that both science and religion were concerned with "why are we here?" and "where are we going?" and questions of that nature. What would your take on it be - other than just saying I'm wrong?




You can bring science into a theological discussion if the theological discussion makes claims about the natural world


Theology shouldn't make claims about the natural world. By definition, theology is the study of God. If you are debating a theologian and they start making claims about the natural world in terms of religion, walk out of the debate.




Poor analogy.


Sorry for the anachronistic reply, but you're right. A better analogy would be to think of it as a book about some place you've never been. Even if the semantics of my first analogy are not perfect, I think the meaning comes across clearly enough to (most) people.




Sorry, but you're OP is illogical at its foundation



Which foundation is that? Do you mean the actual foundation of the OP - that science and religion are not mutually exclusive so long as they remain in their respective domains? Or do you mean some other foundation? I'm going to take a leap here and guess that your accusation of my OP being illogical stems from you not believing in another plane of existence. If that's not it, clarify.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 01:18 AM
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a reply to: DOCHOLIDAZE1

As profound as your statement seems, I would say that it is false. Science is not about believing, it is about knowing based on empirical data. Faith isn't about knowing (despite what theists may claim about their "knowledge" of God) - it's about believing.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 01:23 AM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: DOCHOLIDAZE1

As profound as your statement seems, I would say that it is false. Science is not about believing, it is about knowing based on empirical data. Faith isn't about knowing (despite what theists may claim about their "knowledge" of God) - it's about believing.


Eventually science will be the discipline that leads to proving the existence of God. Until then there are people that have had experiences that prove the existence of God to them, those that haven't had experiences yet and those that haven't had experiences yet, but believe based upon faith.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 01:41 AM
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a reply to: scorpio84

what i speak of are all the "theorys" that get passed down in books, and how people are blindly faithful to these theory with out any real evidence.

i find fact to be the most interesting of all sciences/faiths.
edit on 25-11-2015 by DOCHOLIDAZE1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 01:55 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Hello, thank you for chiming in and contributing to the discussion.




But when the facts are in, and they argue conclusively against the proposition, keeping an open mind becomes a refusal to face reality.


I agree completely with this. The first group that comes to mind that has this problem is the creationist group.




The trouble with religious belief — Christian or otherwise — is that the facts argue against it


I disagree. Give me one fact that goes against belief in a higher creative power.




Religious texts like the Bible make specific claims that science disproves.


Like saying bats are birds? It sure does - but human error does not show belief in God being illogical.




the world was not created in seven days


This is often mentioned by atheists as proof positive that the Bible has no truth to it. After all, if God couldn't accurately describe the length of time it took to create the world, He isn't that mighty, is he? Here's the problem with your statement, though. First, according to the biblical narrative, the world and everything in it was created in six days - the seventh was used for resting (this begs the question of why God would need to rest, but more on that another time perhaps). Another thing to consider would be the fact that in Classical Hebrew, the word commonly translated as "day" has several possible translations. So, yes, the world was not created in 7 days - or even 6 days. The Bible never said it was. We could argue that the Septuagint translated it incorrectly or that ημέρα is not meant as a literal "day." My guess would be that the translation doesn't capture the original.




What we now know about the world — what we have learned through the practice of archaeology, astronomy, biology, cosmology, geography, geology, history, palaeontology and other sciences — shows that if this world was created by some discrete, sentient entity, that entity cannot have been both good and omnipotent. You have to choose. God is either stupid, wicked or nonexistent. A being that could perpetrate viruses and parasites, a being that decrees that all its animal creations must live at the expense of other living things, a being that could destroy hordes of innocents in pointless natural catastrophes, either does not foresee the moral consequences of its deeds or simply does not care.


It is rather hard to argue for God being subjectively good, isn't it? Maybe that isn't the point - perhaps God is objectively good. What is good for everything as a whole may not be good for some of the parts.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 01:57 AM
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originally posted by: DOCHOLIDAZE1
a reply to: scorpio84

what i speak of are all the "theorys" that get passed down in books, and how people are blindly faithful to these theory with out any real evidence.

i find fact to be the most interesting of all sciences/faiths.


Science never claims to know anything for certain. Scientific theories come from an array of testing and analysis. I'd hardly call it "blind faith."



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 02:08 AM
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a reply to: scorpio84

what would you call it. i believe in the scientific method as well, if you cant prove something using it, then it is a theory, i guarantee if you do a survey. the books that present theorys will be believed as fact by the majority of the people. Thus making a book written by man and presented in our curriculum and then followed blindly because people are to lazy to do their own research and accepted as fact. Just like religious texts are blindly accepted by many.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 02:14 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer

You replied first, yet I reply last. I read through the thread first and worked my way up - in no way do I mean to imply that your thoughts hold the least significance.




First off, I have made the assumption that you are a Christian, and have some sort of faith and belief system based on the Bible.



Christian - nope. I am a Westerner, so of course I have been influenced in my upbringing by Christianity - as has anyone born and raised in the West. As for a belief system - well, I would argue we all have that to some degree.




I just think that faith often times clouds logic and reason.


You are kinder than I. I call reading scripture literally "being stupid" not "having faith."




If you are talking about any specific religion or faith based belief system, such as Christianity, there comes a point in ones research and understanding where keeping an open mind about it is simply not possible. It's not the truth of things. There is more than enough evidence and reason to show this. It's simply not true.


What's not true?




But the validity of various religions does not rest on experience alone. In fact, the only thing religions have going for them as far as "proof" goes, is subjective experience.


On the flip side, how many billions of people claim to have that experience? Getting that many people all in on one massive lie seems a bit difficult to me.




The theist simply can't fully embrace science and reason to understand the world around them. Not honestly anyway. If they did, they would come to understand their religion is nothing more than personal. Separate from the mythologies of sheep herders in deserts thousands of years ago. In other words, any doctrines of men are just that.


I disagree. As long as the theist isn't a creationist, s/he can fully participate in scientific understanding of the world. Religion is the communal tradition/expression of faith in God (which is personal)...but I wouldn't say that religion itself is personal. Honestly, I think religion is unnecessary (to say the least) and that even the scriptural literature would agree with this. Belief in God, however, I think is a different ball game than the question of religion.




I am an atheist. I have an open mind to there being more "out there". Perhaps something that could be defined as God. Not your God mind you, and not some other God either. No, all Gods claimed to exist do not.



This seems to be a variant of the "I'm an atheist minus one" argument. It looks at belief in God as if everyone believes in a different God, they are all equally likely to not exist. What of the other side of the coin - that they are all equally likely to exist? This becomes possible if we think of the discrepancy as human error in saying "my god is different than other gods that people believe in". When we say "God" we aren't really talking about God, but rather giving a word to a concept that no one - atheists or theists - know the first thing about. That would be what is meant by "limitless" and "undefinable." Speaking about God necessitates that we turn something limitless into something limited (by our minds/language) - doing so is bound to bring about more than a few errors.




Perhaps religions connect to something but all of their descriptions and narratives.. are bull#.



Not all - some.




Please do not accuse us atheists of having a closed mind.


I didn't make that accusation, did I? Anyhow, since you brought it up - let's test that. Can you think of a situation in which you would believe in God (forget the religion part of it) without having empirical proof?



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 02:17 AM
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a reply to: DOCHOLIDAZE1




Thus making a book written by man and presented in our curriculum and then followed blindly because people are to lazy to do their own research and accepted as fact.


Do you have a particular book in mind? As far as I'm aware, science textbooks are verified by several scholars in their respective fields.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 02:23 AM
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a reply to: scorpio84

yes facts are verified, but then theorys get taught within the same books and are accepted as facts, just as the bible has facts verified by historians, but also is mixed with stuff that cant be verified. it classic smoke and mirrors on both sides.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 02:31 AM
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a reply to: DOCHOLIDAZE1

What are you talking about? Do you mean certain facts that are proven false or expanded upon? The corrections are updated in newer editions. I've yet to see an updated scriptural text.



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 02:32 AM
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a reply to: scorpio84

how many different versions are there of the bible alone?



posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 02:35 AM
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a reply to: scorpio84

i am talking about real theorys that are accepted as fact without proof, not misconceptions that are proven false



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