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Unity of Science and Faith

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posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 09:52 AM
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a reply to: Prezbo369




I don't know about other atheists, but as there's no evidence or reason to accept that concepts such as the supernatural or metaphysical actually exist and everything produced via the scientific method is based on evidence, it does seem to be the most reasonable position.


There's no reason to suggest that either position (theism or atheism) is the correct one.

The purpose of the OP was not to argue for theism over atheism or vice versa. In fact, the argument itself is a moot point. The point is that theology and science could work together to give a better full understanding of everything.
Now, if you want to say "we only have the natural world, so theology is not necessary" - that's fine.




posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 10:16 AM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Prezbo369

There's no reason to suggest that either position (theism or atheism) is the correct one.


Only theism makes any kind of claim, and as it has yet to meet its burden of proof atheism is the default position.


The purpose of the OP was not to argue for theism over atheism or vice versa. In fact, the argument itself is a moot point. The point is that theology and science could work together to give a better full understanding of everything.
Now, if you want to say "we only have the natural world, so theology is not necessary" - that's fine.


I was responding to your post regarding what atheists appear to do.

What exactly would theology bring to the table? what demonstrable results has it ever produced?



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 10:29 AM
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a reply to: Ghost147

By the way, that BBC link you gave was an interesting read. I especially enjoyed the Vonnegut quote at the end.

First (or second if you count my above aside), I don't mind that our discussion has gone in the direction it has, but I think you missed the point of the OP. It wasn't to have an atheist vs. theist debate - that would be rather fruitless.




So to serve god is to simply live regardless of the knowledge that god does or does not exist? Again, isn't that simply a pointless, unfounded claim that really doesn't have any context to life or anything else at all?


No, it just means be a good person. I don't find anything unfounded or pointless about that.




It is I who closes my own hand. I make a conscious effort to close my hand, and the electrical signals produced in my brain react to that thought and give it action. I'm not quite sure how you're trying to relate this to the topic?



Hell, I'm not even sure myself right now. It was a good point when I made it, but now I'll have to get back to you on that, if I can remember. Feel free to remind me. Then again, maybe that statement just makes no sense...we'll leave it for later. More likely than not it was an analogy so shoddy, even I can't figure out what it refers to anymore.




I'm sure you've noticed by now that both you and I are responding to what we read at the very second we finish a paragraph


Except this time - I'm replying from the bottom-up.




So in your exclusive perspective, god is just there in everything, doesn't consciously do anything in particular, and is essentially an invisible force that surrounds and is inside all matter? I'm just trying to see if I'm following your definition correctly.


First, I have no "definition" as such. As for my concept of god - pretty close to pantheistic (maybe it is pantheistic, but I don't think so). I think my other thread will be a better place for me to expound upon my concept of god, but to answer this succinctly - I'd say god is in everything - but rather than doing nothing, god is doing everything.

I realize I cannot prove this - but I will say that I follow along with the idea of a universal consciousness. That is, everything is being done consciously at one level or another.

I also think of god as being the sum of the parts.

I realize this explanation is not very full - I'll post a better one in the other thread.




Believe it or not, people can just honestly wonder about other things, without implying that it relate to humans or themselves in one way or another, just due to pure curiosity.



True. The article about neoteny was pretty eye-opening for me in this regard. It makes perfect sense that we could be curious just for the heck of it, when taken in light of how we've evolved for learning.




If God has some sort of pull in natural processes, then theology therefore also studies natural processes.


I studied theology (no, not just a YouTube degree or a Master's in "finished reading the Bible")...and I assure you, we did not study natural processes. I learned about natural processes in my biology courses.




The issue isn't that it is false, the issue is that it's pointless to bring up something that is unfalsifiable because any unfalsifiable claim is just as likely. It's simply a pointless addition/foundation to any argument because it gives no context to anything.



Why is it unfalsifiable to say "god exists"? I think, for example, if we found we were created by aliens or that we were part of a computer program, then it would fairly definitively prove that there is no god. The foundation of this thread/premise of the OP was to say let science study natural processes and let theology concern itself with questions of the hereafter and the divine. It wasn't an argument that people should or shouldn't believe in God. It's that the two can be studied together and both lead to greater understanding. The main point is that they shouldn't be in contention with one another - and that the atheist vs. theist debate is an unimportant one.

So long as I continue to take the theistic side in this debate, we will continue to concede various points, but reach an overall impasse. Arguing the theistic side is as easy as arguing the atheistic side - the thing is, whichever side you argue, you presuppose something which cannot be proven and thereby the argument is inherently flawed.



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 10:36 AM
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a reply to: Prezbo369




What exactly would theology bring to the table? what demonstrable results has it ever produced?



Theology brings a better understanding of, if nothing else, religion and and the cultures so often shaped thereby. I guess the best way to explain what theology does is to give an example. If I ask you to tell me what Genesis 1:1 means, how would you answer that question?



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 10:55 AM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Prezbo369

Theology brings a better understanding of, if nothing else, religion and and the cultures so often shaped thereby. I guess the best way to explain what theology does is to give an example. If I ask you to tell me what Genesis 1:1 means, how would you answer that question?


And that would help science how?

If theology and science were to work together to bring a better understanding of everything, what would the study of religions contribute towards?
edit on 26-11-2015 by Prezbo369 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 11:38 AM
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a reply to: Prezbo369

I see you didn't answer my question regarding Genesis 1:1.

I think I've made clear that theology does not help science - nor does science help theology. They explain different things. Of course, if you believe solely in the material universe and think there's nothing beyond what science can explain either now or in the future, then yes, theology would be useless for you.

Then again, when you study theology you tend to learn things like:
-languages
-history
-culture
and gain a better understanding of people in general.

Let's take for example studying Buddhism. Even the most basic understanding of Buddhism will give you a better understanding of Thai culture. That's but one example. Culture has been largely shaped by religion throughout the world.



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 12:09 PM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Prezbo369

I see you didn't answer my question regarding Genesis 1:1.


Only because it's irrelevant.


I think I've made clear that theology does not help science - nor does science help theology. They explain different things. Of course, if you believe solely in the material universe and think there's nothing beyond what science can explain either now or in the future, then yes, theology would be useless for you.


What I might personally think exists or not is also irrelevant, if it has any explanatory values then it should stand on it's own feet.


Then again, when you study theology you tend to learn things like:
-languages
-history
-culture
and gain a better understanding of people in general.

Let's take for example studying Buddhism. Even the most basic understanding of Buddhism will give you a better understanding of Thai culture. That's but one example. Culture has been largely shaped by religion throughout the world.


Nothing then that cannot be done without theology.

As far as I can see the only thing that separates theology and history are the claims for the supernatural and paranormal. And unless something can be brought to the table to help further those claims i'm not exactly sure what use theology would be to science.



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 12:23 PM
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a reply to: Prezbo369

I don't ask irrelevant questions. But, never mind - it's late and I don't care much anymore.

If you think you can have full understanding without theology, good luck. I'm not arguing that theology itself gives you full understanding - but rather that it is a part of it. Why are you still hung up about what use theology is to science? Neither is useful to the other.




What I might personally think exists or not is also irrelevant, if it has any explanatory values then it should stand on it's own feet.


It does.



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 12:35 PM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Prezbo369I don't ask irrelevant questions. But, never mind - it's late and I don't care much anymore.


My personal interpretation of a bible passage has nothing to do with whether or not theology or faith can contribute in any way towards scientific understanding. Unless you can demonstrate how?


If you think you can have full understanding without theology, good luck. I'm not arguing that theology itself gives you full understanding - but rather that it is a part of it. Why are you still hung up about what use theology is to science? Neither is useful to the other.


You said......



The point is that theology and science could work together to give a better full understanding of everything.


So right now i'm confused as to what it is you're attempting to say in his thread..


It does.


Ah well I guess that's that then...



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 04:15 PM
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a reply to: Prezbo369




My personal interpretation of a bible passage has nothing to do with whether or not theology or faith can contribute in any way towards scientific understanding. Unless you can demonstrate how?


The point was to show how theology leads to a better understanding. It's a simple example, but most people asked about Gen 1:1 would point to it as being scientifically inaccurate and/or say that the account holds God creating the Earth in one day. Theology would say to not look at the text at fact value, to consider the language in which it was written, the grammar of that original language, the audience for which it was written, and the culture of the author.

I use as a premise that "everything" consists of the natural, observable world and the non-observable realm(s). Science deals with the observable, theology deals with the non-observable. Of course, if you don't like the idea of there being a heaven/hell/god, philosophy could deal with the non-observable. The OP takes the existence of god as a given.



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 04:40 PM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
It would appear to me that atheists use science to explain everything and reject any notion that something supernatural/metaphysical could be true - that everything (including what happens after death) will one day be explainable by science.


I'm sorry, but this understanding is false.

Atheists, collectively, do not agree on anything other than 'there is no god'. Some are very knowledgeable with scientific matters, some or ignorant of them, some believe in ghosts and an afterlife, some do not, some believe in cryptologist, some reject any and all those concepts.

Atheism makes no attempts to explain anything. It is merely the term used to describe a position in which an individual has no belief in god(s).

For instance, I do actually believe ghosts are real, and I also believe that there could very likely be an organism that we would describe a 'Yetti' and a 'Bigfoot' to be. My wife is the most spiritual person I have ever met (whom also is an Atheist).

The supernatural and the position an Atheist holds do not clash. Unless, of course, that supernatural thing relates to a God in some way.


originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
I don't think most theologies say "because God." Religion has answers - theology just studies things.


Yes, I agree.
edit on 26/11/15 by Ghost147 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 05:03 PM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
No, it just means be a good person. I don't find anything unfounded or pointless about that.


The issue with this is that many people follow the 'morality' that their religious texts tell them about out of fear. Which means that without them, that person really isn't a good person at all.

You know, when people claim "Well if we all weren't religious then we'd all be raping and murdering everyone".

Furthermore, and I speak about the bible simply because I know it better than some of the other holy books, there's very VERY little moral code to really follow in that book anyway. Most of the 10 commandments have nothing to do with morality, and they certainly left out several key anti-moral actions that would benefit the entire world)

To use the bible as a source of where to find one's morals is just absurd.



originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
I realize I cannot prove this - but I will say that I follow along with the idea of a universal consciousness. That is, everything is being done consciously at one level or another.


Out of curiosity, why would this need to be in order to have the universe function the way it has been? Why does there need to be a magical force that is pushing something in a specific direction (or what have you)? Why could things not simply be how they are due to natural matters? (as in, coincidentally)


originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
True. The article about neoteny was pretty eye-opening for me in this regard. It makes perfect sense that we could be curious just for the heck of it, when taken in light of how we've evolved for learning.


Excellent! I'm glad you enjoyed the article so much.


originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
I studied theology (no, not just a YouTube degree or a Master's in "finished reading the Bible")...and I assure you, we did not study natural processes. I learned about natural processes in my biology courses.


I'm more-so confused on how to distinguish a natural process without studying nature itself, and a god-involved process?


originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
Why is it unfalsifiable to say "god exists"?


Because (depending on the traits a person gives god), one cannot prove or disprove the notion that God Exists. An unprovable, undisprovable notion would be an unfalsifiable one. Essentially, once a claim is made that could be infinitely interchanged with any other descriptions, it is unfalsifiable (the whole, "how did you know it wasn't invisible unicorns" argument)


originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
I think, for example, if we found we were created by aliens or that we were part of a computer program, then it would fairly definitively prove that there is no god.


I thought your position was that god was in everything? not that he specifically created humans?

Again, when there is a super-vague claim, for instance "God exists", that claim is unfalsifiable. When there is a specific claim, or trait, such as "God created humans", then that is perfectly falsifiable.


originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
The foundation of this thread/premise of the OP was to say let science study natural processes and let theology concern itself with questions of the hereafter and the divine.


I understand that, it's just that when claims such as "god did this and that to the planet, organisms, universe" and so on, then it's no longer exclusively theistic, it shoves its way into the natural, physical realm, where we can actually test and show that no, there was no worldwide flood, or that humans evolved over time from a common ancestor with all other organisms on earth.

The issue is that theology doesn't seem to know when it's intruding on natural matters.


originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
It wasn't an argument that people should or shouldn't believe in God. It's that the two can be studied together and both lead to greater understanding.


Again, we cannot do this because on the one hand we have a study that really knows what they are studying, and stays out of all other matters they cannot study. Then on the other hand we have theology, where we cannot study something that we cannot know at all, and also bumps and squeezes its way into the natural realm, without knowing (or acknowledging) that it's doing so.


originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Ghost147
Arguing the theistic side is as easy as arguing the atheistic side - the thing is, whichever side you argue, you presuppose something which cannot be proven and thereby the argument is inherently flawed.


This isn't about atheism and theism, it's about theism and science.



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 05:45 PM
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originally posted by: scorpio84
a reply to: Prezbo369
The point was to show how theology leads to a better understanding. It's a simple example, but most people asked about Gen 1:1 would point to it as being scientifically inaccurate and/or say that the account holds God creating the Earth in one day. Theology would say to not look at the text at fact value, to consider the language in which it was written, the grammar of that original language, the audience for which it was written, and the culture of the author.


Theology has produced 2000 years worth of books but none of them have brought forward any conclusions that aren't rejected as false by the authors of other theology books. It's the most unproductive academic discipline ever and I don't know why you would think it has anything to offer.


I use as a premise that "everything" consists of the natural, observable world and the non-observable realm(s). Science deals with the observable, theology deals with the non-observable. Of course, if you don't like the idea of there being a heaven/hell/god, philosophy could deal with the non-observable. The OP takes the existence of god as a given.


So theology brings tales of the non-observable world to the table? how would you be able to distinguish between that and the non-existent world?
edit on 26-11-2015 by Prezbo369 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 08:12 PM
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a reply to: Prezbo369




Theology has produced 2000 years worth of books


This type of statement shows that you really do not know much or anything about theology. The "2,000 years" is used time and again by people who assume theology=Creationism.




but none of them have brought forward any conclusions that aren't rejected as false by the authors of other theology books.


Are you talking about theology books as in works by theologians or do you mean scriptures? If the former, theology is an evolving discipline - people learn more about something (perhaps through language, archaeology, etc) or new readings bring about new interpretations. It's not like theologians think that one person has the definitive answers - closed-mindedness and theology don't go hand in hand. If you mean the latter, then would you give me an example of the author of one scripture rejecting the author of another?




It's the most unproductive academic discipline ever


That's your opinion and you are welcome to it. For some people, theology is a way to gain a deeper understanding of God and their religion (as well as other religions). For others (and I would be in this category) it is a way to gain a deeper insight into culture, a greater understanding for traditions, and a way to explore possibilities not open to science. However, if you mean "unproductive" in that it has not produced anything tangible in the way chemistry has, for example, then I'd have to concede the point. However, if you mean it is worthless, we'll agree to disagree on that point. Are you per chance utilitarian?




So theology brings tales of the non-observable world to the table?


No, theology brings interpretation to the table. Furthermore, "tales" is a dismissive term that shows you are making an assumption that really should not be made.




how would you be able to distinguish between that and the non-existent world?


Sometimes, vocabulary is important. I never used the term "non-existent" - and for a reason. Non-existence does not seem possible. You could say:
1). Nothing exists.
2). Nothing is real.
3). Non-existence exists.
4). Non-existence is real
etc.

No matter how you phrase it, you have the idea of non-existence "being." And if something is "being" then it exists. Even when we die, we don't cease to exist - we simply change. Now, whether that be in the sense we have souls that are set free to another reality/dimension - or simply in the sense that information is never lost, I couldn't say for any certainty.



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 09:45 PM
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a reply to: scorpio84


I'll give you a horribly inadequate prototype of my thinking process on this subject - when you take a bath (or shower), do you care about the dead cells that make way for the new ones?

Our suffering is how God renews Himself?

What then happens to all those dead cells?

There are well-defined conceptions of pantheistic divinity, but in these, either (1) all material reality participates in the divinity of the whole (Spinoza) or (2) the divine is immanent, holographically so to speak, in every element or 'monad' (Liebniz) of reality. Neither of these conceptions allows for that image. In them, God and His attributes can never cease to be divine. They may be stained, sullied, twisted and defiled but they never cease to be holy.

The idea of the divine sloughing bits of Itself off -- bits that represent profane reality -- is not new, but it tends to crop up in pantheistic belief systems of a more primitive kind -- the Greek and Hindu myths, for example.

The intellectual contradictions it engenders are far less tractable than those invoked by philosophical pantheism.

So I think you have some explaining to do.


Which ends were justified by (the Holocaust)?

The salvation and rehabilitation of Germany was, I believe, the line taken.


I have a B.A. in German language and literature with a minor in Theology

Which suggests an interest (at least) in nineteenth-century Biblical criticism.


No, I'm not Episcopalian. I'm agnostic.

Were you raised as an agnostic?



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 10:04 PM
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a reply to: scorpio84


f you mean in the same way as "we hold these truths to be self-evident" - that is, not provable, but obvious - then yes.

Then you are by no means agnostic.

Please be careful. To unbelievers, the moral and intellectual dishonesty of religion is one of the things we despise most about it.



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 10:07 PM
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a reply to: scorpio84


there was that guy that came up with the big bang theory.

Lemaitre was a physicist. Was he also a theologian, other than in the nominal sense that he was a Catholic priest?



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Try not to forget that for the purpose of this thread, I am arguing from a theistic point of view. If I give a belief, it is my belief only insofar as it would make the most sense to me if a particular position were true. If I were to start arguing from an atheistic POV, I would argue that there never was a time when there wasn't, everything is eternal, material is a manifestation of light, and that the best way to explain reality is in terms of the Holographic Principle. However, my belief as an individual - apart from any POV I will take on this thread - is that anything is equally plausible. Therefore, I do not commit myself to either belief or non-belief and am an agnostic.




To unbelievers, the moral and intellectual dishonesty of religion is one of the things we despise most about it.



The inability/unwillingness of atheists to argue theological topics within the framework of theology is despised by theists, I'm sure. The mutual inability of both sides to argue from the POV of the opponent or to keep an argument in a certain framework without rejecting it is annoying for the agnostic.

I was raised as an anti-theist.

Now, back to taking a theistic POV:

Why would God need to renew Himself? I think I explained that God is the sum totality. The dead cells merely change form - they don't cease to exist. If you use terminology such as "the divine sloughs bits of itself off" then it means you are arguing specifically against the notion of a god separate from its creation, does it not?




Neither of these conceptions allows for that image


Which image?




So I think you have some explaining to do.


What would you like me to explain? The idea that the divine could make a non-divine creation from itself?



posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 11:44 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147




Atheists, collectively, do not agree on anything other than 'there is no god'. Some are very knowledgeable with scientific matters, some or ignorant of them, some believe in ghosts and an afterlife, some do not, some believe in cryptologist, some reject any and all those concepts.



I was going to counter-argue this, but then I remembered Buddhism. Point conceded.




Atheism makes no attempts to explain anything. It is merely the term used to describe a position in which an individual has no belief in god(s).


Yes. What I was getting at was that for atheists, if it cannot be explained by science, it doesn't matter. Then again, the above point you made, which I acquiesce to, proves that notion false.




For instance, I do actually believe ghosts are real


Does this mean you believe in a soul? What is your understanding of ghosts (not to sidetrack the discussion, but I'm curious)?




The supernatural and the position an Atheist holds do not clash.


I can understand an atheist not believing in that which isn't observable. However, how does one believe in ghosts, alien abductions, etc., yet reject god as implausible?



posted on Nov, 27 2015 @ 12:08 AM
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a reply to: Ghost147




To use the bible as a source of where to find one's morals is just absurd.



Love God and love they neighbor. Where is the absurdity in this? If you want, we could ignore the "god" part and just say "love your neighbor, i.e. fellow human."




Out of curiosity, why would this need to be in order to have the universe function the way it has been?


I'm not so sure it needs to be this way or even that it is the way I've described. It's just that for some reason it makes more sense to me to think of the universe as being conscious than to think of a time when there was no matter and no consciousness and then matter came into being, then after eons, conscious beings. Maybe simpler to say would be it makes more sense to me that there has always been consciousness, rather than to tie it to the material and say it came about randomly.




I'm more-so confused on how to distinguish a natural process without studying nature itself, and a god-involved process?


I'm typing this reply right now - that is a natural process. Explaining this process would belong to various disciplines of science. Theology - at least as I studied it - could be described mostly in terms of philosophy and literary analysis. I think when it comes down to it, theology is concerned with answering "what did God want us to understand?" - or perhaps even better - how exactly did the authors of these books intend them to be read?




Again, when there is a super-vague claim, for instance "God exists", that claim is unfalsifiable.


Very true. I think, then, the first response of the atheist to a theist should not be "god does not exist" but rather a question in the form of "when you say 'god' exists, what do you mean by god?"




I understand that, it's just that when claims such as "god did this and that to the planet, organisms, universe" and so on, then it's no longer exclusively theistic, it shoves its way into the natural, physical realm, where we can actually test and show that no, there was no worldwide flood, or that humans evolved over time from a common ancestor with all other organisms on earth.


To be fair to the Bible, translations don't exactly capture the meaning accurately. Even the very first line of Genesis contains an error in translation.




The issue is that theology doesn't seem to know when it's intruding on natural matters.


You mean some people don't know when to stop applying their religious views to natural matters? If that's the case, I'd agree.




This isn't about atheism and theism, it's about theism and science.



Theology and science, actually.

I wonder if you are making the same sort of mistake I did in lumping atheism and science together. Just as an atheist can believe in "pseudoscience" and theologian can be an atheist - or, in my case, agnostic.



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