Back Down to Earth

There are times when I find myself fixating on our universe with all of its mysteries and as-of-yet unknowns. But every time I think about the universe, I think about nothing as much as its size, about its unfathomable massiveness.

Light travels at 186,282.397 miles per second or 669,000,000 miles per hour. As far as we can tell, that’s as fast as we’re ever going to go because that’s the physics-enforced intergalactic speed limit. Neither information, nor matter will be found moving faster than that. That is pretty fast. Although, as fast as it is, it would leave any space explorers traveling at that speed extremely unsatisfied with their journeys.

Light arrives on the earth from our sun in just under 8-and-a-half minutes. It takes light around 50 minutes to reach Jupiter from the sun. For light to get to Pluto, it requires 5 hours and 30 minutes of travel time. That’s longer than it takes me to drive from San Antonio to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex area without stopping in a car going 70 mph. And this is light we’re talking about!

Remember, this is as fast as we’ll likely ever go. Our fastest ship now won’t exceed 47,000 miles an hour—nowhere even remotely close to the speed of light. At our current rate of achievable speed, it would take us at least 2 years just to reach Mars in a shuttle. At its furthest point, Mars requires a 12.8-minute trip for light to arrive.

It takes light 1.3 seconds to go from the moon to the earth, which is the equivalent distance of making 20 trips from the U.S. eastern coastline to Australia’s Alice Springs. So while light may be fast, it is reduced to a snail’s crawl when we factor it into our vast universe.

Not counting any other mysteries, the shear size of the cosmos is enough to dumbfound us. Studying the universe makes us take our focus off of ourselves and onto bigger and grander things. Let’s try and imagine the universe further.

We’ve seen that the speed of light, the fastest speed we can ever rationally hope to obtain, appears sluggish when compared against the distances in our own solar system, but that’s just our solar system. We haven’t even gotten around to considering the next star over. We can’t even leave our star’s orbit without light speed in any workable timeframe.

With light speed, we’ll hit our closest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, in 4.4 light years. Borrowing a stick of butter from a neighbor next door is only convenient when we’re NOT talking about neighboring star systems. But we are talking about solar systems, not galaxies.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is composed of at least 220,000,000,000 stars that are as far apart from each other (and some more so) than our sun is from Proxima Centuari. If you want to try and get a mental picture of our galaxy, imagine a huge punchbowl spilling over with sugar. Each granule of sugar is a sun and every one of those suns is a solar system, many with numerous planets orbiting them. It takes light 100,000 years to cross from one side of a galaxy to the other.

And how many galaxies are there of billions of stars? To date, we’ve discovered about 255,000,000,000 galaxies—like and unlike our Milky Way. And we’re discovering between 25 and 125 new galaxies everyday.

Some are spiral, some spherical, and some are blobs that are called irregular galaxies. Some look like crabs and others like sombreros. Many of the stars in the sky are sending us light that is tens of millions of years old. Many of the galaxies that are visible only in very powerful telescopes do not even exist anymore by the time we see their light.

Yes, the universe being so big, it makes us think about bigger things. It took us a long time as a race to learn that it’s ok to gaze at the heavens without fear of being tried as an Observer of Times and burned at the stake. People have been thinking small for so very long, and so it’s not surprising that it takes a few of us a longer time to come around to exploring and learning without superstitious shackles.

Still, those who are holding us back grieve me greatly. I know that as I type, so many who will read my words are of the opinion that when all of these giant stars die in about 208,000,000,000 years in the future, that there will be souls still frying in Gehenna because they once transgressed the law of a Great Spirit who set up one small planet around one small star at one insignificant corner of one insignificant galaxy.

To some, the heavens declare the glory of God and the heavenly bodies are celestial evangelists singing God’s praises and glory. In their minds, if the planets and the stars could talk, they’d say: “Obey God and Jesus who is God’s Son. They created us. We exist to tell of their greatness.” That conviction is so very juvenile and so comical on so many levels.

No faith and no conviction of dogma can come of watching the stars and taking in the universe. The universe is too big for any faith and even for God. Even if a god could create it, he wouldn’t know what to do with it. No tribal blood-god of vengeance like Yahweh who taught men to cut the foreskins off of penises and slaughter enemy tribes could be the one responsible for creating the Crab Nebula or NGC 1097 or Sirius B.

And yet, according to some, we are to believe that the pronouncements of damnation made by bloody priests and popes and notable revolutionary theologians throughout the ages are sound and will one day come true. I spit on those pronouncements and the mentality behind them. How is it, one must ask, that a cosmos-creating deity who has his mind on building nebulae can be offended by anything we could ever say or do?

Is it possible to think that after centuries of fighting and warring, and persecuting with the pointing of chipped and reddened swords, that a Hebrew deity who wrote about stoning adulterous wives and thighs swelling and rotting (Numbers 5) was the mastermind behind quantum mechanics? Did a God who commanded the burning of blasphemers providentially create the telescope and arrange the funding for institutions like MIT and NASA so that we could better come to understand phenomena like “dark matter” and black holes?

Just when my mind would soar to focus on higher and grander things, I am brought back down to earth by those who stand in the way of progress so that we can continue disputing the words of a Hebrew war-god and Daniel's "covenant with many for one week." We have to get tired of this eventually. But eventually will never come soon enough!

(JH)

32 comments:

edson said...

Dear Joe, just recently I was thinking about the same thing - about the vastness of the Universe and then thought, if truly there is a God, then this God is amazing!

While I was continuing to ponder on the vastness and mystery of the universe and life, I stumbled on Psalm 8 (please care to read on how the ancient Psalmist thought about this) which was basically an eye opener to me.

The universe is really big, but this should be a source of giving glory to the one who made and perfected it (you can just assume isn't a Christian God). It will be utterly stupid for anyone to regard that this complex universe, even more complex is life, that all this occured by blind chance.

You can just take a Sea breeze and watch the amazing beauty of the ocean and simply yell, oh Mother Nature, how awesome are your products, how complex a man is that you have made him/her to dominate over all things that are product of your works!

Good day Joe!

Joe E. Holman said...

Edson, you got it wrong.

The vastness of the "creation" is wasteful, full of death and chaos, and utterly worthless as far as man is concerned. How can you miss that?

There's nothing glorious or praise-worthy of this shit at all. Astronomy was one of my biggest disproofs of the God lie.

Think just for a moment about the waste of space, of resources, of energy...all so that we savages can kill and rape and defraud each other while some sing songs to a being who lets it go on???

At least try and think.

(JH)

Anthony said...

Joe, this was a very good post. When I was going through my deconversion the vastness and the shear utter "weirdness" of the universe did play a part in realizing the fact that if a god did bring this universe about it is so utterly different and unlike the god of the Bible, the god of Christianity.

Edson: It will be utterly stupid for anyone to regard that this complex universe, even more complex is life, that all this occured by blind chance.

It would be so nice if you creationists would a least try to educate yourself on evolution and natural history a little bit, then you would quit spewing out the "blind chance" language.

edson said...

Joe, on re-reading your post I realized how empty and deprived your souls are when you people cherishes in the break through of sciences but denigrating the way of life and looking down at the traditions and customs of the people who have contirubuted overwhelmingly to these achievements - the jews.

I doubt if you would have dared to face Albert Einstein or Chaim Weizmann and tell them about how asinine their Yahweh was , to order their forefathers cutting off their foreskin and sprinkling blood of animals regularly, as a matter of creed.

On the second note, as I have recently exchanged views with my friend eheffa, you atheists have a negative philosophy of the world. When you accuse an Hebrew God for massacring entire firstborns of Eygpt, you never touch an amazing act of parting the Red Sea rescuing the Israelites. When you speak of sadistic God genociding the canaanites, you dont speak of those clever tribes which sought peace and signed a peace treaty with the Israelites. When you always bring the subject of Hell, I rarely see you bringing the question of a loving God willing to assume a human body to die on behalf of humanity, and the list can go on and on.

Similarly, when you talk of an utterly flawed world, it is the same old ungrateful spirit you atheists have unfortunately cam to acquire recently. Almost 99.9999% of the basic human needs are a product of nature. Your clothes, foods, drinks even medicines are derived from organic and inorganic substances of which no man played part in creating them. Even evolution, which atheist have recently came to strongly espouse, as a means to deny God a role to play in the existance of the world, no man has a business to play part in it.

It is a dim witted approach to see the world negatively. This world is amazing; some people are suffering but billions of people are enjoying their lives. People are dying but so many people are being born at this minute into this world and this should suffice to give you a sense of loving the world.

Jason said...

If there was a god, why would he require complexity. That seems like an inefficient way to create something. I would think that if there was a god you would see more efficiency in his creations, less complexity, more elegance.

Mr. Hyde said...

I only have two things I would like to note.

(1) Joe it seems that your objections to Christianity are not so much intellectual as personal. There may be some intellectual reasons that affirm your personal reasons, but from what I gathered after reading your post you mainly object because of personal reasons.

(2) You seem to intimate in your post that you understand God. I assure you I don't object to this point because of the reason you would expect. It is not the typical "you can never understand God," but I don't think you can know "the mind of God" anymore than you can know "the mind of John Loftus." We can get a pretty good understanding over time, but we are always surprised by the people we think we know well.

Anonymous said...

edson,

You said: "I doubt if you would have dared to face Albert Einstein or Chaim Weizmann and tell them about how asinine their Yahweh was"

Einstein? Really? Here's how "asinine" he thought Yahweh was:

"I do not believe in the fear of life, in the fear of death, in blind faith. I cannot prove to you that there is no personal God, but if I were to speak of him, I would be a liar. I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil."

You can google it just like I did. And I'm sure you will. And I'm sure you come back with a different, more God-friendly quote. But Einstein was Jewish by birth, not faith. And even if he was, he was certainly not a Christian. Consider that if your faith is true, he is in hell right now. Meditate on that for a while.

Scott said...

Edson wrote: The universe is really big, but this should be a source of giving glory to the one who made and perfected it (you can just assume isn't a Christian God). It will be utterly stupid for anyone to regard that this complex universe, even more complex is life, that all this occured by blind chance.

Edson,

The problem with this train of thought is that it is founded on the idea that everything, including human beings and our very universe, was chosen specifically by God. Human beings have five fingers not because we happened to evolve that way, but God architected human beings everything down to the last detail.

You assume a specific outcome was desired, then note how unlikely it would be that things would turn out just as intended.

However, when we drop the assumptions that we are the pinnacle of God's design and creation, it no longer seems so "utterly stupid."

Furthermore, when you use words like "blind chance", it's unclear if you actually understand how evolution works. Evolutionary forces consist of both random mutations / duplications and natural selection. Only without a means to select specific traits formed by these mutations and duplications, would it truly be random chance.

Last, if all of what we see was the result of an omnipotent God merely waving his hands, how much more amazing would it have been if it were, instead, the result of natural forces without any specific intention?

goprairie said...

is anyone else tired of edson's constant insulting attitude? 'utterly stupid' 'empty' 'deprived' the constant use of 'you atheists' which in person would be accompanied by a pointing finger. 'dim witted' (sic)
makes this annoyed stubborn atheist not likely to bother to debate his points or even read anything following his name in the future. 'rude' is a word that comes to my mind, along with 'arrogant' or 'immature'

Anonymous said...

Hi goprairie,

I like insulting and arrogant comments, especially when they are directed at my opponent! :-) It spices up the conversation and gives it some pizzazz.

Your comment was not so humble and soft spoken. So Christians are not the only hypocrites.

Scott said...

Mr Hyde wrote: We can get a pretty good understanding over time, but we are always surprised by the people we think we know well.

If both parties in the pronoun "we" are finite, then yes, there are times that we might be surprised.

However, this changes drastically when we assume that one of the parties is infinite. Said party would not be surprised, nor would they be without recourse to correct the situation.

This changes even further when you assume one of the parties actually designed and created the other, including their means of communication, observation and comprehension of what they experience.

Furthermore, as a non-theist, I make fewer assumptions, as you must not only assume that God had a good reason for creating the universe as he did, but you must construct some reason why we're not aware of it.

You must not only assume that which God hides, but that he intentionally hides it in the first place, and there is a good reason for him to do so.

Mr. Hyde said...

Scott,

Perhaps I did not communicate my point clearly or you misunderstood my comment. You wrote, "If both parties in the pronoun "we" are finite, then yes, there are times that we might be surprised. However, this changes drastically when we assume that one of the parties is infinite. Said party would not be surprised, nor would they be without recourse to correct the situation."

I was not arguing that God is surprised by us, but I was using the human (and finite) illustration that we often times think we understand another human and then are surprised by that human. The reason for my bringing that up at all was the intimation contained in Joe's post that he "knew" God or understood him. I gathered this from comments Joe made such as, "How is it, one must ask, that a cosmos-creating deity who has his mind on building nebulae can be offended by anything we could ever say or do?" I cannot speak for what would offend another person (much less God), because I am surprised by people all the time. This was my point.

I never even brought up the topic of creation or of God hiding. You brought those up on your own.

Scott said...

DeCol wrote: Evolution would not work if there was not first something to evolve.

Would umbrellas fail to work if we didn't know why it rained?

Nor would lack of a working theory of Biogenesis prevent evolution from "working."

Where did life originate? Where did the materials come from to make life possible? How did it organize? Are things organizing into an original life today?

These are excellent questions, which I find quite interesting.

But what I also find interesting is your idea that any of your questions are actually answered by saying "God did it."

For example, you've given a extensive and detailed laundry list of what must have occurred for us to exist, yet your answer is completely void of details. It merely attempts to account for what you observe (and conceive of), not actually explain it.

Where did the materials for the big bang come from? [etc]

Why should there be nothing instead of something?

Where did the materials that God used to build the universe come from? Did they appear from nothing? We can ask the same question about all of the energy in the universe. If God is non-material how can he effect the material? Etc.

Again, all interesting questions. However, our current level of understanding in many of these areas make any answers we might submit a exceptionally poor foundation for reaching any sort of detailed conclusions. Including the one's you've reached about "God."

Instead, my failure to believe that God exists is based on things that we are significantly more sure of, such as a massive meteor strike that nearly wiped out all life on our planet.

It seems unlikely that, if a omnipotent and omniscient being was going to build his eternal kingdom on earth, he'd build it with a heat and light source that will, at best case scenario, eventually expand to boil away our oceans and atmosphere. Leaving our planet into an charred rock that cannot support life.

It seems unlikely that the same God who brought "order" out of chaos of the Big Bang, would intentionally choose an "order" that will eventually put our Milky Way on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy (which would be one of many collisions we've already observed in our universe)

Anonymous said...

DenCol, (ala Dennis Collins, the name for a somewhat famous pornstar) is banned. He doesn't seem to get the point. He doesn't care. He won't move on. Ignore him. We'll just delete his comments from now on. As it stands you can't read them anyway, unless you intend on commenting, which is a fraction of the people who visit here.

Be gone Dennis.

Joe E. Holman said...

Mr. Hyde, I think my reasons for departing from Christianity are very intellectual. The vastness between galaxies is as unrelated to the God of the Bible as the distance in thought between thinking that a Hebrew God is responsible for creating the stars AND ordering primitive tribes to slaughter one another. You've got to have a superstitiously theological mind to see them as works by the same being.

(JH)

Grace said...

Whoa, you guys, can definitely get into it with each other. But, along these lines, has anyone read:

"The Language of God," by Dr. Francis Collins. Dr. Collins is one of the worlds leading scientists, head of the Human Genome Project, and also a committed person of faith.

He actually feels that study of the material universe, cosmology, in particular the Big Bang theory point us to God. Dr. Collins is a theistic evolutionist, and would interpret the Genesis account of creation in a more allegorical way.

Guess we could all debate this to the cows come home. But, seriously, guys, get ahold of his book for another perspective anyway.

Joe, I don't exactly know what to make of some of these events described in the O.T. either. I feel all thinking Christians struggle, and question some of this stuff.

But, I personally try to keep an open mind. I mean part of the answer could be that things which would not make sense in our contemporary culture such as circumcision may have been needed for various reasons by the Hebrews in ancient times.

Wasn't circumcision a visible sign of the covenant? Could it be that these folks needed that physical,and tangible reminder in their particular culture, and situation?

Christians today practice baptism as a visible sign, and reminder of our confession, and unity with Christ.

I also want to share that for me as a Christian, my faith is centered in the reality of God's love in Christ, and everything just flows from there.

I don't get so hung up on things like, oh, the age of the earth, where did Cain get his wife, what about the ancient Caananites, etc.

It's not that I think it's wrong to question, and speculate, to discuss these things together. I think that's fine. But, my personal faith is not centered there.

I'm feeling the church would be a lot better off to focus on things like Christ's command to care for the poor, and needy, and just basically loving our neighbors as ourselves, caring for the earth as stewards of God's creation, those kind of things.

Joe E. Holman said...

Grace said...

"has anyone read:

"The Language of God," by Dr. Francis Collins. Dr. Collins is one of the worlds leading scientists, head of the Human Genome Project, and also a committed person of faith.

He actually feels that study of the material universe, cosmology, in particular the Big Bang theory point us to God. Dr. Collins is a theistic evolutionist, and would interpret the Genesis account of creation in a more allegorical way."


My reply...

Grace, people who believe that God created the universe and then much later monkeys and then slowly turned them into "ensouled" men are stupid.

Yes, there will always be genius oddballs like Collins out there who look at explosions in space and see God's hand in it.

Look at you...you don't care about evidence. It's just window dressing for you, and so it makes sense for you to view things that way. That doesn't help the credibility of the idea for the rest of us though.

Grace...

"Joe, I don't exactly know what to make of some of these events described in the O.T. either. I feel all thinking Christians struggle, and question some of this stuff.

But, I personally try to keep an open mind. I mean part of the answer could be that things which would not make sense in our contemporary culture such as circumcision may have been needed for various reasons by the Hebrews in ancient times."

My reply...

Translation--"it's no big deal to me how sick and obviously non-divine the OT was. Just think about Jesus." Sorry, no sale, my dear.


Grace...

"Wasn't circumcision a visible sign of the covenant? Could it be that these folks needed that physical,and tangible reminder in their particular culture, and situation?"

My reply...

Non-mutilating reminders couldn't have been offered? Why did the people need reminders?

Grace...

"I also want to share that for me as a Christian, my faith is centered in the reality of God's love in Christ, and everything just flows from there.

I don't get so hung up on things like, oh, the age of the earth, where did Cain get his wife, what about the ancient Caananites, etc.

It's not that I think it's wrong to question, and speculate, to discuss these things together. I think that's fine. But, my personal faith is not centered there.

I'm feeling the church would be a lot better off to focus on things like Christ's command to care for the poor, and needy, and just basically loving our neighbors as ourselves, caring for the earth as stewards of God's creation, those kind of things."

My reply...

Once again, we have a contemporary, non-thinking Christian's attitude--"who really cares abou the details. It's all about Christ!"

That attitude is not going to help you here.

Just go find The Power Team and travel around with them as they lift weights and break boards for God.

(JH)

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

My name is not Collins. Go back at look at your e-mails.

John Loftus' theory says: "If you can't beat 'em, then ban 'em".

Way to go John! Keep up the great work!

Steven Bently said...

Great article Joe, You know, the whole god problem is, no one knows how we got here, nor why, that's the whole entire god problem.

Even the smartest scientist in the whole world does not know how we got here, neither does Billy Graham, nor the Pope.

Mainly because we can only guess, assume, wish for, hope, imagine, because we can only examine the universe from our perspective here on what we humans call earth.

The Bible writers were only guessing and took the liberty and greatly presumed they were correct.

Of course it had to be a g-o-d, what else could it be? There's no evidence of anything greater than a god? But there is no evidence of any god, a god is all they had to fall back on during their day.

Imagine a Bible god, who created the entire universe in just six days, but yet he is unable to save souls on his own, he has to come to earth disguised as his only son in order to convince us he's real, and then has to have himself murdered and shed blood to save people from their sins.

How can a god be lacking in his ability to do something, like save invisible souls, yet it took the very same god some four thousand years to come up with the Jesus salvation plan.

This is the type of ignorant bronze age thinking that wrote the bible.

The honest answer is, no one knows how we got here nor why, nor do we know exactly where we are in relation to the universe.

We call ourselves human beings, but we are no different, than any other land animal, we all have blood and brains, and intestines and have sex to reproduce.

How can a god create the whole universe in just six days but yet it took the very same god forty days and nights to inscribe the ten little commandments?

How come the very same god regretted making human beings and admitted he had made a big mistake, but yet he never admitted to have regretted creating Satan and allowing evil to exist?

Then he had to flood the earth and drown everybody, whereas he could have just changed every ones wicked heart, it was no trouble to change a Pharaoh's heart for days, weeks, month's, years?


Why is it that humans in 2009, refuse to see how remarkably foolish the Bible is, I believe it's mainly because of the fear of hell, humans are so fear stricken of a burning hell.

If it were nor for the fear of hell, you could not get one person to attend a church, and forcibly extort money from people on it's own merits.

If the bible god would not lend a hand to help even one of the six million of his own favorite people (the Jews),then Christians don't have a tinkers chance in hell of the very same god to help save them from the very same fate.

Scott said...

..."How is it, one must ask, that a cosmos-creating deity who has his mind on building nebulae can be offended by anything we could ever say or do?" I cannot speak for what would offend another person (much less God), because I am surprised by people all the time. This was my point.

Mr. Hyde,

Your comment seemed to ignore the fact that communication is a two way street.

While it may be true that we are sometimes surprised by the actions of others, we can track these surprises back to specific causes.

For example, as human beings, we don't always know when we are misunderstood. However, God's awareness of our misinterpretations would significantly change the dynamic, as he would either intentionally decide to allow the miscommunication or correct it.

If we were created in the image of God, then God must have what of himself to "leave out". As such, God should not be surprised that we would be surprised, a he would have known our ability to communicate would suffer due to such differences.

Merely noting that we are surprised ignores these causes and implies surprises are "Just the way things are. Why should you expect otherwise?"

Grace said...

Well, maybe I could share this in another way.

It was only at the time of the reformation that some people in the church began to think more in terms of the absolute inerrancy, or infallibility of Scripture in every aspect.

Even St. Augustine speaks of interpreting Genesis in a more allegorical matter. There were early church fathers who were universalists...

Joe, there are many thinking Christian people out here whose faith in Christ, and trust in God is not tied to a literalist interpretation of Scripture in every aspect, and who feel that the Scripture was never intended to be read like a modern-day science textbook.

There really are Christians who would agree with a lot of your concerns about the O.T. I'm more conservative than this to be honest, and would take a hold of these questions a bit differently.

But, I just want everyone to know that there really is plenty of diversity of thought, and room in the Christian church. As far as I'm concerned, skeptics are welcome!!

Hey, Steven, it's not about fear of Hell for me. I'm into the love of God shown in Jesus Christ. I would want to know truth no matter what, and live in God even if this life was all there was, and there was no physical gain at all. I'm feeling a relationship with the Lord is it's own reward.

I also want to say that it really was my interest in astronomy as a young person,realizing the awesome vastness, and complexity of the universe that helped bring me to God.

It seems to me that the study of cosmology is to encounter the divine, a signpost to God.

I guess we're all different, Joe.

Pax.

Steven Bently said...

Grace, you are so painfully far removed from reality, it's impossible for any one who's not completely brainwashed to communicate with you, which you feel is a notion in your favor, believe me it's not.


You said, "Hey, Steven, it's not about fear of Hell for me. I'm into the love of God shown in Jesus Christ. I would want to know truth no matter what, and live in God even if this life was all there was, and there was no physical gain at all. I'm feeling a relationship with the Lord is it's own reward."

Love of god??? Totally baseless assertion!

How can you or anyone love something that no one has ever seen?

What you pretend to love in your mind, is a man made concept of a god who came to earth to save the sinners, from their sins, as if for some reason, sin offends the Bible god.

Well if sin offends the bible god, then why did he/she allow sin to exist? Since this god has the ability to control the universe, yet is somehow offended??? Sounds human doesn't it?


Then you wrote, "I also want to say that it really was my interest in astronomy as a young person,realizing the awesome vastness, and complexity of the universe that helped bring me to God."

Bring you to god??? Again baseless assertion!

If something has brought you to god, then you must be in heaven, but then again no one has seen a god, but you have been brought to this god???

What does a god look like, since you are right at him/her?

Why can't you see the nonsense you are portraying to have some special knowledge, that no one else has?

It's because you have allowed yourself to become mesmerized by a human invented fallacy, invented by a bunch of delusional Arab gypsies.

You and millions like you, have been totally misled and lied to by a book written by ignorant people who had no knowledge of any god, in fact they had no knowledge of practically anything, nor did they want to know anything, because scientific information was considered of the devil, and it went against what they wanted to believe, just like you, you want to believe in a god and jesus so much, you are willing to overlook common sense and scientific knowledge.

It's called willful ignorance, which is what you worship in your mind.

It's such a shame millions of you have waisted so many years and your money living in blissful ignorance.

The very day that Albert Einstein made his hypothesis about the speed of light, that should have been the end of the 6000 year old earth creation nonsense.

It takes approx. 2.5 million light years for light to reach us from the nearest galaxy, Andromeda, but wait, you don't believe in other galaxies, because there could be humans living there too, and without jesus, they are all going to hell, except you of course.

Grace said...

((Steven))) You feel pretty darn strongly about all this. Have you know a lot of Christian people?

I don't personally think the earth is only six thousand years old, and I don't feel everyone is headin to Hell, but me.

I think it's possible there could be life in other parts of the universe. Who can say?

Gandolf said...

Grace said "But, I just want everyone to know that there really is plenty of diversity of thought, and room in the Christian church. As far as I'm concerned, skeptics are welcome!!"

Hi Grace yes i think thats become pretty obvious.Diversity of thought might just be a bit of a understatement too.And its the fact of the amount of great diversity that actually sets alarm bells ringing rather loudly for some of us.

Does it worry you Personally? does the available evidence of the actual existence of such a great diversity within Christianity ever make you wonder how such a divided state ever came about considering so many try to suggest this bible is not really so confusing being as it was suggested divine & coming from some supposed all knowing all powerful god?

Or does it just not really matter so much as long as religion and faith doesnt cause you any harm personally?.

You also talk about people maybe not taking things so Literally.

Wishful thinking maybe?.Because with this Christian bible having now been taught for so long as supposedly being honestly some divine word of some god,i cant see that much else would really ever be expected than what the majority of evidence actually suggests now exists.

That is that far to many do still take it very literally.

You can tell us until you are blue in the face that you personally think this supposed god is maybe all about love etc etc.

But you yourself are not seen as any special authority worldwide on the subject are you.What you say and personally suggest actually matters very little overall.And yet its overall that actually matters the most.

The Christian bible is the supposed authority and what it says and supposedly suggests is only what matters most to most faithful folk.We would expect that from a supposed divine godly manual for life too, right?.

Your personal Christian church group experience might very well be wonderful.But you telling us here all about that, does absolutely nothing to address any real reasons why so very many others have such very different experiences.

I suggest either the book the bible is not what many faithful folks would like to suggest it is,or else very very many people worldwide all within the wide realms of christianity must simply be such blatantly evil nasty uncaring folk.Who supposedly read a simple written manual for life supposedly passed on to us by some god,yet must then supposedly simply just choose to do the opposite.

What does the majority of evidence likely suggest?.

That its far more likely people would rather simply just choose to read and translate things quite wrong then often being heartless and very nasty etc in the process?

Or that people are just so often easily confused over such a obviously poorly written book that was obviously only ever written by mere men in the first place?.Men from whom which we would actually expect such confusion,the evidence of which suggests there actually is.

Steven Bently said...

Well let me ask you this Grace.

Lets suppose there are other human beings somewhere in another galaxy.

Do you think that they were given orders not to eat of the Tree Of Life of good and evil?

Do you think it would just be another repeat of Jesus versus Satan

Do you think that the bible god would wait some 4000 years before he/she would introduce the Jesus salvation plan, that is coming down from heaven disguised as his only son and then have himself murdered in order to save invisible souls?

Just imagine, if the bible god had to go through the resurrection for every galaxy out there, say over 200 billion galaxies, would that sorta sound ridiculous to you?

Lets say that the Bible god does a repeat of all the things he/she supposedly has done here on earth.

1. Create the entire universe in just six days.

2. Then realize that humans are continually wicked in their hearts.

3. And it repented the Lord, that he had created a man and a woman.

4. Have the Bible written by inspiration the very same people that god declared was evil and wicked to leave them in charge of spreading his message of salvation?

5. Have a 600 year old drunkard build a boat and flood the earth and billions of planets also and drown perhaps Trillions of humans, pregnant mothers, new borns, the elderly, crippled, mentally retarded, all animals, all trees, and plant life, because their hearts were continually wicked.

6. Then soon after comes the wicked city of Sodom and Gomorrah.

What happened to the Noah family wicked filter plan?

6. Then here comes the baby Moses, finally after some 400 years...duh

Every human in every galaxy goes through the very same ignorant nonsense that we have been told is true here on earth.

Is your Bible god capable of repeating his same mistakes for the over 200 billion galaxies without realizing what a ignorant fool he is?

Apparently he is, yet you pretend to worship a bumbling jackass for a god.

Grace said...

Hey, Steven, and Gandolf,

I'll try to respond to some of your concerns, and then will have to stop by later. I'm getting yet more company over the weekend, so probably will not be back on line until Sun. evening, so have to ask for your patience.

See, I don't think it's just about a couple of our ancestors making bad choices to eat a forbidden fruit, and simply because of this the whole human race is automatically doomed. I really would see Gen. 1, and 2 in a more allegorical sense.

It seems to me that the central truth being expressed here is that while being created in the very image, and likeness of God, wonderfully made, we are also fallen and broken at the same time.

We've become alienated from God, and from each other. To me, the evidence for this is not only in the whole world around us, but it's also there in our own hearts and minds.

We can hurt the people that we care for the most, sometimes without even trying.

The central truth of the Christian faith is that God by fully entering into human life, and suffering showed us His love in this very physical and tangible way.

I mean we can speculate about why this all didn't happen sooner in human history, about all kinds of issues. Who can fully know? To my mind, I would rather focus in what God has already revealed, and trust Him with the rest.

I don't think this means we don't use reason, or check our mind at the church door, but we're not going to know every answer, guys, not in this life anyway.

Gandolf, Christians disagree about alot of things, but they all agree concerning the gospel,and about the love of God shown in Jesus Christ. That's what's really important to me, and central to the life of the Christian church.

Steven, are you angry with the Christians, and with the church?

Steven Bently said...

Grace, "We've become alienated from God, and from each other. To me, the evidence for this is not only in the whole world around us, but it's also there in our own hearts and minds."

No, actually the whole problem is that, the people who wrote the bible, were so ignorant and uneducated that they believed the "heart" had the ability to think, reason, speak, and hear words from a god, which in all reality it is the brain which speaks to each individual as a personal monitor that's all it is, every animal whom has a brain, it's own brain talks to it's self, this is self correction, every living animal has this, it's called self monitoring or self consciousness.

Now when a animal whom has a brain dies, the brain no longer communicates to it's self, the brain no longer functions, it has no thought again ever, even your own bible mentions this.

“For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

Now when you mention the heart has a function other than pumping blood, you are endorsing 2000 year old ignorance.

"Steven, are you angry with the Christians, and with the church?"

No I'm only angry with the lies that Christians are willing to believe and churches that endorse those very same lies.

The heart is a pump, it's does not perform any other function.

It's time to learn the truth and quit spreading Christianities metaphorical lies about the heart.

Don't you think? No I guess not!

Grace said...

Stephen,

Just taking a break here from my day. Of course, I'm speaking of heart in a metaphorical way.

Do you think there are Christian people who really don't understand this? I've never met anyone.

Stephen, I don't know you personally, and I might be mistaken about this, but I'm feeling a lot of disrespect, and contempt in your comments, and tone to me.

It may be that you've met Christians who have hurt you, and have been disrespectful, and if so I'm very sorry for this.

But, you need to know that there are many intelligent, thinking, caring people of faith out here. Everyone is not the same.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree for now, Stephen.

Peace to you.

Brother Crow said...

Grace, I am an old commenter and poster here...and I have been reading your comments and just had to respond. Your argument is so internally incoherent and weak, and here is why. You say its just about Jesus, your experience of the love of God in Christ. How do you know about this love? How do you know about Jesus? How do you know what he did? The Bible...because there are no other documents that give a historical account of Jesus. So...if you say some part of the bible can be interpreted metaphorically...then which parts? Just the parts you don't agree with or understand? What validates the biblical testimony of Jesus? If Genesis is metaphor...then can't the story of Jesus be metaphor? And who determines that? You? A church council?

The argument begins to break down completely. You can't go around arguing for the objective truth of Jesus if you don't also require the objective truth of the rest of the bible. Because the bible is the source document of all this belief.

You are choosing to put faith in two things...what the bible says (that you like, understand and helps you feel good) and your own subjective experience.

And that means it may be "real" for you...but that does not make it real for anyone else.

You are not using your brain, or your reason. You need to think more about what you are saying.

And...though there are "thoughtful" christians in the church, that means nothing. There are thoughtful chimpanzees. At some point, even thoughtful christians will need to analyze what they are saying about the bible, about history, and about where they get their information about Jesus. And once they begin to do that...it will get weird on them, because the same bible that they trust to tell the story of Jesus, also gives them the bizarre OT god, Paul and speaking in tongues, and a woman riding a beast in Revelation.

Good luck with that.

Grace said...

Hi, Brother Crow,

Aren't there different types of literature, though, which make up Scripture written over a huge span of time?

Were all parts of the Bible meant to be interpreted in a wooden, literal sense? This was not even the opinion of all the early church fathers. I'm thinking specifically of St. Augustine, for example. (Looked back on some of my posts. Guess I'm repeating myself.)

I'm part of a denomination where we consider not just the Scripture, but also the whole tradition of the church, as well as human reason, Hooker's three-legged stool.

This makes sense to me Crow. I seriously cannot imagine how someone can't look at John's visions in Revelation, for instance, and not see that there is tons of symbolism, and metaphor being expressed there.

People can take the Scripture very seriously as an authority for faith, without feeling that every part of it should also be interpreted literally. It depends on the context.

I want to add that I think there are Christian people who have made something close to an idol out of the Scripture, almost like a fourth person of the trinity. Is our faith ultimately in Scripture, or in the one that Scripture reveals??

Well, as you can see, I really do look as this differently.

And, to make matters even worse, I also have observed that very often people who have an extremely fundamentalist kind of view of Scripture, may find that their whole faith, and trust in God can completely unravel over finding one supposed error in the Bible.

God have mercy!

It's like this "house of cards," I suppose.

I'm not able to understand, it Crow.

Steven Bently said...

Well you see Grace, you will not address anything posed to you that is written by me or your famous bible, as an example....


“For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)"


You are so quick to pass judgement, as to my tone or I have been hurt by xtains and are being disrespectful, yet you are being blatantly disrespectful to us for not addressing our questions posed upon you, about things written in your own bible that you gladly dismiss.

"I guess we'll have to agree to disagree."

Yeah that gets you out of the toilet so many times doesn't it?

You've learned that your petty excuses have saved you from having to address questions that you have absolutely no answer for, yet you have your feet firmly planted into your faith, because you are so afraid that Jesus will send you to hell if you happen to doubt your pseudo faith on iota.

Believe me, if your Bible god will not even lend a hand to help even one of his own favorite people, (the 6 million Jews), Christians don't have a tinkers chance in hell for the Bible god to help save them from anything.

Truth really hurts doesn't it?

Grace said...

Ok, Steven,

I'll hang around for awhile, and just talk. I think part of the problem is we probably have a very different view of the purpose of the Scripture. Do you come from more of a fundamentalist kind of background?

I don't feel that the book of Ecc. was given as a base for the doctrine of the church. I think it just reflects a natural man's reasoning under the sun. There's some truth there, though.

Like it's certainly reflecting truth to say that for everything there is a season..

On the other hand, I wouldn't personally agree with the teacher's view in Ecc. 9:5-6.

Of course, the church, and Christians in general have read this in differing ways, I'm sure. Everyone doesn't agree.

I'm not afraid of Hell, Steven. To my mind, God loves, and accepts us unconditionally in Christ.

I think it's just being real, and honest to question, and express doubt, and to acknowledge that we don't have all the answers. It's ok.