65 2 mins 8 yrs

I blame the Churches myself;

One in four people no longer believes in any religion, official analysis of national census returns found yesterday. It revealed Christianity is in decline and Christians are increasingly likely to be older or retired people. Many young people, young men in particular, appear to be rejecting religious belief altogether. Nearly one in three under-25s – 32 per cent – say they do not have a religion.

It wasn’t always like this of course and not ALL religions in the UK are in decline. One is growing massively. (Yes, you can guess it) The turning away from faith is sad to witness but I can understand why. Churches have become bland, anaemic, places that seek to be all things to all men. They are riddled with hypocrisy and faithless clerics who outdo each other to be “modern”. For me faith is not about modernity, but rather eternity.  I walked away from Churches when I decided that they were whited sepulchres. But I could never  walk away from my faith. I am also reminded of the aphorism that when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything. You see the results of that on  daily basis. I think having faith  – having a religion if you will – is a courageous thing in this secular age. It’s not an easy thing but then again the road to hell is paved with smooth stepping stones.

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65 thoughts on “YOU GOTTA HAVE NO FAITH…

  1. You can never have true liberty as long as you have religion, especially a state-sponsored religion.

  2. “You can never have true liberty as long as you have religion, especially a state-sponsored religion.”

    mjr
    I think that is nonsense. Many Christians came to faith AFTER having done it all. Drink, drugs, sex and anything else we think will bring us happiness.
    In any case, what do you MEAN by true liberty? The fact is that human happiness is dependent upon others we care about. We are incomplete in ourselves, and we don’t just fall in love for the continuance of the human race.
    Happiness does not come primarily through possessions, it comes through deep, caring relationships with other people.
    Those other people will love and value you as an individual and in return they expect to be treated with love and respect by you.
    That means making allowances for each other. That means putting each other first and being faithful and loyal.
    So already, in order to have a sense of happiness and fulfilment we have to LIMIT our own freedom or liberty so as to make those relationships viable.

    Then think about society. In order for society to work there has to be limits to individual liberty in order to allow the greatest possible amount of personal freedom and self expression. Then in business in science, in every field of human interaction there has to be a code of conduct. Truth, honesty, trust, integrity.
    True Christians are disciples, followers of Jesus Christ,and so in whatever field of endeavour they have chosen they will conduct themselves according to Christian values. In Christianity at least there is a real difference between “religion” and “faith.” Religion is the organised, codified and ritualised expression of belief. Faith is fluid and dynamic. The guiding principles and the Lordship of Christ remain the same, but faith recognizes that no church or sect has all the truth, that rituals can become more important than the faith, the representatives assume more authority than the Head.
    Faith is about a personal relationship with God through Christ. Religion majors on conformity.
    But in my opinion there is no such things as “true liberty”.

  3. Agited,

    Well written, – the ultimate perception of true liberty, – the libery to be in control of oneself.

    David,

    Likewise, a summary of the feelings of many Christians, belief in our faith but not in the church that has lost its way and fails miserably in leading by example.

    Thank you both!

  4. Sorry, that’s just a religious outporing, its not actuially saying anything lucid or useful.

    What I really meant to say, and admittedly my sentence is ambiguous, is that as long as there is organised religioun of any kind, even placid CofE kind, and especially in a state where the government identifies with a religion, then I will always have to watch my back to make sure that there are not restrictions to my liberty brewing in my background, solely there to serve the purpose of the people running the outfit. Sunday trading? Expression of opinion? Likelihood of being taken seriously in court (declining the opportunity to swear on the bible counts against you on that one). As a person intelligent enough to have a moral code without the need for a mistranslated and inconsistent book for guidance, all organised religion must be treated with suspicion.

  5. mjr,

    So you dont see any virtue in the core beliefs of Christianity that Agit8ed mentiones.

    It would be interesting to read just what you see as replacing it as a metaphorical guide to living in such a multi-faceted community as we do.

    You cannot really believe in doing just about anything you feel like doing without some consideration for others, – that’s really not an option. Nature determined long ago that as a human being, you just cannot survive as a ‘lone wolf’ in the midst of a pack of wolves.

    In a modern age you would be incapable of surviving for long without the help and consideration of others, whether it be for food and shelter or just for your personal safety.

    Perhaps you just haven’t really thought it through, or maybe you are still an innocent and blessed with a charming degree of naivety.

  6. good words by all

    mjr

    I will always have to watch my back to make sure that there are not restrictions to my liberty brewing in my background,

    that is something you need to always do, if however you look at recent history the governments that have oppressed their people the most are the ones that have the stand that there should be no church. ie: Soviet Union, China, Germany. All these beacons of joy first shut down and vilified organized religion, and God.

  7. People were leaving well before “modernity” ninnies inflicted their trends upon the gray-haired remnants.

  8. In the US the more conservative churches are actually growing.

    The one that actually believe in God and all that stuff.

  9. mjr,

    “then I will always have to watch my back to make sure that there are not restrictions to my liberty brewing in my background, solely there to serve the purpose of the people running the outfit. Sunday trading? Expression of opinion?”

    Sorry,
    but I can’t let you off the hook on this one. As the Troll mentions those so called God free, religion free regimes such as Soviet Russia, China, East Germany, Albania, Nazi Germany and now North Korea, were/are extremely cruel and oppressive.
    There was no personal liberty, no freedom of thought. The State brooked no opposition and told people what to think. Everybody was encouraged to spy on each other and a climate of fear and repression meant that those who could escaped to the West, (where people were free to believe and Christianity however weak however pitiful was uncensored.)

    So what are you really upset about? You mention Sunday trading, but that requires store workers to give up their Sundays, their family time in order to serve you. Or power workers, policemen, doctors and nurses. Some of these people don’t have the luxury of being able to change their jobs or professions. They have people or families depending on them, so they make sacrifices.

    Expression of opinion!?
    Who stops you doing that?
    Swearing on the Bible in a court of law is no longer required, I think, if you are an atheist or agnostic or other faith.

    So it seems to me mjr, that what you are really saying is that you want the right to create a world or society that conforms to your values! You want the freedom to do what you want when you want, without anyone telling you what that should be.

    The problem is that why shouldn’t every individual have the same thing?
    Why shouldn’t everyone have their own moral code and behave accordingly??
    What could possibly go wrong? 🙂

  10. “The one that actually believe in God and all that stuff.”

    Phantom,
    you mean the Holy Joes..

  11. In the US the more conservative churches are actually growing.
    The one that actually believe in God and all that stuff.

    As far as I know the US is an aberration in this regard. In most advanced industrial countries religion is rapidly declining and the more conservative groups are becoming particularly irrelevant.

    It might make religious people feel better to think that if churches would only become more conservative (and that’s the polite word for it) that everything would be rosey. I suspect this is self-indulgent folly.

  12. Phantom,
    I used to get some stick for being one I can tell you. Of course i was younger then and less quick tempered..
    As I’ve gotten older I’ve found an appropriate Bible verse along with a smack in the mouth can sometimes work wonders..

  13. Petrkin,
    The churches experiencing the greatest growth in Europe are either non denominational or established churches with a strong evangelical focus. That’s Protestant and Catholic. Where (I think) churches are getting it wrong is by not engaging with social and political issues. Not the “Moral Majority” model, I didn’t agree with that, but as individuals or small groups.

    The Church of England is certainly struggling, but it was the Church that inspired the great social and educational changes in the 18th and 19th century,

  14. As a fundamentalist atheist, I can say that the failures of the organised churches have contributed very little to the decline in belief in the supernatural. Religious observance has been in decline in Britain since late Victorian times. It has more to do with people thinking (and reading) for themselves and coming to the conclusion that all religions are massive frauds.

  15. Peter,
    I subscribe to the theory that a very few people make things happen, a somewhat bigger group analyze what is happening and the vast majority could care less.

    I do basically agree with you , but I think perhaps you miss out that most people accept ideas and theories without really thinking about them.

    Evolution is one idea. Religion is another. But the desire to go with the flow, to be “one of the many” is very strong amongst a tribal creature like man. Most of us do not want to different, we don’t like to stand out, we prefer to conform or be different in “acceptable” ways.

    No one and nothing has come along that has convinced me that faith in God is either misplaced or unintelligent.

  16. I should think by now God has has explained to Darwin where he went wrong!

    Actually,
    I think as an explanation of how animals adapt Darwin’s explanation makes sense. However it doesn’t explain the sheer diversity and ingenuity of wildlife. Even the mutations and cosmic “lucky strikes” don’t explain it for me.
    The incredible variety of trees and plants and flowers, insects and the amazing inter-dependability of the whole bio diversity.
    I thin evolution explains to some degree the “How” but not the “Why?”
    God says He did it all. He made the universe and he made us.He made it so that all living things can reproduce, but only man has consciousness such that he questions he observes, he thinks he invents.

    I am confident in affirming that He made it all, even though I do not know how he did it. The question of consciousness, of the emotions, of love and beauty are all imo best explained by a belief in an all powerful holy and compassionate God who has revealed Himself through the Bible and most fully through His Son Jesus Christ.
    Many thoughtful and intelligent people,including scientists and philosophers believe this.

  17. That would be -could be a Deist position.
    It’s rather more difficult for a Christian because essentially Christianity is about how God took the initiative in finding a way to reconcile sinful man with a Holy God; which of course was why Jesus came and died on the Cross.
    It addresses the question of evil and the manifestations of evil.
    So if evolution means that “Chance” and “Time” and “Matter” resulted through the evolutionary processes in Man, then Man is NOT a special creation. He is an accident of time and chance, and has no real significance. Which of course what many thoughtful and intelligent men would say. We have no significance and everything we think and do and feel is all an illusion and ultimately meaningless.

    So whilst there are Christian folk who accept evolution as an explanation for our being, it does actually go against the specialness of man whom God says He made in His own image.So personally I do believe that Man is a special creation, not the end result of an evolutionary process.

    I find it all quite fascinating and I discuss the issues (as I understand them) with priests and vicars and friends. AS I have said before there cannot be any ultimate disagreement between faith and science.

  18. That is as good an explanation as any I have heard, either in a church or a classroom.

    We only have to look around us and marvel – it cannot just all be accidental.

    The problem that I see most atheists, agnostics or non-believes seem to have is in visualising something, someone, or an entity that is outside the bounds of their imagination. Pretty much as most folk have in imagining the concept of infinity, – a person can go crazy just trying to fathom that one out.

    Everything we have discovered or learnt over millenia point to some superior existential force or being – it just cannot ‘have happened’, there had to be some starting point. As I said, – very hard to accept, and even harder to understand.

    There must have been a beginning – but so far, well outside of man’s imagination or understanding.

    Everything points to ‘having faith’ that there has to be some superior entity. To deny it is the easy option of the cynical or the lazy thinker.

    To always refer to the Bible as the sole reference source is also misleading, after all, it was written to be understood by a largely illiterate population and to always refer to it in todays context can not only be very misleading but also guaranteed to invoke criticism and mockery.

    Read it with comprehension of the content, but in the context of the present day, and it becomes a ‘handbook’ for leading a useful and worthwhile life, after all, it is knowledge from the past handed on to us to further progress our thinking on matters as yet beyond our knowledge or understanding.

    Look on it as a series of scientific papers, but written in terms easily understood by simple folk, it is our responsibilty to progress that knowledge further. That seems to be where our current ‘churches’ seem to be failing, – they have done little to progress our spititual thinking beyond that written two thousand years ago.

  19. Ernest
    I think I have done that with the seven days of creation now. I used to believe it literally and uncritically. Now I still believe He did it but it probably wasn’t seven literal days. Ultimately I guess God reveals Himself through the Bible, but to draw scientific conclusions from a non scientific book is unwise.

  20. A8 and Ernest

    I appreciate your point of view, which of course I don`t share.

    Read Richard Dawkins “The Blind Watchmaker”. It is a superbly written account of why Darwin`s theory of evolution is so persuasive. You can retain your belief in God after reading it, but you will be well educated in Darwin.

  21. ‘However it doesn’t explain the sheer diversity and ingenuity of wildlife’

    Sure it does. You just don’t understand or don’t like the explanation.

    ‘I think evolution explains to some degree the “How” but not the “Why?”’

    While religion explains neither.

  22. even darwin didn’t believe in his theory fully…. learn to read the full details of things.

    This is always a great topic when taken seriously. The true view of creation. Is it all just random chance of chemicals accidentally combining that form or don’t form into living things or is there a master plan laid on top of it?

    Better yet is it both. That’s what I believe.

    What came first the chicken or the egg… the big bang or the word of god?

    All things that exist are created out of the dust of the stars. Every mollecule of all things alive or inert can be traced to the chemical compounds that make up the stars. Ok so then play it further where did the chemicals that make up stars originate?

    The more we learn the more we realize how truly little we know. Each answer always leads to a bigger question we just get smarter with each answer to ask the next question.

    Is there a god… who knows? No one can say for sure either way and whoever does is a fool.

    What we do know is that there are rules, laws, whether they are the physical laws of matter or the spiritual laws of morality no one can deny that the Laws exist.

    We are encoded with a natural understanding of the laws of morality that little voice that tells us inside if we act right or wrong. That is a window on the laws of spirituality. That set of laws is in our biological matrix or some would say our soul.

    The physical laws we learn as individuals and as a species. And as I said the more we discover the more we discover how little we know.

    A man walked the planet 2000 yrs ago what he did or didn’t do is debatable, what is not debatable is that a man who walked the earth 2000 years ago left such an impression that he changed the perspective of the entire species and did so before mass media existed.

    I have seen miracles, I have seen evil, I have studied the half life of an isotope.

    I know that science and mathematics will eventually give us understanding and control over all the physical laws. The spiritual laws aren’t that easy. We will master control of time and space long before we master control of good and evil.

  23. “While religion explains neither.”

    Correction:
    “While in my opinion religion explains neither.”

    Even just taking insect life into account, WHY such diversity? Why so many beetles, ants, butterflies etc. If it was diversification what motivated it? If genetic mutations caused by whatever, why would anything want to adapt anyway? It implies conscious thought,it implies organisation and direction out of a meaningless, mindless, cosmic accident.
    For example, if man has evolved to the point of considering and manipulating his environment, why have not the apes -any ape- come near to having that same desire to move on up?
    You may say that they maybe are, by very small increments, but I would say that they will all be extinct within a few hundred years unless the worst result of the evolutionary process radically changes his attitudes to the rest of the animal kingdom.
    Then of course there is the whole realm of meaning and reason; which as I mentioned earlier the philosophers have said that if all is accidental and blind chance, then all that man is has no significance or value.

  24. “While religion explains neither.” – Frank.

    “Is it all just random chance of chemicals accidentally combining that form or don’t form into living things” – Troll.

    Both of the above comments seem to be the result of assuming that we have all of the facts to hand. Knowing ‘how’, is the provable and easily demonstrated part.

    Surely if we are to progress further in our seach for the ‘why’, we need to expand our thinking into the realms of possibilty.

    Both comments seem to favour evolution, but ignore the fact that for that to be true we should have at least an inkling of where the original ingredients for life evolved. To just say it was a collision of atoms, or a ‘big bang’, just doesn’t explain much – where did those atoms or atomic dust originate – that is the question and one that evolutionists never have an answer for.

    You cannot make something out of nothing! for there to be ‘something’ there has to be an origin for that ‘something’, to believe otherwise is a contradiction of everything we know at this time.

    Understanding ‘infinity’ would be but a small step compared to understanding more of the real origins and purpose of our world.

    That’s where ‘faith’ comes in Frank, – we might call it imagination, or just plain fantasy, – my guess is that there is something yet to be revealed. Was the curtain was briefly drawn two thousand years ago, who knows?

    Science may explain the ‘how’ but the ‘why’ is still beyond the comprehension of our current level of understanding. Whether one believes that or not, it would be silly to dismiss that possibility ‘out-of-hand’.

  25. “…that is the question and one that evolutionists never have an answer for.”

    Ernest, why should ‘evolutionists’ have an answer for that? That question, and the question of how life began have nothing at all to do with evolution, rather cosmology and abiogenesis. Two distinctly separate fields of study.

  26. //Nature determined long ago that as a human being, you just cannot survive as a ‘lone wolf’ in the midst of a pack of wolves.
    In a modern age you would be incapable of surviving for long without the help and consideration of others, //

    There you have it – an answer to your own question- A lot of ethics can be explained from biological or social evolutionary needs.
    There are of course other sources of what we call good behaviour, outside of religion, but that’s one of them.

  27. Sarah,

    Are evolutionists so close-minded that they do not even consider other lines of thought, surely when doing research every avenue should be explored.

    Even the science of evolution has to have had a starting point, surely the evolution of the universe would be a logical starting point for study of the evolution of life on our planet. Likewise for abiogenesis, surely a possibilty of a ‘kick-start’ for life may exist within that sphere of study.

    They may be two distinct fields of study, but surely still a part of the overall search for ‘a beginning’.

  28. “Nature determined long ago ”

    And there you have an assumption!

    “Nature determined..”

    What is this Nature? Why should she determine anything? If there is no mind, no intelligence behind it all, how CAN there be any explanation for life in all its varied forms adapting to, or figuring out anything.

    You are making assumptions of purpose or direction, when the very origins of life “happening” in a meaningless universe would say that there can be no reason why cells would develop or mutate in any meaningful way. This is the doctrine of atheistic /Orwellian regimes wherein man is seen as a machine to be manipulated and moulded to suit the purposes of the all powerful State.
    Interestingly mjr’s assertion that religion curtails liberty is exactly the opposite of what happens when you believe man has no ultimate significance. It is that which allows you to kill or torture millions of “liberated souls”.

  29. “Even just taking insect life into account, WHY such diversity? Why so many beetles, ants, butterflies etc. ”

    And religion’s answer to that is what exactly? Religion does not even ask that question, never mind answer it.

    “Both of the above comments seem to be the result of assuming that we have all of the facts to hand. […] for that to be true we should have at least an inkling of where the original ingredients for life evolved. “

    Ernest first you say we can’t know everything and then you complain if we don’t.

    It’s OK not to know everything. It’s not an excuse to make stuff up.

    “You cannot make something out of nothing!”

    Nothing makes something all the time.

  30. To just say it was a collision of atoms, or a ‘big bang’, just doesn’t explain much – where did those atoms or atomic dust originate – that is the question and one that evolutionists never have an answer for.

    If questions such as this are every answered, science will answer them. Holy books will have nothing to do with it.

  31. Frank,

    “Ernest first you say we can’t know everything and then you complain if we don’t.”

    No I didn’t, I said ‘we don’t know everything’, – a slightly different connotation, and no I wasn’t complaining about the fact, just remarking that we have yet to learn more.

  32. It is virtually certain that life in some form exists elsewhere in our galaxy and maybe even in our solar system. I wonder what explanation the god-botherers will put forward when that is confirmed.

  33. If questions such as this are every answered, science will answer them. Holy books will have nothing to do with it.”

    Says the guy who can’t even explain how HE believes the world could live in peace!

    Man doesn’t have a good record on how he treats the world or the animals and people in it. I believe in science, but I also believe that there is no harm in prayerfully consulting the One who created the rules that make science possible (order and predictability). The fact is that our* universe runs according to observable and predictable laws. That is what makes research possible. Now if we are a cosmic accident, why do we seek order, why do we question origins?
    As I said earlier I am content to accept that there is a Creator God who reveals Himself through the Bible, and who created man with the ability to question and explore. It makes sense (to me) that order and reasoning and the appreciation of beauty, music and love comes from God, not mindless chaos.

  34. * I mean this one. I don’t preclude the possibility of there being other universes or that God will one day wrap this one up!

  35. “…but surely still a part of the overall search for ‘a beginning’.”

    Not at all, Ernest. Not even in the slightest. Evolutionary theory is about evolution. Not abiogenesis, not the origin of the universe, not gravitational theory, quantum physics or brain surgery. It’s about evolution. This is not being close minded, it’s just saying how it is.

    I only belabour the point because when the topic of evolution is brought up, it is very often countered with the ignorant argument that evolution can’t explain how it all started – as if it should. As if it’s even trying to. It’s not.

    While how the universe and life itself began are indeed very much unknowns, evolution is cold hard fact.

  36. Sarah — Agree 100% until you wrote “evolution is cold hard fact.” It’s not, it’s a scientific theory.

  37. Petr, ‘theory’ in the scientific context has a different definition than the one we’re usually acquainted with.

    e.g. Gravitational theory, theory of evolution, theory of relativity, etc

    Therefore when you write “It’s not, it’s a scientific theory”, I say: it is, it’s a scientific theory.

  38. Peter,

    ‘I wonder what explanation the god-botherers will put forward when that is confirmed.’

    Well with an open mind, it may be accepted that we, on this planet, are then but a small insignificant part of some wider plan or perhaps of a far larger world than we can ever imagine, – imagine an infinite zoo where the exhibits are seperated by the vastness of space rather than fences, – can you imagine yourself as just another exhibit?

    Would that not also lend weight to the idea of some superior entity who has some oversight of beings, human or otherwise, who may also exist elsewhere.

    As we see antheaps, numerous but unconnected, so they may see the tenants of other worlds, and likewise as easily destroyed at will or by chance. Doesn’t it all depend on just how far into the depths of imagination or fantasy you are prepared to go.

    No doubt what any of us may think as possible will be way off the mark.

    The thoughts we think are numerous and varied, it is the ones we believe in that bring us comfort and peace of mind, isn’t that what this is all about?

  39. Ernest

    I was think more along the line that the Bible makes no mention of life on other planets.

    There are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way and probably five times as many planets. And the Milky Way is only one of 100 billion galaxies. So the number of planets in the known universe could be around 50 thousand billion. It seems unlikely that our planet is the only one of those that supports life.

  40. Two books come to mind while reading this thread. One is “Mind and Cosmos”, by Thomas Nagel — which really meets at the crossroads of science and philosopy. In essence, we are waiting for the next Darwin…and as A8 and Ernest have discussed, there is a focus on consciousness and how Darwin never answered this question. The other is Eben Alexander’s book “Proof of Heaven” written by a neurologist. Also, I have to say I agree with Colm that this is a good thread but to make it better, those who are using derrogatory terms like ‘god botherers’ should cease and desist…it’s arrogant and takes away from the discussion.

  41. That’s not correct, Sarah.

    “evolution is cold hard fact” just isn’t true. Maybe I’m being pedantic, but scientific theory doesn’t provide logical certainty the way you suggest.

    Science doesn’t prove something to be true. It proves something is false or gathers convincing evidence that something is true; hence why the theory of gravity is a theory – because all the evidence points to it being true.

    “Scientific theories are inductive in nature and do not make apodictic propositions”

  42. The scientific method only works on falsifiable claims. The concept of falsifiability is probably the most central & most misunderstood. A falsifiable claim is a claim that can be shown to be wrong. Take gravity for example: it is a falsifiable claim because it is possible for it to be shown to be wrong. If when I drop an apple it flies then gravity is wrong. That’s falsifiability.

  43. Lots of people criticising science for providing ‘how?’ questions but not answering ‘why?’ But religion has spent a lot of time, money and energy providing ‘why?’ answers for things that aren’t even the case.

    Religion can tell you why the earth is the centre of the universe. But the earth isn’t the centre of the universe.

    Religion can tell you why the earth is 6000 years old. But the earth isn’t 6000 years old.

    Religion can tell you why diseases are caused by demonic possession. But they aren’t caused by demonic possession.

    And on and on. Every falsifiable claim made by religion has been falsified. What’s been shown, over and over, is that religion is not even very good at ‘what?’ questions, never mind how or why. But every time with the ‘god of the gaps’ we’re supposed to believe that this time is different.

  44. Sarah,
    “I only belabour the point because when the topic of evolution is brought up, it is very often countered with the ignorant argument that evolution can’t explain how it all started – as if it should. As if it’s even trying to. It’s not.”

    Agreed,
    but then in that sense evolution is no different to believing in adaptation of species which were created. When you consider the idea that a) a very simple cell just happened -amazing in itself because if I understand it correctly a simple cell is not so simple anyway.

    Then maybe a long or short time passes… but nobody knows.
    The cell is still there,
    it decides to become more complex,
    reproduce and
    through various genetic mutations
    or bombardments from cosmic rays,
    or the reactions of chemicals on each other in our primordial soup,
    or perhaps that cell or cells (probably was more than one of ’em egging each other on to “do something” )
    came from outer space somewhere, having broken off somehow from another “cosmic accident planet..”

    Or maybe as Noel suggests nature “determined it.”

    Anyway the point is that these cells somehow or other became more complex, and not only that, they began (through whatever agency) to morph into simple organisms which then (through some upwards urging agency -perhaps to catch some rays) they decided to leave the soup/sea/deep under sea vents, and after growing little legs so as to paddle about in the shallows, they came to a momentous decision:
    “We will go” (they said or however they communicated) “and populate the dry bits”.

    Why?
    No one knows.
    There are various suggestions and disagreements between evolutionists) but no one actually KNOWS.

    Given that life did miraculously spontaneously magically appear on earth, without the help of any supernatural or Noel’s Auntie Nature theory; it’s a very long stretch of credulity to believe that this amazing occurrence upped and decided to not only replicate in sufficient quantities, but to become more and more complex.
    The fact is that evolutionists are still unsure about how the process got going, and perhaps just as importantly why cells are not still evolving and becoming more complex. i.e. where is the evidence for the same process taking place at differing stages of development?

    http://www.foolishfaith.com/book_chap3_odds.asp

    http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/theory.html

    I submit these two web links not to prove my point, but to show that there are plenty of people who can state the questions far better than \I can and also that there is still plenty of disagreement about how it all happened amongst evolutionists.
    Which means that whilst you may say Sarah that “Evolution is a cold hard fact” what you really mean is,
    “We all agree that evolution happened, but we don’t really know HOW it happened!”
    It is still a theory. A work in progress.

  45. Peter,

    “I was think more along the line that the Bible makes no mention of life on other planets.”

    Hebrews 1:2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

    “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” John 14.

    As I said earlier I see no reason why there could not be other worlds or even universes or dimensions. We are atoms in motion, we relate to the world through our senses but we know that our senses only see/hear some of the lights and sounds that we know exist.

  46. Finally!
    The point is that religious people of most faiths work in the various sciences.
    They believe in the rigours of research and hypothesis,but they see no contradiction between their scientific pursuits and the observance of their faith.
    I don’t think it has to be an either/or.

  47. “In essence, we are waiting for the next Darwin…and as A8 and Ernest have discussed, there is a focus on consciousness and how Darwin never answered this question.”

    I like that mairin2. I do believe that there will be another theory that comes along and appears to fit the facts better. You will see from one of my links that even Francis Crick changed his mind..

  48. Petr,
    Oh dear,
    we agree on something…
    Well I’m not wearing a studenty scarf for anybody.
    Especially not you!

  49. Mairin

    yes I agree with you re, the ‘God-botherers’ remarks. This debate is improved by believers and no-believers respecting each others choices.

    My personal opinion is that the only faith anyone needs is to believe whatever I tell them 😉

  50. A8

    No, there`s a difference. I do not believe in things that there is no evidence for, but you do.

  51. If belief brings comfort and contentment then it needs no evidence. It has already served its purpose.

  52. “No, there`s a difference. I do not believe in things that there is no evidence for, but you do.”

    Peter,
    interesting that we often have similar views on certain subjects, yet you say that I have no evidence for what I believe, but neither do you! You have drawn conclusions from what you observe as do I.

    I offered above the questions of how on earth simple cells (was there more than one, and if so how?) to the complexities that we see all around us.
    I offered links that frame the questions more lucidly than I can, but you have nothing to say.
    The people who ask the questions are not stupid Peter, they are also trained scientists and they know what they are talking about.
    If all comes from an accident of cosmic impersonal forces, then two atheistic miracles have taken place!
    One that from dead, inorganic material came life in the shape of a simple (yet still complex cell(s)
    And two against all the odds and for no apparent reason or motivational force – (‘cos in your religion there is none)- all the glorious complexities and expressions of life has emerged…

  53. A8

    Firstly I never said that deists are stupid, but they have always had the lack of evidence problem.

    I can well remember being told about God as a seven year old in primary school. I was told he made the world and all the creatures that live in it. And I was bursting to ask who made God (Aspergers) but was too intimidated to dare.

  54. Before I became a Christian I used to have the same question
    “Who made God?”

    But actually
    “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.” Acts 17: 26-28

    In Him we live and move and have our being.Which means that God transcends time and space, and ONLY He has no beginning and no end. So all that is created has a beginning and has an ending. Only God is eternal and un-caused.

    “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.” Isaiah 51:6

    finally,

    “The science that put men on the moon and has yielded tremendous advances in computers, medicine, and other fields, is observable, testable, and repeatable*. When a theory is developed, experiments can be devised to determine if it is false. This true science is referred to as “operational science.” In recent years, the term “science” has been broadened to include many areas that typically do not meet the criteria for operational science. These include social science, political science, and others.”

    *Evolution does not fall into this category, therefore it remains a theory, or to those who are determined to believe it and teach it, it becomes a religion. 🙂

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