Some unidentified person

sent me the following. I have to say that compared to my other recent discourse, this was pretty mature.

Hey SC,

I hope you’re doing well.

>So you respect the fact that people can believe whatever it is that they want to believe but at the same time see fit to show disrespect towards their beliefs. It strikes me as a little odd.

That’s not odd at all. It is also my obligation to respect a neo-Nazi’s right to hate blacks as much as I have no respect for that belief. The fact is, at least in this country, we all follow this. It’s simply that some beliefs are more popular than others and so receive a certain unmerited respect.

>I don’t approve of it when Christians do it and likewise when anyone else sees fit to do it. I believe it’s okay to disagree but when people start throwing around insults that’s where I have to draw the line.

Not all beliefs are of equal weight. The ones that have no evidence to back them up deserve no respect.

>Atheism is the disbelief in the existence of a deity. In other words the belief that there is no God. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I have absolutely no respect for atheism or atheistic beliefs. What I despise is what people do with it. For instance, when people start throwing around those insults.

You’re conflating two issues. An atheist doesn’t necessarily throw around insults and an insulter isn’t necessarily an atheist. I don’t know what else you’re talking about that atheists do.

>Personally, I am a theist and a lot of what I believe in actuality goes hand in hand with what most Christians believe. For instance, I do believe in God. I believe that people are not simply the product of some cosmic accident and that we were created with a purpose. I believe that we will be judged for the things that we have done in our lives.

Why do you believe this? What’s your basis for these beliefs? What evidence do you have for them?

>When it comes down to evolution, I don’t really believe that’s how this universe occured. There are varying issues as to what came before the evolutionary process. For instance, I had a teacher who the first day of class walks in and says, “the universe evolved into existence from nothing”. And saw fit to give no reasons as to why he believed that.

Obviously it was your teacher’s obligation to give evidence for what he said. At the same time, it’s a fallacy to think that just because we don’t have full knowledge of what your teacher claimed, that automatically means the universe was created.

>I disagreed with him for a few reasons. First off, all scientific knowledge thus far has made it very clear that at some point there was a “in the beginning”. That the universe expanded from a single point and before said event there was nothing. That’s where most religious beliefs are correct in their assumptions.

If by “correct” you mean everyone assumes there was a beginning to existence then, sure, perhaps that one point is in agreement. At the same time, no one knows. The difference between science and religion is science acknowledges its lack of knowledge and seeks to remedy that. Religion claims not only to know, but also to be infallible in its assumptions.

>It’s at this point where I had to ask, “is there anything that exists within our realm of time and space that is capable of creating itself from nothing”? Regardless of how far back you go in the process of the creation of our universe eventually you reach the point where either something is capable of creating itself from nothing or something outside of our realm of time and space can credited with our existence.

But you’re again moving towards an assumption. Let’s throw away the loaded word “created.” Let’s just say at one point there was no universe and now there is. Obviously something happened back there to change that status. My understanding is that the current theory is all matter was compressed into a singularity, then exploded, thus the Big Bang. This in and of itself is not necessarily a creation. This doesn’t necessarily require an outside force to go into motion. And, given that we don’t fully understand the nature of the universe, all bets are ultimately off. The fact is we don’t know, but there are observable aspects we do know and those aspects don’t require a creator.

And the beautiful thing about theories is they can be ultimately proved right or wrong. The current evidence points to a Big Bang, but that could easily be disproved by a new discovery. Religion doesn’t allow for that for, if a religious theory is proved wrong, what does that say about a god?

>Now evolution is a bit different for a few reasons. Evolution implies that we evolved from simpler organisms into complex ones over the course of time. If you look into the logic that goes with that it doesn’t really seem plausible at least to me anyway.

Why is that?

>Fred Hoyle is an astronomer and he and some other guy whose name I forgot calculated that the probably of even one enzyme from an amino acid had a probability of 1 out of 10^20 of occuring randomly anywhere on Earth. That’s just one enzyme out of 2000. Scientists have already said that to calculate DNA randomly occuring would incalculable. It’s at this point where some people will say, “well, life’s a miracle”. And I do believe that life is a miracle.

Define “miracle.” Why do you believe that?

>But the funny thing about miracles is that they never violate the laws of nature. If something shouldn’t have occured through natural processes it wasn’t gonna happen. In other words for evolution to have taken place, there must have been a “glitch” in the natural laws.

I’m no evolutionary expert, but my understanding is that the probability is not the issue. The fact is that we have mountains of evidence of life forms changing over time. If you want to get into probability then it’s highly unlikely we should exist given the necessary conditions for our existence which predominantly don’t even exist on our own planet. And yet we do exist. So clearly, the supposedly unbelievable probability of anything happening is moot.

>The reason I respect Christianity so much is because I have seen up close what “real Christians” look like and the leaps and bounds they go for others by denying themselves.

Define “real Christians.”

>Christianity is a really beautiful thing. To love others before yourself. To love your enemies who seek to do you harm. When someone strikes you turn the other cheek. Even the classroom favorite, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. So simple yet so profound.

Which is why it’s not unique to Christianity. Those philosophies are very old and universal. They became popularly associated with Christianity, but that doesn’t mean Christianity developed them.

Beyond that, there are plenty of ugly, horrible things that
Christianity says such as the idea that we are awful in god’s eyes and must seek salvation through a blood sacrifice. It’s ridiculous, plain and simple.

>I have heard no other belief system in the world state things like this.

Buddhism
Judaism
Islam
Jainism
Hinduism
Confucianism

Additionally, just because you haven’t heard of something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

> Christianity gives people a hope for something better than the here and now. Not money fame or fortune but something greater.

If by “something greater” you mean an afterlife, that’s an
unsubstantiated claim. A lie. Telling people that this life is but a preamble to the next one is a horrible injustice. It directs people to waste this life in the hope of one after.

But even beyond that, Christianity isn’t original in this. The Greeks believed the same thing as did the Romans as did the ancient Germanic tribes as does Judaism as does Hinduism.

>That’s where I disagree with atheism in its entirety because where Christianity and other religions attempt to give people hope for something, it just seems to me like atheism comes up and tries to take it away.

The beautiful thing about atheism is it says there most likely is nothing beyond this life and no inherent meaning to this life, therefore you must enjoy this life as much as you can and find your own meaning and purpose. I far prefer defining my own meaning and joy than worrying about what some ancient Middle Eastern nomadic shepherd cult told me what they should be.

>But yeah, I hope I made my points clear enough and in the event that you have any questions or comments just hit me up and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I think I’ve asked most of my questions, but it honestly seems to me that you, like many, are operating from a place of assumption and ignorance. Now please understand I don’t mean stupidity. Ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge. I’m ignorant when it comes to nuclear physics. Or football. You say things like “Christianity is the only religion that says this” when that is simply and obviously not true. Or notions like “there must have been a creator” (not quoting). Must there? Says who? Our sense of dignity? Or the idea that hope for something better is a good thing. Who says that’s good? Why is it not better to cherish what we have now? And what exactly is a miracle?? I know I already asked that.

>And for the record I just want to end by apologizing for some of the things I said in some of my earlier comments. Some of what I said stemmed from anger and for that I do apologize.

I don’t remember what that was, but no problem. Thanks!

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