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Old 12-20-2004, 05:54 AM   #181
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Can I ask a stupid question, NotAnEasyThing? Im good at it

I can not get my head around the begining of the universe. The whole theory, big bang, or whatever. The notion of "nothing" before something happened I find too difficult to comprehend. So I just live with not understanding.

How do you, as a believer in God, fathom the origins of the universe. I know Christians who dish out the "God always is, was, and will always be" line. I'm interested to hear your take, please.
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Old 12-20-2004, 05:58 AM   #182
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Good question, although I would like to state that the big bang theory is still a theory and recent developments in cosmology have raised questions about it; whats that saying "cosmologists are always exactly right until they get new data".
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Old 12-20-2004, 05:59 AM   #183
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I feel the same way actually. I refuse to assume a creator exists- I just sought to find out if it was possible to know. I won't just blurt out why I have come to that conclusion but can you tell me what you would consider incontravertable evidence for a creator would be. And also, why do you think you don't place the same standard on your view of evolution? (as you said in a previous post we do not have a full and proper explaination of the universe).
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Old 12-20-2004, 06:00 AM   #184
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Good question, although I would like to state that the big bang theory is still a theory and recent developments in cosmology have raised questions about it; whats that saying "cosmologists are always exactly right until they get new data".
Agreed. Thats kinda why I wrote "or whatever". I honestly cant even be bothered keeping up with it anymore. When that nut is cracked it will be all over the media and I will know about it.
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Old 12-20-2004, 06:05 AM   #185
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Quote:
Originally posted by beli
Can I ask a stupid question, NotAnEasyThing? Im good at it

I can not get my head around the begining of the universe. The whole theory, big bang, or whatever. The notion of "nothing" before something happened I find too difficult to comprehend. So I just live with not understanding.

How do you, as a believer in God, fathom the origins of the universe. I know Christians who dish out the "God always is, was, and will always be" line. I'm interested to hear your take, please.
Yeah no worries... In my understanding time is as much a part of creation as anything else. I mean it is already clear in science the connection between space/time. So to ask what was before God is a question posed within the space and time that he created- like trying to measure the temperature with a compass.
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Old 12-20-2004, 06:12 AM   #186
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What about higher dimensions that contain the universe. Similar in some ways to a 2 dimensional brane floating in a 3 dimensional cube.
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Old 12-20-2004, 05:39 PM   #187
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Originally posted by NotAnEasyThing
I won't just blurt out why I have come to that conclusion but can you tell me what you would consider incontravertable evidence for a creator would be. And also, why do you think you don't place the same standard on your view of evolution? (as you said in a previous post we do not have a full and proper explaination of the universe).
A_W, have you had a think about these questions?

In reference to your last post, I can remember as kid thinking that maybe our whole universe was just a single cell in some other massive universe- but I don't really go in for that line of thinking these days. And I guess the other thing is, it doesn't really make any difference to the bigger question of underlying origins.
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Old 12-20-2004, 05:59 PM   #188
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The issue of the universe possibly being one of many makes a very big difference to its origins.

Incontravertable evidence for the existence of God would be seeing evidence that God made the universe, seeing God interact in our universe, literally seeing some divine intervention to prove the existence of God. Until I see that God creating the universe is on equal footing as toby the magical toasted cheese sandwich inventing the universe over a cup of steaming pepsi cola or me claiming that I made the universe and I chose to make myself human and my powers are undetectable because I used them to make it appear that I was normal - all of these are not falsifiable which disqualifies them as being scientific. Now evolution is falsifiable, if we observed that life was static and that all that we see in the fossil record was somehow fake then it would be reevaluated, if we found that mutations did not occur then such questions would be raised and the validity of evolution as a theory would be questioned and the most accurate explaination for the evidence would become accepted. God does not factor into science because God is a rogue element that is not falsifiable and not scientific.

Now I apply the same standard to my views on evolutionary biology, the evidence for mutations exists, the fossil record demonstrates change and this is backed up by experimental evidence - all of which points in the direction of macroevolution being a real phenomena of life that occurs. My point about not having a full and proper explanation for the universe stands, we do not have the complete picture of what is going on, we do not know everything and I am not claiming that we do but what we do know I can tell you that evolution is a scientific fact and that the theory of natural selection is the best explaination for life on the planet. It provides context to what we observe of life on the planet, it fits in with out understanding of mutualism and biotic interations and makes even more sense as we have learned more about hereditry and genetics. Evolution is independent from cosmology, the questions of the universe. I do not put faith in these things, I make a reasoned deduction based upon what facts that we have and the facts regarding evolution lead me to think that evolution occurs. The facts regarding God is that man has worshipped the sun and moon or tribal God images long before monotheism came into being, we have always had religion to explain things that we do not understand and that belief is just a cheat to solve the questions of existence. I am not adressing the philisophical implications of there being no God.

As for the origin of the universe I think that its questionable if it even had an origin, if it is infinitely old then it never had a beginning and that is a possibility. The problem for us is that we cant wrap out minds over the concept of infinite and we seem to demand answers that make sense in the context of 3 dimensions and time, anything more just makes our brains hurt.
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Old 12-20-2004, 07:11 PM   #189
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Originally posted by beli


Agreed. But if the child asks "why is the kettle boiling" and not "what is the reason" nor "what is the cause" then the first answer is the appropriate answer, for me anyway.

And yes, the child should be more specific with his line of questioning.
Ha! When my brother was little (before he started in school) he asked my mom how trains worked (with a steam engine) so she told him, and life went on. Well, then he went to school and teacher told a story about choo-choo trains, and she said something like "and the smoke comes out of the smokestack and makes the train go up the hill." But my brother knew that wasn't true and told her how it really worked, much to the teacher's irritation. And, of course he got in trouble (for disrupting the class) and my poor mom har to go to the school yet again. When the teacher complained about my brother correcting her, my mom told her "well, what do you expect? What you told them was not true." Needless to say, we weren't favorites in the district.

Moral of this story? Not all children (or people) want the simple answer.
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Old 12-20-2004, 07:43 PM   #190
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Cool. I hope you got to meet and spend time with him. Explains why you are one of the few, if not the only Christian in this thread. (Apologies to Angie)

oi! who you calling a christian?!@\


i'm on my merry way to hell for not believing at all in religion, apparently you must to fully believe in god.



i dont know what to believe. just like everyone else.
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Old 12-21-2004, 12:55 AM   #191
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Quote:
Originally posted by beli
Can I ask a stupid question, NotAnEasyThing? Im good at it

I can not get my head around the begining of the universe. The whole theory, big bang, or whatever. The notion of "nothing" before something happened I find too difficult to comprehend. So I just live with not understanding.

How do you, as a believer in God, fathom the origins of the universe. I know Christians who dish out the "God always is, was, and will always be" line. I'm interested to hear your take, please.
though this question wasn't directed at me anyway I'll give my take on it

my answer is very simple though
for me it's also way too difficult to understand
so it doesn't eliminate the possibility of a god nor does it give any hints that god does exist



in the end the only reason I do call myself a christian is because I was raised as one
and at certain times it does make life a bit easier

not because I have the church to tell me what to do (I would not even trust most people who have anything to say about catholicism to help me cross the street) nor because it answers any questions re. stuff I can not comprehend (quite the opposite, religion only adds more questions) but because at times it gives a certain comfort

I could with just as much ease call myself an atheist
but that would also be based on believing (in nothing rather than in something) so it wouldn't change much


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Old 12-21-2004, 02:34 AM   #192
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
On the contrary I am curious to understand the universe, and I have an open mind to the universe and the possibilities of other universes; but to find the answers requires observation and inference, not blind faith. Explaining away the universe with a man made concept such as God is not the way to approach such a monumentous problem.

It may not happen in the next century, it may not happen in the next millenia but the search itself is sometimes more rewarding than the answer.

Share exactly the same sentiments over here Wanderer.

I have personally always thought that putting forward "god" as a reason for everything or as an ominscient and omnipotent creator is a cop out from trying to seek out the true reason the universe and everything within it exists.

I have come to accept that the human race will never know the how the universe began and why it exists, but I still encourage people to pose the greatest question of all to themselves and independently develop their own theories regarding HOW and WHY.

Problem is, many people seem to blindly accept the theory of a supreme God with intelligence and who is all powerful. These people don't want evidence, they just follow a certain popular definition of God. It's a shame. What happened to independent and investigative thought?

What I find baffling is the continually evolving reaction of believers towards non believers. Many, although not all of them, find it rather shocking that athiests and agnostics cannot accept popular god definitions.

Some also find it distasteful that one should question whether this almighty creator is in fact a intelligent being that does actually have good intentions.

Just really baffles me the whole lot of it.

Why does God have to be a good thing?
Who said so?

If God is a representation for the thing that flicked the ignition switch which started the universe, than this is as far as I can go:

An occurance (which will probably remain inexplicable and impossible to understand for eternity), that generated the scientific miracle that is the universe. It is neither a good nor a bad thing, it is merely something that happened.
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:41 AM   #193
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
The issue of the universe possibly being one of many makes a very big difference to its origins.
What I meant was, you are still left with the question- where did the universe(s) come from and why is/are it/they here?
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Incontravertable evidence for the existence of God would be seeing evidence that God made the universe, seeing God interact in our universe, literally seeing some divine intervention to prove the existence of God. Until I see that God creating the universe is on equal footing as toby the magical toasted cheese sandwich inventing the universe over a cup of steaming pepsi cola or me claiming that I made the universe and I chose to make myself human and my powers are undetectable because I used them to make it appear that I was normal - all of these are not falsifiable which disqualifies them as being scientific. Now evolution is falsifiable, if we observed that life was static and that all that we see in the fossil record was somehow fake then it would be reevaluated, if we found that mutations did not occur then such questions would be raised and the validity of evolution as a theory would be questioned and the most accurate explaination for the evidence would become accepted. God does not factor into science because God is a rogue element that is not falsifiable and not scientific.
Love your "Toby the magical toasted cheese sandwich" quote
However, this is my main disappointment in my dealings with atheists. They instantly put the concept of God into the fanciful moronic basket along with santa claus, the easter bunny and little green men from mars. I disagree with you in the strongest way that God is not falsifiable, at least the Christian understanding of God.

How so I hear you ask? We'll the whole of Christian spirituality stands or falls on one particular historical event. Or more specifically on one particular person - Jesus. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that our evidence for Jesus is contained for the most part within the bible. Although not just within the bible, there are many extra-biblical accounts of the life, teaching and actions of this remarkable man. But there are a number of objections people tend to make about the bible, many of them before even having read it, let alone studied it's reliability.

Firstly people assume the message has been lost in the translation. The fact is that most bibles available today are taken directly from the original languages- Hebrew, Aramaic and Ancient Greek. Our knowledge of these languages is getting more and more precise which means that translations are actually getting more acurate.

The next objection some people raise is that it's been changed. In this arguement people claim that the scribes who copied and passed on the ancient bible documents decided to change the stories to suit themselves. But again this is just hopelessly ignorant. We have in our possesion hundreds of ancient copies of the gospel of mark (for example) found in many different places all over the ancient world. If it had been deliberately embelished there would be an abundance of ways to demonstrate this- I mean it's not like the Athenian scribe could fax his chnages through to his mates in Jerusalem, Rome and Corinth and get them to make the changes too. Of course there is also the issue of motive- scribes believed they were dealing with God's word- something sacred.

Others argue it contains accidental mistakes. The fact is mistakes were made, here's an example:
"They (Jesus and his disciples) went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes." (Mark 5:1) So what? The problem is, the various ancient copies (remember we've found heaps) differ on the spelling of this region. Some have it "Gardarenes" others "Gergesenes". Obviously some scribe somewhere stuffed up. As a result scholars now have to sift through the many ancient copies and work out which is the most likely spelling. Of course this is not the only 'mistake' in the ancient copies of the Bible but the others are only about as life-changing as this one.

I'm sorry if I am going over stuff you are already aware of but the reason for this brief biblical examination is so we can get to the crux of the issue. Sure you may say, the bible is a reliable account, but it's an account of some religious wackos who were trying to pass off a bunch of crap about a guy they decided to make a messiah. Maybe the bible is just a well preserved lie.

The first thing to remember is that the gospels are based on eye-witness accounts, two of them were written by men who personally knew or interviewed eye witnesses, the other two were men who travelled and worked with Jesus for over 3 years. The second thing to remember is many of the eye witnesses were either imprisoned or executed for proclaiming what they'd seen.

What caused these people to really believe they'd seen Jesus teach, heal, die and then rise again? There were hundreds who saw Jesus after the resurrection, many had been with him for over three years. Could it have been that they were all just seeing a very extended optical illusion? If they had simply made the whole thing up, why did they bother dying for a lie? It certainly wasn't for power, prestige or wealth- they were often despised and destitute. Even those who wern't killed for their claims, still had to endure family ridicule, loss of jobs and much persecution.

The authorities had every reason to want to discredit this zealous jewish sect (as they would have viewed it)- it posed a threat to their authority because Jesus had made claims about his deity and authority and this movement of early christians was making it's presence felt. Jesus' resurrection was falsifiable in that all the critics had to do was produce the body, but they did not.*

I have barely touched the plethora of evidence for the claims of and about Jesus. Many a more intellegent person than I have sought to examine these issues with the greatest of scientific and historical dues process. Some like British journalist and legal expert, Frank Morrison, set out to do the world a favor by once and for all exposing the superstition of Christ's resurrection. However, by using the test of evidence permitted in a court of law, he became convicted against his will of the truth of the resurrection, and detailed his findings in a book still in print entitled Who Moved the Stone.

The conclusion I have to come to based on the available evidence is that God indeed has indeed intervened in the world in the most remarkable of ways.


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Now I apply the same standard to my views on evolutionary biology, the evidence for mutations exists, the fossil record demonstrates change and this is backed up by experimental evidence
You would have to concede there are some pretty glaring gaps in the fossil record. I think a more reasonable approach would be to see evolution as the best scientific guess.

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Evolution is independent from cosmology, the questions of the universe. I do not put faith in these things, I make a reasoned deduction based upon what facts that we have and the facts regarding evolution lead me to think that evolution occurs. The facts regarding God is that man has worshipped the sun and moon or tribal God images long before monotheism came into being, we have always had religion to explain things that we do not understand and that belief is just a cheat to solve the questions of existence.
Are these really the only facts regarding God? I think not- have you actually gone to the source material and checked the claims of christianity?
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As for the origin of the universe I think that its questionable if it even had an origin, if it is infinitely old then it never had a beginning and that is a possibility. The problem for us is that we cant wrap out minds over the concept of infinite and we seem to demand answers that make sense in the context of 3 dimensions and time, anything more just makes our brains hurt.
But can you see the lack of logic in not pursuing this? I mean if you are right and God is just a figment of my imagination- what have I lost? But if I am right- what have you lost?
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:55 AM   #194
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Problem is, many people seem to blindly accept the theory of a supreme God with intelligence and who is all powerful. These people don't want evidence, they just follow a certain popular definition of God. It's a shame. What happened to independent and investigative thought?
Agghhh! Have you even bothered to read my posts intedomine? There are plenty of atheists who do exactly what you are saying- they don't want evidence, they just follow a certain view that suits their emotional reactions.
Quote:

What I find baffling is the continually evolving reaction of believers towards non believers.

Some also find it distasteful that one should question whether this almighty creator is in fact a intelligent being that does actually have good intentions.

Just really baffles me the whole lot of it.

Why does God have to be a good thing?
Who said so?

If God is a representation for the thing that flicked the ignition switch which started the universe, than this is as far as I can go:

An occurance (which will probably remain inexplicable and impossible to understand for eternity), that generated the scientific miracle that is the universe. It is neither a good nor a bad thing, it is merely something that happened.
I'd be more than happy to discuss these ideas with you without a "continually evolving reaction" - so long as you don't just write me off as an unthinking unscientific imbicile
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Old 12-21-2004, 04:21 AM   #195
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I mean if you are right and God is just a figment of my imagination- what have I lost? But if I am right- what have you lost?
I see that you have read your Pascal's wager well, the infinite benefit vs. negligable loss as a basis to believe, this seems to be a rather pragmatic approach to faith. As far as my point about infinite - you approach the universe in terms of it being created, but that may not be the case and mankind must learn to accept the universe as it is - even if that includes the possibility of a static universe that has always existed and was never created - hardly dodging the question because your question is predicated upon the assumption that there was a time when the universe did not exist.
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