Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Some rambling thoughts about religion
Published on October 19, 2003 By Draginol In Philosophy

I've decided that I'm not an atheist. That doesn't mean I believe in "God" per se but being an atheist requires faith as well. We don't know how the universe got here. Oh, we have theories that go something like this:

Around 14 billion years ago there was a gigantic explosion from a source that was theoretically smaller than an electron. As hard as it is to imagine, the universe isn't growing to fill up some "void" because there is no void. There is nothing else outside of our universe. One of the many things we don't know is whether the universe expansion (which seems to be acceleration last time I checked rather than slowing down which was what they belief was when I was a kid) is systemic. That is, whether it occurs from time to time and repeats itself. Who knows. I do know I don't have a clue how the universe's expansion could be accelerating. It seems counter intuitive.

On the other hand, not knowing any of these things isn't likely to make me throw up my hands and say "Well, God must have done all this". I don't know means just that -- I don't know. So I guess that makes me an agnostic. But to be honest, I would like to believe in God very very much -- particularly a Christian God. Christianity is one of the easier solutions. If you believe Jesus Christ is your savior you're all set. But again, I don't know. Is he my savior? I do not know. I believe he existed. But I don't know whether he was my savior or not.

When I was younger, I used to debate with people who would come to my door. Eventually people stopped coming to my door. I'd invite them in, my wife would make lunch for them and bring them tea or a soft drink or just water and chat. They were very nice people and sincerely wanted to convince me in the validity of their beliefs. And so we would sit across from each other on our living room couches. Each of us armed with our bibles bookmarked to the hilt. They would then try to demonstrate the errors of Evolution and the proof behind Noah's Arc and other things. Meanwhile, I already owned the book "A scientific guide to the bible" that was the source material for many of their arguments along with various counter arguments. "A Scientific Guide to the Bible" contains things like "The missing day" (No, there is no way to determine whether there is a missing day), "How evolution violates the 2nd law of Thermodynamics" (No, that only applies to closed systems, Earth is not a closed system, the sun is a massive energy source), "Evidence of the flood" (No, Plate Tectonics explains that and if Noah and his sons were the only surviving males of a so-called world wide flood we'd all share the same mitochondria DNA and no UV won't make the kinds of genetic differences in 4,000 years or 40,000 years for that matter). And so on.

So eventually they stopped coming. I didn't debate them because I was trying to squash their faith. I debated them because I wanted to be convinced. I don't consciously choose to be agnostic. It is a matter of looking at the evidence available to me and coming to a conclusion. I don't consider evolution a "theory", I consider it established fact. I also don't consider evolution to contradict the bible. Heck, the Old Testament is based on Judaism and Genesis is pretty dramatically altered from what is preached in Judaism. So there's no reason to believe we should take the modern English translation of the bible literally. Not that it matters anyway because for me, personally, the bible doesn't add up. As a collection of stories that (generally) try to make us better people, it is successful. But as a way of trying to understand life and the world, I don't think it works there. As time goes on, evidence mounts against such things in my view and so I'm left again with the "I don't know".

I don't know:

  • How life began on Earth other than it probably got started around 3 billion years ago in single called life forms.
  • How the universe came to be in the first place.
  • Whether there is a supreme being in the universe.

The evidence available doesn't allow me to make a definitive conclusion. If I had to guess, I would bet that if there is a supreme being, it is not interested in us in any personal way. But on the others I have no idea. Despite what some though a few decades ago, some electricity through a methane atmosphere won't create amino acids and even if they had, amino acids need a lot more help than just existing to get life. But like I said, not knowing the answers to these things doesn't automatically open the door to a super being being the answer. It's not like religion wins by default. I suspect my grand mother didn't know how the television worked. Probably didn't have the foggiest idea. But I am certain that she didn't believed it was magic.

The problem with religion is that people get so militant about it. Ever heard of the atheist group calling themselves "The brights"? That's pretty arrogant. Especially since atheism requires faith. Where some would throw up their hands and say "God did it" the "Brights" throw up their hands and say "Nothing did it". While I suspect there is no "God" in any sense that we think of one, I'm not prepared to go to the step of having faith that that is the case. I just don't know. On the other hand, excessively religious people bother me too. Not because they're religious but they suffer from a similar kind of arrogance as "The brights". These are the people who buy into the canned "anti-science" arguments and spit them out as fact when in reality they're just parroting nonsense. You can identify those people because they readily identify themselves "Well, you know that many TOP scientists (what's a "top" scientist?) have 'proven' evolution just doesn't work 'scientifically'." Yea, well unlike the parrots many people have actually looked at both sides at great length and made their own conclusions thank you very much.

But in the end, I just don't know. And that's why I'm not an atheist. I guess I'm an agnostic. I don't think I'll ever know. I don't foresee a day when they'll discover something that will prove one way or the other. Though admittedly, if they can create single celled life forms in a lab that might seriously persuade me that life, as we know it, occurred spontaneously as opposed to some sort of "intelligent design".

Btw, for the email starts pouring in from atheists, I realize that many atheists term themselves as such because they have rejected organized religion hence "a-theists". I am using a definition that not all agree -- atheists believe that there is no God. I am taking the view that I do not know whether there is a god and don't have a belief either way at this point hence I'm using the term "agnostic".

Comments (Page 2)
on Dec 30, 2003
Brad, great insight here. Above all, I appreciate your honesty. There's just so much that we don't know...and can't know. I guess, for me, that's where faith comes in. I am a follower of Christ's teachings, though I hesitate to call myself a Christian if that associates me with the bigoted, judgmental sect of folks who find it their duty to inform everyone in the world of how terrible they all are. Like you, I see that intelligent design is apparent in our world. Like you, I can see the possibility of evolution--not necessarily how "science" always sees it (but then, that vision is changing, anyway)--but it's certainly observable in many forms. And, it can square with scripture...because we don't know. The Bible itself says that "we know in part and see in part"--so many religious folks forget that fact.

For me, the bottom line is this: there's a huge difference between religion and faith, and between dogma and something that actually works. In both cases, I'm signing up for the latter options--whatever those look like.
on Jan 14, 2004
I am a practicing to Christian. I believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I don't believe in evolution as the scientists describe. I do believe in cratin as the Bible describes. What i don't know is if in between the lines of the bible tere wasn't some measure of evolution. And it really isn;t important in my faith.

There is one true religion and that is the one that believes the Bible is the inspired word of God and every word is true, believes in the Trinity, believes that Jesus was God, came lived, died and was resurrected. I agree that we as humans have managed to distort and twist the words in the Bible to fit whatever is needed at the time. Thus all the different religions both outside of mainstream christianity and out. For instance how for example can there be so many different names Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Luthren, Assemblies of God, Non-Denomonational..etc that all believe the in the things i said I believe in yet practice differently. The difference is us. We have managed to come up with different names that employ different rules and regulations based on some mans interpretation of the Bible.

Read it for yourself and let God do the work and tell you and reveal to you some of the truths in that great book. God created science for a reason along with everything else. It is when we think we are capable of what only God can do that we fall into huge questons tat never can be answered. Oh yeah I dislike the religious people who are out there telling others how bad they are, eteranl damnaion and all. Jesus himself picked the lowest and poorest, and sinners among them all to be his followers. WE a re told to love everyone. Take care

on Jan 25, 2004
If evolution is true, and our world started from a blob, where did the blob start from? Just some food for thought. Read the earlier parts of Genesis

My friend, I am a Christian, and I suppose you could say that is my religion, but I wouldn't consider myself "religious". I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, who is my Saviour. I'm not so much stuck on facts as I am on faith. You said you don't know He is your Saviour. Guess what? He wants to be. It's like someone giving you a gift, there it is, just sitting there. God sent His Son, the gift that's sitting there, waiting for you to open it. Jesus wants to be your Saviour, if only you'll let Him.

http://www.billygraham.org/believe/howtobecomeachristian.asp <<)
on Jan 25, 2004
If evolution is true, and our world started from a blob, where did the blob start from? Just some food for thought. Read the earlier parts of Genesis

My friend, I am a Christian, and I suppose you could say that is my religion, but I wouldn't consider myself "religious". I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, who is my Saviour. I'm not so much stuck on facts as I am on faith. You said you don't know He is your Saviour. Guess what? He wants to be. It's like someone giving you a gift, there it is, just sitting there. God sent His Son, the gift that's sitting there, waiting for you to open it. Jesus wants to be your Saviour, if only you'll let Him.

http://www.billygraham.org/believe/howtobecomeachristian.asp (copy and paste the link)
on Mar 28, 2004
There's a superb, long-out-of-print biography,'CHARLES SIMEON OF CAMBRIDGE' by Hugh Evan Hopkins, still available at http://www.torontochristianbooks.com/simeon.htm. It's a wonderful example of what Christianity was once considered to be, both in public and private life.

That site also has a lot of new and unplayed Christian music cassettebestsellers, CDs, and hymn records from the 1980's and '90's. Try:
http://www.torontochristianbooks.com/cassette.htm
http://www.torontochristianbooks.com/records.htm
http://www.torontochristianbooks.com/demorecs.htm
http://www.torontochristianbooks.com/oldcds.htm
on Apr 08, 2004
I can't believe I've only just this minute come upon this excellent piece of writing. Just shows what's on the Internet but normally hidden from immediate view.
Anyway, what I wanted to say was that the Brights are not atheists. A Bright is a person who has a naturalistic worldview and rejects the supernatural and the mystical. Oh, there are Brights who are atheists, yes, but then there are Brights who are agnostics, humanists, secularists, sceptics, apostates from religions and all other shades of non-believer.
The Brights isn't an organisation in itself. The Brights is an Internet constituency acting as an umbrella group for other organisations. For instance, members meet in the forum and discuss ways to gain respect and a voice for non-believers.
At present (April 2004), two members of the forum are taking on a professor who used his job title to promote his own creationist worldview. The professor made some basic blunders regarding the scientific method; these were identified, a reply was drafted and presented to the rest of the forum's members for criticism before being published.
on Apr 18, 2004
Hello Brad
I just read your post. I thought it was very interestin and judging from what I read, I think you are an athiest and don't realize it. an agnostic is someone who does not assert a belief in god but don't want to take a position. If I asked you if you believe in god/gods and you responded "there is no way of knowing" I would respond "I am not asking what you know, I am asking what you believe!" now if you assert belief in any god, than you are a THEIST if you don't assert a belief you are an ATHEIST. simple as that! you don't need any proof that god does'nt exist any more than you need proof that santa clause does'nt exist not to believe. You also mentioned that atheism requires faith, Faith is an assertion of belief without proof! atheist assert nothing so you were wrong on that one, I noticed that a lot of people who posted replies seemed to imply that you either believe in Creatism or evolution. I don't understand how they can compare the two, Creatisim is about how NOTHING became SOMETHING! evolution is about how something that ALREADY exists evolved into something else. I don't understand their logic. anyway I like your website and all I can say is "Keep it up"