Faith, Science, and Religion

Discussions on a ranges of philosophical issues including the nature of truth and reality, personal identity, mind-body theories, epistemology, justification of beliefs, argumentation and logic, philosophy of religion, free will and determinism, etc.
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Alien
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#1

Post by Alien » Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:57 am

More than legitimate and logical, your questions, Felgar. I try to say more.

First of all, I reply to your first question just by correcting it. My mind is not considering the validity of the answers that I can or will get. I am not questioning the validities "a priori". I am not prevented. The point is more general.

On one side, my questions are mainly originated from a general consideration, and this consideration simply deals with a certain philosophy that I don't quite understand. The philosophy is about how to look at God and science, as this is also contained in the title of this site and forum. Therefore, I can answer your second question by saying that the purpose would be for me to understand a certain philosophy about considering God and science together.

On the other side, when I say that I already made up my mind, I only wish to say that I already decided what my philosophy should be, and it looks different.

From now on, I would like to replace the word "God" with the word "religion". This is simply because religion, in the sense of theology, is the discipline that comprehends the studies about an object called God. And religion, being a discipline of studies, is comparable to science.

Now, my philosophy starts from the consideration that religion and science, as disciplines, are built upon diametrically opposite mechanisms. Religion is based on acts of faith, whilst science is based on experimentable phenomena. Religion is subjective, science is objective. I do not argue that many people feel comfortable with acts of faith. I myself, having decided to be "neutral", therefore agnostic, am following the objective way and I tend to accept what can be experienced by everyone, leaving the subjective to each individual.

In a few words only, what I don't understand is the need to mix religion with science. It's a bit like mixing phantasy with cybernetics, or feelings with geometry, literature with chemistry. The languages used by the two disciplines are so different each other that I can't see how one could be used to justify the other.

In two words, I can't see any possible evidence of God from science.

Thanks for reading.

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#2

Post by Felgar » Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:39 am

Alien wrote: In two words, I can't see any possible evidence of God from science.
First, you "can't see any possible evidence?" Or is it that you don't want to?' There's a fundamental difference there. You're not the first one to go down this road though - I suggest you read everything that Flew has had to say recently... Try understanding why after so many years he could no longer *deny* the very evidence of God from science that you claim cannot exist. Maybe then you'll at least start to see how the two come together, and at least the perspective will start inline with your own.

I do understand your point that the two would appear to be at odds, but I think that also overlooks the fact that they are inextricably bound to each other on a deeper level. How? Well, God being the creator of the universe created the entire realm of science (the physical universe). So I feel that it's valid not to consider the two seperately, but rather to consider the natural universe and science as a subset of 'everything' that exists both naturally and supernaturally. And in understanding science better, we actually begin to understand our creator better, at least in some small way.

That's about as deep as I think I'll go for now. Except to point out one quick thing: I don't agree with your lumping Faith in with Religion. (The fact that you do actually indicates that you are not very far down the path of considering faith, which in some ways is very encouraging. If you are able to keep an open mind and start seeking truth, then God will likely lead you right to him.) But the reason it's not valid is because Religion is an institution created by man and is thus inherently fallable and corruptable. Faith on the other hand, is about an individual's personal walk with God - about his/her acceptance of the Lord's gift of salvation and the decision to serve Him. It's about believing, trusting, and following God - not about following the church. Certainly without real Faith that is alive and vibrant, the church and religion are entirely useless and it quickly shows. In summary you might say that going to church is what you do, but being a Christian is who you are.

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#3

Post by Alien » Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:19 am

Felgar wrote:I don't agree with your lumping Faith in with Religion.
I am not lumping faith with religion. I know that there are institutional religions, that are artificial, and I do not intend those.

I do intend religion simply as faith. This is probably because of my approximate english. However, I can use the word "faith" rather than religion. No problem. Faith is just an attitude by which a person believes in something without evidences. If no evidences are necessary to have faith, then, I don't understand why are scientific evidences used to prove God.

On the other side, I do not intend "science" as you do. You intend science as the world, the universe around ourselves, but I intend science in the sense of a methodology for study. Science is just the attitude by which a person does not believe in something without evidences.

As far as Flew is concerned: well, I don't know him, but apparently he was an atheist, and I am not. He is now a believer, and I am not.
I am an agnostic.

A theist, or believer, or a person-of-faith (I don't know how to call him/her in english), apparently is able to prove God with evidences. An atheist is apparently able to disprove God with evidences. I simply say that both positions are illogical to me. Nothing metaphysical can be proven in existing or non-existing.

I will read something, sure, but give me more time. In the meanwhile, I understand that I am not really rejected in this forum, therefore I move to another topic.

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#4

Post by Felgar » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:39 am

Regarding Flew, I'm not sure if you read the thread about him. Jac had some great insight into why Flew's conversion is particularly interesting. http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... highlight=

I can appreciate a certain language gap, but I think it's most proper to refer to someone's beliefs as faith, and to the church and its surrounding institutions as religion. Looks like you see the fundamental difference I was highlighting, so that's good.
You intend science as the world, the universe around ourselves, but I intend science in the sense of a methodology for study. Science is just the attitude by which a person does not believe in something without evidences.
I intend science in the same way as you, but once you decide to not believe in something without scientific evidence, then you are automatically left with only the physical that we can see, touch, and interact with. That's why I state it to be the realm of science.

Finally, about Faith and evidence... It's not that everyone with Faith believes blindly without any evidence. But at the same time there's no question that we will probably never be able to scientifically 'prove' God's existance. Instead what we have are scientific evidences that *point* to God, to an intelligent creator. We also have evidences that are entirely personal - ways that God has touched our lives, and ways that we've experienced metaphysical things which cannot be explained by science. But most importantly, someone of Faith simply *knows* that God exists - to us it IS proven. This should not be a mystery, for we are told:

John 14:16-19 [Jesus speaking]
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live."

In other words, when someone accepts Jesus as saviour the Holy Spirit indwells in them, and they *know* the truth. When this happens Satan's hold on a person is freed and it can change someone's entire perspective instantly. It's the very reason why, even as someone who highly values loic, that I can tell you that God is real despite the lack of scientific evidence. The effect is real and undeniable - most believers will tell you that...

P.S. Welcome to the forum. :)

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#5

Post by Prodigal Son » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:49 am

alien,

well, i can see why you're so confused:

first off, religion is not the study of God, it is the service and worship of God.

secondly, God is not an object.

thirdly, you've contradicted yourself on the simplest of levels:
i am not lumping faith with religion.


???, i thought you said earlier:
religion is based on acts of faith...
:? i think you need to look a little harder/more clearly into science to see God. he's all over the place. but when you're so muddleheaded, it's hard to see clearly.

there was more stuff, but i've got to run. i'm going to see Cursed. it looks good!

p.s. atheists can't disprove God with evidence.

it doesn't take any faith to believe that God exists--there's plenty of evidence for him. it takes faith to trust in God and believe in his promises.

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#6

Post by Alien » Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:57 am

I would like to overcome somehow the problem of words.
I am giving a similar meaning to different words, and this may look like a contradiction, I agree, but I hope to overtake that.

I can talk about faith, however. To my understanding, faith is the only reason why a person can be called "religious". I use the word "religious" in a broad sense, but I can avoid it if there are problems.

A person believes in God because he/she has the faith to do it. And, I think, this is independent on the type of religion. You can be called a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, etc, but the necessary and sufficient condition is that you have the faith. Without faith, you can't believe.

And this is exactly the point:
colors wrote: it doesn't take any faith to believe that God exists--there's plenty of evidence for him.
To my eyes, to believe in something requires an act of faith. It is implicit in the meaning of the action "to believe".

If I tell you that my eyes are brown, either you believe my statement or you don't. You need an act of faith because you can't verify the colours of my eyes. The same with God.
If I show you my eyes, I have given an evidence to you that my eyes are brown. You don't need faith for that.

What you call "evidences" to my eyes are not really evidences. They are explanations about what causes a phenomenon. The argument about "intelligent design" of the world is not an evidence. It's still an act of faith.

On the other side,
colors wrote: atheists can't disprove God with evidence.
Here I agree with you.
But, extending this, my point is that I still don't understand how evidences can be used to either prove or disprove God, when the condition of believing requires only an act of faith, necessary but sufficient.

As said, I'm not an atheist. I am agnostic.
Felgar wrote:Finally, about Faith and evidence... It's not that everyone with Faith believes blindly without any evidence.
Why not? I always understood that faith (or Faith, if you like, to make it more precise and less general) is a very powerful attitude.
Felgar wrote: P.S. Welcome to the forum. :)
Thank you.

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#7

Post by Felgar » Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:26 am

Alien,

I think we can move past the Religion vs faith... I'll point it out later if you get into an ideological mess because of it.
Alien wrote:The argument about "intelligent design" of the world is not an evidence. It's still an act of faith.
See, I can't understand your position here. I point back to Flew, who wanted no part of any faith, and who had clearly set about believeing only what he could see and test. In the end, in his own words, he "had to go where the evidence took him." That's why I encouraged you to investigate everything he used to believe and what he now believes (and why), because I think you'll find that the argument about intelligent design IS in fact, an evidence. Yes it still requires some faith, but it's evidence nonetheless. I hope you do understand the difference between evidence and acual proof...

As a quick aside, also please note that Faith is still required even once you move past ID. Simply recognizing that there's some God is not enough - accepting that Jesus was God's son, and accepting that he died for your sins and rose to conquer death is what defines Christianity, and what I believe is necessary for eternal life.
Alien wrote:
Felgar wrote:Finally, about Faith and evidence... It's not that everyone with Faith believes blindly without any evidence.
Why not? I always understood that faith (or Faith, if you like, to make it more precise and less general) is a very powerful attitude.
Why not? I explained in the rest of the paragraph following that sentance. Was there something specific about that explanation that needs clarification?

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#8

Post by Prodigal Son » Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:20 pm

Alien:

to my statement: "Atheists can't disprove God with evidence." you wrote:
"Here i agree with you."

:D i'm glad you've changed your mind, because earlier you wrote:
An atheist is apparently able to disprove god with evidences.
To my eyes, to believe in something requires an act of faith. It is implicit in the meaning of the action "to believe".
although faith is a facet of belief, it is not implicit. still, note that a point implicit in the word faith is the necessity of a lack of evidence. but, because there is more than enough evidence for God, we do not need faith to believe in him. what i call evidences are too numerous to list...and much more than mere explanations of the cause of various phenomena.
But, extending this, my point is that I still don't understand how evidence can be used to either prove or disporve God, when the condition of believing requires only an act of faith.
actually, the act of believing does not require only an act of faith. although faith is one of the components of believing, so is evidence. for this reason, you don't need faith to believe in God...because we have sufficient evidence.

i realize that you don't understand this now, but you will...if you continue researching. if you'd like references to some books which clarified many things for me, i'd be happy to help.

p.s.
As said, I'm not an atheist, I am agnostic.
i never said you were an atheist, but i'm glad you're not! :D

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#9

Post by Alien » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:47 am

colors wrote:Alien:

to my statement: "Atheists can't disprove God with evidence." you wrote:
"Here i agree with you."

:D i'm glad you've changed your mind, because earlier you wrote:
An atheist is apparently able to disprove god with evidences.
Only a quick comment, just for sake of clarity: I didn't change my mind. When I said that an atheist is apparently able to disprove god with evidences, I meant apparently. That means, in my opinion an athesit thinks to be able to disprove God with evidences, but this is only appearance. I think that it is impossible to disprove God, in the same way as it is impossible to prove anything about God.

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#10

Post by Alien » Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:01 am

Felgar wrote:Alien,
I hope you do understand the difference between evidence and acual proof...
Are you saying that an evidence is something subjective (what might be evident to you might not be evident to me, and vice versa), whilst a proof is objective?

For example, if you carefully look at the sea horizon, you could get evidences that the Earth is round, and if I don't look at it, or if I can't see the sea, I have no evidence.
If you travel on Earth's surface and come back to the starting point, then you have got an objective proof that it is round (anyone can repeat the experience).

But, in any case, an evidence may become a proof or remain an evidence. It can become objective, but not necessarily.

If we agree on these definitions, then the next step is that the same phenomenon might be called "evidence" for someone but not for others.

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#11

Post by Felgar » Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:27 am

Alien wrote:Are you saying that an evidence is something subjective (what might be evident to you might not be evident to me, and vice versa), whilst a proof is objective?

...

If we agree on these definitions, then the next step is that the same phenomenon might be called "evidence" for someone but not for others.
Yeah I think that's a fair definition. Evidences point to something being true, but may not be strong enough to guarantee that something is fact. In the science community, you might say that an evidence leads to development of a theory, which can then be proven or disproven with further testing and expirementation.

Indeed, the next step is to understand why I can point to something being evidence of what I believe, and you look at the same thing and do not recognize it as evidence. This is the meaning behind John 14:16-19 which I posted earlier. That's my explanation for why two people look at the same evidences and one believes that it reinforces his/her faith, and the other doesn't see how that can make sense.

Now I know you don't really want to hear that someone else thinks your mind is clouded by satan and your own sinful nature. But when so many others are saved and begin to see the world in an entirely different way, it points to the reality that there really is another component to our perception and reasoning that is directly affected by spiritual forces. (Hey, here's another one of those sibjective evidences :))

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#12

Post by Prodigal Son » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:21 pm

alien,

apparently, blah blah...God's existence can be proved. one day you'll see that...hopefully.

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#13

Post by August » Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:02 pm

Alien, how do you understand evidence presented to you?
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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#14

Post by Alien » Fri Mar 04, 2005 8:34 am

Felgar wrote: Now I know you don't really want to hear that someone else thinks your mind is clouded by satan and your own sinful nature.
Satan is another large argument for discussion and I would leave it apart for the moment.
I can only say that what might look a clouded mind is just a mind that tries to understand the world.
I am also convinced that all human minds look clouded because of their limited power. And this limited power has to cope with a difficult world.
colors wrote:God's existence can be proved. one day you'll see that...hopefully.
Unfortunately, this does not help. Nothing can be proven about the future. We are forced to consider the past only. Nothing can be foreseen.
August wrote:Alien, how do you understand evidence presented to you?
Big question.
We all can experience the same phenomena. I think we can more or less agree. Troubles start when we try to interprete these phenomena.
Someone is able to see a sort of "predefined design" behind these phenomena, and therefore, assuming a sort of cause-effect mechanism, this design supports the categorisation of the phenomena as an "evidence" for the existence of the design itself.
These phenomena become an evidence of a predefined design, just because the design was assumed. It looks as a circle to me.

In my case, I cannot see any design simply because every phenomena is a succession of events over time. Without time, no events could exist, no phenomena could be experienced, we would even not exist. Nothing would exist. Therefore, I would not label these phenomena as "evidences", but just "phenomena". These phenomena are studied by what we call science. These are simply scientific phenomena.

That's why I do understand the concept of faith, but I do not understand how acts of faith can be mixed with science.

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#15

Post by Prodigal Son » Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:21 am

Unfortunately this does not help. Nothing can be proven about the future. We are forced to consider the past only. Nothing can be foreseen.
:? i don't think anything can help you, alien.

p.s. i can foresee something...your doom in hell! (just kidding!...i have a feeling you're going to get it someday.) :lol:

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