Agnosticism, Atheism, Christianity, Faith, God, Religion, Truth

What If I’m Wrong?

This is an important question to answer, and I can’t think of a better treatment of it than this video. Please watch it. He makes so many great points, and he does it much better than I would be able to. Thanks.

30 thoughts on “What If I’m Wrong?”

  1. Hi Dad,

    I haven’t seen evidence of the miraculous. That doesn’t mean miracles don’t or can’t happen, but it does give me a basis for some initial skepticism. It’s the same reasons you don’t believe the other miracle stories I mentioned.

    As far as comfort goes, I don’t deny religion can provide it. But I think it goes a step further to then say that’s proof that God’s behind it. Lots of things provide comfort, but we don’t think God is the source of all of them.

    In other words, I don’t view either of those things as evidence that God doesn’t exist, or that the Bible’s not true. But neither are they proof. It’s like when people describe their personal feelings as proof that they’re saved. It’s great that they feel that way, but it doesn’t mean anything objectively. People of other faiths have the exact same experiences.

    I don’t find the Bible believable because its witness is not always reliable. We’ve talked about some of those specifics before, and I know we don’t agree, but I’m just trying to give you my line of reasoning. I think the Bible is flawed. So when it tells about miracles, a subject about which I’m already skeptical, the Bible’s flaws only serve to strengthen my skepticism, not overcome it. When I read about Abraham Lincoln, most events that are described are very believable — they fit within the natural order of things. However, there’s a book out now called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. That book probably contains some factual information, but I already know that I won’t find the stuff about vampires believable. I think my approach to the Bible is consistent with my approach to any historical or literary work.

    You said:

    I am critical of the reliance on science to define truth, when many of the things discovered through science and thought to be true are often proven later to be wrong. If I am relying on this discipline for truth, then I am relying on something that is often untrue! How is this better than the consistency of the Bible?

    This is a good point. We all rely on science to some degree or another, and sometimes, this causes problems. Drugs sometimes come to market that are supposed to work wonders for some ailment, only to later find that the side effects are terrible. That does happen. But with science, we learn about these problems and work to overcome them. It would be preferable if we never made the mistakes to begin with, but this system is the best we have.

    The Bible purports to be absolute truth. Science doesn’t make that claim. Science just claims to be the best of what we know right now. But since the Bible is supposed to be the apex of religious teaching, then it shouldn’t get any better. However, I honestly believe it has real problems. In science, I can discard what doesn’t work and start using something that does. But in Christianity, I’m stuck with the Bible. Everything hinges on it. So if it is flawed, there’s no point in hanging on to it.

    I usually use Firefox as my web browser. It works great. But as time goes by, different bugs creep in because some people like to find and exploit the security holes. This means that the Firefox browser has to be constantly updated. I’m currently using Firefox 10.0.2. But we’re still on Bible 1.0. If an improvement came along that fixed the bugs, then it might be something I could still find useful. But it claims to be the perfect and complete revelation of God to man. No updates are coming. And since I believe God would have relayed that message perfectly, I don’t believe the Bible is it.

    I hope that helps clear my position up a little more. No need to apologize for any possible misunderstandings. I probably wasn’t as clear as I should have been — this comment may be no better. 🙂

    Love you too.

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  2. @William

    William,

    I did not notice your post yesterday, so my apologies for the late reply.

    William :
    What really interests me about your post, is that you seem to have such certainty about your beliefs. Can you share why you are so certain? To me, it all seems like circumstantial evidence. The moon, the stars, life… Even if they were taken as evidence for god, how can you be certain which god should get the credit? Which book, or guru to follow? As for the bible, I’m making assumptions now, was given to you by a man. It was written by men who claimed God told them to write it… They offer no proof of these claims except to say add the claims that other had seen miracles too, and to say that you’ll go to hell if you don’t believe them. While some of the history lines up, some of it doesn’t. While things in the bible can be affirmed by the bible, others are contrary to it (example: if a seed dies, it cannot germinate). Prophecies that have failed or aren’t really prophecies. I mean, the list is long.
    So saying that someone is wrong is one thing, providing evidence of such is another, while proof is preferred. Ultimately God will or will not judge in the end. If there is a god, i’m sure we all hope that we’d be following the right one(s) when then end comes, especially if our souls depended upon it. Why is your god of choice better than another, and if he’d overlook nasty language when it’s time to speak plainly, why wouldn’t he overlook someone’s doubts when the doubt is honest?
    Just curious,
    William

    You asked of me why I am so certain of my beliefs. I am as certain of my beliefs as you are walking out from your house and expecting to see the earth, trees and sky. Although you have no proof that they will be there tomorrow, you are still certain and almost guaranteed to be correct, that it indeed will be there. You are not 100% certain of what put it there in the first place, nor do you know what holds it all together. I myself am certain of what put it there and what also holds it in place. This is not an arrogant statement at all, nor is it meant to be. Its not any more arrogant than if you were to claim with all certainty that the world will be here tomorrow, and wake up to discover you are right.

    You look out and see “nature” and build your confidence based upon what you “observe”. You gain more confidence in educated men’s explanation of how what is observed exists. The more people that feel the same way as you do, gives you even more confidence that you are right.

    Let me give you one of many places in the Bible where I gain this “certainty” you speak of, especially pertaining to this very subject. Its copied from Romans chapter 1:14 – 25 (everything with the parentheses is my words, obviously). This is the apostle Paul speaking, and yes, under the guidance of God. And keep in mind for what its worth, Paul was the biggest enemy of the church and the Lord Jesus Christ of his day. He had Christians thrown into prison and many killed. Of course there’s probably not a lot of history books to confirm this, so many will debunk this on that “fact” alone.

    14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

    (Paul said his call to preach the news of Jesus Christ was from the highest of society to the lowest, to the educated as well as the uneducated)

    15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

    16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    (an unpopular subject, as it is today, Paul was ready to state it like it was, whether it got him beaten, imprisoned or killed, which it eventually did. He said the Jew first then the Greek, because Paul, being a Jew, had a heart to give this news to his brothers, the Jews. He himself was the enemy of Jesus Christ, and knew how and why they thought the way they did. At one time Paul said if it were possible, he would go to hell if it could be that the Jews might all be saved. He was not ashamed of the gospel).

    17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    (Here we go gentlemen, the righteousness of God is revealed, and carried on, from faith to faith. Those that are saved, and those who want to be saved, believe by faith, and live by faith. Does that mean there’s no evidence? Of course not. There are tons of evidence on our side of this coin, as someone said. But to those who choose not to believe – yes, its a choice – they lean into their own understanding, and do not believe God).

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    (Fairly self-explanatory, but the last part should be restated here, I believe… those “who hold the truth in unrighteousness”. In other words, those who make the truth of God into a lie, and make what is untrue, the truth).

    19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    (Here is a biggy, read the whole of verse 19. Read it several times. “that which may be known of God IS MANIFEST IN THEM – FOR GOD HATH SHEWED IT UNTO THEM. Now go to verse 20. To make a quick point, jump to the end of verse 20. Why has God shewed it unto them? “So that they are without excuse”. When a man stands before God one day, such as the one who made that video, and says that this “being” will know all of his thoughts and experiences and will APPRECIATE (?!) the conclusion that this man has come up with, this man is basically saying that he will stand there, without excuse. But just the opposite is true. GOD has made it that ALL MEN know him, BEING UNDERSTOOD BY THE THINGS THAT ARE MADE… and then powerfully declared EVEN HIS ETERNAL POWER AND GODHEAD).

    21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    (God continues on saying the same thing, then adding to it. “Because that when they KNEW GOD – past tense William, they already KNEW GOD… how did they know God already?, verse 19 again, God hath shewed it unto them – they glorified him not as God, nor were they thankful, but became VAIN in their imaginations – and here is the sad truth – “and their foolish heart was DARKENED”).

    22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    (Professing themselves to be wise. Isn’t that so true today? Men have got it all figured out. We know how everything came into being, without God. We rewrite history books or read and believe books of men we never knew, and claim them to be true. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”. Enough said.)

    24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

    (What I’ll say here, although more could be said, is that what this verse indicates is that God eventually “gives them up”. I’ll say this in God’s defense first, although he needs no one, especially me, to defend him. God is extremely loving, and forgiving, and kind, and merciful, and very, very longsuffering. In other words, he’ll put up with our foolishness for a long time, before he “gives them up”. But I wouldn’t want to keep rolling that dice for a long time, always leaning on his longsuffering. What I will say though is this… if God “gives you up” for this reason, there’s no coming back. At whatever point God decides to finally “give up” on this person, if he “gives you up”, there is no way you will ever come to some kind of understanding of God, and his Christ.)

    25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    (And this seems to wrap so much of what has been said back and forth here, “who changed the TRUTH of God into a lie” and I’ll change the wording slightly to fit the truth in our time today “who worshipped and believed in the CREATION more than the Creator”. Today many believe in CREATION, not God the Creator of it. Not that they necessarily worship creation, like falling down on their knees and praising trees or something. Not that. But they lift creation itself, and the KNOWLEDGE of creation, as the end all answer to all things. And in many senses, that’s worship. Whatever “thing” is lifted above God, is worship in God’s eyes.)

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  3. I’m sure William will make his own reply, but I just wanted to make one quick comment.

    I think it’s kind of funny that people can read in a book that God says everyone knows him — so even when people say, “No, I honestly don’t believe in him,” those people must be wrong because it disagrees with the book.

    David, what if I had a book that said all people named David are purple giraffes? You can tell me that you’re not a purple giraffe, you can even show me a picture of you looking like a human, but I’ll maintain that you’re just a purple giraffe in a cunning disguise. If we one day perform an autopsy on you and discover that you were a human after all, I can just say that you were a purple giraffe “figuratively” because my book doesn’t lie.

    Would that be rational? Before we go on making everything fit what the book says, maybe we should make sure the book is actually legit.

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  4. Actually, I just thought of a perfect example.

    Some of the teachings about reproduction in Islam say that male babies are given their gender by their fathers — female babies are given their gender by their mothers. Makes sense, but it’s incorrect. We now know that the father always determines the gender of the child.

    However, you probably heard about the Muslim who recently killed his young wife for delivering their 3rd daughter. Barbaric, isn’t it? And the real tragedy is that is was his sperm that made the baby female. But that’s what happens when someone takes the word of their holy book over actual evidence.

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