Author Topic: 26 Questions for Atheists from a Class of 8th Graders . . . gird thine loins!  (Read 4079 times)

Mr. IXTUS

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I am a Christian and Bible teacher (8th-10th grade) at a preparatory school.  I will be posting here mostly on behalf of my 8th grade Apologetics students who have questions for atheists like you!  In light of that I thought about adopting a screen name like "Legion" since we are many, but then I thought better of it . . .

Anyway, just be aware that when posting I will be representing more than just my own thoughts.  In fact, almost never my own thoughts. 

Here are a list of questions for you and we would be very grateful for any you are willing to answer!

1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?

11) Why do you believe what you believe?

12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?

13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?

15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?

16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?

17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?

19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?

20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?

23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?

24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?

25) What was it that told you that God is not real?

26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?


Enjoy!

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Those are a lot of questions! :lol: I'll try my very best to answer.

1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?

Not my whole belief system, but as much as is appropriate yes. For instance, scientism doesn't necessarily add value to the discussion of topics outside the actual realm of science (materialistic universe). If something exists that science cannot ever observe, weigh or measure then talking about that in a scientific light is just wrong. It would be a misuse of the scientific method.

For instance, you can study believers' brains and see what areas are more or less activated under which circumstances but you can't say science disproves all supernatural gods. 

As for god (s), I just don't see how believing in any of those adds value to the discussion either. I never believed in any gods. As Carl Sagan pointed out, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and that's what I want from believers in the supernatural.

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?

I don't care much one way or the other, whatever religion taken to its extremes is toxic to society in my eyes. Monotheistic religions seem to be less tolerant than polytheistic ones, so I would count those among my least favourite. Deism is less harmful, I guess.

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?

Not that I know of...there are secular schools.

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?

I was always an atheist.

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?

Being free from the thought shackles of religion is how I want to live my life. I abhor others telling me what to think, and especially threatening me to think a certain way or I will suffer eternal torment.

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?

As I mentioned before, I was always an atheist. Life has ups and downs, just as it does for everybody.

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?

When you die, you cease to exist. I am reminded of a quote by Mark Twain which expresses what I think very well:

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

I think, we as a species, are 'cursed' with the knowledge that we will die and so desperately seek a solution to it, but that doesn't necessarily make the solutions true.

8 ) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?

Because they believed they would get a payoff in the afterlife, I would assume. Adherents of other religions also die for their beliefs, doesn't make those beliefs any truer.

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?

The flagella evolved from a pore. It has been well described by biologists and is not a mystery. The 'motorised' flagellum is just something creationist apologists like to use without understanding what they are talking about.
 
10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?

I don't know why people seek gods. Maybe as a crutch during hard times? Maybe they need a father figure who will guide them? Maybe they want to believe they have some purpose in life? I guess there could be a variety of answers to that question.

 :whew: More later.
Give no mercy to your fear.



Tank

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I am a Christian and Bible teacher (8th-10th grade) at a preparatory school.  I will be posting here mostly on behalf of my 8th grade Apologetics students who have questions for atheists like you!  In light of that I thought about adopting a screen name like "Legion" since we are many, but then I thought better of it . . .

Anyway, just be aware that when posting I will be representing more than just my own thoughts.  In fact, almost never my own thoughts. 

Here are a list of questions for you and we would be very grateful for any you are willing to answer!

1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?

11) Why do you believe what you believe?

12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?

13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?

15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?

16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?

17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?

19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?

20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?

23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?

24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?

25) What was it that told you that God is not real?

26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?


Enjoy!

Copied to prevent deletion and revision.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
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Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Buddy

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1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?

I wouldn't say I even have a belief. Science is a process of learning about our world, not a religion.

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?

No least favorites, no favorites. Some have interesting stories, but that's it.

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?

Public Schools???

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?

I was raised going to a Baptist church occasionally, realized religion is BS, the rest is history

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?

Sure, why not?

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?

Yep. I have bodily autonomy as a woman so that's nice.

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?

Don't know, don't care.

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?


9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagellum#Motor

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?

People who don't have anything better to do so they like to read stories.


12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?

I can't speak for all atheists.

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?

I have a huge issue with how women are portrayed in Christianity.


17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?

My purpose in life is getting all out of it that I can. Driving fast cars, spending it with my family and cats, and climbing the career ladder at the bank I work at.

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?
 
 It's not so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?

There is a lot of shit wrong all over the world. It's human nature.

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?

Hell yeah, I ate the last of my boyfriend's ice cream.

24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?

Because apes didn't become human. We had a common ancestor and we branched off on the evolutionary tree. This is elementary school stuff.


26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?

Don't be a dick unless someone is a dick first.


« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 01:37:57 AM by Buddy »
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Tom62

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1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?
Not at all. I base my non-belief on not believing the claims made by theists for which there are not a single thread of evidence.

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?
Least favourite religion is for me Islam. Most "favourite" is Buddhism. 

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?
Not that I know of.

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?
When I was 13. Reading the Bible.

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?
It allows people to make moral and ethical decisions, based on compassion and logic.

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?
Nothing much has changed.

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?
Death is not a problem to be solved. There is no solution to it.

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?
Because they were crazy?

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?
Why should I have to do that? I'm not a biologist and about that topic there is enough information from reliable sources available on line.

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?
Because they were brainwashed to do so, from an early age onwards.

11) Why do you believe what you believe?
Because there are facts and evidence for it, which makes religious believes unbelievable.

12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?
No, not all atheists.

13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?
Because there is no proof for it.

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?
Gods were invented by men, which means that they are just imaginary beings with the same flaws of men.

15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?
Everything.

16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?
No, there is no need for it.

17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?
Enjoy life with family and friends, be gentle, help others, don't hurt other beings. 

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?
I would be highly amazed, because all historians agree that this is nonsense.

19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?
Why don't you look it up in a biology textbook?

20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?
Please define your concept of "nothing"

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?
No

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?
Yes, some of us do, but not to a "higher being.
 
23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?
Because the alternatives so far are less believable.

24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?
Apes didn't became humans. Humans and apes shared a common ancestor. BTW: Biologically speaking humans are apes.

25) What was it that told you that God is not real?
That there isn't any evidence, that any of the claims made by Christans about God, is actually true.

26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?
The golden rule.
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
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Various members have more or less politely answered questions, Mr. IXTUS. I have a couple for you. Does your school teach children that Creationism is true? Is it the school's position that evolution can't reconciled with a literal reading of the Bible and therefore it's "just a theory" and cannot be true? I ask because a few of the questions imply that at least some of the students in your class believe this.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
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Sandra Craft

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While I don't think I can improve on any answers already given (I'm much less eloquent and informed than others here), I'll take a crack at this.  Will need to make a nice, hot cup of tea first.


1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?
As has already been pointed out, science is not a belief system -- it's a tool for examining and learning about the material world.  I can't say I have a belief system, other than I think "live and let live" is generally a good idea. 

As to "why not God?", because gods are defined as supernatural and I see no reason to accept the hypothesis that the supernatural exists, particularly when even those who believe in it agree there's no evidence for it and there's no way of testing it to ever make it anything more than a wild guess. 

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?
No, they all seem much of a muchness to me.  There's good and bad elements in all of them, and they all seem to go thru phases where one element predominates over the other.

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?
I've never heard of any.  Altho I have heard of some atheist parents homeschooling because they object to Xtian influences in their local public schools.

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?
I didn't become an atheist so much as I finally realized I was one and that was why no religion ever "took" with me, despite my trying a few out. 

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?
I don't think it necessarily is, any more than it's necessarily a good idea to be a Xtian, or Muslim or any kind of whatever.  I think it's a good idea to be a decent person, and whatever framework you want to use for that is fine.

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?
Yes.  More accurately, when I stopped trying to force religious beliefs on myself everything suddenly made sense and it makes me happy when things make sense.

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?
There is no "solution" to death.   Death is not a problem -- it is, in balance with birth, an essential component of life.  Life would not exist without death so taking it out of the equation does not seem to me like a good idea, even if it were possible.

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?
People martyr themselves for a lot of reasons.  Look at Heaven's Gate, Jonestown or the Third Reich, come to that.  A lot of people were willing to sacrifice their lives for them but that doesn't make those things good, or right, or true. 

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?
Since I'm not a science type, I can't but I'm willing to bet real money you can find any number of books, or Google any number of sites, that can.

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?
I read a book once called "Why God Won't Go Away: brain science and the biology of belief", by Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquill, that had some very interesting ideas on this.  I strongly suggest reading it, it's not a long book and is written for non-scientists. 

As for myself, I don't explain it (tho I think Newberg and D'Aquill were onto something) I just know I don't seek any gods.

11) Why do you believe what you believe?
Evidence in some cases, personal experience in others, and some things (like my family and friends loving me) I take on faith.

12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?
I have no way of knowing that, but my guess would be that the answer is no.

13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?
I have no idea whether the Big Bang happened or not, altho the evidence so far inclines me in it's favor.  I don't think a god caused it because I've seen no evidence gods exist at all.  Provide evidence for gods, or at least some very compelling reasons to believe without evidence, and I'll consider it.

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?
You mean aside from the whole no evidence thing? 

15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?
This really is not an answerable question because Xtianity and atheism aren't equivalent -- Xtiany is a claim that X is true, atheism is the opinion that the supernatural elements of this claim are not supported by evidence. 

As far as the non-supernatural elements of Xtianity, I have no problem with most of them.  Jesus, if he actually existed, had a fine and in many ways radical progressive philosophy -- at least if you ignore the contributions of Paul, which I do.

16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?
I don't know, but I can't see any reason why it should other than the human fear of death and vanity in thinking we're essential enough to be immortal.  Fear and vanity aren't compelling reasons to believe anything.

17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?
Can't say I have one, or feel that I need to have one.  I just enjoy being alive and, like many, have enough empathy to want others to enjoy it too and if I can help with that, I will.

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?
I'm sure in some ways it is, but that no more validates its supernatural claims than the discovery of Troy validates the existence of the Greek gods.

19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?
That's what the theory of natural selection explains: Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.  Even in a Xtian school, you should be learning about this in biology class.

20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?
I have no idea.  I'm not a scientist or anything close to it, and in any case the data on the Big Bang is still coming in.

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?
Check out a few books about social animals, particularly our nearest relatives, the chimps and bonobos.  You'll find morality and rules of behavior did not start with us and are not exclusive to primates.

To answer the question more directly: there is morality because we create it.

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?
I don't know about all atheists, but I do.  Just not of supernatural entities.

23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?
Can't answer science questions, but I'm certain there are others who can.

24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?
Oh dear, you're not covering evolution at all in biology classes are you?  Apes did not become human, we're members of the primate family, which includes apes.  DNA is the evidence for this.  It also helps that we can look at humans and other primates and see the obvious resemblance, just as we can look at zebras and other equines and see the obvious resemblance there.

25) What was it that told you that God is not real?
I don't know whether or not the god hypothesis is true, I know that without evidence there's no reason for me to accept the claim that any kind of god is real.  Come up with evidence (i.e., something that is observable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable) and we'll talk.

26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?
I'd agree that the Golden Rule is a very good starting point.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 02:53:00 AM by Sandra Craft »
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Since I insisted on asking my own questions, it's only polite to provide answers.

1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?

It seems you are asking about atheism. I would first ask you to understand that atheism is not a belief system. It is nothing more than a term to describe a lack of belief in deities. There are many different belief systems that are not built around deities, including varieties of Buddhism as well as Humanism.

In answer to the questions, to the extent that I could be described as having a belief system, it is based on rational inquiry and the search for sound evidence. It is my opinion that the evidence supporting belief in the Christian god is ambiguous at best.

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?

Religious belief can convince people to do good things or harmful things. This is true of all religions. I don't have a favorite religion or a least favorite religion.

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?

I'm not aware of any atheist schools that would be equivalent to a Christian school.

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?

The more I learned, the less it seemed that the Christian god I'd been taught about was real. I also read the Bible.

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?

I don't think it's good idea or a bad idea to be an atheist.

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?

Yes, but I don't think that atheism is why I am happier.

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?

There is no solution. I will be dead, that's all.

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?

I don't know whether the stories about the deaths of the apostles are true or not. I wasn't there, and people make up stories all the time. Many people have died for many different religions, I suppose because they think that's a good thing to do.

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?

There are many different combinations of proteins that are effective in the functioning of flagella in different species of bacteria. If the flagellum was designed, it would make sense to use that design in every species that has a flagellum, but what we find is that flagella work differently in different species, and can be formed differently as well. While every detail is not yet understood, the evolution of the flagellum is not as mysterious as some people would like to claim, and people who study flagella continue to learn more about how they evolved.

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?

People like to have explanations for things. Gods provide convenient explanations. "Why is the sky blue?" "God made it that way." That is a convenient explanation and it may be true. However, people have learned that what actually makes the sky blue is the interaction of light waves with the atmosphere in a process known as Raleigh scattering. The blue part of sunlight hits the atmosphere, gets absorbed by the gas molecules and it then radiates from them. Other parts of the light spectrum pass right through the atmosphere without interacting as much with it. A god may have used Raleigh scattering so that we see a blue sky, but it seems that no gods needed to get involved.

Of course there are other reasons, but I'm trying to keep my answers relatively brief.

11) Why do you believe what you believe?

When there is verifiable evidence for something, I tend to believe it.

12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?

I don't think so. I know of at least one atheist who believes in the "tired light" hypothesis.

13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?

There is no evidence that a god caused the big bang.

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?

In Bible stories the Christian god can be very cruel and vindictive. For instance he got displeased and drowned almost all of the people on Earth, even the little babies who'd never done anything wrong. Drowning is a very unpleasant way to die. I think it's wrong to drown people because you're displeased, and even more wrong to drown innocent babies.

15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?

Since I have not encountered any clear and unmistakable evidence for gods, I find myself unable to believe that gods exist. There have been many, many gods in the history of our species, with many different attributes, none of which appear convincing to me. The Christian god's attributes are as unconvincing to me as those of any of the other god's.

16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?

I think that it is possible that this Universe is one aspect of something that may be eternal, but I don't know if that's actually the case.

17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?

My purpose is to try to live a good life by helping my family and friends while getting some enjoyment along the way.

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?

I'm pretty sure it would change my mind if it were shown that the entire Bible was historically accurate.

19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?

The interaction of species with the environment is what drives evolution.

20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?

It depends on how you define "nothing." Some scientists say that it could be that there has always been something--that "nothing" is not an accurate description of the conditions which gave rise to the Universe. There is no evidence that the Universe was created, in the sense that something made it.

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?

There have been many systems of moral law. I think these are an inevitable consequence of our nature as a social species. If we're going to live with each other, we need to agree to certain principles.

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?

If they're good people who've done wrong they do.

23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?

The singularity of the Big Bang is only a place-holder for "unknown." It's not something I feel a need to believe in, nor do I think that it was necessarily made. I am unaware of any justification for the assumption that there was a "before" as we understand it. Stephen Hawking described it like this: "Asking what came before the Big Bang is meaningless…. It would be like asking what lies south of the South Pole."

24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?

There is an abundance of fossil evidence showing that our species evolved on the African continent. Our DNA shows that we share the same ancestors as the great apes.

25) What was it that told you that God is not real?

It's complicated but I'll just say that I read the Bible (at least twice in its entirety) and found many of the stories unbelievable.

26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?

To simplify: Try your best to do no harm. It's right to avoid doing harm, wrong to purposefully do harm.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 06:30:30 AM by Recusant »
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Mr. IXTUS

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Thank you all for your responses thus far!  I will compile these and present them to my students.  I will likely give them a writing assignment responding to your responses and eventually post those here.  I'm not sure what that turn around will be like, but stay tuned . . . 

No one

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Have you presented these inquires to Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and other religious forums? Or are we special?

Ecurb Noselrub

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I have to applaud the measured, reasonable, and polite response of the members here to these questions. I'm on another thread where the poster would have been pilloried as a moron.

Mr. IXTUS

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Various members have more or less politely answered questions, Mr. IXTUS. I have a couple for you. Does your school teach children that Creationism is true? Is it the school's position that evolution can't reconciled with a literal reading of the Bible and therefore it's "just a theory" and cannot be true? I ask because a few of the questions imply that at least some of the students in your class believe this.

For the most part I think you would be correct about the stance of the students themselves. As far as Creationism, you'll see a spectrum of views below. I think anyone can agree that evolution cannot work with a literal (as in historical) reading of Genesis.  I doubt whether a more symbolic reading of Genesis could harmonize either since chapter one portrays a creation in harmony and evolution is about red-tooth-and-claw.  then again there is a certain majesty to the "circle of life." I certainly wouldn't say evolution cannot be true simply because it is a theory. I only contend that it remains a theory, not settled fact or history.

This group of students comes from churches that are generally evangelical and/or charismatic (in some of my other classes I have a few Catholics and even some internationals with no christian background whatsoever).  For the most part those churches hold to a six day creation view as far as I can tell.  The school holds to the same view, however the policy is to present multiple views on the issue, and for the teachers to avoid saying their own so as not to overly influence them one way or the other.  In my case I can quite honestly tell them I have held to all the possible views at one time or another that still retain Genesis 1-11 as God's word.  The question comes down to whether it is to be understood as plain history or something more like a parable (true in the lesson it teaches but not an actual event in history, like the prodigal son).  So we go back and forth, and that is a good thing I think on an issue like this (same with things like the rapture, Calvinism-vs.-Arminianism, etc).

Nonetheless, being Christians, we would certainly rule out (by argumentation) evolutionary models that are entirely without God.  Even a theistic evolutionist needs a first cause.  So we wouldn't shy away from pointing out the areas of evolutionary theory that remain unobservable and therefore both unfalsifiable and unprovable. Example: the transition from inorganic material to live creatures, the changing from one fundamentally unique form to another, the origin of objective morality, etc.

Hopefully that all gives you a picture of the academic atmosphere here.

Mr. IXTUS

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Have you presented these inquires to Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and other religious forums? Or are we special?

I am planning to move on to other sites as i move through those subjects.  So you are special, just not in that way :D

Sandra Craft

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I certainly wouldn't say evolution cannot be true simply because it is a theory. I only contend that it remains a theory, not settled fact or history.

Oh dear.  I've been wondering how well educated the teachers at your school are in science and scientific theory, and there's a red flag already.  definition of scientific theory

I'm assuming you do not consider the theory of gravity to be "not settled fact or history"?
Sandy

  

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The level of wilful ignorance is terrifying.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.