Is religion a downer? 9-17-2008
A new interfaith effort: 9-19-2008

Nature's dependable laws: 9-18-2008

Rainbow

The other evening my wife and I attended an outdoor wedding, after which the reception was held at a party room attached to the Boulevard Brewery just west of downtown Kansas City.

The room opens out onto a large patio area (on the third floor) from which there is a wonderful view of downtown, Crown Center and some buildings south of there.

The day had been rainy, and there even was a bit of mist in the air while the ceremony was taking place in a park. But as sunset neared, the western sky began to turn orange and the sky began to clear, though off to the east it still was cloudy and dark.

Perfect, I thought, for a possible rainbow. Which is precisely what began to appear over the northeast section of downtown. After a bit, there even was at least the hint of a double rainbow. (Full disclosure: I didn't have my camera right with me, so the picture here is not of what I saw that evening.)

All of which made me think of the rainbow story in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is, of course, at the end of the story of Noah and the flood, told in chapters 7 through 9 of Genesis. Once the flood has ended, God promises never to do that again. As a sign of God's covenant "between me and you and every living creature that is with you," God puts a rainbow in the sky. God promises to remember the covenant whenever a rainbow appears.

Rainbows also appear in the New Testament in Revelation 4:3 and 10:1, and you can look those up.

I take the scriptures to be authoritative for my life and I believe they contain what we Christians would call God's word to us. I do not, however, read scripture literally and do not believe it is necessary to think of the God-talking-to-Noah story about rainbows as literal history in the way we understand literal history today.

But I do think rainbows and other physical phenomenon are helpful reminders to us that ultimately God is the guarantor of the physical laws of the universe, laws that make life both possible and dependable. And I'm in no way ashamed to admit that when I see rainbows in the sky I think of God's faithfulness to human kind. Well, I also think of physics lessons I once learned and now have forgotten and I give thanks that I never became a physicist, as much as I loved the discipline. My bad math skills would have made me a danger to all of science.

* * *

WHAT THE YEMEN BOMBINGS SHOW

Just to maintain some perspective here, I want to link you to this BBC story about growing threats from radical Muslims in Yemen, where a car bomb exploded Wednesday just outside the U.S. Embassy. In yesterday's posting here, I linked you to some information about people defending Islam as a religion of peace. I agree with that, but we simply can't lose sight of the fact that some radical Muslims are willing to use violence for religious and ideological purposes, in violation of their faith. And that's what we all must work against. (And, yes, historically people of nearly every faith have engaged in or supported violence in defiance of their religion's core theology.)

* * *

P.S.: A reminder: In the comments section here you may post a maximum of five times a day, each no more than 300 words. Thanks. Bill.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

 

Comments

adam harrison

Fantastic post, Bill.
The mathematical complexity of the observable universe, which we are still learning more and more about, is matched only by the complexity of organic minds which have a capability to understand some, though certainly not all, of it.
A devastating argument against the atheist position that existence is the result of mindless processess.

Joe Barone

It's kind of like political reporting, isn't it? No matter how ridiculous the claim we have to give it equal time so we don't appear unbalanced.

There is evil in the world. There are radical jihadists. We do have to fight against them. To use an already accomplished example, we can fight Hitler and still realize there are many in Germany who long for peace.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

JustThinking and Preacher,

I hope you guys are reading more than your Bible - Check out this

Ms. Preston has a PhD from Harvard and has had multiple publications on the psychology of belief.

Her most recent publication

"Effects of subliminal priming of self and God on judgments of authorship."

http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~wegner/pdfs/Dijksterhuis%20et%20al.%20(2008).pdf

Also, check out the Skeptics Guide to Bible here - open up your mind as a child as your religoin tells you and accept "reason" with open heart. Maybe somewhere there you'll find the right interpretation of Jesus and other deities. Get out of the bubble of delusion and look at other bubbles - http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/bubblesofdelusion.htm

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

Just came across this. Boy, you'd better believe that there is a better plan for children of mixed marriages.

For god's sake, I hope that none of you people take this literally?

And maybe while at it, we need to see what you take literally and what you don't from Jesus' teachings? And most importantly why? If you chose and pick something that Jesus says then you are creating your own religion which is NOT WHAT JESUS MEANT. Including that the only path to his father is through him - i.e. there are other things in life that will land you in heaven besides believe in him.

Beat Children of Mixed Marriages

About the same time I realized that some of the men of Judah had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Even worse, half their children spoke in the language of Ashdod or some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear before God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land. "Wasn't this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?" I demanded. "There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives. How could you even think of committing this sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women? (Nehemiah 13:23-27 NLT)

PreacherDJ

Bill,

If you do not believe the story of Noah to be true, do you not make Jesus out to be a liar? For He compares the time of His coming to the "days of Noah" and says it will be just like it was "the day Noah boarded the ark" (Matthew 24:37-38/Luke 17:26-27).

PreacherDJ

Bill staunchly maintains that Islam is a religion of peace, but that a few terrorists give it a bad name. What if it is the other way around, that the terrorists are practicing Islam correctly and the peaceful Muslims are the heretics? Is Bill (and others) projecting what he wants Islam to be rather than understanding what it is?

I don't know, I'm just asking the question.

Patricia

I can't answer for Bill, PDJ, but I can tell you the way I look at the truth of the Bible. It's not as a document whose truth is bound up in facts and details. If that were the case then I would be bound to own slaves, accept beatings from a husband, and see the rape and slaughter of enemies as ordained by God Himself.

Rather, I see the Bible as owning an inner Truth that transcends material facts and details.

A rainbow brings loveliness to my eye and spirit with its beautiful colors and visual show. If I were blind, would I be denied God's experience of hope and renewal that the rainbow represents? I don't believe so.

Patricia

Many American Christians claim Christianity to be a religion of peace. What about those Christians who lined Jews up at the gas chambers and slaughtered them? Or who lynched black people over something as trivial as the fact that they didn't lower their eyes when met with white gaze: Christians who met in Pentecostal and Baptist churches to plan their deeds.

What if these actions represent real Christianity?

Just asking.

Dave Miller

Bill, your inspiring words about the meaning of rainbows this morning reminded me of a remark by physicist Paul Davies:

"The new physics and the new cosmology hold out a tantalizing promise: that we might be able to explain how all the physical structures in the universe have come to exist, automatically, as a result of natural processes. We should then no longer have need for a Creator in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, though science may explain the world, we still have to explain science. The laws which enable the universe to come into being spontaneously seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design. If physics is the product of design, the universe must have a purpose, and the evidence of modern physics suggests strongly to me that the purpose includes us."

(Paul Davies in "Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature")

Patricia

I think that your quote is a lovely religious thought, Dave Miller. However, I believe it is exactly that and no kind of new physics, but rather, a new religious philosophy of physics.

adam harrison

Christians who lined up Jews at the gas chambers?

And how do you know they were Christians?

Weren't millions of Christians (three million Catholic Poles alone) also slaughtered?

For all you know the people doing the killing were atheists. It wouldn't be the first time: in the officially athiestic state of the Soviet Union they killed even more believers, Christians and Jews, for the reason that they WERE believers. (And looking at KCFreethoughts posts, he can't seem to get enough of attacking and misrepresenting Jews.)

On slavery, check out Deuteronomy 23:15; it provides a basis for the elimination of slavery, but I don't see it mentioned much.

Dolores Lear

It 'is' necessary to read Scriptures and Myth 'Literally', to understand the Recorded Supernatural Actions of Gods, Goddesses, and Angels.

They are either, our 'Supernatural' High Tech Peace Human Ancestors, or, the Killer Human Noah/Atlantis Society.

Humans Caused the Noah/Atlantis Flood, with Unbalanced High Tech Pollution, and Nuclear Bombs and Waste. God our Human Ancestors, Do Not Kill.

Mis-bred Humans Kill. Humans will also Cause the Judgement Day Fire, not God.

Fallen Humans translated ancient writings as supernatural. In Genesis, 'God' Colonized Earth, made Adam, and made Eve from Adam's rib.

These Perfect Human Clones, lost their High Tech, when their Mis-bred Children were born by Heterosexual Body Birth, and Death began.

Body Birth Humans 'did' regain High Tech Science, in the Days of Noah and Atlantis, just as Humans have today. The Noah/Atlantis Humans, nor Humans today, Evolved from subhumans.

In Genesis 1, the watery atmosphere was changed, by High Tech Colonization, to an atmosphere with half the waters going above the atmosphere, making an Ice-Crystal Canopy. The waters below made the sea.

The Ice Crystal Canopy, did fall during the Year-long Planetary Noah Flood. The Ice is at our Poles.

I describe this Lost Knowledge, on my web site. Put Dolores Lear on Google, then on my web site under Flood.

The Earth had a Balanced Axis, that was tilted during the Flood. The seasons began. A rainbow appeared in the changed atmosphere.

Earth 'cannot' have another Planetary Flood, without an Ice-Crystal Canopy.

Ever since Perfect Adam and Eve, made Imperfect Killer Humans by Heterosexual Body Birth, Humans have been Killing All Life on our Planet Spaceship Home.

Equal Male and Female Clone Human Life, the Peace Gods of Religion, do Have Eternal Physical Life, on Planets and in Spaceships.


PreacherDJ

The questions you are "just asking" are very good questions, Patricia. They don't really answer my question at all, but they are equally worth answering. The central question, "What if these actions represent real Christianity?" can best be answered by looking at the founder and the central tenets, the foundational doctrines, of Christianity. The founder, Jesus, knowing that His death was coming and again after His death and resurrection, said to take His good news to the Jews first, so rather than lining them up at the gas chambers, Christianity teaches an obligation to bring the Gospel to the Jews. Likewise, Christianity teaches that "God so loved the world" and that Christians are to be like their Heavenly Father, so rather than lynching people, Christianity teaches that a need to bring a saving message to people.

Are the people who do these actions real Christians? A real Christian, according to the founder and central tenets, is one who sees his sinfulness and the resulting separation from God, turns away from that sinfulness and toward God's only available payment for that sin, the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Christ validated by His resurrection from the dead, and then begin to live a life no longer separated from God but following Him.

PreacherDJ

Patricia,

Really? Your Bible tells you that you must own slaves? And that you must accept beatings from your husband? What translation are you using?

If you can't believe the truth of the facts, how can you accept any of it as truth? And if you do accept some of it as truth and some of it as not truth, what is your basis for making that evaluation? Whatever that "thing" is, is that not your God or at least your Bible?

Just Thinking

Science changes on a fairly regularly basis because more refined experiments inevitably prove that the old theories are inconsistent with new experiments. CONTRADICTORY and INCONSISTENT.

In the days of Pythagorus, people used to think that lengths could always be related by integers. That is, length1 is to length2 as integer1 is to integer2. They thought that was always the case. But it isn't. Not all lengths are related by fractions of integers. There is a story in my dictionary about the man who discovered this. The Pythagoreans threw the man overboard while at sea because of his heresy. The Roman numeral system had to be abandoned to deal with this inconsistency.

People used to believe that Newtonian mechanics was correct. But it isn't. Newtonian physics is at odds with theories of light and electromagnetics. Inconsistent. We now know that Newtonian physics is wrong. Flat out wrong. It's a good approximation in many circumstances, but it's wrong. Einstein's relativity proved it wrong.

The idea that the world is deterministic grew out of classical mechanics. And it is wrong. The world is not deterministic. The world does not work like a machine. Do the same thing over and over again, but get a different result each time. Quantum mechanics corrected the deterministic view to allow probabilistic outcomes, rather than precise, repeatable, machine-like outcomes. It was necessary because experiments with light contradict the idea that the world is machine-like and deterministic.

Christianity is a consistent system which has been around for 2000 years. It doesn't suffer from the same defects of internal inconsistency. Modern science is less than a hundred years old because it regularly changes due to internal contradictions. If history is an indicator, then science and its philosophy will be fundamentally different in the near future, but Christianity won't.

Dave Miller

"However, I believe it is exactly that and no kind of new physics, but rather, a new religious philosophy of physics."

Patricia, I think Davies is saying that "the new physics and the new cosmology" point in the direction of what you call a "new religious philosophy" due to "exceedingly ingenious design." Yes, he's making an inference, but he seems to be basing the inference on evidence. Reducing his statement to "a lovely religious thought" doesn't seem to do it justice, does it?

Lance

adamh, I suggest you do a bit of reading a book other than your Bible before you start spouting about stuff you are unfamiliar with. Let's start with the universe. Basic mathematic and scientific principles actually support the idea that everything is a "mindless" process. Have you never taken a chemistry course? I get the feeling that if you did, you probably didn't understand it.
On the topic of "atheistic" nations, the nation could be seculuar, but actions were not committed in the name of atheism. Show me this proof that Christians were killed simply because they were not atheists.

//Christians who lined up Jews at the gas chambers?

And how do you know they were Christians? //

You want to weasel out of this one, too? Go ahead. Just because you don't like your religion's past, doesn't mean it wasn't true.

//(And looking at KCFreethoughts posts, he can't seem to get enough of attacking and misrepresenting Jews.)//

Look in the mirror, bud. Your ignorance of nonbelievers of the Judeo-Christian belief has caused you do to the same thing. Now, like I said before, go read a new book. I can suggest some if you like.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org


Preacher and JustThinking,

Why don't you check out Matt 10:29-31 & then check this out http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/HisEyeIsOnTheSparrow.htm . I hope you will get the point of god and his effect on nature.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

On slavery, check out Deuteronomy 23:15; it provides a basis for the elimination of slavery, but I don't see it mentioned much. Posted by: adamh | September 18, 2008 at 09:33 AM


So, where the hell was Jesus talking about "abolishing" slavery. He has not said a single word against it, on the contrary, he told them to "accept masters and serve them well."

Hail Jesus!

Dolores Lear

PreacherDJ.

Thanks for the Bible verses. I do not usually have room for them unless I make two posts.

I would also like to include this:
Luke 17:28-30. KJV. "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lord went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed."

I also say this was a nuclear bombing, like the USA did in Japan. High Tech Knowledge is all through the Old and New Testament, and should be translated before the End Times Nuclear 'Arm'ageddon.

I am not sure, as yet, if Jesus returns before Armageddon, or not until the Ozone Canopy is about destroyed from our Pollution, when No Life can exist on Earth.

A High Tech Translation can reveal many of the Supernatural High Tech Science Mysteries in Religion and Myth.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

adamh wrote>>>
(And looking at KCFreethoughts posts, he can't seem to get enough of attacking and misrepresenting Jews.)


AdamH,

Can you please, provide SPECIFIC QUOTES where I am attacking and misrepresenting Jews?

The world is dying to know.

Patricia

"Reducing his statement to "a lovely religious thought" doesn't seem to do it justice, does it?"

I don't really mean to trivialize it as religious philosophy, however, I think that it's a terrible mischaracterization to present it as science.
-----------------
PDJ, the point that I was trying to make to you is that Christianity can easily be asked the same question as you are asking Islam. And your answer regarding your opinion of the true interpretation of the Bible and Christianity is EXACTLY the same argument a Muslim can make, regarding Islam and the Koran.

Just Thinking

Again, KCFreeThinker, you sit in judgement. You have decided that your form of justice is so high that God must have that same form of justice, or He is not God. Now you have decided that slaves must be freed according to YOUR standard, or God is not God.

This world is lost, KCFreeThinker. Jesus came to set all the slaves free, but that has little to do with fixing the current, corrupt world system.

John 8
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

You misunderstand because you stay focused on this world; you reject the eternal and you reject God. So you misunderstand the meaning.

You had the same misconception before when you spoke about how the generation of Jesus' time would not perish until they saw Jesus coming in His Kingdom. That already happened, KCFreeThinker. Peter was given the keys to the keys to the Kingdom by Jesus, and Peter unlocked it on he day of Pentecost, after Jesus had appeared. The Kingdom came that day through forgiveness of sin and by the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God came that day through salvation. It marked a new age, a New Covenant. A new opportunity for eternal life.

Ephesians 1
And you also were included IN CHRIST when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked IN HIM with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.

PreacherDJ

Patricia,

I wasn't offering my opinion of the true interpretation of what Jesus (founder) and the Bible (central tenets) say (implying two subjective levels away from what it actually says), I was stating what it says.

I am not familiar enough with Mohammed or the Quran to say, which is why I raise the question. I believe Mohammed was something of a warrior, and I know the Quran instructs the killing of infidels (non-Muslims). Does that fairly represent the Islam religion, and therefore make those who would try to cast it as a peaceful religion heretics who refuse to acknowledge the founder and the central tenets?

a theist

People,

Go back to last year around December 1. Note that Iggy started posting and several other new posters joined.

Bill finally banned Iggy and the other new posters quit as well.

These posters posed as atheists and believers just to create chaos and to sidetracke the discussions.

KC is posting boilerplate and links.

adamh and lance are foils for Iggy, excuse me, KCFree; the entire point being to derail and just be jerks.

I believe that Isalm is the devil's religion but what would be the point of going on an Islamic blog and trying to prove that point?

Why does KC care if we're delusional? He doesn't; he just enjoys being mean and obnoxious.

But hey, he's very good at it.

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