As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Every time religion comes up I always have an internal struggle with myself as to whether or not I should voice my opinion. On one hand, I feel that religion is one of the most destructive forces on the planet. Countless wars have been started and countless lives have been lost due to people's religion. Look no further than the current situation in the Middle East as a prime example. And no, Christians are not above such zealotry. Need we forget the Salem witch trials? In my opinion even George W Bush lets faith and not reason influence his foreign policy in some cases. On the other hand, religion can be a very positive force, especially in rich countries like ours where people are for the most part happy. The joy it brings to some people's lives is undeniable. Knapp's comments above got me thinking. The investment that one makes to their religion is all encompassing in some cases. Questioning that investment when spouses and children are involved is simply too big of a risk... it's frankly too much to ask. In that, I believe I was at least partially wrong in starting this debate. This is probably why my conscience bothers me every time I get into a debate like this. It's extremely difficult for me to weigh what I consider to be the absolute truth over what harm speaking that truth might cause.
Just because you don’t practice a particular religion doesn’t mean you have to be an atheist. There are not only two choices. In other words, all hope is not lost. With as infinitely complex as life is, I have an incredibly hard time believing we’re here simply by accident. That life is an accident. On the other hand, I have to at least consider that possibility. I have no idea if the evolution from nothing to what we currently are was possible in 5,000,000,000 years… or in 14,000,000,000 years as Knapp said. I just don’t know. Isn’t it awfully presumptuous and arrogant to say you have it figured out… to know something so incredibly complex just because a book written by men thousands of years ago says it’s so? Think of the mentality of the men back then. How much has man learned in the last 2,000 years? Does this knowledge mean nothing? Should it be ignored? I personally don’t think so.
Anyway, I feel the author of the essay I referenced perfectly summarized in his closing arguments my feelings on why it's so important that man eventually frees himself from religious constraints. Forgive me for borrowing from him, but to be honest with you, he summarized my feelings more articulately than I ever could.
Scott Bidstrup wrote:It is the latter process, a dedication to the truth, that enables human progress. This is because humility is the basis of all intellectual advancement, spiritual or scientific. The ability to admit that you are wrong is the absolute prerequisite to gaining understanding. The presumption that the answer is revealed, and must then be supported by seeking evidence, is a sure way to lead civilization down the blind alley of arrogant egotism and the institutionalized error that prevented the Catholic church from acknowledging for three centuries that it was wrong to punish Galileo for defying the pope in publishing the Dialog, when Galileo was right about the sun being the center of the solar system and everyone who read the book knew it. That is the position in which the dogmatic Christian now finds himself. It is up to the Christian to be honest with himself as to what this means for his faith. Believe what you want to believe, because it is what you have heard all your life, or accept what is real, regardless of how painful that may be.
Thanks to knapp and to all those who listened to me ramble. It will probably be some time before I participate in a debate of this nature again. It really takes a lot out of ya. Peace, Knapp.