From What Gods Are We Born In Whose Image?

A painting, two days ago, one of the most sublime in all the world, is auctioned by Christies for 80 million dollars. It is to go into an obscure mansion, possibly never again seen, when such art should belong to the world, kept safe in an art museum for all who would see it. (Monet painting fetches $80 million)

Meanwhile, in Somalia, Ethiopia, millions, men, women and children, are dying in inhospitable near treeless deserts, swamped with the swirl of nostril and eye filling dust, exasperated by extreme heat, drought, and wars. (The story of the vulture and the child link here)

Those peoples are the strongest and most resourceful people on the face of this Earth, but every living entity has limits on what it can endure, and for Somalians and Ethiopians, death by the millions,… is their only escape. Thabo and Magabe are making sure the heat on Africa stays on, so that starvation can only spread.

How many could have been saved with 80 million US Dollars ? How many could have been spared if Zimbabwe were still the Breadbasket of Africa, instead of being Africa’s third basket case ?

From what Gods were we born in whose image?

Colin L. Beadon

82 Comments

Filed under Africa, Barbados, Disaster, Ethics, History, Human Rights, Religion

82 responses to “From What Gods Are We Born In Whose Image?

  1. 198.1

    From what Gods were we born in whose image? That makes no sense in English. But I understand what the writer is trying to ask…the answer is free will.

  2. Rohan

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?”
    Epicurus

  3. Rohan (and Epicurus)-

    God is able, but not willing to stay the hand of evil
    Though, neither malevolence nor impotence are to blame.
    ‘Tis His omniscience that allows the darkness amidst the daylight.
    His perfect knowledge that permits us to feel pain.

    A loving father allows his children to fall
    As children, sometimes we wish this wasn’t so
    But inside each trial is a lesson to be learned
    Without the pain, we would not grow

    He knows the pain we bear each day
    He sees our lives’ affliction
    He also knows each painful step
    Raises us towards perfection

    In fire’s path, a forest burns
    New life springs from the black sod
    Through painful means, life is perfected
    And that, is why we call Him God

  4. no name

    B3njamin, thank you.

  5. Amused

    Nearly 30,000 CHILDREN die due to poverty in the world EVERY DAY

    Some “lesson” from a “loving” father.

    What a complete load of rubbish you write Benjamin

  6. Where did the millions of dollars go that have been collected for relief of hunger?

  7. Rohan

    Benjamin, I’ll leave u with a bit of George Carlin (RIP)

    When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullsh*t story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

    But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Sh*t!

    But I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is f*cked up.

    Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being.

  8. DK

    This is why, i can’t belive in a God..

    In fact i need to rant a bit, it sickenss me to death when some christian will look at whats going on in this Fu**ed up world, and try to explain to you how god has a plan and that hold heap of BS they love to tell you……..I mean seriously, sorta F’ed up god puts his own true such a shitty life,ugh.

  9. paul sealy

    notbajan don’t you know that the majority of charities are scams,that monies collected by these frauds goes into accounts to fund wars and make fat cats fatter,i thought by now people know what is going on in this earth?Watch this thirty one part video and all the problems and questions you had about life and why we will be sheep until the next world war starts.

  10. Sundowner

    I find it obscene that so much money can be used to buy a piece of art, but its not my money, the owner can spend his/her money however they choose, whatever I have I spend however I choose. Are you suggesting we have a right to tell people what to do with their millions?

  11. paul sealy

    This part really helps you see what it’s all about.

    But do watch all the parts to fully understand why we have been brainwashed.

  12. celeste

    If science is to be believed humankind evolved from a common ancestor out of North Africa – what remains are our poor cousins

  13. EcoBalance? -ever heard of me?

    Global (human) population stands at something on the order of 6,654,321,000 people AND COUNTING!
    Before I’m finished writing this, another 100 will be born.

    Planet Earth is bursting at the seams with ignorant humanity
    an unfortunate species that has devised the destruction of its own planet, fouled its own nest!

    And still we wonder why?

    Millions have to die.
    Unfortunate yes, but millions have to die.

    People can’t live in a desert
    not to the extent the Ethiopians choose to reproduce ad infinitum.

    The solution, the REAL SOLUTION is to stop human reproduction
    but alas Endorphins are too sweet a drug!

  14. The Devil

    To Benjamin,

    so how much did the dead children of Darfur grow? What lessons did they learn? What state of perfection did the Jews of the Holocaust reach?

    I am sorry a Hallmark greeting card poem just does not cut it!

  15. politically incorrect

    God created MANKIND with the gift of free choice.

    He did not create puppets or robots. Would you like to be one of those?

    The choices that we make are ours. God does not put a gun to our heads.

    As Paul Sealy and Not Bajan rightly point out. Humans are responsible for the inequities in this world. Greed, corruption and selfishness have placed the poor in Ethiopia in their terrible plight; often as Beadon correctly states in that portion of his treatise: at the hands of their own people.

    For the rest of you that want to curse God read the book of Revelation.

  16. Rohan,

    Any of your own thoughts on the matter?

  17. Art

    Art is art. Money is money. Monet is art.

    The art shows you that you need to feed the people.

    There is no intrinsic value to art. But without it you are just as poor as you were before.

  18. Rohan

    Benjamin, ofcourse. Thanks for asking. My response may be better posed by giving you something to think about:

    Zeus, Osiris, Mohammed, Jesus, Arjuna, Shriva, Apollo, Baal, El, Diana, Hades, Jupiter

    1) Figure out why you believe in only one of the Gods listed above and not the others. Let’s call your answer “The Reason”.

    2) Then ask yourself, why “The Reason” cannot be applied to all 12 on the list.

    Your answer, if honest (and I have no reason to be lieve it won’t be) should reveal to you why logical thinking folks do not believe in God. Any of them.

    Good luck friend!

  19. My grandmother’s famous saying was:

    God will help you if you help yourself.

    Of course in order to help yourself you need the tools and most of all an education.

  20. cherry2enpowered

    If I could add my bit here to help in any way, let’s look at three important words: religion, truth and faith.

    Proverbs 21.2 – every way of a man is right in his own eyes.

    Angels are spirit beings created with the ability to think freely learn make decisions and retain knowledge. They are free moral agents. Man was created similar only physical.

    Hebrews 2.7- You [Elohim] made him [mankind] a little lower than the angels and you crowned him with glory and and honour and you did set him over the works of your hands.

    Animals on the other hand were preprogram. Example bears hibernating in winter, geese flying south for winter. God programmed them that way, there don’t have to think about what to do like man because of their limited mental capacity. That preprogramming is called instinct. That’s what separate mankind from the animal kingdom.

    Religion
    Elohim does not deal with religion. All three major religions Christianity, Judaism and Islam have greatly strayed from God. Their doctrines and dogmas have created confusion over the centuries. The world is far removed from God. By intenting on keeping God out of the picture man eagerly awaits greater evidence that he evolved distancing himself farther and farther away from Elohim.

    Truth
    Why are we here? To become part of God’s family. The angels are not part of God’s family simply because they are not created in his image.
    Man is.

    Gen 1.27 So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he[God] him [man], male and female created he them.

    God had the angels and wanted to creat something different. This [I’m putting it in my own words as i understand it] plan or his purpose is for man to change from mortal to immortality, from a temporary existence to a pernament one. Unfortunately man decided his way is the best way and not God’s way. Every decision man makes is selfishly motivated. This is the sin nature.

    Rom3.23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

    Since it was God’s purpose to always have man rule over the earth he never deviated from it. Every decision that mankind made have brought misery, pain, suffering, destruction, wars, provety, diseases, etc. Nothing to do with Elohim. In essence man has continually show he is not fit to rule himself without divine help.

    Faith
    Life is what we make it. We are responsible for all wrong decisons we make in this physical realm. The decision to become part of the God Family will not be forced upon anyone. If we just live and die, then we can blame God but he offer us eternal lfe in CHRIST JESUS.

    Rom3.24- Being justified freely by his [God] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    Eternal life is far geater gift than physical life. All mankind have and will be offered eternal life or eternal death.
    In His time, God will offer each person the knowledge of how they can receive the gift of eternal life in His Family, and then the choice to accept it. Those who do not choose God’s way will not be given eternal life but they will be given eternal death. It is a choice. Eternal life is not owed to anyone. When you decide to go into town to buy a gift for someone it is not because it was own to them. You did it out of appreciation and love. It is left up the the person to accept it or reject it. The only way to receive eternal life is to come to the understanding that only God’s way of life is true and right. Every other way brings sorrow,destruction, suffering, misery, and every evil that degrades life. There is only one way of life that produces genuine happiness, peace, prosperity, rich relationships, etc., and that is God’s way of life—there is no other.
    Lucifer did not choose this way and neither did a third of the angelic realm. They will receive the necessary judgement from Elohim.

    This is what i understand and how i understand it.
    —————————————————————-
    Rahan said
    Your answer, if honest (and I have no reason to be lieve it won’t be) should reveal to you why logical thinking folks do not believe in God. Any of them.

    Dr Francis Collis one of the world’s leading scientist and head of the Human Genome Project, the study of DNA or the code of life believe in the existence of God. He is still repected amongst his peers. If he is not logical why have he not been thrown out on his head as yet and been ridicule before the scientific community?

  21. Rohan,

    1) I’m a Mormon. I would call myself a Christian, though I know that much of the Christian world would take issue with that proclamation. But for the sake of your list, I believe in Jesus Christ. The why? I believe in Christ because of the witness that has been borne to me by the power of the Holy Ghost that He is my savior. I’ve received such witnesses countless times throughout my life as a result of frequent study and prayer. This, as you say, is the reason.

    2)The reason that “the reason” cannot be applied to Zeus, is because he is a fictional creation of men. Though he does share some similar characteristics with God, the Greeks were simply acting on the limited knowledge they possessed. Mohammed, from my understanding of the Qur’an, is God’s messenger or prophet, not God himself. And, while I claim to worship a different God than Muslims, I do believe that there is truth, however incomplete, contained in their teachings. I can distinguish that truth, again, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Osiris, was the Egyptians answer to God, again, based on the limited knowledge that had been revealed. While there are some stark differences, here again we find many similarities to Christ. I do not worship Osiris, but I do believe there is truth to be found in him as well – namely, the creation of life, resurrection, and salvation of mankind. I won’t bother with the remainder of the list, because I think I’ve made my point.

    I understand that you don’t believe in God. You understand that I do. I don’t pretend to be naive enough to think that I’m going to convince you, or anyone, through a conversation on a blog post to change your way of thinking. I simply felt compelled to answer. I know the truth that I’ve found. I know the peace that it’s brought into my life. I wish you the same.

  22. pressed

    “Millions have to die.
    Unfortunate yes, but millions have to die.”

    well said, EcoBalance.

    However, that doesn’t make Colin’s point invalid. Whoever bought that painting for $80m is a bloody idiot, and could at the minimum have donated it to a museum.

    This reminds me of another idiotic group who unjustifiably spent $600 billion US dollars and counting. (the name slips my mind at the moment)

    **************

    BFP says,

    MIllions do not have to die. There is lots of land, water and air. Lots.

    It is about how much resources about 3% of the world’s population use.

  23. Straight talk

    BFP:

    Please explain to the starving (again) Ethiopians why, given the abundance of land, water and air, they are dying by the thousands,

  24. krr

    Dear Rohan,

    I’ve found a reason for me
    To change who I used to be
    A reason for all that I do
    And the Reason is you.

    Thank you and good night. Try the veal.

  25. Pingback: Ben vs. Epicurus « Insomnia & Idiocracy

  26. Amused

    “The reason that “the reason” cannot be applied to Zeus, is because he is a fictional creation of men.”

    ———————————

    Oh the irony !

  27. Amused

    “I believe in Christ because of the witness that has been borne to me by the power of the Holy Ghost that He is my savior. I’ve received such witnesses countless times throughout my life as a result of frequent study and prayer. ”

    ———————————————

    Can you get your Christ to spend a little less time “witnessing” to you and use this “power” to maybe say let just a few less children under the age of 5 die an excruciating death due to starvation tomorrow

    Just a thought he being all “ghostly” and powerful

  28. Who cares? America should just kick them out and take over their land because it’s obvious they’re failing to do anything productive with it.

  29. Rumboy

    That story touched my soul. When will the killing in Africa end.

  30. In whose image are were we made? and in whose image are we in? are two separate questions.
    However it is without reasonable doubt that we were made in the image of God but the scriptures also give record that man disobeyed (after being tempted of the devil) thus he fell short of the glory/(image) of which God had intended for him to live in.
    To put it straight, man is now image of the devil (thats until a certain point of-course) Thats why one has to be recreated in/to the image of God through repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord… (to be continued)

  31. Rohan

    Benjamin,
    I can’t argue with your personal REASON for believing in Jesus over Zeus: “I’ve received such witnesses (through the Holy Ghost) countless times throughout my life as a result of frequent study and prayer”.

    However, I can use the same argument then for a belief in Zeus: “I’ve received witness of the power of his Holiness Zeus through frequent study and prayer”.

    Which is more likely?
    A) God handed down all these different religions to mankind? (Seems unlikely since the God of the bible gets pissed at people for worshipping other Gods)

    B) God issued one path (which miraculously just happens to be the path that you were born under-you lucky devil) and left all those muslims and buddhist, and taoists, and hindus etc. out in the cold because they just happen to not be born in a christian country.

    OR

    C) All these different paths were made up by the people? i.e They are all “fictional creations of men?”

    Thanks for the kind words by the way
    Peace

  32. Rohan,

    It’s true, you could use that same argument for Zeus. And, you should know that if I had received that same witness from the Holy Ghost that Zeus was God, I would be worshiping Zeus. But, I haven’t. This is because the Holy Ghost confirms truth.

    As I said before, there is much truth contained in the majority of the religions in the world. The trick is to find the one with all of them. And, yes… I count myself extremely blessed to have been born into a home where these truths were taught to me.

    I love the Lord with all my heart. I know this may seem illogical to you (and Amused), but, again. I know what I know.

    I’ve enjoyed the discussion though, and again, I wish you the best.

    Oh.. and to “The Devil”: I WISH Hallmark would buy that poem. That would make my day.

  33. Rohan

    Benjamin,
    Thanks, I enjoyed the discussion as well. Have a great weekend. Oh, I checked your site out as well, pretty cool.
    Peace.

  34. Amused

    “This is because the Holy Ghost confirms truth.”

    ———————————————

    and he does this how exactly?

  35. Amused

    If you understood Rohan’s point you would realise that you “know what you know” about your religion no more or no less than thousands/millions of others “know” about theirs.

    You may think you know better but guess what they think they know better than you too.

    Funny how you are all certain you “know” the truth and the only thing that really is certain is that all of you cant be correct.

  36. Rohan

    -Funny how you are all certain you “know” the truth and the only thing that really is certain is that all of you cant be correct.-

    Amused, great point! It took you one succint sentence to say what it took me 3 paragraphs to say…haha

  37. Fundamentalist Christian.

    Top Ten Signs
    You’re a Fundamentalist Christian!

    —————

    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of all gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

    9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanised” when science says that humans evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

    8 – You laugh at polytheists
    but you have no problem believing in the Trinity.

    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua”
    including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated a virgin, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    (Not to mention the turning water to wine, the walking on water and the feeding of the five thousand)

    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (several billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents,
    guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering.
    And yet consider your religion “tolerant” and “loving.”

    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

    2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history
    – but still call yourself a Christian.

    ——————-

    What a crock!

  38. 67.123.845

    Benjamin,
    you need to get over it and realize that religions(all of them) are about addicting you to ‘Sweet EMOTION’
    (call it a feelgood factor).

    And as such, this coping mechanism DOES WORK for people,
    but that doesn’t make it real!
    It makes it a coping mechanism and nothing more!
    It’ll “get you thru your dismal day”
    since that seems to be what you need.

    So you love ‘The Lord’ with all your heart.
    And I like Corned Beef just as much.
    It amounts to about the same thing,dread! Emotion.
    One over food, yours over religion-induced feelgood brain chemicals.
    Nothing more.

    Trust me, dumping religions can be enormously freeing!

  39. Rohan

    Fundamentalist…interesting list. Number 1 really stood out to me:

    1) You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history
    – but still call yourself a Christian.

    I vividly remember a conversation with my Christian roommate at the time when I had to open the bible to prove to him that it says that only descendants of the 12 tribes of Judah are going to heaven and that the rest of people will be on earth.

    Even after I showed him the passage he couldn’t believe the bible said that. It’s really funny how little christians actually know about their “faith”.

  40. Amused

    Rohan,

    I concur.

    Christians choose the various bits of the Bible that gel with their innate sense of morality and skip the other horrid bits (or just choose not to learn/read them) and then with complete sincerity they tell us they “get their morals from the Bible” and since we (us non believers) dont believe they ask again with all sincerity how can we be moral?

  41. My my, you certainly come out of the woodwork.

    I have to say that I don’t really know who to respond to first, so, I don’t think I’m going to respond directly to any of you. At least, not to individual points you’ve raised.

    Let me just say this… I’ve spent my life (and granted, I’m a fairly young man) discussing these topics with both friends and strangers. It comes down to this: I cannot deny what I know, nor will I. We could argue over individual points of doctrine/theology/philosophy/opinion for as long as we like, but from personal experience, it does no good for either party. I’m not here to argue, but to express my faith in a God I love.

    I am His son. My love for Him burns deep in my soul as no other feeling does (not even my love for good food… as difficult as that distinction may be for some people, especially corned beef enthusiasts. I have learned to distinguish between my own emotions, and spiritual promptings.)

    Friends, God lives. We are His children, and He loves us as such. Are there sorrows and evils on this earth? Of course. Should we be doing something about that? Yes. It is my love of God that persuades me to try.

    If any of you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to email me. You can contact me through my own blog. As for further discussions here though, I will take my leave from you.

    I hope I have not offended, as it was not my intention to do so.

    Thanks.

  42. Rohan

    Amused, great point. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten that question: “So where do you get your morals from?” hahaa

    I’m like: I know where I DON’T get my morals from. Don’t knock the bible though…if I got my morals from the bible and things God condoned life could be so much more fun:

    1) SEX SLAVES (with a return policy)
    (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.

    2) RAPE AND PLUNDER (Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB
    And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women RAVISHED;

    3) MORE Rape of Female Captives (Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB)
    “When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house…and you may have relations with her.

    and one of my favorites?

    4) The only punishment for raping a woman? (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)
    If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

    Daymn, to make a rape victim marry her attacker? Must be nice…for the rapist that is.

    Hmmm…Imagine a politician running on this platform? Do you think he would get the woman vote? : -)

    **************

    BFP says,

    Hi Rohan,

    How did Jesus impact the old testament laws?

    Does either contemporary Christian or Jewish religion view the old testament laws as given in and for a specific historical situation and time, or do contemporary adherents view all the OT laws as still in force?

    How does the contemporary view of scripture by Jews and Christians differ (if it does) from that of say, contemporary Buddhists and Muslims?

  43. The Devil

    Benjamin,

    I do not share your confidence in the existence of God but I really appreciate that you have shared your views honestly, passionately and without rancour and personal insult to those that may disagree. Enjoy your Sunday and stay in the fray, who knows, you may win more than a few friends.

    Imagine this from The Devil (lol), actually my full name is The Devil in the Details. (chuckle).

  44. Amused

    BFP,

    Thats an old canard.

    There are several books of the OT that insist “the law” (the law of moses) is valid for ever and such is also insisted again in the NT, for example ;

    Matthew 5:18-19
    Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.

    Luke 16:17
    It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

    Here is an example of an explicit reference in the OT to a particular nasty direction in the OT :

    Mark 7:10
    For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

    But the bible in its ever contradictory mode, provides many instances where the NT directs the “law” is no longer valid. For example (and there is many others to quote)

    Luke 16:16
    The law and the prophets were until John [the Baptist]: since that time the kingdom of heaven is preached.

    So whats the result of this?

    whenever a nasty bit of the OT is pointed out, the Christian, cries “the NT changes all that” but when there is a bit of the OT the Christian likes, why that conveniently remains unchanged of course.

    Whichever way you want to spin it you can.

    Even more disturbing is your comment that the OT law was given for a “particular time”. Really? something immoral now was moral then? I thought Christians were moral absolutists?

    PS which version of the NT are we dealing with? there are about 700 hand written manuscripts in existence today from which the current versions can be traced. None of 700 versions agree and none of them are the original autographs (which were written down from an oral history). All of them of have been modified in the early years of Christianity before the printing press so no one really even knows what the NT says anyway.

  45. Straight talk

    Give us all a break lads.

    These texts from 3000- years ago who cares?

    Personally I don’t care a fig about what someone said 150 years ago, never mind 2000.

    It is as irrelevant as the man on Duncan O’Neill.

    Amusing, quaint, but in today’s perspective easily dismissable.

    Before BT pipes up I AM RIGHTEOUS, in aqll my dealings and interactions I follow Christian principles, not through any dogma, it’s just that I find it’s the way the world works best.

    And I am an agnostic, is that a contradiction or just plain humanism?

  46. Rohan

    From Amused-
    Even more disturbing is your comment that the OT law was given for a “particular time”. Really? something immoral now was moral then? I thought Christians were moral absolutists?

    This sums it up. A perfect God who has been around from the beginning of time can prescribe such obviously immoral acts?

    Of course there has to be some rationalization for this? There always is. So which one is it?

    Either
    A) Raping women is Moral and God simply prescribed a moral act.
    B) Raping women is IMMORAL and God was wrong for prescribing rape. But then that would mean he’s not perfect.
    or
    C) Well, you already know what C is: The acts described, the subjugation of women, slavery, etc. were simply reflections of the culture of uneducated “bronze age tribesmen” and not of some supreme being who should know better.

    So which one is it? I guarantee there will not be a direct response to this from the believers that makes any sense. Each possible option destroys some aspect of their worldview. I say this in the most respectful way.
    Peace

  47. Thomas Gresham

    Dear Rohan,

    I know it can be exhausting trying to reason with fundamentalists, who by defintion reject reason. But it has to be done because anyone who justifies atrocities like the Iraq war, the expulsion of Palestinians from their land, slavery, the extermination of the American Indians, Incas and aboriginies, all on the basis that nothing happens without his omnipotent god’s approval, his god is the only god and he is in communication with his god, is a very, very dangerous person.

    To be fair, while he Christian-Islamic-Jewish tradition is of prostelysing religions that believe that their single, rightious, infalliable god should be imposed on all, not all religions do and I have some sympathy for non-prostelysing religions which have falliable gods like Buddhism and Hinduism, as these then do not justifiy the unjustifiable on the basis that god said so or that atrocities wouldnt happen if god didnt want them to happen for some reason.

    That said, I agree with everything you have said and have great respect for you for saying it. Congratulations too to BFP for encouraging such an open discussion of a controversial subject for Barbadians.

  48. Amused

    Even more to the point, which laws did Jesus impact?

    BFP (and many Christians) seem to imply that the NT impacted just those horrid bits of the OT that today we all find immoral.

    But where did this moral sense come from that allows you to identify which bits of the OT you find immoral today?

    Rohan hit on the subjugation of women a theme than runs right through the Old and the New.

  49. Amused

    “Amusing, quaint, but in today’s perspective easily dismissable.”

    ——————————

    I dont follow, help me.

    “Christian principles”?

    what we know as “christian principles” are indeed good principles but they pretty well existed before Christianity and Christianity certainly has no exclusive claim to these principles.

    Take the “golden rule” for example, do onto others as they would onto you – This rule can be found in just about every religion (yes even Islam) – Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikism, Hindu etc etc etc

    So I am glad to know you are an agnostic and I hardly find it a contradiction that you follow “Christian principles”.

    All good people do and we all innately know what I mean by good people without referring to any book or dogma contained therein

  50. Amused

    Thomas, I shall congratulate BFP on this point too because few of us non believers dare speak up in a pious society like Barbados.

    Not that we are unable to defend our point of view as you can see here but simply because in traditional Barbadian society a non believer is generally equated with being an immoral person.

  51. Rohan

    Thomas, thanks for the kind words. I agree with your take on Buddhism. If you haven’t already done so think about checking out Siddharta by Herman Hesse. It was my first real introduction to Buddhist thought, but it’s simply a really good read.
    Also, I too have to echo your sentiment and that of Amused. BFP is really good about allowing open dialogue regardless of the subject.

  52. Colin L Beadon

    From What Gods ?

    To BFP,
    We’re much obtuse, and not sure under which headings of yours we should be writing, or how to get to them. We did find your photo of the child and vulture, eventually.
    Our caption that seems to have started off lively debate ‘From what Gods are be born in whose image ‘ was purposefully abstruse. One needs to write like that when broaching such a touchy subject involving religions, which, are them selves about at abstrusive as one could possibly need, though we cherish them all.

    Religions are no more abstrusive than modern science, especially quantum physics. Each one of us just grasps what he can best hold on to. Truth, is as elusive as the ultimate number you can never reach, though you counted for eternity. It is the reason why the world is so sublime, so wonderful, and so unjust-seeming at the same time
    For “Is” and ” Is-Not ” though with Rule and Line,
    And ‘Up and Down” without, I could define,
    I yet in all I only cared to know,
    Was never deep in anything but- Wine.
    O.Khayyam.

  53. Amused

    Religions are no more abstrusive than modern science, especially quantum physics

    ———————————————

    Be careful how you equate religion with science. In particular dont mention quantum physics if you dont understand it.

    Science is not abstruse and neither is quantum physics.

    The results of quantum physics are often counter intuitive making them hard to grasp but the predicted results are overwhelmingly confirmed by experimental tests with stunning precision. This is not the case for the claims of religion.

    More to the point, science searches for the elusive truth and never claims to have found it only each day a closer understanding.

    Religion by contrast, says truth is found in ‘our’ ancient text, stop looking any further, dont question it and dont deny it.

    Quite a contrast I would say.

  54. Colin L Beadon

    Amused.
    You forgot String theory and worm holes
    existed. If it were not for quantum theory we’d not have computers and Ipods, blog sites and AI. If it were not for religions, we’d not have a place to shelter though the roof may be leaking.
    Science though, is an open book whose theories can be changed as scientific progress shows up, as it does, wrong turns. Both science and religion depend on who is holding the fist, and what is wanted accomplished. Both are constructs of the human mind, and therefor metaphorical. If you were placed, alone, on another livable planet, niether would be much use to you.
    Here on Earth, religions and science compliment each other. It is just that very few people can appreciate that.

  55. Amused

    “Both are constructs of the human mind, and therefor metaphorical. ”

    ——————————————–

    Really?

    so why has life expectancy for humans increased dramatically in the last 100 years? or is that just a metaphor

  56. Amused

    “If you were placed, alone, on another livable planet, niether would be much use to you.”

    ——————————-

    Really?

    And how do you get placed there? More to the point how would you get back? Only science could give you the knowledge to interplanetary travel. Or I suppose you could just pray right?

  57. 180

    What next? Can you believe that the US Senate is investigating the lavish lifestyles of US TV evangelists?

  58. Amused

    “Here on Earth, religions and science compliment each other”

    ———————————————

    Really?

    And what about those religious lunatics that opposed (and still do) vaccinations because it interfered with “God’s will”

    Polio is making a big comeback in Africa because religious leaders have convinced their followers that the vaccine is a plot against muslims. We wont eradicate polio from this planet just yet thanks to these morons.

    Complimentary? I think not!

  59. no name

    Amused says “in traditional Barbadian society a non believer is generally equated with being an immoral person”.

    Yes, I agree, but we are known by our fruits no matter what we believe or what say we believe.

  60. Amused

    what is your point no name?

  61. Colin L Beadon

    Amused, really ?

    If a scientific theory was not metaphorical, it would be fact, and not need altering. If there was just one religion that everybody held true, then we would need faith.
    Metaphor, is the bridge used in the attempt to explain with an finite earth-bound mind, what is inexplainable. It is for this reason that both science and faith are a bit like the two faces of the trickster Yoruba God Edshu; two faces to the same God. You just need to read and ponder all faiths and as much science as you can, till you suddenly stumble to where the two join hands. It is worth it.

  62. Thomas Gresham

    Dear Colin,

    Scientific theory is nit metaphorical. The scientific method is very different from religion. In science we make a testable hypothesis (Newton’s/Hooke’s laws of gravity are testable hypotheses) and then the evidence is examined to see whether it fits with the hypothesis or not. if evidence disproves a hypothesis the theory is discarded. (This follows the father of scientific method, Sir Karl Popper). Scientific theories are perfected as we apply more evidence. In many parts of science the theories are now quite stable as new evidence continues to confirm the main body of the theory, as with evolution, gravity and gene theory for instance.

    Many aspects of religion have non-testable hypotheses, which is why they are about faith and not science. In that way religion is very different from science. Some ideas that are implied from the bible like the age of the earth have been found to be wrong. The hypothesis that god exists is not supported by any evidence. Some would say, but the evidence does not disprove that god does not exist. But that gets you no where as the evidence does not disprove many things. It does not for existence disprove the presence of a dozen gods. It does not disprove that god once existed and no longer does. It does not disprove that god is bad. There are no testable hypotheses for god in which the evidence backs him/her/it up.

    Faced with all the things that cannot be disproved it is best to do three things (1) base decisions on what can be proved, so pray if you like but don’t substitute prayer for modern medicine (2) chose what is the simplest explanation of equally valid explanations (Occum’s Razor) and (3) be biased in favour of loving your neighbour and your enemy and turning the other cheek because these are socially goods thing to do, that are espoused by many cultures and not because you are threatened with an unprovably dire life-after-death burning in an unprovable hell, if you do not.

  63. Amused

    “If a scientific theory was not metaphorical, it would be fact”

    ——————————————-

    I think you make the common misunderstanding between theory and fact in the scientific sense.(maybe I misunderstood you)

    Scientific theory never aspires to become fact. Theory is higher than fact in the scientific world. Theories explains the facts as we know them to be.
    Theories never become facts no matter how good the theory.

    There is no such thing as proof in science (there is in mathematics) only our understanding which science aspires every day to improve.

    I dont share your kind views on religion. Religion says its knows the truth whereas science never stops looking.

    They are worlds apart and can never hold hands.

  64. Amused…

    You are, interestingly, both entirely correct and completely wrong…

    Scientific theories are, by definition, just that: unproven theories. They are models constructed by we poor humans to try to explain the environment which we observe around us.

    We understand they may not be correct. We accept that. This is why we continue to test them using all available information, to ensure they continue to be able to answer questions we might posse to them.

    An important realization to any enlightened thinker (read: human (currently; in 100 years this might include computers…)) is the fact that *nothing* can be proven, outside of the rarefied field of mathematics. And even within that domain, chaos exists (if you don’t accept this last statement, read Mandelbrot et al…).

    I thusly present and argue: *every* position is a leap of faith.

    The main difference between practitioners of the scientific method and the religious method, is that the former are continuously questioning themselves, and all the available evidence, to ensure they are still comfortable with (and are prepared to put their names behind) the positions they hold.

    Both methodologies have their place. They are not at war.

    Kindest regards to all.

  65. Amused

    “I thusly present and argue: *every* position is a leap of faith.”

    ————————————–

    Perhaps you do not understand the precise meaning of the word faith.

    A scientific theory is based on evidence. Faith by definition is not.

    You have omitted, forgotten or conveniently ignored the most powerful feature of a robust scientific theory – its stunning predictive power !

    All faith can give you is a guess.

    PS scientific theories are most certainly NOT “by definition unproven theories”. That is complete nonsense.

    PSS please enlighten me as to how I am “completely wrong” since apart from your silly definition of a scientific theory you accept that proof is for mathematics only and that scientific theories and facts are two quite different things.

  66. Amused… I believe that statement strongly. I believe it can be mathematically derived from Gödel et al.

    The reason I argue you are completely wrong is you are rejecting religion. We, the practitioners of the scientific method, know we can never be absolutely *certain* we are correct. Yes, we have our margins of error down to very, very small numbers, but there is still a non-zero possibility that we are wrong.

    Ergo: we must accept that our beliefs are nothing but a leap of faith, just like everyone else’s.

    Best regards.

  67. If I may, please let me share with you all one reason I’m an agnostic, rather than an atheist…

  68. Rohan

    Chris, there is still a non-zero possiblity that

    unicorns invented the earth,

    and that you’re made of fairy dust

    and that Santa Claus is real and can make it around the world in one night,

    and that a snake spoke to a woman and told her to eat a fruit and she ruined it for all of us,

    and that a burning bush spoke to a man, and that the earth is 5,000 years old,

    and that there is a magic man in the sky watching me type this right now and getting really, really mad at me for saying that he doesn’t exist,

    and that George Bush is the reincarnation of Hitler

    and that some guy took the millions of species on earth on a boat to prevent them from drowning,

    and whatever other crapola you’ve been food-fed from birth.

    That non-zero possiblity is only pertinent to someone who wants to believe that earth is still flat (and that there is a cute bearded man in the sky who answers my prayers to pass an exam but ignores babies dying).

    You can straddle the line all you want, but when presented with a claim for which

    1)ALL evidence points to the contrary and
    2) ZERO evidence supports the claim

    you don’t need to be Einsten to figure it out.
    Good luck man

  69. Amused

    Sorry your logic does not follow.

    A non zero probability does not equal a leap of faith. Quite the opposite. Any probability higher than pure chance means faith is no longer involved. Reason has entered.

    To equate knowledge gained by reason and inquiry with faith is just absurd.

    I believe Rohan has illustrated the point quite well.

    Perhaps we are just arguing semantics and you are not ascribing the correct meaning to the word faith. Faith is a belief without evidence. Once evidence is there, faith is no more, even if colloquially we do not use the word in this way.

    Your claim about scientific theory was a definition, not a derivation. It is simply incorrect. It is incorrect because (as you seemed to recognise) proof is not part of science. It works both ways, a scientific theory cannot be either proven nor unproven. Its valid until falsified. So to talk about scientific theories being “by definition unproven theories” is, with respect, a nonsensical statement.

    You said I am “completely wrong” because I rejected religion but you have not explained why rejecting religion is wrong. Of course please clarify which religion you mean I should not reject.

    Back to semantics – are you sure you are not an atheist? An atheist reject theistic gods, the gods of man made religions. Atheists do not claim zero probability of supernatural gods or forces.

    To be precise, one can be an atheist and an agnostic.

    PS to Rohan, you forgot the magic man with the beard does wonders for the games of American sportsmen while apparently ignoring babies dying. How do I know this? why they tell us on TV !

  70. Colin L Beadon

    Maybe you still don’t all understand you are talking in metaphors ? But keep on. Keep at it, and eventually it will come upon you, like it had come upon my 21 year old nephew, without my bidding.
    I have to slink back to Khayyam, sorry !
    Up from Earth’s Centre through the Seventh Gate
    I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
    Any many Knots unravel’d by the Road:
    Bit not the Knot of Human Death and fate.

    There was a Door to which I found no
    Key;
    There was a Veil past which I could not see:

    Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee,
    There seem’d— and then no more of Thee and Me.

  71. Thomas Gresham

    The difference between a scientific theory and faith/religion is that a scientific theory can make a testable prediction. Faith/religion does not.

  72. IMHO; with all due respect; without prejudice, etc…

    Dear Amused, kind sir…

    You are simply and completely wrong.

    If I may, I’d like to go high-bandwidth…

    1. Axiom: No theory can be proven.

    1.1. Deduction: No theory can be disproved. (Test: Prove you have disproved that theory.)

    1.2. Deduction: (Any and all) God(s) cannot be disproven.

    1.3. Deduction: (Any and all) God(s) must be considered possible.

    2. Axiom: Many, many people believe in many, many Gods.

    2.1. Observation: people’s believes’ tend to be hard to change…

    Amused, I presume you understand and appreciate that language is simply paint? Used to describe metaphor and personal models?

    I am very comfortable debating semantics. And I believe that precise language is very important. But at the same time, I appreciate that words can have multiple meanings, particularity to different people. A good friend of mine once enlightened me with: “Be responsible for the listening into which you are speaking.”

    I would thusly ask you to reconsider if I have made an error with my above, and the use of the word “faith”? (Hint: Google “faith definition”.)

    Rohan…

    As an obvious student of the universe, you will of course know…

    According to many interpretations of contemporary physics, anything which is not impossible has happened, is happening, or will happen.

    Some interpretations go further, and state that everything which is not impossible is happening right now, locally to our system, or in a parallel universe. (I’m not joking.)

    Thus, it is possible (in fact, it is obligated) to conclude that all of the improbable things you list in your post will, has, or *is* happening. Further, we of the scientific methodology cannot *prove* that this “reality” is not our here and now.

    While I personally do not find it terribly likely that there are Gods amongst us, I cannot, with a good conscience, look anyone in the face who believes in any God(s), and tell them that they are wrong, because I do not *know* for *certain*.

    To All…

    It is important to remember that we of the scientific methodology still have many things we are a bit embarrassed to admit that we cannot explain…

    We still have not been able to reconcile Gravity and QED, for example.

    Some of our measurements don’t exactly fit our predictions (Google for “Pioneer anomaly” — an excellent example and demonstration of the Method…)

    And we still haven’t (we don’t think) directly observed the Higgs boson (although we hope to, soon…)

    My fundamental argument is simply: no one knows anything, with absolute certainty. Thus, it is each and everyone’s responsibility to question everything we’re
    told, and derive our own conclusions.

    Kindest regards to all.

  73. Amused

    “You are simply and completely wrong.”

    ———————————–

    A bold statement made without any evidence to support it.

    No wonder you you think everything is “a leap of faith”

  74. Citizen First

    We have been this way before…

    Mr Halsall write’s “no one knows anything, with absolute certainty …”. I would counter, except religious people when discussing their God and His revealed Truth. To admit doubt and a probability of being wrong would contradict Faith. Therein lies the distinction between Science and Religion (as many others have stated before).

    As to being of the “we of the scientific methodolgy”, Mr Halsall’s membership is certainly in doubt when he suggests that there is “embarassment” in not being able to explain some phenomena or the other!

  75. Colin L Beadon

    The Only Reality,…..we seem all to have forgotten…..

    is the child in the exhaustion of near death, the hot desert sun high above her, a string of white pop beads around her small emaciated neck,…. and the near-waiting vulture, like an angel of death , who knows everything he needs to know.

    One should not ask, if the photographer just walked away. And if he did, whether he slept well after the sun had set.

    ***************

    BFP says,

    Hi Colin,

    The photographer did just walk away and left her there. He later said that he had no idea what happened to her.

    But he could not live with himself and committed suicide shortly thereafter.

    The story is at…

    http://africanhistory.about.com/b/2006/04/12/the-journalist-the-vulture-and-the-child.htm

    The Journalist, the Vulture, and the Child

    The haunting photo of a vulture stalking an emaciated Sudanese girl who’d collapsed on her way to a feeding station won photographer Kevin Carter a Pulitzer Prize in 1994. Carter also become notorious for sticking to the journalistic principle of being an observor and not getting involved — he left after taking his photo and neither he, nor the New York Times, which first published the photo on 26 March 1993, knew what happened to her. (Looking at the photo, it’s hard to imagine a pleasant ending.) A few months later after collecting his Pulitzer, Carter committed suicide, the violence he’d encountered in his life as a journalist, especially in South Africa, becoming too much to live with.

  76. Colin L Beadon

    Amused:
    There is certainly no such thing as proof, in all mathematics.
    ‘We are barred from ultimate knowledge, from ultimate explanation, by the very rules of reasoning that prompt us to seek such an explanation in the first place .’ ( Extract from Paul Davies book, ‘The Mind of God ‘ page 231 )

  77. Rohan

    Chris Halsall,

    Your premise:
    “in an infinite world, anything that is POSSIBLE will or has happened.”

    Your conclusion:
    “Thus, it is possible (in fact, it is obligated) to conclude that all of the improbable things you list in your post will, has, or *is* happening.”

    I put “possible” in bold to help you see how your premise does not support your conclusion.
    Good luck man

    Citizen First, Great point:
    “As to being of the “we of the scientific methodolgy”, Mr Halsall’s membership is certainly in doubt when he suggests that there is “embarassment” in not being able to explain some phenomena or the other!”

    Amused:
    I know right? It’s funny how both teams pray but only one can win. Thousands of people’s prayers HAVE to go unaswered. Why does God ignore prayer? I thought Jesus said

    “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

    Maybe, the other team, supporters, city did not believe enough..haha

  78. Inkwell

    BFP,

    I don’t know the truth, but the version of events:

    “The photographer did just walk away and left her there. He later said that he had no idea what happened to her.

    But he could not live with himself and committed suicide shortly thereafter.”

    is contradicted here;

    http://www.flatrock.org.nz/topics/odds_and_oddities/ultimate_in_unfair.htm

    “The reaction to the picture was so strong that The New York Times published an unusual editor’s note on the fate of the girl. Mr Carter said she resumed her trek to the feeding centre. He chased away the vulture.

    I find it difficult to believe that a human being could walk away and leave a starving child to the mercy of a waiting vulture. Do you really think that he would have been awarded the Pulitzer if scenario 1 was true?

  79. Citizen First

    Thank you Inkwell for your link.

    The story behind the photograph is so very much more important than these empty discussions about God, religion or science etc. Mr Carter’s story resonates with me as I wrestle with my own impotence in the face of evil, deprivation, sickness and tragedy as I try to validate my self-indulgent claim to being ‘good’.

  80. Citizen First… you are correct — I misspoke.

    Instead of “embarrassed”, I should have used “humbled”. I stand behind, and rest, the remainder of my language.

  81. Colin L Beadon

    ‘Walking Away ‘
    If I had done such a thing, to child or animal,
    just walk away, I would not have been able to live with myself either. And yet I’m not religous in any religious sense though I have, and still do, read them all I can find.
    There is a spiritual demension, beyond which we no longer need suffer just belief, of any kind. But even what I’ve written, stumblingly, is a metaphore, an explanation, a bridge, to what is beyond words, science, religions, space, time, maths, and our very limited, often incorrect senses, that allow us to survive on this Earth.
    We are not privy to absolute knowledge, except in very brief, fleeting glimpses, that we are far better off not attempting to explain. Yet the glimpses are like sign posts leading us into great literature, equations, art, that often take more than 50 years to fully understand. ( We are evolving too, if we don’t destroy ourselves with the bargain. )
    A blind man lives a seperate metaphore, a dumb woman another, without smell the gastric juices do not work so well, without the sense of touch, we have lost another dimension. Lose all our senses and we are in a dream – remembered
    world, if we survive long.
    A wild race in deep equitorian bush, evolves its own science/diety beliefs, that help it survive. The River God forbids fishing in certain stretches of the river, not cutting trees or planting crops in that area, leaving it entirely unsoiled, natural, something we of the modern world have only recently learned. The natives tried out a metaphore, or myth, and that one worked. The rivers above and below the taboo areas, flow with never-ending fish.
    The vultures decended in a swarm, some took the bones to drop on rock and break to get at the marrow. All that was left was a greasy mess, on the stifling desert sand. And her white beaded necklace.
    There is a much better account of what happens when you die on the sand, done by Hemingway ‘Wings Always Over Africa ‘ .
    Esquire Jan 1936.