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Posted by Scott on August 30, 2002 05:02:20 UTC

HI Scott

Hi, Mike. :)

Did I put words in your mouth? No.

Only in a matter of speaking.

Also, you write: "Science is merely the tool by which we measure this thing we call nature--"

We could also call science the BS detector about religion. And we could call religion "a grab bag of concepts -- some helpful, some terribly unhelpful."

Actually, I agree with you. 100%. No religion is infallible. Then again, no science, in our present development, is infallible either. All science and all religion is interpreted by very fallible human beings. In both cases (religion and science), we can be absolutely right--and both cases (religion and science), we can be absolutely wrong.

And in both cases, we can be too arrogant to admit that we're wrong. It's human nature--we don't want to be embarrassed, so we suppress new ideas (or sometimes even old ideas) so that we don't lose face.

Scott, I don't think anyone needed a book to tell them that killing another person, or being killed, is a bad thing generally! What the Bible and other books do for the topic would fill a thimble, barely.

Thimble? I think that understates it a bit. Theology is a little more vast than that--a little more credible than that. To say the least.

We don't a book to tell us that killing is bad? Well, to a certain degree, you're correct. After all, most religious doctrine is based on certain COMMON-SENSE principles. For instance, Judaism and Islam share a number of parallel taboos that Christians wouldn't even think twice about. I.E. ham, pork, certain kinds of shellfish are bad. In Christianity?--they're no big deal. Why?

The common-sense principles are obvious. Judaism and Islam are both primarily Middle Eastern in origin--centering in an areas of the world where the temperatures get pretty darn hot. These are foods that are more susceptible to fast bacterial build up. I don't know if I'd want to eat those foods in that regional climate either. A few thousand years ago, somebody scarfed down a tasty pork chop, then keeled over dead. That probably gave someone the idea that pork is bad--and in that climate, they're right. Commen-Sense principles that become moral principles. Christianity on the other hand? A more or less European religion--a generally cooler climate. Pork?--What's the big deal, right? Less likely to kill you there. Besides, Europeans were always less sanitary anyway--so what did they care? ;)

Again, look at how Kosher foods are prepared. They're prepared that way not *solely* for moral reasons, but also just general sanitation in a very warm climate. It was a common-sense principle that worked its way into a cultural belief system. And that belief system was, therefore, absolutely correct. One could even say, "Godly." You'll see examples of this in every religion.

The Bible says, Thou shalt not kill. Then it goes on and on about killing. And churches through the ages did the same. What "measurable degree" of change did you find in religious history?

There are few, if any, religions on this planet which have not had atrocities committed in the name of their religion. There are intolerant closed-minded fanatics attached to any belief system (and that includes some scientists, by the way). It's important not to confuse the underlying philosophy (i.e. one of peace) with the actions certain individuals or even groups of people.

So-called Christians hacking up Muslims during the Crusades is no more representative of Christianity, than flying passenger jets into the WTC is representative of Islam. These are perversions of something that's intended only to be beautiful.

I have posted a lot of pro-Jesus stuff here so I'm not against some of what you've said. I see the thing not as a parlor game ...finding the truth about these matters is urgent !

I can't see that it's really all THAT urgent. The fact of the matter is, for all our faith, we really don't know. We CAN'T know. There's so much of what we call science and religion that's simply too far beyond our comprehension. The best we can hope to do is live our lives being the best people we can possibly be--to do good works--to do no harm. I happen to believe that a religious faith at least helps in this endeavor. It at least gives one *hope* that when we finally die, it won't have been all for naught. Of course, the fact is we won't TRULY know until we do die...assuming there's something to know...assuming we don't simply snap out of existance. That being the alternative, all we can have is our faith. I'm comfortable with that.

All the best,

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