Comment: Sorry if you meant this as a joke

(See in situ)

In reply to comment: What if God.. (see in situ)

Sorry if you meant this as a joke

It does sound like a rhetorical question, but if you're actually asking about the existence of God, I have two specific views that I would like to share with you and see what you think.

First, in terms of "is there a god", the definition of "god" is the ultimate authority, and therefore there's no avoiding the fact that everyone must believe in a god. The god may be one's own self, the government, the god of Abraham, Satan, Zeus, money, a spouse, even a cluster of Egyptian deities. It may not seem very important, but it's essential for reasons of law. If two people can't agree who to answer to, then they can't create contracts. Well, they can, but they're meaningless, because they don't have any teeth.

As for the determination of the nature of the god, I'm led to believe that there is a being outside of the universe who created the universe. Further, I'm led to believe that the being is pretty specifically the one talked about in the Torah.

(Background: In the late 1990's, I found myself quite agnostic and with a LOT of free time and nobody around me. I started to question...everything. So I picked up a bunch of books, from Scientology, which was big at the time, to the Necronomicon Spellbook, to the Satanic Bible, to the Holy Bible, to the Quran. I wasn't satisfied with any of the answers I'd been given growing up.)

Objects in the universe exist because they were created. Each object must have an equal or greater creator. I can make a cup of coffee, but the cup of coffee is made from water, heat, sunlight, dirt, DNA, the coffee maker, my slow and groggy morning self, etc. A person can create another person, but again it's not done alone. It's done with the help of at least one other person. (Cloning would be with the help of a whole lot more than just one other person!) In fact, two people can't make the person alone. They need vitamins and minerals, protein, water, warmth, etc.

A planet full of life could be made in a number of ways, perhaps even by strings of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, loooots of time, loooots of heat, water, etc. etc. A solar system could be created out of the blossoming of a galaxy, and a galaxy could be created out of an even bigger explosion of matter, after the matter had collapsed into itself.

A universe can exist with matter, energy, laws of physics, laws of math, patterns, and so forth. Looking around, we can easily see this to be so. So that leaves the final universal step, what created the universe? Did the universe create the universe?

The scientific consensus when I went to elementary school was that scientists agreed that it is simply there. (That's one of those answers I didn't like.)

Another theory is that before there were laws to govern physics, there was simply an infinite chaos, and from that chaos sprung order. There weren't any laws of logic to prevent it from being so, so it was so. That held a bit more water with me, but in observing chaos, I can tell you that chaos doesn't beget order. Life turns chaos into order. (John Stossel has a great segment on what traffic does when you get rid of traffic lights. Life, left to itself, turns chaos into order.)

Another theory is that there is a god that created the universe and the laws of physics and set things into motion. I'm a programmer, so that seems like a completely valid explanation to me, but if this were the case, what could possibly be the nature of this god-person?

In the Torah, Moses wrote down the order in which the earth came to be and became covered with critters. The very interesting thing about it is that it jives perfectly well with a lot of what I learned in school. The earth cooled, plates shifted, mountains formed, plants sprouted up, and fish, mammals, birds, and then people came to be. It's recorded in the Torah in the same order as scientists with the ability to dig very deep into the earth determined after examining it. That's fine, but how did Moses know? Noah made the ark, so maybe Moses made the deep soil drill and invented archeology?

That struck me, because as the Bible itself says, even the stones will cry out. The Torah, 5,000 years ago, had an explanation for the creation of things, and modern science accidentally supported it. Did this god-person create animals and plants by way of the Darwinian evolutionary process? I doubt it. But if he did, it wouldn't contradict anything. He created the universe and the laws of physics, so if we evolved into what we are, then that simply means that he created us that way.

The book has a long line of historical accounts that modern anthropology confirms. That's interesting, but it's not everything.

Then there's prophesy. There's plenty of study on prophesy, but I don't tend to associate it with whether or not I believe the Holy Bible to be true and accurate, nor do I tend to associate it with believing that there is a god. Knowing the future doesn't make you a god. For example, Ron Paul isn't a god. The prophesy in the Bible, though also very interesting, is what I consider to be academic reading for those who are already believers.

The kicker for me was the law. What group of humans, when given the opportunity to write law, hasn't created a horribly perverse authoritarian centralized evil big government mess? Writing law is absolute power, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I found the law in the Quran to be fascinating, but it wasn't perfect. A thief is punished by losing a limb? What if the thief was hungry and was stealing a loaf of bread and intended to repay it with a bag of gold the next day? The bible, on the other hand, said that a thief is to repay double the amount stolen. The bible has quite the line of unusually logical and wise laws. For example, if a person's animal kills someone, the animal should be slaughtered, they shouldn't eat the meat from the animal, and the owner shouldn't be punished. If the person's animal kills someone but he doesn't have the animal killed and the animal kills again, then the person should be put to death for manslaughter. There's information about disease prevention, healthy diet, preventing conflict between business partners, how to arbitrate some of the most complicated cases, and more. It's not just brilliant, it's enlightened.

That, for me, is what drove home that the nature of the god is described in the book that claims to have been written on his behalf. Any such document is by its nature easy to verify. When various bits have been added over time by religious groups trying to rewrite it in their favor, it has been so easy to identify them and remove them. That's why the dead sea scrolls were so interesting. It's not just that the scripture is as old as it claims to be, it's that there haven't been any substantive changes in the scripture in multiple millennia. It's still happening to this day, in fact. Remember the "Let him who has no sin cast the first stone" bit? I get grief for saying this, but I don't think it ever happened.

If you've read down this far, then I appreciate your time and your critical reading. I will try my best to watch for any replies.

Michael Nystrom's fists can punch through FUD.