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ByFaithAlone

Let's Start a Dialogue

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Ok so it's a long time since I've posted on this forum. I used to be active back in the day but not so much recently. And I used to really enjoy the conversations I had with both believers and nonbelievers on this site regarding science and religion. However, after looking over the forum I have become to notice that things have become rather one sided with believers posting things and demanding that nonbelievers defend against 30-50 bullet points. It all just seems like a phone that only goes one way.  

I am sure that it must be somewhat annoying for nonbelievers and seekers to be "preached" at all the time. Sometimes people just post a block text of things that they want nonbelievers to account for ranging from abiogenesis to cosmology to evolutionary biology. I am not saying that such threads are unimportant or that people should not be asking questions but I think it's time to turn the tables slightly.    

I was interested in starting a dialogue between those of faith and those that are interested in leaning more or curious about why people believe what they believe. On Reddit and other such sites there are Ask Me Anything posts (AMAs) where users get to ask a person anything they want related to the person's profession, etc. So let's open up the game and turn things around. I'm a Christian and a scientist with degrees in chemistry and history. I'm going to be an open book as best I can. I am sure there are questions that I will be unqualified to answer but I will try my best. Other people can hop in with their own responses of course and anyone is free to disagree with me and ask more questions. 

Let's start a dialogue on Science and Faith. AMA. 

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23 hours ago, ByFaithAlone said:

I used to be active back in the day but not so much recently. And I used to really enjoy the conversations I had with both believers and nonbelievers on this site regarding science and religion.

It may be that the "science" section of the forum was pretty lively at some point, but not so much anymore. There are only a handful of us that post anything more than bi-monthly. Additionally, there is pretty much only one topic that gets discussed - evolution (I'll shoulder the blame for that since I'm probably the most active participant over the last few months).

I'll start with a question, though! As a Christian who is a chemist, do you see your daily work as any different than what an atheist chemist would do?

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On 1/8/2019 at 9:33 PM, ByFaithAlone said:

However, after looking over the forum I have become to notice that things have become rather one sided with believers posting things and demanding that nonbelievers defend against 30-50 bullet points. It all just seems like a phone that only goes one way.  

I think some believers think that the burden of proof is on the non believer when they are not making any claims.  Additionally there are some believers that think because science does not have all the answers (such as abiogenesis) that that is somehow a proof for a designer.  It is clear in my mind that science cannot investigate claims outside of the natural world.  Faith is totally unsupported by scientific evidence.  It is the responsibility of the believer to support their faith claims, it is up to the nonbeliever to determine if that evidence is convincing enough to believe.  In the end faith comes from hearing the word (Romans 10) not by scientific evidence.  It is my opinion that some  believers go down a path of wanting to have answers to every question a non believer has when there are non.  I don't know is a valid answer to a question.  We need to tell others of the gospel not how we think we can prove god exists through a philosophical argument.

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This is excellent, @Vince. Apologetics certainly has several important roles, but sometimes it does lead to the erroneous assumption that we can “prove” God to anyone with all the necessary facts. It is God’s work to stir the heart, and not our work to come up with all the proving points.

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I have taken part in two threads in this section. Both of which were deleted. There was a lot of argument. One was about neanderthals, but of course the focus became evolution. 

As a Christian I know that God created Adam from the soil, because scripture says so. 

However, I don't know that other people weren't created and what method may have been used.

I know that God created the Heaven and the Earth. His methods for doing these is what I don't know. After all, I was not there.

 

Edited by PepperS

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22 hours ago, one.opinion said:

Additionally, there is pretty much only one topic that gets discussed - evolution (I'll shoulder the blame for that since I'm probably the most active participant over the last few months).

I'll start with a question, though! As a Christian who is a chemist, do you see your daily work as any different than what an atheist chemist would do?

Thanks to everyone for the replies so far. Even back in the day evolution was always a contested topic around here although there were a lot more cosmological discussions which I tend to find a bit more interesting. There used to be a mathematician (viole I think was the username) that had an excellent grasp of the math behind the inflationary cosmology (aka the Big Bang) and theoretical physics in general. She was always interesting. But I digress. To answer your question, I don't think I see my work that much differently than my friends and colleagues  who are atheists or Jewish or Muslim or any other philosophical bent. Ultimately, in science the goal is to discover some sort of truths about nature and the universe we inhabit. I take a Thomistic view on the matter seeing science as a way to appreciate the beauty of God while I think my fellow chemists who happen to be atheists tend to view that beauty as wonderful but not of divine origin.

7 hours ago, Vince said:

It is clear in my mind that science cannot investigate claims outside of the natural world.  Faith is totally unsupported by scientific evidence.  It is the responsibility of the believer to support their faith claims, it is up to the nonbeliever to determine if that evidence is convincing enough to believe.  In the end faith comes from hearing the word (Romans 10) not by scientific evidence.  It is my opinion that some  believers go down a path of wanting to have answers to every question a non believer has when there are non.  I don't know is a valid answer to a question.  We need to tell others of the gospel not how we think we can prove god exists through a philosophical argument.

I do agree with you in part. I would concur that science has no jurisdiction outside of the natural. However, I would contend that science can be somewhat helpful in discussing certain philosophical arguments for God's existence. For example, the classical Prime Cause philosophical argument first codified in Christian philosophy by Aquinas and since updated and revised numerous times is helped (at least in my mind) by modern cosmological ideas of a past-finite universe (something not known during the time of Aquinas). Certainly both Friedmann and Lemaitre (both devout religious men) thought that inflationary spacetime was best philosophically explained by a creator. I don't think everyone will believe based on these philosophical arguments but they are a starting point for discussion at the very least. 

49 minutes ago, PepperS said:

I have taken part in two threads in this section. Both of which were deleted. There was a lot of argument. One was about neanderthals, but of course the focus became evolution. 

As a Christian I know that God created Adam from the soil, because scripture says so. 

However, I don't know that other people weren't created and what method may have been used.

I know that God created the Heaven and the Earth. His methods for doing these is what I don't know. After all, I was not there.

 

I have noticed a lot of threads tend to head towards the evolution debate which I personally find a bit odd as I am a theist who also concurs with the majority of the scientific community on evolution. As you mention above, the important thing to a theist (at least in my mind) is not the method or process of creation but rather that the universe has a creator. Of course many people are very literal when it comes to the writings of Genesis. I am in more of the camp of some of the Church Fathers who viewed the creation as written in Genesis as allegorical (Origen of Alexandria, Iraneaus of Lyons, St. Augustine and Philo - a Jewish contemporary of Christ and the early church). That is perhaps not a popular view around here but it is mine. 

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29 minutes ago, ByFaithAlone said:

I have noticed a lot of threads tend to head towards the evolution debate which I personally find a bit odd as I am a theist who also concurs with the majority of the scientific community on evolution. As you mention above, the important thing to a theist (at least in my mind) is not the method or process of creation but rather that the universe has a creator. Of course many people are very literal when it comes to the writings of Genesis. I am in more of the camp of some of the Church Fathers who viewed the creation as written in Genesis as allegorical (Origen of Alexandria, Iraneaus of Lyons, St. Augustine and Philo - a Jewish contemporary of Christ and the early church). That is perhaps not a popular view around here but it is mine. 

So you're not not a Bible-believer, since the Bible and Theistic Evolution are at odds.

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2 minutes ago, Michael37 said:

So you're not not a Bible-believer, since the Bible and Theistic Evolution are at odds.

I just looked up the meaning of  Theistic Evolution.  I had never heard the term before.

Supporters of theistic evolution generally harmonize evolutionary thought with belief in God, rejecting the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict each other

 

What is your disagreement with this?

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6 minutes ago, Michael37 said:

So you're not not a Bible-believer, since the Bible and Theistic Evolution are at odds.

 

1 minute ago, PepperS said:

I just looked up the meaning of  Theistic Evolution.  I had never heard the term before.

Supporters of theistic evolution generally harmonize evolutionary thought with belief in God, rejecting the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict each other

 

What is your disagreement with this?

If I had to guess (and Michael please correct me if I am wrong) Michael would argue that evolutionary thought is incompatible with a literal reading of Genesis. I would assume that Michael would reject anything other than a literalistic interpretation of the creation account (6 days, young earth, etc) and sees anything less as a dilution of Scriptural inerrancy. On the other hand, I would of course contend that an allegorical interpretation of Genesis fits with both scientific knowledge of the universe and with the understanding of Genesis held by the Early Church and the Patristic and contemporary Jewish sources we have available.  

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3 minutes ago, ByFaithAlone said:

 

If I had to guess (and Michael please correct me if I am wrong) Michael would argue that evolutionary thought is incompatible with a literal reading of Genesis. I would assume that Michael would reject anything other than a literalistic interpretation of the creation account (6 days, young earth, etc) and sees anything less as a dilution of Scriptural inerrancy. On the other hand, I would of course contend that an allegorical interpretation of Genesis fits with both scientific knowledge of the universe and with the understanding of Genesis held by the Early Church and the Patristic and contemporary Jewish sources we have available.  

To me, since I am not God, I have no way of really knowing how anything happened. I don't rule out any possibility at this point. 

Having said that, it would seem to me that if the rule is that Genesis must be taken literally, then the entire Bible must be taken literally. There are certain parts of the Bible in which this is unfathomable.

Also, fossil and geological evidence show that the Earth can't be a literal 6000-7000 years old.

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