Thursday, March 5, 2009

This Is Not A Post - Why Everything Must Be Questioned


If religion is accurate, it should withstand scrutiny.


Why question it? Why not appreciate its beauty and value?


Does a sunset lose its beauty or its value when examined?


If in the act of examination, a sunset is no longer a sunset, then what is it?

We should decide for ourselves.

16 comments:

Kraxpelax said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
claidheamh mor said...

I think examining, challenging, and knowing more about things (like y'know, science!) increases enjoyment and wonder.

Such a naive baby concept to think, "oh, if I know more, I'll lose my wonder blah blah (more likely fear to challenge the unquestioned blind beliefs that are the foundation of religion), so I don't wanna know".

Peter said...

"Why question it? Why not appreciate its beauty and value?"
Who said we couldn't?


"Does a sunset lose its beauty or its value when examined?"
No, it does not!


"If in the act of examination, a sunset is no longer a sunset, then what is it?"
IF you examine it, it's an optical illusion, but you don't have to.

"We should decide for ourselves."
We are free to do so.
We can choose.

Anonymous said...

If SCIENCE is accurate, it should withstand scrutiny.


Why question it? Why not appreciate its beauty and value?


Does a sunset lose its beauty or its value when examined?


If in the act of examination, a sunset is no longer a sunset, then what is it?

We should decide for ourselves.

Teleprompter said...

Anonymous,

I see you've entirely missed the point of this post. Good job.

The Highwayman said...

"I see you've entirely missed the point of this post. Good job."

What's wrong with fair turnabout, Teleprompter? You don't like it when science has to prove itself apart from the rhetorical?

Maybe the mob mentality of Unreasonable Faith won't cloud your objectivity, here... or do you have the balls to debate on your own? No one there had the balls to debate me on my own turf, even at my invitation.

"Comment deleted" How common this is with bloggers, these days. I came up in the rough n' tumble world of political bloggers, where it was a disgrace to silence any dissenting voices. You took what came, and you never dished out what you couldn't take.

I think you're typical of today's people-pleasing, partisan blogger, who strives to create as many images of him/herself in a retinue of followers and hanger-ons. Wouldn't that be an accurate assessment in your case? You're a suck-up, not to put too fine a point on it.

One thing about comments like those that attacked the points I was trying to make, is that they're useful in exposing the individuals that you know will never learn anything, nor wish to. Those, you need never waste any precious time on.

I selected you because of your late arrival and determination to get some vitriolic statement in before I left. One needs to be confident and self-assured, in my business, and able to resist the urge to retaliate when it's not advantageous to do so. The questions were getting more and more infantile and malevolent, as the trouble-makers sensed controversy, and homed in... like you, yourself, did.

Anyway, I bypassed all of you bozos, and emailed the administrator to make my points. Congrats on some of the stupidest and most infantile comments and critique I've seen in a while. Had I not lost respect for you, I would have delved further into the issues that I broached. Your loss.

Question everything - and that includes Darwinism and Freudian dogma, too.

Teleprompter said...

The Highwayman,

Do I have the balls?

Hell yes.

Now, I want you to prove me wrong. Right now, I think you're being an asshole. Prove me wrong, and we'll see who has the cajones, sir.

Am I a suck up?

Ask John C from UF. Ask Kim from UF. They're both Christians, and I treat them as well as I treat LRA or Sock or Daniel. I treat all bloggers in the same way as long as they are willing to be patient and want to make a positive exchange.

If I like their opinion, I like it. If I don't like it, I criticize it. Pretty simple.

I don't take crap from anyone, and I don't shy away from a lively discussion.

You disappointed me. You were shown to be wrong, and then you did the childish thing -- you decided to pick up your toys and go home.

Do you have any idea how many times I've seen this happen before?

You were losing. You were losing badly. So you arrogantly decided that it wasn't your fault. It had to be someone else's fault, didn't it?

You just couldn't take accountability for yourself, could you?

Also, the comment I deleted in this thread was an advertisement. It had a link to an ad in it.

But you thought I deleted because I disagreed with it. Good job, sir! Yet another assumption you made out of your ass which was shown to be entirely out of the ballpark. Now can you tell why people tend to think that you're kind of pompous and asshole-ish?

I give people the benefit of the doubt. I don't give ideas the benefit of the doubt.

Now, you make a lot of charges against me. Well, you crossed the wrong person. I'll debate you here as long as it takes to clear my name, or to clear up the situation in general.

You assume that I delete comments that disagree with my ideas? Have you even read this blog before?

You can see in this very thread that people put up ideas I disagreed with. If I had deleted, you never would've seen them, would you?

It's so obvious. But you missed my tolerance of dissent and intellectual exchange, because you made a stupid ASSumption that had no merit whatsoever.

What's wrong with fair turnabout, you say?

Well, it's fair that someone wrote that, first of all.

I support free speech, as long as it's not some dick trying to advertise something. As long as the comment is about what I wrote on this blog, I will allow anything.

However, the person who made that statement which you referenced just showed themselves to be utterly clueless and ignorant.

Science is accurate, because the scrutiny in the scientific method uncovers loopholes in our understanding.

I never said "why question" science. That is an asshole-ish assumption on the part of the person who left that comment. I have always said in my statements here and at UF that doubt is the most essential element for knowledge.

People have maintained that religion should never be questioned, and that faith is an unassailable virtue. My point was to show that faith, if it's all it's cracked up to be, should be willing to undergo the same process of scrutiny (at least a similar one) to which science undergoes.

Overall, the comment which you referenced was just plain stupid and silly. Whoever left it just mangled the entire argument and really said nothing of any value.

As I said in response, they completely missed the point.

I think you now know why they missed the point. If you didn't understand, I will explain it again. But it is not difficult to understand the differences between the way in which science tries to attain knowledge and the way in which religion tries to attain knowledge.

I am trying to be patient with you. I'd love for you to prove that you're not an asshole. Please try to work with me.

I love it when science tries to prove itself -- that's the whole point of the scientific process, in case you didn't understand that before.

By the way, if you've read this far, I think you understand that I do have the balls to debate you. Bring it on -- I'll go as long as it takes for me to clear my name or clear up the situation.

Obviously, I do take what comes. But you made a rookie mistake and ASSumed that I deleted a comment because it disagree with me, when I actually deleted it because it was an ad. That's a dumb mistake on your part.

Also, who the hell am I trying to please? Obviously not you. Another meritless ASSumption.

So far, you've shown yourself to be an idiot, no offense.

And to be fair, I'd rather be a suck-up.

You keep making assumptions which are either completely ridiculous or have no point or are wrong enitrely.

Mostly you're wrong. Sometimes you're not even coherent enough to *be* wrong.

By the way, you accuse me of being vitriolic?

You know what, I don't care. It's not true, and even if it were true, it would have no impact on the substance of this argument.

Why am I so angry about this sometimes?

People like you continue to make stupid, really dumb assumptions about me.

I think it's completely fair for me to take any means necessary to demolish these wrong-headed and ignorant stereotypes.

Also, you call me a "bozo" when you simultaneously criticize me for being "infantile and malevolent"?

I'd love it if you could prove to me that you're a patient, cooperative person, but you're still coming off as a major asshole right now.

You can't criticize me something that I didn't actually do, and then even worse, come out and do the very thing which you've criticized me for.

That's just ridiculously hypocritical.

Also, I'd love to delve further into the issues with you, even if I don't respect you.

My respect or lack of respect for someone is not bound up with my intellectual opinions. That may be an amazing concept for you, but it's true.

Also, I'm not a Freudian. Another assumption. What is it with you and assumptions anyway?

Why do you keep making really stupid ones?

If you really are the person you say you are (someone who has a genuine desire to learn), then why don't you start listening to what people are actually saying instead of making assumptions so you can build a huge straw man and then knock it down.

I'm tired of you being disingenuous. I'm tired of you being hypocritical. I'm tired of you making bad assumptions. I'm tired of it.

I want a genuine dialogue, I really do. However, I'm not afraid to call someone out. If that's what it takes, that's what it takes.

If you don't respond to this, I'll know a lot more about you. And if you do respond to this, and you're willing to have a reasonable discussion about this, I'll be very happy. I'll have to take back everything I've said so far...and that wouldn't hurt me at all.

Also, it's not "Darwinism". Science is not a dogma -- it is constantly revising itself. Darwin didn't know about Mendelian genetics and lots of other things in biology; our knowledge has increased by leaps and bounds since those days.

If you really want to be honest about this, learn the science.

Personally, I think religion and evolution CAN co-exist.

However, evolution is fact, whether it can co-exist with beliefs or not.

And just because I think it is fact doesn't mean I don't question it or that other people don't question it.

However, gravity is not a dogma either, and neither is evolution.

In physics, we had Newtonian mechanics, and then quantum mechanics. Was Newton wrong? Not really. Our knowledge was just incomplete.

In biology, we had Darwin's ideas, and then Mendel's ideas, and Gould's ideas, and many other ideas. Were the earlier people wrong? Not really -- but their knowledge was incomplete.

Science keeps building and building its reservoir of knowledge.

I'd like to discuss these things with you further.

If you have the balls to do it, that is.

The Highwayman said...

The ONLY reason I even commented on that post at UF was that some idiot was slandering Christ, and, going by the criteria that you claim science does, he was completely out in left field. He wasn't around in Christ's day to observe ANYTHING about the man, and he hasn't been around near long enough to explain how something that he deems so insignificant has stood the test of millennia, when many other beliefs and scientific ideas HAVEN'T. How would your adherents or descendants like it, if, some centuries after your demise, I went around calling you an asshole (or a bozo) having never known you?

I'm going to tell you something that you'll LOVE to hear, I'm sure, (not an assumption!) and that is that I cannot prove to your satisfaction that I am right and you're wrong... okay? There is no way to prove something that is based in large part upon faith. In fact, it is the faithful that are most lauded in scripture, for without it, we cannot please God.

You cannot see any logical reason for a god's existence. Why? I happen to think that if organisms can somehow imbue themselves with the genetic capability to overcome not only present and hostile environmental issues, without simply succumbing to them, altogether, but FUTURE UNFORESEEN ONES, while still a simple, practically insentient organism, then, as many atheists, themselves, do, then I can believe that there is, somewhere in this universe, beings or a being superior to myself.

That being just might have prowess on a scale which might even dwarf that gulf which lays between us and those simple organisms!

People scoff at the primitive language used by the ancients in their testimony of faith. It probably would have been better if a modern mind could have seen and reported all that transpired in those days, where there were only simple peasants, fisherman, herdsmen, etc., to analyze and report what they were seeing. Point is, they were EYE-WITNESS, FIRST-HAND reporters, and not some wag on a blog with the respect of a whore for things of courtly significance... things he knew NOTHING about, nor cared to! He just wanted to piss off a Christian... and he did! And, then, you all jumped on the bandwagon!

Personally, I don't give a rat's ass what you all believe, because I know what I believe, and that is all that matters. One thing you have taught me, though, and that is the futility of going onto an atheist blog, and expecting anything else but a free-for-all. People have tried to tell me about this in the past, but, no, I told them... there are thinkers there that need my perspective. Well, I'll have to admit it... I was wrong! It is the height of idiocy to expect that such a site could not have been conceived without prior conviction and unwavering commitment to a thought or belief, and one lone highwayman is NOT going to say anything that will impress anyone so associated with such a place, to change that belief.

I used to believe like you... but, then, I really didn't question what I was being spoon-fed. I just assumed, or rather, took it on faith that I wasn't being led down the primrose path. I noticed how any dissenters were mocked and vilified if they didn't adhere to scientific dogma, and if you try and tell me that there ISN'T dogma in science, then why do scientists get slandered and vilified for not adhering to the popular notions of the day? I recently did a post about the way certain scientists were treated for not agreeing with Gore & Co. on the extent of Global Warming. There are many other examples throughout history that show of the intolerance that scientists have for those that betray the faith.

Your ilk say that science... let's say Evolution, not science, okay? Science is very much accepted by Christians as a natural process created along with everything else, so I don't like to say that I don't believe in science. So, your ilk say that Evolution is superior to Intelligent Design, because we primitives base our beliefs on faith in something we couldn't actually measure, or witness. How many atheists were around during primeval times, or even prior to that, during the initial... let's say initialization... of the universe, to so dogmatically state that it couldn't have been any other way? Is that sound scientific analysis? Sounds like... supposition... to me!

Well, I'm no scientist, and, that, in and of itself, is going to cause me to lose face with you, nevermind the antipathy that you have for me, now. However, Christianity is not devoid of scientists, even former infidels, who are far more adept at giving you the proof that you expect, than what I am. I have a high school diploma, and I am a trucker... hence, the "highwayman" handle, okay? I've been a Christian for roughly half of my fifty years, and I've read a lot. Isn't that what you do in university... read a lot? Only over the course of five or six years, though, whereas my 'college' course has lasted decades. And, I didn't have to pay for it, either!

I'm not knocking education, but I feel that there is a certain element in the higher institutes of learning that control the thought of the students they're charged with, and there is a certain amount of vilification present for those that, again, don't tout the party line.

If you really wish to learn, then why don't you seek out those that you COULD respect... men of higher learning, that once were as you, confirmed atheists, and see what they have to say. Surely you know how to use a search engine! See where I hang out? On atheist blogs, not Christian ones. I can't learn about the other side of things hanging with my own kind, now, can I?

Hey... if it means anything at all, I apologize for calling you names. That wasn't my original intention, going in, but things got heated. Your long response to my challenge showed me you are different from some that I've encountered. Make no mistake, though, I am NOT apologizing for the Gospel! However, I am truly repentant for the insults. Like one wag intimated... Christ didn't deal with people that way, nor should His adherents. I'm used to being treated like shit, and I guess I'm getting hardened in my old age.

Alright... you wish to debate, I'll do it. It won't be but over time, and I've already warned you that there are probably better sources of knowledge for you to seek out, but, I can give you the run that you want. My life is on the highway, and weekends are when I'm free to roam cyberspace.

You can reach me at the email address your friend at UF can provide from his comment section in his blog administration. I use Wordpress, too, so I know he has the capability to trap and record email addresses. This comment is my authorization to release the info to you. I'll get back to you whenever I can.

Fair enough?

Teleprompter said...

The Highwayman,

Thanks for responding! I am glad that you're willing to talk to me, despite the extreme hostility which has emerged from this conversation.

Religion is definitely a landmine for me. Thanks for giving me another chance to explain myself.

Gandhi said, "I like Christ. I don't like your Christians."

However, I would modify that. I like most Christians. But there are some things about the religion which kind of drive me bonkers.

There is definitely a fine line between criticizing beliefs and slandering someone's identity. I don't remember which comment provoked your anger, but that comment may have crossed the line between intellectual criticism and personal attack.

This is a hard line to adhere to for many non-religious people. We disagree with a lot of religious beliefs; a lot of them don't always make sense to us. It's hard to criticize the belief systems without offending those who follow them. I try to walk that balance, though sometimes I mess up.

I believe that people deserve respect. Ideas do not. Ideas and beliefs must earn my respect.

Now, I've got to admit that I wasn't around when Jesus was. As you may have guessed, I am just a young whippersnapper here.

However, I wasn't around when the dinosaurs were here, either.

So I don't know. I have to trust something.

We all have our own standards of what we are willing to trust and what we are willing to believe.

The only reason I said that I wanted to debate you is because you seemed like you wanted me to take you up on a challenge.

I didn't want to fail that challenge.

But if you don't want to debate, I accept that. But honestly, I don't really want to, either. It would probably be counter-productive. Most of the time, people talk past each other when discussing religion, and that would probably happen here, too.

I just wanted you to understand that I am willing to defend my beliefs and elaborate on them. I just wanted you to understand that I am not hiding anything, that I'm willing to put everything out there.

Now, you continue to make a lot of claims about religion (about Christianity) in your latest reply.

You know what? I don't feel like arguing with you about it.

I could if I wanted to, and I will if you want me to, but here's something for you to consider (from your own words):

"Personally, I don't give a rat's ass what you all believe, because I know what I believe, and that is all that matters."

The bottom line is, at the end of the day, if you really believe those words, then there is nothing that I can do for you.

If you really don't care what I believe, and you're satisfied in what you believe now, then nothing I can say to you will matter.

If you're satisfied now, nothing I can say to you will change that.

Are you satisfied where you are now? That's up to you. I respect your decision whatever you decide.

I don't feel any ill-feelings toward you. I just want you to recognize that I really am not afraid to confront criticism, that I really do want to have a positive conversation.

Sometimes, I get so tired of hearing the same bullshit over and over again, that I get go into this ultra-confrontational mode and leave everything out there in my blog replies.

You triggered this response in me. Usually, I don't call people out like that.

I am not trying to upset you.

I hope you understand some of what I'm trying to say here. I know that religion is mostly one difficult issue after another, and whatever the truth is, I just hope that we can find it, and that we can all get there in one piece.

The Highwayman said...

I should elaborate on the "rat's ass" statement...

My last comment was made while still in a 'warm' state of mind, probably over some of your last comment's descriptiveness concerning my character. As my dialogue progressed, I cooled down. Of course I care what people think, especially of Christ, which is how I got into trouble with you guys in the first place.

It's not that I can't be taught, it's just that I have searched for so many years, and I haven't been able to overcome even the most BASIC tenets of what I consider to be evidence supporting my stand. Actually, they are quite on an emotional level, and I realize that is probably the worst statement I could make to a hard-core atheist determined that cold logic is the only way to truth. I will admit that I am probably behind the times regarding the latest scientific theories and advances, but, again, I tend toward a more philosophical path.

I'm not embarrassed to say that, lacking the technical knowledge, I freely go on 'feelings' to supplement my faith. In my work, a good gut instinct is very beneficial, and it truthfully has saved my life, more times than once. So you're young... that's fine, I was once as young as you are. My elders had to put up with my impertinence, too, but,they weren't always right, either! Sometimes, a youthful perspective is needed, as we tend to get harder and less pliable with age... literally and figuratively.

There is one thing that I wish that non-Christians would understand about us, is that there is a requirement that believers tell what they know. What is even harder for infidels (no slur) to understand, is that this "requirement" is something imbued upon conversion... or, upon receiving the Spirit, which empowers us to do anything at all. I'll have to explain this another time... philosophically, of course. Anyway, it's not pushiness, although the young and/or inexperienced haven't learned to control their responses to the Spirit's promptings, so they might be perceived as pushing their faith. Anyone can be excited about something, and become pushy in the sight of others, not just Bible-thumpers.

But, I digress. I was serious about discussion, as I stated over at the other forum. I'll meet you half-way, at YOUR convenience, and simply comment here. I am gone a lot, and weekends are the only time I can spend online.

That is... if you want to.

I won't blame you for wanting out. Commitments of any kind are made reluctantly in this busy age.

No hard feelings, here, either.

Later...

Paul Maurice Martin said...

Anonymous and Highwayman: Science is based on questioning itself. That's the very gist of the scientific method. Science tries to disprove its own hypotheses.

Something only gets to become a theory once it's withstood a whole lot of scrutiny. And note that in science a theory isn't a guess or conjecture: it's an overarching explanation for events that's supported by voluminous empirical evidence. Gravity, for example is "just" a theory...

I'm not arguing against religion here - I'm a grad of the U of Chicago Divinity School. I'm just saying that it's important to understand what science is.

lucidmystery said...

Holy crikey, Teleprompter vs. Highwayman. Reading all that I almost forgot what I came here to say!

"If religion is accurate, it should withstand scrutiny."

I'll be honest and say it depends on how you scrutinize it. No, it won't stand up to the scientific method (not that anything historical will); no it won't give lightning bolt proof; and no it probably won't make complete sense to anyone of us on earth.

But just because we don't understand something doesn't make it false.

And btw, I hope I'm not rekindling a forest fire, but I liked Anonymous's statement: "If SCIENCE is accurate, it should withstand scrutiny." When I was a freshman undergrad (before I knew how to go through literature on my own), I was never allowed to use scientific journal articles more than two years old because in all honesty they were probably out of date already! Science is constantly changing and revising, mainly because findings so often crumble under scrutiny.

Teleprompter said...

lucidmystery,

Thanks for commenting!

I agree that religion does not necessarily owe the world the type of explanations which are desirable from science.

The catch? Science makes claims on the natural world, therefore we should be able to test these claims. If religion makes claims on the way the natural world works, then science should also be able to test these claims. However, if religion is entirely "outside of space and time" (whatever that means), then there probably isn't going to be any way to confirm or deny its tenets. So I partially agree with you there.

By the way, don't mind the forest fire. Some people can't see the forest because all the trees are in the way.

Yes, science is constantly revised.

This may shock, what I'm about to admit...

but so is religion.

Yes, religion is also constantly updated and revised.

But there are some critical differences. Science, with its emphasis on testing and experimentation, provide a way to establish the validity of new hypotheses.

Religion, with its major method of revelation, does provide new forms of religious belief, but lacks a reliable method to determine which revelations are superior. If all religions are justified true beliefs, which beliefs among many contradictory beliefs are justified and true?

Science has a more reliable method as far as distinguishing what is valid and what is not. Over time, the scientific body of knowledge builds as old understandings are replaced or modified, and individual scientists attempt to find the answers to gaps in our current understanding, and continue their research.

Evolution and religion should be able to co-exist, because religion is sure in a heap of trouble if they can't. First, evolution is as well established as any idea in science. Second, Intelligent Design is terrible for religion because it demonstrates that any designer is dysfunctional and incompetent at best, and negligent at worst.

lucidmystery said...

"Yes, religion is also constantly updated and revised."

On the one hand, I completely agree! As my pastor once put "Jesus called us to walk with Him, not sit with Him." Who wants a complete lack of change? Boring....Even a person's individual experience is supposed change as they go further in their faith. I believe God ordained the mutability of our world (case and point, you need a new flu shot every year cuz the flu virus changes), and He knew human culture was going to have to change. That's part of why I think the God of the Old Testament sounds so different from the God of the New Testament--He had to respond to people in different ways because of different times.

On the other hand, the fundamentals of God don't change. It's been a central truth for 2000 years that Jesus is the Savior, and the day that changes will be the day Christianity does not exist. The peripheral issues around religion may evolve, but the central ones don't. For example, modesty has always been praised. But my idea of a modest dress is 186% different than Queen Elizabeth's! But the attitude behind modesty, the desire to not make guys fall like idiots over a WonderBra or a tight corset, is the same.

"Intelligent Design is terrible for religion because it demonstrates that any designer is dysfunctional and incompetent at best, and negligent at worst."

Sorry, you just hit a pet peeve argument :) If your support for that claim are imperfections in physiological systems or, even worse, the argument that the designer should have made organisms properly from the start without having to modify them....ok, I'll just try to touch on each of those quickly.

First of all, a lot of people cite the imperfections in bodies(ie, the backwards eye anatomy in humans, vestigial structures, etc) as evidence for a either a poor designer or a lack of designer. Not so. First, (and some might go so far as to call this blasphemous but it's in the Bible!) Genesis said God saw the earth and called it "good." He didn't say "perfect;" He said "good." I'm not implying that God didn't make us perfectly, I'm flat out saying it! The only being ever Biblically referred to as perfect is God Himself. Was it cruel of Him to make us lesser? I don't know. But to make another metaphysical jump, we're all supposed to have perfect "bodies" some day. So when someone says "But animals aren't perfect, how could they have designed?" It's because we aren't supposed to be perfect. The same way no one was ever supposed to have thought the sun revolved around the Earth.

The other argument I've heard is that if there was a designer, why do we still need to change? I've already mentioned how I doubt to the extreme that God ever intended the earth to remain static! If a designer had NOT given organisms the ability to adapt, then I would be worried. I don't think our planet is anything like it started out as.

Eeep! This was longer than I meant for it to be, and I have serious homework that I'm neglecting. Thanks for listening!!

btw, were you on at 4:00 am? lol, my word, are you an early bird or a night owl?

Teleprompter said...

lucidmystery,

"Who wants a complete lack of change?"

I heartily agree! To me, change means vibrancy. Of course, I'm not sure it could be any other way. Our entire universe is change...it is a fundamental part of this existence.

If there were a God, I would have to say that change is intended to occur.

Change is so overwhelmingly evident in our existence that it is impossible to say that if there is a Creator that it is not intended.

Perhaps a god did set in motion a system of change in the universe? But then how would that affect any possible divine plan?

For instance, evolution is just one of the types of change in the world; in fact, it's responsible for your flu shot example.

Evolution is undirected; it has no goals. It simply works with what it has, so to speak. That conflicts with the notion of a pre-existing plan from a pre-existing entity. Then perhaps, maybe a god intervened at critical points in evolution to mold us the way we are, or guided the process to achieve us as we are now, as Ken Miller and others believe?

Maybe our universe is set up in a certain way as to enable evolution to take place so that we are the end products of the process?

Why would a god use that process and other processes of change (for evolution at its most basic level is change over time)? I don't know. This is the point where many people both religious and non-religious would tell me to quit playing semantics with this. :P

However, seeing as evolution is fundamentally undirected, it still seems unlikely that there was some sort of divine intervention. I don't know -- maybe there was intervention at an earlier step in the process.

Moving on...as you pointed out, for Christianity to remain coherent, it must be evident that the essential nature of the god does not change. However, I dispute that this is the case.

You mention Jesus during the last 2000 years, but what about before that? You suggested that the OT sounds different because "god had to respond to different people in different ways at different times".

So what is the difference between the NT and the OT? You suggested that it is a difference in the way the Biblical god is responding to people, right? I see more of a difference -- a fundamental difference in message between the two sections.

In the Gospels, Jesus says "love your neighbor". Is this the philosophy of the OT?

Numbers 31:17-18 (NIV): "Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man". And that's just one small section I could show you. A lot of Joshua is just as bad.

Is that the same message as Jesus?

Never mind these additional admonitions about the mind of the Biblical god:

"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" - Numbers 23:19 (NIV)

"He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind." - 1 Samuel 15:29 (NIV)

I think there are more than peripheral issues at play.

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