Evolution of Christianity

(hat tip: FSTDT)

Occams Razor - The Evolution of Christianity

Occams Razor - The Evolution of Christianity

Although the pedants might whine, I found this pretty funny.

Agnosticism – rational or not?

I was reading an interesting post on the excellent “The Mary Blog,” titled “Agnostic Atheism.” In this post, Mary puts forward the argument that Atheism is not the most rational choice to make and requires an element of belief very similar to theism – in that the Atheist has to believe the non-existence of God without any evidence to support the idea.

Unusually, Mary also explains that Agnosticism is not entirely rational either and concludes that the rational position is about half way between Agnostic and Atheist. The whole post puts forward a reasonable argument for people seeking a middle ground between what is increasingly seen as “Militant” atheism and the “reasonable” agnosticism.

Sadly, while I consider myself a rational person, I have to disagree and, personally, I find the arguments for Agnosticism a bit “wet” (for want of a politer word). Before I go on, there is always the risk that this could simply be a case of semantics, so I think some definitions are required. To me, Atheist is not a religion and it certainly is not a dogmatic belief structure. My view of the term “Atheist” does not preclude the fact that if, tomorrow, Thor knocked on my door and introduced himself, I would believe he existed. In common parlance, Atheist is used to mean “doesn’t believe in the Christian God” but, personally, this is inaccurate.

Right, that said, I can explain why I feel Agnosticism is not rational and, often, seems to be a way people avoid any stigma associated with being called an “Atheist.” (Sorry if this seems to rehash some ground from a previous debate with Parabiodox over the terms 😀 ).

Often blogs claiming Atheism is irrational will use the argument that the Atheist believes God does not exist, while the Agnostic says “we don’t know if God exists or not.” In this form, the Agnostic view point does appear more rational but closer examination may change this.

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Gods and evolution

There are some comprehensive lists of Roman and Greek gods and goddesses in Gregory Flood’s Lists of Roman Godds and Goddesses.

These were people who didn’t mess about, if they found themselves without a handy god for any occasion. They just made one. There’s a god called Scabies, ffs. (of Itching, in case you wondered).

How did we get from the complex and changing pantheons of the Greeks and Romans and Vikings and Yoruba and Egyptians and indigenous Americans, etc, etc. to the dull God of Abraham? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

There’s an analogy between loss of diversity in species and loss of diversity in beliefs. As humans have shaped more and more of the environment, more unique and colourful species tend to give way under human pressure on their habitats. So, we see the lowest common denominator species prospering. The rat, the cockroach, the pigeon, the housefly all doing very well. (Basically all grey and able to live on s.ite.)

Pantheons reflect a human-centred worldview – a capacity to look for patterns in the universe and human society and to express our innate capacity for transcendence. The list of available gods can be revised in an ongoing basis to accommodate new ones when the old ones don’t work. Human rulers were happy to promote themselves to Godhood, whenever they felt the need.

This suggests that many people were aware that their religions were human constructs but could square this with the social and psychological benefits they got from their rituals. Compared to this, worship of one God seems willfully unsophisticated, and leads to inherent logical contradictions and a need to smite the ungodly.

The one God has expanded to take over the mental and social space we have for deities, dominating whole societies and lives. As far as I can see, this represents an flattening of mental diversity, as when one species – that can live well amongst humans whether we like it or not – replaces the variety that could co-exist in a more fertile environment.

Chain Letters

Now that I am back online, I am suffering from the mountains of chain emails my “friends” send me, thinking I am actually interested in reading some nonsense about how sending this email to 10 people in 1/10th of a second will make my wish come true.

I have found one which is strangely interesting – but, I suspect, not for the reasons the originator wanted. The “Friend” who sent it to me is some one I have not seen face to face for about 10 years now and (based on the other emails they send me), they have either been born again or think I am. Pretty amazing really.

Anyway, the email, titled “Wow, what a wake up call,” reads: (it is long, so it is after the fold)

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