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MrGrimm888's avatar

Would proof of alien lifeforms prove most religions are not legitimate ?

Asked by MrGrimm888 (16073points) July 12th, 2016

If the Mars rover for instance finds evidence of current, or past life on Mars, does that remove validation of most religions?
To me, even a microorganism on another planet , would prove at least Christianity wrong…
I admittedly am not a theological expert…But know enough about Christianity to go ahead and scratch that one off , if we find any other life ,anywhere.

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68 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

I doubt if it would make even a bit of difference. The religions would adapt and quickly “discover” alien existence somehow validates their own beliefs. Of course new cults (religions) built around the discoveries must pop up.

ragingloli's avatar

Superstitionists would quickly either twist their scriptures to have included aliens all along, or they would just label them all demons.

Setanta's avatar

I think a lot of religions would not miss a beat, and simply declare that these newly discovered life forms were just further evidence of creation.

SmartAZ's avatar

Christianity is not a religion, so you are off the track right from the start. However, I would be somewhat interested in what leads you to think alien life would prove anything.

cookieman's avatar

^^ How is Christianity not a religion? What is it then?

ragingloli's avatar

inb4 “personal relationship with jesus/god”

zenvelo's avatar

Those of us who believe in a universal, cosmic, divinity believe that life in any stage anywhere in the universe share in the cosmic creation.

No “adaptation” of belief necessary.

LostInParadise's avatar

I don’t see what difference it would make.

On the other hand, if intelligent extraterrestrials were discovered, it would at least call into question most religions. For example, why should the son of God have taken on human form and live on Earth? Does Jesus have brothers and sisters (or would that be half brothers and sisters?) from virgin births on other planets? I don’t see Christians being willing to accept that.

Bill1939's avatar

I would be interested in what alien lifeforms believe. I expect that they will share the core message of our religious teachers, care for those in need.

elbanditoroso's avatar

You underestimate the sneakiness of religions.

If alien life forms were identified (and seen potentially as a challenge to the god story), then religions would scramble to rationalize how god created aliens (or some such thing). It would be an expansion of their narrative in a way that would seem to accept a fact.

Similar, in fact, to the way that the catholic Church now accepts Galileo, Newton, and guys like them – and their teachings – even though the Church considered them heretics when they were alive.

Bottom line, organized religion (whatever that is) would morph, because they would have to.

rojo's avatar

@MrGrimm888 How do you think finding an alien life form would be the death knell for Christianity? Or, why would your write it off?

ucme's avatar

Religions have been proved to be based on fairy tales already, a long, long, long, long time ago

MrGrimm888's avatar

@rojo, and others with a similar question. It is my understanding that God created everything, Earth, it’s contents, and the universe 6,000 yrs ago. Finding life that for instance, is intelligent, and has a recorded history longer than 6,000 years, would seem to throw creationism out the door. Even microorganisms, to me on another planet would have to lead to questions, because to my knowledge, no religious texts ever mention life on other planets. If there were life, especially intelligent life, that would be an interesting detail to omit, would it not?

Most here seem to agree that, much in the way fossil records already prove that the Earth is older than 6000 years, discovery of alien life could be ‘excused,’ or manipulated to keep religion afloat.
I guess it’s odd to me that people feel, God’s words should be followed to the t. Millions have no doubt been killed for ‘blasphemy’, but when it comes to the proof of the religion itself, things conveniently become more elastic.

cazzie's avatar

Read the book ‘Contact ’ by Carl Sagan. Not the movie. It doesn’t delve enough into it. Read the book. I think the faithful find ways of excusing and justifying logical flaws and past atrocities with aplomb. I don’t think they’ll let something tribal as life on other planets to rain on their placebo parade.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Perhaps my question should have been, ‘is religion curable?’
Sounds like most agree it isn’t.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Why do you think such a discovery would affect one, any, or all religions in any way?

MrGrimm888's avatar

@MollyMcGuire, please read my post two above yours.

Coloma's avatar

Well…the christian belief that man was created in the image of God would certainly suffer if the aliens all looked like giant Preying Mantises. haha
Will the real God please step forward!
There is also the saying that ” in my fathers house there are many mansions.” Perhaps in one of these mansions are a race of bug faced beings. lol

SavoirFaire's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Most Christians are not Young Earth Creationists. And those who are Young Earth Creationists don’t accept any of the scientific methods used to date things from the distant past. In any case, nothing in the Bible or any scripture that I am aware of makes an explicit statement that Earth is the only place where God created life (even if many people make that assumption). And, of course, some religions don’t believe in a creator deity—or any sort of deity at all. So I don’t think alien life will present a challenge to people’s religious views so much as to their personal world views.

Kropotkin's avatar

I’m pretty sure that there’s already overwhelming evidence that no religion is “legitimate” right here on Earth.

The resilience of religious faith isn’t really based on there not being any contradicting evidence.

Buttonstc's avatar

@MrGrimm888

I don’t normally weigh in that much on religious discussion threads because I believe firmly in every persons right to believe or not believe what they choose. But there’s only so much outright bullshit and misrepresentation that I can ignore.

Why do you keep spreading the misconception that most of Christianity still believes that the Earth is only 6, 000 years old? Are you really that unaware that this belief is held only by mostly self described YECs (Young Earth Creationists).

Most mainline denominations as well as the RCC accepts evolution (and have for quite some time) and know full well that the earth is definitely NOT that young. YECs might be the most loudly verbal about their outdated view but they are definitely NOT the majority. They certainly don’t speak for me and not for most thinking progressive Christians either. Try telling the average Episcopalian that he needs to revise his thinking on the age of the Earth and evolution and he’ll,be rolling on the floor laughing and wondering which hermit cave you’ve been hiding out in.

The fact that the vast majority of thinking Christians have (gasp!) accepted the truth of evolution is not exactly a breaking newsflash. You might have even heard of a few of them like Francis Collins (you know, the Human Genome Project guy and currently the head of the NIH) who have managed to retain their faith while simultaneously being respected scientists, educators etc.

Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to believe in a Creator as well as Evolution and the scientific method simultaneously without any conflict between them. There are millions of Theists for whom this is quite normal.

And I can’t speak for all of them on how they would regard the original question about Alien life forms, but I don’t see a problem or conflict here. I guess that if someone were a Bible literalist, they might be challenged by that. But then, I am not a Bible literalist and neither are the majority of progressive Christians. Perhaps you’d find that shocking because you’re assuming that we are all KJV-only literal believers in every single line of text. But we are not. You need to get out more.

Here’s an idea. Why not striker up a conversation with an intelligent Episcopalian and scope out what modern Theists are like nowadays. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Please don’t make the mistake that I’m trying to convert you or something. That’s definitely not how I roll. But I just think it would be a nice change of pace and perhaps result in you’re not automatically assuming that every Theist is a brainless yahoo with a medieval approach to life. But perhaps I’m hoping for too much here.

Oh yeah, in case you doubt what I’ve said about the lack,of conflict between modern believers and science, here’s a website that Collins started years ago where the harmony between science and faith is a regular topic of written articles and discussions. (again, not an attempt to convert anybody. Merely to shed a little light on outmoded ways of thinking and because I think you might find it interesting and perhaps challenging your portrayal of believers being dumb as rocks.:) Some actually do have a decent amount of brainpower and common sense manners. I know you might find that idea a bit shocking but….

FYI:Collins

Apparently Christopher Hitchens regarded him as a friend.

“Christopher Hitchens referred to Francis Collins as a ‘Great American’ and stated that Collins was one of the most devout believers he had ever met.[71] He further stated that Collins was sequencing the genome of the cancer that would ultimately claim Hitchen’s life, and that their friendship despite their differing opinion on religion was an example of the greatest armed truce in modern times.”

Buttonstc's avatar

Sorry. Ran out of edit time and forgot to include the website.
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www.biologos.org
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MrGrimm888's avatar

@Buttonstc. If you look through ALL of my posts you will never find me saying that ‘believers are dumb as rocks.’ Ever….So check yourself.
As far as your belief that science can coexist with religion logically, I don’t see how…
With all due respect.
Peace n love.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Biologos’s thesis statement stinks of interpretation of writings, not outright acceptance of science. It’s not a misconception by me that religion can’t coexist with science. It’s a misconception of religious people that their religion can coexist with science. Sorry, your link provided nothing more than an interpretation of “God’s” words of ’ with all your mind,’ meaning that God wished for coexistence or religion and science . If you can point to a passage or anything from any religious text proclaiming science something other than blasphemy, in exact words, let me know.

zenvelo's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Consider Teilhard de Chardin’s Theology of Evolution

Dutchess_III's avatar

Of course not. There have been to many instances of “miracles” being explained by science, which are then dismissed by Christians, or concrete proof of the existence of something that Christians stated, with certainty, did NOT exist. Dinosaurs, comes to mind. When they finally had to concede that dinos did roam the earth, they came up with a new story.

That’s all they’d do in that case, too.

ragingloli's avatar

To paraphrase Neil DeGrasse Tyson:
Religion is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance.

Buttonstc's avatar

@MrGrimm888

Of course I’m not saying that you used those exact words, but your attitude speaks volumes.

And, at the risk of pissing off any YECS around here, I will state definitively that if they continue to persist in the viewpoint that Earth is only 6,000 years old or less, they are being willfully ignorant and, yes, dumb as a rock.

The scientific evidence for the age of the Earth as hugely greater is simply incontrovertible. YEC thinking is left over from the horse and buggy era.

So, your representation of all of Christianity believing in a 6, 000 year earth is, in effect, regarding them as being dumb indeed.

Similar to those in Islam, whose theology dictates enforcement of Sharia law by violence if necessary, Christianity also has its own ultra fundamentalist branch. But they are not the vast majority of Christendom, they are a small (but loud) minority.

But the fact that you had chosen to represent this YEC position as representative of believers is a pretty clear indication of what you think about their lack of intelligence, regardless of how you would or would not word it.

The attitude (as also expressed by loli) is crystal clear. You just don’t appreciate anyone challenging you on your bias against believers and letting you know that there are many whose brain power is more than adequate and don’t subscribe to the silliness of outdated YEC theology.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Thanks for the enlightenment @Buttonstc. I didn’t know you could pick, and choose what part of your religion to believe in. If your logic dictates that you wouldn’t believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, perhaps one day it will help you with the rest of the details too.
I’m sorry, but all of the beliefs that religious people share are illogical to me. Not stupid, or dumb as rocks. Just not plausible. And the fact that people are persecuted for not aligning themselves with those beliefs is where my ‘attitude’ originates. Horses and buggies were only outdated technology within the last century (1900’s.)
For a 2,000 year old religion, that’s a small time frame to abandon such an important claim. I felt the origins of humanity and the universe were important to the discussion. Before I offend you with another part of your beliefs you don’t find plausible, without my knowledge of what you do or don’t believe in your own religion, please tell me what else would make a religious person ‘dumb as rocks?’
Why is the YEC view so crazy, but the other wild claims valid to you? That confuses me.

I do apologize for lumping you with these ‘YECs’ , I thought a person who identified as a certain religion would follow all it’s teachings.
I also apologize for my ‘attitude, ’ but the fact that people in my own government make life altering (world altering ) decisions based on what I believe to be total fiction disturbs and angers me. If you believe in Christianity being ‘the right religion,’ you would probably be upset if your government made similar decisions based on a different faith than yours…
What religion has done to this planet is no joke to me.

cazzie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 of course Christians pick and choose. You’re not stupid, you know that. Most people are at least a little educated these days, so they know much of what is written in the bible is codswallop. Most choose to disregard the codswallop and cling to the things that still ring true to them, especially in the NT, which has loads of ‘be nice to each other’ and ‘Remember when Jesus did this nice thing,’ stuff in it, which is a nice message to go hear on Sundays, if they can be bothered.

Most healthy humans have a difficult time living with cognitive dissonance in their minds, so they do what they can to minimise it. People who are happy to live with cognitive dissonance has a disorder and needs treatment. They are usually diagnosed with anti-social disorders. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q1dv4a56e8
Some people have a better ability to justify their dissonance than others. It is a form of mental illness when it starts limiting their ability to socialise or look after themselves.

Religion is a whole group of people who have unspokenly agreed to a certain level of dissonance, in fact, helping each other justify it and socialise based on it. Often this level is argued about, and that is how a new form of religion is created. It also helps form political parties, theories of economics and it helps charismatic leaders form cults.

This ability of groups of humans to enforce each other’s prejudices and unscientific beliefs is why critical thinking ability must be taught right through school from kindergarden on.

I don’t argue with people who are religious unless they are trying to put it in legislation or jam it down my throat in other ways. There’s often no point. But I’ll leave you with this fun TED talk of a chap who tried to live according to all the laws in the bible for a year, mostly to show how ridiculous it was. https://www.ted.com/talks/a_j_jacobs_year_of_living_biblically?language=en

MrGrimm888's avatar

@cazzie, well done….Entertaining links.

SmartAZ's avatar

@Cookieman The bible uses the word ‘religion’ just four times and all four emphasize that it is made up by men telling each other what to do, and God wants nothing to do with it. Christianity is defined in Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Most people don’t know the first thing about any spiritual topic, they only pretend to know something. If you want to know something about God, it only makes sense to read the book He gave for that purpose. You think… (whatever you think)? Consider that there is no committee to protect the bible; God himself maintains the integrity of His word. Read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Proverbs has 31 chapters so you can keep your place by just looking at a calendar. There is no religion or nothing in Proverbs and you don’t have to believe anything. Just read to find comfort and confidence. When you are comfortable with that, then read the bible from Romans to 2 Thessalonians over and over until you start to remember what it says. That is the part that applies to Christians.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@cazzie “codswallop.” I have never heard anyone use that in real life before! It was delightful!

@SmartAZ Can you provide us with some proof that the Bible uses the word religion only four times and ” all four emphasize that it is made up by men telling each other what to do, and God wants nothing to do with it. ” A link or something? The verses where it is mentioned? Because when I was a church goer, telling people how to act was what the pastors were paid to do.

Welcome to Fluther.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Dutchess_III No, he can’t provide proof. I’ve already found five verses with the word “religion” in them, and not all of them suggest that it is made up by men telling each other what to do. Here, for example, is James 1:26–27:

”[26] If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. [27] Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK. Thanks @SavoirFaire

My son made an interesting comment. Just speaking as though he was talking to someone else he said, “So, there are 3000 different gods that people worship. I reject all of them. You reject 2999 of them. You’re as much an atheist as I am.”
That’s the first time he’s referred to himself as an atheist. I’ve realized it for quite some time, but I think he was concerned that I’d get upset, because I was a very strong, but quietly questioning, Christian when they were growing up. The church was our second home.
I think we’re on the same page now.

Aster's avatar

Alien life forms would have a devastating effect on the belief in Jesus. You’d have to wait for one minute to discover that aliens can do everything and more than Jesus can do to have peoples’ faith shaken to the core . If I am ever abducted, which I’m sure won’t happen, the first thing I’d ask an alien would be, “what do you guys think about Jesus?” One abductee is said to have asked them about God and one replied, “we believe in a Universal God.” But I’d narrow it down to “Jesus.” Because Neanderthals and their ilk, including the ancient Egypitians worshipped the stars and the heavens, I think even aliens would believe in a God of some sort. Great question. Loved it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If basic, undeniable biology, logic and science (you can’t get pregnant without sex, you can’t die for three days then come back to life, no one can walk on water, etc.) isn’t enough to shake people’s faith, why would aliens? Religions are full of absurdities that people swallow, hook, line and sinker.

SmartAZ's avatar

@Dutchess_III and @SavoirFaire

Acts 26:5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
“Our religion”, get it?

Galatians 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
“Jews’ religion”, get it?

Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
“Jews’ religion”, get it?

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
“This man’s religion”, get it?

James 1:27
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The other four verses use Greek “threskia”. This verse uses a different word.

There is a huge difference between a church goer and a believer. Pastors have had a lousy reputation for centuries. Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship between God and a believer. The believer is a son of God. That’s what “born again” means. Any time you want to know what a word in the bible means, you can go to dozens of online bible sites and look up every occurrence of a word. There are also concordance sites where youi can look up the Greek words and compare their translations in various verses. Believers do that sort of thing to be sure their believing is correct. Church goers just let their pastors tell them whatever he thinks they should know. In the 19th century Americans started moving west and three institutions went with them. There was vaudeville, traveling entertainment. There was lyceum, traveling education and culture. And there was the itinerant preacher, offering a new style of preaching called “hell fire and brim stone”. It was very entertaining, only loosely based on scripture, and pastors didn’t even try to compete. Instead they switched to preaching public morality and philosophy. Eventually an entire generation grew up not knowing the first thing about the religion they claimed to believe. That is why most Christian churches don’t teach doctrines, and most members don’t know what they are supposed to believe.

2 Timothy 4:
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@SmartAZ There are two claims at issue here. The first is your claim that the Bible uses the word “religion” just four times. This is false, as you yourself have proved by providing five verses where the word appears. Your rejoinder to this seems to be that James 1:27 supposedly uses a different word for “religion” than the other four verses. Well, here is James 1:27 in Greek:

θρησκεια καθαρα και αμιαντος παρα τω θεω και πατρι αυτη εστιν επισκεπτεσθαι ορφανους και χηρας εν τη θλιψει αυτων ασπιλον εαυτον τηρειν απο του κοσμου.

“Threskia” (θρησκεια) is literally the very first word of the verse. (Also, neither Galatians 1:13 nor Galatians 1:14 uses the word threskia.)

So let us move on to the second claim—i.e., that “all four emphasize that it is made up by men telling each other what to do, and God wants nothing to do with it.” Leaving aside that it is five and not four, emphasis requires—by definition—giving something “special prominence.” It may be your interpretation of the remaining four verses that they imply (either singly or jointly) that religion “is made up by men telling each other what to do, and God wants nothing to do with it.” That interpretation might even be correct (though it seems to require a particular definition of religion, and thus threatens to be circular). But none of that entails that the point you are reading into these passages is emphasized by them. In no instance is the claim you are making given special prominence by these verses (regardless of how one interprets them).

Finally, we can take this back to the point you were trying to make against @cookieman. How the Bible uses the word “religion” and how that word is used in contemporary English are not necessarily the same—nor do they need to be the same. Given modern understandings and definitions of religion, Christianity certainly counts as one (regardless of whether that clashes with the self-description of some Christians). Denying that Christianity is a religion isn’t a principled spiritual position so much as a failure to understand how the English language works.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@SmartAZ. Yours is a dizzying intellect. If that’s the stuff you read, no wonder. I respect your beliefs, I just can’t agree with them. Passages like the ones you provided are , to me, about as confusing as anything I’ve ever attempted to even loosely understand. They seem like they are barely English.With such jumbled words, it’s no wonder people have widely different interpretations of the same text. I have no clue how one could apply any of what you provided to any situation in life in any context.
The more people tell me about the Bible, the more it seems similar to seeing things in Mars rover pictures that aren’t there. They say your eyes ‘want’ to find paterns in things that don’t have them. That’s why clouds, and piles of rocks begin to look like aliens, rabbits, crabs, ships etc .

I wonder. Have those who study the Bible simply stared at these garbled passages long enough that they infer a message that isn’t really there….

cookieman's avatar

@SmartAZ: Sorry, your personal (and I’m sure deeply felt) interpretation of Christianity doesn’t supersede the fact that it is legally a religion. What’s more, Christianity is, in its many different flavors, the most widely practiced religion in the US (though it seems to be on the decline – Pew Research Report).

As such, I’m pretty sure there are many self-described Christians who would disagree with you.

Don’t feel too bad though. I desperately want to believe that chocolate chip cookies are not a junk food, but my doctor (and my blood sugar) tell me otherwise.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this. Last night it occurred to me that, religious people have been trained to accept the most bizarre, impossible, magical stories as fact. This means that if aliens were to come, the religious could easily fabricate some impossibly bizarre and magical story to explain them, in any way that they want.
Problem solved.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yeah @Dutchess III, seems they see things however they want. Must be nice.

Sneki95's avatar

Personally, I don’t think so. Discovering alien life does not necessarily mean there is no God. What if people simply accept that God created alien life as well? As far as I know, God created everything, so it may be that we simply discovered another life God created. I don’t see why would discovery of alien life affect religion. We have discovered that a lot of things in the holy books are not true, but there are still believers and religion did not go anywhere.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Sneki95. If we ever meet another intelligent life and they never heard of ‘God ,’ it would seem embarrassing to me if we suggested they were created by ‘our’ diety. If I were them, it would lower my opinion of humanity pretty quickly.

If ‘god’ created other lifeforms they would have to look like us right? Because God made humans in ‘his’ image. So why would he make others different.
If he created other lifeforms, on other planets, why not mention that, ever?... It seems like a pretty important detail to never mention. Oh, by the way, there is an advanced civilization that lives on multiple planets, and has mastered time and space. Now back to teaching men to fish…Please….

But you are probably right. As some in this thread have already mentioned, people would bend reality to match their beliefs.

Thank you for your contribution.

Welcome to Fluther.

Sneki95's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Thank you for being polite.
I kind of agree with you. Telling “them” (assuming alien life is anything more complicated than a bacteria) that they are created by our deity is not a thing to do. My motto is “never preach”. ( I am allergic to any type of preachers. Any type, be it religion, politics, music tastes, diet…. Any type.)
But believing it such a thing? I don’t see it as implausible.
Also, according to the books, God created everything. So, just because we don’t know what that “everything” is completely, does not prove the statement as false. So, discovering aliens ans saying “Look, we found another life. God’s creation surely is more complex than we knew so far.” seems completely legit to me. After all, we have discovered so many animal and other life species never mentioned in any holy book, nor anywhere else, but it never killed religion. People just accepted it as another part of the world God Created.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I understand what @MrGrimm888 is saying. The Bible suggests that God created us in “his image,” which I’ve never really understood, even when I was a Christian. What does that even mean? So if there are life forms out there that are as advanced as us, but look nothing like us, it would be like, “Well, what’s the deal here?” Well, any logical, thinking person would ask that. But Christians have been trained not to think logically, just to believe. They’d just come up with some magic explanation that would probably involve subjugating the new comers, because obviously they weren’t created in God’s image. Just we were.

zenvelo's avatar

The Divine “created us in His image” does not mean that God has two arms, two legs, and stands upright.

All of the continuing Creation is in God’s image. That would include any life forms on another planet.

God is a force of Divine Love, a love found in everything and everyone. The challenge is to find it within ourselves.

Sneki95's avatar

@zenvelo That was very nicely said.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So what is God’s image?

zenvelo's avatar

^^^^^God’s image is the pure divine love at the core of your being.

ragingloli's avatar

LOL
Yeah, that “divine love” that he expressed when he murdered the entirety of the human race except for a few individuals, in order to purify his chosen race.
Guess which human came closest to that ideal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, he certainly has a strange way of showing this divine love sometimes.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Dutchess_III

There is no “magic explanation” required at all.

Has everybody suddenly lost the ability to understand the concept of metaphor? Good grief!

Just because the narrow minded YEC Fundys with whom you associated with took everything literally, doesnt mean that you have to. I would expect you to know better.

I can guarantee you that the vast majority of thinking progressive Theists don’t regard that statement as literal. So why would you make the blanket assumption of the need to subjugate other beings because they weren’t created in the image of God. That’s ridiculous and insulting.

I seriously do wish you could have a few conversations with some intelligent Episcopalians (or any other mainline progressive group) in order to discover that most groups are not like the Yahoo’s you used to hang with.

Maybe you could lose a tiny bit of that gigantic chip you still carry on your shoulder and all the negative assumptions you keep spreading because of your wrongful assumption that the vast majority of Theists are as ass-backwards and narrow minded as your previous bunch.

They aren’t.

There is no need to be subjugating anyone for failing to look sufficiently like the image of God because it is a MAJOR METAPHOR. (Not to mention that that nebulous phrase has been translated MORE THAN ONCE from the original Hebrew or Aramaic into Greek, then Latin and finally English.)

See @zenvelo‘s post. It’s really not all that difficult to understand (unless you’ve made up your mind not to)

Why on earth would you or anyone assume a literal English phrase is the only correct one?

To keep harping upon how ignorant these people were AND ASSUMING that it’s just impossible for Theists to be any other way is demeaning and insulting.

You have absolutely no idea of just how many progressive intelligent believers you have maligned with your statements in this thread simply because you were associated with one apparently extremely narrow minded small group and extrapolated that onto the whole.

You have the tendency to do this repeatedly and it really gets tiresome.

I have no idea what these people did to you that was so horrible (other than not answer your questions to your satisfaction) but the sheer amount of grudge holding just gets really really ridiculous after awhile.

Why not try something different for a change?

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Buttonstc. I apologize for offending you. A new member opened the thread. I was attempting to explain my position. This time using a different subject from the YEC followers. I keep trying to use phrases from the Bible. Each time you bash me for taking it literally. What exactly is there in that book that means what it says? I’m really trying here. I’m not a theologian, so I don’t have religions other than Christianity to use as an example.

The word ‘image’ ,to me, means appearance. I realize it has been translated many times, but that’s the word the translators chose. Not me.

With all the translation issues, and interpretation issues, you seem to be invalidating your religion better than the existence of aliens….

Dutchess_III's avatar

It wasn’t you @MrGrimm888. Apparently it was me.

MrGrimm888's avatar

No Dutchess, it’s my thread. He/she can leave the thread if it’s discussed details are so offensive. You are simply responding to the direction the thread is taking. You just aren’t sugar coating it.

Buttonstc's avatar

My remarks were primarily addressed to Dutchess.

And where was I bashing you?

And to clarify, I don’t really care whether or not you take it literally or not. And it doesn’t offend me personally.

What I find offensive when ANYONE does it is the broad brush assumptions that because one bunch of narrow minded loudmouths proclaims something, that represents the entirety of believers.

That is simply grossly inaccurate (and there are statistics and surveys that prove that these narrow minded ignorant loudmouths are in the minority rather than the reverse) On most issues the ratio is typically in the range of 30–40% vs. 60–70%

So, if you’ll put down the broad brush (as most of Fluther’s agnostics/atheists have a far more nuanced understanding) you won’t find me reacting to your broad brush assumptions.

As I’ve said previously, I generally I don’t participate in most religion Qs as I’m not trying to convert anyone to anything.

But when the assumptions are too over the top and repeated, I’d just like to clear the air on behalf of Theists everywhere.

And if you don’t have that good an understanding of basic Christian beliefs as you’ve said, then I suggest you stop proclaiming things as if you do.

After all, you were the one who assumed that the majority of Christians still believe the earth is less than 6–10 thousand years old and stated so.

Just because Ken Hamm (ignorant loudmouth) thinks it’s so doesn’t mean that the vast majority of Christians agree with him.

And your statement that we aren’t allowed to pick and choose is pretty ridiculous.

Why aren’t Christians allowed to change their views in the face of mounting science tific evidencr?

One of the chief criticisms leveld at the ignorant loudmouths is the fact that they refuse to change their viewpoints.

And yet, when it becomes plain to see that there are significant numbers (majority) of progressive Christians who do change their viewpoints if science points in that direction, then you want to say “you can’t pick and choose”

You’re trying to have it both ways. UNFAIR.

For crying out loud, back before there were sophisticated ways to measure it, even Isaac Newton thought the Earth was around 6,000 years old.

Would he still think that today? Of course not. He would look at current evidence and change his position.

So, tell me why intelligent progressive Christians are not allowed to do the same without being told they can’t pick and choose?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Because many of them state that what is found in the Bible is the only thing they will accept. I never had a problem with evolution and science when I was a practicing Christian, but many of my Christian friends did. They said if evolution was real it would be mentioned in the Bible.
I attended a seminar once where the purpose was to “prove” that evolution just wasn’t possible.
We were discouraged us from asking complicated questions that weren’t easily answered by a Bible verse.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Indeed .Part of the problem is my ignorance of Christianity. But the phrases that I mentioned appear in at least several versions of the Bible.

And sure you can pick and choose. But that seems like it would make god mad. If I make a rule book for my employees, they need to follow it. Not pick and choose. Does the Bible mention within it’s texts that it’s ok to ignore certain parts?

Buttonstc's avatar

FYI

There is no place in the Bible where the age of the Earth is definitively stated.

And the Bible is not a single cohesive book. It is more like a library of various texts and writings which were collated.

Hope that sheds some light on the fact that it is not a “rule book”

Why don’t you just do a little basic reading about exactly what the Bible and Christianity are all about before making all your pronouncements about what would make God mad etc. etc.

And I don’t even mean necessarily from the religion itself because you’d perceive that as bias.

I’m talking about the type of info to be found in a perfectly secular course on Comparative Religions or something like that.

After all, if you’re going to be making all types of pronouncements and prohibitions might it not be a good idea to know a bit more about the subject upon which you are making all these assumptions?

Buttonstc's avatar

@Dutchess_iii

And that was then and this is now.

Just because that group told you those things and forbade further inquiry does not mean that is the position taken by the MAJORITY of progressive Christians all over the world.

So they didn’t want you asking Qs. Boo hoo hoo.

You seemed to have survived anyhow with your questioning mind intact so how damaging to you was it really?

Isn’t it about time to get over it already?

What one narrow minded church in Kansas and whatever conferences they attend, states that the Bible must be taken literally says next to nothing about the MAJORITY of the rest of Christianity. I assure you that I know plenty who disagree vehemently with that hogwash.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It wasn’t damaging to me at all. I never said it was.

From my understanding, they tracked down all the people listed in the Bible, back to Adam, and that’s how they came up with the 6000 years. Some people try to use the Bible as some sort of scientific guide to things.

I’m glad to know you know people who now have the freedom to disagree. That wasn’t the case in the 80’s ,and 90’s. Some were simply scandalized over my thoughts and questions, so I just shut up.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I actually read about ⅔s of the Bible. I tried the Quran, but it was worse than the Bible in terms of readability.

Some sections of the Bible were so unrelatable, or confusing I had to skip ahead. But I have never studied it with the focus some do.

I also tried to read a big old book about Islam and Muhammed’s life. But eventually I bailed on that one too.

I have trouble with the flow of the books. The stories make god seem like a bad person to me. He asked Abraham to kill his son right? Or did I misinterpret what I read?

If that story really happened, that makes god sound like a sadistic bully to me.

What I’ve ever read or heard about any religion is either not feasible to me, or the characters in these books are people I can’t relate to, or the story has claims that in other ‘non fiction’ accounts would be disputed easily. I just can’t read religious literature.

But I didn’t ask the question merely on my understanding of Christianity. I wondered what it would mean to other religions as well. Most religions are fairly old. Deeply rooted in most are similar ‘creationism’ by a diety or deities. Most make no mention of such things as aliens because the people who invented these religions didn’t know we were on a planet ,in a solar system, in a galaxy, in a universe. That might contain aliens like us ,or more advanced.

Again. REALLY big part of a story of the creation of the universe. If there were aliens out there they could have at least gotten honorable mention in religious texts.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It should be mentioned, I suppose that ‘ancient alien’ people would believe that the GODS we worship WERE aliens….I don’t really believe that, but just throwing it out there. I find it thought provoking, if nothing else.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Dutchess

That wasn’t the case in the 80s and 90s FOR YOU.

There were tons of progressive Christians with whom you crossed paths at the grocery, the library, schools etc. Basically all over town.

You were just totally unaware of it because they are not the obnoxious types to go around preaching AT people or guilting them and beating them over the head with the Bible (metaphor)

They were likely the ones running the church thrift shops to support various charities, or the soup kitchens or the toy drive or distributing holiday turkeys. You know, the do-gooders who actually took the words of Jesus seriously regarding serving the poor.

But they usually did it without arm twisting or being obnoxious about their faith.

I went through a similar disillusionment with Fundys, so I just found more enlightened Christians who were not so hard nosed and intractable.

And progressive Christians are definitely the majority (ever since the 50s or 60s) even tho that may surprise you. This is why Fundys raise such a fuss about “Liberalism” and accusing progressive Christians of “preaching a social gospel”

Well, last time I checked, Jesus also preached a social gospel so I figure I’m in good company.

There are far many more reasonable and rational Christians than there are narrow minded ones and they’re all around you unobtrusively every day of the week.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I knew what I knew. That’s all. I never crossed paths, that I know of, with anyone who had the same kinds of questions as I did and who allowed those questions and doubts without trying to throw a huge guilt trip at you.

Setanta's avatar

The claim that “god” is love is in direct contradiction of so much of scripture. Kill all the men and boys, rape and kill all the women. but you can keep the adolescent girls to be your sex slaves, for starters, is an example of your “god’s” love. Condoning slavery, describing itself as a jealous “god,”—the list goes on and on. The capacity for self-delusion on the part of the religious exceeds even that of political fanatics.

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