Why Theology Is Important

Take 2 minutes 9 seconds of your time to find out:

The original is on Vimeo; this copy is on VideoBin; there’s a backup copy here which I converted to Open Video using ffmpeg2theora.

53 thoughts on “Why Theology Is Important

  1. I thought Mozilla planet syndication was more or less related to Mozilla matters, so I did not expect this most irritating “cool and fun” propaganda. Sorry Gerv but I am definitely not “hacking for Christ”, just curious about what various contributors are doing to push Mozilla a step further. I suggest you publish whatever refers to your theological opinions and creeds on some other support.

  2. An alternative suggestion to Goofy’s is to match post for post, video for video, about the dangers of the darker side of theology, cults.

  3. Goofy: Just to clear up your misunderstanding, the Planet Mozilla policy is to carry full feeds from all members of the Mozilla community.

    anon: I can only post about what I know about; I haven’t done much research into cults, so don’t have anything to say about them.

  4. Woah, easy commenters. Good grief, if you don’t like it, close your browser, move on. Don’t waste bytes venting. It was a creative and well constructed video, respect that even if you don’t respect the content. Well done Gerv for posting an OGG video! I don’t have Flash and I was finally able to see a video on a Mozilla blogger’s site; that’s great!

  5. FWIW, the first “word” of the bible is not “in the beginning”, it’s בְּרֵאשִׁית and it’s not in greek… Want to study the Bible? Don’t study a 6th level translation of the original, study the original.
    Agreed, the video is well done. But that’s wrong, Theology does not matter more than belief in daily horoscope or communication with ancestors and in the end, the human kind will look at religion (all religions) as a prehistoric abstraction incompatible with a golden age. The only positive side of theology is the need to learn several ancient languages, to study religious texts that contain some level of historical details so, from almost an archeological point of view, it helps learning about our History. Other than that..

  6. To tell the truth, that video didn’t seem to explain why Theology is important. It seemed to be a fairly standard circular argument – theology is important because blah blah because blah blah because theology is important.

    I suspect that the biggest difference between religious and secular adherents is religious jargon. For instance, God = Good (approximately). State it like that and at least people understand what each-other are saying, even if they don’t completely agree on the content.

  7. Gerv, thanks for sharing a thought provoking video. As with anything that mentions religion, people are unfortunately easily provoked into displaying their intolerance towards God…

    Anyway, I think the video communicates an important point very well — if there is a God (and the video seems to assume at least some level of belief), then the most important thing in life is to know Him (like a husband knows his wife) and what He wants. And knowing Him will make all the difference in the world.

    Your posts make it clear that knowing God has made the greatest difference in your life. And I’m happy to say that I have found the same to be true.

  8. Daniel: The text at the start of the video is the opening few verses of the Gospel of John, the fourth book of the New Testament – first in Greek (the original language in which it was written), and then in English. Both John and Genesis start with words which can be translated into English as “In the beginning”. The similarity is not a coincidence :-)

    Christians today do not study 6th level translations, or even 2nd level translations. All modern translations of the Bible are made directly from the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, using all the knowledge that humankind has acquired about those languages and cultures to produce as accurate a rendering as possible.

    the human kind will look at religion (all religions) as a prehistoric abstraction incompatible with a golden age

    I’m afraid I don’t follow your logic. “We have developed past a certain level and therefore God does not exist”?

    Sean: I reject any generalizations about “religion” because there is an underlying assumption that all religions are the same, at least for the purposes of the discussion. But one of the biggest differences between Christians and secular adherents is Christians have a meaningful global definition of the word “good” and secularists don’t. If there is no God, no over-arching moral authority, why should I accept your definition of what is good?

  9. Daniel Glazman wrote: ‘FWIW, the first “word” of the bible is not “in the beginning”, it’s בְּרֵאשִׁית and it’s not in greek…’ But, to be fair, the video never claims that the opening “Greek” sequence depicts the first words of the Bible. You probably know that he is writing out the opening of the gospel of John, which has strong resonances with the beginning of Genesis in Greek (Septuagint).

    @Sean Hogan: I see your point about circularity; my take is that that is part of the argument here. Attention to God is intrinsically important, and the video gives some brief suggestions about why that is so, and about how that “attending” could/should look.

    Not too shabby for 2m 09s. ;)

  10. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being a valuable member of the Mozilla community.

  11. @Collin, and you think the first versus of John 1 take its first word from… ?

    @Gerv, of course it’s not a coincidence…

    I did not mean “We have developed past a certain level and therefore God does not exist”. I meant something a bit different “we have not developed beyond a certain level yet and that’s why we still have gods and religions”. I’m sure that because of religion, our long-term descendants will look at our generations just like we currently look at neandertalians.

    (Gerv, confirming it’s really me, in Cupertino right now ; re. the old identity theft…)

  12. Thanks for giving us both Flash and Theora versions, so I can do a valid comparison. I tried it with two different computers, two browsers, two operating systems, on Flash and Theora. It confirms my earlier impression.

    I’m not sure this is ready on Firefox. I can file a bug report if you want, but I don’t like wasting my time if this is old news. There should be quite a few eyes on this thread.

    ======================
    ======================
    1. Dell Intel Core 2 Duo, good DSL connection. Ubuntu Karmic Koala, fully patched. Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.1.8) Gecko/20100214 Ubuntu/9.10 (karmic) Firefox/3.5.8. No extensions except Ubuntu Firefox Modifications 0.8.

    ======================
    Theora
    1st play: shows nothing but the empty desk.

    2nd attempt: halts at 35 seconds and cannot be revived, even by pressing Pause and Play again. The whole video loads, but it’s still halted. The buffer is always well ahead of the display.

    Reload page: Does not redisplay the small place holder, so that part of the page is not really reloaded. Displays only the empty desk.

    Reload again: This time it really reloads the page, and plays flawlessly to the end.

    ======================
    Vimeo (Flash 10)
    1st attempt: plays haltingly.
    After coming back to it and pressing play again (or did I reload page? — I forget): Plays flawlessly to the end.

    ======================
    ======================
    Slow computer (930 MHz Dell Pentium).

    ======================
    Win XP, Fx 3.6.2.
    Theora: Plays all right except that it stutters.

    Vimeo, Flash 10: Much worse. Displays only desk. Sound is very halting. Progress bar alternately moves forward and back.

    ======================
    Ubuntu Karmic Koala
    Theora: Always halts after a few seconds and cannot be restarted.

    ======================
    Win XP, Google Chrome: Works perfectly.

    Summmary
    ======================
    ======================
    Ubuntu Karmic Koala, Fx 3.5.8, Theora: halts after a few seconds on a slow computer; requires several attempts on a fast computer.

    Ubuntu, Fx 3.5.8, Flash 10: stutters on 1st attempt, flawlessly on 2nd.

    Windows XP, Fx. 3.6.2, Theora, slow computer: stutters.

    Windows XP, Fx. 3.6.2, Flash 10, slow computer: fails.

    Windows XP, Chrome, Theora, slow computer: flawless.

    Windows XP, Chrome, Flash, slow computer: stutters badly.

    Chrome definitely wins here. Theora works somewhat better than Flash. And it works better in Windows than in Ubuntu. I didn’t try Theora on Windows with the faster computer, and I didn’t try Chrome on Windows.

  13. Thanks for giving us both Flash and Theora versions, so I can do a valid comparison.

    Except you can’t, because I halved the resolution in both directions as part of the conversion. (I’m not going to host a 70MB file on my webserver when a 25MB file will do.) The Theora decoder is only having to process 1/4 as much data as the Flash decoder.

    [edited 2009-03-29 21:30 BST] You might want to ask yourself how you didn’t even notice this enormous difference :-) If you are really interested in doing a comparison, why not use some of the raw data which is already out there? I believe all the videos used in that comparison are available for download.

  14. I’ve found your recent writings on this subject very worth my time, and cannot fathom why those so grievously offended feel obliged to express their displeasure rather than simply ignoring that which they have no interest in.

    Very cool video. Also, seamless playback in Linux Mint 7, Firefox 3.6.2.

  15. Great video – a nice little ‘teaser’ into why we can’t ignore the question.

  16. […] I’m not sure this is ready on Firefox. I can file a bug report if you want […]
    Ubuntu Karmic Koala, fully patched. Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.1.8) Gecko/20100214 Ubuntu/9.10 (karmic) Firefox/3.5.8. […]
    Theora
    1st play: shows nothing but the empty desk.
    […]

    This is a known problem on some Linux systems. It’s sound often underruns, and since video is synced to audio, we don’t advance the video frame. This is being worked on.

    @Gerv: I think you shouldn’t syndicate non-Mozilla stuff to Planet Mozilla (and particularly stuff potentially offensive to those who don’t share your beliefs), becaue if everyone did it, Planet Mozilla would devolve into a giant mud-slinging mess. It’s a slippery slope.

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” – Luke 6:31 ; Would you like posts about atheist or Muslim beliefs to start popping up on Planet? It’d get ugly fast, and not be to the benefit of Mozilla or Planet Mozilla.

  17. Chris: I think that people who find the message “Theology is Important” offensive need to learn to be offended less easily. And the slope really isn’t all that slippery. Planet Mozilla would only devolve into a mud-slinging mess if people sling mud. And I really don’t think this post is doing that. Who am I attacking?

    Would I object to posts about atheism or Islam on Planet Mozilla? No, of course not.

  18. Gerv wrote:
    “The Theora decoder is only having to process 1/4 as much data as the Flash decoder.

    “Being frank, the fact that you didn’t even notice this enormous difference might give you pause when thinking that you are a good person to do this sort of comparison.”

    Well, no, I didn’t notice the difference in resolution because (1) most of the time was spent just trying to get it to play at all, and (2) the display was smaller than a post card. I did glance at them in full screen, but I didn’t look at resolution or view them side by side. Both sources are noticeably fuzzy and compressed.

    Now, I did try the other link you just posted, with yet another computer–a 665 MHz Pentium. At either resolution the corpulent bunny film stutters with Firefox but works flawlessly with Chrome. Whether you care or not, for whatever reason, there is a big performance difference.

  19. And about the other comments, sadly, some people make it their passionate cause to find things to be offended about. These are really not nice times.

  20. VanillaMozilla: I’m not denying your conclusions, just your methodology :-) BTW, sorry my message was a bit blunt.

    If the display was smaller than a postcard, you may also be introducing scaling into the equation, which will throw off your results.

    The Vimeo video is not all that fuzzy – it’s 1280×720. How big is your monitor?!

    Gerv

  21. There are two display sizes: the first is the default if you just view your Web page; the second is full screen. The monitor I am using at the present is the small one. It’s a very good Dell LCD 1280×1024. At either size, on either of the two slower computers, the display stutters badly.

    Almost no problem with Google Chrome. On a second test I did have a little problem with stuttering when I enlarged it close to full frame size. (Chrome doesn’t seem to give me a full frame option.) But still, if not perfect, the performance is much better than Fx 3.6.2. Maybe it has to do with one of the JavaScript options yet to come?

    The images are OK for streaming video, but streaming video is usually not particularly sharp. In this case, it looks like the camera was out of focus. It doesn’t look like 1280×720 quality, although the point is not image quality, it’s frame rate.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my methodology. The method is simple: just press the “play” button. It either plays right or it doesn’t. And if you look at my screen name, you can guess correctly that I don’t load it down with extensions, and Fx is not sharing CPU cycles with other programs.

    Chris Pearce, thanks for pointing out the possible Linux problem. I suspected as much.

  22. But one of the biggest differences between Christians and secular adherents is Christians have a meaningful global definition of the word “good” and secularists don’t. If there is no God, no over-arching moral authority, why should I accept your definition of what is good?

    You are wrong. To take just one example, there isn’t any reference to god in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet it was adopted by the UN. You’re yet again falling into the trap of thinking your belief in a certain kind of god elevates your conclusions about morality over those of others, when your belief itself is questionable and unsupported. And the wide range of conclusions Christians come to as to what is good in day-to-day life make your claim of a “meaningful global definition” pretty content-free.

    From about 1:30 on, the video devolves into circular reasoning. The alternative to studying god is only ignorance in a large sense if the bald assertion in the bible “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” is more than just defining terms. If you’re not a Christian, it’s just sophistry near the level of mumbo-jumbo, and the bible is no more or less related to one’s level of ignorance than the sacred texts of other religions.

  23. So you won’t object to Muslim Propaganda, that’s great. But what about my rather excellent hardcore gay pr0n collection? All in hi-def OGG, of course.

  24. @Scott Davis

    “Gerv, thanks for sharing a thought provoking video. As with anything that mentions religion, people are unfortunately easily provoked into displaying their intolerance towards God…”

    You can’t be serious!!??? “intolerance towards God” what? If anything if intolerance towards “con artistry”. Don’t hide behind God to say or defend silly things or lies. =I Say This Because God Told Me So= Moral Cowardice!

    Rest of your post is just indoctrination, it’s like parrot (good grief):
    “if there is a God (and the video seems to assume at least some level of belief), then the most important thing in life is to know Him (like a husband knows his wife) and what He wants.”

    Why is that? You breath, you eat, you speak, you sleep… Did you take any time of live to understand these things? And all about other things that exist?

    Whatever you’re is because of you. It doesn’t have anything to do God!

  25. @Gerv

    “But one of the biggest differences between Christians and secular adherents is Christians have a meaningful global definition of the word “good” and secularists don’t. If there is no God, no over-arching moral authority, why should I accept your definition of what is good?”

    First of all: there are not such things “christians” or “secular adherents”; don’t put labels on me just because I didn’t fell for some lies.

    Any definition of the word *good* is subjective. Even if God existed and it said directly to you what “Good” meant it would still be a subjective definition of Good!

    Then you have to do better than that:

    What is God? How can we define what a God should be? How can we define that what appear on the Bible is a God? and so on…

    Even if there’s God why are convinced that It is the *over-arching moral authority*? But before that define *moral*.

    Nobody has to accept anybody’s definition of good. All we can get is a compromise so that we don’t end kill (or making all live miserably) each other.

    I don’t accept the definition of Good of any Abrahamic derived religion unless you’re asking me to commit suicide.

    And theology is not important. Wasting time, money, knowledge, intelligence and others resources around something that doesn’t exist… that is good definition of good…

  26. @damaged justice

    “I’ve found your recent writings on this subject very worth my time, and cannot fathom why those so grievously offended feel obliged to express their displeasure rather than simply ignoring that which they have no interest in.”

    Oh I was just waiting for this. Religious people are kings of intolerance and their desire to censor (after showing their offense, they get offended by anything) see no limits. You really want to argue with that point of view? Would you react the same way if was a sexually explicit video? Would you “ignore” it?

    My personal view on the matter is this: I defend *freedom of speech*. Despite considering religion (any religion as they are all essentially the same) one of the greatest abominations created by man every person has the right to express his/her opinion no matter how dumb or dishonest that maybe.

    Freedom is the most “sacred” right of the human species and that is IMPORTANT!

  27. “I think that people who find the message “Theology is Important” offensive need to learn to be offended less easily.”

    Is that a serious advice from a “religious” person? Seriously? What things should I be offended about?

    “And I really don’t think this post is doing that. Who am I attacking?”

    Is that one of those “rhetorical” questions?

    “Would I object to posts about atheism or Islam on Planet Mozilla? No, of course not.”

    Great! How about Satanism (Satanism is recognized religion in USA isn’t it?), paganism, followers of Bacchus (Dionysus), ancient religions of the Aztecs, Voodoo, and so on? Would you object then?

    It’s a serious question.

    I would object to atheism, if only because it’s the most thing in world right there with religion.

  28. @Lionel

    “Great video – a nice little ‘teaser’ into why we can’t ignore the question.”

    Shouldn’t that be “why we can’t ignore the ANSWER.”

  29. @Myself

    Of course something is missing… :)

    I would object to atheism, if only because it’s one the most stupid things in world right there with religion.

    @To everybody else who complain about the right to be offended.

    People are questioning the content of something that’s not related with Mozilla. Isn’t *freedom of expression* I right that we should be defending. They are asking for the instauration of the Inquisition or the creation of a Mozillian Council of Censors. They like me are debating the content.

    What you are doing, by questioning our supposed offense, is doubling it. You’re offended by our offense.

  30. Interesting video. However, I would argue that, if God doesn’t exist, theology doesn’t matter. In fact, nothing matters. Whatever you conclude about God during your life doesn’t matter. You are a bio-chemical machine. Freewill is an illusion. Mozilla doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if Planet Mozilla dissolves into mud-slinging. You will all die soon, and it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.

    So, theology *might* matter. And we are back to Pascal’s wager. As the London buses remind us “there is probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” How can we stop worrying so long as that “probably” is in the sentence? It’s not “why theology is important” it’s “why theology might be important”. Pascal++

  31. Is it just me, or is the Greek wrong there? It should be ΕΝ ΑΡΧΗ ΗΝ Ο ΛΟΓΟΣ, not ΕΝ ΑΡΧΗ Ο AΟFΟΣ or whatever he has there.

  32. Jack, religion has nothing to do with censorship, and neither does this. Only government can “censor”. We’re just here exercising our individual judgment.

  33. skierpage said:

    To take just one example, there isn’t any reference to god in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet it was adopted by the UN.

    I’m not saying non-Christians can’t come up with a definition of ‘good’. Of course they can – pretty much everyone has to in order to get through their life. I’m arguing they can’t consistently and validly define ‘good’ in a way which makes it binding on people other than themselves. The UDHR is a large exercise in question-begging. Apart from belief in the God of the Bible, the only other consistent position is nihilism, as Nietzsche correctly discovered, and as mawrya has also said in this thread.

    mawrya: I agree with your entire first paragraph. But that doesn’t put as back at Pascal’s wager – because God doesn’t accept his side of the wager. Where we actually end up, which is much better, is John 6:37 – where Jesus says: “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

    Alan Trick: BibleGateway says you are right… :-|

  34. I watched the video you put up and found it interesting. It is a though provoking piece.

    As far as Planet Mozilla goes, the same rules apply to the Internet that applied before that to books, then radio, and then TV: if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read/listen/look at it.

    As for those who are offended, they just don’t want to admit that their views are a religion.
    * “Reason” can be worshiped.
    * Atheism’s creed is “I believe in no God…”
    * Secularism looks for salvation in the material world.
    Any person’s moral system has at it’s root a belief or faith, even if that faith is nothing more than “there is nothing beyond the end of my nose”. Theology is the study of that. I would even argue that people’s choice of browser or OS can be “religious” (aka just look at the iPad -http://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/joyarchives/1374.html). Of course, people seeking to appear rational or living the lie that they are rational don’t want to be told that even their quest for “rational” is itself mired in religion and therefore can be seen as worth studying by theology.

    Finally to all the haters: While yes a verse from the Christian Bible was used, I would argue that the use of God in this video clip was generic. There are many religions out there with a concept of God. Also many groups that borrow liberally from Christianity that use the Bible and worship God, but are not Christian and don’t worship the Christian God because they don’t adhere the core values and beliefs as Christianity.

  35. Regarding the open video version: on my computer Firefox can’t play it without glitches in fullscreen, while the Flash version (and even HD Flash videos) work flawlessly. Please do not cease using Flash videos in favour of the video tag because (at least with the currently available technology) that will hurt a large number of people.

  36. I knew an elderly gentleman who posted a weekly “Sabbath Post” in a newsgroup.
    A nice weekly reminder of what was important to him.
    It connected, identified, and inspired a lot of folks with common values.
    I would call that a good thing.

    I think it was Ben S that posted something a few (years back?) that reconnected
    me to a basic childhood epiphany Had to do with the “Pange Lingua” in Latin.
    That was a good thing.

    Being true to oneself is always a good thing. Thanks Gerv

    Oh and BTW the VLC Mozilla plugin does a great job of rendering that .ogv
    Yet another very good thing. :)

  37. @mawrya “if God doesn’t exist… In fact, nothing matters.”
    @gerv, “Apart from belief in the God of the Bible, the only other consistent position is nihilism”

    You can say it but that don’t make it so, and it’s insulting to atheists who care about the world they’re in at least as much as people angling for an afterlife. The day you wake up from the God delusion you’ll be no worse or better a person than you are now, and it won’t turn you into a nihilist. “I/you need to believe in God or I/you’ll turn uncaring”. is unsupported by any evidence.

    And gerv, you remain mute on why the God of your Bible is the right one. Why that religion rather than all the others?

  38. @skierpage, it is well established that in order to be religious you have to distance yourself from logic and reason. Somewhat. Because if you completely disavow logic and reason, it makes no sense to accept one particular book as truth, (in fact, the word “truth” loses its meaning). Instead, you’ll find that religion involves the application of logic and reason where it suits the outcome of your conclusion, and rejecting it where it does not. This is the self-contradiction that is inherent to religion: it is impossible to logically decide which parts of the bible are “correct”, or “truth”, and which are not. The observant reader might point out that *all* of the bible is true and correct, but this is easily refuted by the fact that there are many contradictory statements in the bible. Somewhere along the line, you’ll find that religion is simply a very long-running form of government with a rather arbitrary set of rules that is determined by the most powerful person in your religious organisation.

    After a lot of arguing back and forth about your question, you’ll find that it is a bit like arguing over which sports team is the best. First, you’ll hear a lot of people saying things that boil down to: “My sports team is the best because it is the best”. But eventually, you’ll find that there is some other connection that explains it, for example that the person in question grew up in the “home town” of his favourite sports team. That is what the choice of religion ends up being as well: probably the religion you grew up with is the best (or only) religion for you. But there might be other reasons, for example that a friend introduced you to it. Ultimately, familiarity is the determining factor.

  39. [Of course, I disagree entirely with bastiaan.]

    “I/you need to believe in God or I/you’ll turn uncaring”

    That is not my argument. For some reason, atheists find this argument very hard to understand, and persistently misrepresent it using something like that above. Let me try one more time:

    I am not saying that atheists are callous or uncaring. Clearly, lots of them are loving and caring. What I am saying is that they have no logical reason to be so, and it is in fact inconsistent with their underlying presuppositions to be so. Many people maintain this inconsistency their entire lives. I celebrate and thank God for that inconsistency in that it makes the world a much nicer place than it would be otherwise, but it’s an inconsistency nevertheless.

    The God of the Bible is God because a) Jesus rose from the dead, and b) logically nothing else makes sense. However, the Bible also says that people who don’t believe a) won’t believe b) either.

    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” (Romans 1:18-19)

  40. In other words, you believe that the bible is correct because the bible is correct. (argument a)

    Argument b isn’t actually an argument.

  41. @bastiaan: You do not have to view (a) solely as a circular argument. Certainly once one believes that Jesus rose from the dead, then the argument becomes self-reinforcing: he established his divinity by rising from the dead, and he also endorsed the Bible, therefore we can trust the Bible, etc. But you should also recognise that there are reasonable ways “into” that circle from outside it. They stop short of “proof”, but just look at the gospel accounts of Jesus life, death and resurrection, and read them with the same open mind that you would hopefully give to any historical document. Ask questions like who wrote them (they claim to be written by eye-witnesses or those who have had direct contact with eye-witnesses), what they have to say, whether you can reasonably account for the existence and content of the documents if the things they wrote about had not really happened. Consider also the Acts of the Apostles, which describes the deep effect of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection on the lives of the early believers, and the suffering they were willing to endure because of that belief, and which records the apostles preaching the resurrection not by arguing for its truth but simply by appealing to their audience’s existing knowledge of these events, at an early time when it could easily have been debunked if it had all just been a concoction. In view of this, ask whether there is really plausible motivation for the entire thing to have been an elaborate group concoction by the early Christians. (Bear in mind also that the gospels contain details that there would have been little motivation to concoct, e.g. descriptions of the disciples’ failings and the fact that the first witnesses to the resurrection were women, whose testimony was therefore considered unreliable in the culture of the time.) As I said, I am not claiming to offer you “proof” here, just pointing out that what you depict as a purely circular argument can still have perfectly rational reasons to get you into the circle to start with. To be honest, it is no more circular than when people more or less decide in advance that there is no evidence for the resurrection, so dismiss any writing that claims that it happened as obviously just religious dogmatism which is therefore not worth any serious consideration as possible historical evidence.

  42. @Alan: Unfortunately, your main argument seems to be that some of the writings in the bible support the position that it is relaying “truth”. This is yet another way of saying that the bible is correct because it is correct, only this time embellishments are added.

    The question of whether something like this really would have been written if its authors thought believed was “false”, is irrelevant, because it does not establish whether the bible actually depicts a falsity or a truth.

    Next, you seem to be arguing that it is wrong to dismiss the bible out of hand for historical research. I believe that you are correct, and I think historians studying that era should study the full breadth of information available from that time. (That said, I find little credibility in the assertion that they would not consider such records.)

  43. Bastiaan: You didn’t ask me why I thought the Bible was correct, you asked me why my God is the right one. So I answered the question you asked.

    Everyone’s personal system of thought has an ultimate authority – the point at which you can claim the argument becomes circular. For the atheist, it is often their reason: “How do you know you can trust your reason?” – “Because my reason tells me so.” To find the ultimate authority in any system of thought, just keep asking “But why do you think that?” until you get there.

    It is therefore unreasonable to criticise anyone’s system of thought merely because it has an ultimate authority in it.

    If I accept the Bible because I accept it, that would be no more or less circular than you not accepting it because your reason tells you it’s wrong, and you accepting the conclusions of your reason because your reason tells you they are right.

    Gerv

  44. @Gerv: Actually, I did not ask you whether you thought the Bible is correct. Someone else asked you why you thought that “your” God was the right one, (and you rephrased that as “God of the Bible”) and all I did was predict that you would be unable to answer the question except to say, basically, “because.”

    That said, what the question boils down to is this: atheists assert that unproven religious propositions deserve as much disbelief as all other unproven propositions. It is illogical to believe some religious propositions but to reject others. If you find yourself answering the question with “because.”, I believe you have ventured off the path of logic. (This could serve to counter your argument of “logically, nothing else makes sense.”)

    I believe you are mischaracterising reason. A reasoning person does not believe in reason because he is reasonable, as you seem to be arguing. A reasoning person proves, he does not “believe”. But also, reason is the same no matter who applies it, so “your reason” does not exist, unless you are not a reasonable person.

  45. What the hell is a pro-religious video doing in mozillazine? I don’t care if it’s a Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Jainist, Sikh or Taoist video. Religion and Mozilla don’t mix. Period.

    The only teachings I want to see in Mozilla-hosted pages are the teachings from The Book of Mozilla.

  46. Religion and Mozilla don’t mix. Period.

    On the contrary. Your attitude to God affects all of your life – and that’s true whether you love him, hate him, or don’t believe he exists.

  47. I’m so much not the target audience for this it’s almost funny. I think the most unconvincing argument for religion that anyone could present to me is “it’s ok, you don’t have to study hard or use your brain”. (Plus, yes, the incorrect citation from John annoys me disproportionately, and it’s not even my scripture!) I do definitely agree that religion needs to be accessible to people who are not intellectual, but I personally wouldn’t last five minutes in a religious framework without intellectual stimulation and rigorous study.

  48. individ-ewe-al: I don’t think that’s the argument; I think it’s more that you should study God hard and use your brain, and it is worth doing, and that doesn’t mean it ends up as a dry and lifeless academic exercise. Studying God and having a relationship with him are not mutually exclusive.

  49. Tom Delane: If you are referring to my illness, I became a Christian a couple of years before that happened. I was a young student at Oxford, the world was at my feet. Why would I have needed a crutch?

    Having said that, Jesus is more than just a crutch (an aid to support); he is my entire support! Life in a created universe without a relationship with the creator is always going to go badly, either now or in the future. But how much of a support to me it is, is not the question. The question is whether it’s true.

  50. that was great because I am always in the studing about God, and i am writing a paper on him Write now in college great motivator.