REPLY #34 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) Ok, look. I strongly agree with science and with trying to figure out rational, scientific explanations for phenomenon that would previously have been undescribable or simply "other-worldy." However, I think you are missing my main point here. You are trying to use rational reasoning to figure out everything and I do not think that is possible. But that is obviously a point that you simply disagree with.
(MB) I disagree with your assertion, but there is no "simply" about it. There has never been any reasonable evidence that anything exists in our universe which can not be explained by using rational reasoning and the scientific method. The fact that there are things which we haven't yet explained fully does not lend any support to irrational or supernatural explanations of those things.
(R) I believe there is something else to this world and not everything can be explained scientifically.
(MB) Do you have any examples of such things?
(R) And I agree with you that science and religion are two different disciplines, but I meant that they are both approaches to
explaining the nature of this world and this reality, and that neither are entirely right nor entirely wrong.
(MB) I would agree with that. The only way to determine if either is right or wrong about any given issue is to examine all of the evidence associated with that issue. Proper explanations can only be obtained this way. If such explanations are complex or uncomfortable, that still doesn't justify brushing them aside and accepting unsupportable alternatives.
(R) I disagree with people who focus only on science and refute all religious or spiritual views just as strongly as I disagree with people who rely only on religion and faith and refute any facts and hard evidence.
(MB) Religion, in and of itself, is barely worth debating. It's the invalid conclusions about the universe or anything in it which are reached through the application of religious dogma that are the main focus of my refutations. Please understand that I also debate non-religious explanations of things which are equally invalid. Have you read my essay on
"Pseudoscience and the Paranormal"?
(R) Yes this is a matter of emotions vs. facts because both exist in this world and focusing on science simply doesn't encompass the realm of emotion.
(MB) Emotional issues are separate from factual issues. Science confines itself to the factual realm. Religion belongs in the emotional realm. When it attempts to cross over to the factual realm is when problems and conflicts begin to arise.
(R) I believe both disciplines are necessary for us to get the most out of life.
(MB) Here, I will agree with you. Since humans are emotional creatures with a thirst for knowledge, we need disciplines which appeal to both emotion and to reason. We also need to wisdom to separate one from the other.
(R) And I'd like to say that what is important in the Bible is not the specific events or details, but the moral message the stories portray. No religion that I have studied teaches any sort of immoral behavior or any behavior that would lead to a worsened society. Quite on the contrary, religions set forth an example and a guideline to live by which would make for a better person and better society, if followed correctly.
(MB) One does not need to believe in supernatural beings in order to adopt a code of morality and laudable behavior. Of course, to say that no religion teaches immorality doesn't mean much because the religion itself defines morality for its adherents.
(R) However, people have used religions in very horrible ways. This does not change the initial principles of the religion, however.
(MB) Quite true. Of course, somebody claiming that his religion's God created the universe is rather different from that same person's using that belief to wage war upon somebody who claims otherwise.
(R) I think instead of refuting Christianity or whatever religion, people should refute the believers of the religion who are not living by what they are trying to impose upon others.
(MB) Again, the beliefs themselves and the actions undertaken by the believers are two separate and individually debatable issues. Those who profess unsupportable beliefs and also act hypocritically or anti-socially just give us twice as many opportunities for criticism.
(R) However, if this is the case, then religion can fit in with nearly everything in life because hardly anyone who tries to teach a way of life to others lives a perfect life themselves.
(MB) That's where the expression "practice what you preach" came from.
(R) And I still cannot understand why you can't see the good that comes from religion and why you can't see that there is a deeply spiritual aspect of humanity which demands fulfillment, fulfillment which it cannot get from the advances of science and technology.
(MB) To say that there is a spiritual aspect of humanity is to presuppose the existence of some sort of superior being who was responsible for creating us. Also, are you saying that "good" could not come about (or is less likely to come about) without adopting religion or that the wonders revealed by science and the satisfaction brought by increasing knowledge cannot fulfill us?