The Secret to Wisdom March 4, 2011

The Secret to Wisdom

David Hayward probably doesn’t realize it, but he just created a new atheist bumper sticker:

It’s mindboggling to me why so many churches would stifle questioning and doubt, especially with children. To simply “have faith” or to suggest that “god did it” when it was really a natural process is a copout. If Christianity was valid, then questions would only strengthen someone’s faith… right? Too bad for churches, when reality meets religion, religion always loses.

Which is why we have to encourage children to ask questions, even when we don’t always have the answers.

(via nakedpastor)

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  • Rich Wilson

    Oh I LIKE this one!

  • Emmet Cooney

    “Follow those who seek the truth. RUN FROM those who know the truth.”

  • Agreed. The minute that inculcated, shut-down child gets into a good science class (or even a mediocre one) and discovers answers that go beyond “God did it,” faith risks losing another adherent.

  • CanadianNihilist

    I’ve always felt education is our best weapon against faith. Also a myriad of other social problems.

  • Nakor

    Heck, this is fine advice even outside religion. How often do we follow up on our own curiosities anyway? Our community may do so more than average, but I’m willing to bet that everyone has a mental itch they haven’t scratched from time to time. It doesn’t even have to be science, maybe it’s history or culture or food or anything else.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Rich: I LIKE this one.

  • Chas, PE SE

    “I’ve never held with religion — or anything else — that told you What You Had To Believe and What Would Happen To You If You Didn’t. It’s better to have doubt. Doubt leads to investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.”
    —-Clarence Darrow for the Defense

    PS: Emmitt, I LIKE it!

  • I agree and like it.

    The bible is like an abotross around the neck of Christians. “Why questions” become very uncomfortable for those that hold the bible as the inspired word of God. “Why questions” become less tolerated the more one believes the bible is literally true.

    I agree that one needs a free mind to be able to explore, ask questions, and gain wisdom.

  • Bob

    Respectfully, Christians *do* ask why – it’s just the wrong question(s) (and we know sound reason and inquiry is based on asking the right question(s)):

    – Why am I being persecuted?
    – Why hasn’t God struck down those evil, nasty non-believing people so as to validate my view of ancient scripture?
    – Why doesn’t a horrible monster leap out of the peanut butter jar?
    – Why can’t we teach our religion in science class?

  • ACN

    Which one of these is not like the other ones:

    – Why doesn’t a horrible monster leap out of the peanut butter jar?

    I have never heard anyone, much less a christian, ask that one 🙂

  • an observer

    I have never heard anyone, much less a christian, ask that one 🙂

    Comes from an old “reasoning” that peanut butter disproves evolution

  • I have never heard anyone, much less a christian, ask that one

    “Why does this banana fit in my hand so well?”

    On a slightly more serious note – when, oh when will we be able to buy the bumper sticker (someone has to have put it up on cafepress by now, right?)…

    🙂

  • Why doesn’t a horrible monster leap out of the peanut butter jar?

    They do ask this question.

    See this video.

  • todwith1d

    because he’s too busy eating the peanut butter

  • Blacksheep

    I agree with the idea of questioning everything. It’s healthy, and honest. One of the things that has struck me about this site and this community, however, is the degree of certainty people have about their position on God and faith. I am a relative newcomer here, but Hemant, for example, consistently uses absolute terms when criticizing the existence of God, and especially Christianity. Many of his intros include statements like, “because it’s a myth” or “it’s a fantasy” “a lie” etc. And there is sort of an angry frustration behind it that’s pretty discernable – especially when someone says “why” to atheism!

    From his statements, and from many others here, (Not all) I get the sense that there is 100% certainty in the position that there is no God.

    I like Bertrand Russel’s (probably overused) quote, “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

    What’s wrong with saying, “From everything I see and experience, I’m pretty sure that there is no God.”

    I’m comfortable with the reverse, “From everything I see and experience, I’m pretty sure there is a God.”

  • RPJ

    Havremn’yt read comments again, sorry. And I’ll probaly loom back at thios when I;’m sovber and facepalm.

    It’s mindboggling to me why so many churches would stifle questioning and doubt,

    Because triuth simply isn;’t someythiong they;’re really interested in. Whether they are correct or not. It’s not simply that they oppose finding the truth because they know it’s one less gap for God to hide in…like O’Reilley; they are focusised, soleyly and completelky, omn beliefe, rather than any interest in trutbh or reality. No matter how mahy times you ecllain the tides to O’Reilly, He;’s rrpeat “tides in, tides out”; chirches are the same way; they aren;’t opposed o truth and reality so much as it simply doesn’t matter. Questionaing and doubt don’t matter, when you alrewady KNOW KNOW HUGE CAPOWS KNOW what is undoubtedly amd unequivacalliy TRUE. You don’t need to PROVE it. You transcend prove. Ypou are self-assuredly RIGHT, amd Correct. Logoic, reason, everyonthying don’t matter. You are true because you are true bevcause you are true.. ASnd anytjhing that questions that dogma is nothing more, and nothing less, than a threat that must be erased and si9lence.

    Personally, omne argument that i would use against theists/spreirtuallists is, ‘If you knoiw god did it, you should welcome to search for proof that good really did do it, right? What are you afraid of? We search; we find that god did it and you are vin dicyated, or we find that he didn’t and you are wrong, and have to rvise your idea’/hypotheiss/Tneory”, right? No matter what happens, you win”. But that’s not the way it works. they already KNIOW, so there’s jo need to SEARCH; ny SEARCH is simply a threat because they are already INFALLIBLE.

    Logic and reason simp,ly don’t matter. It’s blind, thoughtless emotionalism and certainty, and reactionism.

  • Blacksheep

    RPJ,

    they already KNIOW, so there’s jo need to SEARCH; ny SEARCH is simply a threat because they are already INFALLIBLE.

    Are you saying that you do know? What if there’s never absolute proof one way or another? What then?

    By the way – if you read the Bible you’ll see that our fallibility is literally one of the cornerstones of our faith.

  • RPJ

    I probably do, at least insofar as the evidence (or more specifically, the experts gathering an interpretauon of the evidence; I’m simplay a relativelt eductaed layperson) tells me. It’s possible I’m wrong; I;m open to the idea, though so far it seems extremely unlikely.

    My poiunt wasn;t about me, or atheists, or scientists, though. It was about theists, and how they view knowledge, truth, scinece, and the searcjh for ttruth.

  • DEE VAN HORN

    it could replace the old “THINK” tee. or, it could be added to to it.

  • Nakor

    @Blacksheep: It’s just a case of simplicity. I mean, in reality, we’d have to go around saying that every time we wanted to say we ‘knew’ something. “From everything I see and experience, I’m pretty sure there’s a moon.” “From everything I see an experience, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a flying spaghetti monster.”

    A lot of us when speaking just say ‘there’s no god’ without qualification. It doesn’t mean we’re saying there’s utterly zero chance we’re wrong, it’s us saying that we think the evidence (or lack thereof) is sufficient to come to that conclusion. It’s not a claim of 100% certainty, it’s a claim of reasonably sufficient certainty, combined with a desire not to have to type a full sentence of qualifications every time we mention that stance.

  • great idea Hemant. Look for it on cafepress soon!

  • What’s wrong with saying, “From everything I see and experience, I’m pretty sure that there is no God.”

    Like Nakor said, it seems a bit unnecessary. Christians don’t go around saying, “I’m pretty sure that there is no Zeus.” If you’re comfortable proclaiming Hanuman the monkey god to be non-existent (despite the fact that millions of people in India believe in him), why shouldn’t atheists be equally comfortable declaring Yahweh to be non-existent?

  • hey everyone: here’s some tees and bumper-stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/nakedpastor
    as well as more tees: http://spreadshirt.com/nakedpastor

  • Blacksheep

    Like Nakor said, it seems a bit unnecessary. Christians don’t go around saying, “I’m pretty sure that there is no Zeus.” If you’re comfortable proclaiming Hanuman the monkey god to be non-existent (despite the fact that millions of people in India believe in him), why shouldn’t atheists be equally comfortable declaring Yahweh to be non-existent?

    I agree and understand. I really mean that in the context of a religious discussion about a particular God, why must it be so concrete. If I moved to India, where I go on business often, I would no doubt get into a religious conversation at some point. If the person with whom I were discussing religon said, “I believe in and pray to Hanuman” I might say, “from my view of the world, and my faith, I’m pretty sure there is no hanuman.”

    But we would have a belief in God in common, so there’s that! And in fact what you would most likely arrive at in that conversation with an Indian is that it’s not about Hanuman, he’s just an expression of God anyway.

  • Billy Danner

    I always assumed “have faith” and “God did it” meant I don’t know…. I thought that was made pretty clear lol I’ve also always been taught that doubt was not necessarily bad, in any area, and that there are no bad quesitons (never actually told that in school till high school lol but always told that in pre (pascal religious education). I also don’t find any reason to make an opinion about the exsistance of other gods (but God is the one true god and such). I don’t think considering it is that important.

  • I agree and understand. I really mean that in the context of a religious discussion about a particular God, why must it be so concrete. If I moved to India, where I go on business often, I would no doubt get into a religious conversation at some point. If the person with whom I were discussing religon said, “I believe in and pray to Hanuman” I might say, “from my view of the world, and my faith, I’m pretty sure there is no hanuman.”

    Well, but why beat around the bush? I mean, if I traveled to India, I wouldn’t go out of my way to tell Hindus that I think Hanuman is a myth. Just like I wouldn’t walk into a Christian church and tell the congregation that I think Yahweh is a myth. But this is an atheist blog. If I can’t be honest here, where can I be honest? I don’t mind tempering my remarks when it suits the occasion. A funeral for a devout believer is not the time or the place to volunteer the fact that the deceased is not in heaven with Jesus. But in a gathering of fellow atheists, it seems absurd to pretend that reality isn’t reality.

    But we would have a belief in God in common, so there’s that! And in fact what you would most likely arrive at in that conversation with an Indian is that it’s not about Hanuman, he’s just an expression of God anyway.

    True, but the god of Hinduism (Brahman) is not the god of Christianity (Yahweh). I actually do find Hinduism fascinating, but the worldviews of these two religions are quite dissimilar.