Monday, October 26, 2009

They Think; Therefore They Know? Part 3

As non-believers, there are at least two questions we can (and do!) ask ourselves to distinguish whether something is fact or opinion:

1. Is this true all the time? Math will always give you the same answer, and so will chemical reactions. Those are proven facts. But opinions can change with time, personalities, and other factors.

I think that astrology is interesting and fun. But does astrology predict someone's entire personality and attitudes based on the date and time of their birth? Astrology has exceptions, which doesn’t make it fact.

2. What's the evidence? Is this thought provable time and time again through experimentation or analysis of data? Is the evidence secondhand, like stories passed down through generations? We don’t allow for hearsay in our court system, so why should we when evaluating religion or the existence of god?

The Native American stories and African creation myths may tell how the rabbit got his twitchy nose or the turtle got his shell, but we know that they are not fact. It's the same with the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic myths about god. There may have been a person named Jesus who lived 2000 years ago, but is there proof that he came from an omnipotent, all-knowing god? Only stories – no scientific facts.

These thoughts bring to mind a quote that will be featured in the next SECULAR Center Newsletter:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus; Greek philosopher, 341 BCE to 270 BCE

Check back next week for an analysis of this quote according to the questions proposed above!

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