Dawkins: Religion no moral compass
September 27th, 2013
05:53 PM ET

Dawkins: Religion no moral compass

By Jason Miks

GPS digital producer Jason Miks sits down with renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, author of the Selfish Gene and An Appetite for Wonder, to discuss readers’ questions on religion, its role in society and whether children can be described as “Christian.”

A number of readers noting your skepticism over religion’s role in society ask whether an absence of religion would leave us without a moral compass?

The very idea that we get a moral compass from religion is horrible. Not only should we not get our moral compass from religion, as a matter of fact we don’t. We shouldn’t, because if you actually look at the bible or the Koran, and get your moral compass from there, it’s horrible – stoning people to death, stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.

Now of course we don’t do that anymore, but the reason we don’t do it is that we pick out those verses of the bible that we like, and reject those verses we don’t like. What criteria do we use to pick out the good ones and reject the bad ones? Non-biblical criteria, non-religious criteria. The same criteria as guide any modern person in their moral compass that has nothing to do with religion.

So the moral compass of any person is very much a part of the century or even the decade in which they happen to live, regardless of their religion. So we live in the early 21st century, and our moral compass in the early 21st century is quite different from 100 years ago, or 200 years ago. We are now much less racist than they were, much less sexist than they were. We are much kinder than non-human animals than they were – all sorts of respects in which we are labeled with a moral compass. So something has changed, and it certainly has nothing to do with religion.

You’ve been travelling to the States from the U.K. for a number of years. Have you noticed much of a change in the place of religion in the two countries over that time?

Notoriously, the United States is the most religious of the Western advanced nations. It’s a bit mysterious why that is. In Britain, Christianity is dying. Islam, unfortunately, isn’t. In Western Europe generally, Christianity is dying. Even in America, the figures show that religious adherence is being steadily reduced, and the people who now record themselves as having no religious affiliation is something like 20 percent. Many people don’t recognize what a high figure it is, and so politicians here who feel they have to curry favor with religious lobbies should maybe take a look at those statistics and realize that not everyone in this country is religious.

You say it’s a bit of a mystery why America is so much more religious than other advanced countries. Do you have any thoughts on why it might be? Tied to that question of disposition, several readers also wondered if there is a genetic predisposition toward faith?

There probably is, but I don’t think that really explains why America is so different from Britain. The least implausible suggestion that I’ve heard is that Britain and Scandinavian countries, which are also very non-religious, have an established church, and that kind of makes religion boring. Whereas in America, there is constitutionally a bar against an established church, and that could be one reason why religion has become so popular – it has become big business, it has become free enterprise, rival churches vie with each other for congregations and especially tax free ties.

Some readers see you as very evangelical in your atheism. Do you feel it a duty, just as some Christians might to share the word of God, to spread an atheist point of view?

Duty is a funny word. But when you say evangelical, I like to think that I don’t shout or shriek, but employ a quiet, sober voice of reason. And reason is on our side.

You’ve talked about feeling uncomfortable with the impact of religion on children. In fact, one reader asked whether you would prefer to see no under-18s at church. What’s your take?

I certainly wouldn’t wish to prohibit parents influencing their children. However, for the rest of the world, to label a child a Catholic child simply because its parents are Catholic, seems to me to be a form of child abuse. The child is too young to know.

You can see the absurdity of talking about a Catholic child of four when you think what it would be like if we talked about an existentialist child of four, or a logical positivist of four. In other words, we wouldn’t accept the labeling of a child based the parents’ belief, so why do we accept it when it’s religion? Why does religion get a free pass when it comes to labeling children in this way?

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Topics: Religion • Science

soundoff (2,950 Responses)
  1. Dave

    The bible,. and other books based on the supernatural, are cluster-bombs of ill-conceived notions about the natural world and humankind. The correct framing of the argument should be natural versus supernatural and the supernatural is an empty thought.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
    • Mac

      Yep, you are correct.

      September 27, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  2. OrygunDuck

    Not sure it is the place for religion to ask scientific questions, and likewise science isn't the place to ask moral questions.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Science is the entire reason. No one reads deeply enough about it and most people simply fill in the blanks after being confounded by having to think and grasp profound answers.

      September 27, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Reply
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        Just as Mr. Tyson indicated in his talk – the perimeter of ignorance. Some of the very greatest minds in science have at one time invoked religious explanations when they reached the limits of their knowledge on problems.

        September 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • mountainlady

      Both should be doing both. Actually, morality has been debated among philosophers since the ancient Greeks and many philosophers are atheists. I think we all have a stake in morality. Better to my mind that we at least think about it and talk about it than just have it handed down verbatim from someone's "holy book".

      September 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Reply
    • Mentalcase

      What morals are learned from religion?

      September 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • jesus christ

      Science seeks natural explanations for natural phenomenon! In this context the word "natural" should be taken to mean "natural" as opposed to "supernatural". Because God is "supernatural" by definition, science is a completely atheistic study of the universe. There are no scientific concepts, discoveries or principals that remain unsupported without God as a premise. It just doesn't happen.

      September 27, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Reply
    • Maani

      Good call. Even Stephen Jay Gould, one of the most respected evolutionary biologists of all time, called science and religion "non-overlapping magisteria," meaning that each has its own internal truths, but that the truths of one could not necessarily be applied to the truths of the other. And, of course, Einstein said, "Science without religion is lame; Religion without science is blind."

      September 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Reply
      • glenisterm

        Gould tried unsuccessfully to make that claim, but he was wrong. The problem is is that they do overlap. Religion makes scientific claims about how the world/universe work or came into being, only to have Science provide evidence that those claims are wrong. eg. Noah's flood never happened, life on earth evolved and was not individually created in its present form, the earth is not the center of the universe, etc.

        In less than 200 years we've gone from candles to electric lights/computers, and from horses to landing on the moon. If there is a deity, religion hasn't provided any new insights into it in a thousand years.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:29 am |
  3. Terry Bahadur

    He does not say where and how we get our moral compass. So, his argument is pale,and irresponsible.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • OrygunDuck

      These guys have a view that 'rationality' should rule, but my rationality may not be the same as yours.

      September 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply
    • Sane Person

      Of course he does. The man has published a multi.tude of articles, books and speeches, any one of which could easily answer your point. Try google if you really want to know his response to such trivialities. The fact that you can't see where morals come from, does not mean others share in your ignorance.

      September 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Reply
      • roy

        my question is this, the bilble is the most widely read and most published book the world has ever seen. Your justification is that he has published a few books and journals and we should take his word over God's word in the Bible?

        September 27, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • Pest

        Hey, roy, that's a nice appeal to popularity logical fallacy you have there.

        September 27, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • Luca

        A quick note on what Roy said.

        Not only is it irrelevant that the Bible is very popular, it is actually not true that it's the most read and most printed book ever.

        It's not the most read. Hardly anybody actually reads the Bible. They may own one. But they don't read it. It's one of the most boring books ever written.

        It's also not the most printed. The Ikea Catalog has more copies in print. Hey, maybe the Ikea Catalog is the word of God.

        September 28, 2013 at 12:00 am |
      • TiglathPileser

        Yep, his best one to date was the interview where he stated "it could have been aliens", my personal favorite Dawkins quote 🙂

        September 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
      • Maani

        A quick note on what Luca said.

        "Not only is it irrelevant that the Bible is very popular, it is actually not true that it's the most read and most printed book ever."

        According to Guinness, Wikipedia, and almost every other reliable source, the Bible is the most-read and most-printed book in history, with over 2.5 billion copies owned, and sales of over 17 million annually (only a handful of best-sellers reach that number in any given year; the Bible has been doing it for decades).

        "It's not the most read. Hardly anybody actually reads the Bible. They may own one. But they don't read it. It's one of the most boring books ever written."

        This is mere speculation and opinion.

        "It's also not the most printed. The Ikea Catalog has more copies in print. Hey, maybe the Ikea Catalog is the word of God."

        Uh, do you know the difference between a "book" and a "catalog?" Even were it true that there are more Ikea catalogs in print than there are Bibles (which is simply ridiculous), Roy specifically said "book." Thus, your comparison to the Ikea catalog is an exceptional example of setting up a straw man.

        Nice try, Luca.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • glenisterm

        @TiglathPileser
        Your quote is from the heavily edited interview Dawkins gave for the movie 'Expelled'. The question, which was edited out of the film, was asking him to propose ideas for how life on earth could have started by 'intelligent design' rather than abiogenesis. So he bent over backwards trying to come up an answer, and he certainly didn't believe the idea himself.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:37 am |
      • TiglathPileser

        I am aware of where teh quote is from, i watched the interview...funny how the Dawkins apologists can claim all kinds of back peddling and excuses for things that THERE IS EVIDENCE that Dawkins says, yet as soon as someone trys to explain scripture it gets poo-pooed.
        Ah, well. In this case, I saw him say it.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:57 am |
      • Yatzi

        I am humbled by your intelligence,humor me and answer this trifle itch,where is our bedrock moral source?

        September 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • dls2k2

      Morality is easy. You pick it up on a daily basis from parents, siblings, teachers, and friends. There is no reason whatsoever for religious fantasies to be involved in the process.

      September 27, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Reply
      • NorCalMojo

        If morality was easy, we wouldn't need prisons.

        September 28, 2013 at 1:29 am |
      • TiglathPileser

        If I maintained the kind of morality that I picked from 'family friends' I would be in jail today, kinda glad I didnt.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • jG55

      Morality does not come from religion. It is understood social norms of the day. My dog has higher morals and characteristics than most church goers. She is loyal, compassionate, obeys, is accountable when she doesn't, and she has never gone to church! I would go so far to say the being religious negates morality and gives approval and a pass on bed behavior. How can something based on deceit do otherwise?

      September 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
      • roy

        do you believe murder is wrong, adultery is wrong, to hate your brother is wrong, honor your mother and father, stealing is wrong, lying is wrong, coveting is wrong? if you do, then the 10 Commandments must have a moral message to send. Isn't that religious?

        September 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
      • Pest

        Hey, roy, you don't seem to understand the difference between correlation and causation. The bible did not invent prohibitions against murdering and stealing, and non-christian countries also have those rules.

        How about slavery though? We hold that to be quite bad, do we not? Where is that in the commandments? Why is slavery explicitly condoned in the Bible? You're just picking and choosing the parts of the Bible that you like, just like Dawkins asserted.

        September 27, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • NorCalMojo

        Your dog probably believes all sorts of crazy things.

        September 28, 2013 at 1:30 am |
      • southmost

        @roy: Commandments 6 through 10 codified existing social mores, that exist not just in Judeo-Christian societies but many societies regardless of their religious traditions.

        But the ones given greatest precedence in Exodus, 1 through 4, are specifically for the promotion of Abrahamic religious traditions. I personally do not follow them, and object strongly whenever anyone tries to use them as the basis of civil laws. You can't require me to worship your god or any gods. You can't punish my great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren if I keep a graven image or two. I can swear by anyone I please, Yahweh damn it! And I'll probably be working this Sunday too.

        September 28, 2013 at 4:18 am |
      • stevie68a

        You're so right! A dog will display better morals then some "christians" I know. And they don't go to church!

        September 28, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • sbp

      Morality developed because it conferred a reproductive advantage on a species that had adapted to thrive in social groups. When people must live together, they are more successful if they have rules to get along. In other words, morality is a trait that evolves to suit the environment the species finds itself in.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Reply
    • Gene2

      The late and very great Christopher Hitchens said, reasonably enough, that we inherently know right and wrong without religion telling us. That we were moral creatures before any priest, rabbi, imam or other "holy" man crowned by other mortal men shoved their brand of supernatural hooey down anyone's throat. Atheists, as far as I know, don't strap on bombs or shoot innocent men, women or children like those very religious, subhuman Islamists did in Nairobi. I wish all religious fanatics would become martyrs, frankly (taking no one else with them, mind you), and leave the rest of us reasonable people alone. The world would be a better place without religion. Maybe, I don't know, like heaven.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Reply
      • Jim

        Sounds like you are advocating the position that it is ok for insane people to kill themselves as long as it doesn't impact your life.

        Nice. Compassionate. Caring... Oh, wait, it is none of those.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • geckopelli

      Actually, he does.

      He says it's a product of the times.

      September 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  4. james ruston

    A logical positivist child of four. Now that does boggle the mind.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  5. Buster

    Dawkins has spent is entire career simply making the false statement that God does not exist. He'll always be a miserable person chasing his tail because God exists, and He created the universe and Dawkins too.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

      Prove it. With reference only to observation and reason, not so-called "holy" texts and anecdotal claims of personal revelation.

      September 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Reply
      • Buster

        An evil generation (not Reverends and men of faith) seeks after signs, wonders and proofs.

        September 27, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • NorCalMojo

        Prove a healthy society can exist without the benefits religions provide.

        Whether it's true or not, religions provide a sense of belonging and social cohesion that is hard to inspire without it. It can get ugly, but it obviously has some benefits if the human race has kept it around this long.

        September 28, 2013 at 1:27 am |
      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

        Norway seems to be doing quite well. It's consistently top of the rankings in citizen health, well-being, prosperity, etc. And its citizenry self-reports as up to 70% non-religious. At the last study I could find, only 3% attend services weekly, and 10% monthly. 26% identify explicitly as atheist, and 44% as varying shades of agnostic.

        Religions are basically tribal units, "we" versus "they". "They" are always "doomed" to one sort of punishment or another, while "we" are special. That's a dangerous way of looking at the world, as the history of religious wars and colonial conquests clearly demonstrates, and sadly, it's still the way many people and many nations operate.

        September 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
      • Jim

        You are seeking absolute proof, which is a standard that cannot be reached by science... To any question of science, much less a metaphysical question.

        That you fail or refuse to see the inherent fallacy in your own childish demand speaks volumes about your closed mindedness.

        Ahh... Good old logic. Sharp, precise.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:35 am |
      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

        No, I'm seeking evidence.

        The problem here is, there isn't even enough to *entertain* the god theory of the universe, much less accept it - unless you suspend the rules of evidence and accept hearsay, anecdote, personal revelation, and a collection of two to three millennia old campfire stories and fairy tales *as* evidence.

        You're falling back on the old logical fallacy that since your position can't be disproven, it must be right, or at least taken seriously. If you actually understood logic, you'd know that it doesn't work that way.

        I could tell you that I'm currently sitting at work stark naked but for a coating of wode; you have no evidence either way other than my word, but I suspect you'd think I was doing no such thing.

        Oh, but you can't *prove* that I'm not, so you have to accept the possibility that I might well be! Even though you and I both know I'd be lucky to *make* it to work that way, much less get in the door and get to my desk, without someone stopping me and hauling me off to either jail, or the local psychiatric ward.

        The only thing I want are the same rules of evidence to apply to everything. Not special rules for religion; the *same* rules.

        And for the record, no, I am not sitting naked but for wode at work. However, I am wearing a blue shirt.

        September 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

      That's a dodge, not an answer. You could at least have the honesty to admit you can't prove it.

      September 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Reply
      • Buster

        No sign shall be given to them (non-believers), except the sign of Jonah.

        September 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • dilberth

      The fool says in his heart, there is a god.

      September 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
      • Buster

        The non-fool lives out of his hear.

        September 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Sane Person

      god does not exist, and Dawkins is not miserable. I'm sorry that you wont be happy unless other people validate your delusions.

      September 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Reply
      • TiglathPileser

        I wont argue your first point but as for the second, have you seen a recent Dawkins interview?!?! Yes, he most certainly is miserable, sad way to live a life.

        September 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Theadore Realist

      ...............................................
      .........................;..:.:::::::::::::::::

      {{{{{{ ahem, clears throat }}}}}

      Your http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from ...

      ... The http://www.EVILbible.com

      ...........................................

      September 27, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Reply
      • Jermaine

        Nice site.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • kenny

      it would be nice and he did exist and there was an afterlife for those of us that behaved... however ... there is no proof... and all the religions of the world are the most compelling evidence for that... the golden rule is instinct and humans have followed it in one way or another since the beginning of time. religion was needed to add specifics so that the ignorant among us would adhere to the rule since it can't be enforced unless all men agree to follow it...

      September 28, 2013 at 12:21 am | Reply
      • God

        Then why is our world so broken? Why are so many in pain? Why are record numbers of people murdering each other?

        September 28, 2013 at 1:15 am |
      • Dean

        God, it is over population.

        September 29, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • mqallen

        God- good questions but if there is an omnipotent, omniscient all-being, why does he tolerate this chaos? And is there only one path to salvation? Because if there is, all the people born where that path is not the prevalent one seem quite likely to not find the "one true path". What type of all-powerful being would consign most people to oblivion or hell simply by the fact of where he chose to allow them to be born.

        September 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • FaTeke

        "God
        Then why is our world so broken? Why are so many in pain? Why are record numbers of people murdering each other?"

        I have an idea about that. Religion and the belief in God I believe are what make people so unhappy. On the surface it all looks rosey and wonderful. We're taught that our lives have a purpose, that God has a plan for us, that if we pray to God he'll hear our prayers and answer them. These are fallacies of course, but we live our lives trying to make the reality we see and live every day fit the fantasy we've been taught. When reality and fantasy collide some of shatter. The truth is the only meaning our lives have is that which we give it. Far better to be taught that as a child, that you can grow up to do and be anything you want, than to grow up thinking some magical being has your life planned out for you. Of course its much more complicated than that, but thats the gist of what I believe to be one of the biggest ills of our society today.
        FaTeke

        September 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • artisgreat

      Buster you are a delusional person who believes in a book written by Bronze Age Shepherds and it is so sad to see people waste your entire life thinking that this life is to prepare you for a better one up in the sky If you had never in your life heard of this scenario and I told you it was true you would laugh at me ,so I laugh at you

      September 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • Tenada

      Your evidence? And dont say you read it in a book written by 15th century monks and soforth LOL

      September 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  6. Buster

    Dawkins is very ugly in that article picture, and needs to comb and shave his eyebrows.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • mrsinned

      Hilarious.

      Dawkins: "But 2 + 2 = 4."
      Buster: "Yeah, well you're ugly."

      How about you have an intelligent, adult conversation.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Reply
      • Mr.G

        ....that made me laugh out loud. ....I was thinking the same thing.

        September 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
      • Jim

        Dawkins "2+2=blue, because I can hear."

        Exactly.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:38 am |
      • Maani

        Jim: ROFLMAO! Brilliant! Bravo!

        September 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  7. Rheena

    The beautiful thing about 'life' - in this world, beyond this world, beyond what we can even imagine - is that it carries on with, or without our awareness. It surrounds us, sustains us, bringing us into this particular awareness matrix, and then... well, what happens next is up for debate. But no matter what we think happens before or after death, or whether or not we even believe in a 'before' or 'after', the mechanics of life continue to operate. That makes everyone's opinion Just That. One truth cannot POSSIBLY contain the 'answer.' And so, to those who think they know, as well as to those who don't care to think about it, I say it's just who you THINK you are what what it is, and nothing more than that.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  8. Jorge Vazquez

    As a scientist and a Christian I am surprised at the inaccuracies in Dawkins assumption. To assume that somehow we are more moral today than say 300 years ago is the biggest myth I always hear. We just exited the bloodiest century in humankind. Genocide after genocide Professor Dawkins appears to live a somewhat sheltered life. I do agree with him on the point of the Bible and many people have used it erroneously, but that is not the fought of the central character of Christianity Jesus of Nazareth. Look at who he was and his teachings and you won't see stonings, etc. In fact Professor Dawkins he prevents the stoning of woman. May I suggest you go back to the basics on Christianity and stick to evolutionary biology.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
    • steve90210

      As Dawkins mentions, God told his followers to kill a man because he dared to gather firewood on the sabbath - the fact that God later, in his Christ persona (same guy though), might not have repeated some of his earlier hideous acts, does not absolve God of responsibility for what he did (if he existed).

      September 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Reply
      • Jorge Vazquez

        If you had read my post carefully you would see that I mention I agree with Dawkins on some issues with the Old testament. The point though is that God through Jesus brought in the new convenant. It changed things completely. It does not mean that God changed his mind, only that truth and forgiveness entered the world through jesus. I too have issues (which I am smart enough to acknowledge that some things I leave up to God) with the Old testmanet. I recommend you read posts carefully.

        September 28, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • kenny

      you may have a great deal of knowledge in one area ... but you do not understand humanity... the golden rule is instinct. religion simply added specifics so that ignorant people would behave according to it. it was needed in the lawless days when no governing bodies could hold people accountable. it helped civilize the masses by have a sky daddy watch over them and force them to fear not following the golden rule. now, religion is not needed and the civilized world would be much more peaceful without it... open your mind... and prove you are a scientist... observe children interacting and even they understand the golden rule...

      September 28, 2013 at 12:17 am | Reply
      • Jorge Vazquez

        Believe me I have plenty of knowledge in humanity. I am 4'7" a dwarf, with vision issues, still manage to ski black diamond runs, ride my back 70 miles and have traveled all over the world as an employee of NASA. I, with God's grace, have overcome much in my life. I am also adjunct faculty in Earth Science. Your point that the Golden Rule is instinctive (which I don't mention in my post so don't know why it was brought up) I agree with. it is, as nobel Laureate Alexander Solzyhenistyn said proof of the "image of eternity" we are all born with. Be careul about coming to conclusions about people or should I say "judging" people.

        September 28, 2013 at 1:38 am |
      • Jim

        Your assumption that YOU understand humanity better than all of us knuckleheads compromises your credibility. Anything and everything after that statement is crap.

        You continue to blather as if you had personal perfect knowledge of things no one does.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • gorgonx23

      You claim to be a scientist and christian, at the same time. Well, all you do is extract parts of the bible that you prefer to believe and write about. You totally disregard the bible's directives in the stoning to death of children and the condoning of slavery, which is what "your god" thinks is the norm. Sir, you have mental issues.

      September 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  9. Buster

    Rev, he way you constructed your question is incorrect, not the way I answered. It's kinda like if I asked you to breath without air. Proof of God is through what he has given to us: HIS WORD. The problem is that very few people read and understand the coherent message of the Bible. It's all there, and very simple.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

      The way I constructed my question is perfectly cogent and coherent. The bible is just a book, written by men. If you want me to believe in your god, you need to offer concrete and irrefutable evidence that he exists.

      Your argument is the same as claiming that there's a real Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, because a book says so.

      A book is not proof - but the independently verifiable evidence in a book *is*. I don't have to take Newton's word in the Principia about how gravity works - I can measure it for myself and see that the formulae are correct. I don't have to take Einstein's word in the General Theory of Relativity that gravity bends light; I can see the effect for myself by photographing the stars near the sun during a total eclipse and comparing it to the same star field when the sun isn't there. I don't even have to take my high school chemistry book's word that water is made of hydrogen and oxygen - I can pass a current through water and collect the gases that releases, measure their weights and volumes, and then even recombine them back into water.

      The simple fact is, you can't prove it. That's nothing to be ashamed of, since no one else can prove it either. And on the basis of that complete lack of evidence, I state that there is no god - or more accurately, that there is no reason to accept the god hypothesis of the origin and function of the universe.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Reply
      • Buster

        Wow, what type of Reverend are you? A Reverend of Atheism?? All of the things you mention about biology, chemistry, and physics are true, but pure drivel compared to the absolute truth and independently verifiable evidence found in God's word, the Bible. It is only with a sense of extreme hubris that you could even think that you could use such weak measures to show the existence of God without reading, and accepting his word.

        September 27, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

        You call it hubris, I call it reason. And I will stand by reason over fantasy any day.

        I also call your claim that the bible is "absolute truth" and "independently verifiable" nonsense. The bible is the same book that claims that pi is exactly equal to two, and gives four different and mutually exclusive accounts of the events at the crucifixion of Jesus bar-Joseph.

        If you *really* believe the bible is inerrant truth, that means you have to accept that slavery is not morally wrong.

        If you believe that slavery *is* morally wrong, then you cannot believe the inerrancy of the bible, because that belief puts you at odds with biblical teaching.

        If you believe in the biblical standard of marriage, then you believe in polygamy, in women being no more than property, and in being required to marry your brother's widow should he predecease you.

        If you believe in monogamy, if you believe women have rights, if you think marrying your widowed sister-in-law would be kinda weird, then you cannot believe the bible is inerrant because that puts you at odds with biblical teaching.

        You cannot have it both ways.

        September 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

        Sorry, mistyped there. The bible claims pi is exactly equal to three, not two.

        There's another point in favor of reason: it's self-correcting.

        September 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
      • quitearationalist

        Ok Rev.– then prove that life comes from non-life. Where have we ever empirically shown that in a lab or recreated it? Prove that exact conditions for any kind of life come from an explosion. Prove that from nothing, without any rason, an explosion occurs from which universes are formed. Then neither, according to your reasoning, can you believe in those things. You ask of Christians a standard which you cannot meet. You have theories, not proof of those things. You have faith that your theories are correct, but no empirical proof.

        September 27, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

        Actually, there are several theories that can explain both of those without recourse to a supernatural explanation. What we lack is anything definitive that nails down one explanation over any other - and that is why we *do* science and research, looking for the physical explanation for events. Personally, I'm drawn to the brane collision theory for the big bang trigger, and the RNA World of abiogenesis, but the jury is well out on both those.

        It's a lot easier to just make up an answer and pretend it explains everything, but that's not the way science works. A scientific theory is not a guess. It's an explanation of a series of observations that provides a mechanism for them, and is consistent with known physical law, and if possible should make several testable predictions.

        So no, I don't have "faith" in the theories. I have *evidence* for them.

        September 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • Jim

        If irrefutable evidence were the standard, then you better start burning science books, chief, because they are full of best guess theories on how stuff works until a better theory comes along.

        That isn't irrefutable, that is self-admitted refutation.

        Thanks for confirming such an impossible burden of proof on a single topic (God) while accepting a much lower burden of proof for things that you think are obvious.

        Hypocrite much?

        September 28, 2013 at 7:44 am |
      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

        Hypocrite? Never. See previous response. Your complaint is not that I want *special* rules for religion, it's that I want the *same* rules for religious evidence as I do for scientific evidence, and you know perfectly well that religion can't provide them.

        You also demonstrate your ignorance of what a theory is. It is not a "guess" - this is the same wrongheaded way of defining a theory that's used to try to crowbar creationism into school science classes. A theory is a carefully thought out explanation of a set of observations that does not contradict other observations, and that preferably makes predictions that can be tested. It is not a "guess".

        You also conflate 'evidence' with 'theory'. Those are two completely different things. A theory is that which tries to explain the evidence; further evidence may obviate that theory and force the development of a new one.

        A striking example recently is the observation that the universe is mostly dark matter and dark energy. This wasn't something predicted by the old theories, so we know those need to be updated. And we don't have a generally agreed-upon theory yet, because it's still being worked out.

        Please understand your terms before throwing them around meaninglessly.

        September 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • TiglathPileser

        Well, actually Doc, there is much in the bible you can prove. I suspect you are being specific about 'miraculous' events, many of the historical elements are easy, just look at any accepted map. You wont find Hogwarts but you will find Israel. What you are asking for is the equivilant of "prove to me that Joe was standing exactly in this spot in Normandy the moment the war ended." Unless you or someone you trust was there to see it (and then, that may not be acceptable proof), unlikely.

        September 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      • Maani

        Coupla things you might want to consider.

        Re Pi, it is inaccurate to say that the Bible claims it is "exactly equal to" three. Rather, the Bible passage you refer to is imprecise in its measurements. It does not say "exactly equal to" with respect to ANY measure it provides, but that does not mean that every measure is an exact one. "Imprecise" is a far more honest term to use than "errant."

        Re "proof of god's existence," you should know better. First, even Einstein and Gould agreed that while science and religion can learn from each other, they should not – cannot – be used to "justify" the other. Gould called science and religion "non-overlapping magisteria," and Einstein famously said, "Religion without science is lame; science without religion in blind."

        As well, let's try a thought experiment. Tomorrow at noon, God makes His presence known to every single human being on earth in some absolutely unmistakable, way: maybe a huge face in the sky that everyone can see, with a voice that says, "Okay, here I am. I am God, and I exist." Fine. But wherewith faith?

        What you fail to see – or, I am guessing, simply reject – is that God does not want "automatons" who believe in Him because they have no choice. (And the word "believe" here would actually no longer apply.) Rather, God gave you free will – including the free will to accept or reject His existence.

        That you, personally, choose to reject Him is your (God-given) choice. And you are absolutely ent.itled to that choice. But ALL choices – including those we make without all of the foreknowledge we would like to have in a given situation (and that happens to all of us more frequently than we would like to think) – have consequences. This is why, in answer to an unasked question (but a favorite of many atheists on these boards), non-believers are likely to be "punished" for their lack of faith.

        Peace.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
      • thisdesertlife09

        I really just love you and everything you have said here. You are intelligent, rational, and kind. Your point about needing independently verifiable evidence hits home. I can't believe the truth is a book written by man thousands of years ago, the same way I don't believe the Koran. They are all interesting snapshots of moments in time and have some great stories, but there is no evidence whatsoever of any of it being truth, much less the only truth. It takes a lot of suspending disbelieve to have faith in one book and in an invisible deity. I can't buy into a book being the meaning of life.

        September 29, 2013 at 12:16 am |
      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

        The funny thing is, everyone is atheistic with regard to the god(s) not in their traditions. I tend to believe that if people understood why they don't believe in Hera or Vishnu or Yahweh or whoever, they'd realize that all the same arguments apply to their own deity of choice.

        I think the reason most people don't do that is they're terrified of having to just take responsibility for their own lives. They can't walk into a little box and tell the priest their sins and make it all right again anymore, they have to go an apologize to the person they wronged. They can't justify their fears and hates by misusing the mistranslated words of someone writing two thousand years or more ago anymore, they have to take personal responsibility for their opinions *and* take the approbation that may come from having them. Mostly, they would have to find their own meaning for their own lives, rather than having it imposed upon them by their belief system. Religion absolves people not of their misdeeds, but of their sense of responsibility to the rest of the world, and that's precisely how you get sectarian violence all over the world.

        And I'm going to disclaim 'kind', at least to some degree. I have a sharp tongue–or at least pointed prose–and I have displayed it here more than once. I try to be kind, but I know perfectly well I do not always succeed - especially when dealing with a particular mindset that I know tests my patience.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • abc123

      "Proof of God is through what he has given us, HIS WORD." That's the same as "It's true because I say so", which is about as illogical and feeble as you can get.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Reply
      • TiglathPileser

        Huh, seems to be enough for the Dawkins followers. Im relatively sure that not many of them have the same level of education he does, therefore they are believing him because he says so.

        September 29, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • Mark from Canada

      I read spider-man comics. It's spider-man's WORD. Spider-man is real. Sound logical?

      September 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Reply
    • dot

      You state that your god is a "He". Does this imply that he has testicles, and if so, what would he need them for?

      September 28, 2013 at 1:00 am | Reply
      • Maani

        I realize you are being "funny," but the point should be made. God is a spirit that includes both genders. We use the pronoun "He" because the Bible was handed down through a patriarchal society. God could just as easily be referred to as "she" or "it," but that simply confuses things even further.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  10. David From Canada

    Dawkins is simply mad at religion, as most atheists are, so therefore he cannot be rational and objective about it. Anyone that obsessed with something that he doesn't like may have OCD. He's cold and boring. Tune him out.

    September 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply
    • mrsinned

      Or are religious people simply mad at atheists and projecting that anger? I keep reading references to Dawkins' purported anger. The only anger I'm picking up here is in the comments from those that appear to religious. I'm sure someone is now going to say I'm angry. I know, my rage is so clear from the inflammatory language in this comment.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Reply
      • Nick

        Angry, or better yet Militant Atheists! Just because we don't hesitate to call a spade a spade and voice our opinion all of a sudden makes us militants.

        September 28, 2013 at 12:44 am |
      • TiglathPileser

        Actually i susect they are ferring to one of his many interviews as opposed to this article, only have to see the guy once to realize he is a very unhappy person.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • kenny

      the golden rule is instinct and we have lived by it since we interacted with each other. religion simply added specifics for the simple minded and ignorant people who don't understand the simplest rule of all... a child can understand it and if you opened your mind and watched how they behave towards each other you would understand as well...

      September 28, 2013 at 12:14 am | Reply
    • artisgreat

      David You can not be mad or angry at something you do not believe in. How can you be mad at Santa or the Tooth fairy ?

      September 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply
      • Maani

        "You cannot be angry at something you do not believe in." Really?! I would have loved to hear Chris Hitchens' response to that! He was as angry about – and at – the God he did not believe in as anyone is ever likely to be.

        September 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
      • glenisterm

        @Manni
        Hitchens was angry at those who turned off their brains, blindly followed their religious teachings, and claimed both a divine knowledge and right to oppress others. If the religious didn't try to force their beliefs on others, no atheist would care what they believed in. However if there actually was a god, we would certainly have a right to be angry at the incompetent fool (eg. Our eye is designed backward with the blood vessels in front of the retina instead of behind like it is in the octopus, the recurrent pharyngeal nerve, knees, lower back, hernias, prostate, etc. etc.), and his ineffective method of getting his message out to us.

        September 29, 2013 at 4:05 am |
  11. ditdahdit

    One doesn't need a moral compass to follow the Blinding Light.

    September 27, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  12. mac101

    Talk about irony – implying that religion offers people a moral compass when history clearly shows it does just the opposite – religion gives too many people an excuse not to have morals at all.

    September 27, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Reply
    • Gene2

      Well put, Mac, well put.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • TiglathPileser

      Umm, what history actually shows is that people will use religion for ends that religion does not necessarily support. Someone saying "I am doing this because of my religion" does not really mean they are, some people actually lie to get what THEY want.

      September 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • thisdesertlife09

      It's pretty easy to commence with "God told me so!" or "The Bible tells me so!" prior to doing really evil things. As an atheist, I have no specific book to beat people with or to indicate my choices or actions are somehow superior and thus an excuse for terrible behavior. I have an innate knowledge of right and wrong, concerns about social justice, and I use my education rather than an invisible being to justify my choices, beliefs, opinions, etc. Ask me my opinion and you'll hear "Well, the data shows....and it was a reliable, generalizable study, so I would have to err on the side of science in that situation." *shrug*

      September 29, 2013 at 12:35 am | Reply
      • TiglathPileser

        As a Christian, as me my opinion and you will get a simliar answer...not sure of your point there. Mine was that 'people', religious or not, who are so disposed, will use what ever they can grasp at to achieve what ever they are trying to achieve...Atheist or not.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:03 am |
  13. mi_futility

    Is the agreement that life is futile in the universe worthy (fundamentally the leftist compass)? Yes??? Really? Torrents will flood against your convictions.....

    September 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  14. Xenophobia

    All of your rants are useless drivel. Neither side can prove its position. Mother Earth created you and will reclaim you in due time. I have moved from being a radical believer to an atheist and back again several times in my 70 years. What ever you believe will not alter the end result. It's all folly!

    September 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Reply
    • mi_futility

      Do you think, at this point in your life, that life futile in the universe? Just curious.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Reply
      • mi_futility

        hope you are there.... I would like to hear....

        September 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • mi_futility

        I would love to hear what you think....

        September 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • mi_futility

        The futile are barking!!!

        September 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
      • Xenophobia

        Speak English so we can converse.

        September 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
      • mi_futility

        Do you think, at this point in your life, that life futile in the universe? Just curious.

        September 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
      • mi_futility

        Do you think, at this point in your life, that life futile in the universe? Yes or no?

        September 27, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
      • mi_futility

        Do you thin life is futile in the universe or not? It is the fundamental question. Yes or no?

        September 27, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
      • mi_futility

        Do you think life is futile in the universe or not? It is the fundamental question. Yes or no? Last request....

        September 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • thisdesertlife09

      I think it's plenty easy to say there is no God as there's zero proof of one. The impetus is on those who believe in an old book and a deity to prove their belief systems, not the other way around. Atheists simply do not believe a God exists; certainly if there were proof one did, we would believe differently. Alas, no proof. So we rationally maintain that unless there is independently verified information other than the Bible to prove this story exists, we will not buy into it. I think it's healthy to question until your questions are answered.

      September 29, 2013 at 12:38 am | Reply
  15. Baba

    Why is this man always so angry? He needs Jesus.

    September 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  16. Theadore Realist

    ...............................................

    {{{{{{ ahem, clears throat }}}}}

    Your http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

    ... and thank goodness because he emanates from ...

    ... The http://www.EVILbible.com

    ...........................................

    September 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  17. Theadore Realist

    ----

    ...............................................

    {{{{{{ ahem, clears throat }}}}}

    Your http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

    ... and thank goodness because he emanates from ...

    ... The http://www.EVILbible.com

    ...........................................

    September 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  18. Psych Survivor

    The only labeling that is provably bad for children is that which comes from the Bible or the Koran but that which comes from psychiatry and the DSM. Label a child as ADHD or bipolar and his/her brain will be damaged for life with psychotropic drugs. That's the real scandal here.

    September 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  19. Buster

    Rev, I hate to tell you this, but the Biblical Pi is more accurate than your estimate. Sorry. Also, if there are four INDEPENDENT autonomous version of the Gospel of Christ, that's awesome! In reality, Mark, Luke and Matthew are probably connected, but John is its own unique account.

    September 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • TiglathPileser

      DOnt be silly Buster, clearly teh Rev. is the type of guy who would dismiss all testimony in a trial unless it was all entirely identicle...oh, wait a minute, that gets dismissed as false tesitimony.

      September 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

      Good luck measuring the perimeter of a circle accurately using a value of 3 for pi. Tell you what - take a circle with a diameter of 1 meter, and measure the perimeter directly with another meterstick. Stop when you get to three, and then tell me how much circle you missed. I already know the number you'll get, but go ahead and measure that additional 0.14159 meters for yourself, just to see.

      It's one thing when a book contradicts an opinion, or even what's called 'common sense'. It's another thing entirely when it contradicts an easily measurable and verifiable fact. Or contradicts itself, as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do.

      September 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Reply
      • TiglathPileser

        Um, first I must point out that the bible is not a mathmatical text. Please provide the verse that gives the equation for pi. Second, no they do not. Easy to say things without including supporting facts...you must be a scientist! lol

        September 29, 2013 at 9:05 am |
      • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

        If you don't know the verses and what they say, you cannot in any way, shape or form say "no they do not". And I did provide the books, chapters and verses, further down - evidently, I know your bible better than you do.

        Funny how it takes an atheist to tell you what's in your own "holy" book.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • TiglathPileser

        and please dont say 1 kings 7:23...if anyone is going to try to suggest that as a 'scientific measure' they need to think about moving to second grade.

        September 29, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  20. NorthVanCan

    No under 18's at church was most likely my question.
    Does this mean I get a party favour ?

    September 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  21. Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

    It is an interesting question. Religions do convey some morals and to say otherwise is just dishonest, but unfortunately they convey some immoralities as well. No one knows where we would be without religion, and it is pure speculation to say we do know, either way. For those who are more interested in Nascar, Monday Night Football, the Kardashians, Survivor, etc., who don't spend their time intentionally reading philosophy and furthering themselves, where would they get their morals? Are we really better off?

    Aside from this question, another one is, "does religion cause people to pay less attention to the problems of this world because they know the here-and-now is not as important as the afterlife? Does religion cause people, on the average, to walk through life in a strange sort of trance to our current dilemmas?

    September 27, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • G-Yooper

      G-Yooper

      Neil DeGrasse Tyson, as usual, brings up a point worth considering. I feel a great many people care very little about serious issues such as overpopulation, the climate crisis, the pollution of our oceans and air etc. because their religion tells them life in this world is just a passing phase, a test to decide who gets to go to heaven. As such, the problems of this world are just not that important to the religious person who has his eye fixed on the prize at the end of the road. If you want to meet someone who cares about the world we're leaving our children, talk to an atheist.

      September 28, 2013 at 12:11 am | Reply
      • TiglathPileser

        Umm, thats just silly. I can likely offer as many caring Christians as you can atheists, I would hope more but I have no data on the numbers. I can say that the people who work with me regularly at the food bank as more likely to be Chrisitian than atheist.

        September 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Maani

        Your comment represents a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity. There are two parts to it. Yes, one part is the "afterlife"; i.e., salvation and redemption. But the other part is the "temporal"; i.e., what we do, how we live our lives, in THIS world. Jesus' ministry was comprised of eleven basic precepts: love, peace, compassion, forgiveness, humility, patience, charity, selflessness, service, justice and truth. But these are virtues that apply HERE, in THIS world, since they automatically exist in the next. And our salvation and redemption is based partly on the "works of faith" that we do HERE, NOW.

        So it is not all about "pie in the sky, by and by." In fact, if Christians do not live "Christ-like" lives HERE, in the temporal world, there may not BE a "by and by" for them at all.

        September 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
      • thisdesertlife09

        Yes! Because we have one world, not a fantastical, imaginary one after we die, leaving the planet destroyed for future generations. The impetus is on us as atheists to save this planet from religion that tells them that this world doesn't matter at all, so why take care of it?

        September 29, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  22. Freedom Storm

    Well then. I guess we best just turn into atheists since the silly religion thing has never been a moral compass.

    September 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Reply
    • kenny

      if you are too simple minded to understand the golden rule then you have no moral compass. religion simply added specifics since no government could enforce the golden rule... a child can understand it and if you have ever opened your mind and watched their behavior... you would too

      September 28, 2013 at 12:11 am | Reply
  23. KevClone

    A moral compass starts somewhere. Where does it start? Mr Dawkins is not unbiased. He starts with some assumptions. The assumptions and his answers will tickle the ears of those that have the same assumptions and bias'.

    September 27, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Reply
    • kenny

      the golden rule is instinctual and religion simply added specifics since no governments could enforce it so people embraced religion in order to adhere to it. now we don't need religion since we have governments to enforce the golden rule... its so simple a child can understand it... why can't you...

      September 28, 2013 at 12:09 am | Reply
  24. Lucas

    http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/dawkins%E2%80%99-debunkers

    September 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  25. Mark H. Harris

    Dr. Dawkins' hateful polemic is becoming tiring. Who cares what he says about theology or the Bible. He clearly has no idea what he is talking about; he should stick to writing about the other thing he knows nothing about... evolution.

    What morality he have left on this planet has come to us from the holy writings of the ancients... most Western law come directly from the Bible. Most Eastern laws come directly from the Qur'an.

    Its time for Dr Dawkins to back off. His seething polemic is vitriolic and hateful.

    Just say'in...

    September 27, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Reply
    • kenny

      sadly you are the one with no intelligence. humans have always followed the golden rule. it is instinct. if some is good to you, you are good to them and vice versa. religions simply added specifics since no governments existed to enforce the golden rule. religion had its place to civilize society, but now we have governments that can enforce the golden rule... open your mind and learn history and learn to think...

      September 28, 2013 at 12:08 am | Reply
  26. Dave

    Hey Jason, appreciate the interview for sure but why isn't it longer (like by 3 times)?
    Thanks,

    Dave In Sacramento

    September 27, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Reply
  27. hrdwrknjoe

    Your moral compass is guided only by your environment PERIOD.

    September 27, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  28. everythingisnothing

    I look at it this way- If there is a god who created everything, then it would be reasonable to say that he/she/it did so according to his/hers/its own rules. If that is the case, then there should be no religion vs science- they would be one and the same, truth as truth and science as the fingerprint of god. From that perspective I cant find much relevance or truth in today's organized religions, and it seems more and more people are adopting a similar viewpoint on the matter...

    September 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  29. kenny

    the reason america is more religious is partly because we used religion as a rallying cry against the soviets. Also america has much more rural/small town areas that are essentially cutoff from cities where different people interact and you experience other religions that make you question why yours can be absolute. In Europe you have much higher population densities and more people live closer to others and their differences and it fosters understanding and destroys the rigid faith that a single preacher has on a small group of like minded raised to fit in. Now that we are essentially all connected and see that people with completely different backgrounds and faiths are the same as us yet somehow our belief is right and there's is wrong makes no sense. Simple close minded unintelligent people can rationalize their faith and cling to it out of fear yet those with intelligence, understanding and an open mind accept the fear that is the unknown and realize why religion was created and why it is false.

    September 28, 2013 at 12:04 am | Reply
  30. G-Yooper

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson, as usual, brings up a point worth considering. I feel a great many people care very little about serious issues such as overpopulation, the climate crisis, the pollution of our oceans and air etc. because their religion tells them life in this world is just a passing phase, a test to decide who gets to go to heaven. As such, the problems of this world are just not that important to the religious person who has his eye fixed on the prize at the end of the road. If you want to meet someone who cares about the world we're leaving our children, talk to an atheist.

    September 28, 2013 at 12:09 am | Reply
    • Maani

      G-Yooper:

      Your comment represents a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity. There are two parts to it. Yes, one part is the "afterlife"; i.e., salvation and redemption. But the other part is the "temporal"; i.e., what we do, how we live our lives, in THIS world. Jesus' ministry was comprised of eleven basic precepts: love, peace, compassion, forgiveness, humility, patience, charity, selflessness, service, justice and truth. But these are virtues that apply HERE, in THIS world, since they automatically exist in the next. And our salvation and redemption is based partly on the "works of faith" that we do HERE, NOW.

      So it is not all about "pie in the sky, by and by." In fact, if Christians do not live "Christ-like" lives HERE, in the temporal world, there may not BE a "by and by" for them at all.

      Peace.

      September 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Reply
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