Sunday, July 6, 2008

Paradise on Earth

I first must apologize for the long absence. I have just returned from a long-overdue vacation.

My husband and I went up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula with his family for several days of relaxation and fun in the great outdoors. I spent a lot of the time out on the water fishing with my father-in-law and brother-in-law. While fishing, I had plenty of time to look around and admire the beautiful surroundings. As anyone that has been to the UP can attest to, it is absolutely breathtaking to watch the sun go down over the water while you see swans, geese, ducks and other wildlife come in and out of sight.

I recounted this story to say that I know some of us atheists grew up with this notion that after this life we would be going to Heaven where it was marvelous and perfect, but now we know that isn't the way life works. So, I think that we should explore this stunning planet that is real and amazing.

I know that on several occasions I have found myself dwelling on the fact that there is no heaven, but I have been reminded this week that there are numerous places here on Earth that are incredible. I don't need to dwell on things that I can't change, but I can enjoy the marvelous surroundings that are practically in my back yard.

21 comments:

Karla said...

Even the most beautiful of all places on earth is only a shadow of the glory of heaven. You don't need to forget about heaven. Your heart yearns for it because it is real. I don't think anyone can have a desire that hasn't something somewhere to fulfill it. Desiring the beauty of earth will increase the desire to transcend to the beauty of heaven.

Godless Woman said...

My heart doesn't yearn for anything. The heart is just a organ that pumps blood. The fact that the bible states over and over that the heart is responsible for feelings points to the fact that the bible was written by primitive people. If a god wrote the bible he would have said that the brain/mind was responsible for feeling.

Summer Squirrel, FCD said...

During a family vacation to Alaska we were all standing in front of a beautiful glacier, looking at the magnificence of the blue ice and listening to the crackling as large pieces of ice fell from its receding edge. During this time of utter beauty I heard my very religious mother whisper behind me, "There is a god!"

Spell broken. I rolled my eyes but kept quiet. She ruined the moment for me but I didn't have the heart to ruin it for her.

Now, my question to Karla is what proof do you have that heaven exists? Where do you get the idea that there is a place in the sky or another dimension that is more spectacular than a dying glacier? To take the beauty of the landscape away from us by saying it's not as pretty as an imaginary place that you can't even show any evidence for is just mean and thoughtless.

My mother didn't know any better but I suspect that you do.

Karla said...

summer squirrel, I think that knowing there is something even more beautiful than the most wonderful places on earth makes those places more precious not less. To know that there is something even greater than the most beautiful scenery I can find on earth doesn't detract from that scenery, but heightens the experience.

As for the existence of heaven. . . You would kinda need to start with the existence of a loving God before coming to the place of believing heaven exist as well. If atheism is correct and earth simply happened by chance and all this beauty has no designer then what hope is there for heaven? Why do we long for beauty? Why do we desire love, joy, peace? Why is that innate within us? Art is a creative expression. We wish to capture beauty and store it up. We want to hold on to it. Why such a yearning? Why such a deep desire? Could it be that it's pointing us to the ultimate source of beauty and goodness? Could it be that desire culminates in the ultimate good of God? Or does all our desire only pass away into nothingness as we pass from this earth and return to dust? Is there no meaning? Are love and joy only evolved emotive states of bliss or is there a tangible love and joy to attain? If so, evolution isn't going to produce it. Evolution is merely a possible process, not a being.

Godless woman, actually when the Bible refers to the heart it means more than the organ. The actual greek or Hebrew word is shocked full of meaning and it doesn't mean the organ. I'd have to look it up to give you the accurate translation of the word used, but it doesn't mean just the organ. The Bible is way more advanced than you think.

Summer Squirrel, FCD said...

Karla, still no proof of heaven or God? Since you cannot provide proof then why offer God or heaven up as answers to those questions you ask.

No proof? God cannot be an answer to all those questions you think he's the only answer to. Ask better questions.

You keep referring to the Bible as if it's an authority we accept. We don't. We recognize it as fiction; important ancient Jewish mythology at best. Referring to it only hurts your cause. I'll let you in on a secret: the Bible isn't as advanced as you think it is. It is very ancient and refers to a culture that is long dead. Science has progressed our society to the point where we no longer think demons cause us to be sick. You thinking it's more advanced that we think it is is too sad to be funny.

I guess you really don't know better, just like my mom.

Karla said...

summer squirrel, I'm sorry, I know you don't accept the Bible as authority. I only referred to it in response to godless woman's comment. You can re-read that to see why I brought in the Bible. I try not to use it for your sake even though I do accept its authenticity.

When you say proof--what really are you asking for? I can give you many philosophical arguments for the existence of God, but I am not sure you would accept any of them as proof. I can give you personal testimony of my experience with God and still I don't expect you to accept that as proof. So philosophy is out, eye witness testimony is out, science we know only explains the physical not the metaphysical world. So what do you mean by proof?

Summer Squirrel, FCD said...

Your last post was beautiful. You are so close....

OK, here's your chance. What is the metaphysical world and how does it impact the natural world without leaving evidence that we can measure? Science says we should be able to measure anything that leaves traces in the natural world. You say god answers prayers and therefore leaves traces so give me the hard, scientific, physical proof of these traces. For example an amputated limb being miraculously regrown in a church without ever being looked at by a doctor. That would almost convince me.

What it boils down to is this all-powerful god cannot leave incontrovertible, measurable proof in the natural world. Curious.

Now since God is impossible to prove you guys have come up with something that sounds cool and scientific. Metaphysical! Sorry, can't be measured therefore nonexistent. For now, that is.

Godless Woman said...

Karla, I understand what you are saying that the word heart means many more things than the organ, but the reason for that is because in the time period that the bible was written in people believed that the heart was where feelings and emotions came from.

Also, I find it a bit puzzling that the bible requires so much explaining and in depth research. If it was indeed written by a supreme god then why didn't he make it clear and concise?

Karla said...

summer squirrel, please check out the blog I just posted regarding proof on my page. It is in response to your comment, but it only is a groundwork blog the specifics will come later.

But to respond here in short to your comment. I have heard many testimonies of such miracles as a leg growing out or a blind person being restored to site. I myself have experienced a miraculous healing where I was extremely sick with a bad sinus and upper respiratory infection and someone prayed for me and not only did I get immediately healed they told me how I got sick (by inhaling a mold that was poisonous to me) and that would seem ridiculous except that I had just worked in extremely moldy conditions for two days prior to getting severely sick and this person had never met me before and could not have known that.

I have seen tangible proof of God's existence, but that's my experience, so I don't know if you can accept that as evidence since you haven't experienced it.

You are right that the metaphysical should be affecting the physical, but if scientist rule out metaphysical causes like God's existence right off the bat they can never except those impacts as evidence.

Karla said...

Godless woman, the Bible is both simple and complex. The gospel message is simple -- so much so a young child can grasp it's reality. But the Bible covers a lot of ground and it has both basic simplicity and deep complexity. I think that is part of it's beauty and it makes sense to me that God would provide us with both. Man loves to search out the hidden things and God gives us that enjoyment in many things.

Please, if you would also give me your insight on my last blog I would appreciate it.

Summer Squirrel, FCD said...

Karla, I scanned your blog and didn't find anything there I haven't already read and considered. Nothing new. In fact, I'm growing weary of discussing this topic with you when you cannot and will not provide proof of your all-powerful god.

In response to your claim to have seen proof of amputees regrowing limbs you're going to have to do better than anecdotes and heresay. Please provide websites with pictures and scientific data proving God, thru prayer, caused these limbs to grow back. That kind of news (true or not) would make headlines all over the medical world and so far it's been strangely quiet about this subject.

Scientists don't rule out anything when they conduct their experiments. The reason metaphysics don't get the recognition you think it should get is because it hasn't been found. There is no reason to make believe it exists if it doesn't exist.

Karla, I'm beginning to think that you are very naive and not very educated. Your writing is decent, as is mine, but your knowledge of science is severely lacking. Unfortunately it is very easy for people like you to be fooled into believing almost anything and the content of your posts and your comments seem to suggest as much.

Karla said...

summer, I have not personally witnessed a leg growing out or met someone with that testimony. I have read of it happening. The news rarely reports anything good. I'm sorry you doubt my education. I am no scientist, but I am more into philosophy, history, and theology than science and mathematics. I don't put much stock in science when it denies God as a starting place for knowledge for without God there is no way to verify our ability to know anything at all.

Summer Squirrel, FCD said...

Karla, it looks like I was spot on about your education. It's amusing that a person who distrusts science will use it in everyday modern life without any question. If you suspect science so much why are you using a computer? I'm assuming you don't live in a cave or walk everywhere you go. Why are you driving a car? Why do you live in a house? Why do you wear clothes made from man-made fabric? Do you wear glasses? Contacts? Need any meds to live? You use science and the services of scientists every day. If you distrust it so much because it doesn't include your precious god, why do you take advantage of it every second of your life?

Since you have no education in science and are not interested in learning the basics I would suggest you not engage with atheists to try to disprove god.

It's no use discussing this problem with you if you are unwilling to learn. I'm done. Thanks for playing.

Karla said...

I appreciate science and technology, but I don't see science as an authority of all knowledge on every subject. It is one discipline for acquiring knowledge about reality. It is not the end all way of knowing.

Are you a scientist? Did you major in science in college? Have you read a lot of biology, chemistry, physics books? I haven't, so I can't claim to be an expert in science.

Godless Woman said...

"I don't see science as an authority of all knowledge on every subject. It is one discipline for acquiring knowledge about reality. It is not the end all way of knowing."

I agree with this statement. Scientists don't say that they know everything.

I love science. I recommend to everyone that hasn't taken a science class since high school to sign up for one. Your local community college should have an introduction to biology class. There are too many people in this country that that are ignorant when it comes to science and we are becoming the laughing stock of the world because of it. (Just a note this rant was not pointed directly at Karla, this is just me blowing off steam about the state of public education in this country.)

Summer Squirrel, FCD said...

I am not a scientist although I love science. I studied chemistry and mathematics in college and am married to an engineer who designs prototype experimental technology for the oil and gas business. He is extremely anal and meticulous. My whole life revolves around the scientific method, research, and reality. I am constantly keeping up with biology, astronomy, and politics.

I'm also a championship tennis player and an ex-body builder. It's not only about the mind but the body too.

OTOH, my mother is a fundamentalist ultra-conservative Baptist. Religion, God, and Jesus permeated my live until I left for college at 17. As an adult I also studied Christianity and own and have read lots of books about it's history and the bible.

Karla, you don't know what you're talking about and you look ignorant doing it. If you are so interested in conversing with atheists do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with science and the scientific method. You'll be able to argue more effectively with us and it'll be intellectually stimulating for everyone.

Karla said...

Summer, I was in the english and history stream in college not the science and mathematics. I read all I can on as many subjects as I can. I love history, archeology, linguistics, politics, philosophy, theology, etc. I took biology, and chemistry in high-school and biology and geology in college. I have read many books on the creation/evolution/intelligent design debate. And I try to keep up with current events. I'm not sure you could say my education is lacking, simply because I took the history/english route instead of the science route. I appreciate science, but I find it lacking when it tries to extrapolate the non-existence of God.

Karla said...

Godless woman, I attempted to give an answer also addressing the links you provided in my new post.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, ladies, ladies!

Karla, may I start off by saying that I admire your wisdom and insight. I have been catching up on this blog and reading a lot of the comments you have made; they really do impress me.

Just thought I would add another voice to fuel the fire. . .

I am a medical student, who has enjoyed a very extensive education in general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, general biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, genetics, neurology, endocrinology, and the list could go on for a few more paragraphs... The point is to say that I know my way around the world of science.

The fact is that Christians do enjoy the world of science, everyday all day. We do employ powerful discoveries for everything from running a blender to utilizing a pacemaker. As Christians we should not disdain science because atheists enjoy it. Instead, we should realize that science is a gift of common grace (that is grace God chooses to bestow upon all of mankind, saved or not), which allows us to improve the world we utilize.

The reality of the science and religion debate is that something cannot fall into the realm of science unless it can be observed. *Basic proponent of the scientific method. So neither Christianity nor (Macro)Evolution can fall into the realm of science, because we do not have any direct observations supporting either one.

This is not to say that there is not evidence of God to be found in science. (Quite the opposite!) The farther I advance into my career and education, the more proof I see of a purposeful Creator with an intelligent design for life. There is absolutely no way I can refer to my knowledge of our physical and biological world and teach my students that a few chemicals randomly mixed together, created crystals, and boom - intelligent and sophisticated life!

I also find it interesting that atheists seem to place the burden of proof upon Christianity. Prove to me that God does not exist, and I don't mean by citing some pathetic website about how God doesn't perform modern day miracles! If God doesn't exist, and life randomly evolved, then why haven't scientists been able to create a sustainable human life? (obviously I'm referring to in the lab ; ). I would propose that it is because God is the only intelligent Creator of life.

Jaclyn

Anonymous said...

Lisa,

As you know, Christians believe that while the Bible was literally written by mankind, we believe that those people were inspired by the Holy Spirit. That is in essence to say that the Bible was authored by the Holy Spirit.

The "heart" the Bible references, in the Hebrew and Greek, refers to the soul/spirit that makes each person a unique individual. Today a synonym would be personality. Unfortunately, one of the banes of translation is the lack of a literal word to match in one language to another. This is often the cause of confusion over some complicated texts from Scripture.

You state, "If a god wrote the bible he would have said that the brain/mind was responsible for feeling." God's word choice, in fact, points to His omniscience. The brain is not the be all/end all for emotion and feeling. Believe it or not, if I were to remove your brain and put it in someone else's head, they would not have the same thoughts, opinions, and emotions as you! Amazing, huh? Believe it or not, there is a personality factor, that even scientists can't pin down, that defines each of us as individuals. Some of it can be attributed to the response of hormones and our interpretations of them, but I believe that it is the spirit that is endowed to each human being with the gift of life. It makes you, you!

All of that is to say that God was waaay ahead of us with his designation of the "heart/(soul/spirit)" as the roots of emotions.

Jaclyn

Summer Squirrel, FCD said...

Jaclyn,

What wonderful credentials you have! So you can imagine my surprise that your statements reveal how ignorant you are about biology in general.

Your statement: Basic proponent of the scientific method. So neither Christianity nor (Macro)Evolution can fall into the realm of science, because we do not have any direct observations supporting either one.

You are right that Christianity doesn't fall withing the realm of science because god, as is defined by said religion, cannot be observed. A lack of empirical evidence does not disprove god but it fits the criteria one would expect of a world without a god.
A lack of evidence also does not support the existence of a god but it does not fit the criteria one would expect of a world in which there is a god.

You are making a claim, back it up!

We are not making a claim so the burden of proof is not on us.

I disagree with the second part of that statement, biology (with fossils being the evidence) clearly proves macro evolution with no doubt. I believe genetics also proves that macro evolution is proven fact. Someone with your background should know better.