God Skeptic on LoganAskWhy.com 2.0

My Insurance Dilemma
There is a law that mandates homeowners buy fire insurance.
I have read the old housing laws which command fire insurance coverage.
I am not living by the law; I have not purchased a fire insurance policy.
An insurance salesman knocked on my door, asking me if he could come in.
I replied, “Why should I let you in and purchase your fire insurance policy?”
He reminded me of how scary the world was and that house fires are a real threat.
I really was not too worried because I make good choices and take reasonable precautions.
He again warned me that I must let him in and purchase his insurance.
All my neighbors let him in, have purchased his fire insurance and feel safe.
I still refused because I had not seen enough evidence that house fires are a real threat.
Finally, he said let me in so I can protect you from the coming wave of house fires.
I asked him how he knew a bunch of house fires were coming soon.
He said, “Because I am starting them to punish those who do not buy my insurance.”
I refused to let him in or buy what he was selling…until better evidence was presented.
A few years later, the same insurance salesman invited me over to see his amazing house.
When I got there he had a full gasoline can and a book of matches sitting in his front yard.
He proceeded to tell me his plan to save the uninsured homeowners of our neighborhood.
He wanted me to dowse his house and burn it to the ground in front of all his neighbors.
I denied his offer claiming arson breaks other laws that insurance companies try to uphold.
He told me the burning of his house will forgive all the uninsured law breaking homeowners.
Sacrificing his house allows the uninsured to have an opportunity to save their own houses.
He handed me the matches and said burning his house was his best plan to save my house.
He assured me that he would rebuild, proving his insurance is the best protection available.


My Insurance Dilemma SUMMARY:
I’m to let him in and accept his insurance…
to save my house…
from what he will do…
if I refuse to let him in and accept his insurance.
And…as a gift to me…
He will let me sacrifice his house …
to save my house.
And… I have free will to say, “I accept…”
…or have my house burned to the ground…
…for eternity
…with no chance of redemption

 
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Dear Believers
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From Carl Sagan's "The Varieties of Scientific Experience"

How is it that the eternal and omniscient Creator described in the Bible could confidently assert so many fundamental misconceptions about Creation? Why would the God of the Scriptures be far less knowledgeable about nature than we, newcomers, who have only just begun to study the Universe? I cannot overlook the Bible’s formulation of a flat, 6000 year old Earth, and I find especially tragic the notion that we had been created separately from all other living things. The insight that life evolved over eons through natural selection is not just better science than Genesis, it also affords a deeper, more satisfying spiritual experience of connectedness to the Universe.

Why have we separated science, which is just a way of searching for what is true, from what we hold sacred, which are those truths that inspire love and awe?

The methodology of science, with its error-correcting mechanism for keeping us honest in spite of our chronic tendencies to project, to misunderstand, to deceive ourselves and others, seems to me, to be the height of spiritual discipline. If you are searching for sacred knowledge and not just comfort for your fears, then you need to train yourself to be a good skeptic. I believe the scientific method should be applied to the deepest of questions and that our religious beliefs should not be off-limits to scientific scrutiny.  What humans need is not the will to believe, but the desire to find out.

About 500 years ago there was no wall separating science and religion. Back then they were one and the same. It was only when a group of religious men who wished “to read God’s mind” realized that science would be the most powerful means to do so that a wall was needed. These men-among them Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and, much later, Darwin-began to articulate and internalize the scientific method. Science took off for the stars, and institutional religion, choosing to deny the new revelations, could do little more than to build a wall around itself.

We need to see ourselves not as the failed clay of a disappointed Creator but as starstuff, made of atoms forged in the fiery hearts of distant stars. We are “starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of 10 billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing a long journey by which, on Earth at least, consciousness arose.”

William James: definition of religion-“a feeling of being at home in the Universe.”

Carl Sagan on science vs. religion: “Science is, in part, informed worship

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz on why God should be the wall that stops all questioning: “Why does something exist rather than nothing? For ‘nothing’ is simpler than ‘something.’ Now this sufficient reason for the existence of the Universe…which has no need of any other reason…must be a necessary being, else we should not have sufficient reason with which we would stop.”

Carl Sagan’s message to Leibniz and to all of us: “So don’t stop”

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"If you can't see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, smell it, measure it, observe it, understand it or verify it...

...Worship it!"