The blind agnostics

A common complaint of agnostics is this: “If only I saw a real miracle, I would truly believe. I would change my life.’’

Are they waiting for the parting of the seas? Or celestial fireworks spelling out their names?

Miracles happen around us every moment. Life itself is a miracle.
What makes many scientists awestruck are not the laws of the universe but how and why the laws have such seemingly calculated parameters. If the parameters were changed even slightly, the universe would have been bereft of almost all forms of life.

Dr Francis Crick, the biochemist Nobel prize winner who co-discovered the structure of the DNA molecule, once wrote: “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.’’

Sir Fred Hoyle, founder of the Cambridge Institute of Theoretical Astronomy and originator of the Steady State theory of the origin of the universe, commented: “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way (by chance) is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein.’’

Jesus, the Miracle Man himself, sometimes seemed unenthusiastic about lesser miracles.

“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign,’’ he once told a bunch of miracle-seekers.

Jesus knew true miracles were signs of God. But he wanted to alert searchers of the real miracle of our lives—his presence on Earth.

The story of Jesus’ birth is marked by heavenly coincidences.
A Roman census moves Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem just in time to fulfil a 500-year-old biblical prophecy that the Messiah would be born there. Then simple shepherds find the birthplace after an encounter with angels.

Strange foreigners follow a star to the birthplace and supply precious gifts which can finance the family’s flight to Egypt to escape a death plot.

Then comes the adult Christ’s mission to save the world. C.S. Lewis called this “the one great miracle’’—the assertion that what is beyond all space and time, what is eternal, came into human nature.

How strange that we can now witness a supernova, but cannot easily envisage that the universe has been lovingly designed.

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56 thoughts on “The blind agnostics

  1. I suppose that, like Leslie Weatherhead, I am a Christian agnostic. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Leslie_Weatherhead
    I was always a believer, but not on traditional lines, and didn’t need a miracle to show me there was deeper meaning, more than this life. Yet I was stunned to receive a miracle. I don’t think it would have happened if I’d sought it.

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    • An interesting quote from Leslie Weatherhead.

      “……the peculiar contribution of Christianity to human thought/……………… /is to be found, rather, in the affirmation that all that is best and highest in man, as typified in the person of Jesus, is bound to arouse opposition, is often persecuted and apparently destroyed—yet is in fact indestructible and does perennially ‘rise again’, triumphant over seeming disaster.”

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    • A ‘real miracle’ in and by itself, actually would not prove anything, other than that a miracle occurred. The cause might be Fairies, Zeus, the Islamic Deity, the power of the mind, witchcraft or whatever. It still has to be translated and interpreted by and within the human mind. I’ve spent years pondering and trying to imagine just what sort of ‘miracle’ would have to occur in order to prove to me the ‘truth’ of (orthodox) Christianity in particular. It still defeats me.

      A close friend of mine (devout and evangelical Lutheran) at the significant age of 33 had a most profound mystical experience, that triggered off his path into the twice born area of Christian faith. However when I questioned him about it, the content of the experience actually said and did absolutely nothing that related to Christianity. But the Lutheran Church was there in his life, and so he automatically ‘chose’ Christian faith for his own. Clearly if he had had the same experience, while being a lackadaisical Islamic or Catholic or Jew, etc, then he would undoubtedly have turned towards that religion or faith that was immediately to hand.

      When someone can clearly prove and demonstrate to me that only evangelical and Biblical Christians can have had a true turn around of their lives, or to bring them to a relationship with ‘the God’, or can have some sort of miracle occur then I’d take some notice. Also similarly when it can be genuinely proven that only one particular form of Christian belief (out of the thousands that have existed) is life-changing,then I might be able to take the claims a bit more seriously.

      Rian.

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      • No Rian, my miracle involved only a sure knowledge of life after death, nothing to do with any particular religion, nor caused by Fairies, Zeus, the Islamic Deity, the power of the mind, witchcraft, medication, drugs, altered state of consciousness, or whatever.

        Of course it’s proof to me only, can’t be used to convince anyone else.

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  2. Jesus performed many miracles but many of the rich and “elite” ignored them. The worshippers of the golden calf saw many miracles. Wanting to see miracles is just a lame excuse to cover that people are just happy in their comfort zone.

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    • There’s an observation, would you expect people to be unhappy in their comfort zone?

      Or do you think that the term “comfort zone” might actually give a little away in it’s title?

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      • “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
        ―Morpheus to Neo

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      • Ok it we’re going to cite nonsense to each other:
        “”Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
        The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
        Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
        The frumious Bandersnatch!””
        – Lewis Carroll

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      • “Nonsense is that which does not fit into the prearranged patterns which we have superimposed on reality…Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet found that point of view from which it makes sense.”
        ― Gary Zukav

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      • But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

        Carl Sagan

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      • So some apparent nonsense may be really a deeper truth. However some apparent nonsense is merely actual nonsense.

        Therefore the notion that nonsense deserves any great consideration simply because it’s nonsense is off itself nonsense.

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  3. “How strange that we can now witness a supernova, but cannot easily envisage that the universe has been lovingly designed”

    You gotta being kidding me it’s hard to envisage a designed universe ? When just about every culture – no matter how primitive – has managed to envisage just such a thing.

    Children can envisage a designed universe. It can be envisaged without a shred of credible evidence or argument to support it. The key proponent of intelligent design can take the stand in court and admit there’s no credible science whatsoever behind the idea and yet it is still envisaged.

    Envisaging such a thing is incredibly easy.

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      • Holy shifting goalposts batman.

        Oh yeah the courage it would take, why the persecution I’d get coming out as a Christian in this country, the discrimination I’d face on a daily basis for my Christian beliefs. Roughly nil.

        And on a personal level the courage it would take to accept that there’s a benevolent God that loves me, cares for me, would be willing to die for me, will forgive just about any sin I make and has prepared an eternal paradise for me.

        Gee the courage it would take to accept something like that. Again roughly nil I’d think.

        As to the commitment……

        I dunno thinking it though there might actually be a different reason I have difficulty accepting it as truth. And that reason could be along the lines of the designed universe being poppycock.

        Filling your head with lovely tales of how you’d like things to be isn’t committed and isn’t courageous. It would be quite the opposite.

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      • I think you have no idea what it takes to be a Christian in a country that persecutes Christians. I’ve been there mate and it ain’t pretty. Filling your head with pretty tales of what it is to be a comfortable Aussie isn’t courageous or knowlegable.

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      • “I think you have no idea what it takes to be a Christian in a country that persecutes Christians.”

        That may well be the case however as I don’t live in such a country it’s also absolutely irrelevant in terms of my commitment or courage.

        Those goalposts do like dancing around don’t they?

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      • It takes courage to be a Christian; people with no courage just go along with ‘the crowd.

        Your inability to believe does not invalidate belief, and you convince no one. Aren’t you tired of beating your head against the wall?

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      • Hey Barry,

        i dunno what part of the world you hail from, and if Christians are in a minority there. I live in Australia where there’s quite a few of em. About 13 million of em or 61% of the population according to the last census.

        So in my country being a Christian would be going along with the crowd.

        What’s it like where you are ?

        As to an inability to believe yep I have an inability to believe unsubstantiated poppycock. Must be a character flaw o mine, I’ll bet your glad not to have it.

        What wall ?

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      • Am I certain that Barry is certain I’m not certain.

        Certainly he seemed certain.

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  4. When is there going to be a “RELIGION ” that goes on a faith that there is some sort of controlling entity that is just doing a experiment and that humans are way down on the list of importance like “”not relevant “”

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    • Why not have a religion such as that !
      The is no reason it should not .
      The current religions are all based of “BELIEF” and a claim that the universe is created by some intelligent entity .
      A claim that is impossible to prove or disprove .
      Believing in a entity is the basis of a religion :- correct
      Is believing in such a entity the basis of having a religion ?

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      • So on that basis a religion can be started .
        Have a faith that there could be entity using the universe just as a experiment or even to elevate boredom .
        And those with that faith also have the dogmatic “BELIEVE ” there is “NO REWARD “.
        Unless all religions today are about “SELF GRATIFICATION” rather than what they claim :- admiration of what created the universe .

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    • I think there are, AT. One is that God is not a person who CAN act as an individual, but a spiritual government that makes decisions and changes policy as seems expedient, sometimes failing but always improving methods, striving for the best.

      Another is that God is a cosmic consciousness, a collective thought of the most spiritual thinkers.

      In both these cases God is learning and evolving.

      I guess if God is the universe and is actually intelligent. the same applies.

      I remember a clergyman saying that we know only that God created things out of atoms, not that He created atoms themselves, that God is A SPIRIT within the universe, not the creator of atoms, but a being who can manipulate atoms.

      Then again a Spirit can be the spirit of goodwill, of charity, of Christmas, etc.

      Look around AT, if you want to find such a religion as you suggest.

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      • Bryan :- The blind agnostics
        MMM
        A bit rich when you close your mind to what “could” be .
        My point is no doubt very troubling to you cosy inward looking world Bryan .
        You might believe it is intentional as a insult but it is not .
        It is the way I think about everything .
        Multitudes of tangents in many fields .
        The would I think has enough people inward looking protecting their own self contained self interest dished up to them as part of those times and places they live .

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  5. Now to the nitty gritty !
    Does one have to be trying to gain a reward after death for it to be classified as a “RELIGION “? .
    If one is not after anything at all yet has some admiration for the entity that created the universe what is wrong in that being a religion ?

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      • No Bryan !
        It is a very valid point !
        Would could be more important to those in religions than defining what is a religion .
        You should be able to accurately describe what you defend .
        Are you a bit stuck for words for a straight forward question ?

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      • none of it has to do with a reward says the guy giving “grace” a good ol plug……

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      • Your right a reward would indicate some kind of benefit gained for effort expended.

        Whereas grace is a freebie, it’s given to the undeserving.

        So I guess saying that you’re in if for a reward is overestimating you. You’re in it for the freebies.

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      • I agree, AT, that the self interest of seeking a reward in heaven is no basis for a religion. No Christian personally known to me does this. They act without thought of reward.

        Imagine someone snatching a child from in front of a moving car. Do you think their thought process would be such that they consider any sort of reward? It’s an automatic reaction.

        Christians, it’s said, aren’t perfect, but at least are trying. Sometimes, we all know, very!

        Same goes for atheists. It’s all part of being human.

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  6. Bryan you post this “The blind agnostics ”
    A judgmental statement about those who don,t have your personal religion .
    So that set forward several tangent thoughts and hence questions .
    One being what is classified as a religion and what is not .
    You being one who quotes words from many “RELIGIONS” my thinking is you would be able to
    define
    The word “RELIGION” is man made and you being one of words and meanings should have ample knowledge and with a view from within a “RELIGION” a personal perceptive and opinion.

    Yes the question is a very hard one yet you “BELIEVE ” I should not receive a honest answer .
    Received a simplistic one word insult reply :- Strawman!!!!!!! and not the first time.
    The question I ask is not frivolous by any measure !
    It is a question that many in the past would they have asked would end their life .
    So for all that have asked it and been killed I ask from the safety of these times the question .
    And these same time also allow you to voice a opinion with safety.

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      • Does one have to be trying to gain a reward after death for it to be classified as a “RELIGION “? .
        If one is not after anything at all yet has some admiration for the entity that created the universe what is wrong in that being a religion ?

        A religion that
        Have a faith that there could be entity using the universe just as a
        experiment or even to elevate boredom .
        And those with that faith also have the dogmatic “BELIEVE ” there is
        “NO REWARD “.no soul no immortality .

        Why should that not be a religion ?
        It contains “FAITH “,BELIEF ” and a ENTITY .
        The three things religions have .

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      • A religion that has “FAITH” there is a entity just doing a experiment .
        A religion that has a “BELIEF” there is no such thing as SOUL or spirit.
        A religion that has a “BELIEF” there is no after life .

        Would believers in other religions accept such a religion ?

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      • A religion that has “FAITH” there is a entity just doing a experiment …SCIENTOLOGY.
        A religion that has a “BELIEF” there is no such thing as SOUL or spirit…ATHEISM
        A religion that has a “BELIEF” there is no after life …BUDDHISM (reincarnation not withstanding), TAOSIM and ATHEISM.

        Would believers in other religions accept such a religion ?…Apparently YES.

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  7. Now for my thinking
    You chose to join a flock .

    I,m on the outer witnessing the flocks being moved around and the skeleton remains of flocks long gone .
    I contemplate on all those within flocks past ,present and future and their desire for importance and the beliefs they used to sustain their view of themselves .
    I view that from a perspective of being irrelevant .
    like your thoughts on those alive forty thousand years past .

    Like

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