Why? (Sermon Audio: Wed. P.M.)

Everyone has questions. Our foremost question is “why?” Atheism, agnosticism, and theism all provide answers to our questions. Are you satisfied with the answer your position provides? We cannot simply claim to be an atheist, agnostic, or a theist without thinking through and being honest about the answers. We must give reasons for our faith or lack thereof. In doing so we should be careful not to simply give reasons we “do not believe” in atheism, agnosticism, or theism, but rather give reasons why we do believe in whatever position we hold. In doing so we should also be able to articulate how our faith or non-faith impacts our lives, families, and our world.

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robert said…
Why believe in heaven?

I agree that science can neither prove nor disprove god; whether evolution, geology, astronomy are true or illusions, they can never answer the question of god.

I will start out going back to the point I figured out the afterlife is not true. Why do people believe in an afterlife? Life is hard; kids die young, great people might be needed again. Essentially, the life we live seems small in comparison to how we want our life to be, whether we are a billionaire or living day to day off the land. It is the hope that life has a deeper meaning. I do not share that hope, life is what it is. Due to this each of us has a greater responsibility to make the world better for future generations.

As depressing as it sounds, I find it encouraging. Life goes on.
robert said…
Why do we have language?

It is my personal belief, that language and religion are intertwined. No one knows when language started as it leaves no archeological record behind. At some point, humans started to care about death. We can see this with all of the ancient burial remains. I believe the shaman, over many generations, would talk about a better place; a place for the great hunt, where food was plentiful, for example. To convey this, language had to evolve from only talking in the present tense, but expanding to past and future tense.

As language evolved, so did how we acted with the physical world. Scientific understandings could be discussed, math was developed, and engineering of technology could progress. Society would grow from tribes, to villages, to cities, and finally to counties.
robert said…
Why do we have marriage?

In my opinion, marriage started out as political tools to bind different people together. Before this, due to life expectancy, death in child birth, and no social issues, humans were serial monogamous; meaning cohabitating for child rearing, then moving on to the next relationship. If this is true, marriages started out more as a bonding of two groups, and less about progeny.

Either through religion or social norms, marriage became the means to not only bond two families together, but share the responsibilities for children. Similar to the political marriages, social marriages became a planned event, where the father of the bride had to approve of the groom. Even to go so far as to provide a dowry to the groom, allowing the new husband time to provide for his new family.

This cultural norm treated women as property, less than the value of men, but the dowry aided to the commitment the groom would have to his wife.

I do not want to bring back the dowry, but in our modern society marriage has come to mean a convenience of love. Marriage is more about commitment, not saying love is not a component of the commitment. This commitment is a two way street, breaking down if either party fails in their duty.

To improve the state of marriage in America, we need to downplay the notion of marriage only for love, or because of pregnancy. Everyone, from pop culture to religious pews, need to see marriage as a lifetime commitment, to a person we love, just not only for love or lust.

To facilitate this cultural change marriage needs to happen after a person discovers their true self; so in their mid 20s not much younger. The average age of first time brides and grooms has increased to their late 20s in recent years, I do not belief enough time has elapsed to discover if this alone will help the marriage institution. But combined with changing the way marriage is displayed, will help reduce divorce rates.

Marriage, historically the domain of religion, is now the domain of government. Between marriage licenses, legal protections, and health decisions, marriage is less about the religious pairing and more about how people live their lives.

As marriage is a legal contract in America, the notion that gay marriage would impact heterosexual marriages, is farfetched. We need to work on our marriages, not demean others because of societal norms of a high divorce rate.

My wife and I will celebrate our 11th anniversary this weekend. We met in high school, married 9 years later, and are happily committed to each other.
robert said…
Why should Abortion be legal?

I would agree with most religious people that abortion as birth control is not okay with me. But, I cannot outlaw abortions, as I do not know all of the reasons why a woman would choose an abortion. An abortion could be a necessary tool for medical professionals; for the sake of the mother.

My thought on reducing abortions, is one education. Educate kids in sexual health with the appropriate information for their age, stressing abstinence. Abstinence is a wonderful tool, I waited until I was 26, but not everyone will wait like I did. The second is change laws to better protect women from abusive family members. The key to laws is to educate the public that laws exist to protect them and how to ask for help.

Roe V. Wade outlines in my opinion the best policy for abortion, 1st trimester no restrictions, 2nd trimester maternal health, and 3rd trimester viability of the fetus or maternal health. I do not believe life starts at conception, the possibility of life, sure. Life starts when one is able live outside the womb. This does not mean full term, but at sometime in the 3rd trimester.

I will admit with this issue I want my cake and eat it too. With manslaughter and murder, the assailant regardless of knowledge of the pregnancy, should be charged with the death of the fetus as well.
robert said…
Why are Gay rights important?

I will admit that growing up that I distrusted gays. I do not know why, we never talked about homosexuality at home, nor do I remember it as a discussion at church. As far as I know I did not know anyone who was gay, while growing up.

In my 20s I realized that gays are people too. I started to look at the research on both sides of the issue. I began to realize that you cannot catch gayness. Human sexuality is not black and white, but shades of gray. If you have minimal urges, these can be controlled. On the other hand, if you have strong urges, these cannot be controlled or reversed.

This is why some people can be “cured,” where others can never override their internal desires.

Regardless of whether the urges are strong or weak, it is not healthy to subdue your desires.

Vilifying sexual urges is not the way to reduce the number of gays. The numbers of gays are the same regardless of how society views them. Throughout history there have been ladies and gentlemen that never got married, and were happy with their lives behind closed doors. Modern gays just want to live openly.
robert said…
Why do we have Morality?

If you look at how modern nations view morality, you can see a similar vein among the nations, due to modern communications and historical trade, of goods and ideas. But if you look at ancient societies, morality is completely different.

Aztecs had no qualms with killing, especially the human sacrifices to their gods. Cannibals would not only kill others, but eat their victim’s bodies. Most ancient cultures had a “might makes right” attitude on morality.

Looking at how morality evolved is as hard as finding when language started. I believe it started with the bond of the tribe, 10 or so individuals, that depended on each other. Good actions by individuals would promote harmony among the group. Bad actions would cause chaos, an action bad enough would warrant the death or excommunication of the member in question. This would cause these individuals genetic code to not be passed down to future generations.

Over thousands of years, this code of conduct would eventually become how we treat each other, echoed in the second part of the 10 commandments.

I believe morality is both individual, genetic and taught at home, and societal, reinforced by customs.

This would explain serial killers, rapists, kleptomania, and habitual liars. These individuals, either cannot control their actions, or believe their actions are justified. That is not to say they are welcome in society without learning the wrongness of their actions. The punishment should fit the crime. At times life in prison may not be enough and capital punishment is required.
robert said…
Why is there Beauty?

I honestly cannot say why we think something is beautiful. The ancient Greeks thought it had to do with the proportions, and there is something to these proportions, but this does not explain beauty.

All I know is what I find to be pleasing, is not always pleasing to others. Also, my tastes have changed throughout the years on what I find beautiful.
robert said…
Why do we have emotions?

The ranges of emotions that humans have are astounding, but we are not the only animals with emotions. The other great apes can laugh, pout, and anger. Canines have a similar limited range of emotions. Some say dogs’ emotions are only imitations of humans.

Why emotions exist, outside of fight/flight/procreate, is a mystery.
robert said…
Why do we look for answers?

Sometimes the easiest answer is not the complete answer. Life is about unknowns and learning how to live without knowing everything.

Science is neither good nor bad. Science is just the tool we use to evaluate the world around us.

Do not be afraid of others’ ideas. It is the evaluation of others’ ideas that have made the world what it is today, for good or ill.
Brian Branam said…
Robert, thanks for writing in again and I hope you are listening. First I must say that I did not raise 85% of the issues you have shared, so it seems to me that you may be looking for some more hopeful answers to your conclusions. Also, I would say that it seems like "the world according to Robert." Your conclusions are very subjective in nature. You have become your own absolute authority for yourself.

At the same time I would have to question a lot of your data and the conclusions drawn from it. The archaeological and scientific data you share - even the conclusions from it do not have to be so pessimistic and always suspicious/skeptical.

Why are you so skeptical? If you are skeptical, why is it always on the side of non-faith. You must also acknowledge that atheists have quite an agenda in interpreting data. They are as guilty as anyone in wanting data to speak to their own conclusions.

Robert, I am praying for you that you would find hope in Jesus Christ. Again, thanks for sharing your journey.
Anonymous said…
Robert, you say that science can neither prove nor disprove God. I challenge that. I will not recommend a specific book to you for fear of you judging it unworthy due the author's religious views but I would encourage you to research the following: Irreducible complexities as studied by Michael J. Behe, PHD in biochemistry. The theory of Ockhams Razor and the Anthropic principle. A few world renowned scientists you can google who are using science to prove there is a creator of the universe are Dr. Robin Collins, PHD - Physics; Dr. William Lane Craig,PHD,THD - cosmology; and Dr. Francis S. Collins who is the head of the Human Genome Project. I can name many more but these are just a few. You say there is no god but what proof do you have? I say God is real and I have some very compelling scientific evidence to support my beliefs. A caution though, you must be brave enough to do unbiased research and be willing to challenge your assumptions.

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