Why believe?

TNT raises a solid point:

Anyone who can believe the bible is anything but a bad book of poetry can believe absolutely ANYTHING. I once challenged some xtians on a blog to provide evidence of a modern xtian genius – my point being that they are exceedingly rare – if not non-existent….

For all of the sense that Vox makes in discussion of most subjects, I have not resolved this one. How can Vox (or any intelligent xtian) truly believe the Noah’s ark fable, Jonah’s 3 day bath in stomach acid (with nary a rash), the trip Ezekiel made on the flying, burning chariot, (pulled by a flaming, flying horse), or the silliness of Genesis, where the plants on earth were burning for eons before the sun was created?

First, let me point out that for over two decades, I felt exactly as TNT did. For the most part, the Christians I knew were anti-intellectual idealogues, interested only in that which confirmed their beliefs. I was too young, naive and surrounded by Christians to realize that this is the normal state of all humanity at the time.

First, true geniuses of any kind are extremely rare. But considering who the Nobel Laureates have been over the last thirty years, I doubt you’d find more than one or two geniuses in the lot. I can only speak for my discipline, economics, and I can assure you that most of the prize winners in economics are dedicated to economic theories that are not only demonstrably incorrect, but require far more blind faith than the Bible ever could.

The truths of the Bible that I found ultimately convincing were two-fold. One, it stunned me then and it stuns me still that the life advice from an ancient book should prove to be markedly superior to that of experts operating with the benefit of two thousand years of additional human experience and the scientific method. The very notion sounds absurd, and yet anyone who is paying attention well knows that it is true.

Second, as an armchair historian, it is fascinating to see how the scientific “proofs” that the Bible is errant have continued to fall by the wayside over the years. Once, it was common to cite the mythical Assyrians as an obvious falsehood, now you can read the chronicles of their kings on the Internet, a people as psychotically savage as the Bible had reported. Then it was the nonexistent Hittites, until the excavations at Tel-Amarna chronicled their war with Egpyt which climaxed with the Battle of Kadesh.

We know so little about that which surrounds us – we still can’t even find 90 percent of it – that I consider the assumption that we have not yet understood or been able to detect the supernatural to be far more logical than to assume that it does not exist. I never, ever, expected to see clones in my lifetime, and yet I can drop $50k and get my dog cloned.

What it boils down to is intellectual humility and faith, I suppose. The Bible describes the world that I see and understand much better than do scientists who argue that life is accidental and morality does not exist with one breath then make morality-based pleas to save the environment with the very next. Perhaps some of them are geniuses, I don’t know. I do know, however, that one should never make the mistake of confusing intelligence for wisdom.

One final note. The Bible is masterfully written. Ask any accomplished writer or poet. It is also demonstrably solid historical document. On those grounds alone, it would be a book well worth respecting, regardless of your religious faith.

Thank you for sharing

Jesus Freak Larry reviews THE WAR IN HEAVEN on Amazon:

AN ABOMINATION

I’ve never seen a bigger load of crap than this before. This author has no spritual sense at all. He wrote about some low-life 16-year-old kid is supposed to be the “key” to storming the Gates of Heaven. First of all the Gates of Heaven would be guarded better than anything else and it is. Second of all JESUS CHRIST is the only key to Heaven. And also this man can’t possibly claim to be a “Christian” if he writes about the Gates of Heaven being stormed and he also uses quotes from some evil Heavy-Metal rock bands. Parents I strongly suggest you don’t allow your children read this if you want them to keep on the right path. That’s all I have to say.

I hope this guy hasn’t tried to read the new Harry Potter. His head might explode right on the spot. And that crazy Lewis guy – he said animals can talk and EVERYONE knows they don’t. In case you’re wondering why some Christian writers seem strangely determined to hide all signs of their faith deep within their fiction where almost no one can detect it, this sort of thing is one of the reasons.

Anyhow, if you’ve read TWIH or TWIS and haven’t reviewed them yet on Amazon, I’d encourage you to do so. It really does help, as publishers do check out these things. And be honest; there’s nothing wrong with criticism as long as it’s got some foundation in sanity and addresses the text, not the author.

Just in case you’re interested, THE WRATH OF ANGELS is still on for publication by Pocket Books next spring, and I may have an announcement about a new fantasy trilogy that will be published by a new publisher in the next month or so.

The increasing divide

From Mogambo:

John Crudele of The New York Post reports that “American Auto Association calculates that gasoline prices have risen 21.5% since this same time last year. But the government swears gas prices are only 6.9% higher over the year.” What a discrepancy! The upshot is “That little trick alone saved the CPI from being 0.53% points higher.”

And it is not just about gas, as he goes on to write, “Despite all you’ve read, the government thinks housing is only 2.2% higher over the past year. Others, including the National Association of Realtors, calculate that housing is up at least 12.5%.”

In short, your government has screwed things up royally, but instead of fixing the problems they caused, they prefer to lie about it.

There’s really no reason to pay attention to the mainstream economists any more. Their analytical efforts are so hopelessly compromised by the increasingly delusional statistical data that even if their models were perfect – which they aren’t – the garbage being fed into them guarantees garbage coming out on the other end.