I don’t necessarily have a problem with the idea that all consciousness can be reduced to or explained by physical brain states.

But I find it absurd, the idea that matter preceded consciousness; that the first thing that existed was matter, and that it gradually built up and arranged itself in so particular a way as to create consciousness out of itself; that the blind, purposeless processes of nature somehow eventually stumbled upon this sentient, rational mind.

Samuel.

A song I wrote.

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Lyrics:

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My heart aches

With the thought of

Losing one like you

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Life’s paths are

Always moving,

Intertwining through.

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I have mine,

You have yours and

These are only two.

You have so much more work to do.

.

Where would I be

Without you?

Oh I know, I know, I know

It can be so hard

To let go.

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Time travels

Down this river,

Has no warning signs.

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It must move.

It’s not yours or mine

To hold on to.

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These moments

They were ours

And they will last on all through the days

In the mind

Of their maker.

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Where would I be

Without you?

Oh I know, I know

It can be so hard

To let go.

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And He saw our every move

And He loves you like I do

And all the days we ever shared

He holds them in His arms.

——————

Oh no.

I think I believe you now,

How all things pass through time.

Oh no.

I feel like I need you now,

But I’m leaving it all behind.

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I’ll be listening

To the One who sends,

To he One who breaks and mends;

He calls you out there

And then he calls me too,

Back into the dark.

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Oh lend me something

To relieve me

Of this anxious heart.

I’ll let you go now;

I’ll find it somehow.

It’s always been there.

It’s always been there.

“Let me get this straight. You think the Creator of the Universe cares personally about your life, and that you know, with absolute certainty, what he wants for all of humankind. While I think that we’re basically alone, not very special, and are just fumbling through our random existence trying to do the best we can. And I’m the arrogant one?” -Daniel Miessler

Yes I believe all those things. But I don’t believe any of them with absolute certainty (that’s a bit of a straw man / false dichotomy in disguise).

This is a very late reply. But I just noticed this ‘question’ again and thought I’d just address it for kicks.

Now I don’t know personally the guy who composed this quote, so I wouldn’t call him arrogant. But it is interesting that this quote does acknowledge the ubiquity of the accusation towards atheists that they are arrogant. And in my experience, I don’t think this is an unfair accusation. I have met some very humble atheists, but there is no shortage of your good old stereotypical arrogant atheist.

However whenever I find myself thinking that an atheist is arrogant, it is nothing to do with their worldview. Their arrogance is not intrinsic to, or necessitated by, their atheistic beliefs. It’s just something about their personality and the way they argue about things that, regardless of what they believe, comes across as arrogant.

And thus it is fascinating, a very cunning move, that in response to such an accusation, an atheist would turn the charge back on the Christian, but unwittingly, it would seem, retort with a charge of an entirely different breed of arrogance to the one they themselves have been accused of: two kinds of arrogance which are not assessable by the same criteria. That is, while the atheist has been accused of having an arrogant personality, he charges the Christian with having an arrogant world-view; it is claimed that the very beliefs a Christian has make him arrogant. Really, this is quite a different charge to the one given to atheists. The atheist’s personality has been evaluated, and then he responds by evaluating the Christian’s beliefs. This isn’t a very consistent rebuttal.

But apart from that, Christianity is not and arrogant world-view. Yes I believe the creator of the universe cares about me personally, and I have beliefs about his desires for all mankind. But these statements say much more about the character of God than they do about my own character. They are theological claims. I believe God cares about me. I also believe he cares just as much about every other human. I believe God loves every individual personally and deeply.

Now here again comes the inconsistency of the atheist’s argument. I suppose that it is claimed that it is arrogant to think there’s something special about humanity – that we are valuable, even more valuable than rocks and sparrows. This is nothing like the kind of arrogance the atheist has been accused of. While I believe there is something special about humanity, even go so far as to say we are more important than other things in the universe, atheists are being accused of thinking that they are more important, or smarter, or better than other humans. Hopefully we can see the colossal difference between thinking your species is special, and thinking you are special compared to the rest of your species.

On top of that, everything I believe about God loving me and all other people comes with a couple of qualifications. God doesn’t love me because I’m good. He loves me despite the fact that I’m actually evil. God loves all humanity not because of who we are, but despite everything we are, and everything we’ve done. I don’t believe that I’m in any way deserving of God’s love. That God loves me is informative entirely of God’s character, and has nothing to do with my own.

Call this worldview offensive in whatever way, but arrogant is the last thing it is.

Hello there, I’d like to ask you a question if you don’t mind. I am curious- what specifically do you agree with about Darwin’s scientific theory?

Funny you should ask that, cause I don’t really know the answer these days.

The simple answer would be his entire theory of how life developed on Earth across time, i.e. evolution by natural selection; life began as simple organisms, the lifeforms that were most suited to their environment survived, while the less suited ones died out, and then over  long period of time, generation by generation, some species developed into new species, resulting in the plants and animals we currently have today.

There are some things I agree with in that without question. The fact that all living things die, and that those living things which are more suited to their environments are more likely to survive until they reproduce, is undeniable. Also, the fact that there is genetic diversity within species, such that every member within a species is slightly different, (i.e. skin colour, size, shape, number of teeth, etc.) is clearly true. These things are fundamental to Darwin’s theory, but not controversial.

What’s more controversial is whether or not genetic variation plus time is capable of resulting in an entirely new species. It’s very clear that just about all the scientists and laymen in the world believe this now. It has become a true pillar of scientific (and virtually all intellectual) thought these days. This means that either all scientists have been severely led astray or that all creationists are in severe denial.

Basically, my first thought is that, even as a child, the first 3 chapters of Genesis always presented themselves to me as allegorical. I never felt that the writer expected me to believe that the events it describes happened in history, but rather that they were communicating something much deeper and more spiritual than historical. I also had problems with the literal story that took place, such as God’s plan to create all humanity through one man and one woman: such a plan requires incestuous activity, which God doesn’t like.

So given these things I find it very appropriate to take the spiritual information that Genesis gives me, and take my historical information about the descent of man from whatever it is that the scientists discover.

However I’m much less certain about evolution than I used to be. Certain Biblical questions that arise out of taking Genesis 1-3 metaphorically are quite difficult to answer. When in the narrative does the metaphor cease, and the history begin? Genesis says that the world was good when God created it, then after Adam and Eve ate the apple, death came into being: how does this fit in a world where death was an evolutionary requirement for the coming into being of humanity? i.e. how did death exist before sin (where sin is supposed to be a human action).

On top of this, I haven’t directly accessed the evidence for evolution. So I haven’t ever been directly convinced of this scientific theory, I’ve only been convinced by proxy – my trust that scientists know what they’re doing. And the question is, are these scientists reliable?

Before the theory of evolution came about, Atheism was a much more difficult position to hold up. The atheist had to somehow account for the amazing biological diversity found in the world, without a designer to attribute it to. Before evolution they didn’t really have an account, and atheism wouldn’t have gelled very comfortably with this lack. So then for the idea of evolution by natural selection to come about would have been very good news. Suddenly the atheist had a story for the appearance of biological diversity, including humans. Suddenly they could explain life without a designer. What this means is that, no matter how good the evidence was, evolution is a very, very attractive theory to an atheist; it removes the need for God.

So even if the evidence for evolution, which I haven’t been properly exposed to, isn’t very good, I can still understand why largely atheistic scientific communities would have flocked to such an idea – just out of their desire to retain their atheism, in conjunction with their powerful desire to not be utterly perplexed by the world. All this means is that the fact that there is such a consensus about evolution among scientists is not necessarily a testament to the theory’s truth.

So my verdict? Currently pretty confused and unsure. I haven’t seen the evidence for evolution myself, and I have heard it challenged by some scientists (how reliable these scientists are, I don’t know). If I haven’t fully explained myself, hit me back and I’ll try to fill in my gaps.