I got kicked out of CCD in the third grade because I argued with the nuns over this. They said that god always existed. I said he couldn't have because everything had to start somewhere. They said, "not god - he's always existed". I said that didn't make sense. They said I had to have faith that it was true. I replied that wasn't enough for me because it didn't make sense. So, I was asked to leave.
I remember thinking that if these people who had devoted their entire lives to god and the church couldn't answer my questions without becoming so frustrated that they asked me to leave the room, maybe they weren't all that sure that what they were saying was the truth.
Hence the beginning of the short road to atheism. After reading a few more books on my own, I was a confirmed atheist by 15.
Larry, I went to your blog. I enjoyed it and posted a response.
I've found that most christians can't handle anyone doubting them or questioning their beliefs. They have no problem in trying to tear me apart for my lack of belief. But, it's the ultimate offense if I dare to question why they believe something so stupid and void of logic. (I try to say it nicer than that in the beginning :-)
After they realize they're not going to change your mind, they become hostile and rude.
I had to put a sign on my front door saying "no missionaries" because they got so annoying. I tried being polite, but it doesn't work with them. Now they have the nerve to ring my bell anyway. I open my main door, point to the sign on the glass door and shut the door in their face. They're so disrespectful that they won't even honor my sign trying to save them time and me time. I have no use for them.
I've bookmarked your blog and will be interested to read more.
It sounds from the other comments that many others had the same kinds of experiences I did with religion as a kid.
It's interesting how different the religious response is to the scientific response. Could you imagine being kicked out of a science classroom for telling the teacher that you thought what he was teaching was silly? Think of science teachers' responses to kids indoctrinated with creationist teachings? They might be directed to books or asked to stay after class for further explanations but they would not be asked to leave the class unless they were disrupting the class and preventing the teacher from teaching the rest of the students.
You dared to question the Nuns? You foolish girl. The fact that you were right does not enter into the discussion. My Sunday school teacher tried to convince me with a visual of a number of hearts that I had been born with a few black spots (representing original sin) on a pure white heart. I was then shown a black heart with a very few spots, reserved for future sinning, showing my present condition. She then showed me my heart if I accepted Christ. It was red. When I asked asked why it was red rather than the white of innocence she explained to me that that was the best that Christ could do. I suspect that my atheism started at that point, even though, as a teenager I seriously explored the possibility of becoming a preacher.
LOL. I did a little video rant about a story presented by Bill O'Reilly (Catholic to the Stars... heh heh) a couple of years ago. He described a situation in which a young girl who was allergic to wheat had a problem taking communion (wheat wafers), and her priest would not substitute any other substance. O'Reilly waxed eloquent about how unkind this was to the little girl, and how unjustifiably inflexible this was of the priest.
I brought up the topic of church doctrine - specifically 'transubstantiation' - the idea that the 'host' somehow becomes the 'body of Christ' after the priest performs some incantations (oooga boooga). How could the little girl be allergic to 'the body of Christ'??? I called my little rant "Holy Sushi" (it's uploaded on my page here).
I called the transubstantiated host "Holy Sushi" because JC wasn't burned at the stake... therefore he must be eaten raw.
That being said, "the Big Bang" and all presumptions that nothing existed prior to it are guesses. I am unconvinced. I am not a die-hard skeptic... just unconvinced.
I understand that the rationale for the big bang stems from the existing proof (red shift, etc) that the matter throughout the universe is, indeed, expanding. I understand that this indicates that the matter in the universe must have been concentrated eons ago, prior to its expansion. Some Eastern philosophies postulate that there is a never-ending cycle of expansion and contraction. Frankly, that makes more sense to me than some mysterious, inexplicable, singular "Big Bang" caused by some, as yet, unexplained force.
And is there some proof that the universe is expanding outward from one central point? Did I miss that?
I guess the idea of nothingness prior to the Big Bang just doesn't seem believable to me. I've heard no convincing rationale for it. Granted... I'm no mathematician.
If nothing existed prior to the Big Bang, where was the immense amount of matter and substance that supposedly exploded into an enormous universe? Where did it all come from, and why would it suddenly appear out of nothingness?
The expansion and contraction theory makes sense to me because of the info I've absorbed (probably from High School Science classes and from programs on The Science Channel or old episodes of "Cosmos") that due to inertia, the expanding universe would eventually have to slow to a stop, and eventually reverse. That makes more sense to me. Then it would presumably compact into another astoundingly dense ball of matter again; accellerating backwards as gravity pulled it all back together again... faster and faster as everything got closer and closer. And then... what? Explode again due to incredible compression and heat? I find that theory more comprehensible and believable.
Seems to me there is a lot of guessing going on... which is OK... as long as we don't take ourselves too seriously. We have to theorize as we try to figure all this stuff out... and I'm interested in hearing about all the rational theories and the info which is applied to them. But acting like we already have the answers seems ludicrous to me. It seems as silly as believing the imperious, nonsensical "guesses" written in the Wholly Babble, or any other dogmatic novel, IMHO.
How do we know there was nothing prior to the BB? Why would there have been nothing? That seems impossible. After all, didn't someone important say "matter is neither created nor destroyed"? Is that concept all wrong now? Where did all the "something" come from, then... and why? Are we supposed to believe that "matter is neither created nor destroyed" except before matter ever existed? C'mon. Sheesh....
Larry Lawson: "Unfortunately religion has, by claiming to have all the answers, indoctrinated us to expect science to do the same. It doesn't. It doesn't even try to. It is not the job of science to 'compete' with religion. It is the job of science to discover the right questions to ask so as to gain useful, accurate information about our universe.
We are slowly building up a fund of testable, confirmable, information. All of it is always open to re-examination. All of it is open to being replaced by better info. All of it can be added to and subtracted from as we learn more and more. AND still, scientists do not claim that it is 100% accurate, complete or not subject to change."
I completely, unreservedly, agree with the above. Well said.
And you wrote: "A religious methodology that says that they "know" every answer may be very comforting but is that the way you think will give you true answers? Are you in such need of answers that any old answer will satisfy you? If so, then the scientific method and the lack of perfection in the answers science provides will forever be a problem for you."
Any old answer never satisfies me. Whether offered via science or religion... anything that smacks of dogma raises a red flag in my mind.
I can accept the theory that nothing existed before the Big Bang ... as a theory. It still does not make sense to me.
I am not one to pretend to comprehend something just to avoid appearing ignorant. If it looks to me as though "The Emperor has No Clothes", I will usually point and I may even laugh.
Sometimes the incomprehensible math that supposedly "proves" that nothing existed before the Big Bang reminds me of fundies speaking in "tongues". Hey... just believe that these speakers are uttering truth ... no matter what it actually sounds like. After all, only they know what they really mean. Uh huh.....