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Darwin Worship Adopted by the Church of Anything Goes

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Jack Krebs is crowing about a class on Darwinian dogma put on in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist “Church”. He plans on preaching to the choir.

The Universalist Unitarian Church is composed of (multiple answers were allowed in the survey so it adds up over 100%)

humanist (54%)
agnostic (33%)
earth-centered (31%)
atheist (18%)
Buddhist (17%)
pagan (13%)
Christian (13%)

You can believe anything or nothing in this so-called “church”. What a coup for Jack Krebs and Kansas Citizens for Science to have the backing of a local UUC congregation. We should start worrying now I guess. 😛

So confident is Jack that he says of the class he’s teaching

It’s intended to help the average person who accepts evolution understand it better.

In other words he’s preaching to the choir. I mean literally preaching the pseudo-religious Darwinian dogma in conjunction with a pseudo-religious church to people who already have psuedo-religious faith in the Darwinian narrative but hope to find a rational basis for their Darwinian pseudo-religion.

Jack Krebs, what a maverick you are! 😆

Thanks Dave, let me know how to do it. Hi Nostrowski, Perhaps I bit off more than I can chew. I am thinking of starting a website or writing a book. I think that Christianity needs reform, that the first reformation was shallow and didn't address the underlying issues. I admire CS Lewis' thinking a lot. Specifically, I think the doctrine of eternal punishment is a disaster, and almost equally the doctrine that God required a sacrifice to atone for Adam's sin, although it's poison is more subtle. Pehaps it is alright for us to ramble on a bit, since this post is now out of the spotlight. I thought I elaborated quite a bit in my earlier posts and I am not sure what I should elaborate upon. Tell me what sort of faith you belong to? Tina seemed offended by the idea of purgatory, and of course theologians have greatly exaggerated beyond anything scriptural the sufferings "inflicted" upon those in hell or purgatory. I was always taught that fire was a metaphor, that hell was a separation from God and never that God inflicted punishment intentionally. I tend to think that purgatory of some sort is unavoidable, and intuited by many peoples of the world. I just went back and saw bigtalktheory's post. Sorry I missed it at the time. Maybe it was in the holding tank. Looks like universal salvation is finally getting around. I didn't quite get this: "They place themselves in-between God and Man, along with Christ." Are you saying Christ gets placed between God and Man? avocationist
kvwells: I by no means meant to suggest that you weren't on the straight and narrow nor would I presume to do so. It isn't my place. Mine was simply conjecture as to why Dave nixed tinabrewer's participation. According to the moderation policy, sarcastically berating someone for their religious beliefs would be cause for departure. My entire post was one of commiseration for I was straining at the bit myself. avocationist: Please elaborate. I adjust my theology (albeit minutely) each time I happen upon a theologian (amateur or professional) whose viewpoint enhances my own. Indeed, the term "theology" is so broad that I would be surprised to find Christians who don't alter (however minutely) some part of theirs with regularity. To stop growing in theology is to stop thinking. nostrowski

I am very sorry to see Tina go. She is a very intelligent poster and reasonable. I was quite intrigued by her unusual views and was just about to ask for her email.

Just to reiterate what I've said before, I think that the topic of religion is germane to the evolution debate, altho on a blog such as this it should not stray too far into arguments such as the meaning of scripture.

In my opinion, the whole history of Christianity and its problems are a main reason why Darwin and many others who were waiting in the wings for a good way out were so happy to jump on the evolution bandwagon.
It seems to me that Christians are unable to listen to the other side partly because they feel nervous that there is no way to adjust their theology without total loss.

Anyway, kvwells, I will be thinking as I go through the New Testament about where Christ's words about his coming crucifixion support the current theology.

If you see fit, you can throw a coupe of ref's my way.

I'll arrange for you two to exchange email addresses if it's okay with Tina. -ds avocationist
Thanks Nostrowski, You're quite right. I'll stay on the sraight and narrow. This sort of discussion arouses the most spiky ire and brings out the firebrand in all of us, I think. I do understand, possibly, tinabrewer's upset over a very shallow glossing over of what was happening on that cross so long ago. These are considerations of the most profound significance, and deserve better than some here have given them. This is my last comment on this post, and I would simply suggest that it may be wise to remember this: That Jesus of Nazareth taught and asserted both how and why he would be killed. This is part of the whole, as off-angle as it is to what our expectations may be as to what a "great human teacher" (or whatever our assessment is) would be and do. thanks for having me over. kvwells
kvwells: I understand your sentiment for I like effectively placed sarcasm as much as the next belligerent codger, but see the need to bow, in this instance, to the moderation policy. To wit: *********************************************************************************** Theism and Atheism - We don’t discourage discussion of the implications ID or evolutionary theories have on religious or irreligious beliefs. We do discourage preaching–proselytizing for a particular faith or attacking one. This includes atheistic faith. *********************************************************************************** Without it, this site could easily degenerate into religious confrontation. nostrowski
Come on guys, no text-proofing, please. I know every agnostic, pagan, materialist, etc. has their favorite bible verse or verse fragment in which they see some heretofore hidden meaning. Funny scrores of generations of some of the worlds most intelligent and reflective folks just plumb missed it! thank God (whozzat?) for your clueing me in on the meaning of the teachings I've been studying for the last 20-odd years. I had no idea that such free-wheeling 'interpretation' could cancel the intent of the entire New Testament for me. (Hey DS, this sarcasm is fun!) kvwells
tinabrewer: Your militancy is interesting. Pardon me for alluding to the beliefs of others (the pikers!). Next time I'll run a pre-check on your sarcasm meter. In the meantime, please tell me, are "so-called" Christians as insufferably self-righteous as you? nostrowski

avocationist: hurray! thank you for your beautiful statement of the absolute blasphemy contained in the notion that God, in his majesty and justice, demanded the bloody torture and murder of his only Son in order to "satisfy" his bloodlust. Truly a more fundamental inversion of the most basic sense of justice is impossible to conceive. And this wholecloth -creation arising in order that a humanity, already steeped in self-satisfaction, can bask in the glow of feeling how very valuable they are to God "He died for me!" Really? Or was he murdered by you? This apart from the fact that Christ's own words "Father, FORGIVE THEM, they know NOT WHAT THEY DO!" illustrate quite clearly that what took place was no less than a crime which itself demanded forgiveness. How is it possible for the human intellect to twist this into the idea that God wanted this?

I was unaware, but interested to read, that the Eastern Orthodox Church does not teach the doctrine of the propitiatory sacrifice. Thanks.

I think that's about it for you here, Tina. Hasta la vista, baby! -ds tinabrewer
"I might be misunderstanding Christian theology but I thought Jesus paid that penalty (a death to appease his wrath) with his own death?" Yes, that is the story line. I picked up a Billy Graham book on a patient's bedside table, and in it I found "God demanded a death." Pretty inspirational, huh? Yes, CS Lewis was amazing, right on the money. For what it's worth, the ancient church had 5 important bishoprics, and of those 5 only one - Rome - is not still Eastern Orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox church does not teach that God required a compensatory death in order to forgive us. And it is interesting that Roman feudal law of that time had very similar requirements about satisfaction of wrongs and substitutionary victims. I wouldn't say these things except that it grieves me to see the wonderful God of this universe slandered in his character, and Christians who want to learn goodness placed in a state of impossible spiritual contradiction. Please don't think I am tooting the horn of the church I grew up in, because I am no longer a member of any particular religion. But I do think it is very useful to help break the deadlock of this theology to point out there is very strong roots for another view. "I believe that we should not assume that everyone deserves to be “happy forever”, and if God is just and fair then people will get what they deserve." There's nothing just about creating a situation that goes awry and letting the people born into sin and confusion pay an eternal penalty. The policy is cruel, and Christians must come up with hard-hearted justifications of it, as you just did. That is a fact and it prevents Christians from becoming Christians. You just can't have both. Jesus said you can't serve two masters. There are two sets of teachings in Christianity, and they are opposed. People will indeed get what they deserve. The image of God is pure. All people can be purified. It is their true nature. Sin is a covering. "18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” I have some thoughts on this. First, we must not allow ourselves to suppose that God is capable of egotistical insistence upon fawning belief, nor can we assume that people are to blame for genuinely not knowing what to think on the God or Jesus question. It is important to realize the extent to which Jesus was speaking specifically to the Jews of that time. The Jews of that time were locked in - they were completely locked into their religion and the messiah. Many of them wouldn't even eat with gentiles. Jesus was their chance. He was "the man." If they missed him and his message - then they missed. I personally believe in reincarnation, and I think Jesus did also. There is also a strong possibility that people have time to accept God during the dying process. Not to know God during this life is a tragedy. Christians have been taught to focus too much on a future life. Jesus was quite often pointing out the importance of THIS life. The future comes, but 'now' is the only moment we ever have. The only way to bring a wonderful future is to make it come true now, so that it can continue to come true as the future unfolds. The words in that passage about those who are condemned or who prefer darkness need not be taken as eternal pronouncements. It is bad enough that they are indeed true for people in this world, in this life, now. avocationist
"Jason, you say people are aware of the moral standard, but they are not. Jesus taught one, and the church teaches both it and another, and they are opposed." I understand what you're saying, and of course there's a huge difference between knowing what to do and actually acting it out. A lot of churches today aren't in great condition and it seems inevitable given human nature. "It is very simple really. A teaching that we will remain forever happy while others are forever unhappy is fundamentally uncompassionate. How are we to learn to be compassionate when our religion requires that we have a hard heart?" I can't tell you who's going where after they die. Christianity came at a time of great social barriers and the idea that anyone who believed could be saved. It was a more radical idea in the day than it seems to us now, but it was a giant step towards a more equal society for all. I believe that we should not assume that everyone deserves to be "happy forever", and if God is just and fair then people will get what they deserve. jasonng
the problem with the question of 'believing in Christ' as so many so-called Christians do, is that they personalize the universality of Christ, and therefore incorrectly believe that personal recognition of Christian teachings is necessary for salvation. Christ was constantly trying to do just the opposite of this. He said "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE..." Most Christians personalize this, making it into something which might be restated "Truth and life and the Way are aquired through personal relationship with me, Christ", whereas a far more universal interpretation could be restated "relationship with the Way (God's laws, goodness) and relationship with Truth, is equivalent to relationship with me, Christ" In this reading, anyone who lives a life which is inwardly oriented to the truth, toward goodness, etc. would be judged as being "Christian", as opposed to the narrow view that only those who consciously and in this lifetime, learn about the historical Jesus and his life, and "accept" this. This reading also is far more in tune with the fact of Christ's own disinterest in sects, calling the samaritan morally superior. It is interesting to me to see the above post which contains the venerable C.S.Lewis' view that those who don't get the opportunity to know Christ in this life are given the great good mercy of being able to do so in purgatory. How lovely. Why would the Creator God, from whom all of life emerged, produce such piecework, filled with such merciless inequality? I can just picture the self-satisfied middle american "Christian" who was born into a devout family of church-going parents, for whom the "choice" to "accept" Christ was facile, socially encouraged and supported, really a no-brainer. how can such a person comfort themselves, or even sleep at night when they contemplate their fellow-men, in the island or Borneo, who will only have to go to purgatory for having been born in the wrong place... tinabrewer
Classical universalism as taught by Origen as "apocatastasis" has nothing to do with Unitarianism or even Univeralist-ism. Apocatastatis is simply the belief that the resurrection secured salvation for all. Everyone was saved, evil was defeated, victory over death and even the lake of fire (the second death) where unbelievers are sent to be purified. Only those who know they are saved and remain enemies of God will be eternally tormented. Salvation is an opportunity for sanctification. Sanctification is only available to those who repent of sin and purify themselves here on earth. Else, it is off to the lake of fire to finish the job. Thus all will be reconciled back to God, and the original sin of Adam is overcome. Many churches reject this universal reconciliation, and insist on a purgatory or even eternal damnation for people that have never heard of, or reject salvation. They place themselves in-between God and Man, along with Christ. Ignorance is not disbelief, or even unbelief. Origen relied heavily on the sovereignty of God and His final Judgement, rather than casting the church in role of pre-judging humanity. This "Gospel of Inclusion" has been revisited by Bishop Carleton Pearson, and he has been discredited by strong exclusivists as a result. The Gospel of Exclusion has been taught by the convservative religous establishment since just before the Dark Ages. Note that Origen's "Apocatastasis" was rejected just before the Dark Ages. Eagles with two right wings tend to spiral. bigtalktheory
For what it is worth, C.S. Lewis posited that hell was not flames, but merely the absense of God. See The Great Divorce. Other professed Christians believe in universal salvation. Those who fail to accept Christ in this life, have the opporunity to do so in purgatory. This generally addresses the paradox of inaccessibility (to wit, there are tribesmen in Borneo who won't get the opportunity to accept Christ until then). nostrowski
"But a God who can not or will not save everyone, who has unending wrath, who requires a death to appease his wrath, is one who does not live up to the very standards that Jesus teaches...He[God] accepted payment." I might be misunderstanding Christian theology but I thought Jesus paid that penalty (a death to appease his wrath) with his own death? And I did a quick lookup: 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” But I'll let you argue with Jason over that one. ;) Patrick
MrsCogan, UU is nothing more than a left wing social club. Sorry, but that is the truth. Also, you are completely intolerant of anyone that holds different views than your social club. For instance, you are not tolerant towards those that think that abortion is killing a baby. Do you stick up for the view of babies killed in the womb of the mother or is it that you just support the right for the mother to choose to kill her baby? You are completely intolerant of their rights. Dan Dan
Yes, DS, you made a good point. The Wiki link was very well done. Also, the absolute numbers of people in the past was much smaller. 5 million in the crusades is a hefty number. In fact, I forgot about the Mayan sacrifices which are one of the worst cases of excess in human history. My whole point is to look at how ideologies cause these excesses. The Mayans believed in a terrible God who required sacrifice in order for the sun to continue to rise. The fascist and totalitarian govt's of the 20th century certainly got some support from Darwinism. And since atheism is a metaphysical position, we can include it among religiously driven ideologies. A tipoff is that in the 'communist' regimes, other religions than atheism were not allowed. I am not insensitive to the horrors of these regimes, seeing as I grew up in the Russian Orthodox Church and have spent my life standing in church next to people whose family members were killed for their faith. I am also aware of how great the suffering was for Russians when the Germans came. I have a friend who, at ten years, was the only surivor in her family of the starvation that ensued when St. P was under seige for 3 years. The reason more than any other that I said what I did about Christianity is that it has been so repetitive but even more than that is the inquisition. I don't think anything in history compares to the level of torment that people were put through. Not just the tortures, but the psychological ones that accompanied it. Being pressured to inform on others while under torture, being shown what tortures were to occur when first arrested, being told that one is headed for a hell in which the tortures will be worse and unending. Children were sometimes flogged while watching their mothers burn at the stake. And the family had to pay for the wood and the torturers time. Nothing wrong with distancing oneself from the mindset, but the mindset should be first understood. If it has not been understood, then one cannot distance oneself from it. Jason, you say people are aware of the moral standard, but they are not. Jesus taught one, and the church teaches both it and another, and they are opposed. Therefore people are confused. Let us agree that Christianity teaches us to love and forgive everyone. Let us agree this is hard to do and we need inspirational help to transform our nature into one that does so. If we are to be held to a very high standard, we need a shining example to keep our steady gaze upon. Jesus meets the standard. But a God who can not or will not save everyone, who has unending wrath, who requires a death to appease his wrath, is one who does not live up to the very standards that Jesus teaches. The God of Christianity did not forgive humanity. He accepted payment. Not the same thing! If you are in credit card debt, and I feel sorry for you and agree to pay it, the bank will no doubt be happy to accept. It was the payment they wanted. It is very simple really. A teaching that we will remain forever happy while others are forever unhappy is fundamentally uncompassionate. How are we to learn to be compassionate when our religion requires that we have a hard heart? avocationist
Its true that there are people who claim Christianity, but don't seem overly distressed about eternal consequences suffered by others. Also, there are many who would rationalize away Justice as an eternal principle because of its inconvenience to a neat and clean worldview. However, I cannot rationalize away the clear teaching of my Master that Hell is (will be?) real. Also I must admit that I don't understand hell very well at all, and I don't know of anyone who does. Most debates on this issue end in a draw at best, I think. The paradox that Christ taught and understood is this: 1. There are God-moderated eternal consequences for rejecting the good that we know. 2. God does not wish anyone "perish" (to be apart from Him for eternity, and whatever else hell ACTUALLY is). This paradox is resolved when we realize that God, in Jesus' self-inflicted defenselessness, took all of the worst of man's spitefulness and evil on Himself for the express purpose of making hell unnecessary to everyone who will embrace the Truth (as Jesus called Himself). The Christian Faith is not one in which we ask, "what do I prefer to believe", but rather, "what does the Word (as God called Jesus) actually teach?" kvwells
Good point DS. late_model
It's very unfortunate that such horrible things were done in the "name" of religion. However most world religions that survive today advocate peace and respect for other human beings over unnecessary war and massacre. I think we've got to distance ourselves from the mindset that just because someone's a "Christian" that they are expect to do this, this and that, and if they do something else it looks bad on Christianity. Religious people are aware of the moral standards given to them, sometimes they meet them, sometimes they do not. Darwinism, on the other hand, has no absolute moral standard of any sort, and is based on the concept of "survival of the fittest". It's great that most Darwinists have higher moral standards than absolutely nothing, but once again, they do not necessarily reflect on what Darwinism actually is. jasonng

Response to post 14.

I believe some of the most heinous crimes have been committed in the name of religion and by religous people. Also having lost both of my parents at an early age I know that a single casualty can destroy a whole world. However, I do find Avocationist's comments about Christianity a little disturbing because they appear naive. A cursory glance of history's casualties reveals the last century as the one leading in atrocities committed against humanity. I am not an advocate for war, just war any war but I thought the comment was off base.

If you take most of the big ones (and there are a lot of little ones in the history of the Catholic and Protestant churches) it does not add up to only two of the 20th centuries totalatarian regimes.

Stalin and Mao were responsible for the death of 45 million people, conservatively. There are some who would put this as high as 90 million. This does not include WW1 or WW2 but the deaths against their own countrymen.

While it is disturbing to see war carried out in the name of Christianity or any religion promoting a love of neighbor, foreigner, stranger or other it is far less than those of other ideologies.

This a relativistic issue and one fraught with problems as (1) war records were not as stringent in past centuries and most are absolute guesses (2) many of the records report total casualties such as those due to disease or starvation before an army went to war.

These are a select few but the favoriets and there are more incidents of casualties but the brute numbers don't add up to Christianity being the driving force of the most deaths.

Casualties attributed to Christianity
Crusades 5 mm (Christian, Islam & Jewish)
Thirty Year War 11.5 mm
French Wars 3 mm
Inquisition 100,000 (All three French, Spanish & Roman)
Salem Witch Hunt 24

Source http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm

The twentieth century is notable only for the efficiency of destructive power. The concentration of killing power in a few hands and the sheer massive numbers of humans beings able to be targeted. However, the twentieth century exhibited nowhere near the casual brutality of past centuries. Where in the past there were there civilizations like the Maya and Aztecs who waged wars solely for the purpose of gathering humans to sacrifice to the Gods where they marched them up one side of a pyramid, bent them backwards over an altar, used a sharp rock to slice the skin and separate two ribs, then rip the beating heart out of the sacrifice while the sacrifice was still conscious and could watch it, then mash the heart into the mouth of a God/idol, while a river of blood ran down the pyramid, and the lifeless body of the sacrifice was rolled off into a growing pile. Ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations performed these rituals with hundreds and thousands of victims one right after another. Or what about the Roman barbarism in the colleseums or their roads lined with crucifixtions? The 20th century really doesn't hold a candle to the farther past. Only in sheer number of killings is there any Guiness record for the 20th century but if one puts this in perspective by comparing it to the number of people not killed then the 20th century becomes the most merciful century in history. It's all a matter of perspective. -ds late_model

"But I believe it is important to point out the distinction between social or political movements which associate with Christ for convenience’ sake, and those which exemplify the Christian worldview as set out in the teachings of Jesus. As a Christian I will not claim the Inquisition or the Crusades. They were Machiavellian, not Christian."

But was the Catholic Church a social or political movement that associated with Christ for convenience sake? Perhaps the answer is yes, but at any rate, they were the only game in town.

The point isn't to lay blame for historical events, it is to think about how such things got justified. I think some theological ideas got promoted around the time of the church councils, which solidified the power of the church, and helped it go in the direction that it did. I have read that before this time, 4 out of 5 major theological schools taught universal salvation for all mankind. This is far more in keeping, IMHO, with what Jesus taught about the Father. It could also truly be called good news. I have seen so many Christian calling cards, and they all amount to "believe or else." The or else is a threat of such magnitude it boggles the mind.

There are two ways to deal with the teaching that other people, many of whom will be your family members or friends, are going to suffer without hope forever. One is the modern method of saying that God will take that knowledge from you. But there are some serious logical flaws with this argument. The other, and more old-fashioned one, is to say that the saved will have no pity upon the damned, even as they see their own spouses and children in the flames.

Surely it is easy to see how the necessity to take up such psychological defenses against a nightmarish future must lead to callousness toward suffering and toward those whom one has judged as probably damned.

History certainly bears this out as being the case. I often enough get chided at work that I might be going to hell, or I hear that others will. I have often asked these people, will they feel sorry for me? Or won't they feel sorry for those others? They hotly deny it. They say people have had their chance.

If that is the case our universe is in the grip of a hard and unforgiving God, a God who hardly differs from his so-called adversary, a God from whom we must be saved, a God who visits infinite punishment upon the sins of a finite lifetime, a God over whom tragedy will triumph. Forever.

Jesus came to reconcile humanity with God the Father. But the actions and motivations that Christian theology ascribes to the Father are such that we cannot be inspired to love Him with all our hearts and all our minds. We humans may be confused, but deep down we know what goodness is and we aren't fooled. The God they are telling us about isn't worthy of love without reservation. Christian theology makes of the human heart a house divided.

Re; you going to hell. Oh yeah? What exit? -ds avocationist
My gut feeling is that nobody truly believes in God until they actually see Him face to face. Actual encounter and first-hand witness will turn a pedestrian believer into a BELEIVER, and turn their religious philosophy into CONVICTION (and genuine knowledge). Just a thought. apollo230
We are all in a fallen state and need regeneration. The recognition of that fact is the beginning of wisdom. GilDodgen
Gordon Allport, a Harvard psychologist and former president of the American Psychological Association (1929), proposed a heuristic theory about “extrinsic” vs. “intrinsic” religiosity. Those who are “extrinsically religious” have motivations which are external to the religion they claim (e.g., they identify as “Christian” because it gives them status, business contacts, a social network, etc.). Those who are “intrinsically religious” are motivated by factors inherent in the religion itself (it gives them meaning and purpose in life, serving as an organizing principle for their lives, etc.). Allport developed an instrument (the Religious Orientation Scale) which measured intrinsic vs. extrinsic religiosity. He found that the undesirable correlates of religiosity (ethnocentrism, racial prejudice, etc.) held for those who were extrinsically religious, but not for those who were intrinsically religious. These two differing ways of being religious correspond roughly to what we today call “spiritual” vs. “religious.” However, Allport’s terms were much more tightly defined and could be measured and therefore studied empirically. Unfortunately psychology today has allowed Allport’s findings to pass largely unnoticed. But this innovative Harvard researcher was on to something which is reflected in the discussion we are having here on Uncommon Descent. How do nominal adherents of a religion--who are motivated primarily by extrinsic factors--differ from adherents who are motivated primarily by the tenets of the religion itself? Psychologists have mostly ignored this quesion for the past several decades. But I believe it is one which deserves some attention in the decades which lie ahead of us. Lutepisc
"jasonng, Are you really criticizing Buddhists? How can Christians be so sensitive and insult other religions at the same time? Don’t you know Buddhists are about the only major world religion where people don’t massacre each other?" Satori, Thanks for completely misinterpreting me. My point was that this supposed "church" has more Buddhists (and atheists and agnostics) than Christians, so it shouldn't be called a church. I was not being insensitive at all. Last time I checked, Buddhists go to temples, not churches. I suggest you relax and re-read what I said before you jump the gun next time. jasonng
The bottom line is, there are those who profess a faith and then those who possess a faith relationship. Don't conflate the two. Jesus said his followers would be evidenced "by their deeds" and that there will come a day when he "separates the wheat from the chaff". Scott
"No religion has ever come close..."? I don't deny the outrageous deeds done by those who call themselves Christians, but you must be reading different history books. Mayans, Romans, Ninevites, Assyrians, Yanamato, Sawi, and the list goes on.... Gandalf

It is interesting to read about how some Christians are so ready to distance themselves from the historical events like the Crusades or the Inquisition, and yet many modern evangelicals hold, as a virtual cornerstone of their faith, the most violent type of "inner inquisition" one could imagine: namely their unwavering conviction that anyone who doesn't 'accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior" is hellbound for all of eternity. I am certain that when Christ explained to his followers that what we do in our thoughts is every bit as powerful as what we do in our deeds, he meant just this sort of thing: from this perspective, how much better is it to let the "infidel" have his chunk of real estate while condemning him to an eternity of agony in your thoughts? What is more violent than that?

I don't know about the level of violence in abstract thought not translated to action but I don't question the level of inanity in the concept. Thoughts are not anywhere remotely near being equivalent to actions. A darned good thing too. Have you seen the Seinfeld episode "The Burning" where Elaine is going to hell and Puddy doesn't care? If not you should and if you have you should watch it a couple more times. -ds tinabrewer

--Christians aren’t perfect nor do they need to be. Even Jimmy Carter lusted in his heart. That’s what forgiveness and salvation is all about. Buddhists aren’t any better. No one is perfect. Next! -ds

You're right, and I've needed quite a lot of forgiveness myself for pretty heinous things (at least in my estimation). But I believe it is important to point out the distinction between social or political movements which associate with Christ for convenience' sake, and those which exemplify the Christian worldview as set out in the teachings of Jesus. As a Christian I will not claim the Inquisition or the Crusades. They were Machiavellian, not Christian. The distinction is real and simple to make for anyone with access to the New Testament.

Agreed. -ds kvwells
It is certainly true that there has been violence in Buddhist countries; it is true people misinterpret their religions, are hypocritical, and justify all manner of wrongs. In fact, some of the worst examples of cruelty to animals I've heard about come from Buddhist countries, and this from a religion that actively teaches respect and compassion for all beings, not just humans. But I think it is undeniable that no religion has ever come close to the sheer numbers, and the frequency of cruelty that Christians have justified at various points in history; I would even make the case that Islam and totalitarian regimes of the 20th century cannot match it, although they come close. It has nothing to do with Jesus and his exemplary life and teachings, and so it is important for Christians (and all other religions and groups) to really examine what has occurred, how they have allowed themselves to work into their theology the underpinnings of these justifications. avocationist

The samurai of Japan followed Bushido, the way of the warrior. It was a blending of Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Buddism did not make any kind of impact in Japan until well after the age of the samurai. You are probably thinking of the Shaolin Monks of China, where Zen Buddism was born as an off shoot of Buddism and stressed martial arts as discipline and self defense as a last measure.

Buddism is probably the only religion that has not had major wars waged in it's name, unlike Islam, Chirstianity, and even the various flavors of Paganism.

In what way is Buddism not a religion?

God only knows how many words have been expended in argument over whether Zen is Buddhism. Regardless, a large number of people deem it so. I didn't say Buddhism wasn't a religion. I said Universal Unitarianism is a psuedo-religion. Individual members may or may not be religious. Since UUC claims somewhere just south of 20% of its members are atheists and 13% are Chrisitans it's difficult to view it as any kind of church since the members have diametrically opposed religious beliefs without either conflicting with UUC doctrines. The UUC is more of a human rights organization. Their beliefs read exactly like a political platform or a preamble to a constitution. They worship nothing in particular. Buddhists have recognizable supernatural beliefs like rebirth, a recognizable godhead in Buddha, consistent rituals, ceremonies, devotions, chantings, offerings, and etcetera. -ds Dexceus

Unitarian Universalism is a religion about what you do, not what you believe. UUs do have some beliefs on common, though. One of the main ones is respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. That's why we'd never try to tell someone whether or not they are a religion. Another of our principles is respect for the interdependent web of which we are a part. That's where evolution comes in.

That's an awfully loose definition of religion. What wouldn't be a religion under that definition? If me and bunch of my friends want to worship poker and Monday night football can we have a tax exempt church for it? Get real. -ds MrsCogan

Most words that we use to classify belief systems have a gradient of meaning. folks have a natural tendency to employ the most convenient definition, broad to narrow, that suits their argument. If we are going to discuss religious views, lets call people "Christians" or "Buddhists" only if they sincerely attempt to follow the teachings of the originator of each faith(?), as they are recorded. Interestingly, most non-christians instinctively know when a 'Christian' is violating the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. So when we say 'Christians murder folks' lets go ahead and agree that if they are following Christ they wouldn't do these things, so there's a good chance they're not 'Christians' at all. I cannot accuse sincere Buddhists of things that people do who are only calling themselves such out of political or social convenience.

Christians aren't perfect nor do they need to be. Even Jimmy Carter lusted in his heart. That's what forgiveness and salvation is all about. Buddhists aren't any better. No one is perfect. Next! -ds kvwells

So if Intelligent Design is all about science and not religion, please explain to me all the fuss about what constitutes a "real" church.

If evolution is all about science what's up with the Clergy Letter Project? I'm trying to figure out why Darwinists are doing their recruiting in churches now. The schools aren't enough? They want the respectability of God without actually respecting God? The Unitarian Universalist Church is just like that. -ds Dartos

no Christian should even dare to criticize Buddhism for anything even misconstrued as a history of violence. Shame, shame, shame. History betrays you.

Ignorance of the history of various Buddhist sects is no excuse for denying it when it's pointed out to you, Sartori. There are totally non-violent Christian sects too and Christ is all about non-violence - love thy enemy, turn the other cheek, thou shalt not kill, and etcetera are themes taught both by Christ and Buddha. Some Christians even insist that following Christ means you can't eat meat because that entails killing. There's no record of Christ ever killing anything. The most violent thing he did was curse a fig tree and he didn't eat meat until (arguably due to translation issues) after the resurrection when he ate a piece of broiled fish to prove to his disciples he was truly risen from the dead and not an immaterial apparition. So you see, your initial claim that Buddhism is the only non-violent major religion is a crock of BS. -ds


Thanks for your comment about me and point 6, Dave. Is there any chance you will let the comment I posted this morning go through? or a portion of it.

As always, you can email me at jkrebs@sunflower.com to discuss things.


Sure, just as soon as I can put comments under your article at Panda's Thumb. Let me know when that becomes possible. -ds Jack Krebs

Thanks again DaveScot.

I say there are serious problems with people who use evolution #5 as their definition and deny Intelligent Design. THAT is why evo #6 can't go away. It goes, ID enters. And we knoiw that ain't about to happen anytime soon. However it would be a good thing if people spoke out against it, but we know what happens to those people- ask Frncis B...

Perhaps Jack could present the following:

Biological evolution- what is being debated?:

The debate isn't as black & white as saying it is evo #6 against IDists, Creationists and theistic evolutionists. However it is obvious that evo #6 is what is being debated.

(Theistic evolutionists are a different breed. They don't seem to acknowledge that evo #6 is what is being taught in our public school system. And therefore don't appear to understand the issue. The TE's I have debated with tell me that humans were an intended outcome of the evolutionary process, which is OK for evo #5 but defies evo #6. IOW TE's are closet IDists.)

Creationists go with 1-4 (above- see comment 3)), with the change in 4 being built-in responses to environmental cues or organism direction as the primary mechanism, for allele frequency change, culled by various selection processes (as well as random effects/ events/ choice of not to mate/ unable to find a mate). The secondary mechanism would be random variations or mutations culled by similar processes. IOW life’s diversity evolved from the originally Created Kind, humans included. Science should therefore be the tool/ process with which we determine what those kinds were.

With Creation vs. "Evolution #6" the 4 main debating points are clear:

1) The starting point of the evolutionary process. (What was (were) the founding population(s)?)
2) The phenotypic & morphological plasticity allowed/ extent the evolutionary process can take a population (do limits exist?).
3) The apparent direction the evolutionary process took to form the history of life. (ie from "simpler" bacteria-like organisms to complex metazoans)
4) The mechanism for the evolutionary process.

With ID vs. Evo #6 it is mainly about the mechanism- IDists go with evolution 1-5, with the Creation change to 4 plus the following caveat in 5: Life’s diversity was brought about via the intent of a design. The initial conditions, parameters, resources and goal was pre-programmed as part of an evolutionary algorithm designed to bring forth complex metazoans, as well as leave behind the more “simple” viruses, prokaryotes and single-celled eukaryotes.

IDists understand that if life didn't arise from non-living matter via some blind watchmaker-type process, there is no reason to infer its subsequent diversity arose soley due to those type of processes (point 1 in comment 3).

What does the data say? Well there isn't any data that demonstrates bacteria can "evolve" into anything but bacteria. Therefore anyone who accepts evolution 5 or 6 has some splaining to do. Preferably splainations with scientific merit.

Throwing time at an issue does not splain anything...

What does the data say? Well there isn't any data that demonstrates bacteria can "evolve" into anything but bacteria. Therefore anyone who accepts evolution 5 or 6 has some splaining to do. Preferably splainations with scientific merit.

Agreed. Since my belief is #5 I recognized the need for an explanation that fits the known facts. My explanation is that the universal common ancestor was not a simple genome like that of modern bacteria but rather a genome that was packed with all the information it needed to blossom into the diversity we observe living today and extinct forms in the fossil record. In other words phylogeny mirrors ontogeny where both begin with a single undifferentiated cell that is programmed to unfold and diversify into complex assemblages of specialized cells. The major difference is the timescale. A human being goes from a single undifferentiated cell to a complex assemblage of trillions of specialized cells in a matter of months. There is nothing random about ontogeny. Life on earth underwent a similar process except instead of months the timescale was billions of years. I think it was billions of years only because living things had to shape the environment for the progression. The first major task was oxygenating the atmosphere so that faster air-breathing metabolisms could be expressed. The so-called Cambrian explosion seems to mark that stage of front-loaded evolution. -ds



Jack posted a link to his source material. The definition of evolution they use is:

The central idea of biological evolution is that all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother.

Through the process of descent with modification, the common ancestor of life on Earth gave rise to the fantastic diversity that we see documented in the fossil record and around us today. Evolution means that we're all distant cousins: humans and oak trees, hummingbirds and whales.

This appears to correspond to #5 in your list. This is a bit stale and should read "one or a few common ancestors" to accomodate Doolittle, Woese, and others who argue for more than one common ancestor and gene sharing very early in evolution to explain the virtually universal genetic code. Otherwise I don't particularly have a problem with that definition and neither does ID theory. Definition 6 is the one that leaves the realm of science to become nothing more than a plea for atheism.

Jack Krebs has stated before he doesn't agree with definition 6 and I'd have a bit of respect for the Darwin apologists if they'd explicitely denounce #6 as unsupported by the evidence and outside the scope of science and denounce it in high school biology classes for the general population who'll never study evolution any further than that. Of course that would mean alienating the positive atheists who make up the vast majority of the National Academy of Sciences so it just isn't going to happen without a fight.


Thanks to Barry for the link to that article, never woulda thought of that one m'self...
Always did wonder (sort of) what Universal Unitarians were...now I know, now I wonder how this can be accorded the status of religion, but I am obviously and admittedly biased

Presly-tarians ... chuckle ... I like it

If you follow the wiki link you'll find that Carolyn Keeton [Rylander] Strayhorn (Texas Comptroller) had the same sentiment and yanked their tax exempt status in Texas. There must be some politically-connected UUC members because she quickly reversed her own action. I wonder too. It seems like a social club for new age liberals - definitely not a church. -ds carbon14atom


Are you really criticizing Buddhists? How can Christians be so sensitive and insult other religions at the same time? Don't you know Buddhists are about the only major world religion where people don't massacre each other?

Zen Buddhism is the religion of the Japanese Samauri who are pretty darn far removed from the set of people who don't massacre each other. -ds satori
It’s intended to help the average person who accepts evolution understand it better. I guess that all depends on what one means by evolution. The meanings of evolutiom, from Darwinism, Design and Public Education: 1. Change over time; history of nature; any sequence of events in nature 2. Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population 3. Limited common descent: the idea that particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor. 4. The mechanisms responsible for the change required to produce limited descent with modification, chiefly natural selection acting on random variations or mutations. 5. Universal common descent: the idea that all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor. 6. “Blind watchmaker” thesis: the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through an unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms. I would understand evos 5 & 6 better if there were any data demonstrtating that bacteria can "evolve" into anything but bacteria... Joseph
A church that has more Buddhists than Christians? They might as well call it the Non-Religious Meeting Building. jasonng
Maybe they can have joint services with the "Presly-tarians." See: http://www.eagletribune.com/news/stories/20010107/LI_001.htm BarryA

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