Re: virus: Does God really exist?

Vicki Rosenzweig (
Thu, 22 Aug 96 10:36:00 PDT

I don't want to sound like I'm just picking nits, but I think
these points are important.

Those of us who take calculated risks--who decide, for
example, that the very slight chance of getting sick from
a vaccination is worth it to avoid the greater chance of
getting sick from what we're being vaccinated against,
or who compare the risks and conveniences of air
travel with those of driving and then make a choice, are
not displaying faith (unless, possibly, we trust one person
to give us all our information, without checking on whether
that person is qualified--many small children might be
said to have faith in a parent, in this sense). We're using
our reason and our senses to make a decision based on
evidence. Faith comes in either when people make a
decision despite evidence, or believe in something
where there's no strong evidence one way or another.
(If your reaction to the news of past life on Mars was
"yes, I knew that" you had faith; if it was "how interesting"
or "what a pleasant surprise" or "that could be a problem"
you didn't. And if it was "that's impossible," you had faith
in the opposite direction.)

Similarly, the Big Bang is the start of our Universe in the
sense that we cannot know what, if anything, came before
it (assuming the theory is correct, for the purposes of this
discussion). That doesn't make it the "creator." If it did,
though, the Big Bang itself would be the creator of the
universe: there's no reason to argue that something has
to have created the Big Bang. That way lies only an
infinite regress. And I doubt many people are going to
consider an explosion as God; if nothing else, people
want volition and the ability to act in the present from
their deities, and the Big Bang demonstrates neither.
(The cosmic background radiation is the residue of
previous actions; the Big Bang can't step in now and
decide to drop a new galaxy between us and M31,
or make Sirius go nova.)

From: owner-virus
To: virus
Subject: Re: virus: Does God really exist?
Date: Wednesday, August 21, 1996 6:26PM

Vicki Rosenzweig wrote:
> Tedlick seems to be redefining religion so broadly as not to
> be terribly useful.

Not necessarily so broadly, but in a different context. I would prefer
to look at the deep structure of religions, and to do this you need to
look at the circumstances which begat them (and how they altered over

When you look at religion as a coping method rather than divine
inspiration, the metaphor of technology as god is just as valid as Jesus
as savior of the opressed. Regardless of your concious knowledge that
technology can fail, you take calculated risks, displaying your faith.
The religion changes with the times; we cope with the problems of the
world by investing faith that technology will overcome obstacles. How is
this any different in practice from the Native Americans having faith
that their animal spirits will help them on their hunt? The rituals are
different (we watch CNN, they had social ceremonies), but they are
rituals nonetheless.

> Anyone who has faith in our technology needs
> to study it more (try comp.risks).

Agreed-- likewise anyone who has faith in religion should study it more
from a historical sense, not just a spiritual, emotional sense. I have
found many believing Christians who have distilled their beliefs into a
pure spiritual practice that is unhindered by the need to take the Bible
literally, mainly because they studied what was going on at the time the
New Testament was written. They were able to gleen the ideas and
concepts out of the prose.
I deal with coworkers daily who unconciously treat technology the same
way one would treat religious iconography-- they don't understand the
computers which have been put on their desks, so it's no suprise to them
when these mysterious objects behave strangely. They are amazed when I
come and tinker with the computer and fix a minor problem they have had
for months. If they took the time to seriously learn the computer
(rather, if they had the desire), the mysticism would disappear.

> As for "a creation implies a creator," that's
> tautological but not helpful, because we have no reason other
> than habit to think of the universe as a "creation."

Most scientists agree on the "big bang" theory. In such a scenario, the
universe is a creation of the big bang; thus, the universe must have a
creator. Because this creator must be outside of the universe, any ideas
about the nature of god are creations from our minds. It's therefore
much more interesting to look at the _reasons_ a religion exists than to
determine if the religion accurately describes god.

Tedlick Badkey
Wholesale Slaughter Enterprises
"70%, I can live with the smell..."