Discussion by: scientific_philosopher
Dear students and friends of the scientific secular thought!
I consider myself privileged to have been raised by my grandparents. Unlike many of my friends grandparents they were not religious and especially my grandfather whom I love to death and miss dearly has always encouraged me to think for myself, instead of blindly accepting everything that I was told to believe. I'll never forget this moment that I shared with my grandpa and it has had a life changing effect on me ever since. I was about 12 years old when I, like every child who is curious about the world, asked him, "Grandpa where do we come from"? He replied:"What you do you think where we come from"? The naive child that one is at that age I just said what I picked up among relatives and friends, I told him:"We were created by God and he placed us on this earth". He looked at me, smiled and said:"How do you know that you were created by God? Son, just because people claim certain things that does not necessarily make them true. You are growing up so quickly and you are at an age where things may start to become a little confusing at times. And there will be many people who will try to take advantage of your young impressionable mind. And when you don't keep your mind sharp you may fall for the dulness and manipulation of the simple minded. Always remember, simple thoughts equal a simply mind. The strongest weapon a man has, is not his fist nor his never ending appetite for control, power, war and violence, no it's his intellect. The only way to truly preserve your freedom is by questing everything around you. The only way of living a truly good life, is when you make an afford to understand what is going on around you, how things work and what they are made of. Never accept the thoughts of others, but rather acquire your own. What I'm going to say to you now is in my humble opinion the truth, it would be irresponsible as loving grandfather to lie to my grandson, nevertheless I would like to ask you to remain skeptical about what I'm going to say and urge you to do your own research regarding this matter. I recommend you to start with Charles Darwin and then to dive deeper into the orginion of religion, human history and so on.
We were not created by a deity. But we rather created the deity in our image for our own selfish purposes. Humans seek purpose in everything, and when they can't find any, they just make it up. This in fact is related to the human mind, the human mind has problems handling abstract ideas, that cannot be explained by human reason at first. People are consumed by the fear of the unknown, the idea of being completely alone and that life must come to an end is for our mind somehow not acceptable. Therefore it creates and accepts an entity to fill up these gaps. As the mind also constantly is making connections between random events to analyze and find patterns, it has a strong need to find purposes for anything. This also applies for itself, hence the question arises “why am I” and an answer has to be found. Religion and God may seem to offer the simple mind an explanation of where we came from and where we are going. But if you educate yourself and when your knowledge increases religion's explanation becomes less plausible. And sooner or later it'll make no sense. At the moment, there are many unanswered thoughts and questions, but as long as you keep learning and you're taking one step at a time, you will eventually solve all the mysteries of your mind and some may never be solved. But you can only accomplish this by maintaining your commitment to finding the truth no matter how difficult the task may be. So my advice is, read, study and think. If you come to the same conclusions as me, then I guess there may be some shred of truth to my words. If not at least I have helped finding your own".
From this day on, my grandpa always made me as he said, read, study and think. He never answered my questions directly but merely challenged me to seek the knowledge myself, helping and nourishing my mind to think independently and not to follow set ways or thought patterns. And honestly looking back on this I am eternally grateful for the extraordinary man, who had no school diploma or education except for the one he has acquired himself, to have had him in my life. Tears are rolling down my face, as I now understand 20 something years later what impact he had on me and my academic carrer. But why am I telling you all this, well the other day I had lunch with my biological mother and father, my biological mother is my grandpa's daughter. Raised by him and taught with the same values, think free, educate yourself, don't follow others and make your own path. Well she has chosen her own path one could say, she has become religious after dropping me off at my grandparents house, she wanted to entirely devote herself to God, along with my biological father. After she dropped me off I haven't seen her or them for about 19 years. My grandpa never made any excuses for her, he always said:"This is what happens when you let others get into your head and when your mind is lacking the intellectual knowledge to defend itself against illogic and irrationalism". So to get back to the subject, my biological mother told me that she's has schedule an appointment for my half brother at the local church to cast out his curse. Yup, you heard right, she said curse. She and my half sister firmly believe that my half brother has been cursed and that this is the cause of his deteriorating health condition. They have not once considered that my half brother's, who is in his mid 40's, deteriorating health condition may be due to his unhealthy life style. He got diabetes when he turned 24, he disregarded the doctors orders, he never maintain his blood sugar level properly and whenever doctors told him hey you gotta keep the blood sugar level down, he just replied to them:"Don't tell me what to do, you don't know ****". Well you can image what the consequences of his reckless behavior were. After years of drinking heavily, not watching his diet, he suffered a stroke and subsequently lost his eyesight, his kidneys failed and he is now bedridden. I am sorry if I may seem a bit emotionless, but I am not very close to my biological mom, dad, half brother and sister side of the family.
I guess why I'm sharing this story with you is the fact, that they actually belive in miracle healing, in this day and age. And they are seriously going to church to heal my brother from his curse. What really puzzles me is that religious individuals like them take this illogical premise not only for their own lifes but they also shape our society. Furthermore, they keep on teaching this nonsense to future generations. Instead of actually thinking about themselves, what may have led certain individuals to a certain condition or stage in life. What I find appalling about religion or religious people in general is the lack of individual thought. Years after debating religious apologists I have noticed that they all repeat themselves, they all sound alike. Some try to rephrase certain apologies but they are in it's core the very same. Like my grandpa said, if you keep thinking simple thoughts you will end up with a simple mind. And honestly the bible or any holy scripture is simple in every form. People believed the earth was flat, the sky was made out of water and that stars were little holes in the floor of heaven through which God could watch them through. Yet, the majority of religious people of today, accepts and follows the morals of peasants who lived hundreds if not thousands of years ago without even considering that single fact that it was written by humans for humans hundreds of years ago. Now back to the miracle healing that my family is hopping for.
Claims of miraculous healings are abounded and I want to give my reasoning for why I don't find any of them convincing in the least. For one, miraculous healing claims are invariably shrouded in ambiguity. Most miracle stories are similar to the following hypothetical one. "My cousin Susan was miraculously healed by God. She had a cancerous tumor in her breast and things didn't look good for her. She told her church congregation of the unfortunate news, and so, they all prayed for God to heal her. When she returned to the doctor two weeks later for a mammogram, the cancer was gone. Isn't God great!?" What's wrong with this story, you might ask? Well, for one, there are several things we don't know. For example, did cousin Susan, in fact, have a cancerous tumor or was it simply a breast cyst a condition that causes a temporary lump in the breast from a blocked milk duct. It is estimated that as many as 7,000 women a year are misdiagnosed with breast cancer. So, we really don't know for sure that cousin Susan actually had a cancerous tumor and that, after prayer, the cancerous tumor miraculously disappeared. People often inaccurately relate stories or greatly exaggerate them. Some people are habitual liars, and sometimes, people are just honestly mistaken. All in all, we know that people lie, exaggerate, distort and are often mistaken about the facts. What we don't know is that a supernatural entity performs miracles in response to our prayers.
Here is a little food for thought about miracle healing that every theist should consider: if there was such a thing as miraculous healing, why isn't there ever a totally unambiguous case of it? For example: why isn't there ever a case where a person that had recently lost a limb in a tragic accident is observed growing back that limb after being prayed for? Or why isn't it ever observed that a person with third degree burns over a large portion of their body is instantaneously healed after being prayed for? Even if such healings were an extreme rarity, we would never hear the end of it. Entire books would be written about these mysterious phenomena and at least a few medical journals would have papers describing these occurrences. News networks would be interviewing baffled doctors about their experiences dealing with these cases. Yet, we see nothing of the sort.
Each one of the hypothetical scenarios I described above would be totally unambiguous instances of miracle healing. They would each be visually apparent and their occurrence would leave absolutely no doubt of the existence of the supernatural. Since we don't see things of that nature, it is a reasonable conclusion that, at the very least, no supernatural entities interact within the universe to perform miracles. At the very most, it is an indication that gods do not exist and that it's all just wishful thinking…
Thank you for taking the time to read all this and I appreciate your comments and thoughts!