Preaching/teaching

Is religious preaching trying to teach us something or trying to convince us of something?

I spent nine years going to lectures at university. During those lectures no one tried to convince me of anything. They generally took the form of a bored lecturer getting through his notes for the nth time just to cover the syllabus. Even when the lecturer in question had authored the recommended text he (nearly always a he in physics thirty years ago) was seldom enthusiastic. On the rare occasion when a younger lecturer had retained some personality or enthusiasm he still wasn't trying to convince us of anything, just eager to share a bit of interesting knowledge and keen that we should be as interested in it as he still was. Sadly I never went to a lecture by Richard Feynman or anyone of his calibre.

Keep reading Show less

Design critique

Apparently the evidence of design is all around us, I just don't see it.

Let’s suppose that a transcendent deity 'designed' and created the universe for the sole purpose of populating it with beings 'in his own image' and interacting with them, acting on an impulse somewhat akin to the human urge to become a parent. Does the universe that we observe accord with this supposition?

Keep reading Show less

The power of prayer

What is the purpose of prayer?

Today I heard Christians on the radio praying for those affected by swine flue.

Keep reading Show less

The nature of belief

I think that there are diffrent ways that we use the term 'belief'.

I'm trying to understand what people mean when they say that they believe something.

If you drop an object you might express your expectation that it would fall to the ground as a belief. Such a belief is based on a life time of experience. The evidence of your experience leads you to deduce that what has happen previously in similar circumstances is likely to occur again. For less familiar physical phenomena you would test, by repeating actions, just how something works. This is hypothesis and theory as belief.

Keep reading Show less