What is religion and who is right?

I grew up in a firm Christian household and went to church every Sunday. For the majority of my life I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the bible was the only thing true in the world. I am now 20 years old and in the past 5 or 6 years my beliefs have shifted. They have not shifted to another religion or another belief but rather to another frame of mind. There are countless numbers of religions out there today on every continent in every country. If you are a religious person imagine what you would believe if you had been born into a Jewish family or perhaps a Hindu family or even a Buddhists family? Would you still be a Christian today? Chances are you would be whatever religion your family is. The Christian religion believes they are right, the Jewish religion believes they are right and so on and so on. If everyone says they are right then who really is right? I can no longer believe that one religion is the absolute truth over all the others. To me it seems ignorant to shut out all other ideas. Religion stresses for the most part love, kindness, understanding, helpfulness, and brotherhood for your fellow human beings. Why then will Christians believe that Jews will go to hell for not believing in Jesus? To me religion is simply the human interpretation of God, whoever it might be. We speak English in America. In Japan they speak Japanese. In Mexico they speak Spanish. In America we celebrate the 4th of July. In Mexico they celebrate cinch de mayo. The French celebrate Bastille Day. It is quite apparent that cultures differ from each other. This can be extended to religion. Just because a culture is different does not mean they are wrong so why is a religion wrong because it is different. If you look at religion in general it all focuses on an all powerful celestial being. Just because people from the Middle East call god Allah and Christians call theirs Jesus does not mean one is better, it simply means that they live in different cultures.

 


On the other side of this debate is religion and atheists. The bible against science. Christians dont believe in evolution as some scientists dont believe in God (this is not to say that all scientists are athiests). Why do these two ideas have to be so far apart. To Christians, the bible is to be taken literally. Though historians are still piecing together history about things that happened 200 years ago, the bible states history word for word nearly 6000 years ago to earths creation. there are no mention of dinosaurs which we have the skeletons to prove their existence. There is no history farther back than about 6000 years ago when the earth was created though science has proven the earth to be millions upon millions of years old. Why can we not think that evolution is simply the mechanism of the creation by God? Something i was always told in church is that our perception of time is not the same as Gods perception of time. Religion cant grasp the fact that maybe the creation of earth took millions and millions of year. Science believes in the big bang theory. The big bang happened and all the elements began to form planets and stars and galaxies and the universe was created. where did the elements come from? where was the singularity in space that was the universe before the big bang? it is hard to imagine what might be beyond our universe and that is where the idea of God comes in. If the big bang theory is true then what started it and where will it go when it ends? The problem with Religion and science is that they are too busy fighting over who is right and who is wrong that they cant stop the see that maybe there is truth in both. Religion makes humans more important than we should be. They give humanity this ego that they are above everything else in the universe under God. In pictures God is portrayed as a man. heaven is reserved for humans and animals have no souls simply because they are not sophisticated enough to have souls. In ancient times eurasia was the world. the world was flat and there was nothing beyond the ocean. then we figure out the world is round and there is land on the other side of the ocean and the world is the center of the universe. then we find out that the sun is the center of the universe. then we find out it is just the center of the solar system and we are just a tiny speck in a galaxy which is just a tiny speck in the universe. There are billions of galaxies with more stars and planets than we can comprehend. Yet to religion, Humans on this planet are the only things that matter to God in the universe he created. The bible was a way of humans attempt to understand the world around them when there was no other means of comprehension. now science is telling us more about this universe than the bible ever could, but science cant always answer every question we have. I guess in the end we need to look at both perspectives and draw knowledge from both. science has told us the universe was created by the big bang. Maybe the big bang is just the means by which God created the universe. There are things in this Universe far beyond our comprehension that we will never understand, that is why it is important not to dismiss anything as a possibility whether it be science or religion.       

 

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New fossils suggest human ancestors evolved in Europe, not Africa

Experts argue the jaws of an ancient European ape reveal a key human ancestor.

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  • The jaw bones of an 8-million-year-old ape were discovered at Nikiti, Greece, in the '90s.
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Homo sapiens have been on earth for 200,000 years — give or take a few ten-thousand-year stretches. Much of that time is shrouded in the fog of prehistory. What we do know has been pieced together by deciphering the fossil record through the principles of evolutionary theory. Yet new discoveries contain the potential to refashion that knowledge and lead scientists to new, previously unconsidered conclusions.

A set of 8-million-year-old teeth may have done just that. Researchers recently inspected the upper and lower jaw of an ancient European ape. Their conclusions suggest that humanity's forebearers may have arisen in Europe before migrating to Africa, potentially upending a scientific consensus that has stood since Darwin's day.

Rethinking humanity's origin story

The frontispiece of Thomas Huxley's Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature (1863) sketched by natural history artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

As reported in New Scientist, the 8- to 9-million-year-old hominin jaw bones were found at Nikiti, northern Greece, in the '90s. Scientists originally pegged the chompers as belonging to a member of Ouranopithecus, an genus of extinct Eurasian ape.

David Begun, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto, and his team recently reexamined the jaw bones. They argue that the original identification was incorrect. Based on the fossil's hominin-like canines and premolar roots, they identify that the ape belongs to a previously unknown proto-hominin.

The researchers hypothesize that these proto-hominins were the evolutionary ancestors of another European great ape Graecopithecus, which the same team tentatively identified as an early hominin in 2017. Graecopithecus lived in south-east Europe 7.2 million years ago. If the premise is correct, these hominins would have migrated to Africa 7 million years ago, after undergoing much of their evolutionary development in Europe.

Begun points out that south-east Europe was once occupied by the ancestors of animals like the giraffe and rhino, too. "It's widely agreed that this was the found fauna of most of what we see in Africa today," he told New Scientists. "If the antelopes and giraffes could get into Africa 7 million years ago, why not the apes?"

He recently outlined this idea at a conference of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

It's worth noting that Begun has made similar hypotheses before. Writing for the Journal of Human Evolution in 2002, Begun and Elmar Heizmann of the Natural history Museum of Stuttgart discussed a great ape fossil found in Germany that they argued could be the ancestor (broadly speaking) of all living great apes and humans.

"Found in Germany 20 years ago, this specimen is about 16.5 million years old, some 1.5 million years older than similar species from East Africa," Begun said in a statement then. "It suggests that the great ape and human lineage first appeared in Eurasia and not Africa."

Migrating out of Africa

In the Descent of Man, Charles Darwin proposed that hominins descended out of Africa. Considering the relatively few fossils available at the time, it is a testament to Darwin's astuteness that his hypothesis remains the leading theory.

Since Darwin's time, we have unearthed many more fossils and discovered new evidence in genetics. As such, our African-origin story has undergone many updates and revisions since 1871. Today, it has splintered into two theories: the "out of Africa" theory and the "multi-regional" theory.

The out of Africa theory suggests that the cradle of all humanity was Africa. Homo sapiens evolved exclusively and recently on that continent. At some point in prehistory, our ancestors migrated from Africa to Eurasia and replaced other subspecies of the genus Homo, such as Neanderthals. This is the dominant theory among scientists, and current evidence seems to support it best — though, say that in some circles and be prepared for a late-night debate that goes well past last call.

The multi-regional theory suggests that humans evolved in parallel across various regions. According to this model, the hominins Homo erectus left Africa to settle across Eurasia and (maybe) Australia. These disparate populations eventually evolved into modern humans thanks to a helping dollop of gene flow.

Of course, there are the broad strokes of very nuanced models, and we're leaving a lot of discussion out. There is, for example, a debate as to whether African Homo erectus fossils should be considered alongside Asian ones or should be labeled as a different subspecies, Homo ergaster.

Proponents of the out-of-Africa model aren't sure whether non-African humans descended from a single migration out of Africa or at least two major waves of migration followed by a lot of interbreeding.

Did we head east or south of Eden?

Not all anthropologists agree with Begun and his team's conclusions. As noted by New Scientist, it is possible that the Nikiti ape is not related to hominins at all. It may have evolved similar features independently, developing teeth to eat similar foods or chew in a similar manner as early hominins.

Ultimately, Nikiti ape alone doesn't offer enough evidence to upend the out of Africa model, which is supported by a more robust fossil record and DNA evidence. But additional evidence may be uncovered to lend further credence to Begun's hypothesis or lead us to yet unconsidered ideas about humanity's evolution.