Mailvox: the divine metric

G asks a question that is much easier than many who ask it suppose it to be:

I was brought up in a Presbyterian church and settled in Church of God (national headquarters to boot). I have been a staunch believer and keeper of the faith for well over 30 years. I have begun to question why the Bible is the Truth. I’ve spoken with members of more than a few faiths (and others without faith) & as we know they all KNOW their God is the true & powerful force in the universe, all galaxies, clusters, solar systems, planets, but most significantly our lil inhabitable asteroid. I was raised a Christian and the only way to get to the promise land is through Christ. Allah and others have a different plan for the ultimate prize. Folks are dieing and have killed for gods that their parents told them was real and true. Why am I blessed to have parents that taught me the “right” religion. My Jewish pal & atheist pals are more than pleased with what they have been taught.

As far as the Bible,(noted that I did not do the research myself) tis my understanding that several books were left out or added to the original work? That a group of men decided which books would be in the teachings that the world would learn and preach as the truth. Some say they were guided by a divine hand (no free will?). Also, I know it is a tired argument but I have not ever received a answer that quite satisfies me- the talking serpents, forbidden fruit, adam and eve- who recorded they info,a rib, much of Jesus’ time written about was well after his death (accuracy?). Some things are to be taken litteraly & some are fables – which ones – who decides – each church and divisions within have different interpretations. I seem to get the “He works in mysterious ways & some things we’ll never know”. That is a whole cart load of bison dung. I don’t know- guess im rambling now with errant thoughts but I’m beginning to question my faith as measured by others faiths & those with a lack of a belief in a god or gods. Using Occams Razor, it is pretty well deduced that I well have been wasting my time. I non-trivially pray that I’m wrong and will once again see the light.

First, G reveals that his “research”, such as it is, doesn’t even rise to the level of reading Wikipedia about the major world religions. He hasn’t actually spoken to “members of more than a few faiths”; we know this because only a very small number of religions are even monotheistic and therefore make the sort of claim of God that G erroneously declares they do. Of the five religions with a globally significant number of faithful, precisely two of them believe in a ruling divinity, Christianity and Islam.

And it is a tremendous misapplication of Occam’s Razor to think that it favors atheism in any way. The correct divine metric is to compare the truth claims of a religion or anti-religion with observable reality. Is it true, for example, that the poor will always be with us or was Marx correct and the elimination of poverty is merely a matter of first establishing the worker’s paradise? Does Man have free will, as the Bible teaches, or are two of the leading New Atheists right to declare, like the Muslims, that he does not? Is Sam Harris correct in insisting that religion is the greatest current threat to human existence, and if so, how has it failed to destroy the planet for the previous 8,000 years of recorded human history?

The Bible says “seek and ye shall find”. But, of course, it is necessary to do so in a genuine spirit of honest inquiry. If it is patently obvious to me that G’s “search” has hitherto been superficial and unserious, I tend to doubt it is capable of fooling God. Furthermore, before attempting to wrestle with the queen of all sciences, I strongly suggest G cut his teeth on some easier ones. The fact that he appears to believe that he presently dwells upon an “inhabitable asteroid” suggests that his ability to correctly distinguish between fact and fiction is rather limited.