Thursday, August 26, 2004

Feelin' Controversial!

There was a time when I believed that it was a really bad idea to ever discuss religion with anybody. I have long since decided, however, that I don't really care if people disapprove of my religious beliefs. I therefore fearlessly filled out this religion survey.

Religion Definition
are you mono or polytheistic?Atheisitic.
do you subscribe to a major religion?No.
how do you feel about Jesus?Don't know him personally.
what holy book do you feel is most accurate (Bible, Koran, etc)I imagine it'd likely be possible for an unbiased scholar to determine which document, overall, was most historically accurate, based on the amount of time the text existed as oral tradition before being written down, the extent to which it treats of obviously historical rather than obviously mythological subjects, the extent to which it is corroborated by archeological evidence, etc. But I'm hardly qualified to make that judgement.
do you believe in reincarnation?No.
do you believe in the traditional heaven and hell?No.
do you believe in ANY heaven and/or hell?Junior High School is the very definition of Hell on Earth. Other than that, no.
do you think the god(s) are vengeful or nice?I think they're nonexistent, except as fictional entities.
do you believe in angels?No.
do you believe in miracles?I believe in the laws of physics, and that, by definition, nothing can happen that violates the laws of physics. I do believe that wildly improbable things happen: with six billion people on the planet, six people are probably experiencing one-in-a-billion coincidences at any given moment. And I believe that wonderful things happen. So, to the extent that people use the word "miracle" to describe improbable or wonderful (or wonderfully improbable) things, sure, I believe in 'em. In any sort of supernatural sense, though, no.
do you believe in predestination?I don't have a huge problem with the concept of determinism, which I suppose is at least akin to predestination. But I'm not sure to what extent the universe (and all of our actions) are pre-determined by initial states and the working of the laws of physics, and to what extent quantum uncertainty throws a wrench into that worldview.
do you believe in original sin?No.
do you believe in freedom of will?See the answer to "predestination." Actually, I think that's a very complex philosophical problem, and that my answer depends a great deal on what you mean by "free will." So I'll just say, um, "yes and no," and leave the complete discussion for another time.
do you believe in souls?If by "soul" you mean something mystical, supernatural, and immortal, no.
what do you think will happen to you when you die?The world will go on without me.
do you think there will be an armageddon?As in an actual battle between the forces of good and evil, kind of thing? Um, no. World-destroying cataclysm is always a possibility, though. Just ask the dinosaurs. Oh, wait, you can't.
why do you think we exist?Well, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much...
do you believe in life on other planets?I think it's extremely likely that life exists somewhere other than here. How common it is, though, I really have no clue. I don't think we have sufficient data to know what numbers to plug into the Drake equation.
do you believe in evolution?It's a very well-verified process.
do you think religion and science will always oppose the other?I don't think they're necessarily always in opposition, although the basic worldviews behind them do seem to me to be pretty incompatible.
what would you say to God if you met him/her/them today?You're not going to hold it against me, right?
anything else we should know?While I'm not religious, I do regard myself as a basically moral person. I think the best basis for human morality is simple compassion.


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