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A recent blog post of mine was the beginning of an online exchange between myself and a friend and coworker, Marcelo.  Marcelo and I disagree on the subject of God’s existence, he being a naturalist while I’m a Christian.  But we also enjoy a good, reasonable discussion, and thought that even if we don’t end up changing each other’s beliefs in the matter, it could be a mentally stimulating exercise that could broaden both of our perspectives.  If you’re interested in this topic, I encourage you to follow along on my site and on his.  The following is in response to his post linked below.

Response to “Religious Worldview: It Doesn’t Suit Me

Marcelo wrote: One set of rules tells me that questioning is bad and that I’ll go to hell if I even think about questioning it. The other one tells me that if I question the rules and find something interesting, I may even get a prize for it and perhaps be recognized in history as a smart person. It also doesn’t require me to “believe” anything, for everything is discoverable. If I want, I can try to prove it all by myself, and unless I make a mistake, or find an error in their rules, I’ll arrive to the same conclusions. Needless to say, I’d rather spend 60 years trying to understand the Big Bang than reading a story that must not be tampered with, or I’ll forever roast in a pit of lava while others rejoice.

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As an engineer, I work with a lot of smart people who are logically- and scientifically-minded.  I share this perspective, so it makes for a comfortable and enjoyable environment for me.  However, many at my workplace and in the larger scientific community hold to a naturalistic worldview akin to that espoused by its more vocal proselyte, Richard Dawkins.  While I do not intend in this post to present a complete rebuttal to this perspective, I do want to explain how I, a self-considered “reasonable” man, can be both a devout Christian and an honest lover of science.  I’ve already presented much of this in a video series that I’m almost done uploading (ran into a snag with Blip.tv and I’m migrating to Vimeo), so feel free to check it out.  But I thought it’d be valuable to give a more succinct summary in writing.  I considered writing an original post, but then read through an exchange I had with an atheist friend of mine a while back, and thought I’d just post it.  I’ve paraphrased his comments so as not to reprint them without permission.

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Tonight at the Bible study I attend, the issue of abortion came up.  Our brief discussion inspired me to expand upon some points I made in a post a year ago, which led to a valuable exchange with some friends in the comments: read it here.

I won’t reiterate that entire post, but our conversation tonight reinforced my opinion that the pulpit really isn’t the right place to address this topic.  The moment the church starts making a religious issue out of abortion, we’ve conceded the idea that it is a judgment call that’s determined by personal beliefs.  If being pro-life garners its mandate from a religious movement, its adoption will be largely limited to that sphere.  This approach often leads to debating abortion on an emotional level with women who either wish to assert their feminine rights, or defend their decision in light of the motherly hardships they’d have to endure without the presence of a committed husband/father.  While I feel for the women in these situations, debating the issue in this way is completely beside the point and, again, implies that it is still a personal judgment call.

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So I just saw this article on MSNBC about that extreme Baptist church in Kansas which protests the funerals of soldiers and AIDS victims, all in the name of God. These people (including their children) can be seen carrying signs that say “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “God is America’s Terrorist” and “God Hates Fags.” These people are disgusting, but particularly to me as a Christian. Their argument is that God hates homosexuality (which the Bible does clearly state is a sinful lifestyle), America is becoming too tolerant of homosexuality (a sign of America becoming more sinful), and that God is now attacking America as punishment for this degradation through war, disease and natural disasters (an argument that commits the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy).

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