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J.R. Buchanan

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May 2nd, 2015

Religion and Science and Love and Compassion

Last week I found myself in an argument with an atheist. I'm not in the habit of arguing religion, or pretty much anything else on the Internet. Fortunately I didn't get too invested in the argument, and I finally left it with the statement, "I'm not going to argue with someone who tells me what I should believe, and then attacks me for those beliefs which he projected on me."

This all started when I re-pinned a picture of a sign that said, "Please do Not feed the Fears" on Pinterest, which the original pinner had labeled with the quote, "Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Innocent enough, it would seem.

But I got attacked by someone who wanted to blame every wrong committed in the name of God to me, and who started to tell me of all the evils condoned in the Bible. I was accused of rejecting science, which I am a strong believer in. I was accused of being close minded and of supporting the desire to kill LGBT people and of condoning slavery. Because Bible.

I tried to explain that he was not speaking of the God I believed in, and tried to explain that I believed in a God of acceptance and love, and that I rejected some parts of the Bible as being written by fallible humans, and that other parts of the Bible that while, true, were true in in a metaphorical way. I believe that trying to hew to a literal belief of everything stated in the Bible leads to evil -much like he apparently does.

I explained that I felt that Christianity was only one possible legitimate religious/spiritual belief, and that many of the others, as well as atheism, were all valid, worthwhile, viewpoints.

I was immediately accused of cherry-picking (which I explained was not an insult to me) and was told what I had to believe if I were a Christian, either I had to match his conception of what a Christian was, or I had to be an atheist -no third choice was possible.

That's when I bowed out of the argument.

An atheist telling me what I had to believe to be a Christian? My church doesn't even tell me that (Christian Church Disciples of Christ -"No Creed but Christ"). I just don't accept people telling me what I have to believe.

What do I believe? I believe that it's not "Religion vs. Science", "Religion OR Science", but rather, "Religion AND Science" As an article I once read said, "Science explores knowledge, religion explores consciousness." I believe in a God who loves all his creations, and who does not reject anyone for their beliefs or actions. Radical love. I believe that we were taught to do the same. That's the part of the Bible that is inspiring.

I am very much not a conservative Christian, and I don't believe that all other religions and spiritual beliefs are bankrupt. So when I typed, "science is very real and through it we learn about how God created the universe and how he ordered it to work", and got back, "That statement supports Hinduism, Islam, etc. as much as it does Christianity", I wanted to slap my head and say, "Well you seem to understand me, why are we arguing?"

At least I had a lesson that I learned long ago, "Don't argue on the Internet" reinforced.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

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