The Skeptical Christian


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Talk on Skepticism and Christianity

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The Skeptical Christian

  1. 1. Betrayal of a False Dichotomy<br />The Skeptical Christian<br />
  2. 2. It is widely thought that science and religion (particularly Christianity) are at odds.<br />An even larger chasm is seen between the viewpoint of skeptics and those who practice a faith of one kind or another.<br />Faith, or willing credulity is anathema to a skeptic.<br />Faith vs. Skepticism looks like a pretty good dichotomy.<br />A False Dichotomy?<br />
  3. 3. Question Everything<br />Follow Scientific Method to Evaluate Claims<br />The only things worth knowing are those that can be confirmed.<br />Stand up against pseudo-science<br />Stand up against the exploitation of people by charlatans<br />What is a Skeptic?<br />
  4. 4. The social construct?<br />The religious institution?<br />The collection of religious institutions?<br />A particular set of ideals?<br />All of the above are secondary emergent properties of a society engaged in a spiritual practice.<br />What Christianity are we talking about?<br />
  5. 5. The one and only God and creator reconciles the gap between people and that God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.<br />In response Christians are able to commune with God through<br />Prayer<br />Study, especially the Bible<br />The result of which is a transformed human being.<br />All of this is accepted on Faith<br />Christian Spiritual Practice Summarized<br />
  6. 6. Science deals only with the objective, the scientifically verifiable.<br />Spiritual practice deals only with the ineffable vagaries of religious experience.<br />One can’t be used to invalidate the other, even if they can be used to inform the other.<br />Faith is not falsifiable<br />Past secondary assumptions can’t invalidate objective and repeatable observations<br />The Dichotomy that Isn’t<br />
  7. 7. False assumptions pervade both practitioners of skepticism and Christianity.<br />These false assumptions cause great harm and cause the appearance of a dichotomy.<br />False Truths <br />
  8. 8. The Bible as a source of Objective Truth<br />The Bible as inerrant.<br />In Fact:<br />Bible is a collection of accounts of God, personal and tribal, and has a very human history, with very human issues.<br />Not written by an angel, like Koran or Book of Mormon<br />Not handed down by God, as 10 Commandments<br />False Assumptions in Christianity<br />
  9. 9. All truth worth knowing is scientifically knowable<br />All truth is amenable to reason and logic<br />In Fact:<br />Today we can say we know only .0000000001 of 1% of anything, if that.<br />Godel’s Theorem<br />False Syllogism<br />All mortals die. All people are mortals. =>All people die. <br />Socratese is dead. All rocks are dead. => Socratese is a rock.<br />False Assumptions in Skepticism<br />
  10. 10. Precipitates meditation and reflection<br />Provides moral framework<br />Provides for affiliation<br />Reduces stress<br />Provides for Rogerian therapeutic environment.<br />Provides wisdom<br />Objective Benefits of Christian Spiritual Practice<br />
  11. 11. Exposes scammers and liars<br />Keeps people from being exploited<br />Scientific knowledge is brought to bear on issues of the day<br />Provides for an active and robust civil society<br />Provides a common method for coming to agreement<br />Objective Benefits of Skepticism<br />
  12. 12. Faith means you admit you don’t know everything.<br />Think for yourself, don’t accept the institution or other secondary structure on faith.<br />Reject forays into politics and science.<br />Let God out of the box.<br />Reject bad theology!<br />Christian Perspective on Skeptic Realm<br />
  13. 13. There is much that is not falsifiable, therefore much that is not scientifically knowable.<br />Some forays into the scientifically unknowable may actually be worth while.<br />Reject the scammers, but accept the subjective experience of the person.<br />Skeptic Perspective on Christian Realm<br />
  14. 14. I am passionate about science. <br />I greatly admire the power of skepticism and the ability of objective observation to create progress in many areas.<br />I try to apply skepticism as much as possible to my daily life.<br />Personal Passions: Skepticism<br />
  15. 15. I am passionate about my spiritual practice.<br />I greatly admire the power of my spiritual practice to make me a better man, and to reconcile me to others.<br />I try to apply my spiritual practice as much as possible to my daily life.<br />Personal Passions: Christian Practice<br />
  16. 16. I couldn’t imagine living without either of these aspects in my life.<br />I do not find them in conflict, but find that both add immeasurably to my life.<br />Dichotomy Betrayed!<br />Baron Schaaf<br />Blog: http://BaronPonders.Wordpress.Com<br />Twitter: BaronSchaaf<br />Email:<br />