Randy, I’m somewhat surprised you are gutsy enough to invite a discussion on a topic where a high percentage of your patrons may be offended and drop their subscriptions, so thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts.
Your statement, “The truth is, we have no evidence to support these beliefs.” Did you mean to say, “No scientific evidence”? For anyone to say there is, “no evidence”, they would have to assert that they have 100% complete knowledge of everything in the entire universe. No rational person would be that arrogant. Most educated people agree there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God. Somewhere in elementary school students in America are introduced to the scientific method and one of the first things they learn is that science depends on two things; observation and repetition. Since God is unique and invisible to our senses the limitations of science renders it incapable of determining His existence. For that matter science can’t prove George Washington existed either. However, there are other ways of knowing truth. Historical and literary evidence is another good way and there is a tremendous amount of evidence that Jesus of Nazareth lived, what he taught, how he died and that he was seen alive again by many people for many days. The problem is that most unbelievers would rather assume what they want to believe and repeat what other non-believers say than take the time and effort of actually examining the evidence. An example of this is a friend of mine who believes what his economics professor had to say about theology, even though that professor had never studied theology. Highly popular in our pluralistic culture is the belief that all religions and their “Holy Books” are basically the same. The only people who would say that are the ones who have never studied religions or read the “Holy Books”. Saying that is like saying a moped and a strip mining truck are basically the same because they both are self-propelled.
For those few who are honest in their desire for truth and are willing to put out some effort, “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis would be a good place to start. After that if you can think deep enough to follow him, his book, “Miracles” will challenge you.
Randy, you asked us to “Imagine” as if we could arrive at truth through imagination. Imagination is not a source of truth. At best it may give us some ideas to test as being true. It is horribly subject to our biases and at worst is mere fantasy. If you want to know what would happen if there was no Supreme Being who will hold us accountable for how we treat each other, turn a few pages of history. Under that system the strongest person becomes the determiner of right and wrong. A group of people are stronger than any individual so the group becomes the determiner of right and wrong. The strongest group (political party) then becomes the highest authority and they set the standard for right and wrong as long as they are in power. Therefore, the Holocaust and creating a world- wide conflict that killed between 50 and 60 million people was right because the Nazis were the ruling group at the time. Similarly, the atheistic Russians were right in murdering 30 million people in the Gulag because it served their best interest. The list goes on and on; East Germany, East Berlin, China, North Korea etc. If there is no higher authority than political parties than these heinous crimes against humanity are simply wrong to us while we are in power.
Please excuse me for being skeptical about your belief in the goodness of the human heart. My life experience and study of history causes me to conclude it is broken and needs fixed. After hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast my church sent thousands of dollars of cash, food, clothing and building supplies to the area. We rotated teams of volunteer workers down and back for two years. The people who went came back saying they saw hundreds of tents all along the devastated area housing relief workers from churches all across America. Our group didn’t see every tent so I can’t say there weren’t any but, none of us saw a single tent from any atheist group, agnostic group, gay rights group, women’s rights group, civil rights group, Pro Choice group, Planned Parenthood or for that matter any Buddhist group, Islamic group, or Hindu group. My church took care of a family after they were evicted from a FEMA trailer because their house wasn’t ready before the government’s regulations expired. The trailer which we all paid taxes for to help the victims was then towed to a huge storage field and parked next to several thousand other vacant FEMA trailers. The fraud and graft in dispensing Federal money was so bad that FEMA had to write volumes of new regulations. However, that created so much red tape that many victims of Super Storm Sandy waited more than a year to get assistance. The relief workers in New Jersey dubbed it the “Katrina Affect”. You don’t have to take my word for this. Ask the people of the gulf coast and the state of New Jersey, “Who were among the first groups to send help and last ones to leave?”
I’m not the only one who is skeptical about your hypothesis of the goodness of the human heart. General MacArthur spoke about it in his address to the world after the Japanese signed the surrender documents September 2, 1945.
The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature and all the material and cultural developments of the past 2000 years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.
Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense through most of the Vietnam War, was considered by most to have a brilliant mind. He was a political liberal and seen by many as an outstanding humanist. In the 2004 documentary “The Fog of War” he said, “I’m not so naïve or simplistic to believe we can eliminate war. We’re not going to change human nature anytime soon.”
You can google these quotes to read the entire speeches or go to a neat little website www.xnuhope.com and click on the “Another Way” tab.
I would like to believe in the goodness of man, but I’m not finding any evidence to support it. Randy, maybe you could lead the way for those who agree with you. You have acquired a lot of wealth and have the ability to give a lot higher percentage of your income to help, “… the homeless people and the abused, the downtrodden and the addicted, the helpless and those without hope? ”, that you spoke about than the average Christian giving a tithe of their average income. Would you publish your 2013 tax return and encourage those who agree with you to publish theirs and prove to me your actions match your imagination?