Teaching the logic of religion

Continuing the discussion from Intelligent Design on Trial:

As long as we teach religion based on magic and not on logic we will fail in a world where we strive to educate people to think logically. If we are afraid to teach that the birth of Jesus was an act of God as much as Mary was pregnant against her will but potentially from a roman soldier as claimed by jewish sources. If that was indeed the case, impregnating a jewish woman was a death sentence for her and a method of oppression still practiced by soldiers to day. Thus to insist on a Jesus creation by magic as the demi gods as in the non-jewish literature is not a helpful concept and we may as well teach Harry Potter in religion.
The word of God - to love thy neighbour like thyself turned this act of selfishness and oppression into a beacon of selfless love and hope. To live the word of God, e.g.to love thy neighbour in this case the baby inside Mary that demanded her and the baby to be killed by the jewish law for adultery required someone to vouch for her such as Joseph to love Mary and Jesus like thyself and accept that child as their own. Perhaps in biology when doing sex education we should teach the logic of biology and the value of human life together with the information that human life is not created by accident or random interaction but by an act that is under the constraint of a non material process, an act of will. Now where that will comes from and what constraints every person puts upon his/her own will is something you should consider well before you go to university. As such religion or worldviews should be taught well before children leave school for university, including the prospect that they will be judged for their actions based upon their worldview when the time comes and have time to think about them without the distraction/ excuse of temporary benefits to your self.

If you look at evolution you can well teach that the survival fitness of everything in existence is determined by their ability to make efficient use of resources, but most of all by the benefit of the existing elements to the whole of the system, e.g. by the ability to love thy neighbour. Nature is ruthless to eliminate you when you are truly individual selfish as you will compete with the overall self that you can call Nature or God.

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I am flagging this as inappropriate unless Brad says that discussion of abortion is allowed here.

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In the interest of keeping threads at least tangentially related to science/theology, we really appreciate if people can avoid making pronouncements about divisive political hot button issues like abortion rights, LGTB rights, terrorism, immigration, etc. When they are brought up, the conversation tends to degenerate quickly.


You are 100% percent correct. I applaud your stand.

sorry and having taken out the A-word references. The issue at hand is far more the non material process in the generation of life.


The question is of you want to follow try to see Christ from a logical point or not. Why would you think I disrespect Jesus if I do not consider him to be a product of magic? Was it that I called him a “bastard”? Should I have said he was the son of a tax collector instead? It is exactly in Jesus that these names lose their meaning as a measure of despise. I could claim the opposite that those who accuse him of magic disrespect his ability not to need magic and miracles to convince people but sheer logic about reality. If we were to recognie the man of God by their ability to do magic that we open the door to the charlatans. My understanding of the logos is that it makes sense thus is comprehensible. Do you love Jesus more because he could turn wine into water or because you suffered with him on the cross. Would it make sense to understand Jesus teaching as to accept it to be an embarrassment to run out of wine at a wedding party because of lack of funds that it needs a miracle to fix that or would you think he wanted to teach the folks that the pure water that was used for ritual cleansing had less value than fermented grape juice? Does it make sense to praise the bridegroom for his honesty not to cut the wine and serve the bet wine least if it was nothing to do with his honesty?

If you want to teach religion in school do you want to teach about the traditions of each religion or do you want to compare them as well as worldviews that have to be coherent in themselves. When approaching worldviews in comparison we should strive to see the common ground and were they deviate from the ideal truth that a worldview should reflect. Considering the wealth of Christian denominations alone, this is not an easy task.
I felt inspired by https://vimeo.com/35613555 to consider comparing different worldviews based on the coherence of the system

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We still need to clean up the certain word above and remove the statement about a Roman Soldier. As a historian, I know that the statement by the Jewish Council is prejudice. No true historian would recognize it. As your lack of faith, that is up to you.


Marvin edited his original post as you can see.

The fact is, in first century Palestine, for everyone who did not believe Mary, Jesus was an illegitimate child. The word in question has an appropriate and an inappropriate use. I didn’t read the original post as being intentionally insulting, but as making a point about valuing human life, even when the presumed conditions of conception are not ideal. Let’s let it go and move on.

thank you for showing some understanding. It is indeed not meant insulting but it is insulting to think of a bastard as something that can be insulting. After all a bastard is a child that is not pure in race and if Jesus is not standing above the definition of race - who is then? To me it is precisely the point why the jews failed to recognise him as the Messiah as they expected him to be a Jew as their God picture still locked them into racial superiority. Jesus is to me categorised by accepting to be seen as the lowest of the low as this category is irrelevant to him and by doing so he gains authority of those who judge by rank and their own superiority. It appears as a paradox to many but by not demanding authority you gain it. By accepting any insult you stand above it as it has no power over you. It is like Jesus having authority over death by not insisting to be spared the cup because of being the son of God but by taking it on.
It is not for no reason that children conceived in rape are referred to as Gods children. Albeit that we all are, their position is special as their conception is anything but the glorification of men, but them being born and loved is a triumph of the selfless love that is of God a trait most often found in women.

Glad we no longer live in first century Palestine. No child is illegitimate as every child has a biological mother and a biological father. In 21st century America, it is society’s responsibility to make sure that every child is cared for, has health care, and is educated to live in a secular scientific world not matter who the child is cared for and loved by.

This is precisely where you are wrong. The point that what God has put together should not be separated by men does not at all mean that it does not matter who the child is cared for and loved by. If you have a human right than it should be to be loved by the parents who created you first and foremost. If you create a human life as an accidential byproduct of your sex and not out of love you devalue life to an accident. To then put the burden of care for the byproduct of your illegitimate sex life onto the rest of society is as selfish as you can get, but perhaps it is coherent with your belief in a mindlessness of creation / evolution. Illegitimacy occurs from the lack of commitment to the joint care by formally taking responsibility for the mother and the child by the father before having sex. Guess it is a consequence of emancipation, e.g. trying to make women more like men. Why would they ever want to sink that low :slight_smile:

This is as offensive as one can get. Let’s see who have you offended: single women raising children, same sex couples raising children, orphans, abandon children, grandmothers taking care of their grandchildren, working woman. Are you sure that you are not living in “Leave it to Beaver” 1950’s America?

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why is it offensive? There is nothing wrong with those who do raise the children out of taking over responsibility but the failure is with those failing to take their responsibility. Responsibility is however a metaphysical concept. So if you teach evolution it would be interesting to ask the kids if they think responsibility or love for thy neighbour has evolved or if they think it it predates our existence unless it would be offensive to mention something as unscientific as love in a secular scientific world.

@marvin, I’m OK with discussing the links between science and morality, but it’s not helpful to just list the things you don’t like in contemporary society (particularly in context of sexuality, which needs to be handled delicately in public conversation) and then just infer that “evolution leads to this” without any proof or evidence or any elaboration. It’s not helpful to just treat evolution as a universal scapegoat for everything we don’t like today. Society’s issues are not reducible to a single scapegoat, and the problems won’t magically go away if we have more “religion”.


thanks for commenting. I know I have trouble making myself understood and I feel like I might miss something here with regards to evolution leading to what or a being a scapegoat. Looks like I say something or that others read something into my comments that I can’t see so I’d appreciate your help. Were do I infer to evolution leading to “this”. Sorry for looking a bit daft but I feel like I need a translator.

The problems of society have nothing to do with evolution apart from the strategy of those who want to use their particular understanding of evolution as an argument to claim that it explains away God which is an irrational argument relying on the argument that the bible would claim humans were made by God sitting on the riverbank making mudpie men. Whilst the bible describes reality in a poetic language thus making it understandable to illiterate people on a conceptual level, by doing so it can also transmit emotional information scientific books fail to deal with. Even the pope last century stated that genesis and the theory of evolution are two different ways to describe the same truth.

My understanding goes to existence being constraint by the word of God and whatever tries to ignore it eliminates itself as ignoring the logic of God is foolish.
Problems will only go away if we apply more logic and less selfishness. Teaching about worldviews and comparing them is the best way to get a common understanding of truth. However considering the wealth of Christian denominations alone makes it difficult to get a consensus here which, if looking at them logically should distill them down to one Christian worldview common to them based on his teachings.

I feel it is necessary to change what was here.

whatever “nothing but a deist” means to you, but "nothing but"sounds very judgemental. I am a Christian that believes in the divinity of Jesus. However I do not measure divinity by bending the rules of reality to our materialistic desires but by the ability to create the rules for reality and make reality understood. If it takes a miracle for someone to let Christ in their heart they can’t really love him for having taken on the cross but for doing magic. And that is too vulnerable a position to be in.

If Christians believe the everlasting life promised by Jesus is just material again as to be resurrected in our material form they lack the faith in a supernatural God. And if so, are we born again in our frail old geriatric body or wrinkle free as a younger self, preferably post puberty in our sexual prime. Similarly,if Christians believe Jesus paid for our sins to appease God, e.g. to quench Gods desire for revenge for the sins of Adam and Eve they do not understand the abandonment of human sacrifice to God that is central to the Abrahamic religion, nor that God did not demand the death of men but told them that if they ate from the tree of self realisation they would die. Thus Christ’s death could not have done anything to please God, apart from him becoming fully one with the father again. He died for us as to make us understand how to return to become one with God again and to be reconciled with him by accepting that thy will be done and submit to his authority again. Death is a logical consequence of eating from the tree of self realisation, e.g. rejecting God’s authority over you, thus removing yourself from being one with the eternal God. God did not say “if you eat from the tree I will let you die / kill you”

Considering that Jesus live in my heart and that I can interact with God through prayer and by trying to follow his word I would say I am a complicated Christian. But so you think I am not a Christian in your eyes because I do not believe in God doing magic but doing logic instead? I hoped that I find a few more “logicians” here at biologos.

P.S. If you want to see a miracle watch the birth of a child. That truly is a miracle but one that is seen just as a normal by those who think miracles to be the abnormal things in nature. To expect miracles with fireworks and all the trimmings happening outside ourselves makes us forget what a miracle God created in us. But that miracle is the logical consequence of the word of God.

I am certainly not a Deist. :grinning: The only Deist I admire is Tom Jefferson, do you remember him over there?

You really don’t make Christianity very appealing. If an educated 21 years old non-Christian read this, they would probably run as far away as possible. :smile: Just like a 21 years old non-Jewish male thinking of converting to Judism, - you want to do what to my what? :smile:


Do you know any Deists who believe in the efficacy of prayer?