Review: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Published 6 years ago by

By Vic Holtreman

Short version: Your opinion of the film will with almost complete certainty be predicted by your opinions on Darwinism vs Intelligent Design.

expelled review Review: Expelled: No Intelligence AllowedYes, I know everyone is looking for reviews of Morgan Spurlock’s Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? Here’s a spoiler: He doesn’t find Osama. His movie is funny and entertaining, but I think this film will generate far more debate and discussion and is as relevant to what’s happening today as Spurlock’s movie.

Having said that, I believe that writing this review is almost a pointless exercise, but I’ll write it anyway. Why? Because your opinion of the film will with almost complete certainty be predicted by your opinions on Darwinism vs Intelligent Design.

I’ve been scouring a few sites looking to see what people thought of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and it is expectedly getting skewered. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 9% at the time of this writing and over at IMDB.com it’s sitting at 3.3/10. The interesting thing about the rating over at IMDB is that 88% of the votes are either a “1″ or a “10,” with very few in between. I’m guessing that most of the votes on the “1″ side are from people who haven’t even seen the film.


Much like the reviews and viewer opinions of Michael Moore’s psuedo-documentaries or Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” are influenced by whether the person in question agrees with the views espoused in those films, that will be the situation here in even more stark relief. Considering the fact that most reviewers over at RT loved those films, it’s no surprise to me that Ben Stein’s film was skewered.

I don’t blame anyone – it’s just about impossible to judge a documentary on a hot-button subject without bringing personal bias into it.

A couple of the eventual items that will be highlighted in the movie are hinted at with the opening credits, which are made up of what looks like old archival footage from World War II. The movie credits are blended in to look like they are part of the original footage, which I thought was kind of cool. Ben Stein walks onto the stage of a crowded auditorium to talk about the fact that no matter the era, freedom is the one constant that has defined America throughout its history.

From there he goes on to expand on his main point: No, it’s not that Intelligent Design theory is superior to Darwinism… but that the mere mention of I.D. by someone in an academic position can lead to not only denial of tenure, but to outright censure and loss of their position. You read that right: not the teaching of the theory – just the mention of it as a possible valid theory.

He interviews a number of academicians and scientists who have met the fates described above and cites what led to their firings, etc.. Stein also interviews those in institutes of higher learning that came pretty close to visibly spitting whenever they were questioned about the topic.

One of the things that has people up in arms about this film is that Ben Stein draws a connection between Darwinism and Nazi Germany. He says quite clearly that he is NOT implying that Darwinists are Nazis – only that Hitler was influenced by the theory and sought to “accelerate” human evolution by eliminating the weak, infirm and supposedly inferior races.

I understand Stein’s reason for including this in the film – more than one athiest in the film emphasized the belief in no ultimate moral standards. The logical conclusion from that is that due to the idea of moral relativism (“well, maybe that was considered bad 50 years ago but times have changed”) is that eventually we could go beyond abortion and voluntary euthanasia to selecting people to be euthanized “for the good of mankind/the human race/our country” with no guilt of sense of wrongdoing.

The problem here is that the idea of a “designed” universe is rejected out of hand, there IS no room for discussion (similar to the global warming debate). If someone disagrees they are shouted down with “idiot/ignorant/stupid” and of course, “creationist.” End of conversation.

As far as I’m concerned, the unadulterated hubris of those in academia in their 100% certainty that there is no God in a universe where so much is still unknown is for lack of another word, galling.

You’re either going to think that Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a huge disinformation campaign of a film and hate it, or you’re going to think that it’s a big eye opener when it comes to the current dangers to our freedom and the discussion of important issues.

On a final note, I’ll be monitoring the comments below carefully. I’ve said before that I have NO problem with people with opposing opinions as long as those opinions are stated in an intelligent and civil manner with no personal attacks. In any case, especially online, I’ve found these discussions pointless as no one is going to change anyone’s opinion on either side.

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5
(Must-See)

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TAGS: 4 star movies, expelled

202 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. “Stop being so damned level-headed! lol :-)”

    Well, that would certainly make things easier on me, but I think I’ll try to keep on the harder road I’ve chosen to take. I’m truly afraid of what I might do if I don’t.

  2. Well, that didn’t post as planned. Forgot what format HTML tags take.

    Just so put things in perspective, I was chuckling grimly as I typed it.

  3. Hello.

    My name is Gerry Rzeppa and I’ve written a short children’s book in answer to the works of Richard Dawkins. Unlike his ponderous tomes, however, mine has lots of pictures, rhymes, and can be read, cover to cover, in ten minutes.

    I’m offering the doctor $64,000 of my very own money if he will join me before a live audience to answer a single question about my little poem. I’ll read the story aloud and pose the mystery query. He’ll answer and walk away with the loot. Simple as that.

    You can view the official challenge here:

    http://www.rzeppa-vs-dawkins.com

    And you can read my little story by clicking thru from the challenge site or going directly here:

    http://www.someofthepartsbook.com

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Gerry Rzeppa

    PS. Loved Expelled

  4. Something I found last night if anyone is interested. On Ravi Zacharias’ website, he’s got a series of mp3s where he is discussing many of the things touched on in the last day in the context of how to explain evil in the world. I haven’t finished the first one yet, but I understand he is doing this in participation with an Atheistic scholar and a Hindu scholar.

    He moves fast and he’s brilliant, but it’s also really good:

    feed://www.rzim.org/includes/rss/lmptPodcastRSS.php

  5. I respect your opinion, but the fact is that not all public school students are Christians, so the schools have to respect those students beliefs as well. Hindus, Shintos, Buddhists, and atheists may be the minority, but they don’t deserve to be victimized because they don’t believe in the Christian’s deity.

    I went on some website that asked the user questions about their religion. Once I was done, it said I was a Protestant Christian, a Jehovah Witness, a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon), Buddhist, Hindu, about every religion on the planet. :o)

    If their is to be religion in the school, all religions should be represented (as long as that religion doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others).

    The Ten Commandments was given to the Jews but are ment for all.

    1. The first commandment to have no other god doesn’t have God’s name (i.e. it doesn’t say “Have no other god but Yahweh”). If you don’t believe in a god, ignore it.

    2. The 2nd to not make any graven image is so that people wouldn’t place their faith in an image, only God. Again, if you don’t believe in God, ignore it.

    3. “Do not take the Lord your God’s name in vain”. Again, what name? Insert your god’s name: Zeus, Vishnu, James Kirk, whatever LOL. And again, if you have no god, ignore it.

    4. We all need a day of rest for our physical and mental well-being. This day should be a sanctified day, whether you are Christian or not. For the Christian, we go to Church and praise God because it is a day symbolizing God resting from His creation. For the athiest, use that day sleep, read, relax, that’s all it’s saying.

    5 – 10. These are self explanatory (honor your father and your mother, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness (lie), do not be envious).

    FlameStrike, you may have a moral center without these commandments but I know of people (and some are Christians) who need to read these every once and a while. I know of someone who slept with a woman and bragged about it not being his wife. When I informed him that that was adultery, he said no, it wasn’t, because his wife didn’t know about it. This same person claims to be Christian.

    I believe that religion should be a part of school but as a philosophy class. In this class, they should examine the history of religions and the moral teachings each cling to. I wrote a paper once to my bible study class on the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity. So many Christians tend to beat up all religions except their own without really understanding what that religion offers. The love of fellow man and self-actualization are not inate qualities to man but need to be taught to our youth. As you have said, parents have sorely lacked in this but I know of some kids who are so-called “bad kids” even when the parents have tried all they can.

    Sorry about going on-and-on. This is a subject that really hits home to me. Vic, sorry if I went off topic or got too religious.

  6. No John, you’re cool. I didn’t point out a few other posts due to their religious content, but due to their accusatory or aggressive tone.

    Great comment… it’s annoying that it’s the sort of Christian you highlighted above that seems to get all the press, and not the ones who travel so Mexico to build homes/shelters for the poor.

    Vic

  7. posting the Ten Commandments and having organized prayers in public schools is tantamount to state sponsorship of Christianity. All the above quote does, in my opinion, is support my argument.

    Again, what about a moment of silence? That was overthrown because the courts believe it’s too much like prayer. Also, prayer isn’t a Christian thing. Buddhists, Sikhists, Hindu, Muslum, etc… pray. Why can’t they have a moment of silence where a person could silently pray or just sit for 1 minute?

  8. Again, what about a moment of silence? That was overthrown because the courts believe it’s too much like prayer. Also, prayer isn’t a Christian thing. Buddhists, Sikhists, Hindu, Muslum, etc… pray. Why can’t they have a moment of silence where a person could silently pray or just sit for 1 minute?

    I just don’t think schools should have a mandated period for prayer or silent reflection or anything. When you’re in class, do your school work. If you feel like praying before class, show up 2 minutes early and do your prayer. Pray between classes. Pray at lunch break. Pray on the bus. That’s all fine and dandy. I just don’t think the school should mandate a period for anything other than education. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to do their own prayer thing during the school day. Sounds reasonable, no? Cheers!

  9. I believe that religion should be a part of school but as a philosophy class.

    100% agree with you there! And that’s where the whole theme of this movie comes in. The proponents of ID want religion as a part of “science” class, not philosophy. And that makes my head want to explode because the presupposition of religion is the antithesis of the scientific method… =)

  10. Those today, who sound like they want the US to be a Christian Theocracy, are where I see people trying to take away America.

    America should never be a Christian Theocracy, or any religious theocracy. The 1st amendment was written so that America doesn’t become another England with one religion dominating. I totally agree with this.

  11. I just don’t think schools should have a mandated period for prayer or silent reflection or anything. When you’re in class, do your school work. If you feel like praying before class, show up 2 minutes early and do your prayer. Pray between classes. Pray at lunch break. Pray on the bus. That’s all fine and dandy. I just don’t think the school should mandate a period for anything other than education. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to do their own prayer thing during the school day. Sounds reasonable, no? Cheers!

    Darron, that does sound reasonable, except I know for a fact that a school in my neck of the woods forced a group of kids to stop praying when they were at lunch. They didn’t force anyone to join them in prayer but they were forced to stop. I don’t remember anything like that happening when I was in school.

  12. Interesting. Those of you that are so sure that “we” will “see” anything must realize that the body dies and with it, the human brain dies.

    Basic Psychological tests thoroughly demonstrate that the physical working brain is responsible for interpreting our world. Without it, there is no self-concept, no memories, no sensory or perception, no emotion, no personality, no nothing. You will not see anything as you will not exist (self concept is gone…sorry) and you will have no eyes, nor will you have the nervous system that communicates between your sensory organs and the brain, nor will you have memories of the world to compare them to.

    So I guess it’s up to you to explain just how one can experience any kind of after life. Just accept death for what it is; the end. This whole religion grasping thing is a defense mechanism because you just can’t handle death. Eternity would suck people – you would go mad.

    And another note, Atheism is just the lack of belief in god -that’s it. There is no other Atheist position. We just don’t buy what you’re selling…and I know that you find that threatening.

    As for ID -it’s just a notion. Why aren’t you at schools protesting to get Unintelligent Design taught? Shouldn’t it be given the same chance? C’mon – the waste pipes go through the recrecational area for goodness sakes! This movie is just another case of the Christian Majority crying wolf with the martyr complex, upset that they can’t force everyone to believe like they do.

    Bottom Line: ID can’t stand up to even the most basic of scrutiny. It’s completely based on a fallacy; the argument from Ignorance; you don’t understand how “it” happened so “God” did it. It’s also a non sequitor; the conclusion just doesn’t follow from the premise.

    1. Stuff exists
    2. Seems complex to me (subjective opinion for one)
    3. I don’t know how…so…
    4. God did it.

    Sorry if I don’t buy that logic.

    Ben also commits the fallacy of false dichotomy because there are more than just these two options and these two options are not mutually exclusive.

    As for Science addressing the concept of “god” we’d need to get a concrete definition of the term but that will never happen since theocrats keep moving the goal posts. Can’t prove a negative right? Well, it’s the one making the outstanding claim who should be providing the outstanding evidence (God exists). But, I’ll take it a step further -you define “God” and we’ll see about proving it’s non existence.

    Let’s go with a commonly-agreed definition: God is perfect, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent, and created everything.

    Well sorry folks but that definition implodes on itself. First of all, a perfect being has no need to create “anything” – it should be quite satisfied with itself. Got bored, lonely, or power-hungry? Well, sorry, those all prove imperfection. Omnibenevolent defeats itself because terrible things have happened to human, plant and animal alike, even before any great “fall” that’s always used as some reverse-mental-gymnastic way of explaining things.

    Last but not least, if god is everywhere (omnipresent) and we look anywhere, we should be able to find her. Just think, how do you know what you know about “god”? You were taught…by other humans who don’t know anymore than anyone else. But if that’s what you need to keep your crazy self moral, then more power to you. Some of us aren’t so primative.

    But ultimately it’s a moot point: I shouldn’t have to demonstrate the crazy conflicting impossible definition of every god ever proposed to exist throughout the history of time; you make the claim the guy exists and demands stuff, you demonstrate why I should bother believing you for one instant?

    Oh yes, morality -it’s a learned behavior. No matter what you believe, one can be moral or immoral. Otherwise, millions of Atheist Buddhists (and they don’t believe in a personal god) would be psycho raving mad.

    Also, just because one can punch holes in Evolutionary Biology does not make the other side automatically right, especially since there are more than just two sides anyway. Ben fails to grasp that as well. You could prove Evolution completely wrong and it wouldn’t make ID any closer to making a lick of sense.

    And I find it funny that people are so hostile to a tested theory (yes in the lab and out in the field) that’s only 95% accurate but they’re fully willing to blindly accept the “poof” notion of Creationism without a shred of evidence. I’m no mathemetician but I’m pretty sure 95%>0%. Explain that to me? I think perhaps the Creationists and knuckle-draggers are so threated by Evolution that they just don’t feel as special for some reason.

    Listen, you don’t need an ancient old man sky fairy threatening you with hellfire or promising rewards for eternity to give your life meaning. This computer I bought a few years ago is already obsolete and will not work forever but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it and take care of it now. Since it’s not immortal I don’t have the nihilistic desire to trash it up against the wall!

  13. A couple of responses:

    Darron: “The proponents of ID want religion as a part of “science” class, not philosophy. ”

    You missed one of the points of the movie if that is your conclusion. The scientists they interviewed were following the trail of the evidence, the data, and macro-evolution failed in their scientific estimation to adequately explain the facts (this was especially clear from the gentleman who was writing for the Smithsonian). This was a science matter, not a ‘religious’ matter, or philosophy (except in the matter of epistomology), and therefore appropriate for discussion in scientific circles including the classroom. It’s just too easy a dismissal and IMHO not honest to follow the MacEvol party line and dismiss the discussion as ‘religious’.

    From Flint yesterday, 2p.m-ish:”But of course they are not. Sternberg, Gonzalez, et. al. did NOT lose their positions for their religious beliefs (but, being creationists, they have no compunctions about bearing false witness if they are Lying For Jesus.”

    I’d be very careful here about who I’d call a liar (especially the generalization about ‘creationists having no compuction about lying’). After some investigation on my own in the past day, it’s looking more like a he said/he said situation. The story as presented in the movie is from the point of view of those profs in question and the non-ID related loss of tenure, etc., seems to be from the point of view of the universities in question. Indications I’m seeing is that this latter is the universities’ cover story. I’m not drawing any certain conclusions from that, but it should give pause to making such judgements. I am curious of your source on those accusations, because the main contention of this flick was censorship of scientific inquiry.

  14. I’d be very curious to see how Sternberg reacts to “The Facts” presented here:

    http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/sternberg

    Doesn’t the movie clearly state that Sternberg was FIRED from the Smithsonian? And the Smithsonian has come forward and stated, with records, that he was an “unpaid research associate”. I think there were a LOT more details to the situation than what the movie let on. The movie delivered one abbreviated side of the story, and then tried to take cameras into the Smithsonian “without an appointment” to get their side of the story! Everyone knows that you can’t take cameras in without an appointment, but they make it looks like the filmmakers were turned away like the Smithsonian was hiding something. Very Michael Moorish if you ask me… I hate dishonest filmmaking, regardless of the political opinion… I call it “creatively lying to people”. Sad…

  15. Very well thought out and direct post abb3w! I wish I had your level of coherent thinking!

    To 790,

    “Some see nothing some tell of having a life review or seeing heaven. Some even hang around the hosptial….”

    I remember reading about this study in a hospital where there was a high occurence of people flat-lining and then being brought back in the ER. And many of the people claimed they were above their bodies floating and looking down on the room and watching the doctors work on their bodies to bring them back. This was happening many times over, so some doctors in the ER decided to test this by putting objects on top of the shelves in the room. Stuff that couldn’t be seen by a person IN the room, but only by someone floating above it. They interviewed all the people who claimed to have been floating “out of body” while they were deceased but none were ever able to tell the doctors what objects were on top of the shelves! I know it’s not a proof or anything, but it’s interesting none the less, don’t you think?

  16. Oh, Vic, as for your 8AM question about the “how” of speciation, Wikipedia’s entry on “Speciation” has a good overview of the main individual types, with links to the individual entries: Allopatric, Peripatric, Parapatric, and Sympatric.

    Contrariwise with Flint’s remark that Darwin didn’t influence Hitler, that’s not 100% accurate; however, Spencer and Martin Luther look like much larger historical influences from my vantage.

    790: after death experiences are consistent with the symptoms of brain anoxia.

    And Darron S, my coherent thinking is merely a sign of too much math in my education. When you deal with a profession that demanded “1+1=2″ be proven, you tend to think carefully about all the steps in your reasoning. My coherent writing (to the extent I exhibit it) I credit to my 11th grade English teacher.

  17. T Edward’s claim “An intelligent design is not even close to being dismissable through the accomplishments of science” is misleading. There are two ways the question of Intelligent Design question may be phrased; a philosophical one of “is it imaginable”, and a scientific one of “does it improve our description of the evidence we have”. The former is not a question of science, but of philosophy, and should not be covered in science classes. The latter is a scientific question, has been asked repeatedly, and at the present the answer is a resounding “no”. Until the Search for Intelligent Design turns up evidence otherwise, the idea of ID isn’t science.

    For his claim “Science has no answer for this and there’s nothing really on the horizon”, I point back to the “Minimal Self-Replicating Systems” paper. It’s not close, but is on the horizon.

    Mr Max, I merely direct to the whole of my initial remarks.

    For Kram Rognug’s remark, “But the “theory” of evolution is just that – a theory”, and John “Kahless” Taylor’s and 790′s similar “just another theory” remarks, I refer them to the New Florida Science Standards. Evolution is not merely a “theory”, but a “scientific theory”; that is, a theory in the formal sense that science uses it. SC.6.N.3.1: “Recognize and explain that a scientific theory is a well-supported and widely accepted explanation of nature and is not simply a claim posed by an individual. Thus, the use of the term theory in science is very different than how it is used in everyday life.” SC.912.N.3.1: “Explain that a scientific theory is the culmination of many scientific investigations drawing together all the current evidence concerning a substantial range of phenomena; thus, a scientific theory represents the most powerful explanation scientists have to offer.”

    As for Kram Rognug’s claim “Both evolution and ID requires a certain amount of faith since neither can be proven,” while the proof cannot be absolute, once the underlying philosophical assumptions of Science have been granted, it most certainly can be proven that ID is probably incorrect in comparison to Evolution.

    Eduard’s remark about ciruclar dating neglects the feedback mechanism provided by multiple forms of radioisotopic decay. While there is room for a few percent net error, the error is likely to be a relatively constant percentage standard deviation for each isotope. So, the earth might be 4.48 billion years old instead of 4.54 billion. This alters the relative strength of Evolution to ID not in the slightest.

    Eduard’s remarks about entropy show an ignorance of one restriction on the Second Law of Thermodynamics: it only applies to closed systems. The Big Bang is currently thought the result of collisions between external (the math is beyond me, but supposedly entropy increases there), and for the rest of his examples, there’s these nice big energy sources called “stars” that provide a lot of room for localized decreases in entropy nearby (although an overall entry increase).

    Eduard’s remark on Microevolution indicates, as with many ID proponents, he does not understand the correct use of the terminology involved. Macroevolution refers to any change after Speciation divides one group into two that no longer interbreed (and eventually, no longer can), meaning that the Microevolutionary changes do not diffuse between populations.

    As for Eduard’s allegation of no positive impacts: first, that’s called “an argument from consequences”, which doesn’t indicate the underlying point isn’t true. And second, Evolution led directly to a number of medical advances, including the monitored use of animals for testing, which is has some controversy, but is probably better than using humans for such testing, or the fatalities from not being able to develop new medical treatmends. As with all science, it may be abused, but that is not the fault of the science, but of the abusers. “Common sense without conscience may lead to crime, but conscience without common sense may lead to folly, which is the handmaiden of crime.” (Teddy Roosevelt) I’d also suggest that David Sloan Wilson’s “Darwin’s Cathedral” may hint at a way the theory of evolution might lead to humanity may be able to eventually use science to address the foundations of morality directly.

  18. OMGcrazies, so what about the people who die and come back.

    They were just slabs of meat a minute ago then there back.

    Some see nothing some tell of having a life review or seeing heaven. Some even hang around the hosptial….

    How do you explain that????

    And the weird thing is they all talk about how they could see and hear everything. Hmmm

  19. Yeah Darron, I’ve heard stories like that.
    I think if those folks new ahead of time maybe they would have noticed but when your floating over your body I don’t think that’s going thru your etherical mind.

    Also used to know a guy that was in a coma for about 30 days. He told me (and anyone who would listen) about how it changed his life.
    He was a jerkoff a-hole that used to deal drugs and treat everyone like crap.
    Until one drunken night when he drove off the freeway and crashed.
    He described going thru a tunnel of light feeling no pain or fear. He ended up somewhere surrounded by beings. He was shown his entire life. Like watching a movie. But instead of just watching the movie he felt the movie.
    Meaning during his life review he felt all the love or hate he inflicted on people.
    Since he was a jerkoff a-hole he wasn’t having a good review. At the end of his rather painfull life review he was left in pitch darkness where he felt those emotions over and over again until they brought him out of the coma.

    He told me that being in that darkness felt like eternity. He had no idea of time or space.

    He’s now back alive and a full blown Christian.
    I don’t think he was told to become a Christian but he became aware that death isn’t the end.

  20. I think perhaps the Creationists and knuckle-draggers are so threated by Evolution that they just don’t feel as special for some reason.

    Listen, you don’t need an ancient old man sky fairy threatening you with hellfire or promising rewards for eternity to give your life meaning.

    Posted by: OMGcrazies at April 22, 2008 12:30 PM

    I think it is time I left this discussion. When people start demeaning the beliefs I hold sacred when I did nothing of the kind to them, it’s time to call it quits. I believe that Creationism or ID should not be taught as science because it is not science, it is faith. To Darron, FlameStrike, I hope that one day you will see the love and grace that the other believers see in God. You have good minds and I look forward to talking to you again.

  21. abb3w,,, Brain anoxia? I didn’t get the memo,,
    .
    That’s great so I don’t have to go thru a life review, live in heaven meet the creator of the universe and possibly reincarnate so that my soul can live in the Physical world and learn about things.

    Oblivion works for me. :-)

    Sounds like I want to avoid the coma stuff though.

  22. John, yeah. If he comes back and continues on that tack, his comments will be deleted.

    Besides, honestly I think we’ve beat this horse to death, and as I said way, way up in my review, no one on either side is going to convince the anyone to “switch over.”

    Vic

  23. “as I said way, way up in my review, no one on either side is going to convince the anyone to “switch over”

    I think that was actually right at the top of this!

  24. I guess I’d just want to make one more observation before you shut this down. Having read this stuff and thought about it for a couple of days, I think most of it has to come from two different worldviews that start from different places:

    One starts with the empirical with an eye to move backwards to understanding history and origins.

    The other starts with an origin and moves forward to explain the empirical.

    The thing that I’ll be honest enough to admit, but I haven’t talked to too many non-theists who do the same, is that both start with their own presuppositions (at least they wouldn’t call it a presupposition).

    The theist starts with the presupposition of God–an all powerful, all-knowing, self-existent being who defines truth and good and beauty not with his imagination, but with who He is. Any and all empirical research and discovery is merely a search for the discovery of His character. In short, science, religion, politics, family, ethics, and all of it meet at the top.

    The atheist starts with the presupposition that truth, reality, whatever you want to call it, can be known and discovered primarily by empirical means––what you can find in the material world with your five senses and some critical thinking. This I suspect is why someone of this worldview is also called a naturalist.

    I fully admit to the former. My whole worldview is informed and guided initially by the fact that God called me by name (not audibly!) to look to Him for all things. And what Jesus called the greatest commandment was to love Him with my whole being––heart, mind and strength. It’s not popular these days for ‘people of faith’ to be expected to think deeply about these things. But from what I see, it’s no less than a command.

    I would also add that one of my main problems with the naturalist position is that it assumes that all things non-material (love, ethics, right & wrong) have their source in the material. There are too many things in those elements that would argue against ‘survival ethics’. Therefore, that seems a huge and unreasonable leap to me.

    But that’s just my worldview talking. Blessings to all. I’ve enjoyed this thoroughly. Thanks Vic.

  25. “FlameStrike, I hope that one day you will see the love and grace that the other believers see in God.”

    That’s but no thanks, Kahless. I’ve been there. I grew up as a regular attendee of a Presbyterian church, and was in fact inducted as a member when I was 12 or 13. Technically, I still am.

    I just, for lack of a better word and no offense is intended, outgrew it. Part of it was the hypocrisy I saw inherent in religion, part of it was that things just made more sense without it, and part of it was just that it wasn’t working for me. As I started thinking about it, I realized I didn’t believe what was being taught, and I just walked away. I can’t imagine anything happening in my lifetime to change that.

  26. Yeah I have to say this has been a fasinating thread.

    I hope all you guys come back more often!

  27. 200th!!!!
    :-)

  28. Well, I would have preferred to end this on kmad’s eloquent post, but I’ll end it such as it is.

    Flame, I do understand what your saying. The worship of God can be tainted by man, just as everything else can be. I myself was raised in the Catholic church in what I would also call a hypocritical atmosphere. It put me off God for many years, but now I’ve found a way to connect that minimizes the “religion” aspect of it and concentrates more on God.

    A great big thanks to everyone who participated in this discussion (with a couple of minor exceptions). It’s been great, civil, eye opening and thought provoking.

    I hope those of you new to the site come back and visit on less controversial topics. :-)

    Thanks again,

    Vic

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