Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Universe

Now just sit back a minute and look at the universe and think about this, truly think about this. First, it may help to set the mindset for time and scale. Think about how BIG 100 MILLION dollars or 100 MILLION of any object for that matter, is. This entry will be referring to hundreds of BILLIONS and TRILLIONS.

It has taken a long approximately 5000 years to get from the first written language to today.


The universe is mind blowingly old and vast.

  • *The universe began 13.7 BILLION years ago. (wilderdom.com)
  • *About 25% of the universe consists of "dark matter", and about 70% consists of "dark energy", leaving only about 5% of the universe visible to us. (per sentex.net)
  • *Earth's solar system was formed about 5 BILLION years ago. (per wilderdom.com )

The basic numbers are unfathomable.

  • *The Sun is only one of the more than 200 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy. (per factmonster.com)
  • *The Milky Way Galaxy is one of 80 billion of galaxies in the universe. (factmonster.com)
  • *A "light year" is a measure of distance, not time. It is approx. 6 trillion miles. (per sentex.net)
  • *The distance between one arm of the Milky Way galaxy spiral and another is approx. 6,500 light-years. (per crystalinks.com)
  • *If a beam of light were to be shot around the Milky Way, it would take almost 250,000 years to complete its journey. (per crystalinks.com)

The incredible speeds that everything is moving at are unreal. Think about the energy created by these masses moving this fast, and then colliding, unimaginable.

  • *The Earth is rotating on its axis at a rate of 460 metres per second at the equator, and is orbiting the sun at a rate of about 30 kilometres per second.
  • *The Sun is orbiting the center of the Milky Way at a rate of about 220 kilometres per second.
  • *The Milky Way is moving at a speed of about 1000 kilometres per second towards a region of space 150 million light years away called the Great Attractor.

So basically, of ALL that exists in the universe: all the dark matter, galaxies, every single atom, we currently understand/know about what, 1% of it, thats being generous.

So KNOWING how much that we DO NOT know, how does any religion that claims to understand/explain etc... human origin stay alive ?

I miss Santa Claus.

15 comments:

Emily said...

I don't know. But all of this is my personal biggest reason for not being atheist. There is so much we simply don't know or understand, I just really believe there is more to life and death than we understand.

The Duck said...

It's easier for a lot of people to have faith in something of a father figure who has a master plan for everything than to think of life as we know it as some sort of cosmic accident or happenstance.

I know when I start to think about how freaking huge the universe is, and how miniscule mankind is in the scope of things, it makes my head hurt...

I'm not afraid to say I don't know these things, and that no one knows the answers to some of these questions, despite what they say they think they know.

I'm hoping I have another sixty or so years, and then I'll be ready to discover the answers.

Travis Erwin said...

Most religions appear to rely heavily upon fear.

Rocketstar said...

Emily, I hear what you are saying, “…there is more to life and death than we understand.” The question or point is that what that “more” is, if it exists is 100% unknown to mankind as there is no evidence for what that “more” is if it even exists.

The duck, I am right there with you. I hope I get the answers when my flame burns out.

Travis, fear and shame is all it took, oh and the promise of the afterlife in paradise, which doesn’t hurt. ;o)

cher said...

Similar to how much of our brains we use, is how much knowledge we have of the universe.

I am a mother. I limit the amount of information my children take into their inoccent little brains out of love. I want them to grow up and turn into strong men with kind hearts and a deeply rooted sense of consequence to their actions. If we as children were aware of all the knowledge you thirst for from birth, I believe it would challenge the foundation of free will. You said-"So KNOWING how much that we DO NOT know, how does any religion that claims to understand/explain etc... human origin stay alive?" I'm sorry to give you what you probably consider to be a crutch answer, but for me, it comes down to faith. I have faith in my maker. I have faith that I know all that
I need to know right now. Just as my children have faith in me; that I won't steer them wrong. They have their free will to do what they want, and sometimes, I don't agree with their decisions...and it saddens me.

I believe that God 'created the Heaven's and the Earth.' We, as humans, take time very literally. To us, we think -how could God really create the Heavens and the Earth in 7 days?...well, 6 really. To assume that a day is 24 hours to God is assuming a lot. I see no reason why God couldn't have created the Earth 13.7 BILLION years ago. And, I'll even throw in the reasoning of the big bang theory for kicks (maybe that is how God did it)....I just believe with all of my heart that God is responsible for it all and has a plan...which is laid out in a book called the Bible.

It is interesting to me that if you ask most people who struggle with these questions...who go through life not knowing a personal relationship with God, they will have seeked for their answers almost everywhere except in the Bible. What I believe to be God's word...to us...his children.

At any rate... it's what I believe. I'm ok with your right to have your own beliefs and feel no need to 'recruit you'... but I am always up for this discussion. I love talking religion. So, just to up the anti in the pot of questioning you've brought to the table...here, on this, our fun little blog...it is just as equally mind blowing to me that God knows every hair on your head. The way our bodies work and are formed is so intricate. That if the Earth was rotating even a fraction of some tiny measurement off would change life as we know it. To me, "life" is too detailed and far too delicate to be some sort of mishap.

Rocketstar said...

Cher,

One question for you, you mention the Bible as the source of evidence for God etc... [that's an entire additional post if we want to discuss that ;o) ], what if you were born in India? You wouldn't believe in the bible, you would most likely be a Hindu. Or if you were born in the Amazon rain forest as part of the Yanomamo tribe, you would believe in "nature gods". So the only reason you beleive in the Bible is because you were born into a Christian nation. So we are all destined to Heaven or Hell by the mere fact of where we were born?

There have been hundreds of gods worshipped throughout history and they all had their ancient religious books. The Bible is one of the most recent that benefited from better writing and much better advertsing.

No disrespect meant ;o)

Emily said...

Are you comparing God to Santa Claus??

cher said...

no disrespect taken, and i do have an answer, but not time this second...i'll be back... don't you worry, i'll be back.
ps, i miss santa claus too.

cher said...

ok rocketstar- you probably think i have bowed out of this conversation, but i haven't. so.... let's get at 'er...if you still care to.
i think the post about the Bible being evidence of God's existence is really the conversation we need to start with. you are a very intelligent man, and you must know that in order for me to have any explanation for the thought of your geographics vs. beliefs question has to be rooted in my beliefs...which are founded in (in my humble opinion) that the Bible is indeed God's word.
So, if you still care to hear my opinion, I am always willing to give it. And, like I just said, it is just my opinion! oh, and I am not offended easily. It's hard to have religious debate without sounding offensive...

Rocketstar said...

emily, in the fact that there is no evidence that either entity exists.

Rocketstar said...

cher,

Sure, I'm game. ;o) The bible as the word of god huh. So my main point is the fact that if you were not born into a Christina nation, you would not believe that the bible was the word of god. Like I said, the only reason you believe that the bible is the word of god is due to the location of your birth. All religions have their religious texts that claim to be THE truth. If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you would be a muslim and you would not believe that the bible is the owrd of god.

What evidence exists that the Bible and not the Koran, or the Rigveda of Hinduism or the The Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist etc... So what about the bible makes it more the "truth" than the hundreds of other religious texts?

The bible was not written in English, it was translated at least twice by scribes who added in their own twist. Have you ever played the elementary school game "telephone" ? Then there is the fact that it was written decades after Jesus was claimed to have lived with no written word of Jesus' existence in those 2-3 decades by anyone. In an age where ignorance rained (Earth was thought to be flat, Sun revolved around the earth, evil caused colds etc...) yet we are to beleive strories written decades after the actual event as truth?

Then there are the many, many inconsistencies and contradictions of the bible. It goes on and on. What about all of the hatred and violence the bible spews. Not so much a benevolent god.

So I understand that there is no way that I am going to change your mind, and I don't want to. If your beliefs help you in life, that is great and they should continue.

But I am very interested in hearing the evidence that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the bible is the word of god, and the bible can not be used as evidence of such ;o)

cher said...

Rocketstar, glad you’re game. Not because I’ve taken it upon myself as some personal fight to win you for Christ, but because I LOVE this whole topic, and love to be challenged in my beliefs. It’s interesting too that through the many years of having these conversations with people, my beliefs are strengthened. Renewed, if you will. so, a quick google search brings up lots of information. Of course, most of it involves the Scripture as proof… here are some provoking thoughts to start, from other historians that were not in the Bible.

Is there historical and scientific proof of Jesus?

It is interesting that when people seek historic and scientific proof of Jesus, they immediately discount the Bible as a reliable source.

If we look at the Bible simply as a historic document, it should be among the most reliable on record compared with others.

Historians routinely cite Herodotus as a key source of information. He wrote from 488 B.C. to 428 B.C. and the earliest copy of his work comes from 900 A.D. (1,300 years later). There are only eight known copies of his work.

By contrast, the New Testament of the Bible (with all its information about Jesus) was written between 40 A.D. and 100 A.D. The earliest known copy is from 130 A.D. and there are 5,000 known copies in Greek, 10,000 in Latin and 9,300 in other languages.

Still, to put to rest the notion that there is no historic and scientific proof of Jesus outside the Bible, we may look to Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and to Roman historian Carius Cornelius Tacitus - both well known and accepted.

Josephus, in the book Jewish Antiquities" wrote:

"At that time lived Jesus, a wise man, if he may be called a man; for he performed many wonderful works. He was a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. . . .And when Pilate, at the instigation of the chief men among us, had condemned him to the cross, they who before had conceived an affection for him did not cease to adhere to him. For on the third day he appeared to them alive again, the divine prophets having foretold these and many other wonderful things concerning him. And the sect of the Christians, so called from him, subsists at this time" (Antiquities, Book 18, Chapter 3, Section 1).

Tacitus, in writing about accusations that Nero burned the city of Rome and blamed it on Christians, said the following:

". . .Nero procured others to be accused, and inflicted exquisite punishment upon those people, who were in abhorrence for their crimes, and were commonly known by the name of Christians. They had their denomination from Christus (Christ, dm.), who in the reign of Tibertius was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate. . . .At first they were only apprehended who confessed themselves of that sect; afterwards a vast multitude discovered by them, all of which were condemned, not so much for the crime of burning the city, as for their enmity to mankind. . . ." (Tacitus, Annals, 15, 44).
----------------------------------
Ok, so above we have just a few of the claims (that are not in the Bible) that Jesus did exist and walked the Earth. Below is a compilation of me paraphrasing some authors and research I’ve done over the years, as well as personal beliefs.
The Bible has been attacked like no other book has ever been attacked. A book of this nature and with this tremendous impact upon the human family certainly deserves intelligent consideration.
Some thoughts:
I believe the Bible has dual authorship- God and man. It was written by approximately 40 authors over a period of approximately 1500 years. Some of these men never even heard of the others and there was no collusion among them. Sure, 2 or 3 could have gotten together, but the others couldn’t have even known each other, yet they have presented a book that has the most continuity of any book ever written.
Also, it is without error. Each author expressed his own feelings in his own generation. Each has his limitations and made his mistakes. Moses made mistakes, but when he was writing the Pentateuch, somehow or other no mistakes got in there. Because it is a human book and a God book.
How do we know the Bible is from God? This is a good question and should be answered.
1) Preservation-One of the objective and extended proofs has been the marvelous preservation of the Bible. In spite of all the attacks made on the Bible (even when cut to pieces by a knife, we read in Jeremiah, by a king, it was rewritten. And countless copies burned over the years) it still exists – as one of the best sellers. For many years it was THE best seller. I think the amazing preservation of this Book should be at the very least, considered.
2) Archaeology- The spade of the archaeologist has turned up many things that have proven that this Book is the Word of God. (Example: Critics for many years denied the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch on the basis that writing was not in existence in Moses’ day. You haven’t heard anybody advance that theory recently, have you? Well, of course not.)
In many other ways, archeology has demonstrated the accuracy and validity of the Bible. The walls of Jericho being an example. The Word of God is substantiated there.
Many manuscripts that have been found do that also. It’s quite interesting that when the Isaiah scrolls, the Dead Sea Scrolls, were found, sceptics leaped at that because they thought they had found an argument that would discredit the Bible. However, the scrolls have not discredited the Bible and it seems the non-believers have lost a great deal of interest in them (this is a field in which you might do some research…it’s very interesting…and on a side note that has nothing to do with this, my Mum actually got to see them when they were on display. Cool hey? Whether you believe in the Bible or not, I think it would have been pretty cool to see them with your own eyes).
3) Fulfilled Prophecy- If I only had the opportunity to share with you just 1 thing to suggest as conclusive proof that the Bible is the Word of God or not, I would suggest fulfilled prophecy. Fulfilled prophecy is the one proof that you can’t escape…you can’t get around. And the Bible is full of fulfilled prophecy. One-fourth of Scripture, when it was written was prophetic; that is, it announced things that were to take place in the future. We find that there were many local situations that were fulfilled even in the day of the prophet. For example, Micaiah was the prophet who told Ahab that if he went out to battle as he planned, he would lose the battle and would be killed. However, Ahab’s false prophets had told him he’d have a victory and would return as a victorious king. Because he didn’t like what Micaiah said, Ahab ordered him locked up and would take care of him when he got back. Micaiah shot back the last word “If you come back at all, the Lord hasn’t spoken by me.” Well, evidently the Lord had spoken by him because Ahab didn’t come back. He was killed in battle, and his army was defeated. He had even disguised himself so there would be no danger of his losing his life. But an enemy soldier, the Scripture says, pulled his bow at a venture; that is, when the battle was about over, he had just one arrow left in his quiver; he put it in place and shot, not really aiming at anything. But you know that arrow must have had Ahab’s name on it, and it found him. It went right to its mark. Why? Because Macaiah had made an accurate prophecy (1 Kings 22)

On another occasion, the prophet Isaiah said that the invading Assyrian army wouldn’t shoot an arrow into the city of Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:32) Well now, that is interesting. Macaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled because a soldier shot an arrow by chance, pulled his bow at a venture. Wouldn’t you think that among 200 000 soldiers, perhaps ONE might have been trigger happy, pulled his bow just because, well, boys can be weird if nothing else, and let an arrow fly over the wall of Jerusalem? Well, they didn’t. If the enemy had shot an arrow inside that city, they could be sure that Isaiah was not God’s prophet. But he was, as was proven by this local fulfillment of his prophecy. Isaiah also said a virgin would bring forth a child, and that was 700 years before it was literally fulfilled. And if you want final proof, there were over 300 prophecies concerning the first coming of Christ which were all literally fulfilled.
As Jesus was hanging on the cross and dying there was one prophecy recorded in the Old Testament that had not been fulfilled. It was, “They gave me vinegar to drink”(Ps.69:21). Jesus said “I thirst, “ and the enemy himself went and fulfilled prophecy (John 19:23-30). It’s a most amazing thing. Men can’t guess like that.

In the nation Israel, a prophet had to be accurate. If he wasn’t accurate, he was put to death as a false prophet. God told his people that they would be able to distinguish a false prophet from a true prophet. A true prophet must first speak to a local situation, which Isaiah did. When that prophecy came to pass, they would know that they could trust him to speak concerning the future, as Isaiah did. We can look back now and know it was fulfilled.

There are so many other prophecies. Tyre and Sidon are over there today exactly as God’s Word said over 2500 years ago they would be. Egypt today is in the exact position God said it would be in. All of these are amazing, and fulfilled prophecy is one of the greatest proofs that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. You see, men just can’t be that accurate. Men can’t guess like that-even the weatherman misses it.
Let me show you that, according to mathematical law of problematic conjecture, man could never, never prophesy. Suppose that right now I would make a prophecy. Just by way of illustration, suppose I say that wherever you are it’s going to rain tomorrow. I’d have a 50-50 chance of being right because it’ll do one of the two. But suppose that I add to that and say it would start raining tomorrow at 9 o’clock. That would be another uncertain element. I had a 50-50 chance of being right at first; now I have perhaps a 25 % chance. Every uncertain element that is added reduces by at least 50 % the chance of my being right-the law of problematical conjecture. Now suppose that I not only say that it’s going to start raining at 9 o’clock, but I also say it’ll stop raining at 2 o’clock. That has reduced my chances now another 50 %, which brings it down to 12 ½ %. Can you imagine my chance of being right now? But suppose I add 300 uncertain elements. There’s not a smidge of a chance of my being accurate. I just couldn’t hit it…it would be impossible. Yet the Word of God hit it. It is accurate. The Bible has moved into that area of absolute impossibility, and that to me is absolute proof that it is the Word of God. There is nothing to compare to it. I have given very few examples of fulfilled prophecy, but there is prophecy after prophecy, and they have been fulfilled…literally fulfilled. And by the way, I would think that that indicates the method in which prophecy for the future is yet to be fulfilled.
4) Transformed lives-this is personal to every individual who has accepted Jesus as their Saviour. But I’ve seen people overcome some crazy things that it doesn’t seem like they’d have had the strength to overcome on their own. People, in general don’t change. Change is hard. Real change takes strength. When you personally witness someone have a change of heart, see their lives transform before your eyes, it is an amazing thing. Truly.
5) Spirit of God made it real- Now this is personal to me. I have reached a place today where I not only believe that the Bible is God’s Word, I know it’s God’s Word. I know it’s God’s Word because the Spirit of God has made it real to my own heart and my own life. That is the thing that Paul talked to the Colossians about. He prayed that they “might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” I also want this, because I found that the Spirit of God can confirm these things to your heart and you don’t need archeology or anything else to prove that the Bible is God’s Word.

Now, you also mention that there are many, many inconsistencies and contradictions of the Bible, but you don’t have any examples. This is a topic I am also familiar with. If you have actually read the Bible yourself and come up with concerns of contradictions, you would have had a few examples for me. Instead, I suspect you will go online and spew off a few examples that other people have wondered. Even at that, go ahead. Because, there are none. And by none, I mean none. I know that is a bold statement. I say it with confidence.

You are right. There is no way that you are going to change my mind. But I haven’t had a stimulating conversation with anyone about any of these topics in ages, and to me it is like a big drink of water after a really hot day. I find it refreshing. I find it exhilarating. And mostly, I find it reassuring.

So, all of this was brought up because you think I am only a Christian because I was born into a Christian nation. I have to admit; to some degree you are right. I accept the fact that I live in a society where it is easy to find out about Christianity. But it is also easy to find out about all the other religions out there as well. And yes, I have researched well, a lot of them. So accepting what you are saying, it should be true that I could also be a Mormon, a Buddhist, a Catholic, or even a devil worshipper. But I’m not. I am a Christian. It is the religion that makes the most sense to me. I know what you were getting at though. What if I was raised by wolves in the middle of nowhere and had no one to pass on to me a belief system (like the Gospel) other than hunt, eat, sleep… what if no missionaries ever appeared to my pack to try and win us over with their truths…show us they way? I believe what it says in Genesis 18:25 “Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right?” I believe God will be the judge of our souls. And all we have is the information we’ve been given. It is up to us, as individuals to seek God. He gave us free will to do as we please. He also promises that you will find Him if you seek for Him wholeheartedly. This I believe to be true for anybody. No matter where they live or where they were born. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. YOU WILL SEEK ME AND FIND ME WHEN YOU SEEK WITH ALL YOUR HEART. I WILL BE FOUND BY YOU,” declares the Lord.

So…there you have it. Well, as much as I feel like typing today anyway. I am curious what you think. Do you think I’m a complete nut job now? Or have I actually put some doubt in your doubts? Let me know.

Like I said, it is hard to have religious debate without sounding to some degree, disrespectful. I hope I haven’t come across that way. As you said before, no disrespect meant. Cher

Rocketstar said...

"Is there historical and scientific proof of Jesus?"
--- Even if there was a man who went by the name Jesus, where is the proof that he was the son of god? There are many religious leaders today that perfrom miracles that are witnessed by humans today, hundreds upon hundreds of them. There is no empioraical evidence of Jesus miracles that were said to have happened 2000 years ago.

1) Preservation- Just because something is preserved does not make it truth. There are hundreds of religious books that have been preserved yet they contradict eachother when it comes to the question of lifes origin. The bible has profitied from some of the best marketing in the history of man. It's an easy sell, do I it says and you recieve eternal paradise.

2) Archaeology- The bible was written by humans, so of course it will mention actual objects, events etc... to lend validity to it's authenticity, or portrayal of.
Dead sea scrolls - I may be mistaken, but the Vatican will not allow them to be carbon dated, I wonder why?

3) Fulfilled Prophecy- So Nostradamus is a god as well? All of these prophecies you speak of, were they not all written after the actual occurences?

4) Transformed lives- There are many things that can transform ones life that have nothing to do with a diety.
Contradictions, there have been many, many books written noting the inconsisterncies and errors of the bible.

Did you happen to know that Jesus ranks second on the "Hero Score"? Jesus was certainly not the first "god" to prescribe to many of the characterics Check out a past post: http://rocketstarinmpls.blogspot.com/2006/10/hero-score.html

Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." I have yet to see any extraordinary evidence. Like I stated earlier, there are hundreds of religions that have ancient books that may not have the "popularity" of the bible, but have stood the time, changed lives, been validated by archeologicla artifacts and also contain a lot of the same claims. So what empiorical evidence exists that proves that the Bible is right and all of the others are incorrect?

The problem with religion is there is no downside. Why would a beleiver give up ever lasting bliss in heaven for the reality that we do not KNOW that a god exists. There are hundreds of guesses out there, Christianity is one of them, but no true knoweldge of one. Knowledge and belief are two different things.

Remember that we are all Atheists, even yourself. You are an Atheist as it pertains to Zeus or Joseph Smith or Buddha or Alah or the flying spaghetti monster. So the only difference between you and an "Atheist" is that the Atheist goes one tiny step further than you and thorws Jesus in with the hundreds of gods that both of you do not beleive in.

From the beginning of time man has created "gods", whether it be the Sun god, cosmic gods, Jesus or whomever to provide the answer to mans origin.

All religions, even Chrsitianity will at some point fade away, it is already starting. As science, technology and the true quest for mans origins (which at this point most likely lies in the universe somewhere) continue, rational thought will win, I hope.
Thoughts?

cher said...

points taken and thought coming up!
I have 4 kids in my house today, so it won't be today!!! I just don't want you to think i'm either stumped or ignoring you ;)

Rocketstar said...

I'll be waiting... :0)

Amalgamation - The merging of many things to form one.

What's this blog all about? See the first post
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