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Backyard Skeptics Message Board › Bible Study????

Bible Study????

Cary C.
Tustin, CA
Post #: 44
Has this project been abandoned?
A former member
Post #: 3
I was wondering the same thing, since I haven't heard anything from anyone. If we are serious about doing this, I know how this could be done. You can just call Calvary Chapel and ask them for the time and location for a Bible Study. I can do this.
user 13369329
Norco, CA
Post #: 126
I have to chime in with Lisa and Sonni on this one.

In my humble opinion, it is a monumental waste of our precious time to engage Christians in bible study of all things! In the first place doing so lends a measure of legitimacy to their useless bs (bible study) endeavor. What I mean is this: if Atheists (of all people) willingly attend a bs session, then some Christians in attendance might get the impression that the bible is a text deserving of serious or prolonged study and/or discussion even by those who flatly reject it. This is certainly NOT the impression I wish to make on any Christian. It simply sends the wrong message.

Dozens, if not hundreds of books have already been written which logically, exhaustively, and meticulously refute damn near everything that's claimed in the bible. All that effort and scholarship evidently falls on deaf Christian ears, because the bible is still a best seller and bs groups continue to meet regularly all across America and the rest of the world. So what the hell is the point?

Secondly it seems to me that committed Atheists and secularists like ourselves have (much) better things to do than to discuss theology and the minutiea of Christian scripture with those whose minds are apparently closed to reason and who are overwhelmingly likely to remain so despite any Atheist's best efforts to change their minds or to merely point out the many contradictions and inconsistencies in their precious bible. Activities like organizing ourselves into a viable, vocal, voting block to challenge the status quo, recruiting and retaining new members, agitating and getting the attention of our elected representatives and the media are the kinds of things we should be doing to further our own socio-political agenda. Activities such as these, to me, constitute a far more productive and meaningful use of an Atheist's time and effort. The time for such action and activism is very clearly NOW.

Lastly, it all seems so one-sided. I mean come on now, does anyone here really think that any self respecting, bible thumping Christians would seriously entertain the idea of attending and participating in an Atheist book club to discuss the fine points of the works of well known Atheist/Agnostic/anti-theistic authors such as Robert G. Ingersoll, or Madalyn Murray O'Hair, or Christopher Hitchens, or Richard Dawkins, or Daniel Dennett, or Sam Harris, or Carl Sagan et al? Well?
Newport Beach, CA
Post #: 18
I have to agree with Den, but I will try it one time
Cary C.
Tustin, CA
Post #: 45
Den, Lisa, Sonni,
So don't attend. Problem solved.

Everybody else,
We have scored our first meeting. It will be (tentatively) first Thursday of every month at 4:00 pm.
The group's next meeting is Thursday, March 7th.
It will be led by physicist Don Stoner.
Calvary Chapel Signal Hill Office
1200 E. 29th Street
Signal Hill, CA 90755
(562) 804-5509
For directions:

Don Stoner says this about it:
The group's next meeting is going to present an
introduction to Einstein's theory of relativity. I'm not quite sure
how many meetings it will take to get through it all, but I'll be
starting with the Michelson and Morley experiment; deriving
the Lorentz transformation (the simple way -- using graphics
instead of math); roughing in a model for the shape of time,
space, and the universe, using special relativity; explaining
general relativity using some thought experiments; adjusting
the shape of the preliminary S.R. universe to take G.R. into
account ... and always speculating on how this must constrain
our understanding of who/what God must and must not be like.
John B.
user 80017862
Reseda, CA
Post #: 1
I think Dan is right. From the Journal of Applied Psychology, "The scientific impotence discounting hypothesis predicts that people resist belief-disconfirming scientific evidence by concluding that the topic of study is not amenable to scientific investigation." In short, even if you have evidence disproving a strongly held belief believers will not be swayed. In fact they will actually believe more strongly. Confronting believers at a Bible study would be more likely to strengthen their god belief than get them to question it.

Looks like there was an additional reply while I was typing. It sounds like the Dr. Stoner has all his sights set on Einstein, Special and General Relativity. If you are going to go it might be advisable to bring a quantum mechanic or someone who can throw a few theoretical strings into the mix. I suspect you're in for a gish-galoop, but who knows, It could be fun.
user 13369329
Norco, CA
Post #: 127
In response to Mr. Cook, let me say this: Rest assured that I for one will certainly not attend any "bible study" meetups, problem solving has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

It appears that there's a segment of Backyard Skeptics who favors an accommodationist approach regarding the bible believers, at least in this context. That is their right and privilege of course, but adopting that stance seems grossly incongruous with the very philosophical basis of rationalism, empiricism, and Atheism itself. And as John Baylis so skillfully pointed out, trying to reason with the bible study folks and their ilk will, in all probability, simply backfire as they dig in their heels and steel themselves against any intrusion of the proven modern scientific method, or of reason, into the sacred domain of their beloved "god-given" dogma. (I hope I'm wrong.)

That is also the bible study people's right and privilege. May they continue to rejoice and revel in the values, morality and "wisdom" proffered by profoundly ignorant, misogynistic "divinely inspired prophets" of long ago and far away. Hey - whatever gets you through the night.

I'll say it again and I'll say it so long as I live: Don't we as secularists (at least those of us who are indeed secularists), owe it to ourselves to devote our time and efforts to advancing OUR agenda in lieu of sowing seeds of doubt among those religionists who prefer to immerse themselves in bible study meetings?
Cary C.
Tustin, CA
Post #: 46
John & Den,

In a sense, I agree with both of you. I too find "Bible Studies" - if they are literally Bible studies - worthless. But this meeting is about science. True, Don Stoner is a Christian as well as a physicist. So he will be presenting a view of physics which is not incompatible with his view of Christianity. But he's no young Earther, and he thinks much of Genesis is better interpreted non-literally. The meeting is primarily targeting Christians, but not candy-ass Christians - if you will acknowledge such a thing as a non-candy-ass Christian.
user 13369329
Norco, CA
Post #: 129
The late great Stephen Jay Gould, world renowned scientist, evolutionary biologist and polymath, proffered the concept of "non-overlapping magisteria" with respect to science and religion. That is to say, science cannot and does not address the realm of the mystical, the spiritual, the supernatural, etc. Conversely, it also suggests religion cannot and should not address the realm of the evidence-based scientific approach of knowing the world and its workings.

Some people like Dr. Stoner are apparently able to mentally compartmentalize these two "magisteria" and live with their numerous attendant incongruities. You seem to be saying, Cary, that Dr. Stoner's attempt to reconcile religion and science is somewhat more sophisticated and nuanced than that of the typical fundamentalist biblical literalist.

Be that as it may, I remain totally unconvinced of the validity or the value of his endeavor, and strongly tend to side with the late Dr. Gould and the overwhelming majority of credible, practicing scientists all over the world.

Sophisticated and/or nuanced superstition is still hogwash no matter how hard one tries to impute any legitimacy to it, scientific or otherwise.
John B.
user 80017862
Reseda, CA
Post #: 2
I recognize this meeting as what it is, an opportunity for someone with a science background to reassure believers. It looks to me like he will be reaching back to hundred year old experiments like Michelson and Morley, talking about Einstein and SR vs GR and all that then figuring out some way to finesse the divine back into it. Of course physics has come a long way since Einstein. This reminds me of the book "The Tao of Physics" which used Eastern mystical concepts to explain basic physics. It had the added benefit of reassuring mystically minded college students that their mysticism was supported by scientific research. That was 20 years ago.

I am also well aware of the wide range of beliefs held by Christians. About the only thing I can say about all of them is this; they all pick and choose from the Bible those things which fit within their own personal worldview. Like eating shellfish? well the ban on that is some old cultural thing so never mind. Believe in a ~4bn year old Earth? no problem. Creation myths are just symbolic. Bats really aren't birds. And so on.

Stoner isn't talking about the latest developments in physics, and I doubt that he's inviting the skeptics in order to find areas of common ground. This looks like a PR stunt by Calvary Chapel and as such they can't lose.
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