Let me ask you a question. Is there life in our galaxy apart from us? What is your answer? Yes? No? Or is it "I don't know". Religious folks around the world fear this statement. They have nightmares about "I don't know". Religion restricts this as a viable answer. This is why many people shy away from science. They fear the unknown. Whereas I feel "I don't know" is exciting and challenging. It gives my purpose to learn.

Religious people fill the void of "I don't know" with god and they believe this is ok but really it is a cage. It keeps these people from actually acquiring the truth or accepting that the technology or the knowledge we have at this time does not allow us to find the definitive answer yet.

Then there are other things that plague the world. Things that don't follow a formula such as evolution. We know that if you drop a ball it will fall towards Earth and that is comforting to some people because it always behaves the same. But evolution doesn't happen the same. Snakes, crocodiles, sharks, etc have gone relatively unchanged for millions of years but humans, birds, insects, etc change very rapidly on the evolution time scale. Because no organism evolves in the same way at the same speed it sees very chaotic to some which makes them uncomfortable.

I would really like you to add to this idea. I truly think this has a lot to do with the fear of science.

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Comment by Sentient Biped on February 8, 2009 at 8:44am
When I was questioning the internal inconsistencies of the bible, in the fundamentalist church where I grew up, I was told that there were some questions that I should not ask. Other times I was told "god works in mysterious ways'. Other times I was just ignored. When I questioned places where the church acted in ways that were not bible based, and did not act on issues that were bible based, I was pushed aside.

They might very well attack nontheists because we don't know everything, but that's a dishonest attack. If christians know their own bible and followed it, they would not be able to function in modern society. It would be similar to the Taliban, or Iran. If they don't know their own bible, then they are being hypocrites.
Comment by Krista on February 7, 2009 at 8:12pm
Of course to us it's obvious that admitting we don't know a lot of things is a good thing but to them it seems a huge weakness. If you say to a theist, "I don't know" it may sound to them like admittance of defeat. They respond with, "well, I DO know! blah blah blah... cuz Jebus blabitty blah!"
I've heard my dad say "well if there's a plant or a bacteria up there on mars or other planets then that's God's business." Meaning, as I understood it, that if god left things out of the bible then we must not need to know about it and it doesn't mean that anything in the bible is proven false. I'm sure he believes there is no intelligent life.
Comment by Moonbeam on February 7, 2009 at 7:14pm
Fear is definitely involved, but a lot of times it's the other way--fear of what their god will do to them if they don't obey. Also, it backfires on them a lot of times--death isn't very scary if you think of it as being like before you were born, but it's pretty terrifying to think about going to hell forever. Also pretty silly, but that's not the point. I think an xian who isn't scared hasn't really read the bible; same with the other monotheists.

You're right that it is something about the unknown that makes people religious--but how turning to magic as the explanation solves anything, I don't know.

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