The “Jesus who?” era!
I for one am so glad that I am living in the twenty first Century. It is the age of reason, science and technology. The enlightenment age is one of the reasons that creationist religions like Christianity are in decline all over the world including South Africa. No one can argue with out evidence against scientific facts and still retain credibility.
Christianity flourished where fear is present. Fear is only present because of ignorance. Science has banished ignorance and fear into outer darkness where it belongs. No one scares us anymore with stories of Martian invasions. Why? We know now, thanks to space exploration, that there are no Martians left to invade us on earth. The same goes for natural disasters, sickness and disease, famines etc. They are not the work of God or the Devil or sin or demons etc.
Was Jesus a man of science? Was the Bible a book of science? Was Paul a man of science? That was two thousand years ago. What about today, do we follow the natural or the supernatural?
This is Richard Carrier’s analogy between naturalism and supernaturalism:
“The cause of lightning was once thought to be God's wrath, but turned out to be the unintelligent outcome of mindless natural forces. We once thought an intelligent being must have arranged and maintained the amazingly ordered motions of the solar system, but now we know it's all the inevitable outcome of mindless natural forces.
Disease was once thought to be the mischief of supernatural demons, but now we know that tiny, unintelligent organisms are the cause, which reproduce and infect us according to mindless natural forces. In case after case, without exception, the trend has been to find that purely natural causes underlie any phenomena. Not once has the cause of anything turned out to really be God's wrath or intelligent meddling, or demonic mischief, or anything supernatural at all.
The collective weight of these observations is enormous: supernaturalism has been tested at least a million times and has always lost; naturalism has been tested at least a million times and has always won. A horse that runs a million races and never loses is about to run yet another race with a horse that has lost every single one of the million races it has run. Which horse should we bet on? The answer is obvious.”
So Carrier rightly exposes the idea that naturalism has replaced supernaturalism countless times in the history of human knowledge. For power and scope, naturalism seems to be the explanation of choice. Never once has supernaturalism supplanted naturalism in any explanatory context.
So I subscribe to this definition given by Wikipedea - Metaphysical naturalism is a philosophy "wherein worship is replaced with curiosity, devotion with diligence, holiness with sincerity, ritual with study, and scripture with the whole world and the whole of human learning," and it is the naturalist’s duty "to question all things and have a well grounded faith in what is well-investigated and well-proved, rather than what is merely well-asserted or well-liked “
And this Definition of atheism given by Charles Bradlaugh - “The atheist does not say “there is no God,” but he says “I know not what you mean by God; I am without idea of God; the word ‘God’ is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation. ... The Bible God I deny; the Christian God I disbelieve in; but I am not rash enough to say there is no God as long as you tell me you are unprepared to define God to me.”
And what about this Iranian proverb obviously not to be taken seriously: -
“If you see a blind man, kick him. Why be kinder than God?”-Old Iranian proverb