Pastor Matthew Hagee: Global warming not produced by humans, but simply a sign of Jesus’s return

May 31, 2014 • 10:52 am

Oh, how I wish that Stephen Jay Gould were still alive! Not only would we have a huge additional corpus of writing about evolution and other topics (although Gould’s writing got less readable and more baroque as he aged), but I’d also be able to tease him about NOMA, his untentable notion that religion and science are compatible because they comprise “non-overlapping magisteria.”

NOMA, as most of you surely know, was laid out in Gould’s 1999 book  Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life.  I reviewed that book (negatively) for the Times Literary Supplement, but I can’t find the review online. At any rate, Gould claimed that religion’s sphere was to discuss and adjuciate meaning, morals, purpose, and values, and to stay the hell away from claims about the natural world.  Science, on the other hand, deals explicitly with the natural world, and, according to Gould, should stay away from religion’s bailiwick.

You’ll immediately recognize the two big problems with this thesis—and I’m surprised Gould didn’t. First, there’s a long tradition of secular and philosophical analysis of “meaning, morals, and values,” and, in fact, those areas give better answers than do religion.  Secular philosophy, for instance, doesn’t decree it immoral to have sex before marriage, divorce your spouse, or allow women to drive. (Gould really did appear to construe all analysis of values and purpose as “religious.”)

Second, religion simply can’t keep its mitts off the natural world or the cosmos, for it’s constantly making statements about the way things are.  With the exception of obscurantist theologians like David Bentley Hart, religion makes truth claims about heaven, hell, divine beings, the veracity of scripture, the occurrence of miracles, and so on. In fact, it is on those grounds that theologians and religious scientists have criticized NOMA, and these include folks like John Haught and Ian Hutchinson.

And, of course,  creationism is a huge intrusion of religion into the magisterium of science. But Gould insulated himself in advance from that criticism by claiming that creationist faiths weren’t “proper” religions. By defining “proper” religions as those not making existence claims about the cosmos, Gould at once made his NOMA a tautology, as well as informing billions of believers whose faith rests on existence claims that their religions weren’t “proper.”

This is all a long-winded introduction to this video, presented by Right Wing Watch, showing Matthew Hagee, executive pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. Pastor Hagee presents a perfect violation of NOMA by claiming that if science conflicts with God’s word, the science must be wrong. In this case the “science” is global warming, which Hagee claims is not man-made, but a harbinger of Jesus’s return.

A partial transcription from RWW:

Matthew Hagee kicked off this week’s “Hagee Hotline” by informing his viewers that in situations where “men are saying things that contradict God’s word, God’s word is accurate and men are wrong” … and that is why Christians should not believe in climate change.

As Hagee explained, the views put forth by scientists and experts on any subject are not to be believed if those views are at odds with what the Bible teaches. As such, the extreme weather events that the climate has been experiencing are not the result of climate change but are rather signs of the End Times and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

“The Bible says that whenever we approach the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Hagee explained, “that there would be strange weather patterns. Jesus said this in Matthew the twenty-fifth chapter. So we have a decision to make: do we believe what an environmentalist group says and choose to live in a world where we’re attempting to make everything as clean in the air as possible, or do we believe what the Bible says, that these things were going to happen and that rather than try to clean up all of the air and solve all of the problems of the world by eliminating factories, we should start to tell people about Jesus Christ who is to return?”

In other words, forget cap and trade, forget trying to clean up the planet and forestall our planet’s imminent human-caused degeneration. Jesus will set it right—and the Good News is that he’s on his way!

h/t: Miss May

112 thoughts on “Pastor Matthew Hagee: Global warming not produced by humans, but simply a sign of Jesus’s return

    1. Look at that media center that Hagee is broadcasting from! If even one atheistic organization had the amount of resources that just one of the thousands of mega-churches has, I wonder what they could do? The religious groups are generously funded by their followers, plus Jewish and Christian billionaires lavishly donate billions of dollars to these groups but the atheist billionaires…? Where does their money go? Has anyone ever heard of an atheist think tank that parallels an organization like the Templeton Foundation? Why aren’t Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg and other tech and dotcom billionaires funding atheist think tanks and organizations?

      1. Because the atheists are giving their money for useful, humanitarian aid rather than for spreading propaganda?

        1. I wish we had a pie graph of what atheists give their money to….I would be the slice that said “spends on candy”.

      2. I think you missed the point that being a ‘Atheist’ means you have no religion/God therefore we don’t have think tanks, the money we tend to give goes to think tanks called scientists like the National Oceanography Centre, The National History Museums, Zoological Society London, National Environmental Research Council etc. The governments that people elect, at least in the UK, fund these projects to advance our scientific understanding.

    1. Simultaneously, because secular retains foreheads at roughly the same distance as opposed to some religious I could mention…

  1. Well, at least we’re all agreed that, thanks in large part to the Koch Bros, the GOP and their useful idiots like Pastor Matthew Hagee, the End Times are indeed pretty imminent.

    1. At least the end times of coastal property values. A few weeks back, two papers claimed independently that the West Antarctic ice sheet is going and there is no apparent blockage. After that another paper appeared that claims the WA ice started to go 5 000 years ago. If all that is true, we are now directly responsible for the melt rate and the absence of any putative ice age that would have followed in the usual cycle and could have reversed the melt.

      So, seeing that the WA melt will eventually increase sea height 6 m, I am going to sell off my New York properties. Its a goner now. I had saved it for my grandchildren, but nooo…

      [Just kidding. On me having NY properties. Not the rest. :-/]

      1. We are responsible for the current unusually high WA melt rate, that is. It’s the CO2 knob on the greenhouse effect…

      2. At least the end times of coastal property values.

        What is this “coastal property value” of which you speak? Some of us don’t value it at all, and wouldn’t wast your money on it, let alone mine.

          1. [Shrug]
            There are three types of problems (this is my topic of the week at work) : Big Problems ; Little Problems, and this type, Someone Else’s Problem.

  2. “…if science conflicts with God’s word, the science must be wrong.”

    I recall from some interview I encountered long ago that is the same self-lobotomy performed by Billy Graham, on himself, when as a young man he consciously decided to go with faith whenever a conflict between religion and reason occurred.

    1. Not to mention the 64% of Americans who, in a recent poll, said that if science refuted one of the tenets of their religion, would continue to believe it anyway.

      We’ve got a long way to go.

    2. I believe this is the official name of the affliction (from wiki):

      Fideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths (see natural theology). The word fideism comes from fides, the Latin word for faith, and literally means “faith-ism.”[1]

      1. As distinct from ‘faitheism’ (believing in belief) which affects soi-disant atheists and agnostics who think religion is good for the Little People, and feel superior to both extremes. [Insert obvious links.]

    3. It does make a certain type of internal logical consistency, though.

      If you’re a Christian, at some point you’ve got to ask yourself the equivalent question of whether or not Jesus himself has ever read the Bible. Not Jesus in first century Judea, of course; the Bible wasn’t written until afterwards. Rather, the Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father and who judges the quick and the dead: has that Jesus read the Bible?

      Either he has or he hasn’t.

      If he has, and if he’s any kind of judge of human character, he has to know that people are going to take it seriously. Either he’s down with that, or he’s unable to fix the situation.

      And if he hasn’t, what kind of judge is he?

      So, you either wind up at literalism or atheism — or, of course, doublethink and its attendant cognitive dissonance, which is where most Christians (and religious Jews, for similar reasons) seem to spend all their time. “Wrestling,” they call it, only without the homoerotic spandex-sporting histrionics.



      1. “Wrestling,” they call it, only without the homoerotic spandex-sporting histrionics.

        “You Grunt and I’ll Groan,” as per the title of a reasonably famous British wrestler of the 1970s titled his autobiography. If only it had been Shirley Crabtree who’d said it, but I think his autobiog was less memorably-titled.

        1. Not famous enough that I knew who you were referring to…but, then again, were you to ask me to rattle off the names of famous wrestlers, I’d be likely to name as many comic book characters as wrestlers. Hulk? Rock? He-Man? Avenger? And what kind of wrestler’s name is, “Shirley Crabtree”? That sounds like somebody’s maiden aunt who writes turgid love poetry that only a Vogon could love.

          But Google says that it was Jackie Pallo who wrote the book.

          …and I honestly don’t think I’d ever encountered that name before a minute ago….


          1. Shirley Crabtree : stage name “Big Daddy” ; arch-enemy (in the ring) of the hippy-ish “giant Haystacks”.
            I’m having a hunger-induced brain failure on who wrote “You Grunt, I’ll groan”. It’ll come back to me, unless someone has beaten me to it.

  3. I just went to look at Matthew 25 – and I found three parables (ten virgins, bags of gold, sheep and goats) no weather forecast, the weather isn’t even mentioned as far as I can see. This guy i trying to sell himself as an expert and he can’t even get us the verse with the weather forecast.

    I have to paint the deck and wanted to know if it was going to rain tomorrow – bloody book is useless. Thank science for the interwebs.

    1. He is probably thinking of Matthew 24:7:
      For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
      or Matthew 24:29:
      Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
      or Luke 21:25:
      And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

      1. Well if the sun’s going out it would seem a bit of a waste of time doing household chores (let alone bothering with cap and trade). Do you think this is a reliable enough prediction that I can persuade my wife that I don’t need to proceed with her honey-do list 🙂

        1. If the Sun’s going out I’d better get busy and replace those burned out lightbulbs in the house!

        2. If Jesus isn’t coming until the Sun goes out, I think you don’t need to worry. Unless, of course, you’re planning more than a few billion years out….


      2. He is probably thinking of Matthew 24:7:
        For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

        Well, that’s pretty much all of the last 2000 years taken care of. And most of the 2000 before that.
        And before that … “nation” gets pretty nebulous.
        Hang on – we can’t be anywhere near the End Times. They’re listed the Horsemen, but they’ve not included ProfCC as one of the Horsepeople of the Apocalypse. Bible-literalism fail!

    1. Heaven must be waaaaaaay up there! Even more way up there than the giant that Jack found when he planted his magic beans.

        1. The funny part is that he said the world would end, and he’d return, within the lifetimes of the people following him 2,000 years ago. He didn’t give an exact time, but he said that was so that he could keep his followers on their toes.

          Not the first to predict the end of the world, but not the last either. The names Mariam Keech and William Miller come to mind…

    2. Hmmm.
      Time to freefall … treat it as an elliptical orbit of eccentricity 1, starting at the high point and screaming through the skies to snatch a rose from Mary Magdalene’s – uh – teeth? Then the freefall time is half the period.
      2000 years = 730500 days (thanks to the Gregorian calendar – Papally infallible, don’tcha know?) = 63,115,200,000 second, or thereabouts.
      So I get the orbit as being about 75,384,740,800,855 m up there. I make that a little less than 13 (12.83) times the radius of Pluto’s orbit. This, of course, assumes that the rest of the universe apart from Jesus and the Earth take a temporary holiday from the law of gravity. And that nothing gets in the way.
      He’d be doing between 11 and 12 km/s when he lands, which is going to smart, but is survivable. If you’re normal matter. He’ll probably smell of burned hair after landing though. And be buried some 3~10m into his impact crater. Which is really going to smart.
      OTOH, we now have an approximate location for heaven. Can I haz Invasion Force Kitteh now?

      1. I’m glad you included the 13 x radius Pluto orbit in your explanation. That is a manageable concept for me, a comparison ratio I can file in my permanent buffer. Any time a number includes 4 commas I need some sort of similar reference to bring it within my somewhat constrained mathematical capacity. Question: does this work out then that heaven is within the Milky Way, or is it beyond the Oort belt somewhere between here and Andromeda?

        If you take up that task, while you’re at it do you have any info on possible boundary measurements of heaven? I’m thinking if heaven surrounds all of the universe, it makes sense for a believer to point upward from either pole on Earth when asserting heaven is up there that-a-way.

        If not, though, some re-thinking about “up there” is required on a pretty vast scale. There could be some serious conflict in the minds of the devout if heaven is above say, Australia, but is only a few billion miles wide, meaning a Christian in Muncie (Ind.) has to point downward to indicate the direction his soul travels for its reward. I don’t know if that is a manageable requirement.

        1. 75 terameters is about 500 astronomical units (AU, the distance to the Sun, or about an hundred million miles). The Oort cloud (from which comets come) extends out to about 50,000 AU. The nearest star is about a quarter million AU away, or a bit over four light years. Most individual stars you can see in the night sky are within an hundred light years. The Milky Way Galaxy is about an hundred thousand light years across. The next nearest galaxy, Andromeda, is about 2.5 million light years away. The farthest objects we can see are about 50 billion light years away.

          So, Jesus, being just barely inside the inner edge of the Oort cloud, is right on top of us for all indented papyruses.



          1. Thank you. A concise set of useful distances to help me at least sorta picture things with some accuracy. Like when I read an analogy for the size of atoms: a neutron is the BB in the middle of Main Street in a town ten miles from mine, the location of the softball-sized nucleus of their atom.

          2. Be careful with analogies like that at the small end of the scale. subatomic particles aren’t actually solid things in the sense we’re used to them; rather, they’re harmonic oscillations in the associated fields. You might get the scale about right, but you’re way off the mark if you’re thinking of them as being like softballs and BBs flying around each other.

            If you understand the limits of the analogy, the analogy can still be most useful. It is, after all, incredibly useful to model the Earth as flat when you’re tacking a state or even regional map to your wall and plotting campaign strategies — and that doesn’t in any way imply that you think the Earth is really flat. But if you were to get confused and think that, because it’s so useful to think of the Earth as flat then it therefore must actually be flat….



        2. I’ll dodge your question with some speculative cosmology. And why not?
          Stand on the planet’s surface and point “up” to any degree of precision you like ; through your outstretched digit you can draw a cone of about 10 degrees apical angle defining the “there” you’re pointing to. Now, if the universe is flat or has a negative 4-dimensional curvature, then that cone intersects only an infinitesimal proportion of the universe, so you’re inevitably wrong. But if the universe is finite and has a positive curvature (tautologous, I know), then within a few short orbits of the universe, your 10-degree cone has expanded to cover the entire universe, so you’re pointing at “Heaven” (and “Hell”, simultaneously. “Purgatory” if you want that too). This solution is true for all non-infinite degrees of accuracy.
          Ummm is that enough? There’s a proof somewhere that Hell is infinitely hot, but that Heaven is hotter, but I don’t have that one to hand, and it’s lunch time!

        1. If it’s worth doing (a very dubious proposition in this case), it’s worth overdoing.
          (My ordination certificate is on the crane inspector’s desk. He hasn’t noticed it yet. Serves him right for saying that people should get themselves blessed before working with that starboard-aft crane.)

  4. It’s chapter 24 of Matthew that says all the weird weather stuff that will happen when Jesus comes back, not 25. That includes earthquakes, wars, famines and pestilences, which have been happening continuously for thousands of years, they are not a good prediction. Two other signs are falling stars and the moon not giving light. Saying that (Matthew 24:29) shows he obviously doesn’t know much cosmology, which is surprising considering his dad supposedly invented it.
    Matthew 25 talks about virgins at a wedding having lamp oil issues and how it’s bad to bury your money. It’s a crazy book.

    1. What makes it even weirder is to read it in conjunction with many of the philosophical schools of the time. With the exception of the Platonists (and maybe not even them, since they were at least sometimes math-friendly) the NT’s cosmology, natural philosophy and such reads as very unsophisticated.

  5. Part of the problem with religion is you never know what it’s saying. If there’s disagreement about, say, the importance on neutral drift then the issue of substance doesn’t depend on the proper interpretation of what Kimura said. But when you have people like Hagee, who apparently can’t even look up a book, or even a Book, telling you the substantial implications of what Matthew said …

  6. Ah, the Hagee Family Business. Making a killing off the “Jesus is Coming/The World is Ending” shtick. This has nothing to do with truth, and everything to do with keeping the $$$ flowing.

  7. Conservatives are always saying that weather has been changing all through history, and therefore today’s global warming is nothing to worry about. (“In the middle ages, Greenland was green!” etc.) If the weather has always been changing, how does he know that today’s climate change is a sign of Jesus’s return, and not just more of the same?

    Not to mention that there’s a bit of a difference between global warming and the sun refusing to shine.(Everybody sing! “How I want to be, be, be in that number/When the sun refuse to shine!”)

  8. In defense of Gould, NOMA was a sociological, not a philosophical, position.

    As a moral position (and therefore not as a deduction from my knowledge of
    nature’s factuality), I prefer the “cold bath” theory that nature can be truly “cruel”
    and “indifferent”—in the utterly inappropriate terms of our ethical discourse—
    because nature was not constructed as our eventual abode, didn’t know we
    were coming (we are, after all, interlopers of the latest geological microsecond),
    and doesn’t give a damn about us (speaking metaphorically). I regard such a
    position as liberating, not depressing, because we then become free to conduct
    moral discourse—and nothing could be more important—in our own terms,
    spared from the delusion that we might read moral truth passively from nature’s

    A decent expression of naturalism.

      1. No, it’s from an essay entitled Nonoverlapping Magisteria. The copy I have says it’s Natural History 106: 16, 1997.

  9. So what does the esteemed Pastor suggest we believe when the word of the lord contradicts itself? For example, did Noah (or Russell Crow, if you prefer) take two of each animal, or seven of the clean and two of the unclean? Which is the unerring word of G*wd? Genesis 6 or 7? or what about the mode of transport taken by Jebus in Mathew, riding a donkey AND a colt, but in Luke and Mark he’s only riding a colt, and in John he’s riding a young ass (*ahem* refraining from alter boy joke)…

    Gee, I sure wish I was as uneducated as the great Pastor, so I could be smart enough to figure this one out. Damn my college degrees!!

    1. Now you’re learning! “The fear of God is the foundation of true wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10). You don’t need no eddykation–just fear!

    2. Did Jesus have a Colt? Cool, I didn’t know that.

      And he had it casually hanging from his ass. He’s my Cowboy!

  10. No worries, the declaration that someone’s religion is or isn’t “proper” is… wait for it… a value judgement. Or alternatively, a claim about the meaning of the word religion.

    Either way, by his own definitions, it’s just Steven expressing his own religious belief.

  11. Yow!
    Isn’t this a clear example of the dangerous nature of religion? We don’t need to address, global warming, water shortage, overpopulation, pollution, etc. No, all we need to do is believe in pretend friend and wait for him/her/it to fix everything. As you were, nothing to worry about….

    Such fucking ignorance and denial of responsibility. Now this fool should be locked up in Guantanamo, he’s a threat to the entire planet.

  12. I thought the end times were also a result of man turning even more wicked, like what prompted Noah’s flood. If conservative Christians are openly causing it by not protecting the environment, does that mean it is actually the atheist environmentalists who will get raptured?

  13. Gould’s writing got less readable and more baroque as he aged

    Or, maybe, your ability to read became less agile as you aged? For me, at least, Gould’s writing only improved as he aged.

    Hagee is an idiot and Gould, if he lived, would have skewered him in an elegant fashion.

  14. I love (read hate) the way guys like this Hagee invent stuff about their own religion every time a new fact, a new problem shows up. The only thing that seems clear to me is that they will always have an excuse to explain anything about nature, and that there’s as many different beliefs as christians, because all of them do this. Just because they can’t say these words: I don’t know.

  15. Here are the “goods” Revelation 11:18—

    But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give [their] reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth

    Who really are “those ruining the earth”?
    People!!!! people. It’s us!! And things are gonna get a hell of a lot worse before anything gets better.

  16. The real irony is that this troglodyte uses modern technology, based on knowledge acquired by the Scientific Method, to spread his stone-age views. That same scientific method gave us atomic theory, evolution, electricity, and climate change.

    If he were honest, he would use world-view appropriate technology, which for him would be a loud voice in the market square, with perhaps a sheep horn to attract attention. Perhaps he could sit on an ass for added effect.

  17. Points well-made, but you omitted the most critical rejoinder to that “NOMA” nonsense, the fact that religion is a natural phenomenon studied by the science of the brain, cognitive science, alongside all sorts of other models of the world, both fictional and real. Religion and science are not compatible for the simple reason that science easily disproves all supernatural beliefs by explaining the general system of human cognition and the human propensity for false beliefs and fantasy. Religion without its supernatural claims is not religion.

  18. Just keep in mind, please, that there are plenty of Christians who do not believe this way and who can think in rational, logical ways and come up with intelligent statements that agree with science. I am a Christian, but I don’t see my belief system as opposed to scientific thinking in any way.

    1. In any way? Do you believe that Jesus died, was buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven? Because that’s pretty central to Christianity and way incompatible with the universe as we understand it through science.

      1. Alright, you got me there! However, I feel like there are many things that Christians argue over, saying that science is wrong about, that make them look foolish because eventually science will explain those things in a way that is compatible with Christian belief. Then those Christians will have to eat their words. Look at how many Christians centuries ago believed that the sun revolved around the earth and adamantly opposed the idea that the opposite was true. Then science proved it. As a Christian, I try to hold loosely my beliefs about things that are on the outskirts of the fundamentals of Christianity. What does it matter if evolution occurred or if God made everything? This is not fundamental to my belief system as a Christian, and I can accept and love people who have very different beliefs because evolution/creation is not the point of Christianity.

          1. The point of my Christianity is not really science-related, so maybe some people will disregard it on this thread. However, as humans, we usually feel that there is more to life than just the physical, scientifically observable. We have physical and psychological and spiritual needs, and these are all wrapped up together and overlap one another. As a Christian, I believe that we try really hard to do the right thing in life. We want to be good, to live according to our moral code, whatever that is. However, none of us can fully do that all of the time. This is where my belief in Jesus comes into the picture for me. I believe in him because I know that there is no way that I can fully live a pristine moral life and, therefore, fulfill my moral code. I need grace. As a Christian, I believe that grace came in the form of Jesus. This is where the question of his death and resurrection come in because Christianity teaches that his death was the payment for the sins of humanity.

            Of course, I’ve been dismissed already by most of the people reading this because I’ve spoken about Christian mumbo jumbo like grace. Haha! But really, Christianity is not about evolution or creation or any of those things that Christians like to get all bent out of shape about. It is about loving God and loving other people.

          2. So, I might say: “However, as humans, we usually feel that there is more to life than just the physical, scientifically observable. We have physical and psychological and spiritual needs, and these are all wrapped up together and overlap one another. As a Christian Humanist, I believe that we try really hard to do the right thing in life. We want to be good, to live according to our moral code, whatever that is. However, none of us can fully do that all of the time. This is where my belief in Jesus comes into the picture for me. I believe in him because I know that there is no way that I can fully live a pristine moral life and, therefore, fulfill [sic] my moral code. I need grace. As a Christian, I believe that grace came in the form of Jesus. This is where the question of his death and resurrection come in because Christianity teaches that his death was the payment for the sins of humanity. But I do the best I can.

            Maybe your faith in Jesus allows you to do better than I.

            But to believe in Jesus because you need to believe in Him to make up for that moral shortfall seems to be the most insubstantial of arguments.

            Dumbo believed in the Magic Feather because he thought that he needed it to fly.

            But he didn’t.


          3. Well, this is your opinion, and we differ on this. From my own experience, I know that there are many things I would like to improve and do perfectly according to my moral code, but I still fail, no matter how much I want to. I cannot be perfect.

        1. “What does it matter if evolution occurred or if God made everything?”

          Isn’t this pretty much the same as saying “Who cares what is true?” I can see (why this might be acceptable on the religion side, but in the world of science such matters are critical.

          1. I would think it should matter from the religious side too. After all, the point of the fall is that Jesus came to give us the opportunity for eternal life. I’ve read Sophisticated Theologians dismiss the fact that there was death well before humans were on the scene by speaking in metaphorical terms such as “spiritual death,” so evolution can be “accepted” though it opens up all kinds of further religious and philosophical questions, mainly speaking to why and how any of these claims should even be considered at all.

            This doesn’t let anyone off the hook with regard to science though as Christianity has always taught that Christ’s physical body rose from the dead (a miracle claim) and then ascended into Heaven (an even more miraculous claim). To comport with science, the ascension claim would require that Heaven is somewhere in the natural Universe, or else the claim is that matter and energy in the form of Jesus’s body was somehow removed from nature. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone claim the former; usually, it’s the latter that is at least implied.

            Further, the traditional claim is that all of our bodies will ultimately be resurrected and have eternal life (yet another grotesque violation our understanding natural laws). Technically, this is looking at these claims from a scientific viewpoint but they are very specific religious claims and have to be answered from a religious standpoint too. There’s simply no way to assert what Christianity traditionally asserts as the answers and have this be in any way compatible with science.

          2. That does sound like I’m saying who cares what’s true. What I mean is that the questions of evolution/creation and other such arguments that people get caught up in really are not central to my faith. I am interested in scientific discoveries and like to watch what happens in the scientific world because, despite what outspoken, uneducated Christians who give Christianity a bad rap might say, many times scientific discoveries do go along with Christian beliefs. I may need at times to re-evaluate my understandings of things I read in the Bible because maybe I understood them wrong or was taught them wrong (as I believe has been the case with creationism), but that does not mean that science and Christianity are mutually exclusive.

          3. Many times scientific discoveries do go along with Christian beliefs.

            That actually gets to the heart of the matter.

            It may well be that some flavors of Christianity are theologically compatible with the broad swath of scientific discovery.

            However, it’s not a two-way street. Science is not compatible with any religion, and especially not Christianity.

            First, religion is nothing without faith; in science, however, faith is the one ultimate, unforgivable sin. There’s simply no way for a scientist to honestly bridge that epistemic divide.

            Second, Christianity makes claim after claim that’s simply — and, often, trivially — demonstrated false by scientific inquiry. Souls, for example, are easy; there’s not only no evidence for them, they would violate the basic principles of pretty much every branch of science, from thermodynamics to elementary physics to chemistry to information theory to biology to cosmology and more. You can’t have Christianity without souls, and souls are simply no more real than Santa Claus’s elves or anal-probing flying saucer space aliens from Mars. Apply similar standards of evidence to the rest of the foundational claims of Christianity, and none of it — not even the historicity of Jesus — demonstrates any more bearing on reality than Peter Pan.

            So, if you want to say that Christians have no theological problems with, say, physics, that’s just fine and dandy. But that doesn’t mean that what actual physics as actually understood by actual physicists says is any way actually consistent with the actual claims of Christianity.



          4. I am not a scientist, which is probably pretty clear to you. However, I would say that yes, faith is very important in religion because at its heart it deals with things that are different from what science addresses. I think it is a mistake for Christians to go about trying to prove science wrong or to say that science is somehow proved or disproved by the Bible. The Bible and Christian belief deals with different things than science does. Christianity can be compatible with science because they address different arenas of life. This is where Christians mess up. Trying to use the Bible to prove science is a mistake.

            Second, I think there is quite a bit that scientists accept on faith. There are things that they believe to be true but cannot prove yet. That does not mean that they will never prove them or that they are not true just because they cannot be proven. For example, before high powered microscopes scientists believed that atoms existed but couldn’t prove that. They had faith that they were there. As science advanced, they were able to see them and prove their existence.

          5. Christianity can be compatible with science because they address different arenas of life.

            That’s certainly a common claim of Christians, but it’s not one that I see any evidence of being true.

            I mentioned souls. Science has addressed that question, and we can be as confident that they don’t exist as we are that the Luminiferous Aether doesn’t exist, that there isn’t any celestial chariot that draws the Sun across the dome of the Firmament, that demons aren’t responsible for diseases.

            Similarly, science has demonstrated that Christian prayers are no more effective than any other form of spellcasting in any other religion. And we know that the entire story of Jesus as well as Jesus himself is every bit as much of a fabrication as any other Mediterranean demigod such as Perseus or Dionysus or Mithras or the rest.

            Scientists may not spend much time on the questions of souls and prayers and the like, but that’s for the same reason that they don’t look for the Philospher’s Stone nor investigate haruspex. They’re all primitive superstitions with no basis in reality, so, unless you’re an anthropologist, what’s there to investigate?

            Second, I think there is quite a bit that scientists accept on faith.

            Then you think worng.

            There are certainly a number of propositions that are so unlikely to be false that any sane and rational person simply takes them as absolute. For example, the Earth is an oblate spheroid; the Sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning; and if your pencil rolls off the table, it’ll accelerate downward at about ten meters per second per second until it hits the floor.

            However, even those sorts of propositions are and will always be provisional. It is always possible to invent some sort of paranoid conspiracy such that even something as certain as “The Sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning” could be false. For example, you could be in a Matrix-style simulation, or your tinfoil hat could have slipped and the aliens are controlling your thoughts with their mind rays, or you’re just part of Alice’s Red King’s Dream, or practically anything else you may care to invent.

            There are a few points to take from the preceding paragraph.

            First, outside of contexts such as this, there’s no point in wasting any time on such fantasies. Doing otherwise is the very definition of insanity.

            Second, Christianity, through and through, is exactly that sort of paranoid fantasy. Indeed, the “Ground of Being / Mind of God” “theory” of the ultimate nature of reality is indistinguishable from Alice’s Red King’s Dream, save for the name of the one doing the dreaming.

            Third…even if it should actually turn out to be the case that one of these paranoias really represents real reality, nothing changes. Alice’s Red King, for example, has no way of ruling out the possibility that he, himself, is part of Zhuangzi’s Butterfly’s Dream. Or, even if Jesus really is real, he has no way of knowing whether or not he’s a subroutine in a computer program of an even more advanced civilization. As such, any claims of certainty about the “ultimate” nature of reality can be summarily dismissed.

            And, finally, the reason that scientists don’t accept such propositions on faith is because, if you present compelling enough evidence to the contrary, they’ll actually change their minds.

            Is there any evidence you can imagine that I could present to you that would convince you that Jesus is just another faery tale? If not, that’s a perfect example of religious faith — and, honestly, it’s not something to be proud of. In contrast, it would actually be possible to convince me that the Sun wouldn’t rise in the East tomorrow by, for example, presenting me with evidence that I’m really the proverbial brain in a vat and that stars are fictions. I might — almost certainly, in fact — at first conclude I’ve gone completely bonkers, but, at least in principle, it’s a point I could conceivably concede; therefore, it’s not a position taken on faith.



          6. What about morality? Science tells us a lot about morality. His about homosexuality? Science has lots to say on that too. These are areas that religion, especially Christianity comment on. In this way, science and religion overlap. How do you reconcile these examples?

          7. “I think there is quite a bit that scientists accept on faith. There are things that they believe to be true but cannot prove yet.”

            No. Not really.

            There are things that they think might be true but have not yet been validated.

            (Science doesn’t prove things. Science is really about chipping away the bad hypotheses to get an increasingly accurate model of the world as we perceive it at ever smaller and larger scales.)

            “… before high powered microscopes scientists believed that atoms existed but couldn’t prove that. They had faith that they were there. As science advanced, they were able to see them and prove their existence.”

            Neither historically nor epistemically accurate!

            The existence of atoms was extremely well validated by a variety of experimental means long before we had scanning tunnelling microscopes to “see” them. Those microscopes provided negligible additional validation of atomic theory.

            What’s more, building a scanning tunnelling microscope requires an understanding of physics at the quantum level beyond atomic theory!


    2. Or, perhaps I should simply ask this:

      What is it that you, as a Christian, believe “on faith”?

      I’m willing to wager that it is incompatible with a scientific understanding of the universe.

  19. I have read what he said. Thou shalt not lie? Omission is lying too. What our dear half-whit of a pastor is not telling you is that his jesus clearly states in matthew 24, as he does in each gospel, is that the very generation that he is speaking directly to would be alive when he came back. He does say that no-one will know the hour, but he was clear, at least, about the century or decades. Your jesus dudes prophecy failed dude. Time come and gone. Game over. Funny how these nutters never quote these specific verses. How on earth such balloons can spout this nonsense, knowingly misleading other barely inflated balloons in the process? It really boggles the brain.

  20. I wrote a little bit about this in response to another comment. I think that the central theme of Christianity is to love God and love other people. That’s my goal as a Christian. It’s what Jesus said was the most important teaching. It does involve things that are unexplainable by science at this point in time, and this may be where I step into faith because I do not need an explanation for how Jesus died and resurrected. I don’t need the scientific details on that, and science won’t produce that. But I can live my life loving God and loving other people and still believe in things that science can prove.

    1. How do you get past points such as the ones I raised in my previous comment in this thread? For me, and many others here, questions like these is what did it regarding having faith, and specifically faith in Christianity.

      You mention things that are unexplainable. No one disagrees that there are many such things and one could home up with abstract enough explanations so as to fully embrace current scientific understanding. I would contend that Occam’s Razor would eliminate any such hypotheses as far as considering their likelihood. But points such as Jesus literally rising from the dead are not just unexplainable, they directly contradict science. I suppose (and I don’t know if this is the case with you) that you could completely dismiss this as metaphor, thus running contrary to centuries of religious thought, but what then are you left with. Woo words like “spiritual” and “grace” without any evidence for the entity they’re being attributed to are meaningless. Feeling that you need them doesn’t make them real any more than John Nash feeling like he was receiving coded messages made them real.

      So, to put the question to you again, as a couple other posters did, do you believe any of the physical claims Christianity traditionally makes (the Fall, Jesus, the Second Coming, Heaven, Hell, etc.)?

      1. I appreciate everyone being civil to me on these threads because I know that most of you disagree with me! Thank you.

        That being said, I know that there are a few things that are absolutely central to Christianity and those things obviously are not scientific and cannot be proved by science at this point. In fact, they go against what we know about science as of today. In that respect, some things that Christians believe are not compatible with science. I believe that Jesus was a human and that he was somehow God’s son. There is no scientific explanation for that. I also believe he died and resurrected. Again, no scientific explanation. I do believe that people have souls, that there is a heaven and hell. No way to explain that scientifically. YET.

        There are things about the world that neither science or religion can yet explain. This does not mean that someday they will not be explained in a way that is understandable for both scientists and Christians. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I think it’s possible.

        Here’s what I have been trying to get across: too many Christians today use the Bible to argue about science, but really Christianity addresses things about the world that science does not. Science can answer many of our questions about the world, but it still leaves many things unanswered. This is where religion comes in. I think Christians get themselves distracted, as maybe I have today, by arguing some of these peripheral subjects like creation/evolution when Christianity really answers questions about morality and spiritual things.

        1. I would add that my original thought was that Christians get all caught up arguing whether global warming or evolution is Christian when that is not central to our beliefs. Christians mess up when they get too involved in these discussions because the central belief of Christianity, the only thing that all Christian groups agree must be believed is something that I realize (through all of this discussion it has become abundantly clear!) cannot be proved by science yet: Jesus lived, died, resurrected. This is central. The rest of the stuff that Christians get their panties in a knot about is not central, and we need to keep our mouths shut about because those might or might not be compatible with science if we changed the way we understood them or in the future when scientific advances make them clear.

          That being said, I will have to drop out of this, at least for now. My children are hungry and begging for dinner, and I think I may have crossed the line into arguing stuff that I shouldn’t argue. I will soon look like a fool if I don’t already! Haha! Thank you for your polite answers and questions. It is good for me to think about my beliefs from a different perspective, and I enjoy it. I also like when people from different viewpoints can have a respectful disagreement and discussion!

        2. “I do believe that people have souls, … No way to explain that scientifically. YET.”

          Yet there is already extremely well established scientific evidence against the existence of souls which (echoing Ben’s comments elsewhere) would violate much of thermodynamics, chemistry, …, and Standard Model (SM) physics.

          Whatever you think souls might be, there is no way for our physical brains to interact with them at ordinary energy scales. Not just no known way. SM physics and the results from the LHC exclude any theoretical possibilities. There is no new physics up to the mass of the Higgs boson.

          “… Christianity really answers questions about morality and spiritual things.”

          But why then don’t all Christians have the same answers to those questions?


        3. No way to explain that scientifically. YET.

          The “YET” is where you go off the rails.

          All of the examples you give are of phenomena that are every bit as thoroughly and trivially demonstrated fantastic (in the sense of “fantasy”) as any other superstition you’d dismiss without a second thought — Leprechauns, spellcasting, Valhalla, Zeus and his thunderbolts, the works.

          Do you think science may YET explain the good fortune that imbues pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? If not, and you understand why it’s silly to think it may, then you’re on your way to understanding why the “YET” in your own comments is equally silly.



  21. I wrote a little bit about this in response to another comment. I think that the central theme of Christianity is to love God and love other people. That’s my goal as a Christian. It’s what Jesus said was the most important teaching. It does involve things that are unexplainable by science at this point in time, and this may be where I step into faith because I do not need an explanation for how Jesus died and resurrected. I don’t need the scientific details on that, and science won’t produce that. But I can live my life loving God and loving other people and still believe in things that science can prove.

    1. Before you might be allowed to post further, I will ask you to answer the two questions I usually ask religious people when they come over here.

      1. What, exactly, is the HARD EVIDENCE that makes you accept Christianity, the divinity of Christ, that he even existed, and that one can be redeemed (and presumably go to heaven? I don’t want “feelings,” “revelations,” or the like, I would like evidence, for, after all, it wouldn’t do to make this most important decision of your life based on nothing other than emotions and personal revelations.

      2. What makes you think that your religion is the right one and that, say, Islam is not. After all, Islam denies Christ as a Saviour and says that those who believe that will go to hell. If they’re right, you’re going to fry. Yet they are as sincere as you are in professing your beliefs. So please give us the REASONS why you think that the tenets of your faith are right and those of other faiths are wrong.

      1. I want to keep answering. I have to admit my limitations, though. The most pressing at this moment is that I must feed my children, and it’s getting late here.

        There is hard evidence for Jesus’ existence, and if you start bringing that up I think you’ll be stepping into more of my territory. However, I need to look it up as I do not have all of that info right at my fingertips and, as I said, my time is limited. Second, there is no possible way to prove that Christianity is completely right because if a person doesn’t want to believe it, he won’t. I could argue all day, but my point was and has been since I first commented that some Christians do not just disrespectfully talk crazily about science and disregard things that science does show to be true. I still believe that, as I am sure that you still believe that I’m a nut case. Thanks for listening to me and engaging in a really interesting discussion. Sorry I can’t keep it up!

        1. I don’t think anyone here would characterize you as a nut case but I hope you will return to answer our questions. I am particularly interested in how you square what science tells us about morality and what it says about homosexuality and what Christianity says.

          Also, you did say you are not a scientist but I urge you to learn as much as you can about science, hard sciences, life sciences, social sciences: the works. You will see there is overlap in science and religion especially I’m the areas I’ve mentioned.

        2. There is hard evidence for Jesus’ existence

          Actually…no. Quite the contrary, in fact.

          There is absolutely nothing that dates to within the first half of the first century that even tangentially makes parenthetical reference to anything that could be remotely mistraken for Jesus or the events of the Gospels.

          Yet, during that same period, we have copious documentation from actual people in and around Jerusalem at the time, not a single one of whom noticed a thing. This included people who couldn’t possibly have missed even the less remarkable events of the Gospels, let alone the Resurrection and Ascension — people like the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls or Philo or Pliny the Elder or the Roman Satirists.

          The oldest mentions of Jesus — those Pauline epistles that aren’t forgeries — describe him as an otherworldly salvific Pagan creator deity, and they’re remarkably devoid of specific details even in contexts screaming out for such. Indeed, Paul even quotes Jewish scriptures to demonstrate points that Jesus himself allegedly made far more forcefully.

          A bit later, and at a time overlapping with the composition of the Gospels, we get the earliest Christian apologists…and they, especially Justin Martyr, defend the faith by exhaustively detailing all the ways in which Jesus is indistinguishable from any other Pagan demigod. Strip out all the stories that Martyr cites as parallels with those of “Sons of Jupiter,” and there’s literally nothing left of Jesus. The virgin birth, the healing, the martyrdom, the Ascension, even the Word / Logos of John 1:1 — Martyr identifies the original Pagan source for all. (To be fair, he attributes them to demons with the power of foresight planting the stories in advance to lead honest men astray, but I think we can dismiss that bit without diminishing the rest of his rock-solid claims.)

          You’re likely ready to cite several Pagan sources as evidence of Jesus’s historicity, but don’t bother. Josephus, Suetonius, Pliny the Elder, all the rest…well, none were even alive at the time it was supposed to have all gone down. The passage in Josephus is a well-known forgery, as evidenced by Origen’s lament about his silence on the subject. The others describe Christians and Christianity, not Jesus, and dismiss the cult as an upstart perversion full of lunatic nutjobs, in the same language as you yourself might describe the Raelians or Branch Davidians. Indeed, one very likely to be on your list, Lucian of Samosata, describes how Peregrinus, a lovable rascal, tricked the Christians into accepting him as one of their own and “revealed” to them huge swaths of Paganism as being “really” Christian — exactly as Martyr described.

          On that last point, I’d like to observe that the most specific that Paul ever gets with respect to Jesus’s biography is with the Last Supper…except, of course, that it’s not the Last Supper at all that he describes, but rather that he gives instruction on the proper performance of the Eucharist. Martyr confirmed that the Christian Eucharist was the same as the Mithraic Eucharist…and, for a century or more before Paul was born, Mithraism had been the hometown religion of Tarsus…as in, “Saul, of.” So even Paul’s most specific biographical detail of Jesus was really an example of syncretism from Mithraism. Kinda makes you wonder who else made up which bits, too, no?



    2. Do you see that you are derailing your thread by expounding at length your personal beliefs? Please don’t do that any more on this thread. But do answer the questions I’ve asked above.

      1. I apologize for “derailing the thread”. I only answered people’s questions. I did not want to talk about my personal beliefs because they are mine and because talking about belief makes a person look irrational, but if you look back you will see that people asked me specific questions about my personal beliefs and I answered them. I know that if I stop here without answering your questions you will think it’s because Christians can’t defend themselves, etc, but, as I said earlier, I cannot spend my life online. I’ve got other responsibilities.

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