Tuesday, 16 October 2012

My favorite podcast: Unbelievable?

I have to do a post on my favourite podcast at the moment the Unbelievable? series produced by Premier Radio is just the type of podcast I searched iTunes to find.

If you don't know anything about Premier it is a British Christian Radio station, there is also premier.tv which I think is their music video side.

The podcasts are all free and cover a range of topics all religiously focused but not entirely Christian. The best thing about the unbelievable podcasts is that despite being a Christian radio
Station they have an abundance of atheist, agnostic guests and guests from other religions.

It also feels very contemporary, and is a compact and accessible dose of apologetics and debate. Just enough to keep you listening and engaged. The host Justin Brierley, is also a very moderate host despite his own Christian affiliations remains unbiased and diplomatic throughout.

So yes if you are interested in debates and discussions you have to check them out. Go to your iTunes and type in Unbelievable? The podcasts will come up. Plenty to choose from and doesn't cost you a penny.

I'm going to try and blog about these weekly because they always bring up interesting subjects and would be great to discuss them with fellow bloggers.

The god we have and the place we're born

What interests me is the indoctrination of religion in children. Christian indoctrination is dying out in the UK in primary schools (faith schools excluded) when I was there around 15 years a go prayers, hymns, and the nativity play were all part of school life. We were never taught about Christ but we were expected to understand and believe in him.

Now at that moment in time when I was young and desired forgiveness for things I had done I thought were bad, I didn't feel the call to Islam, Sikhism, Judaism but to the Jesus of Christianity because that's what I knew. The unknown did not reach out to me, if it had I undoubtedly would still believe today.

I think that is why people are so adamant they are on the correct path to god because the majority of time they have grown up with a religion, and there is no escaping that. The thought of another god, or in the Abrahamic sense the same with different prophets is unthinkable.

They can both argue with positive belief they are correct because they choose to believe the religion of their country, culture, family or upbringing.

Exceptions exist, I know. Take for example Christians in Pakistan, depending upon which source you read (the statistics vary) Christians make up 1.8 percent of the dominant Islamic country. Pakistan is known as one of the more conservative Muslim countries. There is a general feeling that Pakistan does not allow for religious freedom yet churches exist and are functioning in Pakistan.
According to Wikipedia most descend from people who converted during British colonial era.

But these exceptions don't out way the obvious, that the god you worship is the one that the people around you worship. The two biggest religions Christianity and Islam are physically demonstrable on a map via the east/west divide. Geography plays its part in religion how is this explained from a theological point of view?

Anyone ever hear any testimonies of people who had been saved by a god they had never heard of before?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Why the hostility towards agnostics? Pt 1

I realise now other than for a few sure moments I have never been an atheist. That lingering doubt that some would call cowardice or stupidity has never left me and never will until I am fully convinced of the explanation that something can come from nothing.

At some point in the very distant past absolutely nothing was here at all. Not even empty space ,not a whiff of an atom, no place for an atom to be! Just nothing. Not darkness not light, no vacuums, nada! Then out of no where a bang occurs, and yes scientists can explain and theorise the explosion but why is it that first initial atom ever popped into existence in the first place when there was no where for it to pop into.

This question has fascinated me from a very young age, I remember trying to imagine something coming from nothing, but of course all the mind can imagine is darkness which is still something.

This initial beginning is really an atheists weak spot. For all  the science in the world our true origin is unknown. The big bang was not in my eyes the beginning of the universe but rather how the things in the universe came to be including time and space.

I would like to know why it is seen as cowardly to explore and to conclude you don't know? Would it not be pretentious to pretend you did just to suit the needs of others. To appease those who would rather you choose .I read recently that agnosticism is not in between atheism and religion because atheism is knowledge and religion is belief, the burden of proof lies with religion there for to be in between is not to be unsure what to believe you either do or you don't.

Well firstly I disagree that you cannot be in between the two positions. The notion that atheism is not a belief in no God but rather the lack of a belief is a fair description, the idea that atheism is knowledge is again a just explanation, however as I mentioned previously this knowledge has holes in it for me yet should I agree with it to avoid sitting on the fence? Should I just believe that science may one day hold the clue to the beginning ?

The universe is expanding, it wasn't always here, it had to start somewhere, at some point something came from NO thing. Do we know how? No. Does Atheism have all the answers ? No.I think I will stay where I am thanks.

Man is the head of a woman? ***updated*** 1 Cor 11:3

*Please read the update below 
Originally posted 17/10/2012

It's been a while since I updated and that's for two reasons ; one the bible is such a struggle to read and two the Quran has been left untouched , apart from one brief skim through. I did get stuck into revelations , which I have since found out Is the only part any non Christian is interested in really. Revelations is supposedly the part with all the juicy bits. Admittedly I read it and I could make head nor tail of anything so I left it.
I think the main problem I am having is that it is the king James version and all the thou and whilst are sending me to sleep.

A strange thing did happen though I will admit, I got a craving to go and read the bible. So I stopped doing what I was doing and went and read it because it was giving me this cosy feeling to read it. I was confused and thought what's all this about. Until...

I got to the part that states that women are below men and the head of the man is Christ the head of the woman is man. I forget which part it is but I can tell you now my warm fuzzy feeling soon departed. Proof if it even need be, that the bible was written by men not god. For if it were by god, wouldn't " he" foresee the time when men an women were equal. Would "he" he really create inequalities OR is it simply just how MAN thought at the time of writing the bible.

I can never give into a religion that deems me a subordinate and for that reason I'm out.

***UPDATE*** Posted on 15/10/2012

I realise my above post was a bit... defeatist and defensive. I  have grown a lot in the year between writing that and now. I have learnt a lot about religion in the past year, and part of that learning process is realising that scripture is a fiddly thing that a lot of intelligent people analyse and scrutinize in order to access its true meaning. It is also that things are not always what they seem and that if I am going to profess tolerance I must not get so angry.  So I searched for an explanation.

The Name Change

I have changed the blog title to 'The agnostic fence' as this is where I currently position myself. No longer an atheist, but no convert by any means.  

So fellow fence sitters, are we in the best position possible?

Agnosticism is the ignored grey area of the religious divide, mostly because an input of  'i dunno' isn't perhaps seen as a useful one. However I think agnosticism has a lot of positives and especially in the arena of apologetics, a debate panel should never be without its agnostic referee.

Agnosticism, and I am generally talking about agnostics with an interest or knowledge in theism, promotes a tolerance that perhaps atheists and theists don't have. Although some atheists are by design agnostic because they will say that they can't say with 100% certainty that a creator doesn't exist, this  is mainly semantics and philosophy. Richard Dawkins would say so because he is a man of logic and applies his own logic to the intricacies of proof, but he is no fence sitter. Agnosticism is separate, agnostics may pray every now and then, may believe in evolution, read a range of religious texts. They may also perceive media deemed controversial  or offensive to a religious person with an active impassive eye, allowing for unbiased criticism or praise.

My granddad says you have to pick a side, in life and in general, but I am not sure in this case that I can. I find the beauty in the possibility and the beauty in the explanation. To treat others as you wish to be treated, to harm no one, to be compassionate to living things and respect others life choices- these are the things I hold dear to me, I understand it is not enough for some and sadly too much for others.