There have been a few comments that have echoed the sentiment that was relayed by “Blogster”
remember though.. look not to man for salvation, but only to God, the only way to true life
This is in response to a post where I expressed my desperation at trying to have a more rational discussion about energy. “Blogster” makes it clear that by god he means Jehovah with all of his holy trinity mystery. There are a few points that I would like to make about this sentiment. First, in order to look to Jesus for salvation, you are invariably looking to man. Jesus didn’t write the gospels, men did, and decades after his supposed death and resurrection. The old testament holds up no better, for example, there is documentary evidence that the first five book of the bible are not, in fact, written by Moses, as the bible itself claims. This is combined with the fact that the bible has been altered many times through its history as Bart D. Ehrman explores in his book Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. Even if we accept the fact that the book was divinely inspired, which I personally don’t, we must accept the fact that the message itself has been filtered through numerous men who didn’t necessarily believe that altering scripture was wrong. Origen, an early Christian, lodges this complaint
The differences among the manuscripts have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; they either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please. -Misquoting Jesus pg. 52
Secondly, there is an issue of what constitutes a true life. True life is assumed to be eternal. Unfortunately, eternal life would be hell for any intelligent being with a working memory. Think about it, you could do everything you ever wanted to do a million times, and still have an eternity to look forward to. Eternal life ensures an eternity of boredom. Now, it could be the case that you could have an eternal life and never even know it. For example, if you had a form of amnesia and you always forgot the events of the previous day, and thus every day of your eternal life was a blank slate. It would make eternity tolerable, but utterly meaningless as you repeated the same actions over and over and over again without realizing it. But, even these scenarios aren’t the ones the Christians promise us. They promise us a totalitarian existence where every moment of eternity is spent praising the father, son, or holy spirit. Where you live in constant fear of being convicted of thought crimes, yet you sing about the leader’s love for you. As you endure your existence, there are dungeons where people are being maliciously and eternally tortured for exercising the free will this god gave them and could have predicted their choices. This is the system of justice the Christian’s “loving” god supposedly set up. Luckily, there isn’t any credible evidence for it. Instead of focusing on the Christian “true life,” which seems to me to be tedious or pointless all the while being self-contradictory, I’ll focus on the real one I’m currently experiencing.
As such, I’m not interested in eternal salvation. I’m worried about salvation in this life. Salvation in this context means “a means of preserving from harm or unpleasantness.” I think the best way of doing this is to look to science. I would fully expect “Blogster” to call this looking to man for salvation, but I don’t see it that way. Atomic theory, the theory of evolution, the theory of gravity aren’t true because we want them to be true, they are true because they are based on countless observations of the world and universe around us. Any scientific hypothesis is subjected to a high level of scrutiny, skepticism and self-criticism. Even when accepted, it is only done so conditionally. Science is a human endeavor, but the observations are accessible to anyone or anything in principle and therefore are the epitome of not looking to man. If you care to doubt the results of a particular experiment, then you are encouraged to try to repeat it. If you find differences, then submit your findings to a scientific peer-reviewed journal.
Science does not intrinsically tell us right from wrong, but it establishes a basis of knowledge and experience that a bronze-age text just can’t match. When facing the challenges of our modern era, I would rather do the things that science tells us will help alleviate the problems as opposed to praying for answers or looking to ancient texts. One can do both, so long as the latter does not compromise the former, otherwise it is a dereliction of duty to your fellow man and might have repercussions for generations to come.