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Hello to all readers and writers from the Philippines. I set up this blog so anyone who wants to write be given the chance to do so and reach a wider audience. I have set up a contact form so you can submit your stories. I’ll only filter stories that are not original or which I consider spam. I want genuine people writing their own genuine stories. You can write about anything. I consider this not to be my own property but the community’s property, and all these stories belong to, and can, should be enjoyed by all Filipinos. If you want to submit a story, please fill out the form below. Please note that I will post your story/article as well as your pen name. You can also submit pictures to post together with your article, if that matters to you.

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Is there really a conflict between Faith and Science?

Is there really a conflict between Faith and Science?

Just recently, I watched a debate between an atheist scientist and a Christian creationist. In the debate, they discussed whether the literal interpretation of the Bible’s Genesis Creation Story is true or not. One of the most interesting highlights of the debate is that the scientist claimed that Christianity is based on “faith” while Science is based on “evidence”.

Is it so? I don’t think it is. I don’t want to take sides here, because I am an atheist scientist myself. But I think it is important to correct this misconception in the Science community.

When a scientist claims to have “no faith”, he is not telling the truth. Why? Because the Scientific Method itself has its own assumptions in interpreting evidence, and when a scientist interprets evidence based on these assumptions, he is having FAITH that these assumptions in interpreting evidence are correct. The assumptions of the scientific worldview include:

1. Naturalism – the assumption that the Natural realm is a CLOSED system and that outside factors (supernatural factors, if ever they exist) do not affect its constituents; that Natural laws are all there is, that these Natural laws govern every event in the universe, and that knowledge of these Natural laws is sufficient to explain EVERY event that happens in the cosmos. This is the reason why the question, “Can science prove the existence of the supernatural?” is a nonsensical question. Why? Because by clinging to naturalistic assumptions, Science is already biased towards the assumption that supernatural things do NOT exist, and that the natural realm is all there is. Yes. You heard that right. Science also has its own biases.

2. Objective reality – the assumption that reality is independent of Human consciousness; that things exist as they are; that things have their own inherent characteristics that are not dependent on the way how sentient beings perceive them.

3. Empiricism – roughly, this assumes that the human senses are a reliable epistemological tool in perceiving reality and that the human mind is a reliable tool in rationally-integrating all the sensory information gathered by the Human senses.

Now, can you PROVE, with 100% certainty, that these assumptions are correct? Of course not! Everytime you use the Scientific method in interpreting evidence, you are having FAITH that these assumptions are correct.

So I personally believe that it is not right for a Scientist to claim to have “no faith”. The very fact that we BELIEVE in something is already proof that we have faith.

How about the scientists who say, “We have don’t have faith. We only have evidence.”?
Well, having evidence is one thing. HOW evidence is interpreted is a different matter. It’s not really about “how much evidence” there is, but HOW someone interprets evidence. That’s what you call “worldview”.

In short, the evidence does NOT speak for itself. It should be interpreted based on a worldview. Each worldview has its own assumptions in interpreting evidence.

The scientific worldview, as I have stated above, interprets evidence with the assumptions of naturalism, empiricism, and objectivism.

Religious worldviews, on the other hand, interpret evidence with the assumptions of supernaturalism and mysticism. Like, for example, the Biblical creationist will always assume the Bible’s creation story to be true, and will always interpret evidence with that assumption in mind. It is important to note that Theology begins with the command, “Deus Dixit” which means “God said it, therefore, it is true”. In the Christian worldview, the Bible is already presumed to be “true”, and Christians take by faith that the Bible is the Word of God. That assumption might be unacceptable to naturalists, but so are naturalistic assumptions unacceptable to religionists.

The question is: WHICH assumptions in interpreting evidence are correct? We can NEVER know for sure. We can only hope and have faith that our assumptions about reality are correct and that we are interpreting evidence correctly. You can present the same evidence to both a Christian and a Scientist, but they will interpret it differently and will have different conclusions. As I’ve said, it’s not about the presence or absence of evidence. It’s about HOW evidence is interpreted.

Only a Pyrrhonian Skeptic (pure agnostic) can claim to have no faith, because in the Pyrrhonian worldview, we can NEVER be sure of anything, including our own existence.

-Thomas Adrian, submitted May 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Was Jesus Christ a Socialist? A Classical Liberal Critique of the Christian Left

It’s been a month since the end of Holy Week, and even now, I clearly remember how a Leftist UP professor posted articles in his Facebook page claiming that “Christianity would encourage Socialism”. Well, I don’t think it’s true.

Although Communism and Socialism are generally secular and atheistic ideologies that are based more on dialectical materialism than religious theology, there are some “Christian Leftists” who attempt to mix Leftist political thought with Christian doctrines in order to make their ideology more palatable for Christians. They call their teachings “Liberation Theology”.

They would quote Bible verses about helping the poor, such as:

“If one of your brethren becomes poor and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.” (Leviticus 25:35)

After quoting such verses, the Christian Leftist would then claim that “Jesus was a Socialist” and that “Jesus would want to establish Socialism” in order to “promote Charity” and “help the poor”.

First of all, what is Socialism? In case you don’t know, Socialism is a political idea that gives the government tremendous amounts of power in controlling the economy in order to make sure that “everyone is equal” and that “wealth is distributed equally”.

In other words, Socialists are simply intending to use government power to “redistribute wealth” by coercing people who earn more to give their wealth to those who earn less. Basically, Socialists simply want to make charity mandatory, by using government power to force the “rich” to give to the “poor”.

But the problem is that “Mandatory Charity” is an OXYMORON.

Charity, by definition, is ALWAYS a VOLUNTARY act. It is NEVER a result of coercion.

So when you are coercing people to give to the poor, just like what the Socialists are doing, you are not doing an act of charity. You are doing an act of “political Robin Hoodism” (using government force to steal wealth from the “rich” and give the stolen wealth to the “poor”).

The Bible itself says that:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

So clearly, that verse teaches that Charity is never a result of compulsion or coercion. I have read many writings by Christian Socialists, and I have observed that they have NEVER quoted that verse from the Bible.

So in conclusion, I would say that the Bible does NOT promote Socialism. In fact, the Bible is against Socialism. The Bible is against coercion. The Bible promotes VOLUNTARY charity, but not compulsory Charity (which is, again, an oxymoron).

Voluntary charity can only happen in a free market Capitalist society, where the government does not dictate to the people how they would spend their money.

In a truly liberal and free society, the government’s powers and responsibilities are small and limited, and the individual’s responsibilities are bigger. Since the government’s powers and responsibilities are small, taxation is very low, too. That means that it is the people who will decide what to do with most of their earned money, not the government. The people are freer to make a choice regarding what to do with their income. They can spend it, save it, invest it, or donate it to charity.

A liberal and free Capitalist society would also encourage people to become more self-reliant and less dependent upon the government. People would become more responsible for their actions and decisions, too.

Personally, I always appreciate anything that is given to me voluntarily. Charity is meaningless without a cheerful and willing heart. It’s better to not give me anything at all than to give me something reluctantly.

Before I end this article, I would like to let the reader know that I am NOT a theologian. In fact, I am an atheist. But coming from a very religious family, I do read the Bible a lot. This analysis is simply based on my own personal understanding of the Bible.

 

-Thomas Adrian, submitted May 28, 2017 at 11:27 am

Why Forced Collectivism Fails: A Classical Liberal Argument Against Socialism, Nationalism, and Collectivist Politics

In order to avoid conflicts, a universal objective ethical standard should guide political policy-making. It should be an ethical standard that is not based on subjective utilitarian ethics but on objective deontological ethics.

If politics is based on subjective utilitarian ethics, the government would coerce individuals to work together in order to achieve what the government thinks is “the greater good”. It sounds good at first, but in reality, it will give room for disagreements, conflicts, and eventually, political crises that would ultimately result in violence and war. How? It’s because the definition of “greater good” is subjective. Each individual has his own definition of “greater good”. In a collectivist government, whoever controls the government will have his own idea of what “greater good” is, and he has the power to use government force to coerce everyone to work towards what he thinks is “the greater good”, whether people agree with it or not. History has proven over and over again that that is the perfect recipe for conflict. That is why in history, political ideologies that disregard individual rights in favor of forced collectivization (such as Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Totalitarianism, Nationalism, and others) have always led to violence and wars. If you look at history, you can conclude that many conflicts resulted from man’s desire to enforce his will on everyone else.

As I’ve said, in order to avoid conflicts, politics should be guided by an ethical standard that is based on objective deontological ethics (i.e. the Non-Aggression Principle). What does that mean? It means a standard that gives each individual the right to live according to his own principles without being coerced into following or supporting a way of life that he does not agree with. It means a standard that protects the individual’s fundamental and non-negotiable rights (the rights to life, liberty, and property) and allows any individual to have the freedom to do whatever he wants, as long as he is not initiating an act of aggression against another individual’s fundamental and non-negotiable rights. It is a standard that gives the individual the freedom to choose the path which he believes is “best” for him, and be fully responsible for whatever consequences his actions might have. It is a standard that allows the individual to choose to voluntarily work with other like-minded individuals not as a result of coercive collectivization, but as a result of volunteerism and desire for voluntary teamwork in pursuit of what they believe is the “greater good”.

The Non-Aggression Principle is a principle based on deontological ethics. What does “deontological ethics” mean? It simply means that the end does not justify the means. Wrong is wrong even if it produces “good” results. Any act of aggression or coercion against any individual is wrong no matter the result. In contrast to that, “utilitarian ethics” is an ethical standard that looks at the results instead of the act itself. Utilitarianism teaches that an act is ethical if in the end, it produces “good” results. But, as I’ve said, the problem with utilitarian ethics is that the definition of “good” is subjective. That’s why utilitarian ethics (i.e. “pragmatism”) usually ends up in conflicts.

Only a government guided by the principles of Classical Liberalism (Rational Individualism and the Non-aggression Principle) ensures that every individual has the freedom to live according to his own principles, to choose to voluntarily work with other like-minded individuals in order to pursue what they think is “the greater good”, and to be fully responsible for whatever consequences his actions will have.

It is said that Democracy is the ideal form of government. I agree. But Democracy ain’t just the rule of the majority. It involves the protection of the rights of the minority as well. The smallest minority is the INDIVIDUAL, and a truly democratic society is a liberal society that ensures that INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS (the rights to life, liberty, and property) are protected.

-Thomas Adrian, Submitted May 28, 2017 at 9:16 am