Active Now

uncle bob
Mr. Bromide
Nevan B
Zack - Mr. GenXer
Discussion » Questions » Religion and Spirituality » Should we fact-check all religions to confirm their authenticity?

Should we fact-check all religions to confirm their authenticity?

Some religions need updating to fit the times and societies today. 

Posted - January 4


  • 8672
    Only if they try to illegally get into the country.
      January 4, 2017 10:18 AM MST

  • 1435
    Hello Marguerite. We should use the Bible as our guide. We should never let popular tradition make the word of God invalid like the Pharisees did.

    (Acts 17:2) So according to Paul’s custom he went inside to them, and for three sabbaths he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
    (Acts 17:11) Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thes·sa·lo·niʹca, for they accepted the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
    (John 17:17) Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.
    (2 Timothy 3:16) All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness,
    (1 Corinthians 4:6) Now, brothers, these things I have applied to myself and A·polʹlos for your good, that through us you may learn the rule: “Do not go beyond the things that are written,” so that you may not be puffed up with pride, favoring one against the other.

    (Mark 7:13) Thus you make the word of God invalid by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this.” This post was edited by texasescimo at January 7, 2017 3:48 PM MST
      January 4, 2017 11:30 AM MST

  • 11343
    No.   That's a direct violation of Freedom of Religion.  Social engineering is  a far greater threat and something that no system of law should be allowed to engage in.   The people should tell the government what to think, not the other way around.
      January 4, 2017 12:32 PM MST

  • 1631
    What about all the phony Reverends?
      January 4, 2017 1:33 PM MST

  • 14162
      January 4, 2017 1:40 PM MST

  • That's not how religion works
      January 4, 2017 1:59 PM MST

  • 3630
    Good idea but that might cause problems with some people's faith in supernatural stuff -mighten't it?

    "All scripture is inspired by God" 

    More likely all scripture was inspired by men who believed in God. 

    I think. This post was edited by Kittigate at January 7, 2017 3:51 PM MST
      January 4, 2017 2:09 PM MST

  • 2506
    Facts are not always evaluated correctly.

    And, (hold on), proof is over-rated. 


    Because if something is true (truth is the conformity of the mind to that which exists) then by definition that means it exists and needs no proof.

    And that's why we can be certain (know for sure; established beyond doubt) about what we believe without having proof.

    It's about what exists, not what we know.

    Can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

    (And a fancier way to say that for those interested:  The human intellect cannot be put in possession of its object by some exterior agent that takes it there. There is for us no knowledge except our own knowledge, no truth except self-acquired truth.)
      January 4, 2017 2:56 PM MST

  • 2391
    I believe most religions have been fact-checked so intensively that the only discoveries possible from now on will have to rely on improvements in technology.
    There is a long history in academia of geographic, archaeological, and historical research into every traditional faith on the planet.

    Take the Flood for instance. Long before the evolution of Judaism and the Old Testament, ancient cultures had myths or legends of a catastrophic flood.
    Columbia University geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman proposed that as the Ice Age came to an end and glaciers began to melt, seawater surged from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea. As the ice melted and the sea level rose, estuaries flooded and coastlines retreated. At the same time as the climate warmed it became wetter and rainier. When rains and sea rise collided, massive floods occurred everywhere across prime low-lying agricultural lands. Funnelled through the narrow Bosporus, the water hit the Black Sea with 200 times the force of Niagara Falls.  Each day the Black Sea rose about six inches (15 cms), and coastal farms were flooded. In 1999, according to National Geographic, Ballard took a marine expedition underneath The Black Sea to research the geographic and archaeological evidence. They discovered  an ancient shoreline. Also found were shells from freshwater and saltwater mollusk species. Their radiocarbon dates support the theory of a freshwater lake inundated by the Black Sea some 7,000 years ago.

    Other evidence to corroborate or refute Biblical stories comes via finds like the Rosetta Stone. This key to the translation of coexistent languages, letters, cuneiform tablets and hieroglyphics enabled archeologists and linguists to cross reference which events happened when. Scholars now have a fairly accurate idea of which episodes probably did occur and to what extent they were likely to be true, biased, or elaborately embroidered. The old adage that the victor is the one who writes the history means that we have different versions of the same events. Much of the Old Testament, from roughly the time of Moses onwards, occurs at the dawn of writing. Going back before that, very little can be proven.

    Wikipedia notes, "A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has found no evidence which can be directly related to the Exodus captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness,[29] and archaeologists generally agree that the Israelites had Canaanite origins.[30] The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains are in the Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite.[31] Almost the sole marker distinguishing the "Israelite" villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether even this is an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute." 29. p 5. Meyers, Carol (2005). Exodus. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521002912.      30. p.313. Shaw, Ian and Jameson, Robert (2002). "Israel, Israelites". A dictionary of archaeology      31. p. 176 Killebrew, Anne E. (2005). Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity. Society of Biblical Literature.ISBN 9781589830974
    Scholars generally agree that although "Exodus" includes elements that could have existed in the 2nd thousand years before Christ, these same features could equally belong to any other period. They conclude that it is more likely that a writer in the first millenium BCE was trying to record an older story about Egypt. There is no evidence in Egypt to concretely prove that there were Israelite slaves there, despite the fact the Egypt kept vast records. A few scholars differ, advancing a range of arguments to explain the lack of evidence: possibly the Egyptian records of the presence of the Israelites and their escape have been lost or suppressed; possibly (or probably) the fleeing Israelites left no archaeological trace in the desert; possibly the huge numbers reported in the story are mistranslated.[18]

    If, however, we look at the evidence for physics, biochemistry and evolution, it is abundant and compelling, especially when all the facts are added up together.

    If we examine other religions, we run into similar difficulties. From about 2600 to 1900 BCE, Proto-Hinduism evolved in the Indus Valley (modern Pakistan) from Harappan culture, a bronze age community of city-states with farming hinterlands. They had a kind of proto-writing in the form of around 400 to 600 symbols in which no order has yet been detected by linguists or computers. The civilisation began to fail around 1100 BCE due a drop in climate temperature which caused crops to fail. Many of the people became refugees to the west and east. Those who went east settled on the Ganges, bringing their religion with them and becoming the Hindus of India, bringing their religion with them. Most of it was memorised in the form of hymns. It is thought that one of the most famous Hindu mantras comes from that time. 

    Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah 
    Tat Savitur Varenyam 
    Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi 
    Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat

    meaning – we meditate on the glory of that being who has produced this universe; may he enlighten our minds.

    The first evidence we get for this antiquity is in the Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas which record the ancient mnemonics in Sanskrit.

    Buddhism has a similar problem. Neither the Buddha nor his disciples wrote down any of what he said. After his death, the five hundred most committed monks decided to sit in meditation until they achieved enlightenment and then held a conference to discuss, come to agreement and write down the teachings in Pali, a language closely related to Sanskrit. In Buddhism, the only way that one can prove the teachings is by meditating and discovering for oneself through direct experience. Most Buddhists teachings, especially on psychology, are identical to Hindu. The primary difference is that Hinduism asserts the All One, while Buddhism asserts that there is No Self. Those who have allegedly attained enlightenment report that, experiencially, these two are one in the same. For most westerners, this is mysterious and illogical, but for experienced meditators it tends to make perfect sense.

    So the question arises, when we check the authenticity of a religion, do we rely on external evidence? Or is it sufficient to go within and consult with direct awareness and observation?
    The question about religion might not be whether or not it is factually true, but whether it has truths that are valid and beneficial for guiding people to behave more ethically and hence reduce the degree and quantity of suffering that can arise for individuals and in society.
    Further, I believe we should be thinking about our role on the planet and in its ecology, the balance and health of all life, not just humanity.

    This post was edited by Zenobia at January 16, 2017 5:31 PM MST
      January 5, 2017 11:19 PM MST

  • 2532
    @Hartfire, thanks for such an extensive, interesting answer. It is one that makes you think. I wonder, with so many world religions, how the world is so messed up. 
    1. The Protestants went through the Enlightenment, but are they enlightened?
    2. The Catholics are still living in the Middle Ages, so why doesn't science affect them. I'm Catholic, btw, a cafeteria Catholic. 
    3. The Hindus believe in meditation, have great books, like that of Lao Tzu. Many live in India. But they have such poverty. Why don't they help people more, do away with the cast system.
    4. The Jews from Israel? They seem like like a divided group to me. They are the Zionists. To be such a small country in size, they seem to push people around, all over the place, including Americans. Why are they so powerful?
    5. Islamists. The art of Islam in unbelievably beautiful. Even their writing is beautiful, though I can't read one letter. We borrowed much of their art and math. They had a golden era. Why can't they return to more beauty instead of so much war. 
    6. So, you are right, we need to love our planet more. Need to love each other more, too. why don't we work for improvement? Thanks! 
      January 7, 2017 3:39 PM MST

  • 2391
    1. Whether someone is enlightened is always a moot point. The term has different meanings.
    In the West, it refers to being open to logic and evidence in a way which allows knowledge and its uses to grow, and it also implies personal responsibility and the beginnings of a liberal approach to ethics as opposed to a Church mediated relationship to God and dependency on Papal interpretation of theology. It was the "enlightenment" initiated by Martin Luther (as well as the invention of the printing press) which made modern science possible. And yet it was also the Catholic Church which, ironically, made Protestantism possible, first by creating the universities which developed logic and theology in an attempt to prove the existence of God, and secondly via its corruption in selling pardons to the aristocracy, which was the spark for the rebellion.

    2. Perhaps some Catholics in some countries do still live in almost Middle Ages conditions, but I notice wide variations in how Catholics respond to modern life. For instance, thousands of nuns work in hospitals with all the technology and tools of modern medicine and its sciences. Catholics are not forbidden to use the benefits of electricity, air travel or any of the other practical benefits of science. An old professor of education, and ex-Jesuit priest, once said to me that the Catholic Church has now decided that faith, by definition, cannot and need not depend upon proof. He said that doubt is natural, normal and even a good thing for a believer, for, paradoxically, the process of grappling with doubt can bring a believer closer to God. The Church is apparently content to let science follow its path and to assert that the Holy Trinity remains true nonetheless, because it is a spiritual mystery that God is invisible and we may never see His face. I take this as a metaphor to mean that tangible or physical proof is impossible because the spirit itself is not physical.

    3. In all religions, there is an outer popular form and an inner esoteric path to wisdom - sometimes a formally accepted but statistically much smaller part of the religion, as in Buddhism and Hinduism, and sometimes considered heretical as with Sufism in Islam or Kabbalism in Judaism.
    We have at least three Muggers here who live in India and who could comment better than I can on the poverty there - so I hope they will forgive me for offering my outsider's perspective. I doubt that the poverty of India is entirely due to Hinduism, because there are many other parts of the world where overpopulation and dire poverty are desperate problems and these places practise different faiths. However, Hinduism does have some specific problems which tend to exacerbate the problems of social injustice. The law against killing cows results in overgrazing and starvation of the animals, along with dust blowing away and with it fertile agricultural soils, and diseases spreading via the manure in the dust. The caste system imposes extreme injustices on the Shudras and Dalits. This has been outlawed by the governments, but social snobbery and attachments to traditional values mean that classism is still widespread and as a form of racism. The origin of the caste system goes back to the first Aryans (the Harappans from the Indus valley) who conquered the much darker Dravidians and made them virtual slaves (around 3500 years ago.) There is some possibility that the locals had diseases that the newcomers were not immune to and that this may have been the origin of the lowest caste being "untouchable." However, it is also true that the Dalits were assigned the duties of clearing away the corpses of animals, butchering, leatherwork, and cleaning sewers and latrines. Thus it is also possible that they were continually exposed to pathogens and that this work meant that they might carry contagion. India would need to build  modern sewerage systems and composting toilets throughout the entire country, and develop modern means of butchery and leatherwork in order to remove the disease bearing risks of such work. Why the government does not yet do this is a mystery to me. As to changing the fate of Shudras, the Indian government has been striving very hard to achieve this by various means ever since nationalisation and independence. I believe quite a few Shudras have escaped their lot and improved their lives. Many do so via converting to Islam. Others are unwilling to abandon their faith and for them it can be much more difficult to rise above the prejudices of others around them.
    There is a difference, in Hinduism, between popular practise of the faith, and the past of renunciation, meditation, and pursuit of enlightenment. Only a very few pursue the latter.
    4. Zionists represent only 10% of Israelis, but due to a gerrymander written into the constitution, with the help of the Birtish at the time of the political formation of Israel as a new nation-state, the Zionsist vote has much greater power in their parliament. This cannot change unless there is a referendum, which at present looks unlikely. The Israelis don't actually push America around. Rather, the US government needs to maintain a strong political relationship with Israel because it helps keep the oil rich Arabian countries off balance. Divide and rule - foster the differences between sects to prevent the Middle-East uniting as one power block.
    5. A deep question, requiring several essays at least. An overly simplistic answer... the traditionalists associate modernity with moral corruption, while the moderates believe that the spirit of Islam requires evolution and adaptation as times change. To get a brief image of the emotional impact for an orthodox Muslim, imagine them watching American films or TV, or accessing western internet pornography, or listening to an American TV broadcast - what do they hear? How will they respond to the reports of sexual freedoms, drug addiction, racism,  and usury and bankruptcy? It fills them with horror and leads them to think that the only way is to return to the values of the past. It is contentious and complex enough to be difficult for Westerners to find the most effective ways to deal with these problems - so for many Easterners it would seem even more repulsive and fearful.
    6. Tom Jagtenburg has written "Beyond The Limits" - a book which explores the three problems which prevent us from taking action to slow and stop climate change. (It would take a minimum of 200 years to see a difference if every country together started all correct means today.) The three main issues are population explosion, the need of capitalism for endless growth in order to maintain profits, and the clinging desires in Western lifestyles to live more affluently than is necessary or physically healthy.

    Thanks for sharing that you are Catholic. It's a very interesting faith in its history, culture, and diversity of branches. I particularly like the teachings of St Francis.

    I agree that love is the only answer. Tragically, too many humans are so emotionally wounded that they do not love themselves and so cannot love others, or the planet and its life.
      January 8, 2017 1:08 PM MST

  • Because of their philosophical beliefs, many scientists reject the Bible’s declaration that God created all things. Interestingly, however, in the ancient Bible book of Genesis, Moses wrote that the universe had a beginning and that life appeared in stages, progressively, over periods of time. How could Moses gain access to such scientifically accurate information some 3,500 years ago? There is one logical explanation. The One with the power and wisdom to create the heavens and the earth could certainly give Moses such advanced knowledge. This gives weight to the Bible’s claim that it is “inspired of God.”—2 Timothy 3:16 This post was edited by Benedict Arnold at January 8, 2017 4:29 AM MST
      January 7, 2017 4:36 PM MST

  • 3630
    That is saying "there MUST be a God BECAUSE "...  

      January 7, 2017 9:38 PM MST

  • 1435

    Shrewd was apparently just showing some of the wisdom in the Bible.

    Perhaps fulfilled prophecies in the Bible?

    Perhaps all scientific experiments show that the simplest building block requires an intelligent designer? (notice the answer by CallMeIshmael) Also, the references are given as to where the information and quotes are taken so no, it's not all " from the Discovery Institute".

    It's been my experience that many strong atheist start off with the conclusion that there is no God and work backwards from there thinking things like "given enough time, complex and intelligent life just happens".
    This post was edited by texasescimo at January 8, 2017 4:46 AM MST
      January 8, 2017 4:28 AM MST

  • 3630
    President Lincoln experienced a vision of his own funeral 10 days before he was assassinated. 
    .It is not terribly rare for people to experience having visions of future events
    Time is infinite; past and future exists in the present tense in the quantum sense. A person's subconscious could be exposed to a detailed event wheather the event is tomorrow,  10 days or hundreds of years into the future. 

    An intuitive consciousness seems to exist in nature. Biting insects 'know' how to make blood thinners to make sipping your blood easier;  snakes 'know ' how to make toxic stuff to disable their prey. for a couple of examples.Changes occur in species because nature 'knows' and enables the changes to occur in order that they survive, thrive. and evolve. 
    There is a non-intelligent intuitive consciousness that 'knows' how to arrange the building blocks to enable life to begin when conditions are suitable onany planet. This post was edited by Kittigate at January 8, 2017 11:41 AM MST
      January 8, 2017 5:25 AM MST

  • 1435

    The Bible doesn't just have a few specific fulfilled prophecies. The Quran and the BOM don't have any specific fulfilled prophecies.
    Consider this: [Anyone who has read the Holy Scriptures knows that they contain literally hundreds of prophecies. Such historical events as the fall of ancient Babylon, the rebuilding of Jerusalem (sixth to fifth century B.C.E.), and the rise and fall of the ancient kings of Medo-Persia and Greece were all foretold in detail. (Isaiah 13:17-19; 44:24–45:1; Daniel 8:1-7, 20-22) The fulfillment of such prophecies is one of the strongest proofs that the Holy Scriptures are indeed God’s Word, for God alone has the power both to foresee and to determine what will happen in the future. In this sense the Holy Scriptures indeed record the future written in advance.]
      January 8, 2017 7:08 AM MST

  • 3630
    As I explained there may be no reason to assume that a supernatural power must be required to  enable some people to experience a detailed  vision of a future event. This post was edited by Kittigate at January 8, 2017 11:43 AM MST
      January 8, 2017 7:29 AM MST

  • 11343
    No,  strong atheist tend to start off with the conclusion that nothing can be believed or assumed until their is fact based evidence that has been proof tested for validity.  Burden of proof is on the one making claim that something does exist, negatives cannot be proven.
      January 8, 2017 5:30 AM MST

  • 1435
    Then why do so many believe in the big bang theory and macro evolution? What fact based evidence is there? Darwin's fenches never became anything other than fenches, right? This post was edited by texasescimo at January 8, 2017 6:43 AM MST
      January 8, 2017 6:42 AM MST

  • 11343
    They are theories as in they aren't accepted as concrete facts.    Though both evolution and the big bang do have considerable fact based evidence.
      January 8, 2017 6:46 AM MST

  • 1435
    From what I've read, the facts are that no scientist has ever observed life coming from non-life and that even laboratory experiments require intelligence. The full PDF may be worth a read if you are sincere. It has many quotes from many scientist including this from the first section: [

    In 2008, Professor of Biology Alexandre Meinesz highlighted the dilemma. He stated that over the last 50 years, “no empirical evidence supports the hypotheses of the spontaneous appearance of life on Earth from nothing but a molecular soup, and no significant advance in scientific knowledge leads in this direction.”1

    What does the evidence reveal?]
      January 8, 2017 6:59 AM MST

  • 3630
    Some fences I guess you mean finches may have evolved into a different species but some stayed the same if there was no reason for evolutionary change.

    Some people say if apes evolved into humans why are there still apes.

    Some creationists evolved into intelligent design people but there are still creationists. 
      January 8, 2017 7:22 AM MST

  • 1435
    Sorry fer my spellin. I know that the definition of species has changed over time but a finch never had an offspring that wasn't a bird like macro evolution teaches, yes?
      January 8, 2017 7:26 AM MST

  • 3630
    Don't know how one can conclude that macroevolution theory teaches that a species can produce offspring of a different species. 
    All I know is that macroevolution is a significant element of evolution theory. 
    Maybe I should go do some more research -from reliable sources .
      January 8, 2017 7:38 AM MST