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In the beginning…

May 30, 2011

Well here goes my second post on WordPress and the first for this blog. I have big plans for this blog and no idea how it is going to turn out. So a little background about myself might help you understand what I am trying to do.

I am in my late 20s, currently completing a PhD is applied mathematics/statistics after having bounced around between biology, chemistry, and physics as an undergraduate. I have never seen myself as overly skilled in any of these disciplines and will always bow to someone elses expertise.

One thing that has always remained a constant source of fascination to me has been religion. I was raised Roman Catholic, attending religious education as a child after school by the choice of my parent, however I genuinely and sincerely believed in God as  small child. After completing the Sacrament of Confirmation my parents gave me the option of not going to church,  now as teenager, I chose not to feeling that it was something forced onto me by my parents. It wasn’t long before I became an atheist and actively began speaking out against religion when given the chance. I deconverted my lab partner who would go on to start the university’s first atheist club.

A few years ago this changed again. I felt my life was hollow and without any real meaning and I began to fear death. I have often wondered if it was because my life had become stuck, no longer the artificial appearance of progression schooling gives by advancing you a grade every year instead monotonous days of “research” sitting in an office reading the works of people more successful than me that I don’t have any hope of replicating. At this point I turned to a sort of Deism, possibly as some kind of coping mechanism, in the way Catholicism had guided me through the childhood of bullying I received. This to faded as well to where I am now, confused in my religious beliefs.

I believe that our way of thinking can be shaped by what we read and study. As a mathematician you begin to think like one seeing every question answerable as a function or a set. The questions posed by religion are not so black and white. We are discussing the nature of an entity that sits in someway outside our universe. How can we working inside the universe know of anything outside of it? Mathematically we can’t, just as we can’t use algebra to prove that algebra is consistent and complete.  I am agnostic in the sense that we can never truly know.   What we are left with is idle speculation on an entity which may or may not exist that we can only guess at.

Through out history may people have guessed at the nature of this beast and from this many of the world’s problems have been created. Religion I feel tells us more about people than it does about any gods.

However like a good skeptic I don’t intend to dismiss these teaching out of hand, that is why I have set myself the task of reading in order:

  1. The Bible
  2. The Christian Apocrypha
  3. The Qur’an
  4. The Book of Mormon
  5. The Jefferson Bible

However the blog is called A Mathematician’s Eisegesis not because I going to read them as they are intended to be read, but because I going to read them from how I understand them to read. I am going to say now that I don’t think any of them are divinely inspired beyond people thought something about God and decided to write it down. On the other hand I am not expecting to read them and come out the other side unchanged. I don’t know if I will undergo some sort of religious conversion or whether they will harden my cynicism towards the whole smoke and mirrors show.

I have also chosen the Jefferson Bible as I appreciate the attempt to reconcile Christianity with free-thought.

I have recently been gifted a Qur’an, but first I need a bible. If anyone has a particular suggestion about what translation, it seems irrelevant to me but I am willing to hear you out, leave a comment. This blog will be open commenting and I won’t delete or change comments unless you are spamming.