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8/14/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Christianity is a horrible thing to believe

by Thomas

I sincerely and wholeheartedly hope Christianity is false. I wish this one for one simple reason. If Christianity is true billions of people are being mercilessly tortured in a place called Hell.

Hell is an unimaginable place. To be burned for a second, for example when cooking, produces a sharp and excruciating pain. The thought of having every part of your body burned by fire and sulfur, without death and without relief is hideous. It is way beyond world history’s most repulsive torture chamber. Beyond the physical torture there is spiritual and emotional agony, relentless desolation and anguished regret.

Hell is for ever. Not for a second, not for a day, not for a year, not for a billion years, not for a billion, billion years. The penalty for not believing the Gospel is as endless as it is brutal.

If Christianity is true every single American who died before 1492 is burning, as is everyone from my home country of England before about AD 300, along with virtually everyone from the great and ancient civilisations of China, India and the Middle East. According to my upbringing nearly every departed Catholic, most liberal Christians, all Jews (after 33 AD), all Muslims, all Hindus, all Buddhists, and all Agnostics/Atheists are today receiving exquisite torture at the hands of the Almighty. And not just them. It is personal. If Hell is true my much loved Nanna is there, burning away this evening, screaming in agony because she thought the evidence for Christianity was a little too thin.

Christians delight in the truth of their faith, even when it means torture for billions. I have woken up. This now horrifies me. If I could make a choice between heaven for me and hell for the billions, or the peaceful sea of oblivion for us all, then I chose nothingness. To the Christian my choice is shocking and Blasphemous, but I think it is the moral choice.

Here is an illustration. You get to choose the outcome for a group of one hundred people. With option 1 the whole group get put in an oblivious drug induced coma for the rest of their natural lives. With Option 2, two of the people are flown to Grand Cayman where they get to live in the Sun, with their every social, medical, recreational and emotional need met by a group of loving friends and a wonderful attentive spouse. The remaining 98 are moved to a dark underground torture chamber where they are burned with acid and fire to the point of pure agony but not death, and are kept in solitary confinement and are emotionally and physically abused in every way for the rest of there natural lives. It’s your choice. Option 1 or Option 2. If you have any doubt, put your family in the group of 98. You are a caring person, and so, accepting that neither choice is great, you chose option 1 and save the suffering. If I could choose, I’d choose that Christianity is fiction.

Christianity tells us to be selfless, so surely it is not very Christian to wish Christianity is true. Shouldn’t Christians wish they could swap their heaven for oblivion and save billions from Hell?

No! I hear the Christian say. It is indeed sad that Hell exists, but it is just, and without Hell we are without God, and without God our life is without meaning and purpose. That would be terrible. Overall it is much better that Christianity is true. Please think! Imagine your beautiful daughter burning in the abyss for ever. Why shouldn’t she? Lots of daughters are. Tell me this horror is a price you are willing to pay for having God give you meaning, rather than having to find your own.

I have described why I don’t want Christianity to be the truth. It is because I care about people suffering. However of course my desire for it to be false has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not it is false.

However, thankfully and objectively, Christianity is almost certainly not true. There is compelling evidence from many witnesses.

Why Christianity is almost certainly not true

Witness 1: Science


I agree with the Young Earth Creationists. If Genesis can not be taken literally and does not describe events that happened 6-15,000 years ago then the Christian faith falls apart. If the earth is ancient and the fossil record truly shows life, death and suffering long before the fall, then sin is not the cause of death and the Bible is disproved! Further more Jesus believed in a literal Adam. If we don’t believe Jesus got it right when he said death entered the world through the one man Adam – we have no right to believe Jesus at all. Belief in the young earth 6 day creation is essential to belief in Christianity.

I also agree with Old Earth Creationists. They say the scientific evidence that the earth is old, and that evolution has occurred is overwhelming. According to these Christians we cannot ignore these facts and need to work them into whatever religious views we are going to have.

Here are some of the facts:
  • Annual melt rings in the Antarctic go back continuously as far as they have been dug out, 700,000 years so far. The air trapped in the ice shows climatic changes over the last 700k years. This is like finding a living tree with 700,000 annual growth rings.

  • Other species of Human such as Homo Erectus were real, and had human and ape-like characteristics. I met a skeletal one at Oxford’s natural history museum together with his more ape like and more human like cousins. My ten year old asked me “was Homo Erectus on the ark Dad?” Good question! Homo Erectus are incompatible with the story of Adam and the ark, but they are real.

  • We can see how geographic dispersion and the isolation of populations have driven evolution. Why did all the Kangaroos all hop off the Ark and go to Australia? Molecular evidence shows how these populations have actually evolved in their local geographies.

  • The fossil record has simple life forms in its most ancient strata, moving through increasingly complex life forms such as fish right up to mammals in the more recent past. Fossils of different evolutionary ages are not mixed up and found together as you would expect with a simultaneous creation of species and a global flood. A mammal fossil in the Cambrian would disprove evolution, but there is not a single one. The fossil record is totally at odds with the 6 day creation model.

  • We can see billions of light years into space and we therefore see events in space that occurred billions of years ago. The various "explanations" for this lack credibility or any evidence other than the Bible.

  • Radio metric dating suggests an ancient earth. There is no evidence for the reducing half-lives required to make these methods inaccurate enough for a young earth. If half lives were reducing incredible heat would have been discharged which has not happened.

  • There is no global flood in the geological column. Even creationists can’t agree where it is meant to be. If it was true it would stick out like a sore thumb.

There is only one conclusion if both the Young Earth and Old Earth Creationists are right, and both their arguments above are compelling. Even taking views only from Christians we see that Christianity cannot be true. The only conclusion is that Earth is ancient, life did evolve, and Genesis is wrong. There was no first Adam and hence no second.

Science is not the only witness, the Bible itself provides us with a whole family of Witnesses against the truth of Christianity.

Witness 2: Factual Errors in the Bible

If the Bible is the true Word of God is must be without a single error. However it does contain errors. Turn to Leviticus 11. Verse 6 tells us Rabbits chew the cud. They don’t. It was a popular misconception at the time but an omniscient God should have known the correct biology. Verse 20 also tells us insects have 4 legs. Verse 19 tells us bats are birds. If the Bible has errors it is not the inerrant Word of God. These are errors.

Of course apologists do take a stab at explaining the errors. I’ve seen a two inch thick book explaining Bible "problems". For example the author of Leviticus was trying to say that Rabbits "appear" to chew the cud not that they actually did. This does not work -- you can't say Jesus "appeared" to die on the cross, so why rabbits “appear” to chew the cud? Even the need for several hundred pages of often implausible excuses for "apparent" errors surely itself tells us something about whether God or men inspired the Bible.

Witness 3: Bible Contradictions

There is huge literature on this subject. I suggest my reader types “Bible Contradictions” into Google and researches both sides of the argument. The Christian who has never done this should be prepared to be shocked.

I will take just one of many, many examples. Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7 contain a census of the Exiles who returned from Babylon according to their family groups. The details are exactly the same in many respects. For example there were 2172 descendants of Parosh in both accounts. However there are also contradictions. For example Ezra has 775 descendants of Arah while Nehemiah has 652. The apologist points to the time difference of the two books and suggests it was actually a census of the returnees’ families at the time of writing rather than actually of those returning to explain the differences. This would be at least plausible if all the family groups had minor variations in numbers representing a few decades of births and deaths. But 22 of the 39 groups have exactly the same number and the overall total is the same at 42,360 (although neither version correctly adds up to 42,360). It is clearly the same census but with contradictions. The statistical chances of 23 of 40 family sizes staying exactly unchanged through a few decades of births and deaths while 17 vary as expected is effectively nil. There was one census and the Bible record of it contains mistakes. Either that or God miraculously controlled the populations in such a way as to create the overwhelming impression to the open minded reader that the Bible is not trustworthy.

Another category of contradictions occur where a doctrine is inconsistent throughout the Bible. Take the doctrine of Hell itself. You would never derive it from the Old Testament. Most of the Old Testament teaching about life after death suggests all both good, and evil, go to a shadowy place under the earth called Sheol. Job (see chapter 3) seems to believe death is a peaceful oblivion. There are some references in the more modern book of Daniel which could be claimed to point to New Testament style of eternal torture. However it can’t honestly be argued that Hell is the same concept in Old and New Testaments. Evolution of doctrine from older to more modern Bible books occurs across a range of subjects such as the nature of God, the method of salvation, the chosen people and moral rules.

The Christian cannot really deny this but explains that God in his grace has progressively revealed more of his ideas to subsequent generations of his people, and we now know more of his thoughts than they did before. This seems very strange. For example it means a God who never changes and does not want anyone to perish, condemned almost everybody who lived before the New Testament to a Hell they could not have possibly known existed. A much more satisfying explanation is we are simply witnessing an evolution in man’s thinking about theology during the 1500 years the Bible was penned. For example history suggests Hell was invented outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the years after much of the Old Testament had been already written. This perfectly explains why it was not available as a concept to Old Testament authors.

Another simple contradiction of Bible doctrines arises from the problem of evil. God is author of everything that is. God is perfectly good. But everything is not perfectly good. Therefore God must be the ultimate cause of evil. Therefore God cannot be perfectly good. I once believed this was a deep mystery. Logically however the problem of evil is only a deep mystery in exactly the same way as 2 + 2 5. Most people are quite happy to use logic to call 2 + 2 5 a contradiction, and the problem of evil deserves exactly the same designation.

Witness 4: The Moral Law

One argument from religious apologists is the argument of the "moral law" which is written in the hearts and consciences of man-kind. We have knowledge of right and wrong, which while imperfect, did not arrive through evolution and is an echo of God's image written in our hearts.

If we accept this proposition it can give us another test for Christianity. Does the moral law written in the Bible match the one written in our hearts? If it does the God of the Bible could be the God who made us. Let’s look at some examples:
  • Deut 21:18-21 – I have a stubborn and disobedient son. I love him deeply but find his behaviour difficult to manage. So what does the Bible recommend? It recommends taking him to the community leaders so they can organise having stones thrown at him until he is dead.

  • Deut 13:6-11 – My departure from the faith has been influenced by my brother who pointed out to me for the first time some of the issues I am writing about. What does the Bible recommend for him? This verse suggests a stoning to death would appear to be in order. The New Testament is much gentler suggesting just that it would be better if a Millstone was tied round his neck and he was drowned. Deut 17:2-7 recommends a stoning for all who bow down to other Gods. Hardly freedom of thought and religion.

  • Exodus 20:21 – I am a CEO. So what does the Old Testament say about employee relations? We find slavery set out as a great source of workers and this verse makes quite clear that since a slave is your property it is quite acceptable to beat him as long as he can get up within 2 days of receiving the beating.

  • Deut 25:11-12 – So what should you do if in defending you in a fight with another man your wife grabs your attacker’s balls? Well that would hardly be fair play. This verse recommends amputating the wife's offending hand without pity.

  • Deut 22:23 – This verse says that if a woman is raped in a town, she clearly did not scream loud enough, and hence should be stoned to death.

  • Numbers 15:32 – This verse suggest we should kill people caught gathering sticks on a Saturday.

  • Psalm 137 – Tells us that act of dashing infants to death on the rocks should be a source of happiness.

  • Numbers 5:11-31 – Tells us the procedure if we suspect suspected our wives may have been unfaithful. (A procedure not available to jealous wives incidentally). The wife is to be made to drink water mixed with dirt from the floor. If eating the dirt happens to make her ill then even in the absence of any other evidence she has to bear the guilt of her alleged actions. And the Old Testament punishment for adultery was, of course, death. If eating dirt makes you ill you should die.

  • Lev 11:10 –We are to find sea food detestable, even my favourites crab and shrimp.

Does this guidance really reflect your conscience? Is the author of this morality really the person that made your conscience? Does your conscience allow you to ever see the dashing to death of infants as a source of happiness?

Christians talk a lot about understanding these laws in the context of the times. However here is what Jesus said about them.

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matt 5:18)

The Moral law may be a witness for the existence of a creative moral power in the universe. However it is a powerful witness against the author of the Old Testament being the creator of the human conscience.

Witness 5: Prayer and Broken Promises

From Luke 7: "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

But I asked for a live baby (surely a good gift), and I was given a dead one. If Christianity is false, then praying is talking to someone who does not exist, and getting a stone or a snake, or losing a child, is to be expected.

However if Christianity is true praying is a conversation with an all-powerful God who makes great promises about the effectiveness of prayer.

James 5:14 guarantees healing for faithfully offered prayers for the sick. This procedure (prayer and anointing with oil) is carried out regularly by the church. There seems to be no qualification on its effectiveness apart from faithfulness. However one hundred percent of faithful but terminally ill people I know who have sincerely followed this instruction are, sadly, dead.

John 14:12 says anyone who has faith in Jesus will be able to do greater things than him. Jesus raised the dead, healed the blind, fed the multitudes, and turned water in to wine. Jesus has a billion followers today, and not a single one of them has ever verifiably done a single thing as great as any of these. Is this not deeply suspicious?

If Christianity is true we should expect that praying to the Christian God to should have a radically different impact than praying to other Gods such as Allah or Zeus. However I can honestly say that 20 years of my own sincere prayers achieved nothing different than if had they been offered to Luke Skywalker.

This does not mean coincidences don't happen. In Britain we do not go to the beach in January. It is 40F and raining generally. I live in central Britain and the total coast line is 8000 miles long. On the spur of the moment I traveled to a random beach one January, 150 miles from home. I walked down the beach in the rain, no one was there, but then round the corner came my VP of Sales together with his 22 year old intern. They were having a secret relationship and had decided to go somewhere far away where no one from the office would see them together, but they randomly got rumbled by me on their first weekend away! My point is that deeply improbable things happen all the time, and are often seen as answered prayer. I’d challenge anyone to produce evidence of a single verifiable answer to prayer, which could not be a simple coincidence like the incident above. I would be more than willing to change my mind.

The ineffectiveness of prayer is, in fact, a strong witness against the truth of Christianity. Perhaps there is an obvious reason why God does such a good impression of not existing.

Witness 6: Prophecy

Ultimate Questions, the well known evangelical tract by John Blanchard says of the Bible: "In no other literature can we find scores of clear and detailed prophecies made by men claiming to speak from God, and later fulfilled to the letter. The odds against this happening by chance are too vast to be taken seriously." Those odds have been calculated mathematically by various apologists. The chances of Old Testament prophecy about Christ coming true without divine intervention have been said by some apologists to be in the region of 1 in 10 to the power 38. Such odds would be compelling (even with 30 zeros removed) so it seems at last we have a miracle that we can actually test today.

To provide proof for Christianity it is necessary that the prophecies were verifiably written before the fulfillment, that the fulfillment happened, rather than somebody just claimed it happened, and that there is something specific and improbable about the prophecy made. To provide the overwhelming case claimed there must be many examples of this with tiny combined probability, and additionally there must be no failed prophecies. By a failed prophecy I mean a prediction that has not come true, and cannot in the future. A single definite failed prophecy in the Bible amounts to disproof that it can be trusted as God’s word.

Let's look at an example of fulfilled prophecy, one I have seen taught to my children in Sunday school as a reason to believe. Matt 2:14 tells us that flight to Egypt by Jesus and his parents was a fulfillment of a prophecy made by Hosea. We find the reference in Hosea 11:1. Have a look at Hosea 11:1. It is simply a reference to the story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt and nothing to do with the Messiah whatsoever. My children's Sunday school teacher was being utterly (if perhaps unknowingly) dishonest in teaching it as an evidence based reason to believe.

My failed prophecy is from Ezekiel 29:19-20. This time we have a very specific prophecy: “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD.” We have a very specific prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar, from the context a person who had just fought Tyre and was to be personally rewarded for his efforts in this respect on God’s behalf, would conquer and plunder Egypt. He would clearly need to do this in his lifetime. Only history tells us he didn’t.

It is outside the scope of this article to discuss every Bible prophecy but other than in the book of Daniel, where there is good evidence they were written after the event, they really do not meet the criteria for providing proof. Again it’s worth searching “Unfulfilled Prophecy” and similar on the web to see this “evidence” crumbling.

The apologist tells us that although it is not apparent verses such as Hosea 11:1 are prophecies, since the New Testament authors were inspired by God then they can be trusted when they explain what the Old Testament was actually prophetically saying even when this is not obvious from the Old Testament alone. Maybe so, but don’t pretend a miracle or evidence to believe. They also say we should read Ezekiel in its proper historical setting. The prophecies that did not work out can be understood poetically, and did not necessarily have to come true in history. Of course the ones that did come true are not poetic but powerful evidences.

A much more honest conclusion given the contrived fulfilled prophecies, together with the definite presence of failed prophecy, is that the Bible is not a miraculous future telling book, but the work of men, who were keen to give their message credibility by designing links with the older Scriptures.

Other Witnesses


There are many other witnesses.

Many of the doctrines and stories of Christianity such as God-men resulting from virgin births, sacramental meals, baptism, healing blindness with spittle, turning water in to wine and many others appeared first in pagan religions which pre-dated Christianity. (Try “POCM” in Google). This is not something taught in Sunday school and is a bit of shocker for most Christians when the extent of the non-originality of Christianity is revealed. When confronted with this the apologist claims that what in fact happened was that the Devil used his limited but real (and presumably God-given) powers of foreknowledge to create myths similar to Jesus, before Jesus, so when the Jesus came it would look like he had been constructed from previous religions and so people would not believe he was genuine and hence the Devil would achieve his goal of deceiving people. This explanation stretches credibility to an almost embarrassing point. It seems much more likely that the New Testament authors did actually borrow from pre-existing material.

Or what about the fact that the canon of scripture was agreed, by a committee, hundreds of years after the event? Before this competing Gospels were in wide circulation. The Gospel of John can be attributed to an Apostle, was in wide circulation in the early church and was written several decades after Christ’s death. If you disbelieve it you go to Hell. The Gospel of Thomas can be attributed to an Apostle, was in wide circulation in the early church and was written around the same time. Some scholars think it is earlier than John, some later. It is heresy and if you believe it you go to Hell. Partly at least it seems because Irenaeus, the 2nd century bishop of Lyons, believed there should be four Gospels like there are four winds, North, South, East and West and hence no room for Thomas.

Textual criticism clearly shows how the text of immutable word of God changed, not massively but in significant details, during its first centuries in circulation. Surely something that should not happen.

To conclude

Christianity is a horrible thing to believe, and fortunately we really do not need to, because it is demonstrably false.

I cannot claim to know with what to replace it, or have any explanation of why we are here. I equally don’t understand how my Lexus works, but that does not mean I cannot be sure it does not run on fairy dust. In the same way I am equally happy to stare at the stars, the sea, the mountains, and my children’s faces, in humble awe and be glad that I am, at least, here for the ride.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

75 comments:

Jamie G. said...

Excellent post.

Bob said...

Your comments leave nothing to be questioned. Kudos to a fabulious observation. I wish I could do so well. I'll pass your comments on, as well as your great post.

Ez Judeo-Christian said...

Kind of a shame to think that with every ticking second of the clock nearby, many founding fathers of this country are burning in horrible agony just because the Judeo Catholic Bible seemed a bit questionable to them. I really respected the courage of such men as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Sorry guys , I feel your paine.

I read somewhere that some of America's greatest individual philanthropists were/are Atheists Agnostistics, Freethinkers, Deists. Its a shame that many of those kind and generous souls are burning in terrible agony at this very moment and will do so forever more. At least according the Holy Bible (which by the way was created by the founders of the death cult I was raised in, the Catholic Church ). Catholics know who God's REALLY Chosen people are ;)
Hint: It isn't you. ;p

SpaceMonk said...

Hi Thomas,
I totally agree with your points about hell. It's one of my main standing points in any discussion with christians nowadays, but it's good to see all those points laid out in one post like that.

I also liked your point about Kangaroos coming to Australia from Ararat so much that I just had to go and see what the AiG site says about it...
So, according to them, the aftermath of the flood caused 'the' Ice Age, which lasted for 700 years. It caused a lowering of the Ocean levels so that the different species could migrate across temporary land bridges to those places that are now cut off.
...and they didn't leave fossils on their path of migration either, because they didn't stay in any one place long enough... ;)

Yes, it's never ending.

Notabarbie said...

Thomas:
Amazing post. Very well written. Thank you.

Ellytoad said...

It is not only that Christians delight in their faith despite the belief that billions are burning in Hell... some horribly even take active pleasure in that belief. At least, that is the impression that I get, and I would be surprised if I were wrong.

Anyway, great post. I enjoyed reading it.

jfraysse said...

Hello Thomas: Amen, Bro! Great Points – Outstanding Article! Thanks for taking the time to compile and share it! All the Best to You and Your Family, John

Anonymous said...

Good article.
RE: Hell: It’s even more sad that the doctrine of perpetual punishment is not even embraced by all theologians (many of whom realize that this doctrine was adopted out of pagan mythology…by such early church fathers as Augustine—the same gomer that maintained that even infants and children are hell-bound if were not baptized):
random examples:
http://www.tektonics.org/af/annix.html

http://www.goodnewsaboutgod.com/studies/hellfire2.htm

http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/SBS777/vital/hellfire.html

-Steel

Aspentroll said...

Wow, that's a keeper.

I intend to show your essay to anyone who wishes to understand a damn good reason
for not believing the absolute
fantasy of the bible.

Maybe you should send this to
Richard Dawkins' website.

Thomas said...

Thanks for your kind comments.
Writing this was great therapy as my deconversion progressed through the first cracks (see http://exchristian.net/testimonies/2005/12/trying-to-find-peace-in-my-soul.html) through to a peaceful understanding that there is nothing to fear. If it can be of any help to anyone else then it was doubly worth it. Thanks Thomas

Nvrgoingbk said...

great post! There's hardly any room for rebuttal but leave it to a fundamentalist. There is no amount of evidence to make most of them accept the truth. The threat of Hell for breaking away from the group has it's claws far too deep in Evangelicals.

boomSLANG said...

Ellytoad: It is not only that Christians delight in their faith despite the belief that billions are burning in Hell... some horribly even take active pleasure in that belief.

Yes, and the Phelps clan immediately comes to mind. They were recently on Tyra Banks(talk show) spewing their religious "fag" propaganda, and it makes me wonder why Tyra's producers would continually invite them back, because each time, that ditzoid, Tyra, has no clue what approach to take in challenging them. She evidently seems to think that standing on stage and caricaturing/mocking Shirley & her brosband's daughters will somehow make them see how ridiculous they're being, when in fact, they seem to rejoice even harder when people refer to them as "wackos".

BTW, yes, very insightful post, Thomas.

bourneagainshell said...

You guys gotta watch Zeitgeist: The Movie. It's pretty intriguing and controversial to the thoughts of many. It's perfect for people who don't just accept what others say.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Thomas said:
"To be burned for a second, for example when cooking, produces a sharp and excruciating pain. The thought of having every part of your body burned by fire and sulfur, without death and without relief is hideous"
----
Thomas,

I can only imagine the time you spent putting together this great great post!!!

I have to agree with spacemonk on your kangaroo point.

I bet the xtians will just say it's no big deal that god decided that only one continent should be 'blessed' with such an odd beautiful creature. I guess the rest of us who didn't get them, are what, chopped liver?

I also very much enjoyed the section on "coincidences".
I know many xtians, and believers of the supernatural in general, who use coincidences as the 'proof' of their belief. These folks just don't understand how chance works. They easily ignore the failures and praise/site the positive 'hits' they get. Perhaps they need to take a math course in statistics before assuming they understand how chance functions.


As far as hell goes:
I often wondered in my life, how this burning of bodies/spirits actually can work.

If we go to hell in a body made of matter from the universe we know, similar to what we are here on earth, then how could such a hot fire not turn a material body to ash in a brief time period?
Exactly what kind of bodies would we be given after the 2nd coming, that would still feel pain but yet not burn-up?
It seems more logical that if such hot flames can't damage our bodies, even after trillions of years of exposure, that we wouldn't feel any 'great' pain from it.

Of course, god will naturally make a new miracle 'teflon' body, that sulfur won't stick to, nor will it liquify or burn up, but it will sure feel that lesson-teaching pain of not believing in the impossible.

If instead, we are in spirit form through all eternity in hell, and if we believe the many qualities some assume about spirits, then why would a spirit being be able to feel the heat from a matter based, sulfur fire.

Aren't spirits made of the stuff from god's hidden world and not from earthly matter.
Don't some say that spirits travel between heaven and earth and such, and don't they say they can even travel through outer space itself.
They wouldn't need air to breathe then and obviously aren't affected by the almost "absolute zero" cold temperatures of space.
Is it true they aren't corporal in nature and can travel through the walls of your house with no problem at all.

If these things are true, then it sure seems spirt bodies aren't affected by anything made of matter/energy etc.
So why would such a spirit being, be able feel the pain from a brimstone fire?

Let me guess....God installs miracle pain receptors in the spirt beings just before casting them into this hell fire. After all, god can do anything he wants to, right.

Sure, those who believe in god would see no problem with any of this, but if we add this to the philosophical aspects of such a god-created tormenting hell, well, I'm placing my bets with those who say it's nothing but a myth.



AtheistToothFairy

jim earl said...

Great post, Thomas.

This would make a great addition to my website. Would you agree to let me post it on freefish.us?

Thanks for a great read. Jim Earl

computer said...

Atheistoothfairy writes among other things: Sure, those who believe in god would see no problem with any of this, but if we add this to the philosophical aspects of such a god-created tormenting hell, well, I'm placing my bets with those who say it's nothing but a myth.
Any of what you wrote is in no way the christian understanding of hell. This is what the Church teaches on the subject Hell

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."610 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.611 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."
1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.612 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"613 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"614
1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."615 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."616
Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."617
1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;618 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":619

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.620

bongo said...

My God that's good!

That article is SO bookmarked.

Thanks!!

wow.

Some Guy said...

Computer wrote: "...This is what the Church teaches on the subject Hell ... [selective scriptual interpretation glossing over all the other scriptures about fire, gnashing of teeth, etc] ..."

Still Bull Shit! (And it smells just as bad.)

GordonBlood said...

What a triumph of ignorance this is. Only a former fundamentalist could write such nonsense and only former fundamentalists could applaud it. Here are, essentially, your points (im not even being polemical).
- The universe is 13.6 billion years old, hence God does not exist.
-The bible is not inerrant and has contradictions, thus it can safely be dismissed as jibberish
- people 3000 years ago in a highly dangerous setting used grotesque methods too punish people (many of these laws, if you had actually read some biblical scholars, are not original mosaic laws or punishments) thus God somehow does not exist or prescribe morality?
- God does not always answer prayer thus God does not exist

This is only a sampling of the arguments listed. You say that only young earth creationists can be correct yet most biblical scholars, priests, theologians etc outside of the Southern United States (I have no idea how bad it is in the South because im Canadian) believe in evolution and the rest. You say that textual errors disproves the bible yet most of those same textual critics are themselves devout Christians. You say that God's not answering of prayer means he does not exist and yet God did not even answer the prayers of Jesus (so clearly Christ and the disciples did not think that God answers all prayers). Please, all of you, go and read some decent philosophy, some decent theology and some decent science. Your logic and reasoning would be embarrassing to me if i was still an agnostic. As for the whole bit on hell if you actually looked at church history there is no "universal" image of hell. Paul himself suggests persons are destroyed in hell and most scholars believe that an eternal torture chamber view of hell is, with afew exceptions, read into the text rather than from the text itself. I imagine shortly after my writing this il get some polemical person accusing me of some sort of non-existant fallacy so only if my curiosity gets the better of me will i respond, but for the love of God (yes) please realize that most of these arguments are incredibly non-logical.

bongo said...

"The universe is 13.6 billion years old, hence God does not exist"

In fact, it's summarized more like this:
The universe is 13.6 billion years old, hence the Bible is clearly wrong, hence bible-God does not exist.

"The bible is not inerrant and has contradictions, thus it can safely be dismissed as jibberish" and you refuted that..how?


"people 3000 years ago in a highly dangerous setting used grotesque methods too punish people (many of these laws, if you had actually read some biblical scholars, are not original mosaic laws or punishments) thus God somehow does not exist or prescribe morality?

The settings dont matter, and weren't even mentioned. It's more like this: Our morals are created by god and are a part of every human being. But, but, our innate morals are repulsed and revolted by the very same morals god inspired to be written into his word. There's a contradiction here, hence the bible is wrong, and bible-god doesnt exist.

Oh, those were not actually mosaic laws? Well then the bible was edited (forged) and hence the bible is wrong, and ...you get the rest.


"God does not always answer prayer thus God does not exist". When I was a crhistian, i prayed to god every day. I noticed that i'd get the same results praying to my chair. Hence, God is my Chair. (upon which I sit)

Whether these arguments are not logical or not, they're at least equal to the "logic" of the bible and at least I'm not asking you to give me money or slave to me the rest of your life.

GordonBlood said...

Bongo, you are assuming that the Christian Gods existence is mandated on the inerrancy of the bible, at least that seems to be your position. This is a massive logical error that almost no theologian or biblical scholar would accept. Now if you want to place the bible's inerrancy as proof that the Christian God exists, dont be surprised if you dont believe in God. Oh and as for this;
The bible is not inerrant and has contradictions, thus it can safely be dismissed as jibberish" and you refuted that..how?
You are speaking nonsense. Charles Darwin was wrong about a mulititude of things in his Origin of Species but that does not threaten his over-arching theory. The same is true with God, especially when one turns to the historical arguments for things like the ressurection. But you did exactly what I knew someone would do, write a quick, polemical non-logical refutation beating at a straw-man version of Christianity (that Christianity, for some crazy reason, needs every word of the bible to be completely inerrant). Like I said, if you want to pretend that Christianity relies on such things so be it, but dont try to make such arguments with people who read scholars like NT Wright, Ben Witherington, FF Bruce, Alvin Plantinga or even a half-decent Catholic Highschool teacher. The Christian faith you attack is as anti-intellectual as the most rigid form of fundamentalism that can be found; not the thoughtful faith of CS Lewis, Jacques Mauritain or Mortimer Adler. Like I said, if you want to discuss religion fine but clearly you had a faith which rested simply on emotion; something which the early church would have considered pure poison. Now that I have typed that out, il leave you all to your devices.

Anonymous said...

The oh-so-learned (and, if you ask me, rather snotty) GB says "you are assuming that the Christian Gods existence is mandated on the inerrancy of the bible, at least that seems to be your position. This is a massive logical error that almost no theologian or biblical scholar would accept."

I am aware that many christians cherry-pick what parts of the bible they claim as literal and which parts are metaphor, but I am assuming that christians are unified in believing something about Jesus being crucified and resurrected and that believing this to be true somehow provides "salvation" that, for some reason, is needed. But, if the bible can't even give a consistent account of this part of the theology, then why should that be believed either?

And if Gordy claims christians don't actually believe in a literal ressurection, etc., I would like to know what these types of christians are called because I've never heard of them.

bongo said...

[Forgive the double post, if one appears. Having some trouble with publishing... ]

Gordon,

yes, my background was fundamental southern baptist. That, I rebel against quite rightly, I'm sure you'd agree. Apparently, from your elevated enlightened tower, those people are not true christians and are dupes and fools. Are they going to heaven? If so, how can you stand to rub elbows with them? If not, then your god is a hell of a liar.

But as anonymous mentioned, many other christian members "cherry pick" the bible. I've always wondered how that was logically possible. Clearly, yours is nonsensical religion.

There, I can claim your opinion is nonsense and invalid too! Isn't there some fancy debating term for asserting something like that with no basis? On second thought, I think you've provided the basis already.

"But you did exactly what I knew someone would do, write a quick, polemical non-logical refutation beating at a straw-man version of Christianity (that Christianity, for some crazy reason, needs every word of the bible to be completely inerrant). "

Nice and insulting, exactly like i knew you'd be.

But anyway, a very large portion of the christian population DOES in fact believe in innerrancy, so it IS important. And those people also consider liberal christians (not political liberals necessarily, but religious ones) are the errant ones. So it's not a straw man, it's a valid, much held, opinion among many christians.

But I am not a christian. In fact, repeat after me: The holy ghost is tool.

There, you're condemed to hell for the unpardonable sin. Oh, yeah, you dont believe that part of the bible either.

GordonBlood said...

Sigh... oh well I left the post so im morally indebted to respond at least to the more weightier things. Firstly, anonymous, I do not mean to be "snotty" or even "oh-so-learned". However I make no apologies in presenting a coherent and rational faith to non-Christians. As for the ressurection I affirm it most definately, mainly because the historical ressurection is one of the things which awoke be from my agno-theism. As far as your mention of the gospels not giving a consistent account I am quite confused by what you mean. The gospels give, with afew different ways of telling the story here and there, a pretty coherent account of what happened. So unless you are going to knitpick little issues, the gospels give us pretty coherent ground as far as what happened. NT Wright discusses this old paradigm and some other interesting things here http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/resources/NTWright.mp3

I agree with you that you cannot be a orthodox Christian in any meaningful sense if you do not affirm the ressurection.

Now Bongo, first of all I did not say that people who are fundamentalists are "dupes or fools" though they do have a terible theology. My point is that the Christian faith is not dependent on that rather bad theology, which is why you seem to have lost your faith. I dont see what rubbing elbows has anything to do with anything... i have freinds who are atheists, freinds who are agnostics and freinds who are Christians. As far as people being able to cherry pick the bible goes, I havent a clue how you go from that to God doesnt exist. I am not "chery-picking" the bible based on what i like or dislike. I do so on the basis of what historians and scholars say and then apply some common sense and cross-referencing to their claims. This is what any good Christian should do. If one is ging to be literate in 21st century science, literature etc they should also be literate in 21st century theology and biblical scholarship. I never was insulting or rude, I was boldly stating a fact. It is craziness in the logical sense to think that Christianity depends on inerrancy at all. Most Christians actually do not hold to inerrancy. Like I said, many SOUTHERN Christians do. Thats all. Go to New England or California. Go to Canada where I live, ive never met a fundamentalist in my life. The fact is that you probly live in a cultural zone which values inerrancy, but that has no grounding on what MOST Christians think about the subject. As far as what churches affirm, my question is why? Are they doing so because of hollow tradition and re-actionism (which fundamentalism most certainly is) or because good scholarship says that is the way to go. Like I said, it is a triumph of ignorance, nothing more and nothing less. Most atheists today seem to have just as anti-intellectual a view of faith as possible, which makes sense, what better way to ignore something than to pre-suppose the most foolish possible version possible. PS That holy spirit thing? Most scholars dont believe that its pointing at a intellectual statement but a life-long stance denying it... of course, you dont believe scholars on that issue either.

.:webmaster:. said...

GB typed: "People who are fundamentalists [...] have a terible theology."

But GB, apparently, has the correct, right, or better theology.

This, as much as anything, gives evidence that there is no Holy Ghost leading HIS people into all truth. The opinions on things "Christian" is as diverse as the population.

No unity -- no magic.

GordonBlood said...

"This, as much as anything, gives evidence that there is no Holy Ghost leading HIS people into all truth. The opinions on things "Christian" is as diverse as the population."
That is, of course, true. I dont even know how the most ardent fundamentalist could argue that point. How could one come to that conclusion though when Christ spends so much time talking about how there will be false teachers, betrayers of the faith and everything in between. The whole point is that we have to be humble with our truth claims. However, there is a difference between humility and relativism. You cannot give a creature freedom and at the same time correct him/her every time they make a mistake, the consequence of that is mistakes will be made even in our talk about God. The problems arise only when we think we hold the only truth and everyone else deserves the axe. Do I think im right on every issue? No, I dont. The problem is I dont know what points im wrong on. Maybe im wrong on the whole bunch, and there is no God (though i always was before university an agno-theist). However, for me, that is not where the evidence seems to turn. I rarely see the same humility in atheists however to realize that they may be wrong, or at least ones on the internet.

boomSLANG said...

Oh, looky here....a progressive Christian.

'Here to restore Christianity, are ya Gordon? Oh, wait, he won't be back....he's "leaving us all to our devices". That's too bad, I was really counting on being liberated from my ignorance = )

gb: - The universe is 13.6 billion years old, hence God does not exist.

No, not quite. Let's review: The universe is billions of years old, thus, since the book of Genesis portrays the earth as only a couple-of-thousand generations old, not-to-mention, the duplicate creation(s) of "Adam & Eve"(which are inconsistant with each other); not-to-mention, things like the creation of a "firmament" that holds up the sky...a whAT? It is at this point that we can logically conclude that said book is NOT the work or "inspiration" of any "omniscient" deity. If one argues, "so what?....it's errancy doesn't disprove God", then fantastic.....then literally hundreds of thousands of ancient texts are "evidence" for their respective creator gods. Praise Quetzacoatl!

gb: -The bible is not inerrant and has contradictions, thus it can safely be dismissed as jibberish.

Likewise, the Holy Qur'an is not inerrant and has contradictions, yet, according to Gordon, this is not grounds for dismissing it---and further, one would be "crazy" to do so. So, Gordon, I dismiss the bible as whatever [adjective] you'd use when you dismiss the Holy Qur'an. "Jibberish"?.....' works for me. "Myth"?..that works too. Now, would it help if I found you some Muslim "scholars" and some companion books to solidify the Islamic "Truth"?

But really, I wonder if you've ever read one single book, cover-to-cover, that is critical of your "Faith". I'll bet not.

gb: - people 3000 years ago in a highly dangerous setting used grotesque methods too punish people (many of these laws, if you had actually read some biblical scholars, are not original mosaic laws or punishments) thus God somehow does not exist or prescribe morality?

Malachi 3:6 - “For I am the Lord, I do not change;”

If dashing children against rocks, killing unbelievers, and stoning rebellious teens was "righteous" 3000 yrs ago, then it should be "righteous" in the 21st century, according to the "Word of God". And Gordon, since you seem to think that biblgod's word is intrinsically "righteous", it begs the question---how did we, as civilized human beings, come to figure out that such behavior is in fact, NOT so "righteous"? Listening.

J. C. Samuelson said...

GordonBlood,

Methinks you've missed something in this post. It's pretty clear that you didn't spend much time thinking about it or forming your response.

You say that only young earth creationists can be correct yet most biblical scholars, priests, theologians etc outside of the Southern United States (I have no idea how bad it is in the South because im Canadian) believe in evolution and the rest.

In the Hebrew concept of time, days were measured not as 24-hour constructs but one block of time consisting of a period of darkness followed by a period of light. Gen. 1:5 establishes that the "days" of creation were meant to conform to the Hebrew concept of time. That the earth was not created in six days has been fairly well-established scientifically, thereby refuting the Bible's claim of a six day creation.

You mention "most biblical scholars, priests, theologians...believe in evolution and the rest." As with any other proposition, it's not a popularity contest. It wouldn't matter if every single theologian in the world admitted to the falsity of the Genesis account. The fact remains that the Bible attests directly to a six day creation. This is a claim that can and has been falsified. The question is, if the Bible is wrong, then it cannot be divinely authored without making God into a prankster. As the Bible is the only independent source of information about the Christian god, the validity of its claims are central to having a valid belief instead of a mildly entertaining diversion. If liberal theologians, scholars, etc., dismiss the Bible as factually incorrect, they are, in effect, rendering their very own faith null and void. Ergo, their "faith" becomes little more than a pastime.

You say that textual errors disproves the bible yet most of those same textual critics are themselves devout Christians.

Which begs the same questions as above. Textual criticism has long ago dispensed with the myth that the Bible is without error. How do liberal theologians persist in their beliefs? By ignoring those errors, or redefining them so as to enable their beliefs to survive. In the process, they enable fundamentalist believers who, appealing to scholarly authority, cling to the lie that their precious book is of divine origin.

The Bible is not inerrant. Thus, the existence of the divinity which is alleged to have authored it is called into serious doubt.

You say that God's not answering of prayer means he does not exist and yet God did not even answer the prayers of Jesus (so clearly Christ and the disciples did not think that God answers all prayers).

Actually, many (if not most) Christians believe that God always answers prayers. His choices? Yes, no, and maybe. Of course, this makes it impossible for God to refuse to answer. Then again, even were we to leave open the possibility of His refusal, nothing has really changed, has it? A refusal to answer has the same effect as saying no, doesn't it? To be perfectly blunt, you will get the same results by praying to a milk carton, a telephone, or any other common household item. Try it sometime.

In any case, the idea that God answers or does not answer prayers assumes that God exists to assent or refuse. So, in a sense you're right. God's existence is not directly established or refuted by the success rate (or lack thereof) of prayer. Yet its lack of success does call into serious question its efficacy, which is one of the central claims of Christianity. If prayer doesn't work, or achieves success rates no greater than we'd expect from chance, it also indirectly calls into question the existence of the One that's supposed to answer prayers, does it not?

Please, all of you, go and read some decent philosophy, some decent theology and some decent science.

Good advice. Plan on following it yourself? I do hope so. Of course, the question is where does one find "decent" theology? Do you mean "decent" as in "nice," or "decent" as in "sound?" I'm well aware that there is no shortage of the former. As for the latter, well, let's just say that I haven't found any examples.

Your logic and reasoning would be embarrassing to me if i was still an agnostic.

Pray tell, what label have you given yourself in place of agnostic?

As for the whole bit on hell if you actually looked at church history there is no "universal" image of hell.

Of course not. But then, how the church has variously interpreted the doctrine of hell isn't really the issue now, is it? At the core of the doctrine of hell, however described, is the concept of reward vs. punishment. Punishment is earned upon birth, while reward is contingent upon conformity or obedience. It's a doctrine of self-loathing with dangerous moral implications.

This is a massive logical error that almost no theologian or biblical scholar would accept.

Perhaps you should've qualified this with something like, "..as far as I know." There are, in fact, a rather large number of spiritual leaders and purported biblical scholars in North America and elsewhere who do affirm the Bible's inerrancy. But let's say you're right. What does that say about the validity or usefulness of biblical doctrine? What does it say about the integrity of the tens of thousands of Christian leaders who, knowing their Bible is full of errors, continue to teach it anyway?

You are speaking nonsense. Charles Darwin was wrong about a mulititude of things in his Origin of Species but that does not threaten his over-arching theory. The same is true with God, especially when one turns to the historical arguments for things like the ressurection.

Charles Darwin did not claim God was the source of his information. Apples and oranges, my friend. But, can we agree then that the Bible is not a valid source of information concerning an actual deity?

...if you want to pretend that Christianity relies on such things so be it, but dont try to make such arguments with people who read scholars like NT Wright, Ben Witherington, FF Bruce, Alvin Plantinga or even a half-decent Catholic Highschool teacher.

If you want to pretend that any of these scholars has been able to give Christianity any sort of logical grounding (and yes, I've read material by each of them - except the Catholic Highschool teacher :)), so be it, but don't try to make ridiculous appeals to authority with people who've looked at more than just one side of the debate.

The Christian faith you attack is as anti-intellectual as the most rigid form of fundamentalism that can be found; not the thoughtful faith of CS Lewis, Jacques Mauritain or Mortimer Adler.

We agree that the Christian faith as it's practiced by millions here in North America is "as anti-intellectual as the most rigid form of fundamentalism." Yet I would go further and state that intellectuals who, by their eloquence, defend the core beliefs of those anti-intellectual Christians are complicit in the perpetuation of dangerous dogmas.

...something which the early church would have considered pure poison.

Gordon, apparently it's you who needs remedial lessons in history. Few, if any, of the early church fathers would have considered a faith founded in intellectualism to be at all necessary or reasonable. You can read some of their works online here. Intellectualism as a component of faith to be admired didn't really take hold until the Enlightenment (ca. early 19th century). To be sure, some early church fathers are properly identified as intellectuals, but almost to a one they defaulted to a simple form of faith when it came to their core beliefs. They themselves considered their intellectual musings to be nothing compared to the revealed truth of scripture.

The whole point is that we have to be humble with our truth claims. However, there is a difference between humility and relativism.

These two statements are riddled with irony, Gordon. I do admit you seem a bit less strident in your most recent post, though. And here you decry relativism, but then seem to suggest it below (second quote down from here).

How could one come to that conclusion though when Christ spends so much time talking about how there will be false teachers, betrayers of the faith and everything in between.

Well, the gospel authors don't really have Jesus spending all that much time on the topic. But regardless, welcome to the world of denominational contradiction, where teachings are given greater or lesser weight according to preference and interpreted to mean different things.

The problems arise only when we think we hold the only truth and everyone else deserves the axe.

That would be dogma, and Christianity has more than its fair share. Religion is inherently divisive and exclusionary. Even a more liberal form of faith still sets believers apart from others. Of course, a postmodern approach in which all truths are equal (i.e., relativism) isn't much better. I find either prospect to be distasteful.

The problem is I dont know what points im wrong on.

Studying several points of view and evaluating them according to sound principles of critical thinking and evidence would help to greatly alleviate any discomfort you're feeling. And I do sympathize.

I rarely see the same humility in atheists however to realize that they may be wrong, or at least ones on the internet.

The limitations of text might be partly to blame for this. A strong statement of fact or evidence can seem arrogant, even when the person giving it is not arrogant by nature. I fall into this trap quite a bit, actually. ;)

GordonBlood said...

Im not going to type much boomslang... mainly because your just copying what has already been said by others. As far as the relationship between God and the bible goes I am not saying that we can ignore errors in the bible; I am saying that there is no connection between the existence of the God whom the bible writes about and whether or not the bible has errors, which it clearly does. Just because I write a big book about evolution and it has errors in it does not disprove evolution. That is a question for scholarship and I think decent scholarship strongly supports the overall accuracy of the biblical text as a whole (even though the bible is rarely intending to write 100% history, even the gospels intentionally add theological motifs). I have most certainly read skeptical books, you seem to forget I am a convert and not a cradle Christian. I dont like the new atheist books, but simpyl because hteyre anti-intellectual (Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens, all of whom I read, make very few arguments that are solid or even coherent). Skeptics who I felt were persuasive at times were Bertrand Russell and Antony Flew (Flew, unfortunately for the skeptical movement, is no longer an atheist). Im curious of the same though... how many books have you read by NT Wright, Ben Witherington IIII, James Dunn, Alister Macgrath or Richard Swinburne?
FINALLY

If dashing children against rocks, killing unbelievers, and stoning rebellious teens was "righteous" 3000 yrs ago, then it should be "righteous" in the 21st century, according to the "Word of God". And Gordon, since you seem to think that biblgod's word is intrinsically "righteous", it begs the question---how did we, as civilized human beings, come to figure out that such behavior is in fact, NOT so "righteous"?
The dashing children against rocks reference is so obviously polemical that it should not be taken seriosuly at all (its written by a very frustrated psalmist). As for the murder of non-believers and highly disobedient teenage sons, afew things. First, these were read in the context of the time. In fact there is no historical evidence that this often happened at all, it was only in extreme cases. Context is very important in reading the Torah, the rabbis have always known this its only when fundamentalists (either Christian or atheist) get their hands on the text that problems occur. In ancient bronze-age culture social cohesion was critical and thus the Jews were protecting their culture via those laws. Now whether or not they are given by God is beside the point, but it is wrong to say that a law that applies to some people in a certain period of time does not apply to another. That is the entire point of the covenent. Whatever ones view on the issue however, Christ makes it clear that there are certain tracts of the Old Testament that should not have been put in. As far as why God allows this, I believe there must be a certain intrinsic good to be found in our obtaing moral knowledge ourselves. Of course one can quickly ask you the question where you are getting your idea of good from as well. Some people like cutting open others to cure their disease, some like cutting open people to kill them. We know that one is morally better than the other but how does one justify that belief? I have no wish to dwelve deep within the subject and il probly stop posting soon before i get message flooded but suffice to say it is an interesting topic.

GordonBlood said...

JC Samuelson, I have little to say except that you seem to think ive only looked at scholars and thinkers who support my view. Ive read Crossan and Borg and Ehrman and Avalos and the rest. I agree that the bible is disproved scientifically. And I dont care. I think science does prove the universe had a definite creation point, there is good reason to believe that that universe was mant to eventually be life-permitting. Thats all I need as far as a creation event to still submit to the creed that says God created all things. I do not believe God wrote the bible, thus much of the criticisms levelled against me and many Christians are useless. You seem to be assuming that the bible NEEDS divine authorship to be a reliable document, how funny that almost no scholar takes that view and yet many are Christians. Of course you seem to just dismiss them off-hand. There are plenty of other things I could respond to but im sure youl forgive me, my fingers are beginning to hurt, quite literally actually.

Thackerie said...

GordonBlood wrote, "... I think science does prove the universe had a definite creation point, there is good reason to believe that that universe was mant to eventually be life-permitting. Thats all I need as far as a creation event to still submit to the creed that says God created all things. ..."

I don't know whether a god created all things or not, so I won't argue the point. However, if we assume that there WAS indeed a god/creator, how do you make the leap from that assumption to affirming the validity of christianity? No one has ever explained this to my satisfaction, which is why I'm an agnostic and not a christian.

Thomas said...

To Jim Earl

Jim,

Please feel free to use the article. I always enjoy your contributions here and would be happy to support your site.

Regards
Thomas

Thomas said...

To Gordon,

I think other people have responded to your points. But thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my article.

You are right that it is written by a former (British) fundementalist who despite what you say feels a lot less ignorant about the truth than during 22 years as an evangelical Christian.

I find a liberal Christianity which finds parts of the Bible true and the nasty parts false less objectionable, but basing belief around a source document you actually know is faulty makes no sense to me.

It is fundementalism that has damaged my life and it is that which I was writing about. I am actual quite neutral on the subject of whether there is a God or Gods. But if there is I am confident they did not inspire Bible.

Best
Thomas

.:webmaster:. said...

GB said a few things that I'd like to comment on.

GB: "I agree that the bible is disproved scientifically. And I dont care."

Well, that about shuts down any hope of conversation. It's also an ironic statement in light of your blatherings about supposed atheists whom you judge as apparently incapable of admitting error.

GB: "I rarely see the same humility in atheists however to realize that they may be wrong, or at least ones on the internet."

I was a confident, dogmatic Christian for 30 years. Embarrassing as it was to admit after all that time as a believer, I had to with humility acknowledge that I was wrong. Now you know one atheist on the Internet who realized and even admitted that he was wrong.

GB: "You seem to forget I am a convert and not a cradle Christian."

You seem to forget that most of us were Christians. I, for one, was not a "cradle Christian" either. I was a convert. So were many, if not most, that frequent this site.

GB: "I dont like the new atheist books, but simpyl because hteyre anti-intellectual..."

Uh huh, yeah.

GB: "It is wrong to say..."

Isn't that a bit self-righteously dogmatic?

GB: "Context is very important..."

Did you mean to say, "You are taking whatever I disagree with out of context."?

GB: "I am saying that..."

And anyone should pay attention to what you say, because...?

GB: "Christ spends so much time talking about how there will be false teachers, betrayers of the faith and everything in between."

But you aren't one of those false teachers. And you know this because...? Oh, and you are absolutely sure that your man-god actually said those things? Weren't those things written by anonymous authors and collected together by order of a Roman emperor into what you consider a flawed work of literature? Has it ever occurred to you that all controlling religious cults use similar rhetoric to keep the faithful, faithful? In fact, all cult leaders say things like that. All cult leaders say, "Listen to me and no one else."

GB: "i have freinds who are atheists, freinds who are agnostics and freinds who are Christians."

Me too. And so?

GB: "I make no apologies in presenting a coherent and rational faith to non-Christians."

Well, first of all, I am a former Christian. More accurately, I am an ex-Christian. But to the point: When you actually make a coherent and rational presentation of your religion, I'll be sure to let you know so that you can then refrain from apologizing for it. So far you have no need to apologize at all.

GB, I cannot prove that Allah doesn't exist. I cannot prove that Zeus doesn't exist. I cannot prove that invisible pink unicorns do not orbit playfully around Uranus. However, I needn't disprove that such things have any reality outside of certain peoples' imaginations. What is needed is evidence that such things actually do exist. Without such evidence I cannot with any honesty commit myself to accepting that such creatures exist. Just because someone else tells me they exist doesn't really do it for me.

You've painted your position on this topic, as well as other peoples' positions, with a very wide brush. You've offered no specifics on behalf of your positive assertions and on behalf of your flavor of a god. You've only provided wide sweeping generalizations. You have, in so many words, let us know that you believe a certain way and that you also believe that people who see things differently from you are wrong. You admit you might be wrong, too, but you just don't think that's likely. You have, in a way, attempted to transfer the burden of proof onto those who doubt your claims that a magical, mysterious, immaterial, thing-a-ma-bob in the sky exists and communes with you.

GB, I wouldn't dare deny you your right to your thought life, so long as it doesn't infringe on my life in any way. I wonder that you are so against allowing the rights of others to hold their own thoughts regarding the existence of a god. I also wonder that the Christian god (whichever version is in vogue) is so against people disbelieving that it exists. What could it possibly matter to a god if a bunch of hairless monkeys with opposable thumbs have skeptical ideas rattling around in their heads? My brain tells me there is no god, because frankly, I've been given no evidence that such a thing exists. The thought that there is such a creature may indeed appeal to many people on some emotional level, but intellectually, there is simply no evidence for the existence of any such being outside of dusty, religious tomes. And you have already agreed that your favorite holy book is flawed, and that no one really knows which parts of it are worthless and which parts are important.

I am willing to admit that some of the Bible contains useful wisdom, but that wisdom is not unique. Many other writings of ancient and modern people contain similarly useful observations. We are, after all, social creatures, and certain behaviors and understandings enhance our ability to live together in peace. It appears to me that the most useful wisdom in any philosophy or religion would contain insights that contribute to enhancing our lives together on this planet. Unfortunately, religion fails to achieve that lofty goal, choosing instead lower itself to an abusive parent who demands compliance to whimsical and nonsensical commandments complete with threats of temporal and/or everlasting consequences. And that, GB, hardly makes a recipe for a peaceful world. Someone once said death is to be preferred over the loss of liberty to an arbitrary tyrant.

boomSLANG said...

gb's back with: Im not going to type much boomslang... mainly because [you're] just copying what has already been said by others

Oh, okay. Well, I'm not going to type much either, Gordon...mainly because you misspelled the contraction for "you are". In other words, if you are prepared to dismiss much of what I say based soley on the fact that it echos some of what other EX-christians say(BTW, you're on an EX-christian website), then maybe I should dismiss whatever you say for something equally as irrelevant?

gb: As far as the relationship between God and the bible goes I am not saying that we can ignore errors in the bible; I am saying that there is no connection between the existence of the God whom the bible writes about and whether or not the bible has errors, which it clearly does.[bold added]

I hope you'll forgive me, but I suspect that you may have a slight reading comprehension problem----either that, or you're really tired.

Firstly, "the bible" doesn't/didn't "write" anything. Mortal man wrote it.

Secondly, AGAIN---I'm saying that if the existence of the biblical creator god, "Yahweh", does NOT rest upon the inerrancy of this alleged deity's main source..i.e..the "Holy Bible", then there is no stronger a foundation for the existence of this god as "creator", than there is for thousands of other creator gods and their respective "holy texts", inaccurate, or not.(as Thackerie pointed out)

If you want to use Anthropic Principle as your basis for the existence of a "creator god", dandy---where is your objective evidence that this self-existing disembodied entity is none other than "Yahweh"?

gb: Just because I write a big book about evolution and it has errors in it does not disprove evolution.

Joseph Smith Jr. published a "big book" on Mormonism. Surely you'll tell me it's got "errors" in it, after all, that's likely why people regard it as invalid. Tell me then, if the errors in the Book of Mormon don't necessarily "disprove" Moromonism....what does?

Secondly, Evolution(as used in your analogy) is both theory, and fact...and is supported by science, as such. For argument's sake---if there are "gaps" in macro-evolution...no, it does not disprove evolution entirely. Yet, the difference between a "big book" on natural sciences having gaps, and a "big book" on supernatural mythology having gaps, is that none of the supernatural book is testable/falsifiable in the first place. You cannot plug a "hole", with another "hole".

gb: I have most certainly read skeptical books, you seem to forget I am a convert and not a cradle Christian.

There is no such thing as a "cradle Christian". And even if you meant it figuratively, it is a poor choice of words, as everyone is born an Atheist, by default.

gb: I dont like the new atheist books, but simpyl because hteyre anti-intellectual (Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens, all of whom I read, make very few arguments that are solid or even coherent).

I think you're tired, both because of your funny spelling, and because you think that Dawkins is "anti-intellectual". Good stuff.

gb: Skeptics who I felt were persuasive at times were Bertrand Russell and Antony Flew (Flew, unfortunately for the skeptical movement, is no longer an atheist)

To my understanding, Flew converted to Deism. And skepticism isn't a "movement". After all, you are skeptical of my skepticism.

gb: how many books have you read by NT Wright, Ben Witherington IIII, James Dunn, Alister Macgrath or Richard Swinburne?
FINALLY


None, but I researched each one briefly, and lo and behold, they are all either Christian Apologists, and/or Christian Theologians.

'Tell ya what...find me a Theologian author who is anti-Atheism--in other words, one who believes that ALL gods exist, otherwise, I'm dealing with people who, based on their intellect, dismiss all the same gods as I do, with the exception of one. Concerning that "one", I've already read the supposed greatest source of knowledge ever written, and I find it lacking. 'Sorry.

In other words, the difference is, Dawkins, and Harris, etc., don't ONLY deny "Yahweh"; they deny ALL gods. They aren't partial to the non-existence of one god over another, in this case, "Yahweh". The Christian Theist must borrow at least some of the aspects of Dawkin's "incoherent" theories, in order to deny all those "other" gods. 'Funny how that pans out, isn't it?.

The dashing children against rocks reference is so obviously polemical that it should not be taken seriosuly at all (its written by a very frustrated psalmist).

Excuse me? Okay, so then, how do we know that Matthew, Mark, & Co. didn't write out of "frustration". See?...you illustrate perfectly, how interpeting scripture is blatantly subjective.

gb: As for the murder of non-believers and highly disobedient teenage sons, afew things. First, these were read in the context of the time. In fact there is no historical evidence that this often happened at all, it was only in extreme cases. [bold added]

"Often" happened? So, it's acceptable as long as it didn't happen "often". Spoken like a "True Believer". And no "historical evidence"??? The scripture, itself, is not historical evidence that such things happened? I think you shot yourself in foot.

gb: Christ makes it clear that there are certain tracts of the Old Testament that should not have been put in.

Then good grief, how did they get put in, pray tell?(rhetorical)

gb: I think science does prove the universe had a definite creation point, there is good reason to believe that that universe was mant to eventually be life-permitting.

But of course, you likely wouldn't have thought that at the time of that "creation point"; it is only after billions of years that it now looks "intentional".

gb: Of course one can quickly ask you the question where you are getting your idea of good from as well. Some people like cutting open others to cure their disease, some like cutting open people to kill them. We know that one is morally better than the other but how does one justify that belief?

Simple: One example causes unnecessary harm to human beings; one does not. Need I say which is which? Certainly you don't need to refer to your bible, do you? If so....that's scary.

gb: I have no wish to dwelve deep within the subject and il probly stop posting soon before i get message flooded but suffice to say it is an interesting topic.

Interesting, before it was a "triumph of ignorance"; now it's "interesting". Yeah, sure pal.

TxToastz said...

For GB,

If my liver was failing, and I was going to die, i would gladly take yours so that I would survive, even if that meant you would die. I do not care about you.
And so would you vice versa.

The point is humans have two purposes

Our primary purpose is to survive.

And our secondary purpose it to replicate.

I want all of you to think about your life and how every action you've taken revolves around this concept. This concept is, of course, hardwired into our brains which makes it a part of our subconscious.



A super-fun quiz for all Christians!!!

Q: Why are you a Christian?

A: Obviously to survive death.

Q:Why are you married?
(I'm assuming you're are married, If you're a christian and not married, you do not have sex)

A: So you can replicate yet still survive death because you believe that if you replicate(aka have sex) outside of marriage you will sin which could compromise you surviving death.

This goes for every single person on this earth.

They #1 survive, and #2 they replicate.

Every action anyone does is determined by these two things.

You will not replicate if it would destroy your chance on survival, because replication is secondary.





Now, on the subject of the hell in the bible.

Here is a quote from Computer, and his misrepresentation/ misinterpretation of Gehenna.

"1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost"


If you actually took the time to study your religion you would have found that "Gehenna"" IS A REAL PLACE!!! Yes, you can go there today. It was basically the trash dump. In this valley they burned all of Jerusalem's garbage, hence the unquenchable fire. The flames never went out because if they did, the city would have no place to put their trash.

And now to the part about people being thrown in Gehenna.


If you were a criminal, or of low social value such as a beggar, and you couldn't afford a tomb, your body was thrown into the "fiery pit of Gehenna"

If you don't believe, just google :)


TxToast

xrayman said...

I want to start by saying the original post was fucking awsome Thomas. I have been a very engrossed audience member of this spectacular slug fest(one of the best I've seen on this site in a long time).

Hats off to Gordon for hanging around, but I must make an oxymoronic statement and say you have shown magnificent ineptness.


Yea Gordo Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are such numskulls. Their books could have been written by five year olds. Seriously the book that pushed me totally out of God belief was "Loosing Faith in Faith" by Dan Barker. And also the "Atheist Universe" by David Mills is a very elementary yet profound book that slams the door shut on the existince of invisible vouyers in the sky.

GB: "I rarely see the same humility in atheists however to realize that they may be wrong, or at least ones on the internet."

I as an atheist(on the internet) am very comfortable saying I could be wrong, but no words written or spoken by any human could alter my mind, only a concrete demonstration such as a miracle or water walking. Gordo you failed to mention any evidence beyond the Bible which you admit to being a pile of inaccurate bullshit.

P.S. Gordo, I live in Michigan and sometimes the boys and I have crossed to border just for the sole fact of visiting some to the many fine strip clubs your country has to offer. I hope your version of Christianity allows you to enjoy such attractions.

Bill B.

computer said...

Thackerie wrote: I don't know whether a god created all things or not, so I won't argue the point. However, if we assume that there WAS indeed a god/creator, how do you make the leap from that assumption to affirming the validity of christianity? No one has ever explained this to my satisfaction, which is why I'm an agnostic and not a christian.

You can ask the God who you dont know yet to teach you about Himself. He will accept your honest prayer to know Him. Seek and you will find.

Thackerie said...

computer wrote: "You can ask the God who you dont know yet to teach you about Himself. He will accept your honest prayer to know Him. Seek and you will find."

Thanks heaps. But I think 20 years of asking and receiving no response is more than sufficient. I'm pretty sure some of the other regulars here - who spent much more time than that actually believing the same delusion as you before they wised up - would agree.

BTW, the name of this site is Exchristian.net. That's EX as in former christians who once believed as you do and don't need to hear the same old preaching for the 1,000,000th time. Been there, done that, never going back.

Thackerie said...

To everyone else: I think computer tried to "witness" to me because I declared myself as an agnostic rather than an atheist so he perceived that there might be a chance to recruit me. And, frankly, I find that insulting.

I sort of identified myself as a liberal christian before I studied the history of the bible and now I can state that I am absolutely 100% sure that christianity is bunk. I am also strongly leaning toward atheisim.

So, I can only imagine how offended some of you who were actually fundamentalist christians before you deconverted must feel when someone comes on here and tells you all you need to do is keep on praying or seek harder or whatever, as if you hadn't heard those magic words before. The arrogance and lack of sensitivity exhibited by some evangelicals is simply mind-boggling.

GordonBlood said...

Wow... In all honesty I was expecting alot more attacks on what I said so im hapy with what I do have to deal with (which is still alot). Firstly, I will make one thing clear. The idea of biblical inspiration that fundamentalists propose so strongly today is an invention of the reformation; it was used as a counter to supposed papal infallibility. So to say that the entire bible has to be entirely blessed by God is not true. I think one can easily be a Christian and look at the bible as any other historical document. Now many of you have been saying "well then, prove it?!" The problem with that is you are asking me to, in a blog, write about 3000 years of biblical history, which as one of my favorite scholars (Bruce Metzger, who is now deceased) wrote "is a matrix of myth, legend and indeed history". There are plenty of good books which outline this, I myself recommend the Oxford Companion to the Bible but that is just the one I could find that covered the most material in our university library.

Thackerie- I would never suggest you can get straight from God to Christianity. But once you admit that there is a liklihood of some sort of being you can at least allow for the possiblity of miracles, which is where philosophy and history takes us). Perhaps a good introductory set of talks can be found here (the ones by Richard Swinburne) which elucidate what I mean by going from natural theology to Christianity http://www.blackhawkchurch.org/resources/events.php

Webmaster- As I have already said, the fact that the bible is not giving us good science in Genesis (and a majority of Old Testament scholars dont think its trying to) does not mean the bible does not have history in it. That is a job for the historian, and time and time again the biblre is proven to be historically accurate on a number of things, especially in the New Testament. If you seriously think there are absolutely no good reasons to believe in God at all you have either purposefully ignored the arguments or just flat out not read any scholars. I can appreciate I sound blunt but you are basically dismissing 2000 years of philosophy. If you want to pretend that the existence of a God is on the same ground as the existence of an invisible pink unicorn (i always preferred Russells teapot analogy better) than that is your right to do so, but I think most honest people, including agnostics and at least some atheists, would disagree.

Boomslang- First of all boomslang I apologize for not typing up to par. I was typing quickly on a keyboard that was not mine. As far as actual criticism in your posting goes (the massive majority of it is just attacking my typing) to say that we need the bible to be inerrant to be accurate is setting up a false dichotomy. If you listen to the talk by Richard Swinburne and the earlier one by NT Wright, you will see my point. As far as the cradle-Christian it is obviously figurative language. As far as being born atheist that is a dull point, im born not knowing how to read but it doesnt mean such an activity exists. Dawkins, as a scientist, is brilliant. His River out of Eden and ESPECIALLY Ancestors Tale i cannot recommend highly enough. Hes witty, informative and makes you feel like you have a Phd in evolutionary biology after reading his books. But once he gets into religion hes as ignorant as you can possibly get. As Terry Eagleton said "Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology." Whether or not a person is a Christian apologist barely removes their crediblity... That is like me dismissing all atheists books on account that "OH! lo and behold, these are all atheist apologists... guess those cant be any good." As far as the death penalty goes, there are alot of things in the Torah that we have no historical evidence they ever happened. The Torah is not a modern law-book, it was interpreted in all sorts of different ways, by different rabbis. That is the entire point of rabbinics. Yes, that does put a certain subjective spin to it, but thats how law works. As I have said, Jews editted the Torah based on what was needed at the time; there was no secular book of law for a Post-exilic Jew. So you base your entire morality on what, utilitarianism? Il stick to not killing people who cant look after themselves, thanks. As for the interesting topic I meant ONLY morality, not fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is a triumph of ignorance, whether or not you believe thats what Christianity is all about is another topic altogether.
- Toast the only real... issue I read at all that has anything toi do with this (physical evolution here is a meaningless point and most scientists, including Dawkins, would argue that once human mind arose we no longer are simply living/replication beings... after all he tells us to "rebel against our genes". As for the gehenna point I was well aware of that... but unless ytou are suggesting Jesus thought THAT was hell than I dont know what your getting at.

-Xrayman, I have addressed your concern about me not providing reasons that I believe the bible is accurate enough to be a Christian. I am not going to type 3000 years of history outside of a major paper. But, like I said, there are plenty of good materials. Ive heard of the two books you mention and read their overall arguments and they dont seem terribly convincing; particularly Barker who, like many here, seemed to have based his entire faith on biblical inerrancy. As for the other fellow, I read the synopsis of his book years ago (before I converted now that I think about it) and it seemed to me that it is just a big grab-bag of atheist topics. If you refuse to changew your mind that is, of course, your decision and I can respect that. But once you do that it is more of a willfull choice than an intellectual one. It somewhat reminds me of Mortimer Adler's book "How to Think About God: A Guide for the 20th-Century Pagan".

GordonBlood said...

Thackerie, before I leave for the day il simply mention abit about prayer. Prayer is certainly a mystery (and im sure youve heard that word before) but what else could it be? I know ive prayed and it seemed like nothing was there, but ive also prayed and certain things which I just call spooky happened. Now could it be chalked up to simply chemicals flowing in the brain or a lucky turn of a page for what i was praying to find. Yeah, one could say that. But prayer is, should be and is by its nature going to be abit outside the box as it were. All I know is both from Christian freinds ive talked too and my own experience prayer has certainly changed me; and of course on the accounts of millions of other Christians it has done the same for them. Of course, this is an ex-Christian website, and thus one necessarily has to deny prayer at the table before one even brings out the cards.

Anonymous said...

GordonBlood wrote: "... Of course, this is an ex-Christian website, and thus one necessarily has to deny prayer at the table before one even brings out the cards."

In which we see that "computer" is not the only self-righteous evangelizer in this thread who has absolutely no idea of what ex.christian means.

freethinker05 said...

Mr. computer, have you ever considered trying to get to know allah? I'm sure he would love to teach you how to get to know him also. Shit, you may decide allah is your one true friend. Matter of fact, there are thousands of friends,(gods) that are willing to be buddies with you. Good luck.....p.s. Thomas, very good post. Peace

.:webmaster:. said...

GB, your apologetic, so far, consists of appeals to authority (name dropping) and appeals to widespread belief. Both of these appeals are fallacious.

I do not disbelieve in Christianity because Dawkins, Barker, or hundreds of other highly intelligent men and women disbelieve. I came to abandon Christianity after devotedly, seriously and faithfully studying the bloody nonsense ad nauseum. Fact is, I didn’t read a single skeptical book or article until after I de-converted.

When I commented earlier, I wondered if you would ignore the references to Allah and Zeus and jump instead on the humorous reference to unicorns. You did, and that’s called misdirection, and it is equally fallacious. You could easily insert Jehovah and His zombie-boy into any list of magical imaginary things that people believe or ever have believed are real. The point is that all immaterial, non-existent, ludicrous, mythological things that people believe in have equal evidence of existing: none.

If in order to give adequate evidence for your god-claims you need to present a full thesis, then this god concept of yours would appear to be strikingly complex and well beyond the reach of the average Joe or Jolene. And here I thought people were to become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Quite a conundrum, wouldn’t you say?

So, name drop all you like. Rely on or dismiss any and all the insights and opinions of your favorite or hated authority. What this all boils down to is that you believe your un-dead god-man walks on water, that bushes talk, that chariots of fire taxi prophets to the postmortem life, that snakes and donkeys carry on conversations with people, that amputees magically grow back their limbs at the command of apostles (Whoops, that one never happened – strike that.), because you believe it and for no other reason than because you believe it. Well, that is certainly your right. Believe in that stuff all you want, is that’s what you really want to do. But to get anyone here to see things your way, what is still required is some verifiable evidence that your god exists outside the tactical, circular logic of apologetic theologians' and philosophers' imaginations. If the Big Dude really exists, that shouldn’t be too much to ask or too difficult to provide. If this god can only be found through pseudo-intellectual sounding armchair philosophizing, then I’m afraid your attempts at evangelism will remain impotent.

.:webmaster:. said...

Oh, and one more thing Marc (er, GB): Good try, but I'm on to you.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Gordon,

I have little to say except that you seem to think ive only looked at scholars and thinkers who support my view.

Perhaps I did unfairly suggest that you haven't looked at both sides of the issue. For that, I apologize. However, I do maintain that your position - like that of the liberal theologians and scholars you appeal to - is a virtual smorgasbord of logical and evidential equivocation and contradiction.

I agree that the bible is disproved scientifically. And I dont care.

Which is, as the WM pointed out, ironic. You claim that evidence - as presented by your favorite scholars - is what leads you to believe that the Christian god in particular is the one who created the universe, and that the resurrection story is historically true. Yet what would you know (or think you know) about that specific god without the Bible? Where do you (and your theistic scholar friends) get your information about the resurrection? From the Bible! This is one of those stories that simply is not independently corroborated.

I think science does prove the universe had a definite creation point, there is good reason to believe that that universe was mant to eventually be life-permitting.

Here you introduce the cosmological argument. To begin with, science does not "prove" the universe had a definite "creation" point before which nothing existed. But, leaving that aside, the first cause argument has several independent weaknesses, even assuming your argument to be provisionally valid. For the sake of brevity only one will be used to illustrate the main point (that you rely on the unreliable Bible).

There is a huge leap to be made from the non-specific, deistic type of creator god to the god of Christian scripture. There is nothing about the existence of the universe that indicates that its creator (assuming there is or was one) had any of the properties usually associated with the god of scripture. The stones do not cry out in favor of any god, much less your god. Thus, every specific characteristic of God you believe to be true originates with scripture.

You seem to be assuming that the bible NEEDS divine authorship to be a reliable document, how funny that almost no scholar takes that view and yet many are Christians.

It depends on what kind of reliability the reader is looking for. I freely admit (and enjoy) the fact that there are historically verified events recorded in the Bible. Yet I do not accept that this renders the Bible historically valid in all respects. A leap of faith is necessary to accept supernatural occurrences as actual events. Abundant evidence exists that demonstrates that animals and vegetation do not speak and the dead do not rise from the grave, to use just a couple examples.

To a one, the theologians you refer to ignore or equivocate on what constitutes evidence for the supernatural events in the Bible. The same arguments that you find in popular apologetics appears in their works couched in the pleasing language of scholarship. From remarkable attestation, to arguments of consistency, to speculation as to the integrity of the authors, to asserting an agenda to suppress the truth by certain Jews or other groups - each is expressed without acknowledging that all of it simply avoids the issue. To be sure, their arguments are well put together, and are highly interesting to read. But at the end of the day, there is nothing that supports the supernatural aspects of scripture.

Of course you seem to just dismiss them off-hand.

No, I've considered most of their arguments (each of the authors you mention (and then some) are represented in my library) and have come to the conclusion that, in spite of their intelligence and eloquence, their arguments are not persuasive.

If you seriously think there are absolutely no good reasons to believe in God at all you have either purposefully ignored the arguments or just flat out not read any scholars. I can appreciate I sound blunt but you are basically dismissing 2000 years of philosophy.

So, now you want to accuse people of willful ignorance? There are plenty of very good reasons to at the absolute least doubt the existence of God and the reliability of the accounts in the Bible, which you do heavily rely on in spite of your protestations to the contrary. And dismissing 2000 years of philosophy is not as negligent as you think. What use is a 2000-year-old philosophy if it has been demonstrated false or in serious doubt? As it is, I suspect that you have no problem dismissing ancient philosophies either. At least those that don't accord with your beliefs.

If you want to pretend that the existence of a God is on the same ground as the existence of an invisible pink unicorn...than that is your right to do so, but I think most honest people, including agnostics and at least some atheists, would disagree.

Now you want to cast aspersions on the integrity of those who don't believe as you do. How typically self-righteous of you.

Here's the bottom line (for this post): You and the scholars you refer to rely on the Bible as the source for information concerning your faith, so claiming the Bible's reliability is not an issue is disingenuous. What those scholars have done is offer arguments in support of biblical stories, so obviously biblical authority and reliability is important to them (and you).

Out of time.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Oh fudge-nuggets. Did I feed the Marc troll? Crap.

freethinker05 said...

Dangit! WM, you beat me to it. Well, anyway, I was going to ask gb,(marc) if he really wasn't atheist, or at least an agnostic; and just funnin around with us.WHAT ABOUT IT MARC?......Peace

boomSLANG said...

Well, I knew my peeps would nail this jackass to the cross(pun) before I got finished.... but cripes, all of this effort for that impenetrable douchbag, "Marc"? Oh well, I'm not changing the "bg" to "Marc". Screw it >= /

gb is back with: Boomslang- First of all boomslang I apologize for not typing up to par. I was typing quickly on a keyboard that was not mine. As far as actual criticism in your posting goes (the massive majority of it is just attacking my typing)

Dear "Gordon",

If you'll notice in my last post, I dedicated over a dozen short paragraphs of point-by-point responses to you. Out of those, I mentioned your "typing" ONE time. That's once, Gordon...i.e.."1". And even then, I gave benefit of the doubt and said that it *might* be because you're tired. In any event, Gordon, you start off the day being a disingenuous bold-faced liar......either that, or again, you have a reading comprehension problem.

So, let's try yet one more time to penetrate your cranium:

you continue: ...to say that we need the bible to be inerrant to be accurate is setting up a false dichotomy

Gordon?.. please get the corncobs out of your ears, and/or, the 2 X 10s out of your eyes. Listen. F%ck your "dichotomy" for the moment, m'kay? Put it aside, if you can.

Gordon, again, for the sake of argument, I will CONCEDE that the creator of the entire Universe inspired a book with a bunch of errors/contradictions in it. Are you with me so far? Cool. Further, I will CONCEDE that this fact DOESN'T mean that some of the "stuff" in said inspired book isn't necessarily untrue. 'Still with me? Okay, swell.

Now---once we mentally extract all the blantant errors in said inspired document(which you, yourself, admit exists), please tell us who determines whatever's "left over" as Universal/Absolute "Truth"??? And pretty-please, tell us on what objective EVIDENCE do they base it on. WHO determines it, Gordo'?.."Christians"??..."Christian scholars"?... "Christian apologists"???... H.R. Puff-n-stuff? Is it similar to how Bigfoot trackers know the "Truth" about the existence of community apes? Like that?

Let me illustrate further so you don't circumvent my point for yet a third time.

Millions believe the Book of Mormon is the undeniable absolute "Truth". Hypothetically, if it were inerrant---meaning, if everything in it could be tested in an absolute sense, like, say, "geometry"---then it COULD NOT have errors in it. 'Follow?

But of course, you and I both know that said book is not true in an absolute sense. 'Still with me??? Okay, so the Book of Mormon, like the "Holy Bible", has errors in it. 'Still there?

Now, you've been very persistant about how just because a document is not inerrant, doesn't mean there's no truth in it. Remember? So I ask again---WHAT makes the Book of Mormon, along with it's list of sworn witnesses, invalid? 'Direct question, Gordon...and you CANNOT use the fact that it has errors or doesn't line up with reality, because you, GORDON, have disqualified that as a legit' reason to dismiss it.

***Follow-up question: Would it help if I found you some Mormon "scholars" and/or Mormon "apologists"?? How about if I found you some Mormon "companion" booklets? Would that "seal the deal" as far as it's veracity? I really hope you are getting the point this time and address it accordingly, yet, I won't hold my breath.

you continue: As far as the cradle-Christian it is obviously figurative language.

Right, right..and I addressed it accordingly.

you say: As far as being born atheist that is a dull point, im born not knowing how to read but it doesnt mean such an activity exists.

'Sorry, "dull" analogy on your part; the fact that we are having this conversation is adaquate evidence that "reading" exists. Notwithstanding, the fact that we come into the world with a neutral "clean slate" is a given, which is why I said "cradle Christian" is an inapt and misleading---metaphorical, or not. Yet, my original underlying point stands, and that is, from a neutral state, we are later taught things like religion and "reading". Atheism is a position of neutrality. I'm sure you might find that fun fact annoying, but, oh well..tough $hit.

you continue: But once he[Dawkins] gets into religion hes as ignorant as you can possibly get.

Again, I ask you to pay close attention, if that's possible.

Richard Dawkins uses a specific methodology in arriving at his position that ALL religious belief is bunk. Let's examine something to be sure:

All: 1: Being or representing the entire or total number, amount, or quantity: All the windows are open. Deal all the cards.

Amercian Heritage


In other words, Gordo', when you say Dawkins is "ignorant" when it comes to religion, you forget/ignore that fact that he denies "ALL" religions. Gordy, you deny all the same religions that he denies as well, of course, except for one.

Now, you are certainly not calling him "ignorant" when it comes to his denial of Islam are you? How about Buddhism? Is he a dumbass in denying those religions? 'Didn't think so.

So, in conclusion, you are esentially calling him "ignorant" solely because he dismisses your precious non-verifiable belief..i.e.. "Christianity". In the future, you'll have to do better when it comes to completely writing off Dawkins, 'k?

You blather on: That is like me dismissing all atheists books on account that "OH! lo and behold, these are all atheist apologists... guess those cant be any good."

Again, if I could attempt to penetrate your skullcap---Athiest authors dismiss all the same gods that you dismiss. They are not PARTIAL to the non-existence of your precious Jesus. THAT, Gordo', is the difference between a non-partial Atheist "apologist", and a Christian apologist, who is clearly partial in telling me that their god is "real", and all others are false. 'U-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d? And no, just because they are partial doesn't mean that they are necessarily false. Yet, there's still a problem. To review that problem, answer here***, above. I await your solution.

you say: As far as the death penalty goes, there are alot of things in the Torah that we have no historical evidence they ever happened.

I'm sorry?..um, we have historical evidence that Christians killed non-believers/apostates. Now, where did today's Christians get the idea that killing non-believers is, uh, "uncool"? Do they not kill us soley because they might go to prison? Is that it?

and it gets better... The Torah is not a modern law-book, it was interpreted in all sorts of different ways, by different rabbis.

Right, right...just like the "New Law" gets interpreted "in all sorts of different ways", as evidenced since your arrival. The problem doesn't go away.

you go on... Yes, that does put a certain subjective spin to it, but thats how law works

But said "law" obviously does NOT "work" as any kind of objective/universal truth. Christians, themselves, are at odds over it. Again, you'll have to do much, much, better.

GordonBlood said...

Not a whole lot to say, other than I can tell you for honest fact that I am not Marc, but you can believe that if you want. First JC Samuelson im going to just say this much. The New Testament, as an over-all document, is what I think is important. The Old Testament is not nearly as important to me, mainly as a result of the fact that it was not written as history. The New Testament, with afew exceptions of theological interpretation, was. Ive provided afew audio sources which elucidate my case as far as those issues are concerned, though like ive said the accuracy of said documents is not exactly a great place to discuss this issue. Freethinker, I was never an atheist because ive never understood atheism as a position, for me the universe is far to great of a mystery to dismiss it had a creator. I would describe byself as an agno-deist/theist before I got into university.
Boomslang- While your vile tone gives me a good reason to just ignore you, I will respond to what bits of argument you provided and ignore the massive amount of rhetoric. At least JC Samuelson is fairly polite and respectful, even if I do personally feel his position to be wrong and vice-versa. Basically you seem to be presupposing a massive thing- that atheists are objective, fact-seeking individuals who have come to that position only through the empirical method. What hogwash. Most of the atheists and agnostics I know cannot provide a good reason for or against the existence of God (im well aware you canot prove a negative, but one should be well versed in at least the basic things like the problem of evil, divine hiddeness etc). As for the Mormon scholars you are setting up, as usual, a false dichotomy... oh right, for some reason you dont like me pointing that out. Mormonism, outside of Utah, is practically unheld. Christianity is universal, in areas where it has actually been spread. You can continue comparing Mormonism to Orthodox Christianity if it makes you comfortable, but im afraid its a bad comparison. As far as Dawkins goes I certainly do think he is irrational if he dismisses things out of hand. Islam should be studied for what it gives us- documents that pertain to events 500-600 years after they happened. Budhism is in even worse condition. I want to make something, finally, very clear here so at least you can stop the massive majority of your criticism. I did not start writing here to "prove" Christianity true or even to provide more than basic reasons and audio files concerning such events. A blog is a terrible thing for such a task and, like ive said, I have no wish to engage in such a discussion. Really all I came on to say was that the article in question is so clearly permeated with fundamentalism that it is barely a accurate portrayal of Christianity.

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

After "leaving us to our own devices" 8 posts ago, gb is now back with:

The New Testament, as an over-all document, is what I think is important.

Oh, well of course you *think" it's "important".....but unfortunately for you, and Christianity, you've done jack-shit to show how it's objectively "True". No, since your arrival, you've:

1) name-dropped(appeal to authority)

2) called practically everyone who disagrees with your position "ignorant"

The end.

That's basically it, with the recent exception of appealing to the 'popular vote/widespread belief' = "Truth" argument...i.e...there are "more Christians than Mormons..plus, Christianity is a widespread belief.... therefore, Christianity is true; Mormonism, false". Brilliant, ol' chap. But since the "majority" of the world's population had the "widespread belief" that the earth was flat back in the day, I wonder how that would work out today?

gb: Boomslang- While your vile tone gives me a good reason to just ignore you...[edit]

Here, let me give you an even better reason...as I, for the time being, bow out of this discussion. It's the equivalent of having a discussion with a cinder block.

Enjoy!

redtail said...

Well Boomslang....I guess that means he's not gonna answer that question after all! Dang, I was really lookin forward to it too ;)

boomSLANG said...

Quote: Mormonism, outside of Utah, is practically unheld.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the LDS Church or the Mormon Church, is the largest and most well-known denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement (a group of churches and adherents who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as taught by Joseph Smith, Jr.). The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah and has established congregations and temples worldwide, reporting approximately 13 million members on its rolls."

To to get an idea of how Mormonism is practically unheld out of Utah, see map here.

TxToastz said...

Gb your logic in choosing Christianity doesn't add up.

Here is a basic outline of a few religions. Please... show me the difference between Christianity and
all the others.


Mormonism-


Mr. Smith finds some gold tablets in his backyard that have what, "the bible should have said" written on them. The Angels told him not to show anyone these tablets and that only he could "decode" the book of moron.

This book was written solely by Mr. Smith. He effectively added on to his current religion, Christianity, which made an altogether new one, Mormonism.


Scientology-


Mr. Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard decides to write some stories and tells people that it was magically revealed to him, just like Mormonism was magically revealed to Mr. Smith, except one believes the evil lord xenu is coming to kill us and really likes money, the other just wanted to fuck more women.


Now we move on to dum...dumm...dummmm Christianity

Paul is riding his horsey to a town far away and all of a sudden JESUS MAGICALLY APPEARS to him and tells him what he's doing wrong and how he needs to add on to his current religion, which was Judaism at the time. of course no one else saw Jesus appear to Paul.

And who wrote most of the New Testament? Paul.





Now on to Judaism


Where did moses go to get the 10 commandments?

Up on top of Mt Sinai, BY HIMSELF,

And guess how long it takes the "All Mighty God" to make up 10 commandments? What was it, like 40 FUCKING DAYS!!!

Wow, your god sure is slow...

I mean you got to wonder what Mr. God and little miss moses were up to that whole time....

Do you see the trend?


Almost every cult gets started because someone had a "magical" revelation on how to make their current religion better.

If you don't believe L Ron, and Mr. Smith, why do you believe Pual?

There is the same amount of evidence for all 3 of these religions/cults... NONE!

So please enlighten us all on what makes Paul's claim more valid than all the others?


Thank you,


TxToastz

GordonBlood said...

Again, I dont want to really add much more to this mud-slinging fest, mainly because i never had any intention of arguing for the New Testament's historical reliability. As I have said, this is neither the time or the place to argue on the basis of Jewish oral tradition, historical analysis, archeology etc that the New Testament is a reliable document. My only real purpose was just to show that the article was written by an ex-fundamentalist for (mostly) ex-fundamentalists. As for the Mormons, I was not aware that theyt are as wide-spread as they apparently are but that distribution seems to me terribly thing. For example, here in Nova Scotia there are only afew actual churches with membership of probly less than a thousand; so those colored in spots can be deceiving. And Boomslang, I was not calling you ignorant in a general terminology, however based on how many people treat basic scholarship on the historical jesus, historical paul, early church I would indeed say that amoung at least several persons there is basically ignorance about those topics. Im certainly sure from your profile that you are a much more capable musician than I am, having played in highschool band for 3 years before quitting for rugby.

.:webmaster:. said...

"Again, I dont want to really add much more to this mud-slinging fest, mainly because i never had any intention of arguing for the New Testament's historical reliability. As I have said, this is neither the time or the place to argue on the basis of Jewish oral tradition, historical analysis, archeology etc that the New Testament is a reliable document.

Well, here's a short, easy-to-understand, no-need-to-attend-university, blog-friendly, quick synopsis of sections of the New Testament that are obviously unreliable: New Testament Problems.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Gordon,

The New Testament, as an over-all document, is what I think is important. The Old Testament...was not written as history. The New Testament, with afew exceptions of theological interpretation, was.

As one of your listed apologists once said, "You need imagination to live in God's world" (NT Wright). Granted, I'm taking that statement slightly out of context, but I find it very appropriate to the position you've taken. I strongly recommend reading the link WM provided you with. Plus, you can take a look at Early Christian Writings.com for some further book-by-book scholarly analysis.

Since you are fond of name dropping, I'd like to point out that, to my knowledge, no one of any standing in scholarly circles has ever asserted that the authors of the NT epistles and gospels had the intent of writing history. The only one that is usually offered as possibly more diligent than the others in attempting a higher standard of accuracy was Luke. Yet even Luke does not measure up, and barely meets the standards of his age. In fact, I think you've got this a bit backward.

The OT writers were a bit more careful in recording their history than were the NT authors, though they corrupted it with supernaturalism (which is a problem throughout both texts). In my studies of Ezekiel, for example, I found that the events he records match the events of his day rather well when contrasted by the Babylonian Chronicles, though there has been some rather obvious redaction that creates problems. The chief flaw in Ezekiel is that the writer poisons the text with God as a speaking and acting character. There are also problems with his tense usage. He makes some seemingly abrupt shifts in his tenses, which compounds the issue of Hebrew tenses that already exists and makes translation into English problematic. But I digress.

The point is that the OT writers seemed slightly (not much, but a little) more interested in careful record-keeping. Even so, the Hebrews in general were lousy at this, and we have to use records from the Assyrians and Babylonians to get an idea of when these things occurred on a linear timeline.

The comparative records from 1st century Palestine are less extensive than those that are in relative synch to the OT, and none of the extra-biblical sources suggest that Jesus and the cult that formed after him were anything more than upstarts, troublemakers, or cultists. Josephus seems rather annoyed with them (and the Testimonium Flavium, in case you were tempted to bring this up, is even acknowledged as an interpolation by believing scholars such as Edwin Yamauchi, just to name drop a little :)), Pliny only mentions the cultists and asks Trajan what to do with them (ca. 2nd century), Philo mentions Pilate, but not Jesus or the Christian cult, Tacitus simply repeats what he's been told about Christians, and in the context of Nero's scapegoating - I could go on, but not much further because there aren't that many records. What we have from some of these extra-biblical historians is that yes, there was a 1st-2nd century cult centering around the worship of someone called Christus, Chrestus, Jesus, or something similar. That's it! The rest of the story has virtually no corroboration whatsoever.

Basically you seem to be presupposing a massive thing- that atheists are objective, fact-seeking individuals who have come to that position only through the empirical method.

Here's the thing: In my experience, more non-theists than theists attempt to be fair and objective when it comes to evaluating religion and faith. To be sure, people are still predisposed to several biases that inhibit a truly objective evaluation. However, it's much easier to simply not ask questions, which is what the Bible suggests and what theologians don't do enough of when it comes to the stories that require a leap of faith. Put simply, theists seem more disposed to be credulous on certain matters.

Most of the atheists and agnostics I know cannot provide a good reason for or against the existence of God (im well aware you canot prove a negative, but one should be well versed in at least the basic things like the problem of evil, divine hiddeness etc).

Maybe the atheists and agnostics you've met are among those who've simply never given religion much thought. For some it's just never been an important topic, and so aren't equipped to discuss particulars. Yet this doesn't mean that there are not good reasons for rejecting god belief. In any event, it seems ironic that you would register this complaint. You've said that a blog like this isn't a great place to discuss biblical history, and I would agree. Thus, we're both speaking in generalities, and it's not incumbent upon either of us to lay out here, in specific detail, the complex reasons for our acceptance or rejection of the doctrines of Christianity.

"...it is barely a accurate portrayal of Christianity."

In your experience, perhaps. Upwards of 25-40% or more of the U.S. population (75-120 million people) would consider your version to be inaccurate, as would millions more in other parts of the world. Ironically, many of these people would refer to the very same apologists you do. So, who's correct? Obviously, you think you are, and they would think they are. The bottom line is you go with the version of Christianity that appeals to you, and automatically assume that your sensibilities are leading you to the Truth™.

Christians, including fundamentalists, are quite capable of demonstrating what Christianity is and how its interpreted. "Ye shall know them by their fruits," yes? And indeed we do. That there are disagreements among them as to the nature of their god, the reliability and inerrancy (or lack thereof) of their scriptures, and which are the most important aspects of their faith really only demonstrates a lack of consistency in Christian belief. Regardless, most of us are ex-Christians and have been there, done that. We know what Christianity is, and recognize most of its permutations. Telling us that the above article is inaccurate simply makes you look foolish, because you sound like anyone of millions of fundamentalists saying, "They/you weren't True Christians™."

Based on your arguments it seems to me that you are as equally dogmatic as any fundamentalist, with the exception that you have been encumbered further by the uncertainty that comes with accepting the Bible is full of errors. In a very real sense, the type of thinking you're promoting makes a mockery of both scholarship and faith. Simultaneously, you accept biblical scholarship on the issues of faith while rejecting faith in biblical revelation. This is an untenable position, really, and I'm always amazed when someone manages to reconcile it for themselves.

There really doesn't seem to be anything further to discuss, since we agree that a blog isn't the best forum. So, I'll close by wishing you and yours the best. Take care.

SpaceMonk said...

GordonBlood: "...Most of the atheists and agnostics I know cannot provide a good reason for or against the existence of God (im well aware you canot prove a negative, but one should be well versed in at least the basic things like the problem of evil, divine hiddeness etc)..."

This is wrong. One need only be well versed in those things if they wish to tackle someone like you on why they believe you're wrong. They don't need to ever read anything to be an athiest. They were born that way and need never answer to anyone, let alone a God.

GordonBlood said...

Yes I dont think theres awhole lot, in the context of what I wanted to say, to discuss. I would make one thing clear though. I am not saying fundamentalists arent good Christians, indeed, many are. What I am saying is that their fundamentalism should not be what roots them in belief. As for reading WM's link, I did, and the link I provided by NT Wright deals with those issues, I think, quite nicely. Best wishes to everyone.

Dave8 said...

GB: "...What I am saying is that their fundamentalism should not be what roots them in belief."

GB, what do you propose is the "root" for their "belief"?

Knowledge is both reliable (consistent) and valid (applied to an identity). Logic is a manner of reliably thinking about the Universe. It all comes down, to how one "knows" their Universe.

A belief, is what one wants/desires to perceive within the Universe's potential. The "Universe" is the "root" of their "belief", Objectively speaking, or do you suggest there is something more valid than the Universe to support a fundamentalist's belief (opinion)?

Are you suggesting that a fundamentalist can have "more" than mere desire to root them in their conviction(s)?

.:webmaster:. said...

You think that deals with it?

Yes, of course you do! I wonder how you'd deal with this link then: LINK.

Of course, you'll have to spend a bit more time on that one.

Bon Voyage...

AtheistToothFairy said...

GordonBlood wrote:
".....Here are, essentially, your points (im not even being polemical)
The universe is 13.6 billion years old, hence God does not exist."
---
Gordon,

Let me first say that I have zero hope here in giving you a reason *today*, to change what you believe. Perhaps down-the-road, in time, something I say here MIGHT echo back to you and give you pause for thought about your current held beliefs. I can only hope so!!!!

That said, let's look at your version of god via your own ideas and see if it makes sense.
Doing so, might even generate a reason or two, to see that there are MANY possibilities here for what your god might be like and heck, might even cause you to wonder if any such god could actually exist out there etc..
--

So you're saying that a 13.6 billion year old universe does not discount your god, while most atheist believe it would at least cast some doubt on the xtian version of him?

Let's assume one is permitted to modify the biblical creation story, per your own decree. Let's deny the scripture that the universe was created in a mere six days, or even six-thousand years (if a day is a thousand years etc., per the thoughts of some very 'reaching' apologists).

------
NOTE TO ALL:
I'm not sure how one dismisses what is very **plainly** stated in Genisis about the whole creation taking a literal six days.
I also can't fathom from reading those bible versus (again), how one can postulate that a normal EARTH 'day' was actually a thousand years back then. Clearly these versus speak of a day/night earth cycle; as god went through his later stages of the creation. Did it take 1000 earth years for the planet to spin around one revolution, while god got ready for the next scheduled day's work. If anything, the earth was spinning faster back then, not dramatically slower than it is today.
Ummm, if Adam lived for like 900 years, then he must have almost always lived in sunlight and never saw the night, or visa-versa. Perhaps we switched from 'god time' to 'earth time' on the first Sabbath, you know, that day when the all-powerful god was all tuckered out and needed some rest for himself.

------
Regardless Gordon, whether it was days or thousands of years, you dismissed both and agree such figures can't be realistic.

Great !!

We are now 'permitted' (per your own dogma) to believe what our science tells us, when it indicates the universe is 13.6 Billion years old.
Now YOU have no age conflict between the creation story and what science says today of how old the universe is; by whatever means you use to justify ignoring those Genisis versus.

Ahhhh, but doesn't that now lead to yet another question, or two.
'Me thinks it does' [g]

Let me try to get a feel here as to what bible beliefs count for you, and which one's can easily be tossed out.

I haven't seen you go a step further and choose to ignore bible versus that say that god is all powerful etc., so I assume you still believe those versus that make this great claim?

Have you possibly dismissed the idea that god is timeless; and therefore he didn't exist at some point in the infinite past?
I doubt you have, but correct me if I'm mistaken here.
It really doesn't matter to my questions, if god exists into the infinite past or suddenly appeared a Trillion years ago from the great nothing of empty space.

Now, because humans have a hard time with the concept of an infinite past, then for argument sake, let's say god is a trillion years old (or far more if you wish).

What was this all-powerful god doing for the trillion years before he created the entire universe of matter?
No, I surely don't expect you to know that answer, nor would I ....LOL

If god lives in the 'infinite' space that our universe of matter also exists within, then did he 'look' out heaven's windows each 'day' to stare into a huge black infinite NOTHING for all that time?
Yes I know, the bible doesn't answer such begging questions. Questions, that some of his created humans might want to know about. I guess he had no way of knowing that some of us, right up to the present day, might want to know such answers and didn't think it important enough to include in his sole handbook, hmmm.

God doesn't even suggest that the universe we see around us, was something like the 100th iteration of universes he's made over the timeless eons. Eons, that he claims to have existed.
We are led to assume (by default) that our universe is the FIRST one he created. One, that some period later, was given a very important Adam&Eve, and populated with folks just like us.

Obvioulsy at some universe pre-creation point, this god created all those angels (because he was lonely?).
For some reason such spirit beings weren't enough to please him or keep him from getting lonely, so one day on a whim(?) he decides to create a material universe and then man from it's "dust".

How do we come to terms with this concept of god waiting around for a trillion years (or far more) before he decided to create humans and/or angels.
What changed IN GOD over all those eons, to suddenly one day need our company?

The bible says god is the same throughout all of time. If that is to be believed, then how was he okay getting along with ZERO company for eons, then one day he feels lonely and creates angels, then later an entire universe of matter, then us.
Doesn't this imply that somehow god CHANGED over the eons and if he did, then he lies about his nature; which would then give us a huge concern that god might change his mind again and again and again, going forward.

Of course, you most likely **selectively ignore** those 'non-changing god' versus as well, right?
I guess that's one way to fix such problems, oh yeah.


Picture this folks:

Many many eons of time go by and nothing exists outside of god's abode, and it doesn't bother this all-knowing, all-powerful god in the least.
He just sits around, looking out those 'windows' at a black void, and is content with this solo lifestyle he's evidently chosen.

Oops, but at some point in that great span of time, he 'wakes up' one day and discovers he's way too alone or in need of some things to play with.
Obviously, for him to suddenly one day have this desire, means he had to change in some manner.

If he didn't change at this exact point in time, then why didn't he create the universe and us, a thousand eons before that point of time?

Why the big long wait here????

If he's timeless, then how does god find a certain point in 'time' to decide upon, to then make this grand creation. Did god keep track of time like we do and just pick some random moment of time to begin his creation.
What made him pick one point of time over another. After all, if there is nothing but his own abode, then there is no time outside his abode, so isn't one point of time no more significant than a gazillion others.

Heady stuff huh?


My point here is that at some point in some heavenly time-line, god DID CHANGE, and needed a universe filled with humans and a heaven filled with angels.
This also shows clearly that god has a WEAKNESS, because he had a NEED for something besides himself in conjunction with an empty nothingness.

Humans change their minds over time, this we know for certain.
For a span of years we may have no desire to have a pet but then we change and suddenly want one.
Many young married couples have no interest in having children and are convinced they never will want them. Then they reach a certain age of maturity and for various reason, change their mind and the next thing you know, they bear children and totally love having them around.
Doesn't this sound much like what happened to the god of your bible. A change of heart that very much mimics the attributes of his human creation.

Could you possibly have it all backwards, and god was given these attributes of needing company, because man made-him-up in his own likeness instead?
("Nah, how could that be", said the blinded Christian)


Let's look at the next related problem now:

If god is all powerful and can just snap his fingers to bring something into existence, and he already decided he was too lonely (or whatever), then once god made this decision to create a universe and it's life forms, then how did he come to choose the LONGER method to achieve his desired results?

God being all powerful, had to make a choice about how long this creation should take him, yes?
He could create the universe and then mankind, in a micro-second, an hour, a day, a year, a few thousand years. However, you now say he chose to pick a far larger period of time to wait before he had humans to give him this greatly needed WORSHIPPING.
(How did he 'survive' all that time without our worship?)


Yes, according to your acceptance of the 13.6 billion years it took to get humans from the time of the Big-Bang, we have to wonder what god was doing while he sat there all those billions of years just waiting around for the time of.....US.
Did he twiddle his big thumbs or contemplate his navel all that time; in great anticipation of when the earth would be viable enough to sustain his own human Adam and Eve couple?

Doesn't it make more sense for a all-powerful god who has made a choice to create humans, would achieve those results in the shortest span of time he could muster up with his infinite great power?

I therefore see two only possibilities here, based on whether we believe in the 13.6 billion years idea or the far shorter biblical idea of creation.

1. If god exists and did in fact create us, it makes good common sense he would have chosen a short time period to create the universe, and a brief time later, us. So, to believe in an all-powerful god that created the universe and us, would indeed follow the idea projected in Genisis of a FAST creation and hence, a resulting young universe.

2. If one wishes to believe our universe is an actual 13.6 billion years of age, then we have a problem with this god creating it in such a SLOW fashion, just to eventually get himself some humans to worship him.
It just makes darn little sense for this all-powerful god to give himself a 13.6 billion year waiting period for us to show up, either by his own hand directly, or thru the slow process of things like galaxy formation, then evolution of life, that he chose set in SLOW motion.


GordonBlood wrote:
"The bible is not inerrant and has contradictions, thus it can safely be dismissed as jibberish"

Gordon,
As others have tried to explain to you but you still fail to recognize, we have a very serious problem here if god's handbook has serious flaws within it, whether such flaws came from the original writers or it became disjointed through the ages of time, or both.

Having such a handbook with countless errors, would be like trying to rebuild your Toyota car engine using a repair manual from a BMW.
You can only get so much 'right' knowledge from the wrong book, and are pretty much guaranteed to make plenty of mistakes and be left in the dark about many aspects of how to rebuild that engine.

At least with an engine, one can always find someone who might be able to supply you with the right information and correct your mistakes and bad assumptions.
How does one do that with god's very flawed handbook, hmmmm?
Does one locate "God's God" to file a complaint with, in order to get the right book for a human being?

Please don't tell me that it's only a matter of asking god for the right answers, because all of us here have seen how UN-WELL that works out in reaching a common conclusion about his all too cryptic messages.

Conclusion......
The bible as it stands today, is no better than that wrong car repair manual !!!!!
Don't you think after 2000 years, god could have supplied a few corrections/revisions to his handbook, if this is the sole written means he has to communicate with his precious loved creation?



GordonBlood wrote:
"God does not always answer prayer thus God does not exist"

Gordon,
I guess that explains why all those religious leaders I wrote a RANT about recently, NEVER get healed. Not in the past, not now, and I'm sure, not in the future either?

Other than pure coincidence and your own emotions blinding you to connect a positive result to your own wishful pleading, you have ZERO evidence that prayer works, nor is there anyone else out there who has supplied such evidence to any non-biased organization.

Oh Gordon, just cause something feels 'spooky', isn't proof that something supernatural is going on.
One has to see positive results that exceed mere chance, to know they are valid. Spooky feelings and occasional coincidences, don't count as positive proof of anything. In fact, mathematically speaking, rare coincidences MUST happen. In fact, it would be a very rare supernatural 'event', if they did not happen.



So what can we conclude from all these ideas:

1. If no prayer has ever been shown to heal a single soul, or result in some study group receiving attention from god that far exceeds mere coincidence, then we can conclude that if your god exist, he's not the kind to be hearing and answering human prayers. Perhaps he's moved on to another galaxy or universe, and gave up on this one?

2. If we are so important to your god, then where are the god-provided errata sheets to update our various versions of the bible we now have today?

Why hasn't god left piles of updated bibles in some remote location, to be discovered by wondering humans, so we can get a clearer picture of what makes up this lord of yours.
Why doesn't he also leave these piles of bibles in various non-Christian countries to, so they to can be enlightened as to the 'real' god of this universe and stop worshipping all these false gods that compete with your god. It surely makes him jealous and ANGRY that they worship some other magical sky being, right?
Of course, god would provide them with what YOU believe is the right version of the bible; naturally.

3. Does god have some handicap that limited his ability to create our known universe in just a few days, instead of billions of years?
If your god isn't handicapped in such a manner, then one has to wonder why he chose a method of creation that would take billions of years to yield human life results.

We have a universe that CLEARLY appears to have evolved over that time 'BY ITSELF', instead of it being one that shows hard evidence of his hand creating and guiding it all.
Why wouldn't he want us to see clear evidence of his great creation, all for the 'glory' etc. of your god.
How can it be that he makes his creation in such a way as to imply to our scientist that no god was necessary to form all we see, including our own selves?


In a nutshell, your beloved god does absolutely nothing to show us he exists. He does nothing to show us that there are things far beyond the natural things in our world.

He never pays us a visit anymore (if he ever did), nor does he ever send a supernatural spokesperson that would at least gives us pause for thought about something beyond earthly things.
There are a million type of miracles he could perform that would convince even the strongest atheist, but does he perform any?
He talks of moving mountains in the bible. Surely such a god could easily perform such a feat, but does he ever...NO.
Oh yeah, I forgot....Thou shalt not temp thy lord thy god. How convenient an excuse to stay hidden from us and thwart off any needed evidence of himself.

If you insist that to believe in your god, is all about FAITH, a faith that requires ZERO evidence, then your god is saying he's condemning those without such blind faith, to either a non-existence or some fiery hell (depending on your belief).

To use faith in lieu of actual evidence, that you insist is so important to have in god, then one can argue that we need to have faith in all mystical beings, just to cover all the bases for our long term futures.
How then does one decide that the personal faith you have for your particular version of god, is the correct one that will get you to this desired heaven?
How do you know that Joe-Blow's type of faith isn't the right one, and your own will get you rejected by St. Peter at the pearly gates?
[slamming gate sound heard]

If god wanted his human creation to really believe in him, he wouldn't be playing this hide and seek game with us, for that makes him one heck of an immature god and I don't think a immature quality would fit the 'standard criteria' for an all-powerful, all-knowing, universe making, god.

Open your eye's GordonBlood !!!!

You have NOTHING to back your faith, other than your own emotions (and spooky feelings) that make you feel good to believe in something beyond your own self. Try figuring out why you have this need to believe in something greater than yourself and then perhaps you will start to seek out more than just blind faith to conclude your existence of a supreme entity; who 'surely' engages with us mere mortals (but from behind closed locked doors).



AtheistToothFairy

freethinker05 said...

ddear gordonblind, if ATF's comments didn't make you start wondering about your mythical god, then i suggest seeking perfessional help with the delusions that your are experiencing. Better yet, I think you should just pay ATF for his professional typing sessions; or just go ahead and commit yourself. Peace, Roger...A/A

Alan A said...

Hi Thomas, did you really meet your boss on a beach with his 22 year old intern? That's fantastic! What an awesome anecdote.

Thomas said...

To Alan A

Yes. the beach story is 100% true. Except it is slightly better than that - as I as I am the CEO so the VP of Sales works for me. Never seen anyone look quite so sheepish in my life :-)

Thomas

AtheistToothFairy said...

freethinker05 said... "Better yet, I think you should just pay ATF for his professional typing sessions...."
----
Geeee Roger,
Firstly:
Thank you for your most kind feedback :)

Secondly:
Ummm, how much do you think an 'atheist-web-shrink' should charge....Just curious here.
(Note to fundies: So sorry, but we can't accept your payment in leftover Bible door-stops)

Thirdly:
Try as I may have, I doubt my words had much of an impact on gordonblood; assuming he read it by now.
As we pretty much understand by now, it usually takes years to get such folks to see the REALITY light.
Hopefully my words turned on a least a night-light for SOMEONE out there?

I truly believe that religion is an addiction, one that is not much different than alcohol, tobacco, gambling or recreational drug use.
Someone addicted to such things will close their minds to any evidence that they are causing themselves harm. Really, they have no choice but to reject any such evidence, to put their own minds at peace.
Just like these other addictions, until one has made up their logical mind to rid oneself of the religion addiction, then one will stay a prisoner to that addiction.

It takes determination and courage to push away any addiction, including religious beliefs; and superstitions as well I might add.
I said it takes "courage", because addictions feel very much like cozy-best-friend's to us and the thought of losing them causes most folks great FEAR.

It's a fear, of not only the understood withdrawal affects they will cause, but surely a fear of the unknown as well.
e.g. What will happen the next time I'm in some crisis and no longer have my addiction to help me get through it etc..

For those addicted to religion and their protecting god, the fear has to be enormous when contemplating certain aspects of life without such a cozy god around?
Oh, but then they have even the greater fear to face....The one of dying without someone to 'save' them.

So no Roger, given the high emotional stakes here in giving up religion and god, is it any wonder most of them will fight tooth&nail to cling to those addictions...errrr.....beliefs?

Now I'm SURE some angry fundie out there will chime-in here and try to dispute that his/her religious beliefs constitute an addiction, and that I'm surely dead wrong etc..

To them you see, it's just how things are suppose to be (feel) on earth with their god. They will say that they can give up god if they really really wanted to (but they just don't want to), which is pretty much what most with a heavy addiction will say about their own vise.

The christian folks we have a chance of reaching, are the one's with a mild addiction.
The rest will make up a million excuses to justify their addiction about their personal god and will have no choice but to put up a shield to protect those beliefs from logic and reason.

I see little difference between how the bible lures folks into it's beliefs and how tobacco companies lure teenagers to cigarettes. In both cases, once the hooks are in you, it sure is hard to quit. While nicotine addiction makes smokers see the complaining non-smokers as the enemy of their addiction, the words of the bible brainwash believers to reject any rational reasoning from non-believers.

I see little difference between religion and any other addiction.....do you Roger?



AtheistToothFairy

freethinker05 said...

No ATF, I don't see any difference in religion and anyother addiction. An atheist web-shrink should be paid according to how delusional christians have become; Hotdamn!, in Royalty's case, it would cost a pretty penny to break the spell she's under; she is one tuff cookie. Hell, I can't seem to help her, so perhaps you might give her a onetime no/charge free consultation? Sheesh, my friggin fangers are hurting. Peace, Roger...A/A

Anonymous said...

You should read "23 minutes in Hell" by Bill Wiese.

the Bible NEVER claims the earth is 6,000 to 15,000 years old. priests came up with this calculation. Dont blame the Bible for this.

In Genesis, Adam started agriculture because he sinned. Anthropologists tell us agriculture started between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago in the Euphrates river area. The earth could easily be 4.5 Billion years old and fit the Genesis account.

Did you know Einstein modified his gravitational theory to fit the idea of a finite static universe because that's what he believed? now we know the universe is expanding. Like Einstein you are using "science" and "logic" to fit your beliefs.

Anonymous said...

read up on some Near Death Experiences (NDE)s and you will believe in both heaven and hell. tons of people have died, gone to one of those places, and come back to tell about it.

.:webmaster:. said...

Anonymous,

Your facts are wrong. Priests had nothing to do with calculating the age of the Earth.

From Conservapedia: "Bible scholars have estimated the age of the earth based on the Creation account in Genesis and the genealogical accounts in Numbers and other books of the Pentateuch. One famous estimate was published in 1650 by James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, in a book called "Annals of the World," in which he estimated the Creation to have occurred on 23 October 4004 B.C. Other Biblical scholars maintain that there are possible gaps in the genealogies, often using the ideas of the 19th century Calvinist theologian Benjamin Warfield on the issue. However, James Barr, regius professor of Hebrew at Oxford University, wrote in 1984 the following: "… probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: … the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story.’" Furthermore, it should be noted that Barr himself rejects supernatural Christianity..."

Einstein believed and used science to support his beliefs? Is that really what you "believe?" How about Einstein was mistaken? How about Einstein was wrong? How about the evidence available to Einstein led him to conclude certain things that future evidence helped correct? How about this: Science has nothing to say about invisible, immaterial nether worlds of horrific torture that only exist in the warped imaginations of religionists and present absolutely no evidence of existence anywhere in reality.

.:webmaster:. said...

read up on some Near Death Experiences (NDE)s and you will believe in both heaven and hell. tons of people have died, gone to one of those places, and come back to tell about it.

Documentation please. It's just possible, you know, that you have just regurgitated an urban legend. There are NDEs, yes. But they generally don't support Christian theology. And there is no clear indication that NDEs are anything more than the normal responses of an oxygen depleted human brain.

Anonymous said...

So Christianity is horrible because it wants you to love God above everything and love your neighbor as yourself....live a holy life....says honor your father and mother...do not kill..do not comit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness and do not covet

boomSLANG said...

Nameless: So Christianity is horrible because it wants you to love God above everything...

Christianity is horrible for many reasons---but regarding the notion that one should "love God above everything", Christianity is horrible because it requires you to hate your own mother, father, siblings - and even your own life - as an assurance that you will not, and do not, love anything else above "God". (ref: Luke 14:26)

That essentially means that we should have contempt for those who accept us unconditionally, and meanwhile, we should worship and honor some invisible "guy" who would only accept us if certain conditions/requirements are met.

Yeah, I'd say that's pretty horrible.

Nameless: [So Christianity is horrible because it wants you to] love your neighbor as yourself...

No, Christianity is not horrible because of that. On the other hand, no one is going to get a pat on the back for stating the obvious---not even "God".

Nameless: [So Christianity is horrible because it wants you to]....live a holy life....

Tell me, what is a "holy life"? Do you perhaps mean a life in accordance with Christian doctrine; in accordance with Christian "Commandments"? If so, then in striving to live a "holy life", you should throw rocks at the very next person you see who is earning a living on "the Sabbath". Will you do that?

Nameless: [So Christianity is horrible because it wants you to]....honor your father and mother

Would you admit that it would be somewhat difficult to "honor" your parents, while simultaniously hating them? Either way, you'd better figure out a way to do both, that is, if you want to be a "disciple" of "Christ".

[So Christianity is horrible because it (says)].......do not kill..do not comit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness and do not covet

If the only reason you would not do all of the above is because "Christianity" says don't do it, then there is something wrong. But the real joke is, NONE of those "laws" matter anyway, because in the end, it is belief that trumps everything. So yes, that concept is "horrible"......a horrible scam.