3/22/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Why I cannot honestly call myself a Christian

By Ian

Introductory remarks

This document sets out some arguments that question the truth of contemporary evangelical Christianity. It has been written largely for the benefit of the author but also to communicate to friends and family in a dispassionate and non confrontational way some of the rationale for no longer adhering to fundamentalist Christianity. It is almost all my own words but I have used material from the Internet in some places.

I want to start with a challenge to the Christian who may read this. The challenge is as follows:
  1. Think of all the people and belief systems residing outside your church.
  2. Try, against all the odds, to read this as a “juror” and not a “defendant”
  3. Remember the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.
If you personally know our Creator, genuinely engaging in these issues should only benefit and assure you in your faith. However if you already know what follows is “deceit and of the Devil”, you may as well save yourself the time and stop here.

1) Without God there is “no meaning”


Unfortunately this is one of the hardest concepts I am going to write about but it does need to be at the beginning so please bear with me for this one…The above statement is one of the key reasons people fail to even engage with some of the issues around the validity of Christian doctrine. It is almost as if people are saying “I need an ultimate explanation…there has to be one and I cannot contemplate otherwise”.

Even if there is a God, as per evangelical Christianity, there is still much left to mystery and therefore is a lack of ultimate “meaning”. An example of one of these mysteries would be the origin of God but there are many more. Therefore saying you “know God” sets the boundary of what you think you understand about our universe, rather than ultimately explains it.

The boundary could be set entirely differently:
“Although I don’t understand everything, I do recognise I exist and I can see my relationships with other humans are important. Therefore I am going to use this to give me ‘meaning’…and not religion”


Is this different to the statement below in terms of achieving “ultimate meaning”?

‘Although I have to admit I don’t understand everything, I know God and I am going to use this to give me “meaning”…’


In both statements we have to acknowledge we don’t know everything and so neither is any more “ultimate” than the other.

Ok that may have seemed confusing, but it is important to be clear at the outset that, philosophically speaking, religion does not make life necessarily more meaningful than a secular outlook. Religion just removes the “lack of ultimate purpose” issue out of your own back yard, and therefore makes it easier to live with.

2) Our morality and God’s morality- i.e “…you need God to be moral”

Our morality is not the same as the morality of the Bible. This is pretty clear in the Old Testament, to the extent it is not worth listing examples. However, stoning any woman raped in a town (Deut 22- she obviously didn’t protest enough), is a good example. However Christians conveniently say that the Old Testament cannot be included in the argument on morality. The Gospel demonstrates a different set of morals to our western 21st century set anyway.

Can you see a parallel in the following story?

An adult allows a child to play on the hard shoulder of a motorway but, graciously, tells them not to cross the white line into the traffic. If the child is trusting and obedient the adult gets a “kick”- the kid had a choice and obeyed. However if the infant steps over the line and is mown down by a truck they were disobedient and so deserved to die right? In the UK you would get locked up for years for either neglect or murder/manslaughter if this happened for real; of course the “moral” thing to do is prevent kids from going anywhere near a road.

The analogy holds- the wisdom gap between me and the Christian God is much bigger than between me and a three year old. And yet in his wisdom and grace he lets millions of us “play” right next to Hell, telling us not to cross the white line of disbelief. Why does this need to happen? It is utterly illogical or, at worse, immoral behaviour. God has more control of us than I have over my kids (or any other person or animal I am responsible for), so why does he do a worse job than me? The answer is simple, because we do not actually share morality with the biblical God and our sense of morality is not imparted by an ancient Middle Eastern deity. There are both logical and positive reasons for a moral system outside of religiosity, but it is not the aim of this document to detail them.

As an aside, do you think the moral status of the child in the story (perhaps they are as awful as one can be at three) would make the court any more lenient on the adult involved? Points (3) and (5) should also be considered when thinking on this issue.

3) God’s will co-existing with man’s free will

This is illogical. Either God predefines everything or he doesn’t predefine everything. If he leaves even the tiniest matter to us, his will is not ultimate, and therefore, neither is he. If he doesn’t, we have no will of our own and therefore no responsibility either. Besides, if all the circumstances in which one makes a decision are predefined by someone else, how responsible is one actually for the decision? Or if someone in authority delegates a decision to a subordinate, are they not still ultimately responsible for that decision? The whole matter of “will” as determined by evangelical theology seems flawed.

4) Unconditional Love co-existing with Hell

This must be nonsense because these two things are mutually exclusive. Hell (if understood literally as fire, brimstone etc) is utterly horrific. Would you push and hold someone’s face into a bonfire or barbeque grill? Even someone who had done you a terrible wrong? No I thought not. Hell is far worse. A god who loved unconditionally would not subject anyone to it. Not least billions of completely ordinary people who happened not to be of the protestant western faith and who could never have known better. The key word here is “unconditional”. Logically it is possible for God to project unconditional love on some people utterly randomly while some suffer Hell utterly randomly. It would be his prerogative. However to the rational person this seems more despotic than something to be worshipped and adored.

5) Origin of Sin

The Christian position holds that before the creation of the Universe there was only God and God has always been. There was nothing but God and as such anything that now exists, at its root, came from Him. The problem is that this includes evil.

It is often explained by Christians that the fall of Man happened because God gave Man free-will in order that Man’s worship would be truly glorifying to God. Whether the fall is held literally or figuratively evil clearly existed in creation prior to this. The Devil fell because he was ambitious and selfish and wanted to be God, however where did the very seed of his evil come from?

This is insoluble intellectually, as the Devil’s origin is ultimately God within evangelical theology At this point the average Christian apologist will say that our intellect is indeed insufficient to understand such a mystery and must, in faith, trust these things to God.

However we are actually discussing a straight forward contradiction. Purity can contain no defect, by its very definition, and therefore there is no seed from which evil could grow. So if everything came from God (he is the ultimate reality) we cannot explain the existence of evil. To say this is too difficult to understand is like saying that 2 + 2 definitely equals 5 and the fact that 2 + 2 appears to equal 4 is just an insoluble mystery.

4) Pagan myths that predate OT law and NT narrative

I have researched this topic entirely on the Internet and on apparently authoritative websites. It certainly appears that Christianity includes many elements of pre existing religion. However we all know the web has much misinformation so I have ignored some of the more controversial and clearly anti-Christian motivated claims.

The following at least does appear to have some historical validity:

Mithras had twelve followers with whom he had shared a last sacramental meal. He had sacrificed himself to redeem mankind. Descending into the underworld, he had conquered death and had risen to life again on the third day. The holy day for this sun god was, of course, Sunday (Christians continued to follow the Jewish Sabbath until the fourth century). His many titles included ‘the Truth,’ ‘the Light,’ and ‘the Good Shepherd.’ For those who worshipped him, invoking the name of Mithras healed the sick and worked miracles. Followers spoke in tongues. Mithras could dispense mercy and grant immortality; to his devotees he offered hope. By drinking his blood and eating his flesh (by proxy, from a slain bull) they too could conquer death. On a Day of Judgement those already dead would be raised back to life. This was a key religion of the Roman Empire from about 300BC and competed with Christianity until about 200AD.

Both the Egyptians and Hittites had laws laid down by god(s) that were very similar to the Ten Commandments and both pre date the Mosaic Law. The Egyptian Book of the Dead contains a section where the newly dead have to declare they are fit for heaven (they actually had to do it 42 times because of the number of Gods). The newly dead very nearly state they obeyed the Ten Commandments. This was long before any Hebrew presence in Egypt.

6) Old Earth and the Biblical Narrative


It seems unfortunate Paul and Jesus are clear on a young earth (Jesus on marriage and Paul on original sin) yet you have to trust some unconventional science to agree with them. If you accept that observable constants are constants then there are some big problems for a young earth. It is best to research them yourself but some examples are:
  • Speed of light allowing us to witness events that occurred millions of years ago.
  • Ice core layers showing 100’s of thousands of years and consistent with predictions based on knowledge of ice ages etc.
  • Early humanoids that are well preserved and yet clearly not “man” in the biblical sense.
  • The amount of chalk produced by plankton would need far more than all the oxygen available over the 6000 years of young earth history. It would also need far longer to settle and form than 6000 years.
  • What were the dinosaurs? Cue the Job references 
  • Fossil strata are uniform (apart from volcanic disturbance etc) and you never find complex life mixed with ancient, simpler, life. That is a clever flood.
  • Radio metric dating. Although not infallible, there is no way of explaining why you get ancient dates again, again and again.
  • You can observe multiple volcanic formations caused by a single hot spot in the earth’s core as the crust has moved. The distances between formations need millions on years.
Of course all this could be a conspiracy by clever people by their puppeteer the “Father of Lies”. However it is worth noting that we do use the same scientists’ assumptions and methods to develop all kinds of other beneficial technologies without questioning them. But when it challenges our belief system it becomes some kind of conspiracy.

Theistic evolution does not make any more sense. If there are millions of years of evolution when did the fall happen? What about original sin? Death is a result of sin but also a necessity for evolution/natural selection. Death and suffering is in the fossil record. Evolution depends on a very high extinction rate of all living things over all time – couldn’t God get a hit rate better than 0.1?

6) Biblical contradiction, inconsistencies and errors, apparent human authorship

Just use Google and a Bible. I’m not going to list or re-discuss them all. The other approach, if you know the Bible well, is just to think about it in a straight forward way and avoid the temptation to “theologise” your way out of apparent errors and inconsistencies. When I read the Bible cover to cover with no commentary it suddenly seemed a lot less like an “inspired work” than when I read bits of it with notes, as I was taught to do. It does seem that the theologians need to do quite a lot of engineering to explain things that on face value sound like errors or contradictions.

Academic studies of the texts also make a lot of sense if you can take the time to get to grips with them. The authorship of the Pentateuch is worth studying for instance. It is also interesting that the movement to treat scriptures as “inerrant” is only 120 or so years old. Before this time it had always been assumed that interpretation is for the reader and that much of scripture is allegory.

Anyway a couple of examples:

"The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father..." -- Ezekiel 18:20


"I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation..." -- Exodus 20:5


"Honour thy father and thy mother..."-- Exodus 20:12


"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. " -- Luke 14:26


"... I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." -- Genesis 32:30


"No man hath seen God at any time..."-- John 1:18


"And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." (2 Kings 2:11)


"No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, the Son of Man." (John 3:13)


And this does not sound like a 2000 year timescale:

"Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. " -- Matthew 16:28


"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. " -- Luke 21:32-33


"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." -- Romans 13:11-12


"Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." -- James 5:8


"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." -- 1 John 2:18


"But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." -- 1 Peter 4:7


Or a few examples of the scientific errors:
  • You can’t see all the kingdoms and oceans from the highest mountain
  • Rabbits do not chew the cud as cattle
  • Insects have six legs not four
  • Bats are mammals not birds, but are listed as birds in the Bible


7) The Trinity

This like #3, #4 and #5 is either mysterious or a logical nonsense. I do not even recall the terminology even being mentioned in the Bible but am happy to be corrected. It seems that the Trinity is a theological concept to make sense of the Bible. Polytheistic religions say that their Gods are equally God. Does Christianity have three Gods but call it one to be monotheistic?

The Bible taught that Christians were to worship Father and Son and Holy Spirit. It also taught that Christians should only worship God. Finally, it taught that there was only one God:
  1. We must worship only God
  2. We must worship God the Father
  3. We must worship God the Son
  4. We must worship God the Holy Spirit
  5. There is only one God
This seemed to put Christians in an impossible position from which they were rescued by the doctrine of the Trinity, which solved the puzzle by stating that God must be simultaneously both three and one. The Trinity is just another thing that doesn’t make sense, but can be accepted by using the “it is too mysterious for us” method.

8) Spectacular claims need spectacular evidence

This is a basic rule that we all learn at a young age and use to assess the validity of things we are being told or are learning. If in conversation I say “I drive a Ford” it is probable that little or no evidence will be required of me. It is not a big claim. If, however, I claim we have aliens from the planet Zorbe round for dinner every Thursday, people will wish to see very clear evidence or simply won’t believe me. This is only different if enough people say I do meet with aliens which make it socially unacceptable to question my veracity.

Similarly, if someone says “I personally know the creator of the entire universe and he has told me exactly how and why we are here and what his plans are for all the people of the world”, we should apply the “spectacular claims” rule. However God is invisible and does not speak out loud in any verifiable way. As for evidence of miracles and healings etc, nobody anywhere has ever shown photographic/clinical evidence of a medically impossible healing. Why do Christians throw this logic rule about evidence away? It is odd how much evidence many Christians need to get them to doubt the “young earth”, but need nothing but “faith” to believe the biggest claims one can ever make.

9) Omnipotent and Omniscient…

The much quoted Riddle of Epicurus sums this one well:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?


10) Belief in something hard to believe is the one qualifying necessity

The ultimate qualification for salvation is “belief” or “faith”. The Christian must believe in God as described in the Bible and in Jesus as their redeemer. Without belief, there is no Christianity. The evangelical always say that Christianity is all about one directional grace, love and forgiveness. However this is not strictly true- the one and absolute requirement is to believe something which is not directly evident. This is your contribution and the pay off is big. However the one thing that has to be contributed by the human (God does the rest) is belief/faith (this may be dressed as first given by God- but the display of belief is definitely our job). It is interesting that the very oxygen on which Christianity survives happens to be the one thing we, the party that definitely exists, have to give and exhibit. Belief, or displayed belief is the glue that holds things together.

The Church does not have for example; repentance, or forgiveness, or performing any other kind of duty, as the central requirement. These are part of it, but above all other things you must “believe” and be seen to believe, “to confess with your mouth”. This is so familiar it does not seem strange- this is religion. However to be part of any other organisation (apart from others in the same category) there is rarely emphasis on belief in the existence of the object of the organisation (except where it is a philosophical or political group, but here the deal is quite clear- the world view or belief is the end of the group). However with most groups this is not the case. Football fans do not have as the qualification for being a fan, a belief in the existence of the players.

11) Observations on the Church as a Social Group


One of the undeniable benefits of being a Christian is the security and social network that the Church provides. This is a good thing, but it can also add to doubts and questions as to whether the social functions of the Church are really all there is. This is not to say that Christianity is fundamentally insincere. However, if it works effectively as a social system it may not need a supernatural power for its existence. Is Christianity actually like “The Matrix” of the well known film- when you’re in it you cannot see it for what it really is?

Because believing something contrary to the majority of the population is difficult, it has an effect of pulling believers very close together. Therefore the majority of true friendships for Christians reside within the Church. This could be seen to enhance “groupthink” but more critically it makes the price of rejecting Christianity massive. Although Christians would say, with sincerity, that they would maintain friendships with “leavers”- it is unavoidably on the basis that the person was somehow in a different category. A similar but even more painful thing would happen to a person in a Christian family who decided to be honest. This honesty would be to admit that they had either not been chosen by God to have the gift of belief, or had correctly noticed that evangelical Christianity was untrue – whichever is the fact. One way or another it is going to affect some or all of their in-group relationships in a negative way. The doubter additionally knows how upset loved ones will be at their eternal peril. It is not that the Christian necessarily thinks these things through consciously and carefully, but it is certainly easier and more socially beneficial to stay inside the group belief system.

The Church also provides a network of people in whom all the membership can trust. This is very beneficial and has all kinds of upsides, from reliable tradesmen to filling properties with prompt paying and conscientious tenants – with everything in between. A Christian may arrive in most parts of the world and expect to find existing connections as well as a ready made and trusted social network. You cannot list all the differing benefits of the system, but they do provide a “here and now” benefit to being in the Church, alongside more lofty spiritual motives. While not subscribing to the fact Church leaders and other full time employees are cynically making a job for themselves, it is true that they are most committed to the promotion of its doctrine and they also are dependent materially from its continuance.

The rigid routines of Church life are also effective at holding it together as a social system. The Sunday services educate in the necessary doctrines and provide pleasure and enjoyment from music and mutual enthusiasm for the groups’ set of beliefs. A similar “tribal” effect can be observed at sports events. Prayer meetings sometimes seem to serve the function of communicating important information within the social group. To remain cohesive it is important for the community to know what is going on. “Matters for prayer” or “legitimised gossip”? Regular reading of the Bible (always with commentary to tell you what you’re reading means) and prayer keeps the mind receptive and open and persuaded of faith as reality. This routine and rigidity could be “a means of grace” or it might equally be method to keep the brain persuaded of something hard to believe.

The fact that the number of evangelical Christians that were brought up in religious homes is always far greater than those converted from utterly irreligious families also indicates “Christianisation” rather than the supernatural.

12) So, why aren’t you a Mormon or a JW?

I recently stayed for a couple of nights in a hotel while the largest UK convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses was running in the same town. Every other guest I came across was a JW. It was amazing how the atmosphere (pleasant enough) and people seemed almost identical to that which I have experienced at Christian conventions. These people were utterly and completely convinced they were right and that secular people and especially other religious groups were “lost” and “blinded”. It did seem eerily similar to my experience of fundamentalist Christianity.

It is much stated by Christians that witnesses wrote down what happened during Jesus’ life and that those witnesses were willing to die for the truth of their statements. These statements are exactly true of Joseph Smith the Mormon prophet and his associates, but with the added benefit that their existence and martyrdoms are indisputable, recent historic fact. But we all know the JWs and Mormons are nuts so we can disregard their apologetics right?

These two thoughts are just meant to get the mind working on the issue of how different are Christians, really, from other religious groupings.

13) Instinctive belief in the afterlife?

One argument that is used by the religious in support of Christianity is that we have an instinctive awareness of eternity and that death repels us so much because it is “unnatural”.

I think that when we dwell on times before our birth date it gives us a proof that material life continues with us “happily” in a state of non-existence. It seems quite natural and acceptable that after our death we again will cease to exist, in the same way we did not exist before we were born. God must be creating new eternal beings all the time but ones that are finite in one direction and infinite in another. Therefore they are not really eternal. I suppose there is no reason why this could not be so, but it seems odd to me. Personally I think non existence would be better than even one person being eternally burnt in Hell.

As for us holding revulsion at death, and behaving as though we will not die, this is a natural necessity rather than anything indicative of the super natural. If we did not see beauty in life and misery in death it would greatly affect our will to survive which is of course vital to our species. It makes that beauty and revulsion even more real when you realise how necessary and intrinsic it is to us.

Conclusion


So there you have it, a stream of consciousness about why I cannot honestly call myself a Christian. One could fill a book with this kind of stuff, but I think I have spent enough time for a man with a very busy job and a young family. The vast majority of this document is straight “off the top of my head” and it’s not meant to be scholarly. I know that every point can be countered and rebutted one way or another, especially when the protagonist has the benefit of all sorts of supernatural possibilities on their side. I also know that Christians will most likely think this document “evil” rather than honest and liberating as I do. The work of someone blinded and deceived. If that is their position then so be it.

I just feel it is more honest and straightforward to say we simply do not know all the answers to life’s big questions. To have lived, loved, cared and wondered seems the best we can do.

54 comments:

AtheistToothFairy said...

Ian,

Excellent Post!!!
You must have spent a lot of time writing it I bet, and we do appreciate that effort.

I especially could relate to the section: "Old Earth and the Biblical Narrative"
I was unaware of this little gem you cited:
"The amount of chalk produced by plankton would need far more than all the oxygen available over the 6000 years of young earth history."

Between this fun fact and the many others you cite, it is beyond my comprehension how someone can read up on that material and still insist we have a young earth etc..
Of course, that assumes a xtian would actually bother to read-up on such things, and as we know, most of them are happy to ignore such 'trivial' science fact.


ATF (Who wonders which stars god meant would fall to earth, from millions of light years away?)

AtheistToothFairy said...

Computer (Marc),

Take a hike.
You're not welcome here anymore.

Stop trying to derail this thread to.

ATF (Who would delete marc's comment, if he could)

.:webmaster:. said...

To ATF:

Done.

Dave8 said...

Ian, great post. I enjoyed reading why you can no longer call yourself a Christian. One of the major reasons I am no longer a Christian, is that I have no empirical evidence to support the existence of a man named Christ as identified in the Christian Bible; therefore I do not project reverence or idolize the [word] Christ.

I could have done what many other Christians have done, and described myself as a Christian in cultural terms; going to church, meeting and fellowshipping with others, etc., but I had no desire to support the Christian pretense, in order to maintain a social network. Again, thanks for the post.

Onto Computer’s post…

Computer: "was just reading the news about the communists...why are athiest so afraid of the truth?"

I am not attracted to social networks that require blind pretense. It makes the statement, that one is always accepted in the group, as long as they don't challenge the pretense. In short, don't engage in activities that would cause one to challenge the Christian pretense of Christ; education being one of those activities.

Regarding education... A political position is not synonymous with a persons' belief/non-belief.

For instance, communism is not atheism, nor are "All" atheists communists.

"Christian Communism is a form of religious communism centered around Christianity. It is a theological and political theory based upon the view that the teachings of Jesus Christ compel Christians to support communism as the ideal social system.

Although there is no universal agreement on the exact date when Christian communism was founded, many Christian communists assert that evidence from the Bible suggests that the first Christians, including the Apostles, created their own small communist society in the years following Jesus' death and resurrection.

As such, many advocates of Christian communism argue that it was taught by Jesus and practiced by the Apostles themselves; a point highly debated among other Christians."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_communism

Not only, would one be "incorrect", by implying communism equates to atheism, they would "also" be incorrect in suggesting that Chinese Communism, is "devoid" of Christian influence.

"Christian communists were also common among Christian missionaries in China, the most notable being James Gareth Endicott, who became supportive of the struggle of the Communist Party of China in the 1930s and 1940s."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_communism

I'll also suggest that over the years, I have had to endure the ignorance of many Christian leaders, who gave "entire" services on China, and how Christianity was prevented from "penetrating" its borders.

In the last three decades, a Mormon Temple was erected on soil that is now sovereign to China.
http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/hongkong/

The bottom line on this of course, is that Christian leaders, want their followers to believe that China is "evil" (therefore, must be atheistic to the more ignorant) because it does not "embrace" Christianity, by allowing "unregulated and open proselytizing" within its borders.

Any 'belief/non-belief' system that 'challenges' a nation's sovereign authority will be confronted with force - generally speaking. It doesn't matter what belief/non-belief system is presented, if it is incompatible with a nation's sovereign existence.

Communist Christians do not pose a threat to Communist China, nor do Mormons, who have doctrine that suggest they should comply with the national authorities where they reside - Communism.

However :-), fundamentalist Christians, challenge all national leaders and even national governments, because they believe a True Christian should be leading a nation, thereby establishing a righteous "Theocracy", in the name of "Their God". In short, "evangelicals" are considered a "threat" to "national security" by many nations.

Now, here in the U.S., where there is freedom of speech, it is legal to make comments against one's own government, because "talking" can bring about change through the voting process and other legal channels.

However, freedom of speech is "not" protected, when such speech promotes "illegal" activity, such as a coup, or terrorist acts, etc.

Chinese leaders have got to be amused by Barack Obama's Spiritual Adviser Rev. Jeremiah Wright's words...

Jeremiah Wright: "“God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and supreme.”"

While Mr. Wright has the refuge of America to protect his opinion... I dare say, he would have been confronted in China.

Not, because he was a "Christian", as many religious leaders would "spin" such an action, but because "evangelicals", inherently hold dissent/hate toward any nation (government) that doesn't preach and conduct national business on behalf of their Christian God. We have seen the results of a Theocracy throughout history, and history has shown the fruits of Christian Theocracies.

Any Christian, want to chime in about their evangelical vision for America, and how an evangelical leader, would be "better" suited to lead the U.S., than let's say, a non-theist?

Any Christian, want to chime in and explain the "role" of the Christian Evangelical movement, and why it is imperative to establish such a belief strand in China?

Knitterman said...

Good post. I appreciate your outline format to explain why you aren't a Christian, and for the most part, I agree. Thanks

Telmi said...

An excellent post, Ian.

Good arguments and useful information. I have saved post in a separate file for reference purposes.

notabarbie said...

Amazing post Ian. Thank you for reminding me how rational de-conversion is.

Happy Springtime everyone!

THE ACE said...

I'm glad Computer's post was deleted before I got a chance to read it. I have a feeling I would
have put my fist through the screen if I had.

Computer, Marc, or whoever these
mindless people are should have long ago worn out their welcome..
and I use the word welcome loosely..here at ExChristian. He, she, or they are the original one-note-sambas..Atheist, Atheist, Atheist, Communist, Communist, Communist. This is the type of
low I.Q. thinking that was so common back in the 1950's. Sad to say, their thought processes have
not advanced beyond a point over
a half-century ago.

Know something funny? I've known a
number of atheists in my lifetime, and not a one of them was a Communist.

I don't believe this country was ever in any great danger of a
Communist takeover. It is in far
greater danger from the hordes of
the Religious Right, who could turn it into a police-state Theocracy that would shame the
Taliban.

By the way, Ian..this is one of the best articles I have seen here.
Keep up the good work!

David said...

Ian,
I am a Christian and may not necessarily agree with much of your article, but I do see the great danger of a Christian theocracy. No matter who or what sect is involved, its a scary venture.

Unfortunately, I believe the Bible says it will happen, and it will happen in America. All that we hear today in the talk of "there never was a wall of separation" is only the rumbling of the earthquake deep in the heart of fundamentalist Christianity which will manifest itself in very destructive intolerance like we've never seen, even in the most totalitarian or fascist states, simply because it will be religion based.

And, with the strength of the United States behind it, the kingdom of the theocracy will be the whole world. Even you in the UK will not escape it.

The current form of anti-religious atheism will fall before it. Intolerant Christianity has proven itself infamously cruel in the past. This time it will do everything to make sure it never again loses its power and seat and great authority.

Dan Marvin said...

That was a well written post and I could answer every point individually with a great deal of time and effort to persuade all of you, but I am not going to do that for a few reasons. I don't claim to have a PhD by any stretch of the imagination, that's how God works though as it says in 1 Corinthians 1:27 "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;"

To prove God with evidence is a pointless endeavor, I must admit. Let's just say that I stump you all with powerful arguments, using archaeological and scientific evidence. I have even intellectually dwarfed you.

Now all I have to do is convince you that Noah actually built an ark and brought in the animals two by two, that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, that Samson killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, that Daniel was really in the lions' den, that Moses really did divide the Red Sea, and that Adam and Eve ran around naked...and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Do you really think I can prove all of that to you?

Look at what Paul said about how he persuaded men about God: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God." (1 Corinthians 2:1) Why didn't Paul dazzle his hearers with eloquent speeches and intellectual wisdom? Bible scholars who have studied his letters tell us that he was extremely capable intellectually. First Corinthians 2:5 tells us why he deliberately stayed away from worldly wisdom: "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

If sinners are converted by the intellect (the wisdom of men), they will fall away by the intellect. If they are merely argued into the faith, they will just as easily be argued out of it whenever a respected scholar reports that 'the bones of Jesus" have been found. However if sinners are converted by "the power of God," they will be kept by the power of God. No intellectual argument will cause them to waver because they will know the life-changing reality of their conversion, and their faith will be secure in the eternally solid and secure Rock of Ages.

Take care,
Dan

.:webmaster:. said...

Oh goodie, Dan Marvin is back!

Well, Dan, if "True Conversion™" is only accomplished through the magical, mysterious, inexplicable, anti-intellectual, non-human, inhuman, "Power of GOD," then your continued presence here preaching is a waste of time.

Of course, you've been told dozens and dozens of times by the people here that your preaching is a waste of time, but that Christian ego thing is hard to resist isn't it?

Either that or you're just a compulsive bastard.

Either way, get some help. Your delusion is showing.

freedy said...

Dan Marvin says,"I have even intellectually drawfed you".

You have the intellect of a five year old child,you mental midget.
All you did was spew scripture out of your praise-hole.That's something a four year old could do.

.:webmaster:. said...

Dan Marvin quipped, "To prove God with evidence is a pointless endeavor, I must admit. Let's just say that I stump you all with powerful arguments, using archaeological and scientific evidence."

What appears obvious is that you have no such evidence at your disposal. Since you apparently have no evidence to offer, you congratulate yourself on having no evidence to offer. You seem to be saying that having no evidence to offer strengths your belief.

If you were honest with yourself you'd admit that proving God with evidence is impossible for you. You'd also admit that you didn't come to believe in your religion through objective evidence, but that you have chosen to believe in Christian myths and legends for other reasons. You haven't explained what those reasons are, so I can only assume you really don't have a clue as to why you believe what you believe.

I'll give you one thing, Dan. You're entertaining.

THE ACE said...

All of Dan Marvin's postings, especially this one, show the Christian's greatest fear isn't
Hell or Satan, but a human being that can think for himself/herself
and think clearly. Someone who doesn't believe every wild claim they hear without evidence. (Even he admits there is much he can't prove concerning the Bible).

The famous Civil War historian
Bruce Catton once referred to the
secession of the Confederate States
as a flight from reality rather than an approach to it. Come to think of it, many Confederate leaders and officers claimed to
be Christians.

Kind of figures, doesn't it?

Astreja said...

Oh, dear sweet Uncle Loki, here we go again. (Pass the mead, please.)

Dan, no one is stopping you from believing whatsoever you happen to believe, nor will we stand in your way should those beliefs morph into something else. Simply put, we can't; and neither can you or anyone else.. Beliefs are internal psychological constructions of metareality that may or may not correspond to objective indicators.

You, however, are obsessed with trying to convert people to your narrow little way of thinking.

Once again, Dan, we are EX-Christians. Fallen away. Apostates, agnostics and atheists. Heretics, heathens, and humanists... Pagan polytheists, pantheists and panentheists, oh my!

Untouched by pretend Holy Spooks. Unconvinced by Bibliosity. Unmoved by the lost-long-weekend "sacrifice" of some mythical godkid from two millenia ago. And under no obligation whatsoever to browbeat ourselves into "believing" in a supernatural being for which we have no credible evidence.

Until such time as your hypothetical supreme being sees fit to "touch" us with its magic, your efforts are for naught.

Astreja said...

Dan the Obstinate: "Has any one, that you know of, who frequents this blog been converted to Christianity?"

Not to My knowledge. I do know of several people in the Ex-C forum who have deconverted from Christianity or modified their beliefs to a less extreme form thereof.

But you would probably just dismiss them as "false" Christians, anyway. So what point are you trying to make here, Dan? Why is it so hard for you to accept that religious conversion and deconversion is genuinely a two-way process? It's intellectually dishonest to simply dismiss deconverts as "never-really-believed" just because the prospect of *your* potential deconversion scares the Holy Shit out of you.

"Keep in mind that you all are NOT ex-Christians though, as I have said in the past. That's an oxymoron."

If we say we are Ex-Christians, we are. And that's that. Your opinion does not trump our experiences.

"A true Christian cannot turn away from God."

Then by your definition there are no True Christians™ anywhere, because all people have the potential to abandon their faith.

And riddle Me this: How can you justify calling it "faith" if it's something you can't actually lose?

"Jesus says those with eternal life will NEVER perish. I believe Him. Do you?"

Um... That's like saying "red is a colour" or "dinner is a meal". As for the concept of eternal life itself, I think that's utter crap. In My opinion, our molecules survive but "we" do not.

Unless medical science dramatically increases the human lifespan, one hundred years from now you, too, will be mouldering in your grave or scattered to the wind as ashes. Nary a thought of Jesus, and no 'Heaven' in sight of your unseeing (and probably rotted-away) eyes.

"It isn't too late you are not a throw away from God. Repent today and Trust!"

Dan, I discarded your god-concept at age seven... Over forty-three years ago. What makes you think that, after learning substantially more about the psychology of religion and the sordid history and beliefs of Christianity, I would be somewhat more inclined to be scared into belief by your incessant blather?

Yes, scared. Typical, really. The last resort of all failed apologists is the "your goin 2 hell111!!!one111one1" gambit. If we don't think your god is real, and we don't think your holy book is a reliable source of information, where do you get off thinking that you can frighten us with torture-tales out of your holy book?

"I have never stopped thinking about salvation for all of you."

Diagnosis: OCD, and head stuck firmly up the anus.

Go away.

And stop profaning My holiday with your dead godlet on a stick.

stronger now said...

Hey Dan's back for another spankin' I see.

What you still haven't answered my question? Not too bright there are you Dan?

Well, do you even remember my question?

Must I remind you that when you continue to try and use the bible as an authority on anything you really need to deal with the problem the question raises first.

P.S.

I knew you couldn't stay away, Dan.

stronger now said...

Oh...one more thing.

Calling us "false converts" is less of an insult than you think it is, Dan.

Your basically saying that we didn't completely fall for the load of bullshit your professed religion is based on.

.:webmaster:. said...

Dan, you've had your say as in the past. However, as this will obviously go nowhere, I'll keep my promise posted here several months ago.

G'bye Dan.

freethinker05 said...

Someone might want to help me out here, but I think the reason these dumbass delusional chritians keep coming back to this site and spreading thier bullshit, is out of fear and to reassure themselves that there is a heaven. I honestly believe they are really struggling with the fact of; if god really exist, and if they have the one and ONLY truth of thier church.

Peace, Roger

rick said...

does this work?

freethinker05 said...

If your question is for me Rick, hell, I don't know..LOL. But, ain't i funny how they(the xtians) keep coming back?

I'd say if they could only get one of us non-believers to come back to the fold of christianity, they would be more self-assured in thier religion. Peace, Roger

rick said...

Ok. If you say that church is like the matrix where the people who are in it can't see it for what it really is then I have a question: Can you not say the same thing about every other social structure that people are involved in?

For instance there are people out there who are caught up in pyramid scams and they truly believe that they will make millions of dollars and be retired in the next 6 months. Anyone outside the situation can see that the only thing that is actually happening is these people are being separated from their hard earned money becuase greed and the need for acceptance has blinded them. They have been misguided on purpose.

Christians go to church because that's where they are accepted. Homosexuals go to a gay bar 'cause thats where they are accepted. Atheists and exchristians come to this website 'cause this is where they are accepted. So what's wrong with that?

It seems to me, Ian, that you are upset because some christians have the audacity to stand up and say people are wrong. Well now you have stood up and said that christians are wrong. Horray, everyone should be happy! But nobody is. That sucks.

The real issue is obvious. I'm right and you're wrong coming from both sides of the spectrum, and niether side willing to back down. There's no real answer for anything.

freethinker05 said...

To Dan Marcvin, I think if someone is truley an Atheist CANNOT come back to christianity, and if they do, they were never an Atheist to start with. Roger

freethinker05 said...

Dan, we are only a cosmic fabric of reality, nothing to be afraid of hun.

Peace, Roger

Astreja said...

Rick, it isn't quite as simple as "Let's just agree to disagree."

Many of the claims being made by the religious are contradicted not by our mere gainsaying, but by actual observations of the world as we know it. If someone comes up to me and says...

- Snakes can talk;

- Forty days of rainfall resulted in a flood that covered the entire earth, mountains and all;

- People can walk on water;

- People can come back from the dead;

- Virgins can give birth;

- There's an invisible good guy and an invisible bad guy fighting over an invisible part of you that lives forever...

...Do you see where I'm going with this? We may not be able to prove anything conclusively one way or the other, but neither do we have to believe someone's pet nonsense in the total absence of corroborating physical evidence.

And neither do we have to sit primly with hands folded on our desks, listening quietly while some fanatical interloper insults our intelligence, questions our ethics and denies our life experiences.

AtheistToothFairy said...

freethinker05 wrote:
... I think the reason these dumbass delusional chritians keep coming back to this site and spreading thier bullshit, is out of fear and to reassure themselves that there is a heaven
----
Hi Roger

We've made several guesses over time, as to why the fundies keep coming back here, but one just came to mind as I read your post.

Think about when you're driving and see a bad car accident. Most folks will take a long hard look; usually slowing down traffic as they do.

I think part of the reason people will gawk at an accident scene, is to try and discover what mistake was made by the driver(s) that caused the accident, hoping they learn something from another's mistake and can avoid having it happen to themselves in their own driving future.

Besides trying their hand at winning back our souls to their side, I think they are trying to discover what caused our god 'accident', so they can avoid it themselves.
They must be thinking... "What mistake did these ex-xtians make in their path in life, to lose their faith in my personal god"

While we know the chances of being in a bad car accident ourselves is fairly slim, we still have a need to try and learn from the accidents we see, just what went wrong, so we can use that knowledge to avoid finding ourselves in the same predicament.

Fundies see us as that bad accident on the side of their road.
They greatly fear it might happen to them, so they try and see what 'mistakes' we all made, so they can avoid making the same mistakes that would vanquish their god faith.

A driver can have a moment of distraction that would cause an accident.
To xtians, it's best to keep one's nose buried in the bible, so as to not be distracted by reality.

If driving is an option for you and you have a junk car that gives you a bad experience, you might give up driving altogether.
The fundies like to tell us that just because a certain church and it's congregation gave us a bad experience, that we shouldn't give up on god because of that specific bad experience.

What xtians fail to see is that we discovered that every car we tried to drive, lacked an engine, and the only power it had was in ourselves.
(Think Flintstone Car)
This god being also has no engine and no matter what church you try to 'drive', you discover that the only power of god is from the power of your own mind; pushing that god-car into mental existence.

So yes Roger, I agree that they very much fear that if they followed our path in life, they to might lose the faith they cling to.

It's impossible for most of these xtians to accept that we once had as much faith as they presently feel they do. It scares them to think that one can actually lose such faith in god, just as the thought of getting into the same bad accident we just saw on the road, would scare most drivers.

Xtians need to believe themselves to be unsinkable in their faith.
If one looses their faith, as we all did, then surely we must have hit an iceberg and went down like the Titanic.
So they read our website, hoping to discover where all the devil-icebergs are hidden, that might sink their little god boats.

What they ALL fail to realize is that the god-boat they chose to board, was only made of Jello. If you shake that god-boat with a touch of logic, the believer will wiggle around to maintain their faith. Shake the boat a bit harder with more logic, and the boat will fall apart and sink.

Of course to fundies, the one shaking their boat is none other than this horned devil, as they can never open their eye's to realize the devil is just as much a myth as their god is.

What they truly fear the most, can be summed up in one simple word:

REALITY !!!!


ATF (Who wonders if god-boats are edible or not?)

Dave8 said...

Dan Marvin citing Johannes DeSilentio: "Faith is not a stop-gap for knowledge. It is a disposition towards something that is known."

This citation is conflicted there Dan...

First of all, the "important things" of philosophy, would surely include the "top five" categorical areas, especially epistemology, which deals with knowledge, and what it means to "know" something.

Interestingly, I actually agree that "faith", by definition can be used to suggest "trust" a person places in knowing a noun.

However... by using the terms of faith in this context, I could make the argument that no Christian has "faith" in God, or that the statement "In God We Trust", has any merit beyond imaginative thinking.

Let me illustrate; Christians believe in Heaven and Hell.

It of course, is a false dichotomy, or dualism... good and bad are not dipolar - they are words used to describe the deviation from a center point, where a center point is defined by someone's inductive value.

When someone suggests a person is either good or bad, they are suggesting a deviation from their desired center value.

Now, heaven and hell are supposed to be places where people end up, based on their position in relation to such a central value.

However, as explained above, there exists no "good" or "bad", in ontological terms... just deviation.

Christians believe in Heaven typically, and Hell.

Can a Christian have "faith" in "good"? If "good" and "bad" are deviations from an acceptable "ideal" value, then to "know" of "good" or "bad" is to have "faith" in one's own mentally created "ideal".

A Christian, who says they have faith in good, is saying they have "faith" in "themselves" - to establish and "know" their personally accepted ideal and the deviations that follow.

Can a Christian have "faith" in Heaven? Does a Christian know Heaven, in terms of "knowing", as in personal "experience"? Or, does a Christian have "faith" in something else that leads them to "believe" there is a Heaven?

A Christian will typically suggest they have "faith" in what they know about Heaven, which is limited to their Bible or Religious Leader.

At this point, a Christian has "faith", in someone else or someone else’s' words... but still no faith in Heaven.

The same could be said about a Christian's faith in their God. If a Christian hasn't had a sit down discussion with our Universe's CEO, then, they don't have "faith" in their own God.

Again, a Christian has "faith", in someone else or someone else’s' words... that led them to believe the word "God” and the referent that is purportedly represents.

While the "word" God, may hold "importance" for a Christian or theist in general, the "importance" is what the believer gives the word... because so far, they only have "faith" in themselves and the words of other people to establish what is good/bad, and God.

In short, if I and a Christian both "know" something, yet, have different positions on that known, then our disagreement isn't about the "known", it's about the trust we have in ourselves to understand and establish a truth about that "known".

Yet, when there isn't "truly" a "known", like God, that I nor a Christian can establish beyond our own minds; then, there exists no room for "faith" beyond ourselves for either of us.

Ironically, when a Christian uses "faith" in terms of trust in that which is "known", they present themselves as someone who has as much faith in their God as an atheist. Just to ensure there is no confusion; both the atheist and theist/Christian lack "faith" in God, if "faith" is based on something that is "known"... and external to one's own self.

A Christian will typically not "admit" they lack faith in their God, they will argue that they do in fact have faith in God, because they "know" God... in their mind... thus, making themselves the object of faith - as well as their own God.

Dan Marvin, if you want to get into a discussion on, rejecting the reality of what we "know"; in order to establish transcendental themes, like; heaven, hell, God, limbo, purgatory, etc., let me know. Rejecting what we "know" to consider the "possibilities" of our Universe, doesn't establish truth or Truth - it may however, be used to establish a hypothesis.

I don't worship any thing hypothetical, but I'll extend an olive branch to you, and accept that I lack as much "faith" in your God as you do... If you don't accept it, then... we can presume that your faith in yourself makes you the God of your mind.

Astreja said...

ATF: "What xtians fail to see is that we discovered that every car we tried to drive, lacked an engine, and the only power it had was in ourselves."

Agreed 100%. To quote William Ernest Henley in his poem Invictus: 'It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.'

Something about the idea of human self-actualization seems to deeply offend evangelicals. More often than not, they see human striving and intelligence and self-reliance and skepticism as things to be feared and shunned.

But why? What could a human being *possibly* do, say or think that could actually injure or offend an omnipotent god? Does not compute.

"What they truly fear the most, can be summed up in one simple word: REALITY!!!!"

(Springy Goddess applauds wildly and hands out a generous round of homemade vinatarta and mead)

the-walruss said...

I can tell you exactly why christians continually visit this site. It's because they honestly believe that we are wrong and are all going to hell. They will be the heroic figures to swoop in and stop us from our fall. Though we may have heard it a thousand times before, this time, the holy spirit will strike us and we will understand once again.

Come on, you guys should know that, weren't you too Christians once?

Dave8 said...

Dan Marvin, the only person who can not "doubt", or be "curious", logically... is someone who is "omniscient".

An omniscient entity knows "everything" with "Certainty".

If you are claiming to be Certain of something, such that you have "no doubt" about it - well, then, we can reliably presume that you're claiming personal omniscience.

When a person humbles themselves, to accept that they can't "know" anything with "Certainty" (Universal), their statements become much softer and flexible, allowing for the self-acceptance of personal limitation.

How many religious people, suffer from the "perfectionist" syndrome, believing that they can reach Certainty/perfection, and will do everything they can to attain such a status; either, by saving lost souls, or doing those things they believe in their mind make them "good" (because they aren't good enough yet).

Those who have lived through a phase, trying to attain perfection, and made it out, understand the implications being made.

The perfectionist minded who are still trying to become perfect, perceive all others who argue against self-perfection, as nay-sayers, out to bring them down.

What many realize, when they accept themselves as never truly as they were yesterday, as they become in life/Nature, is in terms of perception... I used to, a long time ago, seek ways to become self-perfect... and "fix" those things that held me back.

But, I finally realized, that what was holding me back, was my humanity... and I didn't want to sacrifice my humanity (that which makes us human, the "art" side of our existence, love, excitement, grief, etc.), in order to reach a rigid unchanging icon of perfection.

When I finally broke down, and admitted that I couldn't become perfect, my nature changed, and I became more human.

My metamorphosis began, once I realized there is no alchemy for perfection, that self-perfection as an "end-state" goal, is an illusion.

Once I stopped arguing for "why" I should become perfect or a better person (based on what I had been taught by someone else's central goal/value), I listened to my self, and began to explore and question "why" I couldn't become "perfect".

The more I learned about "why" I couldn't become perfect, the less evangelically religious I became.

The more I learned the less religious I became altogether.

The trigger to my transformation, from believer to non-believer, wasn't based on "faith" for me, it was based on the fundamental belief that I could become as God (biblically citable, ask me for reference points if inclined).

Dan Marvin, your entire belief in Christianity, is based on keystone tenets; once you begin to explore those tenets closely, whatever they are... you are likely to discover that what you thought you knew for Certain, wasn't really so.

cipher said...

I can tell you exactly why christians continually visit this site. It's because they honestly believe that we are wrong and are all going to hell. They will be the heroic figures to swoop in and stop us from our fall.

Walruss, you may be right, that may be part of their motivation, or the motivation for some of them, but I still think the others are correct - the Christians who post here are nagged by a feeling that won't go away, the suspicion that they may be wrong. They're terrified of reality, particularly of modernity. They aren't trying to convince us as much as they are trying to convince themselves.

I've never been a Christian, but I've heard a number of ex-Christians, on this blog and on de-conversion, say that when they were Christians, they employed the same arguments,the same tactics as do the trolls who come here, and they ridiculed the non-believers, but they were plagued by doubt, and realized that they didn't really have good responses to their challenges.

Jim Arvo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Arvo said...

Dan Marvin quotes Johannes DeSilentio: "I don't take faith to be mere 'fingers in my ears' belief. Faith, as I understand it, is knowledge with fiduciary content. That means, if I claim to have faith in God I'm not saying that I merely believe he exists, or even merely know he exists; I am saying that I trust him." (Emphasis in the original.)

This is yet another warmed-over existential fallacy. What is this "trust" placed in? Well, of course, it's the thing that there is no evidence of. So, the mere act of conferring that trust still requires those fingers to be stuffed firmly into one's ears. Having trust in Zeus does not make him real--it just means you wish to skip blithely over the detail of his existence.

There's no escaping it, Dan. Faith implies unwarranted belief, and it is therefore irrational. Not all irrational belief is necessarily bad, but trying to paint it as something that it is not is misrepresentation.

AtheistToothFairy said...

the-walruss wrote:
I can tell you exactly why christians continually visit this site. It's because they honestly believe that we are wrong and are all going to hell.......Come on, you guys should know that, weren't you too Christians once?
----
Hi Walruss,

This topic has been raised many times before, as to why fundies continue to haunt us ex-xtians. There isn't just one reason alone, that they do this, so the reason you give here is just one of several we've discussed here before.

In my post above, it was not my intent to imply that I was citing the 'sole' reason for their behavior, but merely to expand upon one of the many reasons I see in this tendency for them to keep posting here.

My opening line pretty much states that this is the case, does it not?


ATF (Who thinks some fundies want to save us, while others are trying to save themselves instead)

boomSLANG said...

Dan Marvin: "....faith will be secure"

"Faith"/"secure", is an oxymoron, dip-wad. "Faith" is a form of agnosticism; it is simply a false sense of security that one adopts when they cannot know something for certain. This, of course, is just one of the dozens of blatant internal inconsistancies in Christianity(or any religion accepted on "faith").

All,

Numerous times, upon Marvin's arrival here, these internal contradictions have have been pointed out to him in great detail by various regulars, yet, being the obstinate, brainwashed, religious zealot he is, he cannot/will not allow reason to penatrate the Christian "force-field" around his brain. And again, why is this?....

...::everybody together now::...

because Dan Marvin has "Faith".

Later on, Rick chimes in, with...

The real issue is obvious. I'm right and you're wrong coming from both sides of the spectrum, and niether side willing to back down. There's no real answer for anything.

Wrong, in assuming that because adherents of a particular religious faith cannot prove their position, that there are no real answers---if, by "real answers", you mean real truth. A mind-independent reality exists.

Correct, however, in that "I'm right and you're wrong" is an "issue". But, if we reference, for instance, Dan Marvin's posts in regards to this subject, this is precisley the problem with accepting information of "faith"(namely, religious faith).

Rick, a position of neutrality doesn't require one drop of "faith". It requires not one drop of extra thought, energy, contemplation, worship, praise, reinforcement, etc., etc., for one to admit to themselves, and the world, that they don't see convincing evidence for the existence of a partiuclar "thing".

Now, you bring up "I'm right; you're wrong", etc. But you see, the problem is, in a situation where a belief is accepted on "faith", there IS no "wrong", because that's the whole premise of having, and keeping, "the faith". You are, in essence, making yourself impenatrable to reason and logic.

boomSLANG said...

David(guest Christian), said...Unfortunately, I believe the Bible says it[a theocracy] will happen, and it will happen in America.

Agreed; I, too, think it's quite unfortunate that you believe what the bible says.

(perhaps be more careful in your wording, in the future)

Question: Did you ever stop to think that if the redactors of the Holy Bible were "omniscient", or if they took dictation from an "omniscient" being---meaning, one way or another, they knew the future, and presumably foretold this future in the bible---that the future is then fixed? In which case, we are powerless to change it, in which case, we are like "puppets" fulfulling the plan of a "Divine" puppeteer, in which case, why talk about it if it's already pre-determined?

'Looking forward to your rationale.

boomSLANG said...

Walruss: I can tell you exactly why christians continually visit this site. It's because they honestly believe that we are wrong and are all going to hell.......

This is not entirely true. While yes, the majority of the Xian visitors who bother to post here are convicted enough to take the position you mentioned, I would venture to say that there on-lookers who "visit" this site, who---while they might call themselves "christian"---are no doubt, people of various levels of commitment to their beliefs, and possibly, even in the process of deconversion. After all, such deconversion generally doesn't happen "over-night". Many of these people actually have a yearning for truth, and are too embarrassed to chime in on the matter, because of what they used to believe...i.e..Christianity.

Walruss: Come on, you guys should know that, weren't you too Christians once?

Yes, I was.....but as I mentioned above, for many, the cognative dissonance eventually becomes unbearable, and this leads people to want to see, and evaluate, what "the other side" thinks....in this case, EX-christians.

Ian said...

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read an overly long post, and for all the comments, including those in disagreement with me.

I think it's funny that christians say things like "I could win the debate, but it's not about that so I won't take the time". If people like Dan were serious about the fact you and I are heading to the cosmic torture chamber wouldn't they bother to try to and enter the argument?

Also I am not a hardened, crazed atheist. I can just see that Christianity is not true. For the record this is breaking my heart and damaging my family and social situation. But I am going to stand for truth.

Thanks again everyone.

Ian

Ian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cipher said...

Marvin, I've encountered you and your blathering on other blogs. Whether you are right or wrong isn't even the issue at this point. The bottom line is that you're an imbecile. A man who considers Ray Comfort to be a competent apologist and who sees the coconut as evidence of God's existence has absolutely nothing to teach us. Go away.

.:webmaster:. said...

Dan,

You don't take hints very well, do you.

Can everyone say "fruitloops?"

Bye dan.

boomSLANG said...

...::yawn::

Marvin dry-heaves... Your[the non-believer's] presupposition is that there is no God;

Once again, this is deceptive, and it entirely misses the point of what it means to hold a position of neutrality. Once again, the internet-troll-apologist known as "Dan Marvin", is incorrect.

Yes, while all human beings carry bias, not all bias is equal. That's the part he fails to grasp. Once again, Dan's position makes the false ass-umption that all bias is equal, and also, that "possibility" = "plausibility". This, is where he makes, and keeps repeating, the same mistake over and over again.

To illustrate(for those who actually have the capacity to listen to and absorb someone elses input), Dan has an equal "presupposition" that "Allah", Zeus", "Toth" - and about a bazillion other known "gods" throughout history - don't exist, just the same as the Atheist "presupposes" that "Yahweh" doesn't exist. Yes, he dismisses those "other gods" for which people throughout history have accepted on "Faith", because of lack of evidence. In other words, for very same reason(s) we dismiss "Yawheh". It's a blatant DOUBLE-STANDARD, but yet, Dan's "faith" doesn't permit him to see it that way. Again, with "faith", Dan is literally forced to compartmentalize.

Perpetually obstinate Christian, continues...therefore, no matter what I might present to you to show His existence...

The problem with this, is that Dan's idea of "evidence" is limited to the same ol' flimsy, revealed(bible), anecdotal, "connect-the-dots" crap he always gives. It is NOT conclusive, or else, he wouldn't need "faith" to begin with. Yet, again, the aforementioned "evidence" is the very same type of evidence that Dan, himself, dismisses from other religions that oppose his. Again, the DOUBLE-STANDARD. He cannot over-come this problem, and never will. His only "cure" will be his complete annihilation when he expires.

Perpetually obstinate Christian concludes...So, I cannot prove anything to you since your presupposition won't allow it. It is limited.

But allegedly, "biblegod" itself, is limit-LESS, which, personally, I find that incredibly hard to accept, considering how said "biblegod" cannot prove its own existence.

And again, what are the reasons that the Christian apologist gives for this? Why, of course, to do such - to simply prove its OWN existence to all of humankind - that would interfere with our "free will". Remember, said "God" wants us to accept its existence, and its "plan", on "Faith".

But of course, the obstinate christian apologist cannot see(i.e..refuses to see) the blatant circularity in that little philosophy, which is why he stubbornly resorts to the following tactic:

Dan Marvin: "When we speak of the Incarnation of Jesus, we are speaking of how the pre-existent Word became flesh. John 1:1, and 14 say, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...(14)."

i.e..irrelevant bible-quoting. Existential fallacy, ad nauseam

(Mind you, this is in light of the fact that he even admits that he cannot "prove" his biblegod exists..he's caught in a vicious circle...a mind-f%ck)

Perpetually obstinate Christian.....I can fully understand why some, like boomslang, and others lash out at me because this is such an important and passionate subject for all of us. Insert Pascal's wager here.

Oh good grief, we've been over this myriad times, as well. "Pascal's Wager"..i.e..to believe just in case. It says at least two things: Firstly, that one is not secure in their belief, and secondly, that one should believe in every known god in the universe, "just in case"! Dolt.

Trancelation said...

I think Christians visit this site to try and convince themselves. The fact that we even exist, the fact that we are nothing like what the Bible says we are supposed to be like, the fact that we can point out fallacies, contradictions, and outright lies in the Bible, and the fact that lightning does not come out of the sky and strike each and every one of us dead is a clear indication that Christians are WRONG. Wrong though they may be, Christians placed quite a bit of emotional and psychological effort in trying to force themselves to believe that the lies they have been told since childhood are true. I think that, deep down inside, Christians KNOW it is a lie, but it's easier for them to live in denial, thusly saving face and allowing them to keep their social networks intact. But here at www.exchristian.net, we challenge the lies, challenge them very savagely and successfuly, do ye kennit? We are a threat to the comfortable lie Christians have built up around themselves, cushions and pillows and soft fuzzy blankets meant to soften the impact of challenging the churches. Even knowing that there are others out there that DO challenge the churches is a frightening prospect to Christians; it forces them to CONSIDER that they might be wrong. Christians coming here and spewing rhetoric at us is reverse psychology. They are spewing rhetoric at THEMSELVES. Christians are victims, plain and simple. They are afraid. If they really believed what they were saying, they would be able to read a few testimonies on this site and see that we're not interested, and go on their merry little sandal-dusting way.

AtheistToothFairy said...

From Dan Marvin's version of Marvel Comics

I doubt you'll be able to reply to this Dan, as it seems you wore out your welcome;
ALREADY !!
But I feel the need to reply to some things you said, for the benefit of our readers.

Dan Marvin said to ATF:

I fully understand your points and analogy about the accidents. I am very curious what leads someone down such a destructive path....

Destructive path?
To the contrary Dan, if you read what most ex-xtians have written here, you find it's only when they had rid themselves of your religion/churches, that they finally were able to get their lives together.
Before that great-escape, they were milked dry, both emotionally and monetarily by their churches and it's dogma.


I understand you believe the "accident" is interesting to us to look at but to me it's goes much further and to me my heart bleeds and it's quite tragic and I want to lend my hand to help the victims of said "accident" not as a bystander but as someone to aid in the situation to mend the hurting revive the motionless.

Dan, sometimes its best to not help an accident victim,
Think of all of us as having a back injury and if you try and help by moving us, you'll add to the damage already done.

>The "accident" that you refer to is doubt.

Actually, I see what you call doubt, as more a "Healthy Skepticism".
Being skeptical of things in our lives, keeps us from being a victim by those who would take advantage of us.
If I offered to sell you that proverbial Brooklyn Bridge, I bet you would be a little skeptical about such a sale.
So why shouldn't we have been very skeptical about a invisible all-powerful god, who is vastly more surreal than some physical bridge.


>This was just one reason why I read "losing faith in faith" by Dan Barker. Dan said it himself in his book that it all started with doubt then continued to the point of utter atheism. Doubt is the disease/plague of the atheist.

Yes, and I have many doubts (skepticism) about things like pink unicorns, the Land of Oz, witches flying on brooms, ESP, telekinesis, and a million other things from the worlds of the supernatural and make-believe.
So I guess you're saying that if we don't believe in all the oddball things that have no evidence to support them (such as your god), then we have a disease, right Dan.
Talk about "bass-ackwards" thinking Dan.


>I am one to believe that doubt itself is the catalyst for atheism. Abandon hope; give up hope; lose heart; is the definition of despair, correct?

And what a good 'catalyst' it is then!!
Maybe you would be in great despair to give up your god, but that would be YOU Dan, not us. For most of us, it's a sense of real freedom instead; although it can take years to undo the massive brainwashing your cult inflicted upon our minds..


>Lets look at the apostles and what they, not to mention the 250 million people just this year, had or will have to endure with the torture and arrests and be-headings and such.

Let's not and say we did, Dan.
As far as these assertion of 250 million goes, you made this assertion before and didn't prove it to us the last time, and failed to do so again.
I think this 'fact' of yours, is nothing but a load of xtian BS Dan.


>The Bible talks a great deal of doubt as you know.

Yeah, it does, and that is because the hucksters who wrote it, knew some folks would actually use their brains when reading their propaganda, so they tried to head off the doubters by playing mind games with them about their doubting such tall-tales.


>Deuteronomy 28:66 .....

Guess you haven't learned Dan, quoting your babble book here is counterproductive to your cause buddy. Most of us will just SKIP RIGHT OVER IT (or in this case, DELETE IT).

>Doubting your belief system and entire denominations (man made) is healthy I feel.

There ya go Dan. That's the SPIRIT !!
Now just turn that doubting mind on your own version of Christianity and you'll be on the road to recovery before you know it.

> We must not trust our own lying wickedness and make sure we are not pushing our own agendas over or replacing God's.

If you want to think of YOURSELF as being wicked Dan, then be my guest.
The rest of us here have no need to see ourselves in such a dark light, thank you very much.

Replacing God?
He wasn't replaced Dan, he was just realized to be nothing but a conjured up mental delusion. It's not like we traded your personal god for a new god we discovered.
We just realized that such an extraordinary being from your bible, can't exist as advertised.

>To doubt God Himself or that Jesus is not Lord is so damaging that this atheism is a move from light to darkness.

Well in this modern age of the electric light bulb, all I had to do was to flip a few switches and all that ugly darkness vanished.
I guess your god also resides inside every light bulb to....who knew.
Oddly enough, this incandescent god light, helps me to read my atheist books after the sun travels under our flat earth at night.

>"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

There is no evidence in blind faith Dan.
There is no 'substance' in faith, as it's merely a mental construct and nothing else.
It has no power to perform any action outside what it leads it's owner to do.
Your precious god has never lifted one finger to the benefit of the human race and always uses humans do to his dirty-work, FOR HIM.
Odd, isn't it Dan.

>I beg all of you not to depend on, or lose faith because of, anything that mankind had done.

Rest assured Dan, there is no person, no church, no xtian sect, that had anything to do with my discovery of your god being a work of the imagination.
That fact showed itself very plainly, from your god sitting on his fat ass and doing nothing, including not showing himself to anyone with a mental capacity that would insist on questioning such illusions.


>We must have faith that God's plan is true and sound and no one will get to heaven without Jesus.

Really Dan, and why is it that we 'must' have this faith about some cruel selective "plan", that will send the majority of humans to a burning hell.
News Flash Dan...NO ONE will ever get to this claimed heaven of yours, simply because it's inconceivable that such a place exists.
The overall logistics for such a special place to exist, and at the same time, be a place for those who worship blindly, some invisible and undetectable jesus, are far too complicated to make such a theme even remotely possible.

Of course in your deluded mind Dan, anything is possible in this universe, because your mental sky daddy said so.
I have to tell you Dan, if there is 'a' god out there who cares one iota about us, he/she/it sure had a very peculiar way of showing it's love.

How does your god care and love us Dan......let me tell you.
He hides himself away from his creation, showing himself only as a mental emotional image to those who wish for him to exist.

He should be charged with negligence for these reasons:
1. For not updating his divine 'word' in 2000 years.

2. For allowing not only the suffering of adults, but innocent young children and even babies
(Right Xray Man?)

3. For making some dumb ass rule that says we can only find out about his existence from the mouths of other physical non-supernatural humans, and not himself directly.

4. For making himself so unattractive that he needed to employ a hellfire plan in order to keep his followers from deserting him. That would be like twisting the arm of your child, to make that child love you Dan. Yeah, just a fine and dandy plan you got there Dan ole buddy.

5. For making a claim that we have an immortal soul, but failing to provide a single shred of evidence to make that clear to ALL of us.

6. For making up a ridiculous rule that required god to screw a young virgin girl so he could bear a physical son, that he would later let be tortured and sacrificed, all because your god lacked the decency to take back his punishment of the first human couple and their offspring.

7. For not overseeing the writings of his 'word', so that his message was crystal clear and without contradictions and/or 'challenges' for us to interpret his meaning.

Yes Dan, I'm sure your god truly cares about his human creation, he just has a very funny way of showing it is all.
Funny STRANGE that is.


ATF (Who is still waiting for proof that jesus ever walked this earth to)

Dave8 said...

Thanks WM, I need to get me one of those bug-zappers :-)

David said...

boomSLANG,
Because to be able to look forward and foretell the rise of apostate Christianity out of its purer roots, the devastation on its dissenters, its fall, and then its resurgence, gives credence to the person behind the book, since all has happened as foretold except for the soon resurgence of the theocracy, which you fear as does many people.

boomSLANG said...

David said, boomSLANG,
Because to be able to look forward and foretell the rise of apostate Christianity out of its purer roots, the devastation on its dissenters, its fall, and then its resurgence, gives credence to the person behind the book, since all has happened as foretold except for the soon resurgence of the theocracy, which you fear as does many people.


What is this?..Jeopardy? Hello? Mr. Trebek?

But seriously, David, it would fascilitate the conversation, considerably, if you would reference the question to which you are attempting to answer. Okay? You can do this several ways, the simplist of which is to paste the referenced passage, and add quotations.

Moving on to the internal problem of simultanious "omniscience" and "omnipotence"....

Forgive me, but nowhere in your attempted explanation do I find that you have resolved this issue.

For starters, if I author a book that claims absolute certain answers on life's greatest questions, and in this book, I include far-fetched stories.....perhaps stories such as a snake, domestic ass, and a shrub.....all of which speak the human language, and then, somewhere therein, I include a clause that says something to the effect...

"Dear future readers,

I predict that you will encounter people who are skeptical of all delineated herein! Beware!"

Well, I'm sorry, but I really can't see that as any great "feat" of "omniscience". Notwithstanding, obviously you can, so here's the greater problem with your theory:

Your position is that there is an ensuing "theocracy", and you know this, of course, because the "person behind the book" has "predicted" it. Yes? Is that a fair and accurate rendering so far? Assuming so, then at some point, there MUST be a theocracy, or else it is a failed prediction. Likewise, if the "person behind the book" knows there will be "apostates", then if there are not these "apostates"; if there are not these "skeptics", etc..then that, too, will have been a failed prediction...i.e..a failed "Prophecy".

In case you don't see the blatant and silly irony in that---"apostates" are actually necessary for "God's plan" to see fruition? 'Follow? It's circular, David.

To illustrate further by analogy, let's say, David, that you are the Creator of the Universe, and that you are "omniscient". Let's further say that 2000 years from right now, you KNOW what you will be doing on Sunday, March 25, at 12:00 noon. Let's say that you will be having lunch with the future Pope, for instance.

Okay, one of two things must be true, David. Either, a) You MUST keep that date, regardless of what happens between now, and then---in which case, your "free will" then becomes limited, because you cannot change your own mind, hence, you CANNOT be "omnipotent"

or...

b) You HAVE the freedom to change your mind about that lunch date, however, subsequently, you never knew your ultmiate decision in advance...because of course, you cannot "change" what you presumably already "know" you are going to do.

That, David, is the internal contradiction with your premise. You cannot over come it, David. Not you; not any Christian. You are either a personal being with "free will", in which case, you can exercise your supposed "mercy", and "justice", etc....or, you are not a personal being at all, because while you might "KNOW" your future decisions, you are powerless to change them.

'Sorry 'bout that, David
(sorry 'bout that, "God")

Please join us in a moment of silence: Praise reason.

David said...

boomSLANG,
Let me digest this and return. I've got your other comment from last week to answer yet.

Trancelation said...

David:

Let's not kid ourselves here. You're not going to answer boomslang's questions. Even if you take the time to RESPOND that does not mean that you have ANSWERED the questions. But while I'm here, I want to make a few points.

Let's assume that the Bible (that is the book we are talking about here, yes?) DOES say the things you say they do. So what? This is essentially the logic you are applying:

1. I say that some people will enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons, while others will not

2. Some people enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons, while others do not; ergo, Dungeons & Dragons IS REAL

Does the fact that some people enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons while others do not give me some kind of credence? I don't see how. It is a fact that some people will like something that others do not. That I have pointed this out gives me credence . . . how, David?

It doesn't.

The same thing applies to the writers of the erratic mythologies that came to be known as the Bible. They pointed out that some people liked Christianity (as some people like D&D) while others did not (as some people do not like D&D). Big . . . freaking . . . whoop.

In order for your argument to make sense, David, you're going to have to demonstrate a few things, which I'm sure you'll be able to do. So . . .

1. Show me WHAT apostate Christianity is, show me what PURE Christianity is, EXPLAIN how YOUR version of PURE and APOSTATE Christianity are CORRECT in their definitions, and then describe how apostate Christianity "rose," detailing the boundaries and effects of apostate Christianity throughout the years of its dominion and then its fall

2. Show me how apostate Christianity went about, and goes about, "devastating" its dissenters

3. Explain how apostate Christianity has fallen, detailing the events, locations and people central to that fall, the ramifications of the fall of apostate Christianity, and in its wake, how pure Christianity has risen, or how apostate Christianity has risen . . . after it has fallen.

Now, here's what confuses me, David . . . you're telling me that apostate Christianity fell, and then rose again? Or, as I have written above, are you saying that PURE Christianity rose (is rising)? Just keep that in mind for me, David.

Also keep in mind that many, many people have their own definitions of apostate and pure Christianity. The most important thing here is that you effectively illustrate how YOUR definitions CORRECTLY correlate with the Bible's, and how EVERYONE ELSE'S is wrong. That might take a while, I know. But I wish you the best of luck :)

I have one final comment; I WELCOME a Christian theocratic state. You know why? becaus ehistory has shown that more Christians die during theocratic states than anyone else. Given enough time, believers will wipe all other believers out. I cannot imagine a sweeter scenario, David. Agree with whomever is knocking down your door with their jackboots, smile as those same thugs kill OTHER jackbooted thugs until they're all dead. makes me shudder with glee.

.:webmaster:. said...

David, I'd like to invite you to investigate the thread entitled, I was paralyzed by the fear of hell.

Currently there is a Roman Catholic and a Baptist trying to convert us back to Christianity. The Baptist is only reluctantly holding hands with the RC, and is now preaching to the RC. Your perspective as an SDA would be interesting.

If you're interested, here's the link: I was paralyzed by the fear of hell.

Trancelation said...

Well, looks like David got suddenly "busy". How convenient.

Another Christian falls apart under scrutiny.

David said...

I did get busy. I'll be back.

David said...

Webmaster

I just read the post you recommended. I feel for Jackie. And I would comment, but it sounds like she has made up her mind. Besides, I'm already busy with boomSLANG and Trancelation. A heartfelt "No thanks" to the invitation for a free for all with DogEat and Refractor just for entertainment. ;)