Debate 029: Tracy rants and raves

Tracy Rebuttal #001:

Why do atheist say that their beliefs are not religious… and yet defend atheism religiously and fervently… It is not irrational to assume the possibility of a Divine Creator or intelligent design… You say the bible does not have the answers yet there is many unanswered questions in science..ex..the missing link… evolution has not been proven true nor conclusive… your God bashing is not going to solve any thing… What about the columbine school shootings… a student was shot for having faith in God… one was shot for being black… is that what atheism teaches. You have a system of belief that you abide by that you govern yourself up under.. yet criticize people for governing themselves under God. Atheist seem to blame God and religion for all the pain they feel… Pain is going to happen regardless that’s life… but taking God out of the picture is not going to solve nor prove anything… We all are here but for a short while… religion for some is how they deal… I dont see God as religion… I see a self aware entity… The ultimate scientist… controlling… laws, motion, matter, energy, life…etc. like an energy force that sets the universe turning… You see yourself.

Why do evolutionist say that the first humans evolved from monkeys… I especially take offense of the racist undertones of having an ape like creature emerge out of africa naked and dumb with dark skin and big lips… oh I guess if it was found in europe it would appear to walk even more upright and have cream colored skin and be smarter….. missing link…. neanderthal man,,,, humonoid.

 

Response to Tracy #001:

TRACY: “Why do atheist say that their beliefs are not religious…and yet defend atheism religiously and fervently”

Because they are not religious. Atheism has no beliefs. Atheism is nothing more than the lack of belief in gods. Each Atheist adopts his or her own philosophy and ideology, and those are what they will defend “religiously.” Everyone defends his or her philosophies and ideologies, which is human nature. Why do you defend yours so fervently, as you have done in this email?

TRACY: “…It is not irrational to assume the possibility of a Divine Creator or intelligent design…”

If that is your view, you are certainly entitled to it. Why is it rational to believe in such? What evidence do you have to make your belief rational? If all you have is faith, then how is that rational? Faith is what allows people to believe in Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, alien abductions, unicorns, leprechauns, and other such things.

TRACY: “You say the bible does not have the answers yet there is many unanswered questions in science..ex..the missing link…”

The difference, of course, is that you cannot continue to look for the answer in the Bible. The Bible is static: no one is writing a new New Testament. You have what you have and you must make do with it.

Science, on the other hand, can continue to look, question, and continue to find more answers. Religionists used to criticize science because science did not know how lightning struck (it was angry gods) or how volcanoes erupted (it was Hades, demons, or Satan). When scientists figured it out, the religionists just changed their position to something else the scientists did not know about. This is what we call “God of the gaps.” Religionists insert their god into the gaps of knowledge, and then retreat from those gaps when science fills them in. Religionists are running out of gaps to hide their gods in.

What missing link are you talking about, anyway?

TRACY: “evolution has not been proven true nor conclusive…”

Scientists have proven evolution factual. Even Creationists now admit that microevolution occurs because they could no longer deny the overwhelming evidence. We know evolution happened and is happening. What remain is how and why evolution occurs and how much the environment actually plays in driving evolution, or is evolution purely reactionary.

TRACY: “your God bashing is not going to solve any thing…”

No one means for God-bashing to solve anything. It is a source of entertainment.

TRACY: “What about the columbine school shootings…a student was shot for having faith in God …one was shot for being black…is that what atheism teaches.”

Do you actually believe that they shot one of the students for believing in God? Did you did not hear all the news and reports that it was a fraud perpetuated by a couple of students and the parents of the child supposedly shot for saying it? The mother had to sell her book and make a profit and she had to perpetuate the story of them shooting poor Cassie for answering “yes” to the question of believing in God. Finally, some students that were in the same area came out and told the truth: that it never happened and someone made it up.

Salon Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post, and many others printed articles that retracted the Cassie Bernall story that made her mom thousands of dollars from her book. Cassie was hiding under a desk in the library praying aloud. This is how the shooter found her – because she was being noisy. A witness in the library said he was walking in the library and the noise attracted him to her. He looked under the desk, said “peek-a-boo” and then shot Cassie. He never asked her if she believed in god or not.

It is an urban legend that Christians believe on faith and faith alone because the facts show that it is false.

Both the shooters at Columbine were Christians. Both went to church with their parents and both believed in God. They were not Atheists.

TRACY: “You have a system of belief that you abide by that you govern yourself up under”

I was not aware of this. Can you please tell me what my system of belief is that I abide by? I do not know what it is.

TRACY: “…yet criticize people for governing themselves under God.”

Here is the difference. You have the right to believe whatever you want. We respect that right. We respect your right to be a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Wiccan, Satanist, Judaic, or any other religion.

However, you do not have the right for those beliefs to be respected. I think your beliefs are silly and irrational. I respect your right to believe in them, but that does not mean I respect the beliefs.

My criticism is an equal opportunity criticizer, though. I equally criticize those that believe in alien abductions, psychics, ESP, NDE, ghosts, Big Foot, unicorns, and other such nonsense. You are not special – just another silly belief among a bunch of others.

TRACY: “Atheist seem to blame God and religion for all the pain they feel…Pain is going to happen regardless that’s life…”

Atheists do not believe in God, so therefore they do not blame him for their pain in life. What Atheists assert is that pain in life is a testament to the non-existence of God.

Atheists know that pain is going to happen in a natural world governed by chance and chaos. It is a world governed by a loving and intervening god that should not have pain.

TRACY: “but taking God out of the picture is not going to solve nor prove anything…”

Considering that the most civil and moral societies on the planet are also the most Atheistic, I think that is an incorrect assertion. Taking God out of the picture would solve most of man’s problems. We fight over our religious beliefs, we kill in the name of God, we commit atrocities in the name of God, and we bicker over our religious differences (even among denominations of the same religion). Religion is a virus that plagues humankind. The sooner we get rid of it the better humanity will be.

TRACY: “We all are here but for a short while…religion for some is how they deal…”

Exactly. For those that need religion in order to feel better about their death, then more power to them. I do not need religion to feel better about my death or to get rid of fear of death. I do not need religion to make me feel better. You do. So be it and more power to you.

TRACY: “I dont see God as religion…I see a self aware entity…The ultimate scientist…controlling…laws,motion,matter, energy,life…etc.like an energy force that sets the universe turning…You see yourself.”

Evidence? Proof?

TRACY: “Why do evolutionist say that the first humans evolved from monkeys…I especially take offense of the racist undertones of having an ape like creature emerge out of africa naked and dumb with dark skin and big lips…”

Yeah, many white people have a hard time accepting that they descended from black-skinned primates. Especially Christian groups like the KKK, Christian Identity, and others. Even if there ever were an Adam & Eve, they would have been black, not white.

TRACY: “oh I guess if it was found in europe it would appear to walk even more upright and have cream colored skin and be smarter…..missing link….neanderthal man,,,,humonoid.”

Now you are just being stupid. Ignorance is one thing, but do not be stupid on purpose

 

Tracy Rebuttal #002

It is obvious that you govern yourself under the belief system { to not believe}! You live by Atheism and you worship it, Atheism is your Personal Saviour. The Columbine killers were not Christians. One of them was even wearing a shirt that said Natural Selection. So they heard the girl praying and out of hatred for God….they killed her…and you Atheist blame the girl not the killers. You truely have a double standard…I mean no standards. You can not prove to the world that there is no God by your countless lies. Science is not with out flaw that’s why some medications have been pulled from shelves. I prefer to believe in God’s Holy Bible that is the ” In your face” truth than listen to a human being with no direction nor personal convictions. That’s why Atheist kill unborn babies and call it pro-choice. You say you respect my right to believe in God and yes…There will be more power to me! But if I prayed too loud I guess you’d shoot me.

The bible says that unbelievers are willfully ignorant THAT’S being stupid on purpose. I would rather be ignorant to the things of this world than be ignorant to the things of God. I am not saying that learning on this side is not important…I myself am a college student… but I prefer to be well rounded thus I study my Bible as well as my school books..I get the best of both world’s instead of walking around closed minded and confused..I find freedom in it!

Oh and another thing…God was the furthest thing from the columbine killers minds…they were acting out of self motivation much like Atheist do. If they did go to church they probably was forced to by their parents…they were not Holy-Ghost filled born again believers…they carried guns to school not bibles…they wore long black trenchcoats and called themsevles a mafia..they did not fit in at school people were afraid of them…they set around playing secular video games of death and they loved hitler…they were not christians nor were they saved..so stop lying.

 

Response to Tracy #002:

TRACY: “You live by Atheism and you worship it, Atheism is your Personal Saviour.”

If you think that, then you have misunderstood everything I have said. I will admit that I tend to worship the intellectual capacity that humans have; unfortunately, most humans choose to ignore their intellect.

TRACY: “The Columbine killers were not Christians. One of them was even wearing a shirt that said Natural Selection. So they heard the girl praying and out of hatred for God….they killed her…and you Atheist blame the girl not the killers.”

Your assertion that the Columbine killers were not Christians is incorrect. Your assertion that they killed the girl over her religion is incorrect. You have fallen prey to an urban legend that was further perpetuated by Cassie’s mother in her moneymaking book (you know, the book she wrote to take advantage of her daughter’s death).

I do not blame the girl. The shooters are to blame for their actions. At no point did I blame the girl; I simply said that they found her because she was making noise. Witnesses in the library said they did not ask her if she believed in God. Her noise drew them to her, they looked under the table at her, they said “peek-a-boo,” and then they shot her.

For additional information, since you do not believe me, check out some of these:

The irony of this tale is that Klebold did ask one girl in the library if she believed in God. Her name was Valeen Schnurr. After Klebold asked her if she believed in God, she said, “Yes.” Then Klebold spared her life and moved on.

TRACY: “You truely have a double standard…I mean no standards.”

I do not have double standards at all. The standards I apply to myself are the same standards I apply to humanity. The key difference between you and I is that you do things in order to get into Heaven and avoid Hell. I do things because they are the right thing to do. Perhaps you can explain to me what makes your method, doing it to avoid punishment and to gain reward, more moral.

TRACY: “You can not prove to the world that there is no God by your countless lies.”

You are right that I cannot prove that a god does not exist. I am not sure why you are going on and on about my lying. I have not told a single lie since we began talking. I have been honest with you from the beginning.

I cannot prove that Zeus does not exist. I cannot prove that Allah does not exist. I cannot prove that Krishna does not exist. I cannot prove that Zoroaster does not exist. I cannot prove that Yahweh does not exist.

I can show that their existence is so unlikely that it is not worth wasting our lives worshiping something we cannot prove to be true.

TRACY: “Science is not with out flaw that’s why some medications have been pulled from shelves.”

No one has averred that science is without flaw. Anything governed by man (including religion) can be mistaken. However, the scientific method is still the best method we have to arrive at the facts and understanding of our surroundings.

The key difference between science and religion is this: science asks the question, looks for an answer, and finds the answer in the evidence, whereas religion has the answer and looks for evidence to support the answer (ignoring all contradictory evidence).

Religion has been wrong before, too (including your Bible). Remember that religion used to think the Sun revolved around the Earth. Religion used to think that the Earth was flat with “four corners” (directly from the Bible). Religion used to think that lightning was angry gods. Religion used to think that earthquakes were angered gods. Luckily, for religion, they have listened to science (even if it took many decades in some cases) and changed their views to the correct one.

If it were not for science, we would still be teaching in schools that our solar system is geocentric instead of heliocentric. We would still be teaching that the Earth is flat instead of an elliptical sphere. We would still be teaching that people get sick because of demons instead of germs.

TRACY: “I prefer to believe in God’s Holy Bible that is the ” In your face” truth than listen to a human being with no direction nor personal convictions.”

Are you saying the Bible does not have any contradictions in it? Are you saying the Bible does not have any errors in it? The Bible says that bats are birds. Do you believe that bats are birds, or do you accept the scientific fact that bats are mammals?

TRACY: “That’s why Atheist kill unborn babies and call it pro-choice.”

LOL. You are funny; I will give you that. I guess you did not realize that Christians receive the majority of abortions in the United States. That is not because Christians. The percentages are higher than one would expect based on population alone. The key factor to abortions is education and economics, but I would not expect you to know that since you only see it as a black and white issue because of your religious book.

TRACY: “You say you respect my right to believe in God and yes…There will be more power to me! But if I prayed too loud I guess you’d shoot me.”

Now you are just being asinine. If you prayed too loud, I would ask you to respect those around you and pray quietly. Remember that Jesus wants you to pray in private, too. Just read Matthew 5:5-6 and see what Jesus has to say about public prayer and praying too loud. I bet you did not even know it was there. I bet you do not know your Bible very well at all.

TRACY: “The bible says that unbelievers are willfully ignorant THAT’S being stupid on purpose.”

The Bible also says that the Bible-God hardens the hearts and minds of people in order to make them non-believers. He does it on purpose according to the Bible. That means that anyone trying to convert Atheists is going against the will of God. Did you know your Bible said that? No, I suppose you did not since I can guarantee that I know more about your Bible than you ever will.

TRACY: “I would rather be ignorant to the things of this world than be ignorant to the things of God. I am not saying that learning on this side is not important…I myself am a college student…”

You are a college student? I must admit that I find that hard to believe based on the level of ignorance you have displayed in this dialogue. I especially find it hard to believe based on the many asinine and absurd comments you have made. If you are in college, I am willing to wager that you are in a Christian college where you will not receive a real education.

TRACY: “If they did go to church they probably was forced to by their parents…they were not Holy-Ghost filled born again believers…they carried guns to school not bibles…they wore long black trenchcoats and called themsevles a mafia..they did not fit in at school people were afraid of them…they set around playing secular video games of death and they loved hitler…they were not christians nor were they saved..so stop lying.”

So what you are saying is that Christians never behave in such a manner? How does that explain the Crusades, Inquisition, witch hunts, decimation of indigenous peoples for Christ, Hitler, anti-Jewish hatred (for killing Jesus), abortion clinic bombings and shootings, the bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, and much, much more?

Once you get over the urban legend of them killing the girl because she says “yes,” you will understand that they spared the girl that actually said “yes.” You are looking at it from the wrong perspective because you believe in what is not true. The other perspective is that they were killing people that teased and taunted them. They were doing the work of God and sending to Hell early. They were continuing the work of the Crusaders, Inquisitors, Conquistadors, and everyone else that killed in the name of God.

After reading that last bit were you offended and upset? Good. Perhaps you know how Atheists feel when you level equally unwarranted and erroneous charges against them.

Stay in school a lot longer… you have much to learn.

 

Tracy Rebuttal #003

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Religion may not be the answer but even you have to admit that there are people who do good things in the name of religion and that there are people who do not abuse the bible…because people have tried to interpret the bible their own way…it has caused much confusion..so I apologize for any mud slinging…again it is up to the individual to decide…I am not trying to convert any one…I am not trying to push my religion on any one…People have their own opinions and we are all hoping we’re the right ones…Only God can say….I believe one day he will…I hear this word tolerance and I realize now that no one will tolerate a Christian person but will expect full submission of the Christian…A Christian is not expected to have any rights…but is expected to have tolerance.

 

Response to Tracy #003:

TRACY: “Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.”

You are correct. The Constitution allows everyone his or her own opinion. The Constitution allows everyone his or her own beliefs. We enjoy religious freedom in this country, which means you have the right to believe in the Bible-God, your neighbor has the right to believe in the Qur’an-God, and I have the right not to believe in any of the gods.

TRACY: “Religion may not be the answer but even you have to admit that there are people who do good things in the name of religion and that there are people who do not abuse the bible…”

Yes, there have been people that have done good things in the name of religion. That is why I do not like to play the “guilty by association card.” Every group would be guilty of such if we followed the biblical rule of “the sins of the fathers…”

The only reason I even brought up the Crusades, Inquisition, and others is that you were trying to tie Atheists together under the misconception that the Columbine shooters were Atheists. You tried to play the “guilty by association card,” and I simply reminded you that Christianity is not free from such guilt.

My point of contention of “good in the name of religion” is this: is it really a good thing (a moral thing) if it is done in order to receive a reward (Heaven) or to prevent punishment (Hell)? Is it not more moral for someone to do something simply because it is the right thing to do and not because we are afraid of going to Hell or to make sure we get to Heaven? It would seem that if an Atheist and a Christian fed the homeless at Thanksgiving, that the Atheist would be doing the more moral act because he or she is doing it because it is the right thing to do, whereas the Christian is doing it in order to look good in the eyes of his or her god.

TRACY: “…so I apologize for any mud slinging…”

Apology accepted. I return the apology for any return mud slinging that I did.

TRACY: “again it is up to the individual to decide…”

That is the beauty of religious freedom. Each of us can decide on our own whether or not we want to be religious and what religion we want to believe in. I may not agree with you theologically, and I may even think your beliefs are “silly,” but that does not mean I do not support your right to believe in what you do.

TRACY: “I hear this word tolerance and I realize now that no one will tolerate a Christian person but will expect full submission of the Christian…A Christian is not expected to have any rights…but is expected to have tolerance.”

Tolerance is the wrong word to use, anyway. I think it is more apropos to use the word acceptance. No one should be “tolerated.” It is a negative word for the person that people tolerate and the persons having to tolerate something. I would not want to know that someone hated me but was just tolerating me in order to be nice. That is not a moral thing to do. However, I think if someone accepted me for who I was, even if they disagreed with me, then that would be a much kinder thing to do – a more humanitarian way of looking at things. Do not tolerate anybody, but accept him or her for whom or what he or she is.

Christians have the same rights as everyone else. Everyone is equal under the Constitution. The history of Christianity, and its present-day course under the reign of Evangelicals like Falwell, Robertson, and Dobson, place Christianity (in the US, anyway) at odds with the Constitution. Christianity, by its theological nature, is a proselytizing and public religion. This means that most Christians, especially since they are the majority, want special rights beyond what the Constitution grants.

How many times have you heard Christians say, “But we are the majority!” Christians seem to be in the mindset that because they are the majority that they can get whatever they want, that they can have a “Christian nation.” The Constitution prevents this because everyone is equal: no matter how small or big his or her group is.

The Constitution gives us individual personal rights – not group rights. We cannot amass our individual rights in order to give ourselves more rights than those that are smaller. The Constitution provides for freedoms as long as those freedoms do not infringe upon the rights of others.

You have the right to be a Christian, but you do not have the right to violate the rights of others in order to practice your religion.

Do you understand the difference? You can believe that homosexuals are an abomination unto the Lord all you want, but you cannot use the Bible to prevent homosexuals from having the same rights as you. You can believe that Atheists are Satanists, but you cannot use the Bible to prevent Atheists from having the same rights as you.

To understand better, imagine that the United States was majority Muslim and you were among the minority religion of Christian. How would you feel if Allah were all over the money, in the Pledge of Allegiance, spoken by public officials at every public rally, and in every part of your life? You could not escape it. The Muslim majority frowned upon you and made your life miserable by ostracizing your children at school and discriminating against you at work.

If you can understand how you would feel in that situation, then you will understand how Atheists and minority religions feel on a daily basis in the United States. Luckily, we have a Constitution to protect us against an unruly majority that has no regards for the rights of the minority.

And that was the last I heard from Tacy…

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Debate 028: Scott tries to prove the Bible

Scott sent this email to any Atheist that he could. Most people deleted it, but a few responded. I decided to take the time to break Scott’s “proof” down and show it to be not only flawed and fallacious, but downright silly. I didn’t expect a response back from Scott, and I didn’t get one. However, I wanted to share with readers this email because Scott is not the originator – he’s the messenger. I don’t know who created the “proof” list, but it certainly gets around. If you get it in your inbox, please feel free to reply with my rebuttal, just make sure you give proper credit.

 

Scott’s “Proof of the Bible”:

PROOF OF THE BIBLE

Part I: Bible Prophecy

Reason For Prophecy

History was in part recorded thousands of years in advance so that people can become aware of solid evidence of the truth that is more convincing than someone rising from the dead to warn about eternity (Luke 16:31).

Isaiah 46:8-10 “Remember this, and be assured…I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done…” Rev. 19:10 tells us, “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit (purpose) of prophecy.”

Prophecy Of The Last Days

Daniel 12:4 “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the time of the end; many will go (travel) back and forth, and knowledge will greatly increase.” Increased travel and knowledge are now very evident.

Prophecy so true today is in 2nd Tim. 3:1,13. “…in the last days…evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

The Bible foretold that in the end times Jewish people would return to the land of Israel, which became once again established as a nation in 1948 following the Holocaust of World War II. In Ezekiel 38:8 we can read, “…in the latter years…the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste…”

Mt. 24:3-14 “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes (Lk. 21:11 also adds plagues). But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs (which increase in frequency and intensity as birth approaches). Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Nuclear weaponry was prophesied in Rev. 6:14 “The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up (mushroom cloud), and every mountain and island were moved…”

Global TV was suggested to exist at the end in Rev. 1:7 and 11:8-9. AIDS was fortold in Rom. 1:27.

Many have laughed at the Bible in modern times, as was foretold in 2nd Peter 3:3-4

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.'”

False Christianity of today (practiced by many) is clearly found in prophecy in such places as Jer. 23:16-22,35-36 ; 2nd Tim. 3:1-9 and 4:3 ; and 2nd Peter 2:1-3. Prophet in the Old Testament generally meant a religious speaker, and prophesy, to speak on religious matters.

Prophecy About Messiah And Its Fulfillment

  • *Mic. 5:1-2 would be from Bethlehem–Mt.2:1
  • *Hos. 11:1 would be called out of Egypt — Mt. 2:13-15
  • *Is. 40:3 ; Mal. 3:1 would be preceded by a messenger — Mt.3:1-3 ; Mk.1:2-4
  • *Is. 42:1 would have Spirit of God — Jn. 1:32
  • *Ps. 69:9 zeal would consume him–Jn 2:15-17
  • *Is. 32:3-4 would heal every kind of disease — Mt. 9:35 ; 15:30-31
  • *Is. 53:3 would be rejected — Jn. 1:11 ; 7:47-48 ; 12:37
  • *Is. 53:7 would be silent when oppressed — Mt. 27:12-14 ; Lk. 23:7-10
  • *Is. 50:6 ; Mic. 5:1 would be struck in the face, spit upon, and whipped — Mt. 26:67 ; Mk. 15:15 ; Lk. 22:63-64
  • *Dan. 9:26 would be killed — Mt. 27:38,50
  • *Is. 53:8-12 would die for sins of others–Jn. 1:29 ; 11:49-52
  • *Is. 53:12 would be numbered with transgressors — Mk. 15:27-28 ; Lk. 22:37
  • *Is. 53:9 would be with a rich man in death — Mt. 27:57-60
  • *Ps. 16:10 his body would not decay–Mk.16:6

Part II: Advanced Scientific Knowledge In The Bible

On Physical Science

The universe is expanding. Job 9:8 ; Ps. 104:2 ; Is. 40:22 ; 44:24 ; 51:13.

The nuclear strong force is explained in Col. 1:17 and Heb. 1:3.

Human DNA is much like that of grass (and other living things). Is. 51:12 “…man…is made like grass…”

Only in the past 30 years or so has it been known that there are springs at the bottoms of the oceans. Job 38:16 told of this.

On Health Science

Gen. 1:29-30 shows that God’s original diet for people was vegetarian, now known to be beneficial. In line with this, God told Moses that the Jews were not to eat fat (Lv. 3:17). And they were not to eat those meats now known more unhealthy (Lv. 11:1-47 and Dt. 14:3-20).

The Jews were directed in sanitation and quarantine, although germs were not discovered until around 1890. Lv. 6:28 ; 13:45-59 ; 15:1-13.

Part III: Archaeology Has Proven The Bible

Much evidence has been found by archaeologists that supports the accounts written in The Bible. For example, Noah’s Ark has been discovered (Gen. chapters 6 through 8). You can see pictures of the ark and documentation in the book The Lost Ship Of Noah… by Charles Berlitz. Remains of one of the cities destroyed by fire and brimstone in Gen. 18:20 through 19:28 have been found– ashes and soot in the forms of buildings. Also chariot wheels and parts have been found at the bottom of The Red Sea (Exodus 14). The latter items are in materials by Dr. John Morris of The Institute For Creation Research.

Part IV: Suggested Info.

OT Verses

*Gen. 19:1-29 *Dt. 18:10-12 ; Lv. 20:6,27 ; Is. 47:11-15 *Dt. chapter 28 *1st Sam. 15:22-23 *Pr. 16:18 *Ps. 51:17 ; 34:19 ; 111:10 *Is. 5:14,20-22 ; chap. 55 ; 57:15 *Jer. 8:4 ; 31:21 *Mic. 6:8

NT Verses (Some OT)

*Mt. chapters 7 , 13 , and 25*Mt. 5:7 ; 9:13 ; see Hos. 6:6 *Mt. 5:6:25-34 *Mt. 6:14-15 ; 9:13 ; 18:1-7 ; 19:29-30 ; 22:35-40 *Mt.23:13,15,24,33 ; 28:18-20 *Mk. 16:16-18 *Lk. 6:46 ; 21:34-36 *Jn. 8:24 ; 14:16,21,26 ; 16:7 *Ac. 5:32 ; Heb. 5:9 *Ro. 10:17 ; 11:21-22 ;13:8-10 *1st Jn. 1:9 ; 2:3-5,29 ; 3:15,17,24 ; 5:3 *1st Cor. 6:9-10 ; 10:1-14 ; 12:1-11 *Gal. 5:13-23 *Eph. 2:8-9 ; 5:5-6 *2nd Thess. 1:7-10 *Titus 1:16 *1st Tim. 1:6-10 ; 4:1-4 ; 6:3-5 *2nd Tim. 2:14-26 *Heb. 6:4-8 ; 10:26-31,36-39 ; chap. 11 ; 12:14 *James 2:13-26 *1st Pet. 1:15-16 ; 5:5-10 *2nd Peter *Jude *Rev. 2:21-23 ; 3:1 ; 16:15 ; 20:11-15 ; chaps. 21 and 22

Rev. 9:21 predicted drug abuse in the end times. The word sorceries there is English for the Greek word pharmakeia, which also translates as pharmacy. (Notice how similar.)

The same word is translated as witchcraft in Gal. 5:20, and verses 19-21 reveal what God thinks about doing such things.

On abortion: About John The Baptist, Lk. 1:15 told “…he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.” Then consider Jer. 1:4-5 “Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…”‘

About the marks of the beast and related info: read Rev. 13:16-18 ; 14:9-12 ; and 20:4. The only escape from that time of testing (see Rev. 3:10) besides passing on before it arrives is the rapture, found in Zeph. 2:3 ; 1st Cor. 15:50-52; and 1st Thess. 4:15-17.

Concerning learning to live the Christian life: You should not trust ministers or church people to give you sound Biblical advice and instruction. Many of them are very deceived, as you can plainly see if you carefully examine the verses mentioned in this writing. You need to study The Bible yourself. And every believer is to be baptized, if they have not been, in keeping with Mk. 16:16.

I Recommend:

*The book The Late Great Planet Earth and the video Evidences Of The End Time, both on Bible prophecy, by Hal Lindsey. *The book and tape, Dreams And Visions From God, by Dumitru Duduman — address Hand Of Help, 1012 S 3rd St, Watertown WI 53094. *Two books by Mary Baxter. A Divine Revelation Of Hell (partly also on tape), and A Divine Revelation Of Heaven. These are about tours of hell and heaven Jesus took her on. *Books, etc., by Kenneth Hagin. *The book We Saw Heaven, by Roberts Liardon. *The Bible on tape, CD, and DVD.

This may freely be copied, put in other forms and mediums, translated, and distributed.

 

Response to Scott’s “Proof”:

Thank you for sending your “proof of the Bible” to Atheism Awareness. Please allow me to completely dismantle your so-called proof…

PROOFS: “History was in part recorded thousands of years in advance so that people can become aware of solid evidence of the truth that is more convincing than someone rising from the dead to warn about eternity (Luke 16:31).”

You are right that someone rising from the dead to warn about eternity is not that convincing. There have been many resurrected gods throughout human history – Jesus is not a unique claim when it comes to resurrection.

Luke 16:31 states, “And he said unto him, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Of course this isn’t a prophecy at all, since an unknown author wrote Luke after the fact. You can’t write something after it happens and call it prophecy.

PROOFS: “Daniel 12:4 “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the time of the end; many will go (travel) back and forth, and knowledge will greatly increase.” Increased travel and knowledge are now very evident.”

This is not a prophecy; it is a general statement that apologists have placed their own views upon in order to make it fit their distorted view.

Increased knowledge and travel became available long before now from the time this was written. This statement could be applied to any era after the book of Daniel was written. What about when the “horseless carriage” was invented – were the Christians of the time insisting that it was the end of times? What happened when the steam ship was invented or airplanes? What happened at the dawn of the Space Age? To say that this statement refers to this time is absolutely ridiculous, at best. What if it is describing when we venture into space and go beyond our solar system?

Of course if you read chapter 12 of Daniel in its entirety, and you consider it to be prophecy, then it is failed prophecy. Daniel 12:12 states, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” This means that Daniel and those in the river around him thought the end times were coming 1,335 days later, which is roughly 3.6 years later. That never happened, so if you consider Daniel to be a prophet, then you must consider him to be a failed prophet or a charlatan.

PROOFS: “Prophecy so true today is in 2nd Tim. 3:1,13. “…in the last days…evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

You mention this as if skepticism and non-belief are a new phenomenon. Every religion ever conceived by man, including Christianity, has made statements to this effect – that people will scoff and not believe the followers of the religion. The entire third chapter of II Timothy is nothing but a diatribe against those that refuse to believe in Jesus. It is certainly not prophecy.

Did Timothy mean when the Romans scoffed and persecuted Christians? Did Timothy mean when the Ottoman Empire encroached upon Christian villages across southern Europe? Did Timothy mean when Stalin killed millions? Perhaps Timothy was referring to the Enlightenment Age when Naturalism and Darwinism were on the rise and Deism instead of Christianity was more popular because it was the better intellectual position at the time.

You can attribute II Timothy chapter 3 to any era in history since the book was written. It is not prophetic at all.

Perhaps now is a good time to go over the criteria for a prophecy to be valid? A prophecy must fit five criteria in order for it to be considered valid. It should be noted that not a single so-called prophecy in the Bible meets all five criteria and the majority of them don’t even meet one or two of them. Let’s look at the five criteria:

1. The prophecy has to be clear and concise. It has to be detailed enough that it cannot be fulfilled by a large group of events. The prophecies that you have provided thus far fail this minimum criterion – they are vague and could have indicated many eras and times in the past (and future) since the books were written.

2. The prophecy must predict something that is unusual or unique in nature. In other words, you can’t make a prophecy about a woman having a baby, since most women will have a baby in their lifetime. Again, the prophecies that you have mentioned thus far fail this minimum criterion – they mention something that is commonplace among all religions: non-believers and skeptics.

3. The prophecy has to be made before the event. This would seem rather obvious, but a lot of prophecies are made after-the-fact and then the prophet insists he or she saw this coming beforehand. If that’s the case, they forgot to warn the rest of us ahead of time.

4. The prophecy cannot be about something that can be predicted with an educated guess. Someone that predicted war would break out in the balkans was not a prophet, but was putting the obvious pieces together to make an educated guess about the turnabout of events.

5. The prophecy cannot be staged or manipulated in order to achieve its fulfillment by persons aware of the prophecy. At the millennium celebrations in Jerusalem several Christian groups were arrested for plotting to bomb the temple in order to fulfill so-called biblical prophecy. It’s not a fulfillment if the prophecy is purposely brought about. Luckily, the Israeli security defense forces were on top of the Christian terrorists and stopped their plot.

PROOFS: “The Bible foretold that in the end times Jewish people would return to the land of Israel, which became once again established as a nation in 1948 following the Holocaust of World War II. In Ezekiel 38:8 we can read, “…in the latter years…the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste…””

Every nation or peoples that have been displaced have predicted their return to their home nation and lands. The Native American prophets predicted a return to their lands after the white man decimated their lands, people, and environment. Many Native Americans said the prophecies came true when the Federal Government allotted Reservations. If that’s fulfillment of prophecy, then I’m Santa Claus.

Let’s play along for a second and pretend the prophecy is legitimate. If so, then it is a failed prophecy. Ezekiel 38:8 states, “they shall dwell safely all of them.” This is certainly not the case. Israel has been involved in many wars since the founding of the nation in 1948. Israel is constantly under attack from surrounding nations and insurgents within the country.

The verse also says, “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword…” To say that almost 2,000 years is the “latter years” is a far stretch of the imagination. The author of the book is saying that God told him he would be visited after many days (not years) and that in his latter years (emphasis on his), the nation of Israel would be restored by the sword. To be truly prophetic the author should have said exactly how long it was going to take. By making the statement so vague, the prophecy would be considered fulfilled by those wishful thinking followers at any time in the future that Jews returned to Israel.

Here’s what I can’t figure out, anyway. Why would God promise the Jews a return to Israel in safety if they rejected Jesus as the Messiah? Wouldn’t God have known that the Jews would reject the claims of Jesus being the Messiah?

Also, the Jews returned to Israel long before 1948. After all, Jewish priests and the Jewish King Herod sent Jesus to Pilate, not the Romans. The Temple wasn’t destroyed until 70 CE.

PROOFS: “Mt. 24:3-14 “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ […]”

This section is very vague indeed, and certainly does not meet the criteria of a prophecy. Many times and eras could have fit this vague so-called prophecy. What about the Crusades? Did not the Crusades fit this prophecy? What about WWI and WWII?

One thing Christians often forget is that Jesus contradicted himself in Matthew 24. Matthew 24:24 states, “Verily, I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” This theme is repeated is Mark 13:30, and Luke 21:32.

The disciples of Jesus thought that the Kingdom of God was coming during their time. They had no idea that 2,000 some odd years later we’d still be waiting for the failed prophesy of Jesus.

PROOFS: “Nuclear weaponry was prophesied in Rev. 6:14 “The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up (mushroom cloud), and every mountain and island were moved…””

Talk about a stretch of the imagination! I’m not sure what version of the Bible you’re using, but almost all the translations I have access to do not say that the sky was split. Instead, they say that the heavens receded or departed. For example:KJV: “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

  • MKJV: “Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.”
  • SV: “And the heaven was removed as a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
  • DBY: “And the heaven was removed as a book rolled up, and every mountain and island were removed out of their places.”
  • BEB: “And the heaven was taken away like the roll of a book when it is rolled up; and all the mountains and islands were moved out of their places.”
  • WEB: “The sky was removed as a scroll when it is rolled up. Every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
  • YNG: “and heaven departed as a scroll rolled up, and every mountain and island — out of their places they were moved;”
  • DRB: “And the heaven departed as a book folded up: and every mountain, and the islands were moved out of their places.”
  • WBT: “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and isle were moved out of their places.”
  • WEY: “The sky too passed away, as if a scroll were being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.”
  • LAT: “et caelum recessit sicut liber involutus et omnis mons et insulae de locis suis motae sunt”

As you can see, all these translations mention nothing about the sky splitting. What Bible are you using? The fact remains that no mention of nuclear weapons is made and even if the translation of sky splitting were correct, it would still not suggest nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapon does not split the sky and a mushroom cloud looks nothing like a rolled-up scroll. If your Bible-God were the know-it-all that Christians claim, one would think that he could at least be more specific. Perhaps he could have mentioned the splitting of the atom or even mention hydrogen. I’d be impressed if he said the sky would be filled with mushrooms.

PROOFS: “Global TV was suggested to exist at the end in Rev. 1:7 and 11:8-9. AIDS was fortold (sic) in Rom. 1:27.“

Revelation 1:7 states, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

Are you serious? This is not in any way suggestive of global television at all. Early non-scientific Christians thought the Earth was flat and that across the Earth you could see anything that occurred at the highest point. This is emphasized by several Biblical verses stating that climbing to the tallest mountain you will be able to see the entire Earth and if you climb the highest tree you can see the ends of the Earth (Matthew 4:8, Daniel 4:10-11 as examples).

If the Earth is flat and someone is descending from the clouds, then every eye could see it. I find it amazing the disservice that Christians do to their Bible-God by stretching verses like this to fit their views. If your Bible-God were truly omniscient then he would have been a bit more specific. If God knew about television ahead of time then why didn’t he mention it exactly?

Romans 1:27 states, “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

You think this says something about AIDS? According to Coffman’s Commentary, this is not the case. Coffman states, “The horrible lusts mentioned here, burning with ever greater and greater intensity, descending constantly to lower and lower levels of uncleanness, and, at last, leaving the sinner consumed by an insatiable lust, cause this terminal condition to be one of utter pitiableness (sic) and misery. This is what is meant by the statement that such persons receive “in themselves” the reward justly due their conduct.”

Gill’s Concordia says that what they receive in themselves is “sin,” that God punishes sin with sin.

The Wesley Commentary states, “Their idolatry being punished with that unnatural lust, which was as horrible a dishonor to the body, as their idolatry was to God.”

The JFB Commentary states, “Alluding to the many physical and moral ways in which, under the righteous government of God, vice was made self-avenging.”

Biblical scholars and commentators disagree with your assessment completely. Each stated that the recompense mentioned was to increase the lust and reward the sin with sin. They even went so far as to mention a saying of the Jews, “One commandment draws on another, so one transgression draws on another; for the reward of the commandment is the commandment, and the reward of transgression is transgression.”

PROOFS: “Many have laughed at the Bible in modern times, as was foretold in 2nd Peter 3:3-4.”

II Peter 3:3-4 states, “(3) this first knowing, that there shall come in the latter end of the days scoffers, according to their own desires going on, (4) and saying, `Where is the promise of his presence? for since the fathers did fall asleep, all things so remain from the beginning of the creation.”

As we’ve already discussed, every religion ever created by man has said that scoffers and skeptics would come and religious leaders tried to prepare their followers for this. You can’t form a religion without having non-believers. Not everyone will buy the bologna being dished out by followers of a religion or the religion’s priests.

Again, this so-called prophecy fails to meet any of the criteria for a true prophecy. The statement is so vague that any time could have been attributed to it. The Enlightenment Age was a good candidate. So were the Renaissance and Industrial Age and other times of increased knowledge. Increased knowledge increases skepticism. As humans increase their knowledge they are less susceptible to religious mumbo-jumbo.

PROOFS: “False Christianity of today (practiced by many) is clearly found in prophecy in such places as Jer. 23:16-22,35-36 ; 2nd Tim. 3:1-9 and 4:3 ; and 2nd Peter 2:1-3. Prophet in the Old Testament generally meant a religious speaker, and prophesy, to speak on religious matters.”

Jeremiah 23:15-16 states, “(15) Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. (16) Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.”

This is a clear statement from Yahweh that prophets are shams. Yahweh is telling his people to not listen to prophets. Yahweh is speaking in the present tense, so this is not a prophecy. Yahweh is not warning about prophets in the future, but prophets existing at the time.

Yahweh also only mentions prophets from Jerusalem. This means you have to trust any prophet from a place other than Jerusalem. This of course is a testament to the flat-earth view of the writers of the OT and NT. Jerusalem was the center for them and they had no idea that there were other continents and peoples on the planet. If they did they would not have been specific to prophets from Jerusalem, but prophets on the whole world. This is just one more example of the lack of omniscience on the part of the Bible-God, and the ignorance of the book’s writers.

Now let’s continue on to your so-called prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.

PROOFS: “Mic. 5:1-2 would be from Bethlehem–Mt.2:1”

Micah 5:1-2 states, “(1) Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. (2) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

How come Mark and John don’t mention the birth of Jesus? The virgin birth of Jesus, the Three Wise Men, the laying in the manger, the lack of space at the inn, etc., are major themes of Christmas, yet only two of the gospel writers seem to know anything about it.

Of course Mark later says that Jesus came from Nazareth (Mark 1:9), “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.”

The author of the gospel titled “Mark” was the first book written and he has no idea about the virgin birth and no clue about Bethlehem. Why is that?

Anywhere from 5 to 20 years later (depending on what dating of Matthew you accept) Matthew has to place Jesus in Bethlehem to match the OT prophecies. Matthew also puts into writing the so-called Davidic lineage in order to match the other prophecy about the new Messiah being of the line of David. Matthew is the first apologist making stuff up to fit prophecy. Of course since Matthew was written somewhere around 85-90 CE, this makes sense. By this time there has been enough scoffing and skepticism (as well as competition from other virgin birth and resurrection religions), that Matthew has no choice but to worm things around to appeal to the Jews, which ultimately failed, and to the Gentiles.

Of course if Micah is a true prophecy then it is a failed prophecy. Jesus was not the ruler in Israel. Jesus lasted a few years and was killed – never having landed the position of “ruler of Israel.” If the prophecy in Micah were god-breathed, then you would think that it would be accurate and say that Israel would reject Jesus as the Messiah because he didn’t meet the prophecy criteria as interpreted by the Jewish high priests.

Next comes Luke, who writes after Mark and Matthew. Luke realizes that Mark forgot about the birth but did mention that Jesus came from Nazareth and that Matthew just mentions Bethlehem. How does Luke resolve this contradiction? Luke resolves it by having Joseph pull Mary and the Donkey “out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem” (Luke 2:4).

Then comes John, who wrote between 90 and 100 CE and he didn’t know a thing about a virgin birth or a prophecy about a birthplace – he’s silent on the issue.

PROOFS: “Hos. 11:1 would be called out of Egypt — Mt. 2:13-15”

Hosea 11:1 is not a reference to Jesus in any manner whatsoever. Hosea 11:1 states, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”

This is a reference to the Jews. The “called my son out of Egypt” statement is a reference to the removal of the Jews from bondage at the hands of the Egyptians through the miracles of Moses. When God demanded Israel’s removal from the Pharaoh’s bondage, he referred to them as “his son,” “his children,” and “first born” (Exodus 3:10 for example).

The writer of Matthew obviously misunderstood this as well if he is referring to Hosea 11:1, which of course we cannot be sure of since he does not leave us any footnotes (what a convenience to apologists).

PROOFS: “Is. 40:3 ; Mal. 3:1 would be preceded by a messenger — Mt.3:1-3 ; Mk.1:2-4”

Malachi 3:1 states, “See, I am sending my servant, and he will make ready the way before me; and the Lord, whom you are looking for, will suddenly come to his Temple; and the angel of the agreement, in whom you have delight, see, he is coming, says the Lord of armies.”

Thanks to the complete vagueness of this passage, you can attribute anything you want to it. If Jesus is the Son of God, then why call him a servant? Why separate Lord from Jesus by referring to them separately and calling Jesus a servant? And if Jesus is the Messiah, then how come he did not come as the Lord of Armies? The Jews, based on all the unfulfilled prophecies rejected Jesus because he did not come as the Lord of Armies wielding a sword to free the Jews from oppression (just one reason Jesus is considered a false Messiah by the Jews).

In both the Matthew and Mark reference you give, they refer to this Messiah as a “servant.” This is hardly the title one would expect of the Son of God, a part of the Trinity, one born of a virgin that resurrects to heaven and will have a Second Coming.

Is Jesus the messenger or the Messiah? What messenger precedes Jesus? If Jesus is the messenger, then who is coming after him? If Jesus is nothing more than a messenger, then what was the point of the crucifixion? Dying for the sins of humanity is not something one would expect of a lowly messenger of God.

PROOFS: “Is. 42:1 would have Spirit of God — Jn. 1:32”

Isaiah 42:1 states, “See my servant, whom I am supporting, my loved one, in whom I take delight: I have put my spirit on him; he will give the knowledge of the true God to the nations.” John 1:32 states, “And John gave this witness, saying, I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove and resting on him.”

I find it rather amusing that you chose this verse. Ancient papyri of magic cults use a similar metaphor to describe receiving the spirit in order to become a god. The papyri describe how the heavens open up and the spirit comes down in the form of a bird. This is another fine example of how Christianity stole from ancient Pagan religions in order to more easily sell itself to the Pagan populations. Of course another theory proposed by a few biblical scholars is that Jesus was the leader of a magic cult, which would explain some of the cross-referenced metaphors, and would require the blending of ancient Jewish myths into the story.

Again, this so-called prophecy is so vague that anyone can fulfill it. How many times have we heard religious believers proclaim that they are feeling the spirit or have received the spirit of God when in a church-induced religious frenzy?

PROOFS: “Ps. 69:9 zeal would consume him–Jn 2:15-17”

Psalms 69:9 states, “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” 69:1 says specifically that this Psalm is a song to David – not to the coming Messiah. The “zeal of thine house” is the current house of David – not a future generation that the gospel writers can’t agree on when it comes to lineage.

If the gospel writers remembered, “that it was written,” (John 2:15-17) then they remembered it wrong. The Psalm is not a prophecy, but a song to David. The house in Psalms is the house of David. The house in John is the Temple, where merchants are selling doves.

Again, how can this be prophecy? To say that the new Messiah will be filled with zeal is not prophetic; it is an educated guess. Any self-proclaimed Messiah would be full of zeal to spread his or her new religion. Saying someone will be zealous is not prophecy at all. Anyone could fit that description. Of course the Psalm in question is not a prophecy, anyway.

PROOFS: “Is. 32:3-4 would heal every kind of disease — Mt. 9:35 ; 15:30-31”

Isaiah 32:3-4 states, “And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.”

How is this healing? Those that CAN see will still see. Those that CAN hear will still hear. Of course stammering people are ready to speak plainly. Isn’t that a bit obvious?

This passage is based on Isaiah 32:1, which states, “See, a king will be ruling in righteousness, and chiefs will give right decisions.” Jesus was never King of Jerusalem. This is another reason the Jews believed Jesus was a false Messiah, because he did not fulfill the prophecy. The Messiah was to come with a sword, would become King of Israel, and lead the Jews out of submission. The new Messiah would not be divine, but would be a prophet in line with Moses.

Matthew 9:35 states, “And Jesus went about all the towns and small places, teaching in their Synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and making well all sorts of disease and pain.” Matthew 15:30-31 states, “And there came to him great numbers of people having with them those who were broken in body, or blind, or without voice, or wounded, or ill in any way, and a number of others; they put them down at his feet and he made them well: So that the people were full of wonder when they saw that those who had no voice were talking, the feeble were made strong, those whose bodies were broken had the power of walking, and the blind were able to see: and they gave glory to the God of Israel.”

I can see where this would inspire Christians that do not believe the mythological aspects of the gospels, but I can’t see where this relates back to Isaiah 32:3-4, which makes no reference whatsoever to diseases.

PROOFS: “Is. 53:3 would be rejected — Jn. 1:11 ; 7:47-48 ; 12:37”

I find it rather strange that Isaiah 53:3 is talking in the present tense and past tense. Isn’t prophecy supposed to be about the future? Apologists make this out to be a prophecy about the persecution of Jesus, but I see nothing in there to lead me to that conclusion other than vague insinuations. The passage, in every translation I read, is in past tense, talking about someone in the past that suffered these things. Nowhere is there anything specific about crucifixion, whipping, being turned in to the Romans by the Jewish priests, carrying a cross, or anything of that nature.

Vagueness is the rule when it comes to biblical prophecy because through vagueness the apologists and wishful thinkers can manipulate passages to fit whatever they want it to fit. We see this with every prophet’s prophecies. Nostradamus’ passages are manipulated every year by different people in order to fit the times and events of their choosing. Isn’t it odd that the passages always seem to fit times and events that help support their own beliefs?

PROOFS: “Is. 53:7 would be silent when oppressed — Mt. 27:12-14 ; Lk. 23:7-10”

Isaiah 53:7 states, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

Notice again that we’re still talking about a past event in Isaiah – this happened to someone beforehand – this is not a prophecy. If it was, what is with the reference to a dumb sheep? Do you support the idea in Isaiah 53:7 that Jesus (we’ll play along for a second and pretend this is real prophecy) was a dumb sheep going dumbly to the shears?

PROOFS: “Is. 50:6 ; Mic. 5:1 would be struck in the face, spit upon, and whipped — Mt. 26:67 ; Mk. 15:15 ; Lk. 22:63-64”

Isaiah 50:6 states, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Micah 5:1 states, “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.”

Again we see that all the translations give these passages in past tense. Again we see total vagueness that allows us to attribute these passages to any event we desire to.

PROOFS: “Dan. 9:26 would be killed — Mt. 27:38,50”

Daniel 9:26 states, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”

If Daniel is a prophet then he sucks at it. According to apologists, and a simple timeline made by using the gospels, Jesus began his ministry around 30. It took more than two weeks before he was executed. Also, Jesus didn’t destroy Israel nor did he ravage us with flood (did the writer of Daniel forget about the promise made through the rainbow?). At least this passage is not in past tense.

Here we see the selective reading of Christians to justify their mythology. They choose to accept the part “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself,” saying that is a reference to the crucifixion and death for the sins of mankind. But they choose to ignore the rest of the verse, which is clearly wrong on every account. I would expect 100% accuracy from an all-knowing God that “breathed” or “inspired” scripture.

PROOFS: “Is. 53:8-12 would die for sins of others–Jn. 1:29 ; 11:49-52”

Isaiah 53:8 states, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”

Jesus was in prison? When was Jesus incarcerated? Again we see the talking in past tense about an event that already happened.

You know, one thing we’re missing here is the fact that anyone can go back 60 or 80 years after the fact and add stuff to the story to fit ancient prophecies about the event. Anyone can say that Jesus fulfilled prophecy from the OT, but proving it is another thing. You can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible. It’s easy to go back now and pick and choose the passages we want to justify our beliefs, but that doesn’t validate the beliefs at all.

This is made especially more difficult by the glaring fact that the writers of the gospels were not witnesses to the events and wrote their books between 40 and 90 years after the events occurred. We have to assume that the writers did not manipulate the story in order to justify their own views, both politically and socially, and we have to assume that the writers did not add details in order to make their character more believable as a Messiah based on the Hebrew Torah and Tanakh.

PROOFS: “Is. 53:9 would be with a rich man in death — Mt. 27:57-60”

Isaiah 53:9 states, “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death: because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”

The rich is a reference to the greedy and sinful (easier for a laden camel to enter the eye of the needle than a rich man to enter the gates of heaven (Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, and Luke 18:25)). The BEB translation states, “And they put his body into the earth with sinners, and his last resting-place was with the evil-doers, though he had done no wrong, and no deceit was in his mouth.” The use of “evil-doers” in place of rich is more apropos considering the NT’s stance on the rich in many verses.

The verse is not saying that he would be dead in the presence of a rich man, but that he would make his grave with a rich man, or evil-doer, a man less likely to get into heaven than a camel through the eye of the needle. Joseph of Arimathaea was neither dead nor buried with Jesus.

PROOFS: “Ps. 16:10 his body would not decay–Mk.16:6”

Psalms 16:10 states, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption [KJV].” The BEB translation states, “For you will not let my soul be prisoned in the underworld; you will not let your loved one see the place of death.”

Psalm 16, if read in its entirety, is not a prophecy at all. At least it does not read like one. It reads like a personal confession and plea by the writer. Regardless, again we see a failure to meet any of the criteria for a prophecy.

Now let’s go on to your claim that the Bible is scientifically accurate.

PROOFS: “The universe is expanding. Job 9:8 ; Ps. 104:2 ; Is. 40:22 ; 44:24 ; 51:13.”

Psalms 104:2 states, “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.” Job 9:8 states, “Stretching out the heavens by Himself, And treading on the heights of the sea.” Isaiah 40:22 states, “He who is sitting on the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants [are] as grasshoppers, He who is stretching out as a thin thing the heavens, And spreadeth them as a tent to dwell in.” Isaiah 44:24 states, “Thus said Jehovah, thy redeemer, And thy framer from the womb: `I [am] Jehovah, doing all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself, Spreading out the earth — who [is] with Me?” Isaiah 51:13 states, “And thou dost forget Jehovah thy maker, Who is stretching out the heavens, and founding earth, And thou dost fear continually all the day, Because of the fury of the oppressor, As he hath prepared to destroy. And where [is] the fury of the oppressor?”

Notice that stretched is used in the past tense? That means that this verse does not support an expanding universe at all. If it did support an expanding universe it would say stretching – not stretched.

Regardless, we see a reference to the heavens being a curtain. A curtain is a single piece of cloth that is stretched over something, such as tent or dome-shaped firmament.

The circle referred to in Isaiah 40:22 is also telling. A circle is not a sphere. A circle is flat – a sphere is round, like a ball. A curtain is a flat item that covers a specific area. A tent is pitched on a flat area – not around a sphere. The heavens can only be a tent if the Earth is flat. Otherwise, it’s not like a tent if it is stretched over a sphere. The Isaiah passage confirms that the men that wrote the books of the OT thought the Earth was flat.

PROOFS: “The nuclear strong force is explained in Col. 1:17 and Heb. 1:3.”

Colossians 1:17 states, “and himself is before all, and the all things in him have consisted.” Perhaps you can explain why you think this verse has anything to do with the Strong Nuclear Force.

Hebrews 1:3 states, “who being the brightness of the glory, and the impress of His subsistence, bearing up also the all things by the saying of his might — through himself having made a cleansing of our sins, sat down at the right hand of the greatness in the highest.”

I fail to see how you can tie the Strong Nuclear Force into these verses. The job, if you will, of the Strong Nuclear Force, is to hold together the subatomic particles (protons and neutrons) of the nucleus (simply put, anyway). Where in the Bible is there any mention of protons, neutrons, nucleons, or atoms?

PROOFS: “Human DNA is much like that of grass (and other living things). Is. 51:12 “…man…is made like grass…””

Isaiah 51:12 states, “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass.” The BEB translation states, “I, even I, am your comforter: are you so poor in heart as to be in fear of man who will come to an end, and of the son of man who will be like grass?” The Darby translation states, “I, [even] I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou fearest a man that shall die, and the son of man that shall become as grass.” The SV translation states, “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou art afraid of man that shall die, and of the son of man that shall be made as grass.”

Being made like glass is not what is being said. The phrase, throughout the translations is “made as grass” or “will be like grass.” The JFB Concordia tells us that “be made as grass” means to “wither as grass” (reference Isaiah 40:6-7).

The cross-reference is clearly an indication that the phrase “made as grass” is a reference to the dying process and to death.

PROOFS: “Only in the past 30 years or so has it been known that there are springs at the bottoms of the oceans. Job 38:16 told of this.”

Job 38:16 states, “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?” You forgot about Proverbs 8:28, which states, “When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep.”

According to the CCE the phrase is more likely “fountains beneath the sea,” not springs. It also elaborates, “Rather, “the inmost recesses;” literally, “that which is only found by searching,” the deep caverns of the ocean. The John Wesley Explanatory Notes (WES) goes further and says, “Springs – Hebrew for “the tears;” the several springs out of which the waters of the sea flow as tears do from the eyes.”

We’ve heard of these underwater springs from which all water flows before in Genesis 7:11, “…on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.” The “fountains of the deep” or “springs” are references to the Noachian flood. Of course we know from the water cycle that the oceans are not generated from fountains in the deep. The thermal springs discovered with deep submersibles are not water sources, but heated ocean water that has seeped below the sedimentary layer, heated by magma-warmed rocks and then rises as it is heated through thermal vents. These aren’t springs, but regurgitating vents. They are not sources of water, but a place where water is spat back out into the ocean.

The reference to springs is not a reference to thermal vents nor is it to underwater springs where fresh groundwater seeps into the ocean. The reference is to the so-called springs that burst forth with water to cause the Noachian flood along with the opening of heaven to cascade water upon the earth and flood it – killing all inhabitants save a single family led by a drunkard.

The reference made in Proverbs is a reference back to the Noachian flood as well. The strengthening of the “fountains of the deep” was necessary to prevent another Noachian flood, as the Bible-God promised and created the rainbow to sanctify his promise never to destroy all of humanity again.

Now let’s go to the part where you say the Bible supports good health science.

PROOFS: “Gen. 1:29-30 shows that God’s original diet for people was vegetarian, now known to be beneficial. In line with this, God told Moses that the Jews were not to eat fat (Lv. 3:17). And they were not to eat those meats now known more unhealthy (Lv. 11:1-47 and Dt. 14:3-20).”

Genesis 1:29-30 states, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

So, according to the Bible, all the animals on the Earth that have sharp teeth for tearing into flesh are supposed to eat the flesh of fruit – not the flesh of prey. All the niches for predators are a fantasy? If God created a bunch of vegetarian animals, then why did he give them the physical characteristics of a hunter? So much for “intelligent” in the ever-popular phrase “intelligent design argument.”

Of course God changed his mind and in Genesis 9:3 decided that a omnivorous diet would be better suited, “Every living and moving thing will be food for you; I give them all to you as before I gave you all green things.”

Leviticus 3:17 states, “It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.”

Of course the entire chapter is talking about a sacrifice of a goat – not all animals. The chapter explains exactly how to kill it and what parts have to be cut out before it is placed on the fire to make an odor pleasing to the Lord. Leviticus 3:16 states, “…all the fat is the Lord’s.” Follow this up with Leviticus 3:17 and it makes sense – the fat of the goat is not to be eaten because, as the previous verses states, the fat of the goat is to be burnt as an offering to the Lord.

The ban on eating blood was elaborated on at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:29, which states, “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”

We can see that this aversion to blood is directly related to sacrificial animals (meats offered to idols).

The listing of cud-chewing and cloven-footed animals that they can and cannot eat in Leviticus 11:1-47 is ludicrous, at best. Rabbit is bad for you?

They also had an aversion to water-dwelling animals that didn’t have scales and fins (anything other than fish). I guess I can’t blame them – I’m not into slimy water creatures like squid, octopus, and sea cucumbers, either. It’s disgusting looking – regardless of how good it is for you. It’s all about texture. ;-)

Funny, but Deuteronomy 14:3-20, while containing a repetition of Leviticus 11:1-47, also contains a scientific flaw. Deuteronomy 14:18 states that bats are birds.

PROOFS: “The Jews were directed in sanitation and quarantine, although germs were not discovered until around 1890. Lv. 6:28 ; 13:45-59 ; 15:1-13.”

Leviticus 6:28 needs to be stated in conjunction with verse 27. Leviticus 6:27-28 states, “Whatever shall touch the flesh of it shall be holy; and when there is sprinkled of the blood of it on any garment, you shall wash that whereon it was sprinkled in a holy place. But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken; and if it be boiled in a brazen vessel, it shall be scoured, and rinsed in water.”

Here again we see the aversion to blood – not sanitary requirements, but a religious ritual regarding the spilling of blood on garments worn in a holy place. This has nothing to do with germs or sanitation, and everything to do with getting blood (as discussed already regarding their aversion to it) getting on any garment that is to be worn in a holy place. In other words, it’s about wearing clean clothes to church.

Leviticus 13:45-49 is not adequate. You cannot dismiss the rest of the rules for lepers. You need to quote Leviticus 13:45-59. This is far from sanitary and clearly they are the rules of a society that is not aware of germs and contagions. The have the priest hide the garment for seven days and then examine it closely, and then simply wash it if it hasn’t turned a certain color is not the best advice for anything dealing with lepers. Telling the priest to burn the garment after it has sat for seven days in a spot where it can breed is hardly what I would call sanitary advice. The entire passage of leper law for priests is so far from sanitary that it makes me cringe when I read it – to think about all those hapless priests that developed leprosy from exposing themselves to a super-gestated batch of leper clothing. Normally leprosy is considered mildly infectious, but under the conditions established in Leviticus, it can be highly contagious. The actions of the priests under the Leper Laws helped spread leprosy – not contain it.

Now let’s move on to your so-called archaeological proof of the Bible.

PROOFS: “For example, Noah’s Ark has been discovered (Gen. chapters 6 through 8). You can see pictures of the ark and documentation in the book The Lost Ship Of Noah… by Charles Berlitz.”

Are you kidding me? Do you know who Charles Berlitz is? Charles Berlitz has written “authoritative” books on the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, the Philadelphia Experiment, the Roswell Incident, and the Dragon’s Triangle to name a few. Berlitz is the author of such great titles as “World of the Odd and Awesome” and “World of Incredible but True.”

The Ark has not been discovered. Many expeditions to Mount Ararat in Turkey have come up with nothing. Satellite imagery has produced nothing. Infrared and full-spectrum scanning of the mountain has produced nothing. There have been many hoaxes, but no Ark has been found.

Many people have been fooled into thinking that a volcanic formation near Mount Judi, which is located about 15 miles from Mount Ararat, is the Ark. A tear-shaped air bubble in a volcanic flow created a formation that looks like the hull of a ship. However, this hull-shaped basaltic formation is in the shape of a tear, which is a modern boat hull shape and does not match the dimensions of the Ark given in the Bible.

Fundamentalists have tried everything to convince people the Ark is there, but the fact remains that it is not. Many gullible people (especially those already engaged in gullible activities, such as god belief) have been fooled by hoax pictures and scientific-sounding words like “siliconization” to describe why the volcanic formation is the way it is. The bottom line is that the formation (And I call it a formation because there are thousands of these around the world – are they suggesting there was a fleet of Arks?) is basalt, a volcanically formed rock.

PROOFS: “Remains of one of the cities destroyed by fire and brimstone in Gen. 18:20 through 19:28 have been found– ashes and soot in the forms of buildings.”

The site you are referring to was discovered near the Dead Sea. There were actually two cities found at the site – one built on top of the other. The upper city was discovered after a sandstorm exposed a part of it. When digging in the area they discovered that the city had been built on top of another city that had burnt down. There was no sulfur, as mentioned in Genesis 19:24, discovered at the site. What were found were a city that had burned and a new one that was built on top of it. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the city is either Sodom or Gomorrah. Fundamentalists insisted that archaeologists had found Sodom and Gomorrah, but no archaeologists made that claim.

PROOFS: “Also chariot wheels and parts have been found at the bottom of The Red Sea (Exodus 14). The latter items are in materials by Dr. John Morris of The Institute For Creation Research.”

Leave it to “Dr.” Morris to screw up perfectly good archaeology. The Egyptians were known to throw their used chariots and parts into the Red Sea. The types of chariots and parts found in the Red Sea span a large timeframe of Egyptian development. If the parting of the Red Sea and subsequent swallowing of the Egyptian army were the cause, then one would expect to find that all the parts and remnants to be from the same period, under the same Pharaoh.

However, such is not the case. The remnants of chariots and other items in the Red Sea cover the reigns of many Pharaohs and periods of Egypt. Egyptologists have also discovered papyri and drawings depicting the act of dumping broken chariots and other items into the Red Sea via barges made of reed.

Only a Fundamentalist Creationist would bend this information to fit his needs to believe in a mythological event.

PROOFS: “Rev. 9:21 predicted drug abuse in the end times. The word sorceries there is English for the Greek word pharmakeia, which also translates as pharmacy. (sic)(Notice how similar.)”

Revelation 9:21 states, “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”

You are correct that the Greek word is pharmakeia, but you are wrong that the word is a strict translation of pharmacy. The Greek use of pharmakeia was used to describe “the use or administration of drugs,” which is why we used it as a foundation for the modern word pharmacy, “poisoning,” “sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it,” and as a metaphor for the deceptions and seductions of idolatry.

The word “sorceries” or “sorcerers” is used at least five times in Revelation and in each case you cannot aver it to be a reference to the “drug culture.” The use of the word is intermingled with words like “whoremongers,” “idolaters,” “unbelieving,” “abominable,” and liars.

One would think that an all-knowing God would be a bit more specific in order to avoid the confusion. Perhaps saying something like, “And those that burned the spoon and stuck the needle in their arms will perish in the fires of Hell with the adulterers and unbelievers.” Then you’d really be able to make your case.

PROOFS: “Concerning learning to live the Christian life: You should not trust ministers or church people to give you sound Biblical advice and instruction.”

Should we trust you? Why are you any different than ministers or church people? How do you know you are giving sound biblical advice? If anything, I have shown that you are giving far from sound biblical advice. You’re actually helping people become Atheists if they actually research what you’re saying. I’ve always said that the fastest way to Atheism is to read the Bible.

PROOFS: “You need to study The Bible yourself.”

That is the first sound piece of biblical advice that you have given. I encourage all Christians to actually read the Bible and study it for themselves. In doing so they will begin to understand the fallacies, errors, contradictions, inconsistencies, and hypocrisies (just to name a few) of the Bible and Christian mythology.

I will read your recommended reading list if you read mine: Recommended Reading. (I no longer maintain a recommended reading list and stopped doing book reviews)

PROOFS: “This may freely be copied, put in other forms and mediums, translated, and distributed.”

Who wrote this, anyway? Are you the original author or did you forward it to me?

Debate 027: Radona asks Blair some questions for her Sunday School class

Radona Rebuttal #001:

I am doing some research for a Sunday School class I’m teaching in November…good ol Methodists…and I came across your site. I read the Q & A section and was intriqued by the statement that all humans are born atheist. Would you be willing to share your documented research? I’m interested in knowing how many newborns were interviewed and the demographics of the study. Were the responses recorded or did the subjects merely complete a questionaire at the time of their births?

Sarcasm aside, I really have been doing some soul-searching lately (no pun intended), and I do have some sincere questions in need of sincere answers.

1. The word “spirituality” is not defined in the Study Hall section of the site and yet you make the statement “everyone needs a form of spirituality.” I know what my definition is and I’ve read Mr. Webster’s. How would you define spirituality?

2. Why do you celebrate Christmas?

3. Is the concious act of deceit immoral? If a future son-in-law were to deceive you in a manner similar to your deceit, would you be able to accept the fact that he had fun doing it?

4. Why does anti-social behavior exist in social beings?

5. If tragedy strikes and you are suddenly rendered inable of movement or speech, will your children know you love them? How will they know? Actually, how do they know now? You can say you love them. You can do things to show that you love them. But you’ve also proven yourself to be a master of deceit. You can’t see love…or touch it…or hear it…or taste it…or smell it. Love is intangible. How do they know you love them? How do you know they love you? Does love even exist? Prove it.

6. How are we here?

If you can give me your thoughts on some or all of these I would greatly appreciate it.

 

Response to Radona #001:

Thank you for the humorous beginning. It’s always good to hear from someone with a sense of humor that can laugh at the whole thing. Thank you.

Now, let’s get down to business and answer your questions:

RADONA: “1. The word “spirituality” is not defined in the Study Hall section of the site and yet you make the statement “everyone needs a form of spirituality.” I know what my definition is and I’ve read Mr. Webster’s. How would you define spirituality?”

Spirituality itself is the state or act of being spiritual, so I guess we should define spiritual. Spiritual, in its most basic definition, is anything to do that “affects the soul.” Of course the definition of soul for you and me are probably significantly different. My view of spirituality is the everyday enjoyment of life, the recognition of that which awes us and makes us smile, the realization of the beauty of the world, especially when that beauty is dissected and made more beautiful.

An example of my spirituality would be my two-weekend visit to Yosemite in California where I walked roughly 20 miles by myself in the woods and encountered nature (bears, deer, etc) and marveled at the wonderful beauty of nature. The knowledge I had of nature and how things work and the science behind it made that experience even more awe-inspiring, thus, spiritual.

Unfortunately, theistic religion has hijacked the word spiritual, so many non-religious people are afraid to use it (spirit of God, feeling the spirit, etc). Some of the atheistic religions in the world (Taoism, Buddhism, etc) are very spiritual. New Age religions are spiritual-based, but they have no deity.

I decided that my feelings, my awe, my love of nature and humanity, were spiritual in nature and I wasn’t going to let religion hijack that word from me. So for me, spirituality is the awe we sense whenever we look upon something, or feel something, or we hear something, that inspires us, gives us goose bumps, makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Of course I recognize that all those feelings and the awe are nothing more than chemical reactions, but it is the recognition of the biology behind spirituality that to me makes it even better.

RADONA: “2. Why do you celebrate Christmas?”

I’ve already written a page on Christmas, so I’ll refer you to that answer Do Atheists Celebrate Christmas?

RADONA: “3. Is the concious [sic] act of deceit immoral? If a future son-in-law were to deceive you in a manner similar to your deceit, would you be able to accept the fact that he had fun doing it?”

The conscious act of deceit can be moral or immoral – depending on the context. Situational ethics are a very hazy thing, and often it is the eye of the beholder that views such items as moral or immoral. The decision to actively deceive my in-laws at the time I saw as the moral thing to do in order to help my wife and her sister. They needed someone to rescue them from their persecutors and the only way to do it was to convince the persecutors that I was “one of them.” I would hope that if I were doing the same thing to my children that someone would have the courage to deceive me to rescue them from my grasp.

RADONA: “4. Why does anti-social behavior exist in social beings?”

That depends on who you ask: psychologists or biologists. ;-)

Of course it also depends on the anti-social behavior that one is talking about. What we do know is that memetics play just as an important role in our shaping as do genetics. Lately, our society has been advancing faster socially (memetics) than biologically (genetics). This has put our biology at odds with our society. Just 100 years ago we were marrying our daughters off at 15 and now anyone that thinks of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old is considered “anti-social.” It is society that has changed too quickly for the biology to catch up. For those that can control their biological urges, they are seen as “staples of society.” For those that cannot control their biological urges, they are seen as “the criminal element” or “anti-social.”

Humans are not the only social beings that experience anti-social individuals. Documented cases of anti-social primates indicate that they deal with many of the same biological problems that we do – only a chimpanzee or bonobos will have a much harder time controlling those biological urges. There are also cases of exile among the primates when a single primate does something the troop doesn’t like, the troop may ostracize the individual or expel him or her from the troop.

Are all the single whales from species that normally herd just lost or are they being anti-social? We may never know, but it certainly is an interesting question.

RADONA: “5. If tragedy strikes and you are suddenly rendered inable [sic] of movement or speech, will your children know you love them? How will they know? Actually, how do they know now? You can say you love them. You can do things to show that you love them. But you’ve also proven yourself to be a master of deceit. You can’t see love…or touch it…or hear it…or taste it…or smell it. Love is intangible. How do they know you love them? How do you know they love you? Does love even exist? Prove it.”

That’s more than one question! ;-)

You make it sounds as if my deceit were something that I continue to do. The deceit was not something that was mastered. It’s not hard to pretend that you believe in Santa Claus when you know he doesn’t exist. It’s not like it takes a genius to pretend to believe in God and do the Happy Jesus Dance. The deceit was necessary in order to save two women from an abusive household. In that case of situational ethics, the necessity of saving a life overruled any moral dilemma with lying.

Love is very tangible, actually. We know that love is based on chemicals that are produced in our bodies – chemicals such as dopamine. As we fall in love, we can see those chemicals reacting in our body. When we fall in love, we have become addicted to the chemical makeup of our hormones that a particular person creates in us.

The love we have for family is a bit different – in that it is the “safe and secure” mode of Love – the love we feel when someone provides a sense of security and safety to us (which also occurs in non-familial love). So you can see love, because we can see these chemicals under the microscope. We can touch love, because you can touch these chemicals. We can’t really hear love, so I’ll give you that one. We can taste and smell it, though in human pheromones and chemicals.

RADONA: “6. How are we here?”

You don’t really need a lecture on the “birds and the bees,” do you? Surely you and your mother had that talk? If you want me to walk you through the reproductive process just let me know and I will. ;-)

For a more serious answer, I have it in my Q&A section: Where Did It All Come From?

 

Radona Rebuttal #002:

Okay, I’ll accept your Christmas diatribe…my husband feels basically the same way and he is a Christian man so what can I say…however; I always find it a little silly that people think Santa doesn’t exist. When my kids found out there was no Santa, I told them they were wrong. If there’s no stinkin’ Santa why am I staying up late at night on Christmas Eve helping to put together all that crap I went out and purchased by myself because Scrooge refused to go with me? Do you ever do the Angel Tree thing? You know, buy for the disadvantaged?…to me, that’s being Santa too. Maybe Santa is symbolic. I believe Santa’s in all of us. Santa is everywhere. Kinda like G…oops…never mind.

Also, if you keep (sic)ing me for my mistakes, bub, I’m gonna do the same for your little website and I’m not the one professing the great love of knowledge and learning so cut it out….

I’m thinking you were a little vague on that love thing. Yes, we can see chemical reactions in the body/brain…but isn’t there research to indicate we can also see chemical reactions taking place during intense religious and spiritual (my definition, not yours) moments? Really, I don’t know much about that research but I know it’s been done by neuroscientists….Andrew Newburg? Is he one? So, if chemical reactions can prove love exists, why can’t they prove God exists?

And obviously, aside from birds and bees, you’re as clueless as the rest of the world on how we got here.

Not all Christians are fundamentalists…or cultists. I think most are just aware that there is a being higher than themselves.

What about miracles. Do you believe in miracles?

Do you believe Jesus (the man) ever lived on earth?

I’m finished for now…have a migraine…there’s chemical reactions for that too…thanks for responding…I’ll be sharing your responses with the SS class in November and I’ll give you feedback on the comments/ responses….

 

Radona Rebuttal #003:

Before I got a chance to respond to Radona’s last email, she sent me this one. I decided to ignore the last one and continue with her new one because they were questions directly from her Sunday School students. I felt that addressing the student’s questions was more important.

I wrote you a while back with some questions because of a class I’m teaching this month. I spoke with the class today about your views/definitions on atheism. They had some questions for which I had no answers and I told the class I’d e-mail. If you have time to respond, here are the questions:

1. I mentioned to them your research indicating more christians turn to atheism than atheists to christianity; they wanted more info on this: specific resources, documentation…now, I can’t even find that section on the web site…did I dream this up or get it somewhere else? Can you point me in the right direction?

2. What is your educational background? Your wife’s?

3. What is your true relationship with your in-laws?

4. IF you had to pretend there was one God who made the heavens and earth and everything in and on them, which would you choose?

a) A God who controlled every aspect of our lives and never allowed mistakes, wrong choices, bad decisions, sort of “The Stepford Universe” where everything is perfect?

b) A God who gave humans control of the earth and universe to use as our own, along with minds, hearts, and souls to use as we chose?

 

Response to Radona #003:

RADONA: “1. I mentioned to them your research indicating more Christians turn to atheism than atheists to Christianity; they wanted more info on this: specific resources, documentation… now, I can’t even find that section on the web site… did I dream this up or get it somewhere else? Can you point me in the right direction?”

The research was completed in 2000 and it was done worldwide. Christianity rose less than 1% worldwide and Islam only rose less than 1% worldwide during the 35 years that the research was conducted. Judaism dropped because it is not an active proselytizing religion. The fastest growing “religion” during that time was atheism/non-religion, which rose almost 125% during that same 35-year period. Most of this information comes from Adherents.Com, which showcases religious beliefs and other religious-related topics worldwide. Other sources include the Christian-based Barna Research Organization in San Diego, CA. Of course information comes equally from known sources such as the Census, Gallup, etc.

The issue at stake here is not really the increase, decrease or stagnation of any particular religion or non-religion. The issue is why the increases, decreases and stagnations occurred. That is where the research is now going. I’m personally inclined to think there are two factors playing into the major increase in non-religion worldwide: 1) increase in scientific knowledge, which includes mass media (Internet, cable, satellite) and the subsequent access to that information on a wide scale arena – especially in the middle and upper-lower class, which the churches had previously relied upon as the staple of their masses, and 2) memetic and genetic variations in the evolutionary advances of the species. Socially (memetics) the human species is evolving and religion is, to put it one way, going out of style. As for the genetics, research is currently underway that is looking at the genetic differences between non-religionists and religionists and the results are intriguing. Obviously the research is too premature to make any conclusions, but preliminary results indicate that religious thought may be hardwired in our brains – a biological reaction (evolutionary cause) for religious thought. It will be interesting to see where the filed of neurotheology and neurophilosophy go from here.

RADONA: “2. What is your educational background? Your wife’s?”

I finished high school and joined the Navy in order to get the GI Bill for college. Instead of doing my four years and going to college, I fell in love with the Navy and stayed in. During my time in the Navy I went to tons of schools. I left the Navy with 8 NEC (Naval Education Code), which included electronics, communications and computers (to name the major levels). In addition, I took some vocational schooling from civilian schools, especially in electronics and computers. Mostly I studied on my own and studied with scholars and professors that are friends of mine (my best friends in Mobile are a paleobotanist, anthropologist, archaeologist, radiologist, psychologist, and geologist). The thing that has helped me the most is reading. I read new books all the time (both for and against any topic – to truly learn about something you must learn both sides of the issue – both to know it and to make an educated decision about your views on that issue) and never stop reading. I read science, theology, history and others.

My ex-wife was home-schooled by her radical extremist Christian parents. Being schooled at home by them left her wanting in the realm of education. If her education level from being home-schooled were compared to public schools, her graduation level would have been at about the 8th grade (and I’m being generous). After we got married we studied and I helped her gain a better education. Since then she has gone to vocational school to become a pet groomer and veterinary technician.

RADONA: “3. What is your true relationship with your in-laws?”

I don’t like them and they hate me. They think I’m the devil-incarnate sometimes. They blame me for all their problems with their children. Their children were beginning to rebel against their Bible-based child hatred long before I showed up. The home was physically and mentally abusive. They quoted the Bible to prove their point about their right to beat their children and make the demands that they put on them. My ex-wife and my ex-sister-in-law were both sneaking out of the house at night to have fun with the local Italian boys and when my ex-wife got caught, my ex-father-in-law tried to strangle her with both his hands firmly around her neck and cutting off her air supply. I hated them for the way they treated their children, but I played the role to gain their trust so I could take my ex-wife away and get help for my ex-sister-in-law.

When my daughters were born they made no effort to adhere to our wishes and stabbed us in the back repeatedly. They preferred to be preachers than grandparents. They told my children to lie to me about many things (So much for the Ten Commandments, huh?) and began to teach my children to disrespect me (There goes another Ten Commandment down the drain.). This culminated into a huge fight after I repeatedly tried to give them wiggle room and offer the proverbial olive branch. Ultimately I had no choice but to keep them from seeing my daughters. My ex-wife agreed completely and she setup the rules for visitation.

Since my ex-wife left, my ex-in-laws actually took my side. Apparently atheism is a lesser evil in their eyes than lesbianism (my ex-wife “converted” to lesbianism) – so they were all for me keeping the children (I do have custody of the children).

My ex-sister-in-law now also lives in the area and has severed her ties with her parents as well. The religious nature of my ex-in-laws cost them both of their daughters and many family and friends. There are family members in Florida that are very uncomfortable around them and a few that do not like them, but act respectfully around them (like I did until it got out of control and I had to put my foot down).

My ex-in-laws are a danger to children (I spoke out against their desire to adopt and wrote a letter to the Florida adoption board and I wrote a similar letter to the Foster Care Center in Florida when they were considering foster care at their church/home). My in-laws have started four churches that I know of in the past few years and all of them have failed. My ex-father-in-law is an alcoholic that went through Alcoholics Anonymous many years ago (when my ex-wife was 6-years-old) and replaced his alcohol addiction with a Jesus addiction.

As much as I hate to admit it, I will shed no tear when they die.

RADONA: “4. IF you had to pretend there was one God who made the heavens and earth and everything in and on them, which would you choose? a) A God who controlled every aspect of our lives and never allowed mistakes, wrong choices, bad decisions, sort of “The Stepford Universe” where everything is perfect? b) A God who gave humans control of the earth and universe to use as our own, along with minds, hearts, and souls to use as we chose?”

That’s tougher than it sounds. As a freethinker that enjoys using my mental auspices, I would prefer B. However, if A were the reality, then I wouldn’t know what I was missing. If the conditions were from the onset of my life, then I would prefer A. If the conditions were established after having knowledge of freedom and having tasted it, then I would prefer B. Once freedom is tasted, there’s no going back to shackles: either physical or mental.

 

Radona Rebuttal #004:

Just wanted to say thank you for your responses….I haven’t checked my mail in a while and wish I’d looked last night so I could have shared your responses today….we’ve moved on from the atheism topic. Some were angered by you, most respected your opinions, none agreed with you…except perhaps where the fanatical in-laws were concerned. I shared with them some web sites of “christians” that made our hair stand on end. Fanaticals are always scary. Again, thank you and if you’re ever in Dallas, e-mail me. I’ll invite you to church.

 

Response to Radona #004:

Sorry the class didn’t hear my last responses. I’ve enjoyed the correspondence and helping out. Please pass my best wishes to your class – even those that are angry with me. ;-)

If I’m ever in Dallas, you won’t get me in your church, but I’ll email you anyway.

Debate 026: Terry and Blair discuss creationism and Pascal’s Wager

Terry Rebuttal #001:

HI, MY NAME IS TERRY, I HAVE A FRIEND THAT IS AN ATHEIST AND IM TRYING TO SHARE GOD WITH HIM, BUT HE REFERRED ME TO THIS SITE. AND I WOULD LIKE TO DEBATE YOU ON A FEW THOUGHTS. I WOULD BE INTERESTED FIRST IN YOUR THOUGHTS ON: IF IM RIGHT AND THERE IS A GOD AND A HELL THEN THE BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS I WOULD GO TO HEAVEN, BUT IF YOU ARE RIGHT THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ME IS I WOULD ROT AWAY IN A GRAVE. HOWEVER, WITH YOUR BELIEF, IF YOU ARE WRONG THE BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS YOU WILL BE IN A GRAVE ROTTING AWAY BUT IF YOU ARE WRONG YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY IN HELL. NOW I AM NOT TRYING TO PREACH HELLFIRE DAMNATION TO YOU NOW , IT IS JUST THE COLD HARD TRUTH. MY QUESTION TO YOU IS OF THE TWO ALTERNATIVES IT SEEMS THAT BELIEVING IN GOD IS THE NO BRAINER. IT’S NO MYSTERY THAT CHRISTIANITY AND EVOLUTION ARE BOTH RELIGIOUS IN THAT IT TAKES FAITH TO BELIEVE EITHER ONE. IN MY OPINION IT TAKES MORE FAITH TO BELIEVE EVOLUTION THAN TO BELIEVE THAT AN INTELLIGENT BEING CREATED THIS WHOLE COSMOS.

THE OTHER THING I ASK YOU IS FOR A REFERENCE FOR THE STATEMENT THAT YOU MADE IN A DEBATE WITH CLAY THAT SOUTHERN BAPTIST HAVE A QUOTA TO MEET IN ORDER TO GET INTO HEAVEN OR SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT. I AM A BAPTIST BUT NOT A SOUTHERN BAPTIST, BUT I DO KNOW THAT SOUTHERN BAPTIST DO NOT BELIEVE THEY GET TO HEAVEN BY ANYTHING BUT FAITH. THAT STATEMENT ABOUT THEM IS AN ERRONEOUS STATEMENT, UNLESS YOU HAVE A REFERENCE THAT YOU GOT THAT FROM.

IF YOU DO HAVE A REFERENCE, THEN THAT PERSON IS ABOUT AS IGNORANT AS THE MAJORITY OF THE OTHER CHRISTIANS. I CONFESS THAT MOST CHURCH MEMBERS PROBALLY WILL NOT GET INTO TO HEAVEN DUE TO THEIR FAKE IMPERSONATIONS AS CHRISTIANS, BUT I CONFESS THE IGNORANCE OF 90%+ CHURCH MEMBERS DO NOT EVER PICK THEIR BIBLE EXCEPT ON SUNDAY MORNING ABOUT 11:00 AM. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS DISCUSSION. AND I WILL TRY MY BEST TO GO BY YOUR RULES SEEING THAT THIS IS YOUR WEBSITE. YOU ARE PROBALLY LIKE ME IN THAT I LIKE TO TRIP PEOPLE UP IN THEIR ON BELIEFS WITH TRUTH. I AM A FIREFIGHTER AND WORK A CRAZY SCHEDULE BUT I WILL MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO RETURN ALL REBUTTALS AS PROMPTLY AS POSSIBLE.GOOD DAY.

 

Response to Terry #001:

First let me thank you for your comments and feedback; they are greatly appreciated. Would you also please pass on my gratitude to your friend for his kind referral to my website.

Allow me to address the issues you raised independently.

TERRY: “I WOULD BE INTERESTED FIRST IN YOUR THOUGHTS ON: IF IM RIGHT AND THERE IS A GOD AND A HELL THEN THE BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS I WOULD GO TO HEAVEN, BUT IF YOU ARE RIGHT THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ME IS I WOULD ROT AWAY IN A GRAVE. HOWEVER, WITH YOUR BELIEF, IF YOU ARE WRONG THE BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS YOU WILL BE IN A GRAVE ROTTING AWAY BUT IF YOU ARE WRONG YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY IN HELL.”

This type of “logic” originated with Blaise Pascal in what has become known as Pascal’s Wager.

Simply put, Pascal’s Wager goes something like this:

Either the believer or the non-believer will be correct – one of them has to be wrong.

  • If you are a believer and you are correct – then you will be rewarded with eternal life.
  • If you are a non-believer and you are correct – then you will die and nothing will happen.
  • If you are a believer and you are wrong – then will you will die and nothing will happen.
  • If you are a non-believer and you are wrong – then you will be punished with eternal damnation in the pits of hell.

Therefore, if you are a believer you have a chance of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven – even if you are wrong. If you are a nonbeliever you have zero chance. Why should we not be a believer? Just in case the believers are right?

Pascal’s Wager has been proven wrong countless times and shown to have serious defects. I have to admit that I find it odd that mainstream and sect Christians are using Pascal’s Wager since Pascal used it to convert people to Jansenism. That issue aside, there are many reasons the Wager does not work. Instead of repeating myself, I would refer you to the web page where I address Pascal’s Wager specifically: What If You Are Wrong?

If you are still confused or have additional questions after reading that page, please let me know and I will be more than happy to address any you bring up.

TERRY: “MY QUESTION TO YOU IS OF THE TWO ALTERNATIVES IT SEEMS THAT BELIEVING IN GOD IS THE NO BRAINER.”

What would lead you to that conclusion? Do you have evidence of God’s existence that apologists and theologians have failed to produce? In order for something to be a “no brainer” there must be substantial evidence in favor of it. The lack of evidence (100% lack of evidence) for God would immediately disqualify God as a “no brainer” contestant. If you have substantial proof of your God then I’d be happy to hear about it.

TERRY: “IN MY OPINION IT TAKES MORE FAITH TO BELIEVE EVOLUTION THAN TO BELIEVE THAT AN INTELLIGENT BEING CREATED THIS WHOLE COSMOS.”

If you believe that it takes faith to accept the scientific validity of the Theory of Evolution through the means of Natural Selection then you do not understand the Theory of Evolution at all. Anyone that understands the Theory of Evolution does not question the evidence or make a declaration of faith in regards to the theory. If there is anything about the Theory of Evolution that you do not understand I will be more than happy to help you understand it. What makes you draw such a conclusion if not ignorance of the Theory of Evolution itself?

TERRY: “THE OTHER THING I ASK YOU IS FOR A REFERENCE FOR THE STATEMENT THAT YOU MADE IN A DEBATE WITH CLAY THAT SOUTHERN BAPTIST HAVE A QUOTA TO MEET IN ORDER TO GET INTO HEAVEN OR SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT.”

That statement was not a factual statement, but a statement of jest. I was joking that as much as Southern Baptists try to convert that they, like State Troopers, must meet a conversion quote in order to get into Heaven. It was a joke and not intended to be taken as a literal statement.

TERRY: “IF YOU DO HAVE A REFERENCE, THEN THAT PERSON IS ABOUT AS IGNORANT AS THE MAJORITY OF THE OTHER CHRISTIANS.”

What does that say about the person that took that statement as fact instead of jest or sarcasm?

TERRY: “…BUT I CONFESS THE IGNORANCE OF 90%+ CHURCH MEMBERS DO NOT EVER PICK THEIR BIBLE EXCEPT ON SUNDAY MORNING ABOUT 11:00 AM.”

You can confess if you must, but I’d be willing to wager that Atheists and other non-believers no more about the Bible than most Christians (yourself included). It is the knowledge of the Bible that makes an Atheist. It is the lack of knowledge in the churches that keeps the pews full. If every Christian knew the history of the Bible and knew more about the Bible then they would no longer be attending church.

TERRY: “YOU ARE PROBALLY [SIC] LIKE ME IN THAT I LIKE TO TRIP PEOPLE UP IN THEIR ON BELIEFS WITH TRUTH.”

No offense, but I have not seen any truth from you yet. I have read about your beliefs and your speculations. I have read about your ideas and convictions, but I have not seen any truth. I’m looking forward to hearing it, though.

TERRY: “I AM A FIREFIGHTER AND WORK A CRAZY SCHEDULE…”

Allow me to take this opportunity to applaud your actions as a firefighter. There are three professions in this world that are relied on heavily: firefighters, police, and teachers. Those same three professions are also the most underpaid professions. Anyone that has the dedication to take on one of those services deserves kudos from all. You have my deepest appreciation for that.

 

Terry Rebuttal #002:

I CERTAINLY APPRECIATE YOUR RESPONSE TO MY EMAIL AND I WAS NOT TRYING TO GET INTO ANY HEAVY SUBJECTS IN MY INITIAL EMAIL JUST A LITTLE SOMETHING TO GET THE BALL ROLLING. NOW I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW A FEW THINGS FROM YOU : WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BIBLE? DOES IT CONTAIN ANY TRUTH OR DO YOU THINK THE WHOLE THING IS A FAIRYTALE?

CONCERNING PASCHAL, YOUR WEB SITE DID NOT WORK ON THIS LINK, SO I NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU MEANT BY DEFECTS IN THE THEORY. ALSO I DID NOT EVEN KNOW WHO HE WAS UNTIL YOU BROUGHT IT UP AND YOU MADE ME DO RESEARCH AND I APPRECIATE THAT, I NOW KNOW WHO HE IS SO I HAVE ALREADY LEARNED SOMETHING THANKS. I DID NOT GET INTO HIS BELIEFS TOO HEAVILY, BUT IF YOU ARE WONDERING WHY CHRISTIANS ARE USING HIS THEORY DUE TO THE FACT THAT HE CONVERTED PEOPLE TO JANSENISM THEN I DO NOT SEE WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THAT BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN PREDESTINATION AND LEAN TOWARD CALVINISTIC VIEWS. ALSO, SO IT IS NOT A SHOT IN MY ARM TO SIDE WITH HIM ON THAT ISSUE. NOW THIS IS NOT A ENDORSEMENT OF ALL HIS BELIEFS BUT JUST THE PREDESTINATION WHICH I BELIEVE YOU WERE PROBALLY REFERRING TO WHEN YOU SAID YOU WERE SURPRISED TO SEE CHRISTIANS USING HIS THEORY. I DISAGREE WITH YOU THAT HE ORIGINATED THE THEORY BECAUSE I USED IT IN MY OPENING EMAIL TO YOU, I HAD NO IDEA HE EXISTED, BUT LIKE ME, I ASSUME HE TOOK THAT “LOGIC” FROM THE BIBLE WHICH IS TRUE AND I BELIEVE EVERY WORD OF IT IS TRUE AND WAS WRITTEN BEFORE HIS TIME, SO IT COULD NOT HAVE ORIGINATED WITH HIM. IT IS PLAIN AND SIMPLE WE HAVE BELIEVERS AND NON BELIEVERS IN THIS WORLD AND I UNDERSTAND THERE ARE DIFFERENCES… I.E. ATHEIST, AGNOSTICS, REINCARNATIONIST, ETC.. BUT TO MAKE ALL THAT MORE SIMPLER- EITHER WE ARE ALL GONNA ROT IN A GRAVE AND CEASE TO EXIST OR THERE ARE TWO KIND OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO HEAVEN AND THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO HELL. SO BASED ON THE TWO BELIEF SYSTEMS YOU CAN CONCLUDE THAT PASCALS THEORY IS NOT SOMETHING IT TAKES A PHYSICIST TO COME UP WITH , BUT IT’S SO SIMPLE THAT A CHILD CAN UNDERSTAND (A CHILD OLD ENOUGH TO COMPREHEND) IT. I AM NOT A COLLEGE EDUCATED PERSON BUT ALL IT TOOK FOR ME TO FIGURE OUT PASCHALS THEORY WAS COMMON SENSE. I THINK AND CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, YOU WOULD PROBALLY SAY ONE OF TWO THINGS AND THATS “THAT THERE EITHER IS A GOD OR THERE IS NOT” AND THATS THE TWO GENERAL BELIEFS IN THIS WORLD, ONE CARRIES REWARDS AND THE OTHER PUNISHMENT LEADING ONE TO THE CONCLUSION IF THERE IS A GOD I MUST BELIEVE OR I DONT BELIEVE AND TAKE A CHANCE OF BEING WRONG AND FRIEND ETERNITY IS A LONG TIME TO BE WRONG.

WE DO NOT EVEN NEED TO ADDRESS THE IF I’M RIGHT STUFF OR IF YOU ARE WRONG STUFF BECAUSE THATS IRRELEVANT, FIGURING OUT IF THERE IS A GOD IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR A HUMAN, DUE TO THE FACT THAT IT IS THE ONLY BELIEF THAT CARRIES CONSEQUENCES, IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE THEN WHO CARES WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH BECAUSE THERE IS NO CONSEQUENCES THERE, SO THERE IS NO NEED TO SAY IF YOU ARE RIGHT (ATHEISM) THEN THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME IS ILL DECAY IN THE GRAVE.SO WHAT? WHAT ONE SHOULD SAY IS THERE ARE THINGS IN THE BIBLE THAT SCARE ME IF IT’S TRUE SUCH AS THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, WHOSOEVERS NAME IS NOT WRITTEN IN THE LAMBS BOOK OF LIFE SHALL BE CAST IN THE LAKE OF FIRE, THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT CONCERN ME, NOT MUTATION AND NATURAL SELECTION AND THE BIG BANG BECAUSE THOSE THINGS HAVE NO ETERNAL THREAT TO ME. SO I BELIEVE BEFORE ONE DECIDES TO DENY GOD THEY BETTER MAKE DARN SURE THEY ARE RIGHT, FOR EXAMPLE BEFORE I WOULD BELIEVE EVOLUTION WHICH HAS NO ETERNAL THREATS I WOULD HAVE TO HAVE EVIDENCE IN MY HAND, BECAUSE IT IS NOT GOOD TO TRUST IN MAN, MAN WILL LET YOU DOWN, I WOULD NEED TO HAVE BEEN THERE WHEN THE BIG BANG HAPPENED OR KNOW SOMEONE RELIABLE WHO WAS THERE, BEFORE I BASE MY ETERNITY ON IT. I KNOW THAT THERE WAS NO ONE THERE TO WITNESS IT SO UNTIL SOMEONE SHOWS UP, THERE IS NO WAY I’LL BELIEVE IT. SCIENTIST ONE DAY SAY VITAMIN C WILL REDUCE YOUR RISK FOR CANCER THEN A WEEK LATER IT CAUSES CANCER. THEY ARE SO WISHY WASHY IT’S HARDLY A RESPECTFUL OCCUPATION FOR ME AND I KNOW THEY DO SOME USEFUL STUDIES BUT THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE ENOUGH TO BANK YOUR ETERNITY ON.

NOW YOU ASKED IF I HAD PROOF AND THE ANSWER IS NO. I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE PROOF BECAUSE GOD SAID IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. THERE IS NO SIGN THERE HE TRIED TO PROVE HIMSELF SO NEITHER WILL I BECAUSE I CANNOT. THIS RELIGIOUS CONCEPT IS ALL BASED ON FAITH. IF I COULD SEE GOD AND PROVE HIM IT WOULD NOT BE FAITH. FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN. THEREFORE WE CAN NOT SEE HIM PHYSICALLY BUT ONLY SPIRITUALLY. NOW PHYSICALLY THE HEAVENS DECLARE HIS GLORY BUT HE DID NOT SET OUT TO PROVE HIMSELF, NEITHER WILL I, HE SIMPLY SAID REPENT AND BELIEVE AND THATS ALL HE IS OFFERING. THE HUMANIST SAID TO JESUS “YEAH RIGHT YOU WILL REBUILD THIS TEMPLE IN THREE DAYS”. BUT JESUS WAS NOT TALKING ABOUT THE EARTHLY TEMPLE HE WAS SPEAKING OF HIS RESURRECTION. THATS HOW MEN WHO ARE LOOKING FOR A SIGN ACT TODAY, THERE ARE NO SIGNS, IT IS WHOLLY FAITH. THIS MEANS I CANNOT PROVE GOD, IT WOULD GO AGAINST ONE OF THE MAJOR DOCTRINES OF MY RELIGION WHICH IS FAITH. OK IT’S YOUR TURN, PLEASE IF YOU CAN, WOULD YOU PRESENT ME WITH SOME EVIDENCE THAT EVOLUTION IS TRUE BECAUSE IN MY RESEARCH I’VE NOT SEEN ANYTHING THAT IS WRIITTEN IN STONE TO PROVE TO ME ANY OF IT IS TRUE. I’M NOT TALKING MILLIONS OF THINGS, JUST A COUPLE THAT ARE CONCRETE .THE ONLY THING I BELIEVE IS THAT MICROEVOLUTION IS TRUE BECAUSE I CAN SEE IT, LIKE GRAVITY I BELIEVE IN IT BECAUSE IT IS FAIL PROOF IT IS SOUND, AND MAN WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD WILL BE LIKE NOT BELIEVING IN GRAVITY, IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN GRAVITY AND JUMP FROM A BUILDING YOU WILL STILL BE SUBJECT TO IT AND SO WILL HE WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD WILL STILL BE SUBJECT TO HIM. I REMIND YOU ALSO THAT ALL MY LOGIC IS BASED ON BELIEVING IN SOMETHING WHICH HAS CONSEQUENCES. FOR INSTANCE YOU MAY RESPOND BACK TO ME AND SAY MAN WROTE THE BIBLE WHICH I DO NOT BELIEVE, BUT MY POINT IS THAT MY BELIEF HAS REWARDS NOT CONSEQUENCES SO IT DOES NOT MATTER IF I AM WRONG IT ONLY MATTERS IF YOU’RE WRONG.

DEAR FRIEND, I KNOW THAT YOU ARE A SINCERE PERSON BUT IF YOU ARE SINCERELY WRONG IT WON’T HAVE NO MERIT WITH GOD ,WHO IS THE ONE THAT POURS OUT THE CONSEQUENCES.THE BIG BANG HAS ONLY A MODEL THAT SOME MAN BUILT WHICH I UNDERSTAND DID NOT EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT GASES TO DUPLICATE IT, BUT PEOPLE BELIEVE IT AS SCIENCE. I AM SURE THERE IS A MODEL OF NOAHS ARK SOMEWHERE BUT ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE BECAUSE YOU SEEN A MODEL OF THE ARK? NO I WOULD WANT TO SEE THE REAL THING BEFORE I RISK ETERNITY. WOULD YOU PLEASE GIVE ME A GOOD DEFINITION OF SCIENCE. MY DEFINITION IS THAT SCIENCE MUST BE OBSERVED, MEASURED AND TESTED, I WILL DISCUSS THIS MORE AFTER I SEE YOUR DEFINITION AND REBUTTAL.

BACK TO PASCHAL- ORIGINATING -WHICH I DIASAGREE WITH YOU ON. TEST SOME OF THESE SUPPOSED ORIGINATIONS.

1. WHO WAS THE FIRST PERSON THAT DISCOVERED THE EARTH WAS ROUND AND NOT FLAT. 1475 COPRENICUS DISCOVERED THAT, BUT 2000 YEARS EARLIER THE BIBLE DECLARED IT. IS 40:22,JOB 26:7

2. IN 1615, WILLIAM HARVEY MADE A BRILLANT DISCOVERY THAT THE LIFE OF THE FLESH IS IN THE BLOOD AND I CAN CONFIRM THAT BECAUSE I AM ALSO A PARAMEDIC AND IF YOUR BLOOD IS NOT PUMPING ,YOUR BODY IS NOT LIVING. THE BIBLE HAD DECLARED THAT ALSO 3000 YEARS EARLIER IN LEV 17:11.

3. IN THE 1840’s, LORD ROSSE WITH HIS NEWEST INVENTED SUPER TELESCOPE DISCOVERED THE GREAT EMPTY SPACE OVER THE NORTH BUT JOB DECLARED THAT WAY BEFORE LORD ROSSE DID. JOB 26:7

YOU SEE NONE OF THOSE MEN WERE THE ORIGINALS AND THE BIBLE WAS TRUTHFUL IN THOSE THREE THINGS BEFORE MAN WITH HIS EGOTISTICAL SELF STEPPED IN. YOU SEE, I THINK WE WOULD PROBALLY DISCOVER MORE SCIENCE IF WE WOULD GO TO THE BIBLE FIRST TO FIND THE IDEAS. IT IS NOT WHETHER WE CAN PROVE THE BIBLE TRUE, IT’S CAN YOU PROVE IT WRONG. IF THE ABOVE OR BELOW EXAMPLES ARE TRUE THEN THE PART ABOUT JESUS AND HELL MAY ALSO BE TRUE. RESEARCH IF YOU LIKE, BUT I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE JESUS AND THE PARTS ABOUT HELL ARE TRUE AND IT WILL SAVE YOU ALOT OF TIME. I AM JUST AS CONVICTED THAT I AM RIGHT AS YOU ARE THAT YOU ARE RIGHT SO DO NOT HOLD THIS AGAINST ME OR MISUNDERSTAND THAT I AM BEING SARCASTIC BECAUSE I AM NOT, IT’S JUST THAT JESUS IS MY STORY AND I AM STICKING TO IT.

OTHER EXAMPLES

4. WHAT ABOUT THE UNDER SEA CURRENTS THE BIBLE TALKED ABOUT WAY BEFORE MATTHEW MAURY DISCOVERED IT AS A MATTER OF FACT HE READ IT IN THE BIBLE AND THEN WENT TO DISCOVER IT, THIS IS WHAT I CALL A SMART SCIENTIST. PSALM 8:8

5. THE ATMOSPHERE HAS WEIGHT JOB 28:25, THEN THIS WAS DISCOVERED IN THE 1600’s BY GALILEO?

6. I KNOW YOU WILL RUBUKE THIS BUT THE UNIVERSE IS RUNNING DOWN BY THE 2nd LAW OF THERMO DYNAMICS PS 102:25-26. NOW I KNOW ATHEIST DO NOT AGREE WITH CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST ON THIS, BUT I HAVE NOT SEEN ONE PROVE IT WRONG YET.

7. TRILLIONS OF STARS IN OUTER SPACE, SEE GEN 22:17 AND JER 32:22.

8. THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING PS 104:2 ISA 42:5 IS THIS TRUE THAT OUR WHOLE SOLAR SYSTEM IS BEING HURLED INTO OUTER SPACE AT 600,000 MILES PER HOUR, THE BIBLE DECLARED IT.

9. WHERE DID THE DAY NIGHT CALENDER COME FROM? I’LL GO ON THE LIMB HERE AND SUGGEST THAT MAN TOOK THIS IDEA FROM GEN 1 IT HAD BEEN DECLARED.

10. IT SHOWS US THERE ARE WATER FOUNTAINS UNDER THE OCEANS , SEE JOB 38:16,PRO 8:28.

11. IT SHOWS US THE HYDROLOGIC CYCLE OF WATER ECCL 1:7, GALILEO DISCOVERED EVAPORATION AND CONDENSATION OF WATER IN 1630.

12. IT SHOWS US LIGHT CAN BE PARTED JOB 38:24. WHITE LIGHT WHILE PASSING THRU THE PRISM CAN BE SEPERATED INTO SEVEN COLORS. THIS WAS NOT DISCOVERED UNTO 1600’s.

13. IT SHOWS US HOW THE SUN IS THE SOURCE OF THE EARTH’S WIND SYSTEM JOB 38:24. MIND YOU ALSO THAT JOB IS ONE OF THE OLDEST BOOKS IN THE BIBLE.

14. IT SHOWS US THE WINDS DO BLOW IN CIRCUIT ECC 1:6

15. IT SHOWS US THE PRACTICE OF CIRCUMCISION ON THE EIGHT DAY.

GOD KNEW THAT BLEEDING WOULD BE MINIMIZED IF CIRCUMCISION WAS DONE ON THE EIGHT DAY. PROTHROMBIN IS MADE IN LIVER AND BECOMES WELL DEPLETED AND DOES NOT REPLENISH UNTIL THE EIGHT DAY.

ALL THAT IS PROOF ENOUGH TO ME.

NOW THE BIBLE SAYS THAT ALL THINGS WILL YIELD BY SEED AFTER IT’S OWN KIND. DO YOU HAVE PROOF THAT ANYTHING EVER TURNED INTO SOMETHING ELSE, FOR INSTANCE HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MAN TURN INTO AND APE OR VICE VERSA, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A PLANT TURN INTO A CAT? I DO NOT THINK ANYBODY HAS EVER SEEN THIS PHENOMENON. WILLIE BEE, WAS A WELL KNOWN APE IN THE ATLANTA AREA HERE WHERE I LIVE, BUT HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN APE. THEY SAY THAT ALL THESE MACROEVOLUTIONARY THINGS HAPPENED BUT HOW COME THEY ARE NOT FINDING MORE OF THESE CREATURES THAT ARE HALF AND HALF. RIGHT NOW AND MAYBE YOU CAN AT LEAST GIVE ME A BETTER ILLUSTRATION, BUT RIGHT NOW THIS IS HOW I SEE EVOLUTION: I SEE A EXPLOSION HAPPENING AT THE FORD PLANT WITHOUT THE NECCESSARY FIRE TETRAHEDRON AND PIECES OF METAL FLYING ACROSS THE SKY AND LANDING IN MY DRIVEWAY ASSEMBLING THEMSELVES INTO A BRAND NEW 3001 ( I MEAN 3000 FOR METAPHORIC ADVANCEMENT, WHICH THE HUMAN BODY REFLECTS AN ADVANCED MACHINE) MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE. HARDLY! NOW AT THIS POINT YOU ARE PROBALLY THINKING NOW I KNOW THIS GUY IS IGNORANT OF EVOLUTION, BUT I WANT TO ASSURE YOU THAT I HAVE READ COUNTLESS HOURS ON EVOLUTION AND THEY DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING OUT MORE THAN DR BOTTLESTOPPER SAYS IN THE SCIENCE FIELD TODAY THAT “HE THINKS THAT WHAT MAY HAVE HAPPEN BILLIONS OF YEARS AGO IS THAT THERE WAS A BIG BANG. I NEED MORE THAN SOMEBODY THINKING, I THINK I CAN SING BUT THERE WILL BE ALOT OF PEOPLE WHO WILL DISAGREE WITH ME, SOMEBODY WROTE A COUNTRY SONG CALLED “THIS AIN’T NO THINKING THING” AND THAT’S RIGHT IT IS NOT A THINKING THING BECAUSE ETERNAL LIFE IS AT STAKE HERE. THERE IS TWO PEOPLE AND I DON’T MEAN ALL BUT MOST SCIENTIST AND THEOLOGIANS ARE TO SMART FOR THEIR ON GOOD. THEY WOULD RATHER USE THEORY,S THAN COMMON SENSE.

FOR INSTANCE OUR BASEBALL COACH HERE BOBBY [name deleted by Blair] MAKES ME SO MAD WHEN HE PINCH HITS A BATTER TO BAT AGAINST THE OPPOSITE HAND PITCHER, THERE HAS BEEN MANY CLUTCH HITS FROM RIGHT HAND BATTERS AGAINST RIGHT HAND PITCHERS, THE COMMON SENSE THING ALWAYS COME THRU. FOR INSTANCE IT’S COMMON SENSE FOR ME TO SPELL THRU THIS WAY BECAUSE IT’S LESS TYPING AND THE POINT IS STILL CLEAR. WHEN ARE WE GONNA QUIT LETTING STATISTICS AND THEORY’S RULE THIS PLACE.

STATISTICS ARE STATISTICS BUT COMMON SENSE IS THE WAY. IF THIS IS TOO MUCH INFO FOR ONE ROUND PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SHORTEN IT. ALSO I HOPE TO CONTINUE THIS DIALOGUE WITH YOU BECAUSE MY GOAL IS NOT TO CONVERT YOU ALTHOUGH IT WOULD ANSWER ONE OF MY PRAYERS, BUT ONE OF THE PURPOSES IS TO DEBATE OPPONENTS OF MY BELIEF SO THAT I WILL BE FORCED TOO DIG DEEPER AND MATURE MY KNOWLEDGE AND FAITH. IF YOU EVER HAVE TROUBLE SENDING A REBUTTAL TO [email address deleted by Blair] BECAUSE OF THEIR TECHNICAL ISSUES AND THEY HAVE BEEN HAVING ALOT OF THEM WITH EMAIL THEN MY ALTERNATIVE AND MORE SECURE SERVICE IS AOL. I WOULD PREFER YOU MOVE THIS WHOLE DEBATE TO CASE SENSITIVE [email address deleted by Blair] IF IT IS NOT TOO MUCH TROUBLE, IF IT IS WE CAN STAY HERE ,THAT WILL BE FINE, ALTHOUGH THEY ARE NOT DEPENDABLE JUST CHEAPER. IF YOU CARE TO, I WOULD LIKE YOU TO LOOK UP PROVERBS 1524 IT IS MY FAVORITE VERSE. BUT BE SURE TO LOOK IT UP IN THE KJV. ALSO IF YOU LIKE, I WILL GIVE YOU AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY I SAID KJV WHICH WILL BE A RATHER LENGTHY EMAIL. ALSO IF YOU WOULD CARE TO KNOW MY DENOMINATION AND MY MAJOR BELIEFS LET ME KNOW ON YOUR NEXT REBUTTAL AND I WILL GLADLY TELL YOU. BUT I WILL LET YOU KNOW THAT I AM MORE CONSERVATIVE THAN BUSH I AM A REPUBLICAN AND I TOTALLY 100% AGREE WITH SHAWN HANNITY. THANKS LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR REBUTTAL. I AM SENDING THIS TO THE FRIEND THAT REFERRED ME TO YOUR SITE TO KEEP HIM INFORMED OF OUR DIALOGUE AT HIS REQUEST I AM SURE YOU DO NOT MIND. THANKS

Response to Terry #002:

TERRY: “WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BIBLE? DOES IT CONTAIN ANY TRUTH OR DO YOU THINK THE WHOLE THING IS A FAIRYTALE?”

There is some truth in the Bible. It is obvious that the Bible mentions historical figures and places – as most works of fiction do. The fact that the Bible contains such references does not validate the book in its entirety. It is obvious that a lot of the Bible is mythology intertwined with historical references to put things into perspective for the reader. This is a common practice for all fictional works – it allows the readers to immerse themselves into the story better.

There are historically accurate references to legitimate cities, people, and government positions in the book Escape from New York, but that does not make the book a work of non-fiction. These references allow the reader to better imagine the story line and understand the context. If books did not use realistic concepts and reference terms and places that the readers understood, we might as well be reading gobbledygook.

The issue for most Christians is discerning the historicity from the mythology. For example, we know that the Noachian flood did not occur. If we cannot rely on the factuality of this story, then how do we ascertain what in the Bible is factual and what is mythological? How do you discern what is a metaphor and what is historic? This has been a problem for Christian apologists since the years before the Council of Nicea.

What do you take literally and what to you take metaphorically? If we know that parts of the Bible are fictional, how can we trust the rest of it, and more importantly, who decides what is historical and fictional? Obviously, archaeologists have done their part to prove some parts, but they have also dismantled others and proved them false. This, of course, further exacerbates the dilemma for the Christian and Jewish apologist.

TERRY: “CONCERNING PASCHAL, YOUR WEB SITE DID NOT WORK ON THIS LINK, SO I NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU MEANT BY DEFECTS IN THE THEORY.”

Sorry about that. I was in the middle of moving my web page to a new permanent location. Atheism Awareness is now located at Alabama Atheist. The page with Pascal’s Wager is at: What If You Are Wrong?

TERRY: “NOW THIS IS NOT A ENDORSEMENT OF ALL HIS BELIEFS BUT JUST THE PREDESTINATION WHICH I BELIEVE YOU WERE PROBALLY (sic) REFERRING TO WHEN YOU SAID YOU WERE SURPRISED TO SEE CHRISTIANS USING HIS THEORY.”

That is one reason for my surprise at the Christian insistence of using Pascal’s Wager. The other reasons are detailed on the page above, which includes the faults in the theory and the fact that it has been shown to be invalid for hundreds of years.

TERRY: “I DISAGREE WITH YOU THAT HE ORIGINATED THE THEORY BECAUSE I USED IT IN MY OPENING EMAIL TO YOU, I HAD NO IDEA HE EXISTED, BUT LIKE ME, I ASSUME HE TOOK THAT “LOGIC” FROM THE BIBLE WHICH IS TRUE AND I BELIEVE EVERY WORD OF IT IS TRUE AND WAS WRITTEN BEFORE HIS TIME, SO IT COULD NOT HAVE ORIGINATED WITH HIM.”

While Pascal based his wager on the Bible, it is still his wager. The exact wager – the formatting of the “ifs” is his. The use of that argument is known as Pascal’s Wager to this day because he wrote in a way that was familiar with everyone, was easily understandable, and was, in lack of other words, simple. Simple as it may be, that does not preclude it from being seriously flawed. If the wager is biblically based, then the logical conclusion is that the biblical version of the argument is equally flawed.

As to you believing that every word in the Bible is true, I am sure we will get more into that as the debate continues – so there is no point in dissecting such a statement right now.

TERRY: “BUT TO MAKE ALL THAT MORE SIMPLER- EITHER WE ARE ALL GONNA ROT IN A GRAVE AND CEASE TO EXIST OR THERE ARE TWO KIND OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO HEAVEN AND THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO HELL.”

You have biased the argument to reflect your specific religious beliefs. There are thousands of religions in the world and not all of them believe in Heaven and Hell. What if the Norsemen were right and we’re all going to Valhalla? What if our final destination is a spirit form? What if our energy at death is transferred to Gaia? When you assume that there are only two kinds of people in the world, you assume such with religious arrogance or ignorance.

TERRY: “SO BASED ON THE TWO BELIEF SYSTEMS YOU CAN CONCLUDE THAT PASCALS (sic) THEORY IS NOT SOMETHING IT TAKES A PHYSICIST TO COME UP WITH , BUT IT’S SO SIMPLE THAT A CHILD CAN UNDERSTAND (A CHILD OLD ENOUGH TO COMPREHEND) IT.”

You have emphasized one of the biggest problems with Pascal’s Wager. The fact that it incorrectly assumes in a two-belief system (hell or no hell) is a major problem that has not been successfully dealt with by any apologist. There is a smorgasbord of beliefs out there and many of them do not believe in a Heaven or Hell. One-third of all the world’s religions are atheistic in nature – meaning they do not believe in a deity, but have a religious system of rites and rituals. Many religions believe that everyone goes to Heaven – that Hell is not a literal place, but simply the idea of being away from the God or Goddess. There are religions that believe Hell is Earth and not a lake of fire and brimstone – and that this Hell is a journey we must all take in order to gain access to Heaven and God.

TERRY: “I THINK AND CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, YOU WOULD PROBALLY (sic) SAY ONE OF TWO THINGS AND THATS (sic) “THAT THERE EITHER IS A GOD OR THERE IS NOT” AND THATS (sic) THE TWO GENERAL BELIEFS IN THIS WORLD, ONE CARRIES REWARDS AND THE OTHER PUNISHMENT LEADING ONE TO THE CONCLUSION IF THERE IS A GOD I MUST BELIEVE OR I DONT (sic) BELIEVE AND TAKE A CHANCE OF BEING WRONG AND FRIEND ETERNITY IS A LONG TIME TO BE WRONG.”

I’m correcting you, because you are wrong. You are correct that there are two types of people in the world: theists and Atheists, but to assert that all theists believe in an afterlife and a system of punishment/reward is incorrect and underlines they biggest problem with Pascal’s Wager. What God do we believe in? What system do we accept in order to gain access to that God? What steps must be taken to ensure access to the God is achieved? When Pascal asks, “What if you’re wrong,” then you should be asking yourself that question, too.

What if you are wrong? Have you studied all the world’s religions to ensure that you are following the correct one? Do you understand that you are a victim of geography and not theological truth?

TERRY: “…FIGURING OUT IF THERE IS A GOD IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR A HUMAN, DUE TO THE FACT THAT IT IS THE ONLY BELIEF THAT CARRIES CONSEQUENCES, IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE THEN WHO CARES WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH BECAUSE THERE IS NO CONSEQUENCES THERE, SO THERE IS NO NEED TO SAY IF YOU ARE RIGHT (ATHEISM) THEN THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME IS ILL DECAY IN THE GRAVE.SO WHAT?”

Again, you are missing a major portion of belief system out there that believes in an afterlife, but without the consequences. You also have to define afterlife, as many believe that resurrection is an afterlife, others believe that the legacy we leave behind and the memories people have of our time on Earth is the afterlife. The multitude of afterlife-related beliefs is so various that it can make your head swim just trying to sort them into some semblance of categories.

The bigger issue here is why people need the consequences in the first place. There are already man-made consequences to keep people in-line that would otherwise run around recklessly. We have a system of laws and a judicial system to enforce those laws and to help keep a fair balance in the system. We have a moral compass that we use that is not religious based. Almost every society known by anthropologists has developed a moral or legal system based on this moral compass, which is thought to be genetic in nature. In addition to our genetic morality, there is memetic morality, which develops based on our current society. This is where religious morality comes in to play – it doesn’t add anything significant to our genetic morality, but adds laws and rules that don’t make any sense most of them time.

The laws against purchasing liquor on Sunday make no sense whatsoever from a legal standpoint. Laws banning homosexual activity between consenting adults makes no sense whatsoever from a legal standpoint. Laws in Alabama that make the sale of vibrators and “marital aids” illegal make no legal sense whatsoever. The laws that generate from religious morality have nothing to do with morality and everything to do with forcing one religious belief on others – the “morality” in this case is 100% subjective.

Our non-religious laws tend to deal directly with the survival of the species and individual. As a species we react emotionally to the death of one of our own and we go into knee-jerk mode to create laws that will help prevent such a loss in the future. We create laws against driving under the influence, laws requiring children to wear helmets when riding bicycles, laws requiring the use of seatbelts in cars, laws banning the use of cell phones while driving, and many other laws stem from the idea that the survival of the species is important – something that is Darwinian – not religious.

TERRY: “WHAT ONE SHOULD SAY IS THERE ARE THINGS IN THE BIBLE THAT SCARE ME IF IT’S TRUE SUCH AS THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, WHOSOEVERS (sic) NAME IS NOT WRITTEN IN THE LAMBS BOOK OF LIFE SHALL BE CAST IN THE LAKE OF FIRE, THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT CONCERN ME, NOT MUTATION AND NATURAL SELECTION AND THE BIG BANG BECAUSE THOSE THINGS HAVE NO ETERNAL THREAT TO ME.”

Yes, there are things in the Bible that, if taken literally, are scary. Revelation would make an awesome horror flick if done by a great director with actors that can actually act (no offense to the Left Behind movie (the acting was horrible)). What about all those other religious texts with equally scary things? Why do you believe in the Bible and not the others? Have you read the other sacred texts of the world? To assume the Bible is the only correct answer without reading all the others is a brave decision to make, especially when one is as concerned as you are about “what if you’re wrong.”

Evolution is an external threat to you. Every time that people misuse antibiotics they take the risk of causing the bacteria to evolve. We have so many antibiotics because this has already happened. The misuse of antibiotics in Russian prisons has caused a severe outbreak of tuberculosis that nothing can touch. Inmates receive a six month sentence and it becomes a life sentence because they catch tuberculosis there and die in the prison our just after getting out. Evolution can be a serious threat to humanity.

When the universe starts shrinking you’ll rethink that statement about the Big Bang not being an eternal threat. ;-)

TERRY: “…FOR EXAMPLE BEFORE I WOULD BELIEVE EVOLUTION WHICH HAS NO ETERNAL THREATS I WOULD HAVE TO HAVE EVIDENCE IN MY HAND, BECAUSE IT IS NOT GOOD TO TRUST IN MAN, MAN WILL LET YOU DOWN, I WOULD NEED TO HAVE BEEN THERE WHEN THE BIG BANG HAPPENED OR KNOW SOMEONE RELIABLE WHO WAS THERE, BEFORE I BASE MY ETERNITY ON IT. I KNOW THAT THERE WAS NO ONE THERE TO WITNESS IT SO UNTIL SOMEONE SHOWS UP, THERE IS NO WAY I’LL BELIEVE IT.”

Why don’t you hold yourself to the same standards when it comes to God? Man wrote the Bible, so since it is not good to trust man because he’ll let you down, then you should reject the Bible. Since there are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus, then, as you hold it to the Big Bang, you should also reject Jesus.

You’re a half-skeptic – you’re skeptical of those things you don’t want to believe in and non-skeptical of those things that you want to believe in. You’re not alone – most theists are that way.

TERRY: “SCIENTIST ONE DAY SAY VITAMIN C WILL REDUCE YOUR RISK FOR CANCER THEN A WEEK LATER IT CAUSES CANCER. THEY ARE SO WISHY WASHY IT’S HARDLY A RESPECTFUL OCCUPATION FOR ME AND I KNOW THEY DO SOME USEFUL STUDIES BUT THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE ENOUGH TO BANK YOUR ETERNITY ON.”

Yes, science makes mistakes. That is the beauty of science – it is self-correcting. A bad hypothesis and bad data cannot stand for long without being bashed by another scientific team. Of course the exact incident you are referring to boiled down to a lab technician that released the study early to the press before the final results were made. This caused the flip-flop that you are talking about with Vitamin C. Of course the media generalized so much that most of the general public still doesn’t really know what happened with the Vitamin C study.

Vitamin C is known to reduce the odds of developing cancer, however, a constant overdoes of Vitamin C (more than you could ever get if you ate a truckload of oranges every day) can have the reverse effect. People don’t listen to the details (assuming the media reports it) and they freak out for nothing.

I don’t bank my eternity on science, though. Even if there were no scientific data for evolutionary biology, I would still find no reason to believe in a god. There is simply no evidence to support the belief in a deity. As you said above, I have to have “evidence in my hand.”

TERRY: “NOW YOU ASKED IF I HAD PROOF AND THE ANSWER IS NO. I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE PROOF BECAUSE GOD SAID IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. THERE IS NO SIGN THERE HE TRIED TO PROVE HIMSELF SO NEITHER WILL I BECAUSE I CANNOT. THIS RELIGIOUS CONCEPT IS ALL BASED ON FAITH. IF I COULD SEE GOD AND PROVE HIM IT WOULD NOT BE FAITH.”

Do you not see your own contradiction here? You demand “evidence in hand” for the Big Bang and evolution (it does exist, by the way) and yet you disregard that philosophy when it comes to your Bible-God. Why do you not hold your religious beliefs to the same strict standards?

TERRY: “THIS MEANS I CANNOT PROVE GOD, IT WOULD GO AGAINST ONE OF THE MAJOR DOCTRINES OF MY RELIGION WHICH IS FAITH.”

I’m impressed that you are willing to admit this. Most theists contort themselves in every direction in order to “prove” their version of god to me. They twist and turn and perform some of the greatest mental gymnastics possible in order to offer “evidence.” It is this lack of proof or evidence for god that leads me to the conclusion that there is no reason to believe in any god or gods. Faith is irrelevant in my view. It offers nothing tangible, which of course is the nature of faith. I’m not a block of stone – I am malleable. All it takes is for evidence to present itself and I will change my views on the existence of god. I’ve been looking for that evidence all my life and I haven’t found it, seen it, heard of it, tasted it, or felt it. I have done none of these things because, as you state – the evidence is non-existent.

TERRY: “OK IT’S YOUR TURN, PLEASE IF YOU CAN, WOULD YOU PRESENT ME WITH SOME EVIDENCE THAT EVOLUTION IS TRUE BECAUSE IN MY RESEARCH I’VE NOT SEEN ANYTHING THAT IS WRIITTEN (sic) IN STONE TO PROVE TO ME ANY OF IT IS TRUE. I’M NOT TALKING MILLIONS OF THINGS, JUST A COUPLE THAT ARE CONCRETE.”

If your “research” has shown you nothing, then you haven’t done much research. The evidence for biological evolution is overwhelming. Creationists have not been able to disprove evolution. All they do is try to poke holes in it and highlight the changes in the theory that have taken place. They highlight these changes as bad things, but they couldn’t be farther from the truth. The very nature of science is to constantly question, evaluate, and look for new facts, which will be supporting evidence or contradictory evidence. When evidence does not fit the theory, then the theory has to be scrapped. Evolution is still holding after all these years of gathering data. There is no contradictory evidence that has toppled the theory.

Here are some resources that I suggest that lay down the evidence in layman terms for the non-scientific.

TERRY: “THE ONLY THING I BELIEVE IS THAT MICROEVOLUTION IS TRUE BECAUSE I CAN SEE IT, LIKE GRAVITY I BELIEVE IN IT BECAUSE IT IS FAIL PROOF IT IS SOUND, AND MAN WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD WILL BE LIKE NOT BELIEVING IN GRAVITY, IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN GRAVITY AND JUMP FROM A BUILDING YOU WILL STILL BE SUBJECT TO IT AND SO WILL HE WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD WILL STILL BE SUBJECT TO HIM.”

If you accept that microevolution occurs, then you accept the Theory of Evolution. Creationists have this disturbed image of macroevolution being this massive jump from a dog to a bull. Macroevolution is not a massive jump, but an accumulation of microevolution changes over an extended period.

If you accept that microevolution happens because you can see it, then you already have the evidence that biological evolution is correct. It is the accumulation of microevolution changes that ultimately lead to a macroevolution change in a species or to another species. You’re an evolutionist, after all.

TERRY: “FOR INSTANCE YOU MAY RESPOND BACK TO ME AND SAY MAN WROTE THE BIBLE WHICH I DO NOT BELIEVE, BUT MY POINT IS THAT MY BELIEF HAS REWARDS NOT CONSEQUENCES SO IT DOES NOT MATTER IF I AM WRONG IT ONLY MATTERS IF YOU’RE WRONG.”

But it does matter if you are wrong. Let’s play along for a minute and say there is a god out there that actually cares about humanity and has a place for humans to go when they die – a good place and a bad place. How do you know what god to worship? What if you are worshiping the wrong god and making it upset that you are worshiping a false idol or false messiah? Then you will go to the bad place and face the consequences of your actions in worshiping false gods and messiahs. What if the Hindu is right? What if the Buddhists are right? What if the Pagans are right and the Goddess is very upset at Christians making her a man and not worshiping her?

You have placed all your eggs in one religious basket. You have gambled your eternal soul’s vitality on the ramblings of a single religious text instead of reading all of them and making sure that you’re not wrong. For someone that claims to take such a huge stake on the “what if you are wrong” scenario, you haven’t done much to protect yourself against it. What if you’re wrong?

TERRY: “I AM SURE THERE IS A MODEL OF NOAHS (sic) ARK SOMEWHERE BUT ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE BECAUSE YOU SEEN A MODEL OF THE ARK? NO I WOULD WANT TO SEE THE REAL THING BEFORE I RISK ETERNITY.”

You are right – I want to see the real thing before I accept the Noachian flood as non-fiction. The fact remains that the evidence is against a Noachian flood. Scores of expeditions and studies have been made of Mt. Ararat and still no Ark has been found. They will never find the Ark because it does not exist and never existed. It’s a fairy tale – a piece of fiction.

You know the story of the Noachian flood is not real. If this is not real – then how can we decipher in the Bible what is fiction and what is non-fiction? What if we are basing our religion on the fiction, while the non-fiction is something we ignore? What if we are practicing the wrong rites and rituals? What if everything we believe is based entirely on fiction? If even a single part of the Bible is shown to be false, then the entire Bible is not trustworthy.

TERRY: “WOULD YOU PLEASE GIVE ME A GOOD DEFINITION OF SCIENCE. MY DEFINITION IS THAT SCIENCE MUST BE OBSERVED, MEASURED AND TESTED, I WILL DISCUSS THIS MORE AFTER I SEE YOUR DEFINITION AND REBUTTAL.”

Science is the means of observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Science is restricted to a class of natural phenomena. Science is the means by which we gain knowledge through the experiences we have through observation, identification, etc.

Of course science cannot be left defined by a simple dictionary definition. The definition of science must include the methods and attitudes, if you will, to which the body of knowledge if formed. This would entail the Scientific Method, the many branches of specialization, even the evolution of scientific thought, and the great role that measurement and experiment have on the overall purpose and direction of science and specifically its flexibility, durability, and its ability to self-correct.

TERRY: “1. WHO WAS THE FIRST PERSON THAT DISCOVERED THE EARTH WAS ROUND AND NOT FLAT. 1475 COPRENICUS (sic) DISCOVERED THAT, BUT 2000 YEARS EARLIER THE BIBLE DECLARED IT. IS 40:22,JOB 26:7”

Surely you are joking? Let’s look at Isaiah 40:22 a little more closely, shall we?

Isaiah 40:22 states, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the Earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” [KJV]

A circle is not a sphere. A circle is flat – a sphere is round, like a ball. A curtain is a flat item that covers a specific area. A tent is pitched on a flat area – not around a sphere. The heavens can only be a tent if the Earth is flat. Otherwise, it’s not like a tent if it is stretched over a sphere. The Isaiah passage confirms that the men that wrote the books of the OT thought the Earth was flat. So what about Job 26:7?

Job 26:7 states, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the Earth upon nothing.” [KJV]

Again, we see no references to a spherical Earth. Bible study guides say that “stretcheth over the north” means stretching the heavens over the Earth. Why would he stretch the Heavens “over the Earth” if the Earth was an orb or sphere trapped by inertia and the Law of Universal Gravitation? The Earth doesn’t hang, either. Hanging is something you do to a flat item or something that is not in an orbit or planetary plane. The Earth doesn’t just hang there – it rotates on an axis and revolves around the Sun on a steady orbit. How can you even begin to call things like this science?

These are the ramblings of ancient men who did not understand things – who had no science. Now we find modern men, with the ability to use science, resorting to wishful thinking and pulling straws in order to justify their non-scientific belief in creationism. They peruse the Bible looking for any silly thing that will help them justify their beliefs. They justify their beliefs unto themselves, for their feeble efforts do nothing to convince the rest of the world.

It’s interesting to see the different translations of this passage. I check as many translations as I can to see where the variations are. This allows for a better understanding of the passage and a better way to analyze it.

For example:The NIV states, “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.

  • The MSG says, “He spreads the skies over unformed space, hands the earth out in empty space.
  • The NLV says, “He spreads out the north over empty waste, and hangs the earth on nothing.
  • The ESV says, “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth of nothing.
  • The CEV says, “Who hung the northern sky and suspended the earth on empty space?
  • The YLT says, “Stretching out the north over desolation, hanging the earth upon nothing.

That’s a lot of variety and they mean different things. How do you know which translation is correct? One thing is for sure, based on the Scholar’s Version, the KJV is not to be trusted. James’ translators did not translate from the “original,” they took shortcuts and used existing translations.

Perhaps you would be better to explain the non-scientific aspect of the flat-Earth belief in the Bible? Or perhaps that the Earth is immovable – that it sits still without orbit or axis rotation (such as the suspends in the Job 26:7 verse that you provided). The Earth is immovable as clearly stated in verses like 1 Chronicles 16:30, Isaiah 45:18, Psalm 96:10, etc.

The very statement of “stretching out the heavens” is indicative of an immovable Earth – as the Heavens are stretched over it (instead of the Earth sitting in the vast universe). For example, Job 9:8 and Isaiah 45:12.

The very flatness of the Earth is dictated by the Bible in Daniel 4:10-11, “(10) Thus were the vision of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. (11) The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.” [KJV]

You cannot see the ends of the earth from a tall tree unless the earth is flat. A spherical earth will not allow this to happen. We see another example of this in the NT when Satan tempts Jesus in Matthew 4:8, “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.” [KJV] Again, you can only see all the kingdoms of the world from the highest mountain if the Earth is flat – not spherical.

Job 38:12-13 talks about shaking the earth from its edges. A spherical earth has no edges. Job 38:14 states that the earth took shape like clay under a seal. When you stamp clay, it creates a flat mold – not a sphere. Clearly the writers of the OT and NT thought the earth was flat – not spherical.

And what of the four corners? Isaiah 11:12 and Revelation 7:1 are good examples of the “four corners of the earth.” A sphere does not have corners. And what of the ends of the earth? Job 38:13, Jeremiah 16:19, and Daniel 4:11 are good examples of the “ends of all the earth.” A sphere does not have ends and certainly not an “ends of all the earth,” which is indicative of a flat circle or disc, which is emphasized in Enoch.

TERRY: “2. IN 1615, WILLIAM HARVEY MADE A BRILLANT (sic) DISCOVERY THAT THE LIFE OF THE FLESH IS IN THE BLOOD AND I CAN CONFIRM THAT BECAUSE I AM ALSO A PARAMEDIC AND IF YOUR BLOOD IS NOT PUMPING ,YOUR BODY IS NOT LIVING. THE BIBLE HAD DECLARED THAT ALSO 3000 YEARS EARLIER IN LEV 17:11.”

Leviticus 17:11 states, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” [KJV]

We’ll ignore the fact that the Bible is demanding blood sacrifices upon the altar for a second and look at the “science” of this verse. First off, it was not hard for ancient societies to know that if you lose your blood – you die. Many ancient societies understood this, especially those, like the OT clans, that participated in blood sacrifices.

What is missing is any science. Why is the blood the life of the flesh? What is it in the blood that does that? It was William Harvey that published how the heart pumped blood through the body and returned in his 1628 book An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals. Harvey didn’t say something non-scientific and simple as, “blood is the life of the flesh.” Harvey used actual science to discover the path that blood took in the veins and arteries. Harvey discovered the process by which blood is oxygenated in the lungs and brought back to the heart for circulation. Harvey dispelled the idea at the time that food was digested in the liver. Harvey was a true scientist that made actual scientific discoveries. If you can find anything scientific like that in the Bible, then we can talk.

TERRY: “3. IN THE 1840’s, LORD ROSSE WITH HIS NEWEST INVENTED SUPER TELESCOPE DISCOVERED THE GREAT EMPTY SPACE OVER THE NORTH BUT JOB DECLARED THAT WAY BEFORE LORD ROSSE DID. JOB 26:7”

As discussed earlier, Job made no scientific discovery at all, especially in light of the different translations. There is no such thing as a “great empty space over the north.” The only way such a statement makes sense is if you believe in a flat earth. We also know that it is not a “great empty space.” There are asteroids, comets, planets, satellites, galaxies, and others. The heavens are far from empty and they certainly are not just above the north.

Rosse actually discovered that it was not a great empty space. His telescope, which was located in Birr, Ireland (then it was known as Parsonstown) was also limited to viewing close to the meridian, so he didn’t discover much “to the north,” anyway. Rosse drew pictures of the Crab Nebula (M1), a spiral nebula (M33, M99, and M101), the Question Mark (M51), and the Owl Nebula (M97).

TERRY: “YOU SEE NONE OF THOSE MEN WERE THE ORIGINALS AND THE BIBLE WAS TRUTHFUL IN THOSE THREE THINGS BEFORE MAN WITH HIS EGOTISTICAL SELF STEPPED IN. YOU SEE, I THINK WE WOULD PROBALLY (sic) DISCOVER MORE SCIENCE IF WE WOULD GO TO THE BIBLE FIRST TO FIND THE IDEAS.”

That’s a pretty bold statement considering that you have offered no science, yet. All you have offered is mythology and fiction.

TERRY: “IT IS NOT WHETHER WE CAN PROVE THE BIBLE TRUE, IT’S CAN YOU PROVE IT WRONG. IF THE ABOVE OR BELOW EXAMPLES ARE TRUE THEN THE PART ABOUT JESUS AND HELL MAY ALSO BE TRUE.”

You’re certainly not off to a good start. So far the only thing you’ve proven is that the Bible is unscientific and full of fiction and mythology and the babbling of men trying to make sense of a world they didn’t understand. Men insisted the Earth was firm and did not have an orbit or an axis. Men who insisted the Earth is a flat and circular plane contained in a dome. The top of the dome was a firmament – the heavens were firm and were setup like a tent over the flat circular plane that the earth was located on. The stars were small objects, as several biblical references talk about the stars falling on the earth (they weren’t talking about shooting stars – but actual stars). The stars were thought to be pinpricks in the firmament of heaven.

TERRY: “RESEARCH IF YOU LIKE, BUT I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE JESUS AND THE PARTS ABOUT HELL ARE TRUE AND IT WILL SAVE YOU ALOT (sic) OF TIME. I AM JUST AS CONVICTED THAT I AM RIGHT AS YOU ARE THAT YOU ARE RIGHT SO DO NOT HOLD THIS AGAINST ME OR MISUNDERSTAND THAT I AM BEING SARCASTIC BECAUSE I AM NOT, IT’S JUST THAT JESUS IS MY STORY AND I AM STICKING TO IT.”

You can tell me they are true all you want to, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have no evidence to support your claim. When you are ready to present evidence of their validity, then we can talk. Until then, you are just talking about your faith-based beliefs and are presenting no facts whatsoever.

TERRY: “4. WHAT ABOUT THE UNDER SEA CURRENTS THE BIBLE TALKED ABOUT WAY BEFORE MATTHEW MAURY DISCOVERED IT AS A MATTER OF FACT HE READ IT IN THE BIBLE AND THEN WENT TO DISCOVER IT, THIS IS WHAT I CALL A SMART SCIENTIST. PSALM 8:8”

Psalm 8:8 states, “The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” [KJV] I take it then that you are suggesting the “paths of the seas” is a reference to currents? Of course we know that ancient civilizations understood that there were currents in the sea. They didn’t know what they were or how they worked, only that a boat will follow a “path” if left on its own accord. They knew that things left the shore and arrived from other places on their shores. However, the fact that it talks about the “paths of the seas” is indicative of the non-scientific nature of the Bible. It is clear that men wrote this that had no scientific knowledge of the oceans.

Let me ask you this. Is your Bible-God so uneducated and moronic that he cannot describe these features? Is he so dimwitted that he must refer to scientific things so elementary and childish, as if he is an uneducated man guessing at the nature of the world and its many environments? Surely an all-knowing god that created the thing he is describing could do better than that?

If the Bible were truly scientific as you claim, you wouldn’t have to be scraping the bottom of the barrel for small morsels to prove your point. You would be able to quote verses that are full to the brim with scientific data. Surely the creator of the world knows how the world works? Why is there nothing specific and scientific? Why are there only things that creationists have to stretch in order to try and prove their point (and fail miserably in the process)?

TERRY: “5. THE ATMOSPHERE HAS WEIGHT JOB 28:25, THEN THIS WAS DISCOVERED IN THE 1600’s BY GALILEO?”

Okay, this one is pretty funny. Job 28:25 states, “To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.” [KJV]

First off, there is no reference to the atmosphere in this and any statement to the effect that it does is stretching the imagination a lot. What you have to ask is why did the men that wrote Job think the wind had weight? They thought it had weight because it fell from the sky (blew). Something had to make the wind “fall,” so they thought it had weight. Of course real science (meaning not from the Bible) tells us that wind is caused by changes in barometric pressure as the wind if moved from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.

The wind doesn’t blow because it has weight; it blows because it is conforming to the physical laws, which an area of greater pressure will attempt to stabilize itself by moving into an area of lower pressure. This causes the air to move at variable speeds into the low-pressure area, causing what we feel as wind.

What I just said is science. What the Bible says is mythology and scientific illiteracy. As I said before, one would think that an all-knowing god and the creator of this world would at least know how it works and that weight does not cause wind nor does wind move because of weight.

TERRY: “6. I KNOW YOU WILL RUBUKE (sic) THIS BUT THE UNIVERSE IS RUNNING DOWN BY THE 2nd LAW OF THERMO DYNAMICS PS 102:25-26. NOW I KNOW ATHEIST DO NOT AGREE WITH CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST ON THIS, BUT I HAVE NOT SEEN ONE PROVE IT WRONG YET.”

I can’t figure out how on earth you stretched Psalms 102:25-26 to mean that the universe is running down because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Psalms 102:25-26 states, “(25) Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. (26) They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.” [KJV]

First off, this is another example of the firmness of earth that we were talking about earlier; how the writers of the OT books thought the earth was motionless (no orbit or rotation on the axis). The “foundation of earth” is a phrase used often in the Bible; it means the earth is solid and steady; it is immovable. God is said to have laid the foundation of the earth and pitch up the tent of the heavens above it. A sphere has no foundation, but a flat and disc-like earth does have a foundation, or as they are often referred to in the Bible, pillars.

The verse is also referring to individuals, not a planet. The use of the word “they” in the verses indicates that the writer is not talking about the planet, but about people. The followers will endure, while the non-believers shall perish.

TERRY: “7. TRILLIONS OF STARS IN OUTER SPACE, SEE GEN 22:17 AND JER 32:22.”

Genesis 22:17 states, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” [KJV]

Jeremiah 32:22 states, “And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey.” [KJV]

I’m not sure why you threw Jeremiah in there, as I see nothing to the effect of trillions of stars in the universe. Genesis 22:17 says nothing about trillions of stars in outer space. Genesis, if anything, would lead one to believe that the men who wrote the Bible thought that there were only thousands of stars, which would make sense since they didn’t know that there were trillions of stars in each galaxy and billions of galaxies. The writer is saying that the individual being spoken to will multiply their seed (sperm resulting in children) that will number as the stars in the heavens and the sands of the sea shore. Of course we know this is impossible, a man cannot have that many children even if he got a woman pregnant every second of his life.

This verse, if you use it as “proof” of biblical science, should show you how ridiculous your stretching of this argument is. Of course I know you are not coming up with these arguments. You’re taking them from a creationist web site. Which creationist web page are you getting these far-fetched scriptures from to support biblical “science?”

TERRY: “8. THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING PS 104:2 ISA 42:5 IS THIS TRUE THAT OUR WHOLE SOLAR SYSTEM IS BEING HURLED INTO OUTER SPACE AT 600,000 MILES PER HOUR, THE BIBLE DECLARED IT.”

Psalms 104:2 states, “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.” [KJV]

Isaiah 42:5 states, “Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; the that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit them that walk therein.” [KJV]

Notice that stretched is used in the past tense? That means that this verse does not support an expanding universe at all. If it did support an expanding universe it would say stretching – not stretched.

Regardless, again we see the reference to a curtain. The curtain is a single piece of cloth that is stretched over something, such as tent or dome-shaped firmament. Funny that you should use Isaiah 42:5, which supports the flat-earth claim of the Bible. An earth that is spread out is flat – an earth that is molded in a ball, now that’s a different story. If you spread butter do you get a sphere? No, you get a flat surface. Thank you for giving us another example of how the Bible claims the earth is flat.

TERRY: “9. WHERE DID THE DAY NIGHT CALENDER (sic) COME FROM? I’LL GO ON THE LIMB HERE AND SUGGEST THAT MAN TOOK THIS IDEA FROM GEN 1 IT HAD BEEN DECLARED.”

The Egyptians had a calendar made up of twelve months and each month had thirty days. The Egyptians added five days in the twelfth month, which causes a ¼ day, per year, shift – meaning that the first month moved until 1,460 year later when it again arrived where it started. The calendar was simple, but it wasn’t very accurate.

The Jews had a calendar that was all screwed up (these are the people that relied on the Tanakh and Torah – precursor to the Christian Bible). The months alternated between 29 and 30 days and they had to add a month about every third year to account for miscalculations. Of course in the long run, they sometimes had to add two months to account for the miscalculations. Obviously, the people that studied what you call the OT didn’t see any foundation for a calendar.

The most sophisticated calendars come from two opposite ends of the globe. The Aztecs developed a calendar that was able to predict the full and new moon, eclipses, and the solstices and equinoxes accurately. On the other side, the Mesopotamians achieved the same thing. The Mesopotamians were using their sophisticated calendar and mathematics to come up with it around 500 BCE.

The idea of separating the months into days was only logical, since the division was obvious celestially by the sun and moon, and the movement of the planets. The Egyptians, Greeks, Mesopotamians, and others all divided their months into sub-divisions (some ten and some seven), which we now call weeks, and their sub-divisions into hours or sub-periods.

The current calendar uses Pagan names. The names of the days originate from the day that a particular celestial object rules the first hours. The names originate from Sun’s day, Moon’s day, Mars’ day, Mercury’s day, Jupiter’s day, Venus’ day, and Saturn’s day. Later Saxon influence changed these names to more recognizable days: Sun’s day, Moon’s day, Tiw’s day, Wotan’s day, Thor’s day, Frigg’s day, and Saturn’s day.

The calendar we use today is the Gregorian calendar, which was designed for ecclesiastical purposes to regulate the ceremonial cycle of the Roman Catholic Church. Of course Gregory was wrong, because we have to add leap years to account for his error. If the Bible were clear on how to fabricate an accurate calendar, you’d think it would have been done long before science came around and resolved the issue.

TERRY: “10. IT SHOWS US THERE ARE WATER FOUNTAINS UNDER THE OCEANS , SEE JOB 38:16,PRO 8:28.”

Job 38:16 states, “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?” Proverbs 8:28 states, “When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep.” [KJV]

According to the CCE the phrase is more likely “fountains beneath the sea,” not springs. It also elaborates, “Rather, “the inmost recesses;” literally, “that which is only found by searching,” the deep caverns of the ocean. The John Wesley Explanatory Notes (WES) goes further and says, “Springs – Hebrew for “the tears;” the several springs out of which the waters of the sea flow as tears do from the eyes.”

We’ve heard of these underwater springs from which all water flows before in Genesis 7:11, “…on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.” The “fountains of the deep” or “springs” are references to the Noachian flood. Of course we know from the water cycle that the oceans are not generated from fountains in the deep. The thermal springs discovered with deep submersibles are not water sources, but heated ocean water that has seeped below the sedimentary layer, heated by magma-warmed rocks and then rises as it is heated through thermal vents. These aren’t springs, but regurgitating vents. They are not sources of water, but a place where water is spat back out into the ocean.

The reference to springs is not a reference to thermal vents nor is it to underwater springs where fresh groundwater seeps into the ocean. The reference is to the so-called springs that burst forth with water to cause the Noachian flood along with the opening of heaven to cascade water upon the earth and flood it – killing all inhabitants save a single family led by a drunkard.

The reference made in Proverbs is a reference back to the Noachian flood as well. The strengthening of the “fountains of the deep” was necessary to prevent another Noachian flood, as the Bible-God promised and created the rainbow to sanctify his promise never to destroy all of humanity again.

Speaking of the rainbow, I have a question for your creationist “scientists.” What were the properties of light before the Noachian Flood? How come light did not react to a prism the same way before the Noachian flood as it did afterwards? Was light not composed of different wavelengths of light before the Noachian flood? Were raindrops different so that they did not cause light to breakdown it’s wavelengths and create a rainbow (prism) in the sky? I’ve never met a creationist that can explain that one.

TERRY: “11. IT SHOWS US THE HYDROLOGIC CYCLE OF WATER ECCL 1:7, GALILEO DISCOVERED EVAPORATION AND CONDENSATION OF WATER IN 1630.”

Ecclesiastes 1:7 states, “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” [KJV]

Okay, this is a good guess, but it’s not science. Again, if your all-knowing creator made the world, you’d think that he could explain the water cycle a little better. Yet the sea is not full is clearly indicative of the writer’s ignorance. The seas are full. Evaporation doesn’t keep the seas from being full – it keeps them from being overfull. The writer is also suggesting that the waters return to the river and makes no mention of evaporation, condensation or precipitation.

All the biblical study guides say that this is a reference to “veins of water” that flow from the sea back to the river beginnings. The writer of Ecclesiastes thought that the water somehow went from the ocean via veins back to the river’s beginning, where it was cycled again. They had no concept of evaporation, condensation, or the water cycle via precipitation and run-off. As one study guide puts it, the rivers and ocean are maintained through subterraneous cavities.

I’ll grant you that the statement is scientific in nature – in that it attempts to explain the environment based on the knowledge of the time. However, what you are trying to assert is that the Bible is 100% scientifically accurate and will guide us in finding scientific progress. You have not shown that to be the case at all. You have given us last straws, stretches of the imagination, and pure fiction and mythology.

Where is the science and knowledge of the creation that one would expect from a creator? Where are the descriptive verses explaining volcanology, plate tectonics, meteorology, oceanography, biology, and other scientific endeavors?

TERRY: “12. IT SHOWS US LIGHT CAN BE PARTED JOB 38:24. WHITE LIGHT WHILE PASSING THRU THE PRISM CAN BE SEPERATED (sic) INTO SEVEN COLORS. THIS WAS NOT DISCOVERED UNTO 1600’s.”

Job 38:24 states, “By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?” [KJV]

How is this any semblance of science or the properties of a prism? The verse is asking how it happens – not explaining how it happens. Societies have long known how light parts (scatters or separates), but what they did not know was how. This is where religion failed and science figured it out – that light is composed of different wavelengths and that a prism can separate them.

However, biblical scholars agree that this verse is not a reference to a prism, but a reference to the diffusion of light – that the light diffuses over the whole earth, seeming to come from one point (which we know is the Sun). This is why there is a reference to the wind there. It’s not a light parting into a prism, but a light parting over the earth as the wind does. Another biblical study guide uses the word “distributed upon the face of the earth.” Another guide says that the reference is to the phenomenon of the wind rising, as does the sun, so that the sun rises and scatters the light upon the earth, causing the wind to come from the east.

Amazing, I was just asking about the properties of the prism and light and how they were different before and after the Noachian flood.

TERRY: “13. IT SHOWS US HOW THE SUN IS THE SOURCE OF THE EARTH’S WIND SYSTEM JOB 38:24. MIND YOU ALSO THAT JOB IS ONE OF THE OLDEST BOOKS IN THE BIBLE.”

You can’t have this one both ways. You just said that the same verse proves a prism. Now, are you going to go with the scattering of light as a prism, or as a source of wind? As I already mentioned above, some study guides suggest a reference to the rising of the sun coinciding with the rise of wind. Religion failed to answer how or why this occurs (notice, as usual, that there is no elaboration and nothing scientific to the verse) and science succeeds in answering the question. The increase in temperature causes heated air to rise, creating a high-pressure area above, and a low-pressure area below, this causes surrounding air to move into the area of low pressure, causing wind. The Bible did not explain this – only reported the coincidence that the rising sun gives rise to rising winds. It is scientific in nature only in the sense that it is reporting an observation, but there is no explanation, which one would expect from a scientific source.

TERRY: “14. IT SHOWS US THE WINDS DO BLOW IN CIRCUIT ECC 1:6”

Ecclesiastes 1:6 states, “The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.” [KJV]

The north and south winds are two prevailing winds in the area of Palestine. It is scientifically inaccurate to say that the south wind turns around and blows north. It is also inaccurate to say that the wind whirls about continually and returns to its circuit (meaning it returns afresh to its point of origin). Where is the science in this statement?

Where is the mention of upper-level winds, jet streams, meteorological patterns that differ in the northern hemisphere from the southern hemisphere? Where is the mention of pressure gradients that cause the wind?

TERRY: “15. IT SHOWS US THE PRACTICE OF CIRCUMCISION ON THE EIGHT DAY. GOD KNEW THAT BLEEDING WOULD BE MINIMIZED IF CIRCUMCISION WAS DONE ON THE EIGHT DAY. PROTHROMBIN IS MADE IN LIVER AND BECOMES WELL DEPLETED AND DOES NOT REPLENISH UNTIL THE EIGHT DAY.”

The eighth day has nothing to do with chemical makeup or hormonal release and everything to do with Hebrew numerology. Many things are done on the eighth day and to say that circumcision is directly related to some scientific reason, is complete nonsense. The eighth day is used for the sacrifice of unblemished lamb and an offering of fine flour and an oil log. The eighth day is used to cleanse offerings by the priests, which may include two turtledoves or two young pigeons.

The seven days prior are referred to as being “under the dam,” and the eighth day is when it is acceptable to make an offering. The foreskin is an offering and it falls under the same guidelines. You must wait seven days “under the dam” before you can make an offering on the eighth day.

Just do a search for “eighth day” using an online or CD-based Bible and you’ll be amazed how many references you find. I was able to find 23 references to the eighth day.

It’s not hard to notice that bleeding occurs less on the eighth day after birth. Anyone with a brain can figure out that if you do circumcision on every day and that less deaths occur on the eighth day, then that should be the day you do circumcision.

The use of the eighth day is ceremonial in nature, as indicated by its use in 23 biblical references. To disregard those other uses (unless you’re suggesting that clotting ability is important in animals as well) and pick out only the one that happens to coincide with a scientific discovery, is ludicrous, at best. Nowhere in the Bible is any mention of the phenomenon of less clotting on that day. Nowhere is any reason given for the use of the eighth day except for its ceremonial reasons, which are religious, based in numerology.

TERRY: “NOW THE BIBLE SAYS THAT ALL THINGS WILL YIELD BY SEED AFTER IT’S OWN KIND. DO YOU HAVE PROOF THAT ANYTHING EVER TURNED INTO SOMETHING ELSE, FOR INSTANCE HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MAN TURN INTO AND APE OR VICE VERSA, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A PLANT TURN INTO A CAT? I DO NOT THINK ANYBODY HAS EVER SEEN THIS PHENOMENON.”

This is why it is so hard for scientists (real ones) to take creationists seriously. If I had ever seen a man turn into an ape then that would be proof of creation – not evolution. This is a basic misunderstanding of evolutionary theory – that one thing turns into another overnight. It is a series of microevolution changes that culminate into a new species. If we find a plant-cat, then that would be a piece of evidence for the creationists – not the scientists.

Actually, there have been many instances of observed speciation. We see it occur all the time in the microbiology field, especially with bacteria and viruses. Evolutionary science predicted that lower life forms would evolve at a faster rate than higher life forms. This prediction panned out when the microbiology field developed and we started battling bacteria and viruses. It is the mutation and evolution of bacteria and viruses that force the pharmacology field to constantly produce new antibiotics to battle the new mutations of bacteria and new species from constant variations. If evolution weren’t a fact, then we would still be using penicillin instead of all these new powerful antibiotics.

There are two lists of observed speciation online. The lists are not comprehensive (by no means), but it gives you an idea of how often speciation has been observed just in our lifetime alone. You can find these lists at Speciation Observed and Speciation Observed 2.

TERRY: “WILLIE BEE, WAS A WELL KNOWN APE IN THE ATLANTA AREA HERE WHERE I LIVE, BUT HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN APE. THEY SAY THAT ALL THESE MACROEVOLUTIONARY THINGS HAPPENED BUT HOW COME THEY ARE NOT FINDING MORE OF THESE CREATURES THAT ARE HALF AND HALF.”

As I said before, a half-and-half would not be expected under the Theory of Evolution. Macroevolution is not an overnight jump from one species to a new one – it an accumulation of microevolution changes. If you find a cat-dog walking around, then you’ll have proof of creation – not evolution.

There are, however, many transitional species on the earth right now – species that have accumulated many microevolution changes. This will highlight another of the creationist’s misunderstandings of evolution. Many creationists think that when a new species evolves that the old species dies out. This is why we often hear, “If apes evolved into man, then how come apes still exist?” If the old species died out when microevolution accumulated into a macroevolution event, then there would only be one species alive on the planet at any given time. Obviously, that is not the case – but it certainly highlights the ignorance that creationists often have when it comes to the science of evolutionary biology.

To get back to my example, as a species begins to evolve, you can see the intermediaries taking up their niche in the different environments. There is a red fish (the name escapes me right now) that is held in an aquarium at the Environmental Studies Center in Mobile, Alabama. The fish does not swim, even though it has a dorsal fin. The fish walks on its front fins along the rocks. The skeletal structure of the fish’s front fins more closely resembles the bone structure of an amphibian than a true fish, but the rest of the fish resembles the fish structure. This is an intermediary species that found a niche and there was no longer a need to adapt to its environment anymore.

However, continued variations in the genetic code would have caused offshoots of that species. While we can never be sure of its exact evolutionary path (as you pointed out, we weren’t there), we can get a general idea based on genetic variations when we compare that fish to others. The closer a species is to humans, the less genetic variation is expected. The closer a species is to the original species, the more genetic variation is expected.

The Theory of Evolution predicted this, and it panned out when the genetic testing was done. Species that we thought were older turned out to have more genetic variation, and species we thought were newer had less genetic variation. We also found that every species on the planet shares a specific strand of genetic code, which was also predicted – because if we evolved from the same species, we would all have remnants of the original genetic code. In other words, the farther away you get from the original species, the more genetic variation there is.

This is not what one would expect with special creation, unless you’re a “mechanical theist,” whom believes that a creator made the original species and then let evolution go from there. This “mechanic theist” belief is a hands-off approach to the deity – he/she/it created the original life form and then let evolution guide the rest of the process.

TERRY: “RIGHT NOW AND MAYBE YOU CAN AT LEAST GIVE ME A BETTER ILLUSTRATION, BUT RIGHT NOW THIS IS HOW I SEE EVOLUTION: I SEE A EXPLOSION HAPPENING AT THE FORD PLANT WITHOUT THE NECCESSARY (sic) FIRE TETRAHEDRON AND PIECES OF METAL FLYING ACROSS THE SKY AND LANDING IN MY DRIVEWAY ASSEMBLING THEMSELVES INTO A BRAND NEW 3001 (I MEAN 3000 FOR METAPHORIC ADVANCEMENT, WHICH THE HUMAN BODY REFLECTS AN ADVANCED MACHINE) MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE. HARDLY!”

This is a typical strawman argument of creationists. If a Ford plant exploded and a Ford Mustang GTO formed in your driveway from the falling debris, I would claim it a miracle performed by a deity, as it would be proof of creation – not evolution. The attempt to compare obviously intelligently designed items (cars, watches, mouse traps, etc) with biological evolution is totally ludicrous.

Evolution is not the miraculous appearance of a new species overnight, as I have asserted over and over again. Evolution is the gradual change of a species (microevolution) until such changes accumulate that speciation has occurred (macroevolution). This really isn’t a hard concept – I don’t understand why creationists have such a hard time grasping it. I know why they reject it, but I don’t understand why they don’t understand it.

TERRY: “NOW AT THIS POINT YOU ARE PROBALLY (sic) THINKING NOW I KNOW THIS GUY IS IGNORANT OF EVOLUTION, BUT I WANT TO ASSURE YOU THAT I HAVE READ COUNTLESS HOURS ON EVOLUTION AND THEY DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING OUT MORE THAN DR BOTTLESTOPPER SAYS IN THE SCIENCE FIELD TODAY THAT “HE THINKS THAT WHAT MAY HAVE HAPPEN BILLIONS OF YEARS AGO IS THAT THERE WAS A BIG BANG.”

No offense, but I thought you were ignorant on the Theory of Evolution long before you gave that example. You have spouted off every ludicrous creationist argument there is. All creationists can do is try to poke holes in evolution because they have no proof that their “version” is a reality. All they can do is mock science, and in a way worship it, by trying to justify their beliefs through bogus science.

Theories are not about “we think,” that is reserved for a hypothesis. When science is in the “we think” mode, it is speculating on a hypothesis. Once the hypothesis is formulated, it is tested and approached from every angle in attempt to disprove the hypothesis. Predictions are made, tests are completed, and data is compiled. If the hypothesis is shattered, then it is tossed and a new one is formulated. If the hypothesis pans out, then additional testing is done and data is accumulated and other teams take a crack at it. When the hypothesis is proven and cannot be disproved, then it becomes a theory.

Even then, scientists constantly attack the theory, because any scientists that can disprove a theory are guaranteed recipients of a Pulitzer Prize in one of the science fields. Scientists have been trying to disprove the Theory of Evolution for over a hundred years and they have not succeeded. Every attempt to disprove the Theory of Evolution only solidifies it more and brings more concrete evidence to light.

Scientists are not bickering over the Theory of Evolution itself – they all know that evolution is a fact. What is still being worked out is “how” evolution occurs – the mechanism of evolution. Creationists see this as a problem with science, but it is the beauty of science. If we stopped researching as soon as someone said, “This is the cause,” then we’d never get anywhere and we’d still be living in the Stone Age. It is the constant endeavor to question and research that is the key to scientific success, not its downfall, as creationists would have the non-scientific believe.

TERRY: “THERE IS TWO PEOPLE AND I DON’T MEAN ALL BUT MOST SCIENTIST AND THEOLOGIANS ARE TO SMART FOR THEIR ON GOOD. THEY WOULD RATHER USE THEORY,S THAN COMMON SENSE.”

That may be your preference, but I would rather that scientists use theories to guide them in their scientific endeavors. I would rather that the scientific process be utilized in order to achieve a better life for mankind. If scientists only used common sense (they do use it by the way, when it comes to testing a hypothesis and theory) then we wouldn’t have all the marvels of technology, the advancement of medical science, the betterment of society, etc. As I said before, the use of the scientific method and science is the reason we are not stuck in the Stone Age.

To be perfectly honest, it is common sense that first directed me away from religion. It was logic and theory that later solidified my common sense approach to religion. Had it not been for common sense, I would still be groveling on my knees and begging forgiveness from an invisible man in the sky. Common sense was my salvation – not a fairy tale about a resurrected savior born from himself to die for himself to satisfy his own desire to burn his creation in a lake of fire if they don’t worship him.

TERRY: “WHEN ARE WE GONNA QUIT LETTING STATISTICS AND THEORY’S RULE THIS PLACE.”

You’re right. Let’s get rid of all the theories and get back to the basics. First, get rid of all your electricity and electronics since they operate on a theory. Then you can forget about that gravity thing – it’s another stupid theory. We don’t need the Theory of Gravity based on the Universal Law of Gravitation to explain why we stay put – it’s common sense – we don’t float away because we are heavy. Of course we can’t say we’re heavy anymore, because that is based on a theory of density.

Oh yeah, no more television or radio, since radio wave propagation is a theory. We can scrap all those silly theories and just run on regular old-fashioned common sense. The common sense that made us use leaches to cure every disease that came across us. The common sense that made women subservient and slaves to men with no rights. The common sense that placed our children to work on farms and plantations as slave labor.

Common sense has gotten mankind into trouble too many times. When common sense is confirmed with reason and logic, then are getting somewhere. That is not to say that people will use twisted logic to justify their common sense (just look at George W. Bush and his twisted logic in order to justify his “common sense”). If everyone is trained in actual logic and taught how to properly reason, we might find ourselves in a better environment.

Common sense has its purpose, but far too often it is subjective. One person’s common sense is another person’s stupidity.

Keep your common sense as your only source of knowledge if you must, but I’ll rely on logic, reason, and the rules of science to verify reality and I’ll base my common sense on that. Too many people use common sense as a base, instead of letting something concrete be the basis for their common sense.

TERRY: “ALSO I HOPE TO CONTINUE THIS DIALOGUE WITH YOU BECAUSE MY GOAL IS NOT TO CONVERT YOU ALTHOUGH IT WOULD ANSWER ONE OF MY PRAYERS, BUT ONE OF THE PURPOSES IS TO DEBATE OPPONENTS OF MY BELIEF SO THAT I WILL BE FORCED TOO DIG DEEPER AND MATURE MY KNOWLEDGE AND FAITH.”

Even if your goal was to convert me, I could assure you right now that you would fail. Perhaps during this dialogue and your endeavor to “dig deeper and mature your knowledge and faith,” it will be you that has a de-conversion? It’s not a prayer of mine, nor is it a hope, but common sense (as you would put it) dictates that it is certainly a possibility.

TERRY: “IF YOU CARE TO, I WOULD LIKE YOU TO LOOK UP PROVERBS 1524 IT IS MY FAVORITE VERSE. BUT BE SURE TO LOOK IT UP IN THE KJV.”

Proverbs 15:24 states, “The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.” [KJV]

Why do you insist on using the KJV? Most biblical scholars admit that the KJV isn’t a very good translation of the Septuagint. There are so many translations that your “favorite verse” has several different meanings. Just to give you an idea of how different they are based on how different people translate and what variant they use of the “original text,” let’s take a look at a few.

  • NASB (New American Standard Bible): The path of life {leads} upward for the wise that he may keep away from Sheol below.
  • HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible): For the discerning the path of life leads upward, so that he may avoid going down to Sheol.
  • NLT (New Living Translation): The path of the wise leads to life above; they leave the grave behind. (It should be noted that Sheol is Hebrew for grave – not Hell.)
  • GNT (Good News Translation): Wise people walk the road that leads upward to life, not the road that leads downward to death.
  • DRB (Douay-Rheims Bible): The path of life is above for the wise, that he may decline from the lowest hell.
  • MSG (The Message Bible): Life ascends to the heights for the thoughtful – it’s a clean about-face from descent into hell.
  • CJB (Complete Jewish Bible): For the prudent, the path of life goes upward; thus he avoids Sheol below.
  • NCV (New Century Version): Wise people’s lives get better and better. They avoid whatever would cause their death.
  • GWT (God’s Word Translation): The path of life for a wise person leads upward in order to turn him away from hell below.
  • BBE (Bible in Basic English): Acting wisely is the way of life, guiding a man away from the underworld.
  • YLT (Young’s Literal Translation): A path of life {is} on high for the wise, to turn aside from Sheol beneath.
  • LV (Latin Vulgate): semita vitae super eruditum ut declinet de inferno novissimo.

As you can see, there is a huge variety of the ways they were translated. The use of the word grave instead of hell is more accurate.

 

Terry Rebuttal #003:

THIS IS TERRY, I HAVE BEEN DEBATING YOU AND I NOTICED YOU HAVE POSTED OUR DEBATE, I LOST YOUR REBUTTAL WHEN MY COMPUTER WAS REBOOTED, THANKS TO YOUR WEB SITE I NOW HAVE IT AGAIN THANKS. WILL RESPOND ASAP (REBUTTAL).

I am stil waiting for his “ASAP” rebuttal…

Debate 025: Glen and Blair discuss basic Christianity

“Glen” (real name not used) is a former Atheist. Glen converted to Christianity six months ago. Glen used to run a freethought group in Alabama, but agreed to stop running it if I debated him. I agreed. Glen offered the first volley.

I must admit that I was rather disappointed with Glen’s first volley. I expected better from a former Atheist. In my experiences, I have found that so-called former Atheists were often very weak Atheists, were theists simply “mad at God,” or were borderline agnostics or pantheists, and not as educated on the issues of Atheism versus theism.

 

Glen Rebuttal #001:

I will be affirming the reasonableness of Theism and Christianity as an alternative to Atheism/Materialism.

Some opening remarks:

These arguments are not offered as the main reasons for belief, but presented as aids to remove barriers of doubt or confusion so that our natural will to believe and faith can take over and grow. The Bible, the Gospels, and the community of faith is the main substance and goals of belief.

These arguments for belief in God, etc. as the ultimate basis for human existance are not presented as replacements to scientific theories and do not preclude secular pursuit of explainations, just as science can not give us ultimate or spiritual truth.

Cosmological Arguments:

Everything we know of in the material universe has a begining and end. We know of nothing finite, temperial and material exempt from this principle. Evidence for a “Big Bang point to a beginning for creation. This points to a time, before which there was nothing. How do we propose to show the origin of something from nothing? A transcendent creator is the only satisfying solution to this dilemma.

Would not the Creator equal or surpass its highest creature: humanity with its facilities for intelligence, love, and justice?

Our ability to concieve of the universe as different or not existing points to the condition of its contingent finite nature, in need of an absolute, necessary, infinite creator beyond itself.

The fundamental forces of nature and the properties of subatomic particals are such that if they were slightly different it would make the existence and evolution of life impossible. Science has not discovered a reason for this, it is a fact most easily accounted for by an intelligent creator.

Arguments from Human Experience:

How can we have a sense of moral right and wrong over and against our own desires and those more powerful than us without a God that has made us with this capacity? While science may be able to show our physical evolution and account for our basic mental powers deriving from a lower primate, our higher abstract reasoning and desire for justice go beyond what can be explained by natural selection. The moral sense in us and enshrinded in religion points to a basis for right and wrong beyond what we desire and what would be dictated by survival of the fittest.

Christian beliefs:

Miracles are not an impossibility or irrational if there is a personal creator existing beyond the natural realm. Supernatural claims are only impossible in a closed material system. They can not be ruled out on a metaphysical basis without a philosopical bias that goes beyond what the facts show.

Natural laws (such as gravity, etc.) do not prevent an intelligence from acting to change a course of events. Laws of nature can only provide absolute predictions under specific conditions.

Regarding the central christian claim about Christ, If he had not been raised from the dead then you must account for reports of his appearences with more improbable claims of mass hallucinations, etc. People proclaiming his resurrection would have faced dangers from persecution, why would the first Christians have done this for what they knew was a lie? How could christianity have gotten started with a failed Messiah without the resurrection? Can you name any successful religious movements based on failed messiahs? There were several failed Jewish Messiahs, Why did not Christianity meet the same fate as them unless it was true.

Paul claimed to have been a Jewish opponent of the early Church, yet he converted and passed on the churces earliest claims about Jesus’s post crucifixian appearences within 10 years of jesus’s death. Why could not Jewish opponents of Jesus not have discounted his claims or those of his followers?

Logic of belief:

No single person can investigate and study every subject to the point of near certainty on all claims. Most knowledge will be in the form of beliefs based on outside sources. Beliefs are justified in light of:

  1. The source being a respected authority on the claim.
  2. The claim does not conflict with first hand knowledge, logic, or prier deeply held convictions.
  3. The claim is of ultimate concern, involves ultimate risk or rewards and a decision one way or the other is required.

Faith commitments are deeply held beliefs involving matters of ultimate concern.

Argument from Human Experience:

Our awareness of sin or guilt, our felt need for forgiveness point to needs the Gospel addresses. Our desire for Justice or life beyond death can not be satisfied by a purely naturalistic worldview.

The shortcomings of this life can not be addressed in our present condition, why would a creature evolve that has desires out of all proportion to what can be provided for in life, unless this is not meant as the whole of existence?

 

Response to Glen #001:

GLEN: “The Bible, the Gospels, and the community of faith is the main substance and goals of belief.”

What will you have of other sacred texts and scriptures? Do you place validity and the “goal of belief” upon the sacred texts of the other religions of the world? Why are the Bible and the gospels contained therein the only reliable source for such a goal?

What is your take on the “goal of belief” for such scriptures as the Kaffir, Kebra Nagast, Koryak, Kitab-I-Aqdas, Book of Shadows, Apocrypha, Vedas, Qur’an, Akaranga Sutra, Tanakh, Upanishads, Zend-Avesta, Nihongi, Shri Guru Granth Sahib, and the Tao-te-Ching (just to name a few)?

GLEN: “These arguments for belief in God, etc. as the ultimate basis for human existence (sic) are not presented as replacements to scientific theories and do not preclude secular pursuit of explainations (sic), just as science can not give us ultimate or spiritual truth.”

If that is the case, then you cannot make the scientific claim that “God exists.” If you make god to be a fact, then that fact is testable by science. To make science ineligible to test the “fact” of god, then you must make god so obscure and obsolete that he or she becomes irrelevant to the very goal of belief. If you make fact claims as to the existence of god then I will call upon the scientific evidence to support such facts. I offer this as a warning so you are prepared to present the scientific evidence behind the scientific claim that god exists as a fact.

Items like the Virgin Birth, Immaculate Conception, resurrection and other claims that are made by religions (Christianity specifically) are testable by science because they are presented as fact to the religious community. The very effort of trying to prove a God or any of the miracles is an effort of science by the religionist. If you open such items up for scrutiny in an effort to prove them as actual, then you must be willing to open them up for scrutiny from the scientific community. The religionist can either leave his claims in the realm of faith or he or she can state them as facts and open them up to scientific investigation.

GLEN: “Everything we know of in the material universe has a begining (sic) and end. We know of nothing finite, temperial (sic) and material exempt from this principle.”

The emphasis here should be on the “we know of” section of your statement. Research into quantum physics has yielded some interesting things when it comes to the whole mindset of causation. In the world of quantum physics things at the quantum level occur without a cause – random effects. Even when it comes to the Big Bang, we only know what has occurred 10-43seconds after the Big Bang. Prior to that we have reached a mathematical and knowledge singularity. Fortunately, science does not simply return to faith in order to explain anything prior that point – science continues to look for the answer and remove the mathematical singularity.

I find it rather intriguing that creationists insist upon using the rules of science, and especially physics, in order to restrain the debate for the scientist, and yet they insist that those same rules do not apply to their specific creator. It’s a form of cheating, if you ask me. It’s akin to someone setting the rules of a game and then saying that they are exempt from those rules.

You cannot use science to justify a creator if the creator is immune to the rules of science.

GLEN: “Evidence for a “Big Bang point to a beginning for creation. This points to a time, before which there was nothing.”

This is not a factual statement. This is a statement of speculation. Scientists admit that they do not know what happened prior to the Big Bang. As I stated above, we can only go as far back as 10-43 seconds after the Big Bang. Prior to that we cannot reach mathematically. Scientists continue to research and collect data that will help them go to the Big Bang itself and before that.

Not too mention that many scientists disagree on whether the Big Bang was “the beginning” or was “another beginning” in a chain of many – a cyclic universe. Many religions also believe in a cyclic universe, so this is not a new idea at all. The evidence for the Big Bang is clear and it would be intellectually dishonest of anyone to state that the Big Bang did not occur. The Big Bang itself is a fact.

What is not a fact is what happened before the Big Bang itself. This is where creationists try to get into the game. Instead of having evidence for creation, they try to poke holes in current theories and hypotheses. What happened before the Big Bang is a hypothesis: not a theory. That is why research continues in this area. The best source of information on current theories and hypotheses as well as ongoing research is via NASA’s Origins Program (www.nasa.gov).

GLEN: “How do we propose to show the origin of something from nothing? A transcendent creator is the only satisfying solution to this dilemma.”

This is a bold assumption to make. There is zero evidence of such a creator. Let’s play along for a second and assume that such a creator exists. Which one? What would incline one to believe that such a creator is the Bible-God? Why would one assume that such a creator is the Vedas-God? Which religion can make the positive claim about the creator? Are the deists correct?

The cosmological argument (first cause) has been mulled over for thousands of years. If a god is the only satisfying answer then why is there so much argument and contention over this? Apologists still exist because none of these dilemmas have been successfully resolved, much less satisfied.

Again, we see that the argument refuses science to evaluate this creator and the creator is coincidentally and conveniently immune to the very science that the creationist insists on using to prove his or her point.

This argument also incorrectly assumes that the universe had a stagnant beginning, that it is not cyclic.

GLEN: “Would not the Creator equal or surpass its highest creature: humanity with its facilities for intelligence, love, and justice?”

This is another assumption based on a fallacy. First off, the assumption is that a creator actually exists. The second is that the creator has to surpass in human-like abilities. The only requirement for such a creator is the ability to create. Even if you could prove a creator you could never prove the human-like qualities of such a creator.

Before you could even try you have to define those qualities and establish your very definition of god the creator. Before we continue we really need to establish that. What is your definition of god the creator? What qualities does it have? Where does it live? How long has it been alive? Was it created (since science applies to all and nothing is immune)?

GLEN: “The fundamental forces of nature and the properties of subatomic particals (sic) are such that if they were slightly different it would make the existence and evolution of life impossible. Science has not discovered a reason for this, it is a fact most easily accounted for by an intelligent creator.”

This is another argument based on a false premise. The false premise is that everything in the universe is “perfectly aligned” for things to exist as they are. The problem with humans and specifically the human mind is that it wants to see patterns where there are none. This is why we see Jesus in a tortilla in Mexico City and the Virgin Mary in spilt ice cream in Paris. This is why we see shapes in the clouds and the bark of a tree. This is why we cannot recognize a concave face, because our mind cannot process it – the mind needs pattern.

The universe is actually chaotic. Random events occur all the time and disturb the apparent pattern of the universe. As humans we have a hard time thinking of time in extremely long intervals. We only see fifty or sixty years of the universe instead of billions of years. The pattern that we see is only a pattern that is in place at this time.

The universe is full of random atoms and free electrons. The universe is full of quantum physics and quantum mechanics that violate known laws. Just a few months ago scientists saw the Second Law of Thermodynamics violated on the quantum level. This is not “design,” but random chaos that we want to see design and pattern in.

We can see the chaos in earthquakes, rogue comets, stray asteroids, solar flares, volcanic eruptions, tornados, and many others. Even on the genetic level we see randomness, which is the very key to evolutionary biology. It is random chaos that drives evolution.

Even if it were conceded that such “perfect alignment” existed, it would not denote an intelligent creator. If anything it would denote an unintelligent creator. There are so many problems and idiocies that you can’t help but laugh at this so-called “intelligent” designer. As Steven Weinberg said, “Even a universe that is completely chaotic, without any laws or regularities at all, could be supposed to have been designed by an idiot.

Another assumption in this argument is that this “perfect alignment” was created in order to sustain a special creation. That’s a bold assumption, indeed. The fact that we are here is not because it was designed this way, but because it happened this way. It is the laws of the universe that have helped produce life.

It is an equally bold assumption to say that if the laws of nature were any different that life would not exist. It may be fair to say that we might not exist, but to say that nothing could exist if they were different is an assumption of the grandest scale. It’s akin to saying that life could not evolve on a planet with less or more gravity than the Earth because the Earth is somehow “special.” Life has evolved on Earth in some of the craziest places – places we never expected to find life thriving.

The quest for knowledge has eliminated a lot of things that were considered “designed.” Remember when things like rain, lightning, fire, earthquakes, and other such things were considered “designed?” Zeus designed lightning, etc. Now these things are no longer considered to be the act of design by gods, but things derived from natural phenomenon under the laws of nature.

Do you not consider it strange that a creator would design such a vast universe solely for the amusement of watching man survive on the stage with good and evil? Why go through all the hassle of creating such a vast universe? Why not just create a playground for Man and put it in a large observatory? Seems like such a waste of space for a designer. God, if he were an interior decorator, would be fired for his blatant misuse of space.

Perhaps the bigger and more important question for the creationist to answer is “Why?” Why would your god create a universe? Why would your god create life? What’s the point?

Steven Weinberg also brought up another good point, “…to conclude that the constants of nature have been fine-tuned by a benevolent designer would be like saying, “Isn’t it wonderful that God put us here on Earth, where there’s water and air and the surface gravity and temperature are so comfortable, rather some horrid place, like Mercury or Pluto?

GLEN: “How can we have a sense of moral right and wrong over and against our own desires and those more powerful than us without a God that has made us with this capacity?”

The question I am more inclined to ask is, “Why do you need a god to make you moral?” Is not the law a higher and more powerful authority than us? Does not the law of the land of a society fit such criteria? After all, no one is above the law.

The origin of morality has been a point of contention for a long time. Morality changes from society to society and era to era. What we see as immoral in the United States is seen as routine and normal in another country. What another country sees as immoral we see as perfectly normal and moral.

Where in the Bible does the Bible-God define morality, anyway? The morals of the Bible are far from our view of moral. Where is the morality in stoning people to death? Where is the morality in the trading of slaves? Where is the morality in the sacrificing of bulls because the “odor is pleasing unto the Lord, thy God.” Where is the morality in the Global Flood and the Tower of Babel?

The question you should be asking yourself is why you need a reward waved in front of you in order to behave yourself? I have to admit that I feel a sense of apathy for those that require a carrot to be wagged in front of their face in order to coerce good behavior from them. I often sense a fear from those whom I know that the only thing holding them back from being immoral is a belief in an afterlife and getting the ultimate reward for good behavior.

This is also rather ironic considering the source of this so-called morality. Nowhere in the Bible is morality defined by the Bible-God. The only things offered to man are Commandments. The Commandments are not guidelines on how to be moral – they are direct commands from a “superior officer,” if you will.

The Bible does nothing to help us with everyday moral dilemmas that we encounter in our lives. Thinking these moral dilemmas through rationally and logically is what helps us solve them. Stroking the Bible and hoping for the Bible-God to speak to you directly cannot solve situational ethics.

As for the Bible-God giving us a moral compass: where did you get such an idea? Where in the Bible does it say that the Bible-God gave us a moral compass? The knowledge of right and wrong, in the Bible, came from the Tree of Knowledge. The Bible-God denied man the knowledge of right and wrong. If you want to give credit for a moral compass in man, then you need to give that credit to the serpent in the apple tree and to the whimsical folly of Eve. If you re-read Genesis you will notice that the Bible-God was very mad that Adam & Even had gained such knowledge. That is the source of Original Sin. The Bible-God did not give man a moral compass.

GLEN: “While science may be able to show our physical evolution and account for our basic mental powers deriving from a lower primate, our higher abstract reasoning and desire for justice go beyond what can be explained by natural selection.”

That is simply not the case. Science has addressed this issue in great detail. The major turning point for human morality (more accurately the societal interpretation thereof) is based entirely on one thing: the recognition of time.

It is our recognition of time that has allowed us to develop a heightened sense of morality compared to the majority of other species. Through our recognition of time we became aware of the consequences of our actions. We became aware that plants grew seasonally and we could take advantage of that (the advent of agriculture). We became aware of the fact that death is final (the advent of burials and grieving).

Because we recognize the effects of our actions, this has given us great insight into morality. What is obvious when one looks at our laws and moral guidelines, they all resolve around the preservation of the species, which is exactly what our biological drive is. Seatbelt laws, child restraint laws, laws against murdering, and every other law ties in directly to the preservation of the species.

Our morality is the offshoot of our drive to preserve the species. Some of those morals are self-preserving, as in every biological species, and others are for the greater good of the entire species (or society, as appropriate).

Now that the human genome has been mapped, many scientists are beginning to think that a lot of morality is genetically ingrained into the human brain. The rest of morality is memetic, but the memetic morality is based entirely on the preservation of the species.

Our societal morality is also equivalent to the preservation of the species, but of a particular part of the species: clan, city, country, race, etc.

One thing that we can say for sure is that religion is not the cause of morality and does not guarantee morality. One need only look at the history of religion for confirmation of this. One need only look at prison statistics to know that religion does not cause morality. I’m not making the claim that religion makes one bad – but I am making the claim that religion does not make one good. When one’s perceived religious morality is based on a book supposedly written by a god, and that book is full of immorality, then it is easy to see why one’s religious moral compass would be out of whack.

GLEN: “The moral sense in us and enshrinded in religion points to a basis for right and wrong beyond what we desire and what would be dictated by survival of the fittest.”

I fail to see this connection at all. As I pointed out, our morality and laws derive directly from survival of the species, which derives directly from the survival of the fittest. Even the primates grieve for the death of a troop member – showing that they understand that death is final. Many primate troops, especially bonobos, have developed a social moral structure to help resolve conflicts. Elephants have shown signs of a moral compass – but creationists are quick to call such a moral compass in primates and elephants “biological instinct” and yet reject that claim when it comes to the animal homo sapiens. Why is that?

Why do creationists insist that moral behavior in other animal species is “instinct” and yet our own moral behavior is not “instinct?” Perhaps the problem is not religious morality, but the inability to recognize that the human being is an animal?

GLEN: “Miracles are not an impossibility or irrational if there is a personal creator existing beyond the natural realm.”

They are irrational if they cannot be proven. There is more evidence for cold fusion and Big Foot then there is for miracles. I don’t believe in Big Foot, so why should I believe in miracles?

Miracles speak against the very nature of Christian theology, anyway. How can we have free will if the Bible-God intervenes in our lives? If the Bible-God intervenes and gets involved in our lives then our free will is for naught. Christian theology wants it both ways: free will and godly intervention. The two contradict each other and cannot coexist peacefully.

I challenge you to present scientific evidence for one miracle.

GLEN: “Supernatural claims are only impossible in a closed material system. They can not be ruled out on a metaphysical basis without a philosopical (sic) bias that goes beyond what the facts show.”

Is the universe a closed material system in your view?

Nothing can be ruled out on a metaphysical basis. We know that. The burden you have is not to prove that the impossible can happen in the metaphysical. Your burden is to prove that the metaphysical exists in the first place.

Philosophically and rationally we know that miracles are impossible. There is not one single documented miracle that has been proven scientifically. There are no videos, pictures, or evidence of miracles anywhere. There are a lot of so-called miracles from the past that were never properly investigated, and those are the ones that seem to perpetuate in Christian mythology. Modern claims of miracles are disproved on a monthly basis around the world. Most are found to be frauds and the rest are found to be normal phenomenon.

I find it rather funny sometimes to listen to Christians (or any other religious group) after a disaster. There are fifty dead bodies splayed out in the street and the sole survivor states, “It’s a miracle! God saved me from dying!”

Miracle? If God intervened at all he should be held accountable – not given a thumbs-up for sparing a single life.

GLEN: “Natural laws (such as gravity, etc.) do not prevent an intelligence from acting to change a course of events. Laws of nature can only provide absolute predictions under specific conditions.”

Laws of nature on a quantum level cannot provide absolute predictions under specific conditions. What about unspecific conditions?

If “an intelligence” intervenes then that intelligence should leave a fingerprint that can be identified and tested. If “an intelligence” intervenes in our personal lives and changes events then time has no meaning, free will has no meaning, and life has no meaning. What is the point of life if our destiny is already pre-programmed by the great designer in the sky? What is the point of life and making decisions if at any time the creator can jump in and screw it all up for us?

Do you not find it rather strange that miracles always happen in trailer parks? Do you not find it rather strange that miracles always happen in the backyards of crazy old coots? Do you not find it rather strange that miracles always happen in places where they are not needed?

Where was the miracle on 9/11? Where was the miracle during the Holocaust? Oh yeah… those were Jews – they weren’t privy to miracles from the Christian version of the Bible-God. But I digress…

GLEN: “Regarding the central christian (sic) claim about Christ, If he had not been raised from the dead then you must account for reports of his appearences (sic) with more improbable claims of mass hallucinations, etc.”

Can you provide any witnesses to such? The gospels were written a minimum 40 years after the supposed death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a common misconception that the apostles/disciples wrote the gospels, but that is not the case. The church assigned the names attributed to the gospels in the late 4th Century. The church guessed.

There is not a single non-Biblical witness to the life and after-life of Jesus. Nowhere in history is there any documented case of Jesus by any writer or historian of that time. When Jesus gave up the ghost and the ground shook and opened up and the skies turned dark… no one seemed to notice. Not a single Roman or Jewish writer or historian noticed that Jesus was walking among them and performing miracles. None of them noticed that Rome had crucified Jesus. None of them noticed his ghost walking around after three days.

The story of Jesus is a mythological tale based on the stories of many Pagan religions. I used to think that Jesus was at least a historical person – a rabbi, perhaps. Then I actually did the research. The only logical conclusion I could make and maintain my intellectual honesty was to conclude that Jesus was 100% myth.

If you want to get into the historicity of Jesus, please let me know. I’m well versed on the subject and have read many books by believers and non-believers. I have also attended lectures by the Jesus Seminar. When I looked into the historicity of Jesus I did not take it lightly.

GLEN: “People proclaiming his resurrection would have faced dangers from persecution, why would the first Christians have done this for what they knew was a lie?”

Why would they know it was a lie? How many people believe in UFO abductions? Not all of the UFO abduction believers have been actually abducted.

If your argument is that willingness to die for a cause makes the cause true, then you must concede that the following causes are true because of the willingness of their followers to die:

  • Nazi Germany
  • Pol Pot
  • David Koresh
  • Heaven’s Gate
  • Islam and suicide bombers
  • Taliban

I could name a lot more, but I think you get the point. Willingness to die for one’s beliefs does not make those beliefs true. If it did then every belief held by humans at one time or another would be true. Men died for their belief in Zeus because they thought it to be true. Men died for Mithras because they believed his death and resurrection to be true. Men died for Isis because they thought his resurrection and the Second Coming were true.

You must also take into consideration the advancement of science. 2,000 years ago the age of skepticism was not even in consideration. There was no reason to doubt claims of miracles, paranormal activity, or supernatural intervention. Every religion of the time had miracle claims, virgin births, resurrections, second comings, and other familiar themes. There was no reason for them to doubt another religion making the same claims.

GLEN: “How could christianity (sic) have gotten started with a failed Messiah without the resurrection? Can you name any successful religious movements based on failed messiahs?”

Christianity was nothing more than an obscure sect of Judaism for almost 300 years. It was not the resurrection or the truth of the theology that set it up as the “up-and-comer” of the new millennia. What established Christianity was the declaration by Emperor Constantine that Christianity was the “official” religion of Rome. Without that most scholars agree that Christianity would probably have not survived. Christianity has a Pagan Roman Emperor to thank for its longevity.

As to successful religious movements based on messiahs, there are several that survive to this day. The most prominent messiah-based religion is Hinduism.

GLEN: “There were several failed Jewish Messiahs, Why did not Christianity meet the same fate as them unless it was true.”

As I said above, the reason for the success of Christianity was not its theological truthfulness, but the aid of a Pagan Roman Emperor. Of course the aid of the Roman Emperor Constantine was the final step in the success of Christianity. The first step was the demise of the Temple at the hands of the Romans. Prior to the destruction of the Temple, Christianity was nothing but a sect of Judaism – not even referred to as Christianity. The Temple priests kept the sect in check. With the destruction of the Temple came the destruction of the Jewish hierarchy. There was no one to keep the Jesus sect in check and it expanded. It is for this reason that the majority of the gospels originate after 70 AD – after the destruction of the temple.

GLEN: “Paul claimed to have been a Jewish opponent of the early Church, yet he converted and passed on the churces (sic) earliest claims about Jesus’s (sic) post crucifixian (sic) appearences (sic) within 10 years of jesus’s (sic) death. Why could not Jewish opponents of Jesus not have discounted his claims or those of his followers?”

Do you know why the Jewish priests denied Jesus? Do you know why the Jews still reject the messianic claims of Jesus’ modern-day followers? Jesus did not fulfill the prophecy of the Tanakh (Jewish “Bible”). The Jews were waiting for a sword-wielding messiah to deliver them from their oppressors. The prophecies were very clear about what the messiah would and would not be. The prophecy was clear that the messiah would be human – not the Son of God. No messiah would be the Son of God. Any messiah claiming to be the Son of God or God himself was a false messiah.

Jesus didn’t get in trouble because he upset the money tables at the temple or spoke about the “greater commandments” or any of that. Jesus got in trouble because he was being called the “Son of God,” which made him a false messiah under the prophecy.

GLEN: “No single person can investigate and study every subject to the point of near certainty on all claims.”

That is why we make our conclusions based on what we know – not on what we don’t know. You have no evidence of God, and yet you make the claim that God exists. You are basing your conclusions on what you don’t know.

I will at least grant you the possibility of a god existing. I’ll also grant you the possibility that Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFO abductions, pink unicorns, Leprechauns, and elves exist, too. We can believe in the possible or we can accept the probable. God is possible, but he is not probable. There is no evidence to support belief in god; therefore there is no reason to believe in god.

GLEN: “Beliefs are justified in light of: […] 3. The claim is of ultimate concern, involves ultimate risk or rewards and a decision one way or the other is required. […] Faith commitments are deeply held beliefs involving matters of ultimate concern.”

I disagree with your assessment that a belief is justified if it relates to your #3. By that very logic then Nazism is a justified belief system.

Even if the belief were justified, it does not make the belief true. Horoscopes meet the requirement of your #3. Are they true because over 70% of Americans read and believe them?

GLEN: “Our awareness of sin or guilt, our felt need for forgiveness point to needs the Gospel addresses.”

Elaborate on this, please. Why do you feel that the gospels address such?

GLEN: “Our desire for Justice or life beyond death can not be satisfied by a purely naturalistic worldview.”

Our desire to win the lottery cannot be satisfied by a purely naturalistic worldview, either. Whether or not our desires can be addressed by a worldview does not make an alternate worldview true. I desire to be rich and perfectly healthy in a world that is totally peaceful without disease and conflict. Does that mean I should forsake reality for an imaginary world that makes me feel better about my desires?

Our desire for justice is reflected in our man-made (thus natural) legal system. Our desires for life after death are just that – desires. We recognize that our life is a one-way trip (because of our recognition of time) and we don’t like that. Some of us deal with it and others make up stories about an afterlife where life goes on for eternity while groveling at the feet of a deity in white robes with angels and cherubs playing harps and streets of gold.

Sure it all sounds nice and wouldn’t it be great if it were true – but desiring it does not make it true.

GLEN: “The shortcomings of this life can not be addressed in our present condition, why would a creature evolve that has desires out of all proportion to what can be provided for in life, unless this is not meant as the whole of existence?”

Have you ever seen a monkey trap itself because of desire? If you place a piece of salt into a tube and basin, the monkey will reach into the tube and grab the salt in the basin. Unfortunately, he cannot get his hand out of the tube because it is balled up around the block of salt. The monkey will starve itself to death before it ever realizes that all he has to do is release the salt to get his hand out of the tube.

Are you suggesting that because the monkey has desires out of proportion to what can be provided that the monkey has an existence beyond this life?

My desires can be provided for in this life. I have no desire to live in an afterlife. I have a hard enough time staying entertained as it is now – what the heck am I supposed to do for eternity? ;-)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – desire for an afterlife does not make an afterlife true. Desire for things beyond this world does not make a creator true.

I would like to ask you a couple of personal questions. You are under no obligation to respond, but I personally think they are relevant to this conversation. If you disagree you are more than welcome to disregard them.

You mentioned that you converted to Christianity about six months ago. You also mentioned that you got divorced six months ago: coincidence or connection?

 

Glen Rebuttal #002:

BLAIR: “Do you place validity and the “goal of belief” upon the sacred texts of the other religions of the world? Why are the Bible and the gospels contained therein the only reliable source for such a goal? What is your take on the “goal of belief” for such scriptures as the Kaffir, Kebra Nagast, Koryak, Kitab-I-Aqdas, Book of Shadows, Apocrypha, Vedas, Qur’an, Akaranga Sutra, Tanakh, Upanishads, Zend-Avesta, Nihongi, Shri Guru Granth Sahib, and the Tao-te-Ching?”

Insofar as these other religions conflict with Christianity and each other, only one can be true and since I am a Christian I am only concerned with its truth.

BLAIR: “…you cannot make the scientific claim that “God exists.” If you make god to be a fact, then that fact is testable by science.”

I am not trying to put the concept of God forward as a scientific fact or theory, but as a valid philosophical explaination. I don’t think God can be found under a microscope, or in a test tube, or through a telescope. But the facts of science can be used to argue for or against an intelligent cause for reality.

BLAIR: “Items like the Virgin Birth, Immaculate Conception, resurrection and other claims that are made by religions (Christianity specifically) are testable by science because they are presented as fact.”

Actually those are miracle claims in the distant past, so they can not be tested today like what a rock is made of. All we know of these events are what has been written down and like other recorded events from the past must be judged by historical research.

BLAIR: “The emphasis here should be on the “we know of” section of your statement. Research into quantum physics has yielded some interesting things when it comes to the whole mindset of causation. In the world of quantum physics things at the quantum level occur without a cause – random effects. science does not simply return to faith in order to explain anything prior that point – science continues to look for the answer and remove the mathematical singularity.”

saying the Big Bang was caused by a quantum event, is just as speculative as inferring an intelligent first cause, we have never observed this cause for something like the Big Bang, there is no evidence for quantum physics as a cause for the Big Bang.

BLAIR: “You cannot use science to justify a creator if the creator is immune to the rules of science.”

Like I said I am positing God as a credible philosophical concept, not a scientific theory for events inside the universe.

BLAIR: “Not too mention that many scientists disagree on whether the Big Bang was “the beginning” or was “another beginning” in a chain of many – a cyclic universe. Many religions also believe in a cyclic universe, so this is not a new idea at all. The evidence for the Big Bang is clear and it would be intellectually dishonest of anyone to state that the Big Bang did not occur. The Big Bang itself is a fact.”

I do not dispute the Big Bang theory, I just think a creator is a reasonable cause for it.

BLAIR: “This is a bold assumption to make. There is zero evidence of such a creator. Let’s play along for a second and assume that such a creator exists. Which one?”

As far as the truth of theism any name for God works for me.

BLAIR: “This argument also incorrectly assumes that the universe had a stagnant beginning, that it is not cyclic.”

There problems with a cyclic view of origins, such as the 2nd law of thermodynamics, also it just results in an infinite regress of causes with no real explaination of the fact of the universes existence and its properties.

BLAIR: “The second is that the creator has to surpass in human-like abilities. The only requirement for such a creator is the ability to create. Even if you could prove a creator you could never prove the human-like qualities of such a creator.

Would not a creator equal or surpass what it creates?

BLAIR: “Before you could even try you have to define those qualities and establish your very definition of god the creator. Before we continue we really need to establish that. What is your definition of god the creator? What qualities does it have? Where does it live? How long has it been alive? Was it created (since science applies to all and nothing is immune)?”

God would be the creator, he would be eternal otherwise he would not be God, a created creator would not be God, like a married person would not be a bachelor, it’s a self contradiction.

BLAIR: “The false premise is that everything in the universe is “perfectly aligned” for things to exist as they are. The problem with humans and specifically the human mind is that it wants to see patterns where there are none. This is why we see Jesus in a tortilla in Mexico City and the Virgin Mary in spilt ice cream in Paris. This is why we see shapes in the clouds and the bark of a tree.”

I am not refering to patterns, but the properties of subatomic particals and the strengths of fundamental forces, if these were changed we could not exist, why do they assume these properties? Changing the laws of nature would effect things like Solar output or the ability of carbon atoms to link up. Without a certain range of values in the laws of nature life would be physically impossible.

BLAIR: “Perhaps the bigger and more important question for the creationist to answer is “Why?” Why would your god create a universe? Why would your god create life? What’s the point?”

For his own glory and to share existence with us.

BLAIR: “The question I am more inclined to ask is, “Why do you need a god to make you moral?” Is not the law a higher and more powerful authority than us? Does not the law of the land of a society fit such criteria? After all, no one is above the law.”

Laws just make things legal or illegal. They reflect what a society thinks is right or wrong. Surely passing a law does not automatically make something right. People have a sense of what is right and wrong over and against what they desire or what a group desires.

BLAIR: “Where in the Bible does the Bible-God define morality, anyway? The morals of the Bible are far from our view of moral. Where is the morality in stoning people to death? Where is the morality in the trading of slaves? Where is the morality in the sacrificing of bulls because the “odor is pleasing unto the Lord, thy God.” Where is the morality in the Global Flood and the Tower of Babel?”

The Bible does proscribe morality in some of the 10 commandments, the Golden Rule, Proverbs, etc. These other things you list are just social, economic, or religious customs, they can and do change.

BLAIR: “The question you should be asking yourself is why you need a reward waved in front of you in order to behave yourself?”

I never said we needed a reward to be moral, I think Christianity does proscribe good actions because they are good not because of a reward.

BLAIR: “Our morality is the offshoot of our drive to preserve the species. Some of those morals are self-preserving, as in every biological species, and others are for the greater good of the entire species (or society, as appropriate).”

Morality proscribes our relations with God and other people, survival of the species is something else, it’s a biological necessity, its important, but morality is what we do over and above survival, maybe even in spite of survival.

BLAIR: “Miracles speak against the very nature of Christian theology, anyway. How can we have free will if the Bible-God intervenes in our lives? If the Bible-God intervenes and gets involved in our lives then our free will is for naught. I challenge you to present scientific evidence for one miracle.”

Miracles do not alter your actions, they just add on new objects and events.

BLAIR: “Philosophically and rationally we know that miracles are impossible. There is not one single documented miracle that has been proven scientifically. There are no videos, pictures, or evidence of miracles anywhere. There are a lot of so-called miracles from the past that were never properly investigated, and those are the ones that seem to perpetuate in Christian mythology. Modern claims of miracles are disproved on a monthly basis around the world. Most are found to be frauds and the rest are found to be normal phenomenon.”

There may be a lack of enough evidence for miracles for you, but this does not make them impossible. “A sufficently advanced intelligence can do things that would be indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke.

BLAIR: “Where was the miracle on 9/11? Where was the miracle during the Holocaust?”

Those are are evil human acts not miracles.

BLAIR: “Can you provide any witnesses to such? The gospels were written a minimum 40 years after the supposed death and resurrection of Jesus.”

Paul wrote in the 40s and 50s and he passed on accounts about the resurrection from the first Christians that knew Jesus, like Peter and James, as well as his own account, thats closer in time to 30 AD than the Gospels. Except for political and military leaders I doubt you have many accounts from that time about any first century person.

BLAIR: “There is not a single non-Biblical witness to the life and after-life of Jesus. Nowhere in history is there any documented case of Jesus by any writer or historian of that time. The story of Jesus is a mythological tale based on the stories of many Pagan religions. I used to think that Jesus was at least a historical person – a rabbi, perhaps. Then I actually did the research. The only logical conclusion I could make and maintain my intellectual honesty was to conclude that Jesus was 100% myth.”

There are two references by Josephus a Jewish historian but this is disputed, I think Tacitus refers to Jesus and his followers but thats 115 AD. http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexisthub.html

BLAIR: “If you want to get into the historicity of Jesus, please let me know. I’m well versed on the subject and have read many books by believers and non-believers. I have also attended lectures by the Jesus Seminar. When I looked into the historicity of Jesus I did not take it lightly.”

Tell me how many Biblical scholars liberal or otherwise, from the Jesus Seminar or not that reject at least a human Jesus. I know of 2 or 3.

BLAIR: “Why would they know it was a lie? How many people believe in UFO abductions? Not all of the UFO abduction believers have been actually abducted. If your argument is that willingness to die for a cause makes the cause true, then you must concede that the following causes are true because of the willingness of their followers to die:”

My point is that the very first Christians, Jesus’s followers like James, Peter and Paul would have been in a position to know if the Resurrection was true of false, yet they were willing to put themselves in danger for preaching what you say is false.

BLAIR: “Christianity was nothing more than an obscure sect of Judaism for almost 300 years. It was not the resurrection or the truth of the theology that set it up as the “up-and-comer” of the new millennia. What established Christianity was the declaration by Emperor Constantine that Christianity was the “official” religion of Rome.”

Christianity was becoming a major religion before being recognized by Rome, otherwise it would have made no sense for Constantine to recognize it.

BLAIR: “As I said above, the reason for the success of Christianity was not its theological truthfulness, but the aid of a Pagan Roman Emperor. Of course the aid of the Roman Emperor Constantine was the final step in the success of Christianity. The first step was the demise of the Temple at the hands of the Romans. Prior to the destruction of the Temple, Christianity was nothing but a sect of Judaism – not even referred to as Christianity.”

Paul was preaching to and converting Gentiles 15 or more years before the destruction of the Temple. It would have not mattered to Gentiles anyway.

BLAIR: “Do you know why the Jewish priests denied Jesus? Do you know why the Jews still reject the messianic claims of Jesus’ modern-day followers? Jesus did not fulfill the prophecy of the Tanakh (Jewish “Bible”).”

An article I saw 2 years ago said there was not a single view on what type of Messiah 1st century Jews expected, it argued that some did expect a suffering Messiah. Also Jesus’ first followers were Jewish so they must have thought he fullfilled the scriptures.

BLAIR: “I disagree with your assessment that a belief is justified if it relates to your #3. By that very logic then Nazism is a justified belief system. Even if the belief were justified, it does not make the belief true. Horoscopes meet the requirement of your #3. Are they true because over 70% of Americans read and believe them?”

You are ignoring points 1 and 2, I fail to see how Nazism or Astrology are of ultimate concern.

BLAIR: “Elaborate on this, please. Why do you feel that the gospels address such?”

The Gospels offer forgiveness of sin and reconcilation with God.

BLAIR: “Our desire to win the lottery cannot be satisfied by a purely naturalistic worldview, either. Whether or not our desires can be addressed by a worldview does not make an alternate worldview true. I desire to be rich and perfectly healthy in a world that is totally peaceful without disease and conflict. Does that mean I should forsake reality for an imaginary world that makes me feel better about my desires?”

You do not have to forsake reality to be a Christian, it just requires you to see our lives in a larger context. I agree that desiring something does not make it true, but ridicule and ignorence does not make it false.

BLAIR: “Have you ever seen a monkey trap itself because of desire? If you place a piece of salt into a tube and basin, the monkey will reach into the tube and grab the salt in the basin. Unfortunately, he cannot get his hand out of the tube because it is balled up around the block of salt. The monkey will starve itself to death before it ever realizes that all he has to do is release the salt to get his hand out of the tube. Are you suggesting that because the monkey has desires out of proportion to what can be provided that the monkey has an existence beyond this life?”

I fail to see how a monkeys desire for salt is out of proportion to what it can attain in its life.

BLAIR: “My desires can be provided for in this life. I have no desire to live in an afterlife. I have a hard enough time staying entertained as it is now – what the heck am I supposed to do for eternity? ;-)”

So if you were offered eternal life in a transformed body you would reject it?

BLAIR: “I would like to ask you a couple of personal questions. You are under no obligation to respond, but I personally think they are relevant to this conversation. If you disagree you are more than welcome to disregard them. You mentioned that you converted to Christianity about six months ago. You also mentioned that you got divorced six months ago: coincidence or connection?”

I have been divorced for over 4 yours so it has nothing to do with my recent conversion. I have always been interested in religion and Christianity. In fact before this my beliefs ranged from agnosticism to pantheism, I never was an atheist for very long. My conversion started when I was reading a book “Where Darwin meets the Bible: Creationism and Evolution in America” It presented different views on origins and while I am still in general an evolutionist I began to guestion my Materialism only view of reality. I discovered I had 2 sets of standards in judging beliefs, a low set for things I wanted to believe in and a higher set of standards for things I rejected, it was after I rejected my double standard that I gave Theism another look.

I do not have access to a computer right now so it is kind of hard to respond to extremely lengthy arguments, maybe we could keep it going if I only addressed 1 or 2 issues at a time and if we did not go over the same ground.

Here is a question: What would it take for you to take theism and christianity seriously, these a seperate but related subjects. I think what would cause me to change my views would be if it could be shown that 1st century Christians did not worship a resurrected Jesus. Another issue: Is science the only way to truth? Doesn’t it have built in assumptions that can not be proven, that are just accepted without question such as naturalism or materialism?

I’ll give Blair a few points. 1. There is not any convincing evidence for miracles from a nontheist point of view at least 2. There is not alot of evidence from the first century (outside the Bible) for the life of Jesus. My point concerning miracles is that any argument against there possibility is based on the unprovable assumption that the material world is a closed system.

 

Response to Glen #002:

GLEN: “Insofar as these other religions conflict with Christianity and each other, only one can be true and since I am a Christian I am only concerned with its truth.”

Have you even read the sacred texts of the other religions? You really should. Many of them make similar claims that Christianity does – virgin births, resurrections, second comings, etc. What makes the Bible true and these other books false?

The only reason that you are concerned with the truth of Christianity is because you, like most Americans, are a victim of geography.

If you had converted in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, or any other similar country you would be discussing the “truth” of Islam and trying to prove that Allah existed. If we were having this discussion in India we would be discussing the “truth” of the Vedas and the many incarnations of Vishnu. If we were living in Tibet we would be discussing the historicity of Buddha instead of Jesus.

It is your geographic location and the mainstream religion therein, that has established what you are “concerned with,” not any accuracy or truth thereof.

If you would take the time to read the sacred texts of the other religions in the world you would find that Christianity is not unique in any way whatsoever. Just reading the sacred texts of extinct religions (the ones we call mythology) shows many parallels and there are many ideas stolen and incorporated from religions that preceded Christianity by thousands of years.

GLEN: “I am not trying to put the concept of God forward as a scientific fact or theory, but as a valid philosophical explaination (sic). I don’t think God can be found under a microscope, or in a test tube, or through a telescope. But the facts of science can be used to argue for or against an intelligent cause for reality.”

The gods of the philosophers have failed for thousands of years. If they hadn’t – we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place. Anyone can wax philosophical and feel better about their beliefs, but when it comes to proving something in the positive, we must resort to scientific proof.

In order to aver that intelligence created the universe, you must be able to prove that intelligence exists in the first place. If you cannot prove the intelligence, then you are leaving the door open to hundreds of other possibilities.

If god cannot be examined or proven, then he is superfluous at best and certainly irrelevant.

GLEN: “Actually those are miracle claims in the distant past, so they can not be tested today like what a rock is made of. All we know of these events are what has been written down and like other recorded events from the past must be judged by historical research.”

The fact that they are in the past does not exclude them from scientific testing. We know that virgins cannot become pregnant without copulation or the insertion of sperm through scientific method (in vitro fertilization, for example). Virgin births are not scientifically possible except with the help of science. If Christians posit that god used in vitro fertilization, then that eliminates the miracle aspect of it, doesn’t it?

GLEN: “saying the Big Bang was caused by a quantum event, is just as speculative as inferring an intelligent first cause, we have never observed this cause for something like the Big Bang, there is no evidence for quantum physics as a cause for the Big Bang.” (sic)

I didn’t say that the Big Bang was caused by a quantum event. What I said was that in the world of quantum mechanics and physics, events occur without a cause. The “first cause” does not always apply on the quantum level. This fact alone extinguishes any hope that the “first cause argument” has toward proving god. The very argument is that because “everything has a first cause, then so must the universe, therefore the first cause is god.” The first premise of that argument is null and void because not everything has a first cause.

GLEN: “I do not dispute the Big Bang theory, I just think a creator is a reasonable cause for it.”

You have yet to show that it is plausible, much less reasonable. Thinking it is so, does not make it so.

GLEN: “As far as the truth of theism any name for God works for me.”

That’s not good enough. Which god created the universe? Yahweh? Allah? Vishnu? Since you are asserting the positive of Christianity we can assume Yahweh is your god of choice. Now all you have to do is define that god for us. We cannot debate the validity of god is you are using a generic term that has no meaning.

GLEN: “There problems with a cyclic view of origins, such as the 2nd law of thermodynamics, also it just results in an infinite regress of causes with no real explaination (sic) of the fact of the universes existence and its properties. (sic)”

As I’ve stated already, the Second Law of Thermodynamics has been shown that it can be violated on a nano scale. That it implies an infinite amount of restarts of the universe is only a problem for those that want a creator involved somewhere. While I’m not personally inclined to accept the cyclic universe hypothesis, I cannot eliminate it as a possibility, especially in light of new discoveries in the physical violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

GLEN: “Would not a creator equal or surpass what it creates?”

Not necessarily. Look at the number of paintings that sell for thousands of dollars that were created by lower life forms. There are paintings made by elephants, chimpanzees, worms, and many others. While it can be argued that an earthworm surpasses its creation, it must be equally noted that the earthworm is not aware of its creation. The earthworm is not aware that it is even creating. Because of this lack of awareness, it can be equally asserted that the earthworm does not surpass its creation. Have you ever seen the earthworm art? It’s really neat – the earthworms are covered in paint and deposited on a canvas. They “create” some very unique paintings.

GLEN: “God would be the creator, he would be eternal otherwise he would not be God, a created creator would not be God, like a married person would not be a bachelor, it’s a self contradiction.”

How can a god being created be a contradiction? If a god creates a god and that god creates the universe, is not the created god still the creator of the universe? I fail to see how this is a contradiction.

You have also failed to define your god. I’ve asked this of you three times now and I have yet to get an answer. Using vague statements like “would be the creator” is not a definition of god. Define your god.

GLEN: “I am not refering (sic) to patterns, but the properties of subatomic particals (sic) and the strengths of fundamental forces, if these were changed we could not exist, why do they assume these properties?”

This still does not change the premise of my argument. If the universe had formed differently, then we would not exist – that is correct. Something else would exist instead of us. The arrogance here of the theist is that the properties of the universe posit that they were made that way “just for us.”

After all, isn’t it the very same properties of subatomic particles that establish the pattern in the first place?

Life evolved on the planet Earth because it is “perfect” for life to evolve. Why didn’t life evolve on Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus or Neptune? Life didn’t evolve there because the conditions were not right. Were those planets ignored by your god and not made perfect for life? Life evolved here because the conditions were right for it – not because the conditions were “designed” right for it.

GLEN: “Changing the laws of nature would effect things like Solar output or the ability of carbon atoms to link up. Without a certain range of values in the laws of nature life would be physically impossible.”

The laws of nature as they exist would be different and different examples of life and patterns would arise. The arrogance in this argument is that only life as it exists now is the “final form.” If the laws of nature were different then the life and patterns within that natural setting would also be different. It’s as if the theist thinks that when we find life in another solar system that there will be humans, zebras, antelopes, kangaroos, and penguins walking around.

The diversity of life is a shining example of how these different laws of nature and the environment force about different shapes, forms, modes, and others in life and geology. A human cannot survive in the depths of the ocean because it is not “perfect” for us. A fish cannot swim out of water.

This isn’t because of design; it is because the life evolved to survive in its environment.

GLEN: “For his own glory and to share existence with us.”

That’s it? So we’re nothing more than the result of an egotistical artist that was looking for company to share? Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t seem very god-like. Are we nothing more than god’s ant farm sitting on his dresser?

GLEN: “Laws just make things legal or illegal. They reflect what a society thinks is right or wrong. Surely passing a law does not automatically make something right. People have a sense of what is right and wrong over and against what they desire or what a group desires.”

That is my point exactly. People have a sense of what is right and wrong and they don’t need a Bible to tell them that. The laws are extensions of that inherent morality that we have – the laws elaborate on that morality and help to preserve the species. Laws do not necessarily make things right or wrong, but they emphasize my point that our moralities, and our laws based upon that morality, are a reflection of our biology – to preserve the species. It does not exclude the argument that laws are a higher authority.

GLEN: “The Bible does proscribe morality in some of the 10 commandments, the Golden Rule, Proverbs, etc. These other things you list are just social, economic, or religious customs, they can and do change.”

The Golden Rule is not biblical – it existed for thousands of years before the Bible. Proverbs is not a moral base, either. As to the Decalogue, there are only three of the ten that speak to moral issues, and those were moral issues long before the Tanakh was ever written. How is “thou shall have no other gods before me” a moral issue?

Where is the Bible is morality defined? The Decalogue is not a definition of morality or a guideline of right and wrong. The Decalogue is “commandments,” not guidelines. The Decalogue contains commands from Yahweh – not moral guidelines. The Decalogue cannot help us at all in dealing with everyday moral issues that come about and they are of no use at all in situational ethics. Even the famous “thou shall not kill” is contradicted on a daily basis – so much so that new versions of the Bible say “thou shall not murder” to avoid the contradiction contained therein. That’s not translation – that’s politics.

GLEN: “I never said we needed a reward to be moral, I think Christianity does proscribe good actions because they are good not because of a reward.”

That is in direct contradiction to Christian theology. You have to follow the commandments and the message of Jesus in order to get into Heaven – if not then you go to Hell. The carrot – the reward – is entrance into Heaven. The followers of Yahweh and Jesus are threatened with Hellfire if they do not behave themselves. The Bible doesn’t say to follow your conscious or your moral compass – it gives direct commandments. As I said before, the Bible does not define morality in any way – it just gives commands that must be followed – nothing more than laws.

GLEN: “Morality proscribes our relations with God and other people, survival of the species is something else, it’s a biological necessity, its important, but morality is what we do over and above survival, maybe even in spite of survival.”

You are correct that morality proscribes a relationship with the Bible-God. Perhaps you meant that it prescribes your relationship with your Bible-God?

The survival of the species is inherent in our morality and the laws of our societies that we use to define our morality. The preservation of the species is inherent in almost every law that we have and those that do not preserve the species tend to be religiously based laws, such as the law that makes it illegal to own “marital aids” in the state of Alabama.

Morality is directly related to the survival of the species and the preservation of the species within its environment. That is why morality varies from society to society in many cases.

GLEN: “Miracles do not alter your actions, they just add on new objects and events.”

They don’t have to alter your actions in order to make free will null and void. If the outcome of the event is modified in the form of a miracle then your choices were for naught and they did not affect the outcome. The whole premise of free will is that our choices affect the outcome. If the outcome is modified by miracle, then our choices cannot be said to affect the outcome.

GLEN: “There may be a lack of enough evidence for miracles for you, but this does not make them impossible. “A sufficently (sic) advanced intelligence can do things that would be indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke.”

There may be a lack of enough evidence? There is no evidence at all. The burden of proof for the evidence of miracles is on the person that claims miracles.

I’m surprised you quoted Clarke in your statement. Clarke was saying a negative thing about miracles – not a positive.

GLEN: “Those are are evil human acts not miracles.” (sic)

I didn’t say they were miracles. I asked where were the miracles? Where was the miracle on 9/11? Where was the miracle during the Holocaust? Why did the Bible-God (or any god for that matter) not intervene? This is why I want a definition of your god. How can we debate your god if we do not have any definition of your god?

If you think about it, 9/11 was evidence against the Bible-God for other reasons as well. There were thousands of Christians praying for a miracle on 9/11. There were 19 Muslims praying for success on 9/11. The only prayers answered on that day were the prayers of just 19 Muslims. Perhaps you should be worshiping Allah?

GLEN: “Paul wrote in the 40s and 50s and he passed on accounts about the resurrection from the first Christians that knew Jesus, like Peter and James, as well as his own account, thats (sic) closer in time to 30 AD than the Gospels.”

The dates of the letters attributed to Paul are a point of contention among biblical scholars because there are no originals – not way to prove their date. The earliest known copy of the letters has been dated to the late 50’s.

GLEN: “Except for political and military leaders I doubt you have many accounts from that time about any first century person.”

That is incorrect. There are many stories and tales about people during the time. There is certainly a greater collection of works about political and military leaders, but they do exist for those not in such fields. What is remarkable is that not a single one of them wrote about Jesus. No one seems to want to address that issue for some reason.

GLEN: “There are two references by Josephus a Jewish historian but this is disputed, I think Tacitus refers to Jesus and his followers but thats (sic) 115 AD. http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_01_01_01.html”

There are many references to Jesus way after the fact. The writings of Tacitus are referring to what he has been told – he is not an eyewitness to Jesus.

Josephus is not an eyewitness, either. In the works of Josephus that mention Jesus they are way out of place and out of character. No one uses Josephus as proof of Jesus until after Eusebius gets a hold of the works of Josephus. To this day there are two versions of Josephus – one that includes a reference to Jesus and one that doesn’t.

Eusebius said that it is okay to lie in order to bring people to Jesus. It is thought among most scholars that Eusebius forged the entry in Josephus. Josephus was a Pharasitic Jew and would never have referred to Jesus as the “messiah” or “son of God” if he did write about him.

It’s funny that you gave me a link to Tektonics. Tektonics wrote an article about me, saying I was “big dog of freethought in the South.” LOL

GLEN: “Tell me how many Biblical scholars liberal or otherwise, from the Jesus Seminar or not that reject at least a human Jesus. I know of 2 or 3.”

It is correct that most biblical scholars recognize at a minimum Jesus as a man. However, this speaks against your argument in the first place. Biblical scholars cannot reconcile the metaphysical aspects of Christianity and they reduce Jesus to a man – a rabbi and nothing else. Do you not find it compelling that biblical scholars can only aver Jesus as a man and nothing more?

I disagree with biblical scholars because they are only using the Bible as their source of information in their conclusions on the historicity of Jesus. They do not take into consideration the lack of non-biblical evidence and they certainly do not take into consideration the amount of borrowed mythology from pagan religions.

GLEN: “My point is that the very first Christians, Jesus’s (sic) followers like James, Peter and Paul would have been in a position to know if the Resurrection was true of false, yet they were willing to put themselves in danger for preaching what you say is false.”

Unfortunately, none of the witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection wrote anything down. How could they know if the resurrection was true if they never witnessed it?

GLEN: “Christianity was becoming a major religion before being recognized by Rome, otherwise it would have made no sense for Constantine to recognize it.”

Constantine recognized it because Christianity was the religion of the city. Constantine felt that his power lay in the city – not the army. Christianity as a whole was disenfranchised and in turmoil. Christians were fighting each other over dogma and doctrine. Christians were sent to the lions not because they were Christians (although that did occur sometimes because of the law against monotheism), but because they were the criminal element of Rome.

Christians were the cause of the great fire in Rome because they were rioting against each other over doctrine. Constantine intervened and established the Council of Nicea to pull together the followers of Arius and his detractors.

Even the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t deny this.

GLEN: “Paul was preaching to and converting Gentiles 15 or more years before the destruction of the Temple. It would have not mattered to Gentiles anyway.”

I think it would have and most historians think it would have also. The reason that Christianity resorted to the gentiles is because the Jews rejected it. Even Jesus rejected the gentiles at first. Do you remember the story about the gentile woman on the road that asked Jesus for help and he admonished her? It was after that she embarrassed Jesus that he agreed to help her. She said, “Even a dog gets the scraps under the table.” She and Jesus recognized the place of the gentiles. Jesus came for the Jews – not the gentiles. The gentiles were second best.

GLEN: “An article I saw 2 years ago said there was not a single view on what type of Messiah 1st century Jews expected, it argued that some did expect a suffering Messiah. Also Jesus’ first followers were Jewish so they must have thought he fullfilled (sic) the scriptures.”

The disciples were common Jews – not priests. None of the priests accepted Jesus as the Messiah because they knew the Tanakh and what prophecies were to be fulfilled. Jesus does not fulfill the prophecies of the Messiah for the Jews.

GLEN: “You are ignoring points 1 and 2, I fail to see how Nazism or Astrology are of ultimate concern.”

So in order for a belief to be justified it must meet all 3 requirements? Your list of three items is a checklist?

GLEN: “The Gospels offer forgiveness of sin and reconcilation (sic) with God.”

I asked for an elaboration and I got a rephrase. The gospels are not the only thing that addresses our need for forgiveness or our recognition of morality (what you call sin and guilt).

Please elaborate on why you feel that the gospels address this.

GLEN: “You do not have to forsake reality to be a Christian, it just requires you to see our lives in a larger context. I agree that desiring something does not make it true, but ridicule and ignorence (sic) does not make it false.”

Ridicule and ignorance do not make something false; that is true. What does make something false is a lack of evidence. There is 100% lack of evidence in regards to god (whatever name you attribute to he/she/it). Until evidence surfaces, it is rationally acceptable to deem the claim of god as false.

GLEN: “I fail to see how a monkeys desire for salt is out of proportion to what it can attain in its life.”

You asked why a creature evolve that has desires out of proportion to what can be provide for – and you used that as evidence of a creator. The monkey has a desire for the salt, but it’s abilities and what it can provide are out of proportion to its desire – it does not have the intellect to figure out that releasing the salt will free it of the salt trap.

How does this show a creator?

GLEN: “So if you were offered eternal life in a transformed body you would reject it?”

I’d have to read the fine print first, that’s for sure. What do I do? Where do I live? What is it like?

No one knows what the afterlife of Christianity is like. Do you? What does Heaven look like? Where is it? What goes on there?

GLEN: “I have been divorced for over 4 yours so it has nothing to do with my recent conversion.”

My apologies: I thought you had said that you were divorced six months ago.

GLEN: “I discovered I had 2 sets of standards in judging beliefs, a low set for things I wanted to believe in and a higher set of standards for things I rejected, it was after I rejected my double standard that I gave Theism another look.”

Then you are correct in stating that you were not an Atheist for very long. It also explains your fickle nature when it comes to religiosity. A skeptic should have the same standards of skepticism and inquiry toward every subject and every side.

GLEN: “What would it take for you to take theism and christianity (sic) seriously, these a seperate (sic) but related subjects.” (sic)

I already take theism seriously. If I didn’t take it seriously we wouldn’t be having this conversation and I’d probably be a theist.

As to Christianity – it’s just another version of theism among thousands. To prove Christianity I’d be happy if Jesus came down and just had a cup of coffee with me. I think that would be enough to prove Christianity for me. God himself could just come on over and we could talk a few things through.

GLEN: “I think what would cause me to change my views would be if it could be shown that 1st century Christians did not worship a resurrected Jesus.”

Of course they worshiped a resurrected Jesus. If that is the only premise of your belief, then there are a lot of other religions that worship a resurrected god. The point is not whether they worshiped a resurrected Jesus. The point is whether there was any evidence of the resurrection in the first place. People worship false stuff all the time – worship of something does not make it true.

GLEN: “Is science the only way to truth?”

Science is the best way to truth. I won’t assert that it is the only way, because we do not know everything. What I will say is that looking for facts and discerning the truth from facts is the best way to arrive at the truth or to at least get closer to it. Religious thought cannot achieve that because it has too many borders that it is not willing to cross. How can you get at the truth of god if you make your god immune to inquiry?

GLEN: “Doesn’t it have built in assumptions that can not be proven, that are just accepted without question such as naturalism or materialism?”

The assumptions in science are based upon observation. I assume that the sun will rise in the morning because it has risen every day that I’ve been alive and has been recorded as rising every day in history as well. There is no reason to question this assumption, but it is logical to say that it is possible that the sun will not reveal itself the next morning.

Glen offered a counter-rebuttal to my last email, but his last line ended the debate and he offered to let me have the last word. I saw no point in responding to his last rebuttal.