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?

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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.

Debate 024: Conrad and Blair discuss Cafeteria Christianity

Conrad fizzled on me. He was all excited about proving he wasn’t a Cafeteria Christian and when it came down to it the promised email “tomorrow” never materialized.

 

Conrad Rebuttal #001:

My name is Conrad and i’m currently a bible college student. I’m not really sure that this will get through but i sure hope it does. I’m warning you ahead of time that yes you probably are more schooled in mankind’s intelligence and our probably going to be more able to sound intelligent. But i’m going to propose this thought. I gurantee you that deep down inside you not only know there is a God, but the one God that gives you the most trouble, the one from Christianity, the one directly associated with Jesus Christ, is the one true God, three in one if you may. From reading some of your rebuttals I can tell that you are well schooled in the bible but even as you view Christians as “cafeteria Christians”, I’ll suggest that you yourself are looking through your own personalized set of rosey red sunglasses that make you take out only what your want to take out and leave what doesn’t help your case behind. I challenge you to give me some of the classic passages that you think Christians neglect and thus choose to believe in a false truth in your mind, or that shows the bible nullifying itself. I’m not here to just try and reveal the truth to you, but I want you to sharpern and quicken my mind for Christ. I offer you this oppurtunity not only to prove your intelligence and wisdom to me but also to convert me to your side. The side that can’t exist without a God, the side that needs God to exist, the side that in the eyes of God is the dumbest of all, but man will uphold as wisdom. I do respect you as well though, because many Christians don’t deal with what you’ve tackled in the passages of the bible and thus this makes them unthinking Christians which in itself goes against the bible. I care for your soul as you care about me knowing your truths, man’s false truth’s (no offense). I’m looking forward to this for two reasons, I know I’m right, but that’s not the important part, the important part is the second reason. You must be told the Truth and respond. I look forward to you showing me to be a “cafeteria christian”:)…..hope to here from you soon…thanks for letting me take up your time…

 

Response to Conrad #001:

CONRAD: “I gurantee you that deep down inside you not only know there is a God, but the one God that gives you the most trouble, the one from Christianity, the one directly associated with Jesus Christ, is the one true God, three in one if you may.”

Is that a money-back guarantee or are there strings and disclaimers attached? Is it one of those 30-day guarantees or are you offering a 10-year, 100,000 mile guarantee? Perhaps even a lifetime guarantee?

Kidding aside, you are suffering from delusions of grandeur. The only reason that Christianity gives me the most trouble is because I live in a predominantly Christian country. If I lived in Baghdad, then we’d be debating the existence of Allah. If I lived in New Delhi, then we’d be debating the existence of Vishnu or one of his many incarnations.

I do not believe in a god. I do not know there is a god, but refuse to believe. Perhaps you should read the section of Atheism Awareness that addresses this specific issue at: Do Atheists Refuse to Believe In God?

CONRAD: “I’ll suggest that you yourself are looking through your own personalized set of rosey red sunglasses that make you take out only what your want to take out and leave what doesn’t help your case behind.”

Actually, unlike most Christians, I don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are some interesting things in the sacred texts of all religions – just as there are interesting things in the works of classical authors. In everything that I read I take a little piece or find something interesting. It doesn’t matter who the book is written by or who it is written for.

Thomas Jefferson is a good example of this. In the classic Jesusian sense, he removed the hoopla, nonsense, and metaphysical from the New Testament and wrote his own version of the Bible that embraced the “good” and the “inherent message of Jesus, the teacher.” The Jefferson Bible can be bought at your local bookstore if you’re ever interested in reading it.

CONRAD: “I challenge you to give me some of the classic passages that you think Christians neglect and thus choose to believe in a false truth in your mind, or that shows the bible nullifying itself.”

Those are two separate issues, but let’s tackle them both. Classic passages that Christians neglect.

Christians are staunch anti-abortionists. They claim that it is murder. However, the Bible considers abortion to be a “property crime” and not murder. The penalty for causing a woman to lose her unborn child can be found in Exodus 21:22.

Women are second-class citizens in the Bible. Christians that let their women wear make-up, speak in church, wear jewelry, let their hair hang loose in church, and run the finances are in violation of Biblical law. See I Corinthians 11:3-15 and 14:24-25, or I Timothy 2:11-14 as examples.

If your child is unruly you are supposed to stone him to death – not put him on Ritalin. You can read about how to stone and kill your misbehaving child in Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

And all those Christian daughters that have had premarital sex. they were supposed to be stoned to death, as well. Only virgin girls can get married under Christianity. Of course there’s no mention of men, so apparently men can have all the premarital sex they want without any repercussions. As for the girls that have premarital sex, we should stone them to death in accordance with Deuteronomy 22:13-21.

When Christian soldiers conquer a country, such as the recent invasion of Iraq, why did they not follow the commandments of God? They were supposed to slaughter all the men and boys and keep all the virgin girls for themselves as wives (Numbers 31).

How about all those Christians that go camping on the weekend and pick up firewood on the Sabbath to keep themselves warm? Well, according to Numbers 15, they should be stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath.

If your wife grabs the genitals of another man in self defense, then her hand is to be cut off. How many Christian men have cut off their wife’s hands after she has used the grab-a-nut defense? Deuteronomy 25:11-12 says the man is supposed to remove the hand of the wife that touched the other man’s testicles.

Stop calling bats flying mammals. All Christians should call bats birds, or at least fowls. According to Leviticus 11:13-19 and Deuteronomy 14:11-18, bats are birds or fowls – not mammals.

When is the last time you performed a bull sacrifice in accordance with Leviticus 1:9? What about all those Christians that rush to the local oyster house after church or to the local Red Lobster on Tuesday’s “all you can eat crab” night? Did you know they are violating Leviticus 11:10, which clearly identify shellfish as an abomination to God?

All those cotton/rayon blends and silk/rayon blends that church-going ladies love to wear are against the law of their God. They’re going to hell for wearing a 50/50 cotton-polyester blend. How do I know this? The Bible tells me so. Leviticus 19:19 clearly states, “Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.” Of course it also says that Christians can’t plant two different crops in the same field and that they can’t mate two different kinds of animals.

Shall I go on or do you want to tackle these first?

CONRAD: “I offer you this oppurtunity not only to prove your intelligence and wisdom to me but also to convert me to your side.”

I don’t want to de-convert you. All I ask is that you honestly look at the information and come to an educated conclusion. Don’t go by what your preacher said as you were growing up. Don’t even listen to me. Read for yourself, both sides of the issue, do the research and find the date, then come to your own educated conclusion.

CONRAD: “I care for your soul as you care about me knowing your truths, man’s false truth’s (no offense).”

No offense taken. You’ll have to do a lot better than that to offend me. ;-)

CONRAD: “You must be told the Truth and respond.”

Do you think you’re the first person to try? Do you think you’re more qualified than the others that have tried and failed before you? I’ve debated a professor of theology and he didn’t make a dent. I’ve debated soothsayers that swore they were speaking from God directly and they didn’t make a dent. Each of them has fallen defeated in the arena of debate or they have given up.

Most of them have tried thinking that I must not know the Bible or have never read it. Most of them have come thinking that their belief will make them succeed, but that is just a setup for failure. To win in this arena you must have knowledge. You must have evidence. If you come in with nothing but your heart on your sleeve and your emotions in sloshing buckets, then you will fail.

I have read your Bible. I have read the sacred texts of other religions. Perhaps you should try to read the texts of other religions? If you’re interested (and you should be if you think you have a chance against me) then you can check many of them out online at http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm. Reading all of these books has reinforced my atheism. Debating the apologists and theocrats has reinforced my atheism. Christian and Islamic terrorists have reinforced my atheism.

I look forward to your challenge and I hope that you are a worthy adversary. I have been disappointed many times before my amateurs that come prepared with only what they have been taught by their church. If you are unwise as to the ways of the world and the religious views of many nations, then you are unprepared. If you are unwise as to the criticisms of your own religion, then you are unprepared. If you have never read your sacred text straight through, then you are unprepared. If you have never taken a real science class, then you are unprepared.

CONRAD: “I look forward to you showing me to be a “cafeteria christian “:)”

I look forward to doing it.

 

Conrad Rebuttal #002:

I have a question and i want your opninion on it. Just curious as to what you think, a person has a ball and is on one side of the table, another person who is you, is on the other side of the table, the person rolls the ball to you across the table, what do you do and why?…ttyl..

 

Response to Conrad #002:

I guess that depends on the mood I’m in. If I’m in a playful mood I will catch the ball and roll it back – beginning a game. If I’m not in the mood, I’ll just let it roll of the table.

I know that from past experience and physics that inertia will bring it to me, provided the forward momentum and inertia can get over the friction of the table surface. If I don’t catch it, gravity will take its toll and cause the ball to fall to the floor, where new inertia will cause it to roll away – meaning I have to get up and go fetch it. So, if I’m lazy, then the most efficient method is to catch the ball before it rolls off the table – less work in the long run, no matter what mood I’m in.

 

Conrad Rebuttal #003:

Hello again, Sorry for the delay, but as I’ve expected you’ve bombarded me with a lot of thoughts and counter thoughts opposed to mine. Rather than trying to give you general thoughts, quick reviews, or answers to all of the things said, I think you would be more appreciative of me thoroughly reviewing all the questions individually and giving them the proper effort needed to adequately answer your remarks. I’ve decided to start with the Old Testament passages you gave me. The first email I’ll be sending will be on the Exodus 21 passage.

BLAIR: “Christians are staunch anti-abortionists. They claim that it is murder. However, the Bible considers abortion to be a “property crime” and not murder. The penalty for causing a woman to lose her unborn child can be found in Exodus 21:22″.

Perhaps you’re merely testing me to see if I’m at all up to the task at hand, but this seemed to be quite easy along with the others you’ve given me, so by no later than tomorrow I’ll be e-mailing you my response with plenty of information for you to digest. Thank you again for taking the time to read what I had to say.

I’m still waiting for the “no later than tomorrow” response. I guess it wasn’t as easy as he thought. ;-)

Debate 023: Ian and Blair debate evolution & the Bible

Ian Rebuttal #001:

Just because fossils and dinosaur bones exist doesn’t at all prove evolution. Carbon dating is a very interesting discovery, but is still an unknown variable. You can estimate the rate of carbon decay and guess your way backwards, but I would hardly call it proof. Do I believe things could be very old in this world? Sure. But from my standpoint, they could have easily been created right with the world.

I’d be happy to hear how the Bible “unravels” itself. I’ve heard most theories, so please explain. From the people I’ve talked to, none could support their claims. I’m not doing this to argue, but to clarify any misconceptions. I will never tell anyone what to believe.

I would like to point out a common misconception that all scientists believe in evolution. Quite a few think it is ludicrous, but alas, education books like preaching on. From my standpoint, one cannot argue for evolution and not be able to explain the details.

Scientific theories say matter cannot be destroyed. It is mearly reallocated in a different form. How can evolution support the claim that matter formed from nothing? Have you heard of Entropy? It is a basic teaching of science that things will always go from order to disorder. How then can evolution miraculously teach that somehow mother nature will go against this basic principle?

Of course things “evolve”. People change over time. There is nothing wrong with change Biblically. Take a look at Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

You mention the OT and NT contradict each other. How? I’ve heard quite a few arguments, and would be curious to hear what you can come up with.

I think you mentioned you are not a Biblical scholar. How then can you argue the Bible is wrong?

I think discussion is great. The best we can do is learn from each other.

Religious Confusion

It is unfortunate there is so much confusion now in days regarding religion. People get tired of not knowing which to choose and instead choose to believe nothing at all. Look at Christianity and how various church bodies have become corrupted over time. Church bodies keep splitting and becoming more scattered. I don’t doubt this. As the world ages, I believe there will be more and more confusion about what to believe. The Bible refers to the breakdown of the church, and while unfortunate, is bound to happen.

Just think of your children. If you has talked to Jesus and witnesses His miracles, you’d certainly tell your children, wouldn’t you? In turn, your children would tell their children…and so forth. But what about a few more generations down the line? Suddenly, Jesus is less credible and sounds more like a story. Would it be proof sufficient for Jesus to come tomorrow and prove Christianity? Not really, as future generations will continue to disbelieve it…although people tomorrow might be convinced. Are we robots? Of course not. We have the capability to make choices…along with whether to believe in God or not.

There has indeed been a ton of scientific discovery in the past 200 years. And that is great. But it doesn’t mean, in the materialistic world we live in, that God doesn’t exist. Aside from pleasure, what does technology really accomplish?

Again, there has been much corruption elsewhere as well. So one really can’t give an excuse not to believe because of the world’s corrupt past. Greed runs rampant in this world and always has. People will always try using the Bible to benefit their own selves.

It is a sad truth. Just look at some of America’s religions…there is documented proof that their leaders became extremely wealthy at the expense of their followers. These people were screwed up and went against everything the Bible teaches (can you say false prophets?). This in of itself does not mean the Bible is flawed. In fact, the Bible shows this will happen and warns against it.

On evolution

Concerning the Big Bang, where did the “molten blobs” come from? I’d like to know. Just like people may argue the molten blobs were always there, people can also argue that God has always been there (as I believe). People have a tendancy to want to play God and not like another power over them….especially in this society where people have such comfort and no fear of outside events.

Of course it is easy to say “God made it”. The Bible isn’t complicated and wasn’t intended to be.

Concerning Biblical Origin

I’m not going to doubt that humans make mistakes. Of course they do. We’re all sinful. But compare our Bibles today to the earliest manuscripts that exist, and they are incredibly accurate. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1944, they were accurate and went according to our Bibles today. I guess I don’t see your point. And like I said before, of course sinful men can twist the Bible to suit their desires.

Personally, I think atheism can be a crutch for the religious confusion that is out there. People do not understand the Bible and the millions of belief systems out there, so they choose to believe none of it. If you are ever interested or have questions regarding the Bible, please do ask. I’d be happy to explain.

Christianity in General

You fail to show how the Bible or God are fairy tales. Can you disprove them? Can you disprove Jesus never existed? I still see a lot of assumptions being called proof.

The obvious solution to me is the Bible is your proof. No other book has “survived” like the Bible has. No other book has produced more copies. Don’t you think that if people knew Jesus didn’t exist, they would have not spread Christianity so zelously?

Conclusions

Bibilical translations are necessary to spread the Bible and God’s Word. Do you see any translations being based off previous translations (and so forth) and thus corrupting the Bible? I’m not certain of what some modern day translations have done, but most (in almost every language imaginable) are based off the earliest manuscripts.

If you have questions about what I believe, please do ask. Public or private is fine. I’ve talked to quite a few people about the Bible and what I believe and their opinions have always been based on misconceptions.

 

Response to Ian #001:

IAN: “Just because fossils and dinosaur bones exist doesn’t at all prove evolution.”

That is correct. The fossils alone do not prove the theory of evolution or evolutionary biology. The fossils are part of a massive amount of evidence that supports the theory of evolution and evolutionary biology. One piece of the puzzle does not give one the picture – it is most or all of the pieces that one can ascertain the true picture that the puzzle creates.

IAN: “Carbon dating is a very interesting discovery, but is still an unknown variable. You can estimate the rate of carbon decay and guess your way backwards, but I would hardly call it proof.”

Carbon dating, the dating of materials using Carbon-14 is not used to date material older than 50,000 years and that can be a stretch sometimes. The half-life of Carbon-14 is 5,730 years, so after so many years there should be no detectable Carbon-14. Of course Carbon-14 can only be used to date materials that were biological, such as plants, bones, etc. Carbon-14 cannot be used to date inanimate material such as rocks.

The creationist argument that Carbon-14 is an invalid way to measure things in the millions of years is an accurate argument. However, it is also a stupid argument, because scientists know this and don’t use Carbon-14 to date things older than 50,000 years.

For more information on Carbon-14 dating and what it is used for (not what the creationists think it’s used for), you can check out some reliable online sources such aswww.c14dating.com, and www.radiocarbon.org.

Perhaps you mean radiometric dating, accelerator mass spectrometry, or isochron dating?

IAN: “Do I believe things could be very old in this world? Sure. But from my standpoint, they could have easily been created right with the world.”

Why would your Bible-God create the universe to look and act like it was 14 to 15 billion-years-old? Why would he create the world to look and act like it was 4.5 billion-years-old? Even if the creation account were correct, why would you dismiss the world of evolutionary biologists, geologists, anthropologists, oceanographers, etc for discovering how your Bible-God made it look?

IAN: “I’d be happy to hear how the Bible “unravels” itself. I’ve heard most theories, so please explain.”

I’d be happy to show you how the Bible “unravels” itself.

Let’s start off simple. We’ll take the 12-step program of Bible errancy. We’ll call it Bible study so you feel right at home. I’ll let you do the study so you can personally find and witness the contradictions. I’ll give you 12 questions about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Read all four gospels to answer the questions. Include each answer from each gospel and ensure that there are no contradictions or inconsistencies.

Read the four gospels, answer the questions from each gospel and make the answers work without contradicting each other. If you can do this, you’ll be the first person to ever do it – no theologian or Biblical scholar has ever been able to do it. Good luck!

  1. What time did the women visit the tomb?
  2. Which women visited the tomb?
  3. Was the tomb open when they arrived?
  4. Who was at the tomb when they got there?
  5. What did the messenger tell the women?
  6. Did the women tell what happened?
  7. Did Mary know Jesus had resurrected when she returned to the tomb?
  8. When did Mary first see the resurrected Jesus?
  9. After visiting the women at the tomb, whom did the resurrected Jesus visit next?
  10. Where did the resurrected Jesus first appear to the disciples?
  11. Did the resurrected Jesus stay on Earth or depart that same day for Heaven?
  12. Where did the ascension take pace?

After you answer those 12 questions just get back to me with your 100% contradiction-free answers.

IAN: “I would like to point out a common misconception that all scientists believe in evolution. Quite a few think it is ludicrous, but alas, education books like preaching on.”

Please provide a sample of scientists within the field of biology that do not agree with biological evolution. If you would like to give me a list of accredited scientists from accredited universities that do not accept the science of evolution, I’d be happy to look at that, too.

The few “scientists” that I’ve met that rejected the science of evolution came from Christian colleges (although the majority of Christian colleges teach evolutionary biology because they know it’s scientifically sound). A few other scientists that rejected the science of evolution came from fields that had nothing to do with evolutionary biology. Biochemists work without any reference to evolutionary biology – they care about how biochemicals work – not how biochemicals evolved. Michael Behe is a biochemist. Of course, if you read Behe’s book, he is a proponent of evolutionary biology – he just thinks that “god did it.”

IAN: “From my standpoint, one cannot argue for evolution and not be able to explain the details.”

One cannot argue against it if they are not able to explain the details. If you are going to argue for or against something, you must know both sides. I do. Do you?

IAN: “How can evolution support the claim that matter formed from nothing?”

Evolutionary biology does not make that claim. You are confusing evolution with cosmology.

IAN: “Have you heard of Entropy? It is a basic teaching of science that things will always go from order to disorder. How then can evolution miraculously teach that somehow mother nature [sic] will go against this basic principle?”

How do you see evolutionary biology and the theory of evolution as a violation of entropy? For that matter, didn’t the Bible-God violate entropy when he created the world from chaos? Regardless, please explain how the theory of evolution and evolutionary biology violate entropy.

IAN: “I think you mentioned you are not a Biblical scholar. How then can you argue the Bible is wrong?”

You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar to read the Bible and see all the errors, contradictions and inconsistencies. I think you would also find that most biblical scholars recognize the problems and are not apologists. You’d probably be surprised to find out that when new theology students arrive at theology school they are in the 80 percentile of “literalist.” By the time they leave theology school they are only in the 30 percentile of “literalist” (source: Barna Research, 2002).

Why is that? That change occurs because in theology school they teach these students real theology and real biblical scholarship, with criticisms and analysis – something they never learned in Sunday school. The students learn about the contradictions. They learn about the theological problems and inconsistencies and how the apologetics were adopted and ultimately adapted and evolved. The students learn the history of the Bible instead of the Bible as history.

Many students that enter theology school never go on to become priests, pastors, ministers, or preachers. Several atheist friends of mine went through theology and seminary school and it is there that their roots of atheism were founded as they began to learn what Christianity really is instead of what their Sunday school teacher and parents wanted them to know.

I believe that I can speak about the Bible because I have read it several times (straight through). I have studied biblical scholarship and theology. I have attended seminars and lectures given by biblical scholars and theological historians. I have been to Israel to tour the places of the Bible. I have discussed these issues with theologians, biblical scholars, and clergy of many faiths. I have read the statements of one side and the apologetics of the other.

I have read the reason and the rhyme. I have read the pros and the cons. I have made sure that I know both sides so that I can make an educated decision about the issue instead of being told what to believe. I would recommend that you do the same thing.

IAN: “People get tired of not knowing which to choose and instead choose to believe nothing at all.”

Did you look at the other religions of the world? Did you study the Qu’ran, Vedas, Enuma Elish, Koryak, Kitab-i-Aqdas, Kitab-i-Iqan, Apocrypha, Tanakh, Book of Shadows, the Word, Dhammapada, Sutta Nipata, Vinaya, Corpus Hermeticum, Kebra Nagast, Mabinogion, Lun Yu, Ta Hsueh, Chung Yung, Book of the Dead, Thelema, Secret Doctrine of Theosophy, Rosicrucian texts, Devi Gita, The Magus, Akaranga Sutra, Kalpa Sutra, Talmud, Qabalah, Midrash Tanhuma, Kalevala, Shah Namah, Book of Mormon, Walam Olum, Malleus Maleficarum, Prophecies of Nostradamus, Oahspe, Book of Knowledge, Te Pito Te Henua, Kumulipo, Sybilline Oracles, Prophecies of Paracelsus, Kama Sutra, Ananga Ranga, Kojiki, Nihongi, Yengishiki, Kwaidan, Shundai Zatsuwa, Bushido, Shri Guru Granth Sahib, Mishkat Al-Anwar, Rubayyat, Mahanirvana Tantra, Shakti-Shakta, Tao-te Ching, T’ai Shang Kan-Ying P’ien, Yatkar-i-Zariran, Avesta Vendidad and the Khorda Avesta (just to name a few)?

If the Bible-God were as powerful as you make him out to be, one would think that this confusion or “not knowing which to choose” would not be a problem.

IAN: “Just think of your children. If you has talked to Jesus and witnesses His miracles, you’d certainly tell your children, wouldn’t you?”

If I had seen the events as they are told in the Bible, then yes, I would tell my children. Unfortunately, no one at the time seemed to tell their children. With all that happened when Jesus supposedly gave up the ghost, no one seemed to notice. Not a single document of Rome or Judea mentions these events. Not a single historian of the time mentions any of these so-called miracles or heavenly events. Not a single historian or literary of the time mentions it. The only reference you’re your gospels that were written after-the-fact by non-witnesses.

IAN: “Would it be proof sufficient for Jesus to come tomorrow and prove Christianity? Not really, as future generations will continue to disbelieve it…although people tomorrow might be convinced.”

Yes, that would be proof. He can fly down on his magic cloud, set his golden harp aside, fold his white wings back, drape his white robe and sit down and have a cop of coffee with me. We can talk about the creation, the OT, the NT and other things. He can perform a few blatant miracles and I’ll be convinced. The first thing I’ll ask him after he convinces me is, “Why didn’t you do this for everyone? Why let all those people go to Hell when you could have done this with every person in the world?”

I’ve yet to get a straight answer on this – perhaps you can answer it. Why did the all-powerful Bible-God choose a specific region for conversion to his new religion of “follow my son, I mean me, my son and that third thing, the grandfather of my father of my son?” One would think that this all-powerful Bible-God could convert the entire world at once. It seems rather silly to send your son to die for the sins of the world and then not tell the world about it.

If the only way to Heaven is through Jesus, and no one knew about it – then everyone went to Hell until the world finally spread. It’s taken almost 2,000 years for the word to spread and there are still people that haven’t heard about Jesus – and everyone that missed the word is going to Hell – even if it wasn’t their fault. All those Native Americans that didn’t find out until the Spanish swords were dripping with the blood – went to Hell. All those people in the OT that were alive before Jesus – went to Hell. All the people in middle and South Africa that didn’t hear about Jesus until their masters on the plantation told them about him – all went to Hell. All the feral children and indigenous peoples of the world that never heard of Jesus – all went to Hell.

All the babies that are killed before their first Sunday school lesson – they go to Hell. All the mentally retarded children that can’t understand the concept and therefore can’t accept Jesus – they go to Hell.

How is that a moral doctrine?

IAN: “But it doesn’t mean, in the materialistic world we live in, that God doesn’t exist.”

That is correct; it doesn’t mean that a god doesn’t exist. It does mean that the Bible-God doesn’t exist. The Noachian flood never happened. A six-day creation never happened. A 40-year exodus in the desert never happened. The Tower of Babel never happened. Adam & Even never happened. The very things that the Bible-God is attributed with doing never happened and that’s because he never happened.

IAN: “Aside from pleasure, what does technology really accomplish?”

Technology has helped considerably with the survival of the species: increased life spans because of advanced medical science, decreased infant mortality rates, increased growth and delivery of food to prevent starvation, and much more.

Technology has also made information wide-spread. The human masses were ignorant before books were widely available. When books became available to the common man, then we began to see social change as man was educated. Then technology increased that knowledge with mass production of books and interstate commerce. Telecommunications and the advent of the wireless and ultimately the Internet increased that knowledge even more. With all major advancements in technology and specifically in the spread of information, a social change occurs.

The Renaissance, the Reformation, the civil rights movement, the woman’s suffrage movement, and the sixties are just examples of these social shifts at the advent of new information and ease of spreading that information.

Satellite communications and the Internet are getting the word out about the reality. The false statements and nonsense issued from the pulpit are responded to and disseminated via these mass-media means. The public learns the history of the Bible instead of the Bible as history. The public learns the hatefulness of the Bible and Qu’ran. The public learns about the cruelty of those that would espouse their god to do harm to others.

This increased information availability has seen a major increase in Freethought around the world. The Holy See has officially declared several countries to be “Officially Pagan” and they are renewing their missionary approach to those countries. Information is available to anyone and the church can no longer control it.

Islam’s current situation is a direct result of this mass media and information availability. Islam has turned in on itself and has attempted to seclude the Islamic population from the information of the world. The media outlets are state-run in theocracies and dictatorships. The information provided to the Islamic public is filtered and full of hatred against Jews and westerners.

Instead of blossoming and becoming a part of the world, Islam has pulled its window shades, bolted the doors and set the alarm – letting no influence in. This lack of education, equality, and economy in that part of the world, coupled with the Qu’ranic blinders of “hear no evil, see no evil” has increased the Fundamentalist extremists of the religion to a boiling point.

Christianity had to deal with this a long time ago. During that time they did the same thing that Islam is doing today. The Spanish Inquisition was how the church dealt with technology and information availability. Luckily for the world, the Reformation occurred and Christianity was watered down. That watering down continues to this day. As you mentioned, the church creates a new split each year as new denominations are formed – each one a watered-down version of its predecessor.

IAN: “People will always try using the Bible to benefit their own selves.”

By using the Bible as a way to get to Heaven, aren’t you doing the same thing?

IAN: “These people were screwed up and went against everything the Bible teaches (can you say false prophets?). This in of itself does not mean the Bible is flawed.”

I would disagree with you. The very fact that there are so many interpretations and so many different views of the Bible is a very testament to its flaws. If the Bible were clear and concise, as one would expect from a so-called all-powerful supreme being, then there would be no discordance among the pious masses. The fact that the common man cannot read the Bible and know exactly what the pious pulpit states is a testimony to the fallibility of the Bible.

Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Bob Jones, James Kennedy, Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, Jim Bakker, and many others get away with it because the sucker that’s born-again every minute can’t understand the Bible on his own. No one is willing to take the time to actually read the entire thing and study its origins and meaning. If they did, then I would aver that the churches would be empty. The churches are relying on the incontinence of the biblical word and the inability of the pious masses to make heads or tales of who, what, when, where, and why.

The lack of knowledge by the public and the commercial genius of the pious pulpit have worked together to make the Bible-God a corporation. I’d like to buy 100 shares of GodCo and Jesus, Inc., please.

IAN: “Concerning the Big Bang, where did the “molten blobs” come from? I’d like to know.”

For information on the Big Bang, please see Where Did It All Come From?

IAN: “Of course it is easy to say “God made it”. The Bible isn’t complicated and wasn’t intended to be.”

The Bible isn’t complicated? Aren’t you the same person that made reference to all the different churches not agreeing on the Bible? If the Bible isn’t complicated then why is it so hard for the churches to agree on it? If the Bible isn’t complicated then why have there been so many councils for thousands of bishops and presbyters to figure out what it meant and “law down the law” on how they interpreted it?

IAN: “But compare our Bibles today to the earliest manuscripts that exist, and they are incredibly accurate.”

Are you sure about that? Most biblical scholars would disagree with that statement.

IAN: “When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1944, they were accurate and went according to our Bibles today.”

That is entirely false. The finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, especially Qumran Cave 4, created more variants and more problems for biblical literalists. The book of Isaiah, for example, was found to be missing several chunks (in the Bible version) and the chunks that weren’t missing were found to be full of mistakes. The Dead Sea Scrolls were talked about widely when they were initially discovered. When translation began, they suddenly disappeared. It wasn’t until years later that they were finally brought out in the public again and it was disclosed just how bad they made the Bible look.

The number of variants of manuscripts is ludicrous. The variation of the variants is even more astounding. There are books that aren’t in the Bible – why didn’t they make the cut?

Regardless, the accuracy of the translations of the modern Bible compared to the ancient manuscripts of which they originated is irrelevant in the long run. It doesn’t matter if the translations are accurate or not. Accuracy of translation is not proof of the accuracy of the Bible itself and it certainly is not proof of any god represented therein.

IAN: “Personally, I think atheism can be a crutch for the religious confusion that is out there.”

Personally, you’d be wrong. Atheism is the removal of the crutch. Atheism is the sorting out the confusion and getting the real picture. Atheism is the recognition of the ludicrous nature of religion and breaking free of the imprisonment of thought.

IAN: “If you are ever interested or have questions regarding the Bible, please do ask. I’d be happy to explain.”

I think you have enough explaining to do with the 12 questions I presented you above as a precursor to contradictions in the Bible. No offense, but I doubt there is anything you can tell me about the Bible that I don’t already know or that I haven’t already heard.

IAN: “You fail to show how the Bible or God are fairy tales. Can you disprove them?”

Atheism Awareness does not attempt to do that. The purpose of Atheism Awareness is to address the myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings of atheism. One page refers to my view that the Bible is nothing more than fairy tales for adults, but the page makes no claim to show that.

All that aside, it is easy to refute and dismiss the personalized, characterized, and defined gods of mankind: Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, etc all fall under scrutiny. The atheist freely admits that he or she cannot prove that a god does not exist – you cannot prove a negative.

As far as fairy tales go, there is no reason to prove it – just read it. The tale of Noah and his Ark is clearly a fairy tale and never really happened. The tales of the plagues of Egypt at the behest of Moses are fairy tales that never really happened. The tale of Adam & Eve and the talking snake is obviously a fairy tale. Where did the talking snake come from, anyway? We know these are fairy tales not just by the silliness of them and the outlandishness of them, but by the scientific evidence against them (no global food, etc).

IAN: “The Can you disprove Jesus never existed?”

One cannot prove a negative, so one cannot say that Jesus never existed. What I can say is that based on the available evidence, or more accurately, the lack of available evidence, it is more probable that Jesus, as the Christ, never exist. Is it possible? Yes. It is probable? No.

Anything is possible – unicorns, Big Foot, Loch Ness monster, leprechauns, gremlins, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc. I’d rather deal with the probable than the possible. Are you willing to admit that leprechauns exist because they possibly exist and no one can prove that they don’t exist?

I would remind you that the burden of proof is in your court. You have made the exceptional claim that a man around 30 CE performed miracles, was executed, died and was buried, resurrected and then ascended up to Heaven where he awaits to return on his whim to Earth to wage holy war against the sinners.

Tell me a great teacher lived in 30 CE and taught a form of Judaism then you’re getting a little more credible, more believable because you have less exceptional claims. Start throwing in all the miracles and metaphysics and you are crossing into the realm of exceptional claims – a realm for which you have no proof.

One mistake of the Christians is to use the Bible to prove the Bible. Where are the outside sources and verifications? None of the so-called references of Jesus that apologists often quote are even remotely legitimate (not a single one). Do Christians fail to recognize the works prior to 30 CE and the supposed life of Jesus? The stories of older gods and goddesses that match the story of Jesus – why aren’t these taken into consideration by Christians?

IAN: “The obvious solution to me is the Bible is your proof. No other book has “survived” like the Bible has.”

That’s an awfully bold statement to make, especially considering that it is wrong. The Bible, as you know it (66 books), has only been around for approximately 1,700 years. The Tanakh, Torah, and Talmud have been around for much longer. The books of Judaism have been around longer than the Bible.

If you are going to use longevity and durability as an argument for accepting a theology, then perhaps you should consider converting to Judaism?

Or perhaps you should consider Hinduism? The Vedas has been around hundreds of years longer than the 66-book Bible. Of course there are other books that are older than the Bible and still around, too.

As to longevity being a proof of something, you are leaving a lot to be desired. How does the longevity of something make a statement of its truth or proof? We’ve seen the destruction of many doctrines of the Christian church fall during the 1,700 years that the 66-book Bible has been around.

The idea of a hard firmament that is described in the book of Genesis fell. The idea of a flat Earth described in the OT and NT fell (although a few die-hards still believe that the Earth is flat). The idea of a geocentric solar system, as described in the Bible, fell.

IAN: “Don’t you think that if people knew Jesus didn’t exist, they would have not spread Christianity so zelously [sic]?”

No, I don’t think that at all. Often the most zealously spread doctrine is a doctrine of lies and deceit. One need only view the historically recent Nazis to see how such zealousness can be produced on a doctrine of lies, deceit and fabrication.

During the time that Christianity was gaining a foothold, the religions of the world were replete with miracles, virgin births, resurrections and other such mythology. The people of the time, not having the technological advances of our time (as we discussed earlier), were not inclined to find the stories false. That does not mean that there were not critics at the time. Unfortunately, the early Christian church set out to destroy all critics and criticisms and few remain to this day.

IAN: “I’m not certain of what some modern day translations have done, but most (in almost every language imaginable) are based off the earliest manuscripts.”

The KJV is a good example. The original manuscripts (which do not exist) would have been written in Hebrew of Aramaic. What remains is the Greek Septuagint. The Greek was translated into Latin. The Latin was translated into German and the German was finally translated into English in order to create the KJV.

If you want a version that is more accurately translated from the Greek Septuagint, I would recommend the Scholar’s Version (SV). Unfortunately, the SV only covers the NT. However, the Tanakh and Torah, the Jewish sacred texts, are good sources to get closer translations to the original Hebrew, as they are still written in Hebrew to this day. You can view the Tanakh, Torah and Talmud online at Sacred Text Archive: Judaism.

And Ian, like most, disappears into the masses…

Debate 022: Josh W and Blair debate faith healing

Josh W is a paperweight. His rebuttals are full of spelling and grammar errors. His information is sloppy and he has a hard time articulating. So why did I include this debate? I included this debate because it gives the reader a good idea of most of the “debates” that I get. Most of these I don’t post because they are not worthy of your time. I have a folder in my Inbox called “Unworthy Debates” where I sub-folder all the debates like this. Many times I don’t even warrant a good response. This time I did because I wanted the reader to know what most of the emails that I get are like.

Josh W Rebuttal #001:

i could give you a case from my church which a girl was prayed over and her sickness went away and she is living a very healthy lifestyle. If you believe that there is no God then how did the universe create itself . just looking outside at the sun and everything in the earth should tell you that this isnt pure chance that we are here.If you were a true atheist there would be no reason to go to school, work you have no purpose in this life if this all really just an aciident. a true atheist would not feel sorry for the people in 9/11 be cause they are just another piece of evolution anyway.the reason i am writing is not to condemn every atheist who ever lived but i just hope that you will realize the truth. he has given me a purpose and he can give you one too.

Response to Josh W #001:

JOSH: “i could give you a case from my church which a girl was prayed over and her sickness went away and she is living a very healthy lifestyle.”

If this is true then you can produce the medical records of the girl that clearly states her medical condition and then her medical record after this supposed faith-healing. There must be no medical interference at all, because if she was getting medicine or treatment, then that is what cured her – you’re just giving credit to the prayer when she was going to survive anyway. If you can do all that, then you’ll be the first person to prove a faith healing.

JOSH: “If you believe that there is no God then how did the universe create itself.”

See Where Did It All Come From?

JOSH: “If you were a true atheist there would be no reason to go to school, work you have no purpose in this life if this all really just an aciident.”

Is a True Atheist anything like a True Christian? Can you define “True Atheist” for me, because I have no idea what that concept is. As to purpose, please read Do Atheists Have a Meaning to Life? and Where Do Atheists Turn for Strength In a Crisis?

JOSH: “a true atheist would not feel sorry for the people in 9/11 be cause they are just another piece of evolution anyway.”

Actually, a True Christian wouldn’t feel sorry for those people because they should be happy – they all went to see the invisible man in the sky. An atheist, however, who knows that people only have one life to live and no afterlife, want people to live to a ripe old age. We want humans to live because it’s a one-way trip with nothing at the end but a pile of dirt and bones. Perhaps you should study a bit of humanism.

Josh W Rebuttal #002:

the doctors have no explainatio of how she was healed other than prayer, and also i do not believe that everyone on 9/11 went to see God on that day. if they had not acknowleged Jesus Christ as the true living God they went to Hell the same place everyone goes who does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord . I wonder how you can explain a big bang can explode when they cant explain where all this material that exploded came from so no matter how you look at it there was something here before us.

Response to Josh W #002:

JOSH: “the doctors have no explainatio of how she was healed other than prayer…”

So I’m sure there’s a press release from the hospital documenting this miracle of God. Since there was absolutely no medical intervention and there’s no way it was the medical science that healed her, the press was sure to be all over it – covering a miracle of God in this modern age of science. If you can point me to any of the press releases about this miracle healing I would greatly appreciate it. Or if you prefer, perhaps you can provide her medical records showing that no medical intervention was taken and where the doctors wrote in her prognosis, “Healed by prayer.”

JOSH: “…and also i do not believe that everyone on 9/11 went to see God on that day. if they had not acknowleged Jesus Christ as the true living God they went to Hell the same place everyone goes who does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.”

So everyone that died before Jesus went to Hell? What about babies who die before they are indoctrinated in the church – do they go to Hell, too? What about feral children that haven’t heard from Christian missionaries – do they go to Hell, too?

Is your God so cruel that he would send entire populations to Hell because they haven’t heard of or accepted Jesus? One would think that an omnipresent being would be able to get his message across the world a lot faster. Instead he relied on one man in a particular geographic region (Palestine) to a particular ethnic crowd (Jews) and didn’t care about anyone else in the world. Then it took almost 2,000 years for the message to go global (because his followers thought the world was flat because the Bible says it is). There are still places today that haven’t heard of Jesus.

All of them are going to Hell because your Bible-God is an evil and immoral representation of man’s imagination.

JOSH: “I wonder how you can explain a big bang can explode when they cant explain where all this material that exploded came from so no matter how you look at it there was something here before us.”

The point is that they haven’t given up and won’t give up. Instead of saying, “God did it,” they are trying to find the source and diligently looking. The beauty of science is that it does not give up and keeps looking – no matter what the answer is. If you would like a more detailed answer for your question, I have addressed it online at Where Did It All Come From?

Josh W Rebuttal #003:

YES she was healed prayer and it will get no press coverage because we live in a secular website where no one wants to give credit to God for anything. Doctors do not even acknwlege God exists why would they give credit to someone they wont even recognize exists. Babies which have been aborted and other people who were not given a chance to accept the Gospel will not be held accountable but anyone who has reached the age of accountability who has not has for forgiveness of their sins will face punishment for their decision. That is not true what you said about Jesus. As Christ left this Earth he commanded to preach the gospel to everyone. I find it intersting that you are willing to believe a science thory which can not prove thier own theory but deny God when their is proof all around us.

Response to Josh W #003:

JOSH: “YES she was healed prayer and it will get no press coverage because we live in a secular website where no one wants to give credit to God for anything.”

That’s total hogwash. The media is full of theistic references and there are even media outlets devoted to 100% God, all day, all night – 24/7. Do a Google search for “Christian” and you’ll come up with over 105,000,000 hits on the web. Do a search for God and you’ll come up with over 111,000,000 hits. Do a search for Bible and you’ll get over 24,400,000 hits.

If there was truly a godly miracle performed exclusively by prayer with no medical intervention then the press would be all over it and the documentation would be on hundreds of shows that showcase “spirituality” and other such nonsense.

JOSH: “Doctors do not even acknwlege God exists why would they give credit to someone they wont even recognize exists.”

I think you’d be surprised to find out that most physicians are believers – not Christians, but believers; deists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. However, the physicians recognize that modern medicine is the effective way to cure someone – not prayer. They recognize the placebo effect of prayer, meditation, and biofeedback. These three things (all a form of relaxation therapy) cause the body to release endorphins and dopamine, which increases your white blood cell count. So using any form of relaxation therapy can help the healing process.

JOSH: “Babies which have been aborted and other people who were not given a chance to accept the Gospel will not be held accountable but anyone who has reached the age of accountability who has not has for forgiveness of their sins will face punishment for their decision.”

Where does this “age of accountability” come from? Can you give me a biblical reference for it? Where in the Bible does it talk about the “age of accountability” and this giant loophole that exists for those that haven’t acknowledged Jesus? The Bible says that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus. I don’t remember reading any loopholes.

JOSH: “That is not true what you said about Jesus. As Christ left this Earth he commanded to preach the gospel to everyone.”

What do you mean it’s not true? Are you saying there was more than one Jesus on Earth? Jesus lived in Palestine. He was the only messenger. He was the only one crucified and resurrected. He was the only one that ascended to Heaven. This means that this all-powerful Bible-God of yours was only powerful enough to let a small geographic region know about him and know that Jesus was the only way to Heaven. This means that for almost 2,000 years there were millions of people around the world that died and went to Hell because the message of Jesus hadn’t spread around the world yet.

Are you denying that information? Are you denying that Jesus was not just in Palestine? Why was your Bible-God so incompetent and impotent that he could only provide his message to a small geographic region?

I’ll tell you why. The Bible-God doesn’t exist. The reason the message was in a small geographic region is because the men at the time thought that the world was flat and that it only extended for a few hundred miles (that might be an over-estimate).

I would also remind you that Jesus preached to the Jews – not the Gentiles. When a Gentile woman asked Jesus for help Jesus wouldn’t help her. It wasn’t until the woman said, “Even a dog gets scraps under the table,” that Jesus was embarrassed and helped the woman. It wasn’t until the Jews rejected him that the message was decided to be spread to “everyone.” Jesus was a Jew for the Jews – the Gentiles were second-best – they were the second pick after the primary recipient failed to receive the message. In God’s eyes you are second-best to the Jews.

I’ll say again what I said before because you obviously did not understand what I said. I would ask that you re-read it and really try to grasp it.

BLAIR: “One would think that an omnipresent being would be able to get his message across the world a lot faster. Instead he relied on one man in a particular geographic region (Palestine) to a particular ethnic crowd (Jews) and didn’t care about anyone else in the world. Then it took almost 2,000 years for the message to go global (because his followers thought the world was flat because the Bible says it is). There are still places today that haven’t heard of Jesus.”

Again, read it thoroughly and make sure you understand what I’m saying.

JOSH: “I find it intersting that you are willing to believe a science thory which can not prove thier own theory but deny God when their is proof all around us.”

Can’t prove their theory? Have you actually studied evolutionary biology? Do you even know the scientific method that is used to arrive at a scientific theory? I’m willing to wager that your answer is “no.”

As to this “proof all around us” of your Bible-God, perhaps you’d be willing to share it? Your apologists and theologians have failed to prove the existence of your Bible-God. What do you know that they don’t?

Josh W Rebuttal #004:

I just wanted to ask why you even care about these converstions which we have.

If I believed that nothing in this world mattered i would start partying and living life up right now.

Yes there may be a bunch of Christian websites but the only media coverage that Christians get is when they blow up a an abortion clinic or something that portays Christian in a negative light.

YEs I realize there are many Christian Doctors but they are not allwoed to express their beliefs to paptients in fear of a lawsuit. Jesus Christ did only preach in the area of Israel but if you read the book of acts the gospel is being spread to everyone. There is no special ethinic group to which you must belong to be saved. HAve you heard of the story of the woman at the well .She would have been considered in a social class beneath the Jews and Jesus talked with her.

One would also think that the very complex nature of everything in this world that it did not happen by random chance.

heres a little evidence for you Dont you think its sorda weird you can get this upset over someone who you dont think it exists.

What about universal morals. Every culture which has ever existed has tried to have some type of explaination of why were here. Why are you trying so hard to deny a God who wants to give a specific purpose for your life.

JOhn 3:16 for God so loved the world that he gve his only begotten son that whosover believeth in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Response to Josh W #004:

JOSH: “I just wanted to ask why you even care about these converstions which we have.”

There are several reasons that I care about these conversation. Let me lay them out for you:

  • I find them to be entertaining – it’s a great source of amusement.
  • I find them to be great forms of mental exercise – they keep the brain working.
  • I think that conversations such as these help overall in the education of the multitudes. It is through conversations such as ours that each side learns more about each other. It is through this learning that ignorance and bigotry are slowly eroded and replaced with understanding. If a person is ignorant of something or fears it – then those are the two things that lead to bigotry and hatred. When we have these discussions then fear and ignorance are eroded and the bigotry subsides.

These discussions serve several purposes; one of which I consider to be a great cause in the betterment of humanity by working towards the eradication of religious bigotry.

JOSH: “If I believed that nothing in this world mattered i would start partying and living life up right now.”

Lucky for us atheists, we don’t believe that nothing in the world matters. We believe that the lives of human beings matter, that maintaining the natural resources of the Earth matters. We believe that the betterment of humanity should be the ultimate goal of society.

Each human being has a one-way ticket; there are no returns and the end of the trip is it – no afterlife, no resurrection. That means each human being should be given the right to live their one life to the fullest – to enjoy the beauty of nature, to enjoy the company of his or her fellow humans, to be able to matter in society and to contribute in a way they are capable of.

There will be no Revelation or Second Coming, so we must take care of the Earth as best as we can. When Jerry Falwell says he doesn’t care if he ruins the environment because “God’s coming back, anyway,” then it makes me sick to my stomach. To think that someone’s religious beliefs would make them not care about the environment that their children and grandchildren grow up in is sickening, to be honest.

It is the recognition that there is no afterlife or resurrection that gives the atheist a greater reverence for life. It is the recognition that there will be no Second Coming of Christ, Vishnu, or Krishna, that give the atheist a greater respect for the environment. The atheist spends more time making peace with his neighbor, while the theist spends all his time making peace with the sky.

JOSH: “Yes there may be a bunch of Christian websites but the only media coverage that Christians get is when they blow up a an abortion clinic or something that portays Christian in a negative light.”

Christian terrorists get the same coverage that Muslim terrorists get – that’s not surprising. What about EWTN and TBN? Just look at all the press that Judge Moore has gotten from his Ten Commandments stance? How many times have I seen Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on TV spouting off on one subject or another? What about Alan Keyes or Ralph Reed? Jessie Jackson?

Each week our local TV station runs a segment called “Faith Matters” that covers local churches. Every newspaper that I’ve ever read has a religion section on Saturday or Sunday. The first six channels on my FM radio are Christian radio station. The biggest one around here is Power 88 FM – Broadcasting for the Lord. They have billboards, bumper stickers and signs everywhere. Their logo is a red cross surrounded by lightning that says “Power 88.”

No matter what the subject or topic, the news is drawn to the bad, which is why you see the bad stuff all the time. The pedophilia Catholic priest, the adulterous Protestant teacher, the racist Southern Baptist and the terrorists of all religions are the ones that get the headlines; that’s just the nature of the American television news – thriving on bad news in an environment of fear.

One would think that the Christians were used to it – bathing in an environment of fear; fear the wrath of God, fear the Devil, fear going to Hell, fear sin, fear the Sodomites, fear, fear, fear, and more fear. Go figure…

JOSH: “YEs I realize there are many Christian Doctors but they are not allwoed to express their beliefs to paptients in fear of a lawsuit.”

Is there a law against it? Most of the hospitals that I’m aware of are run by churches or have a religious affiliation; Baptist Medical Center, Jewish Hospital, Providence Catholic Hospital, Protestant Medical System, and others. I’m having a hard time reconciling what you are saying with the demographics of the medical care system in the United States.

JOSH: “Jesus Christ did only preach in the area of Israel but if you read the book of acts the gospel is being spread to everyone.”

As I already said, when the Jews rejected Jesus because he was a false messiah, the followers of the Jesus-Man decided to spread the message to the gentiles. That’s basic Christian theology; the message was given to the Gentiles because the Jews rejected Jesus as the messiah. Do you know why the Jews rejected Jesus as the messiah?

JOSH: “There is no special ethinic group to which you must belong to be saved.”

After the Jews rejected Jesus the message was approved for mass consumption (no pun intended). Prior to the rejection of the Jews, Jesus was preaching to the Jews and for the Jews. Gentiles need not apply.

JOSH: “HAve you heard of the story of the woman at the well .She would have been considered in a social class beneath the Jews and Jesus talked with her.”

Of course I’ve heard the story – I’m the one that referenced it. Jesus refused to talk to her and was indignant. It wasn’t until Jesus was embarrassed by her comment about dogs and scraps that Jesus reluctantly agreed to help her. Jesus was a bigot – embarrassed into action by a comment from a meek woman.

JOSH: “One would also think that the very complex nature of everything in this world that it did not happen by random chance.”

Luckily we have science to help us understand things like this. If we relied solely on our primitive minds we’d still think that lightning was caused by an angry God and that the Earth was flat and the center of the Solar System. We’d still be teaching schoolchildren that Noah’s Ark was real and that the entire Earth was covered with 29,050 feet of water (9 cubits above the highest mountain, which is Mt. Everest at 29,035 feet).

JOSH: ”heres a little evidence for you Dont you think its sorda weird you can get this upset over someone who you dont think it exists.”

I don’t get upset at the imaginary being in the sky. What I do get upset over is when the followers that insist that I believe in their imaginary friend. What I do get upset over is when the followers try to erode my Constitutional rights in order to make this a nation based on their imaginary friend. What I do get upset over is when the followers use their imaginary friend to justify bigotry, hatred, violence and disorder.

JOSH: ”What about universal morals. Every culture which has ever existed has tried to have some type of explaination of why were here.”

Yes, every culture has tried to explain it. With each culture the explanation gets more complex and closer to the actual truth. From a giant turtle carrying a load of dirt and clouds to a six-day creation, to a million-year creation where each incarnation of the god represents a link in the evolutionary chain. Of course most of the non-Abrahamic religions have accepted the science of evolution – just like they accepted the science of a spherical Earth, Sun-centered solar system (called heliocentric) and accepted that there is more than one planet around that might inhabit life.

It is basic human psychology that drives us to answer the question, “Why are we here?” Everyone answers that question differently it seems. No one has a monopoly on that answer. Religion appeals to that psychological need. Appealing to a need and actually providing a legitimate answer are not synonymous.

JOSH: “Why are you trying so hard to deny a God who wants to give a specific purpose for your life.”

I already have a specific purpose in life. The answer that the Bible-God gives is no more ludicrous and nonsense than the gods of the Qu’ran, Vedas, Qabalah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, Book of Shadows, Book of the Dead, Akarang Sutra, Tanakh, or the Kojiki.

I’m still waiting on your biblical support of the “age of accountability” loophole that you mentioned. Where did you arrive at this “Get out of Hell free” card that you’re promoting?

Josh W Rebuttal #005:

if you follow darwinism which you must for your reasoning of why you are here you do totally the opposite of what he tought. Darwin taught survival of the fittest and you want to teach that we should care for other human beings. IF only the strong survive i gonna do what only benefits me

Do you know that doctors have tell patients about abortion even if it goes against their religious beliefs. TO think our country can kill children without the blink of the eye is horrible. DO you realize that Jesus fits 430 messianic propheies from the old testament. Jesus fulfiiled them all.

Prophecies which were written 1000’s of years before his birth. how comeso many people saw Jesus after his crucifiction

Just as I repeat Jesu did come first to the Jews it did not mean he was not going to bring the gift of salvation to everyone. Jesus did not want the discpiles to go among the gentiles because they were not ready yet. As Jesus left this earth he told the disciples you will be my witnesses in Judea samaria and to the ends of the Earth.(acts 1:8)

Duringthis time Jesus sent his disciples to spread the good news to everyone.

If you accept the story of the woman at the well you must accept everything else Jesus did his healing his teaching his death and his resurection. and when you talk about bigotry and hatred what do you base that upon.

Without A god there are no morals people are free to do what they feel is right.

Where do you get your morals from.

Response to Josh W #005:

JOSH: “Darwin taught survival of the fittest and you want to teach that we should care for other human beings. IF only the strong survive i gonna do what only benefits me””

You are misinterpreting what “survival of the fittest” means. Survival of the fittest is not just an individual trait or characteristic, it is a trait and characteristic of a species. The term applies to individuals and the species as a whole. When it refers to individuals, it is not referring to “looking out for oneself” in the selfish manner that you have insinuated.

On an individual basis, survival of the fittest refers to the ability of that individual to survive ‘in total’. For example, in a troop of monkeys that is hit with disease, there will be individuals that are fitter and will more than likely survive the outbreak. Those monkeys in the troop that are more susceptible to the disease will die. This means that the next generation of the troop will have genes of the survivors.

The wildebeest that can cross the river successfully will go on to breed and pass on their genes to the next generation. The weaker wildebeest will drown and their genes will not be passed on. On a species level, the entire herd looks out for predators and they all run together to confuse the predator. The wildebeest that fall victim to predators tend to be the weaker among them.

Even in primates, the idea of social protection is present. This is where survival of the fittest works on a species level. The entire troop, fit and fat, work to help protect the troop from predators, help to feed the troop and look out for the young of the troop.

In the human species, we see both of these present. During times of disaster, the stronger (either physically or intellectually) survive and the weaker perish. The survivors make it out of burning buildings and the weaker do not. The fittest survives the week in the mountains in freezing weather, the weaker do not.

In a species level, we care for our young, we protect our elderly, we look out for the survival of the species on whole, which includes the “weaker.”

Many people assume that “weak” and “strong” refer to one’s physical strength and this is simply not the case. Someone that is fitter in intelligence may survive where a strongman with bulging muscles will perish because he couldn’t figure out how to escape his death. A fitter human with genetic tolerance to a disease will survive while his neighbor, with a weaker immune system will perish.

The “fittest” works in several arenas: intelligence, strength, immunity, genetic structure, brain capacity, flexibility, endurance, and many others. Different crises call for different strengths – and each one will see the “fittest” appropriate for that crises come out the survivor.

How many times have we seen video on TV documenting someone that pulled people from a burning building or rescued people from a collapse? Many times they are not the Hulk Hogan – they are the Bill Gates (no mal intent to Hulk Hogan for putting him in the same sentence as Bill Gates).

If you are going to try to argue against evolutionary biology and the theory of evolution, you should at least have a working knowledge of the two.

JOSH: “Do you know that doctors have tell patients about abortion even if it goes against their religious beliefs.”

That is because it is the law. Does not Jesus in your Bible tell you that you have to follow the law of the land? There are hospitals where religious physicians can work that do not promote or perform abortions (such as Catholic-run hospitals).

There are many laws that I disagree with, but I still follow them. I do what I can to get them changed using legal and proper channels, but I continue to obey them until they are challenged or overturned.

There are Islamic women that are forced to take their masks off to get a driver’s license, even though it is against their religious beliefs. Do you think that is wrong? The bottom line is that a law is a law – regardless of one’s religious beliefs about that law.

It is against the law to sacrifice chickens in New York City, even though it is a religious practice of Santeria and Voodoo. Most practitioners of that religion in New York City follow the law.

If we set aside laws based on religious grounds, then we would have anarchy. The test for such laws is whether the law prevents the free practice of one’s religion based on the freedom of religion. The ruling of Roe v Wade does not prevent anyone from practicing their religion. The ruling of the Florida Supreme Court against the Islamic woman to take her mask off to get her driver’s license, did not prevent her from practicing her religion. The law preventing cruelty to animals and having livestock in NYC does not prevent people from practicing their religion.

JOSH: “DO you realize that Jesus fits 430 messianic propheies from the old testament . Jesus fulfiiled them all.”

Please provide specific examples. I would remind you of the criteria needed in order to fulfill prophecy. The requirements for prophecy fulfillment are:

  1. The prophecy must be clear, and it must contain sufficient detail to make its fulfillment by a wide variety to possible events unlikely. [In other words a prophecy cannot be vague.]
  2. The event that can fulfill the prophecy must be unusual or unique. [A prophecy about a female menstruating during next month is not a prophecy.]
  3. The prophecy must have been prophesied before the event that is supposed to be its fulfillment. [Rather obvious – anyone can prophecy after an event.]
  4. The event foretold must not be of the sort that could be the result of an educated guess. [Anyone could have prophesied that war was going to break out in the Balkans because of existing conditions in the area.]
  5. The event that fulfills the prophecy cannot be staged, or the relevant circumstances manipulated, by those aware of the prophecy in such a way as to intentionally cause the prophecy to be fulfilled. [If you manipulate the environment to fulfill a prophecy then the prophecy has not come true – it has become “created”.]

JOSH: “how comeso many people saw Jesus after his crucifiction”

Who saw Jesus after his resurrection? What eyewitnesses? Can you provide even one eyewitness account? I would remind you that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts. None of the gospel-writers were witness to Jesus and never saw him alive. I would also remind you that you can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible. Do you have any eyewitness accounts from other sources?

JOSH: “Just as I repeat Jesu did come first to the Jews it did not mean he was not going to bring the gift of salvation to everyone.”

It sounds to me like you are putting your own interpretation on things. Did Jesus ever say that in the NT? I don’t remember anywhere Jesus saying, “I am here for the Jews, but that doesn’t mean I’m not here for the infidels (non-Jews).” No matter what happened after the Jews properly rejected Jesus as a false messiah, the fact remains that he was indignant of the gentiles and went to them only because the Jews rightfully rejected his bogus claims.

JOSH: “As Jesus left this earth he told the disciples you will be my witnesses in Judea samaria and to the ends of the Earth.(acts 1:8)”

Well, we all know where the “ends of the Earth” is. The “ends of the Earth” is at the horizon. The Earth was flat back then, and still is if you read the Bible. So Jesus wasn’t talking about “the world” as we know it in today’s scientific era, he was referring to the “known world” that was known back then. The OT and NT are full of references to this.

The use of “ends of the Earth” is a specific reference. In attempting to justify your argument that the message was somehow global, you have only shown my argument to be solidly based on biblical reference. How come your supposedly all-powerful god couldn’t get the message to the whole world at once? By doing it piecemeal with a single man in a single region, your Bible-God let millions of people die and go to Hell without ever hearing the message of Jesus. The only way to Heaven is through Jesus and millions of people died before ever knowing it. This happened because your Bible-God is an incompetent and impotent imaginary friend.

JOSH: “If you accept the story of the woman at the well you must accept everything else Jesus did his healing his teaching his death and his resurection .”

I don’t accept the story of the woman at the well. You are using the Bible and I am using the Bible. It doesn’t do me any good to quote the Qu’ran or Vedas to you when we’re talking about Jesus and the Bible-God.

JOSH: “Without A god there are no morals people are free to do what they feel is right.”

You mean that without a belief in a god that you’re scared of and without a fear of punishment (Hell), that you would be immoral. Are you telling me that the only thing preventing you from being an axe-murder or rapist is your belief in a god and his eternal punishment?

Is it truly morality when we do things for the reward? Are you being moral because you want to be, or because you want the reward of Heaven? When your children behave morally, that is one thing. When your children pretend to behave morally in order to get that chocolate chip cookie, then is that truly morality?

I would aver that the Christian theology is the immoral doctrine. There are two things that lead me to this conclusion:

1. The idea that an innocent man would be knowingly executed in order to save the guilty is an immoral doctrine. Jesus (an innocent) was executed to protect the guilty (sinners) and was done so knowingly (by the Bible-God). Can you imagine the uproar today if we found out that the District Attorney (God) had knowingly executed an innocent man (Jesus) in order to protect the guilty (sinners)? Christians everywhere would be demanding the resignation and criminal trial of the District Attorney – and yet their entire theology is built on that very premise.

2. The idea that one is forgiven by the death and resurrection of Jesus is an avenue of mischief. I can do what I want because “Jesus forgives me.” I can be a sinner because “Jesus died for my sins.” This logic is used on a daily basis by Christians worldwide. They commit the sin and then pray for forgiveness, and under biblical guidelines, they are given it. The Catholics have taken this to a new level with confession. Say a “Hail Mary” and play with your rosary beads and you’re forgiven and ready to enter the Pearly Gates again. This idea is immoral in my view and leads to many immoral acts.

JOSH: “Where do you get your morals from.”

I get my morals from several places, as you do. There are instinctual morals that are part of our genes (such as survival of the species). There are morals arrived from experience, such as feeling sadness at the loss of a loved one makes us realize the value of life. There are morals derived from social consensus, such as laws against drunk driving, but even these laws often go back to the morals arrived from experience (drunk drivers kill people, and experience teaches us the value of human life).

For a more in-depth look at morality, please see Are Atheists Immoral?

I’m still waiting on your biblical support of the “age of accountability” loophole that you mentioned. Where did you arrive at this “Get out of Hell free” card that you’re promoting?

Josh Rebuttal #006:

i stilall i would like to say in this email is jesus loves you. he gave his son Jesus Christ to die upon a cross for our sins. he did this so we would not have to spend eternity in hell.

romans 5:6 you see at just the right time why we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly

Response to Josh #006:

I guess this means you can’t address any of the issues I brought up in the last email. Figured as much. Nice talking to you.

Things like this really irritate me. You take the time to really respond and engage and they can’t handle it – so they just bail out with a final quote of a scripture.

Josh Rebuttal #007:

I thought we had heard the last of Josh, but he felt compelled to send another email a month later. This new email contains nothing new except a promise to answer my questions. Why didn’t he answer all the ones from the previous six rebuttals? Oh well… here we go again…

glad to heais you from you again . i know i may never be able to prove God to you . but all I can say i hope you do not die being an unbeliever. i may not have all of the answers to your questions. but once you ask Jesus Christ in your life you will never be the same. any questions you might have i would be happy to try to answer

 

Response to Josh #007:

JOSH: “any questions you might have i would be happy to try to answer”

How about responding to the questions and rebuttals I posed in my last email to you? Why don’t we just start there?

I don’t want you to prove your god to me – I know you can’t and you know you can’t. I just want you to address the issues your brought up and that I responded to. If you are going to bring your faith on the offensive then you better be prepared to take defensive action – and so far you have not.

I’ll paste my last email for you to reconsider and address:

JOSH: “Darwin taught survival of the fittest and you want to teach that we should care for other human beings. IF only the strong survive i gonna do what only benefits me””

You are misinterpreting what “survival of the fittest” means. Survival of the fittest is not just an individual trait or characteristic, it is a trait and characteristic of a species. The term applies to individuals and the species as a whole. When it refers to individuals, it is not referring to “looking out for oneself” in the selfish manner that you have insinuated.

On an individual basis, survival of the fittest refers to the ability of that individual to survive ‘in total’. For example, in a troop of monkeys that is hit with disease, there will be individuals that are fitter and will more than likely survive the outbreak. Those monkeys in the troop that are more susceptible to the disease will die. This means that the next generation of the troop will have genes of the survivors.

The wildebeest that can cross the river successfully will go on to breed and pass on their genes to the next generation. The weaker wildebeest will drown and their genes will not be passed on. On a species level, the entire herd looks out for predators and they all run together to confuse the predator. The wildebeest that fall victim to predators tend to be the weaker among them.

Even in primates, the idea of social protection is present. This is where survival of the fittest works on a species level. The entire troop, fit and fat, work to help protect the troop from predators, help to feed the troop and look out for the young of the troop.

In the human species, we see both of these present. During times of disaster, the stronger (either physically or intellectually) survive and the weaker perish. The survivors make it out of burning buildings and the weaker do not. The fittest survives the week in the mountains in freezing weather, the weaker do not.

In a species level, we care for our young, we protect our elderly, we look out for the survival of the species on whole, which includes the “weaker.”

Many people assume that “weak” and “strong” refer to one’s physical strength and this is simply not the case. Someone that is fitter in intelligence may survive where a strongman with bulging muscles will perish because he couldn’t figure out how to escape his death. A fitter human with genetic tolerance to a disease will survive while his neighbor, with a weaker immune system will perish.

The “fittest” works in several arenas: intelligence, strength, immunity, genetic structure, brain capacity, flexibility, endurance, and many others. Different crises call for different strengths – and each one will see the “fittest” appropriate for that crises come out the survivor.

How many times have we seen video on TV documenting someone that pulled people from a burning building or rescued people from a collapse? Many times they are not the Hulk Hogan – they are the Bill Gates (no mal intent to Hulk Hogan for putting him in the same sentence as Bill Gates).

If you are going to try to argue against evolutionary biology and the theory of evolution, you should at least have a working knowledge of the two.

JOSH: “Do you know that doctors have tell patients about abortion even if it goes against their religious beliefs.”

That is because it is the law. Does not Jesus in your Bible tell you that you have to follow the law of the land? There are hospitals where religious physicians can work that do not promote or perform abortions (such as Catholic-run hospitals).

There are many laws that I disagree with, but I still follow them. I do what I can to get them changed using legal and proper channels, but I continue to obey them until they are challenged or overturned.

There are Islamic women that are forced to take their masks off to get a driver’s license, even though it is against their religious beliefs. Do you think that is wrong? The bottom line is that a law is a law – regardless of one’s religious beliefs about that law.

It is against the law to sacrifice chickens in New York City, even though it is a religious practice of Santeria and Voodoo. Most practitioners of that religion in New York City follow the law.

If we set aside laws based on religious grounds, then we would have anarchy. The test for such laws is whether the law prevents the free practice of one’s religion based on the freedom of religion. The ruling of Roe v Wade does not prevent anyone from practicing their religion. The ruling of the Florida Supreme Court against the Islamic woman to take her mask off to get her driver’s license, did not prevent her from practicing her religion. The law preventing cruelty to animals and having livestock in NYC does not prevent people from practicing their religion.

JOSH: “DO you realize that Jesus fits 430 messianic propheies from the old testament . Jesus fulfiiled them all.”

Please provide specific examples. I would remind you of the criteria needed in order to fulfill prophecy. The requirements for prophecy fulfillment are:

  1. The prophecy must be clear, and it must contain sufficient detail to make its fulfillment by a wide variety to possible events unlikely. [In other words a prophecy cannot be vague.]
  2. The event that can fulfill the prophecy must be unusual or unique. [A prophecy about a female menstruating during next month is not a prophecy.]
  3. The prophecy must have been prophesied before the event that is supposed to be its fulfillment. [Rather obvious – anyone can prophecy after an event.]
  4. The event foretold must not be of the sort that could be the result of an educated guess. [Anyone could have prophesied that war was going to break out in the Balkans because of existing conditions in the area.]
  5. The event that fulfills the prophecy cannot be staged, or the relevant circumstances manipulated, by those aware of the prophecy in such a way as to intentionally cause the prophecy to be fulfilled. [If you manipulate the environment to fulfill a prophecy then the prophecy has not come true – it has become “created”.]

JOSH: “how comeso many people saw Jesus after his crucifiction”

Who saw Jesus after his resurrection? What eyewitnesses? Can you provide even one eyewitness account? I would remind you that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts. None of the gospel-writers were witness to Jesus and never saw him alive. I would also remind you that you can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible. Do you have any eyewitness accounts from other sources?

JOSH: “Just as I repeat Jesu did come first to the Jews it did not mean he was not going to bring the gift of salvation to everyone.”

It sounds to me like you are putting your own interpretation on things. Did Jesus ever say that in the NT? I don’t remember anywhere Jesus saying, “I am here for the Jews, but that doesn’t mean I’m not here for the infidels (non-Jews).” No matter what happened after the Jews properly rejected Jesus as a false messiah, the fact remains that he was indignant of the gentiles and went to them only because the Jews rightfully rejected his bogus claims.

JOSH: “As Jesus left this earth he told the disciples you will be my witnesses in Judea samaria and to the ends of the Earth.(acts 1:8)”

Well, we all know where the “ends of the Earth” is. The “ends of the Earth” is at the horizon. The Earth was flat back then, and still is if you read the Bible. So Jesus wasn’t talking about “the world” as we know it in today’s scientific era, he was referring to the “known world” that was known back then. The OT and NT are full of references to this.

The use of “ends of the Earth” is a specific reference. In attempting to justify your argument that the message was somehow global, you have only shown my argument to be solidly based on biblical reference. How come your supposedly all-powerful god couldn’t get the message to the whole world at once? By doing it piecemeal with a single man in a single region, your Bible-God let millions of people die and go to Hell without ever hearing the message of Jesus. The only way to Heaven is through Jesus and millions of people died before ever knowing it. This happened because your Bible-God is an incompetent and impotent imaginary friend.

JOSH: “If you accept the story of the woman at the well you must accept everything else Jesus did his healing his teaching his death and his resurection .”

I don’t accept the story of the woman at the well. You are using the Bible and I am using the Bible. It doesn’t do me any good to quote the Qu’ran or Vedas to you when we’re talking about Jesus and the Bible-God.

JOSH: “Without A god there are no morals people are free to do what they feel is right.”

You mean that without a belief in a god that you’re scared of and without a fear of punishment (Hell), that you would be immoral. Are you telling me that the only thing preventing you from being an axe-murder or rapist is your belief in a god and his eternal punishment?

Is it truly morality when we do things for the reward? Are you being moral because you want to be, or because you want the reward of Heaven? When your children behave morally, that is one thing. When your children pretend to behave morally in order to get that chocolate chip cookie, then is that truly morality?

I would aver that the Christian theology is the immoral doctrine. There are two things that lead me to this conclusion:

1. The idea that an innocent man would be knowingly executed in order to save the guilty is an immoral doctrine. Jesus (an innocent) was executed to protect the guilty (sinners) and was done so knowingly (by the Bible-God). Can you imagine the uproar today if we found out that the District Attorney (God) had knowingly executed an innocent man (Jesus) in order to protect the guilty (sinners)? Christians everywhere would be demanding the resignation and criminal trial of the District Attorney – and yet their entire theology is built on that very premise.

2. The idea that one is forgiven by the death and resurrection of Jesus is an avenue of mischief. I can do what I want because “Jesus forgives me.” I can be a sinner because “Jesus died for my sins.” This logic is used on a daily basis by Christians worldwide. They commit the sin and then pray for forgiveness, and under biblical guidelines, they are given it. The Catholics have taken this to a new level with confession. Say a “Hail Mary” and play with your rosary beads and you’re forgiven and ready to enter the Pearly Gates again. This idea is immoral in my view and leads to many immoral acts.

JOSH: “Where do you get your morals from.”

I get my morals from several places, as you do. There are instinctual morals that are part of our genes (such as survival of the species). There are morals arrived from experience, such as feeling sadness at the loss of a loved one makes us realize the value of life. There are morals derived from social consensus, such as laws against drunk driving, but even these laws often go back to the morals arrived from experience (drunk drivers kill people, and experience teaches us the value of human life).

For a more in-depth look at morality, please see Are Atheists Immoral?

I’m still waiting on your biblical support of the “age of accountability” loophole that you mentioned. Where did you arrive at this “Get out of Hell free” card that you’re promoting?

 

Josh Rebuttal #008:

You say i can defend myself. your group can not explain how they even got on this earth. Without God there can be no beginning because life can come from nonlife. Even darwin realized this by the time of his death. all i know is God has always existed he created the world in 6 days and created man that 6th day. Man sole purpose on this earth is to glorify God. I believe Jesus came to this earth in the form of a man with still being God an died upon the cross to take the punishment for our sins. No one has ever been able to come up with a reasonable arguement denied Jesus rose from the dead. If you have one i would love to hear it. all i know is he has changed my life for the good .

 

Response to Josh #008:

I’m very disappointed in you. You said you would answer my questions and I presented them to you. I even gave you a third chance to address this supposed “age of accountability.” All those chances that I have given you to defend your religion and your Bible-God and this email is the best you can do?

Obviously you are not ready to defend your faith because you don’t know enough about it. Fair enough. If you’re not going to address the issues that I bring up, as I address the ones you bring up, then there is no need in continuing this dialogue. I’m not going to waste my time addressing you if you refuse to return the favor (or perhaps more accurately, you are unable to return the favor due to theological ignorance).

It’s been a hoot.

 

Josh Rebuttal #009:

i cant prove age of accountability to you because you do not believe in the bible.i will be happy to show whyi believe this. besides this is not as an important of an issue of how life began from non life . your group has never been able to defend this one. as soon as you can answer this give me a reply.

 

Response to Josh #009:

I don’t want you to prove the age of accountability. What I want you to do is show me the scripture that supports and age of accountability of 12. Where in the Bible does it say that children under 12 get a “Get out of Hell Free” card?

The Bible is clear that anyone that does not know Jesus and who does not acknowledge his death and resurrection are bound for Hell – there are no caveats or disclaimers for minimum age, mental illness, or being feral.

Just show me where in the Bible it says that no one under the age of 12 is in Hell.

I would love to hear why you believe the age of accountability is 12 if there is no scriptural basis for it.

This issue may not be an important issue relevant toward evolution or cosmology, but it is an important issue for Christian theology – one that you are trying very hard to avoid (like most apologists before you).

If you can’t answer the question then just say so – no reason to beat around the bush, burning or not.

As to your statement about life forming from non-life, the Christian inability to get over this little “hurdle” is simple a matter of misunderstanding the theory of abiogenesis, which is often confused with evolution.

The theory of evolution discusses how life evolved after it formed. Abiogenesis has several different hypotheses that scientists are working on. There is no theory for this process yet because we are still trying to understand it.

The reason you aren’t getting an answer is because there is no answer. Unlike theology, this is natural in the sciences. Instead of cowering behind mythology and saying, “God did it!” scientists look for answers. This is an answer that we are still looking for.

We can discuss the different hypotheses if you want to.

However, I’m more inclined to hear from you. You haven’t addressed a single issue that I’ve brought up since the very beginning. You have done nothing but evade and resist any attempt I’ve made to counter your statements. You have yet to respond to any of my challenges or statements.

If you can’t defend your faith, your Bible, and your Bible-God, then you shouldn’t be trying to proselytize – it just makes you look ignorant (at best).

Josh Rebuttal #010:

Yes you are true the Bible does not address the age of accounatibilty but we do do know that The Loving God we serve gives everyone an oppurtuinity to know of his glory. I am sorry for having brought such a y miniscule arguement when here is all I have to say . You say you do not follow a God but for all of your answers you are looking for science. The God I serve created Science and everything else that is in this world. The odds of thi world coming in to be as it is are the same as if a tornado swept through a junkyard and created a 747. For me it is is impossible to fathom that this world came to be byanything other than a Supernatural God.

 

Response to Josh #010:

JOSH: “Yes you are true the Bible does not address the age of accounatibilty but we do do know that The Loving God we serve gives everyone an oppurtuinity to know of his glory.”

If the Bible doesn’t say it, then how do you know it? Do you presume to know the mind of God? Is not that a deadly sin – to presume such? The Bible is clear that to get to Heaven one must know and accept Jesus Christ as their savior and acknowledge his death and resurrection on the cross for the sins of man. If one does not do that – by willful neglect or ignorance, then they are bound for the lakes of fire in Hell. There’s no getting around it no matter how much apologetics you try.

The doctrine of Hell is immoral and if the Bible-God were one day proven to be real (yeah, right) then I can aver that I would still not worship it because it is unworthy of worship. Anyone that forces people to love and worship him and kills off scores of people and threatens to torture and kill them if they do not believe as they do, is not worthy of anything but assassination.

We have had human forms that took the ideological form of the Bible-God here on Earth: Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Napoleon, Spanish Conquistadors, Spanish Inquisition, Crusaders, and many more. There are still some on the planet that fill every ideological form of the Bible-God in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Some of the very reasons that President Bush gave to attack Iraq and Saddam Hussein sounded like they were right of out Biblical descriptions of Yahweh.

JOSH: ”The odds of thi world coming in to be as it is are the same as if a tornado swept through a junkyard and created a 747.”

Do you know what a straw man argument is? Your comment about the 747 is a straw man argument. How can you say such a ridiculous thing? You don’t know what the odds are for a 747 to be built during tornadic activity in a junkyard – especially in an airplane junkyard, which increases the odds significantly. And if you have an airplane junkyard that is divided into airplane types, and the tornado goes through the 747 section of the junkyard, then those odds have increases again. [end sarcasm]

Not too mention, you have no idea what the odds are for the universe starting, for life beginning, etc. Apparently the odds are pretty good – because it happened.

JOSH: “For me it is is impossible to fathom that this world came to be byanything other than a Supernatural God.“

Well, that explains it all, doesn’t it? It’s impossible for you to fathom it – so you need the reassurance of a father figure in the sky.

And Josh disappeared into the masses… never to be heard from again.