Debate 012: Cyclo and Blair debate Evolution

NOTE: I usually don’t post the quick and silly debates. I get a lot of these and the majority of them are from people that have absolutely no clue about what they are arguing about. I don’t have a problem with people engaging in debate; but at least know the subject before you get into a debate. I’ve decided to start posting these debates so that people can see the silliness that enters my inbox. Be warned, in these quick and silly debates I tend to be more facetious and brutally honest. Someone needs to let these people know that they are unarmed.

Cyclo Rebuttal #001:

How ludicrous is the theory of evolution?

Evolutionists believe humans began as tiny sea creatures swimming in the ocean (what kind?) which evolved into wet four-legged amphibians (what kind?), which evolved into furry little rodents (what kind?), which evolved into tiny primates (what kind?), which evolved into biped humans.

Each stage of evolution would have existed for tens of thousands of years (if not millions), but there is no scientific evidence that the above process ever took place! If there is, please identify the specific species’ of each creature identified in the evolutionary chain mentioned above, including the transitional forms. Remember, the evolutionist believes these to be the ancestors of human beings, but the evolutionist is unable to identify any of them. Then again, to proclaim a little prehistoric amphibian (which existed as such for thousands of years) as a direct ancestor of man would surely destroy one’s credibility!

Even amongst dinosaurs, only completed species exist in the fossil record. There is no evidence, for example, that the Tyrannosaurus Rex ever evolved from another type of creature.

The evidence says creation.

The theory of evolution is a LIE of epic proportions.

Response to Cyclo #001:

I want to personally thank you for giving me a good laugh. I haven’t laughed like that in a long time and it felt good. I appreciate it. Of course at the end of your letter I realized that you weren’t joking and that kind of stole the laughter away, but alas…

CYCLO: “Evolutionists believe humans began as tiny sea creatures swimming in the ocean…”

That is not what evolutionists believe. Perhaps you should study up on evolution a bit more before making an arse of yourself in “trying” to discredit it.

CYCLO: “…(what kind?)…”

I’ve heard Creationists like Duane “same-old, same-old” Gish and Kent “Man’s law sucks” Hovind use the word “kind”. I’ve asked them on several occasions to define what a “kind” is and they have never done so. Can you explain what a “kind” is? No one in the scientific community uses this term, so I don’t know what you mean.

CYCLO: “…which evolved into wet four-legged amphibians, which evolved into furry little rodents, which evolved into tiny primates, which evolved into biped humans.”

Is that what you really believe? You honestly believe that evolution is what you describe above? No wonder you’re so lost. I wouldn’t accept the scientific validity of evolution if I thought it was what you described, either.

CYCLO: “Each stage of evolution would have existed for tens of thousands of years (if not millions), but there is no scientific evidence that the above process ever took place!”

Considering that your “above process” is seriously flawed and doesn’t even come close to the actual evolutionary process – then your statement is correct. However, there is a considerably vast amount of evidence to back up the actual evolutionary process – not the imagined one that you created in your little tirade.

CYCLO: “…including the transitional forms.”

You Creationists are funny. Here’s how this works. Every time that science finds a transitional species, the creationists refuse to recognize it. Instead they insist that there should be two transitional on either side. This means that every time a transitional species is found – they Creationists make up two more “gaps” on either side of it. It’s as if they expect transitional fossils to appear like pages in a flip-book cartoon, with each species only altered minutely so that if you scan all the pages you’ll see the species “glide” into new form. That only shows the ignorance of creationists and their lack of scientific ability.

CYCLO: “Remember, the evolutionist believes these to be the ancestors of human beings, but the evolutionist is unable to identify any of them.”

Any of what? Your “above process” is careless and uninformed. Perhaps if you care to elaborate or at least behave like an actual scientist instead of a religious creationists with no scientific knowledge, then perhaps I can help you understand. If you’re looking for the transitional species from the ancestral species that spawned the modern primate and modern human lineages, then those species have been identified. Certainly not all of them. There will always be “gaps” because we haven’t dug up every corner of the earth looking for fossils.

What you should keep in mind when it comes to transitional species is that we are always filling in the “gaps” that creationists love to talk about. Over the last 25 years there have been remarkable discoveries made that have filled in “gaps” that the creationists used to point to (now they point at others) and several species have been identified closely to the flip-book cartoon that creationists like to think of (whales, for example).

CYCLO: “Then again, to proclaim a little prehistoric amphibian (which existed as such for thousands of years) as a direct ancestor of man would surely destroy one’s credibility!”

That’s why you have no credibility – because you are the one that has claimed amphibians are the direct ancestor of man. Science has made no such claim. Your ignorance of evolution is astounding – but also explains why you’re a creationist.

CYCLO: “Even amongst dinosaurs, only completed species exist in the fossil record. There is no evidence, for example, that the Tyrannosaurus Rex ever evolved from another type of creature.”

Again, your ignorance of the process is revealed. Do you expect us to find a Stegatyranatricerasaurus? A hybrid between Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops? If we ever find that elusive “cat-dog” that creationists demand then it will be proof of creation – not evolution. To expect the pre-Tyrannosaurus species to look like a Tyrannosaurus again reverts back to the “flip-book cartoon” that ignorant creationists expect. Science does not expect such because they know better and understand the process – unlike ignorant creationists.

CYCLO: “The evidence says creation.”

What evidence? If you have evidence of creationism then you better identify it because the creationists are wallowing in the sewage of ignorance and religious dogma without a ray of light from any scientific evidence. They are drowning in their own ignorance.

CYCLO: “The theory of evolution is a LIE of epic proportions.”

Seen any black helicopters lately?

Cyclo Rebuttal #002:

BLAIR: “That is not what evolutionists believe. Perhaps you should study up on evolution a bit more before making an arse of yourself in “trying” to discredit it.”

Then how did the ancestors of humanity begin if not as tiny sea creatures in a pre-human from according to the theory of evolution? Did tiny rodents pop up on dry land and start the evolutionary process?

BLAIR: “Can you explain what a “kind” is? No one in the scientific community uses this term, so I don’t know what you mean.”

I simply want you to identify each and every pre-human species on the human “evolutionary ladder” leading up to human beings.

BLAIR: “Is that what you really believe? You honestly believe that evolution is what you describe above? No wonder you’re so lost. I wouldn’t accept the scientific validity of evolution if I thought it was what you described, either.”

Sir, that is what you believe! Unless you believe the creation account involving the fully formed, fully human Adam and Eve. I asked you to list all of the pre-human stages of “human evolution” beginning with the first few cells and leading all the way up to human beings.

BLAIR: “Considering that your “above process” is seriously flawed and doesn’t even come close to the actual evolutionary process – then your statement is correct. However, there is a considerably vast amount of evidence to back up the actual evolutionary process – not the imagined one that you created in your little tirade.”

LOL! Then by all means, list the evolutionary process … but you can’t, because there is no conclusive evidence! Just desperate speculation that depends on stuff like a dog becoming a horse. A dog has four legs and a tail = a horse has four legs and a tail!!! A horse evolved from a dog!!! Or did a dog evolve from a horse???

BLAIR: “That only shows the ignorance of creationists and their lack of scientific ability.”

No, it shows the ignorance of evolutionists who cannot support their secular religion with anything but known violations of scientific laws.

BLAIR: “If you’re looking for the transitional species from the ancestral species that spawned the modern primate and modern human lineages, then those species have been identified. Certainly not all of them. There will always be “gaps” because we haven’t dug up every corner of the earth looking for fossils.”

Sorry, extinct monkeys and apes don’t count. Then again, where did monkeys and apes come from? For that matter, what were primates before becoming primates? Were they furry four-legged rodents?

BLAIR: “Over the last 25 years there have been remarkable discoveries made that have filled in “gaps” that the creationists used to point to (now they point at others) and several species have been identified closely to the flip-book cartoon that creationists like to think of (whales, for example).”

Uh, the transitional gaps have not been filled and will never be filled, because they don’t exist!

Then again, one could show an evolutionist the fossils of a mouse and a porcupine or a horse and a dog and the evolutionist will claim, based on certain similarities, that one evolved into the other or vice versa, but that doesn’t make it true!

BLAIR: “That’s why you have no credibility – because you are the one that has claimed amphibians are the direct ancestor of man. Science has made no such claim. Your ignorance of evolution is astounding – but also explains why you’re a creationist.”

I believe creation, because it’s true. I asked you to list the pre-human ancestors of man starting from the very beginning of life on Earth, and you’ve been unable to do so.

BLAIR: “Again, your ignorance of the process is revealed. Do you expect us to find a Stegatyranatricerasaurus? A hybrid between Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops? If we ever find that elusive “cat-dog” that creationists demand then it will be proof of creation – not evolution.”

No, that would be evidence of evolution, because the creationist believes each animal was created complete in the macro-sense, whereas the evolutionary theory requires thousands of transitional forms … with thousands of animal species changing into completely different species, which completely and utterly violates the laws of science.

From the very beginning…

Please list the creatures in the evolutionary chain leading up to a giraffe.

Please list the creatures in the evolutionary chain leading up to a saber tooth tiger.

Please list the creatures in the evolutionary chain leading up to a t-rex.

Please list the creatures in the evolutionary chain leading up to gorillas.

Please list the creatures in the evolutionary chain leading up to a whale.

Please list the creatures in the evolutionary chain leading up to brontosaurus.

Please list the creatures in the evolutionary chain leading up to a stegosaurus.

Please list the creatures in the evolutionary chain leading up to a woolly mammoth.

Please list the “creatures” in the evolutionary chain leading up to human beings.

BLAIR: “To expect the pre-Tyrannosaurus species to look like a Tyrannosaurus again reverts back to the “flip-book cartoon” that ignorant creationists expect. Science does not expect such because they know better and understand the process.”

They don’t know the process, because scientists have been unable to identify an evolutionary chain leading up to dinosaurs and mammals. A lot of species yes, an evolutionary chain no. The fanatical evolutionist then gets desperate and claims that species gave birth to completely different species (like a pig suddenly giving birth to a moose!), which violates the laws of science of course, but makes for a good laugh.

BLAIR: “What evidence? If you have evidence of creationism then you better identify it because the creationists are wallowing in the sewage of ignorance and religious dogma without a ray of light from any scientific evidence. They are drowning in their own ignorance.”

You’ve already drowned in ignorance. I made a simple request and you’ve been unable to fulfill it … which is why the scientific evidence, in all intellectual honesty, points to creation!

But then I never expected you to fulfill a request which cannot be fulfilled.

Response to Cyclo #002:

CYCLO: “Then how did the ancestors of humanity begin if not as tiny sea creatures in a pre-human from according to the theory of evolution? Did tiny rodents pop up on dry land and start the evolutionary process?”

Your statement oversimplified the issue and you stated that humans evolved FROM sea creatures. Sea creatures and earlier single-celled organisms are certainly in the ancestral lineage of the evolutionary path and development of the hominids, but we did not evolve directly from sea creatures or rodents, as you stated. As I have stated before, you need to be specific and discuss this issue scientifically. If all you are going to do is rant and rave then there is no point in discussing anything with you. Sweeping statements will not get you anywhere and neither will mischaracterized statements.

CYCLO: “I simply want you to identify each and every pre-human species on the human “evolutionary ladder” leading up to human beings.”

What does that have to do with kinds? Why can’t creationists define “kinds” that they constantly use? I know the word comes from Genesis, but Genesis and creationists fail to define their use of the word. Care to actually define kind?

Anyway, I can only identify the pre-human species that we have actually found and identified. It is fair to say that there are still “gaps” of missing species. Until we dig up every piece of earth and look for fossils we can never be sure that we’ve filled in all the “gaps”. Transitional species are found all the time as we uncover more examples.

There’s no point in duplicating information that is available elsewhere. Here are some good sources for the evolutionary lineage of hominids:

CYCLO: “Sir, that is what you believe! Unless you believe the creation account involving the fully formed, fully human Adam and Eve. I asked you to list all of the pre-human stages of “human evolution” beginning with the first few cells and leading all the way up to human beings.”

That is not what I believe. Four-legged amphibians did not evolve into furry rodents and furry rodents did not evolve into primates. You are grossly oversimplifying the process in order to make it sound ludicrous. While this methodology may sound impressive to the uninformed and scientifically illiterate, it will not work here. Until you can accurately describe the evolutionary process, as stated by evolutionary science, then you are in no position to debate the issue.

CYCLO: “LOL! Then by all means, list the evolutionary process … but you can’t, because there is no conclusive evidence! Just desperate speculation that depends on stuff like a dog becoming a horse. A dog has four legs and a tail = a horse has four legs and a tail!!! A horse evolved from a dog!!! Or did a dog evolve from a horse???”

Perhaps we should start out simple since you obviously have no clue when it comes to evolutionary science. I certainly don’t have the time to teach you basic biology and evolutionary science. Instead I will direct you to some beginner web pages that are designed to teach kids about evolutionary science. After you get up to at least a high school level of understanding science and evolutionary science then I can direct you to more complicated sources. In the meantime, I suggest you check out:

CYCLO: “No, it shows the ignorance of evolutionists who cannot support their secular religion with anything but known violations of scientific laws.”

Obviously, this is not the forum for a detailed listing of transitional species. The “Book of Life” takes up so much space that it had to be separated on tons of web pages that share resources. You’ll just have to do the research on your own. I suggest you start at a comprehensive list of evolutionary links at: TMA Evolution Links (I no longer maintain the massive link database).

CYCLO: “Sorry, extinct monkeys and apes don’t count. Then again, where did monkeys and apes come from? For that matter, what were primates before becoming primates? Were they furry four-legged rodents?”

Why don’t extinct species count? 98% of all the species that have ever walked on the Earth are now extinct. Your statement only exaggerates your ignorance when it comes to science and specifically evolutionary science. Monkeys and apes, as you call them, which we refer to as modern primates, all evolved from a common ancestor that hominids share. Hominids did not evolve *from* modern apes – they evolved *alongside* them from a common ancestor. The australopithecines are good start.

“Furry four-legged rodents” evolving into apes is again a good example of your ignorance. You can oversimplify the process all you want to make it sound corny, but all it does is make you look stupid to the scientifically educated. Until you are willing to discuss the issue scientifically and prove that you at least have a working knowledge of evolutionary science (college level) then there is no point in discussing this with you. Until you grasp the basics then I’m wasting my time. Do your research and learn about evolutionary science. Then come back and talk to me.

Again, I’m not going to teach you basic biology and evolutionary science. You’ll have to study on your own by using some of the suggested links above or purchasing a scientific book about evolutionary science.

CYCLO: “Uh, the transitional gaps have not been filled and will never be filled, because they don’t exist!”

Congratulations. You have successfully fallen into the typical Fundie episodic fits that are normal in these types of discussions. I’d rather argue the non-existence of Santa Claus with a 5-year-old than debate with a Fundie that hasn’t a clue about evolutionary science and not what he’s been brainwashed with a Sunday School by a preacher that wouldn’t know science if it smacked him in the face.

CYCLO: “I believe creation, because it’s true.”

Prove it. No other creationist has been able to do so – even the ones that actually have a basic understanding of rudimentary evolutionary science.

CYCLO: “I asked you to list the pre-human ancestors of man starting from the very beginning of life on Earth, and you’ve been unable to do so.”

No, you asked me to list “kinds”. It wasn’t until this email that you clarified your question and asked for a complete list of hominids. I have provided you the links above to get that information.

CYCLO: “No, that would be evidence of evolution, because the creationist believes each animal was created complete in the macro-sense, whereas the evolutionary theory requires thousands of transitional forms … with thousands of animal species changing into completely different species, which completely and utterly violates the laws of science.”

That is a false statement. Transitional species does not mean that you’ll find 50 species with a set of nostrils slowly moving away. Transitional species mean an intermediary species between two others. The debate over environmentally exacerbated change or punctuated equilibrium and other methods are still a debated issue.

CYCLO: “Please list the “creatures” in the evolutionary chain leading up to human beings.”

For all your lists you will need to dig into a book and get the information. The information is too comprehensive to list here. I can only say it so many times: I can’t teach you basic biology via email – you’ll have to learn it on your own.

CYCLO: “The fanatical evolutionist then gets desperate and claims that species gave birth to completely different species (like a pig suddenly giving birth to a moose!), which violates the laws of science of course, but makes for a good laugh.”

Please point me to one evolutionists that said anything remotely close to “pig giving birth to a moose”. Remember, that to the scientifically literate person, which you are not, your ramblings sound stupid. You only sound “smart” to the uneducated creationist.

CYCLO: “You’ve already drowned in ignorance. I made a simple request and you’ve been unable to fulfill it … which is why the scientific evidence, in all intellectual honesty, points to creation!”

You made no simple request. You asked me to list “kinds”. “Kinds” is creationist lingo for “I’m an idiot that thinks the Bible is literal because I’m too stupid to understand what an analogy is”.

If you’re as smart as you think you are (only stupid creationists agree with you) then you should be able to prove creationism. If evolution is as fallacious as you claim and creation so sound, then you should have absolutely no problem presenting that evidence here and proving to me that evolution is false and creationism is true. Can you do it? Or are you ignorant of creation “science” as well?

I could argue for creationism better than you can. Do your fellow creationists a favor. Shut up before you further tarnish their reputation for being ignorant buffoons.

 NOTE: Cyclo never responded back. Hopefully he went and did some research.

Advertisements

Debate 010: John and Blair debate Atheism

John Rebuttal #001:

I just wanted to ask you a few questions if that is okay. I am a Christian and I am currently studying atheism. I am not intimidated by atheism or afraid of it. I just don’t understand the reasoning behind it.

I am not going to try to dispel any of your arguments. That would probably be a waste of time for both us since I think we are both very firm in our beliefs. That being said, my first question is why do you think we exist?

What is our purpose for living? I would also like to know what you think happens to us when we die? Are you really not concerned about what might happen after death?

I guess that is my first series of questions. This more along the lines of reasoning and logic. First of all, do you believe in the supernatural? It’s okay if you don’t; I am just wondering. If you do, do you think that our simple, finite minds should be able to comprehend an infinite supernatural Being? Do you think that there are certain supernatural things that cannot be explained by natural reasoning or by science?

Finally, I would like to ask you about the rise of Christianity. I know that you made arguments against changed lives being evidence for the truth of Christianity. You said that other religions have witnessed changed lives. I am not going to dispute that. I would simply like to ask you to explain the change in the 12 apostles lives after the resurrection of Christ. How do you explain the incredible rise of Christianity led by these 12 men after the death of Christ? 11 of the 12 were killed for believing in Christ. Why would these men die for a lie?

That is all the questions that I have for now. I would like to ask some more in the future, but I would like to hear your response to these first. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Response to John #001:

Thank you for your non-proselytizing questions. I appreciate your inquisitiveness without resorting to proselytizing and evangelizing. Thanks again!

I’ll answer your questions as presented.

JOHN: “I am not intimidated by atheism or afraid of it. I just don’t understand the reasoning behind it.”

Just for clarification, you should have no reason to be intimidated or afraid of atheism. Do you mind if I ask why you felt compelled to say that? Have you run across people that are afraid of atheism or intimidated by it?

Also, the “reasoning” for an arrival at atheistic views differs for each person. The only thing atheists have in common is their atheism, which is nothing more than a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings. Beyond that, each atheist is as unique as a fingerprint with different ideologies, philosophies, convictions, and thought processes.

JOHN: “Why do you think we exist?”

We “exist” to procreate and perpetuate the species.

JOHN: “What is our purpose for living?”

Our “purpose” is to perpetuation of the species. The greatest fallacy of humanity is to search for a “purpose” to our lives. We want there to be more than there is because we are wishful thinkers. We almost need to think there is “more to life than this”.

JOHN: “I would also like to know what you think happens to us when we die? Are you really not concerned about what might happen after death?”

What happens when we die is that our body begins to decay rapidly. Cell growth ceases (except fingernails and hair for a slightly longer period) and decomposition begins within hours of death. Depending on the environment the composition can be rapid or prolonged. I’m sure you know the science behind death so I won’t go into detail.

If you are referring more to what happens to us “after” we die in the metaphysical sense, then the answer is simply, “nothing”.

I’m not concerned at all about what might happen after death. There’s no reason to be concerned. I will lead a good life, I will raise my children to be moral human beings, and I will pass on my knowledge to them.

JOHN: “Do you believe in the supernatural?”

No, I do not believe in anything supernatural. However, I do grant that anything is possible. I prefer to deal in probability instead of possibility. If we believe in everything that is possible then we’d be a bunch of raving lunatics going on-and-on about leprechauns, pixies, fairies, unicorns, Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster, alien abductions, ESP, and more, and more, and more, and more.

I don’t automatically dismiss them, but I have to be convinced. There are many “paranormal” events that have been explained by science and yet people still latch on to the paranormal explanation. That’s akin, in my view, to still insisting that lightning is caused by Zeus. There are a lot of supposedly paranormal events that have enough evidence against them to dismiss them completely, though.

JOHN: “If you do, do you think that our simple, finite minds should be able to comprehend an infinite supernatural Being?”

Why shouldn’t we? If said supernatural being interacts with the universe, then said supernatural being should leave some sort of “fingerprint”. The trick, of course, is finding the “fingerprint” and being able to test for a supernatural cause. This is why we are at the mutual position of not being able to prove each other’s side. You can’t prove a god exists and I can’t prove that a god doesn’t. What we have to rely on in that case is what we “do” know and base our conclusions on that. We can’t (or at least shouldn’t) base our conclusions on what we don’t know.

JOHN: “Do you think that there are certain supernatural things that cannot be explained by natural reasoning or by science?”

No. There may be things that we deem as supernatural that we cannot currently explain, but to say that we may never explain them, or to attribute supernaturalism because we cannot explain them currently is not what science is or what I personally feel should be our methodology.

JOHN: “I would simply like to ask you to explain the change in the 12 apostles lives after the resurrection of Christ. How do you explain the incredible rise of Christianity led by these 12 men after the death of Christ? 11 of the 12 were killed for believing in Christ. Why would these men die for a lie?”

Why would people commit mass suicides for lies? People die for lies all the time. The Germans died willingly on the battlefield for a lie. People die for their beliefs all the time, even when those beliefs are false. Muslims die for their faith all the time, does that make Allah just as “real” as Yahweh?

Of course your premise is that the stories relayed in the Bible are factual in the first place. The rise of Christianity had nothing to do with the 12 original apostles in all actuality. The original “Christians” were nothing more than a sect of Judaism (which, in a way, it still is to this day). There were two things that helped to perpetuate this sect into mainstream, and ultimately, to what we know Christianity to be to this day. The first was the destruction of The Temple in 70 CE by the Romans. This event decapitated (temporarily) the Judaic hierarchy. This allowed the sect of Judaism to step up and fill the void.

The second was the Pagan Roman emperor, Constantine. Constantine needed to bring the Roman Empire back together and had two choices. He could choose the religion of the Centurions, which was Mithraism, or he could choose the religion of the cities, which was Christianity. Constantine decided that the power of Rome lay in the cities and not in the Army and chose Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Of course Constantine had to get Christians to agree on what Christianity was and wasn’t. Christians were killing each other over disagreements about doctrine, dogma, and ideologies. Constantine convened the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. He placed all the “leaders” into a building and placed it under siege. No one could go in or out and no food was brought in. The foundation of Christianity was created in less than 24 hours under armed guard and threat of life. Out of the Council of Nicea came the following staples of Christianity: Jesus was the “Son of God” (this was disagreed upon by most of the early Christians because many though he was simply a prophet), the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday, and the ideology of the Trinity was born.

The Council also voted on the canon that would ultimately become what we know as the Bible. The vote, according to Eusebius, was a vote by five. If five people had voted differently the Bible would contain more of the Apocrypha (the books that were voted against). The Nicean Creed was created and everyone left. Of course that was not the end of the conflict because the votes were so close that fighting persisted for years and even continues to this day. Constantine later converted to Christianity and helped to import Pagan beliefs and rituals into Christianity.

You really want the founder of Christianity? Look at Constantine, the Pagan emperor of Rome.

John Rebuttal #002:

Thank you for your response. I appreciate your time in answering my questions. Just to clear a couple of things up, I would like to explain why I made the statement, “I am not intimidated by atheism or afraid of it.” I said this because your site said that theists are intimidated by atheists. I just was stating my disagreement with this statement. There may be some who are afraid or intimidated, but most Christians like myself welcome questions about our faith. I definitely want to look at all the issues. I find that it helps me to understand why I believe what I believe.

Also, I noticed that you said that the supernatural would have to leave a “fingerprint” behind. I believe that God has done that. The Bible tells us that creation reveals his glory. Romans 1:18-20 explains how God has revealed himself through nature, but that man has misunderstood it and begun to worship the creation rather than the Creator. When I look around at the world, I cannot explain how else this incredible world could be here except by some divine creation. I have a hard time believing that everything exists because of an accident. How would you explain this world?

I also want to make a couple statements about Constantine and the Council of Nicea. I have done much studying of church history. I agree with you that Constantine was not exactly a great man. He had his problems. But as far as the Council of Nicea, the beliefs of the Christian faith did not originate here. That is the error that most people make. The doctrines and beliefs of Christianity were widely accepted from the time Christ left the earth and the apostles started their ministry. However, there were many heretical groups who began to try to influence false teaching in the church. The books of the Bible were already accepted by the church. But these heretical groups began to accept other books and leave out some of the canonized books of the Bible. The purpose of the Council of Nicea was to officially formulate the doctrine into writing and officially formulate the accepted canon of scripture.

I apologize if I appear to be proselytizing or evangelizing. I am simply trying to respond to the statements you made. I guess I have a tendency to go a little long sometimes. Would you please respond to these statements. I would like to continue dialogue with you. I am very interested in understanding the arguments for atheism. Thank you again for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Response to John #002:

Thanks again for your comments and non-evangelizing response. I don’t think I can emphasize enough how refreshing it is to receive comments and responses that do not attempt to proselytize or evangelize. Thanks again!

JOHN: “I said this because your site said that theists are intimidated by atheists.”

Yes, my site says that. I say that not because they should be, but because many are. I don’t think theists should be intimidated or afraid of atheists. I think a lot of the intimidation and/or fear comes from the misconceptions and myths about atheism and atheists (like that we are all Satanists or immoral).

JOHN: “The Bible tells us that creation reveals his glory. Romans 1:18-20 explains how God has revealed himself through nature, but that man has misunderstood it and begun to worship the creation rather than the Creator.”

Revealing one’s “glory” is not the same thing as leaving a fingerprint of one’s creative efforts. For example (I’ll work on the assumption that inference of design is correct for this analogy) if we look at a painting we can say, “Someone had to create this painting.” The problem then becomes identifying the painter. If the painter has left no signature then we can only speculate. Some will say that Picasso painted it and others will insist Michelangelo did the painting. Others will interject their ideas about who did or did not paint the picture. The bottom line is that we really won’t know until the painter identifies himself or herself.

Science does not attempt to justify the supernatural because it is beyond the scope of science, and honestly, beyond the knowledge of science (although that constantly changes). Science can only explain the world in a natural way and present that information to the general public. Science cannot dictate policy or ideology to the general public. It is the general public’s job to decide what to do with the information.

The last thing religion wants is for science to investigate its dogmas and theologies. What if science proves that God exists and they find out that it is Krishna or Allah? What if they prove a god exists and it turns out to be the god of Deism or Wicca? What if they prove that Jesus never existed or that he was buried instead of being placed in a tomb? Does religion really want science to delve into this area and take the risk of exposing ideologies as mythology? I know that if I were a theist I would not want science doing that.

JOHN: “How would you explain this world?”

I’m not really sure what you are looking for with this question. I have looked at the scientific evidence, the theories, and hypothesis and come to my own conclusion about the origins of the universe, the solar system, the Earth, and the life that lives upon it. I feel no need to attribute the Earth or the universe to a divine creator because natural explanations do not require one. As I said before, I base my conclusions on what we “do” know and not what we “do not” know.

JOHN: “But as far as the Council of Nicea, the beliefs of the Christian faith did not originate here. That is the error that most people make.”

Yes, the beliefs of the Christian faith originated prior to the Council of Nicea. The problem is that the dogmas and doctrines that Christianity currently holds were not firm and were not the common beliefs. Fighting amongst Christians was widespread and very bloody. If the beliefs and faiths were so secure there would have been no need for all this infighting to occur. Constantine was forced to convene the Council to get Christians to agree because the fighting was helping to ruin the Roman Empire. To this day the dogmas and doctrines are fought over and disagreed upon.

The Council of Nicea made it official that the Sabbath would move from Saturday to Sunday. To say that because some Christians already celebrated the Sabbath on Sunday before the Council of Nicea defines the Christian faith before the Council is begging the question and is irrelevant. To make an analogy, we don’t see the end of slavery 30 years before the Civil War; we look at the Civil War as the defining moment to the end of slavery in the United States. We can look back and identify those that helped create the environment to end slavery, but that does not take away from the impact of the Civil War.

JOHN: “The doctrines and beliefs of Christianity were widely accepted from the time Christ left the earth and the apostles started their ministry.”

That is hardly a true statement, especially considering that none of the original 12 apostles wrote anything to let us know that. The gospels were not written by the apostles, but by later contemporaries. Even the gospel writers disagree with each other on several key issues. The only information we have on the original apostles is what comes from the gospels writers themselves. I’ve always wondered why the betrayer of Jesus is named Judas, which happens to be “Jew”. Hmm…

JOHN: “However, there were many heretical groups who began to try to influence false teaching in the church.”

That applies, really, to anyone that wanted to create a church in the first place. Jesus made no mention of starting a new religion.

JOHN: “The books of the Bible were already accepted by the church.”

That is not a true or remotely accurate statement. There were over 500 books that were voted on by the Council of Nicea. According to Eusebius the vote was very close (by five votes), so I fail to see how you can say they were already accepted. The dispute raged beyond the Council of Nicea and required the convening of the Council of Trent (50 years later) to re-emphasize the canon and re-evaluate the decisions made at the Council of Nicea.

Even after the Council of Nicea there were many clergy that embraced the books that were not chosen and continued to fight. When Constantinople became “Christian City”, it was one of the bloodiest cities in world history because of fighting over the dogmas, doctrines, and Christian rule.

JOHN: “The purpose of the Council of Nicea was to officially formulate the doctrine into writing and officially formulate the accepted canon of scripture.”

The history writers of the time disagree with your statement, including Christian historian Eusebius and Alexander (who wrote about the disagreements over “Easter”). Historian Rick Chaimberlain writes,

CHAIMBERLIN: “Christians were no longer persecuted by the pagans. Instead, Christians persecuted others (including other Christians) with zeal and a vengeance that would shock the pagans. More Christians were killed (by other Christians!) in the first century after the Council of Nicea than had been killed by pagans in the century before Nicea.”

It was also during this time that the cross became the symbol of Christianity (Seymour, The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, 1897, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, pp. 9-26.)

Many of the attending Bishops disagreed with the definition of “Son” when referring to Jesus. Constantine sent a letter to the dissenting Bishops requiring that they accept the agreements of the Council because they were “truly Divine injunction” and he forced this threat by persecuting dissidents and calling them “haters and enemies of truth and life, in league with destruction.”

With all the historical information available to indicate how the “agreement” was not that much of an agreement, I fail to see how you can arrive at the conclusion that the Council only made official what the church was already doing. History disagrees with you.

John Rebuttal #003:

Thanks again for replying. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain your points. I hope that you don’t get tired of me asking you questions. I feel that I am learning a lot about atheism. I agree with you about possible reasons that people may be afraid of atheists. I think it is lack of knowledge. People are often afraid of things they don’t know about.

I would like to make one statement though. I noticed that you said that people think that you are all Satanists or immoral. I am not passing any judgment on anybody, but I understand why people would think this. I don’t think that being an atheist makes a person immoral. I am sure that many atheists as well as people from other religions appear to be moral people. Some may even appear to be more moral than many Christians. The problem is that no one is moral in God’s eyes. We are all immoral to God, including myself and all Christians. Romans 3:23 says, “All sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is no one righteous in His eyes.

Often times people will object to this and say what about the good things that I do. I have wondered that, but the problem is that the good we do cannot measure up the holy standards of God. In fact Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” I believe this may be the reason make statements like that about atheists. The problem is that sometimes us theists forget to make these statements about ourselves. We are all in the same boat together. We are all sinners.

As far as people considering you to be a Satanists. I understand why people argue this. I do not believe that because you do not worship God that you worship Satan. In fact, I understand that you do not even believe that he exists. However, people make this argument because of what Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not for Me is against Me and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Jesus said that there are only two sides. His side and the other, Satan’s side. I am not calling you a Satanist, but Jesus said if you are not serving Him, you are serving Satan. This is why I believe people make these claims about you. These are the claims people made against me before I became a Christian. I agree with them. I realize that I was serving Satan even though I did not know it.

Also, about God leaving fingerprints, I noticed your analogy about a painter. I agree that we cannot tell much about who created the universe, just like we cannot tell who created a painting without a signature. However, God’s revelation in nature was never intended to tell us much about Him. It was intended to show us that “Someone” exists. That is what nature does. In turn this points us to His other revelation, the Bible. This is where we find out who the “Painter” is. His signature is all over it.

I agree with you that science cannot prove God. It is not supposed to. Science is the natural world. God is the supernatural. I do welcome the scientific attempts to explain theology. I believe that we are supposed to love God with “all our heart, mind, and soul.” I don’t want to believe without evidence. Yes there is faith, but there is also reasoning. I must believe in my heart and my head. I guess that is why I am studying other beliefs, like atheism. I am not afraid of having my beliefs challenged. I want to see all the evidence. If someone ever successfully proved Christianity false, I would really have to consider my beliefs, but at this point I find no such evidence. At this point, Christianity is the truth to me. That is why I believe.

As far as your argument about the Council of Nicea goes, I have not heard of some of the points you have brought up. I am going to have to study about it a little more. But I do know that celebrating the Sabbath on Sunday is not the only Christian dogma that was established before the Council. In fact, it doesn’t matter what day the Sabbath is on. But that is beside the point. The New Testament is full of letters from the apostles to churches. These churches were struggling with false teachers and heretical doctrine. The apostles wrote to warn the churches from falling always from the things that Jesus taught. People questioned things about the humanity of Christ, the relationship between faith and works, and things about the end of time. In fact many warn about false teachers and false “Christ’s” that have gone out into the world to deceive. This was going on during the time of the apostles and the Council of Nicea, and it is still going on today. There will forever be people who teach false things. Sometimes people become very hostile about it. I know that there we many fights about doctrine. I admit that the church has had it’s problems. It is not perfect. It never will be. Doctrine may go astray and people may sin, but Christ who is the head of the church will never be destroyed.

The people who wrote the gospels were not all apostles, but disciples of Christ. This argument has been made that no apostles wrote the gospels. However, John, an apostle of Jesus, testified that he was the one who witnessed these things. Matthew was another apostle. Luke and Mark were followers or disciples who were not considered apostles, but were there throughout Jesus’ ministry. These gospel writers do not disagree with each other. They simply report things from different perspective. Matthew wrote for the Jews. Mark wrote for the Romans and gentiles. Luke wrote to a general audience with the most detailed account. And John wrote to gentiles as well, not so much with a historical account, but with an attempt to show God’s grace as revealed in Jesus.

When you say Jesus’ betrayer is named Judas, are you saying that Judas means “Jew?” If so, I have never heard that, but I do find it very interesting. There is prophecy throughout the Old Testament that says that Jesus would be betrayed by one of His own. Judas was certainly one of His own. It also doesn’t surprise me that a Jew betrayed Him. After all, the Jews rejected Him. This was part of God’s plan of salvation. Because the Jews rejected Christ, salvation is offered to the gentiles (that is you and me). The Bible talks about this in Romans 9-11, mainly 11:11, where it says, “because of their transgression, salvation has come to the gentiles to make Israel envious. Frankly, I am glad that the Jews rejected Him. Without it, I would not have salvation offered to me. I am not saying that I am happy that Jesus had to suffer, but I am thankful that He chose to suffer for me.

I am sorry if I went a little long on this. Once again, I am not trying to attack you. I just wanted to present my case to your statements. Would please respond to these statements. If you have any evidence or reference points to your arguments that I could see, would you please let me know. Thanks for your time, and again, I look forward to hearing from you.

Response to JOHN #003:

JOHN: “The problem is that no one is moral in God’s eyes. We are all immoral to God, including myself and all Christians.”

I agree that theologically speaking, from a Pauline view anyway, everyone is “immoral”. However, I think the word immoral may be the incorrect word to use in this case. Paul was clear about peccatum originale (Original Sin) and how that was transferred to everyone after Adam blew it (even though there is no mention of it in Genesis). What Paul was trying to say was that we are all damned and not really “immoral” in the sense of the word that we know it.

When I hear the statement that all atheists are immoral, it never has anything to do with being immoral in God’s eyes. The statement is usually made to the effect, “How can you be moral if you don’t have a higher power to answer to?”

My answer can be simple or long-winded. I’ll give you the simple version first and see where it goes from there.

When someone does something good because “God is watching” they are not making a moral decision. They are doing something for a reward or to avoid punishment. When an atheist does something good it is because they want to. That doesn’t mean ulterior motives don’t exist, but what is more moral: doing it because you’re told to, want a reward, or afraid of punishment or doing it because it is the right thing to do?

JOHN: “The problem is that sometimes us theists forget to make these statements about ourselves. We are all in the same boat together. We are all sinners.”

The problem is that such doctrine did not exist until Paul distorted the story in Genesis and fabricated peccatum originale (Original Sin). Even St. Augustine had a hard time figuring out how to reconcile Paul’s “out there” interpretations with soul transference and the behavior of man.

Read the book of Genesis again (closely this time). Where is the apple? Where is Satan? Where does it say Satan is the serpent? Where is “Original Sin”? They are not there.

Original Sin was born as a way to justify the death of Jesus on the cross. Without Original Sin, then Jesus died for naught. I honestly think that may be why there is such a resistance to the theory of evolution – because it nulls and voids the story of Adam & Eve and therefore the misguided doctrine of Original Sin.

JOHN: “However, people make this argument because of what Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not for Me is against Me and he who does not gather with Me scatters.””

I know exactly where the argument comes from. The problem that I see is that the most Christians are “Cafeteria Christians”. They pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to believe and ignore the rest. If everyone believed everything in the Bible and tried to live by it then most would be committed to an insane asylum within months.

When Christians use this verse in Matthew they are only looking for a means to justify their own personal beliefs. Jesus did not say that non-believers were in league with Satan. You can be “for” Jesus without recognizing his metaphysical state. Personally, I embrace much of the ethic of Jesus (even though it is borrowed from Eastern religions and therefore more fair to say that I embrace the ethic of Buddha) but I do not recognize the metaphysical (the Christ over the Jesus (Yeshua)). In this manner I am “for” Jesus and not against him. Jesus didn’t say that you had to believe he was the Son of God (which in correct Hebrew translation really means “god-like”) or that he died for our sins. Those were the words of Paul…

Islam recognized Jesus as a great prophet (they call him Saint Issa) and embraces his ethic. Therefore, Muslims are “for” Jesus and not against him. Even Jews recognize that Jesus was a teacher (even if he did distort the law).

JOHN: “His side and the other, Satan’s side. I am not calling you a Satanist, but Jesus said if you are not serving Him, you are serving Satan.”

He said that directly? Or are you interpreting “for” and “against” as God v. Satan?

What’s really funny about the whole thing is that Satan as a nemesis of God doesn’t exist until Paul (Paul screwed up a lot, didn’t he?). Satan was an envoy of God, an employee if you will, that carried out the will of God. Satan only appears three times in the OT and in each case he is carrying out God’s orders. He is not against God nor is he a fallen angel (where did that come from?).

When a Christian says that I’m a Satanist it clearly shows their lack of knowledge about the history of Christianity and knowledge about the very faith they profess. The Christian has more in common with the Satanist than an atheist. There are only two groups of people that have made Satan a God that is equal in strength to Yahweh… Christians and Satanists. Ironic, huh?

JOHN: “I realize that I was serving Satan even though I did not know it.”

How were you serving him? If you follow the true origins of Satan then followers of Satan are doing God’s work. If you follow the Pauline origin of Satan then you must have been doing some really bad things. Were you a murderer, child molester, rapist, or were you sacrificing babies on the altar of fire?

JOHN: “However, God’s revelation in nature was never intended to tell us much about Him.”

I disagree. The inventor of Judaism (the Jewish Mystics) clearly thought that Creation identified their God. The bases of many theological thoughts about God are founded in the account in Genesis. Omnipotence, the need to “rest”, and others are all sourced from Genesis.

JOHN: “In turn this points us to His other revelation, the Bible. This is where we find out who the “Painter” is. His signature is all over it.”

What about other revelations in other sacred texts? There are many that pre-date the Bible. Also, which God in Genesis created the universe? Genesis clearly identifies more than one God in the creation process. Perhaps it was Zeus, after all…

JOHN: “I don’t want to believe without evidence. Yes there is faith, but there is also reasoning.”

What evidence is there that God exists? The Bible? How many other texts out there make the same claims about other gods? How do you know you have the right one?

Nature (as you already discussed)? What if it was Allah, Zeus, Zoroaster, or Mithra? Sounds like more faith than reasoning to me.

JOHN: “I am not afraid of having my beliefs challenged.”

That makes you unique. Many Christians (certainly not all) are afraid to learn the history and origins of their faith. It was my pursuit of such knowledge that led me to atheism in the first place. It was actually reading the Bible (instead of listening to it at church) that led me to atheism.

JOHN: “If someone ever successfully proved Christianity false, I would really have to consider my beliefs, but at this point I find no such evidence.”

Christianity proves itself false in its doctrines, dogma, contradictions, theological fallacies, and inconsistencies. Christianity proves itself false by making claims that cannot be proven and insisting on claims that have been proven to be false (such as the global flood).

When most theists begin questioning they go through a denial and faith justification stage. Although they see evidence against their religious claims, they don’t really SEE it. There is faith justification that prevents the evidence from being seen as it truly should be. Creationism is the biggest example of that I can think of in our modern times. In past history one only need look at Geocentrism, Flat Earth, and others.

JOHN: “This was going on during the time of the apostles and the Council of Nicea, and it is still going on today.”

Granted. That is why there are over 35,000 sects of Christianity today. Each disagreeing with the other 34,999 sects. You would think that such a seemingly important message would be more clear-cut…

JOHN: “There will forever be people who teach false things.”

Of course the issue then becomes… how do you know? What if David Koresh was right and he was the Second Coming? Her certainly went out in a way similar to that described in Revelation. :-)

JOHN: “These gospel writers do not disagree with each other. They simply report things from different perspective.”

Apologetics and faith justification at its finest! Bravo!

Okay, seriously… this argument of perspective v. contradictions is a major apologetic because theologians cannot get around the MAJOR contradictions. We’re not talking about whether the temperature was 50 or 55 degrees, whether it was partly cloudy or partly sunny, or even whether the time of day was noon or evening. We are talking about major contradictions.

If the gospel writers were aware of Jesus and worked with him (as you have proclaimed) then their knowledge of details should have been more acute.

For example, let’s look at the different accounts of the Resurrection story and ask yourself (and try to answer) the following questions (from Dan Barker’s article, “Leave No Stone Unturned”):

  • Who were the women that visited the tomb?
  • What time did the women visit the tomb?
  • Was the tomb open when the women arrived?
  • What was the purpose of the women visiting the tomb?
  • Who was at the tomb when the women arrived?
  • Where were the messengers at when the women arrived at the tomb?
  • What did the messengers say to the women?
  • Did the women tell anyone what happened?
  • When did Mary first see Jesus after the resurrection?
  • Could Jesus be touched after the resurrection?
  • After the women at the tomb, whom did Jesus first appear to?
  • Where did Jesus first appear to the disciples?
  • What happened during that appearance?
  • Did the disciples believe the two men?
  • Did Jesus stay on Earth for a while?
  • Where did Jesus ascend to Heaven?

JOHN: “Matthew wrote for the Jews. Mark wrote for the Romans and gentiles. Luke wrote to a general audience with the most detailed account. And John wrote to gentiles…”

That’s the whole point. Each of them wrote under a different social and cultural context. Each one had to make Jesus believable to their audience. This was done through adding saying that were never said, re-wording statements, and making things up to be convincing based on that culture. For example, almost every religion at the time had “healers” and it was not uncommon to find healer “offices” throughout the Roman Empire and especially in Rome itself. Talking to Romans about Jesus would have been unimpressive if he hadn’t been a “healer”. Did Paul make the healings up? That is certainly possible given the daunting task that Paul set himself upon.

JOHN: “When you say Jesus’ betrayer is named Judas, are you saying that Judas means “Jew?” If so, I have never heard that, but I do find it very interesting.”

That is correct. Judas literally means “Jew”. Coincidence or creative writing? My reasoning tells me that the gospel writers should have submitted the gospels to a creative writing contest and not a historical documentary.

JOHN: “It also doesn’t surprise me that a Jew betrayed Him. After all, the Jews rejected Him. This was part of God’s plan of salvation.”

Okay, for argument’s sake, let’s pretend this actually happened. (Okay… I’ll pretend it actually happened and you stay as you are.)

I’m still trying to figure out (some) Christians despise Jews so much for “killing Christ”. If it was part of God’s plan and the death of Jesus (as the Christ) was necessary in order to forgive the “Original Sin”, then should Christianity embrace Jews and Judaism for fulfilling the prophecy? The Jews were supposed to reject him. They had no choice. It was God’s plan… his plan of salvation.

Okay, back to reality… :-)

JOHN: “Because the Jews rejected Christ, salvation is offered to the gentiles (that is you and me).”

Let me get this straight. Jesus and others warn of “false prophets”. The Jews think Jesus is a false prophet (they are doing what they’ve been told by God in the OT) and because they reject Jesus as such, are passed over as the “chosen” and now the Gentiles are the “chosen people”. So the Jews are being persecuted for doing what God told them to do in the first place? Okay, I guess that sounds right.

Of course Jesus was helping the Gentiles before the Jews rejected him…

JOHN: “…because of their transgression, salvation has come to the gentiles to make Israel envious.”

Of course the Jews never have been and never will be jealous or envious. They still see Jesus as a teacher and self-proclaimed (read false) prophet.

JOHN: “Frankly, I am glad that the Jews rejected Him. Without it, I would not have salvation offered to me.”

Thank you! I have finally met a Christian that is honest enough to say this! Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

Do you know how hard it can be to get Christians to admit that? I usually receive negative remarks about Jews when it comes to Jesus-talk. As I said before, you are truly unique.

JOHN: “If you have any evidence or reference points to your arguments that I could see, would you please let me know.”

First, here are some links you might be interested in:

Second, here are some recommended books:

That should keep you busy for a while, huh? :-)

Of course neither of those lists are comprehensive and are just “for starters”.

John Rebuttal #004:

You said that you agree that we are all “immoral” from the Pauline view, but that this was not exactly what he implied. Yes, Paul did believe that all men were damned because of the Original Sin, but he also taught that man is immoral by his own sinful acts as well. The idea of Original Sin didn’t just begin with Paul either. This is the teaching found throughout the whole Bible. I understand that there is nowhere that this is clearly stated, but you can see this applied in the fact that after Adam sinned ALL men began to offer sacrifices. All men were born sinners. Adam was the only perfect man ever made, but he screwed it up and the whole race has continued in his sin ever since. Adam and Eve were both sinful. Two sinful people could not have produced a perfect seed, only a sinful seed. David realized this when he wrote “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me,” in Psalm 51:5. He knew just like the other writers of scripture from the Bible that He was sinful from birth because all men are under the curse of the Original Sin.

BLAIR: “Original Sin was born as a way to justify the death of Jesus on the cross.”

This is actually backwards. Jesus’ death on the cross was a way to justify sinners guilty of Original Sin and our own sin. God’s plan to crucify Jesus has been set since before the creation of the world. Man did not need to find a way to justify Jesus’ death. It happened the way God intended it. You can see this throughout scripture. I will give you a few examples.

  • His forsaken cry Prophecy: Psalm 22:1 Fulfillment: Matthew 27:46
  • Ridiculed by men Prophecy: Psalm 22:7-8 Fulfillment: Matthew 27:39,43
  • Crucifixion Prophecy: Psalm 22:14 Fulfillment: Matthew 27:27-50, Mark 15:16-39, Luke 23:26-46, John 19:17-30
  • Would thirst at time of death Prophecy: Psalm 22:15 Fulfillment: Matthew 27:18, Mark 15:36, John 19:28-29
  • Hands and feet would be pierced Prophecy: Psalm 22:16 Fulfillment: John 20:25
  • None of His bones would be broken Prophecy: Psalm 22:17 Fulfillment: John 19:33-36
  • Soldiers would gamble for clothing Prophecy: Psalm 22:18 Fulfillment: John 19:24
  • Resurrection Prophecy: Psalm 22:22 Fulfillment: Matthew 28:6
  • No beauty or majesty Prophecy: Isaiah 53:2 Fulfillment: 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24
  • Rejected by His own people Prophecy: Isaiah 53:3 Fulfillment: John 7:5, John 7:48
  • Took on the sins of the world Prophecy: Isaiah 53:4 Fulfillment: Matthew 2:6
  • Scourging and pierced Prophecy: Isaiah 53:5 Fulfillment: John 19:1,18,37
  • Silent before accusers Prophecy: Isaiah 53:7 Fulfillment: Matthew 27:12-19, Mark 14:60-61
  • Death Prophecy: Isaiah 53:8 Fulfillment: Luke 23:46
  • Buried in rich man’s tomb Prophecy: Isaiah 53:9 Fulfillment: Matthew 27:57-60
  • Crucified between thieves Prophecy: Isaiah 53:9 Fulfillment: Matthew 27:38
  • Resurrection Prophecy: Isaiah 53:9 Fulfillment: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
  • Bore the sins of the world Prophecy: Isaiah 53:11-12 Fulfillment: Matthew 2:6,27:46
  • He will be exalted because of obedience Prophecy: Isaiah 53:11-12 Fulfillment: Philippians 2:6-11
  • His side pierced Prophecy: Zechariah 12:10 Fulfillment: John 19:34

I apologize if I went a little long on this. I just wanted to give you a fair amount of evidence to show you that God planned Jesus’ death from the beginning. The list that I gave you is just the beginning. The Bible is full of many more prophecies about His life and death.

BLAIR: “How can you be moral if you don’t have a higher power to answer to?”

Would you agree that we all have a sense of what is moral whether or not we believe in God? I think we both notice when someone has wronged us or someone commits a horrible crime. We know when something is wrong. God has given every man sense of right and wrong. He has written His laws on our hearts. Granted some people distort this (this is also explain in the Bible), but for the most part all men can know what is moral and what is immoral. Whether you believe in God or not, you can still be moral or immoral. Some men may appear to be moral when compared to other men, but all are immoral when compared to God. I think this is a problem that many Christians make in judging you as immoral. If they are comparing you to themselves and calling you immoral, they are judging you improperly and guilty of sin. However, if they are comparing you to God’s standards and placing themselves in the same category when calling you immoral, then their analysis is justified. Christians aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. After all, we are still sinners. We do not have the right to judge you, but we do have the obligation to show you your need for salvation from your sins.

BLAIR: “…what is more moral: doing it because you’re told to, want a reward, or afraid of punishment or doing it because it is the right thing to do?”

I’m not sure if you understand why Christians seek to do good works (if we can even call them that–no one actually has ANY good works in God’s eyes). It is not for a reward or because we seek to avoid punishment. It is completely out of gratitude for being saved from our sins. God chooses to save man by His grace. Salvation is a free gift that cannot be earned or merited. I know that I do not deserve to be saved from my sins, but I do know that God has given me a gift in my salvation. Out of sheer gratitude, I seek to serve Him. I know that my good deeds aren’t going to get me anything. In fact, they sometimes cost me in this life. My good works are out of love and appreciation to my Savior, Jesus Christ.

BLAIR: “Jesus did not say that non-believers were in league with Satan. You can be “for” Jesus without recognizing his metaphysical state.”

This is a mistake that most of the world makes. You are not saved by simply believing Jesus’ teachings. You are saved by believing He was who He said He was and giving your life to Him. There are many people who embrace His teaching, but not Him. Jesus Himself tells us that on Judgment Day there will be many who claimed to have done things in His name, but that He will send them away telling them that He never knew them.

The problems with accepting Jesus as prophet as you say the Muslims do or as a great moral teacher as the Jews and Buddhists do (and apparently as you do) is that this is an impossible scenario. Jesus did not leave us any room to accept Him as a prophet of God or as a simple moral teacher. Basically, you have three options in believing in Jesus. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. There is no middle ground. It doesn’t matter how many great things Jesus taught, if he was wrong about being the Son of God. If He lied or was insane when claiming this, then he is not a great moral teacher and definitely not a prophet of God.

The very character of Christ argues persuasively against His being a liar. He spoke of truth and virtue on every occasion. His life exemplified the very message He proclaimed. In fact, very few people will make this claim. The evidence is weighted heavily in favor of Christ being a paragon of truth and virtue rather than a liar. The consistent life and testimony of Christ make it clear as well that He was not a lunatic. A lunatic displays abnormalities and imbalance as part of his lifestyle. You may know some people like this. When we analyze the life of Christ we do not find inconsistencies and imbalance. To the contrary, we discover a man who is mentally sound and balanced. If Christ is neither a liar nor a lunatic, then He is who He claimed to be- Lord of all, the only way by which man can be saved. The objective data for the truth of Christianity comes from two sources- the Bible and the legal history of the Resurrection. When I say legal-history of the Resurrection, I mean the fact that no one ever disproved it. All someone ever had to do to disprove the Resurrection was produce a body. No one ever did. Cleary, the evidence points me to the fact that Jesus is Lord.

BLAIR: “Jesus didn’t say that you had to believe he was the Son of God (which in correct Hebrew translation really means “god-like”) or that he died for our sins.”

Jesus did say “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but through me” in John 14:6. He also said in John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” and in John 8:24 “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” Jesus did claim to be the Son of God. In Hebrew culture, when a person described Himself as the son of someone, he was stating that he is in the order of that person. This is equivalent to making yourself equal with that person. This is what Jesus did.

Christ supported His case for deity by ascribing to himself various attributes of God. He claimed to be eternal (John 17:5) and omniscient (Matt. 18:20, 28:20). He also spoke of His sinless ness (John 8:46). His indirect claims included His acceptance of worship by men (Matt. 14:33, John 9:35-39, 20:27-29), His ability to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-11, Luke 7:48-50), and His claim that all men would face Him in judgment (John 5:24-28).

Christ clearly claimed to be the only way and His apostles affirmed this in their writings. Skeptics speculate that Christ could not have meant what the apostles understood Him to say. It is important that we understand that not only did his disciples hear him proclaim His exclusiveness and deity, but so did the critics of His day. Frequently when He made these dramatic claims, the Jews accused Him of blasphemy. In fact, this is what led to His crucifixion. The people who had Him crucified clearly understood what He was teaching. They correctly understood the implications of what He was saying, realizing that He was making himself to be an equal with God. Both His friends and His enemies recognized that He was claiming to be and God and the sole means to God.

BLAIR: “What’s really funny about the whole thing is that Satan as a nemesis of God doesn’t exist until Paul (Paul screwed up a lot, didn’t he?). Satan was an envoy of God, an employee if you will, that carried out the will of God. Satan only appears three times in the OT and in each case he is carrying out God’s orders. He is not against God nor is he a fallen angel (where did that come from?).”

Satan is seen throughout scripture, and He is not seen as doing God’s will. He also wasn’t invented by Paul. Much of the time we do not recognize things as Satan, but we can see his influence. One major example of Satan in the OT is seen in the book of Job. This book is believed to be the oldest in the Bible. Satan is seen as roaming around the earth looking for trouble. He ASKS God if He can do things against Job. God allows it, but this is in no way God’s will.

The fall of Satan is seen in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. These are both prophecies about the fall of men, but like much of scripture we see prophecies revealed about other things. In both passages we see the fall of Satan from his position as an angel to the being that we no him as today. These passages parallel the passages seen in Revelation.

BLAIR: “If you follow the true origins of Satan then followers of Satan are doing God’s work.”

What are the true origins of Satan? I have a tendency to follow the origins God has given in His written Word. After all, I figure He would know best. When we look at things in this light, nothing that followers of Satan do is glorifying to God. When I say that I was following Satan, I was doing things that were not glorifying to God. I did not physically commit some of the things that Paul mentions, but I did in my mind. Jesus tells us that if we even think a bad thought against our brother, we are guilty of murder. If we even look at a woman the wrong way, we are guilty of adultery. I have done all of these things. I am guilty of them all. This is why I am so thankful for God’s grace.

BLAIR: “Genesis clearly identifies more than one God in the creation process.”

Here is our first glimpse at the Trinity. We see clearly one God who is the creator, but we see all three personal manifestations in the creation account. This is a hard concept to understand, but it is the clear teaching of the Bible. There is only one God. He manifests Himself in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

BLAIR: “What evidence is there that God exists? The Bible? How many other texts out there make the same claims about other gods? How do you know you have the right one?”

I have already explained that the evidence for the existence of God is seen in creation and the prophetic evidence of the Bible. No other religion that I have investigated can measure up to the internal evidence of the Bible. What evidence is there that God does not exist? What evidence is there that the Bible is not true?

BLAIR: “Many Christians (certainly not all) are afraid to learn the history and origins of their faith. It was my pursuit of such knowledge that led me to atheism in the first place. It was actually reading the Bible (instead of listening to it at church) that led me to atheism.”

There are many cases of people setting out to disprove Christianity that end up becoming Christians. Look at C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell. I guess it all depends on what evidence you are looking at or possibly biased to.

BLAIR: “What if David Koresh was right and he was the Second Coming? Her certainly went out in a way similar to that described in Revelation.”

The problem with David Koresh and many other is that they have not come in the manner that the Bible prophecies about. The Bible clearly identifies many signs that will occur before He comes back and that He will come down in the same manner that He ascended to heaven for all men to see. Also, the way David Koresh went out is the way that Satan is talked about going out in Revelation. Jesus never goes out. He reigns forever. This is what Revelation teaches us.

BLAIR: “This argument of perspective v. contradictions is a major apologetic because theologians cannot get around the MAJOR contradictions.”

This argument of contradictions is not valid. I will agree that there are many things that people mention as contradictions, but when investigated these are seen as different perspectives of the same story. Yes, some accounts do not give the same information. Yes, some accounts mention some people that other accounts do not. But no, these do not contradict. I realize that we will probably not agree on this. You think that I am refusing to accept your evidence. I think that you will not consider different perspectives. But I can assure you that every “contradiction” that you claim exists has an explanation. I would be glad to discuss these on a case by case basis with you if you like.

BLAIR: “Judas literally means “Jew”. Coincidence or creative writing? My reasoning tells me that the gospel writers should have submitted the gospels to a creative writing contest and not a historical documentary.”

It’s no that the Jews came up with this. God orchestrated all of this. You will see the meaning of names coming in to play throughout the entire Bible. This is not the only case in the Bible. God chose these people with these names to carry out His will time and time again. The names of the people have been symbolic in the role they played in God’s overall plan.

BLAIR: “Jesus and others warn of “false prophets”. The Jews think Jesus is a false prophet (they are doing what they’ve been told by God in the OT) and because they reject Jesus as such, are passed over as the “chosen” and now the Gentiles are the “chosen people”. So the Jews are being persecuted for doing what God told them to do in the first place?”

The problem with this argument is that Jesus was not a false prophet. He never made a false prophecy and in Him all prophecies were fulfilled. They are also still God’s chosen people. However, the OT teaches that in the last days (which began with the resurrection of Jesus) that God’s people will include the Gentiles. This is why today we see some Jews and some Gentiles saved just like in the time of Jesus and the apostles.

I would also like to clear up something. I am thankful that the Jews rejected Christ so that salvation was offered to me. I am not thankful to see any of the Jews being punished in hell. I do not wish that on anyone. But I am thankful that God’s plan was carried out just as he prophesied about. This is another step in confirming the truth of what I believe.

I did not respond back to John because of email address problems. I posted the email problems on the original debate page and asked John to get in touch with me. He did, but not because of my note: he thought I was ignoring him.

John Rebuttal #004 (Continued):

You haven’t responded to my last posting. What are your views on the many prophecies that I list concerning Jesus Christ? I realize that you will have a hard time accepting the Bible as God’s Word considering you do not believe in God, but you will have to consider the fact that the prophecies that were written in the Bible were written between 400 and 1500 years before Jesus was born. What are the chances of someone fulfilling all of these?

I do have another point that I would I would like for you to consider. Atheism claims that there is no God. This cannot be proven anymore than you can prove that God exists. The problem with atheism is that it is not a valid option. In order for atheism to be valid in claiming that there is no God, you would had to have seen all of the evidence in the universe. The only way to know for 100% sure that God does not exist is to see all the evidence. No one has done this. It most likely will never be done. The universe is too vast. Therefore, no one can claim that they know that God does not exist. You have to admit the possiblity that God DOES exist. Atheism has to accept that God does not exist based on faith. If there is the possibility that God exists, then you must consider the consequences of not believing in Him if He does exist. Have you considered the consequences of not believing in God if He does exist?

Let me know what you think. It’s good to open up this conversation again. Sorry that it has bee so long in the making. I have moved to a new state, started a new job, and had my first child (my wife actually had the baby). Look forward to hearing from you soon.

NOTE: I forgot all about this debate as new ones came in and I moved on to other things. At this point, there is no reason to respond to John, so he gets the last word.

Debate 004: Don and Blair debate Christian issues

Don Rebuttal #001

I have not visited your website and probably wont. I’m not being mean, I just have no interests in learning about your views on atheism.

I have only one small statement & a question. I have hope. What exactly does your eternal future hold? When you close your eyes for the last time here on this earth and, say for the sake of argument, you realize that now you can again open your eyes. What do you think will be running through your head as to what you will see?

I guess you have more faith than I do. I only say that because to believe in nothing takes more faith than to believe in something. That may not make sense to you, but I know what I mean.

Response to Don #001

Why do you have no interest in learning about atheistic views? What are your preconceived ideas about atheism?

When you ask “What exactly does your eternal future hold?” you make an assumption that our futures are eternal. They are not. We die – and it’s over. We become worm fodder. I would ask you why do you feel the need to believe in an eternal future – do you fear death and this faith and belief make the fear of death more bearable?

Why do you think I have more faith than you do? I have no faith at all. I KNOW that death is final – there is no eternal after life. It takes no faith to say that whatsoever. You are correct that your statement makes absolutely no sense to me at all. What is your basis to make a statement such as that?

Don Rebuttal #002

The reason that I have no interest in atheism is easy for me to answer. Let me first preface this by saying that I am curious as to how a person can logically choose to be an atheist.

The difference in you and I is that even when you are taking your finale breath to become “worm fodder” you could still accept Christ and have eternal life. That is, of course, if it’s sincere. I, on the other hand, could never become an atheist. Not that I’m better or worse as a person than you are, but the fact is that I have a personal relationship with Christ.

There is nothing that could ever happen to me or my family that would ever cause me to lose my faith in Him. I do have many tough times, but it’s because of God’s strength that I make it from day to day. I personally believe that it takes a very arrogant person to think that all we accomplish in our very brief time on earth is of our own doing. ” Self made man”.

I am not a scholar. I’m not an intellect. I make a lot of decisions from my heart and a little common sense. “Everything I am is because of God. Everything I am not is because of me.”

Have you ever witnessed the birth of a child, or even an animal?
Have you ever looked closely at the human body at work?
Even Darwin couldn’t completely convince himself that everything is by chance.
Have you ever seen a bird in flight?
Have you ever seen a giant redwood?
Can you honestly tell me that all of these things are here purely by accident?
We tell time by the stars. This is chance?

Please forgive me if I’m not correct, but didn’t I read that you believe that Christ existed but not as Deity. How did you come to that conclusion? Do you deny the eyewitness accounts of the miracles? Do you deny the hundreds that saw Him after He had risen from the dead? The Bible is being proven every day to be historically correct. Do you follow any of the archeological work in the Middle East?

Not everything must be proven to be real. Would you agree?
Can you see the air we breathe?
Can you touch the light of day?
Can you grab a handful of love and never let it slip out of your grip?
I believe in air, light and love, even though I can’t see them.
I also believe in gravity. I have yet to see it though.
I believe in God because I feel His love.
I also feel His displeasure when I do things that don’t please Him.
I do that more often than I like. I’m getting much better though.
Will I ever be perfect?
Wouldn’t ever think I could be.

Please let me say in closing that as for topic on pushy Christians, yes there are pushy people everywhere. They may be pushing the Bible or they may be pushing profanity. What comes out of your mouth is what is overflowing from your heart. I, personally, try to do as Jesus did. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”. Jesus never tries to bust down anyone’s door. If you choose to open the door then it’s your choice. Jesus was a true gentleman. He was harsher with “believers” than with the “sinners”. Believers are supposed to know the truth, sinners need to be shown the way and loved.

When I take my last breath I’ll go out with HOPE. How sad it is for those with NO hope. Are you really happy believing that this is all there is? Even if I did end up as “worm fodder” at least my life was filled with the hope of a promise.

Thanks for taking the time to respond and to read my ramblings. I’m only knocking. Not barging in.

Response to Don #002

DON: “Let me first preface this by saying that I am curious as to how a person can logically choose to be an atheist.”

I can logically choose atheism because to choose theism is irrational and illogical. I fail to see, especially in this modern day and age, how anyone can still believe in a God. But I also understand the emotional and psychological needs for a deity and why the mythology perpetuates – even after the death of so many other Gods in the past. Remember that Judaism and Christianity are very young religions, infants if you will, in the grand picture of theistic views.

DON: “The difference in you and I is that even when you are taking your finale breath to become “worm fodder” you could still accept Christ and have eternal life. That is, of course, if it’s sincere. I, on the other hand, could never become an atheist.”

Yes… I could still accept Jesus Christ on my deathbed. But why would I? There is no rational or logical reason to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Nor is there any reason to believe that Jesus ever existed in the first place. Why do you think the Jews do not believe that Jesus is the messiah? Do you know what their reasoning is?

DON: “Not that I’m better or worse as a person than you are, but the fact is that I have a personal relationship with Christ. There is nothing that could ever happen to me or my family that would ever cause me to lose my faith in Him.”

Define “personal relationship with Christ”. Can you expand on that a bit. If you don’t mind, that is. If you are strong in your convictions of faith – then more power to you. Atheism is not about converting people. Keep your faith. If you ask questions, I will answer them. People come to atheism on their own time – there is no atheistic crusade to convert people. Atheists are atheists because they want to be – not because they are afraid of burning in hell if the don’t believe.

DON: “I do have many tough times, but it’s because of God’s strength that I make it from day to day. I personally believe that it takes a very arrogant person to think that all we accomplish in our very brief time on earth is of our own doing. ” Self made man”.”

So you do not give yourself credit when you accomplish something? In your view, I guess I am arrogant. God has no hand whatsoever in my accomplishments. God didn’t bust his butt getting my job – I did. God doesn’t bust his butt everyday raising my kids – I do. Why do you deny yourself the credit of self-accomplishment and give the credit to someone whom you can’t even prove exists and rely solely on faith? I am that self-made man that you speak of. If you want to call that arrogant – that’s okay with me. In my view that is not arrogance – that is determination and persistence – and acknowledging your accomplishments and achievements.

DON: “I am not a scholar. I’m not an intellect. I make a lot of decisions from my heart and a little common sense. “Everything I am is because of God. Everything I am not is because of me.”

I have to admit that sounds so depressing. Everything you are not is because of you? How sad it must be to think that all your faults are yours and all your talents are God’s. To only relish your faults as yours and to not embrace your accomplishments is, well, to be honest, pathetic sounding.

DON: “Have you ever witnessed the birth of a child, or even an animal?”

Yes. I even delivered a baby once in a parking lot. And I worked at a hospital for four years. Point?

DON: “Have you ever looked closely at the human body at work?”

Yes. I’ve taken Advanced Biology and Human Anatomy as well as worked at a hospital for four years. Point?

DON: “Even Darwin couldn’t completely convince himself that everything is by chance.”

Really? I guess he fooled everyone else. In his wife’s memoirs the Catholic Church had asked her if Darwin had recanted his atheism on his deathbed and accepted God and Christ. Her answer; an emphatic no.

DON: “Have you ever seen a bird in flight?”

Umm… yes. Point?

DON: “Have you ever seen a giant redwood?”

Yes… I lived in California for several years.

DON: “Can you honestly tell me that all of these things are here purely by accident?”

Accident? No. Evolution is not an accident – it’s a process. Change the word accident to evolution and the answer is yes. Can you honestly tell me that all of these things were invented by an invisible man, with supernatural powers, who dominates mankind by scaring him into thinking that if they don’t worship him they will burn in hell, who sacrificed his own son to prove a point, killed millions of people in a global flood, put dinosaur fossils in the ground to test your faith, made the entire universe but only created life on one planet, answers prayers, kills the firstborn of any King that pisses him off, kills children for teasing a bald man, destroys entire cities, sanctions murder, sanctions rape, sanctions pedophilia, sanctions other heinous crimes, and oh yeah… he loves you, too.

DON: “We tell time by the stars. This is chance?”

We tell time by A star – the Sun. Which happens to be the center of the Universe. Remember – the Christians thought the Sun and Moon revolved around the Earth for the longest time until someone had the nerve to stand up to the church. And what does telling time by a star, the stars, planets, galaxies, etc, have to do with God? How does telling time by “heavenly bodies” correlate to your belief in God?

DON: “Please forgive me if I’m not correct, but didn’t I read that you believe that Christ existed but not as Deity. How did you come to that conclusion?”

I said that IF Jesus existed he would have been just a man and not a deity. However, it is my personal opinion that Jesus never existed and is simple mythology.

DON: “Do you deny the eye witness accounts of the miracles? Do you deny the hundreds that saw Him after He had risen from the dead?”

Yes. Yes. What eyewitness accounts of the miracles? You mean the Bible? The Bible with so many contradictions, errors, and inconsistencies that you have no way of knowing what is true or what is false? The Bible that contradicts everything we know about the Earth, evolution, the universe, etc? The Bible is not an eyewitness account – it is just a book.

DON: “The Bible is being proven every day to be historically correct. Do you follow any of the archeological work in the Middle East?”

There are names of cities and some historical characters in the Bible that really existed – but that does not make the Bible historically correct. The book “Escape From New York” contains actual street names, historical characters, and scientific analysis of a post nuclear war environment. Does that mean it’s a historical document? Nope – just another book that happens to mention a few cities and names of people that actually existed. Yes – I keep up on the archeological digs in the Middle East. And NOTHING has come out that proves the Bible to be accurate. A lot of speculation such as, “this might be the city of whatever, as mentioned in the Bible” – but alas, no proof. And several “Biblical” cities have been shown to not be so Biblical after all when a parchment or engraving showed the name of the city was not what they thought it was.

DON: “Not everything must be proven to be real. Would you agree?”

Proven? Not necessarily – but it must be tangible. I can’t prove the sun is a “hydrogen bomb factory” – but I can see it with my own eyes and see the explosions from the nuclear furnace and read the infrared and gamma rays indicating that it is a “hydrogen bomb factory”.

DON: “Can you see the air we breathe?”

Yes. I can see the atoms under an electron microscope that compose the air. Oxygen, Hydrogen, Carbon Dioxide, etc – all have molecular structure that I can see under an electron microscope. Of course when I lived in California I could see the air every day! Can you see your God?

DON: “Can you touch the light of day?”

Touch it? No. But I can see it. I can also break it down into its spectrum. I can measure its bandwidth, speed, and refractive properties. I can feel light (laser beam) and manipulate light. Can you measure and manipulate your God?

DON: “Can you grab a handful of love and never let it slip out of your grip?”

No… can you? Love is an emotion and associated with dopamine. So I guess if I grabbed a handful of dopamine you could say I was grabbing a handful of love.

DON: “I believe in air, light and love, even though I can’t see them”.

You can see them – you just didn’t know it. Did you just accept that air was there without ever questioning it? Without ever verifying for yourself that air actually existed?

DON: “I also believe in gravity. I have yet to see it though.”

Are you standing on this Earth or are you floating around in space? If you standing on this Earth then you have seen gravity. Have you seen a ball fall to the ground? Then you have seen gravity. Have you ever gone on a swing and felt the pitch in your stomach? Then you have felt gravity. Have you ever gone on a Twirl-A-Whirl at an amusement park? Then you have felt gravity. The difference between gravity and God is that no matter what you believe – gravity still affects you. With God – no matter what you believe – God never affects you because he isn’t real.

DON: “I believe in God because I feel His love.”

How do you “feel” his love?

DON: “I also feel His displeasure when I do things that don’t please Him.”

Again.. how?

DON: “Will I ever be perfect? Wouldn’t ever think I could be.”

If you listen to your imaginary friend you will never be perfect because he says you’re a wasted life full of sin that deserves to burn in hell for all eternity.

DON: “Jesus never tries to bust down anyone’s door. If you choose to open the door then it’s your choice.”

I choose not to open the door – because no one is knocking at it. Why open the door if no one is knocking?

DON: “Jesus was a true gentleman. He was harsher with “believers” than with the “sinners”. Believers are supposed to know the truth, sinners need to be shown the way and loved.”

Why do they need to be “shown” the way? Why can’t Christians just leave well enough alone?

DON: “When I take my last breathe I’ll go out with HOPE. How sad it is for those with NO hope.”

When I take my last breath I will look back on my life and know that I accomplished great things and did it on my own – without the need for belief in an imaginary friend. How sad it is for those that refuse to give themselves credit and need false hopes to belay their fear of death.

DON: “Are you really happy believing that this is all there is?”

Absolutely. You?

DON: “Even if I did end up as “worm fodder” at least my life was filled with the hope of a promise.”

Ditto.

DON: “Thanks for taking the time to respond and to read my ramblings. I’m only knocking. Not barging in.”

I’m here for you. If you ever have any questions – please do not hesitate to ask.

Don Rebuttal #003

It’s obvious, to me, that you are much more educated than I am. I hope that you would somewhat agree that not all logical conclusions come from an abundance of education. Take for example a child with a video game. The reason that most children are, for the most part, superior to adults is that we try to reason our way through a game. Children tend to go on instincts and react accordingly. We clutter our heads with a lot of useless nonsense. Other times it is necessary to think more than react. If a racecar driver tried to analyze every single move then he would never finish a race the winner. They react for the most part. All this to say that you seem to be an intelligent person.

Let me start with the authenticity of the Bible. Do you believe that the books of the old testament are not correct? Do you believe that Moses was mythical? If he was not mythical, then who did Moses attribute his receiving the 10 commandments from? If you say he’s mythical then why do so many very different religions have a historical account of the exodus and his receiving of the commandments. Why was the book of Isaiah used so often, long before Christ? Have you ever heard of the secular historian Josephus? He lived before A.D. 100.

The Roman Tacitus (around A.D. 120), the Roman Suetonius (A.D. 110), and the Roman governor Pliny the Younger (A.D. 110) – confirm the many events, people, places and customs chronicled in the New Testament. Early church leaders such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, and Clement of Rome – all writing before A.D. 250 – also shed light on New Testament accuracy.

Josephus covered the following of Jesus and the crucifixion. Your assertion that Jesus didn’t even exist is a little hard for me to believe. Even the Muslims believe He lived. Just not as deity.

Over 100 prophesies in the Old Testament came true as to not only when Christ would be born, but where. This was all written long before Christ came to earth. It was actually prophesied to the exact day when He would be born.

After Christ was crucified, His followers had nothing to gain and everything to lose by continuing to preach about Jesus. Most were killed, some by horrendous methods.

Luke, who was a physician, says that he investigated everything before writing it down. Luke 1:1-3

In 2 Peter 1:16 Peter says ” We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye witnesses of His majesty.

These men have been proven to be true historical figures by the secular writers of their time.

Do you believe that it would be possible to love someone you have never met or even spoken to. Let’s say you had a grandparent who died of cancer. A very caring person took care of them, loved them, cried with them and buried them. That grandparent told this person how much you meant to them and after time that person loved you too. They loved you because you loved and were devoted to their friend. Now, after learning about this person and how much they loved your grandparent, you can’t help but have a love for that person for what they did.

I have a personal love relation with Christ because He died for me. Let me be a total pessimist and say that He wasn’t the Son of God. I would still love Him because HE thought He was the Son of God and that by dying for me that I could have eternal life in Heaven. Even if He wasn’t who He said He was (which I know He was) then I would love Him for his selfless sacrifice on my behalf.

I don’t think that I could do that for you (not that you are not important). I doubt that you would be crucified for me either.

You are correct in that Christianity is relatively new, but the God that I worship has been the same God worshipped since man was first put on this earth. Only other religious gods that died are still in the ground.

About Darwin. Please let me quote from The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,

DARWIN: “To suppose that the eye, with all it’s inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree possible.”

Darwin, by the way, was a racist.

DARWIN: “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world.”

Do you think Hitler followed Darwin. Not someone I would want to idolize. I’m sure that you are aware that Karl Marx was a great fan of Darwin.

If I may, please let me tell you of a few notable men I’m sure you’ve heard of and their beliefs:

Isaac Newton strongly defended the biblical account of creation. Louis Pasteur who along with pasteurization also utterly demolished the concept of spontaneous generation, was devoutly religious and strongly opposed Darwinian evolution. Dr. Henry Morris devoted a book to “men of science and men of God,” which includes intellects including Johannes Kepler (scientific astronomy), Francis Bacon (scientific method), Blaise Pascal (mathematician), Carolus Linnaeus (biological taxonomy), Gregor Mendel (genetics), Michael Faraday (electromagnetism), and Joseph Lister (antiseptic surgery). Albert Einstein, came to the conclusion that God did not create by chance, but rather that he worked according to planned, mathematical, telenomic, and therefore-to him-rational guidelines.

Think that everything is chance? James Coppedge writes,

COPPEDGE: “The probability of a single protein molecule being arranged by chance is 1 in 10 to the 161st power, using all atoms on earth and allowing all the time since the world began… For a minimum set of required 239 protein molecules for the smallest theoretical life, the probability is 1 in 10 to the 119,879th power. It would take 10 to the 119,841th power years on the average to get a set of such proteins. That is 10 to the 119,831 power times the assumed age of the earth and is a figure with 119,831 zeroes.”

Think about this, how many times would you have to throw the many pieces of a watch into the air before they would ever come down as a complete watch? Evolution says that if I had enough lifetimes, then it would possibly happen.

Another example. If I took all the letters in this email and mixed them all up and then threw them onto a table, how long would it be before it came out like I wrote it?

I believe that that is what you are saying about evolution. It could have never happened the way you say. We would be still trying to fit together the molecules and have them come together and actually form something. This is not to mention plants, various species of animals, water, air.

Speaking of air. You may have seen the products in a microscope. I’ll give you that one.

You can’t see light. You only see things illuminated by light. It’s the result of the light. I’m looking at a bright light bulb right now. I see that the bulb is glowing, but I can’t see the rays coming from the bulb.

You can’t see gravity. You only see the results of gravity.

I told you that I’m not perfect nor will I ever be. You said that my “imaginary friend” says that I will never be perfect because I’m a wasted life full of sin that deserves to burn in hell for all eternity. Partly true. I do deserve to burn in hell for eternity, but I wont. Christ paid that price for me already. He stamped my sentence as “PAID IN FULL”. All it cost me was the belief that He did die for me.(period) I no longer care to live like the world. Not because I’m afraid that I can lose my salvation, but it’s the life that makes me the happiest I’ve ever been.

I’m more free now than anytime in my life. I broke free of the chains that said that in order to be a good person then I had better work hard to please this person or that person. I am free to do those things now without hoping for a pat on the back from God. It’s not, accept me and then…do this. It’s just -accept me.

Do you require your children to earn your love or is it unconditional. I’m sure you’re like me and would say it’s unconditional. I love you because you’re my son/daughter(period).

I’ll be honest. There were times in my past when I said to myself, Is this all real or am I living a false hope? Beyond any shadow of a doubt, I believe it to be true. Have you ever (honestly now) wondered, what if it’s true?

I’m also curious. Have you always felt this way or did something happen in your life to turn you against God?

Response to Don #003

DON: “I hope that you would somewhat agree that not all logical conclusions come from an abundance of education.”

Somewhat, perhaps.

DON: “The reason that most children are, for the most part, superior to adults is that we try to reason our way through a game. Children tend to go on instincts and react accordingly.”

And what does eye-hand coordination have to do with logic? I can beat most kids on video games because I have exceptional eye-hand coordination. I beat video games in days – not weeks or months. And a lot of games require reasoning and logic skills. It is the senseless lack of logic and reasoning skills games that are helping in creating a society full of dummies and idiots. Perhaps if we forced our kids to play puzzles and thinking games instead of shoot and run games…

DON: “We clutter our heads with a lot of useless nonsense.”

Everything we learn is useful. Your line of reasoning is what the “bad” kids in school said about Algebra and Science.

DON: “If a racecar driver tried to analyze every single move then he would never finish a race the winner. They react for the most part.”

This “reaction” is based on experience and repetition. It’s based on experience and is often called “auto pilot” for lack of a better wording and understanding of the process. If you drive a car for a long time your brain starts to remember your thought out reactions and makes the decisions without you having to actually think about it. Like a police officer drawing his weapon at the sight of a gun. The police officer thought about it before – and the brain remembered. So the next time he didn’t have to “think” about it – because his brain did the thinking automatically. You analogy does not help your stance – it helps to defeat it. Have you even looked into the auto reactive processes and what causes them? If you had you would not have used that example.

DON: “Let me start with the authenticity of the Bible. Do you believe that the books of the Old Testament are not correct?”

I KNOW the books in the Old Testament are not correct. There are a few cities that actually exist – but that does not make it true, factual, or historical.

DON: “Do you believe that Moses was mythical?”

Moses may have been a real leader for the Hebrew people and probably used what’s called “divine right of authority” to rule over them. As far as miracles and talking to God – legend and folklore.

DON: “If he was not mythical, then who did Moses attribute his receiving the 10 commandments from?”

He claimed to receive them from God. If he had come down the mountain and said, “I have written these Commandments and you have to follow them” how many people do you think would have gone along? Because he said “God” had written them – people listened and he was given divine right of rule.

DON: “If you say he’s mythical then why do so many very different religions have a historical account of the exodus and his receiving of the commandments.”

How many religions have this account? Judaism has it because the Old Testament is a book about Judaism. Christianity has it because they stole the Old Testament from the Jews. Islam has it because Mohammed stole his idea for Islam from the Christians – and took many of their fables. What others are there? Denominations don’t count, by the way.

DON: “Why was the book of Isaiah used so often, long before Christ?”

Umm… because it was written long before Christ. You do realize that the book of Isaiah in your Bible is nothing like the book of Isaiah found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, don’t you? They are completely different. Now one of them is obviously forged… which one do you think it is?

DON: “Have you ever heard of the secular historian Josephus? He lived before A.D. 100.”

Yes. His books (all five) are great reads. It’s obvious you’ve heard of Josephus – but have you studied him? If you had you would realize that the remarks about Jesus in Josephus’ books are forgeries. Epherias added them in the fourth century. Ever wonder why Christians never mentioned Josephus’ writing until after Epherias got a hold of them? Josephus was a “hardliner” Jew and would have never said what is written in the book. The forgery becomes even more obvious upon examination of the translated texts.

DON: “The Roman Tacitus (around A.D. 120), the Roman Suetonius (A.D. 110), and the Roman governor Pliny the Younger (A.D. 110) – confirm the many events, people, places and customs chronicled in the New Testament.”

What they confirm is that Christians were around during their time and they heard the stories. They do not in any way confirm the Biblical accounts for the actual historicity of Jesus. Christian scholars altered the writings of Tacitus, as well.

DON: “Early church leaders such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, and Clement of Rome – all writing before A.D. 250 – also shed light on New Testament accuracy.”

All after the fact – which of course proves nothing. All were relaying stories they had heard and none of them had witnessed Christ himself. Not a single one of these people ever saw Christ in person.

DON: “Josephus covered the following of Jesus and the crucifixion.”

NOTE: The reference below to a quote from Josephus is false. I got the quote from a book that has been discredited and is no longer used as a source. My sincere apologies to anyone that has used this material. For factual and accurate information about Josephus and the Testimonium Flavianum, I suggest Frank Zindler’s book “The Jesus the Jews Never Knew.” Special thanks to “SK” for identifying the error in this old debate.

Yes… he wrote about Jesus based on the stories he had heard from Christians. Josephus also wrote, “Jesus, the supposed Christ, is repetitious upon the tongues of the meek and insincere.” Do you agree with that statement as much as you contend that Josephus actually wrote about Christ in a historical nature? Josephus’ remarks about Jesus were forged.

DON: “Your assertion that Jesus didn’t even exist is a little hard for me to believe. Even the Muslims believe He lived. Just not as deity.”

Of course it’s hard for you to believe – you have faith and misguided information from your church and church leaders. Do you honestly think they are going to tell you the bad stuff about your religion? The Muslims don’t “believe” he lived in the sense you mean. Mohammed mentioned Jesus because he was told about him by the Christians (remember – Mohammed stole the idea for Islam from the Christians he met). So because Mohammed mentioned Jesus – the Muslim people assume, incorrectly, that Mohammed knew Jesus. That of course is not possible since Jesus would have been dead and gone long before Mohammed was even born.

DON: “Over 100 prophesies in the Old Testament came true as to not only when Christ would be born, but where. This was all written long before Christ came to earth. It was actually prophesied to the exact day when He would be born.”

NO prophecies in the Bible have come true. Not a one. You can interpret and stretch verses to match events all you want – but that does not make them true. Show me just one prophecy (that fits the criteria of a prophecy) that has come true in the Bible.

DON: “After Christ was crucified; His followers had nothing to gain and everything to lose by continuing to preach about Jesus. Most were killed, some by horrendous methods.”

The followers of David Koresh had nothing to lose, either – and yet they continue to wait for their messiah’s return…

DON: “Luke, who was a physician, says that he investigated everything before writing it down. Luke 1:1-3”

As I said before the Bible is proof of nothing. Being a physician in those times didn’t make him an expert. It made him a witch doctor in a sense – a herbalist. Are you saying he had a degree in biology, anatomy, physiology, and physics?

DON: “In 2Peter 1:16 Peter says ” We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye witnesses of His majesty.”

Point? Peter can say whatever he wants “after the fact” it has no bearing whatsoever on the issue at hand. And, as stated before, the Bible is proof of nothing.

DON: “These men have been proven to be true historical figures by the secular writers of their time.”

They’ve been proven to exist? Really? Where is said proof? David Koresh is a historical figure, too – do you believe his writings? Just because one is a historical figure does not mean one is historically correct in their assertions or that they are not delusional.

DON: “Do you believe that it would be possible to love someone you have never met or even spoken to.”

No.

DON: “Let’s say you had a grandparent who died of cancer. A very caring person took care of them, loved them, cried with them and buried them. That grandparent told this person how much you meant to them and after time that person loved you too. They loved you because you loved and were devoted to their friend. Now, after learning about this person and how much they loved your grandparent, you can’t help but have a love for that person for what they did.”

What? If someone cared from my dying grandmother why would I love him or her? Appreciate their acts of kindness… sure. But love them? That makes no sense whatsoever.

DON: “I have a personal love relation with Christ because He died for me. Let me be a total pessimist and say that He wasn’t the Son of God. I would still love Him because HE thought He was the Son of God and that by dying for me that I could have eternal life in Heaven. Even if He wasn’t who He said He was (which I know He was) then I would love Him for his selfless sacrifice on my behalf.”

That explains why the followers of David Koresh still “love” him…

DON: “I don’t think that I could do that for you (not that you are not important). I doubt that you would be crucified for me either.”

Correct. Although I would sacrifice myself against you (well, your religion, anyway).

DON: “You are correct in that Christianity is relatively new, but the God that I worship has been the same God worshipped since man was first put on this earth. Only other religious gods that died are still in the ground.”

Really? So the Shamanistic Mother Earth, Father Sun, Sister Moon and Brothers Volcano and Earthquake were actually the Jewish God all wrapped up in one? And the pantheistic religions?

DON: “About Darwin. Please let me quote from The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,”

DARWIN: “To suppose that the eye, with all it’s inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree possible.”

Sure it seems absurd in the highest possible degree. That is what makes evolution so great – that we beat the odds. And as we have discovered – they eye is not so “perfect” after all. There are other species that have better eyes than us – and animals that have better features in they sight than us. Our eye is not the perfect model that creationists pretend it to be. Michael Behe was taught that lesson…

DON: “Darwin, by the way, was a racist.”

DARWIN: “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world.”

He was saying that about civilized races – not himself. How you got that he was a racist out of that is grotesque, at best. If I say, “the white race, at some time in the future, will probably rise up and exterminate the blacks” does that make me a racist? No… it makes me a futurist and analyst. Darwin understood that civilized races (of all colors) would seek dominance. His prediction has come true, by the way. How many “savage” (meaning non-civilized) races are left in the world today? (HINT: less than three but more than one)

DON: “Do you think Hitler followed Darwin. Not someone I would want to idolize. I’m sure that you are aware that Karl Marx was a great fan of Darwin.”

Trying to play the guilty by association card, huh? Did you know that communism embraces atheism? Gosh… I guess I better leave atheism so I’m not considered a communist. Better to believe in a god than be called a communist! Communism and Marxism embrace atheism because they know the dangers of religion and irrational behavior in a society. Just look at modern America and the damage the Fundies and other irrationalists are doing.

So let’s try putting the guilty by association on you, shall we? Hitler was a Christian. Jeffrey Dahmer killed because God told him to. David Koresh, the Christian Identity Movement, the KKK, the neo-Nazis, the Aryan Nation, GAG (God Against Gays), and other hate groups – all Christians.

God killed more people than Hitler did. God supposedly killed the entire planet because he was pissed off. And you think Hitler was bad? Hitler was a wussy compared to your God.

DON: “If I may, please let me tell you of a few notable men I’m sure you’ve heard of and their beliefs: Isaac Newton strongly defended the biblical account of creation.”

No… Isaac Newton believed in creation – not Creation. He believed that a god created the universe – but not in the creation account of the Bible. Where do you get your information? The church?

DON: “Louis Pasteur who along with pasteurization also utterly demolished the concept of spontaneous generation, was devoutly religious and strongly opposed Darwinian evolution.”

Guess I better convert to Christianity right away. The father of modern milk believed in Jesus. You’re forgetting something… notable men can believe whatever they want. President Clinton believes in God and Jesus, too – do you support him, even though he’s done all those things? Just because a figurehead or important person believes something doesn’t make it right – that is called being gullible and falling for commercialization. Why do you think big stars endorse products? Because people gullibly think that because Michael Jordan drinks Pepsi it must be better than Coke. NEWSFLASH: Try both out and see for yourself, which one tastes better.

DON: “Dr. Henry Morris devoted a book to “men of science and men of God,” which includes intellects including Johannes Kepler (scientific astronomy), Francis Bacon (scientific method), Blaise Pascal (mathematician), Carolus Linnaeus (biological taxonomy), Gregor Mendel (genetics), Michael Faraday (electromagnetism), and Joseph Lister (antiseptic surgery). Albert Einstein, “Came to the conclusion that God did not create by chance, but rather that he worked according to planned, mathematical, telenomic, and therefore-to him-rational guidelines.”

Read my last statement. Pascal was a complete idiot. Every last one of his “formulas” has been proven wrong… you might want to stop using him as a reference. Didn’t I already tell you why Einstein spoke in spiritual phraseology? Have you forgotten already? Einstein knew that most of the world was scientific idiots – but they were gullible theists. So in order to get his scientific theory across to the theistic idiots of the world – he spoke in a language they could understand – spirituality. And that decision to help spread scientific thought through an idiots language now backfires on him when people quote him as being religious when he was emphatically not so.

DON: “Think that everything is chance?”

Chance of what?

DON: “James Coppedge writes”

COPPEDGE: “The probability of a single protein molecule being arranged by chance is 1 in 10 to the 161st power, using all atoms on earth and allowing all the time since the world began… For a minimum set of required 239 protein molecules for the smallest theoretical life, the probability is 1 in 10 to the 119,879th power. It would take 10 to the 119,841th power years on the average to get a set of such proteins. That is 10 to the 119,831 power times the assumed age of the earth and is a figure with 119,831 zeroes.”

Just because something is astronomical doesn’t mean it can’t happen. And if it happened – guess it wasn’t so astronomical after all, was it? The odds of winning the lottery are about the same (slightly lower, of course) and people win it all the time. Odds do not mean something won’t happen – it just means it will take a little longer for it to happen. Coppedge’s mathematics have been shown to be wrong and completely biased. Perhaps you should visit Talk Origins and check out their FAQ. From there you can check out the flaws that Coppedge presents in his arguments. People like Coppedge write for people that do not know their information. His rant sounds incredibly intelligent to someone who has no idea what abiogenesis is. If someone sounds smart does that mean they are?

DON: “Think about this, how many times would you have to throw the many pieces of a watch into the air before they would ever come down as a complete watch?”

You really need to visit Talk Origins because your concept of evolution is completely out of whack.

DON: “Evolution says that if I had enough lifetimes, then it would possibly happen.”

That is not what evolution says. Visit the aforementioned website.

DON: “I believe that that is what you are saying about evolution. It could have never happened the way you say. We would be still trying to fit together the molecules and have them come together and actually form something. This is not to mention plants, various species of animals, water, air.”

Visit the aforementioned site. I do not have the time or patience to teach you basic evolutionary theory.

DON: “You can’t see light. You only see things illuminated by light. It’s the result of the light. I’m looking at a bright light bulb right now. I see that the bulb is glowing, but I can’t see the rays coming from the bulb.”

I can see light. Light waves are measurable and detectable. How do you think we were able to invent laser beams? We had to know how light traveled – so we had to see it. Light can be viewed in a vacuum and measured. Can you see, measure, and test your God?

DON: “You can’t see gravity. You only see the results of gravity.”

Gravity is still tangible. You can “feel” gravity. You can measure it, test it, and account for it. Can you measure, test, and account for your God?

DON: “I do deserve to burn in hell for eternity, but I wont. Christ paid that price for me already. He stamped my sentence as “PAID IN FULL”.

How convenient for you.

DON: “Have you ever (honestly now) wondered, what if it’s true?”

You mean God? When I was a young gullible child… yes. Since then (around sixth/seventh grade)… nope.

DON: “I’m also curious. Have you always felt this way or did something happen in your life to turn you against God?”

Nothing happened to turn me away from God. It’s amazing how Christians can’t grasp how anyone would rationally choose not believe in their God. They say, “surely something happened to turn you away from God?” Nothing happened – it’s not that complicated. I address this question on my web page in detail.

For someone who doesn’t want to learn about atheism you sure do ask a lot of questions. My web page is not about converting anyone. It’s about educating people on what an atheist is. I then answer questions that I have received from theists. You should at least check out the Q&A section in order to avoid redundancy and get more detailed answers.

Don Rebuttal #004

I know you believe in what you are saying and you seem (once again) to be very booked learned. I commend you for your knowledge that not all of us are blessed (oops sorry) with. You sound like a very angry man. I didn’t mean to get you so riled up. I thought that you would just rebut my comments. I actually looked forward to your response

I will fight to keep all beliefs free to explore and express, but when you come off so arrogant and condescending, then I have no interest in further communication. I’m not hightailing it from you because I think you may be right, I’m just doing the same thing I’ve done to any “religion” that thought that they’re the “only way”. Politely saying thank you for your time and have a good day.

I don’t talk religion, I talk about my faith in Christ. Religion has ruined this world. Yes, yours too. (religion, that is).

I would never call you a liar, but what made you an authority on whether or not original biblical writings were “forged”. I suppose that you have personally seen and have translated the ancient scrolls. I hope that you are not counting on others that say they were forged. What makes them credible.

I personally know a Greek scholar who has translated the New Testament. I have had the pleasure of cross checking his translation and have found it to be correct according to the Lexicons. I know, I know, these lexicons are written by biased men who were probably forged or something. Whatever.

I’m glad that everything you read is perfect. What a library you must have of perfect infallible writings.

One last thing, though, concerning evolution. I don’t need, nor look forward to a response to this one. Since you and I are total accidents, then why aren’t monkeys still changing into humans. I know it seems that some are monkeys but I think you know what I mean. It seems to me that the evolutionary process has slowed or even stopped. Actually quite some time ago. Actually forever since no credible link has ever been found. Only fabrications.

Take care and don’t forget that I would rather not have another response like your last one. No I’m not thin skinned, just particular as to how I let someone try to talk to me. Enough of that in the real world without wasting my time reading it to.

Response to Don #004

Sorry to see you bug-out because I don’t agree with you. If you consider my different opinions and criticism of your views and theistic beliefs as “put-downs” then that is your issue to deal with. I can assure you that I am not an angry man – which the theists love to throw around at atheists. The Christians seem to think that anyone who criticizes their God must be angry with their God for one reason or another. It’s rather sad…

Intelligence is often mistaken for arrogance and a condescending nature. I am probably guilty of being condescending – I won’t deny that. After dealing with the same ridiculous arguments over and over again you reach a point where you don’t feel like putting that much effort into it. I haven’t debated Evolution/Creationism in a few months now because of that. I got tired of being asked dumb questions from people that didn’t have a clue about evolution. It never ceases to amaze me how someone can say they don’t think evolution is scientifically accurate when they have no idea what evolution is in the first place. How can you have an opinion of something when you don’t know what it is that your opinion is about? That’s like saying you hate pizza when you’ve never even tried it! Children behave like that – not adults.

Nothing made me an authority on biblical writings. But I have read a lot and done a lot of research. Where is the original Bible? Do you know your Bible’s history and how it came about? If every Christian in the world knew how the Bible came about and the history of their Bible… there would be a lot less Christians in the world. It’s amazing how people can read and believe a book without even knowing the history of that book and how it came about. Had a vote in the third century gone the other way (only 5/6 votes were needed to do that) your Bible would be 100% different from what it is today. Genesis and Exodus would not be books in the Bible and we would be debating some other “event”.

I’m glad to hear you know a Greek scholar who has translated the New Testament. Question: What did he translate? There are NO originals left in the world. Not a one… So he translated what… a copy? Another translation? A copy of a copy of a copy? A re-print that had added text? He has no idea what he translated and who corrupted any of the data. Again… it matters not how many translations there are (notice that every translation of the Bible is different?) – because the “original” source is contaminated and, coincidentally, not available for verification.

Nothing I read is “perfect”. That is why I read more than one source and investigate as much as I can on my own. The problem with Christianity is they claim perfection in ONE source that doesn’t even have an original. The books were chosen for political, not religious, purposes and could have easily been a completely different Bible if 5 or 6 had turned the vote. I rely on multiple sources and my personal investigation – you rely on one source – and calling it a “source” is questionable, at best.

You said,

DON: “Since you and I are total accidents, then why aren’t monkeys still changing into humans. I know it seems that some are monkeys but I think you know what I mean. It seems to me that the evolutionary process has slowed or even stopped. Actually quite some time ago. Actually forever since no credible link has ever been found. Only fabrications.”

Once again your lack of understanding of evolution is shown. We, as Homo Sapiens, did not evolve FROM apes. There is a difference between monkeys and apes, by the way. Apes and us evolved from the same ancestor. We are each separate branches from a common ancestor – which was an ape-like species. We didn’t evolve FROM monkeys/apes… we evolved WITH monkeys/apes from a common ancestor. How can you disregard evolution so vehemently without even knowing the basics of evolution? Your statement clearly identifies your lack of evolutionary understanding – even the simplest of concepts: human evolution.

How can you say the evolutionary process has slowed down? You’re thinking in Biblical creation time (8,500 years) instead of millions of years. There have been many documented cases of speciation in my lifetime alone – and evolution has been documented in many plant, insect, bacterial, and viral species. Evolution is happening before your eyes – and you don’t see it. Have you even looked? Or are you going by what your church told you?

If you don’t like your views and beliefs to be criticized and wish to terminate this discussion, that is fine with me. I have no problem with any criticism from your side. If you do decide to terminate I only ask one thing. Please look into evolution completely before you make any rash decisions. I’m not going to tell you it’s “the answer” and that you should believe it. What I’m asking you to do is find out what evolution is before you completely dismiss it. I gave Christianity and other religions that same courtesy… The best source for evolutionary information is Talk Origins.

Don Rebuttal #005

I really do appreciate your thoughts and your views.

You really did come off pretty harsh in the previous email. I’m not the ultra sensitive type. (All guy here. Whatever that means) I just don’t like to be talked down to. I know you must get frustrated at what you call redundant questions or comments. Please try & remember that this may be the first time that someone, like myself, has ever had the opportunity to even talk to someone with such differing views than theirs

I don’t know why people are so much different in their intelligence levels. I actually do admire someone with your knowledge.

I’ve really tried over the past years to study and have a better understanding about differing views than mine and get very frustrated at the fact that I have a difficult time comprehending a lot of material. I’m the kind of person that can have something explained to me in a classroom atmosphere and understand it a lot better than if I try to read it myself. I do, though, enjoy the challenge of trying to learn on my own. I hope that you do appreciate the gift you have been given.

I do respect my pastor’s messages and believe that he tells us the truth. He has commented numerous times that we should never take his view as gospel and that we should study for ourselves and come to our own conclusions. He has a doctorate and I respect his knowledge as well.

I do believe that the Bible is the true Word of God. Infallible. I have no reason not to. I have never seen the ancient manuscripts and how they were originally translated. I have not seen any proof that any of the Bible was forged. That, of course, would require comparing the original text to ours. It’s the best we have and I like it.

I personally don’t believe that God intended for us to fight over the translations or worse yet to have wars over different beliefs from the Bible. Our pride and arrogance cause wars not the Bible. It’s just an excuse. My belief is that He intended it as a guide to live our lives by. Most of our laws are here because of Biblical teachings. The 10 commandments are the basis for all of our laws. If everyone lived by the commandments then I don’t believe we would have need for the thousands of laws on the books today. We can’t though. We are all born with too much evil & hatred within us. Any person who says that it’s not a struggle to be good most of the time would be lying through their teeth!

I originally asked you about hope. Do you look forward (if your not already there, I’m 43 by the way) to retirement? Do you hope that someday you can enjoy the fruits of your labor? Travel, read, fish or whatever. That hope is for something you can’t see. You just hope that it’ll be there in the end.

That’s where my hope is. I know that heaven is there but I can’t show it to you. Your argument could be that you can see people retired now and touch them while I can’t see or touch MY retirement. I just have faith it’s there.

This is not the reason for my faith, but I’m not afraid to die because of my belief in heaven. I don’t say “boy I’d better make the right decision or I might spend eternity separated from God”. It’s not a scare thing for me. I know that there has to be something better than what we have here. I’m happy, but this world is a dump. I look forward to retirement. Again, this is not my reason for my faith but if we are wrong then I guess we’ll just be “worm fodder”. If we’re right then, according to my Bible, those that ignore the invitation to accept Christ for what He said He is will not have a pleasant afterlife.

I respect your passion for your beliefs and the fact that you’re not a fence sitter. I don’t have much respect for those who say “yeah I think that there may be a higher power, but I don’t really care one way or the other. If there is a god then he’ll love everyone in the end and we’ll all go to heaven”. It’s a cop-out for fence sitting. I don’t like fence sitters! I say make all fences out of barbed wire and they’ll get off in a hurry.

One last question: Do you have feelings one-way or the other about the 10 commandments? Do you believe that they are, for the most part, good rules to live our lives by?

It seems to me that those who have a real problem with them (posting them) is because they think that there is too much religious association. I believe that you said that IF in fact Moses did actually bring down the tablets then, since there is no God, they couldn’t have been written by God. Is that pretty close? Just for the sake of argument, IF Moses did bring down the commandments written by him then would there be a problem with displaying them since they are only man made?

I hope that you will understand that all who profess to be Christians don’t have a clue. David Korresh is a good example. I have no ill feelings toward you or anyone of another belief. A lot of professing Christians worry about why YOU and SHE and THEY aren’t more like THEM!! My hope is that I can be more like the Christ I believe in. Not condemning, but patient and accepting. If Christ is that kind of an example to me, then is it so bad that I believe in Him and want to be more like that? I’ve never found any living person that would exemplify those characteristics. Make believe? Whatever. He’s every bit real to me. I will die believing and striving to be more like Him. If anyone ever cares to ask me about my beliefs, I’ll be happy to share my faith with them.

Please don’t put all “Christians” into one box. We aren’t cookie cutters.

If my eternity is in fact the truth, then when we all stand before God I will take NO PLEASURE in seeing ANY condemned. My heart will be heavy.

Now that I know where to find a walking encyclopedia, maybe I’ll tap your brain sometime.

Response to Don #005

DON: “You really did come off pretty harsh in the previous email.”

Believe me when I say that it was not my intention to sound “harsh”. I know I can be condescending at time – I admit that.

DON: “I know you must get frustrated at what you call redundant questions or comments. Please try & remember that this may be the first time that someone, like myself, has ever had the opportunity to even talk to someone with such differing views than theirs.”

The redundancy of the questions that frustrate me is secondary to the real frustration. The real frustration is that questions like these identify the preconceived ideology that is circulated through the Christian churches about evolution, atheism, and general science. Your questions, while redundant in regards to hearing them before, more importantly reveal the methods used by Christendom to “educate” people on such matters.

DON: “I’m the kind of person that can have something explained to me in a classroom atmosphere and understand it a lot better than if I try to read it myself.”

It sounds like you may have an audiographic memory (vice photographic).

DON: “I do respect my pastor’s messages and believe that he tells us the truth. He has commented numerous times that we should never take his view as gospel and that we should study for ourselves and come to our own conclusions. He has a doctorate and I respect his knowledge as well.”

So have you studied and come to your own conclusion or taken his word as authority? If you are willing, I would like to direct you to William Edelen. Mr. Edelen has held the following positions:

  • 1990 – present Full time writing, speaking and lecturing.
  • 1981 – 1990 Minister, Community Congregational Church, McCall, Idaho (a mountain resort community).
  • 1973 – 1980 Senior Minister, First Congregational Church, Tacoma, Washington.
  • 1973 – 1980 Adjunct professor of Religious Studies and Anthropology, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington.
  • 1960 – 1990 Active ordained Presbyterian and Congregational minister.

His education includes:

  • 1969 – 1971 Graduate School, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado.
  • 1957 – 1960 Masters Degree in Theology, McCormick Theological Seminary (On the campus of the University of Chicago).
  • 1954 – 1957 Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and Biology, Oklahoma State University.
  • 1940 – 1942 Liberal Arts Major, University of Oklahoma.

Mr. Edelen is a prominent figure in the Theology world and has drawn a lot of negative attention to himself from the Christian Church. The reason is because he actually teaches the truth and has exposed a problem within the church. He has written a brief article about this called “The Sin Of Silence.”

DON: “I do believe that the Bible is the true Word of God. Infallible. I have no reason not to. I have never seen the ancient manuscripts and how they were originally translated.”

Have you seen the contradictions, errors, and inconsistencies in the Bible?

DON: “I have not seen any proof that any of the Bible was forged. That, of course, would require comparing the original text to ours.”

The Vatican has surmised that the book of Genesis is a forgery and was not written by Moses. They have come under heavy scrutiny for this from the anti-Catholic proponents.

DON: “Most of our laws are here because of Biblical teachings. The 10 commandments are the basis for all of our laws. If everyone lived by the commandments then I don’t believe we would have need for the thousands of laws on the books today.”

Our laws ARE NOT based on the Ten Commandments. Our laws are based on the personal morality of the lawmakers and the societal morality that is represented to those lawmakers. Does religious views affect that? Absolutely – to say it didn’t would be an outright lie. Laws like Kentucky’s “Sex in any position other than missionary style is against the law” are obviously laws based on “religious morality”. The Ten Commandments are actually based on Hammurabi’s Code of Law (written almost 1,000 years before the Ten Commandments). The Ten Commandments have almost nothing to do with morality (except a couple of them). For a critique of mine on the Ten Commandments check here (sorry, article no longer available online).

DON: “We are all born with too much evil & hatred within us. Any person who says that it’s not a struggle to be good most of the time would be lying through their teeth!”

So a 3-month-old baby is full of evil and hatred? I don’t struggle to be good. Most atheists and non-theists don’t have this problem. The reason being is that we do not have to answer to a “higher” power. We answer only to man’s laws and never worry about “being watched” and “judged”. We live our lives according to man’s laws (laws of society) and lead good lives.

DON: “I originally asked you about hope. Do you look forward (if your not already there, I’m 43 by the way) to retirement?”

I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to retirement or not. Relaxing all day without having to work sounds enticing, but not working sounds boring. I’m still iffy about retirement.

DON: “Do you hope that someday you can enjoy the fruits of your labor? Travel, read, fish or whatever. That hope is for something you can’t see. You just hope that it’ll be there in the end.”

I’ve done all that already. I have traveled around the world a couple of times already. I’ve done all the good stuff – not I’m working and raising my family. When retirement comes I will enjoy what I have. If you are trying to compare hope for the money to be there when you retire to hope for god then you are way off base. You can compare your retirement plan to the plans of those laid out before you and see what happened to them. The results are tangible – they are comparable and testable. You’re hope is founded on fact, evidence, and past occurrences.

DON: “Your argument could be that you can see people retired now and touch them while I can’t see or touch MY retirement. I just have faith it’s there.”

And in the long run that is what it boils down to… faith.

DON: “If we’re right then, according to my Bible, those that ignore the invitation to accept Christ for what He said He is will not have a pleasant afterlife.”

And what if the Hindu is right? The Moslems? The American Indians? How do you know which religion is right and which on to wager your soul on? This is called Pascal’s Wager. For a more detailed analysis of Pascal’s Wager check here.

DON: “I don’t have much respect for those who say, “yeah I think that there may be a higher power, but I don’t really care one way or the other. If there is a god then he’ll love everyone in the end and we’ll all go to heaven”. It’s a cop-out for fence sitting. I don’t like fence sitters! I say make all fences out of barbed wire and they’ll get off in a hurry.”

You realize that you almost described Judaism to a “T” there. The Jews believe that you will get into heaven if you are good person. They even think us atheists will make it as long as we lead good lives. The Hare Krishna believes atheists will get into heaven because we talk about God and theistic beliefs more than anyone!

DON: “Do you have feelings one way or the other about the 10 commandments? Do you believe that they are, for the most part, good rules to live our lives by?”

Feelings toward them? I’m not sure what you mean by “feelings” here. I can say that they do not belong in schools, if that’s what you mean. Do I feel they are good rules to live by? Not really. There are a couple of them that are mediocre – they need serious refining. But the majority has nothing to do with morality and only dictate how one should treat an egotistical, self-centered, and jealous God.

DON: “It seems to me that those who have a real problem with them (posting them) is because they think that there is too much religious association. I believe that you said that IF in fact Moses did actually bring down the tablets then, since there is no God, they couldn’t have been written by God. Is that pretty close? Just for the sake of argument, IF Moses did bring down the commandments written by him then would there be a problem with displaying them since they are only man made?”

Yes there would still be a problem. Regardless of the writer – the subject has no bearing whatsoever on morality and clearly endorses a particular religion – which is against the law. Even if you don’t agree with the interpretation of SOCAS – you cannot deny the wording of government not endorsing or passing a law, which endorses a single religions belief or system.

DON: “Please don’t put all “Christians” into one box. We aren’t cookie cutters.”

But as Jimmy “Papa” Benzino says down at the fruit market, “If a customer sees just one bad apple in the barrel – they will not buy a single apple from that barrel.” Human nature is association. Groups like the Christian Identity, KKK, Radical Religious Right, Christian Coalition, Southern Baptists, and others give the rest of Christendom a bad name. Just like Communism gives atheism a bad name.

DON: “Now that I know where to find a walking encyclopedia, maybe I’ll tap your brain sometime.”

Don’t hesitate to do so.

Don Rebuttal #006

I’ve taken the time to browse your web site and also the Talk Origins site. I found them both very interesting and well done.

I don’t dispute the fact that some things may have changed (to some degree) over the years. An interesting point in the Talk Origins site was that they were not saying that something changed (i.e. from a frog to a cow). You believe that we evolved from an ape like being. That must have been very painful when the split took place. You did say that apes and us came from the same ancestor. How exactly would you explain that the split happened? Is this anything like a rat and a mouse coming from the same family? A female horse & a donkey (ass) make a sterile offspring mule. Did two creatures procreate to form an ape or possibly a man? What was the third party?

Please let me start from the beginning. Do you believe that nothing + nothing = something? You say that Christian beliefs are “illogical”. Nothing + nothing equaling something isn’t a real rational concept to me.

My something plus nothing could equal anything He wanted it to be.

Q. Why do mites only congregate in one ear of a moth? Do they fly around the moth to see where his buddies are nesting?

A. If they reside in both ears then the moth can’t fly. Coincidence?

Q. How did the bombardier beetle evolve into an insect that can contain two chemicals that when spat out form a combustible liquid to ward off it’s enemy? Did a lot of beetles blow up before they figured out a way to keep these chemicals separate? What did these chemicals evolve from?

Q. When a cat or dog mauls it’s weak newborn so that it wont be eaten by a predator because the mother knows it has a problem and wont survive in the wild, this just happened over time?

My point is, are these just coincidences? If we had time we could look at thousands of other “coincidences.

As far as the inerrancy of the New Testament. Please read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. We’re not relying on one person’s opinion on this subject. He has interviewed the top men in many various fields. Unlike Josh McDowell, who was an atheist setting out to disprove the Bible, when he couldn’t buck the clear evidence, Strobel is a journalist who wanted to compile enough evidence to write an accurate book, one way or the other.

You also used a lot of “what ifs” in saying that the Bible ‘could be’ in error. So far, you nor anyone else has proved that it is even 1% in error.

Scholars in the know clearly contradict Schmuel Golding’s time period as to when the Bible was written & rewritten. It’s all in Strobel’s book.

BLAIR: “If 5 people had voted differently the Bible would be nothing like it is today. This was concerning the 568 to 563 vote.”

True. What if there would have been a different vote on the constitution?

What if the supreme court would have several votes different on Roe v. Wade?

What if the vote would have gone the other way and Clinton would have been kicked out of office?

What if Darwin’s, Hitler’s, Lincoln’s, Carl Sagan’s parents voted to kill their pre-born baby?

We can “what if” till we’re blue in the face, but the facts are that they went the way they did. We can only speculate and debate other possible outcomes.

One finale thing.

Good-bye.
See ‘ya later.
Ta Ta now.
Till we meet again.
So long for now.

Do these all have the same meaning?

How about this one?

I have faith in my company that it will be in business as long as we keep giving good service for a long time.
I have confidence in my company that if we keep giving good service then we will stay in business for a long time.
I trust that as long as I give good service to our customers than my company will continue to be around for a long time.

Trust and confidence are definitions in the American Heritage dictionary for the word ‘faith’. Does it mean that all of the above statements are not all correct sayings of the same idea?

I don’t recognize the WE translation you referred to. Basically they all said the same thing. I had NO problem with them.

Thank you for igniting the spark in me to do more research as to why I believe what I believe. My faith is not only stronger, but now I know a little bit more as to why it is. Coincidence? I don’t think so. We should all know WHY we believe in what we believe!

Response to Don #006

DON: “I don’t dispute the fact that some things may have changed (to some degree) over the years.”

A lot has changed not really in regard to the theory – but to the fact. Evolution is both a fact and a theory. Evolution is a fact because we have seen evolution occur in our lifetime and also within the fossil record. What remains a theory is the mechanism of evolution. How and why evolution occurs is a theory. Evolution does occur – we have theories as to why it occurs. The Vatican has accepted evolution as scientifically sound but added the caveat that God was the how and why evolution occurred. The Vatican could no longer ignore the overwhelming evidence for evolution and still remain credible to the Catholic followers around the world. When the Vatican accepted evolution and added God as the how and why, they saved face and gained credibility with the Catholic congregation at the same time.

It is for this reason that evolution is not contradictory to theistic beliefs. There is no reason whatsoever that evolution and theism cannot ride hand in hand. Most Christians are evolutionists and not creationists. Fundamentalist creationism is a minority in the world – they are just the loudest minority here in the United States so they seem to be overwhelming. And the scary thing… it’s working. Just look at Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana (Bible belt states, of course).

The only time they collide is duri ng Biblical literalism. Creation, as described in the biblical book of Genesis, cannot reconcile itself with evolution. Literal biblical creationists are also a minority. Most Christians today do not regard the Bible literally. It is this very movement of non-literal translation that has shown a decrease in Christendom’s numbers and an increase in non-theistic spirituality.

For more information about the compatibility of theism and atheism see the God and Evolution FAQ and the Various Interpretations of Genesis FAQ.

DON: “An interesting point in the Talk Origins site was that they were not saying that something changed (i.e. from a frog to a cow).”

Correct. That is a common misconception about evolution – that one thing can change into another. That would actually be evidence for a God – and not for evolution. If a chicken turned into a lizard tomorrow – a lot of evolutionists would become religious.

DON: “You believe that we evolved from an ape like being. That must have been very painful when the split took place. You did say that apes and us came from the same ancestor. How exactly would you explain that the split happened?”

I don’t “believe” that we evolved from an ape like being. I have concluded, as other scientists have, that we evolved alongside apes from a common ancestor – an ape-like being. We come to this conclusion based on evidence and data available to us.

Painful? You’re thinking in instantaneous time frames. The common ancestor would have had offspring that were different than it. That offspring then created offspring that were different. Evolution takes a while – it is not an overnight event.

A listing of the Hominids is available here at the Hominid Species FAQ.

DON: “Is this anything like a rat and a mouse coming from the same family?”

Yes – rats and mice evolved from a common ancestor that has since become extinct. Rodents had an unfair advantage evolutionarily speaking. After the Yucatan Impact 65 million years ago the small mammals were the favored survivors. Had the small mammals not survived that impact – humans would probably not be here today.

DON: “A female horse & a donkey (ass) make a sterile offspring mule.”

That is how we define speciation. When two animals create a sterile offspring or cannot procreate at all – then they are separate species. In other words if the parent cannot copulate and procreate with the offspring then the offspring is a new species and speciation has occurred. Speciation has occurred in our lifetime.

DON: “Did two creatures procreate to form an ape or possibly a man? What was the third party?”

Two ape-like common ancestors would have created a minor difference that would have become more and more predominant. Those common ancestors did not have the evolutionary needs to survive long-term and ultimately died out. But their offspring had adaptations allowing them to survive longer. Their offspring adapted as well and ultimately the first offspring died out, too. But as the adaptations continued new species were created. One species would ultimately become the apes and the other species would ultimately become the hominids. This took place, of course, over hundreds of thousands of years.

People often make the mistake of thinking in day-to-day time frames when considering evolution. That of course makes evolution sound absolutely absurd. Changes in a day-to-day timeframe would be evidence for a God – not evolution. If you think of the Earth’s history as a 24-hour period – humans have been around for the last 2 seconds on that clock.

DON: “Do you believe that nothing + nothing = something?”

Of course not. What makes you think that?

DON: “You say that Christian beliefs are “illogical”. Nothing + nothing equaling something isn’t a real rational concept to me.”

I agree that nothing plus nothing equals something is not a rational concept. So why do you think that I feel that way?

DON: “My something plus nothing could equal anything He wanted it to be.”

If that’s the case then why do you have such a hard time with evolution? Why would God create a world full of evidence for evolution if he didn’t intend for man to come up with evolutionary theory? If God created the Earth and created it the way it exists today then how can anyone blame the scientists for discovering and identifying what God laid out to be discovered and identified?

Why would God create a universe that is visible? The stars are billions of light years away – and yet they are visible. If the Earth were only 6500-years-old these stars would no be visible. The sky would be completely black except for the moon.

Why are there so many craters on the moon? Why are there so many impact craters on Earth?

DON: “Why do mites only congregate in one ear of a moth? Do they fly around the moth to see where his buddies are nesting? If they reside in both ears then the moth can’t fly. Coincidence?”

You answered your own questions. If the mites infect both ears then the moth loses its equilibrium and cannot fly. If it cannot fly then it cannot find food. If it cannot find food then it dies and the mites die along with it. The mites and the moth have a sentient relationship. Parasites do not want to kill their host. If you kill your host – then you die along with that host. The mites infect only one ear so that the moth can survive and therefore cause the mites to thrive with it. It is a mutual (sentient) infestation.

There are bacterium and other “things” all over your body. Most of them are parasitic in nature – yet beneficial to humans. That is why taking more than the allotted amount of antibiotics is dangerous. If you kill off all of your bacterium then you are killing off the beneficial ones. That can ultimately lead to sickness or death.

DON: “How did the bombardier beetle evolve into an insect that can contain two chemicals that when spat out form a combustible liquid to ward off it’s enemy? Did a lot of beetles blow up before they figured out a way to keep these chemicals separate? What did these chemicals evolve from?”

Creationists often quote the bombardier beetle as proof of intelligent design. However, upon examination of the beetle we discover evidence of evolution and not “intelligent design”.

Bombardier beetles include four groups of ground beetles; Brachinini, Paussini, Ozaenini, and Metriini. These four groups include over 500 species. The most common and widely distributed species is Brachinus. Bombardier beetles take their name from their ability to mix a boiling-hot toxic chemical out of glands in their posterior. The chemicals are hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinones. Secretion cells produce these chemicals that collect in reservoirs. The reservoirs dump into a mixture chamber. Cells within the mixture chamber create catalyses and peroxidases. The catalyses and peroxidases rapidly break down the hydrogen peroxide and catalyze the oxidation of the hydroquinones into p-quinones. This reaction releases free oxygen and generates enough heat to boil the mixture. About one fifth of the mixture is instantly vaporized when this happens. Under the pressure of the released free oxygen the mixture is expelled out of the abdomen.

Creationists give an inaccurate account of the mixture process. The chemicals are not explosive when combines. If the were then every bombardier beetle would sacrifice itself when it self-defense was necessary. The bombardier beetle mixes the chemicals in its body before they are expelled out from accumulated pressure. If the mixing of these two chemicals were explosive, as creationists incorrectly claim, then the bombardier beetle would be dead before pressure could even accumulate. There is an “explosion” of sorts – but not in the way creationists mean. The explosion is the chemical reaction that causes the release of free oxygen. That in turn creates pressure and the mixture is “exploded” out of the chamber. No different than a champagne cork exploding off a bottle that has been shaken.

DON: “When a cat or dog mauls it’s weak newborn so that it wont be eaten by a predator because the mother knows it has a problem and wont survive in the wild, this just happened over time?”

Almost all species will not tolerate a newborn that cannot survive. This usually results in abandonment (which results in death), purposeful killing, or cannibalism. It is simply a matter of survival. A decrepit animal can only serve to drag down the grouping of animals. We, as humans, are the only species that value all human life. And that is only because as a society we have dictated such. There are societies that do not value the lives of cripples or the terminally ill and kill them at birth or onset of the disease. Even in our society there are many that believe in euthanasia and terminating pregnancies when birth defects and debilitating diseases are identified.

DON: “My point is, are these just coincidences? If we had time we could look at thousands of other “coincidences”.”

They are only coincidences because you are purposely looking for coincidences in order to justify your belief in a God. There is nothing wrong with that – but you have not produced a proof that anything living on this planet was intelligently designed.

DON: “As far as the inerrancy of the New Testament, please read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.”

I have – Strobel did not present anything new and offered merely speculation, self-interpretation, and fallacy. Biblicists can add to the Bible and re-write the Bible all they want to justify the errors, inconsistencies, and contradictions. The problem does not go away – it just covers it up with roses so it is presentable to congregations worldwide. And people fall for it.

DON: “We’re not relying on one person’s opinion on this subject. He has interviewed the top men in many various fields. Unlike Josh McDowell, whom was an atheist setting out to disprove the Bible, when he couldn’t buck the clear evidence; Strobel is a journalist who wanted to compile enough evidence to write an accurate book, one way or the other.”

Like I said, Strobel only presented the personal views of others, self-interpretation, and speculation. Strobel did not present any evidence whatsoever. The bottom line is that if the Scripture says A – then why would someone say that it says B – when it clearly says A?

DON: “You also used a lot of “what ifs” in saying that the Bible ‘could be’ in error. So far, neither you nor anyone else has proved that it is even 1% in error.”

I used the “what ifs” as a means of invoking thought and specifically in regards to the Council of Nicea and the close vote. What if the vote had gone another way? Your Bible would be completely different. The Bible has been PROVEN to be filled with errors. If you would like to address these errors one by one then I will be more than happy to oblige.

DON: “True. What if there would have been a different vote on the constitution? What if the Supreme Court would have several votes different on Roe v. Wade? What if the vote would have gone the other way and Clinton would have been kicked out of office? What if Darwin’s, Hitler’s, Lincoln’s, Carl Sagan’s parents voted to kill their pre-born baby? We can “what if” till we’re blue in the face, but the facts are that they went the way they did. We can only speculate and debate other possible outcomes.”

The difference between the Constitution, Roe v. Wade, and your other examples is that none of those claim to be God-breathed or divinely inspired. Every example you gave claims to be man-made and is chosen or written by man – and does not claim otherwise. Your Bible is supposedly the word of God. How can you justify it by comparing it to man-made works?

DON: “Good-bye. See ya later. Ta Ta now. Till we meet again. So long for now. Do these all have the same meaning?”

No – they do not all have the same meaning. “Goodbye” simply means that you are leaving – but offering no time frame for a return. When saying “Goodbye” it invites an eternity without a caveat for return. Saying “See you later” means that you will return anywhere from 1 minutes to 1000 years. Each has a different level of formality or informality and each one conveys a separate message. They all convey a departing – they all mean something different in relation to that departing.

DON: “I have faith in my company that it will be in business as long as we keep giving good service for a long time.
I have confidence in my company that if we keep giving good service then we will stay in business for a long time.
I trust that as long as I give good service to our customers than my company will continue to be around for a long time.

Trust and confidence are definitions in the American Heritage dictionary for the word ‘faith’. Does it mean that all of the above statements are not all correct sayings of the same idea?”

Your sentences DO NOT mean the same thing. While faith is defined as a confidence or a trust – that does not mean the words are interchangeable and that if they are interchanged the will mean the same thing. The first sentence conveys a sense of blind hope – that someone will make it better and keep the company afloat. The second sentence conveys knowledge of data that conveys strength of past performance – that there is something to compare it to and show that in all confidence – the company will survive. The third sentence conveys a personal agenda and not a corporate agenda. It puts the burden on the speaker to provide good customer service and takes that burden off the company.

DON: “I don’t recognize the WE translation you referred to. Basically they all said the same thing. I had NO problem with them.”

They did not all say the same thing. Let’s look at them again:

  • NIV: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
  • NASB: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.
  • KJV: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
  • DARBY: Every scripture [is] divinely inspired, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
  • YLT: Every Writing [is] God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that [is] in righteousness.
  • WE: All that is written in the holy writings comes from the Spirit of God. The holy writings are good for these things: to teach people, to show them when they are wrong, to make them see what is right, to teach them to do what is right.

The KJV says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”. The ASV and NEB say, “Every Scripture inspired by God is also profitable for teaching.”

The KJV is saying that “EVERY scripture is inspired” while the ASV and NEB are saying “Scripture that is inspired by God” which of course implies that other scripture is not divinely inspired. If you ask a Fundamentalist to show that the scripture is the inspired word of God they usually direct you to Second Timothy 3:16 (KJV). Yet in other interpretations and translations that same verse does not say every scripture is divinely inspired. Other interpretations and translations state that scripture that is inspired by God is… but not that every scripture is inspired – which of course implies that there are scriptures that are not divinely inspired.

This of course goes back to variances and “what did the original actually say”. While they attempt to say the same thing – they do not.

Another example is First Timothy 6:10. Everyone has heard “The love of money is the root of all evil” at least once in his or her life. Notice that it says THE LOVE of money is THE ROOT of ALL EVIL. That is in the KJV and a few other versions. But the NIV says, “For the love of money is a root.” It does not say THE ROOT – it says A ROOT meaning one among several. The quote goes on, “of all kinds of evil” (not necessarily ALL EVIL).

Another version says, “For the love of money is a root of all evil.” And a fourth version that can be found, for instance, in the NWT, says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things.” That does not necessarily mean it has to do with evil at all. So we have four different versions of the same verse, all of which have differences, some small – some large.

Mark 16:9-20 has a footnote in the NIV that states, “The two most reliable early manuscripts don’t even have these verses.” Biblical scholars still cannot agree whether or not these verses should even be included in the Bible.

DON: “Thank you for igniting the spark in me to do more research as to why I believe what I believe. My faith is not only stronger, but now I know a little bit more as to why it is. Coincidence? I don’t think so. We should all know WHY we believe in what we believe!”

You are welcome. From my standpoint this has nothing to do with conversion. It has everything to do with education. You have become curious and are challenging yourself to learn as much as you can – and that is good. If you come out of this episode in your life as a “stronger” Christian – then more power to you. But what is equally important of knowing why you believe something, is knowing why others believe as they do. As I am often fond of saying, “If you can’t argue against what you believe in, then you shouldn’t be arguing for it.”

Don Rebuttal #007

Good points.

My intent for the question of, Do you believe that nothing + nothing = something, comes from the thought that without a creator, then in order for the world to have begun (i.e. the big bang theory) what created the matter which caused the ‘bang’? If nothing created it then it can’t exist. Hence, nothing + nothing = nothing. Totally illogical.

Have we ever been able to duplicate this process?

Do we have any rock solid scientific proof that anything has ever been created without the help of pre-existing substances? Not at all possible.

This is why, in my first email, I told you that you have more faith than I do. You said that you didn’t understand my rationale. I feel that if you believe that the earth was created from nothing, then that takes a great deal more faith than that I believe that it was created by something (my imaginary friend).

If neither one of us had ever seen our biological father’s before, who would have more faith? The one who says, I am convinced that I am a total accident without ever having had a biological father, or the one who says, all life on earth was created and I have a father somewhere?. To have a belief in nothing takes way more faith than a belief in something.

You are right about one translation of the Bible being totally off the wall. NWT. That cult has not one ounce of credibility in its alteration of the Bible. There is absolutely no archaeological proof to back up any of its latter day writings. JWs also.

Since you find no credibility in Lee Strobel’s book, then I will not pursue that trail except to ask you this, what makes a person credible in your book? I can’t believe that you can say that the men interviewed were just giving their opinion. He wasn’t interviewing the man off the street.

Please indulge me on this one.

If I was to say, The earth appears to be round. You could come back with a sentence with 20 letter words that most people would not understand and it would basically mean the same thing I said. Would that be possible? I’m hoping you will say yes.

That’s what some translations of the Bible attempt to do. I have several translations in hard copy and many more on CD-ROM. I prefer to read the NKJV. I do like the way the NIV reads though too. One just may be easier to comprehend than another. Does that make the other one wrong? Not to me it doesn’t.

I don’t speak the way King James did. I don’t speak ancient Greek.

Do all foreign languages have an exact translation in English? Did we have all the exact words for ancient Greek in our language? Although we do get a great deal of our words from the roots of the Greek language.

When I was in El Salvador, my translator sometimes had to think of ways to translate what I had said because they didn’t have a word in Spanish for that particular word or phrase I had used. Did they give the same (or close enough) message as what I had said? Close enough for me.

One last thing. You said that the Bible has been PROVEN to have errors. I would ask, again as I have before, that if you say that there are NO ancient transcripts left then how can you prove anything is incorrect? Have you personally seen the manuscripts and translated them to deduce these errors or are you just relying on someone’s “opinion” as to whether or not they are incorrect?

Romans 1:16- 2:11

Response to Don #007

I am so glad to see you doing the research and asking questions. Regardless of the outcome after you have conducted your research – I’m proud of you. As I have said on my web page and I will reiterate to you here – atheism is not about conversion. I have no intention of converting you. My goal is for everyone to research their beliefs and come to an understanding of how and why they feel and be comfortable in that belief (or lack thereof, as the case may be). If your research strengthens your faith, as you have indicated, then more power to you!

I will give you honest answers to your questions and will not try to deceive you. If you find something in my answers that doesn’t sound right or that you think is deceitful then by all means call me on it. So let’s take a look at your questions…

DON: “My intent for the question of, Do you believe that nothing + nothing = something, comes from the thought that without a creator, then in order for the world to have begun (i.e. the big bang theory) what created the matter which caused the ‘bang’? If nothing created it then it can’t exist. Hence, nothing + nothing = nothing.”

You are correct. The process of nothing plus nothing equals something does sound illogical. That is why the Big Bang Theory has a something before nothing. That something is called a singularity. We know that something existed before the Big Bang. And honestly, we’re not really 100% sure what that something is. It is for this very reason that many Christians have come to the conclusion that the Big Bang Theory is scientifically sound. While cosmological evolutionists have concluded that something existed prior to the Big Bang and there are many theories as to what – the Christian cosmological evolutionist feels that it was God himself that created the Big Bang.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that Christians (and other theists) cannot come to the same scientific conclusions as astronomers, evolutionists, and cosmologists. The only time a conflict arises when a literal translation of Genesis is pursued against the scientific evidence at hand. Scientists don’t assume to have all the answers. Science is more about questions than answers, really. As each answer is identified it only creates more questions. The questions grow exponentially. For every answer science finds about 500 new questions form. It is this constant process of questioning the answers that has given science its edge. The very process of questioning yourself means that you are open-minded and want to find problems with theories and want to keep digging for evidence and supporting data. There have been many times that theories have been overturned when those questions were answered.

Let’s look at the Big Bang Theory for example. A Christian Monk first introduced the Big Bang Theory. The Theory was considered to be a major victory by the Christians because it showed that the universe was finite. Science at the time insisted that the universe was infinite. The Christians now had a scientifically sound theory that showed that the universe was finite – and the possibility of a creator could not be ruled out in an infinite universe.

Then science adapted the theory and came to the conclusion that the theory was scientifically sound. Mathematicians, physicists, astronomers, cosmologists, and others all agreed that the theory was sound. Funny thing happened when science embraced the theory. The Christians dropped it and started arguing against it. Seems rather funny to drop the very theory that was considered to be a victory over science just because science agrees with you. That’s like saying; “I like Cocoa Puffs until my enemy started liking them. Now I don’t like them anymore.”

DON: “Have we ever been able to duplicate this process?”

In computer simulations we have. If we were to duplicate the Big Bang you wouldn’t be alive long enough to know it. Can you imagine the catastrophe we would have if the Big Bang were duplicated? To create a universe within a universe would be devastating to the existing universe. Nanoseconds after we duplicated the process we would be vaporized. I don’t think you want scientists to actually duplicate the Big Bang.

We have been able to identify other aspects of the Big Bang that help solidify an already scientifically sound theory such as background radiation (identified by accident, by the way), a constantly expanding universe (over a million miles per hour), and other data. Recently scientists at the Counseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire (CERN) were able to create the plasma that existed seconds after the Big Bang. You can read about their research and discovery at their web site. You can also read an assessment of that discovery.

DON: “Do we have any rock solid scientific proof that anything has ever been created without the help of pre-existing substances?”

The universe is expanding.

Gravitational pull. If the universe were not expanding with enough force to overcome gravity it would fall back on itself.

Background radiation.

Temperature of distant primordial clouds. Since light travels a finite speed, and the background radiation we see had to travel billions of light-years, we are actually seeing back into time when the universe was thousands of degrees Kelvin. Thus, we are seeing leftover heat from the Big Bang.

Hydrogen-Helium Nucleosynthesis. Measurements of the amount of particular elements in the universe reveal that 25% of the matter in the universe is helium and that 74% is a simple isotope of hydrogen, called deuterium. Today the biggest source of helium is the fusion of deuterium atoms in the cores of stars, but this cannot account for the tremendous quantity of helium. All the stars throughout history could not have created that much helium. Not to mention, where did all the hydrogen come from? The theory is that much of it was synthesized in the Big Bang.

DON: “If neither one of us had ever seen our biological father’s before, who would have more faith? The one who says, I am convinced that I am a total accident without ever having had a biological father, or the one who says, all life on earth was created and I have a father somewhere?”

There’s a mighty big difference between the claim of a biological father and the claim of an all-powerful creator of all that we survey. To compare the two seems rather feeble. As I have discussed already – I have not come to the conclusion that nothing plus nothing equals something – that is illogical.

DON: “To have a belief in nothing takes way more faith than a belief in something.”

That is one of the reasons that I do not believe in a god. Where is he? He is nothing for I cannot see him, hear him, smell him, taste him, touch him, or test him. He does not exist – he is nothing.

DON: “You are right about one translation of the Bible being totally off the wall. NWT. That cult has not one ounce of credibility in its alteration of the Bible. There is absolutely no archaeological proof to back up any of its latter day writings.”

And what archaeological proof backs up your version? How do you know they are wrong and you are right? Do you have any original manuscripts to compare each of your versions to?

DON: “Since you find no credibility in Lee Strobel’s book, then I will not pursue that trail except to ask you this, what makes a person credible in your book? I can’t believe that you can say that the men interviewed were just giving their opinion. He wasn’t interviewing the man off the street.”

I found Lee’s book absurd for a couple of reasons. First and foremost he sold his book based on his past career as an investigative journalist. It’s important to note, especially since most supporters of the book don’t know this, that he was not an investigative journalist anymore when he wrote the book. Many assume that he wrote the book while he was an investigative journalist and that is not true. He wrote it later when his stint at the Chicago Tribune was over.

I also find his book absurd because whatever skills he had learned as an investigative journalist he had forsaken them when he wrote this book. Where in his book are the opposing views? Why were no representatives from the opposing view allowed to offer their rebuttals? He only interviews people that were pro-Jesus. He repeatedly slammed his opponents and never gave them a chance to defend him or herself. That is hardly investigative reporting – that is present a view from one side and one side only and using deception to alter the perception of the reader.

A credible person is not afraid of the other side and is willing to post both sides of the issue and let the reader decide. There are atheistic books out there that I do not find credible for the same reason. That is not to say that all of the books are bad – but they have presented a biased view. If every reader in the world were objective and had the intellectual capacity to understand what was going on behind the lines – then perhaps it wouldn’t bother me as much. If you look at my web page I post rebuttals in their entirety. I don’t edit or chop rebuttals. Readers at my page see both sides of the argument and I leave it to them to make their own decision.

DON: “If I was to say, the earth appears to be round. You could come back with a sentence with 20 letter words that most people would not understand and it would basically mean the same thing I said. Would that be possible?”

Yes and no. The simple statement of, “the Earth appears to be round” is too vague and leaves too much room for error. As I’m sure you know the Earth is not “round” like a ball. It is an elliptical sphere. It is wider in the middle (around the equator) than elsewhere. This unique shape was caused by the very rotation of the Earth itself during the cooling processes 4.5 million years ago. You can duplicate this process by spinning a ball of cooling glass. The glass will take on an elliptical shape as inertia and gravity go to work.

While both persons attempt to say the same thing – they do not. One person has conveyed a very vague message that can be interpreted anyway by the listener. One person sees a beach ball, another person sees a dinner plate – each appears to be round. A flat earth can be round.

Let’s look at your next statement before I elaborate more on this.

DON: “That’s what some translations of the Bible attempt to do. I have several translations in hard copy and many more on CD-ROM. … One just may be easier to comprehend than another. Does that make the other one wrong? Not to me it doesn’t.”

The problem is variances. There are over 200,000 variants for some 5,000 manuscripts. That’s a lot of errors. And contrary to popular belief – they do not say the same thing.

Let’s look one more time at the examples I provided previously and break them down a bit, shall we?

  • NIV: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
  • NASB: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.
  • KJV: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
  • DARBY: Every scripture [is] divinely inspired, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
  • YLT: Every Writing [is] God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that [is] in righteousness.
  • WE: All that is written in the holy writings comes from the Spirit of God. The holy writings are good for these things: to teach people, to show them when they are wrong, to make them see what is right, to teach them to do what is right.

They are not all saying the same thing. The KJV says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”. The ASV and NEB say, “Every Scripture inspired by God is also profitable for teaching.”

The KJV is saying that “EVERY scripture is inspired” while the ASV and NEB are saying “Scripture that is inspired by God” which of course implies that other scripture is not divinely inspired. If you ask a Fundamentalist to show that the scripture is the inspired word of God they usually direct you to Second Timothy 3:16 (KJV). Yet in other interpretations and translations that same verse does not say every scripture is divinely inspired. Other interpretations and translations state that scripture that is inspired by God is… but not that every scripture is inspired – which of course implies that there are scriptures that are not divinely inspired.

This of course goes back to variances and “what did the original actually say”. While they attempt to say the same thing – they do not. Another example is First Timothy 6:10. Everyone has heard “The love of money is the root of all evil” at least once in his or her life. Notice that it says the love of money is THE ROOT of ALL EVIL. That is in the KJV and a few other versions. But the NIV says, “For the love of money is a root.” It does not say THE ROOT – it says A ROOT meaning one among several. The quote goes on, “of all kinds of evil” (not necessarily ALL EVIL).

Another version says, “For the love of money is a root of all evil.” And a fourth version that can be found, for instance, in the NWT, says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things.” That does not necessarily mean it has to do with evil at all. So we have four different versions of the same verse, all of which have differences, some small – some large.

Mark 16:9-20 has a footnote in the NIV that states, “The two most reliable early manuscripts don’t even have these verses.” Biblical scholars still cannot agree whether or not these verses should even be included in the Bible.

DON: “Do all foreign languages have an exact translation in English? Did we have all the exact words for ancient Greek in our language?”

Since I speak Spanish and Italian I can safely say that all languages DO NOT translate exactly into English. However there is a commonly accepted translation for almost every word. As many biblical scholars there are in the world – you think they could agree on a translation. The problem is those 200,000 variants. Which one is correct? Which one has the original hidden in it? I have five different Italian/English dictionaries at home and they all have the same words for each English word and vice versa. So why can’t Biblical Scholars and theologians agree on what the Greek and Hebrew translations should be? You can buy a Greek (I have one of those because I lived in Greece for two years and visited a few times afterwards) and Hebrew dictionary with English conversions. Why do the scholars disagree?

DON: “When I was in El Salvador, my translator sometimes had to think of ways to translate what I had said because they didn’t have a word in Spanish for that particular word or phrase I had used. Did they give the same (or close enough) message as what I had said? Close enough for me.”

The problem your translator ran into was more likely a wording problem and not really a word-for-word translation. The Latin languages have a tendency to say the same thing with fewer words – which is why a translation to English can often sound like a See Dick Run book from the first grade. I’m sure your translator ran into problems with exact word-for-word translations. Either because he did not know the words or there was no word in Spanish for the English word and he was not aware of what the scholars had chosen as the replacement. And that is the highlight of biblical translation. There is no agreement among the scholars as to what words should represent what words.

For example if the Greek text says Pink but there is no English word for Pink then you have to find a replacement that everyone agrees on. The Greeks show us what Pink means and we call it baby red! So the scholars agree that whenever the Greek text says Pink it will be translated to the words baby red. The problem of course is that the scholars can’t agree. As we scan through several translations we see many variations of the Greek word pink. We see baby red, red, orange, neon red, the colors of sunset, reddish, colored like an apple, red-like, white-red, and others. In this example we know that red, orange, neon red, reddish, colored like an apple, red-like, and the colors of a sunset do not even come close to pink. White-red will possibly work – but leaves an awful lot to the imagination and conveys a sense of more white than red because the word white comes first (blue-green is more blue and green-blue is more green). Baby red works the same way baby blue does. Blue is the ocean and baby blue is the sky.

While the example seems far-fetched it underlines the problem with biblical manuscripts – which no scholars can agree on which one is correct and which wordage is appropriate. Thus we have variations and over 3500 sects of Christianity.

DON: “I would ask, again as I have before, that if you say that there are NO ancient transcripts left then how can you prove anything is incorrect?”

The assertion is that the Bible is error-free. This is obviously not the case. Until the original manuscripts are produced to prove the Bible is correct – we must assume they are in error. With over 200,000 variants there is no way anyone can claim the Bible is error-free and maintain their intellectual integrity. They can try to rationalize why the current copies might be close to the original – but the bottom line is they don’t know (and never will).

If Christians were to stop claiming the Bible as error-free and the word of God tomorrow – then I would stop saying that the Bible has errors in it. The claim has been made that the Bible is the word of God, and therefore perfect, and that is 100% error free. If that claim is made – then I will offer evidence to the contrary.

DON: “Have you personally seen the manuscripts and translated them to deduce these errors or are you just relying on someone’s “opinion” as to whether or not they are incorrect?”

I have seen some of the manuscripts (from a distance, of course) – but neither the biblical scholars nor I have access to any signed originals manuscripts. They simply do not exist. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has actually caused more of a problem for inerrantists. The Dead Sea Scrolls have illuminated more errors and problems with the “error-free” Bible.

Proverbs 19:28

  • NASB: A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads [swallows] iniquity.
  • ASV: A worthless witness mocketh at justice; And the mouth of the wicked swalloweth iniquity.
  • NKJV: A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
  • KJV: An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.
  • NLT: A corrupt witness makes a mockery of justice; the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
  • NRS: A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
  • RSV: A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
  • TEV: There is no justice where a witness is determined to hurt someone. Wicked people love the taste of evil.
  • NAB: An unprincipled witness perverts justice, and the mouth of the wicked pours out iniquity.
  • DRB: An unjust witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.
  • WEB: A corrupt witness mocks justice, And the mouth of the wicked gulps down iniquity.
  • BBE: A good-for-nothing witness makes sport of the judge’s decision: and the mouth of evildoers sends out evil like a stream.
  • DARBY: A witness of Belial scorneth judgment, and the mouth of the wicked swalloweth down iniquity.
  • HNV: A corrupt witness mocks justice, And the mouth of the wicked gulps down iniquity.
  • WB: An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.
  • LV: testis iniquus deridet iudicium et os impiorum devorat iniquitatem
  • YLT: A worthless witness scorneth judgment, And the mouth of the wicked swalloweth iniquity.

Don Rebuttal #008

Just 2 or 3 (I hope) real quick things.

1) Do you know the etymology of the word ‘universe’. As an atheist, do you have a problem using that word (I’m assuming you know it’s etymology)?

2) This is my own personal belief as to why the earth appears to be older than the approx. 6,000 years I believe it to be. I believe that God created the earth as a mature planet. I also believe God created Adam & Eve. When God created Adam, He probably created him as a young adult. If Adam would have been able to have a medical checkup, then the Dr. would have come to the conclusion that he was, for the sake of a number, 20 years old. The same thing for my belief about the world. It was created young, but looks old.

I would never expect for you to even remotely agree with me. That is just what I believe. You don’t need to take any time in rebuttal to that unless you just want to. It’s just my opinion.

3) Are you a micro, macro or a little of both evolutionist?

4) You once asked me how I would explain the “fact?” that a star is millions of light years away if we are only 6,000 years old. May I please refer you to the best explanation I could find a Creation Science Evagelism.

5) I would like to compliment you on your includence of theism links on your web page.

I also liked your reply to the question about your child and your trying, or better yet, not trying, to teach them that it’s this way or else. I have tried to explain to my children why I believe what I believe. I have also tried, for them as well as for myself, to live my life as I believe a “Christian” ought to live. This is called, showing by example and not just by words. I don’t pretend to be “perfect”. They know that I’m far from “perfect”. I put that word in quotes only because, when you claim to be a “Christian” and you don’t live a “perfect” life then there are those who are waiting to let you know what a hypocrite you are. Some people do practice hypocrisy, just like some who practice drunkenness, spousal and child abuse, profanity, drug abuse, etc. etc. After all, practice does, in some instances, make perfect. NO ONE has to tell me when I’ve done something I shouldn’t have. I beat them to it by a mile!! I just try hard to not make it a habit. Not that you have to be a Christian to be like that either. Except for the feeling, on my part, that you seemed a bit arrogant at times, you come across as a pretty good family man. You know… you would make a pretty good Chris.. never mind. Just kidding!

Well I’ve gone over my 2-3 things I wanted to cover (see there, can’t trust them Christians to do what they say).

Just one more thing please. I’ve noticed that you’ve used the word hell in the context of “what the hell I look like”, and in a similar context somewhere else on your web page. I find that quite interesting. I really don’t think that I have to explain why I think that’s interesting do I?

Response to Don #008

Good to hear from you! I see you’ve been busy since we last talked. That’s great! Remember – no matter what conclusion you come to – you can say with pride that you have done the research and say you have reached your own conclusions. And that is what is most important – coming to our own conclusions. The conclusion is irrelevant in the long run – it’s the journey that gets us there that is important.

Now on to your questions:

DON: “Do you know the etymology of the word “universe”? As an atheist, do you have a problem using that word (I’m assuming you know it’s etymology)?”

Universe has its roots in from the original Indo-European of unus for “one” and versus, which comes from the Latin verb vertere that means, “to turn.” From the original roots sprouted the Old French univers and Latin universum. The original meaning of the word was “All created things viewed as constituting one system or whole; the whole body of things, or of phenomena. The mundus of the Latin’s; the world; creation.”

But the root of word, the etymology, usually is irrelevant to the current meaning of the word. Why should I have a problem with its origins? Just look at the word “cool” for an extreme example.

Same for the origins of the Big Bang Theory – why drop a word or theory just because its origins contradict our modern views? A Christian monk developed the Big Bang Theory to prove that the universe was finite. At the time science believed that the universe was infinite. Christianity embraced the theory as proof that the universe was finite and could have a creator. When science realized the theory was scientifically sound and offered further evidence to substantiate the theory – Christianity dropped it like a hot potato. I am not afraid of nor am I worried about the roots of words – unlike Christianity has shown itself to be in the past.

DON: “This is my own personal belief as to why the earth appears to be older than the approx. 6,000 years I believe it to be. I believe that God created the earth as a mature planet. I also believe God created Adam & Eve. When God created Adam, He probably created him as a young adult. If Adam had been able to have a medical checkup, then the Dr. would have come to the conclusion that he was, for the sake of a number, 20 years old. The same thing for my belief about the world. It was created young, but looks old.”

If you truly believe this then you cannot fault science for finding the maturity in the planet or the species on the planet. You cannot fault the scientists for discovering that light from stars billions of light years away would not be visible if the planet were only 6000-years-old. Usually when evidence of an old earth is provided the comeback is, “God is testing our faith”. I get that line a lot – especially when I ask about dinosaur bones, starlight, and strata. “God is testing our faith.”

Is there Biblical Scripture to support your claim that Adam was 20 and God created a “mature” Earth?

DON: “I would never expect for you to even remotely agree with me. That is just what I believe. You don’t need to take any time in rebuttal to that unless you just want to. It’s just my opinion.”

Why would you not expect me to agree with you? I will be more than happy to agree with you if you can provide the evidence to back up your claim. You can start by providing Biblical Scripture support for a mature Earth creation and a mature Adam.

DON: “Are you a micro, macro or a little of both evolutionist?”

Evolution is both – they are both interwoven into the fact and theory of evolution. Macroevolution (macro from the Greek word for “big”) refers to an evolutionary change at or above the level of species. In other words the splitting of a species into two, or speciation. It is also referred to as cladogenesis, which is from the Greek meaning of “the origin of a branch”. Any changes that occur at higher levels such as phyla, genera, or family are also referred to as macroevolution.

Microevolution (micro from the Greek word “small”) refers to an evolutionary change below the level of species. It takes into account the changes in frequency within a population or a species of its alleles (alternative genes) and their effects thereof (also referred to as phenotype).

Perhaps a simpler way of putting it is that macroevolution is “between species” and microevolution is “within species”.

Both microevolution and macroevolution have been observed in nature and in the fossil record.

DON: “You once asked me how I would explain the “fact?” that a star is millions of light years away if we are only 6,000 years old. May I please refer you to the best explanation I could find at Creation Science Evagelism.”

I’ll avoid a discussion about Dr. Dino – because it is irrelevant at this point. But I would suggest that you research his credentials before you rely to heavily on his web page.

“Dr.” Dino insists that:

Scientists cannot measure the distance of light accurately beyond 100 light years.

No one knows what light is nor that it always travels the same speed throughout all of time, space, and matter.

That creation was mature when God finished it.

Point 3 is irrelevant here because it does not provide evidence against the scientific method. It is pure speculation and there is no Biblical support of this statement. So we’ll toss that one out.

Point 2 is incorrect. We do know what light is and how to separate light and identify the wavelengths in light and focus it. We do know that light always travels the same speed in a vacuum (space). If the speed were to change minutely in a different “matter” it would be irrelevant. The change would have to be extremely drastic for it to make a difference from 15 billion years to 6000 years. It would be the light-year equivalent of stopping a bullet train in less than five feet. If light travels differently outside of time it has no bearing whatsoever on our measurements. Time is a constant in our dimension. Light traveling from one side of our dimension to another would not suffer from changes because of a “time warp”.

His “rainbow effect” is not a slowing down or speeding up of light as he indicates. The rainbow effect is caused when the light is separated into its color spectrum – the speed of the light does not change. I hope this man isn’t calling himself a scientist. To say that the speed of light changing causes a rainbow! Send that man back to High School physics!

It’s also important to note that Barry Setterfield, whom Dr. Dino quotes, proposed the c-decay hypothesis in 1981. The young-Earth community embraced it until in 1988 the San Diego-based Institute for Creation Research (ICR) rejected the theory in their article “Acts and Facts”, June 1988, by G. Aardsma. Dr. Dino later refers readers to the ICR. How can he quote something that the ICR rejects then send his readers to the ICR? It doesn’t make any sense. Does Dr. Dino not know that ICR rejected his claims?

Point 1 is incorrect. A light-year is the distance a beam of light travels in a year, 5.88 trillion miles (9.46 trillion km.). Light travels at a speed of 186,287 miles per second (299,792 km/s). Most astronomers prefer to use the Parsec, which is the equivalent of 3.2 light-years. Where does Dr. Dino get is “100 light-years” from? Because ground based observations can achieve an accurate measurement of parallax angles as small as 0.03, which corresponds to starts at a distance of d=1/0.03 which is 33 parsec or roughly 100 light years. The Hippocras satellite measured the distance of stars 1000 parsecs away accurately. And with the establishment of the Hubble space telescope – the stars are NOT the limits anymore! We have now measured the distance the farthest reaches of the universe visible with the Hubble. We have seen and measured what we have never been able to do before. Perhaps Dr. Dino should update his page to reflect the Hippocras satellite and the Hubble space telescope?

He is correct that ground based observations cannot be exclusively accurate for any star over 100 light years away. But satellites have measure starts at 1000 parsecs (32,000 light years (there goes the 6000-year-old Earth) and the Hubble has measured star distances into the millions of light years. Dr. Dino and those he quotes have failed to use light and starts as “proof” for a young earth.

DON: “I would like to compliment you on including theism links on your web page.”

I don’t know how many times I can emphasize the fact that I’m not out to convert people. I am out to educate people and let them come to their own conclusions. If I “create” a few atheists along the way – so be it. If I cause people to become stronger in their faith and learn about the origins of their beliefs – more power to them. It’s about education – not conversion. That is the difference between the theist and me. Thank you for the compliment and I will continue to update them. I don’t know if you’ve seen the articles section lately – but it is teaming with new information and formats.

DON: “I also liked your reply to the question about your child and your trying, or better yet, not trying, to teach them that it’s this way or else. I have tried to explain to my children why I believe what I believe. I have also tried, for them as well as for myself, to live my life, as I believe a “Christian” ought to live.”

Thank you. If we don’t trust our children to make their own choices about religion then how can we expect them to make choices at all? Religious belief or the lack thereof will undoubtedly be one of the most important decisions in their lives. I personally believe that they should be left to make that decision on their own. Let them see by our example and the example of others. Let them research everything possible and let the parents provide the means to do that research. If my children ask me for a book about Hinduism – I will provide it. Hiding things from them will only increase the rebelliousness and likeliness of “crossing over”. Let them explore and learn – let them make their choice. I can tell already that at least one of my daughters will need a god and need faith in her life. My other daughter will more than likely become a freethinker and perhaps even an atheist.

DON: “Not that you have to be a Christian to be like that either. Except for the feeling, on my part, that you seemed a bit arrogant at times, you come across as a pretty good family man. You know… you would make a pretty good Chris (tian). Never mind. Just kidding!”

No… that’s okay. You are right. I would make a good “christian.” That is because our morality is based on human nature, societal needs, and our inner feelings and emotions that are triggered by our experiences. I am a humane and decent person that tries very hard to live to the standards of ever advanced and educated society before us. Confucius was saying exactly what Jesus said (although Confucius said it 500 years earlier). Before Confucius was Hammurabi’s Code. If I were a Christian – I would be a damn fine Christian! I take that as a compliment – no need to say, “just kidding”.

My arrogance is more frustration than anything. Frustrated at hearing the same thing over and over again. I’m not talking about questions that are asked – I’m talking about the laying of words from bigoted sources. Bigoted statements like, “atheists are Satanists” and “atheists are immoral”, among others. It can get on your nerves. Early in the debate I took that out on you a little – and I apologize for that. You came to me with questions and a predetermined bias based on what you had been taught. I took out my frustration at your teachers on you – and again I’m sorry.

DON: “Just one more thing please. I’ve noticed that you’ve used the word hell in the context of “what the hell I look like”, and in a similar context somewhere else on your web page. I find that quite interesting. I really don’t think that I have to explain why I think that’s interesting do I?”

You don’t have to explain why you think it is interesting. They are figures of speech. When you say, “It’s hot as hell out here”, do you literally mean you are standing in the pits of hell? Do you really know the exact temperature of hell when you say that? Of course you’re not in the pits of hell and you don’t know the temperature of hell – it’s a figure of speech.

No different than saying things like:

  • “Hells bells!”
  • “Jesus H. Christ!”
  • “God damnit!”
  • “It’s hot as hell out here!”
  • “Lord, help us.”
  • “Only god knows.”
  • “Thank god for that.”
  • “Mary, mother of god.”
  • “That’s one hell of a pitch you got there, son.”
  • “Holy cow!”
  • “Gotta get me to the church on time.”
  • “I look to the heavens to see the planets and stars.”
  • “New York City is hell on earth.”
  • “Cindy Crawford’s bed is heaven on earth.”

They are all figures of speech and do not mean the speaker believes in the reference and is in no way literal. If Cindy Crawford’s bed were literally heaven on earth a lot of pastors would be squirming in their pews. Of course New York probably is the literal hell on earth!

Don Rebuttal #009

Thank you for the encouragement. I hope that you have seen some growth in this 43 year old since we first started corresponding. I’ve learned a great deal.

I don’t know much about Dr. Dino other than he has a tape series, says he will take on all challengers and says he is offering a $250,000 reward to anyone who can prove evolution (if I understand him correctly). I am obviously not a scientist and as a believer in creationism, he says the things I want to here. I also, though, wouldn’t mind if someone says (it would be my wife) that I still looked as if I were 20. Sounds good, but not quite true.

Thank you for all of the detailed explanations. It’s very interesting.

The reason for my question as to whether or not you have a problem using the word ‘universe’ is this. I heard that the word came from the Latin uni, meaning – single. Verse, meaning – spoken sentence. Guess who I heard that from? It sounded good.

When I said that I was just kidding about you being a good Christian if you had gone that way was a compliment. I do accept your apology for the earlier correspondences in which you sounded a wee bit agitated, I probably would have responded the same way. Thank you.

Well, I need to do a little more studying for tomorrow. It’s our primary in California. A couple of heated propositions on the ballot. The hottest is prop. 22, the “protect marriage” prop. I don’t understand why it’s such a controversy here on the “left” coast. Any ideas? You lived out here a while.

Response to Don #009

DON: “Thank you, also, for the encouragement. I hope that you have seen some growth in this 43-year-old since we first started corresponding. I’ve learned a great deal.”

You are very welcome! I’m glad to hear you’ve learned a lot. I know I’ve mentioned it before –but here I go again – I live every day with a single goal: to learn something new. It makes every day enjoyable – even when I’m having a “bad hair day”.

DON: “I don’t know much about Dr. Dino other than he has a tape series, says he will take on all challengers and says he is offering a $250,000 reward to anyone who can prove evolution (if I understand him correctly).”

Dr. Dino’s $250,000 reward is actually not his own – he is supporting Dr. Hamm – who is the originator of the reward. Dr. Hamm has a series of 20 questions that evolutionists are supposed to answer. I answered his questions once and the responses he sent back made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants. I didn’t email him back because I knew no matter what I said – he would disagree – because he didn’t want to see the evidence. That is why a lot of evolutionists and other scientists will not debate creationists anymore – because it’s frivolous and a waste of time. There are those like me that are still willing to debate now and then. Not for the benefit of the person I’m debating – but for the benefit of the general public.

DON: “I am obviously not a scientist and as a believer in creationism, he says the things I want to hear. I also, though, wouldn’t mind if someone says (it would be my wife) that I still looked as if I were 20. Sounds good, but not quite true.”

Don’t worry about not being a scientist – Dr. Dino isn’t a scientist either! This isn’t about being a scientist or a genius. This about the search for knowledge and coming to our own conclusions instead of letting others draw those conclusions for us. You touched on a major subject when you said that they “say the things you want to hear.” It’s kind of like sitting through a church sermon – they tell you what you want to hear. They tell you that you will have eternal life, that god loves you, that you are loved by the fellowship, and you can be forgiven for the bad things you’ve done. That is the description of any church of any religion (with obvious exceptions).

When is the last time you heard a preacher talking about the “bad” parts of the Bible in a sermon? When is the last time you heard a preacher talking about the Council of Nicea and the origins of today’s modern Bible? When is the last time you heard a preacher tell you that King James was a homosexual and a murderer – and yet his rendition of the Bible is the most accepted. King James got away with homosexuality and murder because he had “divine right of law” – in other words God gave him the right to rule over the people and therefore he was exempt from common law.

It’s easy to believe anything when you are told what you want to hear. That is why I always check things out for myself – even when it comes from evolutionary scientists or others. Doesn’t matter what the source is – I check it out for myself (to the best of my ability, anyway).

DON: “The reason for my question as to whether or not you have a problem using the word ‘universe’ is this. I heard that the word came from the Latin uni, meaning – single. Verse, meaning – spoken sentence. Guess whom I heard that from? It sounded good.”

I can only guess at whom you heard it from – but Dr. Dino sticks out like a sore thumb here. The etymology of universe has to do with “creation” in its most original root. I’m not sure where the “spoken sentence” came from for “verse”. The root is vertere – not verse. Perhaps you should question Dr. Dino about that? See what he tells you that you want to hear?

DON: “The hottest is prop. 22, the “protect marriage” prop. I don’t understand why it’s such a controversy here on the “left” coast. Any ideas? You lived out here a while.”

I’m not sure why proposition 22 is making such waves in California. I knew and know California as a very freethinking state. Where you can do anything you want in fashion, sex, emotion, and art – and no one gave one poop or another. Want blue hair – go ahead. Want to wear a pink tuxedo – go ahead. I had always admired California for that. I guess I should be specific and say Southern California. Southern and Northern California are two different states and should be divided like the Dakotas and the Carolinas.

Perhaps the brunt of the controversy is stemming from the Hispanic population – which is majority Catholic? I know there’s been a recent influx of Mormonism into the state as well. I remember seeing that huge white temple along I-215 going toward San Diego. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome.

Debate 003: Clay and Blair debate the “search for God.”

Clay Rebuttal #001:

A friend alerted me of his recent discussions with you concerning Atheism and his argument for the existence of God. He is a good friend, an old friend, and out of care for him, and at his request, I went to view your conversation.

Hoping to find some provocative discussion, I read through what are common, yet good, arguments from a non-Christian vantage.

You are a bright man with an earnestness in your discussion, and I respect that. The reason I do is simply because I know that you are not a chemical random product of a chance universe. On the contrary, Atheists, by definition, must see life and morality and love and reason as a fool’s errand because humankind is simply a species at the top of the cruel food chain, amoral beasts living in some developed system of law which, ultimately, is simply an arbitrary game. Please, refrain from any absolute moral statement for fear of being exposed as a hopelessly inconsistent hypocrite.

You have dignity. You are a human being made in the image of the personal God of the Universe. You have a conscience and creativity that separates you from the flora and fauna. Your questions and analysis are not anything that hasn’t been wrestled with throughout the ages, and I am confident that scholarly secular history, archeology (a relatively new discipline) and the history Western philosophy challenge your positions at every turn. I know because I have studied them for years. By the Grace of God, He has opened my eyes to His reality. I cannot boast of any good behavior or moral reason that he has done so. This is His world, His reality, and His rules. His purposes are often far above our understanding, but also they are right in front of our eyes, like BOBBYMAC7 has seen. Sure, these events could be arbitrary. But just as sure, they could not be.

I would enjoy hearing your discussion. But more, if you truly are inquisitive about the condition of reality, if God is actually real, then search for Him like gold, dig for Him like treasure. Consider praying to Him to reveal Himself, and do not give up easily. I know that if you are His, He will open your eyes. I will seriously pray that He does.

Response to Clay #001:

CLAY: “On the contrary, Atheists, by definition, must see life and morality and love and reason as a fool’s errand because humankind is simply a species at the top of the cruel food chain, amoral beasts living in some developed system of law which, ultimately, is simply an arbitrary game. Please, refrain from any absolute moral statement for fear of being exposed as a hopelessly inconsistent hypocrite.”

I think you are confusing atheism with religion and a belief system. Atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief in gods. Nothing more to it than that. The beliefs and ideals that atheists hold are as unique as our fingerprints. I debate atheists more than I do theists on “beliefs”. Out of the six rebuttal pages only two are from theists, one is from an agnostic, and three are from fellow atheists.

I’m not sure where you are getting your definition for atheism – but it is far from the truth. Life is wonderful in my view. I get up every morning andlook forward to learning something new and watching my children grow up. I look forward to spending time with my family and friends. What I don’t do is get up and submit to an invisible man in Emperor’s clothes. Regarding love. our emotions are real and tangible. I can feel and have emotions. atheists are not automatons that are lifeless and cold-blooded. We are mammals just like you.

You obviously associate atheism with immorality and theism with morality. Why does morality need a God to dictate that morality?

I cannot be exposed as a hypocrite by responding because you do not know what atheism means.

CLAY: “You are a human being made in the image of the personal God of the Universe.”

Not to sound facetious. but you forgot to add, “in my opinion” to your statement.

CLAY: “You have a conscience and creativity that separates you from the flora and fauna. Your questions and analysis are not anything that hasn’t been wrestled with throughout the ages, and I am confident that scholarly secular history, archeology (a relatively new discipline) and the history Western philosophy challenge your positions at every turn. I know because I have studied them for years.”

There is a reason that Christian Apologetics are called “Apologetics.” They are apologizing for the loopholes in their beliefs and doctrine. Should we ignore those loopholes and continue on as if nothing is wrong with religious ideology? Should we not answer the questions that our conscious has? Should we not grapple with questions because someone else failed to answer them or answered them incorrectly? I grappled with my questions and I found the answers. I am not grappling anymore. I am secure in my atheism and secure in the answers I have found – because I worked hard for them.

Why are you sure that secular history, archaeology and Western philosophy challenge my positions? History has only shown religion to be and ideology that comes and goes. If you have studied them for many years then you should know basic Humanities and what our physical, emotional, and psychological needs are and what purpose religion serves in meeting those needs.

CLAY: “This is His world, His reality, His rules. His purposes are often far above our understanding, but also they are right in front of our eyes, like BOBBYMAC7 has seen. Sure, these events could be arbitrary. But just as sure, they could not be.”

When theists discuss their gods the words “above our understanding” always seem to come up. Why is that? Because religion is a way of explaining what we do not understand and what we fear. If you feel the need for religion to extinguish your lack of understanding then that is your prerogative. I personally choose to look into what I don’t understand and come to understand it. Should I shrug my shoulders and say, “to hell with it. I’ll never understand it.” Why is religion so defeatist in that manner? I don’t give up that easily. I have an understanding of everything I need to understand and everything I want to understand. Am I content? No. I am constantly searching for more knowledge and asking more questions so thatI can look for the answers.

CLAY: “But more, if you truly are inquisitive about the condition of reality, if God is actually real, then search for Him like gold, dig for Him like treasure. Consider praying to Him to reveal Himself, and do not give up easily. I know that if you are His, He will open your eyes. I will seriously pray that He does.”

I am an ex-Christian. I’ve been there before. I figured out what was wrong with religious ideology when I was in the seventh grade. I didn’t understand my atheism back then and kept it in the closet for a long time mostly from fear of repercussions. I am now confident in my atheism and I understand it. I have inner strength and courage – prayer is not necessary.

I haven’t “given up” – I have “left completely – never to return”.

Clay Rebuttal #002:

How I appreciate your diligence in breaking down my rather quick note to you. Had I known the effort you would employ, I’d have been more attentive to delivering carefully my position.

In this fast world, we all too often do not allow time to discuss eternal matters with any depth, so I appreciate your genuine desire to do so. It’s rare and special, thus my desire to think critically and carefully.

Be advised that my thoughts are aimed at the realm of ideas, not personalities or institutions. My position contends that people are gloriously made in the image of God, not merely in my opinion, but in reality, meaning that their individual personality takes its form from the personality behind the universe and behind all of reality, that being the personal Triune God who preceded the universe/creation/matter.

My first cause where I begin this discussion is with the infinite personal God, the Triune God of Biblical Christianity, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who came near in the Incarnation and who physically arose from the dead after having lived a morally perfect life. I contend that, based on the science of Textual Criticism and the generally accepted criteria for accepting creditable historical narrative, especially historical narrative from antiquity, the Bible is a reliable source. Though many would tout that is replete with errors, that is a new argument based on 18th century rationalism, the Emmanuel “Kantian” watershed, if you will. For every argument about gross inconsistency, there is an equally credible reasonable response to the contrary. These academic discussions wind up being intramural arguments not soon solved in front of the watching world. Blind faith has no home with me, or the bulk of biblical historians who see Orthodoxy as both reasonable as rational and historically valid. I ask that you bathe yourself in these various Orthodox approaches before you boldly wave the banner of atheism. I would start with the three larger arguments, the Ontological, the Cosmological and the Teleological arguments. Reasonably disprove them and effectively criticize their adherents’ work over the last 2,000 years before you say that you have concluded, without the shadow of a doubt, that based on all knowledge you have gathered, or that can possible be gathered, God is a psychological necessity for man but not an objective reality.

For example, the substitutionary atonement, the death of Christ on the behalf of sinful man as it’s called theologically, I contend is a real thing necessary to bridge the gap between morally broken man and the personal God who must have justice for harmonious relationship with man to be restored. That’s the reason the Faith says that Christ died for us. We could never merit the merit of Christ. He, our elder Brother, covers us by His moral perfection and death on our behalf. Without an able covering, we, sinful humankind, would never be able to withstand the absolute holiness of a perfect God. As I read the law, the 10 Commandments, I see that I have broken every one of them, hundreds of thousands of times in some cases. Objectively, compared to the Law, I am guilty of eternal death as a lawbreaker who must one day face an infinitely moral perfect and just personal God. Faith in Christ’s work on my behalf, “Christ’s blood shed for me” as we say in the Holy Communion, is a great mystery. Yet, it is what a believer in Christianity must humble himself under to be rid of the burden of guilt and shame that all humans face…ultimately from the common curse of death. That’s the good news of the Christian Gospel over and against all other religions…there is real restored relationship with the Creator where ultimate personality meets our fulfilled personality. The separation is bridged by the only one morally able to be the bridge.

This, I’m sure you know, is basic Christian theology 101. Yet, I must clarify my definitions because in the post-modern world, historically understood concepts are often twisted from their original intent. Vocabulary words mean things. They have historically understood definitions, and I want to agree/disagree over word usage before I strike off in a conversation and before we know it, we are not on the same page. That would be futile, as we would have quite different concepts in mind from the outset. For example, the reason I defined a classic understanding of the pre-existence of a personal Triune God and the need for a substitutionary atonement is so that I define myself from liberal Christianity, higher criticism or Bartism…take your pick of definitions.

Your letter to me used words I use, words like “wonderful,” and “love.” These are words that reflect morality, would you agree? To quote the late 20th century poet/philosopher, Madonna, if “we are living in a material world,” then how do you explain the obvious presence of the love you feel? Is it merely chemical deception? An atheist believes that we are random products of a chance universe, that we are simply biological results of chemical reactions, mammals, carbon and oxygen and the like. Are we computers of complex chemistry? If the beginning of the creation/matter was impersonal, how do you value the person? To speak of morality, love, language, communication, creativity…these are meaningless if we are simply matter. Anything precious simply doesn’t exist in a purely material world. There is no freedom, no dignity at all in a world without an ultimate personality as its first cause. The atheist’s world clearly can have no room for these concepts and concepts of justice and truth. They don’t exist in a material world. Nothing stands behind them. There is no transcendent personality to validate the urges.

I say that’s terrible! An atheist can’t make that statement because there is no morality, ultimately. For the atheist, there is no good, no bad. If this life is just a social construct created by man, evolving along with his chemical evolution as a means of keeping social order and restraining chaos in his devised system, then all of life is temporary. Justice, love, good and bad are arbitrary. Nothing stands behind anything except complex chemistry. How dare you, an atheist, ever make an absolute moral judgment!

God is necessary for personality, morality, and love. That’s why the theist begins here. It is consistent with his/her experience, for one. We see morality and immorality all around. We see love and hate. We experience longing and anxiety. Are these simply chemical reactions? Is there ultimately, as Woody Allen says, only sex and death? From your words, you seem to believe that there is more.

Everything begins either impersonal (Western materialism, Scientific rationalism, Marxism, Eastern religions) or personal, as Judeo-Christianity uniquely maintains. Biblical Christianity claims that God is there and that He is not silent. Life is thus meaningful because He is there. All questions are valid in this, our Father’s world. Honest answers to honest questions are there for the taking and debating. As the book of Colossians reads, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” All things. Atoms, reason, conversation, tensile strength, gravity, love and justice. God’s image in us is why we are who we are. How do you explain our individuality? Whereas Modern Liberalism ultimately calls God the whirlwind, in that He cannot really be known, Orthodoxy says that we can communicate with Him. Though God is infinite and we are finite, He is personal, as are we. The mammals are not personal. You and I are gloriously fashioned, and we can even debate His reality using language and emotions and reason, elements foolishly useless in a world of rigid determinism evolved from dust and ending in dust.

Now, if God is One personal entity, in three distinct Persons (Orthodoxy), why do I say that personality is needed in this life for morality and humanity? He communicates because He wants to. He loves because He wants to. Whereas in Islam, the personality of God disappears, Allah becomes totally arbitrary. Love and compassion are not fundamental to his being. We cannot love Allah as our Father. In contrast, the God of Christianity is true love as fundamental to Himself. Mohammed rejected the Trinity, and fear is the dominant feature of the Muslim, rather than love. In the Eastern religions, personality is lost in the Ground of collective Being. In Materialism, there is no ultimate answer for our personality. Thus, for morality to exist, there must be someone behind it. Morality is purely personal. Truth is purely personal. Where does the atheist stand on the absolute necessity of justice and love and morality in this world if in the end it is simply a chemical existence?

Why then the suffering and death and hate and cruelty in our existence if God is love and He made the world/reality? Great question. The scriptures contend that God is radically distinct from the creation. The creation has death and destruction, not an expression of God. In the creation, His divine power and divine nature are revealed, but He is not part of the creation. Sin entered the world. God is not its author. He is sovereign over evil, or He wouldn’t be God. We know that Orthodoxy claims that there is personality behind Evil, yet that personality is bound to move only where the particular providence of God allows. This is an ancient argument, “why evil?” but our limited perspective cannot exhaustively contain the mysterious purposes of God in history. We do know that God commands that believers avoid evil and that they are warned to be on their guard from it. We also know that we are told to simply resist the Evil One and he will flee. In the Last Days, it is the archangel, Michael, who defeats Satan, not God directly. The “B” team, if you will. So, evil will one day, in space and time, be no more. Admittedly, there are mysteries here.

But life is full of mystery. Have you traveled the globe extensively to find God absent? I doubt that you have. I know that you haven’t left the planet. Maybe He’s out there. How can you, a mere fragile man, dependent upon daily food and sleep and shelter be so confident that we are alone? And if we are alone, how dare you make any moral judgment.

I contend that your world of atheism is arbitrary and meaningless. In your world, you are meaningless. Yet, in my world, you and I have value because the personal God of the Universe has fashioned us to be in relationship with Him.

If for some reason the future finds my faith, on which I’ve constructed my entire being to be false, and then I will die like a dog and simply cease to exist. At least I’ve constructed a pattern of behavior where I function in a system of charity, forgiveness and self-denial for the material and psychological benefit of others. My existence would ultimately still be meaningless. If I’m right, I will inherit the Eternal Kingdom and be in a glorified body in the New Heaven and the New Earth with restored, perfect fellowship with my fellow Saints.

If you are right, then you die like a dog and simply cease to exist. Yet, if you are wrong, you risk being eternally separated from the personal God who freely offers ultimate meaning and peace through faith in Christ.

If the atom is our only related element, then emotions and morals and opinions and beliefs are mere illusion. They have no foundation in the universe, no reality.

You say that you were once a Christian. I say that, theologically, that is impossible. Either you are a Christian and are in serious sin and denial of your true state, or you had an experience with legalism, masquerading as Biblical Christianity, and you have rejected what you see as an intolerant, provincial morality-based system. I believe the later to be the case. You’ve actually never been exposed to the true faith or else you would see the rational errors in your rather pedestrian atheism. I know. I was once there, too. In my ignorance and pride I created my own reality in my head, living arbitrarily, synthesizing what I wanted to from a universalistic amalgamation of shallow studies. But God had mercy, and in His perfect love, He came near and opened my eyes, eyes that had tried to reject Him at many turns.

If you are His, my friend, you will not escape Him. He will drag you down and smother you with His compassion. Yet, if you openly parade around and foolishly claim that He is a stupid idea based on foolishly minded humanity and you encourage others to slander Him, you risk being destroyed. Though He will take no pleasure in it, it will be a moral necessity because He is perfect justice. The Law will find you guilty, deserving eternal death.

Consider this. In the privacy of own home, quietly pray that He reveal Himself to you. Ask for mercy, not miraculous signs. Ask that your heart be humbled. If He’s there, He will not deny you. If He’s not, you’ve simply played a game in a chemical, material experience with no meaning, so nothing is lost.

But, if I’m right, everything is to gain.

Response to Clay #002:

I wanted to start off by saying that I couldn’t agree more with your assertion that we, as a social species, do not discuss eternal matters in depth enough. Perhaps if we did there would be more skepticism in the world today. When I say skepticism, I do not mean to the point of total dismissal – but to the point of not taking things told to us without questioning sources and evidence. I mean Skepticism to the point of conducting our own investigations and verifying what people tell us to the best of our abilities. As the founder of the Mobile Atheist & Skeptic Alliance (MASA) I discuss these matters often and in great depth. Let me assure you that I am not about converting people. It is not my intention to convert people to atheism. Specifically because there is nothing to convert people to – there are no beliefs involved with atheism (as discussed in my previous message to you).

As a Constitutionalist I respect your right to have any opinion and your right to believe in any god or gods as you see fit. However, I do not necessarily respect your views. While that may seem harsh – it is the lifeblood of the Constitution as it stands. You have the right to believe what you want – but you do not have the right to have those beliefs respected. I hope this makes sense and does not come across as insulting, as that is not my intent. Simply put; I respect your right to believe in God – but I do not respect the belief in God.

You said, “…the Bible is a reliable source” based on the science of Textual Criticism and generally accepted criteria of creditable historical narrative. You further emphasized the historical narrative from antiquity. You then asserted that those whom aver that the Bible as not being a reliable source rely on something “new” as of the 18th Century and the introduction of Kantianism.

Let me assure you, that while Kant had some fine ideas, he is not the ultimate authority. Each of us, as individuals, is our own ultimate authority. When I first started reading and studying the Bible I had no idea who Kant was and I had never been exposed to Biblical criticism. As I was studying the Bible I realized the errors myself – I understood the verses instead of just reading them. I saw past the “faith in no errors” and viewed the scripture as what it is; an error-filled mythological account with some historical insignificata contained therein.

For every error in the Bible there has only been rationalization of that error and feeble attempts to justify those errors. Interpretation of the Bible has caused the formation of over 3,500 Christian sects alone – not including Old Testament Judaism and its sects. The Bible is not meant to be interpreted – it was written as a literal word, at least according to Biblical scholars.

Jesus himself insists that the Bible is without errors,

John 10:35 (KJV)

“If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.”

So what happens if errors are identified in the Bible? How important is inerrancy to Christendom and Biblicists?

In his book Basic Theology, Charles Ryrie, a professor at the Dallas Theological Seminary, addressed inerrancy by writing,

RYRIE: “Can one be a biblicist and deny inerrancy? Not if the Bible teaches its own inerrancy… If the Bible contains some errors, no matter how few or many, how can one be sure that his understanding of Christ is correct? … Even if the errors are in supposedly “minor” matters, any error opens the Bible to suspicion on other points that may not be so “minor”. If inerrancy fails, other doctrines will fail, too.”

If inerrancy fails then core beliefs of Christianity come into question. If Genesis is discounted then the entire concept of Original Sin disappears. When Original Sin disappears then the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was in vain in dying “for our sins”. If the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was in vain then the identity of Christianity dies a slow death. Death finally comes when the Resurrection itself comes under fire when inerrancy fails. It is a historical fact that a less than total view of inerrancy among Christians has, at a minimum, resulted in a denial of some or all of the miracles of the Bible.

Apologist Clark Pinnock says in his book A Defense of Biblical Infallibility that,

PINNOCK: “The surrender of biblical infallibility would be a disastrous mistake having deadly effects upon the church of God and its theology.”

Apologist Professor Gleason Archer in his book A Survey of the Old Testament says,

ARCHER: “If this written revelation contains mistakes, then it can hardly fulfill its intended purpose, that is, to convey to man in a reliable way the will of God for his salvation. Why is this so? Because a demonstrated mistake in one part gives rise to the possibility that there may be mistakes in other parts of the Bible. If the Bible turns out to be a mixture of truth and error then it becomes a book like any other book.”

His point is simply, how do you know what is true or not? Every book contains some amount of truth, even if it is nothing more than the author’s name and publisher. Harold Lindsell in his book The Battle for the Bible says,

CLAY: “I contend that embracing a doctrine of an errant Scripture will lead to disaster down the road. It will result in the loss of missionary outreach. It will quench missionary passion. It will lull congregations to sleep and undermine their belief in the full orbed truth of the Bible.”

Even if we knew that only 10% was in error… which 10%? How do we know that what we are reading is not part of that 10%?

I think I’ve established the importance of inerrancy and how it affects not just the Bible but Christianity as a whole. What makes the claim of biblical inerrancy even more “suicidal” is the history of the Bible itself and how it was “formed”. In the book The Light of Reason, Schmuel Golding states,

CLAY: “First the NT was not written by any of the disciples of Jesus not by persons who even lived in that era. … When the church fathers compiled the NT in the year 397, they collected all the writings they could find and managed them as they pleased. They decided by vote which of the books out of the collections they had made should be the word of God and which should not. They rejected several, they voted others to be doubtful, and those books which had a majority of votes were voted to be the word of God.”

The three paragraphs below contain a serious error. I am leaving the error on the site so people can see it and be informed. The quote from Sisson’s book is out of context. The quote does in fact exist in Sisson’s book, but he is using it to quote a “myth” and then goes on to argue that it is not the case at all. While scholars may disagree with Sisson’s assessment, the quote is obviously unfair and incorrect to list here. My apologies to Mr. Sisson for taking his quote out of context. My apologies to readers for passing on incorrect information. I would like to thank Mr. Avery and Mr. Pearse for their diligent work in notifying me of this error. Your efforts are greatly appreciated gentlemen!

Imagine what the Bible would look like today if voting had gone differently? In the year 325, Constantine (a non-baptized Pagan) convened the Council of Nicea to settle disputes in the Church. The council changed Jesus from man to God in the flesh, they changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, and the Passover was changed to Easter. So what does this say about the Bible? It says that MEN, not god, composed the Bible. Apologist Richard Sisson, in his book, Answering Christianity’s Most Puzzling Questions (Volume 1), states,

SISSON: “In fact, after the death of Jesus a whole flood of books that claimed to be inspired appeared … Disputes over which ones were true were so intense that the debate continued for centuries. Finally in the fourth century a group of church leaders called a council and took a vote. The 66 books that comprised our cherished Bible were declared to be Scripture by a vote of 568 to 563.”

568 to 563? If 5 people had voted differently the Bible would be nothing like it is today. You would be reading books that you had never heard of – or perhaps there wouldn’t even be a Bible. What happened to the books that are mentioned in the Old Testament? The Book of the Wars of the Lord is mentioned in Number 21. Joshua 10:13 mentions the Book of Jasher. First Chronicles mentions the Book of Nathan and Gad while Second Chronicles mentions the Book of Acts of Solomon. Where did they go? Why were they not chosen? Were they deemed by vote to not be the word of God? If that is so – then why do books they deemed the word of God mention those books?

End of error

What happened to the extra books from the New Testament era? Books like the Gospels according to Hebrews, Judas Iscariot, Peter, Marcion, Matthias, Eve, and Philip. The Acts of Peter, Book of Judgment by Peter, Hymn of Christ, Magical Book by Christ, and the Letter to Peter and Paul by Christ. If a letter BY Christ didn’t make the cut one has to wonder what criteria these men were using to influence votes. These books have become collectively known as the Apocrypha. Fundamentalist and apologist Josh McDowell has an answer in his book Evidence That Demands A Verdict, “They abound in historical and geographical inaccuracies and anachronisms.”

Apologist E. M. Blaiklock in his book Jesus Christ, Man or Myth says,

BLAIKLOCK: “…the wildly extravagant stories found in the so-called Apocryphal gospels.”

Bottom line is these books were kept out because they did not have the political alliance behind them that the others did. And the others only had a five-point edge. How different the Bible would be today if the Apocryphal gospels had been included. I am often asked to look at the original Bible to verify accuracy and errors (blaming translations on errors). What original Bible? There was/is no original Bible. Even today NO original writings exist. So the next time you pick up the Bible think to yourself, “this is a book of writings that was put together by a group of men who read some ancient manuscripts that purportedly are accurate representation of the originals, which no longer exist.”

The Fundamentalist book Biblical Criticism states,

BIBLICAL CRICITISM: “For over 1,400 years the NT was copied by hand and the copyists, the scribes, made every conceivable error as well at times intentionally altering the text. Such errors and alterations survived in various ways with a basic tendency to accumulate. Scribes seldom left out anything lest the omit something inspired. There are now in existence, extant, in whole or in part, 5,338 Greek manuscripts as well as hundreds of copies of ancient translations, not counting over 8,000 copies of the Latin Vulgate.”

And the kicker? Not a single two are 100% alike. There are over 200,000 variants in some 5,000 manuscripts. Then come the versions that are derivative of these variants. Fundamentalists often like to say that the variants do not affect the material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice. But is that true? Perhaps an example would be pertinent here. Let’s take Second Timothy 3:16:

  • NIV: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
  • NASB: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.
  • KJV: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
  • DARBY: Every scripture [is] divinely inspired, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
  • YLT: …every Writing [is] God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that [is] in righteousness.
  • WE: All that is written in the holy writings comes from the Spirit of God. The holy writings are good for these things: to teach people, to show them when they are wrong, to make them see what is right, to teach them to do what is right.

Talk about variations and versions! On to other things…

You mentioned that I should “bathe myself” in Orthodox approaches before I wave my atheistic banner so boldly. You specifically mention the Ontological, Cosmological, and Teleological arguments. Let me assure you that I have done so. All three arguments fail and offer no rational reason to believe in God as a reality. We know that a belief in god is a psychological necessity for humanity – that is not in dispute. Attempting to rationalize that necessity to make one feel better is not very scientific at all.

You seem to associate love with morality. This is often used as a defense in Christianity to justify Christ’s love and the love one feels for Christ. Love is an emotion that is often associated with the release of dopamine in the brain. The poet Madonna insists upon what atheists “believe” but she obviously knows not what atheism is or is not. Again, as stated in my previous message, atheism is not a belief. While some atheists may have beliefs, atheism itself is not a belief. She would have been more accurate to say evolutionists – but still there is that word belief to confuse the issue. If you ask me if I believe in evolution then I will answer neither yes nor no. That is similar to the question, “do you still beat your wife?” Either yes or no will result in a trapped mouse. Children are asked if they “believe” in the Tooth Fairy. I don’t “believe” in evolution… I KNOW evolution based on current evidence, data, etc.

She states,

POET MADONNA: “To speak of morality, love, language, communication, creativity… these are meaningless if we are simply matter. Anything precious simply doesn’t exist in a purely material world.”

This is, of course, absolutely ridiculous and reeks of emotionalism and speculative pop psychology. Human beings have a conscious and a propensity to care. To want and offer love. We are social animals – and social skills such as love, kindness, friendship, etc., are extensions of our social behavior. Other emotions are directly linked to our evolutionary instincts of flight or fight (anger, fear, etc.)

What I find amazing is that even after my initial message addressing what atheism is you still insist that, “For the atheist, there is no good, no bad. If this life is just a social construct created by man, evolving along with his chemical evolution as a means of keeping social order and restraining chaos in his devised system, then all of life is temporary. Justice, love, good and bad are arbitrary. Nothing stands behind anything except complex chemistry. How dare you, an atheist, ever make an absolute moral judgment!”

I dare make an absolute moral judgment based on my experience as a human being with a conscience and propensity to care. A human being with self-awareness whom knows how it feels when I am treated a certain way. If someone steals from me it makes me sad. It is this knowledge of my emotions, my self-awareness, which leads me to the conclusion that stealing is immoral because I didn’t feel good when someone did it to me. The Ten Commandments are not original. They were stolen from Hammurabi’s Code, which was written almost 1,000 years before the Ten Commandments.

Your arguments for morality are vehemently arrogant and presumptuous. Especially considering the incredible immorality displayed in the Bible. Does a murdering lunatic have the right to dictate morality? Would you let a murderer dictate morality to you? If you answered no… you better change gods really quick. Divine Right of Rule was left behind after the Feudal System crumbled. You also seem to be confusing morality with emotionalism in several cases. Emotionalism may cause us to override our internal and learned morality – but they are separate.

From this point there are several paragraphs of religious rhetoric that I skipped over.

CLAY: “Have you traveled the globe extensively to find God absent? I doubt that you have.”

You would doubt incorrectly. I have traveled all over Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas. If God is in outer space, as you speculated, then what was the point of the Tower of Babel? A simple arrow fired from a tower was enough to anger God and confuse languages. Imagine what rockets and the Space Shuttle will do! But wait – they have already escaped Earth’s atmosphere and pierced the heavens far beyond what a simple arrow could ever accomplish. And what did God do to retaliate against mankind when we pierced the heavens with our “technological” arrows? Nothing. God is not in outer space… he simply is nonexistent.

CLAY: “How can you, a mere fragile man, dependent upon daily food and sleep and shelter be so confident that we are alone?”

And you? How can you, a mere fragile man, dependent upon daily food and sleep and shelter be so confident that we are not alone? How can you be so sure that God is not an extraterrestrial race from Planet X? How can you be so sure that God is not a creator that created the universe and kept on walking – to never care what you or I do?

CLAY: “And if we are alone, how dare you make any moral judgment.”

And if we’re not alone how dare you make any moral judgment? To tell me that I am immoral because I do not believe in your God is a moral judgment. According to you morality is God-given. So what makes you, a simple man, capable of making such a judgment of morality? I dare to make moral judgments based on my experience in this world and by what I have learned through said experiences.

You then go into a version of Pascal’s Wager. I must admit that at first I thought I was in for a good debate, but up until this point you have only recited already defeated arguments. I expected better from you. You said, “If you are right, then you die like a dog and simply cease to exist. Yet, if you are wrong, you risk being eternally separated from the personal God who freely offers ultimate meaning and peace through faith in Christ.”

This question comes from the root of Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and inventor – but he is well known for his religious argument called “Pascal’s Wager”. Pascal was looking for a way to convert his friends to his sect of the Roman Catholic Church called Jansenism. He devised an argument that he thought was foolproof and that would cause instant conversion to his religious beliefs. Amazingly, many theists today still think this argument is foolproof. Simply put, Pascal’s Wager goes something along these lines:

  • Either the believer or the nonbeliever will be correct – one of them has to be wrong.
  • If you are a believer and you are correct – then you will be rewarded with eternal life.
  • If you are a nonbeliever and you are correct – then you will die and nothing will happen.
  • If you are a believer and you are wrong – then will you will die and nothing will happen.
  • If you are a nonbeliever and you are wrong – then you will be punished with eternal damnation in the pits of hell.
  • Therefore, if you are a believer you have a chance of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven – even if you are wrong – you still have a chance of being right. If you are a nonbeliever you have zero chance. So why not be a believer? Just in case the believers are right?

Pascal’s Wager does not work – contrary to the persistent belief of some theists. Replace God with Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy and re-read the wager… does it still sound okay to you?

First, the non-believer must forsake truth in order to be a believer. Should I stop searching for knowledge and forsake the truth for a “chance” that I might be wrong? The sky is blue – that’s the truth. Should I forsake that truth because a religion says the sky is green and that if I’m wrong I could spend an eternity in hell? I’ll stick to the truthful blue sky, thank you.

Second, the wager does not specify which god to believe in. Do I believe in Zeus, Osiris, Jupiter, Allah, Jesus Christ, Mother Earth, Ra, or UFO’s? To which god to I sacrifice the truth in order to have a chance… just in case? Which sect of the Christian cult do I choose to follow? Do I choose Pascal’s Jansenism or do I go with the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Do I choose the Baptists, Mormons, Catholics, or Lutherans? Choices, choices, choices… there are over 3,500 sects of the Christian cult – each believing differently – which one will be right. Should they all sacrifice their beliefs for others… just in case?

Third the wager says we should believe something solely for the prospective reward. Should we sacrifice knowledge and truth for rewards? What happens if a religion offers a better version of Heaven and worse version of Hell? Should I leave Christianity for that one? If you we so afraid of being wrong – shouldn’t we be looking for the best Heaven out there? An example will probably illustrate this better.

You’re with a real estate agent looking at houses. Along comes Mr. Pascal from another agency that tells you, “If you send all your money to my agency, I will get you the best house in the world. Is it worth not sending me your money – what if I’m right… what if you really can get that house just on the money you have already?” Mr. Pascal has no pictures of this awesome house, he has no address, he has no detailed description of the house… all he can offer you is, “if you’re wrong you’ll miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime.”

So you give all your money to Mr. Pascal and wait… and wait… and wait… and wait. And the house never shows up. When you turn Mr. Pascal into the authorities for fraud they tell you that no one has EVER received the house that Mr. Pascal is selling – but billions of people have sent him all their money… just in case he was right. So ask yourself… would you give Mr. Pascal your money – just in case he was right?

I’m definitely not afraid of being wrong. I’m not wasting my time on Sunday going to church… just in case. I’m not wasting 10% of my hard-earned money on tithes… just in case. I’m not wasting precious time on prayer and other silly religious rituals… just in case. I’d rather take my chances on being wrong than sacrifice truth, logic, rationality, critical thinking, and knowledge.

From here you go into the “no such thing as an ex-Christian” because a true Christian would never leave the faith. How arrogant that sounds. I was able to see the errors of Christianity and the Bible when I was in the seventh grade. I find it incredibly ironic that I found the truth as a pre-teen and yet there are grown adults out there that are still as gullible as when they were five and believed in Santa Clause.

Well… I must admit that I am impressed. In a single letter you have managed to use almost every single Christian tactic there is. Usually they don’t come at me all at once like that. All of your “arguments” have been countered and reduced to ashes by others far more qualified than I. I countered these arguments from the seventh grade and on. I have been an atheist for sixteen years. For a powerful God… he sure is impotent.

Clay Rebuttal #003:

You have entered the Christian theological realm of the doctrines of “effectual calling” and of the “creation mandate” as commonly known in ecclesiastical jargon under the subject of God’s sovereignty in the discipline of systematic theology. I will be glad to touch on these perspectives.

If you will be patient, not suggesting that you are impatient, I will respond in time.

In the meantime, please formulate why, as an atheist, do you purport such a keen sense of morality and such staunch opinions if you say you believe in nothing? If there is no God, then there is no transcendent standard by which we gauge behavior, agreed? How do you then tell me that my behavior is right/wrong/good/bad? Was Hitler just acting out events in time, or was he behind something with a motive that we can criticize as wrong? Why was he condemned? Was his condemnation justified? What is justice? How do you know?

I must know how you respond before I can understand from where you begin your thinking. While I am very willing to take as long as need be in our tennis match, you must play by the same rules, namely basic non-contradiction and reason as defined by the weight of Western thought. Again, I am not chastening you…yet. You simply need to explain to me why you go on living without sliding into the modernist vague and aimless sentimentalism…”because I feel this and that…”

Response to Clay #003:

CLAY: “In the meantime, please formulate why, as an atheist, do you purport such a keen sense of morality and such staunch opinions if you say you believe in nothing?”

You are the second person to ask me this question (obviously not verbatim) today.

To understand humanity and the morality thereof you need to understand the cycles of society behavior and establishment. For example, I can answer your question as an individual, as a member of the human race (humanity), or as a member of many societies. These societies are:

  • Immediate Family Society (spouse & offspring).
  • Extended Family Society (all other relatives).
  • Neighborhood Society (surrounding homes).
  • Cultural Society (religion, sex, gender, activities, hobbies, etc).
  • Village/Town/City Society.
  • State Society.
  • Country Society.
  • World Society.

Each of us plays a different role in each of those societies. Within each major category of society are mini-societies that we participate in both directly and indirectly. As a member of each society – we are required to justify ourselves to said societies. Take away the society – and the need for justification (or morality – which is a higher form of justification) goes away.

Now since I obviously know where you are going with this let me first establish some requirement on the subject of “God is required for morality”.

What morals have your God dictated to you? Remember that laws of worship have nothing to do with morality – so “have no idols before me” is not a moral issue. Also remember that laws of justice have nothing to do with established morality – so stoning someone to death for adultery is not a moral issue. The adultery is the moral issue and not the punishment. Also remember that laws are not morality, either. So “eat no pork” is not a moral issue – it is a law. Please write down every moral established by your God.

The reason I ask this is because before you can assert that there can be no morality without belief in a God you must prove several issues:

  1. There can be morality with the belief in God.
  2. God is a good moral role model.
  3. God does not promote, condone, endorse, or sanctify immorality.
  4. God defines morality and the morals thereof clearly and concisely.
  5. God adheres to his definition of morality and the morals thereof.

Once you have done that then you can begin to assert that there can be no morality without belief in a God. Once you assert it – you’ll have to prove it. You will have to prove that atheistic religions (such as Buddhism) are immoral. Or you will have to prove that atheistic beliefs derive their morality from God.

CLAY: “If there is no God, then there is no transcendent standard by which we gauge behavior, agreed?”

If a standard is transcendent then how can we gauge it in the first place? God or no god is irrelevant at that point.

CLAY: “How do you then tell me that my behavior is right/wrong/good/bad?”

See above.

CLAY: “Was Hitler just acting out events in time, or was he behind something with a motive that we can criticize as wrong?”

“Acting out events in time” insinuates a fate – which of course thrashes free will. Hitler was a paranoid schizophrenic Christian who hated anyone and everyone that wasn’t like him (even thought he was technically a Jew). Hitler was immoral because society viewed him as immoral based on our societal views and acceptance of right and wrong. Whether those views were influenced by people religious beliefs is irrelevant because none of the aforementioned criteria have been met.

CLAY: “You simply need to explain to me why you go on living without sliding into the modernist vague and aimless sentimentalism…”because I feel this and that.”

I have to admit that this question has become rather tedious in answering it because of the assumption that morality required a God. The key word is assumption – because morality with a God has not been proven nor have any of the other criteria been met.

I had the un-privilege of meeting an exceptionally rude, obnoxious, and pushy Southern Baptist the other day that just went on and on and on with the same rhetoric I normally hear but with more “fervor”. After all, the Southern Baptist has a quota to meet in order to get into Heaven, you see. Anyway, the conversation began to turn ugly and he became rather insulting when he realized he wasn’t “having his way” with me. To end the conversation (at this point I was annoyed, irritated, and a little angry) I asked him two questions;

If you die will you go to Heaven and sit by your “father’s” side? [an emphatic yes with exaggerated head bobs from the SoBap]

Then what’s the point of living? [the conversation ended and he walked away]

Clay Rebuttal #004:

Well, where to begin? I call this a “lob” return in our tennis, an overarching, slowly developing response.

I first want to say that a “game” is truly not my intention in these discussions. Far from it. If it were trivia, fine. But I take this development in my life, discussing eternal matters over the Internet with an avowed atheist whom I do not know, with extreme concern for I believe that human souls hang in the balance. This is not a debate with you in my mind. Rather, it is a discussion where I hope to present faithfully a consistent epistemology, a theory of knowledge, based on the logical development of my subjects from the position of orthodox Christianity. I hope both sides will openly consider the position of the other logically.

As an orthodox Christian, not “Orthodox” in the Eastern Church sense, I hold to a certain epistemology that claims to maintain that Christianity is consistent with reality. It explains reality in the three basic areas of understanding, namely philosophy, history and science. There are topics within these categories that demand logical discussion inside of their discipline. For instance, under philosophy I include epistemology, logic, the mind, ethics (under which I include ontology and the philosophy of religion), skepticism, and truth. Areas of knowledge would be perception, memory, induction, and a priori.

Then there is the second category, history. Here I include higher criticism and textual criticism.

Last, there is science where I include evolution, biology, and physics. I hope that you agree.

So often, these conversations cannot happen because atheists and theists don’t share the same epistemology and the result is that we categorically differ on all areas of this discussion. Further, to jump from ethics to historical criticism to feelings, as I believe your eight-page response to me included, confuses the discussion. Let’s keep the disciplines intact.

I begin by relaying a certain sadness. Your level of intensity and your commitment to your position overwhelms me. I respect it, but genuinely wonder if Christianity will ever get a fair shake with you.

That said, you seem intelligent, but I must say clearly that I will only enter this discussion if you and I are willing to learn from each other, seeking truth, not showing off our intellectual muscles…which, for both of us, are not too developed. Your commitment must be towards genuinely working through these disciplines. I will not allow emotional content to overshadow these discussions. If so, I don’t see us going anywhere.

In this vein, let me apologize for your recent Baptist altercation. Hopefully, his motives were good, i.e., concern for your soul as he faithfully bore witness to the Gospel of Grace. Evangelism is a Christian command, though in his zeal, he may have not “loved his neighbor as himself.” Of course, orthodoxy has no tolerance for “winning points” with God, as you said, by such conversations. If that was his motive, he is ignorant of the Gospel. His duty as a Christian is to proclaim the Gospel in love, leaving the Holy Spirit to affect your heart. Again, there is no room for name-calling or emotionalism. A Christian’s confidence is in God, not himself. His duty is to be transformed by the renewing of his mind as he humbly submits to the will of God, even in these three areas of discussion. Your Baptist friend would benefit by this conversation.

Mr. Scott, we have some common ground according to our words so far: morality and conscience, which puzzles me given your materialist epistemology. Other than that, we don’t have much. I say this because our base commitment, our central philosophy (epistemology), has to affect every sphere of our three categories. Your materialist atheism, and my Christian orthodoxy, penetrate and move throughout our own discussions of philosophy, history and science. You realize that we separate from one another through every sphere, thus this is a difficult task.

The presuppositions of most people today, and I am including you here, include: (1) an ideological presupposition that man is the measure of all things and that human reason must be entirely autonomous; (2) the methodological assumption that the “scientific” method is the only valid means for ascertaining truth; and (3) an assumption of attitude that there is no knowable “absolute” truth, but that “truth” is always relative to the knower. Would you agree?

But if one desires to know the Bible’s message on its own terms, taking it for what it says about itself, then one cannot use these presuppositions. They are incompatible with the Scriptures, which presuppose that God, not man, measures all things, that human reason is dependent and cannot penetrate to the very bottom of things, but that ultimate and absolute truth is knowable, by way of personal relationship. Thus my former letter concerning Ultimate Personality behind reality. With regard to method, the Scriptures claim that things do not always work the same way, and that some events have non-earthly or supernatural causes. Now if these claims are true, then it is inappropriate to apply to Scripture a modernist, naturalistic, “scientific” approach which assumes in advance that there is no supernatural intervention, that the “system is closed.” In essence, one cannot evaluate the Bible’s claims to truth by using methods that assume in advance that these claims are impossible.

I attribute my understanding of this effect through the academic writings of Cornelius VanTil in his work, A Christian Theory of Knowledge and a more popular work, Let the Reader Understand, by Dan McCartney and Charles Clayton. Though VanTil’s work is a dense one, it best describes our landscape here, especially my presuppositions as they relate to your philosophy. I suggest these works to your study if you truly want to see where orthodoxy begins its epistemology. It does not begin with your discussion of inerrancy. I believe inerrancy is a valid position, but I do not begin with it.

Christian J. P. Moreland and Atheist Kai Nielsen attempted our discussion (a much better job!) in 1988 in their work, Does God Exist? I suggest you also have this book available for your adherents and detractors, both. It would be most fair. It calls for us all to be totally honest, in our motives and passions and calls us to look at all evidence on both sides, not focusing on only one side or on only part of the evidence. I will let them exhaust our details for the sake of time and discipline. They cover all the ground that we don’t need to fumble through, as I’m afraid we both would. Obviously, their conclusions will probably not move many Christians toward atheism or visa versa, but those on the fence will probably move one way or another. It is really a fine work.

Thus, I’m not going to go line by line down your eight pages. Rather I’m going to ask the overarching question, “Why are you so committed to your position and why are you so bent on trashing Christianity?” I’m just curious. What happened?

Secondly, you seem greatly influenced by the Graf/Wellhausen theory, the higher critical school. Those gentlemen gave it their best shot, but in so doing they made grand assumptions, imposing an evolutionary theory upon Israelite religion. They extracted biblical history and rearranged it. They separated sources. Now, I am aware that this position is well accepted in the liberal world (I grew up under its influence), but Donald Guthrie and William Albright, to name two contemporary critics, have proved conclusively that the higher critical school is inconsistent with both history and archeology, respectively. Guthrie proves that the “late” theory of the New Testament writings is false while Albright went out and dug up evidence that the Old Testament was written by who it claims to be written by. Granted, Albright’s work isn’t exhaustive, but it’s darn convincing. You must make their historic criticism and scientific discoveries known to your debates and you must acknowledge their discoveries in your own arguments.

Lastly, an interesting work for your camp: I suggest Jonathan Dancy’s Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology. By no means a Christian work, Dancy’s book correctly presents the status of 20th Century secular knowledge. It concludes that, ultimately, modernism has nothing to stand on. You should read this work, as your Society wants to be circumspect.

I say all this for one reason, namely, that the Christian theory of knowledge has just as much right to be accepted in the arena of ideas as yours. You cannot look down your nose at my position or me. Saying that my “God is impotent” and words like “gullible” when attributed to my belief system is juvenile and emotional, and it’s harmful to our discussion. When you were in 7th grade and you made your decision to be an atheist, a decision, which I suggest, wasn’t that sophisticated given your age, I would expect such comments. But given the true landscape of this discussion in the academy, let’s leave such brashness alone.

Mr. Scott, I say that your worldview will collapse in on itself. I say this because you have belief, a component of the theory of knowledge, the theory of justification, inconsistent with your beginning materialist, closed system philosophy. I say that your whole approach to epistemology won’t hold up. Why? For one, you say that “we are each our own ultimate authority”. How can this be and we still maintain a common foundation of truth, logic, and theory of knowledge? People whom carry this to its logical conclusion are in jail or committed or dead. Do you really believe this?

Secondly, to call the Bible “an error-filled mythological account with some historical insignificata” is an emotional value judgment that doesn’t sound rational. You have overstatements and rationalizations and sweeping statements that I don’t follow. Your saying that “there are no beliefs involved with atheism” commits you to a worldview, a commitment from which you depart in your approach, as evidenced by your free admission to hold conscience and morality. I believe that you have borrowed some capital from Western Theism, particularly Judeo-Christianity.

Further, some potpourri: you are aware, for instance, that the Resurrection doesn’t depend upon inerrancy? Also, you misunderstand Gleason Archer. He’s an excellent scholar, and I’m glad you mention him, but he sees no arguments with the “autographs.” Another; Christianity doesn’t rely on councils. Councils can provide good insight and summarize positions, but they are not authoritative. More, I say that, as mentioned earlier in a discussion of textual criticism, Golding’s argument is poo-poo and has been proved wrong by Guthrie, just to name one. For a correct orthodox presentation of the canon, I suggest The Origin of the Bible, edited by Philip W. Comfort, a collection of essays dealing with many biblical formulation issues.

Are you really serious about me following your reasoning when you freely admit, “we know that a belief in god is a psychological necessary for humanity” – a devastating admission! Rationalizing the necessity is science and scientific. More, your traveling “the globe extensively to find God absent” is consistent with your assertion of the psychological necessity. But the final “God is not in outer space…he simply is nonexistent”…this is belief and it has no basis in observation. Please. And for the record, God’s anger at those who built the Tower of Babel was not because they tried to fling arrows but was based on their trying to be God, their desire to be autonomous from Him, much like the atheistic position.

Of particular note, I am disturbed by your popular belief in the theory of evolution, a philosophically flawed “theory.” Your argument must admit that this is still theory as no transitional forms are documented, no answer for biogenesis exists, and the second law of thermodynamics has not been reversed. Evolution has no explanation of what mechanism results in the transitions, what causes the shifts. Darwin’s Black Box admits that biology is so complex that modern science cannot explain its complexity. Darwin on Trial, though written by a lawyer and not a scientist, exposes the theory further, regardless of Johnson’s academic discipline. Even Gould’s “Monster Mechanisms” had to be devised to replace the missing transitional forms. Your marriage to this position hinders your intellect and blinds you from the evidence…or lack thereof.

Mr. Scott, I don’t know where we go from here. I believe that there are valid, scholarly responses to every one of your questions concerning Christianity. Maybe you have been digesting the wrong sources? There sure are some out there! But I think it’s more than your sources. I think that Atheism is intellectually appealing to you because you choose it to be. You probably chose your position before you entered the argument. You cannot choose Atheism based on its intellectual appeal for there is none. And, I contend that I believe in Christianity on the same basis as you do Atheism that is by faith. Before all the evidence for all my questions was in, I submitted myself to Christianity.

As a former agnostic who grew up in Christian liberalism and higher criticism, I feel that I understand much of your position, your dissatisfaction with the Church to which you’ve been exposed, to Christians who haven’t extended intellectual arguments to you or who did not love you, and shallow or incomplete arguments for the truth claims of the Bible. Christians are often the worst example of Christian teaching, but not all are. A Christian’s only personal comparison is to be made with Jesus, from whom every one of us falls woefully short. Let Christ be the example. Our goal as Christians is, after all, to become more and more like him and less like our sinful selves.

The Christian Gospel is one of Grace, of hearts being metaphysically changed from “stone” to “flesh” by God and God alone in an “open system” of communication and providence. We say He’s there because we say we see with the mind’s eye. We see love though we can’t measure it. We see language though we cannot scientifically explain it. We are God’s work, both as creatures and as developing beings for no good reason other than for His Glory and our enjoyment. A Christian has no moral high ground over another human. In my heart and mind, I have no moral superiority over you. Only Jesus Christ does, and it is His life that compels us to witness to His Truth. After all, we say that He is that Truth. It is also He who calls us to investigate His world as we dig through philosophy, history and science. Again, maybe your Baptist friend needs to be reminded of all this.

I cannot argue you to this conclusion, for it is not within my power to do so, only God’s, but I can define logical arguments that reasonably show that Christianity is not the foolish mistake you unfairly present it to be. History is replete with excellent Christian minds, from Augustine to Anselm to Aquinas, to name three foundational contributors. Have you read Augustine’s Confessions? You are missing a wonder if fail to do so. In his work, you face one of the world’s brightest minds and most honest hearts. Your broad sweeps against Christian theism should be reserved in the face of such philosophical discovery. But there are many others, men who were brilliant, men who gave us the patterns from which we consciously or subconsciously approach our modern world. And they were ancient Christian apologists. Are you saying that they were foolish in their conclusions? Am I? For I, like they, have banked my entire life on the Truth of the Bible and the reality that a Triune Personal God stands behind eternity. The stakes are high. Let’s stop the games.

Ball’s in your court.

Response to Clay #004:

It seems that you are offended by some of my views on theism and more particularly Christianity. Let me assure you now that I will not dilute my views to appease to someone’s sensitivity regarding their theistic beliefs – just as I expect the same of you (and you came through). I’m sorry you find some of my views offensive – but I will not apologize for my views on theism. If my last response invoked this response from you then more than likely this response will cause you to terminate our discussion. If you wish to conclude this discussion because of this problem then that is okay by me. I will not hold it against you nor think any less of you. The choice is yours at this point. For now I will assume that you wish to continue and I will address your last rebuttal.

CLAY: “It explains reality in the three basic areas of understanding, namely philosophy, history and science. … I hope that you agree.”

Yes, I can agree with that. While I might nit-pick at the sub-categorization – I can agree with that premise.

CLAY: “I begin by relaying certain sadness. Your level of intensity and your commitment to your position overwhelms me. I respect it, but genuinely wonder if Christianity will ever get a fair shake with you.”

I’m not sure what you mean by a “fair shake” or why you feel any sadness for me. I can only assume that your sadness is from the Christian basis of “Christ denial”. I have heard of Christ yet deny him – so I am destined for hell because the only way to heaven is through Christ. Besides the obvious question of what happened to all the people that died before Christ was identified? Did they go to hell because they did not know Christ? Do stillborn children, mentally retarded, feral children, and lost tribes go to hell because they have never heard of Christ?

Does the spreading of the Gospel become “good” or “bad” with this knowledge? If the denial of Christ after knowledge of Christ is obtained results in eternal damnation then is not the very spreading of the knowledge of Christ condemning people to hell? As apologist and Biblicist Kenneth Boa states in his book I’m Glad You Asked (page 146),

BOA: “These concerns have led some people to the conclusion that those who have never heard about Christ will escape the judgment of God. If this is true, then Christian missionaries are not only wasting their lives but may be doing great harm by preaching the gospel to those who are unaware of Christ, they have brought people from a state of innocence to a state of moral culpability if they do not respond. This would mean that passages such as the Great Commission (at the end of Matthew, in which Jesus tells people to go unto all the world and preach the gospel) make no sense at all. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ should have been kept a secret.”

R. C. Sproul addresses the same problem in his book Reasons To Believe (page 50),

SPROUL: “Since the native is not guilty of this we ought to let him alone. In fact, letting him alone would be the most helpful and redemptive thing we could do for him. If we go to the native and inform him of Christ we place his soul in eternal jeopardy. For now he knows of Christ, and if he refuses to respond to Him he can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse. Hence, the best service we can render is silence.”

I was a Christian early in my life so by Christian biblical standards I am already damned to hell because I have “rejected” Christ. So by this standard when I tell someone that I am ex-Christian they should make no effort to convert me because, by the very standards that forces them to spread the gospel in the first place, it is too late for me. So was the Baptist that confronted me really doing good, as you suggested? What if I had never heard of Christ until that point? I would, based on the interpretation of some, be comfortable in the non-knowledge that I would ultimately escape God’s judgment just as the stillborn, child, and mentally retarded are. Of course the lack of God’s judgment for “ignorance of Jesus” is only an interpretation because there is no scripture to back that up. The scripture clearly states that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. As Robert Mounce says in his book Answers to Questions About the Bible (page 173),

MOUNCE: “If there is some third alternative, we know nothing of it from Scripture. The specter of a new-born babe suffering eternal punishment is entirely unacceptable in a moral universe.”

While it may be morally repugnant in a moral society – it is certainly not unacceptable from the scriptural point of view. The Bible does not allow for exceptions when in John 14:6 it states, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, NO man cometh to the Father but by me.” It doesn’t say some men, most men, a few men, or even men and women. It says no man leaving no exceptions to the rule. So while the above arguments by Mounce, Boa, and Sproul sound feasible and morally correct – they are not supported by scripture.

By the sixth or seventh grade I had become somewhat of an atheist. Looking back on that part of my life I think it is probably more accurate to say that I had become agnostic. It was not until my late teens and early twenties that I fully understood my atheism and had a firmer grasp on why I had arrived at that conclusion. By my mid-twenties I had looked into almost every religion there is (there are a lot of them out there). Also during my mid-twenties I decided to come out of the closet when I realized that I could care less what everyone thought of my atheism. I was a closet atheist because I feared retaliation from the theistic community and from my family.

To this day there are still members of my family that refuse to talk to me because of my atheism. Earlier in my life that would have upset me – now I realize that it is their loss – not mine. My wife’s parents blame me for her atheism. What they fail to realize is that my wife was already agnostic when I met her but she was afraid to tell her parents. I would not have married her if I thought she were a devout Christian. I would not have placed either of us in the position of having to compromise our views and philosophies. While it could have been avoided for a while – sooner or later children would have forced the issue. Whomever “caved” would have held some resentment toward the other and created a gap in the marriage.

CLAY: “Your commitment must be towards genuinely working through these disciplines. I will not allow emotional content to overshadow these discussions. If so, I don’t see us going anywhere.”

Please elaborate on what you mean by “genuinely working through these disciplines.” I can assure you that I am not an emotional person. I live my life by logic and reasoning. It is for this reason that I was a mass casualty coordinator for a hospital – because I didn’t let emotions dictate my life and was able to use quick critical thinking to get us out of situations.

CLAY: “His duty as a Christian is to proclaim the Gospel in love, leaving the Holy Spirit to affect your heart. Again, there is no room for name-calling or emotionalism.”

Is it possible to convey the message of Christ without emotionalism? If one has truly accepted Christ as their savior then they convey a sense of emotionalism. Whether that emotionalism is elation, excitement, enthusiasm, or glee – the emotions are there. It is for this reason that I do not argue with the “power” of faith. Faith can be very powerful for those that believe on faith. That is why so many become offended when the very foundation of their faith is called into question.

CLAY: “Mr. Scott, we have some common ground according to our words so far: morality and conscience, which puzzles me given your materialist epistemology.”

Why do my views on morality and conscience puzzle you so? What is your definition of a materialist? I want to ensure that when the word materialist is used that we are saying and meaning the same thing.

CLAY: “Your materialist atheism, and my Christian orthodoxy, penetrate and move throughout our own discussions of philosophy, history and science. You realize that we separate from one another through every sphere, thus this is a difficult task.”

Very rarely are discussions of philosophy, science, and history easy. That is what makes them so intriguing in the first place. I have found that most of the time the discussions end in a stalemate. When it comes right down to it, all facts, evidence, and data aside, faith (or lack thereof) is what is left. And faith is a very powerful ideology, as I’m sure you can attest to. It is that very power of faith that usually prevents these discussions from extending over a prolonged period of time.

CLAY: “An ideological presupposition that man is the measure of all things and that human reason must be entirely autonomous.”

While many assume that man is the measure of all things – I do not. I think it is typically egotistical of mankind to assume such. While I base a lot of my personal philosophy on my person, as a member of mankind, that does not make me the “center of the universe”. What we have to realize is that philosophy, science, and theology are centered on man because we are the creators of those practices. We base reality on our perception of reality. It is for that very reason that science never states much with 100% certainty unless they are specific about the reality of that statement. The laws of physics are good examples. They are laws because it is understood that those laws are based on the reality of our physics, in this reality we call the universe. Should that reality change – so to might those laws of physics.

CLAY: “The methodological assumption that the “scientific” method is the only valid means for ascertaining truth.”

I will agree with that statement. I’m glad you put the word scientific in quotations. While science, as an “entity” provides great tools and resources – there are other means of ascertaining the “truth”. We don’t need science to tell us the sky appears to be blue. We can see for ourselves the sky appears to be blue. What we need science for is to tell us why the sky appears to be blue. Science tells us that the sky is not actually blue – it is every color except blue. Blue is the color that the sky reflects and the sky’s true color is every color in the light spectrum that is absorbed other than blue. So by claiming that the sky is blue, as most people, do – are we speaking the truth? Or are we speaking what we perceive based on our own reality?

CLAY: “An assumption of attitude that there is no knowable “absolute” truth, but that “truth” is always relative to the knower.”

I think the statement that there is no knowable absolute truth is more of a theistic or agnostic view, wouldn’t you? While “truth” is relative to the viewer based on their reality – we can know the truth based on that reality. Should that reality change then the truth will also change.

CLAY: “But if one desires to know the Bible’s message on its own terms, taking it for what it says about itself, then one cannot use these presuppositions. They are incompatible with the Scriptures, which presuppose that God, not man, measures all things, that human reason is dependent and cannot penetrate to the very bottom of things, but that ultimate and absolute truth is knowable, by way of personal relationship. Now if these claims are true, then it is inappropriate to apply to Scripture a modernist, naturalistic, “scientific” approach which assumes in advance that there is no supernatural intervention, that the “system is closed.” In essence, one cannot evaluate the Bible’s claims to truth by using methods that assume in advance that these claims are impossible.”

It is not necessary to evaluate the claims of supernaturalism in the Bible. If the Bible is to convey, as a God-breathed work, a doctrine of inerrancy, then it must be inerrant and sound. It is not inerrant and it is not sound. The claims made in the Bible are brought into question not necessarily because of their supernatural nature – but because the very thing that makes these claims is filled with errors, contradictions, and inconsistencies. If the Bible were 100% accurate with zero errors, no inconsistencies, and not a single contradiction then the claims of supernaturalism would perhaps be perceived with less skepticism.

In other words – there is obviously no way to prove if a god does or does not exist. We can look at the definitions of a god and through logic, philosophy, reasoning, scientific data, and evidence begin to break down those definitions and ultimately show said defined god as having a higher probability of non-existence. So when the Bible says god performed a supernatural event there is no way to prove either way if god exists in the first place, and if he does if that supernatural event actually occurred. But when the source of the account is erroneous then the likelihood and probability of said events and event creator decrease.

For example, the Christian God is defined by the act of the Global Flood. Since evidence shows that this global flood never occurred then the likelihood and probability of the defined Christian God decreases. While the Christian God has not been completely ruled out by this evidence – his likelihood and probability of existence has decreased.

You have taken the long way around the statement I hear a lot to the effect of, “It requires an infallible critic to question the existence of God or declare that the Bible contains errors.” Biblicist Clark Pinnock is a huge proponent of critics needing to be infallible themselves – to be equal to God. In other words, by those standards, one cannot criticize the Bible or question God unless they are infallible themselves. It takes someone whom is omniscient to say that God does not exist with certainty. As I stated before – it is not about certainty. It is about likelihood and probability.

The obvious mistake in this line of reasoning is that it assumes the very point in dispute. Because one alleges supernaturalism, omniscience, or inerrancy does not mean it is so. Biblicists assert the Bible is infallible and inerrant – and have yet to prove so. Christian philosophers assert that God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, et al – and have yet to prove so. If the Bible were indeed infallible and contained no errors then the assertion of requiring infallibility before criticism might hold some water. The Bible and the defined parameters of the Christian God are errant and therefore subject to the materialistic criticism of skeptics and scholars.

CLAY: “I suggest these works to your study if you truly want to see where orthodoxy begins its epistemology. It does not begin with your discussion of inerrancy. I believe inerrancy is a valid position, but I do not begin with it.”

If inerrancy is truly secondary then one’s faith or belief is irrelevant, is it not? Does it really matter if one goes to Christ, Mohammed, or Buddha? Does it really matter if one goes to God, Allah, Jupiter, Thor, Osiris, or Ra? If I am looking for a God then I expect the writings of that God to be inerrant. If a God is not powerful enough to make his sacred text 100% accurate then what good is he? I should base my decision on god on better criteria at that point. Which belief has the best heaven? Which belief has the easiest rules to follow? Which belief has the easiest hell to endure (just in case I muff it up)? Which belief fits my current lifestyle the best (this explains the 3500 plus sects of Christianity)? I think inerrancy plays a larger role then you would suggest.

For Christianity the basis is the Resurrection of Christ. If, through identification of errancy, it is shown that the accounts of the Resurrection are contradictory (as they have been), then the very foundation of Christianity is lost. If errancy is identified in Genesis and the accounts of Adam and Eve then the very foundation of Original Sin comes into question. And if Original Sin is eradicated then Christ died for naught and he becomes irrelevant to the Christian doctrine.

CLAY: “Thus, I’m not going to go line by line down your eight pages. Rather I’m going to ask the overarching question, “Why are you so committed to your position and why are you so bent on trashing Christianity?” I’m just curious. What happened?”

I am committed to my position because it is the most logical position there is. I am committed to my position because I have researched almost every religion on this planet and found that all are irrationally based and do not warrant my beliefs. Instead of seeing God in nature – I see nature in nature. Instead of praying to God in times of crisis I tell myself to get off my arse and do something about it. Instead of thanking God for my accomplishments I congratulate myself on a job well done. I have not seen any gods nor have I seen any evidence that insinuates that said gods even exist. I completely understand the reasons why people need religion and do not hold it against them. I simply do not have those reasons and therefore do not need religion.

I’m not bent on trashing Christianity. I am bent on protecting my personal freedoms from Christianity. I would be just as happy to sit on my couch and watch TLC and Discovery Channel all day long. Christianity has become an issue to me through no choice of my own. Christianity is attempting to put prayer in my children’s classroom. Christianity is attempting to hand the Ten Commandments in my children’s school and my city’s courthouse. Christianity is attempting to place its assumed higher morality upon me through legislation. Christianity is abusing the very thing that protects its followers – the Constitution of the United States (COTUS). As a Constitutionalist I am flabbergasted at the recent abuse of the Amendments by Christianity. Should others and I sit back and watch Christianity take control of this country and turn it into a Theocracy?

Non-Christians should be gravely concerned over recent developments in this country. The Christian movement is threatening the personal freedoms that are dictated and protected by the COTUS. While obviously not all Christians are involved and many are against this latest movement – who will make a stand? Who will protect our constitutional rights from those that abuse the very substance of what gives them their freedoms? Who will stand up at the PTA meeting and argue against the implementation of school prayer? I will.

I would rather sit at home and not have to be politically active. I would rather shut my web page down and not worry about Christians calling me a Satanist because their preacher told them that atheists are in league with Satan. I would rather go about my life and not feel threatened by “Bible Thumpers”. I would rather sleep in on Saturday and not have Jehovah’s Witnesses’ come to my door at seven in the morning. I would rather not receive evil glares because I am a known atheist. I would rather not have to defend my position of atheism every time I turn around. I would prefer to not get fired by my Christian boss because I’m an atheist.

Christianity is a “target” because it has made itself a target. One need only look at the Southern Baptist Convention and their recent attacks on Muslims, Hindus, and Jews for support of this. One need only look at Election 2000 to see the changing face of religionist politics and the move of the Christian religious right. The COTUS protects the Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Wicca, Shaman, and Atheist from a Theocracy and from suffering through the hypocrisy of Christendom in the public classroom.

Regarding your concerns over “what happened” (or more pointedly, “why are you an atheist?”) I can only say that it is not that complicated. To avoid regurgitation I’ll post my reply to this question from my web page. Keep in mind that my web page was designed to keep it simple for all visitors. If you need any further elaboration then please do not hesitate to ask for it.

ATHEISM AWARENESS: “Usually when I am asked this question people are looking for a sign that I was driven away from religion because of a psychological event or some traumatic time that I associated with the church, religion, or god. It’s not that complicated, though. I don’t hate god because someone close to me died or anything else like that. I would have to believe in a god in order to hate that god.

There are people out there that claim to be atheists because of emotional or psychological reasons (associated with a traumatic event). I call them “emotional atheists”. If you hate a god – then you at least have some belief (however miniscule) that the god exists in the first place. Seems kind of futile to hate something that you supposedly don’t believe in. To me, emotional atheists are not really atheists by all technical means of the definition. Many emotional atheists end up becoming “logical atheists.”

I am an atheist because theism cannot and does not provide the answers that I seek. Basic Humanities teaches us that as human beings we have needs. Physical, emotional, and psychological needs.

Our physical needs include the need for food, water, and shelter.

Our emotional needs include the need to feel loved, needed, and have a social circle.

Our psychological needs include the need to leave our mark on society (from writing a book to graffiti), the desire to know the origins of fear, the need for explanations, and the drive to answer a few questions:

  • “Why am I here?”
  • “Where did I come from?”
  • What is the purpose of life?”

Man has tried many ways to take care of these psychological needs. Then one day someone came up with a “silver platter” answer that took care of everything in one sweep… a god. Didn’t matter what god it was. The point is the god answered those questions and quenched the psychological thirst of early man.

Shamanism is the oldest known “organized” religion in the world (approx. 27000-years-old). But man has been inventing explanations to help eradicate his fears longer than that.

Even the Romans and the Greeks needed peace through knowing – and they chose the path of gods – and lots of them. Everything had a god. They explained the things they were afraid of and the things they loved. Mothers would tell their children, “Don’t be afraid of the lightning my child, it is only Zeus moving around in the clouds.” Gods like Jupiter, Zeus, Mars, Nimrod, Mithras, Horus, Osiris, and Thor explained away fears in a simple way.

There was one other thing those invented gods did. They created positions of power and an infrastructure within the societies that believed in those gods. Suddenly the societies needed someone to explain the behavior of gods and to appease the gods when they were mad. They needed someone who could communicate with the gods and whom had knowledge of appropriate actions and sacrifices to keep the gods happy. And the priest was born…

Theism, in my view, is just too silly. It is too abracadabra, hocus pocus, and shazam! Instead of intelligently looking for the answers to those psychological needs – people just grab the easy answer off the religious silver platter. No thank you – you can keep your silver platter answers. I will not take the road more traveled and forsake my intelligent, rational, and critical thought. I will not forsake the search of truth for a psychological crutch.

I’m sure that calling theism a psychological crutch has upset a few people. Let me assure you that it is not a bad thing (usually). In the society in which we live most humans beings need theistic beliefs or some form of elevated spirituality. Could you imagine the psychological disaster we would face if the foundation of religion were stripped from under the feet of worshipers tomorrow? I’d rather not deal with that issue. Most people need a form of spirituality. There are, as I’m sure most people know, many forms of spiritualism without gods. These non-theistic religions and spiritualities resolve the same psychological needs but eliminate the following of an imaginary being that controls the lives of theists.

Why do you think that the church resists science so fervently? Why do you think the church called scientists witches and wizards in history past? Why does the church say that atheists are in league with Satan? Why do you think the church says that if you do not have faith and question god that he will punish you? Why does the church need to instill fear into the people? Because fear keeps a flock in line and keeps the flock members from thinking on his or her own.

I am an atheist because I refuse to take the silver platter answers that the religions of the world dish out. I will travel the road less traveled and find the answers on my own. I will investigate all possibilities and intelligently eliminate those that are irrational.”

CLAY: “Secondly, you seem greatly influenced by the Graf/Wellhausen theory, the higher critical school.”

They did not influence me at all. They make grand assumptions on the History of Israel based upon the very thing that I find erroneous. And it is actually the Graf/Wellhausen hypothesis (not theory) because it has not met any criterion to be called a theory.

I arrive at my own conclusions and conduct my own research. My views are my own and no one else’s. While others may have arrived at the same conclusions that I have – I do the research myself and make my own choices.

CLAY: “You must make their historic criticism and scientific discoveries known to your debates and you must acknowledge their discoveries in your own arguments.”

Since I consider most of Graf and Wellhausen’s work presumptuous I’m not really concerned about any of what their critics have to say. I have read some of Albright’s work and find most of his rationalizations and justifications rather ludicrous at best. He has a tendency, just like those that he accuse (Graf/Wellhausen) of re-writing the scripture to suit his fancy. He displays the typically characteristic style of apologists of not adhering to the same standards they impose upon the critics of the Bible. The say the Bible is error free then when an error is obvious they blame it on copyists. They say not to interpret the Bible that it should be literal but when a contradiction is presented they interpret their way out of it.

While epistemology is wonderful philosophical endeavor I’m not much of a proponent. I don’t need anyone to tell me how I should arrive at my knowledge and what my knowledge means. I look at what is available and I make my own conclusions. No single person influences me.

CLAY: “I say all this for one reason, namely, that the Christian theory of knowledge has just as much right to be accepted in the arena of ideas as yours.”

What exactly is the Christian theory of knowledge? Epistemology does not necessarily equate to Christian thought. Epistemology is simply a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity. Any specific association to Christianity is self-assigned. Why does the Christian feel a necessity to formulate a theory of knowledge that they can “call their own”? Knowledge is knowledge – why is there a need for separation?

CLAY: “You cannot look down your nose at my position or me. Saying that my “God is impotent” and words like “gullible” when attributed to my belief system is juvenile and emotional, and it’s harmful to our discussion.”

Those are my views and you only find them “juvenile” because they do not agree with your views. The Christian God, if he exists, is impotent and not worthy of worship. Where is God? If he’s really there why have the biblical miracles disappeared? Why does he not reveal himself? When debating the issue of faith a while ago with some fellow atheists we concluded that atheism does require some element of faith. It takes an element of faith to say with 100% certainty that a god cannot exist. The god in particular that we were discussing is the impotent God that created the universe then walked away and could care less about what happened. It was jokingly said that a great Supreme Being was walking along one day and had a bit of flatulence. This incredible Big Bang of methane created the known universe. He then went on to his universal sofa, popped a beer, and is watching cosmic soap operas. We affectionately call him the Universal God of Flatulence and Sofa-Sitting, or UGFSS for short.

It is my view that religion is an issue of gullibility. If you find that statement to be “emotional”, then so be it. I make that statement (and have that view) because of all the research I have done and what I have encountered in my lifetime. As I stated before I have no intention of watering down my views in order to appease the sensitivity of others. For example, let’s look at some of the things you have said:

CLAY: “I respect it, but genuinely wonder if Christianity will ever get a fair shake with you.”

You assume that Christianity deserves a “fair shake” at me in the first place.

CLAY: “Hopefully, his motives were good, i.e., concern for your soul as he faithfully bore witness to the Gospel of Grace.”

You make the fatal mistake that so many Christians have made (and why they have become targets) – that people actually want to hear the Gospel. You assume that my soul is in jeopardy and needs concern. Guilty until proven innocent?

CLAY: “Mr. Scott, I say that your worldview will collapse in on itself.”

Gee… thanks.

CLAY: “People whom carry this to its logical conclusion are in jail or committed or dead. Do you really believe this?”

So my atheistic views are criminal?

CLAY: “You cannot choose Atheism based on its intellectual appeal for there is none.”

Just as much of a personal conclusion as I made regarding theism to be for the gullible and a psychological need.

CLAY: “Your marriage to this position hinders your intellect and blinds you from the evidence…or lack thereof.”

Funny, exactly what I said about creationism.

Are we not both doing the same thing? Are we not both present our personal views and ideas?

CLAY: “Mr. Scott, I say that your worldview will collapse in on itself. I say this because you have belief, a component of the theory of knowledge, the theory of justification, inconsistent with your beginning materialist, closed system philosophy.”

Why do you assume that my philosophy is materialistic and closed?

CLAY: “I say that your whole approach to epistemology won’t hold up. Why? For one, you say that “we are each our own ultimate authority”. How can this be and we still maintain a common foundation of truth, logic, and theory of knowledge? People whom carry this to its logical conclusion are in jail or committed or dead. Do you really believe this?”

My approach to epistemology has held up rather well and continues to hold up. I said that we are each our own ultimate authority because there is no God above us. But we are social animals and, as I indicated in the response to you about morality, those societies justify morality and sustain morality. By doing so also establish other standards such as science, religion, philosophy, etc.

I do not “believe” that. I have come to that conclusion based on what I have seen and done.

CLAY: “Secondly, to call the Bible “an error-filled mythological account with some historical insignificata” is an emotional value judgment that doesn’t sound rational.”

Of course it sounds emotional and judgmental to you – it is attacking the very foundation of your faith and placing you on the defensive. My statement about the Bible is accurate. The Bible is full of errors, contradictions, and inconsistencies. There are numerous mythological accounts in the Bible. There is some historical insignificata (such as the names of cities and actual historical characters). Therefore, the statement of “an error-filled mythological account with some historical insignificata,” is an accurate statement.

In my view to read the Bible and walk away without seeing the errors, inconsistencies, and contradictions and denying the evidence to the contrary is a betrayal of intellectual integrity and is not rational. Each of us has come to the same conclusion – that each other are irrational. We’ve made a lot of progress here, haven’t we?

CLAY: “Your saying that “there are no beliefs involved with atheism” commits you to a worldview, a commitment from which you depart in your approach, as evidenced by your free admission to hold conscience and morality.”

You’re really having a hard time understanding what atheism is. Atheism is nothing more than the lack of belief in a god and supernatural beings. That’s it. That is the only thing that ties atheists together is the lack of belief in a god. There are no beliefs involved with atheism. That does not imply that an atheist cannot have beliefs. It means that atheism is not about beliefs – but the lack thereof – when regarding gods and supernatural beings.

Atheism does not commit me or any other atheists to a worldview. There are atheists that do have a worldview – but it does not ride hand-in-hand with atheism.

I have beliefs (not many, though). If you ask me if I “believe in” something I will more than likely tell you no. People “believe” in God, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. Belief is a very potent word and insinuates a lot when used. I have come to many conclusions about life, morality, science, theology, philosophy, et al based on what I have researched, learned, experienced, seen, etc. I can say that I believe in the Constitution. I can say that I believe in Capitalism. But when I say those things I’m not really talking about a “belief”, per say, but more of an understanding and acceptance. I am saying that I appreciate and acknowledge those things and have come to the conclusion that they deserve my support. It’s just easier to say I believe in them.

I know atheists that believe in UFOs. I know atheists that believe in ghosts. I know atheist that believe in astrology. The only thing that ties them together is the lack of belief regarding gods and supernatural beings.

CLAY: “I believe that you have borrowed some capital from Western Theism, particularly Judeo- Christianity.”

Since I was a Christian in my early years – that is highly likely. But it is also irrelevant to the issue.

CLAY: “Further, some potpourri: you are aware, for instance, that the Resurrection doesn’t depend upon inerrancy?”

Then why are apologists, Biblicists, and fundamentalists so keen on defending it and proving inerrancy? Because if the Resurrection fails then so does the very foundation of Christianity. If Christ was not resurrected then what’s the point? That shows he was a man and not the Son of God. The Resurrection is extremely dependant upon inerrancy.

CLAY: “Another; Christianity doesn’t rely on councils. Councils can provide good insight and summarize positions, but they are not authoritative.”

It was the Council of Nicea that formulated and introduced the Triune God that you claim to follow. Had the Council decided to keep Jesus as a man instead of God in the Flesh you would be worshiping a Bi-God instead of a Trinity. The Creed of Nicea is still recited to this day. While modern councils may be nothing more than a political show of arms – the councils of ancient times built the very stage that you dance upon – and even choreographed your moves.

CLAY: “More, I say that, as mentioned earlier in a discussion of textual criticism, Golding’s argument is pooh-pooh and has been proved wrong by Guthrie, just to name one.”

Guthrie has not proved Golding to be wrong. Guthrie has simply presented his views and used what I guess you would call the Christian Theory of Knowledge to “reduce” Golding’s argument. While Guthrie’s arguments sound formidable they are nothing more than wanton rationalizations and justifications that amount to nothing more than personal opinion. You can go to hundreds of Christian archives and retrieve the same information that Golding presents. The information is historical and documented in a letter by Alexander to his home. Arius and the Arians documented the events leading up to the Council and the events afterwards because of the exile of Arius (as he disagreed with the founding of the Trinity).

CLAY: “Are you really serious about me following your reasoning when you freely admit, “we know that a belief in god is a psychological necessary for humanity” – a devastating admission!”

Yes I am serious. I take this issue very seriously. Take any Humanities class and this information is discussed. I also covered the subject in minor detail when I posted from my web page earlier. Scientists have also identified a part of the brain associated with religious thought – lovingly called the God Module. This is not something to be ashamed of nor is it mean to berate. I am simply stating what I know and what my view is.

CLAY: “But the final “God is not in outer space…he simply is nonexistent”…this is belief and it has no basis in observation.”

On the contrary it has everything to do with observation. I cannot smell God. I cannot hear God. I cannot taste God. I cannot see God. I cannot touch God. There is evidence against the very definitions of the Christian God and almost every other defined God. There is only one god that when I say it doesn’t exist requires faith – and that is the UGFSS. It is my observations that have led me to the conclusion (not belief) that God does not exist. The likelihood and probability of specifically the Christian God existing are less than 1%.

CLAY: “Of particular note, I am disturbed by your popular belief in the theory of evolution, a philosophically flawed “theory.””

So it’s okay for you to feel “disturbed” by my “belief” in a theory that you consider to be flawed but when I assert that religion is a psychological necessity and there are many flaws of the Bible it is juvenile and full of emotionalism? I feel so much better knowing that.

Since you have made that statement I’m going to assume that your knowledge of the evolutionary facts and supporting theory are elementary at best. To look at Biblical creation and evolution side by side and still choose creationism is to forsake one’s intellectual integrity. There is simply no comparison whatsoever.

CLAY: “Your argument must admit that this is still theory as no transitional forms are documented.”

Incorrect. There are multitudes of transitional fossils. What type of transitionals are you looking for? Are you looking for the elusive cat-dog or fish-lizard?

CLAY: “No answer for biogenesis exists.”

Incorrect.

CLAY: “The second law of thermodynamics has not been reversed.”

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics does not apply to life. Nor does it contradict the evolutionary or cosmological theories. This statement clearly shows a misunderstanding of the Laws of Thermodynamics and especially the 2nd Law. I have been debating a hardcore creationist that has conceded the fact that the 2nd Law does not conflict with evolutionary theory. He could not deny the formulas and evidence and still maintain his intellectual integrity. You can read the debate at Atheism Awareness.

Each of your “arguments” against evolutionary fact and theory have been addressed and shown to be invalid. I suggest you look further into the issue. A good place to start is the Talk Origins Archive.

I don’t want to get into another Evolution vs. Creationism debate here. I’ve already got a very long one going that is VERY involved and detailed. I also have a simplified one with a “beginner”. That doesn’t even include my numerous debates on the Forums and at local events.

CLAY: “Maybe you have been digesting the wrong sources?”

If you consider sources like William Arndt, Harold Lindsell, Charles Ryrie, James Boice, James Packer, Clark Pinnock, Gleason Archer, Josh McDowell, Don Stewart, Richard Sisson, David O’Brien, Maurice Baucaille, E. M. Blaiklock, Norman Ward, Peter Ruckman, Vernon McGee, Norman Geisler, Oscar Culmann, Robert Mounce, Dwight Pentecost, M. R. DeHaan, Henry Morris, Martin Clark, James Sire, R. C. Sproul, Kenneth Boa, and Larry Moody (to name a few) to be the wrong sources for the Christian perspective – then sure.

CLAY: “I think that Atheism is intellectually appealing to you because you choose it to be.”

Atheism is intellectually appealing to me because I refuse to forsake my intellectual integrity and forsake truth for mythology. You bet I choose it to be.

CLAY: “A Christian’s only personal comparison is to be made with Jesus, from whom every one of us falls woefully short. Let Christ be the example. Our goal as Christians is, after all, to become more and more like him and less like our sinful selves.”

Too bad Jesus wasn’t a very good moral example himself.

CLAY: “A Christian has no moral high ground over another human.”

If only you can convince the rest of Christianity about this. If only the conversion process and the corruption by missionaries would cease at the realization of that very statement.

CLAY: “In my heart and mind, I have no moral superiority over you. Only Jesus Christ does, and it is His life that compels us to witness to His Truth.”

Jesus has no moral superiority over me, either. He was just as corrupt as the next Tom, Dick, and Harry. It’s in the Bible – but most Christians refuse to see it. There are accounts in the Bible that place Jesus in a not-so-perfect position of immorality. If you have to ask me to give you the scriptures then you have not really read the Bible or you have subconsciously overlooked these passages in order to maintain your faith and deny your intellectual integrity.

CLAY: “I cannot argue you to this conclusion, for it is not within my power to do so, only God’s, but I can define logical arguments that reasonably show that Christianity is not the foolish mistake you unfairly present it to be.”

You have yet to do so. Christianity will ultimately fall among the other religions in the theistic graveyard. It won’t be long before Yahweh and Jesus are sitting next to Jupiter, Zeus, Thor, Ares, Ra, Horus, Mithras, and Mother Earth. To be discussed in a High School mythology class. Even as we speak Christianity is on the decline and non-theistic spiritualism is on the rise. It is only in the United States were the gullibility remains so high. Religiously speaking we are ranked next to Bangladesh when it comes to our views on science. We are the only industrialized nation that still has a large population that believes in literal creationism. We are a culture of gullibility. From Christianity to Astronomy to Psychic Hot Lines. It’s an intellectual shame and rather embarrassing. The British have no concept of fundamentalism and don’t understand what is going on over here. It’s rather ironic don’t you think, that Americans are fleeing for England to escape religious persecution?

CLAY: “History is replete with excellent Christian minds, from Augustine to Anselm to Aquinas, to name three foundational contributors.”

History is also replete with excellent Atheist minds, Muslim minds, Hindu minds, Jewish minds, etc. Just because there were wise Christians does not make Christianity any truer.

CLAY: “Have you read Augustine’s Confessions?”

I live 15 minutes from St. Augustine, Florida. Every bookstore down there sold his works. I’ve read Confessions and The Literal Meaning of Genesis.

CLAY: “But there are many others, men who were brilliant, men who gave us the patterns from which we consciously or subconsciously approach our modern world. And they were ancient Christian apologists. Are you saying that they were foolish in their conclusions?”

Their acts and achievement were not necessarily foolish. I don’t condemn the works of Isaac Newton and his contributions to physics just because he was a deist. His belief in a god, as a deist, was foolish – but at least he was intellectually honest with himself and admitted the faults in Christianity. His faith had a major grip on him though and he could not shake it. So he adopted a deistic view and left Christianity behind him. I think most Christians would be amazed to find out just how many people they claim were Christians were actually deists or Unitarians.

CLAY: “Am I? For I, like they, have banked my entire life on the Truth of the Bible and the reality that a Triune Personal God stands behind eternity. The stakes are high. Let’s stop the games.”

Since you have gagged me from presenting my opinions and views because you find them juvenile then I guess I cannot answer that question. But what the hell… Yes. I find your belief in the Triune God of Christianity to be foolish and a break in your intellectual integrity.

The stakes are only high in your view because you consider yourself eternally damned to the pits of hell unless you follow the teachings of your God and bow before him in submissiveness. You’ve mentioned several times my “attacking Christianity”. Christianity does not stand by itself (it just has the loudest mouth in the group). Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Shamanism, African Religions, Gnosticism, Hasidism, Jainism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, North American Indian Religions, Protestantism, Quakerism, Catholicism, Seventh-Day Adventism, Shakers, Sikhism, Sufism, Tantrism, Taoism, and Zen all stand next to Christianity in the booth of psychological necessity.

I never heard back from Clay.

Where Did It All Come From?

This question has plagued humankind for a long time in one form or another. In the search for our origins, to discover why and how we are here, we have gone from the embryo, the fossil records, extraterrestrial objects, and even to extraterrestrial intelligence. There are many ideas on the origins of life, some make sense, others lack substance, and still others are so far out that they make creationism look credible.

What questions remain once we figure out where everything came from? Where did the universe come from?

Now that we know where Homo sapiens came from, we have to expand the question beyond our personal world. We have only just begun to question and barely scratched the surface of answers.

Where did we come from? Why are we here? Who is this strange woman in my bed? These are the questions that plague mankind!

The “Big Bang,” as it has become known, is right now the most likely cause of the Universe as we see it today. A Christian monk proposed the “Big Bang” in order to prove to scientists at the time that the universe was not infinite, but finite (NOTE: “Big Bang” was a title given by opponents of the theory in order to make is sound like a fairy tale. It backfired on them and now it is one of the most recognized theories in science.).

The monk supposed that an infinite universe could not have a god, where a finite one could have a creator (whether that creator was his god was a completely different issue). Science at the time dismissed the hypothesis because the monk could not back it up with mathematics.

Later, a mathematician worked out the numbers and agreed with the “Big Bang.” The problem is that at 1×10-43 seconds after the Big Bang, he had no means of doing any more mathematics. He had reached a singularity (note the often misuse of this word and huge misunderstanding of what a singularity is and is not).

Science eventually agreed with the monk and the few Christians that had adopted it when mathematics proved the monk correct. The odd thing is that as soon as science accepted the idea, Christianity dropped it like a hot potato.

The singularity is the key. A singularity means that we do not have the knowledge to go any further. For example, Boyle wrote a law for gases under pressure. However, under a certain amount of pressure, gases turn to a liquid. When the gases reach a liquid state, they have reached the singularity of Boyle’s law. Boyle’s Law can no longer explain the behavior of the gas. Liquid-state gas was a singularity until new knowledge arose which allowed us to measure it and understand its physics.

Prior to that singularity, we can make educated guesses, provide multiple hypotheses, and even have enough to warrant a theory. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that we do not know 100%.

Of course, science is never about 100%. Science is always questioning itself more then it questions the world in which it is involved. We can hope that in the future the knowledge will become available that will allow us to peer before that 1×10-43 seconds after the Big Bang. The Hubble Space Telescope is the beginning of that new knowledge – we look forward to great things as it peers into the beginnings of the universe with its large eye that is unhampered by atmospheric distortion.

I try to keep things simple at Atheism Awareness because I do not want readers to need a degree in science or theology to understand what I am talking about. However, some subjects require a deeper understanding of the science to grasp the concepts that I am trying to relate.

This is one of those subjects.

The fact that we do not know what happened prior to that 1×10-43 seconds does not mean the creationists are right. Most Creationism pages insist that because we do not know that this proves god exists. We can say that many things exist just because we do not know. How does our lack of knowledge in this area prove the existence of god?

Nature is amazing and beautiful and awe-inspiring on its own. It does not need a god to corrupt and pollute that beauty.

Religionists and creationists have fallen for this repeatedly. They used to say that lightning proved god existed. They used to say that the geocentric universe proved that god existed. Over the centuries, the creationists have insisted that scientific lack of knowledge was proof of their god. As science expands its knowledge of the universe, it forces creationists to withdraw from that stance each time. The creationists have clung on to this one because it the only thing they have to justify their belief in a literal creation.

The bottom line is that we do not know for sure. It remains one of the great mysteries of science. We know what happened 1×10-43 seconds after the “Big Bang,” but before that remains a singularity.

Laypersons are often confused as to what a singularity means. A singularity (referring to the “Big Bang”) is not the astrophysics singularity (point in space-time where gravitational forces cause matter to have infinite density and infinitesimal volume, and space and time become infinitely distorted). It is the mathematical singularity (point where the derivative does not exist for a given function of a random variable, but every neighborhood of which contains points for which the derivative exists). In other words, before 1×10-43 seconds after the Big Bang, we do not know what was before it; we have reached a mathematical singularity.

There are of course theories based on the available evidence (we have to go on what we do know: not on what we do not know). For those that are interested in learning a few of the theories that scientists are working on today, visit the following links: