Defenders of Islamic Mantra (DIMs)

The recent brouhaha with the Innocence of Muslims video has reignited not only Islamic violence across the globe (as predicted), but equally the asininity of my fellow liberals here at home. So I wanted to touch on the issues that really drive me bonkers when it comes to the ridicule of Islam and the glorious thing that is Freedom of Speech as established by the Constitution of the United States.

Muslims in Bangladesh burn a U.S. Flag in protest over the “Innocence of Muslims.”
(AP Photo/A.M. Ahad, CC)

The first response I usually see from my fellow liberals is how they support the Freedom of Speech and then they add the word “but” to the end of that. I immediately know that something really stupid and asinine is about to come out of their mouths and they are going to look like twits on my Facebook wall. Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech. There are only a few “buts” as established by the courts and this video met none of those “buts” – not even remotely close. So unless you want to change the Constitution or simply deny Freedom of Speech then, to quote my friend Matthew, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Just remember that when you say it you sound like this, “I’m not a pedophile, but…” (also see Concern Troll)

The second response I usually see is some statement about the ethics or morality of the video, comment, expression, etc. Being an unethical and immoral asshole is not against the law. You may not like it and I may not like what a person says, but that does not mean they do not have the right to say it. Just like you have the right to be a stupid twit by saying nonsense like this: you’re being wrong does not prevent you from using your Freedom of Speech.

But the worst is yet to come! There are two things that generally happen when Islam goes rabid around the world enough that the news covers it for more than 48 hours. I should note that Islam is rabid around the world every day, but the news only covers massive outbreaks and ignores the violence perpetuated by followers of Islam across the planet on a day-to-day basis.

The first is the irrational defense of Islam by my fellow liberals and atheists. I don’t see this nonsense when I “attack” Christianity, so why are they so compelled to suddenly defend Islam? Is it because they are afraid of Islam’s response to my criticism? Is it because they have swallowed the ridiculousness of multiculturalism, but only as it applies to any culture they’re not raised in, therefore it’s okay to criticize Christianity or American culture, but not anyone else’s who might be offended? I mean, if you honestly think that the subjugation of women is a great cultural thing, then you probably should not be my friend and you definitely should not consider yourself a freethinker or rational human being. Not every aspect of every culture is worth defending. No one has the right to not be offended.

I especially love it when they confuse the criticism of Islam as some blanket statement against all Muslims. Is the criticism of Christianity a blanket statement against all Christians? If I say that Christianity is an unethical religion because it is based on the immorality of the Forgiveness Doctrine and Original Sin, does that mean I am saying that all Christians are immoral and unethical? Nope. So how come when I say that Islam is a violent and immoral religion because of the doctrine of violence against apostates and Kafirs, do my liberal and Islamic-defending atheist friends immediately think I’m saying that all Muslims are violent and immoral? We know moderate Muslims exist and some have even spoken out against the violence.

This is a culture worth respecting? The subjugation of women and denying women equal rights? Stoning women to death? Beheading women? Public executions of women? No thanks! (Photo CC)

But worst of all is when anyone who speaks out against Islam is called a bigot or a racist. I wonder if anyone who criticizes Christianity is equally racist and bigoted. If you think the criticism of Islam is racist, then you are the actual racist because you are the idiot that thinks all Muslims are Arabs. First, Islam is not a race, it’s a religion. And Arabs are not the largest demographic of Muslims. The largest demographic of Muslims are South Asia and Southeast Asia with over 1 billion followers of Islam. The Middle East only contributes 321 million followers of Islam to the global believers. If you go by country, the top ten countries are Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey, Algeria, and Morocco. There are white Muslims and Asian Muslims and Muslims in every demographic and ethnicity on the planet. Not all Arabs are Muslim. There are a lot of Christian Arabs, Jewish Arabs, Zoroastrian Arabs, and atheist Arabs. So stop being a racist by thinking that all Muslims are Arab and accusing the criticism of Islam as being racist. You sound like a horse’s ass and dolt when you say stupid shit like that.

It blows my mind that so many of my fellow atheists are so quick to defend Islam when they would never do such a thing with Christianity or Hinduism or other religions. I can post inflammatory and derogatory comments about Christianity on my Facebook page and get a bunch of “Hell yeah!” responses from my fellow atheists. But post one thing inflammatory or derogatory about Islam and the Defenders of Islamic Mantra (DIMs) come out of the woodwork to tell me how horrible I am and how racist and bigoted I am. Well, I’m glad they don’t think I’m a racist bigot when I criticize and mock Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Paganism and other stupid beliefs like Creationism, Homeopathy, Astrology, etc.

There is one other thing that always happens when Islam goes berserk around the world. The Islam-defenders among my fellow atheists quickly point out, “Islam is no different than Christianity, which had the Crusades, Inquisition, etc.”

Yes, Christianity certainly had its moments in history, didn’t it? Every religion has. Our criticism of the current violent state of Islam is irrelevant to the brutal histories of other religions. That doesn’t mean we’re not aware of those brutalities and horrors. We are not living during the Crusades, Conquistadors, or Inquisition. We are living in the here and now. Right now the most dangerous religion on the planet is Islam.

Poverty, culture, and politics play their part, but it is belief in martyrdom after death and glory in Paradise with Allah that allows this to happen.

Religion is like dogs: different breeds behave different ways. Some are yippy and annoying. Some are aggressive and dangerous. Some are docile and weak. Some are feral and rabid. Christianity has been mostly domesticated. Sure, it nips at you or scratches every now and then, but it’s mostly timid these days. It helps that Christianity is mostly the pet dog in secular households (countries) these days. Every now and then the Christian dog will try to shit and piss on the carpet, but that’s why there are groups to help fight that shit in the first place (and discipline the dog when it does via court cases). How many Christian terrorist attacks can you think of in the last ten years?

Islam in its current state is feral and wants to bite your head off every time you look at it funny. Some of the pups in Islam are rabid. How many Islamic terrorist attacks can you think of in the last ten years? (HINT: the answer is almost 20,000)

It also doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the role that culture and politics and poverty play, either. We understand that Islam is culture and politics: they are intertwined in the theocracies and dictatorships that exist around the globe. They are inseparable and feed off each other. Politics and poverty and lack of education may lead one to Islam, but Islam is what leads one to strap on dynamite and blow up innocent civilians at a market for the reward of virgins and martyrdom in Paradise.

Yes, all religions are bad, but some are worse than others. The trick is to keep a close eye on the most dangerous while not losing sight of the others to ensure you’re not getting flanked. Our criticism of Islam’s violent tendencies and barbaric texts does not mean we don’t think the Bible is not full of horrible things (it most certainly is) or that we don’t think the Vedas has some nasty shit in it (it definitely does). What it means is that we are currently criticizing Islam.

The sooner you realize how silly you look and sound when defending Islam and getting all bent out of shape when someone goes after Islam, the better.

The next time the Islamic heads get together to pass blasphemy laws at the United Nations… the DIMs out there can vote in favor of it. In the meantime, I plan on standing up for the Freedom of Speech, which includes the right to criticize EVERY religion and EVERY faith and EVERY prophet and to be as blasphemous as I want to no matter how much it bothers your hyper-sensitive multiculturalism nonsense.

Don’t be a DIM!

Praise Bacon!

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Debate 028: Scott tries to prove the Bible

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

 

Scott’s “Proof of the Bible”:

PROOF OF THE BIBLE

Part I: Bible Prophecy

Reason For Prophecy

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

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

Prophecy Of The Last Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prophecy About Messiah And Its Fulfillment

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

Part II: Advanced Scientific Knowledge In The Bible

On Physical Science

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

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

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

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

On Health Science

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

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

Part III: Archaeology Has Proven The Bible

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

Part IV: Suggested Info.

OT Verses

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

NT Verses (Some OT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Recommend:

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

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

 

Response to Scott’s “Proof”:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radona Rebuttal #001:

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

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

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

2. Why do you celebrate Christmas?

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

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

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

6. How are we here?

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

 

Response to Radona #001:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s more than one question! ;-)

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

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

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

RADONA: “6. How are we here?”

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

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

 

Radona Rebuttal #002:

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

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

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

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

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

What about miracles. Do you believe in miracles?

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

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

 

Radona Rebuttal #003:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Response to Radona #003:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Radona Rebuttal #004:

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

 

Response to Radona #004:

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

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

Debate 025: Glen and Blair discuss basic Christianity

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

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

 

Glen Rebuttal #001:

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

Some opening remarks:

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

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

Cosmological Arguments:

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

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

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

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

Arguments from Human Experience:

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

Christian beliefs:

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

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

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

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

Logic of belief:

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

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

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

Argument from Human Experience:

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

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

 

Response to Glen #001:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I challenge you to present scientific evidence for one miracle.

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

Is the universe a closed material system in your view?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Glen Rebuttal #002:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would not a creator equal or surpass what it creates?

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

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

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

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

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

For his own glory and to share existence with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those are are evil human acts not miracles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gospels offer forgiveness of sin and reconcilation with God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Response to Glen #002:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life evolved on the planet Earth because it is “perfect” for life to evolve. Why didn’t life evolve on Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus or Neptune? Life didn’t evolve there because the conditions were not right. Were those planets ignored by your god and not made perfect for life? Life evolved here because the conditions were right for it – not because the conditions were “designed” right for it.

GLEN: “Changing the laws of nature would effect things like Solar output or the ability of carbon atoms to link up. Without a certain range of values in the laws of nature life would be physically impossible.”

The laws of nature as they exist would be different and different examples of life and patterns would arise. The arrogance in this argument is that only life as it exists now is the “final form.” If the laws of nature were different then the life and patterns within that natural setting would also be different. It’s as if the theist thinks that when we find life in another solar system that there will be humans, zebras, antelopes, kangaroos, and penguins walking around.

The diversity of life is a shining example of how these different laws of nature and the environment force about different shapes, forms, modes, and others in life and geology. A human cannot survive in the depths of the ocean because it is not “perfect” for us. A fish cannot swim out of water.

This isn’t because of design; it is because the life evolved to survive in its environment.

GLEN: “For his own glory and to share existence with us.”

That’s it? So we’re nothing more than the result of an egotistical artist that was looking for company to share? Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t seem very god-like. Are we nothing more than god’s ant farm sitting on his dresser?

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

That is my point exactly. People have a sense of what is right and wrong and they don’t need a Bible to tell them that. The laws are extensions of that inherent morality that we have – the laws elaborate on that morality and help to preserve the species. Laws do not necessarily make things right or wrong, but they emphasize my point that our moralities, and our laws based upon that morality, are a reflection of our biology – to preserve the species. It does not exclude the argument that laws are a higher authority.

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

The Golden Rule is not biblical – it existed for thousands of years before the Bible. Proverbs is not a moral base, either. As to the Decalogue, there are only three of the ten that speak to moral issues, and those were moral issues long before the Tanakh was ever written. How is “thou shall have no other gods before me” a moral issue?

Where is the Bible is morality defined? The Decalogue is not a definition of morality or a guideline of right and wrong. The Decalogue is “commandments,” not guidelines. The Decalogue contains commands from Yahweh – not moral guidelines. The Decalogue cannot help us at all in dealing with everyday moral issues that come about and they are of no use at all in situational ethics. Even the famous “thou shall not kill” is contradicted on a daily basis – so much so that new versions of the Bible say “thou shall not murder” to avoid the contradiction contained therein. That’s not translation – that’s politics.

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

That is in direct contradiction to Christian theology. You have to follow the commandments and the message of Jesus in order to get into Heaven – if not then you go to Hell. The carrot – the reward – is entrance into Heaven. The followers of Yahweh and Jesus are threatened with Hellfire if they do not behave themselves. The Bible doesn’t say to follow your conscious or your moral compass – it gives direct commandments. As I said before, the Bible does not define morality in any way – it just gives commands that must be followed – nothing more than laws.

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

You are correct that morality proscribes a relationship with the Bible-God. Perhaps you meant that it prescribes your relationship with your Bible-God?

The survival of the species is inherent in our morality and the laws of our societies that we use to define our morality. The preservation of the species is inherent in almost every law that we have and those that do not preserve the species tend to be religiously based laws, such as the law that makes it illegal to own “marital aids” in the state of Alabama.

Morality is directly related to the survival of the species and the preservation of the species within its environment. That is why morality varies from society to society in many cases.

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

They don’t have to alter your actions in order to make free will null and void. If the outcome of the event is modified in the form of a miracle then your choices were for naught and they did not affect the outcome. The whole premise of free will is that our choices affect the outcome. If the outcome is modified by miracle, then our choices cannot be said to affect the outcome.

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

There may be a lack of enough evidence? There is no evidence at all. The burden of proof for the evidence of miracles is on the person that claims miracles.

I’m surprised you quoted Clarke in your statement. Clarke was saying a negative thing about miracles – not a positive.

GLEN: “Those are are evil human acts not miracles.” (sic)

I didn’t say they were miracles. I asked where were the miracles? Where was the miracle on 9/11? Where was the miracle during the Holocaust? Why did the Bible-God (or any god for that matter) not intervene? This is why I want a definition of your god. How can we debate your god if we do not have any definition of your god?

If you think about it, 9/11 was evidence against the Bible-God for other reasons as well. There were thousands of Christians praying for a miracle on 9/11. There were 19 Muslims praying for success on 9/11. The only prayers answered on that day were the prayers of just 19 Muslims. Perhaps you should be worshiping Allah?

GLEN: “Paul wrote in the 40s and 50s and he passed on accounts about the resurrection from the first Christians that knew Jesus, like Peter and James, as well as his own account, thats (sic) closer in time to 30 AD than the Gospels.”

The dates of the letters attributed to Paul are a point of contention among biblical scholars because there are no originals – not way to prove their date. The earliest known copy of the letters has been dated to the late 50’s.

GLEN: “Except for political and military leaders I doubt you have many accounts from that time about any first century person.”

That is incorrect. There are many stories and tales about people during the time. There is certainly a greater collection of works about political and military leaders, but they do exist for those not in such fields. What is remarkable is that not a single one of them wrote about Jesus. No one seems to want to address that issue for some reason.

GLEN: “There are two references by Josephus a Jewish historian but this is disputed, I think Tacitus refers to Jesus and his followers but thats (sic) 115 AD. http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_01_01_01.html”

There are many references to Jesus way after the fact. The writings of Tacitus are referring to what he has been told – he is not an eyewitness to Jesus.

Josephus is not an eyewitness, either. In the works of Josephus that mention Jesus they are way out of place and out of character. No one uses Josephus as proof of Jesus until after Eusebius gets a hold of the works of Josephus. To this day there are two versions of Josephus – one that includes a reference to Jesus and one that doesn’t.

Eusebius said that it is okay to lie in order to bring people to Jesus. It is thought among most scholars that Eusebius forged the entry in Josephus. Josephus was a Pharasitic Jew and would never have referred to Jesus as the “messiah” or “son of God” if he did write about him.

It’s funny that you gave me a link to Tektonics. Tektonics wrote an article about me, saying I was “big dog of freethought in the South.” LOL

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

It is correct that most biblical scholars recognize at a minimum Jesus as a man. However, this speaks against your argument in the first place. Biblical scholars cannot reconcile the metaphysical aspects of Christianity and they reduce Jesus to a man – a rabbi and nothing else. Do you not find it compelling that biblical scholars can only aver Jesus as a man and nothing more?

I disagree with biblical scholars because they are only using the Bible as their source of information in their conclusions on the historicity of Jesus. They do not take into consideration the lack of non-biblical evidence and they certainly do not take into consideration the amount of borrowed mythology from pagan religions.

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

Unfortunately, none of the witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection wrote anything down. How could they know if the resurrection was true if they never witnessed it?

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

Constantine recognized it because Christianity was the religion of the city. Constantine felt that his power lay in the city – not the army. Christianity as a whole was disenfranchised and in turmoil. Christians were fighting each other over dogma and doctrine. Christians were sent to the lions not because they were Christians (although that did occur sometimes because of the law against monotheism), but because they were the criminal element of Rome.

Christians were the cause of the great fire in Rome because they were rioting against each other over doctrine. Constantine intervened and established the Council of Nicea to pull together the followers of Arius and his detractors.

Even the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t deny this.

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

I think it would have and most historians think it would have also. The reason that Christianity resorted to the gentiles is because the Jews rejected it. Even Jesus rejected the gentiles at first. Do you remember the story about the gentile woman on the road that asked Jesus for help and he admonished her? It was after that she embarrassed Jesus that he agreed to help her. She said, “Even a dog gets the scraps under the table.” She and Jesus recognized the place of the gentiles. Jesus came for the Jews – not the gentiles. The gentiles were second best.

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

The disciples were common Jews – not priests. None of the priests accepted Jesus as the Messiah because they knew the Tanakh and what prophecies were to be fulfilled. Jesus does not fulfill the prophecies of the Messiah for the Jews.

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

So in order for a belief to be justified it must meet all 3 requirements? Your list of three items is a checklist?

GLEN: “The Gospels offer forgiveness of sin and reconcilation (sic) with God.”

I asked for an elaboration and I got a rephrase. The gospels are not the only thing that addresses our need for forgiveness or our recognition of morality (what you call sin and guilt).

Please elaborate on why you feel that the gospels address this.

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

Ridicule and ignorance do not make something false; that is true. What does make something false is a lack of evidence. There is 100% lack of evidence in regards to god (whatever name you attribute to he/she/it). Until evidence surfaces, it is rationally acceptable to deem the claim of god as false.

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

You asked why a creature evolve that has desires out of proportion to what can be provide for – and you used that as evidence of a creator. The monkey has a desire for the salt, but it’s abilities and what it can provide are out of proportion to its desire – it does not have the intellect to figure out that releasing the salt will free it of the salt trap.

How does this show a creator?

GLEN: “So if you were offered eternal life in a transformed body you would reject it?”

I’d have to read the fine print first, that’s for sure. What do I do? Where do I live? What is it like?

No one knows what the afterlife of Christianity is like. Do you? What does Heaven look like? Where is it? What goes on there?

GLEN: “I have been divorced for over 4 yours so it has nothing to do with my recent conversion.”

My apologies: I thought you had said that you were divorced six months ago.

GLEN: “I discovered I had 2 sets of standards in judging beliefs, a low set for things I wanted to believe in and a higher set of standards for things I rejected, it was after I rejected my double standard that I gave Theism another look.”

Then you are correct in stating that you were not an Atheist for very long. It also explains your fickle nature when it comes to religiosity. A skeptic should have the same standards of skepticism and inquiry toward every subject and every side.

GLEN: “What would it take for you to take theism and christianity (sic) seriously, these a seperate (sic) but related subjects.” (sic)

I already take theism seriously. If I didn’t take it seriously we wouldn’t be having this conversation and I’d probably be a theist.

As to Christianity – it’s just another version of theism among thousands. To prove Christianity I’d be happy if Jesus came down and just had a cup of coffee with me. I think that would be enough to prove Christianity for me. God himself could just come on over and we could talk a few things through.

GLEN: “I think what would cause me to change my views would be if it could be shown that 1st century Christians did not worship a resurrected Jesus.”

Of course they worshiped a resurrected Jesus. If that is the only premise of your belief, then there are a lot of other religions that worship a resurrected god. The point is not whether they worshiped a resurrected Jesus. The point is whether there was any evidence of the resurrection in the first place. People worship false stuff all the time – worship of something does not make it true.

GLEN: “Is science the only way to truth?”

Science is the best way to truth. I won’t assert that it is the only way, because we do not know everything. What I will say is that looking for facts and discerning the truth from facts is the best way to arrive at the truth or to at least get closer to it. Religious thought cannot achieve that because it has too many borders that it is not willing to cross. How can you get at the truth of god if you make your god immune to inquiry?

GLEN: “Doesn’t it have built in assumptions that can not be proven, that are just accepted without question such as naturalism or materialism?”

The assumptions in science are based upon observation. I assume that the sun will rise in the morning because it has risen every day that I’ve been alive and has been recorded as rising every day in history as well. There is no reason to question this assumption, but it is logical to say that it is possible that the sun will not reveal itself the next morning.

Glen offered a counter-rebuttal to my last email, but his last line ended the debate and he offered to let me have the last word. I saw no point in responding to his last rebuttal.

Debate 023: Ian and Blair debate evolution & the Bible

Ian Rebuttal #001:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religious Confusion

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

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

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

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

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

On evolution

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

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

Concerning Biblical Origin

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

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

Christianity in General

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

 

Response to Ian #001:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How is that a moral doctrine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Ian, like most, disappears into the masses…