ANOTHER DOUBTING THOMAS (HOME PAGE)

“The Bible has noble poetry in it… and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies.” – Mark Twain

Once upon a time I was a member of the Church. My faith was as strong as anyone’s. I received 90% of my education from Private Christian Schools. I was baptized. I converted people. I protested outside of clinics that provided abortions. I prayed in rapturous ecstasy, gently rocking side to side, hands raised overhead. I tithed. I spoke in tongues (well, I mimicked those who pretended to speak in tongues). I owned four bibles with my name emblazoned in gold on each (my current tally is eleven). I considered missionary work. I dated only my fellow Christians. I pitied the people who worshiped all those other false gods. I knew my god was the real deal. I believed. I had no doubt.

So what happened? Sorry to disappoint, but my progression from die-hard Christian to Skeptic and Atheist wasn’t the result of some dramatic/traumatic event. It was a gradual evolution. Once I was free of the church and its constant reinforcement of Christian dogma, I received an incredible gift; the ability to think for myself. With this newly open mind I began to discover that the real world didn’t match up with the one represented by the church. It’s an amazing thing to no longer be wrapped in the comforting embrace of religious delusion and be forced to confront reality on reality’s terms. It was with this newly open mind that I decided to revisit my bible and let me tell you, reading the bible with a fresh mind, one no longer clouded by fantasy, but clear and hungry for truth is quite an experience. The Bible may be the most available and most purchased book in the world but it is also certainly the least read. Allow me to clarify; by read I don’t mean skimmed through during family bible study or reviewed specific favorite passages during the Sunday sermon. I mean really read it, front to back, absorbing every depiction of God encouraged genocide, God-ordained rape, constant, primitive sacrifices to a god whose bloodlust seems insatiable, rampant sexism, unbridled racism, countless contradictions, superstitious nonsense, sexual depravity, inhuman cruelty, petty jealousy, blatant lies and obvious, revisionist mythology. If only more people would take the time to truly read the “good book”, surely more people would, like me, no longer be able to worship the god depicted in its pages.

This site is really just an attempt to create an online catalog of the many observations and questions I’ve accumulated during my evolution from believer to skeptic (click on the Categories listed at the top right of this page). Christians may find them to be irritating, obnoxious, silly, eye opening or troubling, but my desire to understand how they can continue to believe when confronted by the very same issues that resulted in me losing my faith is sincere. This is why I created it in blog format; to allow those who wish to comment a way to do so. But please, only intelligent responses. I don’t need to be told that I’m going to burn in hell because I refuse to worship your particular god or don’t follow your particular concept of Christianity. And please, please try to refrain from simply regurgitating scripture or religious dogma. If these are the only types of responses you’re capable of coming up with, you might as well remain silent. Remember, the bible no longer holds any authority for me, so these standard, comforting, oft repeated, oh so familiar tenants all have the same subtitle: “Because The Bible Tells Me So.” Also, if you are unable to come up with a reason or an answer, simply shoving “faith” in the resulting gap serves no purpose other than to comfort yourself. Faith is merely a synonym for hope; providing an answer only for the desperate. And just so we’re clear; I’m not trying to ‘convert’ any Christians into Atheists. I don’t even believe it’s possible. For an individual to abandon the practice of worshiping gods (your god, their god, his god, her god), they must come to some very personal revelations and make some very personal choices. No one can turn someone into an Atheist.

And before any Christians come at me with the tiresome issue of why Atheists waste our time studying and discussing something we don’t believe in, let me direct you to my article – “Why Atheists Are NOT Wasting Their Time” that the good people over at www.PathofReason.com were kind enough to publish. AND before anyone decides that they have me figured out just because I embrace the label Atheist, they might want to read another of my articles – “Why Our Labels Always Fail To Define Us”. It would be as foolish for someone to assume that they knew my position on the Theory of Evolution, or the Origin of Life, or the Big Bang, or abortion simply because I refer to myself as an Atheist as it would be for me to assume that I knew a person’s opinion regarding these same topics just because they called themselves a Christian. If history has taught us anything, it’s that many of those who have referred to themselves as Christians, if judged on actions alone, would not have been labeled as such by anyone else. I could gather a hundred different people, all of whom consider themselves to be Christian, and ask them all if they thought anyone in heaven would be more beautiful than another and why, and I would very likely receive a hundred different answers.

One of the most irritating things I encounter with Christians is how they constantly speak for all Christians as if there were a universal mindset in what is arguably the most divided and divisive religion in the history of mankind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by a Christian that Christians don’t think this or believe that or encourage this or tolerate that, etc. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe the flood depicted in the bible was caused not by rain but by the fabled water canopy (a dome-like shield of water supposedly covering the earth) collapsing all at once. But do ALL Christians believe this? Let’s hope not. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that there are no innocent children or even babies as we are all born sinners and that God sends babies and children who die to heaven or hell based on what they would have done in their lives had they not died. Do all Christians believe this? Of course not. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that the Bible is infallible, free of any man made errors or historical inaccuracies. But these people are understandably in the minority. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that only they are capable of morality. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe the age of accountability begins at age 5, others have said age 8, others have said age 12, others have said age 18. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that a man’s freewill can not be overcome by anything, not the influence of drugs (legal or illegal) or alcohol, not mental disorders (schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, etc.), not traumatic experiences, nothing. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that the earth is a few thousand years old and those who believe that it is a few million. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that the story of creation depicted in the book of Genesis is fact and those who believe it is allegory. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that sinners are sent to hell to burn in eternal hellfire and those who believe that death is the punishment for sin, not torment in hell. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that the sixth commandment states that Thou Shalt Not Kill and those who believe that it states that Thou Shalt Not Murder. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that it took 120 years for Noah to complete construction on the Ark and gather up all the animals and those who believe it took only a few years. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that Noah gathered 7 of every ‘clean’ beast & 2 of every ‘unclean’ beast & 7 of every fowl of both sexes, and a male & female of every ‘creeping thing’ and those who believe that he only gathered a few of various species and that these species eventually ‘became’ all the rest (I believe that’s called evolution). I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that we will all be equal in heaven, in other words when you arrive in heaven you will equally love the spirit of your daughter, who was raped and murdered when she was just nine years-old, and the spirit of the scumbag who raped and murdered her but accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior the day before being executed on death row. Then again, I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that people will be rewarded differently in heaven dependant on their deeds here on earth, in other words, there will be a hierarchy in heaven; the fellow who was born into wealth and chose to spend it all on orphans will have a bigger mansion than the fellow who was born into poverty and did little more than live a clean and decent life. I’ve spoken to Christians who believe that with death comes the dissolution of marriage; a husband and wife are no more. In other words, a woman whose first husband beat her, cheated on her regularly and left her bankrupt, will find herself in heaven standing beside his repentant, Christ accepting spirit feeling no more or less for him than she does for the spirit of her second husband who was devoted to her for fifty-two years and died of heartbreak just days after she finally succumbed to the devastation of Alzheimer’s. In heaven, your beloved is no more special to you than a complete stranger. Just so we’re clear, heaven is a destination I’m supposed to strive for, yes? To reiterate – There is no Christian authority. Please speak for yourself, not for all believers.

Like almost all other religious people I was indoctrinated into my religion as a young child. At the exact same time I was being told about the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, at the exact same time my innocent, naive mind was certain the dark interior of my closet and the recess under my bed became passages to some nightmare world whenever the sun went down, at the exact same time that in my ignorance I was absolutely certain that if I left my bedroom window open at night the tree outside would crawl inside and eat me while I slept, at the exact same time that my foolish, child’s mind believed everything my parents told me, they told me about Jesus and God. I would argue that one of the most harmful things a parent can do to their child is teach them theory as fact, regardless of how wonderful they think that theory may be. Once myth has been established as fact in a child’s mind, it is very difficult, even as an adult, for that person to shake that belief. If a child is surrounded by people who believe in Santa Claus, isolated from those who don’t, and has this belief continually reinforced (presents arrive miraculously, cookies and milk are consumed, hoof prints on roof, magical tales recounted nightly, etc.) throughout their life, guess who still believes in Santa Claus as an adult. Religious indoctrination of a person who lacks the ability or has yet to develop the ability to reason for themselves is the equivalent of brainwashing. The followers of David Koresh and Jim Jones taught the delusion they accepted as fact to their children. Many of those children paid the ultimate price for their parent’s gullibility. For every Christian who is 100% certain in their faith, so feels perfectly justified in teaching their child the ‘absolute truth’ of Christianity, there is a Muslim, a Scientologist, a Mormon, a Hindu, a Buddhist, etc. who feels just as certain in their faith. Until there is only one god and one religion in this world, teaching a child a theory as an absolute must be discouraged. I find it unethical for anyone to teach a child that what you hope and pray to be true is in fact undeniably, unquestionably true. Teach a child what you believe to be true but also teach them that there are hundreds and hundreds of millions of other people who believe in something entirely different and that it is up to them to come to their own conclusions. Teach your child absolutes as absolutes, theories as theories, faith as faith, science as science, hypotheses as hypotheses, etc.

All visitors are welcome on my site and no one’s comments will be censored (that is unless you are one of those irritating parasites whose only comment is to direct me to a place to purchase cheap boner pills). Feel free to place as many links to other sites in your comments as you like but understand that this wordpress site has its comment filtering settings on default. This means that it will automatically hold any comment that includes more than one link for moderation (my approval). I usually click the approve button the same day the comment is left but if it takes me a few days, please be patient. Also understand I did not create this site to have a continual back and forth with those who do or don’t agree with what I say in my posts. I look forward to reading all comments but unfortunately I don’t have the time to reply to very many. And if anyone can offer any advice on how to make this site better, more convenient, easier to navigate, etc. please speak up. It’s still a work in progress.

Let’s try and keep it courteous, people (wishful thinking, right).

DoubtingThomas

442 Responses to “ANOTHER DOUBTING THOMAS (HOME PAGE)”

  1. I am 40 and this year has been all about finding the truths in life.. Religion etc.. I have found a balance of Atheism and Tibetan Buddhism that suits me. i am happy with that and absolutely nothing could change my mind at this point. I do hate the term Atheism though, it is such a 70’s word .. like KKK or the N word or Nazi’s etc.. It just carries a bad wrap..as sam Harris has said.. we need a new word or non at all.. Rationalists but nobody would google that one! I linked you by the way.. have a lovely day!

  2. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Totally agree about the whole title thing, Disgustipated. Most ‘atheists’ are far more complex than their label would define them. Thanks for visiting my site. Please check back often. Already linked your site as well. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi.

      I was never a so called “Christian” but I do believe there is a supreme power call it “God” or what ever you like. How ever I do agree on a lot of your points about the bible. It is a well known fact that the bible has been altered by churches to control people as the churches had a major say in politics. My reasons for believing are the following:-
      1) Every thing is to perfectly and very accurately planned to be what it is today. You can hear 4 dimensional, you can taste, you can smell and you can touch ect. There is evolution and that too is perfectly planned. I mean lets be realistic here and say what is the chance of all these wonderful things happening with one big bang and no helping hand. I would say the odds are even worse than winning the lotteries. I was the biggest skeptic that you could find and everything had to have a practical solution. Eventually I went to a spiritulist church ” as a skeptic” and what happened there changed my hole outlook on life for the better. There are no rational explanations for what happened and it is not the “John Edwards Style. Its a mater of people picking you out of the crowd and saying things that no one knew about. Thanks for your blogs, I enjoy reading them and the comments. I love discussing these type of subjects as I feel it broadens ones horizons.

      • “I would say the odds are even worse than winning the lotteries”

        Look at it this way: somebody DOES win every lottery. However they chose their numbers, whatever millions to one chance influences came into play, once they had won and looked back, it would seem impossible.

        The point is, we ARE that lottery winner. That is why everything fits – if it didn’t, we couldn’t ask the question. A god didn’t plan it, just as no gods were involved in picking the lottery winner. AFTER the lottery, it is easy to see who won.

  3. Get a life, then suicide.

  4. Get a life, then suicide. Then you’ll prove your point. The important part is not us getting it, but you. So, let my advice be your last. I wish you good luck, please stop writing meaningless things, they are quite redundant.

  5. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    If by redundant you mean they keep proving the same point again and again; that god doesn’t exist, religion is bunk and the bible is a disgusting piece of fiction, then I completely agree with you.

    Thanks for the comment, dedude! Feel free to review the rest of the site.

  6. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    And, dedude, I’m curious, which religion influences its followers to encourage the non-believer to kill themselves? I’m making a list, you see.

    Thanks!

  7. Glad I found your site.

  8. Hello :) Yep – an interesting site which will no doubt cause much controversy. The irony being that the one who make the biggest, most agressive statements will probably be the ‘christians’ who just cannot understand the importance of questioning. I remember once asking a nun at school whether reincarnation was a possibility and I was put in detention for a week. Haha! I think anyone who is questioning should yes, read the bible but if that makes your belief even stronger, then read the Life of Pi (by Yann Martell) – the questions that it asks and the answers it gives are an interesting and rewarding brain excercise to show just how maleable our beliefs are no matter how fantastical the story and *then* imagine an extra chapter on the end of the bible. Just a thought…. ;)

  9. The most harmful thing a parent can do to their child is teach them theory as fact, regardless of how wonderful that theory may be. Once myth has been established as fact in a child’s mind, it is very difficult, even as an adult, for that person to shake that belief. How true. My journey out of religious indoctrination has been a long process & I am almost 50! I keep finding I still hold ideas over from my childhood.( I was raised in a religiously fanatic Pentecostal environment) Just recently I got a book about the origin of the OT from the view of what has actually been unearthed by the science of Archaeology.( My blog discussion on the book here
    ) The truth is way more interesting then the myth & much more productive.
    Speaking of…I found your blog from looking up that ridiculous House resolution 888

  10. teabagsforme Says:

    Well, I have actually read the Life of Pi, and it is a pretty well-written book, except for the parts where the island eats the people and animals decapitate each other (the tiger was very amusing). But anyways, you were talking about you as a former Christian was forced into attending Church, bible studies, etc. by your parents. The fact is that, we always do have a choice. The fact is, you were never a Christian. You were doing all the things people believed Christians must do; go to Church, read the Bible etc. The thing is that you have to want to do these things, but you did it out of obligation. Those around you were doing it therefore, you decided to try it. And when you didn’t like what you read in the Bible, you decided it wasn’t for you. Those who told you that the Bible was a self-help book were wrong; that is absolutely false. There is a misunderstanding that once you become a Christian, everything will be so much easier; that your life will magically be problem-free, suffering-free. This is not the case; in fact your life may even seem harder. (I assume you know about the trials and persecution) Well anyways, tis late and I really must sleep! So Guten Abend (German for Good night! Oh and I’m not German by the way).

    • 1.) Not “Guten Abend”, but “Gute Nacht” – you were going to bed, not trying to say “Hello” (Ok, I’m a stickler to the linguistic details when learning a new language).
      2.) Oh, I’m sure Thomas believed – just like I believed. I so much believed in Santa Claus, I was convinced I’d seen him. I so much believed in Yahweh, I used to talk to him like Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof” – and waited for him to reply. Which he never did, of course. Why should Yahweh reply? Why not Thor or Woden? Why not Mirthas? Why not Rah? Why not all the other major and minor deities? Why didn’t St. Francis rescue my beloved dog when I was praying for his intercession?…The list could go on and on.
      But I got lucky. In the 6th grade I was introduced to the tenets of science and I got hooked up on it. No, science IS NOT my religion. But it shows us how to think! How to question everything – even when you’re “The X Files” fan ;) Yes, even “The X Files” helped me QUESTION EVERYTHING!
      My life has not been easy, I got very ill (I had already been an Agnostic by then, or whatever label you’d like to stick on me), and I haven’t been able to make my dreams come true – and become a Physicist. Maybe I will. Because I keep on asking questions and can’t find the answers.

      I’m sorry, Thomas, that this post has become a bit too personal. I’ve bookmarked you as well :)

  11. teabagstone – *rubbing my hands with GLEE!* you have just perfectly disproved your own point by not understanding the premise I was putting forward with the Life of Pi. haha! ‘You were never a Christian’ is based on the fact that I did it out of an obligation? No, I did it because of indoctrination and I did not turn away from the story of the Bible, I just recognised that it was a man made product which has been abused by thousands of years of power-hungry organisations. I suggest that my theories are more ‘Christian’ than yours as I have taken them to the higher level than you have and I trust the values that are within me, rather than those that are preached to me. Organised religion kills the soul. ‘God’ would reject religion, as I have.

  12. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Well put, as usual, Narnie. So nice to have another rational thinker visiting my site. I don’t understand how teabagsforme misunderstood your point about Life of Pi.

    And, teabagsforme, I will ask you one of my favorite questions for Christians, one which always provokes a different answer. First, you state that Narnie was never a Christian (still not clear how you came to that odd, willful conclusion), so I ask you, what is a legitimate ‘Christian’? Someone who reads the bible every day? Someone who has read the entire bible? Someone who picks and chooses which biblical laws to obey? Someone who takes every word of the bible as absolute fact and obeys it as such (guess your rebellious son should be stoned to death – Deut. 21:18-21)? Someone who is incapable of finding a single passage in the bible that they would describe as vile, revolting or disturbing? Someone who believes Christian dogma should be imposed on all cultures? Someone who believes the United States government should be a Christian one (thereby excluding the millions of legitimate Americans who worship a different deity or none at all). Someone who believes that Pat Robertson genuinely just returned from his annual vacation with the Lord, where the Lord informed him what would be happening in America in the upcoming year (What, no lottery numbers?!)? Someone who believes that everyone who comes to this country (U.S.) to become a citizen should be required to pledge their allegiance to it as well as an allegiance to ‘our’ Christian god, regardless of what religion they belong to or god(s) they may worship? Someone who believes that mention of the Christian god should appear on EVERY piece of currency we have? Just what, exactly, are the prerequisites for being a ‘real’ Christian?

    And another thing, teabagsforme, whenever religion is indoctrinated into a child, in other words, when theory is taught as fact (see Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, etc.), the child is not given a choice. They blindly and innocently believe what their parent tells them. The children of the Branch Davidians (David Koresh) did this, as did the children of the ancient Greeks, Aztecs, etc., as do the children of Mormons, Scientologists, the Enawene Nawe (Amazonian Tribe), etc. And, also, I’ve never met a Christian, and I doubt Narnie has either, who believed that –‘everything will be so much easier; that your life will magically be problem-free, suffering-free’—by being part of that religion, nor did Narnie suggest such a thing.

    I know it sounds like such a cliché, but The Truth Will Set You Free! I know it did for me and it sounds like the same is true for Narnie.

    Thanks for your comments!

  13. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    And for anyone interested, the name of the book handmaiden is referring to (and OT stands for Old Testament, btw) is — The Bible Unearthed: Archeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts”
    Written by by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman (Amazon.com’s Best of 2001)–. It’s one of those books that can only benefit humanity if read. Why aren’t books like this part of our children’s curriculum? Every bible believer should be required to read this, if for no other reason than to test their faith, something religionists are, sadly, rarely willing to do. Check it out here. The future of humanity depends on our species no longer relying on superstitions to guide our lives and shape our laws.

  14. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Well, the hyperlink didn’t work for the book so here is the link.

  15. That comment by teabagforme The fact is, you were never a Christian. really peeves me. I have also been told by Christians that I never was one because I am not not one now. It infuriates me. I consider it the height of arrogance for them to presume they can validate or invalidate MY life by telling me what I am, am not, or have been. It’s the same bullshit I had to put up with as a child, when i was indoctrinated, brain-washed, filled with Bible propaganda… whatever you want to call it, by adults who should have known better. I became born-again my self as an adult & struggled for 10 years, trying to reconcile myself to Christianity. I’ve been baptized three different times in my life. I sure as heck don’t want some smug Christian who doesn’t even know me passing judgment on me just so he/she can justify their own twisted Christian logic…

    When people like teabag & other Christians answer your question “what is a legitimate ‘Christian’?” You notice it always includes themselves & leaves out other people who also call themselves Christians. Now that is a good example of Christian logic!

  16. Hi….? What is your first name? To state the obvious, mine is Jeromy.

    Thanks for inviting me over to your blog. You have been busy! I have only read a few so far, but I am really intrigued by your questions. I honestly feel that part of the problem is that most churches do not provide a place or atmosphere to ask tough questions. Can I ask a few?

    Are you put off by God and Jesus? or by church, religion, and Christendom? I personally believe the two are separate. For instance, there is this book, “I like Jesus but not the Church.” Would that be a fair statement for you?

    Was there a breaking point where you said enough is enough? What was it?

    I like what you said, “What is more moral, a Believer that assists someone in need with the expectation of a special reward in the afterlife, or an Atheist who helps simply because they feel this is the right thing to do?” Jesus seemed to mention a lot of about the fruit is what makes a person. I would say both are. After all, goodness is goodness; kindness is kindness. The heathen Samaritan was praised for his kindness and mercy…I’m sure the others would have been too if they would have stopped to help. I despise the equations that go: Person + Jesus = can do good / Person – Jesus = cannot do good.

  17. One more…do you mind if I add you to my Blogroll?

  18. Hey, dt.

    Like the site, you should set up the RSS feed link I think your format would suit it perfectly. These little nuggets of rationality you have are great, will check back to work my way through it all.

    I put a link to you on my site, hope you don’t mind. You should also check out the http://skepticum.com/ blog if you haven’t already.

  19. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    I’ll be quite honest, Scepticon, I’m fairly new to the blog world (this is my first attempt at a site) and I have no idea what an RSS feed link is or how it works or how it would benifit me. Can you explain it and perhaps give me some pointers?

  20. teabagsforme Says:

    It’s not about me, you, or us. It’s supposed to be about God. And no, there is no legitimate Christian but to be as much like Jesus as possible. I’m not saying that we have to perform miracles and preach nationwide, or to force others who don’t want any part of God into Christianity. But to at least try tell others. We all know that no matter what we say to some people, they still refuse to listen. No one is a perfect Christian, just as no one is perfect.

  21. Thomas – RSS allows you to have new blog posts and comments “fed” to you so you don’t have to keep going back to the site to check for new stuff. You’ll need to find a feed-burner that you like, such as http://www.google.com/reader (or just Goolge Burn-feeder and pick one). Some mail software (such as Mac Mail) have the ability to add RSS feeds so they show up in your email. To add feeds from WordPress:

    For Posts: Add “feed” to the address line (feed://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/feed) then copy and paste the address to your feedburner.

    For Comments: Add “comments/feed” (feed://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/comments/feed/) and repeat. This will feed you all comments posted on a blog.

    Hope this helps…

  22. Do you think you could add the recent comments widget? I can’t remember all the questions I replied to…

  23. Ok I am also very new to the blogging world so if I put this comment in the wrong spot then I really do appologize.

    I was also raised in a Christian home, but I remeber at a very early age questioning everything that my parents tought me and what the Church taught me. My parents always encouraged questions and told me that if I didn’t know why I believed what I did then there was no point in believing it. Some people are raised in Christian homes and feel brainwashed, others like me, are encouraged to make our own decissions about Christ. The question I would pose would be, does our upbringing, or our experiance with the church or other Christians, have any effect on reality? Does the way your Sunday school teacher taught you make God real? Does someone teaching your about Christ from birth make it false?

    As to your oposition to the God of the Bible, well I’ll try to keep this a short and maybe clarify as we go along. When we read through the bible, do we question if God was justified in condeming the Angels that fell (satan and his buddies) to eternal condemnation. Do we think that it is unfair for them to spend an eternity in Hell without hope of redemption? Yet we think that we are so much better. The problem is we fell, we sinned, and God did not have to have His son come to this earth to die for our sins. He could have let us all join Satan in hell, but He provided a way for us. If God is God, then we have no claim to heaven, and it is only by His grace, for His glory, that we are saved. Not because we’re all good people and this world should be happy and full of sunshine. By his grace and His glory alone. God does not owe us anything. He gave us a perfect world, without pain, without death, without suffering, and we’re the ones who mucked it up.

  24. Laurel Esser said:

    Some people are raised in Christian homes and feel brainwashed, others like me, are encouraged to make our own decisions about Christ.

    I have a hard time accepting this at face value. I don’t like the term brainwashing, but indoctrination is certainly a very good term to use to describe what parents do to children. Teaching them not to cross the street without looking both ways is also indoctrination, at that age.

    If you live in a household that assumes the existence of god, even if you are told to make up your own mind as to your beliefs, that, in and of itself is a form of indoctrination, and certainly more insidious, because it’s unintentional.

    The proof is in the pudding. If you are raised in Iran, you will most likely believe in Allah. Why? Because that’s what your parents believe in, regardless of whether they partook in any form of indoctrination. If you’re a Christian, I would bet, 99.999999% of the time, your parents were Christian.

    You for instance. Why aren’t you a Muslim, if you had such an open upbringing? Or Hindu?

    does our upbringing, or our experience with the church or other Christians, have any effect on reality?

    It certainly has an effect on your perception of reality.

    Does the way your Sunday school teacher taught you make God real?

    No. Nothing makes God real. You can talk and read your Bible and get your Sunday School lessons until you’re dead, and god won’t be any more real as a result.

    Does someone teaching your about Christ from birth make it false?

    No. Doesn’t make it true either.

  25. laurelesser Says:

    How we were raised and what we were taught as children does effect our perception of reality, but as you agreed it does not affect reality itself. You compare it to the tooth fairy or Santa Clause and said, “…and grows up never encountering anyone who informs him that Santa Claus isn’t real, guess who still believes in Santa Claus as an adult” I disagree. I think at some point they would question when there was no proof that he existed. Santa Clause brings presents every year, so every year someone would have to trick a grown adult and make him think that present came from a guy who fit down your chimney. Now I know your going to say that people are just continually tricking us into believing about God, but I think we can agree it’s a silly comparison. God does not leave us without the proof and the evidence that we need to know Him.

    My parents both came from atheist homes that did not include God in the diner conversation. Why do my parents believe in God? God works in the lives of people who were raised in Christian homes and ones who were raised in Buddhist homes etc. (Although God does promise to bless from generation to generation). You no longer believing in God is proof that your upbringing did not affect you ability to think things for yourself.

    The way parents raise or don’t raise their children does not affect reality. Either there is a God or there isn’t. I believe there is. You believe there isn’t. And someone else believes something else. Now we can all be wrong, but we can’t all be right.

    “they can offer some sort of enlightenment that could possibly renew my faith,”

    I am in no way trying to convert you, or renew your faith, only God can do that. But I really do enjoy talking to someone who has real reasons for not wanting to believe in God, and who is willing to talk about it.

  26. quick sorry – I applogize if I am mixing up quotes from doubtingthomas and the spanish inquisitor (to many blogs going at once)

  27. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    I added the Recent Comments Widget, Nicole, thanks for the suggestion. A very good idea.

  28. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Spanish Inquisitor, thanks for your comment, I couldn’t have said it better myself. BTW, can you give me a tip on how you separate your comments from the ones you’re replying to the way you do (colored boxes). I certainly makes it much easier to tell the two apart. Thanks.

  29. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Laura Esser, you said the following — “You compare it to the tooth fairy or Santa Clause and said, “…and grows up never encountering anyone who informs him that Santa Claus isn’t real, guess who still believes in Santa Claus as an adult” I disagree. I think at some point they would question when there was no proof that he existed. Santa Clause brings presents every year, so every year someone would have to trick a grown adult and make him think that present came from a guy who fit down your chimney. Now I know your going to say that people are just continually tricking us into believing about God, but I think we can agree it’s a silly comparison. God does not leave us without the proof and the evidence that we need to know Him.”

    Laura, first, NO, we can not agree that it is a silly comparison. It is a PERFECT comparison. The story of Santa Claus is a myth, taught to children by their parents. The feats Santa achieves are nothing short of miraculous, which, of course, means impossible. They completely defy reality. There is no factual evidence to support any of the achievements depicted in the stories told of Santa Claus’. If a child indoctrinated to believe in the reality of Santa Claus was isolated from those that didn’t believe in him and continued to be taught that he was real, was surrounded by others who also believed, was regularly confronted with ‘evidence’ that he was real (presents every Christmas, cookies and milk gone next morning, reindeer hoof prints on roof, etc.), you’re telling me they wouldn’t be likely to grow up still believing? You’re telling me a child indoctrinated in into the Christian religion, practically forbidden to associate with anyone who wasn’t a fellow Christian, who is dragged to church every Sunday to have his indoctrination reinforced, and where he is often confronted by ‘evidence’ of the reality of these teachings by lunatics pretending to speak in tongues, fake faith healings, passionate stories told of first hand experiences with the miraculous (never with an type of proof), is put into a private school where everyday he is reminded of the ‘truth’ of the bible, you’re telling me this is a silly comparison?

    You state both your parents were raised in atheist homes and ask so why do they both believe in God? Good question, please answer it. When did they ‘find god’? Who did they meet? What was happening in their lives? The reason people who aren’t religious ‘find’ religion is always different but always has a few disturbing similarities that always reveal the self-centeredness of their reason. You say God works in Christian homes and Buddhist homes. What does this mean? God is actively trying to convert those that worship other gods or belong to other religions into Christians? Why does he suck so bad at it? And which of the 80+ sects of Christianity is God leaning toward? And you say that God promises to BLESS from generation to generation? Try again — Ex 34:6,7 – “… and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children & upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation.” AND Jer. 13:13, 14 – “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings… and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the Lord: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.” AND Jer 11:22, 23 – “Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine: And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth…” AND Jer 15:5, 7, 9 – “For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? … I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people since they return not from their ways … and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the Lord.” AND Nahum 1:2 – “God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.” AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON.

    And my no longer believing in your god doesn’t prove that my upbringing didn’t affect my ability to think things through. If I had never escaped the suffocating religious establishment that had me in its snare I would still be a believer, just as many of those from my private school days still are. What it proves is, that once you are no longer surrounded (suffocated) by a religious reinforcement of theory you win the ability to think freely and with a clear mind. The clouds depart and the scales are lifted from your eyes. You begin to see reason and logic and realize that TRUTH is never a ‘claim’, it is always a fact.

    [[[The way parents raise or don’t raise their children does not affect reality.]]]

    Don’t be silly. Of course it does. A child’s reality is FAR, FAR from the real world. Only when you become an adult is there an opportunity to shed the fables of your childhood. The problem is, many don’t because they never allow anyone in their lives that would suggest that what they believe isn’t the truth. Do you have any idea how many 18 year-olds truly believe that if, during intercourse, the girl is ‘on top’, she can’t become pregnant? If no one ever told them different they would continue to believe that fallacy until they saw the plus symbol in the little box. Oops!

    [[[we can all be wrong, but we can’t all be right.]]]

    On this we can agree. The problem is you are CERTAIN that, of all the thousands of gods that have been invented and worshiped, of all the religions that have existed, YOU somehow found the ONE real one. Your certainty that you are right and the rest are silly, made up nonsense and your unwillingness to scrutinize your own beliefs is what’s so troubling to atheists. You see, we are so alike, only I dismiss just ONE additional god, the one you worship. That’s all.

  30. once you are no longer surrounded (suffocated) by a religious reinforcement of theory you win the ability to think freely and with a clear mind. That is it in a nut shell. :)

  31. Laura Esser said: “The problem is we fell, we sinned, and God did not have to have His son come to this earth to die for our sins.”

    Laura, first of I am not nor ever was a Christian. I was raised a Jain, but am now an atheist.

    If Adam and Eve sinned, why does that automatically mean that I have sinned too? I find this one of the most perplexing doctrines in Xtianity. To me it is akin to hanging a child for the murders her father committed.

    Would anyone be willing to be called a criminal for the crimes of someone else? Would you be willing to be labeled a child molester? If you aren’t than why are you willing to consider yourself a sinner without any judgment of your own actions or thoughts?

    Also, hi to doubtingthomas426, i am enjoying your blog.

  32. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Hey, JayS, glad to have a fellow rational thinker stop by. You asked some good questions but I fear the answers will be typical religious dogma. You might want to check out the comments from the believers on some of my others posts to get an idea of the never ending battle of dogma I’ve been dealing with. See the links below.

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2007/12/09/i-also-require-proof/

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/if-the-statement-is-true-your-religion-is-vile/

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2007/12/09/hornets-from-god/

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2007/12/11/so-unnecessary/

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/as-man-evolves-so-do-his-worshiping-practices/

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/god-punishes-more-innocent-people-than-guilty/

    Keep checking back.

  33. This is a very strangely setup site. I keep wanting to just hit the home page, scroll down, and read more!

    I think your evolution is an intriguing one, and your point about the transfer of faith onto children falls upon sympathetic years, although that particular bit of decency is well ahead of its time.

    Keep up the good work!

  34. Greetings. You have an interesting story to tell. I don’t have the time to respond to all your points but I can see that we probably will disagree on most things. But one thing you said is sadly true. The Bible isn’t read to the degree that one would expect of a best seller. I don’t know about it being the least read book. However it’s at least true that we live in a culture where many professing Christians are biblically illiterate. If you have any studies you can point me to, I’d like to see them.

    Not every Christian however is biblically illiterate and many Christians, including myself, have read the Bible completely through – more than once. I don’t agree that if more people read it completely that they’d come away as atheists (as you say you did.) We’re all different. Some have come to faith by reading the Bible. It’s impossible to generalize.

    I look forward to perusing your site as I have time.

  35. Good points about Christians not really studying their Bible enough. And you are probably right that most people don’t explain the purpose of the Bible. It isn’t a “joyous life-guide encouraging love and happiness” guide, though it can lead to true joy.

    Yes, it includes all those awful things you mention because life is messy and sinful humans do those things.

    I went to church my whole life (except the college years) but rejected the beliefs until my late 20’s when I finally took the Bible seriously and studied it. If kids are being “indoctrinated” then the parents must not be doing a very good job of it, because it sure ain’t sticking very well.

    I examined the evidence for the life, death of resurrection of Jesus and the truth claims of other religions as well. I am most grateful to be a follower of Jesus and to have all my sins forgiven by what He did for me.

    Good points re. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I think those are a waste of time and can’t see why Christians, of all people, would emphasize them so.

    I always remind Christians that one bad argument can undermine ten good ones. So if I were you I’d drop the “Hitler was a Christian” bit. It is a popular but poor argument atheists use, and I’ve never seen it advance a conversation. I could call myself a Muslim, but the pesky facts that I think Allah is a fiction, the Koran is false, Mohammad was false, I like Jewish people, I love bacon, etc. would give people reasons to doubt that assertion.

  36. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Whiteman0o0, I deleted your comment regarding the Origin of Life and created a new post to address your excelent question here:

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/the-origin-of-life/

  37. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    [[[Yes, it (the Bible) includes all those awful things you mention because life is messy and sinful humans do those things.]]]

    Neil, you’ve read the bible, right? Then you know that the majority of the atrocities I mention on this site are done by your god and those that are done by man are done under the command of your god. Please click on my THE CRUELTY OF THE CREATOR category on the left for just a few examples.

    IF kids are being indoctrinated, Neil? IF? Are you suggesting that this isn’t occurring?

    ————————————
    [[[I examined the evidence for the life, death of resurrection of Jesus ]]]

    You’ve examined the EVIDENCE? I would love to see it. Can you direct me to this evidence? I ask because during my studies and investigations I found only the opposite, hence how I lost my faith.

    ———————————–
    [[[if I were you I’d drop the “Hitler was a Christian” bit. It is a popular but poor argument atheists use]]]

    Neil, I’m not sure I understand what you mean. First, I wasn’t making an argument but asking the common question of who Adolf Hitler would have become if he had been an Atheist instead of a Christian. I understand that Christians HATE being reminded of this fact but it IS a fact. His anti-Semitism was a direct result of his religious upbringing. All I was suggesting was that it is an interesting idea to ponder. What if? And the notion that his ACTIONS weren’t very Christian therefore he wasn’t a REAL Christian is absurd. The pages of the bible are filled with atrocities that would make those Hitler was responsible for pale in comparison.

    Thanks for your comments. Please keep reviewing my other posts categorized at the top of the page on the left.

  38. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Nicole, I deleted your comment and moved it here as it didn’t really fit here.

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/nicoles-comment-i-moved-it-here/

    I’ll try to reply to it tomorrow

  39. Yeh, it’s not that Christianity is bad in itself. It’s the people that twist scripture to fit their own purposes.

    I’m by no means defending any sect of Christianity. Personally, I’m pretty much a lapsed Catholic, so I cannot criticize anyone else, and I am tired of defending my own faith.

    But I always enjoy looking at the world through others perspectives, so I’m looking forward to perusing your blog.

  40. Hi Doubting Thomas, Keep watching my blog, because I am going to be writing about some amazinghidden secrets and mysteries that are coming to light here in the end times. I know you’ll be interested because if there wasn’t some deep seated belief within you, you would not be trying to surpress it by writing against it.

    It amazes me that people who call themselves atheist, feel so compelled to write about religion, especially Christianity. Why do you care itf someone wants to believe in, what you call, “a fable?” It’s not like your trying to save me from anything. If what you believe is true wouldn’t your time be much better of doing soimething else????

  41. Hi,

    God created this world for his pleasure and put Adam in the garden. Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God and their fellowship was cut off from God. All their children were born in the spirit and likeness of their parents (Gen. 5:3), that means all of us, the descendants of Adam, were cut off from God. Rom 3:23 – all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3:10 – there is none righteous, not even one. Rom 6:23 – the wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Jesus said: ‘I am the Way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME. The whole purpose of Jesus on His sinless life on this earth was to DIE on the cross. Because He never sinned, as the Son of God, He was the only one who was qualified to take away the sins of the whole world. He died, was buried and on the 3rd day rose again, because He had conquered death. Hebrews 9:22 – without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. That is why Christ had to die.

    God loved the world so much that He gave His Son, to redeem the whole world. He gave His Son and raised Him up again. God is holy, and no sin can come near Him, that is why the world had to be redeemed before it could come to Him John 3:16 – for God so loved the world that He gave His son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but should have everlasting life. That everlasting life is in heaven, where God is and longs for us to be with Him. Jesus will come again, this time to gather those who are His to His side in heaven, where the streets are made of gold.

    A admit that you are a sinner
    B believe that Jesus died on the cross for YOU
    C choose Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of your life, to save you from your sins and redeem you.

    Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you WILL be saved

    • That is well said. I see you have the stuff not only in your head but in your heart. God bless you and keep it up.

  42. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    [[[pbt777 SAID - It amazes me that people who call themselves atheist, feel so compelled to write about religion, especially Christianity. Why do you care itf someone wants to believe in, what you call, “a fable?” It’s not like your trying to save me from anything. If what you believe is true wouldn’t your time be much better of doing soimething else????]]]

    pbt777, did you even read my introduction page above? My focus is Christianity because that is the religion I was indoctrinated into. As to why Atheists write or discuss religion at all, it’s really very simple. We’re bewildered as to why you believe. We are curious to learn how people are capable of such willful ignorance and self delusion. The truth is out there. It isn’t hiding from the faithful. The faithful are hiding from it. And think about it, pbt777, what if you knew of a whole group of people who believed in the existence of unicorns. These people worshiped these imaginary creatures. Your teenage daughter had hooked up with a guy who was part of this group and was now deeply entrenched with them as well. Would it be a waste of your time to discuss or write about how you know this religion to be false and offer evidence for your beliefs? Were those who tried to fee their loved ones from the thrall of David Koresh wasting their time? Is there a more noble endeavor man can partake in than the attempt to reveal the truth to those that only know the lie?

    And to clarify (again), all the posts on this site existed LONG before the site ever did. I have been studying the bible and religion for a very long time. Over the years I made massive catalogs of notes. Eventually I transferred them to my computer, and at the urging of a friend, I created a site to categorize them all and give others a chance to read and respond to my conclusions and questions. Strange how only religionist think I should be doing something else with my spare time.

    And, pbt777, please save the end times rhetoric. I heard the ‘any day now’ garbage when I was a kid, as did my father, my grandfather, my great grandfather and on an on since the first words of Jesus’ return were first written. And don’t forget, Jesus predicted that he would return to earth within a very short time, BEFORE his generation should pass away. The apostles actually believed they would be the first.

  43. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    And, amber, thanks for proving nothing other than that you can copy and paste your religious dogma on my site.

    Biblical passages are not evidence of truth.

  44. The word of God, the bible is the truth. It is God’s love letter to mankind. God’s word is true. If I dictate a letter to my secretary to type out, is it me or my secretary who wrote the letter? It’s the same with God and how he gave His word to men. He has many attributes. He is a righteous judge as well as a loving Father.

  45. The word of God, the bible is the truth. It is God’s love letter to mankind. God’s word is true. If I dictate a letter to my secretary to type out, is it me or my secretary who wrote the letter? It’s the same with God and how he gave His word to men. He has many attributes. He is a righteous judge as well as a loving Father.

  46. Amber.. I need to tell you something as one xian talking to another. You will not win over any atheist by spitting scripture at them. It just makes you come across as arrogant and narrow minded. !)avid

  47. Hello, I am another person who bumped into your blog, and find it interesting as peculiarly Christian sort of Atheism ( perhaps the most normal sort found on the web, but reading your blog pointed it out to me).

    Most Christianity and especially the fundamentalist sort seem to me to revolve around two basic principals.
    1). that the bible is an encyclopedia, and the final word on what can be discovered from it
    2) that there is an all powerful God who is an actual critter, made everything and micromanages to an absurd degree, but has such a weak ego that he will rearrange reality to suit the requests of a properly sincere sycophant.

    Upon discovering that either of these dubious propositions, are unlikely or outright false, chucks out the baby, bathwater, bassinet, crib etc. to the point of dumping the concept of children altogether.

    Santa Claus is indeed a good example. The actual reality of a crazy old man several hundred years ago who brightened the lives of local children in the coldest and bleakest part of the year with bright gifts is quite immaterial. Or perhaps he was real and a pedophile, that part is quite irrelevant. What is relevant is the Idea of kindness and consideration and the positive effect it has on everyone despite the apparent illogic of just giving stupid gifts away without normal cause.

    Of course what was also done to that story is instructive as well, as people with ulterior motives warped it into an unrecognizable orgy of tossing money at corporations and the competing cacophony of religious, and semi religious groups shoring up their base.

    And so it is with most religions, pretechnical people, often very brilliant, trying to make sense of life, sometimes in an honest search to understand, sometimes to achieve a political end that itself might have been honest or nefarious, and every generation after taking what they found and trying to reachieve all that in their own lights.

    In doing so many good ideas, bad ideas, silly ideas, and irrelevant ideas have accreted to all the religions so that while none can be taken literally, all have valuable ideas hidden in the dross. Since the Churches they cam from were often unaware of these insights, even in their own religion, much less others, is is not surprising that a rejectionist of that religion might miss the actual treasures they inherited as well.

    Because most of Christiandom has historically been so anti-intellectual, it’s own cupboards are barer than most, but there are many religions that have no “God” and many others that the gods are concepts and not critters (except to the dullest observer). All of these have much to teach, without trying to be an encyclopedia, or fantasy father figure.

    I once thought of trying to put all this into another new religion, but a cult of intellectual foment, with a lively array of opinions, seems to go against its own nature.

  48. I have been reading all of the things that you don’t believe, and I was wondering what you do believe. (I don’t mean that sarcastically or rhetorically at all, I am very curious as to what you believe). For example, do you believe in evolution, if not where you think the world came from, or was it simply always here. What happens to us when we die? Do we just go into the ground, or do you believe similar to the Buddhist who thinks that we all become part of this life force that continues? Do you believe that there may be something that created us but he(or they I suppose) is unknowable or that the universe has always been there? Where did we get a sense of good and evil? How do you explain the complexities of our own bodies, minds and souls? Since there are a lot of questions there I suppose I am mostly interested in the big 3 – where did we come from, why are we here and where do we go when we die?

  49. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Thanks, David (whiteman0o0), for your comment to amber. I think it helps to hear it from another believer. It’s so very frustrating when a religionist, upon hearing/reading your opinion, simply responds in a knee-jerk fashion by spewing scripture. If an atheist doesn’t believe in the validity of your holy book, quoting passages from it isn’t going to make much of an impact.

  50. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Hi, Laurel, welcome back. I appreciate your interest in discovering where I’m coming from, but truthfully, I don’t think who I am is very relevant. You see, as odd as this may sound, this blog/site isn’t really about me. As I’ve stated before, I created this site simply as a place to categorize all the observations/questions I’ve accumulated over the years as I studied this religion (Christianity) I once so passionately believed in. I decided to create it in a blog format so that those who agreed or disagreed with my posts could feel free to respond.

    However, since you asked so nicely; I believe in the EVOLUTION of evolution. As a theory I believe it is supported by proven fact more than any other theory. I believe that the more we discover about the history of our planet the more evolution makes sense. But it is far from perfect. Where do I think the world came from? Simply put, I have no idea. I’ve never been satisfied by the ol’ Big Bang Theory. However, I DON’T believe that the explanation given in the bible has ANY basis in reality. The Origin of Life is one of the greatest mysteries we will ever be faced with. This very subject is currently being discussed on another of my posts – http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/the-origin-of-life/ . What happens to us when we die? We return to the earth. That’s all. I don’t find this in any way depressing. It’s just life. I do not require an AFTERLIFE to be happy while alive. I do not believe in good and evil. I DO use the words good and evil to describe the behaviors of man but these are simply dramatic ways to declare approval and disapproval of another’s conduct. I do not believe morality is exclusive to the religious. I do not believe in astrology. I do not believe in the supernatural (ghosts, psychics, etc.). I believe in science. I believe in what has been proven. If I can’t see evidence of the reality of a thing, I can not believe in it. I do not believe in FAITH. I believe in proof. I believe in truth. I believe in reason. I believe in scrutiny. I believe we must never stop seeking knowledge. I believe that none of us should be satisfied by an answer given to us by another.

    I’m sure this hasn’t answered your questions completely but it should give you a little peek behind the curtain. :)

    Take Care.

  51. Sorry, I know that was off topic from your site but I really did appriciate that. I also beleive in science and what can be proven. I’m going to be busy for the next few weeks but then I’ll be posting some scientific evolution vs creation questions on my blog (and I’ll jump back into the conversation). Thanks again and I’ll be back in a few weeks :)

  52. Hey Thomas – I’m enjoying the read here from another person of little (to no) faith. =).

    you wrote:
    “Once myth has been established as fact in a child’s mind, it is very difficult, even as an adult, for that person to shake that belief. ”

    Ain’t that the truth!! Thank gawd, or the powers that be in our heads, that some of us CAN and DO shake some of these stifling beliefs…

    Loking forward to readning more from you….
    ~smj

  53. Hey “Thomas”, My name is Derek Jones I am the co founder of the Atheist/humanist website pathofreason.com. I would like to ask you a couple of questions about your writings and your blog. I really like your work but wish to discuss this via email if thats all right with you. Feel free to send me an Email at Pathofreason@yahoo.com. Thanks man

  54. “or an Atheist who helps simply because they feel this is the right thing to do? ”

    So where do atheists get this notion of right and wrong?

  55. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    [[[In refference to my question of what is more moral, a Believer that assists someone in need with the expectation of a special reward in the afterlife, or an Atheist who helps simply because they feel this is the right thing to do, Papa asked: So where do atheists get this notion of right and wrong?]]]

    Papa, your question truly saddens me. You reveal yourself to be one of those religionists who believe that the notion for understanding right and wrong comes ONLY with ‘faith’, and that atheists aren’t actually people who don’t believe in god but instead, are simply denying their belief. This is such a willful assertion. It simply has NO basis in reality whatsoever. And I feel I must ask you, if ‘faith’ is required to be moral and know right from wrong, exactly which god must I have ‘faith’ in? Only the Christian god, meaning only YOUR god? Are Scientologists incapable of knowing right from wrong? Buddhists? ANY of those who worshiped the thousands of gods that have been worshiped in the history of our civilization? In other words; To understand right from wrong, must I belong to YOUR religion, Papa?

    Morality and ethics do not come from a god, it is the result of an evolved, higher functioning brain that is capable of understanding the consequences of an action. It is really that simple.

  56. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Derek, I checked out http://www.pathofreason.com and like what I’ve seen so far. I sent you an email, though you might want to check your junk mail folder in case it got filtered.

  57. Lone Wolf Says:

    “‘or an Atheist who helps simply because they feel this is the right thing to do? ‘

    So where do atheists get this notion of right and wrong?”
    Raising, reason, logic, emotion.
    Do you honestly think that right snd wrong has to come from a supernatural bing? Think about it!
    Ideas of right and wrong come from evolution, social need and emotion.I can easily think of 4 main explanations for morality. 1. Humans are social animal and social animal instinctual have rules. 2. Humans a social animels and for humans to survive as social animals we need rules. 3 No one wants people to bad things to them thus we all agree not to do bad things to each other. 4. People are born with a conscience, compassion and empathy.
    Of course these don’t tell us what is right or wrong but it gives us a framework to categorise things as right, wrong and gray (nether or a combination of the 2). It is through logic,reason and emotion (though only logic and reason should be used but people are emotional creators) that we categorise things as right, wrong and gray.

  58. “No one wants people to bad things to them thus we all agree not to do bad things to each other.”

    This is just one example of where materialistic explanations for morality always fail. They bring some concept of “good and bad” in the back door, and imply that survival is a “good.”

    Of course we think surviving is good, but materialism can’t explain why. Under its theory, countless species died out before humans got here. Why was that “bad?” Why would it be bad for the universe if the whole planet died out?

    If it is all about survival (an unproven “good” to begin with), then helping my neighbor could be good, or killing him and taking his stuff could be good.

    Laws require a lawgiver.

  59. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Hmm, I like your point about survival, Neil. How about that, WE AGREE ON SOMETHING! Reason to celebrate?

  60. I’m always looking for common ground, so I’ll take it!

    Enjoy the weekend.

  61. Your thinking is just a product of random, purposeless processes. So where did this idea of morality come from? If from understanding the consequences as you suggest, then if the consequences of killing favor the killer, that is moral in your definition.

    Or would you agree that killing an innocent person is morally wrong? How about stealing if I can always get away with it? Then the consequences are I get material goods or money for free. That sounds like a fair deal to me. Is it still wrong to steal even if I don’t get caught or is stealing wrong on the face of it?

  62. Lone Wolf Says:

    Neil: You completely ignore the point and then take 1 small thing I said and try to say its wrong by a completely that dose not actually disprove it then make a completely false statement that I already beaten beyond reasonable doubt.
    You do not need a god to explain morality,
    Papa: Our thinking is not part of random processes.

  63. I am lurking on here – I need to think a bit, and post in a few days….

  64. Lone Wolf ….it’s thinking on morality. And atheism cannot account for it.

  65. Lone Wolf Says:

    Papa, I gave 4 explanations for morality that beyond any reasonable doubt prove that there is no need for a supernatural bind to explain morality. In fact God dose not explain morality.If God say “Do this” or “Don’t do this”, That dose not make “this” moral or immoral. Thats nothing but authoritarianism.

  66. Lone Wolf Says:

    Authoritarianism may not be the best or most accurate word but right now I can’t think of another.

  67. Lone Wolf Says:

    Appeal to authority, thats a better.
    In fact God dose not explain morality.If God say “Do this” or “Don’t do this”, That dose not make “this” moral or immoral. Thats nothing but the appeal to authority fallacy.

  68. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    [[[Papa said the following: Your thinking is just a product of random, purposeless processes. So where did this idea of morality come from? If from understanding the consequences as you suggest, then if the consequences of killing favor the killer, that is moral in your definition.
    Or would you agree that killing an innocent person is morally wrong? How about stealing if I can always get away with it? Then the consequences are I get material goods or money for free. That sounds like a fair deal to me. Is it still wrong to steal even if I don’t get caught or is stealing wrong on the face of it?]]]
    —————-

    Papa, since you seem unwilling to acknowledge the questions I asked you in my last post, I will repeat myself.

    –Papa, your question truly saddens me. You reveal yourself to be one of those religionists who believe that the notion for understanding right and wrong comes ONLY with ‘faith’, and that atheists aren’t actually people who don’t believe in god but instead, are simply denying their belief. This is such a willful assertion. It simply has NO basis in reality whatsoever. And I feel I must ask you, if ‘faith’ is required to be moral and know right from wrong, exactly which god must I have ‘faith’ in? Only the Christian god, meaning only YOUR god? Are Scientologists incapable of knowing right from wrong? Buddhists? ANY of those who worshiped the thousands of gods that have been worshiped in the history of our civilization? In other words; To understand right from wrong, must I belong to YOUR religion, Papa?

    Morality and ethics do not come from a god, it is the result of an evolved, higher functioning brain that is capable of understanding the consequences of an action. It is really that simple.–

    And, Papa, your interpretation of my statement on morality in the non religious was bizarre and VERY revealing. The idea that I was suggesting that someone who gains benefit from killing or stealing is behaving morally is just absurd. These people KNOW what they are doing is wrong, not because your god told them that but because the law told them that. They chose to do the crime anyway, thus they chose to behave immorally. This example doesn’t even REQUIRE any consideration of a personal moral or ethical belief as these people are basing their decisions on an external set of moral standards. And as Lone Wolf stated, people are born with compassion, empathy and a conscience. Granted, some seem as if they aren’t but this is always a matter of someone’s will overcoming these qualities. Understanding the consequences of your actions and using logic and reason to judge whether it would be right or wrong has far more to do with individual morality than faith. No matter how adamantly you insist that this isn’t the case, understanding of right and wrong DO exists outside of your chosen religion, Papa. And it could be argued that the religious don’t do what is right (when they do) because of their morality but out of FEAR. And fear of burning in eternal hellfire because you worked on the Sabbath is not a basis for morality.

    Finally, Papa, I insist you make a statement on where YOU think morality comes from. I think you’ve made it pretty clear but I want you to put it in words. In black and white. WHERE DOES MORALITY COME FROM?

  69. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Also, for a very good article on the topic of the existence of morality outside of religion please visit

    http://humanists.net/avijit/article/does_religion_define_morality_aparthib.htm

  70. Papa: If God will forgive any sin (no matter how bad it is) if you believe and except Jesus as your savorer, whats the motivation not to sin? Cause not madder what you do, you’ll be forgiven, you could go out and rape and murder 6 year old girls every night, God will forgive.
    Theres no real motivation not to sin.

  71. I didn’t read all of Papa’s comments so I’m not sure how he characterized it, but it is not Biblical to say that you have to be a Christian to understand morality. On the contrary, read Romans 1-3. God wrote the law on our heart, so everyone knows it is wrong to murder, steal, etc. This actually agrees with your statement that, “And as Lone Wolf stated, people are born with compassion, empathy and a conscience.”

    My point is that human laws don’t determine what is moral (though they may make someone think an act is moral). Regardless of your position on abortion, it is either moral or it isn’t. The change in laws didn’t take it from being moral to immoral or vice verse.

    So from a Christian worldview it is no surprise that most people have a basic set of morals. The problem is that we are sinners and violate our own codes of conduct all the time.

    Lone Wolf, as I noted just this week ( http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/grace/ ), that is a common misunderstanding of grace. The Bible addresses this here and in other places. If you have a true understanding and acceptance of grace you won’t sin on purpose. But God’s grace is indeed so vast that murderers and rapists can be forgiven.

    Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

    Romans 6:15-18 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

  72. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Neil, I felt obliged to comment on your statement that regardless of your position on abortion it is either moral or it isn’t. I would argue that the moral question here is whether it is moral to embrace your own ego and demand that YOU should be making the decision for the woman that is considering abortion as an option.

    Also, can you please refrain from quoting scripture to defend your beliefs. I ask for personal explanations, reasons and motives, not dogma. If an atheist believes your holy book is a bunch of nonsense, then spewing quotes from it will do very little to impress us. Not scolding you here, just asking. And before you come back with the expected retort that I use scriptural references throughout my site, remember, I use them as an example of what is WRONG with the book and the Christian god, NOT because I believe in them. Your quoting the lovely passages of the bible doesn’t make the ugly ones go away.

  73. Re. abortion, as you noted I deliberately made my point regardless of which side of the aisle one was on. If the gov’t decides what is “moral” then it isn’t true morality – it is majority rules (democracy) or fiat (other forms of gov’t).

    Your nothingness-to-molecules-to-man worldview strives to explain why true morality could arise, but it always has to bring something in the back door. Your link made the same errors that others always do when attempting this feat.

    Your pro-abortion reasoning has the same flaw as virtually all their sound bites: It assumes that the unborn is not a human being. If the unborn isn’t human, no explanation for abortion is necessary. If the unborn is a human being, no excuse is adequate (except to save the life of the mother, which is consistent with the pro-life ethic). I teach pro-life reasoning (always distinguishing between Biblical arguments and secular – I don’t need the Bible to annihilate the pro-abortion position). Feel free to stop by my blog for that.

    Your contention that it is my “ego” and that I “demand” that I make decisions for others is a tired old ad hominem. Since I didn’t even take a position with my example I found it odd that you would jump in with that attack. BTW, I addressed this myth here – http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2006/12/18/pro-lifers-dont-care-about-kids-after-they-are-born/

    I use scripture to explain the Christian worldview. Lone Wolf misunderstood an element of it, so I was answering his point. I wasn’t trying to make anything “go away.” I thought that would be a logical way to show how he misunderstood the Biblical concept of grace.

    It isn’t dogma, it comprises the “personal explanations, reasons and motives” for my views.

    Your aversion to proper interpretion of scripture reveals much.

    I thought you wanted dialogue, but your rules that you can use scripture to attack Christianity but that I can’t use it to defend / clarify it are a bit one-sided for my tastes. I require my commenters to avoid straw man arguments and personal attacks, but I don’t insist that they not critique the Bible.

    I seem to offend you regardless of how I put forth my views. Since I don’t want to polarize you further, I’m going to bow out. Enjoy the last words!

    Peace,
    Neil

  74. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Neil, you stated that you won’t be back but I have a feeling you are reading this so I will respond to your last comment. And please don’t take my irritation with certain comments you made as me being offended. I assure I wasn’t.

    First, on the abortion issue, you missed my point (on top of making some ugly accusations that, one, I am pro-abortion, and, two, that I don’t believe the fetus inside a woman is human). Whether the living thing inside the woman’s body is a tumor or a human fetus is not the issue. The issue is WHO decides what this woman can do with the living thing inside her body. And just so we’re clear I am an atheist, a registered independent, am pro-life, AGAINST abortion AND pro-choice. This issue is FAR from black and white. My position is this; the living thing inside the woman’s body, whether it’s a tumor or a human fetus, is not capable of making a decision. On this we can, no doubt, agree. So it comes down to WHO gets to decide. I say, first, NO MAN should ever get to make the decision for the woman, EVER. Not the father, not the priest, not the doctor, not the President. Man simply has no ability to understand. It seems to me, that if someone MUST make the decision on whether or not to destroy what resides inside the woman’s body (whether tumor or fetus), then the ONLY logical person would be the person whose body it resides in. Are you saying you don’t agree with this? If not, then please explain just WHO you think has more ‘moral’ authority over this woman’s body? And until God can come down and sign a legal waver, I really can’t accept him as the answer. And finally, my use of the words YOU and EGO were not directed specifically at you, Neil. My comment was a general one, where YOU was referring to those who believe they know better than the woman herself. Same with reference to EGO.

    Neil, you wrote – “Your nothingness-to-molecules-to-man worldview strives to explain why true morality could arise”. Where, on ANY of my posts or comments have I stated that I have a ‘nothingness-to-molecules-to-man worldview’? If anything, I’ve stated that Evolution does NOT have all the answers and is indeed just a THEORY and that I have major issues with the ol’ Big Bang Theory as well.

    As to the use of scripture, when someone tries to use scripture in an attempt to legitimize a position that is ONLY supported by scripture, I get very bent out of shape. It is such a waste of breath (or time typing) to do so with someone who doesn’t believe the book you are quoting HAS any legitimacy. It seemed to me that was what you were doing. I apologize if I was mistaken. I (obviously) have a quick fuse on this particular issue. And to clarify, the definition of dogma; An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true. So I stand by my use of the word.

    Neil, you said – “Your aversion to proper interpretion of scripture reveals much.” You’re right, Neil. I DO have an aversion to ‘proper’ INTERPRETATION of scripture. WHY? Because it is YOUR biased opinion that makes it ‘proper’. It is your biased opinion that DEFINES it as an interpretation. You and your fellow believer interpret the stories of the bible the way you were taught to or, worse, the way you choose to. The other 80+ sects of Christianity interpret it differently than you. So how should I interpret it, Neil? Like you do or like they do? I think the majority of the posts located throughout the various categories listed above will reveal that I interpret the bible pretty literally. The reason for this is that it makes no sense to me that an all powerful god would allow the book that represents him and his religion to be filled with misinformation, fairy tales and outright lies.

    Finally, I will ask again, if either you or Papa or ANYONE will please explain this assertion that atheists can’t be moral or understand morality. What religion and which god must I worship to be moral, understand morality and know right from wrong? YOURS? Does this mean Christianity? Which version? On this issue, Neil, you once again resorted to using scripture to support your stance, saying – “read Romans 1-3. God wrote the law on our heart, so everyone knows it is wrong to murder, steal, etc.” I think I made it clear on why this (scripture) isn’t a valid explination. It explains why YOU BELIEVE but not why I should believe. If your sole explination is “For the bible tells me so” then few who don’t believe as you do are going to have much use for your opinion. And I don’t mean just atheists. Are Buddhists capable of morality? Scientologists? Mormons?

    In other words, does Christianity own the patent on morality? If so, which sect?

    Also, Neil, did you ever read my January 15th reply to your comment? It’s about halfway up the page.

  75. “In fact God dose not explain morality.If God say “Do this” or “Don’t do this”, That dose not make “this” moral or immoral. Thats nothing but the appeal to authority fallacy.”

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but why would the Creator of the Universe not be a credentialed authority to decide what is moral and what isn’t?

  76. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Uh, DoomRater, what are you talking about? The morality discussion is refering to whether or not NON Christians are capable of understanding right from wrong, or capable of being moral. You might want to scroll up and read some of the other comments. As you can see, we’re kind of all over the place on this particular post (my main page).

  77. Lone Wolf Says:

    “Your nothingness-to-molecules-to-man worldview strives to explain why true morality could arise, but it always has to bring something in the back door.”
    First of all, no one says existence came out of nothingness. secondly; I explained where morality comes from, an explanation that dose not involve a supernatural bing. third: what is “true morality”

    “Maybe I’m missing something here, but why would the Creator of the Universe not be a credentialed authority to decide what is moral and what isn’t?”
    No, just cause someone says something even if its God, that dose not make it true. If God told you to sacrifice your child to him to prove your faith, would that be morally right? No.

  78. I dunno, a God that can declare light into existence sounds like he could declare actions right and wrong. And exactly what authority would be greater than that?

    I’m beginning to wonder if you understand logical appeals to authority.

  79. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    DoomRater, you get that I don’t believe your god exists, right? I mean THAT IS the whole point of this site. So to defend you position by stating that your god is an all powerful super being and THAT’S why he can do the things he does, does absolutely nothing to convince me. And I do understand logical appeals to authority, if you are referring to the law, the government, or the boss, etc., but NOT if you mean the god of YOUR chosen religion. Your god has no more authority over the decisions I make in my life than Zeus, or Ra, or Baal, or Lucifer, or any of the multitude of gods mankind has invented over countless generations.

    • Hi Doubting Thomas,

      I have just read part 1 of “The Mythological Origins of Christianity” I was wondering if you could please quote your source when you say,

      “The Greeks believed their gods created the world in a week of seven days, and in the Hindu Purânas, Brahma does the same. You can find the names of these seven days in Hindu manuscripts as early as 5,000 B.C.”

      I have looked into the Hindu origin (although not extensively) and would be grateful if you could point me in the right direction.

      I hope you don’t take this personally, I am sure that you can understand the desire to verify information before you accept it.

      Regards
      Ben

  80. Lone Wolf Says:

    Light is a thing, morality, wright and wrong are concepts. No one, not even God can say “this fits into this concept and that fits into that concept” with out some logical and reasonable argument to back it up.
    And how do you know God created light? Cause the bible says it? That as well is an appeal to authority. God could have lied, the writers of the bible could have made it up or it could just be mythology.

  81. Wow…. This is actually making me hurt on the inside lol.
    I would like to say one thing. If you are an xian and you are simply going to come on to this site and spit scripture and get ticked off if something doesnt go your wany and then never post again because you cant think of an answer or find it on some xian argument site, then please please PLEASE do NOT! post on this blog ever again, this is not a good way to inspire thought in an atheist it will simply make them think that you have nothing to say other than what you have heard all your life from preachers, and the occasional seminar. So i reiterate DO NOT POST IF YOU ARE AN IDIOT! sry for the harsh words guys but im getting really tired of it. And just for the record and in case you havent read my other posts I am a xian, however I am also open minded to the arguments that I hear on this site, and I also do my own research on the topic and question my own faith as well as atheism to see if my faith can stand up in the fires of reason.

    Anywhoo, now that I have that out of my system I will post in regard to Lone Wolf’s posts as I very much enjoy hearing what he has to say.

    Morality is indeed a concept, however for every concept there has to be an origionating factor, In my mind that origionating factor for morality came from a perfect moral source(God), in your mind that source of perfect morality came from ourselves. So I ask how do you know that morality from “reason” is correct? Because if you state that morality and right and wrong are concepts, the Hitler could well have been on the right road. He believed quite strongly that he had the correct view on morality, and how do we know that he wasn’t just the next stage of moral evolution?

    I look forward to hearing back from you all on this I have found this site very intellectually stimulating. Thanks doubtingthomas, even though I may not agree with you I appreciate you putting up this site and keeping an open mind.
    !)avid

  82. um, amber

    spitting scripture out and telling atheists some random guy died for their sins isn’t going to make reformed believers out of us – to me, at least, the bible is a conglomeration of highly outdated stories, told by highly out-dated and politically motivated men – i am not in the habit of listening to advice given several centuries ago by a bunch of “over-moralizing ignoramuses – i am a former Christain/Catholic – indoctrinated by my parents – yes, i have read the Bible – too many times – and have studied it as well – to my great horror – frankly, i never want to open the poisonous things again

    i have this to say to you – in spite of all the study, all the indoctrination, all the Sunday school, etc. – i have come to realize

    “Nothing makes God real. You can talk and read your Bible and get your Sunday School lessons until you’re dead, and god won’t be any more real as a result.”

    — thanks Spanish Inquisitor

    in conclusion, it’s all drivel to me
    —————-
    Another Doubting Thomas – excellent blog, btw:)

  83. Hey Thomas I am just letting you know I have dropped by. I see you have had the odd very ‘compassionate’ Christian comment, what a shame that they defile their own religion with their own words of hate.

    As one of the people who left a reply said, “I am so sick of having to defend Christianity”. Honestly if more Christians actually lead the life of compassion, love, humility, acceptance and you know all of those good qualities that are supposed to represent Christianity and humanity, the religion wouldn’t need to be defended to the same degree because its reputation would stand as its defence.

    I think it should be mandatory that all Christians should read the Bible from front to back and then back again.

    Also when people quote scriptures to demean and pass judgement on other people (a very Christian thing to do), it might be useful if the scriptures were actually put in their actual historical context and the whole passage was quoted and not just the bit which passes judgement on a selected individual, because as you know DThomas I have discovered that they ‘conveniently’ leave out the rest of the passage which also points a finger at themselves!

    Peace to all.

  84. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    evilwit, thanks for your words. Your story is an all too familiar one, to me and, I’m sure, to MANY others who stop by to peruse this blog. You quoted part of Spanish Inquisitor’s earlier comment. I don’t know if you’ve visited his blog but it is an excellent one. You can find it on my list of links at the top of the page or just click here: http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/

    And in case you haven’t already, feel free to check out my other posts contained in the categories located at the top left side of the page.

    Take Care.

  85. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Hey chezzag, yes I have had a number of those believers stop by who only seem capable of informing me that I’m doomed to burn in eternal hellfire and I must repent to save my soul OR simple repeat the mantra “Because the bible tells me so” as their defense. BUT there are also those who attempt to defend their belief in a very intelligent, thought provoking manner (bitterhermit and whiteman0o0 ((someone I had earlier unfairly shoved into the other category and, it might be added, is the one whom you quote in your comment)) just to name a few). Granted I have yet to read a comment that has managed to sway me from my belief that my observations are valid ones, but I still enjoy the debate when the person on the other side isn’t trying to win with empty dogma and scripture.

    I like your mandate that ALL Christians should be required/forced to REALLY read the bible, front to back. As I already stated, if more did so, there would certainly be fewer who would want to follow a religion based on this book.

    My only issue with your comment is the part about context. I was actually surprised to see you use it, as ‘context’ is one of the most commonly repeated complaints from Christians when a non-believer uses passages from the bible to reveal the ugliness of the Christian religion. It’s clear that theists (god worshipers) are MASTERS at picking and choosing which passages from their holy books they want to follow/accept. But then I’m pretty adapt at ‘picking and choosing’ the ones I think are most revelatory of the contemptibility of their god and belief systems. Now I would argue that their selective preferences are the result of a careful, stubborn, WILLFUL naivety, while mine are the result of a determined desire to reveal the REST of what their holy books have to say. In other words, I wish to bring to light all the ugly stuff they purposefully ignore or even refuse to acknowledge/accept. So their out of context argument never holds any weight with me. I thought I’d address this issue before all the ‘haters’ jumped in with “HEY, HEY, HEY, DoubtingThomas has biblical passages taken out of context all over his site!” This simply isn’t the case. VERY FEW of my posts could be argued as being taken out of context as I VERY CAREFULLY chose passages that were blatant, obvious and as black and white as they could be. Nothing written before or after could possibly ‘redefine’ what they were saying. But Christians just HATE it when you confront them with the undeniable truth that their holy book clearly depicts a god that can only be described as a monster. Yes, there are many beautiful passages in the bible as well, but I REFUSE TO IGNORE the ugly parts. I just wish more Christians would take a more honest look at this particular book. Especially if they are going to dedicate their whole lives and every decision they make in their lives on its words.

    Thanks for your comment and I hope you will keep perusing the rest of my site.

    Take Care.

  86. Lone Wolf Says:

    “Morality is indeed a concept, however for every concept there has to be an origionating factor, In my mind that origionating factor for morality came from a perfect moral source(God), in your mind that source of perfect morality came from ourselves. So I ask how do you know that morality from “reason” is correct? Because if you state that morality and right and wrong are concepts, the Hitler could well have been on the right road. He believed quite strongly that he had the correct view on morality, and how do we know that he wasn’t just the next stage of moral evolution?”

    First: What is “perfect morality”?
    Second: I didn’t say morality came from our selves, I said it came out of social necessity and enforced by evolution (those who fallowed the rules to a certain point had a grater chance of survival (and thus grater chance of reproduction) and made more friends and allies who could take care of there offspring if something happened to him/her) and it is through us having big brains and abstract thought that rules developed in to morality.
    Thread: Why do you goto one of the worst people in history? There are going to be bad people no matter what morality comes from. Somethings messed up in there brain, there daddy liked to tuch him/her in bad ways or some combinations of things. I don’t know why but there are going to be bad people. And when these people get power, they do bad things.
    There has to be a willingness to brake the rules when necessarily. For insistence a terrorist plants a nuke in New York, now torture is wrong but if there was a nuke in New York, do what it take to find and disarm it even it it means some one has to be torture. There are allot of things that are wrong but in certain situations you must bend and even brake the rules. Now add into that a bad person, a mentally ill person, plus the dehumanisation of the people he/she dose not like.

  87. Wolf: I haven’t had much sleep for the past few days so please forgive me if my comment is not the most legible thing on this site. But i’ll try anyways

    Perfect morality, is the standard by which we get our, views of right and wrong, It is the thing we look to and say. “that is perfect and this is how this thing measures up to that standard”.

    I am sorry for my misconception of your view on morality, However, A society is formed by people, people make laws, laws are based on morality, hence people make their morality.

    As far as using the worst people in history, I used that because it is a common occurence, There are always bad people that kill because they believe they are doing the right thing, Nero, Salazin, Hitler, Saddam, It is a never ending cycle. And when they do what they believe to be morally right, who are we as a country to tell them that it isn’t right? It is the social construct that works for them, so how is it right for us to impose our morality on them?
    !)avid

  88. Lone Wolf Says:

    There is no “perfect morality” then, cause morality changes depending on the situation. A good example is the nuke in New York scenario.
    There have been many people killed in the name of God and the bible contains many genocides many instigated by God.
    Morality is not perfect and there are crazy people and bad people out there and when they attain power bad things happen. But to such people morality is not really a factor and all those have one main thing similar to theistic morality, authoritarianism. Do as your told, kill who your told, do as I say, I am the leader. Do as your told, kill who your told, do as I say, this is what God wants. Do you see the similarity’s there?
    The problem with the people you mentioned is not morality but systems where too few hold power and people do as there told. The system in which the people you mentioned where in have manyof the same problems as theistic morality.

  89. Wolf: You say that many people have been killed in the name of the Bible, However, how many more genocides have been instigated outside of the bible?

    The Hittites, Amorites, Cannanites, Muslims, Asian dynasties, Rome, Brittain, Vikings, Indians, Germany, Italy, Russia, France…. and the list goes on and on and on.

    And the “do as your told” mentality is true of any countries armed forces.

    And I am curious as to how too few people held power in the roman empire.. please explain. !)avid

  90. Going back to a question asked previously, here is my definition, for what it’s worth:
    Christian = A person who believes in, accepts and follows, Christ and His teachings.
    That could be construed as a very “wordly” definition and could aso humanly exhibit itself in many “religious” ways, but for the sake of argument, if one truly believs in Christ and accepts Him as their personal savior and redeemer, then their relationship with Him will be paramount. Does this mean they won’t make mistakes, moral or otherwise? Of course not, we are imperfect after all, but He remains the center of all things including discussions, so it would be impossible for a Christian to have a heart to heart without God being part of it and that includes scripture since it is His word.
    In order for something to be measured there has to be a “rule” or “fuler” by which to compare. That is why common morality by people of different beliefs is impossible. If Hitler and I could sit down and compare our beleifs, I can gaurantee you that we would hold different views even if we both call ourselves “Christian.” Perhaps we view Christ differently, or His teachings differently, of we follow Him differently, but does that mean that Christ should be measured by man? Absolutely not! That is a backwards equation. Whether you think He exists or is a myth of the human mind does not affect Him. He is who He is and always will be. The real question is, what are you going to do with Christ?
    In my humble opinion, people who chose not to accept Him are people who do not want to be accountable for their actions, thoughts or deeds and therefore follow the religion of self. In the Bible, they are called fools. I operated as one for many years, but God is faithful and He didn’t give up on me. This doesn’t mean that I cannot be foolish and let myself get in my own way, it only means that He never leaves me there. He has begun and good work. I am continually grateful . I am also grateful that somehow I stumbled onto the site and have opportunity to listen and share. Perhaps in that same “somehow” someone will be positively moved for Christ, not by my words, but by His Spirit through honest and open discussion. . . that is my prayer right now.
    In Him . . .

  91. Oh, and just FYI regarding the supposed quote ( “I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.”) attributed to Thomas Jefferson, please read the following:

    This quote appears in the 1906 book Six Historic Americans by John E. Remsburg, which is archived on the infidels.org website. http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/john_remsburg/six_historic_americans/chapter_2.html

    [excerpt]
    In the following significant passage we have Jefferson’s opinion of the Christian religion as a whole:

    “I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies” (Letter to Dr. Woods).

    Could a more emphatic declaration of disbelief in Christianity be framed than this?
    [end excerpt]

    Remsburg included this alleged quotation of Jefferson in his second chapter on Thomas Jefferson.

    The quote may also be found at http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/jefferson.htm#PHONYJEFF which quotes it as follows:

    I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.

    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Woods (undated), referring to “our particular superstition,” Christianity, from John E Remsburg, Six Historic Americans: Thomas Jefferson, quoted from Franklin Steiner, Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents (1936), “Thomas Jefferson, Freethinker”

    This quote has been presented in two different ways–one that it is a letter from Jefferson to a mysterious Dr. Wood, and other is that it is a letter from Jefferson to Peter Carr, but no dates or other source identification in either case. There are also two versions of the same quote–the version that appears above and a second version that includes a portion of some of Jefferson’s actual writings from his “Notes on Virginia”. So far, nobody has been able to trace this quotation back to any actual primary source material. The trail of evidence begins and ends with Remsburg’s book. No other reference to this “Letter to Dr. Woods” can presently be located.

    We suggest no version of this quote be used and that it be considered bogus.

  92. Lone Wolf Says:

    whiteman0o0: First of all the point about people killing in the name of God, my point was people kill and even commit genocide in the name of God so theistic morality dose not stop bad people from doing bad things and in fact it can give a divine reason for it cause the bad people can rationalise it by saying God wants it to happen or its God will.

    Morality is not perfect, bad things happen and people do bad things, thats a fact of life. And theistic morality can’t help that, it make it worse by adding divine justification.

  93. I absolutely enjoy the responses to your blog as well as your own writing.
    It’s a little bit of a microcosm which reflects the many reasons our culture is in the state it is in.
    I respect that you research your opinions.
    Would it be that we all spoke with such a foundation about the canons we use as an excuse to start wars, harm others, and stand atop mountains of proclamations!
    Thank you.

  94. Hi Again, DT:) – i didn’t get any notification that you’d responded to me, so i just got on your blog to see and you did:) – i am checking out Spanish Inquisitor – you are right – fantastic blog – i must say, your blog has generated some very interesting comments! – i must check out some other of your posts – now, to get down to business – very swiftly, because it’s 2:30am down here in NZ and i can barely focus

    Five4Him:

    you wrote: “In my humble opinion, people who chose not to accept Him are people who do not want to be accountable for their actions, thoughts or deeds and therefore follow the religion of self.”

    i find that to be an extremely bothersome statement – i mean – are you kidding? – people who “chose not to accept Him…” have no choice BUT to be accountable for “actions, thoughts or deeds” – if, by following “the religion of self”, you mean we can only be accountable to ourselves, that is absolutely correct – those of us who do not “believe” can only be accountable to ourselves for our own actions good or bad – there’s no demons to blame, no gods to praise, no benevolence to count on for help – all these things we must look to ourselves (and, if we’re lucky, in certain cases, family and friends) – but, for the most part, WE are in charge of OUR destinies – and for all the wonderful things we do and the horrid things we do – we hold such enormous power for accountability within ourselves that when we are fools, we realize that we are only fooling ourselves – and that, my friend, is how we chose to live our lives

  95. Amber is actually quite correct, Lord bless her. Rom 1:19-21 says creation is evidence of God’s divine attributes. I’ve found in dealing with atheists, that it really doesn’t come down to an intellectual problem (I’ve read work by very intelligent Christians and atheists), but a problem of the heart. Take a look at the wold; not difficult to see it’s broken. Why does God allow such suffering? Our free will is obviously very important to Him and WE INFLICT MOST OF IT ON EACH OTHER! Contrary to Bertrand Russel’s quote on this site, Christianity is the religion that calls for us to act AGAINST our base instincts. We who commit to Jesus are taking on an internal battle that demands MUCH work and development.

    Those who reject theism are accepting another faith (or perhaps ignoring other important questions) — atheism requires one to accept the eternality of the universe on faith. How did we get here? Problem: we know by empirical evidence that the universe had a beginning. Now if you say you ignore such things and deal only with the CURRENT observable phenomena of your environment, you can circumvent this argument, but have already made a choice that it’s not important and has no bearing on the present or future.

    God is our loving Father who, contrary to many atheists apparent perception, WANTS every one of us to be saved (2 Pet 3:3-9) I know the Old Testament seems to portray God as barbaric and genocidal — please take the time to study the reason for it, because it does indeed harmonize with the foregoing. Are you aware that the tribes destroyed were committing abominable acts of atrocity (sacrificing children in fire, etc.)? God is inviting you; not waiting to squash you; not desiring to deprive you of “fun” many perceive sin to be. I bid you please wake up from the “Matrix”.

    Lord bless you,

    Bit

  96. Bit Atheism dose not require faith. First atheism does not mean require you to have to except an eternal universe, there are other possible explanations for the existence of the universe. And 2; theres nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know”, I don’t know where the universe came from (if it came from anything), in fact I don’t know anything at all and nether do you. I have beliefs, I have lack of beliefs and there are things that I do not have enough information on to come to a conclusion (origins of the universe).
    A belief is not a fact nor is it a truth. Beliefs can be based on many things, emotion, memory and a mantel illness called faith (faith is belief in something with out or despite evidence, thats mantel illness) but the best basis for belief is evidence (real evidence, scientific evidence).

    What in the bible makes you think that those murdered by God (or people he told to commit murder) makes you think that they where doing such evil acts? The bible usually gives 2 reason for genocide in it, the people where sinful (which is vague and could mean anything) or they warship another god(s).

  97. Bit: you the one in the Matrix, I have taken the red pill.

  98. Lonewolf,
    I admit that what I know is small, but there are some things we can conclude without further evidence through logic, which is a function not materially explainable. Example – All Spaniards are Europeans and John is a Spaniard, therefore ______________. How is it you know what to put in the blank? Evidence? No; it’s not a material explanation, but logic; the reasoning faculty God gave us all, in His image.

    Applying this deductive process to the universe through the Kalaam Cosmological Argument:
    It began or did not begin.
    If it began (and there is empirical evidence suggesting that it did), it was caused or caused itself. I find it logically inconsistent to suggest “nothing caused something”, quantum fluctuations included.
    If it was caused, that cause is either personal or impersonal.
    We can even conclude that time itself has a beginning, because only a potential, rather than actual infinite can exist. Think of it this way; if time goes infinitely back in history, then we could not have gotten to this moment.

    In addition to the logical propostions, it’s important to study the Bible with an open mind and regarding things that appear to contradict, ask ourselves is there a way this harmonizes in a consistent way? If we have a desire to disbelieve, we will look at it with a premature conclusion that it is false and convince ourselves of such. Take a look at A.S.A Jones’ site, Ex-atheist.com and she explains how she became aware she was doing this very thing.

    Something I want to emphasize is that what we decide to do with Jesus is the single, most important decision we will ever make. Is there a source outside the Bible that mentions Him as a historical figure? Actually there are ten. Were the prophecies written about Him, hundreds of years before His birth and fulfilled with such precision (no Nostradamian quatrain ambiguity), falsified after the fact? Dating the documents says no. Can we rely on what the witnesses wrote about Him? Legal analysis of their testimony in 1846 by Simon Greenleaf, Dane Professor of Law at Harvard, indicates we can and that they would corroboratively hold up in court.

    I write these things, not to win an argument, but out of love. He loves us more than we can comprehend. What will you do with Jesus?

    Respectfully,

    Bit

  99. Five4Him,
    You are a very well-written, and thinking person. I appreciate so much your statement, “it would be impossible for a Christian to have a heart to heart without God being part of it and that includes scripture since it is His word.” I also appreciate your suggestion (if I take it correctly) that calling oneself a Christian does not make one so. If Hitler ever called himself one, surely it must have been for political manipulation. General William Donovan’s research for the Nuremburg trials showed the Nazis intention to destroy Christianity. Review if desired at http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicle/98/10.29.98/Nuremberg.html.

    Thanks for sharing and for your faithfulness,

    mike b.

  100. DT,
    I have indeed tested my faith with much research and it stands stronger than ever. I have read attacks by critics and so far, they have offered no compelling reasons for abandoning my current convictions. I am also more grateful to the Lord than ever. I do not follow Him out of compulsion or sense of obligation (my parents were not churchgoers as I grew up), but because He loved me first. Fear may be a good STARTING motivator (loving parents use it for young children’s safety), but it must, as 1 John 4:18 indicates, give way to love.

    RS,

    Bit

  101. Neil,
    You also, are extremely well-written and offer very sound arguments. Really appreciate those on morality.

    In Jesus,

    mike b.

  102. Lone Wolf Says:

    Bit: A quontom fuctuation isn’t something from nothing (see vacuum energy and virtual particles) and I don’t feal like going into the multiverse thing again so look here.

    The bible has centedition, you could try to bind and twist to harminise them but in the end you just end up with faulty logic and interpritation or parts of the biblr that where clearly never ment to be interprited that way.

    I don’t choose to disbelieve, I see no evidence of God and evidence against God and the bible. Now I can’t say with certainty that there is no god but if there is a god, its not yours and is most likely deistic in nature.

    There is only 1 contemporary mention of Jesus (Josephus) and that universally considered a forgery.

    I will never choose to except a man that said that we came to bring war , that he came to set family’s against themselves and that you should abandon you family.

  103. Lone Wolf Says:

    I hate it when I forget things.
    All things have a material explanation. Whether it be the way our brains way of processing information to matter and energy. Even if the supernatural and paranormal exist there are material explanations for them. Even if God exists, his existence and ability’s have a material explanation.
    Whether we know of the explanations or not there are material explanations for everything.

  104. Doubtingthomas, take a chill pill. I wasn’t addressing you.

    Lone Wolf, you’re saying the (hypothetical) creator of the universe cannot simply create morality as right or wrong if that same creator can create light? Such a powerful being needs no logical or persuasive argument- what that creator says is what goes. And yes, the argument IS dependent on the existence of such authority, but to claim it’s fallacious simply “because God said so and didn’t back it up” is a failure to realize that his power would be what’s backing it up.

    Also this claim about contemporary evidence corroborating the gospel accounts- quite wrong; there are NO contemporaries. The Tactitus and Josephus references are long past gospel events, but so what? Are you going to argue that they can’t be sure of anything else they wrote about because it was before their time as well?

  105. Lone Wolf Says:

    Yes God would have to make a logical argument for it. I don’t care if there how powerful any one or anything is, any statement of fact has to be based on evidence (if evidence is available), logic and reason. Power does not come into play. To say that because something is powerful then it must be right is an appeal to authority and an authoritarian idea.

    I didn’t say Jesus didn’t exist. A lack of contemporary evidence for Jesus doesn’t mean he didn’t exist. Through the Jesus story mirrors allot of other mythology’s. Healing people, virgin birch, coming back from the dead, ascending into heaven. Those where common in mythology’s.
    But my opinion is that Jesus is a composite character. The Jesus story is a combination of multiple story’s and mythology’s with some of the story’s based actual people.

  106. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    I apologize for the tardiness of my response(s), been busy. I also recently switched themes for the site in the hopes it would provide simpler navigation and would allow visitors to read my various posts (categorized, now, on the right) in their entirety without having to click on the title first. Let me know if this is a better or worse set up.

  107. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Let’s begin with ‘He who never seems to get the point’, AKA DoomRater.

    DoomRater, you told me to take a chill pill because I responded to your two previous comments (both left on my main page) neither of which was addressed to a particular person. First, this is my site, I will respond to ANY comment I feel like responding to, as can anyone else. Get used to it, this is how a blog works. If you make asinine statements on an atheist’s blog insisting that the reason why all these amazing and impossible things are true and actually happened is because your god is an all powerful super-being and the bible told you so, so there, well you really can’t expect the host of the site to just sit back and say nothing, can you? If you or any other believe wishes to debate myself, Lone Wolf, or any other non-believer, please, please, please, refrain from using the simplistic, willfully naive, and utterly empty argument that it is all true ‘because the bible tells you so’ or because your god is all powerful.

    And can all the theists (god worshipers) remember what whiteman0o0, a fellow Christian, said a few posts back:

    “Wow…. This is actually making me hurt on the inside lol.
    I would like to say one thing. If you are an xian and you are simply going to come on to this site and spit scripture and get ticked off if something doesnt go your wany and then never post again because you cant think of an answer or find it on some xian argument site, then please please PLEASE do NOT! post on this blog ever again, this is not a good way to inspire thought in an atheist it will simply make them think that you have nothing to say other than what you have heard all your life from preachers, and the occasional seminar. So i reiterate DO NOT POST IF YOU ARE AN IDIOT! sry for the harsh words guys but im getting really tired of it. And just for the record and in case you havent read my other posts I am a xian, however I am also open minded to the arguments that I hear on this site, and I also do my own research on the topic and question my own faith as well as atheism to see if my faith can stand up in the fires of reason.”

  108. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Five4Him, you stated – “He (God) remains the center of all things including discussions, so it would be impossible for a Christian to have a heart to heart without God being part of it and that includes scripture since it is His word.” Congratulations, you have just made an argument FOR a believer BY a believer. Your words are utterly meaningless to anyone who DOESN’T ALREADY THINK THE WAY YOU DO. This is why Bit (mike b) finds your words so appealing. It’s the same regurgitate dogma he has been listening to and repeating his whole life. Empty but comforting words the faithful wrap themselves in like an old thread-worn blanket.

    You go on to say – “Whether you think He exists or is a myth of the human mind does not affect Him. He is who He is and always will be. The real question is, what are you going to do with Christ?” Five4Him, who are you speaking to? Are you only addressing those who ALREADY believe as you do? Because I assure you, those who don’t believe in your specific god, whether they be Atheists or Hindu, are going to see your words as nothing more than meaningless gibberish.

    You conclude with – “people who chose not to accept Him are people who do not want to be accountable for their actions, thoughts or deeds and therefore follow the religion of self.” Five4Him, on what example are you basing this belief? Atheists don’t want to be accountable for their actions?! It is BECAUSE we don’t’ base our behavior on some twisted concept of reward/punishment after death that we are accountable. Accountable to ourselves, society, friends, family, coworkers, etc. Who we AREN’T accountable to is YOUR god. Nor are we accountable to Ganesa (Hinduism), Buddha, Baal, Zeus or ANY of the thousands of gods mankind has invented over countless generations.

    As for your complaint about my Thomas Jefferson quote, I understand Christians hate the numerous examples revealing that, arguably, one of our greatest Presidents, had either lost his faith or was at least extremely critical of Christianity, but just because they stomp their feet and insist that it’s possible the letter this quote was contained in wasn’t really from Thomas Jefferson doesn’t make it so. As your links show, the evidence is hardly compelling. But I will agree to remove the quote, I just insist you choose one of the following to replace it:

    “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man. … perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind … a mere contrivance [for the clergy] to filch wealth and power to themselves.” — Thomas Jefferson
    “In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty, he is always in allegiance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own. … History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. … Political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves [of public ignorance] for their own purpose.” — Thomas Jefferson
    “The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.” – Abraham Lincoln
    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.” — George Bernard Shaw
    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” — Steven Weinberg
    “The Bible is “what fools have written, what imbeciles command, what rogues teach.” – Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet)
    “We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children are smart.” — Henry Mencken

    “Our hope of immortality does not come from any religions, but nearly all religions come from that hope.” — Robert G. Ingersoll

    “The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by Homo Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not receive this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history.” – Robert Heinlein

    “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is not meet to take the children’s (Jews) bread and to cast it to dogs (Gentiles).” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 15:24-26)

    “Go not into the way of the Gentiles … but rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:5&6)

    “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:35, 36)

    “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” — Jesus Christ (Luke 9:62)

    “Let the dead bury the dead.” — Jesus Christ (Luke 9:60) This is in response to a disciple asking if he may go bury his recently deceased Father.

    “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” – Jesus Christ (John 2:4) speaking to his mother, disregarding the 5th Commandment.

    “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” – Jesus Christ (Luke 21:32) referring to the apostles and his second coming.

  109. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Bit (mike b), wow, where to begin. First, I must ask you to please refrain from trying to ‘save’ me or anyone else by posting dogma on my or anyone else’s blog. An utter waste of time. Let’s keep the debate free of empty, meaningless, religious rhetoric. And do your fellow Christians really need all the pats on the back and ‘good jobs’? You stated that – “atheism requires one to accept the eternality of the universe on faith. How did we get here?” Atheists don’t accept things on faith, Mike. Our Atheism allows us to QUESTION the eternity, origin, make-up of the universe. Atheism ALLOWS for the unknown. Only religion requires one belive in something based on nothing but hope (faith). Only religion requires that they have all the answers to all the questions. And that answer is God. It isn’t Atheists that are ‘ignoring (the) important questions’. It is those who believe that ONE god out of the thousands of gods mankind has invented and dismissed over countless generations is the genuine article. How did we get here? THAT’S THE QUESTION. We are seeking the answers, answers that require proof. Faith requires NOTHING. That is not acceptable to an Atheist. Some Atheists believe in the Theory of Evolution 100%. Me, I question some of evolutionists assertions. Some Atheists believe in the Big Bang Theory 100%. Me, I believe it is the most realistic explination but hardly a perfect one. You stated – “Problem: we know by empirical evidence that the universe had a beginning.” Everything had a beginning, how is this evidence that your god had anything to do with it?

    You state that – “Our free will is obviously very important to Him (God).” On what, exactly, do you base this assertion? Is this based on the fact that man commits so many atrocities against one another (many in the name of their god) and God does NOTHING?

    You state – “God is our loving Father who, contrary to many atheists apparent perception, WANTS every one of us to be saved.” Mike, how many millions are dying, have died and are destined to die, ALL doomed to burn in eternal hellfire through no fault of their own. Did your god WANT all the Aztec Indians to go to heaven? Then why are they all in hell? Why didn’t God ever reveal himself to THEM? I could give a thousand examples of a thousand different cultures who worshiped a thousand different gods, all of whom, according to your religion, are spending eternity burning in the bowels of hell. Free will is not an argument against this as these people were never given a choice to worship your god. Is your position that your god WANTS everyone to join him in heaven but is just too LAZY to help this to occur?

    And you state — “I know the Old Testament seems to portray God as barbaric and genocidal — please take the time to study the reason for it, because it does indeed harmonize with the foregoing. Are you aware that the tribes destroyed were committing abominable acts of atrocity (sacrificing children in fire, etc.)?” First, the God of the Old Testament is not the same God of the New. These are two different religions, improperly joined by certain sects of Christianity. But to claim that all the people that the God of the Old Testament commanded to be murdered DESERVED IT and HAD IT COMING is an absolutely willfully ignorant assertion. The god depicted in the Old Testament is a merciless, bloodthirsty warmonger. Period. Whether or not the stories depicting him as such ‘harmonize with the foregoing’ changes nothing. And if you insist that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are one and the same, then you are saying that your god changed. Which, according to ALL Christian teachings, is impossible. God is perfect and unchanging. And, Mike, I’ve been studying the bible, in its many variations, for so many years it leaves my head spinning when I think of it, so please don’t patronize me by suggesting that if I studied the bible I would be enlightened and finally see the truth. And I’m not an Atheist because I want to sin and have fun. I’m an Atheist because I am no longer capable of denying reality in order to comfort my fears with fairy tales and superstitions. Instead, I require proof before I place my belief in something or dedicate my life to something. Your typical, ignorant, implication that an Atheist is some sort of amoral heathen is as insulting as it is pathetically erroneous.

    You also state, astonishingly, that LOGIC “…is a function not materially explainable” but is, instead, “… the reasoning faculty God gave us all, in His image.” Again, a completely willful assertion with absolutely NO basis in reality whatsoever. Mike, I’m begging you, PLEASE stop arguing your points with ‘because my all powerful God made it so, that’s why’. We don’t believe in Zeus, Baal, Ra, Ganesa, YOUR god or any other. To defend your position by touting the powers of your particular god only WEAKENS your argument.

    And this one left me on the floor. Bit (mike b) said – “It’s important to study the Bible with an open mind and regarding things that appear to contradict, ask ourselves is there a way this harmonizes in a consistent way? If we have a desire to disbelieve, we will look at it with a premature conclusion that it is false and convince ourselves of such.” In one sentence you state one should read the bible with an open mind and then encourage people to willfully manipulate the stories found within to suit their purposes. Now I agree that one should read the bible with an open mind, as you should do with ALL things, and not have your mind made up before doing so. But, Mike, what about when someone reads the bible with a desire to BELIEVE? Don’t they make premature conclusions as well? Aren’t the VAST majority of those who are given a bible assured that it is a book of truth? Remember, Mike, I was raised in the Church and attended Private Christian Schools the majority of my life. Bible study was a daily thing. Only back then questioning of the holy doctrine was a big no-no. Only once I was free to think for myself did I take the bold step to reread the bible with an open mind, a mind full of questions. The answers, of course, led to my atheism.

    And, Mike, the fact that someone named Jesus (not really) is mentioned in other ‘historical’ sources proves nothing other than someone with that name existed and was worth mentioning. It CERTAINLY doesn’t prove that he was the son of God or had any special powers. And exactly what prophecies that Jesus fulfilled are you referring to?

    And can one of you believers please explain to me why the common, regurgitated dogmatic comment “I love/follow him (God) because ‘He loved me first’ is an acceptable explanation or makes any sense at all.

  110. on the “survivor” thing (Neil):

    except it’s not really in your interest to kill you neighbor – once you do that – other people see you as a threat and may want to kill you – consquences and survival

  111. oh – and DT – i like this quote you cited:

    “The Bible is “what fools have written, what imbeciles command, what rogues teach.” – Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet)

  112. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    whiteman0o0, commenting about ‘perfect morality’, you stated – “There are always bad people that kill because they believe they are doing the right thing, Nero, Salazin, Hitler, Saddam, It is a never ending cycle. And when they do what they believe to be morally right, who are we as a country to tell them that it isn’t right? It is the social construct that works for them, so how is it right for us to impose our morality on them?” — I felt compelled to ask if you truly believe ‘perfect morality’ exists at all. Let’s face it, in addition to those you use as examples, there are many who share your religion that couldn’t behave less morally if they tried. You seem to suggest you believe that ‘perfect morality’ comes from God (your god), even that the CONCEPT itself comes from God. It seems to me that everyone’s idea of what is moral, regardless of what religion they were raised in or currently follow, is one shaped by personal bias. So the question is whose concept of God’s perfect morality idea is the right one? Yours? Do you trust yourself to have the ‘right’ impression? If not, who do you trust to have it right? Can a Muslim have it right? A Hindu? A Buddhist? None of them? All of them? If our concept of ‘perfect morality’ was put there by God (your god), why do so many of us have it so wrong? Can there be ‘perfect morality’ if MAN is always the one translating God’s influence? In fact, isn’t it mankind’s belief in a god that often results in our most horrific acts, acts done as a result of our belief that we are justified by ‘divine’ morality?

    Also, in response to Lone Wolf’s mentioning the many people killed in the name of the bible, you state – “…how many more genocides have been instigated outside of the bible? The Hittites, Amorites, Cannanites, Muslims, Asian dynasties, Rome, Brittain, Vikings, Indians, Germany, Italy, Russia, France…. and the list goes on and on and on.” — You’ve responded this way before, as have other theists on this site, so I have to clarify that the atrocities committed outside of the bible are irrelevant. The point isn’t that mankind is capable of atrocities; it’s that no matter which god you claim is real or which religion you dedicate yourself to, none of them prevent man from committing these heinous acts. Religious morality, if anything, seems to exist only to justify a believer’s terrible behavior. When we (atheists) mention the appalling things man does in the name of god or did in the pages of the bible, it is simply to show that Christians DO NOT have the moral high ground.

    The Bible CAN’T be used as a soap box.

  113. I’ve got a question for you doubting Thomas. I’ve been reading through these posts but I do not believe I know about how you think to form any argument. So you know clearly where I am coming from. I am what you would call a Christian, as I follow Christ. I’ve stated my position clearly.

    My questing is simple. Do you believe in an objective truth that stands on its own outside human perception?

    Ill rephrase it in an attempt to clarify understanding.

    Do you belive in Absolute Truth that exists outside of human subjectivity?

    I see you are very logical, and Im curious as to what you might answer. Curiosity, nothing more, nothing less.

  114. Its late and I missed some words so I’ll repost what I was trying to say in a more clear manner.

    I’ve got a question for you doubting Thomas. I’ve been reading through these posts but I do not believe I know enough about how you think to form any argument that might point you to my understanding of God. So that you know clearly where I am coming from, I am what you would call a Christian, as I follow Christ. I’ve stated my position explicitly. I’m curious how you might answer this question, I don’t know many athiest but I am fascinated by them!

    My questing is simple. Do you believe in an objective truth that stands on its own outside human perception?

    Ill rephrase it in an attempt to clarify understanding.

    Do you belive in Absolute Truth that exists outside of human subjectivity?

    I see you are very logical, and Im curious as to what you might answer. Curiosity, nothing more, nothing less.

  115. “dedude” is a pure example of how religion has completely corrupted the minuscule good of religion..( I say this with a bottle of wine in me) Obviously his religion has not lent him morals as they so ofter tote as a bi-product of their dogma!

  116. dedude, i look forward to death in a way, As Stephen Hawking has discovered no information is lost in this universe, I just might be the volcano that erupts and sends you to your fiery hell you deserve and believe in.

  117. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Jared, I don’t understand why, in order to form an argument that might point me to your understanding of God, one would need to know ANYTHING about the person they’re speaking to. I also don’t understand how declaring that you are a Christian and follow Christ states your position explicitly in ANY sense of the word. Randomly round up a hundred different people who call themselves Christians and you will always have a hundred people with different ideas of what a Christian is. As to your VERY loaded question about absolute/objective truth, I believe you are trying to start a philosophical debate on the idea of Absolute Truth vs. Relative Truth. I don’t think this is the place or really even the site for such a debate. I’m sure you’ll agree most of those visiting this site would find it mind-numbingly dull. However, if you like I would be happy to start a new post on this site to address the subject. You and anyone else that would be interested could comment on it to their hearts content.

    However, to put it simply, seeing that I don’t believe in a god, and Absolute Truth is ONLY required if there is a god, then, no, obviously I don’t believe in Absolute Truth.

    Thanks for visiting my site. Please let me know if you would like for me to start an Absolute Truth vs. Relative Truth post. Or you could start one yourself and drop me the link and I’d be happy to stop by and put in my two cents.

    DoubtingThomas

  118. I brought it up just to find out what your perspective was on the question at hand. Its not really about relative vs absolute truth but it could be taken that direction. I could tell you why know you makes a difference, but its not the point. I want to cut to the chase.

    I simply find in my life I am forced to come to an absolute truth. It is fair that my absolute truth could be “there is no truth” but I still fill trapped by the neccessity to have an absolute truth. I can’t seem to escape it as it seem to be an invisible ceiling to my thought. Therefore I am forced to constantly reconsider what that meens to me. I was wondering if you, being a thinker and inclined to higher levels of thought, might perhaps have a different view on the subject and could refresh my mind.

    You see when I read that you dont believe in Absolute truth, which is typical of athiest, that to me becomes your absolute truth, that there is none….am I reading to much into it?

    Ultimately this debate does have to apprach the concepts of truth vs falsehood and if humans have the ability to distinguish the two. Otherwise we would only entertain a vast array of human knowledge systems that would surely lead us full circle every time, as human knowledge changes on a moment by moment basis.

  119. Truth be told Im fascinated on how you can be athiest. It seems so distant to me but I truly do want to understand it. Could you give me any resources to explore the subject? Credible ones? There is so much crap to sift through on the internet.

  120. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Jared, first, the most common retaliatory response by someone who believes in Absolute Truth to someone who doesn’t is to say that our belief that there is no absolute truth is, in fact, a statement of absolute truth, therefore it disproves our opinion. This is simply not the case. You see, we state ours as an OPINION, not a fact. An opinion can’t be an absolute truth. I FEEL there is no such thing as Absolute Truth as I see no need for it, as I don’t believe in a god (the only thing that would necessitate such an idea). This is the reason why you find that most Atheists share my opinion on this subject. It’s really just a matter of necessity.

    You ask if humans have the ability to distinguish between truth and untruth. A good question. The problem, of course, is the definition of ‘truth’ and more importantly, WHO is in the position to accurately define it. Truth seems to be a fairly relative term. No two individuals on this planet will agree on the truth of every subject. So who is right on the ones they disagree on? Who’s to say?

    You state that “I find in my life I am forced to come to an absolute truth.” What do you mean by this? Can you give me an example or two?

    As for helping you to understand how I or anyone can be an Atheist; you must understand, becoming an Atheist is a very personal decision. No one can ‘convert’ another into Atheism. It is not like a religion, you can’t be indoctrinated into it. The VAST majority of Atheists were once religious and each will have a different story of how they came to leave their faith. I am hesitant to direct you to any specific site or resource as they are all, naturally, biased. Instead I would encourage you to simply always keep an open mind about ALL things. Never allow someone else to decide your opinions. Never dedicate yourself to ANYTHING without fully scrutinizing it first. Remember, nothing true ever has anything to fear from a little scrutiny. Always look as deeply into the opposition’s side of a topic as you do YOUR side. Never shun those who disagree with you. And if you really want to see into an Atheist’s head, simply keep checking out their blogs. On any blog host site you can click on the topic RELIGION (they always have one) and you are guaranteed to find some posts by Atheists. But remember, our society isn’t divided into Christians and Atheists. There are thousands of gods currently being worshiped in this world and very few of the followers of those gods put any faith into the legitimacy of any other’s god. I’ve stated this before but I will do so again here; we are ALL Atheists. I simply dismiss ONE additional god than you do.

    Good luck in your quest for knowledge, Jared. There is not a more noble endeavor. And feel free to continue to peruse the various categories I’ve listed at the top of this page (now on the right) to get a better idea of how I came to be an Atheist.

    Take Care.

    DoubtingThomas

  121. I suppose what I meant to say, is in my mind I feel I can’t escape having an absolute truth. Lets suppose I am thinking, and I come to the conclusion life is meaningless. Thats my “absolute truth” and I will act accordingly. Similarly, I might come to the conclusion morality and goodness is the meaning of life. In which case I will act out accordingly (ask Opera about this one :-) ) I might come to the conclusion, “Aliens planted us here,” and I’m going to spend alot of my time reading books on abductions and staring at the nighttime sky. I might chance my opinion constantly….which I did for many years of my life, and that might lead me to the conclusion, its all relative to my circumstance in life. I have believed that before by the way, and I lived accordingly, I created my reality during that stage of my life, believeing I could be anything I wanted to be because truth was relative, and what I made it. Still, that was my truth.

    I guess what Im saying is I dont find it possible to be positionless in life. It seems that in order to live I must have something to grasp (be it my thoughts alone) yet I have yet to master not thinking. I suppose if I truly wanted to not be dictated by thought I would quit thinking, but you know, sleep doesnt last more than a night typically, I tried drugs and I woke up feeling horrible every morning, and suicide….well I just didnt want to take that chance at the time. All of this led me to God. It was obviously a much longer process, but having a “Loving” and “Righteous” God is the only thing I find that can sustain me.

    Does this make me less of a man? Does it make me primative?

    Well, I’m sure me saying there is a God is strong opinion supported by stronger conviction, and I call it faith, but its human opinion none the less. I FEEL there is a God, in the same human way you FEEL there is no Absolute truth, so can you explain to me the innate difference? And you saying there isnt a God is the reciprical situation. So I don’t think there would be a difference there.

    Is it safe to assume you have faith in your athiesm? I like this definition from Websters:

    Faith
    3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction

    I’m trying to pull the human condition our of our conversations and find where we are “alike” as opposed to “different”. In my experiance it has been difference that causes most religious people to lash out and act ridiculous and condemn others for their convictions. I tend to focus on the similarities. This is because I believe in a human condition. I believe that humans are….human, and therefore have to all act “human” no matter the internal dialogue they use to define their subjective existence.

  122. i am the son Says:

    I am liking your site and this post. I relate very strongly to it.

    The only difference in our questioning and re-evaluation of Christianity is you are and atheist and I still believe in a God or Creator.

    I can understand your being an atheist, but is it possible, you were so angered by the untruth that was fed to you that you closed off the possibility of a God or Great Spirit or Creator?

    I am just curious is all. I discovered that after leaving the “faith” so to speak, it takes time to let it all go right out the window. The Nicene Creed I had no trouble dropping, as a bunch of other things. However there are a couple of items in scripture that are not bad. like the last one or two paragraphs in Ecclesiastes. Short, simple and to the point, and that basically covers the whole old testament for me.

    I am surprised those words are even in the bible.

  123. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Jared, you stated – “Lets suppose I am thinking, and I come to the conclusion life is meaningless. Thats my “absolute truth” and I will act accordingly.” – This is not an example of Absolute Truth. Remember, an opinion can never be considered an Absolute Truth.

    You also said – “…what Im saying is I dont find it possible to be positionless in life.” That’s understandable. I don’t believe it is even possible TO BE ‘positionless’ and BE alive.

    You also said – “God is the only thing I find that can sustain me. Does this make me less of a man? Does it make me primative?” Did I give you that impression? If I did, I apologize. Of course it doesn’t make you ‘less of a man’ or ‘primitive’. In your troubled life you found something that gave you peace. Only an asshole would tell you this is a bad thing. What would be a bad thing, in my opinion, is if you were satisfied and no longer sought answers. We are all confronted with new questions every day of our lives. The danger that can come with religion is that too often the religious refuse to seek out the answer to these questions; they purposefully avoid seeking ‘new’ knowledge, and instead shove any new/strange/uncomfortable question into that always comforting box with -God Is The Answer- stamped on its lid.

    Regarding your question of the differences between our ‘faiths’, yours in God, mine in Atheism; first, you chose to define faith as a belief with a strong conviction and applied that definition to Atheism. You’re failing to consider a major distinction here, Jared; an Atheist requires evidence in order to believe in a thing. A person of faith does not require evidence. It isn’t faith that supports our belief that the stories contained in the bible are fallacious, it is evidence. I prefer the definition of Faith in my dictionary: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

    You say you are interested in discovering the ways we are alike instead of the ways we are different. It’s rather simple to do so, Jared, just ignore our different opinions on religion and god (the ONE way we have established we are different) and I would wager there are a hundred ways we are similar. Atheists aren’t aliens, Jared. I am a man like any other; I have a job, a home, friends, family, like some TV shows, hate others, LOVED Juno, hated Cloverfield, drink Pepsi not Coke, Rock not Country, PC not Mac, anti-abortion but Pro-Choice, and on and on. Jared, we all have more similarities than differences. A Christian and an Atheist are just as likely to be compatible as friends as two Atheists would be.

    Your belief that all of humanity should “act ‘human’ no matter the internal dialogue they use to define their subjective existence” is an admirable one. Sadly, the only way this could ever occur is if we were ALL of the same religion OR if we were all free of it. I’m sure you’ll agree that neither of these scenarios are likely to occur. And please keep in mind when pondering the constant conflict between different religious groups/people; it can’t be helped and it can’t be avoided. It is simply unrealistic to think that these different people with different cultures and different societal norms would invent gods that are going to be compatible with each other’s religions. And let’s face it, Jared, you’re no more likely to concede that all of these other people’s gods are real any more than they are likely to allow that yours is.

    This is our world. These are our fellow man. Our brothers all. Whether we like it or not.

    DoubtingThomas

  124. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    I am the son, my Atheism isn’t retaliatory. My loss of faith was a gradual one. My reason for not believing in a god (yours or any of the thousands man has invented and dismissed over the years) is the rather boring and standard explanation; I see no evidence as to the existence of one nor the NEED for one to exist. Yes, our world is a complex one and we are a complex animal and No I don’t think I or any other Atheist has all or even most of the answers. I am also in no way satisfied with any of the Origin of Life theories. I don’t seek to provide answers, I seek to find them.

    DoubtingThomas

  125. i am the son Says:

    Hi Doubting Thomas;

    I appreciate your reply and understand it. I suppose what we are all curious about is life and how it came to be.

    I don’t think you or I will ever know in this life, or anyone else. Everything we know to date, are theories that are formulated by people like ourselves.

    To me, God is life itself. But you are right insofar as many if not all have a different concept of God.

    At least mine is not sitting on the throne in heaven waiting for the armored car to drop off the loot :)

    Have a Great Day my friend

    Robert

  126. Wow, some hilarious responses, first with Lone Wolf STILL not getting appeal to authority and why God’s power would be more than enough for him to back up any decision he would make about morality (assuming his existence, which I’d get to except for someone else hilariously claiming I’m using circular reasoning!) and of course DoubtingThomas for continuing to complain about how I’m not getting the point or whatever, but can’t even figure out what I said initially.

    My point was simple- Lone Wolf doesn’t (or can’t) grasp a logical appeal to authority and claims that even if the God in the Bible existed that he wouldn’t have the power to decide right from wrong for everyone!

    Let’s demonstrate this point with some sort of analogy- an artist draws a picture, but decides that he doesn’t like the framework halfway through finishing up the details. So he scraps it. Another person thinks that framework was perfect, but does this matter? No one else’s opinion on the matter can stop the artist from publishing (or shredding, for that matter!) his own work.

  127. privateincest Says:

    You will find more joy in the New Testament. To be frank, I was also turned off when I read the bible (Old Testament) the first time. Like what you said, “inhuman cruelty, violence, vengeance, threats, petty jealousy, incest, curses, injustice, murder, rape, depravity, death, anger”

    http://privateincest.com

  128. Lone Wolf Says:

    DoomRater your the one who still doesn’t get it. We are not paintings, we are living sentient beings, If I built a robot and gave it a super powerful computer and made it intelligent and sentient, just cause I tell it something, that doesn’t mean I’m right, even if I built a kill switch into it and could destroy it by simply bushing a button attached to my key chain, that wouldn’t mean anything I say is right.
    It doesn’t madder if God made the universe or not, It doesn’t madder if God made humanity of not, it does not madder how powerful God it. None of that madders. We are nit paintings, we are not sculptures, we are living inelegant beings and no madder what God says, it does not means he’s right. If God wants people to believe things, he better but up the evidence or if there is none, he better make a logical argument.
    God gets no special treatment, in fact if God exists and is as powerful as you believe, than he should be held to a far higher standard than people are.

  129. Ah yes, I love your responce doubting Thomas. Thank you for taking the time to give me such detail. Sorry I’ve been absent but I have quite a load of work/schoolwork I am involved in.

    “I would wager there are a hundred ways we are similar. Atheists aren’t aliens, Jared. I am a man like any other; I have a job, a home, friends, family, like some TV shows, hate others, LOVED Juno, hated Cloverfield, drink Pepsi not Coke, Rock not Country, PC not Mac, anti-abortion but Pro-Choice, and on and on. ”

    Im with you there on everything, except for the Pepsi and the pro-choice (If a woman doesnt want a baby, she shouldnt be having sex, thats the purpose of it). I also have to go with Coke on this one, but I am from the south so I’m sure Im conditioned. The similarities I was refering to were more “internal”. We all have external preferences, but those preferences are made based on who we are inside. Lets suppose I didnt exist, or recognize my existence…then I would have no way to make a choice. Therefore my internal existence is a pre-requisite for my ability to make a choice.

    As far as evidence is concerned, I do demand it. But I don’t demand in in the way that you might demand evidence. I believe Aristotle looked outward, but Plato looked upward. I am more concerned with my internal workings than the external world I see. This is because, one is the thinker and knower, and the other is out of my control. I find it far more logical then to be careful in my internal workings, and truly understand how I think, and why I think that way, laying little evidence on the physical circumstances of my life. If I were going to lay the evidence on what I have seen….I perhaps would trend towards athiesm, but instead I have a deep rooted knowledge of how and why I think certain ways, and that knowledge is the overrideing evidence.

    There have been times when I felt “jealousy” or even “anger” towards people in my life, a sin according to my faith. However, I was able to subdue the feeling and not act out of this jealousy or anger because I recognized it as part of my human condition.

    Had I believed in physical evidence alone (that these feeling are chemical reactions in my head that drive me to act certain ways for the purpose of survival) than I would have certainly acted according to my feelings. However, I chose to submit those feelings of my humanity to my God, and that has made all the difference.

    I do appreciate you telling me your opinion, as I want to go into Christian Apologetics, so I do benefit from our conversations as I learn more about how and why you think the ways you do. I only hope that you could say the same, because I do come with a perspective that is perhaps different than yours, and perhaps you could learn something from me as well.

    Talk to you later.

    – Jared

    I’ve got another

  130. The manifestation of reality becomes a consequence of our own internal dialogue. This dialogue is made possible by something that is innately immeasurable but we have labeled as intelligence for a lack of a better word. We humans have attempted to define and understand this intelligence, but because it is the very thing itself by which we attempt to anylize it, it forever seeks to be proveable outside of itself. Therefore we rationalize, by creating more words.

    The nature of reality moves outward, and it is forever becoming more explicit from a subjective viewpoint. That is, as humanity progresses, we find that the langue we use to define existence itself progresses. I do not seek to contradict myself, but this is a false intuition that cannot be supported. Because the intelligence by which we anylize has not innately changed, then the outward manifestation, no matter how much more progressive it appears is thus still flawed. It may seem on the surface and based on the linguistic value to be of a different matter, but the truth is it is of a more explicit matter.

    As the world goes on in the subjective state, we will find that a more explicit definition of what we see, we do, and understand is not neccessariy a better definition, and therefore we are forced to again fall back onto the intelligence by which this derived itself.

    Therefore, as it is written, There is nothing new under the sun, only in our imagination. Only in the depth of the human heart can we create something that is not and claim it as our own. The rules of reality do not allow for the creation of something difinitively new by humans, therefore all manifestations must be the abstraction of subjective minds, still being subject the the greater laws of existence, again known as intelligence.

    You see, in the end we must be humbled, whether it be through the creation of our own abstrations falling before our own eyes (intelligence) or through the genuine process of relation to that which manifest himself in us, called God.

    I said it how I see it.

  131. I have read books on athiest, I have read the complete bible in several different translations. I have done every drug under the sun. I have read Plato, Aristotle, I have read socrates and others. I am versed the the Bahagadvita, I would like to read the Koran, but havnt gotten there yet. I have read books on the science of the mind, and quantum physics, I have read much. I am only 24, and my mind cannot stop. I am a product of that which drives me, and to recognize that as the Spirit of Christ puts an incredible burden on my soul, as I become responsible for my words, and their implication in the lives of those whom I speak to. Therefore, my human brother, I do hope you see that I do not seek to drive you to an unintelligent conclusion, but to the conclusion that is of the utmost intelligence. The conclusion that allows us to lift the veil of subjectivity and see things through new eyes. Through eyes that arent blinded by the desire to be the reality in which we live, but to effect it by the way we live. To hope that will be enough is all I have, because there is something great that waits in the end, and that one that waits is relational, otherwise all I am is of the greatest vanity, and I should be pittied above all men.

  132. I seek to represent my lack and my poor decisions I’ve made (drugs, depression, prison time)….and tell you that I am redeemed…..you see, my opinion is useless, but it is my opinion none the less, and to not post it, would be to deny my redemption. Mine is a beautiful letdown, and in that I found God.

    God Bless you Doubting Thomas, I do believe that the truly inquiring mind must find the one I call God in the end, because he states that if you seek him with all your heart you will find him. If, we do not seek that truth that exists outside of ourselves, then we by default become the measure of our own reality, the anchor of our existence, and for me that is destruction. Thats me though.

    You have told me you believe in the principle of seeking truth and knowledge with all you are. Therefore I believe that you will find that great truth in the true Word. In the Living and Breathing word, that even now sustains existence itself for the sake of Love and Glory.

  133. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Jared, a very well put explanation of where you stand and why. However, no matter how intelligently or carefully stated, it does not change the fact that EVERY SINGLE THING YOU SAID can be defined with one word; it was an OPINION. Your opinion. And one I do not share.

    Jared, you said – “I do believe that the truly inquiring mind must find the one I call God in the end,” – Again, I must ask for a little more detail here. God worshipers, whenever urging others to bow down before their god, always seem to forget the thousands of gods currently being worshiped by our species or that have previously been worshiped by our species. I assume you are referring to one of the versions of the Christian God. But clearly I need to pick the ‘correct’ sect of Christianity as none of the 80+ sects seem to ever agree that any of the others are as legitimate as their own. So if I were to choose to join you in belief, Jared, which man made division of Christianity should I will myself into believing is the ‘right’ one?

    Jared, you said – “because he states that if you seek him with all your heart you will find him.” Do you know how many people have sought to believe in something false, something wrong, something awful, with all their heart and succeeded? More than 900 people who sought with all their heart to believe in Jim Jones’ teachings met their deaths as a result (300 of those were children). And consider those who followed Charles Manson, David Koresh, Adolph Hitler, Marshall Applewhite (Heaven’s Gate), etc. If humanity has proven anything, it is that we are capable of believing ANYTHING. Once upon a time we believed the earth was flat, the sun revolved around the earth, thunder and lightning were results of the gods wrath, people suffering from an epileptic convulsion were actually possessed by demons, a cat could steal the breath from a baby, and on and on.

    Jared, you said – “If, we do not seek that truth that exists outside of ourselves, then we by default become the measure of our own reality, the anchor of our existence, and for me that is destruction.” I would argue that this is exactly what Atheists do, Jared; seek the truth that exists outside of ourselves. Honestly, Jared, couldn’t I define FAITH as a truth ONLY found within oneself? I will continue to seek the truth with all my heart, Jared, and if some day this results in my discovering that your god is the real and genuine article, I’ll be sure and let you know.

    Again, thank you for your comments.

    DoubtingThomas

  134. Ah, how beautiful. You will definately have to let me know. I am seeking to break down the nature of human language is all. Lets think about this for a second. Why is it that when we reason, when we consider, certain worlds can have explicit definitions while others become clouded in vague generalizations. If I tell you I want an banana, and I have a banana, and I’ve found a banana, then odds are you are going to understand me completely, and even relate on a near perfect level. If you know me you could imagine me looking, and finding that banana and holding it in my hand. Noone cares about the banana. Its a banana and there is no reason to debate it. Banana, its a noun. Its a noun! Pay close attention because I am seeking to break down language here, as it is our greatest barrier in one hand, and our greatest gift on the other! The true double edged sword. Now If I tell you I want God, I have God, and I’ve found God, then we become clouded with something vague! Yet the God I refer to is a NOUN! He is a noun! A pronoun to be exact, surly different from the other gods you refer to. Ahhh! You might think, well God can’t be seen like a banana and therein lies what makes the concept so vague! But the truth is different, you see, the truth of why it seems vague is in the debate of the noun and not the noun itself.

    Let me explain, If, thoughout history we had debated extensively the existence of a banana, and some had denied a banana was a banana, and labeled an apple a banana, and others had labeled an orange a banana, while still others had labeled a grapefruit a banana, and millions of words and books had been written on why each is a banana and the others arent, then we might be throughly confused on having any sort of logical conversation about that banana! How would we relate except by coming from a similar sect of belief on the banana! It is my belief, when I state that those who seek God with all their heart will find him, are those who seek God with all their heart. Not god the vague and uncertain and changing adjective! But God the absolute and dynamic pronoun.

    You see, it becomes a natural lesson in life, and I say a natural one because you in seeking knowledge I am sure can see this, that anything that is true will be debated the most extensively and completely, thus complicating the issue and making it more difficult to relate on an absolute level. You have witnessed this I am sure! The second you claimed athiesm as your opinion, God knows (forgive the humor :-D ,In your case I suppose your mind knows) that you were probably hit by so many different opinions on how you were wrong! Even on this blog we can see what I talk about taking place!

    Im really not going anywhere with this, its just an interesting thought to me and something to consider! Talk to you later Thomas, have a great week. Ill be busy and dont know if Ill have time to post again until this weekend. Cya!

  135. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Jared, you said – “If I tell you I want an banana, and I have a banana, and I’ve found a banana, then odds are you are going to understand me completely, and even relate on a near perfect level. If you know me you could imagine me looking, and finding that banana and holding it in my hand. Noone cares about the banana. Its a banana and there is no reason to debate it. Banana, its a noun. Its a noun! Pay close attention because I am seeking to break down language here, as it is our greatest barrier in one hand, and our greatest gift on the other! The true double edged sword. Now If I tell you I want God, I have God, and I’ve found God, then we become clouded with something vague! Yet the God I refer to is a NOUN! He is a noun! A pronoun to be exact, surly different from the other gods you refer to. Ahhh! You might think, well God can’t be seen like a banana and therein lies what makes the concept so vague! But the truth is different, you see, the truth of why it seems vague is in the debate of the noun and not the noun itself.”

    Jared, your analogy is very bizarre and very flawed. Banana and God may both be nouns but it is the DEFINITION of these nouns that divides them. A banana is real. Its existence can easily be proven to anyone, whether they are familiar with one or not. The same can not be said for God, yours or anyone else’s. I’m sorry, Jared, but your god has absolutely NO distinction from the thousands of other gods mankind has invented. The truth isn’t different, it is always the same. What we allow to be categorized as such is the only thing that changes. You don’t allow ANY of these other gods to be categorized as true but you do classify YOUR god as truth. I simply see no means of distinguishing your god from the rest.

    Jared, HOW DO YOU manage to justify your position that man has invented all of these thousands of different gods, that hundreds of millions of people have worshiped and dedicated their lives to these gods, and ALL of these gods were man made inventions, none of these religions were legitimate, EXCEPT YOURS. Your god is the ONE TIME man hit the nail on the head and didn’t get even a single detail wrong. How can you or anyone justify such a belief?

    DoubtingThomas

  136. So does a noun derive its definition from what it is, or from our personal definition. Thomas, as a pronoun, are you who I say you are, or who you say you are?

  137. You allowed comments? Wow, brave! I remember how these J-Dubs came to my house and started talking to me about the Place of Women in Society and Religion. The irony! Since when does a religion that oppresses their rights wants to talk about them after so long? I regret that I didn’t keep the magazine given, otherwise I might be able to share some “God given” knowledge to you through my posts! :)

  138. I just wanted to give you my perspective. I was raised in a Christian (Catholic ) home. I went to church on Sunday and catechism classes from age 6 to age 14 and was “confirmed”. To me as a child, going to church and catechism, were something i just did because my mom said I had to. I got confirmed, dragging my heels, because that’s what you did in 8th grade catechism. I went away to college and stopped going to church. I felt like religion/God were just things people made up to fill in the blanks where science and the rational world had not yet discovered the answers. I didn’t know if I believed in God or not.

    But, somehow I found my way back. For me I think having children was the defining moment. I just couldn’t rationalize away the miracle of birth. I started going to a nondenominational church. I started reading the Bible — something I had not done before. I just really sat down and said “Okay, I’m going to look at this with an open mind”. The more I read, the more life makes sense. I’m not saying it’s all crystal clear, some parts of the bible are confusing to me, too. But, I’m okay with that, because the more I read, and pray, and try to live my life a follower of Christ, the more I understand.

    I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I do believe that God does.

  139. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Steph,

    Thank you for your comment and welcome to my site. Your tale is a familiar one as I have heard it repeated by many ‘ex’ Catholics. It’s no surprise that once you became a parent you went back to religion. Religion is comforting and when you are responsible for something as delicate and precious as a child, you crave something that will ease all the fears that come along with being a parent. I even have an Atheist friend who has his daughter enrolled in a Private Christian School. But sometimes the things we use to comfort ourselves blind us as well. You don’t need to be a Christian (or any religion) to be a good parent.

    You say that you decided to sit down and read the bible with an open mind but it sounds more like you decided to sit down and read it with willful mind, filled with the desire to believe. Why didn’t you pick up the Book of Mormon, Steph? Why didn’t you pick up the works of L. Ron Hubbard? Why didn’t you pick up the Koran? Why didn’t you pick up the Tipitaka (sacred book of Buddhism)? Why didn’t you pick up the Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism)? Steph, your bias towards the bible and the Christian religion was established during your experiences with the Catholic church/school, regardless of how unpleasant they may have been. Did you even have to go out and purchase a new bible, Steph, or did you still have yours conveniently close by? I worry that you are only studying the passages that allow life to ‘make more sense’. I know it won’t be appealing to you but I urge you to confront yourself with the ENTIRE bible. Perhaps you will take the time to click on the categories on the right at the top of this page and read what I have cataloged there. Remember, nothing that is true has anything to fear from a little scrutiny.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  140. Hi Thomas,

    I have been reading over some of the posts on this site with interest, both those touting atheistic and christian viewpoints. I think exploring them can be helpful to all. Personally, i’m okay with being a “doubting thomas”. No question is a bad question, right?

    You suggest that my coming back to religion after parenthood, was driven by fear or a need to seek comfort. While I agree, parenthood is scary at times, and I do now find comfort in the bible, my prayers, and in my growing understanding of god, i honestly do not believe it was fear or comfort-seeking that brought me back. It truly was the wonder and awe of the new little human that I was holding in my arms. Maybe that sounds totally sappy, but that’s the best I can explain it. I agree there are good (and bad) parents from all walks of life.

    As to why I turned to the Bible (vs. Koran, Book of Mormon, etc)…I’m sure it was my catholic/christian upbringing! I think it’s natural to turn first to what is familiar. I wouldn’t characterize my upbringing in the catholic faith as entirely unpleasant. I just didn’t want to go to church or catechism. I thought it was a waste of time. I didn’t feel like I really got anything out of it. I don’t think my negative reaction to church attendance was much different than it was to cleaning my room or washing the dishes. I just felt there were other things i’d rather do.

    I have not done any in-depth studies of any of the other world religions like you mentioned. I did date an atheist while i was at college. :)
    Did a little research at the campus library on Madelyn Murray-O’Hair. Took a class on Eastern Religions (one of my favorite classes of my freshman year!). Although there are some major definitive differences among them, these religions all have similarities, too. I don’t think studying them is a bad idea, I guess I’d just like to concentrate on the bible right now.

    And i did have to go out and purchase a bible!!! I personally never owned one! My mom had a beautiful one that sat on a table in our house. The only time my family opened it was to read the story of the nativity in Luke at Christmas or maybe to complete a catechism assignment. A shame really.

    I have not read all of the bible. But, I’m also not afraid to tackle the tough stuff. I love to discuss what I’ve read with others. Scrutiny is good.

    Take Care,

    Steph

  141. I feel like I might have lost you on my last question about the noun. I was going somewhere with that, but it seems you have chosen not to answer it. So, I’ll attempt to answer some of your questions, just to be fair. You probably wont like my answers, because I make them independent of me, but they are how I have come to think and to know my God.

    “Jared, HOW DO YOU manage to justify your position that man has invented all of these thousands of different gods, that hundreds of millions of people have worshiped and dedicated their lives to these gods, and ALL of these gods were man made inventions, none of these religions were legitimate, EXCEPT YOURS.”

    – First, when anylizing things, as you have keenly pointed out, there are many different perspectives we can take. When I am asked this question, I chose to look at it from a “why” perspective. I ask myself the question, “Why have so many humans invented and worshipped thousands of different gods throughout history.” Then I come to the conclusion, uh oh, perhaps I have done the same, because I am a human and I am certainly seeking a god. So from going inward into myself I see the need, I see the need. So now, I have to ask myself “why” I have the need to seek God. If I am understanding you correctly, you think it is because of tradition / fear / the need to rationalize existence…? Well, if that is how you think, then I agree with you. But if we go by that logic then we have to ask why we have that need? To rationalize existence? In the end it comes down to the fact that we exist. We exist, and therefore we think, therefore we come to conclusion. (am I on par with you so far?) Now following the logical process, we now must ask, why do I exist? Here is where we might split in agreement.

    I believe that God created us to seek him, and in that process the need arises to seek, and from the misuse of that need we have created “false gods”, which Thomas, is the first of the 10 commandments. Very ironic indeed.

    With that said, I’m going to give you 2 bible verses that I find amazing and incredibly descriptive of this delimma of thought I have described above.

    Ecclesiastes 3:11
    He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

    He has set eternity in our hearts….If that doesnt cause us to seek something at least like god, I don’t know what will.

    Exodus 3:14
    God said to Moses, ” I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”

    Again, no other book on gods has a statement so profound as the one that God states here. I pulled the question back to existence itself, and here in an ancient text, written long before modern humans existed with all their science. (by the way I love science, it is an amazing way of learning about things) is God claiming that he is existence itself, but not just existence, but also the creator of it. Now, if God is existence, and he is infinite like he says, and eternal, than perhaps that would explain why in our existence we seek gods? But we were created to seek God.

    I AM < —- A pronoun.

    I am Jared <—– A description of being followed by a pronoun.

    Again, I’m very philosophical in thought. Ill continue.

    “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”
    -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

    Here, he is saying, if God is real, he must value reason over blindfolded fear. Here, he is defineing the pronoun, instead of letting the pronoun define itself.

    Yet, the God of the bible says, “I AM WHO I AM” , and not “I AM who you say I am”.

    So could you answer my question about simple language?

    In english. Does a pronoun derive its definition from who/what it is, or from who we define it as?

  142. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Jared,

    Thanks for addressing my questions.

    [[You said the following – “We now must ask, why do I exist? Here is where we might split in agreement. I believe that God created us to seek him, and in that process the need arises to seek, and from the misuse of that need we have created “false gods”, which Thomas, is the first of the 10 commandments. Very ironic indeed.”]]

    Jared, we split in agreement at the point where you assert that we now must ask, why do I exist. Why do I exist is one of the most foolish and unnecessary philosophical questions there are. The real question should be why do I need a reason to exist? And the idea that a supreme being would create us “to seek him” is just depressing. And you wonder why I have such a low opinion of the Christian concept of a god. And again, in your assertion that mankind has created “false gods” you willfully place YOUR god outside of that category.

    And I’m afraid I have to nit pick here as you have chosen to use the American Standard translation of the bible when quoting Ecclesiastes 3:11. I have very little respect for the ASV as it is such a blatant cleaned up version of the bible that attempts to retranslate many parts in order to sit more comfortably with certain sects of Christianity. You see, Jared, in the KJV you will not find your quote – “He has set eternity in our hearts…”

    [[Jared, you said – “no other book on gods has a statement so profound as the one that God states here.”]]

    How do you come to this conclusion, Jared? First, your opinion of what is profound is clearly a PERSONAL one. And I would argue that the Koran, the Book of Mormon, the works of L. Ron Hubbard, the Tipitaka (sacred book of Buddhism) and the Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism) all have some equally profound statements but that doesn’t make them any more legitimate.

    [[And then you go on to say – “here in an ancient text, written long before modern humans existed with all their science.”]]

    Wow, Jared, were you trying to make my point for me? You do understand that there are TONS of ancient texts written before modern humans and all their science existed that speak of THOUSANDS of other gods, right? And yet only your ancient texts contain profound statements in reference to nature of god? Your entire argument is based on the willful assertion that your CONCEPT of god is the only real god.

    And Jared, your desire to have a debate on the noun/pronoun definition of man/god is one of semantics and, frankly, not one I am interested in participating. You appear to be seeing some depth to this idea that simply isn’t there. You are simply asking the exact same question in two different ways; Is something its definition or what we define it as? Um, yes.

    Jared, I am eager to hear your opinions on a few of my most troubling issues with Christianity on my post:

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/christians-%e2%80%93-an-atheist-is-seeking-answers-can-you-supply-any/

    Perhaps you’ll take a minute to check them out and leave a comment.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  143. OK, you make some very good points. I have questions totally unrelated to your posts, though, so I don’t know if this is where you want my comment or not…

    1) Why do you call yourself a “Born-Again Skeptic Seeking Answers”? As far as I can see, you already know what you beleive–and why, which is even more important–and, as a person raised Christian, you must know what being “Born-Again” means and totally reject the idea. Yaaaa…that’s probably the farthest from “a “deep” question you’ve ever been asked on your blog, but for some odd reason really got my curiosity.

    2) Well, this isn’t really a question, but it sounds like something you might like (whether to debate it or agree, I have no idea). It’s just a link my agnostic friend sent to me once upon a time. I thought it interesting, but some think it bunk.

    http://www.cracked.com/article_15663_10-things-christians-atheists-can-must-agree-on.html

    Have a great day….and oh, thanks for making legitimate points. Nothing is more frustrating to me than someone spouting off their beliefs “just because”. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can just say why they–in your case–are against Christianity.

    ~Emily Grace

  144. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Emily,

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my site. And this page is the perfect place for ‘off topic’ comments and questions.

    1) The Born Again Skeptic thing is just a play on words. I view the ‘born again’ label as essentially meaning ‘returned to’ OR ‘rededicated to’. So it is basically me saying I am one who has returned to open minded thought, that’s all. And please don’t think one must ask only ‘deep’ questions on this site. If I’ve made a statement or asked a question that provokes one from you, please ask it. As long as a question isn’t too personal I’ll usually try my best to answer it.

    2) I checked out the site you recommended. Interesting stuff but nothing new. More than a few of the author’s conclusions were naïve and more than a bit willful. However, it is a good site to visit if for no other reason than to read the almost 400 comments it received. I find the comments are always more interesting than the actual post (and this goes for this site as well).

    Anyway, thanks again for stopping by and please feel free to check out my other posts categorized at the top right of this page. I’m particularly interested in receiving comments on this recent post:

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/christians-%e2%80%93-an-atheist-is-seeking-answers-can-you-supply-any/

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  145. DT,

    That list of questions is quite extensive, and will definately give me alot to think about, so thanks for pointing it out. I may give them a gander one day when I have some time off.

    Let me explain myself, I’m simply trying to start at square one. For example, as far as “thought” is concerned, and all things from our viewpoint are defined through our “thought”, I find square one is
    “I am” or “I exist”. This “I” gives me identity, which I can then build an extensive cognitive nueral network from. Be that solid facts or only opinions, I still need the recognition of “I am” to build any worldview, whether coherant or not. To me, thats what makes God’s name being “I am” so profound. It seems to me that any rational human being, must rely on this recognition of “I exist” to even form thoughts or opinions. Sure, its down there deep in our subconcious, and I doubt we can even remember when we first recognized our own existence, but it seems to me it is there.

    “Why do I exist is one of the most foolish and unnecessary philosophical questions there are. The real question should be why do I need a reason to exist?”

    We cant ask the question “Why do I need a reason to exist?” without first existing. Therefore, “Why do I exist?” is a prerequisite question.

    There are only 4 possible answer to “Why do I exist?” though they may vary linguistically.

    1) I created myself.
    2) Another Existing being created me.
    3) Naturalism. (Which actually defaults to (1) because thought nature moved me towards intelligence, it is not until humanity had the thought “I am” that all other thoughts then became possible, meaning my being was throught me having this initial thought.)
    4) I don’t exist.

    “And the idea that a supreme being would create us “to seek him” is just depressing. And you wonder why I have such a low opinion of the Christian concept of a god.”

    I wonder no more :-) The ironic thing here is, that invigorates me! So it stands to be said that something that depresses you gives me joy. I doubt me or you will ever understand that.

  146. Supposed to say:

    3) Naturalism. (Which actually defaults to (1) because though nature moved me towards intelligence, it is not until humanity had the thought “I am” that all other thoughts then became possible, meaning my being came into recogntion by me having this initial thought. Only then, can I start forming opinions.)

  147. To add to you lead about the Bible being the most purchased and least read book, you can also add the most shoplifted book ever printed.

  148. Hey Thomas,

    I’ve got a basic question. I find that sometimes I do “doubt” my God and even his existence. That my faith is not as absolute as I would like it to be. Then other times this faith feels very tangible and absolute.

    Do you struggle with this and being athiest? That is to say do you sometimes doubt your conclusion that there is no God?

  149. Lone Wolf Says:

    Jared: Atheists do not have faith that there is no God, atheism is a lack of belief in a God or gods.

  150. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Jared,

    God proclaiming “I Am” is hardly profound. ALL gods mankind has invented claim to exist, at least according to those who invented and worshiped them, which is all the statement “I AM” is, man’s claim of a gods words.

    And, Jared, the “I” in the statement “I exist” is NOT what gives one their identity. And no one needs to ‘recognize’ that they exist before becoming a person. That is simply absurd. And the reason why we can’t remember when we “first recognized our own existence” is because it occurs at the inception of one’s consciousness. It is impossible for any conscious being to not recognize that they exist. And I’m sorry, but “Why do I exist?” IS NOT a prerequisite for asking “Why do I need a reason to exist?” And how exactly did you come up with your four ONLY answers to the “Why do I exist?” question (#1 & #4 don’t even make sense)? There is actually only ONE answer: We exist because we were conceived and were born. People who NEED every single person to have a reason to be alive make me sad. There is no rhyme or reason. This shouldn’t be a depressing thought. Just live your life. Some will live a moral life (regardless of religion) and some will not. Live a good life and leave the world a better place and you will be rewarded upon death with the knowledge that you lived a good life and left the world a better place. Why do people need more than that? Oh yes, the great inescapable EGO.

    Jared, I am glad to hear that you sometimes doubt your god’s existence. It says a great deal about your capacity to think reasonably. I simply have no respect for those who are completely unwilling to even CONTEMPLATE the idea that MAYBE the god they worship IS IN FACT a creation of man just like the thousands of other gods mankind has invented who they, themselves dismiss as fictitious. So thank you for your brave confession. My respect for you has increased as a result. As to your question as to if I sometimes doubt my conclusion that there is no god; No, I don’t. However, I am completely open to the possibility that I am wrong. I have just seen no evidence that YOUR concept of a god, nor anyone else’s concept of a god, is based on anything more than faith/hope or a feeling. This simply isn’t enough for me. ALL those who worshiped those gods you dismiss felt/feel the same feeling and were/are just as certain (faith) that they were/are right as you do. Also, please don’t misunderstand, I’m not suggesting that I have the answers. All I wish is that no one was ever satisfied. NEVER BE SATISFIED! It might as well be my motto. Scrutinize everything. Never allow someone else’s conclusion to become your own without careful consideration (study). No god worshiper really knows the truth regarding the origin of life. And neither does any Atheist. I am personally very unsatisfied with ALL the origin of life theories. Life is simply much too complex to accept it was all just an accident, but it is FAR too flawed to have been the actions of an all powerful god, yours or anyone else’s. I don’t claim to have all the answers, or even most of them, but I’ve yet to meet a god believer who had any (at least none that pertain to anyone besides themselves). They always have a nice, neat collection of conclusions, but don’t seem to realize that answer is not always an accurate synonym for conclusion. An answer must contain truth; a conclusion often contains nothing but theory.

    And please remember what Lone Wolf said above. An Atheist doesn’t have FAITH that there is no god, we simply don’t believe that there is, nor see a reason for, a god, yours or any other. Faith is a synonym for hope. Hope is willful. Atheists are not willfully denying god, as many Christians suggest. Our denial of the existence of a god has NOTHING to do with a personal desire for there not to be one.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  151. You and God agree on one thing Thomas, that all man-made gods are false and impotent. However He cannot deny His own existence as you can. I have told you His name. YHWH (I AM), I have described how it is ingrained at the core of your personal self and how all thoughts arise as a result of your own existence. Romans 1-2 talks about how all men know God and are therefore without excuse. If you would recognize that all you know is your own existence. That all you know is I AM, and that you are correct, everything else is opinion, than you would see that you have met the One True God, and then knowing he is revealed in the Word, could begin to learn more truth, truth beyond opinion. Truth that is a revelation and not an opinion.

    I have explained how when God claims he is the One and only God, that the enemy of God is going to distort this truth by creating many false gods that claim the same thing. However these things arent real. The God of the bible is not a man-made creation, and it is of no accident that Christianity is the worlds #1 religion. I have given the example, that God is a noun, and is defined by Himself, and not by man. Which was the true answer to your question “How do you distinguish your God.” The truth is, I do not distinguish him, but he distinguishes Himself, through the revalation of Himself in his Holy Spirit, which has the power to reform the minds and hearts of those who only believe in Him. Also, he is not my God as in I have ownership of Him. Instead, I am his Man in that he has ownership of Me.

    If He is not Real than there is no Risk. Believe in Him. And see if you are Transformed. I suppose if you arent, then you would have one more reinforcement of atheism, however, many athiests have gone down the path of knowing the Christain God, and few turn back.

    I have been real with you, and explained my doubts. Though I still choose to believe through the doubts, because I believe that God is more real than even my personal doubts.

    Even you, in trying to disprove God’s existence, fulfill prophecy in a book that was written before you existed. It seems to me logically, to disprove God’s existence would be to not fulfill prophecy written before you existed.

    However I find myself still, fascinated with your worldview and it has been a pleasure hearing how you see things. I do hope you gain as much insight from our conversations as I do. And I thank you for being so open with your opinions.

    – Jared

  152. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Jared,

    First, you haven’t explained anything other than what YOUR particular opinion of the Christian religion and Christian God are. You seem to believe that by saying God is a noun and his name is I AM and the bible says all men know YOUR particular god, that this makes it so. Perhaps it makes it so for you but clearly it means little to someone who doesn’t belong to your particular religion or worship your particular god. And you continue to state that YOUR god isn’t a man made creation like EVERY OTHER GOD MAN HAS EVER WORSHIPED but only offer meaningless dogma and the tired “because the bible tells me so” as your reasons. I must conclude that these are the only ‘answers’ you have to offer so regrettably I must accept them as such.

    You also suggest that I would believe in your god if I would just give in and believe in him. You understand what a dangerous thing it is that you are suggesting, don’t you? What do you think every follower of Jim Jones, David Koresh and L. Ron Hubbard did? And, Jared, have you forgotten that I was once as passionate a follower of the bible and Christianity as you currently are?

    Jared, do you believe in ALL the prophecies contained in texts written before you were born? Is that all that is required for them to be legitimate; that they were written before one was born? Were the fulfilled prophecies written by the Pharaoh’s sorcerers legitimate? Somehow I think you are a skeptic like me in regards to these ‘false’ prophets. But you would have me believe that the so called prophetic passages in your chosen collection of texts are right on and are even talking about me personally so I should cast aside my doubt and become a believer? I’m sorry, Jared, but I’m not convinced by such wishful and willful thinking. Please don’t be disappointed as you have made a greater and more interesting effort to help me understand than most who have visited this site and I truly appreciate it. The biggest obstacle appears to come from the massive division that lives within Christianity. There are now SO many different sects, all of which have differing views on so many aspects of the Christian doctrine, that it becomes quite difficult to get a clear answer on ANY particular issue. And yet I will keep seeking them. Apparently I am a glutton for punishment.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  153. Bit Said:
    “I know the Old Testament seems to portray God as barbaric and genocidal — please take the time to study the reason for it, because it does indeed harmonize with the foregoing. Are you aware that the tribes destroyed were committing abominable acts of atrocity (sacrificing children in fire, etc.)?”

    Lone Wolf asked Bit:
    “What in the bible makes you think that those murdered by God (or people he told to commit murder) makes you think that they where doing such evil acts? The bible usually gives 2 reason for genocide in it, the people where sinful (which is vague and could mean anything) or they warship another god(s).”

    Bit’s reply:
    I admit that what I know is small, but there are some things we can conclude without further evidence through logic, which is a function not materially explainable.

    UNFLIPPIN’BELIEVABLE!!!!! Bit (aka Mike) just reaffirms my opinion that the faithful are ignorant. His god is repeatedly proclaimed infallible, therefore, Bit can “conclude” these tribes “were sacrificing children in fire”? Bit just can’t accept that a god he worships would kill people out of sheer jealousy and nothing more.

    “…I cannot help remarking upon the overweening confidence with which the religious assert minute details for which they neither have, nor could have, any evidence.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

    Bit doesn’t have any proof that pagan tribes in the old testament sacrificed children, but we DO have evidence that Christians enslaved, tortured, hanged, torched and dismembered millions of men, women AND CHILDREN during the Inquisition in Europe, the Spanich Inquisition, the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, the burning of Jewish synagogues in the 4th and 5th centuries….

    Here’s a great list, which I found at http://coding.derkeiler.com/Archive/C_CPP/comp.lang.c/2004-03/0921.html:

    VICTIMS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

    “WONDERFUL EVENTS THAT TESTIFY TO GOD’S DIVINE GLORY”

    **THE EXTENSIVE LIST PROVIDED BY ERYNN HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS COMMENT AND A NEW POST HAS BEEN CREATED CONTAINING THIS INFORMATION HERE — http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/03/19/victims-of-the-christian-faith/
    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND REVIEWING IT. — DoubtingThomas**

  154. ” The biggest obstacle appears to come from the massive division that lives within Christianity. There are now SO many different sects, all of which have differing views on so many aspects of the Christian doctrine, that it becomes quite difficult to get a clear answer on ANY particular issue. And yet I will keep seeking them. ”

    I absolutely love the way you put his Thomas. This amazing thing is, many a christian pastor will flee from giving you any answer to such a question, and odds are if they are willing will wrap it into a nice 30 minute super-segment and just expect you to get it. Thats not how it was meant to be, and I do live differently than some of my contemporaries because I belive Church “tradition” has done a great injustice to the message that is being explained in the Word of God. I;m thrilled your going to keep seeking answers, because honestly, thats alot better than many christians do. They accept the faith, and then shut off their minds….almost as if they are scared that if they think about the hard issues, they will turn from the faith. The interesting thing here, is you put a lot of credence on this in your argument against there being a “God”. As you mention if only the Christians would “read the bible” they would disbelieve. In their actions of not reading it, and letting it be more like something they “keep in the back pocket” as opposed to putting before the faculties of logic and the mind, they tend to support at least in theory your argument. This is not healthy to the church.

    To be honest with you I have many athiest friends, and I often find myself enjoying their relationships more than my christian contemporaries. There seems to be an anti-intellectualism in Christianity, that says in a nutshell “Look, quit trying to be intellectual and quit asking questions, just believe with blind faith.” , and this drives me nuts as my experiance has been just the opposite. I didnt seek anything before I came to know God, now my passion for knowledge is explosive, so much so that I write dozens of pages a day on the subject. I cant seem to shut myself off. You are just one blog I visit and one person I talk with, but I have a passion for this and it makes it easy.

    It is for this very reason that I want to go into the field known as apologetics. I’m sure you have heard of it? I want you to know that I read my bible every day. I get into the greek roots, the hewbrew roots, the context. I’ll study every place one word occurs in the bible to gain a “biblical” definition of that word. I also want you to know that I appreciate all your arguments.

    You bring up many specific questions, and if you want me to go that direction I can start trying to answer them one by one, especially if you feel it will help you understand the “christian worldview” better. But I believe that the specific questions arise as a result of your existential witness of reality. They arise out of what you have seen, have heard, have touched, and have thus considered and concluded. What you have seen in the church, and the world, and other christians, produces in you a mind of skepticism, and rightfully so. I cannot say that it illigitimate, as I have experience the same thing.

    So the direction I go in our conversations is more thought based. I have attempted to explain to you how God can be seen experientially, and how the bible explains this sight.

    “I am” – Jared – The root word here that God’s name is derived from is Hayah, which basically means to exists. Or, existence itself. So, lets substitute Gods name for Gods name, according to the context of the scriptures.

    John 1 – In the beginning was existence, and existence was God, and existence was with God. Existence was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through existence, and apart from him nothing came into being that has come into being.

    That speaks wonders to me, and it is very coherent with science and modern though. Thats why I find God’s name ironic and unique to say the least. I could expand on this greatly, but don’t want to “waste” your time.

    “Somehow I think you are a skeptic like me in regards to these ‘false’ prophets. ”

    I am a skeptic, in the sense that I am skeptical of my own minds ability to interpret reality. I know that I must have a worldview, and I have learned in my experiance that any worldview have constructed has had inconsistencies that eventually led to pain and sorrow or sorts. So, when I became a believe, I decided to embrace it for all it was worth, at least until in my mind I could prove it inconsistent also.

    Here is the thing, I believe now, after reading the Word consistently for about 6 years, that anytime a doubt arises, the doubt is fueled by my “old” worldview. If I just push forward a week and persue answers to that doubt from within the context of the Word, I am typically completely satisfied, and in many cases even invigorated when I find an answer. Most of the time the answer is found in the “Character of God” and not in an explicit passage about what someone did or didnt do. This takes careful analysis on my part.

    How is the bible different? I look at it like this right now.

    1) Truth as a categories does exist. I believe this, otherwise I would not seek it.
    2) It is possible in a majority of the cases in philosophical and historical claims to verify the truthfulness of those claims. Through many methods…archeology, science, thought, etc…
    3) There are existential realities from which I cannot die that drive me to seek a coherency in answering these particular “realities”. Such as the problem of evil as it expresses itself in “rape” “murder” and “hate”.

    I believe the bible coherently fulfills these three requirements for me.
    The bible does not affirm verbal perfection like the Koran. But it is coherent and complete. It has a supernatural element in it that is affirmed by the # of books, the dynamic of writings and the different authors, whom all point to one conclusion in the person of Jesus Christ and the atonement of the cross

    This kind of documentation, that kind of person, and this kind of accuracy. Noone ever lived like him, noone ever spoke like him. Noone was as merciful. He set the law on a high plane, and he set forgiveness and mercy even higher.

    Now, that I have laid a foundation. We can begin to discuss specifics. I will be happy to try to answer any specific question you have specifically.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    – Jared

  155. Jared,

    Your best comment so far. I really enjoyed the clarity of your perspective. It was refreshing. Let me reaffirm that I am glad to have your voice on my site regardless of how often or rarely we agree on an issue.

    You said – “anytime a doubt arises, the doubt is fueled by my “old” worldview. If I just push forward a week and persue answers to that doubt from within the context of the Word, I am typically completely satisfied, and in many cases even invigorated when I find an answer. Most of the time the answer is found in the “Character of God” and not in an explicit passage about what someone did or didnt do.”

    My problem with this is it reveals how you use your CONCEPT of what the “character of God” is. There are a great many concepts of what the “character of God’ is amongst the various sects of Christianity. This concept is ALWAYS a personal one shaped by personal desire. Depending on the issue your god may be all goodness and light or vengeance and wrath. But how do you keep your own personal desire to view him one way or the other from shaping him? This has always troubled me, even back in my days of a believer.

    As for any specific questions I am seeking answers for, you can find most of them categorized on the right at the top of the page. Some are deep and important, some are philosophical, some or light and a bit silly. Feel free to dig in. You’re more than welcome.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  156. My problem with this is it reveals how you use your CONCEPT of what the “character of God” is. There are a great many concepts of what the “character of God’ is amongst the various sects of Christianity. This concept is ALWAYS a personal one shaped by personal desire. Depending on the issue your god may be all goodness and light or vengeance and wrath. But how do you keep your own personal desire to view him one way or the other from shaping him?

    And you said “is ALWAYS a personal one” – This is true when we attempt to define God and not let him reveal himself.

    Yet another great question Thomas, and probably one of the most important question any Christian believer should ask himself. Knowing God is not unlike knowing a person. Before we come into a relationship with them we will define them by our natural prejudices. And metaphorically speaking, the looks of God in the world are quite ugly. The world paints him to be ugly, it paints him to be evil (perhaps this is just evil in the world trying to discredit goodness in its evilness). I think you and I can both agree that God, if real, would be neither ugly nor evil, it would short-circuit everything. So first, if “God” is real. He must be Good. Coming to this conclusion is of the utmost importance, for I think we all see that the world we live in is neither entirely good, nor entirely evil, but somewhere in between. And believing first that God is good will protect us from making horribly immoral decisions in reguards to representing his true nature.

    This post is going to be from a biblical perspective, but I’ll attempt to frame it in a coherant way in which you can relate. First off, you point to a very real reality, and I believe the God of the bible forwarns us of men like these. So lets assume that YHWH (The God of the Word) is the one true God in spite of the others for the sake of understanding.

    The very first commandment he gives us in reguards to himself is, “Thou shalt have no other God before me.”

    This is a tough claim to hold to, as our minds naturally idolize things. Even if we dont realize it, it happens. We can idolize good things as well as bad things, such as family and friends, relationships, money, power, fun….etc.
    God is claiming we are to hold him as the highest thought and belief in our lives. OK, fair enough. This immediately means I have to know “His character” otherwise I might be holding something that isnt him as the highest thing, and that thing could be a “false god” I have constructed according to my personal desire. Which, as you pointed out, is a question that has always troubled you. Perhaps in a deep way you see what goes on in the mind and you see clearly the human minds abilities to construct things according to its desires and opinions. Very wise observation.

    “The development of the mind was preceded only by the surgery of the heart.”

    You used the word “desire”. I’m glad, as this points to the heart, or desire. God has alot to say about the heart, and I could take up pages on the subject. Im going to post some verses and hopefully they will speak for themselves. Keep in mind that where the “desire of the heart” and the “Considerations of the mind” meet will be a worldview. And you are asking me how I make sure that it is “God” I am knowing and not who I want him to be. Its easy, I don’t consider my desires, but I consider who he is according to the book I read. I want to elaborate on the heart though, because if my heart is not reconciled then even if I read the Word I could only become another “Jim Jones” I guarentee you he never knew the Spirit of God, and his heart was the same evil heart he was born with…his persuit of God was wishful thinking, fueled by pride and lust for power. A true believer will produce Good fruit.

    [[Deleted copious amounts of scripture that depict Jared’s god as glorious]]

    When man is seen to take the initiative in the discovery of God,
    even though seeming pietistic motives are expressed, or probing ritualistic forms are employed such as meditation concerning self or the universe, whatever he discovers will only fall within the realm of his cognitive and analytical capacity. How futile it is for finitude to discover infinity or mortality to attain immortality. However God revealed himself, because we werent capable of finding him…and that my friend is why I believe he is God, because that srikes a chord with me. I could elaborate more on this with verse if you like.

    I believe he is God because he cant be found, but is revealed. And when we only accept that (which is a great definition of Grace) he can begin to work in us and through us. Hope that wasnt too long.

    – Jared

  157. Charlotte Says:

    Dear Doubting Thomas,
    Wow! I love the deep stuff!! Nothing wrong with these discussions. Obviously, there are those human questions that mankind will grapple with always, and it’s hard as educated and brilliant as some are, to be okay with not knowing or understanding how something works. We want proof. We don’t want to be fooled. We certainly don’t want people thinking we’re some kind of brain-washed robots who follow some idea that corrupt human beings fabricated in the first place. Is it the case?

    If you’re familiar with Old Testament scripture, people thought the same way!! Even though they weren’t as educated as we are today, they wanted visual proof of the “UNKNOWN GOD” so much that they constructed images to pray to. Weird, but not too weird. It’s human.
    According to scripture, they saw miraculous signs, but still did not believe there was ONE TRUE GOD. This was a HUGE problem. What did God do about it??

    According to prophecy, God WOULD and DID reveal Himself to mankind.
    Scripture and documented historical accounts agree that the ‘man’ JESUS of NAZARETH claimed to be God. Now. Right there, we either have FACT or FICTION. WHAT A HUGE CLAIM!! (Definitely not the first or the last)
    Jesus Christ was either WHO HE SAID HE WAS, or THE BIGGEST FRAUD THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN!! Worst than Hitler. I mean, you can’t ride the fence on this one!! Why should we even say Jesus was a good man, or prophet, or whatever, if He has caused millions of people to be willing to die for Him??
    This is the big stink. This is the BIG question. IT determines everything.
    You and me and everyone else has to answer the question…WAS HE GOD?
    IS THIS THE PROOF GOD PROVIDED FOR US??
    The whole reason He was put to death was because of that claim. The Romans had ‘Caesar’ and the Jews had “THE UNKNOWN GOD.” It was ‘blasphemy’ to them to have someone claim to be GOD. And shocker, these were ‘religious’ people!!!

    Everyone else who has claimed deity is rotting underground now.
    Prophecy says that He would come back alive three days after His death. If that didn’t really happen, than my faith is so ridiculous!! Are ‘Christians’ serving a dead god?? If Jesus was a fraud, than Christianity is the biggest scam ever. We are still searching for the truth of the ‘UNKNOWN GOD.” If He DID fulfill all of those 400 some odd prophecies, then, UH OH!! The next conclusion is…He is God, He is alive now, and we can actually know Him. Pretty preachy I know.

    The smartest people in the world could argue philosophy and theology ’til they’re blue in the face…but that doesn’t determine anything. If we need to get to square one in this whole “Let’s prove that there was never a god who revealed him self to us” thing, it’s simple…was Jesus God? What we believe determines everything.

    Sorry so long…hopefully not boring. Some food for thought?
    It’s certainly okay to be a ‘Doubting Thomas.’ But if you’ll recall in the biblical account, Jesus never condemned Thomas for his ‘doubt,’ but rather lovingly showed Thomas His proof. Thomas fell on his knees and called Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”

  158. Just browsing through your website…one question for the educated ‘atheist’. Please tell me that you have done your homework and have researched biblical evidence???

    If you’re interested (I have a feeling you’re not), I’d be happy to give you a long list of resources.
    Ton of folks smarter than us out there believing in what you claim has no evidence…

  159. He is Risen Says:

    Here is a question for you… Would you rather live your life as if there were no God and then die and find out that there is? You have got nothing to lose believing in God and trusting in the Lord, well nothing but eternity if you don’t.

    I’ll pray that you find peace and salvation.

  160. Lone Wolf Says:

    According to prophecy, God WOULD and DID reveal Himself to mankind.
    Scripture and documented historical accounts agree that the ‘man’ JESUS of NAZARETH claimed to be God. Now. Right there, we either have FACT or FICTION. WHAT A HUGE CLAIM!! (Definitely not the first or the last)
    Jesus Christ was either WHO HE SAID HE WAS, or THE BIGGEST FRAUD THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN!! Worst than Hitler. I mean, you can’t ride the fence on this one!! Why should we even say Jesus was a good man, or prophet, or whatever, if He has caused millions of people to be willing to die for Him??

    The false dilemma fallacy.
    The earliest mention of Jesus out side the bible was form Tacitus in the year 116 and before you brake out Josephus, the mention of Jesus in the Antiquities of the Jews is universally considered a forgery by scholars. So all you got is the bible but the problem with that is Mark Luke and John can’t agree on many things from the birth of Jesus to his death to his resurrection, they contradicts each other numerous time, big contradictions.
    And the gospel where written decades after the supposed events in them and it wasn’t until century’s later that we got the bible we have today and in that time there could have been alterations to the gospels.
    And another problem is Jesus’s story fits the story’s of the dieing and rising god mythos of many pagan religion including many mystery cults of the time.

    So no, its not “ether or”, there could have been a historical Jesus who said the things in the gospels there could also been a historical Jesus that said few of whats in the gospels but through the distortions of time where attributed to him, there could have also been no Jesus and hes was complete fictional character or most likely (in my opinion) The Jesus narrative is a mixing of Pagan and Jewish mythology’s and the story of many first century self proclaimers Messiahs, traveling preachers and magicians.

  161. Lone Wolf Says:

    He is Risen Says:

    Here is a question for you… Would you rather live your life as if there were no God and then die and find out that there is? You have got nothing to lose believing in God and trusting in the Lord, well nothing but eternity if you don’t.

    I’ll pray that you find peace and salvation.

    Pascal’s Wager, the problem with that is which God(s) of which religion? Islams hell is worse that the Christan hell so maybe we believe that? Or may be I should become Buddhist so I could escape the cycle of death and rebirth? Or maybe I should join some new age pseudo-spiritual crap religion and learn how to become god like and create my own universe?

    Pascal’s Wager doesn’t work for 2 reason, 1. There are many religions and they all disagree with each other and 2 why live as if there is a god when you could live as if there isn’t one and live your life to the fullest?

  162. Lone Wolf Says:

    Chad

    Just browsing through your website…one question for the educated ‘atheist’. Please tell me that you have done your homework and have researched biblical evidence???

    If you’re interested (I have a feeling you’re not), I’d be happy to give you a long list of resources.
    Ton of folks smarter than us out there believing in what you claim has no evidence…

    Is it real evidence or evidence to a believer? Case there is a difference. Cause if its evidence to a believer, I can say with a some certainly that I have herd it and Thomas probably has too and probably full of holes and fallacy’s.

  163. You claim to have studied and read the Bible, yet in just my brief perusal of your questions and “arguments” I have found many misrepresentations of what the Bible actually says and erroneous assumptions. When you encountered passages that caused you to lose your faith did you read any authors who write on those subjects? Have you read any authors who address your questions?
    If you are really seeking answers, then why not allow faith as a response? It is impossible to separate Christianity from faith. It’s like asking a scientist a question and then saying, “But don’t use the scientific method.” It can’t, nor should it be done.

  164. Lone Wolf Says:

    A furyjer espone to He is Risen.
    A therd thing I forgot, Say you die and go to heavon, what then? Gods going to know you didn’t realy believe.

    Paul Rivas: I see no misrepresentations in any parts of the bible Thomas talks about, the bible is an evil book full of evil things, saying its a misrepresentation when some one points out some of this evil doesn’t change what it says. When the bible says a rape victim has to marry the rapist, thats not a misrepresentation, when God or one of his prophets orders people to commit genocide, thats not a misrepresentations, when God kills innocent people, thats not a misrepresentation. Read the bible, all of it.

    Faith is not an answer, its ignorance.

  165. 1. There are many religions and they all disagree with each other and

    The bible says that false teachers will arise and lead many people astray. It is prophesied. God says many times in the bible, believe, because look, I claim things before they happen. He is showing his trancendence to the “other” false religions. I’d be happy to provide scripture.

    2 why live as if there is a god when you could live as if there isn’t one and live your life to the fullest?

    The bible prophesied that you would use this argument to substantiate belief that God doesnt exist and to justify your own existence. Sinse you didn’t create yourself, you must at least acknowledge your own being and the choices you make, and then, it is a natural consequence that all humans seek to subsequently “justify” this existence. A believe is not “justified” withen himself but by the creator.

    A therd thing I forgot, Say you die and go to heavon, what then? Gods going to know you didn’t realy believe.

    In the OT faith comes from the word “em-oo-naw'” and it actually means “faithfullness”. If you were to go to a Hebrew and say, just have “faith” and it will make your paths straight. They probably would have misunderstood you. If however you were to say, Show “faithfullness” to God and he will make your paths straight it would have clicked in their mind.

    The greek language came along, being versed in “thinking” and brought the split, thus seperating belief from the way of life. The word for faith became “pis’-tis” and most of the time it was translated as “faith” with the exception of when it referred to the “faithfullness” of God, because his faith is fully manifested. The bible defines faith as true spiritual sight. So to reconcile this split the New Testament describes the concepts “works” and “faith” come along. We are saved by “faith” alone. Yet later the bible says that faith without works is dead, thus reconnecting the two concepts into one powerful expression. “Faithfulness”. Thus him who does not believe fully may be saved by Grace, but that does not mean he lived like Christ on earth.

    From the definition of the Greek word for Faith: pis’tis.

    2. fidelity, faithfulness
    a. the character of one who can be relied on

    Thats the difineing characteristic of a believer. God sees their “faithfulness” in heaven, and yes, man sees it on earth.

    Hope this clears up some misconceptions.

    Therefore brother, if

  166. Response to Lone wolf
    He does misrepresent. For example, under “Abuse of women: Women = powerless” he quotes half of a verse. The other half shows that men do not have control of their bodies, but their wives do. Furthermore, if read in context it shows that the verse is really about how to keep from sexual sin and keep your marriage pure.
    Another example, in his questions section he claims the Bible teaches their were giants (giants in the fairytale sense) but in reality it teaches there were really tall people (9ft +). Since we know people can grow to be over 8ft tall, 9ft is hardly beyond the realm of possibility.
    As for forcing a rape victim to marry her rapist, this only happened if the woman was not engaged to someone else. In that time a woman who was not a virgin might have a very hard time finding a husband, leaving her in poverty, shamed, etc. It was a matter of social justice to make the man take her as a wife.
    BTW I have read all of the Bible. I’ve also studied a bit of the history of when it was written. If you are going to fault the Bible for perceived injustices, it is important to know the practices of the cultures at the time and how the Bible’s laws and rules effected that culture.
    No, lack of faith is ignorance.
    See, I can make statements, too.

  167. Lone Wolf Says:

    Jared: I was talking about Pascal’s Wager and how its its illogical and as an argument doesn’t work.

    Paul Rivas: The bible does say woman are powerless, to the bible woman are nothing but property. And you trying to justify that unjustifiable, evil and ridiculous part of the bible that says a rape victim has to marry the rapist only make you look evil. There in no justifiable reason to force a rape victim to marry her rapist, it it makes it even worse that the only punishment for the rapist is he has to pay the girls father, it only shows that woman to the bible are property.
    The bible does say there where giants and I’m talking about Galiath. They are ether translated as giants (Genesis 6:4 KJV “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”) or Nephilim (“The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.”)

  168. MysticWino Says:

    Mr. Rivas: I like your points. Undecided about where I stand on your assertions, but I find them very interesting. Thank you. I would also like to make a statement: ignorance is faithless. Also, I seriously doubt, and this doubt is based on evidence within the postings of his blog, that Thomas is at all uninterested in substantial evidence/answers. I mean: take a serious look at this blog! It’s no small opus.
    Skinner

  169. Paul,

    You were correct about the Women = Powerless post. I deleted the post as it was clearly a misrepresentation and I apologize for its listing. I’m sure I had more of a point to make regarding that issue, more than just quoting that bit of scripture, but it appears I never got around to finishing it. However, Paul, I STRONGLY object to your statement that you found ‘many’ misrepresentations on my site. I’m very careful to avoid doing so. Some may object to things being taken out of context but I try to never use a passage unless I feel it stands on its own. And I addressed your poor rebuttal regarding Dragons and Giants in my Christians – An Atheist is Seeking Answers. Can you supply any? Post here:

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/christians-%e2%80%93-an-atheist-is-seeking-answers-can-you-supply-any/

    And the reason I discourage believers from simply stating ‘faith’ as an answer is simply because it is not an answer. It is a cop out in place of an actual answer. It is a way for the believer to not challenge themselves. It is a given that the believer has ‘faith’, Paul. Now if I asked a scientist to explain why they believe in quantum mechanics and their reply was ‘science’ and nothing more, well, I would find this just as unsatisfying. ‘Science’ is no more an answer than ‘faith’ is. If I asked someone to explain why they believed in quantum mechanics and someone to explain why they believed Jesus rose from the dead and ascended bodily into heaven I would want more that a one word answer. UNLESS that is ALL they had to give. In which case I would have a difficult time respecting their position, whether it was a scientist using ‘science’ or a Christian using ‘faith’ or “because the bible tells me so”.

    DoubtingThomas

  170. I don’t know why this dogma of faith has found its way into what it means to be a Christian. I am a Christian, and I have faith. But If I claim to be without doubt, I would be making myself a liar, and God calls me to be honest.

    The Fact is having faith does not mean you are without doubt. You, the thinker, the person, just side with the faith as being the more tangible route to truth, and identify with the faith and not with the doubt.

    Thats my small take on it.

    And Skinner, I read this whole blog. Im totally into trying to find reasons to not believe, but at the end of the day I know God experientially, and logic just cant explain away the supernatural presence of him in my life. Ill admit thats purely subjective, and doesnt mean anything to you. But it is still my testimony. Another site I frequent is http://godisimaginary.com/index.htm . I figure if I throughly understand the mind of a skeptic, not in a simple way as to refute his argument, but If I become him, yet stay the course of faith, then what will come from that will have purpose beyond simple logical argumentation.

    The bridge between faith and doubt is a narrow one, but by crossing over one gains a new sight that brings the joy and fulfillment I believe we all desperately want.

  171. I shouldnt say I’m into finding reasons to “not believe”. Its more along the lines of, I am fascinated by the reasons to “not believe”.

  172. DT
    I’m glad you deleted it, but doesn’t your blog allow you to work on an entry before you post it? Is so, why post it before you were done?
    I don’t have time to address all the misrepresentations I see. We may disagree on whether they are or not. In general I consider it a misrepresentation to base an argument on only the KJV, especially when newer translations give a better understanding as to what the original writers meant. An example of this is your question about dragons and giants. (I did reply to you btw). I also think it is a misrepresentation to say there are contradictions because one author (Mark, for example) mentions something and another one does not. Silence on a subject or detail does not equal contradiction. I also find it puzzling that you claim to have studied the Bible, yet seem ignorant of basic translation issues, historic context, and other issues that greatly effect some of your perceived contradictions.
    And there are other places where you give part of a verse to make your point, but reading more of the passage clears up any seeming contradictions or doubts.
    For example, Under “Abortion is a sin, right?” you say:
    “II Kings 15:16 – ‘All the women therein that were with child he ripped up.’ Describing the actions of Israel’s King Meabem (Meahem). Abortion is a sin, right?”
    The implication being that God condoned his behavior, but if you continue to read to verse 18 the Bible clearly says, “And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” He is shown as a king who did evil, so yes abortion is wrong and so is what he did.
    2nd example, under “I need a little clarification” you claim a contradiction between John and James on the subject of belief, but if you actually read James in context, he is clearly defining what it means to have faith. Faith is more than just saying you believe, faith is acting on that belief. If I said I believe I can fly (i don’t actually believe this) yet refused to act on that faith you would be right to question my faith. This essentially is what James is saying. If you really have faith, then it effects your actions, or works. These works are not necessary for salvation, but an evidence of the faith.
    Also, why are you so vague in some of your “contradictions” why not state exactly what you see as a contradiction?
    My point about faith was not to suggest allowing just one word answers. I did not say that, in fact as an analogy I used the scientific METHOD, not just the word science. But, never mind, let me try to be clearer.
    Many of the issues you address can not be explained in a logical way. Even Paul says that the gospel appears foolish to those who do not believe (1 Cor. 1:18). Faith is part of the equation of why I believe what I do. To not allow me to use it as an argument makes the argument meaningless. And lonewolf, I am not ignorant as you assume. Often my faith rails against what I “know”. I’m not saying you should be satisfied with one word answers, or even “because the Bible says so”. What I am saying is that sometimes there will be no meaningful answer if faith is not included.

  173. Lonewolf
    First let me say that I think rape is a terrible crime.
    But what I was trying to show is that in order to properly interpret how the Bible handles issues we have to understand how they were perceived at the time. What may look barbaric in our eyes may have actually been a step forward at the time. You see it as evil to marry a rape victim to her attacker, and in our society it would be, but back then it was a way to insure she and her offspring would not be left poverty stricken. May I suggest you read Women, Abuse and the Bible (kroeger and beck editors) and/or Beyond Sex roles by Gilbert Bilezikean (see cbeinternational.org).
    Ah, the nephalim, there is much debate as to who or what they were, but if you know anything about biology you know that two different species cannot bear children who can procreate.The mule is an example of this. So, the very fact that these “giants” had children who had children shows that they were men. Very big men, but men and not our fairytale notion of giants.

  174. Lone Wolf Says:

    Paul: The newer translations are allot less reliable than you think, the people who have translated these deliberately mistranslates and even rewrote part to make the bible match there beliefs. So older translation are actually more reliable even if some times confusing (note: thats nothing new, people have been altering the bible to get it to fit there beliefs for all of its history, why do you think there are so many different versions?)

    While that argument may work for some parts of the bible but making a rape victim marry the rapist is barbaric for any time. But that argument only diminishes the bible and shows its mythology, if the bible is the word of God than it wouldn’t be in the standards of any time, it would be written in the standards of God. The standards of the times the bible was written are far different and far less than modern standards, in ancient times a story is all you needed, people where superstitious and would believe mythological story’s with out evidence. (Here Bob Price puts it better than I can but he says it on that’s minute so if you don’t want to listen to the whole thing just pause it wait for it to load then go to the last minute)

    The bible is internally contradictory, there are many contradictions (SAB: Contradictions in the Bible A List of Biblical Contradictions) many big and mutually excursive.

  175. Paul,

    A quick explanation of how I made the majority of my posts; After years of studying the bible, my previous religion (Christianity), other religions and creating a large archive of my observations, objections, questions, etc. on my laptop I created this site to catalog it all, choosing the blog format so others, like yourself, could put their two cents in. This is my first site and my first blog. What I did was essentially copy and paste these various questions/observations into their own posts so each could be commented on individually. This was a lot of work and occasionally, such as with the post previously mentioned, what was copied and pasted was not a complete or even coherent thought but some partially considered bit of a biblical passage or some not yet fleshed out idea. I thought I had caught them all upon review of the site but clearly there are still a few fixes that need to be made.

    Now onto the whole “I’m not using the correct version of the bible” dispute. I’m actually working on an article (I occasionally write for another site) about just this very issue and why it is such a frustrating one for the Atheist (I’ll create a new post here when it is completed). There are SO many different sects of Christianity and SO many different ‘acceptable’ versions of the bible. Five different Christians will not like something I write and will inform me that I’m not using the correct translation and proceed to claim that the version that they use is the ‘best’ one, each offering up a completely different version. And, of course, each believes that their preferred version was revised for accuracy alone and was in no way influenced by bias or to better suit a more evolved societal norm. My decision to try and use the KJV (just ONE of the ten I keep on hand) is not a willful one but simply an attempt to avoid as much of this tedious conflict as possible, understanding that there are numerous sects of Christianity that prefer a different version. But I can’t please everyone, and contrary to your biased opinion, using whatever version you suggest would serve me no better. You see I am quite aware of King James’ motivations for wanting a new version of the bible AND how in the end he didn’t get what he wanted, just as I am aware that each and every revision of the bible was affected and influenced by personal bias. Paul acknowledges Luke’s writings as authoritative, Peter acknowledges Paul’s as scripture, Clement of Rome acknowledged eight books, Ignatius of Antioch acknowledged seven books, Polycarp acknowledged fifteen books, Irenaeus acknowledged twenty-one books and Hippolytus recognized a whopping twenty-two (we have a winner!) books. Personal bias formed every decision. Even today you won’t find the books of Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon (also called The Book of Wisdom), Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus) and Baruch in the Protestant bible but you will find them in the Roman Catholic bible. Why? Because of personal bias. Constant biblical revisionism is a thorn in my side. Is it ‘kill’ or is it ‘murder’? Is it ‘rape’ or is it ‘intercourse’? Is it ‘dragon’ or is it ‘serpent’ OR is it ‘sea monster’ OR is it ‘whale’ OR is it ‘jackal’? You’ll just have to forgive me if the version I settled on is not one you approve of but I’m simply trying to avoid as many revisions as I can.

    And, I’m sorry, but your protest that silence isn’t contradictory is wrong. If four people are each reporting on an incident that took place in someone’s living room and only two of the four mention that there was a enormous pink elephant (virgin birth, resurrection, etc.) in the room, the reliability and validity of all four stories must come into question.

    And I’ve stated this before on this site but I will do so again, I will accept ‘faith’ as an answer from a believer but ONLY if they declare that it is the only answer they have. But to be clear, what I (and most Atheists) hear when I read this is “I believe such and such to be true because I HOPE that it is true”, hope being a synonym for faith. As long as you don’t expect us to be satisfied by your answer, feel free to use ‘faith’ and dogma and scripture. I’m just hoping for a little something more is all.

    DoubtingThomas

  176. Jared,

    Let me commend you again for being willing to confront yourself with those who don’t believe as you do. It is very refreshing and admirable. The site you mentioned is a great one and one I wish both BELIEVER and DOUBTER would visit.

    I’ll list it again here (add it to your favorites and to your blogroll (links)):

    http://godisimaginary.com/index.htm

    DoubtingThomas

  177. William B. Graves Says:

    IS it wrong to say that, the bible is obviously a fictional fairy tale? I mean I believe that no powers or neither god’s ever exist, but damn why do people still believe in something so obviously not true?

  178. William B. Graves Says:

    I know the answer to that, but it really confuses me that people still believe when there is no reliable fact’s out there that there were in fact god is real or not. I just want to tear my hair out!!! ARGGGHH!!! excuse me sorry!!
    Why is it such a battle, like pulling teeth when ever a topic comes about, How was man created? Or did dinosaurs ever exist? I don’t know why i bother arguing the facts with a bible believer but i feel society is so ignorance
    to say a non believer is evil and that I’m crazy, Well i can’t help but to retaliate at times with some harsh facts. Just one question Why was the bible created? I know so people can have faith or some kind of protection. But
    why was was the bible created and written in the first place? reply fast ;)

  179. William B. Graves Says:

    1

  180. DT

    You are missing the point on the whole translation thing. I am NOT saying to just use “my” preferred version of the Bible. I am saying that you need to look at various translations in order to better understand what the original writers meant. I am also saying that to claim something as unbelievable because ONE translation used a word we associate with fairy tales, is misleading.
    As to your pink elephant thing, what if the room were full of strange creatures? 100s of them? What if you did not have time to write about them all? What if you wanted to focus on just a few that you knew would be significant to your readers? What if you knew that your readers had already heard other parts of the story?
    If you say there is a “pink elephant” in the room and I say nothing, that is not a contradiction. A contradiction is when you say there is a pink elephant in the room and I say that there is not.
    On faith — that you will not be convinced doesn’t bother me, that was kind of my point. There are some things that cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. We can look at the same evidence and draw different conclusions.

  181. William B. Graves Says:

    What was the sole purpose of the bible? Anyone and everyone can argue if it’s false or not . I want to take my self away from those mind trap conversations. WHY WAS THE BOOK WRITTEN IN THE FIRST PLACE????????

  182. William B. Graves Says:

    in you perspective ???? :) :)

  183. William B. Graves Says:

    ?????????????????????????

  184. DT
    More on the translation issue.
    A while ago I got a book of Pablo Neruda’s poetry from the library. it included the original Spanish as well as a translation into English. One of the poems had the words,
    “Tu corazone” the translator rendered that as “Your breasts”. After laughing hysterically, I showed it to a friend of mine from Spain. She said, “What idiot translated this.”
    Now, I had a choice, I could believe the translator that this was a poem about breasts, or I could find a better translation. But if I believe the faulty translation I am in error as to the meaning and intent of the poem.
    Or look at how some Japanese is translated into English

    http://www.engrish.com/recent_detail.php?imagename=clean-and-protect-gel.jpg&category=CHINGLISH&date=2008-03-24

    Do you think the intent of the person who wrote the Japanese is really to “remove horniness?”
    The same applies to reading and understanding the Bible. If you are truly seeking to understand what the writer’s meant you have to look at different translations, or learn the original language yourself. You also have to know some about the culture of the time so that you understand what would have been obvious to the writers.
    DT, you claim that it was your study of the bible that led you out of believing. you claim that if we who believe actually read all of it we would stop believing, too. But from reading your questions, all I have found is that you have not really studied it in even the most basic sense.
    I do not care if you stick with the KJV, or read some other translation, but if you are going to honestly say you have studied something, you have to delve deeper than the obviously cursory reading you have done.

  185. William B. Graves Says:

    updated 1:47 p.m. CT, Wed., Aug. 22, 2007
    Earth is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years old, and for much of that history it has been home to life in one weird form or another.
    Indeed, some scientists think life appeared the moment our planet’s environment was stable enough to support it.
    The earliest evidence for life on Earth comes from fossilized mats of cyanobacteria called stromatolites in Australia that are about 3.4 billion years old. Ancient as their origins are, these bacteria (which are still around today) are already biologically complex — they have cell walls protecting their protein-producing DNA, so scientists think life must have begun much earlier, perhaps as early as 3.8 billion years ago.

    But despite knowing approximately when life first appeared on Earth, scientists are still far from answering how it appeared.
    “Many theories of the origin of life have been proposed, but since it’s hard to prove or disprove them, no fully accepted theory exists,” said Diana Northup, a cave biologist at the University of New Mexico.
    The answer to this question would not only fill one of the largest gaps in scientists’ understanding of nature, but also would have important implications for the likelihood of finding life elsewhere in the universe.
    Lots of ideas

    Today, there are several competing theories for how life arose on Earth. Some question whether life began on Earth at all, asserting instead that it came from a distant world or the heart of a fallen comet or asteroid. Some even say life might have arisen here more than once.
    “There may have been several origins,” said David Deamer, a biochemist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “We usually make ‘origins’ plural just to indicate that we don’t necessarily claim there was just a single origin, but just an origin that didn’t happen to get blasted by giant [asteroid] impacts.”
    Most scientists agree that life went through a period when RNA was the head-honcho molecule, guiding life through its nascent stages. According to this “RNA World” hypothesis, RNA was the crux molecule for primitive life and only took a backseat when DNA and proteins — which perform their jobs much more efficiently than RNA — developed.
    “A lot of the most clever and most talented people in my field have accepted that the RNA World was not just possible, but probable,” Deamer said.
    RNA is very similar to DNA, and today carries out numerous important functions in each of our cells, including acting as a transitional-molecule between DNA and protein synthesis, and functioning as an on-and-off switch for some genes.
    But the RNA World hypothesis doesn’t explain how RNA itself first arose. Like DNA, RNA is a complex molecule made of repeating units of thousands of smaller molecules called nucleotides that link together in very specific, patterned ways. While there are scientists who think RNA could have arisen spontaneously on early Earth, others say the odds of such a thing happening are astronomical.
    “The appearance of such a molecule, given the way chemistry functions, is incredibly improbable. It would be a once-in-a-universe long shot,” said Robert Shapiro, a chemist at New York University. “To adopt this [view], you have to believe we were incredibly lucky.”
    The anthropic principle
    But “astronomical” is a relative term. In his book, The God Delusion, biologist Richard Dawkins entertains another possibility, inspired by work in astronomy and physics.
    Suppose, Dawkins says, the universe contains a billion billion planets (a conservative estimate, he says), then the chances that life will arise on one of them is not really so remarkable.
    Furthermore, if, as some physicists say, our universe is just one of many, and each universe contained a billion billion planets, then it’s nearly a certainty that life will arise on at least one of them.
    As Dawkins writes, “There may be universes whose skies have no stars: but they also have no inhabitants to notice the lack.”

    Shapiro doesn’t think it’s necessary to invoke multiple universes or life-laden comets crashing into ancient Earth. Instead, he thinks life started with molecules that were smaller and less complex than RNA, which performed simple chemical reactions that eventually led to a self-sustaining system involving the formation of more complex molecules.
    “If you fall back to a simpler theory, the odds aren’t astronomical anymore,” Shapiro told LiveScience.
    Trying to recreate an event that happened billions of years ago is a daunting task, but many scientists believe that, like the emergence of life itself, it is still possible.
    “The solution of a mystery of this magnitude is totally unpredictable,” said Freeman Dyson, a professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University in New Jersey. “It might happen next week or it might take a thousand years.”

  186. Lone Wolf Says:

    It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
    -Mark Twain
    Paul: Try reading the bible, it is full of evil, contradictions and stupidity. Read it. Really read it, cover to cover. Many, many atheists come to atheism cause they read the bible.
    The bible is a barbaric book, read it all of it.

  187. Lone wolf,
    Maybe you missed my comment in a previous reply to you, but I have read the Bible — all of it (incidentally one of the times was in the KJV).
    Given the flawed logic and poor study skills used to conclude that the Bible is full of “evil, contradictions and stupidity” I wonder if those who became atheist did so, not because they read the Bible, but because they misread it, misinterpreted it, and misunderstood it.

  188. Paul,

    It appears you are trapped in the same faulty logic. You constantly insist that I am not understanding the true meaning of some word or phrase in the bible or am misunderstanding some passage or description or am mistranslating it, that I don’t understand what the original writers meant (as if you do) but you don’t seem to realize that what you are suggesting is that all who have read the bible before these ‘modernized’ revisions took place were hopelessly misreading, mistranslating and misunderstanding the bible. What you are saying is that your all powerful God ALLOWED the book that represents him and guides his people to be filled to the brim with these mistakes. But perhaps your worst offense is that you deny that each and every one of these thousands of people making these ‘updated’ translations of the bible were susceptible to either personal bias or the bias of the person commissioning them to make the new version. To think that a particular translation of a word used in the bible, in ANY version of the bible, holds any authority is a willful position. The majority of these stories were handed down by word of mouth until someone who knew how to write decided to jot them down. To suggest that you are the authority on which word is the right word, that anyone knows which word even appeared in the ‘original’ text, is just absurd. And, Paul, do you have any idea how many CHRISTIANS would disagree with your preferred translation? Do you have any idea how many of these Christians would call your preferred ‘modern’ translation unacceptable? Each sect of Christianity picks the version of the bible they will embrace based on personal bias. You insist that your personal preferred translation of the bible is more legitimate, that finally, after thousands and thousands of years and thousands of attempts, someone finally got the translation right. But I would challenge that translator to show that they weren’t influenced and motivated by either personal bias or the bias of the person who hired them to make these changes. Do you really believe that these translators weren’t being urged to find new translations for certain no longer acceptable words and phrases (dragon, giant, kill, etc.)? And the fact still remains, Paul, that the VAST MAJORITY of Christians continue to embrace the versions of the bible that, according to you, are filled with these mistranslations (dragon, kill, etc.). Perhaps you should contact them as they are choosing their bible based on faith while I am merely attempting to avoid as many of the unreliable revisions as possible. And as for using the NEW King James Version instead of the original, perhaps you will visit this CHRISTIAN site to get an idea of why I do not.

    http://www.av1611.org/nkjv.html

    DoubtingThomas

  189. William,

    Remember that this isn’t IM. People might not be able to get to your particular question right away.

    William asked why the bible was written.

    First, William, remember that this is not a book written by a single author but is a collection of writings by many authors (many of which are unknown or in doubt). Also remember that the books included in the bible were put there by man. In the Roman Catholic bible you’ll find the books of Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon (also called The Book of Wisdom), Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus) and Baruch but you WON’T find them in the Protestant bible. The reason? The personal bias of the men making the judgments. Protestants consider these books to be not inspired (AKA Apocrypha) so they don’t include them. The Roman Catholics disagree, referring to these books as deuterocanonical. They view them as a second inspired canon. It should, however, be noted that these books did not receive full canonical status by the Roman Catholic Church until AD 1546 at the Council of Trent, the Council even declaring (with typical arrogance) that their chosen canon was “the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon, addressed to the Church Universal.” The Council of Trent made the status of the deuterocanonical books clear when they declared “If anyone does not hold as sacred and canonical the books of Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, Judith, Tobit, and Maccabees, let him be ANATHEMA (cut off from the church and condemned to eternal fire unless he repents). Man invents God, man decides which man written words are God’s and which are not, man suffers accordingly. Also, let’s not forget that the Old and New Testament are completely SEPARATE volumes (they can even be purchased separately). They represent two different religions and, it could be argued, two different Gods. In fact, many sects of Christianity all but ignore the Old Testament, almost as an attempt to deny the God represented in its pages. To me, it seems that the Christian bible was simply an attempt by Christians to ONE; commandeer the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) as their own (depending on the sect) and TWO; create a NEW bible containing all the approved writings regarding Jesus and the NEW Christianity. Obviously ALL religions are created by man to control man but I don’t necessarily believe that the bible was CREATED for that purpose. In fact it could be argued that it was created simply to allow the leaders of the church to have their holy scriptures collected together conveniently in one book. The CHURCH is designed to control our lives, but whether or not someone allows the bible to control their lives is entirely up to the person reading it.

    DoubtingThomas

  190. William B. Graves Says:

    I understand thanks !!! :) On other hand I still feel empty looking for more answers !!!!! I guess I’m searching for answers that just can’t be explained like (example) Why is the bible so powerful? , Why certain people have dramatic events happen to them and to cause them to believe in god all the sudden, when before never have even had thoughts of that? What make people so determine, so over protective that god really exist????????? and goes on and on…………………………………

    I my intentions was not for to answer my original questions, NOT ENTIRELY.
    I wanted to collect informations and ideas or what not. I’m confused at times and really eager for a better understanding, but I’m really open minded so again THANKS U for replying!!! I’m very appreciative of that!!!!

  191. DT
    I am not saying that the translations I use are any better than anyone else’s. Or that the translators did not have their own biases. I am also not saying that I ABSOLUTELY know the original writers intent.

    That is why I have said over and over that to understand the Bible more than one translation is needed (or hey, learn Greek and Hebrew), and that knowledge of the times is needed.

    But why do you insist on using only the KJV? Could it be because if you used a different translation you would have to remove your dragon question? Why are you unwilling to learn more about how the scriptures were perceived in the times they were written? Is it because then some of your assumptions about God and scripture would be proven false?

    If you are correct in your many “questions” and views about God, then different translations and learning about the times they were written in will only strengthen your argument. But, I think, if you do some research you will find that some of your arguments are baseless.

    As for, “What you are saying is that your all powerful God ALLOWED the book that represents him and guides his people to be filled to the brim with these mistakes.”
    Yes, he did. You will remember (since you’ve read the bible) God doing similar things all through scripture. Parts of the law were even lost and forgotten by the priests at one time. Actually, I’m surprised it isn’t one of your questions.

  192. Lone Wolf Says:

    Paul: You say you’ve read the bible but your replays disagree. You may have read the parts you like and the parts you can justify but not all of it.
    The bible is self contredictory and its evil.

    the KJV is the most used bible (at least in this country) and as I’ve said the older translations are typically better than the new ones.

  193. Even if the core issue of understanding could be isolated and articulated, and it most certainly can be, that issue would be misinterpreted and ripped apart word for word by its skeptics. This is the nature of words. We believe we create something with words, we believe that we weave something into the existence of others minds with the things we say, when in truth we are only breaking down this thing inside of us called intelligence, and in breaking it down into explicit conversation we lay out a trail of thought for others to hopefully follow back to the very thing we mean with our words. If however the skeptic becomes thoroughly enthralled by trying to break down every single word of every single sentence than he could very well spend his reason and logic breaking down the the minute details of the explination, completely missing the theme and moral of the story.

    This happens even more critically when the aspect of truth is up for grabs, as the very word has meaning beyond itself, as it points to an absolute that each subjective unit either a)wants to exist or b) doesnt want to exist.

    However, what we truly seek is a unified theme in our existence, and this is sought by both skeptics and believers alike. It finds its way into our educational system, in that University means Unity in Diversity. It finds its way into our culture, in that on the U.S. coin is inscribed E Pluribus Unim, or out of the many, one.

    You see, a book as large as the bible may appear to have many contradictions to the overlyanylitical mind, but then, I don’t think one book in history is without contradiction on the shallow level.

    I ask you who seeks truth to look deeper than the surface of the Word, and to look deeper then the surface of your thoughts. Yes, there is much diversity in the Bible, but look for the unified message, because that message brings Life, and Life abundantly.

    – Jared

  194. Consider what I said in conjunction with the internal workings of the story of the bible. Whether you believe that Jesus was God or not, you must, on some level, admit that the writings of the new testament present a powerful argument for the sake of Jesus being something different than your average man. Even men far beyond our capabilities here, amoung this blog, on this internet found something in the mystery that existed in the plot of this story.

    “Of all the dispositions and teachings of thinkers and ethicists, the one doctrine that I have no sufficient counter for is Jesus on that Cross.”
    – Mahatma Ghandi

    “I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene…… No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
    – Albert Einstein

    Consider all other religions emerged from one man writing down his individual thoughts, and then those thoughs recorded led the creation of a system akin to the church and the tradition that followed. Consider in the Christian religion Jesus’ actions led to creation of the Church first, which happened as a result of him living, and then the writings followed. What do you think about the Church existing before the scriptures were written Thomas? It stands in reverse of other world religions.

  195. Also, about the argument of the many different authors of the bible. It is also unique amoung world religions for this fact. Other holy books were written by one author. You claim the many different authors are reason to believe that God was invented by men, but the God of the bible uses this to stand in contrast to other world religions, which for the most part of the manifestation of a single mind. It lends credibility and believability to the bible, being authored by many different men as opposed to one. I would most definately see things like you if the bible had 1 author, because even today, I cannot find one man that I am willing to follow blindly and completely. But, knowing that the bible came off the pen of many, and knowing that if God were real he would be omnicient, and omnipotent, I find myself seeking distinguishing characteristics in religions to identify how he might capitalize on these quality. Certainly using many men over a long period of time to write his story lends much more credibility to his cause then having one man puke the entire thing out himself. Just some thoughts to consider.

    We must also conclude, that If God were real, and were going to reveal himself to us in a text, that that particular text would be capable of being read and (potentially) understood by all men. (again I stress the core story, we could spend a lifetime discussing specifics). The bible does not claim to be word-for-wrod perfect, it just claims to be the true revealation from God and seeks to teach us to be in relation to him.

    Krishna – Bahagavita – claims you must be a Brahmin to correctly interpret the text, so for us westerners, and most easterners, we are rejected by the text itself. Pick your God here, of the many manmade gods your talking about this one probably encapsulates most of them. Consider Krishna wrote the bahagavita, but before it was the Vedas and Upanishads, which was a pick-your-god-a-thon.

    Buddha – Rejected the Bahagavita, especially because of the caste system, that teaches you cant ascend into higher levels of society, you are stuck where you are born based on Karma, and He wrote the Buddhist texts. He preached that nothingness, or Nirvana, is the ultimate reality….sinse existence is suffering, quit existing!

    Muhammud – Quran (need I say more?) Muslims take pride in the fact that he wrote it alone, and say that the book itself is miricle enough. But the book claims to be word-for-word perfect, so it cannot even be translated into english and be properly understood, that sucks for the rest of the world? Maybe if Allah is right we will all speak Arabic 1000 years from now?

    The Bible – One God, One Purpose, All Men, His Revalation, Many Authors (some unknown), and One incredible consistent and coherant theme. And, BY THE WAY, I will say it again. His Name can be accurately translated into All languages, and it will always describe their own existence. (I AM)

    Is not the point of religion to explain existence? I realize im more philosophical in my approach, but in a society so obsessed with the material world, I find sanity in jumping outside of the scientific method, and embraceing mystery. After all, it seems to me most great human achievements arose out of creativity and a propinsity to think outside of logic moreso than in.

    Im done for tonight. By the way Thomas, thanks for having this page, it really gives me something to look forward to in a world of unthinking people.

  196. Lone Wolf,

    “And you trying to justify that unjustifiable, evil and ridiculous part of the bible that says a rape victim has to marry the rapist only make you look evil. There in no justifiable reason to force a rape victim to marry her rapist, it it makes it even worse that the only punishment for the rapist is he has to pay the girls father, it only shows that woman to the bible are property.”

    It is important to understand, anything we seek to approach ethics and morality, where we come from in through. No doubt, when we look around we are in an imperfect world. God speaks of “heaven” in the bible, and he makes it clear that the only thing that is going to make heaven possible is us living in a new world with perfect “sinless” bodies. What this is saying is that we won’t have the some moral fallicies that we exist with now, but it will be Heaven, perfect and beautiful. Now, this is quite ideal. It is far from what we see with our eyes now. The Bible also presents something called “The Law” which you are citing here. This “Law” exists because of the fact that we live in a fallen world. If, in theory, the law could be followed to the T by every individual than theoretically, according to the Bible, the Kingdom of Heaven could exist right now, in front of our eyes. But the Bible also makes it clear that this is not possible…which seems crazy? If It isnt possible why even give us the law? The law was given to reveal somthing inside of us, so that we might accept Grace as the path to heaven.

    So I will sum up my argument here. It a world where forgiveness, love, and mercy reign, a young woman marrying her rapist would speak wonders of the forgiveness, and reconciliation power of God. It wouldnt be easy, but then, if that young woman truly was with God in relationship, then she would be eternal, and if she truly would spend an eternity in joy with Christ after death, then this act would be easy and would demonstrate that to her rapist, and may bring him to repentence, which could bring another individual to eternal joy. Thus a temporal sacrafice for eternal joy cannot even be considered a sacrafice.

    Now I understand, you, being athiest, dont believe in an eternal soul. And I will admit, it is truly critical to belive in an eternal soul to even begin to take the bible seriously. So I will ask a question. Being athiest….or agnostic or whatever your belief system is, what is your viewpoint on life after death?

    Its late, if that doesn’t make sense, I’ll give it another shot later. Now I must sleep.

  197. Jared, in response to the rape situation:

    Perhaps I did not communicate my point well with the rape issue. A more accurate translation of that passage might read, “If a man SEDUCES a girl”. (See the Contemporary English Version) How do I arrive at that conclusion? First, look at the text around that passage. All the girl would have to do is say “I cried out and no one heard me,” and her rapist would have been put to death. Also, as I have stated. There is no biblical precedent anywhere for a woman ever being forced to marry a man against her will. Thirdly, yes I dug below the surface pulling out lexicons and dictionaries and cross-referencing to see the intent of the original writers.

    I believe that the Deut22 passage was more a ban on “one night stands” (consensual) I know that that is an anathema to this post-sexual revolution age of free sex, serial monogamy, and oral sex is not sex, but I believe the regulations on sex stand as a public health policy that prevents the spread of STDs among other things and promotes social responsibility.

  198. Lone Wolf Says:

    Jared: The fact that the bible has many contradictions shows its not the word of God. The contradictions are not relatively few and small, there are many in comparison to the bibles size and some are huge, particularly between Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
    Pertaining to the rape verse: None of that justifies or make the it less evil. A just and loving God would never make such a law. It is barbaric.

    Mike: As I’ve said, the authors of the new translations of the bible have a tendency to sanitise the bible and make it fit a more modern version of Christianity. Its quite possible that the original Hebrew said seduce but the older translations are more reliable despite there problem and mistranslations. It is also possible that a single word meant seduce and rape in Hebrew and its meaning was dependant on how it was used (like “fly”) how ever looking at the wording
    Young’s Literal Translation

    28`When a man findeth a damsel, a virgin who is not betrothed, and hath caught her, and lain with her, and they have been found,

    Darby Translation

    28If a man find a damsel, a virgin, who is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found,

    28If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

    American Standard Version

    28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

    The original Hebrew may not have used a single word than meant “rape”.

  199. Lone Wolf Says:

    Crap. The thread example is King James Version.

  200. MysticWino Says:

    It makes sense to me that it means ‘seduced’ rather than ‘rape’. But, technically, some find them the same thing. If she’s underage, secuction equates to rape in the view of many people. If she’s of age and simply fell for a Don Juan, then I don’t really see any barbarity in making him honest. The King James version was notoriously bad about skewing translation to suit certain sexual politics – I don’t recall specifically what and where. I quit reading KJV when I found Shakespeare and the NIV; I needed the separation for peace of mind. Also, somewhere back in that long-ago day, I was convinced that the NIV was a better translation than the New American or the KJV. Again with the faith thing . . . I got that impression from someone else, and took it on faith that they knew what they were talking about. :-)
    Skinner

  201. Lone Wolf Says:

    The rape/seduce word idea only works is the original Hebrew used 1 word but even then its a long shot at best. But given many of the translations say “force her and lay with her” in one way or another it may be that they did not have or use 1 word that meant “rape” but something more like “force her to have sex with him”.
    And as I’ve said, the older translations are more reliable as the author tried to sanitise the bible.

  202. Thanks, Lone Wolf. But I’ll tell you another way it works, and we don’t have to guess at the meaning of “fly”. In my original response, on GOT RAPED LUCKY YOU I posted a link to sam shamoun’s website answering islam, where he goes into detail about this passage. I posted it so everyone could check it out for themselves. But sam shamoun shows (say that 5 times fast) that the first several verses use a two word phrase,

    “taphas” means to catch or seize. Then “shakab” which normally refers to a voluntary sexual act. so to seize and then have sex means rape.

    But the final line in Deut 22:28, the Hebrew writer SWITCHES VERBS on us.(for whatever reason the English did not) Instead of using “taphas” to seize or catch. He says: “If a man PATHAH (meaning entices or lures) a virgin and she shakab (has sex with), then he shall have to pay the bride price etc. I’ll repost the link here

    http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/ot_and_rape.htm

  203. Lone Wolf Says:

    Now I don’t know Hebrew and I don’t know anything about the guy so I can’t comment on what he said. But I can say this. Could PATHAH also mean rape? I don’t know if could or not.
    I can leave you with this though, there is more rape in the bible

  204. Melinda Says:

    Just found your website. Am always glad to find rational, reasonable people out in the world. The fact that people actually believe that horrible rubbish scares the ‘hell’ out of me.

  205. Lone Wolf Says:

    I did a quick googe search for deuteronomy 22:28-29 i found this which links to this which is a rebuttal Shamoun to Sam Shamoun.

  206. Welcome Melinda.

    Lone Wolf, GREAT links on the rape in the bible issue. I hope others will check them out.

  207. Please pardon my hiatus from the discussionI haven’t really had the time to research and reply until now.

    But, yes I had previously seen answering-christianity and I dismissed it for a couple of reasons. The site makes claims that the Bible says that Paul performed oral sex on Timothy after circumcising him. (among other things) This does not offend. I don’t believe in censorship. And if Sami Zataari wants to say that, well that’s his right.

    But, in regards to our present (or recent) discussion, I find two (at minimum) problems with Zataari’s argument. 1) He’s simply ignoring the fact that taphas CAN mean something else. (as well as “anah” which can mean to humble or to humiliate and I’ll discuss this later). I think this brings us back to a statement you made earlier, Lone Wolf, about if one word can have 2 meanings. Taphas can definitely mean to capture or lay hold of. But, Strong’s concordance lists it as coming from a primitive root of “manipulate”. And Shamoun demonstrates it used in Jeremiah 2:8 as “deal”. The KJV of that verse says “those who HANDLE(taphas) the law. (Here, “handle is obviously figurative). Taphas is also used to refer to those who “handle the harp and lute” and “those who handle the pen”.

    The other problem I have with Zataari is his reaction to the woman not screaming means she consents. I notice you use that “holding a knife” analogy on your site as well. But Glen Miller of Christian-thintank says that what we have in the Bible is not the ENTIRE Jewish law, and that judges of that time could apply the law as it fit on a case by case basis. As we do today in courts. So, reasonable people could conclude based on any number of clues whether a woman was consenting or not.

    Which brings me to the other point. Zataari says that the woman MUST be raped because consensual sex would mean she would be put to death. That is not necessarily so. There is no law that says that if 2 consenting unmarried adults engaged in sex that they must die.(except adultery or homosexuality) Perhaps Zataari is referring to the “bloody sheet” law.

    The thing about the bloody sheet is that it is as much about deception as anything else. In the OT, a marriage was an agreement between two families, not just two individuals. A bride price was negotiated partially based on whether the woman was a virgin. Now the bride price or “mohar” was given to the bride’s family, but was set aside for the bride in the event that her husband died prematurely or he divorced her. It became hers in place of alimony. Which is not really a bad idea. But, the bloody sheet was called into account if the bride was accused of deceiving the families (her own and the grooms). Just a note, but Miller also cites sources where one woman told the rabbi that women in her family generally didn’t bleed when the hymen was broken and another woman said that she lost her hymen having to continually climb her father’s steep stairs and these accounts were perfectly acceptable. My point is that by “humbling” (anah) this means that the act has lowered what she can negotiate for the mohar.

    No doubt, you will find those who continue to translate the passage as rape. But I think at least we’ve got an “either or” translation. But if you insist on the rape meaning, before you say the guy got off easy, consider this. Societies create laws first as deterrents to prohibit unwanted behavior. And second to somehow compensate victims. The 50 shekels of silver is equal to FIVE YEARS WAGES. Plus the offender had to support the woman for the rest of her life, which would replace what he had taken from her to start with. ( A home, heirs, etc). So no, the “rapist” isn’t “getting off”. As far as actually marrying her. Well, like I said, the laws were judged on a case-by-case basis. I’m sure that there will be a response or 2 to this post. But, I will be out of town for a week and won’t be able to post any replies soon.

  208. Mike, Lone Wolf (& anyone else),

    For any further discussions on the ‘rape’ issue, please post your comments here:

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/got-raped-lucky-you-bible-says-you-get-a-husband/#comment-1013

    The Main Page isn’t really the best place for them.

    Thanks,

    DoubtingThomas

  209. Hey Thomas,

    I was just checking in to see how things are going as the website has been somewhat inactive lately… I am taking my last final tomorrow and perhaps I’ll be will to address more to questions with my newfound spare time. Hope all is going well with you.

    Jared

  210. Jared,

    Thanks for the interest. I have been busy reading/researching for a new article and future post and have neglected the site as a result. It will be a few weeks yet before I can focus on any recent comments. I apologize to those who have been left hanging.

    DoubtingThomas

  211. Hey no problem. Ive been useing the time to really read over the site and look at all your objection. I have noticed you are quite educated and definately have many logical objections to Christianity and religion. I do look forward to your new article.

    – Jared

  212. For anyone, especially the Christian, who complains about Atheists who waste their time talking about the bible, God, or Christianity, I will direct you to a recent article of mine on the subject that the people at PathofReason.com chose to post on their site.

    http://www.pathofreason.com/#/articles/4525423898

    I will reprint the article as a new post here in the next couple weeks.

    DoubtingThomas

  213. I just wanted to say what a pleasure it is to finally find a decent piece of mind from the perspective of a raised Christian like myself. I spend a lot of time studying the Atheist and Christian perspective, it’s something after a lot of humiliation and mindless frustration brought on by forced attendance at numerous churches of all kinds, I have become very passionate on speaking up about. My fiance for example was never forced to believe in such things or attend any churches, so being so obsessed with these brain-washing tactics doesn’t really make much sense to him. But I will never forget the uncertainty I had even then and the regret I have now when I find myself praying even to this day, without thinking about it. Thank you for saying what, with as many skeptics as there are out there expressing their opinions, I don’t believe I’ve really heard someone make a solid point of. Keep truckin’.

    – Jodi

  214. Hey Jodi, welcome to the site. You’ll find as you peruse the categories located at the top right side of this page that I ask quite a few questions that many believers find to be irritatingly silly but I feel are important, if for no other reason than to better understand the Christian perspective.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  215. Jodi, I clicked your name to visit your site but got an HTTP 404 Not Found error message. Do you still have a page?

  216. (Page fixed for this link)

    I’ve been catching up on past comments here on the home page and the arguments really break more ground for me – things a lot of people don’t directly address.

    I wanted to add that I found your blog via this post in an atheism community on livejournal:

    http://community.livejournal.com/atheism/1746722.html

    *Runs off to browse*

  217. Sorry for spamming, but I also wanted to share this with you and the rest of the community:

    http://pantoporcelain.livejournal.com/14931.html

  218. doubtingthomas426 says,

    “Someone who reads the bible every day? Someone who has read the entire bible? Someone who picks and chooses which biblical laws to obey? Someone who takes every word of the bible as absolute fact and obeys it as such (guess your rebellious son should be stoned to death – Deut. 21:18-21)? Someone who is incapable of finding a single passage in the bible that they would describe as vile, revolting or disturbing? Someone who believes Christian dogma should be imposed on all cultures? Someone who believes the United States government should be a Christian one (thereby excluding the millions of legitimate Americans who worship a different deity or none at all). Someone who believes that Pat Robertson genuinely just returned from his annual vacation with the Lord, where the Lord informed him what would be happening in America in the upcoming year (What, no lottery numbers?!)? Someone who believes that everyone who comes to this country (U.S.) to become a citizen should be required to pledge their allegiance to it as well as an allegiance to ‘our’ Christian god, regardless of what religion they belong to or god(s) they may worship? Someone who believes that mention of the Christian god should appear on EVERY piece of currency we have? Just what, exactly, are the prerequisites for being a ‘real’ Christian?”

    That would be “no” to all of those, and I am not sure I know anyone who would give those as what it takes to be a Christian. But you really don’t think Christians think that, do you? Sounds kind of like a preacher who will start to pray and then continue to preach, just trying to get in some more info for those who he feels haven’t gotten his point. If you have read the Bible as carefully as you say, then you know what it takes to be a Christian, and therefore, you were not interested in engaging in dialogue but in a diatribe.

  219. On the subject of Santa Claus and not possibly being able to fool a grown adult for life, you might wanna run “cargo cult” through Wikipedia and see what you get. One “miracle” can be stretched out for many years.

    This thread is long, and I’m probably not going to be able to follow it.

  220. Michael,

    I was responding to teabagsforme’s statement that commentator Narnie was never a real Christian. So I asked teabagsforme what is a ‘legitimate’ Christian? The reason I asked was because there is SO much division among Christians and there are so many separate sects, each believing that THEY are the REAL Christians, that for any one to dismiss another is just an all too common combination of arrogance and ignorance. So if you can truly say “No” to all of the examples I list then I applaud you, Michael. I really do. But to suggest that my examples were in any way unrealistic is shocking. There are millions of people who call themselves Christians who would fit some if not MANY of those examples. You may not know any, and count yourself lucky, but only someone whose head is buried in the sand would not understand that they are out there. The days of the moderate Christian are way behind us, Michael. Surely you see that. Do yourself a favor and seek some enlightenment by reading the comments from Christians on this and ANY other blog site and you will quickly see many examples of the type of Christians I described. If all of these sects of Christianity are reading the bible to understand what it is to be a Christian, as you so condescendingly suggested I do, then how do they all seem to come to such conflicting conclusions? That’s all I wanted to know. I guarantee, Michael, if you were to detail what it is to be a “real” Christian, you would only be describing YOUR concept of Christianity. There would be millions who disagreed.

    Thanks for commenting.

    DoubtingThomas

  221. If anybody is interested in the rough draft version of my article — The Mythological Origins of Christianity you can follow this link:

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/the-mythological-origins-of-christianity-pt-1-of-3/

    DoubtingThomas

  222. Isn’t this one hell of a wonderful blogsite? So glad I “stumbled” upon it. Seems every day I find a new “friend”, someone with the same respect for good old fashioned comman sense that I hope I have. I almost wrote “horse” sense, but that really should be called “cow” sense. I love horses. Owned my own for all too short a time from time to time, and believe me, of all animals lacking “sense”, the horse takes the prize. If a herd of cows finds a gap in the fence and invades a neighbor’s field, those cows can be rounded up and they will head for the spot from which they escaped. A horse? forget it. He’d run himself to the ground before going for the gap in the fence. But how I miss a horse.

  223. Excellent information. Keep it coming. Have you considered torrenting/filesharing documents with this info? Spread it far and wide.

  224. Jeff,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m not sure how to do the torrenting/filesharing thing or even how it would spread the word. Care to explain a little?

    DoubtingThomas

  225. Jerry Oi Says:

    Though I am not really a blogger, I have several friends that are, and think you and I should talk about getting you some exposure, and how to go about doing so.

    Great blog – I like sseing the discussion being brought out in it, and surprisingly very little vitriol aimed at the subject matter.

  226. Hi Jerry, thanks for stopping by. I’m always curious to discover what brought my various visitors here. Frankly I’m not sure about how to get any exposure for my site. The wordpress.com setting doesn’t seem to connect to many outside of its own collective membership. A shame but I don’t know how to remedy the situation. If you have any suggestions I would be more than happy to listen.

    Thanks,

    DoubtingThomas

  227. Just a thought about your Blog name and maybe you’ve covered this before (there really is a lot posted here), but you know in the end of the story “doubting Thomas” did beleive, once he saw Jesus for himself and saw the scars. So the question would then be, are you waiting for someone to show you Jesus, or are you waiting to see him for yourself? I hope to go through some of the pages you have and start some good discussions, (which is why I assume this blog exists), but just a note that if you really are looking you have to go to the source. I know what it is to doubt, I know what it is to not believe, and peoples opinions on either side are not enough to answer all of your questions. (of course I’m still going to offer my opinions anyways…I really do love a good discussion). I mean this in the most non-condesending non-stupid little church girl way possible, that I will be praying for you (which since you don’t beleive has any power shouldn’t bother you much…lol)

  228. Laurel,

    Yes, the doubting Thomas of the bible comparison has been made before elsewhere on this blog. It’s understandable. But let us consider the story again. Thomas did not believe until he saw with his own eyes. He demanded evidence and until it was presented to him, until he pressed his fingers into the wounds of this man claiming to be his resurrected savior, he was skeptical of the fantastical claims of his fellow man. So, although I am not “waiting for someone to show me Jesus or to see him for myself”, if Jesus or God were to appear before me and impress me with his magic you better believe I would happily join your ranks. So, yes, like the Thomas of your bible, once the irrefutable evidence has been presented to me I will believe. As for your statement that “if you really are looking you have to go to the source”, well, Laurel, what if I was dealing with a Hindu, or a Scientologist? Wouldn’t they tell me, or any skeptic, the exact same thing? ALL religions have a “source”, Laurel, whether it be a religious text or a god concept. What you are really saying is in order to believe you simply have to believe. In other words, stop demanding evidence, cast aside your doubt and simply buy into whatever the religious person is telling you. But what if the Scientologist gets to me first, Laurel? What if a Muslim does? What if I cast aside my doubt and swallow what they are feeding me? No god or religion, and there are thousands, Laurel, has any more claim on the truth than any other. You worship yours, they worship theirs, I worship none of the above. Finally, the only time I am offended when someone states they will be “praying for me” is when it is an empty threat. Meaning, they make the statement as a final ‘smack’ with absolutely no intention of following through. Not that I want them to, it’s just that using that phrase as a sort of snide insult is just too common with too many Christians. It can be very irritating, which, I’m sure, is part of the point. I understand that yours was not meant in that way. So no offense taken.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  229. yeah – I’ve had people tell me they would “pray for me”, like they were somehow better then me and I needed them to intercede to God on my behalf – but I am happy that you didn’t take offence because I meant it in the most honest way.

    My advice to go to the source in no way was to tell you to simply beleive and to stop demanding evidence. My dad will forever tell me that if I don’t know why I believe something then theirs no point in beleiving it. There are a few differant reasons why I said that though. The first being the most obvious in that the Christian faith is more then just knowing, “even the demons believe and shudder” it’s about coming face to face with yourself and with your God. I’m not sure if that sounds really corny but there’s a knowledge side to faith and theirs a heart side, and there’s a soul side. Sometimes you need a little faith to have a lot of understanding. But I would never advise to stop questionning etc. I have looked into a lot of religions, and done a lot of research – some of the greatest Christians started out by trying to disprove the Bible (my own dad being one of them), and I would never advise anyone to follow any religion without proof. The other thing would be though that some of the answers to your questions are coming from a very North American view of things, and I think that people who are being persecuted in China etc would have a very differant answer for you. Everyone is going to offer their opinions, but the answer to the questions about the Bible need to be explained from the Bible. I’m not talking about questions as to wether the Bible is factual/based on historical events etc because that is an outside arguement – but questions about God’s actions, His reasons for things etc needs to be found in the Bible and not just opinions. (I don’t know if that came out right). Anyways, I look forward to taking a look at some of the other pages you have going. :)

  230. Laurel,

    You said – “questions about God’s actions, His reasons for things etc needs to be found in the Bible and not just opinions”

    I would love nothing more than for someone, anyone, to provide some answers regarding God, Christianity, and the bible that WEREN’T opinions, but that is all they can provide. Let’s face it, if ANY religion could offer proof that THEIR God and teachings were the real deal we would certainly have a lot fewer religions in the world. But they can’t. Not the thousand that exist today and not the thousands that have existed before. It is all opinion and conjecture. Religion is a concept completely influenced by personal bias. My seeking of answers isn’t an attempt to find enlightenment and finally find a reason to believe. My seeking of answers is an attempt to better understand how people continue to believe the way I once did, especially when confronted with the objections and observations I’ve catalogued on this site. I’m interested in YOU, Laurel, not your god (nor anyone else’s).

    BTW, I appreciate your mellow vibe in presenting your side of things. It’s always so much easier to communicate when one doesn’t feel attacked.

    Take Care,
    DoubtingThomas

  231. “It’s always so much easier to communicate when one doesn’t feel attacked.”

    Probably why so many come at you with anger. Your site feels like a personal attack. It would be much easier to get what you stated your looking for from people without blogs essentially titled, why your belief is a myth, false, your God is evil, and those who believe are ignorant. Heed and use what you desire from people to your blog, you may get better results.

    Also you’ve done nothing to prove my God false. Many of your accusations are completely false, poor scholarship, and taking things out of context(and of course you don’t let a believer put it in context, cause your don’t like the Bible being used). I’ve spend 1hour scanning through my many ancient myth encyclopedia’s and sources about ancient religions and found nothing remotely close to what you posted. The only people who should fear your site are the people who are gullible to any bit of information despite its source,do not study this sort of subject on a scholarly basis, or on their own using scholarly sources. My suggestion to you is check your sources…for what you use thus far are very poor studies.

  232. I would personally prefer people attacking my faith directly and telling me in all thier colourful language what they beleive. I am much more able to respond to a direct question then to someone who says, “well you believe what you want and I believe what I want and we all end up in heaven in the end” The reality is that we cannot all be right. We cannot all have the answers. Either there is a God or there is not. I can understand how some people reading this site would feel as though it was a personal attack, and I can understand how people who support this sites views would feel attacked as well by christians, but when it comes down to it we actually have a mutual starting place for discussion in that we can all agree that there either is a God or there is not and if there is, is he knowable.

    Anyways, I’m going to check out what you have to say about Demon and Angels and hopfully I’ll have some time to post some responses (time just flys during the summer)

  233. William Graves Says:

    To doubting thomas

    I was wondering whats your thought’s about the religion pentecostal! more in particular SPEAKING IN TONGUE can you explain it to me in a simple way please? thanks man!!!!!!

  234. WHITEDEVIL =) Says:

    OH YEAHHH JESUS CHRIST WAS GAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YUP ITS TRUE!!!!!! TOO BAD FOR ANY ONE WHO FOLLOW HIM, SO SAD HAHA

  235. Brooksrobinson,

    If a Christian created a site categorizing all the various observations and reasons they believed that Jesus, the Bible and God were real, would you consider it an attack on Atheism or a PERSONAL attack on any particular Atheist who chose to stop by? Come on, brooksrobinson, be real. I’ve made a collection of all the reasons why I no longer belong to the Christian faith and questions as to how others still do. I understand why a Christian would be offended by what I have to say, but a PERSONAL attack? Please. No one is forced to visit my site. No one is forced to read what I have to say. Could I be accused of attacking Christianity and the Christian God, sure, guilty as charged. But how does that mean that a Christian who visits my site is being personally attacked? It’s absurd. And my issue with people citing a passage of the bible as their answer/reason has to do with the all too common habit of Christians responding with the vague, all encompassing, and utterly meaningless “because the bible tells me so” cop-out. I’ve grown weary of reminding them that I don’t believe in the truth of the bible so offering some passage in the good book as ‘evidence’ is meaningless.

    You’ve made numerous comments on a number of my posts and I’ve disputed them all. You need to do more than simply claim my observations are false or out of context, and that my research is poor. You need to offer some evidence and yet as much as you have tried, you have yet to offer anything but dogma and personal opinion. You react as if this site is the first to suggest that religion is a farce. You reference my Mythological Origins of Christianity article and behave as if I am the first to put forth this idea. Nothing I state on this site or in that article is in any way original. I am not a pioneer in skepticism and doubt. You said – “The only people who should fear your site are the people who are gullible to any bit of information despite its source,do not study this sort of subject on a scholarly basis, or on their own using scholarly sources.” — Are you purposefully trying to describe the bible and those who believe it is truth? You say you spent 1 hour scanning your collection of books on ancient religions, while I spend YEARS researching my article (Mythological Origins of Christianity), but I should accept you as the authority? And I’m not even suggesting that I am, at all. In fact, I admit that some of the information in my article could be inaccurate as it is based on man’s translations and interpretations of ancient texts. Any one of these men could have certainly gotten it wrong. But are you willing to admit the same about those who translated the bible? Everyone should dismiss the information I’ve gathered but not yours, right? I guarantee that my sources would hold up under scrutiny far better than the bible would. Check my sources? I believe I have been advising you to do that since you first left a comment on my site. The bible is not a source of information, it is a source of fiction. It has never held up to scrutiny. How am I supposed to take you seriously when this is the entire basis for your belief? I’m sorry, I just can’t. I need more.

    Take Care

    DoubtingThomas

  236. What are we, in grade 2? Well if that’s the best that you can come up then I’m not to concerned.

  237. The problem is, and always will be, subjectivity and interpretation, education and cultural indoctrination.

    I have my thoughts, they change, and they evolve.
    I don’t carry around a static set of beliefs…I refuse to… I just can’t do it.
    I consider and reconsider upon new facts and experiences.
    But do I believe in myths and faery tales ?, huh, no.

    Nice site, too bad most of the planet is beyond illumination.

    Cheers.

  238. Doubting Thomas:

    Its not about the subject matter of your site, I can handle your reasons for not being a Christian. Its the approach you use, which is essentially God is a liar, God is this, God is that, the Bible is this or that, you approach it very mockingly, as if I’m ignorant and uneducated if I accept Christianity. Your research IS poor, I disputed your mythological origins, you have yet to dispute that comment back(I disputed your brief mythological origins when you posted it as a reply against someone). Most of what you had in that article is simply false rumors that tend to get stirred every so many years in the camp of skeptics. You have disputed almost all of my comments, but that doesn’t mean its a logical explanation, it just means you don’t accept my explanation. Its especially hard to put things into context with you because you don’t accept answers from the Bible.

    I do have to wonder though, based off of your questioning some simple dogma’s in some of your blog articles or responses. What church denomination where you apart of? Also what do you do now?

  239. Thomas,

    I’m afraid you’ve got it wrong. You seem to think that you have to make a leap of faith, rejecting all evidence in the process. This is inconsistent with your observable modus operandi.

    Allow me to elucidate: You believe there is no God. That’s a belief. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, since you lack omniscience and cannot rule out the possibility of God’s existence with absolute certainty. But wait. How did you come to this conclusion? Did you just decide to believe God doesn’t exist one day, or did you consider the evidence?

    That’s the inconsistency. You claim you came about your belief by an examination of the evidence, but you allege that a belief in God constitutes blind faith [ignoring all evidence]. Now I happen to be of the opinion that you haven’t fairly examined the evidence [I've accused you several times of painting the stained glass window black and then protesting that religion offers no light] but I do believe you’ve examined the evidence. I believe your bias has colored [skewed] the results of your investigation. But [at the risk of thatching a straw man] you surely aren’t implying that anyone who has a belief opposed to atheism is therefore someone who hasn’t examined the evidence [for surely they would agree with you!], right?

    –Sirius Knott

  240. NOTE: the comment of being in grade 2 was directed to the Gay comment (but another post was stuck in there before I could add it) I appologize if anyone with a reasonable arguement thought I was being rude.

  241. WHITEDEVIL =) Says:

    What the fuck!!!!!! god is gay and you guys are ignorance LOL!!!! haha, arguing and debating “what” these are in the past!!!! Just live your live in harmony there is no god no supernatural freaks ever walk this earth, only in my dreams LOL!!!! just accept the facts that we are just here, no need for any discussions just kick back and relax, with some margaritas and friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  242. WHITEDEVIL =) Says:

    Religion is an escape, an excuse, and a scape goat. That we must surrender our self to god, why because we can’t fucking live our own life? Clearly the bible is a hoak, for whatever reason it was written, who gives a fuck anyways! ANYWAYS i say to those who do believe in god…….. I DON’T GIVE A FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

  243. WHITEDEVIL =) Says:

    this world is better off with out those who believe in god!!! Its your fault we have wars in the first place =(

  244. neil1689 Says:

    Doubting Thomas,

    Do you allow that there is such a thing as a Christian/Biblical worldview?

    Would you recognise the following two criteria by which the soundness of a worldview may be evaluated?

    i) Its correspondence to reality.
    ii) Its consistency within itself.
    (A third criterion would be its livability.)

    A critique of Christianity alleging failure of i) would constitute an external critique, while alleging failure of ii) would constitute an internal critique. Corresponding defenses might be offered, i.e. an external defense or an internal defense. Can we agree that these terms are fair enough?

    You employ both kinds of critique. In fairness, you should allow both kinds of defense.

    This means that a Christian, in responding to an internal critique, must be allowed to quote scripture as part of an internal defense – to provide a context or to explain Biblical teachings; to fight back on the same ground upon which his position was attacked.

    Based on the legitimacy of an internal defense, commenters here thus have a reasonable complaint when they observe, as did brooksrobinson recently, that it’s “especially hard to put things into context with you because you don’t accept answers from the Bible”.

    To mount an internal critique is to step into a context where God exists, has spoken, is sovereign, holy, omnipotent, etc., and where scripture interprets and defends itself. The atheist can’t bear the light and so pulls over his hood, scuttles away into the darkness and defaults to his preferred method, the external critique.

    The external critique indeed seems to be your main kind of critique. I grant there is some epistemic justification (but not moral justification) to your objection that scripture quoting is not an appropriate response to your external critique, seeing as scripture carries no weight with you. External critiques, however, open you up to the vulnerabilities of your own worldview. The Christian can subject the ground upon which you stand to an internal critique. I’d like to comment separately on that.

    My intention in this comment was not to be overly disputatious, but rather to lay out some distinctions that I hope many would agree upon and find useful.

  245. Oh WhiteDevil – I’ll be praying for you.

    (tee hee us Christians can be so condecending)

  246. Sorry Thomas – I know that isn’t the purpose of your site and I’ll try not to engage in the silliness of stupid arguements (but angry people who think that swearing makes then right make me laugh)

  247. WHITEDEVIL =) william graves Says:

    I’m sorry! I’m not angry, not at all!! I’m just confused!!!!!!! I’m really sorry for the profanity, I feel terrible!!! thanks for the prayer laurel esser!

  248. “Thomas,

    I’m afraid you’ve got it wrong. You seem to think that you have to make a leap of faith, rejecting all evidence in the process. This is inconsistent with your observable modus operandi.”

    Huh, excuse me but, if you can’t prove it exists on some level, it doesn’t, period. Grow up and face life and death, and then we can start dealing as a whole to fix the mess we’re in because of all the deluded God worshipers, wether they bow to rats or ghosts…

  249. questioneverything Says:

    The thing that I fail to understand is why the term “atheist” is still used. The original latin root meant “without the knowledge of the divine”, and I don’t think that is quite strong enough. I consider myself an “anti-mystic” if anything, because I have reasoned that to presume any sort of a deity or magic power can only lead to the cessation of quetioning at the outer limits of human knowledge.

    Doubtinthomas, as you so eloquently evoked in your original post, the belif in a deity is the myth that we use as children (and mental children) to fill in the holes in our knowledge to complete a comforting blanket of understanding to surround and protect us from the world. Human’s have historically used prayer and worship to impart on themselves and others a sense of some small control over uncontrollable things. This happened in Neolithic times with animal worship and sacrifice, and has continued throughout the Proto-indo-european religions through a successive string of beliefs to the modrn religions today. The only criticism i have of your post was the choice to represent christianity as the opposite of “atheism”.

    True “atheism” (which I call anti-mytsicism, or simply rationality) is the counter point to any system of belief that creates explanations for things that go bump in the night, or tries to answer what happens after death, or imbues us with some mystic “soul”, without any form of observable, demonstrable evidence.

    I came to discard any belief in mysticism through the one tenent by which I live my life, question everything. This tenent is what leads to rational thought. Faith or Hope has a place, directed at our fellow human beings. The ability we have to hope, to trust is actuall a very important evolutionary skill for humans, where our main strength aginst tigers in the evolutionary process depends on our social group. the integrity of our social groups depends on us trusting eachother in the abscence of knowing what everyone else is thinking. In this way hope, faith, and trust is an incredibly useful adaptation that is the cornerstone of human success. But when this hope is applied to outside events, our reason gets into trouble.

    The nature of the human brain is to find meaning. this is our evolutionary niche, this is our weapon against nature and, combined with the ability to shape our environment to suit us, is what we do better than any other species on this planet. The problem with this ability is that it is not perfect, and we are constantly filling in gaps in our knowledge with “intuitional leaps” that successive generations spend time undoing. This is an effective adaptation as it speeds up decision making and lets humans act instead of taking the time to process every possible contingiency as we’re eaten by the tiger. Unfortunately, this means our ability for rational thought can be limited, especially if shortcuts are taken. The smartest, most rational and logical people I have met are not necessarily the fastest thinkers, but they have amazing concentration and attention to detail. Even the simple principle of causation is a fallacy that our mind imposes on successive correlations of events. Our scientists make mistakes all the time, but based on the best available evidence, and when new evidence arises, they make new discoveries. They do this by regecting faith, or hope, or trust in what they may intuit to an observable event. The brains natural tendancy to find patterns and meaning in any series of unrelated events must be strictly limited. the events, correlations, and probabilities must be deducted through rigorous formalized investigation, and not inducted through hopeful presumptions. This is the core tenent of atheism.

    It is not that the “christian god is wrong” or the god of islam, zaroastrism, bahai, judaism, buddism, shinto, or the innumerable gods of religions known and unknown. The point of atheism is ANTI-BELIEF. we don’t take anything, any supposed connection of independant events, any explanation of causation, on faith, hope, or trust without demostrable truth.

    We have faith in others because we cannot know what they are thinking, and we must work together, to outrun the damn tigers!

  250. questioneverything:

    “Doubtinthomas, as you so eloquently evoked in your original post, the belif in a deity is the myth that we use as children (and mental children) to fill in the holes in our knowledge to complete a comforting blanket of understanding to surround and protect us from the world.”

    Aristotle, despite questioning everything, along with Plato, had no issues with ascribing to a “Divine Nous”(much like God) that created everything giving life its forms.

    “Faith or Hope has a place, directed at our fellow human beings. The ability we have to hope, to trust is actuall a very important evolutionary skill for humans,”

    Yet every human will be let down by their fellow man more then once in their lifetime. Some, more often then not.

    “The nature of the human brain is to find meaning.”

    If there is no meaning to life, there is no point for our brains to evolve to search for a meaning. Friedrich Nietzche firmly believed that without God there is no meaning to life when he proclaimed the death of God.

  251. neil1689 Says:

    Continuing from my comment above, one way a Christian may respond to an external critique is to demonstrate that his faith is supported by various kinds of evidence. The atheist will then, of course, flat out deny the evidence or busy himself about explaining it away. Biblically, this is only to be expected.

    A more powerful defense is to undermine the ground on which the atheist stands – to subject his worldview to an internal critique – and to contrast it with the superiority of the Christian worldview.

    For example, atheists put a lot of stock in science and its inductive methodology, which proceeds by taking for granted the existence of universal, invariant physical laws. But the atheist is not rationally entitled to such an assumption, for as David Hume ably and unanswerably demonstrated, there is no non-circular justification for the uniformity of nature. That is, without Christ who sustains all things (Heb. 1:3), there is no such justification. Atheism has to borrow from the Christian worldview (which in fact gave rise to modern science) it order to justify the inductive method of science.

    Atheists like to reason logically. The laws of logic are undeniable, but the atheist can give no account for the laws of logic. They are not simply reflections of how a fit brain properly functions, as they are universal, abstract and binding. How, in a universe of finite particulars, can there be universal, abstract and binding laws? Again, atheism can only borrow from the Christian worldview, in which logic derives from the nature of God who created us in his image, for any accounting of, or justification for, the entitlement to employ logical reasoning.

    Similarly, atheists can give no accounting for morality. Typically they will appeal to evolutionary psychology to explain why we have feelings of right and wrong, but at base they are no more than subjective feelings which, on reflection, carry no ultimate obligation to objective moral standards. This completely undercuts any ability on the atheist’s part to criticise God, or the Biblical text, for alleged immorality as per Thomas’ “sin list” in his original post:

    “… atrocities, inhuman cruelty, violence, vengeance, threats, petty jealousy, incest, curses, injustice, genocide, suffering, unfair punishment, murder, rape, depravity, anger and death.”

    You are beaten at square one here, Thomas, unless you can provide us with an objective standard by which any of these things is morally wrong. If, on the other hand, you admit, as many atheists do, that morality is only a useful illusion and there really is no “oughtness” to anything, then stop complaining.

    There’s only one viable source for objective morality, and that is the moral nature of God.

    A knee-jerk atheist response to the last statement is the protest that atheists are good people and it’s utterly absurd to suggest we can’t be moral without religion, or “faith”, or the Bible. The claim is not that we need to explicitly embrace those things in order to have a moral sense, but that we are moral creatures by virtue of our creation in God’s image, whether we acknowledge that, or not (Rom. 2:14-16).

    There were a couple of earlier commenters who tried to get through to you on this point, Thomas, but you failed to comprehend their point.

    The evidence, quoted by italics, is as follows:

    Papa Says:
    January 19, 2008 at 6:42 am

    “or an Atheist who helps simply because they feel this is the right thing to do? ”

    So where do atheists get this notion of right and wrong?

    A fair question…

    doubtingthomas426 Says:
    January 19, 2008 at 10:13 am


    Papa, your question truly saddens me. You reveal yourself to be one of those religionists who believe that the notion for understanding right and wrong comes ONLY with ‘faith’, …. And I feel I must ask you, if ‘faith’ is required to be moral and know right from wrong, exactly which god must I have ‘faith’ in? …

    Morality and ethics do not come from a god, it is the result of an evolved, higher functioning brain that is capable of understanding the consequences of an action. It is really that simple.

    The typical knee-jerk response. And the explanation means only that certain behaviour has undesirable consequences, not that it is objectively wrong. In an earlier comment I think you pretty much admitted as much…

    doubtingthomas426 Says:
    January 17, 2008 at 2:39 am

    ….
    I do not believe in good and evil. I DO use the words good and evil to describe the behaviors of man but these are simply dramatic ways to declare approval and disapproval of another’s conduct.

    Neil contributed a point which I also brought out above…

    Neil Says:
    January 20, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    I didn’t read all of Papa’s comments so I’m not sure how he characterized it, but it is not Biblical to say that you have to be a Christian to understand morality. On the contrary, read Romans 1-3.

    So from a Christian worldview it is no surprise that most people have a basic set of morals….

    As I explained in my last comment, it’s unreasonable for you to object to mere explication of the Christian worldview. You said in reply to him…

    doubtingthomas426 Says:
    January 20, 2008 at 2:40 pm


    Also, can you please refrain from quoting scripture to defend your beliefs.

    He put you in your place…

    Neil Says:
    January 20, 2008 at 3:16 pm


    I use scripture to explain the Christian worldview.

    I thought you wanted dialogue, but your rules that you can use scripture to attack Christianity but that I can’t use it to defend / clarify it are a bit one-sided for my tastes. I require my commenters to avoid straw man arguments and personal attacks, but I don’t insist that they not critique the Bible.

    You seemed initially gracious…

    doubtingthomas426 Says:
    January 20, 2008 at 6:18 pm


    As to the use of scripture, when someone tries to use scripture in an attempt to legitimize a position that is ONLY supported by scripture, I get very bent out of shape. … It seemed to me that was what you were doing. I apologize if I was mistaken. I (obviously) have a quick fuse on this particular issue.

    You sure do. But also you show no willingness to acknowledge what people are saying to you, since you continued in sheer ignorance of Neil’s correction of your misrepresentation of the Christian position…

    Finally, I will ask again, if either you or Papa or ANYONE will please explain this assertion that atheists can’t be moral or understand morality. What religion and which god must I worship to be moral, understand morality and know right from wrong? YOURS? Does this mean Christianity? Which version? On this issue, Neil, you once again resorted to using scripture to support your stance, saying – “read Romans 1-3. God wrote the law on our heart, so everyone knows it is wrong to murder, steal, etc.” I think I made it clear on why this (scripture) isn’t a valid explination. It explains why YOU BELIEVE but not why I should believe. If your sole explination is “For the bible tells me so” then few who don’t believe as you do are going to have much use for your opinion.

    And finally…

    doubtingthomas426 Says:
    January 20, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Uh, DoomRater, what are you talking about? The morality discussion is refering to whether or not NON Christians are capable of understanding right from wrong, or capable of being moral.

    How can I help you Thomas? Do I need to turn on the caps lock to get the point of the words to sink in?

    IT IS NOT THE CHRISTIAN POSITION THAT ATHEISTS CAN’T BE MORAL OR UNDERSTAND MORALITY.

    That’s just for your benefit. I loathe shouting. Having pulled your head in for complaining against Neil’s scripture citation you then immediately completely ignored why he did it. It was to show you that it is not the Christian position that atheists can’t be moral or understand morality – not to support the stance, but to show you what the stance is.

    For all the atheist’s moral sense, however, he can’t give an objective accounting of it. Emotionalism, pragmatism, consequentialism, behaviourism, utilitarianism, situationalism, etc. – all are ultimately subjective, arbitrary and non-binding. Thus, the atheist denies himself access to any absolute categories of moral right and wrong, and so is denied any right to lob moral accusations against the God of the Bible.

  252. questioneverything Says:

    in response to brooksrobinson:

    The #1 problem here is the usefulness of god or magic as a philosophical concept. Aristotle may have chosen to believe in a divine novus, but what does this do for the advancement of knowledge? To put it another way, when Aristotle is presented with an event he has no explanation for, he can say many things about the cause or process of the event. He can simply state “god did it” or “it was magic” or he could simply say “I don’t know why that occured”.

    The problem with the first two answers is not simply that they are less valid than the third (honestly due to lack of provable evidence), but they are a way of ending an information pathway. The first two answers close a door that should remain open, even if current human understanding cannot traverse it yet. In this door’s place Aristotle would erect a surragate door, full of paths of superstition and religous dogma. while there would be much to study within the space beyond this door (and much time taken up in that study that could be spent on finding useful information), it is all based on speculation, and really gets us no closer to the truth of how the universe works.

    The third answer, by comparison, leaves the door to knowledge open, waiting for the next brave soul to say “you don’t know? we’ll lets try to deduce why this happened then.” Hopefully, an honest search for information will follow this.

    Also, Aristotle’s willingness to accept a divine novus is not an indication that he did accept it, he was simply open to the possibility if someone could prove it to him in some demonstrable show of evidence. I cannot say that I believe in god or magic, but I accept the majority of things that make the universe work have not been discovered or understood yet. If someone could show me direct evidence of a god, or of a force that appears magical, I admit, I would not at first accept either, but would continue to question to the ends of my ability to figure out the evidence before me, and that’s all I am saying with my first comment in the post above. Choosing to accept a mystic force or divinity, wholeheartedly, on nothing but faith, smacks to me of willful ignorance. The choice to stop questioning and simply accept what someone tells you is quite possibly the most dangeous thing one human can do, no matter how comforting it is.

    As far as faith to other humans goes:

    Yes, I have been let down, you have been let down, we all have been let down, lied to, betrayed, and stabbed in the back by other humans. I don’t advocate untempered, unwavering faith in others. I support reasoned faith based on observations, and continued monitoring.

    More precisely, giving others the benefit of the doubt, which is the most usefull function of faith in the human social group. What I mean is, if you think another is lying to you, based on observations, reason, and maybe a little “gut instinct” (which is actually the result of subtle cues the brain can pick up without the frontal cortex being aware of it) then you should not extend faith to that person.

    However, as when we first meet anyone, if you have no reason to trust a person, yet no reason to distrust them, then I imagine that you, and everyone else I know, will give that person the benefit of the doubt by choosing to trust them in small ways. This grows or shrinks somewhat incrementally as we have time to obseve the other person and see the results of out extention of trust.

    As to Nietzche:

    I have never said that there is no meaning to life. A life without god or magic is not a life without meaning. I find meaning in the way that I touch other’s lives, and the way that they touch my life. This may seem small and simple, but it gives me a purpose to my actions, besides eat, sleep, procreate.

    I don’t advocate the position that there can be no meaning to life, I simply state that The advocation of one, unified and mystical purpose for all of humanity has no basis. It is not supported by any observable, testable events or evidence. Our minds will see an ink-blot and find a maple leaf, a deer antler, a monster, or Ghandi’s face. But those images are not in the ink-blot, they are within our minds. The mind projects the image into itself, giving a pattern of ink shade meaning. letters on a page are just squiggles, our mind makes them words in itself. Language is just wind accross meat, yet our mind gives it inflection, tone, and emotive power. A flower is just an assemblage of plant cells, the beauty we find there is actually from within us. And so it goes with the sum total collection of our experience as living, reasoning beings. we observe our surroundings happening, the actions of other, our own actions, and our mind tries to perform the same trick, enforce the same template. we see meaning in the world around us, but that meaning comes from our mind.

    Bertrand Russel would have us adrift in the ocean, but this ocean is not a void, it is teeming with humanity. Instead of searching the horizon, despeately seeking a lighted goal to paddle to, look left, look right, and hold the goal in your hands, the hand of another human.

    The meaning of life waited on your table at Denny’s this morning, It fixed your car last week, You may have slept next to it last night, and I feel that I am responding to a post from it right now.

    -Q

  253. questioneverything Says:

    In response to neil1689:

    Quote:
    “For all the atheist’s moral sense, however, he can’t give an objective accounting of it. Emotionalism, pragmatism, consequentialism, behaviourism, utilitarianism, situationalism, etc. – all are ultimately subjective, arbitrary and non-binding. Thus, the atheist denies himself access to any absolute categories of moral right and wrong, and so is denied any right to lob moral accusations against the God of the Bible.”

    The correct accusations against the bible, or the judeo-christian-muslim-mormon-bahai god, is indeed a moral one, although subjective against the overall background of the universe, it is an objective moral accusation in the context of humanity.

    Human morality is based in the psychology of a reasoning being that cannot know what other reasoning beings around him are thinking. The idea of intentionally lying to another in your social group to hurt that being and help you is a ubiquitous moral taboo in almost any cuture. Force against other beings within your social group is the second consistent moral taboo. This two can intermix in varying degrees to form all of the forbidden acts listed in almost any culture in history. Murder, rape, theft; these are objectively immoral within the context of a social group of humans. We did not, and do not need a mystic spirit to tell us htis was wrong, we could simply tell how it would make us feel to have it done to us.

    As humans, we MUST interact socially to survive (well, at least in earlier times, now the internet and modern society may have changed that). In order to do this, we have to have rules that everyone agrees to in order to sleep when others in our group are awake, or look north while they look south. Morality does not spring from an an objective source for the universe, it is not “evil” or “wrong” for a black hole to consume a string of stars.

    Our moral prohibitions only exist subjectively within the context of human society, but for all intents and purposes they might as well be objective, because none of us can escape the human condition. Those whom choose to violate the prohibitions are excluded somehow, through banishment, casting of the ostracon, prison, or capital punishment (which I strongly oppose).

    Human morality may be subjective and non-binding on the universe, and we may be in trouble if we ever do contact beings from other planets, but human morality is as objective and binding upon human beings as if it was objective and binding on the universe. For all intents and purposes, it is an absolute imperitive an humankind.

    Because of this, I can throw my accusations at the mystic gods of the world. The advocation of them breaks the first human moral tenent, do not lie to others. Do not speak as if you have an answer that you do not have, and do not influence the minds of children to believe in phantoms and spirits that you have never had proven to you, for these children will take your words as proof enough, because their reasoning has not fully developed yet. Do not offer to them a book of unsubstantiated lore as a book of knoweledge about the one, true meaning of life, because to children, books have an inherent authority that they have not learned to question yet.

    And the second tenent: Do not force others to hear your lies, to read your lies. To offer either method to children, is by its nature, force! A child, whom lacks the ability to reason because of biological development, cannot make the choice to accept what you say or reject it. that child will be influenced by the very presentation of the Lie, thorugh an adult, or the symbol of knowledge, a book. They can no more escape this influence than an electron can be measured without changing location or enrgy state.

    I won’t even speak on the holy wars of the judeo-christian-muslim-mormon-bahai faiths, or the thousands of other faiths that have murdered in the name of their nonprovable, non-disprovable mystic gods.

    -Q

  254. questioneverything Says:

    Doubtingthomas426 stated:

    “I’ve grown weary of reminding them that I don’t believe in the truth of the bible so offering some passage in the good book as ‘evidence’ is meaningless.”

    and I could not agree more. Offering passages of the torah-bible-koran-gnostic texts in an effort to support the existince of a mystic god is equivalent to offering passages of “the fuzzy little bunny” as evidence that rabbits indeed speak.

    Thomas-

    I applaud your efforts to create an arena for free speech, and I respect the fact that your opinion is an evolving one, as are many of the other opinions here, even the religous ones, even mine. I am glad I have found your site, and hope I grow from it, and can encourage others to grow as well.

    -Q

  255. Q:

    “A life without god or magic is not a life without meaning”

    It is meaningless without God. Without God, man and the universe are doomed. We are sentenced to death regardless of what we fill our life with. All the meaningful things that we use to fulfill dreams, like jobs or education, or fulfill our life in general, such as relationships and families. They are just meaningless. If your actions are for the good of the human race, that doesn’t matter, for the universe is expanding, and eventually our galaxy will run out of energy and cease to exist. Thus, the whole race is doomed to die regardless of the impact. We can stop wars and disease, but for what? The same blind cosmic process that created all of what we see, will eventually cough us up again. In the end, without some sort of worth applied to us by an external being, we are worth just as much as a swarm of mosquitoes for our fate is just the same. Human suffering would be meaningless to me as well. What difference does it make that children in Africa are starving? Or that China oppresses its citizens? Its not affecting me directly, I cannot feel their pain. I still have three meals a day, shelter, and the necessities that fulfill my life. All these discourses of human suffering mean nothing without a value to human life. It is absurd to think that without some sort of being that is greater then us that puts worth to us, because it created us, that human life is valuable. For I am a chance and an accident destined to perish at any given moment and return to the cosmic dust for which I came from.

    “I’ve grown weary of reminding them that I don’t believe in the truth of the bible so offering some passage in the good book as ‘evidence’ is meaningless.”
    What DT does is use this to his advantage. Many of his entries deal with “contradictions” in the Bible or issues he has with the Bible. So what he does, so people cannot answer these questions, is say you cannot use the Bible, I only accept outside answers. However many issues with arise with that sort of criticism, especially when the answer is found in the Bible, because DT failed to read the next set of verses of the previous set. Which I have noticed this on occasion with a few of his blogs. Where I do agree with him on this is when responders show up and say John so and so says that Jesus fed 5000 people, therefore he did and you should believe it! That sort of usage of the Bible is useless and means nothing to those who do not believe.

  256. I stumbled on your blog last night and I must say it was an interesting read. :)

    I think faith is a beautiful thing; religion just fucked it up.

    I was raised a Catholic in the only Catholic country in Southeast Asia, and I was educated in rigid, private Catholic schools. When I was a teenager, I joined other Christian denominations, seeking for the “truth” for lack of a better word. To put it bluntly, Catholicism didn’t sit well with me.
    Now, I still believe in an eternal, mystical “force” (I call it God since I do have a Christian background) but I maintain that my relationship with this deity is between him and myself. I still seek a lot of answers but I have totally turned my back on religion.

    I will keep coming back (do you RSS feeds? I can’t seem to find the link if you do) and hopefully will get more of the answers I’m looking for. It’s good to see that there is an avenue in the internet where atheists and theists meet and actually have intelligent debates.

    Good luck!
    ~hazel

  257. questioneverything Says:

    Brooksrobinson:

    “It is meaningless without God”

    This is essentially a direct refutation of my premise, so there is not much I can say to this besides what I have already said, I completely disagree with you. Gods or magics are not necessary for life to have meaning.

    “It is absurd to think that without some sort of being that is greater then us that puts worth to us, because it created us, that human life is valuable.”

    I don’t know what to say to this belief, exactly. However I can speak on the belief. It is a scary one. To feel that human life only has value in reference to a mystic god puts one in a position where, if the belief in god were to be removed, then there would be nothing holding one back from murder, rape, or any number of lesser violations.

    Following this logic, you must believe that atheists give human life no value, and are likely to commit these acts, or even more likely commit suicide when the mood strikes them. But oddly, not all atheists are rampaging barbarians, raping and pillaging in waves of wanton destruction. Nor do atheists routinely commit suicide, as evidenced by this web-page. So, I’m pretty sure your premise is incorrect, and I want to state how it is incorrect.

    The fact that I do not believe in an omnipotent god or mystic force controlling the universe, also means I do not believe in predetermination, or another being’s mystic control of my and other’s futures. Therefore, humans make our own future, and our thoughts and choices, of each one of us, hold the same weight that a mystic god’s would in a universe where it controlled everything. So human choice, human action, is the most impactfull thing in human life. This makes every individual human life incredibly valuable, as every human has the ability, like Newton, Aristotle, Nobel, Saulk, or Oppenheimer, to completely change the human world.

    Not believing in an afterlife, my life is my forever. I don’t think about myself past the point of my own death, because it’s irrelevant. My etternity stretches from birth to death, and here’s the most important part of that. It makes THIS LIFE more valuable, because its the only one I have, the only chance I get. extend that to others, and it makes all human life more valuable than if we get to live on as a “soul” after we die. If humanity as a whole could get that idea through there head, that this life isn’t just a rental, that this life is your one and only home in the universe, then not only would we value our own lives more, but we would value each other’s lives more. When you believe that when you die, you go to a “better place”, it will naturally lead you to treat this life as a “worse place”. Like a shabby rental, no one wants to wast time and energy fixing up the worse place when they believe there just going to move to the better place anyway.

    I believe there can be a better place, HERE ON EARTH! this place can be built with human hands and human minds, but the false promise of afterlife in a “better place” actually serves as a stumbling block to our advancement to this place. To many pious people don’t want to waste there efforts on the rental, I wonder what would happen if all those people suddenly realized that it was there only home?

    To me, it is the absence of a mystic god or an afterlife that gives this human life real meaning, and turns every human into a god.

    -Q

  258. questioneverything Says:

    on the book-citing debate, generally:

    The problem here is caused by the inaccessibility of another human’s experience. Generally, the first knowledge comes to a group by a “prophet”, someone who supposedly had a direct experience of the mystic god. But this same person hisorically cannot give this direct experience to others, he cannot lead them to the burning bush or transfer his “enlightnment” to them in some direct way. So the problem becomes, how to get others to believe what you believe.

    The only pathway open is of analogy, or logical syllogism. Most mystic gods are associated directly with either a mystic human, or mystic writings of some kind. People who come to a belief usually do so through agreement with its central tenants, either espoused by the mystic person or codified in the mystic writings. From this agreement a logical leap is made, “because I ascribe truth to this part of the mysical teaching, there may be other parts of the mystic teaching that are true as well”. This is how a religion convinces people to believe in a mystic god without direct evidence of that mystic god. A neophyte will see the strong logic in some of the writings, and will, by anology, ascribe that strong logic to the central principal of the mystic teaching, that the mystic god exists and created these pricipals in some way.

    Thus, the teachings, and in the christian case the books, are strongly associated with the mystic god. This in turn, means that the truth of the existence of the mysic god is strongly connected to the truth of the mystic writings, or;

    i)the truth of the existence of the mystic god is directly supported by the truth of the mystic teachings

    DT does quote from the christian books often, but it is because he is trying to A) demonstrate that large portions of the book are false, or; B) demonstrate the logical inconsistencies within the book. Now why he does this is for some very pertinent reasons:

    Some christians believe in the literal truth of the books. Therefore, demonstrating any fallacy or logical contradictions in any part of the books weakens the argument that the books are the literal truth. If DT proves the books are not the literal truth, then he proves that this assertion by fundamentalist christians is also false. By bringing up points of language misinterpretations, he also strenghtens his conclusions.

    For those christians that see the books more figuratively, as an alagory of some sort, the highlighted logical contradictions still serve to weaken the truth value of the book in an allegorical sense. DT works to show that if the books are only to be taken piecemeal, then there is a huge difficulty in picking the right pieces out.

    So, through both of these methods, DT is demonstrating a new syllogism,

    i)the truth of the existence of the mystic god is directly supported by the truth of the mystic teachings
    ii) the mystic books are not true
    therefore;
    iii) the truth of the existence of the mystic god is unsupported
    and maybe more strongly
    iv) the existence of the mystic god is not true

    using the books, and quoting from them in this way is legitimate. DT compares what the book says to historical evidence of events, and finds disagreement between the stories. DT compares different passages from the same book to show logical inconsistencies. DT also quotes passages that are indicitive of pricipals that very few people ascribe to, in an effort to show that some of the book’s principals are down right scary and run counter to conventional moral thought.

    Defenders of the book usually quote the book to support the truth and wisdom of its principals, to strengthen the analogy that;

    i)the truth of the existence of the mystic god is directly supported by the truth of the mystic teachings
    ii) this principal of the mystic books is true
    therefor;
    iii) the mystic books are true
    therefore;
    iv) the existence of the mystic god is true

    The difference between what proponents and detractors are doing is this:

    Detractors speak about the difference between the book and history, differences between the books principals and moral principals, and logical contradictions between different passages withing the same, supposedly consistent book. This is a critique of the book, not of all the principals within the book, nor of the people who value the book. Detractors are simply trying to highlight the low truth value and inconsistant nature of the book.

    Advocates typically speak about the principles of the book and use passages from the book to show how strongly the book supports a principal that the majority of people find consistent with their morals. Advocates then encourage the listeners to make the analogy from the truth value of the principal esposed by the book, to another principal of the book, and so on and so forth. When defending the books, advocates will often try to rationalize inconsistencies, or (in the case of evolution, coppernicus, and other innumerable examples) directly refute scientific evidence that challages the truth of the books.

    So while it may seem that DT is doing something unfair by quoting from the books, he’s doing this to weaken the truth of the books. His problem with others quoting from the book to strengthen the truth of the books is simple. It does not work. If contradictions are present in the book, then no amount of accuracy in other parts can undo this. The book is flawed, and no amount of the flawless part can undo the flaw. If sections of the book do not jive with accurate historical accounts, then quoting from sections to which do jive with history does not fix the problem.

    Simply stated, DT is speaking on the book using history, morality, and logic. Advocates speak on the book using THE BOOK. You simply cannot prove the truth of an assertion by saying it over and over again, and that, essentially, is what advocates are doing by using the book to support the book.

    -Q

  259. Q,

    You’re wordy enough for both of us, so let me hit the points that struck me in brief.

    Your comments on the afterlife. I’m really quite tired of the proposition that a belief in an afterlife means the believer lets this world go to seed or thinks it isn’ttheir real life, while the materialist makes this life better. You see, you forget that we believers have children, which quite changes the equation. We dare not let the world go to pot, since our children will inherit it.

    I can’t speak for other religions [OK, I could, but I did promise to be brief] but Christendom claims that you should strive to make this world better [to do good works and ease the suffering of others to God's glory... think of Mother Teresa]. To put it simply, Christendom’sbelief in an afterlife and the rewards that come with it gives one an incentive to live his best in this life and to live selflessly. The materialist can offer no intrinsic reason why we should make anyone ELSE’s life any better or deny ourselves in any way for our fellow man. The materialist’s sacrifice is for the subjective good.

    Now,as for DT’s objection that we can’t use the Book…. If he claims contradictions are present in the book [and I've shown him where he's wrong on that count], I am perfectly justified in using the Book to show him how there is no contradiction.

    But Thomas doesn’twant anyone to use the Book because he doesn’t want to hear it. He’s afraid of honest inquiry. lala lala I can’t hear you…

    –Sirius Knott

  260. Q:

    “I completely disagree with you. Gods or magics are not necessary for life to have meaning.”

    Not gods or magic my friend, just God. I’m talking the metaphysical view of meaningful life. You don’t need God you say, and that’s fine, but as I pointed out, in the end it doesn’t matter if there’s no God. Whether you put stock in friends, lived as a hermit, or raped and pillaged, you achieved your meaning to life then die, and that’s that. No different then a swarm of mosquitoes or a herd of pigs. The bottom line is without God, we’re nothing but cosmic accidents or chance on an unstoppable journey to death.

    “To feel that human life only has value in reference to a mystic god puts one in a position where, if the belief in god were to be removed, then there would be nothing holding one back from murder, rape, or any number of lesser violations.”

    That’s precisely the point, without someone to hold us accountable, there is nothing wrong with someone raping someone, its merely a social taboo. Under the atheistic position as any atheist philosopher will write, moral’s are just evolved features for each community, no different then feet or hands. Which means no one has the right to tell any community how to live, unless it interferes with your community or your self.

    “Following this logic, you must believe that atheists give human life no value, and are likely to commit these acts, or even more likely commit suicide when the mood strikes them.”

    That is a false argument and no theist would hold to that. Christians and Jews believe God created man, thus implanting a set of standards on his heart (this standard isn’t the law of Moses). A basic law that I believe all men(minus the truly evil ones) realize. Hence why societies have similar laws for ex: no stealing, no murder, no rape, etc.. This is why non-believers can live a moral life, because it has been inscribed into naturally, because we are moral beings created by a moral God, we’ve just fallen.

    “also means I do not believe in predetermination, or another being’s mystic control of my and other’s futures.”

    I as a Christian hold to this as well. I do not believe God has predetermined my life, nor is this a Christian belief unless you are a Calvinist. However the Bible is clear, man makes choices that determine their outcome. We are free willed beings, that is what makes us truly special, and that is how God intended it. For he did not want us to be pre-programmed robots, set up to worship him. He prefers that we worship him on our own free will basis. Hell is precisely what non-believers want, no God. Hell is not necessarily fire and brimstone (though the language is used, also darkness is also used to describe it), but it is true separation from God.

    “It makes THIS LIFE more valuable, because its the only one I have, the only chance I get.”

    In the end it doesn’t matter, its just meaningful to your person now, but 50years after your death no one will remember you except your family(unless you do some amazing thing, but even then, that action is meaningless). Also considering that universes die out, eventually the whole human race will perish, so in the end it doesn’t matter whether you try to better humanity, go with the flow, or live out your personal desires.

    “I wonder what would happen if all those people suddenly realized that it was there only home?”

    If there’s truly no God and no afterlife, it won’t matter, the pious will be in the ground never to see that their beliefs are false. Nor will they see what negative impact or positive impact they had.

    As far is the book debate goes, for a fair and clear debate upon Biblical inconsistency, contradictions, misunderstandings, or misrepresentations, the Bible should be allowed to be quoted. As far as one quoting the Bible to say, “look God does exist he parted the Red Sea” or things of that sort, obviously its pointless, DT, you and any other skeptic do not hold the Bible as truth, thus its useless in the debate.

    Brooks

  261. neil1689 Says:

    In his first comment above, questioneverything told us:

    I came to discard any belief in mysticism through the one tenent [sic] by which I live my life, question everything. This tenent is what leads to rational thought.

    By its own standard, this is a questionable tenet. By its own standard, it’s questionable that the tenet leads to rational thought. Nay, the tenet is self-slaughtering.

    Such is the irrationality of hyper-scepticism. Such is the irrationality of questioneverything, since everything else he says here is in the form of an assertion. By his own standard, every assertion is questionable and so why should we take any notice of him?

  262. neil1689 Says:

    Thank you, questioneverything, for the admission that human morality, as you see it, is subjective and non-binding.

    You said:

    Our moral prohibitions only exist subjectively within the context of human society, but for all intents and purposes they might as well be objective, because none of us can escape the human condition.

    Suppose that I’m a sociopath. I’m not interested in living in your society by your rules. I just play along until I see my next opening to stab someone in the back and get away with it.

    You could tell me that my behaviour was unconventional, illegal, endangering to my freedom or long term success, hurts people, or would cause society to crumble if imitated by others. I know all this. I don’t care. I don’t take unnecessary risks and so far I’ve had a pretty lucrative run. This niche works well for me, so how can it be wrong? Is it wrong? Tell me why.

    Invoking “for all intents and purposes” and “might as well” don’t get you the step up from your worldview into the objective moral universe which I think, because of the human condition, you know is real. You need that if you want to say sociopathy is wrong.

  263. questioneverything Says:

    quick reply to neil, then sleep:

    i can’t state that sociopathy is objectively wrong, but I can say that humanity will not tolerate the sociopath. So we reform (probably unsuccessful), ostracise, or execute (the ultimate banishment) the sociopath revealed to us. That is all we have, and since we excise the sociopath from the human world, that is all that matters.

    -Q

  264. questioneverything Says:

    Neil: (I know I am a horrible speller)

    I do not acept the idea of an objective, existant universe outside of relationship to those who can observe it. The universe, as any one person sees their part of it, cannot be seperated from that person.

    I do not accept that for something to be wrong, it must be objectively wrong. Murder is subjectively wrong to humanity. However, because only us humans have defined murder, and ascribe the title murder, and because its only realy important what murder is within a human context, there is no difference between the concept “objectively wrong” and “subjectively wrong in human context” They are both as absolute a measure to humans.

    Anything that seems objective, cannot be proven so. only subjective concepts can be proven, in relation to the observer. e.g. we can suppose that we are driving 30kph on a road, and that our speed is 30kph. But this is only true in relation to our immediate surroundings, the surface of our continent. At what speed and in what direction is the continent drifting? how fast is the planet rotating?, how fast is it revolving around our sun? Is the solar system moving through the galaxy? what about the galaxy, what is its speed?, what about the universe? we can never know our true, objective speed because we have nothing in the universe we know is standing still from which to measure that speed.

    Now suppose we exceed the speed limit and get stopped by traffic enforcement, no court in the world would accept the argument that, because we were driving in the exact opposite direction of the planet’s rotation, we were not exceeding the speed limit. The limit is a subjective one, but might as well be objective because the circle of relation between an actor and an environment within a closed system is that which is limited.

    We dont need an objective anything that applies across the whole universe, we only a subjective something that aplies across our whole closed system of human experience. This is objective to us, and we cannot have, and do not need, anything more objective than that.

    -Q

  265. Q:

    “We dont need an objective anything that applies across the whole universe, we only a subjective something that aplies across our whole closed system of human experience.”

    All your doing is renaming something that is objective to a made up subjective idea, to fit your argument. Even in your modified way of looking at things anything deemed plainly wrong is still just a social taboo. Your saying its all off of human experience, well lets say Hitler won WW2. His new culture says that extermination of non-white peoples is right and would of course eventually suceed in brainwashing his followers to believe that to, I mean after all he won. So under your way of looking at things, since its just based off human experience, there’s still nothing to say he’s wrong. There is still nothing wrong with someone raping someone, other then its a social taboo coming from like minded humans. Because if all humans experiences were the same, and all could agree that murder, rape, and torture of children is wrong, we wouldn’t need laws. Murderers who escape human justice still will escape justice once and for all in the end.

  266. neil1689 Says:

    Ditto to what you said, brooks.

    What your view boils down to, Q, is a world of legalities rather than laws, where there’s no essential moral difference between conventions about traffic lights and conventions about paedophilia. No truly moral scale.

    I don’t know if you can truly live with that, but that’s not what’s been of first importance to me here. The point is to defang all arguments against the God of the Bible which are based on moral objections.

    Such objections are only worth anything if they presuppose an objective view of morality – in order to impute actual wrongdoing to God – but when the atheist is pressed, he admits he doesn’t have one.

    Thus, in the interests of intellectual integrity, a great many articles on this site, and similar sites, will have to be retracted. Spread the word.

  267. questioneverything Says:

    Brooks, and Neil:

    Point 1: The biblical god; I am not only speaking to the christian or judeo viewpoint, so when I say gods and magic, I mean all religions and all faiths. I do have a special objection to any messianic religions, but I’ll write on that later.

    Point 2: Objective morals: you have missed the point of what I have stated. I do not advocate moral relativism. The moral code of man is not flexible to each individual man’s interpretation, it is fixed to and for all humans. Killing is wrong to and for all humans, rape is wrong to and for all humans, these tenets are immutable to and for all humans, and no society of hitlers or pedophiles can change this fact.

    Neil states:
    “Such objections are only worth anything if they presuppose an objective view of morality – in order to impute actual wrongdoing to God – but when the atheist is pressed, he admits he doesn’t have one.”

    An objective view of morality, and anything else, is unneccesary, and I know this because, logically, it is IMPOSSIBLE for any human to know anything objectively. At the least, only a being that knows “everything all at once” and “everything that can or will happen” can know any objective thing, and because of the nature of entropy and quantum physics, even this possibility seems unlikely.

    It is not simply that I am saying that I don’t have an objective view, I am saying I cannot, and you, Neil, cannot have an objective view of morality, no human being can. This is the source of much of the ire that non-believers feel towards stalwart believers. I see your belief that YOU know the one objective truth, that YOU know what is right and what is wrong, for what it is, hubris.

    Brooks states:
    “All your doing is renaming something that is objective to a made up subjective idea, to fit your argument.”

    All you are doing, by stating that your morals are the objectively correct ones, is doing the same in reverse. You state that the objective universe runs according to an objective moral code, but you can comprehend neither, nor can I, nor can anyone. I state that any idea, stated as objectively right or wrong, is only subjectively right or wrong within the limits of the asserting party’s knowledge and experience. No one can make a stronger statement.

    No one can know the universe objectively, yet we can say for certain what is immoral to and for humans based on the results of any act within a social group. No social group of humans made up of liars, murderers and rapists will function better than a group composed of truthful, moral and trusting humans. Human morals, those that evolved for efficient social group formation, are the basis of the morals ascribed to the gods and magic forces of religious belief.

    What I am saying is that to understand that murder, rape, and deception are wrong requires no mystic gods or magic to write it “upon our hearts” as brooksrobinson states. This wrongness stems from the way that humans must interact. Our psyche’s are shaped by necessary interaction with eachother. The human animal evolved to form social structures (meaning those gene-paths that did not form effective social structures did not survive to produce progeny) and the morality humans naturally formed did so as a necessity to successful social interaction.

    Also, I am not imputing wrongdoing to any god, I don’t believe that the supposed divine actor exists to accuse. My issue is with human actors, proponents of religion. Atheists do not highlight the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of mystic teachings to impune that the claimed gods made mistakes, that the gods were wrong. They highlight the problems to show the human hand that drafted those teachings, the wizard which truly pulls the strings behind the curtain, in order to expose the fraud. The atheist strives to show the gods were not…well, anything at all.

    Once that fraud is exposed, then we can start the search anew for what is really going on in the universe (at least as far as we are able to understand, which, I grant, will always be limited).

    Understand as well, I do not post assertions here that I do not want questioned, I very much want everything I say questioned. The path to true discovery requires constant questioning. What I don’t like is when someone attacks me for questioning the existence of gods and magic. If someone is limited by a non-questionable premise, then the small hope of ever finding a truth is snuffed out before beginning the journey. simply stated if you can question everything I conclude, then I can question everything you conclude.

    However, just because I encourage questioning, does not mean I cannot answer those questions, or question the philosophical basis of the questions posed to me. I do have a belief, that the universe and causation follow logical precesses of some kind. I have faith that mathematics is a successful tool in helping me to understand the universe. I have faith that true is the opposite of false, and that no conclusion can be true based on a false premise or premises. I believe in Logic as Neil and Brooksrobinson believe in their gods, and I know that may make me just as much as a faith believer as “gods and mystic based religion” faith believers.

    This is probably the best point that has been asserted against me, and it was asserted by my wife (an agnostic), who knows me better than anyone else. so my rationalization of this so far is this: Logic has brought humans advancement, math, architecture, sciences. Logic has helped Humanity to impose control over our habitat, and to increase our life span. Most impactful to me, logic has brought me art, music and amazing literature to try to absorb and understand.

    Religion has been a part of Humans superstition, war, persecutions, justification of attracities by the divine, subjugation, racism, sexism, and bigotry. religion is not the sole cause of these things, but it does serve as a vehicle, a “high horse” from which one human will feel objectively justified in bringing horrible suffering to another.

    I may be wrong, but I don’t remember any mass murders in the name of Euclid, no reclaiming of Sarte’s land by the followers of Russel or Foot, The helio-centric reformation in the scientific community was bloody, as it was fought against the papacy, but the relativistic revolution which posed Einstien against the Newtonians, was bloodless, as was the quantum revolution against the Einstienians.

    So, if my belief in logic shares equal weight with someone’s religious belief, at least I can say that my “faith” in logic seems more usefull in this reality, and my “religion” of logic much more beneficial to humanity.

    -Q

  268. Q:

    I really wish you didn’t leave so huge of comments haha.

    “I do not advocate moral relativism. The moral code of man is not flexible to each individual man’s interpretation, it is fixed to and for all humans.”

    It cannot be fixed for all humans unless their is a supreme judge. Your definition is objective morality, which is morals that are binding for humans no matter where you go.

    “This wrongness stems from the way that humans must interact. Our psyche’s are shaped by necessary interaction with eachother. ”

    Which is what God put on our hearts.

    “and the morality humans naturally formed did so as a necessity to successful social interaction.”

    And humans who don’t are not guilty of wrong. Humans in Africa who are murdering away are not wrong, they are just socially unacceptable in western society.

    “but it does serve as a vehicle, a “high horse” from which one human will feel objectively justified in bringing horrible suffering to another.”

    And so does atheism, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Mao. If you’ve read the teachings of Jesus you would know he would condemn actions such as the crusades. Men who’ve high jacked religion change it to their fittings. But in a society where their is no supreme law with a supreme law giver, one could not honestly condemn the wicked. You could only judge them when they interfere with your society. You should probably quit generalizing that all religion is bad, for your stereotyping. You say religions done this and that, but atheistic idea’s have done just the same (refer to the atheistic leaders up above).

    You keep using Newton, you know he was a Christian right? As was many of the Renaissance greatest thinkers.

    “So, if my belief in logic shares equal weight with someone’s religious belief, at least I can say that my “faith” in logic seems more usefull in this reality, and my “religion” of logic much more beneficial to humanity.”

    Much more beneficial to humanity? It was the religious laws that encouraged loving your neighbor as yourself. Look at all the hospitals and colleges that operate, you might be surprised to see how many of these were started by religious folks (pretty much all, not the state schools which came later). Has religion hampered education? In some cases yes, the Middle Age’s Catholic church and the modern day Islamic fundamentalists. But so has atheism, lets look behind the Iron Curtain, where education rates where horrible. Has religion done a lot for education? More then humanism, for it was religious organizations who ran the schools up until the late Renaissance, and even then religion still played a large part in education. Religion has played a large part in sciences and health care (hence why majority of the hospitals in America usually have Christian names attached to them).

    “I may be wrong, but I don’t remember any mass murders in the name of…”
    No but do you know of mass murders in the name of creating a better species (evolution)? Hitler and his dream of creating the supreme race. Or how bout murders in the name of Atheism? Stalin and other communist leaders who discouraged religion so much that they murdered people for their beliefs. How bout the wars for greed? Or land? Would you stop using money or land? No you wouldn’t, you recognize the value in that stuff to society(just as religion does have value in society whether you see that or not), plus its only select individuals who use that for evil, just like in religion. Perhaps you’ll see that its man that turns things into evil.

    I think a logical faith is the best route.

    Brooks

  269. questioneverything Says:

    Brooksrobinson:

    “Hitler and his dream of creating the supreme race. Or how bout murders in the name of Atheism? Stalin and other communist leaders who discouraged religion so much that they murdered people for their beliefs.”

    “And so does atheism, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Mao.”

    Just to give you some factual source material;

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

    ( Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Ralph Mannheim, ed., New York: Mariner Books, 1999, p. 65. )

    —read; not an atheist—

    Also, Pol Pot and Stalin, while claiming to be atheists, were communists, which was a religion itself at the time they ruled. Mao was also the head of his own religion, maoism. This is not unlike the situation in north korea now. I claim none of these people as a true atheist, because each one forced others to stop questioning them.

    -Q

  270. Q:

    Adolf Hitler was part of the occult, notice how i didnt say he was an atheist. His movement however was in line with a sort of militant darwinism if you will (by creating a master genetically supreme race).

    Communism is a form of government to “better humanity.” You have a habit of forcing the puzzle pieces into your own place. As for Mao, he felt worshiping faith was a false unworthy worship, but worshiping a figure (as those listed below) who have proved themselves worthy of worship. ” One is a healthy personality cult, that is, to worship men like Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. Because they hold the truth in their hands. The other is a false personality cult, i.e. not analyzed and blind worship.”

    “I claim none of these people as a true atheist, because each one forced others to stop questioning them.”

    I don’t claim the church of the Middle Ages true Christians. For they did not live out the teachings of Christ. But the point I’m making is simple, without a supreme law giver these guys have done nothing morally wrong, because under atheism morals are just evolved based off the needs of a specific community, and thus not objective.

    ,“Ethics arises from the pressures of the community on the individual…The herd, being anxious that the individual should act in its interests, has invented various devices for causing the individual’s interest to be in harmony with that of the herd. One of these…is morality” -Bertrand Russell

    -Q

  271. questioneverything Says:

    Brooksrobinson:

    in the post above, i’ll assume it was an acident that you signed with my name..

    as far as the “needs of a specific community” that is not at all what I am saying about morality at all. I do not know exactly how all morals are expressed, but I know what is wrong to me. It is wrong to me to lie, and it is wrong to me to use force on others. I pose that every other moral tenet can be created through a mixture of these two principals.I pose that morality springs from either or both of two sources. Genetics and logic.

    1) Genetics:
    Under the genetic theory, there is no flexibility to human morality. Morals are rules that are set genetically into our psychology. To be “normal” means you must have this morality. Any human whom lacks morality has a diagnosable mental condition, like sociopathy or psychopathy.

    We can no more change our morals than a leapord can change its spots. Certain groups of deer cannot decide to roam the forest preying upon wolves. No group of wolves can decide to bark instead of howl. Humans are limited by a moral code that is part and parcel of a genetically fixed human template.

    I disagree with Russel’s idea that we invent morality, although we may invent the name for the phenomenon. The behavioral limits, the guilt emotion a human feels when violating human morals, is as real as physical pain, and is a part of our brains that is inescapable. Morality is hardwired into every normal human, and because we are all 99% the same genetically, across the globe, the morals we are limited by are 99% the same.

    There is similarity in this theory to your belief. Both postulate that the same morals are within each human. You may say that your gods “stamped” this into our hearts, and genetic theory states that evolution did. For only those ancestors of humans that posessed this adaptation worked in social groups. Only those ancestors survived the evolutionary process to create decendents continued this social grouping that would eventually lead to modern humans. I don’t disagree with your end state, that humans have morals within them, but nor do I advocate any form of moral relativism within human society. within humanity, morals are absolute.

    2) Logic: Logic theory postulates that morality results from logic. Therefore, morality is as fixed a principle as the principals of logic. Where true is the opposite of false it is not moral for a human to lie to another, and it is not moral for a human to hurt another.

    Even If we postulate a solo existence, the idea that I am, that I feel, that I hurt, would bring me to understand that others are, and others feel, and others hurt. It is this third-person perspective that humans can have that logically creates a morality. The fact that we can see ourselves in an interaction, and see another interacting with us, and analogize our feelings and thoughts to another’s feelings and thoughts, is the mechanism by which logic results in morals. This logically results in a similar “do unto others” principle that your god advocates.

    As sure as two plus two is four, and as sure as:
    [If P, then Q]
    [P]
    [Q]
    Morals exist, immutably, in the human brain.

    Neither of these theories support moral relativism accross individual humans. I personnally take issue with anyone who thinks that atheist can only follow moral relativism, in fact the most painful criticism I faced from those I “came out” to as an atheist, was the fact they feared that I must have no moral compass without belief in gods or magic. This was made worse by the fact that most of those whom opined this were of the messianic religion variety, a special subset belief that I find particularly immoral.

    Being an atheist does not make one immoral, The list of mosters whom you correlated with atheism can likely be mirrored five times over with monsters similarly correlated with strong religious beliefs (likely a few popes would find their way onto this list as well). This list does not support the idea that athists are immoral, it only supports the idea that some humans can choose to ignore morals, and become monsters, regardless of their view of the source of those morals.

    -Q

  272. questioneverything Says:

    worship:
    One of the worst attributes of any religion, including Moa’s form of communism, is worship. The Idea of a one prostrating one’s self before an alter, a book, a magic direction, a mystic ideal, or another human is possibly the most damaging things one can do to one’s own psyche. This would be my main argumant against the god of the tora, koran, and old testament. Soooo….questions follow.

    Is this god insecure in its power? Can it not know what is in the hearts of its followers? Why would a good, repectful, nurturing, and all powerfull being demand the abject worship, the self humiliation, of its creations? Must we perform acts to prove our belief and love of a god that supposedly see into our hearts to read that content?

    why are we responsible for how this god treats us, if this god is omniscient and omnipotent while we are neither? How is it that we humans, having such limited knowledge and intellect compared to this god, are held responsible for not understanding what it understands? Does it seem fair that this god has the power to create us in such a way that we would recieve its gifts with no effort, or give us the understanding to know and follow its will, and yet does not, and then holds us humans responsible for mistakes resulting from the limited understanding and power it gave to us during creation? How is it that an almighty, all knowing god allowed his creation to commit the first sin, and so be to “unclean” to be in this gods presence?

    Sin:
    If this god is omniscient and omnipitent and creator of all, then did not this god create sin? If humans commit sin, how are they unclean? did this god not create the uncleanliness? Why can this god not stand the presence of its own creation then? Does sin exist outside of this god? If so, and this god is omnicient and omnipotent, then is this as this god wants it? Does the existence of sin, outside this god, not limit its power and knowledge? If this god has power over sin, why can it not erradicate it from a human in the afterlife? Does it choose not to? Does this not seem like some geat, sick, cosmic game?

    Messiah:
    The postulation of a messiah, a human/god hybrid, is an odd one. Why would a god choose to save a creation that it supposedly gave free will to? what function does a messiah serve, to make it easier for humans to choose? Did the god, at some point, suddenly realize that its rules were too strict, that it had to offer humanity a shortcut to receive its reward?

    How is it that the messiah can take a human’s sin? Is it moral for one being to take responsibility for anothers actions? Even against the will of the being who originally acted? How is free will supported by a god who would send a messiah to take responsiblity for all of humanity’s sins? Does this god not want humans to be responsible for their choices? Is a human who rejects the messiah and wishes to go to hell still beholden to the messiah for taking its sins, even when that human objected and wanted to take that sin for itself? Is it moral to be forced to be beholden to someone for doing you a favor that you did not ask for when that someone did not even ask if it was okay with you? What about if you object to the favor?

    Is it moral for someone to take responsibility for the sins of generations of people not even born, or of generations past who may have held strong beliefs in their own gods or magic? When the mormons perform posthumous baptism on jews killed in the Holocaust, is this acceptable to the jews? Would not this same moral terpitude and outrage extend to one who engineered his own death in the name of saving all of humanity from its sin, where one of the sins was believing in other faiths?

    Would it be normal to be offended if you found out that a human was subjecting himself to torture to “pay” for your sin of eating meat, when you don’t believe that eating meat is a sin? What if this messiah’s followers constantly contacted you, and sent you graphic images of the torture, reminding you that he was paying for your eating of meat, do you have a responsibility to stop eating meat? What if the local paper published the story about you and this messiah on the front page, and your community started to pressure you to stop eating meat, does this seem morally fair? Are you in any way responsible if this messiah dies through his choice to torture himself for your meat eating? Would it be moral for the police to arrest you and charge you with the messiah’s murder? Conspiracy to commit murder? Commision of an act that proximately caused the murder? Does the messiah’s action not seem an unfair imposition on another human? Does the messiah’s action not seem wholly immoral?

    Just wanted to stirr up some discussion.

    -Q

  273. Q:

    Yes it was an accident I signed your name, I was in a rush.

    “We can no more change our morals than a leapord can change its spots.”

    Of course this doesn’t hold, people I’ve known to be good citizens, and resisters off certain temptations give in. A few years later I see them and they have pictures of themselves doing things that are so not them. Do I agree some are sociopaths? Yes, its so out of character for us moral beings to do horrible things without thinking about their fellow man. The bottom line though is man has control what sort of morals they have and what sort of morals they don’t. I believe people can control their morals because I’ve seen it happen. If you don’t agree, interview my dad 20years ago, then interview him now.

    “You may say that your gods “stamped” this into our hearts”

    This could easily be morality that is in our genes and our mind. The Bible refers to believing with all your heart, and what it means is deep inside u, deep inside your being. Its not literally meant, where as you pull out a heart and there stamped upon it is a moral code. Evolution does nothing to disprove God, for God in his infinite wisdom could have used evolution to create man up to this point or the animals. So I have no issues with man evolving morals, in fact it would make sense if you read the story of Noah in Genesis. God had to flood the earth because man became so wicked. Its perfectly plausible that man developed morality, taking Noah’s genes which contained this morality gene. I’m not saying it happened like this, but I’m also not saying it didn’t.

    “Logic theory postulates that morality results from logic. Therefore, morality is as fixed a principle as the principals of logic.”

    I would agree to this.

    “Neither of these theories support moral relativism accross individual humans.”

    No they don’t promote objective morality either. It is clear man has a choice to lie, or not to lie. It is clear men have a choice to kill, or not to kill. These are merely “our concious” that tell us hey don’t do that, its wrong. However, without a supreme judge, it doesn’t matter if someone kills someone else. Your missing the philosophical point. I’m not saying atheists don’t have morals, or don’t agree with objective morality, of course they would! Who wouldn’t? (besides the evil men of this world). But look at the deeper meaning, What makes you sure that we have moral duties to other humans? Under atheism, we are just animals, and animals have no moral duties. You say that morals are determined, however, that still does little to show anything, what makes your pre-determined moral make up objectively valid? Also, what makes something right and something wrong? Just cause you say rape is wrong, there’s a prison full of people who obviously didn’t agree, that are not sociopaths and mentally ill.

    “Being an atheist does not make one immoral”

    I never said atheists are immoral. As I explained a few responses back, it makes sense that humans are moral, because we have morality stamped on us, we are moral agents.

    Brooks Robinson

  274. neil1689 Says:

    In response to Q, July 14, 2008 at 7:36 am:

    “Point 1: The biblical god; I am not only speaking to the christian or judeo viewpoint, so when I say gods and magic, I mean all religions and all faiths.”

    But when you are in dialogue with a Christian, Q, it’s illegitimate for you to lump all religions together when they have fundamentally different conceptions of deity. To refer, as you did earlier, to the judeo-christian-muslim-mormon-bahai god, is a dishonest equivocation if you know anything about comparative religion.

    “Point 2: Objective morals: you have missed the point of what I have stated. I do not advocate moral relativism. The moral code of man is not flexible to each individual man’s interpretation, it is fixed to and for all humans.”

    I never said you were a relativist, although I can see how someone may have thought so from your relative motion analogies. The problem is the lack of any moral grounding for your allegedly “moral” code. A fixed or inflexible convention is still a convention. You are smuggling in the morality from some other worldview.

    “An objective view of morality, and anything else, is unneccesary, and I know this because, logically, it is IMPOSSIBLE for any human to know anything objectively.”

    Which law of logic would be violated? Also, tell me, do you know objectively that you have this knowledge?

    “At the least, only a being that knows “everything all at once” and “everything that can or will happen” can know any objective thing, ….”

    That’s a keen observation with which I agree to a large extent. Such a being would have a primary knowledge of all things, relations and events, but then, as an independent observer, this being could correlate, substantiate and thus lend a derived objectivity to the experiences and observations of less knowing minds.

    “It is not simply that I am saying that I don’t have an objective view, I am saying I cannot, and you, Neil, cannot have an objective view of morality, no human being can.”

    But actually it’s unavoidable for you to have an objective view of some things, facts and relations. Will a head-on collision with a fast moving train kill you? Are you wearing socks right now? Are you sitting in a chair? Do people who dial your telephone number all dial the same number? Do people who visit you at home all come on to the same property? Who was the first president of the United States? Are you related to your parents?

    Do any of these questions have subjective answers? If not, then the objective answers derive ultimately from the objectivity of a transcendent All-Knower to whom you yourself opened the door. I posit that this Being also provides the grounding for objective morality.

    “This is the source of much of the ire that non-believers feel towards stalwart believers. I see your belief that YOU know the one objective truth, that YOU know what is right and what is wrong, for what it is, hubris.”

    But, to the extent that Christian believers have fallible, finite minds, we don’t have a claim on the “one objective truth”. Nor do we say that only we can know right from wrong. To say otherwise is to lapse into an error which, in response to DT, I went to some lengths to dispel.

    The Christian investment is in the revelation of One who does know all truth and is morally perfect by nature, and to whose holy will we become progressively attuned. Atheists, in contrast, are left groping in the dark to account for morality.

    Biblically speaking, it is the height of hubris for you to turn your back on God after he has spoken.

    “No one can know the universe objectively, yet we can say for certain what is immoral to and for humans based on the results of any act within a social group. No social group of humans made up of liars, murderers and rapists will function better than a group composed of truthful, moral and trusting humans.”

    All you are talking about is means and ends, smuggling in moral meanings from a worldview not your own. By the way, in a universe that cannot be known objectively, how is it possible to lie, or trust?

    “The human animal evolved to form social structures (meaning those gene-paths that did not form effective social structures did not survive to produce progeny) and the morality humans naturally formed did so as a necessity to successful social interaction.”

    On the evolutionary view, social structures are geared to the survival of the species, nothing more. The perceptions or mental processes of individuals are geared only to survival. Not morality. Not truth. Plenty of successful species have complex social interactions e.g. ants, bees, birds. On the evolutionary view, we can no more arrive at human morality than we can at ant morality.

    “Also, I am not imputing wrongdoing to any god, I don’t believe that the supposed divine actor exists to accuse.”

    But it is the habit of many atheists to accuse God, and necessarily they must premise that God exists for the duration of the accusation. Still, the criticism flounders by having no objective moral ground on which to stand.

    “My issue is with human actors, proponents of religion.”

    Still, the criticism flounders by having no objective moral ground on which to stand.

    “Once that fraud is exposed, then we can start the search anew for what is really going on in the universe (at least as far as we are able to understand, which, I grant, will always be limited).”

    A futile search if, as you said, it is “IMPOSSIBLE for any human to know anything objectively”.

    What alleged fraud in the Bible thwarts the search for truth?

    “Understand as well, I do not post assertions here that I do not want questioned, I very much want everything I say questioned.”

    Glad to help, but should I question that assertion?

    “The path to true discovery requires constant questioning.”

    But not the questioning of everything.

    “What I don’t like is when someone attacks me for questioning the existence of gods and magic.”

    I hope you don’t think anyone responding to you has done this. In the Christian worldview, the gods are non-entities and magic is a fraud.

    “If someone is limited by a non-questionable premise, …”

    I presuppose the Biblical God. That is open to questioning, but it has proved immune to all criticisms, provides a sufficient accounting for the world and the nature of man, is internally consistent, and provides grounding for scientific investigation. That’s not limiting, but expansive. Other worldviews prove to be fatally flawed, so it’s most rational to stick with my view.

    “I do have a belief, that the universe and causation follow logical precesses of some kind.”

    Logic is not causative in a physical sense. It comprises the rules of reasoning.

    “I have faith that mathematics is a successful tool in helping me to understand the universe. I have faith that true is the opposite of false, and that no conclusion can be true based on a false premise or premises.”

    Whereas I know these things for certain.

    “I believe in Logic as Neil and Brooksrobinson believe in their gods, and I know that may make me just as much as a faith believer as “gods and mystic based religion” faith believers.”

    Speaking for myself, I do not believe in “gods”. That’s a slander. Retract it.

    What kind of pitiful creature is a “faith believer”. What kind of deranged mind has faith as an object of belief?

    Your “rationalization” for belief in logic is basically that it’s been a useful tool. It’s interesting that you think you need to justify logic in some way, whereas most thinkers recognise it as an inescapable given. It is true, however, that there is no atheistic accounting for logic functioning in mere biological matter. A better explanation is needed – a logical Creator who made man with a logical mind is certainly a credible option.

    “Religion has been a part of Humans superstition, war, persecutions, justification of attracities by the divine, subjugation, racism, sexism, and bigotry.”

    None of which you can nail down as objectively wrong, remember.

    I don’t defend religion. I stand for Biblical truth which may be applied to condemn such religious abuses.

    “I may be wrong, but I don’t remember any mass murders in the name of Euclid, …”

    If deranged mathematicians began murdering in the name of Euclid, would that impugn mathematics, mathematicians, or Euclid?

    Biblically, Jesus Christ is impeccable and he calls his followers to be the same. Are you truly ignorant of this simple, well documented fact?

    In arguing against a professed Bible believing Christian, it is therefore a futile and scurrilous tactic to dredge up perceived religious wrongs. It comes off as a last gasp of emotional hysteria in response to an unassailable position.

  275. Q:

    “Is this god insecure in its power? ”
    People who believe will worship God without his demand. If he was insecure you and all the atheists, agnostics, pantheists, pagans, etc. etc. would be judged and destroyed. God desires our worship of him, because he desires our love for him. You worship your wife, you give her gifts, you present her with the finest jewelry you can afford, and you say shes the most beautiful person you know. Hebrews did that for God, for he led them out of Egypt (if you believe in such non-sense as I do ;-) ) he slayed the evil nations that were Israel’s enemies. He blessed them as a nation, and did many things for them. All he wanted back was them to worship him, as all the other gods were delusions and made by hands. But of course they failed.

    “Does it seem fair that this god has the power to create us in such a way that we would recieve its gifts with no effort, or give us the understanding to know and follow its will, and yet does not, and then holds us humans responsible for mistakes resulting from the limited understanding and power it gave to us during creation?”

    He has you’ve just rejected it saying its false logic (despite believing that the universe came from nothing and by nothing).

    “then did not this god create sin?”
    Sin is disobedience to God, the only thing God had with this is creating a choice for free willed beings.

    “Why can this god not stand the presence of its own creation then?”
    Its the opposite, an unclean sinful man cannot stand in the presence of God because of his nature.

    “If this god has power over sin, why can it not eradicate it from a human in the afterlife?”

    Sins hold was eradicated through Jesus. You just have to get the slate cleaned so to speak and believe and ask for forgiveness. As far as the afterlife, our bodies will be a new creation, perhaps something similar to how God is. The freedom to do whatever, but no sinful nature, thus not being able to sin.

    “The postulation of a messiah, a human/god hybrid, is an odd one.”
    The needing of a messiah is to atone for sin once and for all. Jesus had to be human to be subject under the law of Moses, and to fully live out this law fulfilling its requirements that no man could. He also had to be able to bear the weight of the punishment that is due to man as a result of sin. He had to be man because it was man who sinned, sin entered through one man (Adam) sin exits through one man(Jesus). He also had to live a lifestyle that his followers could attempt to follow.
    He had to be God because he needed to be perfect to fulfill the law to a T. He also had to be eternal to give an eternal payment to the debt of sin to cover all men. Man can only pay for their punishment and not of their fellow man’s punishment. He also had to be able to set a new religious standard for his future followers. Also those who claim belief in this Messiah could have a transformed life. Those are just some reasons for the Messiah being both man and God. You don’t have to accept or agree, but it falls under the atonement dogma that the Jews had to fulfill as well.

    “How is free will supported by a god who would send a messiah to take responsiblity for all of humanity’s sins?” God gives you a choice to believe or not. He allows for this to happen because some men (those who believe) truly want to live out a life for God. However do to the sinful nature its impossible for this 100% of the time. God requires a blood payment for this sin, a life for the sin, which is the punishment, sin=’s death. He decided to use pure lambs and such because if he used men, well there would be no human race left. So with Jesus being God and thus eternal, his payment of our sin covers all sins for all men.

    Too many questions. Some of them are ridicules as well no offense.

    Brooks Robinson

  276. questioneverything Says:

    Brooksrobinson:

    I thank you for the honest debate you engage in with me, we may disagree, but at least we are both open to philosophical investigation.

    Neil:
    I wish I could say the same thing here for you, but I have a problem with many of your assertions, here is a list of things you have said that trouble me. I will try not to take them out of context, but also I may be a bit of a pedant in my analysis.

    Neil:
    “To refer, as you did earlier, to the judeo-christian-muslim-mormon-bahai god, is a dishonest equivocation if you know anything about comparative religion.”
    –and–
    “I hope you don’t think anyone responding to you has done this. In the Christian worldview, the gods are non-entities and magic is a fraud.”
    –and–
    “Speaking for myself, I do not believe in “gods”. That’s a slander. Retract it.”

    whan I use the term gods and magic, I do mean to lump in the judeo-christian god and its magic along with all the world’s other gods. This is not dishonest, as I give no god a special place in my discussions (or at least try not to). Also, the judeo christian god shares a common ancestry with allah & the god of the bahai, as they all use the same old book to base their (old) testament from. I’m not trying to slander only christianity when I say this, I am trying to slander all religions equally :)

    Neil:
    “But actually it’s unavoidable for you to have an objective view of some things, facts and relations. Will a head-on collision with a fast moving train kill you?”

    –fast compared to whom, me? then that’s subjective. Kill me? I suppose that subjective to my current supposed consciousness, i will cease to be conscious, but as to death, I can only postulate, never experience it.–

    “Are you wearing socks right now?”

    –Socks only exist subjective to human brains for human feet, and wearing is a subjective term, How do I know the socks are not wearing me? What does right now mean, are you so sure time is linear and discreet? time could happen all at once, but our human brain only experiences it in linear.–

    “Are you sitting in a chair?”

    –I could say that I am co-located with a chair, which is descriptive of my and the chair’s relationship to eachother. However, sitting is a term for a posture of a human, so is subjective, as is chair, which is named by function, not by its aristotlein “chairness”–

    Do people who dial your telephone number all dial the same number? Do people who visit you at home all come on to the same property? Who was the first president of the United States? Are you related to your parents?”

    –Again, all subjective, all confusing our usage of convienient words for objective existential items. simply put, we say “chair” because its easier than expressing the full reference of the object ” assemblage of wood pieces cut crafted, and asembled by humans to attain a shape for comfortable supporting of a human against the force of gravity pulling said human toward the center of this planet.” even this is a poor and sparce approximation for a chair, but you get my point. Every question you have posed above encompasses a subjective relationship between one being and its surroundings. No objective situation has been described.

    Neil:
    “Which law of logic would be violated? Also, tell me, do you know objectively that you have this knowledge?”
    –and–
    “A futile search if, as you said, it is “IMPOSSIBLE for any human to know anything objectively”.

    If we suppose (and this implies a consistent logical system) that there are things outside of one’s experience, and then we suppose there is an objective measure to the universe, then this measure must include these unknown, unknowable things in order to be objective.

    Because they are unknown, and unknowable, one cannot ever have an objective view of the universe. So if you agree with me that humans have only limited knowledge of the universe, it logically follows that human’s cannot know any objective thing.

    I can only prove this within a consistant logic system, and that may be a fatal flaw. The universe may indeed not operate logically, but my tiny human brain can only see its bit of the universe and impose a logical framework over it. But there’s no sense talking about it because it is neither provable nor disprovable, so is an erroneous supposition.

    Neil:
    “Logic is not causative in a physical sense. It comprises the rules of reasoning.”

    You are absolutely correct here, I expressed that incorrectly. what I should have stated is that I believe that logic is an accurate representation of causation in the universe, that it can be an effective model to understand actual causation (if there is such a thing).

    Here’s the stuff that really scares me though,

    Neil:
    “Biblically speaking, it is the height of hubris for you to turn your back on God after he has spoken.”
    –and–
    “Whereas I know these things for certain.”

    This is the hubris from which I speak, logically, I can show that neither you nor I can know anything for certain. we could both be brains in vats of chemicals, with all our sensory organs hooked to a computer that feeds us all the sensory information we perceive (think matrix) and we could not ever know that this is so. Our knowledge is totally limited by our experience.

    all that is certain, is suspect

    I know its a catch 22, but there it is.

    -Q.

  277. questioneverything Says:

    Neil:

    “Biblically, Jesus Christ is impeccable and he calls his followers to be the same. Are you truly ignorant of this simple, well documented fact?

    In arguing against a professed Bible believing Christian, it is therefore a futile and scurrilous tactic to dredge up perceived religious wrongs. It comes off as a last gasp of emotional hysteria in response to an unassailable position.”

    I forgot to include this statement in the last post, again in response to the hubris issue.
    jesus of nazzereth is well-documented in the bible, okay, sure. other places, not so much. I am aware of christian assertions of their messiah’s impeccable nature, i just think they are incorrect. a man named jesus may have lived, and may have even claimed to be a messiah, but I do not believe he was, because I do not believe we need messiah-ing to begin with.

    I am not hysteric, I bring up religious wrongs precicely to show you that your position is not unassailable. No position is, including mine. Interestingly enough though, th fact that you laud the supposition of a god or messiah actually weakens your position. If your hypothesis is neither provable, nor disprovable; if it is not testable (unassailable), it is irrelevant, as the universe would operate the same with or without it. Occams razor cuts these gods and magics right out of the picture.

    -Q

  278. All,

    Been “listening in” to this conversation for quite some time. But the long posts are killing me. Any chance of being less verbose in your philosophical wranglings? :-)

    Q,

    Just curious, would you describe yourself as a deconstructionist? I’ve had people explain it to me, but you are the first person I’ve read that seems close to what is in my mind.

    Thanks

  279. neil1689 Says:

    Q,

    I hear you saying it’s okay for you to be sloppy and undiscriminating in lumping together diverse religious claims to suit a “one-size-fits-all” slander, but you get to dissect common sense questions or statements to the nth degree whenever it suits you.

    “fast compared to whom, me? then that’s subjective.”

    Yes, relative to you, as anyone else reading would have assumed. The train is capable of impressing upon you an objective mass and momentum. I don’t recommend verifying this through first hand experience.

    “Kill me?”

    You must be familiar with that change called death that many people seem to undergo without having to experience it yourself.

    Etc., etc.. The point I get from your long winded definition of “chair”, which could in turn be scrutinised word for word with no stopping point on down the line, is that you find it selectively convenient to hide in a sea of linguistic incoherence where no real communication is possible and not even your own scepticism could be meaningfully formulated.

    “Because they are unknown, and unknowable, one cannot ever have an objective view of the universe. So if you agree with me that humans have only limited knowledge of the universe, it logically follows that human’s cannot know any objective thing.

    I can only prove this within a consistant logic system, and that may be a fatal flaw.”

    You haven’t explained how unknowns are necessarily unknowable. You haven’t shown logically why the existence of unknowables would imply the impossiblity of objective knowledge – why I can’t know particular things without everything being knowable. I ask again, what *law of logic* would prevent this? Or do you have your own subjective version of “logic”?

    “what I should have stated is that I believe that logic is an accurate representation of causation in the universe, that it can be an effective model to understand actual causation (if there is such a thing).”

    I’ll try again. Logic has to do with inferential thinking. If the nature of causation were to change, logic would be unaffected.

    You say it is scary hubris for me to say, “Biblically speaking, it is the height of hubris for you to turn your back on God after he has spoken.”

    The first two words, “Biblically speaking”, are all important. It turns the statement into simple reportage, not hubris. I’m reporting, not posturing. Or is it your position that the Bible says it’s just fine for it’s chief protagonist to be ignored?

    You say it is scary hubris for me to say, “Whereas I know these things for certain.” But these were things you said you had faith in – the success of mathematics in deciphering the universe, the opposition of true and false, etc.. Not so scary. Being certain of these things would generally be considered to lie within the bounds of mental health.

    “This is the hubris from which I speak, logically, I can show that neither you nor I can know anything for certain.”

    If you could succeed in this, it would stand as certain knowledge. Why can’t you acknowledge the self-refuting status of many of your statements?

    Even if I was a brain in a vat I would still have certain knowledge, e.g., “I think”, “I feel”, “I am”.

    “I am not hysteric, I bring up religious wrongs precicely to show you that your position is not unassailable.”

    But “religious wrongs” are not logically entailed by the belief system. How can you dispute that? It’s not an intellectually honest move, so in what are you engaging?

    “If your hypothesis is neither provable, nor disprovable; if it is not testable (unassailable), …”

    Unassailability does not equate to non-testability. Christianity could be disproven if it could be shown not to correspond to reality or to be internally inconsistent. It passes these tests with flying colours. Since it has been unassailable to date in practice, I express a well justified confidence in its unassailable in principle.

    “if it is not testable (unassailable), it is irrelevant, as the universe would operate the same with or without it.”

    Suppose you were a brain in a vat with no way of putting this to the test. The vat could be overturned and its contents destroyed. That would not be irrelevant for your universe.

    Biblically speaking, (again, those two words are important to notice), God sustains all things including all physical laws. It this ceased to obtain, it would not be irrelevant for that universe.

    “Occams razor cuts these gods and magics right out of the picture.”

    I don’t mind if you cut out “gods and magics”. But Occam’s razor is an heuristic tool, not an inviolable stricture on how things are to be explained.

  280. Sometimes I can neglect my blog for a week and come back to find that I’ve received only a handful of comments, and other times I take off for a few days and blamo, a flood of comments and new visitors.

    FIRST, for anyone who was offended/put-off by WHITEDEVIL’s crude and completely counterproductive comment(s), I apologize. However, I refuse to censor anyone who chooses to leave a comment on my site no matter how ugly their language or what side of the argument they stand on. I would like to know, William (WHITEDEVIL), why you suddenly decided to change your user name and start leaving these uncharacteristic comments? And only four minutes after asking for my opinion regarding the Pentecostal sect of Christianity and the act of speaking in ‘tongues’. What happened?

    Well, if you’re still interested, I was raised mostly in the Pentecostal church. I was a born again Christian. Baptized. The whole deal. And, yes, on numerous occasions I witnessed people speaking in tongues (it seems you can’t attend a Pentecostal service and not have someone begin babbling nearby). For those who don’t know, the Pentecostal movement is an America born sect of Christianity which gets its inspiration from the depiction of the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. It began about a hundred years ago when a former Methodist pastor gathered a group of “students” and began to teach them how to speak in tongues. They used these incredible displays of spiritual gibberish (AKA – Glossolalia) to recruit new members. But it wasn’t until an African-American preacher in Los Angeles joined up with the flamboyant tongue speakers during the “Azusa Street Revival” in L.A. in 1906 that the Pentecostal Movement really got going. It’s now considered by many to be the fastest growing sect of Christianity (although I’m sure there are many other Christians who would claim that boast for their sects as well). It also has probably one of the most energetic and expressive church services you could hope to attend, besides Baptists, of course. In the 1980s the Evangelicals became the newest off-shoot of Pentecostal Christianity. They will not be the last. Even the impressively unifying nature of the Pentecostals won’t be enough to unite Christianity. It only continues to divide, fragment and splinter apart.

    As for the act of speaking in tongues, it is, of course, completely fraudulent. It’s just one more way for an individual to draw attention to themselves, to flex some spiritual muscle as it were, or to continue to delude themselves into believing that they are having a spiritual experience. You can find ample evidence of this online as the faithful continue to videotape these acts in an attempt to impress the faithful and lure the gullible. And as a result their numerous deceptions, flubs, misquotes and blunders have been captured for the world to see. And let’s not forget that before the feminist movement you would almost never see a woman speaking in tongues. Why? Because according to Paul, this was expressly forbidden. But post feminism, you can’t go a Sunday without seeing a woman begin to babble nonsense during a Pentecostal service. Understand I’m not dissing Feminism, just attempting to point out how societal evolution ALWAYS influence religious evolution.

    Here are a few great links that anyone with a high regard for the Pentecostal movement or a belief in Holy Spirit Babbling should visit:

    http://www.bible.ca/tongues-ceased-perfect-come-intro.htm

    http://www.bible.ca/su-tongues-today.htm

    http://www.bible.ca/tongues-audio-video-documentation.htm

    —————————————–

    Mike,

    Good point about subjectivity and interpretation, education and cultural indoctrination’s influence on a person’s religious beliefs. And going through one’s life clinging to a static set of beliefs while refusing to allow your mind to grow and flourish with the accumulation of new knowledge isn’t something I can do either. And I also marvel at the idea of what would happen if humanity as a whole could focus on peace instead of how one person’s god is better (more real) than another’s. Thanks for stopping by and keep checking back.

    ——————————————

    Brooksrobinson,

    Again with the claim that you disputed my issue of Chrstianity’s mythological origins. I suggest you pick a more accurate adjective. You see, too many people equate the words dispute and its synonym disprove, something you didn’t even come close to doing. All you did was disagree with my position. And you disagree with only a few of the many comparisons I make in the full article, which can be found here:

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/the-mythological-origins-of-christianity-pt-1-of-3/

    And, I’m sorry, but I have trouble respecting anyone who holds that the biblical flood has any basis in reality. Again I direct you to another of my posts:

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/the-fallacy-of-the-flood-noah%e2%80%99s-ark/

    Questioneverything said – “Faith or Hope has a place, directed at our fellow human beings. The ability we have to hope, to trust is actuall a very important evolutionary skill for humans,”

    You replied with – “Yet every human will be let down by their fellow man more then once in their lifetime. Some, more often then not.”

    I bet you know where I’m going with this. Which are you more likely to be let down by: a god or a human? Considering how often one of the thousands of gods mankind has worshiped over the year has come through for him, specifically – never-ever, not even once, I think the answer is rather obvious.

    You said – “I don’t claim the church of the Middle Ages true Christians. For they did not live out the teachings of Christ.”

    Another perfect example of modern Christians arrogantly believing that THEY are the real Christians. I wish there was a definitive definition of what a ‘true’ Christian is, because every division of Christianity seems to believe that they are it. And I imagine that in five hundred years what will then be considered a modern Christian will look back at your sect and marvel at how way off you were. And yet they will be as wrong as all who came before.

    My words, quoted by questioneverything — “I’ve grown weary of reminding them that I don’t believe in the truth of the bible so offering some passage in the good book as ‘evidence’ is meaningless.”

    Your response – “What DT does is use this to his advantage. Many of his entries deal with “contradictions” in the Bible or issues he has with the Bible. So what he does, so people cannot answer these questions, is say you cannot use the Bible, I only accept outside answers. However many issues with arise with that sort of criticism, especially when the answer is found in the Bible, because DT failed to read the next set of verses of the previous set.”

    I’ve addressed this before, but will repeat my position here as you insist on misrepresenting what I have said. I’m in no way attempting to prevent people from being able to answer the questions or accusations I put forth. I’m attempting to get them to answer honestly. I am simply trying to discourage the standard, knee-jerk, I believe/think/feel this way because some bit of scripture says this is the way it is or because my pastor/preacher/church leader interpreted a particular scripture to mean this. I discourage “because the Bible tells me so” regurgitations. As for the many contradictions I cite from the bible, as well as the examples of an ugly God and Jesus, YOU assert that the passages that followed or came before somehow alter the meaning of these passages. First, I am well aware of the passages that precede and follow these offending ones. Now can you please offer some examples of the ones I list on this site that magically change their meaning when you read what came before or after. Because as much as you assert that this is the case, I fail to see how Jesus saying “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is not meet to take the children’s (Jews) bread and to cast it to dogs (Gentiles)” (Matt. 15: 24-26 (KJV)) in response to a Gentile woman begging for him to heal her sick child, regardless of the fact that he eventually relents, alters the ugliness of his response/attitude. But then you could also just read questioneverything’s response to your comment as he once again puts it better than I could.

    ————————————————

    Speaking of whom.

    Questioneverything,

    Welcome.

    I truly envy your ability to argue your position. You put my rather pedestrian efforts to shame. And let me clarify something for you, I HATE referring to myself as an Atheist. Your points regarding the limitations of this word are entirely accurate. In fact, I wrote an entire article addressing the failings of not just this label but ALL labels to define us. You can find it here – http://www.pathofreason.com/#/articles/4525423898 . I think if you read it you will find we are actually on the same page regarding this matter. The reason I use it at all is rather simple; it provokes the assumption that I am not a believer in gods. I did not intend to suggest that it is the opposite of Christianity (or ANY specific religion or god). Perhaps because that is the religion I came from it came across that way. To accurately describe my beliefs regarding gods, religions, the Theory of Evolution, the origins of life, the Big Bang Theory, abortion, etc. would require way too many words. And if, like you, I were to use the perhaps more accurate title, anti-mystic, I fear almost all commentators on my site would start with a request to define what exactly that means. At least with Atheist people can assume they know what I am, even though their definition is always inaccurate.

    Your username (your tenet), question everything, is an admirable and advisable one. I applaud you for it. I only wish everyone understood what a healthy and helpful principle that is. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here, nothing that is true ever has anything to fear from a little scrutiny. That is what I find so disturbing about religion; the almost universal discouragement to ever question ANYTHING one’s religion teaches them.

    I also love your point that answering the unknown with ‘god did it’ or ‘it was magic’ only serves as “a way of ending an information pathway.” When a god worshiper stops looking for answers because they are satisfied with the comforting explanation that their god is the reason, that is when humanity stagnates. It is undeniable that it is the seeking of knowledge, the desire to understand the unknown, the search for answers that has led mankind to reach the heights we have but it’s also mankind’s habit of INVENTING the fantastic and fanciful (gods, miracles, etc.) to explain the unexplainable that has led us to countless genocides, wars, murder, slaughter, rape, child abuse, mutilation, repression, racism, etc. The greatest tragedy in the history of our species was the first time primitive man encountered something they didn’t understand or feared and invented a god story to comfort themselves.

    Questioneverything’s words – “The choice to stop questioning and simply accept what someone tells you is quite possibly the most dangeous thing one human can do, no matter how comforting it is.”

    Perfectly put.

    Questioneverything said – “Our minds will see an ink-blot and find a maple leaf, a deer antler, a monster, or Ghandi’s face. But those images are not in the ink-blot, they are within our minds. The mind projects the image into itself, giving a pattern of ink shade meaning. letters on a page are just squiggles, our mind makes them words in itself. Language is just wind accross meat, yet our mind gives it inflection, tone, and emotive power. A flower is just an assemblage of plant cells, the beauty we find there is actually from within us. And so it goes with the sum total collection of our experience as living, reasoning beings. we observe our surroundings happening, the actions of other, our own actions, and our mind tries to perform the same trick, enforce the same template. we see meaning in the world around us, but that meaning comes from our mind.”

    Beautiful. The truth is EVERYTHING comes from our minds. We don’t see with our eyes but with our minds. We don’t taste with our tongues but with our minds. We don’t feel with our skin but with our minds. We don’t smell with our noses but with our minds. Christians often put forward the idea that it is the complexities of life, specifically our human bodies, that proves the existence of God and that he created us. But in reality it is these complexities, and specifically the UNNECESSARY complexities, that disproves the existence of God and proves that no perfect god made us. I’m not sure of the term for this is but the philosophy is something like the MORE complex a thing is, the LESS likely that there is a creator. The idea is that all things can be simplified or are capable of a more simple design. A perfect god would not create something so unnecessarily complex.

    I’m not going to continue to cite your statements but just know that I am thoroughly enjoying reading your comments (loved your questions regarding Worship, the Messiah, Sin. I’m considering adding them to my post – http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/christians-%e2%80%93-an-atheist-is-seeking-answers-can-you-supply-any/), and am very glad to have your voice added to the discussion.

    ——————————————–

    Sirius,

    Again you claim to have proven that I am wrong about there being MANY contradictions in the bible when you have done no such thing. You’re the perfect example of why I discourage Christians from simply regurgitating comforting dogma as ‘proof’. On your own site you argue against the theory that Jesus never died on the cross, that he was still alive when removed (therefore no miraculous resurrection), by repeating the ‘facts’ of the crucifixion as depicted in the bible (flogging, nails through hands and wrists, position on cross, side pierced by spear producing water and blood, Pilate mentioning his death, etc.). You do the same when arguing against the Jesus never rose from the dead (body was stolen) theory. Again you offer only scriptural support for you argument. A hundred more examples can be found on your site. Now I understand that you are an Orthodox Christian and believe the bible to be 100% factual but you’ve yet to do anything but prove that you believe in the bible. Not that the stories contained in it have any basis in reality. You continue to willfully see evidence where none exists and offer ‘proofs’ consisting only of orthodox dogma.

    You see, Sirius, I’m not afraid of honest inquiry as you assert, I demand it. You just offer none.

    ——————————————-

    Neil1689,

    Please stop telling me what Christians do or don’t feel or are or aren’t trying to say. You can speak for yourself and YOUR concept of Christianity, you can not speak for all Christians. Christianity is much too divided for any one sect to claim to speak for all the others. Any position you take on Heaven, the soul, the age of accountability, the nature of Hell, etc. you are guaranteed to find millions of people, who also label themselves Christians, who would disagree with you.

    You shout – “IT IS NOT THE CHRISTIAN POSITION THAT ATHEISTS CAN’T BE MORAL OR UNDERSTAND MORALITY.”

    Maybe it’s not YOURS, Neil, but just from reviewing a number of comments left on this site, clearly there are plenty of Christians who do feel that Christianity owns the rights to morality.

    And you said – “For all the atheist’s moral sense, however, he can’t give an objective accounting of it. The atheist denies himself access to any absolute categories of moral right and wrong, and so is denied any right to lob moral accusations against the God of the Bible.”

    You were referencing my regular accusations that the God depicted in the bible is evil/vile/bloodthirsty/sexist/racist/etc. You are suggesting that I don’t possess a moral sense to judge your God. Neil, how could you have not understood that my judgment of your God is based entirely on Christian morality? Based on Christian moral standards the God depicted in the bible is a monster. Now if you are suggesting that only God has the moral authority to judge God, and THAT is why we silly humans (Christian or otherwise) can’t judge him, fine, I will concede to your logic. IF you can prove that YOUR concept of a god, that YOUR concept of Christianity, that YOUR version of the bible, is infallible, undeniable truth. Otherwise your argument is meaningless to anyone who doesn’t already believe as you do. An Atheist has the right to judge your god just as you have the right to judge the Hindu god(s), the Aztec god(s), the Greek god(s). All gods are man made works of fiction and therefore mankind has the right to judge his own creation.

    You said – “I presuppose the Biblical God. That is open to questioning, but it has proved immune to all criticisms, provides a sufficient accounting for the world and the nature of man, is internally consistent, and provides grounding for scientific investigation. That’s not limiting, but expansive. Other worldviews prove to be fatally flawed, so it’s most rational to stick with my view.”

    Again with this willful assertion that has no basis in reality. This is your opinion (Immune! Consistent!) based on YOUR concept of Christianity, shaped by your bias.

    You said – “a logical Creator who made man with a logical mind is certainly a credible option.”

    Again your definition for words (immune, impeccable, consistent, credible, fact) is entirely your own.

    And perhaps I should have clarified this earlier but I can’t seem to get my comments to show bold or italics to help emphasize certain words. So the only option I have is to use CAPS. I am not shouting when I do so. I apologize if it came across this way.

    —————————————

    Hazel (psychogoddess),

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m not sure that I understand how one separates faith and religion. Perhaps you could expound on that part? I’m not what you’d call an expert blogger so I messed around a little bit and think I got the RSS feed thing up on my site. If someone can let me know if it’s doing what it’s supposed to, that would be great.

    ————————————

    All:

    I have been quite busy as of late and I’m sure I missed a lot but I hope everyone will continue to add their voices to the debate whether I’m able to add my two cents to it or not. And I would like to counter Michael’s suggestion that the commentators censor themselves or stifle their comments. Please continue to spew to your heart’s content. Sometimes it takes a rambling tongue (or in this case blurring fingers) to get one’s thoughts out. I know it can be a chore to get through it all but skip what you can’t read, don’t discourage a thorough and comprehensive discussion.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  281. Doubting Thomas,

    You said, “And I would like to counter Michael’s suggestion that the commentators censor themselves or stifle their comments.”

    First, I never said “censor” nor “stifle.” I said “any chance of being less verbose.” I have no desire to stifle debate nor censor views. I am just asking for a little self-editing before posting to make sure you haven’t said the same thing twice or stated in a paragraph what could be stated in a sentence.

    Second, did you notice the smiley after that comment? Calls for censorship are usually followed by large rubber stamps with red ink, not cute yellow smileys.

    Thanks,

    Michael

  282. questioneverything Says:

    Michael stated:

    “Just curious, would you describe yourself as a deconstructionist? I’ve had people explain it to me, but you are the first person I’ve read that seems close to what is in my mind.”

    And, Neil stated:

    “you find it selectively convenient to hide in a sea of linguistic incoherence where no real communication is possible and not even your own scepticism could be meaningfully formulated.”

    —I don’t often get to answer two questions with one concept (woohoo!). Neil, for all the points that I disagree with you on, I will say one thing, you don’t seem stupid. That being said, a sea of linguistic incoherence does not make communication impossible, in fact, it’s what we operate in all the time. Michael raised the point of deconstructionism, and I have somewhat parellel views with this school, but more with its precurser, Husserl. Essentially, in all communication there seems to be a “gist” of the communication that one human is trying to get across to the other. Spoken and written words are imperfect communicators of this gist, and one can never be totally certain he has gotten the gist of something from someone else, but continued communication around the gist will help one feel more secure in this. The gist is also subjective to the paople involved, and two people can feel they have the same gist as they understand it, but if one could conceptualize the gist objectively (which I don’t think is possible) one may find that everyone has a slightly diffferent gist.

    Soooo…Neil, when I’m attacking your use of simple sentences you intend to demonstrate simple objectivity, I do so to show you their complete lack of objectivity. Every sentence you presented was a discussion of a relative relationship between two subjective concepts. I know you have found your solid, immovable, and objective point in the universe, your god. I just don’t think its real.—

    “You haven’t shown logically why the existence of unknowables would imply the impossiblity of objective knowledge”

    —From Merriam-Webster: Objective
    ob•jec•tive, \əb-ˈjek-tiv, äb-\ adjective
    : relating to or existing as an object of thought without consideration of independent existence —used chiefly in medieval philosophy b: of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers : having reality independent of the mind <our reveries…are significantly and repeatedly shaped by our transactions with the objective world

    if there is a set of knowledge [K] that is outside human knowledge [h], then “not human knowledge” [~h] exists as a subset of knowledge [K].
    If objective knowledge [o] must have reality independent (outside of) of human knowledge (as defined) then [o] is a subset of [~h], or objective knowledge is outside of human knowledge. Sooo…

    If [o], then [~h]
    [h]
    so…[~o]

    In other words, if you have human knowledge [h], logically you cannot have objective knowledge [o], because this would necessitate not human knowledge [~h]. in any consistent logic system, [h and ~h] cannot both be posed, as no premise and its opposite can result from the same proof. This is logically inconsistent.—

    “I’ll try again. Logic has to do with inferential thinking. If the nature of causation were to change, logic would be unaffected.”

    –well, logic is about deduction, and yes, inferrences are necessary, but I suspect that if the very nature of causation changed, human thought would probably change as well, and our understanding of logic would change (but I wonder if we would notice? If the entire universe is constantly expanding and contracting like a rubber sheet, and we are on that rubber sheet, and contract and expand in exact proportion to the universe, how could we tell it was happening?)—

    “The first two words, “Biblically speaking”, are all important. It turns the statement into simple reportage, not hubris. I’m reporting, not posturing.”

    —I stand corrected, this does boil down to a report, so instead of criticizing your hubris, I’ll criticize every christian’s hubris, that is fine with me ;p —

    “You say it is scary hubris for me to say, “Whereas I know these things for certain.” But these were things you said you had faith in – the success of mathematics in deciphering the universe, the opposition of true and false, etc.. Not so scary. Being certain of these things would generally be considered to lie within the bounds of mental health.”

    —fair enough, and point taken. You are right I probably have hubris in my belief that logic is the relatively correct way for humans to think about our relationship with the universe. However, see below for more on this.—

    “This is the hubris from which I speak, logically, I can show that neither you nor I can know anything for certain.”—see above—“If you could succeed in this, it would stand as certain knowledge.”

    —well…..certain within the relationship of the human mind to whatever is causing the experiences within it, if not itself. A logical result is not a certain result, it is just logical, as opposed to illogical. This is a tautology, I know, but its all I can get to with logic. Logic does not speak on what is, or is not, exactly. Logic only speaks as to what is consistent or inconsistent, tautological, or contradictory.

    I think this is a cause of the friction you and I feel when we are discussing these things. Religion tends to speak from absolutes (god is, the universe is, etc…). logic speaks from relationships within a system. While religion asserts things objectively, logic only asserts thing subjectively. I do rankle at your use of absolutes, just as you are annoyed by my constant hedging with subjective language, and I know it makes me hard to pin down, but that’s because I feel I can only make assertion about relationships, not objective things.—

    “But “religious wrongs” are not logically entailed by the belief system. How can you dispute that? It’s not an intellectually honest move, so in what are you engaging?”

    —If you hold the belief system as encompassed only by the book, then you may be correct, but I lump the churches and the historic actions of the “majority” of followers into the belief system. Before the lutheran revolution, I think most, if not all christians were considered catholic (there may have been some eastern orthodoxy going on too, I don’t know the whole history) so I feel comfortable lumping the crusades in as part of the belief system. If you reject that, you are speaking for you and your personnal belief, not for all christians throughout the history of christianity. (you can’t speak for dead people) Religions wrongs, okay maybe not the right words, but moral wrongs….oh yes! Theft of Moorish lands, rape and pillage of the middle-east, and lets not forget the destruction of any history found there that would contradict the papacy.—

    “Unassailability does not equate to non-testability. Christianity could be disproven if it could be shown not to correspond to reality or to be internally inconsistent. It passes these tests with flying colours. Since it has been unassailable to date in practice, I express a well justified confidence in its unassailable in principle.”

    —Your own statement proves my point. To assail the proposition of god would be to test that proposition, and since you agree that “it has been unassailable to date in practice” it has not been tested, and (so far) is not testable. The idea of a god is not disprovable, because it cannot be tested. In science, we have a very special word for this type of untestable hypothesis, we call this bullshit.

    There is no evidence for god, but no way to disprove that god is hiding all evidence of itself with its “god magic” (rods into snakes, really? is that all you’ve got?). Internally inconsistent? Why yes, that’s been shown, over and over again, but believers refuse to accept the proof of this. For what I understand to be a very articulate, and very intelligent person, Neil, IMO you have a huge intellectual blind spot when it comes to your god.–

    “Suppose you were a brain in a vat with no way of putting this to the test. The vat could be overturned and its contents destroyed. That would not be irrelevant for your universe.”

    –well…the vat overturned would be irrelevent, from my perspective it would just be “lights out!” remember, in my universe I am not even aware of the vat or things in reference to the vat. The destruction of the vat would end my universe, so all relevence to me would end with it. I know this is a tricky concept, and I am not totally sure of my consistency on this ground, but I bring it up anyway as another way to express that all knowledge that we have is subjective to our relationship with the universe, and none can be objective. Even if you believe that god’s word is the subjective truth, you must admit you cannot know this objective truth, you can only know this truth relative to your relationship with your god. So your knowledge of the objective is subjective. (and istanbul is constantinople)—

    -DT, thanks for the kind words, I love discussing this stuff, as it makes me sharper in my own thoughts. Youre forge has been a wonderful place to temper my mind so far. Thanks for making this site.

    -Q

  283. questioneverything Says:

    For all those who say my posts are too long, here’s a short one!

    -Finis!

    -Q

  284. Q,

    Thanks for the reply. Your gist and my gist are probably not too far off, as far as I can understand your gist, that is. :-)

    Michael

  285. neil1689 Says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Your caps had a negative impression on me, but I accept your explanation. To show text in bold you enclose it in tags, as follows. Type (without the commas):

    left angle bracket, b, right angle bracket, your text, left angle bracket, /, b, right angle bracket

    I had to name the brackets as they don’t show up if I type them. For italics, use “i” instead of “b”.

    To put it politely, it’s curious how you could quote me twice saying that atheists have a moral sense, and then immediately claim,

    “You are suggesting that I don’t possess a moral sense to judge your God.”

    You even acknowledged my statement that this was not the Christian position by saying,

    “Maybe it’s not YOURS, Neil, but just from reviewing a number of comments left on this site, clearly there are plenty of Christians who do feel that Christianity owns the rights to morality.”

    Again, this is curious. I haven’t read all your pages, but I can’t say this has been clear to me. Maybe you could provide a good example. In fact, please do.

    Did you happen to notice that in my comment of July 11, 2008 at 3:46 am, I documented how you were misunderstanding a previous commenter (another Neil) on precisely this issue? He cited Rom. 1-3 as evidence of the position in question, while I more specifically cited Rom. 2:14-16.

    I actually take your point about saying the Christian position is this or that. There is certainly diversity in Christianity and many aberrant interpretations from which I would distance myself. So in future, if I need to, I will say that my position is the Biblical position. Not that I claim to be an infallible interpreter of the Bible or that everything in the Bible is plain, but the important things are plain enough, and there I stand.

    By the way, thanks for giving us more of your background. I kind of figured from some previous comments that you’d come from Pentecostalism, which, if I may say so, is prone to some unbiblical excesses, (e.g. the current wackiness going on in Lakeland, Florida).

    You continue:

    “Neil, how could you have not understood that my judgment of your God is based entirely on Christian morality? Based on Christian moral standards the God depicted in the bible is a monster.”

    I think this demonstrates an approach of internal critique (which I talked about in my comment of July 10, 2008 at 4:40 am, although back then I expressed the view that you seemed to prefer external critique).

    “Now if you are suggesting that only God has the moral authority to judge God, and THAT is why we silly humans (Christian or otherwise) can’t judge him, fine, I will concede to your logic.”

    Biblically speaking, humans can’t judge God. So if you are making an internal critique, you must concede defeat. Your further conditions –

    “IF you can prove that YOUR concept of a god, that YOUR concept of Christianity, that YOUR version of the bible, is infallible, undeniable truth.”

    – are not relevant if your critique is internal, for an internal critique necessarily presupposes the truth of the Bible, and the Bible plainly puts God’s judgment over man’s, e.g. Psa. 75:7; Ecc. 12:13-14. (Further contextualisation could be given in the case of any particular judgment.)

    As if you realise that an internal critique is hopeless for you to pursue, you continue,

    “Otherwise your argument is meaningless to anyone who doesn’t already believe as you do. An Atheist has the right to judge your god…”

    – which would amount to an external critique. I ask in this case how an atheist justifies the grounds – i.e. gives an account for his morality – for such a critique, and remind you, Thomas, that you have already disqualified yourself:

    doubtingthomas426 Says:
    January 17, 2008 at 2:39 am

    ….
    I do not believe in good and evil. I DO use the words good and evil to describe the behaviors of man but these are simply dramatic ways to declare approval and disapproval of another’s conduct.

  286. questioneverything Says:

    Here’s a classic paradox to discuss:

    Assuming a monotheistic religion, must a god be omniscient and omnipotent?

    If your answer is yes, then there is a big problem, omniscience and ompnipotency are {b}mutually exclusive !{/b}

    If this god is {i}omniscient{/i}, then it must know with {b}objective certainty{/b}, what will happen at any given point in time, and what has happened in the past, but this certain knowledge requires that this does not {i}change{/i}, that god is never {i}surprised{/i} by anything that happens.

    If this god is omnipotent, then it must be allowed the power to {i}change{/i} anything in the present, future, or past, whenever it wishes. This god must be allowed to surprise {i}itself{/i}, or else it is not omnipotenet.

    So if the god is omniscient, {i}m{/i} then the world is objectively knowable by the god, and the god cannot be surprised, {i}~s{/i}.

    if {i}m{/i}, then {i}~s{/i}.

    If the god is omnipotent {i}p{/i}, it must be allowed to do anything, including surprise itself {i}s{/i}.

    if {i}p{/i}, then {i}s{/i}.

    soo…
    if the god is omniscient and omnipotenet

    {i}m{/i} and {i}p{/i}.

    then a contradiction results

    if {i}m{/i} and {i}p{/i}, then {i}s{/i} and {i}~s{/i}.

    we know that ~[ {i}s{/i} and {i}~s{/i} ], so we know

    ~[ {i}m{/i} and {i}p{/i} ],

    or, the god cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent. Cew on that for a bit.

    -Q

  287. questioneverything Says:

    I LOVE IT WHEN UNICODE ISN’T

    Here’s a classic paradox to discuss:

    Assuming a monotheistic religion, must a god be omniscient and omnipotent?

    If your answer is yes, then there is a big problem, omniscience and ompnipotency are mutually exclusive !

    If this god is omniscient, then it must know with objective certainty, what will happen at any given point in time, and what has happened in the past, but this certain knowledge requires that this does not change, that god is never surprised by anything that happens.

    If this god is omnipotent, then it must be allowed the power to change anything in the present, future, or past, whenever it wishes. This god must be allowed to surprise itself, or else it is not omnipotenet.

    So if the god is omniscient, m then the world is objectively knowable by the god, and the god cannot be surprised, ~s.

    if m, then ~s.

    If the god is omnipotent p, it must be allowed to do anything, including surprise itself s.

    if p, then s.

    soo…
    if the god is omniscient and omnipotenet

    m and p.

    then a contradiction results

    if m and p, then s and ~s.

    we know that ~[ s and ~s ], so we know

    ~[ m and p ],

    or, the god cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent. Cew on that for a bit.

    -Q

  288. Q,

    I don’t follow that omnipotent = power to surprise oneself.

    Michael

  289. questioneverything Says:

    Michael:

    Omnipotent = all-powerful = power to anything that one wants to do.

    so if the god can know and predict every action it could choose to perform, and predict which action it would take, with 100% accuracy, it’s power to do things would be limited by what it knows, predicts, etc. Meaning the omniscient god could never be surprised, even by itself.

    a god that cannot surprise itself, has a limit to its power, therfore it is not all powerful, not omnipotent.

    -Q

  290. Q:

    “a god that cannot surprise itself, has a limit to its power, therfore it is not all powerful, not omnipotent.”

    An omnipotent God already has limit to its power, for instance, it cannot create a rock bigger then it can lift. God cannot do evil because it is against his nature. So there’s already limiting factors to his “power” even though he’s “omnipotent.” Perhaps he does get surprised, I know i can be surprised on things that I even knew were going to happen (after a mental preparation). The bottom line is this, WE as humans have no idea what its like to be an omnipotent being. So to make this ridicules claim and mold that must be fit, that God can’t be surprised, or God can’t do this, how could we? Those who say God cannot be surprised cause he’s omnipotent or he can’t do this so he’s not omnipotent, is just the same as those who say hurricanes, volcano’s, tidal waves, etc. etc. are divine judgment. We don’t know (unless God of course tells someone). So creating this schema of omnipotence without experience, or without God saying this is what he can and can’t do, is just creating our own schema.

  291. neil1689 Says:

    Q,

    I’ve not yet read your latest comments, but here’s some response to your last comments to me.

    Thanks for the “proof”.

    “if there is a set of knowledge [K] that is outside human knowledge [h], then “not human knowledge” [~h] exists as a subset of knowledge [K].”

    Your are exactly wrong. If [K] is outside [h] then by definition it is a subset of [~h]. It doesn’t matter, however, as you don’t refer to [K] again.

    Your second step begs the question by misreading the relevant dictionary definition. “Objective” meant “independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers : having reality independent of the mind”, i.e. not dependent on any particular mind, and in fact perceptible by all. Thus, definitely not required to be outside human knowledge. Independence does not imply outside-ness, and so it is not the case that (if [o] then [~h]).

    Most glaringly, none of the argument was premised on the existence of unknowables. ([~h] is the unknown, not the unknowable.)

    “…I suspect that if the very nature of causation changed, human thought would probably change as well, and our understanding of logic would change…”

    Maybe, but logic itself depends neither on causation nor our understanding of it. If our understanding of logic changed that would mean we’d no longer be able to think properly. We might all become subjectivists.

    “The destruction of the vat would end my universe, so all relevence to me would end with it.”

    I didn’t say that event would be relevant to you, but for your universe. I try to choose my words carefully, as they have more potential for precision than a meander around a gist would suggest.

    In the spirit of honouring language, I now repent of my use of the word “unassailable”, which my dictionary tells me means that which cannot be attacked or questioned. I meant really to posit that the Biblical worldview has not successfully been attacked or questioned. I have in mind the tests I offered earlier for the evaluation of any worldview – correspondence and coherence/consistency (see my comment July 10, 2008 at 4:40 am).

    Test 1: Is there any aspect of reality addressed by the Bible which is not what we actually find in reality? I think not.

    Test 2: Can Biblical inconsistency be demonstrated? Despite the many pitiful attempts by Biblical illiterates with no tolerance for letting scripture interpret scripture, I think not.

  292. neil1689 Says:

    Thomas,

    This page is growing to such an unwieldy size, perhaps it could spill over on to a second page?

  293. questioneverything Says:

    Brooksrobinson stated:

    “An omnipotent God already has limit to its power”
    “God cannot do evil because it is against his nature”

    —If a god cannot do some act, it is by defnition, not omnipotent. This is just what I am saying—

    “So there’s already limiting factors to his “power” even though he’s “omnipotent.””

    —No, you cannot limit the definition of omnipotence in this way. If you argue that god is all-powerfull, and I can show (as you did with the heavy rock argument) that all-powerfullness is not possible, you cannot than state that “all-powerful” means power to do everything except make really big rocks. either your god can do anything and everything, or it cannot, this is a binary option, not a question of degrees.—

    “Those who say God cannot be surprised cause he’s omnipotent [i assume you mean omniscient here] or he can’t do this so he’s not omnipotent, is just the same as those who say hurricanes, volcano’s, tidal waves, etc. etc. are divine judgment.

    No, not at all.

    The argument against omnipotence and omniscience is a logical argument that highlights a contradiction in the combination of two premises. This argument is structured, testable, and falsifiable. All someone has to to is show me a situation where the conjunction of omniscience and omnipotence does not result in a logical contradiction, and then my conclusion would be false.

    The argument that weather phenomena are divine judgement has limited logical structure, is not testable (unless we can kill god, and observe that hurricanes suddenly cease happening), and most damingly; not falsifiable.

    There is no way that I can prove an absolute is not true, nobody can. You can tell me that “somewhere, there exists a green donut that flys” and I cannot disprove your non-localized, absolute statement because I can’t look everywhere at once. The best I can do is show that absolute statements which result in logical contradictions must be false.

    This is the problem with asserting the non-falsifiable premise that “god exists”. To quote a famous Supreme Court Justice, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Just because I have no evidence against something, does not mean it has withstood scrutiny. Just because you assert that “no dog is pink” and I have not yet found a pink dog to present; to disprove your erroneous assertion, does not mean that you have any support for your assertion. Absolute premises are by nature Non-Falsifiable, and can have no support because a near infinite number of tests will not change the entropic probability of their likely truth or falacy one bit!

    This is the problem with religious people when you present them with a logic that evidences what they assert is contradictory. Most will immediatley run to the refuge of “well…as we humans can’t understand god’s logic, it is possible, but we just can’t understand it.”

    The problem with this assertion is that, with that said, how can anyone claim to know what the heck the right god is? Which set of arbitrary rules will you arbitrarily believe in, since you cannot hope to understand “god’s logic”? You all made a choice, but how? did your reason carry you there? if so, since this reason is not “god’s logic” are you not worried that you are way off-base? Are you sure you’re not supposed to be in a mosque or tabernacle versus the church you go to now? If no human can understand god’s logic, then why does the vast majority of the worlds population claim to know what he wants, and willingly slaughter other’s to accomplish it?

    Logic is not a convienent schema I have created so that my arguments win, it is the foundation for all math, science, and human advancement to this point. Logically speaking a god cannot be both omnipotent and omniscient.

    -Q

  294. neil1689 Says:

    “we know that ~[ s and ~s ]“

    It’s good to hear that the law of non-contradiction is something you now know along with the rest of us, Q!

    Simple answer: surprise would reflect a lack in God, not a power.

    We surprise ourselves due to imperfect self-knowledge, but God has perfect self-knowledge. God’s power comports with His perfections.

  295. neil1689 Says:

    P.S.
    If you want to say that God therefore fails to meet your definition of omnipotence, then so be it.

  296. questioneverything Says:

    I said earlier: “if there is a set of knowledge [K] that is outside human knowledge [h], then “not human knowledge” [~h] exists as a subset of knowledge [K].”

    Neil stated:

    Your are exactly wrong. If [K] is outside [h] then by definition it is a subset of [~h]. It doesn’t matter, however, as you don’t refer to [K] again.

    —My mistake, I should have wrote (failure to edit) = if there is a sub set of knowledge [K] that is outside human knowledge [h], then “not human knowledge” [~h] exists as a subset of knowledge [K].
    I meant to imply that the sub set [~h] of “set [K]” was outside human knowledge [h] but contained within the set [K], which contains at least two sub sets, [h] and [~h]—

    “Your second step begs the question by misreading the relevant dictionary definition. “Objective” meant “independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers : having reality independent of the mind”, i.e. not dependent on any particular mind, and in fact perceptible by all. Thus, definitely not required to be outside human knowledge. Independence does not imply outside-ness, and so it is not the case that (if [o] then [~h]).”

    —Here, Neil and I have a fundamentally different understanding of perception. Perception is an interaction between two existential entities, it is not the impassive observation of one by the other. when I obseve something, I change it, just like in measuring an electron’s position or velocity or energy state. It is impossible for me to know what a thing was doing, what it looked like, its velocity, etc.. before I observed it. So If you pose that something exists objectively, then there is some part of it that I did not observe, and therefore is unknown. If someone else records it and passes me the info, then part of the information is still unknown, because that person changed it when they obseved it, and so on down the line. Independence does indeed imply outside-ness, for some thing to be independent from me, it must be outside of me.—

    “Most glaringly, none of the argument was premised on the existence of unknowables. ([~h] is the unknown, not the unknowable.)”

    —[~h] is the unkown that must always be if something exists objectively, outide of me, or outside of you. You can just as easily call it unkowable, but understand it is not a certain bit of information, the “god particle” that we cannot see, which I am talking about. No matter how much a human can know, they cannot know everything about anything. [~h] stands as a valid premise representing unkown, unknowable knowledge.—

    “Test 1: Is there any aspect of reality addressed by the Bible which is not what we actually find in reality? I think not.”

    —I think so. umm…Miracles? know anyone who walks on water? can you transmute water into wine? how about the gross violation of thermodynamics involved in feeding thousands with five loaves of bread and two fishies? Magic burning shrubbery, massive amounts of water held back from a sea floor, this list begs the question; is it more likely that these bible things actually happened, or is it more likely that the writers were:
    A) Lying
    B) High
    C) Crazy

    Any of these three possibilities present an answer that is consistent with our observations, we have known people whom have lied, sometimes fantastically (politicians), we’ve all probably seen a few clinically diagnosable crazy people (some who hear voices or hallucinate) and I’m sure everyone reading this has at least heard of the effects of ergo (see Salemn witch trials) or peyote or LSD, all psychotropics and hallucinogens.

    Or, is it more likely that stories of miracles in the bible result from an aspect of reality that we have never observed? Do the laws of physics change for certain special people? How come we’ve never seen it for ourselves? The simplest answer, and one that does not necessitate a localized change in the physical laws of the universe is the more likely I think.

    “Test 2: Can Biblical inconsistency be demonstrated? Despite the many pitiful attempts by Biblical illiterates with no tolerance for letting scripture interpret scripture, I think not.”

    —Scripture doesn’t interpret scripture, just like guns don’t kill people; it’s people whom interpret scripture that kill people. Neil, you state that the bible is consistent within itself, as scripture interprets scripture, but scripture does not define consistent. Consistency is a lack of logical (not scriptural) contradiction. Where two bits of scripture hold premises, that if true, contradict eachother, you cannot say that they are logically consistent. If you say they are still scripturally consistent, then you assert that scripture does not conform to logic. If so it has no need to be consistent, so ehether or consistent or not is irrelevent.—

    -Q

  297. Q:

    I do not think you fully understand the definition of omnipotent. The definition should be “within its nature.” If God (or any other omnipotent being that you wish to fill in there) has a body that is eternal and immaterial that allows him to be anywhere at once, because of its “infiniteness.” This same being could not make a rock bigger then it, or itself. That doesn’t make it not omnipotent, think how ridiculous that sounds to say he’s not omnipotent because he can’t do something that’s not possible in any realm of thought. God’s nature is also purely good. It would be impossible for him to commit an evil, not because he couldn’t “physically” if you will, but because his nature just isn’t evil. If we stick to your definition (which is that of atheist philosophers as well) omnipotence is a contradictory definition.

  298. neil1689 Says:

    Unfortunately for you, Q, qualifying [K] as a subset outside of [h] adds nothing to your original statement – it is still precisely to say that [K] is a subset of [~h], contra your conclusion that [~h] is a subset of [K].

    It’s not clear what work you want [K] to do for you. If [K] were to contain both [h] and [~h] as you claim, (which it can’t, by definition of [K]), then [K] would be the entire universe of discourse, because [h] and [~h] form a partition of the universe of discourse. This is basic stuff.

    Are you by some overly convoluted method trying to establish that [~h] is non-empty? That I would accept trivially.

    My objection to your second step does not trade on any particular understanding of perception or how an individual observer may change the accidental properties of an entity observed. If I observed an electron and then you later observed the same electron, then we both had a knowledge of that electron by virtue of its existential essence independent of either of us, despite the fact we likely observed it under the guise of different accidental properties. The knowledge obtained from either of our observations falls under [h], as we are both human. Thus, “having reality independent of the mind” (part of the dictionary definition), does not imply outside-ness with respect to human knowledge.

    Frankly, I’ve lost interest in this argument now.

    “umm…Miracles?”

    Biblically speaking, miracles are not normative. I don’t rule out the possibility of modern miracles, but even if no miracle has occurred for centuries, this is not a problem for Test 1 because, Biblically, miracles occur clustered around important events of redemptive history.

    Miracles don’t occur naturally, obviously. Your options A), B), C) for the Biblical miracles beg the question against accurate reportage of events caused by supernatural agency.

    The Bible also has a lot to say about ordinary, everyday events and processes of life and nature, along with an accounting of why the world continues as it does. Biblically speaking, the uniformity of nature is a secondary effect of a supernatural cause. This, in itself, is miraculous.

    “Neil, you state that the bible is consistent within itself, as scripture interprets scripture, but scripture does not define consistent.”

    I haven’t given “scripture interprets scripture” as the reason for the consistency. It is a rule of thumb for interpreting scripture which may be usefully employed to demonstrate consistency to those who charge otherwise, should they care to listen. Further, scripture witnesses a good understanding of truth, falsity, and their opposition, which necessarily assumes the concept of logical consistency. For example:

    For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth (Psa 33:4).

    A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies (Prov 14:25).

    But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay (2 Cor 1:18).

    I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth (1 John 2:21).

    “Where two bits of scripture hold premises, that if true, contradict eachother, you cannot say that they are logically consistent.”

    True, but we are never shown two bits of scripture that constitute a real contradiction in the Aristotilean sense.

  299. questioneverything Says:

    Neil stated:

    “Unfortunately for you, Q, qualifying [K] as a subset outside of [h] adds nothing to your original statement – it is still precisely to say that [K] is a subset of [~h], contra your conclusion that [~h] is a subset of [K].

    It’s not clear what work you want [K] to do for you. If [K] were to contain both [h] and [~h] as you claim, (which it can’t, by definition of [K]), then [K] would be the entire universe of discourse, because [h] and [~h] form a partition of the universe of discourse. This is basic stuff.

    Are you by some overly convoluted method trying to establish that [~h] is non-empty? That I would accept trivially.”

    —[K] is not a sub set of anything. [K] is a set, containing at least 2 subsets [h] and [~h]. from there the argument stands as I have laid it out.

    It is not “intellectually honest” as you like to phrase it, to reinterpret my proof incorrectly, and then state that it makes no sense. as you have said, this is basic stuff, I know because I teach it to students all the time. I’m sorry you have not grasped the concept, but if you are lost, don’t misinterpret the proof and then claim that I don’t know what I am doing. That is simply underhanded.—

    Brooksrobinson stated:

    “I do not think you fully understand the definition of omnipotent. The definition should be “within its nature.” “

    —No, you do not get to redifine omnipotent to make my conclusion invalid. Subjective to all whom speak and understand english, there is an established definition of omnipotent: all-powerfull, holding power with no limit. To add the tag, “within its nature” limits the omnipotence, and creates a logical contradiction within the phrase, nullifying any possible truth value you might attribute to the phrase, making it nonsense. My argument is not against the existence of omnipotence, but the coexistence of omnipotence and omniscience in one being. This is logically impossible.—

    Neil stated:

    “I haven’t given “scripture interprets scripture” as the reason for the consistency. It is a rule of thumb for interpreting scripture which may be usefully employed to demonstrate consistency to those who charge otherwise, should they care to listen. Further, scripture witnesses a good understanding of truth, falsity, and their opposition, which necessarily assumes the concept of logical consistency.”

    —Your argument is one of recursion, and self-reference. You can say that scripture is consistent, and you can say that there is no contradiction in the bible, but that really doesn’t mean anything. If your book was 100% consistent with itself, it still does not make it true. Even if your book witnesses a good understanding of the opposition of true and false, it does not make it true.

    I have read a bit from many religious texts, though I profess I am not versed in any of them, but nor do I need to be.

    Why is the atheist held to a higher standard than the christian here? why must an atheist be able to quote the book he asserts is inconsistent, and based on falsehoods, when the christian is not expected to know and quote from the koran, the book of mormon, or the scientologist’s book in order to assert that these religions are false?

    Is it that the advocates of the christian book, or any religious book, get around having to try and prove other religions are false because they have some positive information which they can assert is right instead? Darwin’s Origin of Species does not speak to the existence of gods or magics, and I do not use it as a refutation of the christian or any other book. But i find it funny that many religious nuts rail aginst the Theory of Evolution by throwing around scripture. Most haven’t read Origin of Species, either.

    Does the game simply consist of who can pull their book from the stack and place it on top? Does some sort of mystic “last hand on the baseball bat” game, some magical rock, paper, scissors exchange, constitute the validity of any religion?

    This puts the atheist at a natural disadvantage, as we have no “scripture”, no set of positive information, no spiritual trump card which we can play, no “get out of thought free” card in the game of religious monopoly.

    Upon the atheist rests the burden of addressing “mystic” assertions directly, of addressing the actual arguments posed for different gods and magics. The atheist cannot take the logically “passive-aggressive” road of formulating their own equally spurious assertions and stating that these are “more right” than others,, without having to disprove other’s assertions. Atheists must take the courageous road of intellectually honest discussion about religion. We must address other people’s arguments directly and logically, and not allow the “i’m okay, you’re okay” conclusion. There is one logic, which leads to valid, true conclusions for humans. Atheists bear the burden of disproving other’s spurious assertions, we are another type of “dismal scientist”, and like economists, will not be swayed by wishful thinking, even our own.

    The worst transgression of religious “thought” is that it puts a human in a place he or she does not belong, on their knees. When praying to a mystic god whom you cannot hear and cannot see, it is all to easy for another human to step into that place. If we never knelt to start with, we wouldn’t have that problem, and many despots and facists would never have been able to control other humans they way they have.

    -Q

  300. Q:

    I’m not “redifining” omnipotence, I’m simply saying (using the gift of logic you claim to posses) that a being that is all powerful, immaterial, and infinite, cannot make a rock bigger then he can lift, or bigger then him(because of his immaterial and infinite size/strength), or that (since this being is purely good) cannot act outside his nature to commit an evil act. It is not limiting his power, for a being that is omnipotent still must act in a logical manner. Omnipotence must be taken in a logical sequence, and since this being is immaterial, everywhere, and infinitly large, I think its logically sound for him not to beable to create a rock bigger then him, since he’s INFINITLY LARGE. Just like it would be illogical for an omnipotent being to create one creature that is both purely good and both purely evil. That is a contradiction therefore, we must conclude omnipotent beings must act in a logical manner, despite them being “all powerful.”

  301. questionverything Says:

    well….

    If an omnipotent being is constrained by temporally linear logic, then again, its not omnipotent because it is constrained in its power. All you are doing is showing that no being can be omnipotent, a premise which I will agree with wholeheartedly.

    Its not that I posess any more of a gift of logic than any other human. That is the beauty of logic, all humans possess it. The appearence of logic just depends on whether individuals choose to develop their logic, or follow their reasoning to a logically conclusive beginning or end. Most people willfully choose not to do this based on illogical faith.

    -Q

  302. Q:

    So what your saying is an omnipotent being should be able to create both a life permitting and life prohibiting planet, make a person both free willed and a robot, be good by nature, yet commit evil, and make a rock bigger then he is, despite being infinitly large? Hmmmm use that logic my friend.

  303. neil1689 Says:

    Q said:

    “It is not “intellectually honest” as you like to phrase it, to reinterpret my proof incorrectly, and then state that it makes no sense. as you have said, this is basic stuff, I know because I teach it to students all the time.”

    Q – I hope that’s not a paid teaching position at an institution which stands to have its reputation tarnished should your statements here become known.

    I can interpret your “proof” only as well as you’ve been able to state it. What’s more, I didn’t just state that it made no sense. I gave reasons why it made no sense. That could have been an end to the matter, but you’ve chosen to dig yourself in deeper. So let’s review…

    Your original definition of [K]:

    “if there is a set of knowledge [K] that is outside human knowledge [h], then “not human knowledge” [~h] exists as a subset of knowledge [K].”

    To anyone versed in set theory, outside [h] means disjoint from [h], and therefore contained in the complement of [h], which is [~h]. That’s not debatable.

    Your revised statement concerning [K]:

    “if there is a sub set of knowledge [K] that is outside human knowledge [h], then “not human knowledge” [~h] exists as a subset of knowledge [K].”

    – which is the same wording apart from “sub”, in which the emphasis was your own. But then, a reversal:

    “[K] is not a sub set of anything.”

    Extraordinary.

    “[K] is a set, containing at least 2 subsets [h] and [~h]. from there the argument stands as I have laid it out.”

    Again, [K] being outside [h] means [K] doesn’t contain [h], and [K] is contained in [~h]. From there, your subsequent argument had no reference to [K] anyway – so why the remonstration? – and it failed for reasons of its own which I don’t need to repeat.

    Either you are using set theoretic language in your own idiosyncratic way, you’re not paying attention because you don’t think a Christian would have studied mathematical logic, or you just don’t know what you’re doing. Seeing as I previously had to correct you twice on the nature of logic itself, what should we conclude?

    Moving on…

    “Your argument is one of recursion, and self-reference. You can say that scripture is consistent, and you can say that there is no contradiction in the bible, but that really doesn’t mean anything. If your book was 100% consistent with itself, it still does not make it true.”

    You are trying to attribute to me an argument that I have not made. Scriptural consistency is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for its truth. If you think I’ve claimed otherwise it’s because you are reading between the lines. You seem to be making a habit of that.

    “Why is the atheist held to a higher standard than the christian here? why must an atheist be able to quote the book he asserts is inconsistent, and based on falsehoods, when the christian is not expected to know and quote from the koran, the book of mormon, or the scientologist’s book in order to assert that these religions are false?”

    The projection of your own sloppy standards on to Christians is truly laughable. Why don’t you acquaint yourself with Christian apologists whose concern is to learn as much as possible about other religions and their texts in order that they may actively engage in scholarly debate? If you want to criticise Bible beliefs, you had better have some familiarity with the source material.

    If you don’t want to study the Bible then at least pick up a good systematic theology text from the library, or search online. It might save you from making so many straw man arguments.

    Your argument concerning omnipotence, for example, is a classic demonstration of your self-reinforcing ignorance. The omnipotence of (the Biblical) God is a theological position. It therefore has a technical, theological definition, not a common dictionary definition, or a “Q definition”.

    “However, there are some things that God cannot do. God cannot will or do anything that would deny his own character. This is why the definition of omnipotence is stated in terms of God’s ability to do “all his holy will.” [emphasis added] It is not absolutely everything that God is able to do, but everything that is consistent with his character. For example, God cannot lie. In Titus 1:2 he is called (literally) “the unlying God” or the “God who never lies.” The author of Hebrews says that in God’s oath and promise “it is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18, author’s translation). Second Timothy 2:13 says of Christ, “He cannot deny himself.” Furthermore, James says, “God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13). Thus, God cannot lie, sin, deny himself, or be tempted with evil. He cannot cease to exist, or cease to be God, or act in a way inconsistent with any of his attributes.” (Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2003, p. 217)

    “Does the game simply consist of who can pull their book from the stack and place it on top? Does some sort of mystic “last hand on the baseball bat” game, some magical rock, paper, scissors exchange, constitute the validity of any religion?”

    To the degree that a religion is falsified by reality, it’s junk. If a religion cannot be purged of inconsistency, it’s junk. I’ve been insistent on this all along. Try to follow.

    “This puts the atheist at a natural disadvantage, as we have no “scripture”, no set of positive information, no spiritual trump card which we can play, no “get out of thought free” card in the game of religious monopoly.”

    The atheist’s atheism puts him at a natural disadvantage, to be sure. You exemplify this if you believe that accepting some truths as revealed automatically puts a stop to thinking. That’s a false dichotomy.

    “Upon the atheist rests the burden of addressing “mystic” assertions directly, of addressing the actual arguments posed for different gods and magics.”

    Make up your mind, does your putative “mystic” tightly clutch his “get out of thought free” card, or are actual arguments presented? How will you meet your burden if you can’t even maintain consistency from one paragraph to the next?

    You ought to back up your claim that there are arguments for “gods and magics”. Who are their advocates? Where are their places of worship? What religious texts do they use? What associated theological works can you cite? How serious a challenge should we think they are? Should I be worried that maybe the Tooth Fairy really is the one true god? Actually, you are just trying to draw attention away from the fact that Yahweh is the only one giving you trouble.

    The tenor of the “gods and magics” equivocation to which you habitually revert when your arguments are shown to fall flat reflects that the atheistic enterprise is one of attitude over substance.

    You continue:

    “Atheists must take the courageous road of intellectually honest discussion about religion.

    Contrast this with your self-confessed commitment to continued ignorance: “I have read a bit from many religious texts, though I profess I am not versed in any of them, but nor do I need to be.” [my emphasis]

    We must address other people’s arguments directly and logically, and not allow the “i’m okay, you’re okay” conclusion.”

    The atheist doesn’t argue logically about religion. Typically, he takes atheism as the starting point and then formulates theories on how people could have come to worship gods. This begs the question and commits the genetic fallacy.

    By the way, atheistic presuppositions cannot account for universal, abstract givens such as the laws of logic.

    “Atheists bear the burden of disproving other’s spurious assertions, …”

    Let us know if you have any success.

    “…we are another type of “dismal scientist”, and like economists, will not be swayed by wishful thinking, even our own.”

    So, you will not be swayed by wishful thinking that there is no God to whom you are accountable. Glad to hear it.

    “The worst transgression of religious “thought” is that it puts a human in a place he or she does not belong, on their knees.”

    If atheism is true, transgression is an invalid concept. The atheist borrows this concept at a fatally high cost to his atheism.

  304. questioneverything Says:

    Neil stated:

    I can interpret your “proof” only as well as you’ve been able to state it. What’s more, I didn’t just state that it made no sense. I gave reasons why it made no sense. That could have been an end to the matter, but you’ve chosen to dig yourself in deeper. So let’s review…

    Either you are using set theoretic language in your own idiosyncratic way, you’re not paying attention because you don’t think a Christian would have studied mathematical logic, or you just don’t know what you’re doing. Seeing as I previously had to correct you twice on the nature of logic itself, what should we conclude?

    You have chosen to attempt to present it in the way it suits your interpretation, and not mine. I find this type of deceptive attack underhanded and banal, and I will not address it any longer. I conclude that you like your life explanations hirsute, as most of the “faithful” I have met, and so you actively resist any simplicity or clarity. I understand it is your intention to obfuscate the point, and anyone else following this argument will understand that as well.

    If you don’t want to study the Bible then at least pick up a good systematic theology text from the library, or search online.

    You ought to back up your claim that there are arguments for “gods and magics”. Who are their advocates? Where are their places of worship? What religious texts do they use? What associated theological works can you cite? How serious a challenge should we think they are? Should I be worried that maybe the Tooth Fairy really is the one true god? Actually, you are just trying to draw attention away from the fact that Yahweh is the only one giving you trouble.

    I don’t need to memorize the rules to candy land to know that it’s a children’s game, and that its rules have no validity outside the game. The same concept holds for all religions. And yes, by your standards of belief, the tooth fairy could equally challenge any other gods. Your god gives me no more trouble than any other. The sad thing is, you fail to see how alike the atheist is to a believer. We both believe that 99% of the religious superstition out there is junk, but you have failed to extend that principle just one god further, as I have done. Your god is no more special than all the others, so understand my equivocation is no more attitude over substance than your assertion of your god actually existing is one of attitude over substance.

    Make up your mind, does your putative “mystic” tightly clutch his “get out of thought free” card, or are actual arguments presented? How will you meet your burden if you can’t even maintain consistency from one paragraph to the next?

    A mystic can present actual arguments, even logically valid ones, but they will be based on false premises or incorrect inferences. There is no conflict between the two concepts I have presented, and by attempting, and failing, to make me appear inconsistent and confused on simple points like this, you only show your hand that much more. You are not engaging my argument, you are just trying to attack my ability to argue. This is not being done in good faith, and, I might add, not being done very well, either.

    To the degree that a religion is falsified by reality, it’s junk. If a religion cannot be purged of inconsistency, it’s junk. I’ve been insistent on this all along. Try to follow.

    You have this entirely backwards, so please, try to follow:
    1) To the degree that any hypothesis is non-falsifiable (as in “unable to be falsified or confirmed”) it is “junk”. There is no way to test the hypothesis of a god or mystic force existing, therefore it is a worthless assumption that is unreasonable to believe and an unnecessarily complicated assumption to explain the universe.

    2) Consistency within a religious system is irrelevant when attempting to assert its truth. The heaven’s gate cult was internally consistent, so was Davis Koresh’s cult. No one who does not believe in your god really cares about your scripture.

    I normally only see two types even use scripture A) believers who feel the need for scriptural support, or; B) non-believers who want to use scripture improperly to mock its adherents. Notice I do neither. You have consistently tried to bring scripture into this discussion, and I have repeatedly re-affirmed that your little magic book means nothing to me, I am a philosopher, not a theologian. Any argument that stems from a book based on an unquestionable premise that god exists, is of little use when discussing if god exists. I guess I’m not all that shocked that you don’t get that.

    So, you will not be swayed by wishful thinking that there is no God to whom you are accountable. Glad to hear it.

    I think it is more likely that you are wishful that we must all be accountable to your god. I recognize my accountability to other humans for acts that I may do which hurt them. That is all the responsibility that I need, and is more than most “religious” people take for their fellow humans. I have no burning desire to be “right”. I gather from your tone that you are happily anticipating some cosmic “I told you so” which you can perpetrate against your fellow human. I see this not so much as a mistaken belief than as a willful need for treachery against other humans.

    If atheism is true, transgression is an invalid concept. The atheist borrows this concept at a fatally high cost to his atheism.

    Wrong again, Neil. Again, you mistake the lack of belief in a god or belief in an “objective-to-the-universe” morality to mean that I have no morals. Transgression against humanity, against other individual humans, and against one’s self are all still wrong within the framework of the social human animal and its psyche. This is as “objective” as it can be, and is a constant across humanity. It’s akin to gravity, a constant force in ratio to mass, and a constant force for all those on our planet. The sum force of gravity on another planet may be different from ours, but it is no less binding on people of our planet if we were on that other planet.

    The omnipotence of (the Biblical) God is a theological position. It therefore has a technical, theological definition, not a common dictionary definition, or a “Q definition”.

    No special definition for me, Neil, simply the dictionary definition. I’m debating the possibility of the omnipotence/omniscience coexistence based on Standard English words, not your special “bible definition”. The omnipotence of any being is what I am discussing, not just your god. I don’t care what your magic book states, I’m using the real definition of omnipotence here.

    You exemplify this if you believe that accepting some truths as revealed automatically puts a stop to thinking. That’s a false dichotomy.

    Again, let me help you out with the English involved here, “accepting some truths as revealed automatically” would directly imply that the acceptor would stop thinking about them as they are accepted, automatically. Unless you are stating that you continuously question your accepted beliefs…but then they would not be accepted, now would they?

    Neil, throughout our various discussions, you tone has ranged from outright mockery (in your first response) to grudging concession on points that you then reinterpreted to “draw the sting” from my original argument. I have no problem with honest, respectful debate, and have done my best to give you credit where you are due, but I see no point in continuing as you have returned to more attempted mocking and underhanded tactics. Let me show some examples, just from this last post:

    Q – I hope that’s not a paid teaching position at an institution which stands to have its reputation tarnished should your statements here become known.

    Either you are using set theoretic language in your own idiosyncratic way, you’re not paying attention because you don’t think a Christian would have studied mathematical logic, or you just don’t know what you’re doing. Seeing as I previously had to correct you twice on the nature of logic itself, what should we conclude?

    Your argument concerning omnipotence, for example, is a classic demonstration of your self-reinforcing ignorance.

    The projection of your own sloppy standards on to Christians is truly laughable.

    I have not addressed these weak and sideways “ad-hominum” arguments because I consider them beneath discussions of philosophy. If you want to discredit what I am saying, do so honestly, and not by trying to impugn my character through not so subtle underhanded slights. This is simply childish, and transparent.

    If you cannot restrain yourself from this type of writing, then I will cease to acknowledge you. Your first post to me should have been warning enough to me, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt, which I fear may have been a waste of faith. If you want to engage in honest discussion on point, I’m all for it. If you want to try to undermine my position with insults and name calling, then don’t waste your time, or the time and patience of anyone else who can easily see through this tactic.

    -Q

  305. questioneverything Says:

    Sirius stated:

    Your comments on the afterlife. I’m really quite tired of the proposition that a belief in an afterlife means the believer lets this world go to seed or thinks it isn’ttheir real life, while the materialist makes this life better. You see, you forget that we believers have children, which quite changes the equation. We dare not let the world go to pot, since our children will inherit it.

    Soooo….I have a question, and I’m sure it will offend just about everyone!

    If a christian parent really loved their children, I mean really, really, selflessly loved their children, wouldn’t they want their children to get into heaven? wouldn’t this become the number one priority over anything else?

    Why do christian parents not get their children baptized, then murder them? would this not ensure that your children would go to heaven?

    If I’m wrong about this, and the child must “accept jesus” first, then why do you not raise your children to that age, get them to fully accept jesus, then murder them so they have no more chance to sin and be cast into the fire and brimstone?

    Granted, you would be damning yourself by commiting murder, but would god not forgive you because you are willingly sending yourself to hell, sacrificing yourself in parallel to his son, to ensure another gets into heaven? Isn’t this sacrifice to save another’s soul the most noble thing you could do as a christian? If it is immoral, if the christian commiting the murder was sinning, how would that sin rub off on the victim? They would not be to blame, they would be an innocent, and one faithful to jesus at that!

    Why do christians not convert people and kill them? Why not, say, get the entire mass of an Amazon jungle tribe, or some African family tribes, get them all to accept jesus, then slaughter them? would this not assure the new convert’s acendance to heaven? Would this not save the deceased? would this not be more moral than trying to manage people’s faith, knowing that they could lose it and (Gasp! Horror!) become an atheist like me? Aren’t you christians supposed to be saving everyone you can? Don’t you have a moral imperitive from the bible to save others?

    Are you christians just to scared to commit youselves to hell to save your own children? Are you too selfish? Or maybe…do you have a bit, just a little, mind you, of doubt?

    Please, feel free to point out any and all flaws in my logic.

    -Q

  306. Q:

    This response really shows your lack of understanding of Christian beliefs and theology.

    First, baptism does not save, it is merely a public affirmation of faith, and a symbol for cleansing of sin. Second, Christians are called to spread the faith, to spread Christ’s love. If God does not want us to murder, we are not spreading Christ’s love, and most certainly are not making disciples since we are killing them. If people really start doing this, thinking its for Christ, chances are they do not have Christ, for Christ does not teach this. Thus they only sentence themselves to hell for false teachings. The Bible is clear on what is the gospel message, and it isn’t murder. Also Christians don’t go to heaven right away, we await judgment in the end of days.

    -Brooks

  307. Jeromy,

    Been a while. How have you been? I understand the controversial nature of questioneverything’s last comment can leave many of the faithful just shaking their heads but I think there are aspects that deserve consideration and an attempt at a response. You may think it foolishness to even ask but I assure you, he (and I) is (are) interested in reading your (Christian’s) replies. It’s may be a bizarre concept but it would be interesting to evaluate the responses. Would you consider offering more than just the sigh?

    ————————————————

    Brooksrobinson,

    Once again you make a universal statement regarding the Christian religion.

    You stated – “First, baptism does not save, it is merely a public affirmation of faith, and a symbol for cleansing of sin. Second, Christians are called to spread the faith, to spread Christ’s love. If God does not want us to murder, we are not spreading Christ’s love, and most certainly are not making disciples since we are killing them. If people really start doing this, thinking its for Christ, chances are they do not have Christ, for Christ does not teach this. Thus they only sentence themselves to hell for false teachings. The Bible is clear on what is the gospel message, and it isn’t murder. Also Christians don’t go to heaven right away, we await judgment in the end of days.”–

    Why do you continue to insist on speaking authoritatively about ALL Christians. You belong to one, SPECIFIC sect of Christianity, brooksrobinson (is it Orthodox?). You can speak for that sect, no doubt with some authority. But there are MILLIONS of self proclaimed Christians who would disagree with a large portion of what you believe. Just your concept of the meaning/purpose for baptism would be widely disputed. Many Christians believe that without being ‘properly’ baptized one can’t get into heaven. Others believe that it is just symbolic or ceremonial. Others dismiss it as altogether unnecessary. Some think that being baptized as an infant is enough, while others believe it must take place only AFTER one has accepted Jesus as their personal savior. Some believe the person must become FULLY immersed, others believe that a sprinkling of water is enough. And your opinion of exactly WHEN a person will arrive in heaven is another example of you asserting that YOUR sect’s concept of the afterlife is the universal Christian position when it is not. I have no problem with you stating your opinion on this site, brooksrobinson, I just ask that you stop making these proclamations as if you represent all of Christianity. You can no more claim that your particular concept of the Christian religion and God is the ‘right’ one than any of the other 100s of sects can. You believe as you believe, not as all believe. And the same goes for me.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

    PS – I still can’t seem to get my words to show up in italics in the comments section so I continue to use CAPS for emphasis. Remember, I am not shouting.

  308. My [sigh] wasn’t in response to Q, but to the long back-n-forth between Q, Brooks, Neil, etc. To me it just seems a fruitless endeavor…it’s a one-way monologue between a few people void of relationship—in my judgment. Hence the tired [sigh].

    We’ve been fine. Just had our third kid, a little girl we named Scout. Going well, but sleep in not the luxury it used to be. Yourself?

  309. questioneverything Says:

    Jeromy:

    “My [sigh] wasn’t in response to Q, but to the long back-n-forth between Q, Brooks, Neil, etc. To me it just seems a fruitless endeavor…it’s a one-way monologue between a few people void of relationship—in my judgment. Hence the tired [sigh].”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “void of relationship”, could you clarify what you mean by this?

    Also, if there is a continuing dialogue, then its not fruitless. The whole point of why I am posting, is so that I can enter into a dialogue about these topics. Notice it’s a dialogue, not a monologue.

    -Q

  310. Simply sharing my opinion based on my experience. By the way, I like your screen name. I think everything should be up for questioning. I actually resonate with a lot of what you have to say.

    I feel that within a mutual relationship of trust and respect is where dialogue can happen. This usually takes a lot of pub-time ;-) to develop.

  311. DT:

    I speak on the authority of those who believe in the same Christianity of the early church fathers. Which is outlined by Paul in Aramaic in 1Corinthians 15. That is Jesus died for us and is our savior (summed up). The best example of a salvation without baptism is the thief on the cross. Those Christians who disagree with me, talk to me giving your proof. However the Bible is clear on the way to heaven DT, this you should know since you have a Christian background, and that is through Jesus Christ and his work on the cross.

    Brooks

  312. Jeromy:

    This dialogue helps us learn each others various backgrounds and religious views. This of course helps each other learn, so this dialogue is fruitful in that sense.

  313. Question: It goes against human nature. Christians are human and to kill your own offspring (or any person) is deplorable. Even if one person was convinced it was the right thing to do, that person would have a really hard time convincing others and would likely be thrown out of the church and reported to the authorities. Except in extreme cases (Heaven’s Gate maybe) this sort of thing would never happen.

    Plus what religion would survive if the members were killing new converts?

  314. questioneverything Says:

    ordinary girl:

    By common sense you are absolutely right, and I think any human would find the idea deplorable. I’m just laying out the argument as an example of a set of odd premises carried out to a logical end.

    To rephrase one part of the question, would the victims in this case be ensured entry into the christian heaven?

    If so, would the killer be damned for the murders, even if the intent was to save others?

    I guess I’m not worried that this will happen on a grand scale, because it violates human morality. what does worry me is that it still seems to reach the goal of “saving souls”. I would actually like a christian to explain to me how the bible would forbid this from happening, how your god has accounted for this semi-obvious logical result of the effect of saving through baptizement, accepting jesus, confession, etc… and subsequent immediate death.

    -Q

  315. “I would actually like a christian to explain to me how the bible would forbid this from happening”

    Here’s how the Bible forbids it from happening: the Commandment that says don’t murder.

    I’m not sure what the purpose of taking a pile of faulty premises and drawing a bizarre conclusion from them and then acting like it is some sort of quandry for Christians.

    If you have a sincere desire to understand the Christian worldview, I’d join a Bible study or get a study Bible and consider the hundreds of Q&A they contain. You may disagree with every bit of it but it will help stop you from preventing “dilemmas” like that one.

    Separate topic re. the # of denominations: I’ve seen skeptics, Catholics, Mormons and others criticize Christianity for having too many disagreements and denominations, as if that somehow disproved the Bible or the core beliefs of the denominations. But that reasoning doesn’t compute. For one thing, it doesn’t disprove the essentials of Christianity any more than disputes among atheists prove that there is a God.

    Romans 14 and other passages address how we are to handle disputed matters. From this we can immediately infer two things:

    1. God knew we’d have disputed matters.
    2. He gave guidance on how to handle them.

    Some beliefs are essential if one is to call himself a Christian – e.g., Jesus is the only way to salvation (mentioned directly or indirectly in 100 passages), Jesus is God, etc.

    Other things have guidance but not absolutes. For example, with respect to alcohol the Bible teaches not to get drunk, to obey laws and not to tempt others with our drinking. But it doesn’t say never to drink. If people don’t want to drink that is fine, but that shouldn’t be presented as a Biblical requirement or an essential of the faith. Do some present it as an absolute? Yes, and they can be proved wrong with the Bible.

    Contrary to many myths, we have a lot of freedom in Christ. Christianity contains many principles and some specific rules, but we can exercise our personal preferences in many ways, such as worship styles.

  316. questioneverything Says:

    Neil stated:

    ““I would actually like a christian to explain to me how the bible would forbid this from happening”

    Here’s how the Bible forbids it from happening: the Commandment that says don’t murder.

    I’m not sure what the purpose of taking a pile of faulty premises and drawing a bizarre conclusion from them and then acting like it is some sort of quandry for Christians.

    If you have a sincere desire to understand the Christian worldview, I’d join a Bible study or get a study Bible and consider the hundreds of Q&A they contain. You may disagree with every bit of it but it will help stop you from preventing “dilemmas” like that one.

    I understand that breaking the commandment would be a sin, and that the sinner could expect to go to hell. But there’s also some thing about repentence and jesus saving you and that stuff as well, so it seems the sinner can get out of this, if they truly repent.

    But, that’s not the dilemma i’m talking about. Does the (recently saved by some method) victim, get a garanteed ticket to heaven through this process?

    If they do, does that mean it would be selfish not to do this, even though the killer would face damnation? Couldn’t the killer murder the victim (with the intent of saving them) then pray for forgiveness, truly repent, and be assured a place in heaven through jesus’s sacrifice?

    Is there an issue with intent? if the killer is knowingly violating the “thou shalt not kill” rule, fully understanding the consequences of his or her actions, with the intent to “save” another, is this not a selfless sacrifice?

    You might be right, Neil, this may not be a quandry for christians, but it is a logical conundrum.

    I had a roommate back when I was in the army who told me (he was a born again christian) that god made suicide a sin so that the “saved” true believers would not all kill themselves to get to heaven. Now, with murder being a sin, I can’t say his logic was correct, because suicide is still murder. However, is it the act of killing, or the intent?

    The book says jesus went to the cross knowing what he was to do, so was this suicide? is he not responsible because the romans put him to the cross, or does his knowledge of the forthcoming resurrection get him a pass on that?

    If you knew you would be hit by a bus tomorrow and be killed, and prepared yourself through baptism and confession and the other rights and such, and then passively went to where the bus would hit you knowing what was to transpire, is this suicide?

    -Q

  317. Hey DT!!

    I finally made my own blog, so come take my blog cherry!

    I hope you don’t mind if I still post here from time to time though, I like your site, it was my inspiration to start blogging!

    -Q

  318. neil1689 Says:

    Q,

    You said:

    And yes, by your standards of belief, the tooth fairy could equally challenge any other gods. Your god gives me no more trouble than any other. The sad thing is, you fail to see how alike the atheist is to a believer. We both believe that 99% of the religious superstition out there is junk, but you have failed to extend that principle just one god further, as I have done.”

    The tooth fairy doesn’t impress me as having the power to put up much of a challenge. My objection to this extension “one god further” is that it weighs the question of the existence of God and gods in isolation from their other supposed attributes. The various supposed entities are not on an equal footing in terms of their supposed attributes. Most of them are not considered to have created the entire universe, to be sustaining it, or to have conditioned both man and his environment to be compatible. Thus, were we to see the stamp of design in the world, or to believe in the uniformity of nature, or in the reliability of our senses, our reasoning, or our morality, then the case for the existence of an entity whose supposed attributes can account for such things is stronger than the case for the existence of any entity whose supposed attributes cannot account for such things.

    I thought you could agree with my statements that a religion is “junk” if it is falsified by reality or is inconsistent. They were true statements, and your contribution of the following scientific principle does not render them, as you put it, “entirely backwards”:

    “1) To the degree that any hypothesis is non-falsifiable (as in “unable to be falsified or confirmed” ;) it is “junk”. There is no way to test the hypothesis of a god or mystic force existing, therefore it is a worthless assumption that is unreasonable to believe and an unnecessarily complicated assumption to explain the universe.”

    Your remark has relevance to scientific hypotheses but not to all claims to truth. The existence of the Biblical God (Yahweh) is not a scientific hypothesis. If non-falsifiability makes it a worthless assumption, then similarly, the validity of logic and the validity of the scientific method, being non-falsifiable, are also worthless assumptions. But they are not, and so neither, necessarily, is the existence of Yahweh. Arguably, in fact, his existence has more worth as an assumption than the other two, as it provides a grounding for them, (given the totality of Yahweh’s supposed attributes).

    Thus, it is not unreasonable to believe in Yahweh. Neither is it complicated. How he exists or acts may be complicated beyond our understanding, but that he exists and acts is not complicated, and is sufficient to account for the universe and the human condition. (The details of how created things work remain for scientific discovery.)

    (We can’t make a similar case for other so-called gods as their lack of ability to account for reality diminishes their import, or they belong to religious systems which are inconsistent or are falsified by reality.)

    You had a second point:

    “2) Consistency within a religious system is irrelevant when attempting to assert its truth.”

    I addressed and affirmed this point in my last comment. I said, “You are trying to attribute to me an argument that I have not made. Scriptural consistency is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for its truth.” So, excuse me if I also said you were misreading me.

    Also last time, I meant to communicate that it is a false dichotomy to maintain that the acceptance of some truths as revealed is inimical to thinking, i.e. that “Christian thinker” is not an oxymoron. Unfortunately my previous use of “automatically” did nothing but lead to confused sentence parsing.

    You said also:

    “You have consistently tried to bring scripture into this discussion, and I have repeatedly re-affirmed that your little magic book means nothing to me, I am a philosopher, not a theologian.”

    It’s been done because you are no biblical theologian. It’s been done to give an accurate representation of biblical beliefs, or to show the correspondence between the Bible and what I say or believe. It’s not been done expecting the Bible to be an authority for you or a support for my arguments as far as you are concerned. This is not my first time explaining this.

    “Again, you mistake the lack of belief in a god or belief in an “objective-to-the-universe” morality to mean that I have no morals.”

    It’s truly amazing how often this mistake has to be corrected.

    As I’ve said before, repeatedly, it’s not my position, or that of most other Christians, that you have no morals. I say you have no adequate accounting for where you get your morals – no sufficient grounding for them in your worldview. Biblically speaking, the atheist has morals by virtue of being God’s creature.

    I’m happy for you to not live out the logical consequences of a subjective view of morality. Ted Bundy, on the other hand, lived them out unrestrainedly. The following is his statement, paraphrased by Harry V. Jaffa and quoted from Louis P. Pojman, “Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong” (5th ed.), p. 30.

    “Then I learned that all moral judgments are ‘value judgments,’ that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ I even read somewhere that the Chief Justice of the United States had written that the American Constitution expressed nothing more than collective value judgments. Believe it or not, I figured out for myself–what apparently the Chief Justice couldn’t figure out for himself–that if the rationality of one value judgment was zero, multiplying it by millions would not make it one whit more rational. Nor is there any ‘reason’ to obey the law for anyone, like myself, who has the boldness and daring–the strength of character–to throw off its shackles…I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable ‘value judgment’ that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others?’ Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure that I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me–after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and inhibited self.”

    My behaviour here has been less than perfect, Q, and so has yours. Mockery, however, was not the primary intention of the quick and decisive (imo) blow I delivered to the tenet behind your name in my very first response to you.

    Concerning your latest challenge (or any subsequent challenges):

    “Soooo….I have a question, and I’m sure it will offend just about everyone!”

    i) Do you care if it is offensive?
    ii) Being no theologian, will you allow the Bible to be quoted to demonstrate what it actually teaches?
    iii) Do you have any burden to make sure your questions are not built on erroneous assumptions?

  319. questioneverything Says:

    Atheism and Morality:

    Neil1686, you stated:

    ”As I’ve said before, repeatedly, it’s not my position, or that of most other Christians, that you have no morals. I say you have no adequate accounting for where you get your morals”

    But you also stated:

    ”If atheism is true, transgression is an invalid concept. The atheist borrows this concept at a fatally high cost to his atheism.”

    —My problem with this is that the second statement shows somewhat that you really don’t believe the first as it operates. You seem to believe that as an atheist, I need to borrow the concept of transgression from an outside moral code, but what I asserted in my first response to the second statement, and what I have asserted all-along, is that atheists can be moral without needing to refer their morality to an all powerfull being.

    The posted statement from Bundy is definitely scary, but it’s not very fair to use his statement in parallell to atheist statements about morals. Bundy is a sociopath, which is a diagnosable cognitive disorder. While his statements can be shown to have logical consistency, they are not moral, because he is friggen crazy!—

    ”The various supposed entities are not on an equal footing in terms of their supposed attributes. Most of them are not considered to have created the entire universe, to be sustaining it, or to have conditioned both man and his environment to be compatible.”

    —Fair enough, in different religions, different gods, turtles, really big squids and such are all sharing different responsiblities for parts of creation. In polytheistic religions, its like a cosmic festival! But in the major monotheistic religions, which all come from the proto-indo-european precursor to judaism, There is a god, and that god pretty much did everything. So I guess I could make a better equivication and use the term “mono-god” to denote that I am speaking of this “one-god” concept.—

    ”Your remark has relevance to scientific hypotheses but not to all claims to truth.”

    —I guess I am trying to apply the scientific method to all hypotheses I am presented with.—

    ”If non-falsifiability makes it a worthless assumption, then similarly, the validity of logic and the validity of the scientific method, being non-falsifiable, are also worthless assumptions.”

    —The validity of the scientific method is falsifiable. If we followed the method, and came up with even one instance of a contradictory result, then the method would be falsified.—

    —Now, with logic, you have a stronger argument. Validity is a logical concept, and calling logic valid is recursive. Here is where I have to give a little ground. I don’t know why inferences work. I suppose it is the way the human brain works. I don’t know why the letters C..A..and T, 1) make me understand their individual vocalizations almost immediately, and; 2) bring to my mind the vocalization of the english word they constitute, and; 3) bring an image to my mind of a four legged furry beastie with whiskers and pointy ears. But the letters and my mind do all this, with training, that much I know.
    It may be that Logic is built in, a priori. So I don’t think calling it non-falsifiable is correct either. But I don’t think that this puts the existence of logic on the same plane as the existence of a mono-god. We see logic operate in causal events, and it may not be logic, it may just be the way the universe operates, and we ascribe the term “logic” to this.—
    ”I addressed and affirmed this point in my last comment. I said, “You are trying to attribute to me an argument that I have not made. Scriptural consistency is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for its truth.” So, excuse me if I also said you were misreading me.”
    —Okay, I’ll concede that you have not directly asserted that scripture is true because it is consistent. Hoever, you did state:
    ”If a religion cannot be purged of inconsistency, it’s junk.”
    —This implies, in some way at least, that you believe that a proven consistent religion has passed at least one hurdle on its way to being “not junk”. What I am saying to this, and to religious folks whom like to bring scripture into arguments like this, is that the consistency of your book does not move the belief it represents one iota towards “not junk”. Essentially, there is no need to for an atheist to quote from, or even read one line from, the bible, to dispute the existence of the christian god. This is why I mention the consistency issue, because I face christians who quote scripture to me all the time in some attempt to display how “right” their book is.—
    ”i) Do you care if it is offensive?”
    —I don’t want to hurt people for no reason, and understanding that advocating infanticide, even in a mocking sort of way, will probably offend many people, I guess I put that there as a weak caveat. Yes I care whether I offend, but I am doing it to raise a valid point about a logical conclusion that can follow from odd premises.—

    ”ii) Being no theologian, will you allow the Bible to be quoted to demonstrate what it actually teaches?”
    —Yes, but understand that your perspective on what it teaches cannot stand as an authority for all christians. I welcome your biblical opinion, but I reserve the right to debate everything, and of course, question everything.—
    ”iii) Do you have any burden to make sure your questions are not built on erroneous assumptions?”
    —I’m guessing by your tone that, if I did, I have failed that burden. So, please tell me what assumptions were erroneous. However, understand the points I make are based on simple logical assesment of the system as I undertand it. You can’t use “god’s logic” as a way out, tell me which premises I used are false, and why. You can cite the bible if you wish, but no “god makes it happen in a way no-one understands” baloney!—
    I will try to keep a civil finger on my keyboard.

    -Q

  320. “And yes, by your standards of belief, the tooth fairy could equally challenge any other gods.”

    We have lots of evidence for the existence of God: Cosmological (”first cause”), teleological (design), morality, logic, historical, archeological support and fulfilled prophecies of the Bible, etc. If atheists don’t find that compelling, then so be it. I’m on the Great Commission, not the paid commission. But to insist that we have no evidence is uncharitable in the extreme and makes reasoned dialogue virtually impossible. When skeptics trot out the unicorn or tooth fairy argument I just treat that as the Atheist Concession Speech. I’m confident that true seekers will realize which side is more credible.

    “The sad thing is, you fail to see how alike the atheist is to a believer. We both believe that 99% of the religious superstition out there is junk, but you have failed to extend that principle just one god further, as I have done.”

    That is a cute sound bite but an illogical argument. Saying there is no God isn’t a little different than saying there is one God, it is the opposite. That’s like saying, “You deny all other women as your wives except one, so you’re practically the same as a single person.”

    You can do better than those arguments . . . can’t you?

  321. Please ignore the last line. That was stupid. My apologies.

    The rest is still good, though ;-).

  322. neil1689 Says:

    Q,

    Let’s see if I can further clarify the moral argument. You said:

    “You seem to believe that as an atheist, I need to borrow the concept of transgression from an outside moral code,…”

    Yes, that is what I believe, but the borrowing is not conscious on the atheist’s part – he’s an atheist after all.

    “…but what I asserted … is that atheists can be moral without needing to refer their morality to an all powerfull being.”

    And I believe that also.

    It is not conscious reference to God which is necessary for atheistic morality, but rather, as I said last time, “Biblically speaking, the atheist has morals by virtue of being God’s creature.”

    “While his [Bundy's] statements can be shown to have logical consistency, they are not moral, because he is friggen crazy!”

    Okay, but his statements are logically consistent, right? I believe you naturally recoil from where Bundy’s logic took him, not because you can give a sound basis for morality, but because of the unacknowledged image of God manifesting itself in you.

    Biblically speaking, however, the image of God in man is damaged due to the Fall, and God is in the business of restraining a certain amount of evil from occurring in the world. I believe that serial killers result from God lifting that restraint. Bundy had nothing to restrain the evil desires of his heart. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick [friggen crazy!]; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

    The argument is a reductio ad absurdum against atheistic views of morality. On the premise of a given atheistic view of morality, P, there is no logical reason or objectively moral constraint against actions such as those of Bundy, and a host of other like-minded serial killers. But the typical atheist tries to live according to a morality which is for all intents and purposes objective – there’s the absurdity.

    My desire, Q, is that you would recognise that absurdity, and therefore question premise P, whatever P is for you. In place of P, I believe the Bible supplies a sufficient accounting of morality – it is grounded in our Creator.

    On to a couple of other matters:

    The validity of the scientific method is falsifiable. If we followed the method, and came up with even one instance of a contradictory result, then the method would be falsified.”

    We would then be falsifying the method on the terms of the method itself, which is absurd, and so I don’t agree that it’s falsifiable. And contradictory results make us adjust our scientific theories rather than the scientific method.

    You response to my question, “iii) Do you have any burden to make sure your questions are not built on erroneous assumptions?”, was:

    “I’m guessing by your tone that, if I did, I have failed that burden. So, please tell me what assumptions were erroneous.”

    That answer is neither “yes” or “no”, but a reversal of the burden which falls on you.

    I was asking the question as a matter of principle rather than wanting to get into the particulars of your latest challenge just now, as it would take a lot more time for me to correct your assumptions, both implicit and explicit, than it did for you to state them.

  323. WHITEDEVIL =) william graves Says:

    I apologize for my immature comments!! I was joking around! I’m SORRY

  324. questioneverything Says:

    In response to my statement regarding the “borrowing” of transgression, Neil1689 stated:

    ”Yes, that is what I believe, but the borrowing is not conscious on the atheist’s part – he’s an atheist after all.

    It is not conscious reference to God which is necessary for atheistic morality, but rather, as I said last time, ‘Biblically speaking, the atheist has morals by virtue of being God’s creature.’

    Okay, but his statements are logically consistent, right? I believe you naturally recoil from where Bundy’s logic took him, not because you can give a sound basis for morality, but because of the unacknowledged image of God manifesting itself in you.”

    —Now, at this point we have reached an insurmountable obstacle. Neil, you believe that my knowledge of transgression comes from the hand of god within me, which affects me without my being conscious of it. I completely disagree, and see any moral knowledge as stemming from a combination of instinct and logical reasoning. I see your premise as not-disprovable, but also not provable, and based purely on faith-belief, and therefore there is no reason for me to try and answer to it.

    I do not believe. Therefore, when you proffer answers based on theology, I do not accept those answers, and consider the question I have posed still unanswered. I do not mean to offend you by saying this, that is simply my view.

    ”The argument is a reductio ad absurdum against atheistic views of morality. On the premise of a given atheistic view of morality, P, there is no logical reason or objectively moral constraint against actions such as those of Bundy, and a host of other like-minded serial killers. But the typical atheist tries to live according to a morality which is for all intents and purposes objective – there’s the absurdity.

    My desire, Q, is that you would recognise that absurdity, and therefore question premise P, whatever P is for you. In place of P, I believe the Bible supplies a sufficient accounting of morality – it is grounded in our Creator.”

    —This is another sticking point. My argument for an atheistic morality is neither:
    1) a reducto, nor;
    2) an argument for subjective to individual morality, nor;
    3) an argument for objective to the universe moraltiy.
    My argument is for a subjective to the human species morality. I do have an explanation for the Bundy’s in the world, It’s outlined in the DSM-IV, Mental Illness.

    It is not absurd for an atheist to live according to the morality that is not only instinctual to him or her, but is logically sound. What Bundy lacked, the thing that made him a monster, was the realization that other humans are his equal. Other humans have feelings just like him, when he hurt another person, he could not understand how that person felt, he did not care. I’m not making excuses for the Bundy’s of the world, but I am endorsing a purely scientific and secular explanation for their actions, and for the actions of normal, mentally healthy individuals.

    To (the other) Neil:

    ”We have lots of evidence for the existence of God: Cosmological (”first cause”), teleological (design), morality, logic, historical, archeological support and fulfilled prophecies of the Bible, etc. If atheists don’t find that compelling, then so be it”

    First Cause: I have two problems with this argument.

    1) if god made everything first, then who made god? What existed prior to god? If nothing, then where did god come from?

    2) All the evidence of physics, biology, chemistry, and logic, points to a simple principle: entities and structures develop from the simple, towards the complex. Posing a god, an omniscient, omnipotent being who created everything with an intent, is the one postulation that goes against this principle. Understanding entropy and probability, this explanation is so improbable as to be nearly impossible. The posing of a simpler possiblity, a “singularity” explantion is much more probable.

    —essentially, this is no argument at all, it is merely a highlight of one point on which we disagree. Your answer is much less likely than mine.

    Design: There is no support for design. This is simply a mistake, a fallacy of human perception. Our direct world (earth) has species that evolved, over billions of years, to occupy the niches in the food chain which they do today.

    The world seems “specifically tuned” for us because we are here. If the world was tuned a different way, it either would not exist in a way that we understand, or we would have developed to fit into this different world, and never have known to question a different world.

    Morality: You probably already know from my prior posts that I will not support your suppositions and claims for a god-based morality.

    Historical: There is plenty of evidence for god through history? There is plenty of evidence for man’s belief, but not any particular god.

    Archeological: There may be evidence for some, or even most, of the cultures and cities in your books, but there is no evidence of your god in archeology, only man’s belief. There is no actual evidence of your savior’s death or resurrection either, if I recall correctly.

    However, if you look about a million years further back, you’ll begin to find tons of evidence for evolution. How are your old bones more valid than mine again?

    fulfilled prophecies: Funny how all the evidence of the prophecy is in the same book as all the evidence for it’s fulfillment. I can’t dignify arguments not based on anything but the bible, Neil. I need some evidence for prophecy and fulfillment outside of biblical records.

    Thank you both for engaging me in discussion and argument, I have started my own blog, which I invite you both to post on (I will copy this post to that blog as well), and my address is http://questioneverything-noneoftheabove.blogspot.com/ .

    -Q

    P.S. sorry I took so long, I was away from the internet for the weekend, it was horrible!

  325. Another Kafir Says:

    Thomas, don’t you think something about religion and God is natural. I think people if left by themselves will start looking up to the nature or another person as a God. Of course, it does not have to be right, but as long as you are not believing all of it to be true and not forcing others to believe in God etc., it is good if people find some theoretical thing to look up to.
    If there is no compulsion, we will find that the idea of God is updated from time to time, and its quite likely that movie stars be loved and worshiped as gods.
    However, I am not talking about a God that one would fight for, or a God that you take too too seriously, but rather, just as an embodiment of all that you wish to be and the qualities that you appreciate.
    Undoubtedly, it is likely that people would invent some Gods which teach them to hate and kill, kill self, and ma be ask the unbelievers to kill themselves. I think it is such theories that we should fight.
    Most responders respond on the existence of God, and although I am a theist, I will say that God does not exist. I still do believe in one because I see in him the qualities that I appreciate and I would like to see myself like that.
    I think one should evaluate the claims of the people not on whether God exists or not, but the “essential” claims of the religion that one professes and the teachings of the same. I know I speak of a funny middle path, but I think as long as religions are not taken too seriously, they are ok.

  326. Another Kafir,

    Thanks for stopping by. You have an interesting outlook/philosophy but I’m not sure how you sustain it.

    You Said — “don’t you think something about religion and God is natural. I think people if left by themselves will start looking up to the nature or another person as a God.”

    Yes, I think that if you consider the thousands and thousands of religions and gods mankind has invented over the years it becomes apparent that it is natural for us to do so. Throughout history man has created extraordinary explanations for what they fear and/or don’t understand. They’ve given the natural world supernatural elements. They’ve made their fellow man gods and demigods. However, just because it is in our nature to make up these comforting and controlling fictions doesn’t necessarily make it beneficial to human society.

    You Said — “it is good if people find some theoretical thing to look up to.”

    I can’t agree with you here unless you mean it is good for people to create some ideal or lofty principle for which they aspire. I would argue that it is better to admire (look up to) a real life individual like Cornel West than some made up being such as Zeus, Apollo or God.

    You Said — “I am not talking about a God that one would fight for, or a God that you take too too seriously,”

    An admirable dream, but one we have yet to see come to fruition. How many people worship a god who hasn’t been fought over? How many people worship a god who they don’t take very seriously? It is the nature of god worship to be divisive. You don’t believe what I believe? Well then you’re not welcome. Still don’t believe what I believe? Well you better start or I might just have to make you.

    You Said — “Undoubtedly, it is likely that people would invent some Gods which teach them to hate and kill, kill self, and ma be ask the unbelievers to kill themselves. I think it is such theories that we should fight.”

    Undoubtedly. And I agree that we should fight such belief. But I believe this fight can only be a personal one. You can’t fight religion and a mess of fictional gods. You can only focus on your own religious beliefs. Let your faith battle with reason and see who the victor is.

    You Said — “I will say that God does not exist. [But] I still do believe in one because I see in him the qualities that I appreciate and I would like to see myself like that.”

    I don’t understand your contradictory position. I also don’t understand why you need a god to embrace certain qualities you find admirable. Your position confuses me. Perhaps a little more clarification would enlighten me.

    Thanks.

    DoubtingThomas

    PS – I finally figured out how to emphasize my comments with bold and italics. Hooray, no more inadvertent SHOUTING!

  327. Another Kafir Says:

    Dear Thomas,
    When i say that i do not think God exists but I am a theist, I mean that having heard what is said about the God i believe in, I am inclined to look up to it. And for a lack of a better word, I call that God. Looking up to someone like Gandhi or Cornel West, whom I have not met and seen is the same as looking up to some one imaginary.
    I am referring in a pagan sort of manner because my beliefs tend that way. I tend to think that it is healthy and natural to have a god like nature, because that is something that is like validating the rule of nature. And that way people can co-exist with the nature without disturbing it.
    I will repeat that militant faith and missionary sort of faith only defeat the purpose because the whole exercise of God is meant to be a personal exercise, if at all.
    And I have also said earlier that this should be understood as an imaginary exercise and punishing to hell and such would be a very violent idea of God.
    To sum up, I support any opposition to religion, but I do not see it going away because it is but natural. We will have to specify ground rules. People want their religion to be moral, fine. Let morals be, all immoral rules be removed. Most importantly it is important that religion, if at all, be mutable with time. The rules specified for people at the time of Christ and in a particular environment need not be relevant now, it should go out of practice.
    And regarding your question, I do think that the tribal religions, Buddhism and some sects of Hinduism are left to personal choice. It is better if that be the case quite strictly. Divisiveness that still exists in these is a result of human mistakes, which I tend to believe will exist irrespective of religion.

  328. “1) if god made everything first, then who made god? What existed prior to god? If nothing, then where did god come from?”

    There is no logical reason he couldn’t have existed eternally.

    More importantly, you missed the point of my comment.

    I understand (but disagree with) your alternative viewpoints regarding the categories of evidence I listed, and I disagree with the evidence you provide. But I don’t dismiss your beliefs as being on a par with fairy tales, unicorns, etc. But when atheists insist that we have no evidence I quit taking them seriously.

  329. questioneverything Says:

    Neil:

    Well, we definitely have some things in common, Neil; because when believers introduce tales of the miraculous as evidence, I cease to take them seriously.

    However, simply writing off your arguments is disingenuine of me, so I’m going to take some time to address them fully.

    First cause:

    My initial response to this was sloppy, and I apologize for that. The crux of this argument is the seed of its own destruction. To properly pose that there must be a cause to the universe, you must presuppose a premise: that everything must have a cause. The problem here is that if this premise is necessary to support the argument for god, then the premise operates on the idea of god as well, meaning god must also have a cause. If you disregard this premise for god, then there is no reason not to disregard it for the universe. This means that the first event, the cause of all subsequent events, is just as likely the universe itself as is god. Since we have obvious and rock solid evidence of the universe’s existence, it naturally makes more sense to use Occam’s razor to cut away the unnecessary (und un-evidenced) assumption of a postulated god as uncaused first cause, and simply assume that the universe is the uncaused first cause.

    Design:

    If you argue that the wonderful and astounding complexity of life could not have arisen arbitrarily through chaotic processes, could not have “sprang forth” without a creator, then you have within this argument the seeds of its own destruction as well. If the human is too complex to have simply developed from evolutionary pressures, then where did it’s even more complex creator come from? Did god, in all it’s divine complexity, arise on its own from chaotic processes? Essentially, if a complex creature’s existence begs the presence of a creator, then a complex creator’s existence begs, even more strongly, the presence of a creator’s creator…and so on into reductive absurdity.

    In support of a randomly arising complex system, I offer to you, the free market. No financial gods or geniuses designed the free market to run a certain way, a bunch of folks just started trading with each other, and from this simple process arose the most complex human system in existence. The free market is self regulating, evolving and highly complex. No group of world leaders controls it as it runs, yet it works. Prices adjust to fit supply and demand intersections, and individual’s marginal costs increase or decrease to force buying and selling decisions that regulate the new marginal costs of all involved. The market as it stands today was not designedat all, but it exists.

    Morality:

    As I have stated many times, god is unnecessary to have morality. We all have debated this one enough that you know my views on this.

    Logic:

    The only way a proposition can be proven by logic and word-meaning alone is for its negation to lead to a contradiction. The statement “god does not exist” does not lead to such a contradiction, so logic is not very useful to you for this argument.

    Historical:

    Even in the last ten years, with professional standards in news reporting, digital video recordings, satellite observation, the internet, and many other forms of instant worldwide communication, we still receive conflicting reports about current events. A certain percentage of Americans believe that Barrack Obama is a muslim. We still don’t know where Osama Bin Laden is, I myself saw the disparity between what I experienced in Iraq, and what was reported to America. The veracity and / or accuracy of a book compiled over 1500 years ago, from second hand anecdotes of the followers of a self-proclaimed messiah who was executed as a criminal nuisance, and from the handed down stories of middle eastern goat herders and Bedouin tribesmen, is so unlikely as to be laughable.

    Historians have a process where they verify a newly discovered treatise or books accuracy by comparing it to other books of the same time period and noting parallels and discrepancies. This process has been done with some part of the christian bible, but very few points of reference match up with other literature from the same time period.

    Most of the “biblical history” is related through supposed eye-witness accounts of what happened. Science has shown, again and again, that eye-witnesses have tunnel vision, miss important details, and fill in gaps in their knowledge spontaneously to fit their perspectives of why events should happen. Eye-witness testimony in history is given more weight than proper, as it is in the courtroom. However, at least in the courtroom, the jury can see all the evidence and hear all the witnesses, including ones whose testimony contradicts others, and decide which is the more credible. The bible does not even offer this ability, as no equal viewpoints contradicting the christ’s divinity are even present in the bible.

    Prophecy:

    Events happen, unrelated, arbitrary, and recurring. Human minds fill in the gaps between events to support causation, to tell a coherent story. Savvy humans can take advantage of prophecies to gain followers by performing some of the prophesized acts and telling people that they were the prophesized ones. But if you use prophets to support your arguments, then you are supporting Nostrodamus, Edward Cayce, Joseph Smith, Confucius, the Oracle at Delphi, Homer, Mohammed, the Babb, and hundreds of thousands more as strongly as your god. You cannot consistently support your book’s prophecies while disregarding the prophecies of other books and faiths.

    Not only does the fog of time cloud simple events of recent history, it enshrouds ancient history in an almost impenetrable wall of ignorance. We have little evidence that prophets actually prophesized as reported, and little evidence that the prophesized events even happened as reported, verbally, through hundreds of people. If you’ve ever played the school-yard game of “tell me a secret” where one kid whispers a phrase into the ear of his neighbor, and that phrase is passed from one child to another around the room, so that by the end of circulation the new phrase is unlikely to resemble the original, then you can imagine how incredibly dissimilar the stories in the bible are from what actually happened over 2000 years ago, which was not written down for up to 70 years after it occurred.

    Neil, the tooth fairy / unicorn point is no concession speech. There is just as much evidence for the story of King Arthur and his round table, as there is for jesus. For hundreds of years, the knighthood of England, Germany, and France were inspired by the stories of Camelot and Arthur, and aspired to live a chivalrous life that adhered to similar ideals exposed in the Arthurian legend. However, there is no evidence for the story as believed during this period, aside from the written story itself. I do not advocate for Arthurian existence, nor for the existence of the tooth fairy or unicorn. These creatures are fantasy, as is god and the messiah, and all such mystic superstitions. They are all equal to me, and just as useful.

    Anyway, I’m sure everyone will agree this post is long enough, I’ll post it here and at my own blog site.

    -Q

  330. What you’re saying, friend, is quite true. From the moment you are born into a major religion such as Christianity or Islam, you are royally screwed over and are groomed to become a blindfolded and restrained individual of whom will think that the scriptures will make decisions for you from Day One. Again, I applaud you for being brave in the search for Truth and opening the eyes of The Brainwashed Masses. Once you’ve charged forward, you must keep going :) :D By the way, have you read the book entitled God is not great by Christopher Hitchens?

  331. Virgilius, your argument proves too much, which is another way of saying that it proves nothing. If you were “brainwashed” by atheist parents, does that make your worldview false? Of course not.

    Hitchens is a bright and depressed fellow who can’t go three sentences without a logical fallacy. He continually begs the question, just like the self-refuting “Question Everything” commenter does.

  332. questioneverything Says:

    Neil:

    children are not brainwashed by atheist parents. We atheists do not offer false gods and magic as a panacea for the fear of death and stark nature of the universe.

    Children of religious parents are brainwashed when they are told, and forced, to accept a mythos that has no bearing on reality. Religion closes the door on rational thought and honest questioning, supplanting both with a falsehood that can be contrived to suit the teller’s needs for domination and control.

    None of my arguments are self-refuting, and you cannot make them so just by saying that they are, this is not the bible. On the contrary, it is your arguments for the existence of your magic god that I have shown to be self-refuting and absurd. Come back and try again when you have some valid arguments, or some evidence, besides faith, to support your premises.

    I won’t hold my breath.

    -Q

  333. Q,

    You are just a stream of logical fallacies. Saying I use faith instead of arguments is a straw man argument.

    Assuming miracles can’t happen when debating whether they can is begging the question. You are a good disciple of Hitchens in that respect.

    You use ad hominem attacks and say we brainwash our children and that we were brainwashed ourselves. It also begs the question and assumes our worldview is wrong. I know you think it is wrong, and that I think yours is wrong. I could just as easily accuse you of being brainwashed by the media, public school system and your parents, but I don’t.

    Really, take a few lessons in logic then try again and I’ll be more likely to respond to you. It is a waste of time otherwise.

  334. questioneverything:

    Being forced to accept a belief my friend is being brainwashed, regardless of the subject matter. Science changes does it not? What is true in the scientific realm today is not necessarily true tomorrow. Being forced to believe the earth is 6billion years old now, when in twenty years some break through may lead us to change that to 10billion years old. Does that mean you were brainwashed to accept that?

    Also, it is interesting to note that many great scientists were Christian or Theists. I do not see any reason as to why faith and reason cannot go hand in hand. St. Augustine, the 3rd Century Christian philosopher and theologian believed that creation could have been done in potentials,…one potential unlocking another, one step leading to another, not necessarily in a literal 6day creation, but perhaps over the course of millions of years. I think Faith and Reason can stand together, and there are many great scientists and scholars over the years who can back this. It isn’t until really the last 200years that there have been a great influx of Atheist/Skeptic scholars, which happens to pick up with the Age of Post Modern thought.

    “None of my arguments are self-refuting”

    Many of them are.
    Argument 1: “To properly pose that there must be a cause to the universe, you must presuppose a premise: that everything must have a cause.”

    That is false, the argument goes everything that has a BEGINNING must have a cause. The universe had a beginning, thus it has a cause. God had no beginning therefore he needs no cause.

    Argument 2: You essentially believe morals are a product of evolution and logic. I never denied this, I simply stated the source is God. One thing Atheists need to understand, evolution doesn’t discredit God. Evolution still needs a cause because it had a beginning.

    Argument 3: Design, like I said above, there is no reason to bring evolution into this. God could have very well used evolution as his method of creation. Look at the complexity of life and you’ll have to agree with Richard Dawkin’s as he stated, that he, as well as other skeptical scientists feel the urge to worship something as they study nature and the universe. They and he, just opts not to for their own skeptical biases (You’ll find this quote in his debate with John Lennox).

    Historical: Then I suppose you wouldn’t accept the literature we have of Plato’s, Aristotle’s, or Socrates’s as their legit writings? Nor would you accept that the Hittites existed, the Philistines, or other various Canaanite people? I’m curious as to what it takes for you to believe something as credible history, or if we got an ancient writing correct?

    Prophecy: “But if you use prophets to support your arguments, then you are supporting Nostrodamus, Edward Cayce, Joseph Smith, Confucius, the Oracle at Delphi, Homer, Mohammed, the Babb, and hundreds of thousands more as strongly as your god.”

    We accept the prophecy of the Bible because it so far has a success rate of 100%. Nostrodamus had a success rate of 70%(perhaps even less, but his obscure poetic nuances lead his following to take full advantage of any match they can conceive of). He believed the end of the world would take place in 2000AD. However that did not happen and thus he is a false prophet (if one false prophecy is given, even if its out of 1000, they are false). I can go through that whole list and pick out their false prophecies. Except for Confucius or Homer, they were not prophets nor are they held to be prophets. So its not that we don’t accept them because they are “of other faiths” its because they are false and prove this. The prophecies of the Bible are not self fulfilling because they are specific. Prophecies that range from Israel being taken from the nations to become a nation (despite this one in Jeremiah being written some 600years before they were scattered among many nations in 70AD), to the exact date that the Messiah was to be born into this world (that one is found in Daniel).

    “There is just as much evidence for the story of King Arthur and his round table, as there is for jesus.”

    Considering that historians still debate about the existence of King Arthur but are unanimous in the existence of Jesus no matter their religious background or convictions. I’d say you probably should do a little more research on this topic.

  335. questioneverything Says:

    Neil:

    ” Really, take a few lessons in logic then try again and I’ll be more likely to respond to you. It is a waste of time otherwise.”

    Let us talk of logic, shall we?

    ”Assuming miracles can’t happen when debating whether they can is begging the question.”

    Begging the question is called called petitio principii, and occurs when the proposition you are trying to prove is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises which you use, in an argument, to support the conclusion containing the proposition.

    So when I state that there is no credible evidence for miracles actually having occurred, I am not begging the question, I am simply pointing to an absence of evidence.

    However when you state:
    ” We have lots of evidence for the existence of God: Cosmological (”first cause”), teleological (design), morality, logic, historical, archeological support and fulfilled prophecies of the Bible, etc.”

    You are begging the question with some of your premises. Examples;

    1) Design: the premise here, implicitly, is that the universe is designed, which begs the question of a designer, which not surprisingly, you propose as you conclusion.
    2) Prophecies of the bible: You don’t need to join Mensa to see this one. The first implicit premise here is that the bible is accurate, which you need to accept to accept that its tales of prophecy and subsequent occurance are true. Since the “authority” which supports the bible as accurate, the belief that it is the “word of god” (literal or figurative), this premise begs the question posed in the conclusion, the question of god’s existence.

    Granted, if you had historical or archealogical evidence that directly supported your conclusion that “god exists”, then this would be interesting, as neither premise begs the question directly. However, and this is a HUGE however, you are attempting to use historical and archealogical evidence to support your bible, and not as direct support for your conclusion that “god exists”. Because you must go through the bible to make any historical or archealogical evidence relevent to your conclusion, you are forced to beg the question when you use either to support your conclusion that “god exists”.

    ”It also begs the question and assumes our worldview is wrong. I know you think it is wrong, and that I think yours is wrong. I could just as easily accuse you of being brainwashed by the media, public school system and your parents, but I don’t.”
    —————————————-
    Brooks stated:
    ” It isn’t until really the last 200years that there have been a great influx of Atheist/Skeptic scholars, which happens to pick up with the Age of Post Modern thought.”

    This may have more than a little to do with the lessening of power of the church, or the general ban on burning self-proclaimed atheists for heresy. See the “Deist” movement for an understanding of how atheists have been forced to hide themselves throughout history.

    There was not a great influx of homosexuals into American culture until the last 40 or so years. I would postulate that had less to do with an emerging “gay gene” than with the lessening of horribly oppressive social constraints on homosexuality.
    ——————————————
    On the “wordview” issue:

    I don’t have a “worldview” Neil, and atheism is not a “belief” brooks, I just see what I see, and try to think rationally about everything, and question everything I am told or I read. I don’t believe in anything I don’t have evidence for. I don’t make up stories to make me or my children feel better about the fact that we all die, and that we know so little of the universe’s mysteries. This is a pet peeve of mine, when religious people tell me we have competing worldviews, and that each is different, but equal.

    The problem with your “world view” Neil, and the world view of almost all religious individuals, is that you assume way too much. You assume that you know what is right, and judge others based on your beliefs. You assume you have the answers to questions which have not been answered, and you have the insufferable hubris to scorn and cajole those who do not share your foolish, assuming faith.
    ——————————————–
    On “belief” in science:

    I don’t have a “belief” in science, I just work with the most useful, most updated model which I have, until the next one comes along. Will I tend to favor the models I’m used to? Sure, I’m only human, and I have my attachments to certain theories, but in the face of good evidence I will readily discard the old ones and assume the new, more useful ones.
    ———————————————
    Brooks stated:

    ”That is false, the argument goes everything that has a BEGINNING must have a cause. The universe had a beginning, thus it has a cause. God had no beginning therefore he needs no cause.”

    Interesting point, I’ll grant you, but it does nothing to counter my point. God is unnecessary to answer the question of first cause. A simpler answer is a singularity, and a singularity can be theorized to randomly occur. There is no need to postulate an overly complicated creating being, when a chaotic event is both more plausible and evidenced.

    “You essentially believe morals are a product of evolution and logic. I never denied this, I simply stated the source is God. One thing Atheists need to understand, evolution doesn’t discredit God. Evolution still needs a cause because it had a beginning.”

    You are right, gods do nothing to discredit evolution, but evolution does much to discredit the creation myths of gods and superstitions.

    ”Design, like I said above, there is no reason to bring evolution into this. God could have very well used evolution as his method of creation. Look at the complexity of life and you’ll have to agree with Richard Dawkin’s as he stated, that he, as well as other skeptical scientists feel the urge to worship something as they study nature and the universe.”

    I don’t need to bring evolution in, refer to my “begging the question” point above.
    ————————————————
    ”Historical:…”

    Discussed above, it’s not the writing that I dispute, they stand as physical objects. It’s what the writings support that I doubt. Plato’s writings are an interesting study of arguments and logic, so they have intrinsic value there. However, I doubt that Socrates actually existed, as do many historians. By debating the historical accuracy of a well written thesis, I do nothing to discredit it’s philosophical worth.
    —————————————
    ”Prophecy: “But if you use prophets to support your arguments, then you are supporting Nostrodamus, Edward Cayce, Joseph Smith, Confucius, the Oracle at Delphi, Homer, Mohammed, the Babb, and hundreds of thousands more as strongly as your god.”
    We accept the prophecy of the Bible because it so far has a success rate of 100%. Nostrodamus had a success rate of 70%(perhaps even less, but his obscure poetic nuances lead his following to take full advantage of any match they can conceive of).”

    Umm…WOW…..I give all prophets the same success rate, 0%. I don’t believe in prophets. I have seen no evidence of a prophecy that was accurate, nor evidence of any prediction not based on science. Your willingness to believe in prophecy is indicative of the major problems that religion creates, superstition.
    ————————————————–
    Brooks:
    “Considering that historians still debate about the existence of King Arthur but are unanimous in the existence of Jesus no matter their religious background or convictions. I’d say you probably should do a little more research on this topic.”

    Speaking of research, historians are FAR from unanimous. Read Will Durant’s Caesar and Christ, or the works of Constantin-Francios Volney, George Albert Wells, Earl Doherty, or by an actual biblical scholar, Robert M. Price.

    Biblical scholars and historians are almost 99% unanimous, but I don’t limit my readings to church sanctioned literature.
    ——————————————————————
    I don’t have a problem debating with you, Brooks, but if you are going to accuse me of not doing proper research, then bring out the big guns, cite to your evidence, to your research.

    Neil, same goes for logic, if you say I am self-referring, or that my arguments beg the question, don’t just state it, show me. Put your logic where your mouth is. I predict that will result in silence from you.

    You and Neil unfortunately share a disconcerting trait right now, you both whip out unfounded accusation against me. To both of you: don’t just state that I’m wrong, show me how and why, then I might take your opinions more seriously.

    Except for that prophecy bit……….really, that’s just lunacy.

    -Q

  336. questioneverything:

    “This may have more than a little to do with the lessening of power of the church, or the general ban on burning self-proclaimed atheists for heresy.”

    The scientists that the Catholic Church burned/excommunicated where Christians.

    “gods do nothing to discredit evolution, but evolution does much to discredit the creation myths of gods and superstitions.”

    Except for that of Genesis. All it says is the day, and then that the Lord created the animals or the plants according to their kind. Perhaps that day is symbolism for a span of time, just as the Bible says a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. In the Book “The Science of God” the author has his own little take on this.

    “Interesting point, I’ll grant you, but it does nothing to counter my point.”

    Your point was that God needed a cause, which does not fit the original Cosmological argument. As far as your new point, singularity, I’m no expert on Cosmology but I do recommend Dr. William Lane Craig’s papers on the Big Bang. He brought back into popular studies the Kalaam Cosmological argument and has written plenty of scholarly backed works on Big Bang Cosmology.

    “I don’t need to bring evolution in, refer to my “begging the question” point above.”

    You may not need to bring it in, but you did. All that needs to be said on this.

    “Discussed above, it’s not the writing that I dispute, they stand as physical objects.”

    Well, I’m just curious how you base your ideas of what qualifies as historically accurate and what is confirmed and not confirmed. For instance we posses more copies from within the first 200years of the gospels then pretty much any other ancient text available. Much of what we know of early civilizations in the Mediterranean region come from the Old Testimate, and archaeology has always been regarded as the Bibles best friend.

    “I have seen no evidence of a prophecy that was accurate, nor evidence of any prediction not based on science.”

    This just shows your bias. Are you unwilling to believe because there’s lack of evidence or because you don’t believe in the supernatural. I’ll admit straight up that science cannot accurately study prophecy. However science makes bold assertions that it could not possibly study, yet you take that as truth. The 1st law of Thermodynamics for instance, if science is based on observational evidence, how could science boldly assert this claim despite never observing the beginning of the universe. Nor could they necessarily prove energy is destroyed. Instead it should read as far as we have observed. However, considering the majority of the world will regard prophecies could happen there must be something to it (unless your indicating that your superior in intellect then the majority of the world).

    “Biblical scholars and historians are almost 99% unanimous, but I don’t limit my readings to church sanctioned literature.”

    I’m sorry 99% unanimous, that’s hardly anything to argue against my friend. There’s more in science that discredit evolution then historians that discredit Jesus, should you hold evolution is true then? Also I do not limit my readings to “church” sanctioned literature. I’ve read scholars who are both Atheist, Agnostic, Skeptic, Liberal Christian, and Jewish. Yet from this wide stretch of religious convictions Jesus is considered by many of these, to be one of the most historically attested people of this era. I suggest you read Gerd Ludemann, Bart Ehrman, Craig Evans and Craig Blomberg. Top scholars in their fields of New Testament scholarship.

  337. questioneverything Says:

    Brooks:

    Your point was that God needed a cause, which does not fit the original Cosmological argument.

    No, my point was a conditional: If the universe needs a cause, then god needs a cause.

    You stated that the universe was different from god because it has a beginning, and so it needed a cause while god did not. I’ll grant you that this is a workable answer, but it doesn’t answer to my logical processing point.

    However, it does refute it with a contrary conclusion (god doesn’t need a cause) by posing a new, and interesting set of premises, that;
    1) only things with a beginning need a cause, and;
    2) god has no beginning.

    Don’t give up on this argument, it’s a sound argument with a possibly reasonable premise, and it’s a new spin for me, which I want to address later.

    ”I’m sorry 99% unanimous, that’s hardly anything to argue against my friend.”

    I used poor grammar in my answer, let me be more clear: “Biblical scholars and biblical historians are almost 99% unanimous, but I don’t limit my readings to church sanctioned literature.” I did not mean to imply the universal, to pose that all historians are in the 99% I spoke of.

    The percentage of all historians who accept jesus of nazereth as a historical figure is much lower than 99%. I do not know the precise figure, but from what I’ve read it seems a roughly 40/60 % split. That’s enough disagreement for me to doubt it. Even if I accept that jesus of nazareth was a jewish religious figure who taught and was killed by the Romans around the same time the bible states, there is no credible historical evidence known that confirms the resurection myth (and no, I don’t count the bible as credible historical evidence).

    ” Well, I’m just curious how you base your ideas of what qualifies as historically accurate and what is confirmed and not confirmed. For instance we posses more copies from within the first 200years of the gospels then pretty much any other ancient text available.”

    I’m not saying that I accept the historical accuracy of a document just because we have more of them, but this is not really a point worth debating, lets say I concede this point to you, where does that leave us? If I accept that the bible is historically accurate as to some world events / culture at the time of its writing, does this mean I must accept all of it?

    I don’t think I have to, and nor does any historical accuracy the bible may hold in any way strengthen the case for its god or messiah. No more than heiroglyphics that accurately reflect egyption wheat harvests strengthen the veracity of hyroglyphics advocating a Pharo’s divinity.

    ”However science makes bold assertions that it could not possibly study, yet you take that as truth. The 1st law of Thermodynamics for instance, if science is based on observational evidence, how could science boldly assert this claim despite never observing the beginning of the universe.”

    The first law of thermodynamics: The change in the energy [E] of a closed system [s] is equal to the sum of the amount of heat [h] energy supplied to the system and the work [w] done on the system.>/i>

    This is, for the most part, testable, as science can create a mostly closed system, measure the energy (granted this does change the system slightly, but in a predictable manner) then apply heat or work to the system and measure the change. No experiment is perfect, but science can account for all changes to the system with an astounding degree of accuracy. Even the progression from poor experiments to stronger methods has supported and confirmed this rule, as science has made prediction for how observations would affect the system, and they have been routinely, independently, and repeatedly confirmed.

    To refute scientific evidence because it is not perfectly known seems somewhat petty to me. The strength of science is not in perfection, but in independent repeatability and the predictions we can make because of this.

    I do not take the first law thermodynamics as “truth” however. As I said, it is the best, most useful model for how physics operates in this field that we have. If tomorrow, science was to discover a new system that could explain energy transfer and physical states better than these principle laws, I would be a fool not to accept it.

    And here, I have struck upon a fundamental point:

    When I present scientific refutations against the existence of gods, I’m not simply saying that only atheistic scientists are correct, therefore god-loving people are incorrect. I’m also not talking about scientists or philosophers who may have been religious, I’m talking about religion.

    The number of useful discoveries that science has made for humanity: billions
    The number of useful discoveries that religion has made for humanity: zero

    The scientific method has led to a logical, deductive process of understanding our universe, and the questioning of everything. The religious method is the antithesis of this process, and leads to nothing but false hope and obfuscation, the ending of questioning.

    Like religion, I do not believe in prophecy, not because I harbor some “unbelief” in the face of evidence, but because it is not supported by any evidence, and much proposed prophecy has come to nothing. Likewise, I do not have “unbelief” in god, I lack belief in any superstition or magic god. I do not “believe” in science, I simply accept it as useful and accurate to what my experience and reason has shown me so far.

    I lack belief, and demand evidence, and even that, I will question.

    -Q

  338. questioneverything Says:

    One other point:

    Brooks stated “However, considering the majority of the world will regard prophecies could happen there must be something to it (unless your indicating that your superior in intellect then the majority of the world).”

    No, I don’t even really consider myself that much above average. However, your argument is an appeal to the majority position, and it obviously does not convince me because the majority of people profess belief in a religion.

    Do I think the majority of people are wrong? YES!

    Do I think I am smarter than the majority of the world? no, but I do believe I benefit from not carrying the limiting prejudices that most people seem to have about religion. I think most people are happy to hope for life after death, and for some great caretaker in the sky.

    This does not make me happy.

    -Q

  339. questioneverything:

    “Don’t give up on this argument, it’s a sound argument with a possibly reasonable premise, and it’s a new spin for me, which I want to address later.”

    Oh I’m not giving up on it my friend, its part of the Kalaam Cosmological argument. As summerized by Dr. William Lane Craig

    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
    4. Since no scientific explanation (in terms of physical laws) can provide a causal account of the origin of the universe, the cause must be personal (explanation is given in terms of a personal agent) (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy adds #4).

    Now I didn’t say the 1st Law of Thermodynamics does not exist, or that theres no experiment to prove it in the present. However, what I find interesting is since science is based off of pure observation and experiments, how could one really prove that energy has remained constant since the dawn of the universe 14billion years ago, or that it will remain constant 14 billion years from now, since we’ve been only able to really experiment with this in recent decades.

    “The number of useful discoveries that religion has made for humanity: zero”

    Religions are generally not in the business of making scientific discoveries; but they’re there for answering the questions that science cannot answer, the “whys” of life. From a Christian point of view, God gave man reason for discovery and thinking, so from that sense (coming from my point of view that is) the methods for discovery ultimately comes from God. Religion has provided comfort though, and at one time (before the post modern era) scientists marvled at creation as the wonderful work of God.

    “I lack belief, and demand evidence, and even that, I will question.”

    There is a point that one can become too skeptical of the evidence. Miracles could never be proven by science, but many things happen daily taht science could never answer. Such as those who fall from the sky at 10,000 feet and survive, or those that are pronounced dead, and all but wrapped up, but suddenly come back to life. Science could never explain those sort of things because those are events that cannot be replicated in an experiment but clearly random.

    “but from what I’ve read it seems a roughly 40/60 % split.”

    I’d say its more then a 40/60% split. Bart Ehrman as well as Gerd Ludemann (both skeptics one atheist one agnostic), say that there are several facts that are without a doubt are historically founded. These facts are, Jesus was a teacher in the early 1st century with disciples, he was crucified, women were the first to see an empty tomb, and his followers and the former Christian killer Paul, adamently believed they saw a risen Jesus. I also see no reasons as not to take the gospels as legitament historical documents. Here are five reasons as to why I think we can take them as historical documents until proven otherwise:
    1.There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts.
    2.The gospels are not analogous to folk tales or contemporary “urban legends.
    3.The Jewish transmission of sacred traditions was highly developed and reliable.
    4.There were significant restraints on the embellishment of traditions about Jesus, such as the presence of eyewitnesses and the apostles’ supervision.
    5.The Gospel writers have a proven track record of historical reliability.

    -Brooks Robinson

  340. questioneverything Says:

    Brooks stated:

    ”1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
    4. Since no scientific explanation (in terms of physical laws) can provide a causal account of the origin of the universe, the cause must be personal (explanation is given in terms of a personal agent) (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy adds #4).”

    this is an eloquent argument with some novel premises, here is my take on this argument:

    To premise 1., is this true in a direct sense? Does consciousness have a direct cause, or does it emerge from the connections and processes of our thinking meat? Does the free market have a direct cause? It seems that the precesses of millions buying and selling services and goods have given rise to an emergent phenomenon, but directly?

    The problem here is proving direct causation, but this is not a fatal flaw. This premise seems logical, and I think it can stand on it’s own if we accept the limit to which causation can be proven.

    To premise 2. and 3., Because the notions of beginning and ending are coherant only within a linear time reference, can time be said to have a beginning? To say the universe began in a sense that there was some time which existed before the universe existed may be problematic, as time is a part of the fabric of the universe. There is no evidence that time exists outside the universe’s fabric of space-time. It may not be logical to say that time began at all, from the perspective outside the universe. Being trapped within the universe, we see time as a (relative) constant, progressing linearly from one point to the next, but this may just be a matter of our dimensional experience. Science has shown that, mathmatically anyway, it is possible to attain a speed that would make time run relatively backwards for the object moving, so even within the universe, time may be more of a relativistic effect of motion through space than it is an ever-progressing constant. So, with this premise, we may run into the same issue I pointed out with Neil’s argument. Here, the universe can be said to have a beginning from our limited perspective, but it would difficult to pose that it has a beginning from an outside observer’s perspective.

    The jump from 2. to 3. is a reasonable one, if you can get past proving that time had a beginning. However, like god, time and the universe could be said to have no beginning, and therefore both god and the universe are at least equal candidates for uncaused first cause.

    The posing of a singularity as uncaused first cause is more evidenced by what we have to measure, the stuff of the birth of the universe, than that of a god. Also a singularity is a simpler and sufficient explanation, while a god is overly complicated and seems to be more than is needed. And, unlike the evidence of background radiation from the singularity event, I have seen no evidence for the existence of a god (No, I don’t count scripture, as that evidences only man’s faith in god).

    Conditional statement 4., I think this one is wholly wrong on two counts: 1) while science cannot explain the cause of whatever started the universe, it can explain the likely physical cause of the material universe and the laws which we see acting today. Scientists have many theories as to what the very early universe was like, but beyond that is the realm of philosophy (or theology, for believers). I think it is wrong to fault science for a failure to explain something which no system we have can.

    However, my biggest problem with this conditional statement is that the leap it makes is too far. Just because something cannot be explained scientifically, does not mean that the cause must be personnal. The cause may be personnal, but also may be willfully not wondered about, i.e. the answer of “no answer, yet” may be accepted by some (like me) until either science has a reasonable and useful explanation, or until we die.

    If you think about it, there is a valid reason for this second option and second answer, the recognition of our own limits, and some true humility. While I love to ponder philosophical questions, I know (in the sense that I have justified belief, I suppose) there are just some questions that are unanswerable.

    Accepting this is very important, and personnally, this point is the point of friction between myself and religios individuals, the biggest source of ire and frustration which I have from discussions with the religious. When I recognize a complex question, a question that may be unanswerable, and at the very least has an incredibly complex answer, it is like a slap in the face to presented with a simple “god did it” as an answer. The questions of existence and causation have occupied the brightest philosopher for lifetimes. True genius, intellectual giants among men, have been at a loss after years of study to adequetly answer these questions. To simply state that there is a simple answer at all is insulting at the very least. To state that you personnally know the answer, that you, essentially, speak for the universe smack of the greatest conceit, and the greatest disrespect to tempered, rational thought, that I can muster forth in my mind’s eye.

    As atheists, we do not profess to have these answers. We give those questions the respect they deserve for the gravitas whith wich they are burdened. But at the same time we vehemently defend our answer of “no answer, yet”, because to do less would be disrespectful to the question of human existence and human purpose, and disrespectful to all of our fellow humans.

    So this is why, when the religious bring us their fourth-grade-reading-level answer to the purpose of the universe, we atheists react with anger in our defence against the disrespect of humanity!

    This is why we do not argue that our answers are right, but only that your answers must be wrong!

    I believe this is actually the major philosophical rift between atheists and the religious. All religious folk proffer that there is an anwer to these questions, and they know the answer in some way. Atheists adamantly oppose this, because we state that the answer is not knowable.

    Okay, I think this post is probably long enough. Thank you to DT for letting me rant and rave here. I also keep posting on my own blog site, if anyone wants to engage me in discussion there. Yesterday’s post was over the first amendment, and the adding of “under god” to the pledge of allegiance, and the adding of “in god we trust” as the motto of the federal government. Both of which did not happen until the 50’s. Before that, the US was intended by its founders to have a secular government, free from all religious influence.

    -Q

  341. questioneverything:

    Like I said with the argument, Stanford’s encyclopedia of Philosophy added that bit. Dr. Craig’s Kalaam Cosmological argument does not contain number 4. On my Blog I’ve attempted to summarize Dr. Craig’s five arguments for the existance of God if your interested in checking them out. Argument five I’m working on now, but I have to be in that writers mood ;).

    I tend to think God did it no matter how complicated or simple the explanation of an event is. I do not think God hampers science, for science reveals possibilities on how God could have created everything. Granted some will apply that God did it and perhaps that’s the furthest they go with it. But who could blame them if they’re a simple minded layman not interested in the “how things” occur?

    -BrooksRobinson

  342. Enjoy the site. I’m currently working on a compilation aimed at demonstrating that virtually all theistic arguments end up as some form of fallacy. Makes me wonder what high school critical thinking courses would do for removing all this “faith” nonsense from our world. I see the “True Scotsman” and “argument from incredulity” fallacies just in the first few religious responses on your board. Good luck, this seems like a worthwhile gig you have going here.

  343. The only argument that I have is my life. I present it to you for your gracious observation and comment.

    Here is my life-sketch. After reading this, please tell me how I survived all these years if God did not anser my daily prayers.

    I dare not leave you to the conclusions you reached by your arguments, simply because it lacks practical application in our daily living. Or you must prove it. Any theory if it is not practical is of little value, isn’t it?

    My life of faith really began in 1975.

    The first thing I did was to resign my job and was found without a regular source of income to sustain my family. For three and a half years I was all alone with a family of two children then, with no salary, no job as a preacher or a social worker-which would let one be in constant contact with people- and without any known source of income from any estate or any thing of that sort. In other words, if I went hungry no one in the entire world was responsible for me. In fact people could blame me for my situation as I could have easily earned a good salary with my educational background. But during those years I proved to my satisfaction that God was indeed very real in our lives.

    Three and a half years later, my local worshipping group commended me to the service of the Lord following the pattern found in Acts 13:1-4. From 1975 till this day I live without a regular salary, no bank balance, no business income or income from any estate. Now we have five children and I want to testify to the fact that we never ever went hungry or we were found in need and were left with out any help. We never approached any man for any financial help. And we went to a remote jungle-tribe that our contact with the extended family and friends were practically nil.

    By 1986 I had sufficient faith to believe in God to erect a concrete building without any contact with men for the finance of it. I started with little money in hand, completed a 700 sft. of concrete structure including the roof within a matter of thirty calendar days; ended with no debt, and informed no man any where even for prayer about this project as I wanted to prove a point. That building has a granite inscription which reads, “This building stands witnessing the fact that God of Elijah lives”. For over six months I spent eight to ten hours every day in my prayer- closet praying, planning and interacting with God for the same. The purpose of the building was to house the poor children to educate them.

    When the building was completed within 30 days, I was amazed to the core. I could not believe it myself. I thought my life-purpose was indeed achieved as I proved once again without a speck of doubt that indeed God answers prayers today. In 1991 I became semi-paralyzed and for the last sixteen years I am unable to walk even one step without crutches. And I had to leave my station for health reasons.

    Now I am almost confined to my bedroom. The enormous amount of money for my treatment and for the education of all my children now five in number (the eldest was only 16 then), all were well taken care of as direct, tangible, undeniable, unbelievable answer to prayer day by day. No individual, no organization, no church can ever claim that they kept us going all these years without us going bankrupt. Oh, yes, I have been getting money from people known and unknown to me, from family and from friends, from believers and unbelievers; indeed often I never knew where my next meal would come from, but it always came right in time. I just don’t know how our needs are taken care of. But we are well cared for.

    In the light of my experiences, I wish you to prove to me that God never answered my prayers. Tell me how I survived all these years. Tell me how I educated my five children to earn a good living today. Tell me how I met my huge medi-bills every now and then. Tell me how I maintained an automobile all these years. (Mind you, I am almost confined to my room without any ministry for the last sixteen years and practically without much contact with the world out side. No, No. I would have published a dozen and a half articles in Christian magazines in the last 32 years. Yes, I did go out once or twice a year to teach but it is far too expensive as I could never travel alone. I worked as a volunteer for three years in a Bible College. But health prevented me from continuing. That was just about the touch I had with the world outside. I must also tell you that this email facility I have now only from Oct.07.) Most of all, tell me how that building came up in just 30 days. Would you be able to explain my life from your philosophy of life?

    So here I stand. I say that the God of the Bible is true and is alive. I simply subsisted by trusting in Him.

  344. empy:

    I must assume that you did not receive manna falling out of the sky…so, My answer to you is that you and your family subsisted on the kindness of other humans.

    you don’t need to insert god anywhere.

    I also assume that concrete and contractors did not miraculously appear from nowhere. So I imagine it was again, other humans, who had taken care of you.

    I cannot blame any god for your paralysis, only some disease of some sort.

    Why don’t you spend time thanking your fellow man instead of thanking some fictional omnipotent being?

    -Q

  345. questioneverything,

    Thanks for your comments on my post. May I tell you that I like you just for your name because it is thoroughtly Biblical. 1Th 5:21 tells, “Put all things to the test: keep what is good”

    You said, “I must assume that you did not receive manna falling out of the sky” Oh, Yes, you are right. I did not have any thing falling from the sky at any time. But if you know what is the meaning of the word ‘manna’, I had it almost every day. Manna simply means ‘What?!” Yes, indeed I did have manna regularly. In fact I subsisted by it.

    You said, “you and your family subsisted on the kindness of other humans”.

    Why humans are only kind to me, I do not know? I see hundreds living around me in utter poverty and being uncared for! I know that even in affluent nations people live in ditches. Where is human kindness there? If I subsisted simply by human kindness, no other person in the entire world must suffer hunger and poverty any time in their lives. Why should they? After all humans are all very kind hearted and they would not allow any suffering any where. Is that true? I tell you, but for God, my situation would not have been different.

    You said, “I also assume that concrete and contractors did not miraculously appear from nowhere”.

    Absolutely. Again you are right. We simply had to dig the ground and construct a building with steel and cement mortar which we bought form the market. There was nothing miraculous about the construction of the building itself. Almost a dozen people worked for thirty days to complete that work. And I paid for every bit of it and I paid every one who worked there. There was nothing miraculous about it al all. You are absolutely right.

    But you went on to say, “So I imagine it was again, other humans, who had taken care of you”

    I am sorry your imagination is NOT right. I said very clearly, “I started with little money in hand, completed a 700 sft. of concrete structure including the roof within a matter of thirty calendar days; ended with no debt, and informed no man any where even for prayer about this project as I wanted to prove a point”.

    Could you please tell me how those people came forward to give me unsolicited funds for a project they never knew was taking place in a far corner of the world only during that ONE month alone? I kept that project compeltely sealed that no one should know about it and no one should send money because thery knew we needed some funds! This I did on purpose.

    Could you possibily tell me why the flow of money stopped just as we completed the project? If money was coming in like that I would have become a millionire in a few months time!

    Could you possibily expain what happened to me during that month from your philosopy of life?

    I told you very clearly that for around six months before that project ever began, I went to my prayer-closet and prayed for the same for several hours every day. May I tell you that that building would never have come up in thirty days if I had not prayed to God and if God had not answered me. Yes, indeed it would have been possible for me to construct a building like that if I had apporached a builder and arranged for a loan for the same. But I opted for the former simply because I wanted to prove to any one who is bonest and truthful that God of Heaven indeed heard and answered prayers done in His will for His glory. I have been seeing it every day in my life. Now this was a test-tube model of God answering prayer! If you are interested you can investigate further. But this ALONE is my understanding of the situation.

    My paralysis: Imagine that I did not know how to pray. Tell me what would have happened to me sixteen years ago when I became chronically ill, unable to get up and go to work, with no bank balance and with no estate income, with my large family to feed and with huge medi-bills every now and then?

    But the glorious thing is that because I had had such interactions with God that I knew a new chapter was being opened in my life on the 7th fo July 1991 several months before it took place. At last when on that day I became paralyzed, I knew that God was at work in me and I never ever for a second felt that I was ill, though I had to be carried to the hosptial and back for several months initially. So much so, one local news paper published my story as some one facing adversities in life with the help of God. Today I am as cheerful as ever. All my five chilren completed their studies; three of them in engeneering and the other two in humanities. The eldest had just finished high school when I became ill and the youngest just began schooling. If God had not been gracious to me and if God had not heard our pryaers imagine the plight of the family. I had never been a debtor to any one any time.

    At last you said why don’t I thank my fellow men for sustaing me all these years. Well, I know of only one man who stood with me all these 32 years. He is now 94 years and every quarter he would send me a small gift and once in an year I will send him a ‘thank you’ letter. This I do because I do not want him, or any one else for that matter, to send me a gift seeing or knowing my plight. Otherwise I do not know which man is going to send me my next gift. But it never came late! If it is not God’s doing, please tell me what is it? Please read a lot more exciting stories in my blog. Indeed God is real to those who trust Him. No doubt whatsoever. Please do not worry, if any one does not want God, He will leave them alone. Be happy as long as you can!

    Thanks indeed for engaing with me. May God bless you with a cheerful life.

  346. Empy:

    “At last you said why don’t I thank my fellow men for sustaing me all these years. Well, I know of only one man who stood with me all these 32 years.”

    Obviously, this one man did not provide everything for you. I was speaking of mankind, the true source of your “fortune”.

    I could easily ascribe simple coincidence to your life, as for everyone like you who has been “lucky” and made it through life with the help of other men, there are at least a few thousand who have not. When someone can show me proof of a small nation of people whom, within the same duration of time, have had all their needs met with no rational explanation (and the tales from magic books or scriptures are not what I’m talking about, so don’t bother), then I might be curious as to what spooky thing is happening, but likely not really.

    Empy, what truly irritates me about your post is that you are more than willing to credit the cause of your good fortune to a personal interaction with an imagined deity, before you would rightfully credit the real people and society which they have built for sustaining you with charity.

    From a psychological perspective, this is a classic sign of selfish rationalization. Individuals will rarely admit that they have existed completely on the charity of others with no power over their own life. By asserting that it was your “god” that sustained you, you are attempting to escape the self-judgment (even subconscious) that you have failed to sustain yourself through your own efforts. By ascribing your luck to your “relationship” with that god, or with “prayer”, you rationalize your utter failure to exert any power over the world or yourself, and falsely empower yourself with some kind of sideways “control” over your life through this relationship or prayer.

    Your story does not inspire me, or make me think of some heavenly provider, far from it: your story disgusts me, as it should disgust any capable individual willing to give it rational thought!

    Your “luck” is the result of the compassion of other human beings. Your “lucky” for the fact that you were born human. yet you have the audacity to ignore the efforts of other humans and give credit for this “miracle” to your false, imagined, bullshit god! How dare you!

    You insult me, and the rest of humanity by doing this.

    To me, this only highlights the problem with ALL religion, in that all of it makes man think of himself as lower than dirt, while praising bullshit and falsehoods above all else. Religion is a cancer, a virus that should be driven out of the human psyche at the soonest possible opportunity, precicely because it causes a state of thinking such as the one empy displays.

    Religion values lies above truth, lies such as empy’s, told not just to himself to rationalize his own failures, but spread to others like a truth eating disease!

    I have no doubt that his story will cause thousands more infections in the future. However, empy and his story only make me sick.

    -Q

  347. Q.,

    Thanks again for your response. You used words like ‘irritating’, ‘disgusting’ ‘making … sick’ ‘lying’ etc. in your response. I can not see that this is the way a rational person would react to some one who is trying to present a story from his view point. If indeed, as you say, you are rational, you would look deep into the matter to see if there is any truth attached to what I say at all. Instead, you have become emotional and you are using your language against me. I humbly request you to be rational in your evaluation. If you use your language against me and vent your anger at me, I am sorry, I am not here to talk to you any more.

    You said that I am a “lucky” person. Yes, indeed I am lucky in that I had the privilege to get to know the living God who made the universe and who made you and me. I consider it a rare privilege. I know that every one in the world does not enjoy this privilege. Hence I am indeed “lucky” as you observed.

    You said, “Empy, what truly irritates me about your post is that you are more than willing to credit the cause of your good fortune to a personal interaction with an imagined deity, before you would rightfully credit the real people and society which they have built for sustaining you with charity”.

    Q., please accept the fact that I did NOT contact any man any where before I launched on to any of my programs especially that of the building construction. Instead, I spent eight to ten hours per day in a closed room with my open Bible, opening my heart before the Lord. This is absolutely TRUE. I was not in touch with any real people as you said.

    You said, “By asserting that it was your “god” that sustained you, you are attempting to escape the self-judgment (even subconscious) that you have failed to sustain yourself through your own efforts”.

    Q., you can not imagine how much effort I had to make to achieve my target. You can NOT call me a lazy bone. I earned a Master Degree in Hebrew with merit from a reputed University for which I had to sweat my blood. Then I did a diploma in Linguistics. And I worked under a world renown professor from King’s College in London for my thesis. Do you call me a lazy bone? Then when I chose my life’s career, I chose to go to a remote jungle tribe to learn their unwrittern language and to produce primers for them that they could be made literate. I had to walk some times up to 20 miles a day on foot to reach them through some of the most difficult terrains in the world. I had no water source in the place where I lived. So I simply had to pickup a shovel and and a pick-axe and dug a well 20 feet deep with another perosn helping me.

    Let me tell you I had to use MORE energy sitting and praying in a closed room than all that I had ever done before or after. Prayer is not effortless. It is indeed the hardest work any one can do. That is why even many well-meaning believers shun it. You can never tell me that I lived an effortless life. I know how to make an effortless life with my education, like any one else. But I chose the hardest path and it proved to be the most rewarding one. I proved to my satisfaction that God answers prayers in spite of men!

    By the way, do you know why I chose that path? It was a demostration against the commercialization of the Biblical faith. Any one must see that God answers prayers in spite of men.

    “You said, “I have no doubt that his story will cause thousands more infections in the future. However, empy and his story only make me sick”.

    Q., Are you not aware that Red China is becoming Whilte now? Demography tells us that if the present trends continue, China will be a Christian nation by the year 2050. Is it making you more sick to learn of this? What happened to USSR and other Communist regimes which flooded the world with atheistic literatue in the 60s and in the 70s? But now China has set up the largest Bible printing press in the world and is trying to produce one Bible per second. Could you possibly do any thing to stop it? Do it and you will be fighting against your own creator God. By the way, did you choose to be born on earth? Do you know when and how you are going to die? Or did your parents choose your DNA code? Do you not see a force behind this universe at all? I PERCIVE THAT FORCE AS A PERSON SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE PERSONS . Water can not rise above its source. Can it? May I tell you with all humility that the preaching of the Gospel of Christ will continue till the end of this age which is expected pretty soon! No one can stop it till then.

    Q., PLEASE THINK OF THIS. if I am wrong in saying that there is a God, and heaven and hell are real, it matters very little to me as you yourself call me a “luky” guy. Here on earth I am enjoying my life to the fullest in spite of all the problems around me. If as I say there is no heaven after death, I have no problem at all as I am already enjoying heaven here on earth with my God in place.

    BUT IF YOU ARE MISTAKEN, and if indeed there is a hell, IT IS GOING TO COST YOU RATHER DEARLY. Then there won’t be any one out there to help you. Or, are you absolutely sure of your position? … Who could be? SO, I THINK RATIONALLY MY POSITION IS MUCH BETTER THAN THAT OF YOURS. What do you think? Answer me only if you are willing to be modest with your language, please. Thank you and bye.

  348. Empy,

    Thank you for your testimony. I must, however, agree with questioneverything in finding that your story is anything but inspiring. I find it revolting for someone with two children (at the time) to willingly abandon their job and sole source of income to “test their faith” or perhaps more honestly, test their god. What if a Hindu or a Muslim did what you did? Obviously they are worshiping a god/gods that, unlike yours, are utterly fictitious. What a recklessly irresponsible parent. Such a person should have their children taken away from them. Surely you must agree. So why are you the exception, Empy? Because your god is real? I assure you, the Hindu and Muslim are just as certain in their faith. And, I’m sorry, but your god demands that you worship him not abandon all self-sufficiency in order to challenge him to prove himself by encouraging a bunch of people to gather together to construct some ugly concrete building. Doesn’t God have anything better to do than prove himself to the millions of pathetic, selfish, needy, egotistical followers who regularly insist he interfere in their lives? And your story once again brings to mind the question of what your god wasn’t doing when he was focusing so much attention on one specific follower. Recently here in Portland there was a terrible car accident that killed two pedestrians and everyone in the vehicle except one man. The survivor said that God had his protective hand around him. Why only him? Did he love God more than the others did? And how do you ignore the fact that when God took the time to personally interfere in this one man’s life somewhere in the world an innocent child was being raped, somewhere in the world an innocent child was being murdered, somewhere in the world an innocent child was being physically abused, somewhere in the world an innocent child was being mentally abused, somewhere in the world an innocent child was dying of starvation, somewhere in the world an innocent child was dying of thirst, somewhere in the world an innocent child was dying of cancer, somewhere in the world an innocent child was being indoctrinated into a religion that worshiped a “false” god? Every time I hear someone give credit to God for personally interfering in their lives, whether they be someone who survived an accident, avoided a ticket, won the lottery, won a Source Best New Hip Hop Artist award, conceived a child, met their newest significant other, got approved for that loan, got rescued after some disaster, etc. I wonder about all the more deserving people who were being neglected at that exact same moment. God isn’t everywhere at all times because he isn’t anywhere at anytime. If your god is responsible for protecting/aiding some then he is also responsible for all those he neglects to protect/aid. You give your god credit for picking up the slack when you decided to no longer be responsible for your own self, but if your story was true all you’re doing is painting a picture of a god who ignores an amazing, hard working, self-sacrificing, honorable, philanthropical, non-believer while placating his most pathetic follower. Congratulations, I am even more turned off to Christianity than ever before.

    I feel no need to explain how you managed to survive if not for the aid of your god as your entire story stinks of biased, revisionist interpretation. You wanted your god to provide for you, to prove himself to you, so you saw his hand wherever you wanted to and willfully ignored any evidence to the contrary. Guess what, Empy, you belong to a very large club as every worshiper of all the thousands of gods mankind has invented and worshiped, both past and present, also saw examples of their god’s actions in their lives. All of those other people were delusional though, right? Only you and those who worship as you do really feel the hand of God. Is that what you expect me to believe? I’m sorry, Empy, but the only people who are going to buy your story are those who already believe.

    And again, another believer who only credits their god with the good things that happen in their lives. So did your god make you a cripple or simply neglect to prevent it? Maybe he was busy helping R. Kelly win another Source Award. Tangent Alert! Why is it that every Hip Hop artist is only capable of singing about sex and the acquiring of various superficial trinkets/trophies but when it comes time to accept any kind of accolade it suddenly becomes all about God? If God is such a major part of their lives how come they never sing about him? Ah yes, they wouldn’t sell as many albums that way. Ok, back on point. I’m confused by the constant contradictions in your testimony. You claim that constructing the building in 30 days was a miracle and then say it wasn’t. You say it was only possible through the power of prayer but then say it could have been done without it. You say you had faith it could be done but then when it was finished you were amazed and couldn’t believe it. You say that no one, no church, no organization could be credited as giving you aid but then say that you did indeed regularly receive aid from many people, believer and non.

    Empy said – “Why humans are only kind to me, I do not know? I see hundreds living around me in utter poverty and being uncared for! I know that even in affluent nations people live in ditches. Where is human kindness there?”

    Good question, Empy? What makes you so special? How can your god be so heartless? Can’t he see what’s happening in South Africa and the Middle East or just right down the block? Or is he too busy helping you construct your little building? You say you spent eight to ten hours every day in your “prayer closet” for six months. Are you suggesting that this is what it takes to get your god to pay attention? Is someone who prays for only two hours a day wasting their time? Should everyone with children quit their jobs and climb into their closet and pray eight to ten hours a day to get what they want? What should I write on my Tax forms when God delivers a stack of cash and a new Pontiac Solstice to my door? And honestly, shouldn’t anyone who even considers this be encouraged to seek some psychological counseling? Have you considered seeking any? Am I the first to suggest this?

    You see, Empy, the answer is rather simple. You say you told no one about your desires but this isn’t true. People knew. You belonged to a religious group and those people knew about your plight, knew about your desires, your mental condition and did what they could to help. It’s called charity. It’s called pity. It was man who helped you, not your concept of god. The only miracle is that the State allowed you to keep your children and no one had you institutionalized. Sorry if that sounds harsh but I find the choices you made in your life truly disturbing. I’m glad people are helping you in your life, Empy, but please give credit where credit is due. It’s really sad that all these people who are helping you aren’t receiving the thanks they deserve, but this fictional being is receiving plenty.

    And your tired question of “What if we (Atheists) are wrong and there is a hell?” isn’t the one you should be asking. You should be asking “What if you’re wrong?” And here I will quote (copy and paste) Chris from WilyBadger (see my links) as he says it perfectly –

    What if you (the Christian) die and find yourself standing before Thoth, or you meet Charon, who wants to know how you plan to pay.

    You might have to account for yourself to ole One-Eye!

    Suppose you see the Allfather, who asks why you haven’t faced anyone in combat, so that you deserve to get into Valhalla. What if you die, and find yourself in the presence of Bhudda, telling you need to go back and try again? Heck, what if you find yourself in a black desert, standing next to a skeletal figure who says, I AM DEATH, NOT TAXES. I HAPPEN ONLY ONCE.

    I could go on here, but the point is, yes, I might be wrong. There’s a slim, outside chance there could be an afterlife, and if that’s the case, and it’s the Judeo/Christian/Muslim afterlife, I’m well and truly fucked, because God is many things, but just and merciful he is not.

    You might think this guy won’t be judging you in the afterlife… but what if you’re wrong?

    Of course one of the hallmarks of the religious is they believe their version of the afterlife is the correct one, and their god(s) is/are the correct one(s). They are certain they are right, and are atheists to all deities but their own. They don’t stop to think, “What if the Hindus were right?” (unless they are Hindus, of course, in which case they probably think that fairly often).

    The religious go about their lives assuming what they believe is correct. I go about my life assuming what I believe is correct. The odds of me being right appear to be greater than the odds of them being right, as they have no proof of their position. Given those odds, I think I’ll continue to believe I’m right, and if I turn out to be wrong, I’ll hope like heck that whatever I face after death has a greater sense of mercy and justice than God does.

    Also I can’t help but wonder, what would most gods find worse? Someone who believes no gods exist, or someone who has been spending their lives worshiping the wrong god? From what I’ve learned of theology, I’m thinking they’d be more pissed at you than me.

    If this site isn’t enough for you, Empy, you might want to check out Chris’:

    http://wilybadger.wordpress.com/category/atheist-thought/

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  349. DT-

    I see you finally got the italics code to work for you:)

    Empy:

    “I earned a Master Degree in Hebrew with merit from a reputed University for which I had to sweat my blood. Then I did a diploma in Linguistics. And I worked under a world renown professor from King’s College in London for my thesis.”

    I find it difficult to believe that someone with three higher degrees (one from King’s College, no less) would whip out Pascal’s wager on me without a proper citation, but that is only one small element of your story that smells to me of rank bullshit.

    Too much that was addressed better by DT than I could have done myself, but…

    I have a special answer for that illogical and self involved little fallacy from Pascal, and it centers on something which, as evidenced from your story, you completely fail to grasp; personnal responsibility.I have chosen not to believe, willfully, and with malice towards those who would have me accept the poorly authored contradictory mythologies of any religion. So if I die, and I end up looking at buddha, or odin, or thoth, or jesus, having to explain myself, I will have a simple response.

    Fuck you.

    Fuck you for setting the planet up in this sickening, twisted game, fuck you for demanding worship to feed your obviously insecure ego, fuck you for killing people in a myriad of painful ways, causing plagues and strife, allowing the rape of children and of the elderly.

    Fuck you for martyring yourself, and then stating that you did it to save me, I didn’t ask you to, and I don’t want you to. If I want to “be saved” I will save myself. if I can’t, with the help of my fellow humans, then its not worth doing!!

    Fuck you for invalidating any personal power I could have over my life, for setting up some silly sidereal method of accomplishment where I’m supposed to sit in a closet for five hours a day, sucking your metaphorical cock instead of taking the direct action necessary to provide for my family, and the direct responsibility for how that action impacts my fellow men.

    And if, after that, this “god” says, that’s okay, you can still come in to heaven, all you have to do is repent and accept me. I will respond…

    Fuck you. I lived all my life not believing, and I am not about to throw away my integrity just so I don’t get my “rightful” punishment for making my choice. If “god” won’t hold me accountable for my choices, at least I will.

    And if, after this, this “god” says, that’s okay, you can still come in to heaven. I will respond…

    Fuck you. I would never enter a “heaven” that cheapens and invalidates the life I have here on earth, the deep love I have for my wife and friends, and the efforts I have put into my life. How dare you even set up a system like this. If there can be a heaven, then how dare you not make earth that heaven. did you do this just so you could toy with human suffering? Fuck you for setting up a system with a permanent reward or punishment for the choices made in a temporary time frame. It sure seems fucked up that, in a situation where I am powerless to do anything in my life without some “god” to kis the ass of, I would be punished for “all eternity” within hell-fire for choosing not to believe during this one moment in time. How is it “good” that from now on and for all eternity, it doesn’t matter what I do, who I may help in hell or hurt in heaven, my fate is sealed. I’m either totally getting over, or completely screwed, and it will never change!

    Who would want an eternity where we are powerless to change the circumstances of our eternal existence anyway? I’d rather just die.

    Empy, you wouldn’t understand this anyway, as you can’t seem to take responsibility for your own acts, but only laud your own “accomplishments”, both those you ascribe to your sweating blood (which does not impress me, btw, lots of people get degrees in complex and difficult subject without resorting to stigmata, apparantly you just don’t handle stress that well.) and those you ascribe to your hard prayer. You have only illustrated my point better than I ever could. christinsanity is the most selfish of selfish religions. You take direct credit for the things you’ve supposedly earned through your hard work, like degrees and water, yet you also get to take credit for things which seem to just be luck, by stating that you “earned” them through prayer and your direct relationship with god. How truly conceited you are in your holy specialness, and how blind.

    From your story I envision that you have left behind a trail of unacknowledged and unappreciated human beings, whom, for some unknown reason, decided to help you in your time of need. Your “luck” has undeservedly drained energy from the world. Its a good thing that there are people who do not rely on other’s charity to get where they want to go, or entropy would be fast upon us.

    -Q

    P.S. China is not rapidly developing because they are accepting christinsanity en mass, they are developing because of an economic revolution from communism to capitalism, with a pool of exceptionally cheap labor, new earning potential, cheap cost of living, and emerging demand for new products. China is not under the hand of god, only the hand of Adam Smith. I would expect someone with your education credentials to recognize this, but then I guess we all do not retain that which we have learned.

  350. D.T.,

    Let me clarify that the building which I constructed was for educating the tribal children who other wise would never have had an opportunuty to do so. I did keep twenty five of their children along with my five children and fed them and educated them without discrimination. This I did with out a human sponsor and with out an advertisement. But we never ever went hungry. All our needs were well taken care of, simply in answer to prayer.

    You consider me as a worthless liar. That is your take of my story. What could I do than try to tell you what actually happened?

    The tired question I quoted because of my many experiences with the evil spirits around us. I have had face to face encounters with evil spirits. If you can not believe it, I have nothing to tell you. I have one post in my blog about an encounter with evil spirit and several people visit that post and some have even contacted me. At the moment I am in contact with some one who is bothered by an evil spirit. He is doing his research in the UK in the field of oil production. I was very surprised to see such highly educated people have this problem. A few months back a doctoral candidate in Ohaio State University contacted me for a smilar problem. That person approached me when Psychiartists failed to clear the problem for several months. But amazingly a few verses of the Scripture and a simple prayer healed that person of the attack of the evil spirit. You may not belive in the spirit world. But the spirit world is real and God is real to those who trust Him.

    Our friend Q. can not even believe that I did my thesis under a world renown professor. How could he believe? He does not believe in miracles. It is nothing short of a miracle of the first order that I was able to study under Prof. Ackroyd to do my thesis. You may read it in my blog as to how I got in touch with him. Humanly speaking it was much more than an impossibility. But my God made it possible for me! Are you surprised that I am a strong believer in God? A pennyless and a worthless studeent from a third-world country to be a student under such a world figure! Impossible. Impossible. Impossible. But my God made it possible for me. May all glory be His.

    You do not believe in miracles. I say, no miracle will ever happen to you. I believe in miracles and look for them and it happens to me every time. You call it chance. Yes, then I lived out a whole life trusting in ‘chance’. You too can change your attitude and see miracles of the first order even in your life. There is more to life than just the physical and just the mundane.

    I did not read Q.’s response to me this time simply because I do not understand his language. May God help him with his language.

    D.T., as I said in my first post, my only argument is my life and if you do not find any thing there, I have nothing more to tell you. Hence I am withdrawing from this conversation. My prayer is that God will use my words to open the eyes of some needy person out there through my humble effort which I do for His Glory. Enjoy the best that life can offer. Good bye.

  351. Looks like DT and Q got their panties in a wad.

  352. I’ve been looking through libraries and all over the WWW looking for just such site as yours (or blog). FANTASTIC! You echo my own conclusions. I used to be faithfully religious (Catholic) until my personal epiphanies made me stop and think, really think! These were the lingering, horrible death of my mother and the murder of my husband. Over the years since, I have studied and come to realize that organized religion is the curse of humanity, and that God is not *God* as is represented in a man-made and much-translated book. While I would not call myself an atheist, I would say that I do not believe in anything not taught us by science. I do not know what God is and I do not know what there is after death; I consider myself too intelligent to know. I await the Great Beyond and I’ll take it as it comes. I applaud you for your refreshing, honest outlook, your take on Noah’s Ark, especially, and I’m going now to read more of your blogs.

  353. I sympathize with your losses but don’t see how that means that God isn’t real. What part of the Bible gave you the impression that there wouldn’t be death and suffering in this life? It teaches the opposite, and that there is one cure for it.

    The Bible is not “much translated.” See How many times has your Bible been translated? Even skeptics like Bart Erhman concede that you know what the originals said with 99% confidence, and more than that on key doctrines.

    Can you use science to prove that only science can provide truth? No.

  354. Neil stated:

    “Can you use science to prove that only science can provide truth? No.”

    Neil, once again, you are trying to use a screwdriver to saw a board. The scientific method is designed to disprove a disprovable hypothesis, not to prove anything. Only after the repeated failure of experiments to disprove said hypothesis, will the hypothesis become tentatively accepted, but experimenting will continue to try and disprove this hypothesis as new evidence and techniques become available.

    Science does not prove hypothesis, it supports hypothesis through repeated failure to disprove them.

    The more you make statements like this, the more you display your ignorance and wrongheadedness of how science operates.

    -Q

    p.s. And notice I made a point to highlight that the hypothesis must be disprovable in order for science’s failure to disprove it act as support for the hypothesis. So failure to disprove magic spookiness does not count as scientific support for magic spookiness.

  355. No, Q, you are completely distorting things as usual, which I why I usually just ignore you. Perhaps you could return the favor and do the same for me?

    Diane made a specific claim: “I do not believe in anything not taught us by science.” I pointed out that she can’t use science to support her belief that only science can teach the truth. Therefore, her statement is self-refuting. If you don’t agree with her claims then direct your comments to her. Mine made perfect sense.

  356. Neil:

    Well, I’m just not an ignorer (if that’s actually a word). So, if you don’t like it, go play with your bible.

    in response to your continued error, feel free to read my post at

    http://questioneverything-noneoftheabove.blogspot.com/

    It should explain why I feel the need to correct you when you attempt to make a fallacious statement appear reasonable.

    And no, asking if science can “prove that only science can provide truth” makes no sense at all, for the following reasons:

    1) science does not prove things, see above post, or the scientific method, or a 3rd grade science text book (but not a creationist text, because that probably states that science can prove things, which…is…wrong.).
    2) even if science could prove things, asking if science can prove it’s own validity in reference to the universe (that’s the implied part of the question you’re pretending not to see) is like asking if you can use a ruler to prove that meters are the correct measurement of the universe.

    This does not surprise me as it stems from the same thinking that would sponsor both arguments that; (a) god is good, while good is what god states it is, with no reference to any outside “goodness”, and; this god/good argument is not a circular reduction.

    -Q

  357. Q, in the future I don’t want you to wonder if I’m ignoring you. I want you to know without a doubt that I’m ignoring you. So type all you like about my posts and blog all you like about me, but don’t expect a reply. I would ask the courtesy of linking to my site or my comments so that people can decide for themselves if what I said makes sense. I have great faith that middle grounders can see who is being reasoned and who is being ridiculous (Exhibit A: Your foolishness above about judging the creator of the universe. Good luck with that.).

    You have repeatedly demonstrated that you are unwilling and/or incapable of understanding the simplest points, such as the nature Diane’s logical fallacy above. Therefore, I don’t waste time with folks like you. Nothing personal, just a time-saver on my part.

  358. Neil-

    unfortunately for you, logic doesn’t work in the real world like it does in the bible, so saying something repeatedly simply will not make it true.

    I understand the points you are trying to make, you’re simply wrong. Every time you make wrongheaded statements about things you obviously do not understand, (like science “proving” hypothoses) I hope that someone like me will address them directly and correct you, in an attempt to stem the tide of bullshit that people like you propogate.

    Your “faith-based” arguments are a cancer that needs to be cut from the fabric of society, before it con spread to the next generation. Your willfull blindness and irrationality are traits that should never be emulated by anyone with the capacity for sound judgment and reason.

    I don’t wonder if you’re ignoring me, and frankly I don’t care if you acknowledge a word I say. But I will attack every fallacy that you propose and never stop shouting that the emperor has no clothes, because, as I have said in my blog, to allow your arguments to stand unchallenged is tantamount to a tacit acceptance of them. This, I will never do.

    -Q

  359. Q,

    “wrongheaded”??

    Wow. You’re pretty harsh, even by my standards. For someone who asks us [judging by your blogsite's title] to question everything, you seem to have forgotten to question whether or not you could be in error. It’s not always the other guy, even if you disagree with him.

    Now, if you’d like to actual make sense, perhaps you could qualify how exactly in your inestimable OPINION you came to the conclusion that someone with a Christian [I like how you generalize us as using "faith-based" arguments; I certainly hope that means your arguments rely not the slightest whit on faith, for I would not want you to be a hypocrite] POV is willfully blind and irrational. Since you refuse to believe God exists, if He does in fact exist, it is YOU who are willfully blind. Certainly no amount of evidence seems able to convince you beyond your own ill-tempered viewpoint.

    Now if men have the capacity for sound judgment and reason, as you suggest, you find yourself in a quandary: whence springs such capacity? If it all comes from our minds, why should we trust it? It seems a bit circular to say that we can trust our capacity for sound judment because we have the capacity forsound judgment. It certainly doesn’t sound at all reasonable to trust such hubris.

    Perhaps if you tried less snarling and more listening, you’d hear the strains of true reason. Maybe if you included yourself when you invite us to question everything, you’d find you aren’t so omniscient after all.

    I think God scares you more than you’re willing to admit. Is that why you lash out so? Is it hard to kick against the goads?

    –Sirius Knott

  360. Sirius-

    “Since you refuse to believe God exists, if He does in fact exist, it is YOU who are willfully blind.”

    I do not refuse to believe, I just don’t believe, because there is no evidence that would cause me to believe. stating that I rufuse to believe is like stating that a court refuses to indict someone, simply because there is no evidence of that person commiting a crime.

    Willfull blindness is when a person choses to maintain a point of view, regardless of the evidence presented against that point of view. This is the purview of the religious, not the atheist, as there is no evidence for any magic god, I am not willfully blind to any evidence i have been presented with.

    Now if men have the capacity for sound judgment and reason, as you suggest, you find yourself in a quandary: whence springs such capacity?”

    You assume that there is some objective measure, outside of human definition, for what sound judgment and reason are, when there is no such objective measurement. What is considered sound judgment and reason is defined by humans, for humans, and there’s no escaping this.
    It is a quandry, but “goddidit” is not an answer worthy of even mentioning.

    “Perhaps if you tried less snarling and more listening, you’d hear the strains of true reason.”

    I hear the straining of reason, alright, everytime I hear a “logical” argument for faith, and that’s my point.

    “Maybe if you included yourself when you invite us to question everything, you’d find you aren’t so omniscient after all.”

    I have never claimed to know everything, that’s a purely religious purview. I only claim that the religious answer to any of these questions is wrong, a lie, and a poorly fabricated lie at that. I attack any supposedly logical argument that purports to support that lie as truth, because I like to show people how these arguments are not logical.

    “I think God scares you more than you’re willing to admit. Is that why you lash out so? Is it hard to kick against the goads?”

    I’m not scared by a god that does not exist, anymore than I am scared by the boogeyman, UFOs, or Bigfoot.

    I am scared by the stupidity, gullibility, and the total lack of reason that the religious display. I lash out to fight this, to fight the tide of bullshit that constantly threatens to sweep the world into another dark age of “faith”. I lash out against the morons who would bring this fecund pile of dross to the young and the impressionable as some sort of sacred gift.

    It is a lie, and you are a liar. I won’t ever stop pointing that out.

    -Q

  361. Q,

    There’s plenty of evidence, but you yourself have admitted your unwillingness to believe when you’ve stated that you feel “goddidit” [as you plagiaristically put it] is never an acceptable answer. You’re of course making three well-known rote responses [mistakes] here.

    1. You’re invoking the God of the gaps rebuttal. Which is completely defunct these days, but thanx for the nostalgic moment. We’re not saying we can’t explain it so God must have done it. We’ve looked at the evidence [there's that word again], eliminated the possibility that it can be accounted for by chance or natural processes and are left with design. Design infers an intelligent designer, for it is observable that things that evidence intelligent design have as their most probable and parsimonous cause an intelligent agent. We have then not simply made an argument from ignorance but rather made inference to the most probable solution.
    2. You’ve admitted that you don’t know everything, yet you seem CERTAIN that God and any other religious answer must be incorrect. You have a priori decided this must be so; therefore if God exists, your quest for a answers will never come to the correct solution, becuase you have eliminated it from the outset.
    3. You have equated God with things you also consider equally false on the border of the obviously fantastical. But merely lumping God into a mocking category doesn’t disprove Him. It merely again reveals your bias filter. Guilt by false association is hardly proof against His existence.

    Now, your word usage is both creative and evocative, but your arguments seem to rely upon a force of emotion. In my experience, this is indicative of having only preached to the choir. Come over to my site, boy. In particular, if you really are a fan of logic, I’d like you to look at this post:

    http://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/there-is-no-science-but-naturalism-and-darwin-is-its-prophet/

    –Sirius Knott

  362. Sirius:
    1) I have read your post, and let me say, I am underwhelmed. You stated: “if you really are a fan of logic,”

    and:

    “Design infers an intelligent designer,”

    Sirius, you assume design with no convincing, logical argument for it. What supports this premise, friend? If you insist you are being logical, that your argument is sound, then please explain how this premise is sound? From your offered post, let me make an assumption…

    I assume you advocate design based on the complexity of life, but as you can see from my earlier post on this page that I have already shown an alternative, unless you believe that god designed the free-market system as well?

    If you don’t believe in evolution, then please, explain dogs. Dogs as we know them today did not exist 2000 years ago. All the various and diverse breeds of dogs all came from the same place. A weiner dog and a great-dane share a common ancestor, yet have completely different characteristics. Please explain this with your bible, and be specific.
    —————————————————————————–
    2) “it is observable that things that evidence intelligent design have as their most probable and parsimonous cause an intelligent agent.”

    Perhaps you have a different definition of parsimony than I do. My definition of parsimony: the most simple explanation.
    Stating that a complex design calls for an even more complex creator capable of designing this complex design, is actually the opposite of parsimony.
    ————————————————————————-
    3) “You’ve admitted that you don’t know everything, yet you seem CERTAIN that God and any other religious answer must be incorrect. You have a priori decided this must be so”

    No, again, we must have different definitions for a priori. my definition: a priori is knowledge that is independent of experience.
    I have decided that your, christian god does not exist based upon logic and parsimony, not an an a priori assumption.
    A good example of a priori knowledge: faith. in any god or magic.
    You use both parsimony and a priori as if they should prove something, then tell me to learn logic from your website. However, your own misuse of these words tell me, and everyone else, all we need to know of your understanding of logic.
    ————————————————————————
    4) “You have equated God with things you also consider equally false on the border of the obviously fantastical. But merely lumping God into a mocking category doesn’t disprove Him. It merely again reveals your bias filter. Guilt by false association is hardly proof against His existence.”

    I have, and I do, because your god is equal to these other thing in my opinion. My intent is not to disprove your god, as I have said, the hypothesis that your god exists is not disprovable, therefore worthless.

    Even though the association is not false, it is not this association that makes your god guilty of being obviously fantastical. My goal is simply to show that there is no real evidence that supports that your bible, or your god, are true. My goal is to show that any argument you advocate which seems to logically support the truth of your bible, or the existence of your god, is invalid, unsound, or based on unsound premises.

    -Q

    P.S.

    And you also stated: “Come over to my site, boy.”

    I am no boy, and I do not care for your sarcasm and derogation. I have led men through enemy fire on the field of battle to defend my country, I don’t know what act you have done that makes you think you can question my manhood, or assert your own is more developed than mine, perhaps you would like to explain that?

  363. Q:

    I don’t think evolution disproves God. There are many Theologians/ Christian Philosophers who accept evolution as a valid explanation for the diversity/origins of life(they just believe that God started it verses chance). Augustine believed that one should not take Genesis as word for word for a very simple reason… we were not there. He believed creation in Genesis could be various types of potentials that unlock as time goes on. C.S. Lewis mentions evolution as an idea of where life came from. Allister McGrath, a theologian from Oxford University, also has embraced evolution with his Christianity. Evolution does nothing more then give a possible explanation of the diversity of life as we have observed.

    “then please, explain dogs”

    The many species of dogs is a result of micro-evolution. The majority of Christians that reject Darwinian-Evolution have no issues with embracing micro-evolution.

    “unless you believe that god designed the free-market system as well?”

    I do not see how this relates to an argument against design, could you explain this to me?

    “there is no real evidence that supports that your bible”

    I have many archaeological/history books on my shelf that do nothing but support the events in the Bible. Granted you cannot prove the miracles that occur in the Bible; but that’s why they’re miracles. Just as you can’t explain with science why someone is dead for hours and about ready to be sliced open for organ donation, but suddenly comes back to life. However, the majority of the people, the places, and the majority of the events that happen in the Bible can be accepted as historical events/places/people. Those who tend to be skeptical of these sorts of things erect walls against the Bible that they would not erect against any other event of antiquity. If these same skeptics applied their standards of judgment against any other event of antiquity, we’d be left with an empty ancient history book.

  364. Q,

    You talk like a punk, you get treated like a punk. If you can’t take the heat, stop stoking the fire.

    You got nothing but opinion.

    Thank you for serving our country and protecting our cherished freedoms. Unfortunately that sacrifice [or proudly assumed duty, depending on how you approached it] doesn’t entitle you to a free pass for being a world class jerk. Again, I tend to respond in kind, so you might like to watch your tone, old man.

    Come over to my site. I got something for ya.

    –Sirius Knott

  365. Brooks:

    “The many species of dogs is a result of micro-evolution. The majority of Christians that reject Darwinian-Evolution have no issues with embracing micro-evolution.”

    Mico-evolution is just macro-evolution viewed in small lengths of time, i.e. less than a million years. I don’t understand how you can accept micro-evolution and yet not except that it indicates and supports macro-evolution, and the basics of Darwin’s theories.

    The free market theory is not an argument against design per se, it is a phenomenon that exemplifies the emergence of a complex system from a large set of random occurances. The Market is but one example of a complex system that arose with no design and no designer. I use it to show that at least one complexit entity, that may look like it required a designer to create, has arisen from chaos, in our own time, with no need for a designer.

    “Just as you can’t explain with science why someone is dead for hours and about ready to be sliced open for organ donation, but suddenly comes back to life.”

    Sure I can, they were not dead. They were mis-diagnosed as dead. Just because someone makes a mistake, or a person can appear dead to all our diagnostic equipment and methods, does not mean there are supernatural forces at work. Even the defition of dead is an evolving one. It used to be assumed that when the heart stopped one was dead. Now we measure brain waves. In the future we might find out that a lot of people we assumed were dead, were not quite dead yet.

    “I have many archaeological/history books on my shelf that do nothing but support the events in the Bible.”

    I’m not debating the banal, historical data in the bible, I don’t care whether it is accurate or not. As I’ve said in a previous post, the accounts of wheat harvests and enemies killed in battle on a pharo’s tomb wall may be exceptionally accurate, but this in no way lends credibility to the truth of Ra, or the eqyptian afterlife.

    When I say that there is no real evidence that supports the bible, I am speaking of the fantastical accounts of the bible: Genesis, exodus, the flood, the covenant, the miracles, jesus’s mystical birth scenario and resurrection. These are the things that are unsupported. Their proximity to a historically accurate depiction of a city or some natural events does not make them more credible. Although this is what biblical scholars try to do, it just doesn’t work.

    We can accept in part, and reject in part, many historical works. Many people find plato’s descriptions of athenian politics incredibly instructional, but his account of atlantis is not taken as historical fact by serious scholars.

    Knott Sirius:

    “You talk like a punk, you get treated like a punk. If you can’t take the heat, stop stoking the fire.”

    This is an atheists website, sirius, so it’s you who is attempting to stoke the fire. and i’m curious, what exactly is your definition of “punk”?

    “You got nothing but opinion.”

    On the contrary, I have offered logical arguments based upon sound premises, I’ve even offered living examples to support those premises and the validity of my arguments. You have offered….

    well I invite anyone to ahow me an actual argument in your writings. I have seen several opinions, and some general advocacy of the bible, but, no arguments. So, in a sense, what you say is grammatically true. I “got nothing but opinion” from you.

    -Q

  366. Q:

    “Mico-evolution is just macro-evolution viewed in small lengths of time, i.e. less than a million years.”

    Micro-evolution is small changes within species, length of time is not specific. Evolution in either form has no length of time, and “should” be seen within a few generations to hundreds of generations. Examples of Micro-evolution are the moth changing its color from a light gray to a dark gray because of the pollution in England, or a bacteria adapting and no longer affected by medicine. Darwinist tend to cling on micro-evolution as proof for macro, using it as the foundation. However, like I said above, evolution does little against the argument for God, and I’ve even seen it proposed that evolution without God could not of happened. Some genius’s determined the odds of life occurring literally from nothing in the beginning to its complexity today, and figured out the odds are so greatly against life coming from nothing and by nothing, that our sun would be burned out before life could be started. I believe the stated odds were something like 1X10^52 to even get the basic amino acids for the building blocks of life. Let alone the odds for the right amino acids needed for life(as not all amino acids are life permitting), and for those amino acids to come together. So without God, its improbable we would have experienced life on earth within 6 billion years, to the complexity of today.

    “it is a phenomenon that exemplifies the emergence of a complex system from a large set of random occurrences.”

    It’s still a designed system put in place by buyers and sellers who determine the prices of goods they want to sell/buy which is based off many other factors. Some conspiracy theorists would even speculate it is solely determined by some very rich men, especially in light of big oil and such.

    “Sure I can, they were not dead…does not mean there are supernatural forces at work.”

    Funny that you stated that last part, however I did not bring in supernatural entities into this. What I was stating is its a miracle (as much as you try to deny them, they occur). Not necessarily something God did(no one could know), but a miracle in the sense that it occurs, its recorded, and science cannot explain nor recreate the conditions to experiment this action. So to flat out state, they were not dead, and dismiss this as a meaningless argument(especially considering the multiplicity of this occurrence even in modern science) is no different then those rigid Christians who who deny certain aspects of science (like the earth is 6 billion years old) because they do not interpret the Bible that way.

    “I don’t care whether it is accurate or not.”

    Then quit lumping the Bible into the fairy tale section of the library.

    “the accounts of wheat harvests and enemies killed in battle on a pharo’s tomb wall may be exceptionally accurate, but this in no way lends credibility to the truth of Ra, or the Egyptian afterlife.”

    True, those sorts of things are not testimonies to a false god. However, the fact of the matter is that after nearly 4000 years this particular God still is worshiped, where Ra isn’t (I’m sure there are someone out there who may). God is not likened to the anthropomorphic gods of the ancient pagans, not needing idols to be danced around for a good harvest. The Bible often times depicts the troubles of life or the blessings of life as the way it is for all, believers or those who don’t believe. Also people today, many who never believed in him previously (like my father), claim to have experienced Him and have made a radical changes in their lives. My dad was an Atheist to the inner fibers of his being, doing what brought HIM the most happiness, not caring about what society or some hodge podge Atheist attempt to explain morality with their theory of some sort of evolved absolute morality. He lived as a true atheist not fearing reprisal of his actions, doing what he pleased when he wanted, because this is his only life.

    “but his account of atlantis is not taken as historical fact by serious scholars.”

    True, (although many scholars to this day search for a city of Atlantis), behind every myth is usually some fact(even if its minute). However, the cities of the Bible are not usually given fantastical scenarios; but are depicted as cities one should expect of that time period, and even at times just as the Bible describes them. Your right in saying the miracles of the Bible cannot be proven, however, one remnant of the Bible is an on going covenant miracle visible today, the Jews. So the experiences many people have with God today, a visible remnant of Israel’s covenant today, another covenant visible today, despite all the reasons for it not to exist today (Christianity), there is no reason to not accept even the “fantastical” events of the Bible (which many cultures seem to cling on this idea of a world flood,as there is a world flood “myth” on every Continent of the world and in hundreds of cultures on the world).

  367. Brooks stated:

    “Some genius’s determined the odds of life occurring literally from nothing in the beginning to its complexity today, and figured out the odds are so greatly against life coming from nothing and by nothing, that our sun would be burned out before life could be started.”

    I’ve seen this calculation, and I don’t think that the mathematicians involved accounted the vast number (possibly near infinite) of planets into their calculation. When one does incorporate the vast number of planet-sun systems available, the probability of life emerging on any one of these planets becomes much higher. Add to this, the possibility of a transfer of living matter across a vast space in between plant-sun systems through comet or meteor impact, and the artificial and mistaken limit to one star’s life on the development of life is eliminated. Again, no supernatural explanation is needed.

    “It’s still a designed system put in place by buyers and sellers “

    It’s actually not a designed system, that is precisely my point. The market emerges when a set of self-interested buyer/sellers begin to interact with eachother. No one designes the system when they interact with it, they just buy or sell. You are directly refuting what I’m stating, but you don’t offer any evidence for your hypothoses.

    “So to flat out state, they were not dead, and dismiss this as a meaningless argument(especially considering the multiplicity of this occurrence even in modern science) is no different then those rigid Christians who who deny certain aspects of science”

    I’m just stating an obvious fact, they were not dead, as evidenced by the fact that they regained consciousness, which the dead don’t do. This self-evident fact is why I dismiss your assertion that these subjects were dead, and came back to life.

    “However, the fact of the matter is that after nearly 4000 years this particular God still is worshiped, where Ra isn’t”

    Hinduism sprang up before judaism, and it is still practiced, as is confucionism, and many african religions. Being old doesn’t lend the abrahamic religions any credibility either. following that logic, you would have to give up christianity for judaism, or any abrahamic religion for hinduism, shinto, or paganism (which is still practiced).

    “one remnant of the Bible is an on going covenant miracle visible today, the Jews”

    The jews are not a miracle, they are a race of people who must fight for their existence every day against a horde of people who want to see them wiped off the earth. They survive because they have an exceptional military, and a well-developed set of ties to wealthy western governments.

    I can’t see where anyhting you have presented here serves as an on-point refutation to what I have said, so I’m left scratching my head as to what you are trying to say.

    -Q

  368. Q:

    “and I don’t think that the mathematicians involved accounted the vast number (possibly near infinite) of planets into their calculation.”

    If the universe had a beginning as the Big Bang suggests, there would not be an infinite amount of planets involved (infinity does not exist in reality, but is an abstract idea).

    “Again, no supernatural explanation is needed.”

    There is, remember everything that comes into being needs a cause. I would have no problem accepting amino acids or basic cells being carried over by an asteroid (if it was highly probable and not just probable). The problem with accepting “green men planting the seeds of life,” as Dawkins once stated as being more probable then God, is it throws one more log in the fire of infinite regress. In other words, it does nothing to dismiss God. An asteroid containing the building blocks of life, or life itself to other planets would still need a beginning. Accepting that God created life out of nothing from nothing in any way that He sees fit, whether it was from evolution, asteroids, or exactly like Genesis states(versus other alternative interpretations), seems to be the most probable. To believe otherwise means to accept other theories that are just as unprovable, and shakey as far as theories go. No one could ever prove that there are multi-verses, or that we are in an infinite cycle/recycle of the universe. To believe, as you seem to believe, takes just as much faith if not more, then to believe God did it in his way(which could be what science has theorized). It takes more faith simply for the fact, millions seem to have experienced the workings of God in their life over the course of human history and have experienced him in ways that go beyond the typical explanations you have provided, for ex: when responding to Empty, as if you know his life and his experiences and can be a judge to them. Your judgment of his experiences hold just as much weight as if I said you never served in Iraq.

    “It’s actually not a designed system, that is precisely my point.”

    Without the individuals who developed the system, it would cease to have existed. Notice what encarta’s definition for free market states,”an economic system in which individuals, rather than government, make the majority of decisions regarding economic activities and transactions.” In other words, its totally reliant on individuals.

    “This self-evident fact is why I dismiss your assertion that these subjects were dead, and came back to life.”

    A “fact” declared by you. Many doctors using the latest equipment to measure brain waves and heart beats have declared them dead. If someone does not have a heart beat, my friend, they are dead. Once ones heart beat stops, the brain begins to die within five minutes as its cells begin to perish without oxygen. If we still have trouble in today’s world declaring people completely dead, then I have no reason to put any faith in science what so ever.

    “Being old doesn’t lend the abrahamic religions any credibility either.”

    No but when your people are not as great numerically wise,(considering there are only 13.2million Jews today), as the Chinese or Indians, and you’ve been conquered repeatedly many times over the course of thousands of years, and even scattered among the nations. Yet your people survive, and not only do your people but your sacred writings and your sacred beliefs have relatively remained unchanged for that amount of time. I’d have to say there’s something to that. The Hindu’s were never threatened with extermination in any fashion, nor were they cast across the nations. Confucianism is more of a philosophy then a religion. Shinto, once again the Japanese where never faced with scattering or extermination. Paganism is a classification of a group of religions which would encompass Shinto and Hinduism and many other folk religions.

    “The jews are not a miracle, they are a race of people who must fight for their existence every day against a horde of people who want to see them wiped off the earth.”

    Never mind the fact they were given a nation suddenly after thousands of years. Never mind they fought off nearly every Arab nation at once and won, and not just once, but many times (before we helped them out as much as we do today), even taking land. Never mind their military technology is some of the greatest in the world, and even rivals the United States’ military technology.

    “They survive because they have an exceptional military, and a well-developed set of ties to wealthy western governments. ”

    This came later, in their first war it was holocaust survivors with old weapons fighting Arab nations fighting with British World War Two weapons (their first war was in 1948).

    Brooks Robinson

  369. I’m not a Christian and your story sounds somewhat like mine. I’ve been practicing Zen for several years now. Got fed up with Christianity and then Alcoholics Anonymous. Those paths (Religions) weren’t right for me. I had a lot of anger towards Christians and AAers for years! I think one of the biggest hurdles in my development as a human was that anger, the pain. Atheism is okay, and I called myself that for years. I try not to call myself anything right now even though I don’t believe in God (like the Christian, personal God). I don’t even call myself a Buddhist anymore even though I have taken the precepts and practice zazen almost everyday. I would encourage you to look at all of this anger (if it is present for you) and try to find some kind of peace in your life (if you don’t have it). Anger just ain’t worth hanging on to. Believe me, I know. Christians seem to get angry with Atheists, but Atheists seem to be angry with Christians too (or that was my experience when I called myself an Atheist). Thanks for your posts. I think I’ll set up your site as one of my favorites.

  370. Oh, I never spoke in tongues when I was younger…..you have me bet!

  371. Q: It has been a rather long while since i have posted on this site, I got out of highschool and became preoccupied(sp) with other things and simply haven’t had time to get back to blogging on this page. Now i am back however and you seem to need to be adressed. Before I begin on what will undoubtedly be a rather long rant I must say hello to Thomas and thank him for keeping up this blog where both sides of arguments can be heard(for the most part) unbiased. Now on to the point of this post.

    Q: I read the first few of your posts and felt compelled to make a few statements about them. First off I will go ahead and let you know that I am not some brainwashed baptist that has been taught things all his life so he blindly follows them and throws out his textbook answers. I do fall prey to using sunday school answers occasionaly and it is usually pointed out to me very quickly.

    1. You made a statement about neil’s comment
    “Can you use science to prove that only science can provide truth? No.”
    You felt the need to attempt to say this statement was illogical. I say quite the opposite. What neil was saying is that you can’t use something to prove that it is true. If you tried you would come about with one of the most biased experiments ever conceived by mankind.

    2.Now we get to move on to something that i truly enjoy debating. The micro/macro evolution argument. You state that micro evolution is merely a shortened view of macro evolution. I would have to say that you are wrong here. MACRO evolution is the complete change of a genetic makeup and structural assembly of a creature to create an ENTIRELY NEW SPECIES. MICRO evolution on the other hand is the minute changes within a species that keeps the SAME SPECIES, yet merely adds new traits to it. eg. Blonde hair and blue eyes and light skin of a european as opposed to the dark skin, dark eyes and dark hair of an african. This is micro evolution. I would go more in depth but I will save some of it for your response.

    3. You make the point that the scientist involved in the equation that states it would be nearly impossible for us to have come about by chance didnt factor in the (possibly infitinite) number of galaxies with sun like stars in their boundaries. I say nay nay. Even with the (not possibly infinite) number of galaxies in the universe the measure of detail required to sustain our own eco-system adds a whole new factor into the equation. The tilt of our planet, the atmosphere, the gravitational tug of war with our other planets. the moons around planets, the land/water ratio of our planet, et cetera et cetera… would make the spontanious generation of another planet/planet chain like ours highly, highly unlikely.

    I look forward to hearing back from you on these points, however I will tell you that if you respond with condescencion from you apparently infallible knowledge you will recieve comments back in sort. Thank you.
    !)avid

  372. David:

    1. “Can you use anything to prove that science can provide truth?”
    Science can predict things about biological processes, chemistry, physics, etc… If the repeated positive (but rarely perfect) correlation of reality to the predictive theories that scientist compose stands as proof, then yes, something does “prove” that science provides truth, through accuratley predicting what will result from an action in reality.

    The argument that neil made, if taken the way you take it, is still invalid, because neil is trying to imply that because one cannot use science to prove science can provide truth, then it cannot be proven that science provides truth. I say it can be demostrated that the scientific method can highlight truth through demonstration, through challenging hypotheses that withstand the challenge. So, even though science cannot prove it (as science does not “prove” anything), science can provide humanity with an understanding of truth, as evidenced by the fact that it reapeatedly has done so.

    2. Micro evolution shows the adaptation of a species to it’s environment. Now what defines when one species, crosses over a line, and becomes another, I can’t say. the line is somewhat imaginary, maybe even arbitrary. However, the reason why there’s no evidence of a species “changing” to another, is because of the framing of the question. No existing species is going to “change” into another existing species, becuse that’s not how evolution works. Understand, all seperate existing species came from common ancestors, not from each other, or another existing species. So if a species was “changed” into another, new, species, would we even know that it had become a new species? Would we have defined this organism as a new species yet? One thing I do know, dogs are not evolving into cats, or vice versa. The fact that this is not happening stands as even stronger evidence that the process is macro-evolutionary, and not just micro-evolutionary shifting, as no species is becoming another which already occupies a niche, the niche is already full, so there’s no pressure forcing changes to that species to occupy the full niche.

    3. Its not just the large number of planets, but the long age of the universe, the “n” factor. “The measure of detail” argument that you make is no very convincing. This is a bit like stating that there’s some mystical force at work to make jello fit perfectly into a mold. The mold was there, the jello filled every niche, to a perfect level of detail. No “one” needed to “design” the jello to fit the mold, evolutionary pressure and physics is all it takes.

    It’s not infallible knowledge, just comon sense, and a willingness to take all mystic answers out of the equation, and see if an explanation (and a simpler, evidenced one) can still be reached.

    -Q

  373. Hi David,

    I thought my original point was quite clear even though Q misinterpreted it. I said above, “Diane made a specific claim: “I do not believe in anything not taught us by science.” I pointed out that she can’t use science to support her belief that only science can teach the truth. Therefore, her statement is self-refut