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April 04, 2013

Comments

"Mo, that's because most of them just want to argue. Honestly, any person that I've ever had discussions with all boils down to one thing--they don't want to bend the knee. That's it. They can come at you with all these intellectual arguments, etc. but when all is said and done, the reason they don't want to believe is emotional, not intellectual.

They want to keep living their lives on their terms and their own time table."

THIS right here just proves that YOU cannot open your mind to the other opinion, not the other way around. You put an entire group of people in ONE box and say "They are like this!" And Im sure this makes debating easier for you because "They wont consider our opinions because they just want to live their lives how they see fit!"

I have heard/read that again and again and again, and as someone whose beliefs are LITERALLY "I don't know." I find that incredibly insulting and offensive. Just because I don't believe what you believe, that doesnt mean its because I am a selfish person who just wants to live a life of no consequences.

Life is a big, complicated thing. I dont know why we are here. I dont know if there is a god or not. These are HUGE questions that people have been dealing with, asking, wondering, speculating about for a very long time. Am I arrogant enough to presume that I have all the answers? Definitely not! Did I believe at one point in time that I did? Yes!!

I WAS a Christian. I believed most genuinely. But then I came to see, after several years, that it could not possibly be true.

I am still open to different opinions and beliefs, but I know for certain 100% that Christianity is NOT true.

"I dont know" while a bit uncomfortable, is really not so bad. And at least its honest.

Meant to say "while a bit uncomfortable AT FIRST."

Its not uncomfortable anymore.

I was privileged enough to hear a lecture by Ravi Zacharias last night at Princeton University on why he is not an atheist.

He made several good points that I would like to share here and feel free to respond them.

"How can you assign value to a product of Time+Matter+Chance?" Most atheists say "I don't need God to be moral" This is true that atheists can be moral people just like any of us. But in what are those morals grounded? If you posit morality and worth in Time+Matter+Chance, you are standing defiantly against a moral law giver with your feet firmly planted in mid-air. If when we die we simply cease to exist and death is the end, then at the end there really is no difference between an Adolf Hitler and a Mother Theresa.


The evidence presented by way of the scriptures is that the ideas of Jesus' divinity, resurrection were not late ideas. And the charge they were based on other man-god myths is a flat out lie as these myths that are likened to the story of Christ are not similar at all. A casual study of these myths will show that. But we live in an internet age where the only real scholarship anyone does is based on what Jimmy Armchair wrote on his blog today.

But there are far more evidences for Jesus than the scriptures as here many have expressed doubt or outright contempt for Christianity but have not given any alternative claims for Origin or Meaning or Morality or even Destiny.

Since we all ask these basic questions about our lives, I would like to hear alternative, coherent explanations for things like evil or suffering or for objective intrinsic value and meaning.

I'm sure that book is a nice read, but again, based on Big Bang cosmology and the 1st law of thermodynamics, why do we have something rather than nothing? If matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed [by natural means] then how did matter and energy develop from no matter or energy?

Ok. One more post today :)

Robby, I asked for direct personal evidence and you recommend a book? You kind of proved my point there :p

Darth, you are mistaken that atheists have no reason to care for others. I spent more than three decades as a very sincere, loving, devoted christian. I am now simply a sincere loving human being. I care for my fellow man because I choose to with no external divine inspiration.

"Darth, you are mistaken that atheists have no reason to care for others. I spent more than three decades as a very sincere, loving, devoted christian. I am now simply a sincere loving human being. I care for my fellow man because I choose to with no external divine inspiration."

Hi Jason - thanks for the post. What you point out is the difference between ontology and epistomology. Of course you can be a nice & kind person. I apologize if I gave the impression that you cannot be. However in atheism there is not a valid reason to be in terms of grounding. You may choose to be nice & kind; another person may choose to be cruel and vindictive. Atheism prefers neither over the other, condemns neither over the other. That's all I was trying to say.

Have a great day,
Darth Dutch

PS - I would also say my friend whose ankle was fractured and healed after a prayer meeting is evidence of a biblical scale miracle. ;)

Darth Dutch

Atheism is not a religion, or a philosophy, and that's why christians keep fudging this up- its simply a LACK of theistic thought. Nothing more, nothing less.

Humanism prefers kindness over cruelty.

Its a shame you have zero evidence for that miraculous ankle healing. But, its very comforting to know that a god would heal an ankle, while allowing children to get raped when calling out for him. So nice and sweet...

Good god, pretty god....

Atheism is the belief that God/the supernatural does not exist, correct?

There is no basis for kindness in the worldview of Humanism. In fact, I can't see what the word "kindness" even means under this worldview.

***

The rest is just mocking and it shows me you are simply a troll here.

Why people waste not only the time of others but their own time in doing such things is beyond me.

"There is no basis for kindness in the worldview of Humanism".

Hm. Since humans are valued above everything else in humanism, I'd say that's a pretty good basis for kindness towards humans.

Oh, and I'll stop "disrespecting" Christianity the moment it becomes "respectable".

Ridiculous ideas should be ridiculed. Childish thought should be put away when one grows into an adult.

Matt McAllister,

Unless the Laws of Thermodynamics have been overturned, there is no natural way to explain how matter and energy appeared out of nothing.

"I don't rage against a being that has as much likelihood of being real as a Queen of Sloths on Europa. I rage against the people perpetrating the madness"

What I find to be madness is someone trying so hard to convince people that God doesn't exist and then assigning intrinsic worth to a product of Time+Matter+Chance. If there is no God, then there are no objective moral values as they cannot be grounded in anything other than natural processes that happened at random with no meaning or design. So, if death is the end, then at the end of the day, there is no difference between an Adolph Hitler and a Mother Theresa. In fact, there would be no standard other than individual pragmatism to distinguish between good and evil so as to even call God evil as some here have suggested. Societal norms change and might doesn't make right....but what is right?

So all of your work against Christianity in the end is as meaningless as our randomly occurring lives. So perhaps it would just be better to let people freely exist in whatever ideas of morality they have without fear of persecution or harm as we cannot hold someone accountable for "dancing to their DNA".

"Its a shame you have zero evidence for that miraculous ankle healing."

Matt, suppose for a moment I were able to send you two sets of xrays for you to examine, one of a clearly fractured ankle and one of a perfectly normal ankle that were just a couple of days apart. Would you accept that as evidence?

Darth Dutch

Darth - still wouldnt make me believe this god was any less of an *expletive* for allowing the things I mentioned and healing the ankle. And no, because I have no way of knowing these x-rays were from the same person. Religious people of all stripes have forged artifacts like that throughout history to try and prove their beliefs. So I'd need something more concrete than that.

Robby - " So, if death is the end, then at the end of the day, there is no difference between an Adolph Hitler and a Mother Theresa."

Wow. Well, aside from my belief that MT wasn't the saint she was portrayed to be, that just sums up your whole belief system in a nutshell. It doesnt matter if someone saves 1 million lives or kills six million- if theres no afterlife, whats the point? WOW. Yet another reason of many I cannot accept christian "morality". Mother Theresa (or insert any other well known figure of good will) made the world a better place. Maybe that doesnt mean anything to you, but in my view, people doing good things for others actually HAS VALUE. I guess you believe that only what one believes in regard to a deity is the only thing that matters? Actions are irrelevant to daily life?

@ Matt
"Since humans are valued above everything else in humanism, I'd say that's a pretty good basis for kindness towards humans."

Riiight. And that's why so many of your wonderful "humans" fight for the rights of baby seals and puppies one day and partial birth abortion the next. Really solid worldview that "humanism"..........


Matt,

I didn't ask the question so you would believe in God. I asked to see what your true openness to evidence was. You claim you need conrete evidence. While I don't want to put words in your mouth I have a feeling that no matter what level of evidence one would bring to you for a miracle you would likely look for a reason not to believe.

Video proof? Could be created on a computer or manipulated Medical documents? Could be forged or altered. Personal testimony? Could be lying.

If one has a belief that miracles cannot take place, it doesn't take much to discount any evidence presented.

Darth Dutch

What matters is whether you left the world in a better place when you're gone. The entire concept of an endless existence is illogical, and without evidence. The authors of the OT were conflicted about whether or not there was an afterlife; some thought there was none; some thought it was some sort of half-existence (Sheol); some thought they were "gathered unto their fathers" (whatever that means). The bible is far from having a concensus on one of the most important attributes of religion- the idea of an afterlife. If its authors cant even agree on that, why should I take anything they say seriously (when its "divine wisdom")

@Carol - no offense, but I don't trust your motivation for asking me what faith system I follow. It's enough for this discussion to know that I am neither atheist, agnostic, nor Christian. I don't push my religion on others, write about it on blogs, or claim it is the inerrant truth for everybody, so I don't see why such a question would be asked unless you just want to further derail and cloud the actual issue being discussed, which is historicity.

@Robby - keep telling yourself that. Most non-Christians *were* Christians once. Your god, if he is truly omnimax, knows exactly what evidence would be convincing. My question is why you even care and don't just leave it to your god to deal with.

@Dagood - I have viewed the evidence for Christianity and no, I do not accept any of the half-baked translations and mis-translations as evidence that Jesus existed or that Christianity is true or really that it even existed prior to the 2nd century. I do love me some Tacitus--I think I've got two different translations of him around here somewhere--but he's not pushing a religion or claiming his work is the ticket to heaven. He also wrote about outlandish, clearly fantastic things, sort of like Revelations. Do I take his writing as gospel for that era? No. One has to take those writings and put them up against corroborating evidence. Court records, archaeology, that sort of thing. Most early writers weren't constrained by the same standards for truth that modern people feel. Hearsay is not evidence for a religion's veracity. At most the NT is a statement about how a narrow group of people around the late 1st century felt and thought about this one subject. I take it as that.

@DGFischer, your assessment simply doesn't jibe with the assessment of people researching the field. If it makes you feel more secure then fine, believe whatever you want, but the facts are not with you on this one.

@Darth, in response to your supposed miracle, I'd say you were mistaken, that's all. I'd want to see X-rays and hear from the doctors in question before I agreed that was an unnatural occurrence. The real question would be this: why would an omnimax god bother healing an ankle THAT WOULD HAVE HEALED OKAY ANYWAY and ignored the blind people praying for sight? The cripples begging to walk? The amputees wishing they could hug people again? The millions upon millions of children starving to death? The billions of non-believers who just want the slightest bit of evidence that Christianity is valid? Your god came down from heaven and.. what, sped along the healing of a middle-class Westerner's *leg* in a first world country with access to modern medicine? I'm supposed to be impressed with picayune things like that? Are you sure you're worshiping a god and not just his toddler apprentice?

I just cut my finger very badly, so I'm off for the day. Have fun all.

Rob-

not all humanists are the same. Nice job painting with a broad brush though. I could say the same thing about all christians mandating that that baby to be born, but then not allowing for the basic necessities of life to be provided through welfare, etc. There are christians, and humanists, of very different and varying views. I do believe partial birth abortion is immoral. I also believe shunning, denying rights, and killing homosexuals for an attraction they have no control over is also immoral.

Darth -

even if a TRUE MIRACLE that broke every law of physics happened, the one you're supplying is absolutely insane, and makes this god look like a total nitwit. Save an ankle, but let a child be raped to death. And you gladly serve this?

Oh, and this- even if the ankle was healed, prove that it's not Allah doing the healing. Maybe he just has sympathy for "people of the book" and did it to be nice for a change. Prove it wasn't Zeus. Prove it wasn't Dionysus.

You can't.

OK. One more post today in response to a few posts I didn't see earlier :)

Robby, I asked for direct personal evidence, and you suggest a book to me? You kind of made my point for me. And, I would not call Darth a liar as you suggested. I don't know him and I assume the best about everyone.

Darth, you said

I have never understood why an atheist or agnostic is so keen on trying to "convert" (for lack of a better word). So I may live my life in a delusional state and "waste" my time here on earth. Who cares? Why do you care so much that I am "set free" to a system of unbelief, especially if I am happy in my current state? The atheistic worldview provides no reason for one to be so caring for their fellow human in this way.

I am an atheist, but I was a very sincere, devote, loving Christian for more than 30 years. The reason I care about having dialog with Christians is because I am committed to the truth and I concluded that Christianity is not true. I care for my fellow man and I like to change the world for the better whenever and however I can. I think that the world would be better without mythology.

I think that Christians are very mistaken about the morality of atheists, probably because the anti-theists are the most outspoken. Most of us are not angry. Most of us live very moral, compassionate, and generous lives. We know that we are good without god. I live my life with love towards everyone because I choose to without any divine inspiration, reward, or threat. Do you really think you would be immoral without god? You would be out raping and killing if not for your belief in an invisible sky daddy? I bet not. You seem like a decent moral human being :)

*whoops, i didn't see the "next" button. i didn't think my previous post worked. sorry for the repost, although i did get in a little more content since i was back on my pc instead of the phone :)

It doesnt matter if someone saves 1 million lives or kills six million- if theres no afterlife, whats the point? WOW. Yet another reason of many I cannot accept christian "morality".

What does it matter if someone saves 1 million lives or 6 million lives? How do you assign worth to a product of Time+Matter+Chance?

"@Robby - keep telling yourself that. Most non-Christians *were* Christians once. Your god, if he is truly omnimax, knows exactly what evidence would be convincing. My question is why you even care and don't just leave it to your god to deal with."

Well first such a claim that most non-Christians were Christians once is ridiculous and lacking in any evidence. But...

If my point of view was that all humanity is simply a product of Time+Matter+Chance, then you would have a point, why would I even care?

But, because I believe that humanity is the creation of a creator who's purpose in creating humanity to love them, then I can see that a person's intrinsic value is instilled by their creator so they have worth. There are 613 commandments in the OT. Jesus reduced these to 2: Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and Strength. And, the other follows, Love your neighbor as yourself. If you do the first, the second follows. If you don't have the first, the second is meaningless as we are all just randomly created particles moving through space with no design, no cause, no purpose and no value. And the fact that you say you value another person does not speak as to whether I should or not as you are not the objective source of universal authority.

Jesus did not "reduce" Hebrew law to two commandments, he summarized them. Do you remember the sermon on the mount? "Not until heaven and earth pass away" will a single jot or tittle of the law no longer apply. Why are you not obeying Jesus and following the law? Did Jesus say to follow Paul's message instead?

Regarding sources of value and morality, the only "should" is what a group of individuals agree upon.

We know that we are good without god. I live my life with love towards everyone because I choose to without any divine inspiration, reward, or threat. Do you really think you would be immoral without god? You would be out raping and killing if not for your belief in an invisible sky daddy? I bet not. You seem like a decent moral human being :)

Jason I guess that I am having trouble as to how you know, for example, that you are good without god if you do not have a standard by which to measure your idea of good? Is this simply a pragmatic judgement? If you want to love something that has no design or purpose but is merely a product of random, natural, nonliving processes no one can fault you for that as it is your choice but you cannot offer intrinsic worth that would cause anyone else to do so.

As to direct personal evidence, I would offer you the day God stayed my hand from suicide. As I was contemplating this as I believed that God had abandoned me, a voice from within (not audible) said to me "I will never leave you nor forsake you". That was a very powerful experience and no one can take it away. To me, that is a miracle - though to you it might not be.

back @ Matt

I wouldn't call "many" a broad brush but rather an accurate representation. Notice I didn't say "all" or "most"; but whatever.
If your concern is truly humanity, you should spend your time convincing them of their mis-application of the "truth" of humanism not wasting your time trying to save us from wasting our time trying to follow Christ.
"killing homosexuals for their attraction"? Sorry, you should be arguing over at "Stand for Islam"

Of course you can be a nice & kind person. I apologize if I gave the impression that you cannot be. However in atheism there is not a valid reason to be in terms of grounding. You may choose to be nice & kind; another person may choose to be cruel and vindictive. Atheism prefers neither over the other, condemns neither over the other. That's all I was trying to say.

Darth (and Robby), you seem to think atheism is amoral. Atheism by definition is simply the lack of a theistic belief. Period. It is not "denying god so that we can do whatever we want (implication: we want to be evil)". I prefer good just like most people. I condemn evil just like most people. Why must I have the same "grounding" that you do? Perhaps I do have the same grounding as you and it's just not god.

Natural selection teaches us that characteristics that good for the species survive. Those characteristics that are not good don't survive, or are minimized. Members of a species that are willing to help the group to survive (the moral) would outlast those loners that only care for themselves (the immoral). The moral would reproduce more than the immoral. The immoral would not find as many willing partners. In this case, one could reasonably conclude that morality is genetic as well as cultural.

>> Because I dream of a day when this religion is no longer valid. I hope towards a time when it no longer infects the majority of humanity

Matt,

And what if that day never comes?

Would it be evidence of a supreme God that would defeat the haughtiness of mankind, or merely the haughtiness of man who can't bring his/her dreams to fruition? Hard to determine in this line of posts.

Anti-religion has had its moments. Revolutionary France with its enthronement of Dame Raison as national deity. Communist Soviet Union with its five-year plans and its gulags to soften the pains of five-year plans that go unfulfilled. The present divisiveness in the country that wishes to be more secular and less "Christian," if in the secular vision it were ever Christian. Evidence seems to be out on that too.

Religion, or at least, Christianity has had its moments of reformation, restoration, revival. What if that occurs. Oh, but that would rain on your glorious vision of a religion-less world. Ah well ...

In all this line on the nature of evidence, it is remarkable that no one brought up the incident in John Nine, the healing of the man born blind. It starts off with your basic philosophic sophistry (Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind? :v2). Then the miracle followed by examination and questioning, and re-examining and final agnostic conclusion: We don't know (v. 29, 30). Then Jesus returns to give verdict to the whole affair: "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind." (v. 39).

Back then, Jesus spoke these words in the hearing of the land's leading religious intelligensia. Don't these words apply just as much to the humanity of the 21st century?

>> It doesnt happen because god is not real or he is a liar.

Jason,

It is also reasonable to say we have a false dilemma, that there is a third choice (or plenty of other choices) to the matter. It is said that God is one who will not be put to the test, that He should be open to convince you in other ways, even if they be less dramatic.

Jesus did not "reduce" Hebrew law to two commandments, he summarized them. Do you remember the sermon on the mount? "Not until heaven and earth pass away" will a single jot or tittle of the law no longer apply. Why are you not obeying Jesus and following the law? Did Jesus say to follow Paul's message instead?

Regarding sources of value and morality, the only "should" is what a group of individuals agree upon.

There are two problems here,

"...and Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness". So tell me, how can Abraham, uncircumcised without the law be called righteous?
Paul tells us that

"Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.

Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Children of God

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

As to your second point, a group of individuals got together in Germany in the 30's and decided on a morality of their own. Would you say they were right or wrong? Does might make right?
If morality is determined by a group of individuals, it still doesn't follow that another group of individuals would have to follow it. That is an Argumentum Ad Popullum fallacy

I made no objective claim regarding what rules any group of individuals must follow. Speaking of Ad Popullum fallacy, does one society's popular God-belief have authority over a society with a different popular belief? Wars are waged over such matters.

Show me the red letters teaching Paul's gospel mentioned above. Jesus did not teach that.

wait wait wait wait wait.....

DG, please tell me I am misunderstanding.

Are you implying that since some (unknown) author wrote down on a piece of papyrus that a man born blind was given sight by a prophet/holy man, that this means it ACTUALLY HAPPENED?

I need to know if this is what you believe. Just, for me. Obviously, I know you have "faith" that it happened because it's written in the bible. But, surely you're not suggesting that everyone should jump on board and agree that this alleged event is "fact"?

Jason I guess that I am having trouble as to how you know, for example, that you are good without god if you do not have a standard by which to measure your idea of good?

Robby, I am having trouble with the concept that you seem to think that we would not know that (for example) murder is a bad thing without god. It is self evident that murder is harmful for the species. Even animals understand that. There are very few species that kill their own unless it's necessary for survival. We don't need any outside force to tell us that.

As to direct personal evidence, I would offer you the day God stayed my hand from suicide. As I was contemplating this as I believed that God had abandoned me, a voice from within (not audible) said to me "I will never leave you nor forsake you". That was a very powerful experience and no one can take it away. To me, that is a miracle - though to you it might not be.

I am happy that you made the decision to survive, however that came about for you, and I don't challenge your interpretation of those events. I wasn't there. I would point out that many people avoid suicide through many means...meditation, therapeutic drugs, other religions, etc.

It is also reasonable to say we have a false dilemma, that there is a third choice (or plenty of other choices) to the matter. It is said that God is one who will not be put to the test, that He should be open to convince you in other ways, even if they be less dramatic.

DGFischer, really? If you can't hold your god to the basic promises made in the bible, then why believe in either? Sorry, but your statement is a cop out. For example:

Bob gets terminally ill. Christians pray for him. One of three general outcomes occur:

1. Bob is "healed". No matter what medical intervention took place. No matter how much medicine, surgery, and therapy were involved, Christians would say "God healed Bob. God is good!"

2. Bob is not healed, but is a little better. No matter how miserable his existence, Christians would say "It could have been much worse. God is good!".

3. Bob is not healed. He dies. Christians would say "God's ways are not our ways. He must have needed another angel. He's with Jesus now. God is good!"

You see, god never loses when one is using confirmation bias.

I find it interesting that so many of those opposed to Christianity were once "devout" Christians. Then, years later, they became smarter than God. They knew more, they reasoned better, they would do things far differently than God would. They had a more reliable grasp of reality than God does, they had a superior sense of justice and mercy, etc. and none of it FIT the "Christian lie" they had bought into. It seems to me that it isn't so much a case of Christianity not fitting their thinking, it's that their thinking doesn't fit Christianity. Elevating oneself to the position of a "god" is about as contrary to Christianity as it can get; our God humbled Himself to the position of a man.

I find it interesting that so many of those opposed to Christianity were once "devout" Christians. Then, years later, they became smarter than God. They knew more, they reasoned better, they would do things far differently than God would. They had a more reliable grasp of reality than God does, they had a superior sense of justice and mercy, etc. and none of it FIT the "Christian lie" they had bought into. It seems to me that it isn't so much a case of Christianity not fitting their thinking, it's that their thinking doesn't fit Christianity. Elevating oneself to the position of a "god" is about as contrary to Christianity as it can get; our God humbled Himself to the position of a man.

Carolyn, perhaps I'm mistaken, but I sense contempt in your statement, or at least doubt that I/we were really Christians before. I can assure you that it's not about becoming better than god. It's about concluding that he doesn't exist. You are correct though that my "thinking doesn't fit Christianity" any longer.

Ah. The No True Scotsman Logical Fallacy is alive and well. That's comforting.

Becoming educated as to the origins of the christian mythos (among many other reasons) is what convinced us it was all as untrue as every other religion that you consider untrue. You're an atheist to every god ever conceived, save one.

We just go one god further.

God humbled himself? How is demanding that everyone believe in you, worship you, and be perfect according to your arbitrary standards humble? And what is the difference between, "Christianity not fitting their thinking" and "their thinking doesn't fit Christianity?" The thoughtful devout move beyond milk, to meat, to seeing past the charade.

I would like to switch gears. Is anybody up for discussing the bread and butter of Christianity and God's love? Who is up for discussing the gospel? Can we talk about scapegoating? Explain to me how condemning someone from birth and scapegoating someone else to be punished for it is just or loving.

If the God of Christianity and the claims of Christians were real, no one would be arguing about whether or not he exists any more than anyone currently argues whether the earth, the moon, gravity, or the Great Pyramids exist. No one would need to ask for proof, as this would be as ridiculous as asking for proof that the ground beneath their own feet exists.

The very fact that anyone has to demand proof from Christians (because this evidence cannot be procured from any other source) that the Christian God exists, and furthermore that such proof is always denied to anyone that asks (e.g., "Do not put the Lord thy God to the test... unless thy name be Gideon or Elijah"), shows that there is nothing factual or based in reality for the Christian faith to stand upon.

It's amusing that whenever Christians are asked to perform a miracle on cue, whenever they are told to put their money where their mouth is so that others may see the glory of God, suddenly they all sound just like psychics who complain that the skeptics testing their abilities are ruining their aura, or that they don't do it to profit from others (except when they charge people money to read their palms, of course). "God is not a cosmic vending machine!" "God is not to be tested!" "Who are you to tell God what to do!" "Miracles are for the believer, not the unbeliever!"

@ Matt McAlister -

"Oh, and I'll stop "disrespecting" Christianity the moment it becomes "respectable"."

Western Civilization has its foundation in the Judeo-Christian worldview. I'd say that's pretty respectable.

"Ridiculous ideas should be ridiculed. Childish thought should be put away when one grows into an adult."


"Darth - still wouldnt make me believe this god was any less of an *expletive* for allowing the things I mentioned and healing the ankle."

Yet you are the one acting like a child, offering little other than insults and rudeness and anger.

Quite a lot of emotion spent on a god about which you hold the belief that he/she/it does not exist.

@ Carolyn -

"I find it interesting that so many of those opposed to Christianity were once "devout" Christians."

I fail to see how one can be a "former Christian". After all, we cannot be unborn once we are born. The Bible says Christians are born again. I can't see how that can be undone.

In other words, these are people who perhaps once identified as Christians, but were never actually Christians in the first place, in the sense that the Bible describes it.

@Robby, you're right about my comment about non-Christians. I should have said that most *AMERICAN* non-Christians were once Christians, and yes, my statement was based more upon the numbers hemorrhaging from Christianity than anything else. Worldwide, that obviously wouldn't be the case; most are raised in their own religions and are convinced their own gods are the real ones. I apologize for my ethnocentrism. Thank you for pointing that out.

But to the rest of your reply, why must it either be "Jesus is real and gives everybody their morality" vs. "no morality at all"? The news is FILLED with hypocritical Christians doing horrible things to each other. Clearly just being a Christian doesn't keep someone from doing evil deeds (and indeed, looking at crime and domestic abuse statistics from the Deep South, one might even wonder if the "get out of jail free card" that is the evangelical concept of the "sin nature" is just a permission slip for a Christian to commit atrocities). So it seems to me that the opposite, that one doesn't need Christianity to be good, would be equally valid. And you're totally ignoring my point about morality, even by the Bible's standards, changing dramatically. Could you please address why the Bible has been used for such very moral practices as: female enslavement to men; slavery in general; honor killings of non-virgin women; beating infants to break their wills; genocide of other nations for the thought crime of not kowtowing to Judaism/Christianity? The Bible advocates all of these and far more, all the way to slaughtering someone's entire family for a bet (Job) and murdering your own children if that's what it takes to keep a promise to God (Jephthah, Abraham). Would you murder your own son? Or stone to death a raped woman or gay person or someone working on Sunday? Then your morality is already derived from something other than the Bible. That Christianity ignores most of these rules or wiggles away from them with "context" contortions just proves the point. You don't use it as a moral standard any more than I do.

To that point, I don't need a Creator to know that people have value because I know that they're, well, PEOPLE. They deserve equality and respect because they are human beings just like me. If you need a Sky Wizard to tell you to treat others that way or to convince you they are valuable in their own right, then that says more about you than about anybody else. Don't lose your religion, okay? It appears to be all that's holding you back from doing something really bad. The rest of us don't need it, though.

A real stumbling-block for bubble-bound Christians is meeting non-Christians and realizing that they're decent folks just like anybody else, not the baby-eating monsters that evangelicals paint them to be. It certainly was a big problem for me. I was raised to believe that non-Christians were pure evil. But I met too many of them to maintain that idea. And that cognitive dissonance went into the pile of "Stuff I Have to Deal With One Day". One day the pile just got too big, forcing me to look squarely at all the things in it, and I realized I could not possibly remain a Christian. I've read many testimonies from other ex-Christians, enough to know that my experience is not unique. Instead of clinging to a delusion, one would think that Christians would instead be honest about such a matter so that the pile of dissonances doesn't get too big in their minds. The more Christians deny the simple truth about their religion's lack of ownership of the concept of "morality," the faster the religion will fall into irrelevance.

PS: My finger feels much better. Clearly it was .. wait, who? The "miracle" wasn't signed, I'm afraid. Clearly this is the work of Asclepius, another half-god who died and rose from the dead around Jesus' day and who many people claimed brought miracles of healing. And he never once stole livestock, cursed trees, renounced his own mother, or got caught deliberately obscuring his teachings to confuse people, and about the worst thing his daddy, Apollo, did was occasionally sexually harass his priestesses. Ignore the snake-cult of Glycon (which claimed that their snake was the second coming of Asclepius) that arose right when Christianity was getting rolling in earnest. THIS is the real deal.

Carolyn, please show me the verse in the Bible in which God forbids, or even criticizes, slavery. I only seem to be able to find rules on how one should treat the slaves that he seems to assume I'll own, or how I should behave if I'm owned by someone else. Clearly, God is less moral than I am.

And, for the record, I do consider myself smarter than God, at least the God portrayed in the Bible. I don't put dangerous things in the middle of my kids' bedroom, tell them not to touch those things, then allow someone else to talk them into touching those things while I'm in another room, blame the kids for touching the things, and then punish their descendents by drowning them all, along with all of their pets.

Why can you not get past this notion that I'm (not) arguing against a god?

Its on the PEOPLE that support such nonsense.

Mo, that is an example of the Bible "poisoning the well," a logical fallacy. By your standard, the only way to know if someone was a True Christian (tm) is if the person died professing it. At any point, no matter how devout or sincere a person might be, the second they de-convert, they get relegated to the other fallacy Christians like, the "No True Scotsman."

Thank you for proving my point though. I'd earlier asserted that Christians desperately need to figure out if a deconvert did something wrong so they feel better. You just did that. You have to believe that a deconvert did something incorrectly (meaning, something different from what YOU do) or believed something wrong (meaning, something that differs from your own personal beliefs). If we just did it right (meaning, like you do it), associated with just the right group out of the 40,000 different denominations in the US (meaning, your denomination), if we just interpret the Bible the right way (meaning, like you do), then gosh, we'd never have left. You know this because here you are, still Christian, so clearly you are the real deal and we are not. Well, what if you become one of the many who de-convert? This isn't an idle question; I myself used to talk like you and now here I am, a de-convert, dealing with it from the other side! How would YOU like to be treated? Oh wait, the Golden Rule is optional, I forgot...

It is frustrating to realize that there is simply no way that any ex-Christian can persuade such bubble-bound Christians that no, we were quite devout. Some of us devoted our entire beings to our imaginary friend. Some of us were in ministry; some gave tens of thousands of dollars over and above tithes; some were missionaries; some almost died in the service of the cross. But it's never enough. We left, and that's all you need to write us off as having never been the real thing. That's all it took. I'm willing to bet I was way more sincere and devout than you were, and I bet my beliefs didn't vary much from yours. But I left, and so no matter what else I did or what I say, you're content to relegate me to the "Just Didn't Do It Right" pile.

What is worse, because you do this to me, you think it cancels out my objections to the religion. And it's irrelevant how sincere I was in the face of that. What kind of Christian I am makes not a single bit of difference to my objections against it. It doesn't matter if I was Christian for one day and quit or if I wasn't ever Christian at all; what matters is that my objections are valid and reasonable. But what's reality against a nice ad hominem attack (oh, there's another fallacy for ya)? All you're doing is insulting and denigrating me as a person, not overcoming my objections.

I get that it makes you feel better, that it makes you more secure and comfortable with a life filled with lies, to do this, but I hope one day you realize what a terrible injury you do to your Jesus by hurting others like that. You are flat-out lying to people about themselves right to their faces. WWJD? Lie his Middle Eastern butt off and hide from reality, apparently. Just another anti-witness for de lawd...

Western civilization has its basis in a Judeo-Christian worldview? So, when Greece and Rome were founded, they were Judeo-Christian? I am now quite puzzled at how that worked. Did a bunch of Hebrews wander from Palestine to found those empires?

@ Matt McAlister -

Ok, I will revise my statement:

Quite a lot of emotion spent on people who follow a god you don't even think exists. Why would you care?

Now, anything to say on the rest of my comment? Or just more insults and raging? Here, I'll post it again:

"Oh, and I'll stop "disrespecting" Christianity the moment it becomes "respectable"."

Western Civilization has its foundation in the Judeo-Christian worldview. I'd say that's pretty respectable.

"Ridiculous ideas should be ridiculed. Childish thought should be put away when one grows into an adult."


"Darth - still wouldnt make me believe this god was any less of an *expletive* for allowing the things I mentioned and healing the ankle."

Yet you are the one acting like a child, offering little other than insults and rudeness and anger.

I could act more mature and benevolent, sure. I realize it undercuts my personal credibility to an extent when I do so. I struggle with seeing what I perceive as ....ok, not going to say it, in the middle of a "mature" post. But you see where I'm going. I'm sure you know of the phrase "facepalm". I just read these theist posts and I'm like...yeah.

But my personal attitude in no way undermines the actual points I'm trying to make. Explain again why I should respect a god that heals an ankle while allowing a rapist to continue raping.

Mo, you are engaging in another logical fallacy by ignoring the argument entirely in your rush to invalidate the *person* raising it. It doesn't matter in the least *why* we are bringing up these points. Doesn't matter what we are like as people, what we believe now, how we behaved them, how sincere we were, or what our motivations are. But if you must know, we *care* because your religion is responsible for hurting a lot of people. We talk about it because chirpy blog posts like this one perpetuate delusions that come out in laws that violate people's essential liberties and rights. We non-Christians get trampled by your mass ignorance and delusion on a daily basis. Your religion would happily institute a full-on theocracy, and the only thing stopping it is the few who know how bad that'd be for everybody--you included. Your religion hurts people and abuses them constantly, and people locked in its grip see our words and realize there's another way. We are the raised middle finger to your cosmology; we're the flies in the ointment; we're the resistance to the tyranny fundagelicals would happily impose upon all of us. If it bothers you to see dissent, the obvious solution is to stop writing nonsense where anybody can see it. Or disable comments, as numerous Christian bloggers and vloggers do.

The Emperor has no clothes. There. We've said it. But instead of putting some clothes on the nasty little bugger, your response is to ask us how much we know about fashion. We're not fooled. You're not going to put us on the defensive that way.

So, uh, yeah, the objections: Why doesn't prayer work as it's actually promised half-a-dozen times in the NT without a gazillion fine-print contortions Christians must insert contra Scripture to make it inerrant? Why do Christians trumpet how wonderful faith is versus evidence, but then contort themselves so drastically to redefine evidence enough to allow their bizarre claims to stand--and gallop recklessly in the direction of anything that even looks halfway like "proof" of their claims, then slink away when it turns out to be not the proof they hoped for? Why are Christian standards for miracles so weirdly low, and why do they scream in orgasmic joy over any tiny doodle-poop their Savior does yet ignore the huge glaring need that he completely ignores? Why are you guys totally comfortable demanding that people relax their standards so much for Christianity, but do not relax *yours* enough to consider other faith systems? Special pleading, oh wait, another fallacy.. tsk tsk.

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