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The Greatest Sin

On last Sunday’s Atheist Experience, Matt and I were talking about “end times” theology as an example of one of the negative impacts of the Bible. I have had a difficult time putting into words my feelings on the subject. I’ve been trying to capture the deliciously sadistic glee that Christians must fantasize about when they think about being swept up to Heaven prior to watching the destruction of the rest of humanity–especially of those who were not as wise as they were to believe in Jesus.

One can be sure there is no empathy in Heaven. That would involve some amount of personal discomfort that a human being would feel when observing the pain of another. Instead, the believer will be in complete bliss while watching the spectacle unfold (as well as those being tortured in Hell).

The happiness of the elect will consist in part of witnessing the torments of the damned in hell, among whom may be their own children, parents, husbands, wives and friends; … but instead of taking the part of their miserable being, they will say ‘Amen!’, ‘Hallelujah!’, ‘Praise the Lord!’.” (Rev. Nathaniel Emmons / 1745-1840)

Twentieth-century apologist C. S. Lewis likened the experience of Heaven to “transsex.” He made the analogy of an adult understanding the pleasures of heaven as like explaining the pleasures of sex to a child. The greatest pleasure the child knows is his love for chocolate, but he simply can’t imagine the pleasure of sex. By analogy, if sex is the greatest pleasure an adult knows, heaven would have something so great as to make sex seem like the passing taste of a chocolate bar. Surely, C. S. Lewis’s concept of heaven would make the would-be Muslim suicide bomber yearning for his 72 regenerating virgins seem rather quaint. (See Atheist Experience episode #413 for more.)

So imagine watching the destruction of all humanity while having a “transsex” orgy simultaneously with all the dead people who ever believed in Jesus. Even without the sex angle, the thought of this being a person’s ultimate desire takes sociopathology to the extreme.

I’ve been at a serious loss for words to describe how I feel about this. I had previously use the term “Christian snuff porn” to describe my disgust, but on Sunday’s show, I likened this rapturous desire to jacking off at a car wreck.

I expect there will be some fallout for that comment. I find it interesting that one of our producers decided to censor the comment on the version of the show that is to air here in Austin. (I do admit that I didn’t take the opportunity to explain why I made it and it may have seemed out of place.) This two second silence got me thinking though: What does it say about our society that we are so shocked by an admittedly twisted sexual analogy, but that millions of Americans yearning for complete human destruction fails to even raise an eyebrow? Why do we give tax breaks to “charities” that promote these ideas, while the atheists who point out the treason to humanity are the least trusted group in the United States? Why is everyone so concerned about Ted Haggard’s sexual proclivities, but the fact that he may have had a hand in influencing Bush to go to war in the Middle East is not newsworthy? Haggard, who was then head of the National Evangelical Association, was meeting with the White House weekly on Bible Prophecies related to the end times. Bush apparently was concerned enough about Gog and Magog to try to get then France’s Prime Minister Chirac involved. Why is this not shocking to everyone? Why aren’t we locking Bush and all of his fellow sociopaths up in padded cell? Keep them where they can’t hurt themselves or anyone else.

I suspect we’re all still too influenced by this sick little religion of Christianity, its torture device logo, glorification of suffering, and its wide path of inhuman destruction. I make no apologies for my comment, however. It’s time our silence stops.

Comments

  1. says

    The idea that it would be fun for the righteous to smile smugly down on the suffering of the rest of humanity is a whole lot older than the eighteenth century. Not only is it ingrained in Christian thought (attributed to Aquinas: "That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell."), it is actually Biblical (Psalm 58:10 (KJV) "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.").Me, I suppose I'm just not righteous enough to get turned on by the thought of washing my feet in someone else's blood, no matter how nasty they may be.

  2. says

    I just watched this episode yesterday and I didn't find your comment out of place at all. I'd say it's an accurate rendition of the dissonance involved.I've long thought of religions as primarily social control mechanisms rather than coping strategies or explanatory devices. They never really ask "why are we here/what is the purpose of life" but instead say "those are not valid questions (they already have answers) – stop asking them and do what we say (under penalty of X,Y,Z in hell)".Here's my take on it: there are two main strategies for controlling people, by force and by submission/surrender. The force method, tho it works very well, is extremely costly – it takes a lot of effort and bloodshed and is very hard to justify and maintain over time. Even the perps eventually start to realize it's not a good idea and begin to defect to the other side. Breaks down after a while, bad strategy.The submission/surrender method, however, is vastly easier to implement and maintain. Very little bloodshed and (military) intervention is involved and things generally stay pretty quiet on both sidse. But there's one major obstacle to overcome first: you have to get the targets to _agree_ to the control so that they'll willingly submit to it.Religion takes the latter strategy; it realizes that this is very easy to accomplish by simply exploiting the human capacity to _believe_ things as true without really questioning whether they _are_ true.This is pretty much the only way you can hold multiple completely competing ideas in your mind – killing murder not OK except under conditions P,Q, etc.I think the cognitive dissonance involved in deriving pleasure from the suffering of others is simply another peculiarity of human psychology in the bin of tools used by religion for purposes of social control. It's not an explanatory or exploratory device, but one intended for social control. It's as run-of-the-mill in this regard as the threat of hell and not really exceptional in that context.In my view, when examined rationally, it's really difficult to rank _any_ of religion's ideas in terms of shock-&-awe. They all ultimately seem to be equivalent.It's sort of like deciding between getting kicked in the crotch 1000 times vs getting kicked in the crotch 2000 times (you pass out from the agony after about the 5th kick either way).So this is very shocking, yes, but not very surprising to me.LS

  3. says

    "Why aren't we locking Bush and all of his fellow sociopaths up in padded cell?"This comment has me thinking of the necessary size of the facility required for such a feat. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this feat would be to take the approach of Wonko the Sane.For those who don't know the story, here is some Douglas Adams:"He lives in an inside-out house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That is, to visit you park on the carpet. There's a sign on the wall that reads, "Come Outside." He considers the rest of the world to be "The Asylum," because it seemed to him that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks was no longer a civilization in which he could live and stay sane."

  4. says

    It's things like this that make me actually disagree with Hunter S. Thompson's decision to end his life on his own terms. Granted, I have hindsight to say that he made the wrong choice; but had he waited a few years we would have had the podcast…which sorry, would have FAR surpassed the non-prophets as my favorite show. It makes me wish we did have more public outspoken social commentators like him to sneer at these ideas.

  5. says

    "Why aren't we locking Bush and all of his fellow sociopaths up in padded cell?"Generally because they're not considered sociopaths by those who are empowered to lock them up.Neglect, idiocy and lawlessness used to be called neglect, idiocy and lawlessness and was prosecuted as such.Now it's simply known as "conservatism" and is rewarded as sound political science…..LS

  6. says

    I had a religons of the world teacher describe the book of Revelation as a story of hope. My response was 'Hope for who?' Because it wasn't hope for me.I think the best description for the book of Revelation is that it is a revenge fantasy. I may be speculating wildly here, but it's a good bet that most of the Christians who look forward to the end times do so now only because that would be the only way to prove their god actually exists and it would give them nothing but glee to watch as those who mocked them suffer.It's the same thing a person feels when someone who did them wrong suffers some ill fate, small or large.It really pissed me off when the Christians in this country were AGAINST the cease fire between Lebanon and Israel, and it really pisses me off that there are Christians out there actively seeking to start World War III.I think it would be very fitting if, providing their God did exist, when he came back he swept up everyone but the ones who actively sought out the destruction of the world.But then you have to wonder, do they think their god is that fucking stupid? Do they actually think that, providing their god exists, that he DOESN'T realize what these idiots are trying to do? The amount of stupid just makes me sick.

  7. DavidCT says

    If much if the pleasure awaiting the elect involves sadomasochism with a bit of illicit erotica thrown in, it makes one wonder who these elect might be. I have a vision of how this could be rendered as a painting,First you have the god of the Sistine chapel with a gleeful sneer on its face looking down from has balcony of clouds. He will be surrounded the elect. The elect would be people like Hitler who experienced great pleasure watching the deaths by slow strangulation of his would be assassins. Pol Pot who liked killing every one with some education. John Wayne Gacey and Jeff Damer who like the more personal approach. What decent person could find hanging out with such a god enjoyable.Down below you have all the traditional sinners(bad people), atheists and the 2/3 of mankind who did not believe in this particular brand of crap. Most of these souls will be decent people who just believed the wrong things. Now where do you put most christians who are good people who have lived largely blameless lives and have always believed in the right god. I am really sorry for these folks but they only have the option of HELL. It may have two faces but either way they go to hell. They can either join god and his sociopathic monsters at the golden balcony or join the decent people in eternal torment. How does the Chinese saying go? "Be careful what you wish for. You might get it."

  8. Joe K says

    I think the most idiotic part of the whole "end times/rapture/tribulation" nonsense is the belief that there would still be atheists and nonchristians after the rapture. You know what? If every fundie True Christian(TM) poofed off into nothingness all at once on one day, that'd be plenty of evidence for me to convert. That is true skepticism. Disbelief until evidence is shown. A mass "assention of souls" would be pretty damn good evidence. It's not going to happen though, so I don't really worry about it.

  9. says

    "jacking off to a car wreck" = perfect analogy. Can I steal it?I've been blogging the koran, and run across this gloating in several places, even putting words in the gloater's mouths. It's really repulsive.

  10. says

    I dunno, Crash was more like jacking off IN a car wreck, but those guys were pretty twisted too, so I see the connection. Weird-ass movie btw…

  11. says

    On an old Apologia podcast episode called, "Stump the Theist", one of the christian guests said one of the most troubling things about his faith was the thought of some of his loved ones burning for eternity in hell. He tried to take some comfort in Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” But he was honest enough to say the thought still troubled him. I think the Brick Testament say illustrates it nicely:http://www.thebricktestament.com/revelation/gods_garish_eternal_tribute_to_himself/rv21_04p22_05p14.html

  12. says

    @Steve The Cool GuyYou know, I've thought about this before. If there was this certain brand of Christian that all of the sudden all vanished that would not convince me there was a god. When you really think it through, there are many other explanations that are more likely. Maybe some aliens stumbled upon us and, wanting to save us from destroying ourselves, took away those people who were causing so many problems. There are naturalistic explanations that while fantastical, are far more likely than any supernatural explanation by definition. Then there's the whole thing that if the rapture did happen and all the fundy nutjobs were taken it would confirm the vile character of their deity. This would make me an even MORE vocal critic of the religion, not less.

  13. says

    Don, you say you're having trouble putting your feelings about this into words, but you're not. The phrase you came up with sums up perfectly what I was having trouble putting into words myself. Perfect. Thanks for it. too bad they censored it, but the context before and after leaves no doubt as to your meaning.

  14. says

    I share the same feelings as Don. Earlier this year I pointed to relevant biblical passages that state that heaven is eternal bliss, there's no sadness for anyone in heaven, etc. Then I asked my fundamentalist Christian friend, who of course thinks I'm going to go to hell, if she could be perfectly happy and content when she saw me being tortured and burned alive every moment of every day for eternity. Her answer was neither yes or no, it was "we can't know what heaven is like until we get there". In my mind I interpreted her words as "Danger! Brain switch turn off. Drrrr". She wouldn't even speculate with me about it. I argued the following possible cases to her:* When you get to heaven, you lose your memory. If not entirely, then of those you knew who are now in hell. Makes it easier to be happy when you think everyone in hell is an evil demon.* There is no sense of empathy for human souls in their after-life state.* Heaven isn't as great as they say. Its not perfect happiness and never will be because you have to watch your beloved friends and family being tortured and can do nothing to help them.

  15. says

    Why is it illegal to coerce someone by threatening torture, but acceptable to coerce someone by threatening eternal torture?

  16. says

    Man, this place is indeed a lion's den. I had no idea that atheist felt so strongly about end time prophecy. Ironically, I've heard a lot of the same stuff between Christians when someone is begging for the end to come. I pray that you all get as long as possible to make a decision. If I have to suffer in some way on Earth for some extra time just so any one of you can get saved, then so be it. Not that me being here or suffering has anything to do with it, I'm just saying that if there's an outside chance that you'll come, I'll wait for you.I know by now that any regular on this blog has written me off as crazy, but I like to show up here from time to time to add a little flavor. The Bible can be interpreted a lot of ways. If you open it looking for hate, you'll find it, if you open it looking for love, you'll find it, controversy, lust, war…it's all there. There's also the story of the savior. It's not my place to judge the word of God, I don't understand a lot of it. I don't know how it'll be, but when I'm in Heaven, if I see people getting thrown into Hell, I don't think I'll rejoice.

  17. says

    The Bible can be interpreted a lot of ways. If you open it looking for hate, you'll find it, if you open it looking for love, you'll find it, controversy, lust, war…it's all there. There's also the story of the savior.Amen, brother. The Bible is a wildly inconsistent book, having been written and edited over centuries by many different authors with competing agendas. It can be, and continuously has been, used to support lots of diametrically opposed points of view. It is for excellent reasons that Jeff coined the description of the Bible "The big book of multiple choice."It's not my place to judge the word of God, I don't understand a lot of it.What a cop-out. Of course you judge the word of God. YOU are the one who looks at this book and says "Yes, it is perfect and true, I believe it, and I believe it is good no matter what concerns I may have." When you call something "good," you are judging it. That's your own personal value system at work.I don't know how it'll be, but when I'm in Heaven, if I see people getting thrown into Hell, I don't think I'll rejoice.Really? Then I guess you must think that your god is somehow wrong in his decision to let unbelievers remain in hell. Isn't that a judgment as well?

  18. says

    "It's not my place to judge the word of God, I don't understand a lot of it"So you don't understand the book, but you're sure what it says is true? Tell you what, why don't you go and study so you do understand everything THEN you can come back and talk about the book once you know what the flippingdy flip flip is in it.

  19. says

    If I have to suffer in some way on Earth for some extra time just so any one of you can get saved, then so be it.It's okay Zach, that's really not necessary!

  20. says

    "The Bible can be interpreted a lot of ways."That's exactly right. But have you ever thought about why? Why should it be so amenable to interpretation? Shouldn't it be more clear? Is this expected given your notion of god?"If you open it looking for hate, you'll find it, if you open it looking for love, you'll find it, controversy, lust, war…it's all there. There's also the story of the savior."Interesting that you can tell the difference (between hate, love, lust) but that the bible apparently cannot. If it's in the bible it's the word of god, right? How and why do you think you can tell the difference?"It's not my place to judge the word of God"But you already do judge the word of your god, apparently without realizing it. You pick and choose the "good" stuff and ignore the "bad" all the time. That's a good thing, but it'd be a better thing if your realized that you did this and even better if you thought about, and came to an understanding of, why.LS

  21. says

    I'm just making the point that there are some Christians out there that don't want to see all of you guys thrown into a pit. Let me expound a little on not judging God and his word. I don't look at God's actions as anything but righteous because if I said He wasn't righteous, that would be blasphemy…not a place I want to be. If I said "well maybe God jacked that up" I would be wavering, lukewarm, as the Bible calls it. So if it seems he's mistaken then surely I just don't understand. That's what I mean when I say I don't understand, I believe it, I just can't explain it. Yes, blind faith, I know y'all think it's craziness, but if it was all out in the open then everyone would be Christians.As for the end times and God being a murderer argument, consider this; 28-29 January 2007 there's a skirmish outside of An Najaf, Iraq. Turns into a pretty big fight, Apache gets shot down, some trucks get ambushed, 4 or so Iraqi soldiers are killed. The crash sight is found and a hundred or so Iraqis and Americans are facing maybe 800 insurgents, nobody really knows for sure how many. The battle raged on through the day and night, in the end it was American air power that tipped the scales. Army and Air force operators called in innumerable airstrikes on that compound. Between direct fire and air it's estimated that 400-600 people were killed that day, my guess is that they weren't all combatants. Does that make those men murderers? How about the pilots? If they hadn't done the things they did many American and Iraqi Soldiers would have died that day, and possibly many more in the days to come in the city of Najaf. It had to be ended by drastic means.I don't pick the good and leave out the bad, the world is an ugly place and the Bible doesn't try to paint a pretty picture of something it's not. There's a spiritual war going on and there will be casualties. I know I'll get blasted for this one, but that's why I come on here. Can't have you guys sitting around agreeing with each other all the time, makes your mind numb.

  22. says

    "Let me expound a little on not judging God and his word. I don't look at God's actions as anything but righteous because if I said He wasn't righteous, that would be blasphemy…not a place I want to be. If I said "well maybe God jacked that up" I would be wavering, lukewarm, as the Bible calls it. So if it seems he's mistaken then surely I just don't understand. That's what I mean when I say I don't"This is just another way of telling yourself the bible doesn't _really_ say what you think it says. If you read something that's very clearly not "righteous" (i.e. something you consider to right/wrong) you must simply not be reading it right.I.e. Leviticus 25:44 "And as for your male and female slaves whom you may have-from the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves." Hmm, looks clear and unmistakable to me – the revealed word of your god here is clearly endorsing slavery and laying out some rules for its practice.What part of "slaves" and "buy male and female slaves" has your god left unclear here that you simply misunderstand?"I don't pick the good and leave out the bad, the world is an ugly place and the Bible doesn't try to paint a pretty picture of something it's not."The _biblical_ world is indeed very ugly, yes. The real world is remarkably different.And yes you do pick out the good and ignore the bad: – do you own slaves? – do you stone people to death just because they don't respect the sabbath?etc.?You're directly disobeying the word of your god by not following those practices – they're right there in the bible. Why don't you do these things?LS

  23. says

    Romans 7:6- But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.Slavery was a part of every culture until 100 years ago,it's just something that God allowed. The law in Leviticus just says not to own other Jews more than a certain period of time, not that I, in 2009, should buy a slave.The Sabbath…I try not to do much, remember God, that sort of thing. Is it sin that I don't observe it properly all the time? Yes, but observing the law can't bring you closer to God anyway.You have to read all of Romans 7, basically were not under the law but the law shows us right from wrong.

  24. says

    "Does that make those men murderers? How about the pilots? If they hadn't done the things they did many American and Iraqi Soldiers would have died that day, and possibly many more in the days to come in the city of Najaf. It had to be ended by drastic means."Not with you here either. Instead, with this wartime analogy, it looks to me like you're simply putting a sugar-coat around your god's resort to murder and genocide by thinking about it as merely a kind of wartime necessity. It's as if your god is just a victim of some kind of catastrophic failure of his creation and is in a mode of last-resort.So, when He wipes people out as described in the bible, he's merely, in his big-hearted way, resorting to last-ditch efforts to salvage something out of it.Does this really sound like a rational analysis of the endorsements of murder, rape, slavery and genocide found throughout the bible? Or might it sound more like just mere excuses designed to deflect your attention away from what you _really_ read in those passages?I encourage you to just think about it. You don't even have to answer out loud – just think about the excuses and ask _yourself_ what _you_ really think bout them.LS

  25. says

    "Slavery was a part of every culture until 100 years ago,it's just something that God allowed."No, just because it was widely accepted and practiced doesn't mean it was _right_. Merely because that time was in the past doesn't mean it was _ever_ right.Why did your god allow something that is and always has _clearly_ been a sin to be endorsed in his revealed word and practiced in his presence? "The law in Leviticus just says not to own other Jews more than a certain period of time, not that I, in 2009, should buy a slave."But it clearly endorses it. Why don't you practice it, especially given that the bible endorses it?"The Sabbath…I try not to do much, remember God, that sort of thing. Is it sin that I don't observe it properly all the time? Yes, but observing the law can't bring you closer to God anyway."Again, the real question is why don't you follow it _even though it's mandated, essentially, in your god's book_? Why do you follow other passages more diligently?"You have to read all of Romans 7, basically were not under the law but the law shows us right from wrong."How do you know you should follow the updated Romans 7 but _not_ the rules in Leviticus? That would indicate that your god screwed it up in Leviticus and issued a patch in Romans 7.How do you know Leviticus isn't what he _actually_ meant and _Romans_ is the passage in error?LS

  26. says

    — Response 1) Evil Actions of God —"Does that make those men murderers? How about the pilots? If they hadn't done the things they did many American and Iraqi Soldiers would have died that day, and possibly many more in the days to come in the city of Najaf. It had to be ended by drastic means."Your analogy comparing the wartime actions of human soldiers to the actions of God fails. Here is why.Humans are not gods. We do not contain within ourselves infinite power. We do not have infinite knowledge of the world. And we do not have infinite forgiveness and mercy. These are all traits that your god is said to have. If your god really wanted to, he wouldn't have to kill or torture a soul. He can do anything and he knows everything. And perplexing as it is, he's supposed to be the best, greatest dude in the universe and wants nothing but love and happiness for his "creations". Yet this isn't what that god character does in the bible.* He condones murder. In many cases, he _is_ the murderer.* He condones slavery.* He tells his followers to extremely harsh punishments for seemingly harmless actions.Now ask yourself, why does he do these things? Is it because he doesn't have a choice, like those soldiers didn't have a choice to save their comrades in your example? If your god doesn't have a choice, why not? What is preventing him from finding a way to make things work without murder, torture, slavery, and rape? There is nothing greater than him, and he is limitless and infinite. I tell you what. Give me the same powers as God and I would end all of our wars. I'd end famine, slavery, torture, and every evil of this world. And I wouldn't do it by mass murdering all the "sinners" or threatening them with eternal torture in hell. I'd appear before them, explain to them why what they are doing is wrong, and do whatever I had to to end suffering in an amicable and benevolent way (and since I'd be omniscient, I would always know what had to be done).Does that make sense? I think your analogy is meant more to comfort yourself and other believers into thinking that your god does these awful things because he has no other option to fulfill some greater good. But as I've hopefully shown you, he has an infinite number of options to achieve the same "good" results without all the horrible collateral damage and destruction of life.— Response 2) Ignoring the Law of the Old Testament —"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (the Old Testament) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Old Testament) until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)"That's a quote from your main man Jesus himself. Romans 7:6, which you cited, is in direct conflict with this passage from Matthew. The author of Romans was the apostle Paul, who was not a god if I am not mistaken. So why is it that when a god says "A" and a human says "not A", you chose to ignore the god and instead agree with what the human said? Can you explain this for me, because I am really confused when Christians ignore a direct quote from a god in favor for the writings of one of the early Christian leaders, who is a fallible human being.—–Thanks for shaking things up Zach. I enjoy it when calm, level-headed believers like you show up here for discussion. :)

  27. C says

    Dammit, Ing. You've wrapped it up perfectly. That's exactly what's going on: Christians endorse a God that is not the God pictured in the Bible. Instead, they create their own image of a perfect God and, because they were born and lived their whole lives listening that the Bible is the Only True Book and Christianity is the Only Good Religion, then they think they're supporting the right God. When in actuality, because they often cherry-pick what they think is right and wrong in that book, they're actually trying to fit their own Perfect God in it, when it's not there.Seriously, I didn't realize this until now, even though I went through the same process. I was a Christian, or at least I think I was, then I made my own God, which departed from any religion, but instead of trying to justify it by fitting it in the Bible, I eventually got rid of it, since I realized it was useless.And by the way, Zach,"I'm just making the point that there are some Christians out there that don't want to see all of you guys thrown into a pit."Like Matt said in the show, if you don't want to see people being sent to Hell, specially people who never meant to harm anyone and tried to live their lives doing good things, but who made the fatal mistake of not choosing to follow a particular religion, then don't worship a stupid and evil God that would do that.

  28. C says

    (cont…)You may believe whatever God you want, Zach. But the God you love, the God you talk about here and in your blog is NOT the God found in the Bible. The God of the Bible condones slavery, Zach. You know YOUR God wouldn't do that, but the one in the book does, and you're trying to justify it, diminishing your sense of morality and your own personal God in the process.You DON'T have to endorse Christianity, Zach. If your son or daughter becomes an atheist some day, he/she is going to Hell and you will have to watch him/her suffer from Heaven… but that's just according to Christianity. It's an EVIL belief system, Zach. You don't have to believe it. It's a product of the mind of twisted bronze age people. You are free to believe in a "God of Love" who won't send anybody to Hell, who won't send YOUR FAMILY to Hell for any stupid reason like that. Wouldn't your prefer meeting in Heaven with a God like that instead of one who's going to throw 2/3 of the human population in a pit of fire and torture FOREVER just because they didn't believe in him particularly? The Christian God is an evil bastard. YOU are better than him. The God you created in your mind, which is nowhere to be found in the Bible but where you so insistently and unnecessarily try to fit into, is better than him.Please, think about that. You are fond of saying you're worried about us atheists/non-christians. Well, consider this to be me being worried you are wasting your life and time worshipping the wrong (and evil) god.There are many religions out there, Zach. Maybe the God you're looking for is in one of them, not in the one you so conveniently were born and raised into.

  29. says

    "I'm just making the point that there are some Christians out there that don't want to see all of you guys thrown into a pit."That's the chief advantage of the skeptical position: one doesn't _have_ to believe stuff like this. We're free to maintain moral standards that don't permit holding notions like this in our minds. What a terrible burden that mus be!Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy the freedom to choose your own notions of right and wrong based on living in the real world and not have to cow-tow to some bronze-age thinking from some dusty 2000 year-old book somewhere?That's the liberty we enjoy as skeptics; the more pitiable position is actually yours – the mind shackled by fairy tales and folkore that has no basis in anything.LS

  30. says

    "You DON'T have to endorse Christianity, Zach. If your son or daughter becomes an atheist some day, he/she is going to Hell and you will have to watch him/her suffer from Heaven… but that's just according to Christianity."I'm going to go even further and say that I would support Zach if he or anyone else decided to scism from christianity and form a new "christianish" religion around the moral stance they take. Naturally I disagree with the idea that a god is shown to exist, but I think it's long over due for Christians to re-edit their holy script and update it to match their morays (and any other sort of eel they may have). Most christian friends I have honestly don't know any reason why their bible still has the old testament as it's against everything they hold sacred. Feel free to take some scissors and glue to the bible and write up the "Anthology Gospel of the New Way" or the like. Doing so would send a good moral example to the rest of Christianity that such ideas as Hell and apostasy are ancient barbaric spiteful memes that you don't need to cling to.

  31. says

    I'm just making the point that there are some Christians out there that don't want to see all of you guys thrown into a pit.But there is no pit, you silly man!What is absurd is believing that in this vast, practically infinite universe, our little speck of a planet in one of the billions of galaxies is some focal point in a cosmic war between good and evil, and that unlike the rest of the millions of species on this planet, what happens to us after we die depends on what we believe about who created the universe.Such a belief is an over-inflated egocentrism, the idea that everything centers around us. That we're supposed to represent the pinnacle of some omnipotent deity's creation, and that what is of paramount importance to this deity is what we believe and how we act, and that we develop a relationship with this being. This delusion starts right near the beginning of Genesis, wherein the stars in the night sky are described as having been placed there to provide us with light during the night time. Never mind that these stars are suns like our own that have planets of their own orbitting them. If an advanced intelligence lived on one of these planets, they would probably be very amused to be told that the sun that provides them with heat and light was created simply to provide us with a mere pinprick of light in our own night sky. I am sure you mean well Zach, but I can't take such concerns seriously.

  32. says

    @TommyKey"What is absurd is believing that in this vast, practically infinite universe, our little speck of a planet in one of the billions of galaxies is some focal point in a cosmic war between good and evil"forgive me for being pedantic, but this sounds like a Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. If we could assume this planet is the only one that has intelligent life, then of course it will be the one where all the holy wars take place. Or were you asking why a Universe so large would be created so that we would have a more colorful background in which to wage our wars?

  33. says

    Mattew 5 and Romans 7 are saying the same thing if you read them completely. They're both saying that the law defines sin, but Jesus fulfills the requirements for atonement for us so that we're not slaves to it.@IngThe Old Testament is in there because it shows the genealogy and prophecy of Christ, it legitimizes the New Testament.That's why we can't re-edit the text and build a new religion bro. I think maybe Christians need to re-edit their heads, that might work. I can understand you guys picking it apart and ridiculing it, but when Christians misinterpret it for personal gain and can't agree on stuff it makes me sick. I believe in the God of the Bible, I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe there is a Hell and that people go there. I don't, however, believe in most of modern religion. I go to church because it's healthy to be a part of a body of believers. Anyway, you guys are awesome, have a good day.Zach

  34. says

    "Mattew 5 and Romans 7 are saying the same thing if you read them completely. They're both saying that the law defines sin, but Jesus fulfills the requirements for atonement for us so that we're not slaves to it."Even granting that, does that go for the entire bible, tho? Is it consistent cover to cover? I bet not.In any case, you're still evading the question: where the revealed word of your god does contradict itself, how do you know which passages to accept and which to reject?"I believe in the God of the Bible, I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe there is a Hell and that people go there."Yes, we know what you _believe_. That's not of interest – what is of interest is what you claim to _know_. You also claim to _know_ that the god of the bible exists, that he walked the earth as jesus, that heaven and hell exist, etc. What we want to know is how do you _know_ these things?LS

  35. says

    "The Old Testament is in there because it shows the genealogy-"I'm interrupting here, because I'm going to share a story I was going to e-mail into the guys for AA or the like.My friends who are Jewish got married. Lately they've been getting more and more into the Campus Jewish Life group and Hillel and other Orthodoxy. It got quite annoying as arranging ANYTHING with them became damn near fuck impossible. No restaurants we frequented could be gone to anymore due to Kosher laws, couldn't do anything on Saturday etc. Anyway, they want an orthodox Rabbi to marry them. They agree and go into investigating their "Lineage" it comes up that the bride to be had a great great grandmother who converted. Because they can't prove it was done with orthodoxy, they fear that this might be a *GASP* *nervous eye shift* INTER MARRIAGE! *lightning strike and wolf howl*. Because of this they wanted her to convert from Judaism to Judaism and push back the marriage. While they have 20 rabbis around the world looking into this issue and digging up history from flipping Hungry, the rabbi and his wife are pressuring them that to be married without the conversion would be a sin, as there was questions and I shit you not, literal quite "on the blood purity". The clergy went out of their way to prevent them from getting other clerics to run the ceremony, calling up any other rabbi they called and "warning them", they did everything they could to sabotage the marriage. This was all done under the premise of course-of love. Eventually it got sorted out and they got married by a conservative rabbi an act they were informed…was a sin. They are now outcasts for much of the orthodox population in the very Jewish city they live in. I mention this because THIS is the practice you're keeping the old testament to preserve. An obsession with lineage and "blood purity" over character and basic fucking decency. This importance that Jesus had to be descended form the house of David (a tyrant and right bastard) is due to a perverted and immoral focus on this racial purity. God needed to make Jesus as part of that house. Well yeah, he doesn't' love everyone equally. This one racial line is his preferred. They're special, so much that diluting the blood line with outsiders is the worst thing that could ever happen. Had Jesus been born to a Samaritan or a Indian or Chinese family he obviously could not be the messiah since he was not of the right stock. Why, on earth would you want to keep that idea alive?

  36. says

    "…and prophecy of Christ, it legitimizes the New Testament."Except ask any Jew and they will explain why Jesus does not fulfill any prophecy in the Old Testament. "That's why we can't re-edit the text and build a new religion bro. "WHY!? You need horrible disgusting things to justify the 10% of the Bible you like? Tell me. Would you still follow Jesus's teachings if he, with all the claims about his powers made, was born to a Roman peasant. Says the same things, preaches to the same morals, same poetry, same miracles, but there's no claim of him fulfilling the old testament prophecies, would you still worship him? If not than, what I'm hearing is that it's not Jesus the person, the teacher, whose special at all; it's the decree from Authority. "I think maybe Christians need to re-edit their heads, that might work. I can understand you guys picking it apart and ridiculing it, but when Christians misinterpret it for personal gain and can't agree on stuff it makes me sick."As it should, but they're not Misinterpreting it. A lot of what say Fred Phelps says is based on the literal study of it. The bible is clear, Gays are an abomination. There is no interpreting that. Atheists and pagans are an abomination that according to the old testament must be killed ON SIGHT, while according to the New Testament deserve to be tortured for all eternity. By saying "yes this book is holy" you're justifying the views of those people that make you sick by legitimizing their source. The only leg they have to stand on is the bible, the fact that actually sane good moral people will defend the book is the ONLY reason they have any power. It's like the KKK. Back when there were actually good sane people who'd probably never actually lynch anyone believing that blacks were inferior and savages the Klan existed openly. The moderate racism that the majority had supported the radical racism. Now that the moderate racism is eroded the Klan has no where to stand. They have to exist in secret because they're not tolerated. (fun word verification: Begat)

  37. says

    "Atheists and pagans are an abomination that according to the old testament must be killed ON SIGHT, while according to the New Testament deserve to be tortured for all eternity."Not just atheists and pagans, ALL of us deserve hell according to God's law. All have sinned, there's no grey area. Likewise, ALL have the opportunity for atonement. word verification a couple of days ago…no kidding: nonsins

  38. says

    "Not just atheists and pagans, ALL of us deserve hell according to God's law. All have sinned, there's no grey area. Likewise, ALL have the opportunity for atonement."Then there is no justice. If any infringement regarless of outcome, intent, or magnitude deserves eternal perpetual punishment than the notion of justice is absurd. A serial killer deserves hell as much as the Dali Lama according to you. A rapeist as much as Warren Buffet. The only way to escape is to get into the good graces of a gnostic entity. The math does not support the notion that this system can exist with a good and loving god. Most people who have ever existed never heard of christianity, a vast majority of them due to existing before the religion was ever founded. God creates people with no chance of salvation, and this is justice? A just god would have STARTED the world with Jesus in place, or at least sent the damn bastard down earlier, within the first or second generation of 'fallen' humanity that way there would be no chance that anyone could get into hell by 'accident'. Regardless, you're still saying Christians are special since they know the magic word. The others deserve hell, but you get a pass. You know what…why even bother? Why bother dealing with anyone else. you got yours. You're safe. The rest of us are fucked but hey, you can now do ANYTHING you want to us since you know the magic words. This system is not inherently good, this is inherently authoritative. Again you're acting like those fuckers who tried to keep two good honest DEVOUT people from marrying because of 'blood purity'. Yeah, we could convert, but until then we are, by the crime of being born, second class to you and yours.

  39. says

    "I think we've about beat this one to death, great discussion though."But after three days it will rise again.

  40. R. Allen says

    Ing said, "Why bother dealing with anyone else. you got yours. You're safe. The rest of us are fucked". That's what Christianity really boils down to. They have their "great commission" and are supposed to go out and evangelize, but what is the point? Romans 9 says, "What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction". and "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"Basically, god created most people with the sole intention of sending them to hell, just to flex his wrathful muscles. Why are worthy of hell? Because god made them that way.Ing has it right on. Why bother trying to convert anyone?

  41. says

    "Not just atheists and pagans, ALL of us deserve hell according to God's law. All have sinned, there's no grey area. Likewise, ALL have the opportunity for atonement."This is just another way of saying that you have _no_ explanation for why and how you can distinguish good from bad while your holy book seemingly cannot. As if a blanket, unsubstantiated claim that simply everyone is damned somehow relieves you of the responsibility of explaining why your holy book seems to contradict basic human morality and even _your own_ morality.You know it's wrong to kill people just because they're atheists even though your holy book says the opposite. _That's_ why you're (hopefully) not mailing pipe bombs to all of us. You also know it's wrong to prosecute persons of different religious affiliations than yourself – _that's_ really why you don't actually do that.You go against the edicts of your holy book because you're better than it and its mythology. You know it's internally contradictory and morally illiterate – that's why you choose what you consider to be good and bad on your own and actually _dont_ get your morality out of it.Unfortunate that you never answered any of our questions. I think that would have significantly raised the quality of the discussion.LS

  42. says

    Ok, Ls, sorry for the lull. I just got back to the states and I'm about to be a new daddy again soon. Some of our strokes are too broad I think. Let's focus in on something and I'll do my best to answer it.I'll start with the bible ordering me to kill atheists…it doesn't. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that I, as a follower of Christ, should do any wrong to anybody. The real Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors while the religious leaders of the time plotted his death because he was a threat to their power because he didn't strictly follow the Levitical law as they thought he should.I think you've created a Jesus to hate based on how Christians represent him.As for why I bother trying to spread the word to others…how terrible of a person would I be if I knew the key to life after death and didn't tell anybody? My christianity is not an "I got mine" kind of faith.

  43. says

    Let's resume with your previous statement then:"I believe in the God of the Bible, I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe there is a Hell and that people go there."As I said, what you _believe_ isn't of interest. It's what you claim to _know_. Apparently you (claim to) _know_ that the god of the bible exists, JC exists as does heaven and hell.I want to know how you _know_ these things to be true? On what basis do you claim to know your god exists? Same with heaven and hell – evidence please."I think you've created a Jesus to hate based on how Christians represent him."Jesus and your god are your inventions not mine – I"m making no claims about them.LS

  44. says

    "I'll start with the bible ordering me to kill atheists…it doesn't. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that I, as a follower of Christ, should do any wrong to anybody."Except…you know it totally does. I mean you reject it but it does.

  45. says

    It is odd how different the characters of YVWH and Jesus and Peter differ on some of the fine points like who followers are supposed to kill.Especially since the first two are the same person and the third is the infallible agent of same…

  46. says

    "I want to know how you _know_ these things to be true? On what basis do you claim to know your god exists? Same with heaven and hell – evidence please."You know the answer is that I know him personally, and I know that that’s not good enough for you. So here we go.You know this is going to get lengthy, right? What I want to do is give brief answers here and as I study more over the next week or so I will actually post about some individual topics on my blog as not to clog this one, if that’s acceptable. This thread is about dead except for Ing, you, and me anyway.The reason I say I have to study up is that I am no scientist and , for the most part, my beliefs aren't based on science. I have read a lot of scientific arguments for the existence of God, but can't readily regurgitate them in their entirety. In case you are wondering about my education, as many folks have thrown their credentials around on here, I'm eight classes short of a BS in Sociology, it's taken about 10 years. As far as the military, I've attended professional development and leadership courses appropriate to my rank, and 14 years worth of courses that fall in the category of "other". The point I'm trying to make is that I'm not a scientist, but I'm not an idiot either. Too often on here respect and humility are mistaken for weakness and stupidity.The thing is, you guys have been at this longer than me and have probably heard these arguments before, but I'm going to throw a few out there and see where it takes us.First off, I guess we need to establish what type of "evidence" we are talking about.It's so hard to do scientifically, because, as I said before, if he just came and stood in front of us, everyone would convert.Other kinds include historical knowledge, philosophical knowledge, moral knowledge and personal knowledge. You know the whole beyond a reasonable doubt thing. I really wanted to start tonight, but it’s too late. Heads up though, I want to hit Intelligent Design, Prophecy, and I’d like to single handedly debunk evolution…what? I do have very basic fundamental questions about it though. Later AlligatorsZach

  47. says

    "You know the answer is that I know him personally"No, I don't know that that's the answer, but if that is your response that more or less establishes the kind of evidence we're looking for.Namely, to be able to claim _knowledge_ of your god's existence, a) you have a definition of what it is and b) you should be able to produce him/her/it. By this I mean, he/she/it should be detectable by the 5 senses in some way such that its existence can be independently verified.I.e. this is how you'd distinguish my claim that I personally know the existence of a) a magic fairy that sits on my shoulder and tells me what to do and b) my sister or mother or some other person that I know personally.Or any claim to knowledge I might make.So, produce your god. A photo or video would be a good start.LS

  48. says

    "It's so hard to do scientifically, because, as I said before, if he just came and stood in front of us, everyone would convert."Counter Point: Satan. This is a being you believe has a vast greater understanding of God and yet does not worship him. Likewise if the god of the old testement did reveal itself, I would have to give honest investigation into Satan's POV. Jehovah is so immoral and repugnant as claimed in the bible, unless the opposition is worse i'd have to take a chance with the rebellion.

  49. says

    "I want to hit Intelligent Design, Prophecy, and I’d like to single handedly(sic) debunk evolution…what? I do have very basic fundamental questions about it though."Ok me being anal now. Handidly is spelt wrong, intelligent design and prophecy are not proper nouns so they shouldn't be capitalized. And I'm not sure if this is intentional or nto but the sentence should read "I have fundamentally basic questions" which means "I have questions on the basic premise" instead of how it reads now "I have questions because I'm a fundamentalist moron"."I’d like to single handedly(sic) debunk evolution"Yeah you know what. I'd like to single HANDILY prove the oscillating universe. But I'm not a fucking physicist so it's not gonna happen.Ok, now I've been nice but honestly. FUCK YOU. You've said you're not a scientist, but you're arrogant and dumb enough to think you know more than say someone who has suffered through 4 years of biological chemistry? At this point, no i'm not going to answer your basic fundamental questions, because they are answered. Read a fucking book and educate yourself. God what the fuck is wrong with you? You want me to go in and stick my ass in and start barking about how to run the military? To start 'correcting' you on sociology or whatever? On the philosophical issue: What the hell man? you believe the bible literally and strongly enough that intelligent design is the only answer, but not enough to listen to the commandments of god that you should be the first one to raise a fist against apostates, heretics and homosexuals. I think you're understanding of Christianity is inherently hypocritical and flawed."I come not to bring peace but the sword"~Jesus. He's not this frilly foo foo happy Mr. Myoti meets Gandhi sage you think he is. He and his followers have called for E-T-E-R-N-A-L torture for disbelievers and pagans, thought crime, slavery, misogyny. This is the man who condemned rich people to hell for the crime of being rich, that beat business men and merchants with a scourge, destroyed private property and promised the end of the world. If you're giong to be so arrogant and ignorant and arrogant of your ignorance than I'm giong to call you on it in not nice ways. Abridged version of rant: Asshat

  50. says

    C'mon fellers, let's be polite. He's the one who needs to be afraid, not us."Heads up though, I want to hit Intelligent Design, Prophecy, and I’d like to single handedly debunk evolution…what? I do have very basic fundamental questions about it though."ID design has already been very thoroughly debunked as nonsense many, many times over. I can save a lot of time and effort on that and your other questions by directing you here:http://www.atheist-experience.com/In particular look through the archives of the show. You'll also find here many attempts by theists to "single-handedly debunk evolution" all of which have failed. You may find your own argument in there as well.Youtube is another good source of info on these questions, dealt with on both sides very extensively.LS

  51. says

    "The reason I say I have to study up is that I am no scientist and , for the most part, my beliefs aren't based on science. I have read a lot of scientific arguments for the existence of God, but can't readily regurgitate them in their entirety."FWIW, I'm not a scientist either. My formal education is in social science and whatever other acquaintance I have with the scientific method is all completely self-acquired.My lack of belief I similarly arrived at chiefly through the mere ineffectiveness of belief and religious/"spiritual" practice. In fact, I didn't become acquainted with the scientific lines of reasoning in atheist thought until after some considerable time after I'd realized I was not a believer.Fortunately the problem we're dealing with here – support for your claim that there exists a god, that's it the Xian god, there's a hell, etc – doesn't require too much more than rudimentary reasoning power. Even something like intelligent design is easily seen as exceedingly unintelligent by laypersons. So, no worries there ;)LS

  52. says

    @ IngMost of what I say is meant to be in a friendly, playful tone. I apologize if you interpret it differently.Actually single-handedly is correct, thanks for the tips on proper nouns and grammar though.I believe we've had this conversation before. I really don't give a crap what your cited websites say, I read some of them, it's a lot of conflicting information. I want to know what you think, if it's from a website that’s fine, you cite it. We have to get our info from somewhere. If your beliefs are based on websites and text books, I'd say that’s not much different than me basing mine on an invisible deity and an old book. I’m moving this conversation to my blog, I might need some backup. I invite you to join me.Ls,You're a gentleman and a scholar, I gladly contemplate the cosmos with you.

  53. says

    Ing,Mattew 10:34- The peace and sword thing.Don't "quote mine" as I've been accused on here. Jesus is saying that faith in him will cause division in families and cultures…seems he was right. He's saying that being a Christian will not be easy, that you will have to make sacrifices."On the philosophical issue: What the hell man? you believe the bible literally and strongly enough that intelligent design is the only answer, but not enough to listen to the commandments of god that you should be the first one to raise a fist against apostates, heretics and homosexuals. I think you're understanding of Christianity is inherently hypocritical and flawed."Show me where Jesus says this, I can't find it." "…and prophecy of Christ, it legitimizes the New Testament."Except ask any Jew and they will explain why Jesus does not fulfill any prophecy in the Old Testament." That's just wrong, most Jews will tell you that because they're ill informed about Jesus and have been told by their rabbi that he's not the Messiah. I've heard of many, who after investigating the prophecies, converted to Christianity. Case in point, I have a best friend with a Star of David tattooed on his chest, grew up Jewish, learned the truth about Jesus, converted.Have a good weekend,Zach

  54. says

    "Show me where Jesus says this, I can't find it."Dude, you're the one that insisted on keeping the old testament."I believe we've had this conversation before. I really don't give a crap what your cited websites say, I read some of them, it's a lot of conflicting information. I want to know what you think, if it's from a website that’s fine, you cite it."Ok, clearly no you don't. You want to preach. "We have to get our info from somewhere. If your beliefs are based on websites and text books, I'd say that’s not much different than me basing mine on an invisible deity and an old book."You're an anti-intellectual. Right, cause you know…science is elitist and faith. And this is why I'm not nice to you anymore. You think you know more while doing no work. I study, I toil, I put in the time to master the knowledge and skill and you take a shit all over that. Seriously, Fuck you too. If you don't see the difference than you're a moron. You'll believe in nothing cause an old book says it but not years of collected human knowledge and information we can show and demonstrate. It's frustrating to talk to you because you can't even imagine anything outside your box. Go on and run away to your forum, coward.

  55. says

    "That's just wrong, most Jews will tell you that because they're ill informed about Jesus and have been told by their rabbi that he's not the Messiah.I've heard of many, who after investigating the prophecies, converted to Christianity. Case in point, I have a best friend with a Star of David tattooed on his chest, grew up Jewish, learned the truth about Jesus, converted."Translation: Most Jews will tell you that because they're not Christians. Once they believe in Jesus they'll tell you the Christians are right! I'm sure your friend is happy knowing his family is going to hell.

  56. says

    "Show me where Jesus says this, I can't find it."I love the SAB (Skeptics Annotated Bible).http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.htmlThere's a list of 973 verses in the bible that either record or promote cruelty and violence. The verse that I know of that does say you should kill non-believers is as follows."If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you … Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die." — Deuteronomy 13:6-10And for homosexuals."If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." — Leviticus 20:13There you go. We're not making this shit up. Why would we? We don't want the bible to say these awful, hateful things and to encourage others to commit violent acts of murder. But it says those things, and we're not going to deny that it does.Here's another good section of the SAB that shows the relevant verses regarding what the bible says on a variety of topics. Abortion, slavery, burning people alive, etc. A good reference for both sides of the debate IMO.http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/index.htm

  57. says

    "That's just wrong, most Jews will tell you that because they're ill informed about Jesus and have been told by their rabbi that he's not the Messiah.I've heard of many, who after investigating the prophecies, converted to Christianity. Case in point, I have a best friend with a Star of David tattooed on his chest, grew up Jewish, learned the truth about Jesus, converted."Oh I see. They're wrong because they listened to a figure of authority. But I'm sure your authority figures (Christian priests/pastors/apologists/whatever) are always right, aren't they? How pompous of you to assert that the leaders of your religion are right and the only reason followers of other religions are wrong about Jesus is that their leaders are feeding them misinformation. Maybe you're being fed misinformation too, and you just don't realize it because you haven't taken the time to do an unbiased examination of both sides of the argument? After all, you've been told that you are not even allowed to question the existence of Jesus lest you be damned to hell for heresy. "Believe in and worship X! But if you ever question X, you'll be tortured forever." That just reeks of bullshit to me.And conversion stories hold zero credibility. So some Jewish people converted to Christianity. So what? I know Christians that have converted to Judaism. I know atheists that converted from Christianity. I know atheists that turned around and accepted a multitude of different religious belief systems. I've read a good portion of the bible (admittedly not all of it) and I reject Jesus Christ. No one had to convince me that he existed or didn't exist one way or the other. I made up my own mind based on the evidence available. There's no evidence that any of those miracles he did occurred. Nothing outside of Christian writings talk about this son of God, who was his own father, walking on water, healing the sick by touching them, etc. You think that someone would have written that shit down, especially since there were often crowds of thousands that witnessed his miracles and spread the word throughout the land (that's in the bible).In fact, if you study mythology and ancient religions, you'll find that there are literally THOUSANDS of legends proclaiming similar deeds of ancient heroes and gods. Ever read about Hercules? Dionysus? How do you know that the miracles of Jesus are true events and that the miracles of all of these other figures from ancient "history" are false? Here's a good short clip from the movie The God Who Wasn't There that touches on this subject.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUBqgucLXzk

  58. says

    Tyler,Those are historical, not instructional. It's the story of how the Jews made it out of Egypt.You're citing Laws that got the Jews through the desert. I suppose God was trying to preserve an upright people to start a country with. He ended up having to march them around until they got the point. Jesus is our example of how to live, not the Levitical laws. How many non-believers did Jesus stone? How about adulterers? Zero, as a matter of fact he stopped the stoning of one. Read John 8:1-11, it gives a little insight as to how Jesus handled the Law. Jesus made friends with everyone, and showed them the truth, and that's what I aspire to do.

  59. says

    Ing,“Yes, but Zach doesn't care about our 'punny websites'.”I have actually read a lot since no one can seem to tell me in their own words how we evolved from non-living matter or why we can't prove evolution by the fossil record. I wrote some about it on my blog if you care to check it out.The whole process has actually increased my faith in Jesus by seeing what nonsense evolution really is.Tyler,Those are historical, not instructional. It's the story of how the Jews made it out of Egypt.You're citing Laws that got the Jews through the desert. I suppose God was trying to preserve an upright people to start a country with. He ended up having to march them around until they got the point. Jesus is our example of how to live, not the Levitical laws. How many non-believers did Jesus stone? How about adulterers? Zero. As a matter of fact he stopped the stoning of one. Read John 8:1-11, it gives a little insight as to how Jesus handled the Law. Jesus made friends with everyone, and showed them the truth, and that's what I aspire to do.love, peace, and hair grease,Zach

  60. says

    "You're citing Laws that got the Jews through the desert. I suppose God was trying to preserve an upright people to start a country with. He ended up having to march them around until they got the point."Again, you're imposing some artificial limit on your omnipotent god. God didn't have to do things the way he did. He chose to do them that way. Nothing is impossible for your god. He could have snapped his fingers and achieved the same results without endorsing murder or slavery. "Jesus is our example of how to live, not the Levitical laws. How many non-believers did Jesus stone? How about adulterers? Zero, as a matter of fact he stopped the stoning of one. Read John 8:1-11, it gives a little insight as to how Jesus handled the Law."Again, Jesus said he did not come to invalidate the old laws but to fulfill its prophecies. Of course the gospels don't detail Jesus' actions to every single law.Let me ask you, have you studied the bible? I mean really gotten deep into it. Learned Greek (the original language of the NT), read the most ancient manuscripts, etc? My guess is no, because if you had then you would realize that John 8:1-11 is not in those earliest manuscripts. In all likelihood, it was added to the New Testament later by scribes. If so, then the example you are so proudly referring to never occurred. I recommend you read Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman (its not an atheist or anti-Christian book by any means), which talks about textual criticism and how scholars go about figuring out what the original books in the New Testament actually said. Did you know that we have none of the original manuscripts, by the way? Here's a short interview of the author and his book from the Daily Show.http://www.videosift.com/video/The-Daily-Show-Interview-with-author-of-Misquoting-Jesus"Jesus made friends with everyone, and showed them the truth, and that's what I aspire to do."Well he hasn't bothered to make friends with me, or any of the non-believers here. Despite the fact that some of us have honestly pleaded with him to reveal himself to us. Until he does, I'll maintain that your god is an immoral asshat for demanding that we believe in him without providing us sufficient evidence.

  61. says

    "I have actually read a lot since no one can seem to tell me in their own words how we evolved from non-living matter or why we can't prove evolution by the fossil record."I could gladly get the lecture notes to my biochem topic of abiogenesis (genesie). Evolution is proven by the fossil record. You've clearly read nothing. Summery of abiogenesis as believed. This is a very young ongoing subject that has so far inconclusive results (no contemporary accepted model is strong enough in the peer pool to be proclaimed the theory)There are two views, that RNA came first and that Protien came first. Due to the evidence given forth in my class I'm siding as of now with the Protein side. Protein acts as cell machinery (the hard ware) and RNA the soft ware. The first cells were formed by spontenously formed proteins envoloped by a chemical enveolope, very likely sulfur bubbles relseased form the earth. These proto-cells could reproduce but not replicate (they could grow large enough from the protein machinery inside that the simple membrane splits into two organisms. Spontaneously created RNA eventually was enveloped. RNA became the method of replication, hijacking the machinery to reproduce itself. RNA existed as early 'proto life' and 'lived' parasitically using the cell to replicate. The existing form of this early process are what we call viruses. All life as we know it arose from the interaction between viruses and protein 'machinery'. Over a very long time these two processes of replication and reproduction became symbiotic as a chemical natural selection favored interactions between RNA and proteins. RNA became responsible for encoding and replicating it's own protein machinery, permanently bonding the two as one 'organism'. Through this ability to act as the template for assembling protein monomers the RNA could build its own machinery, develop the membrane (to preserve the chemical state needed for life) to develop locomotion, exotoxins, and structural elements. It is not known if all life came from a single origin of proto-cells or if Archae bacteria are descended from an entirely different chemical line of this pre-life life. Definitely though our RNA (eventually forming the more stable and complex DNA) is the shared chemical genetic line with all other eukaryote. Eukaryote arose MUCH later when smaller autotrophic bacteria were enveloped by larger proto-nuclear bacteria. The autotrophes survived at least two instances of this (chloroplasts and mitochondria) and allowed enough energy for the host to thrive and survive mutations causing greater complexity. All mitochondrial DNA in every living creature can be traced to one single shared mitochondria, as can the DNA in all Chloroplasts. Thus you see, the question of the "origin" of life is erroneous. Life was not a single event. It came in many many stages of independent 'parts' coming together. All of the simple individual parts CAN and DO arise spontaneously in early earth conditions. Multiple experiments have shown this. Such experiments showed that even relatively long polymers assemble themselves! (protein chain of 70 monomers if I'm remembering right). The hardest part of this is actually explaining it without the big bio-chemistry background. I'm afraid my explanation now may be off due to language use. It's difficult to talk about things that have/had some properties of life but were/are not alive. I'll send an e-mail to my old prof to get an exact copy of the lecture series he did on it if interested. I'll throw in if possible, an explanation on how DNA is used to show common descent. F

  62. says

    ossil record has earliest fossils as simple organisms and we get what one would expect if animals adapted and changed over time. Great catastrophies in life's history show a species die out and them bloom of new species. The earliest life forms had a plethora of body shapes and designs that are alien to anything living on earth today.Every multi-celled "higher" organism (ie everything with a notocord) has a body plan based on modifications of the worm tube. I have no idea how you could think the fossil record disagrees with evolution. if you want to pose an actual question you had I'd answer it. I mean we have transitional forms of avian-suarians and even saurian-mammalian "dragons". "your inner fish" is a good book that describes both the methodology and results of the fossil record.I don't pretend for a second that me actually summarizing the concepts will convince Zach, he's got faith so no facts will convince him that you know…reality is any better than his old book, but I thought the others might be interested in a not very popularly known view of the origins of life.

  63. says

    ""You're citing Laws that got the Jews through the desert. I suppose God was trying to preserve an upright people to start a country with. He ended up having to march them around until they got the point."And the first fucking thing they did when they got to start their country was kill everyone who was already living there. Nice god.

  64. says

    "I have actually read a lot since no one can seem to tell me in their own words how we evolved from non-living matter or why we can't prove evolution by the fossil record. I wrote some about it on my blog if you care to check it out.The whole process has actually increased my faith in Jesus by seeing what nonsense evolution really is."Not sure what you were reading, but if it led you to these conclusions it was almost certainly bunk. In addition to what the other guys provided, more good information specifically about evolution and biology can be found here:http://www.talkorigins.org/Again, it's probable that you'll run across the ideas you hold now and find them addressed there.LS

  65. says

    Yes evolution is nonsense…but animating a clay figure and then making a rule 62 clone out of his rib makes PERFECT sense. mean…yeah it's obvious

  66. says

    @ Ing"Such experiments showed that even relatively long polymers assemble themselves! (protein chain of 70 monomers if I'm remembering right)." Does this mean that a living organism was created?

  67. says

    Ing,Everything objective that I can find says abiogenesis has been disproven. Have you actually seen it in action?

  68. says

    Zach:I can disprove the existence of air. It's not something that either of us can see, is it?I can disprove the notion that your family loves you. You don't have direct knowledge of how they actually feel, only their words and actions. How do you know that those words and actions are not part of an elaborate deception intended as a set-up for some great sadistic act against you someday?I can disprove the notion that Hitler ordered the extermination of the Jews. You didn't witness him do it, so how would you know?I can disprove the words, teachings, miracles, and perhaps even the very existence of Jesus. You weren't alive when he supposedly was; you didn't hear his words with your own ears; you didn't see his miracles with your own eyes. So much for Jesus.Here's an idea that I'm sure that you'll approve: Let's release every convicted rapist and murder whose trial evidence did not include eyewitness testimonies to the alleged crimes.Honestly, though you try to be civil and articulate, your posts have not made a good case for your intelligence. So please show us your objective evidence that "disproves abiogenesis."

  69. says

    Also, please read the Wikipedia articles on abiogenesis and the Miller-Urey experiment for overviews on the topic:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesishttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller-Urey_experimentI personally believe that the reason why many theists reject the idea that life can spontaneously arise from non-life without the intervention of a supernatural entity is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what "life" is. Remember that a single-cell organism is alive. A cell is merely a collection of organic structures (where "organic" refers to the chemical make-up). The functions and behaviors of the cell natural consequences of their composition and form. Their composition and form arose naturally out of chemical evolution. The "creation" of these living things is no more supernatural than that of a waterfall: It's the expected result of the coincidental combination of certain conditions, forces, and substances.Over time, microorganisms evolved into more complex organisms, and after billions of years, mankind was born. Life from non-life, there you have it. There's no magic in it.

  70. says

    "Everything objective that I can find says abiogenesis has been disproven.Have you actually seen it in action?"Remember guys – Zach is the one making claims about the origin of life (his god did it), not us. Beware the shifting of the burden of proof here.A better response might be something along the lines of:"Has anyone ever observed a god creating life out of nothing?" or "Demonstrate the actions of your god underlying the diversity and evolution of life". This is the theist claim and the theists need to defend it.Otherwise, it's quite right that – we have pretty good knowledge about how life has proceeded since it began.- evolution is established fact because we can observe it and its affects in action.So we're right to correct Zach on these points.But lets not get distracted – he needs to support his position because he's the one making claims to knowledge about the origin of life, not us.LS

  71. says

    "Does this mean that a living organism was created?"No, but it means the potential for a living organism was created (to steal pro-life terms). Chemically this is the equivalent of creating an embryo instead of a full human. Once these building blocks are present they naturally arrange into coplex forms and shapes which can lead to life. There are several reasons why the lack of actually creating life does not disprove abiogenesisa) Time: without an enzyme many processes in the human body take hundreds to thousands of years. Enzymes increase chemical reactions by many many fold. There is no enzyme for abiogenesis (obviously there were no proteins). Thus is is not outrageous to note that the chemical process to create life is spontaneous (chemically) but goes to completion on a geological time scale. b) life is chemically an electric gradient created largely by imbalances of Na and K as well as other ions such as Cl. The difference between a living cell and one that is irreparably dead is this gradient. Once this state is lost the cell's mater can be classified as inanimate. It is though very possible to make this gradient yourself using an artificial membrane and some salts. However, this 'life' would lack the ability to self regulate. But in the most literal sense, yes we can create life.c) I'm going to go as far as to say, that yes. The experiments that created long strands (about 70 monomers) of proteins and self replicating RNA, did create the simplest precursors of life that it is not that big a stretch to say "yes they recreated abiogenesis"d) Your question is based on technology level. It is perfectly possible to take a cell, lance is, and then reassemble it on the molecular level. However, that would require nano-tech beyond what we have today. however, this does not make it impossible. We lack the technology to go to Mars today, but that does not make it impossible to do. There is no vitialistic characteristic of life. If you destroyed a cell and put it back together identically to how it had been, it would be 'resurrected' "Ing,Everything objective that I can find says abiogenesis has been disproven."Everything you found is probably not much. Again, having taken the freaking class I'm offended you say "my google search on ask origins is better than your fancy smancy education". *raise middle finger* In this case you are wrong."Have you actually seen it in action?"Did you see Jesus die and come back to life? Did you see the abiogenesis of dirt –> Adam? Not to be too defensive, the answer is, yes science has observed the Miller-Urey experiment AND the plethora of other fine work that verified it and expanded on it. Look, it's obvious you don't know enough about the subject to "single handily debunk it" so drop the act. Everyone's been MORE than kind to you, even I the curmudgeonly snarker that I am have tried to play along and be civil, largely since abiogenesis is a topic I find very interesting due to it's epic scale.

  72. says

    The idea that science and knowledge in general, incarnated very well in the evolution phobia, is a moral issue fascinates me. This is a great example of thought crime. To people like Zach, believing evolution over creation puts your soul in jeporady. Knoweldge (or in their POV the "wrong" knowledge) is bad, currupting, sinful. It's clear to most people that this is a great system for keeping people/peasents ignorant and their minds enslaved. Zach's insane notion that "if i can disprove evil evolution than they'll have god proven to them" illustrates this bizarre dichotomy between knowledge and faith. This system is great for the person in charge of the religion as he has plenty of loyal saps, but clearly detrimental to people like Zach who have had their fundamental mental processes retarded and arrested by the fear of heresy. He can't even consider evolution seriously as he's already convinced it is bad to accept evolution. Even if he found the evidence convincing his mind has to convince him it's not convincing least he put his soul in danger.Fascinating.

  73. says

    I'll bet that Zach is lying about his supposed research into abiogenesis. I think that he's expecting us to take him at his word that the only evidence that he could find debunked any abiogenesis hypotheses. That's how he could make such a bold (and outrageous) assertion without bothering to cite his sources.

  74. says

    "His source is "everyone." From my minor classes in writing and communication I've observed that when someone says "Everyone" in that context they really mean "About one other person"

  75. C says

    People, go to his blog.I have already recommended talkorigins to him when he asked there the old "where are the transitional fossils?". I linked to the exact page dealing with this issue, to which he responded, "I read it and it doesn't show anything". Seriously.He's now on a crusade to debunk evolution, posting whatever youtube videos he finds with evolution experts (!!!!!1!) talking about how evolution is wrong.I and others have had it with this guy and I'm warning you right away: you're wasting your time. He's almost a Ray Comfort-type of Christian. He will reject whatever you say, because he's not interested in debating.Believe me, we wrote entire books commenting on his blog and he avoided responding most of them. Worst, he would post another entry and completely ignore everything we said.Like I said there, he's quick to dismiss evolution based on "lack of evidence", but he literally believes in a 2,000 years old book. I wonder where he found the evidence for Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses or the creation-week itself.

  76. says

    Ls,You caught me. Yes I am trying to legitimize the likelihood of my belief by discrediting yours. Seems like a reasonable thing to do. Besides, I’m not getting much backup, I have to attack from different angles to make myself seem bigger. ;) That’s the first time I’ve ever used the semicolon smiley thing.Ing,"Does this mean that a living organism was created?""No, but…"I looked up the Miller-Urey experiment.At the end of one week of continuous operation, Miller and Urey observed that as much as 10–15% of the carbon within the system was now in the form of organic compounds. Two percent of the carbon had formed amino acids that are used to make proteins in living cells, with glycine as the most abundant. Sugars, lipids, and some of the building blocks for nucleic acids were also formed.Soooo…still no creation of life through abiogenesis experiments, right? I read your reasons as to why this does not disprove abiogenesis, but it seems to me until the generation of something living is observed your theories are no more credible than creation. Aren’t the conditions set all over the world all the time? Why don’t we see life constantly springing up from nothingness? What am I getting at? Two things.1. Atheism takes as much faith as Christianity.2. Science and the reactions to the findings of scientist are based on preconceived notions.

  77. says

    "2. Science and the reactions to the findings of scientist are based on preconceived notions."You are done. This is the ultimate proof that you are completely ignorant of science. Preconceived notions? Seriously man, what the fuck. Have you ever read a science book? There are many scientific theories that existed for centuries that have been completely scrapped and replaced with better, more accurate ones. Take for example Newtonian physics. It worked well for several decades, and then Einstein came along with his theory of relativity and showed that Newtonian mechanics was completely incorrect (it just happened to seem to work in our world because we don't live in "extremes" of high speed, gravity, size, etc). But I'm not going to even try and teach you why you are wrong, because its obvious you don't give a shit whether or not you are wrong. You only care about trying to find whatever scraps of "evidence" you can to prop up your own preconceived notions of "reality". And that's what I find truly sad about you.There's a comic panel I once saw relevant to this point. I couldn't find it, but basically it goes as follows.Panel 1:Scientist: "Here are the facts. What conclusions can we draw from it?"Panel 2:Theologian: "Here are the conclusions. What facts can we find to support them?"Do you realize which method of truth discovery is wrong?—–By the way Zach, I thought your purpose in coming here was to try and "save" us non-believers from the eternal torment of hell? (Paradoxically, the one who will condemn us to and torture us in hell is none other than your god, which you want us to worship). Well guess what? You are failing miserably. All that you are doing now is trying to say things that make yourself feel comfortable and increase your gullibility, which you refer to as your "faith". Honestly, I have a strong suspicion now that this was your motivation from the very beginning. (If I'm right, then screw you). I'm beginning to regret giving you the benefit of the doubt and initially assuming you were an intelligent, thoughtful, and caring human being. Honestly, now you are just coming off as an ignorant asshole as you keep making blanket assertions and rejecting everything that contradicts what you have already been preconditioned to believe is true with no real support behind the reason for your rejections.Look, it should be obvious now that the only thing that is going to convince anyone here that your god is real and that your religion is correct is cold, hard evidence. This type of evidence never comes from religious leaders, and quite frankly I don't trust any theologian because every one I've listened to just tried to feed me false information (much like you like to think that rabbis feed their Jewish followers false information about Jesus). Do not rely on emotion to convince us. Or faith. Or some bullshit, idiotic reasoning by a zealot for why the mountains of evidence that we do have for many of our scientific truths, including evolution, are invalid. If you can't produce the kind of evidence that we require, then you are done talking to us.

  78. says

    Zach is intellectually dishonest, so I hope that this will be my last response (though I might not be able to help myself later)."Soooo…still no creation of life through abiogenesis experiments, right?"So far, there have not been any experiments that have spontaneously created cells. But this statements has a few caveats:a) Protobionts, which are considered to be possible precursors to cells, have been spontaneously created in an experiment by Sidney Fox of the University of Miami. As the Wikipedia article states, "protobionts exhibit some of the properties associated with life, including simple reproduction, metabolism and excitability, as well as the maintenance of an internal chemical environment different from that of their surroundings."b) If/when we are able to spontaneously generate more advanced protocells from non-living matter, the process of evolution would need to occur before they become actual cells. The evidence so far indicates that we can possibly create life (cells) from non-life under conditions very similar to early Earth, but we just haven't done so yet for any number of reasons. That is not grounds to dismiss abiogenesis.c) We do not know the exact conditions under which life would've spontaneously arisen billions of years ago. And even if we did know, we might not be able to reproduce those conditions with absolute precision in the lab."I read your reasons as to why this does not disprove abiogenesis, but it seems to me until the generation of something living is observed your theories are no more credible than creation."Creationism requires positing the existence of a supernatural being with certain supernatural powers. There is no empirical evidence for the existence of any supernatural beings (not just gods), nor is there empirical evidence for magical creation powers. Supposing that they exist doesn't make for a reasonable hypothesis. I could equally suppose the existence of an invisible pink unicorn that intervenes in worldly affairs, but that is no less a reasonable hypothesis than the creator-god one. On the other hand, there is empirical evidence, which has been cited above, demonstrating that protocells can spontaneously form from spontaneously generated organic compounds. And those protocells can evolve into cells. That makes abiogenesis hypotheses infinitely more credible than creationism."Aren’t the conditions set all over the world all the time? Why don’t we see life constantly springing up from nothingness?"Where did you get this assumption? The answer to the first question is no. The planet is a much different place now than it was billions of years ago. The initial conditions that caused abiogenesis no longer exist. That's why we don't see abiogenesis all the time today.

  79. says

    "Atheism takes as much faith as Christianity."Prove it. Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Lacking belief is not the same as denial. If I told you that I traveled to Canada over the weekend, the best that you could do is take my word for it (i.e. "blind faith"). Otherwise you would simply not believe me because you have no reason (no evidence) to make a confident conclusion about whether I am telling the truth. That is certainly not the same as asserting that I made no such trip. Atheists may also deny the existence of certain definitions of God, but that is because those definitions are logically incoherent or impossible. One does not need faith to deny the existence of a circle that has linear sides."Science and the reactions to the findings of scientist are based on preconceived notions."There are only two "preconceived notions" at the heart of the scientific method:1) Assume that any observable phenomenon has a completely naturalistic explanation. This is known to as methodological naturalism. It does not rule out the possibility of supernatural explanations; it's merely a method of operation that has been proven reliable. Without it, we would invite all sorts of crazy explanations like demons being responsible for the attractive force that two masses have on each other ("gravity"). Yes, demons could be responsible, but why accept, without question, that they are? If you can't find your keys tomorrow morning, would you automatically resort to a supernatural explanation (e.g. ghosts moved them)?2) Assume that one's scientific conclusions and theories could be wrong and could eventually be proven wrong. Unlike religion and other supernatural belief systems, science thrives on skepticism and dissent. Evolution is arguably the most empirically well-supported theory or law ever. But if future discoveries somehow manage to overturn that overwhelming body of evidence, scientists and we atheists and "evolutionists" would immediately abandon the theory.

  80. says

    Everyone else responded adaquetly to Zach. Which really was the whole point of engaging him, get him to keep digging himself a hole until it's clear he has no leg to stand on. Effectively all he can do to "save us" is throw a hissy fit that we won't believe him.

  81. says

    It also amuses me a lot that Zach's arguments mimic the Vitalism arguments proposed that denied organic chemistry was science. Look into it if you want, it's an interesting look at the early ancestry of creationism. Seriously though, Zach, stop cluttering up the thread with off topic.

  82. says

    "You caught me. Yes I am trying to legitimize the likelihood of my belief by discrediting yours. Seems like a reasonable thing to do. Besides, I’m not getting much backup,"Well as you probably know by now, that's the wrong way to support your position.As I said, we're not the ones making the claims about the existence of your god, you are. We are discrediting the arguments you've put forth so far, but you still havn't presented your god, or your evidence that the bible is his/her/its revealed word.So your task of doing that remains."1. Atheism takes as much faith as Christianity."Wrong. Atheism asserts no beliefs. When we talk about "belief" and knowledge, we're centrally concerned only with knowledge that is in evidence. Belief and knowledge are NOT equivalent in atheist thought.Christianity _does_ assert beliefs and equates them knowledge all the time regardless of their basis in evidence."2. Science and the reactions to the findings of scientist are based on preconceived notions."Rather, scientific inquiry may start with a notion of what a reality might be (a hypothesis) but has no particular devotion to the truth value of that notion. If observation overturns it, scientists will abandon the notion and adopt another notion more aligned with the observations (a theory).Relgion does neither of these. It starts and ends with the notion in the mind and never amends that notion regardless of evidence for or against it.As Matt D. said on the last show, science seeks out knowledge, but relgion merely asserts it.LS

  83. says

    "I read your reasons as to why this does not disprove abiogenesis, but it seems to me until the generation of something living is observed your theories are no more credible than creation."At least you're admitting that your position – creationism – has equivalent credibility to the position you don't accept.Even if abiogenesis were a completely bankrupt avenue of investigation (which the other guys have shown already that it is not) your strategy here of equating your position with it doesn't provide any support for it.The choice of which one to "believe" is completely arbitrary.This, BTW, is the crux of the difference between the approaches religion and science take to the truth (revelation vs. investigation).But critically:a) it is not true that creationism and abiogenesis are equivalent in terms of basis in evidence (as others are showing you here).b) this strategy would NOT support your position in any case.Your task, again, is to demonstrate the truth value of _your_ assertion – there's a god, it created everything, the bible is his revealed word, etc. So again – produce your god and your evidence that your holy book is his/her/its revealed word.LS

  84. says

    "Seriously though, Zach, stop cluttering up the thread with off topic."I'm not yet entirely convinced he's not a troll of some kind ;). His arguments seem rather boilerplate to me with not a lot of thought behind them (Ray Comfort-esque as has been noted)…LS

  85. says

    "I'm not yet entirely convinced he's not a troll of some kind ;). His arguments seem rather boilerplate to me with not a lot of thought behind them (Ray Comfort-esque as has been noted)…"Oh no I think he is genuine, but his whole point of coming here is, "I IZ GOING TO DEBUNKZ U!!!11!!" and he goes off on way off topic tangents to do so. This thread is on the inherent WTF of Hell, he's spun it off on evolution….then abiogenesis…etc. His whole shtick has been "I can disprove you but come to my site!" And yeah; that's getting dangerously close to spamming. Imagine if we went to random blogs and started harassing Christians encouraging them to read the AE blog while derailing their praising of Jesus and all. That's completely out of line.

  86. says

    Clarification: I'm not saying Zach should shut up and not post, that'd be totally out of line. I'm saying he should continue posting but stay on topic, or at least put a good faith effort to.

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