Non-Prophets episode 10.11


Two weeks ago there was a great disturbance in the atheist community, like a million voices crying out in unison, then suddenly silenced. They were reacting to the news that it would be an estimated four weeks before the next official Non-Prophets episode would air.

Luckily, the guerrilla gorillas have been hard at work to bring you a brand new tin-cans-and-string episode. If you’re subscribed to the podcast, you may have already known this. If not, check it out at the Non-Prophets audio archive!

Comments

  1. says

    On a slightly different note,Russell.Any news on getting to see/hear the episodes of AETV that were found on your old vhs tapes?

  2. Martin says

    While I'm not sure which taped episodes Russell may have, Raymond, it's doubtful we'll see most of the shows from when Jeff and I were hosting. The story behind why those tapes were lost is still one that pisses me off. If they turn up now it will be — pardon the expression — a miracle.Still, part of me doesn't regret this. While there were some episodes that were real humdingers, there were also some really bad ones I'm happy to see vanish, where we just weren't on our game. Doing this show has been a learning experience every single year, and many of the old episodes are indeed crude. Trust me, it really is better today than it's ever been.

  3. says

    Great! You do know it will be the last show ever, since the world is about to end? Or will you do one next saturday? That one may be too late for me though, it's a couple of hours later in the Netherlands… ;-)

  4. says

    Lol, I downloaded the ep, and what I said was the first thing you said. Anyway. I'm listening now.

  5. says

    Raymond,I have the audio recordings on my apollowebworks web server somewhere, but I'm not sure where it is. I'll have to check with Lynnea.

  6. says

    The Non-Prophets-Compatible people ought to have a live(live recorded?) countdown to the end of the world.

  7. says

    Thanks for your replies Russell and Martin.Just thought it may be interesting to 'go back in time' and have a listen to some episodes from the dim and distant past when we were all young, handsome and there was an economy to speak of :-o

  8. says

    I "predict" that, on May 16th, there will be a post on The Atheist Experience's blog about a new episode of The Non-Prophets.I divined this through a close reading of the Book of Atheisticus where it says, "Then, lo, thou shalt see in the fishing nets (or "Internet") a mighty branch (or "post") that will lead many to believeth in false prophets (or Non-Prophets episode)…"The proof is incontrovertible!

  9. says

    Thanks guys. Appreciate the work that you do there are AE. Seriously, I find so little to watch on television these days, but really enjoy podcast and shows made by real people, like the Atheist Experience and the Non-Prophets.

  10. says

    Sweet! though I think I got over withdrawal symptoms a long time ago, built up an immunity after dealing with severe Jeff Dee rant withdrawals :Pp.s. WTB MOAR JEFF DEE RANTS!

  11. says

    Hooray for the guerillas! I'm looking forward to listening to this episode.And I'll second JJR. As I remember, Gia did quite well. If she has time, invite her back.

  12. says

    Thanks guys. Much appreciated. Gotta get my soul as impure as possible before the rapture. I do NOT want to miss the heathen celebration that is sure to follow the mass exodus of religious loons. I hate not having an edit button. :)

  13. says

    Just think of it. There will be lots of open job slots, especially in politics.The Vatican can be liquidated, which would pay for full fledged fusion research, etc.Who would have thought that the rapture would be the solution to all our social/economic ills?

  14. says

    Matt, I wouldn't call it a heathen celebration. But a time a trial for the people on earth after the rapture. It is definitely going to be far from celebration. Unless of course, you repent and turn to Christ! (I find it interesting that most atheist blogs are talking about the rapture…maybe it is coming sooner than I thought?)

  15. says

    Gee, I wonder why atheist blogs are talking about the rapture? What a mystery. Hmmm, why would that be? I can't wait to see if time reverses from all the backpedaling.

  16. says

    JT…I'm afraid to tell you that as a former Catholic…the church doesn't teach a rapture…so you will be stuck with Catholics who never believed in it and the one world religion. It is interesting though…that even amidst all the judgements coming from God…people will still refuse to repent: "But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk!" (Rev. 9:20)

  17. says

    Rippster,I have deleted your comment on the other post as it was identical to the one here. Please do not spam multiple posts with the same message. It's fine if you want to participate in discussions relevant to the topic, but a series of posts trying to generate traffic for your blog in general are not welcome.Regarding all the chatter about the rapture: The reason you're seeing so much discussion is that there has been a massive advertising campaign claiming that the rapture will occur on May 21. There have been billboards placed all over the world, with most being in the United States. It's not a question of sensing something; it's a lighthearted reaction to a marketing ploy.

  18. says

    I respect that man! Yeah…unfortunately this false prophet: Harold Camping is at it again! I can tell you that he is dead wrong! He has been wrong in the past! And he ain't talking about the rapture…he actually thinks the world is going to end of May 21st. Even Christians like myself have to exercise discernment in these last days. If you all here about people predicted the future at that they have specific dates….it's unbiblical…and Jesus Himself said: no man know the day or hour…..

  19. says

    Yes yes, I'm well aware of Harold Camping's shady track record, and I haven't got any concern that he might turn out to be right. Of course, whether his claims "Biblical" or not makes no difference to me. I have no more reason to assume the truth of anything that Jesus allegedly said than whatever nonsense Harold Camping is spewing today.

  20. says

    It's like Voldemort. We aren't allowed to talk about it, else it'll come true? Or was that Beetlejuice?

  21. says

    JT…I'm afraid to tell you that as a former Catholic…the church doesn't teach a rapture…so you will be stuck with Catholics who never believed in it and the one world religion.So wait.. people in the Catholic church will be raptured only if they were taught to believe it, happenstance?Seems like a programming error on God's part. He didn't consider the boundary conditions.

  22. says

    @rippster4christPro-tip: Atheists don't find the Christian bible to be any more relevant than any other work of religious fiction, it's just an anthology of stories about a mythos. Quoting the bible at us is similar to being that kid who can't talk about anything but pokemon; unless you're talking to someone who already plays, they're just not going to care about whatever the super power of Meowizzard 3:13 happens to be or what the rules are.Do you have any non-biblical evidence that your Christian beliefs are true? Of course you don't.

  23. says

    JT you said: "So wait.. people in the Catholic church will be raptured only if they were taught to believe it, happenstance?Seems like a programming error on God's part. He didn't consider the boundary conditions." Can you clarify for me what you mean by boundary conditions?

  24. says

    sofaking,I understand the best way to refute any Christian beliefs it to attack their foundation: the Bible. I think if I did have non-biblical evidence that my beliefs were true….I think it's likely you wouldn't accept them anyway….Am I right or wrong?

  25. says

    When you're writing a computer program you are basically describing how the computer should be have given a certain type of input. A good programmer will test all kinds of input to make sure that the computer returns good results on good input, and sensible error messages on bad input.An example of a boundary condition is anything that would cause you to divide by zero. If I wrote a program to keep track of your finances, it might make sense to generate a report that says "How much money am I spending each month on groceries?" I could check that by adding up all the grocery purchases, then dividing by the period of time where those purchases occurred. But let's say you've just installed the program for the first time and have no data yet. You have spent zero money in zero time. If I program that badly, it could make the whole thing crash. So for sure, one of my test cases will check that to make sure it does something sensible (like an empty page with "You have not bought any groceries!!" in big letters).When JT says God didn't check the boundary conditions, it means he didn't game out all the rules properly. I.e., "How shall we handle people who have never heard the right version of the gospel?" Both sending them to heaven and sending them to hell appear to be unsatisfactory answers to some people, or else involve a contradiction against some of the Bible's other rules.

  26. says

    @EmilyCan you clarify for me what you mean by boundary conditions?I have to admit, I just threw that out. I don't really know how it applies.

  27. says

    .I think it's likely you wouldn't accept them anyway….Am I right or wrong?It depends on whether it meets the standards of evidence, or not:0) Testability – We must have some way of testing whether the claim works or not. For instance, if you claim that a lightswitch turns on a light, we can test that by flipping the lightswitch.1) Falsifiability – One must be able to falsify the claim. Otherwise, one can just continue to conjure up an endless number of ad hoc rationalizations as to why the test failed.2) Presentability – One can simply claim to have the evidence, but is either unable or unwilling to show it. It must be presentable to others.3) Objective – It should be evidence that exists outside of a human mind. This drastically reduces error. For instance, pointing at birds and trees and claiming that you see design is subjective. I look at the same thing and don't see it. Pointing at the trees as evidence for a forest, however, is objective, and not just an interpretation of perception.4) Exclusion – The more the evidence exclusively supports one claim over the others, the better it is, especially if those other claims are contradictory. For instance, pointing at the birds and trees doesn't work well, because the birds and trees better support the fact that nature happens, not supernature. If Evidence A implicates cause B and contradictory cause C, you can't just assert it proves B over C without additional supporting evidence.5) Logical connection – A clear and spelled out connection between the supposed evidence and the claim it supports. A torn open bag of garbage isn't evidence that Bob Dole was nearby, because there's no logical connection between the two.It's important to not just fulfill these standards, but understand why they're important, as the goal is to maximize the quality, and therefore, usefulness of the supposed evidence.

  28. says

    JT, Thank you for admitting that to Emily! LOLBut to go off Kazim's improvising….I will try to answer your question. I shouldn't say EVERY person that claims to be Catholic will not be raptured. That is generalizing. But, the majority of Catholics know very little about biblical prophecy. I know this…because I was a Catholic myself at one time. And we were not encouraged to read the Bible for ourselves, let alone study prophecies! The rapture is for true believers who have placed their faith and trust in Christ alone for forgiveness of their sins. The purpose for the rapture…is for true believers to escape the coming wrath that God will pour out onto the earth. Even then, people can still get saved and God will be calling people to repentance. These judgements will serve as a plea to mankind to realize that there is a God and that they need to repent and trust Christ.

  29. says

    Okay JT,I want to give you some links to look at. I think this is qualifying non-biblical evidence for my Christian beliefs. 1.Non biblical accounts of New Testament events and/or people: http://carm.org/apologetics/evidence-and-answers/non-biblical-accounts-new-testament-events-andor-people2.Archaeological Evidence verifying biblical cities: http://carm.org/archaeological-evidence-verifying-biblical-cities3.Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability: http://carm.org/manuscript-evidenceThis may not be the evidence your looking for..but it is a great place to start when considering Christianity.

  30. says

    @rippsterI skimmed them. They're nicely categorized.Keep in mind that we don't necessarily have a problem with the idea that Jesus might have existed. Nor do we have a problem with the idea that many of the references in the Bible were real.That's sort of where it ends. Whether we're confirming that people and/or cities referenced in the bible were real, it doesn't really work as evidence for one simple fact.Many works of fiction are based on true stories. Many works of fiction reference real places/times.If you accept that everything the Bible says is true because they confirmed a city, then you must accept that Spiderman exists, as he webs around the confirmed city of New York.It's sort of an inverse guilt by association, where because something else mentioned in the same book is true, then thus this one must be true. It just doesn't work like that.We can write a book that has 999 absolutely true facts about magnetism. Then for the 1000th statement, we state that magnets are driven by immortal tyrannosaurus rexes. Is that final statement true because every other fact in the book is true?Saying that a person named Jesus existed isn't an extraordinary claim. Saying, however, that he can walk on water, and does magic healing, is. You have to separately demonstrate that Jesus have a Spidey sense.

  31. says

    it doesn't really work as evidence for one simple fact.To clarify, I mean evidence specifically for a god and/or supernatural things.

  32. says

    The evidence that Jesus had a Spidey sense is that he got all tingly and knew someone was going to betray him.

  33. says

    "If you accept that everything the Bible says is true because they confirmed a city, then you must accept that Spiderman exists, as he webs around the confirmed city of New York." Like I said…this is only a starting point. I'm only trying to supply you with non-biblical evidence that you desired. You must also realize…that there IS going to be reasonable evidence out there for the Christian claims…that may or may not be what kind of evidence you want. For example: My life has been absolutely, positively changed by Jesus Christ. I see evidence in this over days, months, years, etc. Now….this is probably not acceptable to you..b/c it's personal to me. But I have this as evidence and it helps my faith to grow! There can be no other explanation to this change in my will, desires, thoughts, etc except for His influence in my life. People will try and infuse explanations as to why this has happened to me….but in fact the truth is that these changes are a DIRECT result of coming to faith in Christ…and Him revealing Himself to me. The same thing can happen to any atheist who repents of their unbelief and trust in Christ alone.

  34. says

    WHICH IS WHY I TAKE THE TIME TO COME ON THIS BLOG AND HAVE DISCUSSION WITH ANYONE. This is not about ME! I'm trying to reach you guys!!! I just pray there are people on here who are still willing to be OPEN to what I have to say! That's all!

  35. says

    @ripsterYou must also realize…that there IS going to be reasonable evidence out there for the Christian claims…I won't be holding by breath.that may or may not be what kind of evidence you want.That's sort of my point. It's not about what I want. It's about what works.It's like surgical procedures. We didn't start sterilizing instruments, like scalpels, because we really wanted to. We started doing that because we found it reduces mortality rates (reduces infections). As we kept doing medical things, we kept learning newer, better ways of maximizing successes, and minimizing errors/deaths.When you're recruiting for a company to fill an opening, you have a set of standards and requirements that must be met. It's notthat the recruiter just likes telling people "no". The recruiter is following a set of procedures and standards to help ensure they don't waste time and money on bad and/or unqualified employees.Likewise, we've developed a set of standards to maximize how accurate our conclusions are, and mimize how frequently we get bad data. To discard one or more of the standards of evidence is to essentially say that the recruiter doesn't need to check the applicant's references. He just needs to take it on faith this person is a good employee!Do you have an alternative method, or set of standards, that demonstrably provide accurate results? If so, what are they, and explain how it works?For example: My life has been absolutely, positively changed by Jesus Christ. I see evidence in this over days, months, years, etc. Now….this is probably not acceptable to you..b/c it's personal to me. But I have this as evidence and it helps my faith to grow!Yes, fails the exclusion principle and the objective principle, mostly. What tests and controls have you set up to distinguish between the evidence indicating that a supernatural being exists and helped you, and you succuming to the placebo effect and psychosomatic responses?There can be no other explanation to this change in my will, desires, thoughts, etc except for His influence in my life.Incorrect. Placebo effect. You could have done it to yourself.People will try and infuse explanations as to why this has happened to me….but in fact the truth is that these changes are a DIRECT result of coming to faith in Christ…and Him revealing Himself to me. I actually believe you here. It was due to faith in Christ. That's a separate issue from whether a Christ/God exists, and not just in your mind.

  36. says

    JT, I could see that coming!! lol Here is my response to your Placebo effect: I don't think this is true of Christianity because in reality Christians must accept several hard truths: We have all sinned against God and deserve to go to hell. One can't make up for one's sins, nor can one earn one's way into heaven; one has to accept God's forgiveness as a gift. This may sound easy at first, but most people don't like accepting charity – they want to earn what they receive. One's friends and relatives who don't accept Christ won't be with one in heaven, but will be in hell. God calls us to do difficult things, such as loving our enemies and controlling our thought life. Being a committed Christian often results in ridicule and persecution, even from one's own friends and family. Christians in countries like America have an easier time of it than believers in countries where Christianity is illegal; but even so, it's not easy in any society to say that Christ is the only way to God, or to adhere to a different standard of morality than the surrounding culture.These things, especially living as a Christian, are hard enough that a mere placebo effect wouldn't be enough to compensate for them. In particular, the comfort derived from believing that oneself is saved and will go to heaven is balanced against concern for one's family and friends.This is not to say that Christians don't derive comfort and joy from knowing God, for we do. But that comfort and joy comes about supernaturally, from the Holy Spirit, even in circumstances when the Christian doesn't expect it. Personally, I don't think my own faith is a placebo because that doesn't adequately explain my experiences with God, including the changes God has brought about in my attitudes and priorities and the answers to prayer I've received; it also doesn't explain the complete transformations other people I know have experienced as Christians. Here is also a great resource that I think helps explain it further: http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5496

  37. says

    I don't think my own faith is a placebo because that doesn't adequately explain my experiences with God, including the changes God has brought about in my attitudes and priorities and the answers to prayer I've received; it also doesn't explain the complete transformations other people I know have experienced as Christians. Nothing you said was particularly relevant to refuting the placebo effect. This above paragraph is the closest you get to actually addressing it.Changes in your attitudes, priorities, and effects from those changes lie perfectly within what the placebo effect can do, especially when you consider how powerful the brain/mind is at affecting changes.So your refutation was essentially, "Nuh uh", with a simple denial about the extent for which the placebo effect can manifest.Prayer is a colossal failure at meeting the standards of evidence. It's typically set up as a no-lose situation where no matter what happens, regardless of whether it actually IS answered, it's considered answered anyway. The other people were likely "transformed" by the placebo effect as well.I don't mean any offense by this, but typically the deluded/hallucinating people are convinced that what they're hallucinating about is real. This is why evidence must be objective – to bring it away from the #1 most common source of error – the mind.So far, all we've got from you is a reference to people believing something, and getting better, which cannot as yet be distinguished from the placebo effect.

  38. says

    In short, any change that occurs mentally can be potentially explained via the placebo effect, especially if an specific thing is acting as an apparent catalyst.

  39. says

    "typically the deluded/hallucinating people are convinced that what they're hallucinating about is real. " What kind of evidence do you have that this is true? Why should I believe that?And could this very statement be true of you..in regards to your atheism? What I mean JT is….what are the end results of your unbelief in God? What kind of 'fruit' does Atheism produce?

  40. says

    "typically the deluded/hallucinating people are convinced that what they're hallucinating about is real. " What kind of evidence do you have that this is true? Why should I believe that?Congratulations. You just proved that Allah is the light. After all, if they believe something vehemently, they can't possibly be wrong about it, can they?And could this very statement be true of you..in regards to your atheism?Sure. Which is why I try to adhere to the standards of evidence, which demonstrably minimize the error produced by human bias and mental error.I have a process whereby I identify things I'm wrong about, and either correct myself, or discard the idea altogether, no matter how "core" it is to my beliefs.What I mean JT is….what are the end results of your unbelief in God? What kind of 'fruit' does Atheism produce?Let's go with "nothing". Now, what does this have to do with the discussion? The discussion is about what is demonstrated by evidence.

  41. says

    r4c, the "evidence" you propose could work just as well for any other belief system with multiple followers. What makes you think you've got it right, but the followers of Islam, Wicca, Buddhism, and all the other religions humans follow have got it wrong? They all believe just as strongly as you do and give the same (or similar) justifications for their beliefs.

  42. says

    @rippster4christIf you had actual evidence that your Christian beliefs are true, I would be willing to evaluate that evidence. The list you gave JT does not contain any such evidence. As was already explained to you, the fact that the bible refers to non-supernatural people, places, and events that other sources also mention does not mean that the supernatural claims should be believed.In order to prove that your beliefs in Christianity are true, several things are required. Let's start with the first hurdle.1) Proof that a divine being (of any sort) exists.Can you provide evidence (conforming to reasonable standards) to prove this? If so, you'll have accomplished what noone else in the history of the world has been able to. Have at it!Also, I apologize if my responses to you seem rude or dismissive. But, as I mentioned, _noone_ has yet been able to prove the existence of a divine being and you are not off to a good start. I realize you think you're trying to save our souls; we'd like you to realize that there are no souls to save, nor would they need saving if there were.

  43. says

    EVEN, if I had hardcore evidence as you all desired…would you honestly believe in God? I find it hard to believe really! Why? Because our hearts are so sinful and rebellious….that to even see God face to face….we would still choose our sin over Him. I don't do the soul saving…God himself does that…I'm just His ambassador pleading with you all to go to Him….b/c He can freely pardon you!

  44. says

    @rippster4christDon't cop out and tell me you find it hard to believe that I would accept reasonable evidence when you haven't provided any. Did you suddenly lose interest in saving us (regardless of who you think does the saving) when we dismissed your spouting of bible passages and alleged personal experience as insufficient evidence?As previously mentioned, the same "evidence" you've presented in favor of your beliefs could just as easily be used to "prove" the following arguments:- Islam is the one true religion (personal experience, which many other religious persons of competing faiths have had)- the Ghostbusters did battle with Zuul the Marshmallow Man atop a skyscraper in New York City (confirmed existence of places used as the setting for works of fiction)- the Christian god approves of slavery, rape, and murder (bible verses accepted as truth)It's far more likely that you are delusional and placing unwarranted trust in a collection of fictitious writings than that a divine being exists. Without evidence to the contrary, we have no reason to believe you.Until you can produce some compelling evidence that your god exists, you are wasting your time here. Unless you're willing to consider the notion that atheism is correct, of course.

  45. says

    @RippsterEVEN, if I had hardcore evidence as you all desired…would you honestly believe in God?Yes. I'm intellectually honest like that. After all, that's the entire premise of my position – that the claim for a god is currently unsupported by valid evidence.I find it hard to believe really! Why?I'm not sure. My framework is straight forward and legitimate. I find it really hard to believe that you believe what you do. Because our hearts are so sinful and rebellious….that to even see God face to face….we would still choose our sin over Him. Insisting that the the potential employee has valid references to check, before hiring him, is not rebellion. It's common sense.I don't do the soul saving…God himself does that…I'm just His ambassador pleading with you all to go to Him….b/c He can freely pardon you!I can only plead with you to accept the protection of Spiderman against Dr. Octopus. Only he can defend us.

  46. says

    sofaking,You said: "- Islam is the one true religion (personal experience, which many other religious persons of competing faiths have had)" That's a very good point! And your right…my personal experience can sometimes (not all the time) be only good for my faith. Point taken,Also: "the Ghostbusters did battle with Zuul the Marshmallow Man atop a skyscraper in New York City (confirmed existence of places used as the setting for works of fiction)" That's just funny. Because Ghostbusters was my favorite movie as a kid!!! Bad comparison though! "the Christian god approves of slavery, rape, and murder (bible verses accepted as truth)" Can you show me these verses? I already know where you are coming from on this…but I want to know what verses you are thinking about. Because the God of the Bible DOES NOT approve of slavery, rape, or murder!!! This is all sin..the very thing HE hates!!! The very thing he died for on our behalf!

  47. says

    @rippsterMy point is that from our perspective, you're some fanatical Spiderman fan who is imploring us to join the Spiderman fan club before Dr. Octopus gets us all…. and we're still trying to understand why you think it's real, and more importantly, why we should.

  48. says

    JT, I get your point! lol Aside from my life actually being changed by God himself and all the things I've seen Him do in my life……I'm going to try and reason with you as to why the Christian faith makes sense is absolutely true!!! I'm not a theologian, a pastor, or any kind of excerpt. I'm a average guy who has been changed by the one true God! I understand you all want some hardcore "evidence!" That's is understandable! When I was once Catholic and not a believer by any means…I had these same thoughts as all of you are having. The Christian stories are fictitious, Adam and Eve are a myth, Evolution makes more sense than Creationism. It all seemed childish to me!! Especially when you start to think for yourself and become an adult. You have honest doubts. None of your objections surprise me! Not one bit! Question: If I could show you why Christianity makes more sense than other religions…would you be willing to listen? If History itself had proofs that Christianity is valid would you listen? Also remember: "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Natural man= unsaved unbeliever; Things of the spirit of God= The Bible (not as Jehovah's witness teach, Mormons, Catholics, but biblical Christians teach.

  49. says

    @rippsterAside from my life actually being changed by God himself and all the things I've seen Him do in my lifeI can't use some subjective personal experience of yours, where you appear to be drastically misinterpretting the placebo effect for something real, as a reason I should believe. There's too many layers of potential error and bias.I'm a average guy who has been changed by the one true God!…by the belief in a god.I understand you all want some hardcore "evidence!" That's is understandable!It's not "hardcore". I'm asking you to meet the minimum requirements of evidence, like any employer would ask you to meet the minimum requirements for applying for a job. If I ask you for a character reference, and your response is to tell me what "some guy" would say about you, this requirement is not met, and your application is disqualified.Question: If I could show you why Christianity makes more sense than other religions…would you be willing to listen? If History itself had proofs that Christianity is valid would you listen?Of course I would listen, but the question is a bit odd from my vantage. It's like trying to explain to me why one type of insanity is less insane than other type of insanity. You're all insane.My decision process isn't through comparing one religion to another. It's about whether any of them can demosntrate to have any basis in reality, at all, without having to employ logical fallacies, bypass standards and assert nonsensical gibberish. Also remember: "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Natural man= unsaved unbeliever; Things of the spirit of God= The Bible (not as Jehovah's witness teach, Mormons, Catholics, but biblical Christians teach.Okay. So your comic book makes a claim that we're all infested with verteron dinosaurs, and that needs to be clensed through the unyielding glowering of Lord Diaperman. …and?

  50. says

    JT, QUESTION: IF atheism is the only logical way to live your life…..Why is there any need to have any morals at all? IF nothing matters and we are all products of chance…and when we die…we all turn into nothing….what is the purpose for us being here in the first place?

  51. says

    @ripsterJT,QUESTION: IF atheism is the only logical way to live your life…..Atheism isn't a way of life. It's a position steming from logic, critical thinking, evidence, skepticism, etc. Why is there any need to have any morals at all?Easy. We're a social species that needs to get along in order to have a cohesive and functional society.Morality emerges as a set of learned protocols to maximize that ability.I could either live in a society where I can trust my neighbors to not loot my house when I go out, so I can go do errands, or I can live in a society where that's normal, and an overwhelming amount of my effort, resources and energy committed towards defending myself from my neighbors.We don't need a god to figure out how to do the former. IF nothing matters and we are all products of chance…and when we die…we all turn into nothing….what is the purpose for us being here in the first place?How do you get from "we don't believe in a god" to "nothing matters". We hear that a lot, and it never makes any more sense each new time it's muttered.Secondly, why does there need to be a purpose to life? You've started out assuming that's a requirement.I'm perfectly capable of generating my own meaning and purpose by myself. I'm not so weak minded as to need someone to deliver one to me on a silver platter.We each have a life to do something with. It's up to us to figure out what we want to do with it. As soon as my actions start to infringe on others, though, that's when society steps in and intercedes, for the sake of societal cohesion.

  52. says

    @rippster4christIslam: So, why are you Christian and not Muslim? Are you saying that the people who have personally experienced god telling them that Islam is the one true religion are somehow superceded by your own personal experience? If so, why is your experience more valid than theirs?Ghostbusters: You're going to have to provide an argument as to why it's a "bad comparison", because I wouldn't have made it if I thought it was such. The list of websites you posted in response to requests for evidence included things mentioned in both the bible and other sources as proof that the supernatural claims of the bible are true. By that standard, the claim that "New York City exists, therefore the events of Ghostbusters took place" is of equal validity to claims of biblical miracles. So, you must now either admit that you believe that the events of Ghostbusters actually took place or you must acknowledge that the evidence you have presented for the supernatural events in the bible is not valid evidence. Or the third option, wherein you actually prove that I've made a bad comparison instead of just claiming that I have.Biblical atrocities endorsed/performed by the Christian god: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/ Tons of examples in there, some more effective than others. Let's go with the example they tend to use on the show (is that the one you thought I was thinking of?), the Israelites treatment of the Midians at god's command. To paraphrase: "kill all the male children, take all the female virgins for your own use".Jesus's "sacrifice": Death was not much of a sacrifice for Jesus, since it's claimed that he both rose from the dead and knew in advance that he would do so. That makes his death far less noble than anyone else who chooses to give up their life for something*. There's also the question of 'what would god have done to Jesus if he hadn't let himself be killed?' Since god threatens us ordinary people with eternal damnation for not obeying his will, presumably god would have seen a refusal from Jesus as roughly on par with Lucifer's rebellion. Did Jesus really have a choice, given the alternative?* For example, the sacrifice of John Creasy for the release of kidnapping victim Pita during the events of Man on Fire (the 2004 movie), which we know to be true (by your standards of evidence) because Mexico City, Neza City, the Reforma newspaper, and the AFI all exist.

  53. says

    sofaking. The link you gave me: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/ is an outright misrepresentation of the Scriptures and what they are actually saying! That is pretty sad that you can't even use a normal bible translation and give me verses! GO figure! ""kill all the male children, take all the female virgins for your own use". Can you show what book, chapter and verse this is out of? And not that horrible "Skeptic's Annonated Bible." At least use a real translation. Jeeze

  54. says

    JT, "Morality emerges as a set of learned protocols to maximize that ability." What kind of evidence do you have that this is true? How did you come to that conclusion? Why should I believe that?

  55. says

    @rippsterWe're still developing our morality today.Despite the fact that the Bible endorses slavery, we've overcome that, and decided for ourselves that it's wrong to own another human being.Despite the fact that the Bible has nothing to say about discrimination, we've spent the last hundred or so years deciding that it's wrong to discriminate against different groups, which is most often championed by the secular non-religious.Despite the fact that the bible has nothing to say about international diplomacy, we've entered an unparalleled era of cooperation across the planet, as we've figured out how to navigate planet-wide community building with no instruction from any god. Most of the time, the biblical god is ordering the destruction of nations.What's truly ironic is that religious "morality" is THE most primitive type – "this action is good or bad because overlord says so". The instant you move from that to "it's wrong because it hurts the other person", or something similar, the assertion that morality comes from a god auto-implodes, because now the reasoning is based on reality.You should believe it, because, unlike your unsupported, zero-evidence, undemonstrated, invisible, undetectable, nonmanifesting invisible genocidal maniac in the sky, we can actually observe people getting along, and how they do it.Ultimately, unless you can actually prove that your god exists, the premise that morality comes from it automatically fails.

  56. says

    Bible ESVNumbers 31:16-18"Now, therefore, kill very male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves."

  57. says

    The skeptics annotated bible was the same as my ESV. Do you know what an annotation is? The purpose here is to state what the bible says, then annotate with skeptical thoughts, with an easy reference to network all the horrible things that are in the bible.

  58. says

    Here's another example.Not only does the Bible not have anything to say about the right to free speech, it's actually very heavy on prosecuting thought crime.Modern society has learned that right to free speech is a good thing, and censoring it is wrong. It's now an intrinsic part of our society in keeping society healthy and open.Hell, all you have to come up with a non-religious reason not to steal or murder, and that kind of demonstration of secular morality is lightyears beyond the total evidence available for the existence of a god.

  59. says

    JT,Here is Numbers 31:16-19 in the context of the KJV:"Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. 18 But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately." The KEY is that these women caused the children of Israel through Balaam (false god) to trespass (sin). Judgment here was righteous

  60. says

    @rippster4christMy apologies, I assumed you had a basic familiarity with the bible, owned one, and would be able to look up the relevant passage yourself with little difficulty. You did say, "I already know where you are coming from on this". As previously noted, the bible verses themselves are the King James translation; the person writing for the website has added notes they feel are relevant. The difference between the verses and the notes is clearly noticeable, because the verses are in quotes.http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Numbers-Chapter-31/Your response to JT attempting to justify this chapter is _absolutely_ _appalling_. At what point is the slaughter or enslavement of a group of people a moral action? According to your argument, a modern day pagan woman (let's say she worships Eris, for example) who converts a Christian man to paganism should be enslaved if she's a virgin or killed if she is not. Is that correct? If so, why not?Also, the bible says Balaam was a man, not a (false) god, who made prophecies blessing the Israelites when the king of the Moabites consulted him about the matter. While Numbers 31:16 does indeed claim that he counseled the women of Midian to cause the Israelites to commit trespass against god, there is no actual biblical evidence that such a thing took place. The closest thing is Numbers 25:6, where an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman home with him. That's it. One woman "causing" a man to sin (even though the man was within his free will to say no, it takes two to tango) is the justification for the enslavement or murder of all the women of a tribe, plus Moses bore false witness against Balaam. Do you still think "judgement here was righteous"?You've also completely ignored my other arguments. Present reasonable evidence against them or admit you are wrong, please.

  61. Martin says

    A quick note to let folks know that I am keeping an eye on the spam filter, which has been snagging a few too many legit comments lately. So if you don't see your comment here right away, I will be along to release it from the spam folder soon as I can.

  62. says

    "According to your argument, a modern day pagan woman (let's say she worships Eris, for example) who converts a Christian man to paganism should be enslaved if she's a virgin or killed if she is not. Is that correct? If so, why not?" It's not correct. This was under the Old Covenant (the Law)…we are under the New Covenant under Christ (grace). I don't personally believe a truly converted Christian would convert back to paganism…but there is no precedence for her to be enslaved. Question: "Where do you see Christians killing or enslaving people today?" Like I said…no genuine Christian using Christ as their example would even remotely be lead to do this. The Old Covenant and its rules have been nailed to the cross with Christ.

  63. says

    @rippster4christBy the way, which exact branch of Protestantism do you follow? Lutheranism?Jesus clearly stated in the sermon on the mount that he was not here to change the law. Matthew 5:17-18You've just demonstrated one of the main problems we have with religion. It is impossible to discern a 'true' member of a religion from a 'false' one, because they are using the exact same flimsy rationale (holy books and personal experiences) for their beliefs. The people you say aren't genuine Christians because their interpretation of Christianity is somewhat different than yours will say _the_ _exact_ _same_ _thing_ about you. How are people who do not share your exact beliefs supposed to tell the difference? What proof do you have that the 'non-genuine' Christians don't also use? You've already been referred to the 'no true Scotsman' fallacy.You've also continued to completely ignore my other arguments. Present reasonable evidence against them or admit you are wrong, please. I will not continue this discussion if you keep shifting the topic every time you cannot respond further. It is disingenuous of you to do so.So, back to the first thing you have yet to prove:1) Proof that a divine being (of any sort) exists.Please offer this proof, meeting reasonable standards of evidence, or admit that it cannot be proven. Do not try shifting the burden of proof like you did in the other thread, unless you are prepared to admit that you also believe in Eris, Shiva, Baal, unicorns, and the Loch Ness monster (http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=You_can%27t_prove_God_doesn%27t_exist).

  64. says

    Oh, I'd also like to challenge you to call in to the show today to discuss your beliefs with the hosts. It airs at 4:30pm, Central time. They'll put the number up on the screen when they're ready to accept calls. You can watch the live broadcast online on ustream (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-atheist-experience).To the hosts: if rippster/'Matt from Wisconsin' does call in, be sure to ask him about the circumstances of his conversion.

  65. says

    @rippsterHere is Numbers 31:16-19 in the context of the KJV:"Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. 18 But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately."The KEY is that these women caused the children of Israel through Balaam (false god) to trespass (sin). Judgment here was righteousYou are immoral. If people are trespassing, how about deporting them? It's irrelevant if they follow a "false god" or not. That's not a cause to SLAUGHTER them. A god commanding an immoral thing does not make it moral. I am so glad that society is getting past this primitive corrupting insanity."annotate with skeptical thoughts"…… my point exactly!!! You have no business doing that at all!Of course we do. It's called free speech and freedom. Immoral people don't get that, I guess.

  66. says

    Keep in mind, Rippster, that this is why it's absolutely critical to verify claims/beliefs before they start affecting one's actions…because if there is no god, so much evil and atrocity has been committed for nothing… not that the reasoning give is sane at all, to begin with.

  67. says

    I will not continue this discussion if you keep shifting the topic every time you cannot respond further.I'd make that vow too, but I don't think he'd care if I stopped talking to him.

  68. says

    Not to spam the thread, but I would have said that Rippster's defense of that passage was astonishing, but it isn't. This happens every time you peel back the layers of incoherent gibberish religious beliefs. You always find a putrid core of vile evil pus. You back them into a corner, and they are forced into either abandoning their belief system, or embracing it. They'd rather not be wrong, so the embrace it, and the problem is that the belief system they have is corrupt and immoral. So they have to make atrocious inhuman claims like that. It slowly corrupts their minds, the longer they stay within that belief system.I don't find their fantasy concept of hell scary. I find them scary.

  69. says

    sofaking, I'm an Evangelical Christian. I don't think I will be able to give you the 'evidence' you want for God. Again..I have strong faith he exists. For reasons I've stated. Without faith..it is impossible to please God. You ask very good questions…and I will not be able to answer them all…just as you cannot answer all my questions that a God doesn't exist.

  70. says

    JT, I know you think that I'm immoral, and that's okay. I would never endorse slaughter. Nor does Christianity. No matter how much you twist it…Christians do not believe in doing evil but good. We are here to love the world to Christ…and I know you have many examples how why you think we are evil….But at the end of the day…Jesus is on His throne…and He will continue to be my Lord. I knew trying to witness to Atheists would be a challenge…but I'm sorry to tell you…I will never abandon my faith in Christ. He has changed me and continues to work in my life! I don't need to defend that.

  71. says

    @rippster4chistWhat questions are those? I looked back through the thread and I'm not seeing any questions you've asked me that have not been answered (JT covered some of them while I was away from this thread and I am very satisfied with his answers). Could you please actually ask the questions, instead of assuming I can't answer?For instance, if you're playing the "can you prove god doesn't exist?" card, please read the Iron Chariots wiki link I provided. You are the one making the claim that there is something outside of our reality (a divine being), therefore you have to provide reasonable proof for it to be considered true. A book is not reasonable proof, because anyone can write a book claiming anything. A vision is not reasonable proof unless other people can reliably reproduce the vision.Here is why the burden of proof is on the person making the claim:1) If I tell you that the Loch Ness monster exists and has given humanity certain instructions (such as "throw lots of fish into the lake, for I am hungry"), you're going to want some proof before you spend 10-20% of your income on fish. Right?2) If then I hold up a book and say that the proof is that It told me to write the book and offer quotes from the book as proof, you're not going to be convinced and you're going to want some further proof. Right?3) If I tell you my further proof is that I was in prison on a manslaughter charge and It came to me in a vision one night in my bunk while I was wracked with guilt, you'd think I was crazy. Right?4) According to what you just said, if my response was then to say that "you can't answer all my questions that a Lock Ness monster doesn't exist", then the correct course of action is for you to accept Its existence and submit to Its will. Right?Shall I find an address for you to send the fish to? I'm sure Loch Ness has groundskeepers.The burden of proof is on you. If there is no provable way for you to distinguish between a world with god and a world without god, then you can't expect anyone to take your claims seriously (and should strongly consider the notion that you are insane). It would be like constantly pulling over while driving just in case there's an invisible policeman behind you in an invisible car with his invisible lights on.Christopher Hitchens makes what I consider to be an excellent point. To paraphrase: "the human species has been proven to have been around for about 250 thousand years. Are we seriously expected to believe that it wasn't until less than 4,000 years ago that God finally decided to announce his presence and start giving us instructions?"Also, in regards to your last response to JT:In what ways has god changed you that couldn't be attributed to the perfectly mundane cause of being reformed in prison (one of the reasons prisons exist)? In what ways does god work in your life that couldn't just as easily be attributed to a mundane cause (or simple luck)? Can you prove these things?

  72. says

    @RippsterI would never endorse slaughter. Nor does Christianity. You just got done endorsing/condoning why those trespassing nonbelievers should have been slaughtered.I knew trying to witness to Atheists would be a challenge.Here's a hint. If you'd like to actually convince any of us of anything, you need to operate within our framework.You need to build a logical and coherent case using evidence that meets the standards of evidence.Until then, we're being pestered by some scruffy insane guy at the street corner, with a cardboard sign saying the world is about to end.

  73. says

    I'd also add that we operate on the null hypothesis – that the default hypothesis is disbelief in claims until they're proven. The burden of proof also has to be met, meaning that the person making a claim has to be the one to demonstrate it, because presumably, he/she is the one privvy to the supporting information to begin with.What that means, on topics, such as the source of morality, even if we don't know where it comes from, that doesn't mean you can just assert it comes from a god. You actually have to demonstrate that, else, our position on that question is "we don't know".

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