The one (of many) where I’m threatened with Hell…

“Matt I heard you talk about your wedding night and how beautiful it was around 11/6 show.  How the stars were beautiful and a pretty clear evening.   And how the prayers of others to stop the hurricane did not prevail.  I have only watched about 30 mins of your show but I’m sure you spend a great deal of your time refuting the exsistence of God.  Therefore I dont expect to change your mind so this will be short.  The reality of your life proves God exsist and reigns as King over you.  Rom 1:18-24 V.18-20 says what you already realized and that is that God has revealed Himself to you through divine nature however you have supressed this truth hence atheism.  Although this supressing in inexcusable.  V. 21 Although you claim not to know God He says your acknowledgement of how beautiful his creation is “stars and pretty evening” that He is a great communicator and you have chosen not to acknowledge him or give thanks.   V.22 No doubt you glory in your wisdom and trust in the foolish manmade concepts in terms of “theories” and “we think” or “this may be” and call it evidence….hence they became futile in their thinking.  V. 23 So instead of worshiping God, you worship what He has created.  Rather it is yourself or a work of your imagination it is still an idol.  So atheism would be lumped in with all the other religions of the world.  From Jehovah witness to Scientology or from Buddhism to Judasim they exchanged the glory of God for idols.  What was Gods response?  V.24 He gave them over to their sin.  Therefore you supress as much as God allows you to supress.  So the reason God has allowed you to mock Him all of these years without killing you is because he wants you to see the stars decalre His glory night after night and the sun to sing His praises year after year so you will store up more wrath (Rom 2:5) for that Day.  So please Matt enjoy this life, enjoy your sin, enjoy your marriage.  I hope your life is filled with sons and daughters so you can pass your legacy to them.  They to will reap what their father has sown.  May God grant you decades of more rebellion against Him because on that Day you will wish an eternity that you had never been born.  Psalms 7:11-13″

It’s pointless to quote scripture to me. You have to first demonstrate why anyone should consider it authoritative or correct – you might as well quote Captain Kirk.

Second, I have no time for passive aggressive individuals who not only buy into a concept of hell, but cowardly disguise this with veiled threats of eternal regrets. I’m sorry that your religion has corrupted your sense of decency. I’m sorry that you’ve bought into a lie and worship a thug whose only reason for not killing me is so that he can do worse later. I’m sorry that you wasted your time….in writing to me, and in worshiping a monstrous fiction.

If your god is real, perhaps you should PRAY before writing me – and ask him what you should have said. Because in this letter, you haven’t just failed, you’ve failed spectacularly. It’s one of the worst possible attempts to defend one’s faith that I’ve ever seen, and if your god exists, he’s either ashamed of your attempt or he’s unworthy of worship (which certainly fits a thug who hides and threatens eternal torment).

When I was a Christian, I certainly wouldn’t have written the condescending, kindergarten-level theology you presented. I also wouldn’t have been so stupid as to think that my audience wasn’t already fully aware of every point I was going to spew forth.

Hit your prayer closet and try again when you get an answer, because you’re a fairly poor representative for Christianity and I’m not interested in further e-mails unless they contain exactly what your god has instructed you to write.

Thanks.
Matt Dillahunty

Comments

  1. Randomfactor says

    Time and again these idiots get the most fundamental fact of religion…wrong.

    That fact is: religion is absolutely worthless when applied externally. Like any placebo, it may or may not work when self-administered, but trying to use it on others is a waste of everyone’s time.

  2. says

    “Pray for the words that will convert me, and don’t bother me until God answers you personally” is pretty damned awesome. I may have to steal that, and put it in the rotation with “Go talk to the Jews. You share the same god and you can’t even come up with arguments that convince them. When all you guys pick one story, go convince the Muslims… then MAYBE we’ll talk.”

  3. Marlo Rocci says

    You left out “You’re done”. Although he’s probably not done. He’ll probably babble like this to someone else as well.

    I have to say it does take a special type of evil to use something as lovely as your wedding and use it as an opportunity to spread his hate. I suppose next he’ll go to a matternity ward and remind the new mothers that the pain of childbirth was their reward for the sin of Eve.

    • gsw says

      on a par with ” … oh but you don’t/can’t really believe that … ” and “you are just saying that to be contrary”

  4. says

    The thing that struck me most of all was the way he wished for you to have lots of sons and daughters… so they could all share your fate (eternal torture). That’s beyond the usual level of sadism shown by devout believers. Well done for managing to reply so politely.

  5. nibor says

    “How dare you threaten me and my unborn children with hell?” Would have been sufficient, too, but admittedly less polite.

  6. David says

    To all these so-called Christians, why does your god NEED to be worshipped? What is his or her problem, were they bullied by other bigger gods and now hate everything and everyone?

  7. Gordon says

    I love the desperation of the “you already believe and pretend you dont” attitude. It seems like a tacit acknowledgement that their arguments are unconvincing except to people who are already convinced.

    • says

      What I really love is that the Quran has a verse that says exactly the same.

      7:172
      “When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): “Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?”- They said: “Yea! We do testify!” (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: “Of this we were never mindful”

      Next time you’re faced with this, remind the christian that he has already accepted Allah as the True Lord and he therefore doesn’t really believe in Jesus.

      • jacobfromlost says

        Good one. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

        I once had an argument with a Muslim on the net who said that Muslim’s believe Jesus resurrected too. When I quoted the line in the Koran that says Jesus was replaced by some random dude, and that Jesus definitely did not die…they just switched their position instantly.

        One second, they believed Jesus resurrected from the dead. The next second, they didn’t.

        I utterly do not understand that kind of thinking. It’s as if there is a list of absurdly unbelievable things in a book, and the believer may or may not know all of those absurd things–sometimes getting them confused with other absurd things–and when you set them straight about which absurd things are on the list that they say the believe, they just cave and say, “Yeah, whatever crazy things are on THAT list, I believe, even if I can’t remember what they are or get them confused with other absurd things on other lists of absurd things.”

  8. Aquaria says

    Someone needs to do a this is your brain. This is your brain on religion ads.

    Because look at how stupid and hateful it made this person.

  9. John says

    So we should all worship a god who will punish our children for our sins even though they have not sinned? How does that make sense exactly?

    Not to mention the fact that the mythological Jesus said in Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” So what’s the point of this person even doing what they are doing?

    Maybe I’m too stupid to get it.

    • says

      Dear John,
      Regarding worshipping a God who will punish our children for our sins. Actually the Bible says in the curse of the Old Covenant, that He would visit the sins of the fathers upon the children. This seems to be a natural consequence of sin. It is witnessed by many a counselor. But God actually made a point near the end of the Old Testament that no longer would children or anyone be punished for the sins of their fathers nor their own sins, if they would turn away from them and to God with them (repentance). (Ezekiel 18) Jesus became or took the curse for us, it explains in Galatians (New Testament), so we may learn to walk free of our parents unhealthy sin-patterns.

      • says

        After actually reading & studying the bible, I have not read any Old Testament passage concerning a Jesus. Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the lord himself will give you a sign; Behold, the maiden (young woman) shall conceive & bear a son. The Hebrew word for maiden is alma which in the Greek canon was incorrectly translated to virgin to match the virgin birth myths of the time.

        Secondly, Matthew 1:11 say Jesus lineage came through Jeconiah. The same king of Judah that the Jewish god says will have no descendants sit on the Throne of David. Jeremiah 22:30, 36:30. The messiah MUST be a descendant of David. Gen. 49:10, Isa. 11:1, Jer. 23:5 and more. So according to the Old Testament, Jesus was either a myth or a false prophet deserving of hell.

        The miracle is how the new Christian religion hijacked the Jewish Bible (Old Testament) in the 1st place. No mention of the trinity or a demi-god anywhere.

  10. says

    The reality of your life proves God exsist and reigns as King over you.

    I wonder how practical it would be to make people take a course to get a rudimentary education on the standards of evidence, epistemology and logic before contacting the show.

    It’s astonishing how badly these people get it wrong.

    He may as well have said: The reality of your safety in society proves Batman exsist and reigns as Protector over you.

    • Kes says

      The most irritating part (to me) of Christians who use Comfort’s tried-and-true “Creation exists therefore creator” argument, is that they can NEVER tie the posited creator to the god of the bible convincingly. Its always presumed that the creator is the god of the bible as a matter of course. (Who the hell else could it be? Vishnu? Wotan? Of course not, those are mythological, don’t be silly! ARGH!)

      The worst (best?) example of this is William Lane Craig’s apologetics, and he even attempts to “show his work” and somehow tie Jesus to the creator, because once Yeshua ben Joseph is proven to be divine, Judaic scriptural traditions become canon by a matter of course. No other alternative is even supposed. It is SO intellectually LAZY. Argumentam ad ignorantiam ad infinitum…

  11. starskeptic says

    Here’s your Captain Kirk for the day…

    “Death… destruction, disease, horror, that’s what war is all about. That’s what makes it a thing to be avoided. You’ve made it neat and painless. So neat and painless, you’ve had no reason to stop it… All right. [War is] instinctive. But the instinct can be fought. We’re human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands… But we can stop it! We can admit that we’re… killers. But we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! Knowing that we’re not going to kill… today!”
    – Captain James Tiberius Kirk, 2267

    …you’re welcome…

    • Yellow Thursday says

      I prefer to get my philosophy from Babylon 5:

      If I take a lamp and shine it toward the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding. Too often we assume that the light on the wall is God. But the light is not the goal of the search; it is the result of the search. The more intense the search, the brighter the light on the wall. The brighter the light on the wall, the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it! Similarly, someone who does not search, who does not bring a lantern with him, sees nothing. What we perceive as God, is the byproduct of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light, pure and unblemished, not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe. God looks astonishingly like we do! Or we turn to look at our shadow, and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose; which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty…and in all its flaws. And in so doing better understand the world around us.

      -G’Kar

        • Yellow Thursday says

          Thanks for the link. JMS obviously knew about, and was referring to, the Allegory of the Cave when he wrote this piece. There are some differences, however, and I think I like JMS’s framing of it better. Still, you have taught me about something I didn’t know before, and I have much to think about. For that, I am truly grateful.

          • jacobfromlost says

            YellowThursday: JMS obviously knew about, and was referring to, the Allegory of the Cave when he wrote this piece. There are some differences, however, and I think I like JMS’s framing of it better.

            Me: I like JMS’s framing better too, as he implies that god isn’t literally real (he is an atheist, after all). The Myth of the Cave asserts that an ultimate reality IS real (the Platonic forms) which is very much akin to the arguments theists always make about metaphysics. This also bends around to connect to my other comments, as theists find their metaphysics to be more real than physics (hence why they always quote the bible–it is more real than reality to them). But when you start imagining an abstract, ultimate reality from which everything perceived as real comes…you’ve just entered territory where psychological projection and wishful thinking can be your only tool (which was fine for Plato–they hadn’t codified science yet, or observed its success in reality…so wasn’t considering ways to figure out if he was right or not).

  12. Das Boese says

    “I have only watched about 30 mins of your show but I’m sure you spend a great deal of your time refuting the exsistence of God.”

    translate:

    “I can’t be bothered to actually learn what your point of view is and your arguments for it, here, let me go ahead and make something up so I can throw random bible verses at it.”

    • jacobfromlost says

      Indeed.

      Why to theists so often fall back on (non)debating strategies like “I don’t have time to present all the evidence for my case”, or “you would have to read all of Aquinas to understand what I’m saying” (and when I tell them I HAVE read Aquinas and demonstrate I understand it better than they do, they ignore that and switch to another author), or “I don’t have time to find out what your position is so I’ll just assume it is X”, or…

      …the one that boils my blood…

      …telling me what my position is, and ignoring me every time I tell them that that isn’t my position. There is NO other area of life where this strategy would even be CONSIDERED. Can you imagine someone asking you if you are a Democrat or Republican, and when you say “Democrat”, they say, “No no no, you are a Republican because you support all the Republican issues and candidates.” And when you deny this, they just keep on insisting that they do!

      I wonder why theists don’t use this same strategy for other issues that are connected to their belief in their idea of god? You never hear Pro-Life Christians going around asking people if they are Pro-Choice, and if they say yes, proceed to tell them they are not because god said life starts at conception so obviously anyone who says they are Pro-Choice, votes Pro-Choice, etc, must be lying.

      It seems clear the only reason they use this strategy for (non)debating the existence of their god (and not all the surrounding beliefs connected to their belief in god) is because their god is the foundation of their belief system/world view. When confronted with a person who clearly doesn’t HAVE a belief in their god, or any god, it is too much for them to even IMAGINE, so they deny it by telling us we actually believe but just pretend we don’t…even though that makes absolutely no sense even in light of their mythological cosmology.

  13. OverlappingMagisteria says

    I like the phrase “prayer closet.” I’d say most christians have no idea what verse that even references given how loudly they pray in public.

  14. Sibera says

    A certain Irony is imbedded within this phrase: So atheism would be lumped in with all the other religions of the world. From Jehovah witness to Scientology or from Buddhism to Judasim they exchanged the glory of God for idols.

    Isn’t the worship of a god worshipping an Idol? In which they follow and build their lives around? They follow the Ideal this being has, like Buddhism which follows the ideals that Buddha spoke of, or something like that.

    Honestly I can see this guy was a right ass.

  15. Mr.Kosta says

    I admire your patience, Matt. If some fuckwit used something as special as my wedding to bully and threaten me with hell, I don’t know how I’d react. Probably spitting the dumbass in the eye.

  16. Nathan says

    Why do Christians quote scripture to non-believers or people of other faiths? That has always confused me, if your part of the religion it makes sense, but like Matt said someone who isn’t a Christian isn’t going to care what the Bible says.

    If they stopped for two seconds to think about this they would realize how dumb it is. They wouldn’t care about something the Qu’ran said so non-Christians don’t care what the Bible says.

    I’m just curious, do they really think quoting scripture is going to work?

    • Paddy says

      It’s not so much that they think the quoted verses will convince you, but rather that, in their eyes, it gives weight to what they are saying. It validates what they are saying. It backs them up.

      What they say, and what this individual said especially, is batshit crazy, and without their book of goat herder phrases, they might actually see how friggin retarded they sound.

      It takes ALOT of effort to maintain their belief in the insane, and they need all the help they can get to maintain that level of cognitive disfunction.

      • says

        That’s no joke. When’s the last time you to had to reaffirm your belief in reality, or go to a Reality Revival, or had a “Crisis of Reality”?

        We do have conventions now, but it’s more about a social thing, than a “recharging” of one’s belief system.

  17. says

    Emails like this make me think it’s more about the benefit of the writer than the reader – that he’s trying to maintain his own delusion, or trying to do his boyscout duty for the day, or something.

    Because the end result of this conversation, for me, would be that I walk away thinking that Christians are even more fucking retarded than I thought they were before. What other conclusion could I arrive to when someone is telling me what I really think, deep down inside, without being telepathic?

  18. says

    So, jesus died for my sins but I’m going to hell and so are any of my children because I valued and enjoyed all the magnificence in this universe that this all loving and forgiving god ostensibly created.

    Got it.

    • says

      Hi all. I love God because He loved me first. Jesus lived and this has been remarked upon by Josephus. I sense His presence in my life and have from a young age, more than just a love for my dolls which I played with as if they were real, or Santa Claus, which we pretended was real for a time.
      I enjoy many things, gifts of God, but have found that when I have tried to enjoy them outside the boundaries God has set forth, -in taking the Old and New Testaments together, I have had unfortunate consequences, sooner or later. And I am sure God has mercifully spared me many more consequences that I actually deserved for my error.
      I believe God gives us limits and structure because He made us and knows what is good for us. Have you ever experienced bad consequences?
      Life is also full of suffering brought on by humanity’s corporate error. But, God gives us grace to try to alleviate that for ourselves and others…. Have you ever experienced that?

      • says

        I enjoy many things, gifts of God, but have found that when I have tried to enjoy them outside the boundaries God has set forth, -in taking the Old and New Testaments together, I have had unfortunate consequences, sooner or later. And I am sure God has mercifully spared me many more consequences that I actually deserved for my error.

        Well, I haven’t believed in any gods since I was in grade school and I’ve had very good things happen in life and very bad things. Very devout people experience as much tragedy in life as none believers and believers in other religions. People who don’t abide by the old and new testament have have the same rates of good fortune as those who do.

        Have you ever experienced bad consequences?

        It seems to me that you simply attribute good things to god and bad things to people. You ignore evidence that doesn’t support that bias.

        God gives us grace to try to alleviate that for ourselves and others…. Have you ever experienced that?

        I am living a fulfilling and happy life where I am kind and law abiding and yet I am not religious.

        • says

          This is a long and theological answer, so don’t read it unless you are really wanting to hear my thoughts. They may take some time to absorb.
          You are right. Sometimes it is hard to say where suffering comes from. But I believe originally, all suffering occurred after Adam and Eve decided to try to know good and evil without God, and obeyed satan’s lie that there would be no consequences for eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They proudly sought independence from God, and ended up hiding from Him.
          Unfortunately, at that time, an animals blood was spilt (-the first blood sacrifice)to make skins to cover their nakedness, -of which they now were aware in a fallen way, they would work by the sweat of their brow, (-my Dad, a farmer, saw that as when weeds began to be unruly-), and relationships between people would be less cooperative and more strife-filled, there would be pain in childbirth, and people would die, implying problems with the genetic makeup of humans, that could now accept disease. Lots went wrong. (Apparently animals began to kill each other. See story of Noah.) And a friend says that is why God made Adam and Eve leave the garden, so they would not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in their fallen state. And God spoke of a coming Saviour, a blessing for man- and womankind embedded in that curse. Gen. 3:15 Now, you may not believe this story, but it hangs together with events that happened supposedly about 1,000 and 3,000 years later.
          Since then, all suffering is rooted in Adam and Eve’s sin. And God did what He could to get rid of it. He prepared us to realize we need a Saviour by giving Laws and sacrifices that were good, but most people could not keep, with the sacrifices having to be reoffered, and then provided Himself in the form of His seed in a human offspring who would accept our curse, and come back from death because He never sinned but kept the Law perfectly, becoming the ultimate sacrifice, taking our punishment, death or separation from God, so He could bring us back to life and to Himself. But because of His perfection, death could not hold Him. It is up to us to turn to God and ask for this gift, and then when we receive it, to try to alleviate the suffering of others now.
          Because God is gracious, we don’t always receive what we deserve (which if you really think about it is death, for defying God at some points in our lives), but we receive many blessings. The bad I do, and notice difficult consequences seems like discipline to me, since Jesus took my ultimate punishment, and now He wants to teach me the best way to live, in response to His life. And I believe God disciplines me because He loves me. The Bible doesnt’ say He disciplines non-belivers, but He does let life reprove them. I don’t get what I deserve (eternal death for sin), but neither do I suffer all the consequences. You are right.
          Some Christians including me believe God gives grace to unbelievers too, as it is His patience and kindness that makes us want to turn to Him and trust Him. (Romans 2:4 if some want to look it up.) But we can refuse God so long and harden our hearts so that He will no longer offer that anymore. And that is a terrible thing, and basically what hell looks like, as feeling apart from God yields weeping and gnashing of teeth. May God bless you with faith as you experience His goodness and mercy every day. At least you could ask Him to show you if He is real, and to make you willing and able to obey, if He is, as He promises power, if we are cleansed and ask for it.
          I have heard religion or what we do to get to God is not the answer, because we can never be good enough, but a relationship with the living God (which He wanted with humans all along), through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, what God did to get to us, which occurred because God loves us and wants to bring us back to Himself, cleansed of the sin or independence from Him that separates us. This is the difference between religions and knowing and following Jesus Christ, who’s first practitioners got called “little christs” or “little anointed ones” after their Master, for being a lot like Him, because He comes to empower us. Jesus related to His Father constantly, and we can too, when we are cleansed of our rebellion and turn to Him for His peace and rescuing life or shalom in every area, by faith in His love and promises to do so. Jesus said, “if you are willing, you shall know if I speak from God or myself”.
          I am happy that you are kind and law-abiding. God loves that. I am sure it makes you happy. But what if people are wrong to you? Do you love them? What do you do if you do something that is unkind? What about the many others in the world without God? Do they love their enemies? Is the world with all it’s religions at peace? Does it have joy? What is the answer?

          • says

            Debbie, can you explain your statement:

            Now, you may not believe this story, but it hangs together with events that happened supposedly about 1,000 and 3,000 years later.

            This makes several assumptions that fly in the face of actual evidence:
            1. That the story of adam and eve is real and not an allegory
            2. That humans were created, whole cloth, just as they are now, about 6000 years ago
            3. That somehow, without any documentation from this creation time, the accounts in the bible are perfect reflections of exactly what happened at the point of creation, and are the divine word of god despite being written long after the fact, by mortal men, and having been translated many times, rewritten and very offen differing from older versions of the work.

            Everything you offer as an argument that assumes any of the above is not evidence and not convincing to a non-believer in the same way that someone explaining the tenets of hinduism, no matter how emphatically, would ever convince you that it is the one true religion.

            I’m not sure what you are getting at in your last paragraph. You ask me “what if people are wrong to you?” Believing there is a god doesn’t make the world a just place. It might make you feel better but that is not the same as being true. People are wrong to religious people and non-religious people. I may *want* someone to get their comeuppance when they are terrible, but that doesn’t make the concept of god real.

            Then you ask if I love people who have wronged me. Why do I need to love someone who wrongs me? Certainly, I can’t spend my life dwelling on bad things that happen but nor do I have to love everyone. I can feel that people have basic rights and deserve to be treated decently without claiming I love them. It rather dilutes the meaning of the word, if you ask me.

            As for my own behavior, If I do something unkind, the only person who can forgive me is the person I hurt and pretending like I can apologize to some magic being instead is a real cop out. I take responsibility directly for my actions.

            And honestly, I really don’t know what you are getting at with the stuff about people without god and loving enemies. Most of the world is religious. Most religions boast that they are peaceful. Even people of the same religion but different sects go to war with each other. The Catholics and Protestants have a long history of fighting and both believe in your loving and peaceful god. There is no evidence to suggest that religion makes people happier, less prone to war, or better people overall.

            But let me come back to my initial point: telling me that bible stories prove the bible and the god of the bible are real is a waste of time. I believe the bible is real the way you believe that Zeus and Thor and Isis are real. No matter how interesting the stories are, they are not proof of their existence. Your faith, your good feeling, your fulfillment in life are also not proof of a god’s existence.

        • jacobfromlost says

          Debbie: This is a long and theological answer, so don’t read it unless you are really wanting to hear my thoughts. They may take some time to absorb.

          Me: Would you be surprised if it took no time to absorb them? Nearly your entire post starts with the premise that the bible is true. Let’s say a person neither wants to believe it is true, nor wants to believe it is not true. How would we go about finding out if it IS true, before wandering down the rabbit hole of taking it seriously?

          Debbie: I am happy that you are kind and law-abiding. God loves that. I am sure it makes you happy. But what if people are wrong to you? Do you love them?

          Me: Generally I forgive almost everything, but I can’t say that I LOVE people who are strangers to me. I treat all people with respect and kindness unless they don’t return the favor, and even then I err too often on the side of respect and kindness. It is a character flaw. I should be more assertive. lol

          Debbie: What do you do if you do something that is unkind?

          Me: Apologize, make amends, and try not to do it again. And if I DO do it again, apologize again, realizing that I can only do this so many times before people will simply have nothing to do with me. And if specific people continue to forgive me every time I wrong them, then I lose respect for them, as they obviously have no self respect.

          Debbie: What about the many others in the world without God? Do they love their enemies?

          Me: Christians don’t even love their enemies. You can claim that it is a Christian edict, but self-identified Christians don’t even do this. To say they do is to disregard all evidence.

          Debbie: Is the world with all it’s religions at peace?

          Me: No. But without religion, it would be closer to peace.

          Debbie: Does it have joy? What is the answer?

          Me: What is the answer to what? Having more peace and joy? That’s easy. Behave in ways that are rational and based on evidence for the betterment of humanity. That is the ONLY thing that has lead to more peace, health, and joy in human history. What do I mean by rational and based on evidence? Assuming god (or demons, or spirits, or Zeus) didn’t do it, and THEN looking for evidence of what the problem is and how to solve it. Saying “god did it” stops all problem solving in its tracks.

  19. jacobfromlost says

    Paddy: It’s not so much that they think the quoted verses will convince you, but rather that, in their eyes, it gives weight to what they are saying. It validates what they are saying. It backs them up.

    Me: I think you are right. Another aspect of this is the mindset with which they originally came to mythology (or the mindset the mythology itself develops in the reader), and how that mindset solidifies with the progression of the story to reinforce it as “real” in their minds, so that referring back to the story always gives them the reinforcing feeling that it is real (which is why they keep quoting it).

    It’s a subtle point that many rationalists miss, but some stories are only compelling (fun, mindblowing, entertaining, meaningful, etc) if you presume they are true as the story is being told. General myths, religious myths, conspiracy theories, and urban legends all work this way. Some fairly modern examples are “The Blaire Witch Project”, and the alien abduction book “Communion”. Both of these stories, from beginning to end (and even beyond the story itself) purports to be a “true story”. And the only way these stories work AS STORIES is if you accept them as “true” as you experience the narrative–and I’m not simply talking about “suspending disbelief”, but treading very heavily in belief territory that can easily leak beyond the texts. The stories AS STORIES demand you believe them as actualities in order to let you into experiencing the narrative, so that the farther into the story you get, the more committed you are to believing ALL of it…and the more you WANT to believe all of it because the story is really, really cool that way, and really, really pointless otherwise.

    I don’t know if anyone gets my point, but understanding this is crucial to understanding people who believe myths. And it’s a very subtle mental skill to be able to experience these kinds of myths “as real” during the narrative (mentally playing around in an alternate cosmology), and then shut the book and go back to reality that may not be as personally (or socially, or culturally) compelling as the myth was. Some people, it seems, just can’t make that leap back to reality, and would rather continue playing in that alternate cosmology because it is more appealing to them (by its very nature) and so project it onto reality.

    So ultimately it seems they quote scripture because scripture is more real than reality to them.

    • says

      Dear Jacob,
      I am sorry you are troubled by faith. You are right that there are many narratives and people trying to explain the truth out there. Which one goes back to the beginning and which one was transmitted by that God’s people, and thus continues the original story? If you are interested in my drift, read on.
      Other cultures have their own stories, but none of them claim to be given the task of carrying God’s texts and hope of salvation for all the world, descended from Adam and Eve and Abraham, do they, except for Jews? Muslims have some of this, but it doesn’t seem to continue the same story of forgiveness and bloodshed to cover sin, nor a relationship with God of love and forgiveness, does it? And later Christians, continued the story from the Jews. I understand Muslims claim the same God, but altered the story after they went off following Mohammed who lived after Jesus Christ, rejecting Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for sin, who rises again to give us new life able to obey God.
      So, unless a person makes something up after the original narrative as the Druids did, and all the other cultures out there after Noah, the original truth as I understand it goes back to this story in the Bible. Sure the Mesopotamians and other cultures developed their stories alongside or before this one developed fully, and they developed their gods, laws and values, beliefs, and creation myths, but none of them include the relationship with God that Abraham had with the original God who revealed Himself in the garden, and in His subsequent interventions, did they, where God makes promises and man responds by believing and obeying (though imperfectly)? If those other cultures had Laws and so on, I don’t believe it is historically said their Laws came from God, nor because the people were seeking the original God revealed at Creation, nor to have a relationship with the true and living God, in response to His seeking a relationship with them. Or perhaps some did, as Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, was the family priest, and Job, who lived way back both offered sacrifices for their families. But it wasn’t complete. I have heard early civilizations and religions have some of the truth in their thinking, but not all of it, and that eventually their descendants made up some of it, turning away from the living, originally-known God. Hence some like the Incas or Aztecs turn away from the animal sacrifice in the garden to human sacrifice, which was predicted in the curse, but out of God’s timing on their own, and perverse and inadequate. Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac after this tradition, but God provided a substitute sacrifice, a ram, caught in a thicket, pointing to what He would eventually do in Jesus Christ. This rings true for me? Are you willing to consider it? One may ask God to open one’s eyes, if one really wants to respond with obedience to His answer, whatever that may be. But take care you are willing, before you pray that prayer. Blessings.

      • jacobfromlost says

        Debbie: You are right that there are many narratives and people trying to explain the truth out there. Which one goes back to the beginning and which one was transmitted by that God’s people, and thus continues the original story?

        Me: Gilgamesh is the first written story with a human/god hero. Gilgamesh was 2/3 god and 1/3 man, and is still read today. But to play into your argument a little, the Christians of today do not resemble the Christians of 2000 years ago. In fact, the Christians of any point in history rarely resemble the Christians in the next point in history. Moreover, the Jews are not Christians. The Christians were spinoffs of Jews, and then different kinds of Christians spunoff from each other for hundreds of years. Moreover, are you aware that there was no Christian bible until 692 when it was finally compiled? And it was compiled by several majority votes, and none of the believers agreed unanimously on what should be included and what shouldn’t be included. There was no magic involved. (You are not one of those Christians who thinks the bible was written in 30 AD and passed down to the present, are you?)

        Debbie: If you are interested in my drift, read on.

        Me: My concern is that you are not reading anything any of us are writing. We know your argument inside and out. You, however, don’t know ours. How do I know this? Because I can switch sides right now and make your argument for you without missing a beat. You cannot do the same for our argument.

        Debbie: Other cultures have their own stories, but none of them claim to be given the task of carrying God’s texts and hope of salvation for all the world, descended from Adam and Eve and Abraham, do they, except for Jews?

        Me: This is a circular argument. I could just as easily say that Scientology is the only religion that accounts for all religions and explains how aliens came to earth trillions of years ago, or whatever they claim. Do you really not understand what you are doing? You are saying that your story is true because the stuff in your story claims to be true and the stuff in your story is the stuff in your story! Any other religious text can claim exactly the same thing!

        Debbie: Muslims have some of this, but it doesn’t seem to continue the same story of forgiveness and bloodshed to cover sin, nor a relationship with God of love and forgiveness, does it?

        Me: sure it does. If you follow it correctly, you get into Paradise. You can claim that isn’t forgiveness or salvation if you want, but if god let’s you into Paradise for all eternity…how is it different? (And referring back to your story doesn’t work, because they can just as easily refer back to their book, and their book says if they follow it–and not your book or any other–they get into Paradise.)

        Debbie: And later Christians, continued the story from the Jews.

        Me: Not according to the Jews. How do you explain this?

        Debbie: I understand Muslims claim the same God, but altered the story after they went off following Mohammed who lived after Jesus Christ, rejecting Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for sin, who rises again to give us new life able to obey God.

        Me: They don’t reject it, they DON’T BELIEVE IT. Why? Because they have their own story that they believe! The reason atheists disbelieve both is because they are contrary to evidence and reason–which has the added benefit of working for all claims, religious or not.

        Debbie: So, unless a person makes something up after the original narrative

        Me: You still seem to be laboring under the impression that there was a certain point very near the events purported in the stories where the bible was ONE BOOK. There was never any such time. There were lots and lots of gospels, most of which were tossed after 700 years of votes and argument.

        Debbie: creation myths, but none of them include the relationship with God that Abraham had with the original God who revealed Himself in the garden,

        Me: You SAYING it is original doesn’t make it original. The texts are not the first texts describing gods. I know you WANT it to be this way, but it simply isn’t.

        Debbie: I don’t believe it is historically said their Laws came from God, nor because the people were seeking the original God revealed at Creation, nor to have a relationship with the true and living God, in response to His seeking a relationship with them.

        Me: Do you really not see the problem? You are applying your story to other stories, and saying your story is not the other stories, so the other stories must not be true. THE OTHER STORIES CAN DO EXACTLY THE SAME THING TO YOUR STORY! Do you really not see this?

        Debbie: originally-known God.

        Me: I don’t know what this means. There were lots of myths that predate the Hebrew myths.

        Debbie: Hence some like the Incas or Aztecs turn away from the animal sacrifice in the garden to human sacrifice, which was predicted in the curse, but out of God’s timing on their own, and perverse and inadequate. Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac after this tradition,

        Me: I don’t think they were on the same contintent, so were not part of the same “tradition”.

        Debbie: but God provided a substitute sacrifice, a ram, caught in a thicket, pointing to what He would eventually do in Jesus Christ. This rings true for me? Are you willing to consider it?

        Me: Good grief. I accept that it rings true for you. What rings true in a story AS A STORY doesn’t make it true in reality whatsoever. You also seem to need to do some studying of history, mythology, psychology, and literature.

        Debbie: One may ask God to open one’s eyes, if one really wants to respond with obedience to His answer, whatever that may be. But take care you are willing, before you pray that prayer. Blessings.

        Me: I want you to consider this thought: “what if I’m wrong about my god existing?” How would you go about finding out if the things you consider evidence might not be evidence? And more to the point, would you want to know if the evidence you consider to be is evidence is NOT evidence, and hence there is no real support for belief in your god?

  20. Aquaria says

    I don’t know if anyone gets my point, but understanding this is crucial to understanding people who believe myths.

    I get your point. 100%. This is why it’s always important to cut off theists at the knees when they try to, “assume god is real” or the “presumption that god is real gambit. You tell them, no, you will not assume or presume that. Because that has not been established, and it’s ridiculous to argue beyond that.

    This is why Dawkins has been such a shot in the arm to the atheist movement. He cut through all the bullshit to the heart of the matter which is that we can’t presume anything, because you haven’t established that your deity is real yet. Nearly all of their arguments follow from the presumption/assumption that their genocidal scumbag is real. And that hasn’t been established. Worse, what few arguments they have about the existence are so stupid a child would laugh at them–if allowed to grow up without delusions.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Sure. If you take any outlandish story that someone WANTS to believe (because the story is such that believing it really happened makes the story much much better, while believe the story didn’t really happen makes the story emotionally empty and pointless), you will have the makings of a myth, superstition, or religion.

      What makes for a better story? Believing some crazy religious zealots took a little flight training, lifted some weights, bought some box cutters, got slightly lucky once or twice, and flew planes into buildings?

      …OR believing in an elaborate conspiracy of hundreds of government officials who were deviously clever in planting explosives, planting evidence, shooting down planes over Pennsylvania, mastermined by secret forces at the highest levels of government, etc, etc, etc. Clearly the second is far more entertaining, but that doesn’t make it true. (Although the more details that get added to the myth and passed around, the more invested some people are in believing the core of it, so even if certain parts of it are put in doubt by evidence, there will still be parts that can never be conclusively DISPROVED…so the myth grows simply because the audience REALLY likes the story and keeps it alive.)

  21. AtheistSteve says

    And as if you hadn’t already proved them all wrong when they make the “seek and ye shall find” argument like the one put forth by Cesar on your last show. Clearly you searched long and hard in vain for any confirmation of your former beliefs. Apparently lazy and stupid is the path to discovering God.
    Most disturbing is how they can’t seem to get past looking at the world through God-Goggles. The awesome majesty of the stars and incredible panaply of life on this planet are all the more impressive when viewed as natural phenomena. An appeal to the divine diminishes and ignores the intricacies revealed by science.

    • says

      Wow! For me, true scientific facts reveal more about God. The theories, things not proven yet, just keep me trying to understand the truth. Did you know that God wasn’t proven to exist in time? Could it be because He is eternal?
      Also, I have heard that the many religions or ways to God that man has devised are a result of rejecting the Truth about Him, first revealed to Adam and Eve….Have you considered that? Even us Christians may be guilty of elaborating on the Way God has shown from time to time….

      • Kazim says

        The theories, things not proven yet, just keep me trying to understand the truth.

        Partdon me, but “theory” does not mean “thing not proven yet.” I think you are talking about a hypothesis.

        Did you know that God wasn’t proven to exist in time? Could it be because He is eternal?

        Sure, that, or it could be because he doesn’t exist.

        Even us Christians may be guilty of elaborating on the Way God has shown from time to time….

        What? You’re saying that sometimes Christians just make stuff up and then fervently defend the claim that it’s the word of God? Say it isn’t so!

        • says

          Thank you for the correction of my wording. I do want to use words accurately.
          And, yes, Christians do sometimes misuse and misrepresent the Word of God. We usually do it because of being mistaught,or partially taught, have blind spots of ignorance, taking only part of the Word of God, instead of it’s entirety, or out of fear, and perhaps other reasons as well. And sometimes whole Church doctrines and ideas have been started, I think out of fear. Indulgences, say, in the Middle Ages could easily have been started because people were getting lax about seeking the Lord, and instead of seeking a spiritual solution, the church elders paniced and used threats, fear, and rewards, to keep people involved. I don’t know for sure, but it’s plausible as I fall into fear, parenting occasionally. Which is how to look at threats of hell. God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell, and it saddens Him that some people will, although He gives us ample time to turn to Him. That some are ignorant of His love, or think a threat works better to persuade people,just speaks to others of ignorance and blind spots. But, I believe He loves them too.
          Have you ever asked God if He loves you? Or about these things?
          For instance, the Old Testament says that children will suffer for the sins of their fathers. In the New Testament it says Jesus took the curse for us, so if the children come to know Christ Jesus, which may be harder with unbelieving parents, they will experience forgiveness and grace. The Old Testament is to point to God’s solution for our sin and separation problem, and the New Testament reveals it to be Jesus. Good News!

          • says

            If there is an all knowing, all powerful, all loving god that genuinely wants to save my soul, and protect me from an eternity of torment (or not, christians don’t even have consensus on the existence of hell) he or she or they can surely provide some verifiable, testable, falsifiable proof of his/her/their existence and can surely update their religious text to remove all ambiguity.

            It’s interesting to me that you think you’ve got your god all figured out and yet there have been countless religions throughout human history and countless interpretations of what various gods have wanted and absolutely no one is able to find a universal consensus. Even within your own religion there are innumerable sects and branches, and even within a given sect, there is disagreement on how to interpret the bible. It’s not an answer to simply tell us that you know they all have it wrong and you have it right. That’s not evidence, that’s dogma.

          • Kazim says

            Debbie, since you seem to have missed my sarcasm, this is what I meant:

            From my perspective as an atheist, the entire Christian religion is based on people just making stuff up and then fervently defending the claim that it’s the word of God.

  22. Michael B. says

    I always wonder how a person can worship a god that they believe is that sadistic and inhuman, but then I remember that everyone just projects their own desires onto their god and it’s actually the person who’s secretly that sadistic and inhuman.

    • says

      I feel like I am in over my head so I laughed as I read the replies, but here goes. I will try to ask questions and state my POV as well as I can. You all ask very good questions and have honest comments, and that is helpful.
      What is ING? Also, what is TLDR?
      Hi Marnie, in reading the account of Adam and Eve and subsequent generations in Genesis, the first two humans walked and talked with God, so they had proof. But the story goes after they sinned, they hid from God. Humans began to lose contact with Him. A few talked and walked with Him in subsequent generations, but what I marvel at is that those who knew Him in their spirits and wrote down what He has said over about five centuries have been amazingly writing a story that hangs together in the really big picture. All without talking with one another. The first Scriptures were supposedly not even written until Moses’ time, about 2-3,000 B.C., but there were 3 different promises of a Savior during that time. But, why do you think God may not give us more proof than that? Jesus said, “even if someone were to rise from the dead, some would not believe”. And there were at least 500 eyewitnesses of Him after the resurrection, I understand. Why would people not want to believe He was real and resurrected? Lee Strobel has written a good book about the resurrection, trying to disprove it, and ended up believing it. You might try it if you are interested?
      Dear Kazim, one might understand why one would think Christians made their beliefs up if one hadn’t really studied the Scriptures very long, but Jesus said God doesn’t give understanding to people unwilling to believe in God, so they don’t get judged for knowing too much and not acting on it. At least that is what some have explained to me. I have learned a lot about my faith, and have listened for years to many speakers considered experts by a majority of Bible-believing non-extremists, so forgive me if I sound overconfident in my opinions, but most ring true in the inner spirits of many others besides just me. I hope I am not giving you too much information.
      Dear Michael, are you saying I am sadistic and inhumane? You don’t know me, so I’m not sure where you came up with that, but possibly I could be at times, but I pray about sinful impulses and so far the Lord has helped me love most around me most of the time well, and I believe He wills I continue to do so, so will help me overcome sinful desires and thoughts and actions. Alas, I won’t be perfect until I get to heaven.
      Also, if one looks at the quotes, Michael, and Pyrobryan, hell was made for the devil and his angels, and it is not God’s will any people go there. But He will let those go there who don’t want to be in His presence and submit to His Lordship, because He wants heaven to be stressfree. What would heaven be like if people were there who didn’t want to be there and who hated God? Would it still be your idea of heaven?

      • says

        Debbie, I think the thing you are missing is that quoting scripture as proof is meaningless to people who do not believe the scripture is divinely inspired. A story can be touching and meaningful and relatable and convey morally sound lessons but that doesn’t’ make it true. If it did, Harry Potter, and Batman would be divine beings we should all worship. Your faith in your interpretation of a god is as devout as countless other people’s who have believed in entirely different gods than you. Your faith is not a form of proof and neither is the faith of millions of others. A billion people can believe something that isn’t true. Truth isn’t a democracy.

        It is not an argument to say that since some people wouldn’t believe proof, no proof is needed, that’s an evasive maneuver, and disingenuous. An all knowing, all powerful, omni present god could offer evidence everyone could believe. Many of us who are committed to truth over dogma would accept evidence if it were offered. What sort of god would give us minds and the ability to be rational and then fail to offer any proof of his/her/their existence yet doom us to eternal torture because of it?

        • says

          Dear All,
          Please forgive me for taking so long to get back to you. I will try to address the various concerns.
          Dear Marnie, about wanting empirical evidence and thinking God should supply that. For some He has. There have been recent true stories of people devoutly seeking God in repressed nations without knowledge of Jesus, having visions of Him coming to them and speaking to them and giving them instructions how to get to know Him better, whom to trust, etc. There is a story in Acts 10 of a devout Gentile getting a vision from God, where to meet some of Jesus’ followers. It seems God wants us to honestly seek Him and to be willing to obey whatever He says, before He reveals Himself. I think our seeking needs to be spiritual, not just intellectual, but God does use our minds, and doesn’t applaude blind obedience.
          About faith: We use faith everyday. If you sit on a chair, you have a reasonable belief based on the knowledge of gravity and past experience, and being able to see the chair- facts, reality-, that you can sit on it. A blind person would soon discover who’s instructions were trustworthy about where to sit.
          Do you also fly in airplanes? You can’t see the air holding you up, but you have a belief that airpressure differences will work over the planes wings to give you loft. This works even if you don’t understand it, or even know about it. If the pressure difference stops, even if you don’t believe in gravity, which you can’t see, you will fall down.
          So, just because we don’t see proof of God, doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exist. We don’t see quarks and muons, electrons and other particles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist either. We tell they are there because of their tracks. Maybe one could prove the existence of God if one had more knowledge, but one can take other’s word for it, such as that handed down by Adam and Eve and Moses who saw God. One can study the intricacies of nature. One New Testament Christian says Jesus is the exact representation of God. One has to decide who is believeable. Has someone you trusted misrepresented God to you, and is this why you have a hard time believing? I start with the Bible being true, by faith, because it refers to one of- if not the oldest- creation story of the first people, and also God has given me faith through others that I trust, and perhaps by His presence, and as I read the Word.
          Dear LykeX, I don’t understand your reference to free will but I do know that even though Adam and Eve knew God, they chose to disobey Him. Doubt what He said was true about them dying, or pride,encouraged by the serpent, “you can be like God”, wanting knowledge on their own, or just grass-is-greenerism, sucked them into independence from God. Just because people know God, doesn’t always mean they are convinced of His goodness and love, or that it is better than the sparkley alternatives offered by the enemy. Which is why it helps to get to know God deeply. Children tend to obey and trust a parent with whom they have a good relationship that they feel cares about them more than one that is too busy, removed, etc. So, I think freewill is appropriate to think of in this regard.
          Dear Jacob, I understand the idea of internal consistency doesn’t prove a story is true. But the Bible is very in accord with reality in my opinion. It describes the human condition very well, and though on a surface reading seems to have many contraditions, when one understands what it says about God’s character, and also that of human beings and spiritual realities and principles and paradoxes, it seems perfectly in accord with reality. Yes, I am aware that the Gospels were written starting with about 65 years after Jesus’ birth, I think. Some of them weren’t accepted into the Canon of Scripture, because they didn’t entirely hang true with other stories and teaching handed down by followers of Jesus Christ, who tried to evaluate them for this.
          Current day miracles and changed lives through Jesus Christ
          testify to the presence of God, also.
          My understanding is that I am created in the image of God with body, soul, and spirit. I am not God, nor will I be God, but in heaven, I can be a human that always loves, worships, and obeys God, without dreaded temptations and weakness in my flesh that make it easy to sin. I don’t think I will have God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, nor omniscience, though I believe I will have an amount of any of those which God wants for me at a given time. For instance, we are told in heaven we will be like Jesus, for we will see Him as He is.
          Regarding God’s will we be in heaven, it is also God’s will that we operate with free will. Both things are in operation. God can’t violate His own arrangement to give us the choice, though He wishes we would all choose Him. Therefore, I believe if we honestly want God to save us from sin,and call upon Him to do so, He will. One may need to say, “Lord, make me willing”, or “I believe, help my unbelief” as one who came to Jesus in the Bible did.
          I hope Hitchens receives the gift of faith in Jesus’ saving grace and becomes a believer making it to heaven too. I understand he has had cancer. May God heal him, body, and spirit.
          Dear LykeX, regarding the complaint about Exodus 34: When I have studied this, I have thought it has generally been accepted that the new tablets put in the ark had the Ten on them, and that the other things were narrative resumed of God’s continued instructions on a broader nature to the people of Israel, which Moses was also recording here. The Ten Commandments are reiterated in Deuteronomy. Also, later in the history of the Exodus and time in the Wilderness, other objects are added to the Ark. As for leavened bread, I assume you are talking about communion, and how some churches now use it instead of unleavened bread. In my nondenominational Church growing up, we used Matzoh. So, I’m not sure if the change is some New Testament interpretation of freedom from the Law, but I kind of like the concreteness of the literal unleavening and it’s meaning and would prefer to use it with how I understand things. But I don’t think this should split the Church, since David ate the shewbread….
          Well, that’s all for now. I look forward to more of our discussion.

          • says

            Debbie, you have provided a lot of anecdotes about what people believe, but that is not “empirical evidence”. People throughout history have had various visions and you discount all of those that are not based on your bias that christianity is true. All the people who have believed that succubi or aliens, or zeus or venus have visited them, all the people who are sure they’ve been kidnapped by aliens and probed, believe what they saw was proof of whatever it was they believe they experienced. As a non-believer, I have no reason to believe your stories as “truth” any more than I believe any of those other stories.

            As for your following points, I stay in my chair because of gravity which has particular properties that can be tested and confirmed by anyone anywhere at any time. Gravity does not work in mysterious ways, it works in predictable, reliable, testable, ways and everyone on a given planet experiences in the same way. Your god doesn’t work that way. Ask a million people to describe their “proof” of god and what god wants and what god expects and how god treats people who don’t follow his rules and you get a million different answers.

            Airplanes don’t fly by faith, they fly because scientists and engineers studied the properties of chemistry and physics and found a reliable means of consistently launching, controlling and landing a plane.

            You said

            just because we don’t see proof of God, doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exist

            And I say, just because you don’t understand the world, doesn’t mean god exists. Not being able to understand or explain something is not proof of god. You need provide evidence that doesn’t rely on the assumption that the bible is true.

            you say:

            I start with the Bible being true, by faith, because it refers to one of- if not the oldest- creation story of the first people

            You are simply wrong. There are many creation myths that predate your religion by a very long time. But length of time something is believed is not evidence of it being true. Humans long believed that the sun traveled around the earth. It doesn’t matter how long humans have believed that, it’s not true. Humans long believed the spirits caused disease. It doesn’t matter how long humans believed it, the germ theory still wins out.

          • jacobfromlost says

            Debbie: There have been recent true stories of people devoutly seeking God in repressed nations without knowledge of Jesus, having visions of Him coming to them and speaking to them and giving them instructions how to get to know Him better, whom to trust, etc.

            Me: How do you know these are true stories? (Seriously, how do you determine when something is true and when something is not? You do understand that stories can be made up, right? Or based on hysteria? Psychology? Hallucination? Delusion? These are all common human experiences and we do have means to correct for them.)

            Debbie: About faith: We use faith everyday. If you sit on a chair, you have a reasonable belief based on the knowledge of gravity and past experience, and being able to see the chair- facts, reality-, that you can sit on it. A blind person would soon discover who’s instructions were trustworthy about where to sit.

            Me: Why are you redefining “faith” to mean a reasonable belief based on empirical evidence? That’s not the kind of faith you are arguing for. You may believe some stories are “true stories”, but the only means we have to determine the truth of claims does not support your assertion.

            Debbie: Do you also fly in airplanes? You can’t see the air holding you up, but you have a belief that airpressure differences will work over the planes wings to give you loft. This works even if you don’t understand it, or even know about it.

            Me: Airplanes demonstrate all the principles that allow them to work in reality. Care to demonstrate that your god exists in reality? A plane that is built with faulty aerodynamic principles falls out of the sky, and a plane with sound ones does not. This is a testable claim that is observable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable. Your god claims do not meet any of these criteria.

            Debbie: If the pressure difference stops, even if you don’t believe in gravity, which you can’t see, you will fall down.

            Me: We can observe gravity, and we can observe air. We can’t observe your god in a way that distinguishes it from nothing at all.

            Debbie: So, just because we don’t see proof of God, doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exist.

            Me: Good grief. You just gave examples of things for which there is proof! Then you claim that, since we have things for which we have proof, that also supports things for which there is no proof. Do you not see how that doesn’t follow?

            Debbie: We don’t see quarks and muons, electrons and other particles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist either.

            Me: We know they exist through falsifiable experimentation. We didn’t just make them up. If you want to put your god to falsifiable experimentation, be my guest. He is falsified every time.

            Debbie: We tell they are there because of their tracks. Maybe one could prove the existence of God if one had more knowledge, but one can take other’s word for it, such as that handed down by Adam and Eve and Moses who saw God.

            Me: No, you can’t take someone’s word for it. If that was an appropriate method, you would also have to take people’s word for it regarding the myths that outdate your myth. You seem to think your myth is the oldest one. It is not. Continually repeating that it is, or even BELIEVING that it is, does not make it so.

            Debbie: One can study the intricacies of nature. One New Testament Christian says Jesus is the exact representation of God. One has to decide who is believeable. Has someone you trusted misrepresented God to you, and is this why you have a hard time believing?

            Me: I don’t have a hard time believing AT ALL. If you have evidence for something, present it. If the evidence meets the minimum requirements of evidence, then I believe it. If it DOESN’T meet the minimum requirements of evidence, then you are rejecting many other claims that are equal to your claims for NO REASON. That is not a rational position to be in, nor is it rational to expect others to agree with you based on NO REASONS (note: the fact that “you believe it because you believe it” is not a reason, and referring to things that are not evidence, like stories, are not evidence either).

            Debbie: I start with the Bible being true, by faith, because it refers to one of- if not the oldest- creation story of the first people,

            Me: No it doesn’t. You are wrong. Do some research. The Jews were not the first people. Good grief.

            Debbie: and also God has given me faith through others that I trust, and perhaps by His presence, and as I read the Word.

            Me: This is all easily explained with psychology using falsifiable methodology.

            Debbie: I understand the idea of internal consistency doesn’t prove a story is true. But the Bible is very in accord with reality in my opinion.

            Me: But your opinion doesn’t matter. There is objective evidence that neither you nor I can change, that illustrates the bible is not in accord with reality. For one thing, there are direct contradictions within the text. For another, there is no extra biblical support for anything extraordinary in the bible. It’s as if a plane crashed into the White House, and no newspaper wrote anything about it, but some crackpot wrote a newsletter to a bunch of people who really, really wanted to believe it. Then Constantine made that movement the official religion of Rome, forcing everyone into it…then, voila.

            Debbie: It describes the human condition very well,

            Me: I’m a human, and I disagree with you. There are billions more who also disagree with you. That is undeniable evidence that it doesn’t describe the human condition well.

            Debbie: and though on a surface reading seems to have many contraditions, when one understands what it says about God’s character, and also that of human beings and spiritual realities and principles and paradoxes, it seems perfectly in accord with reality.

            Me: “Understanding” is a defined term. You do not get to use it in a way contrary to its meaning. You can CLAIM you understand something, but if there is no way to demonstrate that you understand something to anyone else, then it isn’t understanding. Example: I have no idea how to engineer a plane, but when a plane is flown before my eyes I can understand that it works objectively in reality. However, if there is a story in a language that I understand which simply does not say what some people claim it says, they do not then get to claim that they understand it better if they cannot demonstrate that understanding to people who speak the same language. It is simply an assertion.

            Debbie: Yes, I am aware that the Gospels were written starting with about 65 years after Jesus’ birth, I think. Some of them weren’t accepted into the Canon of Scripture, because they didn’t entirely hang true with other stories and teaching handed down by followers of Jesus Christ, who tried to evaluate them for this.

            Me: What does “hang true” mean? If there is no evidence, then did they not just compile the books that they liked, and toss the books that they didn’t like? How do you explain that no vote to include a book was unanimous? Wouldn’t god’s spirit infuse the votes so that they would all be unanimous? Why was there so much doubt and argument over which should be included, and which shouldn’t? Did you now why there are four gospels, and not 5 or 6 or 12? Think about the “pillars of the earth” and you’ll figure it out.

            Debbie: Current day miracles and changed lives through Jesus Christ
            testify to the presence of God, also.

            Me: How do you tell the difference between a changed life based on a delusion, and a changed life based on a reality? Scientology changes lives too. As does Islam. I can even point to people whose lives were changed by Star Trek, or Shakespeare, or computer science. Does that mean that there is magic in these things? No. It’s just that you haven’t examined your own beliefs very critically.

            Debbie: My understanding is that I am created in the image of God with body, soul, and spirit. I am not God, nor will I be God, but in heaven, I can be a human that always loves, worships, and obeys God, without dreaded temptations and weakness in my flesh that make it easy to sin.

            Me: See how this doesn’t “hang together”, as you say? Humans are defined by their flaws, their struggles, and their limitations. If you don’t have these things in heaven, then you are NOT human–you would not in any way even BE you anymore.

            Debbie: I don’t think I will have God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, nor omniscience,

            Me: Then you won’t be perfect. Perfection indicates that you lack nothing. If you lack things, you are not perfect.

            Debbie: though I believe I will have an amount of any of those which God wants for me at a given time.

            Me: Again see how the story doesn’t “hang together”? You cannot have “an amount” of omnipotence or omniscience. You either have it or you don’t. You can’t be a “little bit” all knowing, or a “little bit” all powerful. Can you see how the story doesn’t “hang together” now? (If the story can be utterly irrational and illogical, then ANY story “hangs together” no matter what it claims, no matter how outlandish.)

            Debbie: it is also God’s will that we operate with free will.

            Me: Again, the story doesn’t hang together. This is logically impossible. God cannot WILL us to have free will. That’s a contradiction. There is even a psychological principle called a “double bind” which explains how this kind of thinking can trap one psychologically in a loop, which is probably why you think this makes sense.

            Debbie: Both things are in operation. God can’t violate His own arrangement to give us the choice, though He wishes we would all choose Him.

            Me: You don’t find it the least disturbing that the arguments you are making for your god look exactly the same whether your god exists or he doesn’t exist? You are using rationalizations to explain why our everyday experiences make no sense if your god exists. The simpler explanation for our everyday experiences is that your god doesn’t exist.

            Debbie: Therefore, I believe if we honestly want God to save us from sin,and call upon Him to do so, He will. One may need to say, “Lord, make me willing”, or “I believe, help my unbelief” as one who came to Jesus in the Bible did.

            Me: You only have to do that kind of thing if there is no reason to believe it in the first place, and if there is no reason to believe it in the first place, then how are you making the choice to pray for this specific belief? It’s based simply on personal preference or surrounding culture. The method to determine true things is not based on personal preference nor on surrounding culture.

            Debbie: I hope Hitchens receives the gift of faith in Jesus’ saving grace and becomes a believer making it to heaven too.

            Me: No one will make it to heaven any more than they will make it to Mount Doom. If you think you have evidence for heaven, god, souls, spirits, etc, present it. If you think the stories of miracles, etc, are real, then they could EASILY be demonstrated in reality. How do we demonstrate things in reality? Through methods that are reproducible, observable, predictive, and falsifiable. That’s how planes fly in the air, remember? Besides, if you are right, I burn in hell and you are happy in heaven. If I am right, we both rot in the ground never to know anything ever again. Can you see how I don’t make claims about things being true based on my personal preferences? Think about it.

            Debbie: I understand he has had cancer. May God heal him, body, and spirit.

            Me: Good grief. God did not create Hitchens OR his cancer. God is no more real than Mount Doom. We have a very good understanding of biology and cancer, and we also have a very good understanding that cancer is not healed supernaturally (unless you think god is randomly healing rats, dogs, cats, pigs, etc, as they randomly go into remission just like people do).

            Debbie: regarding the complaint about Exodus 34: When I have studied this, I have thought it has generally been accepted that the new tablets put in the ark had the Ten on them, and that the other things were narrative resumed of God’s continued instructions on a broader nature to the people of Israel,

            Me: Why do you think you get to change what the text SAYS. It SAYS those are the ten commandments. On what grounds do you get to change what it says in this instance, and if you get to do it here, and about something which is so very important, then nothing in the book necessarily means what it says and any of us can claim it says anything we want. (Again, it doesn’t hang together.)

            Debbie: So, I’m not sure if the change is some New Testament interpretation of freedom from the Law, but I kind of like the concreteness of the literal unleavening and it’s meaning and would prefer to use it with how I understand things. But I don’t think this should split the Church, since David ate the shewbread….
            Well, that’s all for now. I look forward to more of our discussion.

            Me: Have you considered that you are wrong about the bible being true? How would you go about finding out if the claims of the bible are true or not? You ignored that very important request. I will grant you right now that it is possible your god exists, and that the universe that is observed operates in some highly illogical and irrational way that humans simply can’t grasp. That seems highly unlikely, and the only means I have to find out if it is true or not that the universe is illogical is logic and evidence. The basis of logic and evidence is the logical absolutes, so if the universe can be what it is and not be what it is at the same time, that would seem to suggest that the universe doesn’t exist. I have to start from the basis that the universe DOES exist, and from that basis logic and evidence have to be respected. If you share this respect, how would you go about finding out if the claims of the bible are true or not? Might I suggest a method that is reproducible, observable, predictive, and falsifiable? (The same way we find out if ANYTHING is true or not.)

            It’s very simple, and works for all claims that are true.

      • says

        in reading the account of Adam and Eve and subsequent generations in Genesis, the first two humans walked and talked with God, so they had proof… A few talked and walked with Him in subsequent generations

        So, why are we left with you? Why doesn’t he show up personally?

        The free will defense is already out of the window, since Adam and Eve disobeyed after having known god, so it’s clearly not a problem.

        Faith obviously isn’t all that important, or god wouldn’t have appeared to anybody ever.

        So, why not? Doesn’t he want us to be saved?

      • jacobfromlost says

        Debbie: the first two humans walked and talked with God, so they had proof.

        Me: I’m not sure you understand what proof is. The fact that someone in a story had proof of something in the story is not proof of anything OUTSIDE the story. I could just as easily say that Scrooge had proof of Marley’s ghost, therefore ghosts are real (or Marley lived once upon a time, or Scrooge lived once upon a time, etc).

        Debbie: but what I marvel at is that those who knew Him in their spirits and wrote down what He has said over about five centuries have been amazingly writing a story that hangs together in the really big picture.

        Me: It doesn’t hang together. And even if IT DID, that doesn’t mean it jibes with reality. A story can be totally self consistent and internally logical, and NOT be true. It would be the equivalent of seeing that a conclusion is necessarily true if the premises are true, but never bothering to find out if the premises are true or not. “Men are green. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is green.” The logic is self consistent, and the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. But if the premises do not jibe with reality, the conclusion does not follow. In exactly the same way, the premises of the bible have mountains of disconfirming evidence, so its conclusions do not follow.

        Debbie: All without talking with one another.

        Me: Not exactly. If you add to a myth, you know what exists in the myth SO FAR. If you add to a myth and it doesn’t sufficiently make sense with the previous myth, or people just don’t like it as part of the previous myth, people often throw it out. That’s how the bible was compiled! There are tons of other gospels that were just tossed over the 700 years it took to compile the bible, based on nothing but preferences.

        Debbie: And there were at least 500 eyewitnesses of Him after the resurrection, I understand.

        Me: There is a reason why Judge Judy doesn’t allow written statements. This is one of those reasons. If I go to court and claim you disintigrated my car with your magic laser eyes, I can’t pull out a doctument from an unnamed writer who claims to be recounting a true story from another witness who said he was there and 500 other unnamed people saw you destroy my car with your laser eyes. THIS IS NOT EVIDENCE. Why? Because it looks exactly like something which is not evidence (ie, I wanted people to believe you destroyed my car with your laser eyes, so I wrote down a story that said there was 500 witnesses and tried to give it to the judge thinking the idea of 500 witnesses would be convincing). Note: You are aware the gospels were not written by eye witnesses, right?

        Debbie: Why would people not want to believe He was real and resurrected?

        Me: Can you imagine neither WANTING to believe something nor NOT WANTING to believe it? Is it possible to just FIND OUT if something is true through critical thinking and evidence? And if there is no evidence, to continue disbelieving until there is evidence? …the same way we do with all claims whatsoever.

        Debbie: Lee Strobel has written a good book about the resurrection, trying to disprove it, and ended up believing it.

        Me: You can’t disprove something for which there is no evidence. That’s a given. What if I were to say that my ghost was there and my ghost saw that Jesus was not dead, he was taken away and nursed to health over 3 days, and then claimed he resurrected? I dare you to disprove my ghost was not there (and if you can’t disprove my ghost was not there, you have to believe me and my story, right? If not, then you can’t also claim Jesus resurrected because it hasn’t been disproved, because you are using the very same reasoning).

        Debbie: one might understand why one would think Christians made their beliefs up if one hadn’t really studied the Scriptures very long,

        Me: Are you aware of how the scriptures were compiled? That they are not “one book”, and that the authorship of the gospels are unknown Christians who lived long after Jesus was dead? This isn’t just a skeptic talking point, this is accepted Christian scholarship based on evidence.

        Debbie: but Jesus said God doesn’t give understanding to people unwilling to believe in God,

        Me: You don’t find that this kind of thinking can apply to ANYTHING outlandish, even things contrary to your god? If you believe in the story logic of a story, the story will make sense. If you try to apply the story logic to evidence in reality, though, it falls apart. (Mount Doom exists in LOTR, so it makes sense that Frodo tries to get there. But Mount Doom doesn’t exist in reality, as there is no evidence for it. But I could just as easily say, “Only those people who truly believe Mount Doom exists will understand that Mount Doom exists.”)

        Debbie: but most ring true in the inner spirits of many others besides just me.

        Me: Ringing true and being true are two different things. There are plenty of people in the world who hold things to be true that “ring true” to them that are utterly contradictory to your beliefs.

        Debbie: Alas, I won’t be perfect until I get to heaven.

        Me: If you are perfect in heaven, how will you be different from god?

        Debbie: Also, if one looks at the quotes, Michael, and Pyrobryan, hell was made for the devil and his angels, and it is not God’s will any people go there.

        Me: If it isn’t god’s will, then people can override god’s will? Are we more powerful than god? Also, why did Satan get conclusive evidence of god’s existence, and humans get nothing? (Again, the bible is not evidence as it conflicts with mountains of evidence, as well as itself.)

        Debbie: But He will let those go there who don’t want to be in His presence and submit to His Lordship, because He wants heaven to be stressfree. What would heaven be like if people were there who didn’t want to be there and who hated God? Would it still be your idea of heaven?

        Me: Actually, yes. If Hitchens isn’t in heaven when I get there, it couldn’t be heaven.

        I encourage you to use the same kind of thinking you are using to get to the conclusion that your god exists, and apply it to anything else for which there is no evidence. It works just the same to “prove” anything imaginable.

      • says

        On the subject of the supposed self-consistency of the bible, you might want to look into how many times it has been edited or added to and how some parts outright steal from others.

        And even then, the stories don’t hold up. An example for your enjoyment:

        In Exodus, God lays down the ten commandments (Ex. 20:1.17):

        1 And God spake all these words, saying,

        2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

        3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me…

        And so on, I’m sure you know the list (or check the link). Then there’s the whole bit about the golden calf and Moses smashes the tablets. After a suitable amount of mass murder (3,000 people according to Ex. 32:28), god is appeased and agrees to give new tablets. He says (Ex. 34:1):

        Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest

        New tablets, with the same words as the old ones, right? That’s what he’s saying, right? “Like unto the first”, right?
        But, what do we get?

        thou shalt observe the feast of weeks…
        Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the LORD…
        Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven…

        What happened to the earlier commandments? The bit about not killing or stealing isn’t in there anywhere. And those were the most sensible parts!

        Any explanation for that, Debbie?

        • jacobfromlost says

          I’ve heard various apologetics for this, but what I usually say in response is this: Imagine the Ark of the Covenant is found, opened, and the tablets are read. What would they say? Most Christians will claim some version of the commonly held commandments. But the bible itself says that these were the only surviving tablets. Imagine the surprise (that shouldn’t be surprise at all since it is right there in the bible) when they open the Ark and discover yeasty bread is forbidden, no one has been celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and that “he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”

          Whatever apologetics there are that explains away the Exodus 34 version as not the REAL 10 commandments…never seems to address the problem of why the Ark is so important if the tablets inside hold the wrong commandments.

  23. pyrobryan says

    So not only does this guy think that Matt deserves to burn in hell for all eternity for his non-belief, but he thinks that Matt’s possible children deserve the same, to suffer for the “sins” of the father.

    How can anyone claim this and then in the same breath talk about a loving, caring and just god?

  24. says

    Dear Jacob, LykeX et al interested,
    I plan to handle your concerns with my comments as I have time.
    First, I don’t believe Christians are to have blind faith. For those who want verses, Hosea 5:11 and Isaiah 5:13 are references to support this. I believe God wants us to have reasonable deductions, using our minds and spirits- gut feelings-if you will, evidence, His Word, His Spirit, and trusted others. But faith is called “faith” for a reason. God wants trusting submitting worshippers who seek and find Him, and not coerced fearful people nor robots.
    Secondly, I agree the Adam and Eve story is not the first written Creation Narrative. However, I believe it was history, and that the other stories evolved from that one. It is certainly more believeable than the world being supported by a turtle. Some believe Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible about 1445 B.C. and this includes the Genesis story of Creation and Adam and Eve, which had been handed down by oral tradition until then. I believe the Adam and Eve account were accurate, as one can see evidence of the subsequent flood (Genesis 6-9)in many fossil records, , and it has been shown that the world’s three people groups have spread out from Mt. Ararat where the Ark is believed to have landed, from the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I refer you to the Internet if you have not studied this. It seems many other creation “myths” contain some of this story in their own and probably evolved from it. An exception might be that of one of the Southern U.S. Indian groups (Anasazi, I believe) which believe it “came up out of the water”. This could very easily be because when the “earth moved apart” as it states Genesis 10:25 and I Chronicles 1:19, the people on the edge of a tectonic plate on the other side of the divide were sleeping and awoke under water, and swam to isolation on the separate new continent. It seems plausible this got passed on as their beginning being separated from those with the original story.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: First, I don’t believe Christians are to have blind faith. For those who want verses, Hosea 5:11 and Isaiah 5:13 are references to support this. I believe God wants us to have reasonable deductions, using our minds and spirits- gut feelings-if you will,

      Me: You do realize that gut feelings are not reasonable deductions? Gut feelings ARE blind faith. (Have you ever considered that you got your gut feeling from the culture around you, including reading your bible…which makes your gut feeling a circular argument. This also explains why religion is so heavily correlated to surrounding culture.)

      Debbie: evidence, His Word, His Spirit, and trusted others. But faith is called “faith” for a reason. God wants trusting submitting worshippers who seek and find Him, and not coerced fearful people nor robots.

      Me: But you claimed you would be perfect in heaven. How is that different from a robot? And if the end result is a perfect robot in heaven, why all the nastiness on earth to get there? (And the whole “god’s doing an experiment to see who is worthy” is not an argument, as god already knows–and if he doesn’t already know, he’s not god.)

      Debbie: Secondly, I agree the Adam and Eve story is not the first written Creation Narrative. However, I believe it was history, and that the other stories evolved from that one.

      Me: If this were so, there would be evidence for it. There is no evidence for it. There is lots of evidence against it, however, not the least of which is that the Noah story was stolen from the Gilgamesh story. (You do realize that “I believe it was history” IS BLIND FAITH, right?)

      Debbie: It is certainly more believeable than the world being supported by a turtle.

      Me: Are those my only two choices? Adam and Eve or a Turtle? (Isn’t it acceptable to say “I don’t know” until there is evidence to support something one way or another?)

      Debbie: Some believe Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible about 1445 B.C. and this includes the Genesis story of Creation and Adam and Eve, which had been handed down by oral tradition until then.

      Me: I feel like you have done very little reading outside the bible. Is this true, or am I being presumptuous?

      Debbie: I believe the Adam and Eve account were accurate, as one can see evidence of the subsequent flood (Genesis 6-9)in many fossil records,

      Me: Not according to paleontologists.

      Debbie: , and it has been shown that the world’s three people groups have spread out from Mt. Ararat where the Ark is believed to have landed, from the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

      Me: Not according to biologists. (Do you really think that your belief system gets to override experts in every field? Experts whose expertise are observable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable?)

      Debbie: I refer you to the Internet if you have not studied this.

      Me: I would suggest you consult experts, not creationist websites. (Are you now suggesting that because something is on the internet, it is true? I can find lots of things on the internet that are contrary to your assertions. The way I tell what is true and what is not is if it is supported by objective evidence. It seems the way you find out if something is true is if it supports your position a priori. Can you see how that might be annoying in this discussion?)

      Debbie: It seems many other creation “myths” contain some of this story in their own and probably evolved from it. An exception might be that of one of the Southern U.S. Indian groups (Anasazi, I believe) which believe it “came up out of the water”. This could very easily be because when the “earth moved apart” as it states Genesis 10:25 and I Chronicles 1:19, the people on the edge of a tectonic plate on the other side of the divide were sleeping and awoke under water, and swam to isolation on the separate new continent.

      Me: Good grief. What you are doing is playing within myth, not reality. You are making up rationalizations to account for other myths. Might you consider that myths are not true by virtue of being myths? Just because a culture has a story about how something came about doesn’t mean that story is true. It means that people want to know answers to things, and when they have no means to discover those answers (because they are ignorant and haven’t developed the scientific method nor sufficient critical thinking skills over enough time to discover enough evidence), they simply MAKE SOMETHING UP because they have a gut feeling that it is true.

      Debbie: It seems plausible this got passed on as their beginning being separated from those with the original story.

      Me: If you study myth, archetypes, etc, you will find that certain aspects are found again and again in human myths because those things are integral parts of human life. There is no correlation that is strong enough to support the idea that your myth is based on some kind of historical truth, and that other myths then came from them. That simply isn’t how the world works around us RIGHT NOW. Stories evolved and get passed on because people like them, and the ones people like involve elements that directly connect to human life–ie, archetypes.

  25. says

    Dear Jacob, LykeX, et al,
    As noted above, in my last post, I am aware there were many other people groups before the Jews. The Bible explains that God chose a particular persons, Abraham, to father a son, and Sarah, to be his mother, from whom God would grow a nation and have a descendant to bless the world. Christians believe that to be Jesus. Jews are looking for a Son of David, but the genealogical records disappeared in the ransacking of the temple about 80 years after Jesus’ birth. Islamics perhaps believe this to be Mohammed, descendant of Abraham’s son, Ishmael,with his wife’s handmaid, Hagar. Mohammed, who lived, I think about 600 years after Jesus, believed Jesus lived and was a prophet, but rejected the notion Jesus rose from the dead, and His key teachings about that. Those inform the reasons for the sacrificial system given to the Jews, for forgiveness of sins, which were to point to Jesus Christ, God’s perfect lamb, who would shed His blood for mankind’s sins to be forgiven. The Jewish nation was to take God’s plan to save and bring shalom to all mankind, and did through Jesus Christ, if you will. I like a book, Chrisitanity is Jewish, which explains this well, in much detail, by Edith Schaeffer.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: The Bible explains that God chose a particular persons, Abraham, to father a son, and Sarah, to be his mother, from whom God would grow a nation and have a descendant to bless the world. Christians believe that to be Jesus. Jews are looking for a Son of David, but the genealogical records disappeared in the ransacking of the temple about 80 years after Jesus’ birth.

      Me: First, you are aware that the Adam and Eve story cannot be true because it is genetically impossible to breed an entire population with only two specimens of the species. Incest of siblings alone (or even a gene pool slightly larger than that) does not allow for a viable gene pool. Second, the bible itself gives two geneologies from David (they don’t match). Third, the prophesy was that Jesus would be a descendant of Adam, but Christians maintain that Jesus was the son of god. You can’t have it both ways. Either he was a descendant of David and fulfilled the prophesy, or he was the son of god and did not fulfill the prophesy, BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE BOTH.

      Debbie: Islamics perhaps believe this to be Mohammed,

      Me: Muslims, not “islamics”.

      Debbie: descendant of Abraham’s son, Ishmael,with his wife’s handmaid, Hagar. Mohammed, who lived, I think about 600 years after Jesus, believed Jesus lived and was a prophet, but rejected the notion Jesus rose from the dead, and His key teachings about that.

      Me: No kidding. It would hard to start your own religion if you accepted the main claims of the previous religion. Notice how Islam is tailor made to get converts from Christianity, while separating itself as a distinct religion? This is how religions are formed (same happened with Christianity–some early Christians wanted to jetison the OT because of these kinds of problems, but if they had, the religion wouldn’t have gotten off the ground as there wouldn’t have been a large enough pool of people and myth to draw from; so they are stuck with a lot of stuff in the OT that Christians now reject, or rationalize as “that was the absolute morality then but the absolute morality now is different” without ever noticing their eggregious logical error).

      Debbie: Those inform the reasons for the sacrificial system given to the Jews, for forgiveness of sins, which were to point to Jesus Christ, God’s perfect lamb, who would shed His blood for mankind’s sins to be forgiven. The Jewish nation was to take God’s plan to save and bring shalom to all mankind, and did through Jesus Christ, if you will. I like a book, Chrisitanity is Jewish, which explains this well, in much detail, by Edith Schaeffer.

      Me: I don’t find sacrificial systems moral, nor do I find vicarious redemption moral. The story doesn’t hang together in reality. If you wrong someone, it is up to you to make amends. If your wrong is such that it cannot be amended, your only hope is to get forgiveness from the person you wronged, and to forgive yourself. If you can’t forgive yourself, that’s life. Maybe you’ll remember that before doing something so terrible in the future, or maybe others will see how riddled with guilt you are and decide they don’t want to commit such crimes that cause themselves to be in such a state. Tricking yourself into thinking the creator of the universe forgives you may be an effective psychological strategy to continue living, but it has nothing to do with reality. Moreover, if you are GOOD at tricking yourself into thinking a Creator of All will forgive you, there is no evil you can’t trick yourself into thinking is in some sense ok. For instance, it was ok to kill the Midiantites that were not virgin girls because god said so, and god knew they were enemies–therefore murdering mothers, old men, old women, and little boys was ok. And I’m not even talking about the actual MURDERERS thinking this, but the believers today who make this argument all the time. They truly believe it was ok to slaughter innocent people because god told them to do it. (And I always found the story logic weird that said virgin girls could not be enemies. Why not? You just slaughtered their mothers, brothers, and fathers. Isn’t it pretty obvious that ALL OF THEM will now be your enemies for life? Of course, when the mythmakers are men, and sex is what they want, that’s how the story unfolds.)

  26. says

    I don’t think God means for information about Him to be completely verifiable, as I stated earlier, as it then wouldn’t be faith. The Bible describes us seeking God, groping for Him, asking for wisdom, and being forgiven for our sins, and made holy so we can hold God in us. Then we come to know in our spirits that He is real for sure, and nothing can change one’s mind. This is how the saints of old were able to die for Jesus. Indeed, I have heard that the reason Lee Strobel, no intellectual lightweight, came to faith was that he realized most (nine) of Jesus’ disciples died for their faith that Jesus rose again, and that they wouldn’t have done so, if the ressurection of Jesus Christ was a hoax. They would have easily caved and renounced it, being human nature is what it is. That their story got passed along and has continued through 2,000 years of history, with more and more convinced and being willing to die for Jesus Christ, rather than recant their faith, points to truth more than those used by certain accusers, these days. For me, I have sensed that God is real and in my life, more than the dollies and Santa Claus,which I pretended were real, when growing up. You are right that I can not verify He is real by more than evidence of His tracks in my life, but this is enough for us to believe there are quarks, muons, and other subatomic particles. I sense His love and presence when I stay close to Him, but don’t when I have unconfessed sin, or am distracted and neglecting Him, which I may do if I am not understanding His point of view, nor trusting His way is best. The more I come to know Him, as I read His word and pray, ask Him questions and see how He answers my prayers, the more I have come to love and trust Him. (It is the same way with kids obeying/wanting to obey parents.)

    • says

      I don’t think God means for information about Him to be completely verifiable, as I stated earlier, as it then wouldn’t be faith.

      Debbie, your god isn’t at all verifiable. Anecdote, faith and feeling that a book sounds right are not proof. No one here would care that you believe in the christian idea of god, if you hadn’t stopped in and told us all how very devout you are and asked if we had god in our life. You are the one who assured us you had it all figured out. At this point, I think it’s time for you to admit that whatever you believe, you don’t have any evidence to offer us if we do not believe your bible is a divine work of a god. It is also clear that you are not taking the time to understand why we do not agree with you, since you continue to provide only anecdote, faith and your feeling that the bible sounds right, as evidence.

      You are welcome to your beliefs but your arguments are only persuasive to people who already agree with you. To a non-believer, you sound quite silly.

  27. says

    Regarding the argument that the Bible doesn’t “hang together” (I like that wording but will try not to use it if it bothers you). By that I mean that the overall story and information about God’s plan and character are internally consistent. I think of it a series of Covenants, which God initiated and modified over many years to try to explain what He is like, to people who often no longer had ears to hear nor listen to Him. Others liken it to a play, with Five or Six Acts. If you include the future, it probably includes Seven or Eight, in which God acts out the themes He is trying to teach.
    There are some contradictions in minor ways, that have to do with changes in the Covenant. Some things explain or expound upon future events, such as the aforementioned sacrifices pointing to the ultimate sacrifice by Jesus Christ. In Proverbs we read that a person who commits adultery shall be pierced through in the liver. Yet, Jesus didn’t demand death for the woman caught in adultery, but said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”. An explanation of this is that when Jesus spoke of the Law, He said He had fulfilled it, (kept it and would be the sacrifice or punishment for our sins). When He spoke of Solomon’s wisdom, He said, “Something greater than that is here” (where He was), -a modest reference to Himself. There are many other things that can be explained if one talks with God and comes to understand the overarching history and plan of God. If you ask me about more specific questions, I may have heard an anwser for them or can ask God, and He gives wisdom in Jesus Christ.
    I agree that billions probably disagree with my religion. Have they sought the Lord or blindly followed their parents’ faith? Have they asked God to explain things or are they happy with the status quo? I know lot’s of Christians who don’t really ask God to explain things much, but they trust other Christians who have, and do have a personal relationship with Him, as I have already described.
    If you look up seven and seventy, you will see these mentioned throughout the Word in various places, without seeming connection to each other. But when one prayed about the meaning, connections with each other were consistent with the overall story.
    Regarding the nature of God and man: I believe these are distinct and man was made to find his perfection or completeness in dependence on God, in Jesus Christ. God on the other hand, in Who’s image we are made, body, soul, and spirit, is complete all by Himself. A perfect man can never be God,except for Jesus, who was one with God, but became man, but can be indwelt by God, as Jesus fully was, when He lived on earth. We are to become like Jesus Christ, not God, which was Adam and Eve and Satan’s sinful desire leading to their independence from Him.
    C.S. Lewis, a respected Christian Theologian (have you ever read his Mere Christianity), has said that to sin is to be “less than human”. We were created without sin, to be dependent upon and have a relationship with God. A perfect angel has a different nature than God and men. An angel was created to serve God and serves men on His behalf. All these have different natures. Yet, Jesus quoted King David as saying, “you are gods”. What did He/they mean by this?

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: Regarding the argument that the Bible doesn’t “hang together” (I like that wording but will try not to use it if it bothers you).

      Me: The wording doesn’t bother me. The idea that something hanging together in a story makes it true bothers me.

      Debbie: By that I mean that the overall story and information about God’s plan and character are internally consistent.

      Me: I don’t agree. There is objective evidence against this. My guess is that you really, really want to believe that it makes sense and is internally consistent. My other guess is that the story would be even better to you if it was EXTERNALLY consistent, so you assume it is true and then try to find evidence to support it, ignoring all the evidence that doesn’t support it. That must make for quite a story experience, but it does nothing to demonstrate the reality of any of your basic claims.

      Debbie: I think of it a series of Covenants, which God initiated and modified over many years to try to explain what He is like, to people who often no longer had ears to hear nor listen to Him. Others liken it to a play, with Five or Six Acts. If you include the future, it probably includes Seven or Eight, in which God acts out the themes He is trying to teach.

      Me: From my point of view, it is remarkably inconsistent with reality on all basic levels. It preys on people’s inability to distinguish between abstractions and realities, so that when one CAN distinguish between the two, the entire notion of taking this story seriously is very, very dumb. And I don’t mean that as an insult, I mean it strikes me as intellectually empty. There is no there there.

      Debbie: If you ask me about more specific questions, I may have heard an anwser for them or can ask God, and He gives wisdom in Jesus Christ.

      Me: Ask him to provide evidence of his existence to me. He’ll know what that evidence should be to convince me, whatever it is.

      Debbie: I agree that billions probably disagree with my religion. Have they sought the Lord or blindly followed their parents’ faith?

      Me: How do you tell the difference between blindly following your parents’ faith, and finding out something that is true beyond the ability to demonstrate it as true? If you can’t demonstrate something is true, there is no way for you to know it is true. You just want it to be true. So what’s the difference between you personally wanting something to be true, and you personally wanting something to be true because that is what your parents believed and you don’t want to believe something contrary to what your parents believed?

      Debbie: Have they asked God to explain things or are they happy with the status quo?

      Me: Here’s the problem. If you are asking god to explain things, you already believe he exists, otherwise you wouldn’t be asking. Do you see how that is psychologically circular? I don’t have to ask god if evidence is correct, or if logic is logical, or if probabilities are what they are. Anyone can do that objectively, and come to the same conclusion, regardless of wishes or wants or hopes or biases.

      Debbie: I know lot’s of Christians who don’t really ask God to explain things much, but they trust other Christians who have, and do have a personal relationship with Him, as I have already described.

      Me: But you haven’t described anything. The words “describe” and “explanation” are defined terms. They have actual meanings. You can’t say that god gave you an explanation if the explanation is NOT an explanation. If I come upon a murder scene, I can say that Superman flew down and killed the person. But is that an explanation? From your view, yes. From mine, no. An explanation that doesn’t connect to objective facts of reality–facts that have been confirmed again and again with observable, reproducible, verifiable, predictive, and falsifiable methodology–is not an explanation. We know from mountains of evidence that people are murdered by people, that people have fingerprints, people have blood, people have unique DNA codes, that people cannot be in two places at once, that people generally only kill for significant reasons, that if a person is killing for psychotic reasons they will leave even more evidence of their guilt, etc, etc. If we accept that Superman is a killer, we have to throw out everything we know objectively about reality to entertain something that has no evidence whatsoever, and never had any evidence previously.

      Debbie: If you look up seven and seventy, you will see these mentioned throughout the Word in various places, without seeming connection to each other. But when one prayed about the meaning, connections with each other were consistent with the overall story.

      Me: So if anything is inconsistent, just pray about and convince yourself it is consistent? That doesn’t make it consistent.

      Debbie: Regarding the nature of God and man: I believe these are distinct and man was made to find his perfection or completeness in dependence on God, in Jesus Christ. God on the other hand, in Who’s image we are made, body, soul, and spirit, is complete all by Himself. A perfect man can never be God,except for Jesus, who was one with God, but became man, but can be indwelt by God, as Jesus fully was, when He lived on earth. We are to become like Jesus Christ, not God, which was Adam and Eve and Satan’s sinful desire leading to their independence from Him.

      Me: You are doing exactly what I described earlier. The story makes absolutely no sense unless you take the core of it as true based on nothing. So the more details that are piled on top of that core, the more you accept not only the core, but all the details as well. It even gets to the point where the contradictions themselves become noncontradictory in your mind, because the entire story must “hang together” no matter what. The fact that above you went into specifics that DON’T MATTER if the core of the story is not demonstrated to be true demonstrates exactly why people believe myths–because it makes the story better, more fun, more meaningful, etc, and makes you feel more important as a part of that story. But it doesn’t make it real.

      Debbie: C.S. Lewis, a respected Christian Theologian (have you ever read his Mere Christianity)

      Me: I can’t remember. Maybe.

      Debbie:, has said that to sin is to be “less than human”. We were created without sin, to be dependent upon and have a relationship with God.

      Me: Again, you are accepting all the details of the myth as true without addressing the core of it. If the core is not true, the details don’t matter. But you’ve become so emotionally enamored of the details, and your very identity has become so interwoven with the myth itself, that you may be incapable of seeing the myth from an objective point of view. You HAVE to accept the core of the myth as true, or the story collapses, as does your identity as a Christian. That’s a self-fulfilling loop that doesn’t connect to anything outside of itself, in exactly the same way any myth is believed.

      Debbie: A perfect angel has a different nature than God and men. An angel was created to serve God and serves men on His behalf. All these have different natures. Yet, Jesus quoted King David as saying, “you are gods”. What did He/they mean by this?

      Me: Why should I care if there is no such thing as angels? You’ve gone down the rabbit hole of accepting the core of the myth as true a very long time ago, and from there you took all the details as true, and then you fell in love with the whole of it. But love, like faith, is blind.

  28. says

    Regarding people having visions of Jesus: These are people some of whom didn’t know of Him, to whom He came, introduced Himself, gave them some information, perhaps of whom to visit or see that could tell them more about Him, some of whom have been subsequently witnessing for Jesus, and persecuted, and who have spoken with people in the West, who have transmitted their stories on TV or through print or other media. Yes, sometimes people have hallucinations, and some of these are treatable, and some have visions. Perhaps because God knows how to arrange the quarks.
    There is a similar story in the Bible in the Book of Acts about Cornelius, and also one about St. Paul.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: Regarding people having visions of Jesus: These are people some of whom didn’t know of Him, to whom He came, introduced Himself, gave them some information,

      Me: Again, how do you know this is TRUE? Again, are you aware that stories can be made up? Are you aware that the stories that tend to get made up and spread around are the stories that people WANT TO BELIEVE? It seems this is exactly one of those stories, as you want to believe it so badly that you completely ignored my question: how do you know it is TRUE?

      Debbie: perhaps of whom to visit or see that could tell them more about Him, some of whom have been subsequently witnessing for Jesus, and persecuted, and who have spoken with people in the West, who have transmitted their stories on TV or through print or other media.

      Me: This is a true story. I had a vision when I was 7. I awoke in the middle of the night, and standing in my darkened bedroom was the ghost of my mother. She looked exactly as she did in a family picture–the picture had been very bright as she was close to the flash, so when she was standing in my bedroom she looked as if light was coming from her. She looked like an angel, and I felt deep down that she meant to say, “Everything is all right.” But more than that, I FELT everything was all right. Slowly she faded away. I really wanted to believe this was real as it was happening. What method do you think I employed to find out if this experience was real or not?

      Debbie: Yes, sometimes people have hallucinations, and some of these are treatable, and some have visions.

      Me: What is the difference between a hallucination and a vision? And why should either of them be “treatable” if such experiences can be of real things?

      Debbie: Perhaps because God knows how to arrange the quarks.

      Me: You are aware that quarks have nothing to do with our specific cognitive functions, right? They are too small.

      Debbie: There is a similar story in the Bible in the Book of Acts about Cornelius, and also one about St. Paul.

      Me: So how do we tell between hallucinations/visions that are real, ones that are not? Do we just accept the ones that we like, and toss the rest? If so, that is a self-fulfilling conclusion. Confirmation bias in action.

      I challenge you to determine how I found out if the vision of my mother’s ghost was real or not, because I did find out (by means that even you would accept, I think). And I am calling it a vision because it was utterly real to me, and I felt like a message was being sent to me during the experience. I will come back to this later once you respond.

      • jacobfromlost says

        Me now: I think Debbie gave up. Anyway, the way I found out if the vision of my mother’s ghost was real or not was pretty simple. As the image of my mother disappeared before my eyes, a thought occurred to me very slowly… “Wait a minute. My mother isn’t dead.” That’s right. She was sleeping in the bedroom next to mine. She’s still alive today. If my mother HAD been dead, it would have been very compelling evidence for a seven year old that ghosts/spirits/souls were real. Although throughout my life, I have had various hypnopompic hallucinations upon suddenly awaking from sleep–I’ve seen spiders the size of dogs, stuffed animals that came alive, and a (very few) other things that, upon minor testing (attempting to touch them, attempting to “wake up” more, attempting to compare them to more mundane objects in the room, etc) they ALWAYS disappeared. If I had captured a spider the size of a dog, I would have called the media. It’s a basic principle that when you see something strange and REAL and test it, it doesn’t disappear. If you see something strange and UNREAL and test it, it disappears. Why? Because it wasn’t real, it was simply your brain slightly malfunctioning.

  29. says

    You have said there is no evidence for God, but I say there is a ton of implication. For instance, you mention Constantine. How did he come to believe and change 300 years of killing and persecuting Christians overnight? How is it that with the spread of Christian faith there has come civilization and health? Yes, one sees thes thins with other beliefs and cultures too, but that doesn’t undo the fact that over centuries, many people have seen history revolving arouond Jesus Christ and His birth, hence, our calendar. And many sane people continue to do so as well.
    I know you will mention other calendars as well. Have all those cultures continued to lead to good ends? I think of the Aztecs, and unfortunately, after the Islamic Scientific and Mathematic Awakening, which was truly a gift from God, why did they not progress and help those people to continuing and productive societies? Those aren’t the only criteria, but some things lead to life, and some do not. Even so-called christian societies that have failed to follow the teachings of Jesus and experience His salvation and redemption (and I don’t believe we can without Him;-you are right, people do change, and not always for the best), there has been “rape and pillage” of the land, influenced by greed and poor stewardship and sometimes genocide, and other atrocities. “A Short History of Progress” by Ronald Wright mentions this as does “Of Guilt and Hope”, written by Martin Neimoller, a German pastor, writing after WWII and having spent some time in a concentration camp.
    Wright even believes that given our civilizations’ current moires and values, which have become decidely less Christian than they once were, we are headed the way of the Aztecs and Incas, and doing ourselves in by greed leading to misuse of our resources on a large scale.
    Christians have been responsible for much of the good and advances in the world since Jesus Christ, but I will let you look up other authors for who have outlined this, such as Marvin Olasky.

    • says

      You have said there is no evidence for God, but I say there is a ton of implication. For instance, you mention Constantine. How did he come to believe and change 300 years of killing and persecuting Christians overnight?

      You are a cherry picker, Debbie. Think of all the terrible things done in the name of and by people who believe devoutly in christianity. Think of all the times the christians have refused to accept scientific advancements because they put into

    • says

      Sorry, I accidentally clicked post before I was done…back to where I was

      You have said there is no evidence for God, but I say there is a ton of implication. For instance, you mention Constantine. How did he come to believe and change 300 years of killing and persecuting Christians overnight?

      You are a cherry picker, Debbie. Think of all the terrible things done in the name of and by people who believe devoutly in christianity. Think of all the times the christians have refused to accept scientific advancements because they put into question the role of god and the importance of humans. You don’t get to call it proof that you give credit to god for humans’ good behavior and free will for people’s bad behavior.

  30. says

    Regarding the Exodus 34 text: I am not changing what the text says anymore than the many theologians who have studied these texts over the years. Many Eastern writers use circular writing, not linear, as we tend to think and write in the West. Those for the Middle East will say one thing, then another, then go back and reiterate what they previously said.
    One sees that in Matthw 24, where, scholars say, Jesus describes the end times, then the ransacking of Jerusalem and the temple around 80 A.D., and then back to describing His return. (Other scholars also say that happens for each of us in our time, which is also true if we die before Jesus’ coming return.)
    I don’t know if that is happening hear, but Moses the text is clear that Moses received the tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them by God. But both times, Moses received many more instructions that he wrote, which have become the Torah. I think the things you are referring to are some of those instruction, and then Moses circles back around and mentions the Ten again, which we are to know. God gave many instructions, but you may read The Ten Commandments again in Deuteronomy Five.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Me: I’m losing interest in this thread. I may post more or less depending on what I read here today.

      Debbie: Regarding the Exodus 34 text: I am not changing what the text says anymore than the many theologians who have studied these texts over the years.

      Me: Indeed, and I say that THEY don’t get to change the text either based simply on the fact that the text makes no sense. You are starting with the assumption that the book MUST be true, so when it says things that are clearly contradictory to what it says elsewhere, that can’t be true–so theologians make up a rationalization that you repeated.

      Debbie: Many Eastern writers use circular writing, not linear, as we tend to think and write in the West. Those for the Middle East will say one thing, then another, then go back and reiterate what they previously said.

      Me: But we know that is not what happened here. The text is a narrative that gives us markers of what happened first, second, third, etc. The entire REASON for Moses to get the tablets in Exodus 34 is because he broke the ones from the second trip (and the first trip, he was only TOLD what they were, and went back for the tablets the second time).

      Debbie: One sees that in Matthw 24, where, scholars say, Jesus describes the end times, then the ransacking of Jerusalem and the temple around 80 A.D., and then back to describing His return. (Other scholars also say that happens for each of us in our time, which is also true if we die before Jesus’ coming return.)

      Me: You are rationalizing, as the chapter under question is not an occasion where the narrative flow is ambiguous.

      Debbie: I don’t know if that is happening hear, but Moses the text is clear that Moses received the tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them by God. But both times, Moses received many more instructions that he wrote,

      Me: I’ve read Exodus 34 several times, and I see no textual support for this. Please give chapter and verse to support your assertion.

      Debbie: which have become the Torah. I think the things you are referring to are some of those instruction,

      Me: Here’s the problem. The text SAYS they are the 10 commandments, and 10 commandments are given! To say that these are more instructions than he wrote makes NO SENSE, as the entire purpose of Moses going up there on that occasion is to get another copy of the ten commandments. It SAYS the lord was giving him another copy! It SAYS, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.’ 28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.”

      Debbie: and then Moses circles back around and mentions the Ten again, which we are to know.

      Me: That makes no sense. God SAYS this is his covenant, write them down. God tells him the 10, he writes them down, god says, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a coventant with you and with Israel”. You have to rationalize all day long to get to your interpretation.

      Debbie: God gave many instructions, but you may read The Ten Commandments again in Deuteronomy Five.

      Me: Yeah, that’s the problem. They don’t match.

  31. says

    Perhaps logic is overrated since our minds are part of body, soul, (mind, will, and emotions or heart which I have read includes the conscience and the affections), and spirit. But I think I have become more logical as I have talked to God about my questions and have been seeking Him and what He wants to let me know. I do ask Him to explain a lot. I still think it comes down to willingness. Jesus said, “If a man is willing, He will know of the doctrine, if I speak from Myself, or from God”. So, I try to be honest about whether I am willing to obey. If God shows me something about which I am not sure I am willing to obey, I can pray that He will help me be willing. I have blind spots, or have rebelled and have failed from time to time, but that is why I love and appreciate that God have me a way to have my sins forgiven.
    If I don’t trust God loves me, it is hard to want to hear what He thinks and what He wants. So, for some of us, we have to ask God to reveal His love. I once read on the jacket cover of “Let God Love You”, that to love God, is to let God love you. To let God love you is to let God know you, your hopes, dreams, fears, etc. May you seek Him.

    • says

      Perhaps logic is overrated

      Perhaps faith is overrated since it allows people to believe they are horrible and sinful simply for existing and that they must fear and distrust people who don’t share their views. Perhaps faith has been used to justify limiting people’s rights, slavery, subjugating women and genocide. Perhaps a book that explicitly condones slavery, subjugating women, rape and genocide but that doesn’t address child abuse is a poor choice to base one’s morality.

      If I don’t trust God loves me, it is hard to want to hear what He thinks

      Or it could be that there is no god and all you are hearing is what your minister, and parents have drilled into you and your own internal dialog.

      • jacobfromlost says

        Marnie: Or it could be that there is no god and all you are hearing is what your minister, and parents have drilled into you and your own internal dialog.

        Me: It would fit with all the available evidence. In addition, if logic is overrated, then illogic must be underrated (is it good to disregard logic in reality? do we see good outcomes when we do the opposite of what logic dictates?). The problem with this is a fundamental lack of understanding of what logic is. If you throw logic out the window, you also throw out the basis for the POSSIBILITY of supernatural claims. The basis of logic is the logical absolutes– a thing that exists (no matter how it exists) is what it is and is not what it is not, and can’t be both what it is and what it is not simultaneously. That is the rock bottom basis of “existence”. To throw out logic in service of your claim is to say that your claim has no basis in existence.

        In other words, it says it doesn’t exist. (To say it exists anyway, outside of the logical absolutes, is to say it exists by virtue of not existing. If that kind of thinking floats your boat, fine, but it sinks all the boats in reality.)

        • says

          In addition, if logic is overrated, then illogic must be underrated

          Ha, that’s amusing, I wouldn’t have considered that particular take on the sentiment, but it does seem to follow.

          In general, I find it funny that the devout often tout the many advancements made in the name of or with the financial support of their given religion, ostensibly to underscore how religion can lead one to a more full and meaningful understanding of the universe and yet the moment that reason, intellect and understanding butts up against religious dogma, it’s suddenly best to revert back to faith. I suspect it’s no accident that the Abrahamic religions consider it sinful to partake of the tree of knowledge. It’s hard to maintain faith and when you educate yourself.

          But in reality, either there’s a god who gave us a brain capable of reason and logic, who has declined to provide evidence to billions and billion of his supposedly loved children and he’s been more than happy to let them all be damned to eternal hellfire because they had no reason to believe in him (sounds very loving) or all those people who believe that myth are completely wrong and are running around threatening people with eternal damnation for nothing. I know which I believe is more likely.

  32. says

    This is the third time I will try to answer the above concerns and hope I don’t lose my letter nor email connection. Apparent, isn’t it that the Prince of the Power of Air doesn’t like the truth to get out?

    • jacobfromlost says

      Helpful tip: What I do to avoid that problem is (after finishing my post) highlighting my text, hitting control-C to copy it, and THEN submitting. I then check to see if it was posted (sometimes it seems to post even if my webpage didn’t stop loading when I initially hit submit). If it didn’t post, I can then paste it and try it again. For some reason freethoughtblogs can be touchy sometimes. Probably too much traffic.

  33. says

    Dear All, I have read your thoughts again and again. Let me say that I do start with the idea that God is real. He has proven Himself in relationship with me over and over again, and I could not say He is not real.
    Yes, I believe in absolute truth. Our conscious minds apprehend part of that. I believe our unconscious minds and spirits, our emotions, and hearts apprehend lots of other information that may be influenced by God, our own selves, other spirits, other influences (parents, culture, friends, enemies, etc.) Logic can perceive some of that, but not all of that. For us to get at pure truth, I believe we need God’s spirit, or the sustaining force in the Universe, if you for now wish to call it that. I believe unredeemed man, or even the unredeemed parts of Christians are unable to perceive the truth, even as a lack of teaching, information, or perception can lead to false or incomplete thinking, for a believer. Just because one is logical, doesn’t mean he or she has been open to all these other influences, nor aware of their affects on his/her life.
    We like to think science is failsafe, but more and more we find the picture portrayed by scientists is incomplete. First one hears (1960 or 70′s), that cholesterol is bad for one. Then one hears that it is certain kinds (low or high density lipo-proteins?) that are bad for one (1980′s). Then scientists learn it is the free radicals roughing up the arteries that gives the cholesterol landing places that lead to deposits in the coronary arteries that bring about a clot that leads to a cardiac event. (80′s or 90′s). Then we learn that it’s trans-fats that yeild these free radicals, the very fats that had been substituted for cholesterol at one time, and that without them, cholesterol isn’t as bad as once thought. Science has to do with describing and explaining what one observes and limiting other variables that can explain the situation.
    Not all science nor reporting on it is accurate either. For instance, some scientists took some newly secreted material from the Mt. St. Helen’s Volcano and had it dated. Various labs around the country came back with from 8-11, 10,000, to a million years, as I recall. Now that is a wide range of “truth”, don’t you think? Did you hear about it in the press?
    And some scientists have noted that the processes that occurred over several years after Mt.St. Helens blew have been observed at Yellowstone National Park and attributed to millions of years. Have you heard that in the press? How can you say you trust in science or that it is verifiable? It is as far as it goes, but not apparently all the truth, and may often include conjecture and opinion, and be incomplete.
    Why do people settle for half-truths and an incomplete picture? Perhaps they don’t want evidence of the fuller story.
    Regarding the Flood: How do you know it is untrue? Because a scientist said so? I find a beautiful description of it’s aftermath in Psalm 104, perhaps poetry written of an eye-witness account that had been passed on orally from one of Noah’s Son’s. And how do you know that the Gilgamesh story wasn’t taken from the eyewitness account and changed, by descendants of another of Noah’s sons, and written before Noah’s account was written by Moses, who wrote many years later? Any culture can change an oral tradition to suit them. I cited the Anasazi(?) Creation Story as an example of myth-making, not to say it was true.
    I am aware of the archetypes of Creation, and the Flood (seed, the fluid of the womb) as being typical for all humans, and that some feel the stories came from this. Or, perhaps God gave them to affirm the truth? Can you prove it one way or another? Can you make the stars, a flood, the heavens rain down, by yourself? Does God have to tell us everything to make it true or so we have proof? Why does He say, “those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him?”
    Regarding the Bible and our perceptions of God being genocidal, mean, etc. Having prayed about these seeming contradictions with the New Testament God I know in Jesus Christ, I have had amazing thought pop into my head. I have not studied a lot, and achieved good grades through lots of hard work. I have read widely, but not about these things, yet when I have had a silent prayer and a thought within minutes or days of it, I percieve it to be from God. Now, it is believed the devil can’t read our thought, but can give us them, hence, temptations. So, one must percieve, did the question and answer come from God or man. I will let other Christians decide, but when I have had ideas from Scripture and other Christians affirm ideas kept silent and pondered over time, I think they are true to the best of our current capacity to understand at the time.
    When I asked God about the above, I began to perceive His dealing with humankind as a series of Covenants. God promised Canaan to Abraham and his seed. But first, He said, He was going to send them to Egypt, where they would live and be enslaved for 430 years, because “the sin of the Amorite is not yet complete”. Now, I don’t know how long you wait for justice, but God waited for 430 years, and then 40 more while his people wandered in the wilderness, and then took a while for His people to conquer the locals. Any of those who wished to could join them from Egypt, as well as the locals, and could avoid the judgment of war. Was that genocide or God’s justice against those who would not ever choose to follow Him?
    The people were to kill all except virgin girls. When one reads the Law, one sees that in the OT, the Death Penalty was given for sins that Christians today believe could invite evil spiritual forces into community. This includes sex sins, and other sins against the body, drunkenness, anger at bedtime,bitterness (unforgivness), occult practices, etc. Today, because we live in the New Covenant, we believe those can be overcome throught the shed blood of Jesus cleansing us from sin and setting us free from the devil and demon’s control, and giving us God’s Spirit to overcome and live according to God’s plan. We never see the D.P. given for adultery, rebellion, witchcraft, immorality, etc. in our Christian culture anymore, though other cultures without Christ and His Spirit on a wide scale continue to practice these to curb evil. We sometimes practice the D.P. to curb evil and give a sense of justice, but it has been shown to be only partly effective, at best. Thus, virgin girls were probably the only ones deemed safe from corrupting spiritual influences of the preceding culture, and thus spared.
    The NT makes clear that demons are the power behind the OT idols, and this is what God sought to eliminate through the punishments for sin, and cleansing of the wrong influences in the new land. Sex was often used in the worship of idols. Otherwise, sin had to be confessed as one laid his or her hand on a sacrifice and blood had to be shed for sin to be forgiven. This was first shown with God slaying animals to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness. Isaiah 53:5-8 mentions that one day a Saviour would do this for us.
    If a people is wandering across the desert and taking over new land, do they have prisons to keep all the foreigners? Do they force them to pretend or repent? Rahab did and they could. But what of those who didn’t? After 430 years, God made war against them through His people, and said to drive them out. Slavery was not God’s original plan, but when some of the people refused to kill the inhabitants, God allowed for slavery. He had allowed indentured servitude in the Law, as a way to help handle debt and poverty, but His is the only culture that provided for freedom after seven years, and complete freedom after 49 years. I can refer you to the Scripture if you wish.
    It seems to me, that waiting about 490 years before complete justice was done, and providing a way of escape through the people choosing to follow Him was actually quite merciful and generous. When have you done that if wronged by your fellow human being? Are you perfect so you can decide when and what your fellow human being deserves?
    The curse said a woman’s desire would be for her husband and he would rule over her. In the New TEstament we see Jesus giving great respect and value to women: The first missionary, the first to see Him after the resurrection, understanding and forgiveness, care arranged for his mother when he died, and St. Paul, inspired by God’s Spirit to tell Jesus followers to submit (in marriage) to one another. That sounds more elevating than most other cultures. And we see in ours that where women have sought their own way, they end up being subsumed by it. Divorce leads to poverty, more working women but less pay and jobs, others raising one’s children, and so on. I am not sure we are better off on the whole, nor that society is, although I am happy the woman’s movement has lead to correction of some anti-christian attitudes that were coming or still in the culture.
    Well, I think this is enough for now. Let me know if I missed something important to address.
    The real question gets back to will one ask God to help one seek Him, to show Him if He is real, and if not why?
    May God grant you grace to want to know, believe, love and follow Him.

    We are learning that the brain picks up much information on many different levels. We have learned about meds that affect the brain. We have learned about subatomic particles. How does one know they can’t be involved in our thinking? They may have to do with the spiritual world and influence us all the time. Meds may suppress this, but we don’t know. We only see evidence of various things.
    The more we add to our knowledge, the more we should respect that there is a lot we don’t know. If one wishes to disprove God, he or she might succeed for a while, but I don’t think for long. If one wishes to prove God, I don’t think He has made it so that we can just use our minds to do this. I think He has given us many different facets to perceive with besides logic, and though it is very important, it is not the only one.
    We obviously have a different POV in how to read Exodus 34. I am merely going by what scholars wiser than I have taught in that regard. You may argue with them if you want. Why do you want to argue about this?
    Regarding OT information about Adam and Eve. There are plausible reasons for the idea that all humans could have come from them. Maybe it takes one of those faculties besides reason, to imagine it, but then it is consistent with reason: After Adam and Eve sinned and the curse came upon human-kind, perhaps their genes were not so polluted by sin that incest was a problem. Perhaps that occurred after several generations.
    Regarding Christians’ failures in the world. Yes, there have been those, and also glorious successes. Christians sin and so do others. But most of the the killing and genocide in the world have not been instituted by Christians. I have not originated this argument. You may look it up.

    • says

      @Debbie, I have no issue with your believing in any god at all. I don’t have any issue with other people believing in other gods. Your personal views are your own but you came to this thread to tell people that god exists. You can go on at length about how you “believe” that god wants this and you “believe” that truth is that, but if you wish to make a case to someone who doesn’t already share your beliefs, you must do so without resorting to things like quoting the bible, faith, anecdote or other forms of non-evidence.

      Saying that scientists have made mistakes, change their views, or come up with new theories is not a critique of the scientific method. In fact, what is beautiful about the scientific method is that it helps to catch dogma and bias. That doesn’t mean bad science doesn’t happen, it means that there is a method for correcting for bad science being done and the method itself, helps to reduce the amount of bias that is introduced.

      But my bigger problem with comparing religious belief to the scientific method is that they approach understanding the world in fundamentally different and opposing ways.

      For instance, a christian might say, “according to the bible, the earth is 6000-10000 years old and man was made around that time, fully formed, in his present form. The first woman was made from his rib.” And then they go out and try to find evidence for that fact.

      A scientist says “how old is the earth?” “what is the history of the human species?” “can we determine which gender existed first?” They then set up tests that can be repeated, falsified, and peer reviewed. When they find evidence to support a hypothesis, they must show their work and others can rip it apart or bolster it with newer evidence. A good theory, like the theory of evolution, will not only answer one question but open the door to answer many more.

      Do you see the distinction? In the christian example, the answer is already established and you must create a story to explain away any evidence to the contrary (of which there is much). In the latter example, you do not know the answer and you are open to changing your assumptions. Science is NOT a thing with an opinion. Science is a method for understanding the world around us. Scientists can have bias and dogma and make mistakes. The scientific method helps to keep those in check.

      The other mistake you are making is the “god of the gaps” assumption. Simply stating that something cannot currently (or ever) be known — for instance, what existed before the universe was created — doesn’t mean that the answer is the story of genesis. Not having an explanation doesn’t mean that a god exists and that your interpretation of a god is the god that exists. It is fine to say “we simply don’t know.” or “Here are some possibilities based on the following evidence, but we must continue looking before we can draw any conclussions.” It is not fine to say “no one has any evidence or proof therefore my creation story is the right one.”

      • jacobfromlost says

        Marnie: It is fine to say “we simply don’t know.” or “Here are some possibilities based on the following evidence, but we must continue looking before we can draw any conclussions.” It is not fine to say “no one has any evidence or proof therefore my creation story is the right one.”

        Me: Case in point, the announcement today regarding the Higgs. This is potentially the most significant scientific discovery of all time, and yet the scientists are NOT making grand claims of absolute certainty, or even moderate certainty. In fact, they are only saying they have preliminary evidence that suggests the Higgs (they even give the percentages of how certain the results are for each experiment!), and THEN start listing all the ways in which it could be wrong and how they will do further experiments to confirm or disconfirm the preliminary results. There is NOTHING like that in religion. When is the last time you heard a Christian say that preliminary evidence suggests Jesus might be the son of god, and then proceed to list all the ways this could be wrong, and THEN go about finding out via falsifiable experimentation (never claiming he IS the son of god as they search for evidence just as the scientists are not claiming they have yet found the Higgs)? Science works through the engine of skepticism, of asking, “How might this be wrong?”, and making a concerted effort to find out through falsifiable methodology. Religious beliefs just don’t seem to care if they are wrong or not, as they have already decided they are right. Science does the COMPLETE OPPOSITE (always assuming we could be wrong, and developing objective ways to find out how), therefore it is annoying to me when believers try to equate science to “just another belief”. It simply is not.

        • says

          @jacobfromlost
          Agreed, 100%. It’s actually inexplicable to me that someone would ever argue in favor of something/someone being unchanging for thousands of years. How many of us (those of us sitting in our temperature controlled homes with hot and cold running water, refrigerators and the computers we are all communicating with) would argue that everything should be reverted back to how it was 2000 or more years ago. I know I wouldn’t. As a woman, I would be property at best.

          The advances we’ve made in hygiene, medicine, technology, human rights, and just about everything else have come from scientific inquiry, not from religion. You can argue as Stephen J Gould did that religion and science inhabit non-overlapping realms and should have no impact on each other but you simply cannot argue that religion and science can fill the same role.

  34. jacobfromlost says

    Debbie: Let me say that I do start with the idea that God is real. He has proven Himself in relationship with me over and over again, and I could not say He is not real.

    Me: But you are aware that what you consider “proof” is the same kind of evidence others use to claim things contrary to your god, right? How are we to tell the difference if the evidence is at the same low standard across the board? Maybe it would be helpful to explain what the minimum qualifications of evidence are. Evidence is observable, meaning various people can observe it. Evidence is verifiable, meaning one person can observe it, and ask others if they see the same thing. Evidence is reproducible. We can examine it over and over again in different contexts at different times. Evidence is predictive. Given the evidence, we can make predictions about what we should expect to see in the future, and then see those things in the future. And most importantly, evidence is falsifiable. That means you must be able to test the evidence where the evidence could be demonstrated to fail the test–ie, not indicate what you thought it indicated. If the evidence is not all of these things, it isn’t evidence.

    Debbie: Logic can perceive some of that, but not all of that.

    Me: I’m not sure you understand what logic is. Can you explain the three Laws of Logic, sometimes called the Locical Absolutes, to demonstrate you understand what the basis of logic is?

    Debbie: We like to think science is failsafe, but more and more we find the picture portrayed by scientists is incomplete.

    Me: I’m not sure you understand what science is. Science makes no absolute claims about anything. Science is always contingent on new observations, new experiments, and new information. We can only know as much as we know at any given time. When we get new information, we have LEARNED, and modify what we thought we knew previously. The engine of this methodology is observability, reproducibility, verification, predictivity, and falsifiability–which works in reality.

    Debbie: …cholesterol…

    Me: As we did more falsifiable experiments, we learned more information. And as we learned more information, we modified our knowledge. There are no absolute conclusions in science, EVER. There is only what we know based on the best evidence we have at the moment. That’s all any human can ever have. (There has never been a method for understanding the world that did better, or proved more successful in reality over time.)

    Debbie: Science has to do with describing and explaining what one observes and limiting other variables that can explain the situation.

    Me: I don’t know what you mean. If there is no evidence for something, science doesn’t claim anything about it. Scientists attempt to formulate falsifiable experiments that can eliminate certain possibilities within the unknown, leaving us with a model of reality that works in reality, until such time that we observe something that doesn’t fit the model. Then we do experiments to figure out a new model that includes the new observations, etc. Science is a process, not a conclusion nor a destination.

    Debbie: some scientists took some newly secreted material from the Mt. St. Helen’s Volcano and had it dated. Various labs around the country came back with from 8-11, 10,000, to a million years, as I recall. Now that is a wide range of “truth”, don’t you think?

    Me: This hardly sounds like a controlled experiment. You are taking the word of those “secreting material”. You have no idea where they got those materials, who they sent them to, what the materials were, what the dating methods were, or whether this entire story is even accurate. You just accepted it the way you accepted your god was real a priori. We can correct for this, and guess what? The science works. (If you think it doesn’t, formulate your double blind, falsifiable experiment and claim your Nobel Prize. You can push Higgs out of the way.)

    Debbie: and may often include conjecture and opinion, and be incomplete.

    Me: Science never claimed to be complete. Again, you don’t seem to understand what science is. Can you explain the scientific method, and the burden of proof, so that it is clear you understand what it is?

    Debbie: Why do people settle for half-truths and an incomplete picture?

    Me: You’re talking about areas in which we have very good evidence and a very complete picture. But on a wider scale, we MUST settle for less than the absolute truth because humans are not capable of knowing what is absolutely true. There is always the possibility of being wrong. If you think that there is absolutely no possibility of you being wrong about any claim you make about absolute truth, you are wrong. There is no way for you, or anyone, to know that.

    Debbie: Perhaps they don’t want evidence of the fuller story.

    Me: If there were evidence, it would be science. Do you not understand that evidence is at the heart of science?

    Debbie: Regarding the Flood: How do you know it is untrue? Because a scientist said so?

    Me: No, because the mountains and mountains of evidence indicates it is not so, and these mountains of evidence confirm each other even though they are completely different methods of dating using completely different principals. There is no reason for these methods to all confirm each other unless the confirmation is true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geochronology If you think there is a vast conspiracy of millions of scientists over hundreds of years to fake all of their evidence, I have to say I do not believe you and have no idea how anyone COULD believe that. The explanation for that conspiracy would have to so extraordinary as to explain not only how they faked the evidence, but how they faked the outcomes that work in reality. The same science is used in medicine, engineering, computer science, etc, and it all demonstrably works in reality. Are scientists secretly using demonic magic to make our cars run, computers compute, and smallpox vaccine vaccinate us to the point of eradicating the disease? How did I know that you’ve never had smallpox?

    Debbie: And how do you know that the Gilgamesh story wasn’t taken from the eyewitness account and changed, by descendants of another of Noah’s sons, and written before Noah’s account was written by Moses, who wrote many years later?

    Me: Because we have dates of when the two were written, and I have read both, which indicate the Gilgamesh version came first. Moreover, we have many examples of old stories being reworked, rewritten, and recirculated (it’s easier than starting from scratch). We have no examples of a real event that was inaccurately described right after the event, and never described again for a few thousand years, when it was then described very accurately somehow. Moreover, if I accept the notion that Gilgamesh’s version is a changed version of a real event that happened previously, on what grounds could I possibly accept the Noah story as MORE accurate, as it was written far after the Gilgamesh story? (Also, what would be the purpose of denying the god of Abraham and inserting several gods, while keeping most of the other main details the same? Remember, you are claiming that this story was written just a few generations after a real global flood event.) Again, your standards of evidence are extremely low, and you seem to only apply the low standards to YOUR conclusions, not to others that have just as much evidence. How do YOU know that Gilgamesh isn’t the more accurate depiction of the supposed “real flood” event, as it came long before the Noah story was written? The answer is that you DON’T. You haven’t demonstrated there ever was a real global flood event, therefore the only rational position is disbelief. You are again assuming the core of your claim, and then dancing around all the details. If the core is not true, the details DON’T MATTER. If you are going to postulate the possibility of a real global flood event, wouldn’t you consider the Gilgamesh story more likely to be the true depiction of it? And accept all the Sumerian gods? And see that the Old Testament version is the corrupted version as it comes several thousand years later?

    Debbie: Any culture can change an oral tradition to suit them. I cited the Anasazi(?) Creation Story as an example of myth-making, not to say it was true.

    Me: So in the thousands of years between the Gilgamesh story being written down, and the Noah story being written down…why do you accept it as an accurate story if the only means it was relayed over THOUSANDS OF YEARS was by oral tradition? It’s like a game of telephone over thousands of years, and yet you think it is a good way to get to the Noah story, and not a good way to get to any other story. Your standards of evidence need to be higher for your claims.

    Debbie: I am aware of the archetypes of Creation, and the Flood (seed, the fluid of the womb) as being typical for all humans, and that some feel the stories came from this. Or, perhaps God gave them to affirm the truth? Can you prove it one way or another?

    Me: Again, you don’t seem to understand the burden of proof. If something looks exactly the same either way, then disbelief is the only position one can rationally take until evidence is presented. Do you understand that unreal things that have no evidence for them cannot be disproven? You can’t disprove that I had an alien in a cage in my back yard yesterday. Does that mean I did? No. Does it mean I didn’t? Not absolutely, no, but given everything we know about how reality works, and that there is no evidence of aliens, and no examples of people with aliens in cages in their back yards, then we are safe in saying that I did not have an alien in a cage in my backyard. If I want people to believe I actually DID have an alien in a cage in my backyard, it is up to ME to demonstrate it is true, not others to demonstrate it is not true.

    Debbie: I will let other Christians decide, but when I have had ideas from Scripture and other Christians affirm ideas kept silent and pondered over time, I think they are true to the best of our current capacity to understand at the time.

    Me: You are again redefining the word “understanding”. If a farmer finds a crop circle in his field, and he thinks it was aliens, and his neighbor thinks it was aliens, and a bunch of kids for the local high school think it was aliens…doesn’t mean it was aliens. We have examples of normal human beings with a board and a rope making crop circles. So with no other evidence, we must assume the simplest explanation is true, not the most complicated one that happens to be the one we WANT to believe (there are lots of possible complicated answers we could chose from, but choosing the one we like when there is a simple one that satisfies all the evidence is irrational and counterproductive).

    Debbie: and then 40 more while his people wandered in the wilderness, and then took a while for His people to conquer the locals. Any of those who wished to could join them from Egypt, as well as the locals, and could avoid the judgment of war. Was that genocide or God’s justice against those who would not ever choose to follow Him?

    Me: If they would never chose to follow him, why did god create them in the first place? Why doesn’t god just strike them dead? Why does god need people to go and kill them? You see, it looks strikingly like the Israelites wanted to slaughter their enemies, and so made up this story to justify it.

    Debbie: Today, because we live in the New Covenant, we believe those can be overcome throught the shed blood of Jesus cleansing us from sin and setting us free from the devil and demon’s control,

    Me: I see how you have rationalized the covenants, but I don’t understand why you think this makes sense. Were some things absolutely wrong with the first covenant, and other things absolutely wrong with the second? Can god change what is absolutely moral? If what is absolutely moral can change, then it isn’t absolute. You are just playing word games.

    Debbie: Thus, virgin girls were probably the only ones deemed safe from corrupting spiritual influences of the preceding culture, and thus spared.

    Me: Huh? What about virgin boys? What about baby boys? (Are you making up these rules as you go along? Aren’t girls weaker and more like Eve, more susceptible to sin?)

    Debbie: If a people is wandering across the desert and taking over new land,

    Me: Why is there no evidence of the 40 years in the desert? None? And why is there evidence that tell us where the Israelites actually were during that time? Is god trying to trick us by changing the evidence?

    Debbie: Slavery was not God’s original plan, but when some of the people refused to kill the inhabitants, God allowed for slavery.

    Me: Have you noticed that you start talking about god as if he is a normal, everyday human leader? Often called a “lord”? Don’t you find that odd?

    Debbie: He had allowed indentured servitude in the Law, as a way to help handle debt and poverty, but His is the only culture that provided for freedom after seven years,

    Me: Only for fellow Israelites.

    Debbie: and complete freedom after 49 years. I can refer you to the Scripture if you wish.

    Me: You mean I can’t pass my slaves down to my next of kin when I die? I’m pretty sure I can, according to the bible, so the 49 year thing doesn’t work. (Also, most people didn’t reach the age of 49 back then, making this argument rather silly. Medical science allowed us to increase our average life expectancy, not god.)

    Debbie: It seems to me, that waiting about 490 years before complete justice was done, and providing a way of escape through the people choosing to follow Him was actually quite merciful and generous.

    Me: You can see how I cannot accept rationalizations for killing old women, old men, mothers, fathers, and children, right? You are aware that there were BABIES killed also, right? Baby boys that were not virgin girls? Are you still going to say you prayed on this and it was ok? Where is your absolute morality now?

    Debbie: When have you done that if wronged by your fellow human being? Are you perfect so you can decide when and what your fellow human being deserves?

    Me: I am good enough to know that slaughtering innocent children is always immoral, yes. I don’t know how you’ve twisted your brain into thinking this is a good thing, but it isn’t. Killing innocent children is wrong.

    Debbie: That sounds more elevating than most other cultures.

    Me: If this is the best argument you have, might I suggest not making it. “Christianity was slightly better than other barbaric religions” is not an argument in its favor.

    Debbie: And we see in ours that where women have sought their own way, they end up being subsumed by it.

    Me: I don’t know what that means. Are you saying we have no examples of successful women?

    Debbie: The real question gets back to will one ask God to help one seek Him, to show Him if He is real, and if not why?
    May God grant you grace to want to know, believe, love and follow Him.

    Me: I again ask you to consider that you are only a human being, and incapable of being absolutely sure of anything. If you think you can be absolutely right about anything, including your god, you are being extremely arrogant. I already told you it is possible I am wrong about your god, as it is possible I am wrong about anything. Is it possible you are wrong about your god? (And if you think it is not possible, on what grounds do you think you can say what is not possible?)

    Debbie: We are learning that the brain picks up much information on many different levels. We have learned about meds that affect the brain. We have learned about subatomic particles. How does one know they can’t be involved in our thinking?

    Me: Because we have studied the question using falsifiable methodology. You can make claims for which there is no evidence, nor any indication that there should be evidence, but that falls under the category of nonsense. And that is a category that includes many things contrary to your version of it.

    Debbie: They may have to do with the spiritual world and influence us all the time.

    Me: Are you saying subatomic particles are spiritual? If so, what is the difference between what has been demonstrated to exist as subatomic particles using falsifiable methodology, and spiritual realities?

    Debbie: Meds may suppress this, but we don’t know. We only see evidence of various things.

    Me: I don’t think it is “we” who don’t know, but only you. If there were any truth to your claims, they could be demonstrated scientifically. The fact that no one has been able to speaks volumes.

    Debbie: The more we add to our knowledge, the more we should respect that there is a lot we don’t know.

    Me: I don’t think you respect that at all, and I don’t think you know what “knowledge” is. You can’t claim to know something for which there is no evidence. (And you don’t get to redefine evidence to include things that fall below the most basic standard of evidence.)

    Debbie: If one wishes to disprove God, he or she might succeed for a while, but I don’t think for long.

    Me: You can’t disprove things for which there is no evidence. Again, you don’t seem to understand the burden of proof.

    Debbie: If one wishes to prove God, I don’t think He has made it so that we can just use our minds to do this. I think He has given us many different facets to perceive with besides logic, and though it is very important, it is not the only one.

    Me: I still don’t think you understand what logic is. Can you explain the basis of logic, and the burden of proof, so I know we are on the same page?

    Debbie: We obviously have a different POV in how to read Exodus 34. I am merely going by what scholars wiser than I have taught in that regard. You may argue with them if you want. Why do you want to argue about this?

    Me: How do you know they are wiser than you are? Wisdom can only be demonstrated in reality, it isn’t something you simply assign to someone in authority. I want to argue about this because it gets to the heart of our disagreement. It is a blatant contradiction that is simply ignored, despite what the text itself says. Why? Because you and people like you start with the assumption that it is true, and even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that it CAN’T be true–that it has a most basic and obvious contradiction that cannot be true in reality–you simply ignore it or rationalize it or hum really loud. Do you not see that there is no there there–that you could switch to any other religion and do the very same thing? Muslims do this all the time with the salt water/fresh water thing, as well as the embriology crap.

    Debbie: Regarding OT information about Adam and Eve. There are plausible reasons for the idea that all humans could have come from them.

    Me: No, there are not. A plausible reason would have to include biology, as humans are biological creatures, and biology makes such a thing impossible.

    Debbie: Maybe it takes one of those faculties besides reason, to imagine it, but then it is consistent with reason

    Me: Something cannot be consistent with reason and not BE reason. This is why I don’t think you know what logic is.

    Debbie: After Adam and Eve sinned and the curse came upon human-kind, perhaps their genes were not so polluted by sin that incest was a problem. Perhaps that occurred after several generations.

    Me: I’ve heard this absurd talking point before. It betrays an eggregious misunderstanding of biology and genetics.

    Debbie: Regarding Christians’ failures in the world. Yes, there have been those, and also glorious successes. Christians sin and so do others. But most of the the killing and genocide in the world have not been instituted by Christians. I have not originated this argument. You may look it up.

    Me: You have not originated any of your arguments, and I’m beginning to think you have never looked anything up. I again implore you to define logic and the burden of proof, as that is our main disagreement. Since you have used it incorrectly several times throughout this discussion, it would be helpful if you had a working understanding of it. Also look up what a true dichotomy is.

  35. says

    He has proven Himself in relationship with me over and over again

    What does that mean? Have you seen him? Had conversation with him? Did you shake his hand? In what manner has he proven himself to you?

    I ask because in every previous case where I’ve asked people this, their reason eventually boiled down to “I had a funny feeling” and that’s not evidence of anything other than a funny feeling.

    Logic can perceive some of that

    Logic doesn’t perceive a damn thing. Logic is not a perceptual phenomenon.

    First one hears… Then one hears…

    So, you have a problem with the fact that science discovers new things? You don’t like learning?

    Not all science nor reporting on it is accurate either

    My emphasis. This is why if you’re serious, you don’t rely on reporters. You read the original articles. Feel free to post a link to the article relating to the case you mention.

    And some scientists…

    That’s what’s called weasel words. Names, dates, links or don’t bother. A vaguely recollected story with no references is no use to anyone and is effectively the same as if you hadn’t said anything at all.

    [science] may often include conjecture and opinion, and be incomplete.

    Which is exactly why we have such a thing as peer-review and why we read the original articles, rather than relying on your vague memories of the popular reporting.

    I find a beautiful description of it’s aftermath in Psalm 104, perhaps poetry written of an eye-witness account that had been passed on orally from one of Noah’s Son’s.

    And I found an oddly shaped rock in a field yesterday, perhaps left as a message from the time-travelling aliens.

    yet when I have had a silent prayer and a thought within minutes or days of it, I percieve it to be from God

    Why?

  36. says

    Dear Jacob,
    I havent’ finished reading just yet, but have the sense you aren’t always perceiving what I am saying. You are working hard to deconstruct my beliefs, but are you really comprehending what I am saying? I was saying that scientists often accept things as finished and complete understanding until something new gets proven. They often blindly accept theories that haven’t been proven, such as macro-evolution because they want to rule out the Creator and his people. But they make big assumptions, and want people to blindly accept them.
    This has been said about the Science behind global warming, even by other scientists. Could it be that the man-made cause is Science-made, such as reflected sunlight on the polar ice? Could our hurricanes be caused by localized heating of the oceans in a similar manner? How would you know? Would scientists who did admit it?
    Regarding oral tradition, rabbis were known for memorizing the whole Old Testament. Scribes have to rewrite the scroll for one error. How likely is it that some accepted poorly memorized versions of oral history? Don’t you think the kids would have ssid, “Dad, it doesn’t go like that?” At least in a moral culture that followed the way of faith?
    Also, yesterday I lost what I was writing as I was proof-reading. I believe there are some essential parts of Scripture that inform our faith and must be believed. It bothers me not to think “God spoke and it was done” regarding creation, though I can understand others’ reluctance to accept a different macro-process. Afterall, the Bible speaks of the First Day, before the sun was created and of a day with God is as a thousand years, and onethousand years as a day. But Jesus spoke when He healed the sick or recreated the flesh of a leper, or the blind eye. I have an acquaintance who lives in India who knows someone healed of AIDS. I have heard of God regrowing a deformed windpipe, and bringing forth a healthy babe, when the tests supported Down’s Syndrome. I have heard of other healings, and just because some may be faked, doesn’t mean all are. I believe when God stirred over the waters at creation, and stirred over Mary’s womb, the same process as creation was taking place.
    We may limit God, because of our finite minds and logic, and all you write, doesn’t relieve me of this notion.

    • says

      @Debbie,

      Your ignorance of science is astounding. It is funny that you don’t see the irony accusing people of “blindly accept(ing) theories” when your entire premise for your views is blind faith and rejecting anything that doesn’t support your views.

      There is more consensus amongst biologist about the theory of evolution than there is consensus amongst christians in how the bible should be interpreted.

      There is more consensus amongst climatologist about global warming than there is consensus amongst christians about what you need to do to go to heaven.

      Why don’t you spend some time looking at the credentials of the “scientists” who reject evolution. How many are doing meaningful research into biology or medicine? The number is probably close to or at zero. How many have degrees in completely non-biological fields (or no degree at all) and do nothing more than make money doing lectures for people who do not want to believe that evolution can be real? I bet you the numbers are close to or at 100%. There is money to be made in pandering to people’s fear of what they do not understand but there is no advancement in our understanding.

      Having the title “scientist” doesn’t make you an expert in all fields. Having a PhD in physics doesn’t make you an expert in chemistry. Being a psychiatrist doesn’t make you a whiz with geology. Simply saying that a scientist believes X doesn’t make that scientist qualified to speak on that topic. You have to judge what his or her field of expertise is, to what degree he or she is an expert and what others in his or her field have said about his or her findings.

      I should also point out that, once again, the only evidence you have offered for your own views are anecdote and faith, neither of which is proof. If you have an interest in genuinely learning about the theory of evolution, I can recommend The Greatest Show on Earth http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Evidence-Evolution/dp/1416594787. If you are honestly willing to consider the available evidence, this book is quite accessible and comprehensive. You can most likely borrow it from your local library. If, after reading this book, you can provide some evidence that is not anecdote or faith that refutes the evidence for evolution, you should consider submitting your evidence for publication in a peer reviewed scientific journal because you would be due a nobel prize.

      • jacobfromlost says

        I second the book recommendation. “The Greatest Show on Earth” explained the evidence for evolution clearly and compellingly. I am fond of using the “mountains and mountains of evidence” metaphor for evolution, but TGSOE illustrated that the evidence warrants a metaphor even larger than mountains.

        Indeed, we have more evidence for evolution than we do for gravity.

  37. says

    Dear Jacob,
    Regarding the Wars against Canaanites: If the Israelites just wanted to slaughter their enemies, why did they wait 430 years to leave Egypt before they did it?
    Regarding Covenants. A covenant may be correct and moral in one context. God doesn’t erase the Old Covenants, but seems to change them, or add to them. Sin is still sin in the New Testament, and it still needs a sacrifice. God reveals over time that no one (but His anointed One) can perfectly keep the Law on this earth, during this age. He reveals someone is coming who will carry our iniquities and by His stripes we may be healed. (Isaiah 53). In time, He sends His Son to make a new Covenant with us, and ratifies it by His death. He wasn’t saying the Old Covenant was false, but it wasn’t enough to save His creation. We are told He is using His people and the story of His grace and kindness to mankind to show the whole world what He is like. The story is absolutely moral and true at every step as it builds on itself, revealing God’s true nature of justice, righteousness, and mercy. He shows that His love is kind. People can still reject Him, and fall under the curse for independnce from God, but that is their choice. He for His part, we have seen, is very patient, and wants none to perish, offering Himself for the alien in the old Testament and the Gentile in the new.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: Regarding the Wars against Canaanites: If the Israelites just wanted to slaughter their enemies, why did they wait 430 years to leave Egypt before they did it?

      Me: There is no evidence of a captivity, nor of the Exodus, so you are basing your question on erroneous assumptions. Do you really find it hard to believe that a group of people in the middle east wanted to slaughter their enemies, and then did so, rationalizing it by saying god said it was ok? I think you are again discarding the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions and replacing it with one complicated explanation that you happen to already want to be true a priori.

      Debbie: Regarding Covenants. A covenant may be correct and moral in one context. God doesn’t erase the Old Covenants, but seems to change them, or add to them.

      Me: I would ask that you look up the word “absolute” and explain how that jibes with an absolute morality being founded on a god. If god can change, or add to them, then they are not absolute, and you’ve just refuted the need for a god to be the author of absolute morality.

      Debbie: Sin is still sin in the New Testament, and it still needs a sacrifice.

      Me: Why? How does killing things erase sin? Does killing something erase that you’ve done something wrong? No. What you are describing are delusions of very primitive people.

      Debbie: God reveals over time that no one (but His anointed One) can perfectly keep the Law on this earth, during this age. He reveals someone is coming who will carry our iniquities and by His stripes we may be healed. (Isaiah 53). In time, He sends His Son to make a new Covenant with us, and ratifies it by His death. He wasn’t saying the Old Covenant was false, but it wasn’t enough to save His creation.

      Me: You are putting an awful lot of limits on god’s power, and I know exactly why. The myth is completely boring with an all powerful god, so there are all these mechanisms to make him powerless. And what do those mechanisms center on? Humanity, of course. How convenient. The storytellers and the audience conspire to make themselves the center of existence, more powerful than the omnipotent creator of the universe as god is powerless to forgive us or stop us from doing evil without creating a bunch of loopholes for rules he is in charge of. Good grief. You really have to be deeply, deeply indoctrinated for this story to make sense.

      Debbie: We are told He is using His people and the story of His grace and kindness to mankind to show the whole world what He is like.

      Me: If god is all powerful, he could find a far easier way to show us what he is like. Just snap his fingers and, by fiat, MAKE us understand. If he can make the entire universe, make dead people live, etc, why is this such problem? (Again, the story is just so dumb. There is no there there.)

      Debbie: The story is absolutely moral and true at every step as it builds on itself, revealing God’s true nature of justice, righteousness, and mercy.

      Me: You don’t know what absolutely moral means. I again ask you to look up “absolute”. If what is absolute changes, is added to, etc, then it isn’t absolute. I can’t help but thinking this story makes sense to you because you don’t know what any of the operative terms mean–kind of like the person who said they were so scared, their stomach was literally in their throat.

      Debbie: He shows that His love is kind. People can still reject Him, and fall under the curse for independnce from God, but that is their choice.

      Me: Why are people who don’t believe in your god EVER successful, much less often successful? What explanation do you have for this? (And saying that the afterlife will be different doesn’t explain the problem. God is also in charge of life on earth. If one is indeed “cursed” by being independent from your god, why do we see people who are clearly not cursed who don’t believe in your god?)

      Debbie: He for His part, we have seen, is very patient, and wants none to perish, offering Himself for the alien in the old Testament and the Gentile in the new.

      Me: You’ve really got your brain twisted around. You’ve made logic of illogic, evidence of nonevidence, and consistency of contradiction. Congraduations. I can do the same thing for any nonsense imaginable. But it doesn’t get us anywhere, does it.

      • says

        @jacobfromlost

        What is sad about people like Debbie (and all believers in supernatural things) is that they have decided that all authority is both valid and invalid and what is true is what you want to string together to support your beliefs. If you can believe that all scientists are conspiring to hide evidence of homeopathy, noah’s flood, faith heeling, miracles, esp or ghosts except for the 3 people who claim to be experts who have pages of testimonials and use lots of big impressive words, then you can believe that your daughter is born more sinful than your son for something that supposedly happened 6000 years ago but which should have been forgiven but apparently wasn’t after god sacrificed his son for our sins. You can believe that vaccines cause autism despite innumerable numbers of studies done around the world, that categorically disprove that theory.

        It is people who cannot recognize valid credentials, the peer review process, types of evidence and logical fallacies, people who think that “truth” is an achievable end and that you get to it by consensus on the internet and not by searching for answers and trying to question your own assumptions, who ultimately hold us back as a species, from making the progress we should. Truth is an ongoing process.

        The scientific method is like first aid. It’s a tool, not a dogma. 100 years ago, the first aid for choking might be a slap on the back, now it’s the heimlich maneuver. When I was a kid, first aid for a bloody nose was to pinch your nose and lean your head back, now you lean your head forward. That doesn’t make first aid invalid, it means first aid is better because it changed in light of newer information.

      • says

        @Marnie

        I quite agree. That’s why I think that arguing the specific points is unlikely to get us anywhere. Instead, we should focus on basic epistemology and reasoning. We need to teach these people how to think before we can get anywhere.
        They may not agree after that, but at least we’ll be able to have a productive discussion. I think this thread shows clearly that this isn’t really going anywhere simply because Debbie isn’t equipped to have a rational discussion on this subject.

        @Debbie

        I hope you don’t take offense at this, but I really think we need to go back to basics. Your posts give me the impression of a person who has perhaps read a lot, but not thought much about it, nor have learned how to really evaluate and argument.

        I’d be very interested in pursuing a discussion along the lies of what I wrote earlier: What is reasonable justification for believing something?

  38. says

    I was saying that scientists often accept things as finished and complete understanding until something new gets proven… They often blindly accept theories… they make big assumptions…

    You don’t know many scientists, do you?

  39. says

    Dear Jacob,
    Good question about baby boys. Maybe it has to do with the “sins of the fathers” being the ones’s passed along. Maybe it has to do with the Y Chromosome? God doesn’t explain it. But, these previous words seem to.
    If you say we have little evidence of the people back then, how can you infer you know how long they lived? The Bible says Moses lived to 120, and his older brother and sister to very similar ages.
    I have studied biology and genetics, though a few years ago now. I am aware, if you give a disease with a specific gene affect in it, one can target other diseases. This has been tried to help people with cystic fibrosis. If you have two people who have no or very little DNA that has been affected by pollutants or eating the wrong things, and subsequent diseases, nor who have been exposed to diseases, if you buy the idea the world began to have these and toxins, etc., after The Fall, and that infections or other things such as the effects of sin can cummulatively affect DNA, and that God can create whatever combinations He wants, one can see how at first there may have been few problems, and rules about incest came later, as more became apparent. Why is it that those with excema and eunuchs were once excluded from worship, but we read in Isaiah 56, that they are now to be accepted?

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: Good question about baby boys. Maybe it has to do with the “sins of the fathers” being the ones’s passed along. Maybe it has to do with the Y Chromosome? God doesn’t explain it. But, these previous words seem to.

      Me: This is called rationalization. You start with the conclusion, and then you try to force the evidence into it. The evidence doesn’t fit. Killing baby boys is wrong. Even according to the myth, the sins of the father doesn’t just apply to Midianite boys. It applies to ALL PEOPLE. Does that make it ok to kill old men, men, and boys now? Or do we not have the sins of our fathers anymore? Those are the only two choices if your argument is to work.

      Debbie: If you say we have little evidence of the people back then, how can you infer you know how long they lived?

      Me: Because I didn’t say we had little evidence of the people who lived back then. I said there is no evidence of the 40 years of Exodus. I also said we have evidence of where the Israelites actually were during that time. Did you just ignore what I wrote? We know how long they lived by examining their skeletons. It’s very easy to do.

      Debbie: The Bible says Moses lived to 120, and his older brother and sister to very similar ages.

      Me: The bible is wrong. No one lived that long back then.

      Debbie: I have studied biology and genetics, though a few years ago now.

      Me: At a university? What is your degree in? (If you say you studied it on creationist websites, the way you studied radiometric dating on creationist websites, you can see how I will not take such proclamations as authoritative.)

      Debbie: I am aware, if you give a disease with a specific gene affect in it, one can target other diseases. This has been tried to help people with cystic fibrosis. If you have two people who have no or very little DNA that has been affected by pollutants or eating the wrong things, and subsequent diseases, nor who have been exposed to diseases, if you buy the idea the world began to have these and toxins, etc., after The Fall, and that infections or other things such as the effects of sin can cummulatively affect DNA, and that God can create whatever combinations He wants, one can see how at first there may have been few problems, and rules about incest came later, as more became apparent. Why is it that those with excema and eunuchs were once excluded from worship, but we read in Isaiah 56, that they are now to be accepted?

      Me: This is a lot of gibberish that again makes the unnecessary assumption that the myth is true, and then tries to jam evidence into the conclusion. There is no reason for disease to affect all living things after The Fall. The Fall was of mankind, not every biological organism. Again, the story doesn’t hang together. You are making very big assumptions, and then ignoring that you’ve done so. The only assumptions science makes is that logic applies, evidence is real, and lots of different kinds of evidence that has no reason to confirm each other (all operating under entirely different principles) and yet DOES confirm each other makes the confirmation even more reliable, as it is even more difficult to account for that confirmation using fewer assumptions.

  40. says

    Dear Marnie, LykeX, and all,
    We have proof from several eye-witnesses that God is real and His Son rose from the dead and a few believe.
    If we are body, soul, (mind, will, eomotions or heart/affections, and conscience), and spirit, how would God talk to us? Would He speak outloud? We have historical records, although you discredit them, that He has done that. He walked and talked with the first humans, although the story goes, they hid from Him when they realized they were exposed and ashamed. After that, certain people tried to “walk with God” (Enoch, Noah), and do things His way (Able). God made Himself known to Abraham, Sarah,Isaac, Hagar, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, directly. He spoke to Moses “face to face”, though Moses was only allowed to see His back, and most everyone else through Moses, and the Law and visuals of the temple and sacrifices. Moses suggested the people complain to God instead of him, but most were afraid of God. One who wsn’t was Joshua, who had been Moses’ aide, since he was a young man. Gideon and King David are others who claimed to have a personal relationship with God. God spoke during the times of the Kings through priests and prophets. The people didn’t listen well. If I was a bird, I could talk easier to birds. God came in human form to make it easier for us to understand Him, among other reasons. John the Baptist, his cousin, and introducer, sought His glory, had a less complete expression of God’s nature, and when he was imprisoned, began to question: “Are you He, or should we look for someone else?” Jesus said, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and POOR HAVE THE GOOD NEWS PREACHED TO THEM. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” John would have known this as code for the Messiah who was to come, citing as it does Isaiah, but adding the Good News to the Poor, part from another Scripture. Jesus life, death, and resurrection were witnessed. Priests in the 3 Liturgical Denominations can all trace their ordinations back to the laying hands on the following from St. Peter. 9 of 10 disciples died for their eye-witness accounts. If God wishes to make Himself known today He does so to believers hearts and spirits and to one another through them.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: We have proof from several eye-witnesses that God is real and His Son rose from the dead and a few believe.

      Me: Ok, I hate to do this, but I’ll do the research for you, as you seem to not want to do any.

      Matthew: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew#Authorship_and_sources

      Matthew was not written by Matthew. The title was added later. Matthew copies from Mark, “Q”, and “M”. (Eye witnesses don’t copy from other sources.) The book later called “Matthew” does not name its author in the text.

      Mark: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mark#Authorship_and_sources

      “Mark” was not written by Mark. The book later called “Mark” does not name its author in the text. The book called “Mark” is a prime example of mythmaking, not eye witness testimony. Read this section: “written in Syria by an unknown Christian around AD 70, using various sources including a passion narrative (probably written), collections of miracles stories (oral or written), apocalyptic traditions (probably written), and disputations and didactic sayings (some possibly written).[7]”

      This is exactly what I was talking about earlier. Oral traditions later written down are not reliable. Moreover, oral traditions later written down, combined with other writings, sayings, and teachings, are the LEAST reliable of all. It is as far from “eye witness” as you can possible get!

      Luke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Luke#Sources
      The book later called “Luke” does not name its author either. From the text, he was a competent writer and story teller who could fashion his stories to the needs of the moment. Evidence indicates he gathered other sources to write his book. These sources include the book later called “Mark”, the “Q” document, the book later called “Matthew”, and the “L” source, probably from oral tradition.

      John: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      The book later called “John” was not written by an eye witness. There is evidence the book was written in “three layers”, and didn’t reach the form we know today until 70 years after Jesus was dead. The book didn’t have a single “author”, and was written and rewritten/tweaked by several authors over several years.

      __________________

      All of this is accepted CHRISTIAN scholarship, that has been determined by those “wise theologians” you spoke of previously (the ones who know more than you do so you just have to accept what they say, remember?). Therefore you cannot throw it out. The way most Christians get around this is by simply asserting that the holy spirit inspired the authors so that the books would be written accurately, and over the next 600 years compiled accurately (why it took 600 years is beyond me), but all the evidence suggests mythmaking and legend at every turn. Everything looks exactly as it should if it is all written by people who wanted to believe, read by people who wanted to believe, or just (written and read by people who) wanted others to believe…or just wanted to add their two cents to the myth the way “fan fiction” does today. Stories are quite powerful, and if everyone knows the same story, it can bind groups together. But that doesn’t make the story TRUE. Doing even minor research reveals that view Christians even back then agreed with each other–Gospels had different views, different agendas, different emphases. The gospels of back then are NO DIFFERENT than if a Christian today (or a committee of Christians in regard to “John”) took the gospels in the bible, and a few Christian novels, a few sermons by Pat Robertson, a few common sayings like “What would Jesus do?”, and wove them all into a new Gospel. That is EXACTLY how the originals were written! Not by eye witnesses.

  41. says

    @Debbie,
    Since you keep saying the same thing, I’ll keep saying the same thing:

    Anecdote is not evidence
    The plural of anecdote is not data
    Your stories of miracles are as valid as all other religion’s throughout human history’s stories of miracles
    Just because you cannot explain it doesn’t mean god did it

  42. says

    We have proof from several eye-witnesses that God is real and His Son rose from the dead

    Who are these eye witnesses? Surely you are not so simple-minded as to propose the gospel accounts as eye witness statements. They’re not. Simply reading them shows that with all necessary clarity.

    We have historical records, although you discredit them, that He has done that

    No, we have texts that claim such things. We also have texts that claim that the Norse gods are real and the egyptian gods and the greek gods and the hindu gods and the…
    Do you accept those texts? Then why should we accept yours?

    I think we all get that you believe this stuff. The question is whether you have any good reason to. In your opinion, what is a good reason to hold a belief? I’m not talking specifically god belief, but any belief whatsoever. What is reasonable justification for believing something?

  43. jacobfromlost says

    Debbie: I havent’ finished reading just yet, but have the sense you aren’t always perceiving what I am saying. You are working hard to deconstruct my beliefs, but are you really comprehending what I am saying?

    Me: Yes. I am comprehending exactly what you are saying. You believe in your god, a god who so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to save all of humanity so long as they accept his salvation. This is based on a deeply held belief and supported by scripture, and allows humans the opportunity to absolve themselves of their sins and spend eternity with god. Are you comprehending what I’m saying? (I eagerly await your explanation of science, the burden of proof, and the Laws of Logic below, so that you demonstrate you understand what I’m saying.) I could slip into any forum right now and make your argument for you, and no one would know I’m an atheist (including other atheists). You, however, could not slip into this forum, posing as an atheist, and make rational arguments against various god-claims because you don’t have the most basic understanding of science, the burden of proof, or the laws of logic. This relative state of affairs is conclusive evidence that I objectively understand more about this debate than you do, as I understand both of our positions, while you still do not understand mine. If you think you DO understand my position, define the terms that I already implored you several times to define.

    Debbie: I was saying that scientists often accept things as finished and complete understanding until something new gets proven. They often blindly accept theories that haven’t been proven, such as macro-evolution because they want to rule out the Creator and his people.

    Me: I know exactly what you are saying, and you are flat wrong. Scientists accept nothing as “finished” and “complete”, as science isn’t a means to get to absolute truth, nor absolute conclusions. It is a process that works in reality and is never finished. I can explain evidence again if you need me to. Moreover, there is no such term as “macro-evolution”. Creationists made that up. DNA alone confirms evolution, as it gives us a pattern of patterns that form a tree of life. These patterns indicate common descent in exactly the same way that paternity tests indicate who the father of a child is. We know where DNA comes from, we know how it is passed down. The simplest explanation of not only this evidence, but mountains of other confirmatory evidence that all confirms each other even though the principles of each area of evidence are completely different and have no other reason to confirm each other, is that evolution by natural selection is true. There is no simpler explanation. If you think you have a simpler explanation for these mountains of evidence, call the media right now and claim your nobel prize. (Note: God did it is a more complicated explanation, not a simpler explanation, as you are adding on an assumption that is not necessary given all the evidence.)

    Debbie: But they make big assumptions, and want people to blindly accept them.

    Me: No, science makes the fewest assumptions possible. That’s called Occam’s Razor. Evolution by natural selection makes the fewest assumptions possible give the mountains of mutually confirming evidence. To disregard these mountains of evidence, you MUST make far more assumptions than the evidence warrants.

    Debbie: This has been said about the Science behind global warming, even by other scientists. Could it be that the man-made cause is Science-made, such as reflected sunlight on the polar ice? Could our hurricanes be caused by localized heating of the oceans in a similar manner? How would you know? Would scientists who did admit it?

    Me: I have no idea what that means. You are aware that scientific principles ARE what has led to man-made global warming? No one is suggesting the globe is warming simply because more people are breathing (although that would also be scientific by the way).

    Debbie: Regarding oral tradition, rabbis were known for memorizing the whole Old Testament.

    Me: Sure, but they were memorizing it FROM A WRITTEN TEXT. The written TEXT of Gilgamesh far outdates any written TEXT of the Old Testament (especially if you consider that fragmented texts of Gilgamesh have been found that FAR outdate the oldest complete texts of Gilgamesh that have been found). Do you get my point now? You can’t claim an oral tradition over thousands of years that eventually led to the OT being written down thousands of years after the Gilgamesh text makes the OT more reliable in relating a supposedly real event that occurred slightly before the Gilgamesh text was written, and THOUSANDS OF YEARS BEFORE the OT was written. Your logic refutes itself by suggesting a written text right after the event is faulty, while a written text that COULD HAVE ONLY COME FROM THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF ORAL TRADITION AFTER THAT is more reliable. The simpler explanation is that the OT writers read the old written texts of Gilgamesh, and copied them, inserting their god to replace the Sumerian god’s.

    Debbie: Scribes have to rewrite the scroll for one error. How likely is it that some accepted poorly memorized versions of oral history? Don’t you think the kids would have ssid, “Dad, it doesn’t go like that?” At least in a moral culture that followed the way of faith?

    Me: You’re misunderstanding again. THE WRITTEN TEXT OF GILGAMESH FAR OUTDATES THE WRITTEN TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. The only way to get from Gilgamesh to the OT is through oral tradition ALONE, not texts being written down and copied, as there are no texts that date to ANYWHERE NEAR the time the text of Gilgamesh was written.

    Debbie: Also, yesterday I lost what I was writing as I was proof-reading.

    Me: Did you do the control-c trick I suggested? It works in reality. (I found it slightly amusing that you attributed losing your posts to a supernatural cause, while I gave you a rational means to avoid losing your texts in the future…and you simply ignored that advice and continue losing your texts. This would be a case in point to be rational and have something work in reality, or continue ignoring rational advice and be forced to keep losing your texts.) After you highlight the text, hit control-C (hold down control, then hit the letter C). That will save the text to your computer. If the post is lost or doesn’t post to the website, put your cursor back in the comment box and hit Control-X (hold down control, then hit X), which will paste the whole post back in the comment box. Then hit submit again, check to be sure it posted again, and if it didn’t, repeat with control-X again until it does. See how useful logic and reason are in reality?

    Debbie: I believe there are some essential parts of Scripture that inform our faith and must be believed.

    Me: I know you believe that. But believing certain things must be believed is circular, and can be applied to any other religion or belief. You can take the exact same stance on Islam, Scientology, Bigfoot, aliens, or anything else. If you are to believe it, then there are certain things in it you HAVE to believe. BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE! That just means you’ve tricked yourself. You might as well say, “If we are to believe in Bigfoot, then we don’t have to believe this sighting, or that hair evidence, or that grainy film from 1965, but we DO have to believe Bigfoot exists if we are to believe Bigfoot exists.” Do you see how unreasonable that is now?

    Debbie: It bothers me not to think “God spoke and it was done” regarding creation, though I can understand others’ reluctance to accept a different macro-process.

    Me: I know it bothers you. You love your myth, and you have to accept the core of it based on nothing but the fact that it holds the whole story together (not to mention your identity), and then piled on a whole bunch of details that all depend on the core. You’ve then fallen in love with the whole thing, and based your entire identity on it, without ever bothering to find out if it is true or not. Do you really not understand that the very same thing is done in every religion? In every superstition? In every conspiracy theory? In every urban legend? These things are appealing to us because the stories are easy to understand, and put us at the center of the story of existence. But these are not reasons to believe they are true. If anything, they are reasons to believe they are not true, as they conform to what we want to believe… and we know what we WANT to believe is usually not true. Luckily we have means to find out if it IS true. It’s called the scientific method.

    Debbie: Afterall, the Bible speaks of the First Day, before the sun was created and of a day with God is as a thousand years, and onethousand years as a day. But Jesus spoke when He healed the sick or recreated the flesh of a leper, or the blind eye. I have an acquaintance who lives in India who knows someone healed of AIDS.

    Me: And I know a guy who had a brother who’s girlfriend’s uncle was abducted by aliens from Venus.

    Debbie: I have heard of God regrowing a deformed windpipe, and bringing forth a healthy babe, when the tests supported Down’s Syndrome. I have heard of other healings, and just because some may be faked, doesn’t mean all are.

    Me: I think even you must see that you are grasping at straws here. “I have heard” does not evidence make. What would be impressive is if you took a child with Down’s Syndrome to a healer, with numerous cameras, scientists, skeptics, and people from various other religions to observe, and healed the Down’s Syndrome child before everyone’s eyes. What’s the problem with this if such things are TRUE AND REAL? You claim a baby was healed, but the story you retell looks exactly the same as a test that was faulty. How do we know the test was faulty? BECAUSE THE BABY WAS BORN WITHOUT DOWN’S SYNDROME. Good grief. If you want to establish that someone was healed of something like Down’s Syndrome, or, indeed, having amputated limbs grow back, you have to first establish that the person HAD SUCH A CONDITION IN THE FIRST PLACE, and a third hand story of a test that indicated Down’s Syndrome is as unreliable a method to establish a preexisting condition as it gets. Then, if you are to establish the healing was real, the healing must be conducted under CONTROLLED CONDITIONS. If such a thing were real, this would be very simple to do. If you believe this is real and true, why do you not go out and conduct a controlled scientific experiment to prove it to all us naysayers? Write up your methodology so we can all do the same thing and prove it to ourselves. Then we will have to shut up and you will have proof that you are right. Otherwise you are just making stuff up, or passing along stuff that was already made up.

    Debbie: I believe when God stirred over the waters at creation, and stirred over Mary’s womb, the same process as creation was taking place.

    Me: I absolutely understand that you believe it. But believing it because you believe it isn’t a reason to believe it, and it isn’t evidence. (I notice you still haven’t explained science, the burden of proof, or the laws of logic yet. I must take this as evidence that you don’t know what any of those things mean, and haven’t even taken a few moments on the web to find out. That saddens me. I once again ask you to find out what a true dichotomy is. All of these things are at the core of our disagreement, and yet you seem to be hiding from them. I think I know why, and I predict that you will continue hiding from them. I predict you will NEVER return to this forum to explain what those things mean because you are afraid if you understand them, your faith will crumble. That alone tells me that you already know, deep down, that you are fooling yourself. All you have to do to prove me wrong is do the research and return with a coherent explanation. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.)

    Debbie: We may limit God, because of our finite minds and logic, and all you write, doesn’t relieve me of this notion.

    Me: I doubted it would, as the notion you have is one you love and is self-perpetuating without any feedback mechanism outside of itself. It’s a loop that you don’t want to examine objectively. I again IMPLORE YOU–I REALLY REALLY IMPLORE YOU–to explain to me what science is, what the burden of proof is, and what the laws of logic are. I would also ask you to find out what a true dichotomy is. You are still laboring under misconceptions that, if true, negate even the POSSIBILITY of your god, and yet you don’t even understand that is what you are doing. If you don’t know what those terms are, google them, and return to explain them to us here so we know that you understand the elements of the debate. You continually make claims that violate the laws of logic, the burden of proof, and science. By doing so, you vitiate any possibility of your god existing and continue on as if you’ve done nothing at all. Good grief.

  44. says

    Dear Jacob, Marnie, LykeX, et al,
    The Wikipedia Article seems very well researched. What points to doubt in its message for you, points to truth for me.
    I believe it has to do with the will.
    I will concede that perhaps the Gospels weren’t written by those to whom we have attributed them. I don’t know. I do know that some people try to debunk what they don’t want to believe. Even if they werent’ eye-witnesses doing the writing, how do you know these were not written by scribes? Apparently Paul often used a scribe. If it were sixty years after some event, and the people involved were dying off, wouldn’t you want to get accurate accounts of that written down? One of my Grandmothers’s writing deteriorated over time, so if penmanship is a concern, that could explain it. Also, why would these people write down something that was considered subversive and dangerous, as if it were true, if it were not? What would be the point? They could have called Jesus a good teacher and let it go at that.
    You are right that one can’t prove a miracle. One would have to trust in a scientific test for Down’s Syndrome, which is DNA testing from amniotic fluid.
    I have thought they were eye-witness accounts. But, even if they are not does that necessariy make them unaccurate? The four Gospels have many stories, and none contradict the others, though may tell separate facets.
    I believe Josephus wrote of Jesus living during his lifetime. And what of apostolic succession of which I wrote earlier? And what of the 7′s and 70′s of which I was telling you?
    I have seen this in the last 11 years or so, that the theme of God waiting for judgment until 70 x 7 is althroughout Scripture, beginning with Lamech, in the Psalms, Daniel, and Jesus’ words. Only the Holy Spirit could inspire this and reveal it. I have heard no others explain it in the Scripture, nor mention this until I began to realize and speak of it, a few years ago.
    I don’t claim to be anything but a Bible-reader who seeks God and tries to follow Jesus Christ, believing He is my Saviour and Lord. So, forgive the grammatical, and other errors. I read widely, but not that many academic texts. Many of you are brilliant at debunking Christian arguments. Why are you trying so hard? What about God do you not like? I believe it might be the hell and judgment part about which you have complained? Let me ask a non-original question: Would you like a world or heaven in which there was evil but no justice, in which there was no hope for love, goodness, beauty, truth, and so on? (C.S.Lewis)
    I have no trouble believing in natural selection, nor that beaks can change over time. But, have you ever studied the clotting cascade? It is marvelous, but hard to imagine it evolving, with it’s feedback loops, activation, and pathways for clotting and fibrinolysis (again noted by a different author). (If you are interested in a good scientific text about it try , by David P. Fischbach,M.D and Richard P Fogdall, M.D. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1981. Or there is probably a more current text out by now. Other authors have noted, where are the intermediate steps building up to a complete clotting system? Did those animals bleed out? Clot too much? Then how did any survive, when it is such a precarious system that normally clot, as well as abnormally clots. Happenstance seems harder to believe than creation for me. ANd you have not explained how seashells got fossilized in rock on a high mountain near hear, which one can see in the rock used to build the visitor’s center.
    My point about Gilgamesh agrees with yours. I have forgotten who wrote it, – was it the Sumerians, but obviously, if Noah and descendants were passing this story along, maybe it got perverted by other cultures, and they wrote it down long before Moses did. Or could it have been an account of a previous flood, not The Flood? I don’t know lots of the particulars about the Gilgamesh Story, and hesitate, it being a lower priority right now. Anyway, my Anasazi Myth was an illustration of a similar possibility.
    My point about the baby with Down’s was a scientific test, in which you say you trust, had revealed it to be present, but the baby was born without it.
    We can’t always prove miracles, what would have occurred. God said He would destroy Ninevah, then when He didn’t on Jonah’s timetable, which made Jonah look foolish, doesn’t mean Jonah hadn’t heard from God.
    If one is only aware of logic, is one missing what some have called voices? The inner stirrings or awarenesses that something is speaking to us about justice, or what is behind beauty, or why one seeks relationships, and wants them to be good? Why is there such a large Spiritual section in a bookstore. (Read this point on a Colson Center website today.)
    I am not just in love with a myth. I am in love with Jesus. May you find He loves you.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: The Wikipedia Article seems very well researched. What points to doubt in its message for you, points to truth for me.
      I believe it has to do with the will.

      Me: The problem with this assertion is that if this same kind of evidence was in support of any other religion or claim, you would NOT SAY it points to truth.

      Debbie: I will concede that perhaps the Gospels weren’t written by those to whom we have attributed them. I don’t know. I do know that some people try to debunk what they don’t want to believe.

      Me: Good grief. I again ask you if it is possible to not WANT to believe something, and also not NOT WANT to believe something. To simply find out if it is TRUE. It doesn’t matter if I want to believe it, or don’t want to believe it. Reality doesn’t care what you want or don’t want.

      Debbie: Even if they werent’ eye-witnesses doing the writing, how do you know these were not written by scribes?

      Me: You’re missing the point entirely. Did you not read the evidence? What you are trying to suggest doesn’t jibe with the evidence.

      Debbie: Apparently Paul often used a scribe. If it were sixty years after some event, and the people involved were dying off, wouldn’t you want to get accurate accounts of that written down?

      Me: If something of such major importance happened in reality, then those involved would have written down their personal accounts RIGHT AFTER IT HAPPENED. We would have gospels from all the disciples, and they would all agree with each other, and date to the time the events actually happened. That still isn’t evidence the events DID happen, but it is better than third, fourth, and fifth hand accounts cobbled together from oral traditions, second hand written accounts, traditional sayings, and anything else that pops up to throw in the story to make it a more compelling story.

      Debbie: One of my Grandmothers’s writing deteriorated over time, so if penmanship is a concern, that could explain it.

      Me: You haven’t studied this question at all, ever, have you? You do realize you are having an argument with someone, and you are depending on ME to know the facts under discussion. That is not a useful way to argue, as I first have to teach you what the facts are, and then make my argument while pointing out how the facts utterly contradict your argument. You are putting all the work on me.

      Debbie: Also, why would these people write down something that was considered subversive and dangerous, as if it were true, if it were not?

      Me: I want you to take two seconds and think about this question. THINK. Are you thinking of reasons? Are you thinking of examples in reality? I don’t want to insult your intelligence by listing them, as they are pretty simple. Ok, not to insult, but people write things that are subversive and dangerous ALL THE TIME. Why? Because they don’t like those in power. Because they want to believe in their subversion. Because they are being treated badly and it is in their interest to subvert the established order that is treating them badly. Because powerful lies can work wonders to subvert established order. Good grief. Have you never seen a politician float an effective lie to subvert their opponent? IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! Good grief. G.W. Bush said McCain was pro-breast cancer just to win a primary. http://articles.latimes.com/2000/mar/04/news/mn-5181 I’d quote a current example, but one removed by 11 years might hold more sway with you.

      Debbie: What would be the point? They could have called Jesus a good teacher and let it go at that.

      Me: You really haven’t thought very critically about this, have you? See the above.

      Debbie: You are right that one can’t prove a miracle. One would have to trust in a scientific test for Down’s Syndrome, which is DNA testing from amniotic fluid.

      Me: That’s not what I said AT ALL. Down Syndrome can be diagnosed by how it physically presents in the patient. You are not required to have amniotic fluid to find out before the baby is born. Just find a person who has Down’s Syndrome and heal them (under the controlled conditions I outlined)! That would be proof of what most of us would call a miracle. Absolute proof? No, as there is no such thing in science. But if you could correlate the healings with specific beliefs, then that would support those beliefs (although not absolutely, as science can’t do that). Although I don’t even know you could consider someone “healed” of Down’s syndrome, as it is a genetic condition, so changing the person’s very DNA to “correct” for it would in essence change the person into a different person–a sort of miraculous eugenics program, which seems very distasteful to me.

      Debbie: I have thought they were eye-witness accounts. But, even if they are not does that necessariy make them unaccurate?

      Me: Yes, it does. We know how stories get passed around and embellished, which is why courts require cross examination of witnesses, and why eye witness testimony is so unreliable. Human perception is very easily manipulated, as is human memory.

      Recent case in point: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/health/the-certainty-of-memory-has-its-day-in-court.html?pagewanted=all

      Debbie: The four Gospels have many stories, and none contradict the others, though may tell separate facets.

      Me: They do contradict the others. Here: http://www.evilbible.com/contradictions.htm
      You dont’ seem to know the difference between “facets” and contradictions. If the two stories have elements that CANNOT BOTH BE TRUE (and they do), then you cannot say they are different facets of the same story. Let’s say I had a question about what Jesus’s last words were. Jesus could have only had ONE SET of last words on the cross. Reading the bible, I cannot answer this question, as it gives several answers and none of them jibe, while all of them make it clear that these were THE LAST WORDS.

      Debbie: I believe Josephus wrote of Jesus living during his lifetime.

      Me: Wrong again. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus#Arguments_against_authenticity

      Christians don’t even make this argument anymore (after being beaten over the head with evidence for years). William Lane Craig himself has said it was likely a forgery.

      Debbie: And what of apostolic succession of which I wrote earlier? And what of the 7′s and 70′s of which I was telling you?
      I have seen this in the last 11 years or so, that the theme of God waiting for judgment until 70 x 7 is althroughout Scripture, beginning with Lamech, in the Psalms, Daniel, and Jesus’ words.

      Me: I dont’ know what you are talking about here, but it isn’t salient to the other contradictions. The Gospels simply don’t match, especially about things they SHOULD match on if they are telling the same story. Just compare the events surrounding the opening of the tomb. They not only don’t match, but there can be no explanation except that three or all of the accounts are false. Why did only one mention an earthquake? Why did only one mention an angel coming down from heaven? These are not insignificant details to the story–they couldn’t have been overlooked. However, they COULD have simply been thrown in by an imaginative author who wanted HIS version of the story to be more interesting than the LAST version.

      Debbie: Only the Holy Spirit could inspire this and reveal it.

      Me: No, it is possible it is not true, and all the stories are made up. That is the simplest explanation that conforms to all the evidence, and everything we know about how stories develop in reality. (Do you know what pareidoliais is? You are using it with the 7′s thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidoliais What you are doing is forcing information into a pattern, even when there is no pattern. Once you convince yourself that something is significant, you will see it everywhere. Why? Because you are looking for it, and it was always there. It’s like saying you will see the number 14 everywhere, and suddenly you do. Why? Because it was ALREADY THERE randomly. It has no special significance, except for the fact that YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IT and convincing yourself it is significant. If both you and your friend look at a cloud, you can BOTH see a face in it. That doesn’t mean there is a face in it, it means you are both human and are both hard wired to find patterns…like the 7′s thing. See? No holy spirit required.)

      Debbie: I don’t claim to be anything but a Bible-reader who seeks God and tries to follow Jesus Christ, believing He is my Saviour and Lord. So, forgive the grammatical, and other errors. I read widely, but not that many academic texts. Many of you are brilliant at debunking Christian arguments. Why are you trying so hard? What about God do you not like?

      Me: Again, I don’t think you understand our point of view. We don’t believe your god is real. You seem to think it doesn’t matter if one believes something that isn’t real, and therefore we shouldn’t care. The problem is that believing things for which there is no evidence has bad outcomes for everyone. We have all of history filled with examples, and plenty of them today as well.

      Debbie: I believe it might be the hell and judgment part about which you have complained?

      Me: No. You don’t seem to understand that, EVEN IF I LOVED THE CHRISTIAN MYTH INCLUDING JESUS IN THAT MYTH, that doesn’t mean it is true, and it doesn’t mean I believe it is true, and it doesn’t mean I have to believe it is true because I want to believe it is true. In fact, for me personally, I don’t care if it is true or not, as the myth isn’t terribly compelling to me. And I never start off a search for facts by first asking myself if I want it to be true or if I don’t want it to be true. What I want is totally irrelevant to the question of whether it IS true or not. And if I truly want to find out if something is true or not, and don’t trust my bias for or against, we have ways of correcting for bias–it’s called the scientific method, and it works in reality no matter what anyone wants or doesn’t want.

      Debbie: Let me ask a non-original question: Would you like a world or heaven in which there was evil but no justice, in which there was no hope for love, goodness, beauty, truth, and so on? (C.S.Lewis)

      Me: No, I would not like such a world.

      Debbie: I have no trouble believing in natural selection, nor that beaks can change over time. But, have you ever studied the clotting cascade? It is marvelous, but hard to imagine it evolving, with it’s feedback loops, activation, and pathways for clotting and fibrinolysis (again noted by a different author).

      Me: I have already studied it. The claim you are trying to make simply is false.

      Debbie: Other authors have noted, where are the intermediate steps building up to a complete clotting system? Did those animals bleed out? Clot too much? Then how did any survive, when it is such a precarious system that normally clot, as well as abnormally clots.

      Me: http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/feb97.html
      http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/2082899/evolution_provides_clue_to_blood_clotting/index.html

      Debbie: Happenstance seems harder to believe than creation for me.

      Me: Evolution by natural selection is not happenstance. Self-replicating systems with tiny random variations that are locked in when beneficial in a group of self-replicating systems necessarily leads to evolution by natural selection, which is not random. The mechanism by which selection occurs is not random. I recommend you read “The Greatest Show on Earth” to get a rudimentary description…although I doubt you will read it. So maybe go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection (and not the word “nonrandom” in the first sentence)

      Debbie: ANd you have not explained how seashells got fossilized in rock on a high mountain near hear, which one can see in the rock used to build the visitor’s center.

      Me: Good grief. Are you for real, or a poe? In either case, I am having fun. This is a very, very basic question. Sixth grade science. Here:

      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_the_sea_shell_fossils_get_top_of_the_mountains_up_to_1300_feet

      Debbie: My point about Gilgamesh agrees with yours. I have forgotten who wrote it, – was it the Sumerians, but obviously, if Noah and descendants were passing this story along, maybe it got perverted by other cultures, and they wrote it down long before Moses did.

      Me: Again, that argument is self-refuting. You are claiming that an earlier written account right after the event is inaccurate, while a written account thousands of years later is more accurate. You have no grounds to say that. (For the same reason, a judge will take statements written right after a crime to be more accurate that statements contradicting those made in court months later.)

      Debbie: Or could it have been an account of a previous flood, not The Flood? I don’t know lots of the particulars about the Gilgamesh Story, and hesitate, it being a lower priority right now.

      Me: You should read it. Here: http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab11.htm

      Debbie: Anyway, my Anasazi Myth was an illustration of a similar possibility. My point about the baby with Down’s was a scientific test, in which you say you trust, had revealed it to be present, but the baby was born without it.

      Me: No, I didn’t say I trusted the test. I said I distrusted it as it was WRONG, and that’s given the hypothetical that I trusted the person who relayed it to you, and that’s given the hypothetical that it wasn’t relayed from other people, and that’s given the hypothetical that you are relaying it correctly. When something is demonstrated wrong in reality, it has been falsified. If such a test indicated the child had Down’s, and was born without Down’s, then the TEST was falsified, not any claims about the baby.

      Debbie: We can’t always prove miracles, what would have occurred.

      Me: We can’t prove miracles at all, as science doesn’t technically “prove” things absolutely. But if such a thing were real, correlated to specific beliefs, and met the minimum standard of evidence, I would believe it as surely as I believe the internal combustion engine works.

      Debbie: God said He would destroy Ninevah, then when He didn’t on Jonah’s timetable, which made Jonah look foolish, doesn’t mean Jonah hadn’t heard from God.

      Me: Right. You can’t disprove things for which there is no evidence. Jonah could have claimed he saw a dragon also. That doesn’t mean he didn’t, it just makes it very unlikely has we have no examples of people having dragons. Likewise, we have no examples of people talking to god that are not indistinguishable from wishful thinking or delusion.

      Debbie: If one is only aware of logic, is one missing what some have called voices?

      Me: My beef is with the fact that you are NOT AWARE OF LOGIC. I again challenge you to define science, the burden of proof, and the laws of logic. I don’t believe you know what any of those things mean. Prove me wrong by explaining them. (This has got to be the sixth time I asked, and I’m not going to quit asking until you do provide evidence that you understand what those things mean. It’s a basic point we need to agree on before continuing.)

      Debbie: The inner stirrings or awarenesses that something is speaking to us about justice,

      Me: Atheists have feelings too, you know. But feelings are only evidence of feelings. We do know that feelings help us survive, thrive, and reproduce, which is exactly what we should see evolutionarily speaking most of the time. Evolution also predicts variability, so that some people’s feelings will be different than others–and even that some people will have psychotic feelings.

      Debbie: or what is behind beauty,

      Me: We find things beautiful that help us survive and thrive. It is very basic. Name something beautiful that doesn’t have an element of surviving, thriving, and reproducing. You can’t do it. (I dare you to start naming things, and then I will explain each one! lol)

      Debbie: or why one seeks relationships,

      Me: We seek relationships because we have a better chance of surviving in large groups where labor and skills can be divided, and where we can intimidate predators and rival groups more readily by combining our numbers. It has clear evolutionary benefits.

      Debbie: and wants them to be good?

      Me: If we are not good at relationships (some people are not), then people will not like us as much, and our network of relationships will be weak so that when we need help, such a network will not be there to help us. Very basic. If we are born psychotic, and want our relationships to be bad, we will have made lots of enemies, and eventually one of them will take us out, or if they don’t, it will only be that much more difficult to find a mate as mates don’t often feel attracted to psychotic prospects.

      Debbie: Why is there such a large Spiritual section in a bookstore.

      Me: Why is there an even BIGGER science fiction section (or Stephen King section, lol)? Because people like those stories, just like they like the spiritual stories. Stories are fun, and make us feel good about ourselves and our place in the world. But if we generalize what is in the story to what is in objective reality, we make the mistake of thinking aliens are abducting people…or that a demonic clown kidnapped children into the sewer in Derry, Maine, circa 1955 (please note: there is no Derry, Maine, and no demonic clowns in the sewer).

      Debbie: I am not just in love with a myth. I am in love with Jesus. May you find He loves you.

      Me: Since Jesus is a myth, you are in love with a myth. You’ve never met Jesus, you have no real relationship with Jesus, Jesus (if he existed) was long gone by the time you were born. You have a relationship with your CONCEPT of Jesus that is in your own head, and informed by some scriptures, some other people, and the surrounding culture. And you love it because you made it up for the very purpose of loving it. That’s the entire point. One myth I love is the “Lost” myth. We have a text (the show), followers of the myth (“losties”), and our very own unique cosmology. The only difference between you and us is that most of us know our myth is not literally true (ok, so the people who hated the ending probably made the mistake of thinking the story was true, but I digress).

    • says

      @Debbie

      You said:

      Many of you are brilliant at debunking Christian arguments. Why are you trying so hard? What about God do you not like?

      You are the one who came here to witness to us and try to show us the error of our ways. Maybe we should ask why you fear atheists so much? Why are you trying so hard to justify your views? Why can’t you accept that you have no proof only faith?

      I don’t dislike any gods because I don’t believe they exist, just as I don’t dislike Mothra. Mothra doesn’t sound like someone I’d like to have over for dinner but I don’t dislike him because the evidence suggests he is not real.

      What I do dislike is someone telling me they can provide “empirical evidence” (your words) that their god is real and then failing to do so.

      You said:

      I believe it might be the hell and judgment part about which you have complained?

      I don’t believe there is any hell and I believe that my judgement comes only from people here in this physical world. I take that judgement very seriously. I do not like hurting other people, I don’t like acting unethically. I manage to feel that way without the threat of eternal damnation. You know what I think? I think that doing the right thing to avoid punishment or to get a reward is a lesser act than doing the right thing because you want to be a person who does good things.

      You said:

      Let me ask a non-original question: Would you like a world or heaven in which there was evil but no justice, in which there was no hope for love, goodness, beauty, truth, and so on?

      It wouldn’t matter whether I’d like it or not, that is not a basis of reality. I do not like a world in which billions of people lack clean water, access to medicine, safe homes and a good education. Not liking that sort of world doesn’t change the fact that the world exists.

      I also don’t believe in sin and evil, just as you probably don’t believe in auras and humours. These are terms that describe magical concepts that have no meaning outside of their supernatural theories.

  45. says

    Also, thank you for the Control C and X Hints. I was wrong to attribute my lost text to someone/thing.
    I was quoting St. Paul when I mentioned eyewitnesses. He said there were 500 people who saw Jesus after the resurrection. I Cor. 15:6.
    Sin introduced into the world, slain flesh to provide skins to cover, animals beginning to eat flesh, -all these could put bacteria or sucseptibility to it where it doesn’t belong. (Previous text).

  46. says

    Even if they werent’ eye-witnesses doing the writing, how do you know these were not written by scribes?

    Who exactly wrote them is unknown and largely irrelevant. We know that they are not eye witness accounts, nor written on the basis of eye witness accounts. We know because eye witnesses don’t need to plagiarize.

    why would these people write down something that was considered subversive and dangerous, as if it were true, if it were not?

    Why would Muhammad say such controversial and, at times, unpopular things, if he wasn’t really guided by Allah?

    The four Gospels have many stories, and none contradict the others, though may tell separate facets.

    1) The gospels copied from one another, so it’s not too surprising that they are largely in accord.
    2) The gospels DO contradict each other, which requires christians to come up with elaborate explanations for it. Try reading the different gospel accounts of what happens when the women go to the tomb of Jesus. They’re wildly contradictory.

    Many of you are brilliant at debunking Christian arguments. Why are you trying so hard?

    It’s not that we debunk, it’s that we read the text critically. You should try it. The bible only holds up if you go in with the assumption that it’s true.

    What about God do you not like?

    What about god do you like? If you get to question our motives, we get to question yours. Maybe it would be more productive if we stuck to the evidence?

    Would you like a world or heaven in which there was evil but no justice, in which there was no hope for love, goodness, beauty, truth, and so on?

    No. Good thing that’s not the world we live in, even if there’s no god. Justice, love, goodness, beauty… these are human qualities. Why do you think we need god for that?

    It is marvelous, but hard to imagine it evolving

    The very definition of an argument from personal incredulity. Just because you can’t imagine it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    My point about the baby with Down’s was a scientific test, in which you say you trust, had revealed it to be present, but the baby was born without it.

    So, you’ve seen the test results? You’ve spoken to the people doing the test? Or is it a friend of a friend, again? Usually, if you look into these cases, it turns out that information was left out, misunderstood or deliberately distorted.

    Besides, I thought you said that scientists often made mistakes? Isn’t it possible that the test was simply wrong? Howcome you suddenly believe in the infallibility of scientific tests, when it suits you? Seems awfully convenient.

    If one is only aware of logic…

    Once again, you’re language betrays a lack of understanding. Why do you think that logical thinking would preclude one from having “hunches” or whatever you wish to call it?
    As I’ve said before, logic is not a perceptual process, it’s a mental process. It’s a method by which you think about your perceptions and draw conclusions from it.

    I’m not at all convinced that you have any idea what the word “logic” really means. Feel free to prove me wrong.

    I was quoting St. Paul when I mentioned eyewitnesses. He said there were 500 people who saw Jesus after the resurrection

    That’s not eye witnesses. That’s one person’s claim that there are eye witnesses. Not the same thing. In a court room, this would, rightly, be dismissed as hear-say.

  47. jacobfromlost says

    Ok, my post is not posting. Anyone know why? It is long, but I don’t think it is longer than others here. I included some links. Could that be why? This will be a test of a short post with no links.

    • Kazim says

      I just approved three posts of yours. Two were spam and one was just not yet approved. I have no idea why you got caught in the filter. Since this is now a triple post, you can delete two yourself, but I don’t want to do that in case it gets interpreted as respamming them.

  48. says

    Dear Friends, I am only on this website because I care about people who don’t have the joy and peace they could have, and someone suggested it. I can not change your thinking, but I know God can.
    I do appreciate science. It was one of my favorite subjects and my degree is in science. I am making a plea for accurate science, and people, even scientists being open to ALL the evidence, and not just that which supports the end they desire.
    I do appreciate logic. I have heard the principles but haven’t studied them. I believe things fall outside our understanding of reality because we don’t have minds to grasp them. Things such as miracles.

    • says

      @Debbie

      Dear Friends, I am only on this website because I care about people who don’t have the joy and peace they could have, and someone suggested it.

      So you came to an atheists’ blog because “someone suggested it” and you believe atheists lack peace and joy. How very patronizing. Do you also think we are immoral? Perhaps you’d like us to know about how you consider your capacity for love to be far greater than our own. You came here to witness because you believe it will get you into heaven.

      But let’s be clear here, I don’t care if you want to come here and witness to us. I think it’s pointless and silly and makes me even more sure that religious dogmas is a dangerous blight on society, but you are welcome to do so if the blog author doesn’t have a policy against it. The reason why I point out that it is YOU who came here with promises of truth, is that YOU accused US of defending our views, because you suspected we were frightened of what you had to share. We didn’t go trolling a religious blogs to try to disuade believers from believing, you came here trolling for souls so you don’t get to feign shock that we would all jump all over your arguments. You picked the fight, you need to look at your own motives for doing so. You can act all wide eyed and shocked that we didn’t appreciate your altruism but I, for one, see through the act. I don’t think there’s any altruism in your actions.

      I do appreciate science. It was one of my favorite subjects and my degree is in science.

      You may have a degree in science and you may have a love of science, but you appear to lack a basic understanding of the scientific method and what constitutes evidence. A couple of us recommended The Greatest Show on Earth. If you don’t want your money going to dawkins, borrowing it from a library or looking for it from a used book store will avoid that problem. If you genuinely have an interest in science, this is a science book. There is no religion. It lays out very clearly what the evidence is for evolution, and the evidence is monumental. There is no point in having a debate where you ask about biological processes that you have not studied and no nothing about that a couple of doctors in the 80s said they couldn’t imagine were evolved. Irreducible complexity has been debunked many times and it has failed both as a scientific theory and as a legal defense. It is not only unscientific it is logically unsound.

      I am making a plea for accurate science, and people, even scientists being open to ALL the evidence, and not just that which supports the end they desire.

      This is a laughably ironic statement, Debbie. I don’t desire an end. If a better theory than evolution comes along, I will be thrilled to learn about it. In fact, I hope our understanding of our universe continues to grow and expand and help us better understand what is around us. God is an end of discovery. If “god did it” there is nothing more to learn. It may be that a god like being did something and if evidence of that comes along, I will have to concede that there are gods, but to date there is simply no evidence for any supernatural phenomenon including gods. If a god is running anything in this universe, it does so in a manner that is indistinguishable from a world without gods.

      I believe things fall outside our understanding of reality because we don’t have minds to grasp them. Things such as miracles.

      Miracles have happened in every religion and in non-religious groups who believe in things like ghosts, ESP, alien abductions and bigfoot. The fact that you cannot explain or understand a phenomenon or the fact that a coincidence happens does not prove any sort of paranormal event, this includes religious explanations.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: I am only on this website because I care about people who don’t have the joy and peace they could have, and someone suggested it. I can not change your thinking, but I know God can.

      Me: Everyone could have more peace and joy, including you, lol. But all things being equal, I have had plenty of peace and joy.

      Debbie: I do appreciate science. It was one of my favorite subjects and my degree is in science.

      Me: I don’t believe you. You still haven’t explained what science is.

      Debbie: I am making a plea for accurate science, and people, even scientists being open to ALL the evidence, and not just that which supports the end they desire.

      Me: They are. “Evidence” is a defined term. You don’t get to redefine it below the basic standard of evidence.

      Debbie: I do appreciate logic. I have heard the principles but haven’t studied them.

      Me: How did I know that? Moreover, if you’re degree is in science, how is it you don’t even understand the basis of logic?

      Debbie: I believe things fall outside our understanding of reality because we don’t have minds to grasp them. Things such as miracles.

      Me: Again, if you understood science, the burden of proof, and the laws of logic, you would see that miracles could be demonstrated in reality to a very high degree of certainty, although not absolute certainty (science does work in absolute certainties).

      Me to anyone else: How do I delete posts? Russell/Kazim suggested I delete the two redundant posts, but there is no trashcan icon for them. I have the entire thing saved to repost a “part two” of the last one if anyone cares, but at this point it doesn’t seem Debbie is listening to any of us.

  49. says

    Furthermore, I am not sure God wants us to accept Him only with our minds, which is why I believe He doesn’t give us the “proof” which you desire. But I believe He “speaks” to us on many levels. We perceive with our conscious minds, but there are our unconscious minds, our hearts, and our spirits as well.
    I was thinking about computers. They are complex. I don’t understand completely how they work. I haven’t studied them too much and have learned to use them, but at a rudimentary level. If I couldn’t accept a lot by faith in what other people tell me about them, I would have to go to the people who made them or books about them, in order for them to do me any good. I could listen to people who told me they don’t exist because they aren’t logical (though they are), or to people who tell me they are based on magical thinking (because we didn’t understand them), or I could seek their creator (plural in this case), and ask for firsthand wisdom and knowledge. The rulebook might not help because I could throw it out based on my disbelief. But, if I came to the creator, asking for his beneficience to allow me an audience, and truly was seeking truth, I might be given help to see and understand computers. This is what I believe God wants from us, and then for us to be open-minded and open-hearted to what we “hear” with our spirits. We might want to test it with our minds, but if we reject it, we won’t be able to keep going, and could end up being outside the Creator’s sphere of help.

    • says

      @Debbie

      Furthermore, I am not sure God wants us to accept Him only with our minds, which is why I believe He doesn’t give us the “proof” which you desire.

      Your view of god and all other types of gods of all time have given me not just insufficient proof but no proof at all. This isn’t about my ignoring Isis’ or Thor’s or Yahweh’s or Shiva’s or Allah’s or Mithra’s proof, all of them have the same amount of evidence backing them up. Even if something happens that I cannot explain it isn’t proof of any of these gods, it’s only proof that I can’t explain something.

      Your story about computers doesn’t hold up as a metaphor. YOU may be ignorant of how they work but that doesn’t mean that others don’t understand them. When someone tells you, you can copy all the text in your post by pressing CTRL+A then CTRL+C on a PC, it works for you whether you believe it will or not. It works for you on any functioning PCs that hasn’t been modified intentionally to interfere with the functionality. If you want to know the method by which CTRL+A and CTROL+C selects all and copies, you can find out and that way in which it works, works that way every time, not in mysterious ways or when you have appeased the PC god.

      If someone tells me that I can have eternal peace and joy if I follow the right religion the right way, I can follow their method and I will have good and bad experiences and good and bad luck and good and bad health and then some day I will die. If I follow someone else’s method I will have the same sorts of ups and downs and eventual death. If I don’t find it brings me peace and joy (religion never did for me) I will simply be told I’m not doing it right. It’s never the religion that is wrong it is the person. 100 people can read the bible and come up with a different interpretation of what the “right” way to live is and that way won’t work for anyone who doesn’t want to believe it works that way.

      You consider everything you cannot understand “faith.” You consider everyone who presents him or herself as one, an “expert.” It’s just as meaningful to you if someone talks about DOS command lines as it is if someone talks about computer “magic.” But many of us see no overlap there. If someone only knows that pressing the little blue “e” on their desktop makes the internet come up, they are not as much an authority as the person who creates the code for Firefox, or the person who installs servers at work. The person who can barely explain how to launch IE does not get equal footing as a computer expert that the programmer gets.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: Furthermore, I am not sure God wants us to accept Him only with our minds, which is why I believe He doesn’t give us the “proof” which you desire.

      Me: So you admit that the bible is not proof? That sea shells on mountains is not proof? That everything you have thus far claimed as proof is not proof? This is why it is so frustrating arguing with someone who doesn’t understand what science is, what the burden of proof is, or what the laws of logic are. You just redefine your terms for whatever you think the criticism at the time is. When we said there was no proof, you offerred proof. When that didn’t work, you say there is no proof because god wants us to accept him without our minds, lol.0

      Debbie: But I believe He “speaks” to us on many levels. We perceive with our conscious minds, but there are our unconscious minds, our hearts, and our spirits as well.

      Me: If this were so, then why is there so much disagreement among humans regarding the conclusions they come to with their unconscious minds, their hearts, and their spirits?

      Debbie: I was thinking about computers. They are complex. I don’t understand completely how they work. I haven’t studied them too much and have learned to use them, but at a rudimentary level. If I couldn’t accept a lot by faith in what other people tell me about them, I would have to go to the people who made them or books about them, in order for them to do me any good.

      Me: But it’s not on faith. If someone gives you computer advice, you go and do it, and it doesn’t work, then their advice is falsified. Having faith in the advice doesn’t mean the advice will work. Testing the advice to see that it DOES work is rudimentary reproducibility in experimentation (which you should understand if your degree is in science).

      Debbie: I could listen to people who told me they don’t exist because they aren’t logical (though they are), or to people who tell me they are based on magical thinking (because we didn’t understand them), or I could seek their creator (plural in this case), and ask for firsthand wisdom and knowledge.

      Me: And be able to demonstrate them in reality. This is how your analogy doesn’t work. You can’t demonstrate anything about your god in reality that doesn’t look exactly the same if your god doesn’t exist. It’s as if someone gave you computer advice to push the shift key 45 times in order to post your comment, and when you do so and find the comment isn’t posted, they say, “Sure it is. You just can’t see it!” And any time you ask them to read it to demonstrate and verify what it says as proof of it being invisibly posted, you can only come up with vague generalities–it has letters, words, some punctuation, etc. You might even be able to find some friends who spew the same generalities, but that doesn’t mean any of what your group says is real. It just means you’ve tricked yourselves.

      Debbie: The rulebook might not help because I could throw it out based on my disbelief. But, if I came to the creator, asking for his beneficience to allow me an audience, and truly was seeking truth, I might be given help to see and understand computers. This is what I believe God wants from us, and then for us to be open-minded

      Me: Open minded means that you accept new evidence of things demonstrated in reality. You just said there is no “proof”, acknowledging your claims haven’t been demostrated in reality. Open minded does not mean you accept things for which there is no evidence.

      Debbie: and open-hearted to what we “hear” with our spirits.

      Me: I’m very open hearted. I’m still talking to you, right?

      Debbie: We might want to test it with our minds, but if we reject it, we won’t be able to keep going, and could end up being outside the Creator’s sphere of help.

      Me: The evidence contradicts you. People in reality do just fine without your god, and in many areas do much better.

  50. says

    I am sorry, forgive me for being patronizing toward you. Perhaps you have some peace and joy. I am sure it comes from God.
    I did not come here to get into heaven. Actually I came here out of submission to fellow Christians who I feel may not be sure of me, and I am tired of feeling like an outsider, and of stifling what I believe. And I do care about people going to hell.
    Furthermore, I have not studied a lot of the books about evolution, because that is what my husband used to do, and he explained many arguments against the “evidence” which you cite, about which you seem unaware. Have you read any books opposing your point of view? I really don’t think how God made the earth is one of the essential truths for faith, but I am not sure you have an open mind. He recommends ” by Michael Bahe, and also read part or all of one by Dembsky.
    If one believes in the spiritual realm, one will understand miracles may be from God, or evil spirits behind false gods. We are to test the spirits, and not reject God’s spirit. That is very dangerous. One reason for God wanting to get rid of false gods in our lives (One definition: A god is who or what controls one), is because the devil seeks to kill and destroy, and false gods (and the demons behind them) will ultimately do that.

    • says

      Perhaps you have some peace and joy. I am sure it comes from God.

      And I believe you have a capacity for reason that was developed in our species over millions of years of evolution. I guess we both believe stuff.

      Actually I came here out of submission to fellow Christians who I feel may not be sure of me, and I am tired of feeling like an outsider, and of stifling what I believe.

      I don’t know what that means but it sounds like you keep company with hurtful fellow christians which makes me wonder how much “peace” and “joy” your religion is bringing to you.

      And I do care about people going to hell.

      And I care about women continually accepting a patriarchal religious dogma that teaches them to feel shame about themselves and to teach their daughters and sons to diminish the value of women in society. But here’s the thing, I don’t walk up to groups of christians and tell them they are wrong and I suspect doing so would be highly ineffective.

      Furthermore, I have not studied a lot of the books about evolution, because that is what my husband used to do

      You are evasive in your language. Was your husband an evolutionary biologist? From the way you phrased it, it sounds more like he told you he read a lot on the topic and that he concluded it doesn’t make sense to him. And I would expect that what he read are the books whose titles you don’t seem successfully pasting into your replies. This happened before but I didn’t mention it, but since it happened again, you may want to just type the book names instead of whatever you are doing.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: I am sorry, forgive me for being patronizing toward you. Perhaps you have some peace and joy.

      Me: Perhaps? Do you really think everyone who is not a Christian is miserable and depressed?

      Debbie: I am sure it comes from God.

      Me: Here’s the catch all argument. If nonbelievers are moral, their morality comes from god. If nonbelievers are peaceful or joyful, their peace and joy comes from god. Do you see how you are holding contradictory positions simultaneously? In several instances? You can’t claim their is proof of god claims, and then say there can be no proof. Likewise, you can’t claim nonbelievers are in need of the peace and joy that comes from belief, and then claim if they HAVE peace and joy it must come from god. We are here telling you that our peace and joy doesn’t come from your god, and we should know. It is our peace and joy! lol (And some of the greatest joy I ever get is in arguing against unfalsifiable claims, therefore it would be the supreme incongruity for me to get a greatest joy by arguing against the source of it.)

      Debbie: I did not come here to get into heaven. Actually I came here out of submission to fellow Christians who I feel may not be sure of me, and I am tired of feeling like an outsider, and of stifling what I believe. And I do care about people going to hell.

      Me: Quit worrying about it. There is no reason to believe in hell.

      Debbie: Furthermore, I have not studied a lot of the books about evolution, because that is what my husband used to do, and he explained many arguments against the “evidence” which you cite, about which you seem unaware. Have you read any books opposing your point of view?

      Me: If the evidence cannot be demonstrated in reality using observability, reproducibility, verification, predictivity, and falsifiability in a peer review process, then it is just a book of nonsense. If the evidence DID meet these minimum qualifications, it would be known throughout accepted science–as is the case with “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

      Debbie: I really don’t think how God made the earth is one of the essential truths for faith, but I am not sure you have an open mind.

      Me: I don’t think you know what an open mind is. And open mind is a mind that accepts evidence (that meets the minimum qualifications for evidence) when it is presented. It does not mean you accept anything willy-nilly.

      Debbie: He recommends ” by Michael Bahe, and also read part or all of one by Dembsky.

      Me: Good grief. Have you read any of the Dover trial? Here’s an outline:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

      Debbie: If one believes in the spiritual realm, one will understand miracles may be from God, or evil spirits behind false gods.

      Me: Indeed. How do you tell the difference?

      Debbie: We are to test the spirits, and not reject God’s spirit. That is very dangerous. One reason for God wanting to get rid of false gods in our lives (One definition: A god is who or what controls one), is because the devil seeks to kill and destroy, and false gods (and the demons behind them) will ultimately do that.

      Me: I again ask you to define science, the burden of proof, the laws of logic, a true dichotomy, and an “open mind”. You don’t know what any of these terms mean.

  51. says

    I do appreciate science. It was one of my favorite subjects and my degree is in science.

    What’s the subject of your degree? Wherefrom?

    Yes, it matters. A degree in chemistry doesn’t qualify you to speak on geology or quantum physics. Give your apparent complete lack of understanding of scientific practice and evidence, I have to wonder exactly what type of degree you have.

    I was thinking about computers. They are complex. I don’t understand completely how they work.

    Must be magic, then. After all, that’s the argument you’ve advanced so far.

    If I couldn’t accept a lot by faith in what other people tell me about them…

    Why do you need faith? I thought you said you used computers. That means you can check if what people tell you is true. Ask them “what happens if I do this”, listen to their answer, then try it. Did you get the result they said you would? Then you’re good.

    Besides, your computer analogy is ridiculous, for two connected reasons:
    1) You can see computers. You can touch them and interact with them. You know they’re real.
    2) You can investigate the computer yourself. You can take it apart and look at how it works. You can even build one yourself.

    Notice how this is COMPLETELY different from your supposed god?

  52. says

    You all want proof and I can’t give that to you. You argue with me, because you want proof. Obviously I have used the wrong words, proof, and theory, and science, evidence, and so on with you. People in the Bible wanted proof and so on that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus wouldn’t give it to them concisely. There was his history, the angels at his birth, the fulfillment of prophecy he’d be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5), his family lineage, (both Mary and Joseph’s noted in the Bible, though Joseph’s for his stepfatherhood,) and the witness of the Wise Men, who recognized Him, scientists of the day, who saw a sign of Him in the stars, probably a fulfillment of the prophecy in Numbers 24:17, dropped off in the East during the Jews deportation to Babylon, and the astronomers there were looking for Him), his cousin’s miraculous-seeming and unlikely birth, both births announced by angels, etc. You don’t believe it, a convenient thing to do with a story that requires a decision, though His life has changed the course of history. You probably argue with this too. A blind man Jesus healed said, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
    Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures thinking in them you have eternal life, but you don’t come to Me”, to the Pharisees, who thought they were righteous without Him. You ask for greater proof than evolutionist put forth. You all want proof and to depend on your thoughts, but you won’t risk praying for willingness and going to God and asking if He is real and to reveal Himself. But that requires willingness to do what He shows you.
    I have done this and He is real to me and to convince myself otherwise, I would have to lie to myself. May God help you be willing to be willing to be willing to go to Him in truth.

    • says

      @Debbie
      It’s a bit disingenuous to play the martyr here. None of us sought you out to convince you to change your views. None of us even knew who you were and that you had views. You sought out an atheist blog (apparently, at the behest of other people) and you told us we were wrong and you were right and you have proof. You failed in that task and now you are suggesting that we’ve been unfair.

      Christians often take credit for the “golden rule” which basically says you should treat other people as you would like to be treated. You don’t seem to like being questioned about your views, so you might want to think about your intentions in doing that to other people. You seem like a very kind and very smart person but you have also suggested several times that you are happy to let other people tell you what to think without questioning it. A good example is your saying that you don’t need to learn about evolution because your husband did and he told you it didn’t make sense. I think you would be a happier person if you were more rational, just as you think I’d be a happier person if I were a christian.

      But my thinking you’d be happier if you were more intellectually curious still wouldn’t make it right for me to walk into your church and try to de-convert everyone there. If I *did* go to your church to tell everyone they are wrong and that I have proof, I would expect that despite the church being open to the public (I assume) there would be quite a few people who found my intrusion pretty rude and I would have no right to feel bad about getting a less than warm welcome. This is not to say that anyone is trying to keep me from speaking my mind or having my views, only that if I walk into a room of like minded people and tell them they are all wrong, I can’t feel hurt if they don’t fall all over themselves to thank me and agree.

      Lastly, if I do make it a practice to tell people they are wrong and I am right, it is incumbent on me to actually understand their views and their arguments before doing so, lest I make myself look uniformed. If I tell you that Matthew 12 says that atheists are awesome, you’ll readily be able to shoot down that claim and I won’t have done anything to sell you on what I believe. If you want to spar with people about the legitimacy of your views you need to understand what you are opposing as well as what you are supporting.

  53. says

    Dear Jacob,
    I smiled as I read your last post. You were kind, and right in that I am in over my head. yet, you gave me nice compliments. You are right that I can’t really convince you and don’t have lots of knowledge with which to do that. I’m not even sure I have time to study to do that right now. I think perhaps I should stick to Christians, as I do understand their doubts and pitfalls.
    Nevertheless, I think we had an interesting discussion, and I hope you all got a little different view of the God I know and worship. So often I think Christians have unwittingly misrepresented Him to others and I have tried to undo some of that. He is more kind than we realize, because He has often been misunderstood, or understood only in part.
    I don’t feel badly having partaken in this discussion, nor too wounded that you all won’t take my word for it. I see areas in which I could grow. We are all free to believe what we wish. I only hope the best for you and all and really wish you would try the prayer I mentioned for God’s sake and your blessing.
    I probably won’t be back, but wish you all happy Holy Days, or Season’s Greetings, whichever you prefer.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: I smiled as I read your last post. You were kind, and right in that I am in over my head.

      Me: I don’t think that’s exactly what I said, but I’ll let the other readers be the judge.

      Debbie: yet, you gave me nice compliments. You are right that I can’t really convince you and don’t have lots of knowledge with which to do that.

      Me: Again, I’m not sure that’s what I said either. It would have only taken you 10 minutes to do the research I asked, and at the VERY MOST 30 minutes to understand them. I am not looking to be convinced of your claims at all. I am looking to understand how you think you know your claims to be true. Thus far, you have offerred no means to know they are true that don’t work equally well for any false, contradictory, imaginary, unknown, or unknowable claim whatsoever.

      Debbie: I’m not even sure I have time to study to do that right now.

      Me: You don’t have 40 minutes? You’ve spent more time here claiming you don’t have time to do the research!

      Debbie: I think perhaps I should stick to Christians, as I do understand their doubts and pitfalls.

      Me: Do you WANT to understand atheists? It sounds like you don’t. (And I’m being very generous in allowing for the possibility that you are a genuine Christian, and not an atheist troll, as I highly suspected long, long ago. But the argument is just as fun in either case, and reads almost the same.)

      Debbie: Nevertheless, I think we had an interesting discussion, and I hope you all got a little different view of the God I know and worship.

      Me: I have exactly the same understanding I did before, and you now demonstrate you still understand nothing of our position, nor of the operative terms of the debate.

      Debbie: So often I think Christians have unwittingly misrepresented Him to others and I have tried to undo some of that. He is more kind than we realize, because He has often been misunderstood, or understood only in part.

      Me: How do you know this? How do you know you are not mistaken? How do you tell the difference between you being mistaken (as you are human capable of mistakes, right?), and you being correct about your god?

      Debbie: I don’t feel badly having partaken in this discussion, nor too wounded that you all won’t take my word for it.

      Me: And don’t feel bad that I don’t believe you are a Christian. Maybe you are, but you sound like an atheist faking.

      Debbie: I see areas in which I could grow.

      Me: You see them, yet you ignore them because 40 minutes of research would be too onerous a request.

      Debbie: We are all free to believe what we wish. I only hope the best for you and all and really wish you would try the prayer I mentioned for God’s sake and your blessing.

      Me: We are free to believe what we wish, but believing what we wish doesn’t make what we wish NOR what we believe to be true.

      Debbie: I probably won’t be back, but wish you all happy Holy Days, or Season’s Greetings, whichever you prefer.

      Me: I invite you back any time, especially if you ever find any evidence for your outlandish claims. I would be really curious to know about that. I am also curious why you are not curious enough to do 40 minutes of research (at the VERY VERY MOST). I could actually explain all of those things that I asked you to research here in about two minutes, but what would be the point? You’ll ignore it.

  54. says

    Obviously I have used the wrong words, proof, and theory, and science, evidence, and so on with you

    But I thought you had a “degree in science”. Didn’t you know what the words mean?

    People in the Bible wanted proof and so on that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus wouldn’t give it to them concisely

    Except, of course, from the parts where he did. Miracle healings, weather control, freakin’ resurrections! If he was willing to do that then, why not now, when we actually have the means to investigate?
    Howcome god only does miracles for people too ignorant to spot a con artist? Isn’t it awfully convenient that the moment we have the ability to weed out tricks, mistakes, rumours and outright lies, god stops doing miracles?

    A blind man Jesus healed said,

    NO! Once again, repeat after me: The text claims that a blind man said. You don’t get to cite the texts as evidence until you can show that they’re reliable. It’s not that freakin’ difficult.

    Also, you admit you have no evidence and then you try, however ineptly, to provide evidence. Do the contradictions ever give you a headache? Pick one and go with it.
    Either you have evidence or you don’t. If you do, present it and accept that it’ll be held to reasonable standards. If you don’t, stop trying to bring up all this shit as if it means something.

    You don’t believe it, a convenient thing to do with a story that requires a decision

    No, it’s a reasonable thing to do with a story that is of unknown authorship, contain elements which contradict everything we know about the world, shows signs of plagiarism and editing and is riddled with internal contradictions.

    Finally, I wonder if you’re ever going to get around to answering some of the questions asked of you? It’s quite impolite to repeatedly ignore direct questions.

    1) What is your degree and what institution issued it?
    2) What is evidence?
    3) What is logic?
    4) What is the burden of proof?

    Did I miss any, guys?

  55. says

    I only hope the best for you and all and really wish you would try the prayer I mentioned for God’s sake and your blessing.

    I have prayed. Repeatedly. Over and over and over again. No answer.

    I’ve prayed to Jesus specifically. I’ve prayed open-endedly to any god who would answer. I’ve issued a standing invitation to drop by at any time that’s convenient for him, her or it. No answer.

    I’ve read the bible. I’ve read the upanishads. I’ve read the freakin’ book of mormon. I’ve tried fasting. I’ve tried seclusion. I’ve tried giving up things like caffeine, to show my sincerity. No answer.

    I’ve talked to missionaries. I’ve talked to priests and philosophers. I’ve been to lectures on religion. I’ve gone to church, several denominations. I’ve gone to temples. I spent a week at a hindu monestary. No answer.

    I’ve walked at night asking the stars for an answer. I’ve held my questions in my mind as I’ve gone to sleep. I’ve tried tarot cards. I’ve tried leaving offerings in the woods. I’ve yelled for a response until I had tears in my eyes. No answer.

    I’m tired now. I’ve done everything that could possibly be expected of my and then some. I’ve yet to see even the tiniest hint that there’s any kind of supernatural being. I’ve goddamn well looked and I’ve found nothing.

    There is no god. End of story.

  56. says

    Dear LykeX, and Marnie,et al,
    I do know what a hypothesis is, and a theory,etc. I didn’t realize, nor do I think I always was using them wrongly when you all criticized me. I also was mistaken to try to “prove” God. If we accept Him by faith, we can’t “prove” Him. Belief is a choice, not related to feelings. If we love God, we will start by obeying Him. Is there not one iota of information in what I have given you that points to Whom to obey? The Gilgamesh Story being written first isn’t enough “unproof” in the God of the Bible for me.
    Sorry I don’t have enough time to address all your concerns as quickly as you wrote them. I am happy to try to go back and address those that have to do with peoples’s questions about the God of the Bible, such as John had. Otherwise, I am outside my and area of learning, and for the most part, may have nothing insightful.
    I have tried to get in touch with the Scientist who did the radioactive dating for you. I can try to give you information on the Mt. St. Helen’s/Yellowstone Comparison DVD if you wish.
    None of you addressed my discussion of the soul, brain/personality/perceptions and spirit, and how children believe in God over their dolls, etc. Nor those having Jesus come to them, not Thor nor Zeus.
    And, Marnie, the Bible addresses immorality, sacrificing children to the idol Molech, not provoking one’s children to wrath, and discipline/teaching as a sign of parental love, while there are some things “of which it is a shame even to speak”, but that “those who defraud others, God, Himself will judge which should cover child abuse. He also speaks of forgiveness. I would give you citations, but you don’t seem to want them, not believing in the Bible.
    Anyway, sorry about using Jacob’s name in the above post which I meant for you Marnie. Please forgive me. Haste.
    This close to Christmas, I am not sure how much time I have to blog, but I am happy to try to answer a few questions about the Bible, if I have time and you wish to hear my thoughts. God bless you all.

    • says

      @Debbie

      Belief is a choice, not related to feelings. If we love God, we will start by obeying Him.

      But that would mean that anyone who believes in god obeys him which is clearly untrue and it would mean that anyone who had once believed in god would always believe in god since once you love him you obey him. But that doesn’t hold up, does it? Many of us were once very seriously religious and now are not. Many of us accepted without question that god was real but once we explored that idea further we realized that no religion, no god, has any evidence in support of it.

      None of you addressed my discussion of the soul, brain/personality/perceptions and spirit, and how children believe in God over their dolls, etc. Nor those having Jesus come to them, not Thor nor Zeus.

      I don’t recall your asking me to do so, I’m sorry if I missed that. I do not believe in souls or spirits. There is overwhelming evidence that evolution shapes species and I think we can see varying degrees of personality and perception throughout the animal kingdom. A bug may be primarily concerned with survival, a rodent may nurture its children but not pair bond. A crow may be able to recognize faces, problem solve, use tools, express distrust or interest in something, a cat or dog might develop a family attachment to another species, and on it goes. If you have ever worked with animals, been on a farm, or had pets, you’ve probably experienced varying levels personality and perception in other animals. There is no evidence for a soul or spirit and there’s no reason to believe a human or any other animal, has to have one, outside of religious dogma and the fear of mortality that I think drives so much religious fervor.

      But children DO believe in dolls and they believe in imaginary friends and they believe in fairies and monsters under their bed and all manner of things that are not true. They believe because they come into this world not knowing anything and they piece things together based on what they are told and what they reason out along the way. Children who are told santa is real believe santa is real because they have no reason to doubt what their parents told them. Then, in time, the evidence becomes overwhelming and they let go of santa.

      The children you know who believe in Jesus were raised by people who believe, people who reward them for believing and tell them scary things about disbelief.

      In ancient greece it was actually quite common for people to believe that Zeus and other gods came to them. In fact, there was a long held belief that women could be impregnated by gods and have their own demi god children. So back then, Zeus did come to children. Why? Because that was the commonly held belief. In parts of the world where christianity is not the primary religion, children see whichever gods are believed in their household and culture. You have to stop yourself when you ask these questions and determine whether you consider your argument proof if you substitute your god for anyone else’s god(s). If you don’t buy that Vishnu is real, would it change your mind if Hindu children said that Vishnu visited them? No? Then it doesn’t apply when christian children say jesus visited them

      And, Marnie, the Bible addresses immorality,

      It also addresses the right way to treat your slaves and that women should not be allowed to adorn themselves or teach men. The bible is a rotten tool for establishing morality because it offers such vague, conflicting or no information at all about matters that are important now. It doesn’t matter that YOU can put together several passages to come up with a reason to justify not abusing children, another person can read the bible and decide that it’s acceptable for a 40 year old man to marry a 13 year old girl, or several 13 year old girls.
      It doesn’t matter that you can find a passage that explains how slavery was fine but is now bad. Since the old and new testament were written, countless believers have used what they read to justify owning slaves.

      But the onus is not on me to prove that the bible isn’t a guide for morality. There’s too much history of believers doing unspeakable things in the name of the bible for me to have to argue that. The burden is on you to prove that despite all the evidence to the contrary, the bible is a tool for morality. And before you pull out your next argument, that atheists have done bad things too, this is not about what religion someone holds this is about atrocities done on behalf of a religion not just by religious people. There is no church of atheism. You are an atheist to all but one religion. What you do doesn’t reflect on other non-hindus. But if you are voting against marriage equality laws because your god doesn’t approve, that is something you are doing in the name of your religion.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: I do know what a hypothesis is, and a theory,etc. I didn’t realize, nor do I think I always was using them wrongly when you all criticized me.

      Me: Yes, you were. The easiest way to demonstrate you understand what a word means is to define it. But you’ve refused in every instance, so there we are. We have no evidence that you know what any of those terms mean, and you’ve supplied no evidence that you DO know what they mean while simultaneously supplying inadvertent evidence that you don’t know what any of them mean, therefore we must conclude that you didn’t know what they meant and still don’t, as you could clarify your understanding right now by defining all the operant terms, but you still refuse.

      Debbie: Belief is a choice, not related to feelings.

      Me: Belief, in the loosey-goosey way you are using it, could be a choice. But in a more useful and more strict sense, it is not. I cannot believe the sky is green if I go outside and see it is blue. All things being equal, I don’t have that choice. Now, if you torture me, induce an altered state in me, give me drugs, or use other methods of psychological manipulation, I might get to a state where I perceive the sky to be green and BELIEVE it is green, but those kind of circumstances are so far from “all things equal” that it is pointless to include them. It’s POSSIBLE the one guy who sees the sky is green is correct, and all the rest of us are wrong, but if we start entertaining these kinds of baseless claims when they don’t mutually confirm other evidence in objective ways…is so silly as to be borderline psychotic.

      Debbie: The Gilgamesh Story being written first isn’t enough “unproof” in the God of the Bible for me.

      Me: You still don’t know what the burden of proof is. I again dare you to define it.

      Debbie: Sorry I don’t have enough time to address all your concerns as quickly as you wrote them.

      Me: Funny that I have enough time to address all of your concerns. Why do apologists always fall back on the “I don’t have enough time” when they lose the debate?

      Debbie: I am happy to try to go back and address those that have to do with peoples’s questions about the God of the Bible, such as John had. Otherwise, I am outside my and area of learning, and for the most part, may have nothing insightful.

      Me: If you are outside your area of learning, why don’t you go do some research so that you know? Start by finding out what science is, the burden of proof, basic logic (laws of logic, sometimes called the logical absolutes), and what a true dichotomy is. It should only take you 40 minutes at the very most.

      Debbie: I have tried to get in touch with the Scientist who did the radioactive dating for you. I can try to give you information on the Mt. St. Helen’s/Yellowstone Comparison DVD if you wish.

      Me: I don’t wish. Didn’t I already give you a link on what was wrong with this claim, not to mention explaining myself how this is not a controlled experiment.

      Debbie: None of you addressed my discussion of the soul, brain/personality/perceptions and spirit, and how children believe in God over their dolls, etc. Nor those having Jesus come to them, not Thor nor Zeus.

      Me: We did. All the evidence in neurology indicates there is no soul. The claim that only Jesus comes to children in visions is erroneous. (And this is when you say those are demons so what you are proffering as evidence–ie, visions of Jesus–is no longer evidence, as you dismiss disconfirming evidence that negates the Jesus visions.)

      Debbie: And, Marnie, the Bible addresses immorality, sacrificing children to the idol Molech, not provoking one’s children to wrath, and discipline/teaching as a sign of parental love, while there are some things “of which it is a shame even to speak”, but that “those who defraud others, God, Himself will judge which should cover child abuse. He also speaks of forgiveness. I would give you citations, but you don’t seem to want them, not believing in the Bible.

      Me: You don’t believe in the bible either, Debbie. You ignored Exodus 34′s words and took the words of “wise theologians” as a substitute.

      Debbie: Anyway, sorry about using Jacob’s name in the above post which I meant for you Marnie. Please forgive me. Haste.

      Me: I am flattered to be confused with Marnie. Not sure she wants to be confused with me, though, lol.

      Debbie: This close to Christmas, I am not sure how much time I have to blog, but I am happy to try to answer a few questions about the Bible, if I have time and you wish to hear my thoughts. God bless you all.

      Me: Merry Christmas.

      • says

        @jacobfromlost

        I am flattered to be confused with Marnie. Not sure she wants to be confused with me, though, lol.

        I would be happy to be mistaken for you, just wish I had the patients to go point by point on every post. :)

  57. says

    P.S. Also, it has been many years since I got my degree. I also realize I sometimes can’t find the “right word”, as in “unproof”, above. If you still understood me, were we communicating?
    Re: Logic, how do children with Autism and Down’s Syndrome come to know God?

    • says

      @Debbie

      Re: Logic, how do children with Autism and Down’s Syndrome come to know God?

      I don’t understand your question. What is it about children with autism or down syndrome that makes their belief in your religion only, somehow unique from anyone else’s belief in any religion? If there are more children with autism or down syndrome who are muslim or hindu, would you decide that you had the wrong religion? What about children with down syndrome or autism who have no religious belief at all? I think you need to clarify what it is that you are asking.

      • says

        Dear Marnie,
        Many have made up things from inaccurate reviews of the Bible. This doesn’t make the Bible inaccurate, just the people. For instance a woman is not to be naive, simple. (Proverbs)When I looked those words up, it seemed to leave room for some artifice. It says in 1 Timothy 1 she shouldn’t adorn herself, but later that she shouldn’t adorn herself entirely merely externally, (I Peter 3), but that her outward beauty must come primarily from within, and not from overtly costly things. (I tend to allow cultured pearls, my gold wedding ring, and gifts. Even some inexpensive items with gold on them.) And if I am doing it wrong, does that make God wrong, or me?
        You are right about a woman not teaching men, but what if that woman is expressing her beliefs? Some think Hebrews was written by a woman.
        That God has written moral law, and even put it on our hearts and consciences, and that it has been broken by many, don’t the bodies of those who transgress His moral Law bear the penalty? And that was way before AIDS. Do you know where diptheria normally resides in the body? And relationships do also. Communication in sex in marriage is said to be hampered when it has been preceded by immorality. God can heal, but His best is prevention.
        You asked earlier about science and religion. I love science and love reading the Bible. When I hear views of one that differ from the other, I think we probably don’t understand things completely yet, either in science, or our interpretation of the Bible, -one or both-, yet. I just received something having to do with the spread of DNA throughout the world. Jacob accused me of not knowing this. It mentions 400,000 years ago. How do we know this was not some creation previous to Adam and Eve? Or that our dating is even correct? How do we know that the Gilgamesh flood didn’t occur before Noah’s Flood, and that God didn’t use that text to encourage Noah to build the Ark, and to preserve that story? I rather think it is a bastardized version of Noah’s Flood, but that may be incorrect. But one doesn’t have to throw out faith to reconcile the two. One just needs to keep an open and creative, but realistic mind.

        • jacobfromlost says

          Debbie: Many have made up things from inaccurate reviews of the Bible. This doesn’t make the Bible inaccurate, just the people.

          Me: How do you tell the difference between inaccurate reviews and accurate reviews?

          Debbie: And if I am doing it wrong, does that make God wrong, or me?

          Me: What if you are wrong about god, period? How would you know?

          Debbie: I love science and love reading the Bible. When I hear views of one that differ from the other, I think we probably don’t understand things completely yet, either in science, or our interpretation of the Bible, -one or both-, yet.

          Me: How do you know? By what means do you know this?

          Debbie: I just received something having to do with the spread of DNA throughout the world. Jacob accused me of not knowing this. It mentions 400,000 years ago. How do we know this was not some creation previous to Adam and Eve?

          Me: Because the evidence indicates otherwise. If you accept things that are contrary to evidence, or looks exactly the same no matter what the evidence (like claiming god created everything 5 seconds ago, including DNA, fossils, and all our memories), then you have no means to distinguish among similar claims and must accept them all, even though they are contradictory. Since you CAN’T accept them all, and the evidence indicates none of them, the rational position is to reject them all until evidence is presented.

          Debbie: Or that our dating is even correct?

          Me: Because several methods are used, using different principles, that all confirm each other. I explained this previously. For example, if I am accused of murder, and they find my fingerprints on the murder weapon (a knife), my blood with my DNA at the scene, a video tape of me committing the crime, a witness at the window who identifies me, hairs that are consistent with mine clutched in the dead person’s fingers, a set of knives at my house that match the murder weapon and are missing the one knife that matches the murder weapon, foot prints matching my shoes in the victim’s blood, etc, then we can be even MORE CERTAIN than if we only had the hair that is consistent with my hair. Why are we MORE CERTAIN? Because all of those pieces of evidence operate under entirely different principles. Not even fingerprints and shoe prints operate under the same principles. There is no reason for all of those pieces of evidence to indicate I was there and committed the crime, except for the fact that I was there and committed the crime. The fact that I am guilty would be the SIMPLEST EXPLANATION requiring the FEWEST ASSUMPTIONS. Likewise, that is how we know our dating methods are correct. Do your research.

          Debbie: How do we know that the Gilgamesh flood didn’t occur before Noah’s Flood, and that God didn’t use that text to encourage Noah to build the Ark, and to preserve that story?

          Me: Because it requires us to make many outrageous assumptions that are not supported by the evidence, that’s how. Besides, the Noah story TELLS US how god told Noah to build the Ark, etc, and doesn’t mention the Gilgamesh story at all. Why would god need the Gilgamesh story to tell Noah to build an Ark? Your rationalizations make no sense.

          Debbie: I rather think it is a bastardized version of Noah’s Flood, but that may be incorrect.

          Me: It is incorrect. I already told you the written TEXT of Gilgamesh far outdates any written text of the OT. And if you consider the fact that we have fragments of the TEXT of Gilgamesh that far outdate any complete copy of Gilgamesh that we have, then the separation in time becomes even greater. There is no bridge between the two unless you accept the simplest explanation–that Gilgamesh was read by the OT writers, and they reworked it for themselves. (And they didn’t rework it very much, as it has almost all the same story beats.)

          Debbie: But one doesn’t have to throw out faith to reconcile the two.

          Me: Of course not, as faith is the ONLY WAY to reconcile the two. Did you think we were saying the two are reconcilable with reason and evidence? They are not, and we certainly weren’t saying that.

          Debbie: One just needs to keep an open and creative, but realistic mind.

          Me: This is the mind of the storyteller. Aristotle codified this idea with ethos, pathos, and logos. It has nothing to do with finding out if anything is true, though. Using the same method, I can make an “argument” that Lost is true.

        • says

          @Debbie

          Many have made up things from inaccurate reviews of the Bible.

          If your god cannot inspire a document that is universally understandable, consistent and unambiguous, he doesn’t sound like a particularly omnipotent being. Anything that should be considered the basis for laws, morality and behavior needs to be far more straightforward.

          It sounds to me like you jump through a lot of hoops to justify inconsistencies and unpleasant conclussions that one inevitably draws from scriptures. You can speculate all you want about “what ifs” and other hypotheticals, but that doesn’t justify, say, the inquisition.

          You might want to acquaint yourself with the No True Scotsman logical fallacy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

          Your last posts to LykeX and to me, rely on this logical fallacy. You can’t say “ask god to show himself and you will undertand” and then argue that the other person just did it wrong when they tell you that didn’t work for them. You cannot tell me what a consistent and reliable source of morality the bible is and then tell me that any christian who misuses it is just not the right kind of christian.

          You wouldn’t accept this argument from anyone who argued the Quran was the ultimate source of morality and I don’t accept it as justification for your bibles.

  58. Ermine says

    Good grief, Debbie, could you be any more dishonest?

    That’s nice, it’s been many years since you got your degree – WHAT DEGREE? How many times do we have to ask you these simple, clear, direct questions before you’ll answer them? Do you have any idea how dishonest you appear to any observers who may have been following this conversation?

    What is your degree in? Where did you get it?
    Please define “logic” in your own words, so we can see what YOU think logic is.
    Please define “evidence” in your own words.
    Please define “burden of proof” in your own words.

    You have deliberately avoided these questions to preach at us all, and ignored every explanation or refutation provided.

    We’ve read your books. We know your scripture as well as you do – in fact, according to a somewhat-recent study, Atheists and agnostics tend to be better-educated about religion than most religious people. (especially Christians!)

    Most of us have read not just your bible, but the scriptures of other religions as well – have YOU read the Koran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, or any other scriptures by religions other than your own? We’ve also read far more of Behe and Dembski’s writings than you have, obviously. I’d point you again at the Wikipedia article on the Dover trial, but I really can’t see how you’ll learn anything more from that than you’ve learned from this conversation so far – in other words, you’re being yet another hypocritical Christopath who’s more concerned with being right than with what’s actually true.

    Tell you what, I’ll make a prediction now, partially based on your words here in this thread, partially based on all the other evangelical believers-in-magic who I have observed posting here and at other Science or Atheism-themed blogs and websites over the past few years: That study you mentioned on dating rocks from Mount St. Helens? Go ahead and find it. Post us a link to the study and its results. My prediction is that, if you find anything at all, your link will be to an avowedly christian apologetics site, possibly even Answers In Genesis itself – and the people here who understand the Scientific Method (maybe myself, maybe someone else) will be able to point out precisely where the attempt to date the material was flawed or just flat-out dishonest. I’m betting that you won’t be able to find us any sort of peer-reviewed study that shows any such thing as you claim.

    Hmmm, how can I be so confident..?

    I could go on, but you’ve already spent days refusing to answer simple, direct questions. I certainly don’t have much hope of your answering a question like this that actually takes a little work, possibly even a few moments on Google to research. In fact, I don’t really expect to ever see you again. Too many people are starting to hold your feet to the fire, expecting you to actually -converse- with us honestly, as we are attempting to do with you. I don’t think you can do it, but let’s see if I’m wrong, shall we?

  59. says

    Dear LykeX,
    You have sought the Lord on your terms, and I would call that religion. One can’t hear/percieve God with sin in one’s heart, the Bible says. Which is why it says those who “call on the name of the Lord will be saved”. What is His name or nature? It is that of a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, believers had to bring their sins and a sacrifice to the Temple, place their hands on the sacrifice, confessing their sins, hear the priest slay the animal, see the bloodshed in their place, just as Adam and Eve did, when God killed perfect animals to cover them with skins, smell the sacrifice burning upon the altar, and then they could go home forgiven for that sin. On the Day of Atonemnt, not just the sins tht could be remembered, but all the sins of the whole congreation were brought before the Lord God with blood. This is what Jesus did for all man and womankind on the cross. One may want to think God is barbaric, but it was Him who has the right to make the rules that sin needs blood to cover it, and man and woman who broke the rules, and not the other way around.
    So, when we come to God, we are to turn away from our sin and turn to God, which is repentance, confessing our pride and rebellion, our sin(independence) against Him, and wanting Him to forgive our sin and our missing the mark, to save us from it all and take it away. Jesus made this way for us to come to God, covered with His blood, so we can approach God in righteousness, and realize He is real. This is why Jeremiah (23:6) forsaw the root of Jesse, David’s righteous Branch, being called “The LORD our righteousness”. We have to come on His terms, not our on. It reminds me of the story of Naaman. His Israelite servant said, “If God had told you to do some great thing would you not have done it?” (But God wanted Naaman to dip seven times in the Jordan to be healed of his leprosy, leprosy being historically a sign of rebellion that separated him from others.) The idea of a sacrifice is seen in many religions. One can see it throughout the whole Bible. One sees it in the story of Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed, but then He provided a substitute ram, a picture of Jesus. One can’t prove these things. Obedience of faith is key. God has to reveal Him self to one. How could so many OT writers have foreseen how God would come and die for us, call for the obedience of faith, and so on? Do you know the OT Scriptures speak of God’s Son?

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie: How could so many OT writers have foreseen how God would come and die for us, call for the obedience of faith, and so on? Do you know the OT Scriptures speak of God’s Son?

      Me: Predictions have to be such that they can’t be contrived. Moreover, the predictions you allude to are as vague as possible. If they were specific, and fulfilled by Jesus, why do the Jews reject them?

    • says

      I swear, I don’t know why I keep trying to be sincere with you people. You always just shit all over me. You can’t even mount a serious critique. It’s always just “you didn’t do it right”, “you weren’t sincere enough”, “god doesn’t like intelligent questions”, “thinking is sinful”.

      Do you even understand why it is we aren’t convinced by your “arguments”?

      How about this, Debbie: In what way can you, objectively, distinguish your beliefs from a psychotic delusion?

      • jacobfromlost says

        LykeX: How about this, Debbie: In what way can you, objectively, distinguish your beliefs from a psychotic delusion?

        Me: That’s easy. We know the prophecies Debbie likes are wrong because the prophecies I have found are far more accurate. How do I know the prophecies I found are true? Easy. Matchbox 20 is the best band ever, and they predicted 9/11 in their debux album “Yourself or Someone Like You” in 1996. See for yourself:

        I dreamed that the world was crumbling down
        We sat on my back porch and watched it
        I dreamed that the buildings all fell down
        We sat on my back porch and watched it
        In my head I heard the sound
        Like fifteen strangers dancing

        Clearly they were talking about 9/11. It is undeniable. The 15 strangers are the 15 Saudis that were on those planes that day, and their “dancing” clearly tells us that they would be successful. How could Matchbox 20 have possibly known that? How could they have possibly known buildings would fall down? Few people thought the buildings would fall down that day, remember, even AFTER the buildings were struck. Yet they knew it 5 years earlier! Remember, this album was their first album, and it was very popular at the time. That indicates it is true because first things are first, and because popular things are popular for a reason (the truth is in them).

        Also, when you listen to the song, you will feel the anger that was bubbling before and after the attacks. It even says, “In this stage we can’t get hurt,” which goes to show that before the attacks, no one who got killed in the attacks had yet been hurt, as well as the fact that the terrorist themselves felt invincible. It also says, “[We're] not too crazy to get busted”, which tells us that the terrorist knew that they could get caught, but were aware of this and taking precautions not to. Now that you understand how to properly understand this prophecy, it will be obvious what these lines mean:

        I found out one life ain’t enough
        I need another soul to feed on
        I’m the flame I can’t get burnt
        I’m wholly understated

        Do you feel the power of Matchbox 20 deep down yet? If you understood deep down that Matchbox 20 was predicting that Muslim extremists, bent on terror and believing in an afterlife, were about to execute a fiery terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center that would kill innocents, along with themselves, then you just need to read it again and ask yourself, “Am I reading this with an open and creative mind, but a realistic mind?” If you still are a doubter, just ask yourself AGAIN, and AGAIN, until you finally realize the Power of Matchbox 20. Why would you NOT want to believe in the Power of Matchbox 20? They are AWESOME!

        For goodness sake, read how clear it is:

        I found silence in this space
        An on and off again attraction
        I need such amazing grace
        Heaven sweep me away

        (Satire alert for this entire post. But it is a good song. Oh crap. What if Debbie doesn’t know what “satire” means? [facepalm])

        • says

          I hear you can have a personal relationship with Matchbox 20.

          Also, I heard a guy listened to Matchbox 20 and his sciatic cleared up even after doctors told there was nothing they could do. True fax.

    • Ermine says

      God wanted Naaman to dip seven times in the Jordan to be healed of his leprosy, leprosy being historically a sign of rebellion that separated him from others.

      Er, Debbie, maybe you don’t know this yet, but leprosy is a disease. It’s not a sign of sin, it’s not demonic possession, it’s a bacterium. The so-called “cures” listed in the Old Testament didn’t work. Or are you one of those people who thinks that cancer, leprosy, AIDS, the Flu, heart disease, Guinea Worm, fleas, bedbugs and all the other diseases and parasites that every single species on the planet suffers from are all part of God’s “loving” plan? Are you one of those disgusting individuals who thinks that sick people deserve their illnesses due to sin or ‘rebellion’? No? Then how is a disease a sign of rebellion? These are the tales of primitive tribesmen, not the words of an all-knowing Deity! THIS is why we have a problem with religion, when people go around believing things that will hurt other people, sooner or later.

      A loving God would not force generation after generation of disease, discomfort, disability, and DEATH onto its most favored creations, telling them that it’s the result of ‘sin’ committed by their soi-distant ancestors – And what was the sin? “Disobeying God” (by eating a fruit!) while they supposedly had NO knowledge of Good and Evil, right and wrong! Not only that, but the serpent was right, God was lying to them! They did not die the day they ate it, and (again, according to the story) their eyes were opened, so they knew the difference between good and evil. Until then, they had no free will – if they didn’t know right from wrong, how could they choose right or wrong of their own free will??

      Now, some religions, (Like the Mormons, f’rinstance) believe that them eating from the Tree of Knowledge was part of God’s plan – Why else put it right there in the garden with them, right? However, they conveniently ignore the punishment that came afterwards. If it was all part of the plan, punishing them for it (And all their progeny, along with every other living creature on earth!) would be an act of serious assholery, now wouldn’t it?

      But for that tiny, tiny, so-called “sin”, their “loving” Creator cursed them and their progeny AND every single living creature he’d created on Earth to suffer disease, pain, parasites, and eventual death, with many millions being tortured forever in a lake of fire. Is this like any sort of love that YOU’VE ever heard of? In fact, there was even a Tree of Life there in the same garden, so God could easily have prevented all that death, but instead chose that as a deliberate punishment. What kind of loving parent is that? How twisted up in the head do you have to be to see that sort of behavior as love? God could have told us millenia ago about how diseases really worked, but instead we’re told that sickness is a sign of sin or demonic possession. Do you have any idea how long that slowed us down and hindered us from finding the real answers, answers that have saved billions from death by disease?

      So, when we come to God, we are to turn away from our sin and turn to God, which is repentance, confessing our pride and rebellion, our sin(independence) against Him

      Now independence is sin? I thought Free Will was a precious gift? Is simply wanting to exercise that Free Will (That’s independence!) a sin now? I’ve got to say, for something that was supposedly Created “perfect”, we sure fell to pieces at the first little bump in the road, didn’t we? You’d think that “doesn’t become a putrid mass of disease, death, and constant sin at the first mistake” would have been part of that “perfection”, wouldn’t you? I can’t see how we could possibly have been anywhere near Perfect if we managed to drag the entire planet down into sin, imperfection, and death just because two of the prototypes ate the wrong fruit while they didn’t know any better. “Perfect” really doesn’t include “will drag the whole planet with them into Hell as soon as one of them pushes the big red button I left in front of their faces” (I told them not to, but I didn’t include Knowledge of Good and Evil, so they won’t hesitate if anyone actually tells them to push it!)

      What would have happened if Adam or Eve accidentally ate some of the fruit? If they were undying, they’d have spent many, many, MANY years in that garden. The chances for an accident would actually be quite high, statistically, and they would only go up the longer they (or any other human) was near it. What would have happened if a ripe, falling fruit had hit one of them in the mouth as it fell? What if someone accidentally picked up the wrong fruit? After all, everything else in the Garden was tasty and edible, right? What happens when one of the first babies stuffs a fruit in its mouth, as babies are likely to do? Wow, all of God’s plans, foiled by gravity or an instant of inattention. Whoops! You’d think a perfect being could come up with a better plan than that, wouldn’t you?

      I notice you are STILL refusing to answer the simple and direct questions you were asked earlier. You aren’t showing yourself in a very good light just now, are you? Why does it seem that it’s always the Christians who end up being the dishonest, hypocritical ones when they try to join in a conversation?

      It was watching this sort of conversation happening between numerous religions that really gave me the final push I needed to see the light and drop my useless faith (and belief) in God(s). Again and again I’d see this sort of conversation, and the Atheists, scientists, and Freethinkers would patiently point out exactly where the religious apologists were wrong, quoting chapter and verse and pointing out clear errors and contradictions, pointing everyone to real, peer-reviewed science instead of anonymously-written “scripture”, only to have the religious return with flat-out lies, obfuscations, and mealy-mouthed platitudes like “You didn’t mean it when you prayed, that’s why God didn’t answer you like He promised He would.” Excuse me? How the hell could you POSSIBLY know that?

      Again and again, the religious made claims to knowledge that they couldn’t possibly have, and in many cases, made claims that I knew beyond any doubt were false. So at last I actually started to study all the other things that they’d taught me that I was taking for granted. What if the bible wasn’t really true? What might the history look like if it were just a collection of books, put together by men who wanted a docile flock of sheep to shear? How might that look, as opposed to a book written by divine mandate and protected by the power of God Himself? What would the world look like if there really HAD been a worldwide flood some 6000-odd years back? Again and again, the answers came back, “It would look VERY different than it does now!” At last I could no longer hold onto a belief, when it was contradicted by so much of reality around me.

      Why should anyone believe you, when you are so easily, so demonstrably wrong in nearly every claim you make, and when you and so many others on your side are constantly caught being either completely ignorant of the subject you’re expounding on, or patently dishonest in your claims?

      Stop preaching at us and CONVERSE with us! – Or if you can’t do that, go away and end this farce, would you please? You’re diminishing what tiny hope I have left in the intrinsic good of mankind.

  60. says

    Hi All,
    It has been a busy time. I do want to try to converse if you are still interested. I thought I was before when Jacob thought I was preaching, so, that is something on which I need to work.
    I realize I need to discuss one issue at a time, so I have time to look things up.
    If you still are interested, I will tell you in general terms about my education.
    God bless us all, with wisdom, truth, grace, etc.

    • jacobfromlost says

      Debbie,

      This thread is getting stale. If you really want to continue a discussion with atheists, post a comment to the newest Atheist Experience thread (it’s just an open thread for the latest show, but the latest show was kind of boring, so a discussion might fill the void). Introduce yourself, your Christianity, why you believe it, etc. My advice, though, would be to not ignore everything we discussed here in terms of rationalism and atheism.

  61. Jesus says

    to all the people who dont belive in the lLord the only savvior yall are stupide he died on the cross for us to be in heven you will be face to face with him when u die u ether go to heven or hell and hell u will burn forever and i promise u i would rather go to heven to be with my lord and only savoir and praise him

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