How Could an Atheist Convert to Christianity?

Last time I made the claim that atheists, once they are well-informed about the arguments pro and con Christianity, are stuck there. Intellectual arguments can’t budge them. This is more than just a curious observation; I see it as an argument that atheism is the best intellectual conclusion.

Let’s test this argument with the examples of several high-profile ex-atheists. We can start with prominent atheist philosopher Antony Flew, who converted to deism in 2004 at age 81. The story caused a stir, with atheists fearing that apologists had blindsided a vulnerable old man with unfamiliar new arguments.

Flew wrote the argument supporting his conversion in There is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind in 2007. I say that Flew wrote it, but there’s little evidence to that it was actually him. In the first place, Roy Varghese’s name is on the cover as the coauthor. In the second, the book summarizes Flew’s position in a clumsy first-person account, written not as he would have written it, but as any of us might have done as a research paper, quoting passages from Flew’s own writings to summarize his previous position. An example:

In my new introduction to the 2005 edition of God and Philosophy, I said, “I am myself delighted to be assured …”

(from p. 123 of the 2007 HarperOne edition).

Why would Flew quote himself instead of just saying it? Looks like the work of a ghost writer.

The book summarizes the scientific arguments that Flew says were convincing—the same old arguments popular with lots of apologists today—but there’s little reason to imagine that he was competent to evaluate them. In one interview (video) he claims no scientific expertise in a vague appeal to the Argument from Complexity. Flew has made important contributions to philosophical atheism, but I see no reason to imagine that he was ever well informed about apologetic arguments.

(An aside: it is noteworthy that he found deist arguments compelling and so became a deist. Too often, Christians make a case built solely on deist arguments—the Design Argument, the Moral Argument, and so on—without acknowledging that they are making a case for deism, not Christianity.)

I understand the buzz about Flew’s conversion. An ex-atheist saying, “atheism is false” is much more compelling than a Christian doing so. A recent New York Times article argues that the intuitive approach to changing beliefs by providing clear and compelling information from the other side only hardens the existing belief. The problem is “biased assimilation,” where we presume incoming information is valid only when it supports our existing opinions.

If an outsider won’t be trusted, the solution is to supply correct information from an unimpeachable source. That is, find someone trusted in the target community who, unlike the rest of that community, is giving the new information. This person would be a defector, like the three ex-atheists we’ll consider here. That’s why these stories are so newsworthy.

Richard Morgan is case study #2. A prolific contributor to the Richard Dawkins discussion forum, he made waves when he became a Christian in 2008 (find interviews at Apologetics 315 and Unbelievable).

He followed the LDS church early in life but later rejected it. He was delighted to discover Dawkins’ writings and hung out at the Richard Dawkins site. The anti-Christian vitriol shocked him, but, eager for acceptance by the community, he tried to fit in. That slowly changed after David Robertson, the Christian author of The Dawkins Letters, showed up on the site to defend his attack on Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Robertson was polite and dogged, despite the insults, and Morgan was impressed. When the character assassination by fellow atheists became too much, he defended Robertson, was attacked himself, and finally left.

(An aside: this is a lesson worth dwelling on. In a society where battle-scarred or traumatized atheists find respite from Christian culture in a forum, it’s understandable that they might vent. But when the forum is public, politeness counts. Your cutting remark may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and becomes the anecdote that someone always returns to when thinking about your community.)

Free from his old community but still an atheist, Morgan contacted author David Robertson. Robertson challenged him by asking what would make him believe, and the answer came to mind immediately: “Certainly not reason and science.” That is, he realized that he had no use for the intellectual arguments he had spent years honing.

In that instant, he says the words “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19) popped into his mind. It was an epiphany, and he remembers not only the date but the minute of that day in 2008. He had returned to Christianity.

(I mused earlier about satori being only for Buddhists. Looks like I was hasty.)

Morgan makes clear that his conversion wasn’t based on reason or intellectual arguments.

I still understand the same philosophical arguments against the existence of God. I’m still aware of what’s supposed to be the scientific proofs against God, but it’s as if there’s an added perception being put into my mind to see beyond that and to see how limited and inadequate all these explanations are.

And to an imagined atheist, he says:

This wonderful argument you’ve just written about explaining how God can’t exist, I know it so well I’ve used it a dozen times myself. But it’s not true. There’s more to it than that.

Morgan claims to have been a well-informed atheist, and I’m convinced. But he gives absolutely no reason to follow him on this path. Epiphanies don’t happen on demand, and I couldn’t follow him if I wanted to.

Let me clarify that I’m not concerned about a mass exodus from atheism. I care about the truth, not atheism, and would happily abandon atheism if I found it to be false. I’m simply underscoring that this is not an argument for Christianity.

With Richard Morgan, we have an example of a well-informed atheist who became a Christian. That’s interesting, but it’s nothing more than that.

Our final case study will be Leah Libresco, a fellow Patheos blogger (at Unequally Yoked). Immersed in a Catholic environment, she seemed to find the center of gravity of her moral philosophy gradually move from atheism to Catholicism. It was as if the vocabulary available within atheism was inadequate, with Catholicism much better able to express reality.

In an interview, Hemant Mehta (the Friendly Atheist) pointed out that Leah’s conversion hasn’t led to a flood of other conversions (or perhaps any). Like Richard Morgan’s conversion four years earlier, there are no new insights or arguments to which an atheist might say, “Oh, that’s interesting; I need to think about that” as the first step toward Christianity.

These are three bona fide conversions away from atheism. From different atheist communities, they show that smart atheists can reject the non-faith. This may help tone down atheist smugness, but none of these conversions provides new reasons that atheists can use to challenge their nonbelief.

This (admittedly limited) survey was meant to test the hypothesis that well-informed atheists never change because of intellectual reasons. I think the hypothesis stands.

If I knew that a man was coming to my house
with the conscious design of doing me good,
I should run for my life.
— Henry David Thoreau

About Bob Seidensticker
  • LHD

    Good blog post. I’ll just say that yes, I believe in God, but you are spot on that non of those arguments prove Christianity, and to be honest, philosophy doesn’t prove God’s existence, either. I will also say that I don’t find the lack of evidence in God a good reason to believe he doesn’t exists. Logical positivism says that only that which can be verified empirically is true, and its definitely a false proposition. I find modern day atheism little more than this. I think Flew may have pointed that out, but I haven’t read his books (just study philosophy myself). I guess I’m saying that if we wanted to use philosophy, I think agnosticism best sums it up. I’m not a scientists, so I’ll give you that one. If we want to talk in terms of possibilities, I think God is a valid possibility, just one that isn’t proveable as you said.

    • Being human

      The lack of evidence is a good reason not to believe in anything. Atheists don’t claim that there isn’t a God, we just claim that we don’t have sufficient evidence to believe in one. I’m sure that you don’t believe in vampires or mermaids. The reason why most sane people don’t believe in these things is because we don’t have the evidence backing up these claims.

  • http://www.facebook.com/corymcstudmuffin.smith Cory Limpy Smith

    This really helped me thank you

  • Monika Jankun-Kelly

    I’m saddened by the anti-religious vitriol I see in the atheist community, my community. Let me be clear, there is plenty of legitimate criticism to be made, but it can be done in a civil manner, without making the religious into The Hated Other. I’ve seen and been the target of dog piling when daring to defend the religious against anti-religious prejudice (not that it’s nearly as big a problem for you as anti-atheist prejudice is for us). I disagree with the few atheists who choose to convert, but I would never give them a hard time about it, or even bring it up unless they wanted to talk about it first. So long as they don’t start harming others with their religion, it’s not my business, and I do recognize religion has some benefits for the religious.

    I will say, however, that I am somewhat disappointed by the reasons these ex-atheist converts gave for converting. I’m disappointed in my own community too, for not teaching a holistic secular philosophy. There is so much focus on the purely intellectual, the coldly logical, and the debunking of religion. Robertson and Morgan write about love, about finding more in life than just sterile intellectual logic arguments. Secular humanism has much to say about love, emotion, the social aspects of life. Too bad the secular community talks so very little about this. Love can be understood, enjoyed, practiced, and lived quite well without resorting to supernatural explanations and sources of it. I don’t blame converts one bit for seeking emotional fulfillment in a religious community when the secular community fails to provide it for them. I will admit some of the secular are immature assholes, and they tend to be the loudest. I simply ask that the religious not claim that they have the one source of love, emotional fulfillment, or what have you, or that those perfectly natural and human things somehow point to a god.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’m saddened by the anti-religious vitriol I see in the atheist community

      Yes, that’s a legitimate concern.

      My own motivation here is driven by Christian excesses within society. If Christianity was just what Christians believed and practiced and that’s it, I’d find another hobby. But, for many, Christianity slops out of its container as Christians want to get prayer in City Council meetings or Creationism taught in public schools.

      Robertson and Morgan write about love, about finding more in life than just sterile intellectual logic arguments.

      Yes, good stuff. But I miss the “… so therefore, God” logic. If they want to believe just ’cuz, that’s fine, but I need reasons to believe in God.

      I agree that secular humanism rounds out the atheist position.

      • Being human

        If I may ask, what reasons do you believe in God? There is absolutely no evidence backing up the claim of a God.

        I’m saddened by the anti-atheist vitriol that I see in the religious community. Christianity claims that atheists and people from other religions will go to Hell just because we believe in something different.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t believe in God.

        • Being human

          Sorry about that. I misread the last part of your comment. I accidentally assumed from the first part that you were Christian. Thanks for the clarification.

        • MNb

          Oh, I don’t like anti-religious vitriol either. Golden Rule and such things.

        • guest

          Hey,

          What I find lacking in atheistic community is their lack of understanding of the christian faith, they tend to take this faith at face value I.e what you see the ignorant masses doing, obeying what has been told, they tend to relish on distroyinh the faith of these people and it gives them the false impression of superiority or intelligence, the problem is, there are people who have reasons to believe and whatever you say about the bible, they won’t listen because the same stuff have been told to them through out the ages, you would say the bible has flaws but what you forget to is that by simple searching of “answers to biblical criticism” will give you the answers, you will spew out contradictions but still, the answers would be there, maybe they won’t move you, because you will just dismiss it, the problem is we make the assumption that it is false but in fact, we just pick what we find. I am panentheist christian, check out Johanan Raatz channel on YouTube.

          Christianity is much more than what you think, sky daddy and flawed book, its fun to say all that but it is childish, if you have reason to be an atheist then its fine, but you really don’t have a reason, you choose, and then you base ur arguments after choosing, its meaningless to fight, its immature.

        • Being human

          First off, your second paragraph doesn’t make any sense. You put a ton of words into my mouth that I didn’t even say. Is anything that I said wrong? Christians say that we will go to Hell for believing in something different, which is what I call hate. Why is wrong to fight for something that I believe in? Also, how is it immature to have a civil conversation?

        • Being human

          Actually, I have a very good understanding of the Christian faith, which is why I left it. I was a Catholic for over 20 years and I know a lot about this religion. So, saying that I have no understanding is insulting.

        • 90Lew90

          “What I find lacking in atheistic community is their lack of understanding of the christian faith…”. Good, so we’re agreed atheists have a perfectly adequate understanding of the Christian faith. Now what?

    • Tolife

      There is rejection everywhere though, in the christian circles as well. Worse for them is, they teach a love they can hardly experience too, been there. I do agree with you that we could more often than not, speak to the tender side of life as well. As for those that leave the atheist community for lack of love or acceptance, going to church will disappoint them triple as much, the threats still go on, the abusive god-person relationship…..it doesn’t stop.

    • Bailey Nix

      One of the reasons I converted from atheism to Christianity was both a logical conclusion of both study and realization. Here we were supposed intellectually superior, yet, acting like irrational hate filled bigots which is what we accused the Christians of being.
      I looked introspectively, and reread the Gospels with an open mind. Yeah it seemed full of impossibilities , but there was something else. Love, compassion, mercy, relationship.
      I cannot accept religion, many churches are self serving, and full of doctrines based on man’s ideas and social doctrines.When I studied the life of Christ and how he lived, treated others, I understood why people would follow and die for a man like that.
      Then it got to the miracles and resurrection.Logically and scientifically it seems truly a grasp at something impossible. Yet I have seen a few things that are seemingly impossible, aberations from the norm, like a woman pulled out of a car submerged underwater while all the windows were up and the doors closed.Then I looked at the gospels and wondered why would so many people make such claims, yet no one set out at the time to discredit his claims of miracles.The Jews and Romans both would have many reasons to counter these claims as false.Lastly everyone of his disciples died for their faith, as did many others without reacting with violence.
      It wasn’t until after Constantine coopted religion for political gain, that the Christian warrior was born.So the true aberation to me was not Christianity itself, but men whos pagan gods were failing to inspire coopted a true faith and bent it to their political will, corrupting it.We all know however good intentioned anything is , it gets corrupted when politicians get a hold of it.
      So yes I reject much of organized religion, but still found faith.As far as the conceptions of slavery, patriarchy, etc, Christ taught nonviolence, if you read his entire message about how to treat others, it will logically be clear that he does not condone it, or any mistreatment of any person. Many times what they called slavery was indentured servitude to pay off debts.The other interesting note is Jesus was not a politician, worldly kingdoms and spiritual kingdoms are separated.
      His message is personal, a guide on how you are to live, not how others are supposed to act, it is completely introspective.Treat others better than yourself, return evil with good, if someone doesn’t recieve your message, walk away.Be a light, show hope in a world filled with cruelty and hatred, show love. Live pure so that no one can call you hypocrite.Live in faith, love and kindness.Do not be condescending or self righteous.Show mercy, be empathetic.Be truthful, do not lie.Do not lust after a woman even in thought (there ya go , women are not sex objects, they are people).
      If you follow His teachings, you will treat everyone better than you do yourself, even those that hate you and do you wrong.Following the path of Christ would lead to everyone being treated much better (both men and women).
      I still have my friends, as well as new ones, I have changed, but for the better, I am no longer angry, bitter, spiteful.I found peace , mercy, and love. In truth that is what we all should strive for.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Then I looked at the gospels and wondered why would so many people make such claims, yet no one set out at the time to discredit his claims of miracles.The Jews and Romans both would have many reasons to counter these claims as false.

        It’s a story. Only when it’s shown to be history do we worry about what you think ought to have happened.

        Lastly everyone of his disciples died for their faith

        I’ve written about the “who would die for a lie?” argument here. Not convincing. Let me know if you can’t find that post.

        If Christianity works for you, fine. But if you want to convince us that your position is right, you need to give us intellectual reasons.

        As far as the conceptions of slavery, patriarchy, etc, Christian taught nonviolence, if you read his entire message about how to treat others, it will logically be clear that he does not condone it, or any mistreatment of any person.

        Read the Old Testament and let it speak for itself. God acts like a Bronze Age king. God luvs him some slavery and genocide. I’ve written about this, too.

        Treat others better than yourself, return evil with good, if someone doesn’t relieve your message, walk away.

        Sell your cloak to buy a sword, kill the fig tree, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”—that Jesus?

        If you want to cherry pick the good stuff, yes, there is good stuff. But observe that you’re using your conscience as the guide. You know that slavery and genocide are wrong; that’s why you spin God as not supporting that. And so on for other good and bad verses.

        If you’re a better person now, that’s great. If you’re saying that Christianity is useful, we can have that conversation. But right now, I’m stuck on the question: Is it true?

        • Bailey Nix

          I understand your arguments, and believe me I have not converted to fundamentalism type of mentality, where I am in denial of what is there in the Old Testament.
          There is much to wonder about.Can I prove my point strictly with science, obviously not , neither atheism nor theism can be strictly proven or disproven with our present knowledge of science and technology, that is an unwinnable debate to engage in at this time to be honest.It simply comes down to each persons logical conclusions from the evidence we have now.
          Now as far as Mosaic law, there is everything from morals obligations, dietary rules(from research had to do with both sanitary as well as religious purposes), rituals, legal procedures, and a questionable things we do not understand in a modern society.
          Give me the benefit for a moment that we assume that it is the word from God to a bronze age people. The Israelites, had been amongst pagans for hundreds of years, every society known to man at that time was both patriarchal and slave driven. Not based on a certain race, but any conquered race, and even amongst their own tribes.The concepts in Mosaic law were foreign at that time in history. A single God? A radical viewpoint. Not enslaving your own people? Another new concept.No king , no real government ruling over others?At that time in that part of the world , and even today , we couldn’t fathom that not having a government, simply a code of laws to follow, enforced by the community, taught by priests.
          So on one hand we see it as endorsing something most modern societies have rejected, but in fact many became indentured servants as a way to survive, as there was no other type of social welfare.Also a slave could earn freedom, it was also a way to work off debt.There were no prisons and captives of war became slaves, rather than slaughtering the whole, could be considered an act of mercy.Some people’s may have been too violent or too immoral to submit to mosaic laws, so to preserve society they had to be wiped out, or they may have been carrying diseases, we do not know.
          The one I hadn’t figured out without researching was where some modern translations seem to say if you rape an unwed, or unengaged woman, you must pay compensation to the father , and possibly have to marry her.There is pressedent that the family in such a circumstance would arrange a marriage, and then kill the rapist, it happened in several instances, providing an example of punishment for such a horrendous deed. If a woman was engaged or married, the rapist was condemned to death automatically.
          In each case mentionrd, there were horrible consequences for such an act. Some things are logically just wrong, we are smart enough to know that, even unbelievers know rape is wrong, so why would a religion not consider it wrong by default, considering that there was already a specific law on rape, setting a precedent that it was wrong?
          Also the verse in question the translation in original language could be interpreted as seduced, meaning if you seduced a virgin you must offer marriage.
          That covers part of what Mosaic law and society in that era.If you read it as both historical , and with spiritual insight, you see basically that when you follow God, enlightenment follows, and when you do not , there are consequences, and people tend to blame God for their wrong doings and the evil in this world, when in fact human nature is to believe in a deity, but greed, power, and lust corrupt humans very easily.
          God gave us free will, a choice, and it is up to us to decide which path to take. Not every nonbeliever is necessarily immoral, and not everyone that claims belief actually follows it.
          But even Jesus labeled everything from a lie, to murder a sin, as did the ten commandments. Thus honesty, love , mercy, compassion, a commandment for Christians not to judge but to show light , not hatred and darkness, for where agape is in your heart, there is no darkness.It does not mean you are perfect, you are still human, but there is forgiveness from God when you fail. You still owe society for your misdeeds.
          For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but there is redemption in Christ. Let he who hath no sin cast the first stone.
          The Gospel is about relationship, as I stated before, the commands are introverted, to live pure, moral, and ethical, and extroverted, not to judge, have mercy, show love, and compassion.
          I am not fully engrossed in my studies yet, I converted only 4 months ago, there is much for me to learn, I am not a theologian.Nor have I counseled with any pastors, or evengelists, I have talked amongst friends, both muslim, atheists , and Christians about answers they may have. I do not associate with people that hate no matter what their race, religion, non religion or creed.I like to be around well balanced, thoughtful and kind natured people.
          If we all just respected each other, and followed the golden rule, we would be much better off , no matter what else you believe, it wouldn’t matter.
          Can I convince you of truth? No, only you can decide, only you can make that choice in what you believe, you are a reasoning adult, and while I hope I could convince, it is beyond my power, after all, I am only human, whether I am forgiven or not.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          There is much to wonder about.

          What’s there to wonder about? Whether God supports slavery? The OT makes clear that he does.

          neither atheism nor theism can be strictly proven or disproven with our present knowledge of science and technology, that is an unwinnable debate to engage in at this time

          Theism makes bold claims. If there isn’t evidence to support them, you should reject them. Rejection of theism is the default.

          dietary rules(from research had to do with both sanitary as well as religious purposes)

          Kosher laws have nothing to do with sanitation. Protects you from bad pork? That’s nice, but it doesn’t protect you from bad beef or fish.

          every society known to man at that time was both patriarchal and slave driven

          I doubt it. I hear that Celtic societies were matriarchal. I bet there are societies where slavery was either minimal or nonexistent. But you claim the opposite—you’ll need to show that.

          A single God? A radical viewpoint.

          The Egyptians dabbled with that before. And don’t imagine that the OT is totally monotheistic. It’s a palimpsest of both polytheism and henotheism.

          Not enslaving your own people? Another new concept.

          Show me. And don’t imagine that the OT doesn’t summarize the rules for indentured servitude.

          we couldn’t fathom that not having a government, simply a code of laws to follow, enforced by the community, taught by priests.

          A theocracy? What fun!

          Also a slave could earn freedom, it was also a way to work off debt

          You just bragged about “not enslaving your own people,” or did I misunderstand you?

          You do know that Yahweh can do anything, right? The Hebrews inventing indentured servitude is the best that he offers us? How about some magic?

          Some people’s may have been too violent or too immoral to submit to mosaic laws, so to preserve society they had to be wiped out, or they may have been carrying diseases, we do not know.

          You see what religion has done to you? There is no craziness that your holy book could have that you won’t cobble together some defense for it. Your beliefs become unfalsifiable.

          The one I hadn’t figured out without researching was where some modern translations seem to say if you rape an unwed, or unending woman, you must pay compensation to the father , and possibly have to marry her.

          See the problem? You know what’s right and wrong here, and you are determined to shoehorn the Bible into the Good bin.

          people tend to blame God for their wrong doings and the evil in this world, when in fact human nature is to believe in a deity, but greed, power, and lust corrupt humans very easily.

          You blame mankind for natural disasters? Birth defects? How about letting Mr. Big take responsibility for the shit that he does.

          But even Jesus labeled everything from a lie, to murder a sin, as did the ten commandments

          Ten Commandments? Nothing against slavery or genocide or rape. Yeah—great source of morals.

          Oh—but it says “don’t covet.”

          there is forgiveness from God when you fail. You still owe society for your misdeeds.

          Who cares about God being offended? If I steal from you, it’s you who’s been wronged and you to whom I must make amends.

          I converted only 4 months ago, there is much for me to learn, I am not a theologian

          I encourage you to read broadly and with an open mind. Beware anyone who tells you to avoid books that criticize religion.

        • Bailey Nix

          You see through the same eyes I used to have.I didn’t come to faith through a debate with anyone, a preacher, or evangelist.
          I came to the conclusion through failing circumstances in my own life, and found answers where I least expected them.
          You may think it irrational, but I am a rational person. I have never followed a crowd, never gone along believing much of anything , taking everything with a grain of salt.I am both melancholy/choleric in personality which means I can both be easy going, but also very regimented and critical. I make decisions very carefully.
          I won’t go into details, it is personal, but I was in a very dark place , where things were falling apart. I only had one thing I still enjoyed, and that was research. I came accross in my research of the Great Pyramid a passage reference to Isaiah 19:19.
          I did find the measurements interesting and how the pyramid correlates to the earth’s measurements, mass, curvature, distance to sun and moon, etc.
          Still rationally implausible to believe God did it, that’s always the answer for religion and the unexplainable, and the alien theories also, but I did find it interesting that Herodotus, mentioned that while in Egypt he asked if they knew who built it.He was told that long ago some kings from the east came to Egypt, they worshipped a single God, and Pharoah rejected the many god’s and worshipped the Eastern kings God, that they were responsible for building the pyramid. After that Pharoah died, they went back to worshipping the pagan gods.
          I don’t recall if they gave the name of the Pharoah or not.
          That got my curiosity so I read Exodus, and found it amusing , all the miracles and mysticism I assigned it as describing.
          I did find it interesting reading however, so I flipped through to see what this mythical Jesus was all about, I have heard the arguments not being blind or dumb, but hadn’t actually read it myself before.
          So in my reading of the Gospels, I found the answers to my problems. And came to have faith.
          intellectual conversion, not really, but my family and friends are glad to see the difference, I am of course the same person, but much different, as I described before.
          I am not blind to anything by my faith, I feel like my eyes are opened.I haven’t rejected science, but I do see flaws, as I do in organizes religion. Televangelists, Preachers that are built on $ yet don’t seem to do much if anything for the poor or hungry, but then I see others that go every weekend just to make sure that drunken people have a free safe ride home, without even preaching to them.I see some lay Christians giving sandwiches to the homeless.
          I am critical of religion in the sense, they do not act like Jesus that I read about in the Bible, but I can only be responsible for my own actions. I have asked a few times about the pharisees and self righteous and it seems many fanatics act in such a manner, judgemental, spiteful, but very pure supposedly, but quite lacking in mercy or love. They will as anyone answer to God, I can point that out, but it is not my place to condemn anyone, whether they are believers or not .
          It’s been a nice conversation, do not worry, logic and reason, as well as skepticism is still an important part in my thought process.
          I will not be following any so called Jesus prophets into the mountains and end up drinking any kool-aid, or become any kind of Christian “warrior”.
          I did find it interesting that the earliest church was pacifist, they would not kill.They didn’t even believe in killing in battle and would not join the army.
          That is more of the way I believe, but I will protect my family if necessary.
          Peace , we may talk again, but I will be doing more research and studying before I engage in further debates.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I didn’t come to faith through a debate with anyone, a preacher, or evangelist.

          I change my mind through evidence.

          I came to the conclusion through failing circumstances in my own life, and found answers where I least expected them.

          Sounds like an emotional conversion.

          You may think it irrational, but I am a rational person.

          In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter what I think. You must decide for yourself.

          I am of course the same person, but much different, as I described before.

          Now you’re saying that Christianity is useful. That might be, but I only care if it’s true.

          they do not act like Jesus that I read about in the Bible, but I can only be responsible for my own actions

          Jesus as a literary figure might be a noble example for us to follow. Again, I care primarily about whether the supernatural claims are true.

          I did find it interesting that the earliest church was pacifist, they would not kill.

          They also held all assets in community, so they were Socialists or maybe Communists.

        • Bailey Nix

          Yes, I told you I didn’t convert simply on intellectual reasons, I know that’s what you asked for, but also not the purpose I engaged you in conversation.
          I wanted to engage with someone that doesn’t act like they are trying to behead me with their words, like on some YouTube channels where they call for bringing back the lions.
          Like I told you I appreciate peace, respect that is mutual. Not retarded Ad Hominem, epithet filled rants followed by fanatics trying to call down balls of fire on the sinners..Such things only point towards trolling and ignorance.
          I also weighed origin in my decision as already stated.I have spoken with a few Historical scholars at a local college ( informal meeting with questions, for my own information, not to write a God vs Evolution type thesis or video to try and make $ ).When you have questions about a document, you go to someone that knows that field. I asked them what they thought of the validity of the written accounts.They said it is reasonable to believe that the written accounts of Jesus life were valid .The way it is written by several witnesses, and the actions taken by the early church showed they had little to gain, and much more to lose including their lives, which makes the early testimonies more palatable to believe. In that society, belief in a deities was totally accepted.What was not acceptable by Rome and most societies and even among Jews was to claim to be the Messiah, or to claim there is only one God.
          Now they are not scientists, they are scholars, they weigh the evidence in their field alone, not taking others into consideration.
          I did ask do you believe personally, 1 said yes , the others said it doesn’t matter what they personally believe, that stays at home, it would be detrimental to the profession to interject bias into professional work.
          I don’t know much about their writings personally but Collins, and Tour also converted, one was heavily involved in the genome project, Tour is a chemical engineer.I read a little of what they had to say and it mirrored questions I already had.
          Granted Tour makes no claims about understanding other sciences, but he knows molecular structuring.
          I want to speak with someone extremely familiar with DNA. Not a layman, but someone that pretty much knows it inside and out.I have a single question to ask.But it is curiosity,and would not frame a debate either way.
          I will call the university tomorrow and see if there is someone I could make an appointment with.
          Anyway , I appreciate your speaking with me.if I get an answer I will let you know .

        • Philmonomer

          On a completely different note, Why make your past comments private through Disqus?

          I immediately don’t trust anyone who has done this–but maybe there’s a good reason?

        • Bailey Nix

          Because of my recent conversion, I had many comments before that were, well offensive. I don’t wish to have to explain in every forum I enter. Religion and politics are not the only discussions I’ve had.
          I’m still debating whether or not to delete my account and start over.I would then keep my comments open as I used to do.

        • MNb

          Believe me or not, I have nothing at stake with your conversion. YouTube comments are notoriously ill-willed, which is why I never cared to make an account there. But I do enjoy a firm, solid and even heated debated. However it takes two to tango, so it’s up to you. I won’t hold it against you if you don’t feel like for whatever reason.

        • Bailey Nix

          I am actually exhausted right now.I have been constantly debating on here and elsewhere for 5 days.
          I will engage in a debate further at a later time.I have no qualms in furthering rational conversation.
          Divergence is the key to progress, and the search for truth, it keeps our lives from being stale. In the end there can only be one , I realize that as well, but we are not there yet.Maybe we will live to see that day come.But until then I see no reason to not continue to search, I have found what I believe to be reasonable to believe.I do wish everyone would, but they must choose for themselves.
          The golden rule if everyone followed it blind to color, creed, religious or non religious, gender, etc , the world would be a much better place. On that I think we could agree. I see it as starting with one.i hope to see the day where it truly goes viral, that you do not have to agree with anyone to treat them with kindness, love, compassion, and respect.

        • Greg G.

          See

          http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/aa/aa.html

          to get a basic understanding so you can ask better questions.

          Covalent bonds are when to atoms share a valence electron, that is one in the other shell, where shells are the structure of how electrons group around a nucleus. Hydrogen has a nucleus with just a proton so it is the smallest and any other type of atom it covalently bonds with will be larger. So the shared electron takes longer to travel around the larger one so the electron’s charge spends more time around that side. The hydrogen atom’s positive charge is canceled by the electron for less time. So the two bonded atoms are like a magnet with a positive and a negative side. Hydrogen bonding is when the positive side of one molecule and the negative side of another molecule are held together like a magnet. It also can affect the structure of large molecules where different sections are folded, as in proteins.

          You should have at least a high school understanding of chemistry. You should know that the individual amino acids are held together by covalent bonds. Half of the amino acid is a sugar that can bond covalently to make strands and that part is identical for each of the amino acids in DNA. The other half is what defines the type of the amino acid. Adenine and Guanine are double rings. Cytosine and Thymine are single rings.Adenine and Thymine have a mirror image pair of hydrogen bonds that match up with each other but not with themselves. Cytosine and Guanine have three hydrogen bonds that match up. Each pair has a double ring that matches up with a single ring.

          The more you know about the chemistry, the less you will be tempted to attribute to magic.

        • MNb

          “They said it is reasonable to believe that the written accounts of Jesus life were valid .”
          To an extent they are. But concluding that Jesus was divine is a non-sequitur. These scholars do not back up your faith.

          “Now they are not scientists, they are scholars”
          I disagree. As long as they don’t claim that the supernatural stuff is historical they are scientists. They use the scientific method as much as physicists do. And I write this as a teacher math and physics.
          It’s really very simple. The scientific method is synonymous with methodological naturalism. Ie scientists look for natural explanations. Scholars who study the life of Jesus totally can do that. BobS already told you how: the supernatural stuff are stories, told by people living about 2000 years ago. And stories totally belong to the natural domain.

          Nothing of this disproves god or the supernatural. That demands another approach.

        • MR

          So, this raises a few questions in my mind: Did you specifically ask them about the supernatural claims about Jesus in the Bible? Do they believe them? Did you ask them about the supernatural claims for other historical figures, e.g., Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar? Do they believe them? Did you ask them about the divinity claims of such historical figures? Do they believe them? If they do believe in the supernatural/divinity claims of Jesus, but not of the others, how do they differentiate between those claims and how do they determine whether or not they are true?

        • Bailey Nix

          I did ask about the resurrection.They said they saw it as valid based as they saw the gospels as valid accounts based on the witness testimony.
          One did say he did not see the claims beyond physical existence and principles as valid, but saw the supernatural claims as allegorical.
          There is not one single issue that brought me to belief, it was a broad spectrum.

        • adam

          “I did ask about the resurrection.They said they saw it as valid based as they saw the gospels as valid accounts based on the witness testimony.”

          MR: “Did you ask them about the supernatural claims for other historical figures, e.g., Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar? Do they believe them? Did you ask them about the divinity claims of such historical figures? Do they believe them? If they do believe in the supernatural/divinity claims of Jesus, but not of the others, how do they differentiate between those claims and how do they determine whether or not they are true?”

        • Bailey Nix

          Only one tomb is empty and claims resurrection. That is the difference. The stolen body theory is refuted by witness testimony.That is the difference. Yes I did ask about that, not about other figures, because there are no claims I know of of actual ressurection, some of reincarnation. I do not subscribe to reincarnation, I know nothing of it to be honest. So I do not pass judgement other than non belief.
          Just as I see no reason to pass judgement on nonbelievers, as it is not my place to do so.
          I see myself and the sins I have commited, and though forgiven, it does not change the fact I commited them, thus how can I pass judgement upon anyone else? I cannot.i can tell you what is moral, I can tell you what is good and right according to governmental law, and according to Christ’s teachings.Any action of greed, hate, lust, pride, self righteousness, lying , envy, jealousy, cruelty is not a just or moral action.As far as what God determines as to the condition of another’s spirituality I am again not on a jury, or the one to decide, only God is.If he chooses to have mercy on someone that never heard the gospel, but lived a life of love and compassion, it is his decision, not mine.If he says you are a homosexual, but stayed faithful to your partner and treated all people charitably and with love and compassion, following the rest of my commands, but because of a genetic mutation I allowed, welcome my son or daughter into the kingdom of heaven , so be it if their faith and love outweighs their breaking of another law. If men were the judges, we’d all be in hell for one reason or another.
          Romans 9:15-18.
          I do not judge another’s spiritual status based on nitpicking, I make no judgements , I only see what I must live by, it is intraspective.God will sort anything else out.

        • adam

          ” claims”

          So then you are OBLIGATED to accept the supernatural ‘claims’ of Alexander the Great:

          “”Fortune, by giving in to him on every occasion, had made his resolve unshakable and so he was able to overcome not only his enemies, but even places and
          seasons of the year” says Plutarch. And indeed, disaster was once again averted when two black ravens miraculously appeared, Alexander exhorting his colleagues to follow them as they must have been sent by the gods to guide them. Callisthenes records that the ravens limited their flight to accommodate the party, even cawing loudly if their charges deviated from the correct path. Ptolemy says that their guides took the form of two snakes, and whilst unsure which, Arrian confesses that “I have no doubt whatever that he had divine assistance of some kind”.

          And so the myth of Alexander had begun, and gained momentum as tales spread of his supernatural powers which could summon divine guardians at will. It was also becoming increasingly plausible to those around him that he might even be that he claimed to be, the son of god himself. His divinity would be confirmed once and for all by consulting the Oracle, his need for self-validation explaining the risks he had taken on the perilous desert march. ” ttp://www.arabworldbooks.com/new/alexander.html

          Matthew 10:34

          Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

        • MR

          If the name ‘Jesus’ were replaced in the gospels with something absurd, like, a horse, who would find the argument convincing, I wonder? As if a two-thousand year old book claiming witnesses to any impossible thing can be taken at face value. It’s only considered at all because Western civilization has been indoctrinated for two thousand years by the idea.

          [edit to eliminate redundancy]

        • adam

          It really is AMAZING this POWER of Propaganda…

        • Bailey Nix

          Again I have debated the sword reference in context, because if you look at the whole chapter, it is a dissertation on how to treat others, and how others may treat you. Taking one quote out of context, of the Bible is the same logic that can refute evolution in the money making promotion video of God vs Evolution.
          Do you still wish to continue quoting one sentence by itself without contextual references?
          The fossils mean everything, contradicted by the fossils mean nothing by the same professor in the same debate.What did the bacteria become? Bacteria of course. What did the finch become? A finch. What did the stickleback become? A stickleback.Can you give me one example of a change in kind? I can give you many thousands.No I just want one example.None given.Yet evolutionists refute this claiming contextual basis.I find it interesting , but not a total truth, so not a complete reason to reject evolution or atheism with.
          Hillary Clinton called half of Americans terrorists. These minority of people and that’s what they are, a minority that support the 2nd ammendment are terrorizing the rest of the population.
          Fact check showed reality to be much different. Also within context she was referring to the support of assault weapons, and those that reject any gun control of any kind.
          I do not subscribe to single sentences taken out of contextual meaning within any point of view, no matter who it is from.it is irrationality and quote mining.
          a proven fallacious argument.

        • adam

          ” claims”

          So then you are OBLIGATED to accept the supernatural ‘claims’ of Alexander the Great:

          “”Fortune, by giving in to him on every occasion, had made his resolve unshakable and so he was able to overcome not only his enemies, but even places and
          seasons of the year” says Plutarch. And indeed, disaster was once again averted when two black ravens miraculously appeared, Alexander exhorting his colleagues to follow them as they must have been sent by the gods to guide them. Callisthenes records that the ravens limited their flight to accommodate the party, even cawing loudly if their charges deviated from the correct path. Ptolemy says that their guides took the form of two snakes, and whilst unsure which, Arrian confesses that “I have no doubt whatever that he had divine assistance of some kind”.

          And so the myth of Alexander had begun, and gained momentum as tales spread of his supernatural powers which could summon divine guardians at will. It was also becoming increasingly plausible to those around him that he might even be that he claimed to be, the son of god himself. His divinity would be confirmed once and for all by consulting the Oracle, his need for self-validation explaining the risks he had taken on the perilous desert march. ” ttp://www.arabworldbooks.com/new/alexander.html

        • adam

          ” The stolen body theory”

          It is not a theory, it is a STORY….

        • MR

          But you did not ask them if they believed other supernatural/divinity claims and how they distinguish those from the gospels’ claims? Nor, I suppose, how to distinguish the supernatural claims of the gospel from those of the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita or any other religious text?

        • Greg G.

          I did ask about the resurrection.They said they saw it as valid based as they saw the gospels as valid accounts based on the witness testimony.

          A degree in theology is a degree in what other people say about theology. There is no direct evidence for the subject.

          Everything Paul wrote about Jesus can be found in the Old Testament except when he was being sarcastic. It is as if he knew nothing of a first century Jesus. But then, the other epistles speak of Jesus in terms of the Old Testament and never as a recent person. 1 Timothy and 2 Peter quote from the gospels, not as eyewitnesses.

          The Gospel of Mark is a cool story but every episode is drawn from other writings of the day, having Jesus do deeds from Greek literature, Hebrew literature, and Christian literature. The other gospels used Mark’s fictional account for their material.

          There is nothing in the New Testament that is eye witness testimony of Jesus.

        • MNb

          “They said they saw it as valid based as they saw the gospels as valid accounts based on the witness testimony.”
          Then they – and you – reject science. Resurrections are impossible according to the natural sciences.

        • Bailey Nix

          I do not reject science, I accept a spiritual reality , beyond the physical.
          According to natural science we should not even exist.Everything coming from nothing, control and order coming from an explosion that would produce chaos.
          The matter/anti matter that should have been equal in quantity and should have destroyed each other.
          Extrapolating that everything, including natural law simply came into being from nothing and chaos has never been observed, or repeated. It’s like believing that books write themselves with no writer or material to begin with.
          It is like believing you can throw paint blindfolded randomly on a canvass and finding out it was the Mona Lisa as a result.

        • Greg G.

          According to natural science we should not even exist.

          Then you do reject science as science does not say we should not exist. You have rejected religion’s view of science, as well you should.

        • adam

          So just WHERE does YOUR god come from?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Agreed—civil dialogue can be hard to find.

          They said it is reasonable to believe that the written accounts of Jesus life were valid .The way it is written by several witnesses, and the actions taken by the early church showed they had little to gain, and much more to lose including their lives, which makes the early testimonies more palatable to believe.

          That’s what a Christian would say, not a historian.

          You’ve got a big hill to climb to show that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses. Yes, I realize that that’s what Christian scholars say. There are other opinions.

          As for the characters in the story having little to gain by lying, etc., it’s just a story. Show that it’s history.

          Now they are not scientists, they are scholars

          Well, Christian scholars. There are other interpretations of the data.

          I don’t know much about their writings personally but Collins, and Tour also converted, one was heavily involved in the genome project

          I’m familiar with Francis Collins, currently head of the NIH. He has no more compelling an argument for Christianity than anyone else. If Christianity works for him, that’s fine, but I’ve seen no argument there to convince anyone else.

          I want to speak with someone extremely familiar with DNA.

          I argue that DNA defeats the Design Argument here.

        • Bailey Nix

          It’s not a question of design whatsoever. Or origins of DNA.It is about a possibility . A question I had even as an atheist, because I was never completely sold on evolution as presented.
          I think it is best that I start ignoring dialogues with simple memes out of context, if I came here with such arguments, it would only show that I am looking for a fight, not enjoyable dialogue.
          The reason I discuss my faith with atheists and science is not truly conversion, but it does create dialogue, understanding , and learning.
          Unfortunately it can also begin to harbor ill will and negativity, something I do not wish.
          I like watching the debates with WLC, because they always have that respect.

        • adam

          “It is about a possibility”

          Of course, that is what IMAGINATION is.

          The best way to discharge ‘memes out of context’ is not to CLAIM that they are memes out of context, but to DEMONSTRATE that they are out of context.

          I harbor no ill will, I just see that you are being dishonest by cherry picking the parts of the bible that you like and either rationalizing, excusing or ignoring those you dont like.

        • Bailey Nix

          Watch God Vs evolution and you can see the result of cherry picking scientists. So the Bible is evil, and evolutionists are contradictory and believing in fairy tails without evidence.
          That’s the result of cherrypicking statements.
          Never mind the fact that I spent 40 years hating women because I was molested by one for two years as a child and beaten for anything less than a B even on homework.And my dad would simply say I won’t get involved. I hated white men because they were bullies constantly laughing and poking fun, even a few beatings. I hated blacks for the same thing.I have experienced ridicule and violence most of my life from those who had no faith in God.I was the same way, without violence, because I would not do what was done to me.
          It is the faith I found that erased everything. Counceling, didn’t work. Immersing myself in alcohol didn’t help. Work didn’t help.getting married didn’t help. Having kids didn’t help.Studying and reading didn’t help.The only thing that got me past it all and let go of it was Faith and studying the gospels.
          I basically saw nothing but cruelty in the world , by goddless people. It wasn’t Christians that marched forth killing my ancestors, it was the politics of the North that destroyed them to expand.Its not the Christians that made the inner city reservations we have today.
          It wasn’t the Christian black men or women that burned the neighborhoods and the housing for the elderly the church was building in Baltimore.It was Christians that ran the underground railroad and defied the racism.
          You see I have many reasons to hate, many grudges to hold. Yet it is faith that made me realize that hate was eating me up inside. I was beginning to become the very thing I despised.
          I found my answers and based on knowledge I have about issues, it is rational for me to believe, and if for one minute, you don’t think I lacked knowledge of the memes before I converted, you are wrong. I opened it and read the gospels and studied them.
          I am completely different . I bode no I’ll will for anyone.I hold no grudges, and have forgiven people for everything I have been through.
          I now see everyone as a person , loved by God, created by Him, not just some it that doesn’t matter whatsoever.
          Whatever rules there are set out by Jesus, I am to follow them as introverted , how to treat others, with love, compassion, respect, kindness and mercy.
          Remember Columbine? You know what I thought at the time? Good bullies finally got some payback.Serves the animals right.Do you know what I used to think of police shooting ? Good another one dead.Do you know what i used to think when white women were abused?Gays?Aids?Do you know what I thought about the homeless? Lazy bums deserve what they got.I conned my parents out of $50000 over a period of 3 years when I was in my 20s.I hated Christians and their stupid morals. Idiotic morons should be put down.Do I need to continue in the type of person I used to be?
          While never participating in violence, that was what was in my mind.I even let my opinion known about it to some people.I was knowledgeable, but a terrible hateful person inside.
          It is good that in my adult life I was around decent people, and not around the type of people I was.It kept me rational, from acting upon my hatred.
          Now I have none of that hate, and I cannot imagine returning to such a life. Remember I said I was in a dark place and found answers? That is where I was.I wish I could go back and change everything, but I cannot, I can only move forward.I am happy, and have found peace, compassion, forgiveness. It is a good thing I didn’t break laws, I had enough self control to keep from crossing that line, or to teach my kids hatred, I wanted them to be better than me.
          I do not hate you adam,I am irritated a bit, and if I have offended, I do apologize.
          I have had a drastic change and it is very personal to me,obviously more than just intellectually.
          I do see validity of your point in fundamentalist views that say every single word of the Bible is to be taken literal.
          It is the Basis of faith written with a combination of historical information, parables,and poetry.The gospels is a guide on how to find God, and the principles to live by.
          Anyway , going to sleep now, I’m exhausted.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I see very little respect from WLC for the things that I care about.

          He is superficially polite, if that’s what you mean.

        • MNb

          “I was in a very dark place , where things were falling apart.”
          That doesn’t sound rational. I don’t mean this condescending; rather it shows that you’re a human being. I remember well the moment I was lost for christianity – it was an emotional decision, not a rational one. But emotions can delude us. It deluded me as well – I also remember me accepting the non-sequitur “I reject christianity, hence I reject all religions”.

        • Bailey Nix

          It was part emotional, yes, but I also saw , and still do see enough rationality to find it plausible.
          The bottom line is results, people use excuses not to follow one part or another of the gospel, because they wish to excuse one part of their behavior over another.I try to follow the path in my life, not make any excuses for my actions, and not being judgemental over others.
          Whether I disagree with anyone or not, it doesn’t matter, they will be treated with the same respect and compassion as anyone else.
          The church as an institution has seemingly forgotten that concept.The rich televangelists, feeding off of people making promises are making a mockery of Jesus.He was a carpenter, his ministry was 3 years, but he did not use ministry for $ gain.
          If you look at the original ideals of the earliest churches, they are nothing like they are today.They still hadn’t fully grasped the concepts of Christ’s teachings due to social stuctures, but in many ways the modern church has forgotten the concept of the evils of greed.They would rather build huge complexes of buildings than help the community and those in need.
          That is why even with my faith, I do not belong to organized Christian churches, or any denomination.Men are corrupt, and power corrupts, greed corrupts. To see as much money passing through the offering plate, and say look how much there is, I deserve more than I need to live off of, instead of helping more elderly people pay their electric bill. Or helping a needy single mom with a week of groceries, or visiting hospitals , not just with words of encouragement , but helping them with costs..Yes Christian people do such things quite often,as do many others, but I mean the institution itself.

        • Greg G.

          I came accross in my research of the Great Pyramid a passage reference to Isaiah 19:19.
          I did find the measurements interesting and how the pyramid correlates to the earth’s measurements, mass, curvature, distance to sun and moon, etc.

          If you take enough measurements, then multiply and divide them enough different ways you should expect to be able to create false correlations with another set of numbers.

          But, also realize that in a solar system, when two bodies revolve in certain ways, a resonanace can develop, like how you can push a swing. If your pushes are synchronized, the swing goes higher, but if not, you can the swing will go lower. Planets would do the same thing so that orbits that are synchronized with Jupiter would get a regular gravitation pushes over millions of years so that the smaller bodies would be ejected. But bodies with an orbital distance that corresponds to the inverse of the square root of a prime number cannot get a regular gravitational push, so their orbits can remain stable for long periods. Thus our solar system.

          Something else that involves inverse square roots are the ratios of the sides of triangles that can be found by dividing up a circle into equal parts.

          So a coincidence between the ratios of the sides of architecture that uses the most easily produced angles and the distances of planets from the sun may be astounding, it is just a coincidence of simple mathematics and small numbers.

          That got my curiosity so I read Exodus

          Archaeology shows that Herodutus was wrong. He wrote a thousand years after the pyramids were built. I appears that they were not built by slaves but by people who were given something to do before the Nile floods came.

          There is no evidence for the Exodus, either. Egypt was a world power at the time with a population of about 6 million. Egypt continued to be a world power after the Exodus was supposed to have happened. If 2 million workers suddenly left, the Egyptian economy would have collapsed and they would have been conquered. So, it follows that the Bible story is false.

          So in my reading of the Gospels, I found the answers to my problems. And came to have faith.
          intellectual conversion, not really, but my family and friends are glad to see the difference, I am of course the same person, but much different, as I described before.
          I am not blind to anything by my faith, I feel like my eyes are opened.I haven’t rejected science, but I do see flaws, as I do in organizes religion.

          But the things you are telling us that led to your conversion was faulty to begin with.

          If you were doing detrimental things that have been improved, that is good. That happens a lot with other religions, too. But the religion is irrelevant. Just getting different friends with different habits can help.

          I did find it interesting that the earliest church was pacifist, they would not kill.They didn’t even believe in killing in battle and would not join the army.

          One of my great-grandfathers (I forget how many generations back) was a Quaker but he got ex-communicated for “sundry disorders”. Whatever it was, it was so bad that the Quakers notified the Army so they could draft him to fight in the Revolutionary War.

        • Bailey Nix

          The part you leave out is in the measurements it is consistent in its use of the inch.it does not extrapolate different correlations by different measurements.Another consistent measurement is the 10^80 .
          According to dating the pyramid was built 2500 B.C or so give or take a couple hundred years.There are some that think Ham was the builder, others Enoch in Biblical theology anyway.I don’t claim to know it factually, only found it interesting and it led me on a journey to a better way of life. I do not consider the pyramid to be holy, or any object to be that. Only as a fascinating piece of architecture with puzzling perfection for its time , and that there was knowledge that we cannot scientifically explain.
          I found the most reasonable explanation for it. If I am wrong about it being Joseph, so be it.There are other possibilities, even within theology.
          There are mentions of an Exodus in Egyptian history, though the numbers are smaller, but Egyptians did not talk of defeats much at all, especially one that would challengevtheir gods.They bragged of their conquests and claims of divinity.
          Interesting in contrast, Biblical history they actually included Israels defeats.
          Many Non believers of Biblical archaeology have denied the existence of several races and kingdoms, only to be found later.
          I do not know enough about the total to debate every issue, so I cannot engage in it.
          Just as I would not attempt to debate anything on atomic particles as I know little about the subject, other than common knowledge.

        • MNb

          “that there was knowledge that we cannot scientifically explain.”
          You’ll have to show this or are guilty of a variation of the God of the Gaps, which would be very unreasonable.

        • Greg G.

          Can you provide a link to the Pyramid claim, please? If it is specific to a certain unit, it is even more suspect.

          Some of the pyramids are dated to 3200 BC, or 5200 years ago, which is before Ham was born and before the Flood. If they are telling you the Flood is historical, you should be skeptical of everything they try to tell you.

          There are mentions of an Exodus in Egyptian history, though the numbers are smaller, but Egyptians did not talk of defeats much at all, especially one that would challengevtheir gods.

          Egypt did much trade so there would be many coming and going. I know there are records of them chasing Ahkenahten’s monotheistic priests out of Egypt. Perhaps they brought it to Canaan. If Egypt had been defeated, there would be evidence of it from other cultures and a lack of records in Egypt. Egypt was defeated at times but not around that time.

          Many Non believers of Biblical archaeology have denied the existence of several races and kingdoms, only to be found later.

          The Israelis archaeologists would be motivated to find evidence to support the Old Testament. They have dug up the Sinai. If 2 million people lived there for 40 years, they would have found lots and lots of evidence by now. Instead, they have found that there was no big changes of culture when this was supposed to have happened.

          But I have found that when Christian sources have claimed that archaeologists have denied the existence of something, they are not telling the truth. An archaeologist might say they have found no supporting evidence to back up the claim that such a people existed but that is not the same as denying their existence. When archaeologists find the evidence, they simply stop saying they don’t have the evidence and start saying they do have it. An example of this is when the Pilate Stone was discovered in 1961. Christian sources to this day claim that archaeologists and historians denied Pilate’s existence. This is a lie. There is evidence in several writings from the time about Pilate. There was a discrepancy about whether he was a procurator or a prefect as Greek language sources didn’t specify but a second century source said he was a procurator while there are historical records that the position was changed from a Prefect to a Procurator about a decade after Pilate was gone.

          I do not know enough about the total to debate every issue, so I cannot engage in it.
          Just as I would not attempt to debate anything on atomic particles as I know little about the subject, other than common knowledge.

          It has been said that the best way to get good information from the internet is to post wrong information on the internet. People are too lazy to answer a question but you can provoke SIWOTI Syndrome and they will tell you all they know.

        • Bailey Nix

          Lol I like that meme.

        • Bailey Nix

          I did a Google search on mathematics of the great pyramid.There are many sites that will give the data and interpret them based on new age philosophy, I give no such interpretations, and reject the claims of prophecy of the future based on the ascending and descending corridors.
          What I do accept is the weights and measurements correlating to known facts of earth science such as mass, circumference, curvature, distance correlations to sun and moon.
          Anything else gets too far into mysticism, and thus irrational. OK I know that sounds contradictory, to believe in spiritual reality, and then reject mysticism.
          The basis of all the correlations are pyramid inches, and pyramid cubits (25 pyramid inches) multiplied by 100 ,or 10^80, or doubled then multiplied by 10^80
          Since I do not subscribe to any one websites use of those calculations to encourage new age , or alien origin, or their further extrapolations into prophecy, or astrology, I don’t feel comfortable in promoting any one website, but when I was looking into it, I found them consistent in using the same measurements and equations.
          The closest non mystical site was ancient code -25 facts of the great pyramid.

        • Greg G.

          Thanks.

          19.The weight of the pyramid is estimated at 5,955,000 tons. Multiplied by 10^8 gives a reasonable estimate of the earth’s mass.

          The mass of the Earth is 5.97219 × 10^24 kg. The weight of the pyramid given is on the order of the sixth power of ten. Converting to pounds makes it to the tenth order but converting to kg makes it the ninth order of magnitude. Multiplying by 10^8 makes it a 17th order of magnitude, about a factor of 10^7 short.

          Sure enough, after doing the calculation, the weight is 5.4022851267 x 10^17, If you multiplied by 10^15 instead, it would still be off by 10%. They seem to have been chasing numbers. If you get creative enough, you should be able to find a correlation.

          22.Sun’s Radius: Twice the perimeter of the bottom of the granite coffer times 10^8 is the sun’s mean radius. [270.45378502 Pyramid Inches* 10^8 = 427,316 miles]

          A Pyramid Inch is very close to an inch. The mean radius of the sun is 432,450 miles. Why twice around the coffer? Why not four times to match the diameter? It really looks like they are chasing numbers to get something to match up here.

          23.The curvature designed into the faces of the pyramid exactly matches the radius of the earth.

          The list said above that the sides of the Khufu pyramid are concave. This claim makes no sense as written. A radius is measured as a distance, a curvature is not.

          25.The relationship between Pi (p) and Phi (F) is expressed in the fundamental proportions of the Great Pyramid.

          Pi would come into play if a distance was measured by a wheel of a given diameter. Phi is the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Ratio. It may have factored in due to the appeal to the eye of dimensional ratios. It could also be related to the spiraling nature of inner structure. It doesn’t give examples.

        • Bailey Nix

          The curvature of the pyramid matches the curvature of the earth is what I read. If I said radius, then I made that mistake .

        • Greg G.

          No, that was on the page I was quoting. That was what I thought but it doesn’t go into how close it is or how they measure it. I expect that there are enough variations in the curvature to get the radius of any planet in the solar system and then some.

        • adam

          How do they know since almost all the casing stones have been removed from those surfaces?

          And of course, not all the pyramids have the same geometry, it EVOLVED over time….

        • adam

          Greg………………..

          But….

          But..

          But.

          God……..

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Another example of prime numbers in nature: the 13- and 17-year cycles of cicadas.

        • MNb

          “neither atheism nor theism can be strictly proven or disproven with our present knowledge of science and technology.”
          Not with science and technology, no. But if you value consistency and coherence then an excellent case for atheism can be made.

          “that is an unwinnable debate”
          I don’t care about winning debates. Scientific and technological issues are not decided by winning debates either.

        • Bailey Nix

          There is no atheistic coherence other than God does not exist.It is just as inconsistent as any other philosophy. The reasons for inconsistencies in any philosophy is man’s opinions, we see things from our own perspectives.
          The philosophy Jesus taught is quite consistent in his values on how to treat others, and how you should live your own life.
          Over simplification, possibly, but that is what I have chosen. I’m not going to rehash the rest of what I have already stated.

        • adam

          “The philosophy Jesus taught is quite consistent in his values on how to treat others, and how you should live your own life.”

        • Greg G.

          There is no atheistic coherence other than God does not exist.It is just as inconsistent as any other philosophy. The reasons for inconsistencies in any philosophy is man’s opinions, we see things from our own perspectives.

          Atheism is the lack of belief in any deity. It is not a philosophy. Atheists can hold any of the various philosophies.

          The philosophy Jesus taught is quite consistent in his values on how to treat others, and how you should live your own life.

          What you think Jesus taught is consistent with the way the Greeks and Romans thought. It is consistent with what the Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians, and Native Americans thought about interpersonal relationships. It is not much different that anybody thinks as far as the basics go. It is just how humans have gotten along in their groups for a million years or more. But when you get down to some of the details like plucking out your eye and cutting off your hand, you just don’t see many one-eyed, one-handed Christians.

        • MNb

          He probably means that atheism is a philosophical position. On this I agree with him.

        • MNb

          “There is no atheistic coherence other than God does not exist. It is just as inconsistent as any other philosophy.”
          That’s a nice contradiction. How can atheism be inconsistent if it consists of only one statement?
          Could you give an example of such inconsistency?

          “The philosophy Jesus taught is quite consistent in his values on how to treat others, and how you should live your own life.”
          I don’t understand why you bring this up or how you think this relates to my comment.

          “I’m not going to rehash the rest of what I have already stated.”
          What you mean with this – and why your think it necessary to write it down – I have no idea.
          The only thing I wrote is that I don’t care about winning debates. I’m not here to convince you of anything. It’s fine with me that you’re a christian and remain a christian no matter what I write. So I’m not here to win, to defeat you. I’m here to enjoy myself. That’s all.
          Btw – you wrote elsewhere that you want your discussions civic. It’s remarkable that you already sound irritated. You claimed that your conversion was partly rational. OK, let’s discuss that rationality then.
          Or not, if you don’t feel like, but then you better neglect me.

        • Bailey Nix

          I am sorry if I seem irritated, I am exhausted, I need a break, but still enjoy conversation.
          The inconsistencies in atheism is more than simply one view, their are those that follow many viewpoints, from white supremacy, to racism, to more altruistic views such as total equality.But there is no consensus or solid reference point to base any of them on.
          I base everything I now believe on Jesus himself, not what any man claims to be or has added to his teachings.

        • Greg G.

          The KKK is a Christian white supremacy group and one of the first. The Southern Baptist Church split off from the Baptist church over the slavery issue around the Civil War.

          Don’t kid yourself that Christianity is more consistent. There are over 40,000 different denominations and most of those divisions are over doctrine. The Evangelicals are pulling away from the Fundamentalists, but still different from other Protestants. Then there are the Catholics. They each think they are mainstream and the other groups are inconsequential.

          I base everything I now believe on Jesus himself, not what any man claims to be or has added to his teachings.

          The Epistle authors didn’t care at all what Jesus taught or said. They didn’t mentions Jesus as a teacher or having a ministry. It is hard to tell what Jesus said, if anything, from the Gospels. You’ve already quoted the “cast the first stone” quote that was added centuries later.

        • Bailey Nix

          The leader of the KKK, also split from the group, admitted he was an atheist and formed another racial hate group. The underground railroad was ran by Christians.
          If you do not follow Christ’s teachings then claim to be Christian then it is irrational .

        • Greg G.

          But the members were Christians and it is a condition of membership. I substituted at work while at college for someone who wanted to go protest them. She brought back an application form. It was right there in black and white.

          The teachings of the Bible are all over the place. You have to pick and choose and reinterpret. Westboro Baptist can back up their beliefs with scripture. So can the KKK.

        • adam

          “If you do not follow Christ’s teachings then claim to be Christian then it is irrational .”

          “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

        • adam

          “I base everything I now believe on Jesus himself, not what any man claims to be or has added to his teachings.”

          So how is it that you know this Jesus fellow if not for the CLAIMS of man or the editing and adding to his teachings by MAN in this book you call a ‘bible’?

          “The inconsistencies in atheism is more than simply one view, their are those that follow many viewpoints, from white supremacy, to racism, to more altruistic views such as total equality.But there is no consensus or solid reference point to base any of them on.”

          You do understand that atheism says NOTHING about white supremacy, or racism or other views so it has NOTHING to be inconsistent about.

          Religion on the other hand.

        • adam

          “Also a slave could earn freedom, it was also a way to work off debt.There were no prisons and captives of war became slaves, rather than slaughtering the whole, could be considered an act of mercy.Some people’s may have been too violent or too immoral to submit to mosaic laws, so to preserve society they had to be wiped out, or they may have
          been carrying diseases, we do not know.”

        • Bailey Nix

          That meme is not true. I was much more cruel when I did not believe. It is because of faith that I learned compassion, love, and mercy for all people regardless of what or who they are.

        • adam

          It is obviously true as you are STILL justifying slavery

        • Greg G.

          A single God? A radical viewpoint.

          Ahkenaten beat them to it.

          Not enslaving your own people? Another new concept.

          They had indentured servants for their own people. It was a voluntary course. But it could lead to becoming a slave for life using family values to make it a volutary but irrevocable decision.

          Deuteronomy 15:12-17 (NRSV)12 If a member of your community, whether a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and works for you six years, in the seventh year you shall set that person free. 13 And when you send a male slave out from you a free person, you shall not send him out empty-handed. 14 Provide liberally out of your flock, your threshing floor, and your wine press, thus giving to him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; for this reason I lay this command upon you today. 16 But if he says to you, “I will not go out from you,” because he loves you and your household, since he is well off with you, 17 then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his earlobe into the door, and he shall be your slave forever.You shall do the same with regard to your female slave.

          The method is spelled out more clearly in the Bible.

          Exodus 21:2-6 (NRSV)2 When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. 3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” 6 then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

          No king , no real government ruling over others?At that time in that part of the world , and even today , we couldn’t fathom that not having a government, simply a code of laws to follow, enforced by the community, taught by priests.

          I think it was more a matter that no warlord was strong enough to conquer the others and the larger kingdoms weren’t interested in them.

          There were no prisons and captives of war became slaves, rather than slaughtering the whole, could be considered an act of mercy.

          They didn’t need prisons because punishment was whipping, maiming, or killing. I wouldn’t consider being sold into slavery an act of mercy as it had more to do with logistics, whether it was feasible to transport the conquered to market.

          Some people’s may have been too violent or too immoral to submit to mosaic laws, so to preserve society they had to be wiped out, or they may have been carrying diseases, we do not know.

          That probably never happened. The evidence shows no change in culture when that was supposed to have happened. The evidence shows one culture with one small difference in some sites – some had pig bones and some had none. So the anti-pork culture developed along side the culture that ate bacon and pork chops. If a group of slaves out of Egypt annihilated another culture, they would not have adopted all but one cultural practice. That is one apologetic you don’t need. The whole Exodus story is fiction.

          The one I hadn’t figured out without researching was where some modern translations seem to say if you rape an unwed, or unengaged woman, you must pay compensation to the father , and possibly have to marry her.There is pressedent that the family in such a circumstance would arrange a marriage, and then kill the rapist, it happened in several instances, providing an example of punishment for such a horrendous deed. If a woman was engaged or married, the rapist was condemned to death automatically.

          Women were property. A virgin was more valuable. The rapist had to take care of his victim. It saved her father money. The victim’s feelings were irrelevant.

          In each case mentionrd, there were horrible consequences for such an act. Some things are logically just wrong, we are smart enough to know that, even unbelievers know rape is wrong, so why would a religion not consider it wrong by default, considering that there was already a specific law on rape, setting a precedent that it was wrong?
          Also the verse in question the translation in original language could be interpreted as seduced, meaning if you seduced a virgin you must offer marriage.

          If a betrothed woman was raped in a city, it was assumed that if nobody heard it, she didn’t cry out. It was assumed that she allowed herself to be seduced. Both were killed.

          If it happened outside of a city, it was assumed that she may have cried out and nobody heard her so she was given the benefit of the doubt and only beaten.

          There wasn’t that much difference between rape and seduction.

          But even Jesus labeled everything from a lie, to murder a sin, as did the ten commandments. Thus honesty, love , mercy, compassion, a commandment for Christians not to judge but to show light , not hatred and darkness, for where agape is in your heart, there is no darkness.

          If you need a story about Jesus to point out those things to you, you would have to be a sociopath. Cultures before Jesus held such values. Cultures without Jesus had them.

          Let he who hath no sin cast the first stone.

          That story was added to the Bible a few centuries later. The oldest copies from the 4th century do not have it.

          The Gospel is about relationship, as I stated before, the commands are introverted, to live pure, moral, and ethical, and extroverted, not to judge, have mercy, show love, and compassion.

          Just what the Greek Stoics and Cynics had been teaching for centuries.

          I am not fully engrossed in my studies yet, I converted only 4 months ago, there is much for me to learn, I am not a theologian.Nor have I counseled with any pastors, or evengelists,

          Remember that you will be getting information that is spin-doctored when you go to them.

          Can I convince you of truth? No, only you can decide, only you can make that choice in what you believe, you are a reasoning adult, and while I hope I could convince, it is beyond my power, after all, I am only human, whether I am forgiven or not.

          That would require evidence. That’s why religion requires faith.

        • Bailey Nix

          Non belief also requires faith, that nothing exists beyond the physical, which also has not been proven.
          Both strictly speaking are circular reasonings, something has never been proven to come from nothing without causation, and even with causation there was always some material to begin with.

        • MR

          Non belief also requires faith, that nothing exists beyond the physical, which also has not been proven.

          It feels like you are equivocating here. Why the comma?

          No one here that I have seen has ever said that something beyond the physical couldn’t exist, just that there is no evidence for it.

          I disagree that it requires faith to not believe in something. If there is no evidence for something, there is no reason to believe it. Otherwise it opens us up to believing everything that could be for which there is no evidence. Do you believe everything that could be for which there is no evidence? Do you believe in ghosts and fairies and UFOs and that the mafia killed JFK and that Russia had him killed and that Oswald acted alone? Do you say that non belief in those things requires faith, or must we believe in all things for which there is no evidence, but could be?

          Do you require faith that these things don’t exist?

        • MNb

          “No one here that I have seen has ever said that something beyond the physical couldn’t exist”
          I come pretty close though – I maintain that the claim of a supernatural/immaterial/transcendental reality is meaningless.

        • MR

          Is this the idea that an immaterial being would have no way to interact with matter? I’m not sure I’ve heard the concept in its entirety.

        • Greg G.

          If the spiritual could interact with the material existence, it would have to be through an unknown (probably very weak) force of nature. but that would make the spiritual another material.

          At least that is how I understand it.

        • Greg G.

          I have non-belief that there is a monster under my bed. If you call that “faith”, you are stretching the term beyond any reasonable definition. If you equivocate that with “religious faith”, you debase it completely.

        • Bailey Nix

          That is an old FSM argument. You believe in magic without a magician.I believe that magic requires a magician.
          A belief in a diety, or a designer of the universe is not the same as a fairy tail of The Lord of The Rings, or of the Matrix .
          To make such an argument is a fallacy and you know it.It is the accusation that every single believer in God across the world is an ignorant fool, with the intelligence and I.Q. of a 3 year old child.Are you ready to say that Hillary Clinton is that stupid?What about Martin Luther King?Are you going to say that Obama is that stupid?

        • adam

          “A belief in a diety, or a designer of the universe is not the same as a fairy tail of The Lord of The Rings, or of the Matrix .”

          EXACTLY how is it different?

          And where did YOUR magician LEARN it’s magic?

        • MR

          Greg’s is just an illustration of my questions, which are about things that people actually do or have believed in. His question is valid. It doesn’t require faith to not believe in something you don’t believe in. If a child believes there is a monster under her bed, does it require faith on the part of the parent to not believe in that monster?

        • Greg G.

          No, it has nothing at all to do with FSM (pasta be upon him). I don’t have 100% certainty on anything. I accept somethings as very likely (with many “very’s” in front) and some things as unlikely to the point of being absurd to think that.

          If I am 99.9% certain of 10,000 things, it means I am probably wrong about 10 of them. I accept that. I also think that everybody is stupid about some things even when they are smart about others. I happen to be the world’s leading expert at reading my own handwriting and that Hillary Clinton would be a novice at it.

          Do I have faith in my sources of information? I consider the strength of the evidence in my strength of belief. There is nothing there that can be characterized as being analogous to religious faith.

        • adam

          “Non belief also requires faith,”

          But certainly NOT the biblical type of ‘faith’ (Wishful Thinking) as Greg G points out below.

        • MNb

          Non belief requires exactly as much faith as bald people need haircuts: zero.

          “something has never been proven to come from nothing without causation, and even with causation there was always some material to begin with.”

          This depends on the way you define “to prove”, “causation”, “material” and “nothing”.
          Let’s begin with “to prove”. To me it means 100%, absolute, unchanging, eternal certainty. Given that meaning you’re right by definition. Also your statement has become meaningless, because literally nothing can be proven. Do you think Pythagoras’ Theorem is proven? It’s very easy for me to give you an example that disproves it.

          If your terminology is ambiguous such statements become empty – do you agree with that?

        • adam

          “something has never been proven to come from nothing without causation, ”

          So WHAT caused YOUR god?
          Or is YOUR god nothing to begin with but IMAGINED?

      • MNb

        “The Jews and Romans both would have many reasons to counter these claims as false.”
        Literally everybody back then believed miracle stories, so this is an empty statement.

        “Lastly everyone of his disciples died for their faith.”
        Yeah, so did the SSers at the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1945. That doesn’t make you accept the concept of the German Master Race. So you’re inconsistent.

        • Bailey Nix

          The difference was the early Christians were pacifist, they went willingly, not violently to their deaths, think MLK, and his protest style. Willing to be arrested, preaching total non violence in response to persecution.
          All they had to do to live was to deny their faith.Say the words, then ask forgiveness of God and live. They did not do so.There is a big difference in the Nazis, jihadis and the apostles.
          To compare them is to compare Ghandi with Stalin.They are not the same.

        • MNb

          The SSers went willingly to the Eastern Front as well. Nobody forced them into the SS. Same difference. The only difference is that the early christians did not try to kill off their adversaries (but apparently mainly because they never had the opportunity, because there is some nice vitriol regarding jews saved from their time). I fail to see what impact that has on your argument “willing to die hence true”.

          “To compare them is to compare Ghandi with Stalin.They are not the same.”
          That’s rather unfortunate for you, because at one point in his life – not long before WW-2 – Ghandi said some very positive things about Hitler.

        • Bailey Nix

          And that is why I do not follow Ghandi.
          Still you are comparing human rights violators to pacifists that believed in human rights.In the preciousness of life.
          If you read Paul’s teachings, he was telling the slaves not to use Christianity as an excuse for rebelling. He also compelled the masters to treat them as brothers, and it was his hope that they would free them.

        • adam

          This “Paul’s teachings”?

        • Bailey Nix

          The church of Corinth was in total chaos.Everyone was speaking all at once, There are admonishments towards men speaking as well.
          This is part of why I follow Christ and not a religious institution,even the apostles and church leaders couldn’t maintain order without arguments.
          Again I say I follow Jesus overall teachings, not one verse.
          Harry Reid-ok I lied so what we won. Does that mean any lie is OK as long as you win if you are a Democrat?
          So then To be a Democrat is to be a liar, never to be believed?

        • adam

          I thought you indicated you followed Paul?

          Which is it?

          And which “Jesus” do you follow?
          OT Jesus or NT Jesus?

        • Bailey Nix

          I’m done with your memes, the only thing you are doing is compiling strawman arguments.
          Again I can do the same with atheism, evolution, liberal, conservative, islam,communism, democracy, socialism, capitalism, Mgtow, Now, lgbt, anything.
          It adds nothing to the debate, whatsoever.
          Again you explain to me the fossils mean everything, the fossils mean nothing.
          We can play the meme game for years on end.But from here on, post your memes, I will ignore them.

        • adam

          Strawmen from YOUR bible?

          No, just demonstrating how you Cherry pick YOUR bible to make it mean what YOU want it to mean..

        • adam

          ….

        • Bailey Nix

          You brought up paul, I did not.i have consistently said who I follow and have faith in, that is Jesus.
          Now I am completely done in responding to you as there is no use or purpose in your statements. Other than you cherrypicking .

        • adam

          No YOU brought up Paul

          “If you read Paul’s teachings,”
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/how-could-an-atheist-convert-to-christianity/#comment-2062433068

          Certainly their is a purpose in my statements, and that is to demonstrate that you are being dishonest by ignoring parts of YOUR bible that you dont like or agree with.

          Slow down a bit or everyone will see that you are lying…..

          “Other than you cherrypicking .”

          Can’t handle the competition, huh?

        • Greg G.

          and it was his hope that they would free them.

          Do you have a citation for this? Paul was expecting Christ to come at any time. He expected to be among the living when it happened. He saw no need for marrying, divorcing, having children, or freeing slaves. Paul returned Onesimus to Philemon and asked him to treat him as a brother, but not to free him. Even the pseudo-Pauline epistles only require the slaves to be content and the masters to not threaten them.

        • adam

          Greg G, you are missing Baily’s whole point:

      • adam

        “Christ taught nonviolence, if you read his entire message about how to treat others, it will logically be clear that he does not condone it, or any mistreatment of any person.”

        But YOUR Jesus DOES CONDONE violence AND slavery

        Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5
        NLT)

        Christians who are slaves should give their masters
        full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.
        (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

        • Bailey Nix

          What you fail to comprehend is that is specifically a parable used for teaching as stated in Luke 40.
          Anyone that does not accept the spiritual, would only correlate it to the physical.The spiritual implication would be extreme punishment would be given for bad behavior by God who is our Master by those who are supposed to serve him.
          Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin but have become slaves to righteousness.
          As a Christian, you are bound to Christ, he is our Lord, our Master.
          In other words we are to follow him, and do as he did, their is no choice for a Christian, to claim him and not follow is to disobey him.
          what was his greatest command?
          Matthew 22:36-40
          1 love God with every part of your being
          2 love your neighbor as thyself, for upon these two commands lies all the law and the prophets.
          paraphrased , but those are the basics of exactly what I have consistently been saying.
          You choose not to follow it is your free will, I will choose to live by those commands.I am bound by them.

        • adam

          And you’ve demonstrate that ‘spiritual’ is anything but IMAGINARY, just where?

          “What you fail to comprehend is that is specifically a parable used for teaching as stated in Luke 40.”

          And you’ve demonstrated this, just where?

        • Greg G.

          But that doesn’t address 1 Timothy. It says you are set free from sin but you are still a slave to your master and you should like it.

          Matthew 22:36-40 is plagiarized from Mark 12:28-34. Mark got it from Galatians 5:14 and/or Romans 13:8-10, and added something from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Galatians 5:14 comes from Leviticus 19:18. Paul says that fulfilling that one thing fulfills the whole law, a teaching from Rabbi Hillel, a famous first century BC Pharisee. James 2:8-10 says that is a good start, but if you break any part of the law, you break the whole law.

          So, Jesus, Paul, and James say three different things about that.

        • MNb

          “What you fail to comprehend is that is specifically a parable used for teaching as stated in Luke 40.”
          How do you know? What’s your method? If another christian provides another explanation, how do you two decide who is correct and who is incorrect?

        • Bailey Nix

          Again by Christ’s greatest commands 1 to love God with all your heart, soul and mind
          2 to love your neighbor as thyself.
          as well as
          3 do unto others as yet would have them do unto you
          4 judge not lest ye be judged in like manner.
          5 return those that do you evil with good
          6 love your enemies.
          That is how I know. Besides in verse 40 it says consider this parable. That is how I know.

        • adam

        • adam

          ..

        • Greg G.

          I think you mean Luke 19:40.

        • Bailey Nix

          Yes I didn’t catch the error. Thank you , that is why I do respect the people here for the most part, because it is more or less honest debate.

        • Greg G.

          Is that a real quote, did Luke borrow it from Habukkuk 2:11, or is “the stones will cry out” a Mick Jagger reference?

  • Pofarmer

    Leah libresco is an interesting case. I don’t know how you go from ” objective morality is true” to “all the teachings ofmthe Catholic Church are true” and immerse yourself in it as much as she has. Will be interesting to watch as she matures.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, it will. I don’t understand her conversion well enough to summarize it correctly, so this is a bit of a mystery. My own view may sound condescending, and my understanding is very limited, but this looks like a hobby.

      I went through a brief love affair with General Semantics and the writings of Alfred Korzybski. Later, with the Tao Te Ching. Perhaps similar?

      • Pofarmer

        I dunno. If you have any free time, catholicism will happily suck it up.

  • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

    For me, the parable of The Prodigal Son describes the beginning of my journey to God. Maybe some of your case studies needed to be a little deeper in the pig poop if they do not seem to stand on firmer ground.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Give me more specifics. These are three high-profile conversions to Christianity. Are you saying that there are even better examples?

  • Ted Williams

    Bob – Who says the conversion has to be solely based on intellectualism? As far as I can tell, there’s no proof or disproof of God. As a Christian, the evidence falls for me in favor of God. The notion that there was a cosmic explosion in space and out came people at the tail end is just ludicrous to me. I’d say there’s a bigger likelihood that the Big Bang would have created a fully working car, or even an adjustable wrench, than a nearly infinitely more complex mammal. You think the idea of God is ludicrous. Fine – so the intellectual argument is a coin flip. Of course, just because you can’t argue in favor of God doesn’t mean the feeble human mind is worthy of the task of proving God. I submit to you then that a belief in God, or disbelief in God takes some leap of faith, which incidentally, is what the Bible says too. Now I’ve heard atheists say they don’t need “faith” as the burden of proof isn’t on them, bla bla bla. Semantics to me. Call it faith, call it logic. By definition, it’s a leap of thought. Regardless, not sure why you’re going to such great lengths to suggest that there’s no “proof” of God, or that one ex-atheists conversion process is applicable to another. Of course there isn’t (and it’s not). Does this make one man’s conversion non-genuine? No, it makes it a personal journey that each person must make on their own, though I’ll add a caveat to that, to me, the atheist journey seems to be a lonely road, not something suited for a communal experience, unlike a communal religious experience. You may have a different experience from this, just my assumption/observation.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Who says the conversion has to be solely based on intellectualism?

      No one. I think that I’ve made clear that my focus is on the intellectual arguments. If someone wants to convert for emotional reasons or the flip of a coin, that’s their business.

      The notion that there was a big boom in space and out came people at the tail end is just ludicrous to me.

      And you’re qualified to judge the science to make this conclusion?

      I’d say there’s a bigger likelihood that the Big Bang would have created a fully working car, or even an adjustable wrench, than a nearly infinitely more complex mammal.

      No one says that the Big Bang created mammals. Except maybe you.

      so the intellectual argument is a coin flip.

      You can flip a coin if you want to, but I follow the evidence. The evidence tells the objective observer that there is no god.

      I submit to you then that a belief in God, or disbelief in God takes faith

      Do you believe in leprechauns? If not, I bet that I reject the idea of God just like both of us reject the idea of leprechauns.

      To me, the atheist journey seems to be a lonely road, not something suited for a communal experience, unlike a communal religious experience.

      And you know of what you speak? Or is this just handwaving?

      Talk to an atheist and the lonely existential angst that Christians seem to imagine just isn’t there. Maybe your guesses about what the atheist worldview is like are wrong. And anyway, isn’t the real question which view is correct, not which view is pleasing?

      • Ted Williams

        What are my qualifications? What are yours? Neither of us has any. We’re just talkin here.

        Re: coin flipping: flip a coin, don’t flip a coin. There’s no logical or scientific proof as to whether or not God exists. Ask a statistician what the odds are that a human being formed from stardust and chaos. Ask Francis Collins, the Christian who headed up the Human Genome project what the odds are. There are no such odds. They are too small or too difficult to measure. As far as I can tell though, life doesn’t just form from dust. Maybe you’ve witnessed something I haven’t though. You say nobody says the Big Bang created mammals? Then where did they come from? i’m talking about the entire chain of events starting with the bang, go forward billions of years to the formation of the earth, which happens to be in a perfect spot in a solar system in a particular galaxy, turning on just the right axis with an atmosphere (life-giving force field if you will) that supports and protects life.
        And then over billions of years, life just happens. And yes, we are made of star dust, according to my understanding of the science.

        Re: loneliness – not saying there’s lonely existential angst, just saying there’s no hope. Without God your existence is utterly meaningless. Without God – people are no more important than cows, or insects ultimately. I mean really, in the grand scheme, nothing really matters at all, and ultimately the stars will fade and the universe will go black. If you tell me this doesn’t bother you on some level, I don’t believe you.

        Re: what’s “correct”? In a moral vacuum, there is no right r wrong, right?

        No – i don’t believe in leprechauns, and I don’t have any reason to. So, that gets us back to the whole faith thing. I have personal experience with God, and none with leprechauns. Just because you haven’t had any experience with God doesn’t mean nobody else has.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What are my qualifications? What are yours? Neither of us has any.

          Touché. Neither of us are scientists. Sounds like we’re in the same boat.

          Oh, wait a minute. I’m accepting the consensus of the experts who can actually evaluate the evidence, while you’re flushing that down the toilet and declaring yourself Judge of All Science.

          I thought there was symmetry in our positions. My mistake.

          There’s no logical or scientific proof as to whether or not God exists.

          True. We must follow the evidence where it leads. Just like everything else in life.

          Ask a statistician what the odds are that a human being formed from stardust and chaos.

          Cool! Next, I’ll ask an economist to design a bomb and a nutritionist to plan a marketing campaign. You always get such fun out-of-the-box ideas from completely unqualified people.

          You say nobody says the Big Bang created mammals? Then where did they come from?

          Huh? You ask cosmologists about the Big Bang and biologists about evolution. Or is this a trick question?

          just saying there’s no hope.

          (1) Wrong. Ask an atheist if “no hope” describes their lives.

          (2) So you pick your worldview, not because it’s correct, but because it’s pleasing?

          Without God, you have nothing, and your existence is utterly meaningless.

          And with God? Show me that your religion is based on something and you can tell me that you have something I don’t. Until then, not so much.

          And what do you mean by “utterly meaningless”? If you mean “you have no objective meaning,” I agree. But then, neither do you.

          in a moral vacuum, there is no right r wrong, right?

          I guess. Luckily I don’t live in one.

          No – i don’t believe in leprechauns, and I don’t have any reason to.

          So you don’t find the evidence compelling? Join the club. Now you understand my position w/r God.

        • Ted Williams

          I’ll have to disagree with you about what the scientific consensus is. At some point, it ultimately comes down to belief. More on this later, but you have your beliefs, I have mine. Your beliefs take just as much faith as mine. You can try to weasel out of this all you want, but I’m right. I’m not flushing anything out the window except your assumptions of intellectual superiority. I’m also not judging the science, whatever that means. I believe science explains certain truths, but not all of them.
          Re: statistical probabilities – that’s about all we have to rely on if we’re going to guess what the “odds” are of life forming from a chaotic explosion in space. That the universe hasn’t dissipated from infinity into absolute chaos logically leads me to the conclusion that there was a starting point of immense order.

          And yes you can break down these questions of origin into different disciplines, I’m just following the chain of logic. You’re admitting that the broader sciences aren’t close, and may never be close, to an answer on ultimate origins of life. Fair enough.

          We can agree to disagree about whether or not you live in a moral vacuum. Without God I don’t understand where morals would extend from. Everything would seem relative, and nothing absolute. But you obviously see things differently.
          I’ll leave you with a quote from Einstein: “Let us concede that behind any major scientific work is a condition akin to religious belief, that the world is intelligible.” Everybody makes a leap of faith in accepting suppositions that comprise a worldview. You make your leaps, and I’ll make mine. I do hope we can both agree though that there are many things that may not be as they seem at first glance: https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/does-quantum-physics-make-it-easier-believe-god

          Bob – don’t harden your heart simply just to hold your position. It seems unlikely that there is anything of value to gain from such a perspective. And do forgive me if at points here I have seemed agitated or dismissive in any way. I get passionate about these issues. You do seem level headed and you have obviously put a whole lot of thought into this, which is to be appreciated in the midst of a thought-provoking discussion. You are obviously a very intelligent person.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          there’s no consensus about any of this.

          I’m sorry that I’ve got to be the one to break it to you, bro, but there is. The Big Bang and evolution are the consensus view of those who get a vote. QED.

          Your beliefs take just as much faith as mine.

          My belief that the light will come on if I flip the switch is the same as yours that you’re going to heaven?

          You’re a funny guy.

          I’m also not judging the science, whatever that means.

          I’m surprised that that’s a hard concept, but let me explain.

          We have scientists. They evaluate scientific evidence. If you’re not a scientists, your opinion counts for very little. You don’t get a vote. When polls say that the scientific consensus is that the Big Bang is the best explanation for how the universe started, we laymen have no choice but to accept it. It may not be true, but it’s the best approximation we have.

          No, you don’t get to be the judge. You just take what you’re given. Sorry.

          I believe science explains certain truths, but not all of them.

          Well, scientific truths, for starters.

          life forming from a chaotic explosion in space.

          Is that what happened?

          That the universe hasn’t dissipated from infinity into absolute chaos logically leads me to the conclusion that there was a starting point of immense order.

          Not quite sure what you’re talking about, but if you’re simply affirming a conclusion that is the scientific consensus, I’m with you. Otherwise, this is just mental masturbation. Pop philosophy isn’t much of a tool when we’re considering the big unanswered questions of nature.

          Without God I don’t understand where morals would extend from.

          (1) And with God? Show me that there is a God and you can talk about morals coming from a god. Otherwise, this is just an empty claim.

          (2) Search “objective morality” for more on my thoughts. I’ve written much and it’ll be better written in one of the posts.

          Everything would seem relative, and nothing absolute.

          Are there moral absolutes? Give me examples. And show me that these aren’t simply universally accepted or deeply felt morals but are actually absolute, grounded somehow outside of humanity.

          You make your leaps, and I’ll make mine.

          Accepting the scientific consensus and withholding judgment elsewhere in science is no leap.

        • Ted Williams

          Bob – not sure what you’re breaking to me. I never disputed that the Big Bang is the consensus. Not at all. You’re arguing with yourself on this one.

          I’m funny how? I mean funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny? lol – never gets old…

          Nothing hard about anything you’ve said, but the Big Bang is not an argument against God. In fact, it seems to me that it leans in the direction of God, as do Quantum Mechanics/Quantum Physics.

          And yes there are moral absolutes if you believe in God. If not, then you don’t. I, and many others would say that any sense of right or wrong that you have was stamped in your DNA by God. Yes they are universally accepted. Why is that?

          Re: dissipation of the universe – I’m talking about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. You should look it up.
          I accept the science as well. Show me where I’ve strayed from it.

          I suspect you and I could go on for a long time like this. You like to get the last word in don’t you Bob. You wanna get the last word in?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Bob – not sure what you’re breaking to me. I never disputed that the Big Bang is the consensus.

          You said, “The notion that there was a cosmic explosion in space and out came people at the tail end is just ludicrous to me.” I think I can be forgiving for thinking that this means that you reject the Big Bang.

          If you’re agreeing that the Big Bang is the consensus but you still reject it, then my comments about the foolishness of that position remain.

          Not trying to be funny – are you?

          Nope. Just struggling to figure out what your position is.

          the Big Bang is not an argument against God.

          Fair enough. Lots of Christians take that position.

          In fact, it seems to me that it leans in the direction of God, as do Quantum Mechanics/Quantum Physics.

          That we have natural explanations of mysteries in nature where before we had, “I dunno—I guess God did it” seems to show that Christianity’s explanations are becoming less necessary. God has fewer gaps to hid in.

          And yes there are moral absolutes if you believe in God.

          Yes, people who believe in God can believe in moral absolutes. That doesn’t mean that they exist. You didn’t respond to my request for examples of moral absolutes. Do you have any?

          Yes they are universally accepted.

          Because we’re all the result of the same evolutionary process. We’re all the same species. It’s hardly surprising that our moral intuitions are largely the same.

          This is yet another natural explanation that makes unnecessary a supernatural explanation.

          Re: dissipation of the universe – I’m talking about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. You should look it up.

          I don’t see where we were talking about the dissipation of the universe. But thanks for the condescending aside. I’ll have to learn about this “science” that seems to be so important to you.

          I accept the science as well . Show me where I’ve strayed from it.

          In that sentence of yours that I quoted above.

          You like to get the last word in don’t you Bob.

          I live here. You’re a visitor.

        • Ted Williams

          No – I don’t reject the Big Bang. I reject the notion that out of that chaos, arose humans, without an intervening hand in between. That we just ended up here by chance is completely ludicrous to me. Am I being clear? Not only is the Big Bang not an argument against God, as far as I’m concerned it tips the scales toward God. I mean – where did all the order come from? Order doesn’t normally arise from chaos, but the other way around. This is in line with the laws of physics.

          Re: notions of right or wrong, not sure I follow you that evolution has led us to notions of right/wrong. Right and wrong don’t exist anywhere else but amongst humans. They don’t exist amongst animals, even though animals are part of the same evolutionary process.

          And I’m not trying to be condescending and the notion of dissipation isn’t a random non-sequitur. Just a quick Wiki copy/past: “The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium—the state of maximum entropy. Equivalently, perpetual motion machines of the second kind are impossible.” That is – A bunch of stuff coalesced and pulled together and caused the Big Bang, which eventually led to immense order, without a God in the mix to help things along This is contrary to the normal way that things work. Show me another instance where a system goes from lower order to higher order without some intervening presence.

          I don’t believe in a God of the Gaps btw. I believe that God transcends the gaps, unless you show me something that I can’t comprehend now. I guess it’s pretty much the opposite from how you feel.
          Ok – so you live here. Huh – ok. Really? This is where you live? wtf Bob?
          Example of moral absolutes: Don’t cheat, don’t steal don’t murder, etc.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I reject the notion that out of that chaos, arose humans, without an intervening hand in between. That we just ended up here by chance is completely ludicrous to me. Am I being clear?

          So you reject evolution then.

          You do realize that “by chance” is at best an incomplete description of evolution?

          I mean – where did all the order come from? Order doesn’t normally arise from chaos, but the other way around. This is in line with the laws of physics.

          Take sugar water (disorder) and let the water evaporate. You’ll get beautiful sugar crystals (order).

          This is also in line with the laws of physics.

          Right and wrong don’t exist anywhere else but amongst humans. They don’t exist amongst animals

          You’ve seen the video of the capuchin monkeys and the grapes?

          Other primates also display a sense of fairness, compassion, commiseration, and so on.

          If your point is that humans have honed the good parts of morality to their highest expression on earth, I’d agree. They’ve also honed the bad parts (rage, revenge, and so on) the same degree.

          A bunch of stuff coalesced and pulled together and caused the Big Bang …

          Though this isn’t the scientific consensus. This is just random speculation.

          which eventually led to immense order

          Huh? What immense order?

          Imagine going to any random spot in the universe. Would “immense order” be your description?

          Show me another instance where a system goes from lower order to higher order without some intervening presence.

          Sugar example above.

          I believe that God transcends the gaps, unless you show me something that I can’t comprehend now.

          I don’t know what that means.

          But I imagine that you see the problem? 1000 years ago, “God did it” was a plausible explanation for famine, disease, lightning, and so on. 200 years ago, it explained where life came from, why life is the way it is, the source of beauty in nature, why a child looked like its parents, and so on. And now, we have new scientific riddles. You see the trend, right? “God dun it” as explanations should be pretty embarrassing as reasonable natural explanations unseat them.

          Example of moral absolutes: Don’t cheat, don’t steal don’t murder, etc.

          Nope. Remember that I said: “Are there moral absolutes? Give me examples. And show me that these aren’t simply universally accepted or deeply felt morals but are actually absolute, grounded somehow outside of humanity.”

          “Don’t steal” is universally accepted and deeply felt (more or less). This doesn’t show us that it’s absolute–that is, grounded outside humanity.

          Let’s use Wm. Lane Craig’s definition of objective moral values: “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.” Do these exist? Show me.

        • Ted Williams

          No – I don’t reject evolution. I reject that all that stuff leading up to evolution, and evolution itself, happened without the assistance of God. There was an awful lot that happened that led up to evolution, and I reject that it all happened, in just the right way, for evolution to be allowed to play out. Again – from stardust to apes to humans, to me that didn’t happen by chance. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in natural selection, that’s just silliness. Why shouldn’t I believe that God was at hand the entire time. Read the Language of God by Francis Collins – he talks extensively about this.

          I’m not going to get into the rest of the philosophical discussion about moral absolutes. You and I both know right from wrong. To think of these things outside of the realm of humanity and spirituality is meaningless. Not sure how I’m suppose to prove to you that absolute morality exists except to say that the youngest child will have a sense of right and wrong, even when they are at the center of their own universe.

          And yes I say “God dun it”. You say – I don’t need such a hypothesis. You are making an equal leap of faith.
          You don’t know what caused these things, you just assume they just happened by chance. To me, again, that’s ludicrous.

          And I suppose there’s a very minor example of crystals forming under certain circumstances, except that the energy that causes them to form is already built into the system. Aside from that there’s a big leap from crystals to living organisms, let alone humans. What you’re describing doesn’t violate the 2nd law anyways. Energy still dissipates within that system ultimately. If the universe were to have formed on its own, then by definition, it would have had infinite time to do so, and would by now be completely dissipated, yet here we are.

          You think that if you went to a random place in the universe and examined it, you don’t think there is order there? Really now? You don’t think the laws of physics, molecular structure, quantum mechanics, etc. apply there just as they do here?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m clearly having a hard time understanding what you’re talking about.

        • Ted Williams

          Fair enough Bob – I think this conversation has played out. Be well. I mean that sincerely.

  • Surprise123

    As the post above is over a year old, this response appeals to any and all readers.

    I met a former atheist once of Jewish ancestry who said that he had converted from non-belief to Orthodox Judaism through experiencing the rituals of his faith over and over again in community with others. It perplexed me then, and it perplexes me now — and I’m an agnostic, a student of Yeshua Ben Yosef (Jesus of Nazareth) who attends an Episcopalian Church, the church of MY ancestors, full of ritual, every week.

    Why does one reject reasonable skepticism concerning extraordinary faith-based claims? I wish there had been more opportunity to talk to the former-atheist-now-Orthodox-Jew about it. But, the post above does go some way in explaining it.

    As to the How, it seems that for an atheist (or even an agnostic such as myself), the ability to reject reasonable skepticism and “fall in love” with a religion or an ideology, is as idiosyncratic and personal as falling in love with a unique human being. THAT makes sense.

    And, on a side note: I do wish we all would not bandy the word “truth” about so much, without demanding an explicit definition. For most of us, much of the time, “truth” is actually “The Truth,” a metaphor for that which provides significant meaning in our lives. Perhaps we could restrict ourselves to the term “empirical reality” when we mean phenomena that can be verified through scientific testing, and find another term for phenomena which provides significant meaning, religious or otherwise? What about “identity coherence” (or, simply “coherence” for short)?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I suppose your Jewish acquaintance liked the idea of being a believer and so just walked the walk enough so that he could convince himself enough.

      This is the complaint that I have with Christians suggesting the same thing. Yes, I suppose that I could just act like a believer and, eventually, it would become second-nature and I would kind of believe. But why? Why not do that for Islam or Scientology or Wicca?

      • Surprise123

        “But why?” Why attempt to consciously join in the rituals, music, and values of a community in order to “fall in love” as my Jewish acquaintance did? In order to commit 100% to a community of faith, even to the point of rejecting skepticism vis-à-vis its supernatural claims?

        I guess it depends, in part, upon how you regard the experience of “being in love”. Do you regard it with suspicion as part of nature’s ploy to shackle you to the reproductive process, and sacrifice your individual life’s energies to the next generation? Or, do you regard it as a positive phenomena that helps you to see beyond the selfish needs of your own unique being, and enter into a new, shared reality with at least one other human being? Or….?
        I suspect my Jewish acquaintance wanted to be “in love,” not just with his wife or partner, or with his children, but with a larger society of beings (up to, and, including supernatural ones).
        Perhaps that’s one of the benefits of successful religions? The ability to enhance the state of “being in love,” without incurring betrayals of trust often found in human relations? Of course, the clerics of a religion can betray trust, as recent scandals in the Catholic Church and other religions have shown. But, that’s another matter….
        I wonder what an opinion poll of atheists’ views on “being in love” versus the views of religious people “on being in love” would reveal? Would atheists be more positive about all-encompassing, irrational love (as long it’s directed at a non-supernatural object), or more negative?

  • Surprise123

    I guess for Jainists, the statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali might be akin to the massive statue of the seated Abraham Lincoln on the Washington Mall, which holds meaning for millions of Americans, secular or otherwise.

  • Being human

    I don’t get why an atheist would ever want to convert back to Christianity. Why would I want to follow a book that is outdated and full of flaws? Why would I want to follow a book that condones slavery and oppression of women? You’re right about one thing, intellectual arguments can’t budge atheists, because we are on the winning side of them. All Christians have is faith, which is blindly believing in something without evidence. Christians reject thousands of other Gods, but somehow think their God is right. The only reason why people from other religions believe in a God, is because they were forced to believe it, just like Christians are forced to believe in their God.

  • Being human

    1. Just because you’re content to believe in a God, doesn’t make it true. If you’re not willing to look at the proofs against your decision, you’re living a sheltered life. Whenever I make a decision, I look at the pros and cons of it. I would never blindly believe in something, as you seem to.

    2. My life is happy just the way it is as an atheist. I don’t need to listen to someone talk about outdated mythology.

    3. I don’t know why you would be in love with a building. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

    4. My life is full as an atheist. I don’t need to pray to some God to help me with my decisions. In fact, I am far more confident than I used to be when I was Christian. If my life is in trouble, I’ll fix it myself without waiting for some God to act.

    5. Just because Christianity is your truth, it doesn’t make it right.

  • Jack

    What about Mortimer Adler and Alasdair Macintytre?

    • MNb

      Was Mortimer Adler well informed before he began to read Thomas of Aquino? Remarkable at such a young age.
      Anyhow, distrust anyone who relies on Aristoteles of Stagira and Thomas of Aquino. Edward Feser is another example. These people tend to be antiscientific, simply because science itself has done away with Aristoteles and Thomas.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I don’t know. Tell me more.

      In particular, tell me why these guys are well informed about atheism (in contrast to someone like Antony Flew, for example) and that they converted from atheism to Christianity for intellectual reasons only.

      • Jack

        I dont know the details of their conversion, but Adler was a philosopher most well known for writin books of philosophy for the masses and as the founder of the great books program. and I believe an agnostic for most of his life. I think he was drawn to Catholicism through his interest in Aquinas.

        Macintyre was an ethical theorist, who worked on virtue ethics, who was a Marxist early in life and converted to Catholicism in his 50s (IIRC) , I think as a result of his failed attempt at disproving Aquinas to his students.

        Another famous philosopher who converted to catholocism (I beleive while still in university) was Anscombe. In general it seems like those philosphers who turn to catholocism are attracted by Thomistic thought and often virtue ethics.

        • MNb

          Like I wrote underneath this should ring an alarm bell. Thomistic thought, based as it is on Aristotelian thought, has strong antiscientific tendencies, mainly because of its teleology. Science categorically rejects teleology.

        • Jack

          Does science reject all teleology or does it address a different set of questions? While I agree there isn’t evidence for an ID type of teleology, I don”t see the need to reject an Aristotelian teleology e.g. a seed grows to become a tree or an eye is to see with (which in evolutionary terms is the benefit it confers on the organism leading to a better chance of survival), while recognizing its limits.

        • MNb

          “I don”t see the need to reject an Aristotelian teleology”
          Aristotelian teleology doesn’t work. What’s the purpose of the Earth circling around the Sun? What’s the purpose of magnetism? Of a radioactive atom decaying?
          Moreover teleology doesn’t give testable predictions. As linguistic means it can be useful in biology, as you show. Still your examples can be reformulated in causal terminology: there is a tree because it grew out of a seed and received food and water; we can see because we have eyes.
          So causality works better. Probability works even better. Teleology fails as a unifying principle.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I appreciate the input, though I don’t see that these are counterexamples. Atheists become Christian all the time. What I need to see is one that converted (1) who well understood the arguments for atheism and against Christianity and (2) converted for entirely intellectual reasons. Haven’t seen one.

  • americanman-o-war

    I converted to Christianity from atheism. It’s a long personal journey that i took, and in the end i came out a follower of Christ.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Can you summarize the reasons for your conversion?

      • Joshua Hawthorne

        Apparently not

  • Centurion13

    Arguments using reason and logic will almost never cause an atheist to change his position. His position, regardless of the many claims by atheists, is not the result of reason and logic at all.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Any reason to accept your conclusion besides this just being the result of your experience? As an atheist, I follow evidence all the time.

      If atheism is not an intellectual position, what is it? Why are atheists atheist?

      Do you think Christianity is an intellectual position? Are you a Christian because of intellectual reasons, and do you follow the evidence? If so, what intellectual evidence or arguments are we atheists ignoring or missing?

  • Bailey Nix

    I want to say this is one of the most respectful forums in debates I have seen. I’ve read through many of the comments, it is much different than the usual epithet filled rants against Christians I have seen. I want to thank the people here for the respect they show towards the differences.
    After all whether you believe or not, we are still all people with real problems, real emotions, and real feelings, not just some randomized it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Hear that everyone?? Take a bow!

      Bailey: thanks for the feedback.

      • Bailey Nix

        I wish we all could worry less about religion or beliefs, and worry more about fixing the problems of hatred, hunger, and poverty. Engaging in a social warfare, creates more enemies , divides us rather than unites us against the real problems we all face as humans.
        It’s funny though how the argument over who has the best morals seems more important than finding real solutions to inner city poverty, loss of economic opportunities, national debt, and genocide and human rights violations by both secular fanatics mainly found in Asia , and in religious fanatics found in the Middle east, Africa, and Asia..
        Freedom to choose brings the greatest enlightenment when both secular and religious people can work together in peace.
        Unfortunately abusers of freedom have become overly greedy and left the majority out of the prosperity loop, even with that, if you look around the world, America is still a great society, not perfect, but overall people live better here than elsewhere.I feel lucky to be here.

  • dconklin

    >I think the hypothesis stands.

    No, you feel that it is right. A good book that shows that reason, logic and facts in and of themselves do not result in change is Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions–it is a fantastic and fun book to read.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X