Christian Magic Power Doesn’t Work if You Don’t Believe It

Christian Magic PowerThe Friendly Atheist recently highlighted the video of a Finnish karate master defeating opponents without a punch or kick. He used what he calls “Empty Force.”

You can, too—for a fee.

The video shows opponents falling to the floor, but these were students of the master. When he tried his magic on skeptics, nothing happened.

The Friendly Atheist noted that the karate students falling to the ground in response to the master’s touch was like Benny Hinn’s celebrated public healings, where sick believers are “slain in the Spirit” as they fall back and writhe on the floor in response to Hinn’s magic wave. But you have to be a believer for it to work—or be in on the scam.

What if the opponent isn’t your own student?

Another example is Kiai Master Ryukerin, who has a touchless energy technique similar to Empty Force. Here’s a demonstration of the master sparring with and knocking over his students.

YouTube Preview Image

It looks like a stunt but is still intriguing. How would this work in an actual fight? Surprisingly, Master Ryukerin was confident enough not only to offer to fight anyone but to put up prize money. Another fighter accepted the challenge, and the results are predictable. Though respectful, he quickly thrashed the old man (another view here). The magic force field was only in the mind of his students and had no hold over an outsider.

The Christian energy field

The naïve Christian street preacher or door-knocking missionary is similar to Master Ryukerin. They care what the Bible says, so they’ll support their argument with Bible quotes. They had a compelling personal experience of Jesus, so they’ll share it. They are swayed by emotional (rather than intellectual) arguments, so they’ll use them.

They’ll talk about how the church community is important to them, or that the pastor is charismatic. It works on them, so it should work on others, right?

But this has as much impact on skeptics who demand evidence as Master Ryukerin’s energy field does to a fighter outside his school.

More experienced evangelists faced with such an atheist may try intellectual arguments or move on to look for easier conquests.

Christians know what I’m talking about when it comes to cult leaders like Jim Jones or disgraced televangelists like Jim Bakker. How could people have not seen through them? But, of course, to the people in their circles of influence, these frauds were very persuasive.

As was Master Ryukerin to his students.

If your religious faith
is what stops you from raping and murdering,
that doesn’t make you a good person,
that makes you a sociopath on a leash.
— Sven2547

Photo credit: VGjunk

About Bob Seidensticker
  • texcee

    When you back off and take a look at Christian “magic words” and compare them to other religions, beliefs and even fiction like Harry Potter, you see that doing things “in the Name of Jesus” is just so much hokum. It doesn’t have any more special power than Harry waving his wand and commanding, “Wingardium Leviosa!”

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

      Yeah, but “abracadabra,” does work. If you say it with conviction.

      • Erick

        And if it doesn’t, you didn’t really have conviction. Or Houdini heard your spell but said no.

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

          Yep, when the magic doesn’t work, blame the believer. The belief system never suffers when its claims don’t come true.

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

          Here’s a bit about ‘Hocus Pocus’ that you may have heard, yet it is still interesting.

          ‘In all probability those common juggling words of hocus pocus are nothing else but a corruption of hoc est corpus, by way of imitation of the priests of the Church of Rome in their Transubstantiation.’ –John Tillotson, 1694

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hocus_Pocus_(magic)

        • wtfwjtd

          You mean blame the non-believer? ‘Cause if you try to do something in the name of Jesus, and nothing happens, well…it sure ain’t HIS fault. When nothing happens, it’s a demonstration of your (non)belief, no matter what you try and claim otherwise. And, the REAL proof that the big-time evangelists really believe a lot more and a lot better than I do, is the fact that they have tons more money than I do. This is the prosperity gospel in action, just like Jesus wanted it!

          Back in my days as a True Believer, I was always rather annoyed and frustrated at how easily an all-mighty and infallible God was defeated by a simple exclamation of non-belief. Darn those nasty atheists, they were always giving my God a thumpin’ with their skepticism!

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

          if you try to do something in the name of Jesus, and nothing happens, well…it sure ain’t HIS fault.

          My point exactly. So whose fault is it? It’s yours. You didn’t do it right or you’re unworthy or something.

      • texcee

        And only if you’re He Who Must Not Be Named and you’re saying, “Avada kedavra!”

    • Greg G.

      When faith was losing its hold on me, I went back to the church where I got saved hoping to get it back. The sermon that Sunday was on why people used the Lord’s name in vain. The preacher, who almost always bragged that he went to Bob Jones University, said it was because there was power in the name. I was thinking that I should stand up and yell “Bullshit!” and ask about the power in that word. I think that was the last time I went to any church except for weddings.

  • MNb

    Yeah, I don’t see any relevant difference either between having faith in Master Ryukerin and having faith in a certain messias claimant who died at the cross almost 20 centuries ago. Or a merchant from Mekka writing down what an archangel dictates him. Or a charlatan translating some golden plates, which susequently and conveniently disappeared.
    Now I don’t look down on faith. Theists should just recognize it for what it is: something personal and subjective. So don’t expect me to be convinced. I don’t expect theists to get convinced of my atheism either.
    If theists still are going to try to convince me and argue that there are objective reasons to accept christianity – or any other belief system – I see it as a free pass to mock them.

  • MNb

    Surinamese kids are fun. A few days ago a girl asked me: “Which church do you visit?”
    “None.”
    “Why not?”
    “I don’t believe.”
    “Then you’ll go to hell!”
    “I don’t believe in hell either.”
    “Then where are you going after you die?”
    “Nowhere; I just won’t exist anymore.”
    “Yes you will! You have a mind!”
    “Yes, but it will die too.”
    “No, it won’t”
    “I don’t think so. But you may think otherwise as Suriname has free speech. Are you and your friend christians?”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Then you know what Jesus said: ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.'”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Well, during class I’m Caesar and you must give me what’s mine: doing your homework.”
    And they got going. So some christian magic power does work.

  • smrnda

    After seeing the master’s empty force technique fail, did he retain any students? Were they suddenly able to withstand the empty force attack? Or did they assume the guy who defeated the master must have had some better magic? I’d be interested in how they rationalized it, because I’m sure some sort of rationalization took place.

    Something that taught me a lot was watching some pagans do some rituals. I realized they were getting the same *effects* that more mainstream faiths were getting, just that it *seemed a bit more absurd* because they were (at that time) worshiping gods we’d been specifically taught as mythology in school. Of course, it’s really no more or less absurd than any religious belief, and pagans seem like decent and tolerant people.

    Another event was ‘speaking in tongues.’ I can’t see how anybody doesn’t bust out laughing, and I would have to, if it weren’t for the fact that I was in a room with probably well over 100 people taking it seriously, and I didn’t want to cause a scene. I did have to eventually leave, since I was in danger of laughing. Then again, if I’d fallen on the ground laughing it might have been seen as some new spiritual manifestation.

    • Castilliano

      I had a friend who freaked out when he saw speaking in tongues. He thought they were all freakin’ insane.
      I was a Christian at the time, and conceded it certainly appears so.
      Now, I do worry about their mental state.

      There was a study, oh gosh I wish I could find it for proof, but it went something along the lines of fundamentalism damaging the brain’s abilities.
      I wonder if that state of mind was a factor.

      • smrnda

        I’ve read accounts of people who start faking tongues to fit in, and who eventually lose the ability to realize they’re faking. Meaning that it’s cycle after cycle of fakers who end up believing their own con, and then they pass it on, except those who break away at some point.

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

          Which might parallel quite closely the karate students in the video above. Maybe they even convince themselves (a little) that there really is a force going on.

        • smrnda

          Maybe this is why people try to get you young, when you’re more impressionable. It’s easy for someone who isn’t raised to believe in this to dismiss it, but if it’s a foundational belief laid down early, you have a whole worldview to tear down.

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

      I’m curious about the fallout for the two masters due to these two videos as well. If anyone knows, fill us in.

      As for the laughing thing, that’s actually been one of the Manifestations of the Spirit® (patent pending). The Toronto Revival in 1994 had “holy laughter” as one of its manifestations.

      • Greg G.

        Found this here:

        As an aside, I’d like to mention an even more interesting aspect of the story. You would think that after the master’s humiliating defeat, the students would have left. But no, this didn’t happen. The students stayed on, found all manner of excuses for why the master was defeated, and continued to study the magical kiai powers. Their faith didn’t waver, despite contrary evidence.

        • MNb

          While I still hardly can believe it it is exactly what the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance predicts.

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

          There’s some sort of religion that says that its students can levitate. But the way you start is by hopping around in a lotus position. So they have an Olympics of this kind of “levitation.”

          Why the new student doesn’t see through this immediately is amazing.

  • Norm Donnan

    The thing is because atheist’s are in denial,your view on what we believe and know to be true is irrellivent because it’s from personal experience,we call it our testimony.
    When you know God and have a relationship with God,atheism to the believer is like an argumentative 15yo to their parent or teacher,your nice people but one day you will grow up spiritually then you will start to understand reality.
    We just hope you do before it’s too late ,for your sake.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      I did grow up, and I realized that i had no more use for imaginary friends. The “god” that people said that I was supposed to know turned out to be just the thoughts of my own mind, and not a separate being at all. I see humans create a projection of their own ego, build pointy houses to honor it, and give wads of money to people who claim to be able to speak on it’s behalf, so they can be reassured how special they are, and how their god agrees with everything they already think. I’m done with religion.
      “…before it’s too late”? Threats? Really? Did you read the original post, about how the magic doesn’t work if you don’t believe in it?

      • Norm Donnan

        All you did was wake up to religion and Im with you,its a waste of time.If your just religious then youve made the right decision in dumping it and focusing on yourself,afterall if this life is all youve got you might aswell.

        • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

          What? I don’t think I’m understanding you. I think belief in the supernatural is a waste of time. If this life is all we have, then we had better do a good job of looking after each other, because no sky-god is going to do it for us.
          Spending all your time trying to make sure that you, personally, are going to get into heaven, that’s focusing on yourself.

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

          no
          sky-god is going to do it for us.

          Well, yeah. Except for environmental stuff. We can rape the earth all we want because God will make sure nothing bad happens to us (run out of fuel, climate change, and so on).

          It’s like when I have my plastic Jesus on my dashboard. “I can drive a hundred miles an hour As long as I got the almighty power.”

        • Norm Donnan

          Ahh thats not the picture the bible paints Bob,have another look.

        • john do

          Norm Donnan, tell me, what will you do when you stand before Odin? I had so much experience with the Norse gods, they are the real ones.

          You better believe it if you don’t want to end up in Hel.

        • Norm Donnan

          I will say,”Giday Odi,sucks to be you dude”

        • john do

          And now you understand how we atheists feel toward your god, the same way you feel toward all the other god you don’t believe in.

        • Norm Donnan

          The Hindu’s have 400million for you to choose from,you should find one to fit your agenda

        • smrnda

          I’m not a pagan myself, but I actually think polytheism makes way more sense than monotheism. Why does the world seem so screwed up? Lots of gods and goddesses with competing agendas seems to fit reality better than One All Powerful And Good God.

        • MNb

          According to quite a few cobelievers of you you don’t show enough faith in your divine father here. Why should I believe you and not them?
          Because of your personal interpretation of the Bible, which says what your divine father is like. He dictated said Holy Book, after which we have a circular argument.
          This is why christian apologists for 17 centuries have tried to prove god by means of deduction – and all have utterly failed.

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

          Don’t talk to me about it. Go slap some sense into the conservative politicians who laugh at environmental controls, human footprint, sustainability, climate change, and so on.

        • Norm Donnan

          You sound like a good person from a worldly perspective.
          There is a program on that you can watch on youtube called Its Supernatural hosted by Sid Roth,check it out and see what others have to say.

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

          Totally. Or you could find a science-based video instead.

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

      Because there are so many flavors of Christianity, I’ll grant you that it’s tricky for an atheist to correctly state Christian views.

      Are you saying that your personal experience should sway me? I want actual evidence.

      You act as if the two options are atheism and Christianity. We can discuss things as if they were, but I hope you know that your worldview is just one of many within the big tent of Christianity, and Christianity is just one of thousands of beliefs humans have invented throughout the millennia. Show me how your supernatural views are right while the myriad others are wrong (’cause they all look wrong to me).

      • Norm Donnan

        No Bob,what Im saying is YOUR experience will sway you. Problem is atheism is for controlling,closed minded people.
        A good example is an atheist called Howard Storm.
        Your poster boy atheist,until he had his own personal encounter with the spirit realm.
        You can google and dismiss him but your intellectual rebuttals are irrelevant to him,he knows what he knows.
        You do have two options,spend eternity with God or without God.
        I have no problems with the big tent of Christianity,God is creative,we are all different. Above all God is loving and just so He reaches out to every human being on earth. We all get to make the choice,you know in your conscience God is true,how you respond is up to the individual irrespective of our culture or religion .
        You may sear and deny your conscience enough to convince yourself as atheism does,(thats one reason you can justify abortion to yourself)
        I was watching a documentary on Muslims converting to Christianity.1 in 4 was through a direct vision.
        To be simply a dream wouldnt cut it when you live in a culture that may kill you and your family reject you if you leave Islam.
        Because you mock God,it doesnt surprise me you hear and see nothing,you are blind and deaf,Intellectually smart (compared to me) but spiritually dead.As Howard Storm found out ,God is the God of grace and thats why He is the God of the second chance .It’s up to you.

        • busterggi

          And of course yours is the only ‘real’ god yada yada yada.

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

          A good example is an atheist called Howard Storm.

          Your poster boy atheist,until he had his own personal encounter with the spirit realm.

          So what’s the rule? That if someone has a strong conviction, he must be right? That if he speaks with passion, we must accept his claims as true?

          Because if it applies to me, it must apply to you. I’m sure we could find Mormons or Scientologists or Muslims who are also convinced of the rightness of their supernatural beliefs. You accept them as well? Or do special rules apply for whatever it is that you believe?

          You do have two options,spend eternity with God or without God.

          No, Pascal, there are other options as well. You could spend it with Allah. Worse, you could spend it without Allah. Or Buddha. Or Shiva.

          I have no problems with the big tent of Christianity,God is creative,we are all different.

          Let me tentatively advance another possibility: mankind is creative. We live in a scary world, and our fertile imaginations can make up all kinds of supernatural nonsense. Show me why you can dismiss all the others, but Christianity is the real deal.

          Above all God is loving and just so He reaches out to every human being on earth.

          Uh … don’t you mean that Allah is loving? Or maybe Vishnu?

          Because you mock God,it doesnt surprise me you hear and see nothing,you are blind and deaf

          Doesn’t seem like God cares very much if he’s just going to ignore me and not help me understand his true fabulousness and super-duperness. So much for the “loving father” metaphor.

        • Norm Donnan

          Watch it and see,he simply tells you what happened to him. Like all the testimonies Ive heard they are”this happened to me and I dont care what you think”.
          Yes we do have fertile imaginations and we also have to recognize and deal with the one who is called the great deceiver.Christianity has had more than its share of charlatans I will give you that.
          Truth is Bob if you were searching for the truth you would find it,but your not,you enjoy the debate thats all.

        • MNb

          “we also have to recognize and deal with the one who is called the great deceiver.”
          Oooohhh Norm, I begin to like you more and more. You’re a polytheist! Besides the invisible loving father we now also have an invisible great deceiver – with invisible divine evil powers.

          “if you were searching for the truth you would find it”
          So everybody who disagrees with you is not searching for the truth. This implies that you hold it, which is a sign of superbia. Go repent, you sinner, if you take your own belief system seriously.
          Because I (and probably BobS neither) do not claim to hold the truth. We just don’t see how your god makes any sense. Absolute 100% certainty, a sure sign of arrogance, is not for us.

        • Norm Donnan

          And thats why I call atheists ,denialists.It doesnt make it un true

        • MNb

          If it gives you a spiritual boner, by all means call me a denialist. Your god still doesn’t make any sense.

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

          I notice that you sidestepped the questions I asked above. A little too close to home, I’m guessing?

          Like all the testimonies Ive heard they are”this happened to me and I dont care what you think”.

          Or I could avoid watching it and just say: I don’t care what you think.

          Yes we do have fertile imaginations and we also have to recognize and deal with the one who is called the great deceiver.

          Look around you. There’s lots of good in the world, but also lots of bad. How do we know that this Yahweh guy isn’t actually a bad god? This is precisely the world that a bad god would create—plenty of heartache, but enough good stuff and hope to keep us hanging around so that he can get his jollies watching us get tormented yet again.

        • Norm Donnan

          Yes you can avoid watching it and remain blissfully ignorant yet still mock and deride others who understand what you dont.
          This isnt the world as He created it but it will be again,but thats for another day

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

          I pray to the god that isn’t there that one of these comments from you will have something more than platitudes from your religion. Y’know, like evidence? A reason to accept your point of view?

        • smrnda

          What do you do with people who talk about supposedly *spiritual* experiences they’ve had but who reject them? I know a few people who have done hallucinogens that have been commonly used in religious ceremonies. The difference is that unlike an ancient shaman, these people know enough about chemistry to know how the drugs work – they don’t put you in touch with a *spirit world* but they do alter brain chemistry. This is only a much more obvious way that you can account for spiritual experiences through materialistic explanations.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t suppose you’ve ever read “Demon haunted World”.?

        • Norm Donnan

          No,doesnt sound like the sort of book i would choose

        • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

          We can tell. It’s about using evidence and countering superstition.

        • Pofarmer

          If I can read Lee Strobel and Matt Slick, you can read Carl Sagan.

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

          I read it – great book.

    • MNb

      When you begin with saying that atheists are wrong nobody will be surprised when you conclude that atheists are wrong.

      • Norm Donnan

        You may be right in your dress sense,financial or business or political nouse,amazing artistic or preforming ability but when you are unable to comprehend spirituality yet tell those who do that they are dreaming,well yeah,your wrong.So how was your day today, good or not?

        • angharad

          Many atheists have some comprehension of spirituality. They used to be believers. Now you can say ‘they weren’t true believers’ and you may or may not be right, but I don’t think you can claim they have no comprehension of spirituality.

        • Norm Donnan

          I have absolutely no doubt atheists have spiritual comprehension,we are all born with it.Thats why the most primitive to the most academic are spiritual.
          Atheism is a choice made by those of us who want to live our lives our way with no fear of accountability.
          Some are more spiritual than others and like to love is a choice,so is your relationship with God.
          Like it says in the bible,”you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart “.Your choice,some find it easy some need to want to a little more.

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

          Except that theistic beliefs is inversely correlated to education.

          No, I don’t think it’s hedonism (check the prisons–I don’t think you’ll find an overabundance of anything but theists) but intellectual attainment that makes atheists.

        • ZenDruid

          For all practical purposes, gods are figments of individuals’ imaginations. I personally can’t imagine a deity of any stripe who is as trivially, and uselessly, obsessed with human behavior as is the bible god. Such gods are on the same level as the proverbial monster under the bed, and more of a liability than a benefit.
          It is unrealistic to expect strangers to worship a figment of your imagination, Norm. Everyone is going to imagine a ‘personal god’ differently, to begin with.

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

          I personally can’t imagine a deity of any stripe who is as trivially, and uselessly, obsessed with human behavior as is the bible god.

          God gets grossed out by poop:

          “You shall have a place also outside of the camp, where you shall go forth abroad and you shall have a paddle among your weapons; and it shall be, when you sit down abroad, you shall dig therewith, and shall turn back and cover that which comes from you for Yahweh your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you, and to give up your enemies before you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that he may not see an unclean thing in you, and turn away from you.” (Deut. 23:12–14)

        • Norm Donnan

          We now call it personal hygiene or sanitation Bob

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

          We get grossed out by poop. Why should God be any different, right?

          It’s not like he wasn’t made up by ordinary men … who were grossed out by poop.

        • Norm Donnan

          So dont Zen,thats your choice,you can dismiss Him your whole life,then what?

        • ZenDruid

          Yup, I dismissed the monster under my bed. Then, I became free to pursue wisdom through understanding, which is the birthright of any sapient creature.

        • Norm Donnan

          Good choice,the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

        • ZenDruid

          Non sequitur much?

        • adam

          Fear is the beginning of just more fear, derision and hatred.
          All things we need less of in the world.

        • MNb

          Weird – I tried to be a good loving father for my son (according to him I largely succeeded) and that included specifically him not fearing me. You’re giving yet another reason why your belief system sucks.

        • Norm Donnan

          Thats because you have no comprehension of God. Oh by the way fear as generally in the bible means respect.

        • adam

          Same as the ‘Empty Force’, nothing…same as for you.
          Only we wont be slain by our imagination in this life, like the ‘students’ in the vid.

        • Pofarmer

          You realize that you are just making one, long, boring, appeal to Authority argument, right?

        • Norm Donnan

          Right,its Gods authority in your life that you reject. He has warned you of the consequences of death without Jesus but your life has said “I dont care I want to do what I want to do”.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, fuck off already.

        • adam

          The bible was not written to enforce god’s authority, but the authority of the king, the lord, the ruling force. The bible is just it’s political party platform.
          Look at Irenaeus, who put helped put together the party platform, a politician just as suited to our times as his.

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

          Hmm … I think I see what you’re getting at. I’ve been dismissing Quetzalcoatl my whole life. Then what??

          I think I see a toasty future for me …

        • adam

          Yes, we are born with a mind, THAT is where the spiritual experience comes from.
          Actually, Christianity, for the most part is for those who want to live their lives without accountability. They seek to lose that accountability through the torture and death of another.
          IF you buy the story, there EASILY could be baby rapers and baby raper/murderers and baby raper/murderer/cannibals in heaven for those ‘who find Me’.

        • Norm Donnan

          Your right there Adam,there will be and every other sort of sinner as well.There also will be a lot of people who by your standards were good people,even religious folk who wont be in heaven

        • adam

          So, NO ACCOUNTABILILTY for their personal actions.

          And a god no absolute or objective morals or justice, just the whim of that god, who is portrayed in the OT as unchanging with the emotional outbursts of an immature 5 year old..

        • Norm Donnan

          What you are unable to comprehend is :
          1)God is perfect and righteous and:
          2)His amazing grace.
          We will all be accountable for our sin,God will allow no sin of any kind in heaven.It is only through Jesus that anyone can stand God.
          The mistake you make is that you grade your sin and come up better than the other guy,your happy to have him punished but not you.
          This is where grace comes in.There will be levels and authority in heaven,what determines this in the main is the good we have done,not the bad.
          This is why in heaven at the bottom rung if you like there will be lots of religious folk,just saved by grace but never put them selves out for anyone and there will be pimps prostitutes at all levels futher up who on accepting Christ turned their lives around and loved others.

        • adam

          Demonstrate that anything you’ve posted is true OUTSIDE the IMAGINATION.
          Baby raping murderous cannibals who get ‘grace’ are NOT held accountable for their ‘sins’.

        • Norm Donnan

          Most of the world get it adam,its atheists that imagine there is no accountability in life.

        • adam

          So NOTHING to demonstrate that YOUR CLAIMS are anything except that of the imagination?

          There IS accountability in LIFE, there is NONE after LIFE, which is WHY there are so many followers – FEAR of death.

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

          Doesn’t seem fair, does it? A serial killer could accept Jesus on death row, and he’s playing shuffleboard with Jesus right now.

          I haven’t killed anyone, and yet I can’t believe. So I get to roast forever in hell.

          Doesn’t seem fair. But I guess I just don’t understand God’s Fabulous Justice®.

        • Norm Donnan

          For you murder is an ultimate sin,and yours are “well nowhere near as bad as him”.
          God knows your background and the murderer,maybe if you were brought up in Rwanda,murder is no big deal,its all relative.
          You actually can believe if you are honest Bob but you dont because it has connotations.I

        • adam

          Like Santa, the Ishtar Bunny and the FSM, IF YOU ARE HONEST you CANT believe,.

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

          ??

        • smrnda

          So, let’s say there are 2 relatively stable middle class Americans, so we remove the whole ‘what if you’re from Rwanda and murder is just what you do?’ problem. Obviously if god cares more about whether someone worships him than whether someone kills people, god is more concerned with his ego and doesn’t care about people at all. It defeats any claim that god is loving.

          A loving god shouldn’t be so concerned with getting people to worship him/her/it. I mean, decent people are those who do good but who don’t look to do it for credit or fame.

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

          Well, see, he’s loving but sensitive. He likes to be reassured that he’s still our #1 favorite.

        • Norm Donnan

          You dont get to heaven because you worship God,thats religion.You do because you have accepted Jesus into your life.

        • smrnda

          That seems like a trivial distinction of wording to me. I do understand that Christians see some huge difference here,and sometimes go to war over these differences, but ‘worship god’ and ‘accept Jesus-god into your life’ seems the same to me.

        • Norm Donnan

          Of course it does,thats because you dont know what it means.If you know Jesus and have the Holy Spirit in your life it is freeing,while religion is binding

        • smrnda

          I’m accountable to actual real PEOPLE. If we fail in our responsibilities to others, civilization will collapse. I don’t want to live in the Stone Age, so I do my best to set a good example of being responsible and seeking accountability from real people whose judgment I actually respect.

          On love, I cannot love someone whose existence I can doubt. I love my partner – she is *right now* in the bedroom within a few meters of where I am sitting. I love my brother – I can communicate with him easily even though he’s physically distant. I can actually verify that these people are real, and if someone else were determined, could do the same. God? You might as well say “a ghost is haunting this room. I know you can’t sense it, but you don’t have very good supernatural perception” or something. Anybody can say that.

          I don’t view myself (as you do) as missing some ability to comprehend the spiritual. I view myself as having a better bullshit detector.

        • Tolife

          wooow, so funny, yet so cool

        • angharad

          So everyone has spiritual comprehension, but you still accused either atheists generally or one particular atheist (it’s not clear from the context) of being a hypocrite for criticising spirituality whilst not comprehending it.

          Atheism is a choice made by those of us who want to live our lives our way with no fear of accountability.
          I’ve got to call bollocks on this. I’ve read a lot of stories about people’s becoming atheists and none of them say “Well, I actually really still believe in God, I just can’t stand him telling me what to do anymore.”

        • MNb

          I don’t need to comprehend actual dreams to recognize that someone is dreaming. What’s more – I don’t need spirituality to dream. I’m pretty good at daydreaming. There is nothing spiritual at it.
          My day is not over yet, but thus far it’s fine, thank you. How is yours going?

        • Norm Donnan

          Your right,a dream isnt a spiritual experience,though it can be.
          A fairly slow start to the year which has been awesome after a flat out 20 months.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          … after a flat out 20 months.

          Congratulations on recovering from your coma.

        • adam

          I have extensively studied and experienced ‘spirituality’.
          Any one can have a spiritual experience in a number of ways.

          20% of those subjected to centrifuge do, 100% using DMT do. Extensive meditation, breathing exercises, there are a number of ways.

          It is nothing more than the creation of the mind under certain chemical conditions.

        • Norm Donnan

          Then clearly you dont know what a spiritual experience is

        • adam

          No, clearly YOU do not.

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

          DMT?

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

          Ah.

          Reminds me of laminin, a cross-shaped molecule.

          What besides God could’ve made such a fabulous thing??

          http://www.snopes.com/glurge/laminin.asp

    • vito

      will you Christians ever grow out of the habit of finishing every line of “argument” with a threat?

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

        Yeah, but that’s how it works in this genre. With a joke, you end with a punch line. With a Christian apologetic, you must end with, “God loves you so much … but if you piss him off, he’ll mess you up bad.”

        http://thumbs2.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mYZZP8zRjqZdCS6gtP6y_dg.jpg

        • Norm Donnan

          Ha,we piss Him off everyday fortunately He’s the God of grace (until you die).Hey that statue looks a bit like you Bob,sweet.

        • MNb

          Ah! Norm has seen the light. After I die his god is not supposed to be a god of grace anymore – then I’m supposed to burn in hell forever.
          Your comments get lamer and lamer, Norm.

        • Norm Donnan

          Your right,He is now a God of judgment,your judge.

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

          You seem pretty blissful given that you’re ignoring the gods of judgment in other religions.

          Y’know, it’s almost like you were raised in a Christian environment, took that on unquestioningly as a child, and are now defending that presupposition with intellectual reasons that played no part in convincing you. But then, why should they convince me?

        • Norm Donnan

          Like you I was,only difference is I didnt reject Him.
          You seem blissfully unaware of the judgments of the god of peaceful religions like Buddhist,they have 10 levels of hell you go through to decide which animal you come back as.

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

          On the contrary–I’m quite aware of Buddhist ideas of hell. Been to the monasteries; seen the paintings. You don’t want to go there, bro. Which is why I wonder why you aren’t more worried that you backed the wrong horse.

          Pascal’s wager applies to you, too.

        • Norm Donnan

          When you know God and you recognise the hand of the devil there is never any doubt.

        • adam

          “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
          Bertrand Russell

        • Norm Donnan

          Theres a lot ot truth in that.

        • adam

          And of course the only people 100% certain are ‘believers’, science depends on doubt, religions depends on the polar opposite.
          Doubt is a ‘sin’.

        • Tolife

          hahahahahahhahahaha

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

          People piss you off every day. I bet you’re a big enough man to usually let it go. You’re probably not perfect, so sometimes you may not forgive as quickly as you should, but you still do it a fair amount, I’m sure.

          What about this Yahweh character? He needs to go to counselling. Dude holds a grudge.

        • Norm Donnan

          Again Bob you just dont get it,the amazing grace of God is why there will be every sort sicko in heaven and plenty of devout religious types in hell with the atheists.
          Its only through Jesus that any will be in heaven,your choice.

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

          there will be every sort sicko in heaven and plenty of devout religious types in hell with the atheists.

          And they call that “justice.” Nutty, eh?

          Its only through Jesus that any will be in heaven,your choice.

          Uh, no. I can’t choose to believe in Jesus, just like you can’t choose to believe in leprechauns.

      • Norm Donnan

        We dont,and dont say we do or else!!!

    • Nemo

      Given your belief in Hell, will you quit with the “close relationship” garbage? Just say what the Bible says: Yahweh is a king who wants to rule you.

      • Norm Donnan

        No He’s a father who wants the best for you.

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

          Strange analogy. He’s a father who made you imperfect and then prevents you entering heaven because you’re, y’know, imperfect?? And then tortures you forever for living the way he made you?

          No, that’s not what a loving father would do, and that’s not what’s best for anyone.

        • Norm Donnan

          Good example of atheisms ignorance right there Bob.
          You and me were born in sin,separate from Him,we arnt part of his family unless we choose to be.
          God doesnt torture you or anyone else.Its like saying if I jump off a bridge God should catch me,no He warns you if you jump off you will go splatt so take my life line(Jesus) and avoid the inevitable.You choose.

        • MNb

          “You and me were born in sin”
          Perhaps you – not me.

          “if I jump off a bridge”
          False analogy. After jumping off a bridge the punishment is not eternal. After dying while rejecting your god according to you punishment is totally eternal. That’s what BobS was writing about and that’s what you are conveniently neglecting.
          Good example of christian ignorance regarding his own belief system. Or dishonesty. You choose.

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

          God doesn’t torture me? Oh–you mean that it’s a demon and not God who holds the pitchfork. OK, I see your point.

          Unfortunately, God created hell specifically for nonbelievers like me.

          Golly. Thanks. That’s luv with a capital L.

        • Norm Donnan

          No God created hell for rebellious angles,who knew all there is to know about Him and still chose to side with Lucifer.
          His love with a capital L came in the form of Jesus, you choose,up or down.

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

          Yet more theology.

          If you don’t mind, may I suggest a new year’s resolution? Provide evidence, not theology.

        • Norm Donnan

          If you dont see it then will leave it up to Him to show you.

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

          So your theology says that (1) going to hell truly sucks, (2) only God can give you the conviction that will get you into heaven, and (3) God doesn’t give this conviction to everyone.

          You paint a pretty hideous, sadistic picture of this “all-loving” god of yours.

        • Norm Donnan

          1)Yes
          2)No,you have been born with it,that is why you are accountable
          3)No,not only have you known it from birth but the Holy Spirit continues to convict you of the truth,”those who have ears let him hear”Mark 4v9

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

          So I absolutely, unambiguously know that heaven and God exist because the Holy Spirit has made that plain to me, but I’m sitting here telling you that that’s not the case?

          Maybe I’m just a liar.

        • Norm Donnan

          Not a liar Bob(except to yourself)in denial,closed minded,spiritually deaf and blind the bible would say, me I would say ignoring the obvious starting with creation,buying the lie starting with evolution then going on to “whats in it for me,nothing,I will choose how to live my life”to abortion is fine ,homosexuality is fine and ends with God doesnt exist.Its a slippery slope you stepped on back there Bob.

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

          Now, see, this is what puzzles me. You’re a spiritually enlightened guy. Why you’re so deaf and blind (if you’ll excuse my frankness) to the existence of Quetzalcoatl is beyond me. To deny His existence is to deny the obvious.

        • Norm Donnan

          Feel free to be Frank Bob,or Bruce if you like.
          Isnt Quetzalcoatl a Harry Poter character Frank? I mean BobBrucefra…nk

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

          Uh, no. Quetzalcoatl isn’t from Harry Potter.

          So I get the brush-off when the questioning gets a little too close to home? You can make groundless theological claims but won’t defend your position?

          WWJD?

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/88/Quetzalcoatl_telleriano.jpg/220px-Quetzalcoatl_telleriano.jpg

        • Norm Donnan

          WWJD….smile politely.

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

          I think we’ve identified the problem.

          No, Jesus wouldn’t smile politely. When asked a question … he would respond.

          I suggest you be more Christ-like in that regard.

        • Norm Donnan

          During His trial Jesus said nothing

        • MNb

          You’re still running around in circles, Norm. You give us nothing but “God exists, he has inspired the Holy Bible, which says that God exists and everyone who doesn’t take this at face value is spiritually deaf.”
          Yes we are. Just like you’re spiritually deaf for Quetzalcoatl. And a couple of thousands of other gods. And for the option that every single god, including yours, is nothing but a product of human imagination.
          And Norm said let there be god but did not see it was bad.

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

          Worship and praise me or suffer, puny mortal!!!!!

        • Norm Donnan

          Come you who are burdened and I will give you rest!!!

        • MNb

          I already have found rest and piece. I guess I was to impatient to look for a non-existent god first.

        • Norm Donnan

          Unfortunately the piece you found wont fit the puzzle of life You need the peace only Jesus can give.

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

          This is theology. What we want is evidence.

        • Norm Donnan

          On your death bed the peace you feell will be all the evidence you need.

        • MNb

          Empty words. Atheists don’t suffer anymore agony on their deathbeds than believers.

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

          Yet more not-evidence.

        • MNb

          Ah, Norm committing the sin of superbia again. You are in no position to judge if the piece I have found fits the puzzle of my life or not, what I need or not. It remains amazing how a christian like you undermines his own belief system.
          BobS is right – you give us theology iso evidence. What he doesn’t recognize is how your own theology turns against you. Excellent job, Norm.

        • Norm Donnan

          When your close to death will be the true test of the depth of your peace

        • MNb

          I answered that one underneath already. Btw I have been pretty close to death once or twice, when I was suffering from a too high fever (or hyperthermia; I’m not sure as there was no doctor around) – about 41 °C or 105,5 °F. I remember I was hallucinating. But no, your god was not around and I was not particularly frightened either. In fact it seems a convenient way too die to me. But I’d rather postpone it for a few decades.
          So here is my personal evidence; as valid as yours, I’d say.

        • Norm Donnan

          Fair enough M,as long as your happy.We all get to work it out for ourselves.

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

          “Yeah! Then you’ll be sorry! Then you’ll think back and wish you weren’t mean to me. Then you’ll know that I was right all along and you were wrong.”

          Dear lord, do you ever provide evidence?

        • Norm Donnan

          And maybe you are right Bob,not that i will know because I will be dead.So I apologize now if Ive said anything offensive,you seem to be a man of good nature,keep up the good work.

        • adam

          Bob,
          That is evidence
          Of an abusive relationship…..

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

          You’re saying that Nemo’s characterization of God is wrong? ‘Cause I think that’s quite clearly in the Old Testament.

        • Norm Donnan

          When you know God praise is as natural as breathing,you carnt not do it.

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

          ‘Cause God is so gosh-darn fabulous?

          How about some evidence? Then maybe I’ll agree with you.

        • Norm Donnan

          Ahh no,no you wont.

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

          This is your response? I challenge you to provide evidence for the Good News, and you say, “Well … well I could, but … but you wouldn’t accept it anyway! Yeah–that’s what would happen.”

          Thanks for sharing the hope that is within you. Or not.

        • adam

          Yes,
          god loves you soooo much
          that he created hell and eternal torture, just in case you don’t love him back.

    • Pofarmer

      “,your nice people but one day you will grow up spiritually then you will start to understand reality.”

      Cognitive dissonance, thy name is Norm Donnan.

      • Norm Donnan

        Why thank you Po,thats good ….right?

        • Charlie Red

          No it’s not, it’s calling you stupid, because you people are. Your bible doesn’t create morality, it creates dissidence, hatred, segregation, wars and murder.

    • smrnda

      Personal experience isn’t really a very valid form of evidence, unless you can point to some empirical data. When a person has only personal experience, it can be rational to dismiss your own personal experience at times. I have had auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations. I also spent years doing studying cognitive biases. Personal experience is weak evidence, and many people choose to ignore their personal experience, instead relying on anything more objective. If my personal experience isn’t backed by other evidence, then I should reject my own experience since our brains are fallible.

      Not one person who has told me they had a *personal relationship* with god has ever produced evidence any stronger than if I said I had a *personal relationship* with the ghost of Napoleon. The only reason the latter claim is more likely to be rejected is that it’s a less popular one. The only difference between a person who says they are ‘religious’ and the ‘personal relationship crowd’ is wording, and that the latter tend to pretend their getting clear, unambiguous messages from god, but I see no reason not to dismiss this as just the product of bias. I’ve met pagans who *felt the presence* of their gods and such.

      • adam

        This ‘personal relationship’ has got to be the greatest marketing tool EVER.

        It is idolatry sanctified.

        They get to create god in their own image and it is sanctified by the political party that is the church, as long as you use their slogans – god did it, Jesus, eternal life, hell, homos, etc.

        It is the same reason that all these over 41 THOUSAND different incompatible religions all call themselves ‘Christian tm’, it boosts and support the political power of all those who CALL themselves ‘Christian’

        Let me translate from the propaganda to modern language.

        What they are saying is: “I look at the world through the lens of my own interpretation of those parts of stories that I like and reflect me”

        I.e. ” couldn’t find me keys so Jesus helped me.”

        “I got sick and god helped the doctors who trained for 20 years for what I was sick with and helped the chemists develop drugs that humanity has been working on for a hundred years.”

        It is an excuse to deny responsibility to those who actually do the work needed to improve humanity and society, and an excuse for the own personal behavior. And gives that credit to the political party.

        Here is their ‘god’ and their PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP in action.

        http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/01/half-of-americans-believe-supernatural-forces-influence-the-super-bowl/

        It cant save babies dying of starvation, but it can BLESS your favorite sports team or player…

        “Gott mit uns”

        • smrnda

          The personal relationship thing, if it were applied to a celebrity, would look pathetic, desperate or insane. The difference is that for a celebrity, you might actually really *BE ABLE TO HAVE* more of a relationship than with Jesus. I mean, I think Tilda Swinton is a great actress, and I actually saw her, in front of me, on a stage at a film festival. That’s more than any living person can say about Jesus.

    • Charlie Red

      The thing is, we aren’t. You god is bullshit. Keep it in your church and your house. I don’t need to hear about your invisible man in the sky who lets MILLIONS of children starve daily, who lets women be raped, cities to be bombed out, who lets the world burn around us, who lets liars and thieves take your money to garantee salvation, and in the long run, create nothing but selfish, oblivious morons who do nothing for society because they think their god will do it instead.

      • Norm Donnan

        Sad thing is Charlie is your holding God responsible for the actions of men.The fact is that your seriously in denial in that whilst you hold God to be responsible and yet He doesnt exist.
        One day soon you will stand before Him and give account of your life and thats why I will never keep the truth hidden,sorry.

        • MNb

          “God responsible for the actions of men.”
          Yeah, yeah, the god is omni everything except responsible – he is only responsible when something nice and/or beautiful happens. Totally convincing.

          “your seriously in denial …”
          Yeah yeah, our christian suddenly doesn’t understand the concept of tentatively accepting a hypothesis and then deducting an absurd statement – the reductio ad absurdum.

          “sorry”
          Must be one of the most dishonest sorry’s in the history of mankind. Why don’t you save your sorry for your afterlife in Heaven? When I’m burning in your hell it will be a comfort for me to know that your eternal happiness isn’t perfect either. This is assuming that there is a hell, which I don’t.

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

          “The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked” (Psalm 58:10).

          One assumes that those in heaven will look over the ramparts and delight in the torment of those far below in hell.

        • Norm Donnan

          Nothing to do with heaven or hell ,its about a time in Israels history,kind of like watching the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima,amillion just died and men cheered,the righteous (allied forces) see justice served on the wicked(axis forces).

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

          Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!…’ Ezekiel 33:11

        • Norm Donnan

          Good point,but there is none as deaf as those who dont want to hear

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

          I’ve come to respect this board – a tough crowd, but they respect good arguments and demand evidence. As a believer, I want the same thing.

          I cannot expect someone to accept my personal testimony in place of their own experience, so I do the best I can.

        • Norm Donnan

          Your right except i really dont think they do actually want evidence more just like a good argument.
          You can expect someone to accept your testimony,thats how our court system operates.It doesnt mean they have to change their lives because of it or even believe you but to insult you is poor character.

        • adam

          A GOOD argument is GOOD because of evidence.

          And testimony is subject to reliability of those testifying, and the claim being made. Extraordinary claims……

          You’ve already claimed MY testimony of ‘spiritual’ experience is invalid, and yet my claim is easily reproducible.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca

          Can any of you reproduce what you claim on command?

        • Norm Donnan

          Your a minority in the world adam,we all get it.If you dont believe what others know you may need to search it out yourself.

        • Pofarmer

          Argumentum ad populum Norm.

        • adam

          “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
          Bertrand Russell

          What ‘others know’?

          Propaganda and indoctrination are powerful psychological weapons against the ignorant.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

        • Norm Donnan

          Propaganda and indoctrination certainly are weapons againt the ignorant:1) evolution2)abortian3)homosexuality4)no spirit realm5)you end at death ect ect

        • smrnda

          Can you please provide me with evidence aside from hearsay for the spirit realm? You know, there *are* professional ghost-hunters out there, they have shows on TV. Despite all the equipment, they all seem to not quite get how experiments of falsifiable evidence works.

          Homosexuality. Lesbian sex is very low risk. Am I not behaving rationally to be in a relationship with another woman?

        • Norm Donnan

          Low risk for what smrnda ?

        • adam

          Society Norm and humanity

          We do no suffer from underpopulation, there is not near enough threat to humanity, in fact it is the EXACT same threat of heterosexual couples who choose NOT to have children.

          Let us all be real honest, it is no more a threat than wearing mixed fibers or eating shellfish, yet in your homophobic fear you left out those and all the other things god of the bible finds to be abominations – you know like real dangers of gluttony and greed. And of course one of Jesus’s favorites – D I V O R C E.

        • smrnda

          Zero risk for pregnancy, and the lowest risk for disease transmission of all sexually transmitted diseases as opposed to male+female or male+male sex. Not that I’m actually *having much sex* (I have pretty much a non-existent sex drive) but it’s worth pointing out.

        • adam

          Yes, believers use propaganda and indoctrination keep people ignorant of evolution (which in fundamentalist circles is DOUBT}, abortion is a medical procedure, which I don’t accept as a form of birth control, but fundies are against BOTH, birth control is the BEST WEAPON against abortion as birth control, homosexuality is between those who practice it, I do not, and I do not fear it, it is SELF-EVIDENT that there is NO spirit realm – if there is then you should demonstrate it here and now, yes death is the end of you, that is the very definition of death. If you think that death is better than life, then what are you doing here?

        • Tolife

          We ought to be glad that some people are atheist, however minor the numbers. Someone ought to speak out where this abusive relationship between the christian god and people is condoned. I am of the view that christians shhouldn’t even speak up against things like emotional abuse as thats th e relation they have with their god and they want everyone in it.

          Ts not ok that a god is described as vengeful, hateful of other tribes except israel, murderous, confused and crazy and you have a bunch of people pleading with everyone else to believe in him or the psychopath will burn them in hell. I mean, where is the comfort there?

          How about those of us who are not scared of hell but find nothing enticing about heaven either? What happened to living in the now?

          Christianity makes absolutely no sense to me, and here in africa it has turned into a game, you have peolple doing all sorts of crazy shit to other people in the name of the christian god, and they are justified in doing so as he is exactly like that itself.

          Now threaten me with hell….is that your only defence? I wouldnt go to heaven if it were free. How are ‘ loving’ , caring and compassionate christians comfortable with the fact that they are going to watch people burn with the devil simply because they didnt screw or have a drink whenevr they felt like it?

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

          Africa seems to be in the news these days, unfortunately, not for good reasons. I heard that Uganda signed a new law with some acts of homosexuality punished with life in prison (I hope I remember that correctly). And more from Nigeria?

          Best wishes for a more sane and healthy Africa.

        • Norm Donnan

          The issue here is that your comprehension of who God is so warped that your reasoning is as good as your spelling.
          It sounds to me you are in an environment of dysfunction so you surround yourself with like minded people to encourage yourself rather than seeking the truth.
          It is true that a lot is done in the name of the Lord to justify bad behavior,especially in Africa.
          Its the same reason for atheism elsewhere,they deny God to avoid accountability.
          Either way,you lose.
          When you stand before God,as we all will,arguing and apologetics will vaporise like ether as the truth is revealed.
          At this stage in history we are in a time of His grace,it wont be that way forever (not much longer Ide say)so you need to turn to Him while you can.

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

          Huh? You’re criticizing someone else’s spelling?!

          You’re living in a glass house, Norm.

          Its the same reason for atheism elsewhere,they deny God to avoid accountability.

          Good point. That’s why the prisons are full of atheists.

          Wait, hold on. What am I saying?! Wow–what an idiot I am–I meant that the prisons are full of Christians.

          You’ve got a weird sense of justice and love if you think that the god of the Old Testament had those properties.

        • Norm Donnan

          LOL Bob I thought you would bite at that and your 100% correct.
          What prisons are full of is people not living a Christian,Muslim,Jewish or Buddhist life for that matter.
          You can call yourself what ever you like but as the bible says,”you will know them by their fruits”.
          I have relatives who insist they are Jewish atheists,they hate it when I tell them they are not because Judaism is a faith not a nationality,no faith,no religion.
          The God of the OT is the same God as the NT,not that you believe,comprehend,or understand so your view is quite irrelevant at this stage but there will come a time when that will change.

        • MNb

          You’re living in a glass house indeed.

          “people not living”
          Ah – the no true christian, muslim, jew, buddhist fallacy. Frankly I don’t think the world will become a better place if suddenly the vast majority of mankind becomes atheist, but the fact remains that atheists are underrepresented in prison.

          “you will know them by their fruits”.
          One of those fruits is very few atheists in prison. Thanks for the compliment.
          The rest of your comment is even more incoherent than I got used to, so I select one highlight:

          “The God of the OT is the same God as the NT”
          Yeah – he killed of all the Canaanites, Amalekites and inhabitants of Jericho while full of Jesus’ love.

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

          as the bible says,”you will know them by their fruits”.

          Cool! And the best part is that you get to judge who made the grade. Finger waggers of the world gotta love that!

          I have relatives who insist they are Jewish atheists,they hate it when I tell them they are not because Judaism is a faith not a nationality,no faith,no religion.

          Gotta disagree with you there. Judaism is a faith, but it can also be a culture or an ethnicity. “Jewish atheist” makes perfect sense. There are atheists who keep kosher.

          The God of the OT is the same God as the NT

          Yes, I understand that the guy is supposed to be unchanging. You do have to wonder, however, about all the changes in this unchanging religion.

          It must’ve been hilarious when, one day, God woke up and slapped his forehead and said, “Doh! I forgot to get Jesus down there! Oh, God, what an idiot I am!” He always had a good chuckle when he made a stupid mistake like that. Or maybe I’m thinking of Santa Claus.

          your view is quite irrelevant at this stage

          Yeah, an objective critique of the Bible is irrelevant because you have no interest in having your preconceptions challenged.

        • Norm Donnan

          What you call having your preconceptions challenged by objective criticism is why your opinion rates very low to me.
          When your response to most other peoples spiritual experience is to deny and dismiss it and admit to having no comprehension is the exact reason that you are unable to be objective.
          The above response is another good example of this.
          To say you will know them by their fruits wags no fingers and makes no judgment.
          To call myself Jewish,Christian or a rock star for that matter but dont live the life of that claimed is a dreamer.
          I could say,”but I dress like a rock star therefore I am” doesnt cut it.
          “How many records have you put out?”…none.
          “When is your next gig?”…I dont have one.
          Well your not a rock star.
          What you are in fact doing is like your gran dad saying he’s a music critic of todays hip hop or heavy metal,he wont be objective because he will hate it with a vengeance,no objectiveness for a mile.
          He can criticizes and find perceived fault but his opinion wont count for much.

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

          To say you will know them by their fruits wags no fingers and makes no judgment.

          Of course it does. You must evaluate their fruits, including deciding what counts in this category, and then decide if the net result is good or bad. You get to set yourself up as judge. Must be sweet.

          To call myself Jewish

          Know what Jews call “Jewish” first before you critique.

        • Kodie

          Your opinion doesn’t count for much.

        • avalpert

          “I tell them they are not because Judaism is a faith not a nationality,no faith,no religion.”

          No normative Jew would say that. According to Judaism if you are Jewish by birth you cannot become ‘not Jewish’. You might want to stop telling that to your relatives so you stop revealing your own ignorance.

        • Norm Donnan

          And thats why our jails are full of religious folk who were born Christian,Muslim ect but live the life of an atheist.
          The only ignorance is your understanding of faith.

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

          Cool–yet more opportunities for judging! His Majesty Norm gets to evaluate lives and decide who’s “Christian” and who’s not.

        • adam

          Its the same reason for atheism elsewhere,they deny God to avoid accountability.

          HOW does this avoid accountability?

          Two lines down you claim it DOESNT?

          Which is it in YOUR world……

        • Norm Donnan

          Atheists deny God because they dont like the idea that a totally righteous God will judge them and all the quick thinking and peer review and support and pseudo science will count for nothing.
          When you die you will be the first to know denial was the wrong road to take.
          .

        • adam

          I don’t deny Norm.
          I don’t believe Norm.
          So how does that avoid accountability?

          Aren’t YOU the one who thinks they can avoid accountability by BELIEF.

          Don’t YOU believe that Jesus frees you from all the evil you do and removes from YOU your accountability and gets you into heaven with Jesus?

        • Norm Donnan

          Yes,well put Adam,but it’s all by His grace not me being religious.

        • adam

          So it is people like YOU who are ‘avoiding accountability’
          and not atheists….

          So were you mistaken with your claim?
          Or just dishonest?

        • Norm Donnan

          Absolutely right,the issue is that when you stand before a perfect and rightious God who will judge you and find you guilty of sin, you to will wish you could avoid the consequence of your sin especially when you realize that Jesus DID pay the price for your sin and all you had to do was turn from your sin and accept Him as savior from what now beholds you.
          As an atheist,denial wont free you from your inevitable judgment,make no mistake.

        • adam

          So it is YOU who are avoiding accountability.

          And you think that means justice is served?

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

          So atheists believe in God? Doesn’t that make them not atheists?

        • Norm Donnan

          Atheist have a God given conscience,they know God exists but are in denial likewise Religious folk do aswell but deny their conscience.

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

          So then there are no atheists.

          Which god do these faux-atheists know exists? Is it just your god or do is there a wide variety?

        • Norm Donnan

          Just a lot of ppl in denial hoping that by surrounding themselves with like minded others it will some how become true.
          There is only one God and when you find yourself before Him one will be enough,all the rest are a result of our furtile
          imagination.

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

          Yes, humans have a fertile imagination. Christians, too, I think.

        • MNb

          And you are right because ….. exactly what? Your beautiful blue eyes?

        • Kodie

          Atheists don’t deny god, they deny that there is a god because there isn’t. Your definition of an atheist is also informed by your beliefs and fed to you at church. You think atheist means criminal, someone who denies god’s rules and breaks them because it’s more fun. That’s not what an atheist is, an atheist just doesn’t buy into your delusion.

          If you are saying we just don’t understaaaaaaand-uh, you do a piss-poor job at explaining it. You are defeated as an example of Christianity and an evangelizer because you are a terrible example of what you hope that we might become. You are insulting, lazy, evasive, and arrogant – and you’re also a stupid pile of nonsense with no self-awareness.

          Nobody wants to be like you.

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

          “Repent or burn!”

          Yeah, whatever. You’re doing this sinner no favors by repeating the same boring theology. How about some evidence for a change? I’m not going to change my mind without evidence, nor should I.

        • Norm Donnan

          Denialist arnt interested in evidence just more interesting theology,I get the feeling your evidence will come when you least expect it,God works in mysterious ways.

        • Pofarmer

          Norm, you’re a nut. And you’re an imbecile for the way you responded to tolife, who may very well not be a native English speaker. Christians have been preaching the end times for 2 millenia already. Aren’t you bored with it? Get a clue, it ain’t happnin.

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

          (Native speaker or not, Tolife’s command of English looks far better than Norm’s. Just sayin’ …)

        • adam

          Yes, UNBELIEVABLE ways…
          Unbelievable….

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

          How about manning up here and making clear that you have no evidence?

          All I get from you is, “Oh yeah? Well, my big brother is really strong, and he’s going to kick your ass.”

          Dude, you don’t have an ass-kicking big brother. Stop pretending like you do.

        • Norm Donnan

          Oh please Bob surely you can do better than that.
          This is a pearl before swine thing.
          I wont tell you the things that have happened to me personally to convince me beyond a shadow of doubt that God is for real because it doesn’t get bob’s tick of approval so I wont bother but there are plenty who will not that they will change your closed mind either.
          The real issue is that you review a movie,go to a conference read a book only to find perceived faults not to learn anything at all.
          Because of your pride I doubt God will allow your mind to understand at this point in time.Because you expect God to be your personal butler to prove Himself to you there is nowhere to go but down.
          Bob of all the atheist blogs Ive checked out you run yours the best and that is a reflection on you.I think that you would be a nice bloke in day to day life but this is one area that for what ever reason your passionate about that one day I pray that the scales will drop off your eyes and you will see clearly and you will be asking yourself how did I miss this all before.

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

          Oh please Bob surely you can do better than that.

          No, that’s about it. You have no evidence. All you’re armed with is a popgun filled with platitudes. Let’s just get that out of way so that we don’t expect any more from you than you have.

          http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/BangGun2.jpg

          This is a pearl before swine thing.

          Yeah, that’s a fun way to talk about the lost sheep that God loves deeply but can’t lift a finger to illuminate. Oink.

          I wont tell you the things that have happened to me personally to convince me beyond a shadow of doubt that God is for real

          Your call. I don’t suspect that your personal experience would be very convincing anyway. I need evidence. (Wait—am I repeating myself? Sorry.)

          The real issue is that you review a movie,go to a conference read a book only to find perceived faults not to learn anything at all.

          I have an idea: let’s test that hypothesis. Why don’t you actually give me some evidence and then see if I consider it or run away in fear?

          Because of your pride I doubt God will allow your mind to understand at this point in time.

          Nice save! We don’t want your unfalsifiable God hypothesis to get falsified.

          Because you expect God to be your personal butler to prove Himself to you there is nowhere to go but down.

          A butler would draw my bath and make my bed. No, I don’t need God for that. What I do demand is that a claim for God’s existence be supported with evidence. The butler could simply arrive at my front door and he’d have answered the question of his existence.

          Bob of all the atheist blogs Ive checked out you run yours the best a nd that is a reflection on you.

          Well … thanks! Nice of you to say that.

          but this is one area that for what ever reason your passionate about

          Yes, that’s one possibility. You don’t think that the other obvious possibility—that I’m actually right—might be true?

        • Kodie

          Its the same reason for atheism elsewhere,they deny God to avoid accountability.

          The reason for atheism is that god is just a figment of your imagination. You are deluded and you want others to be. You have no evidence for god, only a pile of evidence that you are deluded into believing that you have a relationship with an invisible friend. And you’re proud of sharing this delusion that you proudly put others down and miscomprehend their reasons for not following you into it. You don’t have an argument to convince us, just your personal, and extremely poorly spelled, testimony. You feel superior to others in your faith, but we find you to be the worst advertisement for Christianity. Nobody wants to be as foolish as you present yourself constantly and proudly. It’s not because you are a Christian that you are stupid, you are just stupid and one of the possible outcomes is falling for the fraudulence of true faith. Not even Christians want you representing them.

          When you don’t stand before god, you would be disappointed you fell for a trick your whole life and a lifetime of being arrogant and delusional and superstitious, except that dead people cannot experience such realizations, which is the greatest tragedy, but oh well. That is a pretty minor cost of there being no afterlife. We live in the real world, not a fantasy like you, and we all can spell pretty well.

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

          Norm is a guy with no good reason to put himself above anyone else. He’s not a movie star, he’s not particularly successful or powerful, and so on (just guesses, admittedly).

          But wait a minute–he can say that he’s got the religion thing figured out. Aha! That he can lord over anyone else. He can feel superior after all!

        • Kodie

          In one of my earlier encounters with Norm on another blog, he was worried because his children were thinking for themselves instead of listening to him and following his guidance. He provides no guidance, just threats. You’ll be sorry when you’re standing before god, he’s real! I know he’s real and you’ll be so surprised and it will be too late! You’re just in denial so you can be immoral!

          No sign that he’s anything but an ignorant fool for Jesus, and the only danger I can see here is the danger of becoming a delusional idiot nobody takes seriously when one takes Jesus into their life. He is a follower and emotional, and seems uneducated. This is the bottom of the barrel of Christendom. Like you, I think it would be refreshing to be served evidence. Never mind if we aren’t going to believe it anyway. We can’t decide what is right or wrong with it if we don’t have it in front of us. He knows he has no evidence. His other delusion is that he thinks by serving as a pest, he is also winning hearts and minds and souls for Jesus.

        • Pofarmer

          I would like to hear more about what’s going on in Africa.

        • smrnda

          I actually think arguments are a waste of time on some topics, since I think the matter is settled.

          Testimony is given too much weight in court, especially given what we know about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony (look up memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus.) Forensic evidence is much more meaningful.

        • Norm Donnan

          But no existent or not applicable in a lot of cases

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

          Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around. Perhaps this is an observation that you want to kick around a bit?

        • Norm Donnan

          Well Bob when I point you to an atheist who had the very thing happen to him that you call a scam your like yeah whatever.Oh by the way there are dozens of others if you are interested.

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

          Huh? What did I call a scam?

        • Norm Donnan

          Benny Hinn,hey have you heard of the artist named Akiarnne,Her parents were atheists.She started telling her mother that she meets with Jesus when she was 4.She had amazing ability in painting and painted a picture of Jesus.Point is her parent never talked to her about religion at all.

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

          There’s lots of stories like this. Get back to me when a non-Christian says there’s something to it.

        • smrnda

          Totally. It isn’t like no 4 year old might have heard about Jesus from someone other than their parents. It isn’t like Christianity isn’t plastered around everywhere.

        • adam

          Just as sick and twisted

        • smrnda

          I must add that in any war, civilians including children get killed.

          An incident I remember from the Spanish American war. A US ship had hit a Spanish ship, and some of the sailors cheered. An officer said “Don’t cheer boys, people are dying over there.” A truly righteous/moral whatever you want to call it doesn’t *delight* over any death, even of their adversaries, they regard having to kill someone as, at best, a necessary evil, something you should never take any pleasure in at all.

        • Norm Donnan

          Your right of course but when you have been fighting an enemy for 5 years you might forget that fact for a moment

        • smrnda

          But you were holding up the delight in killing enemies in the Bible as if it were acceptable. I pointed out that at least *some people* can see through this. If the Bible was truly a god-inspired book, I’d expect it to be far better than your average person – rather than the typical response of ‘Woo! We blew them up!” it should be more ‘war is occasionally an unavoidable necessity.’

          I was not alive for Hiroshima, but the newsreels I’ve seen of reporters or politicians commenting about it make them all seem rather serious and glum over the whole thing. They weren’t cheering like sports fans.

        • Tolife

          You appear terrified of God, what if you get to eternity and he changes on you? Can you trust someone/thing that you are soooooo scared of, with eternity?

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

          Here’s the real concern: Christians are eager to give God a pass for everything. It’s simply impossible for God to do anything “wrong”–genocide, condoning slavery, and so on are A-OK since Christians define God’s actions that way. “We’ll figure it out when we get to heaven,” they say.

          But when you give that carte blanche to God, what do you do when you show up at the Pearly Gates and God refuses you entry? “But I have a ticket!” you say. “Have fun in hell,” God replies, as the trap door swings away under your feet.

        • Norm Donnan

          Terrified???He’s like a father to me which I respect and honor but when you stand before Him terrified is what you will be.But it doesnt have to be that way,its your choice.

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

          The guy demands a human sacrifice for some bizarre imagined insult? He’s a sick piece of work.

          For father figures, I think you can do better.

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

        Charlie, you seem very angry. I think we’ve all run into hypocrites and liars, it’s what we do with that information that defines us.

    • Retrikaethan

      i don’t mean to bandwagon hate onto you but if you had never encountered christianity via social, personal (this includes your parents), or professional life, could you still claim, even through said ignorance, that there is a christian god?

      • Norm Donnan

        Fact is there is only one God.The whole point is that it is innate from the most basic level of civilization to recognize Him. Christianity only fills in the blanks.

        • MNb

          You and I have quite different ideas about the meaning of the word fact.

        • Retrikaethan

          and you’re deflecting. i hate politics more than i hate religion, please answer my question. would you under those conditions believe in specifically the jewish/christian/islamic god? (mind you that it is the same god, it confuses me as to why any of them fight each other)

        • Norm Donnan

          Yes totally,how that is expressed is relative to the time,culture and enviroment that your in.

    • Tolife

      I wonder what Christianity would be without the hell threat. I dare one christian to argue an atheist and leave out the hell threat, for the love of Christ! Lol!

  • Sven2547

    Hey! It’s my “sociopath on a leash” line! I’m blushing.

    Hilarious videos, by the way. At least Master Ryukerin had the integrity to actually put his money where his mouth magic wave is. Most woo-meisters prefer to slink into the shadows when asked to submit to evidence-based testing. The practical application of science is rarely this fun to watch.

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

      Thanks for the clever quotable line.

      Ask Benny Hinn to show his stuff and, as you observed, he’d slink away. More dramatically, Sylvia Browne publicly promised to submit her clairvoyant powers to test. And the JREF million-dollar challenge promised to give her a big pile of cash if she succeeded.

      A match made in heaven, you’d think, but she slunk away and pretended she’d never made the commitment. Worse, she kept her reputation with her sheep.

    • https://www.youtube.com/user/damekellen/ Dame Kellen

      I humbly ask permission to put the “sociopath on a leash” line on a bumper-sticker. It’s quite possibly the greatest thing ever.

      • Sven2547

        You are seriously overstating the greatness.
        But yeah, as long as you’re not selling these bumper stickers, go nuts.

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

        :-)

    • Rogue13

      So, when a lion murders the cubs of his vanquished rival, does that make him a sociopath? If not, why not? Just so, if man is simply an animal – if there is no objective moral code – then why would him murdering someone else make him a sociopath? If there is no objective moral code, then doesn’t everyone get to decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong? Who are you to judge what behavior is or isn’t sociopathic? Are you god?

      • Sven2547

        Everyone already decides for themselves what is right and wrong, based on a combination of principle, compassion, and social influences. Some of us aren’t delusional enough to think our morals have been handed down by some omniscient figure.

        Given the significant moral differences that can be found even within the members of the same religion, it’s the height of hubris to claim some sort of God-given moral objectivity.

        As it just so happens: I DO murder every person I want to, and the number of people I want to murder is ZERO. That’s because I, as a mature and compassionate person, consciously reject the notion of inflicting such suffering on others. In stark contrast, simple-minded peons seem to think that morals must be told to them, because they cannot be relied on to think for themselves.

        I do not claim to be God, I merely claim to be a person who thinks.

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

          And if someone says that they would be out there, raping and murdering, if not for the benevolent love of Jesus, then I say to them: “Please remain a Christian.”

      • adam

        What ‘objective moral code’?

        Does the god of the bible treat all baby rapers ‘objectively’ based on their crime, or subjectively on whether they are a ‘believer’ or not?

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

        Search this blog for “objective morality” and you’ll find several posts.

        In particular, I reject the idea because it’s a remarkable claim with no evidence for it.

  • Retrikaethan

    i gotta admit, i kinda wanted to see the old dude fight. seeing him beaten so soundly wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it could have been.

  • avalon

    “But you have to be a believer for it to work”

    That’s exactly what William James said in “will to Believe”:
    “…there is a certain class of truths of whose reality belief is a factor …. The truths cannot become true till our faith has made them so. ”

    What James describes here (a truth made true by faith) sounds almost identical to the placebo effect; where a patient experiences relief based on their faith that they took a strong, effective drug. But the belief that the pill was a strong drug is not objectively true. We can say the sugar pill gave the patient relief and comfort, and in that regard it was effective. But it was effective because of a successful deception. The doctor (and any other outside observer with accurate knowledge) knows the truth: it’s a sugar pill.
    It seems that religion is ultimately about religious or spiritual experience. Religious experience is something most of us can agree is a fact. It is not the experience that is in question, it is the conclusions drawn from that experience. The placebo patient’s experience of relief can be real while their conclusion about the Truth of the pill they took can (indeed, must) be mistaken. Elevating the conclusions we draw from our personal experiences onto the landscape of reality and calling those conclusions “Truth” (with a capital “T”) is like claiming a placebo patient’s experience of relief changes the reality of a sugar pill’s chemical composition.

  • lynda

    Thanks for the information on the Caltrop Argument. I recognize it when I hear it..now I have a name for it.

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

      I’m glad you like it! I see that problem frequently.


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