Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments—Do They Fail? (4 of 4)

Let’s conclude our critique of Eric Hyde’s analysis of atheist arguments, “Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments, and Why They Fail.” (Begin with part 1 here.)

“8. History is full of mother-child messiah cults, trinity godheads, and the like. Thus the Christian story is a myth like the rest.”

There’s a lot of straw-manning with the formulation of this and other arguments. I’ve never heard an atheist talk about supernatural story elements seen in other mythologies and then conclude that, because Christianity has them too, it must be a myth. Rather, we conclude that Christianity springing from a culture suffused with stories of dying-and-rising gods, virgin births, and other miracles suggests that Christianity is no more historically accurate than they are. Remember that Palestine was at the crossroads of Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The early Christian authors would be quite familiar with the supernatural tales from surrounding lands.

A counterfeit coin does not prove the non-existence of the authentic coin, it proves the exact opposite.

Counterfeits always follow the real thing. The resurrection of Jesus followed the resurrection of Dionysus. Any questions? (More here and here.)

At this point in the argument, other apologists usually yield as little as possible and emphasize the differences between the Jesus resurrection and the rebirth of Dionysus, the Jesus virgin birth story and the godly parentage of Alexander the Great, and so on. (Of course the stories are different! If the Jesus story were identical to that of Dionysus, we’d call him “Dionysus.”) But Hyde admits that many of the supernatural story elements are common.

It seems only natural that if the advent of Christ was real it would permeate through the consciousness of mankind on some level regardless of their place in history. One should expect to find mankind replicating these stories, found in their own visions and dreams, again and again throughout history. And indeed, that is what we find.

Is he declaring that all roads lead to God?

He imagines that the key elements of the Jesus story magically suffused through cultures, long before the Christian era. That’s a rather desperate attempt to salvage the story, and I’d like to see some evidence for this. But why grope for a supernatural explanation when the natural one leaves nothing unaddressed: Christianity broke away as a new religion just like countless others do, and it took on elements of the surrounding culture. Remember that the entire New Testament was written in Greek, and it couldn’t help but take on elements of the wider culture as it was passed orally for decades in Greek culture before being written down as the gospels.

“9. The God of the Bible is evil. A God who allows so much suffering and death can be nothing but evil.”

This is the Problem of Evil, and Hyde agrees that it’s a powerful argument. He responds with the popular appeal to objective moral truth.

The argument takes as its presupposition that good and evil are real; that there is an ultimate standard of good and evil that supersedes mere fanciful “ideas” about what is good and evil.

He imagines that objective morality—morality that is true whether or not there’s anyone here to appreciate it—exists, and the atheist knows it. The tables are turned, and the atheist must acknowledge God as the grounding of his morality.

Nope. I need evidence for this objective morality, and Hyde provides none. He just asserts it with his reference to an “ultimate standard.”

It’s weird for someone who does not believe in ultimate good and evil to condemn God as evil because He did not achieve their personal vision of good.

Who decides what my moral beliefs are but me? I’ll grant that I’m an imperfect judge, but the buck stops here. I’m all I’ve got, and that’s true for everyone else.

The same goes for claims of God’s existence. When you consider the evil that God does in the Old Testament, does this look like the actions of an all-good god? We don’t presuppose God and then hammer the facts to fit; we evaluate the claims to see if the evidence points there. And Christianity fails with this mismatch between the claims of an all-good god versus reality and their own holy book.

“10. Evolution has answered the question of where we came from. There is no need for ignorant ancient myths anymore.”

He says that the evolution vs. Creationism debate is where we see the Christian challenge to science most clearly played out. His strawman version of the atheist argument is that science will eventually answer all questions about reality. This isn’t my position; I simply say that science has a remarkable track record for teaching us about reality, while religion has taught us absolutely nothing. Religion makes claims—that there is life after death, for example—but these are always without sufficient evidence.

Hyde declares that he has lost all interest in the debate and says, “Usually both sides of the debate use large amounts of dishonesty in order to gain points.” What’s dishonest about the evolution side? It’s the overwhelming scientific consensus. As laymen, we can gnash our teeth about that consensus, but we’re still obliged to accept it as the best provisional explanation that we have.

(Just to put the final nail in this coffin, I’ve included an appendix below of many sources, both from within the scientific community as well as from evolution deniers, making clear that evolution is the consensus.)

He goes on to get confused about what evolution claims and doesn’t claim. In the interest of time, I’ll give my responses and let you imagine the claims: there are no serious objections to evolution; evolution doesn’t claim to explain the origin of life—that’s abiogenesis; the Big Bang is also well-established science, though it doesn’t overlap evolution at all; and yes, science unashamedly has unanswered questions—working on those is where new knowledge comes from.

Since science has the track record, I suggest we look to it for answers, not religion.

Hyde wraps up with something of a Non-Overlapping Magesteria kind of argument:

Science is fantastic if you want to know what gauge wire is compatible with a 20 amp electric charge, how agriculture works, what causes disease and how to cure it, and a million other things. But where the physical sciences are completely lacking is in those issues most important to human beings—the truly existential issues: what does it mean to be human, why are we here, what is valuable, what does it mean to love, to hate, what am I to do with guilt, grief, sorrow, what does it mean to succeed, is there any meaning and what does ‘meaning’ mean, and, of course, is there a God?

Yes, religion does have answers to “What is my purpose?” and “Is there an afterlife?” and other existential questions. But take a look at a map of world religions and you’ll see the problem: religion’s answer depends on where you live in the world! Religions are just local customs. Sure, they have answers, but why think they’re any more objectively true than the local customs on when a gentleman should remove his hat or which utensil to use to eat your salad?

And science does have answers to many of these questions: there’s no evidence of a transcendental purpose to your life, so you’d better get busy assigning your own; there’s no evidence of an afterlife, so you might want to get used to that; and so on.

Science has answers; it’s just that the Christian doesn’t like them.

You either have a god who sends child rapists to rape children
or you have a god who simply watches and says:
“When you’re done I’m going to punish you.”
If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would.
That’s the difference between me and your god.
— Tracie Harris, The Atheist Experience

Image credit: Herbert Rudeen, flickr, CC

Appendix: Evolution is the scientific consensus

  • Evolution is one of the most robust and widely accepted principles of modern science.Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006
  • There is no longer a debate among scientists about whether evolution has taken place.Source: National Science Teachers Association
  • “Evolution is not only universally accepted by scientists; it has also been accepted by the leaders of most of the world’s major religions.” Source: National Academy of Sciences, 1999.
  • “Based on compelling evidence, the overwhelming majority of scientists and science educators accept evolution as the most reasonable explanation for the current diversity of life on earth and the set of processes that has led to this diversity.” Source: Joint statement of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council, and National Science Teachers Association, 2001
  • In response to “Don’t many famous scientists reject evolution?”: “No. The scientific consensus around evolution is overwhelming. Those opposed to the teaching of evolution sometimes use quotations from prominent scientists out of context to claim that scientists do not support evolution. However, examination of the quotations reveals that the scientists are actually disputing some aspect of how evolution occurs, not whether evolution occurred.” Source: Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 1999
  • “Darwin presented compelling evidence for evolution in On the Origin and, since his time, the case has become overwhelming. Countless fossil discoveries allow us to trace the evolution of today’s organisms from earlier forms. DNA sequencing has confirmed beyond any doubt that all living creatures share a common origin. Innumerable examples of evolution in action can be seen all around us, from the pollution-matching pepper moth to fast-changing viruses such as HIV and H5N1 bird flu. Evolution is as firmly established a scientific fact as the roundness of the Earth.Source: NewScientist magazine, 2008.
  • “…Our magazine’s positions on evolution and intelligent design (ID) creationism reflect those of the scientific mainstream (that is, evolution: good science; ID: not science).” Source: the editor in chief of Scientific American, 2008
  • “When theories about chemical & biological evolutions (to produce life & complex life) are examined and evaluated, in the scientific community we see a majority consensus and a dissenting minority.” Source: American Scientific Affiliation: A Fellowship of Christians in Science
  • “Research!America supports the scientific community’s unanimous position that intelligent design does not meet the criteria of a scientific concept and thus should not be presented as one in the classroom. Evolution is backed by a substantial body of scientific evidence, whereas intelligent design is a matter of belief and not subject to proof.” Source: Research!America

Even the evolution deniers at least admit that evolution is the scientific consensus.

  • “If there is so much evidence for creation and against naturalistic evolution, why do the majority of scientists believe in evolution? … A number of young and old alike seem perplexed that the creation evidences presented seem so easy to understand—so logical, so obvious—and yet the majority of scientists still profess that the evidence ‘obviously’ fits with evolution.” Source: Ken Ham, Institute for Creation Research.
  • Evolution-rejecting scientists are in a minority.” Source: Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International.
  • “You are claiming that the church should adopt the scientific consensus today (on evolution and long ages)” Source: Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International.
  • “It is clear from U.S. Supreme Court precedents that the Constitution permits both the teaching of evolution as well as the teaching of scientific criticisms of prevailing scientific theories.” Source: Discovery Institute
  • Of course, the ‘scientific consensus’ now holds that Darwinian evolution is true.” Source: Discovery Institute
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  • Greg G.

    #8 Epistle Jesus is said to be made from a woman but there is no hint of the woman being a virgin. Neither Mark nor John gives an account of Jesus’ birth and no hint of a virgin mother. Matthew gives an account of the birth of Jesus but it is not clear in the Greek that it was a virgin birth. In Luke 1:34, Mary declares that she has never been with a man, while questioning Gabriel the same way Zacharias questioned him in Luke 1:18-29 and was muted until the birth of John. The whole idea of the virgin birth hinges on that one verse that appears to rely on the Septuagint translation of one word in Isaiah 7:14.

    Justin Martyr points out that many of the claims of Christianity are not different than the claims of other religions, arguing that Christianity is not different than other religions.

    #9 Atheists don’t need an objective evil to argue that God is evil. The concept of the unevil Christian God is incompatible with the Christian version of objective evil.

    I use suffering as a non-abstract evil that cannot be denied. There is no question about whether it is an absolute evil, an objective evil, or a subjective evil.

    #10 The dishonest way that creationist preachers treated the arguments of evolution was what led me to question what they said about purely religious claims. I had seen in books what scientists said but the creation preachers were claiming they said something else. If they spoke with the same authority about something that could be verified and get it wrong, why should anyone believe them when they spoke about that which was unverifiable?

    I like that appendix. I’m saving it. Thanks.

  • http://knowthesilence.blogspot.com/ Joshua

    “I’ve never heard an atheist talk about supernatural story elements seen in other mythologies and then conclude that, because Christianity has them too, it must be a myth.”

    Sadly, I have.

    • Greg G.

      We reject the supernatural story elements of Christianity as myth whether they are from other mythologies or not. It is when even the more plausible stories about Jesus appear to come from earlier myths as well that we can dismiss it as myth. The Jesus Seminar rejected over 80% of the deeds and sayings of Jesus as being authentic but I think they were too generous.

      For example, Mark 2:23-28 was deemed as probably authentic. It’s a debate between Jesus and some Pharisees that had nothing better to do on a sabbath than pop up in a grain field to play gotcha. It’s not even clear what Jesus and the disciples were supposed to be doing wrong. Jesus’ response is based on a misreading of 1 Samuel 21:1-9 and its back story. The Pharisees should have embarrassed Jesus. It is more likely that Mark misread 1 Samuel and made up the story for lack of any real stories.

    • TheNuszAbides

      that’s presumably because there’s more than one kind of atheism/atheist, but also because Mere Atheism (h/t C.S.Lewis) doesn’t guarantee freedom from crappy critical faculties. and if the numbers keep growing, we’re probably never going to ~all~ compare notes at this rate.

  • The Eh’theist

    “The same goes for claims of God’s existence. When you consider the evil that God does in the Old Testament, does this look like the actions of an all-good god? We don’t presuppose God and then hammer the facts to fit; we evaluate the claims to see if the evidence points there. And Christianity fails with this mismatch between the claims of an all-good god versus reality and their own holy book.”

    Thanks for bringing my favourite argument out into the spotlight. When Christians want to discuss God with me of late, I ask whether they want to discuss the God of their creeds or the God of the Bible, and if the former, what evidence they want to provide for His existence.

    They always want to argue they are one and the same, and it is this argument, along with Immutablity, the impossibility of absolute mercy and absolute justice being together, etc that show that the narratives (Bible) don’t correspond to the press release (creeds). That leads to the believer choosing to either argue some sort of heterodoxy or a reduced level of biblical inspiration.

    Challenging that assumption has two effects (1) it forces the believer to really tighten up their arguments just to keep them from imploding and (2) unfortunately, it tends to limit repeat discussions because the dissonance is really uncomfortable for believers and they’re advised by family/pastor to let it drop for the good of their faith. *sigh*

  • MNb

    “what does it mean to be human, why are we here, what is valuable, what does it mean to love, to hate, what am I to do with guilt, grief, sorrow, what does it mean to succeed, is there any meaning and what does ‘meaning’ mean”
    Many atheists are perfectly capable to answer these questions without an imaginary sky daddy.

    This is his list? He has omitted the three best ones. I summarize:

    1. The concept of god doesn’t contribute anything to our understanding, but raises only more questions;
    2. There is no reliable method to separate correct claims about god from incorrect ones;
    3. No one ever has been able to explain how god interacts with our reality.

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

      Great questions. But I can see why he wouldn’t want them on his list.

    • TheNuszAbides

      3. No one ever has been able to explain how god interacts with our reality.

      seems like the typical theologian sees that as a strength, knowing as they do that most of the Flocks aren’t inclined to ask the questions from 1). and i’d speculate that the ones who actually attempt such an explanation get too mystical, shamanic, intellectually honest, or some other such, for their fellows/patrons to be comfortable associating with or supporting them. but yeah, as Bob says, not exactly shocking that Hyde either couldn’t or wouldn’t dare articulate any of these.

  • Greg G.

    I just saw the pop up caption when I moused over the picture of Jesus. LOL!

    Aren’t the Gospels supposed to be based on the tales of fishermen?

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

        I could say it but not that anyone would understand it.

        • Susan

          I could say it but not that anyone would understand it.

          Don’t try it if you’re eating crackers.

      • MNb

        For me “ichthyosaurus” is easier.

      • Otto

        Imagine the ichthys nose down and then what that would symbolize.

        Someone pointed that out once and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. There was a name for it but I can’t remember what it is and haven’t found it through internet searches. Any ideas Bob?

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

          With or without the cross?

          I can imagine something feminine …

        • Otto

          Without lol…I have tried to figure out what the name of it is…I think it is supposed to be Indian in origin as it is used that way but not sure.

        • TheNuszAbides

          http://divineyoni.blogspot.com/2010/10/divine-yoni.html

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

          and, y’know, if you really wanna go there (ahem), many of Georgia O’Keeffe’s pieces …

        • Otto

          That was probably it.

        • Greg G.

          The proper symbol is the overlap two circles of equal radius where the edge of one circle passed through the center of the other, plus a little extra for the tail. The cross is a line between the centers and between the two intersections of the circles. The ratio of the two line is the square root of three. The ancient Greeks didn’t know about irrational numbers so the looked as ratios of integers. The 265/153 ration represented the square root of three.

          In John 21:11, Jesus guesses the number of fish that are caught- 153. The scene seems to come from the story about Pythagoras who guessed the number of fish in the fishermen’s net. The story doesn’t specify the number. I have seen claims that Pythagoras like that 265/153 ratio but I haven’t seena credible source for it.

          I wonder if the 153 is something about water is in the water, while the 265 refers to the fishermen.

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

          153 = 1^3 + 5^3 + 3^3.

          That’s kinda cool, and might be a worthy property for a special number.

          Bob Price lampoons the story by imagining one fisherman saying, “Hey, you guys go hang with the risen Son of Man. I’ll stay here and count the fish.”

        • Greg G.

          The sum of the first seventeen integers is 153.

        • TheNuszAbides

          nope, that’s 135.

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

          I fear Satan has infected your calculator.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ugh … already out of practice and most likely taking more physics in a couple months!? this not bode well …

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

          Be not discouraged, my brother! A quick exorcism will rid your calculator of its demonic baggage.

        • TheNuszAbides

          gotta make sure i the perfect incense, though. our homeowner’s association is not to be trifled with.

        • Greg G.

          I think you did 3^2 instead of 3^3 for the last term.

        • MNb

          I made the same mistake ….

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, man. will i never sleep before trying to correct the internet? *shamed*

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

          Yoni?

  • wtfwjtd

    “Science is fantastic if you want to know what gauge wire is compatible with a 20 amp electric charge, how agriculture works, what causes disease and how to cure it, and a million other things.”

    What’s kinda funny here is, at one time at least, religion purported to have all the answers as to how agriculture works, and what causes disease and how to cure it. Remember the Lord of the Universe ™ believed that demons caused mental illness, and Paul said that not doing the Lord’s supper right was the cause of making people weak and sick. And, how many times has religion purported to have the answer to any question, only to be shown the real, non-supernatural answer by science? And I can’t think of a single time that it’s been the other way ’round.
    I guess it’s hard for people like EH to admit that employing religion is simply an obsolete method of discovering accurate things about reality. I really can highly recommend that he and his fellow believers give reason and science a try, it’s very liberating. And, you can jettison all that “god” baggage as the unnecessary nonsense that it is.

    • Scott_In_OH

      This is a huge deal. Every single claim about the natural world in that book is either wrong or trivial. Not one of its claims has proven to be a useful hypothesis that spawned greater knowledge of the universe. It’s not nearly enough to say “it’s not supposed to be a science textbook.” It is unadulterated garbage in its description of the world.

      Why would I think it got anything else right?

      • wtfwjtd

        And to emphasize the point, Europe stagnated for something like 1,000 years under Christian rule, with virtually no advancement or innovation at all. Very depressing.

  • Maoh

    Science has answers to a lot of questions that Christians claim it doesn’t. Some of them are only hypotheses, but they’re based on established principles and that’s still better than the total ass-pull that your typical Christian will use.

    • TheNuszAbides

      “total ass-pull”

      gonna try to remember that one.

  • Pofarmer

    The Sermon that totally tripped me off was the one “God is Infinitely good.” I haven’t been back after that except for Christmas to apease my wife. That one was taking ot a step too far.

    • TheNuszAbides

      i think i drifted too early to reach the thousand-sermons-heard mark, but there were a few ~guest star~ or otherwise poignant occasions that my mother bought or made a tape recording, and i listened to a couple of those many times over. i’ve heard people (in the pews) who must have thought they were speaking in tongues, but i’ve never been in a revival tent, or at any flavor of Baptist event (seen a few dramatizations of those at least), and can’t remember a single word of any of the very few Catholic sermons i’ve witnessed, but nevertheless, from what i’ve gleaned mostly-secondhand i’m of the general assumption that it would be, shall we say, atypical for the third to resemble either of the former in volume, intensity, showmanship, etc.

      all i’m coming up with as a way that “God is Infinitely good” might NOT devolve into something revoltingly obtuse to anyone who believes just one journalistic slice of tragedy from sources other than sanitized media outlets … is if it was all about God being a resource, a well into whom we can always dip for the Profound Goodness plantswe crave. but somehow i’m doubting anything that milquetoast would be the straw that broke your inner camel.

      • Pofarmer

        I dunno, I don’t remember now. I had been reading some Ehrman, and some Price, and dealing with some of the ridiculous things in the Old Testament. I had also been dealing with my two older boys going to “religion”classes and learning nonsense about the New Testament. I just know that hearing this priest talk about blind Monks and all sorts of bad things happening to people proving how good God was just gave me the most horrible case if cognitive dissonance. I practically had a panic attack. I decided if this was what this new priest was gonna push, I wanted no piece of it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          eww. as an avid roleplayer (when there’s more Free Time), i have trouble choosing between amused, frustrated and terrified at how hermetically sealed the Theologian’s Bubble must be that they project their job-security-perpetuating creative imagination onto God’s Ultimate Awesomeness rather than implicating pride in their own cleverness (such as it is) – the actual source

  • Warren

    Will you by any chance be doing any posts regarding free will in future? Not only is it used as a common response to the Problem of Evil, it’s an interesting and often complicated topic in itself that impacts much of Christian thought, such as whether
    or not one can choose to believe religious claims.

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

      I do respond to the “free will” response to the Problem of Evil (look up that term in the Search bar for posts). I find it a weak rebuttal.

      As for the question, Does free will exist?, I won’t be writing about that one.

      • primenumbers

        If free will does east for us, it’s a limited free will where we are bound by the god-made physical conditions of the universe around us. That is obviously not the kind of free will that god has and as our free will was gifted to us by god, there is total responsibility there for that free will.

        We have the kind of free will that always favours the strong or evil. The murderer has more free will than the (now dead) victim. The rapist has more free will than their victim. The strong, the rich and the powerful have more free will than the poor. The slaver has more free will than the enslaved.

        Given god’s responsibility for free will, god’s unrestricted free will and unrestricted range of action and our limited free will that always favours bad over good, by invoking a “free will defence” the theist actually has made a much worse problem for themselves, moving their god from just being apathetic about evil to actually setting things up so that the whole free-will universe is biased towards evil over good.

        • Pofarmer

          So, you’re saying that God’s an incompetent Dick, then?

        • MNb

          Is that a serious or a rhetorical question? If the first then ask it again when your back hurts or when your teeth fall out and won’t grow back, like alligator teeth do.

        • Pofarmer

          More rhetorical.

        • primenumbers

          Malevolent was the word. At best incompetence can only be moderately evil. A nasty attitude plus competence is where true evil begins.

        • TheNuszAbides

          We have the kind of free will that always favours the strong or evil. The murderer has more free will than the (now dead) victim. The rapist has more free will than their victim. The strong, the rich and the powerful have more free will than the poor. The slaver has more free will than the enslaved.

          thank you for laying out one of those plain truths that i never want to admit or put forth as an argument but am nearly always contemplating.

      • TheNuszAbides

        it does seem like that would require a bit more exposure to Philosophers than you might like. 😉
        i (as a fairly psych/neuro-obsessed, rank layman) am fairly impressed by Sam Harris’s short piece on (and titled) Free Will, which comes after his neuroscience degree and is definitely heavier on the science than the philosophy (in fact it’s at odds with his good buddy Dennett’s philosophical conclusions on the matter).

    • Greg G.

      He would if he was forced to do it.

    • MNb

      Free will has become a scientific issue.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/finding-free-will/

      You can be pretty sure that it won’t mean what apologists think it means.

      • Zeta

        Thanks for the link to a very interesting and informative article.

      • Warren

        Thanks for the article. It’s a lot to take in, and at the end of it I still don’t feel that much more enlightened about the topic. The gist of it seems to be that we mostly don’t have free will, but not completely due to quantum probabilities allowing a little free will.

        • MNb

          You’ve got it right, though I’d like to add that probability not necessarily has to be quantum like. An analogy might be

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degrees_of_freedom_(physics_and_chemistry)

          Jerry Coyne likes to brag how neuroscientists are capable of predicting human decisions before people themselves become aware of them (the record seems to be about 80%), but I’d say that free will only becomes meaningless at 98%, which is a much lower standard than was used for the higgs-boson. Below 98% free will can be meaningfully used for the remainder.
          Of course we simply don’t know yet, but as with so many philosophical issues before what philosophers and theologians have said about free will will simply become irrelevant. I mean, atomism a la Democritus has become an oddity as well. That will be another blow for apologetics no matter the outcome of the scientific research.

  • PacMan

    “But where the physical sciences are completely lacking is in those issues most important to human beings—the truly existential issues: what does it mean to be human, why are we here, what is valuable, what does it mean to love, to hate, what am I to do with guilt, grief, sorrow, what does it mean to succeed, is there any meaning and what does ‘meaning’ mean, and, of course, is there a God?”

    I’d say these are all, as the current idiom goes, “first world problems”. Most people throughout history, and far to many even today, are more worried about their next meal, where to find shelter, and (yes), how agriculture works and where disease comes from.

    • Zeta

      Yes, I agree. Hyde is living in the cloud or on another planet. Those issues are “most important to human beings” because he is living a good life: well-fed, easy access to lots of good food, good hygienic environment and medical care, comfortable amenities and facilities, thanks to great advances in agriculture, science and technology. Contributions from religion: ZERO.

      • TheNuszAbides

        the [I-hesitate-to-call-it-something-as-substantial-as-a-]Thread on which Christianity’s (or any theism’s) ‘responsibility’ or ‘credit’ for any kind of progress depends is thoroughly indirect at best and (as far as i have seen in attempts to support the claim) entirely devoid of coherent counterfactuals.

    • Kodie

      Given that, it had to be pretty efficient to just tell them who they were and why they were here, etc., and it would be reasonable to go along with it, as everyone else would. I don’t want to paint a broad brush on history, but it does seem like the kind of “daydreaming” subjects, when there’s too much work to be done. They did have time to relax though, enjoy some music and company and festive times, and there was death and such questions had to come up. Religious answers are the kind of answers that plug up the natural grief, set aside a particular time to feel like a human, and then get right back to work like a machine, because we can’t afford as a society for anyone to slack for too long. What they might not have had time for was time to think “hey that makes no sense.”

  • Zeta

    Hyde: “It seems only natural that if the advent of Christ was real… One should expect to find mankind replicating these stories, found in their own visions and dreams, again and again throughout history. And indeed, that is what we find.”

    He is trying to turn an embarrassment into an advantage. He admits to “the fact that some of these stories were told before the Biblical accounts.” Then instead of admitting that the Christ story was influenced by earlier cultures, he turns around and claims that, because the Christ story must be true, similar earlier stories just confirmed the real thing that was going to happen later.

    What a delusional and twisted kind of “reasoning”.

    It is also arrogant of him to claim that the Christ story is “the central event of human history”. This only shows that he is living in a delusional bubble. To most people of the world, this story is nothing more than a myth. He fails miserably to rebut atheist claims.

    • Greg G.

      A church forefather thought that the devil had prefigured those stories to discredit Jesus.

      • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

        Yep, Justin Martyr. Old arguments that die hard.

    • MNb

      Ah, so you refuse to pick up the ripe fruits of that excellent method developed by Aristoteles: teleology. Of course with hindsight (and remember, teleology is always with hindsight, because how else are you going to determine the purpose?) those stories from earlier cultures had the devine purpose, no, were designed to end up in christianity. How else could it be given the facts and given god as the ultimate purpose?
      /sarcasm.

    • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

      C. S. Lewis tried this same argument long ago (he was actually a professor of mythology). “Sure, all those others are myths, to precede my real one.” Pure special pleading.

  • Zeta

    When discussing evolution vs. creationism, Hyde claims that “usually both sides of the debate use large amounts of dishonesty in order to gain points rather than to gain the truth.”

    As Bob has rightly asked: “What’s dishonest about the evolution side?” Hope to see evidence of that from Hyde but I am not holding my breath.

    Hyde says: “it (evolution) would still not answer the problem of the origin of life.” Here he reveals his ignorance in this area. I have never seen a competent biologist (except creationists) or a well-read layman who claims that evolution has something to do with “the problem of the origin of life”.

    This is for the field of abiogenesis, an on-going active area of research. As far as I know, researchers do not claim to have achieved its aim but as is the case in scientific endeavors, unsolved and challenging problems are the driving forces behind significant scientific advancements. There is nothing wrong with not knowing something that lies at the frontier of human knowledge. Only apologists see this as a golden opportunity to attack science.

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

      I tried to add a link to my response in the comments to the original. Unfortunately, comments weren’t accepted.

  • johzek

    Hyde writes, “The argument takes as its presupposition that good and evil are real; that there is an ultimate standard of good and evil that supersedes mere fanciful “ideas” about what is good and evil”.

    Good and evil are simply words that name concepts. The observation of multiple instances of things that share a certain similarity leads our minds to integrate these instances into a single mental unit called a concept which is then named. A statement noting the essential shared characteristics provides a definition whereupon further observed instances, if satisfying this definition, can then be identified with the name of the concept.

    The objective part of all this is that our minds do not have the ability to directly influence, by thought alone, the things we observe We simply seek to identify without contradiction what we observe. On the other hand the subjective viewpoint grants the mind the ability to determine the nature of reality as it amounts to the notion that wishing makes it so. An imagined creating and controlling mind is the extension of this notion to the cosmic level. Even though such a being can be characterized as Subjectivity with a capitol S, Hyde still strangely claims that the things emanating from this are mind are right to called objective.

    Since good and evil are concepts, and since concepts are ideas (the idea of a class) and since the humanly formed concepts named by good and evil are said by Hyde to be “fanciful”, I’m left to wonder just what he thinks of all the other words he uses, which represent concepts. Are they also “fanciful”, somehow devoid of real meaning, in which case how could he ever hope to be properly understood in his writing.

    • TheNuszAbides

      …claims that the things emanating from this are mind are right to called objective.

      please clarify, but i’ll hazard a guess: should that read “that it is right to call the things emanating from this mind ‘objective'” ?

      • johzek

        Yes that’s better. Thank you.

        • TheNuszAbides

          just checking! i’ve rushed off many a composition that was perfectly clear before it escaped onto a paper/screen…

  • Otto

    Hyde writes, “The argument takes as its presupposition that good and
    evil are real; that there is an ultimate standard of good and evil that
    supersedes mere fanciful “ideas” about what is good and evil”.

    No…the argument hypothetically stipulates the presupposition of the Christian position for no other reason than to show it is not consistent with itself.

  • SJ

    No argument. No doubt will stand.

    You belong to God:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-m72n-WB21M

    God is our fortress.

    Psalm 18

    New American Standard Bible
    The LORD Praised for Giving Deliverance.

    For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said,

    1“I love You, O LORD, my strength.”
    2The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
    My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

    3I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
    And I am saved from my enemies.

    4The cords of death encompassed me,
    And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.

    5The cords of Sheol surrounded me;
    The snares of death confronted me.

    6In my distress I called upon the LORD,
    And cried to my God for help;
    He heard my voice out of His temple,
    And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.

    7Then the earth shook and quaked;
    And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
    And were shaken, because He was angry.

    8Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
    And fire from His mouth devoured;
    Coals were kindled by it.

    9He bowed the heavens also, and came down
    With thick darkness under His feet.

    10He rode upon a cherub and flew;
    And He sped upon the wings of the wind.

    11He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him,
    Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.

    12From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
    Hailstones and coals of fire.

    13The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
    And the Most High uttered His voice,
    Hailstones and coals of fire.

    14He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
    And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.

    15Then the channels of water appeared,
    And the foundations of the world were laid bare
    At Your rebuke, O LORD,
    At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

    16He sent from on high, He took me;
    He drew me out of many waters.

    17He delivered me from my strong enemy,
    And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.

    18They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    But the LORD was my stay.

    19He brought me forth also into a broad place;
    He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

    20The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
    According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.

    21For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
    And have not wickedly departed from my God.

    22For all His ordinances were before me,
    And I did not put away His statutes from me.

    23I was also blameless with Him,
    And I kept myself from my iniquity.

    24Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
    According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.

    25With the kind You show Yourself kind;
    With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;

    26With the pure You show Yourself pure,
    And with the crooked You show Yourself astute.

    27For You save an afflicted people,
    But haughty eyes You abase.

    28For You light my lamp;
    The LORD my God illumines my darkness.

    29For by You I can run upon a troop;
    And by my God I can leap over a wall.

    30As for God, His way is blameless;
    The word of the LORD is tried;
    He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

    31For who is God, but the LORD?
    And who is a rock, except our God,

    32The God who girds me with strength
    And makes my way blameless?

    33He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
    And sets me upon my high places.

    34He trains my hands for battle,
    So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

    35You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
    And Your right hand upholds me;
    And Your gentleness makes me great.

    36You enlarge my steps under me,
    And my feet have not slipped.

    37I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
    And I did not turn back until they were consumed.

    38I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise;
    They fell under my feet.

    39For You have girded me with strength for battle;
    You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.

    40You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
    And I destroyed those who hated me.

    41They cried for help, but there was none to save,
    Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.

    42Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind;
    I emptied them out as the mire of the streets.

    43You have delivered me from the contentions of the people;
    You have placed me as head of the nations;
    A people whom I have not known serve me.

    44As soon as they hear, they obey me;
    Foreigners submit to me.

    45Foreigners fade away,
    And come trembling out of their fortresses.

    46The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock;
    And exalted be the God of my salvation,

    47The God who executes vengeance for me,
    And subdues peoples under me.

    48He delivers me from my enemies;
    Surely You lift me above those who rise up against me;
    You rescue me from the violent man.

    49Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O LORD,
    And I will sing praises to Your name.

    50He gives great deliverance to His king,
    And shows lovingkindness to His anointed,
    To David and his descendants forever.

    • SJ

      The devil always tries to steal God’s children but he doesn’t have good intentions towards them….so they need to break out of captivity like Moses and the Tribes.

      The U.S. in Biblical Prophecy
      http://stevenmcollins.com/html/usa_in_prophecy.html

      God loves his children all the time.

      Don’t forget you’re up for adoption back into God’s tribe….the really great spiritual family all over the Earth.

      He Didn’t Just Carry A Cross
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l6PITt5oOHc

      • Kodie

        Do you have anything but keep spamming the same things?

        • SJ

          Don’t you doubt God.

          He’s got great things planned for you. He’s got a special plan for everyone.

          Don’t you know you’re an original? God made you that way.

          Stop identifying with those demonic people in the bible. You’ve read it too literally.

          Identify with the right people in God’s family like Ruth or Esther or Daniel or Paul or of course Jesus Christ.

          Those are God’s family role models not the Canaanites who worshipped demon gods.

          Don”t you know…you become like the things you identify with….so why are you identifying with devil worshippers?

          You repent of that and focus on the right people in the bible and God will add you to his family through adoption though you need to get baptized first….It seals you protectively when you get baptized and it puts God’s identifying mark on you. Wearing a cross is also a great protective act. It wards off evil so if you ever feel depressed put on a cross.

        • Kodie

          All you are doing is proselytizing. Your mission failed.

        • SJ

          Anybody that thinks a Christian is just proselytizing hasn’t thought through all the way on God’s statements or tried to experience them personally long enough to know what God means.

          God has a very specific identity yet the world doesn’t want that revealed. If the fact that God made people to be His children was stressed more then we would probably all be converted believers by now.

          The devil through various sneaky tactics tries to keep our true identity out of our reach.

          We are all made in the image of God. Then sin marred that image. The devil wants to keep our image marred while God wants to restore it.

          Read Psalm 23….”He restores my soul.”

          The devil tries to upset the adoption and restoration process by planting seeds ( ideas ) of discord on you. Then you stay aggravated and blaming God instead of making peace with Him. You just need to learn to identify when the devil is shooting one of his thought arrows at you and you can shut him down.

        • Kodie

          Hello? We’ve seen YOU SJ, YOU SJ, YOU SJ proselytizing for a few weeks? And nothing but. Crying and moaning that you’re being asked for evidence and you refuse to bring it. All you want is to keep plastering the blog pages with “notices” that you feel compelled to repeat and repeat and repeat. Anyone who thinks YOU SJ, YOU SJ, YOU SJ is “just proselytizing” is painting an accurate picture of YOU SJ YOU SJ YOU SJ. You don’t have anything but unsupported assertions.

          You have no credibility. Your mission has failed. You even seem to think if you post your messages on a different article that new people might see them. You don’t even seem to recognize me or anyone else you’ve dealt with in the past few weeks. You care not for your audience, nor the topic, nor two-way discussion in which you are expected to post relevant and cogent arguments for your claims, you are just blindly posting notices.

          That’s proselytizing. Your mission has failed. Keep telling yourself you’re not fucking batshit crazy.

        • SJ

          You have to investigate the evidence yourself. When you insult God’s representatives that could be a sign of an evil influence.

          You don’t need to be preached to or argued with. You need to be warned so you can take action. Repent and be baptized!

          Christ said ” examine yourselves”…. self examination is how demons and evil are identified.

          Start with yourselves people. Stop blaming historical people for past crimes who had their own demons and deal with yours right now.

          We’re not living in the Inquisition or in the time of the atheistic killing of 20 million Russain Orthodox Christians by the Militant Society of the Godless.

          We are living in the here and now…..so examine yourself….Are you perfect?

          Are you perfect?

          Are you perfect?

          If not then repent….and ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior….He is the author, the perfecter and the finisher of our faith.

          Stop worrying about Mr. Hypocrite.

          Start worrying about yourself and your descendants because if God wants to He can cut off a wicked generation before it spreads like a disease but He gives everyone an extended period to come to their senses and repent because He is merciful.

          And no I don’t believe in eternal torment…..Fire can be spiritual for purification but why go through a long extended purification when you can get your life restored now?

        • Kodie

          You warned us already. What do you want, a medal for persistence?

        • SJ

          You’re Jesus’ medal…you’ll be a child of God one day….just meditate on it…ponder that fact deeply like Mary the mother of Jesus did….you will be a child of God soon….

          Mary’s Song, The Magnificat
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6_iixWJo-7k

        • 90Lew90

          Mawkish trash.

        • SJ

          You have a hardened heart making a statement like that. You need it washed by the all powerful blood of the Lamb.

        • Kodie

          You believe that, and you’re wrong.

        • 90Lew90

          It is mawkish trash. It’s devoid of any artistic merit. And thanks, but I don’t need a bloodbath.

        • SJ

          You are caught as is every atheist.

          You have all bought the devil’s case without even investigating the evidence against the devil.

          You have your own selfish motive for doing that so stop acting self righteous and trying to make the world conform to your evil on message boards.

          You gave in to the devil. Christians didn’t you did.

          You can spot devil gods in other religions, too. You chose not to.

          You chose to be deceived for some purpose hidden in your own mind and heart.

        • 90Lew90

          Once again, on self-serving self-deception, I could lay the same charges at your door, and with more justification. Babbling on about the devil and demons just makes you look like a complete kook. It’s car crash stuff. Macabre but strangely compelling.

        • SJ

          Of course, it’s compelling because you are at the center of an epic battle between good and evil. Between God the Father who came to get you and the devil who doesn’t want to release you but he will have to if you throw your weight over to God’s side. After that God will do the rest.

          I’m just his servant sent to notify you the epic battle for custody rights over your soul have been commencing for some time.

          Didn’t you know bible thumpers are really devil thumpers….all we really do all day long is thump the devil with God’s Word until he gets offended….but if you accept God at His Word then the battle is won…

          You may have to mop up some sins for a while but Satan is knocked out….

          Of course, he will try to backdoor you through some sin but you just walk close to God in obedience until you get good at knocking him out yourself before he gets started. He’s like a weed you get started on him early before he takes over.

        • Greg G.

          Do you go all glassy-eyed when you type this stuff? Are you afraid to not believe it?

        • Dys

          Of course, he will try to backdoor you

          And how many times has Satan tried to get in your back door?

        • 90Lew90

          Your “message” isn’t compelling, it’s the sideshow you make of yourself in giving it. If you were a midget with a snake in a basket that would top it off. Or maybe you spin plates. Swallow swords?

        • Greg G.

          If he could swallow a sword sideways, I might begin to appreciate the power of faith.

        • Kodie

          You are really self-centered and an awful person. There is no devil, sorry you were scammed. Now you are a part of the scam, and don’t make any sense. How stupid must you be to believe it and willingly go bother people who don’t share your delusions? You fear things that don’t exist, so when you warn people and give them notices, there is nothing to see, and you just end up looking like a fool. Go to your church and tell them you want your money back, because they sent you out to embarrass yourself with this stupidity.

        • SJ

          The Society of the Godless. wiki quote

          In 1929, the Second Congress changed the society’s name to The Union of Belligerent (or Militant) Atheists.[11] At this Second Congress of Atheists, Nikolai Bukharin, the editor of Pravda, called for the extermination of religion “at the tip of the bayonet.”[15] There, Yaroslavsky also made the following declaration:

          It is our duty to destroy every religious world-concept… If the destruction of ten million human beings, as happened in the last war, should be necessary for the triumph of one definite class, then that must be done and it will be done.[16]

          The Central Council chose Yaroslavsky as its leader; he occupied this post continuously.

          Authority on antireligious methodologyEdit

          The debate on how to best exterminate religion was argued among the Soviet leadership, until in the late 1920s and early 1930s, when it was resolved by Stalin who condemned the extremes of both sides, and Yaroslavsky followed suit. The do-nothing approach of the rightists who thought religion would die away naturally and the leftist approach to attack all forms of religion as class enemies were both condemned as deviations from the party line. Yaroslavsky argued against the leftists (who had earlier criticized him) that if religion was simply a class phenomenon there would be no need to combat it if a classless society was truly being produced. He affirmed that an all-sided attack on religion was needed, but did not subscribe to the leftist deviation that had been condemned.

          The League not only attacked religion but also attacked deviations from what it saw as the proper line to combat religion in the USSR and, in effect, set the ‘proper’ line to follow in this sphere for party membership. Early Marxist beliefs that religion would disappear with the coming of a tractor (Leon Trotsky had made this claim) were ridiculed by the League. The popularity of religion among nationalistic intellectuals was pointed out by Lukachevsky (LMG) and he claimed that if religion was only rooted in ownership of property, it could not explain the growth of the renovationists.[17]

          The League occupied the leadership role in the antireligious campaign of the Communist Party.[12][18]

          It employed the powers given to it by the CPSU Central Committee at the 1929 congress to dictate orders to schools, universities, the armed forces, the trade unions, the Komsomol, the Young Pioneer Organization, the Soviet press, and other institutions for the purpose of its antireligious campaign. It criticized many public institutions (including the Communist Party) for failing to adequately attack religious belief and instructed them on how to be more effective. The People’s Commisariat for enlightenment was heckled and Glavnauka, the Chief Administration for Science and Scholarship was also singled out for criticism. A spokesperson for the latter tried to justify their behaviour to the LMG by claiming that they had reduced the total number of historical buildings under its protection (mostly ancient churches and monasteries) from 7000 to 1000, by destroying them.[19]

          The League concerned itself with the issue of active believers who had infiltrated its own membership and who were trying to prove their loyalty to the regime or even undermine the antireligious work of the League. League members who suspected each other of harbouring religious beliefs secretly discussed their concerns in the early years. The League also had to address the issue of atheists in its membership who may have sympathized with the religious believers and who may have had doubts about what they were doing. In answer to these, the League adopted a policy that any League member who entered a church (to conduct antireligious work by checking on the strength of believers or numbering them) had to first receive local branch approval beforehand in order so that he did not give the impression that he was going to the church to pray.[20] In contrast the League in Tashkent actually tried to translate the Quran into Uzbek so that more Muslims could read it, in hope that when Muslims were able to read what the Quran actually said, they would reject its content as fallacious.[21]

          All members of the Komsomol were obligated to join the League, and it directed all members of the CPSU to support the League’s work.[22] The extreme character of the line to be taken against religion is described:

          All religions, no matter how much they ‘renovate’ and cleanse themselves, are systems of idea… profoundly hostile to the ideology of… socialism… Religious organizations… are in reality political agencies… of class groupings hostile to the proletariat inside the country and of the international bourgeoisie… Special attention must be paid to the renovationist currents in Orthodoxy, Islam, Lamaism and other religions… These currents are but the disguises for more effective struggle against the Soviet power. By comparing ancient Buddhism, and ancient Christianity to communism, the Renovationists are essentially trying to replace the communist theory by a cleansed form of religion, which therefore becomes more dangerous.[23]

          In 1930 the Second Plenum of the LMG Central Council adopted an antireligious five-year plan with the intention of annihilating religion in the USSR.[9][24]

          The League purged its rightist members in 1932–1934. In addition, the League of Militant Atheists sometimes took a violent approach to those who would not accept the League’s message. For example, “bishops, priests, and lay believers” were “arrested, shot, and sent to labour camps.”[25]

        • Kodie

          Do you think anyone is reading what you write? It’s nonsense, only the gullible will read it. Only the foolish will go wherever you tell them to. You have not made one credible statement in all your efforts. Just because you believe it doesn’t make it true. I don’t care what your sources are, they are scams. You have embarrassed yourself completely.

        • MNb

          I am rather caught as is every atheist than caught as are evil you.

        • Dys

          There’s no evidence the devil exists, just like there isn’t for your God.

          You chose to be deceived for some purpose hidden in your own mind and heart.

          Oops…you’re lying about things you don’t know about again.

        • Kodie

          The problem is you believe lies about everything and spread them without any sense. You believe something stupid like devils and demons. Where is your doctor? Get to a doctor, you have problems thinking clearly and are detached from reality.

        • Greg G.

          You have a softened brain and you belong to a blood and death cult.

        • SJ

          No I don’t.

          I’m the one that knows God presented eyewitness evidence in the bible.

          The devil presented no evidence and you didn’t investigate him before siding with him against God.

          Problems List
          http://delmin.publishpath.com/Websites/delmin/images/problem-list-6-10.pdf

        • Greg G.

          I’m the one that knows God presented eyewitness evidence in the bible.

          That is probably your first and worst mistake. You give too much credibility to certain parts of the New Testament and it clouds your reading of the rest of it.

        • Dys

          Stories about eyewitnesses are not actual eyewitness testimony. And eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.

          The devil presented no evidence and you didn’t investigate him before siding with him against God.

          So you don’t understand how investigation or evidence works. I’m not surprised. Atheists don’t believe in the devil or God. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about, but you’re far too arrogant to admit it.

        • Kodie

          Whatever you think you know is actually a scam, and you belong to it, you’re a pawn to perpetuate this scam. So, get out of here, all you are is a thief spreading lies. No evidence, no reason to believe it. Your mission failed.

        • SJ

          You let the devil dwell with you when anyone with any common sense knows you drive him out like a termite before you let him take over.

          The first step is to inspect and identify the devil first but you were too busy acting like the devil to do the sensible thing.

        • Greg G.

          Most Christians think your brand gives Christianity a bad name.

        • MNb

          Anyone with any common sense – ie not you – understands there is no devil.
          You already have shown your dishonesty. You asked for proof that there are no demons (or devil or god – it’s all the same). I offered you to provide it but needed you to answer a question first: do demons (or devil or god) belong to our natural reality or to your supposed supernatural domain?
          The fact that you refuse to answer this question shows that you are dishonest, which means that your message must be totally false.

        • Kodie

          You let the church fool you into thinking there is anything to drive out. You live in perpetual fear of nothing, because you’ve been taken for a fool and used like a tool. No reason to believe what you’re selling. Your mission has failed. What a crazy superstition you have, distracted from the scam you’re a part of to look for devils that don’t exist. They really got you, you fool.

        • Kodie

          You already posted that. Spam. Do you not understand or not believe that we heard your message already the hundreds of other posts, and there is no reason to believe you? You are detached from reality. You won’t, because you can’t, give any evidence to support your delusions. Your mission has failed. I am marking your posts as spam.

        • SJ

          You need to learn to slow down and ponder like Mary. Don’t let this medium or this blog fool you.

          How many times in your life do you think God will send you a personal representative acting like a legal guardian petitioning for the Most High to adopt you?

          Most people don’t do that so my posting here is an Act of God. You are in God’s grace period now and you better stop playing to the demonically influenced crowd on here and really stop and think.

          I’ve seen people suffer mental reversals after they turn down God’s adoption offers. God is the one who brings light into the human heart and mind….otherwise you are caught down deep in a dark well of hopelessness and life deals harshly with hopeless people later on sometimes….then again the devil could ignore you because he knows he just played you for all eternity and you’ll find out once you are dead.

          Repent and be baptized is the only solution to obtaining the abundant life now.

        • Greg G.

          How many times in your life do you think God will send you a personal representative acting like a legal guardian petitioning for the Most High to adopt you?

          About as often as I would expect Santa to send an elf to get my Christmas Wish List straight. If there was a god, you wouldn’t be needed to spread his message.

        • SJ

          You better stop tolerating evil. That is how the devil gains ground on you. You can give him a legal right to enter and you don’t even know you granted it.

          So you better learn the law of God so you can stop welcoming sin into your life. When you walk like the devil in this world you fall subject to worldly consequences more easily.

        • MNb

          You are evil, so you’re saying here that I should ask BobS not to tolerate you any longer.

        • MR

          I’m with you there. This shark was jumped long ago.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t tolerate evil. I oppose your nonsense.

        • Kodie

          How did you even get here? You speak nonsense. They must not realize that you have internet access at the asylum. Your mission failed. You speak nonsense.

        • Dys

          You have an over-inflated opinion of yourself. If you don’t have an argument or any real evidence, you don’t have anything to offer, and no reason why anyone should believe you. You’re just inflating your own massive ego by trolling.

        • Kodie

          You need to understand words – your mission failed. Proselytizing nonsense baseless assertions will get you nowhere. I don’t believe a word from you because you don’t have any evidence, and what you do tell us is very detached from the real world.

        • MNb

          “You have to investigate the evidence yourself.”
          Done so. There is zero evidence.

          “When you insult God’s representatives”

          There is no god. You only represent yourself.

        • Zeta

          SJ has been nothing more than a spammer and a proselytizer. He even keeps his activity at Disqus private so that others are not able to see his past spamming and proselytizing. He is NOT interested in serious discussions and debates.

          Just ignore him.

        • MNb

          She won’t ignore us and will continue polluting every thread until BobS bans her. He eventually will do, when she finally has lost all entertainment value too.

        • Zeta

          Is SJ a she? My apologies to her if that is the case, for assuming that she is a he.

        • 90Lew90

          Barmy.

        • primenumbers

          “He’s got a special plan for everyone.” – yup, he planned for us to be atheists and for us to demonstrate the absurdity of your religious beliefs.

          Remember your god believes in no higher power than himself, and that he wasn’t created by a deity. By all reasonable definitions your god is an atheist, and if atheism is good enough for your god, it’s good enough for us, and as you tell us, that’s all part of the plan!

          And god has a plan for you too! His plan for you is to use you to turn people away from the false religious beliefs you express. And every time you post, you fulfill that very plan.

        • SJ

          Poor reasoning….An atheist has never gotten out of a grave demonstrating God’s power like Jesus did.

          You just reasoned like the devil and the devil is stupid….He makes you assume.

          While at least God gave eyewitness evidence that Jesus rose from the grave.

          Stupid is as stupid does and you allowed the devil to rule your mind without making the devil present any evidence or case at all.

        • primenumbers

          As soon as you posited beings powerful enough to make us think that truth is lies, you’ve abandoned any and all hope of ever rightly holding a knowledge claim. But yet you still claim knowledge. You have beliefs that put you in a dead-end with little hope of escape. I pity you.

        • MNb

          “Poor reasoning”
          “God gave eyewitness evidence”
          What did you write again? No argument. No logic. Now you’re trying to provide exactly that.

          Even within your own stupid framework you are stupid.

        • SJ

          No you’re stupider.

          You think you’re God’s superior and can judge Him without double checking the evidence on both the devil and God’s case against each other.

          And then you lazily try to switch games so you can pass burdens of proof onto theists while you lounge around like a demonic Pharoah.

          You just decided God was wrong without even thinking a demon can possess people.

          The flesh IS demonic since death entered it through sin.

          That is one of the reasons why people couldn’t touch dead bodies….

          You have an insufficient education on the bible supplemented by wrong tool usage and you think your intellect is superior to God’s?

        • MNb

          What did you write again? No argument. No logic. Now you continue trying to provide exactly that.

          Even within your own stupid framework you are stupid.
          Plus you’re a filthy liar, repeating your exposed lies over and over again because that’s the only thing left.

          “And then you lazily try to switch games so you can pass burdens of proof onto theists”
          Everyone can read your filthy lie. No, I don’t pass the burden of proof onto you. On the contrary, I offered you to prove that there are no god, no devil and no demons. Though I need you to answer one question first: do your god, your devil and your demons belong to our natural reality or to your supposed supernatural reality?
          You refused to answer. Hence you are the one who switches games.
          Like the filthy, filthy liar you are.

        • Greg G.

          And then you lazily try to switch games so you can pass burdens of proof onto theists while you lounge around like a demonic Pharoah.

          If you make the claim, it is your burden to support it. It is not the responsibility of others to prove it wrong.

          You have an insufficient education on the bible supplemented by wrong tool usage and you think your intellect is superior to God’s?

          You should try studying the Bible skeptically. It makes more sense that way. It is easier to understand without the required brainwashing.

        • Dys

          ATHEISTS DON’T BELIEVE GOD EXISTS!

          You stupidly continue to ignore this inconvenient fact. Atheists don’t believe they’re smarter than God, because they don’t believe God exists. We didn’t decide God was wrong, because we don’t believe God exists.

          You suffer from a severe case of Dunning-Kruger – you should stop pretending you’re qualified to lecture people. You don’t have the knowledge, understanding, or intelligence to be effective.

        • SJ

          Says the boy under the devil’s thumb.

          And no science is not qualified to investigate God’s miracles.

          God has His own methods of qualifying people to work for Him.

          He’s not going to surrender control to unholy scientists.

          Did you ever stop to consider what state you have to be in for God to even consider you worthy to approach Him much less test Him? Read the Torah, read all the priestly requirements….God’s people today still have to follow the Clean- Unclean Doctrine though hardly anyone knows it….you only know it when you try really hard to please God.

          He’s a person with great standards not an object like a prostitute or a sex iidol.

        • Dys

          I see you ignored me once again. You truly are thick. Atheists don’t believe in God. Lecturing us on a being we don’t believe exists is idiotic.

        • Kodie

          You really don’t know what you’re talking about. You claim to be speaking for someone who chose you to speak for it, and persist in your delusion that anyone here gives a shit. What do you want? Money? Will money make you go away?

        • Kodie

          You do not have the effective intellectual tools and deny god has those tools or would use them to reach an atheist. You failed. Nothing you say is credible, it is the ramblings of a lonely sad and crazy person. You have a sick hobby bothering people because you have been scammed that we are sick with demons. There is no such thing. Sorry, you won’t convince anyone with your crazy talk.

        • Greg G.

          How do you know the devil isn’t ruling your mind and making you believe you have it right? If he could do it to me or primenumbers, he could do it to you. You have an epistemological crisis and don’t know it.

        • SJ

          Knowledge includes knowledge of both good and evil and it could be God’s test to see which one a person is smart enough to choose.

          There is nothing inherently intelligent about questioning God. You could have opted to just follow him without a complaint.

          People ask the most questions when they are the most confused.

          Then they reject the answer when they are the most afraid.

          The purpose of questioning is to get an answer not to waste time in mind games getting lost in the labyrinth.

        • MNb

          You wouldn’t recognize knowledge if it danced naked in front on you while wearing a hat. And if you would recognize it you would reject it, because you’re a filthy liar.

        • SJ

          LOL….there are professional deliverance ministers with testimonies from people on their sites.

          I suggest you contact them and ask to attend a major session with lots of people present so you can cross examine the people getting delivered from demons.

          You don’t want to believe me so get off your lazy rear and get the evidence in the field at the starting point…..At the source.

          Otherwise you are a lazy poseur internet poster..

        • MNb

          These professional deliverance ministers are filthy liars for Jesus too.

          “I suggest you contact them and ask to attend a major session with lots of people present so you can cross examine the people getting delivered from demons.”

          I have actually done so. It’s fake. Plus I have the testimony of my ex-wife, who lost one brother to a filthy liar for Jesus like you. Another one lost his leg.
          Plus I have personally witnessed pupils getting “winti” – the local version of demon possession. The attacks are real, the demons are imaginary.

        • Dys

          there are professional deliverance ministers with testimonies from people on their sites.

          And because it’s on a completely unbiased website, it simply has to be true.

          It’s funny how, out of all these supposed faith healings, there’s never any amputees that have limbs restored. Probably because it’s a lot harder to fake.

        • Kodie

          All you are is a pawn. Look at you shilling for ministers to bring people to see them. Guess what, it’s about money. You’ve been scammed. You have been emotionally appealed to, frightened, and then determined whatever “gifts” you have because they make money, they convince you that you have to keep doing this. You are embarrassing yourself for them, and you get nothing. I don’t know, maybe you get a cut? Then you are a worthless scammer, and should be ashamed of trying to scam other people. You worthless, selfish scammer. All religions are a scam, but yours is so obviously ridiculous, only a fool would fall into that trap. (That’s you – fool!)

        • Scott_In_OH

          I’ve often (well, occasionally) wondered: Are you really dancing naked if you’re wearing a hat?

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’ve decided to generally interpret ‘nude’ as ‘entirely without coverage’ and ‘naked’ (especially the older the reference is) as ‘unprotected’ (bodily and/or ‘dignity’-wise).

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

          Gentlemen, please watch the language! There could be ladies or children present.

        • TheNuszAbides

          as long as they keep their clothes on, i’ll behave!

        • Greg G.

          In the book of Esther, the king asked his wife, Vashti, to dance for his guests wearing her tiara. She refused to do it and the king’s advisers advised that he get rid of her because her disobedience would ruin heterosexual marriage. Jewish scholars surmised that it meant that she was to dance wearing nothing but the tiara.

          Apparently your question has vexed men for a long, long time.

        • Greg G.

          There is nothing inherently intelligent about questioning God. You could have opted to just follow him without a complaint.

          If religion cannot stand scrutiny, it should be abandoned. You know it can’t stand scrutiny, yet you persist. That is inherently stupid.

        • SJ

          I know it can stand scrutiny….that is why I tell you now to attend a deliverance session with a lot of people present.

          And I also said I don’t argue because I know you haven’t put in the personal field work to know.

          Only exorcists, deliverance ministers and missionaries put the field work in because they are the only ones with the skill set necessary to cast out a demon. A scientist doesn’t have it.

          You must have the authority of Jesus and know certain things to cast out a demon.

        • MNb

          “because I know you haven’t put in the personal field work to know.”
          Wrong again. You know zilch. I have done so. Personally. See, I live in a very religious country full of demons, yorka’s and other evil spirits. Apparently they fear atheist me, because they’re always gone just before I arrive. The only exception is pupils having an attack, but I can personally testify that there are no demons involved.

        • SJ

          Well you may have ran into a counterfeit. Benny Hinn is a counterfeit.

          There are experts that can identify the real ones from the fakes,

        • MNb

          They are experts in producing filthy lies, like you. I already wrote that I witnessed pupils suffering from winti attacks. They are no counterfeits. There just are no demons involved. It’s just man made.

        • primenumbers

          Experts identify them all as fakes.

        • SJ

          Well I am done for the day so stop sending me emails.

          Counterfeits have been around a long time in Christianity that is why we pray for discernment from God.

          I recommend you become an expert so you aren’t at the mercy of people pretending to be experts.

          You’re on your own now…..I have plenty of other forums to explore. Bye.

        • Dys

          You’re not an expert, you’re an egotistical troll who desperately wants people to believe she’s an expert.

          You don’t argue because you don’t have the slightest ability to do so.

          Run along, have fun spamming and trolling.

        • MNb

          “Well I am done for the day so stop sending me emails.”
          You’re definitely stupid. I’m not the one sending you emails. Disqus does so automatically everytime someone responds to your comments.

          “Counterfeits have been around a long time in Christianity.”
          Yes and you’re one of them.

          “You’re on your own now”
          And I’m better off.
          Bye.

        • Kodie

          We’re pretty much all experts.

        • Greg G.

          Well I am done for the day so stop sending me emails.

          I will respond to your public comments in this forum at my leisure. If the forum sends you an email, deal with it. Just get a new email address and check it when you feel like it.

        • SJ

          Well as long as you know I won’t reply. I can’t hang around people that disrespect God any longer that kind of irreverence isn’t rational in my estimation.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t disrespect God. I don’t think God exists. I disrespect the belief in God. I don’t disrespect people for holding that belief.

          The belief in God is irrational because there is no rational reason to believe it.

          If God is omnipotent, then he has the ability to do anything with or without suffering. If suffering can do something God cannot do, then God is not omnipotent. If God can do something without suffering, then all suffering is unnecessary. There is no reason for God to allow unnecessary suffering so he must be sadistic and not benevolent. Why call him God?

          If God is benevolent, then he is not omnipotent. I am benevolent but I am not potent enough to prevent all suffering. God is no better than a human and should not be called a god.

        • SJ

          Again you are operating from a false position….You don’t know everything so you can’t conclude suffering has no purpose.

          In fact I’m sure it serves a useful function….but then I really spend a lot of time running observations through my mind.

          But it wouldn’t help you to know…..you have to be solid on other core beliefs to be a believer before realizing the meaning of suffering does exist.

        • Kodie

          Through your broken, fucked-up, batshit mind? I have read more than one message since I got home and caught up on all the threads where you said you were fucking leaving. For good. That’s just twice today. That doesn’t include 2 or 3 other times in the past few days.

          Do you really need so much attention? You can’t get anyone in real life to listen to you rambling nonsense? What an asshole of you to inflict your nonsense on us.

        • Greg G.

          What purpose can suffering have? What can suffering do that God cannot do? What can God do with suffering that he cannot do without the suffering? If God can get the same results with no suffering, then the suffering is unnecessary. The only purpose could be for God’s gratuitous enjoyment. That means God is sadistic.

          You cannot have solid core beliefs if you believe that “the meaning of suffering does exist” if you can’t explain it. You are assuming things that make no sense.

        • Kodie

          Your estimation is worthless. If you can stand to stay away for very long, but I doubt it. You do realize that when you come to a new article and post the same thing, everyone already saw it and rejected your estimation hundreds of times before.

        • Greg G.

          Whether or not your claims can stand scrutiny, questioning them is always the inherently intelligent thing to do. All claims should be scrutinized. Your claims have failed to do so. It’s not your fault that your claims are inherently dumb.

        • Kodie

          It is her dumb fault for repeating them and expecting to be taken seriously.

        • Kodie

          That’s not scrutiny, that’s the power of suggestion. You’ve been fooled and scammed into embarrassing yourself.

        • Kodie

          I’m not afraid. You haven’t given an answer, you have given your beliefs, and you are not a credible source, nor are any of your sources credible. They make you look stupid. What you have is a sick hobby. If you lie again and tell us another silly reason why you are not going to give evidence, at least as far as you believe, Jesus can tell when you are making shit up to get out of a hard job. It’s easy to repeat yourself over and over again. It’s really impossible to provide credible evidence for it – but most Christians do give it a try. You live in fear of an imaginary being, and the rest of us are just laughing at how stupid you are.

        • primenumbers

          You realize that every time you post, you drive readers further and further away from the religion you say you’re promoting. You are negative advertising for Christianity. When you drive people away are you following god’s plan?

        • SJ

          It could be God’s purpose. He can thresh people you know to separate the wheat from the chaff. But you never know who actually can thresh in his mind and who is under the devil’s mind control.

          But I may move onto an easier field soon…I run into more receptive people than atheists…I never have to spend all my time in one place….I do so from a merciful perspective to give people a chance to really think and not to allow other people’s purposes control things.

          Some people easily submit to peer pressure you know without thinking for themselves and these are the people that group together for protection.

        • primenumbers

          “But you never know who actually can thresh in his mind and who is under the devil’s mind control.” which means you need to be very very concerned, just as we are concerned for you.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          My dear filthy liar, I’m probably the only atheist in the town where I live. I’m certainly the only atheist on the public school where I teach – to mainly religious pupils. I get by fine with them.
          But it’s correct that I and the people who live in my town need protection – from filthy liars for Jesus like you. Yup, my town is threatened by demons – human demons, with lust for power and mind control. They (pretend to) believe the same things as you.

        • Greg G.

          But I may move onto an easier field soon…I run into more receptive people than atheists…

          There are people who work in the mental health field who need to hear what you have to say. Just a suggestion.

        • primenumbers

          Being overly religious is not in itself a mental illness, nor necessarily a sign of mental illness. It does however look to us like mental illness and may be masking an underlying mental illness that needs treatment. That religion normalizes the appearance of aberrant mental behaviour is one of its dangers.

        • Greg G.

          That has been my position for a long time. When a non-religious person starts talking about demons in non-religious settings, something seems wrong with that person. But in church, it sounds normal. But even a sane person might follow along with the crazy ideas, like beating the demons out of a “possessed” person or not treating a sick child with proper medicine.

        • SJ
        • Greg G.

          I know that people believe that stuff. The article gives no evidence that the beliefs are true. It’s a social gathering. They might as well play Dungeons and Dragons or a role playing game. They are exercising their imaginations. The problem is that they belive what they imagine.

        • primenumbers

          The problems with normalizing these dangerous beliefs cannot be underestimated. Time and again psychology has shown us what will lead people to false decisions about reality and it is so distressing to see religion making use of this rather than being a force against it.

        • Pofarmer

          I think religion can reinforce certain traits, especially things like obsessive/compulsive and certain addictive traits. This may not necesarily be bad, as it might channel these traits into something more positive than what they were originally doing. How many “Jesus saved me from addiction” stories do you see where it looks like the person just shifted their addiction? How many Catholics actually go into a panic if they miss Church one week? I know several.

        • primenumbers

          I’m not surprised it would re-enforce things because it lacks a corrective feedback loop-in with reality. Look at how religious ideas have grown over-time and diversified into the religious chaos we see today!

        • Pofarmer

          Too true. There’s no such thing as being too devout. The more crazy (insert denomination here) someone becomes, the more other believers say, “Man, I sure wish I could be like that person.” It reinforces extreme behavior.

        • primenumbers

          The extremes act to drag up the middle of the bell-curve to meet them.

        • Dys

          But you never know who actually can thresh in his mind and who is under the devil’s mind control.

          So we can just assume that you’re being mind controlled by the devil.

          Even though we don’t believe the devil exists. Good to know.

        • Kodie

          You run into people who are gullible and don’t require evidence for these fantastical claims. Go ahead and take advantage of them, because you have selfishness in you. You can’t take no for an answer, but you refuse to bring any evidence. Your mission failed. Take your delusions elsewhere.

        • Kodie

          No evidence, no reason to believe this. Nobody escaped from a grave.

        • SJ

          Lol…you never checked for evidence.

          Give me the names of the historians that list Jesus Christ lived?

        • Dys

          Lol…you never checked for evidence.

          Aren’t you tired of being a hypocrite for telling people what they believe or what they have or haven’t done when you don’t actually have the knowledge to make these claims?

          There might have been a man that the Jesus myths are based on. That doesn’t support any notion that he died and came back to life.

        • Kodie

          Jesus Christ lived? Jesus Christ died?

          That all sounds normal. Escaping from a grave was the claim. It’s not my responsibility to prove anything to you.

        • SJ

          That’s right and it is not my responsibility to show you evidence.

          You’re responsible for your own neck esp. as an adult.

        • Kodie

          Then what forces you to be here? It’s obviously very important to you that people believe what you have to say, but it’s not my responsibility to convince myself what you want me to be convinced of. What the fuck man. That may be the stupidest belief that you have!

        • Dys

          So you can’t demonstrate that anything you’ve been ranting about is actually real. Which is what we’ve been pointing out to you this entire time.

          You keep claiming to know all these things, when the truth of the matter is that you just really, really believe them. And we don’t, for reasons that you can’t seem to grasp, so you lie about atheists instead of facing reality.

        • primenumbers

          Are you going to accept your responsibility for leading people away from Christianity by personally demonstrating it’s an illogical faith that is not based on evidence?

        • Jim Jones

          Another “Liar for Jesus”.

        • Greg G.

          I have checked the evidence for Jesus very closely. I have found that the stories about Jesus in the gospels are based on other writings that have nothing to do with Jesus. The information given about Jesus in the epistles can be found in the Old Testament, many in quotations. There doesn’t seem to be any real information about Jesus in the New Testament.

        • SJ

          I disagree….I doubt we thought about it the same way though.

          The Old Testament quotes are important….they provide links between the Old and the New.

        • Greg G.

          We have thought of it the same way. I realized that it was the wrong way to think about those things. Now I am less gullible.

          The link to the Old Testament excuse doesn’t explain why there is no information about Jesus in the epistles that doesn’t come from the Old Testament.

        • SJ

          I seriously doubt anybody thinks about religion like I do….I am highly practical in my approach….if you had my approach you’d still be a theist but to each his own.

          Have a good day! Bye.

        • Greg G.

          You should try thinking about religion from a sane position and see which makes more sense.

        • busterggi

          Houdini did!

        • Kodie

          Not since he died though.

        • MNb

          “Don’t you doubt God.”

          Command your dog and go barking yourself.

          I don’t doubt god. He only exists in your depraved imagination.

      • MNb

        Great. As I’m not “God’s child” I don’t have to fear that the devil will steal me.

        “God loves his children all the time.”

        Except when he refuses the faith heal them of course.

      • busterggi

        So this god person, he created this evil devil and knew that billions of people would be damned because of it – sounds like a total dick.

      • adam

        “The devil always tries to steal God’s children”

    • MNb

      No argument. No doubt I don’t have to look and can dismiss it out of hand.

    • Dys

      We know that you don’t have an argument. You’ve made that abundantly clear. That’s why nothing you’ve said needs be to given any credence.

      We also know you don’t have any doubt, but that’s because you haven’t actually bothered thinking about whether your beliefs are true or not.

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

      Now you’re getting spammy. No more empty comments or Christian videos, please. Give us content. Give us something to think about. I’m losing patience for the mindless Jeebus praise.

  • Korou

    This might be a good place to mention Will Duquette, on Catholic Patheos, has written a series of articles basically saying why the Catholic God is the true God.
    A really good summary of Christian arguments, all in one place!
    If you do go there, though, please be polite. Unlike some of the writers on Catholic Patheos, Will is a decent fellow.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crywoof/2015/07/which-monotheistic-god-is-god/

    • MNb

      “It seems to me that if it is God’s character to reveal Himself, He would do so early in history, and do so progressively over time; and I find it interesting that, so far as I’m aware, all significant monotheisms in human history have the Hebrew revelation as their root.”
      This isn’t too smart. The oldest writing system is, very conservatively estimating, from 3500 BCE, in Sumer and in the Indus Valley. That’s almost 3000 years before the Hebrews began to write the OT down.
      So much for “early in history”.
      Plus I’d rather expect that WD’s god would reveal himself to every single culture that had developed a writing system independently. It’s remarkable that he didn’t.

      “Where I see Christianity and modern Judaism as both being continuous with the prior Hebrew revelation, Islam appears to be a break with both: having failed to get His message across, God is now correcting things through Mohammed.”
      Special pleading.
      It may be a good summary – though I would have no idea what standard should be used here – but if this is representative it’s not a summary of good arguments.

    • Dys

      After an admittedly brief perusal, I don’t honestly see too much there in the way of a compelling argument. Which, considering that he’s writing for a Catholic audience, isn’t surprising.

      I think for one that in the quest to eliminate other religions for consideration, he inevitably winds up giving far too casual dismissals of them, not because of inherent flaws within them, but because they’re not Christianity.

      • Korou

        No, I wouldn’t say they’re very deep or persuasive arguments – although I did learn a thing or two from them – but I like it that it focuses on the key issue – should we believe in God and if so, why? Good material for discussion – but sorry if I misrepresented it.

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

      I agree with Dys. After a brief scan, I didn’t see much there.

      Is there more good stuff in other posts? I only looked at the one linked.

      • Korou

        The other two posts are about pagan gods and pantheism – and, obviously, why none of them are any good compared to (Catholic) Christianity.
        It’s not that I think these are good arguments, but they are things I like talking about. Is there such a thing as a good argument for why an omni-self-contradictory thing exists?
        Sorry if I’ve wasted your time!

        • Greg G.

          You hooked me.

        • Korou

          Cheers :)

        • Pofarmer

          “Is there such a thing as a good argument for why an omni-self-contradictory thing exists?”

          Not that I’ve seen.

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

          No, not a waste of time. I’m always interested in new arguments.

      • Dez

        Yeah I don’t see anything convincing. I’ve been an atheist my whole life and just read the bible for the first time at 25. It all sounds like the fantasy books I like to read. It would be nice to see actual evidence for once, not feelings.

        • TheNuszAbides

          most likely there’s a weighty extra-deep[ity] Jesuit treatise somewhere that elaborately laments the ‘challenges’ a latecomer to Holy Scripture must face to Properly see the Light…

  • Pofarmer

    I keep finding things out in dribs and drabs. Talking to my oldest boy yesterday, and we go by a Church and talk turns to religion. He says “ya know, when we didn’t want to do something, Mom used to say, ‘Jesus had nails put in his hands and feet, and he didn’t complain'”. And I’m just like what the fuck. I’m sure this is how she was raised, but who the hell thinks this is good parenting. He says it kimd of stopped abruptly, and I’m thinking it’s about the time that I kind of laid down the law that guilt was not an acceptanle parenting technique. And this is when I was still a believer. The further I get from believing, the weirder all this stuff looks. How many people are doing this to their kids?

    • Otto

      The whole Christian position is based on guilt and Catholicism even more so. The adults feel a constant level of quilt and that is naturally transferred to the children. It is a terrible way to parent, and because that is how I was raised and taught to think it is something I have to constantly fight against within myself so I don’t pass as much of that down to my children.

      • Pofarmer

        Growing up nominally Presbyterian, I never internalized that guilt nor had it forced on me. The way I saw it, Jesus Sacrifice was something he freely gave. Therefore, when a really started thinking about things in my teen years, I was never afraid or guilty about what I thought or what I learned. It wasn’t until I was around my wife’s Catholic family more that it dawned on me how much guilt they had internalized. And, it never dawned on me again, that they were actively TAUGHT this, and thought it was a good thing to teach to their own children. I mean, who teaches their children that they are so bad they caused God to have to die? It’s fucked up, but I can’t say it’s fucked up because that is just a part of their religious belief, and I am supposed to respect that. Did I mention fucked up?

        • Otto

          I went home to my Catholic mother and complained about getting in trouble and then punished for something I did not do. She countered that she was sure I had gotten away with something sometime and therefore deserved my punishment anyway. Even when we are innocent there is still guilt to be found in that messed up world. Yeah it’s fucked up. Once I figured out there was no such thing as justice in the Catholic world I stopped even trying to be good. Catholic kids in my experience behaved far worse then their public school counterparts where I lived and I am guessing this had more than a little to do with why.

        • Pofarmer

          You are just an evil sinner who doesn’t deserve God’s grace. You must beg for God’s mercy even though you are unworthy of it. its repeated over and over.

        • Otto

          “Sister Peter…???

          Is that you?”

          LOL

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, that’s rich. “chalk it up to anything you get away with. can’t fight city hall, don’t question ‘Authority’, don’t upset the apple cart, et al.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          not to pry and happy to retract, but curious: how did you meet your then-wife-to-be?

        • Pofarmer

          I was out of College. She was still in College. We actually met at a bar.

        • TheNuszAbides

          like all Great Adventures … 😉

        • TheNuszAbides

          the height of Seriously Fucked Up.

      • TheNuszAbides

        I ended up with a major-league Guilt Engine, considering the church portion of my development was entirely Protestant. (though apparently I was [first] baptized in a Catholic church – is that all it takes? 😉 )

    • MNb

      Guilt, shame and regret in the religious meaning of the words – and also in meanings derived from religion – are concepts I dislike. Imo it’s way more fruitful, when you have done something wrong, to admit it, to try to repair the damage and to figure out how to do better next time. I take this quite far: I am hardly interested in apologies. Just show me you do better next time.

      • Kodie

        I didn’t learn this until I as an adult, but “sorry” is only the first part. On Seinfeld, character Susan was fond of the expression, “you can stuff your sorries in a sack, mister.” That I came to learn from an ex-friend of mine who apologized for being such an asshole lots of times, but never tried to fix anything. In my real life, I agree with you to try to repair something wrong I’ve done, but I also notice lots of times, I do not have the chance. Sometimes, someone I have wronged is a stranger to me, and an encounter will pass and I might not even be sorry right away.

        When we’re children, we’re taught “how to be polite” phrases – please, thank you, excuse me, and I’m sorry. It is by rote that most of the time, these are repeated. I don’t even hear “excuse me” anymore – if you happen to be blocking their way, they will either sneak past and utter under their breath “excuse me” if they are noticed, or they might stand there waiting until you notice them, or they might walk out of their way to avoid intruding on your concentration. All passive-aggressive things. There is this other thing where women apologize too much for things they should not even be sorry for. It is like the “excuse me” thing but much worse. Sorry for existing, sorry for taking up space, sorry for not letting you go first. When you tell someone straight up that they are doing you harm great or small, the first mode is defensive, and then it just gets worse from there.

        • MNb

          “Someone I have wronged is a stranger to me”
          And then the only thing you can do is to try better next time. Exactly what I mean.

        • Kodie

          I get really tired of being a martyr, and there are some things I will never do, but sometimes, I do small selfish deeds and I don’t care who is inconvenienced extremely slightly. They all don’t seem to mind as much as I do, is how I justify it.

        • MNb

          That’s the problem of the smaller evil. My first question then is: how important is it to me and how important is it to the other? What I also do is noting down that I have a debt, which I tend to pay back at the first occasion. People appreciate equilibrium.

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

        I’m like that, too. “I’m sorry” isn’t very interesting, but “I made mistake X and should’ve done Y instead; I’ll do that in the future” is better.

    • Jim Jones

      Religion is spread by four basic methods:

      1. Deceit
      2. Fear
      3. Torture
      4. Murder

      It is always thus.

      • Greg G.

        1a. Promise of Pie in the Sky after death.

      • tubi11

        Don’t forget the comfy chair and the soft cushions.

        • D Rieder

          And the free grape juice and crackers every third Sunday.

    • Kodie

      On the one hand, no pun intended, how far can a parent torture their child and compare what they’re complaining about to nails through the hands and feet to suspend one on a crucifix until they die. On the other hand, parents use all sorts of bullshit to crush a child’s capacity for complaining about every little thing and toughen them up a bit. I mean it wasn’t even six months ago that I walked 4 miles in the 7 feet of snow uphill, and it wasn’t every day, it was just one, maybe 2 days when I didn’t get a ride. I don’t have any kids to ruin with that story though, and life wasn’t even that tough when I was a kid, I never had to walk anywhere, even when my mom said I had to walk to school if I missed the bus.

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

      ‘Jesus had nails put in his hands and feet, and he didn’t complain’

      I’ll keep that in mind as a funny response to give to my kids or atheist friends when they complain about something.

      • MR

        Actually…, I seem to recall that one little outburst… “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!”

        • Ron

          Which is especially funny in light of the promise that “He will never leave you nor forsake you” found in multiple OT passages.

      • wtfwjtd

        Reminds me of a mock response I heard several years ago, in an ad taking issue with long wait times in a hospital emergency room: “Broken arm? Sit down and wait your turn… You see that boy over there? He has a ruptured appendix, and you don’t see HIM trying to butt in line! Next!”

  • Dys

    This is spam, and a dangerous lie as well. There is presently no cure or vaccine for HIV or AIDS.

    Reported.

  • Dys

    This is spam, and a dangerous lie as well. There is presently no cure or vaccine for HIV or AIDS.

    Reported.

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

      spam deleted. thanks.

  • RichardSRussell

    Even looking at the somewhat shaded and warped way that Eric Hyde phrased these 3 statements of “what atheists believe”, they still seem to make more sense than the theistic alternatives just at a plain-level reading of the text.

  • http://skepticseeker.blogspot.co.uk/ Skeptic Seeker

    Just now coming across this and am enjoying it. I’ve been responding on my own to the arguments before reading yours. After coming across #8 (by far the most bizarre response yet), I absolutely could not wait and had to read yours. I agree with you 100%.
    There is a point I want to clarify. I too noticed the there were similarities to Greek religions and with the bible written in Greek instead of Hebrew or Aramaic, I figured the writers were Greek, therefore couldn’t be the original disciples. While armchair researching, I found out that with Alexander the Great’s conquest across the Middle East and into Egypt and India, Greek became the standard written language for hundreds of years.

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

      Right–Greek was a popular language. In fact, a big issue in the few centuries before Jesus was Judah becoming too Helenized.

      Still, Aramaic was the language of Jesus and friends. The Jesus story was translated through one culture (Greek) before it even got written down.

      • http://skepticseeker.blogspot.co.uk/ Skeptic Seeker

        I always did find it strange that they were never written in Aramaic. Until I started really researching it. It started when I was sitting in church and I wondered if the census was real. That’s when I discovered King Herod died 10 year before the census. Christian apologetics answered with “there was an earlier census.” BS. No records exist and the bible specifically mentions Quirinius (Luke 2:2). Plus the idea of everyone returning to their homeland was ridiculous. The Romans knew to take the process to the people, not vice verse. Then I learned about Ben Sira (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Sira), aka Jesus, who lived about 180 BCE and wrote a book of wisdom. That’s when the realization dawned that the NT was written in greek, I had known all along, but that when it clicked. It was only by chance that I read about Greek being a “universal” language because of Alexander the Great. As I delved more into the jesus story/myth I came to realize that the difference between a dead cult and a surviving one was success. A lot of religions sprang up all the time. Some had a great number of followers before dying off. I believe jesus was entirely a myth. Being a skeptic, I am open to the possibility that the myth is based on a real guy, but I require evidence beyond possibility and conjecture. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean that it is actual.

        But I digress. The one thing I’m not entirely sure of is if Greek writing (outside of Greece) was mainly academic.

    • Greg G.

      Here is what Josephus says about the Greek language in Judea during the mid-first century:

      Antiquities Of The Jews 20.11.2 (snippet)
      I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the elements of the Greek language, although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness; for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations, and so adorn their discourses with the smoothness of their periods; because they look upon this sort of accomplishment as common, not only to all sorts of free-men, but to as many of the servants as please to learn them.

      • http://skepticseeker.blogspot.co.uk/ Skeptic Seeker

        Thanks. I’ve saved this in my notes for future reference.

  • http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/ Ed Dingess
    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You had your chance. I thoroughly read your #7, and the entire response was irrelevant because you can’t read properly or something and misunderstood my point.

      You’re a waste of time, and I imagine your response is, too.

  • http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/ Ed Dingess

    I have provided 9 rebuttals to Bob’s objections and so far, not one seems to want to interact with them.

    https://reformedreasons.com/2017/07/19/the-god-of-the-bible-is-evil-a-god-who-allows-so-much-suffering-and-death-can-be-nothing-but-evil/

    If you care to interact with my 9 responses, I am open. Otherwise, I am done chasing my tail with this group.

    • MR

      [no one] seems to want to interact with them.

      Probably because anytime your errors are pointed out or you’re faced with an argument you can’t respond to or know will undermine your position, you simply drop the conversation and resort to name calling and abuse. Why would anyone want to interact with that?

      • http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/ Ed Dingess

        No one has interacted with even one of my rebuttals. Not one. Too busy insulting Christian belief and creating hostility. Hence, my frustration. So, all you will get from me at this point is this:

        https://reformedreasons.com/my-blog/

        • MR

          Simply not true.

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

          You’re a hateful, pompous jerk, you get pushback from people who you insult, and you’re shocked–shocked!–at the reception you get.

          I bet it’s Satan.

        • epeeist

          I read #6, it’s a load of foetid dingos kidneys.

          If you look at something like the British Social Attitudes survey a large number of people who were brought up in a religion now identify themselves as having no religion (44% for the Church of England, 32% for Catholics). So your claim that “Atheists only refuse to believe in God because they were born in a atheistic environment, family, etc.” is a nonsense.

          Incidentally, you might note that a fair number of people posting here were brought up in a religion (my upbringing was Catholic) but then became atheist.

          The more I see of your posts the more I become convinced that the problem you have with evidence, justification and knowledge is that it contradicts your dogma, hence your need to discount it.

        • BlackMamba44

          So your claim that “Atheists only refuse to believe in God because they were born in a atheistic environment, family, etc.” is a nonsense

          My mother was raised as strict Roman Catholic in Scotland. She taught bible school at our house when I was little. (Here in the states). I had baptism and Holy Communion.

          She still belives in a god, although the Catholic church we went to growing up let her down.

          She still believes. My dad believed. My brothers still believe. I’m an atheist.i dont know any other atheists in my family. There could be some out there that I’m not aware of.

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

      I replied to #7. Reading it was a waste of time–Ed sharing his opinion about others’ thoughts and sermonizing. And completely misunderstanding who was saying what in my post.

      I won’t make that mistake again.

      • epeeist

        I replied to #7. Reading it was a waste of time–Ed sharing his opinion about others’ thoughts and sermonizing.

        The thing that amuses me is his claim to have “dealt with” these objections, initially with the Euthyphro dilemma. Frankly it was sophomoric and his “rebuttals” of other points are equally naive.

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

      so far, not one seems to want to interact with them.

      That silence is your invitation to find the door.