10 Questions Christians Must Answer

10 Questions Christians Must Answer January 1, 2018

I remember listening in amazement to a Christian podcast talking about a tragic situation made worse by Christianity. A panel of Christian pastors were responding to a dilemma raised by a father whose 20-something son had recently died. That was bad enough, but the father’s Christian belief made it worse: according to his denomination, the son was not saved and so didn’t go to heaven on his death. The father’s own belief had put the son in torment in hell. The panel had the difficult task of tap dancing around the issue, offering the father comfort while keeping to their conservative Christian dogma.

Like Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot, the simple solution is to reject the unsubstantiated claim of a hell and any god that could put anyone there.

Tough questions to the Christian

I responded to ten questions from apologist J. Warner Wallace with the post, “10 Tough Questions for the Atheist to Answer.” There’s not much to the list—it’s a collection of as-yet unanswered scientific questions and familiar deist apologetics—but it was a good exercise to address some of the best arguments claimed by the Fundamentalist worldview. With this post, I’d like to return the favor and present some of the toughest atheist challenges to the Christian.

Let’s start with five questions from an older atheist site, GodIsImaginary.com. You may have seen the video, “10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer.” This was a powerful argument when I first saw it, and it’s just as hard hitting today.

These are tough problems for the Christian to answer, but, like the problem of the dead son consigned to hell, they dissolve when looked at the right way.

1. Why won’t God heal amputees? You never see missing limbs spontaneously restored. Why is that? Surely the prayers from amputees and their loved ones are plaintive enough.

Christians might respond that God has a special, unknowable plan. They start with the presupposition that God is omnipotent and loves us, and they conclude that we simply don’t understand. (Some might say that there have indeed been reports of missing limbs restored, but I’m talking about scientifically verified healings—sorry to rain on the parade with a demand for evidence and all.)

2. Why are there so many starving people in our world? Doesn’t God answer their prayers? God has received uncountably many prayers both from the desperate people in the world and from healthy Westerners who are concerned about strangers in need. If God answers any prayers at all, why would they be for your finding a parking space over a starving person not dying?

As before, Christians might say that God has a plan—it may not make sense, but we’ll just have to trust him. Or that strangers’ suffering increases our opportunity to learn compassion or give charitably. Or that it’s all your fault due to the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But let’s not dwell on this too long, because it’s uncomfortable holding the competing ideas of a loving God vs. a god so disconnected with human problems that he allows widespread suffering.

3. Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense? Genesis begins with a flawed view of cosmology picked up from the Sumerians. There was no Flood and no Garden of Eden. Man came from evolution, not from dust. The Bible has no recipe for soap or basic medical advice.

Christians will say that the Bible has no intention of being a science textbook. It simply worked through the flawed worldview of the times. The Bible had no goal to improve the condition of our lives; it taught God’s rules, not health advice.

4. Why do bad things happen to good people? Shouldn’t good Christians get a break? Shouldn’t there be at least a little boost here on earth for backing the right religion? How about something tangible to prove that one’s faith is well placed?

No, God works in mysterious ways. He gives strong faith as he sees fit. Even Mother Teresa complained about the lack of evidence that undercut her faith.

5. How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you? Jesus could appear to you, but he doesn’t. He appeared to Paul after he died, so it’s not like he hasn’t done it before. He could appear to give you advice for a tough decision, give you comfort in person like a friend would, or just assure you that he really exists. He doesn’t.

The Christian might argue that God has his reasons, one of the oddest ones being: because then there would be no need for faith. Because apparently just having faith is a noble thing.

The better way of resolving these questions

As shown above, we could cobble together individual reasons for each of these questions to support a Christian worldview. With the work of perhaps millions of determined theologians over the millennia, we have lots of material. Alternatively, we can cut the Gordian Knot with one simple, devastating hypothesis: there is no god.

Let’s run through the five problems to see how this hypothesis neatly resolves them.

Why won’t God heal amputees? Because there is no God to restore their limbs or to answer prayers. “Answered prayers” are just wishful thinking and coincidence. You can pray to God, Shiva, or a jug of milk and get equally poor results.

Why are there so many starving people in our world? Because life is sometimes difficult, nature has no desire to make people either happy or unhappy, and there is no God to magically solve the problem.

Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense? Because it is a product of an Iron Age culture and has no more knowledge than people of Mesopotamia had at that time.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Rain falls on good people just like bad people. There is no God to adjust the balance of luck in favor of the good ones.

How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you? Jesus is imaginary.

Concluded in part 2.

(I stand on the shoulders of giants. This post has been an opportunity to acknowledge one of the many sources of insight that I benefitted from in my early days as a seeking atheist. Thanks, Marshall Brain, the force behind GodIsImaginary.)

Strange…a God who could make good children as easily as bad,
yet preferred to make bad ones;
who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short;
mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness
multiplied seventy times seven and invented Hell;
who mouths morals to other people and has none himself;
who frowns upon crimes yet commits them all;
who created man without invitation,
then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man,
instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself;
and finally with altogether divine obtuseness,
invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!
— Mark Twain

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 05/26/14.)

Image credit: Cambodia Phnom Penh, flickr, CC

 

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  • Ctharrot

    The orthodox soteriology has always struck me as especially fertile ground for inquiries of this sort, even when I was a church-going Christian.

    • If Charles Manson repented and accepted Jesus Christ as his savior before dying, wouldn’t he get into heaven?

    • Assuming Anne Frank died without converting to Christianity, isn’t she in hell?

    • What transgression could you reasonably imagine your child committing for which you would have them sent off to be tortured for 50 years? 500? Eternally?

    And so on. The sorts of questions that can lead many folks to a spot in the universalism-deism-atheism range of the spectrum of belief.

    • An example similar to Anne Frank: Rudolf Hoss, Nazi German commandant of Auschwitz, will get to heaven since he had repented and was absolved prior to being hanged. Most of his victims, though, are not so lucky.

    • HpO

      (1) “If Charles Manson repented and accepted Jesus Christ as his savior before dying, [he] wouldn’t … get into heaven”! Because God won’t fall for fake news!

      (2) If “Anne Frank died without [trusting & serving Christ Jesus, she] isn’t … in hell [but awaits her resurrection to judgment]”! Just everybody else isn’t, and whose fate only God shall determine! Hell & brimstone evangelism only forewarns; it seals nobody’s fate!

      (3) There’s NO “transgression … [my] child[ren may be] committing for which [I] would have them sent off to be tortured for 50 years … 500 … eternally”! Because if truly & faithfully My children just as surely Jesus is My Son, it’s impossible for them to “transgress”!

      • Ctharrot

        Let’s go through these one at a time.

        With regard to the Manson item, I was taught that literally no sins are unforgivable in God’s eyes, and that anyone who repents and accepts Jesus Christ as savior will go to heaven when they die. I believe that’s fairly mainstream Christian doctrine. You seem to be saying that God does not forgive and take to heaven those who murder (or those who organize multiple murders), even if they repent and accept Jesus as their savior before they die. Do I have that correct?

        • HpO

          That’s correct but (so as not to fall for a trick question) but within the meaning of my Reply #1. Go on.

        • Ctharrot

          No trick questions. Just sorting out whether your soteriology aligns with what I think of as “orthodox soteriology.” And it appears there’s a material divergence right out of the gate.

          With regard to Frank (and other non-Christians, for that matter), you’re saying you don’t have any idea whether they’ll actually end up in heaven or hell. Is that correct?

        • HpO

          That’s correct in context of my Reply #2. I mean, if everything my fellow born-again Christian brethren & cisterns judge is a foregone conclusion, what’s the point of Judgment Day?

        • Ctharrot

          Ok. So let’s assume I’m a decent, non-murdery fella who lives another few decades and dies an apostate, humanist, and occasional blasphemer. Do you believe it’s possible I won’t go to hell? (Again, not a trick question. Leading, yes. Tricky, no.)

        • HpO

          “Apostate, humanist, and occasional blasphemer” vis-à-vis God & Jesus how?

          Battery low. Back later. No, not copping out. You’re the best article’s commentator around. I love this.

        • Ctharrot

          I no longer believe there’s a God, my sense is that Jesus was an itinerant preacher and not the son of God, and I sincerely view the Bible as a collection of 100% human-conceived history, law, poetry, propaganda, mythology, theology, philosophy, and correspondence–not the word of God.

          If that remains my honest position until I die, do you believe that it’s possible I won’t go to hell?

        • HpO

          0 possibility, likelihood, plausibility, probability, chance, solely on the confession/charge that “I no longer believe there’s a God, my sense is that Jesus was … not the son of God”.

        • Ctharrot

          So is belief that Jesus was the son of God necessary for avoiding hell?

        • HpO

          100% – assuming that’s an actionable and not just a knowing “belief”

        • Ctharrot

          Ok. That’s roughly what I was taught in church, too. Which is why the Anne Frank question troubled me. We have no evidence she converted to Christianity, no evidence she believed Jesus was the son of God, etc. Assuming she died with the belief system in which she was raised, Orthodox Christian soteriology consigns Anne Frank to eternal torment. (Whether that fate commenced when she died, or whether it starts on Judgement Day is rather a side issue, by my reckoning.)

          As for the third question, I’m afraid I don’t know what to make of your response. So let’s try it this way.

          Suppose my older son and I become estranged. He falls in with a tough crowd. Starts doing and then dealing drugs. Repeatedly tells my wife and me he hates us for judging him. Gets physical and beats me up so badly I have to be hospitalized. Comes home when we’re at work and robs the place. Etc.

          The question is, would I want him taken away and tortured for 50 years, 500, eternally? No. Arrested and jailed, sure, but tortured? For any period of time? No way.

          If you were in my shoes, would you want him tortured?

        • Ctharrot

          Ok. That’s roughly what I was taught in church, too. Which is why the Anne Frank question troubled me. We have no evidence she converted to Christianity, no evidence she believed Jesus was the son of God, etc. Assuming she died with the belief system in which she was raised, orthodox Christian soteriology consigns Anne Frank to eternal torment. (Whether that fate commenced when she died, or whether it starts on Judgement Day is rather a side issue, by my reckoning.)

          As for the third question, I’m afraid I don’t know what to make of your response. So let’s try it this way.

          Suppose my older son and I become estranged. He falls in with a tough crowd. Starts doing and then dealing drugs. Repeatedly tells my wife and me he hates us for judging him. Gets physical and beats me up so badly I have to be hospitalized. Comes home when we’re at work and robs the place. Etc.

          The question is, would I want him taken away and tortured for 50 years, 500, eternally? No. Arrested and jailed, sure, but tortured? For any period of time? No way. In fact, if it were in my power, I would prevent anyone from torturing him.

          If you were in my shoes, would you want to have him tortured?

        • Ctharrot

          A bit of a digression, but it occurs to me that Thomas Jefferson and any number of similarly-minded unitarians are also doomed to an eternity in hell, if belief that Jesus is the son of God is a mandatory criterion for salvation.

        • HpO

          Look that’s the criterion alright, but how that gets applied in actual person’s life is up to that person, and let no one judge. Except God. And that too only on Day of Judgment.

          There’s a gap here. You must fill it, bridge it. But I won’t be of any help to you. Go on believing the way you do, And I mine. I’ll see you on D-Day, I mean J-Day!

        • MR

          let no one judge

          And yet that’s precisely what you’re doing when you say:

          No murderer gets to heaven as that person’s heart has hardened beyond repair after killing so many people.

        • HpO

          Eternal verdict on murderers had been passed long ago. That’s it for them. Their fate anyone can judge. The courts do that all the time. God’s courts too.

        • MR

          Most Christians I know would disagree with you. How do you determine that you are right and they are wrong? What is your definition of justice?

        • Mike degrees below zero

          My sister met her husband on J-Day.

        • HpO

          Judgment Day was released in November 1999, directed by John Terlesky and starring Ice‑T, Mario Van Peebles, Suzy Amis Cameron, Coolio and Linden Ashby. Which makes 2 months ago the 18th Anniversary of your “sister me[e]t[ing] her husband”. SWEET.

        • Mike degrees below zero

          I need to file a correction. They actually met on J-Date.
          My mistake.

        • HpO

          So we’re done, then. Again thanks. Deep discussion with atheists that I enjoy at Religion News Service happened here with you, too.

        • HpO

          You’ve made my day! Supposedly an extra day off from the office for the holidays, but this day has become special because of you. So 1st off, thanks!

          I’m at Friendly Atheist, Religion News Service, WorldNet Daily, Christian News Network – and I never “consign” anybody to heaven or to hell. While on earth we’re just to discuss these things and let each other do whatever with it. Anne Frank’s instance is a good example. I read this …

          “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. … People who have a religion should be glad, for not everyone has the gift of believing in heavenly things. You don’t necessarily even have to be afraid of punishment after death; purgatory, hell, and heaven are things that a lot of people can’t accept, but still a religion, it doesn’t matter which, keeps a person on the right path. It isn’t the fear of God but the upholding of one’s own honor and conscience. How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to their minds the events of the while day and consider exactly what has been good and bad. Then, without realizing it you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn’t know it must learn and find by experience that: ‘A quiet conscience makes one strong!’ … Sometimes I believe that God wants to try me, both now and later on; I must become good through my own efforts, without examples and without good advice.” (Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl, Bantam, 1947)

          … and I go, Anne Frank’s going to hell? Are you kidding me? I don’t look at anybody that way. If you & I wish to analyze her religious beliefs and practices, honestly, I’m not interested. But to be fair with you, I can say this. That she was not a born-again Christian. That she didn’t trust & follow Christ Jesus. If she’s alive here with me, I’ll tell her, Sister Anne Frank, trust & follow Israel’s Messiah Jesus. But once she’s dead, as she obviously is, I stop discussing about that stuff altogether. It’s pointless.

          As for that son’s hypothetical scenario. Of course, no one would sacrifice one’s child to save another. But God did that. And of course, no one would allow one’s child to be tortured even if a criminal. But God did that, except that His Son wasn’t a criminal. My point is, God just couldn’t save us without doing all those nasty things to His own child. But He did in order to save all His other children – if only they’d trust & follow the Sacrificial Son of God.

          Why? How would I know that? That’s just God. I don’t get to choose what God’s gonna be or not be, yet He gets to choose us to become like God & Jesus.

          Look this is threshold stuff level of discussion here, at which point apostle Paul had to say, Stop! Who are we to question God?

          We atheists, of course, I know, I know. Not my problem, however.

        • But once [Anne Frank is] dead, as she obviously is, I stop discussing about that stuff altogether. It’s pointless.

          No, not at all pointless. You ask yourself what the Christian interpretation is. There are myriad interpretations, of course, but a popular one is that Anne Frank (and Ghandi and Aristotle and every other non-Christian from history, good and bad) are frying in hell right now. Then you ask yourself if it truly makes sense that a loving God would create such a place.

        • HpO

          Nope, not “frying in hell right now”. Now they’re all dead asleep until the resurrection.

        • Jesus says that the afterlife begins immediately. See Luke 23:43.

          Your only move is to argue that the Bible is contradictory. (And I’ll agree with you.)

        • HpO

          The Bible’s 4th century invention of the Early Church Wolves I mean Fathers.

          Afterlife and eternal life for believers start upon their moment in the here and now of believing in Jesus. Still they’re dead asleep until the resurrection when they die – but with that hope of eternal life in the works all the while.

        • MR

          Anne Frank didn’t ask to be born, yet an omni-benevolent God created her anyway, knowing she would fry eternally in hell?

          They need a better story.

        • Ctharrot

          “But once she’s dead, as she obviously is, I stop discussing about that stuff altogether. It’s pointless.”

          Well, let’s put aside the fact that you, of your very own volition, took up my question on exactly that stuff. 🙂

          Now you’re just declining to address the dilemma at the heart of the inquiry. You’re free to do that of course, just as others are free to ponder the justice and morality of a soteriology that would have Anne Frank suffer infinitely longer in the afterlife than she did while in hiding or at Bergen-Belsen.

          And from my perspective, you’re also avoiding the crux (pun ABSOLUTELY intended) of the third question. Neither you nor I, even with our flawed human love and finite capacities for forgiveness, would allow our (or anyone else’s) good-for-nothing kids to be tortured for any period of time. Moreover, if we had the power to stop it, of course we would, without hesitation. Yet a purportedly omnibenevolent God would allow billions to suffer eternal torment for the comparatively brief misdeed of not belonging to the Most Correct Religion (per the orthodox, lake-of-burning-sulfur, non-universalist scheme of things). Again, you obviously have no obligation to give that notion much thought. But I certainly found it problematic when I was a believer, as have many, many others.

          Cheers.

        • MR

          at which point apostle Paul had to say, Stop! Who are we to question God?

          Quite rightly because otherwise people begin to see through the farce.

        • epeeist

          The (supposed) words of Marcus Aurelius come to mind:

          Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

          The third sentence would seem to apply to your god.

        • HpO

          And from which accusation my God & Jesus shall be exonerated when, the Day of the Lord, the Mystery of God shall finally be revealed!

          A cliffhanger, that!

        • Greg G.

          That’s my philosophy. Maybe I am the reincarnation of Marcus Aurelius.

        • What’s the point, indeed. Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today, you shall be with me in Paradise.” Sounds like Jesus thinks there’s no Judgement Day®.

        • HpO

          Not into theology myself, just into person-to-person and group discussion, so forgive my simplifications.

          Like I said earlier, when you and I die, and when that “thief on the cross” died, we’re all dead asleep until the resurrection where we’re buried, cremated and sprinkled, or never found as in war time and criminal events. And when Jesus died too. He called that place where we’re all dead asleep until the resurrection “Paradise”. His own parable calls it “Abraham’s Bosom”. I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness nor a 7th-Day Adventist, but they’ve got that right about our states of death.

      • epeeist

        (1) So you reject any possibility of anyone sincerely repenting for anything that they have done

        (2) So you have no problems consigning the 70% of the world’s population who are not Christian to your purported hell

        (3) Or in other words “I’ve got mine, fuck the rest of you”

        I suppose the fact that you are such a nasty and immoral twat is simply a reflection of your god being a nasty and immoral twat.

        • HpO

          Manson & “sincerely” are an oxymoronic pair to (1).

          I do since I’m not God to (2).

          Yes to (3) without the F-word.

          Signed,

          HpO
          CEO, Twat™ Unlimited

      • 1. “God doesn’t fall for fake news” would be a good reply to Pascal’s Wager, but if Charles Manson repented and accepted Jesus, why wouldn’t he get into heaven? Is that the Christian requirement?

        2. So then, yes, Anne Frank is in hell, right?

        3. For whom is it impossible to transgress? The children of “good Christians” transgress all the time.

        • testing testing testing

        • I just came across a curious HTML thing. The gray bar above is made with the spoiler tag. Doesn’t look like it’s good for much (except perhaps the answer to a puzzle that you can see by cursoring over it), but FYI.

        • MR

          I’m sorry, @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus, Apparently Bob doesn’t read your comments.

        • HpO

          Hats off to you for talking here with me & Ctharrot. Breathe in, breathe out. Kinda intimidating, mind. Here goes.

          1. No murderer gets to heaven as that person’s heart has hardened beyond repair after killing so many people.
          2. Anne Frank’s dead asleep right now until the resurrection. As you & I shall too once we say bye bye to Life. If hell is the second death, then it’s not yet.
          3. God’s children washed in His Son’s blood have been forgiven; the other children, not of His, haven’t. That’s the only difference. Looking at that difference, God goes, Nope, My kids sin no more. Not them other kids, whoseever they are. Sin’s dead in My youngens (even as Bob Seidensticker observes, “The children of ‘good Christians’ transgress all the time”). Not so with those brats. Terms of definition have changed for God, see, when Jesus died on the cross.

        • 1. No murderer gets to heaven as that person’s heart has hardened beyond repair after killing so many people.

          Citation needed.

          2. Anne Frank’s dead asleep right now until the resurrection. As you & I shall too once we say bye bye to Life. If hell is the second death, then it’s not yet.

          Not yet? Jesus said to the thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). You need to update Jesus on the change in plans.

          3. God’s children washed in His Son’s blood have been forgiven

          OK, but that wasn’t the point. You apparently said that the children made no transgressions.

        • HpO

          1. Citations are:

          1 Peter 4:15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer … 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?

          1 John 3:14 He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

          Revelation 21:8 For the … murderers … their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

          Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are … the murderers

          2. “Today” – as in the day Jesus was going to die on the cross. Today, Death Day for Him and that thief.

          3. Right, God’s children “made no [unforgivable] transgressions” while the rest of unrepenting humanity “made [only unforgivable] transgressions”.

        • 1. Citations are:

          OK, those Bible quotes do seem to say that no murderers get into heaven. But then Matthew says, “people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy.” Sounds like murderers do get into heaven.

          Looks like you need to play the “The Bible is contradictory” card to make sense of this.

          2. “Today” – as in the day Jesus was going to die on the cross. Today, Death Day for Him and that thief.

          So you’re agreeing with me?

        • OutsideLookingIn

          No murderers in heaven? So, I guess “King” David is out? And Paul?

        • Greg G.

          Moses?

          Abraham? In the Binding of Isaac, the word used for God changes when the ram appears and Abraham comes down the mountain alone. It’s like it was edited.

  • sandy

    How about this question, “If you were God how could you make this world a better place?”

    • JP

      A better place is coming where God will recreate the heavens and earth where there will be no sickness or death or evil.

      • Why wait?

        • JP

          That’s just the way it is.

        • How do you know?

        • JP

          The Bible says so.

        • All right then, why should we trust that?

        • JP

          You should trust it because the One who revealed this never lied and rose from the dead.

        • How do we know it’s from this “One”, or such a being exists? You see now why citing the Bible requires establishing much more first…

        • JP

          Are you asking if Jesus existed?

        • No, not specifically. More how you know the Bible is from God, or that there even is a God.

        • JP

          Ok. The Bible says that God created everything (Genesis 1:1) The world looks like its designed and not due to chaos. There is no way to adequately to explain the world without God.
          Since God created the universe then there is no reason not to think He could not communicate with mankind. The Bible is a record of this.

        • Even if you accept the design argument, it establishes at best a creator. It doesn’t tell us if the Bible is his work. How do you know it is?

        • JP

          I have no good reason not to accept the Bible as His communication to us of what He did in past. God chose a particular man (Abraham) and from him created a nation (Israel) from which Christ would come from. Jesus confirmed the OT Scriptures as revelation from the Creator. Now Jesus showed that He was God in the flesh by His life, miracles, death and resurrection.
          Have you ever read the gospels?

        • Yes, I understand that’s what you believe, but how do we know?

          I have read them.

        • JP

          Lets take the gospels. They have been proven to be historically reliable. No fact of history has disproved them. If an account is in sync with the historical evidence we have then we are on good grounds to accept them as true. Its the same process we use to determine the truth of any thing in history as true.

        • Have they? I don’t know about that. Not having contradictory facts, even if that is the case, does not prove an account true necessarily in any case. It’s just not disproof for it. There is certainly historical fiction, for instance, which does not contradict the facts.

        • JP

          Have they what?

          How do you know any historical account of someone in the ancient past is true?

        • You said they’ve been proven historically reliable. I don’t know that that’s true.

          Another historical account of someone in the ancient past doesn’t have much stakes if it isn’t true. Your claim, however, is different. It purports to come from God, and have eternal consequences.

        • JP

          Lets use Luke as an example of his accuracy as a historian:
          84 Confirmed Facts in the Last 16 Chapters of the Book of Acts
          Scholar and historian Colin Hemer has identified 84 facts in the last 16 chapters of the Book of Acts that have been confirmed by historical and/or archaeological research.

          10 of the 84 are as follows:

          1. the natural crossing between correctly named ports [Acts 13:4-5]
          2. the proper port [Perga] along the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus [13:13]
          3. the proper location of Lycaonia [14:6]
          4. the unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra [14:6]
          5. the correct language spoken in Lystra-Lycaonian [14:11]
          6. two gods known to be so associated-Zeus and Hermes [14:12]
          7. the proper port, Attalia, which returning travelers would use [14:25]
          8. the correct order of approach to Derbe and then Lystra from the Cilician Gates [16:1; cf. 15:41]
          9. the proper form of the name Troas [16:8]
          10. the place of a conspicuous sailors’ landmark, Samothrace [12:14]

          If the gospels are proven to be historically true then you can trust them to tell you the truth about things we cannot know historically like the Judgement, heaven and hell.

        • How does correctly mentioning landmarks prove all the events it describes happened? Those aren’t even historical events. You could simply live in the area and know those things.

        • JP

          This is how historians determine the truthfulness of an account. Luke also accurately describes 1st century people and events.
          “Most scholars understand Luke’s works (Luke–Acts) in the tradition of Greek historiography.[29] The preface of The Gospel of Luke[30] drawing on historical investigation identified the work to the readers as belonging to the genre of history.[31] There is some disagreement about how best to treat Luke’s writings, with some historians regarding Luke as highly accurate, and others taking a more critical approach.

          Based on his accurate description of towns, cities and islands, as well as correctly naming various official titles, archaeologist Sir William Ramsay wrote that “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy… [he] should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”[32] Professor of Classics at Auckland University, E.M. Blaiklock, wrote: “For accuracy of detail, and for evocation of atmosphere, Luke stands, in fact, with Thucydides. The Acts of the Apostles is not shoddy product of pious imagining, but a trustworthy record… it was the spadework of archaeology which first revealed the truth.”[33] New Testament scholar Colin Hemer has made a number of advancements in understanding the historical nature and accuracy of Luke’s writings.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luke_the_Evangelist

        • Your own citation says there is disagreement on this. That doesn’t surprise me, since it is consistent with mentioning real locations but not being entirely accurate. Unlike most historians then, Luke does not tell us his sources. That does not help to check the accuracy.

        • JP

          Huh??? Just because there is disagreement about something does not mean its not true or accurate. I already gave you a short list that shows how accurate Luke was and what other scholars have said about him. Luke does tell us his sources:
          “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” Luke 1

        • No, it doesn’t mean that. If you cite experts in favor of its accuracy however, pointing out the disagreement makes sense though. By “doesn’t tell us” I mean he gives no names, nothing, unlike say Herodotus. As for his accuracy, see here from an expert:

        • JP

          Luke does give names that can be checked.

        • You know that I meant as his sources. I didn’t paste the link above. Here it is: https://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/census.htm

        • JP

          Those were his sources. “….. just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order…”

        • I know, but he doesn’t name them. That was my point. We’re rehashing this pointlessly.

        • Pofarmer

          Pointlessly. You just perfectly described JP.

        • I’ve been disappointed. Unfortunately these conversations generally go nowhere it seems.

        • Pofarmer

          These are PRATTs It’s all they’ve got. But delivered with bravado.

        • You’ve pretty much seen it all after some time, yes. No new arguments.

        • JP

          Definitely true of atheists. No new arguments and no facts for atheism. Its always a dead end.

        • Back atcha.

        • JP

          That because you don’t how to evaluate historical documents.

        • If you say so.

        • Herald Newman

          This is how historians determine the truthfulness of an account. Luke also accurately describes 1st century people and events.

          No, we don’t determine the truthfulness of something by looking at how truthful other independent details are. Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter doesn’t become more plausible if I include known historical people, and historical events. Such thinking is fallacious.

        • They call that the Spiderman Fallacy, based on that comic being in a real city (NYC) and mentioning actual landmarks, etc. Yet Spiderman is no less fictional.

        • Ctharrot

          At the risk of being pedantic, I’ve always felt the better analogs to be other ancient works that were taken quite seriously by listeners of the time–Beowulf, the Iliad, the Odyssey, etc. All refer to known places on occasion, but no-one today interprets their use of real geography as evidence for the existence of dragons, giants, storm gods, and so on.

        • Pofarmer

          Let’s hope that trend widens.

        • Yes, good examples. There were works then as you say that mention real landmarks, yet are fictional (or at least largely). It might have been better called the Iliad fallacy, but I didn’t name this.

        • Pofarmer

          There were undoubtedly many more that are lost to us.

        • Quite true.

        • Herald Newman

          That’s the fallacy I was looking for.

        • JP

          So you believe spiderman is historical?

        • You don’t appear to read what I wrote. The whole point there is that no, Spiderman isn’t real.

        • JP

          Ok. Then how do you know any account of anyone in the ancient world is true?

        • Herald Newman

          Talk to historians, and they’ll tell you the methods they actually employ. I’m not a historian, and can’t do the subject justice.

          What I can say is that any event which is supernatural in nature is never considered historical because we cannot demonstrate that the event is more probable than any other explanation. History tries to show what is the most probable, and it’s far more probable that supernatural events are an invention, or misunderstanding, rather than being actual history.

          While historians may accept that Jesus was put to death on a cross, and do so with good historical methods, they cannot do the same for Jesus’ resurrection. To believe the resurrection, or any miracle of the New Testament, is historical one must must accept that a supernatural event is more probable than any natural explanations, which we cannot do. Supernatural explanations are always among the least probable.

        • Pofarmer

          The interesting thing is, even if historians do say it’s historical that Jesus was crucified, they have to admit there’s no basis for it outside of the bible. What’s much more interesting is the trained theologians and biblical scholars who have come to the realization that Jesus Christ is probably mythical. There are more than a handful of them at this point.

        • Nick G

          You start by excluding anything that is more implausible than error or dishonesty on the part of the writer – such as a miracle. But not only miracles. For example, modern historians do not credit Herodotus’ claim that the Persian army that inveded Greece during the reign of Xerxes was half a million strong – on the grounds that the Persan Empire of the time could not possibly have assembled or supplied such a huge force. You look at the account’s internal consistency (the gospels include accounts of what Jesus said when supposedly no-one else was present, in Gethsemane), and its consistency with other accounts (the gospels contradict each other in numerous places, but also are clearly not independent of each other, and no other accounts of the period record startling events such as the hours of darkness supposedly around Jesus’s death, or the subsequent zombie invasion of Jerusalem descibed in gMatthew), at what is known about the author(s) and their likely biases (very little is known about the gospel writers, even their names being highly dubious, but unless we dismiss their accounts as pure fiction – which I don’t – we know they had a strong ideological purpose in writing them – to convince their readers to accept the claims about Jesus’s special status, which means they are likely prone to including stories emphasising that status, even if these are mere hearsay, or even to make such stories up). Finally you look for any archeological evidence of the events recorded, if any would be expected (in Jesus’s case, it would not).

        • JP

          Reporting about a miracle is not dishonest. The gospels do not contradict each other. That is dishonest to say that.

          We have archeological evidence for the resurrection. Its the empty tomb.

        • epeeist

          Its the empty tomb

          There is better evidence for the existence of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, also from an empty tomb:

          https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Former_Gravesite_King_Arthur_GlastonburyAbbey-640×532.jpg

        • Steven Watson

          ‘Sharpe’s Eagle’ accurately reflects the Talavera Campaign of 1809; Spanish geography, the British Army its weapons and tactics etc. This does not make Richard Sharpe a real person. ‘Luke’ entirely ballses up the history he has Jesus born into. No sense can be made of the opening of his Gospel. Roman censuses didn’t work like that and at the time Luke has it happen Quirinius, the legate supposedly conducting it, was conducting a police action in a different province the other side of a mountain range.

        • JP

          “Quirinius may actually have ruled Syria during two separate periods and have taken two separate censuses. This is consistent with Luke’s account. In Luke 2:2, Luke refers to the “first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria” (describing Quirinius’ rule as the governor’s procurator), and in Acts 5:37, Luke describes a second census taken most likely between 6-7AD (as described by Josephus) when Quirinius was the formal governor of the region. Both Josephus and Luke link this second census to an uprising under Judas of Galilee. Only Luke’s sources were present during the actual events; as a result, Luke’s description of two separate censuses is reasonable.” http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/unbelievable-is-lukes-description-of-quirinius-historically-inaccurate/

        • Steven Watson

          Nope, we know who all the legates of Syria were. Varus, the bloke who fucked up in the Teutoburger Wald, was legate in Syria at the time in question. On the death of Herod the Great, he rocked up in Judea to put down the subsequent revolt, crucifying thousands. Herod’s kingdom was inherited by his children, who each got a fourth part. Archelaus ballsed up ruling Judea and was deposed. Judea was then annexed to the province of Syria, hence Qurinius taking a census.

          Please don’t try and argue against established history with apologetic bollocks. It isn’t necessary. The Gospels are religious texts that can be explained in those terms. Was it you who mentioned on some other thread an admiration for J. D. Crossan? If it was, you might recall him writing ‘Easter never happened; Easter is always happening.’ I’ll repeat: if you give battle on the ground of History, you will always lose. Badly.

        • Pofarmer

          The problem is, it takes time to look up and rebut those assertions.

        • JP

          Asserting something without facts is just an opinion. There is no reason Qurinius could not have governed twice.

          Christianity is well grounded in history. Plenty of evidence for it from multiple sources. No one has been to show that Christianity is not grounded in the 1st century with any facts that shows otherwise.

        • Herald Newman

          Christianity is well grounded in history

          Except that it isn’t. We have one absolute fact that utter shatters the credibility of the Christian story. Nobody has ever established that miracles can actually happen. All we have, for any of the miracle claims of the entire Bible, is the say-so of the Bible. We cannot independently verify that people can rise from the dead after being brain dead for about 36 hours.

          If you can show me a method to return somebody to life, after being brain dead for 36 hours, I’m willing to concede that Christianity may be true.

        • JP

          What scientific fact says its impossible for a miracle to happen?

          For the resurrection of Christ we have over 500 people who saw Him alive over the course of 40 days.

          A resurrection is not something that could happen in nature. It could only happen if God exist. Since God exist, then a resurrection could happen. Then all we need to do is check to see if one has. For the resurrection of Christ we have as I stated over 500 people who saw Christ alive after His crucified. Its one of the best attested events of the ancient world.

        • Herald Newman

          What scientific fact says its impossible for a miracle to happen?

          I never said that miracles cannot happen, I said that we cannot establish that miracles happen! Big difference.

          For the resurrection of Christ we have over 500 people who saw Him alive over the course of 40 days.

          Which means sweet dick all to me. As Hume famously pointed out: “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish…” Testimony alone is insufficient to establish that Jesus actually rose from the dead.

          A resurrection is not something that could happen in nature. It could only happen if God exist.

          Even if God exists, that doesn’t establish that such a miracle can actually happen, and much more importantly, it does nothing to establish that it actually did happen.

          Since God exist, then a resurrection could happen.

          On your first point, we have a fundamental disagreement.

          Then all we need to do is check to see if [a resurrection] has happened.

          And how do we reliably establish that a resurrection happened in the past? You’re just question begging here.

          For the resurrection of Christ we have as I stated over 500 people who
          saw Christ alive after His crucified. Its one of the best attested
          events of the ancient world.

          I don’t care if you have 10,000 people making the claim. I reject supernatural claims since we have no way to verify them.

        • JP

          The resurrection is a miracle and it has very good eyewitness support. It is only by eyewitness testimony that we can know Jesus rose from the dead. That’s how we know things happened in history.

          Hume has been thoroughly refuted on miracles.

          Give me some facts that proves God does not exist. I don’t care that you personally don’t find it convincing but I want facts that proves He doesn’t exist.

        • Herald Newman

          The resurrection is a miracle and it has very good eyewitness support.

          You have some serious reading comprehension problems, don’t you!

          First off, you have NO eyewitnesses to the resurrection, and even the Gospel’s say so! Nobody was in the tomb with Jesus when he came back to life.
          Second, at best what you have is something unexplained. You don’t get to shove “Jesus was resurrected” in as an explanation without justifying that explanation.

          It is only by eyewitness testimony that we can know Jesus rose from the dead.

          And again, eyewitness testimony is not a sufficient tool to establish that a miracle actually happened.

          Hume has been thoroughly refuted on miracles.

          Which completely misses the forest for the trees. What part of “we cannot establish supernatural causation” are you unable to comprehend, and why do you think that testimony is somehow sufficient to establish an event as supernaturally caused?

          Give me some facts that proves God does not exist

          God doesn’t exist because the null hypothesis on the subject has never been shown to be false! Until the null hypothesis can be shown to be false it is assumed to be true. You don’t get to shift the burden on proof onto me when you’re claiming that God exists and that God produced a miracle. Now get to work and show me how we can reliably establish that a miracle occurred?

        • JP

          One thing is certain is that Jesus was dead. The Romans knew how to kill people. Yet 3 days later it is reported that He is alive. By the end of about 40 days over people had seen Him alive. That is a miracle. The resurrection was the result of a supernatural event.

          Lol… null hypothesis is nonsense for proof of atheism.

        • Nick G

          Yet 3 days later it is reported that He is alive. By the end of about 40 days over people had seen Him alive.

          No, decades later it is reported that two* days later he was missing from the tomb where he had supposedly been placed, and started appearing to people. It’s quite likely that the whole story of the “empty tomb” was made up later (see below), and post-mortem hallucinations of the dead are quite common among those close to them. The gospels are inconsistent in who Jesus appeared to, when and where, and the “500 people” claim is utterly unsupported – Paul gives no details whatsoever.

          As for the “empty tomb” story, the gospel considered by almost all relevant experts to be the earliest, gMark, has the women who visited the tomb going away and telling no-one that it was empty (all four gospels have incompatible accounts of who went to the tomb when and what they saw there – establishing that at least three of them contain falsehoods). Which looks very like a way to answer awkward questions such as: “Oh yes, so why are we only hearing about this empty tomb now?”, which would have been likely if the “empty tomb” story (which our earliest source, Paul, does not mention) was invented some time after the fact.

          But even if there is some foundation for the story, there are at least two classes of explanation for the tomb’s emptiness other than a miracle: that Jesus’s body was never in fact put there and whoever went to “the tomb” went to the wrong place, or that it was subsequently moved. “Joseph of Arimathea” bears marks of being an invented character: he appears only to bury Jesus, never having been mentioned before, then vanishes, never being mentioned again, and his name translates as “Joseph of best disciple town” (there is no record of any such place as Arimathea in any other source). But if he was real, the most likely explanation of his action is that as a member of the Jewish establishment in Jerusalem (he’s described as a “rich man” and “counsellor”), he wanted Jesus buried before the start of the Sabbath – religious law forbade corpses to lie unburied. The tomb he placed Jesus in becomes successively more high-status inlater gospels, as does the treatment of the body (see this article by Byron McCane, a Christian). McCane explains this, and why it is likely that if any followers of Jesus saw him buried, it would likely have been from a distance. They would also have been in a highly emotional state. Nor were they residents of Jerusalem – so mistaking the place when they went back two days later is quite plausible. Or Joseph may have hurriedly placed him in an available tomb – even his own – to get him buried before sundown and the start of the Sabbath, then reburied him elsewhere after sundown (the end of the Sabbath) the next day.

          *”On the third day” means two days later, not three. Funny how many Christians can’t even manage to get even their own stories right.

        • epeeist

          JP doesn’t read links, especially if they haven’t been blessed by Jebus. He probably won’t even realise that your reference to Byron McCane is a link.

          Until the so-called “designers” of this particular incarnation of the Patheos style sheet get around to fixing the attributes for the “a” tag (amongst vast numbers of other things) it is probably best to surround the link text with underline tags

        • JP

          Wrong tomb theory won’t work. The women and the soldiers knew exactly where He was buried. The women saw exactly what tomb He was buried in. See Matthew 27:61

          Where in any documents does Joseph say he reburied Him?

          A day for a Jew would include a partial day as a full day.

        • Herald Newman

          The resurrection was the result of a supernatural event.

          Alright JP, we’re done. You obviously have the reading comprehension of a six year old. I’m not going to waste any more of my time explaining to you that you cannot justify this position, and that “reports” of Jesus being alive are insufficient to establish that he actually came back from the dead.

          Your epistemic methodology is a shame. I hope you don’t hurt yourself with it.

          >blocked/<

        • JP: You’ve lathered and rinsed, and now you’re in the repeat phase. You’re repeating claims that didn’t go anywhere the first time. I realize that you’re doing that because your ammo bag is empty, but shouldn’t you stop and think what that means?

          You know how every man is your teacher? It’s frustrating to see you get hundreds of comments that, giving them a positive spin, are there to correct your errors. To make your arguments better. To make you a better person. And you’re ignoring them. Does God exist? Then use that brain he gave you. Be a skeptic. Critique all arguments, especially your own. Learn and improve.

          By repeating the same weak arguments, unchanged, is insulting to the people who’ve gone to some effort to educate you. It needs to stop.

          Change your approach or get banned.

        • epeeist

          I realize that you’re doing that because your ammo bag is empty

          It was empty when he arrived.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh good Lord. One story says it was 40 days, one story says ot was a few. One story says Jesus appeared to 500 people, without any context, but we don’t actually have the stories of those 500 people. You have to have been told this before. You’re either stupid, disshonest, or gullible, all of which are good christian traits.

        • Kevin K

          I don’t know if this is verifiable/true, but it’s my understanding that the specific numbers used are a late addition to those writings. I was told (again, it would be nice to have an authoritative source) that the number “40” in particular is wholly made-up, and in context it means nothing more than “a few, more than 3”. So, when Jesus went off into the desert, it was for a “few” days. I don’t know if the same can be said about the claim of 500 eyewitnesses (or was that zombies coming out of their graves); but it would be an interesting question to research.

          Ooo. Another thought entirely (about zombies)…since the burial practice of the Jews at the time was to entomb the body for a year until it was defleshed, and then transfer the remaining bones to an ossuary — all of those “saints” who rose from the grave were nothing but skeletons!! EEEKKK!!!!

        • Pofarmer

          The Number 40 is symbolic in the Bible and appears in various places. Rained for 40 days and 40 nights. 40 years in the Desert, etc, etc. I’m sure it appears more.

        • Kevin K

          As I recall, all of those reports of “40” were actually, if translated literally, meant to convey the sense of “a lot, more than 3”, and not necessarily a precise digit of 39+1. Again, wish I had an authoritative source for that.

        • Pofarmer

          No, this is exactly right. 40 was a symbolic number. It has more importance than just “a Lot” but I can’t remember exactly what the significance is/was.

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, if you look throughout the Bible. 20, 3, and 12 come across as symbolic numbers quite often. 12 was considered a holy number throughout the ancient world. 12 hours in a day, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 tribes of Israel, blah, blah, blah. 3 was considered sacred because it was considered 3 days from a solstice until the sun started moving in the sky again. etc, etc, etc.

        • Kevin K

          I reported on a “documentary” I saw the other day about how last September 23 was supposed to be the start of the Tribulation (probably with a nuclear war, or Nibiru hitting Earth), and the nutjobs who were insistent on this being true were obsessed with the number 7. 7×7=49+1=a Jubilee Year, 2017 being 50 years from some event, and 100 years from another event, so 7+7+7. I literally laughed out loud at some of it.

          But now I wonder whether the number 7 had any importance in Jewish numerology. Because as you say, 3, 12, and 20 appear to be the “important” numbers. Not that these whackaloons weren’t just making shit up; but I never considered that they would just randomly pick a number like “7” and say “Oh yeah, that’s totes important!”

        • Greg G.

          There were seven lights that moved around the sky. Many cultures thought they were significant. Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mar, Jupiter, and Saturn. They could figure out what to do with the ground and the water but not the sky, so they worshiped it.

        • Mike degrees below zero

          Twelve are the tribes of Israel

          Eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream

          Ten are the Ten Commandments

          Nine are the months til the baby’s born

          Eight are the days til the Brit Milah

          Seven are the days of the week *clap, clap*,

          Six are the books of the *clap* Mishnah,

          and five are the books of the *clap* Torah,

          and four are the mothers and three are the fathers

          and two are the tablets that Moses brought,

          and one is Hashem…

        • Greg G.

          I think the number forty was used as an expression, not necessarily an exact figure. It’s like saying “many, many” or “dozens”. It’s not like Ali Baba would have been so anal that he would have to find a replacement for one of his forty thieves like the Disciples having to replace Judas.

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, that was my understanding of it.

        • Mike degrees below zero

          I think that Ali Baba killed the thieves by pouring boiling oil into the jars they were hiding in.

        • Pofarmer

          The number 500 seems to simply be pulled out of someone’s rectum. It’s the only time it appears-period.

        • Kevin K

          Like the number of Philistine foreskins David brought to Saul?

        • BlackMamba44

          He has. Over and over and over and over and over…

          He is only here to troll, just like he does over at FA

          I think it’s time that @BobSeidensticker:disqus banned JP. He’s worthless…

        • Pofarmer

          And Stupid. And Dishonest.

        • And we have good reason to think that the “500 eyewitnesses” story is crap because the gospels don’t use that claim. Either they didn’t know about it (Paul invented it or it was a whopper going around his part of the world) or they knew about it but knew it was false.

          Fail.

        • Nick G

          What scientific fact says its impossible for a miracle to happen?

          Generally, the second law of thermodynamics – the same one that says you can’t unscramble an egg. If it was established that they can happen, that would refute the law. So far, that has not been done.

        • Steven Watson

          You really are fucking stupid aren’t you? Mythology and Allegory are not History; nor do they need to be. What is the story trying to tell you? You ought to listen to the message;. not get hung up on the messenger.

          Science and History are firmly established. There is nowhere to introduce your god within the Causal Nexus. If your faith and/or religion in general are to survive and have relevance, it/they are going to have to be established on other grounds than the sands of History.

          You shouldn’t be afraid of doing that: it is a story the Bible tells. The Abrahamic religion is continually being reinvented and renewed through out it. The Qur’an is another reinvention and renewal, as are the Book of Mormon and the Talmuds.

          Right now Xtianity is running in the air off a cliff like Wile E. Coyote. The ground has gone from underneath it.

          Do you really think a couple of inaccurate pargraphs regurgitating stuff I’ve known was flat out wrong for forty five years is going to have any kind impact? I’ve shelves of books on this, I must have read double that or more again. Just in the half dozen threads you have dropped in on this last month you must be aware of umpteen people as well aquainted with this and more as I am. We have had half a dozen exchanges in the last week or so. I’m not making an impression on you apparently, you just keep coming back with the same stupid. I could go on for pages and pages deconstructing your guff but I’d just be repeating myself.

          Enough; I’m done talking with witless loonies.

        • JP

          There is nothing in science that says its impossible that God does not exist nor intervenes in the world. That’s what miracles are.

          Good science will lead to the best explanation for something. Be it intelligent or natural.

          Its interesting that the first verse of the Bible (Genesis 1:1) has been proven in the 1920’s by science to be true. The universe did have a beginning.

          The gospels are not myths or legends. Here is what an expert in literature said about them:
          “”Now as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are, they are not legends. I have read a great deal of legend (myth) and I am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing.”
          –C. S. Lewis (1898–1963), Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University

          Only witless loonies deny the evidence. Don’t be one.

        • Greg G.

          There is nothing in science that says its impossible that God does not exist nor intervenes in the world. That’s what miracles are.

          You have no unambiguous evidence for miracles.

          Good science will lead to the best explanation for something. Be it intelligent or natural.

          Usually Christians try to say that science cannot explain everything. If an atheist said something like that, the Christian would call it science-of-the-gaps. We don’t know that good science is capable of solving everything. It is merely the best method we have for eliminating false claims from what is probably true.

          Its interesting that the first verse of the Bible (Genesis 1:1) has been proven in the 1920’s by science to be true. The universe did have a beginning.

          Nope, science so far can only go back to a small fraction of a second but cannot say what happened before that.

          The gospels are not myths or legends. Here is what an expert in literature said about them:
          “”Now as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are, they are not legends. I have read a great deal of legend (myth) and I am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing.”
          –C. S. Lewis (1898–1963), Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University

          Even smart people say silly things when they get high on religion.

          Only witless loonies deny the evidence. Don’t be one.

          Heed that advice before you cast it at others.

        • MNb

          “Good science will lead to the best explanation for something.”
          Exactly. And religion explains exactly nothing.

          “Be it intelligent or natural.”
          False dilemma. Intelligence is natural. Supernatural intelligence is a fairy tale.

          “Only witless loonies deny the evidence. Don’t be one.”
          Now only if you’d take your own advise, because denying evidence is what you do all the time.

        • Nick G

          It’s always good for a laugh when some numpty apologist cites Lewis as an authority. Despite the pompous claim you quote, Lewis had no specific expertise relevant to assessing the genre of the gospels – he was a medievalist. And his “Liar, lunatic or lord” “trilemma” is either one of the stupidest, or one of the most dishonest pieces of apologism from the last century – which is saying quite something – since it omits at least three other possibilities: “Mistaken, misquoted, or mythical”.

        • JP

          Its also a good laugh when an atheist apologist argues with the facts.

        • Herald Newman

          Enough; I’m done talking with witless loonies.

          Really starting to agree with you there!

        • MR

          Right now Xtianity is running in the air off a cliff like Wile E. Coyote. The ground has gone from underneath it.

          Oh! I wish I had had this for New Years dinner last night!

        • Steven Watson

          Thanks. Feel free to steal it. 🙂

        • Kevin K

          I blocked JP ages and ages ago. I suggest you do so as well. It only craves attention.

        • epeeist

          We seem to have had a spate of singularly stupid and/or obnoxious theists of late.

        • Kevin K

          He’s a persistent troll. Not worth anyone’s time. Others appear to be hit-and-run.

        • Steven Watson

          Undoubtedly. I’ll be bothering around here a lot less. This kind of blog post is futile; the result is pages and pages of slagging. Is this some sort of atheist version of Pascal’s Wager, a lurker might learn something? I suggest we fold our tents and go do something more useful; like watch paint dry, or picking lint from our belly buttons.

        • epeeist

          or picking lint from our belly buttons

          You could try to work up an explanation as to why belly button fluff is always blue.

        • Steven Watson

          Undoubtedly. I’ll be bothering around here a lot less. This kind of blog post is futile; the result is pages and pages of slagging. Is this some sort of atheist version of Pascal’s Wager, a lurker might learn something? I suggest we fold our tents and go do something more useful; like watch paint dry, or picking lint from our belly buttons.

        • Greg G.

          Quirinius didn’t take a census for fun. He had no reason to do so while the Herod family was ruling and keeping Rome happy. When Archelaus couldn’t keep Judea happy, the Romans weren’t happy. They had to access how much they could expect to get in taxes from the region when they began to rule.

          Here’s a clue that the nativity stories are made up. Remember that Matthew had Joseph and Mary living in Bethlehem and having Jesus there, then running away to Egypt for a couple of years and returning to live in Galilee. Luke had them living in Galilee and needing an excuse to have a very pregnant woman make a difficult trip to Bethlehem so he took the first event in Book 18 of the Antiquities of the Jews. Luke probably rejected Matthew’s story because of the idea that God would allow many babies to be slaughtered while saving Jesus. Why would a good god send a savior in a way that would get dozens or hundreds of babies killed?

        • Herald Newman

          Luke probably rejected Matthew’s story because of the idea that God would allow many babies to be slaughtered while saving Jesus.

          I thought that the general consensus was that Luke and Matthew were written independently of one another? I can’t find much that supports the idea that Luke used Matthew as a source (or that Luke even knew about Matthew’s Gospel), and the common explanation for material common to Luke and Matthew but not “Mark” is that they had a common source not used by Mark?

          Why would a good god send a savior in a way that would get dozens or hundreds of babies killed?

          I think there’s a fairly easy explanation for this, but it doesn’t involve any god. Matthew seems to write his Gospel in a way to make parallels between Moses and Jesus in order to connect the Old Testament, particularly the prophecies, with Jesus. My (albeit simplistic) understanding was that the slaughtering of children was meant to draw a parallel with Egypt, where after about 40 years Jesus would lead his people to salvation. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I heard about this.

        • Kevin K

          We had the same thought. You said it more eloquently than I did. Thanks.

        • Greg G.

          I thought that the general consensus was that Luke and Matthew were written independently of one another?

          The favored solution to the Synoptic Problem is that Matthew and Luke worked independently using Mark and Q. Q is a hypothetical document that gives an excuse for how Matthew and Luke can be similar and not have to explain why Matthew and Luke are different. But Luke left out parts of Mark so we should not expect parts of other sources to be omitted, too.

          I can’t find much that supports the idea that Luke used Matthew as a source (or that Luke even knew about Matthew’s Gospel), and the common explanation for material common to Luke and Matthew but not “Mark” is that they had a common source not used by Mark?

          Mark Goodacre has taken up the argument lately.

          http://markgoodacre.org/Q/
          http://markgoodacre.org/Q/goulder.htm

          The latter is an argument published in 1996 by Michael Goulder.

          Luke begins with the nativity story, then the genealogy. Then Luke follows Mark’s outline supplemented by material from Matthew. In chapter 10 to 18:14, Luke departs from the Mark and follows a topical outline of Deuteronomy for Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem, which borrows from Mark and Matthew according to topic but from random sequences. This section of Luke has all of the major agreements of Luke and Matthew against Mark that Goodacre talks about. Then Luke returns to the Markan outline.

          Goodacre presents an argument that Luke used Matthew is the evidence of editorial fatigue. Goodacre shows instances where Matthew is using Mark but makes a correction but forgets about it when he uses the Markan language further down. Luke does then same with Mark. Luke also does it with Matthew. But there are no known examples of Matthew doing it with Luke as if Matthew had editorial fatigue from another document.

          I think there’s a fairly easy explanation for this, but it doesn’t involve any god. Matthew seems to write his Gospel in a way to make parallels between Moses and Jesus in order to connect the Old Testament, particularly the prophecies, with Jesus. My (albeit simplistic) understanding was that the slaughtering of children was meant to draw a parallel with Egypt, where after about 40 years Jesus would lead his people to salvation. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I heard about this.

          I agree with it being a parallel of Moses but it is apparent that Matthew got the Moses story from Antiquities 2 because of the warnings from dreams in Matthew and the Josephus account of Moses nativity but not in the Exodus account. Josephus mentions that Pharisees were thought to have foreknowledge in Antiquities 17 and predicted the end of Herod’s reign, like the Magi in Matthew. Herod also had some of his heirs put to death because he thought they were trying to usurp him in the same book. The gifts of the Magi are the items used in temple rituals described in Exodus 30: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Those items are also described in Antiquities 3 but Matthew lists them in the order they are described by Josephus, not in Exodus. The detour to Galilee because of a dream on account of Herod’s son now in control of Judea is also given in Antiquities 17 and 18. There are many more elements in the Matthean nativity story that could have been derived from Antiquities of the Jews that are not in the Old Testament accounts.

          Josephus surrendered to Vespasian and told him of the prophecy of the Messiah arising in Judea. He told Vespasian that he thought the prophesy was about Vespasian and that he would become the Caesar, so Vespasian spared him. Then Vespasian became Caesar and Josephus had a good life after the war. So Josephus may have had an ulterior motive in inserting prophecies to make his prophecy seem authentic rather than desperate luck.

        • Kevin K

          Fascinating stuff, really. We know so much about that era and place. And yet, not a single solitary word from any reliable source about the existence of a certain Jewish revolutionary who preached to multitudes, who declared himself to be the new king to the acclamation of the entire city, and who was shortly thereafter executed for his temerity.

        • Kevin K

          Wouldn’t Matthew’s version be a recapitulation of the Moses story, though? Luke must not be aware of the details of the story if that were his motivation — to spare innocents from slaughter.

          My assumption has always been that while Matthew and Luke both worked from Mark (and/or Q), that they worked independently, not knowing the other existed. It’s no wonder, then, that in the places where they diverge from Mark/Q, they disagree wildly with one-another.

        • Greg G.

          See my response to Herald Newman:

          http://disq.us/p/1ozvls0

        • MR

          Just watched a documentary on Varus a couple weeks ago. Interesting if a bit of hokey with the reenactments. Wish I had known about Teutoburger Wald when I was nearby several years ago.

          The name Quirinus brings to mind the legend of Romulus being considered a personification of the god Quirinus and how some Romans two thousand years ago would also have considered that to be historical.

          How can we possibly distinguish myth from history across the gulf of years? If only there were some omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent being who could settle the issue beyond doubt. “Have mercy upon us, O Google, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies show us the truth.”

        • Steven Watson

          Thanks. Put the myth of Romulus’ death and exaltation alongside that of Jesus. One is obviously a transvaluation of the other. The Gospel – the Good News or Euangelion of Jesus is in dialogue with the Euangelion of Augustus. In Acts Jesus speaks to Saul in the words of Dionysos, the Greek Saviour God. If it swims, waddles, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

        • Nick G

          It really is ridiculously childish to parade some facts from a text that appear to be true, and then claim that this means all the other material in that text is true. As has been pointed out to you more than once, plenty of historical fiction contains many such facts. And intellectually respectable historians, when assessing the historical reliability of a text, start by eliminating any claims at variance with what we know about how the world works – such as miracles. There are, after all, many accounts of miracles in ancient and medieval sources – miracles by Alexander the Great, the emperor Vespasian, Mohammad, a range of magicians. Now there could, in theory, be evidence so overwhelming that it would justify abandoning the normal methods of historical analysis – but such evidence certainly does not currently exist for any miracle, including those attributed to Jesus, or the resurrection. The evidence of the New Testament is, in my view and that of the consensus of relevant experts, suffiicent to establish the existence of Jesus and a few facts about him to a high probability. It is certainly not sufficient to establish any of the supernatural claims made.

        • “Wizard of Oz” is correct about Kansas. Does that in any way show that the crazy bits are true?

          You’re determined to not adapt or learn anything, right? If so, you need to leave.

        • boneheadaudio

          “No fact of history has disproved them.”
          There is absolutely no historical record of a census which required people to return to their hometowns to be counted.

        • “Everyone must go to the birth town of some ancestor 1000 years ago to be registered in a tax census.”

          No king would order that. It could only happen in fiction.

        • boneheadaudio

          Absolutely. The entire narrative falls apart before it even gets started.

        • carbonUnit

          The Bible says that God created everything (Genesis 1:1) The world looks
          like its designed and not due to chaos. There is no way to adequately
          to explain the world without God.

          One does not have to go beyond Genesis to destroy the credibility of the Bible. At a glance the world may look designed, but upon closer inspection one sees all sorts of flawed biological designs. The reason is that evolution does naturally tune things, but is has the huge limitation that it must always start with what is and go from there. This produces all sorts of strange/non-optimal artifacts. The nerve that runs up and down the giraffe’s neck has been pointed out. The human eye, often cited as miraculous, is really poor, with nerves running across the retina to a blind spot right in the middle of the visual field. Other species (squid?) got the better design! More to the point, cosmology, geology, biology and other sciences show a world quite at odds with one that would be the result of Biblical events. The biggie: where’s the planet-wide flood mark???

          Q: Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God??

        • There’s a story that says that. Show us that it’s history.

    • HpO

      Very good question. Finally!

      And the answer is, Same things God had done from time beginning all the way until the Era of New Jerusalem – with all the pain & suffering, the trials & tribulation, that go with that – including “amputees”! Don’t forget I’m no lovey-dovey deity but a jealous & vengeful God, a consuming fire & all that, the creator-God who destroys creation so you get My point.

      Don’t believe Me? TOUGH.

  • Are these really the best questions you have?

    These are typical questions that are illogical in nature as is evident by the question itself; made by uninformed people, for the purpose of argument.

    More importantly, even if these questions are answered, the response will reveal that the question was not sincere, nor a genuine inquiry into knowledge.

    When I read questions like this that are posed for the sake of altercation, I realize just how uniformed atheists really are in their belief system.

    I long for the day when an actual intelligent question is asked because a person is sincerely searching for answers and not an argument…

    • Doubting Thomas

      Using smugness to avoid the actual issues?

    • Ficino

      Can God make something so heavy that He can’t pick it up?

      You’re sunk, smart guy.

      • Understanding that God is unlimited and nothing is impossible for Him, He would not choose to make something so heavy He could not lift it.

        • Nick G

          Understanding that God is unlimited and nothing is impossible for Him

          So why is the world so full of suffering and evil? Presumably, because that’s the way God wants it! What a vile monster!

          And “Because of human sin” won’t cut it. If nothing is impossible for God, then creating people who would not sin cannot be impossible for God.

        • You think that all the suffering in the world is God’s fault? Or just that He allows it to happen? Is it possible that sickness, suffering and death are man’s fault?

          I seem to remember that people like yourself have told God that you don’t want Him in your life and to leave you alone. Perhaps that is what He did.

          A world of suffering and death is what we get when we tell God to leave us alone…

        • Ficino

          The God of classical theism is the first agent cause of every effect. Every instance of motion or change is part of a series that is instrumental to the intention of the first unmoved mover/uncaused cause. God does not only know about the sparrow’s fall; God determines it. There is no “just allows” with the first uncaused cause, smart guy. You might believe in a finite, struggling god, but the major traditions would say you are in error.

          Since you seem to deny the PNC, why are you here?

        • Perfection is one attribute of God’s nature that tells us many important truths. First among these is the fact that God cannot do anything that is imperfect. If God were capable of imperfection He would not be God. What conveys God His exalted position as God—above all god’s is that He exists—perfect in every way.

          When we consider what this means we understand that God must be perfectly-good, all of the time. He can do not evil, nor can He dwell with evil.

          If we imagine that God is responsible for the evil that is in the world or that sickness, suffering or death are caused by Him or, at least, permitted by Him; we have misunderstood who God is.

          The fact that evil, sickness, suffering, and death are present on earth tells us that something happened outside of God that has caused this to take place.

        • Ficino

          Take your finite, struggling god elsewhere. I suggest going over to a Calvinist or Thomistic website and instruct them about the attributes of the god of classical theism.

        • because… you really don’t want evidence or logical discourse, you want an argument…

        • Ficino

          You came on here with snarky, highhanded comments against the head article. You are offering no evidence, only assertions. And your logic is a joke. Above you said that God is omnipotent. Now you are insisting that there is some sphere of reality, who knows how big, in which substances that are not God act as first causes, apart from God’s sovereignty. If you want to persist in your confused ideas, it’s your right. But don’t expect anyone to take seriously your blather about evidence or logical discourse when you offer neither one.

        • I never expect pretend atheists to listen to me…

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Oh, so now you’re going to tell us we really do believe, even though we say we don’t?

          So you truly are an asshole.

          This shows you’re not worth talking to, and that it’s not even worthwhile to read anything written by you, so I’m blocking you.

        • Ficino

          Then why are you here? Go away.

        • I don’t know, probably because I care about you. When you see someone suffering it is hard to not come and try to ease their pain.

        • Tommy

          Then you should be at a hospital where that’s really needed.

        • Kevin K

          Seek psychiatric counseling.

        • Yes, I have been told many times that I am crazy to care about people who hate me.

        • Kevin K

          No one “hates” you, Robert. Anymore than we “hate” your imaginary deity. We’re trying to help you. You obviously came here in a lot of pain, crying out for answers. But you’re blocking them, because you’re afraid of how it will impact your life.

          Don’t worry!! Atheism isn’t that scary. Everything will remain the same — heck, there are even preachers who are atheists. You can join the Clergy Project!!

          I know you want to be an atheist, Robert. It’s OK. Really. We’re here for you.

        • That’s really good!

        • Kevin K

          We’re an empathetic bunch, Robert. Most secular humanists are atheists (not all, but I am). We’re concerned about easing your pain. Religion has hurt you, Robert. We can’t help that — but we can provide you support in your new non-theistic life.

          Any time you’re willing to accept the evidence that there is no such thing as a god or gods, we’re here for you. Trust me, a LOT of people on this site and others around here have been through that experience. Deep believers. Preachers, even. It took them some time to finally come around to the truth of the matter.

          You can come around, too. If you’re willing to do the work.

        • Kodie

          If you cared about people, you have a lousy way of showing it. You can’t spend 30 years studying what you think you know and not one minute listening to an actual atheist. Not even now.

        • MR

          I wonder where the current “hate” slant is stemming from. We see these themes cycle through. Apologetic propaganda. Gotta love it.

        • Ficino

          It is sweet that your religious opinions seem to afford you consolations in your declining years. As for me, I am glad that I am out of the cult.

        • Congratulations.

        • Tommy

          They’re listening. They just don’t buy what you’re selling.

        • Kevin K

          You’ve yet to provide any “evidence” or “logic”.

        • Kevin, after over 40 years of debating atheists I have learned that the majority are not convinced by evidence because they don’t want evidence, they want argument.

          Take yourself for example: you say that you are certain that God does not exist and you are so happy with your life, yet you have posted nearly 24,000 comments since 2014. Do people logically spend that much time trying to refute something they really do not believe?

          There must be something that is beyond your desire to refute those who believe in God. When I read your posts, it is clear that you are not on a quest for evidence but one of reckoning. What happened in your life that caused you to feel such intense desire to spend this much time opposing those who believe in God.

        • Kodie

          Can’t you just die from so much arrogance?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Unfortunately, no. Plenty of people, like our current President, do just fine with that much arrogance, and even more.

        • Kevin K

          Robert, after 40 years of complete and utter failure (which, of course, belies your earlier claim to have been a hedonist and a rock star), you should know that the majority aren’t convinced because there is no such thing as a “god”.

          Take yourself, for example. You say you are certain that Yahweh is the one, true and only god…yet, have you even tried investigating all of the other gods? Do you have any understanding of the god of the Jains, or even the Hindu? Why did you fixate on Yahweh and not those other gods?

          Of course, you’ve also never really thought about the fact that all of those god claims are nothing but made-up fictions, Robert. And that’s why you’re here. Trying to figure out why none of those god claims — including the claims of the bible — make any sense when place in modern context. There’s a good reason, Robert. Because they don’t make any sense. What happened in your life to make you cling to primitive superstitions? I’ve discussed this with a lot of theists, Robert, and most of them mainly have a dread fear of hell. That’s probably the case with you. But there’s good news! There is no such thing as hell!! No place of punishment to go to if you think bad thoughts. Isn’t that wonderful!!

          You’re a half-step away from becoming an atheist, Robert. Join us and be free at last from the chains holding you down.

        • Tommy

          If we imagine that God is responsible for the evil that is in the world
          or that sickness, suffering or death are caused by Him or, at least,
          permitted by Him; we have misunderstood who God is.

          Or your god doesn’t exist.

          The fact that evil, sickness, suffering, and death are present on
          earth tells us that something happened outside of God that has caused
          this to take place.

          Or your god doesn’t exist.

        • JP

          What’s the atheist answer to evil, sickness, suffering, and death?

        • Steven Watson

          I form the light and create the darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

        • JP

          I understand evil in a Christian context but it makes no sense in an atheistic sense since atheism cannot account for evil, pain and suffering.

        • Steven Watson

          Pain is there so we don’t cut ourselves, fail to notice, and bleed out. Evil only exists in a human context. Awareness of suffering is an inevitable consequence of the emergence of consciousness. The universe popped into existence and everything inevitably evolved from that. All anything takes is a universe and time.

        • JP

          Since “Evil only exists in a human context” then is it wrong to inflict evil on someone in atheism?
          So there is no rhyme or reason to what happens in the universe? Stuff just happens?

        • Steven Watson

          The Causal Nexus; Quantum Indeterminancy; the Laws of Physics; Evolution; Chaos and Complexity; etc, etc, etc sunshine.

        • anxionnat

          It’s wrong to inflict someone like you on the universe. Many atheists are humanists. We understand our abilities and shortcomings as a species, and we put software patches (I think of them as bandaids) on those *evolutionarily evolved* shortcomings to allow us to live in groups, to do science, and to invent technology. And yeah, listen to the kids: Shit happens. There are physical and chemical laws too, as well as biological history.

        • JP

          Yep. For the atheist, stuff happens. No ultimate purpose for anything. That is as good as it gets for atheists.

        • Nick G

          Why do you want, or need, someone else to tell you what is worthwhile? It’s pitiable.

        • Kodie

          You think a god makes your life have any meaning? That’s kind of pathetic, needing external validation from an imaginary friend like that.

        • Mike degrees below zero

          Don’t family, friends, and hobbies make your life worthwhile?

        • Mike degrees below zero

          It might be initially frightening to realize that nobody’s driving the bus.
          Eventually, it’s a great comfort to come to terms that the universe is vast, chaotic, and doesn’t care about you.

        • Greg G.

          Evil is a Christian concept. It is not an actual thing. It’s just a range on the scale of what we don’t like.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, they don’t seem to get that the POE is directly a result of their theology. On atheism everything comes together just fine.

        • Nick G

          It is only in the context of a belief in an omnipotent and benevolent deity that these things pose any philosophical problem at all – as opposed to scientific and practical ones. Pain and suffering are simply natural phenomena, and can readily be explained in evolutionary terms: animals capable of pain and suffering were better at surviving, because they learned to avoid certain kinds of damage – there are rare people unable to feel pain, who are very prone to injuring themselves for that reason. If by “evil” you mean roughly what I do – the propensity of some people to take delight in causing suffering to others – that too is quite explicable in evolutionary terms: such people may be more able to make others hand over resources. Fortunately, cooperation and altruism also have evolutionary advantages – I will just mention the terms kin selection, reciprocal altruism, handicap principle, and reputation, since this is a complex issue where the scientific problem is not the absence of possible evolutionary explanations, but the number of alternatives. Most of us retain the capacity for both good and evil, suggesting that the evolutionary advantages of each have been in rough balance over long periods of time.

        • epeeist

          I understand evil in a Christian context but it makes no sense in an atheistic sense since atheism cannot account for evil, pain and suffering.

          For some reason, I can’t think why, you haven’t responded to this post of mine.

          In the same way:

          1. Your god is posited to be both omnipotent and omni-benevolent;

          2. Omnipotence means the ability to do anything that is logically possible;

          3. Omni-benevolence means possessing perfect or unlimited goodness;

          4. A god of unlimited goodness would not want its creation to suffer

          5. An omnipotent god would have the power to prevent suffering of any kind;

          6. However suffering of various kinds exists in the world;

          7. Therefore a god which is both omnipotent and omni-benevolent does not exist

          8. This therefore validates the atheist position of a lack of belief in such a god.

        • Nick G

          I don’t myself think this is quite logically watertight: the absence of suffering might, conceivably, be logically incompatible with some good sufficiently overwhelming to justify it. But certainly, no Christian apologist has ever come up with any convincing good of that kind, or any other convincing refutation of the argument from evil. Which is why they are almost invariably keen to change the subject. like JP, who falsely suggests that suffering and evil pose a philosophical problem for atheism – without, of course, saying what this problem is, because there isn’t one.

        • epeeist

          the absence of suffering might, conceivably, be logically incompatible with some good sufficiently overwhelming to justify it.

          Well yes, but the problem with that kind of move is that it is completely ad hocand they are never able to provide justification

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “YOU’RE TAKING THAT VERSE OUT OF CONTEXT!”

          — Robert Clifton Robinson, World’s Dumbest Apologist

        • Kodie

          What do you think it is?

        • Greg G.

          It’s an indifferent universe. Bad is just things we don’t like. Evil is what we really, really don’t like, nothing more. Sickness results from not dying immediately. Suffering happens. Death is a part of life. These are not a problem if we are just trying to survive in an indifferent universe. They are problems when you assert there is an omnipotent loving being.. All of those things become unnecessary because of the omnipotence and the existence of suffering is a sign that the omnipotence is sadistic, not loving.

        • anxionnat

          Like the kids say, Shit happens.

        • Then why does the universe exist?

        • Steven Watson

          I Don’t Like Mondays.

        • Tommy

          Why does your god exist?

        • Kevin K

          Ha! Really? Because “nothing” is unstable — according to quantum physics, in any event.

          Or, because there is an eternal multiverse that splits off mini-universes, one of which gave rise to a biotic film with “intelligence”.

          Or a dozen other natural explanations that don’t involve a magic genie speaking magic words.

        • Pofarmer

          Is it possible that sickness, suffering and death are man’s fault?

          No, because that doesn’t explain all the sickness, suffering, and death that man has nothing to do with, or before Man was even a thing.

        • Kevin K

          It doesn’t even explain human evil. Because there’s no real answer to the question “why in the world would a god that wants us to know him, worship him, and live with him forever in heaven allow us to sin in the first place?”

          A real god with those desires could make it impossible to sin — make it as difficult as flying without an airplane or swimming under solid rock.

          The “free will” argument is nothing but an extended dodge that demonstrates the lack of power of the god who either granted it freely or had it stolen when the mud-man and rib-woman ate the IQ-raising sin-fruit at the behest of the talking snake with legs (depending on your theology, of course).

          Of course, the “fall of man” is in and of itself a classic dodge demonstrating the lack of power of this deity. Why couldn’t it just reverse the spell that the fruit conveyed? Return mud-man and rib-woman to their “pre-fallen” state? If I were a deity, and it was my terrarium garden, that’s what I’d do. Erase the effects of the fruit, and then move the fucking tree.

          But NO!!! Yahweh the Magnificent™ couldn’t manage that.

        • Pofarmer

          That-was glorious.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Or why put the tree with the IQ-raising sin-fruit within reach of the mud-man and rib-woman? Or why even create such a thing to begin with?

        • ??

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “??”

          Uh… did I stutter? Are you really that fucking stupid that you didn’t understand the question? I guess you are, and you were stupid enough to show us how stupid you are in your out-loud voice. That makes you both stupid AND an asshole. I’m sure your god and his illegitimate son born via Mary-rape are super-duper proud of you and your “apologetics”. Back on “block” you go.

        • Kevin K

          He was a nice chew toy. Have a great day.

        • Love you, man!

        • Kevin K

          Seriously? You’ve never considered the fact that Yahweh was responsible for this entire mess in the first place, according to your book? That it could have just removed the tree from the terrarium and let the mud-man and rib-woman go about their existence, blithely unaware of the difference between good and evil?

          Oh, by the way … why is knowledge of good an evil a “bad thing”? So bad that it merits expulsion from paradise? What if mud-man or rib-woman unintentionally committed an evil act? Would they be responsible for it? I think not. And yet — that’s EXACTLY what happened in the story — they didn’t know the difference, and yet were judge culpable.

          Your theology stinks. Your god is already monstrous.

        • JP

          Lets look your atheistic suppositions:
          life is ultimately meaningless.
          Dawkins says it so well when he writes:
          “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
          ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

        • Kodie

          What makes you think life is ultimately meaningful? You’re an animal. You think you have a timeless eternal purpose for your life in these years instead of some other years? You think there is someone out there who needs you to exist on earth for some reason?

          What kind of pathetic child you are!

        • Nick G

          Some of us, JP, are mature enough to find meaning in our own lives, in relationships with others, in the pursuit of knowledge, in trying to leave the world better than we found it. Why does the thought that meaning is not provided for you by a supernatural being scare you so much?

        • epeeist

          Dawkins says it so well when he writes:

          Which says that meaning cannot be found in the universe.

          life is ultimately meaningless

          Which is of course simply a fallacy of division. It does not follow that because meaning cannot be found in the universe that it cannot be found in its parts, life in this case.

          Just as an illustration: The universe has a mean density of 6 particles per cubic metre, humans are part of the universe therefore they have a mean density of 6 particles per cubic metre.

        • Exactly how is it God’s fault that people reject Him and then blame Him for the condition of the world as a result of their desire to have a world without God?

          Even when He came to earth Himself and died to give us all another chance, people like you still tell Him to leaven them alone, while continuing to blame Him because the world is full of suffering and death. I don’t get that Kevin!

        • Tommy

          Exactly how is it God’s fault that people reject Him and then blame Him
          for the condition of the world as a result of their desire to have a
          world without God?

          Supposedly your god created man with the capacity to reject him and blame him for the condition of the world.

          Even when He came to earth Himself and died to give us all another
          chance, people like you still tell Him to leaven them alone, while
          continuing to blame Him because the world is full of suffering and
          death. I don’t get that Kevin!

          You know what we also don’t get? You thinking that your weak apologetics is some how compelling.

        • Kevin K

          I’m sorry, but how did mud-man and rib-woman “reject” god when — according to the book itself — they didn’t know right from wrong — good from evil?

          “He” .. what bullshit. Myth. Pure unadulterated fiction. I don’t get that a person rational enough to form common English sentences can’t see that, Robert!

        • anxionnat

          Not to mention talking snakes, talking donkeys, 4-legged insects, etc etc.

        • So you think God should force you to not sin? Interesting, but what a monster-God that would be.

          As I read your argument it is clear that you blame God for giving us the privilege to do as we please but then blame Him for allowing us to sin.

          We all understand the consequences of bad decisions. How is that God’s fault?

          When God made the earth and placed man on it, we were perfect. We chose to sin, not God. He didn’t make us sin, it is our choice.

          How can you blame God for the choices we make which turn out bad? This sounds like an argument my son made with me when he was in his 20’s. He made bad decisions that ruined his life for a time, but blamed God for letting it happen.

          The world is full of suffering because we told God that we wanted a world without Him. He gave us what we asked for.

          He offers a change for those who are willing but people like you are still telling Him to leave you alone. I don’t get that!

        • Kevin K

          I think that a god who does not wish me to sin could easily make me not-sin and not have me think it a “monster” at all. Give me a revulsion against whatever behavior it wanted — and that I wouldn’t even think was unusual, much less monstrous. It would be “just the way things are”. “I can’t have sex with a woman who isn’t my wife…because I throw up if I even think about it, much less try it. So, I don’t.”

          What’s wrong with “sinning” anyhow? How does unauthorized use of my genitalia harm this deity? There’s something pretty perverse about this deity and its obsession with sex, don’t you think?

          You certainly have low expectations of this god of yours. And a dim view of its superpowers. Almost as if they’re limited by your imagination.

        • Tommy

          So you think God should force you to not sin? Interesting, but what a monster-God that would be.

          So you are convinced that your god would be a monster if he forced us not to commit evil? That’s some twisted apologetics right there.

          We all understand the consequences of bad decisions. How is that God’s fault?

          Supposedly your god created us with the capacity to make bad decisions.

          When God made the earth and placed man on it, we were perfect. We chose
          to sin, not God. He didn’t make us sin, it is our choice.

          How would that be possible if men were supposedly perfect?

          How can you blame God for the choices we make which turn out bad?

          We blame the manufacturers for faulty products. Your god supposedly created a being with the capacity to do things it wasn’t supposed to do.

          This sounds like an argument my son made with me when he was in his
          20’s. He made bad decisions that ruined his life for a time, but blamed
          God for letting it happen.

          Sounds like your son’s apologetics are better than yours.

          The world is full of suffering because we told God that we wanted a world without Him. He gave us what we asked for.

          Or the world is full of suffering because your god doesn’t exist.

          He offers a change for those who are willing but people like you are still telling Him to leave you alone. I don’t get that!

          Or your god never was real. Apparently you don’t get that, either.

        • Kodie

          You’re such a big baby. Most of the things that are bad in the world have nothing to do with humans.

        • MR

          Christianity has become a religion of negativity.

        • When was this?

          Since man first told God to leave him alone, sickness, suffering and death have existed. Jesus healed sick people, showing us that God does not want us to be sick. This is why Jesus died, to end our suffering by offering a chance for those who are willing.

        • Castilliano

          If you’re a Young Earth Creationist, there’s no further reason to discuss anything with you. Your epistemology would be too corrupted for reasonable people to connect with you, and this goes down to the most fundamental axioms. Man simply has not been around for the whole of creation, and the creatures that existed before humanity suffered. Why?

        • Pofarmer

          Dude, sickness, suffering, and death have existed for the entirety of human existence. Just because some Bronze age priests decided to make up a story, doesn’t mean that it started then. And yet Jesus died, and, nothing. Nothing at all. Soap and closed sewers did far more for human lifespans than Jesus did. It’s a bronze age scapegoating tale. Come on over to reality. It’s nice.

        • Kevin K

          Um…when did man tell “god” to “leave him alone”? The mud-man and rib-woman didn’t say that at all! Instead, they made a mistake by listening to the talking snake with legs. And instead of forgiving the mud-man and rib-woman, he got all huffy and threw them out of his presence. Not the other way around.

          You really haven’t read the Big Book of Myths at all, have you? Hint: most of the rest of us have.

        • Yes, I have heard that argument that you have read the Bible before. You have not read it with a desire to understand what you were reading and for this reason God has hidden Himself from you.

          It is impossible for you to know God because you don’t want to know Him. God only reveals Himself to those who are sincere and diligently seek Him. He remains invisible to the critic, scoffer and willfully ignorant.

          It was for this reason that Jesus often taught in Parables, to hide the truth from those who are not interested, but cause the sincere to dig deeper and find the truth.

          I wish you the best in what is left of your life, what little there is…

        • Kevin K

          Nice try at “see you in hell.” Fuck you with a rusty porcupine.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Ah, he’s moved on to issuing threats already? That was fast. Most “professional” “apologists” try to make a better effort at sales than that for longer. Apparently we’re dealing with a singularly special asshole.

        • Kevin K

          It’s the last desperate act of the apologist who has nothing to say. Of course, threatening an atheist with hell is pretty much synonymous with threatening them with an invisible pillow fight. It gives him a chubby to think about it — but it’s no big thing.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          It does show that the person issuing the threats is a nasty, vicious, lowlife of a human being, though, even if the actual threat doesn’t carry any weight.

        • Praying for you Kevin that your heart and mind will be open to know God so that He might reveal His great love for you and give you the most incredible life you could imagine…

        • Tommy

          Pray to get another line of work because apoogetics definitely isn’t your thing.

        • Kodie

          Your impotent prayers to your imaginary friend because you used up all your best arguments that are so childish and shitty? You keep on believing your dumb fantasies….

        • Kevin K

          Thinking for you, Robert, that you understand that everything you believe in is a lie.

        • No, Kevin I am the sort of person that you have to prove something before I will believe it. That is why it took me so long before I was convinced. It took a lot of work and diligence or I never would have believed that God exists.

        • Kevin K

          Robert, you haven’t come here to “prove” anything. You have come here to spew PRATTs.

          And ask yourself this: Why would a god who wants to be known and worshiped require “a lot of work and diligence”? It’s utter nonsense. A god who wants to be known and worshiped would make it completely and utterly impossible not to understand its existence. In the same way that the car in my garage does not require ANY work and diligence in order that I believe that it exists.

          You’re grasping at straws, Robert.

          In fact, I think you’ve come here with a different motivation in mind, Robert. I think that you have doubts — have carried them for many year, maybe. And you’re actually seeking validation that those doubts are reaching towards the truth. The truth being that there is no god, and there is no afterlife, and the best we can do is live our lives in peace trying not to harm one-another. And that religion poisons everything. You really want to be freed from your superstitions, Robert. And I’m here to tell you that it’s OK. Come over to atheism. It’s the rational thing to do. It’s the only way to reconcile your obvious and glaring doubts with the evidence at hand. You can’t answer the questions, because they answer is too painful for you — that you’ve wasted your life on a lie.

          We’re here for you, Robert. Give up your delusions. Embrace rationality and evidence.

        • Kodie

          🙂

        • Kevin K

          Shh. Don’t give it away.

        • A Being who has existed forever and has need of nothing to improve or complete Himself, does not need to beg people to believe He exists.

          When a person sees the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, they don’t imagine that it just happened to appear there on the wall one day. They see the beauty and creative capacity of the artist and they know He exists.

          God created the universe for the sold purpose of painting a canvas with a work so masterful, complex, beautiful, and majestic that we would see it and understand that He exists. It is for this reason that He said that only a fool would believe that He does not exist.

          He also does not reveal Himself to people whom He knows, really do not want to know Him. For the same reason that I don’t answer many questions that atheists pose to me. It is not that I don’t know the answers, they are always easy to answer. It is that the answer is not really what the person needs, nor will it convince them, because they are not seeking answers, they want to argue.

          Those who are sincere and seek God with true motives, He reveals Himself. To those who deny Him and spend their lives trying to get others to also not believe in God, He makes them blind and they cannot see Him or believe.

          I keep trying because I know that a person like yourself who is so militant in their posts, is just such a person that is very near the end of their resistance and about ready to fold. It’s hard to kick against the goads…

        • Kevin K

          But wait…if a being existed forever — then why would it need to create a universe? What was wrong with its eternal existence prior to the inception of the universe that it felt compelled to create one? What you’re doing is placing a “need” in the hands of that particular deity.

          And, of course, theists tell us that particular deity actually does demand worship of us, and demands that we adhere to a particular set of behavioral instructions (which are quite bizarre, FWIW, mainly having to do with sexual relations). So, you’re presenting us with a conundrum…a deity that doesn’t want anything of us, but yet demands of us its loyalty and complete devotion — without providing the slightest scintilla of evidence that it actually … you know … exists.

          The Christian conception of the universe is mainly that it exists as a soul sorter — for Yahweh to put this soul in “heaven” and that soul in “hell”. But, if there is an eternal, all-powerful god, why would it need to go through that process? Couldn’t it just merely create souls for “heaven”? There’s no need for the corporeal existence at all. After all, all of the angels and “hosts of heaven” were created by Yahweh before the beginning of the universe by it. What happened that it can no longer make angels and has to rely on earthly “souls”?

          And what kind of creature wants “souls” to begin with? What’s the point? Merely to do endless praising of it in “heaven”? Sounds more monstrous than anything you’ve proposed to date. I think there’s a reason Satan chose not to participate in that eternal endeavor.

          Of course, that’s all fictional — the good news is that there is no “heaven”, no “hell” and no god that demands eternal love OR ELSE.

        • Kevin K

          BTW: You just said an outright lie. “It’s not that I don’t know the answer to the questions…” that’s a complete and utter violation of your Ninth Commandment. Please give us at least a little credit for understanding how little you’ve thought about these questions, and how poor your response would be were you to be able to gin one up.

          That’s why we know you’re a secret atheist, Robert. Because you don’t know the answer to those questions, and it’s beginning to bother you.

          I figured it out when I was 8, Robert. Why is it taking you so long.

        • anxionnat

          Obviously not. You’ve got no “evidence.” Only a book of myths and stories–that the authors *knew* were myths and stories. And that the early xtians and Jews *knew* were myths and stories. It was only fairly recently that xtians started believing that their Big Book of Myths was real history.

        • Such pain, so much anger. How is it that you continue to live with the knowledge that the God who made this incredible universe still loves you and is standing by just waiting for you to want Him?

          Is this what cause the pain? Is it the emptiness and loneliness of a life without any hope that this is all there is? There is so much more Kevin that can be yours. If only you will open your heart and allow it to happen. Call on Him, He is not far. Your life will never be the same.

        • Pofarmer

          Honestly dude, what’s causing us pain is your interminable stupidity.

        • Kevin K

          He’s harmless. This is the “dead cat bounce” of apologetics.

        • Pofarmer

          Christmas, New Years, and Easter always fire em up.

        • Kevin K

          Ha! Quite right. Although why St. Swithen’s Day doesn’t, I can’t say.

        • Pofarmer

          Dammit. There’s another thing I didn’t want to learn about. Lol.

        • Kodie

          Lol, what a dumb fuck you are. You are so empty and hate life, that you need to construct a lie where you mean more than you do and get to live forever, so when you die, you will be “better” at something that you can never be on earth. What a loser you are, what a child.

        • Kevin K

          Bite me. There is no god, not even yours. Jesus is a fictional character, created by desperate people who were kicked out of their homeland after being defeated by the Romans — because they were such pricks about being “special”.

          For your information, I am happy, healthy (as healthy as any person my age can claim to be), well adjusted with a great job and family life. I’m a multi-millionaire (yes, really) who derives great pleasure from friends, family, hobbies, and life in general — all without the need for a magic sky genie. I have been an atheist since about age 8 — when I determined the story about the man and his magic boat was bullshit. If anyone is “deserving” of godly punishment for disbelief, it would be me. And yet, here I am — much, much happier with my life than you apparently are. You who is a complete and utter failure as a Christian apologist and evangelist. Ask yourself–who has been moved by our “conversation”? And in what direction? You’ve failed utterly and completely in your pitiful attempts to brainwash people into thinking your mythology is real.

          You should probably kill yourself, if it wasn’t a “sin”. But I suppose you should settle with deleting your account and never-ever think of yourself as anything other than a failure ever again in your pitiful, oxygen-wasting life.

        • Kevin, intense pain manifests itself by anger. It is clear that you are angry. Though you say you are so happy and have all you could desire, yet this anger is a harbinger of what is really there deep inside.

          I understand this more than you know and I don’t think that you really believe all that you seem so adamant about. If you really are a “millionaire” then this explains many things.

          People who have no money, worry about not being able to get enough. People who have a lot of money worry about losing it. Either way, both are never satisfied because money, success, and every other thing in this world cannot make a person truly happy.

          I used to tell people the same thing, but then when I was all alone and had a chance to think about what I said, I knew it wasn’t true.

          Men like Chris Cornell, Robin Williams, and many others, had all that a person could ask for and yet, they ended their lives because the emptiness was so overwhelming. People call it depression, but perhaps it is much more that this; a sadness at living that cannot be satisfied by life.

          The only reason I am really here is because of people like you. I just care and if I didn’t I would’t be here. I have so many things that I need to be doing right now but I am drawn to this place because I understand the people here and how they feel.

          Anyway, I realize that nothing I say is likely to help you but nevertheless, I will be here from time to time in the hope that this beggar might be able to tell another beggar where I found bread…

        • Kevin K

          Robert, I feel nothing but absolute sorrow that you and others like you have wasted your life believing in such idiocies as “life after death”.

          Here: read a book that isn’t bound in leather..

          https://www.amazon.com/Atheists-Angry-Things-That-Godless-ebook/dp/B007MCMKV6

        • Kodie

          You never see things from our perspective – do you ever ask yourself if you’re too arrogant with your fantasies that people might reject them because they’re false?

          And yet you persist in thinking you have a motherfucking clue what makes other people angry, and you’re way off, because it’s actually you?

          You are welcome to whatever fulfills you, but your arrogance is why atheists speak up. Your and other Christians outrageous tendencies to condescend to atheists, to pretend you know what we’re like, what we’re thinking, or what secret you can share that is the only way a person can be emotionally fulfilled? UTTER MOTHERFUCKING ARROGANCE. Go stuff it up your mother’s ass, it’s that much bullshit.

        • Kevin K

          He’s transparent as glass. I’m having quite a bit of fun with Robert, since he seems fixated on me. I think he’s really an atheist-in-training. I’ll count him as a great victory when I turn him. And I will!! Don’t you worry!!

        • Kevin K

          Well, Robin Williams was suffering from an incurable illness, and his decision to end his life, while tragic, was probably in the end not out-of-line — it was his life, after all, and not yours or “god’s”. I don’t know who Chris Cornell is/was, so won’t comment.

          I do know that deeply religious people like Robert Dear, and 9/11 hijackers and many, many others, kill innocent people in the name of their god; and that kind of mindless, senseless violence is untenable. Without a religious upbringing, most of the mass murderers we see would not perpetrate their acts. Why would you support a philosophy that supported such senseless violence? It doesn’t make any sense at all.

          I realize that you’re struggling in your quest to become an atheist, but we’ll be here, whenever you’re ready to truly — openly and honestly — ready to start asking the important questions. Starting with — why doesn’t your god ever heal amputees?

        • If there is no God, then where did the universe come from? Why after and eternity of nothing did everything suddenly come into existence? What was the trigger that caused time, space, and matter to exist when it had not previously existed. Please spare me the theoretical hyperbole .

        • Kodie

          Please spare me the theoretical hyperbole .

          Like the maximally great imaginary being in the sky created it for YOU!!!!?????

        • Pofarmer

          If that doesn’t describe “Hoist by his own Petard” I don’t know what does. Lol.

        • anxionnat

          Suggestion: read Lawrence Krauss’s book on cosmology. He addresses that question of “something from nothing” very eloquently. Not to mention with evidence rather than primitive Iron Age myth.

        • Kevin K

          Oh my. You think that’s a difficult question? Why in the world would you think the answer to that question would be complete and utterly at odds with everything we’ve ever discovered about the universe and its workings?

          An all-natural process was involved, of course. One not dependent on a disembodied brain, and especially not a humanoid-like brain speaking magic words. Exactly what that process was hasn’t been determined — but it’s the “god of the gaps” logical fallacy to try to insert magic into the spaces where science doesn’t have a complete answer. And I stress “complete” because we certainly know enough to declare that none of the religious myths — including the Jewish myths — about the inception of the universe are inalterably wrong.

          Is that the last barrier to your becoming an atheist, Robert? The inception of the universe? You could probably read some physics texts, but I think popular physics books are a better entree. None of them — NONE of them — will offer “magic man” as a solution to that particular question. But, of course, they’re still working on the problem, so stay tuned! Heck, if you become an atheist — which you obviously want to do — then you might be on the forefront of that new knowledge!!

        • Pofarmer

          Fuck you moron. How can it be impossible to know an omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent entity that knows exactly what it would take for you to “know” him. Why would it even be necessary to “know” him. Douche nozzle. Oh, your God, you’re stupid.

        • JP

          Using foul language is a sign of a failed argument. You failed.

        • Pofarmer

          Using foul language is a sign I’m honestly fed the fuck up.

        • JP

          So you mean yourself?

        • When you use thins kind of language to respond to an argument of any importance, no one will take you seriously.

          An ancient debate trick that is often used: When you cannot answer the argument, attack the speaker.

        • Pofarmer

          You think you’re making an important argument? You think nobody has heard your regurgitated nonsense?

        • I am not really interested in argument. I am only interested in you. I don’t need to prove what I already now is true. I do care about people who are in pain and exhibit their suffering by attacking the very One who is trying to reach them.

          Your anger is not really directed at me, though you might be certain that I am the current cause. Your anger is because of hurt, disappointment, and the hopelessness of a life without purpose. You can’t understand why, if God is real and He loves you, that you have been through so much pain.

          There is a suffering of the heart that no one can see but is far more painful than any physical torture. There are answers for you that are resident in the very One whom you are now denying. Call on Him and He will come to you and give you a life beyond anything you could imagine.

        • Kodie

          We’re not attacking god, you stupid motherfucking moron. Christians exist. We’re attacking your shitty arguments and claims that bind up reality. You and other people really do have a lot of power to fuck things up for everyone by believing your nonsense, and that’s not ok.

        • Pofarmer

          Holy fucking shit dude. Go AWAY.

          Moron.

        • Kevin K

          You’re also not interested in answering the question of why Yahweh doesn’t heal amputees.

        • Because Kevin the answer will not help you answer the real question you have.

        • Kevin K

          Because, Robert, it’s the first question on the list. Answer the question!!!

        • Why is this question important to you?

        • Kevin K

          Because, Robert, you won’t answer it.

        • Ficino

          You may have f-cked up your life so much in your hedonistic days that you were in pain and latched onto a system. That is your right. I am guessing that the skeptics and atheists on here will support your right to your beliefs. But your attempt to oppose Bob’s OP carried zero credibility.

          You will find a more harmonious, centered life ahead of you if you allow yourself to live in reality.

        • Kevin K

          I’m guessing his “hedonism” consisted of unscrewing the Oreo cooking before dunking it in milk.

        • Kodie

          When you sound like a child, nobody will take you seriously, and you will probably get cursed out for being such a fucking moron.

        • Kevin K

          Answer the fucking question, Robert! Why doesn’t Yahweh heal amputees?

        • Are you asking this question for yourself or someone else?

        • Kevin K

          Why, it’s the first question in the list, Robert. You can’t answer the question on behalf of Yahweh. So, maybe you should go get him and have him answer for you.

        • anxionnat

          Did you know that in your Big Book of Myths, insects are listed among four-footed creatures? Why does the Bible not tell believers to *wash their hands after going to the bathroom*? Even ancient Greek and Roman scientists knew this saved lives! (*Why* it saved lives was not known for millennia because the church suppressed ancient scientific research. People died in agony because the xtian beliefs, which they forced on everyone, were idiotic Iron Age myth. Women died in childbirth in horrible ways. And you know something? You don’t really believe them. When you’re sick you go to a doctor. When you want to go a couple of miles from your home, you drive or take the bus. When you want to get from the US to Europe, you don’t paddle an Iron Age-style raft; you fly. If you went back in a time machine to the first century, you’d be shocked at the squalor and lack of what we consider to be essential services, like medical care–based on scientific principles–that was available at the time. You’d be yelling for the time machine to bring you home to the 21st century again. Same if you were transported back to the early 19th century.) Hypocrite.

        • Mike degrees below zero

          To get from the US to Europe, the True Believer walks.

        • The facts are, unless a Being who has the technological power to create a universe like the one we observe, would choose to reveal Himself to us, we would never know who He is.

          Since it was by words that we communicate with each other, He revealed who He is by words. We can also know a person by the things they have made. We know who God is and what He is capable of by observing the universe He created. We can understand what kind of person someone is by seeing how they treat other people. When we observe the Being who created the universe, we see that He certainly cares for us.

          He gave us a planet uniquely prepared for us. He gave us dominion over this planet and allowed us to run it. He gave us only one law to continue our dominion. We told God that we did not want Him to run our lives and so, He gave us what we asked for, He departed.

          Sickness, suffering, evil and death began not long after and it has continued since that time.

          Immediately after our fall, God promised that He would send a Savior who would make it possible for those who were willing, to return to the perfection that God intended for every person.

          He kept His promise by coming to earth and became one of us. He died to pay the penalty we deserved and removed our sins. He left the decision to return to Him in our hands. As a free gift, with nothing for us to do to earn salvation, all we have to do is believe it.

          Today, people like yourself, continue to tell God, “NO, I don’t want you.” As always, He respects our decision but leaves the results also in our hands.

          You have what you asked for. God has stayed out of your life and at the end of your life you will never have to see Him again.

        • Kodie

          Humans wrote that myth – that’s why it sounds like humans wrote it and know nothing and wish everything and promise you whatever you want.

        • Tommy

          Weak. Just like your apologetics.

        • Pofarmer

          O.K.

          The second paragraph I hit the third fallacy and I quit.

          You’re just that stupid.

        • Kevin K

          Oh fuck are you a Moron Mormon? I’ve only heard the Morons Mormons talk like that.

          You are a special brand of idiot, aren’t you? Who STILL hasn’t answer the question of why your god doesn’t heal amputees.

        • What is really going on in your life Kevin that has caused you so much pain?

        • Kevin K

          What is really going on in your life, Robert, that you have deluded yourself into believing such patent nonsense?

        • Tommy

          Imaginary beings tend to appear to those who seek them.

        • anxionnat

          I love the comment that the road to atheism is strewn with Bibles read cover to cover…

        • Kevin K

          Honestly, my atheism came to me in a flash, when the 3rd grade Sunday School teacher told us the story of the big boat and all the animals, and I said to myself “no way that happened”. I read the bible later to see what all the hugga-mugga was about — turns out, not much.

        • Tommy

          Since man first told God to leave him alone, sickness, suffering and
          death have existed.

          Where in the bible is this?

        • Kodie

          That’s wishful thinking. We don’t want to be sick, so a character that heals sickness? Just what we wanted! Just the kind of character you would want to follow! Jesus dying was a waste of his life. Just think of all the good things he could have done!

        • anxionnat

          It’s pretty clear that you don’t know (and obviously care less) about the history of life on this planet. And don’t quote the Genesis rip-off of the Epic of Gilgamesh to “prove” there was an ark and a flood was where the rock layers come from,. To quote JBS Haldane a British evolutionary biologist, when asked what evidence would falsify evolution, famously growled, “Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian.” I laugh whenever I read that joke. You don’t know or care to understand it. Every single geologist and biologist in the world understands this. What evidence would falsify religious belief? None. Stop trying to cover that up

        • Kodie

          I think that’s meant for someone else?

        • Tony D’Arcy

          Even Christians die !

        • but we will be raised to life… so also will those who reject Christ.

        • Kevin K

          No, you won’t. Sorry to break it to you. When you die, you decompose, and that’s it. And you have zero evidence to the contrary. Far, far, far less evidence than there is for the existence of a real person named “Jesus”.

          And please don’t try Pascal’s Wager, because if you do, I’ll start meming you.

        • Tommy

          A 2,000 year-old false promise is still a false promise. It was never true for the Greco-Romans then, it’s not true for anyone alive now and it never will be true for anyone ever.

        • Kevin K

          I just wonder how long after a prophecy has failed that you can stone someone to death for making it? If we could find Jesus’ bones, we should set them up in a square and stone them into dust for his failing to return within the lifetime of the listeners to his nonsense.

        • Kodie

          No, you’re going to die.

        • Tommy

          You think that all the suffering in the world is God’s fault?

          If he allegedly created and runs the universe and is supposedly in charge of everything then yes.

          Or just that He allows it to happen?

          That or he doesn’t exist.

          Is it possible that sickness, suffering and death are man’s fault?

          Not possible since these things existed long before humans evolved.

          I seem to remember that people like yourself have told God that you
          don’t want Him in your life and to leave you alone. Perhaps that is what
          He did.

          Are you sure they weren’t telling you to leave them alone and they don’t want you in their life?

          A world of suffering and death is what we get when we tell God to leave us alone…

          A world of suffering and death is what you get when your god doesn’t exist.

        • JP

          What is the atheist answer to suffering and death?

        • anxionnat

          Shit happens.

        • Nick G

          They are natural phenomena. There is no philosophical problem in their existence unless you posit an omnipotent and benevolent deity – at which point they become inexplicable. There are of course practical problems of how to ameliorate suffering and premature death – but there we find that human ingenuity and dedication, irrespective of religious belief or its absence, is what provides progress.

        • Mike degrees below zero

          Reliance (or working to prevent it) and mourning.

        • Ficino

          “Understanding that God is unlimited and nothing is impossible for Him …”
          So your answer to the above question, apparently, is “yes.” Good to know that God can’t do something when you say nothing is impossible for God. Abandoning the PNC, you annihilate all discourse. So why are you here?

        • Tommy

          He would not choose to make something so heavy He could not lift it.

          How do you know this?

        • Mike degrees below zero

          It would be so massive as to suck in the entire universe.

        • Kevin K

          If “God” is unlimited, then why doesn’t it heal amputees, Robert?

        • Maybe He doesn’t want to.

        • Kevin K

          So, the gospel writers LIED? When they said that “anything that is asked shall be given”?

        • anxionnat

          Why are there only “evidences” of “miracles” at places like Lourdes that only include diseases or conditions that go into remission on their own? Like said above: no wooden legs there. But *plenty* of evidence that is from diseases like asthma and cancer. Interesting story: back in the 70s, my great uncle, a farmer in California’s Central valley, and his wife, my great aunt, believed in faith healing. They flew, at great expense, to see a faith healer in the Philippines to cure my uncle’s hip pain, which was not allowing him to continue farming as he’d done all his life. Despite the expense of going there, and a very handsome donation to the faith healer–nada. No effect. So my uncle came home, went to Stanford Medical Center, and got a double hip replacement (one of the first done there on humans. ) * Which he should have done in the first place!* He was in the hospital for 4 months (that was common back then. During my second hip replacement in 2012, I was in the hospital for 4 days, then in a rehab facility for 10 days.) After rehab, he continued to farm until his death at over 90. He and my aunt finally admitted that they regretted spending all that money (I think it was their profits for over a year) on a scam.

        • Kevin K

          Lourdes is a really interesting case study. According to my research — a few years old now — about 20 million people have visited Lourdes seeking “miracle” cures. And according to the Catholic Church, a total of 12 — TWELVE — “verified’ miracles have occurred there. None, obviously, involving re-grown limbs.

          Thing is, the rate of spontaneous remission of severe diseases is quite a bit higher than that. Stage IV (inoperable, uncurable, end-stage) brain cancer has a spontaneous remission rate of 1 in 500,000. So, if you wanted a remission of your brain cancer, you would get far better odds by staying at home rather than traveling to Lourdes.

          (Of course, Robert probably isn’t a Catholic, so will decry that bit of statistical wizardry on my part. But the question would then remain — if Satan is the “god of the Earth” as it declares in the bible — why doesn’t it heal Catholics at Lourdes as a “trick”?).

        • Pofarmer

          Yep. As far as remmission of disease goes, Lourdes signifcantly underperforms what it should just by chance. Maybe this is a similar effect to the Templeton study where people who knew they were being prayed for recovered worse than those that didn’t.

        • Miracles do not convince people who do not want to believe. They only help people who want to believe. The greatest miracle has already happened and most people on earth do not believe it. Jesus came to earth as God in human flesh. He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, caused the paralyzed to walk and raised the dead. Did they believe? They crucified Him.

          He rose from the dead and left us nearly 25,000 copies of the original manuscripts that testify of His life, death, and resurrection and people still do not believe.

    • sandy

      Why does God remain hidden? Why not reveal yourself to the world and end all doubt?

      • You are not aware that He came to earth 2,000 years ago?

        • Nick G

          No, that’s actually logically impossible. “God” as defined in the Abrahamic religions, is omnipresent, and hence cannot “come” anywhere. And the traditional doctrine of the incarnation, that Jesus was simultaneously a man and God, is equally, logically impossible, because “man” and “God” have incompatible attributes, so nothing can be both.

        • You are unaware that the Hebrew prophets predicted that God would come to earth as the Messiah?

        • Nick G

          No, they did not. You are simply showing your complete ignorance of Judaism. But if they had, they would necessarily have been wrong.

        • I understand that you reject Jesus as Messiah and therefore cannot see that He fulfilled the prophecies of Messiah. This does not negate the fact that He did.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm the Jews didn’t think so either, or there wouldn’t still be Jews. Moron.

        • Kodie

          Your profile says you’re an apologist and yet here you are sounding like the bottom of the barrel. We’ve heard from more intelligent Christians. You just sound like a home-schooled teenage fanatic for Jesus who just now got on the internet for the first time and trying out his lamest arguments.

        • Pofarmer

          Goddamn Kodie. Brand new profile. 191 posts. Why didn’t I look at that. Lol.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          He’s got a web site, too. The thing is a sad monument to his own ego. I thought pride was a sin for Christians. Maybe it’s okay to be prideful as long as you call yourself an “apologist”.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I mean, really… the guy couldn’t come up with a domain name that wasn’t his own? If he wasn’t creative enough to come up with something that would better glorify his god, he didn’t even think to ask around and see if any of his friends or colleagues could come up with something better? Nope, he just went with his own goddamn name. What an egotistical prick.

        • Kodie

          The profile looks at least almost 3 years old, but also looks like RCR only gets online about once a year for a while and then fucks off.

        • In fairness, Kodie, you don’t know enough about me to make that determination.

          Perhaps this is a trend in your life that you jump to conclusions about matters you don’t know well enough. Take for example, God. Have you really done the necessary work to prove to yourself that He doesn’t exist or is this more of a felling or emotional response? I ask this because a majority or atheists don’t really know much about the subjects they argue regarding the existence of God.

        • Tommy

          In fairness, Kodie, you don’t know enough about me to make that determination.

          And yet you’ve told many on this thread that the reason we don’t believe in your god is that “we told him to leave us alone”. LOL

          Perhaps this is a trend in your life that you jump to conclusions about matters you don’t know well enough.

          That’s the job of apologists.

          Take for example, God. Have you really done the necessary work to prove to yourself that He doesn’t exist or is this more of a felling or emotional response?

          And have you really done the necessary work to prove to yourself that he does exist or is this more of a feeling or emotional response?

          I ask this because a majority or atheists don’t really know much about the subjects they argue regarding the existence of God.

          Judging from your comments here, I’d say you don’t know enough about atheists to make that determination.

        • Kodie

          In fairness, I know enough from your comments to compare them to many other theists who have posted here. I have done all the necessary work to reject the nonsense of religion and superstition. What’s more telling, I don’t think you know anything about atheists or what they know or argue regarding the existence of god – hence why you sound like a homeschooled juvenile fanatic instead of an intelligent adult who has studied many many years.

        • Kevin K

          This does not negate the fact that writers of historical fiction place their characters in real times and places.

          Oh, by the way, how do you reconcile the fact that Matthew and Luke have a 10-year discrepancy in their chronologies? You can’t have BOTH Jesus being born during Herod’s reign AND while Quirinius was governor of Syria!!!

        • Kodie

          Oh, and no one ever consciously decided to “fulfill” a prophecy now and then? A story about that guy makes you think it was true and real and prophesied, because (a) you’re motherfucking gullible, and (b) I don’t even know what else. Critical thinking here is something you don’t have. A story about Hebrew prophets making shit up and then i happens doesn’t satisfy the evidence that actual god actually came to earth as a man and a messiah that was predicted. Any cult leader can fool at least some people (but not the Jews!) that he comes to fulfill a prophesy he is familiar with! You dumb child!

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Half of the weirdness of the four gospels is there because they were attempts to write a character that fulfilled prophecy… for example, the whole requirement for the census that people go to where their Israelite line was from so that Jesus could claim to be from two places instead of one.

        • Kevin K

          Are you unaware that the “gospel” writers had access to the scriptures? Are you not aware that Margaret Meade had access to books about Civil War history before she wrote “Gone With The Wind”? Are you just that fucking stupid?

        • Tommy

          According to pagan Greeks’s interpretations from Greek translations of Jewish scriptures. Jews don’t and never believed that.

        • Michael Neville

          You are unaware that the messiah would kick out all foreign troops and establish Israel as a Middle Eastern superpower on a similar level to Egypt and Babylon? Itinerant preachers were not the messiah, a military and political genius was required to be the messiah.

        • Kevin K

          Are you not aware that’s a fictional account?

        • According to you, but nor according to the evidence of history

        • Kevin K

          Really? Name one contemporaneous eyewitness account outside of the so-called “gospel” accounts that verify any of the secular (non-miracle) events discussed in the bible.

          Hint: Josephus wasn’t contemporaneous, not Tacitus, nor Origen. Heck, “Luke” wasn’t even an eyewitness–says so himself.

          You who think we haven’t read your book of myths.

        • I see, only those you validate as Contemporaneous are valid…

          The Romans were very tolerant of every religion except Christianity. The Roman Emperors determined that Christianity was a terrible “superstition,” in which its followers believed in the impossible; their leader had risen from the dead.

          It was because Christians believed in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that ten Roman Emperors gave their orders to execute any Christian who would not repent of their Christianity and worship a Roman god. Because Christians maintained such a firm belief the Jesus had risen from the dead, inasmuch as it is firmly established in their scriptures, they would not deny Jesus.

          For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

          And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 1 Corinthians 15:14

          History records that early Christians were persecuted and killed, by the Roman government, for a period of 250 years. Beginning with Nero in 54 A.D., and ending with Diocletian in 313 A.D.

          All ten of these Roman Emperors recorded their view of Christianity in the records of the Roman Senate Archives. Under Emperor Decius, Christians arrested, could purchase a “libelous,” which proved that they had converted from Christianity, without actually denying Jesus and worshipping a Roman god. This was accomplished by paying a fee to a Roman official to obtain the certificate.

          But then, you are not really looking for evidence, but an argument.

        • Kevin K

          No. I’m asking you for something that should be easy to do if your “Jesus” fellow were real and not fictional, like Hercules.

          Give me one contemporaneous account that a Jewish revolutionary preached in and around the area, rode into Jerusalem in a way declaring himself to be a new king, and then was executed for his efforts. Instead, what you offer is the same tired lame “there were Christians” apologetics written decades after the alleged events. Well duh! Nobody’s arguing that.

          And you don’t get to declare “Jesus was a nobody” with one hand and then declare that “Jesus was so important that they destroyed all the records because they were afraid of him” in the other. Frankly, it smacks of desperation.

        • JP

          Historical Textual Evidence for Jesus’ Existence
          There are over 42 sources within 150 years after Jesus’ death which mention his existence and record many events of his life.1
          1. 9 Traditional New Testament Authors
          Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Author of Hebrews, James, Peter, and Jude.

          2. 20 Early Christian Writers Outside the New Testament
          Clement of Rome, 2 Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, Fragments of Papias, Justin Martyr, Aristides, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Quadratus, Aristo of Pella, Melito of Sardis, Diognetus, Gospel of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, and Epistula Apostolorum.

          3. 4 Heretical Writings
          Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, Apocryphon of John, and Treatise on Resurrection.

          4. 9 Secular Sources
          Josephus (Jewish historian), Tacitus (Roman historian), Pliny the Younger (Roman politician), Phlegon (freed slave who wrote histories), Lucian (Greek satirist), Celsus (Roman philosopher), Mara Bar Serapion (prisoner awaiting execution), Suetonius, and Thallus.
          Why is there not even more evidence for Jesus’ existence?
          The fact is that few records survive for thousands of years. There are a number of ancient writings that have been lost, including 50% of the Roman historian Tacitus’ works, all of the writings of Thallus and Asclepiades of Mendes. In fact, Herod the Great’s secretary named Nicolas of Damascus wrote a Universal History of Roman history which comprised nearly 144 books and none of them have survived. Based on the textual evidence, there is no reason to doubt the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.
          Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004, p. 233.

          * In comparison, let’s take a look at Julius Caesar, one of Rome’s most prominent figures. Caesar is well known for his military conquests. After his Gallic Wars, he made the famous statement, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Only five sources report his military conquests: writings by Caesar himself, Cicero, Livy, the Salona Decree, and Appian. If Julius Caesar really made a profound impact on Roman society, why didn’t more writers of antiquity mention his great military accomplishments? No one questions whether Julius did make a tremendous impact on the Roman Empire. It is evident that he did. Yet in those 150 years after his death, more non-Christian authors alone comment on Jesus than all of the sources who mentioned Julius Caesar’s great military conquests within 150 years of his death.
          Did Jesus ever exist?
          by Ryan Turner

        • Pofarmer
        • Illithid

          Unholy cow, is this the same Celsus who was on talk-origins back a few decades? Thanks, I gotta read that!

        • Pofarmer

          I doubt it. He’s a young guy named Mathew Ferguson. Very good, though.

        • anxionnat

          One thing you don’t do is mention *independent* sources that were available at the time. We don’t just have Shakespeare’s play on Julius Caesar. If we did, it’d be pretty clear he was a made-up character. What we have is multiple *independent* sources of the time. Not, as the gospels (Synoptic and others) that quote each other and are derived from each other. If the New York Times re-publishes an article first printed in Le Monde, that’s not *two* independent sources, it’s one. The evidence for these xtian sources copying each other is pretty obvious–they even copy the mistakes their sources made. The question of whether or not Jesus existed is a fascinating academic debate that is always turning up new research, most of which was not available when I did a minor in Religious Studies in college in the early 70s. In the sciences (I’m a biologist), you can repeat experiments that other people did, to verify or challenge their research, if you do it independently. Two studies by the same group at the same university that find the same results are not considered independent. The “evidence” for Jesus existing is so shoddy it’d be laughed out of a freshman seminar. And, another thing: why don’t books we *know* were written in the first to third centuries, that challenge the assertions that xtians make, still exist? You ever heard of book burning? I happen to think that as soon as xtians got power they destroyed those books. Down. To. The. Last. Copy. The only way we know that such books existed is that they were quoted by the xtian fathers of the church *to refute them.* (Copies of these books, considered “heretical” by the xtian church may still exist in the Vatican archives–I wouldn’t put it past them.)

        • JP

          “In establishing authorship of an ancient work the testimony of those who attribute the work to a particular author provides important historical evidence. When others who are in a position to know claim that the author attached to the extant manuscript wrote that work it is strong evidence of authorship. These people are in a position to know if they lived at the same time, knew people who lived at the same time or referred to the testimony of people who lived at the same time. The early church leaders, referred to by Christians as the “Early Church Fathers fit this description. They made many references to the authors of the NT Gospels in their writings Eusebius, the Church historian (early 4th c.), gives us the names of three church fathers who ministered in the generation following the apostles at the turn of the first century, Polycarp(Bishop of Smyrna), Papias (Bishop of Hierapolis) and Ignatius (Bishop of Antioch). Historians have given Ignatius’ death as a martyr as occurring around 110 CE. So we can date these Christian leaders as ministering around this time. This is early. If John the Apostle died in the 90’s C.E., then it is not surprising that these leaders knew John the Apostle, either personally or knew those who knew him personally.”
          The earliest reference to Matthew and Mark as authors of their respective gospels comes from Papias, the bishop of Hierapolis who wrote about 110-120 C.E. Eusebius in his Church History (3.39.16) quotes Papias who wrote about Matthew publishing a gospel. He states, “But concerning Matthew he [Papias] writes as follows: ‘So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew dialect, and every one interpreted them as he was able.’” Papias calls the Gospel of Matthew, the “oracles” referring to his gospel as a work which records the words and deeds of Jesus. Papias definitely states that Matthew wrote a gospel. He also notes that his gospel was originally written in the Hebrew dialect which would have actually referred to Aramaic. Later, as we shall see, Eusebius indicates that it was translated into Greek by Matthew.”
          “……Papias was a disciple of the Apostle John who was a disciple of Jesus himself. If anyone would know who wrote the Gospels besides the apostles, it would obviously be the disciples of the apostles, like Papias.”
          http://www.academia.edu/9269890/Early_Church_Fathers_on_the_Authorship_of_the_NT_Gospels

          Also there is no record of the early church not accepting these works as of the people whose names are associated with the gospels. There are no other names associated with these gospels. Also, 2 of the gospels are not written directly by an apostle (Mark and Luke). If the gospels were anonymous they could have easily attached the names of other apostles which would have carried more weight than Mark or Luke. The fact that they did not do this is good evidence that Mark and Luke did indeed write these gospels.

        • anxionnat

          Then, of course, the picture of Jesus painted in Paul’s letters–the earliest extant Christian source that’s available. Have you ever *read* them? They are pretty clear that Jesus didn’t exist. Paul basically based his faith not on written records or quote-mining from the OT, but on personal revelation. It’s pretty clear that Paul didn’t think of Jesus as a historical character, but as something that his faith revealed to him. Pretty cosmic , but that’s where he was coming from. The gospels are myth, the writers knew they were myth, and the internal structure of their stories demonstrate that they are myth. If you are so interested, you should really keep up in the literature of the field.

        • Kevin K

          Yes, that was coming next. Paul seems to have no idea that “Jesus” actually walked the Earth. Pretty amazing, actually, considering he can be thought of as the real “founder of the faith”.

        • JP

          Fictional account????? Consider:
          As Paul Maier, former Professor of Ancient History, remarks:
          “The total evidence is so overpowering, so absolute that only the shallowest of intellects would dare to deny Jesus’ existence.”

          Also, Craig Evans who is widely known for his writings on the subject of the historical Jesus says that:
          “No serious historian of any religious or nonreligious stripe doubts that Jesus of Nazareth really lived in the first century and was executed under the authority of Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea and Samaria.”

          Even the most skeptical of New Testament scholars Bart Ehrman (who is certainly no friend of Christianity) states that:
          “These views are so extreme (that Jesus did not exist) and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.”

          Leading atheist New Testament scholar in Germany, Gerd Ludemann writes:
          “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ”
          So, if anything, the claim that Jesus never existed is not even on the table of historical scholarship, it is actually sitting in the trashcan in the corner of the room. I think just as Burridge and Could do, I quote, “I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that (that Jesus did not exist) anymore.”

        • Ficino

          Who will rid us of this trolling stupidity? As if the existence of a Palestinian preacher renders the NT stories not fictional. Most of the so-called Socratic Dialogues are fiction, though the existence of the man, Socrates, is better attested than that of Jesus.

          The above is quote mining in any case.

        • JP

          No its not. Consider what New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman states:
          “With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) — sources that originated in Jesus’ native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life… Historical sources like that are is pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind.”

        • Ficino

          We have writings about Socrates from fourteen men who knew him.

        • JP

          so what?

        • Pofarmer

          I’m with you. Stupidity is what it is.

        • Kodie

          ARE you Jenna Black?

        • Tommy

          According to fictional tales.

        • Kodie

          You believe that crock?

        • anxionnat

          1. rip off of “virgin birth” and virtually every “fact” in Luke from the surrounding culture. There were *dozens* of cults at that time and long before which had dying and resurrecting gods, born from virgins, etc.
          2. Luke and Matthew (not their real names) studied probably in Greek academies. They obviously came from families with money who sent their sons there. The entire structure of stories in Luke and Matthew give the game away: the techniques to write stories like the gospel stories was taught in Greek academies. These 2 gospel writers knew they were telling myth. (see Richard Carrier, The Historicity of Jesus. I’m only on chapter 2. Carrier, unlike the xtians trying to convince us that they know what they are talking about, actually does know what he’s talking about. In college, I did a minor in Religious Studies. A lot of the research in this and other books was unavailable when I was in college–the early 70s. Carrier does disagree with others in his field, who think Jesus was historical. That’s an academic debate, not one of these assertions without evidence we are supposed to believe.)

        • JP

          1-you need to stop watching the Zeitgeist. That stuff has been thoroughly refuted and debunked by scholars.

          2-there is no evidence that the four gospels ever circulated without their titles. But if the four gospels were originally anonymous, how and when did the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John become attached to their respective gospels?

        • Kevin K

          How does it feel to be such a failure as an evangelist, Robert?

        • Thanks for the encouragement!

        • Kevin K

          Reject the Dark Side, Robert. That way lies nothing but torture and failure for you. You know that the only rational thing to do is become an atheist! We’ll accept you, honest. Lots of atheists were believers — even failed apologists, like you!

        • Okay, I’m in!

        • Kevin K

          Good! So, here’s what you need to know.

          1. There is no god. Not even Yahweh the Magnificent™, which was a Ugaritic god of storm/war that was adopted by the Jewish people as their primary god and later declared the only god extant. That’s the most-important thing. Zeus didn’t exist. Nor Shiva, nor Osiris, nor any of the others. It’s the primary thing to understand about atheism. No gods exist. Nor have they ever. They’re all imaginary creatures, mainly invented by primitive people trying to understand the world around them. I don’t blame them for trying — but we know better now. They were wrong.

          2. For Christians … Jesus is either an entirely fictional creation or a legend made up of several Messianic preachers who prowled that area at that time. But, as I noted earlier, there is no evidence that he actually did any of the secular things described in the bible. Much less the “miracles” ascribed to him. Have you ever wondered why there is no evidence left behind for any of Jesus’ alleged miracles? Couldn’t he have at least left a jug that gave an endless supply of fantastic wine (to believers only)? Or — as mentioned in the OP — couldn’t he provide healing miracles to his believers? Including healing amputations? But no! All the wine is drunk, all the loaves and fishes eaten, all the healed people are dead, the risen Lazarus is dead again, and Jesus himself is invisible in “heaven”. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? It does for us atheists! There’s no evidence that he performed ANY of those miracles!! Isn’t that amazing?

          3. People will try to fool you into thinking there’s an atheist baby roast. There isn’t. It’s just us having a little fun…a harmless hazing ritual. But bring lemon squares. We love lemon squares.

        • Kodie

          I love lemon square circles.

        • MR

          I love the “You are not aware that He came to earth 2,000 years ago?” shtick. Supposedly Jesus is an active agent today, but this guy’s pointing to 2,000 year old manuscripts and expects us to be gobsmacked. He’s wasted four decades to God belief, I wasted three. Neither of us can provide an ounce of compelling evidence to justify those deluded years.

          I spent New Years Eve with a priest friend of mine. Someone asked him why church attendance was on the decline. The next 15 minutes were spent discussing cultural changes. No one noticed that they didn’t even talk about God.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Man, it’s been forever since I’ve had a good lemon square, and now I want one badly.

    • Illithid

      I don’t want to be flippant, or to argue, but please be aware that most Western atheists were raised as Christians. Many sought desperately to find a justification for continued belief, and could not.

      • I cannot accept this assumption that God cannot be found by continued pursuit. I was not raised in a religious home. My parents never went to church or talked about God. I was a Rock musician with a touring band in the 70’s and found life empty and meaningless though I had fame and fortune.

        I began a search for truth by studying religion, philosophy, and science. At one point years later, I ended up with a Bible in front of me and began to read the four Gospels about Jesus. His singularity as a human being, while making a claim to be God intrigued me. I studied His life for quite a long time…

        I am still studying His life 43 years later. It was the person of Jesus who convinced me that God is real. Not church, Christians, or any other person.

        If anyone takes the time necessary to do a sincere search for who Jesus really is, they will find the answers they are looking for. If a person looks at Christians who are merely sinners saved by Grace, they will always be discouraged and give up.

        People who do give up, do so largely because of things they have seen in the world, but rarely because they see clearly who Jesus is.

        • Tony D’Arcy

          Ah Jesus, the Jewish carpenter who hated fig wood ? The one with the boiling lake ready for the likes of me ? I think I see pretty clearly who your Jesus is.

        • Illithid

          “If anyone takes the time necessary to do a sincere search for who Jesus really is, they will find the answers they are looking for.”

          I appreciate your serious answer, but this is an unfalsifiable claim. If accepted, it allows you to conclude that anyone who does not believe just didn’t search sincerely. Similarly, I could say that anyone who accepts Christianity just didn’t study the subject honestly, or that anyone who thinks the world is a sphere is part of the Globalist Conspiracy. Literally any position can be defended in this way.

          The fact is, many believers have started from a position of fervent faith, only to find that faith vanishing as they studied the claims of Christianity and the origins of its texts. I was never a Christian, but absorbed it without much question until I set out to read the Bible. That effort led directly to a firm position of disbelief. You may disagree with the conclusions of those who reject your belief, but it’s not reasonable to deny the honesty of the process by which we reached that position.

        • No, I said that it was the evidence that convinced me. I started with Jesus and studied His life, and then moved into about 30 years of historical research.

        • Illithid

          The available evidence is unconvincing to me. Without being mocking, I must say that what you’ve cited in replies to other commenters does not seem likely to alter this assessment. I’ll be busy for a while, but will happily continue this discussion later if you wish… after the reply storm abates.

        • Kodie

          Then why do your arguments sound like some former addict who just graduated from rehab?

        • In what way?

        • Kodie

          In the way that religion is one of the tools rehabs use on addicts, and when they become clean and sober, credit Jesus Christ for everything and what an amazing transformation they have thanks Jesus, and then try to ply some of the most dumb arguments on atheists in some misguided attempt to save all of us like they feel like they have just been saved. Like a recent turn-on to Jesus fanatic with shallow, naive arguments. I can’t believe you spent 30 years studying anything without managing to come across why an atheist actually rejects not only Christianity but every faith, and that we’re not angry at god, we’re not empty or meaningless, etc. It’s actually the arrogance and the bullying of Christians. Perhaps you missed it by minutes, a supposedly loving Christian has told us to leave the United States and that we should live in the sewers of the world, but god loves us; or another one who doesn’t understand the burden of proof. You’re not new, you’re not telling us anything we haven’t heard before or rejected from participants far smarter than you sound. Arguments for Jesus’s resurrection are myths, and if that’s what you need to stay sober, I guess that’s that then, but don’t think trying to minister to us what you think we need, or try to love us too much because you think we’re empty and unloved and unfulfilled and just need the kindness of some Christian stranger to lead us into the “light” of Christianity, that’s the kind of blowhard arrogance narcissistic tendency most Christians tend to have. You know nothing about atheists! You have already proven you are terrible at listening and think you know best. It’s really bizarre the way Christians talk over us, tell us what we think (and totally wrong), don’t listen, don’t offer a relevant response, and just keep pushing buttons until we curse you out.

          How can you have studied for 30 years and still sound like someone who has been immersed for 30 days and on an ego streak from recent sobriety.

        • anxionnat

          What bible college did you do “research” at?

        • Not Bible College

        • Pofarmer

          This is what’s known as Pulpit Glurge.

        • You reject research, testing, and proving evidence?

        • Pofarmer

          i reject the idiocy you’re trying to pass off.

        • JP

          You are talking to atheists who don’t have any facts that proves atheism true so they assume you don’t either for Christianity. They do not like facts for Christianity. I know that from experience with them.

        • Michael Neville

          So when are you going to provide this “evidence”? Are you still pretending that the origin of the universe is evidence of gods even thought cosmologists, even the Christian ones, never mention any gods in their papers? Or all you going with the fine tuning argument which, like most Christians, you don’t really understand? Or are you going to trot out the miracles described in the collection of myths, fables and lies that you like?

        • Kevin K

          HAHAHAHAHA!!! The classic “I was an Atheist” gambit.

          Seriously, that shit is tired. Try again. Do better.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Not just an atheist… but an atheist ROCK MUSICIAN! Who probably was involved in BACKMASKING SATANIC PHRASES ON HIS RECORDS!

        • Michael Neville

          Sex and drugs and rock & roll! The atheist trifecta.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder what famous traveling rock band he was a member of?

        • I wasn’t an atheist… I was a hedonist…

        • Kevin K

          And I was center fielder for the Yankees.

        • Chikkipop

          “….found life empty and meaningless though I had fame and fortune”

          Sounds like that was your fault. Life isn’t empty or meaningless for anyone who puts in the time to grow emotionally & intellectually. A hedonist is a person who believes that the pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing in life, and it generally means pleasure of the most superficial kind. I’m a lifelong atheist, and superficial pleasures alone have never been a big attraction for me.

          “If anyone takes the time necessary to do a sincere search for who Jesus really is, they will find the answers they are looking for.”

          This is more than likely utter nonsense, since we know many sincere *former* believers, and I find it hard to believe their search was not as thorough as yours.

          But it would be fascinating to test this whole search for “who Jesus really is” by working with someone like me, a lifelong atheist who is NOT one of those trying to “find the answers they are looking for.” How bout it, Robert? Tell me exactly where I might find some information about this Jesus person which would in any way convince me he had something special to offer. Remember; I’m not looking for any answers. But neither am I rejecting any, if there is something I should know!

          Now, tell us a bit more about your rock star life!

        • sandy

          As a fellow musician I’m curious as to which band you were in. Care to share it’s name and your role?

        • Tommy

          My parents never went to church or talked about God. I was a Rock
          musician with a touring band in the 70’s and found life empty and
          meaningless though I had fame and fortune.

          How… cliche. I bet you also did a lots of drugs and participated in more sex orgies than you can count? LOL

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I know, right? The guy has no creativity at all. I guess his story is convincing to the people that give him money, though (that is, Christians who buy his apologetics shit).

        • Pofarmer

          It’s not that he finds a Christian audience this gullible that’s galling. It’s that he thinks everyone is.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I guarantee you he goes to his Wednesday night Bible study this week and tells everyone at his church how he bravely debated some atheists today, and how his God gave him wisdom from His Word to defeat us. And his whole church will nod their heads and say “Amen!” and “God is good!”

        • Pofarmer

          That’s a sad thought right there.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          He won’t say it was over the internet, though. He’ll say it happened in a Starbucks, or a Golden Corral, or something.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder if they still had the evil Holiday cups?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          That’s why he went there. He knew all of the atheists would be there because of the evil Holiday cups, so he could evangelize them.

        • Hey man, we have all done a lot of things haven’t we? But there is forgiveness in Jesus and a brand new life if we want it. After my former life, I started to believe that this life really was not worth the effort to continue. Even though I had all that people look for their whole life, once I got it, it wasn’t what I expected. I was more lonely and empty than ever before.

          The moment I called on Jesus to show me that He was real and come into my heart, He did and everything changed. That was 43 years ago and I have had the most exciting, fulfilling life imaginable.

        • Kodie

          You tell this story like you think it’s amazing. You fell into a religion and became a fanatic. It has addictive control over your life. You wanted meaning and you sunk it into your faith. That’s not compelling evidence for its truth, that’s compelling evidence that you have an emotional need for something and you found something that would satisfy your personal need.

        • Well, when something that you recount to another person has changed your life the way it changed mine, it is amazing to the person it happens to.

          I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide that God exists. I spent many years doing the necessary research before I reached that day…

        • Kodie

          I don’t really care what you find amazing. I don’t expect everyone to find my hobbies as fascinating as I find them. If you didn’t believe in god and you didn’t find the arguments immediately compelling enough to believe immediately, what could possibly motivate you to “research” the same bullshit apologetics arguments for years? I mean, there’s the bible and everything else is analysis on a myth book. To me, that’s not evidence, argument, or research. That’s fanaticism.

        • MR
        • Tommy

          We’ve all heard than script before. It’s no more compelling when we heard it the first time.

        • Probably, but when it is your story it means a whole lot more.

        • Tommy

          If it’s your story, that is.

        • Pofarmer

          I can’t count all the sex orgies I’ve been in, either. Which may or may not be unfortunate.

        • Kodie

          Mostly because it’s obvious to a grown-up that Jesus as described in the bible is a fictional character. It’s not only unnecessary to explain anything – it simply can’t. Only Christians who can’t sleep without the lights on because they are afraid of death need to cling to it despite all the logical errors.

        • How is it clear that Jesus is a fictional character?

        • Kodie

          How could it be any clearer?

        • anxionnat

          Anecdote is not evidence. Every first-year science student can tell you that.

        • Oh but it is. There are many pieces of literature from antiquity which tell stories and are considered empirical evidence to support those events.

        • Kevin K

          You need to actually address the questions, Robert.

    • Tony D’Arcy

      Robert Clifton Robinson:

      “I long for the day when an actual intelligent question is asked because a person is sincerely searching for answers and not an argument…”

      Tony DA’rcy :

      ” I long for the day when Christian apologists are actually willing to discuss their beliefs without assertions like ‘ he came to earth 2000 years ago ‘. An assertion IMO, completely unproven.”

      • By your response you appear to be one who does not accept the empirical evidence of Jesus’ arrival on earth as a part of the historical record?

        • Tony D’Arcy

          Indeed ! Bring on the empirical evidence please.
          Hmm , let me guess, the Bible, Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the whatever, and … ?

        • No, these things are secondary to the empirical evidence of the narrative of the four Gospels. The sources you used are the secular sources which prove that Jesus was in Jerusalem, crucified and rose from the death, in the records of the Roman Senate, and Jewish Talmud.

          You are not aware of the empirical evidence from the Narrative of Jesus in the New Testament?

        • Pofarmer

          In the Records of the Roman Senate and Jewish Talmud? Really?

        • Perhaps you need more study to discover these things?

          Why would the Romans and the Jews, both of whom, were quite hostile towards Jesus, want to preserve a record of His existence in their records?

          Although it is clear that the Jews and Romans did not intend to validate Jesus nor the events that surround His life, death, and resurrection, this is precisely what they have done by including Him into the Annals of Rome and the Talmud.

          The records of the Romans and Jews are merely entries into their records which documented the disturbances that occurred as a result of Jesus and His followers. Roman historians, Suetonius and Tacitus, both record Jesus as crucified under the Roman Procurator, Pontius Pilate, during the same period of history as the narrative of the New Testament.

        • Michael Neville

          Tacitus was reporting what Christians told him they believed. Pliny did the same. Suetonius was reporting what Tacitus and Pliny had reported.

          I suggest you don’t try to flimflam us, we’re familiar with the record.

        • Pofarmer

          flim flam is all he’s got. So, Meh. It’s not even hardly fun to deal with these moron’s any more.

        • Pofarmer

          You really are a moron.

        • Kodie

          What “study”? You have a superstition.

        • What is your definition of atheism?

        • Kodie

          That I don’t believe your claims or find your arguments compelling or convincing. Until then, what should I believe? Your definition seems to differ.

        • Not my claims, what is your definition of an atheist?

        • Kodie

          I feel like you want me to admit I don’t like god or I want to run my own life, or some other bullshit only theists believe.

        • Pofarmer

          It looks like douchy mc doucherton deleted his profile.

        • Kodie

          Well then.

        • Kevin K

          Why won’t you answer my original question, Robert?

        • Did

        • Kevin K

          Didn’t.

        • Pofarmer

          The four gospels are exactly as emperical as Gone with the Wind or The Humt for Red October.

        • JP

          Its been proven that the gospels are historically reliable. Consider Luke who was a first rate historian.

          “Most scholars understand Luke’s works (Luke–Acts) in the tradition of Greek historiography.[29] The preface of The Gospel of Luke[30] drawing on historical investigation identified the work to the readers as belonging to the genre of history.[31] There is some disagreement about how best to treat Luke’s writings, with some historians regarding Luke as highly accurate, and others taking a more critical approach.

          Based on his accurate description of towns, cities and islands, as well as correctly naming various official titles, archaeologist Sir William Ramsay wrote that “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy… [he] should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”[32] Professor of Classics at Auckland University, E.M. Blaiklock, wrote: “For accuracy of detail, and for evocation of atmosphere, Luke stands, in fact, with Thucydides. The Acts of the Apostles is not shoddy product of pious imagining, but a trustworthy record… it was the spadework of archaeology which first revealed the truth.”[33] New Testament scholar Colin Hemer has made a number of advancements in understanding the historical nature and accuracy of Luke’s writings.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luke_the_Evangelist

        • Pofarmer

          You fucking idiot. Luke is not any “first rate historian”. Far from it.

          Holy shit I’m tired of this utter vacuous stupidity. We don’t even know who the Author of the Gospel of Luke is. We don’t know who his sources are. We don’t know anything. Gone with the Wind gets many historical details right. That doesn’t make it history. Fuck fuck, fuckity fucking mental jack offs.

        • JP

          I’ll take archaeologist Sir William Ramsay word over your ignorant statements.

        • Pofarmer

          Sir William Ramsey was operating in the 19th century. But, of course, your knowledge ended in the 2nd, so, I suppose that’s positively modern. Idiot.

        • JP

          He was way smarter than you. So we go with him.

        • Pofarmer

          And yet modern archaeologists largely disagree with him. Sure, there is verifiable stuff in the Gospels. There is verifiable stuff in Harry Potter too. It’s a hallmark of realistic fiction.

        • JP

          Who disagrees and what facts do they have that proves him wrong?
          After all there are 84 Confirmed Facts in the Last 16 Chapters of the Book of Acts
          Scholar and historian Colin Hemer has identified 84 facts in the last 16 chapters of the Book of Acts that have been confirmed by historical and/or archaeological research.

          Here are just 10 of the 84:

          1. the natural crossing between correctly named ports [Acts 13:4-5]
          2. the proper port [Perga] along the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus [13:13]
          3. the proper location of Lycaonia [14:6]
          4. the unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra [14:6]
          5. the correct language spoken in Lystra-Lycaonian [14:11]
          6. two gods known to be so associated-Zeus and Hermes [14:12]
          7. the proper port, Attalia, which returning travelers would use [14:25]
          8. the correct order of approach to Derbe and then Lystra from the Cilician Gates [16:1; cf. 15:41]
          9. the proper form of the name Troas [16:8]
          10. the place of a conspicuous sailors’ landmark, Samothrace [12:14]

        • Pofarmer

          You really are exceptionally thick. And dishonest.

        • JP

          Giving you the facts doesn’t make me “thick” nor dishonest. You are the dishonest one. You have no case.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t need a “case”. All you’re doing is taking points in a vacuum, without looking at all the contemporaneous literature that does the same thing, and all the literature available (hint, Josephus, hint) that was available to the author in question. Your argument is circular, which is typical.

        • JP

          Christianity is well grounded in history. The idea that Jesus was a myth is total nonsense.
          What you need to look are the primary sources which are the NT documents. There has never been one fact that has disproved them.

        • Pofarmer

          Mormonism is well grounded in history. Obviously all of it’s claims are true. Moron.

        • JP

          That is not true of a number claims of Mormonism.

        • Pofarmer

          And it’s not true of a number of claims of Christianity, either. Jesus is basically Paul’s Moroni. He’s a Macguffin, and most scholars admit that even if he were an historical figure, which they also admit they can’t prove, then almost nothing can be known about him. That’s actually the strongest argument. It get’s worse from there.

        • Nick G

          The gospels contradict each other, so we know they contain false statements. The birth narratives and genealogies in gMatthew and gLuke are incompatible, the various stories of the events around Jesus’s death and supposed resurrection are inconsistent. (And yes, I have come across the absurd attempts to reconcile the birth narratives and genealogies: all they show is that many Christian apologists will go to any length of dishonsety in order to defend their myths.)

        • Brilliant! This joke is getting funnier each time.

        • Tony D’Arcy

          Yes I am aware of the 4 Gospels , the first of which, written by Mark, whoever he was, appeared about 70 AD. After him came Matthew, Luke then John, written around 100 AD. And NO, I don’t accept them as ’empirical evidence’ to the fantastical tales they tell.

        • noted!

        • Tony D’Arcy

          You rested your case, but please feel free to present some compelling evidence as to why your God “came to earth 2000 years ago” please.

        • Kevin K

          Answer my original question, Robert!

        • Ctharrot

          Serious question–To what records of the Roman Senate are you referring?

        • Pofarmer

          Good luck.

        • Ctharrot

          Well, in Robinson’s defense, there are a lot of comments to field here.

          But yeah, I’m tempering my expectations.

        • Kevin K

          There are none. That’s a lie. He’s trying to conflate the writings of Roman historians — Seutonius, et al. with “official” records of the Roman Senate.

          In any event, it doesn’t matter, because none of those writing were 1. contemporaneous reporting of events, 2. reporting events with any detail that would indicate that the episodes recorded in the “gospels” actually happened, 3) provided any authoritative record of the actual-and-real existence of the boy named Pinocchio Jesus.

        • Kevin K

          You didn’t answer my original question, Robert. I noticed.

        • Ctharrot

          Not trying to nag, but I see you’ve responded to several other comments, yet not to my straightforward and genuine inquiry about Roman Senate records documenting the Crucifiction and Resurrection. Are you able to provide specific citations? Thanks.

        • Pofarmer

          Do you expect someone to take this idiocy seriously?

        • You assert there is no evidence. There is and it is an extant part of the historical record. If you don’t like empirical evidence then it is of no use for us to continue.

        • Dana W

          the idea of you of all people using the term “empirical evidence” is farcical in the extreme.

        • Observable, testable evidence.

        • Kevin K

          You mean, like healing amputees? Why don’t you address the question?

        • You are fixated on amputees, why is this? Is this the reason you are an atheist, someone you care about lost their leg and you prayed for it to be healed and….

        • Kevin K

          Because that’s the first question in the list of the OP, Robert. And you refuse to address the question. Something makes me think you’re either hiding something — or you’re harboring deep doubts yourself. Which is it?

        • Kodie

          No, you moron. It is just a glaring example of an injury “god” can’t heal.

        • So you assume that because God doesn’t do what you expect, that He doesn’t want to or doesn’t care. The problem with this idea is that you don’t really know what He is thinking or what His plan is.

          You may not like it, agree with it, or understand what He is doing, but that is irrelevant to whether He exists. If there is a God with the technology to create a universe like we observe, it is certain that we cannot understand what He does, unless He tells us.

          If your issue is whether God truly loves us, that issue should be settled by the knowledge that He allowed His Son to die for us. If God didn’t love us as much as He loves His own Son, He never would have allowed Him to die for us.

          The fact that you have issue with a God who doesn’t heal an amputee, is more telling. It doesn’t appear that you don’t believe that God doesn’t exist, only that you don’t like the kind of God He is.

          It is a common that people often make incorrect observations about people they don’t really know.

        • Kodie

          No, it’s far more simple than that — god obviously doesn’t exist. Your failure to look at the issue straight ahead of you but keep coming up with excuses is how much damage religion has done and all the false directions it leads people. Nobody needs your poor excuses. If god exists, why do you even have the arrogance to speak to us in his place, and do it with extreme inferiority? It is common that people attribute things to an imaginary character because they can’t face reality or cope without their fantasy explanations.

        • Kevin K

          Still waiting, Robert.

        • For what?

        • Kevin K

          Coherent answer as to why Yahweh doesn’t regrow amputee limbs, Robert.

          You know it can’t — because it doesn’t exist. You’re so close to accepting it, Robert. So close to coming to the conclusion that all gods are creations of men with over-heated imaginations. One more step, Robert, and you’ll be an atheist. One more small step. You don’t believe in Shiva, do you? Or Zeus? Or Osiris? Or Quetzalcoatl? Guess what? Neither do any of us! You just cling to the last god, because you can’t imagine your life without it. Well — it’s like Dumbo’s feather, Robert. Dumbo could really fly without it. You can really fly without the need for a god.

    • Kevin K

      What’s “illogical” about asking why the god who is declared to be capable of moving mountains can’t or won’t heal amputees? Seems to me that if your god is a real god, and if contained within the set of things that is “does” is heal people, then a firm demonstration of that ability would pretty much nail shut any arguments against its existence.

      What better way to prove your capabilities as a god than to do something that is — frankly — impossible to do? And leave tangible evidence of it behind … not the “dog ate my homework” miracles that you currently rely on to bolster your delusion.

      Heck, I think a lot of us would even count preferential healing based on your particular god-belief. Meaning, that if the Christian god is the One True Wizard of Oz God™, then one could expect that those who follow him would be able to be healed by prayer alone (or even better, never get sick), while the rest of us mortals would not be afforded that benefit. If your god demonstrated that ability, it would be the only god worshiped in pretty short order.

      You have no answer to the questions, so you complain that they’re not “sophisticated” enough. Seems to me you’re doing your best to avoid even thinking about them, much less try to answer them.

      Do better next time.

      • Kevin K

        You’ll all notice that for HOURS Robert has responded to virtually every post I’ve made to him — except this one.

        The answer SCARES him.

        • Pofarmer

          And now he’s deleted everything.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I guess that adds to the list:

          1. Asshole
          2. Moron
          3. Coward

        • Kevin K

          I wandered over to his web site. Was gonna troll him some, but I’d have to give him my e-mail address, and no way am I going to open myself for that kind of spam.

          In any event, his most-recent post is dated December 27, and is all about the futility of arguing with atheists. And yet, there he was on January 1 … arguing with atheists.

          I think maybe he had a little too much New Year’s cheer and was drunk commenting. I, on the other hand, had had just enough wine, and was buzzed commenting. While watching the football games.

        • Kevin K

          Ha! Coward.

        • Greg G.

          Where’d he go? You big bully. You scared him off.

    • So why not tell us what’s wrong with them?

    • Tommy

      And yet, you can’t answer them.

    • LeekSoup

      Wait… atheists can get uniforms now?

      • Michael Neville

        Get measured the next time you go to the Secret Lair. Arrive four or so hours before the orgy and they’ll take care of you.

    • Kodie

      So no answer?

  • guadalupelavaca

    If God were small enough to understand, He wouldn’t be big enough to worship.

    • Greg G.

      Whose fault would that be? Couldn’t God have made us intelligent enough to understand?

      • Chuck Johnson

        Of course he could have.
        But specialpleading, specialpleading, mumbojumbo, mumbojumbo !

    • Halbe

      If you are too small for real arguments you can always resort to big platitudes…

    • Kevin K

      Oooo … a deepity.

      • Pofarmer

        Looking for some martyrbation.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I really wish they’d use their own hand when they do that, instead of always trying to use ours.

        • Pofarmer

          Martyrbation by proxy. Lol.

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        guadalupelavaca must have gotten that one through some very exclusive education. Like reading it on a church sign somewhere.

        • Kevin K

          The problem with that assertion, of course, is that if god is too big to be understood, then why do preachers spend so much time telling us exactly what it wants? Including worship? If you can’t understand it, why are they so sure that it wants us to fill the collection plate every Sunday, and has very specific ideas about the proper use of our genitalia?

          Either it can be understood and we follow its instructions, or it can’t be, and it’s all human-invented nonsense. Off-on switch. As binary a choice as there can be.

        • Pofarmer

          “God is mysterious”, “God is beyond Human Understanding”, how many times do we hear this? and yet, “Here, let me tell you exactly what God thinks of X.” Yep.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Or Chick Tract.

        • Kevin K

          Deepak Chopra.

        • Chuck Johnson

          The deep and heartfelt feeling that we are smarter than everybody else.

          Or, enlightenment for sale to the highest bidder !

        • guadalupelavaca

          You think youre smarter? Insulting people is not a sign of intelligence I’m sorry to say.

        • Chuck Johnson

          You have arrived here to insult people.
          You keep on embarrassing yourself.

        • Michael Neville

          Aren’t you the person who showed up here to tell us how we hated Christians? Wasn’t this assumption based solely on your love for the Catholic Church and our lack of respect for it? It takes a lot of chutzpah (that’s a Yiddish word) to whine about insulting people when that’s what you did when you first got here.

    • Pofarmer

      Why would you worship something you couldn’t understand? That doesn’t even make sense. You could ne worshipping something evil.

      • Castilliano

        “You could be worshiping something evil.”

        Most of them are…some through ignorance, some through lazy thinking, and some through immoral rationalization of OT atrocities. A fictional god, but still evil.

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        A better question is: Why do we need to worship this god at all? What purpose does it serve either the god or us?

        • Pofarmer

          Maybe this God is insecure?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I prefer to worship gods who aren’t insecure.

        • Pofarmer

          To be a little more sincere, I’ve thought about this some. And I think Godisimaginary.com puts it best.

          If you think God has a plan, what good is prayer if you have an all powerful God? You think God is going to change that plan for you?

          http://godisimaginary.com/i6.htm

          Take a moment and think about what Rick Warren said. Rick said, “He
          planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of
          your birth and death.” Let’s examine one simple implication of this
          statement. What this means is that God has pre-planned every abortion
          that has taken place on our planet.

          If the concept of “God’s plan” is true, you can first of all see that
          God wants us to be aborting children. Every single abortion is planned
          by God, so God must be doing it for a reason. Second, you can see that
          both the mother who requests the abortion and the doctor who performs it
          are blameless. Since it is God who planned the abortion of the child
          (God chose the “exact time” of the death, according to Rick Warren), the
          mother and doctor are simply puppets who are fulfilling God’s plan, are
          they not? What about all the Christians who are fighting against
          abortion? If abortion is part of God’s plan, why are they fighting it?
          God is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, and his plan is for more
          than a million children a year to die in the United States through
          abortion. [ref] If God’s plan is true, then each one of those abortions was meticulously planned by God.

          If God does not intend for us to perform abortions, is Rick Warren then
          wrong that God has a plan? If God has a plan, is he not the direct cause
          of every abortion? Simply think it through, and you will begin to see
          the problems in Rick’s proposition.

          Think about Adolph Hitler. He was evil incarnate, and Hitler is well
          known for the atrocious things he did. What I would like you to do right
          now is to consider this statement: “Hitler is part of God’s Plan.”
          Think about what Rick said:

          He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of
          your birth and death. The Bible says, “You saw me before I was born and
          scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was
          recorded in your book!” [Psalm 139:16]

    • What does that even mean?

      • Chuck Johnson

        It means that intellectually, Guadalupe is in over her head.

        • Apparently so. The term “deepity” does indeed seem to fit here.

    • Ctharrot

      Ooh, Catholic quotes! Let me try–

      “The prohibitions on the Jews, forbidding them from employing Christian servants or wet nurses, from owning real estate . . . . from living — where there is a ghetto — outside of its walls mixed in and confused with Christians, are prohibitions founded in the sacred Canons.” Pope Gregory XVI

      Did I do it right?

      • guadalupelavaca

        In 1839, Gregory XVI issued an encyclical banning Catholic participation in any part of the slave trade.

        “We have judged,” wrote Gregory, in the majestic plural, “that it belonged to our pastoral solicitude to exert ourselves to turn away the faithful from the inhuman slave trade in negroes and all other men. . . . Desiring to remove such a shame from all the Christian nations . . . we warn and adjure earnestly . . . that no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce him to servitude, or lend aid and favor to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labor. We reprove, then, by virtue of our apostolic authority, all the practices above mentioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same authority, we prohibit and strictly forbid any ecclesiastic or layperson from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what we have set forth in this apostolic letter.”

        This is the sort of thing that makes non-Christians like me so respect Catholicism.


        An encyclical on global warming is not. A refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama for fear of offending Communist China’s dictators — as Pope Francis did last year — is not. Pope John Paul II went to Warsaw and, under the eyes of its Communist, atheist dictators, told Poland that “Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude . . . the exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man!” The Polish crowd began to roar, “We want God! We want God!” and European Communism began to crumble. Pope Francis helped negotiate the Obama–Castro deal that has thrown Caribbean Communism a lifeline. He lent the regime legitimacy by cordially meeting with Fidel Castro, by exchanging gifts with him, and by attacking “theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world” (as Francis put it in 2013).
        Perhaps Pope Francis has a secret, pro-freedom master plan. Christian that he is, he will forgive some of us for having doubts. John Paul II was a great man and a great pope because he didn’t shrink from fighting difficult fights. Francis should remind himself that the people of Cuba, of China, of North Korea are slaves to their tyrant leaders. And he should remember Gregory XVI’s strict prohibition against “presuming to defend [slavery] as permissible . . . no matter what pretext or excuse.”

        — Josh Gelernter writes a weekly online column for National Review and is a regular contributor to The Weekly Standard. He’s a founder of the tech startup Dittach.

        • Pofarmer

          And yet Catholic Nuns kept women as slaves in the Magdalen Laundries until Nineteen Ninety fucking six. Pluck yer head out.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Yes. And your country kept blacks enslaved for 400 years, then denied them civil rights for 100 more. Don’t be so self righteous. Your white hands are not so clean.

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t have a clue what race I am. Nor my background.

        • Chuck Johnson

          She makes it up.
          She is an apologist.

        • Pofarmer

          I suppose that should go without saying. Along with all the Cherry picking. It’s amazing Cherries aren’t extinct.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Oh cupcake it is evident.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Guadalupe, you are a liar and an idiot.
          Go back to your job as a crooked lawyer.
          Your work as a crooked apologist continues to be an embarrassment to you.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Did I offend you? You don’t like it that you white people enslaved blacks, slaughtered Indians, and stole California from Mexico. Your response is so immature. You just insult. Go to college to learn to debate. Your ignorance is raising a stench.

        • Kodie

          These acts were done because those white folks felt righteous from their Christianity. You think you have an argument, showing how ugly Christianity, a superstition with no basis in reality, makes people behave?

        • guadalupelavaca

          White is white my friend. Don’t try to distance yourself from your race.

        • Pofarmer

          You think only White people held or hold slaves?

        • guadalupelavaca

          Oh. So because other people had slaves it excuses your ancestors? Really, is that what you’re saying? Pathetic.

        • Pofarmer

          Nope. I’m just saying your ignorant guilt tripping isn’t going to work.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Oh please…Go to college and come back when you’ve learned to debate.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s been many years since I graduated college.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Denier.

        • Kodie

          Wow, you are really deluded and confused.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          So you’re a racist as well. One of the biggest compliments I ever got was “reversed Bounty – white from the outside, black from the inside”.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Your hate, racism, ignorance, and stupidity are showing.
          You are a pretty poor poster girl for Christianity.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Your debate skills from first grade are showing. It seems all you can do is insult. An intelligent thought is foreign to you. Go to college and come back with better arguments.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Now, you are trolling.

        • Chuck Johnson

          You like to change the subject.
          You are dishonest.

        • Kevin K

          Sweetie, you amuse us.

        • MNb

          You are shifting the goalposts. Fact remains that seculars abandoned slavery before the RCC and that parts of the RCC kept on practicing slavery. Btw also baby kidnapping.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2049647/BBC-documentary-exposes-50-year-scandal-baby-trafficking-Catholic-church-Spain.html

          Now name some hatheist who has done so.

        • Huh?? No one’s denying that humans do crappy things. That God does it (and Jesus doesn’t correct the mistake) is the issue. Shouldn’t they meet a higher standard?

        • Ctharrot

          Wow. 1839. A little more than three decades after slavery was abolished in the British Empire (and a few years before the letter from which my quote came, in which Gregory XVI justified the continuing segregation and oppression of Jewish folks in the Papal States).

          I wonder why the Vatican was so slow to come out against slavery–not a complicated moral question, I’d have thought. On the bright side, it took only fifteen years after the Holocaust to finally remove the “perfidious Jews” reference from the Good Friday liturgy. So we’ll count that as progress.

        • Philmonomer

          This is the sort of thing that makes non-Christians like me so respect Catholicism.

          Huh? The British Empire (not an Empire known for its humanitarian outlook) banned slavery in 1833, and you are impressed the Catholic Church banned it six years later!. You’d think the Catholic Church would have banned it 1800 years earlier.

          If only God had said in the Bible, “slavery is wrong.”

        • MNb

          “In 1839”
          Oh jolly – 44 years later than anticatholic French Revolution. With the full support of the RCC Emperor Napoleon reintroduced it. Looks like your beloved hatheists cared more about slaves than your admired RCC.

        • Gregory XVI issued an encyclical banning Catholic participation in any part of the slave trade.

          Remind me–that was how many thousand years after the Cynics came to the same conclusion? I wonder why Jesus didn’t just come out with it in the first century. Seems like a rather important issue.

      • “Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man.” — Jesuit maxim.

        • Ctharrot

          Ha! The Jesuits had me for only the few years of law school. Too little, too late, fratres!

    • Tommy

      Imaginary beings can be as big or as small as you like.

      • guadalupelavaca

        Supersize me Tommy!!!!

        • Tommy

          I just did. And you’re still small.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Does that make you feel good?

        • Chuck Johnson

          Your childish taunts are not are not too surprising.
          You are a religious fanatic.

        • guadalupelavaca

          And you are a hatheist. So what?

        • Chuck Johnson

          You made that up, too.
          You are an apologist.

        • guadalupelavaca

          I did make that up. Im pretty clever arent I? And to think English is my second language.

        • Kodie

          No, you’re not clever at all. Previously, you admitted the only reason you aren’t an atheist yourself is that you have a prejudice against us, but your beliefs are pick-and-choose and do whatever makes you feel good. You’re not a devout anything, except you hate atheists so much that you have to make yourself feel better by purposely not calling yourself one, even if you are one.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Go to school and learn to debate. There’s only amateurs here. You insult and think you’re debating. Laughable.

        • Kodie

          Aw poor guadalupe. You have nothing but shallow hatred and prejudice, not even an argument. We know you don’t really believe in god, but your dogmatic hatred of atheists was indoctrinated too severely to give it up for good, so you stick your fingers in your ears and go la la la la I’m not listening I’m not listening. God doesn’t exist, and you acknowledged it.

        • MNb

          Nope, Guadal. Kodie has read your comments and points out what that tells about you. But hey – as a christian, why would you care about Matth. 7:1-`5?

        • Chuck Johnson

          Eres una leyenda en tu propia mente.

        • guadalupelavaca

          Did you just make yourself feel bigger?

      • Lark62

        Simultaneously

    • Chuck Johnson

      If God were big enough to deserve worship, he would be obvious to insightful, scientific people.
      You are a sucker and a fraud, Guadalupe.
      And the Pope is a malicious, violent, corrupt fraud.

  • Kevin K

    I’ve told this story before — I worked in a factory in between college years. Paid WAAAAAY more than lifeguarding, which was my other summer job option. My last year, between my junior and senior year, I got to work the loading dock. Which puzzled me a little bit, because it was one of the cushiest jobs in the plant. You got to drive a fork lift and pretty much had a LOT of spare time on your hands, while just about every other job involved manual labor of some sort or another with only scheduled rest periods/lunch for breaks.

    Turns out, nobody in the plant wanted to go near the full-timer there. He had just returned to work after some … um … time off. Seems as if he had burst into the Big Boss’ office one day a few weeks back, shouting that he had just seen Jesus in the elevator. Wanted the boss the pray with him. Instead, they shipped him off to the loony bin for a brief stay and to figure out which medication to give him to shut off the hallucinations.

    He was harmless enough when I worked with him; nice guy, not the sharpest tool in the shed, but didn’t need to be to run the loading dock. Never mentioned Jesus once all summer. I took that as a sign his medication was working as intended.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Today someone says they saw Jesus and we recognize this as a sign of nuttiness, but what’s the real difference between this guy and the apostle Paul? One goes to a padded room, the other one is treated as a fountain of knowledge by Christians.

      • Kevin K

        Exactly. The only difference between my co-worker (and really, he was a nice man) and Paul is opportunity and lack of effective medications. And I think Paul was probably an exponent smarter, but who am I to judge intelligence over the span of 2000 years?

      • JP

        Actually when Paul first encounter Christ on the Damascus road he was knocked off his horse and others also heard what was spoken. This was no hallucination.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Sounds like Paul hit his head. Maybe instead of a trip to the nut house he should’ve been taken to the hospital. We’ll save the room in the nut house for the people that think someone who has fallen and is hearing voices is a reliable source of information.

        • JP

          Paul may have hit his head but the others with him also saw the light and heard a voice.

        • Pofarmer

          according to one story. Not according to the other one.

        • Nick G

          Acts 9:7 says they heard a voice but does not say they saw a light. Acts 22:9 says they saw a light, but does not (in most translations) say they heard a voice. Since the accounts are not consistent (if they saw a light and heard a voice, why don’t both accounts say so clearly?), they cannot be trusted. In any case, as far as we know, neither account was written by either Paul or a companion – they are hearsay. Paul’s own accounts of his conversion have no such details.

        • Max Doubt

          “Paul may have hit his head but the others with him also saw the light and heard a voice.”

          Where can we read their reports of the incident? By “their” I mean the reports written by those others, not some report that says other people witnessed the phenomena.

        • Jim Jones

          … He claimed later.

        • Kevin K

          Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most-likely diagnosis. It results in religious mania, among other symptoms.

        • MNb

          Where you there?

        • Lark62

          Somebody said somebody else heard what was spoken.

          What are the names of those people? Why didn’t they become famous evangelical epistle writers?

        • Pofarmer

          Somebody said somebody else heard what was spoken.M

          That’s not convincing to you? Don’t you think that’s kind of extremely skeptical.

        • Greg G.

          It wasn’t a hallucination because it never happened. Paul never said it happened. There are three contradictory accounts in Acts, culminating with Paul speaking Greek quoting Jesus who was quoting in Aramaic the Greek god Dionysus who spoke Greek in The Bacchae about “kicking against the goads.”

          That was part of Paul’s defense in Agrippa’s court where Paul cited the Jews as character witnesses that he was not crazy before telling a crazy story. Why didn’t Paul just tell Agrippa to ask those same Jews about the empty tomb, if that was a good argument?

        • Judy Thompson

          at a guess, I’d say nobody heard nothin, and nobody saw nothin, and somebody made it up. Like, unicorns.

        • You’ve read it, so it must be true.

          Uh huh.

      • Greg G.

        But if a person is really nutty and talks like that in church, he gets encouragement and admiration.

      • BlackMamba44
  • Ficino

    Exodus. Didn’t happen. Therefore, giving of “covenant” at Mt. Sinai – didn’t happen. No “old covenant,” no “new covenant.”

    • JP

      What are your facts that proves your assertions?

      • Chuck Johnson

        You could look it up.
        Stop pretending.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, he really is that stupid and dishonest.

        • Lark62

          Those options are not mutually exclusive.

        • JP

          You make the claim, you bear the burden of proof.

        • Chuck Johnson

          I only bear the burden of proof to people whose intellects I respect.
          Go look it up.
          Educate yourself.

        • JP

          So you have no facts for your position. Just admit it.

        • Chuck Johnson

          You’re lying again.

        • Pofarmer

          What do you mean “again”?

        • Greg G.

          Right. The word “again” implies that he lies intermittently.

        • MNb

          You are a liar. Whenever someone provides any you dismiss it without any further do. You have predermined to reject any claim you dislike, no matter how.

        • epeeist

          Whenever someone provides any you dismiss it without any further do.

          Or run away without engaging, such as with this post of mine or another post of mine.

          As Pofarmer says, stupid and dishonest.

      • Ficino

        Since you are the master of posting Bart Ehrman quotations that appear on maybe 12 Christian apologetic websites, if not more, I leave it to your research to find out about the non-Exodus. The non-Exodus is well known. Legendary/mythical status of much of the OT is well established.

        • JP

          Got it. You have none.

      • sandy

        Archeologists especially jewish archeologists have been digging up the dessert for the last 150 years and have found nothing, nada showing that hundreds of thousands of jews roamed the dessert for 40 years. However, in North America we find early evidence of early settlements from campfires and small settlements. JP, I’m sure you are a truth seeker and like to believe things that are true as do most of us on this site. What evidence would it take for you to change your beliefs? Most of us have done our due diligence on the subject and frankly there just isn’t good enough evidence to believe, in fact, the evidence is bad and points to no god and no jesus.

        • Greg G.

          hundreds of thousands of jews roamed the dessert for 40 years.

          What’s wrong with roaming a dessert? How did they make it last 40 years? I have trouble with allowing home-made brownies reach room temperature.

        • sandy

          That’s funny…yes desert. Too many sweets over the holidays will do it.

        • JP

          Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, historian and Professor Emeritus at Miami University. Yamauchi wrote a book entitled, The Stones and the Scripture, where he rightly noted that archaeological evidence is a matter of “fractions”:
          Only a fraction of the world’s archaeological evidence still survives in the ground.
          Only a fraction of the possible archaeological sites have been discovered.
          Only a fraction have been excavated, and those only partially.
          Only a fraction of those partial excavations have been thoroughly examined and published.
          Only a fraction of what has been examined and published has anything to do with the claims of the Bible!

          Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, Paul Maier, points out:
          “Hardly any archaeology is taking place in the Sinai, and if this changes, evidence of migration may very well be uncovered.” (Maier, Paul. ‘Archaeology: Biblical Ally or Adversary.’)

        • sandy

          Still haven’t found anything that should be obvious. You didn’t answer my question.

        • MNb

          Thanks for confirming that you only accept those facts that suit your predetermined conclusions.
          That Maier article is from 2004. He’s either ignorant or lying or both. Finkelstein’s The Bible Unearthed is from 2001.

        • JP

          Facts are facts no matter how old they are.

        • epeeist

          Facts are facts no matter how old they are.

          So was it ever a fact that the sun went around the earth or that diseases were caused by humours?

        • MNb

          Yup. And the fact is that Maier is either ignorant or lying or both. You are the one who refuses to accept it.

        • JP

          Maier is a scholar. Your not. It is you who is lying.

        • Lark62

          It should be “you’re” not “your”.

        • Greg G.

          The ability to distinguish words is not a qualification to be a Bible apologist.

        • MNb

          Fact 1: Finkelstein is a scholar. I didn’t lie about it.
          Fact 2: Finkelstein and his crew did a lot of archeology in the entire Sinai.
          Fact 3: Finkelstein reported in 2001. I didn”t lie about it.
          Fact 4 : Maier wrote three years later (I looked it up, you know – unlike you I am not allergic to consulting links when they contain relevant info) ““Hardly any archaeology is taking place in the Sinai”.

          Fact 4 contradicts fact 2.
          On behalf of Maier you deny fact 2. Given fact 3 we must conclude that Maier lies, is ignorant or both, whether he’s a scholar or not.
          Now we also have a fact that there is no god. Had god existed you would not have allowed you to produce such a stupid falsehood as you just did, giving him a bad name. Instead he would have intervened to correct you.
          Thanks. I have little doubt you will continue proving that there is no god.

        • Nick G

          As his own website shows, Maier does not have any credentials in the relevant area of scholarship.

        • Nick G

          I notice that even your favoured source, Paul Maier*, admits there is currently no evidence of such a migration as the Exodus. There has been extensive archeological work in Sinai, and several hundred thousand people (that’s how many took part in the Exodus according to the Bible) cannot wander about for 40 years without leaving copious traces. Even if you say the story is greatly exaggerated (and if you allow that, why credit it at all?), where are the burials or other remains that can be linked to any suhc migrations? Maier, oddly enough, appears to have no credentials whatever in archeology. His academic blurb says he has:

          Well over 200 articles and reviews in such journals as Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, Church History,
          Harvard Theological Review, Hermes: Zeitschrift für Klassische
          Philologie, Concordia Theological Quarterly, Concordia Journal,
          Mankind, Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Christian Herald.

          IOW, he’s basically a Christian apologist, not an objective scholar. I second the recommendation of Finkelstein’s The Bible Unearthed. Finkelstein is one of Israel’s premier archeologists, and, as it happens, an observant Jew, but is quite clear that the Exodus never happened – and nor did the conquest of “the Promised Land” described in the book of Joshua. The ancient Israelites were Canaanites, who developed a distinctive culture in situ. Nothing in the OT earlier than David (who was a minor hill chieftain, not the ruler of a great empire) has any historical basis.

        • JP

          And your’re an atheist apologist. So we can disregard anything you say on this matter.

        • Nick G

          Your comparison is absurd, because the question at present is the quality of the relevant experts each of us can cite – and the one I cite, as an observant Jew, is clearly not an atheist apologist. And he is, unlike your cited “authorities”, an eminent archeologist, who has professionally studied the issue under consideration.

        • JP

          Ok. So you are an Jewish apologist. It still stands archeologists have their opinions and not everything has been dug up.

          As for Maier credentials:
          “Dr. Paul L. Maier is the Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University and a much-published author of both scholarly and popular works. ”
          http://www.paulmaier.com/index.htm

        • Nick G

          You are both ridiculous and offensive – your response here smacks of antisemitism. In any case, it is clear that you know you’ve lost the argument. All I am defending is the importance of genuinely relevant expertise, to which you have no answer worth taking seriously. If there had been an Exodus, we would expect copious evidence to have emerged given the amount of archeological activity in the area. As it is, it has not, and indeed there is no good evidence the Israelites were ever in Egypt, let alone that hundreds of thousands of them spent 40 years wandering about Sinai.

        • Kevin K

          Just the fecal evidence alone would be overwhelming!!

        • Max Doubt

          “Just the fecal evidence alone would be overwhelming!!”

          Israelite’s coprolites?

        • Greg G.

          Israelite coprolite should be conspicuously copious.

        • MR

          Piles and piles of conspicuously copious coprolite crap and me without my spoon….

        • Kevin K

          You would think there would be trenches and such…there are instructions about how to properly take a crap in the OT.

        • Greg G.

          I found and posted the link a year or two ago about a report that researchers found a place within a short walking distance from the Qumran site that looked odd from the air. Samples of the soil had traces of parasites.

          If they had not buried their poop, it would have dried out and killed the parasites but burying it gave the parasites a chance to survive until the next host stepped in it with a slight wound.

        • epeeist

          But nothing about washing your hands with soap and water afterwards…

        • Kuno

          I love that song.

        • Halbe

          At least half a million bronze age nomads 40 years in a small desert area is just completely impossible. 95% would have died in the first year of thirst, hunger and diseases.

        • Pofarmer

          But-Magic!!!!

        • MR

          And all those missing coprolites: Butt-Magic!

        • Kuno

          You can drive from Kairo to Jerusalem in less than 10 hours. Why did it take the Hebrews 40 years?

        • Nick G

          Duh! They didn’t have satnav!

        • epicurus

          Or maybe using crappy apple maps instead of google maps

        • epicurus

          Dammit Siri! I said Dead Sea not Red Sea !

        • Greg G.

          Dammit. I had to wipe off my screen when I read that, then a second time after it was clean enough to read it again.

        • epicurus

          haha

        • Greg G.

          The Bible says there were 600,000 men of soldier age so we can estimate about a million men all together and double that for all of their sisters. Then they took livestock, too. If they walked in a fairly wide column, the front of the line should have reached Canaan before the tail end was out of Egypt.

        • Pofarmer

          And that many people, in that small of an area, couldn’t have not left evidence.

        • Kuno

          There’s that, too. The distance Kairo-Jerusalem ist about 425 km/265 miles as the crow flies.

          Even when we adjust your numbers down to a million Hebrews, just to make it easier, if they stood in one long line, or queue, from Egypt to Israel, each one of them would only have about 40 cm/15 inch space each. That sounds positively crowded…

        • Greg G.

          That wouldn’t leave any elbow room to sleep.

        • BlackMamba44

          If they had used Google maps they could have made it in a little over 6 days. (149 hours to walk from Cairo to Jerusalem. I am assuming that Cairo and Kairo are the same thing but I could be wrong) .https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3819d3b9a681c3299bd26ceb30b645deb2e8688597bff9744f2210af97dcbe28.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Yes, but that assumes they didn’t stop to sleep or hit any red lights.

          It looks like the northern route along the coast would be shorter.

        • BlackMamba44

          Yeah, Google didn’t bring up the best route, for sure.

        • Pofarmer

          Maybe there were tourist attractions?

        • Judy Thompson

          true enough, but if there were no maps, they might not know that. And sometimes the shortest road is really the longest road, after all. (She said, sententiously)

        • epeeist

          true enough, but if there were no maps, they might not know that.

          But all they had to do was send somebody up a mountain. It is a well known fact that one can see all the countries of the world from the top of a mountain.

        • Judy Thompson

          damn I never thought of that. Or prayer. There you go. Prayer.

        • Greg G.

          They could have followed a start to Bethlehem. That’s close enough.

        • Moses refused to ask for directions. Hence, 40 years.

        • And would have more food.

        • Pofarmer

          There is the issue of waiting for the Ferry.

        • Greg G.

          It would probably take the ferry forty years to get a couple million people across.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, there you go, problem solved.

        • MR

          I walked that distance, a tad more, realistically it takes about a month.

    • Kevin K

      If we were to make a “list of things that didn’t happen and therefore the NT is bullshit”, it would be a very long list indeed.

  • Steven Watson

    What Ficino said; but it derails further back than that. Adam and Eve. It starts with them; but where does Cain get his wife? Why the Mark of Cain? There are Lots, and Lots of other people. This is originally the story of one insignificant people and their god; or one insignificant god and their people. It says so right there in Genesis. Ken is correct: there are Answers in Genesis. You might recall a book from a few years ago ‘Your Inner Fish’; you will know about the very long nerve that goes down the Giraffe’s neck and back up again. The Bible is like that: nothing is thrown out, but is built on and repurposed. What we have here is a couple of millenia of reading incomprehension. The horse is long dead, Bob. It is irrational to keep flogging it.

  • Steven Watson

    Round and round we go again. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. JP, Robert. It is the Word of God: read your damned Book.

  • Tommy

    Hey everybody! @robertcliftonrobinson:disqus’s comments in a Donald Trump voice! It’s hilarious!

    The Bible is Fake News. SAD.

    • Pofarmer

      I don’t want that in my head. Oh my.

  • HpO

    Wow, that’s really deep, man:

    “There [are] so many starving people in our world … because [you know] life is sometimes difficult [and] nature has no desire to make people either happy or unhappy”! For all this time I had thought that it’s “because life is sometimes difficult [and] nature has no desire to make people either happy or unhappy” that hemorrhoids are here to stay!

    And this, too:

    “Bad things happen to good people [because, you know] rain falls on good people just like bad people.” For all this time I had thought that it’s because “rain falls on good people just like bad people” that Target has a special sale on umbrellas every spring!

    • Tommy

      I know, right? It’s almost like god is either irrelevant or non-existing!

      • HpO

        “Hemorrhoids are here to stay” and “Target has a special sale on umbrellas every spring” – and that makes “god … either irrelevant or non-existing”?!

        Wow, that’s really deep, man!

        UPDATE: HpO 2 vs Bob Seidensticker & Tommy 0.

        • Tommy

          What a stupid post you made.

        • HpO

          Because of “what a [brilliant] post you made.”

        • Nick G

          I notice you have no coherent response to the basic point – that God is supposedly both omnipotent and benevolent, yet suffering is rife. Why? Is God unable to put a stop to it – in which case, it’s not omnipotent – or unwilling to do so – in which case it’s not benevolent. All you have in response is content-free sneers.

        • HpO

          Tommy only got what he paid for.

          Scroll to Ctharrot & sandy where no “content-free sneers” are involved, because those 2 command respect. Talk there.

    • Michael Neville
      • HpO

        An atheist-classic cheap shot & nice try, that. But according to Alberto Rojas, “Kong Nyong, el niño que sobrevivió al buitre” (or “The Boy Who Survived the Vulture”), El Mundo Spain, February 21, 2011, as Wikipedia puts it:

        “In 2011, the child’s father revealed the child was actually a boy, Kong Nyong, and had been taken care of by the UN food aid station. Nyong had died four years prior, c. 2007, of ‘fevers’, according to his family.”

        Kevin Carter took that photo in 1993, then a year later committed suicide.

        Do the math.

        • Do the math.

          I’m working on it, but perhaps you can help. So a tiny child so pitifully malnourished that few of us reading these comments have ever seen such starvation in person didn’t actually die. So therefore, God is … merciful? Or fabulous? Or can do whatever the hell he wants?

        • HpO

          … which takes us now, however, to a zone unanticipated by the post-er of that photo earlier by the name of Michael Neville. I nipped that original nasty intent in the bud, but am not interested to where this is now taking me.

          I neutralized Round 1. And, on the technicality of a no-show, I lost Round 2 to you and him.

        • I lost Round 2 to you and him.

          And, if you’re a Christian, this seems to put you in the awkward position of worshipping an asshole.

          You seem to be avoiding uncomfortable arguments, hoping that no one will notice. But if you go to the brink, look in, and then walk away, you are publicly agreeing that the argument is a loser for the Christian. Some arguments are trivial, but some (as in this case of children being allowed to starve) show God to be a Bronze Age god with the lack of modern morals that you’d expect.

        • MR

          An astounding answer by HpO. “Let me dismiss this out of hand because the buzzard didn’t actually get this particular child” as if this scenario hasn’t played out time and time again throughout the millennia. As if worse things haven’t happened and will continue to happen. As if children don’t starve, and wild animals don’t attack helpless children who have succumbed to malnourishment, disease and neglect. 😛 This is your brain on religion.

        • HpO

          Aww weeeely – “the buzzard didn’t actually get this particular child”? Because you too – thanks to me – just got updated by that El Mundo scoop.

          My Round 1 with you guys got neutralized by that scoop. And now you’re taking me to Round 2. I don’t show up and so you win. Hurray!

        • MR

          Er…, no, we know all about that story. It’s been discussed several times on this blog. It changes nothing and you’re hand waving doesn’t change the fact that this kind of thing has happened and will continue to happen. You run away from the hard truth of it so you don’t have to deal with it. None of us are fooled.

        • Yes, it is incredible. “The child didn’t actually but only nearly died … which is a win for Jeebus!!” is hardly an argument.

          This is your brain on religion.

          Yep.

        • Michael Neville

          So what’s your point? The picture is a vulture waiting for a child to die. If your god is omnibenevolent (that’s a big word meaning “all good”) then why is the child starving? That child is not well nourished.

          I don’t know nor do I care what the child actually died of. The point that the photographer later committed suicide is the logical fallacy known as a “red herring”. That phrase means an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue.

          Do the logic.

        • HpO

          No “red herring” in your pirated photo. And you didn’t even know about the El Mundo scoop. I neutralized Round 1, but on a no-show I lost Round 2 to you. Congratulation!

        • You neutralized the argument by saying the child didn’t die but only nearly died?

          no, God is an asshole either way.

        • HpO

          Just remember your oh-so-much-better take on this human condition:

          “There [are] so many starving people in our world … because [you know] life is sometimes difficult [and] nature has no desire to make people either happy or unhappy … Bad things happen to good people [because, you know] rain falls on good people just like bad people.”

          So, yeah, in comparison, I’d rather be, as you put it, “worshipping an asshole.”

        • MR

          You seem to be acknowledging that God is an asshole, which would then conflict with his omni-benevolence. Do you not think God is omni-benevolent? Are you okay with the vast majority of humanity suffering eternally in hell, because, well…, you got what you wanted…?

        • because … your worldview pleases you? Do you not much care whether it’s accurate or not?

        • Michael Neville

          I see internet pirating is another topic you either don’t understand or just plain lie about. The “El Mondo scoop” says nothing about the fact that a vulture was waiting for a starving child to die. Your feeble attempt to pretend that the child died later of other causes means anything would be pitiful if it weren’t so dishonest.

          Back at the original topic, the sadistic bully you worship does nothing to stop suffering. That means either your asshole of a god isn’t omnibenevolent or it doesn’t exist. So which choice is more reasonable?

  • Christheatheist

    I think Mark Twain made a mistake in his poem shown at the end of this article.

    “and finally with altogether divine obtuseness,
    invites this poor, abused slave to worship him! ”
    — Mark Twain

    Instead of the word “invites” it should read “demands”…

    • Greg G.

      True but he was apparently aligning it with “who created man without invitation.”

  • RichardSRussell

    Despite Occam’s Razor, the simplest answer is not always the best one. However, in this case I think it is.

    • Pofarmer

      Occam ‘s Razor is more about not unnecessarily multiplying entities or causes, to my mind. If you have a natural cause, don’t posit an supernatural cause, just because. The idea that the simplest idea is not the best one is more a scientific claim, because we’ve seen countless instances where the simplest answer is very, very wrong.

  • Kathab Epagonizomai

    Curious. What is the point of these questions?

    • Herald Newman

      That Christians have to jump through hoops, while bent over backwards, to try and provide an answer that are anywhere near coherent. If God is what they say these questions shouldn’t really even come up.

      • Kathab Epagonizomai

        I see. Thanks for the explanation. Have Christians claimed that God can do these specific things? Is that the point?

        • Kevin K

          And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

          Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. — Matthew 10:8

          While you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus. Acts 4:30

          Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. — James 5:14-15.

          And on and on. The power of miraculous healing is one of the most-commonly referred to in the bible.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Thanks for the reply.

          Is your assertion is that everyone who believes in Lesous, should be able to do miracles?

        • Jim Jones

          That’s their claim, based on the bible.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Getting back to the questions at hand, number one, for example; “Why won’t God heal amputees?” This appears to be directed at a question for God, not a supposed Christian.

          Is the premise that because God has not healed an amputee, this proves He doesn’t exist?

        • Kevin K

          God works his miracles through Christians, according to the clear instructions in the bible. You who think we don’t understand Greek. Seriously, you’re transparent as glass.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          It is not clear from your answer whether it is the intent of these five questions to prove that God does not exist or that Christians do not know the answers to these questions. I am interested in the views of those who are commenting on this article.

        • Kevin K

          It’s clear that you’re JAQing off. I already had one chew toy run away in tears, deleting every comment he made in reply to me. Are you sure you want to continue this?

          Because I don’t really have time, but I’ll make time, after I go to the bank and the gym and have dinner and a night out with friends. Just want to make sure you’re committed to this line of “questioning”. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f74981b0a72a8a52b6f35573985c79c45fde297da9ed15f6d31f6cc75ad090bf.jpg

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Thank You for taking the time to converse with me. I appreciate your answers. I didn’t realize that these questions require time to think about them. It seemed that those here know their subject well enough to answer questions posed to them. I look forward to your reply. Enjoy your day.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          I noticed that you are back now. Shall we continue with our discussion?

        • Kevin K

          You can start by 1) answering the first question … why don’t Christians get amputated limbs healed through the magic intervention of prayer? It would also be nice if you would 2) be honest about who you are and what your motivations are. Because I’m still busy, and sea-lioning is fucking annoying.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          My purpose in seeking the reason these five questions were asked is to determine which type of atheists I am seeing here on this forum.

          In order for me to continue in a discussion, It is important that I know the type of atheist who is making these assertions.

          If you sincerely want to engage in a serious discussion with me, then please allow me to state my perspectives and stay in the discussion until I have a chance to present my assertions.

          I Have three Rules that govern my discussion:

          -I don’t talk about myself
          -
I don’t answer questions or comments posed for the purpose of mockery or quarrel.
          -
My discussion with atheists is directed by which type of atheist a person is found to be.

          
In my view, there are two types of atheists:

          1. Those who genuinely want evidence for God but as yet, are not satisfied with the evidence they have found.
          
2.Those who are not on a quest for evidence, but seek argument and validation to continue in their unbelief.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          ..

        • Michael Neville

          Most atheists are 4. None of the above.

          I personally am interested in discussing Christianity and other religions with theists. I won’t preach to them and I will, at first politely and then, if necessary, firmly request they not preach at me. I’m familiar with most Christian arguments for their particular god and I’ve yet to see any reasonable evidence for any gods (note the plural, there’s a whole lot more gods than your favorite deity). If a jerk shows up then I’ll play with him or her because, with a few exceptions, I’m smarter and more knowledgeable than proselytizing jerks.

          Which type of theist are you?

          a. The self-satisfied type who is convinced that atheists really do believe in their pet god while living hedonistic yet miserable lives, and otherwise has no clue about what atheism is about.
          b. The type who think that atheists hate their god, not realizing that atheists think it silly to hate a figment of someone else’s imagination.
          c. The type who comes here to tell the ignorant heathens about Jesus because it’s obvious the atheists have never, not even once in their entire lives, ever heard of Jesus.
          d. The type who has “The Killer Question™” that will cause atheists to fall on their knees, welcome Jesus into their hearts, and instantly become Biblical literalist, Young Earth Creationist, fundamentalist evangelical Christians of the most bigoted and sanctimonious persuasion.
          e. The exceedingly rare type who is interested in have a serious, respectful discussion with atheists.

          EDIT None of these types of theists are caricatures. Each and every type has graced this blog.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Thank You Michael for your kind response.

          I have attempted to discourse with Kevin K because I like his zeal. I thought Him a worthy opponent but He refuses to answer my questions and states that he is too busy and doesn’t have time for me.

          I like your courtesy and that you are quite intelligent. I would very much enjoy your company in a friendly discussion.

          If you would be so kind as to define for me what your definition for an atheist is, as it would apply to yourself I would be grateful. I want to understand where your thoughts on the idea of your personal atheism, originates. Any information that you can tell me about yourself, would be helpful.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m a weak or agnostic atheist. I don’t know if gods exist or not, which makes me an agnostic. However I do not believe that gods exist due to the lack of reasonable evidence for their existence. I suspect that if any gods do exist, they’re the vague, deist deities who hang around in the background having little or, more likely, no interaction with the world.

          I was raised as a a Catholic. I went to Catholic grade school, high school and college (if you’re wondering why an atheist would go to a religious college, it’s because they offered me a scholarship). I was in 8th grade religion class when Br. Louis was explaining about the Assumption of Mary* and ended his lecture by saying the Assumption is a cornerstone of Catholic faith. I stuck up my hand and asked why the Assumption was so important. Br. Louis raged at me, calling me a heretic damned by God, and giving me six lashes with a rattan cane pour encourager les autres. After school I went to the library and looked up the Assumption in the Catholic Encyclopedia (a most useful book, available online, which has reasonably authoritative articles on most aspects of Catholicism). There I read a fascinating story about how the Assumption came about.

          In 452 the Byzantine emperor, Marcian, ordered Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to send some relics of Mary to Constantinople. Juvenal couldn’t find any and told Marcian there weren’t any because Mary had been “assumed into Heaven”. Then occurred what to me is the real miracle, Marcian bought that song and dance. Flash forward almost exactly 1500 years. In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared ex cathedra that the Assumption was official Catholic dogma to be accepted by all Catholics.

          This was the first time I came across an important technique used by theologians: Make it up as you go along. I started examining other parts of Catholic doctrine, then Christianity in general, and then theism altogether. Examined carefully, much of it made no sense and none was supported by evidence. By the time I was 16 I was an atheist (a word I didn’t know until I told my father about it). I’m now almost 70 and I’ve yet to see any evidence supporting gods.

          *Catholics believe that Mary was taken bodily to Heaven, whether before or after death is not known. This is called the Assumption.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Thank you Michael,

          I sincerely appreciate seeing your story. I think that we can have a great dialogue on matters that I have wanted to share with a person such as yourself, for some time.

          Because of the open format of this type of exchange, I hope you will understand that I am not able to talk about myself. I am not important and the subjects that we hopefully will cover together will hold their own importance.

          I have found that those who inhabit this forum are often rude and disrespectful, and this seems to be a common thread for militant type atheists. I can see that you are a sincere person and have honorable intentions.

          I want to ask you if we can stay focussed on our personal conversation and exchange, though there will undoubtably be many chiming in to scorn or scoff at what is said by myself.

          It is impossible to stay focussed on a subject at hand if we are trying to also answer others, particularly if their intent is not to participate in an intellectual argument for the purpose of learning from each other.

          I understand that both of us are busy and that it will not always be possible to answer quickly. Please know that If It takes me a day or so to respond, I am still very interested in our conversation.

          I am hoping, Michael, that I might start by posing a question to you and perhaps we can use this as a jumping off place to start a conversation.

          Because the nature of our conversation, as you put it, is theistic belief, I hope that you will indulge me the use of Hebrew and Greek scriptures for referencing my questions. I realize that you many not, at this point, believe they are reliable, or credible, or perhaps are uncertain, but I would like to use this as a place to start and take it from there.

          My first question has to do with a particular place in the New Testament where Lesous (Jesus) is observed as teaching by the use of parables.

          I am interested what your opinion is for why Lesous spoke in parables, or used them in His particular teaching style.

          All these things Lesous spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” ~Matthew 13:34-35

          Why do you think Lesous spoke in this manner rather than to simply speak plainly?

          When we have finished this discussion, I am interested, later, in your views in many other subjects such as the nature of God as an non-finite, non-contingent Being.

          We can discuss the reliability of the New Testament; whether Jesus is an actual real person of history, the origin of the universe, the reason for evil, sickness and suffering and many other interesting subjects.

          For now and as a start, please tell me your thoughts on this particular teaching style that Lesous used. I think that once we progress you will find it interesting.

        • Greg G.

          I am interested what your opinion is for why Lesous spoke in parables, or used them in His particular teaching style.

          That passage in Matthew comes from Mark 4:33-34 who got the idea from Psalm 77:2 LXX (which corresponds to Psalm 78:2) “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

          Why do you think Lesous spoke in this manner rather than to simply speak plainly?

          Mark wrote it that way and the other Synoptics borrowed the technique. John’s Jesus never spoke in parables.

          We can discuss the reliability of the New Testament;

          I think there are things in the Epistles that are reliable, but they do not support a first century intinerant preacher named Jesus. I think it is plausible that Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Ananus. I think Mark used Josephus’ Jewish Wars as a source but mostly mined it for names to use and other inspiration. Matthew used Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities for the nativity. Luke used Josephus a lot and probably other similar sources but the way Josephus was used as both an encyclopedia and a muse makes the material from the unknown sources unreliable.

          whether Jesus is an actual real person of history,

          We can identify a great deal of the source material for the gospels so we can see that the words and deeds of Jesus was attributed to others.

          The epistles never actually refer to a first century Jesus. They refer to Jesus in quotes and allusions to Old Testament references. Even in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, what Cephas, the twelve, the 500, James and Paul saw were “according to the scriptures”. Which scriptures? Isaiah 53:5 says the Suffering Servant died for sins, Isaiah 53:9 says he was buried, (the intercessing for sins implies he was resurrected) and the rising in three days is from Hosea 6:2.

          the reason for evil

          Things we like we call good, things we don’t like we call bad, and things we really don’t like we call evil. It’s an adjective, not a noun.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Greg, I appreciate your sincerity but I want to speak with you about the basis of your argument to defend the premise that some of the Epistles are reliable.

          YOU WROTE: “I think there are things in the Epistles that are reliable… I think it is plausible that Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Ananus…I think Mark used Josephus’ Jewish Wars as a source…”

          “I think,” is not a credible argument for whether the Epistles are reliable,

          Personal opinion as a basis for proving that the New Testament is unreliable cannot meet the demands of evidence. Are you asserting that you have greater knowledge today than those of the first century who determined that these narratives are reliable? Please tell me that you have a better argument than “I think.”

          I realize that you have likely read this view in the atheist liberal theologians commentary or books, but it is not supported by the evidence.

        • Greg G.

          I doubt that it is because they ASSUME she vanished into heaven.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          I wrote back to you Michael about 17 hours ago.

          The moderator has blocked my letter that I wrote you as “spam”

          Apparently, this site censors speech they don’t agree with. I am sorry. I will wait to see if my comments are uncensored before I try to post them again.

        • Kodie

          Probably because you were already blocked a couple days ago.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Thank you Michael,

          I sincerely appreciate seeing your story. I think that we can have a great dialogue on matters that I have wanted to share with a person such as yourself, for some time.

          Because of the open format of this type of exchange, I hope you will understand that I am not able to talk about myself. I am not important and the subjects that we hopefully will cover together will hold their own importance.

          I have found that those who inhabit this forum are often rude and disrespectful, and this seems to be a common thread for militant type atheists. I can see that you are a sincere person and have honorable intentions.

          I want to ask you if we can stay focussed on our personal conversation and exchange, though there will undoubtably be many chiming in to scorn or scoff at what is said by myself.

          It is impossible to stay focussed on a subject at hand if we are trying to also answer others, particularly if their intent is not to participate in an intellectual argument for the purpose of learning from each other.

          I understand that both of us are busy and that it will not always be possible to answer quickly. Please know that If It takes me a day or so to respond, I am still very interested in our conversation.

          I am hoping, Michael, that I might start by posing a question to you and perhaps we can use this as a jumping off place to start a conversation.

          Because the nature of our conversation, as you put it, is theistic belief, I hope that you will indulge me the use of Hebrew and Greek scriptures for referencing my questions. I realize that you many not, at this point, believe they are reliable, or credible, or perhaps are uncertain, but I would like to use this as a place to start and take it from there.

          My first question has to do with a particular place in the New Testament where Lesous (Jesus) is observed as teaching by the use of parables.

          I am interested what your opinion is for why Lesous spoke in parables, or used them in His particular teaching style.

          All these things Lesous spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” ~Matthew 13:34-35

          Why do you think Lesous spoke in this manner rather than to simply speak plainly?

          When we have finished this discussion, I am interested, later, in your views in many other subjects.

        • Kodie

          I have found that those who inhabit this forum are often rude and
          disrespectful, and this seems to be a common thread for militant type
          atheists. I can see that you are a sincere person and have honorable
          intentions.

          We all have honorable intentions. When we smell bullshit, we call bullshit, though. I don’t see the problem in that system the way you do.

        • Greg G.

          You should include atheists who diligently sought evidence for God but realized that religion is but excuses for why there is no evidence for God.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Thank you for your observation Greg.

          The error that is made in this regard is that God cannot be known or understood by religion. Religion is a creation of man and is used to control people, gain wealth, and for political purposes.

        • Kodie

          You don’t know anything about atheism or atheists with your list. Religion is any superstition. Whatever you have no evidence for, you can pretend is mysterious and unknowable or “there are other ways of knowing”, but we can’t see your imaginary friend. Besides which, you are using religion to control people, or for a quasi-political purpose – to judge unbelievers. You make unreasonable demands for you to deign to discuss your pet philosophy with them, but you don’t respect anyone. Clear as crystal.

        • MR

          Yeah, the whole list is bogus. 1 is a loaded question. Questions 2 & 3 are pure apologist strawmen. A more honest list would be:

          1) Atheists who genuinely want evidence for truth, whether it be that God exists or doesn’t. (I think your description would be here.)

          2) Atheists who don’t actively seek for evidence but are open to it.

          3) Atheists who are concerned about the influence that false ideology has in society and are willing to challenge those beliefs in the public sphere.

          Three is not exclusive to the others.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I Have three Rules that govern my discussion:

          -I don’t talk about myself

          The epitome of irony.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          I am surprised Kevin that you have given up so easily.

          Is your unwillingness to participate in our conversation because of your comment, “I already had one chew toy run away in tears?”

          Are you concerned that a discussion with me might cause you to become a chew toy? 

I promise to treat you with the utmost respect and dignity. You can be assured that I would never treat you in that manner.

          Let us continue…

        • Kevin K

          I’m busy, and you are not my priority. Did you answer the question?

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          I withdraw my request Kevin. I will no longer converse with you, which is obviously your desire….

        • Kevin K

          So, you didn’t answer the question. Have a nice life.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          Ignoring someone is a convenient way to avoid being confronted by issues but it never grants a person a pass in not answering serious questions regarding their views.

          I thought you a formidable adversary but I was wrong. I am sincerely sorry for asking you for time you do not have. Good day sir.

        • Kevin K

          1. What you just did there … commenting when you said you didn’t want to anymore … is called “not sticking the flounce.”

          2. I’m not your boyfriend. Sorry, I don’t swing that way. I’m quite sure that if I were your boyfriend, I would be such a demanding little pussy.

          3. The worst thing you can be on the internet is what you are right now — a crushing bore. You’re not worth the time it would take for me to block you. But don’t expect anything further — unless you … you know … say something that’s actually interesting about the subject at hand.

        • Kodie

          I’ve seen a few comments from you, but this one is the douchiest so far. We had a couple hundred new posts in this thread alone today, and you’re showing up late. Kevin answered your question and you took it personally, like the arrogant asshole I can tell you are, calling people “worthy” according to you. Who the fuck even are you? Why should someone carve out part of their day to especially deal with you that you can’t fucking wait without thinking they’re avoiding you because your questions are too difficult? Seriously, I’m certain your questions are not too difficult.

        • MR

          I’m pretty sure we’re dealing with a banned sock puppet here, Kodie.

        • Kodie

          I can’t seem to get the page to open so I can reply to one of his comments where he demands all of Michael Neville’s attention, has already asked MN to tell him a few things about himself, but then turns around and says he’s not going to tell MN or any of us about himself. He wants MN’s opinion of things, but promises once they get started, it will get very interesting. He sounds Luke-ish, but I don’t think LB could change his voice that much without showing. I can’t get over him calling someone worthy or deeming them unworthy and setting whomever up as his adversary or opponent, even if we are discussing, debating, and disagreeing. He wants someone who will work with him, like Luke did. The voice is different and trying to behave like he won’t get banned, but I find him to be greasy as fuck.

        • Kodie
        • MR

          My money is on Travis, but they could be the same I suppose.

        • Kodie

          Definitely Mike! I just know!

        • MR

          aka, Robert Lockett.

          Deceivers in Christ

        • Kodie

          Not enough videos or folksy trucker talk.

        • MR

          He’s shifting gears, npi.

        • I remember seeing “Lesous” used for “Jesus.” I think Greg G spotted that as well. I think it was Mike Shehn who used that label.

        • Kodie

          It’s also that he reminded us that atheists are really theists.

        • Well, someone’s gotta give us the harsh truth.

        • MR

          Unfortunately, I’m afraid all you can expect from KE is trolling.

        • Kevin K

          Oh, I know. I’m in no danger of having him be … interesting.

        • Jim Jones

          Presumably. Or more correctly, how can we believe any claim if one or more claims are false?

          However I prefer to ask for a definition of ‘god’. I have one.

          So far, no theist has one which is not contradictory.

        • Greg G.

          In case you don’t understand, Matthew, Acts, and James are books of the New Testament. Those New Testament authors have made the claims. If you disagree, take it up with the Christians who continue to insist the Bible is reliable.

          Lesous

          Still having Spellcheck issues, Mike Shehn?

        • BlackMamba44

          Account created today.

          Hmmm….

        • Greg G.

          Right. Mike Shehn suddenly disappeared and, POOF!, Kathab Epagonizomai appears.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          I don’t know Mike Shehn. Is he a colleague of yours?

        • epeeist

          POOF!, Kathab Epagonizomai appears.

          Who just happens to have opened a Disqus account yesterday.

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/42/Carlb-sockpuppet-02.jpg

        • BlackMamba44

          Created today, Jan 2, 2018. 🙂

          EDIT: I had to check my calendar to be sure, though.

        • BlackMamba44
        • epeeist
        • BlackMamba44

          Thanks. That worked.

          I’m on my work computer…

        • Kodie

          Mike Shehn wasn’t in this thread, and was banned, didn’t disappear.

        • MR

          Created today and marked private.

        • Kevin K

          And the translation of his user name is a biblical reference. Quelle suprise!!!

        • Kevin K

          Absolutely transparent as glass, isn’t he? JAQing off.

        • MR

          Deception seems to be the defining trait for Christian apologists. It kind of undermines the message.

        • Kevin K

          I’d have so much more respect if they’d just start off honestly…but NO! They play this kind of game, as if they’re going to either catch us in some sort of “gotcha” thing, or we’ll end up weeping at the pastor’s feet while we accept Jeebus as our lard and savor. This one appears to be going for some kind of Socratic thing — that game never lasts, because Socrates didn’t have the answers, only a method to explore the questions.

          Dishonesty is all they have.

          Late for friends. He’s all yours.

        • MR

          Yeah, thanks. I have no interest this troll.

        • epeeist

          Deception seems to be the defining trait for Christian apologists.

          There is a thing called the Quine thesis which states that there can be innumerable explanations for any particular set of phenomena. It has a further element, that any explanation can be protected from falsification by the use of ad hoc auxiliaries.

          Apologetics is the practice of producing the ad hoc auxiliaries to protect the failing claims of religion.

        • MNb

          You know, if it were only this I wouldn’t object that much. What I find revolting is when those extras are going to replace scientific explanations. That happens way too often. Two examples.

          1. The most famous one is the Cosmological Argument.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2012/12/the-virtue-of-steelmanning/

          The best version is in terms of First Explanation.
          a. According to science every event in our natural reality requires an explanation.
          b. According to science there must be a first natural explanation to avoid infinite regress (there is a Richard Feynman video on YouTube that indirectly confirms this).
          c. That first natural explanation also requires an explanation, which must be supernatural.
          d. The first supernatural explanation is called God.

          This is a sound argument, exactly because it makes immediately clear where unbelievers will quit: they lack the faith to accept c. Philosophers, whether religious or not, should be able to agree here. Deduction and faith are compatible and induction won’t refute it.
          Now try to present this version to apologists in practice. Well, forgeddabuddid. Whether stupid ignorants like Ameribear or scholars like WL Craig and Dutchman Emanuel Rutten: their particular brand of belief requires all kinds of claims about our natural reality, most often strict causality. Of course there are many more extreme examples, Young Earth Creationism being one of the most extreme.

          2. Jesus’ Resurrection.
          Note how christian apologists invariably try to use history (abusing the false idea that history is not science) to back the claim that this actually happened in our natural reality. They suddenly are not satisfied anymore with “it’s a miracle”, they want the empirical part of science to back it up. Most often they also want to use the uniformitarianism of scientific laws (which excludes the possibility of miracles) to argue for the Lawmaker God. With this in mind read the mess WLC wrote about the Eutyphro Dilemma (it can be easily formulated in terms of scientific laws).

          If only apologetics were nothing more than the practice of producing the ad hoc auxiliaries to protect the failing claims of religion I could live with it. Were apologists honest enough to admit this, they would understand that believers of other denominations and unbelievers are at least as justified to reject their claims. However they need some way or another to demonstrate the objective superiority of their claims. We all know the invariable result: intolerance and a slippery slope towards violent prosecution of those who refuse to accept their truth claims. Because those who keep on rejecting the objective superiority of the Truth do so because they’re evil. and evil needs to be exterminated.
          Apologetics paves the road from christian love (the pursuit of social justice) towards to bigotry like Luther’s antisemitism and WLC’s homophobia. If this correct conclusion turns me into a so called militant atheist or anti-religousnist then so be it.

        • epeeist

          This is a sound argument

          Except it isn’t, it isn’t even valid.

          Premisses a. and b. are both inductive and are therefore not necessarily true

          Premiss c. introduces a fourth term (and an undefined one at that)

          Premiss d. introduces yet another undefined term (God).

        • MNb

          The CA is based on an observation, like many god arguments, so by definition has an inductive element. That doesn’t make an argument invalid. I mean, all scientific theories are based on observations and hence relate to induction. If the CA is invalid because of this then Relativity is invalid because the premiss that the speed of light is a constant and hence not necessarily true either. Do you really want to walk that road? Nihilism is the only possible outcome. Or are you suddenly guilty of a double standard? I agree that Relativity is not nessarily true; I disagree in the case you happen to be consistent and are going to dismiss it as invalid for that reason as well.

          Sure, the term supernatural must be defined, but unlike some critics like to claim that’s doable. Worse for you at the moment – it’s irrelevant. See underneath.

          Your critique of premiss d. is flat out wrong. The CA provides a definition of God (namely the first supernatural explanation). It doesn’t tell us anything more about this entity called God, but that was not my purpose anyway. Neither do I care. Don’t tell me you are surprised that it’s not my problem.

          My purpose was to find a version of the CA that’s compatible with Modern Physics. It’s pleasing that it makes the faith element so crystal clear (what Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis called the salto mortale from our concrete world to a divine one). That won’t change not even as soon a proper definition of supernatural is given.

          Pimp this up with all the ornaments you like; I’m not interested.

        • Kahn_Tango

          “Have Christian’s [sic] claimed that God can do these specific things?”

          Whether or not they did is irrelevant to the fact that he doesn’t.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          The title of the article is “10 Questions Christians Must Answer”

          It is inferred that Christians have stated these things and therefore they must prove what they have asserted.

          I understand now. The reason for the article was to prove that God doesn’t exist because these questions cannot be answered. Is this correct? I am trying to understand the premise.

        • Jim Jones

          Matthew 17:20

          He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

          We see people who claim total faith, faith greater than a mountain. AFAIK, none can move a mustard seed.

        • Kahn_Tango

          “It is inferred that Christians have stated these things”

          No, it isn’t. Your premise is a straw-man. Regardless, “Whether or not they did is irrelevant to the fact that he doesn’t.”

          Rinse and repeat.

        • Kathab Epagonizomai

          No premise, I am posing questions in order to understand what is being asked and the purpose. My statement was rhetorical.

        • I am trying to understand the premise.

          Doubtful.

        • BlackMamba44

          More like JAQ’ing off.

        • MadScientist1023

          Christians claim their god is omnipotent, so logically yes, they have claimed he is capable of these things. I’ve heard many Christians claim their god heals the sick, provides for people in need, is just and that they have a personal relationship with him. Yet there’s no evidence of any of this happening. Many have also claimed the Bible is true and inerrant in absolutely all things. Yet there are plenty of factual errors in it, and no verifiable facts that the original authors couldn’t have known.

      • MR

        Do I smell a new sock puppet?

        • Kevin K

          Yes.

        • Herald Newman

          Sorry, I’m not following your question. Are you asking if I’m a sock puppet, or if Kathab is a sock puppet? I can answer “no” to the former, and “unsure” to the latter.

        • MR

          Sorry for the confusion, Kathab is clearly a sock puppet.

      • Kathab Epagonizomai

        Some people ask questions about God because they have a sincere desire for knowledge or understanding.

        Some people ask questions about God because they are seeking an argument, not because they really want to understand or learn. In these instances, an answer serves no purpose but to provide fuel for ridicule.

        These person are not asking a question for the purpose of gaining knowledge or conveying knowledge but to enhance the ego of the one who wrote the question for an ulterior motive.

        The purpose of asking questions is to acquire knowledge or information to assist a person in learning.

        When a person asks a question for the purpose of returning to criticize and create conflict, this allows us to see that the person has overt motives.

        In these cases, neither an answer nor continued discussion is merited as the person who asked this question for the purpose of conflict is not an honorable person.

    • Greg G.

      Didn’t you read the article? It says:

      I responded to ten questions from apologist J. Warner Wallace with the post, “10 Tough Questions for the Atheist to Answer.”

      The turnabout is fair play.

    • Chuck Johnson

      Curious. What is the point of your question ?

  • Kahn_Tango

    Why does the xian god hate innocent children?

    • Chuck Johnson

      Follow along with the Christian script.
      Many Christians believe that children are not innocent.
      The guilt of children makes the forgiveness of Jesus necessary.
      The early Christians were quite resourceful in creating their stories.

  • skl

    Questions 1,2, and 4 are of the form
    ‘Why isn’t everything in life perfectly to our liking, IOW, why aren’t we created in heaven to begin with?’
    The point the questioner is trying to make – bad things exist, therefore, no Christian god –
    seems pointless. At a minimum, logically inadequate.

    Question 3 seems to be assuming a super-natural entity should
    be confined to the natural. Again, logically inadequate.

    Question 5 seems to be making the assumption that seeing is believing. This seems a false assumption.
    Even if someone claiming to be Jesus Christ wondrously appeared to you today, and did/said some magical things, and
    then disappeared, you wouldn’t necessarily believe in Jesus Christ. You might well doubt your sanity or think it was all a dream.
    The bible stories indicate many people saw Jesus Christ but not all believed him to be god. The Christian
    story is perhaps the most fantastical of any religion’s tales. Who could believe a baby crying and soiling his swaddling clothes was actually god?
    Even if he appeared before your very eyes?

    • Kahn_Tango

      “bad things exist, therefore, no Christian god”

      Nope, it simply means the xian god is impotent, evil, or imaginary.

    • Pofarmer

      Why isn’t everything in life perfectly to our liking, IOW, why aren’t we created in heaven to begin with?’

      If God could create a perfect Heaven, he could create a perfect Earth. Easy Peasy.

      • Greg G.

        If God could create a perfect Jesus, he could have created a perfect Adam. Or just created Jesus in Eden in the first place.

        • Pofarmer

          Frankly, God’s plan seems like kind of a kludged up mess.

        • Kahn_Tango

          “I’m going to create man and woman with original sin. Then I’m going to impregnate a woman with myself as her child, so that I can be born. Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself in order to save you from the sin I originally condemned you to.”

        • Pofarmer

          It’s almost like it was made up by a bunch of violent, Goat herding nomads.

        • Greg G.

          Or priests who figured out an angle to get cash from goat herders instead of nothing but barbequed meat.

        • Pofarmer

          barbecued Goat’s not so bad. I think I’d get tired of squab after a while, though. There couldn’t have been any pigeons left in Palestine.

        • Greg G.

          I have told the story before about walking past a Cambodian Buddhist temple in Vietnam. Across the street were four houses that sold dog meat out front. One of them was barbecuing so we walked on the other side. When we walked through the smoke, Two thoughts came to mind in rapid succession but the first one was “that smells terrific” before it hit me that it was dog.

        • Kodie

          Everyone loves dogs.

        • Michael Neville

          I’ve had dog meat in Vietnam. It was better than C-Rations but not as good as pork or beef. It didn’t taste in the least like chicken. Come to think of it, it resembled goat more than anything else I’ve ever had.

        • Kodie

          It’s not just a system to liquidate offerings, but it’s bound to attract more offerings because anyone can join, and it makes the same promise no matter who you are or what you’re going through now, and doesn’t promise it now but after you die. God is not a vending machine! You can’t cook your favorite striped goat and hope that makes god favor you. That’s why it’s called “good news” – you don’t have to be good, you don’t have to be nice, you just have to join a church and keep dosing up your beliefs.

        • Herald Newman
        • Judy Thompson

          Eden reminds me of those bad movies with oh-oh music, you just KNOW bad things are gonna happen, and
          God setting up Adam and Eve that way is just mean. Like putting the cookies on a plate in the middle of the
          table and telling the kids, “those are for AFTER supper and they’re grownup cookies. You can’t have any.”
          Like that’s gonna happen, yep.
          We forget, half the Bible stories are a history of the Jews. The rest are apocryphal. Like fairy tales. You know.

    • Greg G.

      Many Christians believe that God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent. Yet there is suffering. If suffering is necessary, then it must achieve something and that something is logically possible to achieve. If the something is possible to achieve, then an omnipotence can achieve that something without the suffering, so the suffering is not necessary to achieve the something. If unnecessary suffering exists despite the existence of an omnipotence, then the omnipotence is actually sadistic and not benevolent.

      If the being is not benevolent, why call it “God”? If it is benevolent and impotent against suffering, it is like my old dog, or any other kind person, so why call it “God”? Or it doesn’t exist, which is consistent with the evidence. Or God’s superpower is Hide and Seek rather than dealing with suffering.

      • Travis

        Why does something being possible necessitate that that something can be achieved sans suffering?

        • Greg G.

          If suffering can do something that a being cannot do, then the being is not omnipotent.

        • Travis

          What makes you think that?

          Why can you exclude the possibility that some things simply must and can only come about through the experience of suffering?

        • Kodie

          What if nothing comes from suffering? Suffering is not a guaranteed or reliable path to anything good. Telling us that god inflicts suffering on us to bring about some positive outcome is bullshit.

        • Travis

          And I’m asking how you can claim to be in a position to know that.

        • Michael Neville

          If the sadistic bully you worship is omnibenevolent then why does it allow suffering? Suffering exists. You have the choice, either your monster of a god isn’t omnibenevolent or it’s non-existent.

        • Kodie

          To know what is evident in the world? Not everyone grows from suffering. Some people suffer and then are immediately killed so they don’t have time to grow. Some people do not grow because their life just keeps getting worse. You are demanding that sufferers SHOULD BEHAVE HOW YOU WISH THEY WOULD, when we see that sometimes it is the case, and many times, it is not the case. How am I in a position to know about reality and statistics? While you are sitting on your ass telling me that suffering is GOOD! But “objective morality” means that some things are “inherently bad” – you can’t reconcile the humans that cause suffering are agents to give people the gifts of suffering you are sure they ought to cherish and utilize for their own good. We’re not even talking about non-human agents of suffering like hunger, weather, fire, disease, etc.

          You can’t reconcile it, you judgmental asshole. Religious beliefs and excuses have turned you into a monster who doesn’t care about anyone.

        • Greg G.

          Why can you exclude the possibility that some things simply must and can only come about through the experience of suffering?

          I am not excluding the possibility that some things must come from suffering. If those things that suffering accomplishes can come from other means, then suffering is not necessary. Omnipotence would necessarily be included in the set of things that can accomplish whatever suffering accomplishes.

          If a hundred different things can do a hundred different things that a being cannot do, then the being is not omnipotent. If a hundred different things can do one single thing that a being can do, then the being is not omnipotent.

          If a being can use suffering to do something but cannot do the same thing without the suffering, the being is not omnipotent.

        • Travis

          If you don’t want to argue and accept that some changes in a being can only come about through suffering then you are conceding the point.

        • Kodie

          You don’t seem to be able to separate these ideas:

          There are some things one may only be able to learn if they’ve been through something terrible.

          Suffering does not always lead to a positive learning experience.

          There is a reason for suffering and that is because you must learn from the experience (and be redeemed).

        • Greg G.

          We can learn from suffering. Some things might require suffering from being learned. But if there is an omnipotent being, there is another way to know those things without learning through suffering. The word omnipotent says that the being could put the knowledge into my head. Since I sometimes suffer, I know that there is either no omnipotent being, or that the omnipotence is a sadistic prick.

        • Greg G.

          We don’t even need omnipotence. If there is a sufficiently powerful being that could do whatever suffering can do, then suffering is unnecessary. If such a being exists, then it is not benevolent enough to prevent all suffering.

      • skl

        If Christians use the word “omnibenevolent”, they obviously
        have a different understanding of the term than you do. For they readily
        recognize that their god allows bad things to happen, and even allows his god-son to suffer a horrible death.

        • Greg G.

          If Christians use the word “omnibenevolent”, they obviously
          have a different understanding of the term than you do.

          Certainly. Do you remember Ed Senter? He used a definition that God could make a rock so big he couldn’t lift it, but he couldn’t comprehend that if God couldn’t lift it, he would not be omnipotent.

          More philosophical Christians define omnipotence as the ability to do anything that is logically possible. God can create a married man and God could create a bachelor but not a married bachelor. Ed uses the strong definition for omnipotence which is logically incoherent while others use the weak definition of omnipotence. That is the definition I just used.

          There are some Christians that haven’t thought through the implications of the word so their definition of omnipotence turns out to be unomnipotent.

          For they readily
          recognize that their god allows bad things to happen, and even allows his god-son to suffer a horrible death.

          Right! If God allows bad things to happen for no reason but shits and giggles then you have to admit that God is sadistic, which is incompatible with omnibenevolent.

          Omnipotence implies that all suffering is unnecessary. Omnibenevolent implies that unnecessary suffering would not exist. We know that suffering exists which implies that there is either no omnipotent being that is also omnibenevolent, no omnibenevolent being that is also omnipotent, or no omnipotent beings and no omnibenevolent beings.

        • “Can God make a rock so heavy that hitting His head with it would explain the change in personality He underwent between the Old Testament and the New Testament?” – commenter GubbaBumpkin

        • skl

          “Omnibenevolent implies that unnecessary suffering would not
          exist.”

          If that’s so, then omnibenevolent may also imply that necessary
          suffering would exist.

        • Greg G.

          Irrelevant, if there is an omnipotence then all suffering would be unnecessary.

          Edit to correct what I typed during a phone call.

  • Roger Corson
    • Pofarmer

      I’m gonna be a dick and not give you the traffic. Reply here. One at a time, if you like.

    • Chuck Johnson

      Indoctrination, dishonesty, gullibility, ignorance, blind obedience to authority can cause the faithful to believe just about anything.
      You have been deceived and you are trying to deceive others.
      Your answers are non-answers.

    • Kevin K

      What Pofarmer said. You want to discuss the OP? Do it here.

      • Roger Corson

        I had too much to say. I don’t like typing in little web browser window boxes. I can’t edit. Something usually goes wrong and all is lost. I’m Marsedit. It’s nice.

        • Kevin K

          Then expect to be ignored.

        • Roger Corson

          I do. No problem. I’m used to it.

    • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

      You created a brand new Disqus account in order to spam your own blog.

      Nice.

      Not going to give you any clicks. Sorry.

    • Greg G.

      Well, I replied. I had to substitute italics for blockquote over there. Here is what I said but I was not quoting his full replies.
      ____________________________________________

      1. Why won’t God heal amputees?

      Higher life forms do not have regenerative properties.

      See the Wikipedia article at Regeneration in humans at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regeneration_in_humans

      In Luke 22:50-51 when Jesus was being arrested, the ear of a servant of the high priest was cut off. Jesus put it back on.

      But that aside, one might as well ask: why do people get sick, why do people die, why are people blind or lame or crippled in other ways, why are some people less intelligent that others?

      The gospels say Jesus healed those maladies, too.

      If Jesus could do it, the question remains for God.

      This same evil creature that deceived Eve is currently free to roam the world causing havoc. Those who choose to believe there is no God because of insufficient evidence should at least believe there is a pervasive evil force in the world as there is indisputable evidence of that.

      The story never mentions Satan. God punished serpents. If it was Satan disguised as a serpent, God owes serpents an apology.

      2. Why are there so many starving people in the world?

      See # 1.

      Jesus copied Elisha’s 2 Kings 4:42-44 trick of feeding lots of people with a few fish and loaves of bread twice.

      Matthew 6:26 (NRSV)26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

      If humans are more important than sparrows, then the question remains. But sparrows are subject to starvation, too, so why trust Matthew?

      3. Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?

      Would a scientific explanation be understandable to ancient peoples?

      Yet, we have the scientific knowledge about 2500 years later. Couldn’t God have explained it all to the ancient people in a day, if we accept the timeline of Psalms 90:4.

      4. Why do bad things happen to good people?

      See # 1. Good is a relative term. Good is not good enough. Good is not perfect. (Again, see # 1.)

      I would have expected you to use the example of Luke 13:1-5 where Jesus talked of slaughtered Galileans and victims of a tower collapse.

      But under the question, Bob points out that bad things happen to people whose sins are said to be forgiven, too. But it’s like we all live in an indifferent universe.

      5. How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?

      This story is actually prophetic as Jesus himself rose from the dead and many do not believe.

      Yet, according to the story, everybody that Jesus appeared to became a believer. Does Jesus want everyone to be a believer?

      John 17:20-23 (NRSV)20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

      Jesus wants the whole world to believe and prayed that all Christians would agree so closely that it would impress the whole world so much that everyone would believe. Yet we see that the earliest apostles were disagreeing before the New Testament was even written. That makes Jesus’ prayer the biggest prayer failure of all time.

      Billions of people have died in the last two thousand years who could have been saved if Jesus would have appeared to them. Even if some would not have believed, some of them could have been saved.

      So, the question remains.

      • “Higher life forms do not have regenerative properties.”

        That’s his answer? Wow. Maybe he’s unaware that miracles are a big deal in Christianity. They’re supposed to be violations of natural laws.

        “This same evil creature that deceived Eve is currently free to roam the world causing havoc.”

        Whose fault is that?

        “Would a scientific explanation be understandable to ancient peoples?”

        If we can understand it, so could they. We’re the same people with the same cognitive abilities.

        But under the question, Bob points out that bad things happen to people whose sins are said to be forgiven, too.

        Further, Christians don’t sin: “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18; see also 3:6 and 3:9).

        • Greg G.

          That’s his answer?

          Not his whole answer. I didn’t quote them in full there and I didn’t think either of you would want his whole post in two places. I just took “fair use” amounts.

        • katiehippie

          Higher life forms do not have regenerative properties.”
          I always ask, can’t god do anything? Why do they limit god?

        • MR

          Yeah, a weird response. God can do anything, but he won’t do that.

        • Yeah–why is the atheist teaching the Christian what omniscient means?

      • Roger Corson

        See the Wikipedia article at Regeneration in humans at https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

        Ah, yes. I did know that we have regenerative properties in some tissue. I just recently learned that whole livers can be restored with just part of another person’s liver. That explains some transplants I saw in TV dramas that I thought were just bad science. But you can’t cut a person in half and grow two new people like they do with planarians. And unfortunately we can’t grow new limbs.

      • Roger Corson

        “The gospels say Jesus healed those maladies, too.

        “If Jesus could do it, the question remains for God.”

        Jesus is God. When He was here, He didn’t heal everyone on the planet. He only healed those with whom he had contact and he only healed those who believed—or who had friends that believed—that He had God’s healing power. (That may not be true in all cases, but it was in most.) Although He had compassion for human suffering, His motive was to demonstrate that He was God in the flesh. I see no reason for everyone to be healed of sickness or injury.

      • Roger Corson

        The story never mentions Satan. God punished serpents. If it was Satan disguised as a serpent, God owes serpents an apology.

        “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” ~ Genesis 3:15 (NLT)

        In “You will strike his heel,” “You” is the serpent or satan, “his” is the offspring of Eve, the Jewish peoples. Anti-Semitism has been rampant for thousands of years. In recent times there was Nazi Germany and even now Muslim nations desire to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” In “He will strike your head,” “He” is Jesus, the offspring of Eve, “your” refers again to satan, and the strike against the head indicates a fatal blow. This fatal blow is prophesied again in Revelation. It is interesting that the same prophesy appears in both the first and last books of the Bible.

      • Roger Corson

        I would have expected you to use the example of Luke 13:1-5 where Jesus talked of slaughtered Galileans and victims of a tower collapse.

        Luke 13:1-5. Yes. That works.

      • Roger Corson

        “But under the question, Bob points out that bad things happen to people whose sins are said to be forgiven, too. But it’s like we all live in an indifferent universe.”

        There is so much misunderstanding because people are materialistic. I mean materialistic in that they believe this present universe is both real and it is all that exists—there is nothing else. The only thing that is real is something that our senses cannot detect—God himself and our souls. I think our universe is not real—it is a contingent reality—just a simulation in the mind of God. God is primarily concerned with our immortal souls and whether they will be with him in the eventual world that will replace this one. The forgiveness of our imperfection promises that our immortal soul will not be taken from us. It doesn’t protect us from physical death. As materialists, people think this present world, is the final world God planned. It is not; this is temporary.

        • MNb

          “The only thing that is real is something that our senses cannot detect—God himself and our souls.”
          How do you know? This

          “I think …”
          is not nearly enough.

          “As materialists, people think this present world, is the final world God planned.”
          I am a materialist and I don’t think this at all. I have no idea if this is the final world; after (whatever after means) our Universe is finished there might be another Universe, in which I won’t participate. Above all I don’t think this world is planned, let alone by an imaginary character named God or whatever.

      • Roger Corson

        “Jesus wants the whole world to believe and prayed that all Christians would agree so closely that it would impress the whole world so much that everyone would believe. Yet we see that the earliest apostles were disagreeing before the New Testament was even written. That makes Jesus’ prayer the biggest prayer failure of all time.”

        Yes, He wants, wishes, desires that all should be saved, but since we have been given volition, in their arrogance, many will choose to not accept.

        He also prayed at about the same time:

        “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:41-42 (NLT)

        And note that the prayer was not answered because it was not the will of God. Many times we are counseled by Jesus that prayers are not answered because we ask for things to satisfy our own lust—selfish things—things not within the will of God. He also uses the analogy of fathers and their children. As a father I like to give things to my children, but if they ask for something that I don’t think they should have, they don’t get it. A lot of people and unfortunately a lot of Christians think that God is or should be Santa Claus, their personal genii, or their slave. That is not the case; he is the most Holy Creator of all of space and time.

      • Roger Corson

        “Billions of people have died in the last two thousand years who could have been saved if Jesus would have appeared to them. Even if some would not have believed, some of them could have been saved.”

        I do understand this concern. I asked “why” when I was a little child. I think the answer is illustrated well in something that happened to the Israelites when they were wandering about in the wilderness. As punishment for their grumbling—despite the fact that they were pretty well taken care of—poisonous snakes were sent to attack them. Moses was instructed to put the image of a snake on a pole and anyone who looked at it would be saved from death. Now that seemed like a stupid thing to do. So stupid to many that they died. How would simply looking at an image of the thing that bit me cure me? It wasn’t the act of looking that healed people; rather it was the demonstration of faith or trust in God that His promise would heal them. It was humility and trust that saved them. The arrogant instead died.

        And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. John 3:14-15 (NLT)

        I am convinced that it is arrogance that blinds men. First, there are many, many references to the evil of arrogance in the Bible. Someday, I’ll find them all. Second, there is this from the Psalms:

        “There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.” ~ Proverbs 6:16-19 (NLT)

        “Haughty eyes” is sometimes translated “a proud look”. But the meaning is clear—it is speaking of pride or arrogance. Third, I also think it is significant, that it is the first thing mentioned in the list. And fourth and most importantly, the original sin of Adam and Eve was arrogance; it was the notion that we are better suited than God to decide what is good for us and what is bad for us. I see this in atheists in spades. Their usual motivation or defense is that “if there is a god, I don’t think this would be how the universe operates. I have a better idea of how the universe should be.” Given that the size, complexity, and diversity in the universe, that is it not completely understood by the most intelligent of humans, and given that not a one of them was able to predestine the country of his birth, the century of his birth, or when he will die, this seems like an extremely arrogant attitude. Not only do atheists suffer from this arrogance, but unfortunately some who believe there is a God. They believe that they can be saved by their own good behavior and nothing else.

        “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)

        “So, the question remains.”

        I’ve digressed from the original question: “How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?” I’m not going to claim that Jesus appeared to me. However, I recently had a dream where someone appeared to me and didn’t identify himself, but I somehow understood that he was Jesus. The meeting was short; he only came to assure me that “everything will be alright.” It was only after I woke up and recalled the dream that I wondered, “Why did he appear to me as Owen Wilson the actor? He didn’t look very Jewish with that blonde hair.” Did he appear to me or not? I don’t know. I remain skeptical.

    • Herald Newman

      We live in an imperfect world brought upon us by our own doing.

      The world was in the state it is before I was born!? What have I done to deserve being born into a world that was broken by my ancestors, and why must I suffer those consequences? This statement is just pure nonsense!

      • “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin” (Deut. 24:16).

        (Just ignore the contradictory “[God] will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (Ex. 34:7).)

      • katiehippie

        Sorry, I didn’t create the world. God supposedly made it perfect, but wait, he didn’t. If we can mess it up, then we are as powerful as god.
        Woo hoo, god powers!

        • Herald Newman

          Exactly!

      • Roger Corson

        You can’t blame your ancestors. Everyone is imperfect. Newborn babies are the most selfish creatures in the world and no one taught them that. We are all imperfect.

        • Herald Newman

          Then, at least according to the nonsense that Christians believe, God created me imperfect, and is holding me accountable for being imperfect. I’m reminded of Hitchens: We are created sick and commanded to be well.

        • Roger Corson

          No. He created you with volition. (He didn’t want a race of robot.) And it is human volition, it is the choices and decisions they make, that make them imperfect. But it’s not as bleak as it sounds. You can be made perfect or at least appear to be perfect in the eyes of God.

        • epeeist

          He didn’t want a race of robot

          And you know this how precisely?

        • MR

          It’s not even a concept that in the Bible. It’s a made up excuse.

        • Herald Newman

          How exactly does a baby act on it’s own volition when it acts selfishly? Are you seriously offering that babies are sufficiently mentally developed to have free will?

        • Roger Corson

          Having had a couple babies, this seems obvious. Do you have any children?

        • Herald Newman

          Baby humans act just like babies of just about every other mammalian species on Earth. They act on instinct and do what they can to survive.

          By your standard much of the life on Earth has free-will.

          For the record, I don’t think there is anything like free-will, and that our responses are pretty much determined by biology and environment.

        • Kodie

          So you think a baby decides whether to cry about this or that, or can tell it’s not that serious, and is just doing it because they are being purposely selfish?

        • Roger Corson

          The example of selfishness in babies doesn’t seem to be well received. So here’s another example. Little children do not have to be taught how to lie. They figure this out very early in life all by themselves. No training necessary. They are born with it. All of them.

        • Kodie

          You’re wrong and simple-headed. That probably helps you maintain an unflappable belief in your superstition. While nobody sets out to train a child to be a liar, they figure it out from being humans observing their environment, and at the developmental stage when they start to be able to know that what they say doesn’t have to match reality. Have you ever read your children a bedtime story? Played Peek-a-boo? You taught your children to lie.

          https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/10/02/552860553/when-children-begin-to-lie-theres-actually-a-positive-takeaway

        • MNb

          Little children are social beings. They learn all kinds of stuff from each other and from their parents. They learn it fast too. I don’t see why lying should be an exception. Btw this applies to babies as well.

        • Herald Newman

          You can be made perfect or at least appear to be perfect in the eyes of God.

          And how does believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection make me appear perfect in the eyes of God? It’s bloody nonsense!

        • Roger Corson

          Yup. It seems like nonsense. (Ref. my post on Moses and the serpents) But that’s how it is. We don’t get to make the rules. Now in religion (religions are man made belief systems), the rules are made by ordinary humans. But in Christianity, humans don’t get to make the rules. It is what it is.

        • Herald Newman

          Christianity is a religion you dolt. All the rules in Christianity are man made, just like every other religion.

        • Greg G.

          Then he created us with imperfect volition. He put us in a physical body with physical requirements. He put us on Earth and punishes everyone for being Earthlings.

        • Roger Corson

          Christopher Hitchens is dead.

        • Herald Newman

          Way to miss the point. Imbecile.

        • Roger Corson

          I didn’t think I was missing the point. Maybe I was being a bit facetious. If someone, like Hitchens, professes to be enlightened and to have insight into the deepest secrets of the universe, he shouldn’t be dead.

          You shouldn’t use an ad hominem argument.

        • Herald Newman

          professes to be enlightened and to have insight into the deepest secrets of the universe, he shouldn’t be dead.

          Who said he had insight into the deepest secrets of the universe. His point is that, at least according to Christian doctrine, which you seem to have affirmed belief in, we are created sick and commanded to be well.

          You shouldn’t use an ad hominem argument.

          And you need to learn what an ad hominem is. Not all insults are ad hominem, as they only apply when they are part of the argument itself.

          “You’re wrong because you’re an idiot” is an ad hominem.
          “You’re wrong, and you’re also an idiot” is NOT an ad hominem.

          Learn the difference.

        • Roger Corson

          I think you are just trying to flap me. You should know that I’m unflappable.

        • Kodie

          I think that you’re trying to weasel because you’re a weasel.

        • Greg G.

          If someone, like Hitchens, professes to be enlightened and to have insight into the deepest secrets of the universe, he shouldn’t be dead.

          Maybe he is not dead, but playing Hide & Seek with Jesus.

        • Kodie

          Jesus is too.

        • Roger Corson

          Nope. Very much alive.

        • Kodie

          Wut.

        • MNb

          That doesn’t answer the question. Whether selfish or not, as they lack the means to influence it babies cannot be hold responsible for the imperfect world we live in. They done nothing to deserve being born into a world that was broken, no matter how imperfect they are, simply because they never had the chance to do something about it.

    • Otto

      >>>”We have the scriptures—the writings of Moses and the prophets—is that not sufficient?”

      No it’s not sufficient, not even close. Why did they get direct evidence but the rest of us have to just trust that? Doesn’t seem equitable…

      • Roger Corson

        Equitable. I don’t like that word. How can anyone expect equity when we have no control of who our parents will be, what country we will be born in, what century we well be born in, or when we will die. That’s not equitable. That’s just how it is.

        • Otto

          OK…I kind of agree with you there…but then the idea of free will goes right out of the window and takes much of Christian apologetics with it.

        • MR

          It’s also kind of an admission that God doesn’t exist.

      • Roger Corson

        I forgot. Aside from the written history, we also have the natural world. It is wonderful, amazing, strange, awesome, frightening, and mysterious. If you’ve studied physics, quantum physics, cosmology, biology, chemistry, and other sciences you can’t help but be amazed and question why we exist at all.

        • epeeist

          we also have the natural world

          To attempt to write this as a categorical syllogism:

          P1: The natural world exists;

          C; Therefore god

          You seem to be missing something between the premiss and conclusion. The other thing is, could a Muslim say the same thing? How about a Hindu, a Zoroastrian or even a believer in the Great Spirit?

        • Roger Corson

          I am not saying that since it exists, then God must exist. You missed some key words: “wonderful, amazing, strange, awesome, frightening, and mysterious”. It is the nature of the universe that suggests a creative intelligence. There are so many physical constants, that if their values were slightly different, we would not exist. (I need to find my reference.) It’s fascinating. Just moments after the big bang, if the entropy of the then universe was either slightly too large or slightly too small the universe would have collapsed on itself or expanded to such a state that nothing interesting would happen; stars, galaxies, planets would never form. The value of entropy was just right for us and the universe to exist as we see it now. Roger Penrose does an analysis to show that the probability that the universe exists as we know it is 1 over 10^10^123. (very big number) https://evolutionnews.org/2010/04/roger_penrose_on_cosmic_finetu/ Some biased scientists have proposed a multiverse to avoid the problem. But even my atheist friend thinks that is a cheat.

        • epeeist

          I am not saying that since it exists, then God must exist. You missed some key words:

          Whereas you missed at least one premiss.

          It is the nature of the universe that suggests a creative intelligence.

          No, this is just wishful thinking on your part, just because you find the universe “wonderful etc.” doesn’t indicate any kind of intelligence.

          There are so many physical constants, that if their values were slightly different, we would not exist.

          And this is just an argument from consequences.

          To be blunt, why should the universe be “fine tuned” for us? If it is fine tuned then why not for black holes or galaxies? There are many more of them then us, they have been around longer and they will be around long after we are gone.

          But since you brought up fine tuning perhaps you could tell me whether these constants can vary and if so over what range and with what probability distribution? I would also be interested in what you think would happen if we allowed these constants to covary rather than varying them singly.

          Roger Penrose does an analysis to show that the probability that the universe exists as we know it is 1 over 10^10^123. (very big number)

          I know it is a “very big number”, I am a physicist.

          You know when you go to a lecture it is normally rather longer than 4 minutes. Something this long is the video equivalent of a quote mine, but since it comes from the so called “Discovery Institute” then I am hardly surprised.

          As it is Penrose has an hypothesis which solves the problem, namely his cyclic conformal cosmology, this is purely naturalistic and requires no god of any kind.

          Some biased scientists have proposed a multiverse to avoid the problem.

          Where did you pick this particular lie from?

          There is a thing called the “principle of mediocrity”, sometimes known as the “Copernican principle”. This states that there are no special observers. Our planet is not special, it is just one amongst many thousands of others that have so far been discovered. Our sun is not special, it is a modest star in galaxy of hundreds of billions of others. Our galaxy is not special, it is one amongst hundreds of billions of others. Why should our universe be anything special?

        • Roger Corson
        • epeeist

          I am not sure why you posted this, except possibly to show that you can look up “multiverse” on Wikipedia.

          As I said, I am (or rather was) a physicist. Even though I am not a cosmologist much of the material on that page is familiar to me and I have read an amount of the primary literature on the subject.

          As it is simply referencing the page does nothing to answer the points that I made.

        • Roger Corson

          A multiverse page reference wasn’t intended to answer any points you made. Your post seemed to imply that I was just making up the notion of a multiverse theory. The reference was just to demonstrate that it was not something that I made up. That’s all. Chill.

        • epeeist

          Your post seemed to imply that I was just making up the notion of a multiverse theory.

          What you actually said was “Some biased scientists have proposed a multiverse to avoid the problem.”

          Now this is a fairly serious accusation in that a) you claim that scientists have deliberately invented an hypothesis to avoid the problem and b) that they were biased in doing so.

          Now unless you can substantiate both accusations then it looks rather like “alternate facts”, i.e. lies.

        • Roger Corson

          I’ll admit it, I assumed bias. That’s just my opinion. They may or may not be biased. But that it is my opinion is true.

          I’m an old curmudgeon. I’ve seen a lot, heard a lot, and read a lot and I’ve decided that everyone has a bias. People start with a bias and then look for evidence to support it. I strive to be objective, but I have biases. Faith is a bias.

        • Roger Corson

          As an example, there is no evidence to support punctuated evolution. Punctuated evolution seems to have been invented just to fill some gaps in evolutionary theory. Without evidence, wouldn’t the motivation for that just be bias?

        • MNb

          There is not something like punctuated evolution. There is a concept called punctuated equilibrium. There is evidence for it indeed.

          https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/24398/title/Genetic-evidence-for-punctuated-equilibrium/

          “invented just to fill some gaps in evolutionary theory.”
          Well, yes, that’s how science works. You get some evidence. Your scientific theory doesn’t cover it. There is a gap. So you invent a modification of your theory that does cover the gap. Without evidence it’s useless to say that there is a gap in the first place.

        • Roger Corson

          I stand corrected. It is punctuated equilibrium. The article says there is evidence that rapid genetic changes did occur, but it doesn’t completely address my concern. The cause for the rapid changes needs to be explained. The article does offer this:

          Well known evolutionary mechanisms could account for rapid genetic change at speciation, Pagel said. Speciation often takes place when a population of organisms is isolated, which means that genetic drift in a small population or fast adaptation to a new niche could induce rapid evolutionary change.

          The problem is that the word “could” appears in this speculation. Until the “could” can be removed the cause is just Pagel’s hypothesis.

        • MNb

          Perhaps, perhaps not. I’m not an expert on this topic. Still there is evidence for punctuated equilibrium; that’s all I wanted to say. It’s not a stop gap without evidence.

        • epeeist

          As an example, there is no evidence to support punctuated evolution.

          You might try this paper or this paper or this paper. There are many more.

          Of course if the only place your are looking is the DiscoTute web site you won’t realise that they exist.

        • Roger Corson

          Got it. I’ll check these out. Thanks.

          Even if evolution proves true, it doesn’t eliminate the need for a Creator. I would just think that’s how God did it. High school science indoctrination made me an evolutionist, but I still was of the opinion that that is how God brought us here. However, since then, I’ve become skeptical. I did some experiments with simulated evolution. I’ve actually used the approach to solve mathematical optimization problems that can’t be solved with traditional numerical methods. But in the exercise I came to realize that evolution only works with the machinery of DNA already in place. Where did the machinery come from? In my simulation I built in the machinery. It preexisted. This is the problem of abiogenesis which as yet has not been solved. Another missing piece of the puzzle is how does embryonic development work? That is another thing that I build in. It preexisted. I was the god force in my working simulation. My thinking is that the codes for embryonic development are in what some scientists call “junk DNA”. I don’t think there is junk DNA. I think there are instructions there for embryonic development. The instructions have to be somewhere. What we know about DNA is only data. There needs to be instructions too.

        • Otto

          You are right, proving evolution does not disprove God, conversely disproving evolution is not evidence for God. When I was a Christian I accepted evolution, it was no threat. I am not sure why evolution is a threat to religious convictions except for those that hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible.

          The thing about High School science is there is mountains of evidence for what they teach…that being the case it is not indoctrination. Indoctrination is when concepts and ideas are presented solely on the say of others without any evidence…ya know like when the Church taught me Jesus died for my sins as part of God’s plan.

        • MNb

          “Where did the machinery come from?”
          You are barking against the wrong tree. This is not a question for evolution. Evolution begins at the first moment that there is already a form life, with DNA.

          “This is the problem of abiogenesis.”
          This problem precedes evolution.

          “I was the god force in my working simulation.”
          The problem with this analogy is that you belong to our natural reality. You can tell exactly which means you used and which procedures you followed – means and procedures that also belong to our natural reality. A creator however by definition doesn’t.
          You are back at the same square. You can maintain that even if a natural explanation for abiogenesis proves true, it doesn’t eliminate the need for a Creator.
          So you are involved in a non-debate, one setup by creationists who are by definition dishonest.

        • Roger Corson

          Okay. I had thought that evolution included both the process with DNA and the abiogenesis problem.

          The problem with this analogy is that you belong to our natural reality. You can tell exactly which means you used and which procedures you followed – means and procedures that also belong to our natural reality. A creator however by definition doesn’t.

          I’m not following this; you need to try to explain it a different way. I do not belong to the reality of my simulation. I am metaphysical to my simulation. I am the god entity.

          You can maintain that even if a natural explanation for abiogenesis proves true, it doesn’t eliminate the need for a Creator.

          Yes. We still need space, time, matter, and energy. They are prerequisite to any solution to abiogenesis.

          So you are involved in a non-debate, one setup by creationists who are by definition dishonest.

          This seems like a non sequitur.

        • MNb

          No, perhaps it’s better if you try to explain it yourself. You say that you are the god entity of your simulation. What equipment did you use? Could you give me a comprehensive list? How did you set up and manipulate your experiment? Describe in detail.
          After you have done that try to answer the same questions for “God creating life”. You’ll immediately see that you can’t.
          Then ask: how comes? Because you belong to our natural reality. You may not belong to the reality of your simulation; both your simulation and you belong to our natural reality. Both you and your experiment are a subset of it.
          A creating god however isn’t. So no matter how metaphysical you are, there is a crucial difference between you being the metaphysical god and for instance YHWH or Allah being it.

          “Yes. We still need space, time, matter, and energy. They are prerequisite to any solution to abiogenesis.”
          That’s not what I meant. Space, time, matter and energy are all features of our natural reality.

          “This seems like a non sequitur.”
          Perhaps, you decide. You didn’t give enough information yet to draw a reliable conclusion.
          Creationists (and you linked to a creationist website) pit god against science (mainly, but not only Evolution Theory). According to them one excludes the other.
          You correctly pointed out that that doesn’t need to be the case. Evolution Theory (like any scientific theory) remains silent about creating gods. That’s why I call creationism vs. Evolution Theory a non-debate.

          At the other hand you wrote “God brought us here. However, since then, I’ve become skeptical. I did some experiments with simulated evolution.” and that suggests you pit god against science as well. At least it demonstrates you tend to get involved into that non-debate.

          It still may be a non-sequitur – I’m not exactly perfect. So I’ll ask you directly.

          Do you think that scientific theories like evolution, abiogenesis and multiverse should be abandonded and replaced by some belief system with a creating god involved? If yes, you are involved in the non-debate. If no, you are not a creationist but rather embrace theistic evolution

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

          There are some important scientists (notably Francis Collins and Kenneth Miller) who hold this position. If you are with them you should stay away from creationist sources, except if you want to learn how dishonest they are. Also it’s no use anymore to criticize Evolution Theory, abiogensis and the Multiverse Hypothesis on this blog. You should visit a scientific forum (this isn’t one, though science pops up now and then). It’s not that I want to chase you away, but nobody here thinks science can disprove god or something similar.

        • Roger Corson

          What equipment did you use?

          It is not a physical simulation. It is a computer simulation. An algorithm. I created the whole “universe”. It is not part of ours. The genetics is modeled after ours and based on a text that I can’t reference because I don’t have it with me. The computer program simulates the DNA molecule, reproduction, gene splicing, natural selection, random mutation, and a population of multiple members. The genetic machinery works very well. But the mapping from the DNA information to the survivability traits of each member of the population is something I added. So the exercise raised at least two questions. (There is a third I can’t recall at the moment.) It only works because the DNA machinery is in place. How did that come into being via evolution? Secondly, in the natural world where did the mapping from the DNA information to survivability traits come from? How could that evolve?

          I use it to solve mathematical optimization problems. Each allele in the DNA strand corresponds to a bit in a binary number. The binary numbers are the independent variables in a function I am trying to minimizes. The dependent value of the function determines the survivability of the member in the natural selection process. Once built, run it for many generations, and a solution is found. It works very well. It’s slow, but it works and can be used where traditional numerical methods won’t work. The mapping from the DNA information to an organism is a necessary element. I don’t know how it could have evolved. And the DNA machinery is an unsolved problem of abiogenesis. This made me a skeptic.

        • MNb

          Computer simulations are physical simulations. No electricity no computer simulation. No socket or battery no electricity. Electricity consists of charged particles, usually electrons. Electrons are physical. They run through cables (physical). You manipulate (using your physical fingers) the computer (physical) by using a keyboard and/or a mouse. Both are physical. You read the information on a monitor, which is physical. Your eyes (physical) receives the information in the form of photons (physical). That information transfers to your brain via neurons (physical). Algorithms are build upon very small switches turned off (value 0) or on (value 1. This is what byte means. Those switches are physical. Here you have the means and the procedures I asked for..
          When you want to use this as an analogy for a god creating life you’ll have to show what similar means and procedures this creating god used. That’s impossible, because such a god by definition is immaterial/ supernatural/ transcendental.
          So your experiment may disprove evolution and/or abiogenesis (again, it’s not up to me to judge that – you should ask some experts) but it’s not evidence for creationism. At the other hand, and we already agreed on this, any similar computer simulation with opposite outcomes won’t disprove god either.

        • Roger Corson

          The universe simulated in the computer is an abstract concept. It is an algorithm. It is mathematical. Nothing in the physical world affects its behavior. The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical concept. Like anything mathematical, it exists aside from reality. But the sequence can be generated with an algorithm. F(n)=F(n-1)+F(n-2). You can generate a few elements of the sequence in your head. You could use a pen and paper. You could use Excel. If you wanted to generate a large subset of the sequence, you would use a computer program. But it doesn’t matter how you do it; you always get the same answer. The method used, does not affect the mathematics.

          My simulation of genetics is just an algorithm. The computer and the physical world do not affect its behavior.

          The Fibonacci sequence is a trivial example. A good place to start with simulation is John Conway’s Game of Life.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_Game_of_Life

          When first introduced, people “played” life using graph paper and a pencil. Later computers were used because it takes the tedium out of the process and it’s a lot faster. But the simulation host is irrelevant. All generations of Conway’s Life preexist aside from reality. (This is a mind boggling mathematical concept!) We just use the computer to discover them. My simulated evolution computer program serves the same purpose.

          P.S. You mentioned the God question. I separate that from the evolution issue. If evolution is true, whether God exists or not is still an open question. My skepticism of evolution is based solely on its merits or lack thereof.

        • epeeist

          Like anything mathematical, it exists aside from reality.

          Only if you are a mathematical Platonist. There are a number of philosophers of mathematics that do not accept Platonism.

        • Pofarmer

          All generations of Conway’s Life preexist aside from reality. (This is a
          mind boggling mathematical concept!) We just use the computer to
          discover them. My simulated evolution computer program serves the same
          purpose.

          I think that this is an interesting concept, but can’t see that it has any merit at all. If this were true, then things like languages would also preexist aside from reality, and we’d just have to intercept them somehow to “learn” another language. But,this isn’t how it works, is it? In the end, mathematics is a language, it’s a descriptor, not the thing being described. It’s a case of mistaking the map for the territory.

        • epeeist

          I think that this is an interesting concept, but can’t see that it has any merit at all.

          It goes back a long way, at least as far as Plato and his ideals. Some mathematicians are Platonists (Roger Penrose would be one), others are nominalists of various kinds and deny the existence of abstract objects (such as numbers).

        • Pofarmer

          To me this gets into the same area as substance dualism and the ideas of the soul as some immaterial entity. If all this “stuff” is out there, and we can somehow access it, then why doesn’t it just randomly happen? Why does it take a lifetime of education to master differential equations and the computations necessary to do cosmology? I don’t know exactly how you prove it false, other than to note that it can’t be demonstrated, and doesn’t appear to work that way in practice.

        • epeeist

          If all this “stuff” is out there, and we can somehow access it, then why doesn’t it just randomly happen?

          Yes, this is one that I think Plato got arse over tit. There isn’t an “ideal horse” from which all other horses derive. There are horses from which we abstract some idea of a horse, this exists only in our heads. This position is known as “conceptual nominalism”.

        • Pofarmer

          This position is known as “conceptual nominalism”.

          Smart people create me a lot of work.

        • MNb

          I think work on the Problem of Universals (to which conceptual nominalism is an answer) a waste of time. It hasn’t helped me in any way to get a grip on our natural reality. Like I said above, it’s so ….. mediëval.

        • MNb

          As a seasoned materialist I think what exists in our heads also exists physically – in our heads. To make sense of our world our brains put lots of things in categories. Horse is such a category. One hidden assumption is that these categories have sharp limits. Very often they haven’t or such boundaries are random and/or artificial. Since Evolution Theory we understand that “horse” is an example of a fluid category. When tracing the ancestry of 21st Century horses it becomes impossible to exactly pinpoint which sample was exactly the first horse, while its parent weren’t just not yet. BobS’ spectrum argument applies here.
          This is why I have no use for the Problem of Universals.

        • MR

          Right. At what point did proto-mammal become proto-wolfdog? At what point did proto-wolfdog become proto-wolf and proto-dog? At what point did they become wolf and dog? At what point will they cease to be wolf and dog….? [edit: to add]: Labels, labels, everywhere, but of what reality do they speak?

        • MNb

          I belong to the school that maintains that math is just a language.

          https://www.cut-the-knot.org/language/MathIsLanguage.shtml

          https://www.dpmms.cam.ac.uk/~wtg10/grammar.pdf

          I find the nominalism vs. platonism debate, also called the Problem of Universals, so ……. mediëval.

        • MR

          I think Plato was on to something, he was just doing it wrong. He rightly recognized that there were similarities in things. Trees have leaves as part of the treeness, Dogs have dogness. He imagined that they were a reflection of something “out there,” when they were actually a reflection of the evolutionary past. He didn’t know about DNA and such. Aristotle was closer when he recognized that “form” was in the thing itself. Even non-living things have evolutionary pasts. The concept of “home,” for example, evolved from the first time someone piled two stones together. You don’t need to look “out there” in the ether for some magical ideal that is reflected in things, you just need to look to the past.

        • MNb

          “Nothing in the physical world affects its behavior.”
          I only need to remove the cables from their sockets and your simulation and algorithm are dead. If that’s not “to affect” I don’t know what is.

        • Pofarmer

          All generations of Conway’s Life preexist aside from reality. (This is a
          mind boggling mathematical concept!) We just use the computer to
          discover them.

          It seems to me that this is something that needs to be demonstrated.

        • Roger Corson

          So your experiment may disprove evolution and/or abiogenesis (again, it’s not up to me to judge that – you should ask some experts) but it’s not evidence for creationism.

          Yes. I realize that. Again, I’m just skeptical of evolution and I separate that from the God question.

        • MNb

          No, you don’t. You use your experiment to argue for a non-physical, ie divine world. – including an intelligence agent creating (whatever that means) things. Were you separating it from the God question you would not need to contradict my observation that your experiment is totally physical.

        • epeeist

          Even if evolution proves true

          You are making the common error of using “evolution” as meaning both the phenomena we observe and the theory that attempts to describe it.

          Evolution is a matter of fact, we have observed speciation events both in nature and in the laboratory. We have fossil data and, more importantly these days, we have genetic data.

          The theory (in its modern synthesis) is currently the best explanation we have for the data. Could it be wrong? Of course it could, all theories are both tentative and provisional. Let us assume that some observation falsified the theory, what would this show? Simply that the theory was false, it would not mean that something else, say creationism, was therefore the winner. As I have said before, all theories stand on their own merits, not on the “problems” with other theories.

          Let us also note that any theory that replaced the current would not only have to account for the anomaly but would also have to provide at least as good an explanation for the data that the current theory offers.

          High school science indoctrination made me an evolutionist, but I still
          was of the opinion that that is how God brought us here.

          I see you approach the topic with a completely open mind…

          I did some experiments with simulated evolution.

          You used population genetics to solve optimisation problems? Or do you just mean genetic algorithms?

          This is the problem of abiogenesis which as yet has not been solved.

          Admitted, so let’s take two scenarios:

          1. We never manage to solve the problem, does this mean that the creationist view is correct? No, as I have said above all theories stand on their own merits. If the creationist wants to claim god-did-it as a scientific explanation then they need to provide something that would be accepted as a scientific explanation.

          2. We manage to produce a simple replicator from chemical processes. Does this show that a god of some kind does not exist? No, it doesn’t. But what it does show is that life is not contingent on the existence of gods of any kind, god is no longer a necessary being.

          This being so theists would have much more work to do to demonstrate the existence of gods.

        • all theories stand on their own merits, not on the “problems” with other theories.

          Eloquent and obvious. I haven’t seen it phrased so pointedly before, thanks.

        • epeeist

          No problem, the false dichotomy is the standard fallacy for creotards.

        • MR

          It’s so funny to see the knee-jerk reaction against evolution by Christians. It’s such a bugbear. Evolution was never a fear for me. I always held that eventually science and religion would converge. Either science would correct itself and/or our understanding of the Bible would become clearer. It wasn’t Evolution that brought my Christian house of cards down, it was Christians.

          Specifically regarding Christianity and science, I began to realize that Christians were twisting science to say things that it didn’t mean, often twisting science to say the opposite of what it meant. As I’ve said many times, science may or many not be wrong, but if you’re lying about what science actually says, well, I know you’re wrong. You can’t claim the moral high ground if you’re misrepresenting the other guy.

          Evolution or not, God or no God, God would not be on the side of lies. When I hear these Christian lies about science regurgitated back at me, it’s continual evidence of just how wrong they are. When you are making these kinds of arguments, I know God is not with you.

          edti: [And it’s just more evidence that God doesn’t exist.]

        • Otto

          But you insinuate cosmologist’s just pulled the multiverse out of their rear, they didn’t. It is a reasonable hypothesis based on things they already know. It isn’t just an out of left field guess.

        • Roger Corson

          I did insinuate that, yes. I don’t have complete faith in scientists. I accept science, but not all scientists. Scientists are merely human and humans are flawed. Not all scientists, but some are biased. Dawkins is an example. (Maybe he’s not a scientist.) I’ve tried but I can’t read Dawkins. His logic is not compelling. He has an obvious bias and an axe to grind.

          But concerning the multiverse theory, I know that the mathematics suggests it, but still it’s not very appealing. (I said earlier that even my atheist friend thinks it is a “cheat”.) Take every possible exchange of a photon between all pairs of electrons in the universe and at every quantum interval of time between the big bang and now spawn a universe for a photon exchange that did happen and an exchange that did not happen. That results in a LOT of universes. It’s just not appealing. It’s contrary to Occam’s Razor.

        • MNb

          “It’s contrary to Occam’s Razor.”
          Not if it mathematically follows from a theory that correctly describes empirical data not described by any theory that excludes the multiverses. It’s too early for any verdict here, so your insinuation is premature. It’s not a matter of faith. Science doesn’t require it. It’s a matter of sufficient empirical data, which in this case are hard to get.

          “It’s just not appealing.”
          You are the one who needs to chill.

        • Roger Corson

          Agree. But the multiverse solution is so inelegant. I just want to whine about that.

          I’m chilled. Disagreement doesn’t mean I’m angry. And I don’t think I’ve violently disagreed.

        • MNb

          Oh, I was teasing you. I am a nasty guy. See, Epeeist did not violently disagree either above. Still you advised him to chill.

        • Otto

          I agree with you about Scientists, they are people and are prone to error as such. However the scientific method is an attempt to correct for that, it is not perfect but it is the best way to this point to ascertain information about our shared reality and how it works. Something a professor once said has always stuck with me…”being a Doctor just means you passed”…the point goes for scientists too.

          I would agree with you about the multiverse being a cheat IF scientists came up with it as a way to overcome the theistic design argument, from what I have seen from physicists is that is not the case, it is a possible conclusion given the other properties of the universe that have been observed, that does not make it certain, just possible,

          On the other hand I don’t understand why positing “God” as an explanation shouldn’t be seen as a cheat…I am not saying God is impossible but it does not really explain anything…it is just answering a mystery with another mystery.

        • Roger Corson

          On the other hand I don’t understand why positing “God” as an explanation shouldn’t be seen as a cheat

          I agree that it can be thought of as a “cheat”. But the atheists tend to prioritize their cheats. e.g. “My cheat is better than your cheat.” I work with a physicist (he keeps reminding me of that fact), who I believe is an atheist, but he gets angry with those types of sentiments. He’s an honest atheist and I respect that. He gets angry at the other atheist in my group who is not honest.

        • Otto

          I am not fond of cheats on either side of the debate. If I see one being used by an atheist I will call them out, though I admit I am human and have bias and therefore may not recognize a cheat when used by an atheist. But the multiverse is not a cheat, it is simply a hypothesis.

          I don’t like dishonest people either, but whether one is a theist or an atheist is no indication of whether they are honest.

        • Roger Corson

          Agree.

        • MR

          I laughed heartily at “He’s an honest atheist,” that tells me more than I need to know about his poisoned mind. “Holy shit! An honest atheist! Really?” The irony is that virtually every Christian that has talked at length on this site has resorted to dishonesty. Meanwhile, I have no doubts about the sincerity and honesty of the atheist regulars here. Pert near three years and I’d vouch for the integrity of all y’all.

        • epeeist

          I’ve tried but I can’t read Dawkins.

          So which of his books have you attempted to read?

          His logic is not compelling.

          This is one that I used to hear often. However when challenged it was rare for the person making the claim to actually back it up. Perhaps you could give us an example of a piece of his logic you don’t find compelling.

        • Roger Corson

          I think it was “The Blind Watchmaker”. I may not even remember the title correctly. In defense of those not backing up their claims, sometimes the logic is so flaw, so full of errors, that one doesn’t know where to begin and the exercise would consume more time and effort that it is worth. e.g. I gave up trying to identify all the flaws in Microsoft Windows. It would consume my whole life.

        • epeeist

          In defense of those not backing up their claims, sometimes the logic is so flaw, so full of errors, that one doesn’t know where to begin and the exercise would consume more time and effort that it is worth.

          Sorry, I don’t believe you. I don’t think you have anything.

          You could always prove me wrong of course…

        • Errors in Dawkins? That surprises me. Maybe you can point out a couple.

          If you’re looking for a comprehensive explanation of evolution, that likely wasn’t Dawkins’ goal. You should get a textbook.

        • Michael Neville

          wkins is an example. (Maybe he’s not a scientist.)

          Dawkins has a PhD in biology and taught it at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for years. It’s likely that any errors or flaws in his biology books would be minor or perhaps the result of poor writing.

          But concerning the multiverse theory, I know that the mathematics suggests it, but still it’s not very appealing.

          I tend to be leery of people rejecting a scientific theory because of incredulity or a lack of aesthetical appeal.

        • epeeist

          Dawkins has a PhD in biology

          He took his research degree at Oxford, so this would be a D.Phil. rather than Ph.D.

          He was reader in zoology at Oxford, one step below a full professor.

        • Roger Corson

          People were confused by my juxtaposition of a sentence about Dawkins and another sentence about “scientists” with flawed arguments. I wasn’t accusing Dawkins. I didn’t find flaws in his premises, it was just the logic that followed that wasn’t at all compelling.

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t know how I could possibly have been confused by your statement:

          Not all scientists, but some are biased. Dawkins is an example. (Maybe he’s not a scientist.)

          A quick reading of that tells me that you doubt Dawkins is a scientist. A more careful reading, attempting to extract any possible nuances from it, still tells me that you doubt Dawkins is a scientist. It appears to me that you’re the one confused by your own statement.

        • Roger Corson

          Grrr… no, no, no. So much miscommunication. When I wrote that, I wasn’t sure of Dawkins pedigree. I inserted the parenthetical statement because I didn’t want to denigrate all scientists if it happened that Dawkins was not a scientist.

        • Michael Neville

          I see. You lump Dawkins with biased scientists, the ones you don’t have complete faith in because their logic is not compelling to you plus they might favor the multiverse theory which is not aesthetically appealing because you think violates Occam’s Razor. That makes perfect sense, unless you think about it.

        • Kodie

          Everyone who ever told you about Christianity is a human and humans are flawed. Science tries to, and is the most reliable way, of confronting those flaws. Religion comes up with wild interpretations of the same fantastical fiction as though it’s history, and you believe that shit. Nobody has an actual axe to grind. Christianity is the overwhelming cultural influence that I actually have nothing against. All we’re pointing out is, you have zero evidence, zero methodology other than imagination and ass-pulls, so why should be (a) shut up and leave you alone, and/or (b) believe anything you say. You’re just a person, you’re flawed. You could be mistaken, and you must have an axe to grind, because you’re a theist posting on an atheist blog. I wouldn’t have to explain “I don’t believe you” without the overwhelming cultural AND political influence in the United States whining that we’re satanists and “have an axe to grind”. We have a personal problem with reality being co-opted by fantasy. I know you’d have a problem with an atheist regime forcing themselves on you.

          Meanwhile, reality doesn’t have to appeal to you. I don’t know a lot about multiverse, but I know enough to know what the fuck difference does it make to me or you? The real answer is not god just because you trust some humans telling stories that appeal to you but don’t trust other humans who don’t trust each other. Scientists check each other. If they are corrupt, just saying one scientist or another can be corrupt because they’re a person, what chance do you have with religion at all? Because god? Because a theist isn’t going to give you bad information because they’d rather slit their own throat than lie?

          But where are they getting their information. From misinformation. They have no way of actually knowing god, they have no way of actually interpreting the bible to mean whatever any god actually meant, or getting confirmation from any god. It feels like it’s true to me, i.e. it’s appealing, that’s all you have. That’s why there are so many denominations of Christianity alone! Humans are not only flawed, they’re suggestible. They want to be popular, they see whatever their neighbor points out to them, even if it’s in error, because they don’t know any better. You don’t seem to know any better science, so you pick and choose scientific findings.

          The short answer is, you’re typing on a computer, communicating in real time with other people in other parts of the world. The longer answer is, you trust that works, that’s science, you’ve even likely lived through a time before that was possible. You remember dial-up? Your name is Roger so I think you’re older than I am, but maybe not. I went to school with a Florence and a Gladys who were younger than me, so maybe you are younger than me. Was that not the best thing ever at the time just to be able to get on the internet? Dial-up would be hell now, but you can experience and comprehend science “changing”, i.e. refining knowledge. Every frustration you experienced when you were online and then the phone tried to ring in the house, and the aol bumped you offline and you lost your connection with your game or your message board response and oh fuck. That was way better than goddamned anything ever. It was brutal and you loved it. Those flaws are what made the motivation to make it better. Do you think we know everything now, flawlessly, or we’re finding out, in increments? When you get from dial-up to DSL and, after making fun of the brick phones and wired car phones of those ’80s mogul douches, you got your flip phone and it was not to make drug deals, do you really think the same science that made that possible for you isn’t science when it’s biology or cosmology? I don’t know if you’ve upgraded to a smartphone yet. My dad is kind of old and just a few years ago said a phone is a phone and a camera is a camera! But now he loves to text photos on his shitty dumb phone. He doesn’t know he has a data plan, but he does. Most people laugh if you still have a landline. You have a blog, because you find this medium a way to share your personal ideas. Why do you not trust humans? Especially humans who work in fields similar to refining and improving your online experience and access? What part of your brain do you think you’d be hanging on the coat rack when you buy scientific findings in other areas than those that are useful and compatible to your own beliefs? Do you think scientists in some areas are just sneakier than others?

        • Roger Corson

          you’re a theist posting on an atheist blog

          Because Mr. Seidensticker invited me. Ref. “10 Questions Christians Must Answer.” Maybe he wasn’t serious.

        • Kodie

          Thank you so much for ignoring my post.

        • MR

          Ignored mine, too. Same old tactics as all the others.

        • Roger Corson

          Thank you

          You should use the punctuation appropriate for sarcasm.

          I read your post.

        • Roger Corson

          I think you’re older than I am

          I’m older than a lot of people. I used a slide rule in college. (You might not even know what that is. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slide_rule)

          I have a “smart” phone. I hate it.

          I should have put this disclaimer up front. I’m not here to debate. I don’t have the skill to debate. My brain is not quick enough and I don’t have enough facts.

          I just want to dialogue. I’m just here to exchange ideas.

        • Kodie

          I feel like you’re just here to think out loud and not handle any feedback.

        • Roger Corson

          You are paying attention. It does seem that way. I have ideas I’ve pondered for years and those get “thought out loud.” I’ve been around for a long time so the feedback is almost entirely something I’ve heard before. I’m looking for something original or new. I did learn something from Mr. Epeeist in this forum this morning. He tells me that I’m a mathematical platonist. I didn’t think that there was any other way to think about mathematics, but it turns out that there are objections to mathematical platonism and so now I have a quest to determine what they are and if they are reasonable.

        • Kodie

          But you get nothing about how ignorant you are about child development or how science works. Good for you.

        • MNb

          “I didn’t think that there was any other way to think about mathematics”
          Better late than never, but this doesn’t speak for your research skills.

          https://wac.colostate.edu/llad/v4n1/jamison.pdf
          https://www.dpmms.cam.ac.uk/~wtg10/grammar.pdf

        • MR

          I just want to dialogue.

          Great. Then you can answer my question. Could you be mistaken about the existence of God?

        • MR

          Roger Corson appears to have removed his account. He had responded to my post here with one word:

          No.

          I would have liked to have asked him how he would support that. I am sorry to see him go.

        • Roger Corson

          “But since you brought up fine tuning perhaps you could tell me whether these constants can vary and if so over wh at range and with what probability distribution? I would also be interested in what you think would happen if we allowed these constants to covary rather than varying them singly.”

          I don’t have the numbers in my head. I have to find my reference; I’m not at home. The author of this reference names a number of physical constants. For each he cites what percentage change in each would make life impossible in this universe. He includes references to the requisite analysis or study or research work or scientist for each example. It’s an odd sort of analysis. I don’t think that probability distributions are relevant; I don’t think the constants are random. They are what they are. But you have to wonder, I at least have to wonder, why they have the values that they have. (I don’t think it puzzles you.) This author and reference I’m using also explains how Penrose arrived at his number in a lot more detail than that short video.

        • epeeist

          For each he cites what percentage change in each would make life impossible in this universe.

          So in other words he varies the constants singly and doesn’t consider what would happen if they covary.

          I don’t think that probability distributions are relevant

          You don’t? Let’s go back to your supposed reference and assume that the variation they come up with is possible. Now if the probability distribution is uniform then the value they come up with is much more likely than if the distribution was gaussian or logistic centred around the measured value.

          I don’t think the constants are random.

          And you base this upon?

          I don’t think it puzzles you.

          Why the fundamental constants take the values that they do is a major issue in the philosophy of physics, so you would be wrong in your supposition.

        • Roger Corson

          “No, this is just wishful thinking on your part”

          That is a gross assumption. I and only I know what it is that I wish or hope for and you should not presume. I admit that there are people, a lot of people, who think there is a god because they are motivated by wishful thinking. These are the people who want God to be Santa Claus. These are people who are afraid to die. The honest truth is, that if there were no afterlife, I would still think there is a God.

        • epeeist

          That is a gross assumption.

          Given that you supply no justification I think it an eminently fair one.

        • Roger Corson

          The assumption is that my thinking is wishful. Wishful thinking would have some self-serving motivation. I thought I gave justification that I have not self-serving motivation. What is missing? How is my justification deficient? Anyway, unless you have the gift of the Vulcan mind meld, you cannot know if my thinking is wishful or not.

        • epeeist

          The assumption is that my thinking is wishful.

          When one makes a claim, such as “the nature of the universe that suggests a creative intelligence” then one needs to provide a justification for the claim and a warrant to show that the justification is relevant. This is simply part of modern ideas on the theory of argumentation.

          You provided neither, hence my accusation of it being wishful thinking on your part. I am happy to retract this and call it an unsubstantiated assertion if you like.

        • MNb

          Actually you yourself gave some justification that you do have a self-serving motivation, when you wrote that you believe this world is not the final one.

        • Roger Corson

          You must have missed something. I do believe there will be another world. But I also said that if that were not true, if I did not believe that, I would still believe there is a Creator. My belief in a Creator is not contingent on there being an afterlife.

        • MNb

          Contingency is not a synonym of motivation.

        • Roger Corson

          I’m not using contingent in the way you might think I’m using it. From my blog:

          Reading Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist by Rabbi Moshe Averick I learned there is a term for the simulated reality of John Conway’s Life. It’s called a contingent reality because it is contingent upon an actual reality. Rabbi Averick writes:

          “…the universe came into existence and continues to exist because God sustains it with his will. Our existence is contingent; we do not have independent existence and reality. This is the meaning of the phrase in the Jewish morning prayer service, ‘He renews every day constantly the act of creation.’ God created the world by his will and constantly wills it to continue to exist.

          “God is not like us. God in actuality and reality exists. Nothing caused or created him. We are created, along with time, space, matter, and energy. God is; we are caused.”

        • MNb

          I don’t care what way you use the word contingent. I wrote:

          Actually you yourself gave some justification that you do have a self-serving motivation, when you wrote that you believe this world is not the final one.
          No matter how often I reread this, I don’t find any trace of the word contingent.

          You are moving the goal posts. That reflects badly on you, especially now you insist on it.

        • Kodie

          I kind of believe similar but it’s not a person. I don’t think you’re using this idea as a metaphor but an actual person-like god. That’s a leap.

        • Roger Corson

          I grok what you are saying. The actual reality could just be a mechanism, an algorithm, and unthinking set of rules. My intelligent, thinking, sentient actual reality is a leap. Maybe that is where the faith is.

        • Kodie

          You are an evolved creature living on a planet we call earth. You’re not as intelligent as you think you are, but more or differently intelligent than other creatures. Do you think your imagination can play tricks on you? I believe that imagination is one of our species’ features that can’t really be turned off. How many times have you had a bad idea? I mean something you put together to be a fantastic idea that didn’t execute at all, or smoothly? I think religions are one of the imaginary ideas that humans come up with, it is really a viral idea, but that doesn’t make it actual. Bear with me, I think you tried to distinguish your beliefs from having a religion, but I would then prefer to call what you have a superstition. Please don’t take that as an insult. If a religion is a political system of control (and that may have been a different poster who said it), then thinking something is true that is an illusion is at least a superstition. If you decide to take that personally, I can’t help you out. To me, they’re the same thing, but I get theists try to separate themselves from religion, and you’re not going to immediately recognize any comparison between what you believe, and stepping on a crack, break your mother’s back.

          The formation of an idea about the universe, as though it were a person that loved you, or had some control over you, or concern for you, is a usage of imagination that we all have. You people have a lot of unanswered questions like “why” and stuff, and take reality, and draw a picture of this person-like thing, try a few things, and make up a personality that is a tyrant, but he loves you, and is like a parent who won’t let you have whatever you want, but lets someone else have what you want, but excuses are not answers. You don’t know there’s a god any more than I do. It’s the same basic ability to invent and innovate, but on one hand, you look to the most intelligent among us, those whose ideas were actually important and successful, as indications that there’s a god because we’re all intelligent, well we’re all not that intelligent. We’re all a little bit problem-solver, you create some solutions every day, so do I. You probably look to the greatest artists also, but you are not that. You are operating on the idea that if an artist can create a masterpiece, the world must also have been created by an intelligent person-like thing that is way more intelligent than anyone else.

          But the fun fact is, religion is not real. It’s a human construction like recipes for bread, different everywhere, but there’s bread everywhere. It’s not completely nutritious, but hey, civilizations everywhere figured out how to use grain and fire to make something edible. You didn’t invent bread. Left in the wild, could you even come up with bread? As intelligent as humans can be, most are following apes, and we didn’t even get to how easy it is to manipulate humans. We’re not that intelligent just because we can talk and read and learn.

        • MR

          The universe is just as fine-tuned for jock itch or moon dust. But I am special, I keep telling myself, “I am special, dammit!”

        • epeeist

          The universe is just as fine-tuned for jock itch

          Yeah, one of my standard responses is fine tuned for human pubic lice, they are contingent on our existence.

        • MR

          Hmm…, I wonder if I picked that up from you…, the idea, I mean.

        • epeeist

          Possibly, but I am happy for people to appropriate things that I write.

          As one top flight fencing coach said to a class I attended, “all coaches steal from one another”.

        • MNb

          Evolution News is a creationist site and hence by definition biased against science. It cannot be trusted to reflect Penrose’ analysis correctly, let alone its meaning.
          Scientists may be biased, but this “problem” (it’s doubtful that it deserves this name in this form, but I grant you a superior version) is not why they proposed a multiverse. This is a common falsehood brought up by apologists.

        • epeeist

          Aside from the written history

          You don’t have “history”, unless you can corroborate what the bible says. If you want to claim that the bible is history then so can the Muslim about the Quran and the Hindu about the Vedas. Why could the Mormons not make the same claim about the book of Mormon?

        • Roger Corson

          I am not an expert on this topic. (I haven’t yet read McDowell’s “New Evidence That Demands a Verdict”) But in summary… The Bible has 66 books written by 35 authors in several continents across several centuries and despite that it is amazingly consistent in its message. There are cherry pickers who will find apparent inconsistencies, but for the most part it is very consistent. So in effect there is corroboration among diverse authors in different centuries. There is independent archaeological evidence that events recorded in the Bible actually happened. I find articles frequently of archeological finds that validate history recorded in the Bible. There are historical records apart from the Bible that mention Jesus. (Ref: The Writings of Flavius Josephus) The four gospels were written by four different authors. When the new testament of the Bible was canonized, they selected writings from only people who knew Jesus personally or who were not more than 2 degrees of freedom removed from him. (as in the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon) e.g. they knew people who knew Jesus. (This can’t be said for Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon or for Mohammed and his Quran.)

        • epeeist

          The Bible has 66 books written by 35 authors in several continents across several centuries and despite that it is amazingly consistent in its message.

          Except where it isn’t of course. So are the two versions of Genesis consistent with each other? The two versions of the 10 commandments? How about the four gospels?

          So in effect there is corroboration among diverse authors in different centuries.

          But even if this was true all it would mean is that it is self-consistent, it says nothing about correspondence to the facts.

          There is independent archaeological evidence that events recorded in the Bible actually happened.

          Such as Jericho having walls you mean, or the debris from hundreds of thousands of people escaping from Egypt across the desert, or the mixing of the remains of dinosaurs and rabbits from the Noachic flood?

          When the new testament of the Bible was canonized, they selected writings from only people who knew Jesus personally

          Others here are better at this kind of dating than I, but the gospels were written decades after the death of the supposed Jesus. It is hardly likely that this is the case.

          or who were not more than 2 degrees of freedom removed from him

          There is a legal term for this, it is “hearsay” and is not allowed as evidence except in very specific circumstances.

          (This can’t be said for Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon or for Mohammed and his Quran.)

          But the former was engraved on plates of gold its location reveald to Joseph Smith by an angel, while the latter was revealed verbatim to Mohammed by god. Why should you doubt their veracity?

        • Otto

          The natural world does not point to Jesus.

        • Roger Corson

          The natural world points to God the Creator. Elohim.

        • Otto

          I don’t see anywhere that the natural world points to even a deistic god…much less one named Elohim.

        • epeeist

          I don’t see anywhere that the natural world points to even a deistic god.

          The natural world is evidence for the existence of the natural world. Saying it points to creation by a god, or race of super-intelligent aliens for that matter, is a claim that needs actual evidence to support it and a warrant that shows the evidence to be relevant.

          He isn’t going to provide any of this of course.

        • MR

          If only he had signed his name on a fjord or something.

        • Roger Corson

          The Jews had/have many names for God, each one emphasizing a different attribute. Elohim is “God the creator”. “El” is God and the suffix implies that he is the creator. But that was just off-topic and confusing. Disregard.

        • Greg G.

          But the natural world is evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster who created the universe with his noodly appendages.

          Is cancer in babies evidence for God, too?

    • Greg G.

      I like the name of your blog. I keep thinking of Jim Croce writing a song with that in the title, If I Could Save Time in a Klein Bottle.

      • Roger Corson

        It was, in fact, the Jim Croce song that provided the inspiration.

      • MR

        In my head I was hearing, If I Could Save Klein in a Bottle.

    • Roger Corson

      Final Thoughts

      The atheists keep asking for evidence or proof. That is reasonable. It is reasonable if one believes that all knowledge comes from a study of the observable universe. There is no such proof that God exists or that he acts as creator and sustainer of the universe. None. Zip. Zippo. Nada. If Mr. Seidensticker’s goal was to find answers to his 10 questions that would satisfy and possibly even convince atheists that there is a God it’s a fool’s errand. There is no common ground upon which the two sides could agree. But if Mr. Seidensticker’s goal was to force Christians to answer the questions to their own satisfaction, then that is possible. I assume the latter. Without the evidence that those who saw Jesus heal have, all I have is 1) the Holy inspired written Word of God, 2) the strange and awesome natural universe, 3) the testimony of other Christians (not the crazies), and 4) an idea inside me–an idea that I was born with–that “why are we here?” is a valid question and that it does have an answer. With these four things, I can answer the questions to my satisfaction. Call me an imbecile, a dolt, or simple-headed, but that’s good enough for me. Though I should, I’m not here to convert anyone or change their minds. I’m just explaining myself.

      • 1) You have a book. We haven’t determined that it’s from God or that God exists.
        2) Yes, the universe is very exciting. Thanks, science!
        3) Yes, Christians have testimonies. Believers in other religion have other testimonies. Maybe they/re the right ones.
        4) That question is for you to answer. Your own answer ain’t much in the cosmic sense, but it’s important to you, which is all that you need. You make your own meaning (which sounds a lot better than having a foreign meaning imposed on you).

        • Roger Corson

          Since I have your ear… I wondered about your motivation for posing the 10 questions. Were you

          A) seeking answers that would satisfy and possibly even convince atheists that there is a God
          or
          B) seeking answers that Christians use to justify their belief? (perhaps to satisfy your curiosity)

          As I said, there are no replies that would satisfy the atheists. But your reply seems to suggest that you were indeed after A.

          Although I just thought of a third objective.

          C) The questions were somewhat rhetorical with the intent of making Christians question their beliefs?

          If C, there are reasonable answers to all ten.

        • I’m amazed that this is even a question. I’m an atheist. The post lists questions that are neatly and completely answered with “God doesn’t exist,” in contrast to the contortions required for the typical answers. I’m trying to encourage the Christian to consider the obvious answer and/or realize how complicated their worldview’s answers are.

          If C, there are reasonable answers to all ten.

          And I gave my best shot at those reasonable answers in the post. If you have better ones, go ahead.

        • MR

          The post lists questions that are neatly and completely answered with “God doesn’t exist….”

          For every excuse and twisting of scripture to make it say what they need, and for every strawmen and deceit…, always right there in front of them is the obvious:

          Or God doesn’t exist.

          All the contradictions erased; every inconsistency within and between religions. One simple answer that neatly cuts through the Gordian knot of Christian apologetics:

          God doesn’t exist.

      • MR

        There is no such proof that God exists or that he acts as creator and sustainer of the universe.

        Would you agree then that it is a possibility that there is no God?

        • Roger Corson

          There is no such proof that God exists or that he acts as creator and sustainer of the universe.

          Would you agree then that it is a possibility that there is no God?

          A resounding no.

          But I do agree that those who want for scientific proof have a justifiable doubt or even unbelief.

        • I marvel at your certainty in the rightness of your position. Is that based on evidence that any of us would find compelling or is this some sort of personal revelation?

          I do agree that those who want for scientific proof have a justifiable doubt or even unbelief.

          News flash: there is no scientific proof for anything. Science is always provisional.

        • MR

          You couldn’t be mistaken?

        • MR

          Sigh…, another dead duck.

  • Jim Jones

    1. Name one person who met Jesus, spoke to him, saw him or heard him who wrote about the event, has a name and is documented outside of the bible (or any other gospels).

    2. If a member of a religion other than Christianity prays and their prayer is granted, who granted their prayer?

    3. How do you know all other gods except Yahweh are false?

    4. How do you counter Eric, the god eating magic penguin?

    5. Is it fair that Jesus died on the cross so that Adolf Hitler could go to heaven and Anne Frank would go to hell? Is it just that Jesus rose from the dead so that Jeffrey Dahmer could go to heaven and Carl Sagan would go to hell?

    6. Why didn’t Paul write a gospel?

    7. Why didn’t Jesus write anything at all?

    8. Why do so few Christians emulate the example of Fred Rogers?

    9. How do you determine if what someone is telling you comes from genuine religious experience or if they are simply delusional? How do you prevent your personal biases from affecting your judgement of this?

    10. What is an example of religion being wrong about something, anything, and religion (and not science) finding this out? What is the proof that religion is correct now?

    11. If the Latter Day Saints are wrong, what is the proof? Why are Joseph Smith’s visions and revelations false but the anonymous ones of the bible are not? And what about Scientology?

    12. What happens when different people pray to different gods for something only one of them can get?

    13. Why didn’t Philo of Alexandria write about Jesus or Christianity?

    14. Why does ‘god’ seem like an abusive partner?

    15. What if there is no heaven?

    16. What if there is no hell?

    17. Why does the concept of heaven and hell match exactly what we expect from conmen, pimps and blackmailers?

    18. Would you still be a Christian if you were born in a predominantly Muslim country to Muslim parents, and were brought up Muslim?

    19. If you don’t take the whole bible literally, how do you decide which parts are to be taken literally? How do you decide which rules must be followed and which not? If some parts are not literal how do you know the ‘god’ part is literal?

    20. If god talked to me I would believe it existed (presumably). But god doesn’t talk to me, other people do. What is fair about sending people to hell because they do not believe other people? Many other people have lied to me in the past. None have performed miracles, except via science.

    21. If Christianity wasn’t true, what would be different about it?

    22. When you ask Christians about slavery in the bible they say, ‘It was a different time!’ Asked about homosexuality in the bible they say ‘It’s still evil!’ Why is this?

    23. If it’s a very good thing for someone to leave their sect or religion and join yours, why don’t they have the right to leave yours for something else – or for nothing?

    24 Why do Christians argue about science? They always lose

    – Finally, why do Yahweh’s actions, words, needs and desires differ so little from those of any North Korean dictator?

    • Greg G.

      Yes, but <insert Pascal’s Wager here>

    • sandy

      If God ceased to exist tomorrow at 2 pm…how would you know?

    • DogGone

      #7–it’s a teacher thing. Neither did Socrates, Buddha, or Mohammed. As a writer, I’ve always found that interesting.

      • Jim Jones

        Still, Joseph Smith wrote some stuff and L Ron Hubbard spewed crap like a fountain.

        And yet all we have are a few letters from Paul (we assume) and the gospels, anonymous fan-fic written 100 years after the supposed events and in a different country and language.

        • DogGone

          Oh, well, that’s true. They aren’t on the same level of the other ones, but true.The fan-fic thing is perfect 🙂

      • Pofarmer

        I dunno. My College marketing professor wrote the text book.

  • Travis

    Questions 1, 2, and 4 all pertain to the argument from the existence of evil. But we are meant to be holy, which doesn’t necessarily mean that we will always be happy here on earth. There can be redemptive value in our suffering.

    Question 5 pertains to the hiddenness of God. (https://www.amazon.com/Divine-Hiddenness-Essays-Daniel-Howard-Snyder/dp/0521006104

    Question 3 depends on a method of Biblical exegesis that relies upon wooden literalistic interpretation that ignores the nuances of context and literary genre.

    • Nick G

      There can be redemptive value in our suffering.

      Empty words. Why should we need redeeming? Why didn’t this supposedly perfect god make people so they did not sin? And why can’t it redeem us without suffering.

      Also, specifically, consider a young child kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered by a psychopath. What does her suffering redeem?

      And how does the suffering of non-human animals have “redemptive value”?

      Your question 5 link does not work, but in any case, don’t send people off to read essays, at least not without giving them some reason to think it will be worthwhile. Summarise the argument.

      • Travis

        Link fixed. Thanks for the notice. The essays on the hiddenness of God in that volume tackle the question with far more depth than it is handled with in this blog. Both the secular and theist position is argued by proponents on both sides. It’s a good departure point for anyone interested in thinking about that question in more detail.

        >”Why didn’t this supposedly perfect god make people so they did not sin?”

        Plantinga’s Free Will Defense.

        >”Also, specifically, consider a young child kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered by a psychopath. What does her suffering redeem?”

        Her suffering cannot be innately redemptive apart from her will for it to be so. The human will cannot be forced to choose evil, even when evil persons choose to do evil things to the victim who possesses that will. She should suffer as a martyr, in the knowledge that in killing her- he only reunites her with Christ.

        >And how does the suffering of non-human animals have “redemptive value”?

        Animals don’t rise to the status of being moral creatures because they are not self-aware like human beings are (meaning, they do not posses moral intentionality).

        • Max Doubt

          “[a young child kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered by a psychopath] should suffer as a martyr, in the knowledge that in killing her- he only reunites her with Christ.”

          If that’s how you really think about these sorts of questions, you’re dangerously fucked up in the head. Let us know what city you’re in and someone here will help you find a qualified mental health clinic.

        • Travis

          I wonder what you think about Bob Seidensticker’s proclamation that there are no objective moral values then. He doesn’t find anything inherently morally wrong with molesting and murdering little kids. That seems pretty despicable to me.

          I wonder if you could get beyond your own vitriol to express what exactly is “wrong” with anything I have just said.

        • Phil Baldwin

          Well you twisted that argument around 2+2 =5 eh?

        • Travis

          Feel free to elaborate.

        • He doesn’t find anything inherently morally wrong with molesting and murdering little kids.

          I just find it morally wrong. If you say that it’s inherently morally wrong, then fill us in. First, explain how “inherently morally wrong” is different from “morally wrong,” and then show us that this difference exists.

          I must’ve asked two dozen Christians who declared that morality was objective* to justify that. I got crickets.

          * Wm. Lane Craig defines objective morality as “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.”

        • Travis

          But, you qualify that such “moral wrongness” is simply a matter of your capricious personal opinion, no?

          You cannot say that it is inherently wrong (it goes against the way in which things objectively ought to be) to rape and murder children.

          All you can say is “I don’t like that in my opinion” with the implied caveat that there is no way in which the world ought to be. Objectively you have to maintain that your opinion holds no more legitimacy than anyone else’s, even the rapist.

        • But, you qualify that such “moral wrongness” is simply a matter of your capricious personal opinion, no?

          I think “fallible and imperfect” would be the better qualifier, but sure, just my opinion.

          You cannot say that it is inherently wrong (it goes against the way in which things objectively ought to be) to rape and murder children.

          No, I can’t, because I’ve seen zero evidence of objective morality. I’ve asked you to provide some . . . but you ignored me, which makes me think that you don’t have any. And if you don’t have any evidence for objective morality, why complain when I don’t appeal it?

        • Travis

          What would you consider valid “evidence” that objective moral values exist? Can you even describe what would qualify? Empirical?

        • Your challenge is to show that (1) objective morality exists that is (2) reliably accessible to we humans. (2 is necessary because if you only have 1, that’s useless.)

          My suggestion is to demonstrate an objective moral truth that is reliably accessible. Don’t take an easy one about torturing babies. Take a controversial one: abortion or same-sex marriage. Show me the correct answer, then show that (1) this is objectively correct (not just correct according to Travis) and (2) this truth is reliably accessible by the rest of humanity.

        • Travis

          Note, I asked you about what kind of evidence you are talking about. Are you asking for empirical proof of moral realism?

          Moral realism is demonstrated by any moral statement which has an inherently real status (such as the statement, “torturing babies for entertainment is wrong”). Any argument against moral realism will be predicated on premises that are less intuitive than the idea that moral realism is itself true.

        • MR

          If a human, or any animal for that matter, were torturing babies for entertainment, I wouldn’t be considering that a moral issue at all. It would clearly be a pathological one.

        • Travis

          You wouldn’t consider the moral agent to be morally wrong to torture babies? You are indifferent or approving to that action?

        • MR

          If someone is mental or has a tumor growing on the base of his brain that makes him do crazy shit, I can’t call that a moral issue. The man is sick.

        • Travis

          The man still has moral intentionality does he not?

          You’re morally ambivalent?

        • MR

          Does he? I can’t say that, nor would I assume that. Certain behaviors we term morally ‘bad’ appear to me to be part of human nature, lying, cheating, stealing, etc., [edit to add: even murder]. Torturing babies for fun does not appear to me to be part of human nature. If I saw a dog doing something similar, I’d assume something was mentally wrong with the dog, too. No healthy animal, humans included, exhibits that kind of behavior. I wouldn’t consider the human’s “intentionality” any more than I would a dog’s. “The guy’s fucked in the head” is what I would think.

        • Travis

          How do you define “human nature”? Things humans typically do? How do you define “typically”?

          You don’t think there is anything wrong with lying?

        • MR

          Well, technically I’m going beyond “human” nature. Most, I’ll venture to hazard all, healthy, sane animals don’t exhibit such behavior.

          What do you mean by “anything” wrong? Are you going to equivocate like you did with Bob?

          Do you think an ape deceiving another ape is objectively wrong?

        • Travis

          You seem to be insisting that normative behavior is moral, right?

          Apes don’t have the ability to make morally intentional choices, and are driven by instinct.

        • MR

          Well, I consider “moral” to be just a label that describes a position about a behavior. I think apes do show some level of morally intentional choices, and I do consider what you would term “morality” to be in large part instincts as well.

          Do you consider it a moral issue if someone has a brain tumor that causes them to become violent, is prescribed medication that causes them to exhibit what you would consider immoral behavior, or has an operation that damages a part of the brain that causes them to exhibit immoral behavior?

          [edit to add: and, no, I’m not talking about normative behavior. Misrepresenting what people say makes you appear dishonest, which apparently would be objectively immoral in your book.]

        • Kodie

          No, well, according to you, if you’re inherently, fundamentally,severely and willfully too illiterate to read for comprehension, you’re not responsible for lying, so can’t be held morally responsible. Travis would say if you’re a human, you have no excuse, but you’re correct – he totally has an excuse

        • Kodie

          Well, you know shit about animals.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q-bB-qywJ0

          Sorry about the gore in the still capture for this video – I didn’t actually see it come up while watching the video and doesn’t fit the rest of the content.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzlSvK8nQvQ

        • Travis

          See David Odenberg’s book on Applied Ethics, which has a chapter on moral intentionality and animal rights.

        • Kodie

          Can you be specific? Google brings me several books to look at. And anyway, I don’t have a lot of confidence in your ability to read, so whatever you think it said is probably not what it says. Most Christians who argue about objective morality are totally ignorant of animals.

        • Travis

          https://www.amazon.com/Applied-Ethics-Non-Consequentialist-David-Oderberg/dp/0631219056

          But don’t bother purchasing it, I can tell from your comments it will just go over your head.

        • Kodie

          I wouldn’t buy a book on your recommendation. It looks like you still don’t know shit about animals.

        • Pofarmer

          Oderberg is apparently one of the new AT metaphysicists, along with dim bulbs like Edward Feser. That Travis here would find him relevant is telling. Basically, he’s a Catholic Apologist hiding in Academia

          https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/interview-david-s.-oderberg/11695

        • Pofarmer

          Here’s the money quote from the article about him I linked to.

          XS: Where do you see the field of bioethics heading in the next few decades?

          Oderberg: Well, probably not heading in a wonderful
          new direction in which science and technology are put in their place and
          authentic human values are placed back in control, where society and
          government allow only those developments that genuinely benefit
          individuals and the common good. In fact, my views are pretty
          apocalyptic on that score, but I won’t go into it here.

          What I will say is that the future of bioethics is tied to the future
          of society (or societies). Don’t expect bioethicists to lead the way in
          restoring sanity to an otherwise insane society. In fact, don’t expect
          philosophers to do so.

          The cultural forces at work are what drive future developments, and
          whilst it’s true that bioethics has been very much in the vanguard, it
          is not the driver. We need to look at the wider society: where is it
          going? What will it be like in, say, thirty years? Answer that question
          and you will have answered the question as to what bioethics will look
          like.

          I’m more than a little afraid, albeit more for my children than for
          myself. If everyone kept their children free from the brainwashing
          effects of the media and the biotech boosters (as the great Wesley Smith
          calls them), bioethics would end up looking very different indeed.

        • Venavis

          I have been in a situation in which revealing I was not heterosexual would have resulted in me being beaten if not killed. So I said I was heterosexual.

          I have just given you a situation in which there was nothing wrong with lying.

        • Michael Neville

          You keep ignoring the word INHERENT. I consider it morally wrong to torture babies. I don’t see anything INHERENTLY morally wrong with it. It’s up to you to show the inherent immorality of torturing babies. And stop pretending that if someone disagrees with you on objective morality that they condone certain actions. That’s poisoning the well, which is a logical fallacy (and morally despicable in my subjective opinion).

        • Travis

          Most people intuit that the wrongness of torturing babies is a categorically different sentiment than the “personal opinion” of liking chocolate ice cream over vanilla.

          I assume you support laws that enforce the criminalization of things you think are only matters of personal opinion. Why?

        • Michael Neville

          So what’s the difference between opinions of morality and opinions of flavors of ice cream. Be specific.

          Opinions on what is or is not moral change in societies. Nowadays marital rape is considered immoral (although certain fundamentalist theists and other misogynists disagree) but this is a recent development in Western culture.

          Criminal laws are generally a consensus of what is or is not moral. Even then there’s gray areas. I routinely drive five to ten miles over the speed limit. That’s illegal but is it immoral? Recently one of my company’s accountants discovered a loophole in a tax law which saves us several thousand dollars a month. Should we inform the state tax office that there’s something the legislature needs to fix? Would it be immoral not to do so?

        • So your issue is vocabulary? That English needs a word for “important opinion” or “moral opinion” or something like that? That’s fine, but now you’ve gone off on a tangent.

        • Kodie

          Why are laws different in different places? Not everyone in a place agrees to all laws, either! Assuming we vote for our local and state representatives, it’s not something they can just make a law – there are processes and debates and votes, and sometimes something is a law you don’t like. If you don’t want to go to jail, don’t do that thing! If you think the law is unjust, you can’t just break it, you have other means, like protest, petitions, influencing others and changing the tide of popular opinion about what should be legal or illegal. It’s not easy.

          Why do Christians always compare morality to ice cream? Vanilla is the most popular, by the way. If you had an ice cream stand that only sold vanilla, you’d do pretty good. If you sold only only chocolate, you might do about as well, because I think most people who like vanilla will take chocolate if that’s all you have. They are both flavors of ice cream. People on a diet, people who already ate something and aren’t hungry, people who would rather save the money for something else, people in a hurry, people who are lactose-intolerant, people with their own competing ice cream stand, people who would rather choose from among the vast majority available at a supermarket freezer – these are the people who aren’t buying your fucking chocolate ice cream. You’re not going to get a lot of arguments from people who really fucking prefer vanilla and point their finger in your stupid chocolate-ice-cream-only face and threaten you with a sound beating if you don’t start selling vanilla ice cream. Maybe they will come back later with a bunch of people to cause a scene. Maybe they will burn your ice cream stand down. People can’t get serious like that about ice cream, you dummy.

          Morality isn’t like ice cream – but that doesn’t mean it’s objective. I don’t just one day wake up and decide I’ll lie about 20 times today because it gives me a rush, and tomorrow judge people for lying right to my face because I don’t lie anymore, that was just how I felt yesterday. Morality is a relational value, where we feel hurt, and many times, our cries go unheard. If you care about other people, you would want to reduce their suffering instead of justify it. You would understand a child that is molested and tortured is suffering, and being a human, you would like that to stop. What about a black person being held down by cops and ultimately killed even if he did not do anything wrong, and did not have a weapon, and did not deserve to die? Society did nothing to stop the Catholic Church from perpetrating sexual abuse of children and went along with whatever rationalizations were made when word started to get out. Society does nothing to stop cops from killing young black men for no reason, and the jump on some patriotic bandwagon to silence the ones trying to give a public famous voice to citizens nobody listens to. There are things we feel are wrong, but really, your gut tells you that your church knows best, or people should just respect the cops and listen when they’re stopped if they want to avoid trouble. That’s your clue, buddy boy. Nothing that ever happens in this whole world is so disgusting to automatically cause action. Gun violence? Sexual harassment? Bullying at school? That’s just who we are, that’s just the way things are, that’s the world I grew up in and I turned out fine, so you feel nothing, and do nothing. It means those things are subjective. They hurt some people, but they don’t hurt you, so you turn away.

          You pick and choose what to care about, you pick and choose every single day how to form an opinion on everything you hear on the news. Most likely, you don’t even think for yourself but are triggered by events to go along with others. If young children at a school are shot up, you cry and weep and go buy a bunch of teddy bears and light a candle and pray and whatnot, because that’s what you’re conditioned to do when things go wrong. Useless! Is this what morality is? It’s not the same kind of attention you give to every victim, sometimes you judge the victim and sometimes you just don’t care. Maybe I am generalizing you with these examples, but don’t take it personally. You are a package of personal opinions and judgments and reactive behaviors and knee-jerk assessments that you share in common with others. We all experience what’s going on vicariously for the most part, and as witnesses, feel something, judge something, attempt to pick out exactly the root of that problem or who is to blame or what we’re all going to do about it, and as you may be familiar, there’s no massive agreement about anything. Yes, we all hate school shootings or other mass shootings. Some of us can’t get out of bed in the morning, we’re so sad, but I think the shock has worn off, and we don’t know what to say anymore, so we just go through the same rituals and get on with our lives. Lots of terrible things happen all over the world that you never think about – like where you shop, or what kinds of things you buy or the packaging it comes in, or whatever, what are the moral effects you choose to have, destructive, ignorant, conscientious, delusional? You might buy something pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and feel accomplished, but you probably didn’t research whether that purchase was just to attract a sale, for you to show off what a good person you are, or whether any or how much of the profits go to any research at all. It’s just an example of how little you think about morality.

          At least, as far as we know, you don’t fuck kids, or at least if you do, you know it’s wrong. That’s literally your only example, or ice cream.

        • BlackMamba44
        • MR

          I consider such equivocation morally wrong, apparently he doesn’t.

        • Kodie

          Are you willfully illiterate? Hard-of-reading-comprehension?

        • Venavis

          When my friend’s child was born, he had a skin condition. The treatment for the condition was painful, but due to the fact the child was still an infant and anesthesia is tricky enough in adults, there was little they could do to ease the suffering of the infant while treating the condition. However, it was necessary to treat the condition to prevent the child from ending up crippled, thus the treatment had to proceed despite being painful for the infant. Other children face similar situations every day.

          I have just given you a situation in which it was ‘moral’ to ‘torture’ a baby.

        • MR

          Hi, Venavis! I’m afraid Travis got put on a timeout by the blog owner for being a lying prick his dishonest tactics. I might, however, play the devil’s advocate for a moment if you’ll allow me to take Travis’ place. Travis had mentioned moral intent, or something similar, elsewhere. So, he might argue that there is a difference between torturing a baby “for fun,” and torturing a baby for the baby’s own good. The morality of the matter lies in the actor’s intent. The doctor’s intent is to help the baby, therefore it is a moral act, but the person doing it for fun is committing an immoral act.

          Now you raise an interesting point, because it really doesn’t matter much to the baby what the person’s intent is, now does it? Does the baby care about the morality of the situation? It just knows the pain. We can all smugly pat ourselves on the back to say it’s all for the better, but the baby will never be able to comprehend that. Why would God allow that kind of suffering, even for the good, in a being that cannot know that “life is pain, highness”?

          [edit: totally mangled that quote!]

        • Venavis

          The devil doesn’t need an advocate, so don’t even go there. The issue was with his claim that it’s ‘inherently’ immoral. If it was ‘inherently’, immoral, intent wouldn’t matter one fuckwit. There is really nothing ‘inherent’ in regards to any sort of human behavior, as anyone who ever bothered to open the dictionary and look up the word ‘inherent’ can attest.

        • MR

          I’m with you, don’t get me wrong, but he did say, “torturing babies for entertainment is wrong,” so your example doesn’t quite fit. How would you respond?

        • Venavis

          He didn’t in the post I responded to, but again, I’m not arguing about the morality of torturing babies. I’m pointing out that if the word ‘inherent’ applied he wouldn’t need the qualifier.

          I’d probably add in ‘va te faire enculer, fils de pute. Tu me fatigues, dégage.’

        • MR

          True, not in the post you responded to, but it is in the post where he used “inherently.”

          But, I’ll leave it at that. I can see you have even less tolerance for him than I did.

        • Kodie

          “For entertainment” is a qualifier, and babies is a qualifier. “Torture” is the act – is it inherently immoral or moral? If you have to file “torture” into different bins:

          For that matter, torture is an extremely emotional word. How much and what kind of pain amounts to “torture”? Torture sounds like a really brutal and violent act of intent to cause pain, while the experience of being or feeling as though one were being tortured is also an emotional appeal in the language. Actual torture is hardly ever the case, is it?

          Torture babies for entertainment
          Torture babies for their own good
          Torture lions and elephants for entertainment
          Torture monkeys and rats for our own good
          Annoy children for entertainment
          Punish children because you think it will do them good
          Beat a woman because you’re both lady boxers
          Hold a woman down and restrain her because she tried to kidnap your child in a crowded store
          Torture a military man because he’s from the other side
          Torture a terror suspect because he knows things you want to find out

          Well. Then, what makes torturing a baby for entertainment inherently immoral? What about we don’t know how infants think when their parents use them for internet fame. The child has no idea how they are being embarrassed and laughed at by millions of viewers, dressed up and posed and treated like a doll. They look like they are in on it, having a good times. Without language and without having learned the art of guile, we imagine they are not just pretending to put up with it, such as you might laugh uncomfortably at a tasteless joke at your expense, but dying inside and feel like punching your boss, but you go home and drink instead. If you, the parent, using your baby as a prop in your entertainment, in a way you could not manipulate a 10-year-old child, a teenager, or another adult (unless you’re a talk-show host, apparently), because they don’t understand the joke but you do, and they don’t seem to mind because they don’t have power or knowledge to consent to be embarrassed for your ha-has, is it ok? It’s not sexual abuse, so it must be benign.

          Another way of torturing babies for entertainment, well there are laws to minimize it, but they often need babies on tv shows and movies, and either make that baby cry when they need a crying baby, or exploit the baby when something has made them cry, or exploit a naturally fussy baby who cries a lot, so they can get the shot. How many youtube videos of parents filming their toddler in crisis, because it’s just so funny that this child is wailing and sobbing about something that would be minor and silly to an adult? I mean, they’re not being waterboarded, so what’s the big deal with laughing at their pain? I think this must just be some coping mechanism in the adult. Kids usually get over these things, and are stuck in an emotion they can’t just calm down or distract them and just have to wait it out, and you laugh because the popcorn scared them or something. In a world where kids experience war and famine, I guess this is how you teach a child to have perspective, by laughing and filming them? And if the parent didn’t laugh at their own kids, and share it to relate with other parents, they’d blow their brains out over all the crying over nothing.

        • Kodie

          I think it’s two different things. Travis argues that it’s immoral to torture a baby, and Venavis demonstrates that it isn’t necessarily.

          Travis also argues that suffering exists for some purpose that god knows, and he guesses because it has redemptive value, which I interpret as meaning we can grow and learn by going through a tough experience. He never answered what a baby or child can learn from the pain…. his example was ‘going to the dentist’. He never answered what can a child get redeemed about an experience where the dentist might have to drill a tooth. What can the baby learn from this procedure Venavis describes? No, they just go through it, and in its way, it informs them about their environment. For a lot of people, they grow up to avoid going to the dentist. For a little while of pain for the good of their young smile, they grow up to have bad teeth anyway. I’m just saying. He never answered what redemptive experience the pain a child endures, when the adult has to inflict it for a good reason only they know, has. Not being handicapped for life is not a learning experience. Meanwhile, how many people leave their child as they were born because that’s how god wanted them to go through life, when a procedure was available to alleviate it, and they wouldn’t have to suffer the rest of their life?

        • I asked you about what kind of evidence you are talking about. Are you asking for empirical proof of moral realism?

          I just told you. Take a contemporary moral issue like abortion and show us the correct answer, show us that this answer is objectively true (and not just your opinion), and show us that this answer is reliably accessible.

        • Travis

          Moral realism is proved if any moral statement has intrinsic meaning apart from subjective apprehension of it. Why choose a controversial statement when any statement will do?

          I’m asking you what sort of evidence would cause you to change your mind. Debating meta-ethics there really isn’t much room for anyone to bring any “evidence” to the table (for your position just as much as mine or any other). So it seems you have a bit of a category error.

          I’ve already pointed out that any argument against moral realism will be based on premises which are themselves less intuitive than moral realism is itself.

        • Moral realism is proved if any moral statement has intrinsic meaning apart from subjective apprehension of it.

          I thought you were talking about objective morality, specifically stating that it exists. Let’s not go off on tangents just yet.

          Why choose a controversial statement when any statement will do?

          If any statement will do, pick a controversial one to humor me.

          But the reason a controversial one is better is because saying, “Who agrees that torture for fun is wrong?” will get all hands raised. Is that because it’s objectively true (as in, “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not”) or just because it’s widely held? Much better to use a controversial one so that when they’re all on the same page, you can be sure they didn’t simply start out that way.

          I’m asking you what sort of evidence would cause you to change your mind.

          Do you want me to state it for the third time? I’ve given you the necessary demonstration on a silver platter. You don’t need to thank me, but I think the next step is for you to respond to that challenge.

        • Travis

          Objective morality (aka moral realism), if it exists does so regardless of anyone’s thoughts on the matter. Picking a controversial statement to examine adds another layer to complicate and obfuscate the question.

          Asking for “evidence” within a conversation about meta-ethics is a category error. I could just as easily ask you for “evidence” that all moral statement are merely personal opinions and ask you why you take such a view to be the null hypothesis.

          But most people DO intuit that there is something really, objectively, wrong with raping a baby. Most people intuit (its almost like it’s been hardwired into them) that that conviction is categorically different from convictions about personal opinions about flavors of ice cream.

          So really, you and I stand on equal ground. I would be (if I were a betting man an) willing to wager that when push comes to shove you can’t remain a moral subjectivist, you readily contradict yourself in even the above post when you insist that God is wrong for not obtaining some state of affairs.

        • Objective morality (aka moral realism)

          Hold on. Definitions are very important, and new ones only confuse the issue. Let’s talk just about objective morality, the definition of which is WLC’s: “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.” Are we on the same page?

          Picking a controversial statement to examine adds another layer to complicate and obfuscate the question.

          Why? As I made clear, an easy question “Is torture for fun immoral?” means that you get to hide behind universal acceptance. We don’t then know why they’re agreeing—because it’s objectively true or simply universally agreed-to?

          I could just as easily ask you for “evidence” that all moral statement are merely personal opinions and ask you why you take such a view to be the null hypothesis.

          Sure, if you just wanted to obfuscate the issue. Ask lots of tangential questions so that you don’t have to demonstrate your claim.

          We have evolution as a natural explanation for morality. If you want to make the remarkable claim that moral truth is held “out there” (or whatever it is), then the burden is yours.

          But most people DO intuit that there is something really, objectively, wrong with raping a baby.

          They do, but that’s only because they haven’t thought about it. They make the mistake “objectively true” = “viscerally felt,” for example. Once they are pushed to think about it, they will realize that they really hadn’t thought about it. You’re not admitting that you see the problem in the objective morality claim overtly, but your repeated tap dancing away from actually demonstrating your point (plus the obvious difficulty that moral issues do exist within society) shows the rest of us your true colors.

          Most people intuit (its almost like it’s been hardwired into them) that that conviction is categorically different from convictions about personal opinions about flavors of ice cream.

          Some opinions are trivial (“I like vanilla”) and some are important (“I vote for war”). I think we’re on the same page here.

          So really, you and I stand on equal ground. I would be (if I were a betting man an) willing to wager that when push comes to shove you can’t remain a moral subjectivist, you readily contradict yourself in even the above post when you insist that God is wrong for not obtaining some state of affairs.

          God is wrong . . . according to Bob. Where’s the contradiction? Indeed, what other platform do I have access to?

        • MR

          its almost like it’s been hardwired into them

          Yeah…, it’s almost like…, instinctual! Evolution does that.

        • MR

          He doesn’t find anything inherently morally wrong with molesting and murdering little kids.

          Except he didn’t say that, did he? What are we to make of your dishonesty?

        • Max Doubt

          “I wonder what you think about Bob Seidensticker’s proclamation that there are no objective moral values then. He doesn’t find anything inherently morally wrong with molesting and murdering little kids. That seems pretty despicable to me.”

          It seems you’ve misunderstood something Bob wrote. I haven’t seen him express that particular position. Of course, if you have a problem with Bob, take it up with Bob.

          “I wonder if you could get beyond your own vitriol to express what exactly is “wrong” with anything I have just said.”

          Your suggestion that “a young child kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered” should suffer shows that you are dangerously mentally ill. Let us know what city you’re in, and I’ll help you locate some competent mental health professionals who might be able to help you with that. There are usually arrangements that can be made to help you with payment for those kinds of services if the cost would be a problem for you.

        • Travis

          Bob affirmed that he doesn’t see anything inherently wrong with child rape just now, in this comment thread.

          I think you misread me. I said that anyone to whom such things is happening should take on the attitude of the martyrs and saints with regards to their suffering. You seem to be thinking that I said it is itself a good for people to be made to suffer like that by other human beings.

        • Kodie

          I think you don’t really hear what you sound like, but you’re really good at reading into what other people aren’t actually saying. You’re also saying, almost as if it were a fact, that suffering has a positive value that people just have to use that chance if they get it, and so you are saying suffering is good for them. You’re not aware at all what you sound like.

        • Travis

          I don’t think anybody here actually realizes the implications of saying that there is nothing inherently wrong with raping children.

          You’ve never heard “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”?

        • Herald Newman

          I don’t think anybody here actually realizes the implications of saying
          that there is nothing inherently wrong with raping children.

          And I don’t think you even have the capacity to understand what we mean when we say that there is nothing inherently wrong with raping children! Goodbye asshole. You’ll be joining other great company on my blocked list with the likes of JR, See NoEvo, Otto T Goat, and $TEELE. You will not be missed.

        • Travis

          So you’re blocking me for saying that raping children is wrong regardless of what anyone things? Think that one through…

        • Michael Neville

          No, he’s blocking you because you’re accusing him of saying there is nothing wrong with raping children. You’re surprised that someone objects to you calling them immoral? You’re the one not thinking this through.

        • Travis

          That is his position though, is it not? If his feelings are getting hurt when I point out the implications of his position then it’s not my fault.

        • when I point out the implications of his position

          You’ve only wrongly identified the implications of my position. You might have made the same mistakes with Herald.

        • Michael Neville

          No, that’s not his position. I’ve already told you that he’s blocking you because you claim that is his position. It is your fault for insulting someone by claiming they hold a position because they disagree with you on something else.

        • Herald Newman

          When somebody cannot apply the principle of charity to their opponents arguments, such a person doesn’t deserve to be engaged with.

        • Kodie

          Oh, dumb Travis. He’s blocking you because you are an idiot with no capacity to read, reason, or be reasoned with. How freeing to not have to look at your stupid posts!

        • Venavis

          You keep using the word ‘inherent’. It does not mean what you think it means, which is part of why you are getting this backlash. The other part, of course, is that you are an asshole.

          There is nothing ‘inherent’ about morality. If it was ‘inherently’ wrong to rape, nobody would commit rape. Inherent means that it exists as a permanent and inseparable element, and that is clearly not true. Plenty of folks who lecture others on morality are in fact, rapists or can find some means of justifying rape. I offer as evidence pretty much the entire GOP.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you are thinking anything through, as you are emotionally stunted.

          That’s just a platitude, it’s not a requirement. Suffering is a part of life, and it’s generally good advice to try to make the best of things or get over things, or move on and live, but that doesn’t mean that’s “the reason” we suffer or feel pain. That’s a weak, reverse-engineered excuse to try to figure things out in a world where you believe god is in control. I don’t have that sort of warped logic to try to figure out.

        • Travis

          Yeah, I’m sure that thinking it’s wrong to rape kids regardless of what anyone thinks makes me “emotionally stunted” compared to all of you enlightened atheists.

        • Uh, I’m pretty sure that all of us think it’s wrong to rape kids regardless of what anyone thinks. Respond to the actual argument, please.

          It’s your claim of objective morality that’s the problem.

        • Travis

          Lol, you’ve just contradicted yourself!

          Now you’re a moral realist with regard to the rape of children!

        • Have I? Show me.

        • Travis

          You’ve just said that something is wrong regardless of what anyone thinks.

        • I said that my opinion is my opinion regardless of what anyone thinks.

        • Travis

          No, you said that rape is WRONG, REGARDLESS of what anyone thinks. If rape being wrong were a matter of your personal private opinion then you wouldn’t have said that its wrongness is irrespective of personal opinion because your would would be that it is actually exactly contingent upon personal opinion.

        • MR

          Stamp your feet little harder or admit you misread it. The sentence is ambiguous, I’ll give you that, but re-read it and quit being a putz.

        • Michael Neville

          First of all, don’t bring a new term into the discussion. Moral realism is not the same as objective morality. We’re discussing objective morality, keep to the topic of discussion.

          Secondly, Bob admits that all of us here consider child rape to be wrong. What we also agree on is there’s no objective morality involved in that opinion. Each of us holds that opinion because of subjective morality. If you want to show we’re holding an objectively moral view then you have to show evidence that objective morality exists. So far you’ve failed to do so.

        • Travis

          Bob says that the wrongness of that action is so REGARDLESS of anyone’s opinion on the matter. That’s moral realism, baby.

        • Michael Neville

          No, he said he holds an opinion regardless of anyone else’s opinion. That’s not moral realism, asshole.

        • Kodie

          No, that’s just your fantasy of what you think he said. Please learn to read. Ask your teachermom to call the library to set up an appointment with a literacy volunteer.

        • Kodie

          I don’t expect someone so shallow and brainwashed as you are to comprehend simple English and offer a relevant response.

        • Travis

          You’re so right. A puny inferior intellect such as mine cannot hope to compete with an enlightened, euphoric mind such as yours. S/

        • Kodie

          Seriously, asshole, you can’t understand words, and insist on distorting everything to your Christian bullshit.

        • Travis

          I’m sorry mister! I have the audacity to say that some things are wrong no matter what anybody thinks (a sentiment that Bob S. apparently agrees with according to his self contradictory comment). I guess that makes me and him both assholes.

        • Kodie

          Seriously, you didn’t read or comprehend what he wrote, and you’re lying like an asshole right now. I think a lot of things are wrong, no matter what anyone else thinks – because it’s subjective. Turns out a lot of people agree with what I think is right or wrong, and many people disagree. What I think technically does depend on what other people think – I probably got the opinions I have from being socially attached to groups, and for the people who disagree with me, I hope one day to persuade them to change their mind, but someone might change my mind and my opinion. Just because some things are wrong for most humans doesn’t mean there is any objectivity all over the universe about that behavior – it is for one, subject to our species only. You don’t even hold god in that category and as far as you’re concerned, if he wants to rape all the children, he must have a very good reason and you wouldn’t try to stop him or argue him out of his decision.

          You can’t think it’s wrong no matter what anybody thinks unless god does it so it’s right.

        • I don’t think anybody here actually realizes the implications of saying that there is nothing inherently wrong with raping children.

          There are implications with denying reality. Are there other implications that I’m missing? Show me.

        • Travis

          Sure. So under your view of reality, your moral convictions (that the rape and murder of children is wrong) are no more or less valuable or correct than a hypothetical Person who thinks that there is nothing wrong with him doing those things.

          The law of our society privledges your opinion over his. Why should it?

        • I privilege my opinion over his. Indeed, over anyone’s. That’s how I roll … and I bet that’s how you roll, too.

          Why the wide-eyed, “How do people on this planet do things?” attitude? You know how things work, I suspect, assuming you’re older than 10.

          no more or less valuable or correct

          No more or less inherently valuable or correct! Have you not been paying attention?

          The law of our society privledges your opinion over his.

          Uh … because being against rape and murder is the popular viewpoint? Or is this a trick question?

        • Travis

          So your opinion is privledged because it is the majority viewpoint. If his opinion were the majority viewpoint instead of yours, is there any reason the laws should not be changed to privledge his opinion instead of yours?

        • Kodie

          Surely they would be. Are you new to earth?

        • If his opinion were the majority viewpoint instead of yours, is there any reason the laws should not be changed to privledge his opinion instead of yours?

          They would be. Unless constrained by a court, that’s how laws work.

        • Travis

          So you’re telling me that there would not be any reason for the government not to decriminalize pedophilia and the exploitation and murder of children, if the majority opinion condoned such shifts in the law?

        • Michael Neville

          Laws change all the time. Two centuries ago it was legal and morally acceptable to hold slaves in parts of the US. Nowadays slavery is considered both immoral and illegal.

        • Travis

          If majority opinion shifted to re-endorse holding slaves, can you give me any reason why the law should not change to reflect that view?

        • MR

          That depends on your subjective position.

        • Travis

          Any reason would be purely a matter of personal opinion then and can be dismissed as such?

        • MR

          Not at all. Can you think of reasons that are not simply opinion? People debate such things all the time with facts, evidence and reason. Do you equate empathy with opinion? You act like opinion is the only option. It’s dishonest. Do you think the repeated dishonesty you display is objectively immoral?

        • MR

          Which reminds me, you haven’t responded to the questions I posed to you:

          Do you consider it a moral issue if someone has a brain tumor that causes them to become violent, is prescribed medication that causes them to exhibit what you would consider immoral behavior, or has an operation that damages a part of the brain that causes them to exhibit immoral behavior?

        • Kodie

          The law should not change because I don’t like slavery, but my preferences are inadequate to keep it from happening. How many times does this have to be explained? Are you SteveK?

        • MR

          That was my thought, too. I know I’ve debated this dishonest prick before. SK would fit that bill.

        • MR

          If it were possible for mankind to evolve such a nature in the far distant future. I don’t imagine we’re on any danger of a majority of people holding such an opinion since it’s not part of humans’ evolved nature. Harming children would likely put a damper on the survival of the species. Not likely to happen.

        • Travis

          So you’re saying YES. YES, you don’t think that there is any reason not to decriminalize pedophilia if the majority opinion wanted it.

          Perhaps we’re talking about the treatment of child slaves- plenty of precedent there.

        • MR

          You apparently don’t believe in objective morality yourself for all your dishonest misrepresentations of what other people say.

          I think your hypothetical is meaningless. Evolved human nature precludes such a scenario.

        • Are you playing some sort of Socratic game? I hate that game. Or do you really not understand how laws are made in the West?

          Either way, stop asking stupid questions. If you have a point, make it without using a question mark.

        • Travis

          I’ll be honest, I’m bored of talking with you Bob. I’ve already caught you contradicting yourself by saying that rape is wrong “regardless of what anyone thinks.” which actually makes you a moral realist. Welcome to the club.

          I think that is about as much progress as I can hope to make with you. Have a good night.

        • Have I mentioned that I hate liars?

          Bye.

        • Michael Neville

          No, you’re not honest. You’ve lied repeatedly about Bob’s argument concerning objective morality. Plus you’ve failed to give any evidence to support your assertions despite repeated requests from several of us. I think you’re about done here.

          EDIT I see Bob came to the same conclusion.

        • MR

          Gonna bow out with your dishonesty so soon? Awww….

        • Travis is in timeout.

          I’ve never heard his argument that “It’s a category error because meta-ethics aren’t subject to anything you could call “evidence” empirical or otherwise” (link below). And with that, he declared that he was freed him from providing evidence for his position. Something (no–everything) seems wrong about that claim. If anyone sees any validity in his claim, let me know.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/01/10-questions-christians-must-answer/#comment-3689089518

        • MR

          To me it’s simply a cop out argument. If you can’t determine if meta ethics (objective morality) exist, neither can he. He’s simply talking out his ass.

        • Thanks. That was my thought, but I didn’t want to dismiss it out of hand in case there was anything valid there.

          When one concludes, “… and that’s why I don’t have to provide evidence for my claim,” alarms should ring.

        • MR

          And what kind of argument is, “you can’t know, but believe me anyway?” That is the argument of charlatans. Am I to believe that God deals in charlatan arguments?

        • Otto

          God’s fan club does. I like to refer to it as cult logic.

        • Greg G.

          You didn’t ban him, you only meta-banned him.

        • Good catch! Now I don’t need evidence to justify my actions.

        • Pofarmer

          to be fair, that’s kind of the new shtick with “metaphysics” and Catholicism in General. Claim that something is so obviously true that it doesn’t have to be defended. Or claim that your particular brand of woo supersedes everything and can’t be questioned.

        • something is so obviously true that it doesn’t have to be defended

          I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a post on the idea of properly basicality, which seems to be another route to what you’re saying. What I’ve read seems so childish that it’s not worth discussing. Thoughts?

        • Michael Neville

          If the particular claim of “so obvious it doesn’t need evidence” is becoming popular then it should be smacked down. Ask what the criteria is for the claim, why anyone should accept the claim if they have the slightest doubts about the validity of the metaphysical assertion and why the claim itself appears to be “so obvious it doesn’t need evidence”. I’d want some strong evidence that the claim isn’t just an excuse to hide the lack of evidence for an assertion.

        • Yeah. Too much of Christian philosophical defense seems to be, “This is obvious, right? I mean, surely you’ll give me this one.”

          When this is the response for the fundamental claims, their justification is built on sand.

        • Pofarmer

          You mean like. There was an event called the big bang where the first particles were formed. These formed Hydrogen. Then Gravity happened, and et Voila?

        • No, more like “Belief in a god is so widespread that we should take ‘the supernatural exists’ as a given.”

          I guess I’m searching for a compelling argument for the validity of properly basic claims. Let me know if you stumble across anything.

        • Pofarmer

          You might check put the Catholic Apologetic site “Strange Notions.” There is an AT metaphysiciat there named Dennis Bonnet who has talked about that some lately, I believe. He is one of those who insist that metaphysical claims are free from scientific scrutiny.

        • epeeist

          A friend of mine is currently doing a Ph.D. on the topic of meta-ethics, to quote him:

          The problem is not that we can’t justify our ethics without god. You can’t even justify ethics with god, which we’ve known since Plato.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          You ASSERTED that Bob ‘contradicted’ himself, despite manifold explanations to correct your error.

          And as usual with YOUR KIND, now you’re going to flounce off in a pigeon chess qua-‘victory’.

        • Kodie

          That probably won’t happen, even if the president condones it.

        • Travis

          But if it did, you’re saying that there would not be any reason?

        • Kodie

          Does your teachermom know any history or civics? You seem to be out of the loop.

        • Pofarmer

          It may well be teachernun or teacherpriest.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Consent and harm.

          Learn them.

          Make them your mantra.

          As you do, your need to believe in supernatural retribution will weaken and finally vanish.

        • Greg G.

          So your opinion is privledged because it is the majority viewpoint.

          Why try to twist what he said? He said he privileged it himself. The privilege doesn’t extend to others. But like-minded people can join in and form a community.

        • MR

          Why try to twist what he said?

          That’s his whole shtick.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The majority viewpoint isn’t always correct, but it IS always subject to improvement.

          It’s interesting that EVERY improvement in the majority viewpoint has moved it AWAY from authoritarian religion and government.

        • Kodie

          I don’t understand why you can’t hold ideas in your head. People with opinions think those opinions are correct and more valuable than someone who disagrees. When a lot of them agree with each other, there may be a law made, or at least a cultural norm. Why would you think lack of objective morality means totally whim, that we are each entitled to whatever? If I think a child rapist is immoral, and everyone else thought child rape was not a big deal either way, I’m still right according to me. There’s no such thing as objective morality. You are so rigid in your preconceptions, but not too smart at all.

        • Travis

          The problem is that you dont have any reason to privledge your opinion apart from the virtue of it being your opinion. All ethical discussion ceases to involve concrete principals and instead become questions of who is better able to enforce their opinion through threat of violence.

          You don’t see any problem with majority opinion legislating any of their personal opinions into law? Get ready for rule by the tyranny of the mob. Say goodbye to inalienable rights and liberties.

        • Kodie

          Does your teachermom know you’re up so late on the internet?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          sure we have a valid reason to privilege our opinions.

          Species survival. Harm to members of our species reduced that likelihood. Violating consent fragments the group which ALSO reduces the likelihood of survivial.

          No supernatural mumbo jumbo needed.

        • Michael Neville

          You are so rigid in your preconceptions, but not too smart at all.

          This is the crux of the matter. Travis believes that either there’s objective morality or everyone can do whatever they want and hold their actions to be moral. That’s the way the world works. The reason why people got so angry with the Catholic bishops supporting and protecting child rapists is that most people consider child rape to be immoral. The Catholic bishops considered the dignity and prestige of the church to be more important, more moral, than protecting children from sexual predators.

        • Kodie

          And the glaring examples when common morality is breached by a hero or institution that people are happy enough to disregard it. Surely even now, many Catholics are not willing to confront the systematic protection of pedophiles, and like to think it was just a priest here or there, terrible, but not out of the statistical averages throughout society. And even if they didn’t call for those priests to be arrested, or even defrocked and excommunicated, that’s too harsh – Catholicism is a religion of forgiveness! Surely, they were transferred, counseled, and given no access to children while they repented and whatnot. Did OJ Simpson not murder his ex-wife and her boyfriend? What about Joe Paterno? I forget the actual raper guy’s name, who I think went to jail, but people wanted to protect Joe Paterno’s legacy as a coach. If your child was raped at school by a teacher or coach, and the principal valued something other than your child and other children’s safety at that school, you’d hold him responsible for calling for a policy of silence on the subject, wouldn’t you? Even at the general societal level, in the rape culture, we tell girls how they have to behave, and blame them for getting raped, or for coming forward to ruin some young man’s life who had so much promise ahead of him, and we’re supposed to feel sorry for them for making a “youthful mistake”? Maybe this whole “me too” thing will expand but I don’t really think it will make a big change on the surface. Fire all these Hollywood and NY sickos, you have a predator in the White House, you have him supporting a child predator, who can’t believe the voters turned out to oppose him. I mean, Charlie Rose, really? Why? (I am not insinuating him in the same category of child predators).

          What I’m saying is, even being a woman, I don’t want to think some people could be that perverted. It makes you want to unknow things that cause discomfort. What, to me, is sickening or hurtful or abusive should cause an alarm no matter who does it, but people want to protect their image of someone or something, to brush it off or owe it to one brief drunken phase instead of an abuse of their power and a gross piece of the puzzle of their overall character. How someone can be maybe 80% awesome as a human being, or at least so respected or entertaining or feel like they are even part of our family because they’re on the tv all the time or part of our generation, and 20% no fucking way. Part of a person wants to separate and enjoy what they were accustomed to, and not exactly forgive but forget entirely what has shattered our illusions.

          If something is wrong, it ought to be instant and clear. If someone did wrong, it’s almost like it’s human to overlook flaws…. it’s normal to put up with characters in your life who are a little shady and gross, because surely they aren’t criminally disgusting, right? Try to see the good in everyone, that kind of shit. I don’t know where else I’m going with this, so signed.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Yup.

          First book in a new series “Travis and the False Dichotomy”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re trying to divide and conquer again.

          Morality is SOCIETY’s rules, statistically.

          No supernatural nonsense necessary.

        • Pofarmer

          I imagine Bob said objectively, not inherently.

        • MNb

          Given my experience with apologists I am very sure those implications are nothing but imagination.

        • Rudy R

          Pushing for objective morality is only a futile attempt to justify a god belief. Just admit you believe in Jesus, ergo, morality divined by God and quit wasting your time defending objective morality; it’s a non-starter with atheists.
          For the non-god believers, there should be no need to justify or categorize morality as objective or subjective. There is nothing inherently wrong with raping children. Not raping children is a social contract. Parents generally do not want any harm to befall their children, so not raping children has been deemed immoral and codified into law as illegal. It’s just that simple.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It’s morally wrong to rape a child, both from the point of view of consent (a child CAN’T give informed consent) and harm.

          NEITHER of those requires your preferred supernatural entity.

        • MR

          I think his main intent is to make us sound like we’re saying something we’re not. It’s inherently dishonest. The irony is that he would consider that objectively wrong.

        • Greg G.

          He tried to get me to defend a point he had been trying to make. Apparently he realized my position was right and tried to swap.

        • MR

          🙂

        • Pofarmer

          It’s a Catholic thing, this theology of suffering, and an abhorent one at that.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “You seem to be thinking that I said it is itself a good for people to be made to suffer like that by other human beings.”

          Nope. But you seem to be FINE with your preferred supernatural entity making people suffer.

        • Kodie

          Aren’t you the (latest) one arguing that god has a mysterious reason for making us suffer? It seems like that means there is no objective morality. You are just a human accepting horrible monstrosities perpetrated by your deity like it’s just fine, but then you can’t seem to handle a person pointing that out means there’s no objective morality. You think something’s ok for someone but not ok for someone else. If a molester and murderer is part of god’s plan, you are the one saying it’s perfectly normal, nothing to get upset about.

          Is it too early to call you a sick fuck?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          As soon as I saw the second and third sentences of this guy’s reply to the blog entry (“But we are meant to be holy, which doesn’t necessarily mean that we will always be happy here on earth. There can be redemptive value in our suffering.”), I knew he was a sick (and likely Catholic) bastard.

          Dude probably masturbates to pictures of Mother Theresa.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          WITH a cilice ( https://www.google.com/search?ei=YSxNWv-hI4n5_AbF-IPABQ&q=cilice&oq=cilice&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l8j0i10k1l2.9608.10375.0.10503.6.6.0.0.0.0.126.596.3j3.6.0….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..0.6.595…0i67k1j0i131k1j0i131i67k1.0.n9gL_Ii0xfw ), no doubt.

        • Chuck Johnson

          “I wonder what you think about Bob Seidensticker’s proclamation that there are no objective moral values then.”

          There are no perfect moral values because moral values come from (imperfect) humans.
          Moral values are all subjective.
          But there are very good moral values.

          That’s all we need in this world, imperfect things.
          The perfect things that are asserted by religions cause problems to the human race.
          That’s because the perfection is imaginary and false.
          The perception of miraculous beings and events is also imaginary and false.

        • Travis

          So your convictions about what is right and wrong carry no more inherent value or force than anyone else’s?

          Why fight for your convictions then?

        • Chuck Johnson

          “So your convictions about what is right and wrong carry no more inherent value or force than anyone else’s?
          Why fight for your convictions then?”

          My convictions about right and wrong have more value and force with me.

          Just because my moral perceptions are subjective does not make them less important to me.

          I see no magically perfect moral pronouncements.
          Mine are good enough for me.

        • What planet are you from?

          Do you know how laws are made? Have you never had a discussion about a moral or political issue? Have you sometimes changed your mind (or someone else’s)? Did the objective correctness of your position ever enter into it?

          Why fight for your convictions then?

          For the same reason you do.

        • Travis

          So you think that all laws are examples of bodies of humans legislatingwhat is ultimately their collective private opinions?

          Human rights are imaginary constructs then?

          I fight for what I ascertain to be the objective moral truth because it is objective and thus of concern to everyone regardless of their opinion on the matter. Presumably that is not your reason.

        • So you think that all laws are examples of bodies of humans legislatingwhat is ultimately their collective private opinions?

          Clumsily stated, but yes. What else would it be?

          Human rights are imaginary constructs then?

          Of course not. Nothing I’ve said argues for that.

          I fight for what I ascertain to be the objective moral truth because it is objective and thus of concern to everyone regardless of their opinion on the matter.

          Show us that objective moral truth exists! You keep avoiding this issue. I know why, and presumably you now do, too. Then let us know that you’ve dropped this unhelpful claim.

        • Travis

          I’ve already pointed out that exhortations of “show me evidence that any meta-ethical statement must be accepted as true” is a category error and a non-starter.

          What are human rights but imaginary constructs under your moral subjectivism. To suggest a right suggests an obligation. All moral obligations according to you are imaginary figments of our subjective willpower. Therefore any rights claim is an opinion and can be dismissed out of hand.

        • I’ve already pointed out that exhortations of “show me evidence that any meta-ethical statement must be accepted as true” is a category error and a non-starter.

          So what are you saying? That any claim of objective morality can never be backed up with evidence? In that case, why should either of us believe it?

        • I’ve already pointed out that exhortations of “show me evidence that any meta-ethical statement must be accepted as true” is a category error and a non-starter.

          No, you’ve simply declared this. If you want to explain and justify this, go ahead.

        • Travis

          It’s a category error because meta-ethics aren’t subject to anything you could call “evidence” empirical or otherwise. All that we can do is examine the implications of different axiomatic starting points.

        • MR

          Yes, imaginary things aren’t subject to much.

        • Travis

          It’s ok. I already caught Bob S. contradicting himself. He appears to not want to talk anymore. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/24847ef0a841d97c46ed026a5935f21d345b9614eb58cfc0eb84cded4ab04828.png

        • MR

          Yeah, your equivocation doesn’t mean Bob contradicted himself.

        • Travis

          Bob said that something is wrong regardless of anyone’s opinion. That’s moral realism.

        • MR

          Yeah, you forgot to post the part where he said that.

        • Travis
        • MR

          Ah, yes, I see. Bob, will clarify for you. He’s not saying what you think he’s saying.

        • I’m just wondering if his confusion was deliberate.

        • MR

          Yes, I believe so. He’s taking advantage of the ambiguity of the sentence.

        • Michael Neville

          If you don’t know how to quote somebody just ask, we’ll explain HTML to you.

        • Is this confusion deliberate?

          I think rape is wrong regardless of what anyone thinks. In other words, I don’t feel obliged to consult Travis or MR or Jesus to verify that I got it right. The buck stops here, and I decide my moral opinion.

          This is no appeal to objective morality.

        • Travis

          Your confusion might get worse.

          If it is wrong regardless of what anyone thinks, then it is not something up for you or me to decide for ourselves according to our arbitrary, capricious personal opinions.

          2+2=4 regardless of what anyone thinks.

          Rape is wrong regardless of what anyone thinks.

        • MR

          We think it wrong because we’re human and we can empathize with the person being harmed. You don’t think it a moral issue if a lion rapes another lion, so it’s not the act itself that is immoral. It is the fact that you empathize with your fellow humans. Remove the human factor and all moral judgement of rape is meaningless.

        • If it is wrong regardless of what anyone thinks

          I hold my opinion regardless of what anyone thinks.

        • Michael Neville

          What’s your evidence that rape is wrong regardless of what anyone thinks? You’ve made this assertion repeatedly but have never supported it. Where’s the evidence?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOU are attempting to generalize Bob’s specific statement, because that’s your only out which would spare your ego.

          Bob didn’t generalize. At most he spoke of the commentariat HERE.

        • MR

          The sentence is ambiguous. He thinks he has you in a gotcha. He’s too stupid and dishonest to acknowledge it.

        • Citation needed.

        • Travis
        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Ima gonna ask you to TYPE OUT that text.

          AND THEN EXPLAIN WHAT IT MEANS IN DETAIL.

          Because you don’t seem to get it.

        • Kodie

          Bob said that he thinks (we all/most think) something is wrong, no matter what someone else thinks. How thick in the skull are you? Lying Christian. It’s been explained and demonstrated and illustrated and diagrammed for you, so if you keep bringing it up as some kind of point, you lose out of sheer stupidity and illiteracy.

        • Travis

          Bob’s a moral realist now. I know that that is upsetting and confusing to you.

        • You’ve been corrected, and you need to stop lying.

        • Michael Neville

          No Bob is not a moral realist. You’re either failing to understand what he’s repeatedly said or you’re lying about his position.

        • Kodie

          No, you’re just dense. I and everyone else knows what Bob said except you.

        • Pofarmer

          The phrase “Too clever by half” comes to mind.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, no, you just don’t understand what Bob said. It makes you look desperate, and dishonest.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          DAFUQ?

          Do you even English, bro?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          No.

          Bob said WE BELIEVE something is wrong regardless of any other peoples’ thinking.

          Stop lying and misquoting others to try to escape your self-made trap.

        • Which contradictions with what?

        • Wrong again. This is no claim of objective morality.

          Y’know, you could just withdraw your undefensible claim of objective morality and stop me from harping on it (which I plan on doing as often as possible).

        • Travis

          You said that it is wrong REGARDLESS of what ANYONE thinks. That’s exactly a claim of objective morality.

          >”(which I plan on doing as often as possible)”

          Oh boy! Do I get to respond with the screenshot of your conversion to moral realism whenever you do?

        • You said that it is wrong REGARDLESS of what ANYONE thinks. That’s exactly a claim of objective morality.

          No, I didn’t. Reread the screenshot that you’re so excited about and try to transcribe accurately.

          You’ve been corrected. You understand my position. And now you’re lying about it. Stop.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Wrong. The specific audience was ‘all of us’.

          That is NOT a universal statement.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Not seeing a contradiction in that.

          Demonstrate it.

        • Oh, OK. Then I guess meta-ethics is ungrounded by evidence and is therefore useless.

          And we’re left with your making a dogmatic claim based on nothing except wishful thinking.

          Just for my amusement, tell me why I should adopt your evidence-less position.

        • Travis

          That would apply to your meta-ethical position just as much as it applies to mine. Your claim that there is nothing inherently wrong is just as “dogmatic” as someone saying that some things are inherently, objectively morally wrong.

          We can examine the implications of your meta-ethical axioms. So far you’ve started contradicting yourself by claiming that some things are wrong regardless of what anyone thinks. What does it say about your position if you can’t even remain consistent in it?

        • Travis claimed that objective morality exists. Bob asked for some evidence. Then Travis launched into monumental tap dancing, somehow concluding that one should accept his claim but not demand any evidence.

          Bob was unswayed by the bullshit.

          That would apply to your meta-ethical position just as much as it applies to mine. Your claim that there is nothing inherently wrong is just as “dogmatic” as someone saying that some things are inherently, objectively morally wrong.

          You make the remarkable claim. I’m simply stating that I see no evidence for objective morality and would like to see some.

          Ball’s in your court (though I realize you’ve abdicated any responsibility to hit it back).

          So far you’ve started contradicting yourself

          I enjoy an interesting debate. I hate people lying about me. Don’t.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOU are claiming a meta-ethical position.

          WE are not.

          DEMONSTRATE our supposed ‘meta-ethical position’ before you attempt to club us with it.

        • Michael Neville

          Damn, I missed this. Travis is saying “Evidence? We don’ need no stinkin’ evidence!”

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d8/Gold_Hat_portrayed_by_Alfonso_Bedoya.jpg

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOU are claiming it to be meta-ethical.

          WE are calling it a bullshit assertion.

          SHOW US!

        • Michael Neville

          So you think that all laws are examples of bodies of humans legislatingwhat [sic] is ultimately their collective private opinions?

          Just as an observation, most laws are administrative, telling people how they can conduct their businesses and pay their taxes. The tax code in my state is over three times as long as the criminal code.

          Criminal law is the collective consensus of the legislature. In colonial Massachusetts being a Baptist was considered immoral by the Puritan legislature so in 1636 Roger Williams fled to Rhode Island to escape criminal prosecution for being a Baptist. It was partially because of that the First Amendment of the Constitution was written by people with a different consensus.

        • Travis

          Why should criminal law privledge some views of what is wrong behavior over any other opinion?

        • Kodie

          Holy crap – it’s called governing. You can look up how laws are made.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The basis for ALL valid ethics, consent and harm.

          Your religion doesn’t tell us to consider either of them.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Correct. And the wisdom of crowds is pretty good, and getting better all the time.

        • Nick G

          And how do you think you “ascertain” that?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Now YOU are committing a category error.

          Morals are a statistical average of what members of a society find acceptable, in public and private.

          YOU are trying to force it to be an individual against individual case.

          Nope.

        • Nick G

          That’s really pretty stupid. People fight for their convictions (when they do) because they are their convictions. I don’t need to pretend to myself that my values are objective in order to hold them.

          More broadly, moral judgments are neither objective, nor are they simply subjective matters of taste or preference – they are inter-subjective: matters initially of our cultural inheritance, but also of discussion, persuasion and debate. We can, and do, rationally critcise and defend our moral judgements – and those of our culture – on a number of grounds: consistency, completeness, and the likely consequences if they were generally followed, among others. Esthetic judgements are similar in this regard: it is not an objective truth that (say) George Eliot is a better novelist than Jeffrey Archer, but nor is saying so just like expressing a preference for vanilla over chocolate ice-cream. Her superiority can be rationally argued for on the grounds of her insight into human character, vividness of description, avoidance of cliche, and so on. What is more, people who do not initially appreciate the qualities of her work can be brought to do so. The same is true of moral judgements – as, for example, campaigners for democracy, or for racial and gender equality have persuaded many people to their views. Since no-one actually has access to “objective morality” – something even those who think it exists acknowledge if they are honest – the process of inter-subjective discussion I have outlined is all we have.

        • MR

          Thank you for bringing inter-subjectivity to the table.

        • Michael Neville

          There are no objective morals. Humans are social animals. We evolved morality to help us live together in groups. Every group has morality but what is or is not moral differs from group to group. Catholic bishops think artificial contraception is immoral, most other people, including most Western Catholic laity, disagree. Pacifists consider killing to be immoral, soldiers have a different opinion. Intelligent, rational, well-meaning people hold competing views on the morality of abortion.

          You and I consider molesting and murdering children for grins and giggles to be immoral. But is that objective or is it that we share the same opinion? Christian apologist William Lane Craig says that objective morality would be recognized by each individual (except possibly those with mental handicaps). However that’s just an assertion. Both Bob and I argue that while many actions are universally accepted as either moral or immoral, those acceptances are subjective. You and I may consider the Holocaust to be immoral but the Nazis performing the mass murders did not.

        • Travis

          Tom and Suzy might also disagree over the answer to a math problem. Does their disagreement mean that there is no right answer?

        • Michael Neville

          You do like thinking simplistically, don’t you. I suggest you bring your A Game to this discussion instead of silly deepities.

          We have the choice that either 1+1=2 or 1+1≠2. Does this mean there is no right answer? Think hard about this question because it’s the same gottcha you think rebuts my argument about subject morality.

        • Math isn’t morality.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          It’s amazing that people even need to be told this.

        • Pofarmer

          Check out the author the Dude linked to in another comment thread, and it kind of becomes clear.

          Oderberg

          XS: Where do you see the field of bioethics heading in the next few decades?

          Oderberg: Well, probably not heading in a wonderful
          new direction in which science and technology are put in their place and
          authentic human values are placed back in control, where society and
          government allow only those developments that genuinely benefit
          individuals and the common good. In fact, my views are pretty
          apocalyptic on that score, but I won’t go into it here.

          What I will say is that the future of bioethics is tied to the future
          of society (or societies). Don’t expect bioethicists to lead the way in
          restoring sanity to an otherwise insane society. In fact, don’t expect
          philosophers to do so.

          The cultural forces at work are what drive future developments, and
          whilst it’s true that bioethics has been very much in the vanguard, it
          is not the driver. We need to look at the wider society: where is it
          going? What will it be like in, say, thirty years? Answer that question
          and you will have answered the question as to what bioethics will look
          like.

          I’m more than a little afraid, albeit more for my children than for
          myself. If everyone kept their children free from the brainwashing
          effects of the media and the biotech boosters (as the great Wesley Smith
          calls them), bioethics would end up looking very different indeed.

          Indeed, it certainly appears he’s working from AT metaphysics. Which is discounted for good reason.

        • Travis

          The fact that people can disagree over the solutions to math problems no more disproves the objectivity of arithmetic than people disagreeing over moral questions disproves moral realism.

        • Put up or shut up. You want to hold to your claim that objective morality exists? Show us. Demonstrate. Do something. Maybe it’s time to admit that you can’t.

          Your tap dancing has become embarrassing.

        • Travis

          Already addresssed elsewhere. You’re making a category error.

        • Michael Neville

          Then address it again because I’m not seeing anywhere that you provide the slightest evidence that objective morality exists. You’ve made assertion after assertion, thrown red herrings around (honestly, did you think a disagreement over a math problem rebutted subjective morality?), and otherwise gone out of your way to fail to provide any evidence for objective morality.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re a flat out liar.

          IF you addressed it, you’d have dropped a link in that comment.

          We KNOW you know how to post links.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re trying to co-opt the trust people justly have in mathematics to buttress your cause.

          Nope, I don’t buy it.

        • MR

          Ha ha ha! That line of argument, and we’ll all think you’re an idiot! You can do better than that.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You can’t even prove the question is valid.

          So don’t try bringing math into this.

        • MNb

          If you think subjective and inherent are synonyms and think that thought despicable that’s your problem, not ours.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          there are human moral values.

          they’re a result of social evolution.

          Societies that didn’t follow them died out.

        • Phil Baldwin

          So a baby killed in an earthquake or whatever gets a free pass to heaven without having to go through that messy business called life? What makes them so special?

        • The early church had to forbid suicide because people (correctly, I would think) interpreted Christian theology to say that that’s an easy loophole to get into heaven.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Logical thinking causes problems for religions.
          Believing the doctrines causes problems for religions.

        • Travis

          Where did I say that such was the case? There are a whole range of possibilities regarding the fate of those who die before the age of reason.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          There are a whole range of IDEAS about the ‘fate’ of such.

          The only possibility, verging on certainty, is that there is no evidence to support ANY of them.

        • Michael Neville

          Plantinga’s Free Will Defense.

          Plantinga argues that it is possible that God, though omnipotent, could not have actualized a world of free beings who never commit evil. Indeed it is possible that our world contains the optimal balance of good and evil. Plantinga writes:

          A world containing creatures who are [free to make moral choices] (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else being equal, than a world containing no free creatures at all. Now God can create free creatures, but He can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if He does so, then they aren’t significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely. To create creatures capable of moral good, therefore, He must create creatures capable of moral evil….¹

          One can do only what is right even if one is free to do wrong. It is possible for a world to exist with free will creatures who always freely choose to do what is right. Since the Christian god is supposed to be omnipotent, he could have created this possible world. So the Free Will Defense fails, because God could have created a world with free will but no evil.

          There’s also natural evil. A hurricane or earthquake causes evil which is not the result of human freedom. Plantinga replies that it’s possible that morally free invisible spirits, demons he calls them, are responsible for all natural evils. Now this is quite absurd. At this point, arguing with Plantinga begins to feel like arguing with a wall. He is really just grasping at straws to justify his beliefs and even then skirts the question why an all-good, all-powerful God would let demons wreak havoc. Is the free will of demons really so important?

          Alvin Plantinga is a highly regarded philosopher. I’ve never understood why. His argument against naturalism relies on a strawman version of evolution plus the misuse of statistics. His arguments against evolution just show his lack of understanding of the subject. He objected strenuously when Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers tore his evolution arguments to shreds, completely ignoring the point that both Dawkins and Myers are PhD biologists who do understand evolution.

          Nope, not impressed by Plantinga in the least.

          ¹Alvin Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil, (Grand Rapids, MI, Erdmanns, 1989) p. 30.

        • Travis

          You assume that the world where everyone freely chooses to do good is not contingent upon their previously having the option (some of whom would indulge) to commit evil. Perhaps it is the case that those in heaven can only be so after existing on earth with the potentiality for falling.

          Why is Plantinga wrong about natural evils? It seems to me quite natural that if we are in rebellion against God, then God’s creation would be in rebellion against us.

        • Michael Neville

          You misunderstand me. I said that is is possible for a creature with free will to freely chose to only do good. Your supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, add other omnis to taste god could create a world with only those creatures in it.

          Why is the ability or potentiality to fail required for admittance to heaven? Either everyone goes to heaven or the sadistic bully you worship punishes people eternally for being human.

          Plantinga is wrong about natural evils because he claims your omnibenevolent god allows powerful creatures to cause suffering on the innocent just for grins and giggles. Doesn’t sound very benevolent to me. Also Plantinga presupposed demons without demonstrating their existence.

          I’m not in rebellion against your imaginary, fictitious, doesn’t exist god. It would be silly to rebel against a figment of someone else’s imagination. Remember who you’re arguing with.

        • Travis

          Because love is only love if it is freely given, which entails the potential to fail.

        • It’s when omnibenevolent God punishes humans for being humans (like he made them) that the argument goes off the rails.

        • Michael Neville

          Where do you get the idea that your god is loving? According to your propaganda he kills people just because he can. He orders sexual slavery and genocide. He condones rape and slavery. He’s a thoroughly unpleasant, sadistic, narcissistic bully with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. And yes, I can provide evidence for every one of those accusations.

        • al kimeea

          evidence that will be handily hand-waved away…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So?

          There are MANY I do not love, if only because I don’t know them.

          So that’s just another diversion.

        • DogGone

          They can’t even prove such a thing as heaven.

        • DogGone

          Wait, how do you know you are doing “good”? Quite often, people intend to do good, but the result is the opposite, in fact some of the world’s most evil people were trying to do “good” (from their point of view.) I’ll take a mild example though. When Eisenhower developed the interstate highway system, he meant to do only good, but the results was the destruction of downtowns in cities across the nation.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOU are the one proposing an omnipotent entity.

          IF it’s omnipotent, the burden of proof why it ISN’T possible is on you.

        • Nick G

          Perhaps it is the case that those in
          heaven can only be so after existing on earth with the potentiality for
          falling.

          For that to be at all plausible, we need an argument that it is logically impossible for beings who are free but always choose rightly to exist without some of them previously having chosen wrongly. You have not even attempted to provide one.

          It seems to me quite natural that if we are in rebellion against God, then God’s creation would be in rebellion against us.

          Natural evils – in the form of animal suffering – preceded the existence of human beings by hundreds of millions of years. And the idea that – say – a tsunami or volcanic eruption or asteroid strike, is “the natural world [being] in rebellion against us” is so utterly, laughably gobsmacking absurd that I can hardly believe you’re serious. These things are reasonably well-understood physical phenomena, involving no intention whatsoever on the part of the lifeless objects involved, and we know they also took place before there was any “us” to be in rebelllion against.

        • DogGone

          Okay, what about the intentionality of the human being who tortures a helpless, innocent animal?

        • Otto

          >>>”She should suffer as a martyr, in the knowledge that in killing her- he only reunites her with Christ.”

          That’s really sick

        • katiehippie

          And again brings up my question of why was she created to suffer on this earth if her only purpose was to be reunited with christ. Why does she have to do the suffering part?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So, you’re throwing around apologetics.

          Plantinga, just like all other apologeticists, presupposes his desired conclusion.

        • Nick G

          The essays on the hiddenness of God in that volume tackle the question
          with far more depth than it is handled with in this blog. Both the
          secular and theist position is argued by proponents on both sides. It’s a
          good departure point for anyone interested in thinking about that
          question in more detail.

          As I already said, summarise the argument.

          Plantinga’s Free Will Defense.

          Worthless. If “free will” is a coherent concept at all, here is nothing logically incoherent in the notion of a being with free will that always chooses rightly.

          Her suffering cannot be innately redemptive apart from her will for it
          to be so. The human will cannot be forced to choose evil, even when evil
          persons choose to do evil things to the victim who possesses that will.
          She should suffer as a martyr, in the knowledge that in killing her- he
          only reunites her with Christ.

          I quoted that in case you realised how disgusting it is, how it shows the utter vileness of your beliefs beyond any doubt, and removed it.

          Animals don’t rise to the status of being moral creatures because they
          are not self-aware like human beings are (meaning, they do not posses
          moral intentionality).

          That does not make their suffering acceptable. You know, your callousness really makes my skin crawl.

    • real_personn

      “There can be redemptive value in our suffering.”

      Why must animals suffer so, or children? They will not grasp the concept that a diety is using their painful experiences as a format of communication.

      • Travis

        I don’t think that animals rise to the level of being moral agents because they lack moral intentionality.

        • Michael Neville

          What about children? Are they only good as sex objects for pedophile clergy?

        • Travis

          I take it you think that there is something inherently wrong with using children as sex objects?

          Children are a different kind of thing than animals, because they are human.

        • Kodie

          I think there is something wrong, just not inherently wrong. The fact that your subject is a child means your morality is subjective, not objective. You are cool with causing the suffering of animals because they’re not humans. Am I reading you correctly?

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t think there is anything INHERENTLY wrong with using children as sex objects. I don’t think anything is INHERENTLY wrong or right. Not being a Catholic bishop I have the strong opinion that it’s wrong to rape children but that’s my subjective opinion.

          It’s up to you to show that anything is inherently moral or immoral. And don’t accuse people who disagree with you on objective morality of being immoral. It’s my subjective opinion that poisoning the well is morally wrong.

          EDITED to fix minor typos.

        • DogGone

          Your argument is better than mine. I guess it isn’t inherently wrong, but it’s totally disgusting.

        • Kodie

          What’s right or wrong is based on human values. It depends on humans existing. When did child rape become a thing? Children can be married as young as 13 some states. An unambiguous pedophile was not run out of the Alabama senate race with torches and pitchforks. The Catholic Church is still very popular. As far as I can discern, and I could be wrong, listening to and believing children is a relatively recent development in civilization, and yet, when the truth comes out, it’s likely to disrupt households, so look the other way. Just like how many Christians are ignorant about animal intelligence or abilities to feel or think or communicate, I also think they think kids are naive and don’t manifest deep damage from traumatic abuse, since they don’t know what sex is in the first place, they won’t remember it or realize they are being violated anyway. A lot of people are only theoretically disgusted by child rape because it’s the thing to say, but do not generate the appropriate reaction therein when the situation is real. Anyway, what are the lasting ultimate effects? Who is really affected by any immoral act and for what amount of time? What happens to the perpetrator?

          An objective, inherent quality of something like morality would cause a definite outcome for someone who chose to violate the morality. I mean, like falling off the side of a mountain isn’t illegal or immoral, but gravity is probably going to win, and there’s a predictable outcome. There are also a lot of ways to overcome the force of gravity, and a shorter fall might twist your ankle, it might shatter a dish, it really depends on the material of the dish what the outcome is, but you’re still bending over to pick up the dish or sweep up the pieces of the dish. I also wonder why they choose this example – raping a child. It’s subjective to a child? It’s not as inherently clear if you rape an adult? You bet it’s not! Rape is violating someone’s autonomy in a sexual way. But since adults are sophisticated and play games, or a husband (in some circles) technically owns his wife and it’s her job description to please him whenever he wants, or she shouldn’t have gotten drunk or went out in that outfit, we’re really not sure if rape is so bad. If you drug a woman so she doesn’t feel like she was raped, is it still wrong? As a culture, as a society, we don’t seem to know! But to purposely use a child who doesn’t know any better and has no lust, to steal their innocence from them… that’s what it’s really about. They are just little rubber robots who are made dirty and used up before they even had a choice! It has nothing to do with violence and trauma and abuse. It’s pretty much the same thing as telling a child there’s no Santa Claus or making them work in a factory, like the kind of factory that makes your water bottle or your phone or your sneakers. If we had any idea that was inherently wrong, it should automatically disgust us, or we’re hypocrites, or we believe some things but put them aside when we serve our own needs.

        • DogGone

          I have only one thing to say about this argument. OMG. I hope I never meet you IRL

        • Kodie

          It’s hard for me to know why you think so. If you don’t get it, or what did I say wrong?

        • MR

          And I do take umbrage with their (the atheist side) overemphasis of “opinion.” That disgust you feel indicates an innate aspect. A large part of our moral intuition is evolved instinct. Animals in general simply don’t behave like that. Opinion really has nothing to do with it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’d say USING children as sex objects (no way for meaningful consent) is immoral because of the consent issue. and because societies that allow it openly don’t exist today.

        • DogGone

          Um, do you honestly think there is nothing “inherently wrong with using children as sex objects?” Yikes! Tell me I am misunderstanding. Christians think atheists have no moral or ethical compass, but that is a problem with the understandings of Christians and has nothing at all to do with atheists, some of whom actually left religion behind because of its hypocrisy regarding ethical issues.

        • Kodie

          Are you also saying that a person can’t be much smarter than you are and have perfectly good reasons you can’t know or understand for causing/allowing a lot of suffering? I’m not talking about god, I’m talking about a person who is just smarter than you. You would say their reasons can never be good enough to satisfy you and you are disgusted by the actions they feel they must make on behalf of their very good reason (which certainly could benefit you eventually?)

          If the purpose or the value is to redeem you somehow, why isn’t it ok if a person does it intentionally, and you’re just not privileged with the knowledge of why they must do it, even if it is ultimately for your benefit?

        • Travis

          Imagine the child going to the dentist. He may not know why he suffers now, but his parents do. The atheist simply is not in a position where they can categorically say that they know and can claim that such suffering is meaningless.

        • Kodie

          I’m not talking about a child going to the dentist. I’m talking about someone with a lot more knowledge about what’s going on than you do, and the right kind of power to do it, and he happens to cause a lot of suffering with some ultimate benefit for you and everyone else, that you just are incapable of understanding.

        • Travis

          And your argument is?

        • Kodie

          I asked you a fucking question. Is the question too hard for you?

        • DogGone

          There is no smarter anthropomorphic thing out there causing suffering for whatever purpose. There are only very solid here-and-now religious leaders who may or may not believe in the deities they purport to represent, who are benefiting from the power donated to them from people like you.

        • Michael Neville

          Are you aware that Kodie is an atheist?

        • Kodie

          It’s a thought experiment.

        • DogGone

          For those who play that sort of game, that is the sort of game they play. There is no anthropomorphic deity. I’ll skip the transparent “thought experiment” (for those who do not think), thank you.

        • Kodie

          I’m an atheist, I think you’re missing that part.

        • al kimeea

          ha, u bark up wrong tree

        • Chuck Johnson

          Such suffering is not mystical, magical or divine.
          Supernatural explanations of