The Power of Christ Compels You

Earlier tonight I received a highly amusing e-mail whose author seemed confident that I would cease to be an atheist if I performed a magical ritual of their devising. I do not normally post feedback e-mail in full, but since this one was sent to me anonymously, I have no qualms in doing so:

From: Anonymous <anonymous@anonymous.net>
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 20:23:12 -0400
Subject: Want To Prove that You are a Real Atheist? TAKE THIS TEST!!!!!!!

Want to prove that you are a real atheist?
Say this out loud

If you are a real a real atheist, say this prayer out loud three times
right now:
If there is no God, then these prayers will have no effect on you, but if
there is a God, they will. Remember, you have to say these out loud 3x each,
in a row.

I bet you you will change once you says these prayers. Say them by
yourself, you don’t have to do it in front of anyone. If you are reading this when
there is someone around, you can close it and print it out and say it then.

Say this out loud 3x:

OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME.
THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE, AS IN HEAVEN SO ON EARTH.
GIVE US DAY BY DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS;
FOR WE ALSO FORGIVE EVERY ONE THAT IS INDEBTED TO US.
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION; BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL.
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER
IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST,
AMEN

Then say this out loud 3x:

SPEAK OUTLOUD
SATAN, IN THE NAME OF JESUS, I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE MY MIND, BODY, LIFE,
AND SOUL TODAY IN THE NAME OF JESUS!
YOU HAVE NO DOMINION OVER MY LIFE!
I SUBMIT MY BODY, LIFE, AND SOUL TO GOD, IN THE NAME OF JESUS!
THE BLOOD OF JESUS! THE BLOOD OF JESUS! THE BLOOD OF JESUS AGAINST YOU
SATAN!
I APPLY THE BLOOD OF JESUS OVER MY LIFE!
I APPLY THE BLOOD OF JESUS OVER WHERE I LIVE AT!
I APPLY THE BLOOD OF JESUS OVER MY FAMILY!
I DO IT ALL IN THE NAME OF JESUS
THE BLOOD OF JESUS! THE BLOOD OF JESUS! THE BLOOD OF JESUS AGAINST YOU
SATAN! IN JESUS NAME I CALL IT DONE! AMEN AND AMEN!
IN JESUS CHRIST’S HOLY NAME I PRAY, AMEN!

DO NOT DELETE THIS EMAIL UNTIL YOU HAVE DONE THIS.
AFTER YOU HAVE CHANGED, PASS THIS ON TO YOUR FELLOW NON-BELIEVERS IN
CHRIST.

ONCE AGAIN, IF YOU WANT TO PROVE THAT YOU ARE A REAL ATHEIST, FOLLOW THESE
INSTRUCTIONS.

-YOUR FRIEND,
ANONYMOUS

Since the sender of this e-mail chose to remain anonymous, I was unable to write a letter in reply. I will respond here, instead.

First of all, I have neither the desire nor the need to “prove that I am a real atheist”. I am an atheist, and I will say so to anyone who wants to know. If someone chooses not to believe me, that is their problem, not mine. I do not believe in any gods, and that is the only requirement to be an atheist; I do not have to do anything else to make my atheism “real”, nor am I obligated to jump through hoops at another’s bidding to prove it. I know the state of my own mind, and that is good enough for me. I assume the writer of this letter was trying to goad me into acting as they desire, but it did not work.

Second, I’m curious about the author’s insistence that I must say this prayer three times for it to be effective. I cannot help wondering why they thought that was necessary. Shouldn’t once be enough for a deity that hears and knows all? Does God usually ignore the first two repetitions of a prayer, so that a third is necessary to get his attention? Though the writer of this e-mail seems to be a Christian, apparently I know the Bible better than they do: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7).

And finally, to the author, whoever you are: No, I am not going to perform this superstitious ritual you have devised. If that makes you crow in triumph, so be it. I know from experience that if I announced I had said the prayer and was still an atheist, you would say that I had not done it sincerely enough, or that I have to do it in a church, or in the presence of another Christian, or that I have to attend six months of Bible study first, or otherwise come up with some excuse that involves retroactively tacking new conditions onto the original challenge. I know this because I have said versions of the “sinner’s prayer” before, at the request of other Christians, and when it did absolutely nothing, those are the excuses they inevitably provide. As James Randi has said, those who are determined to be irrational are like “unsinkable rubber ducks”: push them down and they pop right back up, always with some new contrived explanation for why their particular brand of magic does not work.

I say magic because what this misguided believer proposes I do is magic, no different than any other superstitious ceremony that entails speaking the proper incantation to produce the desired effect. All varieties of magical thinking are fundamentally alike in their belief that words and symbols control reality, if arranged properly, and Christian-themed magical thinking is just like every other kind in that respect. To whoever it is that bravely chose to remain anonymous, I have a counter-challenge for you: stop hiding behind anonymous proxies, step out and reveal your identity, and I will debate the truth of Christianity with you in an open forum of your choice. (If you want to prove that you’re a real Christian, you’ll do it. See how that feels?) If Christianity is true, then the facts will inevitably bear that out, and if it is not true, all the vain repetitions in the world will not make it otherwise. Will you show yourself, or will you remain hidden and persist in the foolish and futile delusion that your magic words can control reality?

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://endless-rambling.blogspot.com BlackWizardMagus

    Well, of course it didn’t work on you Adam; you weren’t holding your nose right while you balanced on your head! I have been told similar stuff, though I admit that this is the most amusing piece I have read. I think this individual is either deluded or, quite possibly, he’d just love to hear you admit that you shouted 6 large paragrahps at the wall or to a God that, he believes, is going to burn you anyway.

  • Mary

    IN THE NAME OF JESUS… IN THE NAME OF JESUS!

    Not sure he heard you the first time?

    AFTER YOU HAVE CHANGED…

    Changed what? Underwear? Hairdresser?

    How would prayer prove you are a “real” atheist? Methinks your “secret friend” is short on… *something*. Maybe he got confused and prayed the reverse by mistake?

    SATAN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME.

    OUR FATHER, IN THE NAME OF JESUS, I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE MY MIND, BODY, LIFE, AND SOUL TODAY IN THE NAME OF JESUS!

    Ya think? ;D

  • http://dominicself.co.uk Dominic Self

    Because we all know of the many ‘fake atheists’. You know, the ones who believe that they will go to hell for their public rejection of Christ but just can’t help themselves to fit in with the massively influencial atheist cool kids who secretly Run The World(TM)

  • Philip Thomas

    Human folly is boundless.

    On a different note, I have been collecting my responses to the articles of Ebon Musings in my forum “A Tribute to Ebon Musings”
    http://mithala.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=99

  • http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/ vjack

    Great post. That e-mail was really funny. Where is the author’s evidence to support his claim that reciting this prayer 3 times will convert you? Oh that’s right, asking for evidence for a claim is evil. Sorry, I forgot.

  • AH

    That’s really ridiculous. Just for the heck of it, I read it out loud (and felt pretty darn stupid doing it)…I never want to say “Blood of Jesus” again after saying it so many times! BLOOD OF JESUS! BLOOD OF JESUS! Arg! Why is Christianity so gory?

    And it didn’t work either! I read all of that for nothing… What a disappointment. I was hoping for some kind of divine revelation. Oh well. Guess I’m stuck being an atheist. Next time don’t get my hopes up, ANONYMOUS!

  • http://hellboundalleee.blogspot.com Hellbound Alleee

    This guy really thinks his gods are in his control. That’s not surprising at all, since earlier religions, like Egyptian, believed that to say the name of a god would put it in your control. His chants are extremely ancient-religion sounding. Kind of like in those seventies movies about demons, isn’t it? They were always chanting to demons and Satan, and those entities always came under their bidding (the fools!) and got out of their control once they were “unleashed.” Well, I for one certainly don’t want to unleash such things! Maybe you should tell him that dabbling in the occult like that is against the bible. What else could his game be but occult? Why would Jesus have to speak in parables if following him wasn’t occult?

    Of course these idiots wouldn’t understand.

  • SpeirM

    I spent a lot of years saying just such prayers–a lot more than three times. Didn’t work then; wouldn’t work now. That’s one of the reasons I am an atheist.

  • Shawn Smith

    Hellbound Alleee,

    Your response reminded me of my old Dungeons and Dragons (in High School) days. Occasionally some jerk would try to ruin the experience for the rest of us (total nerds, by the way) and we would get him to start chanting “Demogorgon” to bring the most powerful of the demons (not devils) to the party so that we could rid ourselves of the offender. Hilarity quickly ensued.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Because we all know of the many ‘fake atheists’. You know, the ones who believe that they will go to hell for their public rejection of Christ but just can’t help themselves to fit in with the massively influencial atheist cool kids who secretly Run The World(TM)

    Ssshhh! We don’t speak of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy in public, remember?

    I never want to say “Blood of Jesus” again after saying it so many times! BLOOD OF JESUS! BLOOD OF JESUS! Arg! Why is Christianity so gory?

    And this isn’t even the worst of that, not by a long shot. In Losing Faith in Faith, Dan Barker wrote about a Christian hymn that spoke of being “plunged beneath a fountain of blood”. He calculated that the amount of blood required to fill even a small fountain would require the exsanguination of a small town.

    This guy really thinks his gods are in his control. That’s not surprising at all, since earlier religions, like Egyptian, believed that to say the name of a god would put it in your control…. Kind of like in those seventies movies about demons, isn’t it? They were always chanting to demons and Satan, and those entities always came under their bidding (the fools!) and got out of their control once they were “unleashed.”

    Perhaps this person assumed this chant was a Christian version of the Rite of AshkEnte (and if anyone got that, raise your hands…)

  • Philip Thomas

    The rite of Ashkente summons Death, right? But only in the Discworld.

  • Quath

    I tried it and Odin got very mad at me.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    The rite of Ashkente summons Death, right? But only in the Discworld.

    Give that man a cigar. ;)

  • http://thegreenbelt.blogspot.com/ The Ridger

    There is so much magical thinking in Christianity these days. When I was young I was an Episcopalian, and back then you had to be confirmed to take Communion. Being confirmed meant studying and understanding the catachism (as well as anyone could, I suppose) and generally it happened in one’s early teens. However, at some point in the 70s – maybe the early 80s, I was out of the country for a few years and can’t pinpoint it – they began giving commnunion to young children – even babies. Now that is magic, pure and simple.

    And so is this spell. He’s going to dare you to say the magic words that will cause Jesus to save you from your evil ways.

    Of course, anyone who actually read his Bible would know that merely speaking in the name of Jesus is no guarantee of salvation – in fact, a number of people are killed or at least injured by speaking in Jesus’s name when they don’t believe in him, particularly the strolling exorcists (I know, more modern translations don’t call them that, but I love the phrase) of Acts 19… Jesus himself says in Matthew 7 that “not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven’” and that “‘on that day I will say to them ‘I never knew you, depart from me’.”

    But irrationality breeds more irrationality, I suppose. It’s so sad.

  • homeskillet

    Thank You for posting this. I recited the prayers and something did happen. I FOUND CHRIST! …he was under the sofa cushions …along with 87¢ and half an nilla wafer! Now I i know TRUE bliss! Thanks again.

  • Chris

    As a Christian-turned-Godless, I must say that this is the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever heard! You can mouth off prayers all day long and nothing will happen (in fact, in the presence of my Christian family I still rattle off a prayer every now and then for their sake).

    Of course, some Christians think it arrogant to expect an answer… go figure.

  • Bear

    Now go look in the mirror and say “Candyman” three times.

  • http://stressfreeforfree.com Alan miller

    I think you put your’ finger on it when you said, ” I don’t believe in any gods “. You went on to say that, that is the only requirement to be an atheist.
    Semantics aside , I think to be a true atheist one must believe that reality as we know it IE , creation , is the product of disorder evolving to create order . From non-thinking to the rational . From the chaos of the “big bang” to the elegant laws of physics defined by Newton and Einstein among others.You would also believe in the silly and ever changing ” theories ” of evolution . A “science” that is forever amending itself to conform with the contradictory evidence that is constantly being discovered almost on a daily basis.If you ever want to have fun with an evolutionist, ask him to fit symbiosis into his evolutionary paradigm .. OK, ’nuff of this.
    My point ( if I have one ) is that you seem to be more an agnostic, as I am , than an atheist. For me that means I just lack the enormous faith it must take to believe that we are the product of nothing + nothing = my ability to compose this note.

  • Philip Thomas

    An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in a personal God

    You can have any number of impersonal Gods and supernatural entities without ceasing to be an atheist, technically speaking.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Alan:

    You would also believe in the silly and ever changing ” theories ” of evolution . A “science” that is forever amending itself to conform with the contradictory evidence that is constantly being discovered almost on a daily basis.If you ever want to have fun with an evolutionist, ask him to fit symbiosis into his evolutionary paradigm ..

    Symbiosis is an event in which two organisms join together in a way such that each provides some benefit to the other, yielding each partner a reproductive advantage that is favored by natural selection. I fail to see what makes this a problem for evolution. Perhaps you could elaborate on what you had in mind, although your flippant tone gives me scant confidence that you understand the theory well enough to make a cogent argument.

    My point ( if I have one ) is that you seem to be more an agnostic, as I am , than an atheist. For me that means I just lack the enormous faith it must take to believe that we are the product of nothing + nothing = my ability to compose this note.

    You seem to be mistaken as to what atheism entails. An atheist does not have to believe that we are the product of “nothing + nothing”, as you put it in that laughable straw-man remark. An atheist does not, in fact, have to take any position at all on the ultimate origins of the cosmos, but is free to believe (as I do) that we simply do not know the answer yet. What it does take to be an atheist is recognition of the complete lack of evidence for any supernatural beings that allegedly took part in the process.

    Philip:

    You can have any number of impersonal Gods and supernatural entities without ceasing to be an atheist, technically speaking.

    I don’t agree with this. If you believe in an impersonal god, you could perhaps be called a Taoist or a New Ager or something, but you’re not an atheist. An impersonal god is still a god. I suppose an atheist could believe in other, non-godly supernatural entities, although I’ve yet to meet any who do, and I doubt there’s any meaningful line of demarcation that could be drawn between gods and other supernatural beings in practice anyway.

  • Philip Thomas

    Well, a theist is someone who believes in a personal God, right?

  • Azkyroth

    A theist is someone who believes in a god.

    I doubt there’s any meaningful line of demarcation that could be drawn between gods and other supernatural beings in practice anyway.

    Reminds me of a line from Baldur’s Gate (referring to the main villain): “If you have the arrogance of a god, and can kill like a god, who’s to say you aren’t a god?” Seems to fit pretty well with the criteria for “godhood” most mythologies seem to use… ;/

  • Azkyroth

    Correction: a theist is someone who believes in one or more gods. A monotheist is someone who believes in one god (usually personal in practice, but this is not part of the definition), while a polytheist believes in multiple gods (again, usually personal in practice). A pantheist believes that God comprises everything in the universe or something similar, which means an impersonal god almost by default. Theist itself just means god-positing.

  • Philip Thomas

    No, a Theist is someone who believes in a personal god (perhaps more than one). As opposed to deists, who believe in a God in the sense of a Creator of the Universe. Of course, one can be a theist and a deist.

  • lpetrich

    My favorite response to someone who talks about “the blood of Christ”:

    Yecch. Need I say more?

  • http://danielmorgan.blogspot.com Daniel Morgan

    Dude.

    I have gotten that email three fucking times in the past month. The third time, in desperation, I tried writing the person back after emailing their IP address’s provider.

    I also must say that, as a laugh, I did what they asked, thinking, “convince WHO I’m an atheist?” Myself? So, after all the magic incantations, here I sit, as godless as ever.

  • Philip Thomas

    I think this is spam. Stating the obvious I know.

    Also, if mr Anonymous is reading this (which I doubt). IT DOESN’T WORK!. And I’m a Christian!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Yes, I’ve received multiple copies of that e-mail as well, some of them with additional lines added to the magic spell I’m supposed to chant. Evidently the original author was perplexed as to why his original superstitious ritual wasn’t working to produce mass conversions of atheists and thought that adding a few more lines about the Holy Spirit or the blood of Jesus would really do the trick. They can keep trying; they’re wasting their time.

  • Alex Weaver

    Argh, why didn’t I think of this before…

    “It will not change me in a box
    It will not change me with a fox
    It will not change me in a house
    It will not change me with a mouse
    It will not change me here nor there
    It will not change me anywhere
    I will not say this prayer again
    It’ll fail like last time, spam-I-am”

    ^.^

  • Dennis

    Wow an atheist website where ppl are unsure of what an Atheist is. Well let me help you. The basic definition is someone who suspends belief in all things. Belief is what makes all spiritual schools work. An Atheist will suspend belief and use the best facts available. God is, in fact, a theory as to why things are the way they are. If you take the theory seriously, then you can use the facts to prove or disprove it. You can look at gods personality throughout history. You can look at how he acts throughout time. Then you can ask reasonable questions like : Does your personality keep changing even though you are perfect? Can I ethically agree with everything he does? Do some serious questioning of what you know. You can also ask if you think it is right or wrong to punish the innocent for the horrible things you and others have done? Question all of your magical beliefs. None of them hold up to serious review. If you lose faith and belief in god/magic please don’t fill it up with other new-age foo-foo and other universe=god and fairies crap. Atheism is about dumping ALL that never seen/always believed nonsense. When you grow up and lose the magic then life really begins. That’s where you can run your own life and feel confident that no devil will trip you and no deity will be responsible for holding your hand. You will finally be on your own and loving every minute of it.

  • Philip Thomas

    Hi Dennis. Are you saying that only things seen by you exist?

    Of course, one could go a few more steps down this path and declare that nothing exists except oneself. Then indeed “you will finally be on your own”.

  • Josh

    here’s a funny little (true) story for all you people out there:
    My uncle is a doctor, he helps people who have cancer, turminal diseases, and whatever else people get. Well, one time he had a very religious patient. That patient was very religious, “if you don’t do everything the bible says then your going to hell” kind of religious. Well he was probably going to die, but my uncle is a good doctor so he didn’t die. Once he was released from the hospital he said “Praise God and Jesus, for his holy hand has saved me! God didn’t help him. My uncle and his 12 years of medical school saved him not his “God”. Naturally my uncle was pretty annoyed, but the religious man’s money was still good.

  • Seth

    I love to send emails to christians asking this: If I say that there is an invisible, untouchable leprechaun smoking pot on your left shoulder, you CANNOT prove it DOESN’T exist. You all must have heard of this before: “atheists cannot disprove that god exists”. That’s why I use the leprechaun example… but that example is old… does anyone have a better one?

  • http://nesoo.wordpress.com/ Nes

    There’s always the Invisible Pink Unicorn (blessed be her holy hooves).

  • http://nesoo.wordpress.com/ Nes

    Oh, or if you’ve read Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World, there’s also the dragon in the garage.

  • Diana

    To everyone who is talking about invisible leprechauns:

    There is evidence that God exists. The Bible has proven itself many times. The prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New Testament. Even though there are 66 books total in the Bible, they all show the mark of a common author, who I believe to be God. The Old Testament authors did not know the New Testament authors because they lived during different times. (I am speaking plainly, not sarcastically).

    The 12 original Apostles (excluding Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus) all died as martyrs at the hands of other people. They did not kill themselves. If the good news that they were proclaiming (that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died and rose again, with the power to forgive sins) was a lie, then those 11 Apostles would have had to be the people who fabricated that lie! They would have had to willingly die for a lie they themselves made up, not a lie that someone else told them!

    This is supposing that every word of the Bible is true. If you dispute the veracity of the Bible, there is historical evidence that upholds the authenticity of the documents used. I can direct you to apologetics websites if you wish. Please search yourselves though, since that is the only way for anyone to know the truth.

  • James Bradbury

    Diana,

    Assuming that the old testament was written before the new, those who wrote the new testament would have had access to the old testament and would have written to match it, wouldn’t they?

    Even when taking the bible on it’s own it still doesn’t make sense. Like Internet Explorer it’s not even consistent with itself! In fact it frequently contradicts itself and contains much that is immoral and misleading. Try reading the old testament imagining that it is part of someone else’s religion.

    In the NT compare for example the four accounts of the ressurrection. What was it the disciples saw when they entered the tomb?

    If the bible contradicts itself how can every word of it be true?

    Excuse me if I go off-topic here but: If Jesus had to die for our sins and this was all part of God’s plan, then surely Judas was an essential part of that plan and not the villian he is always made out to be?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Hello Diana,

    How do you know how the apostles died?

  • Polly

    Sigh… I’ve made Diana’s argument many times myself.

    The assertion that the apostles/disciples were actual eye-witnesses to the resurrection of JC and that they all died painful deaths because of their testimony so that their witness must be true is, to my mind, a compelling though not ironclad argument for Christianity…if it’s provable.
    The Bible itself doesn’t say much about believers’ suffering beyond Paul’s own testimony of himself and his companions (Revelations is talking about the future according to the standard interpretation)Nowhere does it say that all or even most of the disciples died as martyrs; I only remember James. Keep in mind: only EYE-WITNESSES count. In fact JC said of Peter that he would die in his old age (John 21:18). Outside of the Gospels, there’s no corroborating historical evidence to point to any of the supernatural or even much of the natural events mentioned in the NT except scant few details that point to the EXISTENCE of certain characters. Which many Xians latch onto with a vengeance and blow out of all proportion the significance thereof. The Christians being fed to the lions in the arenas were not the eyewitnesses and they came much, much later.

    Here’s another problem, Diana. Talk to a Mormon sometime and you will find EXACTLY this kind of evidence FOR the Book of Mormon being delivered by an angel. 6 or 7 eyewitnesses actually signed written testimonies and even after leaving the Church of LDS never recanted their belief that they saw the angel with Joseph Smith.
    Compare that with the 4 Gospels. There is little evidence that the Gospels were even written by the disciples themselves. Indeed, Luke was not even a Jew and doesn’t even claim to have witnessed the resurrection.
    Now add to that the rich tradition in those times and after of mythic deities that died and rose again and you get a clearer picture of just what was probably going on.
    Do the research for yourself. Heck, maybe you’re right. But, check into the details because you’re making assertions that are not backed up by hisotrical analysis, though tradition would lead you to believe otherwise.

    Geez, another long post.

  • Polly

    James Bradbury:

    “Like Internet Explorer it’s not even consistent with itself! In fact it frequently contradicts itself and contains much that is immoral and misleading.”

    Were you still talking about Internet Explorer at this point? ;-)

  • schemanista

    This might make a good blasphemy challenge.

  • anti-nonsense

    I did it, felt pretty stupid doing it.

    and what *is* this guy’s obsession with blood? seriously. It’s pretty gross.

    Anyway, that was a waste of five minutes of my precious life. Thanks *ever* so much to the anoymous spam artist.

    It’s going to take more then repeating nonsensical paragraphs about blood and whatever to convince me that your god exists. All you’ve managed to do is make me even more sure that praying is stupid.

  • Diana

    I am speaking to whoever has responded to me:
    There IS historical evidence, although I cannot quote it off the top of my head. Apologetics ministries exist for that purpose. For example, http://www.4truth.net/ is one I recommend, and http://www.anastasisapologetics.com is a good one, although not complete.

    Also, yes the Lord knew ahead of time that Judas Iscariot would betray him! God uses BOTH good and evil men for His sovereign will. This does not EXCUSE the evil; rather, it turns it around so that the person who commited the act (including the betrayal) still does not triumph. What I mean in this example is that Judas meant to gain from the betrayal of Jesus. He received money in return for betraying Jesus. However, in the end, Judas ended up hanging himself because his temporary gain (the money) was not worth it!

    To address the Church of Latter Day Saints, I must say that demons exist as well. It is said, and I believe, that Lucifer (Satan) masquerades as an angel of light. For this reason, Christians must “test the spirits,” meaning that we should not believe everybody! We must discern whether the person speaking is sent by God or not, based on what the person is teaching (moral soundness), and whether or not the person’s predictions come true.

    Finally, there is a reason that Christianity calls for faith. Faith is required in order to be a Christian. We believe first so that we may then understand, not the other way around. I used to waver in my faith, going back and forth. However, now I see the reality that I must stand by my Lord. You all are totally free to believe as you wish! I am not contesting that fact at all.

    Peace

  • James Bradbury

    Diana,

    Thanks for the links, I will check them out over lunch today.

    God uses BOTH good and evil men for His sovereign will…. However, in the end, Judas ended up hanging himself because his temporary gain (the money) was not worth it!

    I’m sure we’d all agree that betraying your friends for money is immoral. Judas however, was acting according to God’s will which is inherently good. As God is good, everything he wills is also good. If God is all powerful how could Judas have acted against God’s will?

    I heard that Judas crucified himself upside down, but I may be wrong about this as I cannot imagine how he got the last nail in.

    …Lucifer.. masquerades as an angel of light. For this reason, Christians must “test the spirits,” meaning that we should not believe everybody! We must discern whether the person speaking is sent by God or not, based on what the person is teaching (moral soundness), and whether or not the person’s predictions come true.

    Glad to hear you have not abandoned critical thinking. However, on that basis we should discard much of the bible. I’ve read elsewhere that we should not put God to the test – is this wrong? Furthermore, if Satan has supernatural powers and we don’t, how can we expect to avoid being tricked by him? Adam and Eve were tricked by him (or the snake) and they were perfect people without sin.

    We believe first so that we may then understand, not the other way around.

    Does that approach work well for you in other areas of your life?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Hello Diana,

    I’m the one who asked you how you know how the apostles died. Although I could answer some of your other points, I’d like to focus on this one.

    There IS historical evidence, although I cannot quote it off the top of my head. Apologetics ministries exist for that purpose. For example, http://www.4truth.net/ is one I recommend, and http://www.anastasisapologetics.com is a good one, although not complete.

    I wasn’t asking just for links to apologist websites. Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of those. None of them answer my question, and you haven’t yet answered it either: How do you know how the apostles died? I’d like specific evidence, please, not just a vague reference to a website that you’re sure has the answer on it somewhere.

    I’m asking you this because I’ve heard this same claim – that the apostles were all martyred and would not have died for a lie – from countless Christians. But when I ask them to support this claim with evidence, they inevitably come up empty. The reason I’m asking you this question is because I don’t think there is any evidence. I think the Christian stories of the apostles’ deaths are just that – stories, tall tales invented centuries after the fact. Maybe you can prove me wrong. You’re welcome to try.

  • Robert

    And just what difference would it make if these ‘martyrs’ died believing they were right do to prove their beliefs? People die for stupid beliefs all the time and have done so with depressing regularly throughout history. Jesuits were being martyred routinely in the New World by natives in the fifteenth and early sixteenth century, and their deaths were properly recorded – it didn’t make their beliefs right.

  • http://nesoo.wordpress.com/ Nes

    People die for stupid beliefs all the time and have done so with depressing regularly throughout history.

    For another specific example, there’s the crazy comet cult. Some of the people killed themselves so they could get beamed aboard an alien UFO that was hiding in a comet’s tail, or something like that.

  • jim coufal

    Why repetitions of three?
    To match the “Trinity?”
    Sounds like pennance
    after a Cathlic ritual confession to me.
    One book of the bible says
    that Judas hanged himself;
    another says he went into a field,
    fell down, and blew up.
    Which is it, Diana?
    Or can I pick and choose
    what appeals to me?

  • Berta

    Ebonmuse: As a former atheist, I can’t slam anyone for being one. But I would like to reply to your question with another.
    How do you know how the apostles died? I’d like specific evidence, please, not just a vague reference to a website that you’re sure has the answer on it somewhere.

    …. The reason I’m asking you this question is because I don’t think there is any evidence. I think the Christian stories of the apostles’ deaths are just that – stories, tall tales invented centuries after the fact. Maybe you can prove me wrong. You’re welcome to try.

    My question to you is this: Do you believe that Julius Caesar existed? What about murdered? Why? Because he wrote about his life, and others wrote about him during and after his life? Is it because you were taught that in school? Caesar lived, died, and chances are – you believe it.
    There are historical resources about Christ (and friends), you just actually have to look for answers yourself. Turning to semi-educated people isn’t sufficient. Would you allow your baker to teach you how to fix your car, or a mechanic? Your baker may know enough to get your car to run, but a mechanic understands its inner workings. I think eternity is a little bit more important than my car, and I can’t afford to be wrong. Every argument can be countered, every thought and opinion questioned.

    If you *seriously* care about the answer to your question (which, when I was making the same arguments, I honestly wasn’t), then read a book called The Case For Christ. A journalist set out to prove that Christianity is based on a bunch of myth, stories, and flat out lies. Read it, research sources quoted in his book, and see if you feel they were taken out of context. See if it answers your questions, provokes even more questions, or confirms that there is no proof. People tried to change my mind for years. I had to look for the answers myself, because opinions are like assholes….

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    I have already read that book and was not convinced. See Earl Doherty’s Challenging the Verdict for the definitive reply that points out exactly where Strobel glosses over or ignores inconvenient facts.

  • Alex Weaver

    *sigh* Here, Adam, I’ll save you some time.

    Berta: scroll down to “Lee Strobel”

  • Alex Weaver

    Oops :)

  • Berta

    Ebon, I’m glad you did read Lee’s book. I read the link Alex posted that gave more information about your history.

    I applaud you for at least looking for yourself, instead of being a bandwagon atheist. I’m not here to try to change your mind, that’s not my place. I advocate people do their *own* research. Which, it appears you have and still feel the way you do. We’re all entitled to our beliefs. There is evidence in this thread that some take their beliefs to the extreme. :P

    Personally, I have a hard time believing someone who set out to disprove Christ would “conveniently” ignore things and disprove their own theory. To me, that’s God revealing himself to Lee. To others, it’s support for the birth of more opinions and debates. Everything is argued, debated, countered, picked apart. On any side, that’s just what people do. I think that’s a great thing – we have the ability to think for ourselves and choose. I chose Christ, because he made himself clear to me. I have the ‘evidence’ I need because of experiences in my life. You have the ‘evidence’ you need to support your beliefs and views, based on the things in your life. I cannot tell you your experiences/research is invalid or has no root for you. I’m content, as no doubt, you are as well. Obviously, the Internet is a hotbed for a variety of opinions. I think that makes it a bad source for reliable information. NOBODY has all the answers. So, I think more people should seek on their own, without influence from either side- and look beyond other people’s opinions and form their own after they have actually looked.

  • Berta

    Oh, I almost forgot. You didn’t answer my question about Caesar. :-P

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Here’s my response to the question about Caesar:

    If Jesus Christ had been an actual, historical person, we would expect to have first-hand, contemporary documentation: records of his words and deeds written by people who actually saw him, or who were at least alive during his lifetime. We would expect the record of his life to be plentiful from the very beginning. On the other hand, if he was only a legend later turned into a real person, we would expect not to have any first-hand witness to his life. We would expect the historical record to be scanty and details elusive or non-existent at first, these details appearing only later as the stories about him grew in the telling. We would expect clear references to him not to appear until long after his supposed death. And of course, this scenario is exactly what we do in fact find.

    Christian apologists often insist that the evidence for Jesus’ existence is so strong that to deny he ever lived would force one to deny the existence of many other historical figures as well, such as Alexander the Great or Abraham Lincoln. This comparison, however, cannot be sustained. We know that people such as Alexander or Lincoln were historical precisely because we do have first-hand evidence: artifacts made by them, things they wrote, things their contemporaries wrote about them. In Jesus’ case, however, we have none of these things. The pattern of evidence much better fits the birth and growth of a legend.

    —from “Choking on the Camel” at Ebon Musings

  • Polly

    I read the Case for Christ and the Case for a Creator when I was still a Christian. My understanding is that these were both written by Lee long AFTER he became a Christian. So, I don’t think he was setting out to undermine Christianity by researching these particular books. Though he may have had that in mind in his personal investigation years earlier in his life, these books are probably not the result of that, whatever it entailed.

    With regard to evolution, I think that his initial acceptance of the theory was not based on solid research or a very deep understanding of biology or paleontology. He went into journalism after all ;-). It’s no wonder that when the paltry few “icons of evolution” that served as his basis for atheism (though, evolution and atheism are not synonymous) were revealed to be deceptions (Haeckel’s drawings) or not as iron clad as he had thought (archaeopteryx, anything can be disputed), he became disillusioned. He kinda’ knocked down a strawman, presented to him courtesy of public school science education I’m guessing.

    Anyway, it seems to me he reached a conclusion about Christ for different reasons and THEN set out, like so many apologists, to do research supporting it. Many atheists come to their conclusions in much the same, simple-minded way and then go on to “find” god. You’ve already discovered that this site is a mouthpiece that’s definitely well connected to a brain!
    The purpose of this site, as far as I can tell, is to speak out for the right to unbelief and to disconnect the prerequisites of being a moral/ethical and FULFILLED person from god-belief. (hope I got that right)

  • Dennis

    Philip Thomas
    You asked ‘Are you saying that only things seen by you exist?’ No I am not. How did you come to that conclusion based on my post?

  • Alex Weaver

    O.o

    Wow, I think that’s the longest I’ve ever seen the board software spend chewing on a comment… ;/

  • http://www.ogre.nu/ Anton Sherwood

    Dennis:

    Wow an atheist website where ppl are unsure of what an Atheist is. Well let me help you. The basic definition is someone who suspends belief in all things.

    That’s a definition of a skeptic, not of an atheist. Now you may contend that a consistent skeptic will inevitably be an atheist, but that’s not logically necessary.

    (As a libertarian/anarchist I often run into analogous misdefinitions.)

  • Jerome

    Alan, This is a little late as I just saw this page but to which different “theories” evolution were you referring? Darwinian vs Lamarckian? Did you have any others in mind? I don’t know of any profound changes that have happened in evolution in a relatively long while, not nearly as much as physics, but I don’t claim to know everything about my own field.

  • Christ Saves

    [preaching deleted —Ebonmuse]

  • http://nesoo.wordpress.com/ Nes

    Hmm, good point there, Christ Saves. In fact, I think I’d better believe in Zeus as well; I wouldn’t want him to sent me to Hades, after all. Oh, and maybe Amun-Ra. I don’t remember what the Egyptian ‘hell’ is called, or if there is one, but I’m pretty sure that one should be avoided as well. Do the Hindu have a hell? I might have to set up a shrine to Shiva as well… man, my apartment is going to be cluttered…

    This “argument” is known as Pascal’s Wager, and, as you can see, it’s utterly unconvincing. (Not to mention that I can’t just “will” myself to believe.)

  • A.L

    Dear Christ Saves,

    If you have read through this site and the various postings you would have noticed that this is a place for structured debate not throwaway comments. As you haven’t seemed to have absorbed any of the arguments placed here and offered any structured logical argument in return it’s tempting not to reply to you as you won’t give any thought to a reply. However as I believe in engagement, I feel I should respond and give the possibility of discussion a chance.

    Your posting raises many questions which have been covered in some form or another on this site so I will answer your direct question.

    “wouldn’t it be smarter to be on the safe side”

    The answer to your question is exceedingly simple. It is a reply that is immediately obvious to anyone with a basic grasp of history, literature, current affairs or ethics or morals or has ever placed some thought on the eternal question ‘what the right thing to do’.

    Throughout time, being on the safe side has meant going along with ideas you don’t agree with. At the extreme end of the scale this includes regimes such as Pol Pot and Hitler. Of course it would be ‘smart’ to be on the safe side, standing up to those regimes meant death which is why most people did follow your advice. However there were a few people who the idea of being ‘smart’ wasn’t the most important. They believed for example, that genocide was wrong and they shouldn’t be on such a side even if this meant death. They died for their beliefs. An idea surely, you should be familiar with.

    Please read the following classic book which deals with the implication of being smart and staying on the safe side. It also shows what the effect of not being smart was.

    http://www.amazon.com/Eichmann-Jerusalem-Report-Banality-Evil/dp/0844659770/ref=sr_1_6/103-4470804-4259009?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190407606&sr=1-6

  • Tyler

    I am a Christian. The person that sent this email is a very misguided person and I believe that they were just doing it as a joke.

    [preaching deleted —Ebonmuse]

  • OMGF

    Tyler,
    But do you really know the truth? This isn’t a case where you can objectively say that we are drowning and you have a life raft to save us with. You can’t actually say for certain that you aren’t leading us further astray. Allah may not be happy with your actions at all. Heck, maybe even your own god – who you think is righteous even though he kills thousands of people just to increase attendance at his house on Sundays instead of simply revealing himself or any number of other non-violent actions that would bring about the same effect – is pissed off at you for this because he thinks that we should be who we are and that honesty is more important than simply trying to appease.

  • Tyler

    Leading you astray from what? Atheism? How can I lead you away from believing in absolutely nothing?

  • Tyler

    And, as I said in my earlier comment before my “preaching” was deleted, it is not God who does evil things to this world, it is the people that are possessed with sin and Satan himself who do the evil. God does not do evil, but he will use the evil actions of Satan to his own good.

  • heliobates

    God does not do evil, but he will use the evil actions of Satan to his own good.

    Not the banana in the tailpipe! Run away!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    For the record, this is not a site where atheists gather so they can be more conveniently proselytized. Theists are welcome to leave comments if they are relevant to the post and make a substantive point; preaching, “witnessing” and other attempts to convert us, however, are not allowed and will be removed.

  • heliobates

    Tyler: what Ebon said.

    I think I can safely say that every atheist here as encountered theodicy. Of course we find it wanting (with just a hint of desperation IMO).

    To toss off a stock answer and assume it sufficient shows that you haven’t even bothered to understand the atheist position.

    You’ll have to do better than talking-point apologetics around here.

  • OMGF

    Tyler,

    Leading you astray from what? Atheism? How can I lead you away from believing in absolutely nothing?

    How do you know that you are leading us toward god? You think you are, but what if you aren’t? What if your opinions on what god wants are wrong? You could be leading us toward the devil without even knowing it. Maybe the great deceiver has fooled you. Did you ever think about that? Of course not. You plow headfirst into proselytizing to us always simply assuming that you are doing a good deed, when in reality you are behaving rather recklessly since you don’t have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

  • A.L

    Tyler,
    I presume you must be talking about Christ Saves’ email not mine, since I’m not sure where the joke was in my email as I don’t bring up the subject of genocide and the holocaust lightly. In the small possibility that you were referring to me, I’d like to reassure you, I’m not misguided.

    What I find misguided and ‘evil’ is the idea of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. This concept causes harm as it doesn’t help us understand why these things are carried out and if we don’t understand, how can we prevent? (Satan, washing yourself of sin etc are not adequate explanation and prevention techniques).

    If you wish to turn from ‘evil’ then I’ll also recommend a book to you, its quite topical. It outlines a way of dealing with ‘evil’ that could do some ‘good’, something you profess to want to do.
    (I know its in the context of another religion, but if an atheist like me can find good points in it, I’m sure you can. For shouldn’t finding a practical way to make the world a better place be an endevour more important than the personal beliefs we hold or don’t hold?)
    http://www.amazon.com/Voice-Hope-Aung-San-Suu/dp/1888363509/ref=pd_sim_b_2/103-4470804-4259009

  • Tyler

    In response to OMGF’s comment, I believe that I am doing what God wants me to do because I read the Bible and I know what he expects of me. Yes, people may say that humans wrote the Bible and the humans could have misinterpreted God’s point or they could have been possessed, but why would humans that were writing the Bible for Satan write so many good things in it. Like the ten commandments or the hundreds of other laws that are in the Bible. I trust in the Bible just like I trust in the lord, that is how I know that I am not leading you astray.

    In response to A.L’s comment, yes I was referring to the Anonymous e-mail at the top of this page.

  • OMGF

    In response to OMGF’s comment, I believe that I am doing what God wants me to do because I read the Bible and I know what he expects of me.

    No, you don’t know. You suspect that you know what god wants of you, but you do not know.

    Yes, people may say that humans wrote the Bible and the humans could have misinterpreted God’s point or they could have been possessed, but why would humans that were writing the Bible for Satan write so many good things in it.

    Good things like genocide, subjugation of women, support of slavery? Anyway, wouldn’t that be the greatest trick of all for Satan, to convince you that his book is your god’s holy book? Can you rule out the chance that that is exactly what has happened? No, of course you can’t.

    Like the ten commandments or the hundreds of other laws that are in the Bible.

    Oh really? Do you eat pork or shellfish?

    I trust in the Bible just like I trust in the lord, that is how I know that I am not leading you astray.

    Again, you can not and do not know that. You “trust” in the Bible, yet you can’t be sure that what you are trusting in actually comes from your god. Even if it did come from your god, how can you be certain that your interpretation is correct? Unless I’m mistaken, you believe that only god is perfect, which means that can not be certain that your interpretations are correct. Yet, somehow amidst all this uncertainty, you can say that you “know” that the Bible is correct, it came from god, and that you are following it the way he wants? No, you don’t know anything of the sort.

  • Tyler

    Again in response to OMGF’s comment, I am not trying to do good deeds. The reason why I have posted on this webpage is not because I want to make my self higher-up on God’s list or to look better for society, I have posted on this page because I care about the people of this Earth. Imagine how it must feel for me when I walk outside and I see hundreds of people, most who either do not believe in God or do not have a relationship with him, and I know that in my beliefs they will be going to Hell to suffer for eternity. It is awful. I think of all the children that haven’t even heard of God before, and I realize that kids will be going to Hell to be tortured and punished forever because they have not accepted Jesus as their savior. Imagine if you are wrong. Just take the time to imagine that there is a God. It is possible. It hasn’t been proven wrong yet, it may not be able to be proven with science, but it hasn’t ever been disproven. I do not care about debating over who is right and who is wrong. I don’t care if I am wrong. If I am wrong then why does it matter? I would have lived a better life because I was a Christian. I would have met more people and I would have made new friends. But if I am right, not only would I have lived a better life, but I would also be accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven. Please take this to heart, and please don’t delete this Ebonmuse. I expressed my opinion and I was only trying to help show you the way that I think.

  • Tyler

    And by the way I am not Jewish. I am a Baptist and I do eat pork.

  • OMGF

    The reason why I have posted on this webpage is not because I want to make my self higher-up on God’s list or to look better for society, I have posted on this page because I care about the people of this Earth.

    Yet you could be recklessly endangering our very souls by spreading false religious sentiments.

    Imagine how it must feel for me when I walk outside and I see hundreds of people, most who either do not believe in God or do not have a relationship with him, and I know that in my beliefs they will be going to Hell to suffer for eternity.

    Again, you can not know that anyone will be going to hell. Second, how does it feel for you? Your god certainly doesn’t seem to care that he will send the majority of the people who ever existed to hell, so why do you care? Maybe because you have more empathy and compassion than your god? What does that suggest to you?

    I think of all the children that haven’t even heard of God before, and I realize that kids will be going to Hell to be tortured and punished forever because they have not accepted Jesus as their savior.

    Funny how your god deems it just and good to send people to hell that have not even heard of Jesus.

    Imagine if you are wrong. Just take the time to imagine that there is a God. It is possible. It hasn’t been proven wrong yet, it may not be able to be proven with science, but it hasn’t ever been disproven. I do not care about debating over who is right and who is wrong. I don’t care if I am wrong.

    You are teetering on the edge of Pascal’s wager, which is a bad argument. And, you don’t care if you are wrong? That is because you are presenting a false dichotomy where either your god exists or no god exists. You fail to recognize that perhaps Allah exists, in which case you are just as screwed as I am.

    I would have lived a better life because I was a Christian.

    Being a Xian does not necessarily entail living a better life. Two words: Eric Rudolph.

    And by the way I am not Jewish. I am a Baptist and I do eat pork.

    Well, doesn’t god say not to eat pork? Isn’t that one of the good things you pointed out about the Bible; the 10 Commandments and the “hundreds of other laws that are in the Bible”? If those laws are so wonderful, why do you not follow them?

  • Tyler

    God never says not to eat pork. There are versus in the bible that say that you should not eat pork or meat if it causes offense to other people, like the Jewish, but in privacy you can eat whatever you want.

  • Tyler

    This website more explains the dietary laws of the bible. It has a section for reasons why you shouldn’t and reasons why it is ok to eat certain foods.

    http://www.answers2prayer.org/bible_questions/Answers/food/pork.html

  • Tyler

    This is a comment that was posted on the website I listed above. This person better explains those laws also.

    “Colossians 2:16 & 17 says: Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

    Mark 7:15-23 says: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

    Because of the above verses, many believe that when Jesus came and died for us, He made it alright to eat pork and have been since then. Many Jewish and other religions still don’t believe so and stick to the initial rules of the Old Testament. They did not eat flesh in the garden of Eden before the fall into sin. I believe flesh eating is a result of the fall from the perfect plan. Ever since the fall, the Lord has been trying to restore mankind. He will bring about this restoration of man and in that restoration I believe we will no longer eat flesh of any kind. During his adult years, the scriptures portray Jesus as being loyal to the “observant” traditions of his parents. We know that Jesus was careful to observe the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread (Matthew 26:17-19), and that he participated in the “Last Great Day” of the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:37). In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus openly declared his allegiance to the Old Testament Laws of God (i.e. “law of Moses”). He emphatically stated: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill… Till heaven and earth pass, one jot (a dot of the i) or one tittle (a cross of the T) shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” MAY ALL BE BLESSED!

    DeeDee”

  • OMGF

    God never says not to eat pork. There are versus in the bible that say that you should not eat pork or meat if it causes offense to other people, like the Jewish, but in privacy you can eat whatever you want.

    You are out of your league here. Leviticus 11:7-8.
    God explicitly says not to eat pork. Again, is this one of those laws that you say is good?

    This is a comment that was posted on the website I listed above. This person better explains those laws also.

    “Colossians 2:16 & 17 says: Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

    I’m not judging you by your diet. I’m simply pointing out why what you said was simply not true. You don’t even believe it yourself.

    Because of the above verses, many believe that when Jesus came and died for us, He made it alright to eat pork and have been since then.

    Jesus didn’t eat pork. Besides, why would Jesus dying have any effect on the cleanliness of pigs? You know what the real reason was, don’t you?

    So, do you “know” that you are allowed to eat pork?

  • Tyler

    I haven’t ever read much into the dietary laws of the bible. I believe that one of the reasons why it says not to eat pork in the Old Testament and it says that it is ok to eat pork in the New Testament is because Christ was the fulfillment of the Law. If we follow Him we are not obligated to follow the Law of Moses. He has made all things clean by His New Covenant.

  • Tyler

    But I definitely do not know everything about the bible. I am not a Preacher and I am not an Evangelist, I am a 14 year old kid that wants to make a difference in the world. I read the bible and I try my best to interpret everything that is in it, but I definitely do not understand all of it.

  • OMGF

    I haven’t ever read much into the dietary laws of the bible.

    If you are ignorant of god’s laws, why would you say that they are great things? Also, how can you know that you are following god’s will if you are ignorant of his laws/will?

    I believe that one of the reasons why it says not to eat pork in the Old Testament and it says that it is ok to eat pork in the New Testament is because Christ was the fulfillment of the Law.

    No, actually, Paul recommends that pork be allowed to the gentiles that convert to Xianity since they already ate it and he was looking for more converts. IOW, he relaxed many of the rules in order to make the religion more appealing. This, however, is in direct opposition to what Jesus says of the old laws. Who are you going to follow, Jesus or Paul?

    If we follow Him we are not obligated to follow the Law of Moses. He has made all things clean by His New Covenant.

    By what determination do you come to that conclusion? Consider that Jesus stressed not just following the OT laws, but adhering to them even more strictly.

    But I definitely do not know everything about the bible. I am not a Preacher and I am not an Evangelist, I am a 14 year old kid that wants to make a difference in the world. I read the bible and I try my best to interpret everything that is in it, but I definitely do not understand all of it.

    Sorry if you think I’ve been hard on you, I just would like for you to critically evaluate those things which you throw out there. How do you “know” that which you think you “know”? This is a very important thing to be able to answer. If your answer is simply that you believe it, then you can’t truly claim that you “know” it. Remember this and ask people the same question. When others tell you things about religion and god, ask them how they “know”. I think what you will find is that often they can’t answer the question any better than you can. Keep asking questions; don’t just accept what you are told.

    BTW, the reason that the OT says not to eat pork is because the Jews didn’t understand that pork is safe if it is prepared correctly. They didn’t cook it fully and people got sick. This is the root of quite a few of the dietary laws actually. When people got sick, they outlawed eating it, and wrote it into the Bible. They couldn’t explain it and/or the original reasons got lost from storyteller to storyteller through their oral history, so they probably just said that it came from god.

  • Tyler

    That could be possible about not eating pork. I believe that that could have been one of the reasons why God told them not to eat it in the Old Testament. Pork is also bad for you and God cares about our health. I can tell this because God tells us not to become drunk in the wine. If he didn’t really care about how our health was, and he just cared about us worshiping him, I don’t think he would have put any of the dietary laws in to effect in the first place.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Tyler, I’ve already warned you about proselytizing. We are not gathered here so you can invite us to come to your church. Keep your comments relevant to the discussion or I will take action.

  • Tyler

    I was not trying to get him to convert to my faith in that last comment. Obviously you read the Bible and I was just telling him about an alternative way to learn about my religion. I am sorry if that is considered Proselytizing.

    It has been very interesting talking to you OMGF. You know alot about the Bible and you are a very smart person. Although I am not going to quit believing in my Faith, it is still very interesting to talk to someone of a different belief.

  • heliobates

    I read the bible and I try my best to interpret everything that is in it, but I definitely do not understand all of it.

    Stay away from textual criticism, then.

    There’s no faster way to go from Christian to agnostic, or even atheist than to examine your religious texts in their historical contexts.

  • A.L

    ‘But if I am right, not only would I have lived a better life, but I would also be accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven’

    You’re straying into back into the territory of Christ Saves’ ‘being on the smart side’ argument. Alright, let’s say that you are right and there is a Kingdom of Heaven. You ask me to imagine there is a God. Well I have spent a lot of time doing this and if he does exist, I don’t agree with his ideas or actions and I’m willing to suffer in all eternity for my viewpoints. I’ll be in good company; I’m looking forward to speaking to Ghandi and Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

    Or let me think about your point this way. I’ve lived a good and decent life, the only thing that is stopping me from getting into Heaven is I don’t believe. So I decide to believe for personal gain and make myself a hypocrite. I probably won’t be the only one so I get to spend eternity with a bunch hypocritical people? Well, I could ignore them and hang out with the real believers, but I don’t truly believe. Heaven doesn’t sound like much fun and do I really want to be part of a club that lets me in because I’m believing for personal gain.

    ‘Imagine how it must feel for me when I walk outside and I see hundreds of people, most who either do not believe in God or do not have a relationship with him, and I know that in my beliefs they will be going to Hell to suffer for eternity. It is awful.’

    I know how you feel, my head hurts to think of all the suffering on this earth that could be preventable ie by having better policies, better government, more resources etc.

    ‘I have posted on this page because I care about the people of this Earth’
    ‘I am a 14 year old kid that wants to make a difference in the world.’

    Marvellous, so do I. Well, imagine you are wrong. There is no heaven and hell. All that time you spent in agony about people suffering was misplaced. How about doing something practical? Make a difference to the suffering that is 100% proven to exist instead of a theoretical one. Before you point out a list of people who have done this and are Christians, I’m not talking about ‘quitting your faith’. My argument here is that you could help a lot more people on this earth if you diverted your energy away from analyzing the bible, thinking about dietary laws and being concerned about people’s souls. What tangible good does this do? If you spent all this time into analyzing practical questions such as, what to do about long term poverty, the growing gap between rich and poor or is foreign aid harmful to economic development etc you could find and follow a profession that ‘does make a difference in the world’. Or how about improving your science knowledge and join the fight against tropical disease or be a renewable energy engineer for example.

    Leaving aside, the multitudes of people I have encountered who are atheists and struggle to make a difference. The Christians I personally know who make the greatest difference to society, don’t concern themselves with the issues you have raised and have never saved a soul.

  • Tyler

    I do try to make a difference in the world in different ways than proclaiming my faith. I have helped in a soup kitchen before, been on a mission trip to West Virginia where I helped my church rebuild houses. I have also been to Kentucky to help with a Christmas program where money is raised and presents are bought for the kids that are living in poverty and aren’t able to afford gifts. I am also an active Boy Scout of America. I work on service projects to help better our community. I am close to receiving my Eagle Scout rank and I will be doing a service project that will also help better our community. I do not focus all of my time on reading the Bible and directing people to God, but I do try to perform every task that I do for the Glory of God. God does not want people to be homeless or deprived. He is a caring God. Sin is what makes this world bad. The reason why people go to Hell is because sin is not allowed in Heaven, God doesn’t just send whomever he wants to Hell. The people that go to Hell go there because they don’t trust in God and they have not been saved.

  • A.L

    I’m glad to hear you’re trying to make a difference to the world. Which makes it even harder to understand how you can reconcile what you say with your actions. When you have been with the people you have assisted you must have seen the reasons they were in the situation. How you simply attribute it to sin? How does ‘bad things in world = sin’ help us create ways and inform policy so that these situations don’t occur?
    According to your logic, a person who has saved lives and never did any harm would go to hell because they didn’t trust in God. Therefore your god believes that trust in him is a more important criteria of a person’s worth than the lives and well being of people. This sounds rather egotistical and not at all caring.

  • OMGF

    Tyler,
    Thank you for the kinds words. You sound like a sincere person that wants to make a difference, and good for you. You should also, however, expand your mind to the light of reason. If you want to learn about the Bible, I suggest you read it. Read it closely. Look at the horrible things that are in the book. Look for the good. See how many things you agree with and how many you don’t. See how many of those things that you agree with are only present in your religion. Then, go read the books of other religions. See what they have to say. See what atheists have to say. If you have questions, this is a great place to get answers. Ask me why I don’t believe in your god if you are curious and you will get more answers than you know what to do with, but it will mean more knowledge for you.

    I also recommend a book called, “Misquoting Jesus,” by Bart Ehrman. It’s written by a biblical scholar that does textual cricism. He went from being a born-again biblical literalist to a non-literalist due to his study of the Bible. And, due to the problem of evil, he is now an agnostic. His writing is very accessible though. You don’t actually have to know that much about the topic in order to understand what he is saying about it. He writes it for lay people like you and me.

    Also, pork is not bad for you. Who told you that? If pork is correctly cooked, it is perfectly safe. One would think that god would give this information to his people instead of simply outlawing it?

    Finally, did you know that the Boy Scouts organization is disciminatory? The Boy Scouts discriminate against gays and atheists. I’m not telling you that you should quit or anything like that, but you should be aware of the groups you associate with.

  • Tyler

    I do not believe that the Boy Scouts discriminate against Atheist, well at least not the boys that attend it. The Boy Scouts were founded on Christianity, but anyone is aSllowed to join. The cout Law is “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Yes the last word of the Scout law is reverent, but basically I believe that in this context it means respectful. When the term “A scout is reverent” is used, it usually means that someone is going to pray, and you should bow your head and be quiet and you should show your respect for others religion. I wouldn’t think that someone would not be allowed to join a Scout Troop just because they don’t believe in God, but that is only from personal experience. Also, about discriminating against the homosexual, I could see why that is possible. You wouldn’t want a Troop Leader that is a homosexual man because of the chance that he could end up molesting or raping a child. Usually anyone that is my age will discriminate against Boy Scouts, calling us gay. If I were to go to school and tell everyone that I was a member of the Boy Scout organization, I would be made fun of for the rest of High School. I have no idea where teenagers get the idea that Boy Scouts are gay, but for some reason it is just like that.

  • Tyler

    It seems that a few of my letters got scrambled in my last comment. The 2nd and 3rd sentences are supposed to read “The Boy Scouts were founded on Christianity, but anyone is allowed to join. The Scout Law is “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    See, now I’m pissed. I did what the Email specified, and sure enough there was an answer on the other end of the line, so now I’m really worked up, you know? I mean trembling, the whole nine yards. Then I realize, I got his stupid voicemail. Bummer. So I sit there and listen to the menu options, which go:
    “Press one to leave a message for God.
    Press two for Jesus.
    Press three for the Holy Ghost.
    Press four to report a sin.
    Press five to ask forgiveness.
    Press six to leave a donation. Remember, we accept all major credit cards but require a fifty-dollar minimum.
    Press seven to apply for saintly intercession. This fee is non-refundable.
    Press eight to request an exorcism. Major credit card is required for this option.
    Press nine to hear these options again.
    Press pound to speak with a Service Agent.”

    Man, was I pissed, but I wanted to speak with someone, so I pressed pound, but it turns out that Notre Dame was getting their asses kicked again, and the prayer lines were tied up to Hell and gone, and besides, I got sorta tired listening to Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” on the wait, too (who knew God was into perverts wearing teeny white shorts? I thought long black robes were more His thing). So I hung up, and if you want to know what really scared me, right after I got done yelling at the wall, my phone rang, I mean my home phone. I must’ve jumped three or four feet, easy; but it turns out it was only my neighbor Gary, asking me if I was okay, because he heard me yelling and thought I was having an apoplexy.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    “Semantics aside , I think to be a true atheist one must believe that reality as we know it IE , creation , is the product of disorder evolving to create order . From non-thinking to the rational .” — Alan Miller

    This is not so. Atheism makes no claims about the nature of reality. That is the realm of philosophy, and science. Atheism is neither, and should not be saddled with their baggage.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    “Apologetics ministries exist for that purpose.” — Diana

    Oh, I just love peer-reviewed, scholarly, unbiased sources.

  • Polly

    OMGF,

    Misquoting Jesus,” by Bart Ehrman

    Is that where you get all your nifty little tidbits about NT texts? If so, I don’t know about Tyler, but you sold me; that’s going on my list.

  • Tyler

    And by saying that pork was bad for you I meant that it was not healthy. Pork is very fattening and it only has one stomach, compared to the other animals that have four. This means that it takes longer for the pig to digest food and it is known to cause bowel cancer if overly consumed. But I eat pork all the time.

  • heliobates

    Is that where you get all your nifty little tidbits about NT texts? If so, I don’t know about Tyler, but you sold me; that’s going on my list.

    His The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writing is crackerjack. Put that on your list as well.

  • http://nesoo.wordpress.com/ Nes

    As for the Boy Scouts discriminating against atheists… Yeah, they do.

    (Oh, I just finished reading that article and I got bonus points: it mentions a gay guy who was kicked out too.)

  • OMGF

    Tyler,
    Nes already pointed out some articles about the boy scouts. Please read them.

    Also, anything can be bad for you if overly consumed. Red meat, for instance, can lead to heart disease.

    Again, do you have any questions for us? If you ask, we will answer. Most of us used to be Xians like yourself. Are you at all curious to find out why we are no longer Xians? The best way you can learn to is to start asking questions. Ask us, ask your pastors, ask your friends and family.

    Lastly,

    Also, about discriminating against the homosexual, I could see why that is possible. You wouldn’t want a Troop Leader that is a homosexual man because of the chance that he could end up molesting or raping a child.

    Well, they better not let Catholic priests lead scout troops either, right? Seriously though, being gay doesn’t mean that you will rape or molest unsuspecting children. People who do that are called pedophiles (actually, there’s a word for when the victims are teens, but I can’t remember it.) Pedophilia is quite distinct from homosexuality.

    Polly,
    Yes, that book is a great source of information. You’ll learn about all kinds of things that were put into the Bible and why.

    Helio,
    I haven’t read that one yet, but I definitely want to. Is it written like Misquoting, i.e. is it written in layman’s language?

  • Tyler

    I have a question for OMGF. Were you a Christian before you became an atheist and if you were, what denomination were you. Also, what influenced you to become an atheist.

  • http://nesoo.wordpress.com/ Nes

    Pedophilia is quite distinct from homosexuality.

    Thanks for addressing that, OMGF. I realized after I went to bed that I had forgotten it.

  • OMGF

    Tyler,
    Thank you for asking. I was indeed a Xian before I became an atheist. My father is a former methodist minister and I grew up as a methodist. My grandparents are episcopalian and they tried to get me into church as often as they could. I started to have doubts when I was in high school, but if you had asked me then I would have told you, “Of course there is a god.” I also would have told you that I prayed to that god, which I did from time to time.

    I also sat down and read the Bible, although I didn’t get through it all right away. I was struck by some of the stories. When I read about the creation of the world and man, I knew that it was contrary to what science tells us. When I read about the flood, again I knew it was contrary to what science has found. But, there were deeper problems. When I read about god asking Abraham to sacrifice his son I had a real problem with it. When god arbitrarily chose Jacob over Esau despite the things Jacob did I had a problem with it. When god destroyed the world with the flood and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, including punishing Lot’s wife for looking back, I had serious problems. Why would god do these things? Why would an infinitely powerful being use so much death and destruction to change things when he could just as easily change things in a non-violent way? The inaccuracies (scientific) and the brutality of it left me feeling that it didn’t make sense.

    I started reading about other ways of thought, some eastern religions idea, philosophical ideas, and atheist ideas. The atheist ideas made more sense than the ad hoc stories of this or that religion that sought to explain the real world – and always an explanation that I found deficient, especially compared to scientific explanations. By the time I hit my junior year of college, I felt uncomfortable in religious settings and by the time I was a senior I was an out atheist.

    I hope that this information helps you to see how some people can have differing beliefs from yours.

  • http://www.ogre.nu/ Anton Sherwood

    . . . Christ was the fulfillment of the Law. If we follow Him we are not obligated to follow the Law of Moses. He has made all things clean by His New Covenant.

    So, uh, why bother with the Old Testament at all?

  • Craig

    Tyler,

    Your points that you have come up with seem to be lacking in any type of proof basis or otherwise knowledge of what your talking about, not only that but you came to a place where athesits do know what they are talking about instead of your friends in highschool. I would, one read about what your talking about, two if you don’t want to read about what your talking about coming here isn’t probably the greatest of ideas. You have a very week points based on a book that has been changed over the 2000 (roughly) it’s been in exsitence, that in inself does not prove the existence of god just describes an egotistcal (obviously blood thirsty) limited being with no other purpose than to laugh at the folly of human beings. Also i have a question, you surve for all those “christian” sponsered vollunter projects, it would be nice if they would, i dunno stop building huge way over priced buildings to worship in, i can understand a building to worship in, but isn’t that why they sell nice cheep steel buildings, not saying that your catholic but, why dos the catholic church keep those thousands of priceless objects, it could sell them and help whipe out proverty, or atleast not make catholics pay them every sunday. I see no way out of that “possiblity” of going hell so why waste my time every sunday worshoping nothing? that will get me nowhere?

  • Robert Madewell

    Hey I did the ritual. I said each prayer 3 times. (By the way, I think I may have heard the first prayer before. LOL) I dont feel changed yet. Hmmm, maybe I have to wait 3 days before I feel any of the effects. Just wondering. Why did I have to command satan to “SPEAK OUTLOUD” and not to delete my email? Is the letter implying that satan is an atheist? (ONCE AGAIN, IF YOU WANT TO PROVE THAT YOU ARE A REAL ATHEIST) If satan is an atheist then he wouldn’t believe in himself right? The last 3 paragraphs of the 2nd prayer just makes little sense. Do I have remain anonymous to satan? Does he not know my name (assuming he’s real)? Why would I tell satan that he’s my friend?

  • Justin

    Challenges like these are generally pretty ridiculous. But they’re NOT Christianity. Don’t confuse the two, atheist or no.

  • Justin

    This is a FANTASTIC thread… “I hate when Christians mock my beliefs and try to forcefeed them to non-believers!!!” turns into a 16-month festival of mocking Christian beliefs and trying to forcefeed them to believers.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Justin,

    “I hate when Christians mock my beliefs and try to forcefeed them to non-believers!!!”

    No one in this thread prior to now has said either of those two things, as far as I can tell. Apparently, you find it easier to invent positions and attribute them to us, rather than deal with what we’re actually saying.

    …a 16-month festival of mocking Christian beliefs and trying to forcefeed them to believers.

    I don’t recall contacting you unsolicited by e-mail and forcing you to come here so that you could read comments that criticize Christianity. Unless I miss my guess, you sought out this site of your own free will and then chose to comment here, so any complaints on your part that you’re being “force-fed” anything would be nonsensical. I think you’ll also find that this fact is echoed by a larger pattern of atheists not attempting to force atheism on anyone in the world generally. Religious believers seem to be the only ones trying to do that.

  • Justin

    “No one in this thread prior to now has said either of those two things, as far as I can tell.”

    Weird. Did you read the initial post?

    Just pointing out the hypocrisy. Or irony, or whatever makes the Oh-So-Enlightened feel better.

  • Justin

    Tyler gave a respectful opinion that AGREED with that of the author (and the board as a whole) and sought to insult no one’s beliefs… the immediate response is a whiny, condescending rant on how stupid Tyler is. Then a few dozen posts in agreement. Solely because he’s Christian.

    You really don’t think it’s silly to whine about mean Christians bashing your beliefs when you giddily bash theirs? Geez. The hatred you people feel toward anyone who disagrees with you is ridiculous. And hypocritical.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Weird. Did you read the initial post?

    Since I wrote it, yes. I didn’t say that I “hate when Christians mock my beliefs,” because I don’t; they can offer whatever criticisms of atheism they want, and I’ll reply in kind. Nor was it a complaint about Christians trying to force their beliefs on us, since the anonymous author of that e-mail did no such thing. Again, you’ve invented a position and then attributed it to us in order to insult us.

    Tyler gave a respectful opinion that AGREED with that of the author (and the board as a whole) and sought to insult no one’s beliefs… the immediate response is a whiny, condescending rant on how stupid Tyler is. Then a few dozen posts in agreement. Solely because he’s Christian.

    Tyler’s initial comment contained a lengthy amount of irrelevant preaching, which I removed. In light of that, the hostile response he received was to be expected. In any case, since this is an atheist website, religious evangelists who come here can expect sharp criticism. If they don’t like it, they’re welcome to go elsewhere and find a forum more congenial to their beliefs; or they can stay and defend themselves, as they see fit. If, however, they have a snide, nasty attitude and casually throw around personal insults, as you’re doing, then they can expect to be speedily shown the door.

  • Anonymous

    I’m considered a christian i guess. I don’t know if im athiest or not. Too young to know yet heh. I was looking up the phrase “the power of christ compels you” from the exorcist when i came to this page XD!
    But anyway, that prayer isn’t a test. More like a promise to believe in god, heh.
    I don’t understand why someone would send you a pointless email like that. Just a waste of mail space.
    Anyway, it doesn’t matter what you say. Words can’t convert you.

  • James Bradbury

    Anonymous,
    An atheist is someone who does not believe in god(s). So if you’re a Christian and you believe in God/Jesus etc you can’t be an atheist at the same time. That doesn’t rule out changing your mind of course! ;)

    Also I’m not sure you can be too young. It seems to me that we’re all born atheists and have to be told about a god or religion in order to believe in it. So atheism is perhaps unique in that you don’t necessarily need to be taught to believe it – you can work it out for yourself.

  • Justin

    I agree, words cannot convert. You say you’re “too young” but that’s a very astute way to look at it.

  • Justin

    The important thing to note about that e-mail…….

    that is not real Christianity. Some try to pass that off as actual Christianity to strengthen their atheist argument, but it’s not.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    And who decides what is “real Christianity”? You? According to what criteria?

  • Justin

    Based on the definition of Christianity as believed by Christians.

    I never said I was any authority figure. No need to put words in my mouth.

  • James Bradbury

    that is not real Christianity.

    Justin, that implies you know what real Christianity is. I expect the author of the email would insist that his beliefs are real Christianity and that you are wrong about it.

    Ebonmuse’s point is that like all religions, Christians vary widely in their beliefs and will all insist that their version the real Christianity. Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Unitarians, Anglicans, Mormons – all call themselves Christians, all believe different things. Even if they’re completely nutty, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any more wrong than someone who thinks all god wants is for us to love each other and not swear.

    So who’s right, and how do you or anyone else honestly seeking the truth tell?

  • Justin

    The point I’m trying to get across is that “Bible belt Christianity” is not necessarily what Christianity is. The e-mail above is, for lack of a better word, silly. The prayer is not, but the thought that a devout atheist merely saying this out loud is guaranteed to make you re-think your ideals is silly and doesn’t convert/prove anything that’s not already in someone’s heart/belief structure. Sadly, in the God or No God? debate, the atheist side likes to pass that stuff off as the basis of our faith in an effort to make Christians look silly. I just don’t want that mistake to be made. Faith is in the heart, not the inbox.

  • http://www.auniversenamedbob.com Matt R

    James Bradbury,

    I think that the easiest way to ascertain “true” Christianity is through first understanding the teachings of Jesus as they are recorded. There is of course the perennial objection that those are not the teachings of Jesus, but that point, when searching for true Christianity, is irrelevant. This is because Christianity is most logically defined as “following the teachings of Christ”.

    Now, there are undoubtedly differing opinions of what Jesus’ teachings mean, but I have found that in the great majority, they are straightforward and simple ideas.

    So, if someone wanted to find “true Christianity” the recorded teachings of Jesus should be the standard. In my opinion. This seems the most rational approach.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  • Becky

    Good grief!!! How childish. Do we need to sling a dead chicken over our heads and dance in bare feet while we repeat this nonsense?

    I have a better idea. Why doesn’t anonymous PROVE he is a real christian.

    Have sold ALL you have and given it to the poor?

    Have you HATED your father, mother, sisters and brothers for the lords sake?

    Have you denied yourself ALL earthly pleasures/treasures and taken up a cross and followed your god?

    Have you laid hands on anyone and HEALED them? What about the blind, lame, deaf and those with withered limbs?

    Have you personally fed the hungry, housed the homeless or clothed the naked?

    If someone sues you over one thing, will you give to them everything?

    If someone slaps you in the face will you sit there like a dumbass and let them slap you again?

    These are just a very few of the absurd requirements to be a christian. Also, are you ashamed to be known as a christian? Doesn’t your bible say if you are ashamed of Jesus before me, he will be ashamed of you before the father?

  • tenebrous

    And who decides what is “real Christianity”?

    One thing I’ve noticed is that “real Christianity” seems to be defined as whatever agrees with the speaker’s own personal views and everyone else is a fake. Oh and Hitler was a “fake” by default as is anyone else who is obviously a bad person. The flip side of this is anyone who is good must be a Christian whether they admit it or not. Which can be pretty funny as I have seen Einstein declared a Christian by one over enthusiastic blogger.

    I once witnessed a slanging match between two Christians which descended into back and forth accusations of fake Christianity. Sadly it wasn’t online but it was hilarious. I was tempted to say “Call God down here and get him to sort it out” but I didn’t want to give them a common enemy and spoil the show.

  • Becky

    tenebrous, apparently christians don’t have a clue what ‘real christianity’ is or there wouldn’t be thousands of denominations of one religion, and they each believe they are the correct one! What does the bible say about a house divided???

  • Justin

    You can be as intentionally obtuse as you’d like, but you know what my statement means. The e-mail in question does not truly represent Christian witnessing; rituals and e-mail forwards are not requirements of the faith, no matter how hard you try to paint it that way with your narrow-minded brush.

  • Justin

    And Becky…. where do you get this stuff?

  • http://elliptica.blogspot.com Lynet

    Look, Justin, we know most Christians wouldn’t agree with the writer of that email. I suspect the only reason no-one has made that point to you before is because it’s obvious. We’re not that stupid.

    So what was your problem again?

  • Becky

    Justin, who forced you to come here? If what is written offends you, go away. You seem to be the one gorging on comments you can get offended by and have a hissy fit about. Obtuse? LOL, great word. If you don’t like my comments or my style, don’t read my posts. As for anyone trying to make christians look silly, you seem to be doing a great job of that without outside help.

  • Justin

    For the record, Becky… I was just curious as to where you were going with that rant. It makes no sense and I wondered where you got your “facts,” that’s all.

    Who said I was offended? Geez, why does the ever-so-enlightened atheist faction get so testy with this stuff? You’ve got it all figured out, right? I’m a silly, dull-minded fool, and you know life inside and out. Morons like Isaac Newton, Kierkegaard, C.S. Lewis, etc. lack the intelligence you possess. You get it, and those idiots don’t, eh?

    Lynet – you sure wouldn’t know it from reading this thread. Most of these posters have made painstaking efforts to squeeze the Christian faith into a li’l box. It makes it easier to attack.

  • Becky

    Justin, where does all that anger come from? You knew when you came on this site what kind of site it was. You chose to be here and obviously it was to pick a fight.

    Also, what do you mean “my facts”. I was quoting requirements for christians, according to your bible. Try reading it and make sure you repeat the whole thing 3 times.

    I don’t know anyone who thinks they have it all figured out and never made any such statement. You are the one on a rant and I’m glad you informed us you are a christian because you seem very hateful and nasty. Would Jesus do?

    As Lynet said, we know most christians wouldn’t send such a silly message as the one on topic and that is the one we are having a little fun with. Get it?

    “Geez”????…..do people still say that?

  • Justin

    No anger here, just frustration. I assure you, I’ve had plenty of religious debates with atheists and agnostics, and the majority do not seek to belittle or downplay Christian faith. Usually, the atheist can respect the fact that I believe differently. This board doesn’t seem interested or even capable of doing that. There’s a lot of venom on here, especially considering how accepting and enlightened you like to pat yourselves on the back for being.

    “Also, what do you mean ‘my facts’. I was quoting requirements for christians, according to your bible. Try reading it and make sure you repeat the whole thing 3 times.”

    You ignore key passages. Like the ones that state clearly that Christ is the only “requirement,” as you shortsightedly put it.

    “You are the one on a rant and I’m glad you informed us you are a christian because you seem very hateful and nasty.”

    Perhaps you should re-read your whiny tirade.

    “‘Geez’????…..do people still say that?”

    Those of us who don’t say “Jesus” anymore… we say it. Shoot me.

  • Justin

    “I don’t know anyone who thinks they have it all figured out and never made any such statement.”

    You “know” there’s no God, right?

  • Becky

    Geez is used as a slang for Jesus. If I did believe in him I would use more respect for that name. I am a deist and I believe it is blasphemy to attribute that horrible, bloody and ignorant book you call the bible to whatever power that created this incredible universe.

    I am not trying to debate you. You are free to believe whatever you choose, just as I am free to do the same.

    (Perhaps you should re-read your whiny tirade.) Hey, that was some of my funnier stuff!!! lol You have to admit the dead chicken thing was amusing. Anyway, it is safer than handling rattlesnakes.

    (You “know” there’s no God, right?) I know the god of the bible is not my god and you are welcome to him.

    (Usually, the atheist can respect the fact that I believe differently) Respect is something that is earned!

  • OMGF

    Justin,
    You might get farther if you cut out the stereotypes.

    Also, I would venture to guess that most here won’t claim to “know” there is no god, yet we will tell you that there is a distinct lack of evidence for any deities.

    Matt,

    Now, there are undoubtedly differing opinions of what Jesus’ teachings mean, but I have found that in the great majority, they are straightforward and simple ideas.

    If it were straight-forward, I suspect that there wouldn’t be so many splinters in the believing community. As someone else pointed out, there are literally thousands of different sects of Xianity. For something so straight-forward, it’s surprisingly difficult to get two people to agree on an interpretation.

  • Tyler

    I haven’t commented in a while, but I recently ran across this quote by Frank Harber. “Evil is necessary for a free world. Freedom, or free will, gives humans the opportunity to make wrong choices.” this can better explain why there is evil in our world. Yes, God could have taken our Freedom away and made this world to have no sin or free will, but I believe God wanted us to choose to believe him freely.

    Frank Harber was once an atheist, but he converted after he tried to prove that Christianity was untrue and he realized that it was true.

    I got the quote from a Christian website: http://inspiredgrowth.org/objections.htm

  • http://elliptica.blogspot.com Lynet

    There is evil in the world that isn’t caused by human beings, though.

  • tenebrous

    “There is evil in the world that isn’t caused by human beings, though.”

    Such as……

  • OMGF

    Such as Hurricane Katrina, for one.

    I reject the notion, however, that evil must be here in order for people to have free will. (As an aside, the notion of free will doesn’t stand up to scrutiny against the qualities of an omni-max god, but that’s another discussion.) There is no logical reason that we can’t be free beings that freely choose good over evil in all cases. Is that not heaven is purported to be?

    Further, if god created evil for us to love him freely, he neglected to take into account the innocent bystanders that are caught in the evil of this world. How does a stray bullet during a gang war that kills some unsuspecting person in any way contribute to that person’s freedom? If that person’s life is taken away by evil actions the day before she was about to have some epiphany and come to god, well too bad? It is amazing to me the lengths to which believers will go in order to excuse the callous and evil actions of god.

  • tenebrous

    How can a hurricane be evil?

    It caused a lot of damage and loss of life misery and suffering but is that evil?

    Early definitions of good and evil were framed around the idea that that which helps is good and that which harms is evil. So, I guess it could be evil, as in bad and harmful, but the danger is that this could be conflated with the use of the word Evil (given a capital E to differentiate the two) as in maliciously planned by someone seeking to cause harm. Lynet’s statement does not clarify in which way the word evil is meant and I can’t infer a meaning without making a baseless assumption about Lynet’s meaning or intention.

    From my point of view there are no “callous and evil actions of god”, there are no actions of gods or goddesses at all since they do not seem to exist.

    Osama is Evil, hurricane Katrina was evil in effect. Both cause misery and suffering but only one of them even had the potential to make a conscious choice on the matter.

    Personally I don’t accept that natural phenomenon can be Evil even if they are evil. Is that clear as mud?

  • Eric

    To prove something to yourself, please repeat this three times, each time louder and faster than the last. This is important and shows great insight into the hidden world.

    Oooo Watt Ahhn Assiam
    OOoWattAhhnAssiam
    OOoWattAhhnAssiam

    Please, apologists, jesus buffs and god fans, try this one out. Say it loud and proud and it will prove one thing for good.

    Eric

  • Mrnaglfar

    Tenebrous,

    Osama is evil, unless of course his religion is actually the right one (assuming there is a right one) and he’s following it correctly. In that case, we’d be evil and he’d be holy.

  • Justin

    “It is amazing to me the lengths to which believers will go in order to excuse the callous and evil actions of god.”

    If you’re going to make this ridiculous statement, then you really shouldn’t be in this discussion, brilliant as you are. To discuss God v. No God, you must say, for the sake of argument at least, that the God we’re discussing is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. This is the basic tenet of the discussion; no Christian will try to convince you of a God that’s imperfect or “forgets” about little things.

    Your question, on those grounds, is silly.

  • Justin

    “Please, apologists, jesus buffs and god fans, try this one out. Say it loud and proud and it will prove one thing for good.”

    The lengths of hypocrisy to which you people will go to feel more intelligent than we are is hilarious.

    Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Descartes, Albertus Magnus, Charles Babbage, Kierkegaard, Albert Schweitzer, and C.S. Lewis were all devout Christians. But nowhere NEAR as intelligent as Eric from the DaylightAtheism forums, right? They didn’t know the things you know. Idiots.

  • Justin

    *The term “idiots,” in the above post, was a sarcastic remark toward the historic figures mentioned in my post. NOT the patrons of this board.

  • Justin

    And I eagerly await those who read Eric’s post to convince me that this board is balanced, informed, and doesn’t lump that opening e-mail into the Christian faith as a whole. I. Just. Can’t. Wait.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Justin,

    Being a christian and having a good idea does not make christianity a correct, or even rational belief. I don’t see your connection between famous christians and the doctrine of christianity. I like your little strawman there together with a well placed Idiots. Ooh, Zing, you got us there. Certainly, we’re stupid for not arguing a point that no one is disagreeing on. That’s just the same stupid argument, about how Stalin was an atheist and that means all atheists are bad people and communists and want to eat your children, in reverse.

    Your question, on those grounds, is silly.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand that one; You didn’t seem to actually raise a point, and just claiming a question is silly is not an argument. If you could put forth an actual argument that might be better.

  • Mrnaglfar

    it seems I missed your posts after that while I was posting, so let me rephrase in light of that correction of yours:

    I like your little strawman there. Unfortunately for your *point*, no one is saying otherwise. That’s just the same stupid argument, about how Stalin was an atheist and that means all atheists are bad people and communists and want to eat your children, in reverse.

    And I eagerly await those who read Eric’s post to convince me that this board is balanced, informed, and doesn’t lump that opening e-mail into the Christian faith as a whole. I. Just. Can’t. Wait.

    Don’t get all bent out of shape because the board isn’t balanced. It’s balanced in the sense you’re allowed to debate whatever *points* you want. It’s not balanced because religious minds are not putting forth convincing arguments and lack the ability to successfully defend their beliefs. This is typically because the *points* aren’t good, or in some cases, aren’t even points.

  • Justin

    I brought up those historical figures to rebut Eric’s assertion (which can be found throughout atheism as a whole) that Christianity is born in people out of ignorance and a lack of better ideas. Newton, Copernicus, Schweizter, etc. are certified geniuses who understand the world better than any of us on this board, yet still manage to subscribe VEHEMENTLY to Christianity.

  • Mrnaglfar

    who understand the world better than any of us on this board, yet still manage to subscribe VEHEMENTLY to Christianity.

    They might have had a fantastic knowledge of the world, but to say they vehemently subscribed to christianity? Provided they were actually VEHEMENT followers is certainly debatable, but still doesn’t actually provide an argument. It’s still the same idea of “see, this person was/wasn’t religious so everyone in/not in that same religion must be a terrible person”. That idea is not an argument; not a good one anyway, because for every example of a person like that there’s normally many more examples of those who aren’t.

    brought up those historical figures to rebut Eric’s assertion (which can be found throughout atheism as a whole) that Christianity is born in people out of ignorance and a lack of better ideas

    If that was your goal, you missed the mark. You pointed to people who proposed ideas having little, if anything, to do with christianity. The laws of physics have nothing whatsoever to do with christianity. Christianity, as a religion, as all religions, is based on faith. Faith is the belief of an idea lacking or in spite of the evidence. Just about every part of the Christian doctrine has been widely disproven with the aid of modern science, or is inherently unprovable and/or illogical. People who want to make a statement claiming the truth, the ultimate truth, should be able to at least provide some convincing evidence, of which there is none.

    So to bring up a few people who had ideas totally irrelevant to the religion doctrine of christianity as some kind of strange proof that christianity isn’t born out of igorance is a bit of irony.

  • Mrnaglfar

    I really should have proofread that last post, it doesn’t read too well, but the main idea is there. Though one obvious thing I forgot to add; those people lived in a time when a vast majority of the society was religious, and to state otherwise would have serious consequences, socially and possibily physically. More importantly than even that is that the ideas of Christianity were formulated well before the time of the those figures you mentioned, and as I mentioned, the ideas they’re famous for have nothing to do with the religious doctrines of christianity. So exactly how do they have any bearing on the ideas of the bible?

  • Justin

    No, it’s nothing like that at all. Eric’s point was clear: Christians are stupid and I hate them. Well, hate away, but do an eensy weensy bit of reasearch – the people I mentioned were VERY devout Christians. Newton and Copernicus have been known throughout history as extremely faithful men who went to their deathbeds as Christians. Kierkegaard was a theologian who explored the many, many avenues of atheism and found Christianity to be true. True in a scientific sense? No, that’s not what our faith is based upon, so mock away. Both were mindbogglingly brilliant, so Eric’s preqrequiste for being a Christian – you have to be ignorant – is inaccurate, short-sighted, and self-serving.

    As for the cop-out of “oh, well, uh – everyone was Christian back then!!!” well, again, do some research and come into this discussion with some background knowledge. Magnus, Babbage, Schweitzer and Lewis were all post-Enlightenment thinkers. The first three were accomplished scientists (with, I would postulate a higher IQ than Eric) living in eras turning away from religious thought, but still strongly Christian.

    Knock away at the lack of “evidence” for Christianity, you won’t hear me argue it. But the way this board downplays personal faith and acceptance is at best arrogant and at worst, well, foolish.

  • Justin

    “Though one obvious thing I forgot to add; those people lived in a time when a vast majority of the society was religious, and to state otherwise would have serious consequences, socially and possibily physically.”

    See, this is what happens when you don’t research your topic before debating it. Absolutely none of the people I mentioned where in any way affected by the Inquisition. Copernicus wrote books AGAINST the Church, for crying out loud, and Kierkegaard, Lewis and Schweitzer lived in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Justin,

    You still have yet to make any point defending christianity outside of declaring that some brillant men were christian, which isn’t even a defence of the belief structure because those great men of science had ideas which made them famous that were completely lacking in religious significance. You don’t have to be ignorant in all aspects of your life to except religion, you just need to be ignorant in that particular area of your life. Besides, which one of the (literally) thousands of branches of christianity are we talking about, and what reason do you have to belong to that particular sect, let alone that particular religion, over any other alternatives?

    As for the cop-out of “oh, well, uh – everyone was Christian back then!!!” well, again, do some research and come into this discussion with some background knowledge.

    Absolutely none of the people I mentioned where in any way affected by the Inquisition.

    Yes, the society was then, as it is now, overwelling christian. You do THE EXACT SAME THING HERE AGAIN by saying “Look, here are some people who were christian even when the society was turning away from religious thought”.
    As for being effected by not being religious, it’s not just the inquistion that’s going to be a factor. There are social factors, as you can see around the resent post of “atheists coming out to friends and family”. We’re also the least trusted minority group in the US. I don’t think more needs to be said about that.

    Knock away at the lack of “evidence” for Christianity, you won’t hear me argue it. But the way this board downplays personal faith and acceptance is at best arrogant and at worst, well, foolish.

    Good; a start is that your admit you have no evidence to support you claims, but to turn around and say that believing despite that is a virtue? That’s arrogent, and at best foolish, to put it in your words. What part of believing things lacking evidence or with a mounting body of evidence against them growing is a good thing? That logic doesn’t seem to work anywhere outside of religion in people’s lives. Would you trust a drug addict who has lied to and stolen from you if he asked for some money to get back on his feet? Would you want a doctor to be treating you on faith?

  • Justin

    “You still have yet to make any point defending christianity outside of declaring that some brillant men were christian,”

    I never claimed to be defending my faith with that point. It was simply a matter of refuting Eric’s post. “Defending” Christianity, however you describe that, is a different subject.

    “…which isn’t even a defence of the belief structure because those great men of science had ideas which made them famous that were completely lacking in religious significance. You don’t have to be ignorant in all aspects of your life to except religion, you just need to be ignorant in that particular area of your life.”

    You’re making no effort to understand me here. One simple sentence sums up this particular argument: BRILLIANT MEN WHO UNDERSTAND SCIENCE AND LIFE’S ORIGINS CAN STILL MAINTAIN CHRISTIAN FAITH. The end. You keep trying to read for extra insinuations and end up warping what I’m saying into “Well, all these geniuses were Christian, so that means only Christians are smart!!!” which isn’t anywhere near my point.

    “Besides, which one of the (literally) thousands of branches of christianity are we talking about, and what reason do you have to belong to that particular sect, let alone that particular religion, over any other alternatives?”

    Religion is not synonymous with faith. Until you grasp that concept you will not understand the Christian standpoint.

    “Yes, the society was then, as it is now, overwelling christian.”

    A) That wasn’t your claim. Your claim was that these people HAD TO embrace Christianity or they would be physically punished. Re-read your post.

    B) So? Just because society was mostly Christian doesn’t mean that EVERYONE was. Have you heard of the Enlightenment? Ya know, the era in which an enormous % of people began studying science and in turn “left Christianity”? My point was, and is, that a large contingent of the most intelligent and scientfically-minded people to ever live retained their Christian faith. Again, no need to put words into my mouth.

    “As for being effected by not being religious, it’s not just the inquistion that’s going to be a factor. There are social factors, as you can see around the resent post of “atheists coming out to friends and family”. We’re also the least trusted minority group in the US. I don’t think more needs to be said about that.”

    Oh stop it. All these examples lived in eras in which dissent to the Christian religions was acceptable and, in the case of the Enlightenment, fashionable. Just like today. Please, please, please don’t cry me a river for the poor, persecuted atheist faith – I get more grief from my atheist/agnostic friends for my beliefs than most atheists get. Your viewpoint is presented nowadays as rational and correct, and mine as silly and dated.

    “Good; a start is that your admit you have no evidence to support you claims, but to turn around and say that believing despite that is a virtue? That’s arrogent, and at best foolish, to put it in your words. What part of believing things lacking evidence or with a mounting body of evidence against them growing is a good thing? That logic doesn’t seem to work anywhere outside of religion in people’s lives. Would you trust a drug addict who has lied to and stolen from you if he asked for some money to get back on his feet? Would you want a doctor to be treating you on faith?”

    The term “faith” is applied for a reason. I will never lay claim to Christianity being the “obvious” or “no-brainer” path, it’s narrow and difficult. Faith is, to some, a virtue, and not to others. Don’t belittle those who disagree with you, it’s unbecoming.

  • tenebrous

    “Newton, Copernicus, Schweizter, etc. are certified geniuses who understand the world better than any of us on this board”

    What a dopey comment. Yes they were brilliant and science leaders of their time but scientific understanding of the world has advance considerably since even Schweizter’s day and yet you claim that their superior understanding is a validation of Christianity, sorry but science has moved on. The old appeal to authority argument heh. When will the theists learn that ancient authority is almost always superceded by new understanding? It may interest you that your infallable Newton was a trinity doubter who dabbled with alchemy and may even have been a deist.

    I accept that intelligent people can still be Christian or Muslim or kalathumpian, so what. It is when people say “see they beleive it, who are you to disagree?” that I point out that none of them, not one, was able to base their belief in evidence. Not one of them is able to base their belief on anything more than opinion. So no, I’m not convinced. Newtons work functions without a god as does all science.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Justin,

    You’re making no effort to understand me here. One simple sentence sums up this particular argument: BRILLIANT MEN WHO UNDERSTAND SCIENCE AND LIFE’S ORIGINS CAN STILL MAINTAIN CHRISTIAN FAITH. The end.

    If that’s the case then yes, I can agree with you. The main point is correct, I would say minus the part about life’s origins. No one can be said to understand those as of yet.

    Religion is not synonymous with faith. Until you grasp that concept you will not understand the Christian standpoint.

    Not everything that requires faith is a religion (Ghosts, tarot cards, whatever), and when put the test, most of those faith things end up crumbling. If you HAVE to accept something on faith because you CANNOT accept it any other way, there’s normally a reason for that. But just a clarifer, it’s not that I don’t understand the christian faith, because I don’t think anyone really does. No one can seem to agree about what all the different bits of pieces mean, or even what the overall message means, so what you mean to say is I don’t understand your view point on it. In which case, please feel free to enlighten me.

    A) That wasn’t your claim. Your claim was that these people HAD TO embrace Christianity or they would be physically punished. Re-read your post.

    Wrong, what I said was there would be social consequences and maybe physical violence.
    those people lived in a time when a vast majority of the society was religious, and to state otherwise would have serious consequences, socially and possibily physically.

    My point was, and is, that a large contingent of the most intelligent and scientfically-minded people to ever live retained their Christian faith

    Most intelligent and scientifcally-minded? Ever to live? I would question that. Science was really starting to come of age, but nothing compared to what we know today. Likewise, there are probably just as many, if not more, scientifically minded people today, but they aren’t noticed as often because they aren’t as new and unheard of, nor are their discoveries or thoughts as challenging to the social climate at the time.

    Oh stop it. All these examples lived in eras in which dissent to the Christian religions was acceptable and, in the case of the Enlightenment, fashionable. Just like today.

    Fashionable to be an atheist then, just like today? You might have to explain that one. Just don’t confuse “correct because it’s backed up by the facts and logic” with fashionable. I would assume you get grief for your beliefs because, if they follow the christian faith in any sort of general way, they’re more than likely crazy. But I’ll wait to hear what they are before I pass a judgement on them because, as you said, apperantly I have no understanding of “the christian faith”.

    The term “faith” is applied for a reason. I will never lay claim to Christianity being the “obvious” or “no-brainer” path, it’s narrow and difficult. Faith is, to some, a virtue, and not to others. Don’t belittle those who disagree with you, it’s unbecoming.

    No, you never claimed it was obvious or a no-brian. You also never explained what drove you to accept your particular brand of christianity over any other type of it, or any other different religion. I assume you ruled out other religions in some fashion, yet not christianity, so what was the difference?

  • tenebrous

    “Osama is evil, unless of course his religion is actually the right one (assuming there is a right one) and he’s following it correctly. In that case, we’d be evil and he’d be holy.”

    “If” he’s following it correctly? Well that depends on which Muslim you talk to, rather like the debate over whether blowing up abortion clinics is God’s will or not.

    Since there is no evidence for any gods the question of whether he is following his beliefs correctly is moot.

    The point I made was over the difference between Evil as a concious choice and evil as in bad or unfortunate outcomes.

    I’d still like to know what Lynet meant by “There is evil in the world that isn’t caused by human beings, though.”

  • OMGF

    tenebrous,

    How can a hurricane be evil?

    It caused a lot of damage and loss of life misery and suffering but is that evil?

    Yes, it depends on context and definition. One context, however, would be that if this universe did indeed have an omni-max god, then this would be an act of evil by that god.

    justin,

    If you’re going to make this ridiculous statement, then you really shouldn’t be in this discussion, brilliant as you are. To discuss God v. No God, you must say, for the sake of argument at least, that the God we’re discussing is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. This is the basic tenet of the discussion; no Christian will try to convince you of a God that’s imperfect or “forgets” about little things.

    If this is the case, then you will have to show me how god is not evil for causing the almost extinction of humans in the flood, ordering mass genocides (men, women, children, and farm animals), why god visits upon us horrible disasters, why god causes so many miscarriages, etc. Further, if you insist that god is omni-max, that doesn’t mean that I have to accept it as rote, nor does it mean that I can’t point out counter-arguments against that notion. For instance, I could point out that omni-max is inherently contradictory, or maybe I could point out that the actions of said god do no comport with omni-max attributes, especially omni-benevolence. So, in short, I don’t see it as a ridiculous statement at all, especially since there are volumes of writings trying to go to all sorts of lengths to excuse god from nearly wiping out all of humanity, including newborns who I’m sure weren’t old enough to commit evil or be sinful.

    You’re making no effort to understand me here. One simple sentence sums up this particular argument: BRILLIANT MEN WHO UNDERSTAND SCIENCE AND LIFE’S ORIGINS CAN STILL MAINTAIN CHRISTIAN FAITH.

    A) Just because they believed doesn’t mean the belief was rational or well supported, as you confess with your comments about the lack of evidence.
    B) Just because they are smart doesn’t mean that they can’t be asses – which was the original statement by Eric.
    For the record, I don’t agree with what Eric said, but if you are going to get bent out of shape over it, at least get bent out of shape by what he actually said.

    Religion is not synonymous with faith. Until you grasp that concept you will not understand the Christian standpoint.

    No, it is not the same thing. Religion relies on faith, while faith does not rely on religion.

    B) So? Just because society was mostly Christian doesn’t mean that EVERYONE was. Have you heard of the Enlightenment? Ya know, the era in which an enormous % of people began studying science and in turn “left Christianity”?

    Enormous percentage = what number?

    Oh stop it. All these examples lived in eras in which dissent to the Christian religions was acceptable and, in the case of the Enlightenment, fashionable.

    Is that why Newton ran his studies past the church before publishing?

    Faith is, to some, a virtue, and not to others. Don’t belittle those who disagree with you, it’s unbecoming.

    I think the question/statement was really asking about why faith is considered a virtue (by many) when it really shouldn’t be. It’s not belittling to make an argument and take a stand on it. If you can provide a good argument for why faith is virtuous, then we’d all like to hear it.

  • http://none Andrew

    Keep it up Justin, Im praying for you. I was having a debate on another topic and it became just that. I found myself arguing about the details of Christianity, which is wrong. We need to focus on our relationship with Christ, that simple. We need to pursue Christ in all we do, give all glory to him and represent him as best we can.

    This is just a warning about my experience. Forget the details, we dont know the the answers, neither do these guys, but that is why Christianity is so great, the only answer we need is Jesus.

    Keep looking up bro!

  • shifty

    Andrew,
    So in light of not having answers, ’tis far better to stick your head in the ground like an ostrich with a fall back position of an admittedly unsubstantiated mythology than to seek knowledge without fear of having to change your mind?

  • Mrnaglfar

    We don’t have the answers yet. We’ll more than likely never have all the answers; some topics are beyond our understanding using the human model of the mind and world. Some questions may not even have an answer because the question isn’t correct. Of course, inserting [GOD DID IT] into all unknown aspects, lacking any reason for doing so other than ‘ I don’t know so I’ll pretend I do’, does not make that the answer.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Postscript to mine. This video is too funny.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkhQLt1vbWU

  • Damien

    Forget the details, we dont know the the answers, neither do these guys, but that is why Christianity is so great, the only answer we need is Jesus.

    That makes for a good soundbite — it’s got a sort of an “all you need is love” thing going for it — but it makes for very poor theology. Apologetics has always been one of the pillars of Christianity, and of evangelizing in particular. God was certainly in the details for C.S. Lewis, and for John Milton, and for St. Thomas Aquinas, and for countless others. All of these gentlemen sought to justify God’s ways to man, using reasoned arguments (if, in the atheist perspective, proceeding from faulty premises), and they are considered among the exemplars of the Christian faith for it. Or do you know something that they didn’t?

  • OMGF

    Andrew,

    We need to pursue Christ in all we do, give all glory to him and represent him as best we can.

    Why does Christ need your glory? Isn’t god supposed to be perfect? That would mean that god is omni-glorious, and therefore does not need your “glory.”

    Also, I tend to see that as pretty unhealthy from a psychological perspective. What you are doing is attributing all that is good to god, while internalizing all that is bad within yourself. How horrible for you.

    Forget the details, we dont know the the answers, neither do these guys, but that is why Christianity is so great, the only answer we need is Jesus.

    No, we don’t know the answers, and no one is pretending to, except you. But, I do have to wonder if having a proxy “answer” that doesn’t answer anything is really “so great” as you call it. Is it really? I contend that it is not.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Forget the details, we dont know the the answers, neither do these guys, but that is why Christianity is so great, the only answer we need is Jesus.

    Thank you, Andrew, I think that says it all. Your position in this comment can be summarized thusly: “Forget what the facts and the evidence say, we don’t need to know any of that stuff. Just shut your eyes and believe, and if someone challenges you, pray harder.”

    What better proof could we ask for that Christianity as you practice it is an unashamedly anti-intellectual religion? Do you really expect you can persuade any rational person to join a belief system that exults in its own ignorance?

  • http://none Andrew

    All the facts and evidence we need is the bible. I have faith in those truths just like you have faith in the findings of other men and their discoveries. Do you honestly know that your supoposed facts are really true? Nope! Why? Because you were not there either during the course of the event or at the discovery of the findings? All you know is what you read and see and that stands true for me too. I live by the gospel. So I have faith in the inspired word of God and you have faith in whatever it is you read. If your truths were so comprehensive and complete these debates would not exist, the truth of the matter is that not everything is understood from both christianity and of this world, that is no secret. But I have faith in the gospel and what it promises me, just like you have faith in your readings. Your suposed facts and my suposed facts, what makes mine so wrong and your so right. Are facts from the bible so different from the facts you read from magazines, books and websites….nope. It all boils down to faith. Until you can tell me that you were there from the beginning up until now, you dont really have facts of your own do you. Neither do I, I dont proclaim to like you do. Faith boys, we all have faith, faith in what is up to you. I think I will stick with the gospel on this one.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Andrew,

    All the facts and evidence we need is the bible.

    if you can ignore that whole “they actually aren’t facts or evidence backed up by anything outside (or even in some cases within) the bible thing”.

    I have faith in those truths just like you have faith in the findings of other men and their discoveries. Do you honestly know that your supoposed facts are really true?

    Except our findings can be repeated, retested, and done so in a manner to avoid as much bias as possible. They are all supported by many other sources who have tested the theorys and backed them up, using large sample sizes, and finally the papers are reviews and subject to inqury of others in their field and outside of it. Other than all yet, I guess we just believe on blind faith like you, right?

    All you know is what you read and see and that stands true for me too. I live by the gospel. So I have faith in the inspired word of God and you have faith in whatever it is you read.

    Except we don’t just reread one book over and over again and other books defending that book if we need to. Nor do I just accept everything I read in my selection of books; I question them as I read, and if the subject is of enough interest to me, go out and do further research on it. You have faith that the bible is the inspired word of god because you have no evidence for it and seemingly no defense. This entire ‘debate’ has been you dancing around every point made and claiming that our beliefs are on equal footing; they’re not.

    If your truths were so comprehensive and complete these debates would not exist, the truth of the matter is that not everything is understood from both christianity and of this world, that is no secret.

    See above. These ‘debates’, as you’d like to call them, aren’t debates at all. I say that because the religious end mostly doesn’t raise points. In this ‘debate’ you have stated you believe and have no reason to do so, only faith (which is like saying I believe because I believe). Your argument comes from the top down; you assume god and bible and build your conclusions around that. Ours come from the bottom up; we only assume a point after a serious period of evidence gathering and testing. Of course, the truth about things is of little consequence when you’re dealing with those who do not except evidence into their arguement.

  • lpetrich

    Justin, please calm down. And since you seem to endorse the beliefs of Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Descartes, Albertus Magnus, Charles Babbage, Kierkegaard, Albert Schweitzer, and C.S. Lewis, do you agree 100% with them?

    Admittedly, that would be rather hard, because that list includes 3 Catholics, 3 Anglicans, and 2 Lutherans. And also:

    Sir Isaac Newton rejected the Trinity; he believed that Jesus Christ had not been God. He kept his beliefs about that subject to avoid endangering his career by rejecting a doctrine that the Church of England had decided that one must believe.

    Albert Schweitzer believed that Jesus Christ was completely human and otherwise supported a very liberal form of Xianity; he also had a rather woozy “Reverence for Life” as a fundamental principle.

    And Andrew, waving the Bible won’t get you anywhere. There are a LOT more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in the Bible.

  • OMGF

    Andrew,

    I have faith in those truths just like you have faith in the findings of other men and their discoveries. Do you honestly know that your supoposed facts are really true? Nope! Why? Because you were not there either during the course of the event or at the discovery of the findings?

    As Mrnaglfar pointed out already, we can repeat and verify findings. Of course, you can assert that the whole universe popped into existence in situ last Tuesday, and we can’t disprove you, just as we can’t disprove your assertions of the existence of god. But, the burden of proof lies on you to show that your assertions are correct. It’s not enough to simply claim that we don’t know that there isn’t a god. If you want us to believe in god or acknowledge that god exists, it is up to you to provide evidence for said god, not up to us to disprove your fanciful notions.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    But I have faith in the gospel and what it promises me, just like you have faith in your readings.

    It’s mind-blowingly ironic that the most devoted Christian believers arguing their case today are defending their position by advocating postmodernism and relativism. That’s exactly what Andrew is doing here, claiming that any worldview is “true for you” if you choose to believe it, and that there’s no objective way to decide between them, so you might as well pick whatever belief makes you feel good.

    He’s not the only one doing it, either. As recently pointed out by John Scalzi, Answers in Genesis does exactly the same thing, repeatedly, in their newly opened creationist museum. I wonder if this represents a rhetorical retreat: instead of arguing that their position is proven and others are disproven by the facts, religious apologists nowadays are seemingly reduced to claiming that we can’t know that their position is false.

  • Polly

    It’s mind-blowingly ironic that the most devoted Christian believers arguing their case today are defending their position by advocating postmodernism and relativism.

    Over at another atheist blog, I just explained to a Xian that the typical “post-modernist” caricature of atheists is a slanderous farce. Funny to see relativism so blatantly employed. Is this related to presuppositionalism, you think?

  • Mrnaglfar

    Ebonmuse,

    It’s the same relativism they argue in the idea that “without god we can do whatever we want and there can be no morals.” I think it’s ironic that they claim atheist’s have no morals while putting that out there as a debate point.

  • OMGF

    I’m truly horrified when I hear statements like that from theists. How monstrous. If they suddenly realized that god didn’t exist, they would go on killing sprees?

  • lpetrich

    I agree that it’s a departure from centuries past, when eminent theologians like Thomas Aquinas argued that the existence of God was provable. And the notion that the existence of God is provable continues to be one of the Catholic Church’s official dogmas; it was laid down by the First Vatican Council. Canon 2.1:

    If anyone says that the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.

  • Justin

    lpetrich,

    That’s not the point. This board has put so much effort into twisting my words to mean something else that it’s almost maddening.

    And the comments about the denominations says nothing. In the eyes of God, there are no denominations, merely God’s children. Most Christians look at breaking into denominations as folly; I hate to break up the SkeptiFest but pointing out the doctrinal differences does nothing to disprove Christianity.

    Andrew – you too, brother. God bless. Keep in mind that some of us need (what we think is) undeniable proof of something, and some of us are willing to believe. It’s important that you and I buck this trend and be accepting of both, a concept which many are unable to grasp.

  • Polly

    In the eyes of God, there are no denominations, merely God’s children.

    So say you. But what makes your take on god more valid than all the others? Believe it or not, many churches and their congregants take these differences seriously – seriously enough to base salvation or damnation on certain critical teachings. Take a look at the wars fought throughout European history between Catholics and Protestants; or, early American colonial history. The different denominations were at each other’s throats depriving others of property and equality for being the wrong kind of Xian – in many cases neither were Catholic.

    I hate to break up the SkeptiFest but pointing out the doctrinal differences does nothing to disprove Christianity.

    I disagree. Shouldn’t God’s Spirit be cluing all the believers into the “true” meaning of the scriptures? If god really wanted to get this most-important of all messages across, why didn’t he make it clear? Even, if you say that he did and you understand it…well, that’s exactly what everyone else says, but they disagree with you about who is in the fold and who is out.

  • Polly

    Justin,
    I’ll give you an illustration to show you where I’m coming from:

    My mother was approached by a woman asking for money to pay for something, I think it was rent. My mother asked her if she believed in god. When my mother found out the woman was a Xian, my mother asked her what she believed about JC. From my mother’s telling, the woman got some basic facts right BUT, she still wasn’t sure if the woman was “saved” or not. That is, if she KNEW enough correct knowledge to be saved. I suppose that would’ve required a deeper inquiry to figure out, I dunno.
    She gave her $20 but with a warning about the wrath of god is she wasn’t telling the truth. She related the Annanias and Sapphira story from Acts. Look it up if you don’t remember, it’s interesting.

    All this to say that it’s pretty far from clear who is saved and who isn’t even among Xians. And that, to me, says volumes.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Justin,

    And the comments about the denominations says nothing.

    Except that religious people can’t see to agree about their religious beliefs, which differ from yours. You brought up the point to show, I suppose, that intelligent people can still hold superstitious beliefs, in which case you’d be right. Not that the argument from authority really carries any weight, but I got your orginial ‘point’.

    In the eyes of God, there are no denominations, merely God’s children. Most Christians look at breaking into denominations as folly

    Just stick to polly’s comment on this.

    I hate to break up the SkeptiFest but pointing out the doctrinal differences does nothing to disprove Christianity.

    True. The massive amounts of evidence against it, it’s own failures, and logic do. The different doctrines don’t exactly help the case for it either. Nor is it even the job of people to disprove it in the first place; it’s the job of believers to prove it, which they can never even seem to muster a single case for.

    Keep in mind that some of us need (what we think is) undeniable proof of something, and some of us are willing to believe.

    Yeah, all us pain in the asses who aren’t just willing to believe something without evidence just don’t get it. Of course, I don’t see why you’d have any reason to accept christianity as your religion, outside of the other thousands if you’re willing to accept something without evidence. I know some of them hold a different belief in every aspect, but do the different doctrines really do anything to rule them out?

  • Justin

    I’ve been on a number of online forums. Never have I seen one this argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

    As for the denominations… hey, good for them. If some want to cling to the belief that a priest MUST receive confession or I MUST wear a particular set of clothing to worship, then that’s their business. The faith I refer to is Christian faith, that being faith that Christ is Son of God and that’s that. I haven’t attended church in some time and won’t until I find one without bearing on denominations. The constant bickering among denominations doesn’t affect my personal, deep-seeded faith one bit.

    “True. The massive amounts of evidence against it, it’s own failures, and logic do. The different doctrines don’t exactly help the case for it either. Nor is it even the job of people to disprove it in the first place; it’s the job of believers to prove it, which they can never even seem to muster a single case for.”

    Well, if you’re asking for scienfitic evidence, i haven’t any. Nor will I anytime soon. You can mock faith all you like, but it’s a very real presence in me.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Justin,

    Well, if you’re asking for scienfitic evidence, i haven’t any. Nor will I anytime soon. You can mock faith all you like, but it’s a very real presence in me.

    I don’t just mock faith for the hell of it; I mock it because it does serious damage to world around me (and, like george bush is a political tackling dummy for comedians, religion is that for me). If it wasn’t involved with politics, if it wasn’t an issue ready to tear the world apart if given the proper provaction (and even if not. It’s already doing this country and world very real damage), if it wasn’t trying to legislate morality for the rest of us, among all the other truly evil shit it does, then I wouldn’t much care about it. I know you’re not a member of extreme faith, you’re just some guy who believes in lack of any evidence, and I understand that you’re not directly any kind of threat.
    But it’s moderate religion, people who are willing to not ask for evidence and belief whatever they’re told, who are paving the way for more dangerous religion, and it’s not moderate religion fighting extreme religion; not really. Oh sure, there might be the occassional “why can’t we all just get along”, but it’s not really making any progress to remove the unfortunate taint of religion from our lives. So yes, if you’re going to come here and try and make a case for it, I’m going to add my two cents. It’s not just being argumentative; these are things that matter to me.
    And even when reduced to the argument of “I know I have no evidence and believe it anyway”, that’s not enough. I’ve asked others and I’ll ask you what exactly would it take for you to feel you’re mistaken if believing with no evidence?

  • Justin

    It’s far more than belief. It’s a very tangible feeling, the Holy Spirit. I don’t expect you to understand, respect, or agree with it, but it’s there.

  • Justin

    “feeling” was the wrong word. “presence” gets it across better.

  • OMGF

    This board has put so much effort into twisting my words to mean something else that it’s almost maddening.

    For example? I doubt that anyone here is intentionally misconstruing what you say. If you feel that it is happening, you should tell us and clarify.

    In the eyes of God, there are no denominations, merely God’s children. Most Christians look at breaking into denominations as folly; I hate to break up the SkeptiFest but pointing out the doctrinal differences does nothing to disprove Christianity.

    And your evidence that god cares not for denomination is? Many people disagree with you. How does one in my position tell which stance is correct, especially since both sides use the Bible for support? IOW, simply asserting this is so doesn’t make it necessarily so.

    Never have I seen one this argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

    So, on other forums, you just show up, say something, and everyone agrees with you? I highly doubt that.

    You can mock faith all you like, but it’s a very real presence in me.

    In what sense is it real? Is it real as in the statement, “You have faith in god,” or is it real is some supernatural sense?

    It’s far more than belief. It’s a very tangible feeling, the Holy Spirit. I don’t expect you to understand, respect, or agree with it, but it’s there.

    What does this mean? Does this mean that you have proof that some spirit dwells within you? Do you think that you are possessed of some holy spirit that guides you? Does it talk to you? What does it say?

  • Mrnaglfar

    Justin,

    It’s far more than belief. It’s a very tangible feeling, the Holy Spirit. I don’t expect you to understand, respect, or agree with it, but it’s there.

    What about those people who pray to a different god or set of gods than you, yet claim to feel their deity (i.e. not the one you think is there)? Or those who are just merely ‘spiritual’? Shamans or psychics who try to channel? Or those who just sit in reverence of the world without and belief? Maybe people that feel love for each other? Or just some guy on a good day, happy with everything? There are also people who feel the presence of ghosts or spirits, or aliens. People who feel particularly negative ‘presences’ as well.
    I’m sure whatever feeling you’re describing is something that every other person in the world has felt at least some point during their life, probably many, regardless of their faith or lackthereof. I don’t think you can attribute it to a higher power, let alone some specific higher power of that guy called Jesus from about 2000 years ago. I can safely assume that everyone else on the planet shares that feeling because you’re a human, not unlike the rest of them in terms of what you are able to feel.

    But all that aside, you still didn’t answer my question. If this little discussion isn’t based on evidence, exactly what would it take for you too feel you’ve been mistaken?

  • Justin

    “What does this mean? Does this mean that you have proof that some spirit dwells within you? Do you think that you are possessed of some holy spirit that guides you? Does it talk to you? What does it say?”

    If you can find any instance of me offering such proof, please let me know. If not, refer to one of my numerous posts claiming there is no proof. I know your little eyes just lit up when you saw the stupid Christian play the “Holy Spirit” card, but at least try to keep up.

    “What about those people who pray to a different god or set of gods than you, yet claim to feel their deity (i.e. not the one you think is there)? Or those who are just merely ‘spiritual’? Shamans or psychics who try to channel? Or those who just sit in reverence of the world without and belief? Maybe people that feel love for each other? Or just some guy on a good day, happy with everything? There are also people who feel the presence of ghosts or spirits, or aliens. People who feel particularly negative ‘presences’ as well.
    I’m sure whatever feeling you’re describing is something that every other person in the world has felt at least some point during their life, probably many, regardless of their faith or lackthereof. I don’t think you can attribute it to a higher power, let alone some specific higher power of that guy called Jesus from about 2000 years ago. I can safely assume that everyone else on the planet shares that feeling because you’re a human, not unlike the rest of them in terms of what you are able to feel.

    But all that aside, you still didn’t answer my question. If this little discussion isn’t based on evidence, exactly what would it take for you too feel you’ve been mistaken?”

    All good questions, few of which I have answers for. I know what I feel and that’s that. I’ve never attempted to prove God or Christianity, on here or anywhere else; that’s not what this is about. I only popped on here to point out the massive amounts of hypocrisy and pretention on this board, and throughout the atheist/agnostic movement as a whole.

    “Holier-than-thou” isn’t reserved for the faithful, ya know.

  • OMGF

    Justin,

    If you can find any instance of me offering such proof, please let me know.

    Calm down. The mark that looks like this ? is a question mark. It is meant as a query. I was asking if you have proof. I’m well aware of your previous statements, but I’m rather taken aback at how you can make declarative statements such as you have and then assert that they are true in the absence of any proof. This behavior is simply bizarre. With no indication that god dwells inside of you (as you yourself seem to be admitting) then how can you be at all sure that this is what is really happening? For you to come here and speak the way you have is ridiculous, is it not?

    I’ve never attempted to prove God or Christianity, on here or anywhere else; that’s not what this is about.

    Then stop making declarative statements about how god exists, etc.

    I only popped on here to point out the massive amounts of hypocrisy and pretention on this board, and throughout the atheist/agnostic movement as a whole.

    “Holier-than-thou” isn’t reserved for the faithful, ya know.

    Then, you might want to start on that. You’ve done nothing but assert some sort of hypocrisy with not much evidence to back it up. You might want to present an argument with some evidence. Show us some instances of clear hypocrisy and pretention. And, you haven’t even attempted to do the same for the “atheist/agnostic movement as a whole” nor have you succeeded in any sense of the word. If this was your point in coming here, then you might want to actually get down to it instead of simply flinging accusations about and making bizarre statements about how the holy spirit dwells within you, even though you have no proof of this and freely admit it – which in any normal circumstance would mean that you really have no clue whether some spirit dwells within you and you’re making shite up.

  • Mrnaglfar

    I only popped on here to point out the massive amounts of hypocrisy and pretention on this board, and throughout the atheist/agnostic movement as a whole.

    “Holier-than-thou” isn’t reserved for the faithful, ya know.

    What OMGF said.

    My main question still remains; what would it take for you to feel you’re mistaken if you’re not using evidence?

  • Randall

    “My main question still remains; what would it take for you to feel you’re mistaken if you’re not using evidence?”

    If I were to set aside all evidence? A failure of the precepts, beliefs, and professions of Christian faith to work, as Catholicism claims that they work, in my life and in the life of those Christians with whom I interact.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Randall,

    Have you seen the Prayer studies?

  • Randall

    I have not. What are they?

  • Mrnaglfar

    Randall,

    quick google search turned up this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html

  • OMGF

    Randall,
    What would such a failure look like?

  • http://www.rexcausey.com Case for Christ

    Wow. Such poor defense and representation! I stumbled on this site by accident and I must say that some of these responses against atheism are flat out ignorant. If you are a God fearing person and wish to leave a comment, please make sure you do your homework and have someone of wisdom proof read your material. Hundreds of people are going to read what YOU post and YOU will be representing YOUR God and fellow believers. Use logic and not feelings.

    p.s.- In reference to the e mail that started all this: Whoever posted it on this site was right to speak out against the e mail whether atheist or God fearing, and I thank you for using Scripture as well. Chanting those excerpts is both ludicrous and disgusting because of the extreme naivety and ignorance of it all. Thank you for pointing this out. Please, do not assume that every God fearing, Bible believing person thinks that way.

  • Serafina

    This is a very, very strange e-mail.

  • spaceman spif

    It seems like so many of the comments on this forum always lead towards the “give me some proof” arguments.

    I remember another forum, now gone, where a member was a struggling Christian. Over time, he finally admitted he could no longer believe, given so much evidence to the contrary. He made a post that I thought summed it up so perfectly:

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”

  • http://www.rexcausey.com Case for Christ

    Extraordinary evidence is all around you my friend. For example:

    The position of the moon in relation to our earth and the sun are what affects the tides. If it were to change even a fraction of a degree, there would be catastrophic affects on earth. The moon is also, the “maid” that cleans the oceans, even the waves don’t crash the shores in vain. The tides drag impurities into the depths of the sea, it’s nature’s constant recycling chain. Accident? Or planned?

    The axis of the earth is tilted at a perfect 23 degree angle, and it’s no mistake that it is. This allows equal global distribution to the rays of the sun making it possible for the food chain to exist. Know much about the sun’s energy and life’s dependency on it? Also, read up on photosynthesis. Then check out the process of cellular respiration. Fluke? Or purposefully done?

    Take for example the combination of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere that we breathe. It just happens to be the exact mix that life needs to prosper, it doesn’t happen on any other planet that way. Did earth just luck out? Or could it be that the universe and everything in it was wonderfully made?

    The growth of a mere seed into a giant redwood, the fertilization of the ovum developing into a baby, the intricacies of the cells that make up living organisms and then the organisms themselves are extraordinary evidence. Is all this just a radical development from primordial ooze? Maybe a big bang? Or is there an omnipotent architect.

    One of the 3 statements to cell theory implies that there must have been an Almighty Creator. When you read statement 3 of cell theory you find that, “New cells are produced from existing cells.” There must be a fully grown cell in the very beginning. How did that first cell get there?! Furthermore, the cell, is a microscopic organism of incredible design with many functions. Study the cell, its growth and division, its make up, its functions and its organelles’ functions. Research mitosis and meiosis. Read up on genetics. Fortuitous happenings? Or intelligent design?

    You see, the invisible things of God are clearly seen through His creation, to believe this is not hard at all. Logic, observation and experience tell us that if there is a design, there is a designer. If there is a plan, there is a planner. You are right, spaceman spif. EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS ARE BASED ON EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE. EXPLORE THE WORLD AROUND US AND THE EVIDENCE SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. Grab a dictionary to look up the word miracle. Google search the word. Now compare to the definition of extraordinary. Similar! :) Creation is a miracle then. Miraculous or extraordinary design of our universe says, no it screams, that there has to be some sort of significant being. It’s only logical.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Case for christ,

    We have evolved to fit into our world, not the other way around.

    If it were to change even a fraction of a degree, there would be catastrophic affects on earth.

    You do know the moon hasn’t always been where it is, right? It used to far closer to earth.

    This allows equal global distribution to the rays of the sun making it possible for the food chain to exist.

    That’s kind of odd, being that different parts of the earth receive different amounts of sunlight, yet somehow, the food chain still exists. Please, explain to me what terrible event would happen if the earth wasn’t tilted on this axis at that particular degree?

    Take for example the combination of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere that we breathe. It just happens to be the exact mix that life needs to prosper, it doesn’t happen on any other planet that way. Did earth just luck out?

    Or the alternative; since those were what was available in our atmosphere, that’s what life evolved to use. I don’t think life would do so well if it had to breath an element not in abudance. Again, we evolved to fit our world, not the other way around.

    Is all this just a radical development from primordial ooze?

    It’s evolution.

    There must be a fully grown cell in the very beginning. How did that first cell get there?!

    And your proposition for how your creator came into being? Clearly, to have an all-powerful, intelligence, purposeful, and incredibly vast creator suddenly appear out of nothing? You lost me there.

    Furthermore, the cell, is a microscopic organism of incredible design with many functions. Study the cell, its growth and division, its make up, its functions and its organelles’ functions. Research mitosis and meiosis. Read up on genetics. Fortuitous happenings? Or intelligent design?

    Evolution. Competition for scare resources with random mutations and differential reproduction; it’s really that simple.

    Logic, observation and experience tell us that if there is a design, there is a designer. If there is a plan, there is a planner.

    Your whole post reminds me of that story about a puddle. After a rainstorm, the puddle wakes up and finds itself in a hole in the ground. Amazed by how perfectly the hole seems to fit the shape of itself, the puddle comes to believe that the hole was created to hold it. That’s similiar to what your argument is here.

  • Mrnaglfar

    One more quick question I forgot; If your designer is so intelligent, why would anyone need eye glasses or contacts? Did this creator slip up on people who don’t see properly? Maybe the mentally retarded condition, aenmia, developmental abnormalities, cancer cells, and schizophrenia speak to his creative abilities.
    How about viruses, like HIV? Countless diseases and natural disasters (like earthquakes due to shifting plates on this wonderfully designed planet) seems to show that at least the creator doesn’t hold us in an special regard.
    How about the moon being scarred with craters from meteor impacts? Floods? Tornados?

    Another thing; why would you only assume one creator? When you have something like a watch, no one person makes a watch; people have to harvest the materials, melt and shape the metals, create the ink for the face of the watch, the tools to assemble the watch with, the person who raises the cows for the leather strap, and many more all fit into the process. Likewise, watches didn’t just happen; they progressed through stages from sundial to digital. So why assume it all happened through one creator?

  • Jenyfer

    The natural disasters all hold a higher purpose and meaning, don’t you see?

  • http://www.rexcausey.com Case for Christ

    First off, Mrnaglfar, you have not supported any of your arguments with proven scientific facts but instead used unsupported scientific speculation and theory. Second, you seem to have veered into a seemingly emotional debate on beliefs, rather than discussing extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence (which is what my comment was focused on), as so many of the other subscribers have done. Evolution is not scientific fact, it is not science. And in the same aspect neither is Creation. They are beliefs. How can I make such a claim? Well, science must be 3 things in order to be workable.

    1.) Observable
    2.) Measurable
    3.) Repeatable

    Creation and evolution have neither been observed (remember the 5 senses we learned about in grade school?), measured, or repeated. Therefore they are beliefs.

    I was merely pointing out in my last comment that there are extraordinary events, hence extraordinary claims hold their weight. Both creation and evolution are extraordinary claims. I only challenge the logic behind neglecting the miracle known as the universe you live in- from the make up of the smallest subatomic particle to that of the largest living organism.

  • Friday

    I would like to get some idea of people’s opinions of the pertinence of Complexity Science when it comes to the eternal question “Why?”. I could see both atheists and theists alike using this newer scientific approach to justify their positions.

    For people who dont know anything about Complexity Science – here is a sort of primer.
    http://www.lclmllc.com/documents/PrimeronComplexityfromEdgewareadaptedforwebsite.pdf

    And some Wiki on CAS
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_adaptive_system

    Sorry about the lack of actual hyperlinks – I am still unsure as to how to use it.

  • Eric

    Case for Christ Said:

    “Evolution is not scientific fact, it is not science.”

    Sorry CfC you are just plain dead wrong. Evolution is fact. It is even (as you have said otherwise) OBSERVED fact. If you want to call it a “theory” perhaps you need to go back to language 101. It is a “theory” in as much as The Theory of Limits (which modern day calculus is based) is a “Theory” or Modern day Germ Theory (you ever have a vaccination? Or prescription meds? Then you have allowed your body to be subject to a “theoretical process”)…Evolution has been and IS STILL being observed in labs, geology, existing life etc…

    Now then, as for creation and evolution and your very VERY weak stance, the origins of life no one knows yet. Not you, not me, not religion/faith/mysticism/voodoo, not science. YET. That said, you seem to want to draw a parrallel to creation/evolution. Guess what CfC, they are NOT the same thing. When you want to start talking about the origins of life, you want to talk about ABIOGENESIS. It’s okay, most religious apologists haven’t done enough study or research to know or understand the difference. But if you need fuurther assistance in the future trying to learn the basics of your arguments, please feel free to ask anyone here.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Case for Christ,

    Evolution is not scientific fact, it is not science.

    You’re incorrect here. Evolution is a scientific fact; if you want to debate what evolution says, perhaps I could help clear you up on the issue. What particular part about evolution do you have issues with?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    I would like to get some idea of people’s opinions of the pertinence of Complexity Science when it comes to the eternal question “Why?”

    This is not relevant to this thread.