The Case for a Creator: Facts About VD

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 1

We pick up where we left off, with self-proclaimed former skeptic Lee Strobel interviewing a rural Appalachian community whose inhabitants were violently resisting the teaching of evolution. As we’ll see, Strobel believes a person can be fully justified in advocating creationism. Yet it seems improbable that these isolated, deeply religious communities were thoroughly acquainted with the complicated philosophical and scientific arguments he deploys later in the book. Their staunch rejection of science was not based on any detailed knowledge of the subject matter. Rather, the real reason for their anger was laid out, albeit unintentionally, in several different interviews:

“The books bought for our school children would teach them to lose their love of God, to honor draft dodgers and revolutionaries, and to lose their respect for their parents,” insisted the intense, dark-haired wife of a Baptist minister… [p.9]

The preacher… turned to the crowd and held aloft a book titled Facts about VD. “This is gonna turn your stomachs, but this is the kind of book your children are reading!” [p.15]

And a local businessman:

“Let me put it this way,” he said. “If Darwin’s right, we’re just sophisticated monkeys. The Bible is wrong. There is no God. And without God, there’s no right or wrong. We can just make up our morals as we go. The basis for all we believe is destroyed. And that’s why this country is headed to hell in a handbasket. Is Darwin responsible? I’ll say this: people have to choose between science and faith, between evolution and the Bible, between the Ten Commandments and make-’em-up-as-you-go ethics. We’ve made our choice – and we’re not budging.” [p.11]

As you can clearly see from these quotes, the primary reason these West Virginians were so upset about evolution is not because they believed it was incorrect – though they certainly believed that – but because they disliked what they saw as the consequences of teaching it. They preferred to choose their belief, and their children’s beliefs, based not on what is true but on what they wanted to be true.

The residents were also enraged that anyone might want to study Christianity any way other than devotionally, as that businessman goes on to say:

“Listen to what Dynamics of Language tells our kids,” he said as he quoted an excerpt from the textbook: “Read the theory of divine origin and the story of the Tower of Babel as told in Genesis. Be prepared to explain one or more ways these stories could be interpreted.” He tossed the well-worn clipping on the table in disgust. [p.11]

Horrors! Children might learn in school about alternative interpretations of religion? Why, those wicked school administrators even wanted to teach them facts about STDs! What’s next – teaching them to question and think critically? How could any self-respecting Christian community permit that?

One would think that, at this point, a rational, hard-nosed journalist would point out that the possible social consequences of a scientific theory have no bearing on whether that theory is true. Strobel does not do this. Instead, he seemingly underlines and excuses his interviewees’ fears with the following incredible assertion:

Darwin’s theory of evolution… meant that there is no universal morality decreed by a deity, only culturally conditioned values that vary from place to place and situation to situation. [p.16]

Leave aside the evolutionary biologists who are Christian. (We’ll get to them later.) Strobel’s astonishing claim is that evolution being true would rule out not just Christianity, but all possible beliefs about God. As an atheist, I have to admit I’d be greatly pleased if that were true, but it just doesn’t follow by any conceivable chain of logic. Why would evolution rule out a deity who creates through evolution and who also decrees a universal morality for humans? Strobel doesn’t say.

But the lunacy about evolution and morality isn’t over yet. In the next installment, it will become more ridiculous still.

Other posts in this series:

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://paulforpm.blogspot.com/2009/04/morality-exposed keddaw

    Darwin’s theory of evolution… meant that there is no universal morality decreed by a deity, only culturally conditioned values that vary from place to place and situation to situation.
    Isn’t this exactly what we see around the world and over time. Different people of the same religion applying different morality to similar situations based on their locations. Different religions applying different morality to similar situations. And over time different morality has been applied to similar situations.

    This guy calls himself a journalist? Showing up with a camera and a microphone does not make you a journalist.

    My blog argues against objective morality that religion seems to hold dear, although they seem to have stopped burning witches these days and torturing heretics:
    http://paulforpm.blogspot.com/2009/04/morality-exposed.html

  • http://superstitionfree.blogspot.com/ Robert Madewell

    “Let me put it this way,” he said. “If Darwin’s right, we’re just sophisticated monkeys. The Bible is wrong. There is no God. And without God, there’s no right or wrong.”

    Do they think that the reason anyone does good is because there’s a thing in the sky that’ll zap them if he sees them doing anything wrong? I hear this argument all the time and it’s a bit annoying. Ebonmuse, do you have any good responses for that?

  • http://atheistofalltrades.com Mr.Pendent

    Why would evolution rule out a deity who creates through evolution and who also decrees a universal morality for humans?

    I have never understood this at all. Most reasonable people who are religious (if that is possible)–such as my parents–believe exactly that. Natural selection/Evolution makes no comment on the existence of God, and unless you are a narrow-minded fundamentalist, the Bible does not rule out evolution. Unless you really think that yhe world is 6,000 years old or that creation was actually performed within 6 24-hour periods, then evolution and religion get along quite nicely.

    @Robert–if someone argues that the only thing preventing them from doing something “wrong” is the fear of punishment from God, I think the correct answer is, “Then I can’t tell you how happy I am that you believe in God.”

  • NoAstronomer

    We can just make up our morals as we go.

    One thing that has intrigued me over the past few years is this concern raised by the religious. That is, if there is no god to set our moral compass then society is free to set it’s own rules.

    What it seems they miss is that the obvious conclusion is that is exactly what we did and over the past ~4,000 years we’ve come up with a pretty darn good set of rules that enable us to live in large social groups.

    In Spielberg’s movie ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ there’s an exchange that goes like this :

    scientist #1 : ‘Einstein was right!’ (observing the barely aged people stepping out of the UFO)
    scientist #2 : ‘Einstein was probably one of them’ (meaning the aliens)

    That exchange really ticks me off every time I see it. The second scientist is stating that humans are so stupid we couldn’t even deduce and observe relativity. Well buddy maybe Einstein was just a bit smarter than you are!

    It’s the same with this theistic complaint. The assumption that humans are nothing but a bunch of misbehaved kids incapable of controlling themselves. The theists are the ones who claim that humans are special and separate from the apes and other animals, yet we’re the ones that need the rules defined for us? How do chimps, gorillas and baboons get their rules?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Natural selection/Evolution makes no comment on the existence of God, and unless you are a narrow-minded fundamentalist, the Bible does not rule out evolution. Unless you really think that yhe world is 6,000 years old or that creation was actually performed within 6 24-hour periods, then evolution and religion get along quite nicely.

    Like any scientific theory, evolution provides a naturalistic explanation for a portion of the natural world. In that sense, it is just as compatible with religion as any other scientific theory; the round Earth, heliocentricity, etc.

    However, unlike some other theories, evolution impinges on human origins. If you give up on the talking snake story, then how do you retain your notion of original sin? And if you give that up, then what did Jesus die for?

  • http://cafephilos.wordpress.com/ Paul Sunstone

    Does reason stand a chance with such people? Does it ever get through to them? I’m not asking those questions rhetorically. I actually wonder if anyone knows of many instances in which people like the ones in the article have changed their minds?

  • http://www.aperfectfool.com Codswallop

    In Spielberg’s movie ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ there’s an exchange that goes like this:

    scientist #1 : ‘Einstein was right!’ (observing the barely aged people stepping out of the UFO)
    scientist #2 : ‘Einstein was probably one of them’ (meaning the aliens)

    Good point. Wrong movie. (Cocoon, maybe?)

  • http://www.aperfectfool.com Codswallop

    Oops, no–you’re right. My bad.

  • Polly

    I’m going to deviate a little here and state that the far worse aspect of this mess is their opposition to sex-ed.

    Really, I’m not overly concerned if Appalachians know about evolution – chances are they won’t believe it, never need it, and won’t know anything else about science, either.

    But, sex ed is definitely something they NEED to know about and probably earlier than most. The information has urgent applicability given their socio-economic and educational levels.

    Ideally, they should be exposed to both, of course.

  • matt foley

    I just found your website this morning. It seems as though the overwhelming majority of your attention is focused on demeaning Christians and Biblical teachings. I’ve not seen the same focus on Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc. We (all people) need to learn to discuss and even disagree with ideas in a respectful manner without insult and inflamatory language. Jesus taught we should love our neighbors; athiest morals would seem to suggest a civility to all people. Can’t there be an exchange of ideas with civility and without insult? Christians; God calls us to love our neighbors.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    I’m not a fan of Strobel either, just so you know. I’m somewhat familiar with his books, and although he makes an occasional point here and there, I see most of his work as little more than further obfuscation. However,

    Darwin’s theory of evolution… meant that there is no universal morality decreed by a deity, only culturally conditioned values that vary from place to place and situation to situation.

    How is that an “incredible assertion?” Just because it’s a false dichotomy? What I’m saying is, if there is no God who’s decreed a universal morality, then isn’t it true that morality consists entirely of “culturally conditioned values that vary from place to place and situation to situation?” Further, one could argue that biblical morality is culturally conditioned and varies from place to place.

    Strobel believes a person can be fully justified in advocating creationism.

    Does “creationism” mean “YEC” in that sentence?

  • Polly

    @cl,

    How is that an “incredible assertion?” Just because it’s a false dichotomy? What I’m saying is, if there is no God who’s decreed a…

    Right there! You just made the same erroneous logical leap that Ebon addressed! Can’t you see it?

    From the OP

    Strobel’s astonishing claim is that evolution being true would rule out not just Christianity, but all possible beliefs about God. As an atheist, I have to admit I’d be greatly pleased if that were true, but it just doesn’t follow by any conceivable chain of logic.

  • http://skepticaloccultism.com/ pendens proditor

    @matt foley
    This is probably one of the most civil atheist blogs out there (the posts at least… some comments may be another story). I’m constantly impressed by the intellectual self-discipline displayed in it. The mere act of criticizing precarious positions isn’t necessarily unfair or impolite. Are you sure you don’t find the blog insulting because of its message rather than its tone?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Matt Foley,
    Ebon does write against all theistic belief as well as writing in a positive manner for atheism. There’s more Xian content probably because he lives in the US. Further, I’m not seeing any insulting language. Perhaps you could point out what you find insulting?

  • http://commonsesenatheism.com Luke

    Ebonmuse, are you on reddit? If so, I want to friend you. If not, sign up real quick and I will friend you. :)

  • http://www.andrew-turnbull.net/journal/ Andrew T.

    Tell me about it. I grew up in rural West Virginia.

    I had the misfortune of taking an environmental science class in high school taught by a creationist moron (who retired a year later…small comfort). When the evolution chapter came up, he blathered on endlessly about how “it was a theory, not a fact” while skimming across the material as ineffectually as possible, and myriad redneck students continually lept to his defense. (He also claimed that Methuselah was the oldest person to ever live per the words in Genesis 5:27, and he was quite serious about it, too.) Although I had already deconverted by this point, the reality-detached attitudes I witnessed played no small part in enlarging the rift I had with peoples’ religious beliefs into a sprawling chasm.

    If you ask me, many of the people who profess not to “believe” in evolution don’t have a grasp of what it is to begin with…they believe that it involves a dog literally turning into a cat, or something equally outrageous. And since they’ve been so well-versed in blind obedience to traditions and ignoring anything they don’t want to know, they’re not about to open up their minds to accepting what it really is.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Do they think that the reason anyone does good is because there’s a thing in the sky that’ll zap them if he sees them doing anything wrong? I hear this argument all the time and it’s a bit annoying. Ebonmuse, do you have any good responses for that?

    Not Ebonmuse, but I can tell you what my answers are.

    One is more theoretical: you ask the person, “If it could be proved to you right this second, without a shadow of a doubt, that God didn’t exist — would you suddenly start to kill and steal and rape?”

    One is scientific — you point to the recent research strongly suggesting that the most basic values of human morality are hard-wired into our brains. The details of which of those values we value more highly, and what we do when they conflict with each other, and how those values play out in the real world… all of that varies wildly and has a strong personal and cultural component. But there’s strong evidence (although not yet absolutely compelling, the science is in its early stages) suggesting that the basic values are wired into our brains, and evolved to make us more successful as a social species.

    There’s another scientific one: research pointing to morality in some non-human animals.

    And finally, there’s the great counter- example: Europe. Many countries in Europe — England, France, Holland, the Scandinavian countries — are nearly half, or more than half, atheist/ agnostic. And they’re not running mad in the streets killing and stealing and raping. If anything, they have an even more powerful sense of social conscience than we do in the U.S. In fact, as a general rule in countries around the world, higher rates of social functioning are strongly correlated with higher rates of atheism. You may or may not like how Europe runs their societies… but they’re hardly cesspools of crime and immorality. It’s therefore clear that religion isn’t necessary for morality.

    Not that any of this will convince a hard-core true believer. But it may make a dent in someone who’s open- minded or is already having doubts.

  • Demonhype

    Daylight Atheism is remarkably gentle and considerate towards religion. I would suggest Mr. Foley’s problem is about the content. I can say for certain that there are far more religous sites that are far less considerate about atheists, and many that go so far as to outright lie about us. So far, I haven’t seen anything in DA that even hints at the level of ad hominem that I’ve seen from a lot of the faithful. Ebon is very serious and thoughtful about all the subject matter here, and is bringing up serious points of legitimate criticism.

    Now if you want to claim that Normal Bob Smith is demeaning and insulting, I’ll agree, though I realize his reasons in being so and agree with those too. NB seems to go out of his way to rub egg on the collective face of the faithful (obviously, metaphorically!). Even Pharyngula has more mocking than this site!

    Not that I have a problem with mocking religion–it definitely serves an important purpose. But it’s just as valuable to have a seriously critical site like this too.

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

    Luke: Indeed I am. :)

  • erikstheory

    The CE3K quote mentioned by NoAstronomer has always bugged me, too, but the whole exchange is just stupid. In order for relativity to imply, the aliens would have had to be moving near the speed of light the whole time to prevent their abductees from aging (much).

    Even more mysterious: that the aliens never offered the abductees a change of clothes in 50+ years.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Even more mysterious: that the aliens never offered the abductees a change of clothes in 50+ years.

    Or even more mysterious, Erik, that they would go through all that trouble to kidnap that little boy just so they can return him a few days later. WTF was the point of that?

    Regarding the “without belief in God how can you be moral?” question, I can understand why some theists ask that question. When you think about, from the 6th century onward, Christianity had a monopoly on what constituted “right” and “wrong” in Europe. We have no secular alternative to draw on that constituted what we could consider to be a moral society, so I almost can’t blame theists for having a poverty of imagination on the subject. But as Greta Christina pointed out above regarding some secular welfare states in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia, if they continue to do well with low rates of religious belief and church attendance, they certainly will provide a model for what is possible.

    @ Matt Foley: I just found your website this morning. It seems as though the overwhelming majority of your attention is focused on demeaning Christians and Biblical teachings. I’ve not seen the same focus on Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc.

    Assuming you are not just a drive-by commenter, as a regular reader, I can assure you that Ebon does address other religions besides Christianity. However, and I see this question or accusation raised by lots of Christian commenters on atheist blogs, if we appear to focus more time on Christianity over other religions, it is because we live in a country that has a majority of Christians in it, and we are directly affected by them over issues that we either care about deeply or affect us personally. For example, atheist bloggers such as myself who are in favor of same-sex marriage or who are gays who want that right for themselves and their partners, can complain about the treatment of gays in fundamentalist Islamic societies, but Muslim fundamentalists do not determine whether or not California or Vermont legalizes same-sex marriage, whereas Christians of various denominations do have an effect both in their voting decisions and in the organizations and causes they support.

  • Christopher

    Why would evolution rule out a deity who creates through evolution and who also decrees a universal morality for humans?

    Allow me to play devil’s advocate and say that the answer to this question is “yes” – you see, the “god” concept of the religious fundamentalist is a total control freak: nothing happens without it being accounted for in some great divine plan that it concocted from the beginning of time – to allow lifeforms to evolve via natural selection would be for it to allow elements of chance into its scheme, effectively nullifying it (as chance events would fall outside its master plan).

    Any “god” that is willing to allow the development of life to be determined (even partially) by chance is the kind of “god” that would be likely to leave other things to chance as well (such as “moral” development): this kind of “god” is a contradiction in the “all-or-nothing” worldview of the fundamentalist – thus evolution by natural selection would render a “god” of absolutes (as defined by the religious fundamentalist) impossible.

  • KShep

    Greta:

    One is more theoretical: you ask the person, “If it could be proved to you right this second, without a shadow of a doubt, that God didn’t exist — would you suddenly start to kill and steal and rape?”

    Their inevitable answer to this would be along the lines of, “Of course not. I got my morality from god! Therefore, god does exist!” Circular logic at it’s finest.

    I am always looking for ways to penetrate that circle. Perhaps this above quote from NoAstronomer would do:

    The assumption (is) that humans are nothing but a bunch of misbehaved kids incapable of controlling themselves. The theists are the ones who claim that humans are special and separate from the apes and other animals, yet we’re the ones that need the rules defined for us? How do chimps, gorillas and baboons get their rules?

    Not to mention all those pedophile priests.

  • Pi Guy

    Slightly off-topic…

    Eugenie Scott was on NPR’s Science Friday yesterday and Chester from St. Louis called in to ask (paraphrased), “Why does it matter whether the kids learn about evolution? Will it help us find new technologies for cleaner environment? How does it impact my life?”, etc. Her answer focused on current and future discoveries based in evolutionary thinking such as gene therapy and potential treatments for Parkinson’s, cancer, and the like.

    But I think she missed an opportunity to say something important about science in general, a bigger point that she’s alluded to before in her writing and speaking. Namely that science is not a collection of facts waiting to be regurgitated on a test but, rather, is a framework, a methodology by which old knowledge is tested against currently available evidence and new knowledge is acquired about how the world works. Evolution is not merely a bunch of facts. It’s a well-validated explanation for how living things changed and came to be the way that observe them now. Period. It’s not a set of morals, and makes no claims of being so. And, more importantly, it doesn’t make claims about how life began, only how it has changed over time. And, yes. Loosely speaking, we are just sophisticated monkeys. Why does such a statement challenge any notion of morality whatsoever?

    As Ebonmuse notes, why couldn’t the creator of the universe have built evolution into the fabric of nature in the same way in which gravitation and thermodynamics are?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Pi Guy, to further build on your comments, lately I have been watching a course I purchased from The Teaching Company called The Joy of Science by Robert Hazen. Lately I have been watching his lectures on electricity and electromagnetism. When he talks about the early experiments and discoveries of scientists in the 18th and 19th centuries, when you look at it from the perspective of ordinary people of the time, all those experiments looked like it was just a bunch of fancy science stuff that had no real world applications. But those discoveries paved the way for us to have lightbulbs, microwave ovens, cell phones, x-rays and so many other things that we take for granted in our lives. The same holds true for scientific discoveries and experiments today. They will surely yield new practical applications that will revolutionize our lives and those of our descendants.

  • http://cannonballjones.wordpress.com Cannonball Jones

    “The books bought for our school children would teach them to lose their love of God, to honor draft dodgers and revolutionaries

    What? Americans honouring and respecting revolutionaries? People who fought against their rulers for a bit of freedom and independence? Maybe enen going so far as to set aside a day to celebrate said independence once achieved? That’s just crazy talk!

  • Samuel Skinner

    Evolution doesn’t work for a diety that cares about the amount of pain and suffering it requires. For more… brutal dieties or ones that follow the philosophy similar to the Daleks or Shadows, it makes more sense.

    Of course, they have their own problems.

    “As Ebonmuse notes, why couldn’t the creator of the universe have built evolution into the fabric of nature in the same way in which gravitation and thermodynamics are?”

    Evolution is NOT a physical property. it simply refers to the fact that if you have something which carries information that determines how well the information will be replicated, that information that replicates the best will be the most prevelant. It remains true no matter the physical constants as long as its conditions are meet- varied genes, mutation, reproduction and genes affecting fitness.

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  • Virginia

    Slightly off-topic. On Christopher’s remark on “total control freak” God — well Fundamentalists believe humans are created in the image of this “total control freak”, well look at the bunch who got this “total control freaks” image from this God!!!!

  • Andrew

    However, unlike some other theories, evolution impinges on human origins. If you give up on the talking snake story, then how do you retain your notion of original sin?

    To start with theres the possibility that the story of A+E is true, but the earth being >10,000 years old is not.

    Secondly, ‘original sin’ has nothing to do with us somehow magically inherting Adam’s sin/sinfullness.

    And if you give that up, then what did Jesus die for?

    Jesus didnt die for one(or two) people’s sins, but EVERYONES.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    To start with theres the possibility that the story of A+E is true, but the earth being >10,000 years old is not.

    Not according to the evidence.

    Secondly, ‘original sin’ has nothing to do with us somehow magically inherting Adam’s sin/sinfullness.

    Oh really? Then, what does it have to do with?

    Jesus didnt die for one(or two) people’s sins, but EVERYONES.

    I think the point was that due to inherited sin, we needed a savior. If you lose the idea of original sin, then the need for a savior is not there anymore and there’s no reason why Jesus has to come and die for us.

  • Andrew

    Oh really? Then, what does it have to do with?

    It has to do with A+E setting a pattern, a precident if you will of sin, and punishment. Ie. before they sinned there was no such thing as ‘sin’

    I think the point was that due to inherited sin, we needed a savior. If you lose the idea of original sin, then the need for a savior is not there anymore and there’s no reason why Jesus has to come and die for us.

    What? We cant sin unless we inherit it? I’m sorry that makes no sense whatsoever(yes I say that to Christians who think so too).

  • Andrew

    oh I want to add, for the record, that I’m uncertaom on whether A+E were historical figures. To be honest I dont really care that much.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    It has to do with A+E setting a pattern, a precident if you will of sin, and punishment. Ie. before they sinned there was no such thing as ‘sin’

    If that is the case, then why do we need to baptize babies? Wouldn’t a child that dies at birth be sinless? Yet, most Xians claim that all need a savior, not just those who have sinned.

    What? We cant sin unless we inherit it? I’m sorry that makes no sense whatsoever(yes I say that to Christians who think so too).

    No, it means that we don’t all need a savior unless we have inherited sin.

  • Andrew

    If that is the case, then why do we need to baptize babies? Wouldn’t a child that dies at birth be sinless?

    Actually I dont believe in baptizing babies. I believe baptism should follow belief. Obviously an infant is incapable of comprehending the idea of God, and thus should not be baptized.

    Yet, most Xians claim that all need a savior, not just those who have sinned.

    Wrong. The Christan position is that everybody who sins needs a savior. And everybody sins.

    No, it means that we don’t all need a savior unless we have inherited sin.

    I dont see what the two have to do with each other.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Actually I dont believe in baptizing babies. I believe baptism should follow belief. Obviously an infant is incapable of comprehending the idea of God, and thus should not be baptized.

    But you do concede that there are sects where baptism is done on infants to wash away sins, don’t you?

    Wrong. The Christan position is that everybody who sins needs a savior. And everybody sins.

    Not only are you splitting hairs, but the general position is that all humans need a savior. This includes babies who have not yet attained an age where it can be said that they have sinned.

    I dont see what the two have to do with each other.

    C’mon, this is Xian theology 101 stuff. If a baby who just came from the womb needs a savior, it must be because the baby is sinful. But, what has a baby that has just been born done in order to be regarded as sinful? This comes from original sin. The baby is tainted with the sin of Adam and Eve such that no one is born without some taint of sin and therefore all need saving.

  • Andrew

    But you do concede that there are sects where baptism is done on infants to wash away sins, don’t you?

    Yes and those sects are mistaken. Your point?

    Not only are you splitting hairs, but the general position is that all humans need a savior. This includes babies who have not yet attained an age where it can be said that they have sinned.

    Ok I see your point now. However I think the latter half of your sentence is debateable. Are you familar with the ‘age of accountability’ doctrine?

    C’mon, this is Xian theology 101 stuff. If a baby who just came from the womb needs a savior, it must be because the baby is sinful. But, what has a baby that has just been born done in order to be regarded as sinful? This comes from original sin. The baby is tainted with the sin of Adam and Eve such that no one is born without some taint of sin and therefore all need saving.

    All of this stems from the idea that a newborn baby is in need of savior, which I dont agree with.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Yes and those sects are mistaken. Your point?

    Your comments regarding original sin are in error then, at least for some (many/most?) Xians.

    Ok I see your point now. However I think the latter half of your sentence is debateable. Are you familar with the ‘age of accountability’ doctrine?

    Yes, I am, and I fail to see how it is justified with the concept of Jesus dying for the sins of everyone. It’s an ad hoc rationalization to account for the uncomfortable position of having to say that infants go to hell.

    All of this stems from the idea that a newborn baby is in need of savior, which I dont agree with.

    But, you do agree that it’s in line with the concept of original sin, do you not? Simply because you have re-defined the concept of original sin doesn’t mean that you are right, that when we talk about it we should accept your definition, etc.

  • Andrew

    Your comments regarding original sin are in error then, at least for some (many/most?) Xians.

    No, just because some Christians disagree doesnt make them right.

    Yes, I am, and I fail to see how it is justified with the concept of Jesus dying for the sins of everyone.

    Children too young to take responsibility for their actions are not held accountable for them. Ie. they are not in need of a savior.

    But, you do agree that it’s in line with the concept of original sin, do you not?

    No I do not. It’s in line with the way many Christians understand the doctrine. But not the way I do.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    No, just because some Christians disagree doesnt make them right.

    Your comments were that they are wrong, and that a description of original sin that is in the mainstream was wrong. Those are the comments I refer to here.

    Children too young to take responsibility for their actions are not held accountable for them. Ie. they are not in need of a savior.

    Then abortionists are really angels, god is not just, and Jesus did die for EVERYONE’S sins.

    No I do not. It’s in line with the way many Christians understand the doctrine. But not the way I do.

    Considering that you can’t (at least haven’t) explicated what original sin is according to your beliefs, and considering that the mainstream and historical view is as described, I think you should be more careful about what you label as wrong in regards to this issue.

  • ildi

    I’m proud of you, Andrew; you’ve taken the first step toward rational thinking and discarded the entire concept of original or inherited sin. Now, try to take the next step and see how bizarre the notion of someone being executed for your wrongdoings is! We’re not talking about someone ponying up, say, your parking fine, we’re not even talking about someone, say, serving jail time in your place. We’re talking that you currently sincerely believe that a) someone should be crucified for your accumulation of piddly sins and b) that somehow absolves you?

  • Andrew

    Considering that you can’t (at least haven’t) explicated what original sin is according to your beliefs,

    Yes I did what do you think I ment when I said:

    It has to do with A+E setting a pattern, a precident if you will of sin, and punishment. Ie. before they sinned there was no such thing as ‘sin’

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    I saw it, but it doesn’t really tell me anything. Do you mean that it was simply the first sin? How does that relate to me? Why do I care that A&E committed a sin which was the first sin?

  • Sir-Think-A-Lot

    Pretty much yes, although as I said it also set a precident for the punishment of sin for a parrallell, consider the crime of ‘carjacking’ prior to when it got popular there was no such crime, and new laws had to be passed defining the crime and punishment for it.

    As for why you should care: Well as athiest you really dont need to. From a Christian perspective, on one level we really dont need to either, we’re punished for our own sins, not what others living years ago did. But otoh, its not the least bit unhelpful to know where the precident of sin and punishment started.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Sir-Think-A-Lot = Andrew?

    Besides, if we are punished only for our own sins and babies get a “get out of hell free” card, then abortions are saving many souls! Hooray for abortions! One who performs abortions should be a hero for saving many, many souls (the more abortions the better). Oh, and god is not omni-max.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I doubt Andrew’s view of OS is widely held. I know that as a Southern Baptist I was taught that I was innately sinful because of Eve’s failing. I know that this view is also held by the Catholic Church, which also believes that one is not Cahtolic, and therefore not saved, until one is baptized.

    FWIW, your assessment of the Age of Accountability is spot-on.

  • Andrew

    Yea I go by both names.

    I’m not sure what the Catholic Chruches opinion of baptism has to do with their view on original sin.

    To be honest I’m not certain on modern Catholic theology. I do know that the ‘precident’ interpertation of OS goes back at least to shortly after the ‘Great schism’ the Eastern Orthedox church declared it heracy, while the Catholic Church seemed a little more indecisive and allowed both the ‘inhereted’ and ‘precident’ views to exist, though I’m not certain if they ever settled on one.

    As far as abortions saving souls goes I have two things to say on that

    First nowhere does God tell us that ‘the end justifies the means’ even if abortions did result in souls going to heaven, that doesnt justify the murder of babies.

    Secondly, unlike fundies, I dont claim to be 100% certain on when the soul enters the body. Actually the uncertainty is the reason I’m completely pro-life.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    First nowhere does God tell us that ‘the end justifies the means’ even if abortions did result in souls going to heaven, that doesnt justify the murder of babies.

    I don’t see why not. One who kills fetuses and babies does them a favor! It’s not murder if one simply gets to go straight to heaven. In fact, they are much better off in a couple ways. 1) They don’t have to worry about being tempted during this life, sinning, etc. and ending up in hell. 2) They get to go straight to paradise, thus avoiding suffering in this world.

    What you are proposing is a god that insists that children have the ability to suffer and be led astray, even though he claims that he desires all to be with him.

    Plus, god is still unjust and Jesus didn’t die for everyone’s sins.