The Atheist Daughter of a Notable Christian Apologist Shares Her Story

This is a guest post by Rachael Slick.

Note: A few weeks ago, The Daily Show aired a segment about how rough Christians had it because of all those homosexual “bullies”:

The heart of the segment involved correspondent Samantha Bee interviewing Matt Slick, founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM).

Rachael is Matt Slick’s daughter. She’s not a Christian. This is her story.

***

I was born in 1992. My parents named me Rachael, after the biblical wife Jacob loved.

Rachael (right) with her parents



One of my earliest memories is of my dad’s gigantic old Bible. Its pages were falling out, its margins were scrawled over with notes, and the leather cover was unraveled in places from being so worn out. 
Every night, after we stacked up the dishes after our family dinner, he would bring it down and read a passage. I always requested something from the Book of Revelation or Genesis, because that’s where most of the interesting stories happened. After he was done, he’d close the Bible with a big WHUMP and turn to me.

“Now Rachael,” he would ask, “What is the hypostatic union?” 
and I would pipe back, “The two natures of Jesus!”


“What is pneumatology?”


The study of the holy spirit!

“What is the communicatio idiomatum?”


The communication of the properties in which the attributes of the two natures are ascribed to the single person!



Occasionally he would go to speak at churches about the value of apologetics and, the times I went along, he would call on me from the crowd and have me recite the answers to questions about theology. After I sat down, he would say, “My daughter knows more about theology than you do! You are not doing your jobs as Christians to stay educated and sharp in the faith.”



Conversation with him was a daily challenge. He would frequently make blatantly false statements — such as “purple dogs exist” — and force me to disprove him through debate. He would respond to things I said demanding technical accuracy, so that I had to narrow my definitions and my terms to give him the correct response. It was mind-twisting, but it encouraged extreme clarity of thought, critical thinking, and concise use of language. I remember all this beginning around the age of five.



Rachael receives an award from Awana for being the most ‘godly’ student. She would later complete the Awana course, memorizing over 800 Bible verses along the way.

I have two sisters, three and seven years younger than myself, and we were all homeschooled in a highly strict, regulated environment. Our A Beka schoolbooks taught the danger of evolution. Our friends were “good influences” on us, fellow homeschoolers whose mothers thought much alike. Obedience was paramount — if we did not respond immediately to being called, we were spanked ten to fifteen times with a strip of leather cut from the stuff they used to make shoe soles. Bad attitudes, lying, or slow obedience usually warranted the same — the slogan was “All the way, right away, and with a happy spirit.” We were extremely well-behaved children, and my dad would sometimes show us off to people he met in public by issuing commands that we automatically rushed to obey. The training was not just external; God commanded that our feelings and thoughts be pure, and this resulted in high self-discipline.

Rachael (bottom row, second from right) and her fellow homeschooled friends know to obey!

I recently came across this entry in a workbook I wrote when I was nine:


I’m hopeless.

Oh boy. I’ve got a lot to work on. I try to be obedient but it’s so hard! The more I read, the more I realize how bad I am! My problem is that when things don’t make sense to me, I don’t like them. When Dad gets mad at me for something, everything makes perfect sense to me in my mind, so I tend to resent my parents’ correction.

I have just realized that I yearn to please the lord, but why can’t I? I just can’t be good! It seems impossible. Why can’t I be perfect?

At this point, my dad was working at a tech job during the day and working in his office, writing and researching, at night. He developed a huge collection of books, with bookshelves that spanned the wall, full of Bibles and notebooks filled with theology. This was the early stages of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.


It became a sort of game to watch him go “Mormon hunting”; if he saw them on the sidewalk, he’d pull up in the car to engage them in debate. After the Mormons visited our apartment a few times, they blacklisted us, and none of them ever visited us again. My dad was always very congenial to those he debated, and most viewed him as charismatic — though his debate tactics were ruthless and often more focused on efficiency than relationship-building.



We moved to Idaho when I was 12. My dad worked at Hewlett-Packard for a while but eventually made the big decision to make CARM his full-time career.



It was around this time my dad began receiving death threats — though I didn’t find this out until later. Someone was sending him graphic pictures, descriptive threats of rape against his family, and Google images of locations near our house. He got the FBI involved. They eventually determined it was someone from across the globe and likely posed no risk to us. My parents installed a home security system after that, but it only reinforced the “us vs. them” mentality he already held. My dad spoke frequently about the people “out to destroy him” and how his “enemies” were determined to obscure and twist the truth.



I wasn’t privy to a great deal of what went on behind the scenes at CARM — likely because I too young to fully understand it. A few times a year there would usually be an “event” that would capture most of his ire. For a while, it was the Universalists who were destroying his forums. Another time, it would be his arch-nemeses in the field of women in ministry or “troublemaking” atheists. Beyond these things, I knew little, except that I was immensely proud of my dad, who was smart, confident, and knew the Truth more than anybody else. I aspired to be like him — I would be a missionary, or an apologist! (Though not a pastor; I was a woman and thus unqualified for that field.) God was shaping my destiny.



As my knowledge of Christianity grew, so did my questions — many of them the “classic” kind. If God was all-powerful and all-knowing, why did He create a race He knew was destined for Hell? How did evil exist if all of Creation was sustained by the mind of God? Why didn’t I feel His presence when I prayed? 


Having a dad highly schooled in Christian apologetics meant that every question I brought up was explained away confidently and thoroughly. Many times, after our nightly Bible study, we would sit at the table after my Mom and sisters had left and debate, discuss, and dissect the theological questions I had. No stone was left unturned, and all my uncertainty was neatly packaged away.



Atheists frequently wonder how an otherwise rational Christian can live and die without seeing the light of science, and I believe the answer to this is usually environment. If every friend, authority figure, and informational source in your life constantly repeat the same ideas, it is difficult not to believe they’re onto something. My world was built of “reasonable” Christians — the ones who thought, who questioned, who knew that what they believed was true. In the face of this strength, my own doubts seemed petty. 



There was one belief I held onto strongly, though — the one that eventually led to my undoing. I promised myself “I will never believe in Christianity simply because it feels right, otherwise I am no better than those in any other religion I debate. I must believe in Christianity because it is the Truth, and if it is ever proven otherwise, I must forsake it no matter how much it hurts.”



Twice, I attended protests. Once, in front of an abortion clinic, and another time, at the Twin Falls Mormon Temple. I went to public high school for a few months, where I brought the Bible and a picture of my parents for a show-and-tell speech of the things we valued most. I befriended Cody, a World of Warcraft nerd, for the sole purpose of telling him he was going to Hell and that he needed to repent. Every time I heard someone swear in the school hallways, I would close my eyes and pray.


I informed my parents that I wanted an arranged marriage because love was a far too emotional and dangerous prospect, and I trusted them to make an informed choice for my future far better than I ever could. My romantic exploits through puberty were negligible.



I ran away from home when I was 17 (due to reasons not pertinent to this post) and went to college the following year. I must have been a nightmare in my philosophy and religion classes, raising my hands at every opportunity and spouting off well-practiced arguments. Despite this, my philosophy professor loved me, and we would often meet after class, talking about my views on God. Even though he tried to direct me away from them, I was insistent about my beliefs: If God didn’t exist, where did morality come from? What about the beginning of the universe? Abiogenesis? There were too many questions left by the absence of God, and I could not believe in something (godlessness, in this case) that left me with so little closure. My certainty was my strength — I knew the answers when others did not.



This changed one day during a conversation with my friend Alex. I had a habit of bouncing theological questions off him, and one particular day, I asked him this: If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

Alex had no answer — and I realized I didn’t either. Everyone had always explained this problem away using the principle that Jesus’ sacrifice meant we wouldn’t have to follow those ancient laws. 
But that wasn’t an answer. In fact, by the very nature of the problem, there was no possible answer that would align with Christianity.


I still remember sitting there in my dorm room bunk bed, staring at the cheap plywood desk, and feeling something horrible shift inside me, a vast chasm opening up beneath my identity, and I could only sit there and watch it fall away into darkness. The Bible is not infallible, logic whispered from the depths, and I had no defense against it. If it’s not infallible, you’ve been basing your life’s beliefs on the oral traditions of a Middle Eastern tribe. The Bible lied to you.


Everything I was, everything I knew, the structure of my reality, my society, and my sense of self suddenly crumbled away, and I was left naked.



I was no longer a Christian. That thought was a punch to the gut, a wave of nausea and terror. Who was I, now, when all this had gone away? What did I know? What did I have to cling to? Where was my comfort? 

I didn’t know it, but I was free.



For a long time I couldn’t have sex with my boyfriend (of over a year by this point) without crippling guilt. I had anxiety that I was going to Hell. I felt like I was standing upon glass, and, though I knew it was safe, every time I glanced down I saw death. I had trouble coping with the fact that my entire childhood education now essentially meant nothing — I had been schooled in a sham. I had to start from scratch in entering and learning about this secular world. Uncertainty was not something I was accustomed to feeling. Though I had left Christianity intellectually, my emotional beliefs had yet to catch up.



Eventually I worked up the courage to announce my choice on Facebook — which generated its own share of controversy. I’m fairly certain I broke my mother’s heart. Many people accused me of simply going through a rebellious stage and that I would come around soon. Countless people prayed for me.

I don’t know how my dad reacted to my deconversion; I haven’t spoken to him since I left home.



There was no miracle to cure me of the fear and pain, no God to turn to for comfort. But it did heal. Eventually. I only barely fear Hell now, and my instinct to pray only turns up on rare occasions. For a while now, I’ve been educating myself in science, a world far more uncertain than the one I left, but also far more honest.

Rachael Slick



Someone once asked me if I would trade in my childhood for another, if I had the chance, and my answer was no, not for anything.
 My reason is that, without that childhood, I wouldn’t understand what freedom truly is — freedom from a life centered around obedience and submission, freedom to think anything, freedom from guilt and shame, freedom from the perpetual heavy obligation to keep every thought pure. Nothing I’ve ever encountered in my life has been so breathtakingly beautiful. 



Freedom is my God now, and I love this one a thousand times more than I ever loved the last one.

***Update***: If you’d like to reach Rachael, you may email her here.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • DKeane123

    Excellent post – Rachael seems happy in both the post and her picture. Good for her.

  • C Peterson

    For all his brainwashing efforts, Slick made the mistake of teaching his daughter to think critically and honestly. Look what happened. This is why religion fights broad education, fights critical thinking, fights internal reflection.

    Teach those skills to somebody intelligent, and odds are they will lose their religion.

  • KMR

    That’s really interesting. You have the wonderful encouragement of critical thinking skills on one hand and the horribly restrictive and regimenting of life experiences on the other. A childhood of extremes. Glad she’s happy now.

    One other thing caught my eye, “…his debate tactics were ruthless and often more focused on efficiency than relationship-building.” Speaking as someone who newly identifies as none that seems to be an issue in some of the atheist writings I read also. I wonder why so many people (and not just atheists) really like to just annihilate people with no regard to how that will affect future relationships and the goals of whatever mission they support?

  • Jason Sullivan

    Freedom is her god now. I like it . That could be a bumper sticker

  • edb3803

    Welcome to the world of reality, Rachael. Unfortunately, you have to go through a feeling of nihilism before you get to a feeling of true freedom. But, my words, it is a great feeling! The feeling of freedom by a converted atheist has to be greater than that of an atheist raised as an atheist, I believe. And in your case, with such a strong religious indoctrination, the feeling must be euphoric!

  • Tainda

    Such a good, and sad, article!

    I wish the Mormons would blacklist me :(

  • Kingasaurus

    “Everything I was, everything I knew, the structure of my reality, my
    society, and my sense of self suddenly crumbled away, and I was left
    naked.”

    This kind of reaction seems to be a common one for many people raised in such an environment. Emotionally devastating and frightening. Your identity seems to just collapse, and there’s little you can do. It seems almost involuntary.

    I forget who said it first, but this scenario is familiar for people who simply decide that “Truth” is more important than “God”. Why? Because they correctly tell themselves that it’s possible for the Truth to exist and for God to NOT exist – but not the reverse. The truth is real, whatever it turns out to be, but God may or may not be real. Coming to the understanding that “God” and “Truth” are not automatically synonyms is the first step. You then encourage yourself to find out what the truth is, no matter what – just see where the evidence leads.

    Well done.

  • flyb

    Be careful, Jason. It’s Rain’s job around here to say something could go on a bumper sticker or neck tie! ;-)

  • Gringa

    And he sent her to college!

  • TrueFreedomEx_C

    I love it! Welcome to freedom, Rachael!

  • SuperAsianSalsero

    Enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you.

  • CultOfReason

    …his debate tactics were ruthless and often more focused on efficiency than relationship-building.”

    Something tells me this may have been a contributing factor in her running away from home.

  • Sara

    Interesting story, though I refuse to think that the question of why Christians aren’t called to follow the Torah in light of the Messiah was the reason for her deconversion.

    She’s obviously intelligent, so how can someone so well versed in Christianity (albeit Western Evangelical with “eternal torment” talk and the like, and not Orthodox) not have ever discussed the role of the Torah??? Acts 15 Jerusalem Council? Galatians? Romans?

  • sane37

    The urge to be “Right”.

  • Kingasaurus

    Sometimes it takes a while to finally decide something doesn’t make sense. There can be a difference between regurgitating apologetical “answers” to certain doctrinal difficulties, and actually admitting to yourself that those “answers” are insufficient to deal with the problem – and that the problem itself is potentially fatal to your worldview.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Who said that Christians aren’t called to follow the laws of the OT? The
    “Messiah” himself reiterates constantly throughout the NT that the old
    laws are still applicable. What led to her deconversion was realizing that the Bible was fallible and more likely just the words of stone-age, barbaric goat-herders.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    HEY! A video should not start playing automatically when I click on the Friendly Atheist home page.

  • http://thewritepractice.com/ John Fisher

    ……..I wish the Jehovah’s Witnesses would blacklist me. Geesh! Not to mention the Pentecostals…………

  • KMR

    Yeah I was a little surprised at the question myself. The answer commonly given (purity laws written out to separate the first followers from the surrounding pagan societies) always made sense to me but them maybe I’m not thinking it through enough.
    It was her first series of questions she mentioned (the loving God who is all O’s yet making human creation deserving of hell) that I couldn’t rectify.

  • KMR

    But why call people names or be insulting why you do it? How can anybody think that’s constructive?

    Of course the answer is they probably don’t care if it’s constructive. It’s satisfying for the moment and who cares about the long term consequences of labeling yourself and then acting like a asshole with that label attached. It still blows my mind though that so many people don’t seem to get how destructive that is.

  • sane37

    They don’t care. That’s the problem.
    They don’t think they have to, since they think they’re right.

  • Zugswang

    What a wonderful personal narrative; thank you very much for sharing.

    I do hope that soon, you’ll be able to dispossess yourself of the last vestiges of old habits and paradigms that still cause you any anxiety, and I really hope that your family (at least, those who have not yet) will come to accept and support you – as much for you as for themselves.

  • decathelite

    Thanks for sharing Rachael!

  • Rachael

    Yes.

  • bigcheeese

    Not from what i gathered. She ran away before then and hasn’t spoken to him since.

  • KMR

    Probably. It might have to do with her lack of communication with him right now, also. That part of her story makes me sad because I think it probably makes her sad. Even if your folks act like assholes, you still want their approval and love.

  • Zugswang

    Invective rhetoric can be effective, though usually against those who do not possess great strength of conviction, and it does not convince except by fear of ridicule.

    Other times, it’s an exasperated last resort against individuals who are perceived as impervious to logic, and all that can be done is to let the strength of one’s words serve as strength of certainty, thereby winning with the audience instead of the person, but again, it’s more of a tactic for bludgeoning someone into submission to earn a very shallow and short-lived victory.

    It does have limited utility, but I wouldn’t recommend it, either.

  • CanuckAmuck

    Yours is a riveting story, Rachael. I congratulate you on the perspicacious person you’ve become.

  • Javier Pazos

    That was a very heartwarming story. Thank you for sharing Rachel.

  • Mario Strada

    There are many passages that made mad or sad, but this one stood out:

    “We were extremely well-behaved children, and my dad would sometimes show us off to people he met in public by issuing commands that we automatically rushed to obey.”

    I could not conceive doing that to my daughter or being proud of it “Look what a nice automaton my wife and I made”. Yet, at the same time, he did cultivate Rachel’s mind, even though for the wrong reasons, still the training she was subjected to was impressive. Way too reliant on blind repetition, but sounds to me there was a good deal of critical thinking involved.

    I am glad Rachel broke the chains of religion, but the fact that her dad won’t speak to her makes him a monster in my eyes. There are certainly valid reasons to stop your relationship with your child. If she becomes a notorious mass murderer and serial killer, or if she becomes the head of an international terrorist organization. Short of that, a difference in religious creed just doesn’t cut it. It means that you never loved your child but you raised him or her like a trained animal.

    If my daughter became a fundamentalist Christian, I would certainly be disappointed, I won’t lie, and I certainly would continue to rebut her argument every time she made one, but otherwise, she would still be my daughter no matter what.

  • Casey Braden

    Thank you so much, Rachael, for sharing this story. I found so many things in your narrative that seemed to mirror what I felt and thought as I examined and later rejected the Christianity of my youth. It definitely struck an emotional chord for me. I hope you choose to continue to write about your experiences in the future.

  • John H

    It’s an issue across Patheos – their advertising service uses a lot of auto-playing videos (which are terrible design, but it’s not like advertisers ever cared about good design or ethics of any sort). I recommend a script-blocker.

    Edit: I also like to get sites their due ad dollars, but I’m running into an issue where opening too many tabs with auto-loading, auto-playing videos spawns too many instances of the Flash player, causing them to crash and sometimes take Firefox with them.

  • Rachael

    I still can’t talk about being free without crying. And I very rarely cry, for anything.

  • Rachael

    My dad does want to speak to me – I’m the one who’s not speaking to him. I try to remove negative influences from my life if I consider them to be unhealthy.
    Just thought I’d clarify. =)

  • Gus Snarp

    It shouldn’t happen anywhere. I’ve never had it happen here until today, and it won’t happen again. I avoid ad blockers because I want the websites I browse to be able to make money, but there are level I will not tolerate, and my AdBlock Plus just got turned back on.

  • John H

    As someone raised without religion (and also raised to demand evidence for any claim and to question all power/authority), I find these kinds of narratives enlightening and fascinating. This was well-written, also; thanks for sharing!

  • Lina Baker

    Thank you for sharing, Rachael. As someone that grew up in the Bible belt, in a very Christian family (though not anywhere as strict as yours), I so identify with so much that you have said, and really felt for you as I read what you wrote. The final straw for me was studying the history of the Bible – the actual history of its many different versions and rewrites. I wish so much I had known about Bart Ehrman in those days of all those questions – I would have gotten to this point so much more quickly! Give yourself plenty of time to work through this time – and I hope you can really enjoy it, this new found freedom, of thought without boundaries. We’ve got values and morals and volunteering and love (well, at least some of us), and you might be surprised how many people “come out” to you when they find out your checking the “none” box.

  • Jason Sullivan

    How about refrigerator magnets. Is that taken?

  • KMR

    Whether it even wins the audience though I think would be in question. If the asshole response is to another asshole, then yes. If it isn’t then all I personally think when I read the comment is what a jerk. It’s hard to even focus on the gist of the argument because you’re so turned off by the person who wrote it.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Most people get so panicked when they get to the edge of their belief that they panic and go back to their faith. When people discover that I don’t believe in god they look panic-stricken. It’s not that they don’t understand. It’s that they have been so conditioned to fear doubt and lack of faith that they refuse to contemplate a life without it. It’s a very effective way of keeping people in line who would otherwise walk away.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I usually tell them that I don’t have time to talk because I’m off to have a blood transfusion. ;-)

  • Ibis3

    That common explanation only makes sense superficially (and might not be an answer at all, depending on what “sins” Alex and Rachael were discussing). What need for differentiation or why would there even be other societies with different moral conclusions? Why would there be a “chosen people” if God is universal and morality absolute? It just doesn’t wash. (Obviously, the discrepancy has a historical, not a theological explanation.)

  • http://manojpontificates.blogspot.com/ Manoj

    Rachael, you have had an amazing journey. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Gus Snarp

    Huh, that fixed the autoplay video ad that popped up earlier, but the Daily Show video just autoplayed, which is weird.

  • Gus Snarp

    Yeah, this is how I feel. Advertise to me. Give me banner ads with graphics, even for annoying sites and products I don’t care about. Sometimes I’ll even click them. Maybe, just maybe, one will be for something I actually want and I’ll click and maybe even spend money. Good for everyone. But don’t hog my computer resources or make loud obnoxious sounds, or I’ll do everything in my power to block your ads.

  • LizBert

    Yep, my younger brother has had questions about his faith for a very long time and for a while even said that he didn’t believe in god. He had a hard time with uncertainty of the world without god and he was pretty depressed for a while. Not long ago he called to tell me that he decided he believes in god again and that he’s much happier now.

  • Anna

    Fascinating story. It makes me so sad to think about all the children being raised in harsh fundamentalism, but it’s good to know that Rachael managed to escape. I hope we’ll be able to read something similar from the Duggar children one of these days.

  • bossmanham

    Ah yes. Rebellion and idolatry. Such freeing concepts…for the godless.

  • http://thewritepractice.com/ John Fisher

    Hey, that’s good! I just may steal that’un………….

  • Blacksheep

    “…freedom from a life centered around obedience and submission, freedom to think anything, freedom from guilt and shame, freedom from the perpetual heavy obligation to keep every thought pure. Nothing I’ve ever encountered in my life has been so breathtakingly beautiful…”

    It’s always good to see someone happy and at peace. I’m submitting this thought not to take any of that away, but as a different viewpoint, since my Christian faith has given me precisely what Rachael seemes to have gained by leaving hers –

    As a Christian I have had that same feeling of breathtaking beauty- especially because of freedom from the perpetual obligation to keep everything pure, and freedom from guilt and shame. That’s literally the essence of the Gospel – total forgiveness and acceptance based on the object of our faith (Christ), not the quality of our faith.

    “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25, NIV)”

  • Rachael

    I suspect that some people are built in such a way that belief in god is almost a necessity for happiness. It’s very sad.

  • Clinton

    I can appreciate this article, written from an honest perspective and not from someone just setting out to tear down religion. But she seems to have made the same mistake that many Atheists make — assuming that just because she and one of her friends didn’t have the answers to her questions, that *no one* does. There are good answers to the challenges of Atheists, and there are good responses to the question that she and her friend didn’t have the answer to.

  • George Spanos

    Inspiring story. I come from a similar background. My father is one of the most intelligent people that I know. I’ve often wondered how someone so intelligent can compartmentalize his beliefs and yet be such a critical thinker in every other aspect of his life. Growing up, he taught me to question everything, not take anything at face value, yet was heartbroken when I applied those skills to my faith. Years later, it’s still hard for me to enjoy many things that others take for granted, being raised in a home where we were taught that everything is vanity, where you will watch everything and everyone that doesn’t share your beliefs be destroyed by a loving god. The metaphorical cross we bear as adults brought on by the constant fear of judgement will always be there. The burden does ease as the years go by though.

    Stay strong. I hope your story inspires other curious teens to question what they were taught to believe as well.

  • Kingasaurus

    You all have answers. Doesn’t mean they are good, persuasive and ultimately correct answers.

    This woman was as well versed in Christianity and apologetics as any layperson could be. I doubt she was never exposed to your claims of “answers.”

  • Rachael

    If there are, no one has been able to provide them yet.
    I dislike believing in flawed ideology on the principle that ‘someone will answer it at some point.’
    There’s a difference between ongoing research, and finding actual contradictions and problems in the logic. If I decided to ignore logical problems, then I could just as easily become a Muslim or a Scientologist.

  • Stev84

    Why am I not surprised that this model Christian regularly beats his children?

  • Adam

    Rachel, what a difficult story to have lived. Thank you for sharing it. Other than learning about science, what are you doing now? Do you write regularly?

  • bossmanham

    So since science relies on answering most questions about the physical world and how it works “at some point,” are you going to abandon it as well? I mean we still haven’t cured cancer, and you don’t like not having questions right away. Might as well abandon the whole enterprise, eh?

    And there’s no logical problem in recognizing that the Old Testament laws included ceremonial and dietary laws for the Hebraic theocracy, as well as timeless and universal moral laws that never changed. It also, like most modern societies, regulated other behaviors that aren’t relevant today.

    Your deconversion is weak sauce, Rachel.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    Look, I know this is bad manners and won’t change anything, but… good grief, young lady, you got confounded by such an easy question!

    The correct answer to the question, “why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament” is that the Law of Moses was never intended to be a complete and perfect moral system. It was a legal system for a Bronze Age culture, full of concessions to a Bronze Age mentality. Jesus actually said so in at least one discussion in the New Testament (see Matthew 19:1-9,) but you don’t really need to know that in order to grasp the limits of Moses’ law. You didn’t state “the Old Testament was a perfect moral system” among the premises of your argument, but it was there, unstated.

    Of course, what got exposed at that juncture was a more serious defect in your upbringing: your religion was not based on a relationship with a living God, but instead was based on an allegedly infallible book. Once the book became questionable, the entire edifice of your belief system came unglued.

    That was unfortunate and unnecessary. Your CARM-employed father, as fully-educated and prepared as he is, is a biblical fundamentalist, and a number of his positions are simply wrong. More importantly, though, Christianity is not about getting the answers right, nor is it about the perfection of the Bible; it’s about getting to know a loving God personally. Probably 7/8 of Christendom does not embrace the doctrine of biblical inerrancy like your parents do, and it is not by any means required as an article of faith. So the discovery that the book is not letter-perfect the way you were taught ought not have driven you away from Christianity.

    (I do not mean to demean your parents; no parents are perfect, and a lot of them are far less conscientious than yours were.)

    I can only hope that you will one day learn Christianity in a context different from that into which you were born, and discover the liberty that is yours in Christ by birthright.

  • Kingasaurus

    How about we use a method that has shown its reliability over time to provide answers when we get enough evidence? Religion doesn’t do that, and never has.

    Not knowing everything isn’t an excuse to just believe anything with a crappy epistemology.

  • Anna

    Not only is it not surprising, fundamentalists teach that it is biblically mandated. The entire evangelical subculture has a very serious problem when it comes to their promotion of abusive parenting techniques.

  • KMR

    Good points. Thanks for expounding on why that question would have given her problems.

  • Beth Melton

    Your articles awesome Rachael :) I remember the debate days of whyville we used to have, ya know you really did inspire me to work on my reasoning skills back in the day. I could just never win. lol. This girls got skills, skills to pay the bills.

  • Tainda

    I’m going to start keeping red lipstick by my door and when they knock I will paint a pentagram on my forehead before I answer.

    I just moved into a new neighborhood last year and I think there is a thumper down the street and it’s annoying! I never got this many knocks before.

    One day my daughter came over and we were going to my parents house for dinner. I opened the garage so she could move her car and she said one of them jumped out from behind the neighbor’s car and another came up behind her. She said she got a flash of Night of the Living Dead and almost ran lol Scary!

  • RickyWW

    If the Bible can contain errors, the whole religion falls apart – all you’re left with after that is cognitive dissonance or leaving the religion.

  • Kingasaurus

    …and like clockwork, in comes the non-fundamentalist Christian who has all different “answers” that he/she thinks someone like Rachael has never heard before.

  • bossmanham

    Christianity always has answers to questions. It is science that is constantly revised, theories added to or trashed. Always in a state of flux and up for revision, and this is proudly stated by those in the field. Yet this is supposed to lead us to all truth? This answers obscure metaphysical questions? No. It doesn’t.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    Don’t say ridiculous things. Christianity is based on the teaching, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It’s an event in history. The Bible does not have to be better than any other history book, it just has to be trustworthy with respect to the events. That’s no more than is required of any history book.

    The only people who insist that the Bible must be inerrant are hard fundamentalists and atheists trying very hard to pretend that every Christian has to be a hard fundamentalist.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Here comes another non-fundamentalist to tell us that we have the wrong of it, that this is what we have to be believe as the only possible interpretation. Don’t let this fool anyone. As we’ve learnt from the Harold Camping fiasco, the difference between fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists is one of degree, not of kind.

  • Kingasaurus

    Christianity has bad, non-evidence based answers that it sticks to no matter what.
    Revising your answers based on new evidence is a strength, not a weakness.

  • bossmanham

    //Revising your answers based on new evidence is a strength, not a weakness.

    Just means all the previously given and widely believe answers were all wrong. So you’re never at a point of finding out truth, because it’s possible all your answers were wrong.

    Course this is using Rachel’s logic.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I think you’ll find that your history isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And it’s not just a history book, is it?

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    No, it’s a great deal more than just a history book. But we’re not talking about what the Bible is, we’re talking about what it is required to be in order for Christianity to be plausible.

    And the historical value the New Testament is pretty much rock-solid.

  • Rachael

    This is typically the reaction, but that doesn’t mean we should treat Christians with any less respect, or think that their motivations are somehow devious. We should give them honest, patient answers.

  • RickyWW

    No. Just no. It’s not.

  • Kingasaurus

    “And the historical value the New Testament is pretty much rock-solid.”

    Who knew we’d get stand-up comedy as a free bonus?

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    It’s not what?

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    Harold Camping, therefore anybody who’s not a fundamentalist is wrong?

    Do try to defend the logic of that claim.

    Just… wow.

  • The Other Weirdo

    No, just incomplete. The universe is vast, vaster than the terrified, feeble minds of the Bible’s authors could conceive of. Vaster than we can conceive of. It is no surprise that answers are expanded upon as new information comes to light. What new information has to light in theology? What do we know about God that we didn’t 2,000 years ago? 4,000 years? 6,000 years?

  • baal

    phil wink; you’re missing the repression and mental straightjacketing. It’s psychologically harmful and not just an issue of a couple of facts or positions being off here or there.

    ” good grief, young lady, you got confounded by such an easy question!”
    Also, this quoted text is condescending.

  • Rachael

    If I believe the Bible is fallible, I don’t see why I should place faith in the events in the Bible that aren’t historically supported, or seem to be at odds with the working order of the world as we know it. Infallibility grants a stronger belief.
    And as for the relationship aspect – other religions have ‘relationships’ too, and experience the same, if not stronger, feelings of God’s presence. I cannot trust that.

  • baal

    It’s not rock solid. It’s self contradictory and full of holes. It’s even hard to figure out who wrote it.

  • RickyWW

    The “history” in the New Testament is not rock-solid – ranging from the non-existent “census” that got Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem to the Roman governors timelines being wrong.

  • Kingasaurus

    I appreciate your attitude. But this isn’t my first rodeo, either. The day I hear something new in one of these comment threads will, unfortunately, be something of a surprise.

    People I generally respect. Ideas, not so much.

  • bossmanham

    This doesn’t answer the issue. It just confounds it.

  • http://www.ichthus77.blogspot.com/ Maryann Spikes

    Rachael,

    Does it all hang on this? –

    “If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

    “Alex had no answer — and I realized I didn’t either. Everyone had always explained this problem away using the principle that Jesus’ sacrifice meant we wouldn’t have to follow those ancient laws. 
But that wasn’t an answer. In fact, by the very nature of the problem, there was no possible answer that would align with Christianity.”

    …what if there is an answer you just have not yet been exposed to? Would you be interested in considering it?

    As far as science goes…what of theistic evolution? Have you heard of biologos.org?

    I’m also curious if you’ve heard of the “minimal facts” argument for the resurrection, which is based on only the facts accepted as historical by virtually every NT scholar, whether theist or not.

    I was raised in church (Dad was a pastor) and became an atheist after leaving home as well, so I can relate to your story.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    In my experience, Kingasaurus, most believers have not heard the answers I give, and they frequently find them useful. You might think it’s pompous to think I’m unique, but that’s actually been my experience.

  • Kingasaurus

    Nonsense. The point is you get closer to reality the more you discover. Newton helped us learn something new, but Einstein added something else that fixed Newton’s problem. We aren’t just fumbling around in the dark. The method works, and you need good evidence to change minds.

    Again, religious modes of thought don’t do this, and show zero evidence that their “answers” map on to anything real.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I’ve read it. It’s a collection of bad morality, worse justifications and terrible visions induced by consuming too many shrooms. It’s written by a people who believed in wizards and demons, and all those things that you think go bump in night until you realize that it’s just your house contracting in the cool air or expanding in the hot.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    You folks are reading biased histories, apparently. And I’d really like to see the proof that a census did not take place, given the fact that we’re talking about events 2,000 years ago, the records for which are nothing but what we’ve dug out of the earth. I mean, good grief, you’d have difficulty proving that some of the Roman emperors even existed, based solely on the external evidence.

  • bossmanham

    And thus, ultimately (if science is the sole and/or ultimate guide to truth) we’re all wrong and never right. So Rachel shouldn’t really believe anything.

  • baal

    Science led to that computer you’re typing on bossmanham. I think we played apologist bingo last time someone floated this argument from your side. Also, please change your gravitar. I don’t like to argue with a gun pointed at me (or even near me)

  • The Other Weirdo

    Because the universe is a confounding place. We are never going to know everything about it in one generation. We may never know everything, even if we as a species survive to the end of it. But whatever we discover about the universe, I can guarantee you, right now, that it will not come from religious studies or reading the Bible. There are no answers there; there aren’t even any questions, and that’s worse.

  • Thackerie

    Christians claim to have “evidence” and “good answers,” but I have never — not once — seen any Christian produce any, and I have been reading religious forums for years. Put up or shut up.

  • Dave

    “……” (Silent Bob, Clerks)

  • The Other Weirdo

    Who are we to tell Rachel what she should believe?

    And so what if we are never right, or to put it more precisely, we are never entirely right? What is wrong with being wrong, recognizing that we are wrong and searching for a better explanation?

  • Kingasaurus

    “Prove there wasn’t a census”? That’s your answer?

    We know of a 6CE census of Quirinius, but that doesn’t align with Matthew who says Jesus was born while Herod the Great was still alive (4BC). Your history contradicts itself.

  • Gus Snarp

    So are you an atheist who is an admin at a site devoted to Christian apologetics and a certified apologist who also tweets Bible verses, or is this line dishonest?

    I was raised in church (Dad was a pastor) and became an atheist after leaving home as well, so I can relate to your story.

    It probably does not hinge only on that one question, most people may start to question their faith based on a single issue, but soon find that the entire structure falls apart under close, unbiased examination. But I like the way you demonstrate the typical overconfidence of the Christian who thinks they can save someone or bring them back to the faith. Surely this woman just hasn’t heard the right apologetics in her lifetime of living with an apologist and being trained by him.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    Thank you for your patience, and I meant no disrespect. I understand the trauma of the crisis (having experienced a similar one myself, resulting in my dumping several Evangelical presuppositions but NOT in my leaving the faith.) I get that it’s about more than just a single question.

    It’s just … holy moly, THAT question?

  • http://www.ichthus77.blogspot.com/ Maryann Spikes

    I did not remain an atheist…

  • baal

    Less good-griefing please. Your personal state of astonishment isn’t persuasive of anything. What you’re doing with it is usually called a special pleading. see also http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

  • Gus Snarp

    Ah, so it was dishonest, that’s what I thought. You implied that you are an atheist, hoping to win Rachael and other readers’ trust. That’s the level of class I expect from Christian apologists.

  • wesvvv

    You are picking and choosing what to believe out of a history book. YOU are picking and choosing what to believe. You created the religion you follow.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Way to miss the point, and so totally not what I said.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    I’ve read it.

    You may have read it, but you clearly did not understand it. And your disrespect for the authors is so completely misguided as to evidence how poor was your reading.

    The ancients did not presuppose everything we do, but they were not children, nor were they fools. I have zero respect for the intellect of anybody who fails to grasp this.

  • baal

    It’s also considered poor form to pass yourself off as a site admin unless you are one. “Admin” as a nym looks like you’re an official from Patheos or this blog.

    Edit to note that Maryann has changed her log in to be a normal person and not admin now.

  • Kingasaurus

    So since we can only be 99.9% right and never 100% right about anything, we should instead start believing in invisible beings and magic powers and resurrected corpses and all the superstition that surrounds such ideas.

    Got it.

  • Thackerie

    Nah, just sounds pompous to me. It’s 2013. By now, anyone who wants to know about christianity in all its many varieties already does.

  • Tim

    Great article Rachael. Your story somewhat reflects my own (at least in the salient points). Conversion from religious to atheist seems to follow a rough pattern (invented by me, no I have no references):

    1. Hardcore believer (what you THINK is the best stage)

    2. Doubtful believer (scary stage)

    3. Logically atheist but still emotionally religious (the scariest stage of all!)

    4. Full blown atheist both logically and emotionally (the ACTUAL best stage of all!)

    For me, stage 3 lasted several years. Glad to have you among the stage 4′s!

  • Art_Vandelay

    The Lee Strobel effect. Maryann…tell me more about this theistic evolution. I couldn’t get too far on that site because I refuse to read anything that uses terms like “evolutionism.”

  • Blacksheep

    Funny… Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) considers himself to be a Christian – (I’ve heard him speak) and claims to be a “Real big God fan.”

    he also says, which I tend to often agree with,

    ” “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Christianity… except @%#&*!$ Christians”

  • bossmanham

    No, you can’t be right at all. You’re either right or wrong.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I understood it. They presupposed the existence of God, not questioning it even once, and that alone makes the book worthless except as a cultural artifact.

    Some ancients were not children. Some ancients were not fools. I have zero respect for the intellect of anybody who fails to grasp this.

  • bossmanham

    Nothing. Just don’t act like you know Christianity is wrong or that you’re intellectually superior to your Christian dad.

  • RickyWW

    The Romans kept very good records.

  • wesvvv

    Why are preachers promising to make followers wealthy, putting on ostentatious displays of wealth and exhorting military power? Jesus did none of those things but the mega-church pastors do it. Why? Because it sells. It sells because there is a religion instinct that in the end reverts to the Paganism resembling that in Rome which is exactly what the early Christians were rebelling against. Great, ain’t it? But it never changes. Ever.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Christianity has not be shown to be right in 2,000 years. I have no fear that it will be shown so in the future.

    And my dad is a Jew. Thanks for playing.

  • Thackerie

    I know! I was about to reply directly to that ignorant comment, but I couldn’t think of a nice way to do it without calling it an ignorant comment.

  • Mark

    Lying for Jesus,.

  • Kingasaurus

    BInary thinker and a raging solipsist at the same time.

  • Anna

    You should read Dan Barker’s book Godless, he talks about searching for truth similarly as you have. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s very powerful and I’m glad you have come to a better place.

  • RickyWW

    And, no census (ever, to the best of my knowledge) requires people to travel to another city to be counted – that’s one of the weaker plot points in an already muddled narrative.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Maybe your answers are really just not that good. Has your pompousness allowed you to consider that?

  • Thackerie

    Reading comprehension is not your strong point.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Oh man. How lucky for you to have been given the unique ability to interpret Christianity in the precise manner as God intended. Either that or there’s as many forms of Christianity as there are Christians and you all just spin and cherry pick until you find something that matches a world view that you’re comfortable accepting. Intellectual honesty be damned.

  • wesvvv

    If they lead to progress there are no wrong assumptions in science. Science is a process. You Christians are so very pure from day one that you don’t need a process?

  • wesvvv

    What you described is freedom from personal responsibility. Oh, sorry about my messing up there, guess I’ll just say some prayers and wipe that sin away and go about my merry way. Atheists mess something up we have to fix it to overcome guilt. Which is a better system?

  • wesvvv

    He’s a fan of Gandhi apparently since he’s paraphrasing him.

  • wesvvv

    As opposed to rebelling against logic and evidence and idolizing only approved statues.

  • David

    Great post. Thank you for your story.

  • Kingasaurus

    Yes. Also, if you just read Matthew, it looks like they live in Bethlehem (in a house), and only settle in Nazareth later to escape danger. No indication they came from there. The census is only in Luke.

  • Eric

    Rachael,

    what do you make of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ? Do you simply not believe that it happened now or what? I’m curious. I’ve had a hard time wrapping my mind around certain thoughts about the problem of pain and original sin, but the resurrection of Christ is something I find to be historically accurate as documented in the gospels. And that one event alone tells me that even though I don’t have everything figured out, Christ is in fact God’s Son and that his message is truth- the only truth that really matters.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    That’s your answer?

    No, that’s my reaction. I’m not going to attempt an answer because I don’t have the time, energy, or stupidity to attempt to prove something so broad as “the New Testament is historically reliable” on a site where folks base their entire lives on the rebuttal of exactly that claim.

    If you want an explanation of how Luke’s timeline could have worked, Christian Think Tank does a fair job of it. http://christianthinktank.com/quirinius.html

    I’ve seen lots of attempted deconstructions like the one you linked to, and even written articles rebutting some of their particulars. But I’m not going to waste my time doing that here.

  • Blacksheep

    The better system is the true one.

    When it comes to guilt, I believe that it comes from God, so the only way to fix it is to be right with God. I personally don’t believe that we would feel guilt if we were 100% animals by nature, without a soul or something outside and apart from our animal selves.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    What you’re doing with it is usually called a special pleading.

    Uh… no, it’s not. What I’m doing is simply pointing out the danger of making claims about what did not happen in antiquity, based on the limitations of evidence that is available for ancient events. That’s not “special pleading” in any sense. That’s a sensible precaution that any student of history needs to heed when approaching any subject.

  • Tim

    I’m curious how much research you’ve really done on the accuracy of the gospels. I myself find them completely bogus since not only do they agree with external history (the period and area were well documented, it was quite an enlightened time), but they also don’t agree with each other.

  • Blacksheep

    Maybe, but quite a few people have made that comment – inluding Christian apologist CK Chesterton. (And myself sometimes as well).

  • Kingasaurus

    I’m well aware of apologetical attempts at harmonization of such things – something such people would never even try if it was for a belief system other than the one they already subscribed to for other reasons.

    No need to waste our time, I agree. Heard it before in all its unconvincing glory.

  • Ken

    How can you not speak to him? Sorry, Rachael, I know you’re getting a lot of praise here and I’m sure I’ll get slammed for this (I don’t care, it needs to be said), but that just seems wrong to me. He is your father. I can’t help but notice the harsh words Mario had for your Dad when he thought he was the reason you all did not speak to each other, but he said nothing when you confessed that he DOES want to speak to you and you are the one who has cut off the relationship. What’s more amazing is that 2 people so far have “liked” Mario’s comment and 14 have “liked” your response. I can only assume that those first 2 people aren’t included in the 14, because it doesn’t seem possible to label your father as a horrible person for cutting off his relationship with his daughter under these circumstances, yet praise the daughter for doing THE EXACT SAME THING. It sounds to me like your father loves you and you are the one making the destructive choice here.

    I’d like to think that you are rational in your decision to de-convert, but if it truly was a purely rational decision, I wonder why you label exposure to your father, simply because he has a different opinion on God than you do, to be a negative influence that is unhealthy? Do you cut yourself off from all infuence from people who have a different opinion from yourself? If so, how do you ever honestly examine your beliefs? You talk in your post about the leading reason for people clinging to Christianity to be the environment that surrounds them, but now you are doing the exact same thing with your new worldview. Couldn’t we just substitute some terminology here and describe your upbringing? Your homeschooling sheltered you from the secular environment because it would have been a negative influence that your father considered unhealthy? How are you not doing the exact same thing now?

    Call your father Rachael. If you don’t, you are behaving in the exact same manner that you are speaking against in this post. If you really believe everything you’ve said here, you’ll pick up that phone. If you don’t, then you may need to do some deep re-examining of what you truly believe.

  • Gus Snarp

    I guess Matthew 5:17-18 isn’t clear. Or maybe this is one of those metaphorical bits and not the literal truth?

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

    I’m not sure, but that seems pretty clear to me. Or maybe you’ve got some clever delineation of when “everything is accomplished”? What, that’s right after the resurrection I suppose, so the second coming isn’t part of “everything” that needs to be accomplished?

  • wesvvv

    They might have blacklisted me since I haven’t seen them since I was out pulling weeds two summers ago and when they gave me their schpeel I started asking if they ever wondered why it was the rich and powerful seemed to be the ones insisting that justice and equality should wait for the next life. Wasn’t that odd?

  • baal

    “I don’t have everything figured out, Christ is in fact God’s Son and
    that his message is truth- the only truth that really matters.”
    As an atheist, this statement looks like an emotional bludgeon or cult based iterative statements used to return thinking to well worn ruts. I’m starting to develop a severe repulsion to it. It is indecent to push a drink into a recovering alcoholics hand and it is indecent to use similar tricks to keep people in the faith.

  • Anna

    This post must be linked on a fundamentalist blog, or else Matt Slick has a lot of fans rushing to defend him!

    I always find it curious that so many fundamentalists seem incapable of questioning their foundational assumptions. I know much of it has to do with childhood indoctrination, but I just cannot get over how they seem to uncritically swallow supernatural claims. They start off with the assumption that the Bible is a special book and that the god it talks about is real, and everything follows from there.

  • wesvvv

    Jesus did not hang on the cross very long compared to the average time one hung. That’s in the bible itself. You don’t find that suspicious? Resurrection still happens. Someone just woke up right before they were going to remove the organs. If we can’t tell if someone is dead, how could a cave man?

  • Gus Snarp

    Let me be the first to slam you. You don’t know why she won’t speak to him or why she left home. She said it’s something else and it’s pretty clear she doesn’t want to talk about it. I’m a big supporter of maintaining open channels of communication within families and not shutting anyone out, but I’m not about to give that advice to someone when I know nothing of why she’s made that choice. There can be very good reasons for it.

  • baal

    Since it’s hard to prove roman emperors and bible stories, it’s not ok to ask for evidence of either but to just accept both. It’s special pleading to skip the usual standards of evidence. I don’t necessarily buy the stories in the Iliad, national sagas or other historical documents either absent additional evidence.

  • wesvvv

    Pride is a sin, Phil. Watch out.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    Maybe your answers are really just not that good. Has your pompousness allowed you to consider that?

    Many times, and I do a lot of study and pondering to adjust my thinking. But the fact remains, my IQ is about 3 sigmas north of the mean, my analytical reason scores place me in the top .2% of thinkers in the United States, and peoples’ reactions to my thoughts in Christian settings encourage me to continue offering them. So the likelihood that it’s all illusion is fairly low.

    But of course, I disagree with you, therefore I must be deluded.

    Who’s being pompous now?

  • Erich

    As a former Pentecostal, turned Reformed Christian, now Agnostic , I find that statement deeply true. All it takes is one willing to give an honest answer to questions that believing in religion begs to ask.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    It’s 2013. By now, anyone who wants to know about Christianity in all its many varieties already does.

    Try that in some other subject area and see how well it works. “It’s 2013. By now, anybody who wants to know about philately in all its many varieties already does.”

    See how silly that is? Even those for whom philately is a hobby, can learn something about their subject by reading what somebody more experienced thinks about it.

  • Rachael

    The guy who just used his IQ as a debate point.

  • Anna

    Yes, Rachael didn’t get into everything, but even based on the information in her post, it’s perfectly understandable why she would not want to be in contact with a man who beat his children with strips of leather for not immediately obeying his commands.

  • Andrew L

    Is anyone besides me a little horrified that Awana gives out an award for most ‘godly’?

  • Ken

    You’re partially right Gus. We may never know all her reasons for not calling her Dad. But she never did say the reasons she won’t speak to him was “something else.” She said that about her decision to run away at 17, before college. If she wasn’t speaking to him even before her de-conversion, then I may agree with you. If she was and only stopped afterward, well, that’s something different now, isn’t it? And I will also be the first to say she is under no obligation to answer me. She can honestly answer that question for herself and neither I nor you ever need to know. But Gus, are you willing to say that if her reason for not speaking to him really does stem from her de-conversion that she is wrong and should call him? Just checking to see if you are willing to be consistent with what you have said or if you will blindly support someone based upon some misguided “us versus them” mentality that arbitrarily demonizes anyone who disagrees with you. So, what is your answer? If her refusal to speak to her father stems from her deconversion, do you agree with me that she should call him?

  • baal

    issac asimov had something to say about being wrong. Also and again, the gun gravitar is really off putting. I’d love to meet you IRL and just carry a baseball bat. I’d not even take practice swings at you.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Look up, Phil, up the thread, where you were being warned about pride.

    Christians will accept anything, no matter how absurd, to justify their faiths. Positive reactions in Christians circles are no more indicative of the your thoughts’ strengths than are your own. Only in conflict can you see the weaknesses in your arguments, but you must be willing to accept criticism.

    I wonder, what does your study and pondering entail? Have you produced any new profound Christian theology not yet seen by Man in 2,000 years? Do you have any new insights into the mind of God and His plan for humanity?

  • freee

    Sad story. What was meant to deliver freedom turned into the lack thereof. Rachel, apologetics and question answering were never intended to take the place of a relationship with your Creator. Thoughts, ideas, questions etc… often get in the way of remembering that God is pleased by simple faith. You are saved by faith in a person and not in the facts (though important). Unfortunately, we all will live with questions until the day we die. Unanswered questions of science and religion. Guilt and condemnation are the exact reasons that Christ died. God saw us bound by all these questions and doubts and took the responsibility for it. You may not get all your questions answered on either side of your experience but the greatest question is “is this all there is?”, and living honestly with the conclusion. If hope beyond remains, one must ask another question, why?

  • Ken

    And what are your fundamental assumptions about reality? Do you ever question them or do you somehow believe that you are immune and do not have any?

  • The Other Weirdo

    Boiled down: don’t question, don’t think, don’t consider, just be a thought-slave.

  • Joe

    yeah- it had to be more than that. That didn’t add up.

  • Stev84

    It’s called having a brain and a consciousness. No “soul” or any other supernatural nonsense needed.

  • Tobias2772

    Just WOW. Freedom is my god now and I love this one a thousand times more. What a great advertising slogan for atheism and what a wonderful story of self-emancipation. Welcome to the freedom club, Rachel

  • baal

    “more experienced thinks about it”

    Please see prior point about condescension. Many of us atheists were theists including advanced theology degrees or experience as theologians. It’s astonishing that you, on your first apparent time here, have decided you’re the more experienced person.

  • The Other Weirdo

    There are always new stamps being produced. We can see, touch and even lick stamps. For those interested in collecting stamps, there is always something new. What is new in the field of Christian theology that hasn’t been said or considered in the last 2,000 years?

  • Stev84

    >”It is science that is constantly revised, theories added to or trashed”

    That’s not a bug, but a feature. Instead you cling to 2000-year old ideas by ignorant tribesmen who knew nothing about the world.

  • Tobias2772

    The urge to win.

  • Erp

    Luke’s gospel claims two things about the timing of Jesus’s birth. (1) Herod was king and (2) a census took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria. First Herod died in 4 BCE and Quirinius didn’t take a census until 6/7 CE after Judea came under direct Roman rule (Quirinius became governor in 6CE). We know that because that census is also mentioned by Josephus and set off a revolt.

    So we have the problem that Quirinius was never governor of Syria at the same time Herod was king of Judea. We have the problem that the Romans had no authority to ask for a census of Judea while Herod was still ruling and if they had it almost certainly would have set off a revolt which Josephus would have mentioned. It also doesn’t make sense that a census would ask people to return to their ancestral home. The census was for tax purposes and it makes more sense to have them be by their property so their wealth can be checked out (or maybe Joseph was trying to evade paying taxes by separating himself from any property he owned [I'm just a destitute member of the family who is forced to live in the stable [owned by my third cousin] with my pregnant wife]).

  • bossmanham

    Because they’re distorting the words of Christ.

  • wesvvv

    The census in question (where people had to return to their home villages, which was original to that census) was actually ordered by Constantine. Funny enough about the same time the bible was assembled in its current form. This census and the need to collect taxes and therefore forcing people to stay on their land led to the medieval structure of lords and peasants.

  • bossmanham

    Yes it has.

  • Anna

    I see no reason to assume anything for which I have not been provided evidence. Theists are not born with their assumption of the supernatural. It is something that has been very carefully inculcated within them.

  • baal

    “Who’s being pompous now?”

    Can you as a smart person see that a self serving citing your IQ is in fact pompous and also brings into question just how smart you are for undercutting yourself all within one comment?

  • Guest

    I got upset with KMR’s pressuring you to resume contact with your former slaver. But then I read his last post and saw that he is just another dilusional one. Ignore him like a christian witness.

  • Rain

    I like it!

  • Tobias2772

    I think that is a wise position to take and you do not need anyone else’s approval to do what is right for you.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Have you really never seen a dog feel guilt over something that it knew it should not do? Have you never really seen an injured dog do the very thing it knew it should not do under normal, healthy circumstances, and feel no guilt over it?

  • Ken

    And how exactly does creating an obvious straw man of what Anna said and ridiculing it demonstrate the supposed allegiance to pure reason that naturalists claim for themselves?

  • The Other Weirdo

    No it hasn’t.

  • Stev84

    So the omnipotent, omniscient creator of the whole fucking universe comes up with an incomplete and imperfect moral system? He somehow couldn’t get his chosen tribe to do what he wanted right away? He had to wait several thousand years and perform a human sacrifice? Saying “Don’t keep slaves” or “Don’t treat women as your property” was beyond his ability?

    Why again should I believe in this crap?

    Of course it’s an outdated system by Bronze Age barbarians. That’s the whole point. It’s exactly what you get when you let ignorant humans do things. There was no god involved.

  • Mikail2

    Wow, back in my believing days, I regarded Matt Slick highly as an apologist. This is shocking to hear about his daughter.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    I’m using ABP, but this video played anyway, maybe because it’s not an ad.

  • Rachael

    “simply because he has a different opinion on God than you do”
    This is not the reason I don’t talk to my father. Please don’t assume. You don’t know the full story.

  • Ken

    Fair enough. Please provide the evidence that you have relied upon for your conclusion that you should not assume anything for which you have not been provided evidence.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Who is Anna?

  • William Butler

    Her story is pretty much the exact opposite of mine. When I was a kid I was an atheist raised in a non-religious, secular home by two parents that were hard core active campaigners for democrat party politicians.

    My dad especially detested evangelical Christians, and I grew up despising them as well. I saw them as stupid gullible fools who were easily manipulated into handing over their hard earned money to charlatans. I hated everything about them.

    Then when I went to college I began to start asking the big questions and looking into the scientific evidence for God. After much research into science, especially the fields of physics and cosmology, and arguing with various Christians, as well as a few supernatural experiences, I became a Christian at the age of 27.

    I could be completely wrong about this, but what I suspect is really going on here is that there are some family dynamics that are being played out. For example, the author making public statements that she is sexually active seems odd. Perhaps this is being done in hopes that someone will relay this to her father so she can twist that icy dagger in his heart just a little harder.

    It is surprising to me that she was tripped up over something so trivial. How can something be a sin at one time but not another? I could take the same argument and apply it to the New Testament alone. Jesus commanded the rich young ruler to sell everything he had and follow him. And it was sin when the ruler did not obey. But we are not commanded to do such a thing. Obviously God does not require the same exact things from all people in all times.

    Finally, I would just ask the author which worldview she substituted for Christianity? Is it atheism? If so, how does she explain the beginning of the Universe and the fine tuning of the laws of physics? How DOES she explain the origin of life? What about the historical evidence for the resurrection? Fulfilled bible prophecy? The Shroud of Turin? The existence of objective morality? The evidence from sociology? Which worldview explains all of this better than Christianity? I’m genuinely curious!

  • Edmond

    No one DOES have these answers. Not to questions like “Where did we come from?” and “Why are we here?” and “Which supernatural realms exist, and what do the beings there want of us?” You don’t have these answers. Your parents don’t have them. Your pastor doesn’t. The president doesn’t. The pope doesn’t.
    There is no way to GAIN answers to these questions, so asking them is fairly pointless. There may be plenty of people who have RESPONSES, but that doesn’t mean they’re correct answers. Such responses are speculation. There is no way to confirm if they are true or false. Different people from within the same religion will give contradictory responses. Such speculation cannot be relied upon as “truth”.
    What atheists believe — and it isn’t a “mistake” for us to do so — is that the only answers we can put stock in are the ones that have been verified through reliable methods of testing, measuring, repetition, demonstration, and falsification. Anything else, while we cannot label it as “false” for certain, we also cannot label it “true” without good justification. COULD there be gods, other realms, angels, demons, ghosts or other such phenomena? Sure. Do we have any actual INFO on them? Absolutely not. Inventing answers for unproven (and unprovable) concepts does not provide us with any real information about them, nor does it advance human knowledge in any way.
    The truths of these ideas may come to us SOMEDAY, but until they do we should not be jumping to conclusions about things that we might HOPE to be true, but have absolutely no method for researching them whatsoever.

  • Tobias2772

    bossman,

    “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”
    ― Joseph Joubert

  • baal

    “simply because he has a different opinion on God than you do”
    Simply is right there next to “just” (meaning only) as a dirty word in my book. You take a complex situation and boil it down to just a half sentence. That’s too much of a reduction.

    I also was one of the up votes in the 14 but not 2. I read and liked Marios point but I don’t up vote everything. I have been up voting a number of Rachael’s points both because they have been excellent and as a show of support.

    Lastly, you (and most of the other xtians on this comment section) seem to miss the emotional impact on Rachael and she’s not alone in having similar issues with her upbringing. It makes you all seem like monsters for ignoring that (or dismissing it with a, “i’m sure you all won’t like this but here goes more christian browbeatings”).

  • Gus Snarp
  • ThinkItThru

    Just thinking here, but in regards to her unanswerable question, I think she answers it for herself at the end. If I understand correctly, the whole reason why the Old Testament/Covenant (obedience and law) were necessary was to show why we need the New Testament/Covenant NT (freedom and grace) she speaks so highly of in the end.

  • Ken

    Do you claim to have everything worked out about naturalism? If so, please inform the scientific community that still has a plethora of unanswered questions. If not, how are you not guilty of the same “emotional bludgeon or cult,” as you put it, in promoting naturalism when you admit you do not have all the answers?

  • Anna

    This type of obfuscation is, sadly, typical. Perhaps you could explain why people should assume that things are real when they were not born believing in those things and the only reason they currently believe in them is because they were told to believe in them. It’s just nonsense.

  • Rachael

    I’m seriously starting to think I should just write a separate article explaining in far more detail the reasoning behind the unanswerable question, since so many people seem to be taking issue with it.

  • Stev84

    Lots of unfounded assumptions there.

  • baal

    We need to feel bad for the father in this article? Dear FSM, no!

  • Gus Snarp

    Matthew 5:17-18.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    That question seems a legit place to start to me. God in the OT commanded genocide, slavery, rape … for a timeless being who is supposedly the moral center of everything, that’s awfully bad morality. Even I, as a fallible human being, can confidently say that those are Bad Things (TM), so why couldn’t the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator of the entire universe figure that out? Heck, in the Noah story, God Hirself wiped out all of humanity and all the animals except for a lucky few- that goes so far beyond genocide that we don’t even have a word for it.

    Even if you think NT morality is better than OT morality (it is in some ways, it isn’t in others), what kind of monster thinks genocide, slavery, or rape was ever morally acceptable behavior?

  • duke_of_omnium

    ” Obviously God does not require the same exact things from all people in all times.” ” The existence of objective morality?”

    Incoherent much?

  • KMR

    Uhhh, I didn’t pressure her to do anything. You might want to look up the author of that comment again.

  • Yvonne

    ” if we did not respond immediately to being called, we were spanked ten to fifteen times with a strip of leather cut from the stuff they used to make shoe soles.”
    ~that is child abuse

  • Ryan

    Nonsense. It’s none of their F**KING business.

  • BobaFuct

    “but the greatest question is “is this all there is?”

    Yes.

  • Tobias2772

    You conveniently missed Rachel’s point about contradiction and logic. New science looks for new evidence to confirm it’s existing evidence.

  • Gus Snarp

    Yes, that sort of child abuse is definitely among the good reasons to cut off contact.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Oh hey look, I meet all those qualifications too. In fact, I score in the “low genius” level on IQ tests, higher if they’re more vocabulary/logic oriented, lower if they’re more spatial relations oriented.

    That automatically means you’ll take all my arguments as to why Christianity is completely illogical and false more seriously, right? Or can we leave the arguments from authority alone now?

  • Kingasaurus

    You want to drive a nail, and you only have a very small hammer. A bigger hammer would work better, but you don’t have one. Using the small hammer is not optimal, and it takes a lot of time and work. But it’s the only tool you’ve got that can eventually do the job.

    You don’t just throw away the useful-but-not-perfect hammer and use a useless wet newspaper instead.

  • Tobias2772

    “Christianity always has answers to questions. Even when it has to make them up. By the way, they always have to make them up.

  • Rachael

    None of my life is their business either, but scroll up.

  • duke_of_omnium

    It’s even worse – it’s a deliberate abdication of moral responsibility and intellectual curiosity.

  • pjeseb

    Wow, this was beautiful. If you’re reading this, thank you Mrs. Slick.

  • Stev84

    *ZING*

  • Tobias2772

    Bossman,
    Too bad that you can’t see that it’s possible that all of your answers are wrong, too – and without even a modicum of supporting evidence.

  • baal

    “Think critically for yourself”
    “don’t hurt other people”
    “don’t believe modern theory of the atom, here’s a college physics book so you can see what experiments prove it”
    These are not emotive statements. They are appeals to reason, rationality and for you to come to some conclusions based on evidence.

    “god is love”
    “Christ is the only truth!”
    “Jesus saved you!”
    These statements do not ask you learn or empathize. They serve to remind you of your indoctrination and thought patterns established while you were in a faith. They work by knocking your brain into a different set of thought patterns.

    Similar issues happen when people give up other habits. You put them in the old situations, they go right back to doing the old habits that they worked so hard to stop. It’s coercive and mean to intentionally stick people in situations that they worked to leave.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Yes we do. We call it an Extinction Level Event.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    Christians will accept anything, no matter how absurd, to justify their faiths.

    Some will. And some atheists will accept anything, no matter how absurd, to justify their unbelief.

    But the plausibility of those two systems of thought are not equal. I don’t think you get to denounce the general stupidity of a belief system that produced the greatest civilization in the history of mankind, when you’re one of those who thinks that nothing became something without any help. I just don’t see anything intellectually superior about a position like that.

  • wesvvv

    It’s called being a social animal. We succeeded as a species because of the qualities we have which includes caring for one another and acting cooperatively. There are 6-7 billion of us. Boy did we ever succeed.

    Dogs, as The Other points out, are also social animals. My cat never feels guilt, she in fact goes out of her way to piss me off if I don’t do what she wants. Which is part of the reason I love her, because she’s entertaining.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Uh, which civilization would that be?

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    The West.

  • Drew M.

    The only thing that irks me more than autoplaying videos is that asshole from the Daily Show.

  • Vanadise

    I think the important thing here is that you have to learn that if you don’t know the answer to a question, sometimes it’s ok to simply say “I don’t know.” Just because you don’t know doesn’t mean “God did it” is the only possible explanation.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Oh fine, be that way lol. Even those events left more than pairs of animals, though … even 90% extinction events aren’t as severe as the flood supposedly was.

  • Ryan

    “Call your father Rachael.” is pressure that she does not need.

  • onamission5

    What kind of dressing would you like on your word salad?

  • Tobias2772

    Under the examination of new evidence, we don’t throw out everything that we have learned up to that point. We add the new evidence to the old and look at the new picture illuminated. You keep saying “all wrong” as if understanding is black and white. Perhaps you biblical understanding is B&W and perhaps that is the way that you would prefer all things to be so that you don’t have to think about questions too much. Unfortunately for you, that does not make it so.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    AdBlock

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    Are you seriously arguing that there can be no innovation in theology? Are you truly that unfamiliar with the field?

    And if there is nothing new in theological insight, there’s always new information in history, textual criticism, missiology, the implications of the forward progress of biology, genetics, astronomy, string theory, and the like… trust me, students of religious topics are never bored.

  • Tobias2772

    bossman,
    Might I suggest a third possibility – learning.

  • Ryan

    And you didn’t write “Call your father Rachael.”?

  • The Other Weirdo

    What, in the name of the Ancient, Evil Ones, are you talking about? Who spends their lives thinking about how life or the universe began? They are two separate questions, by the way. I sure don’t. My life is full enough as it is.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Go, Rachael!

  • William Butler

    Is it really that hard of a concept that people can be under different expectations at different times in history? For example, there are things that I expect my 11 year old to do that I don’t expect my 2 year old to do, because she has a different level of awareness and maturity than the two year old.
    Really the author should give a more clear example of what exactly her objection is. There are clearly different circumstances that existed before the atoning death of Jesus that didn’t exist after His death and resurrection.

  • Tobias2772

    bossman,

    Would saying that cristianity is completely unsupported by evidence make you feel any better ?
    Rachel followed the evidence to her conclusion. Her christian father was indoctrinated into a conclusion and spent his whole life looking for evidence to back his position. Which is the intellectually superior path ??

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    The West that built itself, slowly and painfully, after the Catholic Church did its utmost to suppress scientific learning and thought with fire? The one that took (stole) a huge amount of learning from the glories of the Arabic Golden Age, incidentally strewing ruin over that region of the world? The one that is based on pre-Catholic philosophies from the Greeks and how those became syncretized during the Enlightenment, which was specifically founded upon a rejection of religious zealotry? That West?

  • baal

    “If her refusal to speak to her father stems from her deconversion,”
    Ken, whatever her reasons, even if they are terrible, that’s her decision and it’s not good of you (absent knowing a lot more than we do or should) to push her in that direction.

  • Rachael

    The very definition of absolute, transcendent morality means that there cannot possibly be any ‘circumstances’ that change it.

  • William Butler

    Fair enough, but why does this concept not also apply to Christianity? I don’t claim to have every single answer to every single question, but I believe that the preponderance of the evidence supports Christian theism.
    If not knowing all the answers doesn’t invalidate atheism, then why should the author of this article invalidate Christianity based on one issue she couldn’t resolve?
    If she can discard Christianity because of a supposed contradiction in God’s moral standard between the old and new testaments, why should she not discard atheism because of abiogenesis, for example?

  • Gus Snarp

    Just checking to see if you are willing to be consistent with what you have said or if you will blindly support someone based upon some misguided “us versus them” mentality that arbitrarily demonizes anyone who disagrees with you.

    I’m willing to not lecture someone I don’t know based on my own assumptions, and to not ask questions that are none of my damned business. I’m also not interested in playing hypothetical games with you in order to prove my consistency.

  • Gus Snarp

    It’s also really fucking condescending.

  • KMR

    No. You need to go back and read.

  • William Butler

    Honestly I don’t know anything about her family situation, and I stated as much in my original post. Do you know something that the rest of us don’t, or are you assuming that the father is the bad guy because he is a Christian and the daughter is the good guy because she is the atheist?

  • Stev84

    Sure, in the same way people can come up with new fictional stories. It’s just made up stuff. It’s not real research or something that’s even grounded in reality.

  • baal

    ” why should she not discard atheism because of abiogenesis”
    If you know what all these words mean, you’d also know this question does not make sense.

    Also, that question is as good as any as a place to hang your hat.

  • Gus Snarp

    Disqus has a tendency to screw up the usernames on comments, usually temporarily.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I assume the father is a bad guy because he beat his children with leather straps, personally.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    He asked if I had considered a possible explanation. I had, and I cited my reasons for rejecting that explanation. The reaction of some to my doing so is irrational.

    But I should have accepted that the norm here is to brand anybody who’s not one of you as a pretentious idiot, and left it at that. So I’m sorry I answered the question as though it was serious. See ya, I’m outa here.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    To add to what Gus said, if you refresh the page it should fix it. It happens on comment threads that are very busy, as this one is.

  • William Butler

    @baal – my point is that the author found a question that she did not have the answer to as a Christian. Using that same logic, shouldn’t she also discard atheism because she doesn’t have all the answers to that worldview?
    Or DOES she have all the answers as an atheist? If so, please share them with me! I’d really like to know how she resolves some of the issues I raised in my original post.

  • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

    Thanks for clarifying, Rachael. I read your article with much sadness for your relationship with your earthly father.

  • duke_of_omnium

    If you’re pleading for “objective morality,” yes. It’s not only a hard concept, it’s an incoherent one.

    You do not have the same objective criteria for your children’s respective behavior. These are subjective criteria. You can’t have it both ways. Pick one and stick with it. And save your flip flops for the beach.

  • Rachael

    I actually don’t see anything wrong with spanking IF it is delivered in love, without anger, malice, or joy. Being afraid of your parent is worse than physical pain.

  • William Butler

    Rachael,
    Can you give me a specific example? Are you saying that God must require the same exact things from every single person that exists or else transcendent morality doesn’t exist?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Atheism doesn’t claim to have an answer to the question of how life began on Earth. It says “we don’t know, so lets use the only method we have that has a possibility of getting to the answer. That’s right, lets do SCIENCE!”

    If you don’t know the answer to a question, saying so is the only intellectually honest answer you can give.

  • The Other Weirdo

    The origins of life or the beginning of the universe, these are not central questions to atheism, the way they are to Christianity.

  • Stev84

    You are not omnipotent. Your alleged god is. He could have made his chosen tribe do anything he pleased. Maybe instead of committing genocide on the competing tribes, he could have killed a couple of people as an example for the others, so they would fall in line. Then they would have understood that a hypothetical “I don’t like you to keep slaves” is a serious commandment and comes with consequences when violated.

  • rhodent

    Well, it does have the shortcoming of playing into the “you’re only an atheist because you don’t want to follow God’s law!” cliché, but since they’re going to say that regardless it doesn’t really make a difference.

  • wesvvv

    Forgive me if I make assumptions, but when I read that I assumed it was the proverbial straw and the camel. It wasn’t that one thing, really, but an accretion of things. But it does seem to be a sticking point for those wanting to argue about your entire journey.

    I remember Catholic school and it wasn’t the metal edged rulers being wielded that made me doubt; it was asking why if Adam and Eve were the first humans how one of their sons could end up wandering around ostracized from civilization. Where did all those people come from? The response from the nuns made it clear questions were not a good idea but that was my makeup. That’s who I was. I asked questions all the time. They were basically saying I was doomed to never be myself. THAT was the beginning of doubt because if they couldn’t answer that, they couldn’t answer anything. And on top of that, me, as a unique individual, was screwed. But it wasn’t until 12 years later that the weight of so many similar issues pushed me into agnosticism and then into atheist. Where I still am. (Just making that clear because of “Admin” somewhere else on the thread.)

  • William Butler

    Duke,
    Please give me a specific example of God changing His objective transcendent morality. And you should know that I have little patience for snide remarks. If that is the tact you want to take you will be ignored.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

    Is selling one’s daughter as a sex slave still morally acceptable? Was it ever morally acceptable?

  • onamission5

    Pretty sure the person you are addressing is an adult who knows what influences are or are not healthy for her to have in her life.

  • Sara

    This isn’t the forum to discuss it in detail, there’s much written on it, but that’s my point. How can a learned Christian not have a view on such a fundamental issue? It’s akin to a Christian not having a view on whether Jesus is divine or not. I just find it odd that her father gave her so much Western theology, but didn’t even address that. Same goes for Alex.

    Overall I’m happy for her. Orthodox Christians have written much against the “hell sending” God of much of Western Christianity, and it is quite disturbing, e.g., http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm

  • Gus Snarp

    The beginning of the Universe: A great mystery. Maybe one day we’ll fiigure it out, maybe it’s a hard limit on our knowledge. Probably something to do with spontaneous generation of virtual particles in matter/antimatter pairs.

    Origin of life: That’s pretty easy. Seems entirely likely given the right chemical conditions for self replicating molecules to form which eventually form self replicating cells. Not something we can show exactly how happened, but not nearly as hard to grasp as inflationary cosmology.

    Historical evidence for the resurrection: There is none.

    Fulfilled prophecy: There is none.

    Shroud of Turin: A known and obvious fake, inconsistent with Jewish burial practices, dating to the era when supposed early Christian relics were a very profitable trade.

    The existence of objective morality: Not in evidence, although some basic morality seems to exist among most social animals, suggesting a genetic source.

    Evidence from sociology: I’m sorry, are you referring to the argument from popularity?

  • Gus Snarp

    Matthew 5: 17-18.

  • baal

    @ william butler
    You’re pushing Rachael to reconcile with the father here and made a plea to sympathize with him emotionally (“father so she can twist that icy dagger in his heart just a little harder”). Worse, you’re assuming an ill motive on Rachael’s part.

    You’re also assuming that I’m merely being a tribalist. This is not the case. I’m being a human with empathy for Rachael’s story.
    As moving as her story is, it’s one of many we’ve read or experienced over the years. I also take my stand based on a person’s right to choose their association and advocate people deliberately choosing how much and with whom they spend their time.

    I do not agree with how many christian churches are always trying for reconciliation where it winds up putting wives and children (usually) back into horrible situations. I’ve spent too much time near folks who were on the wrong side of those equations and am biased against pushing folks together.

  • threenorns

    “spanking”, fine – but what you describe is a beating.

  • KMR

    This is a very brave comment.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Wow, the Orthodox Christians, no less. Yes, we must pay close attention to what they have to say.

  • William Butler

    Feminerd,
    You may be confusing several issues here.
    1) There was no sanctioning of “sex slaves” in this passage.
    2) The passage clearly states that if the woman marries into the family (at which point the sex would happen and not before), she is no longer to be treated as slave, but as a daughter.
    3) It’s not an apples to apples comparison to claim that the culture of the ancient Israelites was like slavery in the United States in the 1800s before the civil war.
    In the days of ancient Israel people would often bind themselves to rich and powerful people as servants in much the same way we contractually obligate ourselves to corporations and businesses, essentially employment and a way to provide for your family.

  • threenorns

    the shroud of turin is a fraud. it has absolutely NOTHING to do with Joshua (which is the proper transliteration of “yeshua”).

    i’m not a christian but if i had to pick from the four major religions, islam and judaism both do a FAR better job of explaining all of that than christianity.

  • http://www.asmashingblog.blogspot.com/ D.L F

    I would answer Ken but I’m not entirely certain what he is asking

  • Martin Wagner

    Why do Christians think basic moral precepts must be “transcendent” to be useful or even comprehensible? And didn’t Plato scotch this whole idea ages ago? Do you really need to be told by a deity that it’s bad to cause harm?

    How exactly do you propose to divorce morality from a social context? If a rock on Mars falls onto another rock and shatters it, did the first rock do an immoral thing?

  • wesvvv

    “Pleased by simple faith”

    Why does God always sound like a petty tyrant human?

    Let me step back and put on my Agnostic hat which is a little dusty. Were there a God in any sense of a universal mind or something large and powerful enough to create the universe . . . why would it be bothering with the infinitesimal dust that is the human race at all on one planet of a billion in a galaxy of a universe containing a billion galaxies. And if it noticed our thought energies by some kind of stimulus upon its Godly presence, how could it ever take on a human value like “pleased” or “angry” or (and this really gets me) have a gender?

  • P Hegarty

    So-called freedom at the cost of rationality? Not a great bargain. You don’t talk to your Dad at all because you now know the truth and can justify your worldview with rational answers? Color me skeptical. The truth will genuinely set you free.

  • Anna

    It’s not love, though. It’s all part of the terrible obedience and submission process. No doubt such parents believe they are doing the right thing, but that doesn’t make what they do any less abusive. They excuse the abuse because they believe it’s mandated by their deity. Whatever the deity commands can’t be wrong. That’s also their excuse for biblical slavery, biblical genocide, and eternal torture.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I can’t even keep up with all of the various forms of Christianity prevalent in this thread.

  • Gus Snarp

    Why don’t you give us an example of God’s objective transcendant morality? Is it when he commands the Israelites to slaughter their enemies to the last woman and child, except the virgins, whom they should take for wives? Is it when he endorses slavery? Maybe it’s when Jesus refuses to help people because they belong to the wrong tribe? Or is it stoning witches, adulterers, and those who work on the Sabbath? I’m just really confused as to which part is transcendent.

  • Manks

    Rachael, could you clarify a couple of points? First, I think there you might be making an equivocation error and seem to imply that all morals are absolute. Am I understanding correctly? Second, can you give me the examples of sins in the OT that are not sins in the NT?

  • baal

    I have no clue what you are saying.

  • P Hegarty

    And your point is?

  • onamission5

    It’s still a grown person hitting a child no matter which way you slice it or what criteria you place on state of mind. It still does nothing to teach a child what they have done wrong or what else to do instead. It still is pain and fear and violence being inflicted upon the small and powerless by someone whose job it is to protect and teach them.

  • Martin Wagner

    1) Really? The first two quoted sentences appear to say otherwise, rather emphatically.
    2) Was it right for her to be a slave to begin with?
    3) I’ve read Exodus, and I see no reason to think that concept of slavery is in any way humanitarian, or any less appalling than American slavery was.

    Modern corporations, by the way, don’t get ownership of your wife and kids, nor do they get to shove an awl through your ear and claim you for life.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    1) Nope, there is clearly sanction of sex slavery here. If she “doesn’t please” the man who bought her is quite clearly biblical euphemism for sex, and he can sell her to someone else to rape her instead. He can arrange for her to marry into the family (without consulting her, of course), to give her rapes even more societal legitimacy, but if he does that he’s forced to stop using her sexually himself (must treat her as his daughter). If he decides to marry her himself, of course, he can continue to rape her at his whim.

    2) See above for how you’re whitewashing things.

    3) You are so very, very wrong. Here, I’ll even go to your book to show you how. Israelites were forced to be relatively nice-ish to other Israelites, but foreigners were chattel slaves.

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

  • Ryan

    I tried to delete

  • threenorns

    which evidence do you require of your god changing his morality? the old testament says it’s a-okay to sell your daughter into prostitution; it’s perfectly okay to keep slaves (but if they’re hebrew slaves, you have to let the men go after seven years, just not the women); and multiple wives is hunky-dory.

    it’s still part of the bible, still part of the “word of god”, if you’re an “absolute” believer, you are NOT allowed to cherry-pick which scriptures you’re going to accept.

    speaking of, if it’s the “absolute” word of god, then you MUST also accept all the apocryphal scriptures – the ones that were deemed “unworthy” by the council at nicaea and later again at the council of hippo for inclusion into the bible.

    Actually, come to that, it was men who decreed that jesus was divine (again, council of nicaea).

  • Rachael

    I maintain that abuse is psychological trauma, which can and frequently does come from physical pain. But when physical pain does not produce psychological trauma, I do not classify it as abuse. My parent explaining what I did wrong, spanking me, being visibly saddened by the spanking, then hugging and expressing love afterwards, was never psychologically traumatizing for me.
    I do not consider them in the wrong for the spankings that were delivered in that manner, for the things that were necessary.

  • William Butler

    Gus,
    Are you saying that a transcendant morality exists? If not, please explain your indignation at the things you mentioned. If so, what is it based on?

  • Pam

    You really aren’t free Rachael, and you know that. I am so sad for you. I hope that you will try and get back together with your father. He is a good man and has done what he thought best for you. You may not agree with him, but he is still your father! May the Lord open your eyes!

  • The Other Weirdo

    Or maybe there is that bit about being beaten with leather strips.

  • mbruz

    Yeah, I’m gonna have to disagree here too. The relationship between a parent and a child is a heavily weighted one, with one party controlling things and being largely responsible for the outcome of the relationship. A parent who raises a child and then abandons them because they disapprove of the child’s choices is within their right, but it’s easy to call out the heartlessness of it. A child who grows up with a horrible imbalance of power, survives a bad experience, and chooses not to put herself into a position of having to deal with that anymore isn’t being cruel – she’s being smart.

  • annaholland

    Oh, don’t waste a nice lipstick! Get a red lipliner, rather, then you can write 666 comfortably.

  • Martin Wagner

    Descriptions of being in a constant state of mental stress over her inability to please her parents and God all the time, over her inability to be PERFECT. The psychological trauma in those passages is practically jumping up and down, waving semaphore flags and setting off fireworks.

  • yrathbone

    I would love to read it. I, too, come from a conservative Christian upbringing, but I got to witness my devout Presbyterian grandmother debate issues with my equally devout Atheist father. I grew away from Christianity in high school and am now a multiple track person. (The only thing I’m not interested in is convincing anyone else about anything not provable by science.) I’m very much interested in how people make the jump from the closed system of conservative Christian thinking to free thinking.

    There’s a whole issue of the difference between “conservative” and “liberal” Christian thinking. The latter is more relativistic and is much easier to align with other religious systems, but is often considered not truly Christian by the conservatives (not a political term per se in this context).

    I think the issue you had with the discrepancies between the Old and New Testaments is an issue within the conservative closed system, but is a non-issue when viewed from more open systems which don’t depend on a literal interpretation of the Bible or necessarily require a person to believe the Bible is infalible.

  • threenorns

    by the way: the headline for the article is, by definition, absolutely wrong.

    she’s not “atheist” – she just doesn’ believe in christianity any more.

  • Susan

    Beautifully written! I have always been atheist, but only in the past year or so have I had the courage to admit it publicly. And I love the feeling of freedom that affords me! I, too, no longer speak to my father-and no one should make you feel ashamed that you don’t either. You are certainly entitled to decide who you allow to be in your life–blood ties or not. And, btw, not only do I feel that the physical way he treated you is child abuse, but I also think that threatening children with a made-up hell, and instiling shame and fear in them for doing what every child does, is child abuse, too. And, one more point–I was struck by how sad all of the children look in that homeschool picture!

  • Rachael

    I am an atheist.

  • http://www.asmashingblog.blogspot.com/ D.L F

    For me, the turning point was the concept of hell. God describes himself as our parent and yet those who disappoint him spend an eternity being tortured. Even if my child hated me or denied I was his parent, I wouldn’t set up a system where they were punished for an eternity.

  • Dylan

    Way to go Rachel. Keep your head up and follow where it leads. Seems like some of your dad’s pals have shown up to give you a hard time — illegitimi non carborundum.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Or at least, when they try to, we usually call the cops. :)

  • baal

    Martin, it’s the same Rachael.

  • Susan

    Sorry for the typo! Instilling.

  • Martin Wagner

    I just noticed that, didn’t look carefully before typing. Have made corrections.

  • Dylan

    I think it would be wise of you, given your own admitted lack of knowledge of the circumstances, to butt out.

  • http://pennyofathought.wordpress.com/ Sarah

    Thanks for sharing your story Rachael. While I may not agree with your final conclusion, I appreciate where you’re coming from (I grew up in the ‘ministry,’ was homeschooled, spanked, and had more theological conversations before I hit 18 than most adults do). I recognize that there’s much more to the story, and that it comes with a lot of bumps and bruises. I personally would love to read any article you’d write on your unanswerable question. Do you write/blog anywhere specifically where I could keep up with your writing, or is this a one time thing?

  • wesvvv

    Hell is actually a later invention than the bible. References to it are a word substitution from less nasty words, like referring to the waste tip outside town.

  • duke_of_omnium

    I go to skewer my slaves’ ears, it’s awl or nothing.

  • Sorien

    “How DOES she explain:”

    1. the origin of life?
    No one knows for sure. We have some good ideas, but nothing yet. HOWEVER for YOU to claim absolute knowledge based on what you believe without any evidence is pure arrogance on your part. You DO NOT know.

    2. What about the historical evidence for the resurrection?
    Not only is there no contemporary evidence outside the scriptures, there is not at all for Jesus to even have existed. Writings decades later are not evidence of existence, only evidence the beliefs existed. Then you add in forgeries like Josephus.

    3. Fulfilled bible prophecy?
    Vague “prophecy” in a story that, well know about the “prophecies” already is hardly meaningful. It’s like saying that Frodo destroying the one ring is fulfilled prophecy from lord of the rings. Ask the Jews if Jesus fulfilled prophecy. Also look up “self-fulfilled prophecy”

    4. The Shroud of Turin?
    Has already been scientifically dated to the 1400s

    5. The existence of objective morality?
    It does not exist. Google “sociopath”. Also, read your bible. The God character is hardly “moral”.

    I won’t even get into the fact that morality isn’t a list of commands. Following orders isn’t morality, but obedience.

    Then you add in things in the bible with zero evidence: the flood, the exodus, the garden of eden, etc, etc, etc..

    On top of it you add in things in the bible which are just reprehensible…a lot of which were directly done or ordered to do by the God character.

  • Sara

    Is that not a gross overstatement? And why do so many seem to think ignorant tribesmen wrote the Bible? Just take a few minutes, at least, and look into it. The closest you’ll find is ascribing Mosaic authorship to the Torah.

  • Martin Wagner

    Some people might say the way they handle your 401K is not much different.

  • Roger Morris

    Oh the irony. Home-schooled for protection from the evil world. Heavily schooled in philosophical Christian apologetics. Knew all the right answers. Taught critical thinking. Rejects the very strict faith of her parents and becomes an atheist. There’s something in that.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I would. Some children just have no respect for their elders. No matter how many times you throw them against the wall, they still hit you across the back of the head with a frying pan while yelling, “Not da mama!”

  • Anna

    Perhaps you’re not at a point where you can consider it abuse, but beating children with leather straps in order to cause physical pain and force them to submit to parental authority and (as you previously posted) cheerfully and readily obey is both psychologically and physically abusive.

    I don’t see any way around that. The evangelical and fundamentalist subculture is very heavily invested in telling people the opposite, telling children that they deserve it and that it’s for their own good. But they don’t deserve it. No one deserves to be treated that way. If your husband or your boss did that to you as an adult, they’d be charged with assault and put in jail. Why should it ever be acceptable to treat the most vulnerable members of society in such a terrible manner?

  • onamission5

    Sometimes, what a parent thinks is best, isn’t actually best but is incredibly harmful. When that happens it is the parent’s responsibility to make amends, not that of the child. You are placing the responsibility for fixing the parent’s wrongs onto the shoulders of the person who was wronged. That? Is messed up.

  • ispeakout

    So, because you didn’t know the answer to a question, you decide that the Bible is false? It seems that doing that is placing your own reasoning as supreme over the only true God.

    As a Christian, I am under the new covenant, but the law is good. The moral law is still true. The difference is that true freedom is found in Christ. Freedom from slavery to sin…freedom from the curse of the Law…I am free to serve God not because of fear of punishment. The Law points out sin and shows a need for a Saviour. The thing is Rachael, that you never truly were a Christian, and so you never had obedience and love from the heart. You were trying in your own strength to please God and man. God doesn’t lie. Faith is a gift of God…not a result of works. Abraham was justified by faith…not works. So, the Old Testament is not so different as you may think. You know in the Garden another creature…the Serpent… deceived Eve, but that didn’t make God less God. Sure, Eve got temporary pleasure from that, but it cost her. You have fallen for a lure that gives no lasting happiness…only a temporary joy over pleasure that twists what God created for a cheap imitation.
    I’m very saddened for you and your family, because your idol of freedom is a hollow imitation of what true freedom is. I really do care.

  • William Butler

    Feminerd,

    Any Hebrew scholar would profoundly disagree with your position on item #1. There are no such verses sanctioning rape anywhere in the Torah.
    Regarding slavery, the scriptures actually have a pretty hard attitude towards them, including in the Old Testament. The death penalty is actually commanded for slave traders in Exodus 21:16. The New Testament also lists slave trading as a sin that will keep someone out of the kingdom of God and encourages Christian slaves to try to gain their freedom.

  • William Butler

    OK, but you still haven’t answered my question. Why is “We Don’t Know” an acceptable answer for atheism but not for Christianity?

  • wesvvv

    I wish you well on your continued journey. There’s a big wide world out there to embrace. I hope you find the time in your busy modern life to do so.

    I still speak with family and sometimes they bring up religion, but I’m right there with counterpoints and the topic seems to vanish again as soon as it appeared. Ignorance as the basis for faith is so ingrained it astounds me. Not all Christians are ignorant of their faith and the bible, but so many are. They bring up the topic and quickly realize they are out of their depth and the topic changes. Best way to avoid the topic, really it is.

    I read some passages OUT OF THE BIBLE in front of my mom and she said, get this: “I don’t believe that’s really in there.” That, my friends, is my Christian extended family in a nutshell.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Bahahahahaha no. Also, I’m of Jewish extraction, and while I am no Hebrew scholar, I did learn some. More than enough to catch the common Biblical euphemisms for sex.

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

    Also, beat your slaves severely, that’s totally fine. Jesus says so.

    The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

    We can do this all day. Jeebus, do you even read the book you claim is holy?

  • Dylan

    EXACTLY. Full stop.

  • Gus Snarp

    See, you’re just trying to deflect your claim and pretend it’s about someone else. You’re the one claiming there’s a transcendent morality and that it comes from God. Therefore you have to explain at a minimum what that morality is, and whether it conforms to the acts the Bible claims that God has performed and commanded. I’m assuming you aren’t advocating for the stoning of adulterers, and even that you’ve probably labored on the Sabbath, earning yourself a death penalty. I’ve further assumed you don’t sanction slavery and genocide. My assumptions could be wrong, maybe you think those things are evidence of God’s transcendent morality. If so, then say so. Otherwise explain why they’re not transcendent and what’s left that is. It matters not a whit that I don’t believe in a transcendent morality, I think these things are wrong and most people agree with me. I think this because I don’t want them to be done to me.

  • P Hegarty

    In order to be rational we must have reasons for the things that we believe. What reasons does an atheist have to believe in things like the laws of logic, laws of science, and absolute morality?

  • Savannah Johnston

    Didn’t play for me because I have FlashBlock on. :P

  • tanyam

    I wish Rachel all the best. What she got away from was fundamentalism, (and an abusive family to boot) not Christianity. but I’m glad she did. Better this freedom than that sort of bondage, any day. I hope she continues to trust her own gut and think for herself.

    But anybody who thinks that what she was taught is what they are teaching at Yale Divinity School, or what Martin Luther King believed, or what inspired Desmond Tutu or what Massachusett’s senator Elizabeth Warrren is teaching in her Sunday school classes– is seriously misinformed.

  • wesvvv

    All of Leviticus except for the one little part that could possibly be interpreted as relating to gays.

  • Sorien

    Because abiogenesis (or evolution or cosmology or geology and on and on) has NOTHING to do with atheism. Atheism is ONLY the lack of belief in gods. That’s it. Nothing more.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Because Christianity doesn’t actually say that. If it did, there would be very little to Christian theology, since it’s not about knowledge so much as it is about faith, or belief.

  • William Butler

    Gus,
    That’s called subjective morality. Why should I care about what you want? Why is your opinion any more valid than mine? If objective morality doesn’t exist than I should do anything and everything that will benefit me that I can get away with.

  • Free

    The answer lies in relationship. God is personal thus we are personal. Faith bridges the gap between all our intellectual quests, reality, science and the world we observe. Have faith, see the other side. Deny faith, miss it. Faith in God that is.

  • Gus Snarp

    No, she got away from Christianity. That she started from a fundamentalist perspective is irrelevant. Plenty of people go from being fundamentalist to being moderate Christians, she didn’t, she’s an atheist.

    Where are all of you drive by Christians coming from anyway?

  • RobertoTheChi

    It couldn’t have anything to do with being beat with a leather strap, right????

  • wesvvv

    This is the same argument that all straight men are really gays inside, they just haven’t met the right man yet.

  • Savannah Johnston

    What makes you think she isn’t free, or that she “knows” this? Are you psychic? And you don’t know her reasons for running away and not speaking to her father either, so you have no call to tell her that she should get back together with him.

  • Quilled Mind

    I can’t say more than this…I am so truly happy and inspired that she had the brain and bravery to come to this. Great on her.

  • Graver

    Hold on, your religion was completely shaken because you couldn’t rationalize why some sins listed in the Old Testament are not sins today? Remember when Simon Peter had that dream that God told him to eat a bunch of shellfish, and he said no because it’s a sin, and God said “Don’t make unclean what I’ve made clean” and Simon ate it?

    And then there’s “why would God make a being destined for hell?” Well we weren’t destined for hell, we were given free will after all. He just knew we’d end up there.

    But you do bring up a good point – someone might understand the lore of Christianity the way the might be very versed in Lord of the Rings mythology, but it doesn’t mean they believe it. If you’re willing, study evidence of Christianity. Try to find Jesus’s body, for example, examine the testimonies of the people who witnessed the resurrection, Roman history, early church history, etc. There will be a lot of things that try to explain it away (and maybe do), but there will be a lot of eyebrow raising information. Be honest with yourself, it’s all you can do. Don’t lie to yourself just out of fear of going to Hell.

  • William Butler

    Ah yes the ever popular “bwahahaha” remark. If only I had a nickel for every time someone flung that one at me.

    1 Corinthians 7:21

    “Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you–although if you can gain your freedom, do so.”

    1 Timothy 1:10

    ” 8Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,b liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to soundc doctrine, 11in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”

  • Rachael

    I have studied the evidence. A lot.

  • Dylan

    That was a verbal falcon punch

  • Free

    You seem so absolutely sure in something you can not absolutely establish. Being absolute and making absolute statements means you believe and stand behind your view of reality. The fact that you can not absolutely substantiate by your own scientific and reasoning methods what you believe means you have faith in your perception of reality. Too bad you can not place that same faith in the One who created you. That is all that is necessary to open your eyes.

  • Savannah Johnston

    It may never have been psychologically traumatizing for you, but it very well could have been, and no parent should be willing to take that chance, especially when there are kinder and equally effective methods for getting children to behave.

  • Gus Snarp

    I’m not the one who believes in a transcendent morality. You are. So why not tell me what it is and why it doesn’t proscribe genocide and slavery and stop trying to make this about my refusal to accept it?

  • r3t0dd

    “No true Scotsman…”

  • Andrew L

    because, P Hegarty, the laws of logic, laws of science, and morality — arise from what is.

  • baal

    “supreme over the only true God.”

    You mean Cthulhu?

    I wonder if it’s possible to accurately convey to you in words you’ll understand just how mind boggling it is to read such a mish-mash of metaphor. Obedience is not freedom. Love is willingness to sacrifice for another – should only be used for real people and not imaginary friends. Family is not more important than a person’s physical or mental well being. Sin is irrelevant at best. Living in the real word is not a “cheap imitation”, it’s the only world (in fact). Abraham was willing to kill his son, that’s fucked up.

    And to top it off, “The thing is Rachael, that you never truly were a Christian” this is extremely hurtful to say. Rachael obviously tried for the better part of 2 decades to be the best christian ever. How dare you say she wasn’t a christian.

  • b s

    “…looking into the scientific evidence for God. After much research into science, especially the fields of physics and cosmology, and arguing with various Christians, as well as a few supernatural experiences…”

    So, what scientific evidence did you find for god? Specifically, your god, not anybody else’s, not even somebody else’s version of your god? How did you test it? Publish any results anywhere?

    And how did you know those supernatural experiences were caused by your god? Could they have been caused by some trickster god who just wanted to mess with your mind?

  • John W. Morehead

    I too used to be involved in a countercult apologetics ministry like Matt Slick. I eventually left, but not do to disbelief. Instead, it was problems with how I saw my colleagues responding to those in religions they found heretical, and the “too easy” answers that came with them about religion, biblical studies, and a number of other disciplines. I discovered that I could maintain a commitment to Christ without this baggage, and live my faith in such a way that it could be respected by atheists as well as those in new religions and world religions, even if they continue to disagree with my religious commitments. I am sorry to hear of Rachael Slick’s difficult journey, and hope that this speaks volumes to Evangelicals navigating the difficult waters of late modernity.

  • Rachael

    Yes, there was psychological stress and I frequently refer to my childhood as ‘hell’ – but the physical pain from spanking was nothing.

  • Kingasaurus

    Sounds good. You’re a Muslim, then?

  • wesvvv

    You are free of sin? Or just free from the responsibility for it?

    “that you never truly were a Christian” — You aren’t allowed to pass judgement upon others, by the rules of your own religion. Therefore, you also are not a true Christian. By the way, no one is a true Christian. It’s always self-described. You can’t just get out of responsibility for your fellows by disowning them so flippantly. Not and be intellectually honest anyway.

  • William Butler

    Well, if that’s the case that is certainly a tragedy and I think explains what happened. He made a negative impact on his daughter, and she found a way to get back at him. Not because the evidence for atheism was so strong, but because of the way he treated her.

    However, to extrapolate from this that this is just what Christians do to their kids would be wildly inaccurate. There is actually evidence to the contrary that conservatives (which many evangelical Christians) HUG their children more than other groups!

    http://www.amazon.com/Makers-Takers-conservatives-generously-materialistic/dp/038551350X

  • Dylan

    The alleged words of christ.

  • tanyam

    I guess we read all kinds of things, I learn things here, so I read. You don’t have to agree with me, but I think if you could imagine Rachel’s father in a room with oh, pick someone, a Cornel West, a Joan Chittister? — you might see the difference. They would not agree about much of anything.
    And yes, I do appreciate that she is an atheist. Maybe my point wasn’t clear, I think she went from fundamentalism to atheism. Period.

  • Dylan

    IS THERE NO PLEASING ZEUS??

  • Stev84

    So if you learned tomorrow that god didn’t exist, you’d go out and rob, rape and murder to your heart’s content? The only thing that’s holding you back is your religion? We have a word for that: psychopathy.

    But don’t worry. You’re probably just deluded and not a psychopath. We know you’re better than you give yourself credit for.

  • Rachael

    I’m pretty sure that, when I was Christian, I said exactly that to ex-Christians.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    When we predict things using the laws of science (which are not what you think they are), they follow what actually happens pretty closely. It’s why computers work- people started with our understanding of electricity and magnetism, added in some material science and electrical engineering, and voila! We use complicated patterns of electron gates to communicate across the world. I don’t “believe” in science, but the method has worked pretty well over time to increase our knowledge and understanding of the universe. It’s certainly worked better than any other method we’ve come up with. If we find a better way, I’ll start thinking that way is a superior method through which to view the world, but I doubt that’s going to happen.

    Same goes for logic, by the way. The rules of logic aren’t things to believe in- they’re things humans made up to describe the universe and how it works. They probably wouldn’t work in other universes with other constants, but I don’t care about that, because I live in this one. They’ve consistently proven to work and weed out a lot of bad or inconsistent ideas.

    As for absolute morality, I don’t even know what that means. Christians keep bringing it up. I base my ethical system on empathy and bodily autonomy- do no harm, but if it doesn’t do harm, then do whatever, leavened by an understanding that all people are people and no person has more rights than any other. I think it is a superior ethical system that should be broadly adopted due to how it plays out in the real world, but I’m certainly willing to listen to and evaluate other moral/ethical systems. I will categorically reject “because God said so”, though, because that’s not an ethical system. That’s just following orders. It hasn’t been a valid defense for quite some time.

  • William Butler

    Wait a second, are you saying that objective morality exists?

  • wesvvv

    You can see how Christians justified slavery so easily. I just realized that and that’s something new.

  • William Butler

    Are those things wrong? On what basis do you claim that?

  • Stev84

    Of course not. And again, you’re trying to make this about someone else.

  • Stev84

    How about you stop deflecting questions?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    *snort* I love that argument! Nice inversion.

  • William Butler

    How about you answer mine?

  • Andrew L

    Who knew Hemant had so many Christian readers of the conservative variety?

  • Rachael

    I have a high respect for Christians who think in this manner. Even if I disagree with your rational and emotional conclusions, your openmindedness and respect towards all people is fantastic. A huge problem in all beliefs is the us vs. them mentality, which separates cultures, creates groups, and makes it easy for people to stop thinking.

  • baal

    Please William. Being in a fundamentalist christian home is the 2nd biggest co-related factor for child abuse. Poverty is #1.

  • Stev84

    We aren’t the ones making grandiose claims about mankind. We aren’t the ones coming up with elaborate rules about how everyone should live, no matter their own circumstances. We aren’t the ones trying to enshrine those rules into laws or threaten people with eternal torture for disobeying them.

    Christianity (or many other religions for that matter) isn’t just some ivory tower hypothesis that exists in a vacuum. Its followers constantly try to get everyone else to follow its rules. So they better come up with some concrete evidence.

  • allein

    For example, the author making public statements that she is sexually active seems odd.

    Huh? She made one comment about how her religious upbringing interfered with her ability to have a healthy adult relationship (which is not uncommon, sadly). That’s hardly making “public statements that she is sexually active” just for shock value against her father.

  • payd1rt

    > “God is pleased by simple faith.”
    How do you know what god is pleased or displeased by well enough to make fact-claims like this?

  • indorri

    The point was that she was under the philosophical spell that has captured and destroyed the ability of many Reformist style theologians to actually participate in charitable debate: that absolute certainty is solely logical coherence and it trumps reality. That humans are capable of utter congruence with reality, rather than making a map of it. This is because they believe in an absolute being who perfectly reveals itself to everyone and it did so in a specific way. If that specific way is shown to be defective, to not have the absolute certainty required in that particular type of theology, it falls apart completely and utterly.

    At that point, you have to fall back to accepting that the Bible is a man-made set of texts, and the rest of the paths to concluding/not concluding it is divinely inspired follows.

  • baal

    Cthulhu is the only god for me. I started into that abyss and he was the only one staring back. Talk about it being startling to open your eyes.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    Your version of the history of the West comes largely from a pair of books written in the 19th century by anti-religious zealots, documenting a “war between science and religion” that never occurred. Both of those book are regarded as fiction by modern historians, but are still embraced by atheists in their insular little dens of ignorance.

    So, no, not “that West.” “That West” is a figment of your ill-educated imagination.

    The West that produced the sciences, all the forms of business and law that are used today, the universities, universal literacy, individual liberty, the abolition of child labor and slavery… THAT West.

    Get an education.

  • William Butler

    OK, so your position is that unless a Christian has ultimate knowledge and the answer to all questions, Christianity is false?
    And an atheist can have no knowledge of any of the basic foundations of reality but “we don’t know” is an acceptable non-falsifying position?

  • Dylan

    By the way, there are probably just as many folks here on this forum who are *not* making demands that you explain yourself, your personal history, or your personal belief system any further than you already have. I really liked your article, I like that you bother to participate in the forum. Please don’t feel obligated to open yourself up to any more anonymous weirdo criticism on our behalf!

  • baal

    I think wesvvv’s statement is true (but I’m bi so probably biased).

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Huh? Where would you get that? Of course I don’t think all Christians beat their kids. I’m saying that the “villain” (insofar as there is one) is seen so because he did bad things, not because he believes silly things.

  • William Butler

    Wait a second. By saying that people shouldn’t make elaborate rules about how everyone should live, aren’t you making a rule about how I should live? Why are your values better than mine? What is your objective basis?

  • baal

    Especially ones who have never posted before.

  • http://www.plumbbobblog.com philwynk

    PS: I’m done here. You get the last word. I can just imagine how erudite it will be.

  • indorri

    Rachael, I’m very glad you got away from that environment. You said you have not had any contact with your father since you left. What are your thoughts of him at present?

  • wesvvv

    The Hindu creation story (the progression of the ages and that we are in the last age) pins the age of the universe awfully close to current estimates.

  • Michele Fore

    I enjoyed reading the article and when I realized I was an atheist it felt as if a huge weight had lifted. I no longer felt guilty about being human and realized there was a reason for my skepticism and all the questions I’ve always had. I was raised in Christianity and have read the bible through a couple of times and it took reading a few passages that I didn’t remember reading when I was younger to make me realize how immoral the bible actually is. I suggest reading books by David G. McAfee. He is on Facebook or by visiting his website http://www.davidgmcafee.com/

  • William Butler

    False. Atheism is the claim that there are no gods or God. That entails a degree of certainty. I think you may be confusing atheism with agnosticism.

  • Stev84

    Is this some Christian persecution thing again? I’m forcing something on you by not letting you force your rules on other people? You’re free to live by your religious rules if you want to, as long as they don’t conflict with the law and interfere with other people’s lives.

    And again, you’re just deflecting. It’s becoming really tiresome.

  • mrkr

    Beautiful transition, not unlike my own. the greatest challenges lie ahead. (Science).

  • Daniel Maldonado

    Thank you for a thoughtful post Rachael.

    As a Catholic who has a particular dislike of “CARM” due to their poor, uneducated arguments against Catholicism, I can see where this obsession of apologetics could get in the way of a child who is attempting to develop herself and discover who she is.

    As a Catholic Christian, I do not believe that religion and science must be pitted against each other. I also do not believe that apologetics is all you need to create a foundation for faith.

    I’d like to know if your father forgot his obligation as a father to simply BE a father and instead smothered you in all the apologetics and religion to the point where you couldn’t breathe?

    This would make anyone feel trapped and feel like they want to run.

  • William Butler

    You REALLY need to get up to date on your facts. The Shroud of Turin has been found to date back to the first century according to the latest research.

  • Stev84

    Q.E.D.

  • katiehippie

    Thank you Rachel!

  • Savannah Johnston

    Because Christianity makes numerous claims about how the world works — claims that are usually wrong. All that atheism claims is that there is no evidence for the existence of any gods. So atheists not being able to answer a question doesn’t give them a reason to change their position, whereas the Bible being wrong gives Christians every reason to change theirs.

  • Guest

    Why doesn’t she mention that her dad a autistic? That would explain a lot about the way she was raised.

    She offers an awfully flimsy example to theism. Someone should call onto CARM and have it quickly answered.

  • wesvvv

    As soon as it’s inconvenient you suddenly don’t have the answers? I got lost on this, clearly.

  • Gus Snarp

    No, god as a source of transcendent morality is your claim. You tell me. Are they wrong? Why don’t Christians advocate for them en masse if they’re right. Did someone tell you to keep trying to deflect arguments by turning them back on people in an apologetics class? That just asking that question wins the argument? It doesn’t. Defend your claim.

  • tanyam

    That’s funny. I don’t know how it applies to intellectual systems, but its funny.

  • Vanadise

    I think you missed the point. Atheism doesn’t claim to have any answers. It’s simply a statement; saying “I’m an atheist” means “I do not believe supernatural deities exist,” no more and no less.

    The default state is not knowing. If somebody is going to try to explain something to me and claim it as truth, I expect them to be able to prove it. If somebody can provide a reasonable-sounding argument for something but can’t prove it and I can’t disprove it, I may be willing to tentatively accept it until more evidence is available, but I’m certainly not going to blindly accept it and base my life around it.

    That’s especially true for Christianity; Christians claim so many wild, absurd things about what their God wants and how reality works that I cannot accept it unless some real, concrete evidence is provided. The only “evidence” I’ve ever seen for things like the resurrection, biblical prophecy, and so on, is tenuous at best and requires that you accept millenia-old documents as reliable, and even if those things were true, they only prove that they happened, not that anything else in the Bible is true or that the Christian God exists.

    I don’t know how life originated; I’m not a biologist. There are people who have devoted their lives to studying the issue using science, however, and their theories sound fairly plausible to me, certainly moreso than text out of an ancient book saying that a supernatural deity did it, especially when I’ve never seen any evidence of that deity. Regardless, I’m willing to admit that for me, personally, my answer to “How did life come to exist?” is “I don’t know,” and that is not a reason for me to believe there were any supernatural forces involved.

  • ispeakout

    The thing is that you are elevating yourself to being the judge of God just because you don’t understand something. Who do you give evidence to in court? A judge and jury. The problem is when we think that we can choose what is true and try to be the judge of God. There is always something that you don’t know that could go against what you think you know unless you have all knowledge. Only God has all knowledge. We cannot reason to God, and we cannot reason without Him. God hasn’t changed from the OT to the NT. There is a new covenant, but it was always faith that saved then and faith that saves now. The moral law is still good. I’d recommend you check out Romans 9. You know nobody goes to hell without choosing to do what they want. It is more amazing that God would show grace to and mercy and grant repentance to some sinners who were His enemies.

  • Kingasaurus

    You seem to imagine a lot of things.

  • William Butler

    Is this an honest question or are you just trying to be flippant and disagreeable?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    First quote- oh look, the Bible is full of contradictions. Who’da thunk it? And that looks like a total condoning of slavery there- if you can become free by, oh, buying yourself back or serving out your term, do so, but it’s definitely not a clarion call for running away or anything. Given the other passages, that looks like just one more quote telling slaves to be good slaves. You still haven’t acknowledged that your book of Best Morality Evar clearly condones and even encourages slavery in multiple passages written by multiple people over lots of time.

    I don’t even know what that second passage is supposed to mean. It certainly doesn’t address slavery or slave trading, it just says that laws are made to punish people who do bad things (leaving aside whether all those are actually bad things or not). We already knew that.

  • Free

    Strange summation. There is no straw man here (typical atheist come back to pressing the real issue at times). There is no ridicule. There is simply a reminder that apologetics facts or any facts for that matter can not take the place of a relationship with God. It is unreasonable to believe that something came from nothing. It is unreasonable to believe that everything created by humans was intelligently thought out with thought, intent and purpose and served a function, but the very cosmos and planet we live on including our very selves are without thought, intent and purpose. It is unreasonable to stake your entire reality on “chance”. (It’s nature does not allow for the consistency we see in nature ie…gravity) What we have is an appeal to faith. It seems to be what we all agree on. Faith that what we believe is true. Neither can provide absolute irrefutable proof. In the end, Rachel’s dad pointed to evidence but could not bridge faith for her. She self admitted to her dads emphasis on the facts and not relationship. This missing element surely makes it difficult.

  • William Butler

    Quite candidly I’d be a Hindu before I’d be an atheist. That worldview has absolutely nothing going for it and requires the biggest leap of faith of all.

  • Guest

    Why doesn’t she mention that her dad is autistic? That would explain a lot about the way she was raised.

    Her objection to theism is pretty weak. Maybe she should call into CARM for an explanation.

  • katiehippie

    “The Law points out sin and shows a need for a Saviour.” I hate this lie with a passion. It’s one of the main reasons I’m an atheist now. You can join our little exclusive club but only if you are a horrible person. Oh, and “God” gets to decide who is horrible.

  • William Butler

    Give me a claim that Christianity makes about the world that is wrong.

  • Free

    Have you considered faith in God lately or are you just a slave to your own reason?

  • baal

    “and we cannot reason without Him”
    We can and do. Especially if we want our nice modern technology including health care.

  • Graver

    Why do people deserve health care?

  • Judi

    Rachael, thank you for sharing this. Your bravery is sorely needed. I hope for you that people will stop telling you your story (you’re not free; you were abused; etc., etc., etc.) and just listen to what you say. More people need to hear your words. Bravo to you for being so honest.

  • Kingasaurus

    How can you be the judge of my invisible friend “Bob”?
    How dare you! “Bob” doesn’t like that. Bob’s never wrong, trust me.

  • William Butler

    So you want to “make a rule” that says I can’t “force my rules” on others. Aren’t your “forcing your rules” on me?

  • BobaFuct

    “you have faith in your perception of reality.”

    Perception of reality essentially is, by definition, the opposite of faith. See Hebrews 11:1. Faith is what you hope reality is, not what you perceive it to be.

  • baal

    Ken is not an atheist Susan.

  • onamission5

    Are you seriously implying that autistic people make for violent, controlling parents who lack empathy? Because that is a huge disservice to the autistic parents I know who are, in fact, none of those things.

  • Graver

    Fair enough – which evidence? I know it’s highly likely that there is plenty of explanations to the evidence that does away with any supernatural events. Examine these counter arguments as well, and look at both Christian and secular sources for it. There are lots of Christian scientific resources for you, as I’m sure you’re aware of.

  • wesvvv

    Don’t claim you have the secret to defeating Death if you can’t deal with the fallout. You claim to know, for certain, that if you follow some rituals in this world, that there is another world, a parallel universe called paradise, that you will have the key to after your biological processes in this universe cease. That is YOUR claim. You claim to know how the world was formed and how it will end. Don’t make those claims if you can’t back them up when challenged.

  • b s

    No, honest. You said you looked into the scientific evidence for god. I’m assuming you found something. I would just like to know how you determined it was god you found and not something else. After all, if there were scientific evidence that specifically pointed to your god, I’m sure you would want everyone to know about it so there would be no question that your god is the correct one.

  • Graver

    Wait, are you saying that the Bible is not exact because it was written by men, or that Christianity as a whole is flawed because its concept of absolutism is defective?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    The Earth is the center of the universe. The sun orbits the Earth. The Earth is 6,000 years old. The Earth rests, unmoving, on pillars. There was a pair of first humans. They lived in a magical garden. They ate a magical apple because a talking snake told them to. Pi is equal to 3. There was a global flood.

    That’s just the first few inaccuracies that came to mind.

  • John W. Morehead

    Thanks, Rachael. Here’s a link to my brief story: http://www.faithlineprotestants.org/2013/07/03/from-polemicist-to-peacemaker/. And a description of my work at the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy which pursues a very different way: http://www.religious-diplomacy.org/evangelichapter. The work of Chris Stedman and Faitheist is in keeping with this kind of approach.

  • William Butler

    You mean things like slavery? You are aware I hope that Christians lead the charge to abolish slavery (see William Wilberforce, and almost all of the abolitionists were Christians). They also spearheaded the civil rights movement.

  • Kingasaurus

    WOW. Thread over.

  • baal

    “Why do people deserve health care?”

    The other choice is needless suffering?

  • William Butler

    Paul is telling Christians to not be troubled by whatever circumstance they find themselves in, but if there is a way they can gain their freedom to try to do it.
    In the other passage Paul lists enslavers as one of the groups of people who live contrary to God’s will. All of this is pretty clear if you just take the time to read it.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Right. We’re 99.99% sure of that. Given sufficient evidence, we will change our minds, because that’s how skepticism works. So there’s a high degree of certainty, but it isn’t 100% because it is logically impossible to prove a negative. I can’t prove faeries and elves don’t exist either, but I’m equally 99.99% sure they don’t exist. I’ll change my mind about that given sufficient evidence, too.

    What would make you change your mind and decide that there isn’t a God?

  • Savannah Johnston

    How so?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Doesn’t say anything about slave owners or slave traders in that passage. You sure you understand this whole reading comprehension thing?

    I have read it. I wasn’t Christian when reading it, though I still was Jewish, so I didn’t have as many confirmation biases as you do. It made no sense and was full of ideas that absolutely horrified me. It’s one reason why if there is a God, and it is the Christian God, I will never worship it. Ever. Kick it in its (immaterial, physically nonexistent) balls, maybe, for being such a colossal jerk, but never worship.

  • William Butler

    That’s a completely asinine and baseless assertion.

  • yrathbone

    What Gus said. Plus: The break with closed-system Christianity is different from a general disinterest in pursuing a Christian spiritual practice. The former can be a life-shattering mental event. The paradigm you’ve used to interpret and understand all that you experience is shattered and you’re left having to start from scratch. Yes, it’s amazing, eventually, but actually living Descartes’ cogito in real time is intense. That the break is often experienced this way tells us something about the nature of closed-system belief.

    Compared to that, simply finding the symbols and stories of Christianity not useful for conducting one’s life is pretty low key. There are loads of philosophical and religious systems to explore once none of them have to be the one true way.

  • katiehippie

    You sound like my ex who was fluent in manipulative jackassery. Telling her how to feel, trying to make her feel guilty, telling her she is wrong, then using “God” to back it all up. Yeah, I divorced him and I don’t have to ask for forgiveness even if I did believe in “God” I didn’t do anything wrong.

  • JackHuang

    What leap of faith does atheism require? Keep in mind, of course, that atheism isn’t a worldview which dictates specific moral tenets and modes of conduct like many theistic religions. It is merely the non-belief in deities, on top of which you can build all manner of moralities and ethical systems. Buddhism, for example, is an atheistic spirituality, with the exception of a scant few sects.

  • Savannah Johnston

    The point isn’t whether she went to fundamentalism to atheism. I think we all agree that she did. But you seem to think that fundamentalism and Christianity are mutually exclusive, just because a fundamentalist Christian and a moderate Christian wouldn’t agree about much of anything. It doesn’t matter.

  • TCC

    Have you considered turning off your brain and blindly accepting what I’m telling you, or are you just a slave to thinking for yourself critically and questioningly?

    FTFY.

  • William Butler

    Say what? Christianity makes very few claims:
    1) God created the universe and all life.
    2) Mankind rebelled against God and lives in a state of rebellion.
    3) God reconciles Himself to us through the death and resurrection of His Son.
    4) Jesus is coming back again.
    5) God will grant us eternal life with Him in paradise.

  • wesvvv

    I bookmarked your page. Christians who act on their beliefs make the best partners in furthering social justice.

  • payd1rt

    You seem to think atheism is a worldview, which it isn’t. It’s simply the lack of theistic belief. Lacking belief in something requires no faith at all.
    Strong (gnostic) atheism does make a fact-claim about there being no god, and it does require faith in the claim. However, all the evidence (or lack thereof) so far points to there being no god, and none of the the evidence points to there being a theistic deity, so if we’re making educated guesses based off of the reality we exist within, atheism is the intellectually honest stance.

  • Graver

    But why is it good to have health and bad to have suffering? What makes you believe this? Is it just because you want to avoid suffering yourself? I’m just making a point about utilitarianism morality.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I’m a mostly straight female, so I have my reasons for hoping it’s not true! I don’t want all the men to meet the men of their dreams, I want some for me too!

  • Stev84

    They also vigorously defended women as chattel (in the late 19th century), not allowing them to vote (in the early 20th century), slavery, segregation and anti-miscegenation laws. All with lots of Bible quotes and religious fervor. And in 50 years they will claim that they were for gay rights all along. Liars for Jesus.

  • bossmanham

    Yes it has. See how easy assertion is?

  • ispeakout

    He is the One who made you able to reason. You can use what He has given you.

  • wesvvv

    The other choice, funny enough, is more cost.

  • wesvvv

    Until he punishes you for it.

  • bossmanham

    So Mr. Joubert is saying endless ignorance is more virtuous that knowledge? I call that idiocy.

  • bossmanham

    No, she’s just wrong. Much smarter atheists than she haven’t been able to show any logical incompatibility in Christianity.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    And there is no evidence for any of those claims. Thus, the rejection of atheists.

    EDIT: I dare you, I challenge you, to find evidence for them from outside the Bible.

  • baal

    Sorry, I didn’t recognize you were starting a JAQing off session. Long story short, it has nothing to do with god or supernatural beings and a lot to do with wanting a better life for everyone. That’s all the explanation an honest person needs. I’m not going for the philosophy class bonus points nor will I indulge your apologetics.

  • Mario Strada

    I reason just fine without god. In fact, I reasoned just fine when at age 9 I realized that Catholic Christianity was just one of many faiths whose adherents all claimed to be right. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that at best only one religion can be true and very likely they are all wrong; that was it for religion for me.

    In the following years I added a great deal of knowledge to that initial, visceral position I had, but thus far, no one has been able to give me a good answer for my initial question either.

    I think apologists start from wrongful or limited assumptions. They are the foundation of the construct. But doubt those foundation and the whole house of cards falls.
    Many start with the assumption God exists. That may or may not be true, but if you take the position that the evidence is scarce, everything else falls apart. But if you convince yourself god exist, fine. Now you have to demonstrate that it is the Christian god and not some other god.

  • indorri

    You judge what you believe to be God when you go the other way. That is a terrible defence.

    We evaluate. If there were something I would be almost certain of, it would be that. All that we do is predicate on evaluation, on information processing. Saying otherwise is self-refuting.

  • Mario Strada

    Evidence please.

  • William Butler

    That’s an interesting question. Props to you.
    There are a number of things that could happen that would certainly undermine my belief in God.
    1) If we discovered the universe was past eternal.
    2) If we discovered a simple process for life coming out of non-life.
    3) If we discovered the body of Jesus.
    4) If Israel was wiped out.
    5) If an advanced alien race contacted us.
    I could go on but hopefully this gives you an idea.

  • wesvvv

    “you are elevating yourself to being the judge of God”

    So are you. You have judged Him good. If someone else judges Him bad, or irrelevant, how is that different . . . besides that it’s different from your judgement?

  • bossmanham

    I have good reasons to believe my answers in the form of deductive arguments.

  • P Hegarty

    Maybe you could provide an answer to the question? How do you make sense of the idea of evidence in a world that just happens to be what it is? Why do you believe that proof of anything is possible?

  • bossmanham

    //Under the examination of new evidence, we don’t throw out everything that we have learned up to that poin

    Sometimes you do. Hence salt now not being bad for us.

  • bossmanham

    Herp derp.

  • Michelle

    “Everything I was, everything I knew, the structure of my reality, my society, and my sense of self suddenly crumbled away, and I was left naked.”
    Love this quote.

  • baal

    “HE” hasn’t given me anything. Cthulhu (The GOD) ensures that all gifts are meaningless and vile when from the supernatural. I only call gifts when they help me and are given without expectation of an obligation in return.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Not at all. My position is that Christianity claims that it does have all the answers and we shouldn’t be searching anymore because Jesus died on the cross and anyway, he’s coming back any time now to wipe us all out so it doesn’t really matter.

  • bossmanham

    //Would saying that cristianity is completely unsupported by evidence make you feel any better ?

    No, and it’s untrue.

    //Which is the intellectually superior path ??

    Lol, so you concede he found evidence? It would be the path that is able to defend its claims.

  • bossmanham

    Zeus doesn’t exist. So no.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Perhaps you can explain why in the US, it’s primarily fundamentalist Christians (though not only them, of course) waving the Bible around, who fight against social safety nets, infrastructure development, public education, environmental regulations, women’s rights, and everything that would actually make our society and world better, then? And the majority of atheists (though, again, by no means all) are for all those things?

  • William Butler

    Well, you just keep illustrating my point. You are satisfied with “I don’t know” as an atheist, but insist that a Christian can never say “I don’t know” about some of the unresolved issues surrounding Christianity.
    To me it’s pretty obvious that when you pit one worldview against another, Christianity has the most explanatory power. That doesn’t mean that I have every single answer to every single question. It just means that I’ve seen enough evidence to strongly believe that Christianity is more likely to be true than not, ESPECIALLY when you compare it to the alternative worldviews.

  • Graver

    He’s saved you for it!

  • ispeakout

    You believe in the laws of logic don’t you? They are universal, not made of matter and do not change. You cannot actually see logic, but you use it. Certainly you don’t see God, but you do know He exists. He has made Himself evident to you the same way He has to everyone.

  • Mario Strada

    There we go. Now we start with the threats. “Believe me or suffer eternity in hell!”.
    Next you’ll say that god really didn’t want to send me to hell but he had no choice because I have free will and choose not to believe in him. Then I replay that if he knew I would choose to not believe in him, why didn’t he bestowed upon me a sign to convince me like he did for so many other people, at which you replay that we cannot understand the mind of god and so forth.
    How am I doing?

    I am all for civil discourse and tolerance, but the moment you start threatening hell for those that don’t think like you, all bets are off. You are an evil person following an evil god. Your post above has only one possible response: Fuck you.

  • Graver

    Cool, then your assumption that people are inherently worth saving is no more absolute or rational than a belief in absolute morality from a higher power. Which is what we were trying to showww

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Not actually. We always knew there was a healthy range- too much or too little salt is bad. We’ve just adjusted the upper limit of what is and is not considered healthy, and it could very well be adjusted again in the future.

  • Bershawn300

    Dear friend. Sorry to hear about your legalistic (for that is what it was) upbringing. Few things are more devastating and damaging to a person’s psyche than the hypocrisy that comes from legalism. Do know that legalism is fundamentally incompatible with true (orthodox) Christianity. In fact Jesus preached against pharisaical legalism with more virulence that most anything else! He was vehemently against it.

    Please know that there are educated, gospel-believing (not legalism-believing) Christians who are in your corner.

    Peace.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I’ll be honest with you here. I know it’s a stretch, coming from an atheist who is probably going to hell anyway, but here goes: I have no idea how to answer this question. It is so patently nonsensical that my internal statement parser has crashed 17.553838195 times out of 17 attempts of trying to decode it.

  • indorri

    Rather, if it’s not divinely inspired, absolutism is a non-starter. You’re back in the realm of operationalist fallibilism with the rest of the mortals.

  • Percy

    Your biological family may not support you, Rachel, but there are many of us out here who do – You are not without family

  • William Butler

    Where does the bible say that the Earth is the center of the universe, or that it is 6000 years old?
    You are cherry picking the claim of some groups that are obviously false and then using that to falsify an entire belief system. It would be like me quoting Darwin when he said that the first life emerged from some “warm little pond” and using that statement to falsify atheism.
    In order to falsify Christianity you have to go back to the source material and then demonstrate that those claims couldn’t possibly be correct.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Why would you think that? What evidence do you have to suggest Zeus doesn’t exist? Zeus makes lightning, and we know lightning happens, so shouldn’t that prove Zeus is real?

  • Rachael

    My Mom is fantastic, actually. She’s still super Christian, but she loves me and supports me and we just don’t talk about my heathen ways.

  • The Other Weirdo

    True Christianity™ alert!

  • JackHuang

    “Perhaps this is being done in hopes that someone will relay this to her father so she can twist that icy dagger in his heart just a little harder.”
    Yeah, she completely changed the worldview she grew up with and cherished just to stick it to her dad. Similarly, you became a Christian in college simply because you wanted to be a colossal dick to your parents. Yep, that makes sense, and isn’t at all obtusely presumptuous.

    “After much research into science, especially the fields of physics and cosmology”
    I have a degree in physics, and my father has a PhD in astrophysics. We are both atheists. Please make your “because science!” credibility grabs more elaborate.

    “Obviously God does not require the same exact things from all people in all times.”
    Obviously not. If God did to anyone post-Jesus what he did to Abraham (regarding Isaac) or Job (to win a bet with Satan), Jesus would disown him instead of merely asking Him why God forsaked him.

    “If so, how does she explain the beginning of the Universe”
    The Big Bang theory is pretty close to the mark. It’s at least far more phenomenologically descriptive than Genesis, in which, to quote Robin Williams: “God went *click*.”

    “and the fine tuning of the laws of physics?”
    Anthropic principle. You assume that the laws of physics had to be tailored to us, based on the assumption that our existence is inevitable. That is a baseless assumption.

    “Fulfilled bible prophecy?”
    Nostradamus was pretty good at that stuff, too. I hear Miss Cleo had her fans, too.

    “The Shroud of Turin?”
    It dates from far later than the time of Christ, and its imprinting effect has been successfully replicated.

    “The existence of objective morality?”
    Why do you assume it exists? What is the basis for your assertion that objective morality exists, aside from the fact that you’d feel much better if it did exist?

    “Which worldview explains all of this better than Christianity?”
    Science is pretty good at explaining phenomena.

    “The evidence from sociology?”
    Link, please. I’ve never heard of anyone claim that sociology evidences God (unless you’re merely talking about “most people have a predilection towards spirituality”, to which I can just as easily say “That’s evidence for the existence of Zeus/Shiva.”).

  • baal

    But countries with half the GDP of the U.S. manage equal or better outcomes in death rates and healthyness. Cost is not the limiting factor. Regardless of the costs, the moral thing to do is help people who are suffering. I can’t see it the other way round where you withhold care as the moral choice.

  • William Butler

    I never met anyone who claimed to have all the answers, or to stop searching.
    I actually love the search because the more evidence we uncover, the more the Christian worldview is validated.

  • Dylan

    Yes he does. I have tons of books about his words and deeds, written by ancient wise men. Some of the tales of Zeus and the Olympians were even written by women, which makes them more credible. YOU TEMPT THE FLAMING WHIPS OF THE ERINYES WITH YOUR BLASPHEMY

  • wesvvv

    I was trying to find a place to say this, so I guess I’ll say it here. Living as a Christian is to live a double life. One inside faith and one in the real world. To become Atheist is to live one life, inside and out. It’s freeing, but that word falls short. It makes the world and life click into place. It makes your own happiness and that of those around you a function of the now and what is best for the future, not of some ephemeral bribe of hellfire or harps on clouds at some distant later date. You do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. If you aren’t a sociopath, you have that instinct inside you and it’s been speaking to you all along, but it’s been burdened with this clumsy, heavy framework of religion up until now.

    You are a human. You belong to the human race. This life is the one chance to make a difference in the world and the people around you.

  • indorri

    “That map is not the territory.” Logic is a heuristic. It is a set of rules transforming input into output. We defined those rules.

  • William Butler

    Flippant remark #3556436. Why are atheists so darn flippant?
    There’s more evidence for those claims than the claims of atheism.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    The Bible has genealogies that supposedly go back to Adam and Eve. The 6,000 years old point is the average length of generations calculated out, including some of the exceptionally long lifespans of early Biblical people (Methuselah over 900 years, as I recall). It’s an indirect claim, perhaps, but very much there.

  • JackHuang

    False to your false.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_atheism

    I think you may be confusing definitions with bulls—.

  • William Butler

    Did you just read what I wrote?

  • Graver

    I’m pretty sure the guy that said “Until he punishes you for it” is an atheist trying to point out a hole in ispeakout’s argument. A brief point: you can’t start a counter argument with a sentence like “If God is good, then how come he lets X happen?” because this begs the question that X is good.

    There’s evidence if you’re looking for it. The question you’d have to ask yourself is, what would it take for you to believe? Are you expecting God to manifest himself as a gigantic Gandalf like figure and say to you “BELIEVE” and then disappear?

  • indorri

    She was being coy, she was pointing out that conservative Christianity is predicated on thought control. She doesn’t actually believe it (read the rest of her posts).

  • William Butler

    1 Timothy 1:10

    ” 8Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, ENSLAVERS, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to soundc doctrine, 11in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”

  • Stev84

    Christians were on both sides of any of those issues. Which is just more proof that they don’t follow any “objective morality” and that you can get the Bible (and any other “holy” book) say anything you want.

  • wesvvv

    Shorter Tanyam: Rachel is an Atheist because she hasn’t met the right Christian argument yet.

  • DavidMHart

    Well, rebellion is on balance a good thing if the thing you are rebelling against is causing harm, which her family’s brand of Christianity obviously was. And what on earth are you talking about with ‘idolatry’? The only thing you could conceivably be referring to is the last sentence of Rachael’s post, which reads like metaphor – unless I’m very much mistaken, it doesn’t look as if she is now praying to a deity called Freedom, venerating a holy book allegedly written by Freedom, etc; she’s just realized that having the ability to make one’s own choices in life is a far greater good than submission to the supposed wishes of one particular Middle Eastern tribal deity.

  • Graver

    We didn’t define those rules any more than we created math or numbers. We have man made rules to understand universal concepts.

  • Rachael

    I’m just waiting for one to treat me right, y’know?

  • baal

    “There’s more evidence for those claims than the claims of atheism.”
    Flippant remark? I think so. It’s a two way street Bill (can I call you Bill?).

  • William Butler

    If it weren’t for the Christians slavery would still be legal. 99.9999999% of the abolitionists were devout Christians. There was a sizeable portion of the population who disliked slavery but weren’t actively campaigning to outlaw it.
    BTW, did you know that in the early Roman empire women were strongly drawn to Christianity because of its egalitarian views? This was extremely appealing to women in the Roman Empire, who were otherwise treated as second class citizens by the pagan culture.

  • bossmanham

    Which means we were wrong before.

  • ispeakout

    The thing is that God is not finite. I don’t judge my reasoning by my own reasoning…that could go on and on. Then there could be something I don’t know could go against what I think I know…just like it could for you. I can only know my reasoning is right because God has all knowledge which I don’t and is able to reveal Himself in a way that I can know some things for sure.
    Could you be wrong about everything that you think that you know?

  • tanyam

    But here is how this sounds to me: The differences between the Democratic Party and Joseph Stalin don’t matter, because you know, they’re both on the left.

  • Stev84

    You are so deluded it’s not even funny.

    There were plenty of people who were against slavery for any other number of reasons. The Christians who were against it, were Christians mostly incidentally and humanists first (you can be a Christian humanist btw). Of course most people in those days were Christians of some kind. Duh. That doesn’t mean religion was the driving course behind all their actions. The ones who really waved their Bibles around and displayed extreme religious fervor were always against human rights of any kind.

  • bossmanham

    We have evidence he doesn’t, part of that being the fact that the God of the Bible exists, and has stated there is no other god.

  • indorri

    You’ll have to expand on the begging the question part. I don’t see it. Did you mean to say it begs the question that “X” is bad?

  • Jim Achmoody

    Rachael’s story is not to difficult to understand, after learning of her parent’s approach. I would recommend she read some of Ravi Zacharias writings. There are lot’s of things I would like to ask her if I had the opportunity. I’m reminded of a point made by the evangelist whose ministry I listened to as a 12 year old in 1957-”even if we are wrong-he preferred to live with hope and meaning”. The other point is how an atheist explains that a primitive culture has never been discovered which did not worship-we were so created and must be taught and indoctrinated to live otherwise. One is left with man as the highest ‘mind’ around which to ‘spin’ or center our life around. Randy Frazee is to be commended!

  • William Butler

    Only if I can call you Baal!
    : )

  • JackHuang

    Cool. You don’t like the 6,000-year age thing. Okay. How about the rest of Feminerd’s points, like Adam & Eve, Eden, Noah’s Flood (as described literally in the Bible)?

    I mean I’d hate to think that you’re, ahem, cherry-picking claims to rebut.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Like what sort of evidence? I don’t know you, but I can guess that you are not out digging the sands of Iraq or Israel for new artifacts, that you are not providing new insights into translations of old manuscripts, that you have not found additional papyri of content showing the birth of the True Religion™.

    The search for religious truth reminds me of the scene in Foundation, where the representative of the dying Empire thought he was the preeminent archeologist of his age by virtue of his reading some books.

  • baal

    “Are you expecting God to manifest himself as a gigantic Gandalf like figure and say to you “BELIEVE” and then disappear?”

    It’d be a nice start.

    Look, if the only reason you’re ‘good’ is because you’re following your interpretation of god’s will, please stay the hell away from me. I prefer people who can figure out right from wrong with out a consultation to a church’s local leader.

  • allein

    How is “I don’t see any logical reason to believe that this story is true” a leap of faith?

  • Savannah Johnston

    Herp derp indeed. You think that just because science is constantly being revised, it never gets closer to the truth? So, because the Earth is an oblate spheroid, saying that the Earth is a sphere is *just* as wrong as saying it’s flat? How do you get through a day with such black and white thinking?

    Besides, there’s a difference between finding an irreconcilable logical flaw (what Rachael found that led her away from Christianity) and just not knowing the answer to something (what often happens in science).

  • ispeakout

    I know God is good, because He has revealed that in His Word the Bible to me. Where do you get truth in your worldview?

  • Mario Strada

    A half page of drivel and not a single coherent argument to support your beliefs. Not a record but still a good effort.

    All I am reading here is a number of platitudes and circular arguments, plus some good old fashioned “fear of God™” apologetics and a number of false assumptions based on your own beliefs but no objective reality. Good going.

    “The thing is Rachael, that you never truly were a Christian” who the hell are you to make such a judgement? I say you are not truly a Christian because you are clearly demonstrating a sin of pride and lack of mercy. How about that? And in my religion, absence of paragraphs is a mortal sin so my god is going to send you to grammar hell where you’ll be forced to write on a blackboard for eternity.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    How do we discover the universe is past eternal? Everything we know suggests a starting point (Big Bang) about 13.9 billion years ago, and we don’t know when or if the universe is going to end.

    We’ve discovered a few ways for life (very simple life) to arise out of nonlife. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis Note this is a long article, and to fully understand it will require a lot of cross-linking to such sites as the page about the Miller-Urey experiments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment )

    You want us to find the body of some random guy from 2,000 years ago that was hidden by his disciples or removed by Romans to prevent his tomb from being a beacon of unrest? Yeah, that’s not going to happen, and you know it’s an unreasonable request.

    What does Israel have to do with anything?

    What do advanced aliens have to do with God? If God did create everything, how would the existence of aliens with advanced technology possibly negate that assumption? I mean, God’s a ridiculous proposition, granted, but that’s not something that would disprove it.

  • JackHuang

    “the more evidence we uncover, the more the Christian worldview is validated.”
    As evidenced by the past 500 years of its history, the Catholic Church vehemently disagrees with you. Welp, I guess they’re not really Christian, right?

  • Vanadise

    Where did I say that a Christian can’t say “I don’t know”? You’re putting words in my mouth now.

    It’s perfectly ok to admit you don’t know answers to “unresolved issues surrounding Christianity.” The problem is that if you can’t provide satisfactory answers to some of Christianity’s core problems, the entire thing falls apart. How is it even possible for an objective morality to exist if some things that used to be sins are no longer sins? Why would an omniscient, loving God create creatures that he has known from the beginning of time would go to Hell? Christianity does not have any explanatory power that doesn’t boil down to “God did it that way because he wanted to do it that way.”

    You seem to be obsessed with having a “worldview” provided to you. Why do you need somebody else to tell you what to believe instead of figuring things out for yourself?

  • William Butler

    Sure, I believe that a literal Adam and Eve existed in a garden of Eden, and that a flood happened.
    There are plenty of legends from cultures all over the world that have a story extremely similar to the flood story in the Bible. Personally, I think that it might have been a local flood which was universal in the sense that it wiped out humanity but didn’t cover the entire Earth, which explains the story and the scientific data more than the water planet hypothesis.

  • Seth Dunn

    I didn’t say he was violent. I didn’t get that impression from the article.

    I am saying that the man’s aspergers syndrome can account for his regimental ways. I just think that is an important detail. Slick is kind of like the Christian apologist version of Det. Robert Goren.

    That is relevant.

  • Avi

    Funny… Two weeks ago I told a friend of mine’s that I couldn’t imagine what an indoctrinated-from-birth person has to go through to break free from religion. I watched that episode of The Daily Shoe and to see now the daughter of Slick come out about her struggle… Hug for Rachel not because she is weak, but because she has strength.

  • Morgan C.Jones

    Well done kid. Well done!

  • William Butler

    The classical definition of atheism is what I said. But if you want to define yourself as not knowing anything, why be so hostile then?

  • bossmanham

    //Well, rebellion is on balance a good thing if the thing you are rebelling against is causing harm, which her family’s brand of Christianity obviously was

    So not acting immorally, not being a slut, etc. Those are bad things? Not all of how a father can mistreat his daughter stems from a Biblical upbringing anyway. A Christian father can be a poor father for other reasons. I suspect Rachel is just rebellious in general and wanted some sort of sexual freedom that the Biblical worldview condemns. That’s how 90% of these things go.

    And frankly, I’d love to hear your standard for a bad upbringing. What are you basing that on and why should I accept it as a foundational moral truth?

    //And what on earth are you talking about with ‘idolatry’?

    She just claimed she had another god, namely “freedom.”

  • Rachael

    This is Rachael, and my email is redverse@live.com (back from the Christian days, a reference to the Jesus-verses printed red in some Bibles), just for general contact purposes.

  • JackHuang

    … says the guy who believes Israel being wiped out would disprove God. Please make your apologism at least *marginally* self-consistent.

  • Tobias2772

    bossman,
    Please present your evidence – we are all interested in it.
    Please re-read my post. He spent his life looking – and found rationalizations – not evidence. PLease defend your claims about christianity – with evidence.

  • Savannah Johnston

    Way to completely miss the point. Joubert is saying it’s better to try and find the answer to a question, but never find it (and be honest with yourself that you haven’t found it) than to just tell yourself you’ve found the answer without looking and leave it at that (pretending you know when you actually don’t).

  • indorri

    Definitions. You’ve attached an emotionally loaded word onto something and insinuating it has some intrinsic meaning and are trying to get us to tie two things together when one of them may not even exist.

    It is good for people to have health and bad to have suffering because I define part of the set of things labelled “good” as having health and part of the set of things labelled “bad” as having suffering. I’m not interested in resolving neoplatonic metaphysics with that because I don’t think neoplatonic classes have existence independent of human hierarchical classification. I’m especially not interested in proving such things are good because I don’t care about the label, I care about what the label represents.

  • LexRex

    Strange, reason brought Anthony Flew to the opposite conclusion.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Zacharias states that a coherent worldview must be able to satisfactorily answer four questions: that of origin, meaning of life, morality and destiny.

    Wow, right off the mark, he’s wrong, and presupposes too many things at the start of it. Just another apologist, one not worth the trouble. All these guys, why are Christians so willing to accept the weakest appology as the ultimate proof of their faith?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravi_Zacharias#Philosophy

  • baal

    I award Indorri the philosophy bonus points and my thanks.

  • Savannah Johnston

    Actually, we already have, numerous times. Your refusing to listen or accept it isn’t our problem.

  • Michelle Langley

    Some of what you wrote resonated with me in a very uncomfortable way. I was raised in a similar manner. It was years before I realized that God is WAY bigger than the box any religion attempts to put him in.

  • Kingasaurus

    Do any of you Matt Slick sycophants/ventriloquist dummies have anything new? Any argument that’s actually good?

  • Stev84

    Jesus died and made all that go away or something. Or it’s a metaphor. And let’s not forget the ever important “context”.

  • DavidMHart

    I personally don’t believe that we would feel guilt if we were 100% animals by nature, without a soul

    This is a perfect example of an argument from personal incredulity, and if you wish to substantiate the claim that there has to be something supernatural about us in order for us to feel certain emotional states, you’re going to have to try a lot harder.

    You presumably don’t have a problem with the idea that some non-human animals are capable of experiencing fear when faced with a threat, or parental love when caring for their offspring, or hope when tempted by a tasty treat, or excitement, as in when you prepare to throw a stick for your dog to catch, and yet there is not the slightest bit of good evidence that the consciousnesses of sentient non-human animals is in any way independent of their physical brains. Why should it be any different for emotional states that are harder to detect from behavioural cues, like guilt?

    There is, of course, no good evidence as yet that human consciousness is in any way independent of the physical state of human brains either. If you can think of a good way of demonstrating that it is, then have at it, but until then, please don’t try to shoehorn magic into your explanation just because you can’t imagine how something could work without magic.

  • Jim Achmoody

    Personally, I don’t see a person as free who has humankind as his highest source of wisdom. See the book “My Train-wreck Conversion”, by Rosaria Butterfield for more, very thought provoking points to consider…

  • JackHuang

    “99.9999999% of the abolitionists were devout Christians. ”
    The same proportion of slavery supporters were devout Christians, as well.

    Pleas stop playing dumb. It’s not the clever stonewall you believe it to be. It’s merely trolling.

  • The Other Weirdo

    So big, in fact, so mind-bogglingly huge, that it doesn’t even exist.

    I think the word you’re looking for there is Universe, not God.

  • Blacksheep

    Probably the same reason my wife loves our cat. I like our cat.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    The only claim I make is that I have not been presented with enough evidence to believe that there is a God or that it is the Christian one.

    What’s your evidence?

  • William Butler

    Well those are some pretty tough questions you asked. I’ll try to address them in a few seconds:
    1) Jesus summarized the entire law as love towards God and love towards your fellow man. This is the ultimate objective morality that exists. All of the other commandments were manifestations of these principles that don’t necessarily apply in all areas at all times.
    2) God created free moral agents and did not force them to be obedient. Would you rather not have the moral freedom to decide your own destiny? God created free agents because He wants to spend eternity with people that choose to love Him rather than are forced to love Him through programming or intimidation.
    3) Not everyone believes in an eternal torment version of Hell. Some (like myself) simply think that Hell is the place of final destruction and cessation of existence, ultimately chosen by those who refuse to submit to God.

  • Stev84

    So you believe in a literal garden Eden, but not in a literal global flood, because that would be inconvenient. Typical cherry picking there.

  • indorri

    You do realise you’re special pleading trying to get your own claims of knowledge exempt from evaluation, correct? Correctness of knowledge is not shown to be a function of certainty of the knowledge-holder.

  • Dylan

    I’m sorry, circular logic is circular.

    You have successfully done more damage to your cause than I ever could. Herp derp indeed.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Nope, nope, you changed it. It said kidnappers before. Kidnapping is an awful crime, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t say anything about slavery.

  • Julie Anne

    Phil Johnson of Grace Community Church recently tweeted it. He has 11,500 followers: https://twitter.com/Phil_Johnson_/status/356859713327071232

    I noticed that my former pastor who sued me also commented on Phil’s tweet as well. My daughter was raised in this environment (yes, I am partly responsible for that.) She and Rachael have a lot in common. I would love to connect with Rachael. I understand why my daughter left the faith. She was spiritually bullied. The church that sued me behaved like that as well. It was a very small church and I can name quite a few young people who are in the same boat.

    Phil Johnson and others will likely put the blame on the kids for abandoning their faith. I do not. I put the blame on parents (like I was) and bully church leaders.

  • JackHuang

    William, people here are asking you to define “objective transcendent morality,” since you’re the one who introduced the term into discussion.

    If you cannot define the term, preferring to play infantile word games, then I suppose we will, as you apparently do, simply give “objective transcendent morality” as much meaning as “snarfblatt.”

  • The Other Weirdo

    But it’s the only real thing we know. Everything else is delusion, wishful thinking, make-belief, and out-and-out lies. There is absolutely no evidence that there is any form of higher source of wisdom than humanity.

  • Savannah Johnston

    And David just explained that that is a metaphor. You’re really quite dense.

    Yes, of course Rachael wanted sexual freedom, there is so much in her article that supports this.

    “So not acting immorally, not being a slut, etc. Those are bad things?”

    You are quite skilled at cherry-picking, but if you think you’ve fooled anyone, you’re quite mistaken.

  • Tobias2772

    Rachael,
    I agree. My father never spanked us in anger. He would send us to our rooms if he needed time to cool off. The waiting was worse than the spanking. When he spanked us, he clearly explained why he was doing it and what he expected in the future. I have a deep and abiding respect for my father and the way he always carried himself. It is good to see you be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in your life. Keep up the good work.

  • William Butler
  • Mario Strada

    Good replay. Put a bow on it :)

  • indorri

    We did create math and numbers. We created them to express granularity and relationships on our environment.

  • baal
  • Julie Anne

    I wonder if this is Ken Cook of CARM ministries. – the same organization that Rachael’s dad works for. http://carm.org/kendell-cook

  • Savannah Johnston

    Why, pray tell, is she not an atheist?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Sure. And we’ll be wrong again in the future. We still didn’t throw out everything we ever learned about human physiology or how it responds to salt in general, we just altered our understanding of what specific amounts of salt do to our bodies.

  • daisybear

    I found this post interesting, as it related to raising children in a super-religious environment. As an atheist, I encourage my children to think for themselves but to be polite and respectful to other people’s beliefs. But even this leads to difficulties… and based on what I’ve read on another atheist website, I’m not alone in my experiences.

    See: http://www.foxhole-atheist.com/2013/06/22/my-parenting-experience-as-an-atheist-share-yours/

  • William Butler

    I’m referring to the atheism that includes philosophical materialism. That worldview is demonstrably false and untenable.

  • Dylan

    “I have evidence that (insert any god) doesn’t, part of that being the fact that the (any god) exists, and has stated that there is no other god.”

    Do you see how vacuous and vain that sounds?

  • JackHuang

    Re: #3: Aw yeah, man. Serfdom is just like your modern 9-to-5. Little-known fact: serfs got great dental.

  • Vanadise

    Primitive religions were simply a tool to explain how the world around them worked. What causes lightning? Why do floods happen? How are babes created? What is that big shiny ball in the sky and why is it so bright when it’s around? These things were mystical, unpredictable phenomena to ancient civilizations, and so they made up stories to explain them and console each other when accidents occurred. All cultures have a mythological heritage, but not all of them worship the same god, or only one god, or even any gods at all.

    We were not “created” with any need to worship; we have a natural need to understand the world around us. Before we had the necessary tools, we used myths. Now that we have science, we know how the world really works, and those myths are unnecessary. At one time, there were people who believed that the world was flat, or the Earth was the center of the universe, or the tides came in and out due to spirits in the sea and moon. We know that all of these things are false now, and it has become increasingly obvious that for every phenomenon we don’t understand, there is a rational explanation we don’t know yet.

  • Savannah Johnston

    How the hell are they promoting naturalism??

  • Tobias2772

    Anna,
    I respectfully disagree. Not all physical punishment is abuse. Can we agree to disagree ?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    The Iliad AND the Odyssey both say Zeus is real, and they’re older than your books. They’re also much better written and more interesting to read. Thus, Zeus is clearly real, because he’s in a book!

  • Graver

    Boy did I never say I was good. And nobody believes that following God’s will makes you good any more than not breaking the law makes you a model citizen. That would be the point of Christ.

    You can’t figure out what’s good and bad from debating in your head. Things may seem obviously good or bad to you but that’s only because you’ve grown up thinking that way (and I say ‘you’ meaning, the plural, general, you).

  • Martin Wagner

    Well, I suppose the reason people are responding so strongly to this part of your testimony is that for those of us who didn’t have to grow up that way, it sounds excruciating and horrible.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I am of the opinion that one should be respectful of people, but not necessarily their beliefs. According respect to beliefs imbues them an unwarranted stature.

  • Savannah Johnston

    It can account for them, sure, but it can’t justify them. It’s not really relevant, because most of us here are not interested in *why* he raised her as he did. Only that he did.

  • Stev84

    Oh FFS, not another “Where do you get your morality from?” idiot.

  • William Butler

    Sure,
    There are lots of great scientific arguments for design that corroborate what the Bible says.
    1) The origin of the Universe ex nihilo which corroborates Genesis 1:1.
    2) The fine tuning of the laws and constants of physics. This fine tuning is absolutely astonishing as even atheistic cosmologists will readily admit.
    3) The origin of life from non-life.
    4) The complexity and design of life.
    5) The origin of consciousness from non-consciousness.
    6) The study of near death experiences.
    7) the physical qualities of the Shroud of Turin, which are non-reproducible by modern technology.

  • katiehippie

    “good grief, young lady”
    Mansplainer extraordinaire

  • Dylan

    I reject the implication that people on the autism spectrum are more likely to treat their families the way that Rachel’s father did than people not on the autism spectrum.

    I also reject that you are somehow familiar with the sum total of Rachel’s disagreements with Christian scripture after reading this single article. Your comments began rude, and then quickly moved on to pure foolishness.

    Go read a book.

  • Rachael

    Correct. Any given behavior can have a myriad of reasons behind it, but reasons are completely separate from justification.

  • wesvvv

    God told you He was good and you believed it. That’s where you are taking your stand?

    You have free will. You can choose to judge that message as false anytime you want. Still a judgement call. Unless you aren’t a free will believer.

  • Stev84

    Nothing but ridiculous and childish presuppositions

  • Savannah Johnston

    “It is unreasonable to believe that something came from nothing.”

    Why? Because it’s counter-intuitive? Ask a physicist if it’s reasonable, they’ll have a very different answer for you. Or do you think you know more about how the universe works than a physicist?

    “It is
    unreasonable to believe that everything created by humans was
    intelligently thought out with thought, intent and purpose and served a
    function, but the very cosmos and planet we live on including our very
    selves are without thought, intent and purpose.”

    Why’s that?

    “It is unreasonable to
    stake your entire reality on ‘chance’.”

    Not sure what you’re saying here. Again though, why? You’re just making a bunch of assumptions and not giving any of your reasoning behind them.

  • flyb

    That’s great! AA should hire you to do their designs.

  • Jim Achmoody

    Are you aware that anthropologists have never found a culture that did not worship-it’s an innate part of our DNA, if you will and we must be indoctrinated into the foolishness that says there is no Creator whose Personality is Infinite Love. He never forces Himself on anyone and we have been given the freedom to reject the love He offers. As Rosario Butterfield found out, digging into the scripture diligently with a truly open mind is life changing! See her story on YouTube etc.

  • JackHuang

    “and that a flood happened.”
    Floods happen all the time, and big ones are really bad, so they tend to get remembered. “I believe a flood happened” is as meaningful as “I skipped a stone across a lake, so yeah, I totally think that, metaphorically, Jesus walked on water.”

    “Personally, I think that it might have been a local flood which was universal in the sense that it wiped out humanity”
    So, God dumbed down the Bible to put creative license into the story of Noah’s Flood? In any case, there’s no evidence of a massive flood that blanketed the entire continent of Africa at any point in the history of modern humans. Thus, “a local flood which… wiped out humanity” contradicts abundant scientific evidence (regarding where all of “humanity” was) to the point of being utterly nonsensical.

  • wesvvv

    I don’t claim to know where the universe came from or that I get issued a harp after I die. I don’t claim to know that a deity approves or disapproves of things and why He changes his mind about that over time. I’m not claiming anything. I’m pointing out that you seem to give yourself a lot of credit for picking correctly and don’t realize you are doing exactly what you claim you aren’t.

  • indorri

    I don’t respect some people. I don’t necessarily respect the beliefs of Christians, but I don’t necessarily wilfully disrespect them. I respect those predicated on human well being (not intention of human well being, actual well being). I respect people who seek to enact the well being of humans.

    I do not respect Matt Slick. I find him contemptible. I do not merrily disrespect his beliefs, I think his beliefs have lead him to commit immoral acts such as physically (via whipping) and psychologically (via fear of hell, conditioning her to unquestioning obedience) abusing his daughter.

  • William Butler

    Feminerd,

    1) Exactly – the origin of the Universe corroborates Genesis 1:1 and falsifies naturalism.

    2) We have not created life from non-life. Miller-Urey created some amino acids from chemical processes which are not life, and no one believes that the atmosphere used by Miller-Urey was similar to the atmosphere of the early Earth anyway. Even if I conceded that it was, that is a drop in the ocean on explaining how the first self-replicating life popped into existence.
    3) The Shroud of Turin gives us an image of the resurrection. No body is going to be found because no body exists to be found.
    4) The destruction of Israel would undermine the claims in the Bible about God restoring that nation before Christ comes back.
    5) Aliens would lend credence to the notion that life develops naturalistically on other planets and create philosophical issues with some of the claims in the Bible.
    I have to check out for awhile. I’ve enjoyed this conversation and may come back later.

  • Tobias2772

    trollman,
    Mr. Joubert and I will now have to bow to your expertise – in idiocacy – we stand corrected – bonjour !

  • b s

    1) Except that the universe quite possibly came from a singularity, which is not nothing. Also, lots of creation myths have the universe coming from nothing or from chaos. Beyond the universe coming into existence, nothing else matches, not even remotely.

    2-5) Not specific to your god

    6) Not specific to your god and people of many religions report NDE’s that support their religion

    7) Because we can’t reproduce a known fake; therefore god? Non-reproducible and not knowing how they were produced are not the same thing.

  • Rachael

    It was referred to as “breaking,” actually. Like “I will break your will.”

  • Dylan

    Don’t waste your breath, Feminerd.

    I bet Bossman doesn’t even know the proper way to shave a goat’s neck for sacrifice to Ares before a battle. And don’t get me started on reading the entrails.

    “What do the auspices say, Bossman?”
    “Uh, all I’m getting is “Thebes sux, lol. From Poseidon.””
    “Zeus blast it all to Tartarus, would someone please read the entrails for Bossman?…sigh.”

  • Gildavi

    I
    would dare to say that a daughter who runs away from home at 17 and
    never speaks to her father again, has some much deeper reasons to have
    rejected her upbringing than what she’s telling.

  • William Butler

    Not cherry picking at all. Quite honestly, this is a complete non-issue to me.

    If I became an atheist again I would still continue to believe in a cataclysmic flood simply because of the anthropological evidence from cultures all over the world.

  • b s

    “snarfblatt.”

    That annoying thing from Thundercats?

  • Vanadise

    1) “don’t necessarily apply in all areas at all times” sounds like the very definition of a relative morality to me.

    2) That doesn’t answer the question at all. If God is omniscient, then he knows everything that is ever going to happen. If that is the case, he knows which people are going to go to Hell before they are even created. If he does not know, he is not omniscient. Which is it?

    Even if he doesn’t know the future, surely he knows what it would take to convince me to love him of my own free will. In fact, convincing me that he exists would be much easier than convincing me to love him, but that hasn’t happened yet, either. Why is God so shy?

    3) What evidence do you have that your version of Hell is the correct one? Even if that is correct, in all honesty, when I die, I’d rather stop existing than live eternally, knowing that everybody I care about has been destroyed because they didn’t submit to God. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I could not ever love a God who would do that.

  • wesvvv

    Should I have closed with a /sarcasm tag?

    Thanks for the laugh.

  • Graver

    If that was the case then you wouldn’t use a statement like “people have health care” or “people should not have suffering”, because it’s your contention that the things you say are “good” are really just in a box of things you’ve decided to label good for no particular underlying reason. I don’t think that’s the case for you, I think you think people should have health care and not suffering due to natural empathy perhaps, or self preservation. That really is what “good” and “bad” comes down to, what “should” happen. Unless you really are so nihilistic and wouldn’t say that people should or should not have health care, in which case you’d be consistent.

  • Jim Achmoody

    Have any of you with such confidence in your atheistic convictions ever read about the differences between deathbed experiences of believers vs. skeptics-especially prior to modern medicine which drugs most to the point where the workings of the inner person are unrevealed at the point of their passing from this existence to the next?

  • yrathbone

    The only word I’ll accept for discussion is ἀνδραποδισταῖς (andrapodistais).

    Seriously, anyone who makes a claim for a literal meaning for the Bible that isn’t quoting either Hebrew or Koine will have to also explain why the translators are infallible.

    The original Greek seems to convey a range of meanings from the modern ideas of slavery to kidnapping. This is a classic example of the problems of translation for the fundamentalist.

    Also, Discus says I’m replying to Feminerd, but I hope it’s clear I’m agreeing with them.

  • JackHuang

    The classical definition of Christianity is not the liberal, adaptive one commonly used in modern times. Judging by your “the Flood may have just been a big local flood” comment, you’re not a Christian, using “the classical definition.” Fun, right?

    It’s a tad annoying when you declare an atheist to not be an atheist using an *incorrect definition*. Plus, people arrogantly spouting judgmental bulls— is a pet peeve of mine.

    P.S. – “why should she not discard atheism because of abiogenesis, for example?” For anyone who knows what “atheism” and “abiogenesis” mean, this makes no sense whatsoever.

  • ispeakout

    People can only discover the laws of logic Could you be wrong about all that you claim to know? If you are fallible, then you can only try to validate your reasoning by your own reasoning.

  • wesvvv

    Yes, you can. You can use empathy to take care of a big swath of potential moral decisions. You can use rational social good for another chunk of them.

    Why don’t you stone non virgin brides? Why are you ignoring half of the bible. Is it possible GASP you are using your own internal moral code to discard some of it?

  • wesvvv

    My point was that it’s also the financial choice. It is obviously the moral one. Thought that went without saying.

  • Free

    Rachel, flawed ideology in reference to religion. However, science begs to answer many questions that we sure hope ‘someone will answer it at some point.’ Providing the scientific gap and proof between micro and macro evolution or changes in species surely will have to be met “at some point”

  • baal

    I’m somewhat of the opinion that after you’ve read 1000 post by apologists, they don’t have anything new to say. And we get the added benefit of them being so sure that they have something new *this time*.

  • baal

    ” validate your reasoning by your own reasoning.”
    or you could try empiricism

  • baal

    Sorry, been a bit fast on the posting today.

  • Jim Achmoody

    Well said onamission-most of us tried our best as parents but always need to humbly acknowledge the ways we have fallen short, also keeping in mind that the children of the Perfect Father went astray as we all have. We all need His grace daily…

  • indorri

    My empathy and self-interest are the basis to desire those things, you are correct.

    So if you want to rephrase the question “why should we do x”, then you either a) go down the rabbit hole of questioning all human motivation, which is a deep and fascinating field and way too much to discuss in a disqus thread; or b) want to shift the question back to “there’s something independent of humans that is good”, which is a syntax error (and self-refuting, because that means you evaluated that thing to be good and we go around and around in the carousel of “whose metaphysics is more presuppositional”).

  • JustJ

    The saddest part of that article is the sign the kids are holding that reads “Obey.”

  • Dylan

    Oh wow. Really? Breaking? That’s astonishing. Well, maybe not astonishing now that i think about it. Chattel is as chattel does, after all. Thanks, Yaweh.

  • Tom

    You may be right, but what she’s already told us is already easily grounds enough. Did you read the part about the beatings? The regimentation? The trotting out to perform on demand for others like a trained animal? Did you look, really look, at the expressions on the faces of most of those children in the “obey” picture? That picture chills me.

  • JackieTrinity

    This is why fundamentalist Christians endeavor to keep their children out of secular universities and colleges, and send their kids to Bob Jones and Liberty.

    Congratulations Rachael! At the age of 21, you’ve done what many much older people than you have failed to do – liberated yourself from irrational faith in an irrational dogma.

  • Chuck

    I was born agnostic, and came to atheism honestly. While I can’t identify with this (on some levels, I envy the strictness of this young woman’s upbringing, as mine left me woefully unprepared for the expectations of humanity at large) I do find it inspiring, as I always support thinking critically, even when the results bring harsh truths to the surface.

  • Jim Achmoody

    Amazing you have such grace and objectivity!

  • JackHuang

    Oh, I see. Since we’re apparently playing the “I’m making invisible, baseless assumptions and it’s your fault for not reading my mind” game, whenever I say “Christian” from now on, go ahead and assume that I mean “Catholic.” I shall keep referring to you as “Christian,” though, because my “Catholic” assumption is invisible (but ever-present).

    Of course, I’d love to see you even begin to support your confident claim that philosophical materialism “is demonstrably false and untenable.” It should be quite entertaining, if not for you, then at least for me.

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    Ispeakout: “The thing is that God is not finite…”

    And you have verified this… How, exactly? ;-)

  • Chuck

    Also, don’t give me that “born atheist” crap, because that’s a stupid argument I want no part of.

  • baal

    “2) The fine tuning of the laws and constants of physics. This fine
    tuning is absolutely astonishing as even atheistic cosmologists will
    readily admit.”
    This makes me want to throw things. Actually, all of these points have been addressed ad naseum. Go google them, read the counters and then tell me why the counters are wrong. These items are bunk, disproven bunk, endlessly repeated and disproven again bunk. And now you want me as your bunk mate. To that, I say no.

  • NeaDods

    He beat her, he showed her off like a trained monkey, we know he can’t tolerate differing opinions and you can’t figure out why she’d consider him a negative influence? And then, knowing that you don’t know the whole story of why she ran away, you give her orders? Someone needs to do some deep re-examining of their beliefs, but I don’t think it’s her.

  • indorri

    Yes, it’s part of being an operationalist fallibilist. I don’t care how consistent my logic is, if the universe smacks me upside the head with a wrong prediction, I scrap it and try again.

  • JackHuang

    There may be a “snarfblatt” in Thundercats, but I was referring to the Little Mermaid. It’s what the sea folk called a human tobacco pipe.

  • baal

    ” That worldview is demonstrably false and untenable.”
    You disbelieve the chair you’re sitting on? Have you considered Buddhism? They teach the world is an illusion and you seem to be more than half way there.

  • Matt

    Funny, he revealed to me in his word the bible that he is a misogynistic xenophobe who supports slavery and child murder. Weird how we both read the same book, huh?

  • Cake

    Torturing the children of your children doesn’t make you perfect father, it makes you a perfect monster.

    Nobody needs grace.

  • J9Cleme

    Oh, Dear Rachael, Thank you so much for you openness and ability to
    share your story! There are many people who need to hear what you have
    said, and many who will try to stop you or re-convert you.

    Stay
    strong and follow the evidence! You are an intelligent, educated woman.
    Continue to educate yourself and your boldness and knowledge will both
    grow. Once you know the truth, you can not go back to believing in the
    myths.

    My background is similar to your own, not to the same
    extent, but similar enough. I know the “new freedom” you feel now. I
    know the fear you feel now. I also know you are NOT alone in any of it.
    Enjoy and embrace the freedom…it is truly wonderful to finally be
    free!

    Two of your paragraphs meant a lot to me: “Atheists
    frequently wonder how an otherwise rational Christian can live and die
    without seeing the light of science, and I believe the answer to this is
    usually environment. If every friend, authority figure, and
    informational source in your life constantly repeat the same ideas, it
    is difficult not to believe they’re onto
    something. My world was built of “reasonable” Christians — the ones who
    thought, who questioned, who knew that what they believed was true. In the face of this strength, my own doubts seemed petty. 


    



    I
    was no longer a Christian. That thought was a punch to the gut, a wave
    of nausea and terror. Who was I, now, when all this had gone away? What
    did I know? What did I have to cling to? Where was my comfort? 

I
    didn’t know it, but I was free.”

    The nausea and terror will come
    and go…eventually it will only go! You now have the awesome ability to
    create the “New You”. I think you will love who you become!

  • Malachi

    “Everyone had always explained this problem away using the principle that
    Jesus’ sacrifice meant we wouldn’t have to follow those ancient laws.
    
But that wasn’t an answer. In fact, by the very nature of the problem, there was no possible answer that would align with Christianity.

”

    Rachael, this may come a day late and a dollar short, but it sounds like this conflict above implicates contemporary Christianity, not ‘Christianity’ itself. I’ve asked the same question as you did above, and found this to be a very recent issue. It’s a problem the modern Western church has foisted upon itself as the gap between it and the historic church grows ever wider. You don’t sound like someone to dismiss another person right off the bat, so if you feel up for it, just start reading some (really) old Christian works. I suggest Iraeneus [his anecdotes recorded of the apostle John should do the trick]and other ante-Nicene writers. You’ll never hear once of this ‘Law vs Grace’ stuff, they treated the law as a celebrated part of the Christian walk. It can do nothing to add to one’s salvation, however in the eyes of the Church for the 2000 years prior to the 20th century, it was invaluable in the life of the believer (Rom 7:22).

    And speaking of Romans 7, Paul would be the first to give you an Amen right here:

    “Oh boy. I’ve got a lot to work on. I try to be obedient but it’s so hard! The more I read, the more I realize how bad I am!”

    “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks
    be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the
    law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” -Rom 7:24-8:1

    The whole idea that the law is somehow at odds with the Christian walk is a decidedly modern invention. I call it ‘soft-Marcionism’. The Early Church had no qualms with the law. The freedom in Christ is freedom to obey the law, not the freedom to disobey it. The penalty for breaking the law has been removed in Christ, not the obligation for obeying it. The law of ‘do not put a stumbling block in the path of a blind man’ is just as binding to the Christian as the Jew. There aren’t any laws in the Old Testament deemed sin which are not deemed sin in the New. Some laws had a specific local application which were intended to have a shelf life, others are universal. God loves us, not based on how closely we follow the law, but rather because we are His in Christ.

    Your parents sound like they love you very much. That being said, I’m praying for you. Cheers.

  • CottonBlimp

    The upsetting thing is, I think they assume that’s what we do. They haven’t learned critical thinking, they haven’t learned the scientific method or about logical fallacies, I think they assume that their shoddy thinking is the standard. Believing the Bible was written by God is as valid an assumption as thinking it wasn’t, and it happens to be the right one.

  • tanyam

    Sigh. I suppose we deserve this suspicion, but I’m not actually interested in “converting” Rachel or arguing her into a religious faith of any sort. I’m not an apologist. I’m making a point, largely because of the comments, that not all religious people are fundamentalists. Rachel talks about leaving “Christianity,” and I think that’s a bit of the stretch. She left fundamentalism. This is informational — a lot of people in my shoes are tired of having the fundamentalists define the entire tradition. But because they are the ones out there proselytizing and arguing, that’s what people think we’re about.

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    (Springy G looks under several items on Her desk, including a stapler, a pad of paper and a bottle of white-out) Sorry, Ispeakout, but I see substantially more evidence for office supplies than for your god.

  • daisybear

    Actually, it may not be apparent from my original comment, but I’m moving toward your point of view. For example, at school, my children have been bullied for no other reason than they replied that they didn’t believe in God when they were asked what their religion was. And this was after they were completely respectful of everyone else’s beliefs. So, yes, now I’m more of the view “respect the believer but not the belief.”

  • Jim Achmoody

    So true-don’t see that kind of relationship modeled in Jesus! I also think there are satisfying answers to the questions that first led to Rachel’s confusion and then rejection of her faith. Reminds me of a similar unfruitful quest Einstein had for answers as to how God could permit such suffering as we see around us.

  • Matt

    Also, she did not mention that the not speaking to her father was her doing. Perhaps he has rejected her because of her deconversion?

  • Jim Achmoody

    Understandable!

  • Cake

    I hold no animosity toward whatever feeble hope and comfort people clutch to at their last moments. But you on the other hand….

    The conversions of the dying, sick and terrified people, is that where you want to claim where your strengths lay?

  • P Hegarty

    Could you be wrong about all that? How do you make sense of knowing things like “Everything else is delusion” ? What are the reasons for your beliefs? Evidence makes sense in a world created and governed by God. How does it make sense in a world created and governed by nothing?

  • b s

    So you were born believing in a particular theism? Which one?

  • Matt

    You’re missing a few citations here. You’re welcome to provide them whenever you would like.

  • ispeakout

    You do have to use what God has given you to try to argue against the God you know exists. It’s like stealing my worldview to argue against it.

  • Free

    Hebrews 11:1 Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. Please quote the verse correctly. It is a functioning definition of faith. It bridges the gap between what we have actual evidence such as science and the evidence of what we can not see or yet see. Ones perception of reality is based on ones experience and many other objective and subjective factors. Faith takes us beyond ourselves and to God’s reality.

  • Mario Strada

    I raised a daughter approximately your age. Never once I laid a hand on her but sure as hell she knew who was in charge.

    I have had many run ins with a part of my acquired family that is mostly evangelical and mostly supports corporal punishment.

    I have never seen them apply corporal punishment the way most evangelical describe it when interviewed. Once my SIL kicked her son down the stair in my house and then proceeded to beat the hell out of him in the time it took me to wake up, realize that someone was having the snot kicked out of them, reach them and stop the beating.

    In fact, never once I have seen them apply a spanking with the sort of calm and solemnity they claimed to do it. It was usually a spur of the moment reaction delivered with the back of their hands to the kid’s mouth or a savage beating preceded by dragging and wrestling the kid into submission.

    When it happened at their homes in Canada, all I could do was trying to diffuse the situation and then anticipate my departure. But when it happened in my home, I finally called Child Services on them and put them through a bit of their own pain. We don’t speak anymore. Something to celebrate.

    After being exposed to these corporal punishments I realized that all these people are weak. Unable to establish their parental authority. They are bad parents. In fact, in most cases the kids were allowed to peter everyone in the house or public place.

    In most cases they should have been stopped at the very first display of misbehavior, but the parent were too busy to care. At that point things would escalate until the parents were truly and positively angry and reacted by beating the shit out of them.

    A simple look is all I have ever needed with my daughter because she knew that if she misbehaved I would be disappointed and that possible disappointment was enough for her to behave.

    Needless to say, not only I have a great daughter, but she is now a college graduate, works with kids and she is an absolute loving, respected, but firm teacher. Somehow her kids stop misbehaving the moment she looks at them. I was very proud to have finally stopped the cycle of violence.

    I know you are not a parent yer, Rachel, but I invite you to explore alternative disciplinary methods that don’t involve violence.

    There is never a good reason to be violent. Even those spankings delivered with much ritual and that end with hugs and kisses are damaging. Not only that, but for every parent applying CP in that manner (which I find abhorrent anyway) there are scores of less educated people that feel empowered by that philosophy, yet they apply it out of frustration and anger. Do you really want to perpetuate that cycle of violence?

    In addition, my personal experience is that kids raised with CP are often the most pestiferous and the most callous of any group. They get their beating and they go right back misbehaving. Of course, this is my own experience and I have no data for that, but it makes sense.

    The reason is that for them misbehaving = spanking and violence. They don’t get to understand why their behavior was wrong in the first place. They may abstain from perpetuating the precise behavior that caused the spanking but they will happily continue a similar misbehavior under slightly different parameters. Because they don’t know where they went wrong.

    You may not feel damaged and you rightly affirm to have been more scared of the wait than the actual punishment, but you have to realize that the whole thing is terror, psychological and physical.

    Is the corporal punishment responsible for your subsequent behavior or is the fact that what you did was wrong?

    The whole purpose of discipline is to teach kids the difference from right and wrong.
    You can do that without beating the snot out of them.

    This is a good start: http://www.stophitting.com/
    http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx

    All I am asking is that you employ your critical thinking skills (which I know you have), get some information and then decide which way you want to go. But at least consider it.

  • KMR

    “90% of how these things go”? I deconverted in my late 30′s after being with my husband for almost a decade. Desiring sexual freedom had nothing to do with it.

  • Tom

    I’ve read descriptions of behaviour like this before, and frankly, they sound literally insane. Beating one moment, hugging the next? That is not healthy behaviour to my mind. That just sounds like the parents are as emotionally damaged by the beatings they administer as the children are.

  • Mario Strada

    Yes, her parents love her so much that her father won’t speak to her.

  • baal

    “I’m praying for you”
    Since your new (and think bible and related cites cure troubles?!) never ever say those words in the quotes to an atheist. It’s considered highly rude.

  • indorri

    I don’t agree with this. Acute trauma does not preclude the immorality of the action. Assault is assault, whether it has a long-time effect on the victim or not.

    I can appreciate ultimately not holding it against someone. However, I do not tolerate the beating of defenseless people, whether they are adult or child, and I do not care for the psychological state of the perpetrator any more than I would if they were assaulting their spouse instead.

  • Rachael

    I do want to clarify in this thread – I’m the one not speaking to my father.

  • JackieTrinity

    I think what I hear you saying is “My blind faith is just as good as your beliefs based on evidence.”

  • Mario Strada

    Which Avi is it? I am going crazy here! Or is it someone with a personality disorder? I thought that was bunk.
    One of you, please change your screen name

  • Seth Dunn

    I didn’t say Slick was wrong or right about how he raised her. I just noted that his autism would give insight into how she was brought up.

    Slick is a 5-point Calvinist. Those people are all about Grace. I just wonder why the author didn’t show her father some grace in this article by mentioning the autism which drives his demeanor.

    I get to enjoy the CARM resources from afar, check out the website and listen to the radio. I didn’t live with the person who sacrificed his time to set all that up. I am not trying to seem obtuse. It seems like Slick is at it 24/7.

    I have heard Matt Slick on the radio. I called in today. He can be difficult and sometimes he might not know when to stop.

    He seems like a guy who needs more grace from his immediate family. I don’t see him getting it in this article.

  • JackHuang

    “the origin of the Universe corroborates Genesis 1:1 and falsifies naturalism.”

    Too bad that everything we know about solar evolution, the formation of the Earth, and biological evolution says Genesis 1:2-25 is bulls—. But yeah, you’re right, “In the beginning, God made stuff” is totally a meaningful sentence. If your reading of the Bible ended at the first sentence, then yeah, you’d be all set for believing that Genesis is scientifically accurate.

  • indorri

    I do not like this implication that coolly assaulting someone is somehow more morally not reproachable. It is true that it is definitely not as traumatizing as done in rage, and that it does not impinge on the intentions of the person to do well by their child, but that is not relevant as to whether it did harm.

  • baal

    Despite your feelings on the matter, reason is available to everyone as part of being a human and not as part of a supernatural activity. If I would steal anything, it would be the power of all knowing (but not all at once, maybe in a nicely organized infinite encyclopedia with good cross references and rational page sizes).

  • Rachael

    I showed my father an incredible amount of Grace by *not* mentioning a billion other things.

  • Graver

    a) The question “what should humans do” is not in any way related to “why do humans want to do the things they want”, which would be the human motivation argument. It’s not all that hard to figure out why we want what we want – we don’t like suffering and we don’t like when loved ones suffer.
    b) I have not yet argued that “there is something independent of humans that is good,” I’ve actually argued that this is your stance, implied by the fact that you think humans should do anything (like have health care). The argument is entirely whose belief system is more presuppositional and I think you’re smart enough to know that any system where you say “my empathy leads me to believe we should do X” is warrantless. This leaves you no basis or argument to explain to a disagreeing party why you should do it, for example back to the health care example. In other words, there’s no reason to believe it.

  • CottonBlimp

    I think part of that phenomenon is the fact that, as Empiricists, we rely of facts to validate our beliefs. Theists will never have facts on their side, so they get validation from other people.

    Your mere existence as someone who doesn’t believe what they believe is a fundamental threat to what they believe.

  • Mario Strada

    That may not be a smart move, unless you are taking a leave of absence from college and you are prepared to spend the next 6 months answering apologists.
    If you like, I can give you a few emails of people I really don’t like so they can read them for you :)

  • ispeakout

    Actually, you have seen the earth and the heavens and God has made Himself evident to you. I do not have to present evidence to you, since you are not God’s judge. People suppress the truth in unrighteousness, but thankfully God chooses to give repentance to some. I sincerely hope and pray that you are one. Nice to meet you btw.

  • J9 Cleme

    Thank you so much for you openness and ability to share your story! There are many people who need to hear what you have said, and many who will try to stop you or re-convert you. Stay strong and follow the evidence! You are an intelligent, educated woman. Continue to educate yourself and your boldness and knowledge will both grow. Once you know the truth, you cannot go back to believing in the myths.

    I understand about cutting the negative people from your life. No easy task! But completely worth it. The hardest part will be getting your parents’ voices out of your head. (or at least it was for me)

  • bobmo

    Thanks for the fascinating insight into your upbringing, Rachael. With so many comments, I won’t hold my breath that you’ll read this or respond, but I’d like to ask if you now believe that there are rational reasons to reject belief in the existence of God, or is it just Christianity and the Bible that you have left behind?

  • katiehippie

    You rock!

  • Free

    Counter-Intuitive? Sure, but wish that were all. The notion swings in the face of our perceived reality. Music does not make itself, art does not simply appear for viewing pleasure. The World Trade Center did not simply errect.
    Yet the complexities of the universe that you certainly know about, have no source of design, intent, or creative impulse. Yet again, it is this universe that motivates all our creative impulses. What motivates the wonder?

  • baal

    “why the author didn’t show her father some grace”

    Any time you’d like to show Rachael some Grace would be a good time Seth. How about right now by stopping making excuses on behalf of the father?

  • CB

    For the record, your first paragraph reads: “For all his brainwashing efforts, Slick [a very religious person] made the mistake of teaching his
    daughter to think critically. . . This is
    why religion fights . . . critical thinking. . .”

    Soooo, maybe religion doesn’t fight critical thinking? Or is your claim that Slick was perhaps the worst brainwasher in the world, as he decided to teach critical thinking? It couldn’t possibly be that religious people voluntarily teach critical thinking because they think such thinking leads to religion. Even contemplating that requires too much critical thinking…

  • Mario Strada

    Then it’s time your dad grows a pair and gets back in touch with his daughter. If he is refusing to talk to you (and not the other way around, which I don’t know) then he is acting like a child.
    He should know better than most people that we don’t live forever and the years of our lives are not coming back.
    There is no valid excuse for a father to ignore his daughter. Religion is one of the weakest at that.

  • DavidMHart

    Morality is not objective in the sense of being inherent in the structure of the universe, or given top-down by a celestial tyrant. But it is contingent on the existence of sentient beings that are capable of suffering – what is morally wrong is morally wrong because of the harm that it causes to human beings and any other beings sentient enough to have a sense of being wronged.

    Thus we can say that we live in a universe where rape, slavery and genocide are morally wrong because of the harm done to the victims of rape, slavery and genocide. If we were beings that had absolutely no objection to being forcibly used for sex at any time, if we were entirely nonplussed at being forced to work for others with no reward and no prospect of freedom, if we were creatures so utterly unconcerned by the prospect of our own violent death and that of most of our friends that it wouldn’t even occur to us to try to prevent it, then we would be living in a universe where rape, slavery and genocide were perfectly morally acceptable. But that is not the universe that we are living in; in this universe, we are beings that suffer greatly for having these things imposed on us, and that what’s it means to say that the fact that morality is contingent on the properties of human beings (rather than independent of our existence) does not mean that everything is up for grabs. It’s also important to notice that some questions remain unanswered. What is the optimal age to allow people to drink alcohol? How much liberty should we be prepared to forgo to reduce by X% the risk of a terrorist attack? How do we most effectively counter the cognitive illusion whereby people are willing to donate more money to alleviate one starving child’s hunger than a whole classroom’s worth of children? These are all moral questions that we have not yet managed to reach firm conclusions on – we will need to keep working on them.

    The religious, however, tend to assume that morality is all perfectly settled, and it is whatever a god or gods happen to command. But your task of working out what that god or those gods actually want is at least as much a work in progress (made harder by the almost-certain non-existence of either all or all-but-one of those gods) as humanity’s secular efforts to secure as much wellbeing and as little suffering for ourselves as feasible.

  • ajginn

    I personally don’t believe that we would feel guilt if we were 100% animals by nature, without a soul or something outside and apart from our animal selves.

    Lol. Would you like to come meet my dog? The one who runs and hides when she’s gotten into the trash when I get home from work? You may say that’s just a conditioned response, but it looks exactly like a guilty response.

  • Jordan Sugarman

    You don’t see humankind as a valid source of wisdom, and as a source, you’re citing a book written by a human? Doesn’t that strike you as ironic?

  • CottonBlimp

    The world consistently follows a set of physical processes. Hard, consistent, natural reality is something which can be studied, hence the use of evidence.

    You know, back in the day, religious people used to claim that the universe WASN’T governed by consistent laws, because it was governed by God. We now know we live in a world we can study and make accurate assumptions about how and why it works without any need for God, and now you claim that’s proof it was God all along.

  • Rachael

    I am the one not talking to my father.

  • J9 Cleme

    “No True Scotsman” Alert!

  • baal

    “I sincerely hope and pray that you are one. Nice to meet you btw.”

    Nice to meet you too. Please feel free to never say that you are praying for atheists. Some, like me, might say a few extra Requests to Cthulhu tonight that you may know oblivion and finally see that your God is little more than Satan’s puppet. Both are lesser forces than Cthulhu, however, so you’d best get straight with Him (Cthulhu) or Satan will continue to make your god dance with hidden strings and secret truths.

  • katiehippie

    “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
    Sounds like there are other gods to me…

  • DavidMHart

    Curses; now I’ve got that song stuck in my head.

  • Mario Strada

    Do we know where they are coming from?

  • ispeakout

    Oh, yes, you are free to use what God created…reasoning, but if you don’t have all knowledge (and no mere human being does…not even collectively) then as I have said elsewhere that something you don’t know could contradict what you claim to know. Hey, you can also have a look at my friend’s site proofthatGodexists . I know a lot of people get hung up on it, but if you make it through you will be unique. ☺

  • baal

    She’s said it twice now. She is an atheist.

  • Bill

    Gret story! I am certainly inspired!

  • Erik Griffiths

    once again questioning and critical thinking slays the beast. I wonder why Rachel ran away.

  • Rachael

    O-B-E-Y! Obey your mom and dad!
    O-B-E-Y! It makes them very glad!
    Listen to each word they say
    Obey your parents every day!
    O-B-E-Y! Obey your mom and dad!

    I STILL REMEMBER THE SONG BOO-YEAH

  • Kamdad

    Yeah, because stuff published in a book is never ever wrong…

    Can’t believe this tool is being entertained here for this long.

  • indorri

    I’ve actually argued that this is your stance, implied by the fact that you think humans should do anything

    Which you haven’t illustrated. My assertion is not related to the metaphysical existence of the class “good”. That was my point when I described it as definitional.

    My point wasn’t “empathy says you should do this, so do this”. That is taken as a given. It is a property of the universe that I am arranged in such a way to have empathy and desire the wellbeing of humans. My job to bring that about is to appeal to others, either through their own empathy or via self-interest, to enact that.

    What you seem to want me to do is couch this argument in terms of some sort of physical law of the universe. I don’t play that game, any more than I try to couch “what is good music” as something other than a function of human desire and goal-seeking.

    The ability to convince others to does not rely on an argument whereby there exists such a law to be true. For all I know, it could be, but I have no reason to take that.

  • Mario Strada

    I am curious as to which Christian science you are referring to. They are not equal and much of it can hardly be defined as “science”.
    If you are talking about Vatican Sponsored science, much of it is very valid, because it is actual science. I am sure there are other denominations that make valid science, but there are some where science is nowhere to be seen.

  • Seth Dunn

    I am not making excuses. Consider the two statements:

    1. George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin and shot him.

    2. George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin, the two of them got into a fight, and George Zimmerman shot Martin.

    Neither statement “justifies” Zimmerman but it does put events into perspective.

    No excuses, no justification, just relevant facts.

  • Mark Bennett

    I’ve spoken to your dad before a few times on chat software (and still see him around, in fact as he himself said he doesn’t spend much time monitoring the carm forums anymore..), I have an idea of what it was like growing up with him. I can’t imagine Matt losing Christianity, he would be absolutely lost, his entire identity would collapse, as I’m sure yours did. Reading your story I felt like I was the one writing it, we have similar stories, I resonated with this a lot and I’m glad you can put this so well into words. Perhaps because I’ve always had depression, I still haven’t fully recovered even after 5 years I still catch myself singing Christian songs, defending the Bible against some objections, the one thing I can’t do is pray. It doesn’t help that the next big blow was losing my GF and bestfriend (who I considered an eternal part of my reality, just like how I couldn’t exist without God, how could I exist without her?). Religion and Relationships! Gotta hate em. Not that I fully agree with everything eastern philosophy has to say, but I highly recommend checking out Echart Tolle (I don’t agree with his belief in reincarnation, or divine consciousness), but his points about human identity are priceless and useful, not always truthful. Good Luck to you Rachael, I hope you will/have found the new identity you would like to live out in our probably only life :)

  • katiehippie

    This a thousand times over. And if we were made in God’s image, he’s not someone I want to know.

  • Mr. Mrmr

    Given that your understanding of Rachel’s personal situation is non-existent, perhaps you should do the graceful thing and not make assumptions about what should and should not appear in her personal writings based on your ignorance?

  • Graver

    I understand what you’re saying and I’m not entirely sure why other people aren’t. I guess the idea is that Rachel’s atheism should be purely a product of flaws in Christianity and her intelligence than the product of an imperfect upbringing.

  • Jacob Apologist

    She is evidently coming from a fanatic dogmatic legalistic background of a YEC, calvinist, isn’t she? Let me tell you, that is not the real reasonable Christianity, but a sham, deceptive blind faith legalism, that you shouldn’t be following. :( I hope you see you on facebook, so that I can teach you back from the basics to the upmost difficult queries and challenges! —

    Jacob Apologist.

  • Madison Blane

    My mother also puts the blame on the people at our old church and the horrible things that happened there, She thinks I can’t realize that people should be forgiven. This is the way she ‘copes’ with my Atheism. But the truth is, if we really believed in a God, we could find a nicer church congregation, we could find a church that wasn’t so strict if we just wanted to rebel (there’s plenty of them), but we don’t – not because of anything the church did, but because we simply no longer believe in any God at any church, period! You have to stop believing you are responsible for bringing her up in a church that wasn’t loving or perfect enough. That’s not the reason we don’t go back. You have to realize that your daughter left belief behind she can’t make her mind think that God exists, not because church broke her heart.

  • nolaredhead

    Funny that you copied & pasted the same argument under 2 different names and STILL nobody agrees…. LOL

  • Karl Heitman

    Hi Rachael, thanks for your interaction and transparency. I’m sorry that what you remember most about your childhood is debating and trying to be “good” (I have
    3 children and what has challenged me most about your story is how I need to show them the love of Christ more and more as opposed to exasperating them, as Eph 6:4 says). That’s not what Christianity is about. I think you know that Christianity is based on the goodness of Christ alone—not our goodness whatsoever. The fact that you realized that you can’t be good should have driven you to the foot of the cross, but that’s another discussion…. :)

    I ask that you interact with what I’m saying in this paragraph. Your response to Mr. Butler seems to be in line with the question you thought had no answer in your original post (i.e., the thing that led you into apostasy). So, my questions are this: of all the knowledge you have about Christianity, I’m sure you have been taught the importance and necessity of consistent hermeneutics, correct? If so, do you understand the difference between the ceremonial law and the moral law? Do you understand the biblical covenants in their proper, historical context? Have you studied relevant passages, in their context, that speak to the church’s relationship to the law (e.g., Col 2:16)? If you are willing to study for yourself, you will find the answer to the question of “why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?” Grace & Peace.

  • Jordan Sugarman

    Jim, please research the Piraha peoples of Brazil. They had no concept of gods, creation myths, or the supernatural at all. They are an exceedingly practical people, believing only in those things that they have direct experience of.

  • Matthew Foutch

    What specific things are a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

  • Madison Blane

    Buddhists recognize nor do they worship any God and they are 1/3 of the world’s population.

  • C Peterson

    Actually, I think Slick (the father) is mentally ill. This explains why an obviously intelligent man is able to continually maintain an irrational position despite his ability to detect the absurdity of those views. His pathology makes it impossible for him to place himself into the mind of somebody like his daughter, with a normally functioning intellect. To him, critical thinking doesn’t appear a threat.

    Quite obviously, however, most religious organizations and church leaders see that differently.

  • Seth Dunn

    *her dad is autistic

    *flimsy objection to theism

  • ORAXX

    I’m glad Ms. Slick is on the road to recovery. Some of the most emotionally and intellectually crippled individuals I have ever known have come out the type of home she grew up in.

  • baal

    “, so that I can teach you back from the basics”
    Fuck off!

    You’d better spend your time learning basic physics, chemistry and biology.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Bullshit.

  • baal

    Your inability, Seth, to understand her compelling and deeply personal story does not make her objection to theism flimsy.

  • Free

    The simple answer is that I know Him. I have a relationship with Him beyond religion. This is His desire that we know Him and not about Him. It really goes a long way to answer what we are all conjecturing on here. I was once an atheist but I was rescued from my unbelief. Sorry, can’t give you more. Oh, it says so in the book of Hebrews.

  • Mario Strada

    Then it’s different. Sorry I made the wrong assumption. It’s usually the other way around.

    As a father, I would suggest you try to mend fences because he is still your dad and while in my view he believes some very strange things, the love of a father for his daughter is precious and I am sure it’s the cause of much suffering for both of you.

    Of course, he needs to respect you as the independent adult you are and I can see how maybe he can be a bit deficient in that regard.

    Again, sorry for my assumption.

  • Observer

    All that is required for evidence to make sense is regularity. If the same phenomena are observed under the same conditions they serve as evidence of a pattern. Then we can begin to count our observations as provisionally true. This is how empiricism works.

    When you talk of “a world governed by nothing” you seem to imply that the stance of the philosophical naturalist is that the world is random in its operations. This is observably not the case, and no atheist asserts it.

  • sTv0

    Yay, Rachael! Good on yer!

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    Ispeakout: “Actually, you have seen the earth and the heavens and God has made Himself evident to you.”

    Uh, no. It’s no more evidence of your god than of Oðinn, Vili and Ve creating the universe from the body of a frost giant.

    “I do not have to present evidence to you, since you are not God’s judge.”

    Then don’t expect Me to believe you.

    “People suppress the truth in unrighteousness…”

    Evidence that I’m “suppressing the truth,” kiddo, or your page in the Book of Life gets it. (Springy G dangles a sheet of paper over Her crosscut shredder and smiles sweetly… After the fashion of a shark that’s been dipped in fine milk chocolate.)

  • sTv0

    “…so that I can teach you back from the basics to the upmost difficult queries and challenges!…”

    Oh, look! A non-sequitur! He’s going to teach her how to make non-sequiturs! Yay! Oh, and it’s Christian non-sequiturs! Oh, honey, start the popcorn! This is gonna be soooo fun!!!

  • baal

    “As a father, I would suggest you try to mend fences because he is still
    your dad and while in my view he believes some very strange things, the
    love of a father for his daughter is precious and I am sure it’s the
    cause of much suffering for both of you.”
    Nope, I love most of your posts Mario but I don’t get the feeling she’s staying away for trivial reasons. Regardless, I don’t think pushing for familial reconciliation (for secular reasons of precious father daughter relations or not) is helpful.

  • Rachael

    I intend to continue writing, however the majority of my work is under a name that I can’t associate with my own. I hope to eventually combine the two.

  • acarnes83

    She came to the realization that there are, in fact, only four lights. Good for her.

  • Tjadlow

    Hi C,
    I’d love to interact if you’re willing….

  • ajginn

    I read and taught that verse in bible study for years and I still have no idea what it’s supposed to mean. Substance of things hoped for? Evidence of things not seen (or better, perceived by the senses)? It says exactly what BobaFuct implied. It’s gobbledygook that says nothing. There is no evidence of things that cannot by perceived. What is this “evidence” of which the author of Hebrews speaks?

  • Mario Strada

    Probably, sorry. I think today I may need it :)

    But hey, while I am at it, I am sure there are plenty of folks in this thread that would love to bring up the “hell” argument but couldn’t. This post’s for you :)

  • ajginn

    The worst is when Reformed Christians talk about god’s glory. Everything god does is done to bring himself glory. Why the hell does god need to torture a child to death with leukemia or kill ten million people in the Holocaust for his own glory? And why in the hell would you want to worship a god that does?

  • Rachael

    Yes, I am aware of and have studied all those things. I believe my question remains despite them.

  • Tjadlow

    In what way is he irrational?

  • Free

    Rachel, there are many “good” answers to your question and faith crisis. Ultimately, this crisis can prove good to a soul in allowing God Himself to answer it for you. This would of course require a willing and open heart to God Himself. You seem to have received plenty of knowledge but not seen an intimate knowing of God. There are some great studies regarding Morality. Moral ontology vs. semantics, actualized morality vs. realized, objective and subjective, moral vs. ethics vs. morality vs laws. If you had the answer to your question would that change things? That is the question.

  • Madison Blane

    Rachel,
    The moment ‘the bottom fell out’ for me was the day that I realized that even if I could believe in a soul and an afterlife (for which there is absolutely no proof, only doctrine enforced) I had to realize that souls were made of some invisible substance and not of the natural world. Therefore I had no reason to believe that souls would respond to natural laws, could burn, feel pain, or be tortured.
    All descriptions of heaven and hell either appeal to mortal fears or mortal greed, depending on which one you are talking about. Descriptions of hell were written in a time when fire-departments didn’t exist, when a lightening strike from the sky-god could wipe out an entire village and be believed as that god’s will. Descriptions of heaven appeal to our mortal desires – golden streets, pearl gates – but what use does a spirit/soul have for these things? Do pearl gates magically keep out sinners? And for that matter, what keeps souls from leaving hell – a magical force-field? Because there are certainly more dead ‘sinners’ than there are fallen angels; they certainly couldn’t contain them all in a ‘deep pit’. The idea of heaven appeals to our very basic desire to see our loved-ones again. But, how could I EVER be happy, peaceful knowing that my loved-ones from the ‘wrong’ church weren’t there?! How could I enjoy heaven sitting beside my rapist who asked for forgiveness?
    When you really, logically break it all down, you have to come up with answers that aren’t in the Bible and make assumptions about a god’s will and plan that aren’t written. Eventually one must concede that it’s a flawed book which advocates for immoral acts based on power-worship rather than a source of moral truths.

  • Tjadlow

    Honestly,
    The posts on this page are amazing. George, in what way is the Christian faith irrational?

  • ajginn

    Modern christianity is nothing but gnosticsm. You’ve attained the “secret knowledge” that will help you to transcend beyond your shameful physical state. I don’t for a minute believe that early christianity was anything like what passes for christianity today.

  • Willy

    Welcome to real life Rachael. It’s the only one we get and I’m so happy you have realized that.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    1) Nope. Big Bang happened, which is not at all like Genesis. Remember, in Genesis the Earth comes first, then plants, and then the stars. We know this is definitely wrong. We don’t know what caused the Big Bang, but Genesis definitely doesn’t explain it.

    2) What is life, then? A virus, probably the simplest life, is an RNA strand (self-replicating protein) covered in a protective shell that we know can also spontaneously arise. If we can show amino acids can spontaneously form and spontaneously self-reproduce, then that’s (extremely simple) life.

    3) The Shroud of Turin is a known fake. Hell, even the Roman Catholic Church at the time said it was fake. The proportions are entirely off, and the image is made of paint. But other than that, sure, totally proof.

    4) Nations rise and fall all the time. The destruction of Israel would show that global politics happens. Probably, if it did happen, you’d argue that was the Apocalypse because Israel is supposed to eventually fall.

    5) Are you sure? Seems to me an omnipotent, omniscient god could create life anywhere and everywhere, while still keeping track of one simian species on one speck of rock out in the ass-end of one galaxy. Why not two, or seven, or a billion species?

  • J9 Cleme

    UGH! I was doing so well not having that song ringing in my ears! Now there is no hope and I will have to deal with it playing over, and over, on an endless loop. ;-)

    Do you know the STOP song too?

  • Tom

    With all due respect and sympathy (of which I have a great deal for you), I can’t help but suspect that you might be experiencing denial. That you had worse experiences than the physical punishments doesn’t necessarily mean those punishments weren’t themselves bad. That you make a point of saying they were “necessary,” and “done in love,” sounds an awful lot like a coping mechanism. I gather both are common rationalisations made by the abused and their abusers alike.

    Maybe they were “done in love” if your parents honestly believed it was the correct way to bring you up properly, although my heart revolts at the very thought of treating my own kids that way, and I don’t even have any yet. However, consider the obvious fact that plenty of children are brought up to be perfectly decent, functional, compassionate human beings without ever being physically punished – surely this demonstrates that, regardless of whether it even works or not, corporal punishment is not actually strictly necessary – if it were, surely nobody would turn out right without it.

    When you go through treatment like that, for as long as you did, pretty much the only way to survive with the rest of your mind intact is to convince yourself that it’s normal, because if you can’t escape it or fight it, you have to accept it, and the only way to accept it is to first convince yourself that it’s even theoretically acceptable. It’s perhaps only once you’ve escaped and you’re well clear and don’t have to accept it any more that it’s even possible, let alone psychologically safe, to reassess things objectively and realise that actually, it isn’t remotely acceptable and never was.

    I’m no psychologist, but after reading your posts, this is what my gut instinct is screaming at me that I should be saying, as just a concerned fellow human being who’s read up a little bit on abusive relationships and also personally knows a disturbing number of abuse survivors, including one sibling. I apologise if I’ve got you all wrong, or if I’m spouting armchair psychobabble, or if you’ve already heard everything I’ve said a million times before.

  • Madison Blane

    If the fundamentals are wrong, (and Christianity IS built on the fundamentals of the Jewish, Protestants and Catholics) then the modern version is just as wrong, even if it is more palatable to you. The fact that your Christianity is more ‘reasonable’ indicates that humans DO decide their own morality because you have CHOSEN to disregard certain portions of the Bible as immoral – that is, assuming you don’t have slaves, concubines, and your wife isn’t the virgin daughter of a village you conquered.
    -

  • Jim Achmoody

    It strikes me she was never allowed to really be a child and realize we all struggle and it’s ok. My hope is to see any who have endured such straightjackets come to the day when they can truly put that behind them and realize what real healthy love and truth can bring.

  • Rachael

    I don’t know any homeschoolers who *didn’t* get spanked.

  • J9 Cleme

    Thank you for sharing this. I like the way you’ve explained it. I have never thought about heaven and hell in that way. Although I do remember questioning, as a child, what we would want or need gold for in heaven.

  • Tjadlow

    If I could just have a quarter for every skeptic who loves to talk smack w/o understanding….;)

  • Cake

    If dead people walking around and the transmutation of people into salt isn’t a giant fing cluebat, I really don’t know what will get through your purposeful ignorance.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Which two books would that be? I’ve read Machiavelli, a bit of Hobbes and Rousseau, excerpted passages from Locke, a fair bit of the Federalist papers, and a lot of (scholarly) books about Medieval European history, warts and all. Which two books by anti-religious zealots do you think I’ve read?

    Would you care to counter the claim that the RCC burned heretics at the stake? That it included in its definition of heresy scientific advancements pertaining to astronomy, medicine, anatomy, and philosophy? That it upheld the idea of feudal serfdom, gave rise to the doctrine of Divine Right of Kings, brutally smashed dissent from both within and without, and was generally one of the big reasons we call the time between 500 CE and 1100 CE the Dark Ages?

  • Jim Achmoody

    Suggested readings: anything by Eugene Peterson but especially ‘Tell It Slant’

  • Tjadlow

    Hi Cake,
    May I ask your justification for existence?

  • payd1rt

    You know him? You heard him say that simple faith pleases him? Or was his desire for simple faith communicated to you telepathically?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Well, Christianity is predicated on the idea that a god impregnated a virgin with himself in order to sacrifice himself to force himself to forgive everyone because their great-great-ancestress ate a magic apple because a talking snake told her to.

    How is this rational?

  • Jim Achmoody

    The kind of repressive upbringing endured is enough to bend the mind of most–I pray for the Ultimate Myth-buster and Undercover Boss, i.e. ‘The Stranger of Galilee’ to eventually bring all who have endured such an environment to be brought back to true Reality and find joy and peace that lasts.

  • Tjadlow

    Hi Femi,

    Would you agree that inquiry begins with existence?

  • MarkTemporis

    It made me think of “They Live” where if you wear the special shades messages like “OBEY” can be seen everywhere. Atheism is sort of like those special shades.

  • Evan

    How do you know that your version of the hundreds if not thousands of versions of Christianity is the correct one? What if her family actually follows the so called ‘true Christianity’? Nobody can answer that question with absolute authority or knowledge – which is why religion – all religions – are all man made bollocks. All designed and dreamed up to control others through fear of a non existent afterlife.

  • ajginn

    She is evidently coming from a fanatic dogmatic legalistic background of a YEC, calvinist, isn’t she? Let me tell you, that is not the real reasonable Christianity, but a sham, deceptive blind faith legalism, that you shouldn’t be following.

    YEC Calvinists are the ONLY logically consistent christians. They believe that the most logical reading of the bible is that it is without error. Why would you want to worship a god that makes mistakes? They also understand that the christian god has to be a cruel god that hates a certain portion of his creation (the reprobate) and grants favor to a select few (the elect). Hell, a straightforward reading of the bible makes that very clear. Calvinists give up the omni-benevolent god and worship god because he’s a badass.

    If you reject calvinism, you might as well reject christianity. Calvin was a tyrant but he also probably understood the bible better than anyone who ever lived.

  • Rachael

    Denial is certainly possible – I make no claim to absolutely knowing the details of raising children, or about the psychological impacts.

    That being said – most parents agree with punishments in the form of restrictions – “You stayed out too late, now I’m gonna take the keys to your car” or “You threw your food all over the wall, now I’m gonna take your toy away.”

    These create psychological pain/anguish, at losing a joy the child has had. The definition of a punishment IS pain – are you saying that creating pain in a child’s emotions is acceptable, but on their physical body, not? I would far prefer the latter.

  • Madison Blane

    I am also a former southern United Pentecostal. I started losing my religion when I took a college course on the history of religions and comparative religion but it took much longer to let go of belief entirely. I would recommend checking out some youtube videos of Dr. Richard Carrier and reading his article entitled “Why I am not a Christian” both are easily searchable and free. These pushed me from Agnostic to firm Atheist as I realized there isn’t even evidence for the very basic existence of Jesus (something that, oddly enough, Jews believe as well – and if they wrote the Old Testament, they’ve got a pretty good handle on who their messiah was supposed to be!)
    I still haven’t figured out how to close a friendly letter without saying something religion-related, though (such as ‘I’ll be praying for you’, even saying ‘may the force be with you’ or ‘best wishes’ still sound mystical to me!) So, I’ll just wish you peace.

  • Madison Blane

    Every Christian I’ve talked to follows the ‘true Christianity , yet many of them subscribe to completely conflicting doctrines. I wonder how this could be? *sarcasm*

  • Rachael

    Been there done that. I’ve felt the presence of God descend upon me and wash me in His love.
    Self delusion is a powerful thing.

  • yrathbone

    This does seem like a strange place to put your piece as I don’t really understand it’s connection to my point, but generally speaking I would agree that living with any capitalized identity that requires you to believe a certain way leads to a double life. It’s the requirement to believe a certain thing that’s the problem and humans try to force each other to do this all the time. The only reason Christianity is so special is that it’s so dominant and is the most likely suspect for putting people into religious epistemic closure. (It’s really a rather silly doctrine for the most part.)

  • Tom

    I disagree. Being sent to my room was sufficient by itself. A beating afterwards was unnecessary.

    Conversely, the one time my father did strike me with disciplinary intent, some time in my adolescence, I forget my exact age, it did not have the intended effect. What respect I had for the man promptly fell through the floor.

  • DavidMHart

    First of all, who made you the sex police? How much or how little sex an adult chooses to have with how many or how few consenting adult partners is, to use a technical term, none of your damn business. And being a person who prefers a variety of sexual partners, so long as you’re upfront about it and so long as you take all the reasonable precautions, is not in any way comparable to ‘acting immorally’ in the normally-understood sense of acting so as to deliberately or recklessly cause harm to others.

    I bet you can’t even come up with a definition of ‘slut’ that doesn’t just boil down to ‘a woman who has more sexual partners than I personally approve of (though I may try to claim that a supernatural being whose existence I can’t demonstrate agrees with me as to the optimal number of sexual partners a woman should have)’.

    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I can tell, the number of sexual partners the author of the piece has written about is exactly one. If that makes her a slut, then you have a sense of colossal prudery that is bordering on Talibanesque, and I suggest you find more important things to worry about.

    As regards a bad upbringing, I would suggest that, while I can’t provide a watertight definition, things like being beaten with leather, and being conditioned to think that obedience to authority is always right, and questioning of authority always wrong, and that you were unsuitable for certain positions of responsibility simply by virtue of your gender, would be well within the definition. What’s yours?

    Also, Savannah Johnston already pointed out that I had already explained about the ‘Freedom is my god’ thing being a metaphor. But I would add that if you’re still bringing it up even after I’ve explained it, then you are so very much bending over backwards to represent the author’s words in the least charitable way possible, that I have to wonder how you can expect anyone else to think you are arguing in good faith.

  • Seth Dunn

    There are plenty of people with mentally healthy parents who have this same flimsy objection to theism. I wasn’t saying she doesn’t believe in God because her dad has autism. That’s ridiculous and I can’t imagine how our inferred that was what I was saying.

    The objection is not a very good objection to Christianity either.

  • ajginn

    She already has discovered reality, if not Reality (with a spooky capital R).

  • Rachael

    I’m happy, healthy, I just spent 5 months in Australia, I have my own apartment, I ballroom dance, do photography, stay away from negative people and associate with happy ones. I love life. Whenever something bad happens, I just go ‘well, at least I’m free!’ and that puts things into perspective.

  • rtanen

    Try ClickToFlash, it only blocks Adobe Flash ads. All the other ads still load, so the reasonable ads still make the site money.

  • Madison Blane

    Jim, the problem is, no matter what definition of love you use, the Christian God, or more precisely, the Biblical God, doe not fit this definition. A loving being would, by definition, act loving. Even non-loving, imperfect humans would stop a rape or warn people of impending disasters when they can. But God does none of these things. God doesn’t ‘heal’ with any more regularity than rolling the dice but modern medicine does. God destroys cities that are not his ‘chosen people’ even commands his ‘chosen people’ to destroy and enslave others, and even indiscriminately kills billions of sinless animals. That’s not loving, that’s power-worship.

  • Seth Dunn

    * you inferred

  • Ombakrobert

    it doesn’t begin. It starts in the middle. Trying to begin with existence and then going back and asking what “justifies” it is a philosophical exercise in making stuff up.

    We exist. We can either make observations and understand how better to describe things, or we can make stuff up. Much as theologians and philosophers want to create a false equivalence here and say that both cases are just as unjustified, they fail.

  • smg77

    Are you confused about which website you are on?

  • Madison Blane

    If you haven’t read the Bible, I suggest you start on page one, Genesis 1:1. Reading the Bible in it’s entirety is the strongest argument for Atheism we have!

  • ajginn

    But that’s the OLD God! We don’t have to worship the OLD God; we get to worship the New and Improved God! You know, the God Who Never Changes? Or something.

  • payd1rt

    > “The freedom in Christ is freedom to obey the law, not the freedom to disobey it.”
    That’s akin to saying, “Feel free to choose what color of socks to wear. By the way, your choices consist entirely of purple socks.”

    Twisted reasoning and circular arguments like these are what drive thinking people crazy.

    Malachi, I’m reasoning for you. Cheers.

  • Seth Dunn

    You guys need to read “Surprised by Hope” by NT Wright…or just understand the Bible correctly.

    People with resurrected bodies live in the new heaven, not incorporeal souls.

  • Madison Blane

    And these bodies, are they immune to destruction?

  • Johnny Foreman

    “Even contemplating that requires too much critical thinking…”

    No, it’s actually not a lot. Christians think their beliefs are reasonable only because the human mind tend to intermarry its predisposed perceptions with its “reason” that is also plagued with numerous a priori assumptions that even it hasn’t thought of taking account for. Critical thinking is this think you use through a constant need of saying “what if I’m wrong?”.

    Christians do the same thing (just as every human being does when they consider how they want to partition their belief systems from day to day), but they create exceptions to their own faith. Everything else that do not follow principles or creeds are in full view in the barrage of their version skepticism, which has to be a *religious* sense skepticism. Such coloring of “critical-thinking” has already missed the actual goal of thinking objectively, since it has over-confidently assumed an answer about the world before it has even found it .

  • payd1rt

    I too would like to hear about a human child being born with a theistic belief system in place. Do tell Chuck!

  • smg77

    Websites stop deserving ad dollars the second they resort to auto playing flash ads

  • rtanen

    Homer was empowered by Zeus’s daughter, the muse of poetry, and he said that Zeus and the muse were real. Nobody empowered by a god’s daughter would lie! Or are you telling me that a millennia-old work of wisdom co-authored by a minor goddess is false? Are you calling the Muse a liar?

  • Tjadlow

    Hmmm.
    Are you postulating that you are self existent?

  • Tjadlow

    You’re welcome to reply, smg;)

  • ajginn

    The freedom in Christ is freedom to obey the law, not the freedom to disobey it.

    So christians don’t have the freedom to disobey Exodus 21:20-21? Since god commanded it, I guess it isn’t a sin to beat your slave if he lives.

  • J9 Cleme

    Amen, Madison! (hahaha)

  • Madison Blane

    Actually, deeply fundamental southern religions DO fight critical thinking skills, even in schools (as evident in the GOP platform which states this exactly). Those who welcome critical thinking either eventually think their way out of religion or must compartmentalize and refuse to apply the laws and expectations of the rational world to their religious doctrine. Slick taught his daughter critical thinking skills, but he also programmed her answers and ‘explained away’ her questions. Once she was able to apply logic to questions that didn’t have pre-recorded answers, she expected Christianity to hold the same laws and truths as the scientific method, and religion crumbled.

  • Jon Foreman

    “Even contemplating that requires too much critical thinking…”

    No, it’s actually not a lot. Christians think their beliefs are reasonable only because the human mind tend to intermarry its predisposed perceptions with its “reason” that is also plagued with numerous a priori assumptions that even it hasn’t thought of taking account for. Critical thinking is this thing you use through a constant need of saying “what if I’m wrong?”. God forbid if a religious person makes a self-observation.

    But in general, the type of critical thinking that takes account of everything above are practiced by Christians, as well as every human being does when they consider how they want to partition their belief systems from day to day. Yet human mind is not a pure logical engine; it is more like a stage of debate and rhetoric that attempts to make arguments that may or may not need to be corrected or brushed up.

    Christains also often create exceptions for their version of “critical thinking” for their own faith. Everything else that do not follow principles or creeds of *their* faith are in full view of the barrage of their sense of “Christian skepticism”, which consistently uses the religious context to fuel its world view. Such coloring of “critical-thinking” has already missed the actual goal of thinking objectively, since it has over-confidently assumed an answer about the world before it has even found it .

  • C Peterson

    He is a theist. But he can’t blame ignorance for that, and clearly understands formal reasoning. Yet he refuses to acknowledge the conclusions of that reasoning.

    He displays the same basic sort of disorder seen in science deniers and conspiracy theorists.

  • Tjadlow

    Lol, Johnny.
    How confident are you in your assertion?

  • Tjadlow

    Madison,
    You sound as if you think the scientific method is the only truth. Is that what you’re saying?

  • Johnny Foreman

    How confident are yours? If you are merely trying to use this rhetorical question to state your own confidence that, for example, the light of Christ has elucidated you the very origin of the world through the Word that has been around since the platonic origins of existence, then I beg to differ with your position. In fact, that position is quite laughable.

  • T

    The problem is the physical punishment creates hate and anger the child cannot release except maybe somewhere else. It is almost always accompanied by mental abuse (i.e. ” your bad”) that deflates the self esteem.

  • Evan

    Hehehe. Yep that is the conundrum that every Christian faces (it actually applies to anyone who follows a religion regardless of which one). Unfortunately and sadly it is this very problem that starts religious wars. There are often more and bloodier conflicts within a religion than between religions – witness the conflicts in Islam as a more extreme example. But this has occurred in Christianity during various stages of history and currently in Africa where western Christians are whipping up a frenzy of zealous intolerance. Everyone claiming to know the ‘truth’ and that their so called ‘truth’ is the absolute ‘truth’ which everyone else must submit to or be classed as ‘them’ or the ‘enemy’ (this propaganda allows them to easily kill people who follow other versions).

  • Just a gal from TX

    Obviously it was the Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry, because they were certainly trying to CRAM their beliefs down everyone’s throats!

  • Madison Blane

    Can you justify the existence of disease, or evil? Surely an all-loving deity didn’t put THOSE here. Was it the devil? Didn’t God know the outcome of creating Lucifer? Is he all-knowing or not? Is God cruel -for if he’s all-knowing, he’d know that certain creatures wouldn’t believe in him. Why create those people only to send them to hell? Is God perfect? Then why does he have needs? Why does he need worship? Is God Love like the Bible says? Because love is not jealous, but God is!

  • mobathome

    Don’t feed the troll.

  • baal

    tjadlow, are you an actual person or a robot programmed to post up ‘stumpers’?

  • Casey Wollberg

    What Mr. Slick did was teach a narrow application of critical thinking for the purpose of defending Christianity rather than examining it. That’s the whole purpose of apologetics. It was never intended to be turned on the belief system itself. But Rachel did just that. My experience being raised in a cult was similar. We were indoctrinated in proof-texting and critical arguments against other faith traditions. Once I started applying the same patterns of thought to my own beliefs (again, something they don’t intend for you to do), they fell apart under the briefest scrutiny. This would work for any believer who is honest enough to do it. Of course, it helped me (and probably helped Rachel–and would probably help anyone else in similar circumstances) to get some remedial education in logic and general philosophy–to say nothing of science–since the victims of indoctrination programs such as apologetics are often considerably limited by their background in this regard.

    To sum up, apologetics (a system whereby more or less logical arguments are used rhetorically to defend a preconceived idea from critical challenges–rather than a system of honest inquiry into the propositional merit of said idea) exists precisely *because* critical thinking does not lead to religion, and instead must be defended from it in sophistic fashion.

  • Seth Dunn

    One could argue on the positive for that.

    Read the book and study for yourself.

  • John

    Hello Rachel…
    This video might help explain to you the reason for why certain laws were not eternal.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8lgzrnv9Pc

    It is very short video :)

  • Eric Miller

    Praying that she will return to Christ. So sad and for a question so answerable. God help this young woman.

  • baal

    I didn’t state positively what you were saying. I am saying that my reading of her post tells me. It says that fundamentalist christianity (as far as you can push the religion to consistestency) leads to a damaging mental environment. The solution, as Rachael did, is to leave it all. My objection to your post is that you thought the fathers autism (assumed aguendo) was relevant and exculpatory. I think you’re wrong on both counts.

  • pRinzler

    Honestly, I have no idea what your question means, or what any particular answer might imply. Rather than going for Socratic – and quite obscure Socratic – questions, I encourage you to just make your point.

  • Tjadlow

    >the light of Christ has elucidated you the very origin of the world

    Johnny, I’d love to hear your view.

  • baal

    Go away troll. If you’d like to do something other than recite questions, you’d be interesting.

  • Casey Wollberg

    Granted your wish, if I could just have a nickel for every believer who is arrogant and delusional enough to think they have a case, then, when we’d compared our hoards, I’d be much richer than you.

  • Mario Strada

    I’ll take a buck for every religionist that acts like a ‘know it all’ ass yet is unable to explain away his superstitions without engaging in circular logic.
    World domination will be mine.

  • Tjadlow

    >Can you justify the existence of disease, or evil?

    Would you please define ‘evil’?

  • Just a gal from TX

    Yes. I had a friend. In some ways we were quite close, but I knew she was very religious so I didn’t bring up my lack of faith. Then one day, 10 years into our friendship, it came up on Facebook. At first she just communicated very little, but eventually she unfriended me – LOL. It’s not like I was trying to get her to question her faith. I couldn’t care less. It’s too bad. I miss her.

  • Tjadlow

    I’m asking for your justification of existence. Do you have an answer?

  • Casey Wollberg

    Sophistry is evil. Go away.

  • Tjadlow
  • Mario Strada

    Awesome. Really good insight on apologia. I often wondered, while listening to apologists denying other religions, why they didn’t make that final leap and apply the same argument to their own.
    It doesn’t happen that often when they try to deny atheism. They have to use different arguments that usually end up being circular and always end up with “faith”.
    But when refusing other religions or sects of their own religion, when you take away all the nonsense interpreted from the bible, what you are left with are some exceptional arguments against their own faith.

  • Casey Wollberg

    Nonsense.

  • Tjadlow

    Hi Mario,
    That’s not my method. Care to give justification for your perspective?

  • Tom

    It’s hard to articulate, but I feel there’s a world of difference between the frustration arising from the withdrawal of privileges and the active infliction of pain. Moreover, I recall educational studies have shown that people learn mostly in response to positive enforcement, not negative; I take the stance that it’s infinitely better to actively reward the good and withdraw such privileges in response to the bad than to actively punish the bad.

    Much more fundamentally, if you want to instil an actual moral awareness rather than just fear of punishment, you need, above all else, to demonstrate the *inherent* value of good behaviour. Working from humanist definitions, “good” behaviour results in stuff like mutual benefit, or personal benefit without detriment to others, allowing such things as cooperation and social structure; active rewards, gifts, treats and so forth work best when the child can see how this works; probably also negative effects as well. For example, if the child wastes the time you need to get your stuff done, it should be made clear that this leaves less time for you to spend with them in mutual happiness, so they can understand and handle the anguish they may then feel. If the child helps prepare dinner or does other chores so you have more time to make a better or quicker dinner, remark about it; help them understand how they helped! It’s not enough just to say, for example, “you helped, so you can have a fancy dessert;” that’s the inverse of a beating, and is basically bribery.

    Neither beatings, nor bribes, for that matter (eg sweet treats for good behaviour) are inherent results of a child’s actions; they are entirely artificial, tacked on, and so they cannot possibly instil any real moral understanding; they merely exploit fear or greed, respectively.

    I agree that anguish is something a child will naturally experience and have to learn to deal with, but emphasis on “naturally” – it must be naturally arising, or at least imposed in such a way as to clearly simulate such a natural mechanism as best as possible. The crude formula “break these rules = receive pain” can’t ever do that. Moreover, anyone capable of enduring some pain now for greater gain in the future, which is practically the definition of intelligence above a certain level, can subvert them, which is why they are only made reliable by completely breaking the object’s spirit.

    You’ll probably notice that this criticism of such pavlovian child-rearing techniques is pretty much the exact same criticism humanists level at most theocratic “moral” systems.

  • Tjadlow

    Please elaborate.

  • Mark McGee

    I have some understanding of what Rachel is saying about her life. I too was raised in a Christian home, though not with apologist parents. I got involved in martial arts at the age of 13 which opened all kinds of fascinating doors into other religions and philosophies. One of my instructors was a Buddhist priest, so I worked on being a Buddhist. Then I discovered the writings of Lao Tzu and studied Taoism for a time. Next I came across the writings of Bertrand Russell and that penetrated my heart and mind. I became a closet atheist, then after college an outspoken atheist with a daily radio talk show. How much fun I had in making fun of “stupid” Christians. I knew the Bible better than they did and loved to show their ignorance and lack of love during my show. I once “dared” God to show up in the control room at the radio station so I could interview “him.” After about 10 seconds of dead air, I laughed and said that God must be under the weather or on vacation. What I didn’t expect was for God to show up in another way. I invited lots of well-known atheists on my show and many religious people as well. My purpose for having the religious group on was to make fun of them. Two of my guests were Christians with somewhat unusual ministries and I was strangely impressed with their knowledge about science and history. I met another Christian who was able to answer questions about archaeology and history. I read, questioned, researched, and thought about what I heard for five months. At the end of that time one of the Christians asked me if I had any more questions to ask. I didn’t, so he asked me if there was any “reason” why I shouldn’t receive Christ as my Savior. I couldn’t think of any reason after having heard so many reasons for believing in Him, so I talked with God, confessed my sin and received His gracious gift of eternal life. A different outcome from Rachel’s so far, but I do understand what she and millions of other kids from Christian families go through. We need to think for ourselves, ask the tough questions, get the tough answers, and make the tough decisions, on our own. Whatever we believe needs to be our belief based on logic and reason, and faith in what we discover to be the Truth.

  • Tjadlow

    You seem rather confident of your view….;)

  • Dark Star

    I have (fortunately) never fallen into a sense of nihilism, but I can understand where that could come from.

    I have an ‘inspirational post’ of sorts called ‘Living Without God’: http://iconoclasm2000.blogspot.com/2011/02/living-without-god.html

    I have others where I also talk about evolution and I’ll just share a fragment here rather than post a bunch of links:

    If you actually look at evolution you see a profound interconnectedness of all things. A human being simply could not live without a vast network of supporting organisms and also things like water, sunlight, and so forth. And those things wouldn’t exist without the physics that produces some kind of chemistry in which computational processes can be expressed.

    Not to mention our common ancestry with all living things, bacteria and bees and flies and humans all share this history and sometimes the scars. Our eukaryotic cells show evidence of a symbiosis formed between at least three, originally independent, organisms – without which human beings couldn’t exist (energy demands, etc). Everywhere we look in nature we see cooperation, symbiosis, interdependence, altruism – why? because they work to the benefit of the organisms.

    Nature is a profoundly beautiful dance. Yes, nature is also brutal in some ways, but we Homo sapiens are the only known organisms that have a sufficiently powerful organ of thought where we can compute possible futures and select among them in a way that just might eventually allow us to extricate our future-selves from that cycle.

    As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.

    This is the message of Evolution, we are all connected and we share a common ancestry.

  • pRinzler

    How can I answer when I don’t know what your question means? And why would you repeat your question exactly when I already told you I need clarification?

    Much more of that type of thing will end my participation in the conversation.

  • baby

    I feel sorry for you guys…look at what is happening to beautiful America its in a mess because of this thoughts emerging…sooooo sad…
    TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!! no matter what…

  • Mario Strada

    I don’t want to speak for Madison, but the SM is certainly one of the ways to get closer to the truth in the natural world. There is little doubt about that, unless you find yourself falling to your knees and praying every time you hear thunder.
    Is it the “only” truth? I’ll let Madison answer that if he or she feels like engaging you with it.
    Why don’t you answer the question yourself so we all know what you think instead of Madison? He didn’t bring it up, you did.

  • Anna

    It’s not at all surprising the amount of victim-blaming going on in the comments. Our friendly fundamentalist visitors can’t conceive of their belief system having any flaws. Clearly, if Rachael had a problem, then the problem was with Rachael, not Christian fundamentalism.

    She was either (stupidly, it’s implied) tripped up by an inconsistency that she should have been able to reconcile, or else she didn’t have the “right” attitude about Christianity or the “right” relationship with their deity. It’s impossible to them that people could be deeply unhappy in Christianity, that they wouldn’t find peace or joy or freedom in it, and that they wouldn’t be satisfied by fundamentalist “explanations.”

  • Casey Wollberg

    How do you know when it is safe to cross the road? I mean, how do you REALLY know?

  • Rachael

    Or the insinuations that I had little to no ‘relationship’ with Jesus. I didn’t cover that aspect much in the article, but I definitely believed I was saved, I loved Jesus, I believed his sacrifice covered my sins. My heart was into it.

  • Tjadlow

    You can’t rebut, can you.

  • Will

    I don’t think that it was critical thinking that played the crucial role in Rachael’s deconversion – it was integrity. She wasn’t going to believe something just because it comforted her.

  • Tjadlow

    Lol. Now, care to answer?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I don’t even know what that means. I exist. The world around me exists. The universe around that exists. None of those things always existed or will always exist as far as we know. I ask questions and try to understand myself, the world, and the universe around me. If I didn’t exist, I couldn’t ask questions, I guess? My nonexistence wouldn’t preclude other people from asking questions, though.

  • Anna

    Yes, the ever-popular “No True Christian” argument! They can’t conceive of people who were once devoted, passionate believers changing their minds.

  • Tjadlow

    Sure. Thanks for the honesty. I’m asking for your explanation for contingent existence.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Existence needs no justification. It just exists. That’s a pretty stupid question.

  • William Butler

    Rachael,

    Have you looked at some of the comments from the atheists on here? Does their attitude and conduct not give you pause?

    I often go to atheists message boards where Christianity is being attacked and ridiculed just to observe the reaction from the atheists. Jesus said that His followers would be hated and that there would be mockers. So I sometimes engage internet atheists to see if this prediction is accurate.

    I have to admit that I am always amazed to see the level of hostility directed at Christians. You typically don’t see this type of hostility directed at any other belief system. The reason why Christianity evokes such powerful emotions is because there is a real truth and power to it!

    But it doesn’t bother me at all because Christ promises blessings to those who are insulted and mocked for His sake.

    Matthew 5:11

    God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.

  • Madison Blane

    Spanking a child reinforces power-structure. Christians base punishment of children on the assumption, power=morality. God=all-powerful, therefore God=all-moral. Small children easily understand this form of morality where what’s right is right because authority said so and they obey to avoid punishment.
    In small children, you cannot simply ‘let them learn the hard way’, by experience. It is more right to inflict small pains for running out in the street and instill obedience than it is to let your child get hit by a car. And, hey, 2 year old children understand and reason “that action causes pain, so I won’t do it again”. However, as morality develops and changes (around age 4 – 6), authority and power are not the only thing that children respect and they are perfectly able to obey because they understand wrong from right. At this point, they begin to understand and reason that “Mom and Dad can spank me because they’re bigger” and this is dangerous to teach a child because it enforces the concept of might=right.
    Pain is only a necessary teaching tool for those who are very small, for example: spatting a child’s hand as they reach for the stove because you CAN’T let them learn from experience or explain to them why it’s wrong – however, leather straps are excessive! Spankings that continue beyond the point where you can reason with a child are certainly abuse – even if they are delivered with the best of intentions as it seems mine and yours were. I wish you many continued years of healing!!

  • Rachael

    I see the attitude from atheists and Christians alike. Distaste and hostility towards an opposing belief system is common no matter what you believe.

  • C Peterson

    You make some good points about apologetics in general, but from Rachael’s explanation, it sounds like her father didn’t teach a narrow application of critical thinking at all, but actually stressed it in the way an intelligent, well educated person would. Perhaps he applied it using a somewhat narrower range of inputs, but the teaching approach seems first class. Once Rachael was outside the home environment, those skills, combined with a wider range of knowledge, led to the fairly inevitable results described.

  • pRinzler

    I may not be the best person to continue with you, as I now am forced to ask you what “contingent existence” is.

    I think I’ll pass and bow out of the conversation, but thanks anyway.

  • Casey Wollberg

    Besides the fact that this is ultimately a meaningless question, you don’t defend your belief system by questioning other belief systems. It’s a non sequitur. If it were true that we can’t know anything, then ask yourself what that would mean for Christianity. To support your beliefs, you have to argue for them. It was noted long ago that such efforts are ridiculously hopeless. Thus the obfuscating about the nature of reality and pseudo-intellectual pablum on epistemology.

  • Bershawn300

    Not really. If the founder of the religion (in this case Jesus) lives a life void of hypocrisy, preaches against hypocrisy, it is fair to say that Christianity as a belief-system is against hypocrisy, whether all Christians practice unhypocritical living or not.

    (If you would indulge me for a moment, think at the very least like Aristotle here for a moment with the possibility of universals and objective reality, versus postmodern, “subjectivist”/situational thinking where there are no universal truths, though true Christianity operates out of both the objective and subjective.)

    But what I am asserting is that:

    1) as a belief system Christianity is theoretically and objectively against hypocrisy and legalism.

    2) and in practice, subjectively, Jesus, unlike every other human being, was and is the only person to ever actually flawlessly model and live out such an unhypocritical belief system.

    I am saying is that legalism is a separate belief system though. Legalism as a belief system is predicated on hypocrisy and promotes outward morality at the expense of true inward change and love.

    There are two distinct belief systems within Church groups – there is the legalistic belief system, which looks like Christianity on the outside, but belief-wise is not, and the orthodox Christian belief system – which reflects the beliefs and teachings (if not always practices) of its founder.

    I am not suggesting that “no true Christian” would be hypocritical however, for of course that is absurd, plenty of us are (original sin for humans being one of the central tenets of the faith).

    But I am saying that as a belief system Christianity is opposed to hypocrisy and committed to owning up to it and excising it, whereas “religion” or legalism as a belief system is not. Unfortunately, this poor girl grew up in legalism and for that she has my sympathy.

  • William Butler

    I’m sure that there are plenty of Christians who are obnoxious, but trust me, there is a REAL palpable difference between the two camps.

    You can test this out for yourself. Go to any random message board and self-identify as an atheist and then go to another board and self-identify as a Christian and tell me you don’t see any difference.

    Finally, it’s not just on the Internet. All over the world Christianity is viciously attacked, whether its in the Arab countries where Christians are burned in their churches while they worship or in communist nations where they are imprisoned and killed. Jesus was correct about what the world’s attitude would be towards Christianity.

  • Anna

    Actually, the atheists here have been (as far as I can tell, it’s difficult to keep up with so many new comments) nothing but supportive of Rachael. I think she is a tremendously brave person, and I commend her for speaking out and sharing her story.

    The people who should be ashamed of their conduct are those who are blaming Rachael for her deconversion and attempting to guilt and shame her into returning to fundamentalist Christianity.

  • Tjadlow

    Ok, good.
    Now, there are only two types of existence. Contingent and self. Agree?

  • Ton_Chrysoprase

    I think she was pretty clear why she left that particular god behind – logical contradictions rendered it not viable. I would assume she didn’t pick up a new one because she realized that one doesn’t need a reason to reject a believe but that you need a reason to espouse one.

  • Rachael

    I have. I have been an atheist in Christian circles, and a Christian in atheist circles. It really depends on the specific people involved, though in general, if I had to pick which side tended to guard against outsiders and be less accepting… it would be Christians.

  • baal

    “Could you be wrong about all that?”
    No.

  • Tom

    Utter nonsense. “Full of concessions to the Bronze Age mentality?” What possible use is a divine set of moral instructions that’s deliberately no better than people already are, which, as you point out, was pretty crap back then? That would mean that, far from us following god’s moral leadership, he’s following ours as we improve by ourselves! Is it not possible that the rules are no better than people generally were in the Bronze Age because they’re the ones who wrote them?

  • Dark Star

    Self-delusion can be extremely comforting, even when it has absolutely nothing to do with ‘god’, so I’m not sure this demonstrates what you think it does.

    I’ve been on what I thought would be my ‘deathbed’, my spleen had ruptured, my body had begun shuddering from shock, and I was thinking about my family & loved ones and found my peace there.

    I had absolutely no thought of ‘god’ or religion or worries about an afterlife or lack thereof. I focused on what mattered to me.

    Your fear mongering, however well-intentioned, isn’t welcome.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    No idea what that means, so no, do not agree. Define contingent existence and self existence.

  • William Butler

    Anna,

    Of course the atheists are celebrating Rachael’s deconversion. Is that really surprising?

    It’s their attitude towards the Christians that I’m talking about. There is a real level of hostility that is easily detected.

    There are plenty of religious systems that I don’t believe in but none of them provoke any powerful emotional response in me. If I don’t believe something I just tend to ignore it and move on with my life. I don’t feel the need to denigrate its followers or act with hostility.

    But you see alot of hostility and animosity towards practitioners of Christianity, and even though its sad to see, it is also encouraging in a way for the following reasons:

    1) Jesus predicted it would happen. It’s amazing how many things Jesus got right. Even if you don’t believe that He was the divine Son of God, He was still the most amazing human Who ever lived.

    2) No one would react in such a way unless they were seriously threatened by the propositions of the belief system they were attacking. We don’t see these atheists attacking belief in the tooth fairy the same way we see them attacking Christianity, for example.

  • Casey Wollberg

    You’ve yet to offer anything substantive to the conversation besides bragging about how great you are. I’d like to see you demonstrate some justification of your own.

  • Madison Blane

    I have, admittedly, popped the mouth of a young teenager who began to believe that his size meant I wasn’t his boss anymore. But it was reactionary and did not make me feel moral, trust me! I do not want to be reactionary but rather pro-active with my kids. No, you can’t predict every decision they’ll wrestle with. But, to me, punishing a child for wrong negates their ability to reason things out on their own and it stops communication when children fear you’ll find out their mistakes. My kids come to me with just about everything – from drinking to sex, parties to drugs, and we discuss. Nothing is off limits, no judgments, no punishments beyond the consequences life inflicts. Before thy were teens, I realized, life isn’t going to spank them when they’re wrong. No one is going to charge in and beat their butt when they make wrong decisions. so, we adopted a life-esque policy. You don’t do your chores, is the same as not showing up for your job, therefore you have less ‘currency’ to do the thing you want (like visiting friends). You break the law, you go to jail. You do things that aren’t appropriate for you, life sucks. And it’s helped them reason through life in a way that I don’t worry like most parents do about what my kid will do when they’re out of sight, or out on their own without my guidance. And really, that’s what raising kids is, preparing them to live on their own.

  • Casey Wollberg

    And you’re a flea.

  • William Butler

    Interesting. I guess I would just point to history and ask how you could justify such a position.

    When the Christians lived in the pagan Roman Empire, how many Christians were put to death by the pagans? On the other hand, how many pagans were put to death by the Christians in the Holy Roman Empire?

    How many Muslims are killed in predominantly Christian nations, and how many Christians are killed in predominantly Muslim nations?

    Do Christians do better in atheistic communist regimes than atheists in predominantly Christian nations? I think its pretty obvious which group fares better.

  • Kasun Senanayake

    what you are talking about is a very recent development within an extremely limited sample of internet forums. You almost forget how aggressively Christianity dominated and slaughtered Muslims. You also forget how most free thinkers were shuned in public forums.

    The reason you note more hostility on the internet is due to age disparity. i.e. Younger generations generally tend to be more liberal, secular and atheist. And being young they generally aren’t afraid of being rash in their presentation of arguments. Don’t worry too much about the name calling and verbal hostility, focus on the arguments being made.

  • Dark Star

    For the record, there are purple dogs:

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I’ve tried. I can’t. I get banned for self-identifying as an atheist at most of them, no matter how polite I keep my disagreements and how much I try not to offend people. My mere existence is apparently offensive enough to get me kicked out off of Christian blogs.

    No one denies Christians are persecuted in some places. Being disagreed with on the Internet does not persecution make, however, and when you try to argue the two are at all similar you’re only doing actual persecuted Christians a monstrous disfavor. Assuming you live in the USA, you live in a country where ~75% of people are Christian, every town has at least one church, your holy rules are (illegally) on display in front of many government buildings, churches are tax-exempt, and your holy book is used (illegally) as the basis of some laws. Christian privilege much?

  • Kasun Senanayake

    Faith in god IS VERY RATIONAL to the extent that it is natural brain activity to exercise compensatory association to explain phenomenon that is still not understood by reason & logic.

    It is the same mechanism that makes us see patterns in coincidences, develop superstitious tendencies, believe ghosts move objects and hurricanes are god’s wrath, surviving an accident is a miracle etc…..This is why almost every religion has very humanistic associations of love, jealousy, rage, sex, money etc etc..

  • Mario Strada

    Could you be wrong about your own worldview? Could Jesus be either a myth or some Jewish preacher that was posthumously vested of the trapping of the Christ?
    You can’t really ask others to question their worldview if you don’t question yours. I constantly question mine. So far, the weight of evidence, measurable things, has kept me the atheist I have been for the past 40+ years, but I do question. I am not sure you do.

  • Rachael

    Achem. Crusades.

  • William Butler

    Feminerd,

    I am not complaining about obnoxious comments from atheists. I am simply noting that there is a real difference in the communication styles.

    I agree that I have it extremely well compared to Christians who live in most parts of the world and throughout most of history. I am not in any way comparing my situation to theirs.

  • Tjadlow

    Contingent existence is that which is dependent for existence. It is subject to time and change. Would you consider yourself contingent?

  • Matt

    You all might want to check out Christopher Hitchens debate with William Craig, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FofDChlSILU Very interesting and apropos to the discussion.

  • TCC
  • Anna

    If believers in the Tooth Fairy were promoting sexism and homophobia, denying science, and advocating beating children into submission in the name of the Tooth Fairy, then you would see just as much “hostility” directed towards them.

    You’re clearly operating under a major persecution complex. Atheists in majority Muslim and majority Hindu countries don’t talk about Christianity, because their lives are not affected by Christianity. We here in the United States are forced to deal with Christians who are constantly trying to insert their religion into our laws. That’s why we talk about them, not because they are inherently interesting. I’d be happy never to have to talk about them at all!

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    You’re talking to an ex-Jewish girl of Ashkenazi descent. My ancestors were persecuted by yours, sir. Don’t tell me Christians had it rough for 2,000 years- you dominated Europe during that time and made it a living hell for non-Christians, then invaded and destroyed a Muslim civilization because they worshiped wrong.

    So boo-fucking-hoo, some Christians were persecuted 1800 years ago. I see your persecution and raise you the pogroms, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust. The persecution today is, of course, unacceptable, and you will find that pretty much all freethinkers agree that religious persecution of anyone is not OK. But to argue that Christianity is somehow especially persecuted is ridiculous and contradicted by massive piles of evidence.

  • William Butler

    The Crusades were really more of a political movement than a religious one. The Muslims had been aggressively expanding into Europe and the Crusades were a natural reaction of Muslims encroaching into Christian territory.

    That being said, I agree that there were many atrocities committed by professing Christians during the Crusades. But you have to go to the source. The Muslim holy book commands Muslims to subjugate the non-believers, the Christian holy book commands Christians to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies.

    There is a real difference between Jesus and Mohammed.

    And you can’t be selectively outraged. If you want to play the historical atrocity game you have to also own the atrocities of atheists like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc who killed more people in one century than Christians have done since it began and say that was a result of their atheistic worldview.

  • Madison Blane

    The truth is, we’re just humans. Most are extremely flawed, regardless of beliefs or lack thereof. It’s the mentality of labels. People want to label you so that they can apply all the attributes of other people under that label, to you. Atheists, no matter what people want to think, are not a group, don’t have a dogma, and are extremely diverse for this reason. To be an Atheist simply means we reject religion – that’s all. It says nothing about the things we do believe, the kind of person one is, or that person’s code of morality.

  • baal

    Bill, we aren’t having spot with you because you are a believer. You’ll notice that some of the christian posters were treated with respect and I upvoted at least one. If you insist on making irrational points (or start acting like a bot or being condescending, you get much the same in return), we tend to view those with disfavor.

  • Mario Strada

    I remember your story. I also remember your pastor got slapped by the courts quite nicely.

  • inlaid

    You are an awesome human being and an inspirational person. I have the fortune to have been born and raised in an open and questioning culture but it is voices like yours that keep me expressing my thoughts against the indoctrination of children and the corruption of our education systems. Thank you!

  • William Butler

    Feminderd,

    With all due respect your arguments are absolutely atrocious. I mean they are seriously seriously awful. You present as an ideologue with a massive anti-Christian chip on your shoulder, and its pretty hard to take anything you say seriously.

    And what’s all this about Christians being responsible for the Holocaust? You do realize that Hitler hated Christianity and that Christians helped Jews escape from Germany I hope?

  • WingedBeast

    You’re the one that brought up the historical atrocity game, with the assumption that, as a Christian, your side had a perfect game.

    The implication is rather basic, your hidden claim that Christianity makes people better is proven false.

  • baal

    We’re still waiting for endless examples of atheists being the first kids on the block putting up anti-theistic monuments everywhere on public (goverment) lands and for atheist business owners to complain about how our free speech rights are infringed by providing health care for employees. Or for the mere suggestion that we pay taxes on our non-profit social good activities or….

  • Rachael

    Goddamnit, six year old me could really have used that picture.

  • Mister Hapless

    Sooooo sad story in pretty much every regard. Rough childhood and then painful conversion. Nobody deserves that. Kind of disturbed that she grew up thinking she would be condemned for
    having the wrong thoughts too. Too bad Slick isn’t a Lutheran as that would
    probably have solved all her childhood problems.

    Disappointed because she gave few details on actually leaving her faith; how long was that process and did she actually ask anyone else? Or did she just talk with Alex and make that decision? And what sins does she think change and did she try to figure those out at all? This makes it sound like she just gave up way too early and didn’t look hard for an answer.

    Anyway sorry Rachael, hope your life gets better, maybe somebody else could figure out your problem though.

  • William Butler

    Christianity does make people better, and we have empirical sociological data to prove it. For example, in the book “Who Really Cares” Arthur Brooks found that religious conservatives were far more generous with their time and money than secular atheists, even in non-religious charities:

    http://reason.com/archives/2006/12/19/the-giving-gap

  • Jeff

    He believes in something for which there is no evidence.

  • baal

    ” atheists like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, e”

    In the name of atheist or in the name of christ? This is a cheap shot and a lie Bill. I asked several hours ago that you stop with the first round apologetics and move onto rebutting the standard replies.

  • Jeff

    They should hire *someone* to do their designs.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Hah! BINGO! He got Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot in there.

    Seriously. Those guys weren’t persecuting Christians because they were atheist. They were crushing all possible alternate power sources and setting themselves (or the state) up as Godheads. They crushed all religions (not just Christianity, Mao especially targeted Taoism), all alternate philosophies (liberals, academics, educated people in general, democrats, etc) in order to set themselves up as the only arbiters of all ethical and political decisions.

    They were tyrants. They crushed opposing power forces. It wasn’t atheism that caused that, it was ideological zealotry. Their atheism is entirely irrelevant to their actions; they didn’t do these things in the name of atheism, but in the name of The State or Communism or whatever. Tyrants always do one of two things with religion: co-opt it in their favor (divine right of kings) or crush it.

  • Casey Wollberg

    I’ll take your bait, though you might not like what you pull up.

    Yes, I am contingent. Everything is–self-existence is a concept made up by apologists for apologists. It’s a circle jerk that I didn’t buy a ticket to. Now, since this is a philosophical assumption I don’t take on board and an attempt at a circular argument, will you defend your acceptance of it? That is, how do you know a self-existent entity (an aseity) exists? And, granted that implausibility, how do you leap the logical chasm from aseity to Jesus? Good luck.

  • Rachael

    well.

  • baal

    and the disproportionate lack of atheists in prision?

  • Casey Wollberg

    Scroll up a bit, sophist.

  • Anna

    That’s pretty typical in conservative homeschooling circles. Have you explored Libby Anne’s blog, LoveJoyFeminism? She talks a lot about the HSLDA. One of their major things is teaching distrust of social workers and other secular authorities because they are mandated to report abuse.

  • Kasun Senanayake

    Are you immune to statistics? Over 30% of the current world is christian. That number used to be higher. It is no surprise there is a notable number of cases against Christians. Also a fair bit of the developed world is christian, so there is biased reporting promoting the victim psychology. FOX + the moronic ramblings of Bill O Riley are the biggest culprits.

    Once again, don’t worry about internet ramblings of idiots as it is a biased sample due to age disparities, anonymity and trolls.

  • Madison Blane

    William, I am an absolute Atheist. I have friends who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Universalist, Agnostic, and Atheist and I would be glad to be friends with you! The nature of a person is not dependent on their life philosophy or dogma. You cannot characterize an entire group of people based on your experiences with a few. If that were the case living in AR and LA would give me cause to be a racist and say blacks and mexicans are hooligans (because many that I’ve known are, but not because they’re black or mexican). What you’re doing is called stereotyping and it is morally wrong. I suggest you actually get to know a few Atheists, in person, and leave your persecuted attitude at home before making sweeping accusations against anyone who doesn’t believe in a god. I mean, have you MET Buddhists?!? Not exactly a persecuting group. Yet, THEY are Atheists, too!

  • William Butler

    Feminerd,

    I never claimed they did anything “in the name of atheism”.

    These are valid examples of the consequences of the atheistic worldview. On atheism there is no higher power than the state. So whatever the state wants to do is right.

    Most of the founding fathers of our country believed that there WAS a higher power, and that men were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

    Thus the two worldviews have major consequences and implications for the types of government that they lead to. So far atheism’s track record is pretty awful.

  • Hat Stealer

    I can think for myself, I can observe the world around me. Therefore, I exist, and so does the world. I’m afraid your half-assed pseudo-phillisophical apologist “stumper” questions won’t get you anywhere here. All they do is make you sound like you think you’re smarter than you really are.

  • WingedBeast

    You mean people who go to a place where they’re lectured to about the morality of giving then handed a collection plate are more likely to give than people who don’t? Shock and awe I tells ya!

    You’re taking a single issue, ignoring context, and drawing pre-determined conclusions. And, once one method of doing so fails, you move onto the next.

    You have proven nothing but your own bias.

  • William Butler

    Baal,

    You have to keep in mind that I am talking with several people at once, so I can’t respond to every single person as much as I’d like to.

  • Bershawn300

    Dear friend. Sorry to hear about your legalistic (for that is what it was) upbringing. Few things are more devastating and damaging to a person’s psyche than the hypocrisy that comes from legalism. Do know that legalism is fundamentally incompatible with true (orthodox) Christianity. In fact Jesus preached against pharisaical legalism with more virulence that most anything else! He was vehemently against it.

    Please know that there are educated, gospel-believing (not legalism-believing) Christians who are in your corner.

    Peace.

    “No True Scotsman” Alert!

    Not really. If the founder of the religion (in this case Jesus) lives a life void of hypocrisy, preaches against hypocrisy, it is fair to say that Christianity as a belief-system is against hypocrisy, whether all Christians practice unhypocritical living or not.

    (If you would indulge me for a moment, think at least like Aristotle here for a moment with the possibility of universals and objective reality, versus postmodern, “subjectivist”/situational thinking where there are no universal truths, though true Christianity operates out of both the objective and subjective.)

    But what I am asserting is that:

    1) as a belief system Christianity is theoretically and objectively against hypocrisy and legalism.

    2) and in practice, subjectively, Jesus, unlike every other human being, was and is the only person to ever actually flawlessly model and live out such an unhypocritical belief system.

    I am saying is that legalism is a separate belief system though. Legalism as a belief system is predicated on hypocrisy and promotes outward morality at the expense of true inward change and love.

    There are two distinct belief systems within Church groups – there is the legalistic belief system, which looks like Christianity on the outside, but belief-wise is not, and the orthodox Christian belief system – which reflects the beliefs and teachings (if not always practices) of its founder.

    I am not suggesting that “no true Christian” would be hypocritical however, for of course that is absurd, plenty of us are (original sin for humans being one of the central tenets of the faith).

    But I am saying that as a belief system Christianity is opposed to hypocrisy and committed to owning up to it and excising it, whereas “religion” or legalism as a belief system is not. Unfortunately, this poor girl grew up in legalism and for that she has my sympathy.

  • William Butler

    Yes exactly. They even donate blood more than secularists. If secularists donated blood as much as religious conservatives, the blood supply of the US would jump by 45%.

    The Christian worldview obviously has tangible results. It has certainly affected the way I live my life, and for the better I might add.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/219338/who-really-cares/thomas-sowell

  • Madison Blane

    Being an Atheist isn’t a ‘problem’ to be figured out.

  • Hat Stealer

    I could be, but I’m not.

  • Tom

    As people like you frequently tend to assert, Einstein proved Newton wrong. And he was wrong, or else nuclear reactors couldn’t exist. But we can and do still build aeroplanes with just Netwon. Can you see your error now?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Not all Christians are responsible for the Shoah, of course. But Hitler was Catholic (Gott mit uns (God with us) on every belt buckle) and argued that he was doing the Lord’s work. While much of the resistance was Christian, so were the death camp guards. Christianity didn’t stop it from happening, and Christian rhetoric helped prop it up and get it going. Care to actually address my arguments about pogroms, the Inquisition, and the Crusades? I do not blame current Christians for such things, of course- that would be absurd. I merely drag out such historic episodes to counter your attempts at claiming some sort historic Christian martyrdom.

    You are the one arguing Christians are uniquely persecuted throughout history. You are the one who dragged this into comparing religious persecution across the ages. And you are the one who has utterly failed to understand that when you say, from the comfort of your religious majority, that you are persecuted because some atheists are being mean to you on the Internet, you devalue what religious persecution actually means.

  • William Butler

    A couple of things:

    1) Most people self-identify with the religious beliefs of their parents, and very few people self-identify as atheists. So a criminal whose mother claimed to be Christian would be more likely to self-identify as a Christian, even if for all practical purposes there was nothing Christian about his life.

    2) Most atheists are highly educated, and college educated people have a lower representation in the prison systems.

  • RobMcCune

    So your idea of freedom is being dependent on someone who you do not question? If your source of wisdom is so much higher how come he can’t spot obvious contradictions?

  • Kasun Senanayake

    in other words less atheists commit crimes?

  • Mister Hapless

    Also mad respect for leaving on intellectual grounds, in a world of emotionally based decisions that is refreshing to hear.

  • Hat Stealer

    I was wondering what it was. Any time I log into this site and see that a blog post has gotten 876 comments (and counting) I know that we’ve been invaded by religious trolls.

  • baal

    You misunderstand me (reasonably but still). You made the point about all the evil atheists dictators who killed more people than all the christians ever. Right. The standard reply is that the evil atheist dictators don’t count in the atheist column. Instead of starting with or going to the standard “evil murderous atheists”, I’m asking you skip ahead to why they count as atheist since that’s the standard reply. You’ve trotted out the nearly the entire set of apolegetics for my bingo card so you are familiar with the replies. Why act like you don’t?

    This is a bit of an issue for me since it comes off as dishonest. I’ve heard it all before and so have you so why start off on square one everytime like you haven’t heard a word that has been said in reply?

  • baal

    Damn it all to Cthulhu! I was one post away from BINGO on my card.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    No, they aren’t. Atheism says nothing other than a disbelief in gods. What you positively follow as a philosophy of life is something different. Most people here are secular humanists. We think what Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot did were awful and immoral because they were coercive and caused great harm. And why do you ignore all of Scandinavia and modern Europe (predominantly non-religious?). I’d argue they’re more moral, more ethical, and better places to live than the US, and that is in large part because of their lack of religion. Communism’s track record is quite bad, secular humanism’s track record is quite good.

    In fact, Saudi Arabia is a theocracy. So is Iran. So is the Vatican. Those are all really shitty places to live. I’ll pick a secular democracy over any form of tyranny any day.

  • Kasun Senanayake

    No. They are fine examples of power hungry people.

  • RobMcCune

    This will surely get buried at the bottom the thread, but the idea that a christian apologist can’t raise a cloned god-bot really gets under their skin.

  • William Butler

    Sure, but I would just qualify my answer that most non-religious people are not self-declared atheists, they are simply non-religious. If you ask them what religion they are they will most likely say whatever religion their parents were.

  • Nate Frein

    You also might be stumbling onto angry, frustrated responses to disingenuous debate styles designed to look “innocent”.

  • Hat Stealer

    Really? There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.

    Are you going to assume this to be true automatically? Or would you need evidence before converting?

  • epistememe
  • RobMcCune

    There are easier ways to make $1.25, you could open a lemonade stand. :)

  • William Butler

    Baal,

    They count as atheists because they ARE atheists! What’s so hard about that? Nothing that I’ve said has been said in the spirit of dishonesty. The point I am trying to make is that the atheistic worldview has consequences that often play themselves out this way. In fact, we still see this being played out in overtly atheistic nations today like North Korea and China.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Of course. I only exist because my parents had sex at the time they did (and gee, thanks for making me think of that!) and my mom chose to carry the pregnancy to term and nothing went randomly wrong in the development process. I can cease to exist if any number of things happen- my heart stops, I suffer a brain aneurysm, I trip and break my neck, I get shot and bleed to death, I catch a disease and can’t fight it off, etc. Of course my existence is contingent to time and change.

  • RobMcCune

    You could try an experiment, provide Anna no evidence for the existence of god, and see if she believes it.

  • Kasun Senanayake

    so.. how does that correlate with secular nations with a high proportion of atheists having less crime?

    OR it may have nothing to do with religion, but economic + political stability of the country..

  • Madison Blane

    “One could argue” is the exact problem. Christianity and Bible reading allows for so many interpretations! If every moral position can be concluded and justified by reading the bible, then NO moral absolutes can be gained from reading it!

  • mardabo

    I wasn’t raised Christian but I am one now. If there is a heaven, (and I know there is) I’ll be there.

  • William Butler

    Scandinavia and Europe still have vestiges of the Christian culture which makes it harder to create a totalitarian state that kills its own people.

    But the secularism is causing some major problems for them, most notably in their depopulations which is leading to a massive influx of Islamic immigrants. So these nations are becoming Islamicized to their detriment.

  • RobMcCune

    Many of the offense you were being punished for was incredibly trivial.

  • baal

    Their motivation wasn’t rooted in atheism. Why counts. They are totalitarians who happened to be atheists. Stalin in particular found the russian church useful eventually much like Putin has today. In the modern US of today, the totalitarians of note are all right wing christian republicans. They scare us secular types with some regularity. Especially their regressive views on women and education.

  • Mario Strada

    Well, when you use privilege denial based education to raise your child, it’s important that
    a) The rules are well established
    b) the punishment is commensurate to the “crime”
    c) the denial of privileges is expected based on the transgression and it has a clear end.
    I am actually a bit disturbed by the example of the “keys to the car” punishment since it makes the kid over 16 at least. That’s almost adulthood and I really don’t understand parents, especially male parents, that “spank” their teenage daughters. It is just so wrong at so many levels.
    The fact that you prefer CP to losing privileges is really inconsequential to discipline itself and it’s actually a very good argument against CP since it probably would work better.
    I realize it is painful to lose cellphone privileges and such, but they are, in fact, unnecessary to basic existence.
    If a parent refused food, or showers, or made you sleep in the doghouse, that’s not CP but it’s still abuse.
    Taking your slumber party privileges away is not. It’s a just punishment for a transgression.
    Also, regardless what punishment a parent dispenses, it cannot be dispensed the first time a ‘bad’ behavior appears. The first time the behavior and the consequences have to be explained in an age appropriate manner, and the next time the punishment needs to be dispensed. Else the parent looses the power that comes with his or her role.
    The problem I see in many families is that bad behavior often goes unpunished until the day that one parent is in a particular foul mood and then the child gets the wrath of all the times he or she wasn’t punished. That’s wrong regardless of the punishment used. many times I did not punish my daughter because I realized that I hadn’t been very consistent in my attitude toward her bad behavior.
    In those cases, I would renew the argument as to why her behavior was wrong, apologize for having been lax about enforcing it and try to have her explain to me why she shouldn’t be doing. The latter in fact is a great disciplinary method that assures everyone is on the same page. Most of my discipline was really based on the “golden rule” and fairness. She always knew the reason why she was punished.
    Being a parent is not easy. Especially being a non-violent, skeptic parent because I have had to actually come up with explanations as to why my daughter could not behave certain ways. I couldn’t just tell her Jesus was displeased.
    It’s a tough job, but it’s a very rewarding one.

  • baal

    Only if Cthulhu doesn’t stop sleeping (playing dead) first.

  • WingedBeast

    Does saying this so soon after saying that Islam isn’t vilified as much as Christianity give you any kind of whiplash?

  • Mario Strada

    That’s a very good point. I am sorry that in my own post I did not included positive reinforcement as being the best strategy all around.

  • Nate Frein

    Her reason to cut off contact with her parents is hers and hers alone.

    She owes nothing to her parents. She owes no contact nor anything else. They are hers to give or deny as she chooses. Her parents have no special right to access to her.

  • mosley

    what a touching story. being raised in a nonreligious family, i have not the slightest idea of course, but my, how much courage this must take. i can only imagine.

    what really broke my heart was the note you wrote when you were 9 years old. i have two daughters 8 and 5, and to imagine that they would be shaken by such fundamental *guilt* (regardless of the reason, be it some sort of faith or otherwise)…that makes me really angry as a father. this should never happen to children. neither should anyone spank his children (the thought of it alone gives me the creeps), but im sure you heard that one enough already in the comments.

    anyway, i hope you can one day come to peace with your father in some way. the notion that youre showing grace by not mentioning a million other (presumably worse?) things makes me shudder, but i just hope that he did nothing too evil and whatever he did was always with the intention of doing whats best for his children, misleaded or not.

    either way, i wish you all the luck in the world. to cite another doctrine for the fun of it: your karma account should be pretty full at this point. have at it :-)

    and dont let anyone try to throw anymore guilt at you. how blinded must one be to answer an article of a person that reports how she finally freed herself from a system of guilt after almost 20 years by trying to throw some more guilt at her, of all things.

    thats simply not very nice.

  • Madison Blane

    The SM is not a truth within itself, it is a method for arriving at the truth. It is a way that we find logical, repeatable, testable results. Science is the way we study the natural world around us and which laws our reality conforms to. The path is not the destination; don’t confuse the two.

  • Anna

    I am very against corporal punishment, but there are different degrees. Beating children with implements in order to cause physical pain and humiliation, which is intended to break their will and make them submit and obey, is abusive, period.

    Children can be infuriating at times. I don’t blame a parent who loses her temper and slaps a child out of anger. Many parents have spanked their children out of frustration; many have regretted it later. But the type of cold, calculated, ritualized corporal punishment practiced in the evangelical world is deeply sick and dysfunctional. In fact, I would not be surprised if some authoritarian fundamentalist parents did (perhaps unconsciously) get off on it.

    It can be difficult for many people to accept that their otherwise-loving parents engaged in abusive actions towards them. People hear “child abuse” and think “not my parents!” Most people don’t want to believe that their parents did something abusive. It might help to think of them as engaging in abusive practices without the intent to abuse. Perhaps they didn’t know any better. It’s how they were raised, they felt it worked for them, and they didn’t know there was a better way. Or, perhaps, like Rachael’s parents, they were indoctrinated to believe that their actions were approved by a god.

    I don’t think most parents who physically abuse their children are sadists. I think the vast majority are simply trapped in dysfunctional patterns, often learned in their own childhoods.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Scandinavia and Europe have worked hard to throw off their vestiges of Christian culture, and are doing a fine job of it. Unquestioning faith in authority is always a bad thing. And if it was hard to get Christians to create a totalitarian state, perhaps you could explain how the extremely religious Eastern Orthodox Russia turned into the totalitarian USSR? Or you could explain how Catholic and Lutheran Germany turned to Hitler? Or perhaps explain why very non-religious Japan is doing so well as a democracy? Sorry, history says you’re wrong. Christian heritage doesn’t make people less likely to succumb to tyranny. Doesn’t seem to make them more likely to either, but really it’s secular values like empathy, bodily autonomy, and diversity that make people less likely to fall into the lap of totalitarian states.

    Wait, you mean basing law on the religious writings of Iron Age tribal cultures is a bad idea? I wonder who else sees things that way? Wouldn’t basing law on the religious writings of a Bronze Age tribal culture be an even worse idea?

  • wesvvv

    Jesus was talking about hostility from the Jewish establishment. Everything the man said was in a particular context. You can claim anything if you change the context on any text.

  • Mario Strada

    Same here. Only once my father raised his hand on me. Actually, all he did was to take his belt off and wave it in the air.
    That was the one and only time and I am pretty sure it was hard on him. Now, as a grown men, I cannot think of my father without seeing in my mind two very unpleasant things: First the belt episode, second his wasted body crying in pain on his death bed.
    The first I would gladly do without, but it’s there and it was his doing.
    The second, I blame the doctors of this posh Italian Clinic for their moral refusal to administer morphine to a man they gave 2 weeks to live on the grounds that “he may get addicted”. I wish I could go back there and give some of the doctors a bit of my belt.
    But yes, even though I wasn’t hit, the belt episode is still traumatizing for me.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    And I’m sure you’ll point and laugh at all the nonbelievers screaming in Hell, too. Such a nice person you are!

  • DonaldByronJohnson

    I am a believer in Jesus as Messiah.
    I have interacted a little at CARM and consider the site spiritually abusive and want to point out that Matt Slick does not represent all of those who follow Jesus. So I can understand why a child of Matt would need to escape from him, as a growth path.
    On the laws in the OT going away, the answer is they do not, but that the Mosaic covenant is for Jews, not gentiles. The new covenant is defined in Jer 31 as having those laws that apply to oneself written on our hearts, so we will want to keep them.

  • Bershawn300

    Wow. My comments keep getting edited out of this page. I am an educated Christian and would like to respond to a most interesting article. I am sympathetic to the author, and have simply tried to express that the woman’s father seems to be promoting legalism, rather than true Christianity. My comments, however, seem to keep getting censored for some reason though they have not been ugly, vulgar or mean-spirited?

  • Ombakrobert

    So, robot?

  • RobMcCune

    If this was all about defending a notion of “Europe” that wouldn’t arise for centuries, why did your crusaders head away from the Muslims that were actually invading Europe?

  • Hat Stealer

    Yeah, if you love it when you spank your child then that’s loads better.

  • the moother

    wow… a thousand comments coming up… FA is certainly becoming the blog of choice for free thinkers.

    p.s. you go girl.

  • baal

    Hi Bershawn,

    I’d blame disqus. It has trouble with big comment threads with tons of posts on them. Also, your position will be disfavored and we’re growing a little tired of the No-True-___ arguments. This means your post will be at the bottom of the thread and you may need to click the “show more comments” bar several times.

  • wesvvv

    All the atheists I know travel the world and are banned from donating as a result.

  • Anna

    Supernaturalism can be found in all cultures. It doesn’t mean children were born believing in it. It means that the adults in those cultures (just as in ours) told them to believe in it.

    By the way, you are incorrect. The Piraha Indians of the Amazonian rainforest do not have gods. Many Eastern religions are similarly not built around the worship of a god.

  • baal

    it was weird to get the admission

  • wesvvv

    Why shouldn’t you believe in an old story if you personally benefit from it? No reason, apparently.

  • RobMcCune

    I thought you just said your religion makes people better, Now your saying that many people from religion go around committing whatever crimes they want. Bit of contradiction, no?

  • Mario Strada

    Ken, I did address the post elsewhere. First I apologized to Rachel for making the assumption that it was her dad’s will. Then, I told her that if she finds it within herself to reconnect with her dad it would be beneficial for both of them.
    She answered that she had plenty of other reasons for doing that and I don’t question her stance.

    The post is somewhere at the top of this thread and I wasn’t able to find it, but there are now hundreds of posts here, I lost track of many of mine.

    There are more than a few that I would have liked to respond to, but I had to move to a different browser as my Flash was crashing all over the place in Chrome. Only now I cannot find them and it take forever to load them all.
    But bottom line, I did address it and while I was not harsh with Rachel as I was with her dad, that would have been the case anyway.

    I can see a daughter not wanting to talk to her dad, apparently she has very good reasons for that and it’s not our place to pry. But I know of many fundamentalists that refuse to talk or if they do talk they verbally abuse their children because they choose a different path in life.

    Adults should know better. They are the parents. They shouldn’t act like a child.
    (Rachel, this doesn’t apply to you. I mean t for those parents that kick out of the house their atheist children)

  • David Marshall

    This comment is itself grossly out of touch with reality:

    “This is why religion fights broad education, fights critical thinking, fights internal reflection.”

    In fact, Christian churches have probably educated more people on this planet than any other group of people, aside perhaps from governments. My wife, growing up in a Buddhist family in Japan, was partly educated by Catholics. Voltaire was educated by Catholics.

    Anyone who is persuaded by Richard Carrier to doubt the existence even of Jesus, is also living in a historical fantasy world.

    This Slick guy sounds unpleasant, but let’s all live in the real world.

  • wesvvv

    If God is all powerful and knows His own mind. Why isn’t it horrifically sacrilegious to tell Him what he should be doing, as you are doing here?

    This has always mystified the heck out of me. Seriously you are going to tell God what to do? Really?

  • William Butler

    Feminerd,

    And the people in the Christian United States have turned to Obama and the democrats. People get manipulated into doing all sorts of things.

    But Hitler is more of a problem for you guys than for us!

    Hitler persecuted Christians as well as Jews, putting many Christians (like Dietrich Bonhoeffer) to death who tried to help the Jews. He also declared war on Christmas and tried to purge Christianity from the public square, like many secularists do today.

    Reading through his writings is like going to an atheist message board. A few examples:

    “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.”

    “The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity”

    “The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death…. When understanding of the universe has become widespread… Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity…. Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity…. And that’s why someday its structure will collapse…. …the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little…. Christianity the liar…. We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State.”

  • baal

    Have you considered that various religions like to take over the educational systems to have the oppertunity to mold minds before adulthood? Like smoking, religion isn’t really taken up at high rates by adults.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Dear God, this thing has a lot of comments. Did we get attacked by trolls again?

  • Tainda

    So true!

    There’s a big difference between sperm/egg donors and actual parents. There are a lot of people out there who don’t deserve the title of parent (mother/father)

  • Tjadlow

    I would say that contingent things don’t make themselves before they exist. Agree, Casey?

  • RobMcCune

    A big part of it is Christian trolls upset by St. Slick not being cast in a favorable light, and his failure to assimilate his child for Jesus.

  • Tjadlow

    What’s your evidence for the universe, Jeff?

  • William Butler

    Not at all. Most of the criminals are just non-religious. Actually, many criminals convert to Christianity while in prison and go on to lead productive lives as a result:

    http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/881

  • Tainda

    The fundies are out in full force tonight!

  • RobMcCune

    Yes, Matt Slick’s lack of a halo, and his failure to clone a god-bot has these guys out in force. It was at 800 something when I opened it 45 minutes ago.

  • Tjadlow

    What I mean is that you seem to think that the SM is the only way to know truth. Is that correct?

  • James Linton

    Kingasaurus, in response to your comment

    ” This kind of reaction seems to be a common one for many people raised in such an environment. Emotionally devastating and frightening. Your identity seems to just collapse, and there’s little you can do. It seems almost involuntary.”

    I felt the same thing when I abandoned Atheism for Christianity…how ironic .

  • William Butler

    In Europe the racial makeup tends to be more homogenized. Here in the US a large percentage of our minority populations raise their children in fatherless homes. When you factor that out and do an apples to apples comparison we end up having the same crime rate as them:

    http://americablog.com/2013/01/ann-coulter-murder-america-belgium.html

  • Tjadlow

    >Yes, I am contingent. Everything is–self-existence is a concept made up by apologists for apologists. It’s a circle jerk that I didn’t buy a ticket to. Now, since this is a philosophical assumption I don’t take on board and an attempt at a circular argument,

    Do you value the law of non contradiction?

  • RobMcCune

    It’s not that Christians are opposed to education, their opposed anything outside their narrow scope of education and their restrictions of critical thinking.

  • Tjadlow

    Excellent, thanks Femi.
    Would it be fair to say the the physical universe is contingent?

  • baal

    ” many criminals convert to Christianity while in prison”
    yes, they want to get the advantages of christian priviledge.

  • WingedBeast

    And the racism comes forth, seemingly without a hint of irony.

  • Tainda

    When I see his/her posts, I see the Architect from The Matrix

  • baal

    “I felt the same thing when I abandoned Atheism for Christianity…”
    HI James,
    Folks who do this are somewhat rare. Could you tell me if it was for emotional or rational reasons? I keep looking for the later and always find the former.

  • RobMcCune

    Actually many do, they’re preexistent components are drawn together and arranged by natural forces which they themselves exert.

  • William Butler

    Kasun,

    Christianity is actually the fastest growing religion in the world. You can’t really tell that by looking at the US and Europe but everywhere else it spreading like wildfire:

    http://www.worldhistoryinstitute.com/2013/07/04/tidal-wave-of-good-news/

  • Rain

    Just state the darn thing, for cryin out loud. :)

  • Rachael

    WELL THAT GIF DID NOT WORK OUT.

  • Tjadlow

    Thanks for the compliment.
    Is the world around you self existent and non-contingent?

  • Dr. Luke

    I see myself in this life story. My dad also practiced with me my analitical skills based on theology. And thanks to that I got several degrees and have a solid carrer. When it comes to faith, I can tell that it does go through ups and downs. But mainly because of emotional mistakes of my dad and my emotional projections on God. I have no issues with apparently Biblical controversies, as I am sure there are explanations to that. But I can definetely say that the more I am rational and full of knowledge and science, the less I care about rational side of faith. Its just hard to explain, but it works, and I still see God’s work in my life, in my heart, which gives me peace beyond understanding. I am also rebellious towards God and towards my dad’s mistakes. But I guess, the small simple fact, which makes a difference between me and this gal is that I still look for answers on controversial issues. but not through mind, but through prayer. And this helps. Anyway, I own my intellectual success to my dad, who shaped it and taught me to be different. I think this gal’s faith story didn’t come to the end yet… We all believe in something… even in lack of belief…which is still a belief…and not necessary true… As about freedom. I enjoy it more too now. The difference is that I was working on getting free from the cliches and on embracing a true, heartfelt, spirituality, through talking to God. And that made difference and brought different outcomes. And also, my obedience to God in life, though still not very much, but is an attitude I wish more and more I have it more… As He deserves it. It is just my journey. And the only thing I am sorry in life is that I am still rebelious and sometimes confuse and think that freedom is impossible with God…

  • baal

    I stopped reading a “ann coulter”. (inre the americablog link)

  • Madison Blane

    You know, I wish you’d just spit out whatever point you’re trying to make Tj! This ridiculous question-asking, for which you seem to expect bot replies so that you an argue your standard programmed reply is entirely pointless and I refuse to participate further. Go beat your chest elsewhere!!

  • Dan Ortiz

    This is a cautionary tale…. of the problems of fundamentalism. More and more this stories will appear. Some will be not just the children of pastors or apologists as in this case. They will be the stories of their children that themselves have become pastors and apologists.
    The underlining factor is the fundamentalist education was seen as an actual education.

  • wesvvv

    Thanks for understanding my adding baggage to your thread. Rachael had said something relevant to state of mind at the point of giving up belief, but then I couldn’t find it again.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    $10 says they were sent here…

  • Vanadise

    It seems like every Christian I meet is sure that their version of Christianity is the True one and the others are false. What proof do you have that your version is the correct one?

  • Hat Stealer

    Your Bible tells us to stone to death gay people, rape victims, people who work on the sabbath, people who worship other gods, women who aren’t virgins on their wedding night, people who touch a specific mountain, people who curse, adulterers, children who disobey their parents, and it also doesn’t like people who eat shellfish. Hardly the moral superior to the Koran, doncha think?

  • Dan Ortiz

    You do know that Carrier is a fringe scholar when it comes to the historicity of Jesus right?
    Debating for the non-historicity of Jesus is like debating against evolution.
    It seems to me that you have abandoned one fundamentalism for another.

  • William Butler

    Feminerd,

    I’m not complaining about the nasty comments. I actually get a great deal of amusement out of them. And I am in no way comparing my comfortable life to Christians in other parts of the world who have it much worse than I do. I am simply pointing out the difference in behavior between most atheists and Christians.

    Regarding the Crusades, as I’ve already stated, it was mostly a political movement in response to Islamic aggression with a religious justification. Many terrible things happened that Jesus would have condemned.

    Regarding the Inquisition, that was an horrible abuse of power by the Catholic church that affected more protestant Christians than anyone else. I certainly do not defend it, nor it is my position that every organization that claims to be Christian is representative of the Christianity that Jesus and the apostles preached.

    I don’t know enough about the pogroms to have an opinion on them. If it was similar to the inquisition I would of course disapprove.

    What do you think about evangelical Christians saving millions of lives in Africa recently?

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/bono-george-bush-evangelicals-saved-9-million-aids-victims/article/2532298

  • Madison Blane

    There is no historical proof that Jesus existed, rendering all you propositions false. The bible is not a historical document, There are no original texts. Historians of the age never mentioned him, his ‘miracles’ or the supposed geological and meterological events surrounding his death, a trial and death the completely disregards religious traditions of the day and would not have happened the way ti is described. Christianity is no different than any of the other sky-gods whose mystical existence in the clouds were given a human tale. We don’t believe Apollo existed, we don’t believe his or any other gods’ earthly stories and we don’t have any reason to believe in this Jesus either!

  • Tainda

    I’m with ya on that Femi! I love the “mostly straight” I say that too lol

  • RobMcCune

    Contradicting your previous statement about about most prisoners self identifying as Christians. It seems their status of Christian or non-Christian isn’t changed by prison ministries, but how convenient it is to your argument.

    And many prison converts end up right back in there, feeling Jesus gave them license to commit more crimes, since they will be forgiven.

  • Hat Stealer

    Exactly. I don’t care one whit about whatever fucked up beliefs you follow. But if you start harming others, because of and justified by your fucked up beliefs? Then I’m going to be hostile.

  • Dan Ortiz

    how is being a theist irrational?

  • Mike B

    My upbringing was somewhat similar, though less extreme. For me, deconversion was a slow (roughly 10 year) process of realizing more and more just how far I had to bend over backwards to try to internally justify some ancient superstition that had rooted itself deeply into my brain through fear. The biggest turning point for me was when I was willing to say “it’s ok to admit you don’t know everything.” You aren’t justified in inserting a crazy assertion when there’s a lack of knowledge, and historically, you’re on the right side by not doing so. I’m still an “open-minded” person, and I’m willing to consider any actual evidence, but the more time that goes by, the more I realize that apologists fail to give even a slight amount of evidence for their extraordinary claims.

    One moment that really sticks out in my childhood is being told that the one unforgivable sin is questioning god. It’s a truly terrible, abusive thing to tell a child, and I think it deeply impacted my emotional development. If Rachael is reading this, I wish you all the best, from one seeker of knowledge to another.

  • Tjadlow
  • Madison Blane

    He keeps trying to bait others, asking a million irrational questions and moving on when we won’t play his idiotic games.

  • William Butler

    There is no contradiction. It all depends on how you want to define “Christian”.

    When you say Christian you apparently mean anyone who would check the “Christian” box on a form because his mom took him to mass when he was five years old.

    When I say Christian I am referring to people who regularly attend church, read the bible, and pray on at least an irregular basis.

  • wesvvv

    Have an upvote. I would not want to be defined by the current crop of the most public of Christians in the U.S. right now. Part of the problem is media loves a circus, and they love controversy. Whatever sells. Moderate political views don’t sell and neither do moderate religious views. Good luck with things/life/faith.

  • Hat Stealer

    I think one poster above said that some pastor gave a link to this site on his twitter. And apparently that pastor has thousands of followers.

    EDIT: Here we go. First posted by Julie Anne: https://twitter.com/Phil_Johnson_/status/356859713327071232

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Autism is no excuse for outright abusive behavior, thank you.

  • baal

    “how is being a theist irrational?”
    Other than it’s supernaturalistic character? How do you view Cthulhu worship?

  • William Butler

    Ah yes the ever popular “raaaaacist” accusation. He asked a question and I gave an answer.

    By the way, did you know that I am hispanic? And yes hispanics are one of the groups that have higher crime rates because of the breakdown of the nuclear family.

  • Rain

    People are a bit wary of clicking on unknown URLs. (Just sayin.)

  • baal

    So are you guys on a shift or something? One gets through the bingo card and then the next one comes in for the redux?

  • Tjadlow

    Lol. If the pre-existent components are drawn together, are they not contingent as well?

  • baal

    It’s a link to a snickers bars commercial pic. I take it as Tjadlow the christian troll laughing at us because it’s smart or something.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I think saving lives is great. I think telling people lies about Jesus and attaching strings to their aid is not. I think evangelical Christians also have been instrumental in introducing anti-witchcraft and anti-gay attitudes into Africa and reinforcing them, to the point where Christian mobs burn people (including children) accused of witchcraft to death and have passed a law in Uganda that makes the penalty for homosexuality death.

    You can’t only claim the good stuff people do in the name of your god. You have to claim the bad stuff too. And the bad stuff, in my opinion, outweighs the good stuff. If you want to do good in the world, give to Doctors Without Borders or the Red Cross or Unicef or Heifer International or one of any number of secular groups- those groups do a ton of good without any religious strings attached and without ulterior motives of converting people.

  • William Butler

    Where is the command to rape victims? Chapter and verse please.

  • Hat Stealer

    Yeah, that’s what happens when you derive moral absolutes from a book of fairy tales. Particularly gruesome fairy tales at that. You’d get better morals from Humpty Dumpty.

  • baal

    And the only way out of an infintite regress is the oblivion from being devoured by Cthulhu. tada! surprise finish

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Identifying abuse as abuse is NOT “telling her [her own] story.”

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Because it’s inhumane and immoral to not provide health care to all people.

  • wesvvv

    By your current beliefs if you were a Hindu, you would in essence be an atheist. You would not be saved for the afterlife. You would not have a moral code hand delivered to you. What you would have is a figure to propitiate for blessings. The stories are good though, full of flying monkey kings and misogyny.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Inappropriate.

  • baal

    I’m going to force myself away at 1k comments. I think they are even on shifts with the same bullet point list.

  • Madison Blane

    Christians have invested everything in a cure for an illness they don’t have! They’ve believed the lie that they are broken, incapable, immoral and in need of saving. They feel it and believe it with their entire being. They understand completely that it’s wrong for a teacher to tell a child they’re ‘Stew-pid’. They understand that it’s wrong to beat a child into submission (well, some of them do) but they never allow the child to question why they must obey senseless rules in life. They know that it’s wrong to ignore or abuse a child. But they don’t realize that it’s just as wrong for spiritual teachers to tell a child that they were ‘born a sinner’, will inherit the sins of their ancestors, and they’re incapable of being moral on their own. They don’t understand that it’s abusive and wrong for anyone to threaten a child with eternal torture for being a child and wanting things -normal things- that children want, like rational answers!

  • RobMcCune

    No one would react in such a way unless they were seriously threatened by the propositions of the belief system they were attacking.

    Nope, many people have suffered, and are still suffering because of what christians are doing in the name of Jesus. The real, concrete, negative consequence people are facing because of christianity are why many people are hostile towards certain branches of it.

  • William Butler

    As Arthur Brooks research shows, once you take the Christianity out of society, most people just stop giving and donating. Like it or not, Christianity is a powerful force for goodwill and charity. There is no disputing that.

    And secularism is a powerful force for narcissism and statism. There is no disputing that either.

  • Rachael

    note the ‘without joy’ part. Laughing when your child is squirming in dread is not an appropriate response.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I have no idea. Time, as we think of it in a moderately linear fashion and as the fourth dimension, probably began at the same instant as the Big Bang occurred. The universe itself changes over time (obviously, given that it is expanding, and stars form, shine, use up their fuel, and explode or collapse). I don’t know if the universe is subject to time in the same way we are, though. Our understanding of time is … pretty bad, really. We do know that gravity and time interact in weird and wild ways.

    What is self existence? What do you even mean by that term? Something exists outside of time and space? If you’re going that route, you’re going to have a very hard row to hoe proving that 1) this being exists and 2) therefore Jesus.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    No. Preventing you from harming other people with your silly “rules” is not “forcing [our] rules on[you].”

  • William Butler

    Madison,

    I have many friends who are atheists. I even have a Buddhist friend. Fact of the matter is I have more friends who are non-believers than believers. But thanks for the recommendation, it’s a good one.

  • RobMcCune

    Your saying race is a cause of crime. Yes you’re going to get called a racist. Also Europe isn’t that big on the nuclear family.

    http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php?title=File:Crude_marriage_and_divorce_rates,_EU-27,_1970-2010_(per_1_000_inhabitants).png&filetimestamp=20130130111221

  • Thomas Sullivan

    Another boring atheist conversion story. NOW on the other hand if you can interview an atheist that has been able to escape death and still tell us all about her new found liberty, then I think they may be on to something.

  • Cake

    No.

  • tsara

    Wait. I can’t tell whether you’re complaining about people here directing strongly-worded comments at Christians/Christianity and sometimes using the word ‘fuck’ because you being able to complain about that proves that Christians are morally superior or because you think you’re being persecuted.

    EDIT: “1) Jesus predicted it would happen. It’s amazing how many things Jesus got right. Even if you don’t believe that He was the divine Son of God, He was still the most amazing human Who ever lived.” Oh, guess what my horoscope predicted today!

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    And how about those cud-chewing rabbits? Angels? Demons? Nephilim?

  • Vanadise

    You’re not doing so well here, so let me give you some advice. Any time you’re having a discussion with an atheist, there are certain names that, if you mention them, signal to the atheist that you are either a trolling or completely unwilling to listen to reason, and all of your arguments consist of you parroting phrases that you’ve heard other charismatic people repeat to you.
    Some, but not all, of those names include: Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly.
    Please try to avoid mentioning them in the future if you want to be taken seriously.

  • William Butler

    Christians are often motivated by their worldview to improve society, just like everyone else. And this has lead to many great things in the past like the abolition of slavery.

    Hostility is directed against Christians even in societies where they absolutely no political power, like most Muslim countries and most atheistic communist countries, so you entire premise is invalid.

  • the moother

    fine… but at least it’s all being done with an air of politeness and, dare i say, a little more free thought than eponymous blogs.

  • Rachael

    Your mom’s a boring atheist conversion story.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Evidence, plz

    kthxbai

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s okay, I think he has the perfect face for the trolls anyway!

  • William Butler

    Vanadise,

    Hey, thanks for the advice!

  • William Butler

    The data in the original link found that when you compared demographic to demographic, there was no difference in the rate of crime. That was the only point.

  • Madison Blane

    Actually, no, Carrier is not on the ‘fringe’ of secular, scientific, historical scholars. Carrier is very well versed in the ancient Greek, their culture and their language, specifically regarding the time of Jesus’ supposed existence. This is a VERY narrow field of study and most who study it go in with a belief in Jesus’ existence and the notion that they will prove it. Those have failed miserably. Most other scholars simply agree with former scholars who did believe and haven’t examined the facts them selves. If you study the evidence, with no pre-conceived notions, you will find that the evidence for existence is lacking and that the gospels follow the basic form for all sky-gods of the day.

  • Bill

    Let me get this straight- this questions made you an atheist?

    If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?
    _______________________________________
    To be fair, “right” and “wrong” was never changed. You are referring to the OT laws for the Theocracy of Israel. They were mainly for cleanliness, among other things. For example, eating shrimp was never wrong. It was disobeying God that was wrong.

    If I am correct, Matt Slick covers a lot on this topic. You commit the argument ad lapidem by dismissing how Christ changed the Old Covenant into the New, yet you don’t describe why you dismiss it.

  • Dark Star

    I find this video to be extremely disingenuous if not downright deceptive.

    The APPARENT (more in a minute) same-sex prohibition is in (eg) Leviticus 18 which ALSO says “Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living” which clearly implies that other “rival wives” are allowed (as is Repeatedly shown in the OT). So whence goes polygamy? Whence goes women being ‘unclean’ during their period?

    It goes on to say “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled”. So these are clearly NOT the ‘commandments of separation’, they are within the Holiness Code. So sorry, but Christians pick and choose what they want to keep and what they throw out and what they ignore (like Slavery).

    FURTHERMORE, it isn’t even clear that these Leviticus passages are talking about homosexuality as it exists today, the terminology it uses is related to Pagan RITUAL sexual practices, not relationships between two loving people. This is made rather clear in Leviticus 20:4 where it speaks of ‘playing the prostitute to Molech’. These passages are repeatedly about NOT adopting the Pagan practices that defile. So these passages have to be taken in the Context of the culture of the time. And Paul’s concern is the fertility worship of Moloch and Ashtaroth.

    Furthermore, Not ONCE does Jesus himself speak directly to the issue, you would think if your God wanted all gay people to be treated as second-class citizens then he might have mentioned it while he was supposedly here. He could have called them ‘little dogs’.

  • Tjadlow

    Lol. The burden is yours, my friend….that is, if you value the law of non contradiction. If the universe began, then it is an effect [by definition]. It is nonsense to speak of an effect w/o invoking a cause, since the principle of causality is tautological. You cannot have an infinite regress of effects w/o throwing out rationality all together. Please, be my guest and answer….

  • William Butler

    Militant atheists,

    I’m still waiting for some good reasons to think atheism is true. So far I’ve gotten a ton of flippant snide remarks. Give me some answers here.

    1)
    Where did the Universe some from?

    2)
    How did life begin?

    3)
    How do you explain the fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics?

  • Madison Blane

    The fact is, an all-prefect, all-loving being would behave in perfect and all-loving ways. The God of the Bible does not.

  • Toreador

    The fact that an organization takes it upon itself to educate does not mean that such an education is not biased, or inaccurate, or even purposefully false. Part of the reason the Catholic Church undertakes as part of its mission the education of young people is to indoctrinate the teachings of the Church itself. It’s the same reason there are Madrasas.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Good on you for getting out!

    *gentlehugs*

  • Mario Strada

    Congratulations. You are the 100th twitter user making the same point. Welcome to the party.

  • tsara

    1. Don’t know; try asking on a cosmology blog.
    2. Don’t know; try asking on a biology blog.
    3. Coincidence.

  • William Butler

    NatureDidIt?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Yeah, Hitler eventually turned on Christianity. Remember what I said earlier? Coopt or crush? He tried coopting, and that worked really well for awhile, but when he started losing the war he had to go the other way. He was still Catholic- never excommunicated, never specifically rejected in his writings, definitely never atheist. His allies, his subjects, his army, his guards- all Christians. Nice try, buddy.

    What, precisely, is wrong with Obama and Democrats? If you disagree with their politics, that’s fine- I am not in love with them myself. But really, to compare them even implicitly to Nazis is so absurdly overblown that even you should be able to see that. Other than the civil liberties/surveillance stuff (which is equally bad across our entire political spectrum and probably worse among Republicans, given their reactions), what’s so evil about wanting to extend health care to all citizens and making sure there’s a path to citizenship for those who’ve been fucked over by our very messy immigration system? Or raising taxes on those who have a lot, to pay for services for those who don’t, which helps those with a lot by making sure they can draw on an educated workforce and country with infrastructure for moving goods around? Or supporting kids going to college? Or pushing for universal preschool? I mean, I don’t like Obama all that much- too much rhetoric, not enough action, and waaaay too centrist. But I don’t think he’s a spawn of evil or anything. I think Bush II was an idiot and wrong on just about every policy decision he ever made (immigration excepted), but I don’t even think he was evil. Just very, very wrong.

  • Tjadlow

    Typical smarter-than-everyone-in-the-room non-answer.
    Like to try again?

  • Madison Blane

    And I’m still waiting for some good reasons to believe Christianity is true! Christians made the assertion of a god – now prove he exists! I don’t believe in unicorns – which are mentioned 8 times in the bible – either! I see no evidence for belief. If you assert existence, you must prove it, otherwise disbelief is the default position of all humans.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    We evolved to fit the universe, it didn’t evolve to suit us?

  • RobMcCune

    I don’t see what’s so funny, unless you don’t believe in things like fire, planets, or people who increase in size and mass.

    Anyway, sure they’re contingent, but again they’re just another rearrangement of preexisting components.

  • WingedBeast

    Deuteronomy 22:23-24.

    If she’s raped in town and doesn’t cry out, she’s to be put to death. She has an out if she’s not in town.

    But, on the other hand, if she’s an unbetrothed virgin, she has to marry her rapist. So, it’s questionable which fate is worse.

  • Tjadlow

    Thanks for chatting.

  • tsara

    Well, if the universe didn’t look the way it does, we probably wouldn’t be here to observe it. The fact that we’re here, therefore, cannot be used as evidence.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    None of those claims are actually backed up with evidence, though.

  • William Butler

    Theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind on the fine tuning of the cosmological constant:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXi_YaDO9ZI

  • tsara

    What, do you want cookies for doing research or something?

  • islandbrewer

    How about this:

    1) We don’t know, but modern physicist like Stephen Hawking are the only ones to come up with reasonable explanations so far (note: giant invisible magic man is not a reasonable explanation),

    2) We don’t know, but modern biochemistry has been giving us better and better pictures of how abiogenesis occurs (note: giant invisible magic man is not a reasonable explanation).

    3) Bad question, there is no evidence for fine tuning.

    Now give us your answers. And please note, if any of your answers involve some form of giant invisible magic man, you will have to provide some reasonable evidence to avoid being seen as a hackneyed amateur troll.

  • William Butler
  • Madison Blane

    NEW RULE: If you assert that something exists, you must first prove it!
    Atheists are in a default position of non-belief – Non-belief in leprechauns, non-belief in fairies, non-belief in unicorns, ghosts, and even gods!

  • William Butler

    Vilenkin’s verdict: “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/vilenkins-verdict-all-the-evidence-we-have-says-that-the-universe-had-a-beginning/

  • Madison Blane

    THE SHROUD OF TURIN?!?! You have GOT to be kidding me!!

  • islandbrewer

    They really need to make more of an effort to teach the null hypothesis in schools.

  • William Butler
  • Mike B

    Debatable on several levels. Anyway, as soon as you can provide evidence for what that beginning was, this could be relevant to the discussion here.

  • Hilary

    And even Jews edit what laws we follow past recognition from the original source material. Some just get canceled out altogether.

  • Mario Strada

    Here I am. I am not sure what you mean by death. But if you mean actual death as when your vitals are at 0 and the doctors are just about to call it, I have been there. Three times, in fact, with the last time being the very worse.

    I was an atheist before and I didn’t see anything notable that would change my mind. Death was like sleep, but without dreams and no consciousness of any sort.

    Awakening from it was very different than awakening from sleep. I usually have a hard time waking up, but this one was in a class by itself. It took me a long time to realize who I was and what I was doing there.

    But the salient thing here is that there were no book worthy trips to hell or heaven, no dead pets (and I really would have liked to hug my cat Scruffy once more), no grandparents waiting for me.

    What I remember was not blackness, but rather grayness. Strangely so.

    Now, of course you’ll say that was my own limbo for being an atheist or something to that effect. But I’ll remind you, I was baptized in the RCC and as far as I know I am still in good standing should I be hit by a grand piano on my way to the grocery store and I decided to become a priest.

    Then you’ll probably say that the RCC is wrong and that’s why I didn’t see anything. Whatever.
    I don’t even know if you intended physical or spiritual death, but there you go in case it was the former.

    As far as “newfound liberty” I have been an atheist since I was 9. As Mr. Boom Boom would say: The thrill is gone.

  • WingedBeast

    You just said that racial minorities cause crime! Yes, that’s racist. Having said that and being Hispanic only means that you are Hispanic and racist.

  • Rain

    Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/10/05/us-italy-shroud-idUSTRE5943HL20091005

    Therefore atheism is true! Checkmate!

  • RobMcCune

    It was about divorce and the decline of the nuclear family in Europe. That’s what you’re saying is the cause of crime. Except it doesn’t not even in less christian countries.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Riiight. I direct you to http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/. They’ve only been around ~3.5 years, and already raised over $1 million in donations to go to various causes. It’s a drop in the bucket in a world of hurt, but most organizations aren’t that successful that early. Kiva’s atheist team is the biggest and has lent out the most money of any group or team on Kiva. I do dispute that Christianity is a powerful force of goodwill or charity; it can do good, no question, but other non-Christian organizations do just as much good or more, so it’s not anything to do with Christianity and everything to do with innate human empathy. And given that Christianity also comes with all sorts of baggage and negative impacts as well, we should stay the hell away from it (pun intended) when giving to charity.

    Take tithing out of the picture, and you’ll find Christians donate no more, and possibly less, than the non-religious. Tithing doesn’t do good things for anyone except the church/pastor it goes to.

  • baal

    “Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement
    at the University of Padua, announced the findings in a book that hit
    shelves Wednesday in Italy, reports Vatican Insider. Fanti has written
    several papers about the shroud, including one in 2011 that hypothesized
    how radiation could have caused the image of a man’s bloody face and body to appear on the cloth.”

    From your linked article. Radiation did it and initial report from the Vatican Insider. Do you have peer-reviewed on it (sorry to move the goal posts but this isn’t good evidence.)

  • Guest

    To be fair, “right” and “wrong” was never changed. You are referring to the OT laws for the Theocracy of Israel. They were mainly for cleanliness, among other things. For example, eating shrimp was never wrong. It was disobeying God that was wrong.

    If I am correct, Matt Slick covers a lot on this topic. You commit the argument ad lapidem by dismissing how Christ changed the Old Covenant into the New, yet you don’t describe why you dismiss it.

  • William Butler

    Baal,

    The Shroud of Turin is the most studied artifact in history. There are TONS of peer reviewed scientific research papers on it. A good place to start is

    http://shroud.com/

  • Mario Strada

    900 and counting. 500 of them make statements on the snippet where Rachel lost her faith.

  • baal

    I’m sorry to have ruined your great reveal of the unmoved mover who would just so happen to turn out to be your favorite deity.

  • William Butler

    This replica has none of the properties that make the Shroud of Turin unique. It does physically resemble the actual Shroud but has none of the special properties of the actual shroud.

  • William Butler

    Quite honestly, Vilenkin (an atheist btw) is probably the most knowledgeable man on Earth about this subject.

  • Rain

    Yeah that’s what I figured. Okay, not checkmate then, lol.

  • Mario Strada

    It’s not your comments. Nobody censors comments here, even the vile and offensive ones. It’s much more likely that your flash plugin is crashing the page.
    At some point I was unable to reply and I had to move to another browser. Plus, if you make a wrong move and lose the position of your reply, you are done. You never see it again.

    But trust me, I can say with confidence that no posts get deleted here.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Wikipedia is a good place to start, as it is heavily footnoted and will lead you to over 100 different sources. Did you know that contemporary Churchmen called it a forgery? Bishop Pierre d’Arcis wrote a letter to the Pope saying it was a forgery and the painter confessed.

    If contemporary sources already knew that, why does this myth persist 600 years later? Are you so gullible as to be taken in by a 14th Century conman?

  • RobMcCune

    You’re aware that most societies dislike their minorities, so simply citing societies where christians are in the minority does nothing to invalidate Anna’s premise.

  • tsara

    I can see a weak argument for a sort of deism or pantheism, but, sorry, the Christian god is pretty absurd.

  • William Butler

    Rain,

    To be honest with you I was a Shroud skeptic for many years, even though I was a Christian. But when I started looking into it I was completely amazed by its unusual characteristics. I highly recommend researching it.

    Here’s a BBC video that gives you a good overview:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2Sw7N3GjUU

  • Hilary

    Cthulhu for President: why vote for the lesser of two evils?
    Still one of my favorite bumper stickers.

  • William Butler

    Feminerd,

    Yes people have and still do today call it a forgery. That’s nothing new.

    You really need to get up to speed on the latest research. This BBC documentary is a good place to start:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2Sw7N3GjUU

  • Mario Strada

    Why it’s only the leviticus passage about the gays that gets regurgitated over and over? I have heard the explanations of the apologists, but I would like to hear the opinion of someone not as crazy.
    Their point is that the prohibition about shellfish and mixed fabrics was only for the jews, while magically at some point the one for the gays and a few others had to be applied to everyone.

    I am sure you understand that I don’t think highly of that interpretation because it happens to be a big COP OUT!

  • Madison Blane

    Atheists have nothing to prove. If you can deny the existence of the thousands of other gods that existed before your one true god, if you can deny the existence of leprechauns, fairies, and unicorns, then you should be able to understand our denial of the existence of a being you have asserted but not proved.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Let me guess. The Shroud is full of spooooky properties that can’t be explained by science, except it’s not, and you have one or two actual scientists calling bullshit while they interviewed a bunch of non-scientists who were absolutely convinced it was magical.

    EDIT: The latest research says it’s from the 14th century and was painted on.

  • Rob Bos

    People are people, and the Internet does not easily encourage civility. The measure of a man is how he treats those who cannot benefit him. That doesn’t change when you cast off superstition. Our duty to our fellow travellers becomes the more important.

  • Madison Blane

    I’m asking for justification for your God’s existence but you’re free to carry on making assertions you can’t prove!

  • tsara

    Forgery is the null hypothesis. ‘Spooooooky’, as Feminerd puts it, requires extraordinary evidence.

  • Mario Strada

    Hey, thanks for the information. Did anybody asked you? Or did you just felt the need to troll today? Next time at least try to make it relevant to the topic at hand. Your personal faith is of no interest to most people here, but good luck with heaven anyway. I read Dante’s version and it was boring as hell (no pun intended because Hell was anything but boring).

  • William Butler

    Well your half right. It does have a ton of unusual properties that are unexplainable by science. And many scientists who have looked at it and published peer reviewed research articles have been unable to come up with any naturalistic explanations. In fact, some scientists have even converted to Christianity as a result of their research.

  • tsara

    Cool story, bro. I plan to try to live forever, but if I die, I wanna get my head cut off and frozen so that there’s a chance of bringing me back.

  • Bill

    Argument of assertion.

    Evaluate on this matter.

  • http://www.nakedape.net.au/ NakedApe

    Incredibly poignant and moving story. Glad Rachel found a way to be free and happy.

  • tsara

    Anyone else thinks that this (“argument ad lapidem”) looks like argument of rabbits?

  • William Butler

    The problem is we can’t reproduce it even with our technology today. The technology simply doesn’t exist.

  • tsara

    Then we keep the null hypothesis until our technology improves enough to prove it. *shrugs*

  • Matthew Foutch

    Can anyone answer my question?

    I have read the Bible which testifies of Jesus Christ as The Son of God who was born of a virgin, lived a perfect sinless life, and worked many miracles to prove that He is who He said He is. The scripture explains, as it was prophesied hundreds of years earlier, that Christ willingly went to the cross to be crucified unto physical death and buried. It says that He rose on the third day, eventually showing Himself to more than 500 individuals proving that He had raised Himself from the dead. Many of these individuals chose to die gruesome deaths instead of denying what they had witnessed. This same Christ said the following: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

    It is a rather easy question to deal with, this question of sin. Christ came to free us from the bondage of sin – truly setting us free into a life of real “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

    It is not clear specifically what Rachael Slick is talking about when she asks: “…why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?”.

  • Hilary

    And you don’t think they weren’t primed from ~ *one* thousand*eight*hundred years of Christian anti-Semitism? Christ-Killers? Blood libel? Desecration of the Host? You ever read what Martin Luther had to say about Jews? I study Jewish and Christian theology, with a particular interest in interfaith work. Do you realize that it took the Holocaust – the Shoah – for Christians to feel so guilty they started to reconsider their position on Judaism? Yes, I can provide citations if asked.
    Feminerd, carry on!

  • William Butler

    Another thing is that the characteristics of the Shroud corroborate the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion. This isn’t just some weird cloth that has unusual characteristics.

    It’s a picture of the crucifixion and resurrection described in the gospels.

  • tsara

    Well, obviously it would, if somebody made it to do that.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Heh! Thanks for the kind words, and I most definitely will!

  • Rob Bos

    I think even it were proven that Christians were happier, more generous, and nicer than atheists, that it wouldn’t matter if it were based on a lie. I will take an uncomfortable truth over a comforting lie any time.

  • William Butler
  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    So it was “right” to murder all the men, women, and boys, and rape the virgin girls (sorry, “marry them”)? It was “right” to force a girl to marry her rapist, if the rapist had 50 shekels of silver to give to her father?

    I’m glad we’ve moved beyond OT morality, I really am.

  • Steve

    Its quite interesting that Mr. C. Peterson seems to be about as hardline and unreasonable as he perceives Christians to be.

    Fact: I’m Christian, a scientist working extensively in genetics, and do not have any mental illness, as far as I and the people around me can tell (most are not “loony Christians”, but atheist). And since I have been trained for many years to question everything, my critical thinking skills are probably much superior to your average person. Including atheists.

    Its quite insulting that people assume that Christian is synonymous with stupid.

  • tsara
  • William Butler

    I would love to meet the person who could recreate that event in such amazing detail. Some examples:

    1) The shroud has blood from a tortured man on it with crucifixion patterns.
    2) The blood stains reveal a crown of thorns on the head.
    3) The shroud has pollen spores on it that only grow in the Jerusalem area in the Spring.
    4) The wounds indicate a stabbing from a Roman spear in the side.
    5) A 3 dimensional image overlays the surface of the cloth including the blood. This image is only on the very surface of the cloth and does not permeate the cloth itself. Scientists have no idea how it was possible to create this.
    6) Crucifixion techniques which we have only recently discovered to be correct and which medeival Europeans would have been ignorant of are found on the Shroud.
    7) The Shroud perfectly matches the headcloth called the Sudarium of Oviedo. Both of these pieces of cloth are determined to have covered the same crucified man.

  • Mister Hapless

    Okay so I just realized this comment exists. Uhh I’m glad about that I guess lol I just couldn’t tell from the article how long it took.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Her father just reminds me of any other bully.

  • Mario Strada

    What you are actually saying is that you are a troll. That’s the definition of trolling you described there.
    Are you really that surprised that you get pushback?

    Before you start spouting self fulfilling prophecies, do me a favor, create a new account and go post is some christian blogs or forums. Tell them something equally offensive as you tell the atheists and then report back on the results.

    That’s the internet for you. Some people are just rude and hateful, but some also become so when they get their buttons pushed and I have a feeling that you are very good at pushing buttons.

    Also, it seems to me that you came here already convinced of what you would find. In fact you pretty much said so.
    That’s called bad faith. And it doesn’t make you a very good person. That feeling of superiority you get while trolling the atheist sites? All in your mind.

    And Matthew 5:11 is exactly what I would write in my own bible if I knew that I was about to give my followers a bunch of silly instructions. In fact, I could not conceive of a lasting religion that this not have something like that written somewhere. It’s built in insurance against the simpletons jumping from faith to faith according to which one is the shiniest.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    The shroud shows a a distorted figure that could not possibly be human.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Show you sources please.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    What is the law of non contradiction? You’ve referenced it many times with no definition.

    Also, lots of things happen on the quantum level that are truly random. They have no cause. They just … happen. The beginning of our universe could have been a quantum event.

    And even if I were to grant that everything must have a cause (which I do not), you still have to get from there to Jesus. I don’t think you can do that.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Life is fine tuned by the laws of physics not the other way around.

  • Madison Blane

    Lina, I wish I’d found Dr. Richard Carrier and Bart Ehrman earlier! I spent 10 years in a limbo between faith and Atheism, knowing I didn’t believe in the church’s teachings but not quite sure I could let go of a notion of a loving creator’s existence, simply because (now I realize) I was afraid of hell and being ‘left behind’ in the rapture – both modern inventions. I really do have no everything faith promised but never delivered – peace that passes all understanding, joy, freedom, clarity, and a desire to help others.

  • islandbrewer

    Wow. You’re either desperately in need of debate lessons, or you took some from dodge and weave apologists.

    What are your views, and the rationale by which you chose them?

  • William Butler

    Forces of gravity and the cosmological constant amazingly fine tuned to allow life to exist in our universe:

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7659795/fine_tuning_of_gravity_teleological_argument_for_god/

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Wrong again. The laws of physics were around long before life began.

  • TheAtlasBoy

    Yeah… if you don’t make a point, it’s pretty tough to rebut it. That’s generally pretty true.

  • William Butler

    There are tons of peer reviewed research papers. Here is one study that was conducted a few years ago:

    http://digitaljournal.com/article/316570

  • islandbrewer

    Does “interact” in this case mean asking seemingly pointless rhetorical questions until you can come up with an apologetics “gotcha”?

    If you sincerely want to interact with atheists, then try making your point with supporting evidence in the same post.

  • tsara

    So? The fact that we exist means that the universe in which we live must appear fine-tuned to allow us to exist in it.

  • William Butler

    Life couldn’t exist unless the constants of physics were fine tuned. That is the point.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It’s really quite interesting that you claim to be a “scientist working extensively in genetics” rather than, say, a geneticist, and that you don’t know the difference between being ill and being stupid.

    By the way, what’s the Catholic blog that encourages you guys to come to TFA?

  • Madison Blane

    You have no obligation to let anyone attempt to drag you back into an unhealthy situation or to give ear to negativism, regardless of how anyone *ahem Ken* tries to shame you into doing so or what it ‘sounds like’ to them!

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    That is not a reputable source for information, I will need to see the journal the information came from, not some unnamed history PR drone.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Wrong way around.
    Your apologetic is from
    Ross, Hugh. 1994. Astronomical evidences for a personal, transcendent God. In: The Creation Hypothesis, J. P. Moreland, ed., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, pp. 141-172.
    If god fine tuned the universe why is life so rare?
    If a god created the universe why did it make most of the universe deathly to life?

  • William Butler
  • Aaron Hawryluk

    Actually, he IS the worst brainwasher in the world. Ask his daughter. Slick isn’t actually interested in critical thinking, just the application of it to only a specific subset of problems, as are all apologetics. They will tie themselves in logical knots to avoid the gorilla in the room: God hasn’t put in an appearance for a long, long time – since we gained the ability to record events with reasonable fidelity, actually. There is no empirical evidence to support the existence of God whatsoever, and the fundamental reasoning behind Original Sin and other cherished religious concepts is simply dissonant. The only two options left to consider after examining the logical flaws of Christian fundamentalist faith are: Either God doesn’t exist, or God is a psychotic, evil lunatic. Given the complete lack of evidence for his existence, most choose Column A.

  • Mister Hapless

    LOL was I that unclear?? I thought it was pretty obvious I meant her logical problem that she couldn’t solve lol.

  • tsara

    …which is a completely legitimate answer.
    (Except that they do have ideas. They just don’t know if they’ve got all of the possibilities, and/or which of the possibilities will turn out to be true. For instance, abiogenesis is looking pretty plausible.)

  • William Butler

    Peer reviewed Journals:

    G. Baldacchini, P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, G. Fanti: “Coloring linens with excimer lasers to simulate the body image of the Turin Shroud” Applied Optics vol. 47, 1278-1283 (2008).

    P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, A. Santoni, G. Fanti, E. Nichelatti, G. Baldacchini: “Deep Ultraviolet radiation simulates the Turin Shroud image” Journal of Imaging Science and Technology vol. 54, 040302-(6) (2010).

  • Dark Star

    You are confusing arrangements of material which DOES, in a very real sense ‘make itself’ and the material STUFF itself.

    The only example we have reliable observational evidence for material being ‘made’ would be virtual particles and we see no ’cause’ for them. What is most interesting about this is that these virtual particles are theoretically created with Zero total energy, which, as near as we can measure it, is compatible with the Total energy of our observed Universe (Zero). Was the ‘stuff’ of our Universe a massive fluctuation that broke some symmetry? This is the subject of several hypotheses that haven’t proven out yet to the standards of science but are possibilities that you seem to be ignoring (such as the Hartle–Hawking model of an unbounded beginning to time so it neither has a beginning NOR is it infinite).

    As for how material exists in the first place we Do Not Know. This is a deep and unresolved question in physics and cosmology. The Big Bang Theory only says stuff is expanding now and rolling the clock backwards means the stuff would have been less expanded in the past in such a way that it agrees with our observations now (with the trick that because it takes, from our perspective, a very long time for light to reach us from the distant reaches of the universe we can, in effect, see back in time and check our predictive theories against measured reality).

    So I would not be, in the Slightest, comfortable jumping to conclusions about the origins of material or from whence it comes and certainly not how.

    But I also have a formal objection to the Special Pleading that a God can magically exist uncaused but the material of the universe cannot. This has not been demonstrated to any satisfaction.

  • PJ

    Well, the answer to the question that was the undoing of her faith isn’t that complicated. She ended up equivocating “good” and “evil” with “moral” and “immoral”. For instance, it is good to be a doctor, but it is not morally wrong not to be a doctor. Good is rooted in God’s nature whereas commands are given to us from God for specific purposes. The commands in the Old Testament were for specific purposes and ideas in the New Testament are a different agreement. It’s like a good company writing two different, but good contracts for two distinct groups of people. I think this idea doesn’t match up with the brand of Christianity she was taught so it probably didn’t occur to her. Dr. William Lane Craig describes the two different dichotomies in his work. http://www.reasonablefaith.com

    That said it sounded like her parents were still fundamentalists from her descriptions.

  • Rob Bos

    Sometimes the best thing is to let some time elapse, and allow memory to do its work.

  • islandbrewer

    Cite evidence to show that “fine tuning” actually exists.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Lane??? Hehehehhee

  • William Butler

    Biologist Douglas Axe on evolution’s ability to produce new functions

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZiLsXO-dYo

  • RobMcCune

    And that study did nothing to establish the authenticity of the shroud, or that it’s miraculous in nature.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    What does that prove? UV light is in sunlight.
    Does the conclusion say “Therefore a god made the shroud”?

  • William Butler
  • Madison Blane

    Anyone who actually studies the so-called ‘back from the dead’ experiences – those who claim to see lights or ancestors when the heart has stopped – has to admit that this happens to all people of all beliefs, and to those who have no beliefs. You cannot base a belief in the ‘one true’ god on those experiences unless all religions and even atheists are going to heaven after death – and if that’s the case, there’s no need for dogma or belief anyway!
    As for deathbed conversions, they exist for the exact same reasons that the belief in god exists – FEAR of the unknown – and they happen in EVERY belief system. Because, honestly, NO ONE knows or is capable of knowing what happens when a person is truly dead.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Scientists publish in journals not youtube.

  • tsara

    William Lane Craig’s a dishonest asshat. Citing him isn’t going to make you many friends (or converts) around here.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2013/05/an-index-of-why-william-lane-craig-is-a-dishonest-genocide-defending-creepy-homophobe/

  • Aaron Hawryluk

    The burden of proof lies with those who assert extraordinary intangibles, not with those who deny them.
    The fact that you, personally, cannot conceive of a universe without a Creator is not proof of one’s existence.

  • Solomon

    A) Responses to your questions:

    1) It’s not clear that this is a well-formed question in the first place. The fact that time and space are properties of the universe, not a sort of substrate on which the universe exists, makes it unclear whether it is or is not meaningful to discuss anything that is in some manner external to the universe. Until you can justify that that is definitively meaningful, the question is unjustified.

    2) Biochemically. We know that the early Earth had many of the organic precursors to biochemical processes involved in life. We also know that there were abundant sources of energy for those processes to use and water in which for them to occur. The details of exactly how it happened are still a matter of study.

    3) First, as has already been pointed out, were they different, we wouldn’t be here to see it, which creates a type of observational bias. Second, it may be that there are other regions in our universe or other universes where the constants are sufficiently different that life could not occur. It is also possible that there are, as yet undiscovered, physical processes which tend to dynamically drive the physical constants to the values they have, or at least to make those values not actually fine-tuned. We know for certain that there are piece of physics that we have not yet been able to study directly (just to name a few, quantum gravity, the particle physics of dark matter, whatever is behind neutrino masses, and dark energy). There’s plenty of space there for explanations that we don’t yet have. And, of course, it’s also possible that it really is just a very lucky accident. After all, any particular set of physical constants is equally unlikely (just as you’re equally unlikely to get a royal flush in spades as you are to get the 2 and 7 of hearts, the 5 of diamonds and the J and K of clubs).

    B) Why your questions don’t matter:

    1) The fact that we don’t currently know the answer to a question does not mean that it is unknowable.

    2) Even if all the understanding we have of the issues that surround these questions turns out to be wrong, it still tells us nothing about whether your god exists.

  • William Butler
  • Aaron Hawryluk

    Empirical truth, yes. It is the BEST method for finding it. Not the only method, just the best. Now stop using loaded questions to bait people with no philosophy education, because riffing on Plato just makes you look stale.

  • PJ

    Just because someone is religious doesn’t make them unreasonable. Atheist has many wild assertions as well. Most atheists believe that in the beginning there was nothing then nothing exploded. That is at least as wild as the idea of God existing and creating the universe.

  • katiehippie

    Thank you!

  • islandbrewer

    *HONK*

    Fail, that’s sort of a laughable argument. And it’s not actually, you know, evidence. Aaaand, it’s a Courtier’s Reply.

    If you can’t summarize it in a post, it’s likely that either 1) you don’t actually understand the argument or 2) it’s laughable on it’s face.

    Or maybe both.

  • Madison Blane

    Yes, it’s spreading in 3rd world uneducated countries because as education increases belief decreases. As poverty increases so does belief and hope for the supernatural. It’s a known and studied phenomenon. Nothing new here. And millions of people have believed billions of lies by propaganda for years – IT DOESN’T PROVE GOD EXISTS, move along.

  • James Linton

    A combination of both perhaps. Even more than just those two things. I guess I would say that any decision of that magnitude encompasses more than reason or emotion. I don’t think it was an either or scenario.

  • William Butler

    Or maybe I don’t like to waste valuable minutes of my life typing up extensive answers to stubbornly unpersuadeable people.

    The Amazon link refers to a book written by atheistic cosmologist Martin Rees where he frankly concedes that the Universe is fine tuned for life and admits that design is one of the explanations for the fine tuning.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    You just pulled that out of your ass. For those of us with only two degrees, Could you explain that is layman’s terms?
    I suspect that you can’t and are just doing the same shit that Lane does. Confuse and lie.

    ” Two approaches are used to test this assumption. First, highly conservative replacements of exterior residues, none of which would cause significant functional disruption alone, are combined until roughly one in five have been changed”

    This needs to be paraphrased for me.

  • Bershawn300

    I think that is an excellent question. Not one that I have an easy answer to.

    Any way you slice it, it seems extremely unfortunate and uncomfortable, in this day of the internet, that “in-house” or “family” fights among Christians get publicized and dirty laundry regarding peripheral issues gets aired to the larger public. I think these only serve to confuse people and tarnish the name of Christ. But that is where we find ourselves nonetheless. Sigh. Troubled times.

    While Christians differ (sometimes vehemently) about peripheral dogmas, there are central things that all true Christians must maintain, beliefwise, in order to say that they are in the stream of general Christian orthodoxy.

    I will not presume to offer “proof” of anything here. “Proof” is a fool’s errand, especially on an atheist – even a friendly atheist – site! :)

    What I will offer is “belief” and hold out in a nutshell what distinguishes orthodox Christian belief from nonorthodox beliefs.

    Central orthodox beliefs are (there are more, but these are the nutshell ones):

    * The Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of one divine substance and/or nature through three distinct Persons

    * The full humanity and full deity of Christ – Christ is 100% human and 100% divine simultaneously. Atonement of Christ (necessity of divine yet human being) needed to pay the debt of human sin.

    * Original Sin – Human beings are born with a nature that is predisposed to wrongdoing. Original sin doctrine would assert that we are so prone to wrongdoing, in fact, that of ourselves, we cannot make things right or straighten ourselves out in ourselves and therefore need Divine Aid (in the form of the Spirit-applied merits of Jesus’ atonement) to be even remotely moral human beings! We fully admit that our hearts are blackest cauldrons, given to self-deception, but by the straightening effects of God in our lives.

    These are the really central, humdinger beliefs. Without these, one has stepped outside of what is normative and Biblical for Christendom. For example, Mormonism would be considered outside the orthodox stream, because, while it mentions Christ and other church terms, it applies and uses them differently than orthodox Christianity. It does not, for example, believe in a Trinity where there are three persons of God who are co-eternal, co-equal and of one nature. Rather, it is polytheistic: it believes that there are three separate gods called father, son, and holy spirit.

    Ultimately, one has got to come to one’s own conclusions about these things though! I think it is important to wrestle through these types of ultimate questions and seek (and be willing to find) truth and answers for oneself.

  • Martin

    It helps when you see how amazing the World is. How much there is to see and understand, and to figure out! Even when I think it can’t surprise me, I keep finding places that are even more beautiful or concepts that are even more interesting. It’s an extremely emotionally fulfilling experience without requiring faith or spirituality.

  • William Butler

    That’s a peer reviewed paper that Axe published that discusses what he is talking about on the youtube link. I believe your point was that scientists publish in journals not youtube? Move goal posts much?

    I’m done with you. Don’t bother asking me any more questions as I will not respond.

  • Madison Blane

    This book is not peer-reviewed scientific data. Therefore NOT EVIDENCE!!

  • islandbrewer

    In fact, if you reason that the universe approaches a limitless space, and the small sliver of habitability around our tiny planet if quite obviously finite, it would appear that the entire universe would be fine tuned to murder the whole firkin lot of us, and that we live only by hiding in a tiny little insignificant hard to reach crevice.

    It’s like mold claiming that a sterile surgery room is fine tuned to support mold, because a few spores are surviving underneath one of the tiles.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    That is not what the article is about. You haven’t answered any questions satisfactorily.

  • William Butler

    Except that we live on Earth and not in outer space, so your argument is quite moot.

    Actually the mass of the universe is one of the properties that is fine tuned so even the non-habitable regions of the universe serve a purpose that enhances are survivability (not to mention beauty).

  • Bcpete

    This is an interesting story. I know many people who have had the same sort of upbringing and are now more firmly Christian than they ever were. Reading that this girl left home at 17 and no longer speaks with her father leads me to think that there is more to this story than is being told.

  • Jp

    Actually, we have some ideas (abiogenesis, as mentioned below) that look pretty good, although we can’t be certain, and we may very well never be certain. That’s the thing about intellectual honesty that many believers seem to miss: strong conclusions require strong evidence, and a lack of evidence or knowledge can only be met with uncertainty. Sorry if the lack of closure bothers you, but that’s your problem

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Very nice analogy. Mind if I use it?

  • Madison Blane

    R’amen! When you raise a child to believe that they can be forgiven for anything, they act like it!

  • tsara

    All that means is that change is gradual (EDIT III, for clarity: by way of DNA and how it interacts with things is fucking complicated). We knew that already.

    EDIT: I read(ish) the paper.
    EDIT II: I could be wrong, because I’ve been reading papers all day and my brain is not happy with me for making it read more.

  • islandbrewer

    I read it long ago. Have you read the critiques of it? I found those far better supported.

    Aaand, like I said, argument isn’t the same as evidence.

    And I’m one of the more imminently persuadable people around here. It’s just that we’ve seen your “arguments” far too many times.

  • tsara

    The problem is that God doesn’t solve that problem, just pushes it back. Where did God come from?
    And postulating intelligence and intent is more complicated than not doing so, and Occam’s Razor means that the less complicated is the more likely.

  • William Butler

    In other words:

    1) You don’t know.
    2) You don’t know
    3) If it was different we wouldn’t be here to see it. How is that an answer to my question? If you were a prisoner about be executed and 500 trained marksmen all missed you, would you just shrug your shoulders and say “well if they hadn’t all missed I wouldn’t be here?

    And I would expect atheism to have some good answers in order for it to be taken seriously.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    You need to show some proofs for such a grand statement.

    “so even the non-habitable regions of the universe serve a purpose that enhances are survivability”

    Sound like ass cream.

  • islandbrewer

    Please do.

  • Aaron Hawryluk

    Contingent existence is an assumption. Please read some Hume. Causal relationships are arrived at inductively, and are not truly deductive. Causation is not an a priori concept.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Her father lied to her and damaged her mentally and emotionally for her entire life.

  • William Butler

    So you think Martin Rees is not that great? Seriously? What is your attitude about Leonard Susskind? He concedes the fine tuning as well:

    “…If, for some unforeseen reason, the landscape turns out to be inconsistent—maybe for mathematical reasons, or because it disagrees with observation . . . [then] as things stand now we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature’s fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics….”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/cosmology/some-will-accept-cosmic-string-landscape-theory-strictly-to-evade-the-implications-of-fine-tuning-of-the-universe/

  • baal

    Lots of minerals flourese under UV. My undershirts do too due to an addative in laundry detergent.

  • tsara

    Seriously, this has been explained to you already. Our existence cannot be used as evidence, because we wouldn’t be here to observe our lack of existence if we couldn’t exist.
    One of the explanations is design, one of the explanations is that bajillions of universes exist and we exist in the one that lets us exist, and there are probably as many others as there are cosmologists.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Is that the same Douglas Axe from the Discovery Institute?

  • William Butler

    Right, and we have no evidence for bajillions of universes, so in the end that is just a gigantic leap of faith and very counter-intuitive. Plus the multiverse still demands an explanation for its existence, as the BVG theorem has demonstrated that any universe in a state of expansion must digress back to a beginning point, even if it is part of a larger multiverse.

    On the principle of Ockam’s Razor alone I would select the design hypothesis first.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Leonard Susskind argument is not proof.

  • islandbrewer

    Except that we live on Earth under a tile and not in outer space on top of the operating table, so your argument is quite moot.

    Do you understand why that’s such a nonsensical statement? You’re saying that the entire spectrum is fine tuned because one narrow band within the spectrum fits your needs.

    I’d also love to hear how the non-habitable regions of the universe (which is well over 99.9999999999999999999% of it) enhance survivability. I don’t recall hearing that one.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Do you understand why we need to use seven dimensions to describe matter?

  • William Butler
  • islandbrewer

    You don’t actually know what the word “evidence” means, do you.

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan
  • tsara

    …you think an intelligent, sentient mind being behind the universe is less complicated?

    I’m happier just saying ‘we don’t know, but we’re working on it’. My objection to design (other than the fact that, you know, minds are seriously fucking complicated and I find it really hard to believe in mind without matter) is that it halts investigation.

  • C Peterson

    how is being a theist irrational?

    How is it not? To be a theist is to believe in that for which there is zero evidence. It is to believe in something that answers no questions that aren’t better answered in simpler ways.

    Worse than being a theist, he is also a Christian. That means believing in things which are contradicted by an abundance of evidence.

    This is the very definition of irrationality.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Oh, so they weren’t REAL Christians according to your superior wisdom.

    Oh good, another one who isn’t able to work out the difference between killing for the stated reason of “Because My Religion” and killing for the stated reason of “Because My Lack Of Religion”.

    Psst! The difference is that the latter doesn’t occur. However, there’s a heck of a lot of historical killing by atheists for the stated reason of “Because My Ideology Which Is Religious In All Ways Except It Lacks Overt Magic (Doesn’t Like Competition From Other Religions)”.

  • Madison Blane

    R’amen Aaron!!!

  • William Butler

    Bart Ehrman smacks down atheist who claims that Jesus didn’t exist!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9CC7qNZkOE

  • WingedBeast

    Point of order # 1. We’re not militant. We’re vocal, we’re here, we’re not pretending not to exist. We’re not pretending that Christianity is inherently superior. None of that is militant.
    1) Don’t know.
    2) Don’t know.
    3) No evidence to suggest fine-tuning and no means of gaging the odds of the constants of the universe being any different than they are.
    Now, my question to you is… so what?

  • tsara

    There’s probably also a historical basis for King Arthur. What’s your point?

  • John Barleycorn

    Reminds me of something my grampa always said: “If you can’t dazzle ‘em with your brilliance, then baffle ‘em with bullshit.”

  • islandbrewer

    You can’t actually use words to answer questions, can you.

    Here:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Courtier's_Reply

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTS1VlvlGRg

    Proves that brooms make people fly.

  • Zack Kendall

    Many in the Christian apologetics community are listening to the warnings of those who have turned aside from Christianity. Unfortunately, many of those are not the establishment. Again, our institutions have failed us; but due study is always needed when discussing any Bible topic.

  • C Peterson

    If your critical thinking skills were up to snuff, you wouldn’t be a theist at all, and you would most certainly not be a Christian.

    In fact, you may be a fine scientist. But only because you have compartmentalized your mind, keeping the rational (scientific investigation) separated from the irrational (religious belief). While that may allow you to be highly functional, it isn’t a sign of a healthy mind.

  • Rob Bos

    Irrelevant. If I assert the existence of cats, the burden is on me to show that there exists at least one cat. If I present as my proof some testimony 2,000 years old from a 60-year-old someone who had a cat in his 20s, I wouldn’t consider it enough.

    For bonus points, you’d have to show that not only that an extranatural being exists, but that it was the God described in the Bible, and not, e.g, Zeus.

  • tsara

    I’m going to quote my second favourite podcast: “The universe is trying to kill you.” (source: roughly a third* of the episodes of Astronomy Cast.)
    Just say that a few times.

    (*source of that statistic: my ass.)

  • William Butler

    @Rachael:

    11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

    13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

    17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

    “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

    21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

    22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

  • JT

    As limited as the application may be, the entire ‘purple dogs exist’ exercise seemed geared entirely to driving home the idea that it is impossible to prove nonexistence. That’s only a half-step away from understanding ‘Burden of Proof’, which is religion’s biggest weakness.

  • Madison Blane

    Your problem is that you say ‘most Atheists believe’ – NO WE DO NOT!! Atheist is a term that means lack of belief in god or gods. Atheists have NO codified belief system. Buddhists are Atheist! It’s as absurd as saying: People who don’t believe in unicorns are generally commit murders. A lack of belief implies NOTHING about what that person does believe!!

  • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

    Copy and paste from some one else’s work is plagiarism.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It’s weird how people like to pull out that book and immediately set to ignoring the parts that aren’t useful.

    It’s likewise weird that you consider the words “Republican” and “Secular” to be in opposition.

  • Aaron Hawryluk

    May His noodly appendage touch you. Blessed be the beer volcano.

  • islandbrewer

    Somehow, you appear to be working under the hypothesis that, when confronting atheists, quoting the bible is somehow persuasive in the slightest bit.

    May I just simply suggest you try something else? I’d bet Rachael has read enough of the bible that if there were an argument in there to persuade her, it would have been pointed out to her by now.

  • Lyra Belaqua

    This makes me want to quote “Twilight” to you.

  • Lynx Evil

    Congratulations: YOU ARE FREE.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Thank God that Western nations and cultures which are predominantly Christian have had their vicious Biblical values moderated by the secular Enlightenment, pagan Roman law, and pagan Greek philosophy, eh?

  • islandbrewer

    Buddhists are Atheist!

    … mmm, well, some are, some aren’t ….

    /pedantry (not really relevant to your point)

  • Madison Blane

    A loving god who is perfect by definition must act in loving ways and require nothing. The God of the Bible fulfills neither of these. He is a human creation in a time when people thought absolute power meant absolute morality.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Thanks for admitting that you want to be persecuted and that you dishonestly troll people to get that “high”. Admitting you have an addiction is the first step to recovery.

    If mean words bother you more than deception, your Christian morality is seriously in question.

  • tsara

    My first thought was some graphic male/male slashfic. Preferably blasphemous.
    /is kind of ashamed

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Great article! I really hope Rachael continues to be active within the greater community of reason. We really need more voices like her’s.

  • Madison Blane

    William, let me clue you in. This is called ‘God of the gaps’ reasoning and it falls flat. You cannot assert that for every area that humans lack knowledge therefore God did it. If that’s true then God is an ever-receding speck in human consciousness.

  • John Barleycorn

    Mr. Butler…wow. Really? And pray tell, how do you know that the blood was from a “tortured” man? How does one identify blood from a tortured man? How is it different from a man who was killed quickly, or, for that matter, wasn’t killed at all, but just bled a lot from, say, a skinned knee? Also, how does one identify a stab wound from a ROMAN spear particularly? How does a stab wound from a ROMAN spear differentiate from, say, a WESTERN EUROPEAN spear or a NATIVE AMERICAN spear, or a modern American bayonet for that matter?

    And how does one discern these things on vague could-be-bloodstains-but-could-be-dessicated-cactus-juice on an old piece of cloth?

    I’m honestly curious about these points.

  • Rob Bos

    “SM is the only way to know truth” – Of course bloody not. Do you seem to think that revelation (or, as I would honestly put it, “making stuff up”) is the only way to know truth?

  • islandbrewer

    Judges 1:19

    “And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Unfortunately, the lesson that Apologists will take away from this is not that Apologetics are inherently dishonest, but that they need to be more careful with presenting their dishonesty. It’s like how racists didn’t suddenly disappear after the Civil Rights Movement, but rather were forced to become more subtle in order to be socially acceptable.

  • Rob Bos

    You say “lol”, and “friend”, but I think you are lying on both counts.

  • Lyra Belaqua

    This was the only guy who maybe gave Hitch (I miss the heck outta that man) a run for his money, and that’s because he had the option to shape the argument to his benefit. He studied how Hitch won everything. But if I have to hear “objective moral values” one more time I’m going to mentally punch him. For that, and for all the ridiculous statements he makes. I think I considered developing a drinking problem after listening to him…

  • C.L. Honeycutt
  • Lyra Belaqua

    Poor christians. You’re always being attacked, aren’t you? Never the attackers. ;) Stop tying your shoelaces together and maybe you won’t make it so easy.

  • Madison Blane

    Another heads up: this is called drive-by evangelism. Christians seem to think if they throw enough bible verses our way we’ll magically convert. Rachael memorized over 800 verses – she’s an Atheist! If some Mormon started posting their scriptures from the Book of Mormon, would you be magically convinced? If some Muslim started posting quotes from the Qu’ran, would this do the trick for you? Would you jump ship? Likewise, when you do this, as if we haven’t read the Bible, it makes you look extremely ignorant!

  • Solomon

    1) No, what I actually said was more like “I don’t know whether there is something to know.”

    2) Personally, I certainly don’t know. I’m a particle physicist, not a biochemist. More generically, though, there is quite a bit that is understood about how life could have come about. The fact that not everything is know does not invalidate what is known, not does it imply that what is not yet know is either unknowable or not existent. And, frankly that fact that we don’t have a complete answer does not in any way give credence to “goddidit” type answers.

    3) I doubt I’d shrug; but, I would certainly recognize that had they not all missed I wouldn’t be there to question how it was that they had all missed. But, when it comes down to it, the problem with the fine-tuning questions isn’t that we have no ideas about how such tuning (or the appearance of such tuning) could come about. It’s that, in many cases, testing them is beyond our current technological capabilities.

    But, I think you’re missing the more important point. Atheism has no need to answer these or almost any other questions. It’s the statement that we reject the claims of the existence of any gods. The fact that you’re posing these question in a manner that implies that they somehow challenge Atheism lays bare your underlying assumption that the answer to all question is god unless demonstrated otherwise; but, in implying this you’re simply presupposing that a god exists, which is exactly the claim that we’re rejecting.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    ANthropologists have also never found a baby who assumed that a religion was real without being told about it by authority figures they’re programmed to trust.

    You… you DO realize that you made the argument that every one of the 3000+ deities is equally valid, don’t you?

    Also, the second half of your first sentence does not follow logically from the first half, or even from the first half of the sentence combined with the first half of the second half of the sentence. The “infinite love” deity (who oddly likes to commit genocide) is not universal, or even close. That completely refutes your premise. Might wanna work on that.

  • John Barleycorn

    Mr. Butler, jesus christ man, we’ve heard all this before, and our answers will always be the same:

    1. Because we do not know how the universe came to be, or how life began, does not automatically mean some supernatural being created it.

    2. There is no evidence ANYWHERE to suggest that a conscious supernatural being deliberately or otherwise “fine-tuned” ANYTHING.

    3. If our uncertainty about the origins of the universe and of life somehow suggests that there IS INDEED a god, then by extension, what does your uncertainty on where GOd came from mean?

    4. Ask yourself this: If we are made in God’s image (and we ARE, according to the Bible–this isn’t a FIGURATIVE thing either, it’s clearly stated) and God existed in nothingness before he created it all…why did he have feet to stand on an earth that didn’t exist? Why does he have hands to manipulate objects that aren’t there? Why did he have eyes in the absence of all light, or anything to see? Where did he come from? Did he have God-parents? God-siblings? God-aunts and uncles? All of these supernatural creatures floating around in a vast nothingness until the younger god finally got around to creating the universe?

    5. We don’t have to DISPROVE God, and you know that, or you wouldn’t be here arguing vehemently for his existence. You’d be sitting back smugly with your hands on your belly, thinking, “Well, those poor dumb bastards are gonna see for themselves someday.” It’s up to YOU to PROVE the existence. But you can’t do that. You just serve up some old platitudes as cold and dry and utterly common as day old dogshit, like “Where does the universe come from? If you don’t know, then GOD!”

    6. I am still curious about how one differentiates TORTURED blood from ordinary blood, and ROMAN spear wounds from ordinary spear wounds, so if you could answer me that, or send me to some sources that explain how someone would reach that conclusion, I’d appreciate it.

  • tsara

    4. And if we are made in God’s image, what’s the deal with spines? Because, seriously, any engineer could tell you that they don’t really work as upright structures (though they’re great for quadrupeds).

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Given what he’s said about religion, you might not want to invoke Einstein.

    There are very satisfying answers for Rachael’s deconversion, She described them. Similarly, you’re being dismissive of her in the same way as she described, despite being given detailed information about her education. So humble of you.

  • Cake

    “Typical smarter-than-everyone-in-the-room non-answer.
    Like to try again?”

    Translation: Stop replying in ways that don’t fit the standard apologist counter argument script!

  • thebigJ_A

    You realize you completely ignored the question, and apparently missed its point.

    All you did was list those things you yourself consider to be required for “true” Christianity (some of which are funny to a person who knows the early history of Christianity, and how things like Christ’s nature were determined by committee).

    Keeping what I said in mind, read his question again.

  • Cameron Kozinski

    I very much enjoyed reading this as I too come from a Christian hardheaded family. I am also a Awana grad as well as a A Beka grad lol.

  • Madison Blane

    God – creates the universe, can’t defeat iron chariots!

  • Richie Tipsy Kariuki

    Are you planning on making a point any time soon?

  • Richie Tipsy Kariuki

    …and we would love to hear yours.

  • thebigJ_A

    Well shit. I guess I believe in Jesus and holy crackers now. :/

  • Zack Kendall

    While it may be your perception that all apologetics is deceptive, this is not necessarily the case. Speaking from the inside, there are some who do put a great deal of time into research before making arguments. (I wish more did so.) But I’m not really here to defend Mr. Slick either. Chao.

  • katiehippie

    Something just clicked. I know who you are.

  • Tobias2772

    It is my (and apparently Rachael’s) considered opinion that my father’s spankings did me no harm. Oftentimes they did me some good. You may not appreciate this concept, but many people here are making an absolute judgement about spanking. I do not think that they have the standing to tell me whether my father loved me or not and I know that they do not have the right to tell me how I ought to feel about it. You all are welcome to your position on this issue, but I am going to trust my own life experiences to inform my position. I hope that you will continue to do the same, Rachael.

  • yrathbone

    Prodigal Son is one of my favorite folktales. I’m such a sucker for a story about a father who just fully loves his children. The story of Hermes and Pan gets to me too, how all the gods ridiculed the half goat/half man child, but Hermes loved him anyway and thought he was perfect. There’s some good stuff in folktales.

  • Tobias2772

    I can only tell you that my respect for my father has grown over the years. I hope that I can be as good a man as he was and that I might lead as good a life as he did. Our life’s experiences have led us to different conclusions. I hope that you all will respect mine (and Rachael’s)

  • Julie Anne

    Yes, he got slapped by the courts, but that hasn’t stopped him. He also got his license revoked, but then started a blog against me, tweets about me regularly. @chuckoneal_ and his wife is @pastorswife_

  • Austin Roberts

    I’ve told people that I do not believe in God. At one such time, someone asked me how did i get here? I told them that my mother and father…(i’m sure you understand.) They just called me a smartass and, though true, was just angry defense to my explanation. Just like any other religious debate, it just goes round and round. Some people just want to have an explanation to the unexplainable and religion just happens to be available.

  • TCC

    Awesome handle.

  • Tobias2772

    Anna,
    I tell you this as calmly and as rationally as i can – My father did not abuse me. It’s a little condescending to infer that I am merely deluding myself because I disagree with your position on this issue. That has not been my experience with you before.

  • John Barleycorn

    Annnnnnddddd… Like King Arthur, his exploits were undoubtedly ridiculously exaggerated.

    I sure we can all agree that the Jesus of the Bible never existed. His feats and circumstances were blatantly cribbed from other myths. That’s NOT to say that his character wasn’t based on an actual man. Many many fictional characters have been based on real people, including, even, Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H.

    Of course, given what we’ve learned of “prophets” over the last 2,000 years or so, it’s also probably safe to say that the basis for the Jesus character was just as unsavory and unpleasant as David Koresh, or Jim Jones, or Charles Manson, or L. Ron Hubbard.

  • Mick

    The writer says, “Atheists frequently wonder how an otherwise rational Christian can live and die without seeing the light of science, and I believe the answer to this is usually environment. If every friend, authority figure, and informational source in your life constantly repeat the same ideas, it is difficult not to believe they’re onto something.”

    That’s exactly how confidence tricksters manipulate their victims. The procedure was clearly explained in David Maurer’s “The Big Con” published way back in 1940.

    For the whole period while the con is being played, the mark is constantly surrounded by con men whom he thinks are new friends or business associates. They answer all his questions and allay all his fears. They are like actors in a play. They know their parts well and they are quite able to handle any ad-libs thrown at them by the sucker who is unknowingly acting in the same play.

  • Rachael

    It’s hilarious how everybody thinks they would be immune to such things.
    No. No you would not be.

  • John Barleycorn

    Yeah, but to be fair, the Bible is in the public domain. Luckily, so are the Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of the Kings of Britain.” Great mythical adventures, every one.

  • Michael Fairlamb

    “Freedom is my God now, and I love this one a thousand times more than I ever loved the last one.”

    As an ex-christian, this one quote sums up everything I felt and feel quite nicely.

  • Sean

    “There were too many questions left by the absence of God, and I could not believe in something (godlessness, in this case) that left me with so little closure” There is the fallacy which I think is more potent that the contradiction of morality that converted her. The honest position is to acknowledge that we don’t know the answers and we get no closer by slipping in a cheap answer.

  • duke_of_omnium

    25 And that prodigal son grew up to become the mayor of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and married a wife named Dana. The End.”

    Your story needed closure.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    You could blow his little mind with shemale/shemale slashfic (yes, I know that’s kind of a derogatory term for hermaphrodites. Sorry! It’s also the term I see most often and I’m not honestly sure what the appropriate term would be. Please tell me if you know, Internet peoples!)

    I, um … I might not be the nicest person ever either *mumble mumble*

  • Martin

    While the effect my be similar, your particular wording implies malicious intent. The man may have been wrong, and the effects may be long lasting, but I wouldn’t say that he “lied”.

  • islandbrewer

    And you seem rather confident in yours …. ;)

    (That smiley with the wink is the smug feeling of superiority backed up by absolutely nothing, in order to hide my insecurity from having no argument! Oh, wait, I was just copying you, so … )

  • Felipe

    “If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

    This is a classic problem in the philosophy of religion that I would love to answer:

    The answer is not difficult at all. She is assuming that a sin is a metaphysical reality apart from God like a mathematics problem and that all commands of God are on the same plane. Jesus clarifies this by reducing God’s commands to 2 commandments, which would clarify the matter and crumble her assumptions. Mathematics relies on the law of non-contradiction, so what does a sinful proposition rely on? Her question assumes that a sinful proposition (let’s say in the Old Testament) is on part with a mathematical proposition, which would not be the case, so the comparison is not valid. The reason why a law of mathematics is valid is because of the law of non-contradiction, but a command from God (do not eat certain meats) does not rely on a transcendental absolute in the same sense as a mathematical proposition or even the logical law itself. Her question is ambiguous because she is not defining what she means by “math.” A better thing would have been to appeal to the law itself and not a deduction from the law.

    Still, however, there is a problem, since God’s commands in the spacio-temporal world are not all equally alike. Some of God’s commands are not transcendental absolutes, but either way, the reason for their existence is not to establish an absolute but are predicated from an absolute proposition “Obey the Lord your God.” So again, a particular command from God is not univocal with the law of non-contradiction or a mathematical problem solved (a deduction from the axiom of the law itself). A more relevant issue would be to compare the law itself with a transcendental absolute which would be “Obey the Lord your God.” and not “do not eat certain foods” which would be a temporal command dependent on “Obey the Lord your God” which drives every single command of God. I am a bit disappointed that Alex had no answer since this has been a classic problem of philosophical theology. She is mixing the genus with the species and not giving the necessary definitions to clarify her question.

    To make it easier, she is assuming that “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength” is propositionally on the same genus as “do not mix fabrics” in the same exact sense and then on the same plane comparing it to “math” which relies on the law of non-contradiction. God’s commands rely on the axiom ” the Bible is the Word of God” which is naturally prior to “Obey the Lord your God,” since if the Bible is not the word of God, then “Obey the Lord your God” would not be true.

  • Laura Williams

    Perfect example of why atheists are no more rational:

    -Most historians and scholars believe Jesus of the Bible existed, though they say nothing about whether he performed miracles

    -Most credible scholars will tell you that the ‘cribbed from other myths’ theory is entirely false and based on bad research methods

    -Most fictional characters are KNOWN to be fictional within their lifespan and afterwards, unlike Jesus.

    -You’re comparing the worst possible examples of cult leaders without explaining how they have any connection to the description of Christ even in the Bible. What, he couldn’t even be compared to Joseph Smith or Muhammad?

    -Your bias is clear, and your argument is without merit. Thanks, but I’ll stick to Christianity.

  • islandbrewer

    Fucking iron, man …

  • Laura Williams

    Only things that come into existence need a cause for their existence. If God exists, then He has always existed.

    Postulating intelligence and intent is one theory that has no equivalent counterpart- scientists who study the theory will generally say that the question cannot be answered or should not be asked. So the God theory is not MORE complicated, it’s the ONLY theory, and it’s not contradictory to any of the other possible explanations, because those explanations aren’t addressing the same facts. Occam’s Razor doesn’t apply. The truth is still that atheists don’t have an answer, they just don’t like the God answer.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    That’s irritating. I ran across your blog at one point and read about how he treated you and your family- truly awful. I’m sorry to hear he’s still trying to mess with you.

  • Elizabeth Faith

    Rachel, this is one of the most brilliant, refreshing, and encouraging testimonies I have ever read! I thank you, from my soul, and I rejoice with you in your freedom and new beginnings.

  • Laura Williams

    Based on what? You’ve invented a definition that intentionally leads to the conclusion you want, and call it a logical argument? I don’t think that’s how it works.

  • John Barleycorn

    Sorry, Hoss, you’re arguing semantics, and, if you’re a Christian, you are a very very bad one. God’s commands are ABSOLUTELY equal. If they were not, as you suggest, then you could safely disregard them. “God just commanded me to lead my army into this village, ordered me to murder all the men, kill all the women that had never been with a man, and save all the virgins for me and my army. Furthermore, he commanded me to kill all the children too, and the women that were pregnant? He actually commanded me to cut them open and dash their babies upon the rocks. (For the record, contrary to what christian nutjobs in America have claimed, God LOVES abortion.) So yeah, God commanded me to do all these things, but, you know what? I think he was just joshin’ about this one, you know? I think he REALLY just means that one about stonin’ the queers.”

  • islandbrewer

    I’m totally making a text document for cutting and pasting parts of the Mahabharata.

  • Mario Strada

    I have started noticing this sort of apologetics recently. It’s a nice feint when they are cornered with the mixed fabrics, shellfish and the gays. They just rationalize that the mixed fabrics and the shellfish part “that was for the israelites only, not for the gentiles”. The one about the gays “well, that one no, that’s universal”.

    If I twisted and stretched a rubber band that much, I’d swear it would break at some point. Their apologetics must be made of kevlar rubber.

  • Mario Strada

    You know what this tells me? Two things:
    1) You are a pedantic and obnoxious person. If you have something to say say it, but don’t copy paste bible verses. Most of us already know them. You could have just said “The prodigal son” and 90% of the atheists here would have known what you were talking about. You didn’t have to include the whole parable.

    2) Being a calf in the bible was a really raw deal. Everyone is happy and having fun at the party and you are what’s for dinner.

  • islandbrewer

    You may want to revisit your understanding of the phrase “smacks down.”

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    The only problem with your argument, Laura, is that the stuff that the universe is made of may have always existed, too. I’m not talking about the Big Bang here; I’m talking about whatever particles and forces comprised the ultra-dense “singularity” from which the Big Bang expanded.

    Your “God” hypothesis is far, far too complicated to be taken seriously. Not only do you have to postulate a being capable of producing the basic components of the Big Bang, using neither matter nor energy to do it (because if matter and energy already existed, it wouldn’t be creation ex nihilo)…

    Then you have to try to fit the bizarre personality of Biblegod into the mix. Seriously, what kind of entity would build a Higgs boson from scratch, then set up a sting operation with a Talking Snake™) in a garden on one particular planet 14+ billion years later before settling in for an eternity of toasting insubordinate humanoids like marshmallows?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    That’s … truly terrifying. Like, OMFSM I can’t even imagine. When I was 5, my parents would forbid something, I would argue against them (I was pretty logical even back then), and if my arguments made sense they would sometimes change their minds. Obedience wasn’t emphasized as a virtue, and they fully expected that I wouldn’t obey sometimes or would argue against what I considered unjust or overly restrictive rules. That’s … *shudder*. Teaching kids to mindlessly obey is just awful!

  • John Barleycorn

    Miss Williams, at least you’re willing to admit that you aren’t rational. Few Christians are ever willing to do so. So…kudos to you.

  • Winning!

    Yes it is the only method. You observe phenomenon, you form questions, you form a hypothesis for that question, you test it, record results, repeat process, analyze accumulated results, discuss findings! Very simple process for getting closer to the truth. Although I do admit as human beings, we won’t always perform science 100% perfectly so it’s impossible to find absolute truth. Still, it’s a whole hell of a lot better than, “God did it,” which has no observable evidence what so ever!

  • Dougie D

    wow you guys are really mature…..just realize neither of you are going to convince the other of your view, not saying its pointless to debate, but you arent even debating really. Youre all so caught up with your pwn pride and ego that neither of you will admit that you dont know it completely, christian, atheist whatever. No one can or will prove or disprove the existence of God.

  • Laura Williams

    Technically, I said atheists are no more rational, implying that of both groups. I said nothing of myself, but no, generally, human beings are not rational creatures. The ones who protest the loudest that they are often demonstrate that best.

  • Mac

    Wow, moving. Thanks for sharing that, Rachel.

  • Dark Star

    So… to demonstrate your superior critical thinking skills you open with an ad hominem attack? And, upon what basis do you make your claim of equivalence of unreasonableness (I don’t see it).

    Let’s test your claim. What is your rational basis for belief in the resurrection of Jesus?

    Because it’s written in a book?

    Because nobody would EVER make up supernatural claims?

    Because the Bible says it has hundreds of eyewitnesses?

    Let’s assume for a moment there was an actual Rabbi that forms the basis of the story (and not a dozen of them like Judas of Galilee, etc).

    Where is a SINGLE contemporaneous account of this resurrection recorded by any legitimately recognized historian? Remember, Josephus wasn’t even BORN yet (until 37CE) and only records the existence of Christians and MAYBE a Jesus figure (if that passage is reliable after the tampering it evidences). Oh and he covers Judas of Galilee AND Hercules too. Do you accept the miraculous claims about Hercules because Josephus wrote about him?

    Where are the extra biblical accounts of the resurrected saints who went into the holy city and appeared to many people? What of the Darkness that covered the land for three hours? [and if it was supposed to be a solar eclipse what kind of moon would that have been exactly? (hint: NEW MOON) And when do Passovers occur? (hint: FULL MOON). Do solar eclipses tend to happen when the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun? And how long does the maximum darkness from a solar eclipse last? (hint: a few minutes, not 3 hours of darkness with people walking around with lanterns out) -- does your critical thinking clue you into any problems with this story yet?]

    Have you compared the strength of this evidence to the (literally) millions of still living eyewitnesses that Śri Sathya Sai Baba in India was GOD?

    Finally, I don’t get how you infer that C Peterson was saying ALL Christians have a mental illness but rather this specific person seems to (to him) due to the facts of this story. I could be wrong there but that’s not what I got from his statements.

  • Mario Strada

    You shouldn’t really use Bart Ehrman for your side of the issue because if you open that door you may actually have to consider his other viewpoints about your precious bible.

    But since you brought him up, here is anotehr historian with a different viewepoint. Have fun.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwUZOZN-9dc

  • Lyra Belaqua

    Don’t be ashamed, it’s a very normal response :)

  • Laura Williams

    Except that you have no proof of that. If the beginning of the universe was the beginning of time, then it makes no sense to even ask what existed before the Big Bang- unless there is, in fact, a timeless entity known as God. I don’t see any reason to accept your premise that there were particles prior to it, given that that’s not what scientists say.

    Just saying that something is ‘complicated’ is not sufficient to invoke Occam’s Razor, nor to claim that the theory is false. I would stick to asking how scientists theorize the Big Bang occurred(they’re not sure). But those theories don’t contradict the God question, as I said. You don’t even offer a counterargument to it, beyond noting that it’s complicated, and I disagree with that claim.

    I never said anything of Biblegod, and your question makes no logical sense. I don’t know what kind of entity would do that- do you?

  • John Barleycorn

    Actually, TECHNICALLY, you did, quite explicitly, admit your irrationality.

    Don’t try to talk yourself out of it! And why would you want to? I’m proud of you! You’ve taken that first crucial step, at least according to Christians.

  • bobmo

    baal, I don’t see it mentioned it anywhere in the article (maybe it’s in the comments and I missed it). Can you show me where she says she’s an atheist? Thanks!

  • Rain

    God’s commands rely on the axiom ” the Bible is the Word of God”

    Wow, what a dumb “axiom” for God to rely on. But yeah, assuming the axiom is true, which is quite a stupid leap to take, then God’s commands weren’t stupid at all. They were all roses and sunshine puppy dogs tails.

  • Laura Williams

    Alas, if only you’d make the same attempt. Your trolling is transparent and uncreative, I bid you farewell.

  • Dark Star

    Challenge Accepted!

    Jainist philosophy of Acharya Jinasena, 9th century, Mahapurana (महापुराण) 4.16-31: If God is ever perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in him? If, on the other hand, he is not perfect, he could no more create the universe than a potter could. How can an immaterial god create that which is material?

    (P1) A God would necessarily be a Perfect being
    (P2) A Perfect being is Complete (or he would be in need)
    (P3) God, if existing, could be the only Perfect and Complete being
    (P4) Nothing can be against the Will of God
    (P5) The universe exists

    From (P1) and (P2) A Complete being cannot desire to create something, as that would imply a state of incompleteness and thus imperfection
    Therefore, if God created the Cosmos it would have necessarily been against his Will, but from (P4) this is a contradiction
    The Cosmos exists (from P5), therefore God cannot exist as it would be a contradiction.
    From (P3) there are no other possibilities.

    QED. We can all go home now.

    [Hey, I think it's as sound as all those 'logical proofs of God' that generally just beg the question in some fashion]

  • John Barleycorn

    Actually, it was incredibly creative, goddammit! Although I’ll admit to the transparency.

  • Dark Star

    “since God’s commands in the spacio-temporal world are not all equally alike”

    Citation required

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    In another post you self-identified as a Christian, Laura; therefore, I inferred that the “eternally existing” god necessary to your hypothesis is the god of the Bible.

    I’m not buying it. I’ve read the Bible, and the god described therein is far too stupid to have created a universe.

    Oh, and the correct answer to “What existed before the Big Bang?” is “We don’t know yet,” not “Musta been an uncreated god-thing, or sumpin’.”

  • Dark Star
  • Laura Williams

    So, you have no counter-argument, you just automatically reject anything I say on the grounds of my Christianity. Well, at least you’re willing to admit it.

    What a ridiculous statement. It’s unfortunate that you cannot defend your own beliefs or science any better than this… I can. God bless :)

  • Mario Strada

    Please, please stop the caper that “Most atheists believe that in the beginning there was nothing then nothing exploded”. No, that’s not what it is about. It’s an extreme oversimplification.

    I suggest that you go get Krauss book “A universe from nothing”. It will explain the theory much better than I ever can. Second, the “nothing” he talks about is not the “nothing” you have in mind, just like when you say “Explosion” it is something completely different from a petard going off.

    What exploded was not something like a star or a black hole, an object in the ‘nothingness’ of space. What “exploded” was SpaceTime itself. By definition you would not have been able to view this explosion from the outside because you are a space/time creature. You would have had to be inside but you would have been annihilated by the heat.

    Also, people like Krauss don’t just sit around like philosophers or theologians and start pulling these ideas out of their ass. They arrive at them based on very complex mathematical calculations and pre-existing research. Yes, they have to make some assumption but when they are done they test their theories (or hypotheses I should say) against the real world and if they don’t cut it they go back to the drawing board.

    There are plenty of books by real scientists, not all of them atheists by the way (in fact, the “discoverer” of the big bang was a catholic priest and at the time it was controversial because the religious used it as a proof for God) and there are some excellent youtube videos with university level physics classes. In fact, I suggest the Richard Feinman ones since he is absolutely adorable, funny and a genius second to none. You’d have to be made of stone not to be moved by Feinman style.

    Atheist by and large have as much of a hard time understanding the physics as you guys would (if you took the time to read it). The difference is that we don’t stick “GOD” in every nook and cranny where there isn’t a satisfactory explanation already.

    For 2000 years almost every gap in knowledge has been nicely filled by science. There is no reason to think that in the future that will change and your god will get smaller and smaller. Not a good way to support your religion.

  • Elizabeth Faith

    Oops, I apologize for missing the spelling of your name, Rachael!

  • John Barleycorn

    “Except that you have no proof of that.”

    Oh the ridiculous irony of that statement…issuing forth from a Christian’s fingers.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • LizBert

    You’re just shunting everything back a level. You claim there must be a cause for the universe and that god is the most logical explanation. What is the cause for god?

  • Laura Williams

    Technically, it’s better phrased as ‘you have no evidence of that and modern science is generally against you.’ Such is not true for my beliefs, actually, because I love science. God created it.

    Proof is a higher standard and isn’t used in science anyway, but in the subject I far prefer. But you go on with your ad-hominem there, it sounded entertaining.

  • dk

    Nice SYL, album art.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Yes they do. My initial comment on the Zimmerman thread was deleted, and I’m not sure why. All I did was point out that it was Florida, and their attitude is “eh, just another dead black boy, no big deal.”

  • Physeter

    >>”Atheists frequently wonder how an otherwise rational Christian can live and die without seeing the light of science, and I believe the answer to this is usually environment. If every friend, authority figure, and informational source in your life constantly repeat the same ideas, it is difficult not to believe they’re onto something. ”
    I had so many doubts about Christianity, but I never would have gone all the way and questioned my faith on my own. I wouldn’t even read atheist stuff, as that would be too confrontational. But I got interested in rationalwiki.org because of politics, and that opened a door.
    Then I read the Amazon preview of some atheist books, and even though I didn’t feel comfortable buying them yet, too many seeds had been planted.
    >>”I promised myself “I will never believe in Christianity simply because it feels right, otherwise I am no better than those in any other religion I debate. I must believe in Christianity because it is the Truth, and if it is ever proven otherwise, I must forsake it no matter how much it hurts.”
    That is the way I always thought about it too. Truly good Christians teach their children this, not just blind obedience. It’s the best thing that could ever happen to us.

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    Laura, the burden of proof is on you here. There is no evidence that your god exists. None. There are no signs of heaven in the heavens, and no unexplained energy trails where a Holy Hand nudges the laws of physics aside to make miracles happen.

    It’s all a big mind-game that preys upon the fear of death, and the regrets that one feels after doing something wrong. It legislates away human worth and sells it back to you one promise at a time. Don’t waste your life expecting to wake up at the Pearly Gates with a VIP pass in your hand.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Because ALL THE EVIDENCE points to it being a bloody FAKE!

  • Mario Strada

    “Except that you have no proof of that.”

    and your proof is….?

    Let’s face it, I say god wasn’t there and you say he was. We can go in circles for the next millennia and neither of us is going to come up with actual evidence.

    What I do know is that for the universe and our own planet to exist, there is no necessity of a god. Especially of the Christian god and relative mythology.

    Once upon a time, god did a lot of things for us, from producing rain to making the earth tremble. Then as we investigated those things we left the mythological beliefs behind and now no one thinks that an earthquake is created by god (except Pat Robertson and Sarah Palin, of course).

    God got smaller and smaller. Now the argument that’s the closest to embarrass science is abiogenesis, the spontaneous advent of life. That is a big deal for most because science has not been able to explain it so far. But if I were a Christian, I would be very careful about that. After all, we have been experimenting with that for a little over 50 years. And some scientists are getting pretty darn close.

    So it’s conceivable that soon even that is going to go away as a gap to cram god into. Then what? Will it be only a misunderstanding of the beginning of the universe that will keep the discussion going?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Shenanigans.

  • Mario Strada

    I think Barleycorn quoted you and you just corrected him for quoting your own sentence.

    “Except that you have no proof of that.”

    It’s how your previous post starts.

    EDIT: Goodnight everyone. It was fun but it’s getting late.

  • Laura Williams

    Actually, I have no burden of proof on the issue of God, as all I ever said was that your interpretation of science and Occam’s Razor was flawed. I did offer an explanation of the cosmology argument, but it’s of no concern to me whether or not you accept it- that was never the point.

    However, if you want to convince me that God does not exist, you have shifted the burden of proof to yourself. If it turns out you’re right, Astreja, my life will no more have been wasted than yours will be- it will simply cease to exist. Studying theology brings me joy and inspiration for my novels, so I can hardly see that as a waste in any case.

  • Laura Williams

    Yes… I was admitting that I should have phrased it better. You’re ridiculously picky over a mistake that’s made countless times.

  • John Barleycorn

    No, Miss Williams, you don’t love science. You love talking in circles, arguing semantics, and tossing out vague, unsubstantiated claims, as so many of your Christian brethren are wont to do.

  • Hat Stealer

    Fair enough. I personally am against corporeal punishment, but I don’t have violent, visceral reactions against what you describe, as opposed to what many evangelicals practice, which is just sick.

  • Laura Williams

    Well, you love logical fallacies. Everyone’s got a hobby. If you want to make a COHERENT argument, stop telling me what I do and don’t love, and explain exactly where I have been in error.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    1) No, it doesn’t. It’s a reddish substance, probably iron oxide or something similar.

    2) Pareidolia.

    3) No, it doesn’t.

    4) Again, NO, it doesn’t.

    5) Once again — this is easily done with renaissance-era painting techniques. No mystery there.

    6) Wrong. The shroud depicts holes in the hands (not the wrists, as would be accurate).

    7) Because it’s a fucking FORGERY, you numbskull!

  • Nicole Bubblewrap

    I befriended Cody, a World of Warcraft nerd, for the sole purpose of telling him he was going to Hell and that he needed to repent.

    I remember a while back (maybe two years ago???) a guy i knew on WOW added a girl because she trolled him all day every day about repenting. I’m curious if she was ON WOW or just knew a Cody who played WOW. This girl literally said it to him ON WOW every single day over status and whispers. I’m so curious if I know the Cody she speaks of :).

  • Mario Strada

    good one. I really dislike the smug sense of satisfaction in Brown’s face while he was explaining it. It seemed pretty clear to me that it was exclusively for the benefit of the “troops” so that any dissonance in their mind could be explained away without any need on their part to actually go read the verse and interpret it. A soundbite to repeat on some atheist blog the next time the shellfish issue is presented.

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    Laura, I don’t bear the burden of proof because I merely think your god (as described in the Bible, at least) is extremely, extremely unlikely. I literally do not see any credible evidence for it. You, on the other hand, said “So the God theory is not MORE complicated, it’s the ONLY theory.”

    Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind that there are no other possible answers. Do stop pretending to be a science fangrrl, Laura, as your experimental methodology needs a touch of work.

  • Rachael

    It was 7 years ago, unfortunately, and I never played WoW at that time.

  • Laura Williams

    I’m not sure how you define necessity. To me, the nature and existence of the universe and the creation of intelligent life points to the necessity of God… but I can understand why you view the evidence differently.

    Though I do agree that God has gotten smaller in the perspective of many fundamentalists, both Christian and ex-Christians who can’t imagine any other way to view Him. I don’t blame that on science, exactly, but Westernized thinking and materialism.

    The part we disagree on is about what questions God actually answers and what His nature is- not as in conflict with science, but as an interpretation of everything else. I see all of nature and the logic of math and science as evidence of God. His character is not defined by the gaps in our current knowledge but in what we already know for certain.

    I don’t expect you to understand, as that’s one hope I rarely have in internet debates, but I am not your enemy and I have no interest in converting you.

  • bobmo

    Does she ever explicitly say that she’s an atheist now? Maybe you can point it out in the article.

  • Laura Williams

    Right… the Big Bang theory(and all related explanations of how it began) does not currently address the same question. I doubt it ever will. So, God created the universe is one theory. The other does not exist, as far as I’ve ever heard. That doesn’t make my theory true, but it makes it useless to compare it to anything.

    Of course I haven’t, but you’ve yet to offer another possible answer. Do stop pretending to be reasonable if you can’t explain your position.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Spanking is hitting.

    Hitting your child is abuse.

    Abuse is harmful.

    Therefore spanking is harmful.

    It’s also incredibly damaging because all it teaches a child is “I’m bigger than you, I’m stronger than you, I can force you to bend to my will”, and that. is. WRONG.

  • Michael

    Wow. First of all, sounds like her father holds to Dispensationalism, which is technically heresy in my book. Secondly, they were legalists who only cared about oral arguments and nothing of their daughter’s emotions. Thirdly, they only cared about have a prized daughter as a possession. Nevermind whether the Bible is right or wrong, Her parents have no right to raise a child under their idea of what is proper. They may seem “intelligent”, but they are morons for letting their daughter slip through their fingers.

  • John Barleycorn

    Oh jeeze. You’re right, Miss Williams. You ARE utterly irrational. I could fill REAMS with explanations of your errors, but what good would it do? You’d just continue to stuff your fingers stubbornly into your ears and go, “Nope, never happened, lalalalalalalalalalaalalalaicanthearyoulalalalala.”

    So… uh… yeah… ha ha… you just stick with your Jesus and your timeless floating fishGod of the universe (by the way, based on your description of this “timeless” eternal creator, I’m imagining those creatures from the film version of Dune, the ones that folded spice, with their weird vagina mouths, and just sorta hung there in space.)

    Just on a final, fleeting note… um… where did your timeless creator come up with the raw materials for the universe? I mean, you Christians just love to point out that nothing can come from nothing, and all that rot. Was it just some huge, cosmic sneeze? Or perhaps a masturbatory emission? The universe not just expanding gasses, but actually godgoo?

    And how do you square your idea of the origins of the Universe with the Genesis? Because they don’t match up…in any regard.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Once again, spanking IS hitting, and hitting IS abuse.

    Just because you can rationalize it with “he did it because he loves me” doesn’t mean it wasn’t abuse.

  • Rain

    The truth is still that atheists don’t have an answer, they just don’t like the God answer.

    Atheist don’t have an answer, but you do have an answer, but you don’t have the burden of proof. But atheists do have the burden of proof even though they don’t have an answer. But you, who has the answer, does not have a burden of proof. That’s a very comfortable position. I can see why someone would be smug having such a position.

  • John Barleycorn

    “Scientists who study the theory say that the question cannot be answered or should not be asked.”

    I would just LOVE a citation on this. Please, please PLEASE, point me to the scientist that insists that ANY QUESTION should not be asked.

    Do you read your own words, Miss Williams? Seriously. Yipes.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    So why don’t you define an all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who nonetheless created malaria, Tay-Sachs, and the Kardashians.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    - Demonstrably untrue. Reputable scholars KNOW that he is a mythological figure, just as “real” as Hercules or Perseus.

    - Demonstrably untrue, as we have the earlier myths they stole from.

    - Just because some people believe in a fictional character doesn’t make the character real. You know, I’d love it if Harry Potter was a real person, but he’s not. Someone made him up. Just like Jesus.

    - Christianity IS a cult. A disgusting, abusive death-cult that encourages murder, excuses rape, and tells its victims that they are unworthy and disgusting sinners.

    - Our “bias” is based in research and TRUTH. I’ll stick to REALITY, thanks.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Has he lost his mind?
    Can he see or is he blind?

  • Laura Williams

    I’ll ignore your fallacious attacks in the first two paragraphs. That’s an interesting question in the third, actually. Some theologians believe that Genesis refers to only six moments of ‘creation’- the calling into being an idea and actual matter in the form of light. I wouldn’t use the ‘nothing came from nothing’ argument, as it kind of misses the point. If something comes into existence, it must have a cause. If light and matter come into existence, they must have a cause. The singularity ‘big bang’ explains the effect, but not the cause. I explain the cause through God, as it’s the theory that makes the most sense to me.

    The origins do match up if you don’t insist on a irrationally literal reading of Genesis. Light came first, separated from darkness(in Hebrew, order from chaos) The six periods of creation following seem to roughly correspond with the major events that we know occurred in the universe/creation of earth- And I know, you’re going to disagree with that statement, but I don’t have space to clarify any misconceptions. It doesn’t matter. The point of Genesis is that God created everything and considered it good, and that humans were a unique creation. And yes, I believe it happened over 15 billion years. Anything else?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    If god exists xe had to come into being at some point, and therefore has to have a creator hirself.

    After all, as your lot likes to say, something can’t come from nothing….

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Ironically, that’s EXACTLY WHAT YOU CHRIST-CULTISTS DO!

  • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

    Matter exists. Energy exists. The universe exists. That’s what we have to go on so far.

    Do sentient creator-gods exist? I don’t know, but I don’t see any good evidence for them or any convincing argument as to how and why they would exist eternally. I’m leaning towards the universe having 100% natural, insentient, unplanned, utterly non-divine origins.

  • Julie Anne

    Thanks for your kind words. Yes, it’s not real “Christian” of him, is it?

  • Laura Williams

    Many of the natural disasters- earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, etc, have a stabilizing effect on the earth. We need them to survive. It’s unfortunate that some people are harmed in such events, but without them none of us would exist. It’s possible that diseases and disorders played a role in evolution, it’s hard to say. I wouldn’t dismiss them as ‘evil’ just because we don’t yet have enough information.

    As for the Kardashians, I’m sure they’re part of the plan too.

    Without a God, what meaning does the question of good and evil have to you? I’m not saying that you aren’t a good person, I’m just curious how you know that anything is good versus evil. Justified how?

    God isn’t necessarily all-powerful when it comes to whether or not He could stop humans from committing evil. Or rather, if He did, we wouldn’t have free will. Whether He could is unknown. All-knowing doesn’t have anything to do with why evil might exist.

  • Laura Williams

    Ad-hominem fallacy. For all you’re aware, I have not done so, so it is not at all ironic.

  • Laura Williams

    Alright then.

  • Pam

    What did her fpather do to deserve this comment?

  • Rain

    If God exists, then He has always existed.

    You forgot the and has always existed part. If God exists, and has always existed, then God has always existed. I can actually go along with it that way. If God exists, then God exists, and if God always existed, then God has always existed. I can go along with that. Yeah, I can see that.

  • John Barleycorn

    Miss Williams, you missed the point. I’m not asking WHY, I’m asking FROM WHERE. We’re talking about raw materials. Where did God get them? Can God create “something from nothing?” If so, how? What does god look like? Does he possess a physical form? (I’m asking YOU what YOU believe, not what your usual “many scientists” or “many theologians” believe.) Where did he keep this matter and light hidden until he decided to unveil them? In his pockets, like a little kid with marbles?

    Second of all, in Genesis, light did NOT come first. The earth did. And it was formless and floating in dark space. How do you read something like that, EXCEPT literally?

    God didn’t create the cosmos un