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.

    • Gringa

      And he sent her to college!

      • bigcheeese

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

    • 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.

      • Jim Achmoody

        Suggested readings: anything by Eugene Peterson but especially ‘Tell It Slant’

        • Jim Jones

          > “Peterson’s Tell It Slant explores how Jesus used language, particularly in his parables and prayers.”

          Except that Jesus wrote no words, nor were any written for him at the time. They were all invented 100 years after the supposed events.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

            • Jim Achmoody

              Apparently you haven’t been made aware of the explosive growth of the church in most parts of the world apart from Europe and the US. Check the stats for China , S. Amer. etc

              • The Other Weirdo

                And what does that tell you?

              • baal

                Right, you cite places that are less educated generally and the christian missionaries are hard at work. Have you looked at the new christian conversion rates for big cities like Shaghai or Hong Kong? As actual education sets in, so does secularism just like in the west.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  “ If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on
                  biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux
                  of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should
                  have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.”

                  “A strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by
                  Professor Haldane: ‘If my mental processes are determined wholly by the
                  motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my
                  beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be
                  composed of atoms.’”

                  “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative
                  mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of
                  thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for
                  physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way,
                  this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if
                  so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a
                  milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map
                  of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust
                  the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an
                  Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in
                  thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

                  “In the end, that Face which is the delight or terror of the universe
                  must be turned upon each of us, either with one expression or the
                  other.”
                  Few have spoken true truths like C.S. Lewis

                • tsara

                  Significance is granted by minds, we work on things by our best guesses based on what evidence we have available, and CS Lewis is an asshat who fails at writing relatable characters.
                  EDIT: I found it easier to relate to the demons in The Screwtape Letters than I did to Lucy.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  What an honest confession!

                • tsara

                  …did I confess something shocking, or weird, or that I should be ashamed of? Because, as far as I’m aware, everything I said is either completely uncontroversial or a matter of personal preference.

                • Tofu

                  “CS Lewis is an asshat who fails at writing relatable characters.”

                  This is a silly, shortsighted statement. What you really mean is that you, as a modern reader, want different things out of your stories than what people used to want, or what he was trying to create at the time. You think you’re making an objective critique, but you’re just stating a preference, and one that–surprise!–is completely aligned with the modern taste.

                  Step outside yourself a tad. Sheesh.

                • tsara

                  I had thought it was pretty clear that that was a personal opinion.

                • Tofu

                  Not really. When you say he “fails” at it, you imply that he must’ve been trying to write something along the lines of what you want.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  It’s doubtful you have read his Mere Christianity, and is it safe to assume you have seen his works aimed for children?

                • tsara

                  I’ve read chunks of it, selected by a Christian who was trying to convert me. But why would I read it? The concept of God makes absolutely no sense to me — totally empty placeholder word — so why would I read something about a particular instantiation of theism? I have better things to do with my time.
                  I’ve read all of the Chronicles of Narnia, and I’ve read the Screwtape Letters.

                • cipher

                  I’ve read parts of it as well. It was all I could tolerate. I found it tedious at best.

                  I’m told he was a competent scholar of English Lit. As an apologist, he was just more of the same. The reason so many of you find him so remarkable is that he’s telling you what you want to hear.

                  The sad joke is that despite his attempts at Christian apologetics, he was an intellectual. He would have had absolutely no time for the evangelical hordes in our culture who’ve embraced him.

                • Michael Harrison

                  And yet, our senses can be distorted, by ingesting chemicals or by madness. However, to answer your question: trust in our senses comes from regularity in our observations. For example, looking up (as defined by our inner ear) results in a field of either blue or black-with-white-dots, that cycle one after the other.

                  Now, your turn. If God is all-powerful, how can we trust that our experiences are not merely miraculous hallucinations?

                • baal

                  I’m not impressed by giant rows of cut/paste wrapped up with one sentence that is little more than a bald assertion. Also, he died in 1963 and wasn’t a scientist. He was a writer, story teller and christian evangelist.

                • gooday

                  My sheep will know my voice, God has healed me of Galvanize poisoning.
                  He told me my wife was pregnant and a boy 5 weeks before she found out.
                  She didn’t believe me when I told her but 28 years later he is a Doctor
                  and she believes now. Seek him and he will reveal himself. seek and you
                  will find. Through the Bible, Columbus found out the world was round.
                  Scientist just found out in the last 100 years that platletts in the
                  blood reach there maximume clotting ability on the eight day but God
                  told the Jews thousands of years ago that the 8th day is the day that
                  they should circumcise their boys. I hope you find God.

                • baal

                  ” I hope you find God”
                  “I hope you pull your head out of your ass and get some basic science education?”

                  I view these two statements as equivalent.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  I hope you are aware of astrophysicists who have world class scientific credentials and a strong faith–see Reasons to believe, website etc.

                • baal

                  No, you (Jim Achmoody) go read up on basic physics, chemistry and biology and then see if your faith holds up. I’ve had my fill of nonsense websites that have terrible evidence. Also, the scientists who do real science are ~ 85%+ atheistic (varies by field). The general population is down about 5-10% who will carry that label easily. This means that it’s dishonest to say god is a fact since some small number of scientists believe HIM to be true.

                • Michael

                  I love people like you Baal, who say things like 85%+ without citing a single reference. Your magnanimous and unilaterally large swath of “truth” that left unchallenged leaves impressionable minds believing you’re “correct”, when you’re not.

                  Copernicus. Francis Bacon. Johan Kepler. Galileo. Rene Descartes. Blaise Pascal. Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday. Gregor Mendel. Enrico Fermi. William Kelvin. Werner Heisenberg. Louis Pasteur. Erwin Schrodinger. Max Planck. Ludwig Boltzmann. Marie Curie. Albert Einstein. J. Oppenheimer. Alexander Fleming.

                  You would have us all believe, that these men and women knowing more than you – exponentially – in their respective fields, are willfully and blissfully ignorant of some imagined “conflict” between science and faith? If anyone is being dishonest, it’s you.

                • baal

                  MIchael, please note I was talking percent and you cited a list of persons. As there are thousands of scientists, you’d need a really long list of names to prove your point. Also note that several of your examples are historical – I’m talking about today. I invite you to a visit pretty much any major university that’s doesn’t share board members with the 700 club and talk to the actual scientists. I have done that and guess what? They are overwhelmingly atheist.

                  Also, you don’t get to claim Einstein. He wasn’t religious and it’s not clear that his version of god was anything other than a synonym for ‘nature.’ That makes me doubt at least some of the other names on the list.

                  I also invite you to use the google tubes. The percent atheism of scientists depend on how you ask the question but 93% of the National Academy of Science (the scientific elite in the U.S.) are atheists.

                  http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

                  Lastly, your appeal to authority is offensive “that these men and women knowing more than you.” You don’t know what I know so you don’t have a basis for your assertion.

                  So for dishonesty between you and me, you win!

                • Michael

                  I’m glad you are offended…it shows that you’re off balance and cognizant of your ignorance. When people are shown to be wrong, as I’ve done above, they resort to name calling and posturing, which you have done. You cited a percent, without reference to a single survey…a single study. You throw the number “85%” out of your large mouth with some kind of authority that someone might interpret as valid someday – which we’ve demonstrated , twice, is not. I can make up things too. 85% of atheists have secret “Hello Kitty” addictions.

                  Where’s my proof? Exactly.

                  On Einstein – he was a deist – meaning, he believed in A God….this is extremely well documented. It was not a synonym for nature – so again, you’re lying, or willfully ignorant of the man and his life. I shall educate you now, and the readers following this thread.

                  “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.” (AE)

                  “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thoughts. The rest are details.” (AE)

                  “I see a pattern, but my imagination cannot picture the maker of that pattern. I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one? “(AE)

                  “Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source . . . They are creatures who can’t hear the music of the spheres.” (AE)

                  “In the view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognise, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support for such views.” (AE)

                • baal

                  “it shows that you’re off balance and cognizant of your ignorance.”

                  Projection, not just for movie theaters.

                  Also name calling? What name did I call you poopy head? (see this is name calling)

                  Right, I’m talking my ball and going home now. Come back when you’ve learned to communicate without the asinine tone.

                • Michael

                  If you come across this thread, please take note of the fact that despite never calling “baal” a name, they have created a straw man ‘insult’ and ended the debate on their own terms under the guise of “not condescending to insults”.

                  We’ve proven, systematically and empiracally:

                  a. There is nothing in the known public arena of information that reflects 85%+ of scientists are atheists. This statement, made by Baal, reflects a bias – a hope of sorts, and not a fact. When pressed for a source, none was to be found.

                  b. Arguably the greatest scientific thinkers of the past 500 years were deists, minimally – or practicing religious students of faith, factually. Einstein himself, while not believing in a God who was personally interested in the affairs of men, believed in a Creator God (not a natural force) whose designs were irreconcilably complex – devoid of chance and random probabilities.

                  Einstein grew tired of atheists quoting him to support an atheistic (the very word atheist supposes eternal and omniscient knowledge, and by its very definition violates the laws of non-contradiction) view of the universe, when he and his colleagues in fact had decided at the end of their life’s work that the universe was designed in such a way as to demand in fact, what he called “God” to exist. This also resolves the paradigm of “prima causa” raised by Aristotle centuries prior.

                  It stings Baal to have to admit that our Universe is “open” and not “closed” as Steven Hawking proposes theoretically. That every piece of evidence gathered in the last 100 years by every probe ever launched supports the cosmological understanding of singularity. That there was nothing….and then something. That “something” will not return to a singularity. There was no Time, and there was “Time”. Gone are the days when atheists can say, “The universe always was, and always will be”. To peer into the sky and declare otherwise, is what I referred to as “cognizant ignorance”, that is to say – denying what is factual and proven, to support your relative world view.

                  c. There are no studies to support my claim that 85%+ of atheists were “Hello Kitty” enthusiasts. This point was rhetorical in nature, meant to highlight the ability of anyone to “willy-nilly” state something with authority as though it were fact, without citing references. Without Baal’s admission of such, we cannot arguably determine his propensity for Hello Kitty products without further investigation.

                • baal

                  I wish I could be done with you.

                  1. This isn’t high school debate where you win on points.

                  2. Education and training in science really do lead to less religiosity. If you know how things actually work, you’re much less likely to need super-naturalism to explain it.

                  3. Stop making stuff up: “It stings Baal to have to admit” … I admitted no such thing and you can’t force me to. This is text on the internets.

                  4. You pulled that singularity out of your ass. I suggest you return it there.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Note his switch into third person. It’s a childish pretense of formality, but all it really is dismissiveness motivated by fear. He’s sticking his nose in the air in the belief that it demeans the other person.

                  Also, he’s making things up about Einstein, besides the other made-up stuff. But hey, that’s the hallmark of the New Absurdists.

                • Michael

                  1. No, it’s not a debate. I agree with you. It is an important discussion with equally important eternal consequences. In that sense, yes – we’ve built a bridge. I believe in Truth, however. Leaving your half truth’s and false statements unattended and unchallenged is an affront to Truth.

                  2. “Education and training in science really do lead to less religiosity” is an example of one of your inaccurate, and false statements. The halls of Harvard, Princeton, and MIT are filled with men and women of faith who have grown deeper in their faith as a result of their science. I’ve listed a dozen men and women who changed the course of human history and our understanding of science from the atom to the super-cosmos who were believing deists if not Christians.

                  3.What I really understand is the following.

                  a. we live in an “Open” universe, that is to say that the Planck probe as well as the WMAP satellite have measured space’s density such that we know the universe, accounting for Hawking’s dark matter theories is “open”, that is to say, it cannot retract back on itself into the singularity that the entire field of astrophysicists agree started out our universe.

                  b. because our universe is “open”, with cosmic radiation isotropic throughout, that is to say, having an equal distribution across the known and measurable universe – we know with certainty that there was a singularity – a point where there was no matter. No time. No space. We could use the word, “nothing”. Aristotle, the ‘father of modern thought’ referred to this prima-causa in his works. He understood the implications of the singularity, and identified the “Unmoved Mover”, based on the thought that when everything moves in the world, something must move it. No matter how far back you go, an athiest confronted by the open universe is still left with an unanswered prima-causa.

                  c. For all matter and space and time to appear from a void of matter and space and time into an eternal and boundless matter and time filled universe requires something eternal, boundless, and timeless. Matter, time, space did not exist for all time. It has a beginning. Atheistic scientists like Hawking are feverishly hoping to destroy this paradigm and go back to the great days of “it always existed,it will always exist”, when they can’t. Even Hawking’s work attempting to replace the time singularity with a space singularity results in 4 theoretically interconnected spheres with a “space” boundary. A boundary nonetheless – in space, just like the time boundary at the singularity. His multiverse speculation (the idea that there are innumerable universes on innumerable dimensions) is exactly that, speculation – and noted by his peers continually to be speculation, without any scientific or observable basis. We’re left with what science has proven – the singularity. “In the beginning”.

                  3. Someone reading this post – comparing what I’ve written to what you’ve written will inevitably come to the point (above) where you’ve told me that this singularity came out of “my ass”, and read as you told me to shove 150 years of observable, tested, and agreed upon science back up my ass.

                  They’ll understand that in fact , what you’ve said about knowing more about science and understanding the universe makes you mess likely to believe in a God, when as I’ve pointed out, the more you understand and apply science the more likely a person is to actually believe, in a God. You stare at the singularity with more questions than answers. I stare at the singularity, alongside Aristotle and Einstein and Kepler and Copernicus, and see God. To trivialize me, is to in fact deny the science you argue for, which is illogical.

                  Let’s agree to disagree, and speak to one and other with respect – not condescendingly. You were created in the image of God, and worthy of respect and love. You are sacred.

                • baal

                  “Let’s agree to disagree, and speak to one and other with respect – not condescendingly. You were created in the image of God, and worthy of respect and love. You are sacred.”

                  Your ancestors were shared with other primates. You also need to work on your tone, reading skills, and representing your opponents fairly.

                  “with equally important eternal consequences.”

                  No, dead is the end. Fin. Kaput. Game over man. The sooner you accept your impending non-existance, the sooner you’ll quit being an ass to strangers on the internet.

                • Wade Englund

                  May I just wish Rachael and her parents all the best in their faith conflict. Good family relations are vital and in my estimation as important, if not more so than religious beliefs, and perhaps should even form the basis for religious beliefs. If you get a chance, Rachael, tell you dad “hi” for me. Decades ago we used to spar at CARM. He and his Evangelical friends used to gang up on me, a Mormon, and a couple of atheist–that is, until we got booted for repeatedly besting he and his friends in discussions about Mormonism. ;)

                • Anon

                  He does have a point about the Universe having an origin, though. Something cannot come out of nothing, any more than a jumbo jet can assemble itself from a pile of parts, having first created those parts out of nothing. Somebody has to assemble it. Likewise, the Universe must have a creator, an intelligent being, to exist.

                • tsara

                  Uhm, no, there’s no reason to believe that an intelligent being is necessary (and no reason to call anything that doesn’t care about us ‘God’).

                • glebealyth

                  What created god?

                  The “Something cannot come from nothing” argument only works if you first exclude god from this condition, which I suspect you have done.

                • snatchbane101

                  “About God, I cannot accept any concept based on the authority of the Church… As long as I can remember. I have resented mass indoctrination. I cannot prove to you there is no personal God, but if I were to speak of him, I would be a liar. I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking, but by immutable laws”

                  Einstein 1948

                  At best He was a deist but even that was stretching it. He clearly had an awe brought forth by the very majesty of the cosmos and in all his work iv’e read it seems clear he was not even slightly theistic and considered religion one of mans worse elements.
                  We all want justification in our beliefs but it still amuses me to see the theists grasping for “ownership” of the figures who would adversely most likely to damage them,
                  namely the intellectuals.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  His views, from what I’ve read-which is admittedly limited- were somewhat similar to those of Max Planck-they accepted a super mind as having created but not One who they could have a personal relationship with.

                • Albert

                  You said, “As long as I can remember. I have resented mass indoctrination.”

                  in·doc·tri·nate transitive verb in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt : to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs
                  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indoctrinate

                  By that definition, every school in the world, whether religion is in that school or not fits that definition.

                  Most schools teach you what they believe is the truth, do they not? Some schools actually are more open to saying here is how you “discover for yourself”, but for the most part will lead you down a part that believe you should follow to what they consider to be the truth.

                  Evolution is one good example of that sort of indoctrination. Schools will tell you most than not that this is the truth in how we became what we are today. But this isn’t anything more than indoctrination as well.

                  For evolution to be a fact, you first must have two things, 1) You have to have life coming from non-life
                  2) You have got to have a change in that life from simple forms to complex forms over time.

                  As much as people will claim that evolution is the “truth” of how it all started and how we got here, none of them can provide evidence to show those two things mentioned above. They can present theories, but so can the religious people on their ideas of how we all got here, right?

                  What this means is that there are no clear cut answers but just possibilities.
                  And if you don’t know how it happened by naturalistic, evolutionary processes, how do you know THAT it happened by naturalistic, evolutionary processes?

                  The real answer is, you don’t(if you do, please present that here because I have yet to see someone do that). This makes evolution, not science, but rather philosophy, no different than religions.

                  The question then becomes which theory best fits reality?

                  You said, “We all want justification in our beliefs but it still amuses me to see the theists grasping for “ownership” of the figures who would adversely most likely to damage them, namely the intellectuals.”

                  What do you mean by ownership?

                • Gralgrathor

                  I very much want to express my amusement at this comment, not for the fact that @Michael posts Einstein-quotes that *confirm* what @baal says; not for the fact that he’s posting such quotes at all as if they’ve any kind of relevance; not for the fact that the stats on religiosity among scientists are pretty much public information and certainly do not support Michael’s efforts. No, the thing I am most amused about are the first words of his comment: “I’m glad you are offended…it shows that you’re off balance and cognizant of your ignorance.” I must admit I find such presumption hilarious.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Thanks so much for posting these. As I recall he sought some understanding of the problem of suffering from a rabbi and was given an quite unsatisfactory response?

                • Toreador

                  If you want to see the statistics for, say, the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, then a simple search will suffice. It turns out that Baal is being conservative. The actual number is 93%. Even religious organizations admit it, and use it frequently to talk about how terrible scientists are trying to force your kids into atheism.

                  It’s not true, by the way. We aren’t trying to indoctrinate your children, or you, for that matter. We’re trying to get you to learn enough about the universe, and our place in it, that you don’t need a supernatural explanation.

                  People aren’t scientists because they’re atheist. More often than not, they’re atheist because they’re scientists.

                  Quoting names from the past, many of whom lived in a time where claiming not to believe in god would get you ostracized, if not imprisoned or blackballed, does not make your case. You still have to actually demonstrate evidence for the supernatural. I can make a list of famous people who believe in reincarnation, for example, among them mathematicians and scientists, but that doesn’t mean that reincarnation is true. It is an appeal to authority logical fallacy.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  I have read and am aware-with a PH.D. from a major university-in the sciences…

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Have read quite a bit on these subjects & have a Ph.D. in biological science etc. The facts accumulating support my faith instead of threatening it.

                • baal

                  Then you’re doing it wrong and don’t really understand science or biology. All I saw in bio was one example of self assembly after another and the chemistry that ran the cell biology (H+ gradients, selective channels, the ability to record electric potential for even single channels across certain membranes etc. There never was a need to have a ghost make something move nor maxwell’s demon sit there and sort hot from cold.

                • Krin

                  Not to insert myself into this silly debate, but your comment here is hilarious. You are saying that you think the statement ” I hope you find God” is equivalent to “I hope you pull your head out of your ass and get some basic science education?” In other words, finding God (on your view) is the same as pulling your head out of your ass and getting basic science education. Not what you meant of course. I suggest you start with getting some basic writing and reading comprehension skills.

                • 3lemenope

                  Not to insert myself into this silly debate, but let me insert myself into this silly debate?

                  It’s rare that a person can so totally destroy their own suasive authority in the very first sentence.

                • baal

                  Krin’s next two sentence are more of the same self contradictory noise. I award Krin 3 points for consistency.

                  Krin, your reading comprehension has failed. Telling an atheist such as my self to find god is offensive. My 2nd statement is also offense – but more so to the religious. By the juxtaposition of the two and little additional text (distraction), I hope to educate you and people like you to be less offensive to atheists. It’s a matter of respect.

                  With you, I failed and for that I’m sorry and beg gods forgiveness.

                • Krin

                  Where, pray (or not, more likely), did I tell you to find god? And again, the actual wording of your comment was my only point. I said nothing regarding the relative merits of atheism versus religion (again, not inserting myself into that debate). If you have a dictionary, look up the word “equivalent”, and then ponder on how the following two statements would be seen to be equivalent:

                  “I hope you find God”
                  “I hope you pull your head out of your ass and get some basic science education?”

                • baal

                  Emotional impact Krin. Think about how the two phrases have similar emotional impact on the people who are hearing them.

                • baal

                  “Telling an atheist such as my self to find god is offensive.”
                  “Where, pray (or not, more likely), did I tell you to find god?”
                  Ah, I see how you got from point A to point B. Oddly enough, I didn’t say you did. I was explaining the prior comment and using the generic “you” and not the person specific (krin) you. Reading with more charity (or reading skill) would help.

                • Krin

                  If you notice (which you didn’t), I didn’t insert myself into this “deabte” (which is about religion versus atheism and everything in between, I take it), but rather simply pointed out the absurdity of Ba’al’s statement, and it is absurd – but I guess I can’t expect you to have noticed given your equal inability to understand my own comment.

                • 3lemenope

                  If you notice (which you didn’t), I didn’t insert myself into this “deabte” (which is about religion versus atheism and everything in between, I take it), but rather simply pointed out the absurdity of Ba’al’s statement, and it is absurd – but I guess I can’t expect you to have noticed given your equal inability to understand my own comment.

                  Ah, so you insert yourself into a conversation between two interlocutors to give an opinion about one of their points. And this, to you, is somehow not participating in the debate?

                  Oh, also, you get points for being so very classy. Between being a complete nudnik on a spelling error that existed for all of fifteen seconds, to your intentional misspelling of baal’s nick, you’re just pulling for straight-up class act.

                • tsara

                  “If you can read this, thank an evolutionarily successful hominid.”
                  -bumper sticker posted on IFLS today.

                • Fanraeth

                  My dad regularly got galvanized poisoning when he worked as a welder in our local industrial area. It doesn’t require miraculous healing, it went away on its own with the help of some milk.

                • Jim Jones

                  > “God told the Jews thousands of years ago that the 8th day is the day that they should circumcise their boys.”

                  Some goat herder said it. God? Not so much. Some people are observant. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have metals or glass.

                  Science, bitches.

                • Darcy Jackson

                  Many educated men knew the world was round thousands of years before Columbus set sail.

                  There is actually no reason to have a great part of skin with nerve endings (for pleasure) cut from boys in this day and age.

                • doofr

                  did you eat the placenta?

                • glebealyth

                  Thousands of years ago, god gave the Jews licence to commit genital mutilation on their sons!, and you think this recommends your god to us?

                  You believe your god made little boys with foreskins.
                  Why would god want them removed?

                  Your god apparently enjoys forcing people to inflict unnecessary pain for no other reason than, HE CAN!

                  To follow such a god, you must be some sick puppy.

                • KevinB

                  I get morning sickness every time a woman conceives 4 me Not a message from YKW (just nausea and vomiting) more than four times.

                • Junkradar

                  In a world where the Truth depends on who’s paying for the research…http://bit.ly/14FhgyY

                  Anyway, for your information I’m from Malaysia, and the over 1 million Christians who flock to Church every Saturday/Sunday are pretty well-educated.

                  Many of us have day jobs and they’re not in a factory sewing shoes for Nike.

                  And even if we were in such jobs, it is wrong to assume that smart people eventually figure out that religion is nonsense. There comes a point in time when your mind stops trying to pretend it should be able to answer every question and just decides to have faith. Your mind decides to give God the benefit of the doubt.

                  I can understand why religion is off-putting. The people behind it can be an off-putting lot. E.g I don’t know what denomination suggests that only believers end up in Heaven (The father of the author of this article is leaning a bit to the fanatical side if you ask me) because that’s outdated and perpetuated by people playing God.

                  And that’s the problem. If freedom is one’s religion, what’s to stop that person from making arbitrary decisions about what is right and wrong since the intellectual mind can justify anything these days? What’s the difference between a religious fanatic condemning people who swear to Hell and a free-thinker who labels all Christians faggot-hating lunatics? It’s easier to point fingers at religion than to accept that all humans are equally flawed and judgmental isn’t it?

                • Mr. B

                  Lewis was a scholar that taught at both Oxford and Cambridge. He was also an atheist that became a Christian by the force of logic and evidence.

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

                  Utter bollocks.

                • Mr. B

                  My information comes from Lewis’ own autobiography. Where does your “utter bollocks” come from?

                • cipher

                  Um, no. He became a Christian for emotional reasons, that he interpreted as logic and evidence.

                • Guest

                  And you know Lewis’ internal state of mind how? Is it because you reject the notion that one can’t be persuaded to become a Christian by logic and evidence? What logic and evidence do you have to support that assertion?

                • Mr. B

                  And you know Lewis’ internal state of mind how? Is it because you reject the notion that one can be persuaded to become a Christian by logic and evidence? What logic and evidence do you have to support that assertion?

                • glebealyth

                  None have spoken more half-truths than C. S. Lewis.

                • Tney LIve

                  Except for atheists like you.

                • glebealyth

                  Sometimes, one meets believers who are capable of discussion and rational argument.
                  Most, and you are a prime example, have nothing to contribute to a discussion other than abuse and insult.
                  Could this merely be because you have no argument or evidence, so hide behind Insults, in the hope that their interlocutors will run away.
                  You call yourself “They Live”.
                  Are you wrongly referring to your neuronal endowment?

                • Jim Jones

                  They’re the god-Borg, but not the Borg god.

                • glebealyth

                  Should we start a book on this guy, Jim?

                  How long before he resorts to the use of “The Threat”?

                • Jim Achmoody

                  I haven’t done a tally but in this thread most of the insults have come from defenders of atheism.

                • Mr. B

                  Sometimes, one meets atheists who are capable of discussion and rational argument. You might be one of them. An awful lot of unreasoned sniping is being done on this thread by the atheists, too.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  I’m curious, were you referred to this thread from another page, possibly a Catholic blog? It’s generated an insane amount of responses long past its sell-by date, and the… well, the overall troll presence spiked sharply about the same time, leading me to think that some other blogger linked to it.

                  n.b. I might not be able to respond, as the thread is so large that it causes glitches with DISQUS.

                • Mr. B

                  I enjoy dialectic. This means that I need friends and interlocutors who don’t hold the same views that I do. So I develop respectful relationships with people of all different worldviews. I have a friend who posted on his FB that this story was very similar to his own journey from belief to unbelief. Because I value his friendship I read the story so that I might understand him better. None of my comments were meant to dispute or denigrate the subject of the story.

                  However, many of the commenters here needed to have their assertions challenged. I hope they defend themselves and in turn challenge me. That’s how we all grow. So far they have just made assertions with no evidence.

                  You seem to imply that I am a troll. The Urban Dictionary defines the term:

                  “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”

                  My goal is not to cause disruption, but if you use the term “argument” in the philosophical sense, then I am guilty of that. It is my intention to challenge sloppy thinking, and promote clear thinking.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Many of the posters as of late have been trolls. I don’t see you being one of them. If I read your comment history right, though*, I think you’re extremely mistaken about C.S. Lewis. He’s been very well refuted (thank God for the Internet.)

                  Keep in mind that you’re walking into a group of people who have developed their own references, in-jokes, and jargon in this forum, and have had many, many conversations on almost any religious topic of consequence. They have produced their evidence many times as others came in and challenged them. They’re long past the point of being tired of it, and expect people to at the least use Google to find the existing refutations of their own beliefs and be familiar with them. It’s gotten to the point that anyone who doesn’t do this is assumed, with a historically high probability of certitude, to be disingenuous or worse.

                  And of course, some commenters haven’t gotten tired of explaining; they just enjoy snarking or insulting. I know I do, but I try to least keep it to people who bust in like the world’s pissiest Kool-Aid Man to tell off everyone in a screed that fits more logical fallacies in one paragraph than clowns in a Volkswagen.

                  You’re better off asking questions in comments under a new post, if you can find a relevant one. This one is wormy.

                  *It’s over 3,500 comments now. I had to try over ten times just to get your comment above to load properly. No way I’m fighting through to read entire conversations.

                • Mr. B

                  “They’re long past the point of being tired of it, and expect people to at the least use Google to find the existing refutations of their own beliefs and be familiar with them.”

                  Your statement assumes that all theistic arguments have been refuted. It would be more accurate to encourage believers to become familiar with the “arguments” against their position. I have been doing that for over forty years. There are good arguments on both sides, and bad arguments on both sides. I still find more problems with atheist arguments than with theistic arguments. But I could be wrong. Could you?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  (Holy hell, DISQUS is working right…)

                  I could be wrong about the supernatural existing in some form. But every supernatural idea described thus far with enough detail to be more than “spirituality” is wrong. They all lack positive evidence, contradict well-documented data, and depend on apologetics so convoluted as to be self-defeating. And anything that hasn’t been described that well isn’t really worth considering except as a mental exercise or entertaining pasttime.

                  I would like to consider myself a “spiritual” person, but I make an effort to be personally honest, and that means rejecting comforting thoughts that don’t fit. Philosophy is pretty, even seductive, but it’s insignificant compared to the evidence, which is so far indescribably in favor of a naturalistic multiverse.

                • Guest

                  I think you and I could be friends, although we reach different conclusions from the available evidence.

                  Although many commenters don’t fit the description, you seem to represent the spirit of the “friendly atheist.”

                • Mr. B

                  I am genuinely curious what an atheist means by “spiritual”.

                • Mr. B

                  What evidence do you have for that assertion? Can you at least provide an example or two? How do you know that no other person in history has “spoken more half-truths than C.S. Lewis”? If you can’t provide evidence to support your assertions, then you should withdraw them.

                • glebealyth

                  Lewis wrote in support of a lie, that lie being xianity. I expect at least half of what he wrote to be untruths of one sort or another.

                  However, my unsupported assertion was made in response to the unsupported assertion of the poster to whom the reply was directed.

                  Obviously, the intent went right over your head.

                  Sorry. I will aim lower in future.

                • Guest

                  Resorting to insults only proves that your argument is weak, or that you that you are not a nice person. Which is true of you?

                • glebealyth

                  My comment, you will note, was directed to someone who made a claim about C S Lewis which consisted solely of his opinion. I replied in kind. It obviously eluded you that that was what I did.

                  I apologize if I was rude to you and admit to stooping to the level of fighting fire with fire.

                  When faced with the intransigent attitudes of people who seem not to understand what evidence is and believe that the bible is true because the bible says it is true, it becomes quite a task to retain one’s equanimity and affability.

                  Once again, I apologize to you.

                • Mr. B

                  You also wrote:

                  “Most, and you are a prime example, have nothing to contribute to a discussion other than abuse and insult.
                  Could
                  this merely be because you have no argument or evidence, so hide behind
                  Insults, in the hope that their interlocutors will run away.”

                  Isn’t that what you just did to me?

                • Madison Blane

                  What you are doing here is called ‘appeal to Authority’ – asking someone to believe something that you asserted with absolutely nil evidence just because a well-respected author said so. Skeptics won’t buy it, it’s bad form in a debate.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Where are the flaws in the logic? Who said it is not relevant.

                • Toreador

                  It begs the question. Lewis asserts that there must be some meaning other than what we arbitrarily assign to life, given that our minds tend to make connections and look for cause and effect. In fact, no such meaning external to the species need exist to make human life (and, to be honest, all life, since we are unaware of its existence outside of our limited little planet) worthwhile.

                  We have evolved to analyze, problem solve, make connections. It has served us as a survival tool. But it has also provided us with a powerful tool, that of imagination. It sparks creativity, forward thinking, discovery. It also creates flights of fancy that result in great works of literature, great works of art. It results in grand experiments as a shared body politic, some great, some horrific, many doomed. It also creates a perception that we are more than physical, because we don’t understand the nature of consciousness. But lack of explanation, or incomplete knowledge, do not necessitate the existence of a supernatural world to rationalize the natural one.

                  Lewis was a talented writer, but a flawed logician.

                • Albert

                  Your claim that what Jim said is an ‘appeal to authority’ does have some validity to it.
                  Though in this case, I believe Jim didn’t say that because C.S. Lewis say so, it’s true; rather he stated what C.S. Lewis or Professor Haldane said and then stated that few have spoken truer truths.
                  To simply dismiss his comment, and the quotes as an appeal to authority, I think, is your attempt to not have to address the information within the quotes itself.

                  Rather than just say it’s an appeal to authority, why not address the quotes and their content and show how they are incorrect?
                  Then, when you assert that Jim is appealing to authority, you could show him how this appeal is not valid because the quotes themselves are shown to not be valid.

                • Brightfox

                  So you write a comment “disproving” atheism by another christian apologist, C. S. Lewis. {Scoff} I think that the biochemical/material way that our brains work is a marvel, not an argument for the existence of god. I guess that the poetic language by Lewis is supposed to move us to make us convert to christianity. {Waiting} No, hasn’t worked for me!

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Didn’t catch the poetic content of his words-it sounded more like well reasoned logical deduction. Baal’s appeal to a Stephen gould site is interesting since he [SJG] acknowledged his motivation in embracing a materialistic mindset was to avoid being accountable for his choices.

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

                  Wrong. Accountability happens in the here and now. Whatever afterlife there may be, whatever gods there may be, I’m pretty sure they’d frown on the types of people who “justify” their hurtful, harmful actions in the here-and-now by brushing off with (e.g.) “I’m not perfect, just Forgiven” and eschewing earthly consequences.

                • deepblue9

                  I don’t really understand the evangelical obsession with C. S. Lewis, when he himself was not an evangelical and said so plainly in his books. I guess it’s just a form of hero worship, like Billy bl**dy Graham.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  It’s easily understood-truth has a coherent ring to it that attracts others who have found it-it fills the empty canyons of the heart.

                • Jennifer Mitchell

                  An easily understood “truth” that attracts others and fills a void in your existence… sounds the same as a cult. It draws in people who are flawed, with low self worth and tells them they are better than others. THEY going to Heaven because they are Christian/Muslim/Hindu/Jewish/etc. and therefore special. Being told you are special is a powerful drug. Truth is what you make of life, there is no absolute truth only perspective. I do not say there is no higher being, but what experience do you have that gives you the right to NAME it. Science shows the how, its right in front of us and if it changes then we learn from it. Religion does not grow, learn, or change to encompass new information, that is what makes it a flawed construct.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  New definition for a cult, I guess? Many of these exchanges remind me of some of the debates of Christopher Hitchens-I failed to much connection between his words and the believers he supposedly was ‘debating’.

                • Jennifer Mitchell

                  If you fail to see the connection that is something I cannot help with.

                • Mr. B

                  There is no absolute truth except for the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth.

                  This assertion fails the self-reference test.

                • Mr. B

                  The idea that religion cannot adapt and change in the light of new evidence is largely a product of Enlightenment era propaganda. For example, the Galileo affair is almost entirely fiction. The official church was perfectly willing to follow the evidence wherever it lead. Note that they didn’t give Copernicus (a canon of the church) any grief for his published heliocentric views decades earlier. At the time the evidence was not as unambiguous as it is today, and the church was tolerant of a diversity of opinion on heliocentricty v. geocentricity. The church NEVER put anyone on trial for his scientific views. They didn’t forbid Galileo to offer evidence of heliocentricity, only that he shouldn’t teach that his view was the only correct view and all other views were false (in fact, much of Galileo’s argument for heliocentricity was incorrect). Later, when he broke his agreement, then the church put him under house arrest. But they allowed him to continue publishing on his scientific discoveries on other topics, and he continued to receive his pension from the church for the rest of his life. So in fact, Galileo got in trouble for being dogmatic while the church continued to hold the question open until more evidence was in. Ironic, isn’t it, that today the majority of people believe intolerance was on the opposite side.

                  However, there are some religions that are intolerant of views that contradict their received traditions. I won’t try to defend those.

                • Mr. B

                  While I have no “obsession” with Lewis, I appreciate any author that uses reason and evidence as effectively as he does. The label “evangelical” is irrelevant. I also appreciate Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and Locke. But my appreciation in no way amounts to “hero worship.”

                • Composer 99

                  And this, boys and girls, is why logic without empiricism is empty verbosity.

                  Lewis goes on about how he can’t trust his own thinking. Maybe instead of leaping to conclusions he could have tested his thinking.

                  Kind of like what, you know, psychologists do.

                • Tofu

                  It’s hilarious that you think this is a response. Test it how? With your own thinking, right? Circular much?

                  His point holds. It’s not even arguable: any attempt to test rational thinking involves rational thinking. It’s inescapable.

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

                  Test it against reality, of course. Start with a premise. Build a logical structure. Double and triple check to make sure you have no logical errors. See if your conclusion matches the world around you. If your conclusion does match the world around you, your premise may have validity. Test it again with more logical constructs, and if it keeps coming up aces then it’s probably a good premise. If your conclusion doesn’t match reality, your premise is flawed.

                  That’s what logic + empiricism means. It means testing the logical model against the world. Any attempt to test any model of how the world works involves checking it against reality.

                • Tofu

                  And the means for testing it is…what? Your rationality. Circular, as I said.

                  That’s what people don’t seem to get. They try to debunk Lewis, but end up revealing that they didn’t understand his point at all: he’s talking about the very grounds of your reason. When people glibly respond that you just “test” it, without apparently realizing that any test is going to involve the employment the very rationality being questioned, it’s clear that they’ve missed the point completely.

                • tsara

                  Gödel did it better than Lewis.

                  (And, in real life, we work by best guesses and approximations.)

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

                  No, the means for testing it is empiricism. If you think X will happen, check the world to see if it did. If it didn’t, you messed up your model.

                  It’s like economics. Why do we know know that IS-LM and Keynesian economics work better than neo-Classical economics? We had a giant financial crisis. Keynesian economic models said X would happen if we did Y policies. Neo-Classical economics said Z would happen if we did Y policies. We did Y policies and we got X but not Z. Thus, Keynesian economics is more correct and we declare its premises the correct ones. That’s not testing a model against rational thought, but against reality. That’s exactly what you need to do with god-premises; test it against reality. If you make the assumption that God is All-Good, test it. Does the world look like there’s an all-good god in charge of it? What would that world look like? If it doesn’t look like that, then your premise is probably flawed.

                • Tofu

                  Yeah, still not getting it. You’re leaving out the part where you judge the results of the test. Lewis is pointing out the circular reliance on BASE rationality, which you keep taking for granted.

                  There’s also the issue of using economics, with its utter paucity of variable control as an example. Not to mention that most Keynesian models failed miserably at predicting how the enacted policies would perform. But I digress.

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

                  Of course you use reason when evaluating things. I don’t understand your point. Logical rules are just human codifying things that exist, just like mathematics describes things but doesn’t create them. The relationships would still be there even if we’d never figured out how to count beyond ten, math just gives us a language with which to describe the relationships. Logic does the same thing; gives us a language with which to describe the reality around us. Are you saying that reality isn’t enough?

                  And I’m not getting sucked into a discussion of economics. I understand the basics, but I’m no economist, and neither are you.

                • Tofu

                  Er, well, actually, I work for an economist. But don’t worry, I’m not interested in having that discussion, either.

                  “Of course you use reason when evaluating things. I don’t understand your point. Logical rules are just human codifying things that exist, just like mathematics describes things but doesn’t create them. The relationships would still be there even if we’d never figured out how to count beyond ten, math just gives us a language with which to describe the relationships. Logic does the same thing; gives us a language with which to describe the reality around us. Are you saying that reality isn’t enough?”

                  What’s interesting about this is that I agree with every word. Yes, these are preexisting structures that we name and catalogue. Exactly. This is what Lewis was saying: that unless Reason is a *thing* that exists independent of us. One cannot really be an empiricist and a materialist, because to be a materialist is to destroy the notion of any empirical observation that is not ultimately circular.

                  Basically, the argument’s operating one level deeper than most of its critics seem to realize.

                  At this point, though, I’m just going to end up repeating the man. I’m not sure if you’ve read this work on the subject, but it’s all out there if you’re genuinely interested. Either way, I’d encourage you to have another gander at it. This stuff is a bit more robust than my atheist friends like to admit, I think, given how glibly they sometimes dismiss it.

                • Tofu

                  Oh dear. Some words appear to be missing from this comment. I think you can figure out what I meant, though.

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

                  Reason isn’t a “thing”. It’s a concept. People can come up with abstract concepts, like Justice, that don’t exist in any form except that we give them meaning. Infinity is another such concept. There isn’t actually anything that is infinite, but it’s a surprisingly useful concept nonetheless. The entire enterprise of calculus is dependent on this abstract notion that doesn’t actually exist.

                  Reason and rationality and logic exist because they tie together things we see in our universe. They aren’t extra-universal constants. What is logical in our universe might not work in another universe with different rules (if you assume those things exist, which is iffy). If people were able to learn how to manipulate energy through intense study, for example, we’d believe wizardly arcane magic was real because we’d have evidence for it. Reason and Logic exist as concepts because people created them as a language to explain the things they saw. That’s it. No god(s) necessary. Lewis is the one using circular logic and magical thinking- he says that rational thinking can only be explained rationally, which is true, but fails to realize that the concept of step-by-step thinking doesn’t require referring to it as rationality. He gets himself stuck in an artificial hamster wheel and gets out by proposing an absurd, preposterous, and unfalsifiable notion; a God that transcends rationality yet is able to create it. Bullshit, I say. Abstract concepts are a thing, yet they do not exist in any physical form. Justice, Beauty, Equality, Reason; they exist in the eyes of the beholder. And yet, given that we all evolved on the same planet, we have some similarities between cultures on what those mean.

                • Tofu

                  I’m not sure how you can reconcile any of that with what you just said about Reason and Logic existing prefab independent of us. The two comments are basically arguing with one another. Saying Reason is “in the eyes of the beholder”, if true, means it loses its compulsory power, which means you’ve completely validated Lewis’ initial claim.

                  Also, I can’t figure out what to make of your reference to “wizardy arcane magic”–that’s got to do with how our notions of how the physical universe behaves. It doesn’t have anything to do with the basis of Reason.

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

                  Reason says magic doesn’t exist because it breaks the laws of physics as we understand them. If we could demonstrate that magic did exist, we’d have to change our understanding of the laws of physics, and it would be the height of irrationality to disbelieve magic. The conclusion that magic isn’t real is only true in a universe in which magic cannot be shown to exist. It’s an example to prove my point that what is rational is not an extra-universal concept but merely a universal one.

                  And Reason and Logic don’t exist prefab independent of us. They are abstract concepts that we created to give names and language to step-by-step thinking and understanding basic scientific method (idea, test idea, accept/reject idea in the most basic form). Infinity doesn’t exist either; we created that concept. We created the concepts of Truth, Beauty, Justice, Equality, Reason, and Infinity among others. That doesn’t make them less meaningful, mind you. We defined what reason and logic are, and we found they were extremely useful tools and a useful language for separating true ideas from false ones, so we keep using them and call them good. Logic and reason are built, first and foremost, from observations of the world around us, and they are tested against those observations.

                • Tofu

                  The problem is that you’ve now reduced Reason and Logic to things that are merely *useful* for some arbitrarily chosen end. And the moment your defense of Reason is that it’s USEFUL, the die is cast and the point is made. You can’t go on to lay claim to the idea that this standard is superior or compulsory. It’s just another impulse, with no special claim above any other.

                  Far from refuting Lewis, everything you’re saying now validates his claim. The naturalistic worldview may be true, but it cannot be true *and* argue meaningfully for itself, because it’s trying to use rationality to argue for a world in which rationality is an incidental byproduct of physical processes, and not an independent standard which we must adhere to. And if it’s not an independent standard we both must adhere to, it has no argumentative power.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Let me try something. “Mathematics may be true, but it cannot be true *and* argue meaningfully for itself.” A famous result of Goedel, and yet mathematicians aren’t fearing for their jobs.

                • Tofu

                  That, of course, is part of the point: people like to keep the trappings of the metaphysical even when they ostensibly reject them.

                  But if anyone wants to say that Lewis’ claim isn’t wrong, but merely that some people will go on believing they can do both, you’ll get no argument from me.

                • Michael Harrison

                  It’s long been accepted that we have to start somewhere, lest we fall into circular reasoning. I suspect you’re flogging a philosophical dead horse.

                • Michael Harrison

                  (And yes, I know, I’m a busybody.)

                • Tofu

                  I don’t mind you interjecting yourself, provided you’re thoughtful. :)

                  Re: “have to start somewhere.” Sure; obviously SOMETHING has to be self-justifying, and this is true no matter what you believe. But that’s different than asserting a worldview (naturalism) that makes it impossible for them to be justified at all. That’s what Lewis is talking about.

                  That said, I’m having a lot of trouble replying; Disqus keeps freaking out and replies are popping up at odd times well after they’ve been posted, so whoever wants the last word can probably have it. I’d simply encourage anyone reading to examine Lewis’ arguments a little closer.

                • Michael Harrison

                  This has troubled me for a while, and I have spent much time thinking about and reading on the difference between science and mathematics. My conclusion: on its own, mathematics is a toy disconnected with reality, whereas science deals directly with reality, and so is concerned with statistical arguments–truth is approximated based on probabilities. In this sense, I would say “useful” and “rational” are closely related.

                  I’ve seen a similar argument over whether category theory is more fundamental than set theory in mathematics. The problem is that more basic theories have fewer tools to work with, so they must resort to increasingly complicated arguments to prevent outside use. Is it possible to discuss category theory without invoking sets? Possibly, but it is much more work. Thus, we have in mathematics what is called naive set theory: maybe not completely consistent, but it works where it’s needed, and it’s much simpler than dealing with the sort of objects constructed to make set theory completely consistent.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  If you want to see some amazing mathematical discoveries, check some of the writings of Bonnie Gaunt etc. If I were an agnostic the discoveries she and others have made along with those of physicists would definitely bring me to a point of pausing and reconsidering the nature of Reality.

                • Michael Harrison

                  I looked up Ms Gaunt on Amazon; her big work on numbers seems to be more sacred architecture than mathematics. I took particular notice of how she discussed the significance of the golden ratio (1.618…, aka the positive solution to x^2 – x – 1 = 0), a notion which has largely been discredited.

                  However, there are other reasons to worry about sacred architecture. I saw something on PBS a while back (could have been Nova) about how Gothic cathedrals were based on the dimensions of Solomon’s Temple, and one attempt at building a bigger church with the same dimensions (by using a different standard for the foot) ended up creating an unstable death trap. It turns out that focusing on the numbers alone, rather than sound architectural principles, is dangerous. (Also: flying buttresses are apparently the duct tape of Gothic architecture.)

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

                  Incorrect. It is superior precisely because it is useful, because it produces results that are in concordance with our observations. If it tells us things about the world and universe in which we live, and we can then test and verify those things, that makes it both true and useful. God-belief, on the other hand, tells us nothing useful about the world and is either unfalsifiable or has been proven false. I’ll go with the proven-useful, proven-accurate medical treatment over the “I believe it works via testimonial” medical treatment; why would I do anything different for determining the nature of existence? You’re trying to argue that rationality is a thing that exists outside of the natural world, but it isn’t. It’s an abstract concept humans created to codify some of our observations into a more communicable form.

                • Tofu

                  That simply doesn’t work. The brain cannot be the arbiter of the integrity of the brain, as the existence of hallucination and recurring mental illness shows. So unfortunately this reply, like all the others, assumes the thing being disputed. They all contain phrases like “test and verify” off-handedly, even though the process of testifying and verifying is exactly the thing being called into question. I’ve pointed this out a couple of times now, but it doesn’t seem to be landing, so I’m pretty tempted to throw up my hands at this point.

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

                  We know our brain malfunctions sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s all we’ve got. That’s why we check our perceptions against others’ perceptions. If I see a giant spider, and someone else doesn’t, one of us has a problem. If seven people all see the same spider, though, we can be pretty sure it’s there. If we all describe it in similar terms, we can be pretty sure those are the characteristics it has. My personal brain isn’t the arbiter of my brain’s health, but other people’s brains are. The process of testing and verifying works; it tells us very interesting things about how our world works that are then used to predict future results, which come to pass if we did it right. This “test and verify” process that you vilify so much got you to your computer and this argument separated across space and time.

                  It’s not perfect, but it’s all we have. You haven’t pointed out anything except that it works pretty damned well. So yay humanity for coming up with such a useful concept for describing reality!

                  I have no idea what you’re pointing out. Not one single clue. You’re saying that abstract concepts have to come from somewhere? Or that we can’t use reason and logic to test itself (a veritable falsehood, we totally can, that’s how we identify logical fallacies)? Or that using reason and logic to test the world somehow means it’s not working? What is your point?

                • Tofu

                  By saying you can verify your reason with personal experience and comparison, and that this is proved by the efficacy of the scientific process, you’ve left no room for naturalism, for nothing in your personal experience can verify it in this way. QED. It’s one or the other: if you define Reason too broadly, naturalism contradicts itself. If you define it too narrowly, naturalism isn’t included.

                  Lewis, incidentally, addresses all the arguments you’ve made (and more) in the chapter in question, if you care to read it at some point. He’s pretty good at anticipating obvious objections. And as I predicted a few comments ago, this line of discussion has been reduced to you making those obvious objections and me simply explaining how he dealt with them. If you’re interested in this idea, and not just in bludgeoning theists or something, I’d strongly recommend you have a look at it. :)

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

                  Your first paragraph; many claims, no backing. Tell me why this is so. How do you define naturalism? Why does it contradict itself? How are we defining reason broadly or narrowly? Hell, how are you defining reason at all?

                  If this is an obvious objection and you still have no answer other than “nuh uh”, which is what your objections come down to, then it’s a pretty bad argument, hey? Does Lewis say that things like Justice require there to be an invisible sky wizard too?

                • Tofu

                  Nothing I’ve said is in the same stratosphere as “nuh uh,” and the first paragraph is perfectly straightforward: if the validity of reason is verified by others, that standard is incapable of justifying inferred philosophies like naturalism for which no such verification is possible. Naturalism being, for these purposes, the belief that the physical is all there is. This really isn’t complicated.

                  But I think you already knew exactly what I meant by naturalism, and that this flurry of questions is probably a disingenuous smokescreen, particularly given how often you keep going out of your way to smuggle in mocking non-sequiturs about “sky wizards.” That’s the kind of schoolyard taunting that tells me I’m no longer having a serious discussion, and that there’s little point in continuing.

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

                  The questions were actually in good faith. If there were any sort of spiritual realm that interacted with the physical world, it would leave physical marks. There would be evidence. The fact that we think the physical is all that exists is because there is a distinct lack of evidence that anything else exists. You’re asking me to believe something absolutely bonkers (what I’m calling an invisible sky wizard that made everything) with absolutely nothing to back it up. Everything we see, feel, think, reason out- it’s all based on the natural world because that’s all we have to go on. That doesn’t invalidate the results of our inquiry, since our inquiry is about the natural world of which we are a part. Why does using part of the natural world to tell us more about it mean we’re running in circles, instead of learning things about our universe?

                  You are literally not engaging in what I’m saying; we’re apparently talking past each other. Logic and reason only function in the universe because they’re built on this universe’s universals. The fact that we can, with empirical evidence, prove that they work and thus build up a set of rules not only doesn’t invalidate those rules, it makes them even more valid. Consider the premise A=A. We only know that to be true because every time we look at and measure A, it is A. It’s also what we call a self-evident premise; of course a thing is itself. If we find another item B, and it is identical to A, we can only determine that based on the world around us. Same with comparing item B and item C. So then we look at A=B, and B=C, thus A=C. The only way to validate it is to look at the natural world and determine that yes, this is so. Naturalistic, empirical evidence gives rise to and validates logic. Why would you say that a magic man in the sky had to create this logic, when we established that language and figured out those relationships ourselves out of nature?

                  Invisible sky wizard = God. Lewis is saying all abstract concepts requires God. So, is he saying that Justice, which is an abstract concept, requires God? Because that would be a ridiculous claim. I’m just not in a mood to be respectful towards such a ridiculous concept, but if you substitute “God” for “invisible sky wizard” the argument doesn’t change, and it might soothe your sensitive nerves to make that vocabulary switch.

                • Anon

                  “Logic and reason only function in the universe because they’re built on this universe’s universals.”
                  True, but where did the universe’s universals come from? What is the basis for them?

                  God did not create logic, per se. What he did was create a world in which logic and reasoning applies, in which there are universals.

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

                  No. God didn’t create anything. The universe arose, and we figured out how to codify ways to describe it. That’s all.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Quantum mechanics has demonstrated empirically that the act of observing experiments by conscious observers effects the outcome. This leads to the conclusion that minds influence matter, which doesn’t surprise those who accept a worldview which includes a Supernatural intelligence or Creator or First Cause.

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

                  Ah, no. Not at all. Quantum mechanics has demonstrated that probabilities are hard things, and that the better we can pin down the probability of a thing’s position the less accurate we are on predicting its velocity. The act of observing experiments doesn’t change anything at all, but it’s just really really hard to predict both things at once with any accuracy.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  If you are appealing to logic, can’t help but wonder if you have read or listened to any of the logic of men like Ravi Zacharias [apologist] or Hugh Ross [astrophysicist]?

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

                  Nope and nope. Not really planning to, either. Apologists have nothing new to say and I don’t understand astrophysics well enough to be able to say if Hugh Ross makes sense or not when it comes to astrophysics. I don’t really care what he says outside of his area of expertise, either.

                • Guest

                  Basically, the moment your defense of Reason is that it’s USEFUL, the die is cast and the point is made.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Hope you’ve read some of the writings of world class physicists like Feynman-his comments on the fine structure constant puzzled him to the point he invoked the name of God-though he never sought Him. Read some of the writings of Bonnie Gaunt and others and see what you think are explanations for the numerical associations they have discovered, a skeptic scratches his head, I guess?

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

                  I’m not a physicist. I could understand Feynman’s easy lectures, but his hard ones are way, way over my head. Are you an astrophysicist? If not, is it possible you’re just being confused over what is, after all, very hard and non-intuitive math?

                  As for numerical associations, I’ve seen a bajillion things about them through Kabbalah and such. They’re all bullshit. We can find coincidences in any sufficiently large data set (the entirety of human history is a pretty big data set), but that’s a known statistical problem. We correct for it in big data all the time, understanding that some correlations are just noise and not actually meaningful. Bonnie Gaunt is a gullible woman selling religious nonsense to other gullible people.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  So there is an acknowledgment that evil exists? Freedom can’t exist without resulting in free moral agents making wrong, destructive choices…

                • tsara

                  Evil is a value judgment, and exists in the eye of the beholder. (Unless you define your terms, first.)

                • Jim Achmoody

                  So absolutes are accepted in chemistry, math, and physics etc., but not in morals?

                • tsara

                  Scientific terms tend to be well-defined. Give me a concrete definition of the word ‘evil’ and we can determine fairly objectively whether or not something is evil. Otherwise, it’s purely a value judgment; as far as I can tell, it just means ‘thing I don’t like and that offends me on a deep level’. If instead we define it as ’causes a lot of suffering’ or ‘someone who does something that their own moral system calls wrong’, we have something more reasonable.
                  For something that satisfies all three definitions, though, I present to you the Catholic Church.

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

                  Evil with a capital E does not exist. People do things that hurt other people or the world around us, and we call that evil. However, an omni-benevolent deity would allow people to do bad things but would protect others from those choices. Why does God care about the rapist but not the rape survivor’s free will? The rape survivor’s will was to not-be-raped, after all.

                  So in this hypothetical world, God lets the rapist plan his (it’s almost always a him) rape and go about doing everything leading up to it. The rapist gains the full moral weight of having attempted to harm someone, but that to-be-harmed person would be rescued through seemingly random chance or the Voice of God calling out from on high or something.

                • Mr. B

                  The fact that you think Keynesian economics actually works better than free markets when tested empirically makes the point quite nicely. You have the evidence that free markets produce the greatest engine of economic prosperity in the history of the world staring you in the face, and you still think government tinkering with the economy works better.

                  It demonstrates the point that reason plus empirical “testing” can still lead to wrong conclusions, because we use our “reason” to filter the evidence to fit our worldview. Everyone does this whether atheist or theist. How can you prove that you are not doing this? You have to use reason to try to prove that your reason leads to truth.

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

                  I have the evidence that free markets crash regularly and spectacularly staring me in the face too. The US suffered depressions in 1789-1793, 1797-1799, 1807-1810, 1815-1821, 1857-1858, 1873-1879, 1893-1894, 1896-1897, 1907-1908, 1910-early 1912, 1920-1921, and 1929-1933 (afterwards was recession but not depression). That doesn’t even count the numerous recessions, but you will note the end of actual depressions thanks to regulation of the financial markets and Keynesian spending. Even the stock market crash in 2008 managed to avoid being a depression thanks to bailouts and the stimulus, even though the stimulus was far too small to avoid this being a terrible recession.

                  You sure you have all the evidence in hand, Chicago school boy?

                • Michael

                  I believe we can test the world views of the major religions and discover that Christianity supports the premise, the empirical evidence, and completely fills the logical construct – flawlessly.

                  Logic + Empiricism was given to us in the “Imageo Deo”, the image of God. It was Christ who reached out to Thomas and said, “Go ahead…come over here and feel my hands, my side, and my feet. Determine for yourself, empirically, that I’m really here, and not a bad dream. ” This allowed the most scientific of the apostles to check perceptions against reality.

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

                  Hmm. So you believe that an infallible God kicked off the whole entire universe ~13.9 billion years ago, so that it developed galaxies and stars and nebulae and planets and comets and huge reaches of near-empty space, just so that one species on one planet circling a rather unremarkable star on the edge of one galaxy could evolve?

                  And then that same God saw fit to fill that planet with things that could kill or injure the favored species: arsenic, strychnine, komodo dragons, ebola, malaria, polio, diarrhea, certain spiders and snakes, bears and wolves and jackals and lions and many other predators, most red berries, poison dart frogs, oleander, and much, much more.

                  And then this same infallible, perfect God communicated its presence to the favored species through a Bronze Age tribe in one of the least literate and advanced time periods on the planet, putting it in the form of an ambiguous, contradictory, atrocity-laden book.

                  And then, having messed up the first try (even though God is infallible, apparently God makes mistakes, even though infallible means ze can’t make mistakes), God impregnated a virgin of the favored species in order to be born as one of them (he could just appear in human form) in order to sacrifice himself to force himself (all powerful yet required a condition to be met?) to forgive the entire favored species for something one of them had done a long time ago in a story that involves talking animals and magic fruits.

                  That doesn’t seem very logical at all.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  But order spontaneously formed from chaos does sound logical?

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

                  Well yeah! Have you ever seen chaos? It forms pretty patterns sometimes, entirely randomly, because it’s purely chaotic!

                  It’s not order, per se. It’s more random patterns that look like order to us, being as we exist within it. Besides, before the Big Bang, we more likely had perfect order. Nothing changed, nothing happened. The Big Bang is likely the result of some sort of chaos arising from perfect order, the addition of energy, or just quantum fluctuations disturbing the thing and causing it to explode. I have no idea how the universe began, but your descriptions make it clear you have even less idea than I have, because at least I know enough to reject the impossible ideas.

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

                  Organized Chaos

                • Jennifer Mitchell

                  More logical than the alternative.

                • Jennifer Mitchell

                  I love that diarrhea is in your list of deadly things.

                • Little_Magpie

                  well, it can be, if it goes on long enough. severe dehydration leading to various organ failures and I don’t remember the exact mechanisms involved, off the top of my head, but i would think they’re easily googleable.

                • Mr. B

                  Straw man arguments. You misrepresent Christian theology. You should study the subject before making such judgments.

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

                  Nice try. Tell me how I’m wrong and what I’ve misrepresented (other than doing this from an Old Earth creation perspective instead of Young Earth).

                • Mr. B

                  Your argument may be summarized as follows:
                  1. If God exists, we would expect the universe to have properties X, Y, & Z.

                  2. The universe does not have properties X, Y, & Z. Instead it has properties A, B, & C.
                  3. Therefore, god does not exist.

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

                  Three months late, and still wrong! Impressive.

                  One of my arguments is that if your representation of your god as omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent existed, the universe would have X, Y, & Z characteristics. The fact that the world isn’t actually a very safe places for humans to live, and the fact that only a tiny, tiny fraction of the universe is even suitable for any life at all, only serves to negate the triple-omni deity. My disbelief in all deities stems from a lack of evidence for any of them, but some of them are at least theoretically possible. Yours isn’t.

                  Another argument is that your story makes absolutely no sense at all.

                  A third is that you still haven’t told me in what way my summary of Christianity is incorrect in any way. You should engage what I’ve said, not just pretend the previous conversation didn’t happen.

                • Mr. B

                  I was merely pointing out that your argument contained a hidden assumption: that you know what kind of universe an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipotent creator would make. You don’t. For that matter, neither do I. Many characters in the Bible struggle with that problem, too.

                  I would be happy to continue to converse on this topic, but your sarcasm and insults indicate that you don’t have an open mind, so further dialog would fruitless. You certainly do not live up to the designation “Friendly Atheist.”

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

                  No, I don’t know what type of universe a triple-omni deity would make. However, if it isn’t the best of all possible imaginable universes, and our universe clearly isn’t, then a triple-omni deity clearly didn’t make it. That’s as far as that argument goes. What hidden assumption, exactly, are you trying to bring out into the open?

                  Do please tell me where I have been sarcastic or insulting. I have clarified my triple-omni argument, given you my understanding of the Christian mythology, and told you that it isn’t logical and doesn’t make sense to me. How is that either insulting or sarcastic?

                  As for not being “friendly”, 1) I am not the author of this blog but merely a frequent commenter here, and 2) if what I say counts as “unfriendly”, how over-sensitive must you be to any criticism of your religious ideology at all? I haven’t even said anything nasty about it except that I don’t get it!

                • Sunny Day

                  Isn’t this just a variation of seizing on a physical property of the universe and claiming that god did it? Fire is hot, water is wet, therefore god.

                  That’s completely unconvincing.

                • Michael

                  No, the two are not similar in the least.

                  Fire = hot is an observable physical property. Walking into the middle of the Sahara desert and finding a neatly arranged “log cabin” style fire pit with cascading layers of increasingly thick logs on fire, is what prima causa describes.

                  There should be no fire there. No logs. There are no ignition sources. And yet, where none of these things existed, let alone in a combination that results in the spontaneous ignition of the wood and tinder, there is an organized, self sustaining fire.

                  Any person on this thread would stand at the base of the fire and say, “where is the person(s) who made this?” Nearly everyone on this thread however with infinitely more compelling evidence and astronomically far more statistical hurdles to cross stands and stares at the “ignition” of the time, and space, and matter of our universe, and says, “that’s completely unconvincing”. Scriptures refer to this as “the hardening of the heart” – a self inflicted closure of the mind and spirit to what is empirically observable and evident.

                • Composer 99

                  Well, no, you’re wrong there. But thanks for trying.

                  For starters, since ‘belief’ (such as, say, in a deity) is a type of thought, Lewis’ argument applies against his own religious beliefs, leaving him apparently endorsing a contradictory sort of nihilism.

                  Second, Lewis’ argument, and the argument from Haldane that he bases his on, amounts to nothing more than a non sequitur-style argument from personal incredulity. Suffice to say, it’s pretty weak sauce.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Few have spoken true truths stupid crap like C.S. Lewis

                  FIFY

                  Of course, the fact is that we know we can’t in general trust our own thinking to be true – it’s not magic, as you evidently believe. But we can test the results of our thinking – against the external world, and by exposing that thinking to the criticism of others.

                • Darcy Jackson

                  Jim – You were born an atheist…. As a matter of fact I will go as far as saying that you were born into a Christian family that indoctrinated you. When you are young your brain is design to accept everything told to you by the ones you depend on. If you grew up in an environment like mine at first god was the coolest and then slowly hell was added into the mix w/ a healthy dose of “an idol mind is a devils workshop” sayings and such.

                • Bill

                  So, in other words, you’re only a Christian because you were born where you were born?

                  If so, that is called genetic fallacy.

                  Can you prove that people are born atheist?

                • Jennifer Mitchell

                  This comment made my head hurt. Whether there is a God or not you are not born religious. If you were born with it other religions wouldn’t exist, nor would Christianity be only 2013 year old.

                • Bill

                  This comment made my head hurt.

                  Then according to your logic, if you are born atheist,”other religions wouldn’t exist”.

                • Michael Harrison

                  It has repeatedly been stated that atheism isn’t a religion. It has repeatedly been snarked that atheism is as much a religion as baldness is a hair color (a classification I, personally, would be willing to accept), or as not collecting stamps is a hobby. Atheism has the same special status as the null pointer or the empty set.

                • Bill

                  No, atheism makes a truth claim.

                  More specifically, agnosticism is probably what you would consider to be “default”.

                  And besides- she said if people were religious, they would stay that way, and thus, only one religion.

                  So, if people were born atheist, they would stay that way, and no religion.

                  The logic is flawed.

                • Michael Harrison

                  You are slipping into a topic regarding which atheists have vicious fights with *themselves*. Dangerous territory.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  I like that-emptiness certainly characterizes the ‘worldview’…

                • Michael Harrison

                  Which is why many atheists adopt humanism as a code of ethics.

                • Jennifer Mitchell

                  Did you read my comment at all or your own? Humans create religion to explain the world around them, either in metaphor or because they don’t have the knowledge or tools yet to explain it with science. I was saying children, newborns, are a blank slate.

                  They do not come into the world with religion, if they did we would all be the same and there would be no doubt or new religions like Christianity. Which in the long scheme of human existence has only been around a short while.

                  Whatever you know about religion was taught to you by someone, you did not know about a bible or Jesus or a God at birth. This does not make your religion right, nor do I know if your religion is wrong, just stating things the way they are. I have no proof one way or the other about a God.

                • Albert

                  Jennifer, You are correct, humans do create religions. So?

                  You said so yourself that you, “have no proof one way or the other about a God.”
                  If that is true, then you can’t say for sure that all religions are man made, can you?

                  Your knowledge does not allow you to have the scope to demonstrate that a God did not create one or many of those religions, would you agree?

                  Also, you mentioned that religion is taught to people by someone. Again, what’s your point? Most things are taught to us by someone, including science. Unless the knowledge is tied to intuition, it’s learned.

                • Jennifer Mitchell

                  Albert, I am not an Atheist. I am Agnostic. Religion is man made. Religion and belief are different. Religion is a man made construct involving social and cultural structures. Belief is internal singular and everyone believes differently, this is why religions work so hard to make it uniform. Religion is like government, they will promise you the moon to get your money and your attendance.
                  I do not know what beliefs we are born with but whatever there might be is easily replaced in children as they have trusting natures and malleable minds.

                • Albert

                  Jennifer,
                  You said, “I am not an Atheist. I am Agnostic.”
                  Cool. Thanks for the clarification. I’m wondering, when you say you are an agnostic, what do you mean by that? I have heard people use that term before and it mean different things. What does that mean for you?

                  You said, “Religion is man made. Religion and belief are different. Religion is a man made construct involving social and cultural structures. Belief is internal singular and everyone believes differently, this is why religions work so hard to make it uniform. Religion is like government, they will promise you the moon to get your money and your attendance.”

                  First, what do you mean by “internal singular”?

                  Secondly, your statement in no way proves that a God could not have created a religion, does it?

                  And third, your statement is painting religion with a very broad stroked brush; almost as if you are saying that all religions are the same. But we both know this isn’t true, right?

                  Don’t agnostics live by uniform set of belief’s?

                  You said, “I do not know what beliefs we are born with but whatever there might be is easily replaced in children as they have trusting natures and malleable minds.”

                  Okay. So?

                  I’m not sure the point you are trying to make by these statements.

                  You started off in this thread(from what I can tell) saying, “Whether there is a God or not you are not born religious. If you were born with it other religions wouldn’t exist, nor would Christianity be only 2013 year old.”

                  You make the claim that children are not born with religion, but yet you don’t show how you come to this conclusion. Are we are supposed to take it on your word, not your proof?

                  If we took the premise that children were born with religion, I think you have made the mistake to assume that all children would be born with the same religion. How would you know that would be true?

                  - You make the claim that religions are all man made, but you don’t provide evidence that they can not come about from other means, such as from God.

                  - It seems to me you make a lot of claims based on assumptions.
                  Could you explain how you come to this conclusions?

                • Jim Achmoody

                  If what you claim is true why has a primitive tribe never been found who didn’t worship? Even Margaret Mead accepted that, if I’m not mistaken.

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

                  Must say I can’t relate-everyone struggles & has an inner ‘light’ we call conscience. The reality of a moral law points to a Law-giver…

                • Pofarmer

                  The reality of moral law, and that basically everyone everywhere has essentially the same versions of it, points more to evolution than theism.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  As I see it there are no historical figures who come close to Jesus Christ in terms of explaining truth’s claims-He was either mad or God and no one ever spoke/taught like Him-’everyone’ else has made much less impact.

                • Pofarmer

                  Probably the one who made the most impact was Paul, and the carrying of the message to the Gentiles. But, large parts of that message were Pauls message, and we think know that there was friction between Paul and the Jewish disciples. I dunno, I also think that Thomas Paine and his ideas had a great amount of Impact. Thomas Jefferson as well. And as far as “no one ever spoke/taught like him” how in the world are we supposed to determine that? He appealed to an underclass in ancient Judaism with an apocalyptic world view, and that later got picked up by the Romans and established as Roman Catholicism.

                • Jennifer Mitchell

                  Morality is essential to survival, if we all inbred and killed each other no one would be left. We are social creatures, we need it to survive since we don’t have claws and teeth, we use shared knowledge to learn and advance, if we are rude or cruel no one accepts you in society. Then you don’t learn, you have no pack to save you, this was until the police who have a job to protect you and then society went down the drains because they prevented idiots from hurting themselves. Morality is social evolution, necessity to survive. Its the same thing that dogs or felines, or herd animals use to keep order in a pack.

                • Albert

                  Darcy,

                  The idea that everyone is born an atheist is not exactly true. It’s very possible that people, when born, are open to either avenue, as you suggested. That means they are not really born atheist, but indifferent.

                  To presume that a person doesn’t believe at birth is inferring something we don’t know to fit your argument.

                  It’s more accurate to say that as infants or children we don’t know of God. But it’s not a belief or a disbelief in a God, but rather a now aware of a God.

                  Then again, if there is a God, it’s very possible that a newborn or an infant do communicate with God and as they get older they lose that ability to do that because of the influences of the world.

                  But again, this is more speculation than anything. No different than the claim that we are all born atheists.

                  The reality is that we just don’t know. But if it makes you feel better to think that everyone is born an atheist, go for it. I’m just not sure what you gain by doing so.

                  And by the way, religions are not the only people that indoctrinate those they know. Even atheists indoctrinate.

                  The definition is:
                  1 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach
                  2 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

                  This is not subject to just religions.

                • Darcy Jackson

                  Albert,

                  Please stop w/ the baby communicating with god idea. That’s simply combination of special pleading and knowledge from ignorance.

                  Getting back on track:

                  Atheist

                  A – without

                  Theist derived from theos – God

                  Without God

                  All babys are atheists and if given the actual explanations for lightening, thunder, earthquakes, the sun, the moon, hurricanes, tornadoes and shown the scientific method in most cases would remain that way

                  //The reality is that we just don’t know.//

                  So why pretend to know it? If there were texts not written by man then I could possibly believe. If there were actually an Omniscient, Omnipotent and All-knowing god that would have been an easy feat. It could have also made the scripts billions of years old but it did not so I am left with non-belief.

                • Albert

                  Darcy,

                  How do you know that babies are ‘without God’? What evidence to you base this on?

                  How does explanations for lightening, thunder, etc. etc.. in anyway explain away God?
                  Sure, I grant that it does explain away Thor and the like. But does it in anyway explain away the God of Abraham?

                  Webster defines atheist to be “one who believes that there is no deity”

                  Your “without God” doesn’t fit the definition of what Webster’s defines it as. In fact, it is indicating that to be an atheist, you have to make a choice to be so. One who BELIEVES that there is no deity implies knowledge and choice. You believe there is no God based on knowledge or the lack of knowledge you have gained and have made a choice based on that knowledge. You were not “BORN” an atheist, indoctrinated into a religion and then freed yourself from some bondage.

                  Unless you can show some sort of evidence that shows that babies 1) can’t communicate with God, or 2) are born atheists then your point is moot.

                  So again, I ask you, how do you know that babies do not communicate with God? What is your evidence that babies are born atheists?

                • Jim Achmoody

                  If there was any truth to this assertion then surely some primitive isolated tribe somewhere on the planet would have been found where they didn’t worship?

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Not sure what has led to your present state of rejection of faith but with many it’s based on unprocessed grief or anger etc. I am grateful for my upbringing which was much different from the young woman whose story has opened this dialogue-have had my share of pain but you create a backlash when you try to cram anything down someone’s throat.

              • glebealyth

                I confess that the concept of exploding churches does have a certain appeal.
                ;o))
                Mind you, such events would only give the clergy more excuses for begging for money from the sheeple: as if they do not have enough already.

                • Tofu

                  “I confess that the concept of exploding churches does have a certain appeal.”

                  Nobody’s mad about this, huh? Geez, I just got here and this makes me think I’ve already spent too much time here. Toodles.

                • glebealyth

                  My comment, Tofu, has to be more acceptable than the ACTUAL shooting of doctors who perform abortions.

                  I maintain that the world would be a better place if all its churches were to disappear overnight and to that extent, the concept of exploding churches has a certain appeal.

                  Only the most literal of people who, btw, tend to be religious believers, would take actual offence at a tongue-in-cheek remark of that nature.

                  Toodles.

                • Tofu

                  “My comment, Tofu, has to be more acceptable than the ACTUAL shooting of doctors who perform abortions.”

                  And in an alternate universe where I’d defended shooting abortion doctors, this might be a more interesting defense. As it stands, it has nothing to do with anything.

                  “Only the most literal of people who, btw, tend to be religious believers, would take actual offence at a tongue-in-cheek remark of that nature.”

                  Yeah, because only uptight religious people think blowing up churches isn’t high-larious. Good grief.

                • glebealyth

                  Jeez,

                  THIS is how religions start!

                  I hope you are better at interpreting holy writ than you are at interpreting comments here.

                  Someone says – You have not read about the explosion in churches in certain parts of the world (or something similar).

                  Someone replies – “Exploding churches” has a certain appeal.

                  You read that as a statement of intent or endorsement of detonating bombs in churches.

                  THAT was never said.

                  You appear adept at extracting your preferred fantasies from someone else’s comment. The whole basis of religion. But who am I to comment, I would not be upset if all the churches/mosques/temples disappeared overnight.
                  Please note, I have neither advocated blowing them up, nor bringing harm to those who regularly attend at such buildings. THAT is YOUR fantasy.

            • CPhoenixG

              This makes me question whether or not you have ever seen any courses at a religiously affiliated college. I went to a Catholic University called Duquesne. I am not a Christian, but enjoy studying Christianity and frankly every other religious text I can get my hands on. Every student was required to take one theology course, but that was the extent of indoctrination. I remember my theology teacher fondly, actually. He was a priest, but he also placed a lot of emphasis on historical context on how the text could be interpreted. I had many in class discussions with him wherein my own interpretation was influenced by the other religious text I had read and in which we both looked at the middle ground between them. He encouraged students to study religion with an open-heart and an open mind, but not blind faith. This, as well as many other later experiences made me come to the conclusion that religion, even organized religion, is not the evil that so many people treat it as. That evil comes when religion becomes a political tool. Religion has its roots in questioning, and particularly in trying to understand ones relationship to the sublime. It is not an easy question to answer, and pretty much since the dawn of civilization, those in power have realized that they can exploit this by appearing to have the definitive answers. The evil lies in those individuals who would twist people’s spiritual longing, which in itself can be a very beautiful thing, to amass power for themselves.

              • baal

                The problem of religion is not that it’s easy to coopt by evil minded politicians (though it is due to the whole listen only to those ‘above’ you heirarchy structure); the problem is that when you found your reason and decision making on imagination, delusion, the supernatural and not on empirically tested ideas you come to bad conclusions. Religions (pretty much all of them including the ‘nice’ ones) teach or demand adherence to the supernatural or non-scientific views of the world.

                For example – do you want fewer abortions? If your answer is yes then start handing out free condoms in highschools and gas stations at State expense (it’s a lot cheaper than medicare for pregnancies or for taking those kids to term).

                Do you want fewer teens to have sex? If your answer is yes then you have comprehensive sex ed (not abstinence only) and improve the educational and work opportunities for women.

                Who is it time and time again in various cultures who want to control education, sex and the bodies of women? It’s the various religionists. Note that I didn’t say it’s impossible to find mindful specific people who are also members of religions but they are the exception and are not controlling the religious folks politics.

                Back to my point, even with colleges focused on religious education, the vast majority of converts to christianity are children and not adults.

                • CPhoenixG

                  The first problem with your point is that it assumes that a scientific
                  explanation negates a spiritual one. For example: near death
                  experiences. there have been studies that explain exactly what is going
                  on in the brain that cause that particular perception; white light, a
                  sense of completion, looking down at the body, etc. Does that
                  necessarily mean that the experience is meaningless from a spiritual
                  perspective. Sience exists to explain the ‘how” of the universe, the
                  mechanics of its workings. it is not equiped to explain the greater
                  context of “why.” The scientific method is simply not equipped to
                  answer “what does this mean?”

                  The examples you bring up about
                  abortion and sex education are flawed in a similar vein. you have a
                  hypothetical individual who believes 1.) that there should be less
                  abortions, and 2.) that it is important to curb teenage sex. you
                  address only how they go about attempting to remedy those two problems,
                  not why they hold those beliefs in the first place. The ‘why’ of an
                  individuals beliefs are decidedly un-impirical in most cases (though
                  there are exceptions) something else needs to fill the void that science
                  cannot here fill. in most cases this is religion or philosphy, both
                  themselves unimpirical fields of study.

                  Your paragraph about
                  religious cultures being the ones who try to dictate what women do with
                  their bodies and limit reproductive freedom is flat out historically
                  inaccurate. Ceasar Augustus was decidedly socially conservative. His
                  policies villianized things like prositution, sex out of marraige, and
                  abortion. These policies were not based in religious belief, but
                  existed rather to simplify succession and inheritance and thereby
                  strengthen the state. For a more modern example you can look at pretty
                  much every Communist regime that we have had. Though some have focused
                  more on restricting women than others, they have all been pretty
                  abominable when it comes to limiting individual freedom and expression.
                  For example abortion was illegal in Communist Romania under the grounds
                  of demographic control (which to me is a hell of a lot scarier reason
                  than the Christian argument that the fetus is a person, though I
                  disagree with that argument as well.) And please note that this was
                  an expressidly athiest government…in fact Communist dictatorships have
                  been the only expresedly athiest governments to ever exist and many
                  (see China’s treatment of the Tibetans) have committed some serious
                  attrocities for the purpose of indocrinating their people into that
                  philosophy.

                • baal

                  Atheism is a lack of god belief. It doesn’t demand any particular politics and isn’t a rational basis for almost anything. That there are totalitarian regimes that happen to hold anti-theistic planks but that’s not on atheism. Religions are different than atheism in that you all have giant complex rule sets based directly on your religion and whenever you start imposing those religious rules on everyone, you get terrible, horrible governance*. Atheism doesn’t have rules on who you get to have sex with, who you own, what clothes you must wear, which way you must face 5 times a day, how often you must wash, what you can eat, etc.

                  If you look at all countries (and not cherry pick against the past) and compare their religiosity vs how well the government is doing, liberal secular values (which are at odds with totalitarianism, really) leads to better countries than the religious ones (entire middle east). You can even do the same thing in the U.S. on the State level (liberal states have higher per capita income and fewer teen pregnancies) and even on the city level.

                  *My standard for judging good or bad governance is to look at the demographics. If country one has low teen pregnancy rates and country two has high teen pregnancy rates, I say that country one has better governance. Do that for all the demographics you can think off and tada, empirically better governance!

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Are you for real? I do like the admission/acknowledgement that “the atheist position isn’t a rational basis for almost anything”…

                • glebealyth

                  For example: near death experiences. there have been studies that explain exactly what is going on in the brain that cause that particular perception; white light, a sense of completion, looking down at the body, etc. Does that necessarily mean that the experience is meaningless from a spiritual perspective.

                  Actually, yes, it does.
                  A Near Death Experience is NOT a Death experience and, as death does not occur soon after the experience, or at least long enough for the experience to be related and documented, the experience is not actually “near death” at all.

                • Toreador

                  Regarding your points:

                  False dichotomy fallacy. The lack of a present explanation for a phenomenon does not imply that another is true, only that there is not yet an explanation.

                  Begging the question fallacy: You assume that there is a “why” to discover. There is no reason to accept this as true.

                  Regarding near-death experiences, it turns out that there may be evidence for a physical cause after all:

                  http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-12/national/41323026_1_brain-clinical-death-near-death-experience

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Anyone claiming Science is a discipline that contradicts assertions of faith has either a limited scientific background or a limited knowledge of the beliefs of sound theology and history.

                • baal

                  ” sound theology”
                  god sitting there making the OM sound?

                  Jim, Mr. Achmoody, please use the googles to google “god of the gaps”. To be polite, you’re not only wrong but your vision of god occupies an ever smaller place in the cosmos.

              • lizzyshade

                The biggest issue with religion especially organized religion is that people start wars to decide who’s god is better. The crusades and inquisition proved this all to well. That is what happens when religion is allowed to run rampant. There has been more blood shed over religion than for any other cause!

                • Bill

                  As Phillip and Axelrod note in the three-volume “Encyclopedia of Wars”, religion is the cause of only 6.98% of all wars. Try again.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  Great point. Reminds me of a book I read once that documented the impact of disease and weather on wars/history. Most crucial wars were highly impacted by both factors. Also recommend the short book, ‘The Butterfly Effect’, which highlights the influence of a single soldier on the battle of Gettysburg.

                • Jacques

                  Cause of 6.98% percent of wars, yes. Excuse or justification for them, probably much much higher.

                • Albert

                  Jacques, that could very well be. But then again, you would have to provide evidence for that assertion, right?

                • Mr. B

                  Except Dialectical Materialism, i.e., Marxism. Over 100 million murders and counting.

                  I realize you can be an atheist without being a Marxist, but you can’t be a Marxist without being an atheist. “Materialism” is part of its name.

                • Todd Heath

                  “I realize you can be an atheist without being a Marxist, but you can’t be a Marxist without being an atheist.”

                  Study the history of Latin America to see what is wrong with this statement. Venezuela, Nicaragua and Argentina would be great places to start. Latin American Marxist tend to be Christian.

                • Mr. B

                  Thank you for pointing out a gap in my knowledge. Can you recommend a source that would help me understand Latin American Marxism?

                  I wonder if perhaps you are referring to Liberation Theology?

              • Jim Achmoody

                Very refreshing views. Thanks for sharing them in such a thoughtful way.

              • Paula M Smolik

                So you argue by using one school. That doesn’t begin to outweigh the indoctrination by religious schools, VBS, parents at home, preachers in the pulpit, and Sunday School. If a person is an atheist growing up, do you really think he/she would believe talking donkeys at a later date?

              • Sparhafoc

                Organised religion necessarily is a political tool. From the outset, it’s aligned itself with monarchies to give it the secular protection, while telling the people they need the priesthood to intervene with the creator(s). It’s nothing more than parasitism on the social body.
                If there is a god who wants to have an individual relationship with people, that will change its behaviour and decisions based on the needs of its believers, and this being is completely powerful – then wherein lies the need for clergy?

          • 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.

            • David Mallonee

              You have a particular view of critical thinking by which you’re judging said Christians, do you not?

              Everyone has biases, not just religious people, nor just irreligious people. And those biases will surely narrow the scope of education nor matter how it’s done.

              • Bryan Richards

                Some biases are natural and others are purposefully imposed ( even if they aren’t aware of it).

                • David Mallonee

                  Can you show us, without any bias whatsoever, that there’s necessarily those two types of biases? Namely, “natural” and “purposefully imposed” biases?

                • Bryan Richards

                  apologists that are aware that what they teach is a lie… purposefully imposed, especially when forced on a youth

                • David Mallonee

                  That didn’t address the question. I asked to show how there are necessarily those two types of biases.

                  You simply asserted.

                  That’s quite contrary to the “critical thinking” you earlier mentioned as if it were a good thing.

                • Bryan Richards

                  natural biases are easy to spot, and i gave you an example of the other kind i stated. is it really that hard to figure out for you?

                • David Mallonee

                  Thank you for proving my point, actually. I requested a proof that there are necessarily these two distinct “types” of biases which you were referring to. I also requested that the proof not itself rely on biases.

                  You instead resorted to an attempt at ridicule. Thank you for the monologue.

                • Madison Blane

                  Why is it the Christians come to Atheist blogs and demand that we prove every tiny jot and tittle when Christians haven’t even begun to prove even the most basic of their assertions, for example, that the God of the Bible exists?

                • Bershawn300

                  I am happy to present “proofs”. However, in my experience, many atheists do not actually want really to hear or discuss proofs. And ultimately Christianity is a discussion about “belief” anyways – the evidence of things unseen.

                  So ultimately…I tend to say…live and let live. If someone is sincerely asking, then I am happy to discuss. But if someone is just looking for a bully pulpit, which in my experience is the case, I’m out.

                  The reason I was on the website in the first place was to express sympathy for the author! It was atheists who have been demanding that I “prove” my beliefs and my existence as a Christian. Sheesh…can’t a person express sympathy for a fellow human being?

                • Jim Jones

                  > However, in my experience, many atheists do not actually want really to hear or discuss proofs.

                  We never see any proofs, just wishful thinking.

                  > And ultimately Christianity is a discussion about “belief” anyways – the evidence of things unseen.

                  Then why are you trying to ‘prove’ it? Why is the bible full of ridiculous ‘proofs’?

                • Bershawn300

                  You are manifesting exactly the spirit I am writing about. In your own words, you say that ‘the bible (is) full of ridiculous ‘proofs”. Clearly, you have made up your mind. Why then should Christians spend time trying to present proofs to people who have already made up their minds?

                • Bershawn300

                  As I said, it is a fool’s errand, in my opinion. Though for serious seekers (I won’t go into all the arguments here), I will point you toward The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. This gives something of a compendium of evidence for the historicity of Scripture. Again…for serious seekers only. Not bully-pulpiteers. Peace.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Lee Strobel. Isn’t he the guy who claimed DNA is a language?

                • Bershawn300

                  Yes. A metaphor – in the same vein as “math is a language’, ‘music is a language’, etc. Actually Strobel was quoting Bill Clinton.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Yeah, I read that book–he went out of his way to say it’s meant literally.

                • Bershawn300

                  Forgive me. You are correct. It IS meant literally. “For it to be rightly called a language, it must contain the following elements: an alphabet or coding system, correct spelling, grammar (a proper arrangement of the words), meaning (semantics) and an intended purpose.

                  Scientists have found the genetic code has all of these key elements. “The coding regions of DNA,” explains Dr. Stephen Meyer, “have exactly the same relevant properties as a computer code or language” (quoted by Strobel, p. 237, emphasis in original).”

                • Bershawn300

                  Which isn’t to say it can’t also be metaphorical too. Either way, the nomenclature (“language”) is fitting.

                • Dirty_Nerdy

                  ” (quoted by Strobel, p. 237, emphasis in original).”

                  Did you just quote Lee Strobel quoting somebody else? lol

                • Bershawn300

                  Strobel quoted by someone else. So what? Sheesh…you guys. Focus on the *substance* of what Strobel says, not minutia please?

                • Nick Gotts

                  No, they haven’t found anything of the kind – this is just one of Meyer’s lies. Interesting that your first defense of this lie was that it’s metaphorical, then when that was contradicted, suddenly you defend it as literal truth.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Thank you.

                  As I have said at my snarkier moments, I’ll consider it a language when I see a metaphor expressed in DNA. At most, DNA is a code; language is also a code, but that does not mean DNA is a language. In fact, I’ve been reading up on molecular genetics, and I’ve come to the conclusion that DNA isn’t even analogous to computers (or at least, Turing machines), because when it comes to DNA, the quantity of each chemical product of DNA is just as important as what is produced, whereas I don’t think that’s the case with a TM. Any computer science geeks here want to correct me?

                • Bershawn300

                  Why did you ask ‘is that the guy’ if you already knew?

                • Michael Harrison

                  Because I have books by about two or three different apologists, and it’s been a while since I’ve read them, so I get them confused.

                • Youptidoup

                  Wow, deny Christ so you can feel free to have sex without guilt. I guess legalism was part of the upbringing, mixed with some idea that we need to remain worthy…we are not worthy, which the first covenant clearly demonstrated, but God provided hope, through the second, better covenant.

                  Come on, talk to your dad, apologize to your mom for breaking her heart, and go ahead and have sex and be ready to deal with all the complexities it adds to life.

                  No need to deny Christ to rebel. That`s why He offered himself, for all the shortcomings of the rebellious humans. Trust Him, and He`ll guide you through that.

                • HoboBanana

                  the lady has left your god-idea behind, because it fails the test of truth and provability. If you want to try to guilt her into doing something to make her parents happy, you’re a manipulative asshole

                • The Other Weirdo
                • Bershawn300

                  Thanks for sharing. You have convinced me of the errors in historical Christianity! I am no longer a believer. Not! No, seriously, all this says is that Strobel did not directly interview people in the Jesus Seminar. Not exactly damning.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  So you came here specifically to tell people about how they’re mean because they don’t go their own ways and let people be… like you do. And then crow about how smart and serious are, just like Jesus or something. Fucking children.

                • Bershawn300

                  Yep. I specifically said ‘You MFs are MEAN! And I am smart and serious just like Jesus. So F off!”

                  HUH?!?!! Said no such thing. Thanks friendly atheist.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Stroebel? Fucking hilarious. His Case for a Creator contains articles by the following well-known fools and/or professional liars: Stephen C. Meyer, Jonathan Wells (a Moonie), William Lane Craig – the well-known genocide fan, Michael Behe, and J.P. Moreland.

                • Bershawn300

                  Thank you my friends at ‘friendly atheist’ for so ably demonstrating what I initially said – that entering into “proof” discussions with most folks who are atheists is, unfortunately a fool’s errand. Note: I am not saying that atheists are fools. I am saying that Christians who engage in such discussions are the fools – not because there aren’t proofs, but b/c most atheists have already made up their minds. To argue with ANYONE who has already made up their mind about something is to be on a ‘fool’s errand.’

                  PLEASE keep in mind that my ONLY and ORIGINAL initial purpose on being on your fine site was not to get into proof discussions about Christianity, but to express sympathy and support for the young woman (Rachael) mentioned in the article!

                  Many atheists however, at the mere mention that I was a Christian, were “like moths to a flame” (hmmm…one thinks of other apt similes here too…bloodhounds, sharks…but no, I will be charitable) “moths to a flame” immediately asked me to “prove” my beliefs and defend my ‘raison d’etre’, and give account for simply being on the website. A few ad hominem slings and arrows were thrown in to boot.

                  .
                  In spite of this, as a courtesy to the many requests being made for ‘proof’ – again not b/c I wished to get into such a discussion – I simply dropped one teensy little name — Lee Strobel — since he has written basically a compendium full of historical and archeological evidence that supports Christianity.

                  KABLAMO!!—. a minor explosion of discontent. (One bloke even chastised me because I said that Christians and atheists should live and let live. Let me see, so you get angry when Christians proselytize…and you get angry when Christians say ‘live and let live’. Hmm.)

                  So thank you any and all ‘friendly atheists’! It’s been really really real. Trying to express sympathy for one of your own here and all! Thanks for the memories.

                  Rachael wherever you are, I’m sorry for your experiences. I hope you fare better in the atheist camp.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Thanks for demonstrating what we see from nearly all of your ilk:

                  - That you’re basically ignorant of logical fallacies and how they work, in particular in this post the “ad hominem”.

                  - That you lot routinely feed your need to puff up your believer street cred by looking for arguments and then claiming persecution when you get rebuttals.

                  - That you routinely project, for instance by claiming that your opponents’ minds are made up and unreachable, as if you had some psychic power to know how they arrived at their conclusions. (Jesus hates the practice of sorcery, by the way.) You’re either too ignorant, too stupid, or too dishonest (take your pick; it’s at least one, shithead) to grasp and admit that most people have already considered the evidence and found it not merely lacking, but nonexistent.

                  - That you had to lie specifically about me:

                  (One bloke even chastised me because I said that Christians and atheists should live and let live.

                  What I said was that it was hypocritical to seek out arguments and then complain about the responses by whining that people should leave others be, which is what YOU did, hypocrite for Jesus.

                  I could continue, but if you have half a brain*, you can get the point: You’re an egotistical liar with a persecution complex who can’t be trusted to even live by what you want to hammer people with. Because it isn’t about your beliefs or your alleged principles; it’s about making yourself feel like a cool outsider.

                  Please, child: Grow up. And no, dimwit, that isn’t an ad hominem either.

                  *So of course as you read this, your entire thought process resembles a wind-up monkey clanging cymbals together. And no, dimwit, that isn’t an ad hominem either.

                • bobmo

                  “And no, *dimwit*, that isn’t an ad hominem either.”

                  LOL!!! This would be very funny if you meant it as a joke, but I suspect that the irony was entirely lost on you.

                • glebealyth

                  I, for one, would love to see your “proofs”.
                  I would also like to see some verifiable evidence to support those “proofs”.

                  I am an agnostic atheist, as most atheists are. This means that I do not have a belief in god, for the reason that I do not have access to any evidence to warrant a belief in god.

                  I am also honest enough to declare that if you, or anyone else, can provide evidence demonstrating that there is a god, I will become a believer.

                  Please go ahead.

                  btw, quotes from holy books of dubious provenance are not members of the set Evidence.

                  There is overwhelming evidence that the god of the bible does not exist, in the form of the failure to keep the unequivocal promises made on its behalf in the bible. What you must provide is not refutation of this fact but evidence of the existence of god. Please do so.

                • Jim Achmoody

                  A Pascal quote comes to mind: “In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t”.

            • LEW

              they’re…

            • gooday

              My sheep will know my voice, God has healed me of Galvanize poisoning.
              He told me my wife was pregnant and a boy 5 weeks before she found out.
              She didn’t believe me when I told her but 28 years later he is a Doctor
              and she believes now. Seek him and he will reveal himself. seek and you
              will find. Through the Bible, Columbus found out the world was round.
              Scientist just found out in the last 100 years that platletts in the
              blood reach there maximume clotting ability on the eight day but God
              told the Jews thousands of years ago that the 8th day is the day that
              they should circumcise their boys. I hope you find God.

              • The Other Weirdo

                Da faque did I just read?

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

                *snicker* No such thing as “galvanise poisoning”, Liar For Jeebus.

          • 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.

            • Albert

              You are correct. People can educate people in all sorts of incorrect biased inaccuracies.
              But where have the claims of Christianity been shown to be false?

              • Toreador

                The question you pose is not meaningful. It’s not incumbent upon me to disprove every belief. It is incumbent upon the person making the extraordinary claim to show that they are demonstrably true.

                In the case of Christianity, as with all claims of the supernatural, the onus rests with the claimant to produce evidence of supernatural occurrence that is:

                a) demonstrable-that is, visible to more than the person making the claim; objective, rather than subjective;
                b) disprovable-that is, able to be tested rigorously, not containing circular reasoning or logical gymnastics that make testing impossible; testable under conditions that prevent fraud or misdirection.
                c) reproduceable-that is, able to be repeated, or repeatedly observable.

                Supernatural claims meet none of these criteria. Visible, spectacular miracles involving alteration of the laws of physics, surely within the power of a deity to provide, seem to have stopped altogether with the invention of the camera, as if a god is afraid of paparazzi, or has performance anxiety. Claims of miracles appear to have been relegated to the subjective, or to situations in which falsifiability is not possible. Convenient, but unconvincing.

                • Jb Achmoody

                  It would be one thing if there was a shred of evidence for macro evolution, such as a transitional form or two, an explanation for L-forms as the exclusive amino acids of biota, the ‘Cambrian explosion’ etc. The fact is it takes immeasurably more faith to believe in Darwinism than an Infinite mind behind the complexity and beauty of our universe. And then there is the question of evil and moral law etc.

                • Toreador

                  Please tell me you’re not going to use those tired, discredited arguments. There are millions of “transitional forms.” In evolution, ALL forms, including you, are transitional. The fossil record, a random, if detailed accounting of previous life forms, is littered with transitional fossils of nearly every phylum, class, etc. Please read a little biology.

                  Secondly, you can’t possibly bring up the Cambrian Explosion and creationism in the same argument, without contradicting yourself. The Cambrian period, which resulted in a relatively large increase in differentiation of species, appeared a little over 540 million years ago, and took 20 million years to develop. It didn’t mark an increase in life forms, only the differentiation of macroscopic forms. Both of those things are inconsistent with any idea of creationism. Usually, the thing brought up by creationists next, without noting the irony of using genuine evolutionary science to try and explain creationism, is “punctuated equilibrium,” as written about by Stephen Jay Gould and others.

                  I suggest you look up the term “allopatric speciation.” Somewhere other than wikipedia, and written by someone who actually does work in the field of biology, with an appropriate education.

                  That was just silly. Try harder.

                • Jb Achmoody

                  Circular reasoning and the problem of induction
                  Joel Feinberg and Russ Shafer-Landau
                  note that “using the scientific method to judge the scientific method
                  is circular reasoning”. Scientists attempt to discover the laws of
                  nature and to predict what will happen in the future, based on those
                  laws. However, per David Hume’s problem of induction, science cannot be proven inductively by empirical evidence, and thus science cannot be proven scientifically. An appeal to a principle of the uniformity of nature would be required to deductively necessitate the continued accuracy of predictions based on laws that have only succeeded in generalizing past observations. But as Bertrand Russell
                  observed, “The method of ‘postulating’ what we want has many
                  advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest
                  toil”.[7 pretty good for a famous sceptic

                • Toreador

                  Hume despaired of this. The problem is that the problem is itself a mistake. Induction requires assumption of principle. Science requires experimentation and error correction. If a question yields an answer that does not meet the criteria of the question, either 1) The answer is incorrect; 2) The experiment is flawed; or 3) You’ve asked the wrong question. Science, done right, is self correcting in these three ways. Karl Popper writes about this.

                  Russell, in speaking about postulation, saw this. His writings warned against postulates, and for observation with correction as data changed. Russell, it should also be said, was a gadfly, and enjoyed these logical conundrums for their lively debate.

                • Albert

                  Toreador,
                  Your three points seem to me making the claim that we can’t know what is true unless we use the scientific method. That only through that means can we know truth.
                  Is this an accurate understanding of your claim?

                • Toreador

                  Without getting trapped in a meaningless semantic debate about “truth,” the scientific method provides the most reliable data, and consequently the most reliable conclusions about the universe so far.

                  Ideas such as “afterlife” or “deity” are constructs that cannot be tested, and have provided no OBJECTIVE data. They are purely subjective, and are therefore not useful. They are no more or less provable than one another, thus Bertrand Russell’s cosmic teapot. You may feel it useful to argue amongst yourselves about which version of unproven, invisible being created the universe. I’ll stick with what can be demonstrated.

                • Toreador

                  If you are trying to “prove” Christianity to those who do not currently accept it based on subjective teaching, you must provide some objective evidence, according to the above criteria, or the listener may justifiably dismiss it as unobservable and not rational.

                • Albert

                  I asked my question about the science method the scientific method has its own limits in what it can tell us in regards to truth.
                  For instance, the science method does not tell us if something is true but rather it just tells us the results of our findings from some sort of research or experiment. The science method is inductive. We find truth, not through induction, but rather from deduction. By looking at the inductive results from the experiments or the research that was done, we can deduce what the results mean and what the conclusion is.
                  Your 3 points of criteria is missing some very important things. 1) not everything we know is repeatable. History, for example, is not repeatable. We can’t have George Washington be president again to make sure he was at one point in time. We rely on different points or criteria to determine if history is true. But this is all deductive, not inductive.

                  To show Christianity to be true is simply pointing to the bible and saying, Christianity is following the words in that book. It’s a religion that holds it’s belief’s that the canonical bible is the word of God. I don’t know how else I would prove Christianity to you.
                  Now, if you wanted me to prove that Jesus was who he claimed to be, that too can be done, but that is something separate from Christianity in that we need to go deeper than what the religion of Christianity believes or follows.

                  But, for me to ‘prove’ it to you can not be done with the limitations you have specified in your criteria. But neither is anything else that has ever happened in history. History is not repeatable. Does that make sense?

                  Also, To discuss a compilation of 27 books that mention supernatural events, you can’t simply dismiss the supernatural or the discussion is moot.

                  If you state that you would first need evidence that the supernatural exists, then I need from you what would be acceptable proof that is not limited to your criteria mentioned before. That criteria, as I have said before, leaves no room for even history to be proven, let alone the supernatural. Also, as you look at the word ‘supernatural’ you need to be aware that this is different than the ‘natural’ world. That means that you can not expect strictly natural evidence to prove the supernatural, when, by definition, it is not simply natural in it’s context.

                  If I was asked to prove that unicorns exist, We need to start from a world view that doesn’t dismiss them from the get go. If not, there would never be any evidence I could ever show you that would convince you because the world view you are using would dismiss their existence from the beginning. Any evidence I showed you would be automatically throughout without consideration. We have to look at Christianity from a world view that accepts the supernatural as a possible variable or answer.

                  Are you willing to view this from a world view that allows for the supernatural? If not, your criteria, regardless if it allowed for non-repeatable events, it would not work because the supernatural is dismissed out of hand.

                • Toreador

                  History often requires revision as new evidence presents itself. History is fuzzy, but correlation and experimentation on materials gathered from the past can tell us about conditions and certain events. Anthropology, archeology, biology, geology, etc., are all disciplines that can provide scientific context to history. You are absolutely correct that the actions and events of history can never be fully known. We can, however, safely say that Washington never flew across the Delaware on wings he grew due to prayer. The remainder must be judged on whether the evidence backs it up, and taken with a large grain of contextual salt, since interpretation weighs so heavily upon the writing of history.

                  In regard to the deductive reasoning behind Christianity, we run into a larger problem. You point to a collection of writings, culled from a much larger body of writings, which has been edited, revised, cut and pasted, and translated dozens of times. You then tell me that this book is internally consistent, which it is not. The supernatural elements of the Bible (assuming we’re talking about that particular collection of desert tales, and not one of the other supernatural being origin stories), are unprovable, and have, conveniently, disappeared with the advent of recording devices.

                  The Bible hardly meets criteria for reliability. It’s contradictory, often fatally, has been edited, with entire books removed or added according to the will of popes, scholars and kings; it’s been translated by persons who didn’t understand the context of the languages they translated, in order to satisfy the political as well as spiritual needs of the rulers at the time. There is a different Bible for Catholics and Protestants, with ten full books removed for the latter. If it’s divinely inspired, then someone’s missing something, or someone else is getting filler. The gospels were written decades to centuries after the life of the person who they supposedly describe. NONE of the authors of the gospels actually knew this Yeshua fellow. Even the earliest gospel, that of Mark, was written second hand, by a fellow who may have known Yeshua, some 30-50 years after his execution. Mark is a compilation, with at least three authors spanning about 170 years, if the evidence is sound. The authors of the gospels, by the way, were educated in the Greek system that encouraged the mythologic padding of stories in order to give them epic weight.

                  To point to Christians and say, “They all think it’s the word of God and follow it, so there must be something to it!” is a logical fallacy. I know of people who claim to follow the Jedi Order, but that doesn’t make them Jedi. Besides, like all religious people, you’re cherry-picking your theology, and discarding all the ones that aren’t in your particular book. Why don’t Christians believe that Apollo carries the sun across the sky in a chariot? A lot of people, many of whom were around when portions of the Bible were written, believed it to be so. There must be something to it. After all, there were books that said so, written by scholars.

                  Criteria 1 of my 3 would suffice to get me thinking about the supernatural. If you could demonstrate, in a controlled environment, an action that clearly violates what we know of the universe and the laws of physics, that would be a starting point. Say, the events in Joshua 10:12-14. Or, perhaps, rearranging the stars in the sky to spell, in the language of the person reading it, “I AM THAT I AM.”

                  Even that, by the way, only meets Arthur Clarke’s statement that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. It would require revision of the laws of physics, but may not definitively prove the supernatural.

                  If you want to prove that unicorns exist other than on the pages of books and in the imaginations of children, then show me a unicorn. It’s that simple. A unicorn can be touched, and measured, and X-rayed. A silly comparison. It can be demonstrated, with a sample, that such an animal exists. Give me a herd of them, and you make a better case, by the way.

                  Want to prove a god? SHOW ME A GOD THAT CAN BE MEASURED IN SOME WAY. One that doesn’t disappear in a poof of logic in the presence of cameras, and which persists somewhere other than the minds of its adherents.

                • Marshall

                  Toreador,

                  With all due respect, you need to research the historicity & accuracy of the Bible. The correorrelation and experimentation on materials gathered from the past can tell us about conditions and certain events. Anthropology, archeology, biology, geology, etc., are all disciplines that can provide scientific context to history.

                  All of these are used to prove the historocity and accuracy of the Bible. Please perform some reseach before making accusations that have no correlation or experimentation associated with them e.g. internally consistent – the Bible has a theme – the sovereignty of God almighty and the sanctification of his name. Every book chosen reinforces this theme. It is historically accurate, factual and prophetic, it’s transimssion is accurate (not interpretation, research Scribes/copyists), its canonicity is well established. To say otherwise would be to discredit Judaism and Chritianity; can you really prove these religious ideologies are mere fantasy? Is history really that fuzzy?

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

                  All of those actually prove that the Wholly Babble is a work of fiction.

                • Albert

                  How do you come to that conclusion?

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

                  How can you come to any other conclusion, given the evidence?

                • Albert

                  What do you mean? Give me an example of what you are talking about.

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

                  I refuse to believe you cannot understand what I meant. The Wholly Babble is straight up fiction because many of the events depicted therein (not to mention some of the characters) are physically impossible in the real world.

                • Albert

                  I understood what you meant, that’s not the problem. The issue is I’m asking for an example from you to back up your assertion.

                  You said, ” the Wholly Babble is a work of fiction.”

                  If so, then show how you came to that conclusion. You should have some sort of evidence or proof to back up your assertion.

                  You said, ” because many of the events depicted therein (not to mention some of the characters) are physically impossible in the real world.”

                  First, an example would be helpful to understand what events or characters you are directly speaking about.

                  When you say ‘real world’, are you referring to the natural world?
                  If so, then I would agree with you. That is true. But I’m guessing the characters you are referring to are not of the natural world, but of the supernatural realm, right?
                  If the canonical bible speaks of them in that way then it is not trying to convince you that they exist in the natural world, but rather in the supernatural world and are interacting with the natural world. Which is consistent in how it is written.
                  The canonical bible speaks from a world view where the supernatural exists. So the events and the people are consistent with that world view. If you don’t believe these events or characters are possible, then you must show how you come to that conclusion.

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

                  First you have to prove that the supernatural exists.

                • Albert

                  That’s fine. What kind of evidence would you accept as evidence that the supernatural exists?

                  I’m asking because if I point to something and say, “There is an example.” You could simply say, I don’t believe it. That isn’t going to fly.

                  For me to prove that the supernatural exists, I first need to understand what kind of evidence you are willing to accept for it.

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

                  Concrete, measurable, solid evidence.

                  The simple fact is, if the supernatural existed, it wouldn’t be supernatural. It would simply be part of what is natural.

                • Albert

                  Would you consider the same type of evidence for proving that the wind exists as evidence acceptable for the supernatural?

                  You said, “The simple fact is, if the supernatural existed, it wouldn’t be supernatural. It would simply be part of what is natural.”

                  First, I don’t understand how you come to that conclusion.

                  Webster’s defines the supernatural as the following: “unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature : of, relating to, or seeming to come from magic, a god, etc.” and “of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe;”

                  The supernatural is called the supernatural for a reason.

                  Secondly, when you say things like, ‘if the supernatural existed…’ it shows that you are probably not open to accepting any evidence that I present to you. But I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, if you care to continue.

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

                  That’s the whole point — there is no actual evidence, beyond people’s alleged “experiences”, and therefore the “supernatural” can be ruled out.

                • Albert

                  You didn’t answer my question: Would you consider the same type of evidence for proving that the wind exists as evidence acceptable for the supernatural?

                  You want ‘Concrete, measurable, solid evidence’ but are unwilling to hear it without first making a presupposition that the supernatural does not exist.

                  I can show you what I believe to be evidence of the supernatural.
                  But the problem isn’t that there is not actual evidence, but that you don’t want to even hear it.
                  That’s being intellectually dishonest.

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

                  If it can’t be measured by science, it’s not evidence.

                • Albert

                  Is an eye witness account not evidence of an event?

                  They use eye witness testimony all the time in court rooms for some very serious crimes, don’t they?

                  How are those eye witness accounts measured by science?

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

                  First off, “eyewitness testimony” has been found to be extremely unreliable.

                  Second, in a court case, that testimony, if accurate, is backed up with physical evidence.

                • Albert

                  You said, “First off, “eyewitness testimony” has been found to be extremely unreliable.”

                  That is a claim; do you have a resource?

                  You said, “Second, in a court case, that testimony, if accurate, is backed up with physical evidence.”

                  So how does this apply to documents of antiquity? I’m not referring to just biblical texts, but also non-biblical.

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

                  Thanks for the link.

                  You didn’t answer my second question though. ; How does this apply to documents of antiquity? I’m not referring to just biblical texts, but also non-biblical.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  You mean like dark matter?

                • baal

                  Um, the bible doesn’t really say much about biology and what it does say seems kind of loopy. I’m thinking about :Talking snakes, burning bushes, virgin births for humans, knowledge trees, instant food (mana) etc. God could have made his book better by including DNA or some good hints on the central organizing theory of biology, evolution.

          • Jim Jones

            > My wife, growing up in a Buddhist family in Japan, was partly educated by Catholics.

            So, IIRC, were Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot. Not sure you want to brag about that.

            > Anyone who is persuaded by Richard Carrier to doubt the existence even of Jesus, is also living in a historical fantasy world.

            “Anyone who is persuaded by anyone to doubt the existence even of Superman, is also living in a historical fantasy world.”

            “Anyone who is persuaded by anyone to doubt the existence even of Spiderman, is also living in a historical fantasy world.”

            Yeah, because all claims without evidence are true.

            • ShoeUnited

              Now see here, Jim Jones.

              I will not have you misspell the name of my lord and savior, Peter Parker.

              It’s Spider-Man.

              XD

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

                Lies, both of you! It’s Rogue. She can steal both of their powers.

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

                  But Spidey isn’t a mutant. I thought it only worked on other mutants…?

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

                  I thought she took Captain Marvel’s powerset, which is not mutant-y and more cosmic power/alien-y. I could be wrong, though.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Unless they’ve changed it since around 1998, Rogue’s power is a total theft of inherent abilities, including mutations, induced mutations (e.g. the Fantastic Four), and abilities native to aliens that humans don’t possess, as well as accumulated knowledge, memories and skill sets (so she can absorb the ability to cast magical spells). She even absorbed Juggernaut’s entirely-mystical strength and invulnerability, although he had so much that she could only “take” about half.

                  But for all I know, Marvel toned it back a bit to get her under control. Protagonists like that are hard to write, even when there are huge drawbacks to their powers. Now when she was a villain, it was something else.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  Is that even in the same universe?

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

                  Rogue and Spiderman are same universe, yeah. Marvel does Avengers teams with Spiderman on a regular basis. Superman is DC, so of course they’re not same universe.

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

                  Can I just say how much I’m loving this tangent? It’s geekily awesome!

            • CPhoenixG

              those two aren’t even remotely comparable. While i will admit that the evidence for his actual existence outside of the Bible is scant, it does exist. First you have to realize, that in the historical context of the time and place where he lived, he was kinda small beans. The Roman Empire and their puppet government in Israel kinda had other things on their hands, like dealing with a vast populace that was opposed to their rule. If he existed in historical records, it would either have been as a passing mention, or in local records. those local records were very unlikely to survive. However the Jewish historian and Roman sympathizer Josephus DID make just such a passing mention. It was maybe a couple of sentences. And while there was little direct mention of Jesus as a historical figure, we do know that other figures mentioned in the Bible, including Pilot and also many of Jesus’ disciples, did exist because there is stronger primary source evidence for their existence. On one hand this makes it very difficult to determine how much of the Biblical record of Jesus’ life is true. On the other hand it means that he did most likely exist.

              • glebealyth

                Pheonix, the provenance of the Testimonium Flavium has been discussed at length in another thread.

                It is widely regarded to be a fraud, inserted at the time when Eusebius was Bishop of Caesarea. Eusebius was famous for promoting the practice of lying for the furtherance of the gospel.

                Take a look at http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lying_for_Jesus.

                You will also see how Luther was wont to continue the tradition.

              • Art_Vandelay

                Regardless of the historical context, how did a guy go around walking on water, raising people from the dead, healing people through magic, turning water into wine and so on amount to “small beans.” At the very least, nobody could find one person to write that shit down as it was happening?

                • glebealyth

                  Jesus was the most amazing, fantastic human being ever to walk the earth, except that what he did was small beans, which is why nobody ever wrote anything about him.

                  Believers will apply apologetics (lies) to anything, if it helps them convince themselves that they are not actually deluded. Even better if they can convince someone else to believe as well. Stops them feeling so alone.

              • Tom

                What the hell bearing does the fact that Herod existed, or anyone else besides Jesus mentioned in the bible, have on the historicity of Jesus? Charles Darwin shows up in the Science of Discworld books, but that doesn’t mean Mustrum Ridcully also exists.*

                *more’s the pity.

                • islandbrewer

                  The Librarian is my favorite.

              • Jim Jones

                This is the “magic Jesus” argument.

                He was exactly unknown enough that no one wrote down even the tiniest piece of information about him, his time of birth, his date of death, anything about his parents, brothers or sisters, nothing at all. It all had to be invented 100 years later.

                But he was also so important that priests in the temple marveled at him, great crowds listened to him, others desired his death, he was important enough to be judged by Herod in a special court and executed in a special way just for him, his body guarded incredibly by Roman soldiers.

                Bullshit.

              • moon_goddess235

                And in this as-yet unnamed mystery text where all of these things are written, are the disciples names still Paul, John, Ringo and George? Pretty weird names for a middle eastern country, if you ask me…

              • HoboBanana

                Josephus read the accounts in Greek, later on…he wasn’t a contemporary. And Romans were OCD-level meticulous about record-keeping…and kept track of omens. A man rising from the dead would have been mentioned as one *powerful* omen

            • DreadPirateZed

              >> So, IIRC, were Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot. Not sure you want to brag about that.

              Stalin was definitely not Catholic; he was (briefly) destined to become an Orthodox priest. Mao was raised as a Confucian. Pol Pot and Hitler, though, went to Catholic schools.

          • TonganJedi

            Church “education” is always couched in the overall goals of maintenance of beliefs or conversion of the unbelieving regardless of the quality of education. If a religious school teaches “internal reflection”, it’s taught in the context of finding answers in a god (or whatever made-up superstition the school espouses). If a religious school teaches critical thinking, it’s more often taught in the context of defending the dogma, not looking elsewhere for answers.

          • glebealyth

            Christians do not educate people, certainly not freely.
            Christians offer indoctrination, thinly veiled as “education”. Once the Jesuits had the child, they could turn him/her into what they desired. This is not education.

          • brea

            Indoctrination and education have no correlation.

          • Jim Jones

            > “This comment is itself grossly out of touch with reality:”

            Unlike David Marshall?

          • Darcy Jackson

            What exactly are you saying David? Should one ignore facts over faith? When should you stop doing this? There is a huge lack of evidence for a historical Jesus and that’s a fact. Voltaire may have been educated by the Catholic Church but the church of today seeks to stymie it. Prayer in itself is nothing more than repetitive advertising.

            In the end the Slick guy gave his daughter the tools needed to break free of the Christian fallacy. I may not know much about other gods but I do know that the Christian god does not exist.

          • Jane Ravenswood

            Christians may have educated people. However, educating people using lies is not the same as educating people facts, how to think, and not accepting supernatural nonsense in order for the Church to have power. It’s quality, not quantity. And dear, there is no historical Jesus Christ. Christians are not worshipping some itinerant rabbi who did no miracles. They claim that a magical man existed, and there is no evidence he did. Even the claim that a man existed that was so very famous thousands of people came to watch him is hilarious since I rather think that the Romans would notice a *legion* worth of people gathering at one time right outside an occupied city.

        • 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.

          • 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?

            • Jim Jones

              Every piece of evidence confirms that gospel Jesus never existed.

              The following is a list of writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time, that Christ is said to have lived and performed his wonderful works:

              Josephus, Philo-Judaeus, Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Suetonius, Juvenal, Martial, Persius, Plutarch, Justus of Tiberius, Apollonius, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Quintilian, Lucanus, Epictetus, Silius Italicus, Statius, Ptolemy, Hermogones, Valerius Maximus, Arrian, Petronius, Dion Pruseus, Paterculus, Appian, Theon of Smyrna, Phlegon, Pompon Mela, Quintius Curtius, Lucian, Pausanias, Valerius Flaccus, Florus Lucius, Favorinus, Phaedrus, Damis, Aulus Gellius, Columella, Dio Chrysostom, Lysias, Appion of Alexandria.

              Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.

              Philo of Alexandria was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

              He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead took place — when Christ himself rose from the dead, and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had they really occurred, were unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not.

              From “The Christ” — John E. Remsberg

              BTW, there’s also nothing about Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls — and there should be.

              • Tjadlow

                Hi Jim,

                Would you please comment?
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUB5fDW5xq8

                • matske

                  .. crickets..

                • Jim Jones

                  Read the comments on the video.

                  “It is my suggestion that anyone interested by this should seek out the entire unedited debate.”

                  Yep.

                • Tjadlow

                  No need to seek out. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0UIbd0eLxw

                  Please, demonstrate how the context makes Dr. Dawkins not affirm the historical reality of Jesus.
                  Interesting how your opponent is supplying the ‘full context’ while you rely on cheap ad hominem quips.

              • edb3803

                This is always a good point to make. Why didn’t more writers of the TIME say anything about this supposed super guy??? The silence is deafening!

                • Jim Jones

                  Yes. When I found that the only extra biblical evidence for Jesus was a very poorly done forgery that was the end for me.

              • Bill

                Are you serious? Remsberg’s list was refuted a while ago.

                http://www.tektonics.org/qt/remslist.html
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRTkXbQPn0M

                • Jim Jones

                  Not by either of those two links. The text rant misses the point – Remsberg cast a very wide net and still found no references to Jesus.

                  The video was destroyed by just one comment:

                  Then again, forget it. You’re banned for plagiarizing.

                  I ignore people who pull this crap.

                  So like the cheese, Remsberg stands alone and undefeated.

                • Bill

                  If you would like to discuss this further, I would suggest that you email JP Holding (jphol@att.net) or come to Theology Web. Comment sections are never good for lengthy discussions.

                • Jim Jones

                  I’m not that interested. This is a simple proposition – did gospel Jesus exist?

                  Clearly not.

                • Bill

                  Be careful.

                  You just committed the fallacy of argument of ignorance.

                  You said Jesus does not exist. Not “I don’t think He did”.

                • Bill

                  Most of them don’t even write about the same things.

                  I cast a wide net of contemporary anime critics and none of them mention Richard Carrier in their writings. Therefore, Richard Carrier doesn’t exist.

                • glebealyth

                  I cast a wide net of contemporary anime critics and none of them mention Richard Carrier in their writings. Therefore, Richard Carrier doesn’t exist.

                  Bill,

                  You must know how specious that argument is and how ridiculous it makes you look.

                  Let’s face it, a birth certificate for Richard Carrier can be produced. Of how many messiahs and current US presidents can the same be said?

                  Even for many other, less “wonderful” figures in history than Jesus, there are enough references to make doubting their existence difficult. This is not the case for Jesus, for whom there are actually no historical references outside the New Testament and the Testimonium Flavium.

                • Bill

                  Before I continue, would you like to continue this discussion on theologyweb? Disqus is confusing.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Please tell me that comment about current US presidents was tongue-in-cheek.

                • glebealyth

                  Yes. Of course it was.
                  ;o))

                • Bill

                  1)

                  2) Within 150 years, there are the following: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, whoever wrote Hebrews, James, Peter, Jude, Clement of Rome, 2 Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, Fragments of Papias, Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Aristides, Theophilus of Antioch, Quadratus, Aristo of Pella, Melito of Sardis, Diognetus, Gospel of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, and Epistula Apostolorum.Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, Apocryphon of John, Treatise on Resurrection, Josephus (for some reason, you discredit him), Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Phlegon, Lucian, Celsus, Mara Bar Serapion, Suetonius, and Thallus (maybe).

                  3) “Even for many other, less “wonderful” figures in history than Jesus, there are enough references to make doubting their existence difficult.”

                  Really? Have you ever heard of the challenge issued by Rational Responders? They challenged people to come up with major figures not referenced by contemporaries in the ancient world. They had so many entries that they cancelled the contest.

                  Source: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/atheist_vs_theist/604?page=2

                • glebealyth

                  Most of those must be barred by virtue of vested interest.
                  Testimonium Flavium is an obvious forgery, inspired by the Eusebian doctrine of lying for the faith.
                  Of all of those, how many are contemporaries of Jesus & how many are historians rather than apologists/missionaries?

              • Job

                The dead sea scroll are parts of
                the Old Testament.

                • Jim Jones

                  Almost everyone accepts that they were written right up until the destruction of Masada in 73 or 74 CE, long after the supposed Jesus’ execution. Surely the son of god would have gotten some mention, at least in Josephus who was supposedly the sole survivor and documented it. And yet the church had to resort to forgery to get a mention!

              • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

                How many of these writers mentioned any Jewish or Samaritan claimant(s) to royalty or priesthood besides Jesus? Your list is worthless in arguing against the historicity of HJ as imagined by secular scholars.

                • Jim Jones

                  You make no sense at all. How many of the gospel writers mentioned Harry Potter’s friend, Hermione?

                • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

                  Zero. What was the purpose of your question, which appears to me to make no sense at all?

          • 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.

            • Ignatius

              Evidence is lacking? Tacitus, Josephus, the Talmud and the Ossuary of St.James. Those are off the top of my head without looking anything up. I’m assuming we are discounting the work’s of his immediate followers right?

              • Dirty_Nerdy

                Ummm, maybe you should look some of those up. None of them are considered contemporaries of Jesus and a couple of them are considered insertions…in other words “forgeries.”

                • Ignatius

                  “Considered his contemporaries” Tacitus, who had access to roman execution records, said that Christians worship Ieshua the Nazarene who was put to death by Pontius Pilate. If there was no record of Jesus’s execution that would have been shouted from the rooftops. People back then didn’t much like Christians. ;)

                • MrMoto

                  Interesting, but I can’t seem to verify your assertion here. Wikipedia says nothing about “Ieshua the Nazarene”

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

                • Ignatius

                  I’m sorry, I was quoting from memory and did a poor job of it. the relevant wiki page is here:

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

                • Dirty_Nerdy

                  Actually when Tacitus was writing, as far as I can remember, nobody really cared that much one way or the other about Christianity and the Christians were trying like mad to prove that their religion was true. If there were evidence in the execution records, or anywhere really, then that would have been proclaimed from the rooftops. Likewise, the Christian scribes which were the ones later responsible for copying all of these early writings had *every* reason to want to play up any mention of Jesus, even if it was merely somebody saying “yeah, those Christians believed in him and said he was put to death.” It’s much like if somebody 2,000 centuries removed from us were to look at a book written *about* cryptozoology and use that book to prove that the lochness monster exists because “hey, this guy here says that people believed it was true.”

                • Jim Jones

                  Rubbish. Given a few slightly different twists of history you’d all be worshiping Glycon with just as much fervency and scorning the ludicrous Jesus myth.

                • Erp

                  What execution records? There _might_ have been records in Rome of the execution of Roman citizens but unlikely of executions of non-ruling class non-citizens done in remote provinces (and none of them have survived). From the non-Christian point of view the Christian admission their founder was an executed convicted criminal was too embarrassing not to be accepted as true (even if many of the Christians tried to put the blame on the Jewish and not on the Roman authorities). The preponderance of evidence (which does not include the shroud of Turin or various other forged or misinterpreted artifacts) is for most historians that Jesus of Nazareth existed, had a small following, was executed by the Romans, and that his followers believing he was resurrected started a movement within Judaism that eventually split off and became Christianity.

                • Jim Jones

                  > The preponderance of evidence is for most
                  historians that Jesus of Nazareth existed.

                  No, it isn’t. Most real historians concur that Christians existed. Jesus is a myth figure with no evidence worth examining.

                • Bill

                  With that line of logic, you would destroy the entire ancient world. Hardly anything was contemporary. When you show contemporaries are a requirement in Ancient History, let me know.

                • Dirty_Nerdy

                  Actually, I just recently asked a friend who is an historian about this very thing, because I wasn’t sure how to evaluate everything surrounding the historicity of Jesus. As it turns out, historians actually *don’t* put much weight on writings done about historical figures that weren’t written by contemporaries, especially if they don’t have other reliable evidence from the time period. So yeah, I feel pretty confident in this. This was personal correspondence, but I’m guessing you could also go ask an historian about how contemporary writings are evaluated for historical figures. I’m guessing you would get the same answer.

                  Furthermore, it doesn’t really matter much to me whether or not Jesus was an historical person. Even if Jesus existed, one would still have to provide evidence that all the supposed miracles are true, and then provide evidence that this Jesus was actually the son of a god (of course, this supposes that they’ve already been able to show evidence that god exists). I’m willing to leave the question open about whether or not Jesus existed, since it doesn’t really make that much of a difference to the argument.

                • Jim Jones

                  I’ll go this far: There may once have been the very best evidence for Jesus – a criticism of him and his cult written by an opponent. If so, it has been lost (or destroyed by the church) thus eliminating best evidence.

                  I believe that Alexander invented Glycon because of Lucian’s criticism of both. Jesus? Not so much.

                • Bill

                  I will keep this brief. I will evaluate more later.

                  Can you provide a citation or some other credentials?

                  It’s not enough to say “a friend who is an historian”.

                • Dirty_Nerdy

                  I know that’s not enough. Which is why I also explained why it doesn’t really matter whether or not Jesus actually existed. I was explaining why I personally feel confident in saying that I don’t think there is any good evidence for Jesus’ historical existence. The reason I resorted to personal correspondence with somebody I knew was precisely because I was having a hard time finding anything on how historians typically evaluate contemporary writings about historical figures. But like I said: it doesn’t really matter.

                  As it stands it seems like there are many secular historians who are divided about the validity of Jesus’ existence. There isn’t much of a consensus to go on.

                • Bill

                  Have you actually done any research on historiography?

                  Just being a historian doesn’t make you credible. At all. Candida Moss is a Professor in the New Testament and doesn’t even know Acts 28 exists.

                • Dirty_Nerdy

                  At this point it seems like you’re not even reading what I said. So I’m done. Have a nice day. And I don’t give a shit whether or not Jesus exists.

                • Bill

                  Interesting.

                  Yet you bothered to ask a historian. All I said was that you cant rely on someone based on degree alone.

                • Dirty_Nerdy

                  It’s called being curious about something for a couple of weeks, not finding a satisfactory answer and resorting to asking a knowledgeable friend. The exact question I took to my friend was how contemporaries are defined in studies of historical figures and what importance those contemporaries have toward determining a figure’s historicity. What he said directly contradicts what you claimed above regarding the evaluation of contemporaries related to historical figures. I was simply letting you know that I trust my personal friend (whose qualifications I do know) more than I trust some random stranger on the internet. You may feel the same way about me though, and you would feel perfectly justified, which is why this whole back and forth we’ve had just seems so pointless.

                • Bill

                  Interesting.Who was this historian and what university did he/she attend? Is his specialty ancient history? Where did he come up with this criteria? Even atheist historians have never heard this one; perhaps your ‘friend’ knows something they don’t?

                • glebealyth

                  Again, Bill, your argument is specious.

                  The difference is this: that no-one is saying that the creation, existence and purpose of the world and humanity is set out in a book about ancient Carthage written by someone who was not there.

                  Believers ARE saying this about the contents of a book also written by people who were not there.

                  The difference is in the scope of the effects of the book and as the claims about the effects of the bible are so enormous, so must be the evidence to support its provenance.

              • Dower_House

                Try googling some non apologetic sites for the evidence of the above (Tacitus, Josephus, the Talmud and the Ossuary of St.James).

                Sorry who are his ‘immediate followers?’ As I understand it there is no written account by anyone who actually met Jesus – does hearsay stand up in court?

            • Bill

              Carrier is a joke. Especially when he promotes ideas like this. http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/2011…atermills.html

          • Jim Jones

            And yet, despite a desperate search for 2,000 years, the only support for the Jesus myth outside of the fictional gospels and epistles is one extremely poor forgery.

            • Bill

              So, you reject Jesus because of miracles, yet all of the Ancient World records miracles. And if other historians recorded miracles about Jesus, you would regard them as “fiction”.

              This isn’t a history issue, but a philosophical one.

              Try again, bud.

              • Jim Jones

                > So, you reject Jesus because of miracles.

                Nope.Because there’s no evidence for Jesus whatsoever. Paul didn’t know what was in the gospels because those myths hadn’t been created or copied yet.

                • Bill

                  Your Remsberg list has already been refuted.

                  Also, you ignore the historicity of oral tradition. Going by only manuscript evidence is not sufficient.

                • Jim Jones

                  > Your Remsberg list has already been refuted.

                  Not yet. And “the historicity of oral tradition” gives us Robin Hood, King Arthur, William Tell, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot … and alien probing.

                • Bill

                  Right… Try again.

                  http://www.tektonics.org/qt/remslist.html

                  And besides, you go off topic. I didn’t say the oral history made it true. You said Paul knew nothing of the Gospels. oral tradition disagrees.

            • Dan Ortiz

              you miss the roman historians like tacitus, or the acts of pontius pilate. you should take up research bud… it is good for the brain :)

            • Dan Ortiz

              hahahahahaha is that meme still going on…. I suppose facts will never affect a mind made up…. I pity you.

              • Jim Jones

                > I suppose facts will never affect a mind made up.

                No, you prove this.

        • Fools Rejects

          Depending how far or how deep your new social gains have taken you, we have already put up a $125,000 wager in a Challenge to take on anyone who have some understanding of Biblical precepts —to prove us wrong. Or we will debate you, anytime and anyplace. Please: no bottom feeders or dirty mouthed chest-beating little trolls. Stay in your pond!

          http://surpriseendings.ca/

          • Madison Blane

            1)The James Randi Educational Foundation offers $1,000,000 to anyone who can prove the existence of something, anything supernatural that actually exists, with repeatable provable results. There are numerous skeptic organizations around the world that have prizes for people who can prove the existence of God without saying ‘I just know he’s there because I feel him”. Why doesn’t Jesus show up and shut these ‘blasphemers’ down? There are other groups as well. Lots of people have tried but no one has been able to prove anything in a scientific test with proper controls. In fact, many of the people have been caught using various tricks to make it look like they were capable of supernatural actions.
            2)People who use the term ‘fact’ when asking for proof of evolution have no basic concept of how science works. Gravity is not a fact, it’s a theory. But you don’t go leaving your house via the rooftop everyday just to see if it might be wrong!
            3) Arguing with or trying to prove anything to a devout theist is like playing chess with a pigeon – regardless of what I say, or prove, you’ll still just knock over the pieces, shit on the board, and strut about as if you won! No thank you.

            • Albert

              1) Interesting.
              What is the whole premise of science? Isn’t it to examine evidence around us in the natural realm? Something that is excluded by default is the supernatural, right?

              I’m curious, would those same people offer $1,000,000 to anyone who can prove the existence of a dinosaur using the same repeatable provable results?

              Can dinosaurs be proven to exist through some scientific repeatable process?
              Can you prove a miracle really happened through a repeatable process, can you?

              Would you agree that there are also things we know not using science?

              If the assertion is that science is the only way to know truth, then the burden of proof is put on that person making that claim to show what scientific experiment they used to come to that conclusion, right?

              Something supernatural doesn’t fit within the natural realm of science so there is no way to present evidence that will ever fit the results you are demanding.

              Just like finding a dinosaur fossil is not a repeatable thing. Unless you go away, forget you found the fossil, come back to the same location and find it again. But that would not really fit a true repeatable process, would it?

              Now, there are ways to show evidence that when put together with other evidence you start to paint a picture that can show proof for something supernatural. But this is not done through science. Sure you can use some things like DNA, the way design is shown to have been used in most objects, such as humans, plants, animals and even our universe.

              You see a big picture of all of these little design evidences brought together and start to see that somewhere there was a designer involved. Now, of course, you could say that the one that designed all of this was just another created thing, just like us, but with more intelligence and ability. But then the burden of proof would fall on you to explain how you come to that conclusion.

              The bible presents a plausible explanation for how the universe and everything in it came to be. Is it conclusive proof? Of course not, if you are expecting it to fit a scientific model. But then again, as I explained above, there are limits to what science can show or evaluate.

              Miracles, by definition, are not something that is provable using science. Can they be explained away by science? Perhaps, but just as you might warn a religious person to stay away from a “God in the gaps” sort of assertions, I too warn you of a “naturalism in the gaps” assertion.

              If I wanted to prove that Gravity or the wind is something that exists, I simply point to science and show that these things exist based on repeatable testable experiments. Even though they can’t be seen, they can be shown to be something that exists.

              But look at the word ‘supernatural’. The word itself says that it is not natural. Science can only test and provide evidence of the natural world.

              And even as many atheist will say, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, They fail to ever explain what extraordinary evidence is. It’s very easy to insist on that type of evidence, but it’s very hard to define what you mean. And it also gives you an out to say, “Nope, that isn’t extraordinary enough!”

              They have rigged the challenge from the start to never find a winner.

              You said, “Why doesn’t Jesus show up and shut these ‘blasphemers’ down?”

              Wasn’t that the whole point of the bible being written, to provide the world the message that Jesus did show up and was who he claimed to be?

              You said, “In fact, many of the people have been caught using various tricks to make it look like they were capable of supernatural actions.”

              I don’t see how many people being caught faking it has any bearing on Jesus and what he did or on each other. This is not a very scientific way of determining what is true or not, wouldn’t you agree?You have to take each of these people, including Jesus, and evaluate them each as separate cases. You can’t just lump them into a group and say because many of them were shown to be caught using tricks that they are all tricksters. Percentages do not a trickster make. If that was the case, you could say that because there were many people that bought a lottery ticket and lost, there will never be a winner. But we know that it’s always so, right?

              2) I agree with your assessment about how people use the term fact. Many people do claim that science “fact” is the only way to know truth. But that in itself would have to be proven using the science method, right?

              3) I have never understood the point of this comment. I could say the same thing about the atheists I have conversations with. I have never seen the point of discussing an issue of your goal is to win the argument. Because in reality, the point of discussing these issues is to come to the truth, right? There is no winner if we both walk away and don’t agree on what is true and what is not. I win nothing if I don’t walk away wiser and more informed about what is true. Should we drop conversations at times? Sure. But only to go and do research on what was brought up in the conversation, not because we felt like we lost or we won.

        • Bershawn300

          I take it you haven’t heard of Messianic Jews.

          • Jim Jones

            I’ve heard of the FLDS.

        • Albert

          You said, “I realized there isn’t even evidence for the very basic existence of Jesus”

          What do you define as evidence?

          What is your view of the books of the bible in relation to Jesus existing in history?
          What is your view of the extra-biblical references such as:
          Josephus, Thallus, Tacitus, Suetonius, or Pliny the Younger?

    • 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…

      • 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.

        • Tjadlow

          In what way is he irrational?

          • Tjadlow

            If I could just have a quarter for every skeptic who loves to talk smack w/o understanding….;)

            • 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.

              • Tjadlow

                You seem rather confident of your view….;)

                • Casey Wollberg

                  And you’re a flea.

                • 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.

                • 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]

                • Tjadlow

                  Hey, DS.
                  Is the universe contingent?

                • HoboBanana

                  Tjadlow, what does it matter if the universe is contingent….and how can we tell?

                • Tjadlow

                  Great question.
                  Contingency is subject. It can be acted upon and is mutable. the physical universe is subject to time and can be acted upon, therefore, it is contingent.

                • Michael Harrison

                  What does that mean, “subject to time”? Are you talking about the entropic Arrow of Time? Or just the component of spacetime in which, locally, (how do I express this?) change is perceived as occurring relative to? (probably not like that.)

                  What does it mean to be acted upon? Acted upon by what? As I understand the phrase, something can only be acted upon by something outside itself; if it changes due to internal forces, that’s just the thing changing.

                • Tjadlow

                  Yes, but if it is changing, then it is subject to whatever is acting upon it. Agree?

                • Michael Harrison

                  Disagree. I am arguing semantics: the phrase “acting upon” implies there is an outside force, whereas change is not necessarily evidence of such an outside force. I’m accusing you of trying to use a Trojan phrase to sneak God in.

                • Tjadlow

                  I would charitably disagree, Dougie.

                • Matt D

                  Shocking.

                • Jim Jones

                  > No one can or will prove or disprove the existence of God.

                  Too easy.

                  I am God.

                  Prove me wrong.

                • 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 … )

            • 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

                Please elaborate.

              • Jim Achmoody

                pretty funny

            • RobMcCune

              There are easier ways to make $1.25, you could open a lemonade stand. :)

          • 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.

            • Dan Ortiz

              how is being a theist irrational?

              • baal

                “how is being a theist irrational?”
                Other than it’s supernaturalistic character? How do you view Cthulhu worship?

              • 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.

                • Tjadlow

                  >How is it not? To be a theist is to believe in that for which there is zero evidence.
                  Ha! You deny the existence of the universe?!

                • C Peterson

                  Ha! You deny the existence of the universe?!

                  Glad to know you’re just here to be silly, and your other comments can be taken in that light. Saves the effort of bothering with any serious response.

                • Tjadlow

                  I’ll take that as a concession;)

              • glebealyth

                Please reply…

                How DO you view Cthulhu worship?

                • Dan Ortiz

                  havent heard of him

                • Dan Ortiz

                  what is Cthulhu?

                • glebealyth
                • Dan Ortiz

                  what is your point again?

                • glebealyth

                  Cthulhu, like YHWH, like Jesus, like Allah, like Vishnu, is a fictional character, sorshipped by some.

                  What is your opinion of Cthulhu worship.

                  Yes, it is a pain going back to old thread, especially when disqus fails consistently to return to the comment(s) in question via the link it provides by email.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  Jesus fictional?…. hahahahahahahaha… so let me get this straight… all the historians are wrong… yet you are right?…. ahhahahahahah Perhaps you’ve been reading too much Richard Carrier… you do know he is not taken seriously right?
                  Why would the sorship of chultu affect me? Im not bothered if silly people want to make religion look silly by worshipping a literary creation and looking silly as they do I have no problem with that. But they are basing their critique on a strawman.
                  The problem is darling that your post shows your ignorance of comparative religion; Yahweh and Allah are the same, how can you not know that?
                  My original question is how is theism irrational? you haven’t answered.

                • glebealyth

                  Okay Dan,

                  Tell me where Jesus is referenced by eye witnesses OUTSIDE the gospels (themselves created for political purposes three centuries after the events).

                  Every piece of evidence confirms that gospel Jesus never existed.

                  The following is a list of writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time,
                  that Christ is said to have lived and performed his wonderful works:

                  Josephus, Philo-Judaeus, Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Suetonius, Juvenal, Martial, Persius, Plutarch,
                  Justus of Tiberius, Apollonius, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Quintilian, Lucanus, Epictetus, Silius Italicus, Statius, Ptolemy, Hermogones, Valerius Maximus, Arrian, Petronius, Dion Pruseus, Paterculus, Appian, Theon of Smyrna, Phlegon, Pompon Mela, Quintius Curtius, Lucian, Pausanias, Valerius Flaccus,
                  Florus Lucius, Favorinus, Phaedrus, Damis, Aulus Gellius, Columella, Dio Chrysostom, Lysias,
                  Appion of Alexandria.

                  Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in
                  this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.

                  Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of
                  Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on
                  earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre
                  occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
                  He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection
                  of the dead took place — when Christ himself rose from the dead, and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had
                  they really occurred, were unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not.

                  From “The Christ” — John E. Remsberg

                  There’s also nothing in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

                  You have NO historical evidence, merely hearsay, wishful thinking and downright lies.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  Tell me why the name of a jewish rabbi who was poor should make the pens of most writers who wrote for money?The fact that you even brought that up shows your ignorance in how history works and has changed throughout times.
                  Please think for yourself not take everything that Carrier says whole, it is only right to be informed.

                  Im assuming you mean the Josephus entries, and probably Tacitus aswell. But how about the Acts of Pilate? Have you forgotten that document was written at the time of Jesus.
                  Even if Josephus was added, it is only the “Christ” title that was added, not the reference to Jesus. Most scholars agree on that, either in the NT or in Josephus studies.

                  “Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death ofChrist. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on
                  earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre
                  occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
                  He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection
                  of the dead took place — when Christ himself rose from the dead, and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had
                  they really occurred, were unknown to him.It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not.” hahahahahaha this here is laughable… do you really think that events in the gospel of John that did not happen have ANY sort of relevance to the historicity of Jesus? Do you not think that a historicity is different than narrative… or you must be one of those fundamentalists christians who think the bible is literally true in every word…

                  Come on mate, you are looking for evidence to support your otherwise already made-up mind…. exactly like fundamentalists do…. I suppose Eric Hoffer is right…. the opposite of a dogmatic religious is not a dogmatic atheist.

                • glebealyth

                  No Dan,

                  It is YOUR mind that is made up.

                  The difference between us is simple: you come up with evidence that is verifiable; you come up with evidence even that the promises of Jesus have been kept (are you raising people from the dead and healing the sick? Is the generation that was contemporaneous with the myth still alive? Or, did Jesus return and we all missed it?) and I will admit my error and believe.

                  It is you who is dogmatic. You have to be as it is an item of faith and is counted for you in the Big Book of Good Boys that your deity writes in as a blessing.

                  I have no dogma. You have no evidence. My eyes are focused on the here and now, yours on some unproven, unknowable future. I have knowledge, you have faith, and because you have faith, you will never be as happy as I am.

                  The only thing I ask is that you wither put up or shut up, and that you stop asking for special privileges and considerations because you believe in something you cannot demonstrate.

                  btw, Hoffer was wrong – the only thing more dogmatic than a dogmatic religious is two dogmatic religious.

                  I believe the current tally is 42,000 xian sects, so far, most of whom cannot agree. So much for the Comforter and the Spirit of Knowledge.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  ahhhhhh… we have come to the crux of the matter…. You read the bible like a fundamentalists does. If we had started here everything else would have averted.

                  The problem is not all christians read the bible like fundamentalists. For example “the Big Book of Good Boys that your deity writes in as a blessing.” who said my deity wrote the Bible? I sure didn’t. The bible is a human construct, that does not falsify a historical Jesus.

                  “I have no dogma. You have no evidence. My eyes are focused on the here and now, yours on some unproven, unknowable future. I have knowledge, you have faith, and because you have faith, you will never be as happy as I am.”…… hahahahahahahhaha… ok… if you say so…

                  Another example “(are you raising people from the dead and healing the sick? Is the generation that was contemporaneous with the myth still alive? Or, did Jesus return and we all missed it?)” I assume you mean this things are based on “and all these things will happen within this generation” in Mark… Well, when was Mark written? probably after 70ad, which if you did not know was when “these events happened”. The writer of Mark wrote in the prophecies to point out the divinity of Jesus (amongst other things)…. HOW DOES THIS HAVE ANY BEARING ON A HISTORICAL JESUS? It doesn’t…

                  The problem bud is that you think that by accepting the historicity of Jesus you have to accept the divinity claims…. not true. Not the same thing.
                  Of course I do but my belief has no bearing either in Jesus existing or not.

                  Now, you seem to think you are in some sort of “truth” quest that even the scholars won’t go into… well you’re not. By denying academia, which is what you are doing, you make yourself the same as a YEC, think about that. You have become that which you dismiss.

                  BTW, Hoffer said the opposite of a religious dogmatic is an agnostic cynic who cares not if God exists or not. You are not that, you are as dogmatic as the WBC to me. You were brought up in a fundamentalist social group right?

                • glebealyth

                  No. I was not brought up in a fundamentalist environment.

                  Where is your evidence for a historical Jesus?

                  Not a single contemporary historian wrote about him.

                  I do not consider (xian) theology to be a valid part of acedemia, any more that I consider phlogiston chemists to be scientists. While it is fine to study the texts and ponder their cultural effects, as one might any literature, this has no bearing upon the existence of god.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  “No. I was not brought up in a fundamentalist environment.” Why do you read the bible like a fundamentalist then? Can’t understand why for an atheist it is all or nothing?

                  I never mentioned theology (your attempt at poisoning the well is too clear), and we already discussed your little argument about contemporary historians. I guess Alexander the great is not historical either because Tacitus wrote about him centuries afterwards huh?

                  Since we’ve gone back in circles and not getting anywhere… I’m done here. Claim victory if you want…. you have not achieved anything (and come to think of it neither have I…)

                  Have a great life…. be willing to learn and be for something and not against something (you’re probably thinking science or truth right? )… and whatever you do… stop berating, mocking, insulting, demeaning religious people… you will end up making them fundamentalists.

                • glebealyth

                  It is not all or nothing rather, evidence or no evidence.
                  The bible, according to believers is the word of god, inspired by god and useful for instruction, etc., unless, of course, when it is not. Believers then claim to be in receipt of divine guidance when deciding which bits ARE useful and the word of their god, in exactly the same way the original authors did when they wrote that rebellious teenagers should be stoned to death, yet fail to provide any evidence to support their interpretation, nor as to why god got it wrong the first time.

                  For Alexander, there are other, reliable sources. For Jesus there is none.
                  when the religious stop making claims they cannot substantiate and some of them cease claiming that not believing as they do is sufficient reason to deny them equal rights as citizens, then it will be time far thinking people to stop berating, mocking, insulting or demeaning religious people. Religious people ARE fundamentalists, differing only in degree. A fundamental belief in an unchanging deity whose presence cannot be demonstrated is fundamentalism.

                  As to learning: unlike the religious, I learn constantly, in all areas of my life. the religious have a manual containing all knowledge, whose contents are not subject to revision, except for the sake of expediency. When I revise what I consider to be true it is because evidence arrives to demonstrate that what I previously considered to be true is not. The religious are forbidden from exercising that sort of discernment in respect of the unsupported, unsupportable and unsubstantiated beliefs.
                  I hope you have a great life. It will be facilitated by the removal of religious shackles.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  “Religious people ARE fundamentalists,” Why am I not surprised…

                  “As to learning: unlike the religious, I learn constantly, in all areas of my life. the religious have a manual containing all knowledge, whose contents are not subject to revision, except for the sake of expediency. When I revise what I consider to be true it is because evidence arrives to demonstrate that what I previously considered to be true is not. The religious are forbidden from exercising that sort of discernment in respect of the unsupported, unsupportable and unsubstantiated beliefs. ” hahahahahahahahaha so Newton didn’t accept the evidence huh?

                  “I hope you have a great life. It will be facilitated by the removal of religious shackles.” thank you… I have no shackles, I have wings :)

                • glebealyth

                  Tell me, Dan.

                  Do you believe in Allah? Thor? Vishnu? Poseidon?

                  If not, perhaps you could tell me why not.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  I do believe in Allah… it;s the same God is it not? About the others, I know not enough about them….

                • glebealyth

                  If god and allah were equivalent, there would have been no crusades, nor the current tendency to Jihad.

                  Check out the thousands of god that mankind has worshipped throughout its history. It would be interesting to discover why you are atheistic towards all of them, bar one.

                • Albert

                  Allah is the name of a specific god called out in a specific religion. Not all religions believe this Allah is the true God.

                  The Abrahamic god references in the old Testament or the Torah is sort of shared between three major religions; along with many off shoots.
                  But, the way that god is believed to be is different between those religions. The Jew’s say they are right. The Muslims say they are; and the Christian’s the same.

                  So who is right?

                  It’s true, that they all could be wrong in that the god mentioned doesn’t exist. But they can’t all be right in how they view that god.

                  So this is why someone can be atheistic, as you put it, towards other gods and not to the one they believe in. They hold certain evidence to be true in order for their god to be the true one god.

                  But that begs the question, which one, if any, is the right one?

                  We can’t simply dismiss them all and say they are all wrong. To do that, you much show how they are wrong.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  You don’t even know your history right Glebealyth… I bet you even blame the English for the failed Scottish colonization in America.

                  Allah is not a personal name similar to God in english. Prophet Muhammad, believed the God of the Jews and Christians were the same God.

                  “It would be interesting to discover why you are atheistic towards all of them, bar one.” You know I used to be an atheist… until I started reading scholarly works. Not the troll like (inept) comments that you seem to leave.

                • glebealyth

                  Absolutely everybody used to be an atheist, Fan.
                  Theism is trait which must be learned.

                  OK, so you consider Allah and YHWH to be equivalent. Fair comment.
                  Why are you atheistic towards all of the other thousands of gods that humanity has worshipped, but which you do not?

                • Dan Ortiz

                  hhahahahahahahah… actually babies are born with the belief in a God…. that is science bro…

                • glebealyth

                  Absolute tosh!

                  Babies are born with an underdeveloped right temporal lobe, so belief in god is not likely.
                  Belief in god is taught/learned and not innate.

                  You even take your hopes and fears with you when you venture into reality, do you not?

                  Now, please go away or, at least, be patient. I have some important work to undertake and cannot attend to your defence of your wishful thinking as rapidly as you would like.

                  As to my opinion of the failed Scottish colonization, it is irrelevant. Your mention of it is merely n indicator of your unwillingness or inability to address the question I asked which was, effectively, to justify your atheism towards all other putative deities in which you do not believe.

                  I shall address your answer to that, and only that, when considering which of your comments to respond to. When you have addressed that, we can move on to your other points.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  From an Oxford academic…. I believe the technical term is check…. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/3512686/Children-are-born-believers-in-God-academic-claims.html

                • Dan Ortiz
                • glebealyth

                  Were you to read beyond the headline, you would have discovered that babies are born assuming a purpose to everything.
                  The belief in god conclusion is the academic’s interpretation of this. As the academic cannot prove the existence of any god, he can only interpret and not present evidence or facts.

                  You are, I believe the technical term is, clutching at straws.

                  Now, please go away, at least for a few days, as there are more important things on my agenda than pandering to your delusions.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  Just realized… you are an Islamophobe….. I should have realized that before…. To me you are the same as those Jihadists that hate the west, the same as those KKK people or the WBC…. you are basically what you despise.

                • glebealyth

                  Actually, I am not afraid of Moslems.

                • Dan Ortiz

                  Hmmm….. why then the constant arguing about Allah not being God….. bizarre

                • glebealyth

                  Dan,

                  You might also like to consider just how unoriginal the authors of the Jesus myth were when creating it.

                  I admit to taking this from a website some time ago, and kept it for future use – a bit like having a bible on the shelf. I have also checked it out for accuracy myself and found it to be so. I also know that this is not an exhaustive of messiahs from religious history who are similar to your myth.

                  God-Men like Jesus”, born December 25th, before Jesus Christ was born!**

                  It seems to me like there are an awful lot a Christians out there that seem absolutely positive that Jesus is, of course, unique and the first of his kind. They are unaware that the myth of their Christ is similar to several other god-men myths. Here are some of those other mythical god-men that Jesus, the Christian Messiah, apparently shares roots with. While most Christians are unaware of these god-men, others will deny their existence and say that I (or anyone else who mentions them) is telling a lie. If not that, the devil simply planted the story of Jesus into the minds of people long ago, to lead the astray from the true Christ.
                  *Attis of Phrygia*

                  –Attis was born on December 25 of the Virgin Nana.
                  –He was considered the savior who was slain for the salvation of mankind. –His body as bread was eaten by his worshippers
                  –His priests were “eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven.”
                  –He was both the Divine Son and the Father.
                  –On “Black Friday,” he was crucified on a tree, from which his holy blood ran down to redeem the earth.
                  –He descended into the underworld.
                  –After three days, Attis was resurrected on March 25 (as tradition held of Jesus) as the “Most High God.

                  *Dionysus/Bacchus
                  *
                  Dionysus or Bacchus is thought of as being Greek, but he is a remake of the Egyptian god Osiris, whose cult extended throughout a large part of the ancient world for thousands of years. Dionysus’s religion was well-developed in Thrace, northeast of Greece, and Phrygia, which became Galatia, where Attis also later reigned. Although a Dionysus is best remembered for the rowdy celebrations in his name, which was Latinized as Bacchus, he had many other functions and contributed several aspects to the Jesus character:

                  –Dionysus was born of a virgin on December 25 and, as the Holy Child, was placed in a manger.
                  –He was a traveling teacher who performed miracles.
                  –He “rode in a triumphal procession on an ass.”
                  –He was a sacred king killed and eaten in an eucharistic ritual for fecundity and purification.
                  –Dionysus rose from the dead on March 25.
                  –He was the God of the Vine, and turned water into wine.
                  –He was called “King of Kings” and “God of Gods.”
                  –He was considered the “Only Begotten Son,” Savior,” “Redeemer,” “Sin Bearer,” Anointed One,” and the “Alpha and Omega.”
                  –He was identified with the Ram or Lamb.
                  –His sacrificial title of “Dendrites” or “Young Man of the Tree” intimates he was hung on a tree or crucified.

                  As Walker says, Dionysus was “a prototype of Christ with a cult center at Jerusalem,” where during the 1st century BCE he was worshiped by Jews . . . Dionysus/Bacchus’s symbol was “IHS” or “IES,” which became “Iesus” or “Jesus.” The “IHS” is used to this day in Catholic liturgy and iconography.

                  *Horus/Osiris of Egypt
                  *

                  In the Egyptian myth, Horus and his once-and-future Father, Osiris, are frequently interchangeable, as in “I and my Father are one.” Concerning Osiris, Walker says:

                  Of all savior-gods worshiped at the beginning of the Christian era, Osiris may have contributed
                  more details to the evolving Christ figure than any other. Already very old in Egypt, Osiris was identified with nearly every other Egyptian god and was on the way to absorbing them all. He
                  had well over 200 divine names. He was called the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, God of Gods.
                  He was the Resurrection and the Life, the Good Shepherd, Eternity and Everlastingness, the god who “made men and women to be born again.” Budge says, “From first to last, Osiris was to the Egyptians the god-man who suffered, and died, and rose again, and reigned eternally in heaven. They believed that they would inherit eternal life, just as he had done . . .”
                  Osiris’s coming was announced by Three Wise Men: the three stars Mintaka, Anilam, and Alnitak in the belt of Orion, which point directly to Osiris’s star in the east, Sirius (Sothis), significator of his birth . . .
                  Certainly Osiris was a prototypical Messiah, as well as a devoured Host. His flesh was eaten in the form of communion cakes of wheat, the “plant of Truth.” . . . The cult of Osiris contributed a number of ideas and phrases to the Bible. The 23rd Psalm copied an Egyptian text appealing to Osiris the Good Shepherd to lead the deceased to the “green pastures” and “still waters” of the nefer-nefer land, to restore the soul to the body, and to give protection in the valley of the shadow
                  of death (the Tuat). The Lord’s Prayer was prefigured by an Egyptian hymn to Osiris-Amen beginning, “O Amen, O Amen, who are in heaven.” Amen was also invoked at the end of every prayer.

                  As Col. James Chruchward naively exclaims, “The teachings of Osiris and Jesus are wonderfully alike. Many passages are identically the same, word for word.”

                  Osiris was also the god of the vine and a great travelling teacher who civilized the world. He was the ruler and judge of the dead. In his passion, Osiris was plotted against and killed by Set and “the 72.” Like that of Jesus, Osiris’s resurrection served to provide hope to all that they may do likewise and become eternal.

                  Osiris’s “son” or renewed incarnation, Horus, shares the following in common with Jesus:

                  –Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Merion December 25 in a cave/manger with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
                  –His earthly father was named “Seb” (“Joseph”).
                  –He was of royal descent.
                  –At at 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized having disappeared for 18 years.
                  –Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus or Iarutana (Jordan) by “Anup the Baptizer” (“John the Baptist”), who was decapitated.
                  –He had 12 desciples, two of who were his “witnesses” and were named “Anup” and “Aan” (the two “Johns”).
                  –He performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised El-Azarus (“El-Osiris”), from the dead.
                  –Horus walked on water.
                  –His personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.” He was thus called “Holy Child.”
                  –He delivered a “Sermon on the Mount” and his followers recounted the “Sayings of Iusa.”
                  –Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
                  –He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
                  –He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light,” “Messiah,” “God’s Anointed Son,” “the “Son of Man,” the “Good Shepherd,” the “Lamb of God,” the “Word made flesh,” the “Word of Truth,” etc.
                  –He was “the Fisher” and was associated with the Fish (“Ichthys”), Lamb and Lion.
                  –He came to fulfill the Law.
                  –Horus was called “the KRST,” or “Anointed One.”
                  –Like Jesus, “Horus was supposed to reign one thousand years.”

                  Furthermore, inscribed about 3,500 years ago [1500 years before Jesus’ alleged advent] on the walls of the Temple at Luxor were images of the Annunciation, Immaculate Conception, Birth and Adoration of Horus, with Thoth announcing to the Virgin Isis that she will conceive Horus; with Kneph the “Holy Ghost,” impregnating the virgin; and with the infant being attended bh three kings, or magi, bearing gifts. In addition, in the catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother Isis—the original “Madonna and Child.” As Massey says:

                  It was the Gnostic art that reproduced the Hathor-Meri and Horus of Egypt as the Virgin
                  and child-Christ of Rome . . . You poor idiotai, said the Gnostics [to the early Christians],
                  you have mistaken the mysteries of old for modern history, and accepted literally all that
                  was only meant mystically.

                  *Krishna of India
                  *
                  The similarities between the Christian character and the Indian messiah Krishna number in the hundreds, particularly when the early Christian texts now considered apocrypha are factored in. It should be noted that a common earlier English spelling of Krishna was “Christna,” which reveals its relation to “Christ.” Also, in Bengali, Krishna is reputedly “Christos,” which is the same as the Greek for “Christ” and which the soldiers of Alexander the Great called Krishna. It should be further noted that, as with Jesus, Buddha and Osiris, many people have believed and continue to believe in a historical Krishna. The following is a partial list of the correspondences between Jesus and Krishna: –Krishna was born of the Virgin Devaki (“Divine One”) on December 25. –His earthly father was a carpenter, who was off in the city paying tax while Krishna was born.
                  –His birth was signaled by a star in the east and attended by angels and shepherds, at which time he was presented with spices.
                  –The heavenly hosts danced and sang at his birth.
                  –He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants.
                  –Krishna was anointed on the head with oil by a woman whom he healed. –He is depicted as having his foot on the head of a serpent.
                  –He worked miracles and wonders, raising the dead and healing lepers, the deaf and the blind.
                  –Krishna used parables to teach the people about charity and love, and he “lived poor and he loved the poor.”
                  –He castigated the clergy, charging them with “ambition and hypocrisy . . . Tradition says he fell victim to their vengeance.”
                  –Krishna’s “beloved disciple” was Arjuina or Ar-jouan (Jouhn).
                  –He was transfigured in front of his disciples.
                  –He gave his disciples the ability to work miracles.
                  –His path was “strewn with branches.”
                  –In some traditions he died on a tree or was crucified between two thieves. –Krishna was killed around the age of 30, and the sun darkened at his death.
                  –He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven “in the sight of all men.” –He was depicted on a cross with nail-holes in his feet, as well as having a heart emblem on his clothing.
                  –Krishna is the “lion of the tribe of Saki.”
                  –He was called the “Shepherd of God” and considered the “Redeemer,” “Firstborn,” “Sin-Bearer,” “Liberator,” “Universal Word.”
                  –He was deemed the “Son of God” and “our Lord and Savior,” who came to earth to die for man’s salvation.
                  –He was the second person of the Trinity.
                  –His disciples purportedly bestowed upon him the title “Jezeus,” or “Jeseus,” meaning “pure essence.”
                  –Krishna is to return to judge the dead, riding on a white horse, and to do battle with the “Prince of Evil,” who will desolate the earth.

                  *Mithra of Persia
                  *
                  –Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25 in a cave, and his birth was attended by shepherds bearing gifts.
                  –He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
                  –He had 12 companions or disciples.
                  –Mithra’s followers were promised immortality.
                  –He performed miracles.
                  –As the “great bull of the Sun,” Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace. –He was buried in atomb and after three days rose again.
                  –His resurrection was celebrated every year.
                  –He was called “the Good Shepherd” and identified with both the Lamb and the Lion.
                  –He was considered the “Way, the Truth and the Light,” and the “Logos,” [Word] “Redeemer,” “Savior” and “Messiah.”
                  –His sacred day was Sunday, the “Lord’s Day,” hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
                  –Mithra had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter. –His religion had a eucharist or “Lord’s Supper,” at which Mithra said, “He who shall nto eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.”
                  –“His annual sacrifice is the Passover of the Magi, a symbolical atonement of pledge of moral and physical regeneration.”

                  Furthermore, the Vatican itself is built upon the papacy of Mithra, and the Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version it replaced . . .
                  . . . Virtually all of the elements of the Catholic ritual, from miter to wafer to altar to doxology, are directly taken from earlier Pagan mystery religions.

                  *Zoroaster/Zarathustra
                  *
                  –Zoroaster was born of a virgin and “immaculate conception by a ray of divine reason.”
                  –He was baptized in a river.
                  –In his youth he astounded wise men with his wisdom.
                  –He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil.
                  –He began his ministry at age 30.
                  –Zoroaster baptized with water, fire and “holy wind.”
                  –He cast out demons and restored the sight to a blind man.
                  –He taught about heaven and hell, and revealed mysteries, including resurrection, judgment, salvation and the apocalypse.
                  –He had a sacred cup or grail.
                  –He was slain.
                  –His religion had a eucharist.
                  –He was the “Word made flesh.”
                  –Zoroaster’s followers expected a “second coming” in the virgin-born Saoshynt or Savior, who is to come in 2341 CE and begin his ministry at age 30, ushering in a golden age.

                • Albert

                  glebealyth, That is amazing! Those are a lot of similarities, huh?

                  Perhaps you can explain how those similarities dismiss Christianity as true?

                  I ask only because I don’t understand how a story can be false because another story or many stories have similarities.

                  Let me give you an example.

                  Let me give you an example for why I don’t understand your logic. Here are some of the details about a ship that is mentioned in a story:

                  - This was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men, 800 feet, displacing 75,000 tons, and was deemed “practically unsinkable”

                  - This ship carried “as few as the law allowed”, 24 lifeboats, less than half needed for her 3000 capacity.

                  - Moving at 25 knots, the ship struck an iceberg on the starboard side on an April night in the North Atlantic, 400 nautical miles (740 km; 460 mi) from Newfoundland

                  - This indestructible ship sank with more than half of her 2500 passengers drowning.

                  So let me guess, do you believe this is the Titanic after reading all of those details?

                  If that is what you thought you would have been incorrect.

                  I’m actually describing the details from a novella that was written 14 years before the Titanic ever sailed. It had two names, ‘Futility’, or the ‘Wreck of the Titan’ by Morgan Robertson.

                  Pretty amazing similarities, right?

                  We know the Titanic is real, don’t we? We also know that this ship the Titan is a completely fabricated story. But the interesting part is this story was written prior to the Titanic even being made. So it’s not like someone took a real event in history and wrote about it. No, history, on it’s own, came to show that even real stories can mimic made up stories.

                  So if we applied your logic to these to ships, we would have to say that both the Titan and the Titanic are not real ships; it’s all made up and false, right?

                  Do you see how your logic has a flaw in it?

                  The fact that there are stories that have many similar events in them like Christianity does, in no way makes Christianity false.
                  You still have to show how Christianity is false regardless if these other stories are true or false. You need to base each story on their own facts.

                  I believe there are plenty of facts that show that the people in Christianity, Jesus, Paul, Peter, and so on are real people that existed in history. And we can show that those other deity examples you presented are false based on their own evidence.

                • glebealyth

                  Surely you can see the difference – THERE WERE WITNESSES!

                  If you are, and I am sure you do, to dismiss the claims to deity for Mithra, Osiris and Zoroaster, why should the claims for Jesus be any more acceptable, especially as NO-ONE wrote anything about him until all the witnesses were conveniently dead and could not muddy the waters?

                  Your attempt at proof (refutation) by analogy is facile, I fear.

                • Albert

                  Glebealyth,
                  You said, “Surely you can see the difference – THERE WERE WITNESSES!”

                  Witnesses to what? Your statement is not clear.

                  You said, “why should the claims for Jesus be any more acceptable,”

                  They shouldn’t be anymore acceptable. They should be evaluated on their own merit just like any other story in history; which was my whole point.

                  The point was not to say that one is or is not true but simply to point out that you can’t dismiss one deity because another is shown to be false.

                  I was taking your logic for the deities and applying it to the Titan and the Titanic. And it showed the flaw in your logic plain as day.

                  If I saw a image of a concept car that was never built, Even if they have tons of similarities, I can’t say that other cars don’t exist. I have to take each one on their own merit to determine if they are real or not.

                  Your whole argument above about other deities was used to dismiss one deity(Jesus) because others (Mithra, Osiris and Zoroaster) are found to be mythical or untrue. This is flawed logic.

                  You have to dismiss each deity on the evidence for that deity, not on the evidence found for a different deity.

                  You said, “especially as NO-ONE wrote anything about him until all the witnesses were conveniently dead and could not muddy the waters?”

                  What do you mean that ‘NO-ONE’ wrote anything about him until all the witnesses were conveniently dead? What proofs are you basing this on?

                  You said, “Your attempt at proof (refutation) by analogy is facile, I fear.”

                  How so?

                  I believe I pointed out the flaw in your logic quite clearly.

                  The example I gave you of the Titan and the Titanic illustrate that point exactly.

                  You can’t say that because the Titan can be shown as nothing but a fabricated story that the story of the Titanic is also a fabrication simply because they have many similarities. You have to base each story on their own merits.
                  So following that same logic, in the case of your long list of deities that you have shown have similarities to Jesus, to dismiss Jesus because you show all of the other deities to be fabricated does not in any way mean that Jesus is fabricated.

                  You have to evaluate each deity on their own evidence and on their own merits.

                  If you don’t agree that I have showed a flaw in your logic, I’m open to listening to how you think I’m wrong.

                • glebealyth

                  And, evaluated on their own merit, they fail the test, unless you have decided their truth in advance, in which case no amount of evaluation will make any difference.

                  I used to accept them as truth until I was about 45 years old, at which time I discovered just how much of my life they and their adherents had cause me to waste.

                  Jesus was most likely a composite figure, created out of the innumerable messiahs doing the rounds at the time. Certainly, the creation of such a figure paid political dividends.

                  The Titanic existed, certainly and, a parallel and similar book exists.
                  Various mythologies pre-existed Jesus and the story of Jesus is merely another one.

                  For your analogy to be useful, the historicity of Jesus must have to have been established prior to using your analogy to support that historicity or to refute my position and arguments/observations.

                • Albert

                  You said, “And, evaluated on their own merit, they fail the test, unless you have decided their truth in advance, in which case no amount of evaluation will make any difference.”

                  So lets go with the premise that no truth has been presumed or established before hand.

                  What test are you referring to?
                  On their own merit, how do you see these fail the test?
                  How are you coming to the conclusion that they are false?

                  You said, “Jesus was most likely a composite figure, created out of the innumerable messiahs doing the rounds at the time. Certainly, the creation of such a figure paid political dividends.”

                  How do you come to this conclusion? What are you basing this on?

                  What political dividends do you see as being paid that made creating this story profitable?

                  You said, “The Titanic existed, certainly and, a parallel and similar book exists. Various mythologies pre-existed Jesus and the story of Jesus is merely another one.”

                  But the book existed before the real event, did it not? So what this shows is that even though a book(that we know is just a fabricated story) was written before a real historical event that happened, similarities in one story or event does not make another story true or false based on the similarities. They have to both be evaluated separately on their own merits.

                  And yes, various mythologies pre-existed Jesus. So what? This does not in anyway mean that Jesus was not a real person and that his claims of deity are false. The novella about the Titan and the Titanic events show you this to be consistent in logic.

                  You said, “For your analogy to be useful, the historicity of Jesus must have to have been established prior to using your analogy to support that historicity or to refute my position and arguments/observations.”

                  Huh? I’m not sure I follow your statement here.

                  What do you mean the historicity of Jesus must have to have been established prior to using my analogy?

                • glebealyth

                  I am simply asking thet there be credible, contemporaneous evidence. In the case of Jesus, there is absolutely none. The list of mute historians who were comtemporiaries and physically present in the region when and where the events ocurred is sufficient testimony to their mythical status.
                  The only evidence that can ever be presented is that of the New Testament, a sets of documents written, in their current form, three centuries AFTER the events are supposed to have happened and for not a single one of the authors whose names are appended to them do we have any evidence of their whereabouts other than the texts to which their names are appended. Rather like when your mother responds to the question, “Why?” with “Because I said so!”. It is not sufficient.

                • Albert

                  Glebealyth, You have said a lot in this last comment. So I’m going to break it down so as not to misquote or misunderstand you, okay?

                  You said, “I am simply asking th[a]t there be credible, contemporaneous evidence.”

                  Define credible contemporaneous evidence please.

                  You said, “The list of mute historians who were [contemporaries] and physically present in the region when and where the events [occurred] is sufficient testimony to their mythical status.”

                  What do you mean? How are they not sufficient for historical status?

                  You said, “The only evidence that can ever be presented is that of the New Testament, a sets of documents written, in their current form, three centuries AFTER the events are supposed to have happened…”

                  Well there are extra-biblical resources as well, but lets deal with your statement to start with.

                  If the New Testament were the only documents we did have for the evidence of Jesus, why is that a problem?

                  How do you come to the conclusion that these documents were written three centuries after the events they wrote about?

                  You said, “and for not a single one of the authors whose names are appended to them do we have any evidence of their whereabouts other than the texts to which their names are appended.”

                  How do you come to the conclusion that these names were appended to the texts?

                  What evidence of their whereabouts are you requiring? I guess this is something that could be answered once I understand your concern with the New Testament texts.

                  You said, “Rather like when your mother responds to the question, “Why?” with “Because I said so!”. It is not sufficient.”

                  I would agree; if that was the response, it would not be sufficient.
                  But how do you see this is the answer we are getting in relation to Jesus or the New Testament documents?

                • glebealyth

                  Webster or OED will provide you with the meanings of credible, contemporaneous & evidence, from which you may infer what I mean. However, in the same way that I would not believe that the events in the Harry Potter stories or the first chapter of Genesis, or the Flood myth, actually happened unless there was evidence outside of those books to suggest, prove or make credible the idea that they had, so I insist that there be some evidence outside of the New Testament to the events upon which they and xianity rest.

                  There is none.

                • Albert

                  Since we agree that Webster’s a good source for definitions, that is what we will use. This will help in understanding what each one says or means for specific things.

                  Webster states that:
                  -credible is “able to be believed : reasonable to trust or believe : good enough to be effective”

                  - contemporaneous is “existing or happening during the same time period”

                  - evidence is: “something which shows that something else exists or is true : a visible sign of something : material that is presented to a court of law to help find the truth about something”

                  So how do you show that Jesus or the New Testament, according to Webster’s definition of evidence can be dismissed based on Genesis or Noah’s flood account?

                • glebealyth

                  So how do you show that Jesus or the New Testament, according to Webster’s definition of evidence can be dismissed based on Genesis or Noah’s flood account?

                  Jesus – no contemporaneous evidence, and certainly none credible.

                  Noah – no evidence whatsoever and, more importantly, the events as described could not have happened as all the freshwater fish would have died and there would have been no living trees from which trained birds could have retrieved branches.

                  Genesis – Allegory, pure allegory, upon which a belief system is based. Could not have happened as described, not least because the events occur in the wrong order.

                  Please provide some evidence. If you cannot, stop asking me to support my non-acceptance of beliefs and myths and rather, supply evidence-based reasons why you do. You and the belief system is making the claims, not I.

                • Albert

                  You said, “Jesus – no contemporaneous evidence, and certainly none credible.”

                  Do you not consider the Apostle’s as contemporaries of Jesus?

                  You said, “Please provide some evidence. If you cannot, stop asking me to support my non-acceptance of beliefs and myths and rather, supply evidence-based reasons why you do. You and the belief system is making the claims, not I.”

                  First of all, I have not made any claims one way or another. As far as you know, I’m agreeing with you. My questions though are to understand your view on the subject.

                  Secondly, for me to provide some evidence to you does no good until I understand your point of view.

                  So far, the evidence you have shown me for you dismissing Jesus or the New Testament as being true is similarities to other gods, Genesis and Noah’s flood account.
                  Which I have shown that similarities do not make one story false just because another story that has similarities is false. And Genesis and Noah’s flood account can’t in anyway prove the New Testament or Jesus as untrue or not existing.

                  You are making claims. Your claim is that Jesus is a myth. But yet, your evidence for showing that is very lacking.

                  You seem to keep dismissing Jesus with evidence that has nothing to do with him directly.

                • glebealyth

                  What did the Apostle’s write?

                  The provenance of the NT is doubtful and unverifiable.

                  The NT relies upon the OT in Xianity, therefore, the reality of the OT is NOT moot.

                  Your analogy anout comparing stories is a false one in which you attempted to disprove my contention that Jesus was a myth based upon others with a comparidon of a true event against a novel
                  Analogies that compare apples with oranges are not analogies.

                  My claim is not that Jesus is a myth but that the NT does not provide evidence enough to make that myth believable.

                  I dismis Jesus on the basis that there is no evidence that he existed. If you know otherwise, lay out your wares. Put up or shut up.

                • Albert

                  You said, “The provenance of the NT is doubtful and unverifiable.”

                  What do you mean unverifiable?

                  What is your understanding of how we normally would verify the origin or source of an ancient document?

                  You said, “My claim is not that Jesus is a myth but that the NT does not provide evidence enough to make that myth believable.”

                  You just contradicted yourself in the same sentence. First you say your claim is not that Jesus is a myth and then make the statement that it he is a myth and that NT can’t prove otherwise.

                  Webster’s defines myth as follows:
                  “an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true : a story that was told in an ancient culture to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence : such stories as a group”

                  If Jesus is a myth, as you claim, you have to show how you are coming to that conclusion. You can’t simply dismiss him as myth because you have not seen what you deem as enough evidence to show you other wise.

                  You said, “I [dismiss] Jesus on the basis that there is no evidence that he existed. If you know otherwise, lay out your wares. Put up or shut up.”

                  To lay out evidence I will first have to understand how you interpret evidence. I need to understand how you see evidence from the same time period that you do consider valid. I need to understand what makes one piece of evidence valid where another one is not valid.

                  So lets use a historical person from the same time period as Jesus as a way to help me understand.

                  Here is the scenario:

                  I present you with a book (http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-18.htm ).

                  This book is Josephus’ ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ – Book 18. I point to chapter 6 which includes information written about a person named Tiberius Caesar.

                  How do you determine that this document is true or valid as a document of antiquity?

                  How do you verify that Tiberius Caesar is a real person?

                  Is there reason to believe this person is not a real person and just made up?

                  If so, how do you go about determining that?

                  You mentioned things like political dividends before. Is there anything that would give you the idea that this was happening in this document? How do you determine if there is one way or another?

                • glebealyth

                  You find other sources which document the events that are recorded in the NT.

                  There are none.

                  Unless you can provide some, you have nothing to offer and I think we should discontinue this conversation as I will learn nothing new form it.

                • Albert

                  So then you mean by providing other sources they help corroborate the story right?

                  So the New Testament consists of 27 documents. Many of those documents speak about the same events, do they not?

                  If so, how are you dismissing them as not corroboration for each other?

                  You keep wanting to dismiss me because I’m not providing something to you. But I’m asking to please allow time for us to build on what we have done. This is not a slow process. As you have seen, I have presented you with a document that mentioned Tiberius Caesar to see how you would evaluate this document different than those in the NT.

                  So what documents do we have to corroborate the information that shows that Josephus has that Tiberius was a real person?

                  You said, “as I will learn nothing new form it.”
                  That is true perhaps. But part of conversations are not so only you learn, but others learn about you, are they not? So please bear with me. I have plenty of evidence that I believe can be constructive and perhaps teach you something new if you give me the time and the chance.

                • glebealyth

                  Read the genealogies of Jesus.
                  They are wrong.
                  Read the stories of the crucifixion.
                  They are wrong and require one to believe that the Jews would break their own laws badly.
                  Nothing Paul says about the person of Jesus has any weight, as he never met him.
                  Where is the non-biblical account of the events surrounding the crucifixion, especially when Jerusalem was supposedly replete with walking corpses. This was a bigger event than the resurrection, happening when contemporary historians were present and working in the city, yet not a single one of them recorded either the resurrection or the mass-resurrection.

                  You cannot corroborate the NT from the NT. It goes against any rules of evidence. If it is acceptable then all pleas of “Not Guilty” should end all criminal cases.
                  Believers must accept the same rules of evidence that the rest of the world does or admit that they do not and come clean.

                  Do not trust Josephus. Josephus claimed to have seen the pillar of salt into which Lot’s wife was turned and claimed it existed at the time of his writing.

                  Sorry, you are offering me nothing new.

                • Albert

                  You said, “Read the genealogies of Jesus. They are wrong.”

                  How are they wrong?

                  You said, “Read the stories of the crucifixion. They are wrong and require one to believe that the Jews would break their own laws badly.”

                  How are they wrong?

                  You said, “Where is the non-biblical account of the events surrounding the crucifixion, especially when Jerusalem was supposedly replete with walking corpses.”

                  Good question. I don’t know of any. But where are the Christian or Biblical accounts of Julius Caesars Gallic Wars?

                  You said, “This was a bigger event than the resurrection, happening when contemporary historians were present and working in the city, yet not a single one of them recorded either the resurrection or the mass-resurrection.”

                  That’s a presumption on your part. The truth is, we don’t know if contemporary historians who were present and working in the city would write about this.
                  It could be that someone did write about it but, like the Dead Sea scrolls that were not found until around 1946, we haven’t found the document yet. That is at least a possibility, right?

                  But I will say this, just because we don’t find any other writings doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, right?

                  And again, it was written about in the Gospel of Matthew, so there is a resource for it. I’m not sure how you dismiss that as at least one account of the event happening.

                  You said, “You cannot corroborate the NT from the NT. It goes against any rules of evidence.”

                  You forget, the NT is not one book. It is 27 different books gathered together and bound as one. The sources themselves are separate. It would be no different than gathering up all the writings from and/or about Julius Caesar and binding them up in one book.

                  To dismiss them as one source would go against any rules of logic and reasoning.

                  You said, “Do not trust Josephus. Josephus claimed to have seen the pillar of salt into which Lot’s wife was turned and claimed it existed at the time of his writing.”

                  I have never heard this before. Do you have a resource that you can point to for me to look at this?

                  You said, “Nothing Paul says about the person of Jesus has any weight, as he never met him.”

                  Luke writes two personal letters to a person named Theophilus. Letters that he tells Theophilus are as accurate as he can possibly make them so that what
                  Theophilus has already been taught is written down in a orderly fashion. Luke describes how Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus. And Paul, in his letters tells us exactly the same thing; that he met the risen Jesus.

                  How do you come to the conclusion that Paul never met Jesus?

                • glebealyth

                  “Good question. I don’t know of any. But where are the Christian or Biblical accounts of Julius Caesar Gallic Wars?”

                  Why do you feel the need to ask this question as it is beyond the scope of our discussion?

                  I smell a red herring. You must feel you are losing, my friend.

                  “we don’t know if contemporary historians who were present and working in the city would write about this.”

                  Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of
                  Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on
                  earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre
                  occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
                  He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection
                  of the dead took place — when Christ himself rose from the dead, and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had
                  they really occurred, were unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not.

                • Albert

                  some uncleared up issues:

                  - You didn’t answer my questions about how the genealogy and crucifixion accounts are wrong.
                  - You didn’t provide me a resource for your Josephus claim of him seeing the pillar of salt.
                  - You didn’t answer how you came to the conclusion that Paul never met Jesus.
                  - Do you agree that the 27 books of the NT should be considered separate resources?

                  Now to continue:

                  You said, “Why do you feel the need to ask this question as it is beyond the scope of our discussion?”

                  I was asking to make a point that there is no reason to presume that non-believers would record these events.

                  We don’t know what people of that time would care to write about. We don’t know if they had agenda’s or certain views that would preclude them from writing down something. We don’t know.

                  To presume to know what the writers of that time would consider important enough to themselves to record is faulty and not dealing with what was written. We simply can not dismiss the Gallic Wars because someone we thought SHOULD have written about it, didn’t. We have to take what was written about it and go from there.

                  You said, “I smell a red herring. You must feel you are losing, my friend.”

                  I’m not trying to win, my friend. I’m a truth seeker. I don’t come into these conversations to win them. In fact, if that is why you have been posting, then you are in a losing battle. I don’t presume I will change your mind in any of this. This is why I have been asking more questions then answering. You have knowledge that I would hope you would be willing to share. You left Christianity for a reason. My goal in most of this has been to understand what made you leave. You said that you found Christianity to be fable, a myth. That Jesus was no longer real to you but you found him to be nothing more than mythological like all those others that you posted.

                  So I joined into the conversation because I wanted to understand what you learned. So far, the issues you have brought up, to me, don’t see so much as faith losing problems as perhaps misunderstandings for the most part. Not too different from Rachael’s issues. And that is why I ask the questions to see if perhaps you have some information that I’m missing. Make sense? I’m not here to win. I’m not that ignorant.

                  You said, “Philo was born before…”

                  That is a nice read but it’s faulty thinking at best. Again, you are presuming to know what the writer will want to write about. There is no way to know what is motivation was in his writings.

                  Philo of Alexandria dedicated his life to the defense of Judaism. This could explain why some of what you mention is not written about from him.
                  But yet, even if that is not the case, we still don’t know. You are presuming that he SHOULD have written about these events.

                  We need to address the facts based on what was written not what was not but presumed should have been written.

                  Can we leave presumptions off the table as to what people could or should have written about?

                  How about we look at something that was written.

                  Can you answer the 4 questions above as a start?

                • glebealyth

                  Read the genealogies yourself and do your own research.
                  Check the details of the crucifixion and do your own research.

                  My source for Josephus and the pillar of salt already appears on this thread.
                  Do your own research

                  Paul never met Jesus. Saul merely claimed he saw Jesus in a vision when Jesus asked why Saul was persecuting him.
                  Try reading your own holy book.

                  Why should I, or anyone, consider the 27 books to be separate, when they stand too good a chance of having been written (edited) at Nicea?
                  No, not presuming to know what someone would write about, merely that the event described would not have gone unnoticed, nor was it commonplace enough for Philo to have ignored as run-of-the-mill.

                  You are so desperate to believe, yet you do no reading, even to the extent of having to me, a non-believer, why I could say that Paul never met Jesus, when your own holy books says just that.

                • Albert

                  You said, “Read the genealogies yourself and do your own research. Check the details of the crucifixion and do your own research.”

                  You made the claim that they are wrong. That means you provide the evidence as to why your claims should be considered valid.

                  Plus when I see them, I don’t see anything wrong.

                  You said, “My source for Josephus and the pillar of salt already appears on this thread. Do your own research”

                  I’m starting to think you don’t have resources for these claims of yours.

                  Am I supposed to take you at your word?

                  You said, “Paul never met Jesus. Saul merely claimed he saw Jesus in a vision when Jesus asked why Saul was persecuting him.”

                  Really? I don’t remember Paul ever using the word ‘vision’. Paul was pretty adamant that he saw the risen Christ and not a ‘vision’, as you have stated.

                  And even if he did, how does that account for those around Paul hearing the voice as well? Luke recorded that in Acts too.

                  You said, “Why should I, or anyone, consider the 27 books to be separate, when they stand too good a chance of having been written (edited) at Nicea?”

                  Well one consideration is because the books that are included into the NT that was consolidated at the Council of Nicea in AD 325 all existed prior to that point in time. They didn’t all of a sudden mysteriously show up. And we can take manuscripts from the earliest known copies or fragments and compare them to those in a codex and see that they were not altered or changed in a manor that retracted their meaning.

                  Are there spelling errors? Sure, Butt we al kno we can stil undrestand a sentance when words are misppeled, right?

                  You said, “No, not presuming to know what someone would write about, merely that the event described would not have gone unnoticed, nor was it commonplace enough for Philo to have ignored as run-of-the-mill.”

                  That is a total presumption! You can not say that with a 100% validity that Philo or anyone else would have wrote about something. You are not them. Anything less is a presumption.

                  You said, “You are so desperate to believe, yet you do no reading, even to the extent of having to me, a non-believer, why I could say that Paul never met Jesus, when your own holy books says just that.”

                  What do you mean I do no reading? Now you are presuming what I’m doing let alone what those in 1st century AD wrote about.

                  WHERE does my own hold books say Paul never met Jesus? Please show me, because I don’t see that.

                  What I see is that Luke presents an account to Theophilus of what information he gathered from those people that witnessed the event of Paul seeing Jesus. These people say Saul change to Paul and accept Christ. Which was a major change in Paul’s life. He was killing Christian’s and now because one. Plus those around him heard the voice.
                  And you simply dismiss it as the bible says it was a vision.
                  But that doesn’t dismiss it. It might for you, because you don’t want to believe it, but it doesn’t dismiss what is written.
                  I could care less if someone believes it, but at least be intellectually honest and read the text. No where in there does it say he had a vision. And if he did, then you have to explain away the other people hearing it.
                  Did Paul have an experience? Yes. What you do with it from there is something else. But you can’t dismiss that something changed his life from killing Christian’s to becoming one and dying for what he knew he saw.

                • glebealyth

                  Try Acts 9:3 et seq.

                  A light from heaven and a voice do not sound like a vision to you? They certainly do not constitute a meeting.

                  Paul was a persecutor of the early believers, a rabbi from Tarsus and participated in the stoning of Steven.
                  He was a Jewish zealot who had never met Jesus.

                • Albert

                  You said, “A light from heaven and a voice do not sound like a vision to you? They certainly do not constitute a meeting.”

                  According to Webster’s: vision: the ability to see : sight or eyesight : something that you imagine : a picture that you see in your mind : something that you see or dream especially as part of a religious or supernatural experience

                  Is this what you mean by vision? If so,then yes I would agree that he had a vision. But you notice that a supernatural experience is a part of that definition. That means that Jesus, the risen Christ would fit your definition. Meaning that there should then be no problem is believing that Paul met Jesus, right?

                  You said, “Paul was a persecutor of the early believers, a rabbi from Tarsus and participated in the stoning of Steven.”

                  I agree. Yes, he was.

                  You continued on saying, “He was a Jewish zealot who had never met Jesus.”

                  Again, how do you know he never met him? If he was a Jewish zealot, a Pharisees to be exact, isn’t it possible that he would have seen Jesus in the temple at time or two while he was preaching?

                  And you are still not providing the evidence for how you claim that the genealogy and crucifixion accounts are wrong. It’s your claim, it’s your proof to provide.

                • glebealyth

                  Once more, Albert, you put the cart squarely before the horse and invoke “the risen christ” as the answer. The fact is, “the risen christ” is the question, and you have no right, either logical, rational or, indeed, moral to invoke this without proof.

                  Prove the risen christ first as, without that proof, the whole think stands upon so much shaky ground.

                • Albert

                  You said, “The fact is, “the risen christ” is the question, and you have no right,
                  either logical, rational or, indeed, moral to invoke this without proof.”

                  I presented you proof. Paul and Luke both attest to this fact that Paul witnessed the risen Christ. This is not my claim, this is theirs.

                  If you don’t agree with that claim, that is fine. But then it is up to you to explain it away.

                  You claim that it is a vision, but that does not explain it away. According to your own testament that you accept definitions in Webster’s dictionary I presented to you a definition that included those things of the supernatural.
                  I for one, would say that witnessing Jesus alive after dying on the cross is definitely a supernatural experience. and if not only fits the definition we agree upon, but it also fits the events as described in the book of Acts and Paul’s statements throughout his Epistles.

                  You said, “Prove the risen christ first as, without that proof, the whole think stands upon so much shaky ground.”

                  So here, lets do this.

                  1) We have an empty tomb that no one produced a body for. You seem to presume a lot in your assertions so why then didn’t the Jew’s just produce a body, wouldn’t this have stopped Christianity in it’s tracks?

                  2) Luke and Paul both attest to Paul witnessing Jesus.

                  3) We have additional people around Paul during is ‘vision’ that also heard to voice.

                  4) We have James, the brother of Jesus who converted after witnessing the risen Christ, when before he was not a believer in the least. He was also an eye witness, along with Paul, who wrote document(s) about the events they witnessed.

                  5) We have Peter and the rest of the apostles witnessing to the same fact of seeing the risen Christ.

                  6) We have a change of character in every single one of the disciples that follow Jesus for the 3 years of his ministry.

                  7) We have a extreme growth of Christianity where it is told that many saw Jesus after rising.

                  8) We have hundreds, even up to 500 people at one time, seeing Jesus after he was witnessed as dying on the cross.

                  These are evidences that Jesus claimed to be who he claimed to be according to the Gospels.

                  I’m presenting these facts based on the understanding that each one of the 27 books in the New testament are separate and individual books written at different times which means they are corroborating resources. If you dismiss that they are, then you are being intellectually dishonest to yourself and dismissive to an honest conversation.

                  And I will end this by saying, I could be wrong about all of this. But I don’t think I am. I have seen many things presented to me by you and others and I have yet to see anything that explains away the facts written in these documents.

                • glebealyth

                  You take their claim as an act of faith, not one based upon evidence.

                • Albert

                  You said, “You take their claim as an act of faith, not one based upon evidence.”

                  You are failing to assess the claim on it’s own merit and are attacking me directly. You don’t know how I take these claims other than by what I tell you. This seems to be a consistent process throughout your posts is you presume a lot. You have presumed what writers should write about, you look for evidence that you presume should be there and now you are presuming I am taking this information in by what you believe is through faith only.

                  You asked for proof, so I put some out there. It is now your turn to explain whether you agree with each of those points, and if not, why not?

                  Lets start with point number 1) We have an empty tomb that no one produced a body for.
                  What say you, do you believe this is true or false? If false, how do you come to that conclusion?

                • glebealyth

                  Whereas you presume it to be true on what basis.

                  The only presumption I make is that if someone bald a spectacular claim, that they will have evidence to back that claim up.

                  You have some for yours?

                  Apparently not.

                  When you have, and it survived being tested, you will have another humble (re)convert.

                  I did NOT attack you. You declared that the evidence consisted of self-referential remarks by authors about whom you know nothing, writing about things you cannot demonstrate that they had ever seen and I said that you accept their words by way of an act of faith and not an act based upon evidence.

                  This bald statement of fact is not an attack, unless you are very touchy and nervous of your position.

                • Albert

                  You said, “Whereas you presume it to be true on what basis.”

                  I have provided you a list of evidences. Are you willing to address them? I even suggested we start with #1 the empty tomb.

                  You have made several claims that you have not provided evidence or responses to:
                  -You didn’t answer my questions about how the genealogy and crucifixion accounts are wrong.
                  - You didn’t answer how you came to the conclusion that Paul never met Jesus.
                  - I asked you if you agreed with my definition of vision(which included the supernatural) You never answered that.
                  - I gave you reason to consider the 27 books to be separate. You haven’t said whether you concede them as separate or not. (this is paramount to me being able to provide for you evidence to back my case. If not you will simply dismiss it as the NT proving the NT, which is not what I’m doing.)
                  - I presented to you 8 facts from the Bible that I show as proofs for Jesus’ existence and deity. I asked you if you agree or disagree with them and why. You have not responded to them. Are you willing to stop the other tangents we are on to answer these?

                  You said, “I did NOT attack you.”

                  Lets look at what you said. “You declared that the evidence consisted of self-referential remarks….”

                  Where did I do this? Are you claiming that the 27 books of the NT bible are self referential because a group of people decided to consolidate them into one binding?

                  You went on to say, “…remarks by authors about whom you know nothing, writing about things you cannot demonstrate that they had ever seen …”

                  First of all, You are not me so you don’t know what I know and what I don’t know. The most you can do is assume.
                  Secondly, I presented a list of things the writers of those books said, not me. So stick to critiquing what they said, instead of assuming what you think I know.

                  I am not one that likes to go off on lots of tangents as the conversation goes nowhere fast. So instead, I would like to focus on one issue and address that until we both feel it is either agree upon or deem it not important to the over all assessment of the subject (Jesus existing and deity – which I believe is the major issue here).
                  Which ever outcome we find for this issue it is no longer brought up as a contention. Would you agree to this line for our conversation?

                  If so, one such claim you made was about Josephus. After you graciously provided a reference, I replied indicating that he had corroboration by two sources(which I provided links to) for his claim of seeing the pillar of salt. Does the corroboration change your mind in anyway that Josephus can not be trusted? If so, why? Is his trustworthiness dismiss that information provided by him about Jesus as a proof for Jesus’ existence?

                • glebealyth

                  I have been to and examined the empty tomb. Both of them: the Catholic and the Protestant one.

                  No crucified man would, under Jewish Law, have been allowed such a burial, as a crucified man was deemed to be curse (as per Isaiah et al) so the tomb would be just another fraud, as were the remnant of crosses so revered by the gullible through history.

                  As to you evidences. They are all self-referential. A little like claiming that all scripture is inspired by god and worthy … etc, because scripture describes itself as such.

                  Not only are your evidences circular, but you cannot even agree among yourselves as to their truth. I believe that at the last count, there are 40,000 different Xian sect and cults.

                  On what basis do you exclude non-canonical documents from your evidences?

                • Albert

                  You said, “No crucified man would, under Jewish Law, have been allowed such a
                  burial, as a crucified man was deemed to be curse (as per Isaiah et al)
                  so the tomb would be just another fraud, as were the remnant of crosses
                  so revered by the gullible through history.”

                  What are you basing this on?

                  You said, “As to you evidences. They are all self-referential.”

                  Why do you say that? Is this because I’m using a book of the bible to reference another book of the bible?

                  You said, “Not only are your evidences circular,”

                  I don’t understand how you can insist that using 27 separately written books as references is circular reasoning simply because later after they were written a group of people decided to bind them together into one book?

                  By that logic, I could dismiss any subject I wanted to simply by binding it up into one book. Evolution goes out the window. No more corroborating information, right? It’s all in one book so we have the right to dismiss it.

                  This s faulty reasoning. Each book stands on their own. Each book can be shown to have existed at least 113 years prior to the Council of Nicea. We can do this by looking at the writings of Origen of Alexandria or references all 27 books. We also have the Codex Sinaiticus which contains the entire New Testament
                  and almost the entire Old Testament in Greek. It was discovered by a German
                  scholar Tisendorf in 1856 at an Orthodox monastery at Mt. Sinai, and is dated around 350 A.D. This is around 13 years prior to the Council of Nicea.

                  If you continue to dismiss them as separate books, then I believe our conversation will be at an end. I have provided several reasons why they are not one book and why using one to reference another is not circular reasoning. Luke mentions Paul or certain events in Acts and Paul mentions the same events in his Epistles. This means they are corroborating each other.

                  That being said, whether you believe the event happened or not is another story. But the documents do corroborate each other. To deny this is to be willfully dismissive.

                  You went on to say, “…but you cannot even agree among yourselves as to their truth. I believe that at the last count, there are 40,000 different Xian sect and cults.”

                  This is a genetic fallacy. The number of sects or if they agree does not dismiss the evidence itself. You have to address the evidence itself, not the origins that either believe or don’t believe in it. This is no different that saying, “My mommy told me that the tooth fairy is real. Therefore: The tooth fairy is real.”

                  The origin of the evidence does not validate or invalidate the evidence itself. You still have to determine that on it’s own merit.

                  This is what you were doing too with mentioning the other gods too. You were dismissing Jesus because other gods were shown to not exist. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

                  You asked, “On what basis do you exclude non-canonical documents from your evidences?”

                  What non-canonical documents am I excluding? I don’t remember saying any such thing.

                • glebealyth

                  Basing it upon Jewish Law.

                  Do your own research.

                  27 separate books, written by an unknown number of people, edited (badly) for coherence, full of errors of fact.

                  You still insist upon cart-before-the-horsery.

                  Are you prepared to admit the Gospel of Judas, for example, to the canon?
                  I believe our conversation is at and end. I hope you have the courage, one day, to undertake some research and learn some science before re-examining the outrageous book of myths condoning murder, rape, genocide and mendacity upon which you have built a belief sytem.
                  I jope one day you have the courage to admit that your motivation for continued belief is fear.

                  I no longer believe, though I did, and fervently for many years. Losing that belief through the acquisition of knowledge has freed me from the fear of having to be in thrall to an unjust god. I could no longer, in all conscience, be a follower of such an immoral being. For that reason, I spent much time and energy readeing and examining the underpinning of holy writ, coming to the conclusion that it holds water only if you are prepared to assume, a priori, the existence of a loving deity and are then prepared to make excuses for, or ignore, its unloving immorality.
                  I wish you well and thank you for the conversation.

                • Albert

                  You said, “Basing it upon Jewish Law. Do your own research.”

                  You need to provide the evidence for your claim; not me.

                  If you make a claim, the burden of proof falls to you to provide, not for me to research. For two reasons: 1) I don’t know if what I search for will be what you were basing it on. 2) If you can’t provide evidence, then it is an empty claim and I can assume you are just repeating something you have heard and that you, yourself, have not done the research.

                  Also, though it is your claim, I did look into it and I don’t find any such Jewish Laws, or any other laws for that matter, that say you don’t bury a crucified man. One key reason is that Jews never crucified people, this was a Roman function of punishment, not Jewish.

                  There is reference to what is considered “hanging on a tree” and that a man in such a position is “accursed”, but nothing about not burying them. In fact, it’s just the opposite that I find. In Deuteronomy 21:23, it specifically says that you will not allow a man hanging on a tree to stay there over night but that you are to bury them that same day. And this is exactly what Joseph of Arimathea did.
                  So either you are incorrect in your claim, your evidence is faulty, or you are misunderstanding something.
                  Either way, the ball is in your court to show how you came to the conclusion that a crucified man is accursed and is not allowed to be buried in such a way as Jesus was.

                  You said, “27 separate books, written by an unknown number of people, edited (badly) for coherence, full of errors of fact.”

                  What do you mean unknown? Aren’t several of the authors of those books known?

                  Can you show how they have been edited badly?

                  What errors of facts are you referring to?

                  You said, “Are you prepared to admit the Gospel of Judas, for example, to the canon?”

                  I’m not sure what you mean. Do you mean that I should admit that the Gospel of Judas should be a part of the canon? If so, why should it be?

                  You said, “I hope you have the courage, one day, to undertake some research and learn some science before re-examining the outrageous book of myths condoning murder, rape, genocide and mendacity upon which you have built a belief [system].”

                  You have made quite a bit of claims here based on nothing you have provided.

                  I’m not sure how you think I need to learn more science when we have not been discussing science in the first place.

                  You still claim it’s a book of myths and yet you have not shown how you come to the conclusion that it is a myth. this is an empty claim without evidence.

                  Look, I have no problem being honest and upfront about examining the evidence for all of this with you. But you dismiss everything I have provided as if it’s wrong and you don’t tell me how it’s wrong.

                  You keep saying I’m putting the cart before the horse because(I assume) the canonical bible asserts the supernatural. But you haven’t been real clear on that.

                  I don’t assert that Jesus is real from some presupposed position that claims he is real so then I have to prove it.

                  I have presented to you a chain of custody of Paul. I can do it for the other apostles as well, if you would like. But I have tried to show that we can follow the trail of evidence back to the events in question. I can show that an empty tomb brings into question of what happened to the body. And then show that the documents of the NT explain what happened. There is not Jewish counter attacks stating that the body was stolen, there is no accounts that it is all made up.

                  You called Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus a ‘vision’ and then when I present a definition that includes the supernatural to dismiss it as if I’m putting the cart before the horse again.

                  So, since you obviously don’t believe it was a supernatural experience that Paul had on that road, you are making a claim that the book is writing about something that is not true. This is you making a claim. And because of that, you are now having to show your proof as to what your view of what happened or didn’t happen should be the one we need to adhere to and not what was actually written.

                  You see glebealyth, I’m not putting the cart before the horse, I’m reading the text as it is written. If anyone is putting a cart before a horse it is you. And you do that when you dismiss the supernatural as non existent without evidence to back up your assumption. Even the definitions you have said you agree with (from Webster’s) mention the supernatural as a possible option for a ‘vision’, which is what you called Paul’s encounter.

                  This is called ‘Naturalism in the gaps’. You can’t explain what happened, and even though what is written explains that something out of the ordinary or supernatural happened, you insist that there can only be a natural explanation for it and nothing else will do. So you conclude, without evidence, that the supernatural does not exist.

                  I have asked you what kind of evidence you require to know the supernatural exists. I haven’t heard back from you on that question.
                  You claimed Paul had a vision. So if it wasn’t supernatural, what kind of vision was it? How does your idea of the type of vision it was take into account that other people heard the voice?

                  And just so you know, I’m not fearful of finding the truth. I’m more than open to moving where ever the truth leads me. But so far, you have done a very poor job of defending your view. I have no reason to change.
                  And mind you, this isn’t even because I am wanting to believe. I’m not even dealing with you on the supernatural things. Everything I have discussed with you has been in regards to textual criticism and historical documents. The logic I’m using is not holding on to some supernatural event with hope that it is true. I’m reading the documents we have and making an assessment from there.
                  You don’t believe that Paul met Jesus? Fine. Explain how you come to that conclusion.
                  You don’t believe that Jesus every existed in history? Fine. Explain how you come to that conclusion as well.

                  There should not be hard questions to answer for someone that spend as much time as you have claimed to have spent researching this stuff, right? The answers should roll of your finger tips and take up a huge thread of data to explain how you came to change your mind about Jesus, right?
                  I’m more then willing to listen. I’m even willing to take this off line of you want.
                  The question is, are you wanting to follow where the truth will lead you even if that truth takes you somewhere you don’t want to go? I am. Want to go with me? Lets figure out what is true and what is not together. What do you say?

                • glebealyth

                  You will find in Mishnah, Talmud, Tosefta & Midrash Rabbath, references to the disposal of the corpses of condemned men, that they may not lie with the righteous, and that the tradition was for them to be buried in one of two graveyards reserved for those who were hanged/strangled and those who were stoned.

                • glebealyth

                  It is not up to me to explain away something I am not claiming. Rather, it is up to you to explain the extraordinary claim that you are making.
                  If you cannot see that I cannot be expected to explain something which I do not believe, then you should be studying logic and the rules of evidence.

                • glebealyth

                  But, as a service, you will find Josephus’ claim to have seen Lot’s wife in The Antiquities of the Jews, Chapter 11, Para 4.

                • Albert

                  Thank you. Was that so hard?

                  You do know “that it was standing then is also attested by Clement of Rome”, right? [http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-1.htm#EndNote_ANT_1.23b]

                  And also Irenaeus [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lot%27s_wife]

                  So now, why do you dismiss everything that Josephus wrote based on one sentence out of all that he wrote? That seems a bit impetuous, don’t you think?

                  I mean there is a ton of information that Josephus wrote about that is not only verifiable through other manuscripts of the day but also archeological evidence to show that he was rather accurate in what he wrote about. And then on top of it, there are at least two other resources that corroborate his claim.

                • glebealyth

                  To be sure, Josephus wrote much that was true, however, no-one seems to have been able to write anything of any substance about Jesus.

                  Perhaps that was because the early believers believed the lie THEY were told the Jesus would soon come back, so they did not need to. Once again, the Spirit of Knowledge seems to have cocked up on that score.

                • Albert

                  You said, “To be sure, Josephus wrote much that was true, however, no-one seems to
                  have been able to write anything of any substance about Jesus.”

                  What do you mean of substance?

                  What about Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Those are rather detailed accounts if this person, right? All separate books written at different times and then consolidated into on book. 4 resources written about the life and ministry of Jesus. I would think this is rather substantive.

                  You said, “Perhaps that was because the early believers believed the lie THEY were told the Jesus would soon come back, so they did not need to. Once again, the Spirit of Knowledge seems to have cocked up on that score.”

                  And you get that from the text how?

                  The text I read shows the apostles in disarray, afraid for their lives and in hiding. They just witnessed their leader die on a cross. They just took him and buried him in a grave guarded by Roman soldiers.
                  Are these the same men you believe “believed a lie” told to them by the person they just so die on a cross? Really?

                  And then, to go from hiding in their homes and sneaking around to being bold enough to want to die for the very same message they just heard for three years from their leader. Interesting. All because they believed a lie they were told by someone they saw die on that cross.

                  Sorry, I don’t see how you get here from there.

                  These men didn’t understand what happened. The rug got pulled out from under them and the God they believed there were following died on a cross right in front of them.

                  I don’t see men that believed a lie, but rather men that died proclaiming what the know the saw. The change in them was drastic.
                  I agree that there are people that will die for what they believe is true. But these men were not told this. They witnessed it. They didn’t proclaim a message that was told to them, but one that they witnessed themselves. Even James, the brother of Jesus(who by the way is an eye witness, along with Paul, who wrote a book), he wasn’t a believer in his brother until after he witnessed him risen.

                  You can speculate all you want, but you are not being honest to yourself with what the text says. There is no where in there that this is not clear that this was not something they were told to believe but something they witnessed.

                • glebealyth

                  The gospels were all written long after the ascribed authors were dead. They are not eye-witness accounts and you are excluding all the other gospels which were doing the rounds at the time. What criteria do you use to exclude the other writings?

                  Jesus told the disciples:
                  a)*John 14:15-17*

                  /”All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
                  /&
                  B)**after telling them of the end times to come, Jesus declares, ** Matt 24:34, Mark 13:30 &~ Luke 21:32.

                  *”Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”****
                  *

                  Now it does seem that Jesus got it wrong, and the spiritual guide who will teach all things did not make the necessary correction.

                  THAT, is how I got it from the text/. Do you guys never actually think about what you are reading?
                  /

                • Albert

                  You said, “The gospels were all written long after the ascribed authors were dead.”

                  How do you know this?

                  You said, “They are not eye-witness accounts and you are excluding all the other
                  gospels which were doing the rounds at the time.”

                  Paul wrote his Epistles. That means when he writes about what he saw, he is an eye witness. These are essentially an account of what Paul did during his ministry. Perhaps you consider eye witness to mean something different than I do?

                  You said, “What criteria do you
                  use to exclude the other writings?”

                  What other writings are you meaning?

                  You mentioned end times referencing Matt 24:34 and others.

                  Context context context!

                  You need to read at least Matthew 24:32-51 to get the complete gist of what he is saying.

                  Jesus is not saying that the end will come in the lifetime of his listeners; he’s saying the end will come in the lifetime of those who first see the signs!

                  If you read on it says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

                  If the Son, who Jesus claims to be, does not know the day or the hour, then how can he say it is coming during those men’s generation?

                  And then it gives a comparison to Noah and how people were going about their everyday life. The end will come like a thief in the night and those that are not ready will miss the boat.

                  You are misunderstanding the context. You are grabbing snippets of verses and basing your belief that it is false based on what you have read on the internet. I swear, I get this reason all the time from those that don’t want to believe. Be honest with yourself. Take the time to learn how these words are used in the original language.

                  You do yourself a huge disservice to just believe what you are being told by others.

                  Here is a great link to see how things are spelled out: http://biblehub.com/matthew/24-34.htm

                  and if you are interested in the original Greek, just click the Greek tab once you are on the verse you want to look up. Sometimes it can be really helpful.

                  But above all, you need to read things in context.

                • glebealyth

                  PAUL NEVER MET JESUS!!

                  How hard is to understand this?

                  Unless you presume that which you are endeavouring to establish, namely that Jesus existed AND that Jesus rose from the dead, you cannot make a claim to the contrary. In which case, to your accusation of presumption on my part, I answer /et tu quoque/.

                  Good night, sir. It is close to midnight here and I have important things to do tomorrow.

                  Thanks for the craic.

                • Albert

                  First of all, saying it in caps does nothing to help prove your point. Sorry, evidence doesn’t work that way.

                  Secondly, I need to understand how you read documents. The reason why is because the context of the 27 documents of the bible are based on a certain world view. Meaning that the supernatural exists. If you dismiss the supernatural from the get go, then you are dismissing the documents, not because they are not factual or true, but because you are choosing to live on your own presuppositions and not because you have proven the documents invalid.

                  Something to think about: (Sorry, it’s long but I hope it helps understand how I’m reading these documents as historical, not based on faith alone)

                  There is this thing call chain of custody used in courtrooms to make sure they understand where the evidence is and where it came from as well as where it might go next. It helps establish credibility with evidence and eye witness accounts and even secondary accounts and beyond.

                  The apostles and the authors of the 27 books all have a chain of custody. Information that was passed down from person to person, some oral and some written. These people that got things passed to them wrote things down, or passed them on to someone else orally or in written form. This is where a lot of our church fathers have documents written. Commentaries and the like. If we lost ever document of the books in the New Testament, we could just about recreate the New testament from the writings of the church fathers.

                  So lets look at Paul’s chain of custody.
                  Paul, the author of the Epistles taught Linus and Clement of Rome.Clement passed the Truth from Evaristus to Pius. And Pius and Justin Martyr protected the writings of Paul. Justin taught Tatian who’s work, combined with this ancient canonical list, helped with the early formation of the what we know today as the Conon of the New Testament. This chain of custody takes us from Paul all the way up to the late 2nd century. History beyond that doesn’t give us a solid link for who was next in the chain of custody. Some speculate that Tatian could have taught Clement of Alexandria, but we just don’t know.

                  There is another chain for Paul that goes from Paul to Theudas to Valentinus to Ptolemy who taught both Heracleon and Marcus which took us well into AD 230.

                  What this helps with is showing that we can know that Paul, was a real person in history. And that the writings of Paul were actually written by him(this is how we have determined which books are actually from Paul and which ones are presumed). We can look at the history and see the evidence that takes us to the events themselves. This is using texts, not only in the NT, but those of them that followed the eye witnesses. Textual criticism is used to determine writing style, time period, location of the writing and so on. Many aspects that have nothing to do with what the text itself is trying to convey.

                  Each apostles has a chain of custody though some we know better than others.

                  Now, what this all tells us is that we have the ability to confirm that Paul was who he said he was. And because of that, we can determine that his writings are from him. And because of that, we can see that he has made the claim, along with Luke attesting to it from his investigations, that Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus. This makes him an eye witness who wrote an account of what he witnessed.

                  Paul’s eye witness account means that he is claiming that he saw Jesus, which makes Jesus a real person that existed in history.

                  This is very consistent with the writings of the other apostles and authors, such as Luke, and is fairly solid that Jesus was a real person that existed, died on a cross, and is said to have shown himself to hundreds of people after rising from the dead. I know of no scholars that would deny that Jesus was a historical figure and have the ability to show why they hold to a different stance than that he existed in history. If you know of some, that might lead to some great reading.

                  And if Jesus existed we can look at these documents from a little bit of a different stand point than to simply dismiss it.

                  I don’t know if you consider this as evidence, but if not, I don’t know why not.
                  This clearly shows we can link Paul, and his thoughts that he wrote down to historical events that other people, either were with him or heard about and that he himself saw and witnessed.

                  It is true that we were not there. So we have to take the texts for what they say. We have to look at the intent of why they were written and determine if they can be trusted. We need to evaluate them no differently than we do any other document of antiquity.

                  If you believe these 27 books, which we consider the New Testament, can’t be trusted, then the burden of proof lies on you as to why they should not be trusted.

                • glebealyth

                  The problem with this medium is that it fails abysmally in terms of being able to stress things, unlike voice. Caps are merely convenient and quicker than messing around with html tabs. If you have a problem with that, TOUGH!

                  I do not dismiss the supernatural from the get go, I request evidence. Assuming the supernatural /a priori/ means that you can prove whatever you like, whenever it is convenient.
                  “God Did It.” has allowed too many people, too many opportunities to inflict terror on others in the name of the deity.

                  Prove the supernatural and you have a case.
                  Assume the supernatural and you do not.

                  I have not (pre)supposed the invalidity of anything, merely asked for evidence that I might accept them, Such evidence you seem unable to produce, yet still you insist that they be believed.

                  I have no doubt that the church fathers passed on many things. So did the acolytes of Poseidon and the followers of Thor. Why should your myth be believed and revered above theirs?

                  So, Paul was a real person. I never doubted it. It is a large leap – based on faith and free of rationality – to assume the person of Jesus to have been real and that the events described in the gospels happened, just because Paul was real.
                  This would be akin to claiming that the Harry Potter characters are real because I have travelled over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
                  Paul’s reality, no matter how well documented, says nothing about the reality of the man, Jesus, because, ignore it as often as you like, Paul never met the man. Without substantiating the existence of the man Jesus, you have no foundation for assuming the supernatural entity the belief system depends upon.

                  You rely upon cart-before-horse reasoning.

                • Albert

                  I get what you mean about the medium. It’s really hard to understand people’s points. This is why I try and ask questions to help me better understand what the know. Thanks for being accommodating.

                  You said, “I do not dismiss the supernatural from the get go, I request evidence.”

                  What sort of evidence do you require?

                  I ask because I have provided a definition of “vision”, what you said Paul had, and that definition included the supernatural and you seemed to have dismissed that definition. Unless I misunderstood.

                  Paul’s vision, would be an example of a supernatural experience, wouldn’t it? If not, I am needing to understand what sort of evidence you are expecting for me to revel to you. I don’t want to go in circles where I present something to you and you dismiss it and say “not good enough.” So to not go down that road, I need to understand what you deem as acceptable evidence for the supernatural.

                  You said, “I have no doubt that the church fathers passed on many things. So did the acolytes of Poseidon and the followers of Thor. Why should your myth be believed and revered above theirs?”

                  Well, Seeing that I can follow a chain of custody for Paul who claims to be an eye witness for Jesus, I would say this makes it a bit different than Thor.

                  We can look to history and see how Jesus interacted with people. People touched him and he heal them and so on. Thor was not this type of god. Thor was explained away by science. Has science explained away Jesus?

                  You said, “Paul’s reality, no matter how well documented, says nothing about the reality of the man, Jesus, because, ignore it as often as you like, Paul never met the man.”

                  I’m not ignoring that you keep saying that. I just don’t see how you come to that conclusion.

                  Here is some additional information that we know about Paul:
                  Paul was born in Tarsus but “brought up in this city (Jerusalem) at the feet of Gamaliel”(acts 22:3). “Brought up” indicates being raised in the location from a young age, not moving to a location as an adult. Typically, Jewish children would begin their study in a rabbi’s school around age 12-15. This also fits with the idea that Paul also tells Agrippa of his “youth, up” being spent both “among my own nation and at Jerusalem” (acts 26:4). His early childhood was spent in Tarsus, and his later in Jerusalem.

                  In Acts 7:58, Luke says Paul was a “young man” when he was granted authority to persecute the church. The word “young man” in Acts 7:58 usually indicates a young adult between the ages of 24-40 (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). This fits with Mishna refrences that a man was fit for
                  “authority” at age 30. This would indicate that Paul was around 30 when the persecutions took place. The persecutions would have been between 33-34 AD, based on a couple of points: A.) dating Paul’s first journey to Jerusalem after conversion (Galatians 1:17-18) to about AD 37, based on King Aretas’ rule and issues surrounding why he didn’t have control of Damascus (2 Corinthians 11:33); and B.) a date of AD 46/47 for the famine aid delivery to Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30), the second visit to Jerusalem after conversion (Galatians 2:1) occurring and occuring approx. 14 years after his conversion, based on Josephus & Sentonius dates for the famine.

                  Based on all of this additional data, Paul would have been either 26 or 30 for the crucifixion, depending on a 30 or 33 AD date for that. This would put Paul and having lived & studied in Jerusalem during Jesus’ entire earthly ministry, assuming the typical start age of around age 15 for aligning with a rabbi as mentioned above.

                  The probability of him meeting Jesus either face to face or in a crowd to listen to him speak is high. Do we know for sure if he met him? No. but to say he NEVER met him is to claim that Jesus does not exist when we have many documents that say he did. Your dismissal of his existence does not fit the data we have. Even if you dismiss his claims of being God, you’re being totally dishonest intellectually to presume he never existed in history.

                  I am not putting the cart before the horse.
                  I’m showing you that by showing the resources, those authors and the historical data, that Jesus is shown to be a real person that walked on this same earth that we do.

                  With the extent of the data we have on the players in this point in history to dismiss Jesus as not a player on the field is to ignore the data by choice.

                  People saw Jesus. They heard him. They wrote about him. They wrote about the changes in others because of him.

                  I don’t know of any scholar that renounces the existence of Jesus in history. Even those that acknowledge that Paul and the apostles experienced “something” do not dismiss that Jesus existed in time and in history.

                  If you are to continue to dismiss the existence of Jesus as a historical figure, then it is on you to show what you are basing this on.

                • glebealyth

                  Albert,

                  I know what you are saying about definitions.

                  My problem is this: you say that Paul’s vision would be an example of a supernatural experience.

                  My response is: please provide evidence of the existence of the supernatural.

                  If you already assume the existence of the supernatural then ascribing visions, lightning, unexplained cancer remission and creation to supernatural causes is simple, but I find it wholly unsatisfying. I find it particularly unsatisfying when the supernatural being held to be at their root is the one described in the xian bible. More importantly, without evidence to make the existence of the supernatural at least probably acceptable, ascribing anything at all to it is surely no more than a cop-out.
                  It is understandable if you are a bronze age goat herder in a meddle eastern desert, trying to make sense of natural events, but we no longer believe that the notches we place on the sticks in front of which we cause our stock to copulate has any effect upon the phenotype of our stocks offspring.
                  Hence my coining of “cart-before-the-horsery”. Very simply put, I cannot accept the idea that “god did it” until I have evidence that there is a god who might have done it.

                  Does that help?

                  David

                • Albert

                  You said, “My problem is this: you say that Paul’s vision would be an example of a supernatural experience. My response is: please provide evidence of the existence of the supernatural.”

                  That is circular. Paul’s ‘vision’ is an evidence for the supernatural. Jesus being witnessed alive after people witnessed him dead, is an evidence.

                  If these types of evidences are not sufficient to you, then I need to understand what sort of evidence you are expecting.

                  You said, “If you already assume the existence of the supernatural then ascribing visions, lightning, unexplained cancer remission and creation to supernatural causes is simple, but I find it wholly unsatisfying.”

                  You have already assumed the nonexistence of the supernatural.

                  So where does this put us?

                  Science, as a discipline, cannot prove that something does not exist. If you wanted to prove that unicorns didn’t exist using science you can’t. All science can do is say that scientists may have been looking for unicorns for a long time and never found any. But to claim they don’t exist is a misuse of the discipline itself. Such a claim would require omniscience.

                  The only way one can say a thing does not exist is not by using the inductive method, but by using a deductive method, by showing that there’s something about the concept itself that is contradictory.

                  So I can confidently say without a doubt that there are no such thing a square circles. And I can say this without having to search the world over or our universe to try and find one. the concept of a square circle is contradictory and requires not searching to come to the conclusion.

                  And since you can’t prove, using science, that God doesn’t exist, you are left with the only answer you can provide from the discipline of science and that is, “You have been looking for God for a long time and have never found him.” But you can’t say he doesn’t exist.

                  And this follows as well with Jesus. We have documents that state that this person existed. That people interacted with him. People wrote things he said and things he did and places he went along with people he talked to.

                  We have eye witness accounts from Paul and James, the brother of Jesus. This is all evidence that can be looked at honestly and no different than you would look at fossils in the dirt or other types of historical things. You can use the same textual criticism as you do for every other documents out there.

                  Now, you might say I’m putting the cart before the horse because I am presuming that the supernatural exists, but that is not true. What I’m doing is understanding that I can’t prove that the supernatural doesn’t exist and have held out that there are accounts and events that when they are looked at objectively and in context you can see they don’t fit a natural explanation. So if they don’t fit a natural explanation, and they seem to fit a supernatural one, then why dismiss it as not the most probable explanation we have right now? I’m not saying we hold out for a ‘God in the gaps’ mentality in any sense of the word. No, by all means, lets look at the accounts in the bible. Lets address Paul’s ‘vision’ and see if we can account for it naturally. But if we can’t, because we can’t dismiss the supernatural, something we can’t prove doesn’t exist, then perhaps this is the answer that best fits the situation.

                  You see, doing true scientific research requires that you don’t remove any of the variables off the table before you start your research. So because of that, we leave the supernatural on the table as a possible variable. Then we progress through our research and dig deep into what we see and if we can’t explain if what we are researching fits any natural explanations we then see if the supernatural variable fits. Sometimes it doesn’t. An example would be that your grandfather died 10 years ago and all of a sudden people are telling you that they are seeing him walking about. This is totally out of context with your grandfather. He never did anything that resembled miracles or said anything about returning or anything of the like. So the context doesn’t seem to fit. So you might dismiss this being a supernatural occurrence. But, if someone walked in to the funeral home while you were at the service and told you that your father would live again, you would have at least a small reference point to say that something could be linked to that event being supernatural in nature. But we don’t even go there until all natural explanations are removed.

                  But to dismiss the supernatural, something you can’t prove doesn’t exist, is being intellectually dishonest with yourself and those around you. Believe me, I’m not saying to jump to that answer as the first thing. I don’t even do that. Believe me, there are many things that I have seen that I can’t explain. But I don’t jump to “God did it” right off the bat. I think that is being naive. But I also believe it is naive to dismiss something that you can’t prove doesn’t exist either.

                  You said, “Hence my coining of “cart-before-the-horsery”. Very simply put, I cannot accept the idea that “god did it” until I have evidence that there is a god who might have done it”

                  You accepting it or not does not make it true or false. Your view has to chance to be one that will accept truth as it comes to you, not under your terms. You dismiss evidence for God all the time because you start with the presumption that the supernatural does not exist. Something you can’t prove doesn’t exist is taken off the table before your start your research. This is faulty science research.

                • glebealyth

                  It is most definitely NOT circular.

                  Paul’s vision was an event, on that we both agree.

                  You go further ane claim it ti be a supernatural event and then use that to justify your beliefe in the supernatural. Surely, that is circular.
                  I dispute the existence of the supernatural and require to you prove it before you can ascribe anything to it.

                  You only see my reasoning as circular becaus you assume, /a priori,/ the existence and reality of the supernatural.

                  I have assumed nothing, but go by a working hypothesis that I have not enough evidence to support a belief in the supernatural, but will believe when the evidence is clear and sufficient.

                  You have decided to believe in the supernatural, whether or not you have any evidence.
                  I am inescapably drawn to this conclusion because you are not presenting evidence.

                  What evidence do I need?
                  Ask your god. He knows and will apparently provide you with the knowledge via the holy spirit.

                • glebealyth

                  As for the crucifixion, if you read the gospels you will discover that they cannot agree whether Jesus was arrested on the night before the passover of the night passover began.
                  If it was the latter then his arrest was unlawful according to Jewish Law, and his trial could not have taken place as described.

                  Please, it is obvious that you are a “cafeteria believer” (or a Roman Catholic) as you seem to have scant knowledge of scripture, or of the tenets of your won faith.

                • Albert

                  By the way, you never said what political dividends do you see as being paid that made creating this story profitable?

                  You never said how you come to the conclusion that Jesus was ‘most likely a composite figure, created out of the innumerable messiahs doing the rounds at the time.’

                • glebealyth

                  Rome was falling apart socially, morally and politically. In need of new, more potent deities, Caesar instructed the Council of Nicea to produce some and is recorded as instructing them to come up with something spectacular.

                  They did, and the New testament was born.

                  It turned out to be longer lasting than originally hoped, as admitted by a Pope, some years later (though the RCC has always tried to deny this, it is better evidenced than anything they rest their beliefs, creed and dogma on):

                  “How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of
                  Christ has been for us?” — Pope Leo X (1513 – 1521)

                  *At a lavish Good Friday banquet in the Vatican in 1514 … Leo X made an amazing announcement that the Church has since tried hard to invalidate. Raising a chalice of wine into the air, Pope Leo toasted: “How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us and our predecessors.”*

                  http://one-evil.org/people/people_16c_Leo_X.htm

                • Albert

                  You said, “Caesar instructed the Council of [Nicaea] to produce some and is recorded as instructing them to come up with something spectacular.”

                  Okay. But that was in 325AD, some 300 years after these events happened, right?

                  Are you basing your whole reason to dismiss Jesus on what a Pope said many years removed from the actual events?

                  You demand evidence from contemporary people. Yet you use evidence such as Genesis or Noah’s flood account or the word of a Pope when all are at least a 1000 years removed from the events of Jesus.
                  Seems to me you are wanting to believe that Jesus never existed and is a myth because it suits your needs. Because quite honestly, the evidence you are presenting is very weak.

                • glebealyth

                  You asked, “Are you basing your whole reason to dismiss Jesus on what a Pope said many years removed from the actual events?”

                  No, I have done much research, initially while I was a believer in Jesus and to understand the background to my beliefs. I am not prepared to sit here and do your research for you. Suffice to say that what I discovered what what I have been saying all along, that there is no reliable evidence to substantiate the claim that the Jesus of the NT existed, nor that the events supposed to have happened around him ever happened.

                  I am not making a claim, merely saying that the claims of others have no basis in any known fact. If you know otherwise, I am open to persuasion by facts and/or evidence you might want to present.

                  You say, “Because quite honestly, the evidence you are presenting is very weak.” I do not need evidence to either prove or convince me that Jesus never existed. It is a fact of reason and logic that it is not possible to prove a negative. Therefore, the onus is upon those who DO believe the story to provide corroborating evidence to back it up.

                  I await that evidence.

                  It is actually of no matter to me whether Jesus existed and, should evidence appear to put his existence beyond doubt, I would happily admit my error and accept the fact. Such evidence is not yet forthcoming, nor do I expect it.

                  You are approaching this the wrong way. Those who believe must, if they hope to persuade those who do not believe, provide evidence of that which they believe. Until they do, I consider it a fair response to consider their beliefs to be founded upon myths and to have no substance in reality.

                • Albert

                  glebealyth, You are using the same argument that you used later on with noting similarities as reasons to refute someone or something.

                  You are correct, there are people that worship these deities. So what?
                  You can’t dismiss one deity simply because you can show another one to be a false god.
                  Each god has to stand on their own merits and evidence.

                • glebealyth

                  No, I am not.

                  You are attempting to create belief in very unlikely events by comparing them to fiction, whereas the Titanic actually did exist.

                  Believers often seem to find it hard to discern the difference.

                • Albert

                  What belief am I trying to create?

                  You’re missing my argument completely.

                  You said, “very unlikely events”

                  What unlikely events are you talking about?

            • Me

              Hi! Mr. Peterson, while looking through all the comments on this thread, I found yours to be really interesting. You frequently mention that people who believe in the existence of a God suffer from some sort of disorder.

              Being a science lover myself, I can’t help wondering what disorder it is? If it’s so prevalent (I mean, how many people in this world are religious!) surely some scientist somewhere has done research on this disease, which affects only religious people.

              Since you seem to know a lot about other people’s mental disorders that they themselves are unaware of, would you mind telling me what this disorder is? I’d love to learn something new about mental disorders! I think it’s fascinating!

              • Jim Jones

                > “Being a science lover myself, I can’t help wondering what disorder it is?”

                This guy claims epilepsy. He says he can recreate religious experiences with giant magnets (if I followed the story right) which over stimulate parts of the brain.

                Most Evil
                Episode: Cult Leaders
                S02, E10
                (First Aired: Oct. 14, 2007)
                Dr. Stone analyzes three of the 20th century’s most deadly cult leaders.

          • baal

            Go away troll. If you’d like to do something other than recite questions, you’d be interesting.

          • Jeff

            He believes in something for which there is no evidence.

            • Tjadlow

              What’s your evidence for the universe, Jeff?

              • Jim Jones

                Britney Spears is a ‘singer’.

                • Tjadlow

                  Love it! Another smack down!

              • Matt D

                It’s called a telescope. You may wiki it, if you wish.

        • 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 .

        • 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.

          • 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?

          • 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.

            • Saz

              This is rather narrow minded…as an atheist myself im ashamed that atheism has become as fanatical in some incidences as Christianity, and the foundation of this is the perceived superiority from both ‘sides’. There are many well respected christian scientists, and this does not imply impaired critical thinking.

              There are many things that have not, or perhaps, can not be explained by science. Evolution, as one of the major points of argument in these types of discussion, is actually rather hard to accept without the consideration of some guiding force beyond our understanding. Unfortunately, many atheists who quot Darwin and so on have about as much understanding of evolutionary sciences as the people they’re arguing with. Science and critical thinking do not refute religion, its very nature means that this is impossible, the church however, is another mater.

              • Madison Blane

                Dude, do you even science?!
                Anyone with rudimentary understanding of the principles involved knows that the theory of evolution IS explained by science (and by theory I mean explanation of the documented, peer-reviewed facts, not educated guess) without the need for any ‘guiding force’!
                Do you even know what science and critical thinking are? Only an extremely naive person would postulate that critical thinking and science do not refute religion – the religious just fail to apply the critical thinking skills and the scientific method to their religion and refuse to hold religion to the same standards and expectations that they have from science.
                If I said, “Well, religion doesn’t explain EVERYTHING”, the religiously brainwashed fruit bats would scream about how God works in mysterious ways!! But I can’t just say, “Viruses work in mysterious ways” and be taken seriously!
                You’re holding science to a higher standard of evidence than mythology because you realize that science CAN find answers, and CAN completely explain most things (and what it can’t, it’s working on discovering). Religion can’t even stand up to peer-review because so many people of faith can’t even agree on what the ‘truth’ is supposed to be!
                And claiming religion is different from church completely nonsensical!

                • Jim Achmoody

                  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Read some of Ravi Zacharias and Hugh Ross and Chuck Missler [the latter 2 are highly trained scientists.

                • Michael Harrison

                  If anyone has not drunk enough from the Pierian Spring, it would be you. You’re really citing the Peanut Butter Guy?!

                • Jim Jones

                  Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias is an Indian-born, Canadian-American Christian apologist. A defender of traditional evangelicalism, Zacharias is the author of numerous Christian books.

                  Hugh Norman Ross is a Canadian-born astrophysicist, Christian apologist and prominent old earth creationist.

                  Charles “Chuck” Missler is an author, evangelical Christian, Bible teacher, former businessman and US Air Force officer. He is the founder of the Koinonia House ministry based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

              • ShoeUnited

                “Evolution, as one of the major points of argument in these types of
                discussion, is actually rather hard to accept without the consideration
                of some guiding force beyond our understanding.”

                That’s because you don’t understand evolution.

              • Jim Jones

                > atheism has become as fanatical in some incidences as Christianity

                No it hasn’t, unless you believe that reality “has become as fanatical in some incidences as Christianity”.

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  Dear Jim, I know many atheist who are, in fact, as fanatical as any Christian in their DISBELIEF.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  How does this fanatical atheism manifest itself?

                • Hat Stealer

                  They’re really really skeptical. You have to prove to them that air exists before they’ll actually open up their mouths and breath.

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  Let’s see… if it’s ALL you can talk about, if you search online for forums about religion for the sole purpose of arguing with Christians or others about their beliefs, if you’re not open to ANY other ideas for discussion, if your Facebook wall is COVERED in nothing BUT anti-religious postings, if you don’t have any friends left because you’ve hounded them all about their beliefs, if they differ from yours… you might be a fanatical atheist.

                • Michael Harrison

                  And no Christian has every done anything more fanatical than this, you say?

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  Haha!! I was just saying… see below. YES Christians have a huge plethora of crazy fanatics too. I just think Atheists need to realize that just because they don’t believe doesn’t mean they can’t get fanatical because I’ve seen that too.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Not my point. You’re supporting your statement that you’ve seen atheists just as fanatical as Christians. If this is *just as fanatical*, that implies that this level of obsession is the worst example of Christian fanaticism.

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  hahaha!! wow, you do love to split hairs, don’t you? does it make you feel less fanatical? with that said, i’m willing to bet there are atheists out there who will and have killed for those opinions, if you are referencing fanatical christian actions like those of the crusades. it’s semantics at this point.

                  live your own beliefs and let others choose their own and we can all be happy. don’t force me to agree with either side because i never will. you can’t force feed religion or the lack thereof.

                • Michael Harrison

                  I’m not trying to force you to agree with either side. I was simply pointing out that your example did not seem to support the claim it was intended to demonstrate.

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  well then, we will have to agree to disagree good sir, because I believe my example did support it’s claim. there ARE lots of fanatical atheists, i know several. i mean, if you like, in my spare time i’ll research the worst claims of atheist fanaticism and post them here later, but at this point i’m casting for one film and editing another, so my break time is over. maybe you shouldn’t be so sensitive to the fanatical thing…it makes you sound guilty.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Sensitive? Typically, when people are sensitive to a topic online, they resort to name-calling, or cursing, or some other knee-jerk emotional reaction. I’ve reread my words, and the strongest emotion I can see is amusement, and mild annoyance at your goalpost-moving. Certainly, I can be a bit pedantic, at times; perhaps that’s what you’re referencing?

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  name-calling? cursing? no, not at all. this has been a very civil discussion. the worst of your argument was trying to split hairs. i’m not sure if you’re trying to state that there are no fanatical atheists or that you think they aren’t as bad as the christians, either way, i think fanaticism can come from anywhere, just like mental illness. :)

                  to support my radical atheist claims, here’s a short list of a few: Jeffrey Dahmer, Kim Jong Il, Mao, Hitler (altho I’ll admit that one is very debatable because of his reported involvement in the occult), Jim Jones, and Mussolini.

                • Michael Harrison

                  That works, although a definition of terms would have been fine. (E.g., where are some of the lines for fanaticism? How do fanatical Christians compare to non-fanatical Christians, and fanatical atheists compare to non-fanatical atheists, and how do they relate to each other? Basically, just trying to unwrap your statement to its bare-bones meaning.)

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

                  Dahmer? Christian through and through!
                  Hitler? CATHOLIC!
                  Jim Jones? Christian, Christian, Christian!
                  The rest of them may have been atheists, but they never killed in the name of atheism.

                • 3lemenope

                  I believe my example did support it’s claim.

                  Which is a significant problem for your attempts to defend the claim.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  Rather than provide concrete examples, you are imagining the sins some atheists might have committed in the past. FYI, a few incidental random murder that may or may not be related to atheists are not on the same scale as a religious crusade.

                • Madison Blane

                  So, just because you are willing to bet that Atheists have killed for their disbelief, we’re supposed to take that as evidence that hey actually do?

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

                  No, you haven’t, because there are no “fanatical” atheists.

                  What there is, however, is pushback against fanatical Christ-bots trying to push their religion on everyone by enshrining their delusions in law.

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  Oh and btw…I am NOT a Christian, so don’t even think I’m defending them, this is a purely impartial opinion. They have their own crazy fanatics as well.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  Now, I know for a fucking fact that you are not a Facebook friend of mine, so what gives you the right to judge me by the Facebook feed you imagine I have?

                  As a matter of fact, some of my Facebook friends do post atheism-specific articles, or more specifically, nothing but memes. Some of my Facebook friends also post Christian-specific memes. These are not the reasons they are my Facebook friends.

                  You also don’t know my search history. In fact, you know nothing about me except what I post here, under a pseudonym, because I want to keep that part of my life separate from my real life.

                  So there goes that idea. And if this is the worst that fanatical atheists, do, then so what? What’s it to you?

                  Got anything else?

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  Wow, weirdo… i don’t know you at all and i’m certainly not accusing you personally of being a fanatic. that was a general statement about the fact that they do exist.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  By way of accusing atheists of being just like Christians who blow up abortion clinics, shoot abortion doctors or try to start race wars in the US in an effort to touch off Armageddon, you’ve provided absolutely no evidence, of any kind, to substantiate this inappropriate and sickening accusation.

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  someone else above mentioned a few crazy atheist activities like crimes against planned parenting centers, and i mentioned below about Kim Jong Il, Mao and Hitler (altho I admit the Hitler reference is questionable).

                • The Other Weirdo

                  You do realize that none of these guys were atheists, right?

                • tsara

                  “someone else above mentioned a few crazy atheist activities like crimes against planned parenting centers,”
                  That was sarcasm, and actually a reference to things that Christians have done.
                  The Hitler reference is not just questionable, but blatantly wrong (Hitler was a Christian who thought he was doing God’s will). Kim Jong Il’s problem was that he thought he was God, not that he was an atheist. I know next to nothing about Mao, but most* of the people are atheists as a subset of ‘free-thought’, and totalitarian regimes are basically the opposite of freethought.
                  *probably

                • Bill

                  Lolwut.

                  Hitler was a Christian? He was a Satanist. Not even close.

                  He annotated books of magic and worshiped Satan. That is historical fact.

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

                  Hitler’s Christianity is very well documented.

                • Bill

                  Actually, it is well documented that he studied the occult quite deeply. Hitler annotated a book on magic and worshiped Lucifer. He’s not a very good Christian if he killed all kinds of them.

                • tsara

                  I also have several books on magic which I have annotated, a garden and jars full of ‘magical’ herbs (vervain, angelica, henbane, etc.), and a playlist on my iPod entitled ‘Elder Futhark’. Am I:
                  1) a geek with unusual interests
                  2) Hitler.
                  (More interestingly, I would like to note that it’s really hard to worship Lucifer if you don’t believe in hir. Although I do have hir sigil on a necklace.)

                • Bill

                  Are you a Christian? Unless you are, don’t even bother speaking. You bring up a straw man of my argument. I didn’t say you were Hitler because you annotate books on magic. I didn’t say annotating demonic books means you’re Hitler.

                  When you see the things he says, you know he is not a Christian.

                  Do you know the things he said?

                  “False images are necessary for the recognition of truth.”

                  “He who does not have the demonic seed within himself will never give birth to a magical world.”

                  “Satan is the beginning…”

                  Moreover, suppressing the Church and slaughtering thousands of priests doesn’t make you much of a Christian either.

                • islandbrewer

                  My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.

                  -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

                  (So moving, the christian sentiment, no?)

                • Bill

                  Mhm, did you ignore what I just said?

                  It was all lip service to the Germans. Hitler became Chancellor in 1933.

                  So , again, what kind of Christian dabbles in Satanic affairs, destroys the Christian church, builds his own nazified church, rewrites the Bible, and says things like this?

                  “False images are necessary for the recognition of truth.”

                  “He who does not have the demonic seed within himself will never give birth to a magical world.”

                  “Satan is the beginning…”

                  Besides, this whole argument is “Reductio ad Hitlerum”. Appeal to pity + ad hominem + Ignoratio elenchi.

                • islandbrewer

                  I’ll bite – the answer is a megalomaniacal christian.

                  By the way, you should cite your quotes on this site, or people will think you’re *cough* not credible. Not that anyone would think that of you, sir.

                • Bill

                  Sure thing bud.

                  It was all lip service to the Germans. Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/adolf-hitler-is-named-chancellor-of-germany).

                  So , again, what kind of Christian dabbles in Satanic affairs (Hitler owned and annotated a copy of
                  “Magic: History, Theory and Practice”, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/05/hitlers-forgotten-library/302727/, etc.)
                  , destroys the Christian church, builds his own nazified church in replacement (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/church_in_nazi_germany.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_Reich_Church, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005206, etc.), rewrites the Bible(ibid, etc.), and says things like this?

                  “False images are necessary for the recognition of truth.”

                  “He who does not have the demonic seed within himself will never give birth to a magical world.”

                  “Satan is the beginning…”

                  -Adolf Hitler

                  Besides, this whole argument is “reductio ad Hitlerum”. Appeal to pity + ad hominem + Ignoratio elenchi.

                  So, again, what kind of Christian does these things, and what kind of atheist believes in God?

                • islandbrewer

                  So, again, what kind of Christian does these things …?

                  *shrug* The kind of christian that believes that Jesus existed and died as some sort of blood sacrifice.

                  … what kind of atheist believes in God?

                  By definition, there is no such thing.

                • Bill

                  1) Yup, nice straw man and red herring. Stick to the issue bud.

                  2) Yup, so what kind of Christian doesn’t follow Christ?

                • islandbrewer

                  First, as I didn’t present any of your views, so WHAT THE

                  FUCK STRAW MAN COULD I HAVE PRESENTED, fuckwit? You don’t actually know what a strawman is, do you. Just admit it, confess. Further, I answered your fucking questions, so WHAT FUCKING RED HERRING ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT YOU DELUDED GODBOT?

                  You know, just throwing out terms like “strawman” and “red herring” are only useful insofar as there actually are strawmen and red herrings in the arguments. Please learn what they are and refrain from using the terms like they’re magic words to fend people off in debate.

                  Your questions, in the immediate prior post:

                  1) Yup, nice straw man and red herring. Stick to the issue bud.

                  1) I did, cupcake, I answered your tedious question. If someone believes in Jesus and that he died for your sins, what the fuck difference does it make if he believes in a whole host of nonsense you don’t approve of, sugarplum?

                  2) Yup, so what kind of Christian doesn’t follow Christ?

                  2) Your question is moot, as Hitler did say he was following Christ, and thus he’s appears to be every bit as much of a christian as your grumpy pouty self, sweet cheeks. HE’s not your kind of christian, but you can’t say he’s not actually a christian unless you can affirmatively dispel his professed belief in Jesus. Merely believing in other forms of imaginary friends doesn’t negate his belief in your imaginary friend. Get it?

                  ….

                  Unless of course you’re making a Scotsman argument:

                  http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/No_True_Scotsman

                • Bill

                  My, my. Having temper tantrums now?

                  Tell me how the Vicarious Atonement of Christ has to do with the way Hitler lived his life. Jesus Christ defines a Christian in John 8:31. “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” Tell me how Hitler held to Christ’s teaching.

                  And of course, you have no idea what a Scotsman argument is.

                  http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

                • islandbrewer

                  People using phrases they don’t understand drives me insane. You are more maddening than most.

                • Bill

                  Do you have any real arguments, other than ad hominem attacks?

                  Or is that too much to ask?

                • islandbrewer

                  An ad hominem is when I imply your argument is invalid because of some character of the arguer.

                  For example: “Bill is a worthless fucktard, so his argument is invalid,” is an ad hominem.

                  The statement, “You are using these terms incorrectly, Fucktard.” is merely an insult coupled with an observation, not an ad hominem.

                • Bill

                  Mhm, when is the real argument coming?

                  Besides, applying NTS to Hitler is also a misapplication. Hence, pot called the kettle black.

                • islandbrewer

                  I already presented my argument several times, and you’ve handily ignored it.

                  You are deeply entrenched at the bottom of the Koolaid bowl, aren’t you.

                  Besides, applying NTS to Hitler is also a misapplication.

                  Did you notice where it’s you who are applying it?

                  Thanks for playing, drive by ranty apologist!

                • Bill

                  I “ignored” it? I responded very clearly.

                  You’re the one who is accusing me of committing NTS. Again, http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

                  Try again bud.

                • islandbrewer

                  Yes you’re applying the fallacy. Your little link is a kind of laughable special pleading, and actually commits the NTS, you so love committing yourself! You’re making a special definition of a christian that most people don’t have. You’re definition of a christian is vastly different from what the word means in common usage, and that’s why its an NTS fallacy. Your little apologetics link is basically saying the same thing, essentially “Hitler wasn’t actually a True Christian, so saying he was No True Christian wasn’t a fallacy.” IT fails to do the exact same thing that you fail to do. You fail to adequately give any evidence that Htiler wasn’t a christian.

                • Bill

                  Mhm.

                  Did you ignore the other post? Here’s a bunch. http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/hitler.html

                • islandbrewer

                  You don’t really have anything that wasn’t specially produced for apologetics, do you.

                  Well, thanks again to you and Matt Slick for making and confirming more atheists! Keep up the good work! (I’m operating under the assumption that Christ commanded you to drive people away from the church, right?)

                • Bill

                  Well, thanks again to you and all the other atheists for confirming your ignorance! Keep up the good work!

                  Will you address these facts or not? Or will you hypocritically run away?

                • islandbrewer

                  Also, I noticed you failed to cite your quotes.

                  You did, however, link to some broken pages and a few articles that don’t really support your contentions.

                • Bill

                  The quotes are ibid, bud.

                • islandbrewer

                  You don’t actually know how citation works, do you.

                • Bill

                  Regardless, I gave appropriate sources. The circumstances did not allow for me to do a proper citation. It’s ibid anyway.

                  All you showed was that he CLAIMED to be a Christian. Show me he WAS a christian. What I gave is all documented historical fact.
                  Even if you rule out all of, this (which you can’t. The Reich Church and the editing of the Bible is very well documented.) the way he acted was not in accordance to Christ. Hence, he was not a Christian because he did not follow Christ.

                  Now answer the question. What kind of Christian doesn’t follow what Christ commands?

                  It’s the same as an atheist who believes in God.

                • islandbrewer

                  Ah, so you’re saying (please use this exact phrase), he was “NO TRUE CHRISTIAN.”

                  Go on, say it. It’ll feel good.

                • Bill

                  Interesting. Here’s a refutation on that.

                  http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

                  If Hitler is a Christian, then I’m an atheist who believes in God. It’s a logical contradiction.
                  It’s a misapplication. The definition of a Christian is a follower of Christ. If you don’t follow Christ, you’re not a Christian.

                • islandbrewer

                  Do you actually bother to read the links you poop out? That’s not actually a refutation.

                  You are now providing a new definition of “christian.” What do you call someone who believes in Christ, and god, and that Jesus was the son of god and died for your sins, and accepts Jesus as his lord and savior, but doesn’t conform to the behavior of what everyone else considers “christian”?

                  Not an atheist, not a jew, not a muslim. I’ll give you a hint, it begins with a Ch (no it’s … well, it could arguably be charlatan, but that’d apply to a whole bunch of you).

                • Bill

                  Do you actually read? It’s a misapplication of a fallacy.

                  I’m not providing a new definition at all. As Jesus describes, a Christian must love one another (John 13:35). If not, you are not a Christian. A Christian is one who HOLDS to the teachings of Christ (John 8:31). Did Hitler love the Jews?

                  How do you know Hitler believed in Jesus? Because he claimed to be? If I claim to be an atheist, yet believe in God, does that make me an atheist?

                • islandbrewer

                  The only reason I know you’re a christian is because you claim to be.

                  Should I assume you’re lying?

                • Bill

                  If I said “There is no God”, or I killed your family, would you call me a follower of the one who said “Love your neighbor as yourself”?

                • islandbrewer

                  If you claimed that you followed christ, yes.

                • Bill

                  Okay.

                  So, if I claim to be an atheist, I can still believe in God AND be an atheist, right? And I can be a pacifist as long as I CLAIM to be, but I can still kill people.

                  Cool! What’s the weather in Contradiction Land?

                • islandbrewer

                  Look, if you claim to believe in Jesus, I doubt you would claim to not believe in a god. Besides, you’ve never shown any evidence that Hitler didn’t believe in god.

                  And in entertaining the possibility that you believed in jesus, but not god, that’s a hypothetical that you set up.

                • Bill

                  I never said Hitler was an atheist either. Where are you getting this from?

                • islandbrewer

                  If I said “There is no God” … would you call me a follower of the one who said “Love your neighbor as yourself”?

                  and then

                  So, if I claim to be an atheist, I can still believe in God AND be an atheist, right?

                  We were discussing Hitler and his christianity. You’re attempting to show evidence that Hitler was not a christian. A reasonable inference was that you were implying that he didn’t believe in god with the absurd hypothetical you made up.

                  If you don’t like it, how about this:

                  If your hypothetical murderer claims to (1) believe in Jesus, (2) claims Jesus is divine, and (3) believes Jesus died for some magical reason (like both you and Hitler believe), then yes, I would call them (just like you and Hitler) a christian.

                  Also, when we were talking about red herrings?

                  I never said Hitler was an atheist either. Where are you getting this from?

                  That’s the closest thing to a red herring that has come out of this “conversation.”

                  Now if nothing else, answer me just this one question (which is actually the heart of the topic):

                  What do you call someone who claims to (1) believe in Jesus, (2) believes Jesus is divine, (3) believes Jesus died for some important significant reason, and (4) claims Jesus as their Lord and Savior?

                  Now get back to your No True Scotsman argument!

                • Bill

                  I said what if “I” claimed to be an atheist. Not Hitler.

                  How do you know Hitler believed it? You can claim anything, but how do you know he BELIEVED? Answer that.

                  As I said before, accusing it of being NTS is a misplacement.

                  http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

                  “What do you call someone who claims to (1) believe in Jesus, (2) believes Jesus is divine, (3) believes Jesus died for some important significant reason, and (4) claims Jesus as their Lord and Savior?”

                  1) How do you know what Hitler believed? Can you read minds? Where did you get that ability?

                  2) same.

                  3) same

                  4) Really, one can claim anything. Not all people who merely claim to be Christian will go to Heaven. Matthew 7:21. If >I< claim to be a pacifist, then I slaughter your family, am I a pacifist?

                • islandbrewer

                  (1-3)I never claimed to read minds, fuckwit. We know what Hitler said about his beliefs. If you believe he was lying (which he quite well could have been!), you’ll have to come up with better evidence, that’s all. Otherwise, one can only take a person’s claims about their beliefs at face value.

                  (4) True, like you claim that there’s a giant invisible magic fairy in the sky. And in point of fact, no one claiming to be a christian will go to a magic celestial Disneyland after they die because (1) there’s no heaven and (2) you cease to exist when you’re dead. Your question about being a pacifist who slaughters people (and no, that’s no pacifist) is really off point. You’re still trying to shoehorn extra caveats into the standard recognition of what a christian is.

                  Not all people who merely claim to be Christian will go to Heaven.

                  Because they’re No True Christians (TM), right? Right?

                  That is an answer to your question.

                  Also note:YOU RAN FROM MY QUESTION.

                  Here, try this on, Bill:

                  You (Bill) are not a christian. I can’t read your mind, and thus I have no way of knowing if you actually believe that Jesus ever existed. Therefore, my only reasonable conclusion is that you are not a christian.

                  Now prove me wrong.

                  For future reference, you’re getting tedious and ranty, which, while entertaining (in the point and laugh sense), gets old. I’m not going to reply to multiple posts of yours.

                  Back to your nonsensical “Hitler was No True Christian!” screed.

                • Bill

                  1-3) Another temper tantrum. Oh boy. We know Hitler claimed to be Christian. I will give you that much. How do we know he wasn’t one? Easy one.

                  Here’s some info: http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/hitler.html

                  2) “You (Bill) are not a christian. I can’t read your mind, and thus I have no way of knowing if you actually believe that Jesus ever existed. Therefore, my only reasonable conclusion is that you are not a christian.”

                  False analogy. I have concluded that Hitler was not a Christian because of the way he lived his life and the claims he made outside of public view. You on the other hand, had never examined my life. All you have done is interacted with me on a comment section of an article on the internet.

                  NTS: Stop running away. http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

                • islandbrewer

                  Your little apologetics links are laughable and unpersuasive.

                  The more you type, the more I think Hitler was more christian than I imagined previously.

                  Thanks, I am more convinced than ever that christianity is a plague that I and my children need to avoid. I have you to thank for that. You and Hitler are shining examples of the twisted logic that religion creates.

                  The entertainment value of your posts has reached the point of diminishing returns, however. You’ve sadly become a one trick pony, of which there are legions in apologetics. See what it did for Rachael Slick? We atheist really do need to thank the likes of people like you and Matt Slick.

                  So, yeah, thanks for making more atheists, bud. Keep up the good work!

                • Bill

                  “Thanks, I am more convinced than ever that christianity is a plague that I and my children need to avoid.”

                  Interestingly enough, Hitler said the same thing.

                  “When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease.” -Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

                  Try again.

                • islandbrewer

                  Look, ultimately you argument is “Hitler didn’t act like a True Christian (TM) so he wasn’t actually a christian,” right?

                  Historically, trinitarian christians considered arian christian No True Christians. The catholic christians considered gnostic christians No True christians. Then the catholic christians considered the eastern orthodox christians No True Christians.. Some protestant christians have considered catholic christians No True Christians. Many non-mormon christians consider mormons No True Christians.

                  As an outsider, I observe all these groups claiming to be christian have a few things in common: (1) they believe in a guy called Jesus, (2) they believe he was some stripe of divine, and (3) he died for humanity, and that his death was significant and important.

                  Hitler (via documentation) and you (presumably) meet all three criteria. But here you come along, Bill the Internet Prophet and Arbiter of True Christianity (TM) to claim that you are the one to segregate the True Christians (TM) from them others (a claim that has happened repeatedly throughout history, often followed by the slaughter of “heretics”).

                  As an outsider, I cannot, nor do I have any interest in the internecine conflicts between the various subtribes of christians. But for you to claim that Hitler was not a True Christian (TM) to me is about as meaningful some pope a few centuries ago declaring the eastern orthodox church No True Christians, understand? You have given me no credible test to distinguish whether you and your buddy Hitler are True Christians or not.

                  And, ultimately Hitler, whether True Christian (TM) bad True Christian (TM) or otherwise was poisoned by the anti-semitic vein of christianity in which he was immersed. So, yeah, thanks for the holocaust, christianity.

                  Are you beginning to see why your ranting is little more than a joke to most people here?

                  And a last suggestion: Get some hobby other than religion, you’ll be happier.

                • Bill

                  “Look, ultimately you argument is “Hitler didn’t act like a True Christian (TM) so he wasn’t actually a christian,” right?”

                  >No. Hitler in all his ways contradicted Christian theology.

                  “Historically, trinitarian christians considered arian christian No True Christians. The catholic christians considered gnostic christians No True christians. Then the catholic christians considered the eastern orthodox christians No True Christians.. Some protestant christians have considered catholic christians No True Christians. Many non-mormon christians consider mormons No True Christians.”

                  >If you accuse that of being a fallacy, then so denying the atheism of an atheist who is a theist. Historically, theists have called atheists no true theists and atheists have called theists no true atheists.

                  “As an outsider, I observe all these groups claiming to be christian have a few things in common: (1) they believe in a guy called Jesus, (2) they believe he was some stripe of divine, and (3) he died for humanity, and that his death was significant and important.

                  Hitler (via documentation) and you (presumably) meet all three criteria. But here you come along, Bill the Internet Prophet and Arbiter of True Christianity (TM) to claim that you are the one to segregate the True Christians (TM) from them others (a claim that has happened repeatedly throughout history, often followed by the slaughter of “heretics”).”

                  >Table Talk disproves that claim.

                  “As an outsider, I cannot, nor do I have any interest in the internecine conflicts between the various subtribes of christians. But for you to claim that Hitler was not a True Christian (TM) to me is about as meaningful some pope a few centuries ago declaring the eastern orthodox church No True Christians, understand? You have given me no credible test to distinguish whether you and your buddy Hitler are True Christians or not.

                  And, ultimately Hitler, whether True Christian (TM) bad True Christian (TM) or otherwise was poisoned by the anti-semitic vein of christianity in which he was immersed. So, yeah, thanks for the holocaust, christianity.

                  Are you beginning to see why your ranting is little more than a joke to most people here?

                  And a last suggestion: Get some hobby other than religion, you’ll be happier.”

                  And here you go- http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

                  Go get another hobby. Or try again and fail.

                • islandbrewer

                  Thank you for your demonstration that you are firmly entrenched in the Scotsman fallacy. I’m copying your posts for a seminar on how deeply one can commit themselves to a fallacy. All the best to your and your BFF Hitler.

                • Bill

                  Thank you for not knowing what NTS is.

                  http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

                  http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/hitler.html

                  I’m copying your posts for a seminar on how deeply one can commit themselves to atheism, even to the point of redefining words and misapplying fallacies.

                • islandbrewer

                  Yay for copying my words! You are so original!

                • Bill

                  Yay! Thank you for ignoring the entire post!

                • HoboBanana

                  an atheist is a person who doesn’t believe in god-ideas because the proof is insufficient. That would make your position self-contradictory. Torquemada was a christian, though, and did all you so seem to hate…and so did the puritan pilgrims….you got a little problem resolving the contradictions, there.

                • HoboBanana

                  Hey, Bill…here’s some examples both for and against your position, right from the bible…( http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/sword.html ) Unfortunately, it makes your bible, and position, self-contradictory.

                • Bill

                  Interesting, because I already covered those.

                  Anyways, here’s one answer- http://carm.org/did-jesus-come-to-bring-peace-or-not

                • Bill

                  PS- The word “Christian” literally means “follower of Christ”. So try again.

                • islandbrewer

                  You haven’t shown any evidence that he didn’t follow christ, your no true scotsman is totally showing, bucko.

                • Bill

                  Interesting.

                  Here’s the bit about NTS- http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm.

                  And so, do you think killing the Jews violates Mark 12:31 or not?

                • islandbrewer

                  I really have no opinion on how a christian is supposed to interpret specific passages from the tales of a syncretic greco-roman interpretation of judaism through a mithraistic lens.

                • Bill

                  Why do you avoid the question?

                • islandbrewer

                  If they believe in Christ they’re a christian. You can argue Hitler was a bad christian, but his professed beliefs (which are the only thing by which we can judge) make him a christian. You have shown no evidence that he didn’t believe in Jesus. I can show you 21st century Americans engaged in editing the bible who call themselves christian.

                  But what you want to argue is that Hitler was …

                  No true christian.

                • Bill

                  So, how do you know Hitler believed in Jesus? Can you read minds now? No. Jesus says who is a Christian and who is not. John 8:31 says “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” Tell me how Hitler loved the Jews.

                  In James 2:24, it states faith without works is dead. Merely claiming to be a Christian doesn’t make you one. I’m sorry sir, but the Christ disagrees with your ridiculous accusation of Hitler being a Christian.

                • islandbrewer

                  You’re absolutely right in that I don’t actually knows what goes on in either your mind or Hitler’s mind.

                  Both you and Hitler might be lying when the two of you claim to believe in Jesus. However, in the absence of the ability to read minds, we can only take people’s statements of belief at face value. I assume you’re telling the truth about your claim to believe in Jesus.

                  If you want to make the argument that he didn’t actually believe in Jesus, go ahead and provide evidence – evidence that he didn’t believe in Jesus. Please note that belief in the occult, or other alternative imaginary deities isn’t the same as not believing in Jesus.

                  Also note, that your version of christianity and definition of a christian is, in fact, different from what many other self-identified christians claim is the definition of a christian.

                  You have failed to escape the no true scotsman fallacy.

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

                  Once again, most Christians don’t follow what Christ allegedly commanded.

                • Bill

                  *Most people who claim to be Christian.

                • HoboBanana

                  like you, Bill? We have no proof you’re a Christian, just that you *claim* to be.

                • glebealyth

                  If you have not yet sold all your possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor, you are not a xian either. Sso we can take it that all your comments are designed to play to your believeing audience, Bill?

                • Bill

                  Source.

                • glebealyth

                  Matthew 19:21, and do not tell me that this only applied to the questioner. The obvious riposte would be that “…the greatest of these is Love” only applies to the Corinthians.

                  If you object to this reference, and I understand that this applies to those under the Law which, btw, you still are, then I would ask you whether you still have more than one shirt.

                • Bill

                  No one is under the Law, because Christ fulfilled that Law.
                  Galatians 3:25

                  And yes, it is only towards the questioner. It was to reveal his greed and lust for money. You must take the words in context, not just quote mine.

                • HoboBanana

                  so much for the 10 (613 or so, from Leviticus) commandments, then, Bill. They’re the law. Also, I do believe that jeebus himself is credited with saying (Matthew 5:18) “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” And Matthew 26:64 says, “Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” So all has NOT been fulfilled, and therefore the law is still in effect. Sorry, dude, but your own book impeaches your belief.

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

                  You’re desperate and it shows…

                • Bill

                  Mhm, nice ad hominem attack. Got anything else?

                • HoboBanana

                  @Bill, nope, again, not an ad hom…just an insult (well deserved, I might add)

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

                  [Citations Desperately Needed]

                  Especially since Hitler’s Christianity is exceedingly well documented…

                • Bill

                  How do you document a belief in someone’s mind? Did you dig out his skull?

                  What kind of Christian violates Christ directly, to the point of rewriting the Bible, and setting up your own church? These are all historical facts.

                  Similarly, what kind of atheist believes in God?

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

                  Ah, but I never claimed to be an atheist.

                  And, once more, Hitler’s Christianity is exceedingly well documented.

                  So, you need to cough up your sources, or STFU.

                • Job

                  Try Boenhofer’s letter’s from prison. If Hitler considered himself a Christian, he didn’t know what one is. I could say I am an asteroid and make sure it’s well documented and still be a man.

                • Bill

                  I never said you were one. Can you read?

                  However, you called me a Christian.

                  Quit it with the argument of assertion. All you do is claim that he CLAIMED to be Christian. As I’ve shown, he didn’t act like one. I’ve also given a few sources. Few of the many.

                  Again, what kind of Christian doesn’t follow Christ?

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

                  Well, considering that a LOT of Christians don’t walk the walk… fuck it, I’m done arguing with you.

                • Bill

                  I agree with you.

                  There are many hypocrites claiming to follow Christ.

                • Albert

                  What do you consider is a “Follower” of Christ”?

                • HoboBanana

                  bill, you’re claiming to be a christian….but are you?

                • Bill

                  Examine my lifestyle. Unfortunately, you cannot do that.

                  We can, however, examine Hitler’s lifestyle fully.

                • Albert

                  You said, that Hitler’s Christian history is documented, right? There is no doubt that Rachael Slick was considered a Christian as well in her early years, correct? And until this article, there were probably many people that wouldn’t have considered her anything but a Christian based on who she is and who her parents are. But she left her religion to become an atheist. If we removed the parts of this article that indicate she is an atheist or that she has walked away from her faith, you could come to the conclusion that she is still a Christian. But her actions(leaving her religion, making the claim that she is now an atheist) changes that view, correct? Couldn’t the same be said for Hitler?

                  If I said I am an atheist. You have no reason to doubt that based on it’s face value. But if I am preaching that Jesus is God and really did perform those miracles and then claimed to be an atheist, would you have the same impression?

                  I’m guessing you would say that my actions are not representative of an atheist, right?

                  Would you agree that a persons claim is only as good as the evidence that is presented in support of that claim?

                  You indicated that Hitler’s Christianity is well documented. So then if that is true, then Hitler’s actions, throughout his life, would have to be reflective of what it means to be a Christian, correct?

                  Can you explain how the claims of Hitler being a Christian aligns with his actions throughout his life?

                  Is there any events in his life that don’t align with it?

                  Could there be a point in time where perhaps Hitler stepped away from his religion in the same manor Rachael Slick did?

                • Jim Jones

                  > But her actions (leaving her religion, making the claim that she is now an atheist) changes that view, correct? Couldn’t the same be said for Hitler?

                  Hitler lived and died a fully communicating Catholic.

                  > Can you explain how the claims of Hitler being a Christian aligns with his actions throughout his life?

                  The death camps were staffed almost entirely with Lutherans and Catholics. Is your claim that none were Christians?

                  No true Scotsman.

                • Albert

                  @Jim, I agree, that is what he said he was. I’m not saying he wasn’t. I’m asking if he could have changed his view like Rachael did?

                  You said, “Hitler lived and died a fully communicating Catholic.”

                  Okay, so? I’m not sure what this gets you. Can you explain?

                  You said, “No true Scotsman.”
                  What claim did I make for you to declare this fallacy?

                • Albert

                  Jim Jones , Not sure but it doesn’t seem to have posted my comment.

                  You said, “Hitler lived and died a fully communicating Catholic.” So? Now what?

                  I don’t know what this gets you?

                  You said, “No true Scotsman.”
                  What claim did I make that you are attaching this fallacy?

                • Nick Gotts

                  The Reformation was all about rewriting the Bible (removing several books), and setting up new churches. Are you claiming Protestants are not Christians? For that matter, how many professed Christians really follow the teachings of Jesus? My estimate would be, oh, round about… 0.

                • Bill

                  The Apocrypha contradicted Christ’s theology. It never belonged in the first place.

                  Try again.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Prove your claim.

                  And while your about it, how many professed Christians really follow the teachings of Jesus? Hmm?

                • Bill

                  1) Sure thing, bud.

                  Apocrypha- “Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins…Water will quench a flaming fire; and alms maketh an atonement for sin” (Sirach 3:3, 30).

                  “alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin.” Tobit 12:9

                  New Testament- “A man is not justified by the works of the law” (Galatians 2:16)

                  ” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

                  Furthermore, there are a few historical errors in the Apocrypha.

                  Judith calls Nebuchadnezzar the king of the Assyrians (1:1, 7). He was actually the king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:1).

                  2) I don’t know all things. So how can I give you an answer? Do you want an estimation, or what?

                • Nick Gotts

                  1) I don’t see an obvious contradiction there, but in any case, how do you know Galatians expressed Jesus’s theology? It was written after his death, by someone else. Moreover, the Bible is stuffed full of contradictions, some of them attributed to Jesus himself, for example:

                  Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
                  Matthew 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

                  2) You’ve been willing enough to claim that most Catholics are not Christians, but now you’ve come over all humble. It doesn’t wash, “bud”, you are quite clearly a person of extreme arrogance, whatever else you may be.

                • Bill

                  1) Salvation is from grace not earned by works. The Apocrypha has many instances of works salvation. If you’ve studying theology even remotely, you would see this error. Do you want to know how the canon was brought together? If you’re asking about Paul’s theology, here.
                  http://carm.org/questions/other-questions/did-jesus-and-paul-teach-same-thing

                  1.5) Are you serious? Do you read in context?

                  In Matthew 10:34, Jesus is speaking about the divisions that will come, even among family members, over their belief or lack of belief about Him.

                  In Matthew 26:52-54 we are talking about a physical sword. Jesus’ statement is that if people use physical violence to solve their problems then it will come back at them.

                  Assistance from Matt Slick, LavistachurchofChrist

                  2) So, bud, what are you asking for?

                • Nick Gotts

                  1) How do you think you know that?
                  2) As I’ve said more than once, I’m asking for your estimate of how many actual Christians there are, by your own definition. Let’s bring it down to a specific case: do you claim to love your neighbour as yourself? Do you claim to turn the other cheek – because I haven’t seen much evidence of that here.

                • Bill

                  1) The Bible…

                  Also, I updated my post.

                  “If you’re asking about Paul’s theology, here.

                  http://carm.org/questions/othe

                  1.5) Are you serious? Do you read in context?

                  In Matthew 10:34, Jesus is speaking about the divisions that will come, even among family members, over their belief or lack of belief about Him.

                  In Matthew 26:52-54 we are talking about a physical sword. Jesus’ statement is that if people use physical violence to solve their problems then it will come back at them.”

                  2)Depending on my answer, you may take my previous words out of context. I never said to be sinless. However, what I did say was Hitler’s character did not match up to Christ’s description of a Christian. No, I never said real Christians don’t sin. However, match up the qualities of a Christian (Galatians 5:22-23), and match them up to Hitler. I’m not saying “Ha! You sinned once. You’re not a Christian”. But examine their general lifestyle.

                • Nick Gotts

                  1) Your preferred version of the Bible – which, as I said, is stuffed with contradictions.

                  1.5)

                  Luke 22:36
                  He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
                  There is not the slightest doubt that this is a literal, physical sword, as the context has the disciples producing two actual, physical swords, and Jesus saying “It is enough”.

                  2) I’m not taking anything out of context. You said that real Christians follow Jesus’s teaching, and now you want to pretend that you didn’t. I thought there was something in Christianity about not bearing false witness, but clearly, it doesn’t apply to you. But then, I don’t see a lot of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness” or “Meekness, temperance” in you either. Clearly, you’re no Christian, but an imposter trying to discredit Christianity.

                • Bill

                  1) Stuffed with contradictions. Right. Most of them are a failure to read in contxt.

                  1.5) What are you referring this contradicts?

                  2) Yes, real Christians follow Christ’s teachings. I said NEVER PERFECTLY. So, you didn’t pay attention to what I just said.

                  If you wish to continue this discussion, would you like to do it else where?

                • Nick Gotts

                  1) Both the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke, and the resurrection narratives in all four gospels, are rife with contradictions. The versions of Jesus’s genealogy in Matthew and Luke are also inconsistent, and having such genealogies at all makes nonsense of the claim of the virgin birth. All these are matters quite central to Christian doctrine, and it’s blatantly dishonest to pretend that they can be explained away as “failure to read in context”. This confirms that you are not a real Christian, but a lying imposter trying to discredit Christianity.

                  1.5) Matthew 26:52-4. Unless you are willing to use violence, what possible point is there in acquiring swords?

                  2) You said quite clearly and repeatedly that real Christians follow Jesus’ teachings. Now you’re dishonestly trying to wriggle out of it.

                  I’ve no wish to continue this discussion elsewhere with a lying imposter.

                • Bill

                  1) Here is a detailed explanation- http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/matthew-mark/why-are-there-different-genealogies-jesus-matthew-1-and-luke-3

                  1.5) http://www.tektonics.org/lp/noswords.html

                  2) No, real Christians do follow Christ’s teachings. Have you examined my entire life?

                  I can only give links ATM, because I am on mobile.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Your “detailed explanation” of the inconsistent genealogies itself admits that:

                  Even though we cannot ascertain at this time a precise explanation does not mean one isn’t forthcoming.

                  IOW, the contradiction cannot be explained away. You haven’t even attempted the birth and resurrection narratives.

                • Bill
                • Nick Gotts

                  Well, if you choose to ignore everything else the article was talking about, go ahead.

                  Neither of your previous links deals with either the birth or the resurrection narrative contradictions. I’m not following any more of your links to unspecified “alternatives”. If you have specific arguments to put forward with regard to these contradictions, make them yourself.

                • Albert

                  Nick, Lets go with the premise that there is a contradiction in the genealogies. What does this get you?

                • Nick Gotts

                  *sigh*

                  Can’t you look back for yourself and see how the issue arose? Bill dismissed the “Apocrypha” removed by Protestants from the Bible, on the ground that they contained contradictions. I pointed out that the (Protestant) Bible is stuffed with contradictions, of which that in the genealogies is a clear example, so if we dismiss the Apocrypha on those grounds, we should dismiss the whole Bible.

                • Bill

                  ” Bill dismissed the “Apocrypha” removed by Protestants
                  from the Bible”

                  >Implying the Apocrphya was even meant to be in the Bible. The Jews did not even accept them as Scripture. I said it was mainly because of the contradiction in theology. NT Apocrypha is rejected by Catholics, Protestants, and the Orthodox.

                  More info: http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/stewart.cfm?id=395

                  http://carm.org/why-apocrypha-not-in-bible

                  “I pointed out that the (Protestant) Bible is stuffed with contradictions,”

                  How so? I just refuted your contradiction accusations.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Liar. You did absolutely no such thing. Your initial link to a page on the genealogies of Jesus did not resolve the contradiction, and you did not even attempt to resolve those in the birth and resurrection narratives. I told you, I’m not following any more of your links to unspecified material, given the worthlessness of those I have followed already. If you think you can resolve the contradictions, do so here, at least in outline; and if you really need to use links, tell me why you are linking to a particular page and summarize what it says.

                • Bill

                  Mhm. Sure.

                  Evaluate on the supposed “contradictions” in the birth and resurrection narratives. If you are referring to the tomb, it is simple- different perspectives. It’s called cross-examination. It all matches up.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Birth narratives:

                  Matthew: after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary flee from Herod’s search for Jesus to Egypt. When they return thence, it is stated that they “turned aside into the parts of Galilee” rather than go back to Judea; so clearly, they had not come from Galilee originally.
                  Luke: Before Jesus’s birth, Mary and Joseph are living in Galilee. There’s a ridiculous tale about a census in which everyone has to return to somewhere a distant ancestor came from, and this takes them to Bethlehem (no mention of any such journey or census in Matthew). After Jesus’s birth, there’s no attempt to kill him by Herod, and they return directly to Galilee as soon as Jesus has been circumcised, on the eighth day. They do not go to Egypt.

                  Resurrection:
                  Matthew: Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” go to the tomb. They meet the angel of the lord outside the tomb. He tells them Jesus has risen. On the way back from the tomb to tell the disciples, they are met by Jesus, who says “All hail”. They clasp him by the feet. The disciples don’t see Jesus until they have returned to Galilee.

                  Mark: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome go to the tomb. They go into the tomb and there see a young man in a long white garment, who tells them Jesus has risen. They don’t tell anyone because they are afraid. Jesus then appears to Mary Magdalene alone, she tells the disciples but is not believed. Then he appears to two unnamed disciples, but they are not believed. Then he appears to the eleven. No mention of them returning to Galilee.
                  Luke: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and other women (names not given) go to the tomb. They enter the tomb and are perplexed. They then see two men in shining garments, who tell them Jesus has risen. They tell the disciples, but there’s no mention of them having seen Jesus. Peter goes to the tomb and is perplexed. Two disciples, Cleopas and Simon, then meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus, but don’t recognize him until just before he vanishes. They tell him about the women having a “vision of angels” that told them Jesus was risen, but not that anyone had seen Jesus himself. They then return to Jerusalem, where they find the eleven gathered together, and Jesus appears to the eleven there, in Jerusalem.
                  John: Mary Magdalene (no one else mentioned) goes to the tomb. She meets no-one, but finds it empty. She runs to tell Simon Peter, and “the other disciple Jesus loved”, that Jesus has been taken from the tomb, and she doesn’t know where to. Those two run to the tomb, and the other disciple (not Peter) gets there first. They meet no-one. After this, Mary sees two angels in white. They don’t tell her Jesus has risen. She turns away and sees him, but mistakes him for the gardener, and asks if he has taken Jesus away. He speaks to her and she recognises him, then goes to tell “the disciples”. That same evening, Jesus appears to the disciples (except Thomas Didymus) in Jerusalem. eight days later, he appears to them all including Thomas.

                  So:
                  Who, if anyone, initially went with Mary Magdalen to the tomb?
                  Who, if anyone, did she/they meet there: one or two, men or angels, or no-one on that occasion?
                  Does she/do they meet Jesus on her/their way to tell the disciples or not? Or do they tell no-one because they are afraid?
                  Which disciples, if any, enter the tomb, and in what order?
                  Is Mary Magdalen alone when she sees Jesus or with “the other Mary”? Does she recognize him? What does he say?
                  When, where, and in what order do the disciples see Jesus? In Jerusalem or Galilee? The same day he is risen or later? All together except for Thomas, or Cleopas and Simon on the road to Emmaus before any of the others?

                • Bill

                  1) Since when does not mentioning it make it a contradiction?

                  2) Are different perspectives contradiction?

                  For the birth narratives, this sums it up: http://www.tektonics.org/af/birthnarr.html

                  For the resurrection, here:
                  http://www.tektonics.org/harmonize/greenharmony.htm

                  Don’t be lazy and ask simple questions apologists have already refuted.

                • Nick Gotts

                  *chortle*

                  It’s hard to believe your first source is even serious. The attempt to resolve the contradiction between an immediate return to Galilee and a flight to Egypt (having never been in Galilee) is “resolved” by inventing the notion that the latter took place when Jesus was two. But Matthew is quite clear:

                  Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

                  Note: not “When Jesus was two years old, and Mary and Joseph had returned to Bethlehem from Galilee.”

                  As for the second link, I’ve no idea why you should think this shows there are no contradictions between the accounts, since it starts by admitting that there are (quoting someone else):

                  There is enough of discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them

                  So, it is clearly admitted that there are contradictions. You’d be well advised to drop the barefaced lie that there are not.

                  The rest of the link is a series of feeble, dishonest excuses for these discrepancies, such as pretending that the difference between one angel (or man) and two angels (or men) could just be that those mentioning one didn’t bother to mention the other (come on, be serious), and similarly for the differences in the number of women who went there. There’s a pretense that when the women in Matthew’s account meet Jesus, Mary Magdalene isn’t there, although there’s not the faintest shadow of a justification for this in the text.

                  Then we have tosh such as:

                  There remains to be considered the circumstance, that Mark, in v. 9, seems to represent this appearance of Jesus at the sepulchre to Mary Magdalene, as his first appearance: “Now, being risen early the first of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.” In attempting to harmonize this with Matthew’s account of our Lord’s appearance to the other women* on their return from the sepulchre, several methods have been adopted; but the most to the purpose is the view which regards the word first, Mark v. 9, as put not absolutely, but relatively.

                  Again, there’s not the faintest shadow of a justification for this assumption. It’s merely made in a futile and dishonest attempt to argue away the obvious contradictions. The same is true throughout this absurd fargo of bilge. I invite anyone to go and look for themselves.

                  *Who in fact, in Matthew’s account, were Mary Magdalen herself and “the other Mary”.

                • Bill

                  “It’s hard to believe your first source is even serious. The attempt to resolve the contradiction between an immediate return to Galilee and a flight to Egypt (having never been in Galilee) is “resolved” by inventing the notion that the latter took place when Jesus was two. But Matthew is quite clear:

                  Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

                  Note: not “When Jesus was two years old, and Mary and Joseph had returned to Bethlehem from Galilee.””

                  >Interestingly enough, “when” can also be translated as “after”.

                  >Besides, the verse is talking about the wise men. Excuse me if I misunderstand, but what are you referring to exactly?

                  “As for the second link, I’ve no idea why you should think this shows there are no contradictions between the accounts, since it starts by admitting that there are (quoting someone else):

                  There is enough of discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them

                  So, it is clearly admitted that there are contradictions. You’d be well advised to drop the barefaced lie that there are not.”

                  >Is there a problem you have with quote mining?-

                  >”and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they all were independent narrators of the same great transaction, as the events actually occurred.”

                  The rest of the link is a series of feeble, dishonest excuses for these discrepancies, such as pretending that the difference between one angel (or man) and two angels (or men) could just be that those mentioning one didn’t bother to mention the other (come on, be serious), and similarly for the differences in the number of women who went there. There’s a pretense that when the women in Matthew’s account meet Jesus, Mary Magdalene isn’t there, although there’s not the faintest shadow of a justification for this in the text.

                  Then we have tosh such as:

                  There remains to be considered the circumstance, that Mark, in v. 9, seems to represent this appearance of Jesus at the sepulchre to Mary Magdalene, as his first appearance: “Now, being risen early the first of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.” In attempting to harmonize this with Matthew’s account of our Lord’s appearance to the other women* on their return from the sepulchre, several methods have been adopted; but the most to the purpose is the view which regards the word first, Mark v. 9, as put not absolutely, but relatively.

                  Again, there’s not the faintest shadow of a justification for this assumption. It’s merely made in a futile and dishonest attempt to argue away the obvious contradictions. The same is true throughout this absurd fargo of bilge. I invite anyone to go and look for themselves.

                  *Who in fact, in Matthew’s account, were Mary Magdalen herself and “the other Mary”.”

                  First explain to me how different perspectives are contradictions.

                  http://www.bible.ca/b-alleged-bible-contradictions-refuted.htm

                • Nick Gotts

                  Interestingly enough, “when” can also be translated as “after”

                  So what? It would be simply misleading to start the account as Matthew does if Jesus, having been born in Bethlehem, had been taken back to Galilee after circumcision, as recounted in Luke, then brought back two years later for some unexplained reason. It’s bilge, and you know it.

                  Is there a problem you have with quote mining?

                  It’s not quote-mining to quote only what is relevant. The point at issue was simply whether there are contradictions in the resurrection accounts: your own source admits that there are.

                  First explain to me how different perspectives are contradictions.

                  I have already listed numerous contradictions, none of which you have dealt with, and which your source attempts to excuse with nonsense like claiming that when only one man (or angel) is mentioned, there were really two, but the writer didn’t bother to mention the other. If I say, giving evidence in court “I saw a man”, and in fact I saw two, that is perjury. To call these contradictions “different perspectives” is a barefaced lie.

                • Bill

                  >The verse is takl

                  “It’s not quote-mining to quote only what is relevant. The point at issue was simply whether there are contradictions in the resurrection accounts: your own source admits that there are.”

                  > “and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they all were independent narrators of the same great transaction, as the events actually occurred.”

                  “I have already listed numerous contradictions, none of which you have dealt with, and which your source attempts to excuse with nonsense like claiming that when only one man (or angel) is mentioned, there were really two, but the writer didn’t bother to mention the other. If I say, giving evidence in court “I saw a man”, and in fact I saw two, that is perjury. To call these contradictions “different perspectives” is a barefaced lie.”

                  >No, it really isn’t. If you said you “Only saw one man”, it is a contradiction.

                  I spoke with a man today. I spoke with over 20 people today. That isn’t a contradiction. A contradictory statement would exclude the two from being equally true. Try again.

                • glebealyth

                  Stuffed with contradictions. Right. Most of them are a failure to read in contxt(sic).

                  Once again, you have decided the context in advance of the discussion. This has the benefit to you of always being right.

                • Bill

                  Decided the context? What?

                  The context is in the text.

                • Albert

                  Nick,

                  Lets say Hitler is a Christian. So what? Where does that get you?

                  What does “love your neighbor as yourself” mean with your understanding?

                  What does “turn the other cheek” mean with your understanding?

                  What is the evidence you would require to see that?

                • Nick Gotts

                  I didn’t say Hitler was Christian in his beliefs – I don’t think he was, toward the end of his life. The best evidence is that he continued to be a theist, believing in a divine “Providence” which (for example) saved his life in the 1944 assassination attempt, but not a doctrinally orthodox Christian, although he remained a member of the Catholic Church. This whole dispute erupted because of claims Hitler was either an atheist or a satanist – for neither of which is there a particle of evidence.

                  As for the rest of the comment you respond to, I’m simply asking Bill whether he claims to follow Jesus’s teachings, since he has made this the criterion for being a Christian. My view is that this would mean there are precisely 0 Christians in the world.

                • Bill

                  Notice, I never, ever, ever, said perfectly.

                  And besides, I asserted he might have been a Satanist, however, I said EVEN IF you reject the source, he is definitely not a Christian.

                • Nick Gotts

                  You’re lying again Bill. You said he was a Satanist – no “might have been” about it.

                • Bill

                  This is what I said-

                  “Regardless, I gave appropriate sources. The circumstances did not allow for me to do a proper citation. It’s ibid anyway.

                  All you showed was that he CLAIMED to be a Christian. Show me he WAS a christian. What I gave is all documented historical fact.

                  Even if you rule out him being a Satanist, (which you probably can’t.), the Reich Church and the editing of the Bible is very well documented. the way he acted was not in accordance to Christ. Hence, he was not a Christian because he did not follow Christ.

                  Now answer the question. What kind of Christian doesn’t follow what Christ commands?

                  It’s the same as an atheist who believes in God.”

                • Nick Gotts

                  No excuse for your lie, Bill. You said he worshipped Satan, and now, like the lying liar you are, you are pretending you didn’t. Quick, Bill, sit in a bucket of water!

                • Bill

                  “Even if you rule out him being a Satanist, (which you probably can’t.)”

                  Did you even read the thing?

                  Besides, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic:_History,_Theory_and_Practice

                  Whatever. Wiki is not my main source.

                  Regardless, I said him being a Satanist or not did not affect the conclusion

                • Nick Gotts

                  Stop lying Bill. You said he worshipped Satan.

                • Bill

                  “Even if you rule out him being a Satanist”

                  Stop lying Nick.

                • Nick Gotts

                  I can’t, because I never started doing so. You’re the one who’s been lying, to such an extent that I think it is probably pathological, since it is so obvious no rational person would expect to get away with it. I quoted the whole comment in which you said, without any qualification, that Hitler was a Satanist, and which you then lied about repeatedly. It was also, of course, a lie to attribute to Hitler, as you did, statements that were made in a book he had in his library!

                • Nick Gotts

                  Here is a complete comment from Bill:

                  Lolwut.

                  Hitler was a Christian? He was a Satanist. Not even close.

                  He annotated books of magic and worshiped Satan. That is historical fact.

                  Now, Bill, will you stop lying, at least about this?

                • Bill

                  Which he did.

                  Besides-

                  “Regardless, I gave appropriate sources. The circumstances did not allow for me to do a proper citation. It’s ibid anyway.

                  All you showed was that he CLAIMED to be a Christian. Show me he WAS a christian. What I gave is all documented historical fact.

                  Even if you rule out him being a Satanist, (which you probably can’t.), the Reich Church and the editing of the Bible is very well documented. the way he acted was not in accordance to Christ. Hence, he was not a Christian because he did not follow Christ.

                  Now answer the question. What kind of Christian doesn’t follow what Christ commands?

                  It’s the same as an atheist who believes in God.”

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

                  I’m curious. Do you consider Thomas Jefferson a Christian?

                • Bill

                  Thomas Jefferson was a deist.

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

                  Color me shocked, you got the right answer.

                • Bill

                  So, what is your point?

                • Nick Gotts

                  Bill, Bill, Bill. Just a few comments above, you say:

                  I asserted he might have been a Satanist

                  But you didn’t, you lying liar, you said he was a satanist. As I have proved.

                  Really, Bill, I’ve had enough of your ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and lies. I’m off to bed.

                • Bill

                  Mhm, thank you for your ad hominem attacks.

                  “Regardless, I gave appropriate sources. The circumstances did not allow for me to do a proper citation. It’s ibid anyway.

                  All you showed was that he CLAIMED to be a Christian. Show me he WAS a christian. What I gave is all documented historical fact.

                  Even if you rule out him being a Satanist, (which you probably can’t.), the Reich Church and the editing of the Bible is very well documented. the way he acted was not in accordance to Christ. Hence, he was not a Christian because he did not follow Christ.

                  Now answer the question. What kind of Christian doesn’t follow what Christ commands?

                  It’s the same as an atheist who believes in God.”

                  Thank you for also ignoring this.

                • Nick Gotts

                  I never claimed Hitler was a Christian toward the end of his life, and I have made no false accusations, liar.

                • Albert

                  Nick, you said, “I’m simply asking Bill
                  whether he claims to follow Jesus’s teachings, since he has made this
                  the criterion for being a Christian.”

                  The ‘he’ in that sentence meaning Bill or Hitler? Just clarifying so I understand you.

                  You said, “My view is that this would mean there are precisely 0 Christians in the world.”
                  How do you come to that conclusion?

                • Nick Gotts

                  He=Bill.

                  Because Jesus’s teachings are contradictory, for a start. He endorses the 10 commandments, one of which is to honour your father and mother, but then says you can’t be his disciple unless you hate your parents (Luke 14:26).

                • Bill

                  Are you serious? He says you must love Him- but you must not love your parents more. “Jesus is drawing a comparison of importance by exaggerating a relationship. He is saying that it is far more important to love Him than anyone else, including your own parents. Of course, He is not telling people to hate their parents. He is saying that by comparison to Him, you must love Him more than all else.” Matt Slick

                • Nick Gotts

                  Liar. He says you must hate your parents. Quite clearly.

                • Bill

                  Wow. I really like how you can quote mine like that! It must be a wonderful skill. Did you know that the word “miseó” can mean to “to love someone or something less than someone”?

                • Nick Gotts

                  No, and nor do you. You just copied that from some apologetic site; and your accusation of quote-mining is yet another bare-faced lie. Besides which, there are plenty of other places Jesus denigrates family ties, such as telling a man not to bury his own father, saying his teachings will set members of families against each other, and slighting his own family: “Who are my mother and my brothers”, and “Woman, what have I to do with you”. I’ve already set several of these out in replies to Albert, so I’m not going to do so again. Here’s one I didn’t include:
                  Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
                  And another;
                  Luke 11:27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.
                  11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
                  Both of these are clearly incompatible with the commandment to “honour thy father and thy mother”.

                • Bill

                  “No, and nor do you. You just copied that from some apologetic site”

                  >Mhm. So you admit your ignorance of the Greek language. I copied that off on an apologetic site? Where is your evidence to support that claim?

                  “such as telling a man not to bury his own father”

                  >Again, pay attention to context. Don’t just quote mine. He is clearly rebuking the man for making excuses. What is the Jewish tradition? To bury a man as soon as possible after the death. They would have already been burying him. He’s clearly making excuses not to go. Besides, God is to be held in a higher respect than humans. It is another method of comparison.

                  “Who are my mother and my brothers”

                  >Do you pay attention to context, at all? He is referring to the spiritual family.

                  “Matthew 23:9″

                  >Again, what is your problem with context? He is not referring to a literal father. The Jewish people often gave pharisees and other teachers honorary titles, such as “father”. The pharisees set up their own laws in place of God.

                  “Luke 11:27″

                  >So? Elaborate.

                  Try again, bud.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Where is your evidence to support that claim?

                  That you have never used a word of Greek up to now, and that the only place I could find that supposed meaning was on apologetic sites. You don’t know Greek any more than I do.

                  “Leave the dead to bury the dead” is clearly contemptuous of the dead man.

                  Jesus says “Who are my mother and my brothers?” when his actual mother and brothers are asking to see him. Clearly incompatible with “Honour thy mother”.

                  He is not referring to a literal father.

                  Yes he is: “no man” includes one’s own father.

                  Luke 27-8: he denies that his mother is blessed. Again, quite clearly incompatible with “honour thy mother”.

                  Try again, fuckwit.

                • Bill

                  “Where is your evidence to support that claim?

                  That you have never used a word of Greek up to now, and that the only place I could find that supposed meaning was on apologetic sites. You don’t know Greek any more than I do.”

                  >Oh, so if I don’t use a Greek word in a comment section of a single article, I don’t know Greek. Congrats, Mr. assumption maker.

                  “”Leave the dead to bury the dead” is clearly contemptuous of the dead man.”

                  >Alright, let’s go another possible route. In the Jewish burial customs, the body was left in a cave to decompose. When the flesh fully decomposes, a year later, the bones are collected and placed in an ossuary. This was considered a second burial. Because the man was already dead, he was clearly already buried. As Gordon Franz MA notes, “It would be impossible for the man to make his request if his father had just died… Essentially, what Jesus is saying is this: ‘You have already honored your father by giving him a proper burial in the family sepulcher. Now, instead of waiting for the flesh to decompose, this can never atone for sin, go and preach the Kingdom of God and tell of the only true means of atonement, faith alone in Christ.’”

                  “Jesus says “Who are my mother and my brothers?” when his actual mother and brothers are asking to see him. Clearly incompatible with “Honour thy mother”.”

                  >Do you pay attention to context? So all of his followers were his physical brothers?

                  “Yes he is: “no man” includes one’s own father.”

                  >Are you serious? Read the chapter, don’t just quote mine. He’s rebuking the pharisees in the entire chapter.

                  “Luke 27-8: he denies that his mother is blessed. Again, quite clearly incompatible with “honour thy mother”.”

                  >He’s not trash talking his mother. Are you serious? He’s saying that people who hear to the word of God are more blessed, than a mere physical connection.

                  Try again, quote miner.

                • Nick Gotts

                  I notice you don’t actually claim to speak Greek – because that would risk someone testing you, and the lie being found out.

                  The rest of your comment is just apologetic nonsense. Try again, fuckwit.

                • Bill

                  “I notice you don’t actually claim to speak Greek – because that would risk someone testing you, and the lie being found out.”

                  Here’s a couple dictionaries if you don’t believe me- http://biblesuite.com/greek/3404.htm

                  “The rest of your comment is just apologetic nonsense.”

                  Here’s another fallacy you commit. Argument ad lapidem.

                  Do you have a real response? If so, try again.

                • Nick Gotts

                  I don’t believe the apologetic source you link to any more than I believe you, and it confirms that you just grabbed the definition from there – it’s the first one that comes up when one puts “miseó” into google. My hunch is that this supposed meaning of “love less” has simply been invented to explain away Jesus’s instruction to hate your family. Can you produce anywhere else where “miseó” clearly means “to love someone or something less than someone”?

                  It’s not a fallacy to dismiss irrelevant crap as irrelevant crap. Nothing you said in any way undermined Jesus’s obvious disrespect for the dead man or for his own mother (your “So all of his followers were his physical brothers?” is just silly: I didn’t say or imply anything of the kind), or contradicted the plain fact that he told people not to call any man on earth “father”.

                • Bill

                  *Chortle*

                  So you, knowing nothing on Greek, can reject full dictionaries of the Greek language. Nice. It’s not an apologetic source. These were written by Biblical scholars.

                  “Nothing you said in any way undermined Jesus’s obvious disrespect for the dead man”

                  >So you ignore Jewish tradition. Nice one.

                  “for his own mother (your “So all of his followers were his physical brothers?” is just silly: I didn’t say or imply anything of the kind)”

                  >How does he disrespect his mother? He is speaking of a spiritual relationship- his brothers mocked him (John 7:2-10).

                  “contradicted the plain fact that he told people not to callany man on earth “father”.”

                  >So where do you get the authority to ignore the fact he is addressing the pharisees? It is clear from the context that “father” is for high reverence and honor, which belonged to God. Is God your physical father? If not, your argument is invalid.

                • Nick Gotts

                  I notice that you have not been able to give a single example of where “miseó” clearly means anything like “love less”. You can’t, can you? That alternative has just been invented to explain away awkward passages like the one at issue.

                  I “ignore Jewish tradition” in this instance because it is irrelevant: the attitude to the dead man and to family obligations is clearly dismissive.

                  He disrespects his mother by saying “Who is my mother?”, when he knows very well who she is, and that she wants to speak to him.

                  So where do you get the authority to ignore the fact he is addressing the pharisees?

                  I don’t need any authority to ignore an irrelevance.

                • Bill

                  “I notice that you have not been able to give a single example of where “miseó” clearly means anything like “love less”. You can’t, can you?”

                  >This instance.

                  “I “ignore Jewish tradition” in this instance because it is irrelevant: the attitude to the dead man and to family obligations is clearly dismissive.”

                  >So the burial practice is irrelevant to the man who makes a request based on the burial practice. Cool. In any case, it is held that God is above the parents. So, yeah…. No contradiction there.

                  “That alternative has just been invented to explain away awkward passages like the one at issue.”

                  >Can you give any basis for that reasoning? Oh, right. You can’t. Tell, me. Do you know Greek? Oh that’s right. You don’t. That site isn’t for apologetics. It’s an online Bible. There are loads of Biblical scholars who aren’t Christians anyway, such as Bart Ehrman and Robert Price.

                  “He disrespects his mother by saying “Who is my mother?”, when he knows very well who she is, and that she wants to speak to him.”

                  >He’s using that statement and turning it into a spiritual point. Read verse 50. “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

                  “I don’t need any authority to ignore an irrelevance.”

                  >So you don’t need to pay attention to context? Cool! Apparently context is irrelevant to you?

                • Albert

                  What do you believe the 10 commandments mean “by honor your mother and father?”

                  What do you think Jesus means by “hate his own father and mother?”
                  Is it possible that Jesus is using the word ‘hate’ to emphasize the love that his followers are to have towards God in reference to those around them?

                  Is it possible that Jesus means that his followers are to love Jesus so much that all other loves are hatred by comparison?

                • Nick Gotts

                  That’s just stupid. Mountains do not become valleys because there are higher mountains.

                • Albert

                  I replied to Feminerd about the same issue. I will cut and paste my comment from his so I don’t have to write it all again.

                  Have you head of antonyms? These are words that are the opposite of their meaning.

                  Here is an example of antonyms for the word “good” could be: bad,
                  badly, badness, evil, evilness, ill, malevolent, malicious, poorly,
                  wicked

                  The word itself is not what it really means because of the context in how it is used.

                  Have you ever seen a 1934 Ford Roadster coupe all tricked out, with a
                  huge engine, big tires and a great paint job and said, “That is bad!”?

                  Ever listened to Run DMC’s song “Peter Piper” and hear them say,
                  “Tricks are for kids he plays much gigs, He’s a big bad wolf and you’re
                  the three, pigs He’s a big bad wolf in your neighborhood, Not bad
                  meaning bad but bad meaning good!”

                  Couldn’t Jesus do that in this situation written about in Luke 14:26?

                  Also, have you considered the fact that this is a translation from Greek to English?

                  There are many times that a word in Greek might not have a direct
                  word for word translation to an appropriate word in English that holds
                  the same meaning.

                  Isn’t this where context comes into play?

                  If you read the whole verse of Luke 14:26
                  “If anyone comes to Me,
                  and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and
                  brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My
                  disciple.”

                  Doesn’t it seem to you that Jesus is placing the relationship of this
                  person to himself as paramount to every other relationship, even to
                  themselves, as more important than the others?

                  And if you take a translation, like the Amplified translation (which
                  attempts to take both word meaning and context into account in order to
                  accurately translate the original text from one language into another):
                  “If
                  anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in
                  the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in
                  comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and
                  children and brothers and sisters—[yes] and even his own life also—he
                  cannot be My disciple.”

                  Doesn’t it seem that the word hate here is not being used as you might normally define it?

                • Nick Gotts

                  No. Consider all the other places where Jesus predicts that he will be the cause of family breakdown, tells someone not to bother burying his father, and treats his own family with contempt. It looks to me like the typical behaviour of a cult leader, keen to isolate his followers from family influence.

                • Albert

                  Are there other places besides the two you mentioned?

                  You mentioned the verse Luke 9:60 “Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

                  How is that telling people to act any differently than in the other scenario from Matthew 10:34?

                  Isn’t Jesus still saying to do what is more important?

                  Seems to me in both scenario’s he is saying that following him is more important than the relationships we have here on earth as well as doing the things of this world, doesn’t it?

                  You said” treats his own family with contempt.”
                  Where is your scripture reference for this? I’m not sure what you are meaning by treats with contempt.

                  You said, “typical behaviour of a cult leader, keen to isolate his followers from family influence.”What is your understanding is the reason that cult leaders do this?

                • Nick Gotts

                  Isn’t Jesus still saying to do what is more important?

                  Yes: he’s saying: “Stuff your family, do as I tell you.”

                  Where is your scripture reference for this?

                  Matthew 12:46-50, and parallel passages in Mark and Luke: “Who are my mother and my brothers?”

                  and

                  John 2:4
                  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?

                  What is your understanding is the reason that cult leaders do this?

                  To prevent their followers escaping the cult.

                • Albert

                  You said, “Yes: he’s saying: “Stuff your family, do as I tell you.”So if he is saying the same thing in all of these scriptures, then how do you call this a contradiction?

                  How is Matthew 12:46-50 showing contempt for his family?

                  Isn’t he really defining who his family is? Doesn’t he do that when he says, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

                  You mention John 2:4, where Mary, the mother of Jesus has told him to do something to help out the wine issue at the wedding, right?

                  What’s curious is when you read it in different translations it reads a little differently than the KJV.

                  For example in the NASB it says, ‘And Jesus *said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”’

                  And in the NIV it says, ‘Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”’

                  Doesn’t it seem that he is telling Mary that the time for him to be know to the public is not at this time? And even though he addresses her like this, doesn’t he go ahead and does as she asks?

                  How do you see this as showing contempt?

                  You said, “To prevent their followers escaping the cult.”
                  If that is true, how was Jesus doing that?

                • Nick Gotts

                  It’s a contradiction with Jesus’s endorsment of the ten commandments.

                  Isn’t he really defining who his family is?

                  You don’t get to do that, with regard to the family you’re born into.

                  How do you see this as showing contempt?

                  Would you address your mother as “woman”? Not unless you have contempt for her.

                  If that is true, how was Jesus doing that?

                  Oh come on: by telling his disciples to reject their families. This is exactly the tactic used by modern cults for that purpose.

                • Albert

                  You said, “You don’t get to do that, with regard to the family you’re born into.”

                  Doesn’t adoption include someone into a family without them having to be born into that family? My wife is adopted and she see’s this family that adopted her as her mother, father and brother. Is they really not that to her?

                  Couldn’t this be what Jesus is talking about?

                  John 1:12-13 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

                  if Jesus is who he claimed to be, wouldn’t those who believed in him be adopted into the family of God?

                  You said, “Would you address your mother as “woman”? Not unless you have contempt for her.”

                  Is that response in the first-century CE have the same connotation it does now in the twenty-first-century English vernacular?

                  You said, “Oh come on: by telling his disciples to reject their families. This is exactly the tactic used by modern cults for that purpose.”And that purpose is for what end result?

                  Nick, perhaps I’m not understanding you but I don’t see the contradiction. Can you help me out by spelling it out a bit?

                • Nick Gotts

                  Couldn’t this be what Jesus is talking about?

                  No, because being adopted does not imply repudiating existing family, which is what Jesus demands.

                  if Jesus is who he claimed to be

                  Who do you think he claimed to be, and how do you think you know that? None of his words were recorded at the time, nothing was written down until decades later, so we don’t know who he claimed to be.

                  Nick, perhaps I’m not understanding you but I don’t see the contradiction.

                  Oh FFS, I’ve done so at least twice already. If you can’t be bothered to read for comprehension, there’s no point in continuing this exchange. The ten commandments include the injunction to honour your father and mother. Jesus of the gospels goes around breaking up families and telling people to hate their father and mother. Have you got it yet?

                • Albert

                  Lets make something clear as I’m not wanting to offend you or make you feel like I’m just wanting to string you along or something. I honestly don’t understand how you see this as a contradiction. So please, if you can bare with me, I would really appreciate it.

                  If we can agree that repudiate means the following: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/repudiate

                  I don’t see how you get that Jesus did this in Matthew 12:46-50.

                  The verses state: ‘While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”’

                  How do you see him repudiating them in this passage?
                  Maybe you can explain how you see see Jesus denying or refusing to associate with his biological family in this passage?

                  Isn’t Jesus speaking to the Pharisees and teachers along with the crowds around him?
                  Couldn’t Jesus be taking this situation as a teaching moment to somewhat declare his authority to those around him?

                  I could be wrong, but it seems to me that how you are interpreting the verses is not fitting the context it is used in as well as possible translation issues from one language to another or the way a word was used back in the 1st century compared to today; does that make sense?

                  Isn’t it possible that Jesus did use antonyms or expressed concepts using words like ‘hate’ or ‘family’ to allude to ways we should be thinking about his words instead of out right saying exactly what he meant?

                  Couldn’t the word ‘woman’ in the 1st century be used as a term of endearment rather than the way it might be taken today?

                  Shouldn’t we look at the whole context of the gospels instead of pulling out one or two verses to make an assertion that fits our view?

                  And then the side note: You asked, “Who do you think he claimed to be, and how do you think you know that?”

                  I would rather not deal with this one now until we can come to a conclusion for your assertion of contradiction for the 10 commandments and the other verses about Jesus. So if you are willing to set this aside for clarity sake in our conversation, we could address it later. Is that okay with you?

                • Nick Gotts

                  No. I do think precisely that you are stringing me along, and I’ve had enough of it. I’ve given you multiple examples, and if you refuse to understand them, too bad.

                • Albert

                  Well, Nick. I’m sorry you feel that way. It has always been my understanding that we can all learn from each other if we are willing to discuss the issues at hand.

                  Understanding someone’s view in this type of forum without jumping to conclusions or inferring past information on to their view can sometimes be difficult and at best way can avoid doing that through asking questions so that you understand their view as they see it.

                  But for some reason you seem to think that I’m being dishonest, and I can’t help that. I do not think I have given you any reason to believe such a thing.

                  From the questions you have answered, I have come to the understanding that you don’t seem to use context to support your views but stick to single verses all taken from different chapters and books to come to your conclusions. To many, this is considered cherry picking. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt as I could see how you were relating the verses, but when I suggested other translations to give other ways to look at the words you are using to formulate your view and they seem to be either dismissed or ignored.
                  I have suggested other ways that Jesus could have meant the words like hate, family and woman and I get the impression that you are choosing to dismiss them even though I have shown examples that are even used today. When I mentioned the differences in vernacular from the 1st century and the 21st century you pretty much ignored it.

                  What all this does is show me that instead of wanting to really discuss the contradiction that you are holding to, you would rather ignore information that does not fit your view and continue believing a contradiction where there is shows to not be one.

                  You have had an opportunity to provide evidence for your claim and have fallen short at every chance.

                  When someone makes a claim they should be willing to provide the proof of their claim. But as hard as I tried, you chose to leave your proof to yourself.

                  And during this Q&A session we had together, I believe I have shown several alternate ways to look at the verses that you have suggested as contradictory which brings into question the validity of your claimed contradiction.

                  I hope that you will take this conversation and my suggested alternate views of the words, translations and meaning, to those verses and look over what we discussed to come to a better conclusion than the one you have chosen.

                  Have a good day.

                • Nick Gotts

                  I have made the most strenuous efforts to explain my case, and you have shown in response a degree of obtuseness that it is very hard to believe is honest; and conversely, when I asked you who you thought Jesus claimed to be and on what grounds, you simply refused to answer. Of course it is always possible to ignore the plain meaning of the text and come up with some far-fetched alternative; it became quite clear that you were not willing to do anything other than raise arbitrary quibbles. To take just one example, your claim that “Woman” might be an appropriate form of address to one’s mother at he time is just ludicrous, since you gave no reason whatsoever to credit it, and the context makes quite clear it was not intended as respectful or affectionate, but was spoken in annoyance or rebuke.

                  In your last comment, there are what can only be called outright falsehoods:

                  continue believing a contradiction where there is shows to not be one.

                  You have not shown in a single instance that a contradiction I raised was not a contradiction. You have raised implausible quibbles, but that is all.

                  But as hard as I tried, you chose to leave your proof to yourself.

                  I gave numerous examples of words attributed to Jesus which are plainly contradictory to the commandment to “honour thy father and thy mother”. You did not accept them, but to claim that I did not present my argument clearly is simply a lie.

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

                  Why would you ever make a rhetorical argument in which a word must be defined to be its opposite in order to make sense? Do you like twisting words until they break from lack of meaning?

                  If love means hatred, then it has no meaning outside of hatred.

                • Albert

                  Have you head of antonyms? These are words that are the opposite of their meaning.

                  Here is an example of antonyms for the word “good” could be: bad, badly, badness, evil, evilness, ill, malevolent, malicious, poorly, wicked

                  The word itself is not what it really means because of the context in how it is used.

                  Have you ever seen a 1934 Ford Roadster coupe all tricked out, with a huge engine, big tires and a great paint job and said, “That is bad!”?

                  Ever listened to Run DMC’s song “Peter Piper” and hear them say, “Tricks are for kids he plays much gigs, He’s a big bad wolf and you’re the three, pigs He’s a big bad wolf in your neighborhood, Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good!”

                  Couldn’t Jesus do that in this situation written about in Luke 14:26?

                  Also, have you considered the fact that this is a translation from Greek to English?

                  There are many times that a word in Greek might not have a direct word for word translation to an appropriate word in English that holds the same meaning.

                  Isn’t this where context comes into play?

                  If you read the whole verse of Luke 14:26
                  “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

                  Doesn’t it seem to you that Jesus is placing the relationship of this person to himself as paramount to every other relationship, even to themselves, as more important than the others?

                  And if you take a translation, like the Amplified translation (which attempts to take both word meaning and context into account in order to accurately translate the original text from one language into another):
                  “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters—[yes] and even his own life also—he cannot be My disciple.”

                  Doesn’t it seem that the word hate here is not being used as you might normally define it?

                • Albert

                  Nick, Are there really contradictions or misunderstandings?

                  Isn’t it true that taking a verse out of context can change it’s whole meaning?
                  This could happen with anything people right, would you agree?

                  When you take the context into consideration for the two verses you mentioned, what do you see is the contradiction?

                • Nick Gotts

                  The attitude to violence, and whether Jesus came to bring peace. See also Luke 22:36-38, where Jesus tells his disciples to acquire swords – and they do. The whole Bible is stuffed with contradictions – consider the birth and resurrection narratives of Jesus for a start. Pretending it isn’t is blatantly dishonest.

                • Bill

                  Really? Don’t just make assertions. Point them out. All of them have been reconciled by professional scholars anyway.

                • HoboBanana

                  Hey, Bill…for your reading pleasure…almost 500 contradictions in the Bible ( http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html )

                • Bill

                  Here are 1001 contradictions refuted.

                  For your reading pleasure.

                  http://www.tektonics.org/uz/wally01.html

                  Also,
                  http://www.berenddeboer.net/sab/

                • Albert

                  Nick, What is the context of chapter 10? And what is the context of chapter 26? What I’m asking is, if you read two chapters before and after(if possible) what does that over all message that is being stated mean and how do those verse fit into that contextual message?

                  Is it possible that Matthew 10:34, (“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”) is a metaphor for something else?

                  When you read Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” how does that relate to the word sword in Matthew 10:34? Could they be meaning the same thing?

                  You said, “Pretending it isn’t is blatantly dishonest.”
                  Where did I say you were right or wrong on your view?

                • Nick Gotts

                  On the “faith not works” stuff you’re just quoting Paul again, not Jesus.

                  The OT is stuffed with historical errors. There never was a global flood, there never was an exodus of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Egypt. so we can chuck the whole thing away, and start thinking for ourselves, can’t we, Bill?

                • Bill

                  oN WHaT basis can you say “never was”.

                  Besides, Christ says “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”.

                  Alms giving doesn’t cut it.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Geology for the flood, archaeology for the Exodus. Either event would have left unmistakeable traces.

                • Bill

                  There are different interpretations over the Flood- whether it was local or global.

                  http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/localflood.html

                  Also, the Exodus has evidence. http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/answers/exodus_egypt.php

                  http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/thera.html

                  http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm

                  Excuse me for giving mere links- if I have time, I will elaborate more.

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

                  The story is that it was clearly global, and was mass genocide and extinction event larger than any other.

                  There’s lots of flood stories, of course. And there were floods in the area on a fairly regular basis. So if the Noah’s ark story goes from “Global Flood Kills Everything” to “Local, Predictable Flood Does Some Damage”, then that sort of invalidates the whole lessons and everything from the Biblical story, don’t you think? Not to mention shows the Bible to be a clearly unreliable document.

                • Bill

                  Again, read the article.

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

                  No thanks, I’d rather not. I’ve seen that website before. It’s dishonest, full of bad science, and has a pre-set agenda so that instead of following the evidence where it leads, they cherry-pick only the evidence they want.

                  We know the story says global flood and extinction event. We know that never happened. What more could you possibly ask for?

                • Bill

                  Interesting. Because a majority of the article is exegesis of the Hebrew scripture.

                  Try again.

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

                  Like I said, not going to read it. My rabbi from when I grew up (who speaks fluent modern Hebrew, is well-trained in Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, and would translate Torah readings on the fly as he read them) was quite clear it said global flood, as do all the Jewish scholars I’ve ever read. Reading Christian apologists twisting the words isn’t my cup of tea.

                • Nick Gotts

                  Genesis 7 is absolutely clear that the flood covered the whole earth, and killed everyone and all land animals except those in the ark. So your first link merely establishes yet another contradiction in the Bible, between this and Psalm 104.

                  As for the exodus, hundreds of thousands of people trekking around for 40 years would have left huge amounts of debris in their wake, not to mention graves. It’s utter nonsense to claim, as your second source does, that they could have left no evidence. I really can’t credit that even you are stupid enough to believe that, Bill. And did you even notice that two of your sources assign the exodus to time periods around 1000 years apart? One to the end of the old kingdom (around 2200 BCE), the other to around 1200 BCE? Actually, given that, I take back my comment that you couldn’t be stupid enough to believe hundreds of thousands of people trekking about for 40 years could have left no trace. Clearly, you could.

                • Bill

                  1) It is debated, because “whole world” can always be figurative. Again, it depends on how you exegete scripture.

                  2) Thank you for the ad hominem attacks. I really appreciate it. I am sorry for not reading my sources correctly. As I have said before, I was on a mobile device. I will elaborate fully on this matter. First off, th

                • Nick Gotts

                  1) It is debated only because some people have an irrational belief that the Bible is inerrant, while science shows that there never was a global flood. To claim that Genesis 7 can be interpreted as talking about a local flood is simply another of your lies. The text is absolutely clear, and not figurative in any way: it is made clear that “all the high hills that were under the whole heaven” were covered, and that all land animals and people not in the ark died: “Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark”. Stop lying Bill.

                  2) If you stop lying, I’ll stop calling you a liar.

                • Bill

                  1) Well, Nick, look what you just did! You lied! You said it cannot be interpreted in that way, however that site does interpret it in that way. Congrats!

                  2)

                • Nick Gotts

                  That’s pretty feeble even for a lackwit like you.

                • Bill

                  Thank you for the ad hominem attacks. Would you like to expand on that, or continue with your argument ad lapidem?

                  Notice you also focus on the tiny, unimportant details and expand them out of context.

                  Before you do this further, note that i never said I hold to an interpretation of a local flood. I said that interpretation was held by some. so it would be hasty generalization to say all people hold to a global flood.

                • Nick Gotts

                  I never said you did. The claim that Genesis 7 can (legitimately) be interpreted as referring to a local flood is a lie, whether it’s the particular lie you choose or not.

                • Bill

                  It is interpreted by some.

                  I disagree with the interpretation. However, people still interpret it that way. So?

                • Nick Gotts

                  So this interpretation could not be held by any honest person, any more than the interpretation that there actually was a global flood. The only honest interpretations start from the simple fact that the Bible describes an event that did not happen.

                • HoboBanana

                  but it won’t hurt….helping people in the only life for which we have any PROOF means you’re not a sociopath….or are you a sociopath, Bill?

                • glebealyth

                  On what basis, other than bias or personal choice, do you decide that one of two contradictory sets of books is the TRUE one?
                  Why cannot all those books which support the apocryphal views be the correct ones?

                  When you decide in advance what the conclusion is, you will select evidence to support it. You have determined Christ’s theology on the basis of the canonical works, not the apocryphal thus begging the biggest question of all.

                • Bill

                  The apocryphal books were also rejected by the Jews. Apocrypha didn’t match the theology of anyone.

                • Mogg

                  Emperor Constantine? Henry VIII? Luther? Paul, for that matter, given that he and Peter and the other Apostles didn’t see eye to eye on some issues. They were all Christians, all set up their own churches, and all disagreed with some specific interpretation of what the Bible says.

                • Bill

                  Some of those aren’t Christian. The rest- They agreed on the fundamental basics of the Christian faith. Hitler didn’t. Furthermore, see Galatians 2:6

                • Michael Harrison

                  But Christians are so quick to bring heretics like Newton into the fold.

                • Bill

                  Forcing people into Christianity is impossible. The emphasis of Christianity is a heart issue. Forcing them is not compatible with it’s theology.

                • HoboBanana

                  “…and *nobody* EXPECTS the Spanish Inquisition!….” When your point is the punch line of a bad joke, you need better ground on which to stand.

                • Michael Harrison

                  My apologies; my words were ambiguous. I mean that believers are quick to welcome heretics who are widely respected, but not heretics who are widely reviled.

                • Bill

                  Ah. Actually, that is an issue I see popping up too.

                  However what does Jesus say? John 6:37 “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

                  However, this isn’t really Christianity’s problem, but humans in general.

                • Michael Harrison

                  So, for rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity, does this mean Newton wasn’t really a Christian?

                • Bill

                  Well, actually- yes.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Thank you for your consistency.

                • Mogg

                  What has that verse got to do with the discussion? I was merely pointing out some highly recognisable historical figures who met the requirements of Christian (all of them), set up their own church (Luther, Henry VIII) or was hugely influential in setting up a historical church and defining its core tenets of belief (Paul, Constantine), and either wrote, influenced the editing of, or authorised a major, historically well-used and different version of the Bible (all of them). I chose those particular figures not because of their importance, but because those historical facts about them are well known and inarguable – so well-known that I didn’t have to look them up to remember those facts about them. And yet, somehow you seem to find a way to argue with them – which of them was not a Christian?

                • Bill

                  What are the “requirements of Christian”?

                  Besides, you have a false analogy. And considering Paul wrote most of the NT, you argument is invalid.

                  Henry VIII- I don’t find him a Christian at all. He claimed to be one, however being one is different…

                  Martin Luther- I don’t agree with everything the man says, however, he partially got Christianity back on track.

                  Notice the context of my words when I said “set up a church”. When you set up a Nazified church, directly contradicting the Bible, it is slightly different than a church that somewhat agrees with the Bible.

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

                  Since when is the Church of England not Christian?

                • Bill

                  I said Henry VIII specifically, who founded the Anglican Church just to get divorced.

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

                  Yeah, but the Anglican Church is (obviously) fine with divorce. So why would wanting a divorce make Henry VIII not a Christian? Or is the Anglican Church, by dint of allowing divorces, not Christian?

                • Bill

                  Examine Henry’s life style with
                  Galatians 5:22-23.

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

                  He’s hardly the only adulterous Christian out there. What, are adulterers automatically not Christian now? By your comments, you don’t embody all those qualities either, so I guess you’re not a Christian then either?

                  That makes none of Henry’s wives Christian. Nor his daughters, Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I. Nor any of his nobles. Nor the vast majority of his subjects. Really, you’ve defined Christianity out of existence. Congrats! No one’s a Christian now.

                • Bill

                  Mhm, read what I said in context.

                  In faith, people come to repentance. I never said they didn’t sin.

                  Try again.

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

                  What context? What you’ve said so far is that if anyone doesn’t live up to Galatians’ laundry list of virtues, they aren’t a Christian. Who are you to decide if someone is trying, or has failed enough to be called non-Christian? That’s awfully judgmental of you, isn’t it? And judging people is something Christians aren’t supposed to do, so I guess that makes you not-a-Christian.

                • Bill

                  Examine their general lifestyle.

                  Do you think Hitler even tried to be a good person?

                  And again, you take the judging thing out of context. He’s saying don’t be a religious hypocrite, like the pharisees.

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

                  The pharisees weren’t evil, you know. They’re the forebears of modern Judaism, what with rabbinic law and all that. And I have read that passage, and it pretty clearly says not to judge other people at all especially on their religious convictions and actions (God’ll do that).

                  Hitler was a vegan. He was kind to his mother. He was actually convinced that Aryans were the bestest people and that in order to do what was best for humanity, he had to kill everyone else. Who are you to judge if Hitler was trying to be a good person or not? I don’t care what kind of person he was trying to be, I care what he did. What he did was monstrous, but it’s entirely possible he was doing it for “good” reasons.

                  Besides, you’re a Protestant, so aren’t you all about “faith alone, not works”? That means his intentions matter more than his actions, which means for all you know, he’ll be judged a better person than you by your god (really good intentions, really bad actions). Seems kinda fucked up to me, but the argument can be made.

                • Bill

                  “The pharisees weren’t evil, you know. They’re the forebears of modern Judaism, what with rabbinic law and all that.”

                  >Modern Rabbinical Judaism is different from Judaism back then.

                  “And I have read that passage, and it pretty clearly says not to judge other people at all especially on their religious convictions and actions (God’ll do that).”

                  >I guess that’s why the verses immediately afterwards talk about hypocrisy. Verse 3: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Here is more on this matter. http://carm.org/do-we-have-right-make-these-judgments

                  “Besides, you’re a Protestant, so aren’t you all about “faith alone, not works”?”

                  >Yes. And no. Salvation is not from works, but works come from faith. Get it?

                  “Hitler was a vegan. He was kind to his mother. He was actually convinced that Aryans were the bestest people and that in order to do what was best for humanity, he had to kill everyone else. Who are you to judge if Hitler was trying to be a good person or not? I don’t care what kind of person he was trying to be, I care what he did. What he did was monstrous, but it’s entirely possible he was doing it for “good” reasons.That means his intentions matter more than his actions, which means for all you know, he’ll be judged a better person than you by your god (really good intentions, really bad actions).”

                  >No. I never said that. At all. But tell me. What is the good intention of censoring the Bible, dabbling in the occult, building a Nazified church, and slaughtering 6 million Jews?

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

                  The good intent? To build a better, stronger, smarter human race.

                  Is that utter bullshit? Yeah. But Hitler believed it and put his beliefs into action. As we like to say here, though, intent is not magic. His actions were horrible and had horrible outcomes, so his intentions don’t outweigh what actually happened. If we’re going to say he wasn’t Christian because he did bad things, though, then you have to disqualify all Christians who do bad things. Either intentions matter to you or they don’t.

                  I’m not the one turning this into a pretzel of non-logic. You are. I can safely say Hitler was a bad person because he murdered millions of people and started a war that got more millions killed. You, on the other hand, have a burning desire that he not be your religion. Why?

                • Bill

                  “But Hitler believed it and put his beliefs into action. ”

                  >Yes! Now we’re going somewhere. So tell me how he put his belief in Jesus Christ and the Bible into action. And I will remind you, they said things like this (Mark 12:30-31, Galatians 3:28)

                  “If we’re going to say he wasn’t Christian because he did bad things, though, then you have to disqualify all Christians who do bad things. Either intentions matter to you or they don’t.”

                  >No. I’m not saying he wasn’t a Christian because he “did bad things”. I’m saying because he did not “put his beliefs into action”. Hence, it was all a baseless claim.

                  Intentions matter- Christianity is a heart issue. However, good intentions aren’t an excuse to do bad. Really, you could come up with an excuse for anything. However, it doesn’t mean God will buy it.

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

                  Ah, but I don’t blame Hitler’s Christianity for the Holocaust. It wasn’t like the Crusades or pogroms, which were explicitly religious murderfests (god ordered those). I’m just saying that being a mass-murdering SOB isn’t incompatible with Christianity, and all the evidence we have suggests Hitler was a Christian. You are seeing the world as two dichotomous choices, and it is not. There are many criminals who are Christian, but I don’t think their crimes are because of their Christianity. It’d be exceptionally stupid to argue that an embezzler stole money because they were Christian, after all.

                  In other words, Hitler is not evidence that Christianity makes someone a bad person. It’s just evidence that Christianity doesn’t make someone a good person.

                • Bill

                  “all the evidence we have suggests Hitler was a Christian”

                  >So, how did Hitler put his beliefs into action? By saying things like this?

                  “Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery…. …. When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease.” (Hitler’s Table Talk, p 118 & 119)

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

                  I talked smack about Judaism while I was still Jewish, too.

                  Hitler was baptized Catholic. He never left, was never excommunicated. In his early works and many of his speeches, he specifically referenced that he was doing the Lord’s work. If you get baptized Catholic and never specifically say “I’m not a Catholic anymore”, guess what, you still get counted as Christian. And Hitler’s anti-Semitic ideas and genocidal plans all got off the ground while he was clearly in the throes of religion, regardless of his later ideas.

                  Basically, we know Hitler went crazy towards the end. He was saying nasty stuff about Christianity at the same time he was literally going mad and saying crazy shit all over the place. He never renounced being a Christian, and he definitely grew up as one, so he’s a Christian. Again, why does this matter to you?

                • Bill

                  Well, I don’t consider Catholics to be Christian.

                  That is NOT to say ALL Catholics aren’t Christian- however the sacraments and the Apocrypha contradict Christian theology.

                  http://carm.org/are-roman-catholics-christian

                  Moreover, answer the question- how did Hitler put his belief into action? Not just empty words.

                  Anyway, here’s more info. http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/hitler.html

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

                  *blink* But the Catholics came first. They put together the Holy Bible (literally- they picked which gospels and books went in, and burned the rest). How can Catholics possibly not be Christian? They believe the whole Jesus dying/resurrecting for their sins bit and also the trinity thing. What else is there at the core of Christianity?

                  How did Hitler put his beliefs into action? He murdered ~12 million people he considered undesirable, propped up by the Christian canards about Jewish blood sacrifice and deicide, Christian teachings about the immorality of homosexuality, and other racist ideas about Slavs, the Roma/Sinti, and Aryans.

                • Bill

                  “But the Catholics came first.”

                  >Lolwut. No, no, no. There is a (huge) difference between the Universal (lower case catholic) church, and the Roman Catholic Church. The current Catholic church became what it is today in the 10th century.

                  http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html

                  http://carm.org/church-history-outline

                  “They put together the Holy Bible (literally- they picked which gospels and books went in, and burned the rest).”

                  >Do you study history? The Bible was collected from over 5,700 Greek manuscripts dated from as far back as the 1st Century AD. The universal church from Rome all the way down to Alexandria put their stamp of approval on the NT canon. There were also two councils in Hippo Regius and in Carthage to put their official stamp of approval on what the universal church had already done. They collected the works from these tests- 1) Where they written by an eyewitness or a companion of the eyewitness 2) Did they agree with the oral tradition given by the disciples 3) Where they used by entire universal church; not just Jerusalem or Antioch

                  The Bible was never put together by the Catholic Church.

                  “How can Catholics possibly not be Christian? They believe the whole Jesus dying/resurrecting for their sins bit and also the trinity thing.”

                  >They also believe in purgatory, and that their works save them. According to them, Jesus only died for the “major sins”.

                  “How did Hitler put his beliefs into action? He murdered ~12 million people he considered undesirable, propped up by the Christian canards about Jewish blood sacrifice and”

                  >That really contradicts Mark 12:30-31 and Galatians 3:28

                  “Christian teachings about the immorality of homosexuality,”

                  >So because Hitler was against homosexuality, it automatically made him Christian, even though he contradicted everything else? I’m all for drinking water- however, Hitler drank water. Therefore I am Hitler?

                  “and other racist ideas about Slavs, the Roma/Sinti, and Aryans.”

                  >Mark 12:30-31 and Galatians 3:28

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

                  Christians break their rules all the time. At what point do they break them so much that they aren’t Christian anymore, and why do you get to judge that? And isn’t that rather pharisaical of you- to accuse Hitler of not being Christian because he didn’t follow the rules?

                  Also I’m not looking up your random Bible numbers anymore. You tell me what they say if you want me to figure out what they are. I’m not Christian, I never have been, so I have no idea what those verses are, and even if I did, I’m sure there’s other verses in the NT that totally contradict most of them.

                • Bill

                  So you ignored everything else. Brilliant.

                  “Christians break their rules all the time.”

                  >I never said if you break one rule, you aren’t a Christian.
                  However, I’ll put it as you did- you put your beliefs in action.

                  You guys basically defined a Christian like this-

                  Believes in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

                  Hitler claimed this, however, like you said- did he put his beliefs in action?

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

                  “I come not to bring peace, but with a sword” That would be your Jesus. Why is that belief wrong and Galatians’ nice ones are right?

                  And I didn’t go into the Catholic thing because you are so fucking off-base with that I didn’t want to spend two hours finding all the information to show how wrong you are.

                  You still haven’t answered as to when a Christian has broken enough rules to be not-a-Christian anymore. There’s gotta be some line or limit, right?

                • Bill

                  Did you pay attention to the context when reading that? He is referring to the divisions that people will have when some choose Him and others don’t.

                  He’s not referring to physical violence.

                  EDIT:

                  “And I didn’t go into the Catholic thing because you are so fucking off-base with that I didn’t want to spend two hours finding all the information to show how wrong you are.”

                  >You proved your lack of knowledge of history with the NT canon. Again, like I said the original churches from Rome to Alexandria were the universal apostolic church. The acceptance of the RCC’s sacraments weren’t until 1215- the Fourth Lateran Council. You’re the one off-base.

                  “You still haven’t answered as to when a Christian has broken enough rules to be not-a-Christian anymore. There’s gotta be some line or limit, right?”

                  >Nope. There isn’t one. However, if you’re like Hitler, going off killing ~12 million people, censoring the Bible, and building a Nazi church, chances are, you weren’t really much of a Christian to begin with. Like I said before, did he put his beliefs in action? At least try to abstain from sin?

                • Bill

                  Did you pay attention to the context when reading that? He is referring to the divisions that people will have when some choose Him and others don’t.

                  He’s not referring to physical violence.

                  EDIT:

                  “And I didn’t go into the Catholic thing because you are so fucking off-base with that I didn’t want to spend two hours finding all the information to show how wrong you are.”

                  >You proved your lack of knowledge of history with the NT canon. Again, like I said the original churches from Rome to Alexandria were the universal apostolic church. The acceptance of the RCC’s sacraments weren’t until 1215- the Fourth Lateran Council. You’re the one off-base.

                  “You still haven’t answered as to when a Christian has broken enough rules to be not-a-Christian anymore. There’s gotta be some line or limit, right?”

                  >Nope. There isn’t one. However, if you’re like Hitler, going off killing ~12 million people, censoring the Bible, and building a Nazi church, chances are, you weren’t really much of a Christian to begin with. Like I said before, did he put his beliefs in action? At least try to abstain from sin?

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

                  Who knows? Why do you care?

                • Bill

                  Really? That’s all you have to say?

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

                  Yeah. You still haven’t answered me. Why do you care if Hitler was a Christian or not? What is your vested interest in that question?

                  There’s no way to tell if Hitler tried to avoid sin or not. The fact he was trying to make his own church isn’t anything non-Christian. There’s tons of people ripping and tearing at the Bible in the US to make their own churches all the time. Rushdoony’s version of Christianity would see millions slain, were it widely adopted. Why do you think there’s 30,000+ sects of Christianity out there?

                • Bill

                  “You still haven’t answered me.”

                  >You haven’t answered any of my other questions.

                  “Why do you care if Hitler was a Christian or not? What is your vested interest in that question?”

                  >Why do you care about what I say? This question can be directed back at you.

                  “The fact he was trying to make his own church isn’t anything non-Christian.”

                  >His Nazi church was completely out of loop. The Nazi “theology” was way out of line with the Bible.

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJEIQyQKWsw

                  “Why do you think there’s 30,000+ sects of Christianity out there?”

                  >Do you know the tiny details in these sects? They all adhere to the fundamental basics. They only difference is for complicated detailed things like eschatology.

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

                  Uh, you worship White Jesus. Like, take a look at any illustrations you might have. He has blond hair and blue eyes, which isn’t what a Semitic person looks like at all. Given that Hitler was exposed to the same image, it makes sense to think Jesus had to be Nordic, yeah?

                  A lot of churches say equally ridiculous things about women (born to serve man, must be silent helpmeets even in the face of abuse), children (born to be trained into ideological clones, not individuals), and men (insatiable rape-beasts who have such fragile egos they must be obeyed immediately or they’ll fall apart entirely). They say Jesus wound up in the New World or Eden was in Missouri. They say dancing is sinful, even though Maryam and the women danced with timbrels to celebrate things. The fundamental idea of Christianity is that Jesus died for your sins and then rose from the dead. That’s it. His race, his creed, what being a good Christian means- those change from sect to sect. A Nazi church isn’t any more beyond the pale than a segregationist church, and those definitely existed.

                  So: why do you care if Hitler was Christian or not? Why are you so vested in arguing he wasn’t?

                • Bill

                  It’s a video.

                  And no, I don’t worship a “white” Jesus. Jesus was Jewish. Nor do I worship any pictures.

                  Try again.

                  Another video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP0oi6ZuPig

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

                  Why don’t you try telling me, in your own words, why Nazi church is less valid than Rushdoony church or segregationist church or Christian Patriarchy church. I’m not clicking on random Youtube videos that don’t even come with a description.

                  Also, why do you care if Hitler was Christian or not? What is it about this particular question you care so much about?

                • Bill

                  Were you here all this time?

                  This video is just to add onto it.

                  Hitler ignored practically all of the Old Testament.

                  Hitler tried to “purify the Bible according to [his] spirit (Nazism).” (Hitler’s Notes and Letters).

                  Moreover, he rejected most of the NT, claiming that Paul “falsified His [Jesus'] doctrine” (Hitler’s Thoughts, 1937 meeting).

                  Also, they bowdlerized Jesus to morph Him into their own little Aryan leader. Again, contradicting most of His teachings on love and against racism

                  He also ignored many doctrines.

                  “Also, why do you care if Hitler was Christian or not? What is it about this particular question you care so much about?”

                  >Why do you care about what I talk about?

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

                  Most Christians ignore practically all of the Old Testament. All Christians cherry-pick stuff. Paul, having never actually met Jesus (had a vision on the road, yes?), totally could have made everything up. And I thought the whole reason there were 30,000+ sects was doctrinal disputes? Why are segregationists still Christians and Rushdoony followers still Christians and Christian Patriarchy followers still Christian but Nazis aren’t? Aren’t segregationists also racists by definition? Aren’t Christian Patriarchy followers misogynists by definition?

                  I don’t really care what you talk about, but I do want to know why you care. I know why I do- I’m sick and tired of the “Hitler was an atheist so all atheists are evil” argument that shows up, and Hitler is also an excellent example of how Christianity doesn’t necessarily make you a better person. So, why do you care so much whether Hitler was a Christian or not?

                • Bill

                  “Most Christians ignore practically all of the Old Testament. All Christians cherry-pick stuff.”

                  >Mhm. This proves more of your ignorance. The Old Covenant passed away, into the New. The moral absolutes did not, because they were moral absolutes. Besides, the OT Laws were given to the Theocracy of Israel. But what I’m saying is that Hitler even rejected them as Scripture.

                  “Paul, having never actually met Jesus (had a vision on the road, yes?), totally could have made everything up.”

                  >Quit raising red herrings to drag this discussion ad nauseum.

                  “And I thought the whole reason there were 30,000+ sects was doctrinal disputes?”

                  >No, the main reason is cultural/geographic separation.

                  “Why are segregationists still Christians and Rushdoony followers still Christians and Christian Patriarchy followers still Christian but Nazis aren’t?”

                  >Segregationists twisted Jesus’ words. Wouldn’t call them much of a follower of Christ. Why aren’t the Nazi’s Christian? Did you pay attention? How do you be a Christian when you reject over 90% of the Bible, and rewrite the parts you don’t reject?

                  “I don’t really care what you talk about, but I do want to know why you care.”

                  >I do want to know why you want to know why I care.

                  ” I know why I do- I’m sick and tired of the “Hitler was an atheist so all atheists are evil” argument that shows up, and Hitler is also an excellent example of how Christianity doesn’t necessarily make you a better person. So, why do you care so much whether Hitler was a Christian or not?”

                  >I never, ever, ever said Hitler was an atheist. He isn’t. That’s definite. Stalin on the other hand…

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

                  Oh hey, who didn’t see Stalin coming?

                  Stalin was a totalitarian. Totalitarian regimes suck. They do one of two things with religion- coopt it (divine right of kings, etc) or crush it as an alternative power center that they cannot allow. Stalin actually allowed and encouraged the resurgence of the Orthodox Church in his latter years, once he’d beaten them into submission earlier. What he did was replace the Church with the State as the source of all morality and power. This was not due to his atheism (Stalin never killed anyone nor oppressed anyone in the name of atheism) but rather due to his totalitarian Communist ideology. Any ideological extremist is going to do bad things if they get control- Stalinist Communism and Christianity both make horrific ideological bases for government.

                  Most atheists are Secular Humanists. We are appalled by abuses of power and firmly against totalitarian regimes of any sort, secular or theocratic. Our idea of good governance comes straight out of Scandinavia- purely secular government that cares about its citizens and seeks to provide for their well-being.

                  I want to know why you care because you so clearly do. I want to know why you’re so invested in showing that one of history’s biggest bad guys wasn’t part of your religion; it’s not like it would paint all Christians as bad people even if you did accept that Hitler was Christian. It doesn’t make Christianity look any better if you show that Hitler wasn’t Christian but the vast majority of his followers, death camp guards, army, and citizenry were still Christian and didn’t do a damned thing to stop him. It doesn’t make Christianity look any better to exclude Hitler and include the Poles (Christians) who sent three million (yes, 3,000,000) of their Polish Jewish neighbors to the death camps. Christianity is already indicted, tried, and convicted of not making people better (though it doesn’t seem to make them much worse, either). What does excluding Hitler do for you?

                • Bill

                  All I said was basically Stalin was an atheist. Didn’t say any more than that.

                  “I want to know why you care because you so clearly do.”

                  >Why did you care when I called Stalin an atheist?

                  ” I want to know why you’re so invested in showing that one of history’s biggest bad guys wasn’t part of your religion; it’s not like it would paint all Christians as bad people even if you did accept that Hitler was Christian.”

                  >You’re right. It’s a logical fallacy. Reductio ad Hitlerum.

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

                  I care for the same reason I cared about Hitler. People point to Stalin (and Mao and Pol Pot) as reasons why atheists are inherently immoral and why ‘atheist’ government leads to tyranny. They’re wrong, but I get tired of explaining it and defending my ability to have basic ethics and morals sans a belief in God. So, I tend to try to shut down those comparisons before they get started with a tidal wave of facts.

                  You still haven’t told me why you care. Why do you care if Hitler was Christian or not?

                • Bill

                  “I care for the same reason I cared about Hitler.”

                  >I said Hitler wasn’t a Christian because that was it- Hitler wasn’t a Christian.

                  “People point to Stalin (and Mao and Pol Pot) as reasons why atheists are inherently immoral and why ‘atheist’ government leads to tyranny.”

                  >Okay. But really, it’s just that atheists don’t have a real basis for morality.

                  “You still haven’t told me why you care. Why do you care if Hitler was Christian or not?”

                  >I care because it is wrong.

                • Bill

                  “Uh, you worship White Jesus. Like, take a look at any illustrations you might have. He has blond hair and blue eyes, which isn’t what a Semitic person looks like at all. Given that Hitler was exposed to the same image, it makes sense to think Jesus had to be Nordic, yeah?”

                  Interesting. Tell, me. Did you listen to what I just said? I don’t worship a “white Jesus”. Nor do I think the pictures accurately represent Jesus. Nor are the pictures contemporary. Jesus was Jewish (Hebrews 7:14).

                  “A lot of churches say equally ridiculous things about women (born to serve man, must be silent helpmeets even in the face of abuse), children (born to be trained into ideological clones, not individuals), and men (insatiable rape-beasts who have such fragile egos they must be obeyed immediately or they’ll fall apart entirely). They say Jesus wound up in the New World or Eden was in Missouri. They say dancing is sinful, even though Maryam and the women danced with timbrels to celebrate things. ”

                  >Interesting. Can you bring up any sources?

                  “A Nazi church isn’t any more beyond the pale than a segregationist church, and those definitely existed.”

                  >The Nazi churches reconstructed the entire Theology to match Nazism. More over, it is said that “Mein Kampf” replaced the Bible on the altar.

                  “So: why do you care if Hitler was Christian or not? Why are you so vested in arguing he wasn’t?”

                  >So, why do you care what I choose to speak out against?

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

                  Baptists say dancing is sinful. It was banned in the town I grew up in until the 1970s. It was banned at Baylor University until the 1990s.

                  Go read Love, Joy, Feminism here at Patheos for Christian Patriarchy. The author of that blog grew up in such a household and writes eloquently about it. You can also check out No Longer Quivering for more assorted viewpoints.

                  Mormons believe Eden was in Missouri.

                  Oh, “it is said” Mein Kampf replaced the Bible? I presume you know who said it and can cite those sources? And as long as the Bible was one of the main books, and Jesus was still the whole son of god thing, that’s still Christian. It’s why Catholics and Mormons and Messianic Jews are still all Christians; the core of Christianity is the Jesus death/resurrection thing, which you’ve never argued.

                  Segregationists built their religion around separation of the races and treating one worse than the other (they didn’t even think past black/white in the US). You honestly don’t think that’s twisting and tearing Christianity up as badly as a slightly more racist and anti-Semitic version? Or how about Rushdoony, who does advocate going back to OT punishments? He wants the laws of this country to include stoning deaths for being gay, dishonoring one’s parents, and not being a virgin on your wedding night. You were complaining that Hitler ignored the OT; well, so do you. Rushdoony would call you no true Christian- what do you say about him? And how can I, the neutral observer, tell which one of you is more correct? And if I can’t tell that, how can I say Hitler (or anyone) was all wrong on hir interpretation of Christianity?

                • Bill

                  “Baptists say dancing is sinful. It was banned in the town I grew up in until the 1970s. It was banned at Baylor University until the 1990s.”

                  >Hasty generalization. Some do, others don’t. Really, this is a very, very minor issue.

                  “Mormons believe Eden was in Missouri.”

                  >Mormons really aren’t Christian. At all. They are polytheists. They believe God used to be a man on another planet and after He died, He became God or something. They also believe that they can become gods/goddesses over other planets someday. Or something like that.

                  “Oh, “it is said” Mein Kampf replaced the Bible? I presume you know who said it and can cite those sources?”

                  >It’s in one of the points for the National Reich Church. There are many, many sources for this, but here’s one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany#Nazi_attitudes_towards_Christianity

                  “And as long as the Bible was one of the main books, and Jesus was still the whole son of god thing, that’s still Christian.”

                  >That is actually pretty vague. Do you understand Theology, at all?

                  “It’s why Catholics and Mormons and Messianic Jews are still all Christians;”

                  >Catholics: If they adhere to the Sacraments as a method of salvation- no.

                  >Mormons: Lolno. Jesus Himself warns of other prophets- He says John the Baptist is the last one. Luke 16:16 Moreover, Joseph Smith contradicts the Bible at many times, and teaches polytheism.

                  “the core of Christianity is the Jesus death/resurrection thing, which you’ve never argued.”

                  >If you reject everything, it doesn’t make you much of a Christian.

                  “Segregationists built their religion around separation of the races and treating one worse than the other (they didn’t even think past black/white in the US).”

                  >Never said they were Christian.

                  ” You honestly don’t think that’s twisting and tearing Christianity up as badly as a slightly more racist and anti-Semitic version?”

                  >Did they kill ~12 million people and reject over 90% of the Bible?

                  “Or how about Rushdoony, who does advocate going back to OT punishments? He wants the laws of this country to include stoning deaths for being gay, dishonoring one’s parents, and not being a virgin on your wedding night.”

                  >He’s probably just an extremist. Those laws were for the Theocracy of Israel.

                  “You were complaining that Hitler ignored the OT; well, so do you.”

                  >Are you sure you used to be Jewish? Hitler rejected them as Scripture. I don’t. However, they were Laws given to the Theocracy of Israel. The New Covenant replaced it.

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

                  So … Jesus never says anything about gay people or about abortion. What’s your stance on those hot-button topics, and can Christians disagree on them and still count as True Christians (TM)?

                • Bill

                  Those are minor issues.

                  Tell me how that is equivalent to rejecting 90% of the Bible, and turning Jesus into a Jew-hating Aryan (which in turn, brings severe theological problems).

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

                  Well, considering that John was a clear anti-Semite and he wrote one of the Gospels, it’s not surprising Christianity has a hugely anti-Semitic strand running through a lot of it. It’s not hard at all to argue that Jesus hated Jews if you focus on John and Matthew, since those have some blatantly anti-Jewish passages.

                • Bill

                  Interesting. It’s hard to make a case like that, considering John is the most theological Gospels, with the comparison of the sacrificial lamb.

                  Moreover, as I glance over this, it’s pretty much taken out of context.

                  Also, Jesus was Jewish. The first Christians were also Jewish. That is a fact.

                  “The Jews are culpable for crucifying Jesus – as such they are guilty of deicide”

                  >Really, the theological context is that everyone did. And the historical context is that the Romans did.

                  “The tribulations of the Jewish people throughout history constitute God’s punishment of them for killing Jesus
                  Jesus originally came to preach only to the Jews, but when they rejected him, he abandoned them for gentiles instead”

                  >The first Christians were Jewish.

                  “The Children of Israel were God’s original chosen people by virtue of an ancient covenant, but by rejecting Jesus they forfeited their chosenness – and now, by virtue of a New Covenant (or “testament”), Christians have replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people, the Church having become the “People of God.”‘

                  >Same.

                  “The Jewish Bible (the so-called “Old Testament”) repeatedly portrays the opaqueness and stubbornness of the Jewish people and their disloyalty to God.”

                  >Okay. So?

                  “The Jewish Bible contains many predictions of the coming of Jesus as the Messiah (or “Christ”), yet the Jews are blind to the meaning of their own Bible.”

                  >Okay. So?

                  “By the time of Jesus’ ministry, Judaism had ceased to be a living faith.”

                  >Okay. So?

                  “Judaism’s essence is a restrictive and burdensome legalism.”

                  >Okay. So?

                  “Christianity emphasizes excessive love, while Judaism maintains a balance of justice, God of wrath and love of peace.”

                  >No. Revelation.

                  “Judaism’s oppressiveness reflects the disposition of Jesus’ opponents called “Pharisees” (predecessors of the “rabbis”), who in their teachings and behavior were hypocrites (see Woes of the Pharisees).””

                  >Okay. So?

                • tsara

                  Isn’t ‘the Godhead’ a Christian concept? This still reads to me as though he reverences (his understanding of) the ideas of Christianity, but finds the interpretations of others and/or the structures of the churches to be ridiculous or a perversion of something good.
                  *shrugs*
                  I’d prefer to go to the original German (I presume that would be the original language) for verification, but I’m not quite that invested.

                • Bill

                  You don’t even need Table Talks to find out Hitler wasn’t much of a Christian.

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJEIQyQKWsw

                • islandbrewer

                  Bill’s definition of Christian is a very narrow one, but he’ll tell you (and by “tell,” I mean spooge up a link to an apologetics site) that he’s definitely not committing a No True Scotsman fallacy, because the person in question (Hitler, Henry VIII, most Catholics) actually is No True Christian (TM).

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

                  Oh I know. That makes him very judgmental, so he is also No True Christian (TM), don’t you think?

                • islandbrewer

                  I would really need his entire checklist of Prerequisites for Christianity and go over every one, first.

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

                  It includes (but surely is not limited to) love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

                  I haven’t really seen him demonstrate all of those, have you?

                • islandbrewer

                  I’m not sure what he’s doing behind his keyboard in between comments, so I can’t entirely rule out “joy.” I just hope he keeps a box of tissues on hand if that’s the case.

                  Dammit! Now I have to find the clinical Latin term for an apologetics fetish!

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

                  Well, apologetics hurts my brain- algolagnia might count? Though if it doesn’t hurt Bill’s brain, it probably doesn’t count as pleasure-from/through-pain.

                • islandbrewer

                  But back to your question – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – I detect none of those, but I might not be qualified to identify them, since I’m ….

                  No True Christian (TM)*

                  *”No True Christian” and No True Christian brand apologetics are the registered trademark of Bill.

                • Bill

                  Have you examined my entire life from a comment section of a single article?

                • HoboBanana

                  we can document his speech, his writings, his collusion with the catholic and protestant churches of Germany in the period (with the exception of a few brave humanistic religious leaders who opposed him, who you all now claim to have supported), Gott Mit Unz on the SS’s belt-buckles, etc. There’s plenty of evidence he was a cafeteria christian just like the rest of you, and you just don’t like some of what he ordered and brought to the table.

                • Bill

                  We have this stuff- http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/hitler.html

                  And we have stuff like this too- “Christianity, of course, has reached the peak of absurdity in this respect. And that’s why one day its structure will collapse. Science has already impregnated humanity. Consequently, the more Christianity clings to its dogmas, the quicker it will decline.”
                  [Hitler's Table Talk, pp 58-62]

                • Albert

                  wmdkitty, It seems you and Bill are arguing over what constitutes a Christian, please correct me if I’m wrong.

                  Somewhere above, Bill made the comment that, “The word “Christian” literally means “follower of Christ”.”
                  Which you in turn said, “You haven’t shown any evidence that he didn’t follow christ…”

                  What kind of evidence would you require to know that Hitler is/isn’t a follower of Christ?

                  Above that you indicated that Hitler himself said that he was a follower of Christ, right?
                  Do you know if that might have changed at any point in Hitler’s life?

                  We see that Rachael Slick was once a follower of Christ and how she changed.
                  Could the same thing have happened to Hitler?
                  If so, do we know when that happened?

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

                  It could have. All the evidence we have says it didn’t. We here over at FA like to follow the evidence, so … Hitler said he was Christian over multiple points of his life. He never retracted that in any speeches or writings we have seen. Why make idle speculations about what could-have-been?

                  Ms. Slick, on the other hand, has clearly stated in writing that she is retracting her belief in God and gods. Thus, we do have evidence for her deconversion.

                • Bill

                  Hitler cited negative views of Christianity in Table Talk.

                • Albert

                  Feminerd,
                  So for the sake of argument, lets say you are 100% correct and Hitler was a Christian for his whole life.
                  So? Now what?

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

                  It isn’t meaningful in the slightest, except that theists keep saying atheists are evil horrible people because Hitler. It’s a counter-argument only.

                • HoboBanana

                  Rachael Slick has said she no longer believes in a god-idea. Hitler never repudiated the church, and died as a catholic still able and willing to accept communion.

                  And it’s both nasty and dishonest to compare the two as if they were similar…that’s *christian* *love* for you, though….

                • Albert

                  HoboBanana, You said, “Hitler never repudiated the church, and died as a catholic still able and willing to accept communion.”

                  What makes someone a Christian?
                  What does Hitler, willing to accept communion, mean about him being a Christian?

                  Do you believe that someone can go through the motions of a particular belief and not actually believe in the tenants of that belief system?
                  Is it possible that Rachael gave up her religion long before she made it public? Is it possible she went through the motions for a while before making it publicly known?

                • HoboBanana

                  So Nancy Reagan wasn’t a christian, and by inference, Ronald Reagan wasn’t either because he took her advice, when she consulted with astrologers, as it’s documented that she did? ( http://thereaganyears.tripod.com/divineguidance.htm ) If you look at Reagan’s record of aggressive war (the US *wasn’t* invaded on his watch, and I don’t accept the excuse of ‘preemptive war’), then he’d have to be considered a weak-tea version of Hitler, now wouldn’t he?

                • Bill

                  Mhm.

                  Tell me when Nancy Reagan censors the Bible, builds a Nazi Church and slaughters 6 million Jews. Then we’ll talk.

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

                  Eh, I’d assume you’re a pagan of some stripe like myself.

                • islandbrewer

                  So, Ronald Reagan often consulted Jean Dixon, the astrologer. That means he wasn’t a good christian, either?

                • Bill

                  Hmm, so what kind of Christian dabbles in Satanic affairs, destroys the Christian church, and rewrites the Bible?

                  It’s like an atheist believing in God.

                • islandbrewer

                  Reagan rewrote the bible? Wow! News to me!

                • Bill

                  Wow! Nice use of contextomy!

                • islandbrewer

                  Then maybe you should learn to be a better writer, bucko.

                • HoboBanana

                  @Bill, re the closing comment you keep applying, allow me to impart some wisdom (to my great amusement): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

                • Bill

                  While we’re at it, here you go.

                  http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

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

                  Wrong.

                  Hitler’s Christianity is well-documented, and, in fact, is one of the underlying reasons that he targeted Jews as “god-killers”.

                • Bill

                  Are you serious?

                  Hitler claimed to be a Christian to gain power. The minute he stepped in, he destroyed the church.

                  You ignore the fact that he dabbled in the occult.

                  He set up his own church (National Reich Church), and rewrote the Bible.

                  You still want to act like he’s a Christian?

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

                  He was Christian.

                  Why are you so keen on portraying him as a Satanist? Is it, perhaps, that you don’t want him associated with your precious baby Jeebus? Hmm?

                • Bill

                  Interesting.

                  So you perpetuate an ad hominem attack on me, and make assumptions. I never claimed to be Christian here.

                  Moreover, you deny the historical evidence and resort to these waste-of-space comments. Amazing.

                  Moreover, just quit it with the fallacy of argument of assertion. The evidence portrays otherwise.

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

                  Argument of assertion. Uh… right. No. That’s what YOU’RE doing.

                  Asserting the documented historical fact of Hitler’s Christianity is not an argument of assertion because it is, once again, proven fact.

                  You can keep claiming otherwise, but that won’t make it true, and you know that lying (“bearing false witness”) makes the Babby Jeebus cry…

                • Bill

                  Pot called the kettle black.
                  Argument of assertion is what you’re doing, bud.

                  You failed to produce any evidence, while in fact, I have. In fact, you should cite your sources. More hypocrisy. While you’re at it, dig out Hitler’s brain and prove to me he was a Christian.

                  Tell me how claiming to be a Christian makes you one. I can claim to be atheist, but I could also say I believe in God. So what kind of Christian doesn’t follow Christ?

                  Keep going with the ad hominem attacks and red herring. It’s entertaining.

                • HoboBanana

                  Bill, what’s funniest here is that you’re refuting theism with your assertions. Your argument is that, since Hitler did bad things, he couldn’t have been a christian. But he apparently claimed and believed he WAS a christian, and did many of the same things done by the Spanish Inquisition and the puritan pilgrims. So you’re putting your idea of good and bad in place of accepting Hitler’s word….and where do you get your idea of right and wrong if both you and Hitler claim to be christians and use that as the basis of the rightness of your actions and beliefs? Folks, we have a Euthyphro Dilemma problem here!

                • Bill

                  “Your argument is that, since Hitler did bad things, he couldn’t have been a christian.”

                  Because Hitler censored the Bible, built a Nazi church, and said things like this he wasn’t a Christian- “Christianity, of course, has reached the peak of absurdity in this respect. And that’s why one day its structure will collapse. Science has already impregnated humanity. Consequently, the more Christianity clings to its dogmas, the quicker it will decline.”
                  [Hitler's Table Talk, pp 58-62]

                  And of course, we have all this- http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/hitler.html

                • tsara

                  Do you know in what respect Hitler thought Christianity had reached ‘the peak of its absurdity’? Because that sounds to me like he’s criticizing the Church (i.e., the ‘structure’) and talking about the way Christianity exists in the world.
                  (Hitler’s interesting, in a Hannibal Lecterish way.)

                • Bill

                  He also called it a disease.

                  “Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery…. …. When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease. (p 118 & 119)”

                • tsara

                  Seriously, my point was that dabbling in the occult says nothing about your religion. I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in the supernatural, and my hobby is ‘dabbling in the occult’. Furthermore, even if he did believe in occult things, ‘Satanism’ (that isn’t laVeyan Satanism) requires actually believing in Satan — who is a Christian figure. Sorry, but people who believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God count as Christian in my book, even if they reject Him (which you’ve failed to prove that Hitler did, FYI).

                • Bill

                  If you dabble in the occult, you are not a Christian. The Bible forbids such acts.

                  If you believe Satanism merely includes the Satan of the Bible, you are hugely mistaken.

                  How do you know that Hitler was a Christian? Did you read his mind? OH! Because he claimed to be! Nope. Sorry, wrong answer. The Bible defines a disciple of Christ- one who keeps his commandments. John 8:31. Merely claiming to have faith is not enough either (James 2:24).

                • tsara

                  He claimed to be a Christian. Stronger evidence than what you’ve given is required to refute that claim.

                  I seem to be defining ‘a Christian’ differently from you, though. I gave you my definition (one who believes that Jesus was the Son of God). Your definition is completely useless, as it allows you to exclude anyone you don’t like.

                  Hitler gave every indication (from what I’ve seen) of believing that Jesus was the Son of God. But maybe he didn’t believe that, or maybe he didn’t care. So what? The fact that the people of his country allowed him to do what he did because he invoked the name of Jeebus shows Christianity to be a bankrupt tool of authoritarians.
                  *shrugs*

                • Bill

                  Jesus gives his definition of a Christian. John 8:31. Tell me how well Hitler does on that. And I’m sure Christ’s definition of a Christian is better than yours when, oh I don’t know, Christianity was based on Christ?

                  So, every indication of Hitler believing in Jesus comes from what- him going against the teachings of the Bible to love one another? James 2:24 says that faith is dead without works. Seems like the Bible disagrees with you.

                  Sure. Why not? I’m an atheist. I just happen to believe in God though. I’m also an athlete who doesn’t play sports. And I’m a Mexican who doesn’t live in Mexico, wasn’t born in Mexico, and doesn’t have any Mexican relatives. While I’m at it, I’m a pacifist who likes wars and hates peace. No biggie.

                  *shrugs*

                  Try again.

                • tsara

                  I give zero fucks about what Jesus said, and I give zero fucks about what the Bible says. There are fifty bajillion sects of Christianity and they can’t agree on anything.

                  I am going by what Hitler said about his own beliefs. This is what we can verify, and this is what we can judge him by, and this is what the people who voted for him and believed in his vision judged him by.

                  I explained this to you already.

                • Bill

                  That’s the definition of a Christian. As given by Christ. So, no longer do you care about the definition of Christianity. Instead you have a big temper tantrum.

                  Sorry, bud. Too bad.

                  But who cares? I’m an atheist. I just happen to believe in God though. I’m also an athlete who doesn’t play sports. And I’m a Mexican who doesn’t live in Mexico, wasn’t born in Mexico, and doesn’t have any Mexican relatives. While I’m at it, I’m a pacifist who likes wars and hates peace. No biggie.

                  I explained this to you already.

                  PS- The word “Christian” literally means “follower of Christ”. Try again.

                • tsara

                  “Instead you have a big temper tantrum.”
                  Er… lolwut?

                  And in this discussion about Hitler’s beliefs, I care about Hitler’s definition of a Christian. This is totally the same thing* as what you’re saying.

                  *sarcasm.

                • Bill

                  Because Hitler can define the word Christian, but Christ can’t.

                  Right… Because that is completely logical.

                  Now that you’re re-defining words, I choose “atheism” to mean “plop”. And I choose “re-defining” to mean “donut”. And I choose “word” to mean “platypus”.

                  Yay! I just donuted the platypus plop!

                • Jim Jones

                  > “The Bible defines a disciple of Christ- one who keeps his commandments. John 8:31. Merely claiming to have faith is not enough either (James 2:24).”

                  Then there are no Christians.

                  Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell …

                  Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack …

                  Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack …

                  Luke 12:33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide …

                • Bill

                  Do you understand Theology, at all?

                  Jesus is not saying “Unless you are perfect, you are not a Christian”.

                  Here are the puzzle pieces. Put them together.

                  Matthew 12:33.

                  Galatians 5:22-23.

                  John 8:31.

                • HoboBanana

                  Bill, the bible also forbids eating shellfish & pork, cutting your hair, and wearing clothes of mixed fibers. Still sure you’re a christian?

                • Bill

                  Hobo, those were purity laws given to the Theocracy of Israel, which were done away with the New Covenant.

                  Do you actually study what you attack? Or are you just another ignorant atheist taking his shot?

                • Jim Jones

                  > He’s not a very good Christian if he killed all kinds of them.

                  He’s a very good Christian indeed if he killed all kinds of them. Popes and bishops have done this for centuries, as have other Christians.

                • Bill

                  >Implying they were Christian.

                  I’m not a Catholic, so your argument doesn’t work. Sorry. Try again.

                • Bill

                  I don’t consider them Christians They don’t agree with the Bible, and instead insert their own sacraments and false traditions. Try again.

                  And don’t act like your argument is valid. A Christian is a follower of Christ, the one who said love your neighbor as yourself. Not some wack person who claimed to follow Christ to gain power.

                • Jim Jones

                  Woop! Woop! Woop!

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

                  No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.

                • Bill

                  Woop! Woop!

                  Misplacement of fallacy. Try again.

                  http://www.tektonics.org/guest/scotty.htm

                  A Christian is defined by Jesus- “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” John 8:31. Tell me how adding to the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:2) makes you a Christian. Or contradicting the method of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

                  Besides, you just ignored the last point I made. “And don’t act like your argument is valid. A Christian is a follower of Christ, the one who said love your neighbor as yourself.”

                  When comparing someone as a Christian, you evaluate them by Christ, not some other person.

                  If Hitler is a Christian, atheists can believe in God. While we’re at it, naturalists believe in miracles, evolutionists don’t believe in evolution, and athletes don’t play sports.

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

                  No True Scotsman.

                • Bill

                  Misplacement of fallacy.

                  They violate the direct teachings of Christ. It’s like a vegan eating meat.

                • tsara

                  It’s more like a vegan who doesn’t know that meat is made out of animals eating meat. They all think they’re doing what Jeebus wants.

                • Bill

                  Since when does thinking you’re doing right justify it?

                • tsara

                  Never. But someone who thinks zie’s doing what Jeebus wants will almost always meet my definition of a Christian.

                • Bill

                  So if you THINK you know what Jesus wants, you are a Christian?

                  So if I believed I knew that you wanted me to kill you, I am a tsaraist.

                  Anyways, now that we are simply making up definitions, “atheism” means “plop”.

                • tsara

                  If you want to call yourself a tsaraist, go ahead. It’s a completely meaningless word (based entirely on where my fingers happened to be on the keyboard when I made my username, and the proximity of different letter-keys to each other).
                  Words mean things because everybody agrees they mean things.
                  The word ‘Christian’ is not particularly well-defined. Why? Because people can pull any kind of meaning they want to from the Bible. People can pull any kind of meaning they want to from the words and actions of the character called ‘Jesus’.
                  I, personally, see no reason to believe that the words and actions attributed to Jesus are based on reality; I am not a Christian.
                  As long as someone says that they believe that Jesus was the Son of God, I will believe them; I don’t know what’s going on in hir head. And I see no reason to believe that murdering ten million people is inconsistent with the tenets of Christianity and/or the teachings of Christ.

                • Bill

                  “And I see no reason to believe that murdering ten million people is inconsistent with the tenets of Christianity and/or the teachings of Christ.”

                  Are you serious? Is an atheistic theist also possible in your world? How can you live such a contradictory life?

                  You cannot see if someone is a Christian, but you can see if they aren’t. Jesus defines the word “Christian”, because Christianity is based off of HIM. Jesus defines it clearly.

                  If Hitler claimed to be Christian, and lived his life like that of a “normal” person, fine. Give him the benefit of the doubt. But if I claim to be a vegan and willingly chow down a beef hamburger, you cannot possibly call me a vegan.

                  Similarly, if I claim to be a pacifist and I slaughter your family tonight, you cannot consider me a pacifist.

                  I am your 8th grade math teacher. You have no reason to doubt this claim. And since I claim it, it must be true!

                • tsara

                  You might be an eighth grade math teacher, but, as far as I am aware, my eighth grade math teacher is perfectly happy with her gender, and your ‘nym indicates maleness. Or would you prefer I called you Carrie?

                  “Because people can pull any kind of meaning they want to from the Bible. People can pull any kind of meaning they want to from the words and actions of the character called ‘Jesus’.”

                  It sounds like you didn’t read this. Please do so. It works in kind of the same way that no matter what my horoscope says, it will, in some way, correspond to my day. And it does this even when I’m reading the description for signs other than my own.
                  Was Jesus being more Jesus-like when he cursed a tree, or when he told people love their neighbour? The picture you have in your head of Jesus is different from anybody else’s. Every single person in the world, ever, can read those stories and come up with a different character for Jesus. Yours is no more valid than anybody else’s.

                • Bill

                  “Jesus defines the word “Christian”, because Christianity is based off of HIM. Jesus defines it clearly.”

                  It sounds like you didn’t read this.

                  Do you even understand the theological symbolism for the cursing of the fig tree?
                  Do you know how to properly read Greco-Roman biois (or for that matter, read in context), or are you going off baseless assumptions from the few people who have radically twisted interpretation?

                • tsara

                  And I told you, Jesus’s definition is completely useless, because it can be interpreted in eleventy billion different ways. All I can use to judge Christianity as a moral system is the words and actions of people who claim to adhere to it.

                  And Google doesn’t know what ‘biois’ means. But I do read both Greek and Latin (though not particularly well, in either case). And every single interpretation is twisted. That’s the nature of interpretation, and kind of my point.

                • Bill

                  And you do realize that the 40,000 denominations all come to a consensus on these moral statutes that Jesus has given?

                  The only thing they disagree on are complex topics like Monergism vs Synergism, or atonement theories.

                • tsara

                  “And you do realize that the 40,000 denominations all come to a consensus on these moral statutes that Jesus has given?”
                  And I’ve yet to meet one that doesn’t do its absolute utmost to make people miserable. Because, apparently, Jesus said so.
                  Seriously. What part of ‘when it comes to people’s beliefs, all we can do is take their word for it’ is so hard for you to grasp? (and/or, why do you care so much that some stranger on the internet finds it perfectly consistent for the person who ordered the deaths of ten million people to have been a Christian?)
                  (and I will not be responding further.)

                • Bill

                  1) Go to Africa, South America, and China. See the joy people have.

                  2) On what basis can you assume he was a Christian?

                • tsara

                  Sorry, bud. I’m done talking to you unless you know where to find comfy bras and binders for the genderqueer person who would really rather not have boobs.

                  EDIT: Underwear is more interesting than this conversation.

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

                  OT: Have you tried breast cancer survivor stores? They have all sorts of nifty undergarments. I bet they’d have bras at least, and maybe binders.

                • tsara

                  No, but I will. Thanks!

                • Nick Gotts

                  Hitler was a Christian? He was a Satanist.

                  Citation needed. And you won’t be able to provide one from any reputable historian, because that’s utter crap. Hitler was a believing Catholic in his youth, and the best evidence is that he remained a theist, although not an orthodox Christian, to the end of his life. There is literally zero evidence he was a Satanist.

                • Bill

                  Mhm, I already gave citations.

                  Just because Hitler was a Catholic in his youth, doesn’t mean he stayed one.

                  Besides, I don’t consider most Catholics to be within Christianity anyway.

                • Nick Gotts

                  You gave citations which did not provide a particle of evidence that Hitler was a Satanist. As for the stuff about rewriting the Bible and founding your own church – that’s exactly what the Reformation involved. Since it’s now clear you are a Protestant, by your own criteria, you must be a Satanist.

                • Bill

                  Mhm, tell me how the Protestant Reformation contradicted the Bible.Oh wait! It didn’t. The Protestants never re-wrote the Bible either- the Apocrypha never belonged in the first place.

                  Besides, I never said that made you a Satanist. The fact that he studied the occult and said the things he said made him a Satanist. The rest just didn’t make him a Christian.

                  Try again.

                • Nick Gotts

                  the Apocrypha never belonged in the first place.

                  So say the Protestants. They were, none the less, part of it for well over a thousand years – so it is simple fact that Protestants did rewrite the Bible. They also founded their own churches.

                  Studying the occult does not make you a Satanist, and you have provided zero evidence – because there is none – that Hitler worshipped Satan. Nor have you provided any sources for the quotes you gave – you apparently believe that writing “ibid” is providing a source. It isn’t.

                  Try again.

                • HoboBanana

                  Bing-bing-bing!!! No True Scotsman in a single closing sentence!

                • Bill

                  Bing bing bing!

                  Then according to your logic, pacifists who favor war is NTS too.

                  The soteriology of Catholicism contradicts that of the Bible.

                  Try again.

                • islandbrewer

                  If you click on his name and go down his 100+ comments (entirely in this one post!) you can make a game out of adding up the No True Scotsmen in each comment.

                  Even his apologetics links he puts up to refute the No True Scotsman claim commit the very same fallacy, entirely without irony (claiming Hitler wasn’t a christian isn’t a No True Scotsman fallacy, because Hitler was No True Christian).

                  Besides, I don’t consider most Catholics to be within Christianity anyway.

                  I just quoted that for the laugh value.

                • glebealyth

                  So he was a believer in god – a theist – but his god was the Devil, acceptance of whose existence is tantamount to acceptance of god’s existence.

                • Jim Jones

                  Mao and Pol Pot were got at by Catholic priests. They took lessons from that.

                • Madison Blane

                  When’s the last time an Atheist knocked on your door to preach the gospel of Atheism? When’s the last time you had your beliefs listed as ‘the most feared group’ in America? When’s the last time you couldn’t marry the person you love because of an Atheist’s beliefs? In fact, when’s the last time you honestly HAD TO hide your belief in God from public view for fear of termination from a job, being disowned by your family, or because you might lose custody of your kids? Because we, Atheists, with absolutely NO assertion of any belief system are judged, terminated and discriminated against just because we don’t share the majority delusion in the form of belief in the invisible!

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

                  She’s got nothing but empty assertions, obviously.

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

                  From what I’ve seen, you just described Christians…

                • Jim Jones

                  > Let’s see… if it’s ALL you can talk about

                  Not me.

                  > if you search online for forums about religion for the sole purpose of arguing with Christians or others about their beliefs

                  This is http://www.patheos.com not http://www.jesus_stuff.com — why are YOU here?

                  > if you’re not open to ANY other ideas for discussion

                  Not me. I can argue both sides of many arguments.

                  > if your Facebook wall is COVERED in nothing BUT anti-religious postings

                  Not me.

                  > if you don’t have any friends left because you’ve hounded them all about their beliefs if they differ from yours…

                  Not me.

                  > you might be a fanatical atheist.

                  So clearly not me! WINNING!

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  Jim… I’m not a Christian, not even close. But I’m glad you’re not a fanatic. They can be difficult to deal with no matter what breed they are. :)

                • Matt D

                  Since you know “many atheist” who are fanatical, then you’ll have no trouble citing some references to prove the veracity of your claim.
                  I’d like to see what you consider fanatical, so show us the proof that convinced you they are fanatics and we can all take a look and work to fix this problem. Thanks!

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

                  Bullshit.

                • Tjadlow

                  Sez Jim with the big ‘A’ by his name;)

                • islandbrewer

                  I know, right? All those fanatical militant atheists blowing pregnancy crisis centers, and kicking their christian children out of their homes, and sending death threats to christian students in schools. Why can’t atheists be moderate, like christians?

                • Tjadlow

                  You speak as if ‘blowing crisis pregnancy centers’ is ‘sinful’. Would that be correct, I?

                • tsara

                  That comment is sarcastic, and the examples are all references to things Christians do. Blowing buildings up is generally illegal (and probably immoral). Christians might call it ‘sinful’, but I don’t find ‘sin’ to be a useful concept.

                • tsara

                  Also, CPCs are pretty terrible.

                • Tjadlow

                  Eeeevvviiillll.:)

                • Matt D

                  Where did he use the word “sinful” in his post, Hector Projector?

                • Tjadlow

                  My term ‘sin’ is functionally no different in concept in relation to our conversation.

                • Matt D

                  If it’s functionally no different, than why didn’t you use a term that everyone can understand? Do you always assume your religious references are shared by all observers?

                • Tjadlow

                  I did it on purpose to make a point. When people speak of objective ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’, there is no real distinction from that than ‘sin’. You’re objection is merely a meme you’ve heard.

                • islandbrewer

                  First, to explain my comment, it was sarcasm. “Militant” atheists don’t blow up christian pregnancy crisis centers, or kick their theist children out of the house, or send death threats to christians in schools. However, there are legions of examples of militant fanatic christians doing things like this. My statement was meant to illustrate how the adjectives “militant” or “fanatic” is drastically different when talking about atheists vs. christians.

                  (You know what they say when you have to explain a joke?)

                  Second, I don’t believe in or recognize the concept of “sin,” and won’t comment on it. However, I do believe in systems of morality and avoiding harm and things that lead to harm. Vaguely one might term these “right and wrong,” for conversational short hand.

                  But to answer your question as well as I can, blowing up a christian pregnancy crisis center, which dispenses misinformation and causes tons of problems, is wrong in my view, even if it’s merely property damage and no one is harmed.

                • Tjadlow

                  You haven’t even begun to answer my question.
                  Why is ‘harm’ ‘sinful’ (read ‘evil’ or wrong) *not sure what the real distinction is, practically speaking*

                • islandbrewer

                  You haven’t even begun to answer my question.

                  Yes, I did. Don’t be disingenuous. Shall we re-examine your question?

                  You speak as if ‘blowing crisis pregnancy centers’ is ‘sinful’. Would that be correct, I?

                  I did answer your question. No, I don’t recognize “sin,” so I don’t think blowing up a christian misinformation center is “sinful.” But, as I previously stated, it is wrong.

                  In what way is your question not answered?

                  How about a quid pro quo?

                  I don’t recognize what “sinful” is. Destroying someone else’s property is a breach of the social contract in which our society functions. Mutual respect for property is the reason I’m not particularly afraid of people coming and blowing up my house just because they think I’m evil. (Although I’ve received threats from self-identified christians that give me pause.)

                  I don’t want my house destroyed, nor do I want my friends’ houses destroyed. I achieve this through the social contract that nearly every human society has subscribed to since before theism was invented.

                  There’s also a resource argument, but I’m far too lazy to add that, other than saying it’s taxing our shared resources to require someone to repair the damage I cause, but … pffft, what do you care? You’re just trying to lead me to some apologetics surprise assertion. It’d be less tedious if you just made your point.

                  There, I’ve answered your question.

                  Answer mine, if you’ve any sense of equity: What is the point you are trying to make?

                • Tjadlow

                  So you would say that your moral code is based merely upon the strong ruling the weak with personal preferences?

                • islandbrewer

                  Not at all! How did you get that out of there? Your logic is warped beyond recognition if you think that respect for persons and avoidance of harm to any, including the weakest of our society is the result of “the strong ruling the weak with personal preferences”!

                  This must be your christian projection, with god telling everyone what right and wrong is, because he’s the strongest, right?

                  You also haven’t begun to answer my question at all, so why should I indulge your apologetic masturbation session any longer? I don’t want to facilitate your mental fapping.

                • Tjadlow

                  >Your logic is warped beyond recognition if you think that respect for persons and avoidance of harm to any, including the weakest of our society is the result of “the strong ruling the weak with personal preferences”!

                  Lol. Then you are assuming my view of the sanctity of human life, right?

                • islandbrewer

                  Nope, try again, lol!

                • islandbrewer

                  Here’s a more direct answer: No.

                  Try again.

                  Also, do you think blowing up Planned Parenthood clinics is wrong? Why or why not?

                • Tjadlow

                  >Here’s a more direct answer: No.

                  Great. Now tell me [why]….that’s the point.

                • islandbrewer

                  You haven’t begun to answer any of my questions, lol! What point are you trying to make?

                • islandbrewer

                  What, afraid to answer my questions? Just one?

                  Awww, sonny boy, don’t be afraid, I’ll go easy on you. ;)

                  What do you believe and why? C’mon, lil buckeroo.

                • Tjadlow

                  Lol. I’m a born again Christian, because I’m convinced that Christianity corresponds to reality.

                • Jim Jones

                  > because I’m convinced that Christianity corresponds to reality.

                  I’m convinced that you understand neither.

                • Tjadlow

                  Why would that be?

                • Tjadlow

                  Why would you say that?

                • Tjadlow

                  This is my third time to answer this. I’m not sure why it disappears.
                  What would lead you to be convinced that I don’t understand Christianity or reality? I’d really like you to provide evidence from our conversation, if you would.

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

                  well played!

                • Jim Jones

                  Loud and proud.

                • Tjadlow

                  Do you realize what you said just three posts above?

                • Ronnie Angel

                  agreed Jim…. your arguments a solid…. thanks for your effort in putting the absurdity of religion in it’s place….

              • The Other Weirdo

                Science and critical thinking do not refute religion,

                Well, I dunno about that. Where do rainbows and hail come from, and why are stars in the heavens?

                • Jim Jones

                  And does dynamite explode because angels fart simultaneously? Or is it science, bitches?

              • Jim Achmoody

                Good to see a note of objectivity-if anyone takes the time and effort to study the problems eroding the myriad of groundless assumptions behind evolutionary dogma they realize true science supports creationism and acknowledges that many mysteries remain in attempting to explain the intersections of faith and science.

              • Art_Vandelay

                You’re an atheist who thinks evolution is being driven by some supernatural guiding force…that’s awesome. 99.9% of species on this planet have already perished. Either those forces are blind and natural or the driver is drunk.

            • Bryan Richards

              His mind could be quite healthy, the compartmentalization and the rigor with which he maintains it could very well be a sign of that.

              I would also disagree that his critical thinking is lesser, he just hasn’t applied it to his own beliefs yet. Which is a failure to apply the amount of skepticism appropriate to the claim ( and he does lack critical thinking in that aspect).

          • 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.

          • Jim Jones

            > 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.

            If you could reason with theists there wouldn’t be any. Your “critical thinking skills” shut down when it comes to Jesus. Young children see the holes in the plot until they are bullied and lied into acceptance and compliance,

            • Beth Jenkins Sowell

              In my experience dealing with people, I’ve noticed that those who outwardly claim their own intellect is superior to others is typically very much the opposite. If you really are so superior you would have no need to announce it.

              • Jim Jones

                I didn’t. I’m merely observing that the differences between ice cream and bullshit aren’t very subtle.

                • Beth Jenkins Sowell

                  No sir, I apologize for the confusion, I was definitely commenting on Jim’s remark, “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.” I should have made that more clear.

                • Jim Jones

                  Not my claim. It was another posters.

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

                  Jim was commenting on Steve’s remark. He didn’t do a great job showing he was quoting from someone else, but those aren’t his words. Jim was saying that Steve was being an arrogant asshole by saying that. The comment thread is so long it’s fairly easy to miss that, though.

            • Tjadlow

              Oh how I’d love it if you’d interact.

            • Jim Achmoody

              The quality of these discussions is steadily deteriorating-will find some place where more sanity reigns.

              • Jim Jones

                Good luck on your move. Denmark? Sweden? Norway?

          • Ronnie Angel

            you are a living breathing oxymoron…. the 2 concepts, (science and religion) cannot mutually coexist….

          • Jim Achmoody

            True-most of the contemporary atheists on you tube etc are unaware of the faith of most of the scientists who made such an impact on history such as Newton, Pascal etc.

            • Michael Harrison

              However, it should also be noted that most of them were also heretics. (E.g., Newton was an anti-Trinitarian.)

            • tsara

              Newton was also into some pretty hardcore woo, and Pascal came up with a question that applies specifically to the Christian God that I haven’t seen any Christians address (i.e., why is God hidden?).

              • Jim Achmoody

                you haven’t looked very hard then

                • tsara

                  Obviously not, because I don’t care all that much; God (especially a specific God) is not really very relevant to my day-to-day life.
                  Would you like to explain? (And, please, not the ‘free will’ argument. That’s a seriously terrible argument. You can’t make free and informed decisions without all of the information; having information does not infringe on anyone’s free will.)

            • C Peterson

              Most of those old scientists were born into a world that didn’t yet have rational answers to fundamental questions of nature. The first thing that happened was thinkers started moving towards deism, as it could be used to explain origins problems without getting into the increasingly obvious problems found in most religious dogma.

              What is the point of looking at the beliefs of people two or three hundred years ago? For all their brilliance, many of those scientists weren’t actually very good scientists… because the methodology of science was still being developed. Look at modern scientists- especially the best of them- and you’ll see an overwhelming lack of belief in any sort of personal god, if not any sort of god at all.

              Those with the best thinking skills, and the best knowledge bases, are the ones most likely to be atheists. That should tell us something.

            • Madison Blane

              Appeal to authority warning!

          • Nick Gotts

            my critical thinking skills are probably much superior to your average person.

            I’m afraid the fact that you are a Christian disproves that claim – or at least, indicates that you fail to exercise these skills when it comes to your religious beliefs. Christianity is logically incoherent, since it is impossible for the same entity to be both”wholly man” and “wholly God”, as the doctrine of the hypostatic union claims, since “man” and “God” have incompatible attributes. Moreover, the existence of evil is immensely strong evidence against the existence of a benevolent and omnipotent being.

            • Bill

              Actually, the existence of evil is the proof of good.
              If there is no God, everything is relative. Then thus, there is no good and evil- they’re all opinions. Since there is evil, there must be good. Because if there is no good, there is nothing to base evil off of.

              • Nick Gotts

                Suffering and enjoyment are not relative, and they are the basis for our sense of good and evil. If you need your imaginary friend to tell you that – for example – torturing people for fun is evil, then you’re a psychopath.

        • ShoeUnited

          If you think you’re god, you’re crazy. If you think you have god, you’re virtuous.

        • Beth Jenkins Sowell

          I’m in agreement with the “mentally ill” take on Slick. Sounds very paranoid schizophrenic to me.

        • J

          It’s different than that. Perhaps you didn’t grow up in the culture and fancy yourself an independent thinker. It could be that you are an independent thinker, but the older I get the more I reflect back on times and find myself having been at the mercy of the whims of stronger personalities. There are a lot of strong personalities among theists and I think that leadership tends to draw the most strident ones. They are good at passing on the same self-loathing that they experience day to day. Feel sorry for them because there is a sick culture running through too much of Christianity and the sickest individuals hide behind God to prevent questioning which makes rooting it out harder. Christianity doesn’t have to be what it’s become.

      • 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 .

        • Tjadlow

          Lol, Johnny.
          How confident are you in your assertion?

          • 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.

            • Tjadlow

              >the light of Christ has elucidated you the very origin of the world

              Johnny, I’d love to hear your view.

              • 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.

                • Madison Blane

                  R’amen Aaron!!!

                • Aaron Hawryluk

                  May His noodly appendage touch you. Blessed be the beer volcano.

                • Tjadlow

                  >The burden of proof lies with those who assert extraordinary intangibles, not with those who deny them.

                  I agree. Do you affirm the existence of a contingent univese?

                • HoboBanana

                  irrelevant to this discussion, unless contingency is defined. please give us your definition of contingency?

                • Tjadlow
                • Guest

                  Now you’re just playing word games. A person can only affirm the existence of an object; inherent properties can at best be measured indirectly. For instance, if I see a red Jetta, I can’t say the Jetta’s has an intrinsic property of redness, only that something happens to the light interacting with it before it reaches our eyes. Even a white Jetta is red when viewed through a red filter.

                  My point is that we can at best affirm the existence of the universe; asking to affirm whether it is contingent strikes me as downright dishonest.

              • 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.

              • Richie Tipsy Kariuki

                …and we would love to hear yours.

      • 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.

        • Tjadlow

          Madison,
          You sound as if you think the scientific method is the only truth. Is that what you’re saying?

          • 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.

            • Tjadlow

              You can’t rebut, can you.

              • 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?

              • TheAtlasBoy

                Yeah… if you don’t make a point, it’s pretty tough to rebut it. That’s generally pretty true.

              • Richie Tipsy Kariuki

                Are you planning on making a point any time soon?

          • 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.

            • Tjadlow

              What I mean is that you seem to think that the SM is the only way to know truth. Is that correct?

              • 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!!

                • Tjadlow

                  Thanks for chatting.

              • 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.

                • Tjadlow

                  Aaron,
                  I have no philosophy education. May I ask, what is the relationship between rational coherence and empiricism?

                • Aaron Hawryluk

                  I suggest you do some reading, then; Hume, for starters. It might make you seem a bit less like ELIZA, and neutralize your irritating habit of blatantly attempting to lay Socratic traps for people you’re having discussions with. Rhetoric is the most egregious of social faults.

                • HoboBanana

                  that doesn’t follow from Aaron’s statement. why do you ask it?

              • 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?

                • Tjadlow

                  Good, Rob, thanks. May I ask what other ways there are to know truth?

                • Rob Bos

                  I don’t feel particularly interested in lecturing you on epistemology, particularly when you have already demonstrated you are not willing to discuss anything in good faith. I would rather not follow your script; you are not putting any serious thought into this, you are trying to goad me into a series of responses that will end with a “gotcha!”, and then declare victory in your own mind.

                • Tjadlow

                  Thanks for chatting.

                • Tjadlow

                  A victory it would not be if you could successfully rebut, no?

                • HoboBanana

                  not when it’s question-begging of the “have you stopped beating your spouse yet?” variety

                • HoboBanana

                  other ways to know truth? what have you got?

              • 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!

                • Tjadlow

                  Hi Winning,
                  So how do you empirically verify that empirical verification is the only truth?

                • HoboBanana

                  unless you’re a solipsist, tjadlow, you trust repeatable, consistent sense data…so your question is either leading, or nonsense.

              • HoboBanana

                nope, the SM is the only way to *prove* something true so that the result is usable regardless of the belief of the user.

                • Tjadlow

                  Hmmm…Prove…..What does the law of non contradiction smell like? Or more aptly, how do you prove with your senses that the SM is the only truth?

            • CoachV222

              Technically, the SM eliminates unreproducable premises, which are then valued “false” for the sake of expediency. “Truth” is a term that the SM has determined for a premises that is “reproduceable” And ever since Einstien, reproduce able is not always achievable. So the SM is not a very complete measure of truth.

          • Jim Jones

            Belief gave us angels.

            Science gave us Boeing.

            What’s your choice to fly from LA to New York?

            • Tjadlow

              Oh….that’s a good one!
              Tell me, do you exercise faith at all?

              • Jim Jones

                > Tell me, do you exercise faith at all?

                In Boeing? Sure.

                • Tjadlow

                  Excellent. So the idea of exercising faith is not necessarily bad, but rather to have a [good] faith. Agree?

              • HoboBanana

                which definition? the strong confidence that repeatable high-probability phenomena will continue, or belief in things not seen (provable), which is more the religious definition.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • Tjadlow

            Hi Mario,
            That’s not my method. Care to give justification for your perspective?

            • 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.

              • Tjadlow

                I would say that contingent things don’t make themselves before they exist. Agree, Casey?

                • RobMcCune

                  Actually many do, they’re preexistent components are drawn together and arranged by natural forces which they themselves exert.

                • Tjadlow

                  Lol. If the pre-existent components are drawn together, are they not contingent as well?

                • baal

                  And the only way out of an infintite regress is the oblivion from being devoured by Cthulhu. tada! surprise finish

                • Tjadlow

                  Typical smarter-than-everyone-in-the-room non-answer.
                  Like to try again?

                • 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.

                • 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!

                • Tjadlow

                  Hmm.
                  Are you saying this was an answer?!

                  >And the only way out of an infintite regress is the oblivion from being devoured by Cthulhu. tada! surprise finish

                • Cake

                  It’s a more cogent answer than you deserve.

                • Tjadlow

                  Great. Can’t answer so call your opponent a dummy. You’re not making much progress for your view, my friend.

                • Ombakrobert

                  That’s hilarious coming from a commenter who is now on day 2 of not making a point and is instead wasting time setting up a rhetorical gotcha.

                • Cake

                  “Great. Can’t answer so call your opponent a dummy. You’re not making much progress for your view, my friend.”

                  Translation: I don’t know what cogent means. You must have called me dumb.

                • Tjadlow

                  Ok, let’s engage, Cake. So do you agree that pre existent components that are drawn together are contingent?

                • Cake

                  “Ok, let’s engage, Cake.”

                  Translation: Back to the apologistbot script.

                • Tjadlow

                  Do you not understand the question?

                • Cake

                  “Do you not understand the question?”

                  Translation: Please stay on the script I have prepared for you.

                • islandbrewer

                  You haven’t demonstrated the capacity to answer any of the questions that anyone has put to you, have you?

                  What do you believe and why?

                  Or how about: What is the point you are trying to make? (answered in just one post, and not your little game of stringing people along until you can spring your clever little trap!)

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

                  He hasn’t really sprung any traps. He asks his questions, people see it coming and tell him why his denouement is wrong, and he sulks off to go poke someone else.

                • Tjadlow

                  Island,
                  I’m a born again Christian, because I’m convinced Christianity best corresponds to reality. I’d love thoughtful engagement if you’re willing….

                • islandbrewer

                  Okay, next question: What grand gotcha point are you trying to make when you try to weasel out an explanation for someone’s ethics or morality with your tired rhetoric?

                  I view right and wrong* as a measure of total harm and benefit to the totality of individuals within society. It would be an intentional lie to say it has anything to do with the “stronger bullying the weaker,” when in fact it bears more of a resemblance to the opposite. In this United States, I am the weaker party as an atheist. There are laws preventing me from holding public offices, serving on juries, and I’m more or less despised by people who hold your beliefs. Social contracts respecting my person and property are what keep those christians in the majority who really don’t like me from bombing my house or sending me death threats (ok, it doesn’t keep ALL of you from sending me death threats, but I’ll bet it cuts down on them). I’m sure many, if asked, will quickly come up with religious rationale, but I’d experience the same social contract in many of the non-christian countries where I’ve lived, even in places where most people are atheists.

                  So what’s your big gotcha question?

                  ………………………………………………………………………

                  *”Sin” is a religious concept which is sort of like a metaphysical stain on a soul. There’s is no such thing as a soul (that is, it doesn’t comport to reality), and thus there is no such thing “sin.” The interchangeability with which christian use the terms “wrong” or “bad” and “sinful” is part of the semantic legerdemain which constitutes a lot of half-assed apologetics and bad rationales (like the word “life” meaning 1) metabolizing cells, and also 2) a person, and conflating the two).

                • HoboBanana

                  we have no way to determine contingency of the type you describe, do we? What would your method be, Tjadlow?

                • Tjadlow

                  I would take off my shoe and bend it.

                • 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.

                • Tjadlow

                  Lol. Please define ‘preexisting components’. Are they things that exist, before they exist?

                • HoboBanana

                  what’s the phrase? “Matter can be neither created nor destroyed, it merely changes form” or something to that effect

                • Tjadlow

                  Within a closed system. The universe is a closed [contingent] system.

                • 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.

                • Tjadlow

                  Ds,
                  >As for how material exists in the first place we Do Not Know.

                  It’s really quite simple, that is if you value the principles of thought. Do you hold to the law of non contradiction?

                • HoboBanana

                  yes, I hold to the law of non-contradiction…but I’ll bet we disagree on axioms

                • Tjadlow

                  LNC is [the] axiom. Agree?

                • Dark Star

                  Your statement here demonstrates that you don’t understand the question sufficiently for us to have a very interesting conversation.

                • Tjadlow

                  Interesting statement, DS. Would you mind elaborating?

                • Tjadlow

                  You don’t understand my statement, do you.

        • 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.

          • Blythe

            I think the point is, Slick really believes, so what he was doing, or thought he was doing, was in his eyes the right thing, teaching Rachael to think, I doubt he ever thought it would lead to her deconversion, because he actually sincerely believes he has the truth.

        • 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.

          • dk

            Nice SYL, album art.

        • Jim Achmoody

          “ If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on
          biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux
          of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should
          have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.”

          “A strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by
          Professor Haldane: ‘If my mental processes are determined wholly by the
          motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my
          beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be
          composed of atoms.’”

          “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative
          mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of
          thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for
          physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way,
          this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if
          so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a
          milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map
          of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust
          the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an
          Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in
          thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

          “In the end, that Face which is the delight or terror of the universe
          must be turned upon each of us, either with one expression or the
          other.”

          • HoboBanana

            Argument from either Ignorance or Incredulity, and useless either or both ways.

      • 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.

      • Droopy

        “It couldn’t possibly be that religious people voluntarily teach
        critical thinking because they think such thinking leads to religion.”

        This is definitely true for some, and it is the reason I am an atheist. I was told that all education was good, because all knowledge comes from god.

        On the other hand, there are religious establishments that teach not to question anything. It depends on the church.

        • Madison Blane

          I was also told that all wisdom comes from God – with the caveat that, if the information contradicts the existence or will of God, it is not wisdom but rather, it’s the devil trying to tempt me away from God’s will. Which is what makes it so easy for theists to deny evolution.

    • Tjadlow

      Hi C,
      I’d love to interact if you’re willing….

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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!

        • Bershawn300

          Darling….there is plenty of historical “proof” that Jesus existed. But I don’t get into “proof” discussions with atheists. It is a fool’s errand, because ultimately they believe what they want to believe whether there is proof or not.

          You are entitled to your beliefs, as I am entitled to mine. We are all part of this great free country! I was merely wanting to indicate that there are Christians who are against the kinds of practices mitigated by the author’s father.

          • islandbrewer

            If you come onto an atheist forum, and make the make the naked assertion that Jesus existed, and are apparently unaware of the scholarship done which concludes differently, and baldly dismiss any request to back up your assertion, prepare for some of what my people call “flack.”

          • Jim Jones

            > Darling

            Don’t be a condescending asshole.

            > ….there is plenty of historical “proof” that Jesus existed.

            And yet in 2,000 years no one has found any.

        • Drew

          The Gospels were written by multiple witnesses. They may have some inconstencies or even outright errors, but they are relatively contemporary accounts of the life of an individual. It is difficult for me to believe that these stories were invented as part of some kind of conspiracy for the purpose of creating a new and radically different religion.
          Axiomatically, there is no proof that either Jesus was not a real person or that God does not exist.

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

            Of course not. Proof of a negative is pretty hard to get. Prove to me that unicorns don’t exist. Prove that I don’t have an invisible, weightless dragon sitting on my shoulder right now.

            What we instead say is that there is insufficient evidence for the existence of God or Jesus’s existence to be convincing. You make the claim (God exists, Jesus was a real person), you get to support it. So far, no one’s been able to do it.

          • Madison Blane

            I’m just going to laugh for a bit…because that was the most ridiculous assertion of a blatantly-absurd falsehood which has been rebutted, refuted, and tossed in the bin ages ago, lacking ANY evidence, by one who seems not to possess even a rudimentary understanding of what constitutes a fallacy that I’ve read on this forum yet! Congratulations, Drew, the Darwin goes you you!

            • Drew

              My sarcasm was poorly delivered. I don’t expect anyone to prove a negative, but the nature of the question is such that the lack of “scientific” evidence should not be surprising. Historians write about generals, not itinerent preachers.

              Here’s what we do know. About 2,000 years ago, this Jesus thing went viral. In the context of the culture of that time, Christianity was radically new and different, subversive but nonviolent. Where did it come from and why? Clearly, something happened of significance to spark the movement. Jesus may have been embellished by his biographers, but he was not invented by them.

              • Jim Jones

                > About 2,000 years ago, this Jesus thing went viral.

                It didn’t.

                > In the context of the culture of that time, Christianity was radically new and different, subversive but nonviolent.

                It wasn’t. http://www.pocm.info/

          • Michael Harrison

            So, Jesus really did ride on two donkeys, to fulfill a prophecy which, in actuality, was using a poetic flourish to describe one donkey in two different ways?

          • Jim Jones

            > The Gospels were written by multiple witnesses.

            Witnesses to what? I say none were written before 135 CE. What could the authors have witnessed? Why are they so devoid of verifiable facts? Why are there no contemporary sources?

            Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus. Why aren’t all Christians LDS?

        • Chris Benner

          “There is no historical proof that Jesus existed, rendering
          all you propositions false. Historians of the age never mentioned
          him, his ‘miracles’ or the supposed geological and meterological
          events surrounding his death, ” Fact:
          There are 10 non-christian writers that mention Jesus within 150
          years of his life. There are nine non-christian writers that
          mention Tiberius Caeser the Roman Emperor during the same time
          span. If you factor in Christian writers it’s 43 for Christ to 10
          for Tiberius.
          Fact: The non-christian writers from these
          10 mentions tell us these 12 things.
          1)Jesus lived during the
          reign of Tiberius Caeser
          2)Jesus lived a virtuous life.
          3)Jesus
          was a wonder worker.
          4)Jesus had a brother named James.
          5)Jesus
          was acclaimed to be the Messiah.
          6)Jesus was crucified under
          Pontius Pilate.
          7)Jesus was crucified on the eve of Jewish
          Passover.
          8)Darkness and an earthquake occurred when Jesus
          died.
          9)His disciples believed Jesus rose from the dead.
          10)His
          disciples were willing to die for thier belief.
          11)Christianity
          spread rapidly as far as Rome.
          12)His disciples denied the
          Roman gods and worshiped Jesus as a God.
          In light of these
          non-christian references,the theory that Jesus never existed is
          clearly unreasonable. How could non-christian writers collectively
          reveal a storyline congruent with the New Testament if Jesus never
          existed?

          “The bible is not a historical document, ”
          Non-christian sources affirm
          the New Testament. While the non-christian authors don’t say they
          believe in the resurrection, they report that the disciples
          certainly believed it.
          To see if the New Testament is a record
          of actual history, we need to answer an important question
          concerning the documents that comprise the New Testament:
          Do we
          have accurate copies of the original documents that were written
          down in the 1st century? We must have an accurate copy of
          documents and have reason to believe that those documents describe
          what relly happened nearly 2,000 years ago.
          Do we have an
          accurate copy?
          I’m sure you have heard of the child’s game
          called “telephone.” That’s where one child is given a
          verbal message to pass to the next child, who passes what he’s
          heard to the next child, and so on. By the time the message gets
          to the last child in the chain it barely resembles what the first
          kid was told. To the casual observer, it seems like that same type
          of distortion could infect documents that have been transmitted
          from generation to generation over 2,000 years. Fortunately, the
          New Testament was not transmitted in that way. Since it was not
          told to one person who told another and so on, the problem from
          the telephone game does not apply. Numerous people indepently
          witnessed New Testament events, many of them committed it to
          memory, and nine of those eyewitnesses/contemporaries put their
          observations in writing. At this point, we need to clear up a
          common misunderstanding about the New Testament. When we speak of
          the New Testament documents, we are not talking about one writing,
          but about 27 writings. The New Testament documents are 27
          different documents that were written on 27 different scrolls by
          nine different writers over a 20- to 50- year period. These
          individual writings have since been collected into one book we now
          call the Bible. So the New Testament is not just one source, but a
          collection of sources.

          “There are no original texts.” There’s
          only one problem: so far, none of the original written documents
          of the New Testament have been discovered. We have only copies of
          the original writings, called manuscripts. Will this prevent us
          from knowing what the originals said?
          Not at all. In fact, all
          significant literature from the ancient world is reconstructed
          into it’s original form by comparing manuscripts that survive.

          “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!” Trying to belittle others does
          not convince anyone of your arguments, it just makes you look less
          than credible.

        • Job

          “There is no historical proof that Jesus existed, rendering
          all you propositions false. Historians of the age never mentioned
          him, his ‘miracles’ or the supposed geological and meterological
          events surrounding his death, ” Fact:
          There are 10 non-christian writers that mention Jesus within 150
          years of his life. There are nine non-christian writers that
          mention Tiberius Caeser the Roman Emperor during the same time
          span. If you factor in Christian writers it’s 43 for Christ to 10
          for Tiberius.
          Fact: The non-christian writers from these
          10 mentions tell us these 12 things.
          1)Jesus lived during the
          reign of Tiberius Caeser
          2)Jesus lived a virtuous life.
          3)Jesus
          was a wonder worker.
          4)Jesus had a brother named James.
          5)Jesus
          was acclaimed to be the Messiah.
          6)Jesus was crucified under
          Pontius Pilate.
          7)Jesus was crucified on the eve of Jewish
          Passover.
          8)Darkness and an earthquake occurred when Jesus
          died.
          9)His disciples believed Jesus rose from the dead.
          10)His
          disciples were willing to die for thier belief.
          11)Christianity
          spread rapidly as far as Rome.
          12)His disciples denied the
          Roman gods and worshiped Jesus as a God.
          In light of these
          non-christian references,the theory that Jesus never existed is
          clearly unreasonable. How could non-christian writers collectively
          reveal a storyline congruent with the New Testament if Jesus never
          existed?

          “The bible is not a historical document, ”
          Non-christian sources affirm
          the New Testament. While the non-christian authors don’t say they
          believe in the resurrection, they report that the disciples
          certainly believed it.
          To see if the New Testament is a record
          of actual history, we need to answer an important question
          concerning the documents that comprise the New Testament:
          Do we
          have accurate copies of the original documents that were written
          down in the 1st century? We must have an accurate copy of
          documents and have reason to believe that those documents describe
          what relly happened nearly 2,000 years ago.
          Do we have an
          accurate copy?
          I’m sure you have heard of the child’s game
          called “telephone.” That’s where one child is given a
          verbal message to pass to the next child, who passes what he’s
          heard to the next child, and so on. By the time the message gets
          to the last child in the chain it barely resembles what the first
          kid was told. To the casual observer, it seems like that same type
          of distortion could infect documents that have been transmitted
          from generation to generation over 2,000 years. Fortunately, the
          New Testament was not transmitted in that way. Since it was not
          told to one person who told another and so on, the problem from
          the telephone game does not apply. Numerous people indepently
          witnessed New Testament events, many of them committed it to
          memory, and nine of those eyewitnesses/contemporaries put their
          observations in writing. At this point, we need to clear up a
          common misunderstanding about the New Testament. When we speak of
          the New Testament documents, we are not talking about one writing,
          but about 27 writings. The New Testament documents are 27
          different documents that were written on 27 different scrolls by
          nine different writers over a 20- to 50- year period. These
          individual writings have since been collected into one book we now
          call the Bible. So the New Testament is not just one source, but a
          collection of sources.

          “There are no original texts.” There’s
          only one problem: so far, none of the original written documents
          of the New Testament have been discovered. We have only copies of
          the original writings, called manuscripts. Will this prevent us
          from knowing what the originals said?
          Not at all. In fact, all
          significant literature from the ancient world is reconstructed
          into it’s original form by comparing manuscripts that survive.

          “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!” Trying to belittle others does
          not convince anyone of your arguments, it just makes you look less
          than credible.

        • Job

          Wow!

      • HoboBanana

        the jesus-idea of your story also introduced hell…I think that’s pretty hypocritical for a being of sweetness and light.

    • kboehne

      I was taught to think critically and can see that God exists and that the Christian God is the only true living God. I think she has other issues.

      • Bryan Richards

        Then you have been successfully brainwashed, or you actually haven’t applied critical thinking to your own faith.

        I know of many people that claim to be critical thinkers but either don’t actually know how to apply logic and critical thinking, or fail to apply it in adequate proportion to the claim.

      • islandbrewer

        Oh my goodness! Your naked assertion has totally convinced me to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and repent from my atheism!

        … oh wait, it’s the other one: “No.”

      • C Peterson

        Critical thinking. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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

        Then you’re not thinking critically.

    • Drew

      The inability of a single religion (Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christianity) to answer a particular question does not answer the overall question of whether God exists and cannot be the end point of a sincere inquiry into the question. Full and fair critical thinking requires the answer to a question to be chased until resolved.

      I respect that some individuals may conclude that they do not believe in the existence of God. However, before reaching an informed decision to become an Atheist, an individual must consider reasonable arguments for the existence of God. Among other things, I am persuaded by scientific evidence of the Big Bang (there really was a beginning), and the evolution of life (the laws of physics and the development of the Earth were both PERFECT for the development of life when even the slightest variation might have prevented it from ever happening).

      Starting with the premise that the Bible is infallible as a basis for proving the existence of God was a mistake. Numerous internal inconsistencies within the Bible cause this premise to be demonstrably false. Even a brilliant apologist like Mr. Slick cannot win an argument if his initial premise is demonstrably false!

      That said, being a Christian does not require you to “check your brain at the door.” Although Christian Fundamentalism was born out of a rejection by conservative seminaries of efforts to apply academic analysis to the Bible, most “mainline” Christian denominations embrace the application of rigorous academic analysis to the Bible and are not threatened by it. There are many very smart people who are Christians.

      Atheism based on a rejection of Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christianity is Atheistic Fundamentism – believing in something without asking questions.

      • The Other Weirdo

        But is what these “mainline” Christian denominations believe substantially better than what the fundamentalist Christian denominations believe? Is the difference a matter of kind or of degree?

        • Drew

          There are numerous theological differences, some as a matter of degree and some as differences in kind.
          To start with – if you can prove something to be true as a scientific fact, we accept it. Big Bang – true. Evolution – true. Biblical contradictions and inaccuracies – true.
          We do believe in the divine nature of Christ and that through God’s grace we will be united with God following our earthly death.

          Garden of Eden/Adam and Eve – Profound and beautiful metaphor describing the relationship between God and mankind. Not accurate as history or science.
          Jesus’s life and resurrection – based on historical events, some details modified by the authors.

          We are commanded to love others as God has loved us.

          God loves all persons – Gays welcome at our church.
          In general, the existence of God is a better explanation for the creation of the universe and of life than the nonexistence of God. As between Christianity and other religions, the origins of Christianity have reasonable historicity under the circumstances, and the description of the relationship of God and mankind offered by the critically read Christian Bible is a satisfying one that provides purpose for our existence, both collectively and individually.

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

            I’m truly curious, not being snarky or anything in this question.

            As I understand it, the justification for Jesus’s death by torture was to remove the stain of original sin, that is, sin let into the world by the actions of Adam and Eve in eating the apple and disobeying God. If you think that story is just a metaphor, just a story, why was there a need for a sacrifice? How do you reconcile that?

            • Drew

              Not sure I’m on the same page as the Catholics on Original Sin. Metaphorically, Eve’s sin resulted in the separation of Adam and Eve from God. This teaches us that we are all sinners and are separated from God as a result. God seeks to end that separation by suffering and dying in the person of Jesus.

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

                Couldn’t he just … do that? I mean, all-powerful and all that. Why this overly complicated torture/death/resurrection thing?

                Also, no. Not Eve’s sin. Adam and Eve’s sin. They both ate the apple, you can damned well blame both of them for it.

                • tsara

                  blood for the blood god?

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

                  I … my mind is strange. I know exactly what you mean, but my first thought was a giant cauldron of bubbling blood that rises in a kind of giant blood pudding and gives burbly orders to its minions, who of course are in black hooded robes chanting in a circle around it.

                • Drew

                  Eve went first, but point taken.
                  As far as your first question, there are numerous books and articles. God is all powerful. So ask yourself, what could God do to demonstrate empathy for mankind? Nobody’s going to buy that God really cares if he does not come down here and mix it up with his peeps. And nobody’s going to believe that God understands or cares about their problems unless he has real problems of his own. Finally, Jewish law requires a sacrifice in order for sins to be forgiven. God offered the ultimate sacrifice.

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

                  So God’s a jerk, then. Blood sacrifice is a pretty shitty thing to do, especially human sacrifice. And you know, blood sacrifice is something God ordered. He could just change his mind and say, nope, no more blood sacrifice needed. All-powerful, remember?

                  God demonstrate empathy for humanity? He’s all-powerful. You don’t seem to understand what that means. He could just do that. He could talk in everyone’s head all at once and tell them he cares. He could, oh, cure all the lepers. Cure all the malaria. Make all the Earth into fertile soil instead of deserts. Stop our cells from mutating into cancerous cells. Do something useful for a change, instead of torturing himself. That makes him look like a combined sadist/masochist, not an empathetic being. The Israelites bought that God totally cared because he saved them from slavery, led them to water, and gave them manna to eat*; you know, useful things that contributed to their well-being.

                  *If you think any of that story is true, anyways. Archaeological evidence suggests otherwise, but we’re pretending the stories are true for right now and ancient peoples believed they were true.

                • Drew

                  God had many options. Again we go back to the metaphor of the Garden of Eden. God was hanging around, readily available to solve any problems that might come up, but Man was too egotistical to deal with it and disobeyed God anyway. Basically, we’d all be a bunch of spoiled children. It wouldn’t work.
                  We live in a world where we have free will, but that comes with a variety of problems. Problems test us, but ultimately help us understand our own need for God and provide us the opportunity to act as God’s servant on Earth in helping others. It gives us the opportunity to develop the maturity to enter into a relationship with God.

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

                  So humans were a bunch of spoiled children in Eden, and we grew up to take responsibility for ourselves, and that’s bad? It would be better to be coddled, ignorant children? I am not yet a parent, but I hope that one day I will be, and it is my goal to teach any children of mine to try to solve problems themselves instead of running to me for everything. Wouldn’t that make Eve and Adam the heroes of the story instead of the villains- they chose adulthood and responsibility instead of dependence and ignorance? Why would God have to forgive them for that? And of all the options available, God thought the best one was torturing himself to death?

                  You’re trying to move this discussion. I’m not going to let you do that. How does the death/torture/resurrection thing make any sense at all, especially since you seem to see it as a way for God to forgive us for the “sin” of growing up?

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

                  So I’m splitting this off.

                  Eve never got told not to eat the magic fruit by God. God laid that command on Adam before Eve was created. Additionally, the text suggests that they were standing there together when Eve ate, then handed off the fruit to Adam to take a bite. Do you have any idea how much misogyny and brutal mistreatment of women has arisen because of the idea that this is somehow all Eve’s fault? I think the whole story is just a myth, obviously, but I’d really like it if people would get the details of the myth (and thus the lessons they take from it) at least moderately right.

                • Madison Blane

                  And so now, you’re beginning to understand why we don’t believe. We haven’t seen him, haven’t heard him, and even if the bible is believed to be accurate, well, doubting Thomas was given proof, is God a respecter of persons that he won’t offer me the same proof? Because I’ve sure asked enough times!!

                • HoboBanana

                  or, maybe, you know, NOT put the tree where they could get at it, since they didn’t know right from wrong and so would likely get to it eventually out of curiosity? That’s like laying razor blades on the floor when the baby is coming to visit, dammit!

          • The Other Weirdo

            But if Big Bang is true, then how is God a better explanation for the creation of the universe and of life rather than the nonexistence of God?

            What you are really saying is that you are a product of the age you are living in. If you lived 500 years ago, you would believe what that age believed.

      • C Peterson

        The so-called perfection of the Universe to allow our existence is greatly misunderstood. And of course, it provides not the slightest rationale for belief in a god, it merely pushes the problem of “perfection” one step earlier.

        I don’t really see “[a]theism based on a rejection of Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christianity” as something that exists. Atheism is a mere lack of belief. I think you are conflating it with anti-theism. When most people talk about things like atheistic fundamentalism or activist atheism, they are really talking about anti-theism. It’s one reason I always make it a point to argue against using the word “atheism” in association with any sort of active beliefs or political action.

        I do think being Christian represents some kind of mental deficiency. Whether we call that an illness, a disorder, or something else is open to discussion. But there are too many holes in the dogma- even if viewed in a strongly non-fundamentalist way- to see how somebody who is functioning well could adopt it.

        • Drew

          I do agree that there is a predisposition among many people to believe something, which is why religion has been prevalant throughout the world for all of recorded history. Someone would probably argue that God programmed this into us so that we would know to look for him!

          As far as whether this is diagnosible, I will have to ask one of the Psychiatrists that attends my church over coffee on Sunday.

      • Madison Blane

        “However, before reaching an informed decision to become an Atheist, an individual must consider reasonable arguments for the existence of God.”
        You seem to be operating on the assumption that Atheists have never read the bible or considered the christian God. In this, you are wrong beyond measure. Most Atheists were, at one point, religious and very devoted to their faith of choice. The problem is, we don’t see evidence for the existence of a god, of any kind, and every religion has failed to provide it.
        If you make an assertion that the Christian God exists, it’s up to you to prove it! Yet Atheists spend an inordinate amount of our time refuting claims of no substance simply because well-meaning Christian folks can’t understand that we don’t want to be ruled by your religious beliefs for which you have no proof!!

    • Orwell’s Ghost

      Note that Matt received death threats. So have I…an atheist in Kansas City told me I was going to end up in a ditch “like Jimmy Hoffa”.
      I sincerely believe that someday an atheist will try to kill me.

      • allein

        You again? Do you really think changing your name fools anyone?

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

        No you haven’t, and no you don’t.

        If you have, you should be able to provide concrete evidence of this “threat” to your life.

    • DDD

      I am in personal communication with spirits who have warned me about atheist who want to kill me.

    • Jim Achmoody

      Most of the enemies of broad education are the ones who won’t tolerate “shelf space” in the educational marketplace for alternatives to Darwinism. An brief study of history reveals the roots of schools like Harvard were in search for learning which grew from the faith of the culture.

      • RobMcCune

        If the “alternatives” were theories of science that were strongly supported by evidence, then they would belong in the science classroom.

    • Stephen

      Not all religion fights against education. I started walking away from Christianity when I read Jack Miles’ “God; A Biography” at the urging of one of the officiants at the church I was attending.

      He conducting a book club and the selection of books was wonderful!

      One favorite was James Carroll’s, “Constantine’s Sword”, another book that gave credence to my burgeoning doubts.

      So, perhaps my friend is a rarity, but none the less he was there and encouraged me ask the questions that would lead me down the path I was supposed to walk, even if that path was away from
      Christianity.

    • Ben

      These statements sound as ignorant as the stereotype you speak out against, because there are too many examples of exactly the opposite that you claim. Try again.

    • Believer

      I’m very intelligent, and I know that religion and faith are two different things. The bottom line is, Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Period. If someone doesn’t believe, the sad fact is that they will believe one day. By then it will be too late.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Yes. It will be too late to recover all the time you lost to myths ripped from older, better myths.

    • Albert

      C Peterson,

      Sounds like to me her father didn’t teach her enough about how to think critically and honestly.

      Seems to me, if we can take her side of the argument as how things really went down, that he didn’t teach her to use her logic or do research and know how to recognize fallacies when they were presented to her.

      If you read this article, it doesn’t seem to be basing her flight from Christianity based on facts that Christianity is wrong, but on emotions brought on from her fathers strict upbringing.

      Her main question, “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?”, didn’t include what sins she was meaning.

      I understand that this article is more of a “reason I left” type of article, and that’s fine. But it would have made things clearer if she had mentioned what sins she was struggling with in reference to OT and NT. Of course this would have brought about answers she might not have wanted to hear or those that she would have had to dismiss.

      You said, “Teach those skills to somebody intelligent, and odds are they will lose their religion.”
      I’m intelligent and I use logic, critical thinking and honesty everyday in my job as a programmer. I don’t see how using these tools will make you loose your religion. Perhaps you could explain that?

      • tsara

        “I understand that this article is more of a “reason I left” type of article, and that’s fine.”
        I think you’re mistaken there. I think that this is a description of her emotional journey, and not an explanation of anything. It is very clearly a story, and was very clearly written for an audience of atheists — it’s a story with which many atheists can relate.
        I see people all over this comment thread making up way too much about Rachel’s life and beliefs from an inadequate amount of information, and using that to tell her that her emotions — because that’s what the article is about — are invalid. It’s rude and it’s starting to irritate me.

    • Mr. B

      I teach critical thinking to college student. It hasn’t caused me to lose my faith; it has strengthened it.

    • Matthew

      C.Peterson, I am coming into this quite late but are these kinds of comments really necessary? I have some familiarity with Mr. Slick’s work and I don’t find his work persuasive but I don’t see any evidence that Mr. Slick tried brainwashing his daughter. On the contrary, I see evidence that Mr. Slick tried to get his daughter to think critically and honestly and she just happened to find a serious problem that her father overlooked. Not all religion fights education, critical thinking, and fights introspection. My religion (Unitarian Universalism) doesn’t. I know a number of Christians who are big champions of education, critical thinking, and thinking for oneself. While I am pleased that they champion education and independent thought, I respectfully disagree with their beliefs.
      Your last statement is insulting. It insinuates that religious people are not intelligent at all. I see this coming from more and more atheists who have an angry disdain towards religion and theism. Really, this is uncalled for and I think you owe many religious people, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and many others an apology for this disrespectful and carelessly inaccurate overgeneralization!
      Matthew

  • 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?

    • 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.

      • Rachael

        Yes.

      • 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.