Atheist and Christian argue about hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist wins.

(While sitting at Starbucks yesterday I overheard the following conversation between two men I’ll call Christian and Tom. Christian was trying to evangelize to Tom. As you’ll see, Tom ended up wiping the floor with Christian. Why? Because Tom was right: the whole concept of the Christian hell is manifest nonsense, for the reason he so well articulated. Here’s hoping that more Christians hear what the Toms of the world are trying to tell them.)

Tom: But what you’re saying simply doesn’t make any sense.

Christian: What doesn’t?

Tom: That if I don’t believe in the reality of the same God that you just told me loves me, then that God will condemn me to hell for all eternity. How could God love me and do that to me?

Christian: Because God loves you enough to let you decide your own fate.

Tom: But that doesn’t change the fact that if I choose to not believe in God, God could, if he wanted, still not send me to hell. He could commute my sentence. He could forgive me for the mistaken choice I made. God has that power, right? Because he’s all-powerful?

Christian: God can do anything.

Tom: Which means he can certainly choose not to send me to hell. And that can only mean that if I do end up in hell, it was God’s will that made that happen. Ultimately God wanted me in hell—so that’s where I ended up. God actively chose hell for me.

Christian: You chose hell for yourself by refusing to accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.

Tom: That I made that mistake doesn’t alter the fact that God has chosen to punish me for that mistake by forcing me to spend eternity being physically tortured. And anyone who would choose for me to suffer horribly throughout eternity as punishment for doing nothing more egregious than using the mind he gave me cannot possibly love me. Under no definition of the word would doing anything so unconscionable qualify as love.

Christian: It’s divine justice.

Tom: Really? That’s justice? I’ve got the little tiny span of my lifetime to try to figure out a whole bunch of stuff about God and man, and, with the extremely limited range of information available to me in the course of that time, I decide incorrectly—I guess that there’s not a God, or I decide that I just can’t be sure either way, or I choose to believe in a different God than the one prescribed for me by Christianity—and, as punishment for that mistake, God decides to condemn me to spending the rest of forever having the living flesh seared off my bones? And you’re comfortable calling that justice? That doesn’t strike you as … oh, I don’t know … excessively punitive? Like the kind of unbelievably cruel thing you might expect from a cruel, petty, ego-maniacal dictator, rather than from a God of love?

Christian: Hell is just God’s judgment upon the sinner who refuses to accept his love.

Tom: You’ve got to understand that you’re using words to mean what they don’t actually mean at all. In fact, you’re using words to mean the exact opposite of what they mean. You don’t choose an eternity of torture for someone you love. And if you do choose that for someone for the reason you’re saying your God does choose that for people, that is not justice. That’s injustice. Look: After I’m dead, God either has the power to send me to heaven instead of hell, or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t have that power, then he’s too weak to matter. If he does have the power to send me to heaven instead of hell, and he wills me to go to hell, then he is without compassion–or at the very least he certainly doesn’t love me. But those are the only two choices. By your own definition, God is either not all-powerful, or not all-loving. But he can’t be all-powerful and all loving, if I—a nice guy, a loving guy, a guy who gives to charities and actually does help people in the world—can end up in hell. It just doesn’t make sense. I can’t love somebody and shoot them in the head because they refuse to answer my phone calls.

Christian: You’re looking for rational explanations for mysteries that only God comprehends.

Tom: Oh, that’s so typical. Whenever Christians run into a simple logical inconsistency that cuts directly to the viability of their entire belief system, they resort to the only “argument” left to them—which is that we inferior sinners, who are so pathetic that we think it’s a good idea to use our rational minds to help us understand things that don’t seem to make sense, can’t possibly begin to fathom God’s “mysterious ways.” At the slightest challenge, Christians like you absolutely abandon logic. It’s ridiculous—and at best should be embarrassing to you. If you can’t explain the simplest, most obvious, most terrible contradiction in the qualities you say your God possesses–much less in the primary quality you say he possesses, which is his love for all mankind–then how in the world do you expect anyone but a sheer moron to take you or your religion seriously?

Christian: God bless you, man. I fear for your soul.

Tom: I’ll let slide all the repelling, presumptive arrogance inherent in that statement. But I will tell you this: I fear for your mind. Later.


I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com/ Ryan Blanchard

    As Michael Scott would say, “Boom. Roasted.”

  • notmike64

    thats why I don’t go to church …

  • J Thomas Gough

    “Christian” reminds me of the black knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Tom is, of course, articulating a position that many Christians arrived at decades, if not centuries, ago – the idea of a Hell is preposterous if God’s Love is to be taken at all seriously. However, neither Tom, nor anyone, will ever convince a “Christian” whose entire soteriology rests on salvation being a zero sum game.

  • David Jones

    Not sure if I see a winner, only some one who cannot argue their point clearly. Guy needs to take a debating class and learn some critical thinking skills. He danced around the thesis without ever clearing presenting his issue, no wonder the atheist roasted him.

    • Eric Boersma

      The essence of Christianity is not debate.

      • Castilliano

        Nor critical thinking skills.
        bada bing

        Okay, downvote me, I accept that.
        But, why do you think the Texas school board worked so hard to ban such classes?

        (Note: The bible has a few citations against thinking, so it’s not like I’m making this up.)

        Cheers.

        • Eric Boersma

          I don’t think you should be down voted.

          Fundamentally, any precept which relies on faith as a core tenet of its belief set is necessarily going to eschew critical thinking to some extent or another.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Hey Eric. It’s not necessary to defend Christianity. I sure don’t defend proselytizing. But the essence of Christianity is Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV): “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

            That’s all your mind. Critical thinking and faith are not mutually exclusive. As a basic code of conduct and justice, those two work. No religion required.

          • Eric Boersma

            Oh, I agree. I wouldn’t want to provide the indication that critical thinking should be entirely or even mostly rejected by religion at all.

            However, there’s a point for me, where in my head, I’ve said “I believe that Jesus was a real person who was also divine and died on a cross and was resurrected and ascended into heaven”. I can’t prove those statements; I can’t even prove that there is such a thing as divinity. The critical part of my brain necessarily must reject those statements as unprovable and unproven, because I don’t have proof of them. That’s where my faith comes in.

            That’s all I was trying to say.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            LOL. Yeah, water into wine, tongues of fire, Lazarus. Empirically ‘proving’ those is a bit of a trick. That’s when faith comes in.

          • Castilliano

            Elizabeth & Eric,
            So you can’t prove these extraordinary events, even to yourself? So you just ______?
            Does one need faith in the supernatural elements, or just Jesus?
            I’ve met Christians who don’t believe in the divine, nor the miracles. Are they Christians to you?
            How much faith do you have in faith? And why?

            Pause, as you consider.
            My answers follow.
            Cheers.

          • Castilliano

            -I accepted them because they were givens.
            I rejected them because they aren’t.
            -Just Jesus’ & his atonement.
            -No.
            -None. It’s a poor epistemology with a terrible track record and no self-correcting mechanisms.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Hey Castilliano. Proof is funny. I mean, the Big Bang and evolution are technically still theories. Do I believe they’re true? Sure. I was raised in an austere and cerebral Presbyterian church. I was shocked when I moved to the Deep South and discovered my biology classmates, to a one, dismissed my report on carbon-dating dinosaur bones as incompatible with the Bible.

            I drifted away from the church. Then I studied the Bible as literature, not as theology. It forced me to confront my own cultural baggage I attached to the words. I came back Episcopalian. For me, it has the right mix of 1. intellectual bona fides, 2. social activism, and 3. ritual. Ritual is important because I learned a long time ago I can’t reach God with my monkey brain alone. I need to be reminded to listen and trust a bigger pattern holds our little cosmos together. The supernatural story elements and the ceremonial aspects of church (swinging incense, lighting candles, the cantor chanting) help yank me out of that cerebral head space.

            I don’t worry about how others define their belief systems, Christian or otherwise. I’ve got my hands full keeping myself as honest, generous, and forgiving as Christ is/was. I believe in His historicity. It’s a tenet of my faith. At the end of the day, though, proving when and where and whether He walked the Earth isn’t a big deal to me.

          • Castilliano

            I agree there is emotional appeal.
            I guess for me, I need it to be true also, verifiably so.

            Note: A theory is the highest form in science, so something is not ‘just’ a theory, not in science.
            A modern theory is the current best system for explaining linked facts. It has to explain all the evidence, otherwise it is discarded or changed.
            It is this self-correcting mechanism that gives science its advantage over other means of knowing.
            Theories constantly get tested and reexamined.

            Evolutionary theory is the best supported of all theories, even more so than the germ theory of disease, the theory of relativity, etc. It is so because the volume of facts that support it is huge, and the amount of predictions about facts it’s successfully made is also huge.
            You don’t have to take it on faith.
            There’s evidence you can freely explore.

            The Big Bang Theory is the best theory re: the layout of the cosmos, as it best matches the facts, and has made many true predictions. Since this feeds into ‘in the beginning’ most Christians don’t dispute this, though Young Earth Creationists do. But they’re not just arguing against this and the theory of evolution, they’re arguing against the facts themselves, such as the age of Earth or the age of old relics.

            Both theories are subject to change as new evidence arises, much like Newton’s theories which work fine with observable phenomena, but once our tools became more sophisticated, we had to try out many hypothesis until one fit all the available data. And became a theory, which is then tested and discarded, or tested, and retested, forever.

            It looks like my answers disappeared. I’ll reboot and see. I’d like to see your answers.
            Cheers.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            I think the system is overloaded by the sheer volume of comments. I couldn’t see your answers. Then I could. Then I couldn’t see my answer. Now I can’t see the thoughtful response someone else wrote. May be time to call it a day on ye olde blog carnival ride. :)

          • Castilliano

            Maybe, Elizabeth. It is fritzy. Never seen so many posts outside of Youtube.

            Eric replied, according to my e-mail, but I don’t see it. It started with faith being trust to which I’ll say:

            Faith is a type of trust. They are not equal.
            Faith, by most renderings, lacks evidence to support it.
            That’s pretty crucial, as most types of trust are built on experience and evidence.

            The evidence that’s unfalsifiable, re: Yahweh, has to me been poor, such as anecdotes rooted around coincidence or anecdotes rooted around emotions. All religions have been supported by those. All.
            “My god answers prayers”, “I feel my god’s presence.”, “I know it.”, “This book tells me so.”, “This very unlikely event occurred.”, “The thing (i.e. cancer), which I hardly understand, miraculously changed (went into remission).”
            And so forth.
            This is confirmation bias at its best. Especially when you get into the…
            “It’s a miracle one survived out of many.”
            No, it’s a tragedy so many died.
            “Can you believe I found a job so soon? It’s a miracle.”
            No, it’s mundane.
            And then there’s the every prayer is answered by “Yes”, “No”, or “Later”. Well, that’ pretty much true of anything prayed to anybody, isn’t it?

            Faith, to me, is not a virtue, it’s a symptom.
            We can believe in good & bad things without it.
            We can believe in good & bad things because of it.
            I choose the former. (And good things, BTW) :)
            Faith has misled too many people, and, if you consider the competing religions that use it, it continues to do so for a majority of the world.

            (Okay, that ended up being a bigger can of worms than I thought. Oops…)
            Cheers.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Ha. I saw the response drawing the parallel between faith and trust. It wasn’t from Eric, though. It was from a woman I’m acquainted with outside of John’s blog (which is why I didn’t use her name. I don’t recall what she goes by here.)

            Suffice it to say that, in my life, I’ve seen too many coincidences to believe something bigger isn’t pulling the strings. I don’t mean answered prayers — at least not for myself — or miracles. But I’ve experienced real stuff. I call the amorphous entity responsible God. Christ was also called Logos. It’s the root word for ‘logic’. It’s an oversimplification of the Greek, but if you’d rather refer to your organizing principle for the universe as ‘logic’ or ‘string theory’, I don’t see that as any different.

          • Castilliano

            I don’t have an ‘organizing’ principle for the universe.
            Those imply purposeful agency.

            How did your coincidences point toward Christianity?
            Maybe they meant to point you elsewhere. :O

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            If they did, they missed. My need for purposeful agency was inborn. I’m at least conversant in most religions: Buddhism, Wicca, Paganism, Voodoo, Judaic Orthodoxy, Greek Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, Copts, Catholicism, Atheism, Feng Shui, ESP, Jung, you name it. My Christmas tree is covered in matryoshka dolls, loteria cards, pysanky eggs, Saturn, and a crescent moon along with the traditional angels and stars. A Devi (traditionally hung over a crib) and an evil eye protect the babe in the manger. I’m not Unitarian Universalist. I am fascinated by how different cultures frame the great infinite.

            It’s simple. Your lightning bolt moment comes and you know. Unlike the road to Damascus, mine was a series of smaller flashes. The accumulated statistical improbabilities led me back to God. I’m a skeptic by nature and upbringing; I’m not easy to convince.

            Which brings us back to the crossroads of faith and trust. Either you trust I’m a Christian who dovetails her ‘supernatural’ beliefs with her massively over-trained critical thinking skills – particularly in textual analysis – or you don’t. I’ve got no ego invested. If your strengths lie elsewhere, bless you. Mine aren’t the most practical. :) “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” Und so weiter.

          • lrfcowper

            “Faith, by most renderings, lacks evidence to support it.”

            No, not really. Faith is what bridges the gap between evidence and proof. Since proof is impossible, it is that point where a person says, “The evidence I have is sufficient to believe, trust, and act.”

            Faith without any evidence isn’t faith, it’s gullibility. You’re in essence saying that all people of faith are gullible idiots who have believed without any evidence. That is downright insulting. You may be saying it sweetly, but it’s still an insult.

            It is also impossible to have any sort of useful dialogue when we can’t even agree on terms, and you refuse to recognize any evidentiary component to faith. All that can happen is for you to post trollish comments based on the assumption of gullibility on our part and then ignore any reasoned responses we may give because, hey, we’re all gullible idiots, so what intelligence do we have to bring to the discussion?

          • Castilliano

            Faith bridges the gap between evidence and proof…
            I agree.
            Insufficient evidence is often bolstered by faith and acted upon as if proof (or “enough proof” if you prefer. I’d rather not sidetrack that way, especially since we agree.)
            That bolstering is a bad thing.
            Think of faith in the context of other belief systems: other religions, astrologers, David Icke’s work (Yes, I’ve met people who believe in that). Think how far afield they go. Because of faith.
            This is how your belief system looks to me.
            (Well, not to that Icke level, but I think you get the gist.)

            If it’s sufficient evidence, it can stand alone without faith.
            It can be used to convince others just by their own examination of it.
            It’s not based on anecdote or coincidence or feelings.
            Not just because of the fallacies associated with those (several), but because there’s equivalent evidence for every superstition ever. Most of which you reject too.
            Do you think them gullible idiots?
            Neither do I.
            Yes, there was implied insult because I’m bluntly disagreeing with your reasoning. (And our definitions don’t quite match up. More later.) But not nearly to the degree you’ve painted it, and then built up. I seem to have pushed a button I wasn’t aiming for. Apologies.

            That said, millions of faithful swallow Noah’s Ark as real, as if tens of millions of species were put on this boat, or as if thousands of “kind” were, but then became tens of millions of species in the space of 5-6,000 years since.
            Leaving zero evidence or witnesses to their migrations.
            That’s just foolish.
            Even so, I don’t think they’re idiots about everything else because of it. Some are quite brilliant. There’s compartmentalization going on.
            And that’s a bad thing too.

            Note: I’m a former Christian who, for the most part, has had Christians be wonderful parts of my life & learning.

            Funnily enough, just got into some discussions on the meaning of “faith” on another post. Faith, trust, & belief are used so interchangeably, yet imply different degrees to different people, that distinguishing them should probably be done before any discussion about them.
            Faith, to me, is believing something without sufficient evidence.
            It takes an important role there because something has to represent that concept. (And trust and belief are better suited for the stronger roles.)

            Faith bridges the gap between evidence and proof…

            Yep. But I think it’s a faulty bridge, one that’s collapsed too easily, too many times in the past.

            Cheers and goodness to you.

          • lrfcowper

            Castilliano, faith is the same thing as trust.

            Let’s say you meet a guy who claims to be great with money– give him your life savings and he will double it in three years. Do you give him your money? Well, of course you don’t. He’s a stranger.

            But some of the things he said made a bit of sense, so you start investigating. You verify his bona fides– where he went to college, where he’s worked, etc. You find respected people in the business world who have written glowingly about him. A friend who is doing well financially recommends him. And so on.

            But you’re never going to find *proof* that this guy isn’t the next Bernie Madoff. At some point, you’re going to do one of two things– you’re going to decide it’s just too risky to trust this guy, ever, and stop investigating him or you’re going to decide to trust him– maybe not with everything, but with some of your money. That trusting him without proof, that point where you say, “My evidence is sufficient to trust this guy,” that’s like faith.

            Now, how long it takes you to trust this guy, what evidence you consider, how much evidence you need, and how much trust you extend, that’s unique to you. Everyone has their own level of necessary evidence and definitions of what evidence is to be considered.

            When non-believers characterise Christian faith as being blind, illogical, gullible, etc., etc. they’re assuming that Christians trust God like they’d just hand a total stranger their life savings, or they’re applying their own evidentiary requirements to everyone and judging others on an incomplete picture of what their evidence is. Neither of those things is particularly charitable or conducive to polite discussion.

            I don’t have proof that God exists. I don’t have proof that Jesus existed or said any of the things recorded as his words. But I also don’t have proof that John Shore exists. I have *evidence* for these things which is sufficient for me to accept their existence.

            If you do not have sufficient evidence and, therefore, do not accept the existence of God, or of Jesus, or of Jesus’ ministry, or of John Shore here, well, I can respect that your path is different than mine. I will share if asked. I’m happy to listen to your reasons. It’s possible, but not probable, that you could sway me. It’s possible I could sway you. But I wouldn’t engage in an exchange because I wanted to convert you, but because I wanted to understand you and be understood by you.

            Likewise, I like talking to my fellow believers, not to have my faith shored up, but to learn other perspectives, and to understand and be understood by other people. That’s why I’m here on this blog. That’s why a lot of people are here on this blog.

            I don’t define who is and is not a Christian. I have an atheist friend who considers himself a follower of Christ’s philosophy. He isn’t sure whether he should call himself a Christian. We’ve discussed it. But ultimately, I accept that if a person says they are a Christian that they believe themselves to be a follower of Christ in some way or another and leave it at that. It’s not my place to judge.

          • Castilliano

            I wouldn’t want to convert you because (from your post on Shore’s next blogpost) you tie Christianity with active, strong humanism. Your myths are empowering very righteous activity & vocal lobbying for humanity.
            So, no, it would be a disservice to tamper there.
            But, as you know, not all Christianities are so humane.
            (But all of them think they are.)

            Re: You examples of faith.
            I think friends vouching for an investment track record that you have independently verified is evidence that requires no faith. (Talking about resources that you were already looking to invest.)
            I do not think that ‘faith’ would be the go-to word. If people asked you why you invested with him, you’d have tangible evidence you would point to before mentioning faith or hunches, etc. That evidence might even sway them, also sans faith.
            It’s doubtful the word ‘faith’ would ever come up.

            You mix it up, too. You’ve acquired lots of evidence, then call it trust, operating like faith. But also faith because you aren’t sure. (Well, then keep researching. Or recognize you’re a low-risk investor.)
            Don’t stop the research because ‘faith’ can make that jump from ‘less than enough evidence’ to ‘proof enough’ or from ‘unsure’ to ‘trust’.
            Those are dangerous leaps.
            This kind of ‘faith’ is why scam artists are so successful.
            Remember that e-mail “Prince of Namibia” wanting your bank numbers to send you his money to hold while he escapes, but you’ll get to keep 10%. People actually fell for that.
            Because of faith. (And greed, no doubt, but many scammers prey on goodwill instead.)

            Lower standards with the existence of John Shore. (Sorry, John) He could be a fictional internet persona, but since I’m only interacting with him as an internet persona with zero outside factors, then it doesn’t matter how much evidence there is for him.
            But, there is evidence. New posts, new comments, pictures, friends of his who know him in the outside world (like Elizabeth), books he’s written.
            This is evidence enough not to need faith either, partly because I’m trusting so little to the belief. Believing John Shore exists, and he doesn’t, is a harmless foul.
            And he has more evidence than there is for a divine Jesus.
            (A holy book isn’t evidence for its contents. Otherwise you’d have to accept a dozen holy books, and they tend to disagree with each other.)

            When you move into religion, it’s a hugely different degree in all matters.
            -Christianity has no better evidence for it than other religions, of which there are thousands.
            -Most of this evidence is highly subjective.
            -Many (most?) versions require you to ignore mountains of other evidence (i.e. Young Earth Creationism).
            -Christianity asks you to believe things which in a different context (or even different religion) are unbelievable. (i.e. Genesis)
            -Christianity asks so much more of you.

            So, yeah, I don’t believe. It would take faith. And I’d rather have evidence. And since the stakes are so very high, it’d have to be rock solid.

            Since your beliefs are part of a net positive, I don’t want you to disbelieve either.
            Cheers. JMK.

    • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

      The Christian has no choice but to either dance around the atheist’s point or abandon Biblical inerrancy in an effort to make the Hell doctrine less reprehensible.

      Well, that’s not exactly true. He could also deconvert from Christianity… Or embrace fire and brimstone fundamentalism in all its hateful absurdity.

      • lrfcowper

        1) Biblical inerrancy is a very recent idea and not a central tenet of Christianity and isn’t biblically supported. 2) The belief in an eternal, unending torment for non-Christians is also recent and not biblically supported.

        • Castilliano

          1) True. Depends who you ask. Arguable. (But I agree.)

          2) Dante was 700 years ago. So not that recent…
          See also, Crusades or Antisemitism

          Re: place of torment, see Rev 20:12 onward
          Also, Lazarus & the rich man, et al
          Converting those to metaphors can assuage that, but as you know from “1″, not all Christians think they can be metaphors.

          Cheers.

  • araenel

    It’s the same dilemma that’s attempted to explain the problem of evil. This isn’t a “hell doesn’t exist” argument. It’s a “your all-loving, all-powerful god doesn’t exist” argument. And when you say he’s the winner, you’re saying that the existence of evil in general, evil at all, negates the existence of a god that is worthy of being worshiped. The Christian obviously lost in the “we can talk logically about this” department.

  • Matt

    It was such a relief as a Christian when I put aside hell, and limited salvation, and the need to evangelize. My brain could breathe, and my heart could open up!

    • Castilliano

      And society thanks you. :)
      But, then how are you a Christian if you deviate from the Christian Bible like that?
      I’m not talking about it agreeing with you, which it does.
      No need for citations, I concur.

      I’m talking about it disagreeing with you, which it also does.
      Clearly and often.
      How do you reconcile the discrepancies?

      Cheers.

      • Castilliano

        Dear Downvoter,
        They were sincere questions, even if difficult.
        Myself, being unable to reconcile the discrepancies nor accept an anti-biblical Christianity, left Christianity. And found reality better.

        Why do you stay?

        (And if you’re arguing the Bible doesn’t have discrepancies with morality and itself, you haven’t read the Bible.)
        Cheers.

      • lrfcowper

        The problem is in the literalist, inerrantist approach– something incredibly recent in Christianity. If you embrace an older, classical Christian approach to scripture, the problem resolves itself.

        • Castilliano

          Fair enough, but to me, other approaches feel wishy-washy.
          Here’s God’s book, right? Our main source of knowledge for our faith. And it has errors? Moral, factual, & internal?

          If there were only a few denomination, I might understand, it has errors, but the message is clear.
          But it isn’t.
          There are 41,000 denominations (Pew Research) of late, many with major doctrinal differences. Each has its own message, with disagreements about any single aspect, even those taken for granted by most. That shows the one true message, if any, is less than god-inspired.
          Maybe even…man-made.
          Cheers, and good luck in your searching

          Edit to add: Not to mention all God’s other holy books…

          • lymis

            Depends on what you mean by “here’s God’s book.”

            I see the Bible as the written record of one section of humanity’s interaction with the same God I find present in the world today. Their encounter with the Divine may have been absolutely real and incontrovertible, but their way of processing it, how they integrated it into their lives, and what they saw as obvious and necessary results of it could vary wildly from how someone in a different time and place may have seen that same encounter.

            This is essentially the collective diary of one group of people who encountered God in their lives and their world. I can see the truth in that without needing to hold the details as inerrant, or that the conclusions they drew from it as holding to us today.

            God spoke to others, who interpreted it in different ways. God is still speaking to us today. The Bible is not the main source for my faith. My experience of God is.

          • Castilliano

            That was well spoken, and reflects a greater acceptance of evidence and deeper pondering by you. Cool.
            But it all translates into barely Christian, New Age whoo.
            Or a Unitarian Universalist vanilla view of god.
            (A large portion of New Agers feel they’re Christian, as do many UU folk. Opinions differ as to the truth of that.)
            If Yahweh used the Bible to communicate with us, then why would the Bible be full of errors?
            If Yahweh knew the Bible would mislead people, or cause the great harm it has, why let it be full of errors, or exist?
            If experience of god is the main path to god, why have millions had such conflicting experiences of god?
            Essentially, wouldn’t god not existing be a better explanation for the way things are re: knowing god?
            That experiential god could easily be a placebo, granting us all the mental benefits whether or not he/she/it’s true.
            Sorry if that came off as harsh. Just trying to shake up the conversation a bit.
            Cheers.

          • lymis

            “If experience of god is the main path to god, why have millions had such conflicting experiences of god?Essentially, wouldn’t god not existing be a better explanation for the way things are re: knowing god?”

            Why in the world would that be true? Nobody believes it of any other aspect of being human.

            We don’t say that it’s better to believe food doesn’t exist than believe people have different tastes and preferences and experiences of food.

            We don’t believe the world would be a better place if nobody produced or bought any art, because different people have different standards of beauty.

            Just because different people key in on different aspects of something that if it means anything at all, is so far beyond the scope of any one human being’s ability to grasp in its totality that it would be impossible for anyone to have a complete understanding of it, it would be better to deny everyone’s experience and claim none of them are real?

            Your argument is transparently circular, even though most people don’t bother to notice. The only way to claim that a diverse and varied experience of God is inherently invalid is to create an artificial and deeply limited made-up idea of God is, and then to use it to dismiss it as made up and simplistic.

            A fake, human, childish, and oversimplified view of something people want to think of as God is the only sort that would fit tidily into any box – or book. Anything actually resembling God would have to be beyond our ability to pigeonhole.

            I used to run nuclear reactors in the Navy. The instruction manual on how to operate just the one we had on board, and how to do the maintenance we were allowed to do with the resources on board took up an entire bookshelf. And that had nothing to do with aspects of design and development that led to it, or the major overhaul details we weren’t qualified to do.

            But everything every human being is supposed to know about the mind of God, God’s plan for humanity as a whole and each individual uniquely, and how people throughout history are supposed to react to each other in every possible situation that might arise, as well as a complete history of God’s interaction with people, is supposed to fit inside one book, even in teeny tiny print?

            That’s absurd on its face.

            “If Yahweh used the Bible to communicate with us, then why would the Bible be full of errors?’

            Exactly. But that means the Bible isn’t God’s literal communication with people, not that God doesn’t exist.

            That’s like saying that because what’s in the National Enquirer is transparent BS means that Hollywood celebrities don’t exist. No, it’s “easier” to believe that the press gets it wrong – and has their own agenda for what they publish.

            “Sorry if that came off as harsh. Just trying to shake up the conversation a bit.”

            No, you’re just trying to claim that everyone who believes in God is an idiot. And naive enough to think it’s something we haven’t thought of before.

          • Castilliano

            First, wow, somebody upvoted you this far down the dense post, so there are still readers about. Hi!

            Second, I think your metaphors are faulty.
            -I’ll agree gods come in as many flavors as foods do, but I think that hurts your point more than helps.
            Or as many variants as art has. Ditto.
            -If you’re saying your god has a ‘god’ flavor, and we taste it differently, I’d still say it’s a better explanation that gods don’t exist because the variance in people’s “goddar” (god+radar) is extreme.
            “God tells me to love LGBT people.”
            “God tells me to condemn them and kill them.”
            Wow! What god would let himself be misunderstood so greatly? A Trickster? A loving, omnipotent god wouldn’t want that, would he/she/it? No, but that’s reality.
            -Food and art can be shown to exist. Big difference.
            Say your friends have a new dish.
            “It’s spicy & tart at once.” “Not at all, it’s like crunchy chocolate.” “You both are fools, it’s soft, salty & savory.” (And so on…)
            You’d be puzzled at best, and likely ask, “Let me taste.”
            Then one presents empty hands to you and says, “Here.” “What?” “Right here, taste it.” “Taste what? There’s nothing there.” And then they laugh and say, “It’ll be there if you have faith first.”
            “Faith in what? Your crunchy, soft, salty, tart, spicy, chocolatey, savory dish? No, thanks.”
            And one says to you, “No, here’s the recipe.”
            But another has a completely different recipe.
            And others say, no, you have to leave some parts of the recipe out.
            You ask, “Does anybody use all of the recipe?”
            And nobody does…
            They take out the impossible bits, like pieces of unicorn, or dust from the pillars supporting heaven. (Both in the Bible.) Or the untasty bits. One friend says,”That was the old recipe,” but another friend argues that the new recipe says to keep it in, and the first friend shows where it says to keep it out. And still that other friend says they both have it wrong.
            And then “lymis” says, no recipe, use your taste buds.
            “What?”

            Again, no thanks. I’ll go eat a banana.

            I do not deny the experiences. I’ve had some strong ones. I deny they reflect something outside of ourselves. Even Sam Harris speaks fondly of those types of experiences.

            The next segment of your rebuttal is false.
            I’ve never simplified any gods. If so, it was more as a Christian than afterward. As I struggled to reconcile my vision of Yahweh (as template), he became more and more complex (read: indistinct) to fit in all the variations and inconsistencies. He became nebulous to the point where he simply ‘popped’. And it was like waking up.
            “Huh, the world makes more sense now, without that. That no gods exist really explains things well.”
            (Okay, there was more denial of absence and study of religion then evidenced there, but same ending.)

            I don’t use the Bible to prove GOD doesn’t exist, I use it to prove Yahweh/Elohim (etc.) doesn’t exist as conceptualized within. I actually went through a semi-Deist phase, putting aside the ‘revealed’ traditions and clinging to my experiences.
            I don’t ever argue a god couldn’t exist. I simply think the evidence more strongly supports there are no gods, and that many of the revealed religions conflict with that evidence (or even internally).

            Re: one book for an infinite god
            Absurd, yep. But nearly all followers believe that, or a small set of books.
            Who are you to say they’re wrong, or absurd?
            Your concept of god does not mesh with their belief system, so they’d think you the fool.
            Are they fools?
            How far afield can they go before you think they’re idiots? Snake-handlers? Spiked whips? Kool-Aid? Voodoo? Kami? Astrology?

            Where’s the line where you say, “Really? You believe that?”

            Which leads to:
            {{“Sorry if that came off as harsh. Just trying to shake up the conversation a bit.”
            No, you’re just trying to claim that everyone who believes in God is
            an idiot. And naive enough to think it’s something we haven’t thought of before.}}

            Wow, there’s a big leap between someone voicing, “I don’t think your position is true.” to “therefore you must be an idiot.” or “You must never have thought about it.”I can’t imagine what your experiences in life have been that you equate those, or what your issue with disagreements is.
            We are both showing are reasoning, and both showing our take on the others’ reasoning. If that has you imagining insult, maybe we should pause, perhaps to meet on a future forum.
            (Or just because it’s kind of petering out.)

            Cheers.

  • usingmyvoice

    And *that* – the threat of a loving God who sends you to hell – is exactly why I couldn’t go full-out with church as a teenager. I had faith in God – but thought, as does *Tom*, that there is something wrong with LOVE that includes damnation, or the threat of it. It’s actually quite abusive, now that I think about it.

    I also had trouble with drinking blood (or grape juice) for communion, regardless of the symbolism. Face it, that’s barbaric. But worst of all to me, as a teenager, sitting in the pews and looking up at the cross behind the choir loft, I could only shake my head at the fact that the female gender was completely unrepresented. I’ve since read a few accounts that the Holy Spirit was originally considered to be female. That’ll probably draw a few criticisms here… :)

    • usingmybrain

      I love the thought of getting to spend eternity in heaven with Hitler, Stalin, and the neighbor who sexually molested my sister when she was eight! (Are you now able to see how a God who does not execute justice is so, well, abusive?)

      • Matt

        Such an unkind way to attempt to prove your point. Don’t use your sister’s pain to prop up your anger. And what makes you think any of those people will be exactly the same as they were in life?

        • usingmybrain

          Matt, it’s not anger. I’m simply pointing out (with dramatic irony) that–to use the words of John Milton–God’s justice is his love. The notion of hell doesn’t disturb me. Nor does the notion of the wrath of God and all those “old fashioned,” “fundamentalist” (seems to be the favorite adjective on this website), “conservative,” etc. ideas that are rooted in the Church by its Apostles and patriarchs. I’d rather think about them and wrestle with them than cast them aside.

          I find it silly to think that simply because we’re modern (or postmodern), we have a great edge upon people such as Augustine or Jerome or Luther or Calvin or Margery Kempe or Julian of Norwich or who have you. Indeed, after reading such posts like the one above, I’m beginning to see that it is much easier for us to label such ideas as “old fashioned” or “fundamentalist” so that we no longer have to wrestle with them. If we can simply cast them aside, then we don’t have to think about them . . . and that doesn’t seem to be quite “logical” to me.

          Let your brain breathe too much and it will get weak. And as I remember, St. Paul wanted us to the love the Lord with all of our mind as well as our heart and soul.

          • knifemare69

            Paul in my opinion was working for the OTHER side; he planted the seeds of misogyny and hatred in the gospels, telling women to shut up in church so the men could spread their lies freely. He was more concerned about getting the world’s sympathy for his sob stories than he ever was about doing the right thing. He did more to undo the teachings of Christ than ANY Pharisee ever did…then again, once a Pharisee, always a Pharisee…

          • Castilliano

            Paul isn’t always Paul.
            The letters soundly attributed to him don’t contain misogyny, and he even appoints women into ministry.
            The misogynistic letters were written in other styles, and therefore often dismissed as being in his name, but not by him. (“Often” highly dependent on the scholar’s belief system.)

            But yes, misogyny is rooted deeply in Christianity, as even some of the early translations changed the female ministers’ names into male variants, even in one case where there was never a male variant.
            Not to defend Paul too much, he was still nutty.

          • Matt

            Boy, you are big on assumptions, aren’t you? I have no problem with “old-fashioned” ideas. I’m actually a big fan of Luther; it’s hard not to be when you’re raised Lutheran. But orthodox ideas don’t get a free pass just for being around a long time.

            You seem to think I just don’t like thinking about awful things, or punishment, or something along those lines. Thinking about the concept of hell certainly doesn’t bother me, and I think it can help one grow intellectually. But using it as a way to elevate myself above others or hurt them is not something I want to do. So I don’t have it as part of my beliefs or the way I practice as a Christian.

            I consider this to be loving the Lord with all of my mind, heart, and soul.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            My favorite film is The Devil’s Advocate. This clip is Al Pacino playing Satan a.k.a. John Milton. In the Pentateuch, Satan is understood to be the adversary, not necessarily the personification of evil. He and God were cronies.

            “Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives Man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, His own private cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It’s the goof of all time. ‘Look, but don’t touch. Touch, but don’t taste. Taste, don’t swallow.’” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jARp24AJWLk

            Those are, of course, mankind’s rules. Not God’s.

          • cipher

            “The notion of hell doesn’t disturb me”

            Which says a great deal about you.

      • usingmyvoice

        usingmybrain, I think I need to point out a scripture to you (as one who was also sexually abused as a child), “If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Unfortunately I can’t find the chapter/verse to quote, but in looking, also found this scripture, which may be better suited here: “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15) It took almost half my adult life to forgive my primary perpetrator, but it happened, finally, with a lot of work, and mostly by Grace. It was a process for me. My fear is that you think whoever harms you (or others) should get judgment and burn in hell forever and ever. If that’s true, then you miss the whole point of Christ’s teachings. Pray for your enemies. And pray that they would have everything you desire for yourself. As for Hitler and Stalin and others like them, whether they harm thousands or just one, but including anyone who YOU or I judge as not being worthy of Christ’s love, imagine this: What if Christ comes to them on their deathbeds and asks, “Will you come with me now?” And what if they say, Yes. In the meanwhile, you have harbored such hatred and evil in your heart by hating and resenting them, by wishing them eternal damnation, by hoping and praying that God will cast them into a burning pit for ever and always, that the sin has become your baggage. That’s why we forgive. Because it changes US. I hope you do. So yes, I still consider Love that includes damnation to be abusive. And greatly misused by many in the church.

      • guest

        Would it be impossible for God to put Stalin, Hitler a nd your neighbor somewhere where they couldn’t hurt anyone, without burning them alive forever?

      • Octoberfurst

        You do realize that according to Christian doctrine if Hitler, Stalin or the child molester accepted Jesus as his savior just before they died they WOULD be in Heaven with you? How would you feel about that? Just sayin’.

      • Conuly

        And what about your neighbor who shoplifted a little when he was 16, became a practicing Buddhist, repaid the money and hasn’t done it since, and has generally been an upright citizen for the past 60 years? He gets to burn with Hitler? That’s justice?

        • Castilliano

          Hitler was a Christian in practice & propaganda.

          Who knows his real belief, but just sayin’, as much as we’d like a hell for him, there’s little reason to believe he’s there (or there’s a hell for that matter).

          On a similar subject, Stalin, as destructive as he was to the church (as a rival in power), he did oversee the building of over 20,000 new churches under his reign. (Of an allied Christian religion.)

      • lymis

        “Are you now able to see how a God who does not execute justice is so, well, abusive?’

        On the contrary. If you start from the concept that as human beings, they were, and are, beloved of God, and that God has all eternity to interact with them in love, the idea that they can never “come around” and see the error of their ways, whether they did so in life or not, is what lacks justice, not some idea of eternal punishment for human evil.

        If you saw a kid punch another one on the playground, would you discipline them with an ax? Or would you comfort the victim and at the same time, work to help the bully understand why what they did was wrong?

        And further, since God heals all the hurts and all the wounds of even the most badly harmed people, eternal punishment for what cannot possibly be eternal harm done to others seems deeply unjust.

        And, too, human justice has to be somewhat sweeping and arbitrary to be fair. We cannot know all the deepest things about why someone does what they do, all the petty evils done to them, all the biochemical glitches that predispose them one way or another, and all their inner motivations, fears, and failings. All we can do is set rules, and enforce them, and sometimes, yank someone out of the game for a time out or a permanent retirement.

        God isn’t limited that way. God CAN see all the factors that went into someone’s apparent deep evil, and more, with the perspective of eternity, help them see and understand all of them and why they were bad decisions as well. Perfect justice doesn’t require saying, “Aw, no harm done, it didn’t matter,” but eternal torment isn’t the only other option.

        • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

          lymis!

  • Mariusz7

    This “Christian” fell into a simple trick of focusing into a legalism (because he was legalistic), according to the Bible God wants everybody to enjoy this life and the afterlife, but he can’t accept the evil lovers, those who enjoy killing, enjoy ripping, enjoy damaging the world. The fact that someone uses his mind (giving by God) and thinks about the existence of God or anything else cannot be considered a sin! This “Christian” belong to a group of people who gives a really bad image to Christianity, this is why I like FB pages like The Christian Left, Unfundamentalist Christians and Christians tired of being misrepresented.

    • Sally Strange

      People call that Christian’s attitude about hell a fundamentalist attitude. Meaning that he takes the Bible more literally than most other people.

      The more people reinterpret the Bible and take it out of its original context, the more humanely they tend to act.

      When the people who stick closely to the book’s literal meanings tend towards cruelty and stupidity, and the people who drift away from its literal meanings tend towards compassion and acceptance, what does that tell you about the book itself?

      • Callista39

        Agreed. The book was written and rewritten by humans with an agenda. The teachings of Jesus are beautiful…but the rest…

      • Mariusz7

        I didn’t mean you can drift away freely from the literal meaning.

        The Bible says “Thou shalt not kill”, and some people become vegetarians because of that phrase [I have no problems with vegetarians (-: ]. You have to understand the context under which it was written, to interpret it properly.

        It is not taking it out of its original context, it is to understand the original context, so we can have a real perspective of the story.

        And I’m sorry, but it may take me 6 more months to reply again, I just don’t have time to keep in these chats but I like them!

  • Bob

    Our modern concept of “hell” dates from the middle ages, when life was so universally horrible that death was a reprieve. Without the fear of burning forever, most people would have committed suicide.

    • usingmybrain

      As a medievalist and early modern scholar, I can ensure you that your explanation of hell is quite simplistic.

    • guest

      No they wouldn’t. If that were true, there’d have been mass suicides in all the non-christian countries. People generally have an urge to survive, no matter how terrible their lives are.

    • Worthless Beast

      I’ve been suicidal. Trust me, the idea of a Hell isn’t a deterrent when you think your family, friends and the entire world would be better off un-burdened of you. You may just be at the point where you’re willing to go to Hell to take the pressure of dealing with your worthless, insane self off of them.

      That said, what’s kept me on – said family and friends loving me anyway and good ol’ survival instinct. Also, at times, a sense of spite. But fear of Hell? No… It’s really less of a deterrent than you’d think for people in a seriously bad place mental-health wise.

  • StephenD

    This argument seems completely unbalanced. I don’t agree with the “logic” of “Christian”, but it seems that this whole scenario was contrived to express a certain viewpoint: I don’t believe in God, and I’m going to do whatever I can to make anyone arguing otherwise to look as stupid and unconvincing as possible, in order to help me validate that viewpoint. This “Christian” was obviously inept and ill-suited to defend anything, much less his faith. You can express your beliefs without an agenda, and then try to convince everyone that you’re being objective. I would suggest channeling that energy into building people up instead of tearing them down for your own enjoyment.

    • Sally Strange

      How interesting that you seem no more well-prepared than the fictional gentleman was to make the case.

      • Stephen Solar

        I find it equally interesting that just because you come up with some personal conclusion of me or anyone else you believe that it becomes true and valid to anyone other than yourself. Tell me, is this how you live life in your world, or do you really ever really make a difference to anyone else?

    • Guest

      Hear, hear! I was thinking the same thing, Stephen! This sort of thing reminds me of Fox News, with it’s strawman arguments and fictional extreme stereotypes, upon which we are all supposed to focus our two minutes hate.

      The funny thing is, though not an atheist myself, I agree with the atheists more often than not about this fundamentalist silliness. But using that silliness to paint all theism as flawed just reminds me of homophobes overreacting to same sex marriage or some similar issue. You have to wonder: Are they really battling against something within themselves?

      Even more baffling is the question of why the author chose this argument between an atheist and a Christian. He apparently is a Christian himself, and a rather active one at that. So why paint a far more complex and nuanced reality in such trite terms – is it because you get more hits when an atheist battles a hackneyed stereotypical fundamentalist?

  • Nathan Bubna

    You lost me (and logic) as soon as you started asking what an omnipotent being could do. That question is logical nonsense. If you assume omnipotence of a being, then “could”, “can”, “able to” and friends are all banned from the subsequent discussion. The logically valid questions must be “would”, “will”, and “want to”.

    Logic most certainly did not win this argument. It didn’t even get halfway through it before it was heartily abandoned by both parties. Sorry to go ad hominem on ya, but i’ve heard more cogent discussions of God, free will and hell by middle schoolers than this.

    • briddle

      So you’re saying “for with God, all things are possible” is logical nonsense?

      I fail to see how pointing out the logical ramifications of the concept of omnipotence is illogical. It’s like saying “If you assume a person has the ability to drink wine, suggesting a specific bottle or variety is banned from the conversation.”

      • Nathan Bubna

        No, quite the opposite. I’m not saying omnipotence itself is nonsense. I’m saying it’s nonsense to discuss what an omnipotent being is *capable* of once you both agree on the omnipotence. Questioning capability is questioning omnipotence, an illogical follow-up to agreeing upon the premise of omnipotence. It’s the old playground nonsense, “Can God make a rock so big God can’t lift it?” There’s no answer because it is nonsense.

        On the other hand, talking about wine preferences is exactly what *is* called for, as once omnipotence is established as the presumption of a thought experiment, then preference/desire/will are the relevant and logical follow-up.

        Make sense now?

        • Sally Strange

          No, because you’re still missing the point. Obviously once you’ve accepted the premise that a being is omnipotent, the answer to, “Is this being capable of X?” is always “Yes.”

          Right.

          So what happens after? What is the logical implication of that “yes” in this specific case?

          You’re one step behind.

          • Nathan Bubna

            Bah. You missed my point, which is that this isn’t a logical discussion. Logic didn’t win anything here, it hardly joined the game. The whole “assume a premise, then question it to make a point” thing is rhetoric, not logic. There is no “logical implication” for a rhetorical question, there is only an assumption being challenged or restated without logical argument.

            Having now read the rest of the post (at your complaint of me being “behind”), i’m even less impressed. This is riddled with conflations, strawmen, semantic swaps and other rhetorical games. It’s an editorial thinly disguised as a debate.

          • Orion Silvertree

            The technique of reducto ad absurdum, in which one assumes a proposition to be true and then examines its consequences to derive a contradiction – thereby proving it false – is a well-accepted technique of logical reasoning.

          • Nathan Bubna

            Absolutely, i’m glad you pointed that out! Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening here. He’s not deriving a contradiction to omnipotence or in any way proving that assumption false; instead he is using it (poorly) in conjunction with an oversimplified understanding of “loving God” (a variant of omnibenevolence) to bolster his editorial attack on hell.

            Regardless, even were this an attempt at reducto ad absurdum, this particular assumption-then-contradiction would be a failed attempt, as questioning any ability after assuming boundless capability is not an examination of consequences to derive contradiction, but rather, mere contradiction.

          • Castilliano

            I get what you’re saying, Nathan,
            God is omnipotent, therefore ‘can’ is not topical. To discuss that is stupid, so the dialogue is stupid. Got it.
            But you’re focusing so finely people think you’re evading the whole. And you might be, by discrediting one facet so strongly.

            -God is omnipotent. (agreed upon premise)
            -Reality is shaped by his will, as God’s will shapes reality.
            (Even if he chooses not to exert his will, that’s still his will.)
            -So God is accountable for evil, and hell, and everything filled with pus. Ewww. And dead kittens. That bastard.
            -So God either supports evil (and is not worthy of worship) or is not actually omnipotent, maybe even impotent due to nonexistence.

            I’m not sure how a non-fundamentalist would get out of this conundrum. Sure you can subtract hell from the equation, but that still leaves other evil things in its wake.

          • Nathan Bubna

            Bingo! I was evading the whole, at least at my first post. I was drawn into this by the cute “Logic Wins” picture and headline. Very quickly saw logic was absent and rhetoric ruled, decided to throw an “obvious” stone and bail. I was fairly surprised to find what was obvious to me was challenged. I did read the rest after being chided about being a step behind, but critiquing the many failings by both Tom & “Christian” would take way too long. So i just dismissed it as a fake editorial, as many others have pointed out.

            The problem of evil/pain, as you did a great job of laying out in a few points, is not as difficult to resolve as people make out. I’ve done enough theology reading in my life to flesh out several reasonable, logical resolutions. I don’t know which, if any, i actually believe is right. Frankly, while i’ve known Jesus for most of my life, the thought of pretending to understand an infinite being with my finite brain just seems childish. Don’t get me wrong, i love philosophy, theology, and basically anything trying to make sense of history and reality. Trying to understand it is awesome; believing that i understand it is not likely to happen. :)

            What i can tell you is that i know and like Jesus enough to trust that he, at least, has good answers. Seeing as he talked about hell a lot, i figure there’s something to it. Though i’m not sure there’s any physical fire involved, ya know? If anything, i tend toward the C.S. Lewis side of “hell is locked from the inside” perspective. Jesus has never seemed the type to turn away anyone who wants to hang with him, but he obviously does let people leave.

            As for the problem of evil/pain, there are two basic flaws in the standard formulation. nearly all theodicies point these out:
            1) the a priori assumption is typically made that an omnipotent God should only ever create such a world where free agency is constrained to preclude evil. this is followed by an assertion that any God who violates that rule is therefore a supporter of evil and/or not worthy of worship. the first is a false choice and the second is an obvious non-sequitur. there is no logical ground for either conclusion.
            2) no trinity, incarnation, crucifixion, or resurrection. these are foundational and crucial to all christian doctrine. you can’t really go questioning the character of God without addressing the centrality of his sacrificial, other-centered love within his character.

            personally, i’m of the mind that a world that never knew or could know pain is less interesting and attractive to me than one where evil had a chance but was soundly defeated. beauty from ashes. redemption. overcoming trials. character growth. these are written amazingly deep into our culture and maybe even our DNA as being valuable, important, better (yes, less evil) than boring perfection. it’s not so difficult to believe that these are even written into reality itself. that a world with evil that is overcome by love is better than one that never saw suffering at all. this is in all of our stories, for good reason, i think.

            crap. this is way too long. i’d edit, but it’s not likely that many readers out there are actually still paying attention anyway… :)

          • Castilliano

            I’m paying attention. Well, for now.

            There is a follow up problem to the “Problem of Evil” given the standard answers to these questions:
            Is there free will in heaven?
            Is there sin or evil in heaven?
            Can people thrive in heaven?

            If you answer yes, no, yes, then Yahweh/Jesus/Spirit could have made a place, say…Earthette, where we have our free will, without sin, but still thrive.
            Without the suffering we have here.
            And without the guillotine of eternal torture hanging above like a sword of Damocles.
            But he didn’t. So he’s evil. Or untrue. You pick.

            Reminds me of the Stephen Law vs. William Lane Craig debate where Law simply proposes that God would be evil.
            Every evidence for God that Craig gives supports Law’s evil god equally. Every attack Craig makes, equally attacks his own version.
            It’s tidy. (Though the actual debate’s overly long.)
            Essentially, Law taps into the audience’s own aversions to an evil god, letting them make anti-god arguments which they then have a hard time not applying to Yahweh.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APfd7B3CEhI
            Sadly, and typical for Craig, comments are disabled.

          • Nathan Bubna

            Not so sure you were paying attention. ;) Yes, of course, an omnipotent God could make a world with free will and no evil/pain. This was assumed with omnipotence, remember? So, this is not a really a follow-up problem but the same problem reframed. And it is still a false choice caused by the very debatable presumption that allowing evil/pain would only be done by an evil God. An omnipotent being who creates a universe that allows evil/pain is not logically an evil creator. It may indeed mean that you subjectively deem such a creator as not worthy of your worship, but that’s about it. And personally, i think even that would be a premature conclusion until you’ve spent some time considering the implications of the whole incarnation/crucifixion/resurrection deal. If you took that stuff away, i can’t be sure i’d like God that much either.

            I don’t have time to watch the video you sent, but i put it on my watchlist. It sounds right up my alley, if it’s as you describe, since i don’t believe we are capable of proving or disproving the existence of a benevolent or evil God via raw logic or even the scientific method. Even when God decided to become a man, plenty of people found cause to call him evil and have him executed. So, this debate sounds on the money. :)

            I can’t say i understand why, but it’s pretty clear that God wants us to know and trust him (revelation, incarnation, etc) but won’t (yet) make himself irresistible. Of course, as the Bible describes things, even when he has makes his reality indisputable, some people still choose to go their own way. I wish i could fully explain why he’s doing things this way, but i can’t. All i can say is that i know enough of him and his character that i trust him. I don’t much like the whole hell business, but i don’t think Jesus much does either. I can see that he is serious about it though, so given that i’ve seen much evidence of his goodness, it’d be silly of me not to trust that it serves a good purpose and that there will be a time when i’ll get to understand better.

            In any case, the problem of evil/pain is a very real concern to be addressed, but it’s unavoidably subjective. Those who insist that the only logical conclusions are that God is evil or not omnipotent are being irrationally blind to the presumptions they’ve made.

  • Juan Lopez

    I understand the argument, but it is more of an argument against fundamentalism than it is *for* atheism

    • Castilliano

      How so?
      “Christian” is presenting a biblical POV re: Yahweh’s nature.
      “Tom” counters it, showing that as described, Yahweh is unworthy of worship and/or non-existent due to his self-contradicting nature(s).
      I’m of the mind that’s a pretty strong case for no Christian god.

      Yes, it’s a fundamentalist view, but there are many non-fundamentalist denominations (and the aforesaid Bible) that agree with “Christian”.
      How much of the Bible can you disregard before you aren’t Christian?

  • Kate Hogeland

    So, I shared this on my page because I can so relate to Tom and got jumped on because people think there is no way you remembered this conversation word for word. People won’t let this point go, so I wanted to ask how you remembered such a detailed conversation so that I can report back to my naysayers. Thanks!

    • Patrice Wassmann

      umm, I am pretty sure this is a fictional conversation to make a point.

      • Andres Torres

        Patrice, I agree it seems to be dramatized. But it is representative of a whole lot of conversations that follow much the same path.

      • Kate Hogeland

        Right, but they are bothered that it is represented as real instead of being represented as a theoretical conversation. They feel it should be represented appropriately or it loses credibility. I told them I would inquire.

        • Kate Hogeland

          For the record, I shared the article because I agree with it, have had this conversation 1000 times,and love the post.

  • http://codybateman.org/ ★ William Cody Bateman ★

    We are all sinners and thus, disqualified from eternal life. But, God loved us so much that He made a way for our being with Him in heaven by sending Jesus Christ to earth, walking perfectly without any sin in Himself and then, becoming the only acceptable sacrifice for our wickedness. God the Father poured out His Righteous Justice by having His own Son PAY FOR OUR DISOBEDIENCE! With our sin’s paid for, we are free to choose to submit to the authority of the One Whom raised from the dead and is now preparing to judge the world in unbelief or… receive by faith, forgiveness our all our sins by the same one who will then reward us with eternal life with Him in Heaven. Only a fool would reject such as deal as this – and choose to tempt God into proving “Hell” exist; especially when Jesus already warned us that it does! Hello?

    • akingma

      You’re misunderstanding the argument put forward in the conversation between Christian and Tom. This isn’t about God’s punishment of mankind for the sins of Adam and Eve (tho why Christians believe they deserve punishment for the bad behaviour of some long-ago ancestors is another story); this is about logic and is it logical to believe that a god who supposedly loves us would eternally torture us for not believing in Him, tho we may live otherwise exemplary “Christian” lives.

    • katiehippie

      So God killed himself to appease the rules he made up. Brilliant! (not) If God created us then he is responsible for what we may or may not do.

    • Conuly

      So god deliberately made a flawed creation he would have to punish? And then continues to punish them if they have the bad luck to not guess at the right belief system during their 70-odd years of life?

    • cipher

      Well, even though I’ve heard or read that speech expressed precisely the same way hundreds of times, your repeating it here has convinced me. [/sarcasm]

      • http://codybateman.org/ ★ William Cody Bateman ★

        “But what things they do not know, they speak evil of. And what things they understand naturally, like the animals without reason, they are corrupted by these.” ~ GOD | Please don’t become numbered with fools…..He loves you too much to want to see you perish…. :(

        • cipher

          Like all fundamentalists, you think repeating something over and over makes it true.

  • usingmybrain

    Everyone seems to suggest that “Christian” ‘s argument is fundamentalist (and that’s its great sin). May I just ask what we mean when we use that term? I honestly just want a clarification of its definition.

    • Castilliano

      Depends on the user.
      Technically, it means a Fundamentalist, which is a Christian denomination based on specific fundamentals.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism
      As you can see in the article, the meaning’s grown to cover other, similar, faith stances in other religions & belief systems.

      The major point is that they’re literalists, taking the Bible as inerrant and seldom metaphorical.
      The implied point is they’re obnoxious and aggressive.
      “Fire & Brimstone” preachers are often fundamentalist, but sometimes they’re just evangelists. Evangelist holds a similar connotation, but one can be one without being the other. They represent a major voice in American politics, much larger than their numbers due to voter turnout.

      Fundamentalism is being overused here, as many non-fundamentalists see the Bible as inerrant too, but most especially because the majority of Christians (by population & denomination) also have the doctrine of sinners going to hell, a place of torture.
      Some, like Rob Bell, preach a non-hell Christianity.
      Rob Bell, in turn, has been on a “Christian debates Non-Christian” talk show out of the UK. He was in the non-Christian role.

      As for fundamentalism being sin, it depends on one’s POV.
      It’s certainly harsher, but it has more biblical backing.
      It’s a matter of “love triumphing” (over other interpretations) vs.
      “Bible triumphing” (with the most obvious interpretation)

      Hope that helps,
      Cheers.

  • Lucas Mix

    I just wanted to share my own thoughts as a Christian theologian who cannot subscribe to Hell as punishment, but do think of it as a useful concept. If it were just about what happens after death, it wouldn’t be much of an issue for me, but I think it affects how Christians behave and what messages we send. Eternal life begs the question of whether people can opt out. I don’t think Hell is nonsense. If you’re interested, I’ve written on it here http://dacalu.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/hell/.

    • Mack Stevens

      Nope, heard/read it all before and it’s just nonsense. Thanks for playing.

      • Lucas Mix

        What’s the point of sending someone a message, just to tell them you don’t care what they have to say? That’s rude. I thought it unlikely you’d read my post; time is limited and I appreciate that. To reach out with the sole intent of publicly dismissing something you claim you haven’t read… that just makes you look irrational.

  • FishFinger

    Were you just sitting there, transcribing the entire thing?

    • http://twitter.com/twbtwb Tim Wilson-Brown

      Secret listening devices, or creative license?

      It’s only a parable, after all…

  • Alexios

    Interesting conversation, at least at first sight. Coming from a Greek Orthodox background, I will become the devil’s advocate (pun intended)and try to give a “rational” answer to the atheist’s “rational arguments”.

    Atheist’s position doesn’t have to leave this world for the afterlife-”if I jump into the fire, why doesn’t your powerful, loving God forgive my foolishness and save me?”Here comes the first crux of the problem-power understood as physical divine intervention. If God would jump in to save everyone, fool or wise, there wouldn’t be any natural laws, let alone human will and choice, but only God’s Mighty Will. God does not interfere with the world in this way. God restricts his own freedom for his children’s sake, so that you are free to choose evil, or just let the world “happen”.In that framework, God’s forgiveness is never forced or granted/inevitable, regardless where you stand, which is the antithesis of freedom-it is being given only to the one who honestly asks for it, in order to restore his connection with Him.Christ attacked only the hypocrite-the one who lived a sinful life while appearing remorseful, which is why I cannot accept a God who “forces” his love and his forgiveness as the atheist says He should do: if eventually I will be forgiven, morality doesn’t really matter.So, in order to “be saved”, you need to abandon the childish approach of “the all-loving God will forgive me” and embrace the consequences of your existence.

    God is powerful means that God is the source of all things, not that he could lift a ton with his middle finger. God’s power is his weakness, his Love for the one who asks it. Participating in God means loving,and here lies the second crux of the problem-understanding faith as an abstract declaration of a particular dogma, not living, struggling love and doubt.Everytime someone makes an act of love, he participates in God’s eternal work whether he declares his faith to the One or not, just like whenever someone jumps from a skyscraper’s roof he participates in the law of gravity, whether he accepts it or not. So in reality things are kinda simple: God’s only act is Love. You are free to accept it by participating in it, or reject it and live a life of cruelty without regretting it. God will not stand in your way if you choose to break your bond with Him. But in order to restore it, you have to want it-namely, to understand where you were wrong and admit your mistakes, not accusing Him of not saving you because you jumped down from your home’s roof. This brings you back to the path of Love, and “heaven”. “Hell” is the breaking of Love-God’s bond and God will not stop you from keeping to your position of stealing and being unjust, just like he doesn’t force you to regret.If this is His way on earth, why should it be different in the afterlife? So what matters to us humans is OUR position, what WE can do to save ourselves and others. Both the atheist and the christian in this conversation speak from a childish position of “security”, rather than a mature position of responsibility.And that’s the key to understand God I think. Believing in God means having many responsibilities, not enjoying special priviledges. The only priviledge you will ever enjoy is feeling the blessing to stand up and continue your struggle for the good down here when you fail and fall.And that’s no small thing.(Please excuse my mistakes, english isn’t my mother tongue.)

    • Bill Steffenhagen

      I’m Agnostic I guess, because I can’t swallow the myths whole;of God, of Jesus’ birth, of Resurrection, and certainly not of Hell. I choose to believe in Jesus; as someone who apparently existed, as a Philosophy of Life, as a Way, as an embodiment of Love and thus, of God, whatever that is and which I CHOOSE to believe is Love, that being one of the rare totally clear statements in the Bible.

      You stated, “God’s only act is Love.” Then you wrote this, “You are free to accept it by participating in it, or reject it and live a life of cruelty without regretting it”. I Love. I am 69 and can’t think of a time I was unkind to anyone. I have my likes and dislikes but do not engage in prejudices that actively or demonstrably cause distress or harm to others. I live by the golden rule and the example of the Good Samaritan. I have lived by Matthew 23:35 which includes currently being an ONLY friend and active helper to a man in prison to whom I am offering time and money (tho I am poor myself) and the Love some would suggest I have rejected because it’s not a proselitizing kind of offering. It’s MY love for him which, being Love, is also God’s Love. Jesus with skin on, if you will.

      I reject your either/or statement of “accept it”, or “live a life of cruelty.” I can’t think of a act of cruelty I’ve done in my entire life. Indeed, I have accepted God’s Love by living it when and how I can. Swallowing Biblical myths whole is not a prerequisite to such accomplishment.

      Oh, and I don’t believe in Satan either. Both IT and Hell get equal treatment in Elaine Pagel’s heavily researched THE ORIGIN OF SATAN. There doesn’t have to be a demon outside of ourselves to explain our short circuiting brain synapses.

      • Guest

        While I can relate to much of what you have said, you completely lost me with “I am 69 and can’t think of a time I was unkind to anyone.” Are you living an extremely unexamined life, or would you like to revisit that statement? I’m hoping the latter. ;)

        • Bill Steffenhagen

          Yeah, ok, that was too simplistic. There were times, unthinking or highly emotional moments. I am divorced after all and that never happens easily, but honestly none that were thoughtfully vindictive or deliberately intended to hurt. I guess that is what was in my mind when I said that. And when I think about it, it seems that unkindness is indeed, mostly thoughtless. Stupid of me. No one has never been unkind….well, even that may not true. We can all think of certain mentally challenged persons going thru life so blithely gentle in their souls it puts us “smart” people to shame. Well, anyway, thanks for calling me on it. Happy Holidays…..or whatever works for you.

          • Guest

            That did seem out of character. Glad you cleared that up. And Happy Holidays to you as well. :)

          • Worthless Beast

            Yeah, I scratched my head on that one, too. You strike me as an unusually sweet and gentle soul, but… I’m only 34 and I *know* that I have a dark side that you would not believe. I tend to let it play in art and writing, to keep it from overflowing, but… yeah. Sometimes I want a “blow up the world” button.

            I also know the unique thrill of being a bullied kid who, upon the coming of someone into 7th grade whom my bullies wanted to bully more – I immediately started bullying in order to “have friends” for a moment. There was that time when I was around eight years old that a cousin of mine taught me that cutting the heads of blister beetles with scissors was fun because they kept on walking. I mean, loads of little things…

            I haven’t killed anyone and I love cuddly animals and was more often a victim of cruelty than a disher-outer, but man, a look back into my memories and I’m no sweet saint.

          • Bill Steffenhagen

            You remind me of my 32yo dear friend currently in prison for his 6th DUI. Only an 18 month sentence. He’s lucky at that. There is a lot of broken family estrangement and anger issues that got him to alcohol and occasional drug troubles. A deeply good but troubled man. Married, 7 yo son, now being divorced by his wife who is vindictively trying to take from him everything he loves that he hasn’t already lost. I’m gay and he’s bi so I think he’s struggling with identity issues in the bargain. So far, all his offenses have been non-violent tho I’ve seen him pop off and he’s scary when that happens. I love him to death and as of now I am all he has and the only person he trusts. I can only imagine how deep down frightened he must be. He often referred to himself as a POS (piece of shit). Hasn’t done that lately now that I think of it (we talk on the phone several times a week). I hope I’ve gotten him to think better of himself by persistently and faithfully loving him.
            Anyway, I can relate to you because of knowing him and I reach out to you. Know that you are NOT a “worthless beast” any more than he is a POS. I sense YOUR good heart too. Hang on to that. That is the small voice of God in you. Your Help is not outside of you, but IN you. Look there to find Peace.

      • Alexios

        I apologize for not making myself clear, I didn’t intend it to come across as “either you accept God or live a life in sin”. What I meant is this: everyone who truly loves, participates in God’s eternal plan regardless if he declares his faith or knows it. So everyone who loves becomes in essence “Christian”, the same way someone who lives by the credo that respecting the laws of democracy is more important than personal survival becomes “Socratic”, even if he doesn’t recognize or know it. Divorcing God/Love and faith ends in a caricature, much like divorcing “acting Socratic” and “believing in socratic ideas”. The most important commandment, that of Love of God through love of neighbour is given by Jesus as the main way in participating in the christian way of life. Sacraments are a result of this way of live,not a pre-requisite, although they can help strengthen feelings of love, compassion and belonging to a community. I consider myself a “Christian”, study the Bible and theology, try to follow Jesus paradigm, but I don’t e.g. participate in Communion or follow strict religious fasting. Jesus’ teachings were mainly ethical/social/pastoral-very rarely or never did he touch upon “scientific facts”, “validity of the Jewish mythology” or “objective reality/knowledge of God”. According to Him, Hell is not a place or a time but a way of living, just like eternity.

        I think that we are all part-agnostics. Agnosticism states the obvious-that we don’t have any knowledge of God or life’s ultimate meaning. Yet this is what makes meaning possible through art, religion or philosophy.Otherwise, all would be an “objective meaning” for everyone, namely more like science, that you have to agree to in a compulsory way. In your answer I see someone I respect, who is truly following what is important of the essence of the Christian message.

        • Bill Steffenhagen

          I understand you better now. We think more alike than I thought at the beginning of our discussion. The communication difficulties underscore the limits of the use of mere typed symbols on a white space. We lack the other necessities of good communication; eye contact, body language and vocal tone. I sometimes forget that in my too quick reactions to something written. I have a Speech Degree and should know better.

          I now feel honored to have shared this discussion with you.

      • ZenDruid

        I thought I caught a whiff of Gnostic from you. Well met.

    • Sally Strange

      So basically, you suffer for eternity for not believing in god because rules.

      Thought as much.

    • WalterWhite007

      For a guy who claims in his next post we can’t know god (“I think that we are all part-agnostics. Agnosticism states the obvious-that we don’t have any knowledge of God or life’s ultimate meaning”) you sure make a lot of claims for god which of course is all just made up. Funny how people delude themselves.

      • Alexios

        Meaning is always constructed/applied, so always “made up” and has nothing to do with science/biology or certainty whatsoever. I address this in the next sentence of the one you commented. This means that I can make my claims for what I believe, without being certain it’s true for everyone, but it still is true (at least at the moment) for me.

        Being a musician/musicologist, let me give you another example so I can make you understand me better. Sound does not exist “objectively” in nature. Sound is a part or a side effect of a phenomenon, the movement of particles, or the pulse. When the pulse occurs, waves are created and reach your ears. Our ears are designed so that they interpret this movement as “sound”, and they can do that for a very limited range of pulses (20 to 20.000 Hz). There is a huge amount of pulses that we don’t interpret as “sounds”, yet although we cannot hear them, we can still detect their movement. So sounds aren’t “real”-they are a byproduct of a general phenomenon of movement, designed (as it is believed) for survival issues.

        So my point is this: next time you listen to your favourite song/piece/composer that perhaps moves you to tears or joy, don’t delude yourself. It’s not about beautiful sounds, musical meaning, engaging harmonies or an inspiring or relating story the lyrics suggest. These are all lies and delusions, designed to keep the truth from shining to you-namely that there is only pulse.Now you are free to get upset and accuse all these charlatans at the music industry who make money out of thin air by advertising, organizing concerts and taking your money selling you lies and delusions about something that doesn’t even exist. There is no music because there is no sound, and the fact that you “hear sound or musical meaning” doesn’t make sound or musical meaning “true”.

        Let there be Pulse.Amen

        • WalterWhite007

          This is what I ‘heard’ you say: god doesn’t exist in nature.
          I agree.

        • WalterWhite007

          BTW…nice try at deflection but you get a failing grade. You made a lot of claims about knowledge of an imaginary thing after stating you are agnostic. Look up the meaning of agnostic because you obviously don’ what it is. cheers

  • Tom Cooper

    Any atheist who would spend this much time arguing about Christian dogma needs his head examined. I would no more argue this claptrap than I would argue the existence of Santa Claus or the Easter bunny. Much better things to do.

    • Andres Torres

      Tom, the attitude you’re referring to is called “apatheism” and I tend to share it. However, we ought to keep in mind that beliefs guide actions and therefore any beliefs which result in harmful conduct in my opinion are worth our time fighting. The idea that the vast majority of mankind living and passed are so repugnant that they deserve to be tortured for eternity is an idea that can doubtlessly result in bad behavior. It is terribly superior and bigoted.

      • Tom Cooper

        No, I am actively atheist. I do whatever I can in real life to oppose the policies or practices of theists that intrude on individual freedom. But when asked to argue the basis of their belief system, it’s just not worth the time; I find it lends them a sense of credibility of the ‘we’re all intelligent people and we can just agree to disagree’ variety. Arguing that there is a god for whom, after all of recorded history, there is still not a shred of evidence, is not an intelligent stance–it’s pure idiocy, and should be disregarded as such.

        • Andres Torres

          “I do whatever I can in real life to oppose the policies or practices of theists that intrude on individual freedom.”
          -I’m glad for that.
          “But when asked to argue the basis of their belief system, it’s just not worth the time.”
          - You feel that way, fine. But realize that some theists will actually listen to your opinion, some aren’t fighting just to fight. I myself am an atheist that started of as a theist, I changed over in part because of people who were willing to argue and reason with me, and weren’t too busy or superior to be bothered. I’m grateful to them for that as I feel that I’m better off now.

    • Mack Stevens

      You’re pretty much right, except that Santa and The Bunny do not have rabid followers who threaten others with hell. They also don’t knock on your door to share their “good news” of a tyrant who loves them enough to burn them forever.

  • LynnC

    QualiaSoup anyone? Same but more fleshed out argument.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaL7CkQaQpU

  • Yuri

    The Bible does not point to hell as an eternal punishment. The eternal fire mentioned in the Bible refers to a DEATH that will last eternally and not a LIFE eternal torment. It is not logical to believe that a loving God would punish His creation for eternity. But its logical that a loving God would allow His children decide to follow or not his teachings, and this is the great controversy or this world. Our world is full of suffering and injustice because of sin, which separated us from God. Satan believed that a world without a law and God would be possible, and the result is what we have today. This world became a showcase of what the separation from God can cause. But It will come a day when God can not allow sin to be among his children anymore, and that is when the eternal fire(hell) comes to place to wipe sin out of this world and to rescue his faithful children.

    • Bill Steffenhagen

      You can’t even write a coherent, grammatically correct sentence. How could anyone even suspect you have any sense of logic, which you obviously have no respect for in the first place.

      And I do not intend for this to start a discussion with you. You obviously have your mind made up, making discussion impossible. You will not hear from me again.

      • Yuri

        I apologize if my English does not make much sense to you, but I think that if I had written in Portuguese or Spanish, which are my primary languages that would not allow you to even reply to my comment. And I do not have my mind set up. Im always try to search for the truth in this world, and believe or not, the Bible is the source the gives me the better explanation about life and the world we live in.

        • Bill Steffenhagen

          And now it is my turn to apologize. I too often forget that not everyone responding here or elsewhere online has been educated in American English in American schools. Your name should have been a clue to me.

          So I commend you for your effort to take part in this conversation.

          • Andrew D. Renshaw

            Typical narrow mindedness. “Here allow me to berate you, simply because I read what I want and hear what I want.” not very christian like of you. Ever think for a second that maybe, just maybe no one is wrong? Ever consider that the Muslim God, the Jewish God, and the Christian God are all the same entity? I mean if God gave us free will, who’s to say we would not write his holy books in a way we see fit? Aren’t most Religious works are written by men (the same ones he gave free will to) who says they wrote exactly what god says? Is it not a little strange that God hasnt had us update this no longer relevant book?

            I dont mean to say God doesn’t exist, Im not challenging your beliefs here, only your delivery system. Like the church? rarely using your collection money for any true good (most anyway) and the Bible. Open your mind and consider that to be a good person you dont need a book, and to say a Muslim is wrong is the same as me saying you are wrong. Think about it for a second. If God were real, and over half of the world believes in him (by any name… Allah, God, whatever) why do we have to assume only you can be right, why aren’t they all right?

            All Im getting at is, it is pretty typical of an American Christian to blast a guy for poor grammar, only to backpedal once he made it clear that; a. English was not his first language, and b. that he might believe like you do. not to mention you did not even respond to his topic, only blasted him then apologize. open your mind man.

          • Bill Steffenhagen

            Just Wow. So you took your turn to jump to conclusions too. See, no one who knows me would suggest I’m narrow minded. If anything, I think TOO much, as my mother always told me….and then she died thinking I’m going to hell for being gay. In Yuri”s case, my Speech Degree went into overdrive, I clearly apologized TO HIM. A far cry from backpedaling.
            As for your diatribe; I’ve read thru it several times and, while I don’t disagree with much of what you wrote, I remain uncertain about who you are addressing because much of it seems unrelated to me or anything I’ve written.
            Anyway, Happy Holidays to you too. I am now escaping this discussion.

          • Yuri

            Thank you for the reply. This kind of posts help me a lot with my writing skills and my sense of logic, even though I don’t think that writing skills and sense of logic are directly correlated. I am a Christian but I never wanted to be viewed as someone that can not change opinions or impossible to entertain a discussion. We are all in the same boat in this world, and no one has the full and complete understand of what this world is all about. My beliefs of how to live my life and what is going to happen after life differs even among many of my Christian friends. And I can only view 4 possibilities in this situation, first, I’m right and they are wrong, second, they are right and I’m wrong, third, we are all wrong, or, fourth, we are partially right and wrong. But we cannot all be right because truth does not contradict itself. My beliefs could possibly be any of these options, and this is why is vital for me to have the desire to seek for the truth. I try my best to keep an open mind, because I never know when I will encounter someone who might share a truth that will stir my critical thinking and opens my eyes to something I did not know before.
            PS: please try not to pull your hair while reading my poorly written comments. God bless you.

    • Mack Stevens

      Yuri, please up your meds a bit. You used “logic” and “god” in the same sentence.

      • Yuri

        If meds could solve my lack of logic I would be the first one to take them. Now, since this is not a solution to solve my way of thinking, I will continue to use God and logic in the same sentence.

  • Charles Gill Sfo

    Let me argue with the atheist for a second. First, the fundamentalist has it
    completely and totally wrong. Romans 2:14 states,”When the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts,* while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.”

    The atheist may not be in the right club, and he may not understand God
    properly, but God is love and the love he has for other people shows in his
    choice of argument. He, not the fundamentalist is a follower of the one true
    God. I may not convert him to my club, but I may convert him to my God, who is love, and who he may have been serving all his life.

    • Summer Lynn Smith

      this answer really intrigued me…

    • Sally Strange

      If your god is love then why isn’t that reflected in his alleged holy books? If it’s not reflected in the holy books then we have no moral compass other than our conscience, for which belief in god is not required. In which case god is extraneous to everything that matters, and there’s no point to acting religiously.

      Honestly, your attitude is just as insulting than the guy who claims atheists are bound for hell. No, acting in a loving and compassionate way does’t mean I’m serving your god. It’s pretty rude and presumptuous of you to say so.

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      None of this make any difference to the decision of the god (should it exist).

  • guest

    It seems like this arguement would work against Islam too.

    • Callista39

      Against any monotheistic religion.

  • Dave-n-TN

    John Shore … stirring up people and their personal opinions regarding their beliefs since 1958 (or there abouts). Love how you throw a subject out there and then watch what discussion happens. :-)

  • Susy Crandall

    Did they know they were being taped? That’s a lotta dialog to have to remember and write down later… ;)

    • Callista39

      Yeah, seems like the piece was written by the athiest with guesswork on what the Christian would say.

      • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

        As an atheist living in the bible belt, I can vouch for this post being an accurate representation of a type of argument I have constantly, if not an exact transcription of an individual argument in particular. I can dig up the last Facebook post where I ended up in a similar argument if you like.

        • Castilliano

          As a Christian I saw such arguments frequently.
          They embarrassed me, and though the atheist was usually more caught off guard, the Christians (oftentimes my friends) were no better than in the post.

          As an atheist, I actually gravitate toward this discussion because I get comparable results.
          The only difference is sometimes they back down off of hell existing the way the Bible describes it.

          Cheers.

  • John Zambrotto

    Man, I really wish I could talk to this atheist.

    • Callista39

      So, tell us what you’d say here.

    • Mack Stevens

      Please, tell us.

      • John Zambrotto

        Well, I would simply say that God is love, and people go through hell some times because they need to learn some lessons. Some need tough love. Heaven is an eventuality for all of mankind, according to the scriptures. Fundamentalists did not learn their ideas from God, they learned them at the seminaries. In the bible, in 1 Corinthians 15 – its simply laid out. “As in Adam, all die” – every man in the flesh comes from Adam, and everybody that stems from Adam, dies. Next part goes “Even so in Christ, all shall be made alive” so what to gather from this, is all die because of Adam’s sin, and all shall be made alive because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross. :)

        • Castilliano

          How would you reply when he quotes Rev 20:12 onward?
          Which passage takes precedence and how do you determine that?

          • John Zambrotto

            I would say I don’t believe the “lake of fire” is a molten sea, I believe it is figurative. Both John and Daniel were given visions of Judgement day: John saw a Lake of Fire, and Daniel saw a River of Fire. This is because Daniel saw Judgement as a progressive thing, (the river eventually flows into the lake)in which God “the consuming fire” burns up that which is not of Him, Sin. John saw when it was finished, and he saw Hades and Death cast into it, and those whom’s name were not written in the book of life were also cast into it. So in my opinion – I see the Lake of Fire as a symbol of God destroying the flesh, like a refiner, burning away chaff, and leaving only pure Gold. This is the only explanation of scripture which makes sense, and answers the questions like “why did God allow sin in the first place” – and “why would God create people knowing they would be thrown into hell” – The Judgements of God are remedial in my opinion, I do not see anywhere where God judged the nation of israel, and then only a few short verses, is already talking about how they are going to be restored to Him.

  • Bill Steffenhagen

    I am imagining John sitting back and smiling at the discussion he has unleashed.

  • Ediri Sakpere

    @Tom: Good morning, In USA you have two majority party of the democrats or republicans and the people vote for the person they want. If one votes for a democrat but a republican wins the election you accept because the people have decided and it is accepted. If it is not accepted that means one is not accepting the choice of the people and that is called fraud and that is the way of Christianity, God gave us life to have a choice, but who we elect to rule us depends on us, always trust Him. Ediri Sakpere

  • Guest

    The fundamental issue is that most people have no clue what a logical argument is, or means. They think they belief is the same a knowledge.They literally think that knowledge is… not knowledge and belief is. So, if they believe that a square circle exists, it could possible exist. That somehow those that “know” that a square circle cannot possible exist, AND why it cannot possible exist, are somehow simply mistaken. What morons.

  • killmon

    The fundamental issue is that most people have no clue what a logical argument is, or means. They think their belief is the same a knowledge.They literally think that knowledge is not knowledge and belief is. So, if they believe that a square-circle exists, it could possibly exist. That somehow those that “know” that a square-circle cannot possible exist, AND why it cannot possible exist, are somehow simply mistaken. What morons.

  • buzzdixon

    Hell as Dante depicted it? No
    Hell as in alienation? Oh, yeah; big time

    • Guest

      I was also thinking about Dante when I read this. I’m not sure I follow your meaning though. Perhaps you are not all that familiar with Dante, but the hell he depicted in the Inferno was indeed a hell of alienation – an alienation that the loving God Dante believed in would never choose for us. It is a hell we choose for ourselves, not in some afterlife but in the eternal now.

      In Dante’s hell, the sufferers are not being punished by God. They have freely chosen their own suffering. They are punishing themselves, in much the same way that an alcoholic takes another drink, a greedy person covets money above humanity or a philanderer denies himself real love.

      One problem I have with the atheist movement is that they have a tendency read the Bible or think of theism in fundamentalist terms –
      literally, like children – and then they create these fictional strawmen with
      which to rhetorically do battle.

      Kudos to the author for his valiant vanquishing of a fictional stereotype of clichéd contradiction – proving to us all that the idea of a loving god punishing us to eternal damnation for not loving him might have
      a few inherent inconsistencies.

      While I can wholeheartedly agree with Tom, his victory seems a bit hollow and disingenuous. I think it’s time the atheists graduate from kindergarten, stop tilting at scarecrows they’ve fashioned for the sake
      of easy argument, and start engaging in more challenging debate. I’d like to see how Tom does sitting across the table with Dante or one of many millions of theists with a more nuanced and less fundamentalist spirituality.

      In fact, I’d like to see Tom sitting across the table from the author, who apparently is not an atheist, but a Christian. I have a feeling that might be a more interesting conversation.

      • mdoc

        But they aren’t strawmen. There are many, many Christians who are fundamentalists and have a fire and brimstone view of hell. These people are not fashioned by atheists. They are real people.

        • Castilliano

          Revelation 20:12 onward, in the book that the various Christianities are based on, is pretty explicit about hell.
          Even if metaphorical, it’s still a promised ‘hell’, not just alienation.

        • David Rutledge

          What you say is true of course, and we all know them, but the reason “Christian” is a strawman is because he does not represent just the fundamentalists of which you speak. When you frame the debate as (Atheist vs. Christian), “Christian” the guy represents Christian the faith, or even theism by proxy. Tom represents atheism. This is a well worn tactic employed by demagogues – reduce a diverse array of world views to one simple caricature, and then sort of kill it in effigy through fictional debate.

      • indorri

        Punishment for heresy: put in a flaming tomb.
        Aquinas, one of the philosophers of the church: “Whether by Divine justice an eternal punishment is inflicted on sinners”. Answer, in short, “yes”. Similarly “Whether in hell the damned are tormented by the sole punishment of fire”. Answer: “not the sole”.

        John Calvin, one of the major forces in Reformed Christianity “[God] arranges all things by his sovereign counsel, in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.”

        This representation is not a strawman. These are the very arguments which are a foundation of large, spanning, conservative denominations.

  • jeffscottkennedy

    This was a very poor example of a good and informed conversation on this. Here is a link to a much better one, and a much more thoughtful exploration of this issue by both sides. https://www.facebook.com/jeffscottkennedy/posts/10202611014657710?comment_id=67925468&offset=0&total_comments=22&notif_t=feed_comment

    • Andres Torres

      This content is currently unavailable

      The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.

  • Stephanie Eversole Vandenburg

    I’m kinda confused and trying to understand more. Jesus said in John, “no one comes to the Father but through Me.” And what about “Luke 16:24, “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’” And there are a bunch of verses about hell and God’s judgement, and if there is no Hell, then what did Jesus die for?

    I’m not trying to argue or promote any views, I’m just trying to find answers – I was raised in a very conservative household, and I want to consider your view on this subject. I welcome your thoughts.

    • Andrew D. Renshaw

      My basic opinion is this. no matter what you believe, Live for Today. Enjoy life. Worry not about the troubles of afterlife, for it is simply that after-life. if you carry on worrying about what happens to you when you die? what will you miss while you are alive? The truth about death is very unclear, but the truth about life has one simple and very clear fact… YOU ONLY GET TO DO IT ONCE!

    • Aaron Abbott

      The wages of sin is death Stephanie. Christ did not die a literal death to prove he could give you victory over the flames of hell but to point out that He was giving you victory over literal death.

      The gospel is not about heaven or hell but choosing life over death.

      Now many would try to say that death means the exact opposite, that it means eternal life in hell. That perish does not mean persish but to live forever in flames.

      If that were true then Paul preached the gospel in such a way that one would require a theology degree to first understand it.

      So Imagine if when Paul said the wages of sin is death that is exactly what he meant. That when John said those who believe in the Son of God would not perish that is exactly what is meant.

      To many such a literal interpretation sets off alarm bells. So the gospel was originally presented in a way that those who are most likely to scream about reading the bible literally would not want you to take as literal.

      Literal death and resurrection to correspond to the gift of life over death. That is the gospel.

      • Glenna Jones-Kachtik

        My problem with this is that when Christ was born (& probably not on 12/25) there were not many people who could write. These were oral tales for hundreds of years & then written down in many, many languages. Translations were done by men who also had agendas. The Bible to me is the same as other sacred writings – meant to be parables – on how to live. MEN interpret them. Religion can control the masses & 1 man with an agenda to rule the world & become powerful can use the Bible or any other religious doctrine to control. HOW do you argue with someone who says they have a direct line to GOD?

        Some Christians are so busy trying to get to heaven they make life unbearable for people on earth & they forget that they LIVE on an earthly plane. They try to make earth a HELL for anyone they disagree with. Kind of like the line in Cycle of the Werewolf where Rev. Lowe has killed a young woman who was pregnant outside of marriage & in the act of committing suicide – “Our religion teaches that suicide is the greatest sin someone can commit – yes, I killed her mortal body but by doing so, I prevented her from committing suicide & I saved her immortal soul.”

        In thousands of myriad ways some Christians go about daily life judging those they consider sinners & pronouncing them worthy of Hell….but they don’t ever look at their own actions as being the same. They will gleefully talk about hell & they know it well…strange that God’s will is always the same as their own. Men know ways of torture that would make demons cringe.

        • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

          I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. —Susan B. Anthony

      • Mack Stevens

        Okay, thank you, have a nice day.(closes door softy but firmly)

    • HollowGolem

      I’m a heathen atheist who doesn’t think a lot of that stuff is worth taking seriously because the bible is just a collection of mythology put down by a priestly class a couple thousand years ago in a completely different culture and time. There should be no more need to make it consistent as there would be to make the varied and often-contradictory myths of the Ancient Greeks consistent.

      That’s not to say there isn’t great beauty in the Bible. There are passages that are quite profound, and entire books with messages at least worth considering, even if they end up being unethical. But the bible has those as a work of fiction, and it’s a lucky accident that there are things in it that can resonate with the modern world.

      Also, remember, if you are intent on trying to make sense of the bible, that it was written by hundreds of different men over the span of about a thousand years, in drastically different cultural frameworks (Egypt, Babylon, the Assyrian region of the Roman Empire, etc). So contradictions will arise based on the interpretations of these different individuals and their different cultures, as well as the 1800 years’ worth of translating that’s gone into the text.

    • Callista39

      Maybe Jesus died simply because he chose to take a risk to be radical and preach about love. I was raised to believe that his death was a sacrifice too, but I’ve come to disagree with that teaching. Looking at the Old Testament you read about how sacrifices are to be offered to God; Jesus was not offered as a sacrifice by people trying to please God. He was sentenced to death for crimes against the State, and to keep his followers in line. The gift that Jesus offered is the sum of his teachings and the miracle and greatest teaching of all was his resurrection. Love overcomes death is the message, whether you want to take it literally or as a metaphor for how to live your life. There is no need for a belief in Hell to encourage us to love; we need only to feel how much better life is for ourselves and everyone around us when we practice love. Love is reward enough. Trying to be loving simply to avoid punishment doesn’t work; its fake.

      After having read the work of respected Bible scholars I cannot take the words of my modern, English language Bible literally. The thousands of mistranslations and intentional changes (that we know of for certain) to force the various parts of the Bible to fit better together tell me that the book is a guide written and rewritten by men of good intention. Only in prayer can I hope to have direct communication with God. I do not trust every word i the Bible. When Jesus is supposed to have said that the only way to Heaven is through “me” and that “I am the way” could he not have actually been telling people to “live your life the way I am living mine”? I don’t believe that Jesus’ ever intended to found a religion based on himself. Instead I believe his intention was to found a spirituality based upon love, with God being the ultimate symbol and embodiment of love.

      I encourage you to read the books by Bible Scholars who have studied the history of the Holy Book itself. I know that is a bit scary, because you may lose faith in the Bible but it does NOT mean that you must also lose faith in Jesus or God. It just means that each of us must find our own way to God through love.

      I mean, really, would God damn all those people who have found spiritual love and lives of generosity by other religious or personal paths? Could the Divine Parent be so petty as to have a favorite child and spite the rest? Is there not ample evidence in the world/the universe to prove that God is a fan of diversity?

      I love the teachings of Jesus, but do have problems with the Christian teaching that “accepting Jesus Christ as my lord and savior” is the ONLY way to Heaven. I think that view makes God look small. IMHO.

  • Jamie Marie Lynaugh

    When i lived in CA i had a stalker. He was a neighbor in my apt. complex and i was polite to him, but never very friendly. A strange little man. He started by sending me long, incoherent love letters. Then it was flowers and gifts – all from “anonymous”. I fell in love with another man and we later moved to a different city. As soon as i got together with Robert, the letters changed. I LOVE YOU was now I HATE YOU. He threatened to set my apt. on fire. He followed us everywhere. He sprayed mace in Robert’s eyes. Eventually the DA met with us and put an end to the stalking. I share this because reading this description of God’s love immediately brought my stalker to mind. LOVE ME or i will set you on FIRE (for all eternity!) LOVE ME or i will put you through HELL!! That’s not love. That’s emotional blackmail. It helps me to clarify why “Christian” fundamentalists are so lacking in compassion. Their God is deranged, jealous and vengeful.

    • Andrew D. Renshaw

      Their god is none of those things, honestly if there is a god, he’s probably incredibly apathetic to all of this. He/she/whatever, if he has any knowledge of this squabbling, most likely laughs at us for it. Just remember its not God that is so petty and jealous, it is the narrow minded people that decide the fate of our afterlife based on our beliefs for us. God wouldn’t send a good person to hell for any reason, but 99% of Christians would send EVERYONE to hell… Just Saying

      • Castilliano

        You seem to know about God concepts, but not a lot about Yahweh. In the OT, he’s very petty, demanding of attention (or else), destructive, vengeful, and everything else Jamie wrote.
        And this is in the book that endorses him!

  • David Andrew Robertson

    A rather sad made up conversation – in which the writer argues with himself, and the readers love it because it is a conversation they completely agree with. I guess this is what passes for rational argument amongst the new atheists.

    • Aaron Abbott

      You have not refuted anything in the discussion but simply called it sad. I could respond by saying the same and so it goes back and forth, the Peewee Herman argument.

      If you want to make that claim then address the points of discussion or you simply prove the case made against the christian.

      btw do you have evidence to suggest this post is “made up” or did you just make that up?

      • David Andrew Robertson

        I wasn’t trying to refute anything. I don’t believe it is a real conversation – just a way of the author making his accusations. How do I know its made up? Tom speaks in paragraphs – Christian speaks in one liners….no conversation goes like that!

        • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

          Hey David. I can’t speak for John. I can say that conversations are remarkably easy for writers to remember word-for-word. If you read and write a lot, a turn-of-phrase gets embedded in a weird part of your brain. Basically.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Its not the fact that John ‘remembered’ this conversation. It is the fact that the conversation did not happen – its made up. Its a literary device (which is to be kind). Its the kind of conversation that an atheist fundamentalist would love to happen. I’m sure there are some that come close to this sometimes – but the bottom line is it is a classic piece of propaganda which allows the liberal atheist to feel superior and dismissive of Christianity. Ironically it is a classic type of fundamentalism.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            It hasn’t touched a raw nerve at all….it just amused me. It was so banal and pathetic. I of course was wrong to say the liberal atheist – perhaps I should have pointed out the liberal progressive who then can feel superior over anyone who does not agree with them.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            If you read the Bible carefully you see all sorts of literary devices: history, mythology, poetry, dialogue, revelation, epistemology. It’s all true in an existential sense, despite its contradictions. They’re … different routes to reach the human brain.

            I’ve got no inner track on John’s experience. I only know he’s not a liar. How many people can you say that about?

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Indeed I do read all sorts of literary devices in the Bible – but they don’t begin with such detail of time and place and in effect lie. So the choices are:

            1) This really happened and ‘Christian’ was really that stupid and offered only one liners and ‘Tom’ really did speak in paragraphs, and John really did remember it all.

            2) It sort of happened but John just edited and embellished it a bit.

            3) It never happened and John just made it up – which would be fine if he did it as a literary device, except when he lies about it all at the beginning.

            Personally I don’t know John but the story does not ring true at all….the style is wooden and the whole thing just gives the impression of being made up for propaganda purposes.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Jesus knew nothing about propaganda. [sarcasm] Please see: The Bible. I accept it as literally true. It takes some intellectual circumnavigations on my part, but God is mad smart. You, on the other hand…

          • katiehippie

            So Jesus can tell parables but nobody else can because they are liars if they do?

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Do you actually understand that Jesus used parables not to make his teachings more clear but rather to make them less clear? He was using elements from pagan mystery religions, and a big part of those mystery religions was that only certain Cool Kids understood and “got.” You can even see this stuff for yourself in Mark 4, where Jesus actually explains that parables are used because otherwise he might be a little bit too clear. Yeah, this god loves everybody and wants us all to be saved–but his actual teachings were deliberately obfuscated so outsiders would have trouble understanding them:

            4:10
            And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of
            him the parable.

            4:11
            And he said unto them,
            Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto
            them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

            4:12
            That seeing they may
            see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest
            at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven
            them.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            I think it would help if you actually knew what a parable was, before you post such comments.

          • katiehippie

            par·a·ble n.
            A simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson.

            So in essence, something that is not true. A lie.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Slightly missing the point again. If I state that yesterday I went into Starbucks and heard this conversation it is not a parable…it is an historical factual claim. If on the other hand I said ‘a man went into Starbucks and head two people talking’…that could turn out to be a parable…it is an illustration, not an account of an historical event that really happened.

          • Randy Wanat

            But, Noah’s ark DOES? Or, is it the garden of Eden that does? Or, is it the whole creation story? Or, is it the Hebrew slaves in Egypt for whom there isn’t a lick of evidence (historical or empirical)? Or, is it a magician who gets killed and then disappears, only to walk the Earth three days after his death (or is it two?)? Or, a virgin woman (born of a virgin) giving birth to the son of an omnipotent deity (virgin birth being the preferred origin story of pretty much every popular god and demigod in the Middle East and northern Africa)? Which part, exactly, rings true to you?

          • Oswald Carnes

            When I saw that there were over 1,000 comments, I said to myself “I bet that whiny jackass David Andrew Robinson is in there.” I was right!

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Feel free to join in the conversation….I am sure you will raise the tone and level of the debate….although it would help if, the next time you want to be so dismissive and rude, you actually get my name right! It might encourage for a few moments people to think you actually knew what you were talking about!

        • Andres Torres

          It’s a parable David. Doesn’t matter how realistic it is or if it really happened exactly this way or not. The point it intends to prove is what matters. There’s lots of these in the gospels, you should look into the art of the parable it’s one that Jesus mastered well.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Its a parable? You do understand what a parable is? You mean that it is a lie – just made up. The point it was intended to prove is that atheist fundamentalists are wise and all knowing, Christian ones thick and dumb. And yes I know what parables are, and how Jesus used them. You will need to tell your fellow (dis) believers that it is not real and it did not really happen!

          • Andres Torres

            “The point it was intended to prove is that atheist fundamentalists are wise and all knowing.” -Both of us know that this is neither true nor the point of the story. There’s nothing to tell. Obviously it touched a raw nerve that you’re now trying to protect.

          • Deirdre Hebert

            Hey David – a “parable” is a “lie”? Congrats on calling your Christ a liar! He used parables all the time!

          • David Andrew Robertson

            No a parable is not a lie. Saying you heard a conversation in Starbucks when you didn’t – would be. Try thinking…(and understand what a parable is in biblical terms).

          • Deirdre Hebert

            David, please provide evidence that this person didn’t hear the discussion before you call them a liar. Otherwise, you’re the liar … as well as a troll.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Sure – you want to believe they heard this whole discussion and that it is real, feel free to do so. And say hi to the fairies at the bottom of your garden as well!

          • Deirdre Hebert

            So, you’re saying that no Christian has ever used this same argument? But when asked for a bit of evidence – you know, like demonstrating that there is a doctrinal fallacy, you resort to lame insults (demonstrative, I presume of your legendary intellect) to defend yourself! Brilliant!

          • David Andrew Robertson

            I’m sure there have been Christians who have used this argument. There are one or two thick Christians out there amongst the 2 billion or so. As for the rest of your post it is just your opinion (you not being a fundamentalist and all) so I’m not sure what validity it has amongst the billions of other opinions that exist…

          • Deirdre Hebert

            Funny, so now while saying that this discussion is completely fabricated, you now say that some Christians HAVE used this very argument. But still, the post is a fabrication. Brilliant!

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Deirdre – take a deep breath. Count to ten and then think. Just because an argument has been used somewhere does not mean that it was used here. If I say that I once gave $1000 to charity means that whenever I claim to have given $1000 it must be true, you will I hope recognise the falseness of the statement. It’s not ‘brilliant’ – its called logic. Just because an argument has been used does not mean that the claim to have heard it being used means it must be true!

          • Deirdre Hebert

            So, what you’re saying now is that there is an argument that is commonly used by ersatz Christians (I’ve heard it used in my own discussions with such people, you admit to knowing of the argument – ergo, it’s far from an un-heard of argument). And someone writes a article about hearing this argument used in a discussion in a coffee shop somewhere, but somehow, you, blessed with – I don’t know – divine revelation perhaps, are convinced that the story is completely fabricated – because while the argument is common, it would be impossible for the teller of the story above to have heard it in a coffee shop.
            Gotcha.

          • Randy Wanat

            Oh, so Jack Chick is a liar. Gotcha. :)

          • Castilliano

            You mean I won’t go to hell for playing Dungeons & Dragons? Whew!

          • Mack Stevens

            Nope, you just contradicted yourself AND called the holy bastard child a liar.

        • gurukalehuru

          LOTS of conversations go like that. Happens every day, all around the world. FWIW, I also suspect that the conversation was made up. But, I’m cool with that, because I am in agreement with Tom.
          If you can write one where Christian wins, go for it.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Of course. That is what you want to believe. So you are glad to accept a made up conversation as reality. It is so funny that you think this kind of conversation happens all around the world every day! Liberal American-centric fantasy land. Of course you are ‘cool with it’ – because it suits your beliefs…talk about close-minded.

          • Ray

            LMFAO A creationist telling an Atheist that they’re close minded. Oh, the irony of it all. Newsflash David, most atheists come from a religious background and most of us know your own bible and religion better than you do. In fact, that’s how most of us returned to atheism (the default position we’re born into) in the first place.

    • Deirdre Hebert

      It’s not a “made-up” conversation. I’ve had this same conversation myself, and received the same answers. Perhaps not word-for-word, but the same essential facts.

      • David Andrew Robertson

        Apparently others disagree (see below). They think it is a parable. I don’t believe this conversation happened – not least because it is just too simplistic and caricatured. Perhaps one day atheist fundamentalists will be able to actually sit down and have a real conversation with those they disagree with – rather than just make up fantasy ones!

        • Deirdre Hebert

          Tell me David,
          what, exactly, is an “atheist fundamentalist”? Why is it wrong to desire proof prior to belief? And that is the basis of most atheism. I’m not an atheist, but I’m not going to discount their position. And the truth is that the Christian argument is quite weak.

          But if you don’t want an argument that you consider a caricature, then I invite you right here, right now, to convince me that heaven and hell are real, and that Christ died for me that I shouldn’t have to spend eternity in hell.

          Right here, right now, is your opportunity to demonstrate one of those “real” conversations. Convince me.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            An atheist fundamentalist who starts with the pre-supposition that there is no God, and that therefore there cannot be any evidence. Any evidence offered is immediately discounted. Arguing against an atheist fundamentalist is a bit like arguing against a conspiracy theorist – anything you say is part of the conspiracy. Someone who just comes up with “the truth is that the Christian argument is weak’ – an opinion which is cited as a fact.

            And thanks for the invitation – but I don’t enter those kind of conversations with people who don’t really want answers and are just seeking to make accusations. Its just a waste of both our times. If what the bible says is true then one day you will find out anyway. It would seem to me reasonable that you should try to find out before its too late….those who seek find…but those who think they already know and just mock and accuse, don’t.

          • Deirdre Hebert

            Well, David, then there aren’t many “atheist fundamentalists” out there because that’s not the presupposition. You’ve got it backward. The position is more “there is no evidence for a God, therefore I do not accept the proposition that a God exists.

            And whatever happened to “judge not lest ye be judged”? I gave you an opportunity to present your position – you turned it down because you have already judged my motives. I already told you that I’m not an atheist, but you, on your high and mighty horse, back away.

            If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you wouldn’t need to resort to patronizing behavior – your faith would show in your words.

            The truth is that NO argument, NO discussion can ever convince ANYONE. There is NO ontological proof of any God. It is, by definition, impossible. If you want to convince people, you do it by the way you live – THAT is your proof. Your silly retort of “but I don’t enter those kind of conversations with people who don’t really want answers and are just seeking to make accusations.” is evidence that what you have is insubstantial.

            I’m no longer a Christian because there is no evidence whatever that Christianity is “The” religion that is correct. People of every culture and every faith enjoy the exact same religious experiences. What you have is your conviction – the exact same conviction of everyone else. The only difference is that you’re ready to condemn others for not believing the same thing as you.

            But what’s really telling is your smugness in your belief that others will be tortured for eternity. And THAT is a great reason for anyone who is seeking to stay away from your faith.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Clearly logic is not your strong point: You manage to combine ‘there aren’t many atheist fundamentalists out there because thats not the presupposition” and then you go on to state the presupposition – there is no ontological proof of God. It is by definition impossible”!

            And the reason it is impossible to discuss with fundamentalists like you is that a) you don’t recognise you are a fundamentalist and b) you make up stuff about those you are arguing against (ie.’what’s really telling is your smugness in your belief that others will be tortured for eternity’ – given that I did not even mention it so could hardly be accused of being smug about it – that is a pretty dumb comment).

            And a great misquote of ‘judge not that you be not judged’ – whilst playing the emotional blackmail card ‘you’re not nice so you are not a good Christian’….You have just illustrated why a discussion would be pointless….you have already made up your mind…

          • Deirdre Hebert

            David,
            Fundamentalism is a strict adherence to a theological doctrine. Ergo, an atheist cannot be a fundamentalist, because they have no theological doctrine. I am not a fundamentalist, because while I do have theological doctrines, they are not strict. You are making the fundamental(ist) error of trying to accuse others of your own error. It’s like the racist saying “I’m not a racist – all of those people who say I’m a racist are”, or of those who are intolerant of LGBT people who say “It’s they who are intolerant because they won’t accept MY beliefs”.

            In the words of Barney Frank, arguing with you is like arguing with a kitchen table. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, and you seem only here to argue.

            But to address your points – once again, I’m not an atheist – but you seem to thick to figure that out. You’re also twisting words – I never said that a person couldn’t prove the existence of any God. I said that it can’t be done ontologically. If your only proof is ontological, then you have nothing.

            An ontological “proof” is nothing but a proof via argument, via some attempt to use logic to prove the existence of some God. That is an impossibility, because even if one could device an argument that some God does exist, it cannot prove the nature of that God, and, therefore, which God, among the many, is the correct one.

            From an ontological viewpoint, scripture is irrelevant – you’re going strictly from logic, with no external inputs. THAT is why an ontological argument is useless. From Anselm onward, everyone who has tried, has run into the logical fallacy of the proposition.

            You could look at Pascal’s wager also, and it fails for the same reason – there is no way, ontologically to prove that any single God is the right one.

            This isn’t “fundamentalism”, it’s using your brain to come to a logical conclusion – something that your own Bible says you SHOULD do. “Test everything; hold fast to what is good.” If it doesn’t make logical sense, it’s not good.

            Too many “Christians” today hold on to nonsense, and think that makes them special. It doesn’t.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            How funny – only those who hold to theological doctrines can be fundamentalist? Sorry who gave you the right just to make things up?! You say you hold to theological doctrines but because they are not ‘strict’ you are not a fundamentalist! You do realise how illogical that is? The irony is that you think you are being the logical one. It would be funny if it were not so pathetic.

          • Deirdre Hebert

            You’re right David. How could I have been so mistaken!
            You see, I live in a world where WORDS actually have DEFINITIONS! Silly Me! LOL.
            I forgot that people like you can make up your own definitions, and that a word like “fundamentalist” can can mean “having an opinion”.
            So from now on, I think I’ll just have discussions with people who speak English, so that I can actually communicate with someone using a common frame of reference.
            You can keep making up your own definitions. Have fun with that.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Again – whether deliberately or not – you are missing the point. It is precisely BECAUSE we live in a world where words have meaning and definitions (ie. we don’t live in a post-modernist world) that you don’t get away with just making things up – as you did in your definition of fundamentalist. You are going to say that your view is just ‘having an opinion” and yet you show the lie in that by being very emotional and abusive about people who don’t share that opinion (see your post above)…..at the same time your ‘opinion’ is to say that someone who believes in a theological doctrine is a ‘fundamentalist’. Just curious as to why your ‘opinion’ should have any validity at all, just because it is your opinion. Don’t you believe in dealing with facts?

          • Deirdre Hebert

            fun·da·men·tal·ism (fnd-mntl-zm)
            n.
            1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.
            2.
            a. often Fundamentalism An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.
            b. Adherence to the theology of this movement.

            http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fundamentalism

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Also try the Oxford and Chambers – which point out (as does this one) that fundamentalism is not necessarily religious. Which was and is my point.

          • Deirdre Hebert

            Here’s the thing David, you are confusing “dogmatic” with “fundamentalist”. If you wanted to say that some atheists were dogmatic, I’d agree. But they aren’t “fundamentalists” because they aren’t religious, and they aren’t opposed to secularism. If you try to expand the definition to “Anyone with zeal”, you’re simply wrong. Unless, of course, the Sarah Palin school of erudition has appeal to you; then you can misunderestimate and refudiate all you want.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            A fundamentalist is someone who holds to a fundamental set of doctrines/teachings. Atheist fundamentalists do precisely that….and they display fundie behaviour as well (inability to listen, reason and engage with those who oppose them).

          • Deirdre Hebert

            You should tell the editors of the dictionaries then. Because everyone knows that English is defined by YOU.
            The fact that Atheists have no fundamental doctrines doesn’t seem to matter. The ONLY defining factor of Atheists is that they typically demand to see evidence before they express belief in any deity. They are atheists because that evidence has not been forthcoming. And it’s jerks like you who make fun of them and become antagonistic toward them that hinder the conversation at every juncture.

            You hate being called a fundamentalist, despite the fact that you are, (The same probably holds true for such words as bigot and hypocrite – but that would be another story.) and so you try to turn the tables by calling someone else the same words that you hate.

            But the truth is that there is no Atheist “fundamentalism”. If you ask anyone who claims to be an atheist, if they were presented with any sort of definitive evidence for the existence of God, would they then believe, they would all answer in the affirmative. The fact is that there is no such evidence, and so, belief in ANY deity comes down to a matter of faith. It is not fundamentalism to demand evidence prior to belief. It IS fundamentalism to take a set of doctrines as factual despite the lack of evidence, It IS fundamentalism to say “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”

            If someone were to say “Everything that Richard Feynman says is true, and I won’t believe anyone who contradicts him.”, that would be fundamentalism. That would be taking Feynman as doctrine. And the fact that atheists are able to accept new information and modify their beliefs contradicts your accusations.

            If you were willing to modify your position, and to say “well, maybe there isn’t a God” or “Maybe the Bible isn’t true”, your position as a fundamentalist would be changed. But if you ask any atheist if there were incontrovertible evidence that God existed, if they would then modify their position, they would all answer in the affirmative. Their non-belief isn’t based on a desire not to believe – it’s based on a lack of evidence. Hence, it’s not a fundamentalist proposition – it’s a lack of evidence.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            What a fundie reply….lets look at how many NFA myths you have managed to get into those couple of paragraphs!

            1) Atheists have no fundamental doctrines?! Really – i can think of several including ‘we have no fundamental doctrines’!

            2) Atheists are only atheists because of the lack of evidence. They are totally reasonable people who work only on reason and if you showed them evidence for God then they would believe….dream on!

            3) You disagree with me so therefore you must be a fundamentalist, a bigot and a hypocrite!

            4) Atheists are able to accept new information and modify their beliefs. Yet atheists say they have no beliefs, they just don’t believe in God. So how do they modify these non-existent beliefs?!

            5) All atheists non-belief is not based on a desire not to believe (you just state this as a fact which like most of your ‘facts’ is just an assertion without evidence and easily disprovable.

            How delicious that in complaining about being called a fundamentalist you make a series of fundamental assertions without a single bit of evidence!

          • Mack Stevens

            And your seems to be closed, locked, and welded shut. Hope there’s padded walls in that room.

          • Randy Wanat

            If the Christian argument weren’t weak, everyone would be Christian. Or, at the very least, the vast majority would be.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            You do realise how illogical an argument that is? Based entirely upon the faith pre-supposition that everyone is rational and makes decisions based on fact?!

          • Randy Wanat

            Strong arguments persuade. Weak arguments don’t. Religion is perpetuated mainly by indoctrinating children before their brains are developed enough to understand what they’re being taught, and before they’re old enough to think for themselves. The only reason God remains and Santa Claus doesn’t is that God continues to be reinforced by society and Santa doesn’t. If you eliminate the childhood indoctrination and leave religion for when people are old enough to reason, the arguments for religion would generally fail. It’s only because people are taught things from an early age, and taught defense mechanisms against valid reasoning and critical thinking, that the arguments for it seem so compelling to so many, and the arguments against don’t.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Again I really appreciate your faith in human ability to reason. If strong argument persuaded then you would not get near so many atheists! I understand why atheist fundamentalists want to indoctrinate children out of their natural God-consiousness but that does not justify it. I prefer people to be free to think for themselves. Sadly atheist fundies are so sure (unsure?) of their position that they want nothing else to be taught but their position because it is to them the self-evidently only right way.

          • Randy Wanat

            I never said children should be indoctrinated; I said religion shouldn’t be introduced until their brains are developed enough to be able to reason. If, at that point, they decide religion and all the cockamamie reality denial and wacky nonsense it entails is for them, great. They will have been given a legitimate option to choose, rather than being given a lifetime of indoctrination from infancy and then given the “choice” when they are adolescents. You do understand that not indoctrinating someone is not a form of indoctrination, yes? I can’t tell if you merely misread what I said or were deliberately twisting what I said to conform to your own personal bias.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            I see you want to give them a choice – in the same way that Henry Ford wanted to give people the choice of any colour car – as long as it was black. You want to indoctrinate children in your worldview and then tell them they are free to choose! How Orwellian of you!

          • Randy Wanat

            How is NOT teaching something the equivalent of indoctrination? I’m not saying teach that there is NO god; I’m saying don’t teach that there IS a god. Do you seriously not understand that abstaining from teaching and teaching against are not the same thing? Is not voting the same as voting for someone? If I give you a choice of two restaurants, pizza or hamburgers, and you choose not to go to a restaurant, did you go to the pizza place or the hamburger joint? The restaurant you went to is what I’m proposing. You’re saying that abstinence and safe sex are the same thing. Who’s being Orwellian?

          • Randy Wanat

            “Natural God-consciousness?” Which God does a child believe in before being taught the religious beliefs of the parents? Do Indian children just naturally believe in Ganesha and Vishnu and Shiva? Do Saudi Arabian children just naturally believe in Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet? There is no “natural God-consciousness.” There is nothing more than children being taught the beliefs of their parents from a very young age, and having those beliefs reinforced at every turn by family and the community throughout their developing years. That is what creates God belief. It’s not inborn.

          • Anton

            That is what creates God belief. It’s not inborn.

            There is evidence in neuroscience that belief is hard-wired in humans, just like the capacity for language is. Children aren’t born knowing English or Spanish, but the cognitive pathways are there. Similarly, the facility for forming beliefs about the world is there, but the specific religion or philosophy is learned.

          • Randy Wanat

            The facility for forming beliefs isn’t a belief, nor is it a consciousness regarding anything. It’s merely a fallow, fertile field waiting to be planted. That served us well back when we our very survival depended upon quickly learning the complex social hierarchies, skills, and techniques for killing animals, gathering food, and avoiding death at every turn.
            These days, though, that kind of indoctrination is counterproductive. All the benefits that come from religion can be gleaned secularly (the religious organizations merely have a huge head start on things like charities, though secular organizations continue to increase in number and scale), and there isn’t anything about perpetuating fantasies that provides a real benefit to anybody, save for the organization taking the donations of its members.
            To be clear: children are not born CONSCIOUS of any god or gods. They are born without any beliefs or awareness or consciousness of any god or gods. It is only when such ideas are introduced by parents/guardians that such belief/consciousness/awareness begins, and it must be done early and with unwavering consistency.

          • Anton

            Randy, I wasn’t disagreeing with you. Obviously no one is born worshipping a particular deity, that’s a cultural thing. I just wanted to mention that a lot of neurological research supports the notion that we’re hard-wired to believe, and so we have to be careful to make sure that valid beliefs fill that need and not superstitions or conspiracy theories.

            That’s the crux of philosophy, isn’t it? “Belief is always the problem, and never the answer.” We’ve had good luck systematizing knowledge about verifiable phenomena, and so we’re comfortable saying we have valid beliefs about things that happened billions of years ago. But with personal consciousness, we’re still making stabs in the dark. It’s important to come up with ways to distinguish good from bad beliefs at the perceptual level, since that’s where religious beliefs arise, but that’s a tall order in our current state of neuroscience.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Not quite grasped what was being said have you. One mans education is anothers indoctrination. Children do need to be taught. But they also have genetic predispositions. It is natural, as the psychologist Dorothy Kelman states for children to be inate creationists believing in God. All children are intuitive theists until athiests get hold of them and indoctrinate them in the atheist faith. Its amazing how many atheists I have met who are just reflecting the faith of their parents, and also how many change when they are able to overcome their indoctrination and see the light!

          • Randy Wanat

            Please provide evidence to back up your claims about innate belief in creationism and gods. Show us evidence that there are gods in children’s minds before such a concept is introduced to them by someone else.
            Also, atheism
            isn’t a faith; it’s lack of belief. Do you understand the difference between not accepting a claim and asserting the contrapositive? I don’t accept your claim that your god exists. Is that an assertion that your god doesn’t exist?

          • David Andrew Robertson

            And I don’t accept your claim that you have the ability to determine whether God exists or not. re evidence for children read Dorothy Kelman – Child Psychologist. – as cited by Dawkins.

          • Randy Wanat

            I never said I could determine that. Because I have not encountered evidence sufficient to justify a belief, I do not believe any gods exist, nor do I believe that no gods exist. My lack of omniscience precludes the latter belief, and the lack of confirmatory evidence precludes the former. If you don’t care whether you’d beliefs are correct, that is your prerogative. I do care if mine are correct. To do otherwise is the definition of gullibility.

          • Goape

            It is correct to presuppose that there is no god. Why would the default presupposition be that some ancient, violent and hypocritical deity we have no evidence for exists and watches us? And why would the logical null hypothesis (no god) preclude the adoption of real evidence? All patently ridiculous.

            You refuse to engage in a productive conversation; instead you repeat over and over again that this story must be made up. Your comments read as if you’re cowering in a dark room holding your ears shut and repeating a mantra of “it’s not real—it’s not real—it’s not real”. I’m sure you can represent yourself (and your god) better than this.

            You should address Deirdre’s invitation. You should also realise that, although this conversation may be very close to verbatim, even if it’s made up whole cloth it outlines an argument that you can’t invalidate. If, against all evidence, your god is real, he’s either inept or aloof.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            “it is correct to pre-suppose there is no god” – yet another fundamentalist atheist assertion, without any evidence.

            As for the argument itself – it really is an atheist/liberal making up an argument so that the atheist/liberal can defeat it. For me a rational argument should at least invovle the other side being fairly put.

          • Goape

            No. The correct presupposition to any claim as outstanding as the god claim is that it must be proven. So again, why would the null hypothesis be the same as the claim itself? It’s quite ridiculous to claim that this stance is fundamentalistic.

            As for the argument—put up a better one if you’re so sure that this is a poor caricature of christians.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            But that is not your pre-supposition. You state that you don’t believe in a God who is violent, hypocritical etc. I don’t either. You claim that you have the intelligence, ability and knowledge to determine whether God exists or not. I claim the negative – that you don’t. Given your own criteria it is not up to me to support the negative…it is up to you to prove the positive, your own faith in yourself. And so far you have failed miserably!

          • Goape

            I assure you that I do, in fact, presuppose that to believe in god I need evidence (and I’ll thank you in advance for arguing only with what I say—without telling me what my own, unstated, presuppositions are). This is not in opposition at all with my belief that a god, described by any criteria, doesn’t exist.

            I claimed absolutely nothing about my own intelligence. I only did you the favor of highlighting your own illogical statement. Any rational person would have only responded ‘thanks’.

            Now this is fun: you are claiming that I have to prove that something we have no reliable evidence for does not exist. Ok—now prove that I am not sweet little baby Jesus, grown to be the savior and adjudicator of you and your miserable, sinful ilk. Prove that my god-daddy didn’t force himself on some destitute virgin so that I could claw through her hymen and rule the world. If I claim that I am the reincarnate son of god/god in the flesh, who you are beholden to for my past sacrifices, and you can’t disprove my claim, by your illogical premise, I am the christian God. And, by the way, I’m very disappointed with what you have been doing with the brain I gave you. (Also, I’m sorry about all your hardships; that’s Mephistopheles, not me.)

            Your straw-grasping is making you look desperate (and disparate from reality). Although, I suppose that if I was in your frightened, brainwashed position and the most obvious truths completely toppled my deepest beliefs, then, I would sound pretty frantic too. Don’t feel too bad—just bad enough to start making sense.

            Here’s the bottom line as simply as I can put it for you: I don’t believe that any god exists and if you, for some unexplainable and insecure reason(s), want me to believe, then you have to prove its existence.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Lots of rhetoric reminding us how logical and reasonable you are – yet with little evidence of either. And the arrogance that you have is quite special….who do you think you are that you can judge God or determine whether he exists or not? The bottom line is that you have a) far too much faith in your own ability and b) no criteria by which to examine evidence and make a reasonable judgement. So you will sit secure in your wee fundie atheist closed world – immune to the possibility of anything other that what you already know!

          • Goape

            Now your stance is: we can’t judge the existence of god and that’s all we need to believe in him. That’s stupid—and, interestingly, contradictory to (presumably) your own doctrine (c.f. Romans 2:3). You should represent yourself better than that.

            Project all you want, David. I have no faith. That I don’t believe in something for which no evidence exists requires no faith. The statements that I offered you are inherently logical. I suppose that my rationality is easier for you to dismiss if you call it arrogance, so I forgive you…

            Speaking of forgiveness, have you proven that I’m not your lord and savior yet? I’ll remind you that I told you to be ready for this (Matthew 24:43-44). You may want to take heed; wouldn’t it just be safer to start worshiping me at this point?

          • Randy Wanat

            By the way, what evidence do you have of the existence of God? Anything empirical, or is it a book followed by a long list of logical fallacies?

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Plenty. What evidence would you accept?

          • Ray

            ///And the truth is that the Christian argument is quite weak.///
            Exactly Deirdre…I may not be able to prove that a god (or gods) don’t exist, but I can CERTAINLY prove that the god mentioned in the Christian bible doesn’t exist.

        • Ray

          I’ve seen this same argument numerous times on the debate boards (a place where you wouldn’t last 5 minutes) and it always ends up sounding pretty much word for word with this article. And in the end, the creationists do the EXACT same thing you’re doing now…calling people liars and making stupid comments like “it never happened” because (inevitably) they’re unable to defend their “faith”. And using the comments section of an article as proof that “others disagree” is almost as bad as using the bible to prove the bible. Of course EVERY creationist on this site is going to say they don’t believe this conversation ever took place, that’s what they say about everything they choose to remain willfully ignorant about.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Ray – its funny – your post proves my point and you can’t even see that. You have seen the same argument numerous times on debate boards – and yet you think it just turned up as a spontantous conversation here. And again you just make things up to suit your faith – you think it is impossible for Christians to defend what the Bible says so what you think becomes fact! Wilful ignorance? indeed….go look in a mirror!

        • Conuly

          I’ve had this conversation online and in real life.

          Look, I’m the first to admit that some atheists are dumbasses. But you have to do your part and admit that some Christians are as well.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Totally agree with you!

        • Randy Wanat

          Too simplistic and caricatured? Try this: http://youtu.be/kk1RnwbFIps
          That really happened. Simplistic and caricatured (though slightly less, as Dawkins tends to be a bit gentle with people who are genuinely too stupid to live).

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Yes – I saw this. I note also that Dawkins tends to only debate with a) those who share his basic presuppostions, b) those who have ‘prestige’ and money or c) those who he knows he can run around because they are not of his intellectual calibre. He does not really do serious debate and I suspect cannot.

        • Castilliano

          What I love is that a Christian actually wrote this for the “fundamentalist atheist” agenda.
          Boy, David, you should really get your bearings before you veer further off course.

    • kevinp

      ive actually had this very argument with people since i was a child. so its not made up.. xtians are delusional fear driven monkeys with car keys. why would an all knowing all seeing all loving deity NEED to create TINY flawed beings on some tiny rock in an insignificant corner of the galaxy, to worship it?? lonely god? WHY is the important question that no xtian is allowed to ask.. “mystery of god” .. mystery this. if there is a deity.. he KNEW already i wouldnt be able to believe in him BEFORE I WAS BORN.. ERGO.. HE IS SENDING ME TO HELL.. PUNISHING ME FOR HIS MISTAKE OF NOT MAKING ME PERFECT IN THE FIRST PLACE.. and placing us here where we CAN FALTER and fall short of his grace….. LOVE?? fucking stalker control freak “if i cant have you no body can.. ill burn you forever” evil bastard who lets children starve and suffer.. JUST TO TEST US…………… XTIANS…………. GO FUCK YOURSELVES. and i mean that in the most loving way.

      • David Andrew Robertson

        And that is exactly the standard I would expect from the more ignorant fundamentalist atheists. I think Kevin if you compare the lucidity and intelligence of ‘Tom’ above and your own post – all will realise the lie that YOU have had this same conversation with many people since you were a child! And I love the logic that makes you think just because (in your fantasy mind) you have had this conversation it MUST be true and not made up. Seems like atheist fundamentalism really does rot the logical faculties as well as your language abilities!

        • kevinp

          heheh … deity worshipers..

        • JPC

          umm, what? Atheist fundamentalism?

          Science… evidence… intelligence and education and compassion show the way. Ignore them at your peril, for as kevin says we get this one life- if you choose to waste it believing in fairy tales with no evidence at all, with such logical fallacies that no theologian can explain them, shame on you. I like my life, I enjoy it and I will live it (strangely enough) in the same moral and caring way that I would if I actually believed in a supernatural deity. The difference is I won’t waste a moment on blind faith and instead spend my time learning and living. Oh, and the odd discussion trying to help my fellow humans see religion as the toxic cancer it is.

          • Castilliano

            Oh, you know those darn atheist fundamentalists who believe in those atheist fundamentals like:
            1) Not believing in god(s).
            2) That’s right, none. Not even (insert personal god here)!
            and
            3) Umm… believing in reality? Evidence?
            Umm, little help here!

            Cheers. :)

          • David Andrew Robertson

            I agree totally about science, evidence, intelligence and compassion. Which is why fundamentalist atheism is so dangerous – because it ignores all of these whilst claiming to be based upon them!

          • JPC

            Hahaha, it’s a shame we don’t live close by, I suspect we’d have a good chat over a beer and see that people are people, with or without religion.

            I’m not sure at all what you mean, however? The challenge keeps getting extended to provide evidence supporting religious faith. The fairy tales take on more complexity with more twists and turns to try to explain seeming contradictions, until inevitably we come to a “God works in mysterious ways” comment, serves almost like a “road closed” sign….

          • David Andrew Robertson

            I agree. People are people. And I would love that beer – or malt! I don’t agree about the evidence aspect. There may be some people who do what you say- but I find that the people who usually demand evidence are those who believe it cannot exist – and therefore they are not really asking, they are accusing. Whatever you say they are going to dismiss it – usually with self-righteous mockery…but if anyone is really interested in the evidence I do seek to provide it. I have even gone to the bother of writing a couple of books with evidence.

          • JPC

            no worries. I’m more challenging than asking or accusing, I’d say- I’ve a fair handle on most aspects of science, and on some aspects of religion but religion and religious belief (and its tendency to override the joy present in this life) has caused some grief, frankly.

            Have been present (and I think honestly so) as a eucharistic minister and reader of liturgy, as well as youth group leader. I’ll tend to rely on science, and like all of us I suffer from confirmation bias, try as I may to look past it.

            The beer or malt would be very welcome. Have a great day.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            I agree that religion has caused some grief…I would actually go a lot further and say it has caused a great deal of grief. But then so have money, sex, science, humans and malt whisky….and I ain’t gonna give up on any of those!

        • Stephen W.

          Give us an argument then. Or just keep doing ad homenins and shit to boost your own self esteem.
          Give us an argument for God and see what we can do with it.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Now if you really wanted one I would be happy to oblige. But I think it is generally a waste of time to show someone who has their eyes shut a beautiful picture – unless they are prepared to open them. So when you are ready to be open-minded and to think – and not just swear your emotive abuse – get back to me.

          • Stephen W.

            You have nothing to back that statement up, kiddo. If you’re not smart enough or unwilling to form an argument – then fuck off. You’re not worth anybody’s time.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            Stephen….absolutely beautiful. You completely prove my point. Thanks!

          • Stephen W.

            You gave an ad-hominem argument as your reason why you refuse to give a non-fallacious argument. So, no I didn’t prove your point – you need to prove, and you need to do so validly.
            But, you won’t I wager, just like you didn’t when I straight asked you for it. Don’t call me insulting and pretend that you are not, if you can’t take it don’t dish it out in the first place. dipshit.

          • David Andrew Robertson

            You took a month to come up with that?! What a wonderful way you have with words….not sure I can cope with your stunning intelligence and analytical wit!

          • Stephen W.

            Who cares who often I go through the section of my email the notifies me that you comment here. As for coping with my intelligence – never know until you try, and I invited you to try.

        • indorri

          There is at least an entire denomination/sect of Christianity for which this entire conversation is correct except for one thing: that Yaweh loves everyone. It’s called Calvinism.

    • mdoc

      It is sad because hell fire Christians don’t understand why atheists are so appalled at their view of God.

      • J. P.

        The Hellfire doctrine is a perverse mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked: http://bit.ly/17fVMYm

        • Andrew Chalker

          Being sent to a “lake of fire” for any crime is unloving. So, if the Bible is true about the lake of fire then God isn’t loving.

          • J. P.

            If the lake of fire is NOT a symbolic representation then please make sense of this for me if you would be so kind – “And the Devil was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur , where the wild beast already was ; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever .” – Revelation 20 :10

            Alright , so here’s the question . Precisely what wild animal was hurled into the lake of fire ? A tiger ? A lion ? A bear ?

            Then again, precisely why would a wild beast be hurled into a lake of flame to be tormented to start with ?

        • mdoc

          So you say. Other Christians have a different opinion. All of which can be supported by the bible.

          • J. P.

            Prove it.

  • Andrew D. Renshaw

    Why does no one seem to address the real question of Heaven and Hell?

    Why do/should I care?

    ONLY ONE THING IS CERTAIN! Heaven, Hell, Afterlife… all theory based on 2000 year old scare tactics. What IS certain is that we only live once. I for one am going to live to be alive, and enjoy my time here, to me treating people right is an important part of my life. Once I die, if there is a hell, and I have to spend eternity there, so be it. Sucks I was wrong, but now that I’m dead, I cant imagine I will care much… being that… I’M DEAD!

    • Deirdre Hebert

      What is certain is that we do live once. Whether it’s “only once” is up for debate, But we don’t have any clear proof, so I’d say it’s important to live this life right.

  • jason

    This is false logic. Hell is not a word you find in the Bible. Totally idiotic rabbit trail

    • http://codybateman.org/ ★ William Cody Bateman ★

      The word “Hell” specifically, is an English word translated from the original Greek and Hebrew. And, it has two applications in the original language – a place of burial AND a place of eternal torment. Either way, we all are going to die and then, be judged by the One you don’t believe in… Jesus Christ. Need proof of this? Other than Jesus Himself, who do you know that hasn’t died in the past? Newsflash: You are dying too…..

      • jason

        Hey William,

        Thanks for the reply. Right on. I was trying to figure out theology of the word hell and came up with words like Sheol (the grave or the pit), Hades, Tartarus (?), and Gehenna. Gehenna is the word Jesus uses most frequently. I try to follow respected theologians like Wayne Grudem and Tim Keller, but I am just trying to figure it out. Keller suggests that God does not “send” any one to hell, but that the more accurate description is that people *choose* to remain separated from God. (as an aside, choice is a tough lesson. Would we really want to be predetermined like robots so we could all be assured of salvation? We have the freedom to choose because God loves us and created us in His image). To be separated from God is a place of torment, since our spirit was created for fellowship with Him. I also found some interesting threads about “fire” as more of a “refining fire”. This seems pretty accurate to me. Since we are not talking about physical fire (our bodies will be dead), the fire is a spiritual one. We can view this fire as a positive instead of a negative by visualizing a crucible, where gold and silver are refined and separated from the dross. I think this is the process of sanctification that is referred to.

        • Gwyn

          For some of the origins of the modern-day fundamentalist’s “fire & brimstone” concept of Hell, look to the Ancient Egyptians’ tales of the afterlife, as well as the later Heathen Germanic/Scandinavian “Hel”–the domain of the dead ruled by Hela, a Goddess. Of course, more recent works by Dante & Milton also charted this territory.

        • Nemo

          Since the Bible states people are already separated from God, then Hell would be just like life on earth. This contradicts the Bible, specifically the rich man and Lazarus. The torture chamber is the best description of the Biblical Hell. But it’s not politically correct, so people don’t use it.

      • katiehippie

        According to the bible, Elijah didn’t die and Enoch didn’t die.

      • JPC

        We all die, and when we die we only live on in the memories of those who knew us. We die, our brains shut down and we return to molecules of unconnected matter. There is no credible evidence otherwise. Sorry, I know it’s a much more comfortable thought to believe we’re going to persist in some form but we won’t.

        So the message is, treat this life well. It’s the one we get.

        • Mack Stevens

          Perfectly put, sir.

          • JPC

            Thanks.

      • Sids

        I haven’t died in the past. So that’s one.
        As for historical figures, I don’t know any who hasn’t died, including Jesus.
        If we”re just going to assume they didn’t die because a story says so, then finally Jesus gets into that category. But making it that open leads to thousands of others also being in category. Jesus remains, as always, entirely unimpressive.

      • Conuly

        Osiris.

      • Stephen W.

        Hell does not come from neither Greek nor Hebrew. Please, do some goddamn research before you just start typing – you lazy bastard.

      • Randy Wanat

        What will you do when you find yourself standing before Osiris? You’d better get yourself right with him, because his scales are very sensitive.

      • Mack Stevens

        According to your myth book, Jesus indeed died.

    • Mike De Fleuriot

      Tell that to every evangelical preacher out there. And maybe also their sheep/wallets.

  • http://mad-humanist.tumblr.com/ The Mad Humanist

    Actually nowadays I thought Christians were saying things like “Hell’s door is only locked on the inside.” It may come to the same thing and it just comes back to the lack of evidence for God, Heaven, Hell and Jesus. However Christianity does end up looking a lot less dumb than in the above if it is done well.

    • frankie frase

      I guess the available evidence must touch you. In a different example, take for instance Monsanto, I stayed ignorant and with out reaction until realizing the RAs put into the food stayed within the body forever, never to be disposed of in any way. That was my trigger to change my behaviour. One in this day of age must stay informed and realize the atypical ¨news¨ is no longer valuable. For my self CERNs proof of several alternate dimensions was proof for myself of the hierarchial ¨heavens¨. For if there was a beast could he not simply be below us? The beast was supposedly to be made into a snake that crawls on the belly- is he then not more of the 2D. As for heaven, if you believe in science, you may, conclude or wish to believe, heaven could be another dimension, our alternate universe. The quantum physic ¨Double Slit Experiment¨ only gave more backing to the observer effect showcasing that the observer affects reality. Thus when you think of 2 cells becoming the countless of a human, or the modern twisted experiments of animal crossbreeds coming to life from a test tube with just an electric shock, does there not in theory need the ultimate observer. As for the J man I just wonder if he was not significant then why were the powers that be at that time mark the date. It is 2013 right? 2013 years after he died.

      • frankie frase

        oh yea and for hell or devil … I just think of Bohemian Grove or simple exorcisms, shit even most songs played backwards show that that particular darkness is prevalent. Bohemian Grove just made me think if those wealthy elite pray to the beast, he must be real. Why else would they grovel at his feet? Also it just popped in my head now, if the devil is below no wonder he has such an impact because God is so much up above. Culture praises demonic clothing, 7 deadly sins, perverted music…. and who owns those culture driving machines oh yeaaa those dudes at Bohemian Grove ;) but i try not to twerk :(

        • JPC

          It’s easy to believe silly things, if you want to believe. The mind is very powerful however it’s just a brain- that’s all our consciousness is.

          http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_on_believing_strange_things.html

          Watch that- the bit at the end speaks to the power of the brain to find patterns where none exist.

          • Stephen W.

            This guy’s an idiot. His internet privileges should be revoked until he learns how to use it properly.

          • frankie frase

            They are simply perspectives of being.

            Simmer down dude don´t go ranting on facebook. I enjoy the conversation. But see that in itself why did you feel compelled to go to such lengths. (Be nice) You stated there is no energy but something made you waste energy and use emotion to write that lengthy, enlightening, piece.

            As you passively said to enlighten myself, I definitely will seek more answers. Yet you should do the same. If you choose not to do it by the spiritual, you can find it by knowledge when you see & connect that your US government is corrupt, yet praying to something.

            Jesus saves bro & stop the TPP or else we are really fucked

          • Stephen W.

            Hey shut up bro. Go look something up.

          • frankie frase

            http://blog.ted.com/2013/07/18/envision-the-world-in-11-dimensions-a-ted-ed-lesson-to-blow-your-3d-mind/

            if there are other dimensions can you not live in them?? When you hear people saying they are awakened or perhaps even enlightened it´s because they felt the wave…. as she explains :)

            http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

          • velveteenRabbit

            they aren’t PLACES they are mathematical dimensions.

      • Sids

        1. The Gregorian (current) calendar reformation was in 1582. Before that the Julian calendar marked the consuls of Rome. So Jesus was not significant enough for the powers that be at the time to mark it.
        2. The Gregorian calendar is based on the birth, not death. And since no historians think that happened in year 1, it evidently doesn’t even mark that well. For such a ‘significant’ event, they didn’t even bother to record it.
        3. Assuming he existed, he died around 34CE. We are not 2013 years after his death.

        • frankie frase

          Anno Domini so its 2013 years since his birth ? -__-

          • Kevin R. Cross

            Yes. Anno Domini translates as the the “year of the Lord” or more closely as the “year of Dominion.” When speaking of the years of a King or Emperor, you count from the date of his coronation, but Jesus, in the Christian tradition, was “King of the World” from his birth, so that was also his “coronation date”.
            Unfortunately, due to a combination of initially using the Roman calendar, then the Julian calendar (neither of which were accurate), and then the transition to the Gregorian calendar, and the simple fact that several of the sources clash as to precise dates, we now suspect that the birth of Jesus, if he existed, was somewhere around 4-6 BC.

  • Andy

    Started reading hoping for a well thought through argument…just got made up ramblings and poor caricatures

    • Castilliano

      1. A dozen or so have posted how they’ve had these very same arguments, so it’s a very good caricature, at the least. :) (And of course it’s made up.)
      Funny though, in the comments I’ve found a few taking “Christian’s” exact same position, with as little traction.

      2. If you were “Christian”, what would your counter to “Tom” be?
      (Tom’s done his job, so no need to support him.)

      Or, on a meta-level, why do you think the blogger delved here?
      Why would a Christian blogger post an atheist win re: a standard doctrine?
      To show how ‘hell’ doesn’t play out well, as evidenced in the comments?
      To find an answer himself?
      To mask the “Problem of Evil” in new clothes thus spurring new thought?

      I really hope he pulls back the curtain later…

  • kevinp

    THIS is a beautiful fucking thing. i have screen cap’d the whole page and will be using it as often as i can, i fear for their minds too..

  • Lee Hulme

    I’ve argued pretty much the same argument, as both an athiest and a christian (as in my time I’ve called myself both). My problems with this and many other things didn’t just vanish because I came to believe in God, in fact most of them gained importance as they became more real to me.

    The only true answer I can give to most things is “I don’t know absolutely, but I think this…”

  • frankie frase

    If CERN proved there are dimensions can there not be beings there? Science has pretty much proved a supreme creator…. we just don´t have the words for it. I personal love the observer effect, nothing can be done without a conscious mind.

    • JamBar

      That’s not what the observer effect is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_(physics)

      • frankie frase

        I wasn´t meaning to define it with the last bit there, but in order to observe one must be conscious, no?

        • JamBar

          Sorry, I thought you were suggesting that the “observer effect” is evidence for the existence of god. It isn’t.

          • frankie frase

            It can be a piece of evidence accumulated to do so.

          • Brian Pansky

            do you understand that the observer effect does not require a conscious observer?

          • Stephen W.

            He does not.

          • frankie frase
          • Stephen W.

            This video doesn’t support you man. LEARN physics, don’t youtube it. ok?

          • frankie frase

            and ps i´m taking my doctorate in Europe. Do me a favor wake up, and wake up as many people as you can, I hate the French but don´t want to go back home to a police state either.

          • Stephen W.

            Not in physic. Not in math. Not in science.
            Probably not in anything. Getting a real doctorate is a serious task and you seem to busy toting the claim, “I’m getting a doctorate!” as a way to convince people on the internet you’re smart and you have valuable opinions to be working on something like that.
            So, I both don’t believe you, and I don’t give a shit. You’re a demonstrable idiot. You’re abusing the wealth of knowledge at your fingertips with your own confirmation bias. And you’re creeping on my facebook?

            Ya know what? When you get you’re doctorate, why don’t you come seek me out. I’ll tell you exactly why you don’t deserve it. And, I’ll tell the guv’ment where you is. (ya know, cause they give a shit about that?!)

            Go back to the infowars page?

          • Brian Pansky

            also, here is some wikipedia about that experiment:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment#With_particle_detectors_at_the_slits

            “There are many methods to determine whether a photon passed through a slit, for instance by placing an atom at the position of each slit.”

            so why did the cartoon use an eye? why not use a ball in the path of the electron?

            to mislead you.

          • JamBar

            … you don’t know what the observer effect is…

            Simple, everyday example: When you check your tire pressure, the gauge causes a little bit of air to leak out, which changes the pressure. The thing you were trying to observe changes because of the technique used to measure it. That’s the observer effect. You don’t know precisely how much pressure was in your tire at the time you decided to measure it.

            In normal life, we don’t worry about it, because we can minimize the effect of observation by using precise tools. In science dealing with tiny particles, it’s more difficult.

            The uncertainty principle is the concept that, at very small scales, the observer effect creates greater difficulty: We cannot simultaneously measure, for instance, certain pairs of quanta of information such as position and momentum, for particles of sufficiently small size. As the accuracy of one measurement improves, the accuracy of the other diminishes. We do math to it to find out how much.

          • frankie frase

            I know what the theory is and quite honestly to go directly to large objects of mass as an example shows your point of view. If there was a God he would thus need to have control of the quantum. That is in any sense the building block of everything else right? Everything was essentially a blank canvas before being laid with instruction, and even then cells work in the same essence.

            Observer Effect on the Quantum Level
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc

          • Brian Pansky

            “I know what the theory is”

            actually, it’s obvious to me you don’t, because you are using “dr quantum” who is a fraud. that dr quantum video misrepresents the science.

            that cartoon eye device is not at all like the real measuring device. it is meant to mislead you. the real measuring device could be a cartoon robot arm or cattle prod that pokes around until it feels something by HITTING into it. that interaction, of course, alters the behavior of the electron, no conscious observer is needed.

            this series of videos exposes your source for the dishonest nonsense it is:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDgql-ToPmY

            stick to reliable sources for your science education. there are many frauds.

          • JamBar

            Starting with the macro world as an example does show my point of view – it appeared to me at the time that you were completely unfamiliar with the concept (because of your comment). I judged the macro example to be the best way to explain to a complete neophyte.

            Since I was wrong about that, maybe you do have a point. However, I’m totally not seeing it. How on earth does the observer effect have anything to do with proving the existence of a supernatural entity?

          • indorri

            For the love of….

            A quantum system is modeled as a complex-valued function as vector in some (potentially-infinite dimensional) Hilbert space. The observer effect in quantum mechanics is basically saying “a system including a measuring of an entangled system which collapses is itself represented by quantum systems, orthogonal to each other in same Hilbert space”.

            This occurs regardless of whether there are conscious beings around to see it. In fact, the point at which the previously mixed quantum state decoheres is the definition of a measurement.

        • Brian Pansky

          the observer effect doesn’t refer to a conscious observer. it’s a technical term.

          please also note that all known conscious minds are collections of active cells called neurons and stuff.

        • Stephen W.

          No!

    • Mario Strada

      Sorry, when and where has science “proved” a supreme creator?
      And science doesn’t “prove”, science explains actual phenomena. That’s why the highest form of “proof” in science is the Theory. Not intended as “I just woke up and pulled this out of my behind, but a consistent framework of observations describing a phenomena.

    • Stephen W.

      Name a one dimensional being. We’ve known about the three dimensions for some time. And, now everyone is all too eager to speculate about higher dimensional beings. Well, show me a lower one. We’ve had all this time – we’ve seen no single or two-dimensional beings.

      Also, you don’t understand the observer effect. Could it because you’ve never studied the math or physics of it?
      …I wonder.

      • Mack Stevens

        that Kardashian lady. That’s a one dimensional being.

        • Castilliano

          On the inside.
          On the outside…she has some serious dimensions.

        • Stephen W.

          Which one?

  • Roy

    If we want to sin, God lets us sin. If we want a life without God, we get an eternity without Him. We make our own decisions, and He respects that. Our world is filled with man’s evil, and God’s grace. Hell is a place devoid of this grace. Every Father makes rules, but we have to choose to follow them.

    • Joe

      So God intentionally deceives humanity – allowing some people to be born and die never having heard of Him – by making it so that a life without God (which is the life of many), appear perfectly fine, but then actually turn out to involve infinite torture… because He loves us?

      That’s not love, that’s psychopathy. Any omnipotent being who allows any other being to experience infinite suffering, for ANY “reason”, is infinitely worse than any human evildoer by sheer force of mathematics.

      • frankie frase

        i thought that too but in THE NICENE CREED it says when he comes back ¨He shall come again with glory to judge the living
        AND THE DEAD, and His kingdom shall have no end.¨ which suprised me but hey thats what it says, maybe thats why there are ghosts now ;)

        • Castilliano

          1) It already said as much in the Bible. And then he throws most into hell. (Rev 20:12 onward)

          2) Ghosts? Kidding I hope…

    • TheG

      If my toddler wants to take the bottle of Tylenol off the shelf and eat the whole bottle, his punishment should be death? If he wants to hit the cat, I should throw him in the fireplace? What kind of loving father would I be?

      You really don’t get the point of this article (or many others)?

      • catalinda8

        Abusive stalkers say, “I love you, but if you don’t love me back, then you must be punished!” In a human, it’s an evil sickness. How is it okay if it’s a god saying that? It’s sick and twisted.

        • frankie frase

          I dont take it as you are being punished , you choose to go against or void of God so therefore you follow that path. You are either for or against the unity. The eye in the illuminati means, I, not literal eye. They are a ¨service to self¨ club, which naturally worships the devil.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            Wow, did we just jump from the Epicurean riddle to the Illuminati? I think this conversation just hit a brick wall.

          • frankie frase

            don´t be so chained by societal tabus… you must connect all the injustices in order to wake up

          • Wyrd Wiles

            Point 1- It’s spelled Taboos
            Point 2- I’m not chained to anything. You’re the one who just jumped from the topic of “Hell” to the Illuminati.

            Point 3- Not all injustices are connected. If a young man dies in a tragic car accident, and another is gunned down in the street, both of these things are unfair, but they have nothing to do with one another.

            Point 4- What exactly am I waking up from by following a logically inconsistent leap from philosophy to conspiracy theories?
            Point 5- How do you know you’re not the dreamer?

          • frankie frase

            In the end, our choice in life is to work for society or either against it.. correct? In other words it can can mean you are a service to self or service to others type of person… correct? Also you can say you are with the unity or not.

            I hope you know of the many injustices your government is purposely creating.

            (your examples were accidents not events done on purpose from another to harm– but MONSANTO is on purpose to harm us and Obama just signed Monsanto Protection Act –> http://rt.com/usa/monsanto-bill-blunt-agriculture-006/ but test rats look like this http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/monsanto-corn-study-france_n_1896115.html so again is say WAKE UP) (thats one of many but monsanto is not so taboo anymore and many are enlightened on the fact)

            So what is monsanto, or the these corporations that our purposly harm us you ask? http://www.whiteoutpress.com/timeless/the-50-corporations-that-rule-the-world/

            As you can see its banking, medicines, media. In regards to media which is most prevalant in the common mans life- haven´t you noticed a degradation to character through culture do to music genre concepts or theories of living? Haven´t you noticed the rampant symbolism? ¨Culture drives behavior¨ -Milton Friedman. Those who have held the highest ranking positions in these companies have been caught in very odd rituals and/or practices. (Bohemian Grove, Bilderberg) Or even belonging to secret clubs/societies

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

            Search for yourself and keep searching. If there´s a bad guy, theres a good.

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Yes, in a Roadrunner sort of way.

          • JPC

            Dude, get some help. Delusions can be a nuisance.

        • Mack Stevens

          One of the best examples- thanks, Cat!

    • Foo

      “Gods” (all of them) are figments of human imagination. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Stephen W.

      Ah, reason is truly meaningless for the apologists for tyranny.
      Obey the boss or we’ll brake your legs. We respect your decision.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      That’s not love. It’s extortion. That’s not a loving god at all who’d do that. I don’t know what the next life contains, but I am pretty sure it looks absolutely nothing like what you describe simply because of how monstrous such an afterlife would be.

      • James Stevenson

        To be fair just because its monstrous doesn’t mean it couldn’t be true. I just (as an atheist myself) agree that such an event could never be the product of a loving entity. The whole justification is based around God being just simply because in theory he has the most power and we must bow to that. In the end hell is tied to fear.

        Everything else about him being all loving is just justification to try and put a positive spin on the central role of the fear aspect. Hell could be true, we could have most of humanity there. But does anyone with even a SHRED of empathy and recognition of what it would mean to endure that for even five minutes let alone eternity really think that is just? It just sounds like a reason to rebel against God than to serve him in all honesty.

        • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

          True dat. It might still be true, just horrifyingly evil. The character of “God” lies all through the Bible, starting with “don’t eat that fruit or you’ll die.” Why on earth would he be telling modern Christians the truth now? They’re banking a lot on him being truthful when the Bible doesn’t show him as being especially so.

          If I thought for one heartbeat that such a character were really really true and real, I’d be booking it straight to the rebellion that would be forming up in such a case. Even if I lost, even if rebellion were hopeless, I would not kowtow to such a being as would torture one single sentient human for even five minutes. I could not endure an afterlife of safety and comfort knowing that those who dissented were right then being tortured.

          • Tom

            Did Adam and Eve not die?!

          • Kevin R. Cross

            Not then. And not because they ate the fruit – according to the fairy tale, God imposed that upon them as a punishment.

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Oh, eventually, but you can’t tell me the myth doesn’t make it sound like the deaths would be immediate–like from choking or poison or something.

          • Stephen W.

            It does. That’s God’s lie. “‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent in this story is the only honest one.

            Hail satan m/ ?

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Exactly. Obviously the serpent was the good guy here–he helped humanity grow up!

          • James Stevenson

            That’s thing really. The obsession with heaven and eternal life as a ‘reward’ seems to completely decimate believers empathy systems. How in the world does the thought of anyone, even those Christians admit are good people even if they don’t accept Jesus, suffering eternally not illicting a completely destroyed emotional state if you truly thought that was true? I don’t see how its possible to claim ‘god makes me moral’ and smugly think about how all those non-believers are gonna suffer forever at the same time.

    • mdoc

      Do you understand that you cannot force yourself to believe in what you reason tells you is not true? For example, I assume you do not believe in Hindu gods. You can no more chose to believe in those gods than I can chose to believe in the Christian version of God. Faith is not an on and off switch that a person simply chooses to flip.

    • Randy Wanat

      Have you kissed Hank’s ass?
      http://youtu.be/yRT3a2lGv3E

    • EdmondWherever

      An eternity WITHOUT him? That doesn’t sound like hell to me. Who is stoking those flames? Who is providing the energy which powers the heat of hell? The eternal torture of TRILLIONS of people will be extremely energy intensive. Someone will have to give it constant attention to keep it running. Where will all that attention and energy come from? Would it not be God who supplies it? With a conscious and deliberate effort? That sounds like a direct, continued interaction with God, not an eternity “without” him.
      .
      Did you read the article? Did you hear the atheist’s arguments? You say that God “respects” our decisions. But if we make the WRONG decision, and we make it based on the limited information available, or we make it based on our best efforts of reason and logic, is eternal painful existence really what we DESERVE? Is it really “respect” if that’s what God gives us for our “decision”? This omniscient, all-loving being who chose to create humans capable of pain, couldn’t come up with ANY other options for expressing his love than saddling them with eternal pain?

      • TjValion68

        You must not have read the bible. God gave us Jesus. He gave us everything we need to know about our creation, our choice in eternity. You either believe or you don’t. I myself believe the bible over the faith (unproven science) of evolution.

        • Wyrd Wiles


          (unproven science) of evolution”

          You keep using those words. I don’t think they mean what you think they mean.

          • Castilliano

            I think TJ does, but has never actually looked at a book on evolution. It has more evidence than the theory of relativity (which gave us the bomb) or the theory of gravity (still not spinning off Earth? Yep, whew) or EVERY other scientific theory there is. (A scientific theory being an explanatory system with zero contradictions (otherwise it gets revised so as to better explain reality), not your household ‘just a theory’ or guess.)

            No faith needed, other than faith in evidence.
            (As opposed to anecdotes or coincidence or feelings.)

            What’s worse is TJ believes an all powerful god sacrificing his son is a good thing.
            Oh wait, himself. To appease…himself?
            Because…?
            He needs blood? Death?
            Oh, wait, but not really dead. So no sacrifice?
            And this is all indicative of love how?

            Cheers.

        • Mack Stevens

          Again, you don’t understand what certain words mean; much like a parrot regurgitates what it is told.

          • Tom

            Mack, were you burned by the church at some point in your life? After looking at all of your posts on this topic and others like it one can certainly see a theme. It is unfortunate that you feel the need to be so hateful and well, quite frankly, immature in your responses to TjV, or anyone else who believes that Jesus is the Savior. You do your cause an injustice by being so childish. Try to prove your point with character.

        • EdmondWherever

          Do you understand that if we were wrong about evolution, we would not be able to produce vaccines? If we incorrectly understood how organisms respond genetically to environmental pressures, this effective science would not exist. Evolution is not unproven.

          .

          But God did NOT give us EVERYTHING we need to know about our creation, or our choices in eternity. The claims from the Bible are not the only ones out there. God has allowed a proliferation of competing claims and contradictory religions that are ALSO among our choices, with no way to be sure that those are the wrong choice. Billions of people have made choices OTHER than Christianity, based on evidence that convinces them.

          .

          Is it the claim of YOUR religion that all those people are doomed to hell, because they made the wrong choice about what to believe? And you’re saying you don’t understand why I might not think that represents a perfect morality handed down by the creator of the entire universe? Do you really not get why some people might not think this is a sound system of justice?

          .

          I’ve read SOME of the Bible. Up through Judges, and then here and there. I’m working on it. But I read where God gave Jacob striped baby goats, because Jacob painted stripes on some sticks near the babies mating parents. I read where world languages were created when God got spooked by an ambitious architectural project, and decided that humans working together was a bad thing. I read where human life magically sprung from the dirt, and from a rib, and then was saddled with evil when the first woman ate from a magic tree that somehow contained the knowledge of good and evil in its fruit. I’ve read things that are such egregious contradictions of reality that they could be nothing but the myths of primitives. I’ve read such examples of genocide, betrayal, deceit, misogyny and slavery, not only commanded by God but also rewarded, that it could be nothing but the writings of barbarians who hope to justify their brutality by inventing its divine sanction.
          .
          If you either believe or you don’t, then I don’t. I can’t. I couldn’t force myself to believe that this ancient conconction is true, any more than I could force myself to believe in the Greek Pantheon, or the Nordic Asgard. I must have evidence before I’ll call a speculation a “belief”. I see plenty of evidence that the Bible is a collection of myths and stories of the ancient Middle East, much like other similar collections around the world, from throughout history. When it comes to presenting evidence, science is the leading participant.

    • Nemo

      The Bible makes it clear Hell is a place where Yahweh actively inflicts pain on you. Depart from me ye cursed, into the flames PREPARED for the devil. Hell was a created place, intended to inflict pain. The Bible also mentions vessels of wrath, and pouring out of wrath. This isn’t some out of sight, out of mind place. Yahweh giving you the choice to worship him or suffer the torture chamber is no different from Kim Jong Un giving you pretty much that exact same choice. Although, that’s not fair. Kim Jong Un is finished with you once you’re dead.

      • Mack Stevens

        And why would you believe this bible? Why would you choose to worship such a petulant, brattish child?

        • Nemo

          I’m an atheist. Read the whole post.

      • Madison Blane

        In psychology, this is called a ‘bounded choice’.

      • http://mikemoorehome.com/ mike moore

        I’m not sure what you mean here … but the end of my sinful, God-rejecting, life will mean my entry into permanent Hawaii. Cocktails, boys in tight swimsuits, and a tubular, green-room, life.

    • Mack Stevens

      If you want to proclaim an ancient myth to be your father, please do so. The rest of us who can reason will be backing slowly toward the door…

      • Tom

        One day, Mack, you will not have to reason anymore. It will be made perfectly clear to you. Of this you can be sure- your knee will bow and your tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

        • Madison Blane

          He will have an awful lot of explaining to do LONG before that scenario ever takes place!

    • Goape

      The point of this article is that gods inaction is contrary to love. If your mother chose to harm herself would you just cross your arms and leave her to her self mutilations (i.e. respect her decision)?

    • Madison Blane

      This is the very definition of a ‘bounded choice’. Statements such as “You aren’t held by chains; you can do what you want”, which are then followed by dire repercussions if an unpopular or wrong choice is made, demonstrate the confusion inherent in such environments. Bounded Choice is more commonly known as the (negative) Double Bind.
      Those raised with the double bind as a method of control learn that recovery can be especially daunting. Leaving an authoritarian climate only to struggle making simple, daily decisions.
      While being a Christian blog, Commandments of Men has excellent articles written on this subject and how it leads to a learned helplessness, for those who would like to be further educated on it.
      http://thecommandmentsofmen.blogspot.com/search?q=Bounded+Choice

  • http://codybateman.org/ ★ William Cody Bateman ★

    This whole thread has become so…. I don’t know…. irrelevant. Either one accepts Jesus Christ is the One True God or not. Each person must, in the end, stand on one side or the other. For me? I confess that Jesus Christ is my God, my Lord and my Deliverer. He is Israel’s Messiah. I have made my declaration. Just saying…

    • cemetery

      ::whispers:: Re-read your ten commandments.

    • JPC

      Dude, read the Bible. Read the material so commonly available. Christianity is not moral, is not consistent, is not logical and is not compassionate. Under no circumstances should any of us surrender our intellect and free will to blind faith in something for which there remains no evidence.

      If you have the time, try to understand how the human mind functions. How it finds patterns where none exist. It’s really very revealing and helped me easily see how Paul could have his delusional fit, how others can believe they’ve been “visited by the holy spirit”… I’ll say it again, there remains no evidence of God where there really SHOULD be evidence.

      Michael Shermer and VS Ramachandran, TED talks are a good starting point.

      • TjValion68

        There is no proof of evolution either. So where does that leave us? No evolution, no supernatural power…..how did humanity become humanity?

        • Wyrd Wiles

          There is no proof of evolution? More like you choose to ignore it.

        • DyslexicDNA

          You don’t prove things in science. There is, however, a mountain of evidence in support of the theory of evolution, which is the current, and only, scientific explanation for the diversity of life on this planet.

          The goddidit explanation is 1) not scientific, and 2) unsupported by evidence because it’s an appeal to magic.

        • Nemo

          Aside from fossils of human ancestors, the genetic evidence of common descent, the fact that Y Chromosome Adam is far older than the Bible claims the earth to be, the fact that Mitochondrial Eve wasn’t even a human, vestigial structures such as manatee fingernails, human toenails, and earlobes.

        • Mack Stevens

          Evolution.

        • Kevin R. Cross

          There is massive proof of evolution. That evolution happens is a fact – all that the current theory, the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, does is explain HOW.
          You cannot win this argument, because you are not arguing with us. You are arguing with reality.

        • JPC

          Try again- there is TONS of proof about evolution- overwhelming amounts. DNA links, fossil record, evidence that with each generation there are minute variations in DNA and that some fo those variations (those that are more conducive to survival) actually survive and reproduce at a slightly more successful rate… Fruit Flies, antibiotic-resistant bacteria…

          The things people don’t realize about evolution- one, it is very slow, takes many lifetimes for visible change (that’s why a short-lifetime life form like bacteria can show it) and two, one species doesn’t “change into” another, it’s a set of gradual changes, with occasional forks in the path that result in a new species.

          Evidence for evolution is overwhelming.

        • Goape

          So your point is that you don’t believe in anything, which renders you free to make up whatever you want. Even if we had no idea (by ignoring all the evidence for evolution) why would we be able to suppose anything to be correct? Why isn’t your stance firmly “I don’t know”?

    • Matt Hunter

      Sucks to be you

    • zenality

      Besides, Israelites would disagree with you about their messiah.

    • DonRappe

      If you think the question you ask is central to Christianity, it may be that you are unfamiliar with the teachings associated in the Bible with Jesus.

    • Stephen W.

      No one cares what you “confess.” least of all anyone on the internet.

      Nice to see a christian adopting the language of the persecuted for a change, btw. confess? come on. You claim, you do not confess – be honest with yourself for christ sake.

      • B Dallmann

        “for christ sake.”

        Oooh, the irony.

    • Randy Wanat

      What are you going to do when you find yourself before Osiris?

    • averydashwood

      And everyone on Earth who doesn’t worship Jesus goes to hell where they suffer forever? That’s the point of this debate.

    • Mack Stevens

      Just laughing….

  • DonRappe

    Blessed are the poor. With this first and probably most authentic of his teachings, Jesus tell us whom he expects to inherit the kingdom of heaven. I try to pay attention.

    • Castilliano

      How about really exploring that sermon:

      wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Sermon_on_the_mount#Detailed_commentary

  • Ryan Taylor

    Christianity is dumb.

  • textjunkie

    got to admit John, your commenting audience has changed since you switched to patheos…

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    There’s one thing that alarms me more than Christians who’ve managed to turn the idea of eternal Hell into a win for their moral system, and that one thing is the ones who are downright giddy about the idea of sinners “getting what’s coming to them” for dissenting. You wouldn’t believe the downright lurid threats I’ve gotten from evangelicals especially, right down to exactly how long the sex organs of the demons raping me will be. They’re put some thought into this fantasy, and that is what disturbs me the most.

  • http://spiritnewsdaily.com/ Donovan Moore

    Wow, that’s exactly the reason I left fundamentalist Christianity. I asked the same questions. They always told us that God is both Love and Just. I asked them if sending one to an eternal hell for simply not accepting Jesus is a just punishment. It would be like if your child disobeyed a parent and the parent said, Son, sorry, but I know I could ground you for a week, buy I’m loving and just, so I need to torture you in that closet for the rest of your life. Yeah, ok, makes sense to me.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      Exactly. If it’s a free gift, then there shouldn’t be any penalty for refusing it. And if it was even the least bit fair, there’d be crystal-clear evidence for the threat and equally clear instructions for avoiding it.

      I spent a lot of time freaked out and crying and praying over my loved ones who were sending themselves to an eternity in Hell according to my ideology. I cared. I didn’t want that for them. I was panicked. What I didn’t realize was that I should have been objecting to the eternal torture itself, not applauding the being who had, apparently, set it up. The more I thought about it the more I realized that such an obscenely punitive and cruel bit of overkill could only exist to scare the daylights out of anybody who might dissent. It’s just too much obscene evil in one place for it to be the truth. Maybe that’s my “just world hypothesis” peeking out again though.

  • Wyrd Wiles

    The sad part is, this isn’t even a new argument. Epicurus made this argument in 300 BCE. That’s well over two THOUSAND years people have had to ponder this, and apologists STILL can’t answer this one.

  • TjValion68

    The Bible says that God prepared hell for the devil and his demonic cohorts (Matthew 25:41), that He is “…not wishing for any [person] to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9), and that He has done everything possible to save us from that terrible, terrible place. Yet in the end God will not violate or overrule the deliberate choice of those who consciously and willfully turn away from Him.- God DOES love all of us. But we are given free will. If you turn your back on God, you have CHOSEN hell. It’s FREE WILL. Your deliberate attempt to discredit Christianity is childish. If you don’t want to believe in Christ (don’t want to be held accountable for your immoral actions in life), that is the freedom of choice God has granted you. I’ll ask you this, what makes more sense: Faith in God, or faith in evolution. Evolution is a faith in unproven science.

    • TjValion68

      I love people who vote negative, but can’t post an argument WHY they don’t agree. Your negative vote is mute.

      • Castilliano

        Ow, wow, an assertion without evidence. Why am I not surprised?

        All these people countering my arguments…but they couldn’t possibly be the ones downvoting me too.
        Nope.
        Cowards.

        TJ, you’ve gone beyond the pale. Good luck, and hopefully you’ll look back at this and blanch at your former self.

      • averydashwood

        Please tell me why Danny Rolling’s will gets Gods protection and his victims’ wills do not.

      • Mack Stevens

        Your crass ignorance and parrotry of superstition is so loud, so thunderous, that a negative need not have voice.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Nobody has to. Burden of proof is on you. You’re not shouldering it, though. I wonder why.

      • Goape

        Mute means silent. A negative vote is an expression—by definition, not mute.

        Did you mean moot?

    • averydashwood

      God loves our free will. He loves it so much he allows people like Danny Rolling to murder people because that was his free will to do so. The will of his victims not to be raped, murdered and mutilated is of so little concern to God that he didn’t lift a pinky finger to help them. But it’s cool because Rolling is now in hell forever where he can commiserate with people who rejected the Christian God, such as most of the people who have ever lived on this planet. But God loves them all very much. Oh, and his mercy is endless.

    • Wyrd Wiles

      Point 1- All you just did was parrot the argument that the atheist in this story ALREADY SHOT DOWN.

      “That I made that mistake doesn’t alter the fact that God has chosen to punish
      me for that mistake by forcing me to spend eternity being physically
      tortured. And anyone who would choose for me to suffer horribly throughout eternity as punishment for doing nothing more egregious than using the mind he gave me cannot possibly love me. Under no definition of the word would doing anything so unconscionable qualify as love.”

    • Wyrd Wiles

      Point 2- Evolution is a faith in unproven science?

      More like science you refuse to see. You want evidence? Fine. Have you ever seen a Chihuahua? They sure didn’t start out that way. Thousands of generations of selective breeding changed a wild wolf-like lupine, into the tiny shivering Canine you see today. Evolution. Right in front of you. Yapping obnoxiously in your face.

      • TjValion68

        Chihuahua and “wild wolf-like lupine” are of the same physical being. Show me proof of Man linked to something other than the ape. You can’t. There is NO PROOF of species CHANGING into a completely separate species (fish to ape). You have no “link”.

        • Castilliano

          No, really, there are lots of missing links. Which is actually amazing given that they have to remain discrete after so much time.
          The gradations are minor, but there are many examples where a species has forked into several much different species.
          Here are several examples:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_tree
          It has links to lots more.

          Give up the “faith in evolution” argument. For now.
          At least until you actually know what’s known about evolution. For your own sake. You’re undermining your arguments.

          Cheers.

          • TjValion68

            The theory of evolution seeks to answer questions about prehistory without being able to actually observe it. True science is based on observation, but prehistory cannot be observed. At best you might be able to dig a hole in the ground, pull something out of it, and draw some hypothetical conclusions. This creates a problem for the proponents of evolution who want to fill in this impossible knowledge gap with a belief system, and in so doing, they insert a theory that is consistent with their present worldview. Nevertheless, there are a number of problems.

            First, the theory of evolution only explains how life might change or improve after basic life already exists. At the time the theory was originally constructed, basic life was thought to be relatively simple- something that a lightning strike into a “primordial soup” might produce. Science now knows that even the most basic life appears to require an astounding level of complexity- literally millions of times beyond what we previously thought, and well beyond what we currently understand. More importantly, a vast number of critical elements must all be simultaneously in place for a simple cell to simply function, and then vastly more so for it to reproduce, and then vastly more upon that for a multi-cellular organism itself to function and reproduce. This is sometimes called “irreducible complexity”. As a thought experiment, consider the relative simplicity of a mobile phone. Then consider how complex that phone would have to be to be capable of fully reproducing itself and, in effect, create a good (if not superior) copy. It is insufficient to say that natural selection is adequate to explain the origin of such complex basic life because it literally makes no attempt.

            Second, the long amounts of time evolution purports to require creates a number inconsistencies which we can now observe. Each time an animal is said to change, or evolve, it would leave behind an ancestor. As a thought experiment, consider the animal with no toes, then next one is born with a toe on each foot, then next a variant with four toes, then six, then eight, then finally ten. Next there is one with one two fingers, then four, then six, then eight, then ten. This is an over-simplification because a single finger or toe is already quite complex. The staggering permutations ask us to believe that before there were modern humans there would be literally millions of variations. You would expect to find these variations in fossil records, but they simply are not there.

            You are asked to believe that we have well preserved remains of creatures that lived before modern humans (dinosaurs) but cannot find the countless remains of millions of [arguably] more successful human variations that lived more recently. There would equally need to be millions of dinosaur variants. Where is the two-toothed T-Rex? The four-toothed? The six-toothed?

            Another problem with the time required for evolution is population growth. In order for natural selection to function, you must believe that when an animal develops an advantage over another it will thrive to the point of selecting-out the inferior animal. If an animal thrives enough to extinguish another animal, you would expect “thriving” to including “reproducing” at a reasonable level- enough to grow a population. This begs the question, why was there not a population of billions of humans (such as there is today) tens of thousands of years ago? This is a mathematical quandary. Depending on your rate of reproduction, it only takes a few thousand years to achieve the population levels we have today. For example, if you assume a population doubling just once every one-hundred years and start with two people you can achieve a population of over sixteen billion in only thirty-four generations, or 3400 years. If you assume only the most recent generation would be still alive, that is still over eight billion people. Current population levels are consistent with the Biblical worldview of a young earth, and not with hundreds of thousands of years of mankind experiencing “thriving evolution”.

            On the other hand, tens of thousands of years of “no population growth” means stagnation. If any small population remains growth stagnant, why would not disease, or flood, or earthquake, or famine – simply just wipe them away? How vulnerable would small communities of humans living over tens of thousands of years be that never grew? Evolution asks you to believe that the ever-evolving human population did not significantly grow, and did not significantly shrink, but simply remained roughly the same for hundreds of thousands of years (without being snuffed out)—only to explode in population at about the same time that “recorded history” happens to begin, coincidentally coinciding with the biblical account, about five and a half thousand years ago.

            And lastly, God recorded in the Bible that he made man in his own image.

          • Iothisk

            That’s fascinating. how many other ways do you have of intentionally misunderstanding evolution?

          • Castilliano

            Yeah, he missed the part about how we’re lucky to have as many fossils as we do.
            And that they map evolutionary progression really well.
            And then mixes in non-evolutionary aspects like ‘origin of life’. It’s ‘origin of species’, that’s all.
            And thinks scientists don’t acknowledge complexity? While introducing a non-evidenced infinitely complex being?

            He’s memorized his apologetics textbook, and darn him if he’s going to call that a waste of time.

          • Mack Stevens

            I think you do not understand what the word “theory” means.

          • DyslexicDNA

            If Tj applied the same flawed rationale he uses for evolution on his bible, he’d have to throw out the entire thing.

          • Nemo

            If science is only based on direct observation, tell the Supreme Court to strike down all cases using forensic evidence.
            As for why the earth didn’t have a population in the billions, I must say that you continue to surprise me. Populations in the last century have increased at a MUCH higher rate than in the past. In the past, populations did remain much the same, depending on the carrying capacity of the land. As technology increased, humans have been capable of existing in much greater numbers. So prehistoric man would not have a population in the billions, because they lacked the technology to provide for such a population.

          • B Dallmann

            “There’s not enough proof of evolution, therefore it MUST be false!!!”

            “I don’t need proof of God. I have faith.”

            -_-

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Proof: I don’t think that word means what TJ thinks it means. All TJ had to say was “I really don’t understand the theory of evolution at all or the concept of modification with descent.” We’d have had a chuckle together and someone would have set him/her straight.

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            You say “lastly,” but the truth is that you took that reason first and have listened to a lot of bullpuckey from a lot of desperate evangelical Christians writing a lot of pseudo-science junk to make evolution look suspicious and weak. Alas, you failed. Evolution is actually the backbone of modern biology and has been shown to be true by a dozen different disciplines. Your inability to understand it and your desperate need for it to be untrue only highlights why your faith is weak and your religion immoral. Little lie, big lie. If your religion has to lie about something like evolution, what else must it lie about?

            For that matter, why aren’t you up in arms about other theories that the Bible contradicts, like the Theory of Gravity or Germ Theory?

            Next time you get a vaccination for yourself or your children, next time you go to a hospital for help with a disease, next time you wash your hands, next time you cook dinner for yourself, you are using principles of evolution. While you were flailing around trying to use junk science to “disprove” one of the major precepts of real science, the rest of us were using that exact science to make your world safer, better, tastier, easier, and less expensive.

            You’re welcome.

          • faithnomore

            seriously? Stop reading silly christian rants about evolution and actually study and understand evolution. I suggest you start with a visit to talkorigins.org, where all your old arguments have already been long debunked.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            “The theory of evolution seeks to answer questions about
            prehistory without being able to actually observe it. True science is based on observation, but prehistory cannot be observed. At best you might be able to dig a hole in the ground, pull something out of it, and draw some hypothetical conclusions.”

            - Just because something cannot be observed while in progress, does not mean that it cannot be analyzed. When detectives are investigating a homicide, they piece together the events by analyzing the evidence. This isn’t just “digging a hole and guessing”; it’s careful inspection by trained professionals. The police don’t just find a red hair, take a wild stab in the dark, and arrest the nearest ginger. They look at ALL of the evidence, determine what the hair is, how it got there, and then investigate who it might belong to via logical deduction and scientific testing.
            Likewise, anthropologists, archaeologists, paleontologists, etc. don’t just dig up some bones and take a wild guess. Each discovery has to be placed in context. It has to be checked against, and integrated into the existing body of evidence.

            “This creates a problem for the proponents of evolution who want to fill in this impossible knowledge gap with a belief system, and in so doing, they insert a theory that is consistent with their present worldview. Nevertheless, there are a number of problems.”

            - Do you view the Theory of Gravity as a “belief system”?
            Maybe it’s just part of your present worldview…

            “First, the theory of evolution only explains how life might
            change or improve after basic life already exists. “

            -Correct! The theory of evolution does not say anything about the origin of organic life. For that we have other theories like Abiogenesis. Complaining that evolution doesn’t explain the event that spawn biological life on earth, is like complaining that the theory of gravity doesn’t explain how birds fly. Those are two separate questions.

            “At the time the theory was originally constructed, basic life was thought to be relatively simple- something that a lightning strike into a “primordial soup” might produce. “

            -Wrong! The concept of “Primordial soup”, and later Abiogenesis, didn’t exist until the 1900′s. So No, that was NOT the idea that the theory was based upon, because that idea didn’t exist yet.

            “Science now knows that even the most basic life appears to require an astounding level of complexity- literally millions of times beyond what we previously thought,”

            - True

            “and well beyond what we currently understand.”

            - False -> (http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/05/ribonucleotides/)

            “More importantly, a vast number of critical elements must all be simultaneously in place for a simple cell to simply function, and then vastly more so for it to reproduce, and then vastly more upon that for a multi-cellular organism itself to function and reproduce.
            This is sometimes called “irreducible complexity”.”

            - Irreducible Complexity has a lot of logical faults. If you want to know more about that, watch THIS:
            (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W96AJ0ChboU)

            “As a thought experiment, consider the relative simplicity of a mobile phone. Then consider how complex that phone would have to be to be capable of fully reproducing itself and, in effect, create a good (if not superior) copy. It is insufficient to say that natural
            selection is adequate to explain the origin of such complex basic life because it literally makes no attempt. “

            - This is a faulty analogy, because phones don’t reproduce. (Even if a mommy phone and a daddy phone love each-other VERY much.) A better analogy would be the steady progression and improvement of cell-phone technology over the past few decades. The earliest
            specimens were unique in their ability to leave the wall. This adaptation offered greater mobility, and a higher potential for use in making phone calls (which is the cell phones primary mode of subsistence). More portable models became more popular, so with each generation the cellular phone became smaller, lighter, and more
            portable. Those that didn’t, died out because nobody bought them. This is natural selection. The more successful model outsells it’s competitors, and contributes it’s technology to the overall progression of the machine. To reduce the modern product to it’s
            former shape wouldn’t just mean removing or cutting out some trinket that didn’t exist then. It would mean recreating the system that preceded the current model. By your logic, it should be IMPOSSIBLE to recreate the oldest cellphones, because we have smart phones now…

            “Second, the long amounts of time evolution purports to require creates a number inconsistencies which we can now observe. Each time an animal is said to change, or evolve, it would leave behind an ancestor. As a thought experiment, consider the animal with no toes, then next one is born with a toe on each foot, then next a variant
            with four toes, then six, then eight, then finally ten. Next there is one with one two fingers, then four, then six, then eight, then ten. This is an over-simplification because a single finger or toe is already quite complex. The staggering permutations ask us to believe that before there were modern humans there would be literally
            millions of variations. You would expect to find these variations in fossil records, but they simply are not there.“

            - That’s not just wrong, that’s SUPER WRONG. In fact there are a LOT of variations of the hominid line that didn’t make the grade. Paranthropus Aethiopicus, Robustus, and Boisei were all part of a group of early hominids that branched off from the line that would later produce Homo Sapiens. These would be those “variations” you were just claiming don’t exist. Seriously. Books. Read them.

            “You are asked to believe that we have well preserved remains of creatures that lived before modern humans (dinosaurs) but cannot find the countless remains of millions of [arguably] more successful human
            variations that lived more recently. “

            - This is because the conditions required to fossilize skeletal remains are somewhat difficult to find. It requires a lot of variables to line up to preserve something so old. You’re average human skeleton in the grave yard will NOT fossilize. Thus future archaeologists looking for skeletons from our era are going to have a rough time. Likewise, the environments in which our ancestors lived were not always conducive to fossilization.

            “There would equally need to be millions of dinosaur variants. Where is the two-toothed T-Rex? The four-toothed? The six-toothed?”

            - Again, Books. Read them. (http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/files/2012/12/Raptorex_family_tree.jpg)
            There are plenty of known variations from the line that produced the T-rex. The above link will show you a few of them.
            As far as the evolution of teeth goes, that’s not generally how that works. A species wouldn’t evolve one tooth at a time. Before a species developed teeth, it would likely have some other form of masticating device. For example many early reptiles have sharp bone ridges, rather than actual teeth.

            “Another problem with the time required for evolution is
            population growth. In order for natural selection to function, you must believe that when an animal develops an advantage over another it will thrive to the point of selecting-out the inferior animal. “

            - True, but please keep in mind that the other animal is adapting too.

            ” If an animal thrives enough to extinguish another animal, you would expect “thriving” to including “reproducing” at a reasonable level- enough to grow a population. This begs the question, why was there not a population of billions of humans (such as there is today) tens of thousands of years ago?

            - Sometimes, but not always. For example: Say lions developed a spinal trait that allowed them to run faster. (Like a Cheetah). This is a HUGE advantage, and if the antelope didn’t adapt somehow to counter it, they would be at a major disadvantage. The lion population would boom due to the excess food. Now there’s a problem. With more and more lions (designed to hunt and eat antelope) being born, more and more antelope are being killed off. Soon there’s a shortage. Maybe the antelope even goes extinct. Now the lions must adapt and find a new food source or they’ll die. The other creatures in the area have also been adapting to this change, and finding new ways to avoid the super fast lions. So now, when the lions go to find other food sources, they are too specialized to be able to catch it. Thus, the super fast lions go extinct.
            This kind of thing happens ALL THE TIME in nature, and it’s why you don’t see those massive levels of population growth. Our species survives at these levels because we’ve adapted to do so by developing modern agriculture. Our ancient ancestors didn’t have that, and thus their populations levels were limited by the available resources in their environment.

            “This is a mathematical quandary. ”

            - Not really. You just failed to account for all the variables.

            ” Depending on your rate of reproduction, it only takes a few thousand years to achieve the population levels we have today. ”

            - If by “a few” you mean “Hundreds of thousands”

            ” For example, if you assume a population doubling just once every one-hundred years and start with two people you can achieve a population of over sixteen billion in only thirty-four generations, or 3400 years. ”

            - If you start with two people, you don’t have enough genetic diversity to survive. Do you know what happens when brothers and sisters breed? Repetitively? Because that’s what your scenario leads to. Adam and Eve boffing their own children, who are also boffing each other. The third generation could have serious genetic
            defects. The fourth would be even more likely to have fatal defects. Your two person scenario leads to the death of the species.

            ” If you assume only the most recent generation would be still alive, that is still over eight billion people.”

            - If you completely disregard all the factors which usually
            kill people off, sure. Never mind how many of those born died within their first year of life, or in utero. Never mind all the natural disasters, food shortages, wars, murders… you get the idea. People die. LOTS of people die. In most of the world, most people die before they get a chance to breed.

            “Current population levels are consistent with the Biblical
            worldview of a young earth, and not with hundreds of thousands of years of mankind experiencing “thriving evolution”.”

            - Absolutely NOTHING is consistent with the Young Earth theory. It contradicts ALL KNOWN EVIDENCE regarding the age of the earth the the patterns of life on our planet. Your theory is based on ONE book written by bronze age sheep herders, who thought the world was flat and the sun circled it every day. There is NO PART of this theory
            that has ANY evidence backing it AT ALL.

            ” On the other hand, tens of thousands of years of “no population growth” means stagnation. If any small population remains growth stagnant, why would not disease, or flood, or earthquake, or famine -
            simply just wipe them away? ”

            - Oh, NOW you remember to count those variables!

            ” How vulnerable would small communities of humans living over tens of thousands of years be that never grew? ”

            - Extremely vulnerable. In fact, most of them died. That’s why we didn’t hit the billions mark until now. You just defeated you ownargument.

            “Evolution asks you to believe that the ever-evolving human population did not significantly grow, and did not significantly shrink, but simply remained roughly the same for hundreds of thousands of years (without being snuffed out)—only to explode in population at about the same time that “recorded history” happens to begin, “

            - Yes, at several points in our evolutionary history we
            reproduced at about the same rate that the world killed us off. That’s not stagnation, that’s a stalemate. Why the sudden explosion? Technology. Our population boomed when we figured out how to grow our own food, tend to our wounded, and shelter ourselves from the elements. That’s why our population hit the billions. Without our technology, we’d still be struggling out in the wild, with significantly smaller numbers. This happened SIGNIFICANTLY before recorded history, by the way. We didn’t start writing things down until MUCH later.

            “coincidentally coinciding with the biblical account, about five and a half thousand years ago.”

            - Never mind that the bible is FAR from the oldest written text. (Which is believed to be the Kish Tablet, written nearly 3000 years before the oldest parts of the bible existed). Sorry to burst your bubble, but civilization existed for thousands of years before the Hebrew peoples wrote down their mythology.

            “And lastly, God recorded in the Bible that he made man in his own image.”

            - So… What? Because it’s in a book, it MUST be true! Right?

          • Guest

            Brilliantly written, thanks. Clouldn’t articulate it better myself.

          • JPC

            Brilliantly written, thanks. Couldn’t articulate it any better.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            Thanks :) That took longer to write then I’d like to admit, so I’m glad somebody bothered to read the whole thing! LoL

          • Goape

            You don’t actually observe anything truly current. What you see is always some varying degree of the physical past that has been transmitted to your brain, via your eyes, by light from whatever object(s) you’re observing. I don’t think you’re in any position to criticise historical science or, through such criticism, passively endorse experimental science—which fails outright to find evidence of gods.

            If you’re really interested, I’ll refer you to Shea (1982) and Cleland (2001). You may also want to read up on some of William Whewell’s works—he coined the term “scientist” and was a prominent defender of the historical sciences.

        • Mack Stevens

          and YOU can’t separate fact from fantasy. Do you really believe that a magic man in the sky will grant you eternal life and take you to a wonderful place where the streets are gold? Hell, Harry Potter makes more sense.

        • Wyrd Wiles

          Ahem. Lupine and Canine ARE separate species. Related? Sure! The same? No. There are thousands of species of Frogs in the world. These are separate, independent species, which cannot interbreed. Just because they all look similarly “frog like” does not make them the same thing.

    • axelbeingcivil

      Doesn’t the notion of free will sort of jibe directly against the declaration of an all-powerful being? If, by definition, a being is defined as omniscient – all-knowing – then they must know what you will do before you do it. Whence forth then can come free will?

      This is basic logic here, mind you; free will is incompatible with cause and effect, too – choices must either be deterministic or random, there isn’t really any middle-ground – but even setting that aside, you have to concede the notion that, if the being you call God is all-knowing, created the universe, created humanity, etc., then said being must also ultimately have been aware that the set of circumstances of Creation it set in motion would have the definitive and absolute outcome in this way, every time.

      In short, if you believe your deity is omniscient and created you, are they therefore not fully responsible for everything you do, simply by dint of knowing what you would do exactly even before they created you?

      • Tony Priddy

        Hear, hear!!

      • TjValion68

        Again, the devil controls the earth. Life on earth is a struggle between the devil and faith in God. The devil influences us while we are here on earth. God is AWARE of our choices. He gives us free will to decide between good and evil. If you don’t want to believe, don’t. That’s free will. But the bible makes more sense than evolution.

        • Kevin R. Cross

          Only if you know nothing about evolution.

        • Nemo

          Why do you keep bringing up your weak understanding of evolution? Even if evolution were proved false, that wouldn’t prove your religion correct.

        • Mack Stevens

          Only to a closed minded feeb who has been indoctrinated.

        • B Dallmann

          You’re ignoring the entirety of what axelbeingcivil just said. If you claim that your god knows everything, then he must have known before you were born exactly what you were going to do before you did. Every little thing. He must know who is going to believe in him and who isn’t. Not only is he AWARE of our choices, as you say, but he knows of them beforehand. When he created us, he created every choice we ever make, because he knows how it will turn out. Ultimately, doesn’t that make it his fault for what we end up believing?

        • faithnomore

          Is the devil more powerful than God? Back to the same arguments others have made…if God loved us and all the other claims you make are true, then he should get rid of the devil. By your own bible, God has the hairs of our head numbered. He knows exactly when each of us will be born and when we will die. Everything happens according to his divine plan. How do I have free will if my free will goes against God’s divine plan?

          • J. P.

            Just how might an adoring and capable mother or father really feel if they were openly charged of being deceptive to their young children , abusing their authority over them , as well as withholding what they need from them ? Could they disprove those slanderous allegations by physically attacking their accuser ? Certainly not ! Without a doubt , by responding like this , they would give credibility to the charges .

            This depiction really helps to clarify Jehovah God’s strategy for managing a challenge brought up against him at the dawn of man’s historical past in a region identified as Eden . There God Almighty announced to the very first pair of human beings , Adam and Eve , a fantastic undertaking . These were to fill up the globe , take care of it , and thus transform it into a worldwide paradise . ( Genesis 1 :28 )

            Truly being a big-hearted Father , Jehovah handed Adam and Eve an exquisite haven home with all of its succulent fruits . Just one tree was not in bounds for them—“the tree of the knowledge of good and bad .” By avoiding this tree , Adam and Eve would certainly display their absolute trust in their Father , accepting that he had the right to determine that which was right and wrong for his children .—Genesis 2 :16 , 17 .

            Lamentably , one amongst God’s spirit sons , inspired by the want to be worshiped , led Eve to believe that when she consumed the outlawed fruit , she would never perish . ( Genesis 2 :17 ; 3 :1-5 ) And so , this wicked angel , Satan , flagrantly contradicted God , in effect calling him a liar ! To boot , Satan proceeded to criticize God of withholding critical facts from Adam and Eve . Mankind , Satan suggested , could determine on their own what is actually good and what is bad . Stated more forcefully , Satan charged God of being an unfit Sovereign and Father and additionally indicated that he , Satan , could perform a significantly better job himself .

            Through the use of those astute and fatal mendacities , this angel fashioned himself into Satan the Devil . These particular names stand for “Resister” and “Slanderer .” What exactly did Adam and Eve do, then ? They sided with Satan , turning their backs on God .—Genesis 3 :6 .

            Jehovah could have eradicated the rebels just then . But bear in mind , as mentioned above previously in our representation , these kinds of difficulties can never be worked out through violent retaliation . Take into account too that when Satan confronted God Almighty , innumerable angels were paying attention .

            By enticing Adam and Eve into deciding on autonomy from their Maker , Satan established a family which was not in fact self-reliant but , as you see , under his command . Prompted , consciously or unwittingly , by their “father ,” the Devil , this family would pick and choose its own objectives as well as values . ( John 8 :44 ) Still , might this way of life bring them genuine liberty as well as enduring happiness and joy ? Jehovah understood full well that it would never . Even so , he left the rebels to go after their ill-fated ambition , for only by doing so could the problems brought up in Eden be completely resolved for all time .

            For upwards of 6 ,000 years now , humankind has erected one society after another , attempting more and more varieties of rulership as well as rules of behavior . Do you happen to be overjoyed with the outcome ? Is the human family actually joyful , undisturbed , and united ? Undeniably , the answer is absolutely no ! In its place , wars , famines , catastrophes , disease , together with unspeakable loss of life has besieged humanity , inflicting “futility ,” “pain ,” and “groaning ,” much like the Holy Bible reported long ago .—Romans 8 :19-22 ; Ecclesiastes 8 :9 . Fundamentally , “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD .” -Proverbs 19 :3 ( NLT )

            Nonetheless , some might wonder , ‘Why has God not averted these disasters ?’ Honestly , that would certainly be an injustice , as it would undoubtedly blur the issue by creating the impression that rebelling against God is without deadly repercussions . Accordingly , Jehovah has not been in the background protecting against all the crimes and calamities that results , explicitly or in a roundabout way , from disobedience to him . Jehovah could never ever be party to the fatal myth that Satan’s approach could turn out well ! Notwithstanding , Jehovah has not been apathetic to what has transpired . Truth be told , he continues to be extremely active , as we shall subsequently appreciate .

            Since the rebellion in Eden , he has long been very active . Case in point , he inspired Bible amanuensis to document his guarantee that a future “seed” would undoubtedly defeat Satan with everyone who allied with him . ( Genesis 3 :15 ) On top of that , via that Seed , God would constitute a governing administration , a heavenly Kingdom , which would bless obedient people , stop all causes of misery and even death itself .—Genesis 22 :18 ; Psalm 46 :9 ; 72 :16 ; Isaiah 25 :8 ; 33 :24 ; Daniel 7 :13 , 14 .

        • axelbeingcivil

          Setting aside the last notion you offer for a moment (I couldn’t really disagree more), you didn’t really answer any of my points.

          If you assume God created the cosmos, everything that exists within it – suffering, hate, cruelty – must be a thing defined to be allowed by the Almighty. Passing the actual actor as a cause to the devil does not change who set the parameters. If you throw handguns to a cage full of monkeys, to use a peculiar turn of phrase, you can’t blame the chimps for the gunshot wounds. This goes double if you’re the one who gave them dextrous digits and a curious disposition.

          This is only one string out of an orchestra’s worth of arguments here; one that shows where blame lies even with the assumption of free will.

      • J. P.

        You’re obviating some important specifics:

        To precisely what scale does God Almighty exercise foreknowledge ?—Deuteronomy 30 :19 , 20 ; Isaiah 46 :10 .

        Exactly why would God not predetermine every little thing , for instance the terrible problems that befall people today ?—Deuteronomy 32 :4 .

        • axelbeingcivil

          I’m not “obviating” anything. In the case of the former, it’s irrelevant whether God exercises omniscience or not; if God CAN exercise total foreknowledge, then it still obviates free will. Similarly, if God can exercise omniscience, use it to prevent evil, and refuses to do so, such a thing is blatantly an act of refusal to prevent evil, in which case God cannot thus be called omnibenevolent.

          Furthermore, if God created the universe and is all-capable (omnipotent), then every problem that exists today must, by definition, be a potential planned for and included by the Almighty. After all, could God not – being omnipotent and omniscient – create a cosmos where there were not potentials for this suffering but still the same level of depths and wonder we experience in this cosmos?

          The answer is either that, yes, God can but chose not to, in which case the Almighty’s assumed compassion must be called into question, or, no, God cannot, in which case God is not omnipotent and/or omniscient.

          • J. P.

            In order for your conclusion to obtain you need to prove there is no good reason God might have for temporarily permitting suffering in the world. Can you?

          • axelbeingcivil

            Alright. Assume that there is some possible reason for suffering existing in this world according to God’s design.

            I’d argue that, if God is capable of anything, God is able to freely circumvent this reason. Is God omnipotent, and thus able to circumvent any such obstacle and obtain just as good a conclusion (or even the same one) without suffering, or is God not omnipotent? If the former, then God is deliberately allowing suffering for no good reason. If the latter, then the conclusion speaks for itself.

          • J. P.

            The reason why God temporarily allows suffering is because that’s what man chose. It was never a question of God’s might. If it were the Almighty would have resolved the problem a very long time ago: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2013/12/atheist-and-christian-argue-about-hell-in-a-starbucks-atheist-wins/#comment-1155094633

          • axelbeingcivil

            That sort of falls flat on its face, though, when anyone points out that God could have created a universe where suffering did not exist. If God is the creator of everything, including the concept of choice, it’s easy to state that any and all suffering that occurs as a result of choices can only exist because of an act of divine will. Similarly, if people only choose sin because they are flawed, then the fact that they are flawed – or can be flawed – lies in the one that made them so.

            Logically, if God is omnipotent and omniscient, then it is entirely feasible to state that God could have created a universe that had free will and all the wonderful facets of this existence with no sin or downsides. This, however, is not the universe we face. Ergo, we must conclude that God chose to allow misery and suffering not for the sake of human choice – because, again, God’s omnipotence MUST allow for the existence of a universe coincident with that that also has no suffering.

            Similarly, if every facet of the cosmos springs forth from God, then misery, suffering, pain, agony, hatred, etc. must have been created by the Creator.

            In short, you can’t ascribe all of Creation to an omnipotent and omniscient being and then inure it from the bad bits.

          • J. P.
          • axelbeingcivil

            None of that actually answers any of my points at all. In fact, it just provides more examples to point to of problems in theodicy. As ever, the claim of the devil being the cause of suffering is used to pass the buck, but, if we use the analogy of parents, what loving and compassionate parent allows a being they know is a threat near their children, especially if the parent is omniscient and knows precisely how many unborn generations who never actually get to make that choice will suffer for it?

            Moreover, to invoke the devil here is to raise the natural question: If the Accuser is a former angel turned prideful, why did God create it that way in full knowledge of what it would become? Why instill the Accuser with hubris that it knew would overcome the angel’s devotion?

            Again, we come round to the same problem: You cannot have suffering exist alongside a being said to be benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent, especially when it created the universe to begin with.

          • J. P.
          • axelbeingcivil

            If God didn’t know, then it isn’t omniscient. If God could know but chose not to, it’s immoral. We’ve covered this ground before.

          • J. P.

            On what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s actions or inaction as immoral? Who made you God?

          • Castilliano

            Axel, he’s been answered that, numerous times.
            In this very thread.
            At this point, he’s running off of a script.
            Just ignore him. For your own sake.

          • J. P.

            I’m not Axel.

          • Castilliano

            Then why are you responding?

          • J. P.

            To help you do a better job of cowardly insulting me behind my back, of course.

          • axelbeingcivil

            Alright, a fair question. Let me replace that with the following: It is an action that causes suffering and pain in beings who had no control over whether such suffering or pain was dealt to them, nor who had as of yet taken any action or inaction themselves; created, in other words, with the intent to undergo suffering that could have been avoided.

          • J. P.

            What is continuing to escape you is the simple fact that the underlying presumption of your argument is without question hopelessly flawed. All things considered, exactly what is the basis for humanity’s worth? Should God definitely not exist, it’s impossible to identify any good grounds for humankind’s distinctiveness and a whole lot less for the objective truth of it’s own morality. Withal, why exactly believe everyone has moral obligations to carry out in any way? Who possibly or just what lays down any moral accountability on us?

            Effectively then, whereas certain behaviors, like for instance, pedophilia, may not be biologically or culturally befitting and hence grew to become taboo, there is on the atheistic view certainly nothing in itself immoral about engaging in pedophilia. Should the moral tenets that dictate our behavior be mere derivations of routine in addition to consuetude, mood and trendiness then a non-conformist that opts to brush-off the drove morality has done nothing more severe than acting passé. Like sporting bell bottoms or a flat top.

            So you see, if there happens to be no God, every single basis for the drove morality developed by the human race as impartially veritable is in reality optional. At the end of the day, specifically what is so extraordinary about man on the whole? On Atheism, we happen to be just concomitant nimieties of the natural world having developed fairly recently on an minute speck left high and dry somewhere in a dreary and meaningless universe doomed to oblivion one by one and certainly collectively in a relatively not too distant future.

          • J. P.

            Moreover, as Christ Jesus himself demonstrated, Adam and Ever were more than capable of remaining loyal to he who gave them life, cared for them, taught them and did everything he could to make their lives the unending bliss that it was.

            “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.” -Proverbs 19:3

          • axelbeingcivil

            I think we’ve covered every reason I disagree strongly with that sentiment in other threads; that free will is illusory, that the potential for suffering need never have occurred to begin with, etc.

          • J. P.

            Links?

          • axelbeingcivil

            You’re currently discussing them with me. How about I just type “HERE” at the top of those particular threads so we can tie this one off?

          • J. P.

            Links would be more accomodating, thanks.

          • J. P.

            It seems apparent that you misapprehend exactly how free will operates . To borrow from the brainchild of Harry Frankfurt , “so long as a person’s choice is causally undetermined, it is a free choice even if he is unable to choose the opposite of that choice.

            Imagine a man with electrodes secretly implanted in his brain who is presented with the choice of doing A or B. The electrodes are inactive so long as the man chooses A; but if he were going to choose B, then the electrodes would switch on and force him to choose A. If the electrodes fire, causing him to choose A, his choice of A is clearly not a free choice. But suppose that the man really wants to do A and chooses of his own volition. In that case his choosing A is entirely free, even though the man is literally unable to choose B, since the electrodes do not function at all and so have no effect on his choice of A. What makes his choice free is the absence of any causally determining factors of his choosing A.

            In other words, a limitation in the range of choices is not the same as having no choice at all. If A, B, and C are good choices, and D, E, and F are evil choices, one’s inability to choose D, E, or F does not negate the fact that he can choose A, B, or C.”

            If you happen to visit an Italian restaurant , for instance , they could only just serve 12 from 150 possible Italian delicacies . The fact that you are unable to pick 138 of these dishes fails to negate the reality that you can actually choose any of the 12 alternatives in front of you . In the same manner , God’s expectation that his human creation be godly is not to mean man does not have independence of will . This means that , God Almighty is justified in expecting mankind to do good as well as punishing those who abuse their modicum of free will to be evil , ungodly .

          • axelbeingcivil

            It’s proper for me to first state that I believe everything to be causally determined and would put forth that it is impossible for anything to be in any state BUT causally determined or random; there simply cannot be a third state in the universe as we know it. Either something acts as a result of a cause or it acts in absence of one, and either something’s act’s magnitude and direction are determined by the cause or they exist in absence of one.

            Something occurring absent a cause is random by definition, as is something whose magnitude and direction occur absent a cause. Free will, thus, is a logical absurdity; every decision is an outcome of prior causes, over which the actor has no control, or the outcome of random events that are without choice or meaning.

            That aside, though, I don’t need to offer that argument to defend my position against your perspective because your own defeats the notions for me, as I laid out in my previous post: If God is omniscient – and thus capable of knowing every decision every person will ever make inerrantly – then there can be no such thing as free will. You cannot be said to have made any choice because the deity in question clearly knows what outcomes will occur from which situations; causality is assumed as a part of their omniscience and, with it, determinism.

          • J. P.

            Problem is Determinism is paralogical . If free will is a fantasy and so all things are fixed , then the final reason for exactly why any person feels that free will is an illusion and it is all predestined is the fact that these were predetermined to feel such . On the other hand it’s very hard to appreciate precisely how a belief may be regarded as “true” or “false” if it really is , inevitably , merely a preset occurrence . The snow falling outside my windows these days is simply because that preexisting circumstances established it to be thus . But then we wouldn’t maintain that the snowfall is “true” or even “false .”

          • axelbeingcivil

            I disagree strongly with calling determinism paralogical. Ultimately, determinism is a statement about the nature of the universe, much as the statement “it is snowing outside” is, and these statements are either true or false regardless of whether someone believes them or not. Either the universe is deterministic or it isn’t; either it is snowing or it isn’t. While one might quibble over just what determinism or snowing means (do we say it’s snowing when any snowflakes are falling or does it have to be a certain density per meter, etc.), but, once the axioms are set, a statement can be said to be true or false. I’ve offered such an outline here, and you’ve done nothing so far to actually dispute it.

            Simply because determinism would state that someone’s final acceptance or non-acceptance of it is an outcome of prior causes doesn’t impact its truth or falsity. To borrow from Lewis, a lunatic scribbling “DARKNESS” on the wall of their cell will not blot out the Sun.

            (This isn’t me calling you a lunatic, it’s just a colourful turn of phrase I enjoy. Sincerely, no offense intended, and apologies offered if any is taken.)

          • J. P.

            None taken, no worries :)

            You maintain that free will is not free insomuch as to be free implies it would need to be contra causal . Free will has long been amply recognized as the independence of thought . By having that liberty , you possess free will . Will is not intended to be contra-causal of the things which make us all precisely what we are . All those things are defined as reality and to be “contra-causal” of inescapable fact would mean we cannot be a part of reality. We would be outside it .

            The laws and regulations of nature are also on our side in this case . The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle informs us that specific values in nature cannot be known precisely . This doesn’t suggest we’re without the technologies to measure these. It means there is real and legitimate randomness in nature . This is why it certainly is absurd to think we have been inhabiting a deterministic universe seeing as determinism is radically incompatible with any sort of randomness . Determinism means just one possible end result while randomness indicates various probable effects .

            Even our minds are governed by the same exact principles that bind all matter . In other words in the same way the operating of our intellects is simply not deterministic neither can our minds . Every time we come to a decision it is certainly not bound to merely one possible outcome . Effectively , then , free will prevails in the indeterminacy of nature .

          • axelbeingcivil

            I find myself grimacing at your misappropriation of good sir Heisenberg’s work. Please, if nothing else, read the following objection:

            Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the mathematical proof and cause of Schrodinger’s infamous cat, is not necessarily a declaration that nature is truly random. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle is derived from the inability of an observer to observe an experiment directly without altering the results of that experiment. On the quantum scale, this is amplified immensely, as, say, tracking electrons with light adds energy to them. This is true for anything to do with quantum physics. Whether truly random events – effects without cause – actually occur is something still hotly up for debate.

            Yet even if Heisenberg’s principle DID somehow invalidate determinism, and the outcome truly was random, it invalidates none of what I have said!

            If you define free will as independence of thought, this is incompatible with reality. Either every thought is an outcome of a cause – a series of causal chains over which the thinker has no control – or it is utterly random. In the case of the former, how can someone be said to have independence of thought when their thoughts were programmed from the dawn of time, set to run like clockwork? In turn, if they are random, how can someone be said to have any control over their thoughts?

            Moreover, in either case, how can one call them culpable for their actions when the divine sovereign who created the systems by which their minds work knew them either to be inevitably to follow a set plan, sins included, or to be random within a range that included the possibility of suffering? There can be no justice in inflicting harm on a being merely carrying out a destiny you wrote for it or for being at the whim of random molecular action.

          • J. P.

            Problem is you’re conflating the epistemology of a posteriori causality with the metaphysics of the same. But they’re not interchangeable.

            Just because, as a for instance, your hungry it doesn’t mean you’ll always eat chocolate to the exclusion of all other foods .

          • axelbeingcivil

            I’m not even sure what you’re arguing here, now. As my argument notes above, you’ll eat chocolate or other foods – and feel hunger and even have the motivation to survive – not because of any “choice” but because of a series of prior causes. How you will feel and make decisions are set beforehand; a result of prior causes that will inevitably act upon you. Choice, thus, is an illusion; decisions an outcome of causes.

            Simply because it is more complex than dominoes being tipped over doesn’t mean that it is any less predetermined from start to finish. In turn, the one who stacked the dominoes is responsible for their outcome.

          • J. P.

            Clearly, then, you missed the thrust of my rejoinder. Here, when you’re hungry and make a conscious choice about what you specifically want to eat, all of your senses tell you that is a free choice.

            Unless, of course, your senses are impaired or you have some other compelling reason to doubt the reality they apprehend.

            But, if that’s true, then nothing you claim about reality is trustworthy. The whole question, then, becomes moot.

    • DyslexicDNA

      The free will defense for Hell doesn’t work, for a variety of reasons. For one, beliefs are not choices – for instance, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t choose to believe that the moon is made of cheese. I could say I believe it, and perhaps if I repeated it to myself enough times I could eventually persuade myself that it was true, but you just don’t choose what to believe is true or not. People are persuaded to beliefs, they don’t choose them.

      Another problem is the precise one pointed out in the conversation, which you gloss over. God apparently doesn’t love us quite enough to intercede when our supposed decisions are wrong, and willingly lets us go to Hell. Because he just doesn’t love us quite enough. You can’t have an omnibenevolent and perfectly just god. It’s contradictory.

      Essentially, God is basically sending people to be tortured eternally for not being persuaded by poor arguments and a lack of evidence. So you can scratch merciful and benevolent off his trait list.

      And finally, I dare say your understanding of evolution is sorely lacking, since everyone I’ve ever heard spout the kind of nonsense you are about it has a strawman understanding of it. Evolution is a scientific theory – that’s as high as you get in science. And since it’s evidence based, there’s no faith required. If you pile the evidence for evolution and the evidence for god side by side, god loses by a landslide.

      • TjValion68

        The Devil runs the earth. Our sins are created by the devil. All God asks of us is to ask for forgiveness for our sins. If you can’t do that, you have CHOSEN the devil and turned your back on God. FREE WILL.

        • Castilliano

          If your toddler runs out into the street, do you not stop her?
          How about if she’s being disobedient?
          Oh, wait, but it’s not your house. Your toddler’s being watched by a bad parent who provokes your toddler’s disobedience.
          So it’s okay?
          How about not only will the car hit her, but cause her eternal agony?
          And you think Yahweh is love?
          OMG

          And then there’s the whole “sins are created by the devil” but think about it, not asking for forgiveness is a sin so…it’s the devil’s fault and Yahweh still punishes us?
          Gimme a break.

          And you seem to be forgetting the whole omniscient aspect of Yahweh. He knew we’d be tortured for eternity, but who’s he to step in. He’s too busy loving us.

        • Kevin R. Cross

          If your god wanted us to freely choose him, he’d provide some evidence that he actually existed.

        • DyslexicDNA

          All of which requires the presupposition of a god existing in the first place, which completely undermines the decision you presented, because as I’ve already pointed out, beliefs are not choices.

          Which means your free will defense has failed. Again.

        • Mack Stevens

          Nope, numbnuts, your own bible states that your tin GOD made ALL things, all good and all EVIL. What a 2 faced indecisive little bitch he is. Read the damn thing before you dare to quote it.

        • Madison Blane

          Prove it.

      • J. P.
        • islandbrewer

          You’re linking to a two sentence comment that you can’t just reiterate? JW’s have gotten really lazy. Get out there and knock on people doors, if you want to be annoying, Joseph.

    • Nemo

      Say Islam turns out to be true. When Allah casts you into fire, did you choose that? Or, did you simply not believe Islam because you had no logical reason to believe there was any factual basis for its claims?

      “But we are given free will. If you turn your back on God, you have CHOSEN hell.”

      The nation of North Korea has never tortured or killed anybody. But some fools CHOSE to send themselves to the execution chamber.

      “Yet in the end God will not violate or overrule the deliberate choice of those who consciously and willfully turn away from Him”
      Unless you are Pharaoh, who decided he’d had enough plagues and let the Israelites go, but then Yahweh decided that he wanted more glory, so he mind raped Pharaoh.

      So, do I believe in Young Earth Creationism, or evolution? Well, since that’s the dichotomy you presented (as if you aren’t a YEC, you too would believe in a “guided” form of evolution), I’ll go with the factual one. We have the fossils. We win.

      • TjValion68

        But I know Islam is a made up religion AFTER Judaism and Christianity. Again, Islam was created by MEN. Men who did not WANT to believe in Judaism or Christianity. Simple.

        • Castilliano

          Love that…
          “AFTER” makes ours truer. Even though they include Jesus and Abraham in their beliefs.

          Well, you’re “AFTER” Judaism.
          And to Jews your religion is made up by men who did not want to believe in Judaism alone.
          Therefore yours is as false as Islam.
          Simple.

          It gets messy going further because Judaism is based on many sources, Babylonian & Egyptian for starters, so of course…
          Judaism is made up by men.
          Simple.

          As has been phrased many ways, theists act as atheists to nearly as many religions.
          They just kept one.

          Cheers.

        • Nemo

          Facepalm. The men who wrote the Bible didn’t want to believe in Judaism. Why do you think Yahweh’s Old Testament bloodiness is ignored (except by the Pharisees, who are promptly insulted for pointing it out)? For that matter, Judaism was created AFTER the polytheistic religions of the day. We know, for example, that their monotheistic practices evolved from polytheism to monolatry to monotheism over a period of centuries rather than being handed down. The Jews did not WANT to believe in polytheism. Every complaint you hurl against other religions can inevitably be hurled against you.

        • Mack Stevens

          Simple? Yes, you are. Simple minded and feeble of intellect.

        • DyslexicDNA

          I really have to wonder if Tj understands that this argument can be used against any religion, including Judaism and Christianity.

          There’s a good reason some of the best critics of Christianity are Jews and Muslims.

        • Wyrd Wiles

          And Christianity is a made up religion AFTER Judaism. And Judaism is a made up religion AFTER Canaanite Polytheism. Where are you going with this? It’s not helping you.

      • J. P.

        Except for the reality that the myth “that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form” is shorn of any demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable or replicable evidence . The reasoning here is this requires millions upon millions of years – which absolutely no one has actually observed since , well , it needs millions upon millions of years. Nevertheless the fossil record , which ought to demonstrate a string of infinitesimally progressive adjustments from one being to another over a course of millions of years , reveals the complete opposite . . . but it’s anticipated that ( one day , someday ) the “missing” fossils of those intermediate species are going to eventually be discovered . In short , the only evidence for evolution is the presumption of evolution . If that’s not circular thinking , just what is ?

        • Andrew Chalker

          So, you believe that a person has to witness everything to know it happened? Nobody alive witnessed Adam and Eve, so by your logic it never happened. Evidence matters. It’s why police don’t need to literally have been there for a crime to know what happened. And evolution doesn’t make “progressive” adjustments in a way. There’s no thought behind what will change. If a life form is suited to its environment and survives then it will likely live to mate and pass on genetic material that sees more of such creatures live. If they don’t survive, then those with that biological feature die off more and reproduce less.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

        • Nemo

          Transitional forms have been discovered. Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo ergaster, Homo antecessor, et al. Nobody has ever seen a new continent form, but you don’t doubt the “theory” of continental drift, do you?

          • J. P.

            If you are to accept the teaching of macroevolution as true, you must believe that agnostic or atheistic scientists will not let their personal beliefs influence their interpretations of scientific findings. But this is obviously wrongheaded considering the fact that , as Lewontin puts it , plenty of researchers are prepared to embrace doubtful scientific allegations as they quite simply “have a prior commitment , a commitment to materialism .” As he frankly admits , “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door .” If that’s not noetical bigotry , exactly what is ?

            You must also believe that mutations and natural selection produced all complex life-forms, despite a century of research that shows that mutations have not transformed even one properly defined species into something entirely new. You must believe that all creatures gradually evolved from a common ancestor, despite a fossil record that strongly indicates that the major kinds of plants and animals appeared abruptly and did not evolve into other kinds, even over aeons of time. Does that type of belief sound as though it is based on facts or on myths?

          • Castilliano

            Most scientists, during the formative years of evolutionary theory, were theists, Christians.
            Many still are, maybe even most because…
            Most Christians accept evolution.
            Most people who accept evolution are Christians.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnJX68ELbAY&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL126AFB53A6F002CC

          • J. P.

            “Christians” who accept the Antichrist Theory of Evolution are Christians?

          • Castilliano

            1. Yes, they’ve accepted Jesus as their savior.

            2. The Theory of Evolution is not anti-Christian, it’s anti-Young Earth Creationism. I’d guess that these Christians are Old Earth Creationists.
            Evolution makes no comment whether there was a maker or not, only the course of the evolution of Earth’s species.

            If you are going to accept Young Earth Creationism, why don’t you accept all the other bad science in the Bible?
            Flat earth (with corners) and a firmament above, holding as much water as below, and those actual pillars holding it up, how earth is at the center of all, and lots of ridiculous stuff you (hopefully) don’t believe.
            Likely because the science disproving them is simpler.
            Sorry, but science has grown complex, and evolution is true.
            It’s time to adjust your view of the Bible, just like the Christians after Gallileo’s time eventually did.

          • J. P.

            Evolution is an antichrist faith given that Christ himself taught special creation by God Almighty .

          • Castilliano

            Evolution does not reject Creationism.
            It makes zero comment about the origin of the universe and zero comment about the origin of life.
            Got it?
            It only comments on the origin of species from earlier species. Of which there’s mountains of evidence!
            You really are juggling too many conversations if you missed that.

            And don’t ask me to rehash the evidence that you’ll just ignore. Again. Speaking of which, you might not really be answering. I forget sometimes you just post doctrine sans thought.

          • J. P.

            You’re equivocating. Evolution is “The theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.” Try again.

          • Castilliano

            Dawkins, the world’s preeminent evolutionary biologist.

            Where’d you get your definition? A JW book?

            Websters: The theory that all species developed from earlier forms.
            Dictionary.com: Change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.
            Nope. No equivocating.
            I can see how you thought that using your definition, but I was using the more standard ones.

          • J. P.

            General Theory of Evolution – “The theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.” – Gerald Kerkut

          • Nemo

            Macroevolution? You mean like macro continental drift? Or macro gravity? Macroevolution is simply microevolution in a larger timeframe. Many of the scientists who came up with not only evolution but also the Big Bang Theory and other branches of science which contradict Young Earth Creationism were, themselves, Christians who moved where the evidence pointed. They remained Christians afterwards. There is no Evil Liberal Science Conspiracy at work. Also, common descent is well evidenced.

          • J. P.
          • Castilliano

            Macro continental drift & Macro gravity for the stealing.

    • Nemo

      “God DOES love all of us”

      Nope. Read your Bible. Here’s a link to CARM, stating that Yahweh does hate people. People, not just actions.

      http://carm.org/does-god-hate-anyone

      • TjValion68

        God loves all. If you CHOOSE to turn your back on God and sin, then YOU have made the decision to remove God from your life. You have become an advocate for the devil. Yes, God hates the devil and anyone who worships the devil and not God.

        • godlessveteran

          You’re not helping your case by making your god sound like an evil d1ck.

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            I am comforted by knowing that not all Christians think this way. One reason I like John’s blog as much as I do is because he rejects that crazy BS. I come here because it is a balm, a counteraction to all the evil things I hear mainstream Christians saying.

        • Mack Stevens

          You are an advocate for imaginary friends. It’s so sad that you need such a pitiful crutch in order to face life. Not reality, ’cause you have NO idea what that is.

        • Nemo

          Finally, an honest Christian who admits Yahweh hates nonsycophants. But I have not rejected Yahweh. I disbelieve. There is a difference. Do you reject Arab Yahweh (the god of the Koran)? Do you reject Thor, who died knowing he wouldn’t come back? Do you reject Athena? And, should it turn out that Yahweh exists but Jesus wasn’t his son, have you rejected the God of Abraham?
          Try something other than canned talking points. It’s starting to feel like I’m talking to a wall.

          • keddaw

            Spoilers dawg! There are still some Avengers movies to come…

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Well, in fairness, rejecting most pagan gods won’t get you sent to their version of unpleasantnastyafterlifeplace. Most pagan systems hold that it’s how we live, not whose butt we kiss, that matters. Hospitality matters more than orthodoxy. It’s the frantic, childish tyrant Yahweh who seems to care most about being “loved.” You have to really pull out the stops to get sent to anything permanently nasty or ickie in pagan systems; most people just end up somewhere that sounds a lot like how society works now: it’s not gloriously beautifully ineffable, not hideously horribly torturous, just a place where souls go about their business. And most modern neo-pagan system don’t even dwell that much on the afterlife anyway–because, again, the important thing is how we live in this one life we know we have now, not what we specifically believe or disbelieve.

            I reject Christianity, but I cannot reject a god whose existence isn’t even established. I can’t reject that which doesn’t exist. I can however reject the religious system resulting from the worship of this concept, because that religious system certainly exists.

            And it’s just crazy how Christians can say in one breath that their god “loves all” and then in the next threaten non-believers by saying that we’ll be sent to this unimaginably torturous place and it’ll be all our fault. That’s so evil and disgusting I don’t even know what to do with it. TJ: WAY TO PROVE JOHN’S POINT THERE.

        • Wyrd Wiles

          What if you worship none of the above? Maybe I don’t give a crap about your devil, because Odin says he doesn’t exist. LoL

        • Goape

          I’m ok with all that. I’ve turned my back on something that apparently doesn’t exist. Something that if the fairytales are accurate, is both merciful and all powerful. I know I’m leaving out all the shit that describes the christian god as an insane psychopath, but modern religon is a game of picking and choosing; so it seems like this is the best god ever to not believe in!

        • mark wyatt

          Just curious , do you auto-vote GOP , tell the truth .

        • faithnomore

          Thought experiment on your assertion that God loves all. I will keep it impersonal. A man or woman has a child and they love that child. Does it follow in your ideology that if that child becomes troublesome, throwing a tantrum, being rebellious, whatever, that this loving parent should lock that child away in some basement, torture them in cruel ways nonstop for eternity? That is my interpretation of your claim. It is NOT the story of a loving and benevolent entity. If God truly loves us and is all powerful, then why must we fear him? Why does he not simply prove himself and we can all get on with worshipping him tirelessly, which is his desire?

          Free will cannot be asserted as the answer for this dilemma. Use the mafia boss analogy. The mafia boss goes to a local business owner and says he can protect his business from being robbed…for a price. If the owner “chooses” not to pay the price, then his thumbs get broken, and the punishment continues and gets worse until the owner is eventually killed. In your claim, the store owner chose to receive the punishment. It is total bullshit, and the mafia boss is NOT innocent of the crime because the owner refused to pay the extortion. You do not get to claim I am at fault for choosing not to believe something based on poor evidence, and that by my actions I “CHOOSE” to accept the punishment.

          IF I do not believe in God, I certainly do not believe in the devil…it is not me choosing one over the other for I reject them both.

    • Mack Stevens

      Screw your tin god and your circular “reasoning.” If what you describe is love, then I would want nothing to do with such a monster if he truly existed. Go peddle your insanity elsewhere.

    • faithnomore

      If your God is this all powerful, all knowing being, why did he not just create heaven with the perfect little people who did not have the ability to even think of doing anything like rejecting him? If he did not wish us to perish, why create us imperfect? Why create this universe, and our earth, with inferior beings that he already knew would never live up to what he wanted in the first place? And how do we have free will but everything happens according to the divine plan your God has laid out? If everything happens according to his divine plan, then he intended for me to be an atheist and reject him.

      You would have us believe this nonsense…that a perfect omniscient, omnipotent deity…what, got bored? So he decided to create a world full of people cause he was needy and wanted a bunch of people to worship him. He creates this wonderful garden for them to live in, with two fantastic trees..one makes them immortal, the other gives them the knowledge to differentiate good and evil. Well they get tempted by a serpent into eating from the tree that lets them know right from wrong. So God is mad and curses them for doing something that before they did it, they could not have known was a bad thing to do. This goes on and God decides he loves us so much that he has to destroy almost all the people and animals to do a restart. Well the restart does not work, so he has to impregnate a woman with himself so he can be born. That way he can sacrifice himself to himself so he can forgive us for the sin he created us with in the first place.

      I got this about right?

      • Captain Nitpick

        Amen. I’ve always wondered “what’s in this for God?” I’m not all-knowing and I would have been bored with this experiment after the first, oh, fifteen years. What’s he waiting for? What will humans do next that we haven’t already done–and how could he not see that coming anyway? Maybe he’s just waiting for Tim Tebow to get his act together.

      • J. P.

        1. God created sentient life because he wanted others to enjoy being alive.

        2. Had Adam and Eve obeyed God’s law, would they have died? Would their children be born imperfect?

        • faithnomore

          1. Reference? Where do you come up with this assertion?

          2. How did Adam or Eve know if it was right or wrong to obey God if they did not know the difference until they disobeyed and ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Also, you cannot claim (based on the typical Christian belief) that God is all powerful, all knowing, and everything happens according to the divine plan he created everything with, then claim that Adam and Eve thwarted his divine plan and He did not know that was going to be the result.

          • J. P.

            So, per Genesis 3:2,3 Eve did not know even touching the fruit of the trees in the middle of the Garden would kill her?

          • faithnomore

            You totally miss the point. So what if God told her she would die. If she did not know the difference between good and evil, right or wrong, how was she to make a decision based on the idea that it is good to obey God or bad to disobey? The serpent told her she would surely not die. If this fantasy were true, how can God punish her and the rest of humanity, forever, because she did not have the ability to distinguish that she was doing wrong?

          • J. P.

            Apparently, then, you don’t value your life enough to protect it just as Adam and Eve.

          • faithnomore

            that makes no sense…how do you even get to I don’t value my life from what I said?

          • J. P.

            Eve knew she would die if she even touched the forbidden fruit yet you want us to believe that she had no clue what she was doing was wrong. That only makes sense if you yourself don’t value your own life enough to avoid a pointless death.

          • faithnomore

            duh..I am talking from YOUR religions point of view and the claims of the bible, not what I believe. I think the whole story is silly man-made superstition. But according to your bible, Adam and Eve had not eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so they could not possibly KNOW that it was wrong to not do what God said, yet He decides to punish not only them but their entire lineage, forever. My point is, that is a silly thing for anyone to believe. But even worse than that, it is a sorry indication of anyones moral judgement that claims their religion is their moral justification, yet they can rationalize away just how immoral their God is. What part of that do you not understand? Are you claiming that Eve did know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, before she ate the fruit? Kinda makes the tree of knowledge of good and evil useless, no?

          • J. P.
          • faithnomore

            Back to your circular logic. The bible says this and you have some divine revelation proving that you have this deeper understanding that it does not state. The bible does not say these words…you simply assert them. And your assertions are years of adjusting what the bible says to fit what we learn is true. Where is your evidence to show that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as reference by your bible, did not mean what it says? God also told them that if they ate of that tree they would die that day, but Adam went on to live 930 more years. So it was the serpent that was actually telling the truth, that they would not die?

            Bottom line…you can twist things around to justify believing in fairy tales. I will believe them when you present real credible evidence.

          • J. P.

            It’s all simple mundane logic. Obedience to God’s authority required of sinless man that he have sufficient knowledge to exercise any moral discrimination.

          • J. P.

            See Genesis 1:27,28 to understand the purpose behind God’s creation of humanity.

          • faithnomore

            Creating man in his image and telling them to procreate all over the earth is your explanation of why God created us and that he wanted us to enjoy being alive? lol

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

      • J. P.
      • J. P.
    • Madison Blane

      I’d just like to know how you expect spirits to burn.

      If spirits exist, obviously, they’re invisible/not flesh or substance. So how do they burn for eternity…magic?! And if good souls can ascend, what keeps ‘bad’ souls from doing the same? Couldn’t they just float out of hell? What keeps them there…a magical force-field? Or is it that the pearl gates keep bad souls out? Is there some property inherent to pearls that spirits just can’t touch? And if so, wouldn’t that make good souls prisoners of heaven? What use does a soul have for gold streets? Do they have feet?

      And why do Gods give a damn about land masses? Seems that, if the christian God was real and wanted EVERYONE to be saved, he’d make sure that everyone was born in America, where they would be sure to be exposed to ‘his word’.

      And following that train of thought…

      If the Christian God is the one true God, why can’t scientists discover him the same way they can discover gravity? Why couldn’t God create us with ready-made knowledge of his existence? We could know he exists the same way we’re born knowing how to breathe – why do we have to wait to read it in a book or depend on other fallible humans to tell us this story if it really is ETERNALLY important?

      I don’t know, but it seems to me that all these threats and promises appeal to very basic HUMAN fears and desires – fear of pain and desire for wealth.

      I mean, imperfect humans shouldn’t be able to find logical flaws in an ‘perfect’ God’s plan.

      • J. P.

        The problem is , you’re trying to find God’s presence in a test tube or a peer-reviewed paper . The good news is , however , reality doesn’t operate like that .

        • islandbrewer

          Actually, all the reality that we’ve demonstrated to be real to date, does operate like that. I would say I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but I know you’re firmly ensconced in a fact-free and argument-free impervibubble.

        • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

          Then he doesn’t deserve worship. Reality does indeed operate “like that.” You can’t prove he exists, so you have to denigrate the entire concept of evidence. If you had evidence that he existed, you’d probably be a lot more accepting of reality operating “like that.”

    • Goape

      The words “everything possible” are just a copout for an all-powerful being.

      He loves us but also gave us an ability to damn ourselves to hell? That sounds akin to: “he loves me… even if he gave me herpes!” Are you a whore describing your pimp? He love us—but “if we turn our backs on him”—is he a rabid dog?

      It’s FREE WILL; yes. And you miss the point of the story this article illustrates. Our petty human free will can certainly be overridden by anything that is all powerful. If someone you loved chose to hurt themselves, would you just cross your arms and walk away? If so, you’d be just as bad as your imaginary friend.

    • J. P.

      If Hell truly was created for the devil and his angels, not mankind nor the righteous, then why was Jesus in hell after he died?

      Acts 2:31

      King James Bible

      He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell , neither his flesh did see corruption.

      American King James Version

      He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell , neither his flesh did see corruption.

      Bible in Basic English

      He, having knowledge of the future, was talking of the coming again of Christ from the dead, that he was not kept in hell and his body did not see destruction.

      Douay-Rheims Bible

      Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell , neither did his flesh see corruption.

      Webster’s Bible Translation

      He seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell , neither did his flesh see corruption.

      Concerning Jesus, Acts 2:27 informs us –

      King James Bible

      Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell , neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

      American King James Version

      Because you will not leave my soul in hell , neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption.

      Bible in Basic English

      For you will not let my soul be in hell and you will not give up your Holy One to destruction.

      Douay-Rheims Bible

      Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell , nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.

      Webster’s Bible Translation

      Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell , neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption:

  • Christine Coles

    “God will either be your best friend or your worst enemy. There is no in between. If you don’t choose Him, He will make sure that you suffer eternity in misery, death and hell. But if you choose to believe in Jesus, then you will have a peace and joy like you’ve never known. But you have to choose Him. Because He loves you, and doesn’t want to have to send you to hell.”

    Whenever I hear respected, “Christian” say things like this actual quote I heard from my pastor, I cringe, because this sounds like a dictator or a twisted drug lord instead of a loving God.

    • CharlesInSoCal

      Christine Coles “God wants everyone in heaven.”
      According to Christian Theology, the god Yahweh is all-powerful. He can create billions of galaxies with the snap of His supernatural fingers. How can He possibly have “wants”? If He wants everyone someplace, that’s precisely what will happen. Otherwise that means mere humans can thwart Yahweh’s will, thus making Him decidedly *not* all-powerful. Thus, there is a contradiction, the most likely reason being the non-existence of Yahweh.

      • J. P.

        It seems apparent that you misapprehend exactly how free will operates . To borrow from the brainchild of Harry Frankfurt , “so long as a person’s choice is causally undetermined, it is a free choice even if he is unable to choose the opposite of that choice.

        Imagine a man with electrodes secretly implanted in his brain who is presented with the choice of doing A or B. The electrodes are inactive so long as the man chooses A; but if he were going to choose B, then the electrodes would switch on and force him to choose A. If the electrodes fire, causing him to choose A, his choice of A is clearly not a free choice. But suppose that the man really wants to do A and chooses of his own volition. In that case his choosing A is entirely free, even though the man is literally unable to choose B, since the electrodes do not function at all and so have no effect on his choice of A. What makes his choice free is the absence of any causally determining factors of his choosing A.

        In other words, a limitation in the range of choices is not the same as having no choice at all. If A, B, and C are good choices, and D, E, and F are evil choices, one’s inability to choose D, E, or F does not negate the fact that he can choose A, B, or C.”

        If you happen to visit an Italian restaurant , for instance , they could only just serve 12 from 150 possible Italian delicacies . The fact that you are unable to pick 138 of these dishes fails to negate the reality that you can actually choose any of the 12 alternatives in front of you . In the same manner , God’s expectation that his human creation be godly is not to mean man does not have independence of will . This means that , God Almighty is justified in expecting mankind to do good as well as punishing those who abuse their modicum of free will to be evil , ungodly .

        • LWMT

          I don’t believe that free will applies to Christianity. I don’t choose to be an atheist. I was scared to admit I was an atheist for many years because I was scared of what would happen to me if I “chose” wrong. But now I see it’s not a choice. I can’t make myself believe what I don’t have evidence for and even if Christianity is right then I have to not just believe but also love God. I can’t love any god that has sent or will send almost everyone I know and love to hell. What about the people who were raised on a different doctrine by the people they knew and trusted? How is it fair to send them to hell for being indoctrinated to a different religion? When I think about my wonderful Catholic grandparents being in hell (in the Christian denomination I was raised in Catholics were unsaved) or my amazing Jewish husband going to hell one day I literally feel sick. This is not “good news” and anybody who thinks it is lacks the ability to analyze the situation critically or is just sick.

          • J. P.

            The Hellfire doctrine is a perverse mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked: http://bit.ly/17fVMYm

          • LWMT

            If I grew up in a religion that believed that, I wouldn’t have worried about whether a god exists or not. I would have called myself an atheist a long time ago.

          • Madison Blane

            And who are you to speak for your God…Are you a prophet now, too?!
            Do you hear voices Joe?
            Why does god need you to speak for him Joe? Because if you are the most persuasive person he can wrangle up – he’s a puny and inefficient God! Can’t he combat these arguments himself? If he wanted us all to know the ‘truth’, couldn’t he just reveal that to all of us? He’s not very powerful, Joe, if he needs you acting obnoxious and arrogant to speak for him – copy/paste/repeat, without an original thought, YOU to tell us all about him…because his book misrepresents him?!? Well, maybe he shoulda thought about that before he ‘inspired’ those words!

            Admit it Joe, you’re scared to look at evidence and inept at countering anything resembling logic – everyone else sees it – you just won’t admit it to your prideful self! So you come here and make an ass of yourself like you’ve got some divine directive to be a jerk. You act like you’ve got it all figured out and you want everyone in the world to follow along to your version of God like good little mindless soldiers…just like you follow along to every line of magical-thinking some cult feeds you!
            It’s not gonna happen Joe! Maybe you should shun us, Joe, or dust off your feet, or whatever it is the watchtower tells you robots to do to those who won’t accept their endless tripe.
            Go back to your bubble and study up some more Joe. You just make yourself and your blood-magic cult look even MORE ridiculous the longer you stay!

          • J. P.

            How exactly am I speaking for God when everything I share is easily found in his Holy Word, the Bible? I’m just the messenger.

          • Madison Blane

            Really, so what scripture says “The Hellfire doctrine is a perverse mendacity that defames God”?
            That sounds a lot more like your opinion and your interpretation.
            What scripture says, “God would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime”?
            Nah, he just prescribes punishments to the completely innocent for no crime at all the way your story tells it!

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            Yep, I’m quaking in my boots which is why I’m here refuting all of your casuistry with such grace and ease …

            Do tell, does methodized reasoning present far too much of an obstacle for you?

          • Madison Blane

            And the only thing you do with grace and ease is spout nonsense and make yourself look like an ass.

          • J. P.

            The problem is , you’re trying to find God’s presence in a test tube or a peer-reviewed paper . The good news is , however , reality doesn’t operate like that .

          • LWMT

            How do you know how I’m trying to find God? I hear people say all the time that even though they didn’t want to hear it, God had a message for them anyway. Well that doesn’t do me any good. I was a pentecostal Christian who grew up surrounded by people speaking in tongues, baptized in the Holy Spirit. I asked and never received.

          • J. P.

            What did you ask for?

          • LWMT

            Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It’s the physical sign of salvation.

          • J. P.

            And who told you this was so?

          • LWMT

            My parents and the church.

          • J. P.

            What if I showed you the Bible teaches otherwise?

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Actually, Joe, reality is based on what evidence you have for your assertion that your non-evidenced god exists.

            Have any evidence that your god exists? Every time I ask you for it, you fail to provide it.

          • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, wow. Yet again, you failed to provide any evidence for your non-evidenced god. How skillful of you.

          • J. P.

            Adversus solem ne loquitor!

            I smell your fear.

          • Castilliano

            LOL!
            Oh, wait, you’re serious?

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            What you smell, Joe, is the crap you’ve been spewing forth from your mouth.

        • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

          Then your un-evidenced god supports the free will of murderers, rapists and dictators over the free will of their victims, who, if they truly had free will, would choose not to be murdered, raped or oppressed.

          If your non-evidenced god gave me free will, then I freely choose not to believe in it and not to go to it’s immoral hell. If I’m only allowed one of those choices, and not both, then your still-un-evidenced god didn’t give me free will at all.

          If your un-evidenced god sends me to it’s immoral hell, then it is equivalent to an oppressive dictator and unworthy of belief, much less worship.

          By the by, have any evidence for your god that you assert exists? Every time I ask you for some, you fail to provide any.

      • Christine Coles

        Good point.

    • JPC

      indeed, Christine- the inconsistencies are all through the faith… Even the Ten Commandments, they aren’t “look after the children” or “don’t rape anyone”, they’re about how you must love this egotistical bronze-age tribal bully… or he’ll send you to hell. Read the Bible- the concept of a loving God is a relatively recent modification to the myths. One positive result of the Enlightenment is that it became impossible to burn people at the stake, so fear of God as a motivator for religious belief became less effective.

      Islam hasn’t hit that point yet, there are regimes that still practice death (even by stoning) for apostasy, as Christians used to do for mere possession of a Bible a thousand years ago (it was restricted to clergy only).

      From my perspective, religion is evil in many ways, one being that it gives (usually male) clergy far more power over the “faithful” than they have earned or than they ought to have. I can speak in public and am articulate (and male) but my conscience prevents me attempting to push the snake oil of modern faith on anyone for my own enrichment…

      • J. P.

        Not so. Jehovah God is “abundant in loving-kindness ,” states the Bible . ( Exodus 34 :6 ) “Give thanks to Jehovah , you people , for he is good ; for his loving-kindness is to time indefinite ,” we also read . ( Psalm 118 :1 , 29 ) “God is kind toward the unthankful and wicked ,” declares Luke 6 :35 . “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous .” ( Matthew 5 :45 ) “Your loving-kindness , O Jehovah ,” sang the psalmist , “has filled the earth .” ( Psalm 119 :64 ) In point of fact , the Scriptures supply a multitude of accounts of precisely how Jehovah has demonstrated his loving-kindness .

        For instance, Jehovah safeguarded and also fed the Israelites during the 40 years they spent in the wilds . In the Promised Land , God Almighty furnished judges to liberate all of them from their enemies and to bring them back to true worship . As a result of Jehovah sticking with them through the good days and bad for hundreds of centuries , he could say to the nation : “With a love to time indefinite I have loved you . That is why I have drawn you with loving-kindness .”—Jeremiah 31 :3 .

        But Jehovah goes beyond just talking about forgiveness . He behaves accordingly . Jehovah employed Jeremiah to exhort : “Do return , O renegade Israel . . . I shall not have my face drop angrily upon you people . . . I shall not stay resentful to time indefinite .” ( Jeremiah 3 :12 ) God will not feel protracted wrath or even acrimony towards any one of his people whom he has forgiven . Much rather , even though a wrong is committed , Jehovah desires to mend the injured relationship . In spite of the sins one commits against him , as long as that sinner honestly repents and also strives for God’s forgiveness , Jehovah will certainly ‘bring him back’ to His favor and blessing . ( Jeremiah 15 :19 )

        Consider the example of King David of ancient Israel , who sang : “Jehovah is forgiving all your error , he is healing all your maladies .” How David must have esteemed being shown forgiveness for his sin with Bath-sheba and for murdering her spouse . He extolled Jehovah , declaring : “As the heavens are higher than the earth , his loving-kindness is superior toward those fearing him .” ( Psalm 103 :3 , 11 )

        • JPC

          You can’t really believe that, do you?

          Israeli archaeologists have proven the story of 40 years in the wilderness is just that, a story… there are so very many examples of Jehovah commanding rape and slavery and genocide and murder that I don’t even know which to cite.

          You’re also aware, I hope of the source of the Bible? That it was cobbled together from something like 8,000 letters that are 4th century copies of 1st century orginals, and even cherry-picked and translated they still disagree?

          Maybe start with “The History of God” by Karen Armstrong. She wrote the book as a result of her PhD research in theology. Wonderful and very generous summary of historical evidence of the source of the three major monotheistic religions.

          They’re myths, bud.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum ex silentio. Fischer’s “Historians’ Fallacies” categorically asserts, “Evidence must always be affirmative. Negative evidence is a contradiction in terms–it is no evidence at all. The nonexistence of an object is established not by nonexistent evidence but by affirmative evidence of the fact that it did not, or could not exist.”

          • JPC

            Nice try but no- there is no evidence supporting your claims. None. No evidence of God’s existence, no evidence of these claims. If you want to claim Argumentum ex silentio, you’re claiming the possibility that your claims are true because there’s nothing in historical documents saying they aren’t true. In that event I can easily claim that Russell’s Teapot exists… or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any of a number of other clearly nonsensical things. For all we know, if you want to claim Argumentum Ex Silentio, maybe the Church of Scientology is correct.

            Your point is irrelevant and incorrect, even if you call it by a pretty Latin name.

            Try to stick with facts… There are no objective, falsifiable facts to support the existence of a supreme being. Strangely enough, the Bible reads just as it might if it was in fact an oral history of a bronze age middle eastern tribe who had little knowledge of the world more than a short distance away from them, and thought the world probably flat.

          • J. P.
          • JPC

            Hahaha, again, no. There remains no evidence, To try and say no Biblical prediction has been found completely wrong means it’s evidence of truth?

            Ezekiel 29:8-12, Ezekiel 30:10-12, isaiah 7:1-7, Isaiah 19:1-8, Isaiah 19:18, Exodus 23:27 and Exodus 23:31 are ALL false, none have ever happened. And that’s just a start.

            There remains no evidence the Bible and Jehovah’s existence is true, at all.

          • J. P.

            What if I were to prove you wrong on all fronts? Would you still insist on believing God does not nor cannot exist?

          • JPC

            No- if you can provide evidence (falsifiable evidence, not something like “the Bible is the inerrant word of God because the Bible says so”) then I’ll revise my views.

            And, if I get to the end of my life and find I was wrong, there’s an afterlife- great. I see no evidence today, but hey if there really is one, I’ll find out when I get there.

          • J. P.

            So, just so that I’m clear, if I prove that not a single one of the prophecies you criticize failed you would no longer believe God does not nor cannot exist?

          • JPC

            No. That isn’t proof at all, all I’ve done with the prophecies is disprove your claim that “the prophecies are infallible therefore God exists”

            Where is proof?

            I cited a few prophecies disproving your claim.

            I await evidence for the existence of God.

            (By the way, prophecies documented after the fact aren’t really prophecies… just saying).

          • J. P.

            LOL! … Ohhhhh so you’re one of those …

            Sorry JPC … just …. sorry …

          • JPC

            I accept your humble apology. :)

          • J. P.

            Had you told me you were one of those I wouldn’t have even bothered in the first place.

          • JPC

            By “one of those” I can only assume you mean someone who uses science and logic, so thank you.

            If your beliefs can’t stand up to scrutiny, then scrutiny isn’t the problem. Or as Brian Cox says, “Science is different than all the other systems of thought, because you don’t need faith in it. You can check that it works”.

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            In order for your accusations against God Almighty to obtain you need to prove dikaiocide is immoral. Can you?

          • JPC

            Really? You’re trying to say because God commanded it, murder and slavery and other heinous immoral acts are OK? what kind of messed up, immoral character are you??? Wow… just wow…

            Congrats, I am now speechless in the face of this shining example of the reasons religion is completely evil and immoral.

          • J. P.

            You went off the rails again. How does any of this answer my query?

          • JPC

            I’m appalled- you’re claiming dikaiocide isn’t immoral? unless I misread you (and dikaiocide isn’t a commonly used term) you’re equating dikaiocide with genocide at the command of God… If I’ve misunderstood, please enlighten me.. Yes, your fairy tale God is immoral and nasty. I don’t care much for him, when he can command the things I’ve seen in the bible- slavery, selling daughters, murder and genocide, etc… you want me to prove those things are immoral? Every court I know of will convict you of murder and send you to prison, even if God commanded you to do it. Further, you’d get a psychiatric evaluation (as well you should).

          • J. P.

            Your accusations of murder are casuistic, unless, of course you’re insinuating that executing evil individuals is wrong. Is that what you’re trying to do?

          • Castilliano

            Babies, Joseph, Yahweh asks his people to slaughter babies.
            And they do.

          • J. P.
          • J. P.
          • JPC

            umm, what? How many biblical passages sanctioning murder and genocide and rape and slavery would you like?

          • J. P.

            Just one of each will suffice. Remember, though, they each have to be explicit in their support of your claim otherwise no dice.

          • JPC

            I’m still shaking my head over your dikaiocide comment. Are you seriously claiming that murder commanded by God is OK?

            For instance, should you, this evening, hear a disembodied voice commanding you to deliver up your family to the mercy of the Lord in Heaven, and join them there, you’d do in your family and commit suicide?That’s really chilling.

            If you have just a few minutes try watching the TED talk presented by Michael Shermer… http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_on_believing_strange_things.html

            Rape- Deuteronomy 20:10-14. Murder, Deuteronomy 17:12.or Leveticus 20:13 (says to kill prophets?) Slavery, Leveticus 25:44-46. Genocide, Judges 21:10-24.

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            ii. Strawman. Try again.

            iii. Are you hard of reading? The text clearly shows that, while the Israelite troops were permitted to marry captives, they had to attend to them with the same rights and honor due to an Israelite wife . Poles apart from what’s seen in today’s wars , Israelite soldiers were absolutely barred from raping or otherwise abusing female captives .

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            vi. You’re equivocating again. It wasn’t genocide but dikaiocide. Verrry different.

          • J. P.

            Were you aware that there are literally ** thousands ** of ancient Bible manuscripts – in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine – available today in museums the world over? In fact, no other ancient writings are as well attested to as the Bible’s. When you compare these manuscripts to modern Bibles it’s unmistakable how accurately these render the ancient texts. As such, any fears of tampering or errata are unwarranted.

          • Castilliano

            You might want to rethink your manuscript argument:
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/11/25000-new-testament-manuscripts-big-deal/

            Or accuracy argument given how many modern Bibles disagree on which books to include, and on key passages.
            In the 5th century, Mark had four different endings.
            And it originally ended at Mark 16:8.

            Also, popularity is not proof of truth.
            Existence of copies is not proof they weren’t intended as mythic storytelling.
            Should we take Aesop’s Fables as truth? And more true the more copies of it we find?
            Silly.

          • J. P.

            You’re not making sense, again. How does this answer my query?

          • Castilliano

            Read the post I responded to. Yours. You should know it.

            You address quantity of manuscripts, implying quality.
            My link debunks the importance of the quantity, and addresses their poor quality as well.

            You directly address Bible accuracy. In length.
            I directly address Bible inaccuracy.

            You have no query.

            You are a disingenuous scoundrel.
            No “Cheers” this time. I find your tactics repugnant.

          • J. P.

            Even the blog post you cite confirms the fact that the earliest manuscripts of Mark do not contain the specious passages you reference thus affirming the accuracy of contemporary renderings. What’s your point again?

          • Castilliano

            You do know Mark, in modern versions, goes past Mark 16:8, right? By your own words, you just called the added section specious because it’s not in the original.
            I agree, but you just blasphemed your Bible.
            Kudos.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. The Bible is the aggregate of those manuscripts in the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine. How well today’s editors accurately render these texts has no effect on their preeminence. Try again.

          • Castilliano

            OMG, you just argued its accuracy, then call it a strawman when I point out its inaccuracy. You realize you look like an idiot even to the people who most agree with you, right?

            I don’t think you’re an idiot, just a disingenuous scoundrel.

            If the preeminence of the text is vulnerable to poor editing, how can you trust it?
            If your Bible goes past Mark 16:8, you have a Bible unfaithful to the earliest manuscripts.

            Not that there’s an original. As Bart Ehrman put its, there are, in those early manuscripts, more versions of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament.
            Additions from those manuscripts to today? Check.
            Alterations from those manuscripts to today? Check
            High enough variance among those manuscripts to cast doubt upon which represents the ‘right’ one? Check.

            Funny thing is, even if you proved the Bible was accurate to the myths, it wouldn’t prove its worth.

          • J. P.

            There are literally ** thousands ** of ancient Bible manuscripts – in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine – available today in museums the world over. In fact, no other ancient writings are as well attested to as the Bible’s. When you compare these manuscripts to modern Bibles it’s unmistakable how accurately these render the ancient texts. As such, any fears of tampering or errata are unwarranted.

          • Castilliano

            Wow, did you just copy-paste yourself?
            For the viewers, look above for where we started on this road with that same assertion and then where we dismantled Joe’s assertion with specific instances of biblical additions and errors. Read through to here, where Joe, verbatim it appears, copies himself and proves himself intractable to evidence by denying any of that happened.
            That’s faith, baby!
            (Yeah, I know, it’s ugly.)

            Yes, thousands, Joe. Most in disagreement with each other. (See most any book by Ehrman.)

            Yes, it’s very attested. So are its additions, discrepancies, errors, & fallacies. (Ditto)

            Evidence exists of both tampering and errata, but don’t worry, I wasn’t afraid. (BTW, that’s really nice of you to consider my fears. Touching even.)
            Try again. This time with gusto!

            (Viewers, you can probably just read the first run-through. Joe here has a way of repeating himself ad nauseam, even after being countered with actual evidence. In fact, Joe, let’s just pretend we’re back up there, as if for the first time, and save ourselves the hassle of continuing this.)

          • J. P.

            Before we go on I need to know, how extensive is your translation work and expertise?

          • Castilliano

            No, you don’t.

          • J. P.

            Yes, I do for the issue is the rendering of the ancient texts into contemporary languages. If you’re as clueless as I suspect then I’m going to have to preface anything else I share with some basics of how accurate translation work is actually done.

          • Castilliano

            Do you really think calling me ‘clueless’ is going to help this conversation proceed?
            That’s a yes or no question.
            Good night, Joe. Your pompousness has been draining.

          • Madison Blane

            And speaking of “evil in many ways, one being ( male) with far more power than they have earned or than they ought to have…meet Joseph O Polanco

    • Lark62

      Based on what the Bible says, if somehow one was to prove the God of the Bible was real so that I had not choice but to believe it was real, there is still no way no how that I would worship or praise such an evil creation.

      • Castilliano

        I know, it’s like setting out to prove Dracula is real, and very powerful, therefore worthy of worship??
        No thanks. I prefer not to revere genocidal tyrants.
        (Sorry, Dracula, you didn’t deserve that.)

        • Artor

          Vlad Dracul was real, although he wasn’t the character in Bram Stoker’s book. The real guy was just as horrible, without the supernatural powers.

  • A3Kr0n

    I’m adding this to my favorites, right up there next to Dear Emma B.

  • Sly Cooper

    Reeks of being written for a purpose. I dislike religion, but faaaaaaaaaaake.

  • Callista39

    The thing that bugs me about most monotheists is that they don’t just stop at believing there is ONE God. That’s fine, but why do they then have to insist that their interpretation of the ONE is the ONLY true path to the Divine Light? Ugh. What I like about the polytheistic view is that there is easy acceptance that God has many faces; appearing to our diverse cultures in diverse ways. Why would the All Powerful have only one face to show creation? Remember that TV show where a teen girl keeps seeing God, but each time, God is a different person? Loved it.

    • keddaw

      Occam’s Razor* – once you have a universal mystery making and solving machine why would you want or need two of them?

      Okham, Ockham, whatever.

      • islandbrewer

        Okham Asylum was where they kept all the DC villains because it was the simplest thing to do.

      • Callista39

        Yes, yes, one god, but I don’t think you get what I mean by “many faces.” Which ONE FACE would god project to humans? A white old man? Ridiculous. People need a God they can relate to. And how does a Heavenly Father even make sense? All animal life comes from mothers. In studying world religion throughout time, it makes sense that the earliest people viewed the Almighty as the Great Mother. Many thousands of years later, the phallus is worshipped as the life-maker and then later, a male god of the mind appears as humans gain ever greater control over the natural world. Why can’t monotheists understand that their perception of God is simply a projection of their own world view and give some slack to people who perceive God differently because their worldview is different? Christians, especially, should get that God can appear in many forms…um…the Holy Trinity???

  • DAK23

    I’ve asked similar questions and brought up many of these same points many times to bewildered looks from theists.

    • Guest

      Wow, I dare say you must hanging out with the bottom of the barrel of theists. ;)

      • Wyrd Wiles

        You think so? Prove him wrong.

        • Guest

          Okay, I’ll bite – just because it’s incredibly easy. I cite the author himself as proof that theists can be (and most often are) far more thoughtful and nuanced than the character of “Christian” in the story above. In fact, I’d guess that the majority would easily agree with the character of Tom.

          Check out the author’s credentials and other websites. Why he would pander to the stereotypes and prejudices of a few (not all) fundamentalist atheists still baffles me.

          • Madison Blane

            What’s a fundamentalist atheist – did you make that up?

            An Atheist is a person who sees no reason to believe gods/goddesses exist. Period. Being an Atheist makes no claims – it denies an asserted claim. That’s all. How can one be ‘fundamentalist’ about that?

            Are you ‘fundamental’ when you tell a child that we have no reason to believe that unicorns and faeries exist? Do you become ‘fundamental’ by pointing out the lack of evidence, by trying to reason with people who say “You can’t prove that Unicorns and Faeries DON’T exist, therefore they do”? Or do you become ‘fundamentalist’ when you decide that you don’t want the ‘believers’ to legislate whether or not you can wear shoes because they believe ‘that’s where faeries sleep’ and accuse you of harming them? Or maybe they start designating ‘Unicorn protection zones’ and want to stop paying taxes – do you become a ‘fundamentalist’ when you oppose that? Or, maybe, they start murdering people who don’t believe in Unicorns and Faeries, letting children die while they wait for magic Faerie dust to heal them…are you ‘fundamentalist’ for opposing those harms?!

            Are you any less rational, are your points any less valid if a majority of the population insists that Unicorns and Faeries exist; if they believe our very country was founded for the glorification of Unicorns and Faeries?
            Or…is it possible…that you hold a rational, logical position, that you oppose ‘believers’ invasion into our laws because your PATRIOTISM and support of the basic principle of personal Freedom that our country actually was founded on, and you don’t want children harmed as an extension of your HUMANISTIC (not Aunicornistic or Afaerieistic) values…and that doesn’t make you the least bit ‘fundamentalist’.

          • Guest

            Yes, I did make that up, thank you. : ) I call them atheist fundamentalists when they tend to view biblical scripture or theism in a manner similar to the way religious fundamentalists interpret the same – literally, childishly and in an oversimplified way. I call them fundamentalist atheists when they try to dismiss all theism through argument against an oversimplified caricature of theism, i.e. religious fundamentalism, lumping all theists into that category. Of course, I don’t want to make the same mistake, so I call them “fundamentalist atheists” rather than simply “atheists” because I know most atheists don’t view theism in such stereotypical and childish terms.

            In response to your litany of rhetorical questions above, no. I would not call them fundamentalist atheists for holding those points of view. In fact, on those issues, I think most theists would largely agree. I would call them fundamentalist atheists only if they would assume that anyone who does not subscribe to an atheist perspective must disagree with those things.

            Like religious fundamentalists, fundamentalist atheists seem to view theism as a belief in some sort of anthropomorphic entity, vengefully casting those who don’t adhere absolutely to their prescribed belief into a fiery pit of eternal torture.

            I’m saying that belief might be a wee bit naive and not representative of theism. For example, if the theist believes that “God is Love,” do you really want to argue that love does not exist? Or what of the agnostic, who simply says, “I don’t know. I’m not absolutely certain God does not exist”?

            I’m saying that if you do not allow for a more nuanced interpretation of “God” among theists, and dismiss all those theists or agnostics simply because they do not subscribe to the letter of your absolutist version of atheism, well, your dogmatism would seem sort of similar to religious fundamentalism.

          • JPC

            I’m by no means a fundamental atheist (and as atheism is lack of belief, I’m not sure how one can REALLY not believe…) However- your logic is flawed. You claim God is Love, I would never suggest there is no love- love is one of the wonderful things about life. Instead I would suggest there is no God, no supernatural cause for love. Love for me is a wonderful and complex emotion that we’ve developed as an evolutionary advantage over millions of years. Species other than humans also demonstrate love. Atheists and nonbelievers demonstrate love. When in an MRI and shown pictures of loved ones, specific sections of our brains activate- and on and on. There is no need for a “god” to explain concepts like Love.

            Further, now and then we uncover new scientific evidence about a scientific belief or hypothesis. In those cases it’s important that we revise our thinking accordingly and not cling to any concept of an infallible word of God, or think the Pope is divinely inspired and can’t be wrong.

            If a concept is difficult enough that we don’t understand it yet, well, in time we may but I find it easier to say “we don’t, or I don’t understand it yet” than to say “I don’t know, therefore God”.

            Hope that helps.

          • Guest

            Yeah, again, I have to say I agree with you, and I think many theists would as well. I never said God is Love. I just used that as an example of something that would be pretty hard to deny.

            And the point isn’t that you have to have a god to explain why there is love (of course not). Nor is it that atheists could not love or otherwise be good people (again, of course not).

            My point is that we cannot know another person’s concept of “God,” and if it is something like love (as opposed to some supernatural anthropomorphic Old Testament psychopath), that seems pretty difficult to debate. Yet, I’ve known many people who self-identify as theists who describe their belief along lines similar to those. Hell, I know a Catholic Deacon who told me the Bible is not the inerrant word of God, nor does it speak with one voice, and that we should read much of it (even the life of Christ, resurrection and all that) as metaphor.

            I’m neither professing nor promoting any of these beliefs. I also know many, many Christians who believe in evolution and other evidence based science and see no contradiction between that and their own belief.

            If you get away from the anthropomorphic God or literal interpretation of the Bible, I really don’t see why there should be. If someone wants to acknowledge a sense of awe or a mystery behind the universe and think of that mystery as “God,” I cannot say that person is being silly or irrational.

            “Christian” in the story above does indeed seem silly and irrational, but it’s the framing of this story as Atheist vs. Christian that I differ with because most self-identifying Christians I know would be arguing on Tom’s side.

            Atheism is a perfectly fine philosophy if it works for you. However, if we dismiss anyone as illogical or irrational simply because they do not self-identify as “atheist,” then we might be a little fundamentalist with our atheism.

          • Goape

            To conflate mystery with god is being irrational.

            To say an illogical argument is illogical is neither dismissive or fundamentalist. If illogicality is pointed out to a rational person it’s a beneficial thing.

          • Guest

            Must everything be rational? I mean, I just cited that as an example, but it would seem to me that it would be difficult to deny that there is a mystery that underlies our existence.

            I’m not talking about scientific stuff like the origin of the universe or evolution or anything like that. I’m talking about the so called, “unanswerable questions” – like “Why does anything at all exist?”

            If someone were to acknowledge that mystery, and to think of that mystery as “God,” “The Universal Mystery” or “something greater than myself,” that may not be a rational decision. Perhaps it is an emotional decision. But it is not atheist, and I cannot dismiss it as “being irrational.”

            Now, if you approach me with the Old Testament God of the Bible with flowing white beard, fire and brimstone, or you tell me that we don’t know what happened before the Big Bang; therefore, God. – Yeah, I’m with you, but then, for thoughtful people, that’s kind of easy to dismiss, right? But that’s a pretty small segment of “not atheist.”

            Or, take the agnostic: This person simply says, “I don’t know. Maybe.”

            Is that person being irrational?

          • Goape

            To go from uncertain origins to the existence of god is irrational. One can (I do all the time) acknowledge mystery all they want—but mystery isn’t grounds for any unknowable truth. This says nothing about requiring everything to be rational (although that would be nice).

            You also seem to be using the word atheist in a way that isn’t correct. The only thing that’s atheistic is a disbelief in god.

            Furthermore, agnosticism has nothing to do with our discussion. The philosophical immiscibility of knowledge and belief is not pertinent to me kindly pointing out that you were condoning irrationality and, through that condonation, you irrationally justify the birth of an imitation god.

          • Guest

            “To go from uncertain origins to the existence of god is irrational.” – indeed. I think I said as much. I am not condoning or dismissing anything. Nor am I promoting any belief – in a god, in a mystery or that a god does not exist. I’m merely pointing out that if we dogmatically insist that our world view is the only acceptable one (call it logical, rational or what you will), then that dogmatism starts to resemble fundamentalism.

          • Goape

            Yes, you did say something to that effect. The problem is that you said it as part of a rambling, incohesive response to my statement in which you also say that you can’t dismiss this irrational argument as irrational. I thought your convolutions warranted some repetition.

            Now you’re saying that insisting illogical arguments be called illogical is dogmatic fundamentalism. That’s absurd. Logical conversation is not a worldview and to ignore the necessity of logic in productive discourse between polarised groups is irresponsible at best.

          • Guest

            My apologies that my response was not entirely structured, cohesive and eloquent. However, you are again arguing with things I did not say. I have also noticed that this is a strategy commonly employed by fundamentalists – to derive absurd implications from anything put forward by someone not entirely subscribing to their belief, and then to argue with those absurd implications rather than with what the person actually said.

            On another note, I’m wondering why you would think atheists and non-atheists are polarized groups? I could understand why you would feel polarized with fundamentalists, because they are as intolerant of your beliefs as you are of theirs. I can understand that. But I also would wager that many non-fundamentalist people of faith would have no problems with your beliefs whatsoever, except of course for fact that you are intolerant of theirs.

          • Goape

            Your apology for being incohesive is accepted.

            I’m pointing out things which you blatantly said; I’m not attacking strawmen. Whatsmore, that you think I am not only illustrates hypocrisy but hyperbolic comedy as your own responses are rife with obtuse strawman constructions. Is anything in your first paragraph even meant to address me? If so, you may want to reread our thread.

            Paragraph two introduces your most recent strawman: that I somehow argued that theists and atheists are polarized. I didn’t—although, by definition, they are exactly polarized.

            I’ve been civil throughout this conversation. Now I’m just wondering what you’re getting at.

          • Guest

            Yeah, well, “civil” wouldn’t be the first word that popped into my mind, but moving on…

            Another thing I’ve noticed about arguing with fundamentalists is that they tend to get hostile, accuse you of precisely what they are doing (kind of inoculating themselves from that criticism), and dismissing the other person’s argument as incoherent, hypocritical, irrational and a few other adjectives you just used – all of that without actually responding to what the person said – kinda like you just did.

            “…to ignore the necessity of logic in productive discourse between polarised groups is irresponsible at best.” – to what groups were you referring then?

            What I am getting at? I believe I was attempting, however incoherently, to respond to you.

          • Goape

            The quoted statement is universally true and doesn’t need to have any specific group ascribed to it.

            So, your point begins and ends with responding? Did you just feel you needed the last word? If so, I apologise for assuming you were interested in this conversation. This will be my last post.

          • JPC

            Gotcha, thanks for the clear response.

            I work in a more rural setting, and there are believers at work and in this town. The majority take the Bible as metaphor, as some things that we can take or leave. I’ve had two Catholic priests both support evolution.

            However, there are many many people who take the view of the “Christian” in the story above. My wife teaches yoga- we had the pastor of the same church in which we married, tell her parishioners (in response to questions) that Yoga is evil and may be the devil’s work. When we asked her about that, her response was “well, yes, it’s from India and they haven’t accepted Christ there”.

            That example is real and personal. I am sure there are many examples of irrational believe in supernatural deities that have caused harm, and as such it behooves us to discuss religion and resolve some of these ideas- and that religion does NOT deserve respectful silence, rather if it can cause harm it merits a challenge.

            The harm I’m outraged about is that done through repression of human sexuality, through artificial suppression of birth control, control of women’s reproductive rights, misogyny, genital mutilation, and all the way to some of the more severe nonsense practiced in the name of sharia law.

            We as a human race really need to shed this set of archaic beliefs.

          • J. P.

            And your solution is Atheism?!

            “If atheism were such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers.” – Unknown

          • JPC

            Please don’t conflate political and economic issues with religious harm, they aren’t the same. I’m challenging the concept that religion is a net positive for humanity and suggesting it’s time we as a human race left it in our past.

          • J. P.

            I’m sure that is of great comfort to all of the millions and millions of victims of sadistic, genocidal atheistic regimes …

          • Lark62

            “…fundamentalist atheists seem to view theism as a belief in some sort of
            anthropomorphic entity, vengefully casting those who don’t adhere
            absolutely to their prescribed belief into a fiery pit of eternal
            torture”

            I’m confused, Christians say they believe in god (“some sort of anthromorphic entity”) who will cast non-believers “into a fiery pit of eternal torture.” So when I come to the conclusion that a Christian meant what he said, I magically become a “fundamental atheist” ? Wow.

            Nope, I’m still a plain, old, garden variety, every day atheist. I don’t believe in supernatural beings. Done.

          • Guest

            I don’t think you become a fundamentalist atheist if you take that particular Christian to mean what that particular Christian said. I think you become a fundamentalist atheist when you try to dismiss all people who do not self-identify as “atheist.”

          • Artor

            It’s not atheists who treat the Bible as the literal word of Gawd. That’s the Xians doing that. We’re just holding up their own words to show how inane they are. We’re not caricaturing anyone- most of us have really had these mind-boggling arguments with real, ignorant fundy Xians. I have personally known people like the Xian in the post above, and while I realize not all Xians are like that, it’s not a misrepresentation to point out that many of them are.

          • J. P.

            You’re equivocating. What do you call someone who believes God does not nor cannot exist?

          • Artor

            Do you know what equivocating means? Apparently not.

          • J. P.

            Do you?

          • islandbrewer

            He does. He has demonstrated such.

          • J. P.

            When? Where?

            Or are you his sockpuppet? Hmmm ….

          • islandbrewer

            When have you ever demonstrated that you actually understand half the words and phrases you toss around haphazardly? Have you learned what an ad hominem is, yet? Or does that still evade you?

          • J. P.

            Aut disce aut discede. I smell your fear.

          • islandbrewer

            That is fucking creepy. I’m so shocked you’re single and have no custody of any children! Hey, are you one of the guys described here?

            http://www.silentlambs.org

          • Artor

            Yes, I do. And I don’t see anywhere in Blane’s post that qualifies, which is why I asked if you know what it means. I still haven’t seen evidence that you do. Hence, my working hypothesis; you’re an idiot.

          • J. P.

            Then you don’t know what it means because, clearly, he equivocated with his comment.

          • Artor

            Nice try. Can you define it in your own words? Because I’m pretty sure you’re still clueless.

          • J. P.

            You’ve yet to accept anything I’ve shared. Why would I waste my time?

          • Artor

            Intellectual honesty? Self respect? Academic rigor? LOL- I’m joking. It’s pretty clear you don’t have any of those.

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            Clearly you don’t because anyone who claims God does not nor cannot exist is an Atheist.

          • Bobbie Jo Justice

            the christian god fairy tale is just that, a fairy tale and nothing more.

          • J. P.

            Prove it.

          • LWMT

            They might be more tactful in discussion, but that’s only because they want to highlight the benefits of Christianity and detract from the unjustified consequences of not being a Christian. The above story illustrates exactly what they think. No matter what semantics are used you need Jesus to be a Christian and you need to be a Christian to go to heaven.

      • Artor

        The bottom of that barrel must be pretty wide. Is it shaped like a Florence flask? Most of the more devout Xians I have known are the ignorant, irrational types. The intelligent, considered theists are by far the minority.

        • Guest

          I’m guessing you’ve probably known many people of some faith and did not know they were people of faith simply because they weren’t that sort. It’s the evangelical fundamentalists who tend to be outspoken and in your face.

          • Artor

            That’s possible, although I usually assume that anyone of an older generation than me is probably Xian unless they say otherwise. Also, the Jesus pics on the walls are a good clue. Even the really nice ones are pretty irrational, like, “The gov’t should keep their hands off my Medicare!” irrational.

  • Dennis Vander Houwen

    This is a wonderful study piece. It dissects the utter insanity of belief and the arguments used by followers. Repeat something long enough and people will believe it to the degree that they repeat it too, but it still doesn’t make it true. Great read.

    • Guest

      My goodness, if you think arguing with a contrived caricature of fundy Christian represents anything even remotely approaching a dissection belief, then you might be a little less worldly than “Christian” in the story above.

      • Castilliano

        Yes, fundies are practically caricatures of themselves.
        But it’s hardly contrived. I could walk to several churches in my region where this is doctrine.
        (Though the people there’d express more emotion & fight than poor “Christian” they’d offer no better reasoning.)
        Since hell is explicit in the Bible, one may even call this mainstream. It’s certainly Catholic doctrine, those whose numbers are greatest.

        Lastly, I’ve had this kind of conversation more often than not when discussing hell. “Christians” position has been the default for most every Christian I’ve met, both stranger & lifetime friend.

        Cheers.

      • Guest

        Yes this looks very much like a caricature story. However I have had the argument myself with believers that flow pretty much this same pattern.. My appreciation for the story was not a statement of this being a “scholarly dissection” but a practical one for understanding the basics of the debate. I found your comment rather cowardly “GUEST”(?). Forgive me for not meeting your criteria to comment and express my thoughts. I retract my comment and bow to your supreme intellect and social skills…(as your shit clearly does not stink.) Yeah right. Get over yourself.

        • Guest

          Unfortunately, I think we’ve all endured arguments similar to that.

          Anyway, I can’t help thinking you might also benefit from your last piece of advice. ;)

      • MD

        You think it’s a caricature? Go and read TjValion68′s posts below.

        • Guest

          I have, but I’d say he’s pretty much a caricature. I sure wouldn’t take that as representative of “Christian” or “theist.”

          • MD

            Isn’t that convenient? You and he are just as representative of Christianity. The spectrum of what is a Christian is mindnumbingly wide. And the angry judgmental ones are the loudest.

      • LWMT

        Caricature? This was my childhood, and I belonged to a BIG mainstream church.

      • Artor

        This particular conversation may have been manufactured, but it’s almost verbatim the same argument I’ve had with real-life Xians. This is no caricature, this is a pretty accurate depiction of your average Xian fundy.

        • crimsonking

          I wouldn’t even consider this to be a characteristic of a fundamentalist, necessarily. No one has good answers to these questions because they don’t exist. You can get a lot of silly pseudo-philosophical babble out of those who waste way too much time thinking about this stuff, but the arguments are never any better. The best the most prominent apologist “scholars” can do is confuse you with nonsense and abstractions.

  • Captain Nitpick

    The concept of hell strikes me as a fiction you’d invent if you were having trouble getting people to join your club.

    • Castilliano

      You’ll BURN for that, BLASPHEMER!!!
      /poe

      Cheers. :)

    • CurtisMSP

      Either that or a something you would invent if you were trying to describe a really bad day.

  • mrcrumley

    I know we should trust what we read on the Internet, but I’m not convinced this conversation actually happened. Instead, I believe the author did his best to imagine what both fictional people would have said, but ultimately both viewpoints are limited by the same perspective of the author. I could be wrong, but this seems likely to me.

    • Lark62

      It may not have happened exactly, but the “logic” and words of the christian are spot on, and variations of this conversation happen all the time. The only difference is usually that the atheist would just blow them off and not try to impart logic into a logicless brain.

      • mrcrumley

        I wouldn’t be comfortable making the generalization that all Christians subscribe to these words or this logic. I don’t think the author was either, which is why (if this didn’t actually happen) he wrote it as an exchange with a single person.

    • Erik Griffiths

      except I’ve been on both ends of this very conversation, and this is nearly exactly how it went every time.

    • Edward Woelke

      Actually I just had this conversation almost verbatim yesterday. Logic may have prevailed, but irrational thinks “I am praying for you” won.

      • Madison Blane

        Keep having these conversations! You may think that no one hears you and you never get through, but that’s not the case, even if you never actually see the results.
        “I’ll pray for you” is a defensive mechanism. It took 10 years of arguments, debates, discussions, and pleadings for something to break through enough for me to declare myself an Atheist. During those years, those arguments, and their logic ate my brain to pieces! When I could no longer defend it, when I had no rational arguments left, I was still deeply afraid. Indoctrination has deep holds and psychological chains.
        You may never know the difference you make but, one day, that person might just make it through to freedom and that’s worth EVERY argument! Besides, you never know who is listening, reading, absorbing and NOT arguing!

        • Edward Woelke

          Thanks for that encouragement. It is rather exasperating when they feel sorry for you because you are deluded by your non-belief!

    • JA

      The conversation might be fictional, but practically every conversation I’ve had with an evangelical about religion has followed this exact format. The abandonment of logic as soon as holes are poked in their argument, the whole “God works in mysterious ways” type responses to tough questions, logical fallacy after logical fallacy (arguments from ignorance, authority, special pleading, etc)…

  • Madison Blane

    If an average critical-thinking person reading the Bible all the way through finds it contradictory, morally objectionable, and ethically useless, wouldn’t an all-knowing God have foreseen this and not allowed those words to represent him? Wouldn’t he have ‘inspired’ better words?

    If there really is an all-powerful God who desires us to know, love, and worship him…Why does it take a Holy Book, a ‘witness’, and a theologian who has a doctorate in Arabic, Hebrew and ancient Greek for a person to obtain and understand this salvation that God supposedly wants his every creation, every human on earth, to have? Why do the inspired writers in his book make his instructions, his will, and his very nature so hard to discern? For example:

    God is love (says 1 John 4:8)
    Love is not Jealous (says 1 Corinthians 13:4)
    Yet…God is a Jealous God…16 different scriptures tell us that; Exodus says his NAME is Jealous – one of the most despicable HUMAN emotions!

    John says Christ is equal with God, Matthew disagrees.
    But, Matthew says Jesus was all-powerful. Mark disagrees.

    Luke says Christ’s mission was peace.
    Matthew disagrees, he says it was to bring a sword.

    Romans and Galatians say Faith alone is enough.
    James says a person is righteous by what they do, and NOT by faith alone.

    John and Romans says it is impossible to fall from grace.
    But Peter and Hebrews say not only can you fall from grace, but once you have, it is impossible for you to be restored.

    Proverbs and Peter say that the godly are protected from evil and evil will not happen to them.
    But Hebrews says evil WILL happen to them – and we all know what happened to Job (I’d consider Lucifer killing all my children pretty freakin’ evil).

    Genesis, Proverbs, Psalms and Job say that worldly goods and worldly prosperity are promised to the godly.
    Luke and Matthew say the godly should NOT have treasures on earth and they should be poor. They say if you have worldly goods and prosperity you won’t go to heaven, you’ve already received your reward on earth.

    James, Ezekiel, and Numbers say God is Unchangeable.
    Genesis, Jonah, I Samuel, II Kings and Exodus all say God is changeable

    Mark and Acts can’t agree on whether or not there is an unpardonable sin! And are Christians supposed to be baptized in the name of Jesus, or in the name of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost…or maybe both, just in case!

    Christians can’t even agree among themselves what the Bible actually says; 30,000 different denominations of Christianity PROVE this. So, even if you’ve decided that Yahweh God is the one true God, out of the thousands of others you could choose from, you still have to decide which denomination of Christianity is true! No wonder such a high percentage of Christians have stopped attending church and consider themselves ‘spiritual but not religious’.

    No matter how ‘inspired’ the authors felt, the Bible was still written by fallible men in a time of blind ignorance and shameful treatment of their fellow humans, especially women. In the new testament, you can find scriptures to promote good values, sure. But you can find scriptures to promote ANY value in the Bible – even cold, murderous, racist, ‘ni&&er’-hating, misogynistic, Ayrian nation white supremacists here in the south where I live have a STRONG faith in the Bible. They know it well, can quote it by heart, and use it as justification for their beliefs.

    Slavery is condoned (encouraged even) MANY times, even in the new testament. In fact, the Bible was used as one of the primary arguments for reasons why slavery should NOT be abolished in America. Those people who fought to keep slavery, they were good ‘God-fearing’ people who were following the commandments that were given to them in their ‘holy’ book! If an eternal God knew that those instructions would be saved and would be used as HIS words, if God, in his infinite wisdom cannot give commandments that are a MORAL ABSOLUTE for ALL ages and all times, then really, what good is his word to us? We’ve figured out that owning people is wrong without his word!

    If you were going to write a set of moral absolutes, wouldn’t you start with “you can’t own other people”, “Don’t rape”, “Don’t marry children” and “don’t cut off bits off their genitals”? Shouldn’t THAT be up there somewhere before ‘don’t own sculptures’? One of the original commandments carved in stone is about not boiling a calf in it’s mother’s milk! How important is that to us today? Would an eternal God make THAT his most important message to communicate to all humanity? Or is it more likely that commandment wasn’t really quite all that inspired; maybe Moses didn’t really talk to God on that one? or any of them?

    The Bible goes from the immoral to the patently absurd. According to the Bible, Iron floats if you just throw the right stick in the water near it and cows gave birth to speckled calves because they looked at sticks that had stripes painted on them, and walls fell down like an elevator when they heard music, and eating a special fruit can give a person knowledge equivalent to that of the Gods, and death wasn’t entirely permanent at one point in time. A donkey doesn’t have vocal chords, neither does a serpent. They can’t talk. Unicorns, Saytrs, Behemouths, Leviathans, Golems – these are things mentioned in the Bible as being totally real, and they just ARE NOT!

    I’d just like Christians to be honest. Admit the Bible isn’t some infallible truth. Admit that YOU choose to live your life by it and quit trying to insist that EVERYONE has to live their life by it. I’d like Christians to be educated on what’s really in their Bible. Few people take the initiative to really explore what’s in that book. Too few people ever look for proof. They start with the assumption that God exists – THEIR God and nobody else’s – and they never ask why. They never realize that Muslims believe their religion for the same reasons Christians do – not because it’s true, not because they have some special truth, but because it’s what they’ve always been told, it’s what their family has always done.

    I’m not out to destroy faith. I am Atheist because I just can’t believe what the Bible or any other ‘holy book’ says.

    • mark wyatt

      That’s the point though, to get lost in the minutia and leave it up to “blind faith”, the confusion is the key. If it were straight forward and had no contradictions people would understand that there simply were no great Christian dinosaur hunter’s.

    • J. P.

      “The vulgar modern argument used against religion, and lately against common decency, would be absolutely fatal to any idea of liberty. It is perpetually said that because there are a hundred religions claiming to be true, it is therefore impossible that one of them should really be true.

      The argument would appear on the face of it to be illogical, if anyone nowadays troubled about logic. It would be as reasonable to say that because some people thought the earth was flat, and others (rather less incorrectly) imagined it was round, and because anybody is free to say that it is triangular or hexagonal, or a rhomboid, therefore it has no shape at all; or its shape can never be discovered; and, anyhow, modern science must be wrong in saying it is an oblate spheroid. The world must be some shape, and it must be that shape and no other; and it is not self-evident that nobody can possibly hit on the right one.

      What so obviously applies to the material shape of the world equally applies to the moral shape of the universe. The man who describes it may not be right, but it is no argument against his rightness that a number of other people must be wrong.”

      ― G.K. Chesterton

      • Pattrsn

        Except there’s evidence for the shape of the earth, while religion is just a crapshoot, it depends almost entirely on the one you were born into. If you were born a Muslim you’d be making exactly the same argument for the validity of islam

        • J. P.

          Indirect evidence is frequently and reliably depended upon to ascertain the reality of the world we live in . As a case in point , it’s long been widely-used to show that our Sun generates power via nuclear fusion , hydrogen is present on it or that the our planet features an iron core . In like manner , the reality that not a one of fulfilled Bible predictions has at any time been completely wrong constitutes unquestionable attestation for the reality of it’s composer , Jehovah God .

          This is, by far the most persuasive logical reason why millions upon millions of rational people today the world over accept the Bible as the Inspired Word of Jehovah God. Simply no other book – religious or not – comes with such an illustrious prominence. Considering the fact that it’s literally ** impossible ** for any person to foresee with complete precision what’s sure to occur from one hour to the next, there’s no two ways about it: Bible prophecies are not of natural origin: http://bit.ly/1d0Y82v

          • Castilliano

            I know better than to respond to you, but really, you’re so off base here.
            The Bible prophecies that have been fulfilled, were all fulfilled in the same story where we got the prophecy.
            If you cross-reference the “fulfilled” ones in the NT, you’ll see the OT books already showed them fulfilled! Or, are so completely out of context that it couldn’t be taken for a prophecy.
            Some others are easily fulfilled, simply by knowing them and making certain to ride in on a donkey or whatnot.
            Come on, really, you’re wasting your time & ours, Joseph.

            This is like saying every Harry Potter prophecy was fulfilled.
            In a Harry Potter book.
            You’d do better going door to door.

          • J. P.

            Do you have any evidence for your outlandish claims?

          • Castilliano

            Yes.
            (Even though you realize, don’t you, that you haven’t proven any prophecies coming true yet.)
            http://www.deism.com/paine_essay_false_prophecies_of_jesus_1.htm
            http://www.deism.com/paine_essay_false_prophecies_of_jesus_2.htm
            That covers all the gospel prophecies for starters.

            As you can see from the addresses, they’re from Paine, Thomas Paine. So nothing Christians shouldn’t have realized in the 200+ years since.

            I believe Jefferson wrote something similar, but I don’t have it on hand.

            BTW, it’s not ‘outlandish’ simply because it disagrees with you & your mentors. That’s a bit dramatic, and unfounded. (OMG, why do I bother…)

            Cheers.

          • J. P.

            I’m not going to wade through all that without evidence of it’s credibility.

            Please select the strongest argument on that site for your position and present it. If it’s valid then I’ll consider evaluating the rest.

          • Castilliano

            JOP: I want evidence.
            Me: Here’s some.
            JOP: I want evidence about your evidence.
            Me: *sigh* No. I’m not playing this game. Joe, read it at your leisure.

            Whether or not it’s authentic is secondary to you just pulling out your Bible and following along.
            You see, the strongest arguments Paine uses are in the Bible itself, or you can Google the historical events he refers to. He goes through the Gospels in order of appearance, countering every prophecy therein. It’s more a series of flaws revealed then strong or weak arguments.

            Cheers.

          • J. P.

            You’re gonna have to do a lot better than your Snow Job fallacy. Try again.

          • Castilliano

            Nope. No fallacy.
            Try again.
            (Ooh, now I see the appeal. It’s so easy.)

            One more…
            Prove it.
            (Uggh, now I feel dirty.)
            Because I’m not Joe.

            For our viewers, Snow Job is a mountain of irrelevant facts. Note that Joe here has linked dozens of websites in this thread alone, yet my two links are the Snow Job.
            I have to doubt he even began reading my two, and I’ll flat out say it would be because he’s a cowardly scoundrel, aiming to win more than learn.
            Dear readers, follow the links. They’re pretty cool.
            But like I said to Joe, at your leisure.
            I wouldn’t want to snow you.
            Cheers.
            (But not to you, Joe.)

          • J. P.
          • Pattrsn

            No, solar radiation is direct evidence of solar nuclear activity, in fact when it comes to science all evidence is direct. All religion has is apologetics, and all the apologetics are the same. For example if you were born Muslim you would be making the exact same arguments for the validity of Islam.

          • J. P.

            And “if all you have is a hammer , everything looks like a nail .” -Maslow

            Stated more explicitly , your Scientism or just Radical Positivism is an awfully parochial or small-minded philosophy of knowledge . On this opinion there is certainly absolutely nothing good or evil , right or wrong , exquisite or hideous . Even so, can it be tenable to believe that experimental truth is the one and only truth that exists ? That simply no aesthetic , moral , metaphysical or otherwise putative facts obtain ?

            Abiding by this view , for starters , the Atheist who rapes a little kid to death is doing absolutely nothing wrong . Exactly why ought we agree to such a conclusion resulting from an epistemological limit ? Isn’t this an indication that you ought to unlock the ambit of your beliefs so that you can incorporate all the other different types of truth that abound?

            Withal , the basic principles of Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem altogether gainsays Radical Positivism’s primary assumption . In fact , Science is suffused with assumptions that can never be scientifically verified . The epistemology of radical positivism , as a result , abrogates science itself . Take for instance , the concept of induction. It simply cannot scientifically defended . Attempting to render a solid inductive line of reasoning for radical positivism is ridiculous as this automatically begs the question by presupposing the legitimacy of inductive reasoning to begin with !

            All the more devastating to your beliefs is the fact that radical positivism is self-refuting . At its heart , this pernicious conviction declares that we must not consent to any concept that cannot be scientifically tested . Yet what about that very supposition ? It can’t per se be scientifically tested out much less corroborated . As a result we ought not believe it . Your trusty Radical Positivism, as a result, asphyxiates itself .

            Or alternatively , as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem made evident , ‘Whatsoever may be bounded cannot explicate itself without referring to that which is without itself – some postulate whose certainty is unobtainable .’

            This is just what famed Physicist and Mathematician James Clerk Maxwell alluded to when he came to the conclusion , “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing . We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created .”

            Demonstrably , then , your current opposition to as well as distaste for the idea of God’s presence is not evidentiary, just philosophical . It is actually your ethos – and only your ethos – that occludes your way to grasping your Creator’s truths .

            Having said that , the day you at long last choose to unshackle your epistemology of truth is the day the bounteous ken of God Almighty can finally be within your reach . At that moment , with terrific shock and piercing remorse , you’ll recognize you’ve always been needlessly depriving you and your family of a whole world of simply astonishing and precious truths .

          • indorri

            You’re misunderstanding science by calling it “radical positivism”. A better term would be “operational fallibilism”. The point of it being limited is irrelevant because it implies that there is a better way of determining truth.

            Except now we have no way of determining that. Unless you attempt to test it with limited science.

            That’s the point of holding predictive fallibilistic theories as the ideal: even you do it, when you expound on the consequences of belief/disbelief. Regardless of what other things may obtain, we cannot realistically label them as “truths” because we don’t have access to them. If we did, they would already be susceptible to experimentation. Thus, I reject any attempt to label entities that cannot be determined through predictive means to be true. It’s semantic nonsense.

          • J. P.

            It seems you missed the thrust of my rejoinder:

            Precisely what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable , replicable evidence explicitly establishes that Christopher Columbus landed in America in 1492 or that Yuri Gagarin was the very first man to actually journey to space ?

            Just what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable , replicable evidence do you have demonstrating it’s immoral for an atheist to rape a little girl to death ?

            Exactly what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable , replicable proof is there which proves you ought to care for others and treat them with dignity , honor as well as beneficence ?

          • Gabe Beutel-Gunn

            Guys, do you think that maybe Jospeph O Polanco is actually a robot? I think he might be. I think someone programmed him with really good artificial intelligence, but not quite good enough to behave like a real human; e.g. he keeps copy and pasting non-sequiturs, links back to this very article, and gibberish. I like to imagine that his programmer forgot about him and moved on to more worthwhile projects, and doesn’t realize that his old Christian blog responder robot is still sitting in a dusty closet somewhere, churning out automated response after automated response and may continue doing so until the end of time.

          • J. P.

            You know I thought I’d put your reply to good use so I printed out a few copies. But the text was way too rough and kept making the toilet overflow. You should be more like Dawkins. His text wipes softly and goes down the bowl swimmingly.

          • indorri

            Precisely what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable ,
            replicable evidence explicitly establishes that Christopher Columbus
            landed in America in 1492 or that Yuri Gagarin was the very first man to
            actually journey to space ?

            A fair enough question. The general answer is still “what predictions do you have asserting these?”

            If you say Columbus landed in America in 1492, what would you expect to be the case if that were true? And, even more importantly, what would you expect wouldn’t be the case if that were true? That’s the big one: a good epistemic framework not only actively predicts what does happen, but also predicts what shouldn’t happen.

          • J. P.

            I see what you’re saying. It worked so well with Alchemy , Neptunism , the geocentric universe , Spontaneous Generation , Lamarckism , Emication , the existence of the planet Vulcan , Lysenkoism , Gradualism , Trepanation , Miasma principle of illness , Telegony , the widening earth , the existence of Phlogiston , martian canals , Luminiferous Aether , the Steady State Theory , Cold Fusion , Hollow Earth Theory , Gradualism and Phrenology …

          • indorri

            I have a feeling you’re being sarcastic, but ironically you are correct. They made predictions. Those predictions turned out to be incorrect and they were supplanted by other models which accounted for those discrepancies.

            You do realise Newtonian Mechanics and classical electromagnetism are also incorrect, right? They don’t model correctly certain phenomena. We still use them in numerous disciplines because their predictions are very accurate under many well understood conditions. When we need to model something that violates those conditions, we use general relativity and quantum mechanics.

          • J. P.

            As opposed to delusions of omniscience, shouldn’t the realization that the sciences simply are not infallible nor omniscient result in humbleness instead of contemptuousness and openness, not intolerance?

          • Madison Blane

            What…you mean as opposed to all those “humble” Christians who believe an all-powerful God created an entire universe, just for them, counts the hairs on their head, and cares about them getting a good parking space and their favorite football team winning?!? The same ‘humble’ christians who believe their god is the ONLY right god, their version of christianity is the only right path, and all the rest of the world is going to be tortured for eternity, simply for disagreeing?

            Those of us who realize the sciences aren’t infallible are humble enough to say “I don’t know but I will keep an open mind”. But what we WON’T do is let you claim the things science has proven are somehow wrong simply because you don’t understand them! I won’t let someone convince me that the world is dark just because that person deliberately closes their eyes so as not to see the light.

            A Christian says “I don’t know, therefore I DO know – God did it” like a child who has never seen the majority of animals on earth but colors them all bule anyway because that’s his favorite color. And then when he’s shown all those animals, he STILL colors them all blue and insists they must be blue and uses his old coloring books as proof!

          • Castilliano

            Love the coloring book example.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • mdoc

            Red herring. Try again.

          • J. P.
          • indorri

            I honestly don’t understand what you’re arguing. I’m completely lost on the point you’re trying to make.

          • Madison Blane

            Don’t feel bad, he doesn’t know what he’s trying to argue either. Every time one of his Red Herrings is cast aside, he just decides we’ve all missed the ‘thrust of his rejoinder’ and starts throwing our phrases that have absolutely no relevance…but hey, some of them are in Latin, so, it makes him think he looks intelligent!

          • J. P.
          • Pattrsn

            I must apologize Joe, my response seems to have triggered some kind of fugue state where your capable of only gibberish. Just try and focus on this simple assertion: if you were born to a Muslim family you would be arguing just as strongly for the veracity of Islam.

          • J. P.

            Prove it.

          • Pattrsn

            What, prove that a persons religion is almost entirely dependent on the religion of their family? I didn’t realize that was even debatable.

          • J. P.

            Didn’t you know? Regardless of how one’s raised one can change their religion. Case in point:

            “It [] dawned on me that I had accepted evolution without really questioning it. For example, I had assumed that evolution was well supported by the fossil record. But it is not. Indeed, the more I examined evolution, the more I became convinced that the theory is more bluster than fact.

            Then I thought about my work with robots. Whose designs was I imitating? I could never design a robot capable of catching a ball as we can. A robot can be programmed to catch a ball, but only in precisely controlled conditions. It cannot do so in circumstances for which it has not been programmed. Our ability to learn is vastly superior to that of a machine—and mere machines have makers! This fact is just one of many that led me to conclude that we must have had a Designer.

            I became deeply interested in the many prophecies, or predictions, in the Bible. My study of those convinced me that the Bible really is from God. In 1992, Barbara and I were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses.” -Professor Massimo Tistarelli, former atheist (http://bit.ly/15xtINp) (Bracket mine.)

          • Madison Blane

            Personal anecdotes aren’t proof

          • Gabe Beutel-Gunn

            this is my favorite one so far

          • J. P.

            I can see why. No atheist has survived it yet :)

          • JPC

            Dude, I remain appalled! Raping a little kid? No atheist ever would claim that isn’t fundamentally wrong, and moreover a heinous act deserving public exposure and the full penalty of the law. Wait- I see that denial from Christians…

            Have said it before and i’ll say it again (as you seem to be unable to consider objectively what others tell you)- morality does not come from God. If the only reason you comply with right and wrong is fear of imaginary God, you’re a mess… Morality has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible, God or Christ. I am well acquainted with many atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Hindu, and yes, even a few Muslim friends who have a surprisingly similar viewpoint of what’s right and wrong.

            Citing Maxwell? try citing Hawking, or Dawkins, or Cox or Greene or Einstein or Stenger or Ramachandran. Any of the innumerable scientific greats that have lived since Charles Darwin.

            Dude, stop being so close-minded. Science opens up the universe, the minute you substitute your “I don’t know, therefore God” with the much better “I don’t know but let’s find out”.

            And please do not make the assumption that I’m unaware of religious dictates, conventions, beliefs or rituals. Been there and done that. No evidence.

          • J. P.

            Guess again. As a famous adherent of your ethos candidly expressed, “The greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable ‘value judgment’ that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others’? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me—after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.”” -Ted Bundy

          • JPC

            Joe, I’m sorry, do some homework. Bundy was a sociopath, and a firm Republican. Also was raised Methodist but baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints just before he turned 30.

            Why not claim he was immoral because he was a Republican?

            Dude, really. Taking little shots like this to try to push your agenda are absurd, when the correct information is so easy to find.

            Still no proof of God.

          • J. P.

            First, Antichrists are not Christians and lastly, Bundy’s atheistic views prove that your claim, “No atheist ever would claim that isn’t fundamentally wrong,” is pure bunk.

            Need more?

            “It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism.

            Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.”
            ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

          • JPC

            antichrists? what???? Bundy was a sociopath and was baptized when not quite 30- it’s a matter of public record. Are you saying you don’t want him? Or that since he did bad things he can’t have been a Christian? Or that he’s clearly immoral so must have been an atheist?

            I would have bet against it but once again your sheer stubbornness and blind belief in nonsense surprises me.

            Joe, just stop. You continue to increase the perception that the religious do not listen, cannot engage in reasoned discussion and really aren’t that sharp.

          • J. P.

            Let me break it down for you. If Bundy was a Christian then the Pope is an Atheist.

            Any simpler and I’m gonna have to break out the crayons …

          • JPC

            Bundy was baptized, Joe. Not just baptized, but baptized into the Church of the Latter Day Saints. While living in Utah.

            First paragraph under “Idaho, Utah, Colorado”. You must be proud.

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

          • J. P.

            Are you hard of reading? That just means he was a Mormon, not a Christian. Try again.

          • J. P.

            Problem is , humanity doesn’t deal with acts such as pedophilia , the gunning down of helpless little children , brutality , genocide , gang rape , racism or even serial homicide as merely socially improper conduct , like , say , picking your nostrils at the dinner table . Much rather , these jolt , outrage as well as horrify . They’re dealt with as moral abominations – acts of evil .

            On the flip side , love , equality or self-sacrifice are more than just socially useful acts , like , say , bringing a lady roses on a first date. Rather, these are regarded as conduct which is actually good .

            That being said , irrational beasts don’t possess **objective** morals . When ever a lion savagely kills some other it doesn’t believe it’s committing homicide . Any time a peregrine falcon or a bald eagle snatches prey away from another it doesn’t believe it’s stealing . Each time primates violently force themselves onto females as well as their little ones they’re not tried and convicted of rape or pedophilia . Needless to say, we undoubtedly did not “inherit” our **objective** moral sense from these .

            **Objective** morals are never derived from scientific research just because science , by it’s very nature , is morally nihilistic . From where , then perhaps , do we obtain our **universal objective morals** from ?

            Consider the following:

            (1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
            (2) Evil exists.
            (3) Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist.
            (4) Therefore, God exists.
            (5) Therefore, God is the locus of all objective moral values and duties.

            That is to say, as Dostoevsky once mused, “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”

            Q. E. D.

          • JPC

            Your entire argument assumes moral values and duties depend on God, that’s such utter tripe. Dude, join the 1st century- read some of the recent work on empathy and compassion, on consciousness and the function of the human mind.

            Joe, you are just trying to recycle old apologist arguments that have been well debunked by others. They are and remain nonsense, no matter how many times you try to trot them out.

            The Golden Rule predates Christianity, and is found in most of the ancient civilizations of the world. Why? Because compassion and empathy for our families, friends and acquaintances (originally in a tribal setting, yes) conveys specific survival advantages, and so are evolutionary adaptations. We see this not just in humans but in the entire animal kingdom to some extent. Have you any doubt that the household dog is a loving family member?

            Buddhism offers compassion as the central tenet of its philosophy and predates Chrtistianity by what, 600 years?

          • J. P.

            No assumption required. It’s a logical deduction. Does methodized reasoning present far too much of an obstacle for you?

            If not, prove any of the stated premises false.

          • JPC

            That’s silly… here is one refutation of your premises…

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/06/william-lane-craig-doesnt-believe-in-objective-moral-values/

            and here’s another…

            http://infidels.org/library/modern/theism/moral.html

            If you want to plagiarize and quote Divine Command Theory you have to realize those arguments, as old and tired as they are, have been debunked many times. It’s simple to find and link samples of the debunkings, thereby giving credit to the authors.

            Joe, just stop- your logic is flawed, there remains absolutely zero evidence of God (the large prayer study here http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 is a good example)

          • J. P.
          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            Argumentum per falsam analogiam.

            Just what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable , replicable evidence do you have demonstrating it’s immoral for an atheist to rape a little girl to death ?

            Exactly what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable , replicable proof is there which proves you ought to care for others and treat them with dignity , honor as well as beneficence ?

          • J. P.

            Creation is proof of a Creator . If exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate designs and systems present in nature ( Biomimetics ) then much more the original being replicated .

          • JPC

            Nonsense. Creation is a word. If your Creation is called the Universe by me, or Existence, the prompt to think in terms of a Creator disappears. Science continues to peel back the frontiers of knowledge. No creator is necessary- and even if there was a Creator, who created the creator? Your logic fails.

          • J. P.

            Your argument by special pleading is pure amphigory. My premise is:

            ( 1 ) Whatsoever begins to exist has a cause .

            The premise that the all matter and energy began to exist 13.70 billion years ago is not a religious declaration nor a theological one. You can find this statement in any contemporary textbook on astrophysics or cosmology. And it is supported by the vast majority of cosmologists today.

            The Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem, for instance, proves that any universe, which has, on average, a rate of expansion greater than one ** must ** have a ** finite beginning **. I’m not making this up. Read the paper in full or watch Vilenkin himself invalidate and impugn beginningless universe models like Eternal Inflation, Cyclic Evolution and Static Seed/Emergent Universe on youtube.

            As such, Vilenkin had this to say regarding the beginning of the universe, “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. *** There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning ***. (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176) (Emphasis mine.)

            As Theoretical Physicist and Cosmologist Stephen Hawking put it, “the final nail in the coffin of the Steady State theory came with the discovery of the microwave background radiation, in 1965.”

            Emphatically, then, your fervent belief that the universe is infinitely old, beginningless, or eternal has no basis in any respected mainstream scientific theories of the universe. It’s just more atheistic folderol and wishful thinking.

            This creates the necessity for a first uncaused-cause. After all, something cannot come from nothing as I’ve already shared. I’ve also explained that this first uncaused efficient cause must also, by necessity, be transcendent, beginningless, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, unchanging, omnipotent, personal and good. As it turns out, such is the very definition of God.

          • JPC

            No argument from me at all about the Big Bang, it does have a lot of evidence in its favour. yet I don’t follow your connection- we don’t know the cause of the Big bang, therefore God?

            Cosmologists and theoretical physicists continue to work on the cause of the Big Bang. However, your argument fails…

            If God can be an uncaused cause, then so can the universe.

            If anything as complex as God (with his remarkably great intelligence and detailed personal qualities and convenient powers) can exist without explanation, then so can something as simple as a singular undifferentiated quantum state, which gave rise to the Big Bang (or a Big Bang, eventually giving rise to ours).

          • Madison Blane

            You have not, in any way shown that “this first uncaused efficient cause must also, by necessity, be transcendent, beginningless, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, unchanging, omnipotent, personal and good”. Nor have you shown that any of these characteristics apply to your God. The only reference point you have to demonstrate your God’s nature rests solely on the Bible, which does NOT show your God to be omnipotent (he can be hidden from), unchanging (he demonstrably changes depending on author and time period) , immaterial (how could he be seen, then?), or in fact even good (God is jealous and murders his own creations because they are ‘enemies’ of his favorite tribe).
            You are, in fact, arguing from ignorance. You are making undemonstrated claims about a ‘first-cause’ and then calling that unknown thing a ‘God’. In essence, saying, ‘I can’t know X, therefore I DO know X – it’s God’.

          • Madison Blane

            You are claiming that simply by existing, a thing must have been created. You also claim your God exists, therefore, by your reasoning, he MUST have had a creator. And if that creator exists, it too, must have had a creator…and it’s turtles all the way down.
            It is fallacious to argue that, because something is complex, it must have been ‘created’ by something more complex, and then to alternatively state that God is more complex but somehow escaped this ‘law’ you have put forth. Either one or the other might be true, but certainly not both.
            Since you have provided evidence for neither, not only have they NOT been proven, but you continually ‘move the goalposts’ so as to assure that they CANNOT be proven, and therefore I cannot believe that your God exists.

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            Argumentum assertio. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Prove your claim. Prove that God is imaginary.

          • JPC

            Burden of proof rests with you. Again, I am asking you to prove it.

            I am saying there is no evidence of God.

            When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed.

          • J. P.

            Prove *** your *** claim. Prove that God is imaginary.

          • JPC

            Joe, I’ve been patient. I have asked you to challenge your own thinking, read several pieces of balanced material before making rather absurd claims and I’ve asked you repeatedly for evidence of the existence of your God. None has been forthcoming. No falsifiable evidence at all. To try and turn it around at this point is just sad.

            I honestly pity you. It’s apparent that your indoctrination has been complete enough that you cannot conceive of a world without God, in fact probably can’t even consider the idea.

            You have my sympathy, but I’ll not waste more time on your nonsense. Fairly clear from here that actual honest dialogue isn’t within your capabilities, when the topic moves to religion.

            There are more and more podcasts, shows, books and websites helping and reinforcing atheism in America- yes, even in America. Latest Pew report indicates that the “nones” (no religious affiliation) are at or above 30% of the population under 25. Social media and readily available information bypass the position of censorship and privilege that organized religions have held for far too long, I certainly hope the trend continues but I fear it’s too late for you.

          • J. P.

            You’ve gone off the rails again. How does any of this prove your positive claim that God is imaginary?

          • J. P.

            And yet this is where most of the world’s atheists live: http://wapo.st/1bMhrad. Surprised?

          • J. P.

            If true that’s sad because Totalitarianism is by necessity atheistic which is why it has always been atheistic in scope.

            These brainwashed its populace with Atheism, teaching them that there was no such thing as God even though they had no evidence to support their positive claim. They also brainwashed children to believe atheists were more rational that theists because the latter suffered from insanity which is why they believed in God in the first place. The combinations of all this dehumanizing brainwashing fueled their psychotic bigotry and hatred for all theists just for being theists.

            Historically, that’s how the indoctrination of the religion of Atheism was carried out (currently being resurrected by the likes of militants such as American Atheists Inc.). As such, Atheism is a savage enemy of freedom and a threat to all free-thinkers.

          • Madison Blane

            You completely fail to understand ‘burden of proof’ when you make such claims. And since you repeatedly do so, I’m going to ask that you watch this, short, explanitory video about “burden of proof”
            http://youtu.be/KayBys8gaJY

          • islandbrewer

            Ooh! I got a bit.ly link! I almost have a Polanco bingo!

          • Madison Blane

            Creationists claim that fulfilled prophecies prove the Bible’s inerrancy and therefore its accuracy on scientific subjects. For example, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania publication “Life–How did it get here? By evolution or by creation?” states, “With so many fulfilled prophecies already to its credit, the Bible has indeed established itself as the book ‘inspired of God.’”

            However, any example of apparent prophecy fulfillment that is presented can be explained, such as by its creative interpretation, being written after the event, or by the prophecy itself being so vague and universal it is basically meaningless. For example, the Bible predicts ‘wars and rumors of wars’. When in all of history have ‘wars and rumors of wars’ NOT existed?!

            You can start here if you really want an answer to your question (or if you just want to be better prepared for debate, you’d better read them to come up with some kind of excuse or apologetics); it lists about 20 Biblical prophecies that are completely wrong.
            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies

            Then, when you’re all studied up, you can move along to here…where several hundred things the Bible says will come true actually don’t:
            http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/proph/long.html

            And THEN you can start to deal with outright errors. We are told that the Bible has no scientific errors and is utterly perfect/protected, yet it says the bat is a bird (Leviticus 11:13 & 19), hares chew the cud (Leviticus 11:5-6), and some fowl (Leviticus 11:20-21) and insects (Leviticus 11:22-23) have four legs. You can read about the MULTIPLE scientific errors here:
            http://www.evilbible.com/absurd%20torah%20science.htm

            Hope that helps (someone).

          • J. P.

            I’m not going to wade through all that without evidence of it’s credibility.

            Please select the strongest argument on that site for your position and present it. If it’s valid then I’ll consider evaluating the rest.

          • Gabe Beutel-Gunn

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

          • J. P.

            I know, right? The never of some people …

          • mdoc

            You ask everyone here to wade through your crap but will not even look at refutations of your claims. You are intellectually dishonest.

          • J. P.

            Speak for yourself if you are able and have the courage to do so. I’m not here to debate websites.

          • Madison Blane

            That’s an ironic reply…since YOU are the one who has posted ten times as many website links and expect everyone else to wade through YOUR crap! I gave you all the evidence you need. It isn’t my fault if you’re afraid to face information that would see your delusions destroyed.

          • J. P.

            Snow Job fallacy. Try again.

          • Castilliano

            Yes, yes he is.

          • JPC

            I’m sorry, you’re delusional. Many Biblical predictions have been found false, either by conflict in thje Bible itself or through lack of evidence (or evidence to the contrary). The Bible is largely bronze age mythology, and needs to be allowed to slip quietly into humanity’s past.

            Ezekiel 29:8-12, Ezekiel 30:10-12, isaiah 7:1-7, Isaiah 19:1-8, Isaiah 19:18, Exodus 23:27 and Exodus 23:31 are ALL false, none have ever happened. And that’s just a start.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum ex silentio. Fischer’s “Historians’ Fallacies” categorically asserts, “Evidence must always be affirmative. Negative evidence is a contradiction in terms–it is no evidence at all. The nonexistence of an object is established not by nonexistent evidence but by affirmative evidence of the fact that it did not, or could not exist.” Try again.

          • JPC

            Doesn’t work that way- look up Bertrand Russell’s teapot.

            “In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new “fact”. Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of “conventional science” as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis—saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact—he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.”

            — Marcello Truzzi, On Pseudo-Skepticism, Zetetic Scholar, 12/13, pp3-4, 1987

            In short, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I make no claims- I am saying you’ve no evidence for the existence of God, and challenging you to provide it.

          • J. P.
          • indorri

            Absence of evidence works when a particular model predicts the existence of evidence under certain conditions. General absence of evidence says little, but conditional absence, based on Bayesian inference, is actually excellent evidence of absence.

          • J. P.

            It appears you missed the thrust of my rejoinder . What you profess is equally as preposterous as if , prior to 1939 , you pompously affirmed , “There’s absolutely no such element as Francium . There’s zero proof for it’s existence .”

            For you see , in rational thought , mendacities are shown false based upon positive facts of their falsehood not on argumentum ex silentio misconceptions .

            This concise postmortem of your not-so-well prepared explanation glaringly lays bare the reason why your atheistic ethos is just plain lazy as well as sophistic .

            “Unbelief is as much of a choice as belief is . What makes it in many ways more appealing is that whereas to believe in something requires some measure of understanding and effort , not to believe doesn’t require much of anything at all .”
            ― Frederick Buechner

          • indorri

            “Conditional absence”. And in fact, the opposite case is true: by the work done in chemistry and atomic physics up until that time, many elements not witnessed before were predicted: this means that a priori, the evidence for their existence, even in the face of lack of evidence experimental evidence, was greater than just plain lack of evidence, which says little.

          • J. P.

            And how precisely does this change the fact that you hang your Atheism on an argumentum ex silentio fallacy?

          • indorri

            It’s not a fallacy: You seem to have a disconnect between formal predicate logic and inductive predictivism. Ex silentio is used in the latter: it’s not a logical argument, it’s a probabilistic statement.

          • J. P.

            I’ll be more explicit then:

            1. Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
            2. You claim God absolutely does not exist.
            3. You have limited and incomplete knowledge.

            4. It’s possible God exists outside your knowledge.
            5. Therefore you can ‘believe’ God does not exist, but cannot prove it.
            6. Therefore your claim can be summarily dismissed for lack of evidence.

            “To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.” ― Ravi Zacharias

            “An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid.”
            ― Carl Sagan

          • indorri

            Number 2 is not demonstrated. Again, you seem to have trouble distinguishing between predicate logic claims and evidential, probabilistic assertions.

            I have stated this in various ways, and this is the second time I’ve explicitly stated it. A third assertion to the opposite way will be taken as lack of charity and will not merit a response.

            Edit: Actually, you know what? I won’t respond either way. I don’t think this argument is going anywhere, and considering a comment you made below, I am disgusted by you. The only reason I’m not saying it more rudely it out of respect for this blog’s owner.

            If you want to have a discussion on epistemology, mend your perfidy first.

          • J. P.

            You’re equivocating. What do you call someone who believes God does not nor cannot exist? 

          • Madison Blane

            Just because you don’t know what something is, that in no way excludes you from being able to observe what it categorically is NOT.
            http://youtu.be/5wV_REEdvxo

        • crimsonking

          Not even as good as a crap shoot, because not only is there probably no god, if there is one it’s pretty damned likely that no one here guessed right about It.

      • Madison Blane

        However, in your analogy there, if all were able to observe the earth, and there was no evidence for the 30,000 proposed shapes, yet many STILL argued over the shape, because their preferred shape is written in a 2000+ year old book…what do you call those who still insist that the earth is one of those shapes it visibly is not?

        Isn’t it better to say “I don’t know and I’m ok with that” than to claim answers you couldn’t possibly know along with those that are provably wrong?

      • faithnomore

        As eloquent as Chesterton may have been, his argument is false, at least from my perspective. Yes there are are as many different religious views, and more, than he alludes to. It is also true that since many of these views directly conflict, that ALL of them cannot possibly be true. That does NOT say that it is therefore impossible that one of them cannot be true, but it certainly IS a possibility that all of them may not be true. As others have pointed out, the earth’s shape is a poor example, because we do have evidence for the true answer to that question.

      • Matt Hunter

        You’re throwing darts at a board with a blindfold on hoping to hit an imaginary bullseye. You have 0 evidence to support any of the claims of your religious choice.

        On the contrary your intellectual adversary is pointing out the numerous contradictions and faults with in your philosophy. Your philosophy is failing to find truth by any means imaginable.

    • J. P.

      On what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone’s moral values? Who made you God?

      • islandbrewer

        One need not be a god or God or fucking Jehovah to condemn another’s moral values.

        Case in point: you do it all the time!

        • J. P.

          I have neither the authority nor right to condemn nor absolve anyone. Only our Creator does. Everything I’ve shared is from his Word, not mine.

          • Castilliano

            I prefer not to grant megalomaniac, genocidal concepts the right to judge morality.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum ignoratio elenchi.

          • Castilliano

            Irrelevant how?
            God is explicitly genocidal several times over, shows many signs of megalomania, and is a concept (in this case, your version of your Word) that you presume can judge our morality.
            Comically enough, your Latin, in turn, falls better upon itself and your shoulders than mine.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Castilliano,

            Joe often uses logical fallacies and Latin phrases wrong. He hasn’t figured out that reading what they actually mean is the important thing.

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Oh, but it is AWESOME when someone shows up who actually does know fluent Latin to spank him. I don’t think he’s figured out yet that he just makes himself look worse by misusing words in an attempt to impress. I dated a guy like that briefly some years ago.. oh man it was excruciating to listen to him misusing words. If Joe weren’t so morally reprehensible, I’d feel embarrassed on his behalf.

          • Castilliano

            Yeah, I caught on fast enough to skip most of his posts, but like a hypnotically horrible accident, I got sucked into a few.
            *sigh*
            Cheers.

          • J. P.

            In order for your accusations against God Almighty to obtain you need to prove dikaiocide is immoral. Can you?

          • Castilliano

            That’s cute, Joe.
            It’s like you use a flow chart taking you from argument to argument, and back around, constantly evading as you launch salvo after salvo.
            Even when your arguments have been proven duds.

            It’s disingenuous to say “Prove genocide is wrong”, unless, of course, you feel genocide has gotten a bad rap, or since it came from Yahweh (or do you prefer Elohim?) it must be right.

            If you want to argue ‘objective vs. subjective morality’, start with proving how our shared morality must have come from an objective source. And how we can have certainty about that objective source.
            Don’t try to sucker me into that debate by leading me with disingenuous prompts.

            OR:

            If you want to get all “William Lane Craig” on me with Divine Command Theory, that’d be more on topic.

            But frankly, both of those have been pounded into the ground, and I’m not in the mood.
            (Go to Patheos, the Crossexamined blog if you want several takedowns of both of those. Of course, you’ve probably been banned there, but you can read them I’d think.)

            Cheers.
            And kudos on your fervor. Though I’d prefer not to wade through your incessant posting, you do have heart.

          • J. P.

            In order for your casuistic contumely to obtain you need to prove dikaiocide is immoral. Can you?

          • Castilliano

            Prove a preference?
            “I prefer not to grant megalomaniac, genocidal concepts the right to judge morality.”
            I have the source right here.
            Me. :)

          • J. P.

            Say we acknowledge for the sake of argument that a malicious Creator/Designer exists . Seeing as this being is evil , that signifies he does not carry out his moral responsibilities . But then exactly where do those come from ? Just how can this evil god receive obligations to execute which he is violating ? Who prohibits him to do the immoral things that he does ? Without hesitation , we discover that such an evil being simply cannot be supreme : there needs to be a being that is even higher than this evil god which is the source of the moral duties which he prefers to shirk , a being that is unqualified goodness Himself . Hence , if god is evil well then there must necessarily exist a maximally splendid , incomparable God that is all powerful , all good as well as all loving ; One who is actually the very paradigm of good .

            Which means that we don’t shower affection on Him for performing His duty . Really He is to be adored for His moral identity as He is fundamentally loving , just , kind , and so on . It is simply because God is that way that all these traits count as virtues to start with . In effect , God Almighty is good the very same way rain is wet , diamond gemstones are hard , photons tear across space at luminous speeds or cerulean suns blaze . Therefore if we envision God’s goodness in terms of His possessing definite virtues as opposed to fulfilling selected duties , we get an infinitely more exalted and correct notion of God . http://bit.ly/1gfD3m3

          • islandbrewer

            First, it’s your interpretation of the word, one of many. And it’s this that leads your “morality” to be something condemnable.

            E.g., I condemn your morality that let’s you allow a child to suffer and die because of your bizarre pre-technological beliefs about “blood magic” from some bronze age folklore. I do so because there’s no demonstrable reason for you to allow such a reprehensible act.

          • J. P.

            How is infecting someone with TRALI, HIV, Human T-lymphotropic virus, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Chagas, West Nile virus or causing them to die from Sepsis, Acute Kidney failure, Intravascular Coagulation or a Hemolytic reaction ethical and logical?

            Like it or not, bloodless medical science is the gold standard of medical care: http://bit.ly/HOTQOb

          • Madison Blane

            Don’t you propose your God to be better than what man has been able to achieve?
            Jesus healed one man of leprosy – modern man has healed MILLIONS.
            It seems that man has the initiative, knowledge, and will to reduce suffering while God is perfectly content to have the ability and use it not. What is God waiting for? Is he waiting for man to figure it out? If so, what good is he?

          • J. P.
          • islandbrewer

            You really have no clue about the practice of modern medicine. Bullet points on a JW slide are pretty far removed from what medical practice actually resembles. You know that blood is screened for those diseases, don’t you? You’d rather let a child die than save them with technology that’s the better part of a century old.

            I’m so glad you don’t make medical decisions for anyone other than yourself.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • islandbrewer

            What about your argument am I not representing correctly? You obviously have no clue what a strawman is.

            Besides, you’re being completely dishonest when you use the disease risk argument. You imply that, if the risk were eliminated, you’d be ok with whole blood transfusions. By the way, you know that among your “bloodless” techniques that the JWs approve of include things like platelet transfusions, which carry the exact same risk of disease transference. Way to fail at medicine, Jehovah’s Witnesses!

            But your opposition to whole blood (not partial blood, mind you – you can’t even get your own fucking doctrine straight, transfusing all the separated parts of blood, including your exhaustive list of diseases that go with it, so long as it’s not whole blood, is ok by you) is based on your biblical interpretation of the idea that blood is magic, and Jehovah said ‘no”.

            Stop being a dishonest shit, Polanco.

            P.S. Pop quiz: Was there an “Ad him” [sic]? IF so, where?

          • mdoc

            Strawman, Try again.

      • Madison Blane

        No one made me God. I don’t need a God, nor do I have evidence to think one exists. Condemning harmful acts isn’t making myself into a God, it is the essence of humanity.

        I have the right to condemn anyone who thinks it is perfectly acceptable to cause harm – even if he thinks it is because his God commanded it! And I have a social responsibility to report those harms, and intervene if possible, should he ever act on those beliefs. I have the right to condemn amoral ideas, as they stand alone, regardless of who believes them.

        ANY ‘value’ should be condemned when it causes harm. Would you deny that slavery is immoral? Would you deny that rape is immoral? Would you deny that it is immoral to kill an entire population of people, yet keep the virgin daughters as spoils of war, to rape at will? These are all things condoned by a supposedly ‘SUPREME’ moral being, for all men of all times!

        If you saw YOUR daughter (niece, wife, a baby etc.) about to be raped, and you did NOTHING, simply letting it occur while you looked on, would that not make you just as responsible and just as amoral as the rapist for condoning it? The law most certainly sees you as equally guilty. If you had the opportunity to stop a child from being tortured or from suffering, without causing any harm to yourself, would you not act? And yet ‘God’ supposedly allows this thousands of times a day! Why is God not accountable, then? Mysterious ways?

        If he is truly responsible for all creation, he created all disease-causing viruses and bacteria – including a worm that can only live by burrowing itself into an eyeball of a human, causing blindness – and is responsible for the suffering it causes. He stands by and does NOTHING to eradicate that unnecessary suffering of innocents while claiming supreme ability and morality! If this being exists, he has a LOT to account for.

        • J. P.

          It appears you missed the thrust of my rejoinder. Regardless of efforts to the contrary, all life suffers and ends. Therefore, a case could be made that maximizing one’s pleasure should be the absolute moral touchstone by which to adjudicate moral values. As a famous adherent of this philosophy candidly expressed, “The greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable ‘value judgment’ that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others’? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me—after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.”” -Ted Bundy

          Since this equally persuasive opinion conflicts with yours, how would you show it to be objectively false and yours objectively true? That is to say, which of the two reflects reality?

          • Pattrsn

            So the only thing that prevents you from raping and murdering is that you think that a god doesn’t want you to? Must be tough controlling those impulses.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Pattrsn,

            Joe is just a sociopath on a leash.

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Not a very long one either. Ick.

          • J. P.

            You know I thought I’d put your reply to good use so I printed out a few copies. But the text was way too rough and kept making the toilet overflow. You should be more like Dawkins. His text wipes softly and goes down the bowl swimmingly.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, just continue giving your substandard replies and no evidence for your non-evidenced god. Readers will figure out you’re simply a dishonest liar. I figured it out pretty quick.

          • Pattrsn

            Can you explain to me how my post is a strawman? My guess is you can’t.

          • J. P.

            It’s a Strawman on the grounds that it’s a vulgar misrepresentation of the lucid, finely detailed, extensive arguments I’ve proffered all the way through. A misrepresentation which, at this juncture, is undoubtedly deliberate, trollish.

            You have available my exact declarations. Analyze them.

          • Pattrsn

            So you don’t believe that god is necessary for morality, instead you believe that humans have innate moral beliefs independent of religion. Sorry Joe I obviously misread you I thought you were saying the exact opposite.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Here’s a thought. What about making an effort at any kind of a cohesive refutation of that which I’ve unmistakably expressed rather than bickering with the bent mockeries embroidered by the voices raging in your mind?

            But thanks for admitting you’re trolling and not actually interested in learning anything.

          • Pattrsn

            Well Joe, it’s a simple question do you believe that it’s adherence to gods law that prevents you from murdering people or do you have some innate sense that murder is wrong.

          • islandbrewer

            That’s not an explanation. If you want to assert it’s a strawman, then explain what statements you make, contrast them with the statements made in the alleged “strawman”, and show how they are not aligned. You can’t get your opponent to do your homework for you.

            Joseph, you fucking suck at debate. Any one of my class of fifth graders could argue circles around your sorry self.

          • J. P.

            Here’s a thought. What about making an effort at any kind of a cohesive refutation of that which I’ve unmistakably expressed rather than bickering with the bent mockeries embroidered by the voices raging in your mind?

            But thanks for admitting you’re trolling and not actually interested in learning anything.

          • islandbrewer

            No, thank YOU for admitting time again that you’re a troll, the worst kind, who is incapable of adding anything but amusement to an argument. By the way, do Jehovah’s Witnesses still actively cover up the child abuse going on in their organization?

            http://www.silentlambs.org

          • Pattrsn

            Come on Joe, how is my post a strawman?

          • J. P.
          • Wyrd Wiles

            That’s not a straw man, that’s a question. Seriously, just STOP using that word. Just stop. You obviously don’t understand it, so please stop trying to use it.

          • J. P.

            It’s ok if you disagree with me. After all, I can’t force you to be right.

          • Wyrd Wiles
          • Madison Blane

            Your right to swing your fist ends exactly where my nose begins. Man’s right to pleasure himself ends exactly where it begins to harm others.
            If you find the ‘moral philosophy’ of Ted Bundy ‘equally persuasive’ (or at all persuasive) as the proposition of ‘do no harm’, then you, sir, have a fucked up idea of what morality actually is!

          • J. P.

            Prove it.

          • Madison Blane

            I don’t need to, you already have!

          • J. P.

            You act like your benightedness is a virtue.

        • J. P.

          “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.” -Proverbs 19:3

          More often than not, the reason for man’s suffering … is man: http://bit.ly/11EyvgO

          • Madison Blane

            Disease was not created by man…and it causes a whole lot of unnecessary suffering.

          • J. P.

            So that’s why hospitals are so filthy … oh … wait …

          • Castilliano

            Hospitals are filthy, so your sarcasm falls flat.

            That’s why they fight so hard to remain sterile.
            That’s why there’s a shift in moving to homecare.
            Check out “Why Aren’t Hospitals Cleaner?” by CBS News.
            Or look up the death rate of patients catching diseases during their hospital stays.
            Humanity didn’t cause disease. We’re working to thwart it.

          • Madison Blane

            What on earth does the condition of hospitals have to do with the fact that, according to your own beliefs, God either created or allows disease and suffering? He is either cruel or impotent.

          • J. P.
      • Bobbie Jo Justice

        “I contend that we are both
        atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you
        understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will
        understand why I dismiss yours. – Stephen Roberts”

        • J. P.

          Sorry, how does this answer my query?

          • Madison Blane

            I find the idea that a man had to die for my sins revolting. If God was truly omnipotent he could have simply forgiven us. What kind of deity, would execute one child in order to forgive it’s others? Modern society would call an individual like this sadistic, insane and cruel. Surely, you would not worship a child killer, why do you expect me to? Would you find a judge worthy of the title who would allow my child to be executed in lieu of my sins?

          • J. P.

            Because your concept is a Strawman. What about making an effort at any kind of a cohesive refutation of that which I’ve unmistakably expressed rather than bickering with the bent mockeries embroidered by the voices raging in your mind?

            But thanks for admitting you’re trolling and not actually interested in learning anything.

          • Bobbie Jo Justice

            there is NO god, nada, not one.

          • J. P.
      • faithnomore

        On what objective moral basis do you determine that the morals defined by your religion are just? How do you know your morals are divinely inspired by God, or that you are not being tempted by Satan?

        • J. P.

          I abide by our Creator’s moral standards as explicitly laid out for us in his Holy Word, The Bible.

          • Madison Blane

            So you’re perfectly fine with slavery and rape and genocide, then because God says it’s fine. OK, gotcha.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • mdoc

            Red herring Joe. Try again.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum assertio. “That which can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

          • Nemo

            Suppose the god of the Quran ends up being the right version of God. Specifically, the fundamentalist Muslim version ends up being real. In that case, would that deity be objectively, morally, good? Yes or no will suffice.

          • J. P.

            He’s not so your question is puerile and moot.

          • mdoc

            I think that you need to look at the outsider’s test of faith. The question is not trivial. And it can’t be moot; Islam came after Christianity. Maybe Christianity is moot.

          • J. P.
          • Nemo

            Dodging the question, eh? I predicted as much. Empirically demonstrate Yahweh. Until then, I am under no compulsion to care what that alleged deity says about right and wrong. Next.

          • J. P.

            Just as soon as you empirically show:

            Precisely what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable , replicable evidence explicitly establishes that Christopher Columbus landed in America in 1492 or that Yuri Gagarin was the very first man to actually journey to space ?

            Just what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable , replicable evidence do you have demonstrating it’s immoral for an atheist to rape a little girl to death ?

            Exactly what demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable , replicable proof is there which proves you ought to care for others and treat them with dignity , honor as well as beneficence ?

          • Wyrd Wiles

            So, rather than think about it yourself, you just follow what some dude wrote down in a book. Cause that’s healthy…

          • J. P.

            Just as with our verbal communication abilities, our conscience has to be refined, calibrated, made more robust. If not, it could be stunted, or worst, perverted such that evil behavior is deemed good with good ones perceived as evil.

            Because of this, the eternal wellbeing and of course joy of mankind is inextricably bound to the objective moral values and responsibilities lovingly given to us by our Maker. Without these you have absolutely nothing to guard your conscience from becoming disoriented perhaps even corrupted.

            An exceptional instance of this can readily be observed with child soldiers. They are demonstrably much more coldblooded and ruthless when compared with their older counterparts. “More than 300,000 children—some as young as 7—are fighting as soldiers in 41 countries around the world,” said an Associated Press dispatch. Most are between the ages of 15 and 18. “Besides being used as front-line fighters, children are used to detect land mines and also as spies, porters and sex slaves, according to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.” Drugs are often administered to make children fearless. Those who refuse drugs are killed, said a 14-year-old rebel soldier in Sierra Leone. Regarding his fighting in 1999 when he was 15, a North African youth reported: “They put all the 15- and 16-year-olds in the front line while the army retreated. I was with 40 other kids. I was fighting for 24 hours. When I saw that only three of my friends were alive, I ran back.” The Coalition’s report stated that governments recruit children because of “their very qualities as children—they can be cheap, expendable and easier to condition into fearless killing and unthinking obedience.”

            And so we arrive at the heart of our exchange. Whether or not someone possesses a conscience isn’t truly the issue. It’s if or not an individual possess a reliable one or, more to the point, if he/she honestly obeys it.

            This predicament calls to mind a very old Cherokee lore. It goes, roughly speaking, like this:

            “An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

            “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

            The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

            The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.””

            With that in mind, take into consideration what another equally wise and ancient passage reveals:

            “This is what Jehovah has said [] “I, Jehovah, am your God [Creator], the One teaching you to benefit [yourself], the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments. Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” – Isaiah 48:17,18 (Brackets mine.)

            As any caring mother or father would certainly be, our Creator, Jehovah God, is keenly interested in our well-being. To this end, he instructs us on the best ways to preserve and also make full use of the conscience he produced us with.

            To close, here’s a remarkable example of this loving guidance at work as reported in a well known intercontinental journal:

            “In Liberia, Alex served as an altar boy in the Catholic Church. But at the age of 13, he joined a warring faction and became a notorious child soldier. To make himself brave in battle, he turned to witchcraft. Alex saw many of his companions killed, but he survived. In 1997 he met Jehovah’s Witnesses and found that they did not look down on him. Rather, they helped him to learn what the Bible says about violence. Alex left the army. As his faith began to grow, he followed the Bible command: “Let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”—1 Peter 3:11.

            Meanwhile, a former child soldier named Samson came through the town where Alex now lived. He had been a choirboy but in 1993 became a soldier and got involved in drug abuse, spiritism, and immorality. In 1997 he was demobilized. Samson was heading for Monrovia to join a special security force when a friend persuaded him to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and as a result, he developed a Bible-based faith. This gave him the courage to abandon his warlike ways. Both Alex and Samson now live peaceful and moral lives. Could anything but Bible-based faith make changes in lives that had been so brutalized?” – http://bit.ly/18WopZ0

            Has it become apparent to you now exactly why each of us needs to scrutinize and make use of what the Bible teaches?

          • mdoc

            Hope you don’t stone your daughters or let visitors sleep with them. Hope you don’t hear a message from God to kill you son or wipe out the neighboring town. Hope you don’t ever want anything that others have. Even deep down inside. Hope you don’t have a wandering eye, as you might have to cut it out. Hope you never stole anything and then failed to cut off your arm. Hope you never were sued because you would need to give the plaintiff more than he asked for. Hope you never pray in public. Hope you don’t save stuff, because it will rot away or thieves will steal it from you. Hope you washed someone’s feet today.

          • J. P.
    • J. P.

      Precisely what system of slavery makes it possible for slaves to amass wealth? ( Leviticus 25 :49 )

      • Madison Blane

        Explain and defend your book if it’s right, if I’ve said things that aren’t true. Don’t expect me to. As far as I’m concerned, the fact that the Bible approves and encourages slavery, Paul sends a Christian slave back to his master, and then it turns around and says that Christians are promised wealth, when slaves obviously WON’T be wealthy…that’s just one more contradiction.

        • J. P.

          You lost me. How does this answer my query?

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Reading for comprehension is not your strong suit, is it, Joseph?

      • islandbrewer

        Pre-christian Greeks allowed their slaves to keep their own money (can’t really call it “amassing wealth” in the Donald Trump sense). There are a few rare instances in colonial America of it. And a couple accounts in England prior to England banning slavery altogether (again, rare).

        But more importantly, what fucking point does it make if they’re still slaves? You seem to think being a slave is ok if you get some spending money to play with.

      • Guest

        Capitalism?

      • crimsonking

        How about the fact that the Bible condones slavery in the first place? There are some glaring omissions in those commandments.

      • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

        Precisely what system of slavery makes it possible for slaves to amass wealth? ( Leviticus 25 :49 )

        A) The same biblical slavery that allows someone to own another person:

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

        But there is an exception for Israelite slaves ….

        “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.” (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

        B) The same biblical slavery that allows a slave owner to kill his slave and not get punished for it:

        “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”(Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

        C) The same biblical slavery that is equally promoted in the New Testament:

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

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

        Slavery is immoral, whether slaves get to “amass wealth” or not.

        Why would anyone believe in, much less worship, your un-evidenced god when it supports the immoral institution of slavery?

        • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Dodge and weave all you want, Joe, but I’ve got you on the ropes and I’ m pummeling you and will continue doing so.

            Again, you fail to respond to my points. Slavery is an immoral practice and your still-un-evidenced god whole-heartily approves of it in the bible.

            And guess what? Any system of slavery, even those allowing slaves to “amass wealth,” is immoral because owning another human being is immoral.

            The United States has outlawed slavery because slavery is not just. The bible approves of slavery, so the bible is not just.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. The United States is responsible for the murder of countless millions upon millions of helpless men, women and children merely deemed “collateral damage.” It has also made it perfectly legal for healthy mothers to murder their healthy children in utero. And even now, it’s legalizing the open practice of Sodomy thus paving the way for Pedophiles to soon lay claim to the “right” to marry their young lovers.

          • Castilliano

            Ohh…
            You’re one of those…
            Sorry, Joe. Just…sorry.

          • mdoc

            Um, Joe, red herring.

          • J. P.

            False charge of fallacy. Your friend here upheld the morality of the United States of America as objectively true which I completely blew out of the water (and she knows because of her overpowering silence … that and all those noisy crickets …)

          • Madison Blane

            You’re tilting at windmills Joe, fighting demons that don’t exist and ‘blowing out of your ass…I mean…the water” claims that were never made. NO ONE on this thread “upheld the morality of the United States of America as objectively true”. It’s just another of your pathetic attempts to throw out another false claim and divert the conversation, in an obvious effort NOT to answer the question or bear any responsibility at all for proving your absurd claims.

          • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, the topic is slavery. Your bible and your non-evidenced god approves of slavery. Every Western democracy has outlawed slavery because it is an immoral practice. Of the two positions, which is clearly just? The bible and your still-un-evidenced god’s pro-slavery position or every Western democracy’s anti-slavery position?

          • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Still not answering anything, I see.

            Joe, we, the people of Western democracies, have determined that slavery is wrong. None of us want to be enslaved and so we won’t enslave others. That is the only objective morality that is required to determine that slavery is immoral.

            You still haven’t addressed the fact that your bible and your non-evidenced god actively promote and condone owning another person as property (i.e. slavery), while every Western democracy has declared that owning another person as property (i.e. slavery) is illegal and immoral.

            You support your bible and your non-evidenced god that actively promotes and condones slavery. You are as immoral as the bible and your still-un-evidenced god. Congrats on being a horrible, immoral person.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. You, the people of Western democracies, are also responsible for the murder of countless millions upon millions of helpless men, women and children deemed merely “collateral damage.” It has also made it perfectly legal for healthy mothers to murder their healthy children in utero. And even now, it’s legalizing the open practice of Sodomy thus paving the way for Pedophiles to soon lay claim to the “right” to marry their young lovers.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, the topic is slavery. Your bible and your non-evidenced god approves of slavery. Every Western democracy has outlawed slavery because it is an immoral practice. Of the two positions, which is clearly just? The bible and your still-un-evidenced god’s pro-slavery position or every Western democracy’s anti-slavery position?

          • J. P.

            Given that a slave is “someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay ,” referring to the labor system as used by the ancient Israelites as slavery is unscrupulous , dishonest .

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            You’re the only dishonest one here. The bible calls it slavery, therefore that is what it is.

            Are you telling me that you believe the bible is wrong? Then that makes two of us!

            Biblical slavery (and that’s what the bible calls it, despite your dishonest protestations) is immoral. The fact that your still-un-evidenced god condones and permits slavery in the bible means that your god is equally immoral.

          • J. P.
      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        You don’t know much about history, yet you presume to talk about it. That’s kind of funny actually. In Ancient Rome, slaves could own houses and property–they also bought clothes, sometimes so fine that laws were passed limiting what they could wear. Slavery was a humiliating and degrading institution regardless of how much money a slave had–nobody sane would ever consider it acceptable, and nobody wanted to confuse a slave for a free person.

    • Captain Nitpick

      Great post. The alternative approach is something like The Book of Mormon that gets amended periodically by the church (through “divine revelation”) in response to public opinion, as though God is some sort of PR consultant. Polygamy a problem for the church? Wait, this just in from God: polygamy references now removed from book. Getting political heat for not allowing blacks to assume church leadership roles? Wait, this just in: God now cool with blacks. How does an all-knowing being provide such lousy guidance that it needs to be continually revised?

      In contrast to traditional Christianity, the history and contradictions of Mormonism are plainly obvious. And despite this it’s a hugely successful religion. This seems to speak to some innate human need rather than any evidence about the existence of God.

    • Castilliano

      I favorited this page, just so I could return to this post in the future.
      Awesome.

      • Madison Blane

        Use it as you wish. If you need scriptural passages to the contradictions listed, most all can be found at evilbible.com

        • Castilliano

          Already have intention.
          Your excellent summary does much work on behalf of counter-apologists everywhere.
          Thank you.

    • J. P.

      Don’t be so jejune my friend. Cum hoc ergo propter hoc. Genesis 31:1-13 explains why Jacob was so successful in all he did. The saplings he placed in the animals’ drinking troughs had nothing to do with it.

      • mdoc

        Joe, you are the master of the “missing the point” fallacy.

        • J. P.

          Hardly. She’s parrotting the same tired and defeated arguments the majority of those who claim God does not nor cannot exist rely upon to justify their refusal to accept reality.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            I’m more ‘thieves in the temple’ than ‘turn the other cheek’. My understanding of God is OK with that. Also, mad props with the Latin, even if you are taking over this thread a bit.

          • J. P.

            :)

    • J. P.

      Conventional insights have sought to explain the outlawed fruit in a number of ways : as standing for the simple awareness of right and wrong or as as the knowledge gained upon attainment of maturity or simply via familiarity , which knowledge could be set to an ideal or a foul use . Yet still , the mere capability to comprehend right and wrong undoubtedly is not intended , for obedience to God’s authority required of sinless man that he have enough knowledge to exercise any moral discrimination . Neither could the understanding acquired upon reaching maturity be implied , as it definitely would not be sin on man’s part to reach this condition , nor would his Creator rationally obligate him to stay in an childish state .

      Nevertheless it is self evident that the tree of the knowledge of right and wrong represented the divine right or prerogative , which man’s Creator still preserves , to stipulate to his creatures precisely what is “good” together with what is actually “bad.” Fittingly, this went on to enjoin mankind to exercise that which is nominated good as well as abstaining from that which is pronounced bad so that these may continue being accepted by God Almighty as Sovereign Ruler . Both of these, the prohibition as well as the ensuing pronouncement of the verdict passed upon the disobedient couple, underscore the fact that it absolutely was the act of disobedience in consuming the forbidden fruit that constituted the original sin .—Genesis 3 :3 .

    • J. P.

      Don’t radios also “talk?”

  • frankie frase

    watch this first:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPWH5TlbloU

    watch this second:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEV5AFFcZ-s&list=PLED97AFA83A4B77B8

    if there´s a bad guy there´s a good

  • Commandr Shepard

    I propose we stop capitalizing the word “god.” It’s not worth the extra step that it takes to hold down the shift button.

    • Artor

      It’s a job description, not a proper noun anyway.

      • islandbrewer

        Can I fill out an application? I think I’d do a better job than most.

      • crimsonking

        ??

        • Artor

          ?? what? Are you asking a question?

    • faithnomore

      I understand and agree. My inclination though is toward the Chrsitian God, which by their definition is a proper noun.

      • Artor

        No, that would be Yahweh or Jehovah. There are many gods in many mythologies, and YHVH is just another one of them.

        • Madison Blane

          And the Bible acknowledges that other Gods exist, referring to them as being just as real as Yahweh God.

    • Pattrsn

      How about goD? Or go;D

  • kashicat

    When I was a fundie, this was the sort of logic I used. I regarded the situation in a strictly mathematical way. Somebody HAD to pay for sin. It was required, or justice would be unbalanced and God would not be just. (And the penalty for affronting an eternal law against sinning was eternal punishment.) But he had devised this way of paying the penalty for sin himself (himself/Jesus dying on the cross). But we had the choice to allow him to apply that payment to our account or choose to pay the price ourselves.

    Viewing it that way, you really can’t conclude anything else. (“God loved you enough to pay the equivalent of an eternity in hell FOR you, but he can’t force you to accept it.”) I didn’t realize at the time that I had basically made God a slave to the rigid, almost mathematical justice/payment equation. He was helpless to prevent the eternal suffering, by this equation. Even though he himself was supposedly the one who was sinned against.

    It’s very sad. Such a helpless God they have.

    • J. P.

      We’ve all inherited sin because Adam – a perfect **man** – “sold” us unto sin. Since he and Eve only had children **after** they sinned against Jehovah and began to die, it was impossible for anyone to be born with the physical perfection they were created with. This is why no one could ever redeem us from sin.

      What was needed was “a corresponding ransom.” (1 Timothy 2:6) A ransom which would be equal in value to the perfect **human** life that Adam forfeited and lost for the rest of us – “soul for soul” – Exodus 21:23. The idea of a ransom basically involves two things. First, a ransom is the price paid to bring about a release or to buy something back. It might be compared to the price paid for the release of a prisoner of war. Second, a ransom is the price that covers, or pays, the cost of something. It is similar to the price paid to cover the damages caused by an injury. For example, if a person causes an accident, he would have to pay an amount that fully corresponds to, or equals, the value of what was damaged.

      As it stood, we were doomed. Condemned to continue being born in sin, continue suffering and dying for all eternity because no **imperfect** human being could ever equate the value of the **perfect human** life that was lost.

      Jehovah God understood this better than anyone and so he lovingly intervened making it possible for another perfect human being to be born and disposed to accept the value of his life as the corresponding ransom for what Adam forfeited.

      • Richard Labus

        Completely idiotic. Psalm 139 implies that god knows everything you are going to do before you do it. Therefore you are predestined for heaven or hell. Also what kind of evil creature punishes the child for the sins of the father.

        • JA

          If God knows everything we are going to do, then what’s the point of even trying to be good if he already knows where we’ll end up? Connected to that, if God knows everything we’re going to do, do we truly even have free will?

          • crimsonking

            Add the Problem of Evil, too. There are some fundamental problems with the whole idea that have never been answered for one good reason: they cannot be answered. It’s a faulty idea that’s badly designed. More and more people have come to notice this over the ages.

          • Toliniega Szebora Dobrowieść

            @disqus_Pv4tcQ8Hhl:disqus
            1. If HE has put you to hell without giving you a chance, you could always say that HE didn’t even give you a chance and that it is unfair. But now he can say “I gave you a chance and look what you’ve done, son”.
            2. The fact that you have a free will does not necessary mean that you are unpredictable. HE knows what choice you are going to make because HE knows you better than you know yourself. HE does not have to influence your choice to know what the choice will be.

          • JA

            Yeah, that’s kind of my point.

          • J. P.

            You’re obviating some important specifics:

            To precisely what scale does God Almighty exercise foreknowledge ?—Deuteronomy 30 :19 , 20 ; Isaiah 46 :10 .

            Exactly why would God not predetermine every little thing , for instance the terrible problems that befall people today ?—Deuteronomy 32 :4 .

          • JA

            Yeah, those verses you mention pretty much outline my point perfectly. If God knows how it ends at the beginning, then what, again, is the point of even trying? With all his foreknowledge, he’s basically set some, if not most, people up to fail before they’re even born (keep in mind most of the world is not Christian). Does that really sound like a just god to you?

            And please, don’t be like Christian in the story above in your response.

          • J. P.

            Except they don’t. They reinforce, rather, the reality that God gives us the very real ability to choose precisely because he doesn’t know what we’ll decide:

            “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

            That thou mayest love Jehovah thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” – See more at: http://www.dnkjb.net/1189chapters/OT05DEU30.htm#sthash.95mWRcyO.dpuf

            More importantly, God Almighty knows – being the just and benevolent God he is – that it would be a gross injustice to give us a choice when that choice is, in fact, illusory. We can feel secure that he would never do such a thing because “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he”. – See more at: http://www.dnkjb.net/1189chapters/OT05DEU32.htm#sthash.HCUIftRG.dpuf

          • JA

            So if God does not know what the future is, he is then, in effect, not all-knowing? And then he gets angry if we don’t choose him/Jesus? Sure, you could say that God is actually saddened by it, but as “Tom” said above, it is easily within God’s power to not send non-believers to Hell, yet he does it anyway, for the simple reason that they don’t accept him. Sorry, but a god who demands my praise is not worthy of it.

            As an aside, God condones slavery (as does Jesus). Not sure what’s just or benevolent about that.

        • J. P.

          What specific passage are you referring to?

        • Mrquestion

          Add to it the fact that there is no free will in a manifest destiny.

      • ejoty

        Who were the mothers of the children of Adam and Eve?

        • J. P.

          Members of the human family.

          • Pattrsn

            With or without original sin?

          • J. P.

            With.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            You still didn’t answer his question. If the other people, whom Adam and Eve’s children interbred with, were NOT related to Adam and Eve, then how did they get stuck with original sin?

          • J. P.

            They were. God Almighty created only one human race.

          • Castilliano

            Does nobody want to say it?
            INCEST!
            There, you may now continue.

            Oh, yeah and those Nephilim.
            I forgot we’re part Giant. Crap.

          • J. P.

            You mean you don’t have coitus with humans?

            Ewww ….

          • Castilliano

            1) You’re implication is an attack, but I forgive you because you’re simple.
            2). I never brought up my practices. The context is in the days of Adam & Eve.
            3). Are you suggesting there are still Nephilim around to have coitus with? (Please, no, please, no, don’t let Joe be this far gone.)
            4). And dude, it’s in Genesis. The early humans mate with the Nephilim. I’m not sure if that’s before or after the incest.

          • J. P.

            i. It’s not an attack. It’s an argumentum reductio ad absurdum deftly employed to expose your casuistry.

            iii. No, they died during the Noachian Flood.

            iv. Your point?

          • Castilliano

            1. If you find making love to giants absurd. I agree.
            But people do so in the Bible.
            2. You skipped this one, but that’s common for you.
            3. Your 2. Fair enough, given your myths.
            4. Point is, there was lots of incest in the early days.
            (Which isn’t so much a point, but you and that other guy seemed to be dodging around the word.)

          • J. P.

            i. Argumentum ex incredulitátem. Sorry, try again.
            ii. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi.

            iii. Argumentum assertio. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Prove your claim. Prove that they’re myths.
            iv. Presentism fallacy. Unless, of course, you don’t have sex with human beings.

            Again … Ewwwwwww …

          • Pattrsn

            Come on Joe it’s a fairly simple yes or no question, were the other humans who interbred with Adam and Eve’s family born without original sin?

          • J. P.

            With.

          • Pattrsn

            So they weren’t descendents of Adam yet they inherited his sin? How did that happen?

          • J. P.

            You’re not making sense. Read my rejoinder again.

      • Pattrsn

        Thank you for not making any sense whatsoever.

        • J. P.

          My apologies. Where did I lose you? I’d be more than happy to clarify :)

          • Pattrsn

            Inherited sin, how can you inherit sin.

          • islandbrewer

            It must be passed on through a will, unless the decedent dies intestate. It has to be executed by the estates trustee, of course.

            Crap, Wills and Trusts are kicking in.

          • J. P.

            “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” – Romans 5:12

            We’ve all inherited sin because Adam – a perfect **man** – “sold” us unto sin. Since he and Eve only had children **after** they sinned against Jehovah and began to die, it was impossible for anyone to be born with the physical perfection they were created with. This is why no one could ever redeem us from sin.

          • Madison Blane

            Yeah, see Adam never ‘owned’ me, therefore he can’t ‘sell’ me.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            “Inherited sin” is immoral, in the same way that it is immoral to charge, put on trial and convict the innocent son of a bank robber for his father’s crime of bank robbery.

            The U.S. Justice system is far more moral than your un-evidenced god, Joe, because they consider “inherited crime” a non-starter.

            Why should anyone believe in, much less worship, a creature as immoral as your still-un-evidenced god?

          • J. P.
          • James Buchy

            Please learn what a strawman argument actually is. I’ll help:

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

          • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe. Strawman, my @$$, you dishonest liar.

            You said: “We’ve all inherited sin because Adam …. “sold” us unto sin.”

            That means we’re being held responsible for someone else’s crime.

            No Western justice system would arrest, put on trial and convict a bank robber’s son for a bank robbery his father committed. To do so would not be justice, it would be immoral.

            Since Xian theology, which you stated above, holds us all responsible for someone else’s crime, Adam’s sin, then that theology is immoral and unworthy of any respect.

          • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Yawn. Yet again, Joe, you fail to address my points and give me a link to another argument your having with another person wherein you argue that sin is like a disease and it changed us. Fail.

            Your immoral beliefs that sons should be punished for the crimes of their fathers and daughters should be punished for the crimes of their mothers is an immoral belief. No Western democracy allows the police to arrest, put on trial and convict the son of a bank robber for the crimes of his father.

            Your non-evidenced god is an immoral monster, if it actually existed (you’ve failed yet again to provide any evidence it does).

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, you a dishonest troll. It’s not a strawman if I’m using your definition of “inherited sin.”

            Simple question: If you were on a jury, set to determine guilty or not guilty for an innocent man, who’s father was a bank robber, being tried for the bank robbery crimes of his father, would you vote to convict? Xian theology would convict the man because of his father’s crimes. Would you do the same?

          • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, you a dishonest troll. It’s not a strawman if I’m using your definition of “inherited sin.”

            Simple question: If you were on a jury, set to determine guilty or not guilty for an innocent man, who’s father was a bank robber, being tried for the bank robbery crimes of his father, would you vote to convict? Xian theology would convict the man because of his father’s crimes. Would you do the same?

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            That sounds obscenely unjust to me. You seriously think this is a good god you worship? Because most countries have rejected the idea of punishing a child for the sins of its father. You probably wouldn’t care for that much yourself–or imagine your own children forced into torture–real, live, torture, the sort that kills the mind and destroys the sanity–because of some misdeed you did. You think that’s just? You really do? Wow. That says a lot about you.

          • Pattrsn

            So our sin is that we’re not born perfect? How is that a sin? And if perfect Adam could sin how is being perfect less sinful than being not perfect?

          • J. P.

            The dilemma could in fact be outlined with a pan for baking a loaf of bread . If the pan has a dent on it , what will happen to each and every loaf of bread baked in the pan ? Every single loaf has a dent , or a flaw in it . Correspondingly , every human being has acquired a “dent” of imperfection from Adam . This is the reason why every single one of us is condemned to grow old and then perish .—Romans 3 :23 .

          • Pattrsn

            Except if it’s not a matter of direct inheritance then it’s god who creates each human with that specific flaw. And since the humans not descended from Adam were created directly by god with this sin that means sin was created by god.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum assertio. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Prove your claim. Prove that God created more than one human race.

          • James Buchy

            ROFLMAO!!! You slay me!! Stop..stop..I can’t take it anymore! LOL… You actually used Argumentum assertio???? Irony impaired much? You’re so funny you could open for Russel Peters!!

          • mdoc

            Imperfection is not sin; it is a disability. Of course, we now live in a more enlightened world and realize that.

          • J. P.

            Imperfection is the result of inherited sin. You feel it every time you say or do something you later regret or when you do something you know full well is wrong.

          • Madison Blane

            I find the idea that a man had to die for my sins revolting. If God was truly omnipotent he could have simply forgiven us. What kind of deity, would execute one child in order to forgive it’s others? Modern society would call an individual like this sadistic, insane and cruel. Surely, you would not worship a child killer, why do you expect me to? Would you find a judge worthy of the title who would allow my child to be executed in lieu of my sins?

          • Pattrsn

            I think you responded to the wrong guy.

          • Madison Blane

            I did….this thread has become massively contorted.

      • islandbrewer

        Joseph O Polanco is back! I’m going to bet he can’t go for 10 comments before he resorts to (1) bit.ly links to a JW website, (2) inappropriately dropped Latin, (3) incorrect fallacy labeling (have you learned what an Ad hominem actually is, yet?), (4) an Ad hominem (of course, lacking profanity, which he confuses for an “Ad hom” [sic]), or (5) a misogynist comment directed at someone with a female nym.

        My bets are on 2, 3, and 4 within 10 comments.

        • Castilliano

          Well, it took more than 10, but you nailed it.
          1. Several and counting.
          2 & 3. Two-fer in response to me.
          4. Belittling opinions & posters, thought admittedly not egregiously (that I’ve seen), he still uses it as a distraction in rebuttals where he presents no counter-rebuttal.
          *clap, clap, clap*

      • Bobbie Jo Justice

        I LOVE IT when christians don’t even know their own babble.

        NO ONE inherited sin, because according to the christian babble, er, I mean bible.
        Ezekiel 18:20
        The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child.
        The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the
        wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

        • J. P.

          You’re equivocating. I’ve addressed the concept of inherited sin, not willful sin (as referenced in Ezekiel 18:20). Yes, we are all born in sin but we’ve also been given the opportunity to escape sin and it’s consequences, to wit, death (which, btw, explains why everyone who’s ever lived has died.) This, however, requires effort on our part: http://bit.ly/19lpefW

          This also explains why some, unfortunately, are just born evil: http://bit.ly/1dJhvxU

          • Madison Blane

            And yet, Christians refer to newborns as ‘perfect gifts from God’ instead of sinful, evil, fallen, or any other of the ridiculous things you say we are born as! At what point do they stop being ‘perfect’ and begin to be ‘sin-filled’?

          • Castilliano

            Two. Definitely Two.
            Little Bastards.
            /rant

          • Madison Blane

            Three – terribly two’s ain’t got nothing on tyrannical threes! At two they can tell you ‘no!’ and assert their will – but at three they can ask “why?” and ARGUE!

          • J. P.

            Correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t Elizabeth Bathory, Talat Pasha, Margaret Sanger, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula once children too?

          • Madison Blane

            yep…innocent children. All the things you know and condemn about them is because of their ACTIONS as adults, not their misfortune of being born. You are saying that God condemns a person as sinful before the first breath, NOT based on actions or harm! If that’s the case, then you are equally the sinner that Hitler, Bathory, and Osama were.
            I think what we DO with our lives matters. I do not believe babies are born evil and I take issue with people who would indoctrinate an innocent child to believe there is something inherently flawed about her being, for no crime other than being born!

          • J. P.

            You’re still thinking like a finite, perishable being. But God is anything but. In his omniscience your Creator perceived beyond a shadow of a doubt that those particular children would grow up to be just as evil as their parents or worst. Therefore, the actions he took to protect his loved ones and to stamp out evil were just.

            Remember, even after Jehovah God cleansed the Earth and only Noah and his family remained, evil once again flourished. Clearly, then, there dwells within man a propensity to be evil. This is the legacy our first parents, Adam and Eve, left us, inherited sin: http://bit.ly/1a5IGl7

          • Madison Blane

            Right…so it’s ok to kill people BEFORE they sin…out of love? Exactly which ‘loved ones’ are you speaking of – God’s supposed to love ALL humans (not just his favorite little Jewish clique) according to you. Again, you prove my point that Yahweh a TRIBAL God, not a universal one!
            Gawd I wish you knew how much of a psychopath you sound like trying to make excuses for tyrant-worship!

          • J. P.

            When Jehovah God saw himself forced to take such drastic action there was no maybe, probably or what if. In his omniscience he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that those particular children would grow up to be just as evil as their parents or worst. Therefore, the actions he took to protect his loved ones and to stamp out evil were just.

            I challenge you to prove otherwise.

          • Gabe Beutel-Gunn

            I’ll take the case! I trust you’ll correct me if I make a leap in logic here, but here goes: According to your own avowed belief, Jehovah created ALL people, not just the Jewish people, and indeed, ALL THINGS. Is this when he created evil too? No? Okay, so then he gave all humans free will, so that they could choose to worship him (because making humans without free will creates worship that doesn’t… taste as good? Why exactly does God need to be worshipped? What does it do for him? Sorry, tangent.). And then it was through free will that humans came up with evil, is that right? Either way, now God needs to protect his “loved ones” (not really sure who that is at this point…) and “stamp out evil.” Evil that either he created, or was somehow introduced to the human population later. But rather than simply unmake evil, or obliviate the souls that have been corrupted by evil, God’s method of “protecting his loved ones” is to give people free will, and then if they don’t do precisely what he commands, he sends them to a torture chamber for all eternity. That is not justice; that is sadism.

            Hold up! Before you ctrl-v that “Strawman” objection, please do me the kindness of pointing out where exactly I went wrong in my logic. I’ve been over it twice and it looks to be a sound refutation to me. I just want to be as good at arguing with strangers as you some day…

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            If Jehovah God was such a racist, why were immigrants well received in ancient Israels and why did God make provisions for these to become naturalized?

            “You must not mistreat a foreign resident or oppress him.” -Exodus 22:21

            “The foreigner who resides with you should become to you like a native among you; and you must love him as yourself, for you were foreign residents in the land of Egypt. I am Jehovah your God.” -Leviticus 19:34

            ““You must not hate an E′dom·ite, for he is your brother.
            “You must not hate an Egyptian, for you became a foreign resident in his country.” -Deuteronomy 23:7

            “At that time I instructed your judges, ‘When you hear a case between your brothers, you are to judge with righteousness between a man and his brother or a foreign resident.” -Deuteronomy 1:16

            Does methodized reasoning present far too much of an obstacle for you?

          • Wyrd Wiles

            You’re also assuming that we accept that story as a factual account. Which I don’t. Your citing evidence from the source we’re questioning. When debating the inerrancy of the bible, the bible cannot be submitted as evidence. Otherwise it would be impossible to debate anything written in a book, so long as that book said it was true.

          • J. P.
          • Wyrd Wiles

            ^– What the heck was that?

            The argument by poisoning the well? How does that even relate to the topic at hand?

          • J. P.
          • Bobbie Jo Justice

            blah blah blah….christian horsecrap.

            bottom line, there is no god, and there is no sin.

            babies are NOT born in sin. end of discussion.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum assertio. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Prove your claim. Prove that “there is no god”?

      • Madison Blane

        I believe the biggest misconception that people have about the Bible (other than its inerrancy or divinity) begins, as most cases of misconception do, in the beginning – the very first chapter of Genesis. Genesis is NOT a creation story which claims that the Hebrew God Yahweh created the world and populated it with plants, animals, and humans. Genesis is a story that sets Yahweh’s people apart as separately created from other humans, special, with rules that apply only to them.

        Genesis chapter 1 does NOT reference the Hebrew God. Though most Bibles use the word “God” in Genesis chapter 1, and most Christians assume this means Yahweh God, the correct and original term is Elohim -a grammatically plural noun for “gods”. Genesis 1 further infers that the Elohim is a plurality, a congregation of Gods – as evidenced by the references to ‘they’ and ‘them’. In verse 26, the Elohim, male and female Gods and Godesses, created humans like themselves “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion….” According to the story, the Elohim created the plants, animals, etc. that we all know of today all over the earth

        Then, Genesis 2 is a separate creation story in which Yahweh God, one of the plurality, was not happy with the previous arrangement. Yahweh God wanted his own SPECIAL people. Notice that AFTER the Bible says man and woman were created (in Genesis 1) God created Adam from ‘dust’ (Eve from a rib) and put him in a ‘garden’. The descendants of these two people became the Jews, the descendants of Adam and Abraham. If there is ‘sin’ that will be passed from father to son, that ‘sin’ belongs to the descendants of Adam and Eve NOT the population of the entire world.

        Yahweh God makes only two people and creates a garden. This garden was NOT full of every type of plant but ONLY those ‘pleasant to the sight and good for food’ (verse 9). Out of the ground he formed animals. In this garden was a tree of knowledge AND a tree of life (verse 9). This garden was eventually closed off and guarded. None of these plants or animals exist today; they only existed in the garden.

        Geneisis chapter 3 – Eating fruit from both of the tree of Knowledge AND the tree of life would make man (or woman) equal to the Elohim Gods. Adam and Eve ate ONLY from the tree of knowledge, the only one they were forbidden. Adam and Eve had a chance at immortality, they just didn’t get around to that particular fruit. But the Elohim feared that they would. The Elohim worries in Gen. 3:22 “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.” This sets the descendants of Adam and Eve apart from other humans; they are like Gods in their knowledge.

        Notice that Yahweh God shows himself NOT to be omnipotent or omnipresent in verses 8-9 when he is unable to find his creations because they ‘hid’. Further evidence of other humans existing before Adam and Eve can be found in Genesis 4: 16-17 when Cain moves east of Eden and takes a wife from there.

        The only conclusion I can draw from this is that I am not a Jew, a descendant of Adam and Abraham, and anything that follows simply doesn’t apply to me (or most of the world for that matter). If you continue reading the Old Testament, it is a collection of stories of Yahweh God’s favoritism and protection of the Jews specifically, NOT a story of love for all mankind. Mankind created by the Elohim are enemies of God’s chosen people and the stories that follow tells how, when his people obey his commandments, Yahweh God helps them become powerful conquerors.

        • J. P.

          “‘Elohim:

          This is the most frequently used name in the Old Testament, as its equivalent theos, is in the New Testament, occurring in Ge alone approximately 200 t. It is one of a group of kindred words, to which belong also ‘El and ‘Eloah.

          (1) Its form is plural, but the construction is uniformly singular, i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective, unless used of heathen divinities (Ps 96:5; 97:7). It is characteristic of Hebrew that extension, magnitude and dignity, as well as actual multiplicity, are expressed by the plural. It is not reasonable, therefore, to assume that plurality of form indicates primitive Semitic polytheism. On the contrary, historic Hebrew is unquestionably and uniformly monotheistic.” – International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

          Accordingly, your entire treatise is sophistic.

          • Madison Blane

            You can use your Biblical apologetics all you want, and I’ll use Harry Potter books to prove the existence of House elves.
            1) it isn’t correct, no matter how you twist it
            2) Elohim is PLURAL in Genesis 1, as evidenced by the use of ‘us’, ‘our’, ‘they’ and ‘them’.

          • J. P.

            Argumentum per veneficium fontem. You do know the Bible is not one book but sixty-six recorded by 40 distinct amanuensis over the span of some one thousand six hundred years, right? Sorry, try again.

          • Madison Blane

            And? what’s your point? Are you saying NOW it’s ok for your God to be inconsistent?

          • J. P.

            You lost me. How does this answer my query?

          • Madison Blane

            Your being lost….that seems to happen quite often.
            Let me break this down further.
            You asked, “You do know the Bible is not one book but sixty-six recorded by 40 distinct amanuensis over the span of some one thousand six hundred years, right?”
            And instead of giving you the obvious “yes” for an answer, I advanced the conversation further to try and discern exactly what you were trying to imply with that question. Because it seems as if you are using the fact that there are several different authors as some sort of apologetics to explain why your Bible is inconsistent.

          • J. P.

            If you’re gonna read minds, will you at least put some effort into it?

          • J. P.

            Still not convinced, huh. Let’s try this:

            אֱלֹהִים

            Strong’s H430 – ‘elohiym

            II. plural intensive – *** singular *** meaning (Emphasis mine.)

          • Madison Blane

            And, again, you’re using a Strong’s…a biased source. That proves NOTHING other than your willful disregard for the truth so that you can twist what the book of Genesis actually says into your preferred dogma.

          • J. P.

            Forgive me if I take the scholarly works of actual experts in Paleo-Hebrew over your sophistry.

          • Madison Blane

            Try looking at a ‘scholarly source’ that isn’t intrinsically biased towards the Christian perspective!
            Actual historians and language experts agree that Elohim is PLURAL, meaning a congregation of male and female gods and goddesses, when accompanied by plural descriptors such as ‘we’ ‘us’ they’ and ‘them’.
            Do you even know what a context clue is?!?

          • J. P.

            You do know that your imaginary friends don’t actually count as scholarly sources … I hope.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            I’m married to a Levite Rabbi-in-training, who’s studied Hebrew for most of her life. Just take my word on this. It’s plural. Seriously.

          • J. P.

            So you’re a scholar of Paleo-Hebrew … through osmosis?

          • Wyrd Wiles

            No, but I’m married to one and I ask questions. This specific example has come up in conversation. I’m not an expert (Not even a little bit. I don’t even have a horse in that race), but I CAN quote one.

          • J. P.

            So quote one. Don’t offer me your moonstruck musings as evidence.

          • Madison Blane

            The Greek word sophist (sophistēs) derives from the words sophia, and sophos, meaning “wisdom” or “wise”. It describes a person who is a wise teacher focused on virtue. Sophists had great impact on the early development of democracy and law. Their status as lawyers was a result of their extremely developed argumentation skills. Although the term sophistry has come to signify the deliberate use of fallacious reasoning, intellectual charlatanism and moral unscrupulousness, it is an oversimplification to think of the historical sophists in these terms because they made genuine and original contributions to Western thought.
            Sometimes your misuse of words leads to beautiful irony.
            Thanks!

          • J. P.

            And just how precisely does this change the fact that your arguments are demonstrably casuistic?

          • Madison Blane

            So, you can’t refute logic. Is that what you’re saying? Because I don’t think you realize that, no matter how many synonyms for sophistic you can come up with, there exists a definition that isn’t slanderous to me in the least and just makes it that much more obvious that you CAN’T answer the questions. Does rule-based reasoning present too much of a challenge for you?

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            It is plural, but it’s ALWAYS plural. You can’t just change the definition in a single usage to prove your point. It should also be pointed out that Elohim is derived from the Canaanite Ba’al El.

            The proper translation of the first is “In the beginning, the GODS created the heavens and the earth.”

          • J. P.
      • crimsonking

        No. Everything you just said is a myth. All the time you spend studying this nonsense is wasted.

        • J. P.

          Prove it’s all myth and fantasy.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, you assert that your non-evidenced god exists. The burden of evidence is on you.

          • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, you keep asserting that your non-evidenced god exists. The burden of evidence is on you and you keep failing to provide any. Your assertion that “Creation is proof of a creator” is equally non-evidenced.

            Now you have two burdens of evidence, one for your still-un-evidenced god and another for this “creation” you’re asserting happened.

            I don’t believe you. Give me some evidence, you dishonest liar for your immoral, un-evidenced god.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts
          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            I see you still haven’t figured out what “burden of proof” is either. No, Joseph. Nobody has to prove that your myths are fantasies. YOU have to prove that YOUR myths are real. Nobody has to make any effort to disprove any of it–and though you are not using the word “disprove,” that is what you are demanding. Nobody must do that. YOU are making a positive assertion that your beliefs are true. YOU get to prove them. Do you have any actual objective, peer-reviewed evidence for your claims? Please present it and be welcome.

          • J. P.

            You are making the positive assertion that my beliefs are myths. YOU get to prove this is the case.

          • Leftside Annie

            Nope, sweetie – you can’t prove a negative. It’s on YOU and yours to prove the existence of God.

            And telling me to read the Bible doesn’t cut it as proof – the ramblings of stone-age shepherds filtered through the religious crap of the centuries since then? No thanks.

          • J. P.

            Are you insinuating an unrestricted negative can’t be proven ? On the other hand wouldn’t that render your own claim an unrestricted negative ?

            In turn , if unrestricted negatives simply cannot be verified , then no one can prove that no one can prove an unrestricted negative . But if there is absolutely no way to prove that no one can prove an unrestricted negative , it must be realistically feasible to substantiate an unrestricted negative .

            Which means that your casuistic allegation that not a solitary person could prove a universal negative is self-refuting – if it’s true , it’s false !

            Ex : Evidence Santa Claus could not exist in reality – http://bit.ly/185Tf1D
            Now try to apply the same process for God Almighty.

          • Madison Blane

            Prove Unicorns and Faeries don’t exist!

          • J. P.

            Are you insinuating an unrestricted negative can’t be proven ? On the other hand wouldn’t that render your own claim an unrestricted negative ?

            In turn , if unrestricted negatives simply cannot be verified , then no one can prove that no one can prove an unrestricted negative . But if there is absolutely no way to prove that no one can prove an unrestricted negative , it must be realistically feasible to substantiate an unrestricted negative .

            Which means that your casuistic allegation that not a solitary person could prove a universal negative is self-refuting – if it’s true , it’s false !

            Ex : Evidence Santa Claus could not exist in reality – http://bit.ly/185Tf1D
            Now try to apply the same process for God Almighty.

          • Madison Blane

            I insinuate nothing. Apparently you fail to understand that Atheism is simply being unconvinced of an asserted, unproven hypotheses that believers masquerade as ‘truth’.

            And if you had any way to prove that Unicorns and Faeries didn’t exist, you would have led with that! You can no more prove they don’t exist than you can prove that your God does!

          • J. P.

            You’re equivocating. What do you call someone, as yourself, who insists God does not nor cannot exist?

          • Wyrd Wiles

            You can’t prove that there ISN’T a teapot in orbit, half way between here and Mars. What we’re saying is that it isn’t our job to DISPROVE your mythology. It’s YOUR job to PROVE it!

          • J. P.

            Russell’s teapot also has no basis in reality because space is an extremely hostile environment. The constant bombardment alone of meteorites, cosmic and/or solar radiation would be enough to obliterate it.

            Want one more?

            Spaghetti has defined physical properties, thus, a monster cannot be created from it. Moreover, our understanding of aerodynamics makes it glaringly obvious that spaghetti cannot travel sustainedly through the air. As such, the Flying Spaghetti Monster has no basis in reality.

            http://bit.ly/13nwqlP

          • Castilliano

            It’s a very evasive teapot.

            Spaghetti is how mortal minds interpret his greatness.
            His omnitastiness is not bound by our understanding.
            Ramen.

          • J. P.

            Still has no basis in reality. Try again.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            Neither does your holy book, which was the point of the initial example.

          • J. P.

            Prove it.

          • Castilliano

            Reality already did that for us.
            Prove to us reality’s wrong.

          • J. P.

            How does reality prove the Bible wrong in any respect?

          • Castilliano

            Sort the comments by “Best”
            At the tip-top, you’ll see a post by Madison that has numerous biblical examples, i.e. bats are birds.
            According to reality, bats are not birds.
            Hence, the Bible has at least one factual error in it.
            As you’ll see from Madison’s list though, the Bible’s chock full of them.

            And yes, I know you’ll throw ‘straw man’, or some poorly utilized Latin back at me, but I do this for the children out there, our dear viewers. Mwuuuh to you all!
            Warning: Joe & reality don’t mix well.

          • J. P.

            Does the Bible claim to be a text on Ornithology? That’s news to me!

          • Castilliano

            So it can have errors? Cool
            Joseph O Polance has admitted the Bible can be wrong!

            (I sort of knew you’d dodge by just addressing the bat-bird issue and not Madison’s list, but that’s okay. I’ve lowered my expectations enough not to feel disappointment or frustration with you anymore. Baby steps. Baby steps.)

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • Castilliano

            LOL! (No, really, I even snorted.)
            Umm…which part would be the strawman?
            It’s your very answer I’m responding to, not some made up false representation of you.
            (Sorry, still laughing.)

            Either you, Joe, accept that bats are birds, and the Bible is right or that bats are not birds, and the Bible has an error.

            Here was your answer:
            “Does the Bible claim to be a text on Ornithology? That’s news to me!”
            Which most certainly suggests the Bible has an error re: birds.
            How could that be interpreted otherwise?

            You are funny to the point of ridiculousness!
            I love you, Joe, and I worry that someday your ‘truth’ will crash down upon you. Take care.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            So what you saying is, if the scenario conflicts with known science, and you have no evidence to support the anomaly, then one should discount it until real evidence is found?
            I think you just disproved your god, dude.
            “Taa-daa!”

            */Jazz Hands*

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            You keep using that word. I doesn’t mean what you think it means.

            Straw Man: To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

            What I did was attack the case YOU JUST MADE. That wasn’t a facsimile of your argument. That WAS your argument.

            Ball served, your move.

          • J. P.
          • Nemo

            Look up burden of proof.

          • J. P.

            You mistakenly replied to me instead of crimsonking.

      • Mike

        So by your logic, God an omnipotent being of nothing but love and compassion, needed a human sacrifice to be made to pay for the sins of one Human against him or we were all doomed to hell? What is the timeline between Adam and Jesus? Screw all those souls right? Even Noah who was chosen by God to save the world from sin before Jesus. Sorry Noah, you were born to early, I love you but you gotta burn. Your logic makes no sense fundie.

        • J. P.

          That’s a Strawman. Try again.

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            You still haven’t figured out what a strawman is, I see, and you still think that just naming a fallacy is all you have to do to “win.” Mike has correctly summarized exactly what you said. All you did was prove exactly what John Shore wrote in the OP here: that Christians have done a marvelous job of contorting themselves into believing that this horrifically unjust, unmerciful, and unloving concept is really just, merciful, and loving. That you are one of those Christians says a lot more about you than you might want said.

          • Mike

            You said it, I was just applying logic to your words. You stated that Adam and Eve committed the original sin and that every human born after them was afflicted with this sin until Jesus Christ was given as a human sacrifice to appease God. So what exactly is a Strawman and why is this not applied to you?

      • Mrquestion

        You’re a mental child, clinging to your security blanket. As a black man, please explain to me how you believe in the religion of your ancestors “masters” who was forced on them by whip, and condoned said treatment? How do you as a modern man have a better moral compass, than a deity who’s consciousness spans all of time? He can make a commandment against theft, but not rape and enslavement?

        • J. P.

          Before you dare criticize the Bible why not actually read it first:

          I. Murder/Infanticide -

          “There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: [] hands that are shedding innocent blood.” – Proverbs 6:16,17

          “When YOU spread out YOUR palms, I hide my eyes from YOU. Even though YOU make many prayers, I am not listening; with bloodshed YOUR very hands have become filled. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the badness of YOUR dealings from in front of my eyes; cease to do bad.” – Isaiah 1:15,16

          “Murderers [] their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur.” – Revelation 21:8

          “We [sedulous disciples of Christ] do not wage warfare.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3

          “Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.” (Romans 12:19)

          “If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar.” (1 John 4:20)

          “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. For this is the message which YOU have heard from [the] beginning, that we should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother.” – 1 John 3:10-12

          “By this we have come to know love, because that one surrendered his soul for us; and we are under obligation to surrender [our] souls for [our] brothers.” – 1 John 3:16

          “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are [] enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies [] and things like these. As to these things I am forewarning YOU, the same way as I did forewarn YOU, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.” – Galatians 5:19-21

          “The things proceeding out of the mouth come out of the heart, and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings, ** murders **, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things defiling a man.” – Matthew 15:18-20

          “Although [YOU] know full well the righteous decree of God, that those practicing such things [murders] are deserving of death, [YOU] [] consent with those practicing them.” – Romans 1:32

          II. Rape -

          In ancient Israelites rapists weren’t jailed, they were executed:

          ““If, however, it is in the field that the man found the girl who was engaged, and the man grabbed hold of her and lay down with her, the man who lay down with her must also die by himself, and to the girl *** you must do nothing . The girl has no sin deserving of death ***, because just as when a man rises up against his fellowman and indeed murders him, even a soul, so it is with this case. For it was in the field that he found her. The girl who was engaged screamed, but there was no one to rescue her.” – Deuteronomy 22:25-27

          III. Precisely what system of slavery makes it possible for slaves to amass wealth? ( Leviticus 25 :49 )

          • Madison Blane

            1) – I can quote the bible, too.
            Isaiah 13:16
            Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated.
            Hosea 13:16
            They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.
            Psalm 137:9
            Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

            You see, your God is a tribal God, who favors one particular race of people, not one who loves ALL people. God only frowns on killing that he hasn’t commanded or allowed. God specifically says his followers SHOULD kill:
            People Who Don’t Listen to Priests
            Witches
            Homosexuals
            Fortunetellers
            Children who strike or Curse their Parents (it gives no stipulation that defending oneself against an abusive parent is ok)
            Adulterers
            Fornicators
            Followers of other religions
            Nonbelievers – note it says KILL, not try to convert.
            False prophets (even though God says: And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet. – Ezekiel 24:9)
            Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
            Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night
            Blasphemers
            Infidels
            Anyone who Approaches the Tabernacle
            People for Working on the Sabbath
            Sons of Sinners

            In fact, God either directly kills or allows the murder of THOUSANDS, routinely in the Bible.

            2) As for rapes:
            Judges 21:10-24 “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin…Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn’t find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead.” *It hardly sounds as if these women became wives willingly!

            Numbers 31:7-18 describes the Murder, rape and pillage of the Midianites

            Deuteronomy 20:10-14 kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

            Deuteronomy 22:28-29 If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. It is clear that God doesn’t give a damn about the rape victim. He is only concerned about the violation of another mans “property”.

            Deuteronomy 22:23-24 actually commands death to the VICTIM of rape “because she did not cry out”

            2 Samuel 12:11-14 I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight… the child born to you must surely die

            Deuteronomy 21:10-14 condones rape of female captives.
            Judges 5:30 dividing the spoils they took…a damsel or two for each man

            Exodus 21:7-11 gives commandments regarding sex slaves

            Zechariah 14:1-2 Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst…. houses plundered, women ravished

            3) Has already been answered and has nothing to do with you God’s morality or existence, you’re grasping at straws!

          • J. P.

            Your inimical retort is a specious naturalistic fallacy for the passage in question is descriptive, not prescriptive. Try again.

          • J. P.

            Deuteronomy 22:28,29 isn’t describing a rape because rapists were executed in ancient Israel. This is expressly manifested at Deuteronomy 22:25-27:

            ““If, however, it is in the field that the man found the girl who was engaged, and the man grabbed hold of her and lay down with her, the man who lay down with her must also die by himself, and to the girl *** you must do nothing . The girl has no sin deserving of death ***, because just as when a man rises up against his fellowman and indeed murders him, even a soul, so it is with this case. For it was in the field that he found her. The girl who was engaged screamed, but there was no one to rescue her.” – Deuteronomy 22:25-27 (Emphasis mine.)

            What we have described in Deuteronomy 22:28,29 is a case of consensual sex. This law obligated the man to pay a fine and, were he to marry the girl whose virginity he took, he would never be allowed to divorce her. (cf. Exodus 22:16,17)

            These laws obligated the man, not the girl.

            In other words, what you have here is a good ‘ol fashioned shotgun wedding.

          • J. P.

            Do you honestly feel it immoral for God Almighty to slay in defense of the innocent ? I mean , “minatur innocentibus qui parcit nocentibus” , n’est-il pas ? Thusly , even though the Bible examines Jehovah God’s past adverse judgments frankly, you need to keep in mind that those were invariably against ungodly individuals and in defense of the innocent . By way of example , it was not until the entire world of Noah’s time finally became “filled with violence” that Jehovah declared : “As for me, I am going to bring floodwaters upon the earth to destroy from under the heavens all flesh that has the breath of life .” ( Genesis 6 :11 , 17 ) Surrounding another judgment , it absolutely was only as a result of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had “abandoned themselves to sexual immorality and were bent on perverted sensuality” that God caused it to “rain sulfur and fire .”—Jude 7 , The New Berkeley Version ; Genesis 19 :24 .

            Did God relish bringing all flesh to ruin in Noah’s day ? Or did he derive some fiendish pleasure from destroying the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah ? For an answer , let us look at the events surrounding the Flood of Noah’s day . After stating that God would wipe evil mankind off the surface of the ground in order to cleanse the earth of violence , the Bible informs us of Jehovah that “his heart was saddened.” Yes , it devastated God that “every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only bad all the time .” And so , to rescue as many as possible from the inevitable Deluge , God dispatched Noah , “a preacher of righteousness ,” to sound a monition as well as to construct an ark for the preservation of the godly .—Genesis 6 :3-18 ; 2 Peter 2 :5 . ( Bracket mine )

            Undesirable judgments from God Almighty have at all times resulted only because evil men and/or women adamantly refuse to forbear their depravity and evildoing , not just because Jehovah delights in doing away with individuals . Nonetheless you might ask yourself , ‘Did not Jehovah spur the Israelites to battle with various other nations and thus obliterate these ?’

            The Amalekites , just to illustrate , were “the first one of the nations” to launch an unprovoked assault on the Israelites after the Exodus , at Rephidim in the vicinity of Mount Sinai . For this reason , Jehovah decreed absolute annihilation for the Amalekites . ( Nu 24 :20 ; Ex 17 :8-16 ; De 25 :17-19 ) Twice in the course of the period of the Judges these acrimonious foes of Israel shared in attacking Israel . They did it in the times of Eglon king of Moab . ( Jg 3 :12 , 13 ) Yet again , with the Midianites together with Easterners , they ransacked the territory of Israel seven years before Gideon together with his 300 men dealt them a great defeat .—Jg 6 :1-3 , 33 ; 7 :12 ; 10 :12 . As a result of their unrelenting violence , in the period of the kings Jehovah ‘called to account’ the Amalekites , instructing King Saul to strike them down , which he actually did “from Havilah as far as Shur , which is in front of Egypt .” ( 1Sa 15 :2-33 )

            Meanwhile , spiritism , child sacrifice , sadistic violence , together with a range of disgusting sex worship were the order of the day with the Canaanites . Being a God of justice , Jehovah would not make it possible for these types of sickening practices to thwart the tranquility and safety of godly human beings , in particular Israel . ( Deuteronomy 5 :9 ) To illustrate , imagine if the neighborhood where you reside was without a legitimate police force or militia to apply the laws and regulations of the land—would that not give rise to sheer bedlam and violent rioting of the worst kind ? Equally , Jehovah was required to take action against the Canaanites owing to their licentiousness as well as the legitimate peril they presented to pure worship . For this reason , he decreed : “the land is unclean, and I will bring punishment on it for its error, and the land will vomit its inhabitants out.”—Leviticus 18 :25 . “ It is because of the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah is driving them away from before you” , he conveyed to the Israelites at Deuteronomy 9 :4-6 , “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land .”

            Divine justice was undertaken every time God’s executional forces—the Israelite armies—destroyed the Canaanites . That God decided to make use of human beings to execute this judgment , in lieu of fire or flood , could not lessen the verdict . Consequently , when warring with the nations of Canaan , the Israelite legions were mandated : “In the cities of these peoples, which Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not allow any breathing thing to live. Instead, you should devote them completely to destruction, the Hit′tites, the Am′or·ites, the Ca′naan·ites, the Per′iz·zites, the Hi′vites, and the Jeb′u·sites, just as Jehovah your God has commanded you; so that they may not teach you to follow all their detestable practices that they have done for their gods, causing you to sin against Jehovah your God.” —Deuteronomy 20 :16-18 .

            As opposed to with Ares , Otrera , Keres , Enyo , Eris among others , Jehovah God is a respecter of life . Accordingly , He would not endorse indiscriminate slaying . Deuteronomy 20 :10 and 11 instructed the ancient Israelites , ““If you approach a city to fight against it, you should also announce to it terms of peace. If it gives a peaceful answer to you and opens up to you, all the people found there will become yours for forced labor, and they will serve you.”

            Even though Israelite troops were permitted to marry captives they had to attend to them with the same rights and honor due to an Israelite wife . Poles apart from what’s seen in today’s wars , Israelite soldiers were absolutely barred from raping or otherwise abusing female captives . Jehovah instructed , “If you go to war against your enemies and Jehovah your God defeats them for you and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you are attracted to her and you want to take her as your wife, you may bring her into your house. She should then shave her head, attend to her nails, and remove the clothing of her captivity, [for hygienic reasons ] and dwell in your house. She will weep for her father and her mother a whole month, and afterward you may have relations with her; you will become her husband and she will become your wife. But if you are not pleased with her, you should then let her go wherever she wishes. But you may not sell her for money or treat her harshly.” -Deuteronomy 21:10-14 ( Bracket mine . )

            When the people of one particular Canaanite city , Gibeon , sought mercy , Jehovah extended it . ( Joshua 9 :3-27 ) Could a bloodthirsty war god have done so ? Of course no , yet a God who delights in peace and justice would certainly .—Psalm 33 :5 ; 37 :28 .

            Over and over again , the Bible connects God’s blessing with tranquility . Namely because Jehovah is a lover of peace , not war . ( Numbers 6 :24-26 ; Psalm 29 :11 ; 147 :12-14 ) Due to this fact , when King David hoped to erect a holy space of worship to Jehovah , God explained to him : “You will not build a house for my name, for you have shed a great deal of blood on the earth before me .”—1 Chronicles 22 :8 ; Acts 13 :22 .

            While on earth , the Greater David , Jesus Christ , referred to an era when God’s love of justice would cease to permit him to stomach the modern-day ungodliness we observe the world over . ( Matthew 24 :3 , 36-39 ) As he did with the Flood of Noah’s time as well as in the devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah , Jehovah God Almighty will very soon take judicial measures to scour the world of narcissistic , ungodly individuals , thereby paving the path for tranquil conditions to exist under his heavenly Kingdom rule .—Psalm 37 :10 , 11 , 29 ; Daniel 2 :44 .

            Unmistakably , Jehovah is not the bloodthirsty God he is undeservedly charged of being . Having said that , he will not shrink back from rendering justice whenever it is due . God’s love of goodness demands that he take action on behalf of those godly ones who love him by eradicating the evil system that oppresses them all . When he does so , authentic peacefulness will certainly flourish earth wide as the genuinely meek ones unitedly worship Jehovah , “the God of peace .”—Philippians 4 :9 .

          • Madison Blane

            “Do you honestly feel it immoral for God Almighty to slay in defense of the innocent ?”
            Do you honestly feel that it’s ok for a God who is supposed to love everyone to take sides in tribal wars? All this proves, over and over again, is that your God DOESN’T love every one, he only loves his chosen few, the descendants of his ‘special’ creations (aka. the Jews).
            And if you believe God ‘slays in defense of the innocent’ then why doesn’t he step in and save innocent children from being raped and tortured around the world daily? Is he less powerful now than he was in Biblical times?

          • J. P.
      • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

        Joe, you keep asserting that your non-evidenced god exists.

        Yet, again and again, when someone asks you for evidence that supports your assertion, you fail to provide any.

        Why is that? Is it because you’re dishonest and a liar? Experience with you has shown that to be the case.

        Just once, step up and give your evidence that your god exists.

        • J. P.
          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Giving me the same useless crap, over and over, isn’t evidence, Joe. It’s dishonest and since you keep doing it, it’s obvious to me that you aren’t interested in actually evidencing your god, you’re just interested in lying for your non-evidenced god.

          • J. P.

            “There is simply no greater fool than the one which refuses to accept what they’ve been revealed to be true .” – Unknown

          • mdoc

            Matthew 5:22
            But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

          • J. P.

            Actually, the text correctly reads:

            “Ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ Ῥακά, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ Μωρέ, ἔνοχος ἔσται εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός.”

            You get an “E” for effort, though :)

          • Castilliano

            And you get an ‘F’ in Communication & Rhetoric.
            (Okay, maybe a D- because it does attract the eye.)

          • J. P.

            She incorrectly quotes the Bible and I get a D-?

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, you failed to provide any evidence for your god. Guess there’s simply no greater fool (you) than one who thinks no evidence is sufficient to convince me.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            Joe, why should I believe you, when, time and time again, you’ve shown yourself to be a dishonest person?

          • J. P.

            Don’t believe me. Believe the evidence I’ve given you.

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            The “evidence” you’ve given is complete crap and, so, no, I don’t believe it.

          • J. P.

            “Unbelief is as much of a choice as belief is. What makes it in many ways more appealing is that whereas to believe in something requires some measure of understanding and effort, not to believe doesn’t require much of anything at all.”

            ― Frederick Buechner

          • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

            The “evidence” you’ve given is complete crap and, so, no, I don’t believe it.

          • JPC

            Glad you’ve that kind of insight, Joe. The next step for you is likely to do some real research into truth, in the non-fiction section. Have fun.

          • J. P.

            Cura te ipsum. Atheism – the claim that God does not nor cannot exist – is noetically bankrupt.

          • JPC

            bahaha. Good one, Joe, a real knee slapper. I bet you’re a hoot at parties. Probably ply your trade in a people-oriented profession, retail or ministry or maybe selling insurance, something rife with integrity.

          • J. P.

            Folks who claim that the Earth is flat also present rationales and justifications for their stance . All of them opt to turn a blind eye to the enormous and persuasive evidence for a spherical Earth . All the same , they’re invulnerable to hard facts together with logic . They cling to their view with such frenzied desperation and despair they won’t let go despite whatever anyone explains , regardless of the good reasons or arguments they’re presented with .

            Seems very clear to me you happen to be very much like those advocates of a Flat Earth . Sure , you showcase reasons and arguments for your view but the truth is you parrot the same exact defeated reasons and arguments which have been around for the past century or two while at the same time avoiding the most apparent facts and arguments that refute your position . I’m not going to kick a menhir then announce I’ve belied your folderol no more than I’m keen on convincing a Flat Earth exponent that the planet is truly spherical .

            You are free to go your way desperately believing what benighted or moonstruck ideas you desire . All the best !

      • Leslie (eserafina42)

        Funny – Judaism has the same story but gets along just fine without the whole original sin thingy. One of the morning blessings is “God, the soul you have given me is PURE (my emphasis)…” As a wise rabbi once said, it’s not that we have fallen. We just haven’t risen far enough.

        And of course that’s assuming that Genesis 2-3 (which contradicts Genesis 1 in quite a few respects) is an actual account of something that literally happened rather than a story with things to tell us.

        • J. P.

          Then why did they have to offer sacrifices for sin at the temple in Jerusalem?

          • Madison Blane

            To atone for ACTIONS, not to atone for their being! You seem to not understand that there is a BIG difference between telling a person that ACTIONS are wrong and telling a child that s/he is wrong, a sinner, bad, and evil simply for BEING BORN!

          • J. P.

            Guess again.

            Read Luke 2:22-24.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            You just quoted Christian scripture to explain Judaism. You lose.

            If you wanna try again with something from the TORAH, please feel free.

          • J. P.

            Your benightedness is encyclopedic …

            Mary and Joseph weren’t ancient Israelites who offered up a purification sacrifice in accordance with the Mosaic Law?

          • Wyrd Wiles

            Indeed they were; about a hundred years before Luke was written with a decidedly CHRISTIAN interpretation.

            You don’t read the Quran to learn about Christian beliefs, and you don’t read the new testament to learn about Jewish beliefs. If you want to understand Jewish theology, read the Torah.

            Also: “Your benightedness is encyclopedic” is an example of Ad Hominem. Note how it’s NOT a STRAW MAN, much like every other thing you’ve called a Straw Man.
            I can cite logical fallacies too :)

          • J. P.

            Thus revealing your previous rejoinder for the casuistry it was …

          • Wyrd Wiles

            … What?

            Exactly what element of my statement are you calling casuistry? You quoted Christian scripture to explain the Jewish thought process. I pointed out why this was an inappropriately ethnocentric perspective.

            Exactly what part of my reasoning was unsound?

          • J. P.

            You accepted that Joseph and Mary were ancient Israelites offering up a purification sacrifice for their inherited sin in accordance with Mosaic Law. That you insinuate this is irrelevant because the event is recorded in a particular book of the Bible is irrelevant and casuistic.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            Irrelevant? Hardly.
            Perspective is everything. The gospel of Luke was written from a CHRISTIAN perspective, about a hundred years after the events took place. Again, you don’t go to the Quran to learn about Christianity. Why? Because it’s written from an Islamic perspective that wouldn’t accurately portray Christian beliefs. Likewise, the new testament is not going to be an accurate representation of Jewish philosophy, because it’s written from a Christian perspective.

          • J. P.

            Irrelevant because the Bible has ONE author, God Almighty himself.

          • Castilliano

            Oh my, one author with so many writing styles. Odd, that.
            And wait, didn’t you just agree elsewhere on this thread that bats aren’t birds?
            So Yahweh didn’t know that simple fact when he wrote that part about bats being birds?
            Wow, you’re making Yahweh look really dumb.

          • J. P.
          • Castilliano

            Context didn’t really help you there.
            And the current context here is:
            Yahweh wrote the Bible.
            Thus Yahweh wrote that bats are birds. (Genesis)
            Thus Yahweh is…kinda dumb. Or a liar.

            But I know even such simple layouts don’t work on you, Joe.
            But I don’t write for you anymore.

          • J. P.

            The context is the audience. The Bible was not composed for Ornithologists or Biologists but for your typical man, woman and child. Your contumely is, thus, nothing more than a Presentism fallacy. Try again.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            To atone for things THEY did. Not things their ancestors did.

          • J. P.

            Guess again.

            Read Luke 2:22-24.

          • Nemo

            The book of Luke was written centuries after the establishment of Judaism, by people who had no intention of practicing the rituals. I would not go there for an explanation of what the rituals were for.

          • J. P.

            So you’re alleging Luke 2:22-24 is not in complete harmony with Leviticus 12:6?

          • Leslie (eserafina42)

            It had nothing to do with “original sin.” It was for each person’s personal transgressions, and while Orthodox Jews may yearn (or at least claim to) for the building of the Third Temple, the rabbis of the Talmud held that prayer had replaced sacrifice, at least until then. More theologically liberal Jews don’t think the sacrifices were ever required by God but were more for the psychological benefit of the worshipers, in addition to providing a living for the priests, who were not allowed to own land.

          • J. P.
      • Leftside Annie

        *yawn*

        • http://mikemoorehome.com/ mike moore

          Leftside … thank you.

        • J. P.

          “The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and willfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.”
          ― Aleister Crowley

          • Gabe Beutel-Gunn

            … sounds like Crowley was describing the fundamentalists who cover their ears and close their eyes when presented with facts and reason.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • James Buchy

            How is that a strawman? Do you even know what a strawman is?

          • islandbrewer

            No. Joseph O Polanco doesn’t actually know what half the phrases he bandies about, from “Ad hom” to strawman, I have not seen him use these terms correctly. It gets even worse when tries to use Latin.

          • faithnomore

            The Crowley quote gave him away….

          • J. P.
          • Wyrd Wiles

            The phrase you were looking for was Ad Hominem, and I’m slightly offended that you believe practicing Thelema would be a negative mark on somebodies character.

          • faithnomore

            lol sounds like he should research who Aleister Crowley was before quoting him to support religion…or is your religion Thelema Joseph?

          • Alliecat04

            Dude, did you just quote Crowley in support of Fundamentalist Christianity? That’s hilarious. I can’t decide if you’re awesome or insane.

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Try again.

          • mdoc

            Poe?

          • Castilliano

            No, Polance.
            Though the difference is minimal.

      • James Buchy

        Ahhhh…the horrible Adam & Eve story, the story of entrapment. The forbidden fruit was knowledge of evil AND good. God told Eve “Don’t eat the fruit” and the serpent said “Eat the fruit” right after that [important distinction, IMHO]. Without that knowledge, how could A&E possibly know that obeying god = good and obeying the serpent = bad? The most recent instruction Eve had came from the serpent which, by default, overrides any previous directive, unless a priority structure is in place, which would necessitate, you guessed it, KNOWLEDGE. Lets see you shuck and jive your way past that one.

        • J. P.

          Apparently, then, you don’t value your life enough to protect it just as Adam and Eve.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            Let me get this straight. Your god made 2 people. He DESIGNED them, to not know right from wrong. He then put down two trees and said “DON’T TOUCH THESE!”.
            Now these two people, who were DESIGNED to have no idea that what they were doing was wrong,ate the fruit from one of them.

            For this, god decided to punish ALL OF MANKIND (who really had NOTHING to do with the whole affair) for ETERNITY.

            How is that a “loving god”? Seriously. That’s an evil dictator.

            If you REALLY believe that, then I want to know what it is you do to repay others for the sins of your ancestors? Obviously if one of your ancestors, thousands of years ago, killed some guy in a turf war, it’s YOUR FAULT. Have you tracked down the mans descendants and re-payed them? Have you done that for EVERY ANCESTOR YOU HAVE?

            Sounds pretty unfair, doesn’t it?

          • J. P.

            Strawman. Adam and Eve could certainly reason and, as such, knew full well the fatal consequences of violating God’s explicit laws.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            The story says they didn’t have the ability to make that judgement until AFTER they ate the fruit. That’s not a straw man (Which you’re STILL misusing), that’s spelled out, plain as day, in your own holy book.

            I also note that you failed to address the REST of my argument. So tell me, have you made reparations for ALL of you ancestors sins?

          • J. P.

            So, per Genesis 3:2,3 Eve did not know even touching the fruit of the trees in the middle of the Garden would kill her?

          • Wyrd Wiles

            No, she really didn’t. She had no concept of right/wrong, good/bad. Yahweh said “Don’t eat this, you’ll die.” and then a snake said “No you won’t, it’s fine.”. Without the ability to determine something as basic as right and wrong, how was she to know that the snake was lying? Or even know what a lie was? How was she to know that disobeying god was bad? She didn’t even know what “bad” was. Up until that point there had been no death in the world. She didn’t even know that DEATH was bad. Only that one being said she would die and another said she wouldn’t.

          • J. P.

            Are you serious? Her Father, who gave her life, a gorgeous home, a perfect husband as well as anything and everything she needed to live for millennia yet you want us to believe she had no clue whatsoever it was wrong of her to betray him? Gimme a break.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            That is in YOUR BOOK man.

            YOUR BOOK says that she didn’t know right from wrong until after she ate the fruit.
            So you tell me. Is the book wrong?

          • J. P.

            Where precisely does it specifically state that?

          • mdoc

            “Genesis 3:22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

            23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

            Basically, they were clueless. God said dont eat from the tree lest you die. The serpent said they wont die so they ate. God has an over the top fit and worries that now that they have knowledge they might actually end up figuring out how to live forever. You will note that God lied; they didn’t die from eating from the tree. The serpent told the truth. And without knowing good and evil how could they know that the serpent was tempting them? Or even if God was telling the truth or lying? How could it possibly be a sin? The whole concept of original sin is a weird Christian twist on an already weird story.

          • J. P.
          • Wyrd Wiles

            Genesis 2:17 – The tree is first named as the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

            Genesis 3: 4 – It is established that by eating the fruit, the humans will gain that knowledge. Meaning they didn’t have it before.

            Genesis 3: 7 – After eating the fruit, humans experience guilt/morality for the first time.

            Black and white. Right there. They had no knowledge of right/wrong until AFTER they ate the fruit.

          • J. P.
          • Wyrd Wiles

            This is in YOUR BOOK!
            YOUR BOOK says that she did not know right from wrong until AFTER she ate the fruit.

            So you tell me! Is the book wrong?

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            Moreover, this was the very first time in her life she encountered a talking snake. Alarms and whistles should’ve been going off in her head especially when “it” started defaming her loving Father.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            But why would the friendly snake be bad? It just wants to give me wisdom. It must be a very generous snake. (Remember, she has no reason to suspect. She has no knowledge of evil)

          • J. P.
          • J. P.
          • mdoc

            Joseph, I have seen you are Christian boards before claiming others are making fallacious arguments. You really don’t understand fallacies. I suggest you take a philosophy course. I am not trying to be patronizing, but you are not making effective points. You might feel good about what you are saying, but is that your goal? If your goal is to win, you are losing. If your goal is to persuade, you are losing. If your goal is to reinforce your own beliefs, I suppose you win.

          • J. P.

            Well I could agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.

          • Castilliano

            What is your goal?
            Because I agree with mdoc, I see no way in which you are aiding any cause. Not with us, not with our dear viewers, and to a sad degree, not even with yourself.
            I pity you man, I really do.

          • J. P.

            My goal is to show how untenable and irrational it is to insist God does not nor cannot exist.

            Mission Accomplished! :)

          • Castilliano

            Most atheists already agree with you.
            Few atheists insist a god or gods cannot exist.

            I’ve heard that called literal atheism, but have never heard that view from a prominent atheist, not even Harris or Hitchens. One cannot disprove a god or gods, especially given he/she/it/they are such an amorphous concept.
            Even Dawkins believes there ‘could’ be a god.
            Just like there ‘could’ be a tooth fairy or Easter bunny.
            We don’t know for certain, but we know well enough to discount it, at least until some evidence arises.

            Most atheists say there is no evidence for any of the ten thousand gods mankind has worshipped. Why would I choose one of those? Why would I let others steer society based on one of these improbable fictions?

            But, many atheists will attack ‘revealed’ gods.
            Especially gods such as yours which have 41,000 (at last count) disagreeing denominations.
            Clear Christian message, my ass.

            You, Joe, suggest Yahweh exists, based on his inerrant word. (And some JW stuff too, I guess?)
            Yet you have dodged providing evidence many times on this thread.
            You making that claim leaves as fair game:
            -Yahweh’s an evil prick in the Bible.
            –Which you counter with Divine Command Theory
            —Which we find repugnant and immoral.
            —-Which you attack by pitting objective morality with an extreme version of subjective morality (which, BTW, is a strawman, as most atheists don’t go so far).
            —–Then we describe universal values, pack traits, etc.
            ——Which you ignore. Only to start again.
            or
            -Bible has errors.
            –You assert it’s faithful and worry-free.
            —We point out the errors with specific passages and specific internal contradictions and contradictions with reality. (Such as bats being birds.)
            —-Which you dismiss. Only to start again.
            or
            -The Problem of Evil, which plays out much the same as above.
            -The accuracy of prophecy, ditto.
            -The age of Earth, the fossil record, & evolution
            Ditto, ditto, ditto, all the way down, always dismissing evidence with awkward rejoinders and off topic twists.
            This is disingenuous.
            And poor witness for your religion.

            You are here to hamper dialogue. Much of this post is obfuscated by your derailments. Good job. You ‘win’ to the chagrin of all others.
            I can’t imagine that coming to any good purpose. You have neither persuaded nor dissuaded. You can’t, you don’t ever rebut well, just reassert (in many cases verbatim, as if from a book). You turn people off to religion if anything. Your argument style pitted against ours only gives us strength & good marketing.
            (Thanks, BTW. For awhile I thought you were a Poe.)

            -You constantly veer off topic while insisting others are doing so. It seems to most often occur when too much evidence arises that counters yours.
            -You call out ‘strawman’ when people are responding directly to your comments, not the comments of a ‘strawman’ which requires something they created. One of many fallacies you improperly use, leading to…
            -You use Latin to obfuscate your point. Latin, which BTW, often is inapplicable, i.e. calling something irrelevant when it directly addresses your last post.
            -You can’t, even for the sake of argument, imagine a different view, a different god, a different condition not stemming from your doctrines.
            That all, too, reflects poorly on your intentions here.

            Many of us argue here for the sake of edification, of others and ourselves. We use argument to explore a topic. We come to hear the other side and share.
            You have your ears turned off. You come here to thwart, to muddle, and to showcase yourself and your links.
            It’s uncivil. Please, stop, reconsider.

            If you can’t enter a discussion with the possibility your view of the world may change by the time you get out the other side, maybe you shouldn’t enter the discussion.

            Cheers, and take care,
            Sincerely, Castilliano.

          • J. P.

            You’ve gone off the rails again. One term cannot share to contradictory definitions. Those who don’t believe God does not nor cannot exist aren’t Atheists. At worst, they’re Agnostics.

          • J. P.
          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            Bats being birds? First it’s a Presentism fallacy because Linnean classification is a contemporary convention.

            More importantly, if that’s the best you can do you’re wasting your time. The designation of wildlife was done then by distinct means : based on function or structure . In this scenario , the expression we render birds means basically “owner of a wing” , the word being ‘owph , which derives from a root term meaning to cover or simply to fly.

          • J. P.

            What problem of evil?

            (1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
            (2) Evil exists.
            (3) Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist.
            (4) Therefore, God exists.
            (5) Therefore, God is the locus of all objective moral values and duties.

            That is to say, as Dostoevsky once mused, “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”

            Q. E. D.

          • J. P.

            “I had a deep respect for our body’s sophisticated design. For example, the way our kidneys control the amount of red cells in our blood is awe-inspiring. As you may know, red blood cells transport oxygen. If you lose a lot of blood or if you go to a high altitude, your body will lack oxygen. Our kidneys have oxygen sensors. When they detect an oxygen shortage in the blood, they activate the production of EPO, and the level of EPO in the blood may rise as much as a thousandfold. The EPO stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red cells, which in turn transport more oxygen. It’s wonderful! Strangely, I studied this process for ten years before it struck me that only God could design such an elegant system.

            I was intrigued by the way the Bible foretold the year of Jesus’ baptism. It shows exactly how much time would elapse between the 20th year of the reign of the Persian ruler Artaxerxes and the year Jesus would present himself as the Messiah. I am accustomed to doing research—it is part of my job. So I researched history books to confirm the dates of Artaxerxes’ rule and the dates of Jesus’ ministry. Finally, I concluded that this Bible prophecy had come true on time and that it must have been inspired by God.” -Dr. Céline Granolleras, former atheist (http://bit.ly/1dNnE8I)

            Failed prophecy you say? Try again.

          • J. P.

            The Bible most certainly does not teach that the Earth was created in six days of twenty four hours each. A basic understanding of the idioms Moses employed makes that readily apparent: http://bit.ly/14quj20

          • J. P.
          • J. P.

            “The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and willfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.”
            ― Aleister Crowley

          • Wyrd Wiles

            First, ENOUGH WITH THE BLOODY STRAW MAN. If you’re going to keep using that phrase please learn to apply it properly.
            Second-

            No, she really didn’t. She had no concept of right/wrong, good/bad. Yahweh said “Don’t eat this, you’ll die.” and then a snake said “No you won’t, it’s fine.”. Without the ability to determine something as basic as right and wrong, how was she to know that the snake was lying? Or even know what a lie was? How was she to know that disobeying god was bad? She didn’t even know what “bad” was. Up until that point there had been no death in the world. She didn’t even know that DEATH was bad. Only that one being said she would die and another said she wouldn’t.

          • J. P.
          • James Buchy

            Now THIS is a strawman. Pay attention.

          • Wyrd Wiles

            LoL. James Buchy, that was awesome :)

          • James Buchy

            Thank you, thank you very much. Catch my next “wack a fundie” show every Friday and Saturday with Sunday matinees at 3 and 5 PM. No autographs please.

          • J. P.

            Reductio ad absurdum is not a Strawman. Try again.

          • James Buchy

            To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet nonequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position. The nonequivalent position is that I don’t value life, which you claim and you never refuted my view of the A&E story in Genesis.

            Reductio ad absurdum would be like dismissing the well-supported theory of evolution by saying “god did it”.

            Hope this helps…..but I know it won’t.

          • J. P.

            Actually it’s not. Here, maybe this will help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

          • James Buchy

            Yep, just like like dismissing the well-supported theory of evolution by saying “god did it”. Absurd.

          • James Buchy

            I was right , it didn’t help.

        • Anton

          As a progressive Christian, I have a much different interpretation of the Eden story than Joseph here.

          Humanity acquired its mortality at the same time that it began to understand the knowledge of good and evil. We’re not fully human without an awareness of our finiteness and moral responsibility, but this brings with it anxiety.

          Maybe it’s too existential for the average Christian, but I think this interpretation is closer to the spirit of the human condition. The way believers wax nostalgic about our blissful ignorance in Eden misses the point entirely.

      • axelbeingcivil

        Doesn’t this sort of assume the inheritance of sin? That a just and loving deity would create a cosmos where the sins of the father shall fall upon the son? That a child should live in a jail whose bars were made for their parent?

        That doesn’t sound just or fair in any sense of the word. That, in fact, sounds quite the opposite.

        • J. P.

          You misapprehend. As a for instance, should an expectant mother abuse drugs and alcohol or perhaps contracts a harmful illness ( like Syphilis , for example ) would you be astonished if this induced birth defects or even just killed her baby ?

          Sin changed us in similar fashion . As soon as Adam and Eve started to die , their body systems began to deteriorate such that they lost the capability to generate flawless children .

          This is exactly why every one of us gets ill , grows decrepit and then finally dies . Considering their irresponsible decision actually made Satan their god and thus sundered them ( as well as us by extension ) from God’s immediate care simply intensified the problem .

          Happily , Jehovah God began to take measures to liberate all of us out of this legacy our very first parents left to us . By making use of his answer to the problem, it’s finally possible to be freed from our slavery to sin , death and misery : http://bit.ly/HrSSYq

          • axelbeingcivil

            Analogies are inherently imperfect things at the best of times but that one is thoroughly inaccurate. In an apathetic and unguided universe, it is fair to say that the choices of the parent naturally impact a child but you do not presuppose an apathetic and unguided universe. To the contrary, you presuppose a loving, omniscient, omnipotent creator and guide, who ostensibly created the drugs, diseases, and other pains in your allegory and the means of transmitting them to the woman in question, as well as gave her the desire to indulge in them, the mechanisms to do so, etc. etc. etc.

            Another way to put this might have been that would it not have been easier, rather than God waiting however many decades, centuries, millennia, eons, etc. between Adam and Eve mucking up and Christ’s sacrifice, to just not have had it that Adam and Eve’s children be born corrupt? Setting aside the question of “Why create the Tree of Knowledge?” in the first place, the point here is that, if Yahweh designed the tree to begin with, then it clearly chose to include these consequences with it.

            These consequences include children being born with sinfulness innate to them; inherited from their parents, disconnected from God as Adam and Eve were. Their parent’s choices impacted them. Would not a just and loving God prevent such a thing from happening to people who truthfully had no say in it whatsoever?

          • J. P.

            You’re still thinking like a finite, perishable being. But God is anything but. As the Almighty nothing and noone can frustrate or impede his purposeses. What he determined to be the future of man at Genesis 1:27,28 will inexorably come to pass regardless of what anyone does or doesn’t do.

            The only question that concerns you, then, should be, “Will I do what is necessary to be a part of that brilliant future?” http://bit.ly/15XCebD

          • axelbeingcivil

            I think the chief thrust of any argument, and of eminent reality if your claims are true, is that if I am a finite, perishable being and, if I am incapable of seeing the grander picture, then I am only so because I was made and destined to be that way by a deity who would ultimately punish me for being precisely how it intended to make me.

          • J. P.

            Thing is, you can choose to remain in your ignorance of God’s purposes or you can learn of them from the Bible. Either way, the choice is yours and you will reap accordingly. How is this not just?

          • Castilliano

            The majority of humanity that’s existed has never seen a Bible. Sucks to be them.

            In some areas it is death to have a Bible. Sucks to be them.
            Your narrow view is despicable.

          • J. P.

            How very parochial of you …

            Did you know the Bible is the single most published work since Gutenberg invented his printing press? Billions of Bibles have been distributed the world over in every conceivable language. Online versions make it just that much more accessible to everyone with internet access. Try again.

          • Castilliano

            No, really.
            The majority of people, throughout time (I believe the estimate is in the 107 Billion range) have never seen a Bible.
            A billion Bibles does not alleviate that.