The Bible Argues Against Blind Faith

The Bible has a proverb against blind faith:

 “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thoughts to his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15, NIV)

Don’t be a simple man who believes anything.

Don’t simply accept that the Bible was written by God because a man with a suit says so. Don’t accept an ancient rabbi was raised from the dead because it was claimed a few decades after it supposedly happened.

Don’t accept that all our languages came from God’s retribution for building a skyscraper. Don’t accept that the sun can stop in the sky with a prayer; that ax heads can float; that water can be magically turned into wine; or that the millions of species can fit inside and live on Noah’s Ark for a year.

Instead, think critically and use your head!

(Thanks to Teleprompter for pointing that verse out.)

  • http://northerngnome.wordpress.com/ Gnorthern Gnome

    What a fantastic verse, may I be one of the first in congratulating yourself and Teleprompter for showing me it! Now to go use it…

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Thanks for the shout-out, Daniel! However, I do need to give credit to where credit is due:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/good/long.html

    Another interesting Bible verse along similar lines is 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV): “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

    Let’s remember not to reason like a child and have a civil, intelligent, rational discussion!

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Good point. I will point out though that becoming a Christian is not a leap into the darkness, but a step into the light. Focusing on just one point makes discussion easier so the one I tend to stick with is this: Jesus rose from the dead. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then his original disciples who ran from him to avoid persecution would not have so radically changed and suffered and died for their belief. There wouldn’t have been such a number that went from skeptic to true believer. Now I will concede that there are many people who die for their religious beliefs – radical Muslim terrorists for example. The difference is this: the terrorist doesn’t know that what they are dying for is true; the early Christian who first ran from faith in Jesus and later saw Him alive after death knew it was true. If they were skeptics, they were not likely to believe in Him if it were not true. Furthermore, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Roman government could have squashed that rumor by provinding the body for all to see. If Jesus rose from the dead, we should pay attention to the things he said. Jesus tells us that if we look upon someone to lust after them, we have committed adultery in our hearts. God sees our thought life! If we ran a replay of your thoughts for the last year at the movie theatre, would there be things you wished weren’t there? God is so perfect that he will see and bring to justice every lie, thief, adulterer, blasphemer, murderer (including murderers at heart, and every thing that goes against our God-given conscience. Would you when up against such a perfect standard be innocent or guilty? Would that mean God’s paradise or God’s jail for you? It would mean God’s jail – Hell – for all of us. Here is the greatest news of all. That same Jesus who rose from the dead is now willing to live in you. He can do that because he died and rose from the dead to take the punishment of your wrongdoing. It is like this. You did the crime and Jesus paid your fine in His life’s blood. It was a lagal transaction. On Judgment Day you can legally go free if you receive the gift of God’s grace. Just like you must receive any other gift, salvation is a gift that must be received. You are turned from God and can not receive a gift in that state. TURN AROUND! Repent towards faith in Jesus Christ and you will be made new. Jesus will change you from the inside-out and you will never be the same.

  • Mike

    That’s a good verse, I believe.

    There are some lessons to be learned in reading the stories of the Bible, but at the same time, thinking that a man would survive in the stomach of a whale for any length of time is a hard pill to swallow.

    Thanks, and good luck,
    Mike

    • Wayne

      Yeah, there are some lessons to be learned: its ok to kill if you think god is telling you to, treat the earth however you want because god made it for us and the end times are close anyway. Come on. Anyone who has read the old testament OBJECTIVELY knows how immoral it is. And if you think the ideas laid out in the old testament are bad, you should know that not until the new testament was there any mention of hell. As Dr. Christopher Hitchens says, “Not until Jesus meek and mild” was there a hell.

  • cello

    I’m glad Daniel got the wordpress props and all, and that it is increasing his traffic….but bummer side effect to all the increased proselytizing we are now being subjected to.

    Brent – if you read this – thanks for being a cordial Christian and actually adding to the discourse while not regurgitating conversion theology that we have heard a thousand times already.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Justin

    “Good point. I will point out though that becoming a Christian is not a leap into the darkness, but a step into the light.”

    When I read a statement like this, I can’t help but imagine that you believe things like reason, logic, and evidence to be merely “smokescreens” to the truth, and one cannot see the truth without pushing those aside. One must forgo reason in order to have faith? In order to see the light?

    Well, what’s more likely? That those are the smokescreens to truth? Or that assumptions and faith in the supernatural are smokescreens to the truth. I can just as easily say that without the cloud of faith, that I am free to discover the true nature of things and people. To see the light.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Justin,

    Is Christianity the only religion that can “change us from the inside out”? I remember reading Malcolm X’s autobiography in high school, and he was talking about his conversion to Islam in prison, and how it changed his life. Yes, he was very militant for a long time, but the most intriguing part of the book discusses when he goes to Mecca and sees Muslims of almost every race and nationality, and then Islam becomes a peaceful religious influence for him. Also, it would be hard to deny the importance of religion to someone like Gandhi, who wasn’t specifically Christian, though he may have been influenced by Christianity, in catalyzing his activism and his compassion to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Any belief which tells people that there is something larger than themselves which they should care about is capable of making a large difference in peoples’ lives. People have a psychological need to be part of something: many religious and political movements have taken advantage of this, to both positive and negative effect. Christianity is not unique in this aspect.

    Also, I do not agree with your perception of justice. You’re claiming that your god has a “perfect standard” when it comes to justice. Is it a perfect standard to punish humans infinitely for finite crimes — to condemn us to eternal torture for a mere lifetime of mistakes?

    You claim that your god sees our thoughts? Let me ask you this: why do many of us think about sex all the time? Wouldn’t Jesus say this is commiting adultery in our hearts? However, we are biologically equipped and psychologically driven to think about sex in this way. Therefore, our “impure” thoughts, if there is a god, must be caused by said god, because it is human nature. If there is a designer for human nature, and it is your god, then it is unfair for your god to hold us accountable for doing exactly what we would have been designed to do!

    However, I do not believe that the existence of such a god is probable. Sexual reproduction is an essential piece of our existence. Why would a god make this function so critical to our existence and then condemn for acting on this impulse which has been so thoroughly ingrained in us? How do you account for this? I don’t think you can.

    It seems more probable to me that this sexual urge can be traced to influences from our evolutionary history. It also seems more logical to me that the prohibitions against sexual things in the Bible stem more from the sense of morality which was prevalent in human societies at the time these scriptures were written than from any divine standard. Would an all-knowing god be insane enough to create a high number of species (including humans) which have homosexual impulses and then condemn homosexuality? Homosexuality is natural: what is more likely to you, that humans condemned it, or that an all-knowing creator condemned it?

    As for “sin”, what Adam and Eve did is the equivalent of what every toddler or teenager who’s ever lived has done at least once: questioned what right their parents have to be an authority. Your god says “do this because I said so”. It’s only natural that Adam and Eve would test the bounds of the rules — it’s perfectly normal development for human children to do that. A normal parent would’ve admonished the disobedient child, but also would’ve used the lesson as a valuable teaching experience and such a moment can potentially bring a parent and a child closer together once the child understands that a parent sets rule because of their love for the child. However, your god’s rules condemned all of us for eternity because of one behavioral act which is perfectly normal in child development. Instead of bringing us closer to god, this incident separated us from him in this world altogether.

    However, if you don’t take the Genesis account literally, then why does Paul keep referring to “death through Adam, life through Christ”? It seems that almost all the writers of the New Testament take the Genesis account of Adam and Eve literally. I’m not sure that a metaphorical interpretation of Adam and Eve isn’t outside the bounds of Christianity proper, though it is impossible to define this since there are so many impossibly conflicting variations.

    Jesus paid my fine? For what, being human? That’s not much of a crime. Besides, was it really necessary for him to die to forgive my sins? Didn’t Jesus forgive sins while he was alive?

    Also, when he was on the cross, he is claimed to said have “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Is there ANYONE in the entire history of the human race for whom the words “forgive them, for they know not what they do” apply better than to Adam and Eve, who didn’t even know the difference between right and wrong?!?

    But if Jesus is god, then why didn’t he forgive Adam and Eve? “Forgive them, for they know not what they do?”

    What do you want me to repent for? Being human? If your god exists, he made me the way that I am, and is now condemning me for being the exact same way which I was born.

    It’s like asking a group of children to fly with their invisible wings, and then punishing them for not flying if they don’t trust you that the wings are real. First of all, there’s no evidence that there is a god. Second, if there is, he’s asking us to do what is impossible, and mostly that’s impossible because of the way our human nature is, which he would’ve been responsible for if he exists.

    If you want a valid legal transaction, I’m willing to sue your god for negligence if he exists. Waiting until the last few thousand years to come to us when we’ve been around for 100,000-150,000 years, and then not reaching most of us until the last two thousand? Incompetent design plus incompetent “divine plan” equals absurd religious dogma.

  • Alex

    I’d also add 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 and most of the book of Psalms to the list.

    The apostle Paul gives us the instruction to “Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.” Paul says this in reference to the words and prophesies of man. By this teaching, we should test the entire book of the bible. Unfortunately for Paul, the bible fails the test miserably.

    Most of the book of Psalms contains the words of King David questioning god. In the sad words of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.”

    Relief can never be granted from an imaginary god. Even for those with blind faith.

  • http://northerngnome.wordpress.com/ Gnorthern Gnome

    Just picking up one or two little comments of Justins. Please don’t take this as a personal or religious attack (I too am a Christian), just maybe broadening understanding ;)

    The difference is this: the terrorist doesn’t know that what they are dying for is true

    Little bit confusing. A “terrorist” in this sense relates to religious freedom fighters or “martyrs”. I can’t see many people knowingly strapping themselves with bombs with the intention of killing others because they feel what they are dying for is false? They have a faith as strong as any Christians, truly believing their act on earth will lead to eternal life, however warped their logic behind the actions is.

    the early Christian who first ran from faith in Jesus and later saw Him alive after death knew it was true.

    Approach this from an atheistic viewpoint and you’ll see that most if not all accounts of seeing a “risen” Christ source from the Bible. The Bible also states he was “reborn” in a new body, a body that was not instantly recognisable. We find people who had strong faith, suddenly lose that which they fervently believed in and loved. Grief can lead to odd mental channeling so it isn’t all that likely that they would want to believe in a risen Christ; it would validate their faith and give them hope. The point is that the early Christians “knowledge” could well be equal to the “knowledge” of a Muslim extremist; both are based ultimately on faith.

    Furthermore, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Roman government could have squashed that rumor by provinding the body for all to see.

    Of course his grave was opened. He did have many followers, and guards are only human. The body may have been stolen as Mary originally feared.

    It was a legal transaction.

    Yeh I’m not too sure of its “legality”. After all how many courts would honor it?

    But I digress into the realms of mild-sarcasm. The remainder of your post begins to air on the side of street-preacher so lets leave that. Hopefully though you’ll read my post with the eyes of a prudent man, as the quote so wonderfully sums up. :)

  • faithnomore

    Justin

    “…radical Muslim terrorists for example. The difference is this: the terrorist doesn’t know that what they are dying for is true;…”

    But they DO know what they are dying for is true. That’s why they do it! Do you actually think the Muslim terrorist is thinking to himself before he triggers the bomb on his torso, “Well, I know Allah isn’t really true and I’m really not going to get my 21 virgins in paradise, but what the hell, let’s do this anyway!”???????

    Now, if you consider how convinced that person is of his truth and how convinced you are of your truth, how do you know which one of you is right? Maybe you’re going to burn forever in Allah’s hell because you aren’t worshipping him.

  • http://www.illogicalstrategy.com Stephen Webb

    Wow, is this the post that is getting the extreme comments you mentioned on Twitter/FB?

    I agree with both verses mentioned about childish ways and a simple man. Great verses, both of them.
    I honestly didn’t take the time to read all the comments yet.
    However, I will say, even as a Christian, you can find a verse in the Bible to back up or refute ANY argument you want to throw out there – farting, homosexuality, abortion, laughing – big and small, you can pick it apart and find a verse for it.
    So I’m just suggesting that everyone read every verse in the Bible, understand the historical context in which it was written, meditate on it (NO, not a Christian thing), and then begin the intelligent arguments.

    Here’s a thought though (and I know I’ll get some smart comments for this one), how about we put aside our childish ways of meaningless arguing and begin to give thoughts to our steps with regards to the poor, hungry, environment, diseased, stressed, broken, hurting, depressed, tired, weak, and uneducated? Just a thought.
    The beauty of this whole planet is that these things I just mentioned should bring ANYONE together. You can’t argue that or find me a verse about that (in context).

    As my good buddy, Rodney, said: Can’t we all just get along?”

    HA. Just had to throw that in there. Ok, go ahead, rip apart my comment (again). ha ha

  • http://www.rationalitynow.com Dan Gilbert

    Chapter 14 of Proverbs has a number of verses that are of a similar nature.

    6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

    7 Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.

    8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.

    18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

    23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (prayer?)

    There are more. Check them out and I’m sure you’ll be amused. :-)

  • Aor

    Justin, can you explain why the stories of the resurrection don’t match?

    Can you explain why nobody alive at the time in Jerusalem wrote about zombies jewish prophets walking the streets for days? Or the sun going dark during the day? There were plenty of literate people there, and the sun going dark would attract alot of attention. Remember, the Romans had a sun god. A change to the sun would be a theological issue for them. They had alot of people in Jerusalem, they could write, they were in the habit of keeping records.. but nobody wrote it down.

    Zombies walking the streets for days, the sun going dark, angels appearing in the flesh.. nobody writes it down. Then 70-120 years later someone writes a story and you don’t ask yourself why those present at the time didn’t mention these life changing experiences?

    The population was mostly Jewish. Don’t you think they would have written about their dead prophets coming back to life and preaching in the streets?

  • John

    Justin:

    You’ve just posted some of least convincing arguments for theism I’ve ever read. If you really wish to encourage anyone, particularly atheists, to believe what you believe, you should first examine the arguments against theism so you have a convincing frame of reference.

    Otherwise, you’re not arguing in good faith (so to speak). You seem to be assuming that we atheists have not thought about this as much as you, when I assure you that many (most?) of us have read and discussed and pondered these things for years before arriving at nontheism.

  • http://racheteapaintersdiary.blogspot.com/ rachete

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I enjoy reading your insights.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @cello: Agreed on the side effects. That’ll go away soon though.

    If it gets bad, I’ll put a no proselytizing rule for comments.

  • http://stageandcanvas.wordpress.com Mish

    New Testament was written in 925CE and rewritten into English in 1175CE. That’s a really long game of telephone and a lot of misinterpretations.

    “We question all our beliefs, except for the ones that we really believe, and those we never think to question.” ~Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead

  • Vorjack

    @Mish -

    Um … 925 is kinda late. I don’t think that even the most radical scholar of Biblical Studies would place any of the books past the mid-2nd century. And where do you get 1175? The Wycliffe translation didn’t even appear until ~1380.

    And the date of translation isn’t really that important, since we try to go back to the earliest manuscript evidence.

  • http://Idonothaveoneatpresent Xaiber

    Dear Mr. Florien:

    Re: the Proverbs 14:15 verse – did you miss the 2 that says to be of one heart, mind, and will with God; and He is in us and us in Him once saved, through faith, when the Holy Spirit is living within us? The Scriptures does not contradict itself so you either believe from the first verse in Genesis to last verse in Revelation or you don’t. You said you did – so go ahead and hurt the heart of Jesus. Go against Him, but what will you do when even as we speak here, Leviathan is proven more than ten years ago in a found fossil (read Job) and the walls of Jericho are exact in the Bible to the hipocrite who ten years earlier about 20 years ago said it did not exist because she did not did down deep enough, but along came an archaeologist who did and found the walls of jericho according to historical and historically witnessed accounts outside the Bible which then match exact to the Biblical account.

    FYI: my mom’s a christian (sort of – talks out of two sides of her mouth when the times get tough or she doesn’t like what Jesus says) so she has told me to use my head. Isn’t that funny, comming from a Christian who truly believes even in the above situations, that she and I are of one heart, mind and will with God, so we, who are created in His image (He hears, we hear; He sees, we see; He talks to us, we talk to us and Him, etc.) are to use our heads/minds/brains on our own even thought it is a COMMAND of GOD to not – as if we know the future.

    So go ahead and walk away from the Historically credentialled One and keep misleading/doing Satans bidding. But remember this, when the Living Word which is substiated in His Written Word, is once again proven in the Rapture as daily miracles, signs, and wonders are proving all every day, you will need iall you have learned before, during, and after your Christianity for you will go intothe Tribulation. Even Israel will believe in the AntiChrist for the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, and then NOT! – and 144,000 will serve Him and bring the Word to the world, including you, if you do not go in the mid tribulation to be with Him – and no harm will come to them. Bibles are and have been hidden Petra/the city of Rose (Revelation) for many years. I know as have a dear friend from years ago who gave his life to place them there and prove it was so done.

    If there is the tinyiest, itsy-bitsy chance that God is who He says He is, and all was, is and will be continued proven – then are you really willing to risk it. If what you say is true, and what I say is not, then heal my disabled body (as God already healed my cancer and some of it to date – waiting for the rest to come soon) – you do oh powerful one who loves to listen to the clanging of his own voice. Oh, and send me $4500.00 for the basic living needs. For you see I expect you to prove your power and love with no strings attached as He has such as in healing and no povery or financial support – 5 years ago He brought $60,000.00 over 2 years – with no strings attached. Let’s see you do this – as He did it without drugs, addiction, alcohol, gambling and/or any unrighteous, unholy supernatural, spiritual thing or entity.

    I dare you – I double “dog” dare you!!! The “dog” is to see the ice, cold, unloving (atheist ways) even to the extent of animal/dog cruelty will continue with yoU.

  • http://chrstphrmthw.wordpress.com/ Christopher Mathew

    I don’t want to be one of the many to throw out more verses, or to tell you that you are wrong.

    I am a struggling Christian not because of the things you have put above, but because of the Christians themselves. I see the faults, I see the “Blind faith” you mentioned. I see that they are fake. They are liars, cheaters, and perverts. And I did not want to be a part of it.

    Although I have not been keeping up with it, my goal was to teach myself in the faith, away from the bias beliefs of the church. Your blog has done the opposite for me, it’s spurred my forward to learn more and make myself stronger.

    I don’t intend on stopping the sun, but I hope my prayers for you are heard. Not all Christians are like this, because you’ve just read the comment of one who strays from the norm.

  • Elemenope

    Not to mention Doubting Thomas, the man who would not believe Jesus had risen until he could feel the holes with his own fingers and see them with his own eyes. Did Jesus upbraid him? No! He *invited* him to test his skepticism on the facts (at least as they are presented in the story :).

  • Philip

    “Don’t accept that all our languages came from God’s retribution for building a skyscraper.”

    You don’t truly believe this was the sole reason God confused all our languages do you?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Christopher: The morals or personalities of people advocating a viewpoint has no bearing on its validity. That is, Christians today could all be scumbags and that wouldn’t mean Christianity is false. Or they could all be super-sweet folks, and that wouldn’t mean it’s true.

    What matters is whether there is sufficient evidence to back up the supernatural claims of a religion. The answer is no for all religions. That’s the reason to reject them.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Xaiber,

    “The Scriptures does not contradict itself so you either believe from the first verse in Genesis to last verse in Revelation or you don’t.”

    The Bible contradicts itself quite frequently, actually.

    Yahweh won’t forgive Adam and Eve in Genesis even though they don’t know the difference between right and wrong. Jesus says “forgive them, they know not what they do” about his tormentors. Yet who would know what they were doing less than Adam and Eve, who supposedly didn’t know the difference between right and wrong? And that’s just one contradiction.

    “If there is the tinyiest, itsy-bitsy chance that God is who He says He is, and all was, is and will be continued proven – then are you really willing to risk it.”

    No Xaiber, you’re the one who’s going to risk it. Why?

    What if Allah is god? What if Vishnu and Krishna and Shiva are god? What if Yahweh is god but Jesus was a false prophet? You have no idea whether any of the other thousands of religious belief systems are true or false. You picked one of them and stuck with it, probably not bothering to investigate any of the other possibilities.

    However, is it more likely that all the gods are the inventions of humans, or that some other god or gods besides yours is true and all the rest including yours are an invention of humans, or that your god and your god alone are the true god, and all the other gods are inventions of humans? Since we have no valid evidence to confirm the existence of your god or any other gods, but we have much evidence which demonstrates the psychological and mythological origins of religion, I believe that it is safe to assume that an atheist or agnostic will almost always win Pascal’s Wager.

    Ahh yes, Pascal’s Wager debunked for the umpteenth time.

    “I dare you – I double “dog” dare you!!! The “dog” is to see the ice, cold, unloving (atheist ways) even to the extent of animal/dog cruelty will continue with yoU.”

    Anti-atheist bigotry? /facepalm

  • Chris

    @Daniel Florien

    I read your story and was impressed with the ability you showed to think logically and rationally, two elements that I feel most people, not to mention most Christians, lack. However, I wish to propose one question which I believe has no answer outside of the existence of a supreme being.

    If we are to consider the big bang theory as scientific fact and all matter exploded outward from a single ball of matter, thus discounting traditional creation stories (which I believe to be parable, at best) where did that initial matter come from? And if that were created by “God” then who created God? Thus we are locked in an infinite loop attempting to define a creation which lacks a creator. The only break from this loop is to admit that at some point there existed an energy from which all creation stems (or so I feel, being unable to develop an alternate solution).

    If possible I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Christopher Mathew,

    Yes, many Christians are “phony”; many atheists are “phony”; many Muslims are “phony”; many Hindus are “phony”; many Jews are “phony”.

    People across all belief systems exhibit many of the same character traits. People tend to act in similar ways no matter what they believe or don’t believe about religion.

    However, when Christianity in essence claims that it makes people more moral than average (as it claims to be a source of morality), and when experience shows that this may not be the case, I can see why you would be a “struggling Christian”.

    I am glad that you want to “learn more”, but I ask that you stay away from “confirmation bias”.

    If you only look at information or arguments which agree with your Christian beliefs, then yes, you should expect your faith to grow stronger. However, this increased strength in faith may come at the expense of a fair assessment of your beliefs. I’m afraid that you may already be headed in this direction.

    Please keep an open mind to all arguments and all perspectives and all evidence which you may encounter.

    If Christianity is true, then you should expect your beliefs to hold up when exposed to question and scrutiny. If Christianity is true, your belief should grow stronger when you critically examine all the evidence and give all sides equal opportunity.

  • John Charles

    I’m with Penn Jillette about the Bible: Read it because we need more atheists, and nothing will get you there faster.

  • Joel

    Chris,

    Is it possible for you to accept that there may just be some things about the nature of the Cosmos that we simply do not understand? Using supernatural explanations to fill in what we do not yet understand is the common “God of the Gaps” logical fallacy. Maybe we just don’t know where that infinitely dense singularity came from.

    To posit that an undetectable intelligence created the universe displays a disturbingly common lack of curiosity by Christians like you.

    The way to break free from this endless loop you describe is not to invent an imaginary sky fairy, but to wait until more evidence comes in, then make a reasoned decision based solely on the evidence.

  • Chris

    @Joel

    I agree with you: “we don’t know where it came from.”

    Yet…

    As Einstein famously wrote E = mc^2. E is obviously energy. M represents mass. C is the constant for the speed of light. So prior to matter there was energy, converted to mass. Where did this energy come from?

    Also, I think that we have entered the realm of pure speculation and theoretical discussion here; we can never “know” the answer to this question, yet it is an important question nonetheless.

    I am interested to hear your thoughts on other possibilities of the source of all energy. And yes. I do realize that I am asking you to make an assertion without proof and this does enter the realms of “faith.”

    And thank you for your response.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    @ McBloggenstein – I don’t think reason, logic, or evidence is the enemy of my faith. I believe it is my ally. I believe the reason, logic, and evidence of seeing person after person sit in a chair can lead to my faith in sitting in that very chair trusting it to hold me. I have found that reason, logic, and evidence is on the side of Christianity.

    @ Teleprompter – I believe that other faiths can radically change people – even possibly change them for good. However, Christianity is the faith of those who have been “born again” and in that sense is unique. As for justice, this is God’s creation so he makes the rules – just as you could if you owned an ant farm. God is perfect and infinite. In his perfection he judges all wrongdoing. Since God is infinite, when you sin against him the punishment is infinite. I am not saying everyone is God’s jail is being punished the same. However, those who reject God will not enjoy the presense of God for all eternity and instead will be in His jail. As far as sex, God is not against sex. It was his thought in the first place. Let me be frank for a moment. God, the engineer of sex, knows how you can experience the best pleasure from it and at the same time be morally pure – within marriage with one person. If you are enjoying immoral sex, you are frankly missing out on even better pleasure – moral sex. As for proof of God’s existence I give you this: look around (Romans 1:20). Dismissing this evidence doesn’t make it untrue. I am not required as a Christian to give you any evidence other than to say look around. I could, but it is not necessary.

    @ faithnomore – My point with the terrorist example is not that they don’t believe what they are dying for. it is that they have not seen Allah in the same way the early Christians saw Jesus rise from the dead. The early Christians knew because they saw so when they were under pressure to renounce of die, they wouldn’t have died for something they knew wasn’t true.

    @ Aor – The resurrection accounts do match. They just contain different information. If I told someone that I went to the movies with Chelsey and she spilled soda on her dress and I told another person I went to the movies with Chelsey and John and we all bought popcorn, do those stories necessarily conflict? No. You will find the so called “contradictions” to almost always fall into this same kind of scenario. If you have specific “contraadiction” questions, check out apologeticspress.com.

    @ John – I am sure you have looked into these issues at length and I don’t mean to assume that I have studied more than you.

    To cello, Daniel Florien, and John Charles – If you are tired of proselytizing, listen to what your fellow atheist, comedian, and magician says about it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JHS8adO3hM

  • Aor

    @Justin

    So you aren’t bothered at all that one story talks of zombies and the others don’t? You haven’t spoken on that issue, Justin. Why not? Why would you not be willing to speak about zombie prophets walking the streets for days and how ridiculous it is?

    That is a serious question, Justin. Don’t avoid it, don’t run away from defending your beliefs. If you truly believe in Matthew’s account then you should be here saying Damn Right there were jewish zombies! Days of them!

    But you don’t.

    You are aware of how silly it would sound to modern humans. You know that defending that position would make you sound.. insane.

    Zombies!

    So Justin, respond to the zombie issue. Do you believe zombies walked the streets for days, do you have any explanation for why nobody recorded it? There are many writings of that time and location, and zombies walking the streets for days is the kind of thing that would be spread all over the land. People would flock to Jerusalem to see the zombie prophets. Nobody living there at the time mentioned it. Nobody.

    All those sun worshippers didn’t mention the sun going dark during the day. These are people who recorded the movement of planets and solar eclipses. They wrote that kind of stuff down, but nobody wrote down the sun going dark on that day. No record of that prior to Matthew.

    Zombies, man!

    Zombies!

  • Aor

    I wonder why one story would mention zombies and the others leave it out. Hmm.

    I can’t think of a good reason, assuming they were telling the truth about the zombies that is. When it comes down to telling a great story, zombies really help out. Why not mention them in the other versions? Wouldn’t the days of zombies be something worth discussing, I mean if you really intended to give a good personal account of what happened at the time and you saw some zombies.. you would mention it wouldn’t you?

    Why didn’t the others mention the zombies?

  • cello

    Chris asks “Where did this energy come from?”

    Chris,

    I could speculate that there is a creative force that exists that created energy. I would not be opposed to this concept. Yet, if this creative force exists, there is nothing to say it is in anyway, a sentient being.

  • Aor

    Personally, I think zombies created the universe. The energy comes from zombies on a giant hamster wheel.

    Just don’t ask where the zombies come from, or I’ll have to call upon the great creator of all zombies, himself a giant zombie. Who was created by a yet larger zombie.

    I could go on, but it would get silly.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Justin: yes, we’ve all heard Penn on that subject. And I agree with him. But I also get tired of the same old calls to repentance in my comments. I’m all for people intelligently arguing, but I’m not for sappy hit ‘n run evangelism.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    @ Daniel Florien – I agree. I’m against sappy hit n’ run evangelism too. I hope I’m available to whatever discussion arises. Obviously I can’t answer everything cause there is only one of me, I don’t want to be a hit n run guy.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Oh, and if anyone wants a responce for sure, you can always find my email address on my blog and I will for sure respond. On this blog I have to pick and choose what to answer based on my time. I’m not a hit and run witnesser, but I am only human too. So if you ask me here, I may answer. If you ask me on email I will definately try to answer.

  • VorJack

    @Chris -

    As it happens, the folks over at The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe just interviewed Michio Kaku, a scientist and spokesman [read: salesman] for string theory. He spoke a bit about ‘brane cosmology (AKA M-theory), a larger form of string theory which attempts to explain where universes come from. http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

    Now, I’ve fallen out of love with string theory, and this guy rubbed me the wrong way in a couple of places. But the interesting thing is that he thinks it’s testable. There are apparently plans in the works to set up satellites that can detect gravity waves. He suggested that if this works, we might be able to find echoes from the “pre-big bang” moment.

    So it’s not entirely true that we’ll never know where the universe came from. It’s possible that we might find out a little bit more within the next decade or so.

  • Aor

    Justin, when you pick and choose who to answer I don’t think people will see it as being based on your not having time. They will see it as avoiding questions you cannot answer. You would be surprised how often we see that. A point is raised, the believer pretends it didn’t happen. This is a form of intellectual dishonesty. If your beliefs are true you should never feel the slightest need to avoid responding to an issue because after all, you have the truth and the truth will always be preferable to falsehoods.

    I’m sure you can see my point. If you want to be seen as an honest participant in open discussions, then you shouldn’t fall into a pattern of picking and choosing who you respond to based on what you think you can easily deal with. Challenge yourself. Challenge your beliefs. Make them open to critical analysis and if they fall apart, accept it and learn from it.

  • Aor

    Naturally, since I have asked you to respond to the zombie issue a few times and you have not, I suspect that you have ulterior motives. Call me a skeptic, I can take it. I doubt that your reason for not responding has anything to do with time allotment and wonder why you would want to avoid this topic.

    This is surprisingly common. Believers often find themselves unwilling to openly discuss the more fantastical claims of the bible because they realize how silly those things are. They know they can’t defend those beliefs so they try to change the topic.

    I’m saying this so that we can be sure we are on the same page. If you avoid responding again and again I will certainly doubt how reliable you are on all the other things you say. After all, an honest person wouldn’t avoid discussing it.

  • http://accordingtod.wordpress.com/ dinysays

    Instead, think critically and use your head!

    … and that is why I am a non-believer after 20 something years labeled as a Moslem. Always questioning, pondering, and debating the doctrines it taught me. I almost gave up because most of the time, it was done alone, and required some ‘thinking’. I thought, “OK, this is too hard. Maybe I just need to go back following what Imam told me to do because according to him, that’s the word of God and I’d safe myself from thinking too hard.”
    Glad I didn’t. This post may sound simple, but for me, empowering.

  • Chris

    @ VorJack

    That’s pretty incredible and amazing that they are thinking about testing String Theory. The next big leap in physics is the discovery of the Theory of Everything. Thanks for the link I’ll definitely check the website out.

    @ Aor

    There’s no need to be sarcastic. Any argument between someone attempting to claim the Bible literally happened and an atheist will be won by the atheist. And also, arguing about the “nature” of “God” is also pointless because it ultimately boils down to faith which is the suspension of belief. All I’m saying is don’t think that all Christians are idiots because they choose to belief in things they can’t see.

  • Chris

    Also

    @cello

    Is it possible that the creative entity is sentient? Is it perhaps even possible that probability did dictate how the universe unfolded at the hands of that creative entity? Could you even say that God created mutations in the DNA of organisms that eventually led to their evolution?

    Just some questions to think about man.

  • John Charles

    @justin

    I actually agree w/Penn’s point—-in fact, that very video was already on my YouTube favorites list.

    But on the other hand, do you patiently listen to the sales pitch of every telemarketer who cold-calls you?

    I think it’s entirely reasonable for Daniel to consider his personal site a ‘do not call list’. The fact that he *doesn’t* is proof that he’s far more patient with annoying pitchmen that I am.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Justin

    “I believe the reason, logic, and evidence of seeing person after person sit in a chair can lead to my faith in sitting in that very chair trusting it to hold me.”

    Does this mean you are saying that because you think that Christianity has worked well for so many people, that you trust it to be true?

    No offence to you, Justin, but I don’t understand how people can base their lives on faith just because it seems to work for most people. If this is your answer for why Christianity is logical for you, then it is obvious that you have not honestly asked yourself certain questions about why you believe what you believe.

    In other words, I would have more respect for someone’s belief if they gave a better reason for it than that.

  • http://www.gryphonscry.wordpress.com gryphonscry

    The disciples told Jesus that people were saying that he was Jeremiah or Elijah reincarnated and the following exchange occured in verses 15 – 17.

    Matthew 16: 15-17

    “He says to them, But who do you say that I am? And Simon Peter made answer and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus made answer and said to him, A blessing on you, Simon Bar-jonah: because this knowledge has not come to you from flesh and blood, but from my Father in heaven.”

    Faith in God’s truth comes through revelation. “Unreasonable Faith” is very nearly (but not quite) redundant. If you can prove through scientific empirical methods then there is no need for “faith.” I know what I know by faith because I know it. It has been revealed to me in my heart “from my Father in heaven.” Now I don’t buy into the patriarchial “Father” thing. But I don’t need to believe in the patriarchial concepts that early Christians needed to make them comfortable to have faith that Jesus was the spiritual offspring of a divine being. I faithfully know it because it has been revelaed to me in ways that science cannot explain.

    BTW, Dan, you have been issued an invitation.

  • Aor

    @Chris

    Actually sarcasm is a fabulous tool. Humor in general is great at teaching. When a person’s beliefs are found to be humorous, others are less likely to fall for those beliefs. This is a well understood concept in human behavior.

    If you don’t think that belief in zombies is humorous on the other hand, then thats not my problem. Some people like slapstick, I find it boring.

    I don’t personally think all christians are idiots. The ones that believe that zombie jewish prophets came to life for three days and nobody mentioned it on the other hand…

  • Chris

    @Aor

    You criticized Justin for only responding to select posts but I would like your opinion on the origin of the universe theory that I previously posted. And that is going off the assumption that you can come up with something much better than “zombies on a hamster wheel.”

    Also dude, no need to get bitter. To mock beliefs that people choose to support is not very nice. And one of the main tenets of Christianity is that Jesus died and rose from the dead. And it actually wasn’t for three days…it was for forty. He was dead for three days. So when you ask why no one reported about the “zombie prophet” I can’t ask you. Maybe if Anderson Cooper was around at that time he’d have been all over that story. Bottom line is, I respect your right to demand proof for everything around you, so don’t disparage those who choose to believe by calling their God a “zombie Jewish prophet.” That’s just antagonistic and quite frankly pretty rude.

    And in these times, for a rational person at least, it is actually much harder to continue to believe than ever before. Because you are absolutely right: there is overwhelming evidence against the existence of a God. But then again, faith requires no evidence.

  • Pingback: Biblical Basis For Critical Thinking « The Critical Thinker(tm)

  • http://www.gryphonscry.wordpress.com gryphonscry

    He was dead for LESS than three days. He died on the first day, stayed dead for the second one, and rose ON the third day–in the morning. It was a three day span but less than three days on the tomb. Kinda like a vacation that is two night and three days. So if he died Friday afternoon and was up and about on Sunday morning, that’s not even 48 hours. The Book doesn’t say he was dead for three days. It says he was raised ON the third day.

  • Knight

    @dinysays

    “OK, this is too hard. Maybe I just need to go back following what Imam told me to do because according to him, that’s the word of God and I’d safe myself from thinking too hard.”

    Reminds me of a story: there’s a bus full of people driving down the road along a beautiful countryside. All the window shades were drawn down except the one at the very front where the ‘Imam’ was. He was looking out the window and exclaiming how beautiful and lovely everything was – ‘there’s rolling green hills, covered in flowers’ he said! The people on the bus were happy and imagining what he said because they could not see it themselves. Reality to them was filtered through the Imam…himself a meager ball of flesh like the rest of us. Thus his interpretation became theirs – and so the delusion lived on.

  • laura

    I woke up to a “way of life” that I describe my life now.
    That way of life is Islam and I submit to that way of life as humans are innately made to submit to something, someone or some way of life whatever it may be labeled as.
    We as humans are submissive by nature, longing to submit.
    I am following nature to the core of my being and it feels good.
    My life is rooted in science and medicine and faith and personal way of life do not seem to hinder that practice.

  • whuiskas

    this is why i know god is real – if jesus didn’t rise from the dead he couldn’t have inspired the apostles to write about him right? and if the apostles didn’t write about him there wouldn’t be the new testament right? and if the new testament wasn’t written we wouldn’t know that jesus rose from the dead right? and since the bible says that jesus rose from the dead, it’s no wonder the apostles wrote about him!

    sigh…atheists are just so blinded by their science and logic and evidence…don’t they see it’s all a ploy of the devil? do you know how I know the devil is real? if the devil didn’t goad judas into betraying jesus………………………

  • Aor

    Mocking is fine actually Chris. Why, are you worried that there is something about your belief system that is easily mocked? You see, when a person makes the point that a portion of any given belief system is outright laughable, you can either respond to the point or attack them for making it (like you are trying to do with me). After all, humor is not about bitterness. I have no doubt it is easier for you to picture me as bitter because that is a face saving position. You never have to consider for a moment that the idea of zombies walking the streets is outright laughable. Rather than dare say “don’t laugh at the zombies in my religion” you say “don’t laugh at my religion.” An intellectually honest person would deal with the zombies in their religion rather than attack those who point at the zombies and laugh. Strong and consistent belief systems will be capable of withstanding humor. Only weak and inconsistent systems have anything to fear. So, what are you afraid of? If zombies walking the streets for 40 days (seriously, 40 days of zombies and nobody writes it down? Not even the guys in charge of the province? When they write down so many other things?) isn’t laughable to you then fine. Nothing you say can convince me it isn’t laughable, and there are plenty of people including christians who can see that.

    As for rudeness, all religions are rude to others. Have you ever eaten meat? How rude. There may have been a Hindu in the room. Did that stop you? Why not? Because paying attention to the various crazy myths that other people in the world pay attention to isn’t worth your time? Have you ever claimed to have the one true path to god? How rude! You are disagreeing with the beliefs of another religion. Don’t you dare be rude in that way. Would you rudely interrupt a person who was sacrificing blood from his penis to ensure the sun would rise the next day? Please don’t, that would be rude to his religion.

    I’m hoping at this point that you realize that you are asking for special treatment. You don’t treat other religions the way you wish me to treat yours.

    As for your idea on the origin of the universe..

    I don’t know. More importantly, I don’t claim to know. More importantly still, I don’t claim that it is impossible to ever know or that we shouldn’t be curious about what the answer is. I don’t claim that knowledge came from a bronze age culture in the middle east 3000 years ago and got altered several times in the intervening years.

    Your idea of the infinite loop of creators actually affects your position much more than that of a skeptic. Each god you propose must have had a creator, each bigger than the last, a vast russian doll of invisible father figures in the sky…while applying natural causes does not necessarily require a creator. You may wish otherwise, but you are wrong. You can look this up if you really care what the answer is. I don’t recommend Answers in Genesis, by the way.

    PS. The zombies were prophets and teachers, hence the zombie jewish prophet line.

  • Proto

    @Chris

    My understanding of the origins of the current big bang theory is that an empty universe is an erroneous assumption. There is no evidence to suggest that the universe was empty or devoid of matter/energy before the big bang. (Requiring a supreme being brings the problem of the supreme being not having a creator. Explanations such as ‘always existed’ or ‘created himself’ can just as easily be applied to matter/energy.)

    Personally, and I’m not a scientist (yet) let alone one who specialises in astrophysics so I’m probably wrong but I hold the idea that the universe has a total energy equal to 0. Quantum foam involves particles and anti-particles popping into existence and then annihilating, the total energy is always zero but the number of particles increases (briefly). Perhaps this phenomenon on a larger scale is related to the big bang, but we won’t know until a viable theory of quantum gravity is arrived at.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    whuiskas,

    You said:

    “this is why i know god is real – if jesus didn’t rise from the dead he couldn’t have inspired the apostles to write about him right? and if the apostles didn’t write about him there wouldn’t be the new testament right? and if the new testament wasn’t written we wouldn’t know that jesus rose from the dead right? and since the bible says that jesus rose from the dead, it’s no wonder the apostles wrote about him!”

    I’m curious; are you a Mormon? Because the exact same argument which you’re making for Jesus could be applied to Joseph Smith.

    “If Joseph Smith didn’t receive a divine revelation, how could he have transcribed the Book of Mormon? And if it wasn’t divinely inspired, then he couldn’t have inspired Prophets to spread his word, right? And if people didn’t spread his word we wouldn’t know about the teachings of the Book of Mormon right? And if the Book of Mormon wasn’t written, we wouldn’t know its teachings! And since the Book of Mormon says that Joseph Smith received a divine revelation, it’s no wonder he wrote about it!”

    Your inane reasoning (*sigh*) is as follows:

    CONCLUSION: God is real [note that the conclusion is at the beginning, not the end: this happens at a fairly high frequency in theistic arguments]

    a) if Jesus did not rise from the dead, no one would’ve written about it

    b) If no one would have written about it, we wouldn’t know that Jesus rose from the dead

    c) the Bible says Jesus rose from the dead, therefore what is written in the Bible about Jesus’ resurrection must be true

    **Notes:

    a) and b) are circular reasoning
    c) is just flat out ridiculous: since something is in the Bible it’s no wonder that it was put in the Bible! It’s like you’re saying something in the Bible is true specifically because it’s in the Bible. /facepalm

    “sigh…atheists are just so blinded by their science and logic and evidence…don’t they see it’s all a ploy of the devil? do you know how I know the devil is real? if the devil didn’t goad judas into betraying jesus”

    Are you a satire? I don’t believe that you’re actually trying. I am tempted to call Poe’s Law on this commenter, seriously.

    You’re saying here:

    CONCLUSION: the devil is real [note: conclusion at beginning]

    a) the devil exists because the book which says the devil exists has a story about him in it

    a) is circular reasoning and also ridiculous

    I officially invoke Poe’s Law.

  • whuiskas

    @teleprompter

    whoops! I thought the “…………” in my last sentence was clear enough to signal the sarcasm. Sorry I wasn’t clear! I appreciate that you took my comment seriously enough to reply thoughtfully and intelligently to it though. And I agree with you on all counts. =)

    It’s hypocritical when christians say things like Chris:”But then again, faith requires no evidence.” and then proceed to defend their faith with all sorts of historical and/or scientific “facts” eg about the bible and the cosmos. If faith doesn’t require evidence then why all the effort into this “science” to qualm their obviously existing inner doubts and to validate their claims to everyone else?

  • Jabster

    @Chris

    Well first off I quite liked “zombies on a hamster wheel” and it’s no more absurd than the “it must have of been god that did it” – hint just because we don’t know something doesn’t automatically mean than god did it. It hasn’t happened yet with the multitude of other claims made for god and there’s no reason that this time it’s going to be right. Think of history — it must have been god that did it …. oh that’s how that works; well that must have be done by god then … ar I see that’s what happens there that makes sense; hang on if I just claim something that’s almost impossible to find out I’m on to a winner.

    … and secondly.

    Why do you think that Christians should get some special pass that means their beliefs, however absurd they may be, are somehow beyond mocking. Do you apply this to all ridiculous beliefs whether religious or not? If someone wants to claim that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago then to be honest they deserve all the mocking they get — if they happen to be a science teacher they should be sacked for incompetence, well after the head teacher stops laughing anyway.

  • Jabster

    @Proto

    “… but we won’t know until a viable theory of quantum gravity is arrived at.”

    Well I’m going to be working on that problem this afternoon. I’m sort of hoping that you won’t want all the flouncy evidence stuff and I’m going for a straight faith based solution to quantum gravity and it’s looking like it goes to be based on hats — sounds weird I know but if you really want to believe then you can. Oh and I’m going to right it down in a book (so we all know it’s true) and I’ve got this far.

    1. Introduction

    This book and all it’s contents are true. Any other books that claim to be true are false.

    2. The Beginning

    At first there where hats both a Q hat and and P hat of magnificence colours that could not be described …

    I got a bit stuck at this point.

  • Jabster

    “write” not “right” … deary me to early in the morning.

  • whuiskas

    Jabster

    Thought I’d mention that you missed a point. The zombie was wearing one of said hats during the stint in the hamster wheel.

  • Jabster

    @whuiskas

    Hamsters in the Wheel of Eden 3D — I like it.

    2. The Beginning

    At first there where hats both a Q hat and and P hat of magnificence colours that could not be described. The hat of Q was worn by a hamster called Timmy, for it was his name, and he did shout out aloud that he was lonely and bored when all he could do was change hats.

    … erm not so sure about this. I mean hamsters wearing hats is one thing but nobody’s going to believe that there where once talking animals are they?

  • Chris

    @Aos and Jabster

    I think you both think I’m some right wing fanatic. I assure you I’m not. And I realize that I cannot make you change your beliefs and I hope that you realize that you cannot force me to change mine. I was merely trying to point out that there are semi-logical paths to accepting some form of religion. Yes, there is always a “leap of faith.” There is no logical path to God.

    Let me say it again, so you know that I realize that my position is indefensible.

    There is no logical path to God.
    No one outside of Biblical writers chronicled the rebirth of Jesus. There are historical documents that prove his existence, but nothing more than that. I know no one wrote this down.

    I just don’t understand why you must debase those who chose to make that leap of faith.

    And the infinite russian doll set thing you said. The point is that the human mind searches for the source of things. At some point within that set of Russian dolls you ask yourself, how did the set get here? Maybe it is zombies. I don’t know dude. All I was trying to point out was that at some point you need to exit the current system of creation linked to a creator. Is that beginning creator a bearded man dressed in white? Who knows?

    Also what is the definition of God? I personally don’t see God as some archetypal Middle Eastern agrarian father figure. If you think that is everyone’s perception of God then you have a very narrow view of what God can be.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Chris,

    I have never perceived that you are a “right wing fanatic”.

    You are willing to explain your beliefs. This shows that you are probably open-minded and not a fanatic. I give you a lot of credit for having this conversation with us.

    However, I must point out to you that commenters here are not trying to “debase” theists.

    We just want to know why you believe what you do. If you say something to the effect of [and this is strictly hypothetical] “I have good reasons for belief”, we’re going to ask you what those reasons are. Usually theists who post on UF start out by saying that they have good reasons for their beliefs or that they come here to demonstrate “logical” and “rational” religious belief to this skeptical audience. However, when these theists are pressed as to how their beliefs are “logical” or “rational”, often they fail to give good reasons. Sometimes they use fallacious arguments or say things that are wildly inaccurate. Yes, the commenters here are not afraid to say that they spot a fallacy or an inaccuracy when they encounter one.

    We just want consistency. If someone says that she has good reasons for believing, we want to know what those reasons are. If those reasons don’t make sense to us, we press the commenter for a better explanation.

    This is supposed to be a constructive dialogue, and I realize that the process often breaks down. But most of the commenters here at UF do everything they can do to ensure that things go smoothly. However, many theists become irked and defensive when commenters at UF point out flaws or gaps in their arguments, causing a deterioration in the quality of the discussion.

    Usually, most theists begin by saying that they have good reasons for beliefs and end up saying that their belief is a matter of faith, and then give up. Can you see why we might become frustrated from time to time, with the often fallacious reasoning and rapidly shifting goalposts which we encounter every single day?

  • Jabster

    @Chris

    Fair play to you for admitting that your belief in god is based on faith as it makes a real change to hear that around here. To be honest I find your posts far more representative of the believers I’ve met, and the single one I work with, than some of the “nut jobs” (sorry can’t think of a better description than that) that post here.

    … anyway.

    “I just don’t understand why you must debase those who chose to make that leap of faith.”

    Well generally that’s not what happens — so here’s how it normally goes. The believer claims that god exists and he (they generally seem to be male) can prove it/has the evidence; the same old claims as to why god can be proved to exist are trotted out; evidence that has been presented is either flat out ignored or answered with “that’s not true the bible says so”; the evidence statements now get more abstract and it’s true if you want to believe statements start appearing and the re-definition of the meaning of words; the final act as god works in mysterious ways we can’t hope to understand oh and you’re going to burn in hell for not believing.

    If someone just want to claim they believe in god and it’s a leap of faith then I can’t really argue against that and nor do I particularly wish to. If someone claims they have evidence then I’m interested . If someone wants to force the religious views on others them I’m really interested.

  • whuiskas

    “Let me say it again, so you know that I realize that my position is indefensible. There is no logical path to God.”

    Chris you are courageously honest to admit this. Far be it from me to give you any advice whatsoever, but when I realised this myself, the next step is identifying the reasons why I used to believe. Religion clearly fulfilled some important social, emotional and psychological needs.

    “And I realize that I cannot make you change your beliefs and I hope that you realize that you cannot force me to change mine.”

    This is an excellent point because it is true for almost everyone. One person cannot radically change another’s beliefs just by debate and logic. If they do then they are the final nudge for the person already on the tipping point.

  • sarahbee2005

    I think this makes a lot of sense and I agree, BUT it does not make sense to base these statements off of the logic in the bible, which you just dismissed. What validity is there in a Bible verse if the rest of it is bologna?

  • whuiskas

    Well if you insist on looking at the bible as a whole and allow only two conclusions: bologna or not, then yes, I would say that as a whole and as a basis for religious belief it’s bologna.

    As a complex text with very many different parts and thousands of ideas it doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other. The difference is that the rational mind can look at any one idea from it and decide logically if it makes sense or not. If the next idea from it doesn’t, he doesn’t have to make excuses for it like an erroneous interpretation or a finite mind’s incapability to understand divine motives.

  • cello

    Chris said “Is it possible that the creative entity is sentient? Is it perhaps even possible that probability did dictate how the universe unfolded at the hands of that creative entity? Could you even say that God created mutations in the DNA of organisms that eventually led to their evolution?

    Just some questions to think about man.”

    I think humans tend to anthropomorphize the “creative force” that we are talking about here. And I think your questions may be doing that. Why is it that we so want “God” to be like us? Does God have literal hands (I know you were being figurative) that unfolded the universe? Maybe whatever, if ever, it is, we do not have the speech or concepts to properly describe it. (BTW, I am a she.)

    To your later points regarding no one can force beliefs on anyone, etc. Well, why did you ask these questions to us? I think you are being disingenuous to say you don’t want to convert anyone to your form of theism. You are just taking a softer tact. I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying to persuade people to your way of thinking, I just think it is a little unfair of you to call people on it here when I think your were engaging in similar practices.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    @Aor – Make your case with Bible references so I can respond adequately. That is why I didn’t answer yours. You need to be more specific in what you mean.

    @ John Charles – I see what you mean. This is his site and he probably does get it a lot.

    @ McBloggenstein – No, I was not saying Christanity can be trusted solely because of the people who have gone before. The chair analogy was just to show how evidence can lead to faith. I believe in other evidence which I didn’t reference. Sorry for not explaining that clearly.

  • Aor

    Justin, I assume you know which book of the bible contains the zombie story. If not you can look it up. Zombies are a very specific concern, as is the supposed eclipse that the sun worshippers of the world somehow missed out on writing down. I would have thought that you would know this part of your religion. Is there some reason perhaps why this part of the story gets… ‘left behind’ so to speak?

    In case you really don’t know, try Matthew.

    Or you can search for contradictions in the bible’s resurrection story, there are a few others I’m sure you would like a chance to pretend aren’t contradictions.

    @Chris

    I was watching a show on PBS recently about the history of comedians. Lenny Bruce was persecuted for telling jokes about religions. Not big jokes either.. any joke at all that seemed remotely blasphemous in the 1960′s was enough to get the police after him. He was even arrested for saying ‘shmuck’ because it apparently means penis in Yiddish. We are well past that era when religions get to ask for special treatment because we KNOW what they do when they get that special treatment. They showed it, in the memory of living people. We even have it on video. I don’t want to be mean about it, but comedy is something that religious groups often try to persecute people for. As long as a joke conflicts with the views of their religion, the joke teller is comitting a crime. This point of view is something I cannot and will not show respect for. I realize that you don’t behave like many of the fundamentalists I have spoken to before, but I must make this point clear. Religious groups do not have the right to declare themselves beyond criticism, beyond questioning, beyond jokes, even lewd ones. When they were in the position to exercise power over comedians, barely 40 years ago, they attempted to force people who are in the public eye to follow the rules of their religions. They used the law maliciously to enforce the code of their religion on others who did not follow that religion. History, within the memory of people who are still alive.

  • Chris

    @cello and Aor and Jabster and Teleprompter

    Sorry to come over a little edgy that’s not what I meant to do. I deeply respect atheists and think that they generally are much more informed about religion than those who practice it. Atheism is almost always a choice. Most people are born into religion.

    However I was merely attempting to demonstrate that some Christians (and believe me the number is embarrassingly small) really do ask some pertinent questions about the theology.

    I am in college right now and atheism is the “trendy” thing. However, any attempt to have an intelligent discussion about faith ends up with the atheist talking down upon the person who oh so naively accepts without proof the concepts that they have been spoon fed. Again, I emphasize my deep respect for atheists and the inner strength it takes go against society.

    I guess I was attempting to demonstrate the “how” of my beliefs. How I can believe in something for which there exists no proof.

    And once again sorry that I came across as petty, that really wasn’t my intention.

    And to Aor. I do disagree with the censorship of people on a religious basis. Forgive me but I thought your comments were made with the intention of making a deliberate attack on things that are very dear to me. I didn’t realize you were making a joke.

    And to cello. Sorry for calling you a dude. My bad.

  • boomSLANG

    Chris: “Atheism is almost always a choice.”

    I disagree and would argue the exact opposite—”Atheism” is almost always *never* “a choice”, if not, always never.

    Can you simply “choose” to believe in “Allah”, Toth” and “Poseidon”, assuming you don’t believe in them now? Or is your nonbelief in those deities simply the default position, due to lack of credible evidence for their existence? If you are intellectually honest, you will concede the latter.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    Justin wrote:

    >If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then his original disciples who ran from him to avoid persecution would not have so radically changed and suffered and died for their belief.> Repent towards faith in Jesus Christ and you will be made new.<

    Yet earlier, in the same, interminably long paragraph, he asserts that the disciples only came to believe in Christ when he physically showed himself to them after his resurrection. He offered physical, empirical proof that he had died and was resurrected. Rising from the dead is precisely what condemned the disciples to Hell.

    Faith in Jesus as Lord was, therefore, absent from the disciples. Which, considering all of Christ’s miracles – making swine leap off a cliff, raising Lazarus from death, making the blind see, etc. – is amazing.

    Seeing these miracles wasn’t enough for the disciples. Yet according to Justin and other Christians, those of us alive now, 2000 years after Jesus supposedly did these things, are supposed to believe in Jesus, even when those who saw what he was capable of doubted his divinity.

    Now that I think about it, thank goodness Jesus isn’t around to perform miracles. For if he did, and I believed in them, I’d be bound for Hell, for faith would not then be component of my own belief. The same with everyone else.

    Justin better pray Jesus doesn’t come back in his lifetime – if he does, and Justin believes it, he’s damned. ;-)

    4) Justin should learn how to break up his written thoughts into paragraphs.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “If you are intellectually honest, you will concede the latter.”

    I totally agree, boomSLANG.

    Saying atheism is a choice assumes that we are born believing in God. Well, if that’s the case, then why is Fred born believing in Yahweh, and Ted is born believing in Allah?

    Faith in the supernatural is no more hardwired into our DNA than Santa Clause, or the Tooth Fairy. These ideas are planted into our heads.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute
    Furthermore, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Roman government could have squashed that rumor by provinding the body for all to see.

    Of course his grave was opened. He did have many followers, and guards are only human. The body may have been stolen as Mary originally feared.

    Or maybe there was never a historical Jesus, and he was only added into Christian mythology a century after he was supposed to have lived, making producing the body somewhat trickier than you imply.

    Or perhaps, at the time of death, Jesus only had a dozen or so followers with any degree of fervour, and the Romans saw no point in going to the effort of exhuming a body, just because a couple of superstitious locals are telling some pretty extraordinary lies.

    I’m sure there are other explanations, too.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    @ Aor – The resurrection accounts do match. They just contain different information. If I told someone that I went to the movies with Chelsey and she spilled soda on her dress and I told another person I went to the movies with Chelsey and John and we all bought popcorn, do those stories necessarily conflict? No. You will find the so called “contradictions” to almost always fall into this same kind of scenario. If you have specific “contraadiction” questions, check out apologeticspress.com.

    Matthew says that after the resurrection, Jesus first appeared to the disciples on a mountaintop in Galilee. The other three gospels all say this happened in a room in Jerusalem.

    Luke and Mark says that Jesus ascended to heaven on the day of his resurrection. John says eight days passed before he ascended. And Acts says 40 days!

    Matthew says that the first people to see Jesus after the resurrection were the two Marys. Mark and John claim it was Mary Magdalene alone. Luke says it was Cleopas (plus guest). And Corinthians says it was Cephas.

    These are pretty obviously contradictory, don’t you think?

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    Come on, Chris, which is it?

    > atheism is the “trendy” thingI emphasize my deep respect for atheists and the inner strength it takes go against society.<

    Think it through – you’ll understand why the Christian Bible is contradictory, as are your statements, above.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    >the Roman government could have squashed that rumor by provinding the body for all to see. <

    I’m with wintermute. The simplest answer here more than suffices, because the alternative is so patently absurd. I.e, the Romans couldn’t have produced the body, because there wasn’t one.

    There never was a Jesus, hence he wasn’t crucified, nor resurrected. That’s the reason why his body wasn’t displayed to his followers. There was no body to begin with, only a story about one told three quarters of a century later.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    Justin wrote:

    >the resurrection accounts do match You will find the so called “contradictions” to ALMOST [emphasis mine) always fall into this same kind of scenario”

    Which is it, Justin? The accounts are not contradictory and DO match (which is absurd from even the most casual reading), as you initially claim, or are there places where there ARE contradictions you can’t square (“almost always”).

    And if it’s the latter, enlighten us as to where the contradictions DON’T make sense, please. I ask because I’d like to see you specifically admit where your bible fails to make sense.

  • http://northerngnome.wordpress.com/ Gnorthern Gnome

    @Dave: Oh yes that’s the *simplest* answer isn’t it? A simple and frequent occurrence such as a grave robbery, especially considering the amount of people who would wish to do so (even if they were not believers anyone with sense would see that Jesus’ body would fetch a decent price in “relics”). No, completely glossing over a whole host of evidence far greater than we have for other major historic figures is so much simpler.

    I don’t deny the Biblical rendition is absurd. Nor do I deny the Biblical rendition is questionable as to dateline. However ignoring many other Roman, local and Christian texts from the time period that suggest a religious leader (often using key elements such as a birth place of Bethlehem and a crucifixion) was indeed around is going far too far into denial even beyond atheistic “logic”.

  • Chris

    @Dave

    For a lot of kids my age atheism is trendy. Its just how it is with people I know.

    And I’m saying with kids. Kids who come from religious families and want to rebel by claiming they are atheist. Its the same as some Christians believing because they are spoon fed it from birth. Within every denomination there are people who are tag-alongs. Or as you would say in sports “fair-weather fans.”

    I’m not saying that it isn’t a well thought out position they are taking but its more to make a statement of some sort than a statement that is important to them.

    And please dude. This is only with a select group of people that I know and have come into contact with. I know other atheists who are extremely aware of the position they have taken and it is not for any measure of recognition from anyone.

    @boomSLANG

    I’m not saying religion is hardwired into our brains.

    I thought that many atheists started out as believers an “a religion.” And then they “chose” to reject that religion. I mean, we could take a poll or something. How many people who post here that are atheist were born into an atheist family?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    No, completely glossing over a whole host of evidence far greater than we have for other major historic figures is so much simpler.

    There’s really very little evidence for the historical evidence of Jesus; there’s the line in Josephus that most historians agree was added in the 2nd Century, a couple of references in Pliny and Tacitus to the fact that Christians about 80 years after the resurrection believed that Jesus was real, and that’s about it.

    If there is more evidence that I’m unaware of, I’d be very interested in seeing it. From what I know so far, I don’t think it’s really possible to tell if Jesus was a real historical person or not, but I’d love to be able to know one way or the other for sure.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    How many people who post here that are atheist were born into an atheist family?

    Me, sort of.

    My parents never had any religious inclination; they didn’t believe in any god, but they hadn’t really considered religion at all, so I’m not sure they really count. They’d probably dismiss the question as irrelevant.

  • Chris

    @Wintermute

    That’s really interesting. Speaking culturally I feel that mainstream atheism hasn’t been around quite long enough yet to produce a large number of individuals born into the tradition. Maybe my demographics are wrong…?

    Could anyone refer me to a statistical breakdown of some sort? Or does anyone know of some numbers? I’m expressing interest at a purely statistical level.

  • Chris

    @ Wintermute

    Also dude I think (and I might be wrong) that there were execution records? I was under the impression that historical Jesus did exist. Could be wrong. You said Pliny but I thought it wasn’t a reference to “Christians believing that he existed” so much as it was a record of him?

    Not too sure about that man, I’ll have to do some research now.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    Chris: Well, I grew up in Britain, where religion is rather less of a cultural influence. Only about 25% of the population identifies as religious.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    Pliny wrote in 112AD about how to deal with Christians who refused to worship the God-Emperor Trajan:

    Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ — none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do — these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshiped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.

    Absolutely no mention of a historical Jesus whatsoever.

  • boomSLANG

    Chris: “I’m not saying religion is hardwired into our brains.”

    Right, and I’m not saying that you’re saying that; I never suggested that “religion is hardwired into our brains”.

    Passive Atheism..i.e. being born with nonbelief in deities has nothing to do with the point I’m trying to make. I’m talking, strictly, *active* “Atheism” – that is, rejecting belief in deities. While, yes, it is obviously a “decision” to not believe, it is not “a choice”, as you stated in your previous post. I obviously cannot “choose” to believe in something that I have already decided I don’t believe in, until/unless the reasons for which I don’t believe in it change in some way.

    Do you believe in Santa? I’ll assume not, and if not, can you decide that tomorrow @ 2:15 PM you will start believing in Santa Claus, while maintaining intellectual honesty?

  • http://northerngnome.wordpress.com/ Gnorthern Gnome

    @wintermute: I apologise. I had believed there to be greater historical evidence seeing as how much is made of it in relatively well-researched pieces on the BBC and within National Geographic. Then again neither likes to tock the boat too greatly.
    I was also under the impression that Pliny had written directly about a man called Jesus…oh well yet more misinformation. *sigh* Thanks for clearing that up.

    My only other piece of evidence that comes to mind would be (again, I had thought this to be correct) mention within writings by Pilote himself (or more likely one of his court officials under his name). Any ideas as to the truth in that? I fear I need to research this further ;)

    However I would also argue that there would have been little purpose in creating a person such as Jesus…I mean early Christians ran a gauntlet of persecution and very few of the original “apostles” (surely the most likely to perpetrate a hoax) were much better off for converting to Christianity. Perhaps it was a strike out towards a religion a group had become disillusioned with? As such I would argue from a theological point of view the necessity for Jesus is little beyond a figure head to rally around psychologically; rather it is his word that inspires and brings spiritual well being. Whomsoever wrote that word has little relevance, it is still a theological master piece.
    What other motive could there be? Political uprise? Civil unrest? I would doubt either would use this means to voice their opinions but then again it would also undoubtedly work; people are far more willing to die for faith than freedom ;)

    Well it’s certainly opened my mind a little. I still feel the more logical answer is a grave robbery of an actual person, nor can I see any real benefit to disputing that, but it has brought forth some interesting concepts so cheers :)

  • Chris

    @boomSLANG

    I was using the terms choice and decision as synonymous. Sorry that offended you.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    My only other piece of evidence that comes to mind would be (again, I had thought this to be correct) mention within writings by Pilote himself (or more likely one of his court officials under his name). Any ideas as to the truth in that? I fear I need to research this further ;)

    I’ve honestly never heard of such a document. Naturally, this is a long way from claiming that it doesn’t exist, but it’s not mentioned by any of the discussions of the historicity of Christ I can think of (either pro- or anti-).

    Tacitius mentions Pilate when he’s discussing the beliefs of Christians a century later (but he gets his rank wrong), and we have a stone (found in 1961) inscribed to say that he was proconsul of Judea, and that’s about the only non-Biblical evidence we have that Pilate actually existed.

    There’s an apocryphal text called The Acts of Pilate which was written in the 4th Century, but I can’t easily find anything else that sounds similar to what you’re describing. I’ll have to dig deeper.

    If you do find what you’re thinking of, please let me know.

  • Chris

    @ Wintermute

    Really interesting stuff.

    I personally find it unlikely that a a large following formed when there was no person at its epicenter.

    Alternate theories on how the religion was formed?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    Oh, and for the record, I honestly don’t know if there was a historical Jesus; there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence either way. I also don’t think his actual existence should make any real difference to either Christians or atheists. It’s an interesting question, but not one that’s likely to convince anyone either way. Of course, there are those people whose faith is based on the Bible being literally true and inerrant, who might have problems with it, but they’re not likely to believe the evidence. So even there, it’s not really a useful question.

  • VorJack

    @wintermute, Gnorthern Gnome

    I know that Tertullian and Justin Martyr made mention of an “Acts of Pilate,” but no such document has even been found. Apparently there is a version that comes down to us through the ‘Acts of Peter and Paul’ and the ‘Gospel of Nicodemus,’ both fairly late.

    Peter Kirby has a breakdown at the Early Christian Writings site: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/actspilate.html

  • Chris

    @wintermute

    I agree. I checked some atheist sites that gave a whole list of people that didn’t write about Jesus and claimed he never existed for a bunch of reasons. I checked some Christian sites that claimed reasons for people not writing about him along with the mentions of Pliny and Tacitus that you mentioned. Both sides seem to think the other side is crazy, lol.

    Anyway I think it is a very interesting question though one that perhaps cannot be proven or refuted to an acceptable level to claim truth.

    Thanks for the posts also and the time you took to research the topic. Really interesting stuff you posted. Also thanks to VorJack for the last link I’ll be sure to check it out.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    I agree that we should accept nothing on bl,ind faith.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    Alternate theories on how the religion was formed?

    Much of the story of Jesus is basically a version of the story of Mithras, Atticus, Osiris, Dionysus and various other pagan god-men popular around the Mediterranean over the previous millennium or so. In fact, Justin Martyr said that these previous religions must have been planted by Satan to confuse the faithful.

    The early Christians (such as Paul, or the Gnostics) don’t seem to have believed in a flesh-and-blood Jesus. Christianity grew very slowly during the time that Jesus is supposed to have been alive, if at all, and didn’t really become a mainstream religion until a couple of hundred years later, when the absence or presence of a historical founder would be of less relevance than people’s belief in the same.

    It’s quite possible that Christianity was originally a re-casting of these myths into a Judean framework. There were many larger religions in the region at the time, very few of which claim any literal historical founder. I don’t see any reason why Christianity should have more need of one.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    Gnortherngnome wrote:

    > No, completely glossing over a whole host of evidence far greater than we have for other major historic figures is so much simpler.ignoring many other Roman, local and Christian texts from the time period that suggest a religious leader (often using key elements such as a birth place of Bethlehem and a crucifixion) was indeed around is going far too far into denial even beyond atheistic “logic”.<

    OK, gg, NAME other Roman, local and Christian texts from the same time period. No fair, of course, using and after the death of the imaginary Jesus. Please site contemporaneous texts. (Your answer in advance: there aren’t any – just as there was, is and never will be a Jesus Christ – but do your best to correct me if I am wrong.)

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    Dave: I don’t think there’s any call to be so confrontational, especially as GG has accepted that the evidence is weaker than he’d been led to believe. Such open-mindedness is to be encouraged, not attacked.

  • boomSLANG

    Chris: “I was using the terms choice and decision as synonymous. Sorry that offended you.”

    I’m not offended in the least. What’s important, is that theists understand that non-theists can, yes, ‘decide’ to not believe or cease believing, yet, this is actually because they are unable to believe, if self-honesty is to be maintained.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    Chris wrote:

    >And I’m saying with kids. Kids who come from religious families and want to rebel by claiming they are atheistthis is only with a select group of people that I know and have come into contact with. I know other atheists who are extremely aware of the position<

    Then why bring up your previous assertions, that read like a broad brush with which you tarred all atheists?

    Sorry, Chris, your opinions are more than suspect, given your religious proclivities. It’s good to know, though, that you are in lock-step with your parents.

    As for your poll, I was not born into an atheist family. I eventually allowed the evidence to lead me to the conclusion that religions such as Christianity are absurd and contradictory.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    Chris wrote:

    > I feel that mainstream atheism hasn’t been around quite long enough yet to produce a large number of individuals born into the tradition. Maybe my demographics are wrong…?

    Could anyone refer me to a statistical breakdown of some sort? Or does anyone know of some numbers? I’m expressing interest at a purely statistical level.<

    Various sources note atheism in Sweden is anywhere from about 45% to 85%. Go here: http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html

    to see that large numbers of people have been born into families whose members are atheists.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    gnorther gnome wrote”

    > I still feel the more logical answer is a grave robbery of an actual person, nor can I see any real benefit to disputing that, <

    It’s only logical if you, gg, assume there was a Christ to being with. As there is no evidence that such a person existed, and as there is plenty of evidence that the Jesus of your bible could not have existed, the obvious answer is there was no grave robbery, as there was no person in the grave.

    As to the "real" benefit of disputing a grave robbery, how about the benefit of simply knowing the truth?

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    Chris wrote:

    >I personally find it unlikely that a a large following formed when there was no person at its epicenter.<

    You have no reason to state this. Given that there are several, if not innumerable stories stretching back through human history, why give credence to this one? Do you believe there was a Mithras, whose story is so much like that of Christ, who came so much later?

    You could accept the story of Christ for what it obviously is, along with all the other stories in the Bible – a metaphor for the human condition.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    Chris wrote:

    >Anyway I think it is a very interesting question though one that perhaps cannot be proven or refuted to an acceptable level to claim truth.<

    That’s your opinion, Chris.

    As those who think they are Christians have made the claim, it’s up to them to prove it, not me or anyone else to refute it.

    As no evidence – in the way most human beings understand and use the word "evidence" – has been brought forth by any Christian to prove Jesus ever existed, then indeed, for purposes of discussion between rational human beings, no Jesus ever existed.

    Could Jesus have existed, a basic human model with that name, in that time, or on who was actually a god? Maybe. And maybe there are white unicorns who carried beautiful princesses around the forest, and pink elephants flying invisibly around our heads, even as I type this you read it. But there’s no proof of those things, just as there is no proof of Jesus, and thus none of them are likely to ever have been real.

    There is, was, and never will be a Jesus, not until someone can offer up proof based on evidence, not faith or wishful thinking.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    wintermute wrote:

    >Dave: I don’t think there’s any call to be so confrontational, especially as GG has accepted that the evidence is weaker than he’d been led to believe. Such open-mindedness is to be encouraged, not attacked.<

    You’re right, I hadn’t scrolled down to see his subsequent post. GG, my apologies for the chilly tone.

    That doesn’t mean I’m willing to change my own thoughts about the matter. If someone makes a claim, particularly an extraordinary one, then I expect to see evidence, not rehashing old arguments long disproved.

    But again, my apologies to gg.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    Could Jesus have existed, a basic human model with that name, in that time, or on who was actually a god? Maybe. And maybe there are white unicorns who carried beautiful princesses around the forest, and pink elephants flying invisibly around our heads, even as I type this you read it. But there’s no proof of those things, just as there is no proof of Jesus, and thus none of them are likely to ever have been real.

    That doesn’t mean I’m willing to change my own thoughts about the matter. If someone makes a claim, particularly an extraordinary one, then I expect to see evidence, not rehashing old arguments long disproved.

    I mostly agree, but I think you take it a little too far. There is, essentially zero evidence for a historical Jesus, and my personal hunch is that no such person existed. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and it’s not impossible that there was a charismatic Jewish cult leader who was the model for the gospel stories. This is a far less extraordinary claim than that he was born or a virgin, or that he was raised from the dead, and thus does not really require extraordinary evidence. After all, we do have records of several such cult leaders, and there were no doubt many more who never attracted the attention of anyone literate. Take such a person, and graft on some pre-existing god-man myths and you have a perfect model for the Jesus story that we see today.

    If we sent back time machines, I’d be willing to bet a small amount of money that no Jesus would be discovered, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it turned out that he was really real, after all.

    Whether or not there was a historical Jesus is a matter on which it’s really impossible to hold a firm opinion, as there’s no evidence either way. Whether or not Jesus was the son of god, or was able to work miracles, well, there we do have strong evidence against.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    wintermute wrote:

    >absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and it’s not impossible that there was a charismatic Jewish cult leader who was the model for the gospel stories.absence of evidence is not evidence of absence<

    True. But as there is zero evidence for a Jesus, there is no way to a Christian to know, other than by blind faith, that he existed. Add to the story of Jesus impossible claims of zombies roaming the streets of Jerusalem, Jesus walking on water, curing lepers, etc., and it’s even more unlikely that such a person existed.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    wintermute, I meant to add that while the reality of a Jesus wouldn’t make me believe in a supernatural Jesus, Christians do have to believe he was at the least a human being.

    Just as there was no god if there was no resurrection, so if there was no man (Jesus), then there was no resurrection. So Christians must believe Jesus truly walked the earth. They will do so even to the point of accepting “evidence” he existed written years – even centuries – after his death.

    Without evidence, there is no reason to believe Jesus, as just a man, ever existed. Without evidence, a Christian must believe Jesus existed.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @Chris

    Let me say it again, so you know that I realize that my position is indefensible.

    There is no logical path to God.

    Well said, sir.

    Now tell me again why I should live my life according to what this God’s shamans claim he wishes?

    I just don’t understand why you must debase those who chose to make that leap of faith.

    We don’t make them look ridiculous. However we may plead guilty to aiding and abetting.

    Usually the believer makes him/herself look foolish by prating on with the same old debunked arguments that constitute their defence for preferring their set of cultural prejudices over any other.

  • http://northerngnome.wordpress.com/ Gnorthern Gnome

    True. But as there is zero evidence for a Jesus, there is no way to a Christian to know, other than by blind faith, that he existed. Add to the story of Jesus impossible claims of zombies roaming the streets of Jerusalem, Jesus walking on water, curing lepers, etc., and it’s even more unlikely that such a person existed.

    Playing a bit of catch-up here. I would also reference one of your previous posts Dave: please do not mistake me for a literal believer of the Bible. I am not. Right, now that’s cleared up…

    I would suggest that the story (as you so rightly put it) of Jesus with miracles et al (not zombies as brain function remained intact, it would be closer to a ghoul or troll depending on culture) is unlikely to be true. That does not necessarily follow to a person having never existed at all. Just because Beowulf blatantly did not kill a dragon/demon nor chase the oceans of serpents does not mean that there wasn’t a great clan leader of the North called Beowulf that had (perhaps) killed a famed fighter twice his height? In other words, legends/myths are rarely born from nothing, they are far more likely to be distorted versions of a truth or truths all rolled into one.

    As for evidence, I found this quite an interesting read:
    Bill Craig on Jesus.
    Yes he is a Christian so there is obvious bias but he cites his sources well and argues concisely. To ignore him because of his faith falls under the same category as refusing to read the God Delusion because Dawkins is an atheist and (in my opinion) a prat.

    I also found some interesting pieces just skipping of the Wikipedia links here: Wiki

    I’m not saying any of it is conclusive but I am saying that we take for granted that people such as certain kings of Egypt existed from far less evidence than this.

  • VorJack

    The mythicist debate isn’t just about the existence of a man named Jesus around 30 AD. It’s also about how much we can know about this man and how much of a connection he had to the resulting religion of early Christianity.

    The strictest form of mythicism – call it “hard mythicism” – believes that Paul and the other earliest Christians were referring to a divine figure who was entirely legendary. This figure was later historicised in the late 1st, early 2nd century AD. Folks like Earl Doherty and Robert Price make a positive case that the silences about the historical Jesus in the letters of Paul point to a figure that was celestial and mythical.

    The other general form of mythicism – call it “soft mythicism” – states that there was a man in the late 1st century BC to early 1st century AD called Jesus who was a: [ wandering cynic philosopher | radical political reformer | apocalyptic sage | liberal Pharisee | zealot | etc. ] However, the proponents of this form say that early Christians surrounded this person with so much mythical material that we cannot recreate his historical form.

    Take the character of King Arthur as an example. It’s possible, probable even, that there was a military commander named Arthur who gave the Saxons a spot of bother at Mount Baden. However, the stories that come down to us are entirely legendary in character. While we might be comfortable saying that Arthur existed, we simply cannot know anything more about him. His actual history was less important to the storytellers than his symbolic value, and so his life is lost to us.

    Oh, BTW, William Lane Craig is not just a Christian, but one of the most prominent apologists currently publishing. You can search Internet Infidels, or check the blog Evangelical Realism, to find responses to his arguments.

  • Scott Ward

    It is amazing that someone will tell me that I am not thinking logically about my faith because I belive that the Bible is true. Yet at the same time tell me that a piece of bacteria, turned into a fish, turned into a land dwelling creature, turned into a monkey, turned into my forefathers because they found and tooth and a piece of skull and deducted that it formed a monkey head. (Over simplified, yes – just as radical as what was said, no) Evolution is taught as fact when it is only a theory, yet know one cares – even if science has proven parts wrong (meaning aspects that are still in textbooks) teach it anyway. The truth comes so much more reliable because a scientist said he discovered something and science is never wrong. When it all comes down to it, it is in who you give more credence to. One to the minister another the scientist. One the Bible the other the Science book. There are wonderful arguments on both sides and you could argue it until you are blue in the face and still not change the mind of the other. I don’t like to leave comments on sites like this because I know that it will do no good and many times it brings harsher words. It is funny how if a Christian says something it is intolerable, but if someone else says something it is free speech.

    Oh and by the way most books are not published the day they are wrote. It takes years to get them published and circulated. Either way if it is written in the lifetime of people who were there and that still is a good argument.

  • Aor

    @scott ward

    You make your ignorance plain with the way you speak of evolution. Please educate yourself with truthful sources.

    If you have specifics of parts of evolution which scientists have proven wrong, fine. Show some sources. But naturally that doesn’t mean much. The theory of evolution is a large and evolving (!) structure, ever improving and getting more and more answers. Yes, it answers questions! You don’t get the 1908 influenza vaccine, and you are surely aware of it. You wouldn’t dare go into your doctor’s office and ask for it, despite the fact that it would be the only position consistent with your denial of evolution. That says a great deal. When your life is on the line, you don’t go with god. You go with modern science, modern biology, which means evolution.

    You have this idea that scientists claim they are never wrong. You couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact scientists are always confronting the accepted truths in the hopes that they learn something new. Do scientists still claim that the Bohr model of the atom is the complete truth? No. You would have to be completely and utterly ignorant to believe that they would. On the other hand, priests have a vested interest in keeping you believing the ways of the past. For some reason you think this makes them more reliable, this unwillingness to learn and improve is some kind of asset. You are wrong. This is actually called willful ignorance.

    Your free speech complaint is also blatantly false. Christians speak about their religion all the time. They even go door to door! There are radio shows, television shows, FREE TELEVISION TIME for those television shows. Your religion gets to speak, often and loudly. The problems arise when those same christians try to block others from having rights and from speaking freely. If you have evidence to the contrary, give us a source. A real source. I’m sure we will wait, patiently.

    As for logic, apparently you don’t know what the word means. Religion is not based on logic. Religion is based on faith. If you need logic to prove your religion, even to yourself, then you are admitting that you don’t have faith. Faith would not require logic or reason or proof, faith only requires faith. The slightest amount of proof, and poof! faith disappears.

    So please educate yourself. Study evolution. Study history, particularly the history of your own religion.

  • Jabster

    @Scott Ward

    “It is funny how if a Christian says something it is intolerable, but if someone else says something it is free speech.”

    Are you seriously suggesting that Christians get a “hard time” and are denied free speech? Just look around you and see the real situation is — Christians, like other religions, consider free speech is something that allows them to express there own views yet cry “it’s persecution” if anyone dares criticize those views.

    Here’s something that nicely sums it up …

    http://www.atheist-community.org/atheisteve/?id=19

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @Scott:
    Are you by any chance, a member of the persecuted Christian majority who live in a land where “In God We Trust” is printed on the money? Where God was shoehorned into every classroom in the ’50s? Where, despite the Establishment Clause, religion has come sneaking into classrooms under the ludicrous disguise of “Intelligent Design”?

    You poor thing.
    /snark

    When it all comes down to it, it is in who you give more credence to. One to the minister another the scientist. One the Bible the other the Science book. There are wonderful arguments on both sides and you could argue it until you are blue in the face.

    No, not if you’re intellectually honest you couldn’t.

    The worst you might do is acknowledge that the Holy Book is a work of poetry and metaphor, which has bupkiss to say about how species really arose.

    The best would be to admit to yourself, as I did, that there’s no reason to prefer your particular god over Samhain, Osiris, or the thousands of other dead gods.

  • Scott Ward

    I didn’t say that what I said about evolution was right. What I said was that it was oversimplified. I have reasons for my faith and I have seen evidences. You have me on evolution, I don’t know as much as I should on it. What I was saying is that you are oversimplifying my faith and then cutting it down and for what reason. We will have to disagree on whether or not I am stupid, because according to you all Christians are. You didn’t hear what I said about epistimology – How do you kow what you know? I have never seen an atom – but I am to believe there is one. I do not doubt this to be true, but how many of you have actually seen the evidence without reading about it in a book. I wouldn’t doubt that some have. I have searched out reason and come to a conclusion. You have searched out reason and come to a conclusion. May God bless you to find that faith does not equal ignorance, but that it does equal hope.

  • Aor

    Scott, if you used reason then you needed reason to support your faith, which means it is not faith. If you have seen evidence then you have no faith at all. Proof would destroy your need for faith, understand?

    Don’t bother using solipsism. It cuts both ways.

  • Brian

    If I die and I am going to hell, then it proves that god is cruel. If I die and I go to heaven, then it proves that I didn’t have to do anything to get there.

    In the meantime, I am enjoying being atheist

  • http://Www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J.K. Jones

    Scott,

    Keep the faith,bro.

    Air,

    Faith and reason are not opposed. How can you possibly still say that after all of the arguing I did on the other post, arguing from reason?

    As to evolution: how can a blind process lead to an organized outcome? Why should natural selection work in a system which was not designed to support and enhance life?

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Dave, the reason I said “almost always” is not because I am saying there are genuine contradictions. I gave one example of how things that appear to be contradictory don’t necessarily have to be. I said this is almost always the case because there is more than one type of way for things that appear to be contradictory don’t have to be. There is more than one explanation.

  • Aor

    @JK

    I can argue it because it is true. If you have proof, how could you possibly need faith in any way? Check the definition of the words.

    Again you talk about evolution as if you understood it. Haven’t we established before that you don’t? Or am I confusing you with someone else? Order arises from disorder all the time. Just add energy, no problem. Don’t bother misquoting the second law of thermodynamics, that way I won’t have to correctly quote that it only applies to closes systems. Really, please educate yourself on these issues. Wherever you got your information, its not accurate.

  • Aor

    @justin

    Are you just going to ignore the zombies? How do you think it looks that you repeatedly avoid responding? Do honest people behave that way, can you imagine trusting someone who behaved that way?

    Analyze your beliefs, openly and honestly. The indications so far are that you aren’t willing to be open and aren’t willing to be honest.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor, I would love to discuss what the Bible teaches. You have to specifically tell me exactly what you are talking about and then give a specific question. Such as give me verses and ask what those verses are about.

  • Jabster

    @JK Jones

    “Faith and reason are not opposed. How can you possibly still say that after all of the arguing I did on the other post, arguing from reason?”

    No you argued from the starting point that god, and specifically your god, existed. That is why it’s called faith as you have zero evidence that your starting position is correct. I can equally start with the assumption that a god of my choosing exists and then argue logically from that point but it would still be faith.

    Secondly on your point about evolution, if you believe that evolution is incorrect because you have a better explanation then by all means put it forward as so far all I can see is the argument that X is wrong therefore Y is right regardless of the lack of evidence for Y. This is not how you show something to be true. Do you believe that the big bang became accepted because its whole basis was the Steady State hypothesis was incorrect – no it was accepted because it had a predictive nature which the Steady State did not

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Jabaster,

    You read the outline of my argument and did not even interact with it.

    I did not start with the premise that God existed. I started from the premise you exist, then showed that your existence is part of a series of causal factors, then that the end of an endless series cannot be reached, then that the series of causes that lead to you cannot have been infinite based on the fact that an endless series cannot be reached. Therefore something had to exist forever. That something must have always existed, must be extremely powerful, and must exist independently of the series of causes. It must also be able to act or not act without outside influence, and this action is a key element of personality.

    Aor,

    I do not remmember discussing eevolution on this blog. I should also point out that you did not answer my questions.

    No one chooses to put fiath in anything without reasons for doing so. Give me one example of something in your own life that you accept on blind faith.

  • Jabster

    @JK Jones

    Why do you think I would interact with the same old tired arguments? It seemed fairly obvious that is was completely flawed and you had started with the conclusion – your god exists – and then worked out a “logically” argument based on that. It also seemed obviously that you would then ignore and fail to properly address those flaws when they were pointed out to you.

  • Aor

    Justin, I mentioned zombies. Several times. I mentioned Matthew. Stop pretending you dn’t understand, start being honest with us and responding to simple questions.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.caom Metro

    Quoting J.K. Jones

    I did not start with the premise that God existed. I started from the premise you exist, then showed that your existence is part of a series of causal factors, then that the end of an endless series cannot be reached, then that the series of causes that lead to you cannot have been infinite based on the fact that an endless series cannot be reached. Therefore something had to exist forever. That something must have always existed, must be extremely powerful, and must exist independently of the series of causes.

    Wow–fractal wrongness in the thread again.

    This argument has white whiskers, and it’s bunk.

    First, you don’t claim that we are the products of infinite series’ of causal factors. Which is good, because we aren’t. The series may be long, but it’s finite.

    Moreover though, you come at it from the wrong direction. The end point of that series doesn’t have to be my existence, or the existence of anything like me. As is proven by the apparent existence of billions of other people who share nearly 100% of my genetic material but show major differences from me.

    What you’ve done is reproduce (for the umpeenth time here at UF) the Kalam cosmological argument: The universe exists, thus god exists.

    Kalam is a fallacy, but I’ll let you google that. However I do have a question, of what series of processes was your god born?

    And am I correct in assuming his name isn’t, say, “Thor”? Why not? I mean, the thunder comes from somewhere, doesn’t it?

  • Aor

    JK Jones, I responded to your question. I pointed out that your concept of evolution is flawed. I pointed out that order can arise from disorder. Your questions have been dealt with. You can look these things up, scientific journals etc.

    While you may claim that faith and reason are not opposed, the proper use of the words disagrees with you. Faith can support anything. Faith can support twelve armed orange monkeys, faith can support zombies, faith can and does support the supernatural. Reason is a system of rational beliefs. If you want to pretend that a system of rational motives does not contradict a system of belief despite lack of evidence then you will need to find better ways to present that illusion to people, because I can see right through yours.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Jabaster,

    Just try me.

    I cannot find an objection on the other thread that I did not interact with. Maybe you didn’t like my answers, but I did give them.

    Metro,

    The end point of the series can be anything that currently exists. It doesn’t have to be you. I picked you because you cannot deny your own existence. You have to exist in order to make that denial. We could work backwards from anything. We still have to arrive at something that has always existed.

    “…of what series of processes was your god born?”

    The kalam argument, or hwatever you want to call it, proves that something has always existed with the above named attributes. Something was not “born.” As you said, the series is long, but not infinite.

    “And am I correct in assuming his name isn’t, say, “Thor”? Why not? I mean, the thunder comes from somewhere, doesn’t it?”

    Again, the argument demonstrates certain attributes of a first cause. If you want to call that first cause “Thor,” fine with me. We have established a first cause with certain attributes, now we are just arguing about a name.

    Aor,

    How can order arise from disorder? Why should we expect it to?

    I am an Industrial Engineer by training and experience. I spend my workdays trying to fine tune a process to produce quality parts, safely, in the right quantities, at the right times, while minimizing environmental impact. If there is one thing I know, it is that, if we do not control the process with intelligent and purposeful adjustment and maintenance, the process creates defective parts, while causing injuries to employees, missing shipments, and / or harming the environment.

    I ask again, how can a random process generate an organized outcome without intelligent guidance toward a pre-determined goal? Assuming the theory of evolution to be true, there must be intelligence and purpose behind the process. Ditto the various other forms of order arising from disorder. To reference the comment by Jabster, X is true, therefore Y is true.

    The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, Revised and Expanded edition, 1981:

    “Faith – 1) belief without proof, confidence, reliance…”

    I just go with the confidence and reliance parts, specifically confidence and reliance on logical argumentation.

    “Reason – 1) a statement given to create, confirm, or justify a beliefs, conclusion, or action…”

    It seems reason can inform beliefs after all. My Christian beliefs are based on and rooted in reason. I cannot place my faith in something unreasonable, and I do not think anyone else can either.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Metro,

    By the way, I can also accuse you of fractal wrongness.

    http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/klee/misc/lexicon.html

    In fact, it might save me the time of having to interact with you.

    But that just seems like a cop-out.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor, it’s not just you. I make everyone to be specific in their questions.

  • Jabster

    @JK Jones

    Just why should I do that? As I’ve clearly explained before it’s obvious that your argument is flawed; the flaws where pointed out to you; you ignored the flaws stopped posting and then just carried on as if nothing was said.

    I’ll do you a deal you show me all the research you’ve done on other religions that can ‘also’ prove the one true god(s) and I’ll happily enter a debate with you. Now I presume that you must have spent many, many years researching your subject as there are several thousands of gods that man has claimed to exists so maybe it would be best if you could put this original research up on your website.

    Looking forward to reading you research …

  • Aor

    @JK Jones

    For a start, evolution isn’t random. Even ignoring that, the answer is a simple one.

    Emergence.

    Weather is an emergent property of the atmosphere under solar heating. Ever seen a hurricane? Thats emergence. Structure. Order arising from disorder. Convection in gases. Flocking in birds and fish. Polypeptide chains spontaneously forming.

    I assume you can consult reputable journals on these issues. I also assume that you will be honest enough with yourself and with us to admit that these things exist.

    Now that this issue has been proven to you, and if you are truly an engineer I feel I have indeed proven this to you, then you should be willing to admit it.

    Furthermore, faith cannot be rooted in reason. If it is, it is not faith. Please consult a dictionary.

  • Aor

    Justin, stop avoiding the issue. You have had ample opportunity to respond and all you do is avoid. This is not a good sign.

    Zombies. Matthew. Deal with it. You claim the resurrection stories match. Explain how one version contains zombies and the others do not. I’ve been asking you to deal with this for days and days and you just pretend not to understand.

    I don’t believe that you can’t grasp this point. I think you understand perfectly well what I am trying to say and the only method you can find to deal with repeated demands for an honest response is deception.

  • Aor

    Zombies!

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor, You have done several things wrong.

    You haven’t
    1) defined your terms
    2) set the verses you are speaking of
    3) given the other book’s verses to compare
    4) said why they supposedly contradict or don’t make sense when compared.

    Without this I will not answer your question because strategically answering a question when you haven’t properly defined these things sets me up for failure.

  • Aor

    Justin, don’t play games. If you need zombie defined, bring a dictionary. If you can’t find Matthew in your bible, thats not my problem.

    All you are doing is trying to worm your way out of having an opinion on ZOMBIES. Zombies! Walking the streets! Wasn’t it yo

    The reason you are set up for failure is because you are trying to avoid admitting that zombies are ridiculous. I’ve asked you to explain how the bible can talk about the sun going dark and a sun worshipping people in the same area fail to mention it when they noticed the other eclipses. Explain that. You don’t need a bible verse for this. You need logic.

    Stop squirming and deal with the issue.

  • Aor

    Oops missing sentence. Well, I’m sure Justin can figure it out.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor, I believe everything in the Bible and believe it is the infallible, inspired, completely sufficient Word of God. It has been pleasant talking on this board. If you want to really have a conversation about this, I told you above what you must do.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Jabster,

    I spent about two hours looking through the comments on the other string. I had 24 different people posting comments with objections to my arguments. I think I answered all objections, but the comments took up 48 pages (!) when I cut and pasted them over into Microsoft Word. I can’t be sure. Keeping up with what 24 people said over 48 pages was very hard to do.

    It seemed to me like basic things necessary for science itself to proceed where denied in the objections to what you all called the kalam cosmological argument. Causation was denied. The idea that some things had been observed to come into existence out of nothing was brought up.

    Maybe you could remind me of what the objections are still not addressed.

    Aor,

    So the order we see in nature, and our ability to perceive it, are just emerging properties.

    So our ability to reason is just an emergent property. Interesting.

    But why does this order emerge? Do we just call it spontaneous and not look for a reason for this emergence?

    As to the zombies:

    The strength of the gospels’ testimony is that they are basically historically accurate. Every detail of the text does not have to be defended in order for the evidence to be valid. Even if we discount some of the details, the major parts of the story must be dealt with. Inerrancy is a matter to be dealt with on down the line.

    By the way, do you have all of the records of all of the observations of the sun-worshiping people you mention? Also, who said the event was a solar eclipse? It would at least help me to know what the name and location of those people was. (I am not about to read through multiple pages of comments, you’ll have to repeat yourself if you’ve said it already.)

    Justin,

    Keep the faith, bro.

  • Aor

    @Justin

    You are running away from the opportunity to defend your beliefs. Don’t think we don’t see that.

  • Aor

    @JK

    So do I take your most recent comment as an acceptance that order can and does emerge from disorder? Lets call that a yes or no question. It would be nice to find a believer who had enough integrity to admit a point once it was proved. Rather than ask why and how, lets see if you can admit that single point for a start.

    As for the historical accuracy of the bible.. sorry, no. Compare them to other writings of the era. There is no record of Herod killing babies, there is no record of the zombies or of the darkness during the day. There is no record of an Ass being stolen by Jesus`helpers. In fact, I think you may have to provide some sort of evidence that those gospels have any historical accuracy at all.

    As for the sun worshippers, Romans. Romans, man. Think Romans. Think Egyptians. Think of any of the other countless religions that had some form of sun worship in their belief system. Watching the sun was far more than a mere hobby in that era. It was critical to planting crops. If there was dark during the day, someone would be damn interested. If there was a single other religion in the world that had a record of the sun going dark in even approximately the right year, that fact would be all over the apologetics site. Its not there. Considering how this would be a valuable piece of data for believers, that astonishing lack of information implies that it did not happen.

    As for biblical innerancy, I`m not sure exactly what your version of the bible would be if you could delete the parts you that aren`t outright crazy. It would be nice to get a believer to say straight out that they think there are parts of the bible that are simply fiction.

  • Aor

    I have a question for the believers… at some point doesn’t it get embarassing to have to avoid speaking your mind? Don’t you get a queasy feeling of uncertainty and doubt and perhaps even shame at having to wiggle out of simply saying what you feel? If you find zombies to be silly, whats the harm in simply saying so?

    Skeptics don’t feel that way. Skeptics don’t have to defend a point they don’t agree with. Skeptics never have to lie to defend their beliefs.

    It is amazingly relaxing to never have to behave that way. Never defend anything you don’t agree with, ever.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor said “If you have proof, how could you possibly need faith in any way?”

    Christians have evidence. It is like if we tested the integrity of a chair. Eventually you must have faith an sit down. Christians have an intelligent faith. It is a step into the light rather than a leap into the dark.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Brian said “If I die and I am going to hell, then it proves that god is cruel.” You wouldn’t go to Hell… if you are innocent. Have you ever lied, stolen, lusted, blasphemed God, dishonored your parents, or hated? If so, you are guilty like the rest of us and deserve God’s jail. If you die and go to Hell, it proves God is just. He is also loving. In His loving justice, he was willing to take the punishment upon Himself as Jesus as a gift to all who will trust in Him.

  • Aor

    Justin, sorry but you don’t know the meaning of the word faith if you think you can prove it. If there were evidence then you wouldn’t need faith. This is something you could resolve with a dictionary. If you can’t find one, look it up online.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @J.K. Jones:

    So sorry to give you the trouble of interacting with me. I’m troublesome like that. That’s me, always troubling …

    The end point of the series can be anything that currently exists. It doesn’t have to be you. I picked you because you cannot deny your own existence. You have to exist in order to make that denial. We could work backwards from anything. We still have to arrive at something that has always existed.

    First, I think you’re wrong there. The difference between my idea of the origins of the universe and yours is that you believe an invisible man spoke it into being and I believe it (pardon the cringe-worthy simplification) just happened. And there’s no reason to believe your version. Whereas least causes at least leans to my side.

    The kalam argument, or hwatever you want to call it, proves that something has always existed with the above named attributes.

    No it doesn’t. Did you google that? Kalam is an assertion akin to Pascal’s Wager, and false for similar reasons. But moreover it fails for requiring an infinite regression. You first argue that order hasn’t been observed to arise from chaos, but then claim there is something which has “always existed” when we know that’s not even true of the universe itself. Worse, your “eternal thing” is undetectable. So you consider this a good argument for its existence?

    Again, the argument demonstrates certain attributes of a first cause. If you want to call that first cause “Thor,” fine with me. We have established a first cause with certain attributes, now we are just arguing about a name.

    No we haven’t. I categorically deny that there was any sort of sentient being who created the universe. You believe there was one. In this we differ only in degree, as many people believe that one or more deities created the universe. I was asking why the one you picked gets precedence.

    And you answered me in answering Aor:

    “Faith – 1) belief without proof, confidence, reliance…”

    I just go with the confidence and reliance parts, specifically confidence and reliance on logical argumentation.

    Really? I’m glad to hear that. Now where’s your proof?–You’re an engineer. It should be proof to a decently high standard.

    … Waits for repetition of Kalam Cosmological Fallacy …

    Fine, but don’t claim that it’s somehow logical or even sensible to assume the existence of a god based upon no evidence or logic.

    It’s faith, I’ll grant you.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Metro,

    You do say that the universe has not always existed, so there must be a beginning somewhere. It sounds to me that the difference between my view of the origin of the universe and your view is that you think the universe just sprang into being from nothing. Is this what you are saying when you say it “just happened?” Is that what you are saying?

    If it is, I have a follow-up question: Can a cause be simultaneous with its effect?

    A Google search on the kalam argument turns up:

    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/mackie.html

    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/kalam_davis.html

    http://www.amazon.com/Kalam-Cosmological-Argument-William-Craig/dp/157910438X

    Related searches turn up:

    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/smith.html

    All,

    The argument from purpose (teleological argument if you will) depends on order arising from chaos. If order didn’t arise, there would be no purpose or design to be found. The question the argument asks is: Why does order arise from chaos?

    It seems to me you all are saying that things just happen, and we shouldn’t look for a reason or explanation. That is not a scientific / philosophical approach at all.

  • Jabster

    @J K Jones

    You haven’t addressed the issue of your research into the claims of other relgions – please do so.

  • Aor

    @JK Jones

    I asked you to speak clearly on the order from disorder issue. Do you have a response? Before you go off into how and why, make a clear statement.

    Do you accept that order does arise from disorder and that this effect is visible to the human eye. Yes or no.

    Please answer the question.

  • http://Www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J.K. Jones

    Jabster,

    The argument at hand rules at many of those other gods, so I decided to stay on topic.

    Aor,

    Did you just dodge my questions. Seems so.

    I do not believe in disorder at all in a certian sense. So, no.

    Order can arrise from apparent disorder. But why does it? Why can we recognize patterns in any phenomina at all?

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor, I said we have evidence, not “proof”. It is like a jury. They may have evidence against the dependent (again, I am saying evidence, not proof). Even though they have evidence for or against him or her, they make the decision by faith. Please admit your error to keep from looking unreasonable.

    I did get some definitions for faith and evidence.

    Faith can be defined as “complete confidence in a person, plan, etc”

    Evidence can be defined as “your basis for belief or disbelief”

    Obviously, faith and evidence can go hand in hand. Some people have blind faith (complete confidence without evidence), but it is also possible to have intelligent faith (complete confidence with evidence as the basis for your belief.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Typo above – meant to say defendant, not dependent.

  • Aor

    @JK Jones

    I’m not dodging your questions, I’m getting you to take a firm position on a question you have obviously tried to not take a firm position on. Instead of saying yes or no, you say this:

    I do not believe in disorder at all in a certian sense. So, no.

    So rather than admit you were wrong, you try to pretend you don’t believe in the concept at all. Nice try. You brought it up. If you didn’t believe in it, you would not have mentioned it. Please, just tell the truth.

    It is a simple issue, and I provided scientific answers to how order can and does arise from disorder in the observable world. Your reluctance to concede this point makes you appear deceptive. Honest people simply do not behave that way.

  • Aor

    Justin, that is an attempt to misdefine a term in order to selectively benefit your point of view. How about a complete definition of Faith?

    1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
    4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
    5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
    6. A set of principles or beliefs.

    See #2. I notice how you carefully avoided mentioning that one, isn’t that nice of you. How honest and truthful you are being, it is admirable! You wouldn’t want to trick anyone, would you? That wouldn’t be nice. Wouldn’t be honest! Don’t you agree?

    Don’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. The only reason to attempt that is to deceive. If your beliefs are true you should never need to deceive to defend those beliefs.

    Your behavior doesn’t surprise me, Justin. It seems to be the fallback position of believers. When confronted and unable to defend their beliefs, they chose to use trickery and deception rather than honest discussion.

    That speaks volumes for how much truth there is in your religion.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor, you have likely had several people try to be deceitful towards you – perhaps even professing Christians. I don’t want to be one of those people so let’s just be civil towards one another. I’ll go first.

    Yes, I did choose the definition I thought best applied to the Christian faith. When you look in a dictionary, there are different definitions and the right one is based on the context. I thought the one I chose best applied, but I don’t want to argue about it. Since that word is disputed, let’s try another word. How about trust? I think that is a fair word choice. The definition of trust is “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.”

    People can have blind trust – trust without evidence, and people can have intelligent trust – trust made with evidence. When a jury votes “not guilty” after looking at the evidence, they are trusting that they made the right decision. It is also possible to have trust without evidence. Somebody could trust that a restaurant could have good food even though they’ve never been there or heard anything about it. That would be blind trust.

    Christians are not claiming to have “proof” for everything we believe. We are just saying that after examining the evidence, we have taken the step to trust in Christianity. Trust and evidence don’t have to come together, but they can.

    Please be reasonable and say that it is true that trust and evidence can go together.

  • Aor

    @Justin
    You chose the one that best suited what you wanted to say by overly narrowing the possible meanings. Not the most accurate one, the one that made deception easiest.

    Don’t start saying Trust now. I’ve had this conversation numerous times, you fall into a standard pattern of trying to change definitions to suit yourself when an honest person would simply use the words as they are properly defined. Be honest and open, there is no reason to play games here.

    If the definition of faith does not suit you, then that is your problem. You need to fix your own definition until it matches the dictionary. You want to shoehorn your previous meaning of faith into another word entirely, Trust. This is a deceptive tactic. The two words have different definitions for a reason.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor, you are being unreasonable. Proverbs 26:4 says “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.”

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Therefore I will discuss with other people or with you if you become reasonable.

  • Aor

    I’m trying to get you to use a word as it is properly defined. You had the opportunity to use the entire definition, you chose not to. Your reason? I have to guess. It could be accidental, although unlikely. Most likely, most common in my experience, is that you knew using the actual definition would lead you into a conflict and so you chose to use an overly narrow definition and hope nobody caught you. It is an amazingly common tactic.

    If you can find a way to reasonably claim that you have the right to redefine a word to suit yourself at any time I am willing to listen to it, then to laugh. Maybe whoever taught you your beliefs misled you. You should be willing to confront those assumptions, particularly when those assumptions cause you to have to redefine words in order to sneak a conflict out of the discussion.

    The dictionary provides a definition. Nobody gets the right to redefine a term. This is the heart of communication. Shared definitions, because if the definitions aren’t shared then the conversation doesn’t mean anything.

    PS. Bible quotes are meaningless. I could quote some other religion and that would be meaningless to you, so why trot out a stale old phrase that you know will be useless? Are you witnessing?

  • Jabster

    @JK Jones

    “The argument at hand rules at many of those other gods, so I decided to stay on topic.”

    Oh please what sort of kop out is that? Please produce some sort of evidence that you have researched the claims of other religions to show why “this rules out many other gods”. The statement above just suggests that you started with your god exists and then moved on from there.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Jabster,

    I have done extensive research into other religions and other concepts of god(s). But the vast majority of other religions either do not have a single god, do not postulate a god that is eternal, do not postulate a god that is personal (intelligent, able to act or not to act, and purposeful), and / or do not postulate a god who exists independent of his creation. The cosmological and teleological arguments demonstrate those things, so many of the other gods are ruled out.

    Let’s stay on the subject of the arguments provided. That will avoid long, rambling arguments on multiple topics, and it is the best way to proceed.

    Aor,

    There are many abstract concepts that do not have any reality behind them: randomness, chance, and luck, for example. These have no bearing in the real world because they are abstract concepts used to describe things we cannot understand yet. If we knew the causal relationships, we would not need a concept of chance or probability.

    For example, take a coin flip being heads or tails. If we knew the exact values of the variables that make up the event (weight distribution of the coin, force of thumb against coin, exact resistance of air at all points on the coin, etc.), we would be able to predict exactly which way the coin would come up. We just use the abstract concept of chance to describe what we do not understand and appoint p=0.5.

    I have no reason to believe in chance or randomness in the concrete sense because I believe that all events have a cause. I may not be able to identify the cause yet, but I have no reason to believe in an uncased event.

    For the purposes of argument, I am willing to grant that order does arise from disorder. Now tell me why.

    By the way, I don’t try to force a particular definition of atheism on you. I do not try to force you to say that you know that there most certainly is no god. I allow you to self-describe as someone who sees no evidence for god’s existence and does not have to prove a universal negative. Why is it that you do not allow Justin and I to self-describe as we wish? Our faith is reasonable to us. We have a right to define our own terms.

  • Aor

    @JK Jones

    For the purposes of argument, I am willing to grant that order does arise from disorder. Now tell me why.

    Not good enough. You brought up the concept, so you must believe in it. Don’t try to weasel your way out of it, if you don’t believe in disorder at all you simply would not have used it in this discussion. So where you lying then, or are you lying now?

    Nobody has the right to define their own terms. Nobody. Plain and simple: you do not get to redefine a term to suit yourself because if you did then I would get to redefine terms to suit myself. I think you can see how that would be a problem, don’t you? Should I redefine Faith to mean ‘absolute rubbish’ or ‘sex with horses?’ I assume you can see how utterly ridiculous your position is. I also assume you won’t have enough integrity to admit it.

    It is nice though that you have gotten to the point where you admit that redefining the terms to suit yourself is something you do knowingly. This way you can’t pretend it was a mistake, see?
    I’ll take that as an admission that your attempt to redefine Faith was a conscious decision. This means that you are admitting that you chose to deceive.

  • Jabster

    @JK Jones

    “I have done extensive research into other religions and other concepts of god(s).”

    As you keep saying … and as I keep asking you to show some evidence of this research you claim to have performed yet have failed to do. To keep it simple can you list the “vast majority of other religions” that you’ve researched. Now If you can’t do this then please retract you statement that “this rules out many other gods”.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Aor,

    Disorder is a concept, sure. But not all concepts exist in reality. We can argue over whether a particular concept exists without me having to admit that it exists just because we can conceptualize it.

    By the way, you still have not told me why order can arise from disorder.

    The question can go even further: why can we even tell the difference between order and disorder?

    As long as I tell you what I think the definitions of certain terms or concepts are, it’s not intellectually dishonest behavior. I am arguing that the word should have a new definition based on a new concept. That is done all of the time.

    Besides, if we are not to redefine terms, then I’ll take the term “atheist” at face value. You have to prove a universal negative: God does not exist. You now have your hands full, so you should have much less time to insult me.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Jabster,

    I have no desire to get into a running argument about what other religions believe. I am not a proponent of those religions. I am arguing for historic Christianity, and if the arguments for Christianity are valid, all other religions are ruled out be definition. Jesus did say, “…no man cometh to the Father but by me.”

    That having been said, here are some examples:

    Some forms of Buddhism do not allow for a god at all.

    Hinduism does not have a concept of God as existing independently. Ditto various forms of New Age religions, or other forms of pantheism.

    The god of certain philosophers (panenthiesm) does not fit the bill because it depends in some measure on the universe for its existence.

    Various forms of Greek Mythology do not have an individual god as the first cause of all things.

    Mormonism does not hold to a God who exists independently because they teach that men can become gods.

    Only the major theistic religions can own a god who exists independently. There are other arguments that rule out those positions.

    I will now sit back and wait for you to rail against me for misunderstanding or misrepresenting the other religions I have mentioned.

  • Jabster

    @JK Jones

    “I will now sit back and wait for you to rail against me for misunderstanding or misrepresenting the other religions I have mentioned.”

    Nope I’ll sit back and ask you yet again what research you have done so you can dismiss the “vast majority of other religions”. You claimed “I have done extensive research into other religions and other concepts of god(s).” so please present it or retract the statement and admit it is incorrect. If you cannot produce your research, and no a few examples don’t count, then I can only assume that you haven’t performed that which you have claimed to have carried out.

  • Aor

    @JK Jones

    More intellectual dishonesty.

    You claim order cannot arise from disorder, I show proof that it can and does, and you move the goalposts to say that disorder doesn’t exist. Blatant deception on your part.

    Disorder is a concept, sure. But not all concepts exist in reality. We can argue over whether a particular concept exists without me having to admit that it exists just because we can conceptualize it.

    Are you claiming disorder does not exist? It seems to me that you are just squirming around trying to get out of a position that you took of your own free will. The easiest way out is to simple back out.. retract your position once you see it is indefensible. The approach you are using suggests that you are knowingly deceiving us.

    By the way, you still have not told me why order can arise from disorder.

    I don’t know why. I know it does, and I know you say it does not, and I know you say even if it does then that doesn’t mean anything, and you will surely take other conflicting positions in the future. Why can’t you be honest with us and state clearly that you accept that order can arise from disorder? Why dance around and try to squirm out of taking a firm position? Because that would strike at the heart of your rationalizations of your religion? Great! When reality conflicts with your fantasy, change your fantasy.

    I am arguing that the word should have a new definition based on a new concept. That is done all of the time.

    You want to redefine a word to suit yourself. I don’t see any new concepts here, just you squirming.

  • Jabster

    @Aor

    “You want to redefine a word to suit yourself. I don’t see any new concepts here, just you squirming.”

    Unfortunately this seems a pretty standard tactic amongst some of the posters here. Claim that Y is true or X cannot happen; in reply someone posts the claim is obviously not true and provides evidence; lots of squirming about that’s not what I take a word to mean.

    Here’s a really good example:

    “As long as I tell you what I think the definitions of certain terms or concepts are, it’s not intellectually dishonest behavior.”

    So using a term which you know will be misunderstood isn’t intellectually dishonest behaviour? Well yes if you redefine what the term actually means! In the same vein why is it that the definition isn’t mentioned up front by only when challenged?

  • http://accordingtod.wordpress.com/ dinysays

    @Knight:

    “Reality to them was filtered through the Imam” –very true!

    That’s why I’m done living my life filtered by somebody else; Imam, priest, rabbi, pastor, what have you. They’re just human like me.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Jabster,

    Why don’t you list some religions, and I will tell you why they are not consistent with God as He reveals Himself in nature. I have some posts on my blog on this sort of thing, but I am not going to put that many comments on this blog. I don’t have that kind of time.

    Aor,

    I have assumed that disorder does exist in order to argue. I am out to reduce your position to absurdity, and it’s not difficult to do so.

    Your position is akin to an explosion in a book factory that assembles an entire volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica. See:
    http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/_PDFArchives/theological-dictionary/TD2W0899.pdf

    It is a little like saying that Mount Rushmore’s statues are just the product of natural soil erosion. See:
    http://www.origins.org/articles/pearcey_dnamessage.html

    Not to motion the vast number of constants that just happen to be set at the right points to support life. It’s like discovering an artificially created biosphere on an uninhabitable plant like Mars and saying it just manufactured itself. See:

    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9403/evidence.html

    All,

    You say that the universe just came into being. You say that order just arises from disorder. I ask you how / why. The response I get to my questions amounts to “It just does.”

    “That’s just the way the universe works” is not an answer; it’s a copout.

  • http://www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J. K. Jones

    Jabster,

    By the way, I have spent allot of time typing an argument for why faith is not opposed to reason. The very argument itself is a definition of the term “faith.”

    And I still have not heard the proof for a universal negative like “God does not exist.” That’s in line with the standard definition of atheism.

  • Aor

    @JK Jones

    Actually my position is that order can and does arise from disorder in the observable world. No need to lie about what I have said. I simply shown you that the prime mover argument was disproven by observable facts. Rather than attack me for it you should be happy that I have shown you useful information that you can use in the future. Those who value knowledge rather than ignorance are usually happy to find new and useful information. If you think you can reduce observable facts to absurdity then I have to doubt your claims to be any kind of engineer. Engineers don’t have that kind of attitude with respect to observable phenomena. Not the good ones at least.

    “My position is akin to..”
    Don’t bother. Don’t even bother. You have spent enough time trying to decieve and misdirect. Time for you to hold yourself to a higher standard. My position is simple and clear, I provided information and sources are available. It is time for you to face reality and accept that your concept that order cannot arise from disorder has been proven false. There is no need to attempt straw man arguments. You have already shown yourself to be outright deceptive, there is no need to resort to those common fallacies.

    Why do you think links from the Discovery Institute will have any kind of validity? Is that all you could find? Nancy Pearcey, a YEC and member of DI? And some metallurgist? Seriously, even a YEC creationist should be able to find more effective websites to link that that crap.

    PS. As has been pointed out countless times, and as I am sure you are personally aware, it is not the responsibility of atheists to prove that god does not exist. This is yet another blatant attempt to trick on your part. You are certainly aware of this, as any engineer would be familiar with the process of problem solving. Why attempt to deceive? Are you going to lie about the second law of thermodynamics next? Or is that a bit too far for even you?

  • http://Www.jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com J.K. Jones

    Aor,

    My question for you is: How does order arisse from disorder?

    That is the question that you have once again with an answer that amounts to, “it just does.”

    You are quite the artful roger and re-direct arguments with ease. I’ll give you that. But you should display some of the intelectual integrity you demand of others and answer the question.

  • Aor

    I don’t know how, JK. I don’t claim to know how, I don’t claim that the supernatural is behind it. I don’t claim that one particular cultic god figure from 3000 years ago is behind it. Do you?

    I think it is probably something that can be evaluated by rational and skeptical people and that repeatable experiments can probably found which may add to the knowledge base of the human species. I believe this approach to knowledge is superior to a bald faced assertion that an invisible father figure in the sky is behind it.

    Are you now admitting once and for all that it happens? No more denialism? Not going to pretend you didn’t bring up Aristotle again are you? You may think insisting that you show some integrity is being artful, but I think that you got caught saying things that you don’t actually agree with and rather than admit it and correct yourself, rather than learn from your mistakes, you chose to go on the attack. It is a common thing to see from believers. When they cannot defend, they either run away or attack.

    I notice you don’t respond to the concept that proof is the responsibility of those making the claim. Are you admitting that you were wrong, or are you hoping that will just get past me and you will somehow save face?

    Not going to happen. You really should switch over to the side of observable repeatable experimentation. The view over here kicks ass.

  • Jabster

    @JK Jones

    I’ll take it from you reactions to these questions that you’ve been dishonest in the claims you’ve made in this thread. It’s obvious, due to your evasiveness, that you’ve haven’t in fact performed the extensive research into other religions that you’ve have claimed. What is equally obvious is that you’ve started with the premise that your god, and your god only, exists tried to bolt on scientific sounding facts (without really understanding what they mean — but if they seem to support you pre-determined ‘theory’ they must be right?) to make it sound good and then put it down on paper. I mean how long do it take — a couple of days tops?

    Of course the problem comes when the many flaws are pointed out in you’ ‘theory’ and it becomes apparently that the couple of days effort you put in have been wasted. Well what happens next is we hear that familiar sound as a goal post is dragged into a different position. You’ve even resorted to “you can’t prove that god doesn’t exist” argument.

    If you were an honest person you would realise the mistakes you’ve made and reconsider what you’ve said. As it is you’re now just desperately trying to avoid losing face but coming up with more and more ridiculous answers of which the order from disorder is the latest. Order cannot arise from disorder; yes it can look at this; yes but no but yes but no but yes erm … how did it arise then?; there see you don’t know so it must have been god and not just any old god but my god.

    Honestly you sound more and more like Vicky Pollard with each of your posts.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Atheists, what do you think of this new “Pull the Plug on Atheism” campaign? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this: http://christianincollege.com/2009/01/30/pull-the-plug-on-atheism/

  • Aor

    Ray Comfort? Bananaman? He is completely out of his mind.

    Itt seems that this is most likely an attempt by you to get people to go to your website.

  • http://christianincollege.com Justin

    Aor, no need to go to my site. The direct link is http://www.pulltheplugonatheism.com

  • http://TheAmericanView.com John Lofton, Recovering Republican

    Yes, test what you’re told by the Word of God! Amen!

    And forget, please, “conservatism.” It has been, operationally, de facto, Godless and therefore irrelevant. Secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God both are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson’s Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

    “[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth.”

    Our country is collapsing because we have turned our back on God (Psalm 9:17) and refused to kiss His Son (Psalm 2).

  • skeptic

    Very good verse! Never believe anything without first checking out the evidence. For me, that evidence pointed me to christianity, not away from it. From the chances of our universe collapsing after the big bang to charles darwin admitting that if biomechanical machines exsist (which they do) then his whole theory would be false. Go with an honest open mind and search out if that book called the bible, which is written over thousands of years by many different authors who didn’t know each other but still managed to write the same story/truths, find out if its true. Don’t worry about faith: you already have faith that it isn’t true, so you already believe in something that you can’t see. And you obviously believe in some truths in the bible because this whole discussion is on a verse from it that you obviously believe to be true. Good luck!

  • Adam

    Hey teleprompter,

    This is just another instance of someone who obviously has never studied the Bible taking a verse out of context. The verse that you quoted from Corinthians was the apostle Paul leading up to the argument that the church in Corinth was falling away from the true teachings of Christ and trying to exalt themselves in “childish” like behavior for their misuse of spiritual gifts given by God. The childish ways that he wants us to put behind us are the very things that you, and many others are babbling off in this site: Doing things for the glory of yourselves (selfishness and self-glory) and not for the Glory of our Maker (God). Let me leave you with another couple of verses from scripture that I believe sum up the folks promoting a lot of the ideas on this site:

    “Because that, when they knew God, they gloified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”

    Romans 1:21,22 (KJV)

    And…

    “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God…”

    Psalms 14:1 (KJV)

    I invite all of you, as Daniel Florien said, to “think critically and use your head” and spend some time actually studying the Bible and come up with your own conclusions. I think you will be surprised what God can reveal to those who will give his Word a chance!

  • TaD

    I still think it doesn’t change the idea that when you see a church falling short on what it truely believes in, its smart to question it and how much loyalty they have to god, and not falling in with the rest of the sheep. So he did not use it outof context.

    Just cause you don’t call your self a christian doesn’t mean you don’t have fiath, you just know that these groups have it backwards in your opinion. Even if you don’t have faith you have a damn good reason for it.

    TaD


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