How Did The Apostles Die?

by VorJack

Apostle Peter CrucifiedOne of the standard arguments we hear for the historicity of the resurrection is the martyrdom of the apostles. Would the followers of Jesus really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?

The argument has a number of weaknesses. One of the greatest is the fact that all the details of this martyrdom comes down to us through tradition, and we have no way of knowing when the traditions originated. They may be early or late, literary or historical.

Acts gives a few stories, like the stoning of Stephen (Act 8:54-60) or the death of James, brother of John (Acts 12:1-2), but nothing of the deaths of the major apostles. The first mention we get of the deaths of Paul and Peter come from First Clement, one of the first popular works of the community, dated between 90-140 CE. But the story is extremely vague, told to fit the theme of jealousy:

There was Peter who by reason of unrighteous jealousy endured not one not one but many labors, and thus having borne his testimony went to his appointed place of glory. By reason of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the prize of patient endurance.

After that he had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, had preached in the East and in the West, he won the noble renown which was the reward of his faith, having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached the farthest bounds of the West; and when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having been found notable pattern of patient endurance. (1 Clem 5:4-6, Lightfoot)

Pullquote: There may also be a kernel of history about the execution of the apostles — or there may not. We just don’t know.

Notice there are no details. As far as we can tell from this text the two chief apostles may have died of old age. And what sort of jealousy are we talking about here? The jealousy of the Jews is one traditional answer. The jealousy between their rival factions is another guess. But maybe it was a more prosaic kind of jealousy.

Consider the apocryphal Acts of Peter, dated to the last half of the second century. Look at what is has to say about the persecution of Peter:

And a certain woman which was exceeding beautiful, the wife of Albinus, Caesar’s friend, by name Xanthippe, came, she also, unto Peter, with the rest of the matrons, and withdrew herself, she also, from Albinus. He therefore being mad, and loving Xanthippe, and marvelling that she would not sleep even upon the same bed with him, raged like a wild beast and would have dispatched Peter; for he knew that he was the cause of her separating from his bed. [...]

And whereas there was great trouble in Rome, Albinus made known his state unto Agrippa, saying to him: Either do thou avenge me of Peter that hath withdrawn my wife, or I will avenge myself. And Agrippa said: I have suffered the same at his hand, for he hath withdrawn my concubines. And Albinus said unto him: Why then tarriest thou, Agrippa? let us find him and put him to death for a dealer in curious arts, that we may have our wives again, and avenge them also which are not able to put him to death, whose wives also he hath parted from them. (Acts of Peter, XXXIV, MR James)

Peter is executed for convincing women not to marry or have sex. The same theme is found in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew, with Andrew being executed for coming between a woman and her fiancee. The Acts of Paul has a similar story, with Paul being imprisoned for preaching that maidens shouldn’t marry. Paul isn’t executed until much later, when he mouths off to Emperor Nero.

Is this the sort of jealousy to which First Clement refers? The jealousy of a man spurned by his betrothed? I’d guess not. These three noncannocical works all date last half of the second century, and probably represent the arguments that were going on at the time. These stories may only tell us that there was a faction of the community that considered celibacy extremely important, and so they wove that theme into their traditions about the apostles.

There may also be a kernel of history about the execution of the apostles — or there may not. We just don’t know.

Related Post: Martyrdom Does Not Establish Truth

  • Custador

    This is interesting to me:

    “And a certain woman which was exceeding beautiful, the wife of Albinus, Caesar’s friend, by name Xanthippe, came, she also, unto Peter, with the rest of the matrons, and withdrew herself, she also, from Albinus. He therefore being mad, and loving Xanthippe, and marvelling that she would not sleep even upon the same bed with him, raged like a wild beast and would have dispatched Peter; for he knew that he was the cause of her separating from his bed. [...]

    And whereas there was great trouble in Rome, Albinus made known his state unto Agrippa, saying to him: Either do thou avenge me of Peter that hath withdrawn my wife, or I will avenge myself. And Agrippa said: I have suffered the same at his hand, for he hath withdrawn my concubines. And Albinus said unto him: Why then tarriest thou, Agrippa? let us find him and put him to death for a dealer in curious arts, that we may have our wives again, and avenge them also which are not able to put him to death, whose wives also he hath parted from them. (Acts of Peter, XXXIV, MR James)”

    Now, my reading of that was that the wives and concubines were getting their jiggy-jiggy from Peter instead of their husbands/masters. Could it be that in Christianity, Peter set the mould for all the other crazy religious cult-leaders that followed him by claiming all the women as his personal playthings?

  • http://larianlequella.com Larian LeQuella

    I have always contended that the actual histories of these guys after the crusifixion events have been embellished. The authors of the stories had an agenda, so they painted these guys in the best possible light to support their view of things.

    Persecution is a long tradition with xtians, despite that most of it is made up. The whole xtians being fed to lions bit for instance. Makes for a great story about the cruelty of the Romans, but has no basis in actual fact as the motivation. The Romans didn’t care if you were xtian, pagan, or whatever, they picked people on their ability to provide entertainment to the crowd. If anything, I would say xtians would be a boring spectacle just kneeling there praying. ;)

  • http://camelswithhammers.com Camels With Hammers

    Really interesting, I knew nothing about these considerations before. Thanks VorJack.

  • fftysmthg

    More ambiguity from the people who bring you christianity. Who would have thunked it!

  • Jer

    Would the followers of Jesus really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?

    I despise this argument with a red hot seething passion. It’s not only a stupid argument, it’s an insulting one. All throughout history people sacrificed themselves for lies. Just because they believed the lie was true that doesn’t mean that there actually WAS any truth to it.

    Just a few off the top of my head – some of the Crusaders went off to war in the Middle East convinced that God wanted them to reconquer Jerusalem for Christendom. Some of Hitler’s followers died on the battlefield because they believed he venom about how Germans were the master race and entitled to run the world. And I’m sure that the Christians who use this argument are ready to declare that Joseph Smith and Mohammed were also true prophets because their followers also sacrificed themselves for what they believed.

    It’s one of the dumbest arguments in the world for Christianity. It ranks right up there with “Pascal’s Wager” and “Lunatic, Liar or Lord” for me – three hotbutton arguments I hear from believers that make me wonder if they actually live in the same universe that I do or if they have somehow fallen accidentally into our world by some dimensional wormhole or something.

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Re: “… some of the Crusaders went off to war in the Middle East convinced that God wanted them to reconquer Jerusalem for Christendom.”

      This is, in many cases, very true. What’s even worse is that the so-called “People’s Crusade,” i.e. the followers of Peter the Hermit and Walter Sans Avoir, were not military people and were only poorly armed, if at all. They pretty much expected just to show up in front of the gates of Jerusalem, and that God — seeing their great piety and judging they’d endured a long and grueling-enough journey — would miraculously cast out “the Saracen” so they could go in and take the city.

      Of course, the reality turned out to be very different, and this fatal discovery came long before they ever got anywhere near Jerusalem … in fact, the People’s Crusade met its doom in northwestern Anatolia not far across the Bosporus from Constantinople.

      (The motives and expectations of the rest of the companies of the First Crusade are considerably different, and in fact, it’s a complicated matter. The expectations of all the later Crusades are even more involved than that.)

      As others here have stated, the argumentum ad martyrium, despite its old age and revered status, is just not valid. Sincerity of belief, even to the point of suicidality, does not create veracity. The problem is that martyrdom is emotionally compelling, giving this argument a strong but false appeal. This is doubly the case in Christianity, whose founder martyred himself, which encourages Christians to revere martyrdom and sometimes even seek to be martyred. This trend goes back to Christianity’s roots and will likely never be rooted out.

    • Marker

      You misunderstand the arguement. It’s not whether someone will die for a falsehood. It’
      s whether someone will die for something they KNOW is a lie. So all of your examples do not fit this.

      • Custador

        No, it’s whether a story-teller, three generations after the events, will claim that they’ve died for something which that story-teller claims is the ultimate truth. Anyway, even IF they did – LIKE THEY HAD A CHOICE!

        Centurion: “So, you’re a Christian hey?”
        John: “Er, yes.”
        Centurion: “This Jesus, miraculous was he?”
        John: “Nnnnoooooo, not really. Was a damned nice guy, though.”
        Centurion: “I’m still killing your arse, wanker.”
        John: “Bugger.”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    All details of the apostles’ deaths aside, the basic argument just isn’t the least bit convincing. Many people have been willing to die for bad causes:

    Would the followers of Jim Jones really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?

    Would the followers of David Koresh really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?

    Would the followers of Allah really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?

    Would the followers of Velupillai Prabhakaran really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?

    Would the followers of Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?

    And so on.

    • http://theophiliacs.com Anthony David Jacque

      +1UP ^

      I really hate this rhetoric that. As if just because someone became a martyr for some cause, it must have been a good cause.

      Then we have to consider all religions with martyrs as real and true, of course.

  • phrankygee

    Your friendly neighborhood OCD Spelling Nazi says: You misspelled “celibacy”.

    Sorry. It’s my nature to copyedit.

    • Daniel Florien

      Fixed.

  • John C

    Vorjack, this is the problem with “historical” Christianity, which Christianity is not. Christ is not a historical figure in that sense, but an eternal Spirit, the Spirit of Life itself. The experience of “the supply of the spirit of Christ Jesus” is not intended as a retrospective, historical pursuit or analysis but rather as a “living, abiding testimony” in the here and now. Like Lot’s wife, you’re looking back instead of looking in and so miss the point entirely my friend, respectfully speaking. So, like her you are left with an inanimate (dead) object…historical Christianity (ie religion) as opposed to a quickening, indwelling spirit, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

    Neither of us (believers or non-believers) can detail, satisfy the historical accuracy of such (physical) events, we simply weren’t in attendance. So then, what does it matter to you how Peter died, or to any of us for that matter? If that could be verified would you then believe in Christ…in you? I don’t think so.

    The only verifiable witness/testimony is His life, His love, His transformative nature inwardly in the here and now. He “stands at the door and knocks”. The “word” of the Lord (not scripture) is a living word (JC declaring…my words are spirit and life) that continually testifies to His very Life (which He is) within that stems from His faithful, abiding presence and love for us.

    Candidly, while entertaining (and endless) the attempt to disprove “God” or to invalidate scripture is a vain (pointless) endeavor. The more meaningful pursuit is an inward revelation, an unveiling from the depths of our (undiscovered) inner man. This Light (the Light Himself is within every man) carries with it a power, a joy, a wonder and a purpose far beyond our current borders and self-imposed limitations. The kingdom of heaven is within us.

    May I respectfully encourage a transition in means and motives, a moving from a backwards glance to an inward investigation. There the journey commences, and what a grand and glorious journey it is indeed.

    All the very best.

    • Daniel Florien

      Hey, we can agree on one thing — that Christianity isn’t historical. :)

      • John C

        Yes, an historical Christianity is nothing more than…religion. And on that one point we both agree…its useless!

        • Aor

          So you invented a new kind of christianity.. does it have flavor crystals, or come with 25% less water or something?

        • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

          So John C, what is it that you worship and glorify? Is it not the mysterious Christ-in you?

          Once you worship Christ, you’re a Christian, no? Or is your particular faith one of those interesting heresies where you pick and choose what fits?

          Sorry–trick question. All faith is inherently a matter of picking and choosing what suits us.

          • John C

            Thanks Metro, a beautiful heresy indeed. Its more like this, I simply love Love…back, get it? This thing you call “Christianity” is actually Life itself. The problem is (in my humble estimation) that most of us have never really heard the true message of the gospel, we only think we have. I’m still “hearing it” more and more and have been journeying with Him now for a quarter century. The “Christian” life is one long waking up-to the truth. And this (the gospel message) is the One Thing we must hear (within us) if we are to truly experience Life-Himself.

            We all know the popular story of Mary & Martha and JC having come to her “house”. Martha is busy with “many things” but Mary is (slacking off) just sitting at the feet of JC, worshipping, listening to His every word. To this Martha bitterly complains to JC saying (paraphrased) “tell her to help me, she’s doing nothing”. But JC says “Martha, Martha “you are worried and upset about many things, but only One Thing is needed (is necessary), Mary has chosen the good part, (worshipping, listening) and it will not be taken away from her.” He is the One Thing.

            I have merely learned (by His grace) the “One Thing” that is needed. This is half the battle, knowing Who, what, where to focus our energies on, to listen to. For “only He has the words of life” as Peter said, all the best Met.

    • Lowrack

      “Vorjack, this is the problem with “historical” Christianity, which Christianity is not. Christ is not a historical figure in that sense, but an eternal Spirit, the Spirit of Life itself.”

      We’re in agreement that he never actually existed then. Cool. But if Christ isn’t an historical figure, then why do Christians demand he was a real man? I mean, on the one hand you say he wasn’t a real person, then on the other you talk about his life on earth. It looks like you’re just rationalizing in order to create your own interpretation of biblical scripture to suit your own vision as to what Jesus was, and what his purpose was.
      Maybe that’s why there are 34,000 different denominations of Christianity worldwide. You seem awfully sure of yourself, which seems odd since the other 1.8 Billion Christians all have their own interpretations, which do not mirror your own.

      • John C

        Lowrack-I’m not implying He was never “in the flesh”, not at all. But with Him, as with us, the flesh is not our true, lasting essense, not our eternal Selves. What is behind the veil (of the flesh?). If we judge by our physical eyes alone (which Christ warned against) then we will (wrongly) deduce this (outer shell) is all there is because that’s all the (physical) eyes “see”.

        No, my views are not widely held nor appreciated by the majority, that’s ok. I dont care to be popular or respected by the religious rule keepers, I simply want to know the Truth-Himself. My “confidance” as you put it derives from experience, not an argument. Arguing is pointless. My position is that we can know the truth, and its that same truth that “sets us free”.

        • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

          JC “derives from experience” is key here. We don’t have your “experience” nor will we ever. You know the truth – for you – we are left to suffer eternal torment.

  • atomi

    there may or may not be a God, but why risk it
    and why do athiest want other people to become athiest?
    athiests become serial killers at schools and make life meaningless
    if you dont believe in God, why are you still here?

    • LRA

      LOL! Well with that logic, I’ll just go kill myself now.

      BTW, serial killers become serial killers. It involves different brain chemistry, not different beliefs.

      • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

        Atheists become serial killers at schools.
        Man, your head’s right up your collective. School shootings are mass murders. Serial killings are something quite different. I suggest you ditch the 700 Club for a re-run or two of CSI (Not the NY or Miami ones–those are non-canonical and referred to only by heretics).

        The faith-based shoot doctors and blow up buildings. Oh–and fly aircraft into them.

        • 2-D Man

          Better to watch Dexter for a good idea of what a serial killer is.

          • LRA

            What? No, Dexter is the serial killer we all love and adore. Real serial killers are…

            wait! You’re right! One of the characteristics of many serial killers is their charm. See Ted Bundy, for example. However, the BTK killer was totally repugnant. And a deacon at his church, so yeah, there’s that.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      if you dont believe in God, why are you still here?

      How should I interpret that? Since I do not believe in God, why hasn’t He struck me dead with a lightning bolt?

    • exrelayman

      Muhammad may or may not be God’s prophet. Why are you risking it?

      • Daniel Florien

        Joseph Smith may or may not be God’s prophet. Why are you risking it?

        • wazza

          I may or may not be God’s prophet. Why are you risking it?

          • Elemenope

            I shall slay your high priest and take his mojo…

            • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

              Austin Powers may be God’s prophet! Why are you …

              No, no … wait … that can’t be right.

          • Daniel Florien

            I may or may not be your God’s God. Why are you risking it?

    • Lowrack

      “if you dont believe in God, why are you still here?”

      If you DO believe in God, why are YOU still here? Shouldn’t you be martyring yourself to kill evil atheists so you can get to heaven faster? I’m sure God would be pleased that you “plucked out the evil eye” of atheism and were willing to sacrifice your own life for his glory. You’re not much of a believer if you can’t even stand up for your own convictions.
      Before you martyr yourself, do God a favor, would you? Stone some children to death for back-talking their parents, stone some adulterers (you can enlist a few slaves to help gather the stones), sacrifice your own children to prove you love God and find a few goats to sacrifice at an altar. That way, you’ll have thoroughly proven your belief is strong before you “go to meet your maker”.

      • LRA

        Ack. Don’t give it ideas.

        • Lowrack

          Haha, I’m sorry. I just get irritated with nutjobs who talk about belief as though it’s something they actually have. An overwhelming majority of christians don’t believe the bulk of their own holy book, yet they roll around bumping their gums about belief, never realizing what hypocrites they are. Thankfully, when push comes to shove, they take no action because they can’t reconcile the stupidity of their religion with their own values and common sense. Now if we can just get them to take the next step…

    • Aor

      Your words deserve only ridicule. Get an education.

    • Michael Hitchcock

      I don’t want anyone to become an atheist – I just want them to THINK. Of course, the ones that actually DO think become atheists….

  • EBrock

    “Would the followers of Jesus really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?”

    Haven’t people died for “lies” throughout history? Just watch one 24-hour cycle of news & we can see it still happens today.

    • Michael Hitchcock

      Would 19 young men have flown themselves into buildings for a lie?:

  • Michael K Gray

    Both the Apostles, and Jesus, are fabrications.
    This answers all queries neatly and completely.

    Next question?

    ________________________
    P.S.:
    Would those who might wish to counter my assertions at least come armed with even one or two tiny facts? OK: Just ONE extant contemporary FACT.
    To call the previous contestants “pathetic” would be indulging in fanciful overstatement.

    • Jabster

      “Both the Apostles, and Jesus, are fabrications.
      This answers all queries neatly and completely.”

      It doesn’t particularly answer anything and certainly not completely. If for example someone said:

      “Both the Big Bang and evolution are fabrications.
      This answers all queries neatly and completely.”

      What you expect someone to challenge that as a statement or just accept it?

      • Michael K Gray

        1) It DOES answer the question exactly.
        I have zero idea as to why you curiously suggest that it ‘doesn’t particularly answer anything’.
        Your non-sequitur does nothing to elucidate, only to confuse matters.
        The ‘big bang’ as well as, (and in particular, and especially), evolution, have a vast mountain of EXTANT CONTEMPORARY evidence in favour of them**, and as such, are NOTHING LIKE the totally and completely absent extant contemporary evidence for an historical Jesus.
        I fear that you have ‘shot yourself in the foot’ with this somewhat feeble reply.

        Again, neither my opinions, nor expectations have no bearing on reality.

        In your response, you also neglected to include one extant contemporary fact.

        Marks out of 10?
        0.5 for spelling.
        _______________
        ** If I have to outline what this evidence is, then I need not bother.

        • Jabster

          Which is not what you said at all …

          I’ll repeat …

          ““Both the Apostles, and Jesus, are fabrications.
          This answers all queries neatly and completely.”

          Which does not answer all queries either neatly or completely. It’s just a statement as is claimg that evolution is a fabrication.

          “Marks out of 10?
          0.5 for spelling.”

          Yes very good … have you got anything else oh so witty to add — the long winter nights must just fly past with you for company?

          p.s. I would suggest you don’t bother outlining anything, especially in capitals, as you seem to be hell bent on proving how right you are without every saying why you are right. Honestly, you have a lot in common with some of the fundies who appear here.

        • vorjack

          In your response, you also neglected to include one extant contemporary fact

          No offense, Michael, but what’s the point?

          I’m sure that you can take any piece of evidence and come up with an alternative explanation for it. You can do that for any piece of historical evidence, and it gets even easier when dealing with ancient history where we have so little evidence to work with.

          So I’m sure you’re able to dismiss anything anyone else brings up. Any decent conspiracy theorist can do the same.

          • Michael Kingsford Gray

            The point is that there is no, zero, zilch, nada extant extra-biblical evidence for any of the so-called aposostles WHATSOEVER!!
            Whereas there is a plethora of evidence to the contrary.
            Come upp with a single scrap of evidence, and we can discuss it.
            Until then, it remains a very badly executed fraud.

            Don’t bother to reply if you do not have said evidence.

            • Esdraelon

              LOL! You are exactly like the the jaded individual who set up a web site offering a reward of $250,000 to anyone who can put forth any ‘evidence’ to ‘prove’ evolution is a fact. Obviously you, personally, hold the ‘evidence’ of evolution in a different scale than that of Jesus and the Apostles, even though there is a ‘plethora’ of websites, pro, con, and fence-sitter, discussing the issue.

            • Custador

              The difference being that evolution IS proven fact, whereas Jesus is a piss-poor hypothesis with no actual evidence. The standards of evidence required for both cases are the same – your excuse that they’re not is a typical Christian excuse.

              If you can provide actual evidence for Jesus – DO IT! Show us! Don’t just post links to bullshit sites which post opinion and pretend it’s proof, tell us what the evidence is and give us citations from solid sources (that does NOT include scripture or appeals to authority, by the way).

              In exchange, I will post you some of the MOUNTAINS of evidence which prove evolution.

              In your own time.

            • claidheamh mor

              What Custador said.

              @Esdraelon You are exactly like the the jaded individual who set up a web site offering a reward of $250,000 to anyone who can put forth any ‘evidence’ to ‘prove’ evolution is a fact.

              What Custador said.

              Not even close to “exactly like”.

              Researchers are continuing to produce and refine evidence of of evolution for free.

              And, ya, evolution is

              a different scale than that of Jesus and the Apostles

              .
              One is continued scientific research; the other is one of many mythologies. You do know that every other believer in a mythology, not just you, thinks that his is the “real” one, don’t you?

  • Steve Rowland

    Jer:

    Your reasoning is a little faulty. The Apostles died for that which they witnessed for themselves. They created that faith based upon what they saw and recorded, thus Christians base their truth on that which is recorded. It has been attempted through the ages to prove that record a lie, but unfortunately, for some, it has yet to happen.

    What a little like-minded group on the web believes is irrelevant. It is an individual faith and if another finds it necessary to edify themselves by an arrogant criticism of that faith, they obviously are sadly lacking in life to begin with. I respect your choices in life, do you respect others the same?
    .
    As to going on a ‘crusade’, etc, because of a belief that ‘God willed it’, I agree that that is lunacy.

  • SlobCat

    The question, “Would the followers of Jesus really have sacrificed themselves for a lie?” is structured poorly for apologetic purposes.

    For apologetic purposes, the question is better stated, “Would the Apostles of Jesus have martyred themselves for what they KNEW to be a lie?” OR “Would the Apostles have martyred themselves if they knew that Jesus did not rise from the dead?”

    This distinction in the question separates the Apostles from the other examples given above, i.e. David Koresh followers, Nazis, Islamic terrorists….

    My $.02

    • Custador

      How does it seperate Jesus’ apostles from Koresh’s Branch Davidians? It’s not about what they knew it’s about what they believed. Both examples are equal in that regard.

      • SlobCat

        The difference is that the Apostles were in the unique position of seeing the risen Christ which to them was an “in the flesh” comfirmation of what they believed, but if Christ did not rise from the dead, then the Apostles would have known that he did not rise from the dead and therefore that what they had believed was false.

        Koresh’s followers may have believed he was a messiah figure before the fire, but I’m pretty sure that those who survived haven’t martyred themselves since the fire because Koresh did not rise from the ashes and was proven to be a false messiah.

        Does this help explain the distinction?

        • Custador

          But that’s a bullshit argument; they didn’t need to see him rise from the dead in order to believe he was the messiah. in fact there’s absolutely no evidence that they saw any such thing – the versions of the ressurection in the gospels are all completely different, even! If you saw a thing like that, every detail would be burned into your mind – trust me, I can recall every tiny little detail of the first time I saw a man die. If he’d come back to life, it’d be in 1080p hi-def!

        • VorJack

          but if Christ did not rise from the dead, then the Apostles would have known that he did not rise from the dead and therefore that what they had believed was false.

          Not exactly true. Remember, this is the ancient world, where it is assumed that Gods existed and that they communicate through visions, dream, divination and prophets.

          If some of the apostles had a hallucination in which they saw Jesus on earth, then that could be seen as a vision sent by God that Jesus had risen. If they’d had a dream where Jesus spoke to them, they might well have accepted that as the proof that Jesus had risen and was still in communication with his followers. If one of the apostles suddenly began to speak with great fire and conviction, then the others might conclude that Jesus had risen and was “pouring out” the holy spirit upon his followers. (Acts 2:32-33)

          And so on. Remember, we’re far more skeptical today. If Jesus did not rise, it would still be quite possible for his followers to believe that he did rise. In fact, as the work When Prophecy Fails makes clear, it’s might be easier to believe that Jesus had been resurrected than to accept that you’d just wasted however many years of your life following him.

          • Esdraelon

            And that is not necessarily true either. Jesus spent his entire ministry expressing whom He was and whom He had been sent by. The ‘ancients’ he was ministering to were already monotheists.

            One has to come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings–or it is the most remarkable fact of history.

            Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents.

            A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to “prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.

            Several very important factors arc often overlooked when considering Christ’s post-resurrection appearances to individuals. The first is the large number of witnesses of Christ after that resurrection morning. One of the earliest records of Christ’s appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. While Paul did not see Christ after the resurrection, he spoke to people who had. The apostle appealed to his audience’s knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: “What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, ‘If you do not believe me, you can ask them.’ Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago.” Of course one can simply

            Your attempted explanation claims that the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection were either illusions or hallucinations. Unsupported by the psychological principles governing the appearances of hallucinations, this theory also does not coincide with the historical situation. Again, where was the actual body, and why wasn’t it produced?

            Another theory, popularized by Venturini several centuries ago, is often quoted today. This is the swoon theory, which says that Jesus didn’t die; he merely fainted from exhaustion and loss of blood.

            My friend, you don’t bring up anything new. It’s all been argued ad infinitum already.

            and…..”it’s might be easier to believe that Jesus had been resurrected than to accept that you’d just wasted however many years of your life following him.” Really????

            • http://ironymous.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Then of course there’s that little problem of the gospels not being first hand accounts and not being written by the people they are attributed to. This is not really what the apostles knew. It’s a translation of what some unknown persons said the apostles knew. Faith in what the gospels say is really faith in these anonymous sources.

            • Esdraelon

              Earliest Christian tradition claims that the New Testament writers of the story of Jesus were men who lived at the time of Jesus. Matthew and John were of the “twelve” – disciples of Jesus who were chosen by Jesus to be apostles.

              Some modern scholars refer to a mysterious source document called “Q”, which is supposed to have been the source of much of the material found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark. But “Q” is nothing but an academic hypothesis. We don’t have any manuscripts with “Q” – for all we know it is merely the invention of certain skeptical academics.

              There are no serious competitors for the authorship of the gospels. If someone was writing a false account of the life of Jesus, they would be unlikely to claim that they were written by Mark or Luke, because they were not even of the twelve. Very little is said of Matthew in any of the gospels. When people in the second and third centuries later did write fanciful accounts of the life of Jesus they chose the names of much more prominent figures for pretended authorship – Peter, Mary and James. Those apocryphal gospels just don’t have the same ring of truth that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have. You have to remember that the four gospels were not even found at the time those others were written.

              We have the witness of Papias and Irenaeus – second century writers – that these gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These gospels are obviously based on eye-witness material. They report the same event sometimes from slightly different angles. At times one writer includes details that another writer leaves out. This is consistent with what we would expect from eyewitness sources.

              It is not my concern to convince you. There is ample evidence of reliability. You do not appear to place the same reliability upon bible manuscripts as you do other ancient documents. That is not my concern either. The fact is that I have looked at the pros and cons put forward and personally I am convinced of their authenticity.

            • http://ironymous.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Granted Luke was probably written by Luke who was not of the original 12. The rest however were merely the publishing of oral traditions by unknown individuals. They were ascribed to Matthew, Mark and the original apostle John by the church fathers.

            • VorJack

              The ‘ancients’ he was ministering to were already monotheists.

              Agreed, and I didn’t mean to imply that they weren’t. Still, they were used to a much more active God, and the ancient Jews had their own visions, portents and methods of divination. The point still stands: had a first century Jew experience a dream where a dead person spoke to him, it would have been accepted as a divine message.

              Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents.

              If you’re talking about “Higher Criticism”, much of it is still considered valid. Much of it isn’t, of course, but that’s scholarship for you. But groups like The Jesus Seminar still rely on techniques that originated with Rudolf Bultmann, the German theologian. And of course, Bultmann was a devout Christian who did not see himself as “attacking” the bible.

              A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb …

              And yet Mark, the earliest gospel, doesn’t mention them.

              St. Paul says in effect, ‘If you do not believe me, you can ask them.

              If so, it would have been helpful if he’d named them.

              Why mention Peter/Cephas separate from the twelve? Why then to ‘James, then to all the apostles’? Weren’t they the twelve? Wasn’t James an apostle? Wasn’t Peter? Why separate them all from the anonymous 500?

              But no. As JD Crossan points out, that whole section is a creedal formulation. As Paul makes clear, having seen the risen Christ was a badge of authority in the church. Paul ties his vision of Jesus to his status as an apostle. This list is a statement of the various powers in the church who claimed the status as apostles. It is not a statement of history.

              Again, where was the actual body, and why wasn’t it produced?

              Well, Crossan suggests that the body would have been tossed in a lime pit like most executed criminals. There it would have very quickly decayed. Still, I’m not sure I buy that. There’s no real reason to doubt the basic structure of Mark’s burial scene, since it fits better with what we know of Jewish custom than Crossan’s lime pit.

              I think the real question is when did the tradition of the empty tomb start? It doesn’t appear in the accepted Pauline letters. Given his explanation of the nature of resurrection in 1st Corinthians, it doesn’t really look like he’d expect Jesus’ body to disappear: this “tent” would remain on earth while Jesus received a Mansion in heaven.

              I think it’s most likely that the empty tomb tradition didn’t begin until after Paul’s letters, by which point the body would have naturally decayed.

              Really????

              *shrug* Read the book. It’s a classic.

              Well, alright, think of it this way: you’ve just spent the past three years following a guy who was claiming that the world would end in his lifetime. Suddenly, he drops dead. You’ve got two choices:

              1. Admit you were wrong and go home, where everyone is going to be smirking at you and cracking jokes, “Did the world end and I miss it?” Admit that you’d sold all your stuff and wasted three years following a crackpot. Feel like a total fool.

              2. Find some way to interpret things so that you weren’t wrong. Maybe the world will end in your lifetime. Maybe he’d just gotten the date wrong. Maybe it was all still going to happen, just in a different way.

              Which sounds easier? Which leaves your self-respect intact? Which involves less cognitive dissonance? There have been countless people throughout history that have chosen the second option.

            • Esdraelon

              Will give you the courtesy of a response asap, but need to look into Crossman, et al, possibly tomorrow, though it’s New Year’s eve.

            • Sunny Day

              Is it after New Year’s Eve yet?

            • Custador

              “A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to “prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.”

              You accept that as fact on the basis of no evidence whatever. It’s not difficult to back up a story by inventing that kind of detail.

              “Earliest Christian tradition claims that the New Testament writers of the story of Jesus were men who lived at the time of Jesus.”

              That’s just flat out untrue. The earliest gospel is widely accepted y scholars to have been written around 70AD, which given life expectancy at the time would be between two and four generations after the “time of Jesus” (assuming he even existed). The next gospel was almost a complete plagiarism of the first with some details changed by the writer to a version he liked better.

              “Those apocryphal gospels just don’t have the same ring of truth that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have. “

              The four gospels don’t have the ring of truth because there is nothing in their supernatural claims which has even the tinniest shred of evidence to support it – and in real life, there certainly would be evidence and other contempory accounts if they were true. But there aren’t. Because it’s all bullshit.

            • Esdraelon

              If that is the case why are you here in the first place?

              As stated previously, there is nothing new under the sun with regards to this argument.You prefer to view the issue strictly as you prefer, nothing more. I suspect your view is not necessarily whether it is true of false, but simply how you exhibit your world-view.

            • Custador

              LOL!

              Again: “speak for yourself but don’t presume to speak for me”

              HYPOCRITE!!!!!!

              Also, this is an ATHEIST forum. If you want apologetics and excuses for your fairy tales, look on a Christian board – you won’t find them here.

            • Jabster

              @Custador

              You remember your ying and yang post … well here’s a bit of yang. Esraelon is just another twat who … nope I’m bored now so I’ll just say he’s a twat.

  • Esdraelon

    Custador:

    Oh, it’s ALL about what they knew. They were there with Christ the entire time. Of course, Paul was not there, but I don’t think he is the reference.

    On the other hand, if you do not believe one way or the other, it’s a moot point. Better to just go with Jabster.

    • Custador

      So says somebody who believes something strongly and confuses strong belief with certain knowledge. A common problem among Christians.

      • Esdraelon

        It’s FAITH. I have it, you don’t. It is based upon faith that the apostles saw what they said they saw and what they died for claiming they saw. Simple faith, it it turns out not to be true, which parties did I miss the most?

        What you think is not my concern, however, you also share that ‘common problem among Christians’, and you also appear to confuse ‘belief’ and ‘knowledge’ as asserting that belief IS knowledge. Well….I cannot speak for all Christians, but ‘knowledge’ is assuredly not ‘faith’, for if there were knowledge there would be no need of faith.

        • Custador

          No, it’s GULLIBILITY – you have it, I don’t.

          • Esdraelon

            Then speak for yourself but don’t presume to speak for me.

            • Custador

              “It’s FAITH. I have it, you don’t.”

              So you’re a religious hypocrite too? Quel suprise.

            • Esdraelon

              LOL! There is no rejoinder for baseless rejoinders, so my apologies, you’ve had the last word here.

            • Custador

              “It’s FAITH. I have it, you don’t.”

              Followed by:

              “speak for yourself but don’t presume to speak for me”

              That’s what is known as a religious person being a hypocrite. Baseless? Ummmm, no.

        • DCtouristsANDlocals

          …for if there were knowledge there would be no need of faith.

          I love this quote. If Christians agree with this point, why do they stop looking for the knowledge? There is knowledge, and it’s called evolution. Therefore all should agree that faith is no longer needed.

          • NajackO

            And why does evolution destroy faith?? I am tired of Christians and Atheists saying that evolution destroys faith. It doesn’t. Does evolution change the way people of faith interpret their understanding of how things began… sure, but it doesn’t destroy faith. There is a very small but vocal minority of christians who believe that if the world wasn’t created exactly like Gen. 1-3 than the bible is totally false. I think that is dumb… but no more dumb than people who believe that science is the key that opens all of the mysteries of reality. It can open most (maybe all) of the mysteries of our physical reality but the uniting tenant of religion is that there is a reality that transcends the physical (and that is the place of faith, either I believe that and pursue it or not)… therefore outside the realm of science. If it has been, or will revealed it would have to be revealed through revelation. And please, both to those who believe in a god and to those that don’t, stop with the straw man arguments. there is little of actual debate here. Set the emotion aside and engage your minds… that goes to the Christians and the Atheists. The atheist that recants his beliefs has just as much or more to loose than that of the Christian so no one here is speaking from the place of pure unbiased perspective. Everything needs to be explored and considered. Right now I fall under the label of Christian, but I want to know truth and pursuit. If truth leads me away from Christianity then so be it, right now it keeps leading me towards it, but I am not infallible in my perspective and one day it may change.. or not. I don’t think you can have a real conversation about these deep seeded worldview ideas until you are willing to change our core beliefs for truth… that goes equally for the Christian as for the Atheist. People get on these sites and it is about winning a verbal, emotional debate and not real purposeful discussion. All you have to do is change the words from Christian/Atheist to democrat/republican and this is the exact same “conversation” you see on fox news or msnbc. Sorry for the rant, I search out this stuff to strengthen or challenge my beliefs but usually I just get irritated.

            • Custador

              I agree that evolution is not reason to abandon faith, except if your faith happens to be that we were created in our current forms – But it is interesting how faith has evolved (no pun intended) away from biblical literalism.

            • JohnMWhite

              While it is rather simplifying the issue, I have felt that it is hard to give the foundation of faith any credence when one part of it is proven to be false. Thus is Genesis is fabricated, or just a parable, how do we know how much of the rest is to be trusted or taken literally? There is no key in the back of the book saying “these parts are real, this part is a metaphor”.

              So we’ve moved on from having faith in a text to having faith in our own particular interpretation of the text, which seems to me to preclude the need for the text at all. I can figure out to not treat other people like crap without reading about a man-god who literally died to tell me that. What am I missing? Where is the need for faith in something external when that faith is based upon our internal definition of it?

            • Michael Kingsford Gr

              The learning of Darwinian evolution neatly does away with the need for creator gods, pure & simple.
              This was the exact cause of Dawkin’s deconversion, and many others.
              Darwinian evolution *SHOULD* destroy all and any faith in a person who values the truth over ignorance.

          • burpy

            Learning about evolution certainly destroyed my faith. It provided an alternative explanation for what previously seemed to be obviously created by god. I learned about it through reading a book called “Life on Earth” by Sir David Attenborough when I was 14, and I will always be grateful to him for it.

  • Esdraelon

    Listen, pardner, every response you have made here implies the comment I made. Obviously I was wrong and you do have faith in Something, so my apologies.

    • Custador

      Lol – Troll FAIL!

      • Esdraelon

        Ah…an atheist forum…..I came on without any assumptions and simply expressed my own views, as you are doing, but thanks for the heads-up. Your written reactions speak louder than words, so I will say good day to you.

  • http://www.dougwadedesign.com dwade

    Coming from a present day apostle…

    If I were asked to deny Christ and live or keep believing and die, I would choose to die.

    That time is coming, I am prepared. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  • Esdraelon

    nomad: You are correct, to a point. Oral tradition is simply the way it was handed down in a generation rife with persecution and being fed to the lions. Not many would have put anything in writing that was positive with regards to Jesus Christ arising from the dead considering being a Christian in those times was basically akin to being an outlaw.

    Of course, one would have to agree to the possibility that the other gospels were not written by those they were ascribed to, just as it is obvious that faith is something you have which you are not certain is true. Practically everything is looked at as ‘relative’ today when back in those times ‘relative’ was an unknown term.

    So , yes, I can agree with the fact that the church ascribed the authors to those gospels but a little more in-depth look certainly gives a reasonable premise for doing so. Is that premise beyond doubt, of course not.

    • Jabster

      Oh do piss off you boring little twat …

    • Sunny Day

      “Is that premise REMOTELY CREDIBLE, of course not.”

      Fixed that for you.

  • Esdraelon

    My apologies to all. Thank you, Vorjack, nomad, thank you. I will take my leave and all can go back to discussing their infallible knowledge among themselves.

    • Jabster

      Apologies accepted … please don’t hurry back.

  • Julian

    So since we don’t know why would we accept your conclusion with no evidence at all, or the one that is passed through tradition and has no historical opposition?
    Wishful thinking at its best

  • Michael Kingsford Gr

    If we accept oral traditions that have “no historical opposition”, then that leaves us accepting nothing at all.
    If we accept oral traditions that do have opposition, then we are forced to accept that (say) alien abductions have occurred.
    Neither is suitable.
    One must also take into account plausibility.
    The resurrection, the thousands of Jewish zombies, the total lack of extant contemporary evidence for any of this all leads to a very low level of plausibility, irrespective of support, or not.

  • Julian

    jewish zombies? alien abductions?, appeal to ridicule at its best

    Plausability leads to the apostles being martyred in the way we know how. Extent contemporary evidence? Then you cannot believe anything in ancient history, can you name something that has more evidence than this from those times? You are judging another time period with the methods we use today instead of the standards of those times.

    How did the apostles die according to you? Until you can muster up a plausible explanation, we should take things that have eternal consequences with sufficient reason.

    There is no alternate explanation of the events that occurred that are more likely to have occurred than what Christian orthodoxy professes. There is enough evidence for one to believe.

    Professor Thomas Arnold, for 14 years a headmaster of Rugby, author of the famous, History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. This great scholar said: “I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.” Brooke Foss Westcott, an English scholar, said: “raking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it.”

    • Sunny Day

      “Professor Thomas Arnold, for 14 years…raking all the evidence together,…”

      An argument from authority that mentions evidence and gives none, that’s very convincing!

    • Mike

      Two Victorians, one the spiritual founder of ‘muscular Christianity’, the other a Bishop of Durham. Neither of THEM are going to be in any way biased towards the supposed ‘evidence’, now are they?

    • Custador

      The erruption of Pompei. Various Roman invasions. Many, many prominant historical figures. There is a wealth of contempory historical evidence for all of these things – but none whatsoever for Jesus’ existence, let alone divinity.

  • Michael Kingsford Gr

    “jewish zombies? alien abductions?, appeal to ridicule at its best”

    Hyperbole to illustrate my point.

    “Extent contemporary evidence? Then you cannot believe anything in ancient history, can you name something that has more evidence than this from those times?”

    Yes, most certainly: The Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Your turn.

  • Julian

    [Text stolen word-for-word from the reasonablefaith.org forum deleted]

    - Custador

    • Custador

      “You need to explain the empty tomb”

      The only thing an empty tomb proves is that it’s a tomb with nothing in it. That in no way justifies leaping to the conclusion that a corpse got up and walked out. So no, we don’t need to explain the empty tomb (a detail which was probably added to the scriptures long after their first drafts, by the way), you need to stop being so damned gullible.

      “You need to explain the rise of the church from hundreds to nearly tens of thousands historically speaking “overnight” “

      By that logic we should all be Scientologists. Don’t fancy auditing your Thetans? Didn’t think so.

      “You need to explain the numerous others who were willing to go to their deaths proclaiming christ in an extremly hostile paganistic roman empire.”

      You need to watch some Derren Brown and get a clue. People are STUPID AND GULLIBLE. You yourself are a fantastic example of this.

      “You need to explain, the fact that NO evidence whatsoever contests the claims of the ressurection.”

      I physically guffawed! We need to find evidence for something that didn’t happen?! WTF?! The “ressurection” detail was invented long, long after the period Jesus might have existed. YOU need to prove it happened – and there is no evidence outside of the Bible (a heavily compromised source which no serious historian would be stupid enough to trust) to suggest it happened. So no, we don’t need to find Jack Shit.

      “go ahead and explain away the writings of ancient roman historians like josephus, and tactius”

      You seriously need to study history with a dispassionate eye. I’m not even going to bother explaining the problems with your sources since you haven’t looked them up yourself.

    • Custador

      Julian, the fact that you’re posting entries of up to a thousand words a time within a minute of each other combined with a simple Google search of complete sentences from your entries leads me to think that I should give you a warning:

      I’ve found whole sentences in your posts lifted straight from Answers in Genesis and from reasonablefaith.org. If you continue to plagiarise without attribution (as opposed to just posting the links to your sources), I will edit your posts accordingly.

    • Mike

      “Evidence can be found in mentions from the works of Josephus, and the book of Acts, along with other cooberating evidences.”

      Really? Josephus mentions John the Baptist and ‘James the brother of Jesus’ in the ‘Antiquities.’ To the best of my knowledge, he mentions NONE of the Twelve by name, nor St Peter or St Paul. I think you need to site the exact passages. And the other ‘cooberating evidences’.

      Thank you.

      • Michael Kingsford Gr

        The mention of ‘jesus’ in Josephus has been recognised since the late 1800s by devout Christian bible scholars as a crude later addition: a forgery, in other words.
        That he employs a well-known forgery as evidence displays a singular lack of academic knowledge.

  • Julian

    [Enormous chunk of text copied and pasted from Answers in Genesis without attribution deleted]

    - Custador

  • Julian

    [Text stolen word-for-word from the reasonablefaith.org forum deleted]

    - Custador

    • Sunny Day

      Is persecution the new yardstick for truth?

      • Custador

        Sorry Sunny, I’ve edited his post out since it wasn’t his post. He’s copied from several different contributors on other sites / forums and posted their words here as his own – So I’m deleting them as I find them.

  • burpy

    Julian, if you are going to say that the rapid growth of Christianity is evidence for its truth, then you must say that Falun Gong must be even “truer”.

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

    Falun Gong (alternatively Falun Dafa) is a system of beliefs and practices founded in China by Li Hongzhi in 1992. The practice emerged at the end of China’s “qigong boom”, a period of growth and popularity of similar practices. Falun Gong differs from other qigong schools in its absence of daily rituals of worship… The movement grew rapidly in China between 1992 and 1999. Government sources indicated that there may have been as many as 70 million Falun Gong practitioners in the country by 1998.

    If you are going to say that people continuing to practice Christianity in the face of persecution is evidence for its truth, then you must take into account that Falun Gong practitioners also face persecution in China:

    In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned Falun Gong and began a nationwide crackdown and multifaceted propaganda campaign against the practice; in October 1999 it declared Falun Gong an “evil cult.”[7][16][17] Human rights groups report that Falun Gong practitioners in China are subject to a wide range of human rights abuses

    Since I´m not a Biblical scholar, I can´t really answer some of your other points. But those are the two that stood out to me as being obviously fallacious.

  • Julian

    I agree with most of what that posting said and I am not going to waste time reiterating the whole thing and adding information for an informal commentary online. Isn’t it relevant to the topic of discussion and isn’t the point the argument not where its from? And all these things add up, just because each thing cannot be proven beyond a 100% doubt does not mean its not true. The Josephus thing is debatable, you say it as if its conclusive that its false. The speed of growth of Christianity is remarkable considering the persecution but is not the only factor in making it true. The apostles dying for the faith is not the only factor. There are thousands of things that add up.

    The world requires an explanation. None of the possible explanations are provable beyond a doubt, so if we have to make a choice we have to make it based on evidence. Believing in God requires faith, but not believing in God requires even more “faith”. Christianity requires faith but rejecting Christianity requires even more faith. Faith is just another word for accepting things without 100% proof, which in these ultimate questions, is not 100% possible. those who wait for 100% proof will wait till its too late. These things are not analyzed by the scientific method, we cannot test it. These are theological and metaphysical questions that are based on reason and logic but not proof. But not choosing is not an option, since that basically leaves you on accepting agnosticism with faith, basically a practical if not speculative atheist. Not choosing is choosing agnosticism. Consequentially same. So basically we have to make a decision regarding our worldview and all of the possible explanations have to be take on “faith”. If you can tell me another religion I should consider along with the evidence for it, please let me know. I find the Christian view believable beyond a reasonable doubt. I converted from Hinduism with a brief lapse in agnosticism while exploring different worldviews.

    • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

      Good grief, man. Perhaps no one has ever said this to you, so here it goes: rejecting Christianity and its attendant deity does not require faith. Your argument is spurious and attempts to place atheism on par with Christianity. For atheists, the argument is that there is no evidence for the existence of any supernatural entities. Here, I’ll borrow from George Smith’s Atheism: The Case Against God(see what I did there? I provided a citation–try it, it works): “Atheism, in its basic form, is not a belief: it is the absence of belief. An atheist is not primarily a person who believes that a god does not exist; rather he does not believe in the existence of a god.”(Smith, 7)

      Now, what evidence do you have for the existence of your deity?

    • Kodie

      The world requires an explanation.

      As long as you continue to perceive this is true, not just for you but for everyone, you will be satisfied with stories that comfort you with AN answer, you might call it THE answer, you might be convinced of this answer because you require an explanation. You had an explanation and you rejected it, you did not consider a life without need of a creator or salvation, you went seeking an explanation that filled in all your gaps or urgency for an explanation – that’s not what makes anything true. You felt empty without an explanation as you quested to find one that comforts you well, you seem pretty sure that this world requires an explanation!

      What makes you think atheism requires faith? It rejects the supernatural, it rejects a purpose for life granted from a supernatural entity, it rejects a hereafter. There are stories, there even could be a valid history of Christianity, by which I mean it obviously spread across the earth (not everywhere but many places), but where is god? Deluded people spread the message out of fear, out of requirement for explaining this world, out of need for control over populations which are dispersed. Lots of cultural effects spread over land via people, it doesn’t make any of it supernaturally caused. Maybe Jesus existed, maybe the apostles existed, but none of that really comes together as more than a small hometown story of basically nothing but circumstances that grew to mythic legend, the convictions of a few people making a big story out of a little story. At the time, what was their excuse to believe it? Believing the need for an explanation for one, excusing their sins through the resurrection tale of some guy they never met but have no reason not to believe existed if someone tells them, gets them off the hook, keeps them in line. What is your excuse now? Gullible, willing to hang your whole existence on fiction to feel an explanation has been satisfactorily made? Because you require one, you will believe anything that supplies it for you beyond your very own personal reasonable doubt.

    • Sunny Day

      “I agree with most of what that posting said and I am not going to waste time reiterating the whole thing and adding information for an informal commentary online.”

      WOW, just wow. I hope you understand exactly what that says about your character. You admit you’d rather cut and paste someone’s words, try to pass them off as your own, and you’re completely disinterested in any commentary those stolen thoughts could generate. Just saying, “Shut Up!” would be worlds more honest of you.

      You could have Remixed up that batch of Copy-Pasta and added a short couple of sentences to explain your position and how you agree with them. Since you don’t seem to have anyone in your life to set an example by, maybe I can help. Feel free to use this if you decide that you’re interested in the knowledge and opinions of other people. It will allow you to use another persons words to support your own feelings and you’ll appear less of a utter Fucktard.

      Hello my name is (insert your name), I’ve thought about this article and I’ve read some comments here. I remember a similar discussion on another forum (name of forum) you might have heard of it, and it seems relevant here. I’m interested in how this argument stacks up and I want to learn what flaws you perceive.

      [Copy Pasta: Argument of a scholarly nature or in a particular style or form that sounds good to you on an emotional level ]

      I will appreciate any feedback you have. I hope this will open your eyes to the True meaning of (whatever bullshit farie tale you believe in) before its too late and you are lost (in whatever masturbatory torture fantasy you scare people with)

      Bless you and Your’s in (whatever farie tale), (your name here)

  • Julian

    lol. whats the importance of character to you? why should I have a good character? whats wrong with plagiarising?

    believe in your fairy tales as well lol.
    I am glad I did not waste my time!!
    Shut up, is that better?
    maybe I should follow your example, get angry so easily, why so insecure?
    anyway, get a life and stop posting on these silly boards, feigning intellectual sophistication.

    • JohnMWhite

      I think I’ve figured out why you were copying and pasting your arguments from other people…

      I’m sure I’m going to regret this, but what fairy tales do you think folk here believe in? I’m a big fan of The Little Mermaid myself.

    • Custador

      You can feel free to take text from another source provided you are upfront about it. That’s not what you did. You posted other people’s words as your own – in other words you lied. Besides that, you also broke forum rules about plagiarism. Right about now, you’re bordering on breaking one about trolling, so settle down.

    • Sunny Day

      “lol. whats the importance of character to you? why should I have a good character? whats wrong with plagiarising?”

      You must have a reading comprehension problem, “..you’ll appear less of a utter Fucktard. ”

      “believe in your fairy tales as well lol.” – Comprehension problems again, Your Farie Tales.
      “I am glad I did not waste my time!!” – Yet here you are again.
      “Shut up, is that better?” – Your constant deception must have been tiring. Glad to see you’re feeling better.
      “maybe I should follow your example, get angry so easily, why so insecure?” – Projection
      “anyway, get a life and stop posting on these silly boards, feigning intellectual sophistication.” – Projection again. Don’t mistake my disappointment with anger. It’s not my fault you plagiarized the works of others in a failed attempt to appear more knowledgeable.

  • Julian

    the fairy tale that atheism is true beyond a doubt, thats what fairy tale, and also the fairy tale that you think your smart. and sunny day,

    sunny day, you cant even spell farie tales, how dare you talk about comprehension. projection, what makes you the psychiatrist.

    question for you:
    whats the importance of character to you? why should I have a good character? whats wrong with plagiarising?”

    • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

      Ach. Did you read what I wrote above? Atheism is a lack of belief in a god. There’s nothing to prove “true beyond a doubt”–the burden of proof rests with you and those like you who believe in the existence of a supernatural deity. So. If you’ve got the proof, now’s the time to bring it.

    • Kodie

      As long as we’re doing lessons on writing your own words or proper attribution, how about learning to thread properly and take a notice of the handy reply button in the lower right hand corner of the post you’re responding to, not to mention the difference between your and you’re. It’s gonna be an all-nighter! Study hard!

    • Sunny Day

      A plagiarist scumbag using broken english to question my spelling. That’s about 3 different flavors of stupid awesome.

      • Ty

        More data for my hypothesis that fundies are incapable of recognizing irony.

    • Custador

      I’ll try again: By plagiarising, you misrepresent somebody else’s written words as your own – you let them do all the work (i.e. thinking about and sometimes learning about a topic and then taking the time to write about it). Effectively, you steal their work and misrepresent your own abilities. There’s a lot wrong with plagiarism. It’s the reason why MLK shouldn’t have been awarded a doctorate, for example.

      • Nox

        I wouldn’t bother guys.He’s just plagiarising C.S. Lewis now. Waiting for someone to point out what is wrong with what he’s doing so he can claim “you agree that there is such a thing as right and wrong, that means you agree there is a god, that means the bible is true, ha ha”.

        The big clue is that he has asked the question “whats wrong with plagiarising?” twice and both times in the same paragraph as “whats the importance of character to you? why should I have a good character?”.

        • Custador

          True enough, but I’ll have great fun destroying those retarded arguments for him when he trots them out :-)

      • Julian

        Nox, no I am not aware of CS Lewis along those lines. I know the definition of plagiarism. What I am saying is you have no right to tell me its wrong. Why is it wrong? Is it in the Atheist book of beliefs? And even if its wrong, why should I not do it? I’ll do whatever is best for me and gives me the best result. I’m not worried about being arrested, why should I not do it? Out of respect? Why should I respect you?

        Here’s some more plagiarism for you. I see nothing wrong with lying and plagiarism. I am a moral nihilist. Hows to throw in some lying in there too. Stop making up false systems of right and wrong, its just your imagination, it does not exist.

        “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

        An atheist is respectable as long as he does not teach that the dignity of man is the basis of ethics and that love for humanity is the true religion. – Don Colacho

        What I find is that atheists only read books from their point of view, I mean look at the books listed on this sites reading list. I have not met ONE atheist that has read any books from the Christian or for that matter any religions point of view. How balanced are their views? It just shows that they are not interested in truth, have already made up their mind, closed it, and only look through the same point of view. Anyone can read the Bible and interpret it anyway, has anyone read the reasoning behind it from a Christian view? I have read numerous philosophical writings from all sides. What theological, philosophical or exegetical works from a Christian orthodox perspective has anyone hear read? Please name them. I am talking serious books. Very few atheists seek truth with humility.

        • Elemenope

          Ugh.

          “There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value. This absolute will to truth: what is it? Is it the will to not allow ourselves to be deceived? Is it the will not to deceive? One does not want to be deceived, under the supposition that it is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived. … Do not allow yourselves to be deceived: Great Minds are Skeptical.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

          The Will to Truth gets overshadowed often by the much sexier Will to Power in many lay readings of Nietzsche’s work. In reality Nietzsche’s perspectives on factual and moral truth are far more complicated than the quote you provided, and he placed nearly as much emphasis on the first as the second.

        • GBM

          Far be it from me to tell you your business, but if you are actually interested in convincing anyone of anything, you might want to start by actually understanding their position, rather than picking one for them and arguing against that.

          • Jabster

            @GMB

            It’s far easier to demonise someone when you decide what they think and then ignore any objections they may put forward!

            One thing that Julian has made me think about is a) how to “hear read” b) is there a law that states that the more well red a godbot claims to be the less well read they appear and finally c) has anyone in the entire world ever been convinced when someone quotes a philospher and then uses some “big” terms because they think it makes them sound clever (see point b)) and if not why do so many people do it?

            • Julian

              so its fools arguing with fools. that’s why its pointless to waste time on such silly forums and get sucked into idiotic arguments. so what books from a Christian perspective have you read?
              That is the problem, most christians are not theologians or philosophers and cannot be expected to be, so they fall prey easily to the specious arguments of atheists.
              GK Chesterton: ‘Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.’
              “better a superstitious believer than a rational unbeliever” the ends justify the means

              “Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kid of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty.” – Chesterton
              Ofcourse, atheists don’t believe in sin or cannot logically believe anything is objectively morally wrong if they have any depth to them, but claiming intellectual sophistication by picking on grammar and spelling instead of what its intended to communicate shows a very arrogant and childish perspective. I am not trying to use big terms, and if they are big terms to you, that reflects on your level of normal discourse. The words are appropriate and I cannot think of a better substitute.
              Plus, I don’t have time to sit here and chat nonsense, I am in the middle of medical residency, if you cannot get the point, ignore it.

              “I quote others to better express myself” – Montaigne

            • Elemenope

              so its fools arguing with fools. that’s why its pointless to waste time on such silly forums and get sucked into idiotic arguments.

              So what exactly are you doing here, then?

            • Jabster

              “Ofcourse, atheists don’t believe in sin or cannot logically believe anything is objectively morally wrong if they have any depth to them, but claiming intellectual sophistication by picking on grammar and spelling instead of what its intended to communicate shows a very arrogant and childish perspective.”

              “sunny day, you cant even spell farie tales, how dare you talk about comprehension. projection, what makes you the psychiatrist.”

              … erm, very interesting.

            • Ty

              “So what exactly are you doing here, then?So what exactly are you doing here, then?”

              Posting an idiotic argument?

            • Sunny Day

              “Ofcourse, atheists don’t believe in sin or cannot logically believe anything is objectively morally wrong if they have any depth to them, but claiming intellectual sophistication by picking on grammar and spelling instead of what its intended to communicate shows a very arrogant and childish perspective.”

              “sunny day, you cant even spell farie tales, how dare you talk about comprehension. projection, what makes you the psychiatrist.”

              Yeah Jabster, it’s as if once Julian was caught plagiarizing it opted for the strategy of allowing others to speak for him. Sadly, harnessing multiple dead batteries in series isn’t much of an improvement over the single.

        • Nox

          “I have not met ONE atheist that has read any books from the Christian or for that matter any religions point of view.”

          That’s odd. I have not met one christian who has read the bible.

          • Julian

            that’s probably why your lost in defending nothingness.
            You don’t judge a religion by those that fail to practice it.
            what books from the Christian perspective have you read?

        • Sunny Day

          “Nox, no I am not aware of CS Lewis along those lines.” – Not surprising, theists steal unattributed ideas from each other all the time, and the song and dance of “without an outside source of morality there can be no good”, is very old. Unfortunately, if you are going that way, the argument for God as an outside source of morality is circular.

          “What I am saying is you have no right to tell me its wrong.” – Shure we do, everyone has a right to tell others why they don’t approve of their actions.

          “Why is it wrong?” – Because man is a cooperative social animal, this is backed up by Biology and the Environment. When you take actions that harm another or a group it makes you less and less trustworthy.

          “Is it in the Atheist book of beliefs?” – No matter how hard you try to claim otherwise, There is no Book of Atheist Beliefs.

          “And even if its wrong, why should I not do it?” – You shouldn’t do it because as people trust you less and less the benefits you are able to draw from society decrease.

          “I’ll do whatever is best for me and gives me the best result” – Good to see you stop plagiarizing! You changed your behavior based on the reactions of the social environment you are interacting with.

          “I’m not worried about being arrested, why should I not do it?” – Many criminals in Jail/Prison think that way. That’s what happens when the trustworthiness of an individual drops below a certain point.

          Respect? – Strawman fall down, go Boom.

          • Julian

            You prove my point. So morality is based on whats best for you. So, If I think I will not be caught by others, therefore my trustworthiness does not go down and I have no harm to my reputation, I should go ahead and do it right? cheat on my wife if i think she won’t find out? why, not life is short, have an affair. cheat on a test if i can get away with it? So if there is no chance of getting caught and no harm to myself as I can see, I should go ahead and do it right? If no trustworthiness and no decrease in benefits from society.
            Such a morality is selfish anyway and has no virtue in it. Just for the benefit of me? Why should I risk my life and try to save a stranger from drowning if no one is around? There is no harm to my social reputation and I can quite overcome any darwinian instincts with good reasons or rationalizations.

            You can state your opinion saying its wrong, but does not make it wrong. It is just a baseless opinion based on nothing. Just because something lessens your trustworthiness or social reputation is the criteria for what is wrong? So if people are not around and I will not be caught anything goes right? What if I don’t care about being trustworthy, what if I am a dictator with all the power I need and don’t really care about what others think of me? Should I practice eugenics? I know many atheists who support that and racism, what makes it wrong for all atheists?

            Why would I claim there is an atheist book of beliefs, I know there isn’t one and cannot be one no matter how hard you guys try to come up with objective principles. there is no consensus to morality among atheists its logically impossible.

            Old arguments don’t make it wrong, that’s the fallacy of chronological snobbery. Has it been proven wrong? I don’t think so. Just specious and verbose arguments of atheists don’t make it so. There is not one argument that the atheists have made in recent years that could not have been made thousands of years ago, and in fact was made. What new arguments are there that could not have been made hundreds of years ago? I find the classical atheists in the line of Neitzche, much more consistent that the neo-atheists and their sophistry.

            • trj

              > “So morality is based on whats best for you.”

              No, it certainly is not. Moral values are determined by society, and what’s more, these values are usually agreed upon by a consensus in the society. This is more or less the opposite of what you’re trying to claim with your silly “anything goes” strawman. (And please don’t try to pretend that you’re just restating what Sunny Day said – that is clearly not the case).

              Morality is subject to change over time, and there’s no cheat sheet giving correct or absolute answers despite what believers like to claim, but that doesn’t mean atheists don’t recognize or adhere to the prevalent moral codes. Neither does this absence of ready-made answers mean atheists base their values on nothing.

              You like to expound on how atheists base their values on nothing. Unfortunately for you, though, your puffed up deliberations don’t really have anything to do with how people actually think and act in the real world.

            • Sunny Day

              I love the smell of strawman in the morning, it smells like theist stupidity.

            • Julian

              Atheists adhere to moral codes when it accidentally coincides with what is in their self-interest. That is not morality that is selfishness. There is no reason to act against your own self interest. Why risk your life and save a stranger from drowning?

              What makes anything wrong? Why is it wrong in the first place? What is morals? What is good? Are you telling me all atheists agree on these things, and on what basis. Saying that you adhere to what is socially prevalent says you have no moral code so you just follow other people’s standards. So what is you lived in a cannibalistic society or one that practiced child sacrifice? Would you adhere to the consensus in the society? If your moral code is based on something instead of nothing, what is it? Or are you just copying the moral code of the society while it benefits you in the moment? What ought you to do?

              Just because you do something because its practical does not mean its logical. There is no logical basis, that is why atheists don’t like to think so deeply on this issue and just go with what is practical.

              What about Peter Singer, the atheist ethicist at Princeton who advocates bestiality since “we are all apes anyway”. He is saying nothing that is not CONSISTENT with his atheistic worldview. He equates human life with all life so does not consider it wrong. Why is your view better than his? Why is bestiality wrong if you are in a society that its the consensus? Or do you just follow whatever your society says. What makes a society right as opposed to wrong, are the masses always right?

              Is there need of law enforcement in a completely atheistic society?
              Is there need of military forces between completely atheistic societies?

              How people really act is not based on logic. Logically, I am saying that atheist morality is the biggest nonsense thing I have ever heard. A big draw of atheism, whether conscious of it or not, is the freedom to do what they want. Answer specifically the questions I posed. You cannot, the only thing that you can say is that atheists adhere to morality on practical basis because it’s beneficial to them. That’s not morality, that’s narcissism.

              What is evil? Do you believe in evil?

            • Bender

              Atheists adhere to moral codes when it accidentally coincides with what is in their self-interest. That is not morality that is selfishness. There is no reason to act against your own self interest. Why risk your life and save a stranger from drowning?

              Julian, you’re so stupid you don’t even know what you’re arguing about. Risking your life for a stranger is not morality, is heroism.

              What makes anything wrong? Why is it wrong in the first place? What is morals? What is good? Are you telling me all atheists agree on these things, and on what basis.

              Whatever causes unnecesary suffering to another person is wrong. I don’t know if other atheists agree, but I do know theists don’t agree in every moral issue either.

              Is there need of law enforcement in a completely atheistic society?
              Is there need of military forces between completely atheistic societies?

              Yes, since those things are unrelated.

              Logically, I am saying that atheist morality is the biggest nonsense thing I have ever heard.

              You’re right here. Morality has nothing to do with the existence of mythological creatures.

              A big draw of atheism, whether conscious of it or not, is the freedom to do what they want.

              That’s one of the most moronic prejudices you theist have. So we choose not to believe in your sky daddy so we can go on a criminal rampage. Yeah, that would explain the overwhelming rate of atheists in prisons: 0,21%
              http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm

            • Custador

              Oh, Julian:-

              “Atheists adhere to moral codes when it accidentally coincides with what is in their self-interest. That is not morality that is selfishness. There is no reason to act against your own self interest. Why risk your life and save a stranger from drowning?”

              Want to compare notes on how many lives I’ve either helped save as part of a team or have directly saved all by my lonesome? In my case it’s hundreds by now. But I’m an atheist! So by your logic I must be getting some selfish gain from preventing all of these vulnerable people from dying, right? Um…. No. I’m still a student nurse – I don’t even get paid for it. What’s your total, Theist Boy?

            • Jabster

              @Julian

              Well I’ve read a few of your posts and as far as I can tell you’re either a) a very, stupid prat or b) a somewhat deluded stupid prat … which is it?

            • trj

              Atheists adhere to moral codes when it accidentally coincides with what is in their self-interest.

              And you know this… how, exactly?

              Saying that you adhere to what is socially prevalent says you have no moral code so you just follow other people’s standards.

              No. What I’m saying is that over time societies gradually shift their moral values. The members of those societies, atheists and theists alike, adapt along with it. You like to pretend there are definitive answers to what constitutes morality, but it’s a simple fact that much of what was considered moral in the past is today considered immoral. We can look at the societal rules your precious Bible sets down to see just one example this, but there are thousands others.

              Or do you just follow whatever your society says. What makes a society right as opposed to wrong, are the masses always right?

              No, the consensus is not always morally justified. I was merely emphasising the consensus as a counterpoint to your silly individualistically centered “atheism equals anything goes and I have only my self-interest in mind” strawman – which you still cling on to. But by all means, let’s take a closer look at the consensus issue.

              People are shaped by the society they live in or grow up in, but we should not automatically accept the opinion of the majority as being moral. That would be stupid. Fortunately, many people have opposed the majority in moral issues. Otherwise we’d still be stuck with slavery, no votes for women, racial segregation, rampant homophobia, etc.

              Most people no longer support those things, and there are many reasons they don’t, but I like to think that the main reason is because of human empathy and a sense of fairness. It’s pretty obvious that discriminating and treating people like second class members of society causes a lot of human misery. Most of us are able to empathize with how others feel when they’re treated so, and we know very well we wouldn’t like to be treated like that ourselves.

              Empathy is actually a great basis for morality, and atheists have it, just as everyone else. To claim that atheists always just have their own interests at heart is just plain stupid, not to mention dishonest. In fact, I’d say that atheists, not weighed down by religious dogma, much of which is intolerant and discriminating and, yes, immoral, have a better prerequisite for determining what is moral than many believers do.

              Empathy is probably the main basis for my own personal sense of morals. Although, I doubt my sense of empathy has anything to do with my being an atheist. But at least my atheism allows me to take a critical look at the various religious claims to moral authority. And I see that I can safely discard most of them, and what is worth keeping requires no gods to enforce it.

              You ask me/us to define evil. I can’t give you an absolute definition (and neither can you), but a few examples of what I consider evil would be to steal from someone, or hurt them for no reason, or refuse to help someone in acute need of help.

              See? Empathy. Even though empathy is pliable it’s a great constant basis for defining morality in a changeable society.

              But since you believe that atheists only become atheists in order to be able to intellectually justify behaving in whatever atrocious way they want and not be held accountable (by the god they must believe in after all?), I doubt you’re able to understand this simple point.

            • Nox

              “So, If I think I will not be caught by others, therefore my trustworthiness does not go down and I have no harm to my reputation, I should go ahead and do it right?”

              Uh you were “caught by others”. Numerous times. Custador caught you plagiarizing. I caught you about to plagiarize (and within 24 hours you proved me right).

              The issue here is not morality (and didn’t you just claim to be “a moral nihilist). It is that you clearly aren’t smart enough to be trying to get away with things. If you cheated on your wife you would use your credit card to rent the motel room. If you were a dictator you would spend your entire defense budget on candy and be overthrown. Forget the atheist book of morality that you claimed existed and then claimed you would never claim the existence of. If you can’t understand why credibility is important for someone who wishes to make an argument, or that you sabotage your own credibility when you plagiarize others, you don’t need morality, you need a helmet.

            • Julian

              It is clear your not smart enough to grasp sarcasm, I’m sorry, I assumed you have reached the age of abstract reasoning. I love how atheists try to claim intellectual superiority, luckily I have no insecurities whatsoever in that department, but I don’t become arrogant because of it. So let me spell things out for you, since my “faith” in your abilities was wrong. And, either way, an argument can be valid and be analyzed on its own, with no bearing on the standing of the person saying it. So instead of evading the questions and resorting to ad hominem arguments, I suggest you use whatever mental capacity you have and ponder the questions. I am not talking about specific instances but the basis of objective morality.

              Let’s talk about someone in general instead so that you don’t get lost so easily.
              What is wrong with cheating on their wife if someone is smart enough to get away with it and is willing to take the risk that they will not be caught?
              Why should someone risk their life to save a stranger?
              Why should someone act against his own self interest even if it harms someone else, even if no one is around and he can get away with it?
              Why should someone not steal from his employer knowing that he won’t get caught?
              In all these cases we are assuming that social standing, trustworthiness, and credibility will not be affected.

            • Elemenope

              Julian,

              On the practical side of morality, being an unmitigated ass makes it less likely that people will want to engage with you substantively, thus narrowing your prospects for eudaemonia (flourishing), as well as that of those around you.

            • Siberia

              Should I practice eugenics? I know many atheists who support that and racism, what makes it wrong for all atheists?

              I know many religious people support that as well. In fact, many of them are Christians, what with the whole millennium we had of Christianity and slavery, misogyny and all that rot. It wasn’t better then as it is now, but it surely didn’t stop religious people, nor god (since he does command slaves to obey their masters, after all, and the massacre of whole tribes, for no particular reason other than they were there).

              We, as a society, think it’s wrong not because some Awesome Creature magicked these rules into existence, but because we, the people, think it’s wrong because we have a modicum of empathy and wouldn’t like it done to ourselves. Because we’ve seen the consequences of such acts. I wouldn’t cheat because I wouldn’t like to be cheated on, and I would not willingly hurt a person I love. It kind of terrifies me that religious people only do what’s right because they’re under threat of Magic Being, not because it’s, y’know, not a cool thing to do to your fellows.

            • Sunny Day

              People discover morality in spite of religion, not because of it.

            • Siberia

              Yeah, pretty much.

            • Julian

              You don’t judge a religion by those that fail to practice it.
              No christian doctrine supports racism or eugenics. Don’t commit the fallacy of analyzing a religion by its practitioners, study the official teaching and doctrines. But without God, everything is permitted, and there should be no reason why not. If I’m an atheist, why should I believe that racism or eugenics is wrong. Darwin offered no permanent basis for ethics, in fact he stated that our moral faculties were based on social instincts rooted in our biology. No objection at all to overcoming them with reason. Why do we have to follow our instincts, I have no obligation towards them, and anyone who does is foolish. To claim that there is a right and wrong without God has no basis in logic, and let’s imagine that there is a right and wrong, why in the world do you have to do what is right? Why cannot you do what is wrong if you feel like it?
              The only respectable atheist is one who lives without any rules, not arbitrarily created and self-imposed ones. Atleast their being logical.

            • Elemenope

              You don’t judge a religion by those that fail to practice it.

              Why not? One of the primary claims of religion generally is that following it tends to make people better people. A general failure of religious people to bear out this claim empirically is relevant to judging the religion’s efficacy in the ethical realm.

              No christian doctrine supports racism or eugenics.

              Throw in the word “currently” and you might actually be close to correct.

              …study the official teaching and doctrines.

              Which ones? Who officiates? By what standards? How is their authority in turn justified?

              But without God, everything is permitted…

              Thanks, Dostoevsky. Unfortunately you are mistaking a literary point for a philosophical one, and even more foolishly substituting that observation for the actual actions and points-of-view of actual atheists.

              Darwin offered no permanent basis for ethics…

              Considering he was a biologist and not an ethicist, this is not in any way surprising. Any expectation to the contrary would be fairly misplaced.

        • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

          Interesting…and where did you receive your Ph.D. in Religion from, Julian?

          • Julian

            I’m an autodidact. What about the pseudo-intellectuals here?

            • Elemenope

              I’m an autodidact.

              That explains the rampant category errors and misunderstandings of doctrines and thinkers you quote. You know, occasionally, guidance from experts is actually useful; it helps to curb misunderstandings before they fester and infect the wider scope of your thinking.

            • Revyloution

              Exactly. Imagine how different Ayn Rand would have been if she had taken a graduate degree in philosophy before she tried to write novels :)

            • Elemenope

              She would have been, somewhat ironically, both more and less readable. More, because she might have actually understood her “influences”, less, because philosophers in general are not good examples to emulate when trying to write clearly. :)

            • LRA

              I got my degree in Philosophy from Univ. of Texas. I got degree in Psychology from Tx. A&M. I got my degree in neurobiology from Columbia.

              Now that that’s out of the way,

              “No christian doctrine supports racism or eugenics.”

              Don’t be ridiculous. Christians in the American South during the Civil War used the Bible to support slavery. The bible has plenty of passages on slavery as well as passages on the genocide of Israel’s enemies. The passages clearly indicate that God commanded these things. The terms “racism” and “eugenics” are modern inventions. However, the Bible is clear that certain peoples were not to be left alive with the possible exception of their virginal daughters who were to be enslaved. In other words, Israel’s enemies were to be murdered or bred out of existence.

              “Don’t commit the fallacy of analyzing a religion by its practitioners, study the official teaching and doctrines. But without God, everything is permitted, and there should be no reason why not.”

              You are mistaking social constructivism for unmitigated relativism. That is a very intellectually unsophisticated move.

              “If I’m an atheist, why should I believe that racism or eugenics is wrong. Darwin offered no permanent basis for ethics,”

              *sigh* You clearly don’t understand genetics. The biological reason that eugenics is wrong is because it reduces genetic variation. Besides that, Darwin’s project was SCIENTIFIC, not PHILOSOPHICAL.

              “in fact he stated that our moral faculties were based on social instincts rooted in our biology.”

              Citation, please.

              “No objection at all to overcoming them with reason. Why do we have to follow our instincts, I have no obligation towards them, and anyone who does is foolish.”

              Empathy is an instinct. We have mirror neurons that make it so.

              “To claim that there is a right and wrong without God has no basis in logic, and let’s imagine that there is a right and wrong, why in the world do you have to do what is right? Why cannot you do what is wrong if you feel like it?”

              *double sigh* Right and wrong is socially constructed and evolves over time. All you have to do is look at history to see that this is correct. You claim moral absolutism, but yet, I guarantee that if I scrutinized your life, you’d practice situational ethics…. just like everybody else.

              “The only respectable atheist is one who lives without any rules, not arbitrarily created and self-imposed ones. Atleast their being logical.”

              Again. Rules aren’t arbitrary, they are socially constructed. People aren’t born into vacuums, they are born into environments that shape them… wow! That sounds kinda like what Darwin said! Gee!

            • Julian

              Following a religion tends to make better people if they FOLLOW it. Not if they don’t follow it. If a Christian supports racism or eugenics, he is practically atheist in his beliefs concerning those things. Judge a Christian who is following his religion completely, or judge those things that he does that are in accordance with the religion, and then you can see a true picture of what Christ taught. The religion’s efficacy in the ethical realm is perfect if you are a perfect Christian, but human nature being what it is, it is a constant striving for perfection.

              What Christian doctrine in the past supported racism or eugenics? Well, I do not want to get into Christian ecclesiology, but I believe the Catholic Church is the official Church founded by Christ and the authority is the guarantee he gave to the Church as his body, by giving divine protection of the Holy Spirit in not making error in doctrine and teaching till then end of time (indefectibility and infallibility). “to be deep in history is to cease to be protestant” – John Henry Newman. If Christ, did not begin an official church that has authority to determine orthodoxy, he was foolish, the Catholic church has existed from the beginning and the thousands of denominations are heresies that began in the 16th Century reformation. We are seeking union with Eastern Orthodoxy. The Church is supposed to be One. But please do not get into that, I am trying to end this discussion as soon as possible and do not want to get into other topics. If you are really interested I can direct you where to get further information. Official Catholic dogma (deposit of faith) has never changed, cannot change and will never change. Racism, eugenics, none of that. If it ever does I will renounce Christianity because that is the promise Christ has made. The Bible can be interpreted to mean anything, even atheists can interpret the Bible and claim that Jesus is not a God. You need an official interpreter and that is what Christ gave as the Catholic Church. The Church has NEVER TAUGHT racism or eugenics. And most protestants don’t either. Did not Darwin’s cousin Galton come up with Eugenics? Was that inconsistent with his worldview? I can name many names of those that support eugenics and they are all atheists. Name a christian eugenicist?

              So, how do atheists agree on what is moral? What makes anything right or wrong? What if I put my pleasure above others pain and my guilt? Who are you to tell me I should sacrifice my pleasures for the sake of others? They are just an aggregation of atoms soon to be gone anyway. What if my idea of a good life is schadenfreude? Who officiates? By what standards? How is their authority in turn justified? I know many atheistic philosophical schools of thought that advocate all kinds of things, including pleasure at any cost and the right to do what one has the might to do. What about Peter Singer? What about Max Stirmer and egoistic anarchism? Those views are completly consistent with their atheism, they are not being contradictory or going against what they are supposed to do at all.

              Without God everything is permitted is true, How does it conflict with an atheistic worldview? Why should everything not be permitted logically, not for practical reasons. I cannot see how it conflicts with believing that we are all just random aggregations of atoms. Can you please tell me why everything should not be permitted if I’m an atheist and I am very selfish?

              Yes, but many atheists derive their worldview from Darwin’s evolutionary mechanisms. Isn’t survival of whoever is closest to you more important than survival of those unrelated, is that not inherent racism? Didn’t he believe in the superiority of men over women due to sexual selection? Does this not have to accepted if we accept the theory of evolution?

              My undergraduate degree was in philosophy. I am pursuing my MD, and through the courses in Psychiatry I am exposed to many philosophical and psychological writings on both the nature of man as well as the thought process. I have taken courses on logic and critical thinking. What is my misunderstanding? Atheists cannot claim a moral basis and that is a logical fact. Plus, courses in philosophy depends on the bias of the professor, maybe it is better to learn on your own.

              What books have you read from the Christian perspective? Maybe your being too influenced by just reading one side.

              How is the biological reason eugenics is wrong if it creates a superior race and gets rid of weaker genes? What if socially it is better?
              What if I am born into a society that practices cannibalism and rape? Does that make it right to do? Or is it always wrong no matter what and what basis? Situational ethics is not based on anything, that is my point.

            • Custador

              Oh, I see – you’re a true Scottsman.

            • LRA

              Julian- you clearly did not read my post. I addressed these points already, but you just regurgitated what you already said.

              Your arguments are not very sophisticated and are based on authority, not observation. You need to go back and read the primary sources in history. You need to read the bible cover to cover. You need to read about the history of science and you need to read about the ongoing problems that dogmatic religious practitioners cause for the forward progress of science.

              Since you claim to have a degree in philosophy, let me point you toward a source that discusses the arguments in a nuanced way…

              http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-science/

              http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/

            • LRA

              Oh… and since eugenics seems to be your go-to example, you might want to actually understand its history.

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

              To be clear, eugenics was practiced not just for racial reasons. “Promiscuous” women were sterilized… gee, I wonder why women who enjoy their bodies might be denied the right to have children???

            • LRA

              “The notion of segregating people considered unfit to reproduce dates back to antiquity. For example, the Old Testament describes the Amalekites – a supposedly depraved group that God condemned to death. Concerns about environmental influences that might damage heredity – leading to ill health, early death, insanity, and defective offspring – were formalized in the early 1700s as degeneracy theory.”

              http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/html/eugenics/essay2text.html

            • Nox

              How did I not guess that Julian was arguing on behalf of the catholic church? It seems so obvious now.

              The church that gave us the Inquisition and the Crusades is the reason we should be moral? We should be moral because the hitler youth alumnus who has protected priests who raped children says we should be moral?

              We should not practice eugenics because the church whose missionaries kidnapped, baptized and murdered infants by the thousands upon first entering the new world, and who are currently telling people in Africa that AIDS is caused by condoms, and supported the Holocaust, has an objective moral concern about racism?

              We should expose ourselves to a wide range of opinion because that is what the holy mother church intended with the Index Librorum Prohibitorum and all those book burnings?

              We should not commit murder because the institution that has literally murdered more people than any other single entity in history teaches us that killing is wrong except when they occasionally tell us to march to Jerusalem and murder the entire civilian population?

              We should not commit rape because that is a special privilege that god intended for priests?

              Is this the objective morality you are trying to argue for here?

              “Official Catholic dogma (deposit of faith) has never changed, cannot change and will never change. Racism, eugenics, none of that. If it ever does I will renounce Christianity because that is the promise Christ has made.”

              So if I show you a couple dozen examples of papal decrees overturning previously held “official catholic dogma” then you will renounce christianity right? I mean if you can’t trust your official interpreter, then how would you ever know the true objective difference between right and wrong? I mean the church told you that Jesus promised the church would always be right, and even though you’ve never looked it up, you’re pretty sure they’re telling the truth. If Pope Urban VIII says the Sun revolves around the Earth, then Galileo must be wrong. So there’s no way the church could change it’s officially held position on anything. Let alone something as heretical as evolution…

              “New findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”
              -Pope John Paul II
              -October 23rd 1996

            • LRA

              I would like to add that, according to the Old Testament, God is the ultimate eugenicist… he wiped out all of mankind (considered undesirable) in the “Great Flood”, with the exception of Noah and his family.

              Julian, you just can’t win this one.

            • trj

              according to the Old Testament, God is the ultimate eugenicist… he wiped out all of mankind…

              Yeah, but you’re forgetting that whenever God commits an atrocity it is always perfectly moral. Somehow.

            • John C

              TRJ/LRA (two of my fav’s!)

              I touched on the flood myth’s higher meaning here w/respect to the new creation, Christ’s work on the cross, his side pierced, why 8 souls ‘saved’, what Noah’s name means (grace/rest) etc:

              http://unreasonablefaith.com/2009/05/16/noahs-dilemma-t-shirt/#comment-118804

              I would also add Nahum 1:8 saying ‘but with an overflowing flood (God) will make a full end of His adversaries and will pursue His enemies (in us, that which remains in the fallen, false and corrupted image in Adam the transgressor) into darkness’.

              The NT tells us that the OT stories are merely ‘types & shadows’ leading us to the higher, better new covenant realities that are ours now in Christ. There is so much beauty in them, wish you knew the truth behind them.

              All the best.

            • Sunny Day

              I guess thats the game john’s playing. Quote the bible when he needs to and then tell everyone not to trust it when he doesn’t want us to. Just like every other christard we’ve met.

            • trj

              Whenever something in the Bible is too ridiculous to take seriously or too repugnant to agree with, it invariably turns out that it’s just an allegory.

              Full-scale genocide? Why, it’s a beautiful allegory of man’s nature. Instructions for ritualised abortion? An allegory for… something. Commandments for burning witches and killing gays? Allegories. God boasting that he shall utterly destroy the city of Samaria, dashing the infants in pieces and ripping up the pregnant women? An allegory, wouldn’t you know it. And all perfectly loving and moral. Somehow.

            • John C

              You don’t want to know friend, so I’ll stop bothering you with all my ‘nonsense’ about the love of God, the deeper meanings and insights behind those (seemingly) ugly OT ‘types & shadows’ so you can just go back to believing what you want to believe, my apologies.

            • Ty

              “The NT tells us that the OT stories are merely ‘types & shadows’ leading us to the higher, better new covenant realities that are ours now in Christ. ”

              Yep, cuz nothing works better as an object lesson than genocide.

            • Sunny Day

              “You don’t want to know friend, ”

              We do want to know “friend”. You tell us to trust the bible, and then later on say don’t trust the bible. When we ask the obvious questions you (only sometimes) apologies, throw up your hands and run away.

              Is it our fault for asking questions? Or, no matter how simple you claim it is to understand, is it your fault for not being able to explain it to us?

              Maybe you should take some more time away while you think those things through and come back when you can answer some simple questions.

            • Nox

              I draw my morality from a principle I like to call enlightened self interest. The basic idea is that I believe we are all in this together. And thus what you do unto others, you do unto yourself. You see, I do love my neighbor as myself. And not because a particular prophet or holy book has instructed me that I should. But because my neighbor is myself. I love my neighbor as myself because even though my neighbor is a dick, and I f*cking hate him, I still realize that we ultimately share the same fate. Cooperation based on universal empathy is in everyone’s best interest with or without a god stamping the rule as golden. I want to make the world a better place. Not because I am a selfless person. I want to make the world a better place because I selfishly want the world I live in to be a better place.

              You see Julian, Darwin sort of did offer a permanent basis for ethics. Its called natural selection.

              As LRA & LMNOP already pointed out, Darwin’s work was of a scientific nature. He was not trying to give people a reason to be moral. He was trying to give people a more accurate account of the origin of species. But in doing so he gave us “principle by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved”. If this principle is understood it explains not only the origin of our species, but the origin of many of the behaviors common to our species.

              Like empathy. Which I tend to think of as a much more useful word than morality. If it helps you can just think of it as the golden rule.

              Tribes which had better cooperation between their members have always tended to flourish more than tribes where everyone looked out for their own interests at the expense of the tribe (or to put that a different way “being an unmitigated ass makes it less likely that people will want to engage with you substantively, thus narrowing your prospects”, thanks LMNOP). The key thing you have to remember about empathy is that it is based on seeing yourself in the other (you remember those mirror neurons LRA mentioned?). This is why it has historically been so much easier for humans to be empathic to those that are like themselves. And so much harder to be empathic to people who are not like us. We are forever in conflict with the other people. The people with the other language, the people with the other god, the people with the other skin color, the people from the other side of the river.

              Take a moment to think about why you feel the way you do about atheists.

              The basic empathic unit is the immediate family. As I said, we are empathic to those who we can empathize with. And we empathize best with those that we see as extensions of ourselves. Obviously the easiest person to see as yourself is your own family. Any early humans who were not able to empathize with at least their own immediate family would not have survived or spread to join with other families to form tribes and towns. They would have abandoned (or killed) their children the first time they cried (I told you this tied into natural selection). Those who joined these tribes but were unable or unwilling to extend empathy to their other members of their tribe would be shunned, banished or killed. The ones who cooperated and were seen as valuable and helpful members of the community were welcomed into these communities. Each slight variation, if useful, was preserved. And just like that morality was born. At first it was mostly tribal, then later nationalistic. But more evolved systems of morality tend to focus on global interests, with the realization that as the world gets smaller, we will share each other’s fate. But the basic premise behind this is simply empathy. Feeling concern for our fellow man. For those who are more enlightened, our fellow man means everyone (not just men). For the less sophisticated systems our fellow man is our fellow tribesman, our fellow American, our fellow Israelite, our fellow muslim or our fellow christian.

              Why should you do unto others as you would have done unto you? Because it is what you would have done unto you. Why should you love your neighbor as yourself? Because your neighbor is yourself. Why should you risk your life to save someone who is drowning? Because his life is yours. Why should you be moral if there is no god? Because two people can bring down bigger game than one.

            • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

              I hold a Ph.D. in Religion from Vanderbilt University, Julian. You’ll find that most of us here know far more about your religion than you do.

          • Revyloution

            Elemenope has a cute comment below, but I need to put the slap down on you Skippy. Julian has arguments above that are filled with logical holes. You don’t need to resort to attacking his education. It’s easy enough to tear apart the arguments.

            There are plenty of people who lack a PHD who make quite lucid and clear ideas. There are also people who earned their PHD who make horrible, fallacious arguments.

            Earning a degree is a great way to attain knowledge, but it isn’t a guarantee of clear thinking.

            • Elemenope

              There are plenty of people who lack a PHD who make quite lucid and clear ideas. There are also people who earned their PHD who make horrible, fallacious arguments.

              Isn’t that the truth! Still, having training allows a person to avoid the more obvious errors. The errors of experts in their fields tend to be subtle and idiosyncratic rather than obvious and common.

            • Julian

              What are the errors, what are the holes, name them?

              If you are an atheist you are free to do whatever you want you just have to face the consequences. That is not morality. That is whatever ultimately works out best for you. Even if you are concerned for others, it is pointless, what is the point of it? Why? Why waste your time? If it makes you feel good, then again, it is selfish.

              Do all atheists agree on morality?
              Is it okay to eat animals? Why, or should we all become vegetarians?
              What about cannibalism since we are animals as well? Why do I have to follow social norms, lets say I really don’t care about what others think and I’m suicidal anyway. Is there anything wrong with suicide?
              No one has answered any of the specific questions. Just evading them in all ways possible.

            • LRA

              No, we are not free to do whatever we want. You act as if the only moral authority that ever existed was the bible. So, in essence, you are concluding that the moral systems that pre-date the bible, such as Eastern religions, have no morality in them! Think about that for a moment.

              Secondly, you assume that morality is simple and has a set of answers that are alway correct in every circumstance. I’m sorry, but simple answers are for simple people. Life is complex, and thus requires a complex approach to morality to deal with it effectively. But let me answer you point by point…

              “If you are an atheist you are free to do whatever you want you just have to face the consequences. That is not morality. That is whatever ultimately works out best for you. Even if you are concerned for others, it is pointless, what is the point of it? Why? Why waste your time? If it makes you feel good, then again, it is selfish.”

              You are wrong here. Any person regardless of their religious/philosophical persuasion answers to other people and has natural consequences for their behavior. Period. End of story. There are laws in place that make this so. As a society, we develop the laws that we abide by, and this process evolves over time. It allows for social cohesion in the face of vast philosophical differences between people. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why a person abides by his or her society’s code of conduct, and in fact sometimes people must stand up to society’s norms in order to move society in a direction that adheres to that society’s claimed values (the US bases it’s legal values on the Constitution, not the bible, for instance).

              “Do all atheists agree on morality?”

              LOL! Do all christians agree on morality? The question is absurd!

              “Is it okay to eat animals? Why, or should we all become vegetarians?
              What about cannibalism since we are animals as well?”

              That is a question that has roots in beliefs about sentience and economics– sentience is a question that science deals with on a pretty regular basis, and economics addresses best uses of resources for a population. Neither of these requires a biblical account of what to eat. Cannibalism has been shown by science to be bad for people as it transmits diseases– Jacob-Crutchfield comes to mind. Even so, we go back to questions of sentience. I have already pointed out that empathy is a built in feature of social creatures… via mirror neurons.

              “Why do I have to follow social norms, lets say I really don’t care about what others think”

              Do what you like, but keep in mind that you will suffer the legal consequences of your behavior regardless of your personal beliefs.

              “and I’m suicidal anyway. Is there anything wrong with suicide?”

              Suicide is complicated, like any other ethical issue. Here, educate yourself:

              http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/suicide/

              http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/euthanasia-voluntary/

              “No one has answered any of the specific questions. Just evading them in all ways possible.”

              LOL! That is not true at all. You just won’t accept our answers because you are dogmatic about your beliefs.

            • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

              Revy, the reason I asked the question–and yes, I asked it in a sarcastic fashion and make no apologies for it–is because Julian asserts authority and knowledge about Christianity and claims that atheists know “nothing” about his religion. Again, the sarcasm in the question is–and at this point, explaining the sarcasm involved kinda ruins it–is that Julian must have some form of credentialed mastery of this field, since he asserts that he knows more about Christianity than we do.

  • Julian

    I have never met an atheist that is not misotheistic. Why is there never a chance for dialectics. Their emotional investment in their worldview clouds their mind. so called rationalists are the most emotionally invested people i have ever met. look at all the hatred on this website. I guess that’s what it does to you, so passionate against something and nothing to live for.
    how come the people you agree with are not trolling? I guess because they agree with you. how impartial. they have stated the same antagonistic things, if not more, with profanity inserted than I have.

    • Elemenope

      I have never met an atheist that is not misotheistic.

      Nice to meet you.

      • Custador

        Ummm….. Why should I hate God? That makes about as much sense as hating unicorns. I might hate idiots who think they should force their six thousand year old rule-book down my throat since it was written by men but claims to be the word of God, but that’s not the same thing at all as hating God. God is just an abstract concept invented to explain away things people didn’t understand at the time when it was invented. You know, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

        • Elemenope

          I think he means misotheism in the “hating religion” sense rather than the rather more non-sensical (for atheists) “hating God” sense.

          • Custador

            Oh, I see. Is hate the same as complete contempt?

            • Elemenope

              I tend to think they are pretty close, yeah.

            • Jabster

              You need better PR Custy … now look at how a religious person would deal with the fact to prove that he doesn’t hate you. Well, we have the old classic “hate the sin not the sinner” and we can of course fall back on “I don’t want to see you burn in hell and nor does god, so any felling that I’m enjoying the thought that you’re going to be tortured for eternity (burn, you wicked sinner, burn) and I’m going to heaven (look how righteous I am) is purely projection on your part”.

            • claidheamh mor

              While they never miss an chance to type “you are in for a nasty shock when you die”. (“And I’ll finally get mine – my deserved reward for being true to my imaginary god – while I enjoy watching you get yours for challenging my beliefs bwaaaahahahaha!)

  • John C

    ‘Morality is subject to change over time’

    Quite a trade-off you’re making there TRJ. The eternal, changeless nature of God who dwells in unapproachable light for some transient, non-absolute and vague measuring stick whose mark is ever moving? No wonder we ‘miss the mark’ (harmatia) as a society, no wonder we’re plagued by the Self’s base nature agenda with all its ugly manifestations, we insist on being our own King’s so we reap the inevitable consequences and continue to wander aimlessly in the desert of human reasoning taking lap after unlearned lap never coming to the end of ourselves and ways.

    And what if that same ‘Light’ was also Love Himself and would live in and through you and I, enabling us to love our neighbors AND our enemies? Wouldn’t that be a better option than some subjective ‘morality’ of our own making? What if Love were the indwelling Standard and the Truth?

    • trj

      It is impossible for me to reconcile your claims of an unchanging god, who is the very definition of morality, with what the Bible teaches and how God himself allegedly behaves – for the reason that if God is morality incarnate his commandments would necessarily always reflect this. But reading the Bible, we find God commanding his people to kill unbelievers, homosexuals, witches, and whoever else displeases him, and permitting his followers to conquer, steal, enslave and rape. (And God himself doesn’t exactly hold back on massacring left and right, women, children, the unborn).

      And before you say that these commands are no longer in effect and they were appropriate at the time and whatever other excuses you can come up with, answer me this simple question: When would it ever have been moral to kill someone purely because of their sexuality? If you can’t answer this, you can’t in good conscience claim that God, decreeing such a thing, is perfectly moral (and I’d say this example also puts the lie to God being perfectly just and perfectly loving).

      If the Bible is a guideline for the moral values we’re supposed to follow, I’m glad that we have deviated from it. My conscience wouldn’t allow me to follow that kind of “moral”.

      • John C

        When did I ever mention the Bible TRJ? Why the game-changer? I didn’t say anything about anything external (ie bible) but rather hinted (plainly) at a new nature altogether which is mankind’s only hope and is the truth of the gospel message.

        Do I seem like the type to you that goes around killing people (or condoning such atrocities) because of their ‘sexuality’??

        • Siberia

          Still haven’t answered me why people don’t go spontaneously discovering this ‘inner truth’ of yours, JC… they all need a bit of prompting, don’t they?

          • John C

            Only in the way that most of us require the assistance of an alarm clock to ‘wake up’ from a deep (and dark) sleep dearest Sib’s.

        • trj

          You have indeed provided a satisfactory answer to my question, and the only possible answer that is consistent with your claims of a perfectly moral God: The Bible is not to be trusted as an authority on morality.

          Which leads me to ask: Why should we trust it on anything else, then?

          • John C

            We’re not asked to trust a mere ‘thing’ but rather a Person. Which begs the question: How could we ever trust someOne we don’t even know? Getting warmer now.

            • Nox

              “Which begs the question: How could we ever trust someOne we don’t even know?”

              Indeed it does. But this in turn begs the question of how we could ever know someone if all we know about him is the accounts of his life in a book we have already found untrustworthy.

              And don’t get me wrong John C. I actually kinda like your version of Jesus better than the one in the bible. I just wonder where you met him.

            • John C

              ‘I just wonder where you met him’

              The only place possible Nox, the very ‘place’ He said we would. All the best.

            • Ty

              “They’ve detected my nonsense! Emergency! Activate cryptic smoke screen!”

            • JohnMWhite

              Did you meet him while on a trip? A certain kind of trip?

              I think Nox asks a question that really deserves a proper answer. If not from the bible, where did you get the idea that there is a Jesus that you could meet? I think Ty hit the nail on the head, your response seems to be a smokescreen, but John C I would really like to see if you can provide an explicit answer.


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