The Evolving Jesus Story

The Evolving Jesus Story December 5, 2014

If the Bible story were true, it would be consistent. It wouldn’t change with time. God’s personality wouldn’t change, God’s plan of salvation wouldn’t change, and the details of the Jesus story wouldn’t change. But the New Testament books themselves document the evolution of the Jesus story. Sort them chronologically to see.

What did Paul know?

Paul’s epistles precede Mark, the earliest gospel, by almost 20 years. The only miracle that Paul mentions is the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:4). Were the miracle stories so well known within his different churches that he didn’t need to mention them? It doesn’t look like it.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles  (1 Cor. 1:22–3).

The Jews demand signs? Then give them one. Paul had loads of Jesus miracles to pick from. But wait a minute—if the Jesus story is a stumbling block to miracle-seeking Jews, then Paul must not know of any miracles.

Evolution of the story

Miracles come later, with the gospels. Looking at them chronologically, notice how the divinity of Jesus evolves. He becomes divine with the baptism in Mark; then in Matthew and Luke, he’s divine at birth; and in John, he’s divine since the beginning of time.

The four gospels were snapshots of the Jesus story as told in four different communities at four different times. The synoptic (“looking in the same direction”) gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke share much source material, and they have much overlap. Nevertheless, 35% of Luke comes uniquely from its community (such as the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son), and 20% of Matthew is unique (such as Jesus and his family fleeing to Egypt after his birth and the zombies that walked after Jesus’s death). And John is quite different from these three, having Gnostic and (arguably) Marcionite elements, reminders of important early versions of Christianity that are now gone.

Eyewitness claims

This synoptic similarity undercuts the argument that the gospels are eyewitness accounts. If the authors of Matthew and Luke were eyewitnesses, why would they copy so heavily from Mark? The authorship question (that Mark really wrote Mark, etc.) that grounds the claims that the gospels record eyewitness history is another tenuous element of the evolving story, as I’ve written before.

The gospels don’t even claim to be eyewitnesses (with the exception of a vague reference in John 21:24, in a chapter that appears to have been added by a later author). And even if they had, would that make a difference? Would tacking on “I Bartholomew was a witness to all that follows” to a gospel story make it more believable?

Would it make the story of Merlin the wizard more believable?

Eyewitness claims in noncanonical gospels

Consider some of the noncanonical (that is, rejected) gospels that include attributions. “I Simon Peter and Andrew my brother took our nets and went to the sea” is from the Gospel of Peter, and “I Thomas, an Israelite, write you this account” is from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. These gospels are rejected both by the church and by scholars despite these claims of eyewitness testimony. Why then imagine that the vague “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down; we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24) adds anything to John?

Arguing that the canonical gospels are eyewitness testimony is dangerous when apologists must want to reject other gospels that make that claim. This is one of several arguments that they clumsily try to be on both sides of.

There are dozens of noncanonical gospels. Christian churches reject these in part because they were written late. But if we agree that the probable second-century authorship for (say) the gospels of Thomas, Judas, and James is a problem because stories change with time, then why do the four canonical gospels get a pass? If the gospel of John, written 60 years after the resurrection, is reliable despite being a preposterous story, why reject Thomas, written just a few decades later?

The answer, it seems, is simply that Thomas doesn’t fit the mold of the flavor of Christianity that happened to win. History, even the imagined history of religion, is written by the victors.

See also: What Did the Original Books of the Bible Say?

God made everything out of nothing,
but the nothingness shows through
— Paul Valery

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 7/27/12.)

Photo credit: cesar harada

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  • Rudy R

    And not to mention the extant records we have of the Gospels are just copies of copies of copies, and so on, so the earliest texts we have probably have significant changes made to them through the copying process.

  • Yonah

    How odd. An argument against evolution, lol. Anything “true” is of Peter Pan and never grows up.

    A blunt analysis of N.T. Wright’s work presents a particular evolutionary historical fact: No doubt. Christians ramped up their arc on proclaiminig the outright deity of Jesus in tandem with their evolving understanding of how such a proclamation would utterly piss off the Roman establishment. Had the Roman Empire survived, no doubt in evolutionary time there would have been, at some point, a Caesar named Bob, but it was not to be.

    • Rudy R

      It’s even odder that you would interpret this post to be an argument against a historical evolution of the Gospels. I suggest you stop relying on Peter Pan for your reality.
      BTW, I wouldn’t quote from a historian who makes an argument for a historical “fact”, especially from a time period in the 1st Century. Only credible historians characterize an event in terms of probabilities.

      • Yonah

        The “argument” is the author’s assumption that “evolution” is pejorative as applied to anything pertaining to the Judeo-Christian tradition, when evolution has always been the Tradition’s main agenda and method. The Tradition is one of constant change, upheaval, in-fighting, and deal making-breaking-remaking. That the western wasp atheist judges this to be no way to run a religion is enough to provide much entertainment. Actually, the situation and resources to indict Christianity are far far more potent than observation of normal evolution. The early Christian movement was an absolute mess…incredibly fragmented. Most of the Pauline corpus is Paul trying to put fires out. I Cor 13 was not a wedding ceremony text, but a sermon to Christians tearing the shit out of each other. It only got worse after Paul died. Clement had to write the Corinthians about how the in-fighting had gotten worse…he included an oblique reminder to them of how Peter and Paul had been given over to the Romans out of “jealousy”…in that the topic of the letter was Christian in-fighting…you do the math. There were fights all over…gentile Christians vs Jewish Christians vs Gnostic Christians….Peter vs Paul….Paul vs. James. What fuck-ups.

        But. The Emperor Constantine had to make a deal with those fuck-ups. Splain that. Kind of trumps walkin’ on water.

        More recently. Who won? JPII or the Soviet atheists?

        And, uh. Francis and Bartholomew have big plans.

        And, Bob continues to beat a Protestant horse that is already dun dead. And nobody cares.

        • Rudy R

          Exactly where in the post is Bob displaying contempt for evolution as it pertains to the Judeo-Christian tradition?

          In the first paragraph, Bob plainly states that if the Bible story were true, it would have to be consistent and not change over time. But it’s not consistent and it changes over time in significant ways.

          It’s changed in other significant ways, than the ones Bob has laid out. In Mark, Jesus taught that justice would prevail over evil, with the coming of the Son of Man, who would lead the Kingdom on Earth and that it would happen in his generation. By the time John wrote his Gospel, it was evident, that the apocalyptic prophesy from Jesus was not going to happen during his generation, so justice would be meted out in heaven, instead of on Earth. These are significant evolutionary changes that most theists and non-theist historians agree. Since this isn’t common knowledge among Christians, there is still remnants of the horse to beat.

        • Yonah

          You want the fact of evolution to somehow be a “problem” for Christianity, when it has always been its solution. Putin now kisses icons and crosses himself.

        • Pofarmer

          You should be so proud.

        • Yonah

          Not my problem, as I’m a Jewish Methodist. But, it’s Bartholomew’s problem, and Francis’s. No doubt the Russian patriarch (who is an asshole) will find himself torn between Putin and his brother prelates…if he doesn’t have an “accident.” What could go wrong?

        • Rudy R

          Again, exactly where in the post is Bob displaying contempt for evolution as it pertains to the Judeo-Christian tradition?

        • Yonah

          You are not understanding what I have written. You think that evolution should be a problem for the credibility of the Judeo-Christian tradition, when in fact, the opposite is the case. Evolution is how the Tradition has survived and re-invents itself in said survival. Your straw man is mainline Protestantism which you did not kill off, but it killed itself by assimillating to de-Judaized gentile western culture to a point of no return…and who is weeping over it? Meanwhile, new Christian strength rises in the developing world…and among non North/Euro-centric populations coming to the US.

          I observe that Bob only takes on Protestatnt Bible Christianity, but not the Black Church, not Catholics, not Orthodox Christianity, not Pentecostals, not Jews, not Muslims. With respect to Christans in that list, I point out to you that Blacks and Latinos will be the US majority in a little over 20 years….and there’s not much atheism among them…and they’re going to be calling the shots. So, if Bob wants make fun of this or that story in the Bible, how much work does he have taking on the story of Lourdes. JPII said Mary saved him from the Soviet assassination attempt…and now the dude’s a saint to be prayed to. Did you know that the Social Security Administration reports that the most popular woman’s name over the last 100 years is Mary?

        • Pofarmer

          “Meanwhile, new Christian strength rises in the developing world..”

          Yeah, among the poor and ignorant, which has been Christianities MO forever. This is not news.

          “how much work does he have taking on the story of Lourdes.”

          Eh, healings at Lourdes fall within the statistical anomalies, and, if anything, there should be more than there are. It’s been discussed here.

        • Yonah

          Overall, Africa is much improving economically. And Christians in China are middle class. The Party is worried. Christians in Korea wield much economic and political clout.

          Lourdes is representative of a Christianity that is much wider than Bob’s former Presbyterian culture.

        • 90Lew90

          Africa is improving economically? Because of Christianity? Is that what you’re saying? Straight answer please. Ditto for China. And what about the circus at Lourdes?

        • Yonah

          I was objecting to the assertion that all folk in the developing world are poor and ignorant.

          As for Lourdes, I am being symbolic there. Bob indicts Christianity by the framework of fundamentalist Protestantism whereas, for example, some Marian devotion is extra biblical…as are many things in Judaism…for example Talmud and subsequent authoritative books on Torah such as the Schulchan Aruch.

        • 90Lew90

          Nobody asserted that “all folk in the developing world are poor and ignorant.” Knock yourself out being symbolic at Lourdes.

        • smrnda

          Last I checked, Christianity still had more lower class appeal in China, it’s just finally become acceptable among the middle class who no longer see it as so foreign, and it’s also possibly tied in with decreased restrictions on religion. Middle class people like to be respectable and stay out of trouble. If the government says ‘no church’ they don’t do church. If the government puts out a list of approved churches, then they might consider it.

          Christianity is, however declining in much of its former strongholds.

        • Yonah

          Chinese standard of living is gradually rising, so the low are not as low. The middle class increase is enough for the Chinese government to start trying to control the shape and form of Christian expression…as now they realize it’s gone too far to ban it completely.

          Yes, Christianity is in decline in Europe and North America. But, Europe and North America are in decline.

          Decline cycles are normal for the Judeo-Christian Tradition. The Tradition is of an inverse culture from the west. The Tradition gets born again when it hits bottom in a decline cycle. As they said in the early church, martyr’s blood is seed.

        • MNb

          “Chinese standard of living is gradually rising, so the low are not as low.”
          Excellent non-sequitur. “Screw the facts” is also part of your judeo-christian tradition.

          http://povertydata.worldbank.org/poverty/country/CHN

        • Erwin

          Re ‘non-sequitor’ comment:
          “…So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts…” Isaiah 55:9,11.
          ref 1Corinthians 2:11.

          John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son,

          Who is Himself God and is in
          closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.” ref John 14:7.

        • MNb

          Yeah yeah, your god overrules hard facts ‘cus the Bubble and as your god is too high and mighty to speak for himself you are his PR agent.

        • adam

          re Erwins mindless posts

        • smrnda

          I don’t really see Europe in decline. They’ve got some of the highest standards of living in the world. They do have a declining birth rate, but I see no reason to think this is ‘decline’ since high birth rate is normally incompatible with a high standard of living. I’m also in Europe quite frequently, and I have family who currently live in both the PRC and the ROC. Any evidence of this decline?

          With Christian expression, the Chinese government has just, like all governments, eventually figured out that you can’t maintain a high standard of living with a system that is too repressive, since you need educated people and those types of people tend to demand rights. This was a factor with the British in India.

          At the same time, the Chinese economy is still drive by the use of virtual slave labor, and their professionals are less of an asset than their ability to repress workers.

        • Yonah

          If you look at the Questions To the Prime Minister on BBC/PBS, what you see is the same bifurcation that exists in the US…there are two Americas, and there are two Britains…with a shrinking middle class. Ireland has been knocked back on its ass from its Celtic Tiger days. Racism has shot way up…just like in the US. The decline I allude to in both North America and Europe is one of morality and community….which also has economic implications. But, the sad reality is that all there is left on either side of the pond is just a economic apparatus that works for some, but not others. Otherwise, there is nothing to attach to for any moral reason on a national basis. Local cultures of community are the only real options for authentic life, but these do not have the power of scale to turn back the decline of western nation-statism.

          On China, I agree with you. The method you describe goes back to the Romans.

        • MNb

          I can’t refind it, but somewhere I read that in case of cancer you have a better chance to get cured spontaneously than by going to Lourdes.

        • Pofarmer

          Statistically I think that is true. I believe it is Michael Shermer book.

        • Rudy R

          I understand that you won’t answer my question. The only thing I can conclude is that you’ve painted yourself into a corner and you don’t have the integrity or maturity to admit a mistake.

        • Lark62

          Lots of people leave crutches at Lourdes. Why hasn’t anyone left an artificial leg at Lourdes instead?

        • Kodie

          It only changes because people don’t believe it so they’re essentially creating new religions based on a thread of a “tradition”. It’s easier to get newcomers on board their new religion if it seems old.

        • smrnda

          You might want to check your stats on Latinos and religious identification. In 20 years the beliefs of that demographic are likely to change.

          Mary is a popular name, has been for a long time. What does that prove? About nothing.

        • Yonah

          I conjecture that you allude to the rising number of Latinos becoming Pentecostal. I’ve assumed that fact in my comments. Again, Pentecostalism is outside the mainline and evangelical/fundamentalist Protestant world…it really is its own tribal culture that is not as susceptible to a Bob bible indictment.

        • 90Lew90

          “I conjecture that you allude to the rising number of Latinos becoming Pentecostal. I’ve assumed that fact in my comments.”

          Whatever of Pentecostals, I like the way “conjecture” and “assumption” becomes “fact” in the space of two sentences. Nice work.

        • Kodie

          Did you know that the Social Security Administration reports that the most popular woman’s name over the last 100 years is Mary?

          People name their children after a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to name them after a relative, and guess what their name probably was.

        • Greg G.

          Evolution is how the Tradition has survived and re-invents itself in said survival.

          It seems that you don’t care whether it is true but you just want to be religious. If Tradition, with a capital T, “re-invents itself”, it is just a new tradition. It is connected to the past in name only. It is accepting widhful thinking over reality.

        • Yonah

          Perhaps this will help.

          A person…a human being…changes and evolves throughout his/her whole life. They re-invent themselves through multiple crises and defeats and even victories. All of that topography is their life story. The same is true of the Judeo-Christian Tradition.

          The reason why western secularists have the notion that constancy should equate to credibility as to Judaism and Christianity is because Protestant theology and preaching has often errantly borrowed from western secularism (Greek philosophy) the notion that religion is soley about “beliefs”…or “thought”….as opposed to flesh and blood behavior/culture/community. Protestantism never achieved a sense of peoplehood comparable to that of Jews, Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christianity. Lutherans used to have it by virtue of their ethnicity, but that has faded. But, think of the Catholic situation. Vactican II rocked the Catholic world, yes. But, did it create a totally new Church? No. It was an evolution. And then came JPII and Benedict who both devolved the Church in some ways, and further evolved it in other ways. And now, no one is entirely sure of what is happening with Francis, but it looks hopeful. The interesting thing about the Catholic (just not Roman) paradigm is that you can have a lot of shit on the books, but not enforce it…because it’s up to the leadership to set the agenda….for good or bad. With a Francis character, it is hard not to think of Morris West’s book “The Shoes Of The Fisherman” (also a movie) in which a good pope “cashes in all the chips” and uses his power and the Church’s assets to avert a world war.

        • Greg G.

          Humans change because they develop as people and the world changes around them. Religion changes for the same reasons but they are not adapting to learning any more about the subject they are devoted to.

        • Yonah

          Huh? They were not people before they developed in something? People also devolve or regress (sin). They are still people. Change is not always constant, logical, forward. It can be from side to side, forwards, backwards, from inner to outer, from outer to inner…all of the above, or none of the above. It always “depends”. And people are always still people.

        • Dys

          Reading comprehension….he said “develop as people” not “develop into people”. Really…take some time and you’ll stop making such ignorant mistakes. It would also help curb your misplaced condescending tone.

        • Yonah

          “develop as people” as opposed to what?…”develop as bi-ped reptiles”?

        • Dys

          Apparently the English language presents a difficulty for you. It’s a fairly common phrase, generally meant to refer to a society’s moral and ethical development. You should get out more – it’ll help you with these basic comprehension difficulties.

        • Yonah

          Which society? There are various options.

        • Dys

          I see you’re going to continue insisting on missing the point. Shame. I can’t tell if it’s honest ignorance or more glibness from you.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know why you’re having such a problem. Nobody said anything like you’re inferring, so I think part of the problem might be what it often seems to be – reading comprehension. When I encounter someone who has trouble reading what I write or one of the other posters, I question their ability to read and comprehend the reading material of their choice, i.e. the source of the thoughts they’re sharing with us. If that is wrong, then I guess it’s wrong, but it seems fair to judge someone that way.

        • MNb

          Opposed to “develop as robots” for instance. Are you really that unimaginative?

        • Dys

          No, he’s actually very imaginative. The last time I talked with Yonah, he imagined my whole position for me, and then argued against it. And then went strangely quiet when I pointed out he was strawmanning in a thread where he was complaining about strawmanning.

        • Greg G.

          People are infants, toddlers, children, teenagers, young adults, older adults, and elderly. They are children, parents and grandparents. Their roles change every few years. It is necessary that they change.

          If the beliefs of a religion change, is it still the same religion? Religions split because of differing views. Each may consider theirs to be the continuing religion though neither considers both to be the same as the other. But both have changed from the original doctrine. The previous generations would consider both of the religions to be different than their own. Even if there is no split, the earlier believers would consider the later evolution of the religion to be different. The tradition is just something to hang on to until it is dropped for something else.

        • Yonah

          You assume that a religion is only about “beliefs”. I do not.

          I think Judaism and Christianity are something like a AAA membership. The membership covers the driver, not the car. The Judeo-Christian tradition is for people, not beliefs. (The sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for the sabbath.) But, unlike a AAA membership, the Judeo-Christian Tradition is not just an individualist membership, but communal. So. This is frustrating to the western indvidualist mind conditioned to think primarily, in all things especially religion, in terms of personal benefit…be it heaven in an afterlife or blessings in this life a la the prosperity gospel. This individualist notion was never Jewish, and Jesus established a Church with a job description to attend to others…the last first….and not a set of talking points for individualist consumption and benefit.

          In my first year of seminary, I had a internship in a Lutheran nursing home where the chaplain there was going through a good deal of personal theological confusion. For whatever reason, he had suddenly become concerned over his Communion policy…he was mulling the question as to whether he should give Communion to stroke victims because they, being cognitively diminished, did not know what the bread and wine were when given to them. They had changed, and the chaplalin could not in his mind match his “beliefs” to the change. His problem was that he had obviously forgotten that the covenant (membership) is a group plan and covers each driver no matter their vehicle or its condition. There are many changes in the Judeo-Christian Tradition’s history, but those changes are means, not ends. The “end” of the Judeo-Christian Tradition is the eschatological goal of overthrowing the culture of Death. This goal is a tribal behavioral cultural trait, not a mere “belief”. In short, the goal is entirely political. The nexus of the Jewish tradition is the Exodus. The nexus of the Christian tradition is the defeat of Caesar. It is the same story in different epochs. It is conveyed well in the words of the Advent hymn O Come O Come Immanuel:

          O come, O come, Emmanuel,
          And ransom captive Israel,
          That mourns in lonely exile here
          Until the Son of God appear.

          Note the corporate salvation, not the individual. If you think about the morality of personal benefit, one can see the problem of not limiting ones own concern for personal benefit when othersre in need.a

        • Kodie

          People change the religions to suit themselves, not the other way around. I think you’re conflating several ideas, as nobody seriously could refute that religions do change, or that religions are cultural and cultures change over time. But the core truth of a religion, if it is true should never need to change. People change the religions, people cannot live with them the way they are, or humans progress so new information is cobbled into the religions, sometimes seamlessly, and sometimes bent completely out of recognizable shape as humans adapt their religions to be “TRUE” eternal, never changing. What they are actually doing is creating a new religion every time.

          What could be the point in “revelation” over thousands of generations? People die without knowing everything, fact, but if it is their religion, it would have served them to know it while they lived. Don’t pretend religion is science where new information overtakes or enhances older information. That is kind of how reality works, nobody set it up that way. BUT IF GOD SET IT UP THAT WAY, then how can anyone at any point in time point to their beliefs and say they are true, eternal, and never-changing? They are full of shit, full of shit, and full of shit.

        • MNb

          “Protestantism never achieved a sense of peoplehood comparable to that of Jews, Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christianity. ”
          This bogus shows you know zilch about the history of protestant countries like The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. One example of an old Dutch tradition that didn’t change at all with Reformation:

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

          After WW-2 government took over these tasks, resulting in a welfare state providing a social safety net. In The Netherlands this was mainly organized by the social-democrats and christian-democrats.

        • Yonah

          There would appear to be moral difference…and a certain morality is the foundation of Judeo-Christian peoplehood. In the Dutch situation, it is one thing to render some help to fellow Dutch….and yet another thing to erect a massive apartheid state in South Africa. Of course, the Dutch today accuse Jews of doing the same with Palestinians…it’s a staple debate, but I argue the scale is way different. From another angle, I consider my maternal grandmother’s Sinti culture. As a person who is also of partial Roma ancestry, I have reason to take note of countries like Denmark and Holland which held Gypsy hunts into the 18th and 19th centuries, and then there were forced sterilizations of Roman women in Sweden into the mid 1970s. These are western colonial sins. The U.S. has been guilty of similar along with other countries. So. The kind of peoplehood called for in the Judeo-Christian Tradition has not taken place among existent nation states…not even Israel…not even yet in Church and Synagogue. But, the Tradition abides…that is to say, the job description is still imposed by God upon a people called to be separate from the culture of Death. Thus again, evolution is the solution, not the problem.

        • MNb

          “yet another thing to erect a massive apartheid state in South Africa”
          I’m afraid the Dutch hadn’t much to do with the apartheid state, despite it being a Dutch word. The Netherlands lost all control over South Africa more than 200 years ago – long before apartheid.
          At the other hand Pax Christi The Netherlands was active against apartheid in the 70’s and 80’s.

          “Denmark and Holland which held Gypsy hunts into the 18th and 19th centuries”
          Similar things of course never happened in catholic and orthodox-christian countries – or this

          “Protestantism never achieved a sense of peoplehood comparable to that of Jews, Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christianity.”
          remains bogus. Pick your choice.

          “The kind of peoplehood called for in the Judeo-Christian Tradition has not taken place among existent nation states.”
          You’re shifting goalposts. This was not what I contradicted. This is something I’m not interested in.

          Congrats, Yonah. You change your statement substantially without admitting it, chose the bad examples against protestantism and good examples pro judaism, catholicism and orthodox-christianity.
          That makes you look very, very prejudiced.

        • Are we simply in violent agreement here? Yes, the church changes. That’s the point of the post. And you see the problem between a changing religion and an unchanging god, right?

        • Yonah

          I very much like your phrase “violent agreement.” Yes, there very much is a problem with a changing religion and an unchanging god…for the western mind. The middle eastern religion in question here literally deals with a God who deals…the exchanges always negotiated and re-negotiated. Not only is such a God and trading relationship foreign to a western god (What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?), the adherents of said middle eastern religion know that such an arrangement drives the western mind nuts. A moving target religion is not fair. It is theological terrorism. You kill it here, and it pops up there.

        • Kodie

          The character of god is rewritten to gain the most adherents. Our god is a popular god.

        • MNb

          “A moving target religion is not fair.”
          Well, I don’t have any problem with it. My arguments to reject it remain the same. But granted, I don’t think BobS has formulated his objection as strong as possible. Yet?

        • The middle eastern religion in question here literally deals with a God who deals

          I’m still stuck on the “does he exist?” question.

          Sure, different religions and cultures have different ways to think about things. Science is a cross-cultural approach to learning things, and it has a record of success. I think I’ll stick with that.

        • Yonah

          Upon what you are stuck, fine. But, that wasn’t where you started the blog. You thought Jewish and Christian inconsistency would be a problem for the religion. To me, a “problem” is an existential barrier…something that thwarts my agenda of deed.

          You are stuck on something I don’t have a clue about…the god you assume is a Greek one. A semitic God is a political One. And, at least in terms of semitic religion, what is at hand is not a thought hobby, but a politic…it is about who runs what. The contest between Jesus and Pilate was not a theology/philosophy debate. Jesus was charged, tried, and convicted of a political crime…and that central event duly noted in the Creed by which Christians are baptized, confirmed, and ordained.

          The struggle continues.

        • adam

          The struggle continues.

          As it does with every political party that claims it represents a divine being who can’t speak for itself.

          When creating a God, the most important thing is to claim it is invisible, inaudible and imperceptible in any way. Otherwise people will become skeptical when it appears to no one, is silent and does absolutely nothing.

        • You thought Jewish and Christian inconsistency would be a problem for the religion.

          Not really. I claim that inconsistency is a problem for the existence of the god claimed by the religion.

          To me, a “problem” is an existential barrier…something that thwarts my agenda of deed.

          If your point is that believers won’t be dissuaded, I agree.

          You are stuck on something I don’t have a clue about…the god you assume is a Greek one.

          No, I assume that the Christian claims can stand up to logical/scientific/historical critique. So far, not so much.

        • MNb

          Yonah has a point here – “logical/scientific/historical critique” originates from the Greeks indeed (in advance I apologize to all historical people from India and China I do injustice here). Of course this has become popular because it has been very successfull, in stark contrast to, how did Yonah put it again? – all the negotiations and re-negotiations with an (imaginary) everchanging god. The results of them are, how shall I put it, … disappointing.

        • Yonah

          I think what you call a “claim” is really just an assumption to the Jew and non evangelical Protestant Christian…that is, from the intertestimental period up to the advent of the evangelical movement, I think they were just impositional with their assumptions…not caring what a non believer thought one way or the other. Now a lot of that imposition was horrendous…but, due to corruption from western power mongering…which first century Jews & Christians set themselves against politically…as Jesus set himself against politically.

          So, uh. How would you submit the Christian “claim” (agenda) that the Church is charged by Jesus with the task of defeating Evil in the world to logical/scientific/historical critique?

        • the religion full out admits to a God which changes His mind

          It does indeed. Y’know, I should blog about that one of these days—about how the story evolved with time.

          In its current instantiation, Yahweh is omni- everything. Such a perfect god wouldn’t change his mind. Sounds like more violent agreement.

          the religionists themselves do not perceive this a problem

          Do they not see the problem, or do they not see it as a problem? Either way, evidence and argument won’t change the beliefs of most of them.

          I don’t see what the inconsistency has to do a proof for existence

          You don’t see how a changing view of god marks a religion as manmade?

          …unless you are just imposing Greek criteria

          You mean like science-y criteria? I’m certainly imposing that. And unashamedly so.

          If Jews and Christians “claimed” a consistent God, they would still fail your tests…and they still probably would not care.

          And yet again we agree.

        • Yonah

          The situation is even more acute than “evolved with time” as it’s still evolving…such it is with an eschatological political agenda. Tsk tsk…such a messy religion:

          “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-4)

          Now, you tend to only be worried about the latter claim of creation, but seem to ignore the former claim of political agenda.. Another way to get at that is the question of what in the world would you do with the proof you demand if you had it? The proof(s) you seek still attache to their purpose which is values based–specifically the forming of community which is not on the terms of the individual…the center of the western mindset. So, whether we speak of that community on Earth or in heaven it is still communist…you would only have your life by giving it up for another.

          lol, OF COURSE religion is human made. Religion is behavior of humans in response to God. Religion is no mere thought hobby. Judaism and Christianity and Islam all are political communities far more bossier than only telling you what to to “believe”…even moreso, they tell you what to do.

          Chutzpah

        • Kodie

          OF COURSE religion is human made. Religion is behavior of humans in response to God.

          Here’s where you fucked up. Presupposing there is a god and people didn’t just make shit up to form a community or political agendas around. A common superstition. They tell you what to do to please god, the made up phantom because it gives them an imaginary authority who tells all of us to do something of which we’re too inferior to question. That’s what the 1st Commandment is all about – don’t make up or believe in an equal imaginary authority to compete with ours, “god” says so.

        • adam

          “lol, OF COURSE religion is human made. Religion is behavior of humans in response to God.”

          What ‘god’ have you demonstrated that is NOT imaginary?

        • Yonah

          Only Jesus is the demonstration, God incarnate. Those called by him are assigned work to build the Kingdom.

        • adam

          There are many claims of ‘god’ incarnate.
          Jesus didnt even fulfill the requirements of the Jews for a Messiah.

          And Jesus’s MAGIC tricks are obviously either just cheap tricks or creations of the IMAGINATION.

          So this is a FAIL….

          You’ve demonstrated NO god(s) that are not of the human imagination.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sathya_Sai_Baba
          This guy has a lot more going for him than YOUR Jesus.
          And a lot more EVIDENCE.

        • adam

          So you have NOTHING?

          There are MANY claims of ‘god’ incarnate, so far NONE have been demonstrated and YOU have demonstrated NONE as well.

          “Kingdom”

          What kind of ‘god’ NEEDS a Kingdom.
          NONE

          Kings need Kingdoms to have servants to do the work they can’t do themselves.

          Only a POWERLESS ‘god’ needs a ‘kingdom’, or a FAKE one.

        • OF COURSE religion is human made. Religion is behavior of humans in response to God.

          My point, obviously, is that “God” is just as manmade as the religion.

          Judaism and Christianity and Islam all are political communities far more bossier than only telling you what to to “believe”…even moreso, they tell you what to do.

          You seemed to relish your disagreement, and yet I’m not seeing much of that. With all this agreement, I’m confused. Are you making a point?

        • Yonah

          It seems to me that inconsistency comforts us both for different reasons.

          There’s a solid tradition in mainstream biblical scholarship which holds that inconsistency lends more credibility to an authentic testimony (even if flawed) over against a testimony conciously harmonized and packaged. Inconsistency is normal. The MMPI is constructed to detect the test take who is trying too hard to present him/herself in a certain way. A certain level of inconsistency is already normed in the test structure.

          Human beings are inconsistent about all sorts of experiences. Bodycams will not change that.

          But, perhpas I shouldn’t have even mentioned biblical scholarship above because one of my points is that Jewish and Christian inconsistency is wider than the Bible. The best inconsistencies are in what people actually do. For example: repentence.

        • It seems to me that inconsistency comforts us both for different reasons.

          It doesn’t comfort me, except in assuring me that atheism is correct.

          There’s a solid tradition in mainstream biblical scholarship …

          And there may also be solid traditions in mainstream astrology. Should I care?

          which holds that inconsistency lends more credibility to an authentic testimony (even if flawed) over against a testimony conciously harmonized and packaged.

          You do know that we’re not talking about witnesses to a car crash, right? We’re talking about the story of God. If you’re saying that God has no interest in protecting the accuracy of his story any more than he would the car crash testimony … uh, OK.

          Anyway, this isn’t what we’re talking about. I’m talking in this post about the evolution (changes) to the unchangeable story of Jesus. A related issue is how Yahweh has changed.

          Inconsistency is normal.

          When talking about car crashes, yes. Not when it’s the story of the creator of the universe, eager to get the (correct) message out to his beloved people.

        • Yonah

          Blessed Assurance?

          The correctness you allude to is a cosmological one…the invert concern of the Presbyterians and Calvin…which is, in my humble opinion, quite a truncated exposition of Christianity. In contrast, the actual story and message of God is a moral agenda including work orders for those called to the work. The book of Jonah is an excellent icon of the agenda.

        • Sounds like you’re changing the subject.

        • MNb

          Unfortunately those morals suck badly now and then.
          What’s more – there is no contrast between the correctness you say BobS alludes to and that moral agenda, if we understand “(in)correct” as “right and wrong”. Believers who maintain that “the actual story and message of god is a moral agenda” usually also maintain that that agenda is correct and that that’s why we humans should submit to it. Obviously if it’s incorrect it’s a small step to point out that there is a preferable moral agenda, which provides another reason to reject that “actual story and message of god”. Here we are back where I began: unfortunately those morals suck badly now and then.

        • MNb

          “And there may also be solid traditions in mainstream astrology. Should I care?”
          If you want to keep on recommending Robert Price and remain consistent yes. ‘Cause he totally is a biblical scholar, specialized in the NT. But I have noticed before that in his special case you suddenly don’t care about consistency anymore. We have gone over this already of course.

        • We have gone over this, and your case has never made sense. Point out the problem again. Maybe it’ll make more sense this time.

        • Kodie

          There’s a solid tradition in mainstream biblical scholarship

          If it helps them sleep better at night to think so…

          Look, yes, human beings are flawed, nobody is or would dispute, but I often will point out and now I’m pointing out to you, if god wants me to know him, why does he send the idiots to try to change our minds? There’s an expectation that the “likely story” will need to change in order to address the inconsistencies pointed out, just like a liar trying to divert you. If you’re not paying close attention, what they say sounds like it fits, but when you go home and think about it, something screwy is going on, so you go back and ask the liar, and he will say oh yeah, he was feeling a little light-headed and may have gotten the order wrong, and you’re the dummy who is buying that horseshit and trying to shovel it on us. That’s all the academic subject of theology is. It’s a con game. And all you say admits to “god” designing it to seem that way to the objective outsider.

          THERE IS NO GOD. This is what people do when you make them sweat, they actively create another version of the story. The political agenda is that important to them, their community is, or their comfort in delusion is, so YOU keep coming up with your stories of a solid tradition of making up bullshit as you go along, applying apples to oranges. All you have done so far is make the indisputable assertion that human beings are like that. You make an enormous leap to attributing these stories and these people’s beliefs to an ACTUAL GOD. Yes, people make up stories. That’s what theology is. There is no god to argue against, only people who are happy being wrong – it’s their tradition.

        • MNb

          “inconsistency lends more credibility to an authentic testimony”
          Correct again. This principle is derived from methodological naturalism, which neglects supernatural phenomena like gods as an explanatation for everything and anything.
          But this has hardly anything to do with the initial question anymore, which now can be reformulated: can god be inconsistent? If yes then he is not the omni-everything god so many abrahamists pray to.

          “Inconsistency is normal.”
          That’s why science is better than god. In science inconsistencies are highly interesting exactly because they are not normal.

        • MNb

          Not only is religion human made. So is god.

        • Yonah

          On the inconsistency thing…the religion full out admits to a God which changes His mind…in the macro…you have the OT & NT, and many other micro versions not only in the Bible, but Talmud. Clearly the religionists themselves do not perceive this a problem…and the God who makes deals is the God which is “claimed”. I don’t see what the inconsistency has to do a proof for existence…unless you are just imposing Greek criteria. Or. If Jews and Christians “claimed” a consistent God, they would still fail your tests…and they still probably would not care.

        • Kodie

          Christians claim a consistent god who only changes his mind when he feels like it, and we’re all at his mercy, so you better believe if you know what’s good for you. I don’t know what’s “Greek” about the criteria for consistency. It’s a word that means something in the language, and applying some bullshit criteria on consistency so that consistent doesn’t mean consistent is part of the shell game. No, of course they would not care, they’re in a cult and the cult leader said we would say this or that, it’s even in the bible, and that’s another way you know it’s real. It can predict that some people will be critical, because it’s all bullshit.

        • I think “Greek” means “closed minded to my way of thinking.”

        • Kodie

          The argument sounds just like “you atheists think prayer works like asking a genie, and it’s not like that,” or Greg’s whole thing about seeing and knowing with his feelings, it’s just something atheists don’t have or don’t value the sense of emotions, or even when Christians pull the “atheists argue an awful lot against god for people who don’t believe” bull. “Greek” means too logical and analytical to “get it”. And of course, Yonah’s different, Bob, how come you never come up with a strong argument against his specific experience and beliefs? Why do you spend so much energy fighting against a very dumb and literal and obviously made-up Christian when nobody takes them seriously? If you really understood the way I do, then you wouldn’t have any way of countering it. Notice how he is proud of the tradition with a capital T, how it always meets everyone’s needs and changes over time to do so, what a brilliant god to cater to the fashions of the day.

        • MNb

          In my limited experience this is how very liberal christians keep their boat floating. Politically and socially they usually are OK, but to back up their belief system they don’t go beyond “this is my belief system and you don’t address it so I don’t have to argue for it” – repeated as often as you want. Just ask “now why should I accept it?” and the silence is deafening.

        • MNb

          After reading all those sophisticated comments of you I still don’t know why I would believe in an ever-changing, negotiating god. It’s totally fine with me that those christians don’t care. But why would I? And why would I accept their attempts to influence society and politics with their views? Indeed orthodox-christianity tends to be highly political. With all your sophistication you don’t address these issues at all.

        • 90Lew90

          Yonah, you’re the first person I’ve come across distinguishing the “true” god of the Bible from the “Greek” interpretation of that god since… (wait for it!) Ken Ham, in Belfast, 2008. So my bullshit detector is beeping very loudly. Christian theology is steeped in Greek thought, I would say inextricably so. Your approach to hard questions seems to be, ‘don’t look here, look over there,’ in wordy obfuscation and a pretence at a sophisticated argument, which is never actually articulated.

          Statements such as this, for example: “To me, a “problem” is an existential barrier…something that thwarts my agenda of deed.” That’s meaningless tosh, Yonah.

          As I said before about why evolution (Darwinism) has had so little impact on Christianity, it’s because Christianity is so much fluff. It’s any old thing you want it to be, which is why it evolves itself, and why it proves resilient in the face of knowledge which would knock it flat if it was as immutable as it likes to claim. You’re demonstrating this very well with your Greek/Semitic, spirit?/politics distinction. Your god’s a politician then? Not to be trusted I say. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

          The arguments Christians make about their god aren’t many, but they reappear in myriad forms. The one you’re advancing is the “You-Just-Don’t-Geddit” argument, which is a cop-out usually advanced in exasperation at the end of an exchange when the apologist has no lead left in his pencil. The only thing novel about your approach is that you’ve wheeled it out from the start, which doesn’t bode well for progress.

          “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” I’m afraid that means putting your god on a high shelf by sophisticated, pseudo-philosophical tinkering, fashioning it Greek or Arab, badly misses the point, runs contrary to the accessibility Jesus intended, and would be most displeasing to said deity. It’s the Christian embarrassed by the ridiculousness of what he is required to believe.

        • Yonah

          Not true God of the Bible , but true God of the Tradition. Yes of course there is a degree of Hellenization in Christian theological development as would be natural when you have the religion infiltrating the Hellenized world. The question and concern early on was how do you keep the ratios right?…that is…to infiltrate them much more than they infiltrate you? So, if you look at the Orthodox Church. It was Tertullion who said “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem? There is a pilgrim people dynamic as the Church sojourned in the west from the east…hence you see Christians quote the Zion psalm as to how one sings a a song of Zion in a strange land. Again, in the Orthodox Church you see a combination of Greek drama wedded to Jewish liturgy and the old Jewish preisthood. Which motif is dominant?…I think the Jewish…as will say any Orthodox priest.

        • adam

          Ok traditions are man made for man to carry on social constructs deemed desirable for the social preservation.

          When politics takes over these traditions in the forms of religion, then it really is all about power, how to get it, maintain it and use it by subjugation.

          No Real ‘gods’ are needed or desired, in fact, they actually interfere with the ability of POLITICS to evolve with societies.

        • Yonah

          It is totally about power and subjugation. “…for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

          The power contest in the Exodus was between the God of Israel and Pharoah. Pharoah lost.

          The power contest in the first century was between Redeemer of Israel, Jesus and Caesar. Caesar lost.

          The contest will go on to the very gates of hell, and hell will not prevail.

        • adam

          No god, just human lust for power.

          Unless you care to demonstrate this ‘god’ you are claiming is anything but IMAGINARY.

        • I do find Yonah’s “you’re constrained by your Greek thinking” argument to be refreshing. Not in the least compelling, though.

        • adam

          “you’re constrained by your Greek thinking”

          Seems like a tired rehash of ‘you just dont have enough ‘faith” or the “No True Theist” fallacy.

        • 90Lew90

          So do I, which is why he’s prompted me to dig out some books to answer him a bit more thoroughly, particularly since he’s mentioned Tertuallian a couple of times now. I’ve always been much more interested in the history and philosophy of religion than science-v-religion. I’m always shy of saying “science beats” this or that because I’m not a scientist. They were beaten by their own history and Enlightenment philosophy long before modern science came along and (should have) put the final nail in the coffin.

        • Pofarmer

          Isn’t it amazing, that with the thrashing religion received in the 19th century, that it has recovered to the level that it has? On the non patheos thread, the poster there was crowing about the number of theists now in philosophy departments. But, this isn’t because of atheist philosophers turning the theism, but because of theists consciously deciding to engage in apologetic philosophy. Dishonest to the core.

        • 90Lew90

          I know. Queen’s University in Belfast is crawling with them, which is a disaster because philosophy is among the subjects being starved of government cash since it’s seen as a money pit that makes no returns, so the School has had to give way to market pressure and a large portion of the market for philosophy in Northern Ireland is religious. The majority seem to be protestant (catholics here tend to be of a more liberal/socialist persuasion), and they’re into everything. You could look at their motivation as symptomatic of the crisis for the churches and protestant/British “culture” in Northern Ireland (that’s a whole other story), but their predominance has always, inevitably, been extremely bad for institutions intended for education and learning because they parasitize them and rot them from the inside. This has been the case right back through history and you could argue Yonah’s friend Tertullian was the archetypal Christian rotter of intellectual and cultural life. And it makes me furious. I can’t count the number of times I sat in a Starbucks near Queen’s last semester and ended up crestfallen on overhearing some shiny, good looking group of youths earnestly discussing Bible study. It’s just incongruous and very sad and very unhealthy. It’s at times like that when I find myself thinking there should be an age of consent for religious education because there’s no way 18-20 year-olds could be that sucked in if they had only been introduced to this shit at, say, 16.

        • Greg G.

          You thought Jewish and Christian inconsistency would be a problem for the religion.

          Where do get that idea? The article is dealing with the changes after Xtianity was invented. There is nothing in there about the Old Testament or Jewish beliefs.

        • bamboola33

          pilot to jesus: ‘what is truth?’

        • Dys

          After my previous brief discussion with Yonah, it appears that your interpretation is largely correct. He eschews any claim of actual historicity and apparently just believes that it’s the lessons that are important. Of course he ignores the implications of such a stance, but generally he’s too busy patting himself on the back for his sophisticated theology and pretending that his is the dominant view than deal with reality.

          It’s all just stories that he happens to like, and thinks they apply to everyone.

        • MNb

          Yeah, it’s bit unfortunate to think that evolution is a synonym for development and change. “Physics evolved from Aristoteles to Newton to Einstein” — meh.

        • 90Lew90

          If Christianity was the solid edifice it likes to pretend it is, evolution would pose a problem for it. But Christianity is not a solid edifice, is it. It’s putty. It’s plastic. It’s any old thing you want it to be. Therein lies the secret of its resilience: not rigour of thought or any apprehension of truth; it hangs around like damp rot because it’s so readily open to interpretation by anyone who encounters it. The Catholic church tried to make a solid edifice of it, but found out they did so at their own cost, so they reverted to obscurantism. If Christianity could be pinned down, I have no doubt it would be routed. But because it’s a nebulous pile of doo, it just sticks like some fucking ectoplasm and people, try as I might to think better of them, are fearful of freedom and addicted to hierarchy and the imagined order that provides.

          Putin kissing crosses. Putin topless on a horse. Putin doing butterfly in a lake. What kind of fool are you? Dickhead.

        • Pofarmer

          Interesting perspective, Lew. I am currently interacting a little bit with a Catholic on an non Patheos blog on a story that was about a Demon running out of a Church during the Eucharist. Anyway. So far, He won’t even put forth a definition for “truth.” I proffered a definition, the philosophical definition of truth, but he apparently doesn’t want to accept it. If you can’t even agree on the definition of “truth” then how in the world can you have a meaningful conversation? And, not only will he not proffer a definition, but he wants’ to continue the conversation before he does. Why would anyone I do that? It seems to me, that the tactic is to keep the conversation nebulous enough that he can’t be pinned down, because once he commits to a definition, and an argument, then he must also commit to the criticism, and I don’t think he want’s that on a blog dedicated to brain dead Catholics.

        • 90Lew90

          True. The rigidity of Pius IX (see his Syllabus of Errors and declaration of papal infallibility) led directly to the Vatican II reforms which ended up embarrassing the church. And Vatican II resulted in the arch-conservatism of JPII and Benedict. The Catholic church has always held itself in high esteem as being the most intellectually rigorous in its theology, but it’s ended up avoiding committing to catechism anything testable, even philosophically, because it now knows not to box itself into a corner. It keeps getting caught. Its behaviour now is like the band on the Titanic but the fucker won’t sink. I hope I’m wrong but I’m afraid I think we’re stuck with it. There’s too much fodder in it for the needy and the ignorant.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, yeah, that’s why the turned the transubstantiation into the “Essence” of Jesus, which is just as much nonsense as “Accidents and Substances” which is still in the Catechism, but harder to pin down. When your entire modern theology is predicated on being hard to prove, then it seems to me that you don’t believe the shit yourself. What I do wish, is that modern Catholics had even a passing knowledge of all the things the Church used to regard as undoubtedly true that got refuted.

        • 90Lew90

          Best not to ask too many questions.

        • And yet Protestant denominations continue to make substantial inroads in the third world. That horse sure is acting up for being dead.

        • Yonah

          You have a fair point there. Each group’s situation in the developing world has its own character. In many cases, the church operation there has taken on its own indigenous vibrancy and surpassed the parent planter (to make up a term) from the developed world. A seminary classmate and his wife of went to Africa for quite some years, and then came back. They found the American scene so anemic, they turned right around and went back to Africa. Another classmate had the same experience with Jamaica. And, I suppose it matters what “Protestant” means nowadays. In Africa, I have the sense that the Lutheran and Anglican groups have gone more catholic than even here…and they are large groups. But again, you have a good point. The “death” of Protestantism is a first world issue. The talk I hear in the church world is in terms of hope that what is happening in the developing world is the rebirth cycle kicking in…that the tables are turned, and that now is the time for African Christianity et al to send missionaries here.

        • 90Lew90

          It’s “vibrant” there? Tell that to the gay people in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, to name three African countries that spring to mind, where American missionaries in particular have made life hell for them.

        • Yonah

          I agree. “Vibrant” will not always mean “good”. As it was in the beginning of Christiantity, has always been, and is now…there is a lot of bat-shit-crazy. It just comes with the territory. So, again…common evolution is hardly a problem…it’s the solution and way out of crazyville. But, to your example, my view of it is even more sinister. The American missionaries are not inventing the anti-gay animus, but they discern the already existent, even if submerged, elements of homophobia in the local cultures they insert themselves into…and then pour gas on it, and light a match…they use it as a demonic way to construct a base. This the typcial scene with the evangelicals. With the Lutherans, Anglicans, and Catholics, the situatation is more subtle, but not good. Many local bishops and their congregations harbor strong anti-gay feelings…but, again, this is largely an indigenous trait that is countered by some more responsible bishops…like a Desmond Tutu…or now a Francis…or the Archbishop of Canterbury. But, yes. It’s all uphill. The third world Anglican bishops are largely anti-gay rights…and give much support to the split-off Anglican movements in the first world…yet, while retaining their full participation in the world wide Anglican communion symbolically headed by Canterbury. The ELCA really has its hands full on this…as the American (& European) Lutherans did so much to plant the now huge Lutheran presence in Africa…but now the African Lutheran bishops are very strong in their sense that they are running their own ship now…and they are not about to let the ELCA preach to them on gay issues…and so we see they giving support to the conservative Lutheran split off denominations…the NALC and LCMC. And, of course the Missouri Synod does not have this problem and maintains its conservative nature and relationships across the board…be it with more rhetorical finesse than the fundy evangelicals.

          So. The utter mess that is evident in the Pauline corpus is again the situation of the Church today. The cultural war within pales to that without.

        • 90Lew90

          And this badly articulated, vicious chaos is something you recommend? Stick it up your arse.

        • adam

          “As it was in the beginning of Christiantity, has always been, and is
          now…there is a lot of bat-shit-crazy. It just comes with the
          territory.”

          As always does with political propaganda

        • Yonah

          It IS political.

          And who would have thought that the aspirant descendents of the Roman Empire would end up trading crack and whores in a back alley in Joisy and then shoot each other in the head?

        • Kodie

          Are they doing it for Caesar? I don’t really get this, it’s apples and oranges. You’re saying the evolution of a religion is to its benefit, sure for the weeds are hardy and adapt quickly. That doesn’t mean it’s TRUE. It means that people use it as a tool… this tool may bind communities, but it is largely to effect a political agenda and to make money selling wishes.

          Nobody is saying religion isn’t real – it obviously is, but is god real? How can god be real, who would recognize him if he was? Christianity is like … a plastic surgery addiction.

    • RichardSRussell

      Bob isn’t arguing against evolution, he’s pointing out several places where it occurred and observing that such changes are inconsistent with Christianity’s claim of infallibility and “eternal truth”.

      • Yonah

        Apparently Bob and you assume that evolution is a problem for the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Tradition is 4000 years old. Seems to me that the Judeo-Christian Tradition should put up billboards “Evolution Is Us”.

        • RichardSRussell

          No assumption at all. If this “Tradition” you speak of (capital letter and all) involves a claim of omniscient eternal truth — which it does — then that claim is totally undercut when their story keeps changing — which it does.

        • Yonah

          Well, in my opinion and experience, language like “omniscient eternal truth” typically pertains to fundy Protestantism. The Protestant mind, because of Luther’s two kingdom doctrine which divided religious from secular, church from state, morality from good business, really never had anything left to do than reduce Christianity to a set of intellectual debating points….as opposed to maintaing a viable counter-cultural tribal society such as you have with Jews, Catholics, some high church Anglicans and Lutherans, Orthodox Christians, and various Black Christian groups, and now increasing numbers of Hispanic Pentecostals. A read of Walter Bruegemann’s books will show you the great amount of change in the OT. God changes his mind a lot. God makes deals…the deals get broken…new deals are made. Everyone keeps trying, and the show goes on. And this displays up front in the Pentateuch…with the book of Deuteronomy…a revision…Deuteronomy meaning “second law”: Jews have constantly revised and revised and revised. The Dali Lama once sought out Jewish experts to advise him how to keep a religious tradition going…as the Jews have weathered oppression as Tibet does now for centuries. The rabbis counseled him on adaptation and re-invention. Think about it. After the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the Jewish system was destroyed. No more priesthood. Judaism was then totally re-invented under the Pharisees into rabbinic Judaism. They politely asked the Roman authorities for permission to set up a little school in Sefat…and they quietly went to building a whole new movement. In the same way, Christianity hit a very low spot in Europe in the middle ages. Basically, central Europe had lost the faith. So. Irish monks crossed back over the channel and re-Christianized Europe. See Thomas Cahill on that story.

          Now, I understand that all this change and evolution in the Judeo-Christian Tradition causes you to feel the Tradition is undercut, because that’s the way the western secular mind works…it is constructivist. But, the Judeo-Christian mind is of Middle East origins. Different culture. So. Of your disorientation due to change and evolution in a Middle East religion, pretty much the adherents of said religion generally feel that your disorientation is your issue, not theirs…and so they are not concerned.

        • RichardSRussell

          Well, in my opinion and experience, language like “omniscient eternal truth” typically pertains to fundy Protestantism.

          You should check out the official doctrine of the world’s largest group of Christians — Roman Catholics — sometime.

        • Yonah

          There’s a lot to read with RC material. But, to your point, one does hear Catholic right wingers such as on EWTN use “eternal truth”. On the other hand, that operation is overtly using methods borrowed from evangelical Protestant tv ministries and has been repeatedly under investigation and censure by the Vatican. The only reason it continues to abide is the enduring popularity of Mother Angelica and the independent financial power that EWTN has. But, a Catholic would not properly throw in “omniscient” with “eternal word” to describe the Church’s message…it’s just not Catholic grammar. God is omniscient, and a proclamation of eternal truth is that which issues from the Omniscient. My point there is that Protestants and those who adopt Protestant lingo or linguistic habits to critique Protestants often don’t get that not all the words they are using really properly go together in one phrase or idea. To be perfectly mean toward my own pastor, there is nothing the man says that makes any sense. I would rather Bob Seidensticker drop by and deliver the sermon.

        • 90Lew90

          Luther’s doctrine brought about secularism? Chuckle. Yeah.

        • MNb

          There is no THE Judeo-Christian tradition, unless the Holocaust is also part of it. I doubt if you want to walk that path.

        • Yonah

          As a Jewish Christian, I do walk that path.

        • MNb

          My respect then. You are the first jew and/or christian I meet who does so.
          But then I wonder why you’re not talking about the judeo-christian-muslim-mormon tradition. Personal preference perhaps?

        • Yonah

          Personal history: My father was a Catholic of Jewish ancestry (converso). My wife and I converted to Judaism in 2005 and then returned to Christian community several years ago. So we have baptisms on both sides, and have been apostate from both sides. God will have to sort it out.

          Islam is in the ball park, but not yet fully engaged in the game. The Mormons will have to explain how they attach to the former day saints.

        • 90Lew90

          I also noted with interest that you leave Islam out of the picture.

        • Yonah

          The Yonah Shop is now closed.

        • MNb

          Jews can make similar arguments for christians; catholics for protestants etc. So unconvincing. It seems to be YOUR judeo-christian tradition, not a generally shared one. That would explain why some of my compatriots refer to it to argue that all muslims should quit the country and preferably the entire continent. Or do you have similar feelings?

        • smrnda

          This depends on which one of these traditions.

          Reform Judaism has embraced a number of changes and, in a sense, has evolved in its beliefs. It’s fairly flexible. Some types of Christianity have been flexible

          However, certain sects have points where they won’t evolve. Some Christians maintain that they need a literal Genesis to support their belief system. They won’t change. So they are rapidly becoming obsolete.

        • Yonah

          Everyone evolves or devolves. Not everyone admits to it. You have to play sociologist on that one and not take claims on face value.

        • Pofarmer

          Wish I could remember who said it “Everyone changes, it’s just important not to remember who you were. “

        • smrnda

          At the same time, I think certain claims can be dismissed as false.

          If your religious beliefs are based on a literal Genesis, a literal Exodus, and such things, you’re beliefs are contradicted by facts. Even if your tradition remains, it’s still wrong on those counts.

          I will agree that about everybody who claims ‘we’ve never changed’ or ‘always done this’ is pretty much mistaken. It’s sort of how any statement from a Christian that ‘the Bible is clear’ is false from the start.

        • Yonah

          In our three years of living in Jewish community, I never met one Jew who saw the book of Genesis as a claim or a literal exposition. Most Jews are quite educated as to modern biblical scholarship including the facts that there are multiple creation stories of different editors in the text. With respect to the Exodus, historical opinions vary, but again, I met no Jews who were troubled by doubt of historicity…they accepted that we may not really know much at all about early Hebrew history and culture. What is important to Jews about the Exodus story is how it reflects the whole history of oppression that Jews have repeatedly experienced. In the Passover seder, the primary theological point of the ritual is for the Jews present to consider their present situation of bondage to whatever…their need of liberation. Consider how that theological exercise was experienced during the Nazi era.

  • wtfwjtd

    Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Cor. 1:22–3).

    I agree with you totally here, this verse is Paul’s admission that he knows of no Jesus miracles other than the resurrection. Here awhile back, though, while contemplating this verse, another aspect occurred to me that I had completely missed before: not only is this Paul’s admission that he knows of no Jesus miracles, but also that he knows of NO Jesus wisdom either. No witty sayings, no powerful soundbites, no routing of Pharisees or Teachers of the Law, no battle of wits with church leaders, no nothing. It all does make me wonder: just which Jesus is Paul talking about? And what does he know about him? As you have pointed out, and he himself makes crystal-clear, not much, if anything substantive at all.

    • Pofarmer

      IF you go to my conversation with McGrath on his blog, he claims that that is a “Misunderstanding” of that quote, but then doesn’t go on to provide any enlightenment about it whatsoever. I may be able to dig a link out about it if you can’t find it easily in my disqus profile. But your way is the way I read it, too.

      • wtfwjtd

        “If you go to my conversation with McGrath on his blog, he claims that that is a “Misunderstanding” of that quote, but then doesn’t go on to provide any enlightenment about it whatsoever.”

        That’s not a surprise either Po, they can’t have Paul being a know-nothing about Jesus, or the whole “Early Christianity” narrative unravels.

        I see you’ve got an interesting sparring match going on that one dude’s blog with Thistle, how’s that coming along? Last I saw, he was praying for your angry atheist ass, what with your hateful, misguided inquiries for silly things like evidence, other witnesses, and the like. Don’t you know, you’re just supposed to play along, and not question those “demon possession” stories, ’cause they’re like, totally real.

        • Pofarmer

          Right now he’s insisting that revelation and reason are equal to enpericism for describing our world. Theology describes things that aren’t emperically verifiable, so it’s totally legit.

        • wtfwjtd

          Heh, yeah, right. So what basis does he use to determine correct theology from incorrect? And how are true religions distinguished from false ones?

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, he doesn’t seem to want to go there. For “truth”. He is saying that Jesus saying I am the way and the truth and the life”. ,eans that Jesus is objective truth. But doesn’t seem to get that the existance of Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists makes that position untenable.

        • wtfwjtd

          So, religious truth is basically arbitrary, like rooting for the local sports team who’s better than all the rest out there ’cause, well, they’re the local guys. What a solid foundation to base your belief system on.

        • Pofarmer

          Obviously his view is the correct one, everyone else just needs to accept that.

        • Greg G.

          I had a look at your conversation. I saw “I’m glad you concede there is objective truth.”

          Was there a concession anywhere? He must be so accustomed to losing arguments that he takes a single point of agreement as a small victory.

        • Pofarmer

          it just struck me that the poster as much as admitted that all he has is a God of the Gaps argument, and doesn’t intend to submit to any verifiable claims.

        • Greg G.

          He’s at the “pound the table” point. The evidence is against him so he must argue that evidence is unimportant.

          Does that new share icon bother anyone else. I complained about on the Contact Us page. Then I tried to post a long reply to Yonah. When I was about to tap the Post button, that damn icon moved over it, sent me to a new page, and the reply was lost. Then I sent a second feedback on that stupid icon.

        • Pofarmer

          I hate that share icon as well. At first I thought it was just a setting. Disqus makes themselves hard to love. Patheos administration isn’t much better.

          I’ll probably give up on that thread soon, as I feel I’ve made my point, and of it goes much further, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the admins wipe it. How many folks going to a site like that will have seen a reasoned atheist debate?

        • Greg G.

          I like Disqus for the first fifty or a hundred comments but we do tend to abuse it with hundreds of comments per article. I wish we could dump comments that have been read in favor of a new batch to speed up my system.

    • adam

      Except that the Jewish messiah isnt supposed to have supernatural powers.
      this IMMEDIATLY disqualifies Jesus as The Messiah.

      “According to Jewish sources, the Messiah
      will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes
      like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess
      supernatural qualities.”

      http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

      So the Jews DIDNT demand miraculous signs.

      • wtfwjtd

        “So the Jews DIDN’T demand miraculous signs.”

        That’s no surprise to me adam, it seems Paul imagined all sorts of things about “the Jews” that just wasn’t so.

      • Greg G.

        Thanks for the link.

        In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of “miracles” to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut. 13:4).

        Verse 4 is probably the only verse in that chapter that doesn’t support the claim. It’s a good thing Moses, Elijah, and Elisha were history before Deuteronomy was written.

  • Blizzard

    Some more things Paul knew about the Jesus story, actually quoting Jesus…

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rationaldoubt/2014/08/lesson-5-in-vacation-bible-school-paul-never-quotes-jesus/

    1 Corinthians 11:23-26

    For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    Those quotes of Jesus are also found in the synoptic gospels but not John. John does have a last supper but it turns into more of a foot washing party. (So I’m not sure why foot washing isn’t part of the Eucharist. Haha kidding…)

    EDIT: Some sects do include foot washing! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharist
    Shoulda known haha…

    • MNb

      The Habsburg emperor washed the feet of some beggars once a year. He was a devout catholic.

      • Blizzard

        I think the current pope has done it too if I’m not mistaken.

        EDIT: Yep http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/03/30/popes-upsets-traditionalists/2037463/

        Apparently it was against da holy rulez to wash women’s feet. I guess he broke the rule and that made some conservatives really “mad bro”. There were only men at the last supper so the pope should only wash men’s feet. What an atrocious outlook. All animals go to heaven now by the way. So my cat who didn’t use to be in heaven from the previous pope is now in heaven for the current pope. Let me know when they get done shuffling my cat around…

    • Rudy R

      Since Paul wasn’t present at the Last Supper and wasn’t an actual witness to what Jesus said and did during that event, Paul is only relaying those events in Corinthians. The question then is, what source did Paul get that story? And the answer, as far as NT textual experts are concerned, is we don’t know. Also, Paul states he “received from the Lord,” which infers that he received this account through revelation. Since we don’t have any extant records of this story before Paul, he could have invented it out of whole cloth and the Gospels could have subsequently borrowed it from him to push their specific theology. This is just conjecture, but it isn’t any less or more probable than any other guess.

      • Pofarmer

        There is also good evidence that that entire passage might well be a later interpolation. Whoops, see GregG already covered it.

        • Greg G.

          It’s your own fault. You pointed me to that evidence. : P

    • Greg G.

      See 1 Corinthians 14:21 which ends with “says the Lord” but it is a quote of Isaiah 28:11-12 so when we see something in Paul’s writing that is quoting the Lord, he probably means the Lord said it through scripture. Similar verses are 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, which come from Deuteronomy 24:1-4, 1 Corinthians 9:13-14, which come from Deuteronomy 18:3-8, and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 which is an eschatological combination of Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:13, and Daniel 12:2. Philippians 3:20-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 also follow the same passages as the 1 Thessalonians passage with the 1 Corinthians passage getting something from Isaiah 25:8.

      Some scholars think that 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is an interpolation because it goes against what Paul says elsewhere but it sounds like something from the 1 Timothy mindset. Checking the flow of verses around that passage, we see a pattern developing in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 that is completed at 1 Corinthians 11:30-31. There is an exhortation followed by questions, and then an answer to the last question using the same metaphors as the question. The triplet is completed at 1 Corinthians 11:30-31. But scholars also argue that everything from 1 Corinthians 10:1 to 1 Corinthians 11:32 are interpolated for various reasons so the Eucharist story could be an interpolation of an interpolation.

      The passage is very similar to Luke 22:19-20 with the “Do this in remembrance of me” sentence repeated. Luke copied much of Mark and this came from Mark 14:22-25. Mark is terrific when it comes to taking elements from other writings to combine them into his own. Here he has taken Psalm 41:9 and Isaiah 53:12 using the bread and implication of betrayal from the former and the “pouring out to death” for the wine from the latter. Exodus 24:8 or Zechariah 9:11 could have connected blood with the covenant.

      Mark seems to have borrowed the 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 for Mark 10:11-12 but Matthew and Luke both dropped the part about women divorcing men. It wouldn’t make sense to the Jewish disciples but Paul was writing to people under customs that allowed a woman to divorce her husband.

      Several times I have posted the verses where Paul tells us something about Jesus and the Old Testament references where that same information can be found. So we don’t have any real evidence that Paul knew anything about a real first century Jesus. Add to that the verses where Paul says he didn’t get anything from a human source where he talks about meeting with the other apostles and that he is not inferior in knowledge to them. It seems that Paul didn’t think anybody else knew about a first century Jesus either.

    • Blizzard

      Didn’t anyone ever notice how bizarre “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you” sounds? seriously wtf lol.

      • wtfwjtd

        Yep, that’s pretty wacky stuff, considering it’s coming from a guy who never actually met Jesus.

      • Rudy R

        Many who study the NT texts have certainly noticed. In addition, Paul wrote:

        Galatians 1:11 brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

        Paul never states that he actually met a physical, earthly Jesus, but that he knew Jesus only from scripture and revelation.

        • Pofarmer

          And yet, Christians will argue that Paul spent years living with the disciples and learning from them, when he flatly disputes that claim.

        • Rudy R

          The majority of Christian’s approach to the Bible is from a devotional perspective, reading bibs and bobs that provide a means to express their adoration to their god. Very few approach it from a historical-textual perspective and as such, fail to understand that the Jesus they believe in is not the same Jesus the Christian founders believed in. Not understanding the difference between the two, devotional and historical-textual study, is probably why Yonah fails to grasp Bob’s “evolutionary” usage to explain the gradual development of the Jesus story.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder how Christians today would react to what Paul was actually preaching? He was preaching the end of the world, Jesus was going to come and raise up all the dead, good and bad, and bring about his glorious kingdom on Earth through force! I mean, he was a fuckin nut. And then at some point, you get Jesus as all sunshine and light and love your neighbor and all that. That ain’t the Jesus that Paul is preaching.

        • MNb

          “He was preaching the end of the world”
          Cognitive dissonance, dear Po, cognitive dissonance, maintained until this very day. Evidence: the first Gospels got written.

        • Greg G.

          That’s how I was taught to read the Bible back in the day. We were supposed to be listening for a message from God speaking to our hearts. It keeps a person distracted from what the Bible actually says.

        • adam

          Because only a true psychopath would want what the bible says to be true.

        • Greg G.

          It’s scary that there are some in Congress and the military who think that way.

        • Jim Jones

          The best source for Paul would have been Peter/Cephas and yet if you go through all of the epistles, real and fake, there’s almost nothing there from Peter where you’d expect an essay.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes. The person of Jesus is strangely absent in all but the 4 canonical gospels.

        • Greg G.

          I have a list of verses where Paul says something about Jesus, besides cheerleading, and Old Testament references where the information could have been found. I think Paul’s Jesus was the Suffering Servant from the OT who existed on Earth before the prophets. Apparently, the apostles of Paul’s day had similar beliefs as we see disputes but not about that.

        • Jim Jones

          Yes, but what I am looking for is stuff that Peter said which Paul refers to. Otherwise it’s just stuff Paul makes up.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, I don’t think there is any of that. If you read the Pastorals, you’ll also notice an explicit lack of Jesus references. Guides on how to be good and how you should live and etc, but nothing in a “When Jesus was around here……….” If you read Revelation as astrology, with particular attention to the birth and death of the lamb from the constellation Virgo, I really think that that is the basis of the cult that Paul was preaching about. It makes sense, when you look at the way the other Greek Gods were formulated, and Pauline thinking is very much Greek inspired. I think Revelation is the blueprint for what Paul and Cephas and James were preaching, and the later Gospels fleshed it out. In a nutshell, I think Jesus is a complete myth.

        • Greg G.

          If you read the Pastorals, you’ll also notice an explicit lack of Jesus references.

          1 Timothy 6:13 has Jesus testifying before Pilate. But then 1 Timothy 3:16 says he was “seen by angels” which, if it means anything, would have to be as opposed to being seen by men, which, in turn, is contradictory to the 1 Timothy 6:13 verse.

          That verse and some in 2 Peter are why I always say the “early epistles” don’t support the gospels. The epistles that were written before the gospel Jesus meme was out there don’t have any idea about a first century Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          The only thing 1 Peter says about an earthly Jesus is that Christ suffered in 1 Peter 2:21, 4:1 and 5:1. In 1 Peter 2:22-25, the description of the suffering is quotes and allusions from Isaiah 53:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and maybe 12. Isaiah is the book Paul quotes more than any other and he quotes Isaiah 53, too.

          I think all the early apostles including Cephas, John, James, Barnabas, Timothy, Silvanus, and all of Paul’s buddies thought Jesus was ancient history already in their time. All they knew was out of context Old Testament passages that thought were about Jesus.

          So while Paul’s Jesus, James’ Jesus, and Peter’s Jesus were based on some of the same OT verses, they probably had different verses they took for Jesus clues, just as they had different understandings of salvation and circumcision. They were all making up a Jesus with some overlap as they were reading the same prophets.

        • Jim Jones

          That’s why I view the gospels as comic books. Each is a part copy of the previous one, but there’s some “rebooting” going on and the stories get enhanced.

          They’ve done that with Superman comics I believe, although I don’t follow those at all.

          But I can compare with the old Superman TV series (with horrible stories and acting), and then Lois and Clark, then Smallville etc.

          All the characters in the gospels are drawn just as foils for some point about Jesus. None (except Paul?) is really drawn in any detail and they often only appear once to make some verse work.

        • Greg G.

          I agree. I think the Cephas, James, and John that Paul knew were well-educated people, probably priests. Mark has cast them as illiterate fishermen. You see Peter being wishy-washy in Mark with the denials, similar to the way he ate with the Gentiles until he was cowed by the circumcision faction in Galatians. James and John wanted to sit on either side of Jesus in glory and I think Mark wrote them that way for being the other two mentioned as “pillars” in Galatians. The whole circumcision faction in Jerusalem would have been wiped out when Jerusalem was destroyed, so Mark ended with the women being to afraid to tell anybody to go to Galilee.

          So Mark may have been satire directed at one sect but everybody took it too seriously.

        • Jim Jones

          > I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

          The Angel Moroni was busy and Xenu’s internet was down.

      • Greg G.

        Paul doesn’t know anything about Jesus that isn’t in the OT. He seems to have thought ant idea he got from scripture was the Lord speaking to him.

  • Sophia Sadek

    The non-canonical stuff is way cool. It beats the hell out of the canonical work. It is no wonder that Constantine’s bishops saw them as a threat to their power. The fact that they were banned and burned gives them more credence in my eyes.

    • wtfwjtd

      One of my favorites is the Infancy Gospel of Thomas! Boy Jesus goes around smiting people for pissing him off, from teachers to old men, much to the chagrin of his father–“aw, son, did ya really have to lose your temper and smite yet another one? The people of the village are angry enough at us as it is, from the last three smitings…”

      Great stuff!

  • Mythbuster

    Hate to break it to Ya, Bob, ole buddy, heaven is real, so is hell and so is Jesus Christ, maker of heaven and earth. KJV version of the Bible has 340,000 cross references, written over 1500 years by over 40 different authors. Do the math, buddy, this is statistically impossible for any book, shows supernatural hand of God in creating this book.

    • Dys

      Making theological assertions without evidence can be refuted in kind. Your entire first line can be dismissed with “nope, you’re wrong”. Heaven and hell are imaginary, and Jesus (if he actually existed) is dead now. You would need to provide some extremely compelling evidence to support your claims – far more than “it says so in my favourite book”.

      Also, cross references don’t prove anything other than that the authors of the books cross referenced.

    • Pofarmer

      Muslims claim divine inspiration for their holy book, and it refutes your holy book, so, you loose.

    • Greg G.

      The Bible authors didn’t write in a vacuum. They were reading the older writings and incorporating the thoughts. That’s why there are relationships between them. Many copied other writings verbatim. Paul cited OT verses. Mark used lots of OT passages and Paul. Matthew and Luke copied Mark. John was influenced.

      We see the same patterns in TV shows. We could make cross references between them. Does that make them true, too.

      • Pofarmer

        Currently Flash and Arrow are showing up on each others shows. I suppose this is evidence they are authentic?

    • MNb

      Love to break it to Ya, Mythbeliever, ol chap, Heaven is fiction, so is Hell and so is Christ. Here is a list of contradictions:

      http://www.project-reason.org/bibleContra_big.pdf

      and here is the corresponding graph:

      http://i.imgur.com/mvq9Ax8.png

      Do the math, pal, this is statistically as sure as you can get it for any man made book, disproves supernatural hand of god in creating this book.

      • Greg G.

        This is the perfect response to Mythbuster’s claim.

  • Pofarmer

    Is facebook just a huge proselytization service? When did my high school friends go mental?

    • Greg G.

      Yes. I don’t spend much time on it as there as it is religiousness and recipes. But somebody posted a story about an atheist professor at USC that was like the recent Nick Cage movie. I sent the link to Snopes.com that showed it was an evolving urban legend but he seems to have ignored it.

      • Pofarmer

        I’ve sent a few links debunking things, but it probably doesn’t get anywhere, and just makes me look petty. From what I’m seeing on Patheos, and facebook, and a few other boards I frequent, it seems that U.S. Christians are getting increasingly paranoid and shrill.

        • MNb

          As an outsider I’d say US christian fundies. The others – about 40% or something – seem to remain largely silent.

        • Greg G.

          I blame Fox News and the conservative media at large. They amp up non-stories and make up controversies like the War on Christmas.

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know, before we got satelite T.V. about a little over a year ago, well, heck, maybe 2, I was kind of exited to get Fox news. This was when I was still moderately religious mind you. And all I could think of, especially regarding somebody like Bill O’reilly or Shepherd Smith, is “These people are fucking idiots.” It didn’t take long for Glenn Beck to wear thin on me. You can only predict the end of the world so many times.

      • Rikki

        an evolving urban legend

        Reminds me of the defense popular among some apologists that the Jesus narrative cannot possibly be myth or in any way mythologized because there simply wasn’t the time available for that to happen before the so called holy books were collated.

        This argument, much to their denial, is dashed upon rocks when we have innumerable examples around the world of it happening in real time. Take for example your comment above. Here you have a Christian pushing a demonstrable myth as truth and passing it along unchallenged to the next biased believer in the face of evidence to the contrary.

        In our very own lifetimes we have examples of guru/yogi/mystics that have obtained millions of followers who believe they are divine and/or hold divine powers. One of whom died and his followers refused to give up the body because of his pending resurrection, and another who’s mother claims his birth was miraculous and swears no penis was involved whatsoever.

        The apologists would have us believe that this couldn’t have possibly happened 2,000 years ago in a more superstitious, illiterate, knowledge and reason bereft age, besotted with the same dooms-dayers that we are saddled with today that come in so many flavors it’s hard to keep count.

        • Greg G.

          simply wasn’t the time available for that to happen before the so called holy books were collated.

          If the Gospels is wrong, they don’t know when to start the clock.

        • Pofarmer

          If you look at how the Gregorian calendar was set, it was set from a celestial even, A planetary alignment, and that was set as year zero. I don’t think they really had a clue, but they needed something for their earthly man/God.

        • Greg G.

          I remember hearing that now that you mention it. I was thinking about how the calendar beginning was set just to day and it didn’t come to mind. But I do remember that there was no Year Zero. The would have been a Zero Time that would last no longer than the time it would take light to travel the diameter of a proton.

        • Sathya Sai Baba, who died a few years ago, is my favorite modern mystic. He could do pretty much every trick that Jesus did, including raising the dead. He could be in 2 places at once. Pretty amazing guy, and he died with millions of followers. Jesus’s handful of disciples sound pretty paltry in comparison.

  • Yonah

    Again, Bob’s definition/assumption of “God” is a Greek one.

    But, if anyone should try to understand a little of the Hebrew/Jewish story, a sense of humor (even if gallows) is necessary.

    “…and what we’re really good at, is bullshit” — Lewis Black

    At an existential level, Jews have really never really known what they’ve been dealing with…they just know they’ve been dealing. There is a certain holy agnosticism to it. One agnostic Jewish site has the logo: I dunno/adonai…or maybe the reverse…I can’t remember.

    At an existential level, Jews were really never interested in the deal. They were dragged into it screaming and kicking and and getting their ass kicked (see Jacob). The book of Jonah symbolizes the argument where the Jews say “fuck no” and the Ass Kicker says “fuck yes”.

    As my rabbi bluntly said, “Jews would rather just be left the fuck alone.”

    To think of the strangeness of the historical tracks…that all this Tradition that Moses picked up and spread like a cancer got cooked up in some existential collision of a dude named Jethro in a desert shithole called Midian.

    The main difference between Judaism and its child Christianity is that the Jews don’t know what God is, and the Christians say Jesus is God. Beyond that, they’re both screwed a la the book of Jonah. For as Calvin imagined that election by God was some sort of honor of prestige (did he smoke crack?), for Jews and Christians, discipleship’s a bitch….but somebody gotta do it.

    “When Jesus Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” — Deitrich Bonhoeffer

    Oh, joy. Well, Ass Kicker say…joy some day, so one might as well practice it now.

    So, Merry Fuckin Christmas to you.

    • adam

      Funny that the Christians say Jesus is the Jewish Messiah when clearly he isnt. Then they claim the Jews dont know what their own prophecy says.

      And the really sad part is that since christianity is a Revealed ReligionTM, everyone is forced to create their own idol to worship in their own minds, which is in disagreement with every other idol created in every other mind, so no two ‘gods’ are exactly alike, but each one ‘believes’ that only their creation is the ‘True GodTM’.

      Sounds like yet another hollow version of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    • Again, Bob’s definition/assumption of “God” is a Greek one.

      Wow—you got me. Guilty as charged. I just can’t get out of the mindset that arguments must be well supported by evidence. I guess that’s just a trait of my own constrained view, huh?

      At an existential level, Jews have really never really known what they’ve been dealing with

      They inherited a made-up Bronze Age god like lots of other people. Problem solved.

      • Yonah

        “Problem solved.”

        That’s what Hitler thought.

        • Having a hard time staying on topic?

        • Yonah

          Well, now I’ve become interested in science. Got any science on how a Bronze age god got from Golgotha to Constantine?

        • adam

          Like all gods get promoted = through political propaganda and often times FORCE…

        • adam

          Yes, Hitler was just a ‘christian’ plagued by the whole notion of “Revealed ReligionTM’ like all ‘christians’.

        • Yonah

          Hitler saw his Reich as a rebirth or continuation of the Roman Empire…He was the new Caesar. Authentic Christianity, and of course, Judaism stood in his way. So, he invented the Reich Church replacing the cross and Bible with the swastika and Mein Kampf.

          http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/church_in_nazi_germany.htm

          Your local community college may have a history course on WWII.

        • Ah, that’s clearer. You can see Christianity clearly but Hitler couldn’t.

          Is there a scorecard or rule book by which we bystanders can judge? Obviously, everyone says that he’s got it wrong and the others don’t. How do we tell the insightful ones like you from the boneheads like Hitler?

          On a slight tangent, what about Martin Luther? He seemed to be a flaming anti-Semite, and his impact suffused the culture from which Hitler grew. Where does Luther fall on the Cluefulness scale?

        • adam

          Martin Luther was the inspiration behind Kristallnacht, it was held on Martin Luther’s birthday…

          Martin Sasse, Nazi Party member and bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia, leading member of the Nazi German Christians, one of the schismatic factions of German Protestantism, published a compendium of Martin Luther’s writings shortly after the Kristallnacht; Sasse “applauded the burning of the synagogues” and the coincidence of the day, writing in the introduction, “On 10 November 1938, on Luther’s birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany.” The German people, he urged, ought to heed these words “of the greatest anti-Semite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht

          Sounds like Yohah has nothing more than the “No True Scotsman Fallacy” to validate his posts.

        • MNb

          There is no need to exaggerate with “Martin Luther was the inspiration behind Kristallnacht”. You could as well say that Herschel Grynszpan’s attack on Ernst vom Rath was the inspiration – or the Lida Birova scandal Joseph Göbbels was the centerpiece of.
          Antitheist cherrypicking isn’t any better than christian cherrypicking.
          Yeah, Martin Luther’s antisemitism stands in the same tradition as the Holocaust. But Yonah already accepted that, so your comment is rather pointless.

        • adam

          I dont see it as an exaggeration.
          It was held on his birthday to celebrate what he recommended in ‘On the Jews and their Lies’

        • MNb

          I just explained it to you. As such you’re a fine example of the Backfire Effect. That it was held on that birthday was just a symbolic convenience, nothing more.

          “to celebrate what he recommended”
          Now you’re just as silly and ignorant as Yonah above. It’s well documented that Göbbels (who organized the Kristallnacht, in case you even have forgotten that)
          a) had been advocating such radical measures for quite a while;
          b) seized the opportunity provided by Grynszpan’s attack on Vom Rath;
          c) wanted to get back in Hitler’s good books again after the Birova scandal.

          It’s typical that you prefer to just ignore these facts. It’s a strategy creationists are very fond of as well – neglect every inconvenient fact that prevents you from pushing your predetermined conclusion. Good job, Adam.
          Several other nazi’s, notably Göbbel’s opponent Göring, were dead against it. Apparently they were not so hot on celebrating Luther’s birthday. Also note that the nazi’s afterwards preferred to continue their anti jewish politics in a hidden way, not in the open. Göring criticized the Kristallnacht heavily afterwards and maintained that criticism at his Nürnberg trial – and not out of compassion with the victims, I can guarantee you.

        • adam

          In 1543 Luther published On the Jews and Their Lies in which he says that the Jews are a “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.”[13] They are full of the “devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine.”[14] The synagogue was a “defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut …”[15] He argues that their synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness,[16] afforded no legal protection,[17] and these “poisonous envenomed worms” should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time.[18] He also seems to advocate their murder, writing “[w]e are at fault in not slaying them”.[19] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_and_antisemitism

          This SURE appears to be what Kristallnacht was all about. It did occur on his birthday.

          a) had been advocating such radical measures for quite a while;
          Luther was a strong influence in Germany, obviously.
          It would not be surprising that Göbbels would be advocating something that much of the German people could identify with and obviously something that he identified with.

          b) seized the opportunity provided by Grynszpan’s attack on Vom Rath;
          So he seized the opportunity to realize Martin Luthers influence.
          c) wanted to get back in Hitler’s good books again after the Birova scandal.
          So he wanted to get back in Hitler’s good books again so he took the opportunity to have Kristallnacht inacted, inspired by Martin Luther and his writings.

          So what ‘facts’ am I missing?

        • Yonah

          As one who was an ordained Lutheran pastor, I am certified to stipulate the dude was stone fuck nuts. Of course, the Catholics back then said as much, but used the Latin version. Or you can read “Young Man Luther” by Erik Eriksen.

        • And as leader of the Third Fucking Reich, Hitler was in a position to tell you that you’re an idiot.

          If you responded by my challenge about Martin Luther, I missed it.

        • Yonah

          If you must know, I personally revoked Marty’s Christian membership card using the powers granted me in ordination in the Office of the Keys. Essentially, he is currently suspended and assigned to purgatory until which time he both repents and works off his time. To date, I have yet to hear from either Marty or the Home Office. So, he remains in God’s Gitmo as will Cheney & Co. when their time comes.

        • Kodie

          You’re basically qualified in bullshit. Thanks for finally admitting it.

        • adam

          I didnt realize that “Lutheran pastor(s) ordination was equivalent to a degree in Psychiatry.

          And if you think ‘the dude ws stone fuck nuts’ what does THAT say about YOU becoming a LUTHERan pastor?

        • Yonah

          It is.

          Luther said “Sin boldly”. I did.

        • adam

          One the Jews, Luther said “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies.
          This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.”

          Have you?

        • Yonah

          Uh, I guess. I Have a lot of things.

          I am a Jew. My wife is a Jew. That we returned to Christian community, by Jewish law, means we are apostate Jews, but still Jews. I have posted much more of Luther’s rants than you to shame both Lutherans and Christians. How that falls speaks to the heart of those it lands on. Actually, if it can be imagined, Luther published an even worse tract than the Jews And Their Lies. It is “Vom Schem Hamphoras.” The only English translation of it is in a book by the Jewish scholar Dr. Gerhard Falk.

        • adam

          So along with being an apostate Jew, you are an apostate Lutheran as well and an apostate psychiatrist?

          See how easy it is to get back to;

          Merriam Webster
          Full Definition of CHRISTIAN
          1 a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ

          Everyone just makes it up as they go along….

          Idolatry

          Or as MNb asks
          “Idiotlatry?”

          .

        • Yonah

          I like the word apostate as it denotes a leaving of something while still taking a chunk of it with you. I should have corrected you earlier…not psychiatrist, but psychologist. A psychiatrist is an md, and I’ve never been to medical school. But, I was trained as a substance abuse counselor and worked in a rehab agency as an outpatient counselor. All my superiors there were Methodists which I suppose could be taken as irony as I am now Methodist.

          Merriam Webster is not a catechism. And, and a catechism is only prelude to “practice”….deed. Professing is just talk. Without deed, talk is not Christianity. And, it has to be right deed.

        • adam

          Of course you like to CLAIM wiggle words.

          apostate noun

          1 a person who abandons a cause or organization usually without right

          Synonyms apostate, defector, deserter, recreant

          Related Words betrayer, double-crosser, quisling, traitor, traitress (or traitoress), turnabout, turncoat; abandoner, come-outer, dropout, leaver; defier, insurgent, insurrectionary, insurrectionist, mutineer, rebel, red, revolter, revolutionary, revolutionist, revolutionizer; discontent, malcontent; recusant, refusenik (also refusnik), refuser

          “Trained as a councelor” so you were trained to give ADVICE not make diagnosis.

          But you said you were a Lutheran Pastor.
          And now you are a Methodist, what a change in just a couple of days.

          Of course talk is christianity the only deed is claimed ‘belief”

          Personally, I would like ‘Christianity’ to be defined as those who live their lives like ‘Christ’. That would leave just a handful of ‘Christians’ in the whole world – if that.

          That would expose people like YOU to define what you really are – fakers, liars and scammers.

        • Yonah

          I was a Lutheran pastor a long time ago. I am now a Methodist lay person (officially now only 3 weeks). My wife and I have also been in the Orthodox Church in America, The Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Christ. My wife was raised Methodist and was a Methodist youth pastor when we met in seminary. Her District Sup. was allowing her to attend the Lutheran seminary because it was closer to her than the Methodist. The Jews taught us that what one does is what one believes. So, we follow a number of mainline Christian theologians who hold to that Jewish definition…their goal is to re-Judaize Christianity…because the math is simple. The less Jewish Christianity is…the more it gets sucked into your western secularism where everything is just a head trip…a sport of words wasting time instead of attending to the poor and countering the political machinery of Death.

          Since I’ve only been a Methodist 3 weeks, I’m sure I have a healthy learning curve ahead of me. I dunno…how do you fake Methodist?

        • MNb

          “where everything is just a head trip”
          Internet is also a product of such a head trip. Apparently you don’t think that “a sport of words wasting time” or part of “the political machinery of Death”.

        • Yonah

          I agree with you about the internet. And, I kind of am wasting time. I have an online business and I flip over to various chat sites to give myself a break. But, I’m not going to have time for this anymore soon. I’m working to get my business to a certain level so that I can take a church. Much small church ministry these days is bi-vocational which will be easier with a self-run flexible schedule business in contrast to another fixed schedule job. On the machinery of Death, what I’m centrally concerned about is the iceberg underneath the U.S. torture report that came out yesterday. I’m appalled that the Obama administration is so fully committed to having no prosecutions for the clear war crimes committed by the US…essentially “moving on”…..on to what?

        • 90Lew90

          Flimflam.

        • adam

          Another fine product brought to you by The Nutters….

        • 90Lew90

          I was thinking of engaging him thoughtfully when he raised Tertullian’s question of what Athens has to do with Jerusalem, but since his ideas of both are contrived, and since everything he’s posted in the past couple of days has been such nebulous, evasive crap, I’ve decided I can’t be bothered. I look forward to the day when a serious one comes along with some regard for consistency. This guy’s position seems to be: I was a Christian, then I was seduced by Judaism — I dunno, maybe because it’s older and has more mysticism — and then I returned to Christianity but I like to retain the term “Jewish Christian” (even though I invented the term) because Judaism still appeals to me and it chugs off my ego to give the impression that I’ve mastered both Traditions (note my capital ‘T’), rather than seem the dilettante that I am.

          But now I feel qualified, having “studied” [for which read, ‘flirted with’] the Old School, to fashion a Christianity of my own, and — no false modesty here, mind — cast Luther into Purgatory. All by myself. I got a set of keys, see. This way, I invent my own Christianity, which has many advantages. I can bandy around vague language and pretend it has some meaning inaccessible to the uninitiated. I can be right all the time. Isn’t it beautiful that Christianity is so amenable to the vainglorious! Try to pin me down with reason? Ah f-nahh! My god’s an Arab and never the twain shall meet.

          It is just more fucking goddamn bullshit.

        • adam

          “I look forward to the day when a serious one comes along with some regard for consistency.”

          I was going to agree wholeheartedly with you, but the more I thought about, those that are consistent are really the TRULY frightening ones like John who claims that EVIL is Good and GODLY and even babies deserve cancer, starvation and abuse, because of some snake talking a rib woman into critical thinking.

          “It is just more fucking goddamn bullshit.”

          Well when you make up a ‘god’ in your own mind out of your own imagination, bullshit is the very best justification against using REASON.

          “Idiotlatry?”

        • 90Lew90

          John wasn’t serious, which was the operative word. I had the good fortune to come across this guy on a BBC board a few years ago: http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPoliticsInternationalStudiesandPhilosophy/AboutUs/TeachingAssistants/Kerr/

          It often got heated but he was the most honest (which is not to say wholly honest) Christian I’ve ever come across on the web. We played Ping-Pong for about six months and then the BBC closed the board. What I can say for him is he came with a very sharp set of tools. His approach was to play his cards very close to his chest but he knew his catholic theology inside out, which included a sound knowledge of Greek philosophy, so he made me do some work. I don’t think he was expecting me to bother but in the job I had then there was a lot of idle time so I could dig around and read books. (There is quite a lot of sitting around, waiting for things to happen in newspapers.)

          It got heated when I began to discover that with a lot of the stuff he was pushing, he was only telling half the story, when he knew full well a lot of what he was pushing had been refuted. I saw that as dishonesty, particularly on the part of a teacher, and said as much. But to give him his due, I learned more about the religion I’d left, about the history of Christianity and by tangling with him about Enlightenment philosophy than I ever got in a church or in the formal study of philosophy that I’d done. That’s what I mean by “serious”. John? Pfft. He was a joke. As is our man Yonah here. Gaven would have had him in knots in one sitting. I don’t have the appetite to go and hit the books again for an obvious cod.

        • adam

          I am with you on this.
          I really enjoy when someone can either teach me something to spark my curiosity about a subject.

        • Ah, a engaging back and forth with a thoughtful antagonist. Sounds like good fun. I get that too infrequently.

          However, I would be as outraged as you if I knew that he knew the weak points of his arguments (or the other side of the story) and deliberately kept that from you. Not cool.

        • 90Lew90

          There were a couple of people challenging him, including a science guy. It was the most worthwhile exchange I’ve ever had on this topic on the internet, and it’s what got me hooked. I wasn’t outraged so much by his playing the internet debating game because that’s par for the course and as I said, I paid attention because his knowledge was obviously robust and I went to find things out. What really got me angry was that he came to that board using his real name, introducing himself as a “teacher” at Queen’s (he was studying for his PhD at the time), and over time it became obvious that he was pushing an agenda (neo-Thomism) in defence of (his) catholicism. A good and fair teacher tells the whole story. I think I went as far as to say he was corrupting the young. Undergrads should be given the full story, whatever they’re studying, because at school level they’re just taught to swallow and regurgitate “facts”. To exploit that tendency in university undergrads undermines real education — the kind you don’t get at school. There should be a wall of separation between university and seminary!

        • Pofarmer

          Higher education should be for learning how to think, not being told what to think.

        • MNb

          “at school level they’re just taught to swallow and regurgitate “facts”.”
          I beg to disagree. I try to teach a bit more and I start with kids as young as possible. After 14 years I still think it a total gas that kids with a different cultural and religious background than me are capable of mastering scientific logic, no matter how elementary.

        • 90Lew90

          I enjoyed the video of your debate by the way.

        • Thanks!

        • Pofarmer

          Cmon Lew. Anybody who knows that much philosophy and theology has to know that those arguments have already bee refuted, just like you see Catholic apologists trot out Aristotle as if he were fresh as a daisy. Thats one ting about my recent encounter with the fellow on the other disqus blog. He knew exactly where I was heading, and refused to go there, and I knew exactly where he wanted to go, bit wouldn’t allow him his flawed premises to make his case. All in all it was an enjoyable exchange and I’d call it a draw. But if one questioning Catholic sees that exchange and it helps them……it was worth it.

        • 90Lew90

          To be honest, he was bloody hard work, but that was the fun of it. The science guy was smarter than me and much more patient, he made more headway. He was a retired scientist of some sort and had taken up an interest in the philosophy of science as a hobby, so he was well armed. Gaven Kerr was doing his PhD and to get that you have to contribute something new to your field of study, and his effort was a defence of Thomism. I had a good few books of my own, the internet, and access to two good libraries, so I started coming back with Kant, Hume, the logical positivists and my own relatively scanty knowledge of the Greek stuff. It was pretty good because I was sober and in work mode, and the format of the board allowed for large postings, so we’d write back and forth three or four times a week. I enjoyed it in part because it was a relief from the newspaper work which was so stupid. Kerr is one of the only Christians I’ve come across on the internet who ever struck me as a true believer. “Deeply Christian” you might say. I have a grudging respect for that level of committment in a lay person. There’s much more of the seeker in that kind of character than your all-too-average Bible-thumping moron. I’d rather tackle someone advancing a Thomistic argument that homosexuality is disordered than some dimwit who just goes, “It’s sin, just because that’s why the Bible says!”

        • Pofarmer

          They are both just as wrong.

        • Thanks for the tip on the other book. I hadn’t heard of that one.

          Of course, you may not have any obligation to defend Luther. From your sect’s perspective, Luther could just be a loose cannon who contributed nothing important to Christianity.

        • Yonah

          I often argue with Lutherans about Luther. On the macro, I argue that the world would have been much better off had Luther never been borm. I argue a straight line between Luther’s anti-Judaism and the Nazis’/Hitler’s appropriation of it.

          Things can get better. My old seminary does a lot with Holocaust education and Jewish-Christian relations. Most the Lutheran denominations have published offical repudiations of Luther’s anti-Jewish writings. I would rather for a total repudiation of the man also on account of violence to peasants and Roma…and for setting in motion a theology which has only enabled unaccountability in both modern religious and secular institutions. One of my sub-arguments is that the Reformation didn’t need Luther…it was going to happen anyway. It would have been far better in my opinion had Luther’s assistant Phillip Melancthon been in leadership…someone like that could have worked things out with Catholics…such as with Erasmus. Both Erasmus and Melancthon were humanists and neither had the violent streak that Luther was infected with. Luther’s problem was that his parents beat the hell out of him, and he grew up to be the same way.

        • Lots of Christians apologize for Luther. Like you, I also see him partly responsible for the German anti-Semitism in the 20th century.

          What denomination would you call yourself?

        • Yonah

          My wife and I were just taken into the United Methodist Church three weeks ago. I am going to substitute preach the last Sunday of this month. I guess they’re going to get a Lutheran Jewish Methodist hybrid sermon.

        • MNb

          Good for you. I never sinned. Because it’s a meaningless word.

        • Yonah

          Well, then. Who do you do good to…what folk in need do you concretely help?

        • adam

          So ‘Sin boldly’ is much better in your eyes, than never sinned?

          Why should MNb do concrete work for anyone?
          What if he is a better bricklayer than a concrete guy?
          What if he just teaches instead?

          What does folks in need or deeds have to do with ANYTHING?

        • Yonah

          One of the ironies about Lutherans and Jews is that they tend to have similar emotive states about reality…while they have different philosophies of humanity, still, both seem to have a real-world view of the brokeness of humanity…the factuality and pervasiveness of sin throughout all humanity…and there being no reason to hide that. This is the sense of Luther’s statement which was uttered with a wry sense of humor…sin boldly as in don’t try to lie that you don’t sin. Actually the statement is often quoted in half as I did (perhaps shame on me for continuing the bad habit…but when you’re using it as a punch line…oh well)….but the other half of the quote is “but believe even more boldly”. You should like that since you’re all about constraining religion to belief….Hell, you would make a GREAT LUTHERAN! Maybe you should be Pastor Adam. So sure…my end of the line rejection of Lutheranism was the heavy habit to stop everything at the head trip line. My last congregation was giving me holy shit over me wanting the Confirmation class to do a service project and do a CROP Walk. They accused me of being a “Socialist” (which I am, lol). Shit yeah. You should be a MISSOURI SYNOD Lutheran Pastor…or even better, a WISCONSIN SYNOD pastor…those groups think just like you…that attending to those in need ain’t got nuthin to do with anything.

          Pastor Adam. Kind of has a ring to it, huh?

        • adam

          ring?
          No more like a dog collar…with a leash.

        • Yonah

          Exactly. When I wear a clerical collar, it is the dog collar (Anglican style) over against the Roman style…usually. Sometimes, I do the Roman when I feel more catholic. But, yes: the leash. Accountability is a bitch. But, that’s the whole deal of the book of Jonah. The dog breaks off the leash, and the owner runs the dog down and makes him do his job and the dog just does it and whimpers “sonofabitch”, but apparently, some dog gots to do it.

        • adam

          Accountability?
          I thought the whole idea is to pass that along to someone like Jesus.

          Some dogs may have to do it, but with slavery NOW unacceptable, in spite of the bible, no human should have to.

        • Yonah

          Your first point there is what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace” as opposed to “costly grace” which costs one one’s life in the program of Jesus whereby if anyone would seek their life, they first must lose it.

          As to your second point, that is simply the difference between faith and non-faith. Slavery to the Gospel of Jesus is accepted over against slavery to Caesar et al.

          Every bow to Jesus is a showing of one’s ass to Caesar. As Jesus will kick Casear’s ass, the directionality of bow to ass is not rocket science.

        • adam

          In a fight between dead zombie Caesar and dead zombie Jesus, I would put my money on Caesar,

          One turn the other cheek and Caesar would knock him out cold.

        • Yonah

          So, you are on the Caesar cheer squad on the other side of the stadium. A recent contest: JPII vs Soviets, Soviets lost. We also do not have any Caesar temples in our town, although I hear there is one in Las Vegas.

          Consider your mortality and what salary the average home health or LPN nurse makes.

        • adam

          In this fight, Caeser obviously has the upper hand against the peacenik commie Jesus.

          No if you put Caesar up against Jesus’s father that is a whole nuther match. Few gods are more monsterous or dirty fighters than the War God Jehovah.

          I have considered my own mortality for decades.
          I have LPN friends so I know what they make.
          Does this give me a points spread on the C VS J battle?

        • Yonah

          Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. You’re a Dick Cheney fan. Bob is drawing right wingers. But, what the heck. An atheist is an atheist.

          The problem with your war god riff is that you’re screwed by your critique of the Bible. The texts you allude to were written 600 years after the events they describe when Jews were in captivity to the Babylonian oppressors. There is absolutely no archaelogical evidence of a Hebrew conquest of Canann….and even in the OT there are conflicting texts which cite the still existent city or region supposedly utterly destroyed in another text. Bob tries to indict a biblical “story” which does not exist…the story is one of multiple stories. You much choose wisely.

          Are your LPN friends giddy with delight over their pay? When your time comes, what will you pay your nurse?

        • adam

          No not a Dick fan.

          And of course the OT if filled with conflicting texts, what do you expect from superstition turned into politics.

          I cant say I know anyone who is giddy with delight over their pay.

          I will most likely not be able to pay for a personal nurse.
          Now when I need them they are paid by the hospital or clinic.

        • Yonah

          The Yonah Shop is now closed for the evening, for I must go to the auction.

          My competition thinks they are outbidding me, but it’s my shit they’re buying.

          I see them when they’re sleeping
          I know when they’re awake
          I know if they’ve been bad or good
          And I know if they’re good for the check they write…

        • adam

          reminds me of:

        • 90Lew90

          You ol’ devil.

        • 90Lew90

          I realise the Yonah shop is closed and you’re down in the basement screwing the gimp, but I’m not sure that JPII beat the Soviets.

        • Greg G.

          MNb is a Dutch person teaching in Suriname. I expect he helps more folk in need concretely than he even knows about.

        • Yonah

          Sounds good. I’d like to hear about it.

        • MNb

          A question that has exactly zero to do with my remark about sin. But I’ll still answer your question.

          Indeed I’m a Dutch teacher maths and physics in Moengo, Suriname since 2000. According to my son this village is in the middle of the jungle. As such I give teens a chance to get a decent (and some of them a very good) education. Without me many of them wouldn’t have had that chance. Now you must not think that I’m an altruitst. I’m not. I live in relative luxury (as my internet connection shows), have relatively an good salary and a nice house. Above all I receive gratitude and respect from my ex-pupils and their parents. Moreover as a sidejob I train my colleagues from primary schools, which is generally also appreciated.
          Sure the needs of those folks are not as big as the needs of the people in Haiti or CAR. But imo they deserve an education as good as in Paramaribo (where half of the population lives). I’m trying to provide that, though I would be helpless without the cooperation of some very, very fine colleagues.

          My school:

          http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/49419631.jpg

          My son, who visited my school as well and now studies in Amsterdam, Netherlands second left:

          http://www.aaha.sr.org/smartcms/img/2011%20schaken%20voskampioen.jpg

          Some more ex-pupils:

          http://www.starnieuws.com/index.php/beyond_files/get_image/163add80437f56a93a2f70a231506644.jpg___van_assen_2.jpg/425

          https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-fhLFmDb7LPg/AAAAAAAAAAI/AAAAAAAAACc/GxeaTRpojrw/photo.jpg

          https://nl.linkedin.com/pub/sharelyn-cheng/1a/412/32

          http://i.vimeocdn.com/video/366621186_295x166.jpg

          https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-TS5rV8c8v4k/AAAAAAAAAAI/AAAAAAAAAxk/Zm79r7i8Peo/photo.jpg

        • Yonah

          I think what you’re doing is wonderful. Great looking kids. I taught for 8 years in middle and elementary school in Columbus, Ohio. The middle school was in a pretty violent inner city neighborhood, but the elementary school was in a much more peaceful but economically hard hit community…actually the one I grew up in. In both schools though, we had a good many recent immigrant kids…some Latino, others African along with an older group of folk from Southeast Asia from the post Vietnam era. I miss teaching, but the public school system here became non-functional with the testing movement. The district I used to teach in got caught in a cheating scandal where teachers and administrators were doctoring test answer sheets and other misdeeds…and this was on top of all manner of other systemic failures and constriction of revenue as families bailed on the district and either went to private schools or just moved to adjacent suburban districts. Thank you for what you do.

        • Greg G.

          Do you live in Columbus now? I ask because I do.

        • Yonah

          Wow. No, not anymore. We’re rural now about an hour north. I grew up on the West Side in Holly Hill. Graduated from West High.

        • Greg G.

          I lived in that school district from around 1992 to 2005. I’m on the other side of town. I finally figured out that if you work day shift and live west of where you work, you are driving into the sun mornings and afternoons.

        • Yonah

          Yup. When I left ministry, we built a house in Hunting Ridge next to Big Run Park..it had fond memories from childhood, but it was a big mistake due to the crime that would happen from people using the park as a getway base for doing crime in the neighborhood (a recent murder there was of a man who was a friend and neighbor)…and yes, the west to east drive. Then we moved to a poorer section of Bexley for the school district…the neighborhood on the northside up against the tracks. It was not originally part of Bexley having been annexed at some point. We found that the kids in our neighborhood got segmented from the “real Bexley” kids in the school. And then the drive diagonally from Bexley to Dublin for my wife was horrible just from a logistical standpoint. The Big Run Park thing was parable for me with the Lutheran thing…I once attempted to go back to the Lutherans and just found that the “park” had gone way downhill since. The same is also so true with Columbus Public Schools…not that I tried to go back.

        • adam

          Hitler was an authentic ‘christian’ in the same manner that you are.

          “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and
          Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize
          more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.

          -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

          Seems like YOU should do as I did and study BEYOND the local ‘christian’ community college ‘history’ courses.

        • Yonah

          No doubt, you also accept the Klan’s claim to be Christian. Do let us know what school empowered you to your conclusion. I am sure they will be proud to receive the credit.

        • Greg G.

          When I was in college, a friend wanted to protest at a KKK march. I needed some money so I worked her shift. She collected some applications they were passing out. IIRC, one “pleadge” (they spelled it that way about two dozen times) was that the applicant was Christian. I don’t recall how they worded it or spelled it.

        • adam

          Of course I do.

          Merriam Webster
          Full Definition of CHRISTIAN
          1 a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ

          What school empowered YOU to CLAIM that they are not?

          Since ‘christianity’ is a Revealed Religion, they are just as much christian as YOU are, it is after all whatever gets ‘revealed’ to one when one seeks Christ.

        • My rule of thumb had been: if someone says he’s a Christian, he’s probably a Christian. No degree required.

        • Yonah

          How very scientific.

        • Kodie

          It is actually.

        • MNb

          Every single other method results in the No True Christian fallacy.
          But of course you would prefer to negotiate and renegotiate the definition of “christian” over and over again with your ever-changing god.

        • MNb

          Bogus. Read Mein Kampf and Hitler’s speeches. I’m not aware of him mentioning Julius Caesar. He mentioned Jesus of Nazareth a couple of times though.
          Apparently you don’t even know why he called Nazi-Germany the Third Reich. The first one was the German Reich of the Middle Ages, especially the period that Barbarossa was emperor. The second one was the Reich that lost WW-1.
          It was Mussolini who saw himself as the new Caesar, not Hitler.

          “So, he invented ….”

          Yes, because the First Reich and the Second Reich were also thoroughly christian. Heck, Nazi means National-Socialism and after killing the Strasser brothers there was not much left of the socialist parts. Nationalism flourished though and you think Hitler referred to an Italian past? You’re either silly or ignorant – or both.

        • Yonah

          I have pissed my pants from laughing.

          Caesar was not the last name of one Julius. There were other subsequent Caesars and Julius was a BC dude…not even a Caesar of the Roman Empire but of the Roman Republic.

          The 3rd Reich was fashioned to continue the Holy Roman Empire which was symbolically fashioned to emulate the Roman Empire. Hitler and Speer used all Roman architecture and art for new buildings, infrastructure and propaganda art….not Teutonic.

  • Scott Ratzloff

    I truly hope and pray that this thread is not an actual cross section of the belief patterns of atheist. This only proves that all of us contain lots of BS. Merry Christmas!!

    • MNb

      You don’t bother to get specific, I assume? If no, well, I don’t care what you truly hope and what not, let alone what you pray.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        Specifically this thread. You choose any 10 posts. What I hope and pray for is not specifically for you , per se, but for me.

        • MNb

          I meant specific regarding subjects and examples. Rather selfish to hope and pray for yourself, but if it makes you feel good, by all means go ahead. I just don’t get why you would bother us with this.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        I am always amused with those who post without a profile picture. You could at least have the courage of your convictions. As it stands now….you are in the ‘troll’ category. Happy HanuKwanzmas! 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          Of all the things MnB might be, cranky, brusque, opinionated, troll is not one of them. What does a profile picture mean anyway? You think nobody ever faked a profile picture? I’m interested in what people think, not what they look like. So far you’ve posted mothing even remotely worthwhile except insulted a regular to the blog.

        • Kodie

          You don’t have convictions, you have opinions. I don’t know why you would put your face and name next to it.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Why do you believe what you believe? Even with scholarship as back up….there will always be people who think you have opinions. Nothing will ever be settled between those who believe in God and those who don’t. Both sides have their arguments. I wasn’t won over to the ignorant bigoted dream weavers Christian faith by argument. I was agnostic for many years until the events in my life past and present coalesced into the only thing that made sense to me. God. It takes faith to believe just as it takes faith to be atheist. One question that has never been answered. Where did the gases come from the precipitated the Big Bang?

        • Pofarmer

          Gases didn’t precipitate the big bang. Egads. Laurence Kraus, Neil Degrasse Tyaon. Youtube, go there before you spout any more gibberish. Maybe you could read a book by Victor Stenger or Carl Sagan. Wow, just wow.

        • Kodie

          I don’t believe anything. Why? I was not convinced to believe because it’s a fairy tale. It sounds like bullshit from the get-go, and nobody has improved on it. They like to think they have, with all the “scholarship”.

          the only thing that made sense to me

          You were marketed to, and you were gullible.

          It takes faith to believe just as it takes faith to be atheist.

          It doesn’t take any faith to be an atheist. Are you still afraid of monsters under the bed too?

          One question that has never been answered. Where did the gases come from the precipitated the Big Bang?

          That’s what you’re hanging your faith on? Questions that haven’t been answered? The question “where did your fairy god come from” doesn’t trouble you because you’ve been given an answer and you’re satisfied with it – even though it’s bullshit, it appeases you and you feel like you know something. Nobody knows “god” or where “he” came from, they are just making up stories, because they’re dumb about the world, and it’s “the only thing that makes sense” to them. Why is the history of humans all over the globe full of myths? Myths you recognize as myths, but you don’t recognize your own. Does it take any faith to disregard all of the other ones?

        • MNb

          “Even with scholarship as back up….there will always be people who think you have opinions.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Yeah, when I write that the Earth is a sphere you might well maintain this is just an opinion, as valid as the Flat Earth Theory.

          “One question that has never been answered. Where did the gases come from the precipitated the Big Bang?”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          There were no gases involved in the Big Bang, ignorant.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Enlighten me…what caused the Big Bang and do you believe that anything existed before that split second?

        • MNb

          Nothing caused the Big Bang. It was a probabilistic event. Just like there is no cause for an instabile atom to decay at this moment and not at a random other one.
          The Big Bang did not last a split second. It happened on a point on our timeline.
          As for the question if anything existed before the Big Bang: I don’t know, due to lack of empirical data. There is no consensus on physicists.
          OK, enough free lessons physics. What are your arguments and evidence for your god? I have reread all your comments and have found exactly zero. It’s not even clear to me whether you accept the Big Bang as a fact or not, let alone what that has anything to do with your god.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          My friend, I’m just too lazy to add a profile picture. Why would I? What guarantees that that picture is yours iso some random one? But I can offer you a written profile.
          MNb stands for Mark Nieuweboer. I am a Dutchman living in Moengo, Suriname. Good luck verifying this info. See? You still don’t know anything about me.
          At the other hand my convictions don’t require any courage – not where I was raised and where I live.

    • Pofarmer

      This post is actually pretty laid back and main stream.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        Depends on your point of view. As far as atheism being mainstream ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

        • Pofarmer

          Talking about according to mainstream biblical scholarship.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          And that would be? Do you purport yourself to be an expert on ‘mainstream biblical scholarship’?

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, i dunno, you could start with Bart Ehrman and work out from there. And before you protest, he wrote the NT textbooks that almost all the schools, including seminaries, use. Oh, Barts blog is Christianity in Antiquity.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I can counter that pseudo- intellectual with ~ http://www.worldmag.com/2014/04/raining_on_bart_ehrman_s_easter_parade ~ Both of us can find others to support our concepts and ideas. Merry Christmas!! p.s. “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans something or other! 😉

        • Greg G.

          I’ve read a dozen of Ehrman’s books. Further reading has shown that most scholars agree with him. It was his book Did Jesus Exist? where he argued that he did exist that convinced me that Jesus did not exist.

          The extrabiblical evidence can only attest to the existence of Christians but not that they were in a position to know whether Jesus existed. The epistles don’t support the gospel Jesus.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Take a second look at the writings of Paul. I think you will find plenty of evidence to suggest that not only did a man named Jesus existed but that His teachings were and are solidly backed up by the epistles and Revelation.

        • Pofarmer

          There’s a whole post entitled “what did Paul know about Jesus”. The answer is pretty much nothing. He never anchors Jesus in time. He never quotes Jesus, except for his last supper scene which is probably an interpolation. Paul and the apostles in Jerusalem were also at odds on teachings, which is why they had the meeting with Cephas and James. And what is interesting about that is Paul goes to Jerusalem, no mention of the tomb, or the cross, or Jesus mother, etc,etc. What is interesting next, is the Pastorals don’t mention an Earthly Jesus either. Don’t quote him, don’t reference where he preached, etc. The only mention of an Earthly Jesus is really the four canonical Gospels, written well after events, far away from Palestine. It looks for all the world like Cephas and James, and then Paul, were preaching an Apocalyptic cult based on Jesus coming down from heaven and raising the dead and ruling the World. At least thats what he “tells” Herod in Acts. No mention of an Earthly Jesus there, either. And Revelation is interesting. Bruce Malina has written about Revelation as ancient Astrology, and it certainly makes sense in that vein much more than any other, and if you read it like that, then suddenly Revelation is the Astrological book the whole thing is actually based on. Astrology is old, and would definately have been being practived at the time. So, here we have Occams razor, dod a miraculous Jew walk the Earth, born of a Virgin, raised into heaven, or did Men make up just one more religion? I know where my money is.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Galatians 2:20,21 ~ “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

          How can you die if you did not live? To the early leaders the fact that Jesus Christ lived , died and was resurrected from the grave was a basic truth that they all agreed on. It would be redundant. I can provide many scriptures that back up Paul’s belief in Jesus. If you care to examine them from an open mind and temporarily jettison dogmatism.

        • wtfwjtd

          “How can you die if you did not live?”

          Uh, pretty simple really, when you realize that Paul is speaking metaphorically. The thing is, Paul NEVER actually met a man named Jesus, by his own admission.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          What do you base your interpretation on? What scholastic evidence can you give to back up your claim that Paul was speaking metaphorically?

          1st Cor. 9:1,2 ~ Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

          1st Cor. 15: 3-8 ~ “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

        • adam

          re bible quotes

        • wtfwjtd

          “What scholastic evidence can you give to back up your claim that Paul was speaking metaphorically?”

          Let me get this straight. Are you telling me that you believe that Paul is claiming that he actually was physically crucified with Christ?

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know whether to attempt education or just stick with pointing fingers and making fun.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’m with ya Po, I see more trolling and preaching going on here than anything. You know how it is, they hang around until the tough questions get asked, and then they suddenly disappear. Typical Christian modus operendi.

        • Pofarmer

          So, do most Christians think Atheists juat don’t have enough information or what?

        • adam

          I think, like Scott alluded to, we atheist KNOW that the ‘christian’ god is real we are just like Nieztche and Hawkings, according to Scott we are just mad at it for some reason and that is why we deny the ’emotion of devotion’TM to their ‘god’.

          Of course the reason they deny Ganesh, Shiva, Allah and the thousands of other gods is because……

        • wtfwjtd

          I guess they think that they have thought about this stuff a lot more than any atheist, and that’s why they are so…something. I notice that anyone who doesn’t subscribe to Scott’s particular flavor of religious belief is “bitter” and “angry” and therefore what they think and say is irrelevant. Typical defense mechanism when attempting to dodge the hard questions.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, I mean, it’s not like we’ve spent years reading the relevant scholarship, not apologetics. Reading everything from the old school in the 1800’s and back, and up to the contemporary scholars, and even being able to interact with them on occasion. When else in history would Joe schmoe me be able to interact directly with folks like Bart Ehrman, Laurence Krauss, Richard Dawkins. And also the Apologists. The Desouza’s, and McGraths and William Lane Craigs. As certain as these theist who come here are, I’m even more certain they’re wrong. The problem is, they have this defensive wall of stupid up which reason can’t seem to penetrate. I’m a nice guy, but I’m really starting to loathe evangelicals.

        • wtfwjtd

          Even without the relevant scholarship, not to mention science and cosmology, Christianity itself is self-refuting. With just a casual reading of its holy book it can be shown to be false on its face, and just another man-made religion. Like Bob has said many times, that’s why the world’s religions celebrate faith so much–since they have no evidence that their particular view is correct, it’s all they’ve got. If they actually had any real evidence, they’d be celebrating that instead.

        • MNb

          Why not try to combine?

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s almost exactly what my wife said–she tries a little education first, and when they stick with their dogma then she laughs.

        • adam

          re bible quotes

        • adam

          The same way Spiderman could die in the series having never lived.

          The same way these ‘gods’ all died:

          MYTHOLOGY
          .

        • Pofarmer

          Did Prometheus live? Prometheus was punished for giving man fire.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The post that you are commenting on was in response to a claim that Paul never spoke or wrote about Jesus. Smoke Alert!

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, no. Please do keep up. Paul never wrote or spoke about an Earthly Jesus, and never anchors him in time. Plus, he never calls him Jesus. Just Christ or, the Lord.

        • adam

          re Galatians

        • 90Lew90

          Oh dear. That’s very weak.

        • adam

          Why is that?
          Paul seems very clear that he NEVER met Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          Hi Scott,

          I have taken more than a second look at Paul’s writing.

          Paul’s writings never give a hint about meeting Jesus in person. In Galatians 1:11-12, Paul tells us he did not get the gospel from a human source but through revelation. Romans 1:1-2 and Romans 16:25-27 says he got through the prphets of scripture. That’s the hidden information he speaks of in 1 Corinthians 2:7 and pseudo-Paul speaks of in Ephesians 3:3,5,9.

          In the Pauline Epistles that are considered authentic by most scholars, Paul mentions “Jesus”, “Christ”, “Jesus Christ”, or “Christ Jesus” over 300 times in about 1500 verses, about once every five verses. I’ve read that if you count pronouns and “Lord” references, it’s about once every three verses, so Paul reveres Jesus. It would be hard to make those 2 Corinthians statements if he thought the other apostles had been taught by Jesus.

          So let’s check to see whether Paul got his information about Jesus from the scriptures or from human sources. Here’s a list of references where Paul gives information about Jesus and the scripture he may have used for the information.

          Past
          Descended from David > Romans 1:3, Romans 15:12 > 2 Samuel 7:12, Isaiah 11:10

          Declared Son of God > Romans 1:4 > Psalm 2:7

          Made of woman > Galatians 4:4 > Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 49:5

          Made under the law > Galatians 4:4, Galatians 3:10-12* > Deuteronomy 27:26, Habakkuk 2:4, Leviticus 18:5

          Did not please himself > Romans 15:3* > Psalm 69:9

          Became a servant of the circumcised > Romans 15:8 > Isaiah 53:11

          For the Gentiles > Romans 15:9-12* > Psalm 18:49, 2 Samuel 22:50, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 117:1, Isaiah 11:10

          Was betrayed > 1 Corinthians 11:23 > Psalm 41:9

          Took loaf of bread and wine > 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 > Psalm 41:9, Exodus 24:8, Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53:12 (“wine” = “blood of grapes” allusions in Genesis 49:11, Deuteronomy 32:14, Isaiah 49:26, Zechariah 9:15)

          Was crucified for sins > 1 Corinthians 2:2, 1 Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 3:13* > Isaiah 53:12, Deuteronomy 21:23

          Was buried > 1 Corinthians 15:4 > Isaiah 53:9

          Was raised > Romans 1:4, Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:4 > Hosea 6:2, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 41:10

          Present
          Sits next to God > Romans 8:34 > Psalm 110:1, Psalm 110:5

          Intercedes > Romans 8:34 > Isaiah 53:12

          Future
          Will come > 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54*, Philippians 3:20-21 > Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:13; Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 25:8

          (* indicates that passage contains a direct quote from the Old Testament)

          Paul’s sources for the Philippians Hymn:

          5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
          1 Corinthians 11:1
          Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

          6 who, though he was in the form of God,
          Isaiah 52:14
          Just as there were many who were astonished at him
              —so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
              and his form beyond that of mortals—

                did not regard equality with God
          Isaiah 9:6
          For a child has been born for us,
              a son given to us;
          authority rests upon his shoulders;
              and he is named
          Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
              Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

                as something to be exploited,
          Isaiah 53:7
          He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
              yet he did not open his mouth;
          like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
              and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
              so he did not open his mouth.

          7 but emptied himself,
          Isaiah 53:12b
          because he poured out himself to death,

                taking the form of a slave,
          Isaiah 52:13a
          “See, my servant shall prosper”

                being born in human likeness.
          Isaiah 49:5
          and now the Lord says,
              who formed me in the womb to be his servant,

            And being found in human form,
          Isaiah 53:2
          For he grew up before him like a young plant,
              and like a root out of dry ground;
          he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
              nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

          he humbled himself
          Isaiah 53:3
          He was despised and rejected by others;
              a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
          and as one from whom others hide their faces
              he was despised, and we held him of no account.

                and became obedient to the point of death—
          Isaiah 53:10
          Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.
          When you make his life an offering for sin,
              he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
          through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.

                even death on a cross.
          Deuteronomy 21:23 (per Galatians 3:13)
          23 his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree;
          you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a
          tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land
          that the Lord your God is giving you for possession.

          9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
          Isaiah 53:12a
          Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
              and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

                and gave him the name
          Isaiah 54:5a
          For your Maker is your husband,
              the Lord of hosts is his name;

                that is above every name,
          Isaiah 54:5b
          the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
              the God of the whole earth he is called.

          10 so that at the name of Jesus
          Isaiah 49:22
          Thus says the Lord God:
          I will soon lift up my hand to the nations,
              and raise my signal to the peoples;
          and they shall bring your sons in their bosom,
              and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.

                every knee should bend,
          Isaiah 45:23a
          By myself I have sworn,
              from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
              a word that shall not return:
          “To me every knee shall bow,

                in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
          Isaiah 45:22
          Turn to me and be saved,
              all the ends of the earth!
              For I am God, and there is no other.

          11 and every tongue should confess
          Isaiah 45:23b
              every tongue shall swear.

                that Jesus Christ is Lord,
          Isaiah 45:24
          Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
              are righteousness and strength;
          all who were incensed against him
              shall come to him and be ashamed.
                  to the glory of God the Father.
          Isaiah 45:25
          In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
              shall triumph and glory.

          Paul doesn’t think his knowledge about Jesus is inferior to the other apostles as we see in 2 Corinthians 11:4-6 and 2 Corinthians 12:11.

          Before you go to “the brother of the Lord”, I will argue that Paul was being sarcastic. See Galatians 5:11-12 about Paul wishing the circumcision faction would castrate themselves to calibrate your sarcasm detector. Galatians 2:11-14 shows that Cephas was cowed by the circumcision faction, the men sent by James. James, Cephas and John were the “acknowledged pillars” of the community in Galatians 2:9 but Paul had just expressed his disdain for them in Galatians 2:6 (“what they actually were makes no difference to me”). That’s in line with Paul’s egalitarian thoughts expressed in Galatians 3:28-29 (no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female). Compare the opening greeting of Galatians with his other epistles. He usually introduces himself as being sent by the Lord but, in Galatians, he goes on a rant about not being sent by human authorities. So the first time he mentions James, he is accusing him of putting himself at Jesus’ level as a leader who sends people on missions, which he goes on to explain.

          In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul seems to be defending his stipend from the church as if someone has questioned whether he should be supported. It should not be surprising if someone got sarcastic in such a sitation. He seems to be calling the other apostles “brothers of the Lord”.

          There are a few “the Lord says” passages in Paul’s letters.

          1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (“not I but the Lord”)

          1 Corinthians 9:13-14 (“the Lord commanded”)

          1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (“For I received from the Lord”)

          1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (“by the word of the Lord”)

          But check 1 Corinthians 14:21 where Paul seems to say he is quoting the Lord but it is apparent that he is quoting scripture, namely Isaiah 28:11-12. Each of those other passages I listed can be traced back to OT scripture, too.

          I think Paul, James, and Cephas were reading the scritures, particularly the prophets and mostly Isaiah, as a hidden history, that Jesus had come before the prophets’s time, and the fact that this information was being revealed to their generation meant that Jesus would return as the Messiah during that generation. Paul certainly expected to be alive when that happened.

          So what evidence do you have that Paul is referring to a first century Jesus.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          “It was his book Did Jesus Exist? where he argued that he did exist that convinced me that Jesus did not exist.” wha? hibidy hibidy hibidy…that’s all folks….( cue in theme to Looney Tunes) 🙂

        • Kodie

          You don’t seem to be here for any other reason than to amuse yourself. Typical rude Christian.

        • Greg G.
        • sandy

          Thank you for posting this link! What a great read and I’m only just started. Price has definitely opened my mind to new ideas about Jesus and how the synoptic gospels and christianity evolved. I have Carrier’s works and this just adds to it so much. Love this stuff!

        • Greg G.

          Note that the author is R. G. Price, not to be confused with Robert M. Price. I started reading the article making that error but realized that it sounded more like R. G. than R. M. Then I realized I had better double-check the author.

        • sandy

          Ok thanks and didn’t know there were two Prices. I assumed it was Robert M. Again thanks for the heads up. Up here in Calgary and minus 25 C tonight!

        • Perhaps you’re already familiar with these scholars, but Robert M. Price writes a lot of accessible books that illuminate Christianity from a historical (rather than religious) viewpoint. His podcast is “The Bible Geek,” which covers a lot of advanced topics (though quite randomly).

          FYI.

        • Pofarmer

          Actualy it kinda is all, because the arguments for a historical Jesus pretty much suck.

        • adam

          re p.s.

        • adam

          re glory of ‘god’

        • MNb

          Pofarmer didn’t write atheism is mainstream – he wrote “this post is pretty mainstream” – within atheism.
          You’re not even willing to comprehend one single sentence.

    • 90Lew90

      Don’t you know there’s a war on Christmas? We have armistices on random Tuesdays. Try your luck.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        Locked and Loaded! 😉

        • adam

          re Locked and Loaded

    • Greg G.

      What do you believe and why do you believe it.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        Short Answer: God or a ‘higher power’ is the only thing that makes sense.

        • Pofarmer

          I take it you havent read any Sean Carrol then? preposterous universe is his blog. Why don’t you go there and learn something before spouting a bunch of comments of drivel?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          This is always where a conversation with elite atheists winds up going…..denigration and insults. Get out of grade school bud. 🙂

        • Kodie

          Didn’t you start it, hypocrite?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That comment must have really made you feel superior….bet you can sleep tonight knowing that you put another typical Christian in his place. “For by grace are you saved by faith, and that not unto yourselves, it is a gift from God not of works lest any man should boast” Ephesians 2:8,9 ~ Until we meet again…….Merry Christmas!!

        • Kodie

          Are you denying you came here to insult atheists? Your first post set the tone for denigration and insults. Scott Ratzloff, you really are a blowhard.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I came here to see if there was a civil discussion…..when I read the biased and bigoted posts….I decided to have a little fun. So….while I didn’t initially boot this page up looking for a fight it appears to have happened ( you gladly and I would say gleefully cooperated…Thanks! Sadly…I was truly hoping for an exchange of ideas. Merry Christmas. 🙂

        • Kodie

          You were not truly hoping for an exchange of ideas, you were truly hoping (and begging your imaginary friend) that we weren’t representative of atheists. And that’s all you said.

        • Greg G.

          You made a judgement from one conversation without knowing the history of it. People who come in with good questions or interesting arguments get positive responses. You started off on the wrong foot.

        • MNb

          “I was truly hoping for an exchange of ideas.”
          After reading your comments I tend to conclude that you don’t have any ideas to exchange – only hostilities.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I believe that my first post was all inclusive – This only proves that all of US contain lots of BS. Merry Christmas!! – It is human nature for all to be blowhards….welcome to the club! 🙂

        • Kodie

          No, you’re actually speaking from ignorance, and in your biased, hostile way, invited all of us to come down to the slime with you and your BS.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The only one who is holding onto any hostility is you Kodie.

        • MNb

          A hypocrite indeed. Your first comment was totally hostile.

        • adam

          Yes, Merry Christmas Leviticus 25 44

        • adam

          re grace

        • Pofarmer

          I’ll take that as a no.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Watch / Read anything by Ravi Zacharias. I have my sources as well. I am resisting the temptation to use the word drivel. 🙂

        • 90Lew90

          I think the word drivel applies neatly to Ravi Zacharias’s output.

        • MR

          Ravi creeps me out. He was featured in the Truth Project. My attendance at one of their seminars in Phoenix was a key milestone in my loss of faith. Ravi is a master at fallacious argumentation and knows it.

        • Pofarmer

          Who the Fuck is Ravi Zacharias?

        • 90Lew90

          Evangelical evolution denier.

        • Pofarmer

          And apologist and junk philosopher it looks like.

        • Greg G.

          It might make sense from a superficial perspective but it falls apart when you get down to the nitty-gritty. Do you have specific beliefs or just a nebulous hope to alleviate a fear of non-existence?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          2nd Timothy 1:7 ~ For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

        • adam

          re 2nd Timothy

        • Greg G.

          Oh, shoot! Quoting “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness” must mean that you won’t be using Pascal’s Wager and I so wanted to refute that with 1 Corinthians 15:19:

          19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to
          be pitied.

        • 90Lew90

          Are you in AA?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          No. The term “Higher Power” makes some feel more comfortable.

        • adam

          And it really is about emotion rather than reason then?

        • MNb

          Well, you certainly don’t.

        • adam

          Why is that the only thing that makes sense in your perspective?

        • Kodie

          Because he has none.

        • MR

          Can you respond to the why, please. Thanks.

        • adam

          So why is it the only thing that makes sense?

          And of course, which god out of the thousands?

    • Kodie

      Your personal opinions are meaningless.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        As is yours. But this is fun. 🙂 Lol

        • Kodie

          It’s not that fun for some uninformed jerk to come in insulting people without giving a reason why he feels that way. I can’t believe you put your name and face next to that Christian trash.

        • Pofarmer

          I personally think he’s shooting blanks. We’ll see.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Read back Kodak…..There was plenty of insulting and uninformed opinions being posted before I came on the scene. Seems to me you are not the only one working through bigotry and hatred. Get some help. Merry Christmas!

        • Kodie

          You have nothing to add to this conversation, so? You’re just trolling?

        • MNb

          Kodie’s opinions are not personal.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Now that’s funny! 🙂

        • MNb

          Good for you. You also show your lack of understanding.

    • You’re hiding your light under a basket, my friend! You think that this post is crap? Cool–but don’t keep it to yourself. Tell us why.

  • Scott Ratzloff

    If I started off on the wrong foot or offended anyone here I would like to take this opportunity to apologize. I would like to have a cogent and civil discussion regarding Theism / Atheism. Thank you….have a good day!

    • MNb

      Provide arguments and/or evidence.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        I have….you just refuse to acknowledge them.

        • adam

          You do understand that bible quotes are no more evidence than quotes from the Koran, the Vedas, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or Harry Potter dont you?

        • Kodie

          You posted links to articles that were marketed to your demographic, “wishful thinker, don’t know any better.” You haven’t demonstrated that you even read them or understand them. You just “yup, yup, yup, amen!”

        • MNb

          Then call me stupid and repeat them. You wrote a bit about the Big Bang (without much understanding) and Darwin’s Theory and that’s everything I recall.

        • Pofarmer

          He did give a link to an apologist and an evolution denier site. I still cant fathom how Ravi Zacharia could somehow refute Sean Carroll.

    • Greg G.

      Apology accepted, and not in the Darth Vader way.

    • I would like to have a cogent and civil discussion regarding Theism / Atheism. I would like to have a cogent and civil discussion regarding Theism / Atheism.

      That sounds very unlikely. If you wanted to have a thoughtful discussion, you would have pointed out some concerns or unaddressed factors in the post above.

      But if you want to actually engage, go for it. Give us something to talk about. Either critique a post or give us a brief summary of the key argument(s) that should convince an atheist of the Christian position.

  • Scott Ratzloff
    • Pofarmer

      Typical drivel.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        a quote from ~ http://www.big-bang-theory.com/ ~ “According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy.”3The singularity didn’t appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy – nothing. So where and in what did the singularity appear if not in space? We don’t know. We don’t know where it came from, why it’s here, or even where it is. All we really know is that we are inside of it and at one time it didn’t exist and neither did we.”

        and yet Newton’s 3rd law unequivocally states ~ for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”

        http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/newtlaws/Lesson-4/Newton-s-Third-Law

        How do you reconcile this contradiction in scientific theories?

        • 90Lew90

          Newtonian (classical) physics goes out the window at the quantum level. Catch up.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You side step the issue. Please answer the basic question of what was before the Big Bang. If there was ‘nothing’ before the BB then who or what set it in motion? How do you get something from nothing? and is it possible that the theories that are now adhered to will (like Newton) someday go out the scientific / theoretical window? ( please help me catch up).

        • Pofarmer

          At the Quantum level “nothing” is unstable. You have been given enough information to do some listening and reading. One thing is for certain, scientists are working on the questions of what was before the big bang, theologians? Not so much.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That question has been answered in the hearts and minds of believers long ago.If “new” theories have replaced old ones ( Newton’s 3rd for ex.) then is it possible that Darwin’s theory will also be replaced?

        • 90Lew90

          Darwin’s theory would be disproved if, say, a rabbit was found in the Precambrian. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is much more palpably solid than theoretical physics, given that it can be seen at work and is supported by natural history, and since it underpins *all* of the life sciences. So will it be “replaced”? Not likely. Not likely at all. Please don’t tell me you’re an evolution denier.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I won’t….you asked nicely! 😉

        • adam

          But you are?

          Are you a flat earther as well?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you are profiling now aren’t you? 😉

        • adam

          Just trying to see how deep the ignorance runs.

        • adam

          Since the heart is not a thinking organ, then you must mean they have deluded themselves into believing the propaganda they have been fed.

          And the mind of the ignorant can imagine many things that are not Real.

          A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. Friedrich Nietzsche

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Are you aware of Fred’s final residence?

        • 90Lew90

          Are you aware of the price of pears in New Guinea?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          If it’s anything like apples….it’s about $1.89 (Australian) per kilo. As far as Nietzsche was concerned….He died in the very establishment that you quoted him from. Ah….but no doubt his relatives were bigoted Christians who just wanted him out of the way so they could divvy up his fortune….oh..wait He never was a success died a pauper and was a very miserable individual…..so much for atheism.

        • adam

          Nietzsche DIED a PAUPER, you mean like your Jesus?

          …..so much for christianity…

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Your glaring omission of his death in an insane asylum only proves that you pick and choose what to respond to as long as it fits your narrative. His mental illness was the main topic in my last post….the rest was sarcasm….but I am sure that you knew that.

        • adam

          Mental illness?
          He probably had brain cancer.
          Probably the reason for his strokes as well.

          And no more of glaring omission that YOUR glaring omissions when you quote the bible.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          probably had brain cancer? That’s a bit of a stretch and more than likely based on your desire to keep a contiguous mindset regarding your theories…and please correct me re: my glaring omissions when I quote scripture….exactly what am I omitting?

        • adam

          Not based on desire at all, but on the evidence.

          “The new research was carried out by Dr Leonard Sax, the director of the Montgomery Centre for Research in Child Development in Maryland, America. Dr Sax made his discovery after studying accounts of Nietzsche’s collapse with dementia in 1889. He was admitted to an asylum in Basle, Switzerland, and was initially diagnosed as being in the advanced stages of syphilis.

          According to Dr Sax, however, Nietzsche’s notes show no signs of the symptoms which are now regarded as evidence of this disease, such as an expressionless face and slurred speech.

          “Nietzsche exhibited none of these symptoms,” said Dr Sax. “His facial expressions remained vivid, his reflexes were normal, tremor was not present, his handwriting after his collapse was at least as good as it had been in previous years – and his speech was fluent.”

          Dr Sax added that in the late 19th century more than 90 per cent of those with advanced syphilis rapidly declined and died within five years of diagnosis. Nietzsche, in contrast, lived for another 11 years.

          Nietzsche’s physicians, according to Dr Sax, suspected that he may not have had syphilis, but were unable to suggest an alternative. Reporting his findings in the current issue of the Journal of Medical Biography, Dr Sax argues that a more plausible diagnosis would have been that the philosopher was suffering from a slowly-developing brain tumour. This would account for both Nietzsche’s collapse and the migraines and visual disturbances he suffered.”

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/3313279/Madness-of-Nietzsche-was-cancer-not-syphilis.html
          .
          .
          .

        • 90Lew90

          I hadn’t come across this. All the biographies say it was a syphilitic illness.

        • Kodie

          Did you go look it up or are you just yammering what you wish?

        • adam

          faith = wishful thinking

          Not REAL thinking….

        • Kodie

          Christians are notoriously bad at conveying sarcasm. Only proves that you pick and choose one atheist to dismiss. You still never responded to any one post in this thread that you disagree with and give reasons and try to get into a discussion. You are just dealing out the regular Christian bullshit – how your religion poisons you against listening to what people have to say and having conversations with them. You learned everything you fear about god not being real from the people invested in you clinging to your beliefs. How much have you paid them?

        • 90Lew90

          I didn’t quote Nietzsche. And no he did not die in an asylum, he died at home in the care of his sister of a syphilitic brain disease, which is tragic, not something to be gloated over. “He never was a success”?! He was only one of the most important moral and political philosophers ever to have lived, not to mention a poetic genius. He did not die a pauper. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information on him from. Probably the same people who feed you shit on Darwin.

        • adam

          Looks like Nietzsche was the victim of a smear campaign and probably died of brain cancer.

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/3313279/Madness-of-Nietzsche-was-cancer-not-syphilis.html

        • adam

          Of course.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          the heart in this context is a metaphor for man’s emotional/creative component.

        • adam

          Yes, and so MEN create gods in their own image using their own emotions and creative components.

          Which is why there are over 40000 different denominations of christianity alone.

          Let alone the amount of divisions for all the Abrahamic religions

          Religions DIVIDE people.
          And it divides people MORE the longer it is around.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          All of us worship and serve something. Atheist’s god is man….his doctrine is humanism and his “superior” intellect is his testimony.

        • adam

          Please dont be so ignorant Scott:

          Definition of ATHEISM
          a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

          Atheist therefore have no ‘god’.
          And disbelief exists because people like YOU FAIL to demonstrate that YOUR god is anything but IMAGINARY.

          but YOU too are atheistic about the other thousands of gods, I am just atheistic about one more than you, unless you believe in the Trinity, then 3 more than you do.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Ease up on the caps adam…..İ could almost say that you are upset!

        • adam

          You can say anything you want, doesnt mean it is relevant or true.

          I try to use whatever tools I have to make the best use of the short time and space of a forum most effectively.

          Of course your little ad hominem diverted YOU from addressing your own ATHEISM.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          So far I haven’t seen any tools being utilized by you other than the famous words “You can say anything you want, doesn’t mean it is relevant or true.”

          Adam….is it possible that you and others could be wrong? I am willing to admit that I could be. You rely on disjointed evidence that is formulated into hypothesis then string those together to form a theory. It is a fact that human beings are prone to error. You believe that your position is the correct one as I believe that mine is as well. In the end if you are right then I will just cease to exist – having led a joyful life with hope and assurance. If, however I am right and there is the God of the bible then you will be in a world of hurt. I hope for your sake that I am wrong.

        • adam

          You were bitching about my use of caps on specific words and phrasing.

          What about your own ATHEISM?

        • adam

          Of course I could be wrong.
          If you think I am wrong SHOW ME.
          Demonstrate this MAGIC that is your ‘god’ and it’s power.

          Show me that this ‘god’ of yours is anything but IMAGINARY.

        • 90Lew90

          “Adam….is it possible that you and others could be wrong? I am willing to admit that I could be.”

          Oh right, so you’re an agnostic. Human beings are indeed prone to error. We attribute agency to things which have none, we see things that aren’t there, we’re deeply biased and we get spooked pretty easily. The scientific method is if anything a grand acknowledgement of our proneness to err and provides a set of tools for weeding out erroneous and biased propositions and you know what, it works very well. It works a lot better than prayer, for instance. For goodness sake man, science has just landed a probe on a comet. Stop being so begrudging because the implications of that mean that your bubble is burst. And stop with the Pascal’s wager stuff. The existence of a god is unknowable, and therefore imponderable. Doesn’t bear thinking about. The chances of the existence of the god of the Bible are nil. Stop wasting your time. Or if you must waste your time, keep your silly beliefs to yourself and stop moralising at people based on what is plainly, obviously, ludicrous childish guff.

        • Kodie

          Why aren’t you a Muslim?

        • Kodie

          Scott Ratzloff’s tools – incredulity, denial, hypocrisy, and avoidance. What else?

        • MNb

          “So far I haven’t seen any tools …..”
          That’s because you haven’t produced any arguments and/or evidence yet, with one exception: evidence for something you claim we need faith for – The Big Bang. It’s not even clear to me how you suppose that to be evidence for anything, whether you deny the Big Bang or not. You’re incoherent and inconsistent.

        • Kodie

          Of course your little ad hominem diverted YOU from addressing your own ATHEISM.

          He ignored my comment addressing same last night.

          Scott, how do you tell what’s a myth and what’s not? How do you not even look at all the religions in the whole world and consider that THEY ALL HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU. You just don’t believe them, you don’t have a good reason for choosing one of them and not choosing another one – they all feel feelings and truths from their beliefs just like you, the world doesn’t make sense to them your way, only their way. And there is scholarship! You want scholarship on a religion, pick one you don’t believe in, pick Islam! Why aren’t you a Muslim? I’d love to hear your reason why you’re not a Muslim.

        • Greg G.

          “Atheist’s god is man”

          That’s a metaphor. Don’t confuse your metaphors and analogies with actualities. Slogans like that can brainwash a person or a society.

        • MNb

          Nope. Man is not my god. The only god I worship is Ritchie Blackmore, but only when he plays his guitar and not always.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83qBRmM00R4

        • 90Lew90

          Atheism does not imply humanism. Atheism is simply a rejection of the claim that a god or gods exist.

        • Kodie

          Christians are superstitious, gullible, judgmental and frightened victims of the tyrannical abuse of their imaginary friend. Very often can’t read for comprehension, and often try to make jokes although they don’t have a very good sense of humor.

        • MNb

          Darwin’s theory has been replaced. He hardly would recognize modern Evolution Theory. Just in case:
          1. speciation has been observed;
          2. there is a fossil record;
          3. mutations have been observed.

          Evolution Theory is a coherent and consistent theory that correctly describes these empirical data. You are not going to change them.

        • 90Lew90

          There was no “before” the Big Bang, according to the experts. I think Stephen Hawking can explain more authoritatively than me. http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I am aware of Mr.Hawking and his position / theory. He appears to me to be a very bitter and angry man. No doubt due to his physical limitations. To propose that there was nothing prior to the expansion of the universe (BBT) is not only incredulous but lacking in logic.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re falling in my esteem with just about every post you make. Not averse to a bit of gloating at the misfortunes of others, are you. How very Christian. It matters not a jot what appears to you, and anyway I can’t for the life of me figure out what gives you the impression that he’s “bitter and angry”. That’s two geniuses whose terrible misfortunes you’ve gloated over in the past hour. Perhaps you’re the one who is somewhat challenged. Do you claim to have the requisite knowledge of theoretical physics to be able to challenge the scientific orthodoxy on it? I dare say not.

        • Kodie

          Scott Ratzloff has been successfully indoctrinated into the cult of fear of a reality without a god. When you dare to have “faith” to disbelieve in “god,” people end up dying penniless in asylums or stricken to a wheelchair and a speech synthesizer the Christians perceive has a “bitter” voice.

          He has not made one argument against these great thinkers thoughts. He simply don’t like ’em.

        • Pofarmer

          JESUS!

        • Scott Ratzloff

          No gloating ( I leave that to you and your highly gifted group uber-intelligensia ) …just observation. And what difference does it make to you? I have been called ignorant and superstitious for believing and now you use a system built on a fairy tale for a critical commentary . You can’t have it both ways…..wait…pseudo intellectuals can….my bad 😉

        • 90Lew90

          See, you’ve just given away that you’re the one with the chip on his shoulder. You think smart people gloat over your stupidity? Well boo-hoo. Perhaps you wouldn’t have that problem if you didn’t keep coming out with stupid things. To trust in the scientific method, and the consensus it produces among scientists, is not faith because it institutes self-correction into science. For anything to become theory, rather than hypothesis, it must be testable and repeatable. Scientists spend a large part of their time testing others’ hypotheses.

          Theoretical physics must be mathematically sound. It must be able to make testable predictions, such as the Higgs Boson, which has damn near certainly been found at CERN. The thing is, this is basic, schoolboy stuff, not the stuff of the “uber-intelligensia”. I’m not a scientist, just an interested onlooker who has read a few books which I’m sure you’d find accessible.

          But you refuse to do that, looking instead to any pseudo-science you can get your hands on which allows you to maintain your belief that you’re correct in your faith. That smacks of desperation. So too does your resorting to schoolyard bully attempts to slur the intellectual giants who propel human knowledge forward. “Nietzsche went mad and died a pauper! F-nah!” “Stephen Hawking is bitter because he has motor neuron disease! F-nah!”

          Grow up. Nasty little piece of work. The only person who comes out looking bad when you do that is you. Very bad indeed.

        • MNb

          “just observation”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          But you refuse to observe the galaxies moving away from each other and also to observe the background radiation as found by Penzias and Wilson.
          Your kind of observation consists of wearing blinkers.

        • Kodie

          Your brilliant counterpoint focuses on judging someone’s mood and disability. Fuck you, you judgmental know-nothing, illiterate ass.

          That is “ad hominem” – you say nothing against Hawking’s position but that it’s “lacking in logic” while you commit a logical fallacy focusing on superficial perceptions of a man – no supporting arguments? Sorry, you lose.

        • MNb

          “He appears to me to be a very bitter and angry man.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          That has exactly zilch to do with the validity of his theories. Note that the very site you yourself linked to above uses his work to explain the Big Bang. I really begin to wonder why you linked to it if you don’t accept what it writes yourself.
          Anyhow there are physicists who propose that there was something before the Big Bang as well.
          Is this an argument for your god? ‘Cause what you write makes exactly zero sense.

        • curtcameron

          I’m sure you can tell that he’s a very bitter and angry man, by the tone of his voice.

        • adam

          My guess is that ANYBODY who does not believe in YOUR delusion appears to YOU to be very bitter and angry.

          YOU seem to project YOUR bitterness and anger at them.

        • MNb

          “If there was ‘nothing’ before the BB then who or what set it in motion?”
          Wrong question. The BB was very likely a quantum event; anyhow quantummechanics is heavily involved. That means it’s a probabilistic event (which again is why the BB was probably not a singularity). Probabilistic events do not need a who or what to get set in motion. In exactly the same way an instabile atom doesn’t need a who or what to decay. It happens. It may happen now or after a billion years.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You site examples of matter that has already been placed into motion. Again…..what or Who 🙂 set it in motion. So far no one has been able to answer that with any amount of certainty. You all must be getting dizzy…all that tail chasing and all!

        • Kodie

          As opposed to settling for a bedtime story because reality is too confusing. The rest of us aren’t that baffled by stuff as you seem to be.

        • MNb

          See? This is why I continue to mock you. You bring up a point that I already have addressed. You simply ignore

          “Probabilistic events do not need a who or what to get set in motion. In exactly the same way an instabile atom doesn’t need a who or what to decay. It happens. It may happen now or after a billion years.”

          Sticking to stupidity like you do doesn’t make it any better.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, because its not a contradiction? The Big Bang probably began as a quantum event. Once again. YouTube Laurence Krauss “A universe from nothing.” Victor Stenger has written. Entire books about it. Once again, there is a debate on YouTube between Sean Carroll and William Lane Craig on Cosmology.

        • MNb

          That Big Bang site is not too bad, but far from complete. The Wikipedia article on the Big Bang is better as an introduction. Some remarks.

          1. It’s a good job that they distinguish the Big Bang as an event (for which there is indisputable empirical evidence) and the Big Bang Theory.
          2. It’s unfortuntate that they talk about THE Big Bang Theory, because there is not such a thing. Ignorants like you run a great risk to understand.
          3. The site correctly points out though that there are several theories describing the Big Bang.
          4. The hypothesis that the Big Bang is a singularity results from General Relatitvity (Friedmann, Lemaitre). These days the consensus is that General Relavity is incorrect regarding the Big Bang.
          5. So “Prior to the singularity” is a meaningless expression. “Prior to the Big Bang” is very meaningful though. The physicists disagree at the moment.
          6. “So where and in what did the singularity appear if not in space? We don’t know. We don’t know where it came from, why it’s here, or even where it is.”
          We know a lot more than you suggest here. Like I wrote there are several Big Bang Theories and all of them address these questions. One common answer is that space, energy and matter actually result from the Big Bang.
          7.”Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy – nothing.”
          How do you know? This is disputed among physicists.
          8. “How do you reconcile this contradiction in scientific theories?”
          There is no contradiction here. Newton’s 3rd Law applies to forces. The Big Bang isn’t a force. Like Pofarmer and Lew write underneath it’s a quantum event and then Newtonian Mechanics doesn’t apply.

        • Greg G.

          It was shown long ago that mathematically, a positron is equivalent to an electron traveling backwards in time. Time slows for something approaching the speed of light compared to the time of the rest of the universe so a photon naturally traveling at the speed of light would not experience time as it exchanges energy and momentum from one place and time to another. So the creation and annihilation of a positron-electron pair could be self-caused.

          Alan Guth has it worked out that like the positive and negative charges of the positron-electron pair is zero, the creation of space-time and energy are opposites so there is no net gain.

          The scientific theories are out in front of our ability to measure evidence so there can be no confidence that any are correct nor can they be ruled out.

          So your incredulity at how the universe could happen has no basis. Guth’s ideas are few decades old, they’ve haven’t been refuted because we can’t test them. Quantum physics is several decades old and Relativity is over a century old. Not only have they been tested, engineering has exploited them. Is your GPS accurate? It’s because of relativistic formulas.

        • MNb

          Above you wrote:

          “To believe in the Big Bang ….. takes a great deal more faith”
          The first site you linked to makes clear that the Big Bang happened. In case you haven’t read it yourself (with believers like you everything is possible in my personal experience) I quote:

          “galaxies appear to be moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance”
          “Radioastronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered”
          In terms of evolution and Big Bang denier Ken Ham: this is hard, observational science.
          It is only possible if our Universe is expanding. That again means that about 13,7 billion years ago all the matter and energy of the Universe was condensed in one point. That point is called the Big Bang.
          Now explain me – where is faith involved? If you meet an unknown adult at street, does it need faith to assume that he/she was born from a woman and not found in a cauliflower? The evidence for the Big Bang is far more direct.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Contrary to some elitists on this site I have read and understand the theory. What I was pinpointing was the incomplete picture that this theory presents. Until all of the pieces of the puzzle are found atheists will always have to have faith in a system that, so far, allows human intellect as the final authority and an ever changing truth. Are you prepared to be perfect?

        • adam

          Define ‘faith’ – that which you say atheists and theists share.

          Here is ‘faith’ from the bible as a reference.

          And what ‘elitists’?
          Seems that YOU are the one CLAIMING elite status.
          Dont you CLAIM to belong to the ULTIMATE ELITIST group of the IMAGINATION?
          Dont you BELIEVE that you are going to YOUR ‘god’s country club estate called ‘Heaven’.

          There can be no one more elitist than YOU, Scott.

          Since you are obviously projecting THIS on us, it just follows that the statements you made about Hawking and Neiztche are just PROJECTION as well..

        • Kodie

          Science continues to plug up all the gaps. Looks like a pattern, but not the same kind of pattern that makes people think a water stain looks like Jesus if you squint. You haven’t demonstrated that you have read or understood anything, and just repeating what other people think and they do your thinking for you.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Smoke Alert!

        • Kodie

          You haven’t demonstrated that you are here for a civil and courteous two-way discussion either.

        • MNb

          So much for being civil.

        • MNb

          “I have read and understand the theory.”
          If you call the Big Bang a theory you show you don’t understand it.

          “Until all of the pieces of the puzzle are found atheists will always have to have faith in a system”

          Nope. Atheists are totally capable of saying “this is something scientists don’t know yet.” They say that exactly because science doesn’t use faith.
          Science doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to work. It does. Bring up something that works better and we’ll jump that bandwagon.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        …..and of course it doesn’t merit any response because why?

        • Pofarmer

          Because it’s typical drivel.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That’s an intelligent response….I suppose you received straight A’s in debating?

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t remember which thread it is, but there’s one,with about 5000 posts “debating ” evolution.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          More than enough to prove that this debate, which has been raging for thousands of years , will not end anytime soon. Only when we pass into:
          A. Oblivion
          B. Judgement
          C. ?

        • adam

          Not really much of a debate since science entered the scene.

          You have all these unbelievable CLAIMS from people like you about imaginary beings that can’t be demonstrated and then we have the Science of Reality which describes the reality that we all share and is responsible for keeping us feed, clothed, sheltered and alive.

          There are thousands of claimed gods and NONE have been demonstrated to be anything but imaginary.

          Religion DIVIDES people by its very nature.
          And become more divisive as time goes by.
          This is THE problem with ‘Revealed ReligionTM’, it forces people to create their own gods in their own minds, in their own reality, apart from the reality in which we all share.

        • Pofarmer

          Exactly, the debate was really over, over 100 years ago.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Wow…..sorry we are holding you back.

        • adam

          Ignorance is always a hold back.

          As as are false beliefs.

        • Pofarmer

          So why do you want to rehash it when, actually, it’s decided, at least on evolution. Your side lost.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Piltdown man….the probability of human error and deception requires a constant review of the theory(ies)…it is just a theory right? I mean you don’t want to just take something as fact and move on do you? That looks suspiciously like Christianity. And everyone with half a brain knows how ignant and stoopid dey are. 🙂

        • Kodie

          Scientific theories are not the way one would use “theory” in casual speech. Theory is the conclusion, you’re thinking of “just a hypothesis.”

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Theory: a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.

        • Kodie

          Congratulations, you can copy and paste.

        • Greg G.

          That’s not quite a good definition for a scientific theory though.

          A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not “guesses” but reliable accounts of the real world.

        • adam

          Are you claiming you did?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          joke

        • adam

          So let’s talk about your atheism towards thousands of gods.

          How do YOU deal with being an atheist?

        • adam

          Sounds more like an ad hominem.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          wow….you really like that phrase…duh…wot duz it meen?.

        • adam

          What it means to me is that attacking your opponent instead of his argument is the VERY BEST EVIDENCE that your ‘faith’ has prepared you for in demonstrating YOUR ‘god’.

          Here is what it means to Merriam Webster

          Definition of AD HOMINEM
          1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
          2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

    • 90Lew90

      This is typical Christian quote-mining — that is — lifting a quote out of context and misrepresenting what was being said. Darwin included an entire chapter in The Origin of Species entitled ‘Difficulties on Theory’. It went through a few editions partly because it was a bestseller of epic proportions (the first edition sold out in one day). The revisions were made because Darwin was, like any good scientist, tentative, and his correspondence was huge. The sixth edition — the last published before his death — is considered the most authoritative, and for all the changes in the previous editions, the sixth ended up being most like the first. Darwin knew nothing of genetics, which is a field supported by his theory. He was bang on, more than he knew. The information on this is readily available. There’s a ton of it.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        unlike atheists who are well read and versed in the Word. They never take scripture out of context! Bwa Hahahahahaha You guys crack me up.

        • adam

          So are you then admitting that is what it is?

          Or are you going to defend it?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Typical drivel. 🙂

        • Blizzard

          Typical drivel. 🙂

          adam was talking about your quote-mine. But when you were called on the quote-mine you “misdirected” everything so much that even you yourself can’t figure out what the heck adam is talking about. Nice self-misdirection lol.

        • adam

          So that is what you are here for to post typical drivel?

          Is this how your ‘faith’ speaks through you?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          No. ( that phrase was coined by someone else)

          At this point it is not my faith speaking through me that I am concerned about. When in Rome. etc.

        • Kodie

          So how far into the Koran did you get before you knew it was a crock? By the way, your jokes are terrible, stop trying to be funny and try a little harder to answer the questions with relevant arguments for your position.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m not given to quoting scripture at all but it’s not quite the same thing to hold a bit of scripture up that makes the Christian squirm — and let’s face it, there’s plenty of that — and deliberately misrepresenting well-explained, tightly written science. Have you read The Origin of Species? Do yourself a favour. It’s a pleasure and not a difficult book. To come out with the tired old quote about the eye is just a joke. A piss poor joke everyone in this room has heard before.

    • MNb

      An irrelevant site. Doubt (the rational version) is an integral part of science. Absolute certainty is something for believers. They have faith. Not us.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        To believe in the Big Bang and the idea that there was nothing before it takes a great deal more faith in my estimation than God’s handiwork.
        You can deny that yo have faith….but that don’t make it so! 🙂

        • adam

          Who but the ignorant say that there was nothing before it?

          And along the same vein, what was before YOUR ‘god’.

          When did YOUR ‘god’ have its first ‘thought’
          What was YOUR ‘god’ before this ‘first thought’?

        • Kodie

          I already asked him that too, and he didn’t respond to it.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I haven’t the slightest idea…that is where faith comes in. You have no idea what was before the BB sooooo….that is where your faith comes in. 🙂

        • wtfwjtd

          Back to the ol’ god of the gaps argument, are we? “We don’t know, therefore goddunnit.” Yep, just keep moving those goal posts, I’m sure that will win many converts to the “faith”.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          the topic was faith. Faith can be found in any system of belief. Theist, Agnostic, Atheist etc.

          wthfdlmnop: Back to the ol’ god of the gaps argument, are we? “We don’t know, therefore goddunnit.”

          Never mentioned that argument in this post..your comment only serves to mislead and muddy the conversation. It serves no purpose unless those are your goal posts. 🙂

        • Kodie

          The topic was your belief that everyone has faith and how much you believe it you have to say it seventeen times instead of reading responses to your thin and irrelevant posts or supporting your beliefs with actual evidence. You demonstrate a “god of the gaps” thinking, you believe in god because science hasn’t answered every question yet, and you actively deny some of the questions science did answer. If you want to start topics by asking a bunch of questions, you are advised (if you want to be civil as you repeatedly claim but haven’t been) to open up to a conversation rather than swatting everything down with trollish jokes and insults and opinions.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s not faith, it’s belief based on experience. There’s only one system that has consistently increased human lifespans, human acheivment, and human knowledge. And it ain’t theology.

        • adam

          I have no biblical type faith in what was before the BB.

          but based on Reality it was not a biblical god.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know if there was a “before the Big Bang” and neither do you. Time and space may have come into existence simultaneously. I don’t need faith because I don’t pretend to know what caused the BB or if that is a meaningful question. The way you are trying to equivocation religious faith with a natural doubt makes a greater mockery of religious faith. That’s our job.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Do a better job of it then! 🙂

        • Rudy R

          For me, there is no faith. My response to what came before the BB is, “I don’t know.”

        • Scott Ratzloff

          and you don’t have a logical problem with that?

        • Kodie

          Do you have an honesty problem with that answer? It’s the right answer.

        • MR

          Because, “We don’t know what happened before the Big Bang; therefore God” isn’t a logical problem!

        • Kodie

          It doesn’t make any sense to him any other way, and it has to make sense right now…. but when a religious issue is confusing and the religious can’t make it make sense to us (because it plain doesn’t make sense), they say they will ask god when they get to heaven. Otherwise, they have to have faith that he has an unknowable plan sometimes, that’s just how things are. Theists don’t know a lot of things and don’t have any logical problems with the things they don’t know – it’s more important that someone out there in the universe does know.

          But to Scott, imagine you lived, let’s pick a round number like 2000 years ago. What does Scott in 2014 know that he wouldn’t know 2000 years ago, and Scott 2000 years ago would die never knowing things people learned and discovered in the future. Yes, we have no choice. There are some things that may be unknowable, and many things that will not be known within our lifetimes. I don’t know why it matters how the universe happened. I’m not sure what kind of advances for humanity could occur by learning what caused the big bang. Humans could go extinct without knowing, and humans will someday be extinct and all our knowledge will be flushed. Ah well. I will probably be dead by then.

        • MR

          To quote a conspiracy website I came across:

          People need a narrative. People believe in conspiracies, like they believe in deities, because they need to feel that ‘someone’ is in charge and keeping life under control. They can’t accept that strange, bizarre and terrible things just happen for no reason.

        • MR

          You make it difficult to “like” a post when you end it with “I will probably be dead by then.” 😉

        • Kodie

          Ok, you will probably be dead by then.

        • MR

          Why would this be a logical problem?

        • Rudy R

          Why would it be illogical not knowing? You either know or don’t know. It would be illogical, with our present knowledge, to claim I DO know. You state that I must have faith to take the position that I don’t know? I take that position because of lack of evidence to prove any theory that started the BB. You state atheists have faith in science like theists have faith in god. But that argument is faulty. There are many ways of knowing things, with the method of science being the highest probable method for getting to the truth and, on the other end of the spectrum, the method of faith, which is the least probable way of getting to the truth. I don’t have faith in science. I just use it as the most probable way for me to get to the truth. It does fail at times, but science never claimed to be without fault.
          In my experience, theists MUST have answers to all their questions and atheists don’t have that need. I do want to know what came before the BB, but I’m not troubled with not knowing. There are several competing theories on what started the BB, but none have a majority consensus.
          Many theists claim that something can’t come from nothing, but that is to presuppose that “nothing” is the default, and not “something.” Theists also claim there MUST be a first cause, but there are compelling competing theories that don’t require a first cause.

        • Greg G.

          How much money do I have in my pocket? You don’t know. Do you have a logical problem with that? You would have a logical problem if you were happy to pretend that you knew, just like you do with religion.

        • MR

          I think one of the hardest things for a theist to do is to apply their own reasoning to their own beliefs.

        • MNb

          That’s the difference between you and me. You rely on faith of the gaps. I rely on a well-tested method.

        • 90Lew90

          Argument from ignorance.

        • Kodie

          To believe in the Big Bang and the idea that there was nothing before it
          takes a great deal more faith reading and comprehension of even the most basic aspects of it in my estimation than God’s handiwork than I am willing or able to do..

          Fixed that for you.

        • MNb

          Wrong. One of the sites you linked to yourself showed that the Big Bang is a fact. If you don’t take your own links seriously, why should I take you seriously?

        • Kodie

          Give him a break! You don’t expect him to read things.

    • 90Lew90

      I think you look a bit like Rolf Harris.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        No….he had more hair! If I could see you…I am sure you are a dead ringer for Terrence Bean. But we digress…how about getting back on topic?

        • adam

          Let’s do get back on topic.

          Define ‘faith’ – that which you say atheists and theists share.

          Here is ‘faith’ from the bible as a reference.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You hope for a completed theory to support the Big Bang on which hinges the theory of evolution. The dogmatic belief system that you adhere to is founded in an event that you did not witness. FAITH. We share more than you think. 🙂 It is human nature to seek our creation / creator. I am not against science as some on this site seem to suggest…I believe that there is harmony between faith and science. The problem lies with the radicals on both sides of the isle. Instead of working together we fight and belittle each other and sink into name calling…I am guilty as well….It would be more profitable for all of us to refrain from the nasty and vile comments and proceed with an adult conversation that can only have a positive outcome. 🙂

        • Kodie

          Wow.

        • Pofarmer

          Wow indeed.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Thanks guys…..i am really starting to feel like one of the boys!! 🙂 Can I join your club?

        • Kodie

          You must be so tired from shoveling all that horseshit, so why don’t you take a break.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You guys are just too much fun…..when you can’t or won’t answer a question….you bring out the old tried and true method…..misdirection.

        • Kodie

          Why have you rejected Islam, Scott? So you admit you’re just here for trolling?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Wow

        • MNb

          See? Again you refuse to answer a serious question.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          When I’m finished topping off your brain.

        • Kodie

          You upvoted your own comment?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          yeah….kool huh?

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think you have the intellectual chops for it, frankly.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          PoorFarmer / PotFarmer….what would you say is the average IQ of this site?….not taking into account mine….which in your estimation would no doubt lower the avg. How many have degrees from Graduate programs? Give me an idea what type of chops ( a slang word for musical proficiency) you are talking about. Please answer the direct question with a direct answer.

        • Kodie

          Why are you an atheist, Scott Ratzloff? Why aren’t you a Muslim? Just answer the question already. Answer the direct question with a direct answer.

          (and stop thinking it’s funny or clever to change up people’s names – you’re being a dick).

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I am thinking of converting….who wouldn’t want 70 plus virgins for eternity? Answer this Kodak….why is it ok for you and others to denigrate me? Double standard….your’e being a copulating cranium.

        • Kodie

          You’re not a nice person, a smart person, a funny person, or an honest person. Constantly accusing people of changing subjects? That’s you! Denigrating and insulting – um.. YOU AGAIN. You haven’t done anything to participate in a discussion for when you don’t know what to say, you make a lame joke or reject ideas because you think the person having them seems angry and bitter to you. You’re a worthless debater so we can kick the shit out of you from here on out, unless you want to apologize sincerely, act like a mature adult and use our proper screen names. You keep saying you desire a civil discussion but you are the one not having one.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Every time we point a finger….we have 3 pointing right back at us. Kodie….it is obvious that you are incapable or unwilling to acknowledge your culpability in name calling smothered in misdirection. I have posted many thoughts /comments and very few have been answered in a decent mature manner devoid of childish drivel and condemnation. The exact things that you abhor from your all-in-one definition of ‘Christians’ As to whether you are a nice, smart, funny or honest person…i cannot truly discern from the limited contact that I have had with you. But based on your posts…I have my doubts. Merry Christmas! 🙂

        • Kodie

          Where?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I am using the inclusive we and us. Clearly comprehension is not a strong suit for you. 😉

        • Kodie

          I’m asking where you participated in a civil and mature discussion without breaking into weak jokes. You set the tone with your hostility and continue to lie about what you do and accuse us instead. 3 fingers pointing back at you.

          If you would stop being such an asshole lying fucking hypocrite, nobody would have a bad word to say about you.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I am willing if you are Kodie. How about we just respond to each other in a mature and civil manner. From my observation I came under attack almost immediately when I posted for the’other’ side. Are you willing to give it a try? 🙂

        • Kodie

          The first thing you said was you hoped all atheists weren’t like us. FUCK YOU TOO.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          not entirely correct….however I read a number of posts and determined that the only way to have an exchange of ideas was for calm and cool heads to prevail. As I recall…one of my later posts was an apology. I have yet to see yours. Your caps display anger that is over the top for this situation.

        • Kodie

          I read a number of posts and determined that your apology was insincere. I have yet to see improvement in your behavior, attitude, honesty, or exchange of ideas. You ask a lot of questions you want answers served to you on a silver platter, but when we ask a question, you make a stupid joke of it – how are we supposed to regard you, your highness?

        • MNb

          I don’t care about apologies. They mean nothing to me. I don’t care about your tone either. I care about the content of your comments. That is seriously lacking.
          But make me happy and prove me wrong. I have asked you four questions above. You may consider answering them.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          “I truly hope and pray that this thread is not an actual cross section of the belief patterns of atheist. This only proves that all of us contain lots of BS. Merry Christmas!!” You misread this statement and immediately came to the conclusion that it was a blanket condemnation.

          All of us is an inclusive statement. meaning all people Christians, atheists, agnostic, politicians etc. are prone to BS….it is a humans condition that knows no boundries.

        • 90Lew90

          “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde

        • Kodie

          It doesn’t prove anything – that’s your ass-pulled opinion. It’s not inclusive, we don’t want to be included with your kind based on your uninformed and prejudiced feelings. Atheism is not a religion, it doesn’t take any faith, and based on your short posting history with us, you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you have never backed up this opinion with any evidence.

          Maybe it’s because Christians are so tone-deaf – you don’t know humor and you don’t know tact.

        • Pofarmer

          Personally, I’d pick Mormonism. Best heaven. Or, maybe you want to avoid the Buddhist hell, so you better learn some chants.

        • 90Lew90

          A fucking skull? Yeah Kodie. Stop being such a fucking skull!

        • Scott Ratzloff

          What is missing from a skull?

        • Kodie

          Your joke bombed, get over it.

        • MNb

          “who wouldn’t want 70 plus virgins for eternity?”
          I.

          “why is it ok for you and others to denigrate me?”
          Because you refuse to learn.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Learn what?…don’t you mean agree with your position? I am well studied even if you do not accept that. From my perspective it is simply because I believe in God,,,,and from the majority of posts that puts me lower on the food chain.

        • MNb

          “Learn what?”
          What the Big Bang is, that there are several theories describing it, that all those theories are probabilistic hence don’t require a “what or who” to set it into motion, that Evolution Theory doesn’t depend on the Big Bang.

          “I am well studied”
          Possible. But neither the Big Bang nor Evolution Theory belongs to the subjects you have studied even superficially, given a) all the bloopers you have pulled off (about “higher lifeforms for instance) and b) your refusal to look stuff up when you are corrected.

        • Kodie

          Believe us when we tell you that it’s not because you believe in god. You haven’t demonstrated that you have read a book or article, much less understood or studied anything, even material published for Christers.

        • MR

          Has he answered why he believes yet?

        • Pofarmer

          Because God, obviously.

        • MR

          Why do you suppose they never answer that question?

        • Pofarmer

          I haven’t a clue. But so far you have shown about zero theological knowledge, zero scientific knowledge, and pretty much poor manners all around. You might yet surprise me by making a reasoned argument, but your “thinking” is so disjointed it’s hard to even reply to. It, which frankly, probably indicates this is a waste of time unless you are ACTUALLY willing to set dogma aside and look at what the evidence says. Scientists aren’t in some conspiracy against religion, religion just sucks at describing and relating facts about our world. In fact, advanced theologians and philosophers really don’t even try, they know they’ve been bear, so they retreat into the “metaphysical” where science hasn’t gone yet. But, now it’s going there to. Hang on, it’s gonna he a wild ride. You can either open your eyes and enjoy the discovery, or you can retreat into yourself, and faith, and God, and shut off your mind to the realities of the world around you. It really is up to you, but you might as well quit wasting our time, unless you have a game you haven’t shown yet.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          We shall see. I do have at least some talent, I have survived the wolf pack mentality fending off many who hold a real hatred of Christians and God. I believe that I am the only faith based poster on this site. If you haven’t yet….try going to a Christian website and post there. While you will be challenged…for the most part they will be respectful. Of course….people are people and you will always find the exception to the rule. Take care.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, most Christian websites will ban you quickly when you start asking pointed questions or making polite points. There is a habit among theists, but especially Christians, to come onto the Atheist blogs with the apparent idea they are going to “save” us from our own ignorance. Faith based posters come and go. Some you can have polite conversations with, some, you cam’t because they continue to spout debunked drivel and not advance their arguments or learn anything. Which are you? It’s up to you.

        • Kodie

          You’re the kind of Christian who makes people hate Christians. You’re such a liar and you don’t know anything. Why are you bothering us?

        • 90Lew90

          My friend, I’ve been pretty straight with you, but you do make it difficult when you come off with school bully stuff. “Look at the guy in the wheelchair! He must be soooo bitter. That’s why he gets good grades to make us look stupid.” [Scott on Stephen Hawking] Or, “Your dad died in an insane asylum and never made any money.” [Scott on Nietzsche]

          You’re not alone, don’t be afraid. There are other Christian posters here. I’ve visited many Christian sites. The reason, I suspect, that you find them “respectful” is because they tend to be backslapping wank fests where dissenting voices are almost immediately silenced. I’d much prefer Bob’s regard for free and fair discussion, however pugillistic it gets. The only people I’ve seen kicked from here are those who have been reduced to spamming the board. Usually Christians. And let’s face it. If someone walked into your house through your open door, took a look around, screwed up their face and said, “I hope every room isn’t like this one!” What would you do? I think I’d be inviting them to take a look outside.

        • MNb

          “I believe that I am the only faith based poster on this site.”
          Hey, thanks for admitting that atheism isn’t faith based. As for you being the only one, at the moment probably yes. But you’re far from the first one.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I do not recall claiming that I was the first one.

        • MNb

          I do not recall claiming that you claimed to be the first one. Still my addition makes your remark pretty irrelevant.

        • Kodie

          You claim to have read the comments in this thread before posting – how could you honestly say you’re the only one?

          You couldn’t.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          What would you like to know about theology?

        • Pofarmer

          If you have an argument to make, make it, otherwise STFU.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I have made arguments….you just don’t like them. And the last time I checked the 1st amendment was still upright and taking nourishment! :-)….at least for now. 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          I wish I could remember the name of the rule where you need to be skilled at something before you realize how good or bad at it you are. It’s not that we don’t “like” your arguments, it’s that they are poorly formed, contain Gibberish, and just aren’t very good.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I have been misquoted a number of times. The minutia and nit-picking plus the sarcasm of my posts prevent others from understanding the context. Also…I was not aware that the word “gibberish” was capitalized. This makes your grammar suspect and therefore you posts cannot be trusted. It is easy to turn the tables. I have tried recently to tone down the hyperbolic and incendiary language in an attempt to have an intelligent and meaningful exchange of ideas. This tactic does not appear to be working. Do you have any truly intelligent response or will you just say GTFO! and insult me? Hmmmmm ….a very logical and scientific approach. 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          “The minutia and nit-picking plus” Words mean things. Concepts mean things.

        • Kodie

          When have you been misquoted? Are you thinking where I crossed out what you said and clarified it with what you really meant is “misquoting” you? Your context is embarrassing ignorance which shines through all of your ramblings and can’t be hidden with your terrible sense of humor or your lack of wit.

          NEXT!

        • Kodie

          He thinks he’s making arguments when he links articles he hasn’t read or copies and pastes a definition that he doesn’t understand.

        • Greg G.

          What you are presenting are PRATTs – Points Refuted A Thousand Times. It’s like playing chess with a pigeon.

        • MNb

          “I have made arguments.”
          I repeat: call me stupid and repeat them. Because I haven’t noticed. You even haven’t made clear your position on the Big Bang and Evolution Theory. Hence I repeat:

          1. Do you accept the Big Bang as a fact?
          2. Do you accept speciation as a fact, as defined by evolutionary biologists?
          3. Do you accept the fossil record as a fact?
          4. Do you accept mutation as a fact?

          But I’m sure you won’t answer them now either, because you’re dishonest.

        • Kodie

          You have made the argument from incredulity, but everything else you’ve said is either a baseless assertion or an ad hominem.

        • MNb

          How it decides which one is correct if two theological hypotheses contradict each other. For instance:
          1. Christians can have slaves.
          2. Christians cannot have slaves.
          Both positions have been defended by theologians. Which one is wrong and how do you decide?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Mascot maybe? 🙂

        • Greg G.

          The Big Bang is astrophysics. The Theory of Evolution is biology. One does not hinge on ther. Is that why you chose the Looney Tunes theme?

        • Pofarmer

          Holy crap.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          simply bringing up the working from backwards principle. Man descended from apes….apes descended from a lower life form etc. To make this ‘fact’ plausible you must have a theory that supports that theory. The Big Bang! That is what I meant regarding the ‘hinge’ Can you at least admit that science works backwards when proving a theory? A theory must be proven by gathering ‘data’ from before the existence of said theory. 🙂

        • Kodie

          Can you admit that religion pretends to know more than it could possibly, and impatiently made up some horseshit to make money?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Some are charlatans that is for sure….as for me…I never made any money and wasn’t looking to get rich by selling anointed prayer cloths. Lol 🙂

        • Kodie

          How much money do you pay for the privilege of being a pawn? Is there any other merchant you would give money to for something that wouldn’t be delivered until after you die?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Biblical Christianity doesn’t support paying money for salvation.
          “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves…it is a gift from God, not of works lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9
          Tithe is an Old Testament concept that made its way into the New by men who manipulated the Word of God. The examples that we find in the New Testament were churches ( small groups in houses)that came together to gift someone in their community out of a need. The Apostle Paul did receive the occasional gift ( he also made tents to sell to support himself) but it was done out of a free will and not because the church was a pawn or feared the loss of their salvation. To be sure there are those today , pastors and staff, prosperity gospel preachers who guilt members in their church to support them. This is one of many issues that make the church less effective than it could be.

        • Kodie

          As long as they’ve gotten you to believe you give your money for nobler reasons, but you still didn’t answer my question – no Christian has answered it so far, and I’ve asked all of them.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You really believe that ALL Christians can be so easily manipulated? What percentage of the world’s population (Christian and non) do you know for certain are easily manipulated? 75%….85% 93%….Dude that obviously puts you in an elite group of extremely intelligent people who see through everything not to mention hold all of the answers. The greatest thing that you could do for mankind is to share your wisdom. Have a good Sunday Kodie. 🙂

        • Kodie

          Humans are a rather dumb animal and easily fooled, yes. Many can’t do basic math or understand statistical probabilities. Religion is a multi-level marketing scheme. You are here to bring more people to the flock with the mission to save us by the power of the lord Jesus Christ, and you believe that, but it’s about money. You’re paying them. Nobody’s paying you. Nobody’s delivering a product to you. I can make a million promises of impossible things I can give you but not until you’re dead too – your relatives can’t sue me for fraud, you can’t take your case to the local news to expose me for fraud for failing to deliver my promise. If you’re dumb enough to give me money because you believe the promises, I file as a church, you’re dead, you’re getting your promises delivered in a place nobody has access to and can’t prove that I didn’t.

          .
          Do you really think it’s about something else?

        • MR

          And you hold a belief in an invisible, unfounded deity: Do you see yourself as being “in an elite group of extremely intelligent people who see through everything not to mention hold all the answers?” I certainly don’t see any atheists making that claim, but I get the impression that you think you should belong in that group.

          Yes, of course, all humans are prone to manipulation. But, we benefit from living in a time in which we can truly begin to examine the veracity of religious claims. Science has explained myriads of things that were once held to be in the realm of the supernatural. We no longer have to rely on the hearsay of gullible people. Religious people, for example, claim miracles all the time, yet never has there been one provable claim or believable Youtube video. Why do you suppose that is?

          I’m quite happy to believe in God if you can provide any kind of proof of his existence. Show me the money.

        • Pofarmer

          The working from backwards principle? Really?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          It is called trouble shooting in electronics. You work back systematically to find the source. Tell me why this doesn’t apply in some arenas of science?

        • Pofarmer

          There is this thing called the scientific method. Generally how it works is that you observe something happening. You Gather evidence of that thing and perform an experiment or experiments to detemine of your idea of what is causing that thing is correct or not. Does the theory fit the evidence and vice versa. If it does you can draw conclusions and further refine. If it doesn’t you go back to the drawing board. Now, the cool thing about this is that it is predictive forward and backwards, in fact, it MUST be able to predict forwards and match the evidence we see going backwards. That is just one of the reasons the scientific method is so powerful.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          agreed….but it is a little bit like ‘trouble shooting’. Nothing wrong with that at all.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve done plenty of trouble shooting, both electrical and mechanical. The “working from backwards principle” had never even been on my radar before. Diagnostics, sure, but, c’mon.

        • Greg G.

          I troubleshoot electronics. It’s a part of my job. I never consider supernatural causes during troubleshooting. Well, I might sacrifice a chicken for lunch at KFC but that’s about it.

        • Pofarmer

          Just sprinkle a little holy water around in there.

        • Greg G.

          They are independent. The evidence for each is totally different if we had no evidence for evolution, we would still have the Big Bang theory because of the red shift data that shows that galaxies and clusters of galaxies are moving away from each other. When you run that backwards, they all would come from the same place.

          The evidence for evolution stands on its own. There would be no theory of evolution unless there was evidence for it. It only exists to explain the evidence. That evidence would still need to be explained even if there was no evidence for a Big Bang.

          So there are two independent lines of evidence that show your faith is misguided.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          “The evidence for evolution stands on its own.” The evidence or theory that you speak of is not completely recognized or agreed on by all in the scientific community, They hold to various degrees of acceptance with some diverging into other hypothesis and theory. Like global warming the experts disagree on many points. As far as faith being proved to be misguided….you might want to look into this ~ http://www.famousscientists.org/25-famous-scientists-who-believed-in-god/

        • Pofarmer

          Look, dude, something like 85% of the members of the national acadamy of sciences are atheists. Something around 80% of professional philosophers are atheists. Play another game.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I was only trying to point out the possibility of harmony. Just because a large percentage does not believe in God could be a reflection of their upbringing and training. I believe that Pavlov and Skinner proved this possibility in highly controlled experiments which led to the theory of classical conditioning. I believe this theory is still held in high regard by the scientific community as a whole.

        • Pofarmer

          Uh huh. We are talking about mainly U.S. Scientists and Philosophers, so, by definition and statistics, the vast, vast majority of them would have been raised in religious households. Knowledge is freeing and empowering, you should try it.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I thought that we were going to be civil….obviously that is impossible for some.

        • Pofarmer

          I thought that was pretty civil. Are you admitting that prosyletizing isn’t civil?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          If the sword is used ( literally and metaphorically )…then yes witnessing is not civil. In one way or another we are all proselytizing others to our perspective. Unfortunately, strong arm techniques have little if any power to affect change

        • MNb

          You thought you were going to be civil. I never said I would. I won’t until you bring up something substantial – like answers to the four questions I asked you above.

        • 90Lew90

          Psychology is “soft science” which is being rapidly upended and superceded by “hard” neuroscience (which proceeds on evolutionary principles). The majority of scientists are probably atheist because the evidence they see in great depth in the course of their careers blows any idea of a god or gods being involved out of the water. Truth is stranger than fiction and in the face of what they’re studying, the god stories start to look puerile.

          There’s no doubt that conditioning takes place, but we’re talking more of neural circuitry being reinforced now, rather than ineffable “learning by repeating”. What’s glaring at you with that statement is that popular religiosity is conditioned, both culturally and in the individual. And now you’re invoking scientific consensus — “I believe this theory is still held in high regard by the scientific community as a whole” — and refuse to accept it when it rocks your little boat. What gives?

          And you hint again that you think science is somehow an elitist pursuit (“a reflection of their upbringing…”). It’s not. It’s open to anyone who bothers to spend the time and has the capacity. Like professional football except that it’s even more accessible than professional football. Do you think professional footballers are elitist because you couldn’t play that well? If you don’t, you should, because that’s the logic of what you’re saying.

        • Pofarmer

          Lew, hou ought to know it’s really, really hard to deprogram patterns that have been reinforced over, and over and over. I see this quite often in religious people and religious thinking. They don’t give it a second thought.

        • 90Lew90

          There’s the reinforcement part, but there’s also the part that’s perhaps more easily combatted, as has happened in Europe. That’s the bit where religiosity is allowed to be seen as respectable or a mark of good character. It’s not so long ago that a conversion in jail could get a sentence reduced. That has little to do with actual faith and everything to do social standing and its antidote, I think, is good quality education. There’s too much preaching to the choir in education and too much pandering to this notion that a person is worthy of respect because outwardly they’re religious.

        • Rudy R

          And so a large percentage that does believe in God could be a reflection of their upbringing and training. What exactly is your point, What exactly is your point?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Yes. That’s my point. We are all products of our environment.

        • Rudy R

          And that point supports your your contention how?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Piltdown Man. Supposed missing link that supported evolution. Before it was debunked a good portion of the scientific community celebrated because of the environment that they lived and breathed. It got a little quiet after it was exposed….not unlike the response to the first time I mentioned him on this site. or was it an it? hmmmm

          http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/science-of-natural-history/the-scientific-process/piltdown-man-hoax/

        • Rudy R

          Evolution was never contingent on whether the Piltdown Man was the missing link or not. The fact that the science community eventually determined Piltdown Man a hoax underscores how science corrects itself.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Eventually…after 40 some odd years of influence on the scientific community.

        • Rudy R

          It took 17 centuries for scientists to discover the Earth was not the center of the universe, so 40 years is trifling in comparison. No matter the duration, science has a correction mechanism to weed out falsehoods, faith does not.

        • MR

          With this vein of argumentation I fully expect Scott to denounce religion upon learning of the Popoffs, Swaggarts, etc.

        • MNb

          So what? It took physicists also some 40+ years to track down the higgs-boson.

        • Kodie

          You don’t seem to know how scientists do their work.

        • Greg G.

          Piltdown Man was a problem for evolution from the beginning. The war prevented it from being examined properly. As soon as they checked it, it was refuted. If you think that is an argument against evolution, you should be ashamed. There are no good arguments in favor of creationism.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I never thought, implied or said anything regarding proof for or against. My intention was to point out the fallibility of man and the fact that ALL of us are prone to error and deception.

        • Greg G.

          I asked in one of my first replies to you what you believe and why you believe. I’ve seen that MR has asked if you had answered the question. If you don’t specify what you mean, what you say when you bring up such a baggage-laden argument that is what you mean. If you don’t think an argument is good, don’t use it or be specific about what you mean. The Piltdown Man was shown to be a hoax by science.

        • MR

          He finally answered MNb’s questions, so I’ve not completely given up hope.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Ah….faith! 🙂

        • MR

          Actually I see you’ve only answered a part. And you haven’t yet touched on why you believe, so my faith is diminishing. Instead of responding to this comment, why don’t you continue answering the questions so we can move the dialog along.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I will….I do have other things on my plate. Have patience…beasts of prey in the wild do.

        • MR

          “…beasts of prey in the wild do.”

          So, then, is this an example of “proceeding with an adult conversation?” Here you are clamoring for civil conversation and you’re as snide as all the other Christians we’ve been debating lately.

          I understand that we don’t all have the time to respond as fully and in as timely a manner as we would like, but when you come on here and respond to some things, take cheap shots at other commenters, while seeming to completely ignore the real meat of the conversation for days its annoying. A simple, “that’s a good question, let me ponder this and I’ll get back to you,” is sufficient.

          Presumably you’d think it bad manners for someone to completely ignore your direct questions while continuing to take potshots at you.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Mr MR ~ You accuse me of many things…that is fine…it is certainly easier than examining yourself and others and the part that all of you play in the tenor of these post. Time and time again I have offered an ‘olive branch’ out of a true desire to have this adult conversation. Time and time again it has been ignored. I would invite you to review most if not all of the posts and you will find that more times than not I have only responded in kind. I believe now that most if not all who I have encountered are unwilling or incapable of such a conversation with those that do not share their world view and mindset. This is unfortunate because without outside stimulus with others who don’t not share your convictions you doom yourself to intellectual anemia. I will be curious as how you respond to this. You have two choices…you can give the entire content enough credence to warrant further investigation or you can dissect this message for sound bites that will support and camouflage a virulent response. The choice is yours. I am willing to take the high road with you….are you willing?

        • Kodie

          Time and time again, you’ve been insincere. You asked a question, Pofarmer answered it, and all you had to say was “context, context, context”. When Adam asked you what context, you responded like he had just thrown acid on your face. You can’t keep up a civil back-and-forth discussion, you don’t have the strength of argument or the intellectual capacity to. We love to take the high road when it’s not blocked by assholes like you who can’t stay out of the gutter.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I am being sincere when I say…you are an A**

        • Scott Ratzloff

          This is the kind of dialogue that you seem to thrive on…..so be it.

        • Kodie

          And I’m sincere when I tell you for the forty-fifth time, nobody gives a shit about your opinions. You’re useless as a debater.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          very cogent point well presented.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          What do you get when you cross a Jehovah’s Witness with an atheist?
          Someone who knocks on your door for no apparent reason.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no
          doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do
          yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get
          laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          —-Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA…

        • MR

          Dude, you’re a sociopath. You don’t offer olive branches, you offer traps. If you can’t show respect, you get none in return. Simple. Here you are posting under Scott, highlighting the fact that you committed a massive deception, and I’m to trust you when you say you want an adult conversation? I’m sorry, but you’ve already lost my respect and my trust. Stop acting like a 13-year old, and act like the adult you claim to be.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You are a self-absorbed/ self- deceived elitist. Your arrogance in judgement is truly astounding. I am not posting incognito you dimwit!!. As far as trust and respect from the likes of you…I did not come to this site expecting anything more that what I have received. After viewing the very ‘informative’ 5min video that explains the foundation of your faith…I will say that even if I didn’t believe in God this type of evidence and the arrogance that proceeds from it would certainly drive me else where for answers. Perhaps that is why 21% of the population truly believe in the BB without reservation , But I am sure that the rest are just a conglomeration neo-ignorant stupid and backwards individuals who just don’t know any better. Good thing we have you….we would certainly all be doomed without your clarity and super genius leading the way while dragging us along for the ride. On behalf if the 79%…I thank you! 🙂

        • MR

          There’s Mr. Hyde! I knew he wasn’t far behind.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Dude Dressed Like a Lady.

        • Kodie

          They give you too much computer time at the institution.

        • Kodie

          You uneducated, arrogant asshole. You asked a fucking question and people answered them! You’re the fucking moron who can’t keep up, and instead of saying thank you I will read that, I want to learn, you piss in your pants and pretend we’re denigrating you. You have your PRIDE you know. Yes, we know. You’re projecting your faults and incapacities on us, but we know it’s because you can’t handle the truth.

        • MR

          I’m not buying into the fact that he’s a even Christian. He’s too Linda Blair. He just likes to toy with people.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Isn’t it amazing how much time we can waste on people that we will never meet

        • MR

          I was thinking the same thing, Jeff. Thanks for admitting you are wasting our time.

        • Kodie

          Isn’t it amazing that I know what church you claim to be a pastor at, and one of your initial complaints was that people don’t use their real names and faces because they don’t stand by what they say? Unless you’re trying to ruin the reputation of a pastor named Scott Ratzloff in California, are you prepared for your congregation to read all your garbage from the past few days?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I have recently retired so your pitiful attempt at blackmail is fruitless…after reading yours and others content…I don’t believe it will tarnish my legacy much. When engaging with unknown entities who come with a biased and prejudiced agenda…one must consider the source….they will. I am however flattered that you took the time to fact check me on the web…..this is something that I have not felt a need to do with you. Yawn.

        • Kodie

          So you can say such dirty filthy things and still consider yourself golden in your community? They’re written beside your name that you stand by all your comments “like an honest person”.

          You’re the worst kind of Christian.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no
          doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do
          yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get
          laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          —-Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

        • 90Lew90

          A biased and prejudiced agenda… Overwhelming evidence will tend to bias me in its favour against unfounded faith.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I have recently retired. You pathetic and feeble attempt at blackmail is hilarious. your personality will shine through and that will be a dead giveaway to your agenda. I am not too concerned with my reputation. Try another illegal threat couched in concern. I am however, flattered that you took the time to research me. I must have tweaked you and the boys more than I thought. Researching you and yours is something that quite frankly I have neither the time nor inclination to do. Yawn.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no
          doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do
          yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get
          laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          —-Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

        • your
          personality will shine through and that will be a dead giveaway to your agenda.

          There’s a lot of that going around.

        • Kodie

          Well he’s not Greg, but he is a pastor, and a Christian.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

        • Kodie

          I’m just trying to remind you where and how you have failed to keep up your end. You’ve crossed a line from insulting to offensive. Quite the representative Christian!

          “Scott Ratzloff wrote:”

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          If every one of your facebook friends knew you were such an asshole!!! OMG!

          I am truly blessed to be pastor of Lighthouse Community Church in Crescent City,CA.
          2455 Oliver Ave.
          707.951.3755

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no
          doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do
          yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get
          laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          —-Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

        • MR

          Well, if Kodie has done her homework correctly and you’re truly not Greg (I’m still not completely convinced), then I do owe you an apology for that.

          The rest of my comment stands, as evidenced by the insane dichotomy of your two posts above. As far as you acting like a 13-year old, I think your own words from last night when you had that particularly good run suffice to make that point:

          Scott Ratzloff adam 2 minutes ago
          No….can’t make me!!!!

          Scott Ratzloff Kodie 3 minutes ago
          Yes …Be afraid….be very afraid. Irrelevant….ain’t that a big animal in Afreeca or sumpin?

          Scott Ratzloff MR 4 minutes ago
          Drats….our plan has been foiled again by superior brain Power…when will we ever learn?

          Scott Ratzloff adam 6 minutes ago
          Gee whiz Mrs. Cleaver….how would I know..he’s God and I’m not…do you have anymore of those oatmeal cookies?

          Scott Ratzloff adam 8 minutes ago
          Wait…hold on…i’m still asleep and dreaming of a land that is far far away!

          Scott Ratzloff MR 9 minutes ago
          what have you wiggled out of….oh not sure …but probably a size 6 in skinny jeans.

          Scott Ratzloff adam 10 minutes ago
          yeah it’s a gas…you should try it sometime…. oh…i forgot your too busy with your own bashing!~

          As far as all the other stuff that is going on, well, I don’t agree with it, but after your rants it’s hard to have too much empathy. Besides, you already put your name beside those comments, so you must not care too much.

          Thank you, Merry Christmas and all that to you, too.

        • 90Lew90

          You’ve made no arguments of your own. You’ve come along with well-worn creationist guff and been given short shrift for it. Other than that? Nothing. I’ve been prety gentle with you and any time I’ve made any effort to reply to you, you’ve basically ignored it rather than moving the conversation along. Likewise when I’ve asked you questions. Maybe people are being sharp with you because they’re sick and tired of Christians coming along like lemmings with the same old toot, apparently thinking they’re the first guy to come up with it. It’s tiresome.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no
          doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do
          yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get
          laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          —-Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

        • MNb

          No, a bit of evidence based trust. Faith is by definition not based on evidence.

        • Kodie

          You were given a compliment and you answered it like a douche.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Yes a hoax played on scientists that at the time readily accepted it because of the need to identify the ‘missing link’. That important but yet to be discovered connection is still required to tie the present up with a bow…or perhaps there are those on this site who hold theories as to why the ML is not needed anymore? Please enlighten me. ( I am serious…no sarcasm).

        • Greg G.

          From Piltdown Man – The Bogus Bones Caper :

          The reaction to the finds was mixed. On the whole the British paleontologists were enthusiastic; the French and American paleontologists tended to be skeptical, some objected quite vociferously. The objectors held that the jawbone and the skull were obviously from two different animals and that their discovery together was simply an accident of placement. In the period 1912-1917 there was a great deal of skepticism. The report in 1917 of the discovery of Piltdown II converted many of the skeptics; one accident of placement was plausible — two were not.

          It should be remembered that, at the time of Piltdown finds, there were very few early hominid fossils; Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens were clearly fairly late. It was expected that there was a “missing link” between ape and man. It was an open question as to what that missing link would look like. Piltdown man had the expected mix of features, which lent it plausibility as a human precursor.

          The links we have are not missing. They go back over 4 million years aND the differences between one and the next are small. See here how some creationist authors have said the same specimens are clearly an ape while others say they are clearly human. That’s always as funny as a barrel of monkeys.

          The DNA evidence shows that chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas and that gorillas are more closely related to humans than they are to orangutans. The lineages produced by morphology comparisons and fossil evidence matches those produced by DNA evidence and not just for the animal kingdom.

          If you want to discuss evolution, try talk.origins where you can discuss the topic with real scientists and laymen who enjoy chatting with creationists.

          Does answersingenesis.com still have their list of arguments that creationists should not use? You should run your creationist ideas by there before sharing thoughts with the world, not that their alternatives are any better.

        • MNb

          What does ML mean?
          Anyhow, “missing links” (actually another misleading creationst term) totally have been found:

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/specimen.html

          Sorry Scott, the hoax is totally irrelevant. Scientists err. Whoah, surprise. Evolution Theory is still totally valid.

        • MNb

          Piltdown Man was shown to be a hoax by evolutionary biologists. It got not quiet at all after it was exposed. That’s just another creationist lie.

        • Kodie

          Science corrected that error and evolution is still true.

          (meant to reply to Scott oh well).

        • MNb

          “Just because a large percentage does not believe in God could be a reflection of their upbringing and training.”
          And that doesn’t apply to the 25 believers of you? Do you think your arguments over before you post them?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          soooo….15% of the NAS and 20% of prof. philosophers got it right. Yeaaaahh!

        • Greg G.

          They start off with Einstein’s god who said he believed in Spinoza’s god which means he did not believe in a personal god nor a theology. Creationists used to have a list of “scientists” who were creationists but most were dentists. The list of scientists named Steve who accepted evolution dwarfed the creationist list.

          Your list can only come up with 25 scientists from the past several centuries and not all were even theists. Newton rejected the Trinity. So they couldn’t even agree on a god. That’s what happens when you rely on faith instead of the strength of the evidence.

          Don’t you have any good arguments? Why don’t you find some evidence that Paul thought there was a first century Jesus?

        • 90Lew90

          Sorry but you’re just completely and utterly wrong on evolution. For now, it is rock solid. There is no scientific controversy on it. There may be quibble on “how” it happens — see the spat between Richard Dawkins and E.O. Wilson on kin selection for example — but there is no question among scientists “that” it happens. That’s established.

          The only people who think there’s a controversy (or like to pretend there’s one) are creationists. I happen to think people have a right to be given accurate information. So does the law in principle. And who do we find lying most often when it comes to science? Religious people. Followed closely by businessmen or scientists in their pay. In other words: vested interests. What does that tell you?

          You mention global warming. A lot of the knowledge on that is derived from ecology. Ecology is underpinned wholly by Darwinian evolutionary principles. Gird up your loins and pick up a book.

        • MNb

          “is not completely recognized or agreed on by all in the scientific community”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          How predictable and funny you are. You pull off every single creationist blooper I know. Consult this:

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

          Now just compare:

          https://answersingenesis.org/creation-scientists/#presentsci
          http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

          Also note that no single scientist on the AIG-list has studied evolutionary biology.

          Now for you link. The very first example is already a blooper. Yup, I’m talking about Einstein.

          http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/10/word-god-is-product-of-human-weakness.html

          But even if Einstein believed, so what? Nobody here ever argued that science disproves god. Plus the smartest scientists err as well. Exactly Einstein erred in his correspondence with Niels Bohr, when rejecting quantummechanics.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Exactly! men/women are prone to error. I have yet to witness anyone on this site that would admit that about themselves. Everyone appears to be over confident and that always leads to eventual error. Critical thinking must be applied to ourselves as well.

        • Pofarmer

          Holy shit, you actually had a relevant comment.

          “Critical thinking must be applied to ourselves as well.”

        • Scott Ratzloff

          ahh…a breakthrough perhaps? 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          We’ll see.

        • MNb

          As soon as you start to think critically about your own comments, yes.

        • adam

          I admit that I am prone to error.

          The only one full of over confident is the only one who cant demonstrate that what they say is anything but IMAGINARY, and that would be YOU.

          I have already admitted that I have no certainties about life, so you are being DECEPTIVE to say the least.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You should go into politics. Up until this point…I didn’t know that ‘spinning’ was a science! 😉 ( this by the way is a joke…lest you take it seriously and post something else out of context).

        • adam

          A simple apology for incorrect information would have been sufficient, unless your intention was to lie or deceive.

        • Pofarmer

          Adam is perfectly in context.

        • MNb

          “I have yet to witness anyone on this site that would admit that about themselves. ”
          Glad to meet you – I admit it.
          Now the next step. How do we determine if someone is right or wrong? Let’s begin with accepting the scientific method. Show that you do and answer these questions positively:

          1. Do you accept the Big Bang as a fact?
          2. Do you accept speciation as a fact, as defined by evolutionary biologists?
          3. Do you accept the fossil record as a fact?
          4. Do you accept mutation as a fact

          But I begin to suspect strongly that you are too dishonest and will continue neglecting them.

        • Kodie

          You like to think everyone is as prone to error as everyone else. You keep on trying to make other people say they’re as stupid and gullible and uneducated as you are.

          Meanwhile, your bias keeps showing when you make superficial judgments of atheists because they seem bitter or angry or poor or crazy to you. Who the fuck are you to judge people anyway? Do you listen to yourself making broad presumptions? Do you listen to yourself when you’re the one who keeps saying “we agreed to be civil”? Living in a society stuck backwards by bafflingly superstitious Christians tends to make people upset a little, but you know, just keep making it about you. It doesn’t make us wrong – and you haven’t made an argument why you’re right and someone who seems angry and bitter is wrong because they’re smarter than you and you can’t keep up. You’re the one who sounds bitter that you are not sharp enough to keep up. That doesn’t make you wrong, but it doesn’t make it sound like you’re sure you’re right either if you can’t put together a cogent argument. It’s assholes like you who can’t argue their way out of a paper bag and blame it on someone’s mood in your opinion that gives me a lot more certainty about my position.

          You’re the one not applying critical thinking, by believing we’re “over-confident”. We’re just confident.

        • MNb

          “Man descended from apes….apes descended from a lower life form etc.”
          Wrong again. Evolution Theory doesn’t talk about higher and lower life forms. Faith-based nonsense spouters like you do. Moreover Evolution Theory says that Homo Sapiens and modern apes have common ancestors.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The theory of evolution is biology that was set into motion by the Big Bang…therefore hinge is a word that can be used here.

        • Kodie

          There were a lot of steps in between. You sound like you really have no idea.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Please list them.

        • Kodie

          What the fuck do I look like a library? Are you on the internet right now? Have you brewed a pot of coffee?

          No, seriously – your concept of evolution is that the big bang caused it. That’s ridiculous.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Now Kodie….I thought we were going to play nice

        • Kodie

          For someone who doesn’t answer any questions seriously, you certainly have a high standard for how people must treat you and perform research tasks at your request. You’re not helpless are you? I wouldn’t ask you what the bible says, it’s online I could look it up.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I was under the impression that we were supposed to back up our statements. At least site your sources.

        • Kodie

          I was under the impression that you could ask yourself a question and answer it with the internet’s help. You aren’t really asking questions you want the answers to, so I wouldn’t waste my time.

        • MNb

          No – you said you were going to play nice. I have no intention to play nice with you as long as you deliberately, after several explanations, stick to your erroneous positions.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          not really….simply pointing out the chronology. Logically the Big Bang had to have occurred prior to all other theories…yet Darwin’s theory was formulated first followed by the Big Bang. This is what I meant by trouble shooting.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re not serious… Are you?

        • Rudy R

          All your chronology points out is that it took humans a longer time to theorize how the universe began than how life evolved. Darwin didn’t have to rely on complex measuring tools, as did astrophysicists, to come up with his theory. And Darwin could have been smarter than his contemporary astrophysicists. Your logic is also faulty, in that, the Big Bang didn’t set into motion the “theory” of evolution. The Big Bang set into motion a planet that was amenable for life to form and evolve.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I believe we have both arrived at the same conclusion but from different paths. Let me try and simplify so some of you have a better grasp. The following is a metaphor.
          A forest is planted at the same time ( Big Bang – the beginning of time and matter.)

          Various trees are discovered and cataloged at different times ( individual theories – astronomy, biology etc.) throughout the growth of the forest and are placed according to date of discovery ( Chronological order).

          However, throughout history/growth of the forest(expanding universe and man’s understanding) there is not a generally accepted theory that explains where the trees originated from.
          Until one day when someone(s) sees the forest for the trees and postulates a set of ideas as to the origin of the forest. Chronologically, the discovery of the forest (the universe and all things that are contained within) occurs after the discovery of separate trees.
          Using this scenario the individual trees are then placed within the proper perspective of the forest.( All separate trees emanate from a single source event ( Big Bang ). Without the Big Bang ( which set all matter and life into existence ) the individual trees would not have been discovered. ( there wouldn’t be anyone alive to discover the trees.)

          This is what I meant re:chronological order and hinging.

          Hope this clears some things up. I realize that I will be faulted on the scenario however, I believe it was the best vehicle at this time to convey my perspective on this subject. Have a great day!! 🙂

        • Rudy R

          However, throughout history/growth of the forest(expanding universe and man’s understanding) there is not a generally accepted theory that explains where the trees originated from

          This statement is false. We do have a generally accepted theory that explains where the trees originated from, and that is the Big Bang theory.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          yes…..but the BBT is a recent discovery is it not? That was and is my point regarding chronology. Without the BB there would be nothing to discover…including us to discover it. I really don’t understand why this concept is so hard to grasp.

        • adam

          No problem I grasp it.

          While the BBT is relatively recent, it is because of IGNORANCE and RELIGION that it was thought to be brought about by ‘godly’ MAGIC.
          Please demonstrate some of this MAGIC of YOUR ‘god’.

          How did YOUR ‘god’ evolve to create universes?
          Where did YOUR ‘god’ come from?
          What was YOUR ‘god’s’ first thoughts
          What was YOUR ‘god’ before it’s first thought?

          What existed BEFORE your ‘god’?

          So as you see ‘God’ is not an answer but simply a passing of IGNORANCE by way of MAGIC in place of the search for Truth.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I require an open mind and not a sniper to attempt to answer those questions. I have never claimed that I know everything nor have I ever stated that God used evolution / Big bang for His plan for mankind.
          CAPS in these types of encounters denote yelling from a position of anger, impatience etc. If I were to answer these questions would you seriously consider them?…or are you just waiting to take me out….and I don’t mean lunch! 🙂

        • adam

          AGAIN, cap in these types of encounter denotes EMPHASIS, not anger, you are PROJECTING on us YOUR anger.

          Of course I would seriously consider them if you can SERIOUS address them.

          How can I ‘take you out’ if you present the Truth with evidence, you can only take yourself out with ignorance and false claims of victimhood.

          Define ‘faith’ – that which you say atheists and theists share.

          1. Do you accept the Big Bang as a fact?
          2. Do you accept speciation as a fact, as defined by evolutionary biologists?
          3. Do you accept the fossil record as a fact?
          4. Do you accept mutation as a fact

        • Pofarmer

          Let’s face it, your conclusion is “Because God.” Right?

        • MNb

          “I require an open mind and not a sniper to attempt to answer those questions.”
          Show that you’re serious about this and answer these four questions:

          1. Do you accept the Big Bang as a fact?
          2. Do you accept speciation as a fact, as defined by evolutionary biologists?
          3. Do you accept the fossil record as a fact?
          4. Do you accept mutation as a fact?

          Until then you are just lying when you write that you require an open mind.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          1. Do you accept the Big Bang Theory as fact?

          There is no doubt that a cataclysmic event occurred in the distant past and the fact that the universe is still expanding cannot be denied. There are, however elements within the BBT that even the science
          community and its proponents cannot explain (as of yet ). This does not negate the event itself just our complete understanding of it.
          Is it possible that the unknown element could be God? Without a complete picture it is impossible to say.

          Speculation is all that we are left with.

          There have been and will be those hold to the position that there is not one shred of empirical data that supports the existence of God.
          Can the same provide undeniable evidence that He doesn’t exist?

          I would say no.

          There are some things that will remain a mystery due to our imperfect minds that produce imperfect thoughts.

          This is the issue at hand. Until there is demonstrable evidence either way there will be a divide between those who dogmatically hold to a “No God” position and those from the faith community that dogmatically oppose
          all scientific interpretation or specific scientific theories

          .Do I accept the Big Bang as fact, Yes İn part ~ İ believe that God had a part too!

        • Can the same provide undeniable evidence that He doesn’t exist?

          No. Don’t need to.

          Study up on the null hypothesis. In this case, the natural explanation is the null hypothesis, since that has explained myriad things and the reverse (a supernatural explanation trumping a natural one) hasn’t happened yet. Natural is the way to bet; ergo, that’s the null hypothesis.

          The burden of proof is on your powerful shoulders. Don’t shirk it.

        • MR

          Bob,

          In Galicia, in northern Spain, the countryside is dotted with structures called hórreos which are used to store grains. According to legend, each hórreo is home to a little duende, or leprechaun-like creature who guards the grain.

          Perhaps you don’t believe in duendes, but there are some things that will remain a mystery due to our imperfect minds that produce imperfect thoughts.

          The issue at hand is, until there is demonstrable evidence either way, there will be a divide between those who dogmatically hold to a “no duende” position and those of the duende-faith community….

          P.S.: I have zero proof that duendes actually exist, but you should nonetheless be open to the fact that they do because…, because…, well, just because.

        • MR

          Ah, darn, I made a minor edit and lost my hórreo photo, so here it is—just in case you don’t believe they are real!

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Hi Bob…I take it as a compliment that you have responded to my first answer to the questions posted by MNb. Thank you!

          I am aware of the null hypothesis that essentially states that a more information trumps something with less information. But that, however, should not be the deciding factor in research. That could potentially hinder advancement in our understanding of our existence,
          As far a Christ is concerned there are eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ ministry. His influence in this world cannot be denied. He has been and still is a major figure in this world. The outlandish claims that He made can only be interpreted from 3 possible mental states. He was either a Liar, a Lunatic or He was Lord sent by God to give mankind the greatest gift possible. I do not see science and faith in God as an either or proposition. I admit that some of the behaviors and actions on both sides have polarized. This is a shame….when emotions, anger and hatred are the rule and not the exception it degenerates into a childish shouting match and all of us miss out on a potentially great blessing and an equal increase in knowledge. Have a good Sunday. Hope to hear from you again!

        • MNb

          “He was either a Liar, a Lunatic or He was Lord”
          This is a false trilemma debunked many times, ao by BobS himself in another article. He has written about the “eyewitness” accounts as well. As I prefer not to tackle too many subjects at the same time I’ll postpone this. Now I limit myself to pointing out that neither point impresses any atheist – with good reason (in the form of evidence and arguments).

        • I am aware of the null hypothesis that essentially states that a more information trumps something with less information.

          Not the definition I’m using. The null hypothesis is where we’re obliged to start. It also defines who has the burden of proof: the side arguing that the null hypothesis is wrong.

          there are eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ ministry

          I doubt it.

          His influence in this world cannot be denied.

          You don’t have to be real to have an impact. Allah isn’t real, and he does.

          He was either a Liar, a Lunatic or He was Lord sent by God to give mankind the greatest gift possible.

          Or he was a legend. Already written about this (search for the post).

          I do not see science and faith in God as an either or proposition.

          No? You probably should. In a conflict between science and faith, science wins.

        • MNb

          Hi Scott, thanks for proving me wrong (see, I admit it) with my prediction that you wouldn’t answer the four questions. But will you answer the follow up questions? Just in case:

          Do you recognize that physics is the branch of science that should study the event called Big Bang? If yes, can you prove (iso of just stating it without any back up) that physics never will be capable of formulating a consistent and coherent theory on the Big Bang? Also, if yes, if physics will formulate such a theory, does it mean you will deconvert?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Let me respond to this new set of questions after I finish the last 3. 🙂

        • MNb

          Are your answers different then from your answer to question 1? That will be fun – for me, as you’re likely to provide more ammo for mocking.

        • MR

          Throughout history
          Every mystery
          Ever solved
          Has turned out to be…
          Not magic

          —Tim Minchin

        • MR

          So you got nothin’. Damn. I knew it!

        • MNb

          1. “There are, however elements within the BBT”
          Irrelevant and wrong. I asked about the event called Big Bang, I didn’t ask about any theory. And as your very own link already showed there is no THE Big Bang Theory. I have told you so before – again you refuse to learn. So the rest of your comment on this point can safely be neglected.

          “There is no doubt that a cataclysmic event occurred in the distant past”
          Great. This is what I needed. Do you recognize that physics is the branch of science that should study it? If yes – physics calls that event the Big Bang. If no you reject the scientific method (including the GPS system in your car) and I’d like to know why.

          “Speculation is all that we are left with.”
          Wrong again, effectively undermining your claim that you study and understand. We do have empirical data; we do know that any BBT has to be consistent, coherent and testable. That’s why the BBT derived from General Relativity (done by Friedmann and Lemaitre) has been rejected.
          We are not left with speculation at all; we are left with a quest for more empirical data. They are just hard to come by.

          “Can the same provide undeniable evidence that He doesn’t exist?”
          I do not recall making that claim, if you mean with evidence “empirical evidence”, which is the only evidence I accept.

          “There are some things that will remain a mystery”
          Jumping to a god from this is called a god of the gaps. 2000 years ago some smart believer would have argued for Zeus or Thor because of this. Still you reject them, which means you haven’t argued for anything yet.

          “İn part ~ İ believe that God had a part too!”
          What part? Why? What means did your god use? Which procedures did he follow? Ah – I already know the answer: it’s a Mystery and you have Faith! Just like that smart believer of 2000 years ago thought thunder and lightning a Mystery and had faith that Zeus or Thor was somehow involved. Do you defend that position? Do you claim that your “god has a part in thunder and lighting?” In superconductivity at relatively high temperatures? In running your computer? In connecting you with the entire world via the internet? In combing your hair?
          The way you argue that your god had a part in the Big Bang anyone can argue as well that your god has parts in the phenomena I just mentioned.

          In case you have missed it I repeat my follow-up question: do you recognize that physics is the branch of science that should study the event called Big Bang? If yes, can you prove (iso of just stating it without any back up) that physics never will be capable of formulating a consistent and coherent theory on the Big Bang? Also, if yes, if physics will formulate such a theory, does it mean you will deconvert?

          Thanks for answering this question nr. 1. For the time being I will assume that you would answer the other three questions in a similar way; that means that my follow-up questions would be similar as well. For the time being we can safely ignore them. They do not add any relevance to the first unsubstantiated point you made – “nothing makes sense but a Higher Power”.
          I’m looking forward to you answer my follow-up questions.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          2. Do you accept speciation as a fact, as defined by evolutionary biologists?

          While the theory of Speciaiton is relatively new ( 1954 ~ Ernst Mayr) there are a number of adherents as well as opponents to the arguments that species ( most notably trilobites , fruit flies and bears) have split in the
          past to form completely different biological entities.

          The disagreements, both within and without the camps appear to revolve around a lack of evidence ( at this time) that would fill in existing gaps that would make this theory acceptable to all.

          As it stands now is a claim would account for all life form springing from one species during or immediately after the Big Bang but without indisputable proof to back up this claim and complete the theory to make it fact. This may change either way when further evidence is
          obtained.

          http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VADefiningSpecies.shtml

          http://www.dorak.info/evolution/species.html

          http://www.examiner.com/article/the-specious-arguments-about-species-and-speciation

          So do I believe speciation is a fact?:

          If you study all available documentation in a balanced approach it would be unwise to answer a yes or no to a grey question. However until indisputable proof is provided I will have to respond no.

        • MR

          As it stands now is a claim would account for all life form springing from one species during or immediately after the Big Bang.

          What the hell are you talking about? My God, this is worse than I thought. Are you sure you aren’t John in disguise? Bob, where do you find these people?

          {Throws up hands and walks away.}

        • Scott Ratzloff

          one down! 🙂 Lol

        • MR

          Oh, I’m not going far. I’ve just learned that it’s useless to argue science with someone who doesn’t have even a grade school understanding.

          I’m still very interested in hearing your reasons for believing. I’ll be waiting.

        • Kodie

          As it stands now is a claim would account for all life form springing
          from one species during or immediately after the Big Bang but without
          indisputable proof to back up this claim and complete the theory to make
          it fact.

          What the fuck are you talking about?

          I keep telling you this is wrong-headed. You’re wrong-headed.

        • MR

          Is science this poorly understood among Christians in general? I’m just flabbergasted. This is basic stuff, man!

        • Kodie

          I already told him last night (a) there are a lot of steps in between, (b) he asked me to please list them all, (c) I said fuck that, (d) MNb of all people listed them, (e) he made the error again by assuming discovery of the big bang came after evolution theory so therefore we are working backwards through time to figure it out, (f) I told him that he is trying to wedge scientific knowledge into the Genesis story timeline, and that that is way way off, and (g) he said he never told us that much of what he believes, so he can’t see where I’m coming from, which leads to (h) I called him a liar and or fucking stupid, next to (i) Scott Ratzloff’s crazy assumption that EVOLUTION WAS DIRECTLY CAUSED BY THE BIG BANG.

          Scott, honey baby, I do know exactly where you’re coming from. You’re coming from the wrong things creationists and ID proponents (or cdesign proponentsists) tell you about what science actually says. You haven’t studied, read, or comprehended anything about science, the big bang, evolution, or otherwise. You’re unprepared, intellectually, to hear the answers to your questions that are supposed to stump us. You’re unprepared intellectually by the people who would rather you stay fucking stupid, and take your money to keep you that way.

        • MR

          That was a big crux for me. My keepers were trying to tell me that science said ‘x’ when I knew that science really said ‘y’.

          You know, you don’t have God on your side when you’re lying about what the other side is saying. It doesn’t even matter whether the other side is right or wrong, if you’re lying about what the other side is saying, you clearly do not have God on your side.

        • Rudy R

          Scott came here thinking he would bowl us Atheists over with his unique perspective on science and that we would see the light. But little did he know that he trumpeted the same, tired, old, faulty Christian arguments. After he found out that we had a few brain cells, he started the last ditch effort of most Christians, that is, he started quoting Bible scripture.

        • Kodie

          No no, Scott came here to tell us he was frightened that we represent in this thread a cross-section of atheists. He thought judging us from the outset was the correct strategy, for he was afeared, and I don’t know yet exactly of what. That we’re right? That we exist? He never did say what terrifies him of us, but we can guess it’s planted in his brain by the people taking his money to influence his fears and prejudices.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah nuts, I missed the bible scriptures.

        • MNb

          “While the theory of Speciaiton is relatively new”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! I’m not disappointed, you’re great fun indeed. My friend, saying that speciation is a theory makes as little sense as saying that movement and light are theories.
          Oh – and also it’s a few decades older than you write. My compatriot Hugo de Vries was the first to observe speciation.

          http://www.factmonster.com/cig/biology/speciation.html

          “The disagreements”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! There are no disagreements on speciation. There are only believers who deny speciation.

          “a lack of evidence ( at this time) that would fill in existing gaps that would make this theory acceptable to all.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! A similar lack of evidence results in existing gaps in your family tree making it difficult to accept the theory that you’re human and not alien.

          “all life form springing from one species during or immediately after the Big Bang”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! Excellent confirmation that you haven’t studied nor understand the subject plus that you’re incapable of learning. The Big Bang happened 13,7 billion of years ago. Earthly life originates some 3+ billion years ago. Never mind the 10 billion years between them – that’s TOTALLY “during or immediately after”.
          Oh, I almost forgot. You don’t understand the difference between evolution and abiogenesis either. Evolution starts the moment life already exists. Abiogenesis is the research after the origin of life.

          “until indisputable proof is provided I will have to respond no.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          There has been undisputable empirical evidence (you don’t understand what the word proof means either) since more than 100 years. If you had googled “observed speciation” you would have found it within a few seconds.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html
          http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/100201_speciation
          http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/12/18/evolution-watching-speciation-occur-observations/
          http://www.darwinwasright.org/observations_speciation.html

          OK, thanks for admitting that you’re a closet creationist, ie denying facts and rejecting reality. Also thanks for giving me a very good start of a new day.

        • 90Lew90

          The term “speciation” was coined by Orator F. Cook, first recorded use in a letter by him published in Science in 1906.

          Second paragraph, right-hand column, here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/23/587/506

          The coinage was used to describe “species origination”, which Darwin described (as the name of his book suggests). The concept isn’t new.

          Life began during or soon after the Big Bang? That’s news to me.

          On your Berkeley link you seem to have stopped at ‘Defining a Species’. The next page, ‘Defining Speciation’ would have been more helpful to you. Here: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VBDefiningSpeciation.shtml

          Ditto the one after that, ‘Causes of Speciation’, here: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VCCausesSpeciation.shtml Go fetch.

          You don’t appear to have read your Dorak link either, because it says nothing that supports the guff you’ve written here. And your third link is by a creationist goon. Not worth the bother.

        • Kodie

          You could be a pioneer if you answered those questions.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I will respond to MNb’s queries as it is obvious that Adam’s questions are rhetorical and therefore do not require an answer.

        • Kodie

          Did you read Adam’s questions?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Yes….and he responded to his own questions with his own answers framed in rhetorical language

        • Kodie

          I must have missed that post, I was thinking of this post.

        • adam

          They are not rhetorical.

          See ‘god’ doesnt provide any answers to any questions only more questions.

          Only an excuse to be ignorant.

        • Rudy R

          Could you consider maybe your point is flawed? The Theory of Evolution is not contingent on whether the Big Bang Theory is true. The BBT could be false and Evolution could still be a valid theory. Evolution starts from the first living organism, whether by abiogenesis or a god, and not when the universe was created. To claim otherwise would be a statement of ignorance of evolution.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          To deny that all scientific discoveries are not linked in some way small or large is flawed. Without the existence of Earth there wouldn’t be an environment for our existence and by extension our theories. Without us the existence of the Earth is greatly diminished to the point that it serves no purpose. ( we are not here to discern that). 🙂

        • Rudy R

          To deny that all scientific discoveries are not linked in some way small or large is flawed

          I’ll grant you that the Theory of Evolution (ToE) is contingent on the universe existing, but is not contingent on HOW the universe was created or HOW life was created, which I have repeatedly stated.

          Without the existence of Earth there wouldn’t be an environment for our existence and by extension our theories

          Yes, if we didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be theories. So what?

          Without us the existence of the Earth is greatly diminished to the point that it serves no purpose

          We are reliant on the Earth. The Earth is not reliant on us. What’s your point?

        • Pofarmer

          The earth serves no purpose, except to us. you are assuming agency. the other point also stands. BBig Bang could be flawed, and it doesn’t affect the theory of evolution.

        • Greg G.

          Without me, the existence of the earth is diminished. There are billions of galaxies with billions of star and planets. Their existence is only important because of me. Send me 9% of your income. I offer a better deal than your religion.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Ok…..what’s your address? 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Third planet from the Sun. You can’t miss it. I’m the guy wearing blue jeans.

        • Kodie

          I think we met at Jay’s party once, do you remember?

        • MR

          Oh my God, you were so drunk!

        • Kodie

          Yup!

        • 90Lew90

          “Without us the existence of the Earth is greatly diminished to the point that it serves no purpose.”

          If other species could speak… Breathtaking arrogance. Hate to break it to you, but we’re something of a plague and we’ve sent untold numbers of species to extinction. Without us, the Earth would get along fine. No purpose perhaps, and no need for it.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I was speaking in terms of biological evolution and how we would not have been around to formulate other theories if we had not been part of that process. The process would not have started. There would be no life on this rock and therefore it would be superfluous.

          No arrogance just observation.

          It is best to remove any bias and hatred that we may be harboring when communicating.

        • 90Lew90

          If we hadn’t been around to formulate theories, we wouldn’t miss them, would we, because we’d never have been. You pillock. And it seems to have escaped your observation that we’re not the only species, and that pretty much all the other species would be better off without us, or at least far fewer of us. Which brings me to one of the main points on which Christianity is perilously wrong — its anthropocentrism. The Earth is creaking under our weight already and we’re hurtling towards 9,000,000,000. What does Christianity say? Keep breeding. Make no attempt to control your numbers. Take no care for the morrow.

        • Pofarmer

          Unfortunately,mit’s not just christianity. We are in a virtual breeding war with Islam right now.

        • 90Lew90

          I know, and it’s disastrous. Sorry you’re having such a challenging time with your wife. I don’t envy you that at all. If I was in that situation I think my outspokenness might cause serious problems for the marriage because there’s no way I would allow any child of mine to be exposed to that as though it was in any way truthful, and not just at home but in school also. Not that there’s much chance of me having any kids, but I did come close once and I have thought whimsically about how I might try to innoculate a kid raised in Northern Ireland against indoctrination. The girl called herself catholic but said she hadn’t really thought much about it and it hadn’t been important in her upbringing in Slovakia. It was quite easy to present a fresh perspective for her, and she just shrugged and was happy enough to agree with me.

          I’d thought that if questions started coming, I’d begin any answer with, “Some people think/believe…”. If questions persisted I’d start an informal little comparitive religion course and visit mosques, synagogues and churches. I began to think it would be a great opportunity for learning. Alas — actually no, thank god! — no kids ever materialised. It would have been a disaster!

        • MR

          Take no care for the morrow.

          I think this is one of the most damning messages of modern Christianity.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Mr….please read the above response to 90Lew90.

        • MR

          I think you failed to notice that I said “modern” Christianity. But, no, I understand that not everyone holds to that philosophy. Nonetheless it is a prominent message that I hear many in the Christian community espousing. Perhaps you’re not familiar with the Green Dragon movement which demonizes environmentalism. I hold to my statement.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          These are splinter groups and like believers before and after them there will always be those who misuse and abuse scriptures for their own designs and agenda.
          That does not negate the truth and love of God. As far as demonizing is concerned.there isn’t one group that has a monopoly on that…..is there? 🙂

        • MR

          And we’re right back to the No True Scotsman. Got it.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The fact that you have taken Mt.6 from the Sermon on the Mount out of context to back up your claim that the Christian community doesn’t care about population / environmental issues is disingenuous at best and deceitful at worst.

          Jesus is not telling people to overpopulate the world but in fact this passage speaks on trusting God for all your needs and turning over anxiety to Him!!

          Mathew 6:25 ~

          25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

          28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will Henot much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

          31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”.

          you desire that I study before I post…that is a reasonable request….one that you should be able to accomplish as well.

        • 90Lew90

          I wasn’t actually thinking of Matthew 6 specifically, nor the bit of Paul that snuck in there, but the way those little maxims are adopted by Christians, no matter how divorced they are from Scripture. “Take no care for the morrow” had nothing to do with trusting in God when Paul uttered it, he was telling people to expect the second coming any minute. In any case, it’s incitement to irresponsibility, which is at the core of the Christian message. “Trust in Jesus for all your needs” lands you on the streets in the real world, or worse. It leads to children being denied simple treatments for simple ailments by extremely devout and stupid parents. That kind of thing.

          Now, tell me that the archetypal Catholic family isn’t big. Tell me that the chief opposition to sex education, contraception and abortion does not come from Christians. Tell me that climate change deniers aren’t very often Christians.

          Jesus may not have been telling people to go and overpopulate the world, but that’s because the prospect was beyond remote to him, even though supposedly he was god. Now, even given the problems we face with overpopulation and the strain we’re putting on the planet, his followers seem quite happy to take “go forth and multiply” as meaning “get married and breed”. And little has been done by more enlightened Christians like yourself, as far as I can see, to tell these simpletons they’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

        • Kodie

          I hate to add any fuel to the fire or tempt a topic derail, but I always wonder about Christians who picket abortion clinics, when they die, and if there were a heaven, how that would affect them to know that. I mean, they’re upset about something that’s meaningful to them, really upset, not not caring for the morrow, they literally feel like they were put on this earth to fight for a cause, but when you die, you can no longer fight the cause, but the cause is unresolved, so how would one feel to know that something that upset them so on earth was still not settled to their satisfaction, and the god they got near to still has not done anything to end their battle. Forget those people cast to hell, the earth is going on without you with all the troubles and not being happily resolved by god. How could anyone in heaven be happy unless heaven means “lobotomy”?

        • 90Lew90

          Good point but you get to see your “loved ones”. Can lobotomised people remember loved ones and revel in the joy of the reunion? It’s just all so… mysterious.

        • Kodie

          You know a lot of people starve to death, animals too when the environment changes too quickly. So this is basically bullshit from the get-go.

          But then talk to your own fellow Christians – they worry about the morrow an awful lot, politically intrusive and anti-freedom, and then hypocritically post conditions on charitable gifts – they are trying to bribe people into the flock with a little bit of soup and lot of proselytizing. “Take no care for the morrow.”

        • MNb

          The Earth coming into existence is not chronologically related to any theory describing that empirical fact. What’s so hard about understanding this?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          As of this post…all my energy and focus has been on the posts and the purpose of this page. All theories that are attempting to explain this universe and our function in it are related. Whether it is pre-event, during event or post event information they are all connected in some way or another. The thought process is the common denominator.

        • MNb

          “All theories that are attempting to explain this universe and our function in it are related.”
          I didn’t deny that. You don’t address my point though – a typical tactic of apologists like you. So I repeat it, highlighting the core:

          The Earth coming into existence is not CHRONOLOGICALLY related to any theory describing that empirical fact.”
          What’s so hard about understanding it?
          Iso you confirm that you are not capable of and/or willing to learn:

          “Without the existence of Earth”
          is a fact and not a theory. In case you doubt it I suggest you to look out of your window. It has exactly zero relevance – because there is no chronological relation – that Darwin’s Theory was formulated before the first theory on the Big Bang. Still you keep on making a big fuzz about it.

        • Kodie

          What kind of purpose do you think you serve?

        • MNb

          There is nothing to grasp because there is no concept. It doesn’t matter at all if the BB is discovered after anything or not. This

          “Without the BB there would be nothing to discover”

          is just confusing the historical event called Big Bang with the various theories (typical that you dishonestly insist that there is only one) describing that event. I have pointed that out to you several times. Hence you bear false witness. Because if you were honest you would have to admit you are wrong.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          again…I have not answered any questions regarding my faith. You are basing your assumptions of me on previous commentators. Not a good way to seek and find the truth. By the way, I am going to answer your questions this evening to the best of my ability and transparency.

        • MNb

          Again …

          “I have not answered any questions regarding my faith”
          you confirm that you’re not interested in a civic exchange of ideas or you would have answered some of those questions.

          “You are basing your assumptions of me on previous commentators.”
          And now your lying (or bearing false witness – name it what you want) again. I have no assumptions on you. Everything I wrote in my previous comment is based on

          “Without the BB there would be nothing to discover”
          A statement, as I pointed out, that shows you confuse the event (which is indirectly observed) with the theories describing it.

          “Not a good way to seek and find the truth.”
          Wrong again. The way you use the word truth is meaningless in science, exactly because it doesn’t claim absolute, 100%, eternal certainty and recognizes it’s not capable to provide it. Then again faith isn’t either, despite the pretentions of many believers.

          “I am going to answer your questions this evening”

          Great. For someone who claims to have studied and understood a lot it takes you a long time though to choose between yes and no. But still great.

        • MNb

          Ah …. four hours ago I missed this quote somehow.

          “the BBT is a recent discovery is it not? That was and is my point regarding chronology. Without the BB there would be nothing to discover”

          The first BBT (the one formulated by Friedmann and Lemaitre) is a recent discovery indeed. The event – which you correctly call BB in the next sentence – happened 13,7 billion of years ago, long before Earth was formed and evolution started. There is only a problem here in your faith-infested imagination. And this is what I addressed in my previous comment, not any assumption on you.
          You’re silly.

        • Kodie

          It’s you who are not grasping. You are trying to wedge scientific concepts into a religious creation script from Genesis.

          In the beginning, the universe was formed, yadda yadda yadda, people. How is the timeline of scientific discoveries important here? Nobody doesn’t understand what you’re talking about – we’re all just telling you that you’re thinking about it wrong and you continue to try to make it fit. You’re the one who said the only way things make sense (to YOU) is if there’s a god, well, try to learn to make another kind of sense. The narrative you’re using is faulty on more levels than just one.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Kodie…I haven’t given you much at all of what I truly believe yet you already have postulated a theory regarding me. Conclusions without rigorous research or the use of empirical evidence. Bad Science…sit….stay 🙂

        • Kodie

          Lies make baby Jesus cry. Or maybe you really don’t know how stupid you sound?

        • MR

          Is this an example of “proceeding with an adult conversation?”

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Kodie is a special case!

        • Kodie

          I don’t think I’m expecting anything different from you than anyone else – how about some honesty and stop being such a douche?

        • MNb

          “I haven’t given you much at all of what I truly believe yet”
          No and given your refusal to answer those four questions you are not going to do so either. How uncivic.
          It also undermines your claim that you have provided arguments and evidence.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The tree and forest example was a metaphor….jeeeez!

        • Rudy R

          Uuuummmm, I know that was a metaphor. And I used your metaphor in my response.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Thanks for clearing that up…there is just no telling….you guys are so smart that you might have come full circle and started over again. I can see that the tenor will not change. I will respond to each of you in kind. 🙂

        • Scott Ratzloff

          ….and that allowed and fostered men/women who had an ability to formulate. Without the Big bang ( beginning of the universe) or whatever we may want to call it we would not be alive or be able to conclude anything….including evolution etc.

        • 90Lew90

          I thought you were in favour of “working backwards”. If that’s the case, evolution is in its place as a discovery ahead of Big Bang cosmology. Whatever of that, I can’t quite believe you think you’re onto something with this stupendously daft argument about the order in which scientific discoveries were made. It’s a nonsense! I hope you’re joking again.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I never said I was in favor of working backwards. Read it again.

        • 90Lew90

          What are you in favour of then?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          In regards to discovery?….cooperation in a spirit of respect among all parties….even those with major disagreements. There is much to be done on this subject.

        • MNb

          “cooperation in a spirit of respect among all parties.”
          Wrong attitude in science. The best scientists (Isaac Newton being a prime example) show a total lack of respect. They do follow a set of strict rules though – rules you don’t seem to accept. That’s what my questions are about – to find out to which extent you accept the rules laid out by the scientific method. One, dealing with authority too, is well expressed by another excellent scientist:

          http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/richardpf160383.html

        • 90Lew90

          I’m in full agreement with Dawkins that religion gets far more than its share of undeserved respect. I couldn’t care less how “deeply held” a person’s beliefs are. If they’re to be advanced in the marketplace of ideas then they should be able to withstand criticism. Religion has had a get-out-of-jail-free card for far too long, and religious institutions and individuals have exploited it wholesale. A lot of people have had enough of it. It wouldn’t bother me if it wasn’t harmful, but on so many levels it is extremely harmful. Respect where it’s due.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          In terms of discovery? A spirit of mutual respect. There is much to be done in this area.

        • MNb

          You already posted this five minutes before. See underneath for my reply, showing that you’re wrong.

        • Kodie

          There should not be expected any respect for faulty ideas that get us nowhere. Science works to eliminate these distractions. Religion works to hinder scientific progress. You keep trying to play this equivocation game that sets science and religion on equal footing – and it’s simply not. Basically what you sound like you want is for atheists to do the mutual respecting toward theists and allow them, like, half. Why don’t you give mutual respect to some Muslims.

          You haven’t given us respect, you don’t know the meaning of the word, except when you’re not getting what you think you deserve – let me tell you, since the beginning, you deserve hardly any.

        • 90Lew90

          Not in terms of discovery, in general. You’re not really playing your hand. It appears very much as though you’d like to be able to dispute the bits of science that make a religious world-view difficult to hold, but you know nothing of the science and haven’t given anything of what you *do* think. How about we move onto what you think.

        • MNb

          Dishonestly repeating your erroneous point after been corrected several times. How uncivic of you.

        • Pofarmer

          Scott appeara to be going for some sort of deist argument, nut it’s so poorly formulated it’s hard to say.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          your opinion.

        • MNb

          The first sentence is a fact. The second one a moral evaluation. Apparently you disagree with this evaluation. That disqualifies you as someone who sincerely is looking for a civic exchange of ideas. You only want to discuss on your own terms.

        • Kodie

          And I’m simply pointing out that you’re coming at it wrong. You’re actually saying things that don’t make sense, maybe that’s why it doesn’t make sense to you – your notion of it is ridiculous.

        • MNb

          “Logically the Big Bang had to have occurred prior to all other theories”
          Concluding from this that Evolution Theory depends on the Big Bang is a logical fallacy. I’m too lazy now to look up which one, so I’ll just provide another example. The murder of Julius Caesar had to have occurred prior to your birth. According to you your existence depends on that murder.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          no you don’t look like a library…..but you do look like a librarian. Perhaps that is the problem….they have been known to be a little retentive.

        • Kodie

          Took you two days to come up with that?

        • MNb

          The Big Bang happened 13,7 billion of years ago. Evolution started a bit more than 3 billion years ago. I don’t know about you, but I think that quite a gap.

          Steps: the formation of atoms. The formation of hydrogen and gradually heavier atoms. The formation of molecules. The formation of galaxies. The formation of stars. The formation of planets. The formation of the Earthly atmosphere. The biochemical formation of self-replicating molecules. The formation of life.
          Only then evolution starts.

        • adam

          Strawman

          I dont hope for any theory.
          I mearly use what is there.
          No FAITH needed.

          I dont philosophize my life, I engineer it like everyone else does, I examine reality and give it my best shot every day.

          Science makes sense, things working according to science. Science is predictive.

          I have no certainty
          And I already understand my creators, they are still alive and we love each other dearly. So I have no need to seek out my parents.

          It is human nature to try and understand the Reality in which we all share and find pattern that help us survive. Mistakes in this understanding leads to superstitions and religion.

          There is a harmony between faith and science and that is to use science to determine what part of it is real and what part imagined lest we be deceived by it like people throughout history have been deceived into committing all kinds of atrocities in it’s name.

        • MNb

          “You hope for a completed theory to support the Big Bang on which hinges the theory of evolution.”
          So you are not only ignorant, but also stupid. Evolution Theory does not hinge on the Big Bang. For all you care your god could have poofed an expanding universe into existence and Evolution Theory still would be correct. See, evolution started about 10 billion of years after the Big Bang.

          “The dogmatic belief system”
          Yup, definitely stupid and probably deliberately so, because this already has been explained to you – notably on a site you linked to yourself, as I have pointed out several times now.
          The Big Bang has been indirectly observed. Evolution is a scientific concept that correctly describes all kinds of empirical data. There is no dogma here, simply because the theories involved are continuously improved when new empirical data arrive. That’s the exact opposite of dogma. It’s not a belief system either, exactly because it’s founded on empirical data and logic, not on faith.
          You could as well say that me maintaining being born from my mother iso found in a cauliflower is a dogmatic belief system. It makes even less sense.

          “It is human nature to seek our creation / creator.”
          Granted. It’s also human nature to assume that the Earth is flat. I just looked outside of the window and sure enough my surroundings are as flat as a pancake.

          “I believe that there is harmony between faith and science.”
          That cannot be excluded a priori, but your faith has induced you to write a lot of nonsense about science already and you’re far from the first. Moreover this does not make clear at all why your particular brand of faith should be the correct one.

          “The problem lies with the radicals on both sides of the isle.”
          There are no radicals within science. Either you accept the facts and the theories that describe them best or you don’t.

          “Instead of working together”
          There is no reason to work together. Faith and hence religion has exactly zilch to offer to science. Now if you’re thinking of making the world a bit better, yes, I do work together with believers every single day. But that’s in real life, not on internet.

          “It would be more profitable for all of us to refrain from the nasty and vile comments and proceed with an adult conversation that can only have a positive outcome.”
          False dichotomy, resulting from confusing real life with virtual internet. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. Hence you have exactly zero influence on my daily life and I sincerely hope I do not influence yours either. I don’t want that responsibility. If I want adult conversations I’ll decide for myself. When I see fit I’ll get as childish and nasty as I like.
          But if you sincerely want to have an adult conversation with me then you should start seriously considering what I write and then address it. Thus far you have done a very poor job in this respect.
          So I ask you again:

          1. Do you accept the Big Bang as a fact?
          2. Do you accept speciation as a fact, as defined by evolutionary biologists?
          3. Do you accept the fossil record as a fact?
          4. Do you accept mutation as a fact?

          If your answer on any of these questions is no I’m going to mock you mercilessly, because it means you reject the reality you live in. If your answer on all questions is yes we can proceed. I’ll have an additional question (in fact I already asked it, but it takes a long time for me to get tired – exactly because my internet character is so nasty).

        • Scott Ratzloff

          🙂

        • adam

          1. Do you accept the Big Bang as a fact?
          2. Do you accept speciation as a fact, as defined by evolutionary biologists?
          3. Do you accept the fossil record as a fact?
          4. Do you accept mutation as a fact?

        • MNb

          Ah, again a typical civic reaction from you. And of course, dishonest as you are, you have not answered the four questions just underneath.

        • 90Lew90

          Hadn’t heard of him. Terrence Bean has more hair than me too, but I see his gay rights activism was already well underway when I was four years old.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I am sure many things were well underway.

    • My thoughts: no one cares what Darwin thought. That’s ancient history. You want to understand evolution? Ignore Darwin and read a modern textbook.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        and in a hundred fifty years from now those same textbooks will be ancient history as well. Then what? 🙂

        • Kodie

          Your book is thousands of years out of date.

        • Kodie

          Your basic criticism is that science isn’t the miraculous crystal ball that you want it to be. Humans are animals and economics is real, and religion actively stunts potential progress in the sciences. So do you want to know, stop getting in the way, and be patient, and you still won’t know anything, but that’s because as far as I can tell, you’re allergic to reading. We’re still bound by the laws of nature about making scientific discoveries and progress and refining what we already know so that it’s as current as possible. So time marches on and we learn new things all the time – that’s your reason for resisting it?

        • Rudy R

          I think Scott’s premise is that atheists have unfounded faith in science like theists have unfounded faith in god. Such a tired ,old argument that has been refuted to the upteenth degree.

        • Kodie

          Then he should shut down his computer and give it to someone who would appreciate it. Why upgrade your cell phone if it’s going to be obsolete in less than 5 years? Why bathe if you’re just going to get stinky again?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That’s it Kodie….keep spitin’ out the wisdom…..I will give you this….you know how to turn a phrase quite nicely! 😉

        • Kodie

          That’s a summary of your rationale in resisting information that could be useful or at least interesting for you to learn. You don’t know a damn thing – you think evolution started directly as a result of the big bang within a short period of time. Obviously you’re afraid if you learn something it will turn out to be not true, so you turn to myth and cling to it for dear life, and you listen to others who don’t know a damn thing – and how much money have you paid them so far?

        • Greg G.

          Theists equivocate the two meanings for faith but that denigrates the meaning of faith that they revere. Our “faith” is science is founded on its success but we are willing to toss it if something better came along. Something better than religion came along but theists still cling to it because of faith.

        • MR

          Science adjusts its views based on what’s observed

          Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.

          —Tim Minchin

        • MNb

          “that denigrates the meaning of faith that they revere.”
          That’s why I think my relatively unschooled female counterpart more clever than any apologist that has showed up here. Yesterday I was daydreaming a bit. She asked me what I was thinking. I answered “I was wondering if electro-magnetic fields actually exist”. She immediately lost interest. She has pure faith.

        • Greg G.

          I get that, too. I don’t know how many times I have been on the verge of solving dark matter or world peace when my wife asks me what I’m thinking. I wish I could just say, “you, baby” without derailing my train of thought. If I try to explain it, she says “silly” and walks away.

        • MR

          I’m always asked, “What’s the matter?” To which I invariably reply, “Nothing’s the matter, this is how my face looks when I’m thinking.” Is thinking so rare anymore? And why does something always have to be “the matter!”

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, trying to equivocate the theist definition of the word “faith”–acceptance of dogma without evidence, versus the more universally accepted use of the term “faith”, that is, belief well-grounded in evidence, is just one more of the apologist’s underhanded tricks to confuse and mislead. And of course, they usually get mad when you call them on it.

        • adam

          And a definition of faith that he has been unable to demonstrate.

        • 90Lew90

          I think Bob was being a bit glib in saying that so I decided to do a simple experiment (see what I did there?). I picked up the four science texts that happen to be sitting around my desk and went to the index of each to see how many page references there are to Darwin. (It’s a leisurely Sunday morning and what can I say? I’ve got a book fetish.)

          The results were as follows:

          Genome: The Autobiography of a Species, by Matt Ridley. 13 page references.

          God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion, by Victor Stenger. 18 page references.

          The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing. 39 page references.

          The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being: Evolution and the Making of Us, by Alice Roberts. 10 page references.

          The oldest of those books is Ridley’s, which was published in 2000. Bob’s right to say no modern biologist is going to go running off to consult Origin of Species in the course of his work, but equally, no one working in any of the life sciences could work at all without a firm grasp of Darwinian principles. In that sense Darwinism remains current and crucial, not ancient history.

          In your ancient textbook however, there’s nothing of value except the literary merit of the King James Version. That’s as kind as I can be about the Bible.

        • My point was that no biologist ever says, “Well, that’s an interesting hypothesis, Higgenbotham, but you’d better check that with the Great Darwin to see if it holds water.”

          That was how Aristotle was treated, I hear. Darwin not.

        • 90Lew90

          I got your point and said as much in the paragraph second from last, I think. But I wasn’t about to let him run away with the idea that Darwin is irrelevant or thought his theory was fatally flawed, which is what’s suggested in the site he linked to.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Then in your bias you have refused to acknowledge the wisdom and life principles that are as true and valuable today as when they were first documented. But then….I was like that before ~ 1Cor.2:14 ~ “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

        • Rudy R

          When all debate points fail, the Christian typically resorts to quoting scripture and you are true to Christian form. You realize quoting scripture doesn’t prove your point on this blog, right?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I am very aware of that…from my perspective…it is applicable. All of you claim and /or vehemently deny that God does not exist and that He, His followers and His book are nothing more than silly stories based on ignorance and bigotry. By your own words and positions you have proven the first part of that verse ” The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him”.

        • Rudy R

          I don’t deny a God exists. My position is that there isn’t enough scientific evidence to make a positive claim a god exists. Also, I’ve studied Paul’s epistles and what the NT scholars have to say about it, and there isn’t any evidence that Paul’s writings were inspired by Jesus or god. Paul himself had said he believed in Jesus only by scripture and revelation.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I’ll bite…..what do you think revelation means? And could you please name the NT scholars you claim to have studied?

        • Rudy R

          I find your whole line of questioning insulting. What do I think revelation means? Is there any other definition as it relates to religion? You probably parse the definition of revelation like Christians parse the definition of faith.
          And CLAIM to have studied? Why would you assume that I didn’t study the NT? Because I’m not a Christian? And you probably confuse devotional study with historical-textual study, which most Christians tend do do

        • Kodie

          No, because there is no spirit of god. The natural person does not accept the fiction of god because it is human-invented myth and horseshit. Not mere folly – it has an oppressive effect on society and scientific discovery.

        • MR

          Magic mumbo-jumbo that innoculates him from having to question his own beliefs.

        • Kodie

          What this verse means if you believe the message is that the spirit of god is a serious thing, and those who mock it are the terrible ones. Nobody here has proven the first part of the verse, because first you’d have to show evidence for a spirit of god to accept. Secondly, Scott has never given his reasons for hating Allah.

        • MR

          And this Spirit of God, does it speak to you directly?

        • MNb

          “are nothing more than silly stories based on ignorance and bigotry”
          Correction: the idea that those stories are divinely inspired is based on ignorance and bigotry.

        • 90Lew90

          “You just don’t geddit.” Again.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          A theory as complex as the one you just posted?…ummmm ahhh naaa….what was that theory again? 🙂 Lol

        • 90Lew90

          “You just don’t geddit” is the very predictable and very boring answer Christians always resort to when they’ve got nothing else to bring to the table. And you’ve just done it. Yawn.

        • MR

          We’re supposed to believe that God so loved the world that he squirrels himself away and only reveals himself to the hearts of Christians, and then only certain Christians, because, apparently, some of them abuse and use the scripture for their own agenda, except that they all sit there and point at each other claiming the other groups are the ones using and abusing the scripture for their own agenda while they’re the only ones who truly understand.

          Is it any wonder we don’t get it? If God so loved the world, you’d think he’d reveal himself unambiguously to all; otherwise, he’s just being a shit.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Mr.Mr.- Lets start with this one and work our way down!

          We’re supposed to believe that God so loved the world that he squirrels himself away and only reveals himself to the hearts of Christians,

          I have witnessed many times in peoples lives (Christian and non-Christians) where God has manifested and gently and lovingly brought them through a crisis ( health – surviving cancer that cause the Dr’s and nurses to be dumbfounded ~ Family – turmoil and strife in the home that appears to be irreconcilable and is restored by the next day).
          I realize that there are those who will cry “coincidence”..but I will say this…there sure have been a lot of them in my life since 1997. 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          So, you’re a faith healer now?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          this pointed and trap laden question only proves that you are digging at the bottom of the barrel. Try again! 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          So, yes?

        • Kodie

          No you’ve noticed them more and attributed them to an external conscious force you call “god”. I’m also going to suspect that medical treatments have improved in the last 17 years.

          Science!

        • Scott Ratzloff

          With all due respect…you weren’t there..you didn’t know the circumstance nor the people involved. Could it be that you just refuse to acknowledge something that you can’t quantify, label and stick in a jar? Merry Christmas!

        • Kodie

          You’ve got to bring real evidence to the table. All we have are your personal anecdotes and no good reason to think it’s anything other than your denial of reality and resistance to learning about the real world and statistical probabilities in it.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          arent theories built on observations

        • Kodie

          Hypotheses are formed on observation – theories are built on testing.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          so it all comes down to parameters of the testing. Can these be manipulated?

        • Pofarmer

          Not in a well run experiment. That’s kind of the point.

        • Kodie

          You don’t know what the scientific method is? And you distrust science? Shocking.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The cancer case occurred earlier this year. One of many that Atheists refuse to acknowledge.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you tell us the whole story? Are we supposed to go ooh awww! because your friend survived cancer last January or February? We don’t know the details and for some reason you don’t see fit to share them when it’s pertinent.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          quite frankly I don’t see the point. You have already displayed a propensity to degrade. I understand why you guys have little if no diversity in thought. With the small percentage of the population in America who claim to be died in the wool atheists it makes sense that you would need a safe and secure website in which to encourage each other with your intractable positions. And before you respond that I hold to intractable faith positions as well….that has already been proved false as I have already stayed on this site much longer than most would have.

        • Pofarmer

          You’re logical skills really suck, which explains why you believe in faith healing. No one here is intractable. All we require is evidence that meets a reasonable standard.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you guys are truly amazing…I NEVER STATED that I believed in ‘Faith healing”. God doesn’t need someone to smack someone else on the forehead. He can heal without our intervention. This is what I was referring to. I was witness to an event that in my mind could only be from the “Intelligent Designer”

        • Pofarmer

          Awesome, put it before a medical advisory board. Get it certified. Show that it is outside of natural remmission or cure rates. Wait, what, there are natural remmission rates? Well, yes, scientists even think a signifigant amount of Breast cancers might spontaneously remit except we”re finding them sooner and sooner.

        • MNb

          “He can heal without our intervention.”
          Evidence?
          How does he do it?
          Which means does he use?
          Which procedures does he follow?

          Without answers on these questions your statement is meaningless.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The standards appear to change from poster to poster depending on the mood that they may in. Why don’t you answer my question. Just humor me. What emperical evidence do you have that proves that there is no God. Seems to me that if you could answer that with more than a reasonable assurance…this argument just might pass into the oblivion that you claim awaits us all. And please don’t answer my question with a question. That tactic is really old.

        • wtfwjtd

          The same empirical evidence that proves there is no Leprechauns, or tooth fairies, or Santa Claus, for that matter. In the absence of evidence, the null hypothesis wins. Your god is no more real than Shiva, or Zeus, or Ra, or…. one of the other thousands of gods that man has invented.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          So you just rely on a man’s formula (prone to error….THE MAN) that you didn’t conceive and use all the time when presented with a legitimate question that has already been resolved in your mind….of course that has to be accompanied by the usual condescending statements. My guess is that it makes you feel superior….maybe you have a need in that department. 🙂

        • wtfwjtd

          Stating that the null hypothesis wins in the absence of evidence isn’t condescending, its simply stating the way we live our lives. Sorry if it offends you to be told that you can’t present any evidence to differentiate your god from the thousands of other gods out there that man has invented and worshiped over the centuries. By all means, please, prove me wrong, and publicly make a fool of me by presenting such evidence.

        • Kodie

          Religions are invented by man, books like bibles are written by man, so you want to fight or what? Your story is manmade fiction, prone to the errors of man, fixated on the prejudices and fallacies of man, appealing to the greed of man. How do you reject Allah? What goes through your mind when someone asks you to provide evidence that there is no “Allah”?

          If it is a legitimate question, you answer it first.

        • Kodie

          No credible evidence for god, plenty of credible evidence for myth and plenty of study on how humans are easily persuaded – it’s called a degree in marketing.

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, you’re formulating it wrong. It’s not that there is “Emperical evidence of no God.” The problem is, there isn’t any empirical evidence that points to a God, none. Even the best religious philosophers, aka William Lane Craig, Posit a God outside of space and time and our knowledge. Well, if we can’t detect it, then isn’t it safe to assume it doesn’t exist? If prayer from someone else has no effect? If Causally there is no mechanism? Then what is the safe assumption? Why assume there is something when there is no evidence. Not even proof, evidence. So, what I suggest, is to design an experiment to “find” God, or at least hard evidence of God, and then you will at least have a methodology in place. Until that point, all you have is wishful thinking and poorly thought out “reasoning.”

        • And here you are, the newcomer, rendering your analysis? You’re going to critique us and all our problems? Pardon me if I’m not sufficiently grateful.

          You’ve given us little to work with. Point out the problems in a blog post and let’s have a discussion.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Discussing usually refers to an exchange or ideas and not what goes on here.Your boys can’t wait to jump all over me even to the point that they don’t read my post entirely, take things out of context and make unfounded accusations.

          One more time: What evidence do you have that proves that there is no God and that he didn’t play a part in the formulation of our environment?

        • One more time: I have no proof that God doesn’t exist. One more time: the burden of proof is yours.

          You gonna shirk your burden of proof? That makes baby Jesus cry.

          As for jumping all over you, give me something solid and we can discuss it.

        • Kodie

          Scott, again you’re thinking about things very wrong. I have not been convinced that there is any evidence that there is a god. What should I do, lie?

        • Kodie

          Quite frankly we would challenge you which is what we’d do to anyone who came here with malarkey. Most Christians stay long beyond their welcome saying mostly nothing or the same things over and over again, typically evasive, dishonest, hard of reading comprehension, and employing fallacy after fallacy, judgment after judgment. You’re not saying anything original, what we’d really like it is if you stop beating around the bush. Come the fuck out with it already.

        • MNb

          Pssst – spontaneous recovery of cancer happens. In fact that’s a safer bet than visiting Lourdes and hoping for a miracle.

        • wtfwjtd

          Sorry to disappoint you, but–I’m an atheist, and I acknowledge that people are diagnosed with cancer all the time. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
          People are also cured of cancer, some people’s cancer doesn’t kill them immediately, some cases go into remission, and I’m sure there are plenty of mis-diagnosed cases out there too.
          And, more times than not, unfortunately, people diagnosed with cancer eventually die from it. Are you saying they didn’t pray hard enough, or in just the right way? Or maybe they didn’t know just the right words to say so the Christian god could understand them?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          no…those are your words…not mine.

        • Kodie

          I guess you are unfamiliar with what an exchange of ideas entails.

        • MNb

          Exchange of ideas according to Scott: “I talk, you accept what I say. Any objection or contradiction is uncivil.”

        • MNb

          Your words were

          “The cancer case occurred earlier this year. One of many that Atheists refuse to acknowledge.”
          and were wrong as so often. Atheists do recognize spontaneous healing of cancer.

          http://discovermagazine.com/2007/sep/the-body-can-stave-off-terminal-cancer-sometimes

          Atheists also recognize that “goddiddid” is a non-sequitur. Typically you didn’t explain at all why anyone should jump to the conclusion “god”.

        • Pofarmer

          So, what are your words?

        • MNb

          Have you also witnessed the many times in peoples live where god has not manifested and not gently and lovingly brought them through a crisis? Like this one?

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

          “It’s mystery and I have faith” is rather lame here, don’t you think? Or do you lack the empathy to recognize the problem?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          We have free will and a heart(seat of emotions) that can be very dark. If indeed we have been in the midst of evolution…why haven’t we evolved socially emotionally and psychologically? If we are going to blame God for all of the tragedy that befalls mankind…then we must thank Him for all of the great, good and positive events that come our way as well. 🙂

        • wtfwjtd

          “If we are going to blame God for all of the tragedy that befalls mankind…”

          So, you are admitting then that your god is powerless to relieve most suffering in the world? Or are you saying that he can, but he chooses not to?

        • Kodie

          why haven’t we evolved socially emotionally and psychologically?

          What do you mean by this? Why haven’t Christians intuited by their deity these qualities? OH THAT”S EXPLAINED BY THE MYTH OF “ORIGINAL SIN”.

        • Pofarmer

          We have evolved emotionally and psychologically and societally unless you are completely ignorant of history.

        • We’re so-so animals. Evolution has no problem explaining this … and it holds itself to high standards of evidence. Religion pulls “original sin” out of its ass. No evidence needed, apparently.

          Evolution wins.

          If we are going to blame God for all of the tragedy that befalls mankind…

          So you’re happy to thank God for good things as well as blame him for bad things? That’s surprising. Most Christians seem to want to give him a pass.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Again free will.. we have a choice to do good or evil in this world. I am sure this is one thing that we can agree on. By the way…I wasn’t the one who brought this up…it was the atheist MNb. Which I find surprising.

        • Pofarmer

          Ueah, actually, Sam Harris disagrees with that stAtement, some philosophers argue their is nothing like truly free will. Because you can’t control the situation you are born into, or nmixh else after that. You can only react to the situations you find yourself in. Hmmmm, I may he convinving myself. So, shit, we can’t easily agree on that, either. You see, free will is kind of another useless concept.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          so we are pawns in our environment….unable to change our destiny. Sounds like someone is in control to me. Pick any one of the 100 plus gods that you admire.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          We are capable to change our destiny – hence god, who gave us free will.
          We are not capable to change our destiny – your god is in control.
          Excellent flawed logic, Scott.

        • Kodie

          Or you’re just the kind of animal you are. There aren’t so many choices you can make. Someone puts a bowl of candy on the table and you’re just going to have one piece, right?

          Dinner’s on the table, but you’re just going to get up and leave, right? It’s Monday morning and the alarm clock is going to ring in a few minutes, you’re just going to will yourself not to hear it, right? You’re going to miss work because you have free will. You’re going to drive on the left side of the street because you feel English today. You want to bark like a dog when you answer the phone? Go ahead. When you answer this post with a stupid and insulting joke, do you feel like you have a choice in the matter or do you feel compelled by your higher power?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You have a different standard that you judge yourself by. It is obvious that there is no territory that is off limits to you….but you set restrictions on mine. Very progressive.

        • Kodie

          I don’t have any idea what you mean.

        • Pofarmer

          You should really get out more.

        • Whatever. You challenged evolution. I explained that so-so beings are just what we’d expect. And (bonus!) it did it with evidence.

          Top that.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I bow to your obvious superior intellect. Tell me Robert….do you agree with the science of eugenics?

        • Show me a modern scientific consensus, and I’ll accept it.

          Allow me to burst your bubble: there is no scientific consensus about killing unfit people. That’s politics, not science.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That consensus would be next to impossible to determine as it might have a negative blow back on the careers of those who sided with it. Also…..no bubble for you to burst. Just a question.

          Do you believe that morality plays a big part in science?

        • What’s hard? Is it difficult to figure out that the Big Bang or evolution are part of the scientific consensus? If you can’t figure out the scientific consensus, then don’t bring it up.

          I have no interesting opinion on morality in science.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I was speaking of Eugenics not BB or Evolution. You claim to have no interesting opinion on morality in science. That statement right there negates that claim. It begs the question: if you have no opinion regarding morality in science then doesn’t that leave an open door for immorality to influence scientific practice? We have seen with the Eugenics experiments of the 1920’s how it opened the door to Nazi Germany’s horrific experiments in the 30’s and early 40’s. I am certain that we would all agree as to the monstrous use of science during that dark period of history.

          Do you believe that it is the responsibility of the scientific community to ensure the public that they are safe from the criminal / immoral use of technology? Or do you believe that morality is nebulous and best suited to be regulated by the individual scientist?

        • 90Lew90

          Ever hear of a board of ethics?

          http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/

          http://www.esf.org/fileadmin/Public_documents/Publications/Code_Conduct_ResearchIntegrity.pdf

          As Bob said, eugenics is not science. Striking, isn’t it, that some people have gone out of their way to blame Darwin and Nietzsche for the Second World War. It’s almost as though they don’t want to take a look at themselves.

        • MNb

          Problems with reading comprehension? BobS didn’t write he he had no opinion regarding morality in science. He wrote that didn’t have an INTERESTING opinion regarding morality in science.

        • I was speaking of Eugenics not BB or Evolution.

          And you said that there’s no consensus in favor of eugenics. So I guess there’s nothing to talk about there.

          We have seen with the Eugenics experiments of the 1920’s how it opened the door to Nazi Germany’s horrific experiments

          Eugenics is policy, not science.

        • Kodie

          That’s kind of random, why would you ask a question like that unless you were a brainwashed creationist fool?

        • Greg K.

          “I bow to your obvious superior intellect”

          I have met Bob, and I have been around him several times, despite how smart he is, when I was around him he never acted with superior intellect, quite the opposite. He definitely is a critical thinker.

          Bob said, “Whatever. You challenged evolution. I explained that so-so beings are just what we’d expect. And (bonus!) it did it with evidence.”

          I don’t see how disagreeing with someone, and stating why is acting with superior intellect? To me that sounds like a reasonable person.

        • MNb

          Again … where was Elisabeth Fritzl’s free will was during the 24 years she lived in her basement and during all the times she was raped by her father? What “choice to do good or evil in this world” (which for 24 years consisted of just a basement) did she have?
          It seems as if you don’t care. You rather defend her father – the offender. Good christian job, Scott.

        • Kodie

          Free will is more of an excuse to explain how things can still be the way they are in a god’s world. It’s really just more fiction. You have this blank slate of a god, and you can make up anything you want. Someone asks you a question and you can say “god gave us free will, that’s why”. It’s not really a well thought out or thorough explanation for anything and it doesn’t provide evidence of god’s existence whatsoever.

        • MNb

          “We have free will”
          Could you explain where Elisabeth Fritzl’s free will was during the 24 years she lived in her basement and during all the times she was raped by her father?

          “If we are going to blame God for all of the tragedy that befalls mankind.”
          That’s the point, simpleton. I don’t blame your god or any other for the suffering of Elisabeth Fritzl. There is no one to blame. There is no god.
          However YOU do claim there is a god. So every single time you thank him “for all of the great, good and positive events” YOU should blame him for the suffering of Elisabeth Fritzl. But you don’t, which shows that as a christian you lack empathy.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Do all of you graduate from the same Atheist University( your thought process and use of sub-standard language appears to have all things in common). You attempt to begin a point then digress into childish name calling. Maybe you are right. Most of you on this site don’t appear to have evolved much past the Neanderthal period…..yes… very nice suborbital ridges. 🙂

        • Kodie

          Do all of you graduate from the same Atheist University( your thought process and use of sub-standard language appears to have all things in common). You attempt to begin a point then digress into childish name calling. Maybe you are right. Most of you on this site don’t appear to have evolved much past the Neanderthal period…..yes… very nice suborbital ridges. 🙂

          Projecting again!!!! Irrelevant response…. AGAIN! Terrible sense of humor… check! Hypocrisy there crystal clear. You have anything to talk about or is this it for you? MNb tries to teach you something, and you avoid confronting it – typical evasive Christian.

        • MNb

          “Then digress into childish name calling”
          Where in my previous comment did I digress into childish name calling? Point it out or you have shown what you are: another liar for Jesus.
          Oh wait – I called you a simpleton. But that was not name calling. That was a conclusion derived from what you wrote yourself. I’m happy to repeat it:

          “If we are going to blame God for all of the tragedy that befalls mankind.”
          That’s the point. I don’t blame your god or any other for the suffering of Elisabeth Fritzl. There is no one to blame. There is no god. You thought you brought up something to strengthen your free will defense, but actually increased the Problem of Evil. If you had made a better use of your brains you would have realized that. So my conclusion was that you’re a simpleton.
          Btw comparing me with a Neanderthal doesn’t offend me in the least. According to the latest scientific results they were intelligent folks.

        • MR

          Scott, Scott—How precious. God strikes people down with cancer just so he can cure them of it. A bit like the guy who beats his wife then buys her a nice dinner to make up for it, don’t you think?

          HEY, JESUS! HOW ABOUT YOU NOT GIVE ME CANCER IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU FUCKIN’ PRICK!

          And I suppose doctors and hospitals had nothing to do with it, right? As I like to say, they do all the work and God gets all the praise. Praise your doctor, not some imaginary being.

          And then there’s my grandmother who died of cancer, “But, it was her time to go.” And my dear friends who are dedicated to the church, yet she has already lost an arm to the cancer and is so drugged up anymore she doesn’t know what’s going on around her half the time, and he’s going to be left to raise those two teenage girls on his own, “But,” you know, “we can’t question God’s ways,” or worse, “Well, they didn’t believe hard enough.” Fuck that.

          For every success story there’s a shitload of tragedies, and we get to listen to assholes like you gloat about all the success stories they’ve heard about while carefully ignoring all the people who just up and died. Like their stories don’t matter. I call it the Vegas effect: Everybody tells you how much they won in Vegas, but nobody tells you how much they lost.

          I’ll let you in on a big secret, Scott: God doesn’t help anyone because he doesn’t exist.

          Families, care, love, communities, those are the things that you’re mistaking for God.

          Doctors, hospitals, science, medicine, those are the things that do the real work.

          Thanks, but you can keep your fairy tales.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Vegas Effect?” What a perfect description, that’s a keeper.

        • MR

          Yeah, it was a natural for me to make that connection. Vegas is my hometown. I’ve observed phenomenon for years.

        • And a bonus for Scott is that following the evidence is so much easier. There’s no God to clean up after or apologize for or explain away (like the drunken uncle at Thanksgiving). You just follow the evidence–nice.

        • old_303

          Do you guys just get on here so you can “pat each other on the back” haha. I find it worrisome that several of you are so brazen about how you can choose to view God.

        • 90Lew90

          Don’t you worry your little head. If your god existed (which it doesn’t), I think people would be entitled to call it an appalling shit.

        • old_303

          Like I said to Kodie, lets see your best cards please

        • 90Lew90

          I’m not sure what you’re asking of me.

        • MNb

          We don’t need to show our best cards to maintain that if your god existed he’s a piece of shit indeed. I mean, you maintain that the world – so including Homo Sapiens – is designed. Well, he’s a shitty designer.

          http://io9.com/the-most-unfortunate-design-flaws-in-the-human-body-1518242787

        • old_303

          What design is crappy? Are you referring to the human eye?

        • MNb

          Are you capable of clicking your mouse? I gave you a link with many examples just above.

        • old_303

          What’s designed so badly?

        • MNb

          No my dear, I didn’t choose how to view god. I use(d) my brains and came to a conclusion. You should try it as well.

        • old_303

          Correct you did use your brains but your heart got in the way because it couldn’t stomach having someone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with the life you were given.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          I don’t know about goofs like you, but my heart just pumps blood and doesn’t produce thoughts. So it never got into the way.

          “having someone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with the life you were given”
          Wrong again. All my life I have collected reliable and credible people with the explicit goal to tell me so. Guess what? Many of them are believers. They know though that “god wants you to” doesn’t impress me by any means.
          Wow – and you are asking for a sophisticated discussion after this silly howler? My irony meter just has exploded.

        • Kodie

          I find it worrisome that you find it worrisome that some people are not frightened of what a fictional character might do to us.

        • old_303

          What’s your best proof that God doesn’t exist? Best proof let’s see your cards.

        • Kodie

          I am not convinced by your or any other Christian’s pathetic arguments or lame evidence of “the bible”, so how can I believe in god? Now you.

        • old_303

          Kodie,
          First of all I would advise you to start in a much easier spot – nature. For instance, miracles are happening every moment as a baby is formed in the mothers womb. So, that’s just the product of blind possibilities? Even simpler, if it wasn’t for blood clotting you wouldn’t be here.

        • Kodie

          I would advise you to do more than that. If you think “nature” is wow awesome unbelievable miracle!!!! you’re an idiot. Read a goddamned book once in a while, we know how babies are made, and we know how blood clots. If blood didn’t clot and I wasn’t here, so what? What is your point? You don’t have one. Just another pathetic pile of garbage meant to snag some uneducated moron with wishful thinking.

        • old_303

          My point is that your at the mercy of evolution (your god/faith). If that’s what you believe than one must follow the thinking all the way through. In other words, there would be no meaning in life, no purpose beyond “survival of the fittest”, and when you die its :game over, i.e. nothing to live for and no hope. If nature is designed (which it clearly is) than obviously God exists which would reverse all those things I just posited about the Darwinian god

        • Kodie

          You’re pretty delusional, obviously arrogant, frightened like a child, uneducated, and provide nothing in the way of evidence for your beliefs. Your faith is based on humans, humans that lie to you, your position is false because everything you think about, i.e. “Darwinian god”? Evolution is a faith/god?????, is full of horseshit and other lies your church makes you believe in order to maintain your allegiance. How much money have you paid them? I’m not conflicted over ultimate meaninglessness, or purposelessness. I have meaning and I have hope, it’s just finite. You’re the greedy one who wants more than life is, so you are vulnerable to the delusions that there is any more than this.

        • old_303

          What would it take for you to believe in God? What would he or she have to do for you to believe? What would be your absolute criteria?

        • Kodie

          You got to the bottom of your barrel so soon?

        • old_303

          Well I would like to continue this banter but in a more sophisticated manner. You’re more interested in caricatures and insults than putting together even a nominal polemic. I again, what would it take for you to believe – what would God have to do?

        • Kodie

          Wow what a vocabulary. You’re not starting this banter in a sophisticated manner, so how would you continue? Sorry you are such a stereotype, but your arguments are pathetic. Why is it of interest to you what “god” would have to do? God can’t do anything. You can do even less! How do you take that?

        • MNb

          “What would it take for you to believe in God?”
          You’re familiar with natural disasters, are you? Like the Japanese tsunami of several years ago? Killing off random and innocent people? A warning in the form of a collective nightmare say a week before (which doesn’t affect free will) would made me convert, if this happened on a statistically significant base.
          However that would not make me convert to christianity though. It takes a little more for this. Find me a lost tribe, ie some folks who never had contact with western civilization. If that tribe has a story similar to the Gospels, with all the four core elements: the messias claimant, the preaching, the death by torture (not a crucifixion as that’s a Roman specialty) and the Resurrection then I’m convinced. Mutatis mutandis for every single other religion. Admit it – if Jesus could pull off the trick once he could do it twice as well.
          Isn’t it remarkable that that never happened?

        • old_303

          What never happened?

        • old_303

          Your failing to understand what happened during the atonement – this was when all sin debt was paid in full

        • adam

          So NOTHING needs to be done by any of us, atheist or theists alike.

          We are all sin free and going to heaven without further acts or thoughts on the matter.

        • old_303

          wrong Christ’s offers us this “receipt” through his life, death and resurrection to receive the forgiveness of “sin debt” all he asks in return is that you humbly seek him and honor him with your life leaning and trusting in him alone each step of the way – we don’t earn salvation it’s not “what would Jesus do” but rather “what has Jesus done”

        • Kodie

          Can I ask you why you think this is true?

        • old_303

          are you sincere or are you just looking for something else to trash?

        • Kodie

          I don’t want to trash anyone.

        • adam

          So it was NOT an atonement but a DEMAND for mindless SLAVERY…

          So it really is NOT about what Jesus has done, but what his SLAVES MUST do.

          What a DECEPTION.

        • Pofarmer

          And yet, this Sin Debt was paid, and, well, nothing happened. Funny that. Of course, that’s only one interpretation of it.

        • MNb

          “My point is that your at the mercy of evolution”
          Meaningless. This makes as little sense as saying that you’re at the mercy of gravity or electricity.

          “If nature is designed (which it clearly is) than obviously God exists”
          First of all “which it clearly is” is just a product of your limited imagination. In the second place it’s not obvious at all. I can maintain that snowflakes show design. Does your god create every single one of them before they fall down?

        • old_303

          Hey at least my theory isn’t “a big bang, I.e I giant ass fart in space, brought all matter into existence” . Nice god there , a giant ass fart called “the big bang”

        • Kodie

          How do you know god didn’t fart the universe into existence? The only giant ass here is you.

        • old_303

          What do you think the “big bang” is? Our book says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” your “holy book” says that a giant ass fart brought everything into existence

        • Kodie

          We don’t have a holy book, we just have non-fiction.

        • old_303

          Which constitutes your “holy” writings

        • Kodie

          It’s how we learn about real things.

        • adam

          Sounds like exactly what your theory is, and it makes sense as well, Christians like yourself are just gas fart worshipers, which is why they spew out their foul smelling fear mongering.

          Watch out or ‘god’ will fart you into eternal smell unless you LOVE the odor of the Prime Mover Fart (PMF TM*)

        • old_303

          Your assfart evolutionist god is pure and simple a foolish faith demanding joke that has lead to the most cruelty in bistros

        • Kodie

          You went from nonsense to actual gibberish. Please start knowing what you’re talking about so we can carry on a reasonably intelligent conversation.

        • adam

          On the contrary, religious people often worry that life is meaningless and imagine that it can only be redeemed by the promise of eternal happiness beyond the grave. Atheists tend to be quite sure that life is precious. Life is imbued with meaning by being really and fully lived.
          Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now; they need not last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to find this fear of meaninglessness … well … meaningless. Sam Harris

          There is no Darwinian ‘god’ for atheism, we dont believe in deity

          athe·ism noun ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəma : a disbelief in the existence of deity

          re bible ‘god’

        • old_303

          Your deity is yourself you brick

        • adam

          Nope, I dont believe in deity.

        • Kodie

          How do you figure, you hasshole.

        • Pofarmer

          If you can demonstrate some purpose in the Universe, that would be awesome. Might I suggest you get the complete series of “through the Wormhole” and watch it.

          And no, nature is not “clearly designed” far from it. So, what hope does an ape have? A dog? Does it really take hope in an afterlife to want to live?

        • old_303

          they’re not created in God’s image only human beings are but to answer your question humans are the only created beings that can be redeemed in terms of salvation but nature (that which is apart from man) will be redeemed in the end as well. So with man its known as “the gospel on the ground” and with nature its known as “the gospel of the air”

        • Pofarmer

          If man is created in Gods image, why do we look so much like everything else on the planet?

        • MNb

          “miracles are happening every moment as a baby is formed in the mothers womb”
          This makes as little sense as saying that me sitting on a chair iso falling through it is a miracle.

        • adam

          Nope, sorry YOUR ‘god’ doesnt take mud and breathe life into it anymore.

          Evolution is the way that babies are formed in the mothers womb, you can watch their progress and actually see them evolve from two cells to a complete being, no MAGIC miracles involved.

          And YOU do realize that not everyone’s blood clots, evolution or just an inept and CRUEL ‘god’?

        • old_303

          So God has to make everything be peachy for his approval rating to go up?

        • MNb

          Best: assuming that your god is an immaterial entitiy he isn’t capable of interacting with our material reality by definition, because all means and procedures to do so are also material.
          Second best: theologians and apologists don’t have a reliable and testable method to determine who is right and who is wrong when they disagree about god.

        • adam

          Which ‘god’? there are THOUSANDS.

          Are you CLAIMING that they all exist?

        • We discuss things in the open so that errors are also out in the open. Any thoughtful Christians are welcome to point out corrections.

          Is it brazen to say that the evidence supporting the “God exists” claim is paltry? So be it.

        • 90Lew90
        • Father Jack is about the scariest drunk uncle I could imagine.

        • 90Lew90

          Can you believe the Irish national broadcaster, RTE, banned that show?

        • I hadn’t heard that. I’m a huge fan of the show.

          So they were broadcast elsewhere, but just not in Ireland? Are they sacrilegious or something?

        • 90Lew90

          First RTE refused to commission it, so Channel 4 (a UK channel) picked it up. It absolutely skyrocketed in popularity in the UK and then RTE refused for a long time to run it. Individual priests and bishops had complained. It only got run on Ireland’s second channel, Network 2, when it took on cult status. There was a lot of back-peddling and the writers were magnanimous about it, but it’s as plain as day that it was rejected as blasphemous. RTE remains timid, as does much of the Irish media when it comes to the church. The Defamation Act 2009 has a clause outlawing blasphemy. It may not look like it on the ground, but the church still has the establishment in Ireland over a barrel.

        • old_303

          So, how did you get here – evolution. Good thing evolution is so loving that it made sure you got here and were able to exist.

        • 90Lew90

          Wonderful, isn’t it.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA! Another goof who doesn’t get what evolution means but doesn’t let that prevent him/her to spout his/her nonsense.

        • old_303

          ‘I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially the extent to which it’s been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity that it has.’

          – Malcolm Muggeridge, well-known British journalist and philosopher—Pascal Lectures, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

        • MNb

          Ah, Malcolm Muggeridge – well-known goof too who understands zilch about Evolution Theory. Well, like attracts like, so I’m not surprised you quote him.

        • Kodie

          Sock puppet?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Ahhh..that’s it! Sock puppet….I can see the family resemblance now! 🙂

        • old_303

          Did you both find a mirror or something?

        • Rudy R

          I never understood this Christian need for love. Don’t they get enough love from real, physical people in their lives?

        • Kodie

          Who has a cult of mankind, us or them?

        • old_303

          hmmmmmm, lets think about this
          You – you worship man because Darwinism is humanistic/naturalistic
          Me – I worship the Christian God (which is not worshiping self so its not a “cult of mankind”)

        • Kodie

          You are worshiping yourself – you think this is all about you, eternally, and purposefully, or else you fall apart. I don’t worship any man or any thing. We’re all in this together, alone. You have a delusional perception of what evolution is and how atheists or other people regard it, no doubt brainwashed into your uneducated childish loose screw self-centered brain by the people more interested in you staying too stupid and scared to leave. When you try to put me down, I think, aww that’s so adorable that you think you know shit. But you don’t.

        • old_303

          So, you’re calling some of the greatest geniuses in history “stupid” and “childish” because they are Christian?

        • Kodie

          I thought I was just talking to you, you’re far from any great genius, so I don’t even know who you mean because you’re so far, you wouldn’t recognize genius. The last guy (well, still current) called one of the greatest living geniuses “bitter and angry” as if this discredits someone’s thoughts and contributions.

          He’s pretty stupid, but I’d have to say you’re quickly very evidently stupider.

        • old_303

          that’s not what I’m saying obviously by using the word “some” – meaning other than myself! I’m not saying I am a genius but that there have been geniuses who were Christian and that’s what I’m bringing to the fore – you think people like Kepler, Boyle, Newton, Capernacus, or a more recent example would be Francis Collins or somewhat later but still pretty recent, Lionel Luckhoo

        • Kodie

          It’s that your concept of evolution and your concept of atheism bear no resemblance to reality. Your arguments are emotional and targeted toward believers and what believers worry about. Christianity makes you think you have a disease that you don’t have, and play on your feelings to offer you the cure for that imaginary disease – you have it but it’s not very contagious unless you have a weak critical thinking system.

          I didn’t say anything about anyone else’s personal beliefs or how they manifest or compartmentalize them or just nominally believe to steer clear of heresy charges. But you’re uneducated and proud of it, so I don’t know why you brought up geniuses.

        • MNb

          Psssst …. Francis Collins is a Darwinist. Rather peculiar that you accuse him of worshipping man as he is also a christian. You are incoherent.

        • MNb

          Wrong. I don’t worship man. Saying that Darwinism leads to worshipping man is a non-sequitur.

        • old_303

          Your failing to understand that pure love has to come from a pure source, i.e. God. Love (in the Darwinian sense) cannot bear the weight of responsibility – it fails to recognize that love is a moral component and objective moral values (like love) must come from a completely objective source – God. Besides God doesn’t negate human love but rather upholds it especially in the greatest commandments (1) you shall love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and (2) love your neighbor as yourself. William Lane Craig has done extensive work on this very subject.

        • Kodie

          Wow, you don’t question what you hear at church at all, do you? You’re spouting actual nonsense. Love is an emotion, and emotions are neural. That means it comes from your brain. There is no objective source of love, no objective source of love loves you, you are just greedy and delusional, you have an imaginary friend, and apparently gullible.

        • old_303

          If there is no objective source of love Kodie than how can you use the term at all? You have to understand that I’m following strict logic.
          1. There is a God
          2. This God is the Christian God
          3. The Bible is Gods word
          4. 1 Corinthians 13 defines love
          5. Therefore, love is defined by God
          So, according to logic you would have to disagree with the conclusion and then demonstrate which premis is incorrect. Your logic would follow this way.
          1. There is no God
          2. “truth” is defined by man
          3. love exists
          4. therefore, love is defined by man
          You see I would disagree with the conclusion here in your logic and find premis’s 2 and 1 to be wrong

        • Kodie

          Oh child.

          Start with premise 1. “There is a god.”

          Ok, you have to show your work. We cannot go any further until you show your work.

          2-5. You do not know how to form a logical statement AT ALL.

          Don’t even try to pretend you understand MY logic until you clear yours up first. You’re a liar if you keep inventing my thoughts for me instead of asking what they are.

        • old_303

          that’s cute which premise did you agree or disagree with? Do you believe there is a god or not?

        • Kodie

          What’s cute? That you think you can just list a bunch of fictional horseshit you believe dearly and that’s a logic statement? Or that you can simply state there’s a god with no evidence and make up shit as you go along, including my own thought processes?

          You are home-schooled, yes?

        • adam

          Do you believe there is a god or not?
          Which ‘god’?

          There are THOUSANDS.

        • 90Lew90

          “Strict logic”? Chuckle. There’s nothing even remotely resembling logic in that sequence of yours buddy. Nothing at all.

        • adam

          “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud “1Corinthians 13:4

          “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exodus 20:5In
          the logical form of Modus Tollens, the following is the conclusion drawn from the above passages:

          P1. IF God is love, THEN God is not jealous.

          P2. God IS jealous.

          C. Therefore God is NOT love.

        • old_303

          Your not understanding healthy jealousy – your only thinking in the negative

        • adam

          Then explain YOUR ‘healthy jealousy’ to us and demonstrate how this fits.

          “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Deut. 6:13-15

        • Kodie

          What is healthy about jealousy? What kind of jealousy is healthy? It just sounds like you’re making excuses for your abuser… “he doesn’t hit me that hard.”

        • adam

          Obviously from a history of abuse….

        • adam

          No I am not understanding healthy jealousy and how visiting the iniquity of the guilty onto the innocent is positive or healthy.

          Explain it to us.

        • wtfwjtd

          You calling jealousy that leads to homicide “healthy?” My, my, what a nasty little god you serve.

        • MNb

          “If there is no objective source of love Kodie than how can you use the term at all?”
          Simple – just by opening her mouth and producing the right sounds.

          “You see I would disagree”
          My compliment. You have largely correctly reproduced an atheist view. As such you have shown yourself how Kodie (and other atheists) can use the term “love”. What you find of it is irrelevant unless you provide some arguments.
          Of course I reject your point 1. There is no reason to assume that there is a god and love is not such a reason either. But still if I accepted your point 1 I would not convert to christianity. God’s love according to christianity is worse than the love of the most obnoxious stalker for his favourite moviestar.

        • adam

          re ‘pure love’

        • adam

          re “pure love”

          Logically speaking, the Bible proves that Yahweh is NOT love:

          “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8

          “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud “1Corinthians 13:4

          “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a
          jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on
          the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exodus 20:5In the logical form of Modus Tollens, the following is the conclusion drawn from the above passages:

          P1. IF God is love, THEN God is not jealous.

          P2. God IS jealous.

          C. Therefore God is NOT love.

          This conclusion is catastrophic for Christians, as it negates their entire philosophy of “God is Love.” God cannot be love, if God is jealous, but God IS jealous. Christians can attempt to whittle off parts the square “loving God ” to try and fit into the round “jealous God” and create one God, but according to their own scriptures, it does not work. Counter examples of “righteous jealousy” do not work either, because the Bible does not distinguish between jealousy and righteous jealousy. In fact, the above passage from Exodus 20, and others like it such as:

          “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Deut. 6:13-15does not portray a god in the sense of having “righteous jealousy” (i.e., merely being vigilant in maintaining something) but is a god who feels resentment,
          envy, and is suspicious, and is therefore, filled with “wrath, and threats” and is bent on destroying or punishing even those who are merely born to those who “hate” him. This too, is unjust and immoral, and similar to the idea of all of humanity being punished for the so-called “sins” of Adam and Eve. This is a “believe in me or feel my
          tortuous wrath” philosophy, and it is not “righteous” at all.

          http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/07/beliefs-habits-doubt-love-jealousy.html

          Pure FEAR

        • Rudy R

          I understand that love is an emotion that is the result of a strong affection for another person that arises from personal ties and doesn’t necessarily require an objective source as the causation. Love is no more a component of morality than fear, surprise, anger, sadness, joy, etc.

          Religions have a great way of inventing a disease and then providing the cure, and this “pure love” you speak of has no meaning or value, just like “sin”, outside a particular theology.

        • MR

          Well, you see, I’m not so emotionally crippled that I need to believe that some imaginary, loving entity brought me into existence. I get my love from my family and friends, from the kindness that my community and even strangers show me. I don’t need to pretend that my existence is an act of love. If I never existed, none of us would ever be the wiser. So what?

        • adam

          Loving?
          God?
          Kidding?

        • Rudy R

          God is not a mystery to a Christian when there’s a success story in their life, but he’s mysterious when there are tragedies.

        • old_303

          Really – ever heard of Joni Erickson Tada? How about Corrie Ten Boom who wrote “the hiding place”. Or “Night” by Elli Weizzel

        • Rudy R

          Yes. How are they germane to the discussion?

        • old_303

          God is nearer to those who suffer

        • 90Lew90

          I suppose when he did expose himself to people, he came “with a sword” to tear families apart. Lots of catholic priests seem to have taken that verse deeply to heart.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I do not believe in the Catholic church. Another error you guys make is categorizing all Christians as Catholics or at least using that system as a trump card. When a cogent argument is made you retreat to name calling and hyperbole. The burden of proof is on you! 🙂

        • 90Lew90

          I was just generalising about catholic priests. You don’t believe in the catholic church? That in itself is evidence of the ambiguity of Christianity. I’ve yet to see a cogent argument from you. Show me it. And what is it that I’m supposed to prove, exactly?

        • old_303

          There is far more corruption in public school systems and universities (sexual corruption I mean) than in the church by far

        • 90Lew90

          Then we should close all schools and get kids into church.

        • old_303

          Actually that would be far healthier than teaching kindergarteners sex education.

        • 90Lew90

          Hmm.

        • old_303

          Which eminates from a Darwinian perspective by the way

        • Kodie

          What is a darwinian perspective?

          You really don’t question anything you hear at church, do you.

        • 90Lew90

          What. Are. You talking about. Willis.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          ….what did I type that made you dismiss me more than you already have… from the very first post. You guys are good at dishin’ it out been when the tables are turned you cry foul and whine how you are insulted! Somebody call the Waambulence! 🙂

        • Kodie

          Hi “Scott Ratzloff,” does your grandpa know you’re using his picture to troll on the internet?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That is the first really humorous comment I have heard you make Kodie Right-Arrow. !! 🙂

        • Kodie

          As we’ve established, your sense of humor is terrible.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I was being serious. To which you will reply..:so was I” 🙂

        • Kodie

          You seem to be hard of reading comprehension. You posted a biblical verse that advertises “some people just don’t get it,” and you were called on it, it was explained to you in plain English (if English is not your first language, we will strive to help you understand) and then in the spirit of civil and mature discussion, you got hostile and wacky. Dishonest, while we’re at it.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Look at the verse again….it doesn’t state that they don’t get it…only that they refuse to receive it because they consider it foolish. From what I have gathered from the comments just about everyone associated with this site considers the Bible to be sub-standard literature. As far as hostile and wacky comments are concerned…if you take a good honest hard look….I think you will find that you are the leader of that pack! But I am sure you will respond to this in your usual manner.

        • MNb

          “From what I have gathered from the comments just about everyone associated with this site considers the Bible to be sub-standard literature.”
          You gathered the wrong stuff again. It’s OK with me if you think the Bible first rate literature. Actually I’m very fond of Revelation, though not for the usual christian reason. Also the story how John the Baptist got decapitated deserves the Nobel Prize for Literature.
          It doesn’t mean I accept the message involved though.

        • Kodie

          Sure, by framing the imaginary as obvious and real, you’d be stupid not to buy that product or service, right? You don’t want to be left behind. It’s foolish because it’s imaginary, and the bible practically tells you it’s imaginary by “predicting” there would be people who’d reject it because it sounds so silly. No, you are no judge of me, you’ve been evasive while I’m actually trying to educate you.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          utilizing Tough Love techniques? 🙂

        • 90Lew90

          The verse again: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

          You interpret this as follows: “it doesn’t state that they don’t get it…only that they refuse to receive it because they consider it foolish.”

          Good so far. Then it says he “is not able to understand” — just don’t geddit — “because they are spiritually discerned”. We ok with that?

          You say: “From what I have gathered from the comments just about everyone associated with this site considers the Bible to be sub-standard literature.”

          And I said to you just yesterday that the kindest thing I could say about the Bible is that the KJV is preeminent as a piece of literature. But as a guide to morals? Not so much. As history? Very poor. Holding the Bible up as a holy book has been a disaster, which is plain to anyone not wearing rose-tinted glasses and a big pair of blinkers.

        • 90Lew90

          The tables are turned? You’ve turned the tables? I hadn’t noticed.

        • Kodie

          That’s old Scott Ratzloff, projecting again.

        • adam

          re ‘dishing it out’

        • Kodie

          That is the hook. You don’t want to be left out, right? They use it for car commercials a lot.

        • Pofarmer

          Apparently poor Scott is frustrated.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          ahhh No…not really…amazed would be the correct term.

        • Pofarmer

          Then why turn to bible verses? Thats generally the last vestiges of “I got nuthin?” You might try making a clear point.

        • Kodie

          You’ve been begging for some constructive criticism and this I will offer you: nobody cares how you feel. If you have something to say, don’t make it a cliffhanger that ends in disappointment, just say it all at once.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Left out of what Kodie?

        • Kodie

          The salvation club. I asked you and you were evasive about services or goods you would willingly pay money for that would not be delivered until after you died.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          There are some questions that are just too silly to even give a response to. I am sure you have experienced this in the past…who knows?…maybe right now!! 🙂

        • MNb

          Pofarmer is right indeed – poor Scott seems a bit frustrated. What’s so silly about the question if he’s afraid to left out from the salvation club?

        • Kodie

          It’s not that silly, Scott. You must pay them a lot of money to be too shy to reveal how much.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          In fact, I don’t have a lot of money to pay anyone at the church that I attend. Another error on your part.

          As far as goods and service that I or you and others might be willing to pay for now only to have them delivered after our deaths: Life Insurance , purchase of a plot / casket / arrangements for our funeral(s). Trust fund etc.

        • Kodie

          For which your relatives would have some means of receiving and proving these goods and services are delivered, not you, and if they’re screwed, there is a name in the contract to go after. You have evidence of these goods or services being delivered after the person died, some other person, not you.

          When you die and nothing happens, who will go after your church with a lawyer?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you still don’t get it….do you? The only person to pay for salvation is Christ. It is a gift from God to all who will receive it. The fact that you have used this tactic proves once again that you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to God, His Son Jesus or His Church. Pick up THE Book put your insane prejudice and bigotry aside and learn. Have a nice day KodeMan ( the missing link ) Lol 🙂

        • Kodie

          You still don’t get it. Jesus came to liquidate the burnt offering system. What you say is superficial marketing.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The burnt offering system was only a temporary covering. The High Priest was required once a year on Yom Kipper ( Day of Atonement) to make a sacrifice for all of the nation The efficacy was good for only one year. The Tabernacle / Temple system was designed to show the people that they could not save themselves by works, being good, paying lots of money etc. That is why the prophecy of the King and Savior is sprinkled through out the OT. It was a precursor and preparation for the final and permanent sacrifice by Christ on the cross.

        • Kodie

          The church can buy things with cash. And look, it has. You’re a peddler of empty promises, a pawn of the church.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Smoke Alert!

        • Kodie

          Why do you keep saying that? It’s not an answer.

        • adam

          Well, are you done smoking yet, so that you can actually answer questions?

        • wtfwjtd

          So now, let me get this straight…as a Christian, you believe that God raped a woman (Mary) to impregnate her with himself, to be born on earth so he could sacrifice himself to himself, just to bypass a rule that he made up? Pardon me, but don’t you think that sounds just a little, I don’t know, ludicrous? ’cause frankly pal, to any rational mind, that’s a pretty nutty story, even by ancient story-telling standards.

        • Pofarmer

          Christ had to be sacrificed to pay for Original Sin, right? And original sin is said to have caused pain and disease and all sorts of human ills. So why didn’t Jesus Sacrifice help with any of those physical things the physical Original Sin Caused? Why does it only show up in places no one can verify?

        • adam

          re: insane prejudice

        • adam

          re bigotry

        • MNb

          “It is a gift from God”
          An unwelcome gift as far as I’m concerned. First there is nothing I need salvation for and second the consequences of salvation (as described by apologists like you) do not appeal to me at all.

          “Pick up THE Book”
          Done so. Revelation is excellent comedy horror.

        • MNb

          Not a lot of money is still too much.

        • Kodie

          It’s not the kind of information he wants connected to his real name and face.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t beat your slaves so bad they die immediately? Wisdom like that? Stone rape victims to death if she doesn’t yell loud enough? Wisdom like that? Put a woman through a trial by ordeal if she is accused of cheating? Wisdom like that? You are pissin me off.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Context, context context….it all comes down to context. Please take a Chillaxen pill and don’t go into vapor lock.!

        • Kodie

          Here’s where you keep failing. Why not instead put those verses into the context you believe they belong in, and then e-x-p-l-a-i-n. Instead, you say “bzzzzt!!!” and make another rude comment that you think is funny. That’s the opposite of having a productive discussion.

        • adam

          1. Under what context, context, context is slavery acceptable?

          2. Under what context, context, context is the death penalty for a RAPE VICTIM acceptable?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you answer mine and I will answer yours 🙂 pretty simple deal

        • Kodie

          You’re not having a discussion. SOMEONE DID ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, and you dropped the fucking ball, you moron!!!!!!!!

        • adam

          Ok,
          To your question ‘thoughts’

          My thoughts are scientists like Darwin should ALWAYS have doubts.

          Ok, answer mine like promised.

          1. Under what context, context, context is slavery acceptable?

          2. Under what context, context, context is the death penalty for a RAPE VICTIM acceptable?

        • adam

          re 1Cor.2.14

        • Rudy R

          Then nothing. We’ll be dead.

        • Kodie

          Funny how he’s hesitant to believe something is true because it might be wrong.

        • Rudy R

          I think you nailed it.

        • MNb

          Read more modern scientific textbooks. I may hope they have improved upon ours.
          Are you really not smart enough to think up this answer yourself?

        • MR

          Some of that information will still be valid and will be incorporated into the new textbooks, some of that information will be outdated and will be tossed.

          Just like we should toss unfounded belief in a deity.

  • Scott Ratzloff

    In the above blog Bob claims “If the Bible story were true, it would be consistent. It wouldn’t change with time. God’s personality wouldn’t change,”

    Please prove this assumption by scripture taken IN context. Please quote first then comment. I am very interested how Bob and others arrived at this conclusion.

    • Kodie

      I thought you said you read through the comments on this thread already and prayed because you didn’t like how atheists really think. REMEMBER?

      • Scott Ratzloff

        Answer the question.

        • Kodie

          Why should we rehash this thread for you, your highness?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Because I have decreed it knave!

        • adam

          Then I decree this:

        • Scott Ratzloff

          So…you hold a house cat up as your fearless leader? 🙂

        • adam

          No, so you hold an IMAGINARY being up as your fearless leader?

          Ok, answer mine like promised.

          1. Under what context, context, context is slavery acceptable?

          2. Under what context, context, context is the death penalty for a RAPE VICTIM acceptable?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          nope….just give me reasoned response to my questions regarding Bob’s post. If all I get is more of the same I can only assume that your Hard Drive is frozen.

        • adam

          I answered you, you promised, that makes you a LIAR.

          Ok, answer mine like promised.

          1. Under what context, context, context is slavery acceptable?

          2. Under what context, context, context is the death penalty for a RAPE VICTIM acceptable?

        • Kodie

          Can’t read?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you have a choice not to pay attention….I would suggest that you choose that option. 🙂

        • adam

          Probably a good idea, since you appear unable to answer questions honestly.

        • adam

          Ok, answer mine like promised.

          1. Under what context, context, context is slavery acceptable?

          2. Under what context, context, context is the death penalty for a RAPE VICTIM acceptable?

      • Scott Ratzloff

        None of the previous posts, including mine were remotely connected to the question I recently posted. Most if not all of the conversation has been random and disjointed diatribes lathered in hatred, anger and elitism. I was hoping a change in subject would change the tenor of the posts. So far this does not seem to be proceeding in the direction where legitimate debate can take place. I am willing to try again if you are. If not it can be BAU.

        • Kodie

          As I said before, you’re unprepared, intellectually, for the answers to your questions.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Cop out. I didn’t think it would be that easy.

        • Kodie

          Like that time you were saying that evolution began shortly after the big bang, were corrected, and didn’t stay to learn something you didn’t know before? You’re just going to switch to another topic and leave the other one hanging?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That topic had degenerated into name calling and had at its purpose to destroy and not build. It is a matter of opinion when the beginning of life occurred and at what stage after the BB that evolution began. Give me a date and species only and I will be happy to ‘learn’. I will happily post to a new thread that focuses on that subject. If you don’t want to defend Bob’s claims then perhaps you should start that new thread.

        • Kodie

          Nobody knew you were so uneducated. It’s not an opinion. You were given the answers and you flaked out.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Smoke Alert! KodeMan is repeating himself over and over again. Will someone please check his oxygen level!

        • Kodie

          Get your eyes checked.

          It’s not ad hominem (which is what I think you’re trying to imply????) to point out something that is true in evidence and relevant to the topic at hand – you’re asking questions you’re in no way educated enough to understand the answers to. Also learn the difference between facts and opinions. You can’t have an opinion that evolution started directly after and as a result of the big bang and still be taken seriously when you claim you’ve studied (or just anyway) when it’s obvious you haven’t. If you actively believe that’s what we believe, then you’re dead wrong and you’ve been told what a bad listener you are. How many times does someone have to point out to you that you haven’t even read the articles you’ve linked to or you would know what was written in them?

          And how many times are you going to pretend that you wish to have a productive discussion when you are so disinterested in reading and listening to and absorbing anything that’s been written or said, here or in the article above, or any other text that’s been referred to?

        • MR

          It sounds to me like you were just losing the argument.

          It seems a little rude, don’t you think, to come on to someone else’s blog and start dictating how threads should be answered?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Obviously Bob doesn’t have a problem with your tactics. He may have even mentored you in the way to debate Christians. And as far as rudeness goes….I am thinking of a 9 letter word……Hypocrite……yeah that’s the word….but I digress. Answer this legitimate question with an equally legitimate answer.

        • adam

          So just WHEN are you going to START debating, honestly?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Got to go outsided for a little bit….. need some FRESH air. Talk later guys and gals

        • MNb

          Good idea. Maybe you’ll get what a howler it was to write that life originated during or immediately after the Big Bang. Have fun.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          When you honestly begin to address the questions that I submitted. Debate is not just about proving that you are right….but why the other side is wrong. My guess is you guys are fearful of the outcome…and if not then why not?

        • adam

          I am being honest.
          I am not fearful of knowledge,

          You are just doing ad hominem because THAT is the very best that YOUR faith has provided for you to demonstrate YOUR ‘god’.

          Ok, answer mine like promised.

          1. Under what context, context, context is slavery acceptable?

          2. Under what context, context, context is the death penalty for a RAPE VICTIM acceptable?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you guys are reading off the same page….please note my explanation regarding slavery/ bond servanthood. I will be surprised if you actually look up the scripture(s) that you are getting YOUR concepts from. Surprise me!!

        • adam

          THIS scripture:

          What does the Bible say about beating slaves? It says
          you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they
          don’t die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing.

          When a man strikes his male or female slave with a
          rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If,
          however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since
          the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

          Or THIS scripture:

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

          Maybe THIS one:

          If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only
          six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for
          his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married
          afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married
          before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master
          gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the
          man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still
          belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my
          wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his
          master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door
          and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to
          his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

          Notice how they can get a male Hebrew slave to become a
          permanent slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he says he wants
          to become a permanent slave. What kind of family values are these?

        • Kodie

          I have to say I’m concerned about the rule about what size rod you can use to beat your slaves. Is this about the damage a larger rod can cause or is it just that you’re allowed to degrade them but not injure them, or are you allowed to injure them, like bruises and welts, but not break a bone, because what happens if you use to large of a rod and break a bone, your slave can’t work anymore. That’s like whacking a good smack upside the TV to see if it will adjust its attitude, but you wouldn’t take a hammer to the screen or else no more Hot in Cleveland reruns.

        • adam

          With homophobic men it is always about the size of the rod.

          When you cant demonstrate superiority with morals or intellect, it is time to take the rod to your slaves.

        • Kodie

          You never proved why the other side was wrong – someone gave you the examples you asked for AND YOU CHOSE TO MAKE A STUPID JOKE INSTEAD OF A THOUGHTFUL RESPONSE. So it is really your fucking turn still, unfortunately.

          Adam and the rest of us have a legitimate right to expect you to answer those questions, since you didn’t yet. Don’t lecture us on how to have a discussion, you fuckhead.

        • Kodie

          You think you’re doing it right and everyone else here is just giving you a hard time because you are a Christian, right? No, you’re actually foul, rude, dishonest, evasive, unfunny, and least of these is uneducated, because you could learn something if you really wanted to.

        • MR

          Oh, I have no problem with you being rude to me or the other posters. Have at it. It’s just seems basic etiquette that, unless you own the blog, you shouldn’t dictate to others how they should respond.

          The flip side of my comment was to point out that, for all your whining about other people being rude, you are being a hypocrite. You’ve been rude from the moment you set foot in the forum, and then act surprised at how people respond to you.

        • MNb

          “It is a matter of opinion when the beginning of life occurred”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Yeah, you definitely need fresh air – and badly so.

          “Give me a date”
          But I did, several times. Big Bang: 13,7 billions of years ago. Earth: roughly 4,5 billions of years ago. Earthly life: 3+ billions of years ago. But the previous times you didn’t learn, so why would you now?!
          Look my friend, you are the one who claimed that you had studied and understood stuff. This howler of yours shows the exact opposite. Now you should do two things.
          1. Google a bit and check if I’m correct;
          2. Not repeat your howler.
          The result will be that
          3. I won’t laugh at you anymore because of this.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          How will I ever sleep tonight?

        • adam

          My guess is that you will lie….

        • Scott Ratzloff

          This must be an example of the humor that passes for genius here.

        • adam

          Ok, answer mine like promised.

          1. Under what context, context, context is slavery acceptable?

          2. Under what context, context, context is the death penalty for a RAPE VICTIM acceptable?

        • MNb

          You rather should be grateful that Adam is willing to descend to your own poor level. Now it’s a bit less striking how lame your jokes are. Yup, I think Adam’s joke as lame as yours. But in the recent past he has provided a few excellent jokes. You never did.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Ok gotcha! Big Bang 13.7 bil / Earth 4.5 bil…give or take a few 100 mil. / Life on Earth 3+ bil.

          Please answer in very simple terms for the simple minded (me!)

          1.What was going on 13.699999 billion years ago just before the BB?

          2, What was going on for almost 9 billion years and/or why did it take so long between the initial BB and the formation of the Earth?

          3. What process occurred on Earth for 1 billion years that laid the foundation for biological life? and when it occurred was it a single organism or multiple organisms that sprouted in microbial form?

          I seriously want to know and learn.

        • adam

          1. Nobody knows, not even theists who claim to.
          2. Chemistry and Physics
          3. Chemistry and Physics

          Ok, answer mine like promised.

          1. Under what context, context, context is slavery acceptable?

          2. Under what context, context, context is the death penalty for a RAPE VICTIM acceptable?.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Give me chapter and verse so that I will know the context to be able to answer. I will respond to your first question if you will respond to my original first question. Would that be an acceptable format to work from?

        • adam

          You’ve already LIED about responding to me, you have NO credibility.

          2. What dont you understand about chemistry and physics. Or is it easier for you to tell what you DO understand about them?

          Do you understand how light elements like hydrogen form heavier element like the rest of the periodic chart.

          Do you understand PHYSICAL properties of elements and compounds and how they interact with each other to form?

          We need a place to start from that you can understand.

        • Kodie

          Pofarmer already did that and you answered it with a lame insulting remark instead of the next step in the conversation. Why is this so difficult for you to understand? Are you stupid, dense, evasive, ignorant, or what? That was already half a day ago, before you went on your nature walk.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I will tell you this…the slavery that you are thinking of Antebellum 18th / 19th century America is not the same situation as the OT. They were Bond Servants that either agreed to serve a master for a period of time to remove debt or to have a better life. Remember the people group that the servants came from were very poor. The ‘master’s’ very wealthy. It was actually a symbol of status to be seen in public serving and / or purchasing items for the head of the household. They lived in much better conditions than before they came to the household. After 7 years a slave could be freed or if he/she desired to stay they would simply drive a awl into their earlobe signifying that they loved the master and would serve him for life.

        • adam

          So NOW you are a LIAR.
          The bible is where they got the idea that slavery was acceptable for ‘christians’.

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

          What does the Bible say about beating slaves? It says
          you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don’t die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing.

          When a man strikes his male or female slave with a
          rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

        • MR

          Oh, man, do they read their own book? Are they really so naive as to believe that slavery was just indentured servitude?

          “I agree to be beaten half to death! Beat me, beat me! just make sure I live for a couple of days.”

        • adam

          When they do read, they just skip over the parts that make them uncomfortable or that displays their ‘god’ as demonlike in a fit of congnitive dissonance.

        • MNb

          “Are they really so naive ….”
          Never underestimate human capability to self deceit. There is a lesson to be learned here for us: scepticism only is valid when applied to ourselves. It demands long and hard training.

        • MNb

          So bond servitude was acceptable in the context of the OT situation, but not anymore in our modern world? I agree. But now you have dropped any pretense that your god grounds objective morality. You just have admitted that morals depend on cultural and historical context – which both are determined by humans.
          Your god is a whimsical one. Back then: bond servitude is a great idea. Today: not at all.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you kid yourself…most in this country are deeply in debt. They sell themselves on a daily basis sometimes doing things that they would rather not….only to pay off the debt. All of us are indentured one way or the other.

          The type of Slavery and the conditions that were placed upon them in the 1800’s was never been nor will it ever be condoned by scripture. How soon we forget the ones responsible for the beginning of the abolitionist movement, first in England then spreading to the US. It WAS Christians.

        • MNb

          “in the 1800’s”
          That was not my question. It was:

          “So bond servitude was acceptable in the context of the OT situation, but not anymore in our modern world?”
          If yes we arrive ath the conclusion that

          “Your god is a whimsical one. Back then: bond servitude is a great idea. Today: not at all.”
          I was not talking at all about 1800’s style American slavery. You’re dishonest to the core of your bones. Then again – you’re a creationist.

          ” It WAS Christians”
          Another lie. The first country to abolish slavery was Revolutionary and thoroughly anti-christian France.

        • Kodie

          So don’t worry your pretty little head about the state of affairs, people were merely owned by other people and that was a privilege! God gives instructions how to treat the people you own, because as I understand it, there was nothing god could do about it but go along with the political fashions of the time. We just did this a month ago.

        • MR

          You can easily Google the answers to these questions, and the others might answer them for you, (I will try later when I have time, if no one has), but if you’re really serious about wanting to learn, it’s best to do so in a larger context.

          Might I recommend “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson to start. It is a wonderful book that gives you a basic overview of the state of science. It’s probably a little dated, being a decade old, but I can’t help but recommend it; Bryson makes the topic so accessible.

          As I always say, you don’t have to believe it, but if you want to know what science actually says, and not what science detractors claim science says, then read the science. In the same vein, it’s better to read the Bible than to read what atheists might say about the Bible, right?

          Others may have even better suggestions.

        • MNb

          Are you serious?

          1. I already told you. Physicists haven’t found out yet. YET. Some (like Hawking) think that time is a feature of our universe and hence that time started with the Big Bang. Others think that it’s meaningful to talk about “before the Big Bang”. So I don’t know.
          Hey – this point is related to my follow-up question. Do you agree that physics is the branch of science that should study the Big Bang? As a simple mind you just can answer yes or no.
          2. “why did it take so long between the initial BB and the formation of the Earth?”
          I already told you as well. The Universe cooled down, atoms and molecules were formed, gravity came into play, galaxies where formed, then the Solar System and finally the Sun and the planets. Yeah, that took a while.
          3. Earth cooled down as well. That took some time. The process that occurred is a biochemical one. The branch of science called abiogenesis (a lot of biochemics are involved) study it. It hasn’t set on a theory yet for a very simple reason: lack of empirical data.

          “when it occurred was it a single organism or multiple organisms that sprouted in microbial form?”
          We don’t know yet – because of lack of empirical data.

          Google “history of the universe” and “abiogenesis” and you will learn more than you now can imagine you want to know. Just don’t expect definite answers. Science doesn’t provide them. When studying science you’ll have to accept degrees of uncertainty; all science can do is decrease them more and more.

        • MR

          Ah, thanks, MNB. I was just being the Google-bitch and trying to find some pertinent YouTube videos for him.

          Here are a couple that cover your questions, Scott.

          How the Universe was formed:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNDGgL73ihY

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s43lkwCsPPg

          History of Life

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5DWKTNqByM

          If you’re really interested in what science knows, Scott, then your best bet is to read some basic science books. If you’re just yanking our chain, well, I won’t be surprised.

        • Pofarmer

          Scienceis hard.

        • MR

          I know, but he has to start somewhere, Po. You saw the poor state his science knowledge is in.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m not sure his science knowledge rises to poor state, then you’ve got 303 whatever who apparently just gave up on reality and went full fundy for whatever reason.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Gosh…..you guys really do care…. <3 <3 <3

        • MNb

          “I seriously want to know and learn.”
          I suspect this was also one of your lame jokes.

        • You’re really an MD? Reminds me of Greg, who tells us he’s a lawyer. Both of you sound like high school sophomores. But it’s gotta be true because Christians don’t lie.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          This science is still born.

        • Pofarmer

          And yet, the only method that has given us reliable knowledge about the world around us is science. Weird.

        • MNb

          Then the GPS in your car is still born as well – it results from the same science. Still you rely on it.
          Hypocrite.

        • Kodie

          Sorry to disagree with you man but my money’s on Luddite. He uses the same map from the Exxon station that his father gave him with his first car.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Wow….you guys really buy into this stuff? “Theory’ of Relativity + Hubble + some space static.equals the Big Bang and the truth that we don’t completely understand and in fact may never understand. Wow…i guess this is a better choice when you don’t want to admit Intelligent Design. Time went kinda wobbely? wow….

        • MR

          You asked me to keep it simple so I googled “Big Bang for Dummies.” I didn’t want to tell you that when I thought you were some uneducated old guy. I was trying to be nice.

        • MNb

          No, I was wrong above. When you wrote

          “I seriously want to know and learn.”
          you were just lying.

          “Intelligent Design”
          So you’re a creationist indeed. Well, it’s not surprising. All creationists are blatant liars. They have to – creationists only can maintain their views by straightforwardly denying hard facts.

          “you guys really buy into this stuff”
          If you don’t you should remove your GPS from your car. It works according to the same principles (including “time goes kinda wobbely” as the things you just admit. But of course you won’t do that. Because you’re a creationist and hence a liar.
          Thanks for clearing that up, Scott. You deserve all the abusive language you received. Kodie’s judgment of you was correct all the time. So you don’t have to answer my questions anymore. The only sensible way to discuss creacrappers like you is mercilessly mockery.

          Let me make a prediction. You hate women and gays. Abortion should be outlawed, because women are not capable of deciding what to do with their bodies themselves and god dislikes homosex. The Canaanite genocide was totally justified because those people are wicked and depraved, like Hitler thought the jews wicked and depraved. We should have pity with the jewish soldiers slaughtering the Canaanites, like Himmler had pity with the Einsatzkommando’s.
          Am I right or am I right? Not reacting will be seen as a confirmation.

        • Kodie

          It’s better to admit you don’t know than to boast like a confident moron you are that you’re going to ask your imaginary friend after you die.

        • MR

          What baffles me is how someone can decide they’re going to debate science when they don’t even have the most basic understanding of science. I mean, has he never even watched a PBS show?

        • Kodie

          He totally cowered from the science and the apparent lack of basic knowledge that he has and switched to bible talk, with which I imagine he is more comfortable, but doesn’t realize just how knowledgeable some of our posters are on the bible.

        • MR

          He was probably relying on the scripture that tells him not to worry about what he will say, but to rely on the Holy Spirit. If he had been listening closely he might have heard the Holy Spirit whispering, “Watch Cosmos….”

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Bring your experts to the table. I would like to see who among you has the slightest idea of proper exegesis. Then answer the questions with scripture that proves Bob’e assertion. As far as being comfortable I have been enjoying all of the dialogue even the most self-righteous of posts….and yes…this includes mine as well LOL 🙂

        • MNb

          “proper exegesis”
          I immediately admit I don’t have the faintest idea which exegesis is proper and which one is improper. Could you explain your methodology? What standard do you use to distinguish the two? That would be very interesting, as I seem to recall that christians have struggled with this since the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
          Let’s take a concrete example. If you like I can present you a theologian who thanks to his exegesis concluded that christians can have slaves. Of course there are also theologians who have arrived at the exact opposite conclusion. Which exegesis is proper? Which one is improper? What is the standard you use to determine this?
          See, that’s the strength of science. Scientists have such a standard – a highly reliable one.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          This thread is in line with Bob’s blog.

          News Flash….former ‘Sesame Street’ viewer. PBS rocks accept when they are shilling for the progressive left! 🙂

        • MR

          Oh, that’s why you’ve never watched a PBS show. You’re afraid you might get tainted by socialism or something. Whatever.

          I wasn’t trying to say your comments aren’t in line with Bob’s thread, I was commenting on the fact that, as low as the bar for science knowledge is set here, you don’t have even the basics that a middle-schooler could get from Netflixing a couple of documentaries. (I didn’t want to scare you by mentioning PBS again.)

          You see, it’s that kind of cluelessness that helped drive me from the church. I listened to too many pastors and church leadership telling lies about what science said so that they could knock down a strawman of their own building. In my definition of God, he doesn’t need people to spread lies for him. If people are spreading lies, they are probably not God’s people. You are here claiming ridiculous things about science, and you expect me to believe that God is somehow on your side? Why would God send someone completely uneducated about the topic to discuss it?

          Could that be the reason, perhaps, why you are now so eager to change the topic of the thread?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Wrong again….but you have confessed the reason that I believe you hold to such a virulent position. It’s not about Atheism so much as it is about your hatred for organized religion. I agree with you…there has been many things that have been incorporated that are not NT. The polarizing effect has caused some on both sides to go way over the top.I am not spreading lies by asking for cogent responses from you and others regarding God, His Word or His church. I believe that there are misconceptions held by atheists just as there are by people of faith. lets see what we can come up with that is equally beneficial.

        • MR

          And you in your turn are wrong. I have no hatred for organized religion. I simply realized that religion, organized or otherwise, was wrong about science and other things. That didn’t stop me from believing in God initially—the Bible did that—but it did make me realize that God could not possibly be on their side if they were spreading lies.

          And don’t misrepresent what I said, I said many pastors and church leaders were spreading lies. I said you were uneducated about science. Because you are uneducated about science you made some incredibly ridiculous statements. But now that I think about it, I suppose that whether or not it was intentional, it is, nonetheless, in a sense spreading lies—or at least some form of bearing false witness….

          Anyway, I am somewhat heartened by your claim that you would like to learn more about science, but forgive me if I am still suspect. (John burned me on that one.) We shall see.

        • Kodie

          Get a dictionary, puppy, and learn what the prefix a- means and what the prefix the- means, and what the suffix -ism means.

    • adam

      First prove that YOUR ‘god’ is anything but IMAGINARY

      • Scott Ratzloff

        That is not the topic of this post…it is designed to begin a conversation regarding Bobs assertion that God’s personality and the parameters of salvation have changed and that the story of Jesus has somehow gone through an evolutionary process. In that order. Please confine your responses to the topic. Thank You!

        • adam

          No that is not the topic of the post either.

          Definition of ATHEISM
          a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

          So Bob has disbelief in YOUR ‘god’.

          You need to demonstrate that YOUR ‘god’ is anything but IMAGINARY to make THIS point.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Bob is no doubt an atheist…however he makes claims that would support his contention by using the Bible. Any proper investigation would ask for sources. This is all I have done.

        • Kodie

          I’m pretty sure you didn’t read the article. How things work: you read the article or a comment, then you respond to the article or comment by pointing out what you agree or disagree, and then EXPLAIN WHY. You’re asking for something that’s already been discussed, so find something you don’t like and hit the reply button to respond with comments about it.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I have and I did with the very first concept out of the gate. Next.

        • Kodie

          Ya didn’t. You commented on what atheists were like and how that frightened you. Irrelevant.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Dreamland

        • adam

          So AWAKE from your stupor and NEED for ad hominem and answer the questions.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I see your ad hominem and raise you two non sequiturs!

        • Kodie

          You are fucking useless as a debater.

        • Kodie

          I’m betting that you’re the moron who is Greg.

        • MR

          Ha! I had the same thought. Greg’s been up-voting “Scott” the past couple of days whenever he thinks “Scott” has a particular good zinger on me. I thought Scott might be Greg, but I actually thought that Greg would have had a better grasp on science. Silly me. It totally makes sense. The rudeness, the stupid humor…. I think you are right. 😉

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Drats….our plan has been foiled again by superior brain Power…when will we ever learn?

        • MR

          Deception. I’m sure your God is proud of you.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          There is no God remember?…..you have won me over and created a monster at the same time….gosh…could I get a special mention at this years Top 100 Atheists dinner and backslapping festival?

        • Tip: the humor isn’t working for you.

          My advice is to go old school: give us thoughtful arguments. Give us evidence and ideas we’re unfamiliar with. Educate us, and show us something compelling about your position. And maybe you’ll even learn a few things yourself.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          This is how Xtian Special Opps works. We infiltrate then throw a doppleganger in to mix things up….before you know it….you won’t know what your talking about….hey wait….mission accomplished. back it up boys…there is still much to be done!

        • MR

          As we’ve been saying all along, a life based on lies. You make a fine example.

        • Kodie

          I am not 100% sure you are Greg, but whoever you are, you are and have been quite the evasive douchebag, and don’t give me any reason to listen to what you do have to say. Our suddenly quiet new Christian friend has been upvoting your awful humor, it just gives me the idea that Christians pretty much suck and wouldn’t want to be one in any case. Seems to be a very shallow way to navigate the world if you can’t answer any questions or keep up an adult conversation when you are challenged.

        • “suddenly quiet new Christian friend”. That I am. takes time to read and absorb some new information and of course there’s the stuff that goes along with the season.

        • Kodie

          So you are in favor of half-wit trolls as long as they are Christians?

        • Scott, I believe started off with good intentions, and actually launched a couple of good arguments – sometimes you respond with dreamy responses – what can I say. His comment about dreamland, I thought, was an effort to have you respond with more substance.

        • Kodie

          You believe informing us that he was frightened of what atheists are like was a good intention? He wants me? to respond with more substance? That’s a good one, Grott.

          Screg?

        • But if Scott is Greg, doesn’t that make him both a lawyer and an MD?

          I’m in the presence of greatness … or maybe a liar.

        • Kodie

          Scott is not Greg… I don’t remember Scott claiming to be an MD, only that people have been spontaneously healing themselves as long as he’s been paying attention. I was never fully convinced they were the same people since Scott’s posting history shows him saying something against Catholicism when we know Greg is a Catholic and also the worst imitation of a lawyer. It was only suspicious that Greg upvoted Scott’s terrible humor responses when Scott had been upvoting his own posts when his jokes gave him a kick. However, anyway, to settle whether someone is real, eventually look them up on facebook. Scott checks out. He’s a real guy using his real name and real pictures of himself, his family members, and his congregation. He has some nerve to post what he does using his real name. I don’t know Greg’s last name, but his profile and a recent post he made says he lives in Connecticut. I just think if there’s a god, he’s got to be disappointed in the people he’s got working for him and how powerless he is to stop them from lying and resisting education.

        • Kodie

          And Scott was upvoting himself, but he’s not anymore.

        • I guess it’s a way to stay in the loop – I realized I can take a break from commenting, but give my support to guys making an effort and let you know I am still out there. I really like Yona too.

        • MR

          Er…, did you forget that you already admitted to me your little charade?

          The only reason you like Yohah is that he tosses out a word salad that sounds like substance to you because you don’t understand it.

        • I understand Yonah and I hope he continues to fight the good fight.

        • Kodie

          Have you not learned yet, Screg, that your opinion is noise? Nobody cares.

        • I do believe, Scott was making some good points – he’s just on a rampage of having fun now – I would recommend he take a break too.

        • Kodie

          He hasn’t made any points, if you ask for clarification or want to proceed with the conversation, he has NOT A THING. Fake lawyer, you never made any points either.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          no…but I am intrigued…tell me more about this special forces loner.

        • Kodie, I am only upvoting comments that I like or agree with. I happen to be taking a break so I can absorb some of the documents referred to me by you guys. Just only had a chance to watch half of Bob’s debate last night. I must say at least for the part I saw, they gave respect to Bob and his point of view even though he was obviously outnumbered.
          I was serious about understanding where the moral code is coming from, Pofarmer gave me a lot to absorb.

        • Kodie

          What about the response “Dreamland” did you like so much? You agree with trollish remarks? You like when “Scott” gets backed into a corner and doesn’t have a cogent response so resorts to cracking terrible jokes? You like his jokes?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Yes …Be afraid….be very afraid. Irrelevant….ain’t that a big animal in Afreeca or sumpin?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          The KODEMAN Pontificates…..ok people///you can get oof the lawn now and go home.

        • adam

          So how do you think an IMAGINARY being’s ‘personality’ changes?

          So we are asking for sources, demonstrate that YOUR ‘god’ is anything but IMAGINARY, BEFORE you start with claims about its changability.

          Because the STORIES about IMAGINARY beings change all the time depending on who is telling the STORY or is imaging the imaginary being.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Gee whiz Mrs. Cleaver….how would I know..he’s God and I’m not…do you have anymore of those oatmeal cookies?

        • adam

          Here is how you know:

      • Scott Ratzloff

        Wait…hold on…i’m still asleep and dreaming of a land that is far far away!

        • adam

          Then you are probably as close as you can get to YOUR ‘god’ – your imagination.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        No….can’t make me!!!!

        • adam

          Of course!
          Can’t prove that IMAGINARY beings are REAL.

    • wtfwjtd

      Oh goodie, Bible story time! I’ll lead off with one of the god’s favorites, Psalm 137:9–“How blessed will be the one who seizes your young children and pulverizes them against the cliff!”

      So the Christian gods bless the one who murders children. Please, Scott, contradict yourself, and tell me that you believe that your gods have since changed their minds about this one. Or do you fully endorse the sentiments expressed here? Man, I hope not. Otherwise, we atheists might get the idea that this “god” fellow is kind of a prick.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        Your choice of scripture is taken out of context.

        Jesus said, “You have heard that people used to say, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not fight against *evil. If someone hits you on the right side of your face, let him hit you on the other side also” (Matthew 5:38-39).
        (“*Evil” means something that is very, very bad.)

        Psalm 137

        v1 There we sat down, by the rivers in Babylon.
        We cried when we remembered Zion.

        v2 There we hung up our *harps on the willow trees (special kind of tree).

        v3 For there the people that made us *prisoners were very *unkind.
        “Sing us a song” they shouted. “Make us laugh with a song from Zion!”

        v4 We just cannot sing the *LORD’s song in a foreign land.

        v5 Jerusalem, if I forget you my right hand (will drop off!)

        v6 My *tongue will stick to the top of my mouth
        if I do not remember you, Jerusalem.
        I think of you more than the things that I like best.

        v7 *LORD, remember the people of Edom.
        This is what they said in the Day of Jerusalem.
        “Knock it down, knock it down to its *foundations!”

        v8 Daughter of Babylon, someone will destroy you!
        That person will do to you what you did to us.
        He will be very happy then!

        v9 He will catch your children and hit them with a rock.
        He will be very happy then!

        The Story of Psalm 137

        The *Jews lived in Judah. The country of Babylon was 1000 kilometres to the east. In 586 B.C., the soldiers from Babylon destroyed the capital city of Judah, Jerusalem. B.C. means years Before Christ came to the earth. They took the people that lived there as *prisoners to Babylon. A prisoner is someone in a prison. Or it is someone in a place that they cannot go away from. In 536 B.C. many of the *prisoners and their sons and daughters came back to Jerusalem. In 516 B.C., Persia (now Iran) destroyed Babylon.

        This means that we can say when the *psalmist wrote Psalm 137. The *psalmist is the person that wrote the psalm. If you look at verses 1-3 of the psalm, you will see that he (or she) was in Babylon. If you look at verse 8, you will see that Persia has not yet destroyed Babylon. This means that the *psalmist probably wrote the psalm between 536 and 516 B.C. We call the time that the *Jews were *prisoners in Babylon “the *exile”. There were two great rivers in Babylon, the Tigris and the Euphrates. There were also small rivers. But the people that lived in Babylon made them. They went between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. We call them canals. By all these rivers and canals, there were trees. Today we would call them poplar or willow trees. The *Jews in the *exile met by these rivers. They probably talked about Jerusalem and Zion. Zion was one of the hills that they had built the city of Jerusalem on. The *psalmist remembered this when he went home. He also remembered that they could not sing songs about the *LORD in Babylon. Now he was home again. And he hoped that somebody would destroy Babylon as Babylon had destroyed Jerusalem.

        What Psalm 137 means

        Verses 1 – 3: The *psalmist is probably home again in Jerusalem or one of the towns near it. He remembered how the people of Babylon made them sad. It made them sad when they asked them to sing. They made music on harps. “*Unkind” means the opposite of “kind”.

        Verses 4 – 6: They could not sing to the *LORD in a foreign land. The right hand played the harp, the *tongue sang the words. *LORD is a special name for God that only his people use. It is the *covenant name. A *covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. God agreed to love and send help to his people. They agreed to love and obey God. They were in Babylon because the *Jews had not obeyed God.

        Verses 7 – 9: Edom was a country to the south-east of Judah. It was an enemy of Judah. When Babylon destroyed Jerusalem, Edom was very happy! Now the *psalmist says that soon someone will destroy Babylon. He was right! “Foundations” are the hard bit of ground that you build a house on.

        An Eye for an Eye

        One of the rules in Judah was “an eye for an eye”. This meant that if someone dug your eye out, you would dig his out. This was the rule in verse 9 of the psalm. The soldiers from Babylon killed many *Jewish children in 586 B.C. The *psalmist says that the same will happen to the children in Babylon. They did not want the children to fight the people that killed their parents. So they did not want them to grow up. That is why they killed the children. This is what they usually did in war. War is when countries fight each other. They even did this to *Jewish children in the Second World War. They hit them with rocks! (If you like words, you may like to know this: The word “rock” in Psalm 137:9 is the same word as the capital city of Edom!)

        Now read the words that Jesus said at the top of the psalm. He said that his people must not do this. If someone hits you, you must not hit them back! You must let them hit you again! This makes following Jesus different from following other people. It is not easy to do it, but Jesus gives us the help to do it. Perhaps we understand the *psalmist when he wrote verse 9. But we do not have to copy him. What he thought was right in 516 B.C. But it is not right now. Jesus gave us new rules.

        What the *psalmist said in 516 B.C. was right for another reason. If you asked for bad things to happen to people, it was a curse. A curse was a weapon (a way to fight) in war. It stopped other people attacking you. Christians do not need to curse people. Jesus will give them help, and stop people attacking them. He will do this if this is what he wants. If Jesus lets someone attack then he has a special reason for it.

        Something to do

        1. When people do things that are bad, as in Psalm 137:9, then try to understand them. Do not get angry yourself … it will not be a help!

        2. Remember the words of Jesus: “Love your enemies. And pray for the people that are very *unkind to you” (Matthew 5:44). If you pray for people, you may understand them better.

        3. Old ideas (like “an eye for an eye”) may be bad. Tell people about the new ideas of Jesus.

        The preceding was copied from easyenglish.com and utilizes the Easy English Level A version

        * It is interesting to note that the concept of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was given to Israel so that

        the punishment would fit the crime. It was not uncommon during that time to burn entire villages killing all who resided there because of the loss of one opposing soldier. ~ Not much has changed in this world yet Jesus calls us to a higher standard. ~ Scott

        • wtfwjtd

          “It is interesting to note that the concept of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was given to Israel so that the punishment would fit the crime.”

          So you are saying then that God’s morals as dictated to the Israelites look suspiciously like…the morals that man had come up with at that time? I’m surprised to hear you say that, most Christians try and make excuses for God and put the blame on mankind. I’m glad we are in agreement on this point–another famous person once said, “Cruel people invent cruel gods”. Yes, Yahweh’s morals in the Bible look exactly like other desert tribe people’s morals of 2500 years ago–yet another clue that they were nothing unique or special, and certainly could not have come from a loving god.

          On another note, claiming “out of context” and “Jesus corrected his flawed moral formulas 600 years later” don’t really help you here; in fact, they rather emphasize Bob’s point, that God’s morals have changed and shifted in order to keep up with mankind. Once, again, it’s surprising to hear you blame God for his moral shortcomings and expect him to hold to man’s higher moral standards. Good for you.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Obviously you didn’t understand….God was dealing with a creation that was cruel and barbaric ( He still is by the way). He didn’t invent an eye for an eye….that and much much worse was already happening. He gave them a tool by which He prepare them and us for His long range goals.

        • adam

          And it thinks people should be ‘blessed’ and ‘happy’ for bashing little children to death.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You have fixated on a phrase and that obviously prevents you from an intellectual pursuit of this topic. I really held out hope for you Adam…your name being the English translation of the hebrew “Adamah” or earth. It is no coincidence that God named the first male in His Word Adam. You. however might want to look into a name change…as it carries no distinction with your brethren at the Atheist Club. 🙂

        • MR

          Nicely wiggled out of!

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Why Mr. MR… I take that as a compliment coming from a professional! 🙂

        • MNb

          MR never wiggles out. That’s an apologist specialty. You could have chosen an intellectual pursuit of Psalm 137:9 (note that this psalm was set on disco music by Boney M, but this line was dropped), but you preferred not to do so. Again. Typical for the dishonest apologist you are.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ybv4DOj-N0

          I suppose the composer couldn’t find a word that rhymes with stones.

        • MR

          Oh, what have I wiggled out of? Are you going to answer his question. It is a serious issue for many people. Blowing smoke doesn’t help your cause. Please give us your analysis of that verse.

        • MR

          Ah, I do see that you gave a rather lengthy, convoluted tl;dr response above that I missed. Perhaps you could distill it into your own succinct words for us.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          what have you wiggled out of….oh not sure …but probably a size 6 in skinny jeans.

        • MR

          Oh, you’ve just gone full on Greg-mode. That would explain the immaturity.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          your’re the one who took his finger out of the dyke. 🙂

        • MR

          Keep being an ass; I hope you get yourself banned, Greg:

          Scott Ratzloff adam 2 minutes ago
          No….can’t make me!!!!

          Scott Ratzloff Kodie 3 minutes ago
          Yes …Be afraid….be very afraid. Irrelevant….ain’t that a big animal in Afreeca or sumpin?

          Scott Ratzloff MR 4 minutes ago
          Drats….our plan has been foiled again by superior brain Power…when will we ever learn?

          Scott Ratzloff adam 6 minutes ago
          Gee whiz Mrs. Cleaver….how would I know..he’s God and I’m not…do you have anymore of those oatmeal cookies?

          Scott Ratzloff adam 8 minutes ago
          Wait…hold on…i’m still asleep and dreaming of a land that is far far away!

          Scott Ratzloff MR 9 minutes ago
          what have you wiggled out of….oh not sure …but probably a size 6 in skinny jeans.

          Scott Ratzloff adam 10 minutes ago
          yeah it’s a gas…you should try it sometime…. oh…i forgot your too busy with your own bashing!~

        • Scott Ratzloff

          and lets not forget the number one response for this evening:

          This is how Xtian Special Opps works. We infiltrate then throw a doppleganger in to mix things up….before you know it….you won’t know what your talking about….hey wait….mission accomplished. back it up boys…there is still much to be done!

          Johnny!….tell’em what he’s won!!

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you may or may not get your wish…just giving you guys a sampling from me of what I have been getting from you. How about coming down from you high horse and speak with grace. I have tried…but to no avail….just lost my head for a second…but boy was it fun and now I won’t need my prozac this evening!

        • Don’t quit your day job. You’re not ready for stand up just yet.

          Life’s a mirror, pal. Show that you need to be slapped around, and there are lots of people here happy to do so. Act like someone eager to share ideas and learn new things, and you’ll again get the same.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That will likely not happen as long as thing don’t get too wild…Bob gets a cut every time someone posts or clicks…after review of his other endeavors..he is making a killing on this one….hey….where’s my cut? 🙂

        • Hey–y’know what would be awesome? Stop Bob’s windfall by leaving. All the hits you’re giving him are just supporting the Evil Atheist Empire!

        • Scott V1.0 seemed fairly smart. maybe the facade is too hard to keep in place.

        • MR

          This is just a game for him. He’s not interested in real dialog.

        • Kodie

          I never thought he seemed smart until he exposed his ignorance so boldly. He is acting out of embarrassment.

        • Typo, one assumes? You might want to correct that.

        • MNb

          Ah, I notice you share my suspicion. I noticed that Scott very often gets exactly one upvote – by Greg. And Greg stopped commenting the moment Scott appeared.
          Really, those creacrappers are a pathetic bunch.

        • Kodie

          Greg, you seem more psychopathic if you aren’t disgusted. If you can wave disturbing passages of the bible away, what else can you rationalize?

        • 90Lew90

          You held out hope for him because he’s called Adam? I like everybody called Trevor. Never trust a Martin. Franks are all plain-spoken. Johns smell of urine. Tonys always remind me of the lower leg for some reason. They kick ass. Don’t get me started on Tarquins. Or Dicks.

        • adam

          I have no Atheist Club.

          And atheist place no EMOTIONAL attachments to the name adam, as it is just another STORY in your book of mythology.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          yeah it’s a gas…you should try it sometime…. oh…i forgot your too busy with your own bashing!~

        • adam

          No I will leave the bashing of little children against rocks to ‘christians’ like YOU, who justify it as good and just.

        • MNb

          “God was dealing with a creation that was cruel and barbaric”
          As your god is supposed to be the creator he has done a bad job. Again. What’s even more damning – he is supposed to have created a realm that’s not cruel and barbaric at all. That realm is called Heaven. That makes me wonder why he let’s you suffer in the vale of tears called Earthly life first. I mean, he could have send you to Heaven (he obviously knew from the start that you’re totally worth it, in stark contrast to me) right after your conception, when he inserted your soul. Why all those superfluous decades? Perhaps because he wants to have some sadistic fun with you first?
          Your god is and remains either a monster or a failure. Pick your choice.

        • Pofarmer

          For a God that’s supposed to be omniscient, omni present, omnibenevolent, etc, etc, he sure does miss a lot.

        • Otto

          So basically cruel and barbaric people can understand “thou shall not commit murder” … but “thou shall not own people as property” was just too much for them.

        • Kodie

          So god told people not to kill other people except when he gave them dispensation, he did not command that people, even if they were cruel and barbaric, not to own other people. Instead, he sat on his thumbs and said “whatever you guys want is ok.”

        • adam

          So where are you going to show that this was out of context.

          In what context, context, context should ANYONE be ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ for pulverizing little CHILDREN?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          To understand anything; BB , evolution or the Word of God one must understand the cultural, historical conditions and what was reality at that moment. A simple study of history will confirm what I have posted. There is a danger when a verse or passage is pulled out of context without taking into account the cultural and historical truth of the era. Un-biblical practices have been introduced to the church by this method. Cults that are personality driven are birthed from this type of error. and unfounded claims arise along the way. Read my post re: Psalm 137 again. God is not thinking this in the way that you are judging…this is a mans response (David) Try to have a clear mind devoid of hate and bias.

        • adam

          But you didnt even attempt to answer my question.

          In what context, context, context should ANYONE be ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ for pulverizing little CHILDREN?

          Try and have a clear mind devoid of demon worship and bias.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Adam….I have answered your question from a scripture taken out of context. I have asked you to state chapter and verse of the concepts that you have posted. Please do that. that will help me when I research your claim. I have already answered re:the bond servant. Please answer mine regarding: how God’s mind has changed and please use scripture to make your case…. that is the only clear indicator we have for His mind.

        • adam

          No, you didnt demonstrate that it was taken out of context at all, and you certainly didnt answer my question

          In what context, context, context should ANYONE be ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ for pulverizing little CHILDREN?

          Imaginary ‘gods’ have imaginary minds, so they cant change them.
          But people LIKE YOU, TRY and change your ‘god’s’ ‘mind’ by claiming bible slavery was a priviledge and not ownership

          Sorry, but you haven’t demonstrated that the bible is a reliable source, you already LIED about the bible and slavery, so even YOU dont understand the ‘bible’. So WHY would I use it as a source?

          How are you EVER going to be able to understand what happens in evolution with chemistry and physics involved?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          By that last statement you have only proven yourself to be a Super-Genius. I am sorry If you didn’t like the truth about slavery/Bond servant from the OT. I realize that it doesn’t line up with your narrative…..You accuse me of lying regarding it…please show me where I am lying and give me your idea based on facts and rigorous historical and cultural research not outrageous claims and hyperbole. I anxiously await your respone.

        • adam

          “I will tell you this…the slavery that you are thinking of Antebellum 18th / 19th century America is not the same situation as the OT. They were Bond Servants that either agreed to serve a master for a period of time to remove debt or to have a better life. Remember the people group
          that the servants came from were very poor. The ‘master’s’ very wealthy. It was actually a symbol of status to be seen in public serving and /or purchasing items for the head of the household. They lived in much better conditions than before they came to the household. After 7 years a slave could be freed or if he/she desired to stay they would simply drive a awl into their earlobe signifying that they loved the master and would serve him for life.” say Scott Ratzloff
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/12/the-evolving-jesus-story-2/#comment-1744243316

          Here is where you are lying.

        • MNb

          “There is a danger when a verse or passage is pulled out of context.”
          I actually agree with this. My point is that this only makes sense if we assume there was no god involved with writing that psalm down. And that’s the nice thing with the entire Bible – it suddenly makes complete sense when we assume the Bible is 100% manmade. Revelation, my favourite Bible book is an excellent example. It’s very easy to understand – until the reader assumes that it’s a coherent and consistent message coming from above.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          I know…revelation is really kool dude…kinda like Dawn of the Dead….but with god type stuff…..kept me up for nites! Try the plagues of Egypt next… a real doomsday hit!!

        • Pofarmer

          Intersting historical fiction.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          But that is your favorite genre. you know…stories about fish that became birds that became bears that became man…who just recently learned to play Hockey!

        • Kodie

          To understand anything; BB , evolution or the Word of God one must
          understand the cultural, historical conditions and what was reality at
          that moment

          What the fuck are you talking about? GREG.

          To understand the big bang, read a fucking textbook. evolution, read a fucking textbook, the “word of god,” your bible, one must understand the historical conditions an eternal god in reality was like at the moment. I mean, god had to obey man, he’s a character they wrote about in a specific time, so he has to harmonize with the culture, I mean, that’s how it goes, he’s an omnipotent eternal being dealing out objective morality bound by the spirit of the times, which means, people owned other people, and this was seen as a pretty good deal by the people who owned the other people, they’d rationalize the shit out of owning other people like it was a fine and dandy thing, those slaves even felt honored to serve their masters for life, so you see, god could have told them to stop and they wouldn’t even listen to not even a commandment to some ideal moral position on slavery, like “fuck no”. So he had to make a list of provisions to make sure they didn’t damage their property, I mean, let’s not be wasteful. You wouldn’t topple your refrigerator, or throw a book in the washing machine, you have to treat your property so it will last as long as it can so you don’t have to pay to replace it. So really, god’s instructions, in context, of how to treat slaves, is basically “don’t be wasteful, if you kill your slave, you don’t have him anymore, do you? have some sense, man!”

          .

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Read it again.

        • adam

          So it is YOUR belief and that of YOUR god that ‘an eye for an eye’ IS the context for which people should be ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ for pulverizing little CHILDREN?

          How utterly SICK….

        • 90Lew90

          Love Gervais. Have you seen his standup show ‘Science’? Brilliant! It’s on Youtube.

        • adam

          No but I will watch it, thanks!

        • 90Lew90
        • Scott Ratzloff

          Isn’t this the guy that bombed at the Oscars? This is proof? ok…an entertainer trying to be funny so he can make money and continue to entertain…so he can make more money…so he can…..look ma…it’s a show!!

        • Kodie

          How much money have you paid to your church? You never answered that question.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Let’s see …in the last 12 months….approx. $10.00…how does that fit into your narative?

        • 90Lew90

          Proof of what? It’s a comedian taking the piss out of your book of books. And a damn fine job he does too.

        • MNb

          Is that your intellectual contribution regarding Psalm 137:9? Wow, brilliant exegesis, Scott.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Give me yours M&M….what is your interpretation of this psalm culturally and historically….oh that’s right….I haven’t seen anything from you yet.It’s much easier to take a verse out of context insert them within a diatribe and spew them out as undeniable truth….all who dare disagree are idiots. Nice work.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think changing the letters in someone’s name is the way to respond intelligently? “READ IT AGAIN” was your entire post. You suck as a debater, don’t pretend you’re civil or mature, you can’t handle your fucking half.

        • MR

          He’s just being a child, Kodie. He’s not even trying to be serious at this point.

        • Guest

          you really need to go back over your own posts….you won’t…but it would be v

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You really need to review your own posts…you won’t…but it would be enlightening and perhaps a little evolutional.

        • MR

          And you really need to review your conscience, Mr. Fine Christian Example.

          Of course, at this point I’m beginning to doubt that you’re even a Christian.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          That should excite you….a new convert! Afar as being a good example…I am already living a lie…so what kind of example is that? Beside didn’t your Guru Bob say that the most we could hope for was so soexistence? …but…it’s the only game in town and we’re stuck with it. Good nite MR.

        • MNb

          MR obviously has done so. There was not a dot or iota wrong with it.

        • Kodie

          He has no try. He can’t back it up.

        • MR

          He’s on his way to being a fine sociopath: pathological lying, deceit, manipulation. He’ll make a great megachurch pastor.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          you are a self absorbed yahoo.com

        • Kodie

          If I ask you to clarify that are you going to be offended and respond with another terrible joke? Seriously, you are just trolling now. Why I think Christianity is wrong – it’s people like you who can’t even look back at their own posts and recognize the criticism they deserve – it’s not what you believe, it’s not what you think, it’s that you didn’t back it up and you think you did. Maybe you know you didn’t and maybe it’s because you know you can’t that you regress.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

        • MNb

          “I haven’t seen anything from you yet”
          Moron, that’s because you never asked me. It’s quite simple though – and explained to me by a Dutch christian nonetheless.
          The psalm reflects the mood of the jews during the Babylonian exile. The quest for revenge as expressed in the last line is a very human emotion, especially popping up when someone is in a hopeless situation. Just basic psychology – hey, another respectable branch of science that manages to explain a lot by ruling miracles and god out.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no
          doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA….currently residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

  • Scott Ratzloff

    it all boils down to this guys…. 🙂 Lol

    • MNb

      Yeah? You mean Elisabeth Fritzl should give thanks to your god for being locked up and raped for 24 years? I know christians can be depraved, but this is worse than I ever have met before.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        No…like Paul did when he was starved, beaten tortured and eventually beheaded for his faith. He wrote this from prison. Depravity is everywhere MNb.

        • adam

          So not in everything like you claim.

          Yes, depravity is everywhere.
          Especially here:

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Love this movie! Reality TV.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no
          doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA….currently residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

        • MNb

          Please tell me more …. which scientists? How do they do it? Why do they do it? Will be more fun with you.

        • Philmonomer

          Paul did when he was starved, beaten tortured and eventually beheaded for his faith.

          How do we know this?

          http://archives.politicususa.com/2011/12/25/whatever-happened-to-paul-of-tarsus-it-isnt-what-you-think.html

        • MNb

          Sure – but some have it more than others. You are one of the worst cases I ever met.
          Btw – should Paul be grateful too that he was starved, beaten and tortured too?

      • Scott Ratzloff

        Emotional arguments?

        • Kodie

          You’re not touched by god’s apparent evil-doing?

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

        • MNb

          An emotional reply to an emotional comment of yours.

    • Kodie

      Emotional arguments? We know what causes the changing colors of the leaves. Looks like nobody thought it’s god’s job to rake.

  • Scott Ratzloff

    Question: “Does the Bible condone slavery?”

    Answer:There is a tendency to look at slavery as something of the past. But it is estimated that there are today over 27 million people in the world who are subject to slavery: forced labor, sex trade, inheritable property, etc. As those who have been redeemed from the slavery of sin, followers of Jesus Christ should be the foremost champions of ending human slavery in the world today. The question arises, though, why does the Bible not speak out strongly against slavery? Why does the Bible, in fact, seem to support the practice of human slavery?

    The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15;Ephesians 6:9;Colossians 4:1), but does not outlaw slavery altogether. Many see this as the Bible condoning all forms of slavery. What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.

    The slavery of the past few centuries was often based exclusively on skin color. In the United States, many black people were considered slaves because of their nationality; many slave owners truly believed black people to be inferior human beings. The Bible condemns race-based slavery in that it teaches that all men are created by God and made in His image (Genesis 1:27). At the same time, the Old Testament did allow for economic-based slavery and regulated it. The key issue is that the slavery the Bible allowed for in no way resembled the racial slavery that plagued our world in the past few centuries.

    In addition, both the Old and New Testaments condemn the practice of “man-stealing,” which is what happened in Africa in the 19th century. Africans were rounded up by slave-hunters, who sold them to slave-traders, who brought them to the New World to work on plantations and farms. This practice is abhorrent to God. In fact, the penalty for such a crime in the Mosaic Law was death: “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death” (Exodus 21:16). Similarly, in the New Testament, slave-traders are listed among those who are “ungodly and sinful” and are in the same category as those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, adulterers and perverts, and liars and perjurers (1 Timothy 1:8–10).

    Another crucial point is that the purpose of the Bible is to point the way to salvation, not to reform society. The Bible often approaches issues from the inside out. If a person experiences the love, mercy, and grace of God by receiving His salvation, God will reform his soul, changing the way he thinks and acts. A person who has experienced God’s gift of salvation and freedom from the slavery of sin, as God reforms his soul, will realize that enslaving another human being is wrong. He will see, with Paul, that a slave can be “a brother in the Lord” (Philemon 1:16). A person who has truly experienced God’s grace will in turn be gracious towards others. That would be the Bible’s prescription for ending slavery.

    Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html#ixzz3M1wg38Ao

    • What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world.

      Tragically, hilariously wrong. Go here.

      You really ought to do some research yourself and apply your own skepticism rather than just swallow Christian arguments.

      Another crucial point is that the purpose of the Bible is to point the way to salvation, not to reform society.

      Are you OK with imposing good ol’ biblical slavery on society?

      • Scott Ratzloff

        yes starting with you and your henchmen! But really…what is a atheist blog doing on Patheos ( Path to God). unless you guys really do acknowledge secretly that you are a religious faith – radical ministers preach to fanatical minions who rabidly cling to a doctrine- which you have – Humanism/ evolution etc. that deifies a pagan god – your own brain. Too bad that you are a very small percentage of this crazy little rock….but then…that’s the price for being trail blazers and pioneers! I await my fate at the hands of the atheist demigod who will surely give me a tongue lashing for spouting heresy! 🙂 I await the sentence…please be merciful to an unbeliever such as myself! Lol 🙂

        • … which gets us away from the point that American slavery and biblical slavery were pretty much identical.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          No…..just an example of what I have learned while here…..misdirection misdirection misdirection….you guys are the masters….that is why me a humble disciple has journeyed long and hard to sit at the feet of the High Monks on this lonely mountaintop.

        • Kodie

          Scott, you asked a question and Pofarmer answered that question, your response was “context context context” with no details or explanations. When asked for clarity and explanation, you JOKED YOUR WAY OUT OF THE CORNER YOU GOT YOURSELF BACKED INTO BECAUSE YOU DON”T KNOW YOUR SHIT.

          Stop lying – we were all there and we saw what you did.

          GOD SAW WHAT YOU DID. Does that even faze you, you goddamned bastard?

        • Nah. Scott knows that that whole God thing is just make believe.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

        • If you’re going to actually succeed with your deception, you need to try a little harder.

          Let’s review. You said, “What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world.”

          I responded with a link to my post that showed why that’s wrong. And now you charge me with “misdirection misdirection misdirection….you guys are the masters.”

          Why not just engage in civil debate? Or is it more fun living as a liar?

        • Kodie

          I know if I walked into a debate, stepped on some toes, and was called out how many times I didn’t know what I was talking about, I would walk away voluntarily instead of continue to keep up the defensive bullshit, macho bluster, and offensive intrusions. For instance, note how many times from a thread or area of comments that I stay silent because it’s not my turn to speak. I don’t know what’s so hard about that.

        • MNb

          “me a humble disciple”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          You really believe this yourself, don’t you?

    • MR

      The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15;Ephesians 6:9;Colossians 4:1), but does not outlaw slavery altogether. Many see this as the Bible condoning all forms of slavery. What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world.

      No doubt it was more humane. But, they seem to have left out Exodus 21:20-21 in their list:

      20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

      21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

    • Otto

      If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse
      is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is
      allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural
      anomaly; is a translation or copyist’s error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      • Scott Ratzloff

        If you don’t believe in God or the bible then why comment on it at all. Shouldn’t you be going after those who use His name and Word for their own devices. That ,after all, is the real problem, I am with all who are against those that misuse the teachings of the Bible

        • Kodie

          God is a fictional character.
          Christians are fucking nuts and hypocrites, but real.

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          —-Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA.

        • Guest

          yes…and you will have to live with it all your life,

        • Kodie

          Ha ha you got yourself scandalized. Are you afraid to put your name on your comments now, Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Gosh…please…please Im sorry really I am don’t destroy me…please pleeeeeasze

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          You guys are kidding yourselves if you think that this is somehow damaging. I no longer live in Crescent City or have anything to do with the ‘Ministry’. For a threat and campaign to be successful the target must truly care about the repercussions…I don’t 🙂

        • Kodie

          Nobody gives a shit really, just surprising that your tactic on the fallout is not humbling yourself to apologize for being such a filthy foul nasty bastard. Do you kiss Millie with that mouth?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          How about full disclosure from you Kodeman. What is your first an last name? I at least had the cojones to do so. Don;t expect you will be forth coming….a true coward is never willing to undergo transparency.

        • Kodie

          So it’s ok with you if I send your wife the message you wrote to me?

        • Scott Ratzloff

          She is aware of my craziness and what I am doing. Try another scare tactic. kodman

        • Kodie

          Keep bluffing.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

        • 90Lew90

          Strange character.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
          ..

        • So you jump onto the completely irrelevant question of transparency? you didn’t start out with a biography. Why demand it of anyone?

          And you’re whining about people being mean to you, but you introduce your irrelevancy by calling someone a coward? Life’s a mirror. Don’t wonder why you get bitch-slapped.

        • MNb

          “I at least had the cojones to do so.”
          Oooooohhhh – how admirably courageous of you. Now only if you addes a copy of your passport I might even believe you – but not get interested.

        • A pastor who cares nothing for how he comports himself and his reputation? How interesting. That sounds rare within the Christian community.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          How would you know? you have never been part of it. You base you opinions on generalities and hyperboles. Would I speak this way in public? No….I have only lowered my standards in an attempt to reach you. ‘When in Rome’ so to speak. An un-traditional pastor I am…I am also a man who is imperfect. I find it amusing that you, who come to the table with pre-conceived notions regarding the fallacy of God and those who claim to follow him give yourself a pass in the area of tactics and foul nasty filthy responses yet hold those which you are already sure are crazy nuts ignorant a much higher Standard. Bob how much have you banked since I cam on board?

        • If you’re worried that you’re throwing money my way by your presence, then leave.

          When you get talked to as a jerk, that’s often because you were, y’know, a jerk.

          You’re a pastor, and this is the best you can do? When someone in the flock said that his faith was failing, did you have any arguments that helped?

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
          .

        • Kodie

          I don’t see how you can call yourself a Christian and talk like you do to people. You’re “imperfect,” but you don’t even try, you don’t turn the other cheek, you don’t have patience, and beside that, you’re tone-deaf. We asked you to clarify what you meant by “context, context, context,” and you derailed completely. Don’t you even believe what you write? You’re a pastor, don’t you have the answers to these questions in your back pocket? Why the flaring up man? You insulted everyone here from the instant you started posting and you haven’t humbled yourself once when called out. You are insincere, that means you lie, and you do not have any of those high moral Christian values I often hear rumors about. It’s obvious you lack the intellectual capacity or the maturity to carry on an adult conversation without making an inappropriate and irrelevant comment, because you do not know what you’re talking about – you don’t even know why you believe what you believe. That should embarrass you to use your real name next to all your ignorant and illiterate comments.

          Cue: Scott pretends it’s all our faults and tells me to go get laid again in graphic detail.

        • Scott Ratzloff

          Graphic detail? look up the definition.

        • Kodie

          Look up what came between the big bang and evolution on earth. You first.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

        • 90Lew90

          Hoist by your own petard.

        • Otto

          You should be so proud of yourself…as a “moral leader” of the community…or not.

          It is no more damanging than identifying the neighborhood asshat. No one is coming after you…you just aren’t that important.

        • adam

          KodeMan….I know that you are sexually repressed and no doubt have not engaged in sexual activity for quite some time….but do yourself a favor…relax….get a couple drinks…have some fun…get laid. after a few drinks everything looks good…even gorillas.

          Says Pastor Scott Ratzloff of Lighthouse Community Ministries of Crescent City, CA..

          Now residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

        • Christianity is the 800-pound gorilla within society. A Christian only needs to open his eyes to see the things Christianity is doing as it blunders around. Some are good, and some are bad. When Christianity stops doing bad things, most of the atheists here will find other hobbies.

        • adam

          The onl