How Much Faith to Be an Atheist? (A Response to Geisler and Turek)

How Much Faith to Be an Atheist? (A Response to Geisler and Turek) August 25, 2015

I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist Norm Geisler Frank TurekI’d like to respond to the Christian apologetics book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norm Geisler and Frank Turek. It continues to be popular and needs a rebuttal.

What does “faith” mean?

Let’s pause for a moment to consider the word “faith” in the title. Atheists will charge that it means belief poorly grounded in evidence or even in contradiction to the evidence. To rehabilitate their poor relationship with evidence, many Christian apologists today argue the opposite. For example, Christian podcaster Jim Wallace says it’s “trusting the best inference from the evidence.” Presbyterian leader A. A. Hodge said, “Faith must have adequate evidence, else it is mere superstition.”

But the very title of Geisler and Turek’s book admits the opposite. They “don’t have enough faith to be an atheist,” and they’re not apologetic about it. “Faith” here has returned to our old, familiar definition: belief poorly grounded on evidence. In the Introduction, the authors make this clear: “The less evidence you have for your position, the more faith you need to believe it (and vice versa). Faith covers a gap in knowledge” (p. 26).

Characteristics of atheists (it’s not pretty)

I’ll refer to the book as GT (Geisler and Turek). Page numbers refer to the 2004 Crossway edition.

GT is certain that many or most atheists are really theists. Atheists already have enough evidence—they just willfully refuse to accept it.

[For many nonbelievers] it’s not that they don’t have evidence to believe, it’s that they don’t want to believe. (page 30)

Many non-Christians … take a “blind leap of faith” that their non-Christian beliefs are true simply because they want them to be true. (p. 30)

What we have here is a will problem—some people, despite the evidence, simply don’t want to admit there’s a Designer. (p. 112)

They have the evidence but refuse to believe it? Then what you’re describing is not an atheist.

He argues that even scientists have an agenda:

By admitting God, Darwinists would be admitting that they are not the highest authority when it comes to truth. Currently, in this technologically advanced world, scientists are viewed by the public as the revered authority figures—the new priests who make a better life possible and who comprise the sole source of objective truth. (p. 162)

So biologists can’t admit that God exists, not because of evidence, but because they’d be forced give up their authority? Religion has never taught us anything new about reality. Even if all scientists became Christian, science rather than theology would still be how we’d understand the world.

GT drops a final turd as it wrestles with the evidence necessary to believe:

God has provided enough evidence in this life to convince anyone willing to believe, yet he has also left some ambiguity so as not to compel the unwilling. (p. 31)

But Romans 1:20 says there’s no ambiguity: “God’s invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” You’d better confer with your Bible to get your story straight.

GT imagines that God plays games about evidence for his existence. Maybe God doesn’t want it too easy so that everyone gets it, and heaven gets crowded. He wants to keep out the riff-raff so heaven remains an exclusive gated community.

This becomes the free-will argument: God won’t force you to believe, because that would be an imposition. Of course, being forced to accept the existence of the stranger in the car ahead of you is not an imposition worth mentioning, but being forced to know the existence of the coolest guy in the universe would be a burden, so it’d be unfair to impose that on you. Or something.

GT provides no evidence but simply makes a sweeping claim, a claim that could be made by any believer. He could just as easily say that Allah or Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster has given you plenty of evidence, so don’t tell me otherwise.

Hedonism

But why would atheists reject clear evidence for God? GT has uncovered the selfish reasons:

By ruling out the supernatural, Darwinists can avoid the possibility that anything is morally prohibited. (p. 163)

So atheists are just hedonists with no concern about the consequences of their actions?

If the atheists are right, then we might as well lie, cheat, and steal to get what we want because this life is all there is, and there are no consequences in eternity. (p. 68)

Wow—what planet are these guys from? How many atheists think that it’s fine to lie, cheat, and steal? Are the prisons filled with atheists? Do atheists not care about their reputations with their family and friends? Do atheists not have consciences?

Since you’ll agree, after a moment’s reflection, that atheists are indeed moral, maybe you should drop the “atheists have no morals” claim and wonder where they get their morals from. I predict it’s the same place where you do.

Atheism does indeed mean that “there are no consequence in eternity,” but (dang it!) there are consequences right here and now, so I’d better cancel my Saturday night orgy ’n bacchanalia.

[Instead of teaching Islam] wouldn’t it be better to teach [kids] the religious truth that God wants them to love their neighbors? (p. 68)

GT is probably thinking of verses like Leviticus 19:18, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself,” but “neighbor” meant fellow Jew in this case. In a few cases, neighborly affection was demanded for non-Jews living in Israel. But we can’t twist either interpretation to mean everyone in the world, which is the modern interpretation that GT would like to impose.

When it comes to non-Jewish neighbors, God thinks of slavery or genocide more often than love.

GT talks about biology a lot (more later), but here is the connection between what atheists think and morality.

By means of a one-sided biology curriculum, we teach kids that there’s really no difference between any human being and a pig. After all, if we’re merely the product of blind naturalistic forces—if no deity created us with any special significance—then we are nothing more than pigs with big brains. (p. 68)

Being scientifically accurate is such a pain. Who’s got time for the research? But since you won’t do it, I will: pigs and humans share a common ancestor from 95 million years ago. No, humans aren’t pigs with big brains.

If the clumsily made point is that evolution explains everything with no need for a designer to grant some sort of transcendental moral value, then yes, that’s true. Humans are no more special in a nonexistent god’s mind than pigs are.

I see no problem with that. Morality works just fine with no god—look up the word and tell me what part assumes a god. (But while we’re going off on tangents, I do see a problem with your moral equivalence between a single fertilized human egg cell and a newborn baby. In fact, there’s a spectrum of personhood.)

Frank Turek’s next train wreck

I’ll be following up with more posts rebutting the statements in this book, but let me touch on Turek’s most recent book, Stealing from God. It’s an expanded version of his CRIMES argument, an acronym for Cosmos, Reason, Information, Morality, Evil, and Science. He attempts to argue that these categories are strong evidence for the Christian position. I disagree.

Continued in part 2.

People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof
but on the basis of what they find attractive.
— Blaise Pascal
(ironically, quoted by GT on p. 51)

Image credit: mamabishop

"It doesn't happen to often, but when they they go bad they have the ability ..."

Is America the Greatest Country in ..."
"Their priority is getting re-elected, as soon as they're elected..."

Is America the Greatest Country in ..."
"Science is useful until it's not, I guess."

Was Jesus Born to a Virgin? ..."
"It was the "Professor" as the first word in the title that suggested that we ..."

Was Jesus Born to a Virgin? ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • MNb

    From a philosophical point of view the only proper definition of faith is: “insights acquired by revelation”. Faith build (poorly or not) on evidence contradicts itself. As soon as I have evidence for something (like observing things falling downward iso upward – and let’s admit it, restricting myself to my own observations is poor) I don’t need faith anymore.

    “The less evidence you have for your position, the more faith you need to believe it (and vice versa).”
    This is already bogus. The less evidence I have for my position, the less certain my position is. That’s why anecdotes are so distrusted.

    “Faith covers a gap in knowledge”
    More bogus. GT first must demonstrate that faith actually can produce knowledge.
    That’s a bad start.

    “[Atheists] have the evidence but refuse to believe it.”
    As GT doesn’t provide any evidence for this statement according to their own method it’s totally based on their faith. Nice circularity.

    “By admitting God, Darwinists would be admitting that they are not the highest authority when it comes to truth.”
    What? Are they creacrappers or something? This sounds awfully similar to the introduction of the Wedge Document.

    https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/what-is-the-wedge-document/

    “The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. … [The theory of intelligent design (ID)] promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

    “By means of a one-sided biology curriculum.”
    Yup. GT are IDiots. Teach the controversy is their slogan.

    GT got the evidence (fossils, mutations, speciation) but refuse to accept the theory that accurately describes it.
    Now that’s a major failure.

    • adam

      From a biblical view the only proper definition of ‘faith’ is the one declared in the bible.

      Wishful thinking

      • thephysicscanary

        that bit of hebrews is like an atheist goldmine, that definition of faith, followed shortly after by needing faith to please god.

    • This redefinition of faith seems to be a new thing. It’s yet another trick they can play. If your arguments are hitting a little too close to home, they can always play games like, “Ah, but you misunderstand the word ‘faith’! It’s not me who’s gullible; it’s you who doesn’t get it!”

      And when your back is turned, of course, they revert back to the old definition of faith as necessary.

      About Creationists, my rule of thumb is that every moderately conservative American Christian is a young- or old-earth Creationist. It’s frustrating–I can’t even point out how they’re embarrassing themselves because they don’t care.

      • TheNuszAbides

        that camp answers to the highest fantasyauthority – intellectual shame is inconceivable!

    • TheNuszAbides

      this this this. giving credit to Bog is spun as humility but is inevitably just denying accountability.

  • Jason K.

    By means of a one-sided biology curriculum, we teach kids that there’s
    really no difference between any human being and a pig. After all, if
    we’re merely the product of blind naturalistic forces—if no deity
    created us with any special significance—then we are nothing more than
    pigs with big brains.

    What’s wrong with being pigs with big brains? (We’re actually apes with big brains, but we can let that go for now.)

    • Pofarmer

      I agree. Cal a spade a spade.

    • Compuholic

      There wouldn’t be anything wrong with pigs with brains. But as you said “apes with big brains” is a much more accurate description. And what pisses me off is that he knows that. So he is deliberately using language to deceive his audience.

      Of course that has always been the game of apologists but their dishonesty never fails to get me angry. Even that small piece of text that you quoted contains so many leading words that it is hard to respond rationally to that.

      • If GT are going to divorce themselves from reality, why not say that we’re rats with big brains? Or fish or pond scum?

        It’s hilarious how they think that schoolyard taunts (one of the chapters has “from goo to you via the zoo” in the title–no kidding) are a helpful addition to an intellectual conversation. As if mocking an unwanted reality will change it somehow.

        • Kodie

          Because what they really want to do is eat people.

        • TheNuszAbides

          As if mocking an unwanted reality will change it somehow.

          nah, just make it harder for the choir to ever take it seriously.

      • guest

        We are also ‘fish with legs’, ‘lizards with hair’ ‘sponges with spinal cords’ ‘tailess monkeys’ and ‘giant shrewlike-thingys’.

        Nothing wrong with that, I’m proud of my ancestors. Survivors and explorers, the whole lot of them.

    • thephysicscanary

      whats wrong with pigs with big brains is that they may resent us for the way we have treated them, and us poor humans may end up overthrown by the pig uprising and used as food

      • Scott_In_OH

        Who knew Orwell was writing a futuristic dystopian sci fi novel, rather than an allegory for Stalin’s Russia?

        • thephysicscanary

          and Turek looked from man to pig, and from pig back to man…

    • The “pigs with big brains” thing struck me as a bit weird. If there were a pig with a brain big enough that it was just as intelligent as a human, then shouldn’t we treat it as having the same moral significance as a human? I certainly wouldn’t want to make bacon out of it.

  • Greg G.

    God has provided enough evidence in this life to convince anyone willing to believe, yet he has also left some ambiguity so as not to compel the unwilling. (p. 31)

    What does God plan to do with all of those gullible people?

    • The gullible people go to heaven, my friend. It’s the skeptics who must fry.

      • Ooh, if we’re all pigs with big brains, hell’s gonna smell mighty tasty.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “long pork” – not a coinkydink.

        • Eeeeew. Been to any Eli Roth movies lately?

      • Greg G.

        I’m wondering why God would screen out the less gullible folks from heaven. Maybe God intends to play practical jokes for eternity and only wants people who will fall for them.

    • Sheila C.

      I don’t get this. Doesn’t the devil believe in God but still have the freedom to reject him?

      It’s like saying, “Behind one of these doors is a new car. Behind the other is a hungry lion. I won’t tell you which is which so that I don’t interfere with your freedom to pick whichever you want.” I think that I’d be LESS free in that case, not more!

      • MNb

        Not all christians believe in the devil though.

        • Scott_In_OH

          They all believe in some negative consequence for not following Yahweh/Jesus, though, even if it’s just missing out on true happiness.

        • MNb

          Yes, but that’s not enough to justify Sheila’s question “doesn’t the devil …..?” It’s a great one when we meet a christian who actually does, but an apologists who doesn’t will just shrug it off.

      • TheNuszAbides

        that dog won’t hunt; the guys who even bother to expend effort on ‘teasing out’ the metaphysics of Satan just come up with stuff like “angels and demons have no free will” (mind you, these tend to be guys who don’t care that they’re deriving their psychic-history from Milton’s poetry, because as most thinking folk reaize, scripture isn’t quite imaginative enough after a while.)

  • alverant

    I see a lot of special pleading on their part. It would be easy to flip their quotes around and direct them at christians. For example, “christians make a leap of faith because they want their beliefs to be true.” and “if christians admitted there is no god then they lose their authority to tell other people what to do.” I see nothing that gives them an advantage over another religion.

    • That symmetry is damning, yes. They they can’t even see this and at least attempt to throw up some sandbags may say how little they think of their audience.

    • the colosseum is full

      There is God , Jesus, he is alive from the dead & I am witness.. I don’t want to tell you what to do or how to live you life… I prefer you meet Jesus first.. then learn from him how to live your life… lol 🙂

  • Bob,

    I have written a comprehensive rebuttal to the first 9 chapters of Geisler’s and Turek’s book. Your readers might find it of interest:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2015/03/13/index-rebuttal-to-geislers-and-tureks-i-dont-have-enough-faith-to-be-an-atheist/

    Regards,

    • Excellent resource, thanks.

      I’d seen the Kelsos post here and was going to mention that in the final post in the series. Are they the same content?

      • Thanks!

        The post you’ve linked to is an announcement that Matthew Ferguson is going to contribute to the project. The content of the rebuttal, however, is found solely on the Secular Outpost.

  • “If the atheists are right, then we might as well lie, cheat, and steal to get what we want because this life is all there is, and there are no consequences in eternity. ”

    Not quite, but let’s have some fun by turning that around. If every soul’s eternal consequences turn on having the correct religious beliefs, then we can readily justify the comparatively fleeting torture and/or execution of nonconformists who might lead people to believe incorrectly and forfeit salvation, no?

    An absurd notion, I know. There’s no way anyone would think like that. Or certainly act on that thinking. For roughly the first fifteen to seventeen centuries of Christendom’s existence.

    • thephysicscanary

      dont even give that concession, even now this sort of thing happens, and a simple google search could see recent examples of people going through torturous experiences, sometimes dying, as they were believed to be harbouring demons (therefore forfeiting salvation)

    • Matt G

      Christians have it easier. They can lie, cheat and steal, and then ask God for forgiveness, which he always seems willing to grant, it seems.

      • wtfwjtd

        God isn’t too picky, is he? He never seems to be bothered by silly details, like restitution, or sincere apologies, or someone actually working to correct a wrong or change their behavior. As long as you ask him, and ONLY him for forgiveness, you’re good. Oh, and make a nice donation to one of his houses of worship, of course. Greasing God’s palm with a nice fat check always works wonders when it comes to forgiveness.

        • Reminds me of the time I borrowed $20 from someone. A week later, he asked for it back. I said, “Y’know, I was worried, because I don’t have it. But all that worry is gone now! I prayed to God, and he forgave me!”

          It was weird. He wasn’t as pleased as I thought he’d be.

        • Greg G.

          Three theists were talking about what they would do if they found a million dollars in cash. One said he would draw a circle on the ground, throw all the money up into the air, and any that landed outside the circle, he would give to God and keep the money inside the circle.

          The second said he would draw a circle and throw the money into the air. The money that landed inside the circle he would give to God and keep what landed outside the circle.

          The third said he wouldn’t draw a circle. He said he would give it all to God by throwing it into the air and only keep what God threw back down.

        • Kodie

          The first two never said what size circle they were going to draw either.

        • Ron

          Strange. Did you mention that Jesus already repaid your debt?

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s a blend of funny and creepy, what vocabulary falls into the overlap of soul-hoopla and economics. redeem, debt*, save … morally bankrupt? how the hell do you monetize morals?

          in English at least, there was an ‘update’ (or localized mutation or something) of the Lord’s Prayer at some point in which ‘trespass[ers]’ was changed to ‘debt[or]s’.

        • Ron

          Additionally, a fair number of Jesus’ teachings are contra riches and the accumulation of wealth. Perhaps he was really crucified for organizing Occupy Western Wall Street. 🙂

      • Moreover, the traditional thinking about Christian soteriology as a system of reward/punishment incentives that encourage moral behavior doesn’t seem to play out in the real world. Research that tries to control for all other factors has been finding that neither theists nor atheists have a clear edge when it comes to pro-social decision-making. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/would_the_world_be_better_off_without_religion_a_skeptics_guide_to_the_deba/

        Belief in an afterlife seems to be irrelevant, as a practical matter. We all pretty much act like balding apes with occasionally erratic impulse control.

    • Yeah, after all, if the chance is between temporary torture now, and eternal torture later, surely the choice is easy. This reasoning is exactly how people could kill and torture with a clear conscience, since it was to save souls.

      • TheNuszAbides

        its the pro-mortification, flesh-is-cheap-but-supposedly-life-isn’t angle that i wish had died out sooner. vitalism is finally fading into obscurity by sheer weight of evidence, and hopefully whatever we discover about consciousness won’t be hijacked wholesale by the powers that actually be.

        • I always found it odd how people could talk of how sacred human life is, yet so clearly despise much that makes us who we are. Really it’s the soul they love, and now that is slowly being eroded by science as well. That will probably be the next struggle. Like you, I hope findings about how the brain works are not going to be misused, but… *sigh*

        • TheNuszAbides

          yep, last century’s uberexplosion of the advertising industry is one big drop in the “not bloody likely” bucket.

        • That might be the least of our problems. Who knows what applications there could be in warfare or controlling the populace, for instance.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that’s why i changed my phrasing from “exhibit A” to “a drop in the bucket” (before posting).

        • Greg G.

          Yes, they could use psychology to get a desired response to a certain segment of the population. It was each individual brain having to fight the collective minds of the advertising industry. This century they are able to data-mine for the tendencies of each person and and advertise their manipulations directly at each person.

  • wtfwjtd

    “GT provides no evidence but simply makes a sweeping claim, a claim that could be made by any believer. He could just as easily say that Allah or Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster has given you plenty of evidence, so don’t tell me otherwise.”

    And herein lies yet another problem with Geisler and Turek’s thinking: How do we distinguish the truth claims they make in the name of the Christian God from the truth claims of any other religion or faith? What test, what criteria are used to make the distinction? Where they see the hand of the Christian God, I see the work of the Flying Spagetti Monster. With what criteria will they judge themselves correct, and my claim wrong? More “faith”, I suppose? This sounds more like a shell game to me.

    • Pofarmer

      Extended version of pascals wager.

  • Pofarmer

    At least now I know wnere some of the theists that come here are getting their crap arguments.

    • TheNuszAbides

      it’s just trying to patch over rogue curiosity by either redirecting it into some lame feel-good loop or stimulating the fear factors.

      just caught this a few days ago, pretty good breakdown of specific anxieties:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yXC4fVid4s

  • Nemo

    If you haven’t yet, I would suggest watching Steve Shives’ series on Youtube where he deconstructs this very book.

    On topic, the “atheists really agree but pretend not to” argument is always weak, but when the apologists try to actually explain themselves, it breaks down even further. For one thing, since when do scientists promote themselves as absolute authority figures? If you watch the remake of Cosmos, Neil is constantly talking about the importance of questioning your beliefs and acknowledging that scientists are only human. By contrast, Christian apologists openly admit they don’t care about following evidence where it leads; they instead want to distort the evidence, which can be seen in the mission statement of every creationist organization out there.

    Also, I find it hilarious how Turek dismisses Islam due to the violence contained in the Quran (yes, the Bible has it too, but I’m going to spot him a point here). Doesn’t this mean he is a hypocrite, though? He is rejecting the Quran because he doesn’t want it to be true as his primary reason. This is exactly what he just accused atheists of doing.

    As for this atheist, I rule out the supernatural because there’s no reason to assume it. If I were to give this speech to someone, and they were to cock an eyebrow, at which point I found myself hurtling through the air harmlessly, and they could repeat this and satisfy every test of skepticism, that would destroy my “antisupernatural bias” as Geisler and Turek call it. But that doesn’t happen. Anywhere. Ever. Instead, we get anonymous accounts of magic from superstitious locales where we can only take people’s word for it.

    • If I’m thinking of the same YT series you are talking about, I cannot endorse it because I spotted several errors when I started to watch it. (It’s not that the whole thing was bad. On the contrary, it did contain some good points. The problem is that they were mixed in with some bad points also.)

      Unfortunately it has been so long I cannot remember the examples. Sorry.

    • MNb

      “hurtling through the air harmlessly”
      Doing this is part of nature. If you pull this one off there is no reason at all to assume a supernatural explanation. You might want to read David Hume’s Of Miracles.

      http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/understanding/section10.rhtml

      • Nemo

        Errr……. I was trying to paint an image of someone using telekinesis to move me through the air, and being able to repeat the feat on demand. That would be very unnatural.

    • It is amazing how low a bar this book assumes. You’d think that the Christian readers would be insulted.

      (But you’d be wrong.)

      • the colosseum is full

        Christians are not called to be critical thinkers except of themselves…to purge out the old characteristics of the natural man, making room for that which is eternal, to remain and abide in them forever! 🙂 lol

        • No one cares about being “called”–that’s just pretend. However, you do owe it to yourself and society to use your brain to the fullest. Putting it on idle and coasting through life, sure that Jeezus is looking out for you (and ignoring any evidence to the contrary) is simply irresponsible.

        • the colosseum is full

          I own no man anything but love , and that is Jesus Christ… it is he that loved the world and laid down his life for sinners , among which I was , that as many as shall call upon his name shall be saved. 🙂

      • TheNuszAbides

        i reckon those who are both somewhat interested in rational thought and find GT … unimpressive simply ignore it under the rug. perhaps trolling through amazon reviews i’ll stumble over an exception, but not about to find out.

  • Hi Bob,

    I sincerely hope I don’t come across as nit-picking your article, but there were several items I would have worded differently.

    Let’s pause for a moment to consider the word “faith” in the title. Atheist [sic] will charge that it means belief poorly grounded in evidence or even in contradiction to the evidence. To rehabilitate their poor relationship with evidence, many Christian apologists today argue the opposite. For example, Christian podcaster Jim Wallace says it’s “trusting the best inference from the evidence.” Presbyterian leader A. A. Hodge said, “Faith must have adequate evidence, else it is mere superstition.”

    I’m not sure about the word “today.” It suggests this definition is a recent development. Is it?

    In any case, I think the most charitable way to handle the word “faith” is to recognize that atheists and Christians mean very different things by that word. Christians usually define “faith” by quoting Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” That definition of faith doesn’t entail belief without evidence, much less belief against evidence. Furthermore, that definition of faith is, in fact, compatible with an inference to the best explanation. On the other hand, it doesn’t require belief in the best explanation. As Hebrews 11:1 describes it, faith isn’t primarily about evidence anyway. At best, it’s compatible with what we might call indirect evidence. At worst, it’s compatible with belief in the absence of evidence or even belief against the evidence.

    Since your goal is to provide a rebuttal to Geisler and Turek’s book, it seems to me that the most charitable thing to do is to adopt their definition of faith. Now this is where things gets interesting. Wearing their “Christian” hat, they would probably define “faith” along the lines of Hebrews 11:1. Wearing their “anti-atheist apologetics” hat, they seem to be granting, but only for the sake of argument, the atheist definition of “faith” in order to mount a reductio ad absurdum argument against atheists. It’s as if they had written this:

    “We actually mean something very different by ‘faith’ than what atheists have in mind when they use that word. But let’s assume, only for the sake of argument, that we define ‘faith’ as the atheists do, as belief without evidence or even belief against the evidence. In THAT sense of the word ‘faith,’ we’re going to argue there is no good evidence to think God doesn’t exist, and extremely powerful evidence to think God does exist. In fact, the evidence is so powerful we think God’s existence is at least 95% probable. So, using the atheist definition of ‘faith,’ we don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”

    In my opinion, the fact that they felt the need to base their entire book upon this attempted reductio against atheism shows what a damaged brand the word “faith” is. Christians may indeed mean something different from atheists when they use the word “faith,” but it seems reasonable to think that many non-Christians, especially nontheists, don’t buy into their definition. So they’ve been forced to go on offense and try use the word “faith” against atheists.

    They have the evidence but refuse to believe it? Then what you’re describing is not an atheist.

    I am not sure how the second sentence follows from the first. An atheist could have evidence for God’s existence but still lack belief that God exists or even believe God does not exist. Here are two examples.

    First, like the student who gets the answer to a question on a math test wrong, an atheist could (hypothetically) simply reason poorly and arrive at the logically incorrect conclusion.

    Second, an atheist might think (a) one or more facts are more probable on the assumption that God exists; (b) other facts are more probable on the assumption that God doesn’t exist; and (c) the facts in (b) outweigh the facts in (a).

    • This becomes the free-will argument: God won’t force you to believe, because that would be an imposition.

      I think this misunderstands the argument. The claim is not that God won’t force you to believe “because that would be an imposition.” The claim is that God wants us to freely choose to follow, obey, love, and worship him. Maybe I am being dense, but the choice of wording (“imposition”) comes across as suggesting the issue is convenience, rather than freedom.

      In any case, my favorite reply to this familiar claim about free will is to point out that you can’t choose to have a relationship with a person you don’t think exists.

      Also, Justin Schieber (@Justinweh on Twitter) has a great meme on this:

      If God exists, he has not made his existence sufficiently clear to satisfy even those who wish he was real.— #RealAtheology (@Justinsweh) January 5, 2015

      Returning to your article:

      Wow—what planet are these guys from? How many atheists think that it’s fine to lie, cheat, and steal? Are the prisons filled with atheists? Do atheists not care about their reputations with their family and friends? Do atheists not have consciences?

      I think this reply misses the mark. Joe Sixpack will read this and say, “Yes, that’s exactly what I think of atheists.” And apologists will surely respond, “Yes, there are atheists who do that, but they’re simply acting inconsistently with or better than their atheism.”

      If you’ll indulge me, I think a better reply would be something like this:

      Geisler and Turek claim that by ruling out the supernatural, Darwinists can avoid the possibility that anything is morally prohibited. In fact, Geisler and Turek are tearing down a straw man of their own creation by linking ‘everything is permitted’ with the wrong ‘-ism.’ Contrary to what Geisler and Turek claim, neither atheism nor Darwinism says everything is morally permitted. That’s what nihilism says.

      In fact, at least in this instance, it is Geisler and Turek, not atheists, who are guilty of ruling out things in advance. Geisler and Turek can assume that atheism leads to nihilism only by assuming that some God-based theory of morality, such as the (Modified) Divine Command Theory is true.

      But that assumption is hotly contested, even by other theists. If someone read only Geisler’s and Turek’s book, they’d think the choices were “Theism and God-based morality” and “atheism and no morality whatsoever.” But that’s false. Bare or ‘mere’ theism says nothing about whether morality is based upon God. The belief that morality is somehow based upon God is an extra belief, on top of theism. Thus, Geisler and Turek not only beg the question against atheists, but they beg the question against other theists also.

      First, their argument begs the question against moral anti-reductionists (like G.E. Moore) who hold that moral facts and properties are not reducible to non-moral facts and properties. There are both theists and nontheists who hold this position.

      Second, their argument begs the question against reductive moral naturalists who hold that moral facts and properties are reducible to
      natural, non-moral facts and properties. As before, there are both theists and nontheists who hold this position.

      There are many other things I could say, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome (if I haven’t done so already), so I think I will stop here. 🙂

      • MNb

        “Maybe I am being dense”
        I’m afraid you are – or I am because of not understanding your subtlety. Imposing something on someone by force means robbing that someone of a free choice in my dictionary. Not in yours?

        Justin Schieber, as Herman Philipse makes clear in his excellent God in the Age of Science (have you read it?), is not talking about free will but about the problem of the Hidden God. So you’re shifting goal posts.

        “they’re simply acting inconsistently with or better than their atheism.”
        Of course I have met his one after years of internet discussions with believers. My follow up question is: “I have accepted an ethical system that doesn’t need god, ie a form of humanism. Can you point out where exactly the inconsistency is?”
        The answers are either silence or incoherent babbling.

        “But that’s false.”
        As far as I understand BobS that’s exactly the point of his questions you quote.

        If I remember correctly you’re a philosopher (I couldn’t find your CV, though didn’t exacly make a strong effort) so you care about precise formulations. I think that laudible. Amateurs though don’t. As a teacher physics I meet a lot of clumsily formulated stuff on internet. But clumsy doesn’t necessarily mean wrong. While I appreciate – and even enjoy – your precise formulations (there is no better way to please a teacher math and physics than by using unambiguous language) I do not really see where you disagree with BobS.

        • As I said, the word “imposition” had the connotation of inconvenience. If BobS meant “impose by your force,” then my comment doesn’t apply.

          Yes, I’ve read Herman Phillipse’s book. Yes, I know Justin was talking about so-called divine hiddenness. So were G&T. So was BobS. So was I.

          Of course I have met his one after years of internet discussions with believers. My follow up question is: “I have accepted an ethical system that doesn’t need god, ie a form of humanism. Can you point out where exactly the inconsistency is?”

          The answers are either silence or incoherent babbling.

          I guess raising the point of consistency is a fair reply if you are responding to a charge of inconsistency. I think that reply is incomplete, however, since there’s almost always a deeper problem lurking just below the surface. Theists are usually talking about *grounding* of moral values and/or obligations. Simply identifying or “accepting an ethical system” addresses moral epistemology (how we know right from wrong without God) but not moral ontology (what grounds or makes things morally valuable or obligatory).

          See my YT video:

          LINK

        • MNb

          Sorry, I’m a bad listener. I prefer reading, especially as I’m not a native English speaker.
          You could begin with explaining why I would need any ontology. Plus my epistemology is not yours. I do not claim that I know right from wrong. I have a method to decide, to form an opinion on what’s right or wrong (and recognize it’s an imperfect one – for one thing there is no reason why you should adopt it). Exactly because of this I don’t see why I should need to ground my ethical system.
          This ontology thing has made me scratch my head since quite a while, so I hope you won’t mind me bothering you with it now I have the chance.

        • No problem. After reading your comment, I think you can ignore my comment. If you don’t think moral values or duties are objective, then there is no point in talking about moral ontology.

          Of course, that comes with a well-known set of tradeoffs. If you view morality as something each individual decides for herself or himself, then someone else might decide on a different morality you find abhorrent. If you don’t think there is an objective fact of the matter which can be known and used to settle the disagreement, there would be no rational basis for deciding to choose one moral system over another.

          If, however, you think there is an objective fact of the matter which can be known and used to settle the disagreement, then you do need to think about moral ontology.

        • adam

          “Of course, that comes with a well-known set of tradeoffs. If you view morality as something each individual decides for herself or himself, then someone else might decide on a different morality you find abhorrent.”

          It is no different in CLAIMING objective morality from a ‘god’.

          I find punishing innocent people for the crimes of another abhorrent, but it is the FOUNDATION of the bible.

          I find genocide and slavery abhorrent, as well as treating women as chattel, but these again are foundations of the bible.

        • adam

          “(how we know right from wrong without God)”

          The REAL question is how do you know right from wrong WITH ‘god’?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt5gLf455Q8

        • Yes, I agree!

          It’s all fine and dandy to talk about “moral ontology” (what makes certain things right or wrong, good or bad), but without a solution to moral epistemology (how we know what is right or wrong, good or bad) saying there is an objective moral right and wrong isn’t helpful.

        • adam

          “saying there is an objective moral right and wrong isn’t helpful.”

          Then why go there?

          AGAIN:

          The REAL question is how do you know right from wrong WITH ‘god’?

        • A complete ethical system (or, to be precise, a complete metaethics) requires both moral ontology and epistemology.

        • adam

          The REAL question is how do you know right from wrong WITH ‘god’?

          I find blaming ignorance and innocent Adam and Eve for an unguarded fruit morally abhorrent.

          As I do that some guy who died a couple of thousand years ago can absolve anyone else of the evils of their life.

          The Flood, the genocide of the Cannanites, even Jesus describing how you should beat your slaves.

          I find all of this morally abhorrent.

          The REAL question is how do you know right from wrong WITH ‘god’?

      • “This becomes the free-will argument: God won’t force you to believe, because that would be an imposition.”

        I think this misunderstands the argument. The claim is not that God won’t force you to believe “because that would be an imposition.” The claim is that God wants us to freely choose to follow, obey, love, and worship him.

        Your version sounds good, but what I was responding to (tell me if this isn’t what GT were getting at) was the Problem of Divine Hiddenness, the idea that God simply making his existence plainly known would be an imposition or somehow violate your free will.

        Also, Justin Schieber (@Justinweh on Twitter) has a great meme on this

        I’m a big fan of Reasonable Doubts.

        “Wow—what planet are these guys from? How many atheists think that it’s fine to lie, cheat, and steal? Are the prisons filled with atheists? Do atheists not care about their reputations with their family and friends? Do atheists not have consciences?”

        I think this reply misses the mark. Joe Sixpack will read this and say, “Yes, that’s exactly what I think of atheists.”

        Thanks for your analysis. There are some interesting ideas there that are new to me.

        Back to thoughtless Joe Sixpack, I’m sure that he does think that, but it seems that a moment’s thought (which he is unlikely to spend) will shake his conclusion.

        The Geisler/Turek quote was, “If the atheists are right, then we might as well lie, cheat, and steal to get what we want because this life is all there is, and there are no consequences in eternity.” Sure, there are no consequences in eternity, but isn’t it obvious that consequences in society right now are more than enough to make atheist not lie, cheat, and steal? And that ignores our programming (biological and societal) that causes guilt.

        If you say that this won’t be compelling to many lay Christians, I’ll grant that, but the fault is theirs for being closed minded IMO.

      • Maybe I am being dense, but the choice of wording (“imposition”) comes across as suggesting the issue is convenience, rather than freedom.

        FWIW, i read that as impinging on our autonomy, not inconvenience.

      • adam

        ” The claim is that God wants us to freely choose to follow, obey, love, and worship him.”

        But it is not freely when under the threat of torture or death.

    • MNb

      Sorry, I don’t get this. You quote

      “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
      But evidence is exactly “that what we see” – ok, also hear, feel, taste and smell, but that isn’t crucial. So “assurance about what we do not see” means just “belief without evidence” indeed.

      “…. much less belief against evidence”
      I agree with this one. It’s a mistake many New Atheists make; a priori faith doesn’t need to contradict evidence.

      “it seems to me that the most charitable thing to do is to adopt their definition of faith”
      That may be charitable, but not necessarily the correct thing. Underneath I think I have shown that their definition of faith lacks discriminatory power and coherence. It’s a bad definition.

      “In THAT sense of the word ‘faith,’ we’re going to argue there is no good evidence to think God doesn’t exist.”
      I don’t know about BobS, but I don’t have any problem with this one. It’s consistent with the definition of god as a supernatural/ immaterial/ transcendental entity, for which there can’t be any evidence by definition. So this explanation of yours actually confirms that the atheist understanding of the word ‘faith’ is a correct one.

      “…. and extremely powerful evidence to think God does exist”
      And here it immediately gets incoherent as pointed out just above.

      “Then what you’re describing is not an atheist.”
      I share your doubt concerning this.

      • But evidence is exactly “that what we see” – ok, also hear, feel, taste and smell, but that isn’t crucial. So “assurance about what we do not see” means just “belief without evidence” indeed.

        I think we’re talking past one another, so allow me to give a non-theological example. According to astrophysicists, we have evidence of dark matter. But we do not experience dark matter through any of the five senses. We (or they) experience the evidence of the dark matter through the five senses, but not the dark matter itself.

        Along the same lines, theists can and do argue that people can experience the evidence for God through the five senses, without necessarily experiencing God through the five senses.

        In that sense (no pun intended), “assurance about what we do not see” does NOT mean just “belief without evidence.”

        That may be charitable, but not necessarily the correct thing. Underneath I think I have shown that their definition of faith lacks discriminatory power and coherence. It’s a bad definition.

        Re: your 2nd sentence, I don’t think so, especially the coherence part.

        I don’t know about BobS, but I don’t have any problem with this one. It’s consistent with the definition of god as a supernatural/ immaterial/ transcendental entity, for which there can’t be any evidence by definition.

        How is that true by definition?

        • MNb

          “Along the same lines, theists can and do argue that people can experience the evidence for God through the five senses.”
          That’s only shifting the problem. You don’t need to use a somewhat esoterical example like dark matter; just use electricity. Have you ever directly observed moving charges? Not me – only indirectly. Still moving charges belong to our natural reality. God doesn’t. Only natural entities like moving charges can provide indirect evidence, exactly because indirect evidence is also belongs to our natural reality. So “assurance about what we do not see” still means just “belief without evidence”. It’s irrelevant if that “see” is done directly or indirectly.

          “How is that true by definition?”
          Evidence – ie empirical facts – belongs to our natural reality. Btw I didn’t use the word “true” – I have strong dislike for it because apologists and philosophers use it in ambiguous meanings. It’s part of the apologist strategy of acquiring credibility by using a terminology that is reminiscent of science iso developing their own methodology.

        • In other words, you are engaging in a textbook example of ruling out even the mere possibility of evidence for God. (It’s one thing to say there isn’t any evidence for God. It’s quite another to say there cannot be evidence for God.) Good luck with that. 🙂

          I think that ruling out evidence for God by definition is not only false, but obviously false. Imagine the fossil record showed mammals, including humans, all the way down, even during the Precambrian. In other words, humans had existed for as long as life on Earth itself. If that were the case, that would be devastating evidence against biological evolution. But if there is no God, then biological evolution pretty much has to be true. So hypothetical evidence against evolution would be evidence for God.

        • adam

          Let me correct you:

          So hypothetical evidence against evolution would be ,hypothetical evidence for a hypothetical God.

        • I’m fine with the correction.

      • “…. much less belief against evidence”
        I agree with this one. It’s a mistake many New Atheists make; a priori faith doesn’t need to contradict evidence.

        No, it doesn’t. However, I do see the White Queen’s attitude (“Why, sometimes I believed six impossible things before breakfast”) in some Christian circles. Maybe snake handlers’ belief that they’ll be safe despite the fact that they’ve already been bitten 8 times. Or someone who is praised for believing that a miracle will fix their sick child.

    • Ron

      Regarding faith:

      Hebrews 11:1 is an extension of Hebrews 10, which outlines the things hoped for: atonement from sin and the preservation of the soul (i.e. eternal life in heaven).

      Does this sound like an evidence-based proposition?

      • LOL!

      • Do I think there is evidence for Hebrews 10’s claims of “atonement from sin and the preservation of the soul (i.e. eternal life in heaven)”?

        No, of course not.

        But we were talking about whether the word “faith” is *in principle* incompatible with belief based upon evidence. If you want to say that the scope of Hebrews 11 is determined by Hebrews 10, that seems reasonable to me. In order to be consistent, then, you’d need to say something like, “The Bible (or at least the Book of Hebrews) teaches that faith is about the hopeful belief in atonement from sin and eternal life, belief that Christians are supposed to have even without any evidence to back it up.”

        I could be wrong, but it seems to me there’s a problem with that. It seems to go against ordinary usage of the word “faith.” I don’t know of anyone who limits the scope of the word “faith” to beliefs about atonement and Heaven. So that leads me to think we must have gone wrong somewhere in limiting the scope of “faith” to what Hebrews 10 is about.

        • Ron

          Sure, it goes against the ordinary usage of the word. But your argument was that the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 “doesn’t entail belief without evidence, much less belief against evidence.”

          However, Strong’s defines faith (pistis) as “a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things.”

          This definition is consistent not only with verse 3 (“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God”) and verse 6 (“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”), but with everything that precedes and follows it.

          So apologists citing that verse have unwittingly restricted themselves to that definition of faith—whether they like it, or not.

    • adam

      “Faith must have adequate evidence, else it is mere superstition.”

      Faith IS superstition when you use the ‘biblical’ definition.

    • I sincerely hope I don’t come across as nit-picking your article

      No problem. I appreciate the input.

      I’m not sure about the word “today.” It suggests this definition is a recent development. Is it?

      That was what I was trying to convey, actually. From my very limited perspective, I see this definition of “faith” (to be equivalent to “trust”) a lot lately. It is possible that this intellectual version of the word has been there for a long time, but I think there may be a new emphasis on it.

      (To undercut my case, that quote from Hodge is quite old. It could be that I’m simply seeing much made about this definition, and it could’ve been alongside the other one for a while.)

      I think the most charitable way to handle the word “faith” is to recognize that atheists and Christians mean very different things by that word. Christians usually define “faith” by quoting Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” That definition of faith doesn’t entail belief without evidence, much less belief against evidence.

      No? Assurance in what we don’t see sounds evidence-less to me (though I grant you, it’s not contrary to evidence).

      The “belief without evidence” definition is a fine definition, and it’s helpful to have a word for that. Why make it synonymous with “trust” since you already have that word? But I’ve seen/heard a boatload of blogs or books or podcasts where the apologist is quick to give the more muscular definition, as if they’re tired of being beaten up by believing stuff for no good reason. But maybe that’s just in the narrow conservative circles that I’ve been traveling in.

      I have notes for a potential post about these two definitions of “faith.” I think I see apologists using the trust-y definition to outsiders but then switching to the blind-faith-y definition when necessary internally. But I need to work on making that case with examples.

      It’s as if they had written this:

      We actually mean something very different by ‘faith’ than what atheists have in mind when they use that word.”

      Do they? They seem squarely in the “faith = blind faith” camp with their quote from p. 26. I don’t remember any caveats that would suggest that they’re juggling two different definitions.

      Christians may indeed mean something different from atheists when they use the word “faith,” but it seems reasonable to think that many non-Christians, especially nontheists, don’t buy into their definition. So they’ve been forced to go on offense and try use the word “faith” against atheists.

      I’ll look out for this. What sticks in my mind is something more like, “Hey—we’re the ones with the faith, OK? We’ll define it our way, thank you very much. And we mean belief well supported by evidence.”

      ”They have the evidence but refuse to believe it? Then what you’re describing is not an atheist.”

      I am not sure how the second sentence follows from the first. An atheist could have evidence for God’s existence but still lack belief that God exists or even believe God does not exist.

      Maybe I misunderstood the book. My interpretation was that they’re imagining you and I having more than enough evidence to believe … and yet we willfully refuse to. Maybe it’s like when the doctor tells me I have cancer, but I refuse to intellectually accept that conclusion and assure myself that it’s not that big a deal.

      As an metacomment, I find our conversation interesting. Did you see Hemant’s recent post saying that the Duggars’ new show for counseling victims of sex abuse (or whatever) was little more than gossip and that we shouldn’t laugh prematurely? I like it when the atheists are the first to point out that a juicy story from the atheist perspective might be false. And here we’re trying to find the most charitable way to look at Geisler and Turek. Like you, I want to respond to what GT actually mean, not to a straw man.

      • GeraardSpergen

        We also mean something very different by the word “evidence”, apparently.

        • “We” meaning “Christians”?

          Tell me what these various definitions are.

        • Greg G.

          Evidence must have ambiguity. The existence of Earth proves that the Genesis account happened. Therefore, Adam and Eve committed original sin, therefore Jesus.

        • Kodie

          He meant “we” atheists mean something by evidence that Christians don’t seem to give a shit about.

          I mean, I made the same mistake as you but I did my research.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Like you, I want to respond to what GT actually mean, not to a straw man

        gee, it’s almost as though they deliberately eschewed clarity just to set up “gotcha” bait for any criticism. always good to see godless bloggers keeping a cool head.

  • L.Long

    When listened to carefully what most religious people say ….
    I’m still a tiny little kid and don’t know how to think and am terrified of the dark so I like the comfortable fairy tale (LIE) that my mommy told me to help me feel good. And as a bully (most are scared terrified little minds) I have no problem trying to force you to follow my fairy tale to help reinforce my BS so I can continue feeling good about the dark.
    Faith has little to do with it, It’s just the inability to grow up and face the dark!

    • MNb

      Faith and fear are far from mutually exclusive.

      • Pofarmer

        They may not be, but much faith is maintained by a fear of Hell. I’d even wager more than the promise of Heaven. I’ve read many times that Hell was the lever that kept a doubter in the faith.

        • MNb

          “much faith is maintained by a fear of Hell.”
          That’s one example I was thinking of. But even without the concept of Hell – fear of not going to Heaven and fear of not existing also maintain faith.

        • TheNuszAbides

          fear of any unknown; fear of guilt; fear of outsiders, foreign bodies etc.

      • Jim Jones

        Religion is spread by four basic methods:

        1. Deceit
        2. Fear
        3. Torture
        4. Murder

        It is always thus.

        • Zeke

          … and ruthless efficiency…. wait, our 5 methods are deceit, fear, torture, murder, and ruthless efficiency. …. and a fanatical devotion to the Pope. No, amongst our methods are deceit, fear……..

  • Sophie

    Pigs are lovely. If only we really were pigs with big brains. I can never comprehend why creationists find our common ancestry with other animals to be so offensive and distasteful

    • wtfwjtd

      “I can never comprehend why creationists find our common ancestry with other animals to be so offensive and distasteful”

      If they admit we actually have common ancestry with other animals, they are admitting their entire theology is wrong.

      • Pofarmer

        Yep, the whole thing falls in a pile. Christians don’t just want to argue from ignorance, they want to maintain ignorance as much as possible.

        • wtfwjtd

          The whole idea of “original” sin completely depends on the idea of there being two “original” humans to commit it–an idea which the field of genetics, among others, has now concluded did not happen. No wonder Christians are anti-science, since science directly and conclusively refutes their theology.

        • Pofarmer

          That was a big one for me. Knock out original sin, and the whole reason for Jesus vanishes into the mist. It’s theology built in Vapor, which is why it gets so many things dangerously wrong.

      • Michael Behe, the biologist who’s a darling of the Creationists, accepts common descent. (I wonder how many know.)

        • MNb

          I did!
          But I also know that creationists hardly ever care what other creationists say and think (wouldn’t you love sitting on the fence when Ken Ham debates Casey Luskin?). What matters to them is just one and only one thing: “I am no kin of no monkey!” Behe qualifies with flying colours.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          There are 3 major types of creationists: the Intelligent Designists, the Old Earth Creationists, and the Young Earth Creationists.

          The main difference between Inteliigent Designists and Old Earth Creationists is that the former believes that God designed life and fine-tuned lifeforms on a micro-scale while the latter believe that God designed the evolutionary mechanism which in turn designed and fine tuned life.

        • Greg G.

          There is an amusing crossover where some YECs argue for Intelligent Design but against evolution, completely unaware that common descent is part of ID. I think the big word that starts with “I” attracts them.

        • Kodie

          I’m going to have to say that is probably none of it. It seems quite popular to appropriate whatever works in their theology, so they care nothing about a formal movement with rules or standards of its own, and are marked by their significant ignorance and failure to read for comprehension, or even care what anyone else says or believes.

          If god created the world we live in only 6000 years ago, he must have designed it with his intelligence. It’s like using the terms “modern” or “contemporary” or even “classical” to describe furniture. Those movements refer to specific styles and designs, but the terms used to describe those eras of fashion don’t seem to fit. Modern or contemporary should be things that are new now, but they’re not. If god created the world, in relative terms, rather recently, he must have designed it intelligently. Those are dictionary words and not tied to any specifically defined hypothesis. These are the same people who think they can define what a family is, what love is, and what marriage is, and tell other people they don’t have one when they do.

        • Theistic evolution is an important omitted category–God nudged evolution now and again.

          Because the Catholic church accepts evolution (with that caveat), that makes the Creationists a minority in their own religion.

        • TheNuszAbides

          these are the folks i’m hoping will join hands with Ancient Astronaut fans sooner rather than later.

    • Especially when they think God made Adam out of dirt.

  • Scott_In_OH

    I’ve decided we’ve been too soft on the “God doesn’t want to force belief” argument. Typically we respond either that showing evidence of His existence doesn’t force fealty or that if He’s so worked up about free will, why doesn’t he protect the rape victim’s free will instead of the rapist’s.

    Here’s the thing: According to Christians, God is perfectly willing to force you to believe in His existence AFTER you’re dead and can’t do anything about it. That’s dickish to the nth degree.

    • Pofarmer

      He doesn”t want to force is to believe, but he’s fine with us if we don’t. That’s why a relationship with God has been called an abusive relationship. I need to read this again.

      http://atheism.about.com/od/whatisgod/p/AbuserAbusive.htm

      • Scott_In_OH

        Absolutely abusive to believers: You suck without me, but I love you anyway.

      • Aram McLean

        That’s a great write-up.

  • Frank

    Meanwhile God continues to exist.

    • Jeff

      Yes he does…in the sad, self-absorbed imaginations of delusional (i.e. religious) people.
      Oddly enough though, no where else.

      • Frank

        There is nothing you can do to remove the existence of God. Trying is quite pitiful.

        • Pofarmer

          I agree, Lord Vishnu is all powerful. Allah, ahkbar.

        • Frank

          Sad.

        • adam

          Sad indeed…

        • Pofarmer

          Tell it to a billion Hindus and a billion and a half Muslims.

        • Frank

          It is sad so many are deceived.

        • adam

          “It is sad so many are deceived.”

          Yes, it IS sad so many are deceived

        • Pofarmer

          I agree, will you welcome Lord Baal into your heart?

        • Heretic! The Invisible Pink Unicorn (glitter be upon him) is the one who demands your fealty!

        • Pofarmer

          How dare you! His noodly goodness will not be mocked!

        • Kodie

          God thinks you’re a terrible person, Frank.

        • Frank

          I am not interested in your small god.

        • Kodie

          I am not interested in your imaginary god.

        • What’s sad are the tears that baby Jesus is crying right now at your pathetic apologetics. Enough of your playground taunts–give us the information. Show us why the Christian position is correct.

        • Frank

          Embarrassing.

        • It is, my brother, it is. Perhaps now you’ll stop prancing around attempting witty bon mots and actually make arguments to support your position.

        • Frank

          Doubling down is even more embarrassing for you. Your choice.

        • Frank, you truly have a divine gift of meaningless, unhelpful bullshit. Praise God!

          What’s the end game? Just hang out, be an asshole, and enjoy the abuse leveled at you? Make baby Jesus cry?

          My vote: declare victory and leave.

        • Well, I’d say he’s already declared victory, so we’re halfway there . . . .

        • Frank

          Victory is assured. Thank you!

        • The gibberish is strong in this one.

        • Kodie

          Somebody on the internet is mad.

        • Frank

          I know. You would think that atheists would be more happy. And yet….

        • adam

          “There is nothing you can do to remove the existence of God. Trying is quite pitiful.”

          Pitiful indeed…

        • Rare Bat

          Saving this…

        • adam

          Good, because Frank won’t….

        • Jeff

          That’s what’s so great about ‘god’…when something doesn’t exist, I don’t HAVE to remove him.
          *POOF* He’s already not there!
          What’s truly pitiful (and increasingly dangerous) is the insistence made by egomaniacs and self-important Hallucination-worshippers that their flights of fantasy be accepted by everyone, up to and including the government, as absolutely factual, regardless of what those pesky little ‘facts of reality’ say.
          So Franky, if you have irrefutable evidence of your god’s existence, then why don’t you do what no other human being has done in history – reveal it to the world and shut up all unbelievers, be they atheists, agnostics, or those sad, doomed people who believe in some other god besides yours (the Only True God, as we all know).
          I’m sure you’re just the intellect the world of believers has been waiting for.

        • Frank

          What an embarrassingly ignorant diatribe.

        • Jeff

          So…no evidence huh?
          Well I’m just shocked.

        • Pofarmer

          Godisimaginary.com

        • An excellent list. That makes current bloggers like me despair, since older web sites like this one have such great information.

        • Pofarmer

          His is a different type of work than yours, but he does make some pretty profound insights. I really like how he talks about prayer in a world where an all knowing God has a perfect plan. Ie, it’s pointless.

        • MNb

          I have known the list for several years. I think it’s poor – not per se because it’s wrong, but mainly because of sloppy formulations.
          However I can see how it is a great source for inspiration for you.

        • adam

          You should be embarrassed Frank…

        • MNb

          If you don’t care about logic, consistency and coherence, no there is nothing we can do.

        • Unrepentant Atheist

          Why do you think there is nothing that can be done? All you need to do is to get people to reason and want to learn. Then the religion disappears on its own.

        • Frank

          Religion can disappear, God will not.

        • Unrepentant Atheist

          What is a god if there is no one to believe in him? Afraid of going the way of the old Greek or Norse gods?

        • Frank

          God doesn’t require your belief or acceptance to remain God.

        • Unrepentant Atheist

          When he is a man made delusion he does.

          We still haven’t uncovered evidence he exists before deciding what he would do.

          So the only thing we can prove is that the Bible exists and has a teaching. One that is filled with slavery, child sacrifice, forced marriage/rape, and other such atrocities.

        • Frank

          Yes it is filled with people affected by sin.

        • Unrepentant Atheist

          So sin is evidence, that God exists. Yet the only thing that describes “sin” is the Bible.

          Sin doesn’t exist. At least not in the “your bad deeds make you smell funny to God” sort of way.

          We all have the capacity to do right or wrong, and in my view, there are some concepts in the Bible that are just plain heinous.

          So it is not the end all be all of morality. Sin is only a word to say, “God doesn’t like these things, so he doesn’t like you when you do them”.

        • Frank

          Gods morality is eternal and all encompassing.

        • Unrepentant Atheist

          Faith. Gotta love it when they go all glossy eyed and robotic.

        • Kodie

          So how much money do they give you.

        • Unrepentant Atheist

          Gods morality is evil.

        • Frank

          Only to those without morality.

        • MNb

          Yup – god’s morality is evil to those without gods morality. God’s morality is good to those who worship an immaterial Führer.
          Like you.

        • Frank

          My gosh grow up. It’s embarrassing.

        • Another zinger! Wow–how’d you get to be so clever?

          Short comments are good. Next time, add some content.

        • Frank

          I know, I know, the truth can hurt and certain,y can be inconvenient.

          More than a one liner hasn’t been necessary yet.

        • MNb

          Sure. At the other hand you haven’t provided anything that even remotely resembles anything that could be called truth – because you have provided exactly nothing. That explains why nobody here has been hurt or felt inconvenient.

          More than a one liner you are not capable of producing. Anything else than amusing me you’re not capable of either.
          Like every single empty barrel.

        • Frank

          Oh the irony of calling me an empty barrel when you whole worldview is empty. Carry on!

        • Kodie

          How is it empty?

        • Frank

          A belief system that relies on what it’s against, relies on criticizing other beliefs is bankrupt. And all it produces are bitter and angry people as proven daily.

        • Kodie

          We weren’t trying to make you bitter and angry, that’s your fucking problem.

        • Frank

          Reduced to the “I’m rubber, you’re glue argument.” So very telling.

          Carry on.

        • Kodie

          You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t bitter and angry. You seem bitter and angry. What “I’m rubber, you’re glue,” I’m not the one who is a big baby who can’t handle that some people don’t support his delusion, Frank.

        • Frank

          You can believe what you like. The only bitter and angry people i see here are claiming atheism.

          I can’t fix your ignorance. Not about God, not about you and certainly not about what’s happening right here on these boards.

        • Kodie

          Then why are you here, to be a judgmental piece of shit?

        • Frank

          I just came by and mentioned God. You all just exposed yourselves.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The first marginally constructive thing you’ve said and guess what, it’s so wrong.

          Embarrassing your self much…yes you are, a tit.

        • Frank

          And yet you and others prove me right daily. Wake up!

        • MNb

          ??
          I haven’t told you anything about my worldview.
          Ah, just another christian fool who doesn’t understand Matth. 7:1.

        • Frank

          Thanks for exposing your ignorance of that verse. How embarrassing for you.

        • More than a one liner hasn’t been necessary yet.

          To be an irrelevant and meaningless asshole, yes. You haven’t done anything to shore up the crumbling foundation of your faith, though.

          I hear baby Jesus crying …

        • Frank

          Thanks for the confirmation that nothing of substance needed here.

        • MNb

          Everything that’s embarrassing in the eyes of someone who worships an immaterial Führer – like you – is a compliment.

        • Frank

          Keep up the good work. Thanks for your support!

        • adam

          Frank you SHOULD be embarrassed…

        • Frank

          I know I know this is all you have. Bankrupt. Thanks for the continuing confirmation.

        • adam

          Only to those with morality

        • Frank

          Your ignorance is quite embarrassing. You are the best case against atheism. I don’t have to do anything. Thank you!

        • adam

          What ignorance?

          YOUR ‘bible god’….

        • Unrepentant Atheist

          If you claim the Bible as your morality, I’d happily live without it.

          You have shown yourself to be a religious troll. I shall not feed you any more. Come back when you have shed your ignorance.

        • Frank

          Yes you have no choice but to run away.

        • MNb

          Zeus, Thor and Quetzalcoatl don’t require your belief or acceptance to remain Zeus, Thor and Quetzalcoatl.

        • adam

          YOUR ‘god’ will die with YOU, Frank…

        • Frank

          No but you are welcome to believe any fantasy you choose.

        • adam

          Yes, because when your IMAGINATION dies, so does your IMAGINARY god.

        • adam

          Imaginary ‘God’s exist as long as imaginations exist.

        • Frank

          So true. It’s a good thing I don’t believe in an a imaginary god.

        • adam

          “So true. It’s a good thing I don’t believe in an a imaginary god.”

          So demonstrate this ‘god’ to us that exists outside the imagination.

        • rationalobservations?

          There’s nothing anyone can do to prove the existence of any of the many thousands of “gods” dreamed up by men.

          There has never been anyone who could justify or validate the origin of the NT bibles (plural – there are dozens of diverse and different versions).

          Can you provide extant, verified and verifiable evidence based answers to these questions?

          1) Can you refer to any extant 1st century originated evidence of the life and times of a messiah claimant later Greek scribes employed by the 4th century Romans named “Jesus”?

          2) Can you name a complete bible text that dates prior to the oldest/first 4th century Codex Sinaiticus christer bible and matches any complete text within the oldest/first 4th century originated Codex Sinaiticus?

          3) Are you aware of and can you explain the almost endless differences between the oldest/first 4th century Codex Sinaiticus bible and those many diverse and different versions of bibles that followed it? Can you explain why significant passages regarding the later inserted “resurrection” myth are missing from the oldest NT bible?

          4) Are you aware of, and can you explain; the confusion and internal contradiction, historical inaccuracies and scientific absurdity that is contained within and between all the diverse and different versions of christer bibles today?

          5) Can you explain the complete absence from Jewish literature and tradition of the Jewish messianic prophesies that the god-man “Jesus” is claimed to have fulfilled?

          6) Can you explain why “Jesus” (according to the legends within bibles) fails to meet the specification of messiah that actually exists within Jewish literature and tradition? The clincher being that the “true messiah” will be a mortal human king fathered by a human and in the direct paternal descendant line of “David” – NOT a god-man fathered by a god like all the Pharaohs, Roman emperors, Hercules/Herakles and thousands more god-men that predate the 4th century originated legends of “Jesus”.

          I hope you can provide evidence based answers to these questions and note that your opinion, the recycled opinions of others or reference to cut-n-pasteapparently human authored fiction from within any of the many diverse and different contemporary bibles, or the very first/oldest 4th century bibles – just doesn’t conform to the definition of “evidence”.

        • Frank

          God is not a dream.

          As for the rest there’s nothing compelling enough to respond to that already hasn’t been responded to.

    • adam

      “Meanwhile God continues to exist.”

      And so does Spiderman…..

      • Frank

        I know, I know… This is your best…. I know….

        • adam

          NO, it is YOUR best…..

        • Frank

          Shhhh… I’ll be ok… There, there….

        • Do you do any other tricks? How about giving us a reason for believing in your remarkable claim, that God exists?

        • D Sims

          Actually Bob all I have to do is look at you, me and the history of our species and I come to a quick conclusion that if this is the height of intelligence then we are in for a rude awakening by something one day.

        • adam

          Aliens are actually the height of intelligence, you can tell by how they use obscure ‘crop circles’ that can easily be made by humans to communicate with us.

        • And what specifically discourages you? That it’s the 21st century and we’re still arguing about the supernatural?

        • D Sims

          Nothing discourages me in the slightest Bob. Why would you ask that? I just simply pointed out the obvious. A species that only can live a few decades is trying to define life and make claim that they are the highest form of intelligence known to man. If you really want evidence, then the real world evidence reveals that a man who believes that there is nothing greater than himself is actually the most unintelligent creature in all of creation. In comparison to all of creation both known and unknown we are at the bottom not the top.

          To sustain the belief that there is no God,
          atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.”
          So no Bob, no discouragement in the slightest on my side of belief.

        • adam

          “To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge,

          This is UNTRUE

          Atheism is simply the disbelief in deity.
          IF that deity is REAL, then our disbelief is based on ignorance

          It is ONLY the theist who claim to KNOW and have ‘infinite knowledge” of such a being.

          The rest of us NEED INFORMATION about this deity in order to believe as you do.

          Are you capable of providing such information?

        • Pofarmer

          “In comparison to all of creation both known and unknown we are at the bottom not the top.”

          Please explain.

          “To sustain the belief that there is no God,
          atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.” ”

          Not at all. All I have to say is that you haven’t proven your specific God beliefs, which you haven’t even elucidated, to be true. It’s not based in infinite knowledge, it’s based in lack of proof.

        • “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.”

          That’s certainly not what I say. Maybe you need to rethink your position.

        • D Sims

          If that is not what you actually believe about yourself then you are on the road to discovering something greater than yourself.

        • Kodie

          You speak a lot of empty words.

        • MNb

          Yes – but not necessarily your god.

        • I doubt it. I’m probably too stupid. Luckily I have you as a guide.

          Tell me. What is this “greater thing,” and what is the evidence for it?

        • MNb

          “make claim that they are the highest form of intelligence known to man. If you really want evidence, then the real world evidence reveals that a man who believes that there is nothing greater than himself”

          “Highest form of intelligence” and “nothing greater than himself” are not nearly the same. Personally I think these guys

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

          greater than me.
          Obviously you have seen the Son of God.

          Plus I don’t think human intelligence unique.

          http://www.cracked.com/article_18930_6-amazingly-intelligent-animals-that-will-creep-you-out.html

        • No. Atheism, inasmuch as that’s an actual thing, is only the acceptance that there’s no evidence to the existence of any deities. I will go further and say that there is no evidence of anything supernatural.

        • Otto

          Who says this is the height of intelligence? Not the atheists here, we accept evolution which means there is a good possibility better intelligence can develop.

          Theists think God created us and that this is the best possible outcome, and his best work. That argument works against your God belief far more than it helps it.

        • D Sims

          Then tell me Otto, who do you believe is greatest in intelligence of all the species?

        • Otto

          Right now going with what we know, humans have the highest intelligence. That doesn’t mean there isn’t or couldn’t be other life in the universe that has higher intelligence nor does that mean humans would always be the most intelligent in the future.

          Back at you, who do you believe is of greatest intelligence of all the species?

        • D Sims

          I spent a number of years following and researching the wisdom of man and found it completely unreliable and all over the map when it comes to direction. Truly the path of man is wide and no doubt many follow their favorites.
          Several years ago I heard the intelligence of God in Jesus and decided to follow Him. His wisdom, guidance and direction is pure, peaceful and reliable.
          So, to me, Christ is the highest intelligence that is tried and true.

        • Otto

          Jesus isn’t a species…

          not to mention there is no compelling reason not to think anything regarding Jesus doesn’t derive from man. I still don’t know of one thing Jesus supposedly said that was an original concept of his.

        • D Sims

          As I said, I spent many years following and researching the wisdom of man. In this earthly life man is “suppose” to be the one blessed with reasoning powers and intellect. As we all know if we have reviewed the history of man they will not win any awards for doing the right thing on a consistent basis.

          So it is either I settle for that like you have or look out into the created universe and realize that there has to be something greater than our self. As I searched I found the Logos of God to be much higher thoughts than any man has spoken. As far as one thing that Jesus said that was original. Then way are so many men trying to discredit Him? Trust me there is much more out there than just you and me and our little few decades of living on a planet.
          Got to go Otto, the wife is wanting some popcorn! Have a blessed evening Otto!

        • Otto

          You didn’t address a thing I said or asked.

          I don’t find Jesus to be nearly as intelligent as you do, nor do I see any indication that he had higher thoughts than any man.

          “Then way are so many men trying to discredit Him?”

          Because there are lots of people like yourself that make ridiculous claims about Jesus such as the ones you have made here. It is pretty awful logic to conclude because people refute your Jesus claims he therefore had a positive teaching that was original to him. That is literally a non-sequitur.

        • D Sims

          Otto, I get it you do not see beyond the natural but what did I not answer? You asked me what is the greatest intelligence of all the species and I told you that In this earthly life man is “suppose” to be the one blessed with reasoning powers and intellect. Like you, many simply rest their case with that. But all of creation around me told me something much different. Man has so many differing opinions that even Atheists and Christians are divided in thought. If a house is divided it will not stand. It cannot stand.
          What makes the thoughts of mankind so diverse is the fact we can make our own reasoning and choices. So if you can go through life and enjoy a good meal and then deny that someone prepared it then this is a human right that you have.
          You have already made your mind up as with most on this post. They all cry for evidence and yet live completely by faith in so many areas of this life. In all honesty, if a family member would rise from the dead and tell you there is something greater than yourself you and most all of your friends on here would still demand further proof. Man by nature wants to be the king on the mountain. We love ourselves a lot and this is the reason we fight so much within our own species.
          My advice Otto, is eat, drink and be merry and enjoy your short little existence as your own god.

        • Kodie

          Your example of a meal as evidence of someone preparing it is not even the same. The earth is no evidence of any creator, and if that’s the reasoning you use to get to belief, it’s very poor. Someone rising from the dead would be pretty impressive evidence, but that never happens. Your idea about the arrogance of humans is why they created a god. You have to believe all this is just for you.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i think Greg borrowed the keys to someone else’s sock.

        • MNb

          “But all of creation around me told me something much different.”
          Told you. Ie more human wisdom, totally unreliable according to you own words.

          “In all honesty, if a family member would rise from the dead and tell you there is something greater than yourself you and most all of your friends on here would still demand further proof.”
          In all honesty, if somewhere in the interior of the Amazon and/or New Guinea a lost tribe would be found (ie not having had contact with western civilization for at least 2000 years) that had a story similar to the Gospels (core elements: the claim of divinity, the preaching, the torture and the coming alive trick) that would be a hard blow to my worldview. An alien civilization also will do.
          You’re invited. But it’s rather typical that no such thing happened since the voyagers of discovery started to cross the oceans in the 15th Century.

        • D Sims

          It would not matter if 300 lost tribes would be found, the nature of man is still focused on himself. I totally get your way of thinking as I was the same. We both are of the same species and even though the views of mankind are all over the map concerning just about everything in life, our base nature is pride. Pride is not going to submit to much of anything except itself. This is the downfall of our nature, our ego and refusing to see beyond our little dying world.
          Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.

        • MNb

          “It would not matter if ….”
          It would matter to me. I just wrote it down. So no, you don’t get my way of thinking.

          “our base nature is pride”
          Perhaps, but your religion does nothing to remedy it. You know what does? Science.

          “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

          Richard P. Feynman

          I have experienced this myself – repeatedly.

          “Atheism turns out to be too simple.”
          Too simple for what exactly?

          “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.”
          The second doesn’t follow logically from the first. This is just a non-sequitur.

        • D Sims

          Oh, yes, science, the god of man. Read the other day some honest Physicists confess they actually only understand about 3-4 % of the universe and that was stretching it. Yes, we humans know the truth and the truth has set us free.

        • Unlike religious people, scientists do not pretend to know things they can’t possibly know and also will admit that they could be wrong. That is a virtue of science, not a flaw. Certainty about what you can’t actually prove is delusion.

        • D Sims

          Like religious people, science will never understand everything. According to much of science man has evolved over millions of years and yet their brilliant minds have barely scrapped the surface. Of course like atheists, not all of the scientist can agree on many things and so goes the notion that man is his own creator. So what you consider a virtue many of us consider it typical for mankind and his many paths of self effort.

        • Yes, we have barely “scrapped” the surface.

          Who claimed “man is his own creator”? Where did you get that strawman?

          You believe what cannot be proven and are proud of insisting on things that are true that may not be so. After all, it’s not as if all the religions agree on much of anything, and each religion has multiple branches. Christianity alone has thousands! If any of you has proof, why can’t you convince all the others that yours is right?

        • MNb

          “Like religious people, science will never understand everything.”
          Possible. That’s not the point. The point is that even with what little science understands here and now it’s totally superior to every single religion. Religion understand exactly 0%; it only excels at making unsubstantiated claims. You confirm that on this very page.

          “so goes the notion that man is his own creator.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! No scientist and hardly an atheist makes that claim. You’re projecting your own vanity, pride and arrogance.

        • MNb

          “honest Physicists confess they actually only understand about 3-4 % of the universe and that was stretching it.”
          Exactly! Realizing this makes me humble. You at the other hand claim to understand 100% of more than the Universe with

          “Yes, we humans know the truth and the truth has set us free.”
          That’s what you claim, not me. I don’t have any use for the word truth regarding understanding the Universe.

        • Kodie

          Religious people have an inordinate amount of pride and arrogance, don’t you agree? The world has to have meaning and purpose for just you! Life is extended beyond life just for you! People on earth can’t love you enough, you need more. If you have whatever the elders call “too much pride,” you’re not going to submit to the superstitions of a small-minded group that pretends they aren’t the arrogant ones.

        • D Sims

          You are exactly right Kodie, religious people have a huge amount of pride and arrogance. That is why I reject religion and follow Jesus.

        • Kodie

          That’s an extremely prideful statement.

        • D Sims

          Remind me never to agree with you again. 🙂

        • Kodie

          I’m not the cause of your troubles.

        • Greg G.

          Which Jesus? One of the Jesus’s promoted by religions or the one you made up yourself?

        • adam

          “That is why I reject religion and follow Jesus.”

          So you have YOUR OWN self created ‘religion’ and you have YOUR OWN idol.

          What makes YOURS better than the rest?

        • hahaha

          This is my favorite meme among Christianists. They don’t have a religion. They have a “personal relationship with Jesus”. (Note: it’s why some of us call praise chorus music “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs)

        • D Sims

          It is all about the sanctity of life. If you are married I am sure you did not enter into an agreement with your spouse to be roommates. The beauty of life is the establishment of relationship. Relationships that give man happiness, trust and builds bonds that are unique to our species. So with mocking personal relationships this only reveals you yet have come to an misunderstanding of the great gift of life.

        • I know what a relationship is. *eyeroll* And I’m not mocking the idea of relationship. Just the idea that what you have is different from other religions because you claim to be dating your deity. btw, other species have relationships too. Perhaps they are different from ours (that would be an interesting thing to read about. I’m sure animal behavioralists have studied pair bonding in other species. Book recs anyone?) but not so much from what I have observed.

          btw, if your is not a religion, then does that mean the the first amendment does not apply to you then because that’s freedom of religion, not freedom of “relationships.”

        • D Sims

          ” Just the idea that what you have is different from other religions because you claim to be dating your deity.”
          Just so you will not have another *eyeroll*, I am sure you could probably figure out or already know the real difference between organized religion and a personal religion/relationship. The word “religion” has turned into a negative over many years even though it can still mean something of value in the right context.
          The simple fact is, I do not go to a building every week to follow a set formula of religious exercises, get a wafer in my mouth and then go out the door and say, “what a good little boy am I.” This is usually what organized religion produces in a person who simply goes through the motions as one part of their American dream.

          As with any heart issue there is a personal and deep relationship that is build over time. As I know Christ more and more over time my heart is effected and my living is changed.
          Simple as that.
          I do not comment on these particular articles to throw egg on someones face or convert someone. I like the expression of ideas and a good healthy debate. I appreciate your respectful conversation and even though we do not see things the same I am glad we had the opportunity to discuss.

        • Kodie

          What you actually have is a relationship with yourself. You altered your own way of thinking and being, and if you feel like that has improved your life, no supernatural powers needed. No supernatural existence could even explain how that happens better than science.

        • D Sims

          Why is it so very important for you that I stop putting my personal faith in something greater than myself? How will that effect your life? I am not in the slightest trying to convert you to have a change of mind. You choices are a great gift of humanity and you alone will determine what purpose the few decades (if you are privileged) you have on this decaying planet will be.
          Kodie, eat, drink and be merry for sometime you will die and that is it. There are no re do’s.

        • MNb

          “Why is it so very important for you that I stop putting my personal faith in something greater than myself?”
          Why is it so very important for you that you represent your testimony about your faith on this atheist blog? How will that affect your life? We are not in the slightest trying to deconvert you. We didn’t even invite you.

          “Kodie, eat, drink and be merry for sometime you will die and that is it.”
          Pretty good advise. Now add “help others to be merry as well” and you’re a humanist and can forget about god. Or keep him, whatever you like.

        • D Sims

          MNb, I am only posting on here to offer an alternate discussion to Bob’s articles. I have nothing against Bob and I would guess that he would welcome other thoughts even if it disagrees with his own. I could be wrong. If so, then I would be more than glad to leave this site and never return. Did not realize that it was strictly for atheists.

        • MNb

          Nice strawman.
          You asked Kodie some questions.
          I asked you similar questions. They implied the answer to yours: because you take the effort to comment here.
          Unsurprisingly you are suddenly reading much more into it – like I wrote, resulting in a nice strawman.

          “I would guess that he would welcome other thoughts even if it disagrees with his own.”
          He does. But you didn’t ask your questions to BobS. You asked them to Kodie, which makes this remark totally irrelevant.

          “I am only posting on here to offer an alternate discussion to Bob’s articles.”
          Just don’t pretend to be surprised that you get push back, from for instance Kodie. Assuming that it’s important to her where you put your faith in makes you look like a jerk. You only do so because you want to silence her, which is jerkish behaviour.

          “If so, then I would be more than glad to leave this site and never return.”
          If you feel like, go ahead. There is nothing I can do to stop you. Trying to shift the responsibility for your decision on me again makes you look like a jerk.

          “Did not realize that it was strictly for atheists.”
          Implying that I said so makes you even more look like a jerk. I wrote that we didn’t invite you and hence there is no reason for us to accommodate you. It’s you who has to swallow or choke. Nobody here is going to change just to make you feel good.

          Thanks for not answering my questions. That makes clear your questions to Kodie were insincere, as I already suspected.

        • All civil and thoughtful people are welcome here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even some uncivil and thoughtless too.

        • Touche. I’m too nice to the jerks.

        • MNb

          Don’t change. Then I can have more fun.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was just thinking of when I’m uncivil. Although I claim that there comes a time one being uncivilly is called upon.

          As for being thoughtless, I won’t mention any names, but those that know, know.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s that damned long fuse of yours.

        • Greg G.

          But what about me?

        • MR

          Drah-ma!

          MNb is just inviting you to turn your own question around on yourself. No need to play the victim card.

        • Kodie

          It’s important for me that people like you have rebuttal to your ideas, as long as you find some reason to air them. It’s important to me, if you think you’re correct, that you know not just that some people don’t agree, but why. Are you such a bad listener?

        • D Sims

          I appreciate that you welcome rebuttal and the opportunity to air my ideas. We both are fellow humans with differing experiences and I respect your right as well. I may have over reacted to your post and for that I apologize. I work in ministry in the inner city. We deal with all kinds of human issues and homelessness. It takes a lot of patience, love and mercy and it is very necessary to also be a good listener.

        • Kodie

          I am only reading your testimony and telling you what it sounds like to an atheist. You haven’t said anything so far that requires following Jesus to accomplish. You act like it gives you some magical new behavior and social skills that you didn’t have before, and all I can see is human channels, and your will to reform yourself, which you did by yourself, not with Jesus’s help, but with some words written by someone that inspired you to change within yourself. Without any god. Dumbo doesn’t think he can fly without a “magic feather.”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TXSQBtDXVI

        • D Sims

          Kodie, I hope you realize that it is impossible to judge another person until you actually get to know them. It is impossible to read a few paragraphs on a comment section and come to any just conclusion. Talk is cheap. You watching my life over time will give you more evidence than a few posts. Of course it works the same with you. I would learn more about you after watching your life.

          I will say it once again. I am not trying to convert anyone. I am responding to an article and then trying to respond to some honest dialog with others. That is all. Jesus never said everyone will believe and follow Him. Matter of fact, He said the exact opposite. ” But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

        • Kodie

          Religions occur to me very much like diets. People who lose some weight with one diet often can’t shut up about that diet and how everyone needs to get into it, it’s the only way to lose weight. It’s not the only way to lose weight. It’s the method they found effective to lose weight. They become practically evangelical, as I’m finding you to be about how your life improved after you included your trip to Jesus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jesus nev er said everyone will believe and follow Him. Matter of fact, He said the exact opposite. ” But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

          Jesus is not known to have said anything. Some folk may have heard a story about someone they were told was called Jesus saying something, but that may, or may not be the case. Hearsay is all you’ve got.

        • MR

          I love the Dumbo analogy. It’s tragic in a way that people don’t give themselves their own credit.

        • adam

          “As I know Christ more and more over time my heart is effected and my living is changed. ”

          Unless you demonstrate that your “Christ” is anything but IMAGINARY, how are you NOT just committing idolatry.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • MNb

          Agreed. Personal relationships happen to be bilateral though. A relationship with a guy who has been physically dead for 2000 years at the other hand is unilateral. And unilateral relationships – ie one party only gives, the other one only takes – are called abuse.
          It looks like you’re the one who misunderstands the great gift of life – a gift I of course received from my parents.

        • Otto

          Ah yes, there is no pride in thinking you have figured out the meaning of the universe and that you are personal friends with the creator of the universe. Why is it that the things Christians like yourself complain about in others is the very things you exhibit yourselves?

        • D Sims

          Otto, I will never figure out much of anything. Matter of fact no one will. That is why I am thankful for faith. It gives me substance even when I cannot understand.

        • Otto

          You claim to have figured out the universe has a meaning, a personal meaning directed at you. Your humble-brag is noted.

        • D Sims

          Otto I do appreciate the respectful and civil discussion we have had.

        • Otto

          I noticed you never did answer the question…and don’t ask me which question.

        • adam

          “Why is it that the things Christians like yourself complain about in others is the very things you exhibit yourselves?”

          It is like with the whole story of ‘redemption’
          They are trying as hard as possible to avoid taking responsibility for what they do in THIS life.

          By projecting this on others and denying it in themselves, they delude themselves on blaming everyone else and freeing themselves of responsibility.

        • Otto

          I asked what species you think is the greatest intelligence of all the species…the same question you asked me. You answered Jesus, Jesus isn’t a species, you didn’t answer the question. While man has the capability to use reason and logic, man does not always do so and your answer to that question demonstrates that.

          In all honesty, if a family member would rise from the dead and tell you there is something greater than yourself you and most all of your friends on here would still demand further proof.

          Just because you think it is a good idea to accept baseless claims of others on their say so doesn’t mean it is. If you want to be a gullible fool that is your choice.

          My advice Sims is to keep thinking your Christian superstitions are real, that the most wise being ever (Jesus) decided that the best way to spread the message of his existence was in a very small part of the world thousands of years ago among people that didn’t understand things about the world we live in that my 10 year old knows. Believe that this wise Jesus couldn’t even write one word down himself to be passed on to the rest of humanity, he had to rely on the ‘lowly species of man’ to do his communicating (because remember, everything we know about Jesus and his life comes from other men, and you don’t trust men to do the right thing). Keep believing you will receive some ultimate award for your loyalty, you will sleep better at night. I also recommend you convince yourself you have a million dollars buried in your back yard, delusion is a powerful thing to be used for your mental security.

        • Which species has the greatest intelligence of all species?

          It’s dolphins, right! I KNEW IT!

        • Otto

          According to this guy humans are close to the bottom of the list, you would think he could answer his own question.

        • MNb

          Neither will Jesus win such an award. He wasn’t even capable of condemning slavery. I already pointed out his ignorance above.

          “Trust me …”
          Why? Are you the Second Son of God? Or are you human, producing human wisdom and hence totally unreliable according to your own words?

        • adam

          “Trust me there is much more out there than just you and me and our little few decades of living on a planet. ”

          Why should anyone truth YOU?

          Are you going to demonstrate that this ‘god’ of yours is anything but IMAGINARY?

        • To be fair, there is MUCH more “out there” than we know about. Some of us are interested in finding out what IS out there, and some cling to bronze age explanations written by people who didn’t even know the earth orbited the sun and not the other way around.

        • adam

          “To be fair, there is MUCH more “out there” than we know about. ”

          To be FAIR, I have to see evidence of “MUCH more out there”

        • When I was in elementary school and learning about the planets, we were taught that only Saturn had rings. Then after Voyager we learned that all four gas giants had rings. And they all had more moons than we thought. And we learned much more about the rings. And now we’re learning about planets around other stars. How typical is our solar system? Is ours unusual or are there billions more that are similar? There’s so much we don’t know. We learn more by exploring. You are right not to assume things without evidence, but you can’t argue that every time we have new data we find new and sometimes surprising things about our universe.

          That’s what I meant. There’s a lot more to learn and to explore. So yes, there’s a lot out there that we don’t know. and it’s HUGE! That doesn’t mean there’s anything supernatural.

        • Kodie

          I thought he was just reminding us that there technically is a lot more to discover. Out there =/= beyond.

        • adam

          Yes, apparently he was and I misread it.

          My apologies.

        • Even if we accept that there “has to be something greater”, that doesn’t get us to your specific deity nor your specific interpretations of the supposed teachings concerning that deity.

        • D Sims

          But it sure is a step toward the right direction. I agree for you personally it proves nothing but to even hear a possibility in your words gives me great hope.

        • I often find myself embracing new ideas or correcting old misconceptions. I could give you examples but they are rather boring technical things in my field (but a big deal for my field of study). All I require is evidence and reason. It’s amazing how many people expect me to accept various forms of “woo” even when the actual evidence defies what they believe. (I’m not talking about religion in this case but in things that if true would be medically provable, but are not by a longshot.)

          So I’m open to the idea of various deities. I’ve even played one or two myself on the stage! I just don’t find the supposed evidence of their existence to be convincing.

        • adam

          “So, to me, Christ is the highest intelligence that is tried and true.”

          You are setting the bar AWFULLY LOW….

        • MNb

          “The highest intelligence that is tried and true” believed it was possible to survive in the belly of a whale for three days: Matth. 12:40. He also said that mustard seeds become trees: Matth. 13:32. Also he predicted that the stars could fall: Mark 13:25 and thought that epilepsy was caused by demons: Luke 9:39-42.

          Adam underneath is too generous when saying that you’re setting the bar awfully low. You don’t have a bar at all.

        • Ron

          Several years ago I heard the intelligence of God in Jesus and decided to follow Him. His wisdom, guidance and direction is pure, peaceful and reliable.~D Sims

          Have you sold everything you own and given it to the poor, as Jesus commanded?

        • adam

          “His wisdom, guidance and direction is pure, peaceful and reliable.
          So, to me, Christ is the highest intelligence that is tried and true.”

          It is so, so sad that you think support slavery or BEATING slaves is ‘the highest intelligence that is tried and true’

        • Pofarmer

          Oooohhh. Apocalyptic prophesy. Got any good stuff?

        • MNb

          The awakening is rather gradual; if it’s rude is debatable.

        • jrb16915

          Here is my evidence. It is the documented eye witness testimony of John and Peter who saw the crucified, then saw the resurrected Christ. Peter went on to give his life to the truth of what he saw. This evidence was widely distributed in writing, with no contemporary rebuttals to this witness. I believe the corroborating accounts ring true. I think modern documented miracles in Lourdes and other places add a weight to this evidence.

          I don’t maintain this evidence proves there is a God beyond any doubt whatsoever. My personal belief is that this evidence makes it more likely than not that resurrection did happen, and therefore it is more likely that not the Jesus is divine.

          You can reject the accuracy of this evidence. That would your opinion and you are entitled to it. You can say documented historical eye witness testimony is unreliable. You are also entitled to that opinion. But If you claim the evidence does not exist at all you are simply factually wrong. I don’t feel compelled to limit my evidence to first hand observations or measurements.

          I also don’t feel obligated to establish a burden of no doubt whatsoever in order to believe in something. For example I believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of JFK. I wasn’t an eyewitness. I have to rely on the documented testimony of others. Others disagree with my opinion on whether or not Oswald was the sole assassin based on the same evidence.

        • adam

          ” It is the documented eye witness testimony of John and Peter who saw the crucified, then saw the resurrected Christ. ”

          Sorry but no such documentation exists,
          At best you have STORIES about the supposed event from unknown authors.

          We actually HAVE documentation of the JFK assassination.

        • jrb16915

          Your opinion is that the Gospels are unreliable. You are entitled to that opinion. My opinion is that the Gospel accounts corroborate each other and have no contemporary rebuttals, making them reliable. That is my opinion.

        • Otto

          Well the Gospels plagiarize each other…that doesn’t mean the corroborate each other.

          If 3 students cheated off another students test would you then argue that the 3 corroborate the 1? I don’t think so.

          Plus where they don’t plagiarize each other they often directly contradict each other.

        • jrb16915

          I am fully aware of the problems of reviewing documents that are 2000 years old. I understand all those issues and possibilities. Among the reasons I believe is that I don’t think the early Christian martyrs gave their lives mindlessly.

          Why is it important to you that I not believe the Gospels are true?

        • Otto

          It is not an issue of how old the stories are, it is an issue of the veracity of the claim that they corroborate each other as to the truth of the question.

          Martyr’s can believe with every fiber of their being, that doesn’t make their belief true or correct. Plus I have no reason to believe that anyone was martyred actually witnessed anything.

          Lastly, just because I refuted your argument doesn’t mean it is important to me that you reject the Gospels. You just need to know that the arguments you present are not compelling to the claims made. You came on here so I could ask the same question, why is it important to you that we believe the Gospels are good evidence for the claims?

        • adam

          “Among the reasons I believe is that I don’t think the early Christian martyrs gave their lives mindlessly.”

          Again what you BELIEVE has no bearing on the facts.

          Jim Jones
          Heavens Gate
          David Koresh
          9/11 Highjackers

          So do you that they gave their lives mindlessly?

        • Pofarmer

          Not this stupid shit again. It’s endless.

        • MR

          Apologetic shtick, it’s not even original. “I read this was a good argument and bought into it!” Real people don’t come up with this kind of tortured bullshit on their own, nor would they believe it if it were presented in a different context.

        • MNb

          Well, someone came up with that kind of tortured bullshit on his (less likely a her) own and my bet is that that someone belonged to the real people indeed.

        • MR

          MNB, why must you always be so literal? You know what I mean. Sigh…, I suppose it’s a good thing. What I’m trying to say is that your average person doesn’t read about early Christian martyrs and automatically think to themselves, “Oh, those people would never have given their lives mindlessly, therefore it must be true!” People give their lives for things that are not true all the time. We don’t just assume the things they died for are true. That would be a dangerous way to think indeed.

          No, some apologist has manufactured this reasoning to combat counter arguments. Yes, apologists are real people, but I bet even they didn’t originally come to believe for this reason.

          People buy into religion for other reasons (early indoctrination, mainly, emotional reasons…, rarely intellectual), and then they search about for plausible reasons they can use to support those beliefs when they are challenged. This type of reasoning happens after the fact.

          This Christian martyrs thing is a just popular meme that’s been going around lately which jrb has picked up because it sounds convincing. It’s not a connection that your average person is going to make on his own. Some apologist (does anyone know who has popularized this meme) has come up with this idea to counter non-believer’s arguments, which was really the point I was trying to flippantly make. Your average person doesn’t think like this. Christians then jump on the bandwagon, “Yeah! That’s it! That’s a good reason to believe!”

          JRB’s comment just rings hollow to me as a real reason as to why he believes. It’s simply a reason that he thinks supports what he believes.

        • morgan

          If I may, YES, they gave their lives mindlessly. What rational god would reward such masochism?
          Oh, by the way watch the French Film “Martyrs.”
          It’s the most horrific drama ever made.

        • Pofarmer

          “Why is it important to you that I not believe the Gospels are true?”

          Honestly? Because you want to use that belief to control me. Because that belief has resulted in torture and murder and untold misery.

        • Greg G.

          I think the apostles died. The martyrdom tales are competitive fiction trying to have a nobler death for the apostle claimed for apostolic succession for each group. They give the game away with multiple locations and methods of death for the same apostles.

        • MR

          I’ve never seen the apostles life after Christ mentioned as anything other than legend, tradition or myth, even by the church.

        • MNb

          “Among the reasons I believe is that I don’t think the early Christian martyrs gave their lives mindlessly.”
          Neither did the members of the Waffen SS give up their lives mindlessly at the Eastern Front from 1941 to 1945. Still I bet you don’t think that a reason to believe Aryan supremacy. So you’re inconsistent.

          “Why is it important to you that I not believe the Gospels are true?”
          Because it’s important to you to declare on this atheist blog that you believe the Resurrection is true.

        • jrb16915

          The original article was a one-sided view of an atheist criticizing a book written by someone explaining why they have faith. I think your last post confirms that you are closed minded bigot who isn’t interested in any point of view other than their own.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          I specifically quoted you because that was the stuff that interested me.
          It’s you dismissing my answers without any further do.
          Pathetic.

        • Kodie

          We’re interested in anything that’s not a lame argument. If you have the same lame arguments, they’ve already been refuted, not because we’re close-minded, but because your arguments are lame. Please keep your head out of your ass while you read – your idea of what an atheist is has been poisoned by the same lame arguments used to support faith. In such a way, you get to pretend you’re not the close-minded, rigid, fearful person offering lame arguments.

        • Otto

          “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

          — Ralph Waldo Emerson

        • MNb

          No. GT claim that they have evidence bolstering that faith. You made the same claim. You are the close minded bigot refusing to recognize that and why we take some issues with it.

        • jrb16915

          Regarding the SS, if you asked me if giving their lives was evidence that they believed in their cause, I would say, some of them probably did. In that example though some probably felt compelled to act against their own interest. So yes, that is evidence that some on of those people believed in their cause.

          It really isn’t a parallel to someone who voluntarily surrenders their life when all the have to do is recant their beliefs.

        • MNb

          Ah, this is better than your cheapo underneath. We have something to talk about again.

          “if you asked me if giving their lives was evidence that they believed in their cause, I would say, some of them probably did.”
          Oh, but won’t deny that the early followers of Jesus actually believed in his cause. So it’s a parallel indeed.

          “when all the have to do is recant their beliefs.”
          Another parallel. All the members of the Einsatzgrupe

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einsatzgruppen

          and those SSers who served in the concentration camps had to do is express their wish to be transferred to another unit.

        • jrb16915

          I think we are in agreement. The SS guys willing to die was evidence that the were sincere in their beliefs. I don’t think you are denying that evidence exists. You just don’t agree with their beliefs. Neither do I. But I don’t pretend the evidence that someone did believe those things doesn’t exist.

          That is my whole point. You are free to reject the evidence. It is just factually wrong to say it does not exist.

          I will use my Eygptian Pharoah analogy again. If some one carves a stone that says their was a Pharoah named “Ramses”. It doesn’t prove there was. And one person can believe Ramses was a myth. And one person can say he was real. But it is just stupid to say they word isn’t carved in the rock.

        • MR

          And I will use your Eygptian Pharoah analogy again:

          Ramses was also worshiped as a god. We have evidence in the form of writings and temples dedicated to him. I presume you don’t believe that he was. Why would you consider such evidence valid in one case but not the other?

        • adam

          “. The SS guys willing to die was evidence that the were sincere in their beliefs.”

          but it is in no way evidence that those beliefs were true.

        • jrb16915

          I never said it was it was.

        • MNb

          “I don’t pretend the evidence that someone did believe those things doesn’t exist.”
          Neither do I. What I say is the simple fact that someone believes X and is willing to die for it is zero evidence for X.

          “You are free to reject the evidence. It is just factually wrong to say it does not exist.”
          Repeating your strawman does nothing to correct it. I don’t reject any evidence. I don’t say it does not exist. I deny that it’s evidence for the Resurrection. You made that claim:

          “Among the reasons I believe [the Resurrection happened – MNb] is that I don’t think the early Christian martyrs gave their lives mindlessly.”
          So you did

          “pretend the evidence that someone did believe those things do exist.”
          in the special case of the Resurrection.
          Now let’s see if you’re honest enough to admit it.

        • wtfwjtd

          You do realize that historians also reject the gospel stories as unreliable history,right? There’s plenty of reasons the gospel stories aren’t considered as history by experts in the field. For starters, once the supernatural is scrubbed from them, as historians do with any other ancient account, there’s very little left.

        • MNb

          What’s your method? Sucking on your big fat thumb? Why accept the Gospels as reliable and not my testimony about the fairies in my backyard and the documents about MR? Personal preference?

        • adam

          It is not MY opinion that you dont have original eye witness testimony, it is FACT.

          You have ONLY stories about eye witness testimony.

        • jrb16915

          By your standard their is no eye witness testimony of anything prior to 1900. Do you believe anything about anything that happened prior to 1900?

        • adam

          Eye witness testimony is some of the most unreliable evidence.
          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-the-eyes-have-it/

          “Do you believe anything about anything that happened prior to 1900?”

          Of course.
          There is supporting EVIDENCE

        • jrb16915

          What is your supporting evidence that Julius Caesar was married? What supporting evidence do you have that Julius Caesar was his real name? What supporting evidence do you have that Julius Caesar existed? Same questions for Nero, or other contemporaries of Jesus Christ?

        • MR

          To take Julius Caesar as an example, we have lots of evidence that he existed that I think both you and I believe are reasonable enough. I would be surprised if evidence of his non-existence surfaced, but I could leave open the slim possibility he did not. I suspect, however—not having a firm grasp of the evidence—that an expert could convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt that he existed.

          Part of the evidence he existed includes a temple dedicated to him as a god, and evidence the Roman Senate and other rulers supported his divinity. Now, I think it likely there is enough reasonable evidence to presume that he very likely, existed, as I said. If you disagree, please do tell me your reasons, but I suspect we agree he likely existed.

          Fine.Now, tell me. Do you believe he was a god? We have concrete evidence (at least marble evidence)—the temple dedicated to him as a god, and evidence that people who knew him supported him as a god. Does it follow then, that he was in fact divine?

          If so, how do you square your support for the divinity of Jesus in light of the divinity of Julius Caesar (and of Ramses and other pharaohs)? If not, what method have you developed to determine that the divinity of Jesus is true, but the divinity of Julius Caesar (Ramses, et al) is not?

        • jrb16915

          There are quite a few Churches dedicated to Jesus Christ. That seem analogous to the relatively smallish count of Caesar temples.

          I consider the Gospels, well documented and corroborating evidence of Jesus’s miracles, crucifixion and resurrection. Clearly there are no photos or video’s. The Gospels record that even during Jesus’ time their were non-believers, even after witnessing miracles. I don’t consider them “proof” that the recorded events beyond any doubt whatsoever. But I do consider them solid evidence that the events documented happened. I fully understand many don’t agree with me on that.

          I believe that the history of the early Christian martyrs are evidence that the some the people portrayed in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, gave their lives as testimony to believing what they witnessed.

          Taken together I believe it is more likely than not, that the resurrection occurred. Which leads to the conclusion that Jesus was divine.

          I also believe there are fairly well documented modern miracles. My personal favorite is the miracle of the Sun in Fatima in 1917. 70,00 Witnesses including non-religious journalists. I don’t know if that miracle was a super – natural event in and of itself, or if the miracle was simply that it happened at the exact time three children had said it would happen.

        • MR

          Hmmm.., yet contemporaries of Caesar attest to his divinity. Caesar’s temple was built immediately after Caesar’s death. When was the first church built after Jesus’? Is it a numbers game for you? More churches to Christ than Caesar? Is that your method? And do you have evidence as to the numbers of churches vs. temples per year after the death of Caesar vs. Jesus? Is this your method? Or do you just believe the supernatural claims of a religion that you’ve been indoctrinated into without much regard for the same kind “evidence” of other beliefs. When you look in from the outside, it’s pretty obvious you are playing favoritism.

          What evidence do you have that the gospels are eyewitness accounts? To my knowledge, none of them even claim to be. At best, you have Luke who claims to have been handed down eyewitness accounts. Hearsay is not the same as an eyewitness account. Not to mention that the gospels are often contradictory and inaccurate. Matthew copies much of Mark verbatim…, uy, the gospels are a mess. We should speak in hushed tones if you don’t want Greg G. to come over here and set you straight about just how bad the gospels really are. Bob has some good posts on the unreliability of the gospels, too. Or do you only consider that which bolsters your preconceived beliefs?

          Your average early Christian martyr is no better a guide than anyone who dies for any belief. All kinds of wrong causes have people who die for them. Now, if you’re referring to the apostles or supposed “true” eyewitnesses of Jesus, there’s simply no evidence for them, or for their supposed martyrdom. Apostolic martyrdom is all legend, tradition or myth.

          Fatima? Really? A hundred year old farce that the people who were actually there can’t even agree happened. Mmm-hmm. I can see that you are as gullible as those superstitious people. Do you give just as much credence to the claimed miracles of other religions or do you only seek that which bolsters your own belief? For a belief in an all-powerful, contemporaneous, living God, you’d think you could come up with something better than Fatima! One has to wonder that an all-powerful God who so loves the world he wants to save everyone on it is so all-powerfully silent.

        • jrb16915

          John chronicled his own eyewitness account to the crucifixion and to the risen Christ. Matthew knew the risen Christ, but it is not clear if he was at the crucifixion. Mark and Luke reported what they learned from others.

          I don’t think God is silent. I believe in today’s world he operates through the living Body of Christ which is the Church.

        • MR

          Considering we don’t even know who the authors of these books were, let alone if what they wrote was true, it’s rather hard to make that claim, don’t you think? And have you not seen Bob’s recent video on the matter?

          The apparent “eyewitness account to the crucifixion” of the anonymous author of John is hardly what I’d call a clear cut eyewitness account. It’s an awkward verse, an interjection, that doesn’t quite say what you’re trying to claim it says, and it’s in the third person to boot! Eyewitness, eh? Why not just recount the entire scene from an eyewitness perspective? Why not first person? I mean, doesn’t that set off alarm bells in your mind? No, of course not, you’re not allowed to doubt.

          Matthew knew the risen Christ? Hmmm…, the anonymous author of Matthew never claims to have been an eyewitness, so can you please explain your reference. Considering half of the Gospel of Matthew is copied from the Gospel of Mark, it hardly seems likely that an eyewitness would need to copy. Or perhaps you’re playing some kind of word game here and referring to something else?

          Oh, I see. God operates through the church, nod, nod, wink, wink. He doesn’t actually do anything himself anymore. No miracles for the world to see, no revelations for the common man. He has to rely on regular people doing…, you know, people things. Convincing. It’s almost like he’s not there at all. Pity, with all this new media, half his work would already be cut out for him. One convincing miracle and that thing would go viral, man! I guess he doesn’t love the world as much as he claims if he can’t be bothered to show up himself.

        • Pofarmer

          “He has to rely on regular people doing…, you know, people things. Convincing. It’s almost like he’s not there at all.”

          This.

        • Kodie

          How much money have you paid them so far?

        • Ron

          John chronicled his own eyewitness account to the crucifixion and to the risen Christ.~jrb16915

          Where is that chronicle found?

        • MNb

          So what the Church says is what your god says?

        • Ignorant Amos

          John chronicled his own eyewitness account to the crucifixion and to the risen Christ. Matthew knew the risen Christ, but it is not clear if he was at the crucifixion. Mark and Luke reported what they learned from others.

          Not according to the scholars.

        • adam

          “I don’t think God is silent. I believe in today’s world he operates through the living Body of Christ which is the Church.”

          the Church?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The second time today I’ve had to link this presentation…let’s hope jrb16915 takes a moment to watch it.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfheSAcCsrE

        • Ignorant Amos

          There are quite a few Churches dedicated to Jesus Christ. That seem analogous to the relatively smallish count of Caesar temples.

          None before the fifth century though.

        • There are also coins with the likeness of Julius.

          But the issue that we can’t forget is: who the hell cares whether he was married or not? By contrast, the issues about Jesus are said to be the most monumental any human can answer. That’s why the common Christian argument, “But if you reject the Gospel, you must reject all of ancient history!” argument fails.

          But this may have been a tangent.

        • MR

          Right. I have no problem believing that Caesar existed or that Jesus existed (except Greg G has me intrigued), but there are things about Caesar and about all historical figures that are likely simply not true. I can’t really know which ones are true or not so I keep an open mind that not everything I read about Caesar is true. The far-fetched stuff, I have no problem discounting. I don’t believe he was a god anymore than jrb. Was he married? Probably. Did the whole Cleopatra thing go down exactly as we’re told? Probably not. Maybe, I don’t know.

          But here’s the fascinating thing with the Christian. Everything about Jesus must be true! They don’t treat the stories of any other historical character that way! Special pleading if I ever saw it.

          Notice how jrb goes on about the number of churches vs. temples. Suppose there are more temples to Caesar than early churches. Do you think that would make a difference to him? Of course not! It’s all smokescreen and nonsense. He believes, and he’s only going to consider the evidence viewed through the lens of how it can support his belief.

          He doesn’t believe in the divinity of Ra or Ramses or Caesar or Shiva, and he feels he can confidently reject their so-called evidence while at the same time unapologetically accepting his similar so-called evidence for Jesus. It’s a farce.

          [Edit: prematurely hit the save button midway.]

        • MNb

          “Did the whole Cleopatra thing go down exactly as we’re told? Probably not.”
          Most likely not – the account was written down as Roman propaganda. Every single author during Antiquity (and many afterwards) had an agenda.

        • MR

          But surely not the gospel writers!

        • Ignorant Amos

          I studied Cleopatra VII Philopator for a university module and had to write an essay on her.

          There are contemporary coins with her mug on one side and Anthony’s on the other.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra#/media/File:011-Mark_Antony,_with_Cleopatra_VII_-3.jpg

          http://www.vroma.org/images/mcmanus_images/antoct_national.jpg

          Edit: amend Caesar to Anthony

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cassius Dio Cocceianus and Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus particularly had an agenda when writing their history of Cleopatra.

          Both wrote extensively on Julius Caesar too.

          Sometimes, Plutarch quotes directly from the De Bello Gallico and even tells us of the moments when Caesar was dictating his works.

          What is it they say, history is more often written by the victors…Christianity certainly was edited and censored by the victors.

        • Pofarmer

          For the first at least couple hundred years of Christianity, there would quite clearly be way more temples to other Gods than Christian Churches. It wasn’t until Constantine in the 4th Century that that began to change.

        • Greg G.

          Did you see the podcast of the Jesus Mythicist/Historicist discussion of Daniel Gullotta and David Fitzgerald?

          Gullotta is another that insists one must have multiple degrees to get that Jesus actually existed. Are there any other major historical characters that require that much education to accept that they were real?

        • Pofarmer

          I listened to it the other day, and made much the same observation on vridar. At the end, Gullatta’s veil slipped a little but when he said “something amazing must have happened around the ressurection for people to have noticed it.” I’m sick of apologists hiding out as scholars.

        • Greg G.

          I visited the page the day before you did. We seem to have arrived at the same conclusion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can’t wait to see Gulotta’s peer reviewed take down of Carrier’s OHJ…and subsequently what Carrier makes of it.

        • Pofarmer

          I think a large part of the scholarly community, including Gulotta, want to Rob this topic of oxygen by dissmissing it and not discussing it. Gulotta did it in the video, and James McGrath loves to talk about “this ridiculous idea of Jesus Mythicism”. Uhm, o.k., they believe in a Jesus who is literally the Son of God and worked miracles and rose from the dead into Heaven? Who has the ridiculous views regarding historical happenings now?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • adam

          It matters not to me if Caesar was married or if that was his real name.

          Do YOU believe that Caesar was a ‘god’?

          I certainly dont.
          Even though statues FROM HIS TIME, identified him as such.

          ” Another statue of Caesar was placed in the temple of Quirinus with the inscription “To the Invincible God.” Quirinus, to the Roman people, was the deified likeness of the city’s founder and first King, Romulus. This act clearly identified Caesar not only on equal terms with the divine, but with the kings as well. More outrageous, and even more clearly identifying Caesar with the kings, was yet a third statue. ”

          Same for Nero, just another human being..

          What is your supporting evidence of your ‘God’ as Jesus?

        • MNb

          “What supporting evidence do you have that Julius Caesar existed?”
          Well, someone wrote De Bello Gallico. That someone talked about what he experienced.
          Plus others wrote about him.
          Plus someone conquered northern France, Belgium and campaigned in Germany.
          Oh – and we have this.

          http://wildwinds.com/coins/imp/julius_caesar/i.html

          Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus we have nothing even remotely comparable. Instead we have theories of natural sciences that say it’s impossible.
          My bet is that the Resurrection didn’t happen.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your using a version of the 10/42 apologetics that even apologists are now starting to shy away from.

          https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/cliffe-knechtle-acknowledges-errors-in-the-1042-apologetic/

        • Greg G.

          You don’t have eye witness testimony. You don’t know that the John referred to in the Gospel of John is the John in the story. You don’t know who wrote it. The Gospel of Mark is anonymous and appears to be a fictional allegory, not an eye witness document.

          Lourdes shows that a person can be persuaded that they don’t need a cane for a day or so but nobody is convinced that they no longer need a wooden leg. The documented evidence is a few cases where somebody got better subsequent to a visit to Lourdes. Sometimes the healing process heals people who don’t go to Lourdes.

          Compartmentalization will let a person accept poor evidence for one thing they want to believe while requiring good evidence for everything else.

          You accept poor evidence which faith enhances in your mind.

        • documented eye witness testimony of John and Peter who saw the crucified, then saw the resurrected Christ.

          What eyewitness testimony? Have you ever followed up on these claims to see what they’re based on? It ain’t much.

          Peter went on to give his life to the truth of what he saw

          … or so the story says.

          More here.

          This evidence was widely distributed in writing, with no contemporary rebuttals to this witness.

          There are no contemporary rebuttals to the claim that George Washington flew around Mt. Vernon with a jet pack, so I think I’ll believe it.

          I think modern documented miracles in Lourdes and other places add a weight to this evidence.

          And yet science doesn’t accept them.

          You can reject the accuracy of this evidence. That would your opinion and you are entitled to it. If you claim the evidence does not exist, you are simply factually wrong

          I suspect that you’ll just say that I’m closed minded, but I’ve followed up on a number of these arguments—who would die for a lie?; the authorship of the gospels; purported prophecy from the OT; and so on. They don’t hold up. Only wishful thinking (or a lack of honest digging into the evidence) maintains belief.

        • jrb16915

          I accept the possibility that my interpretation of the evidence is wrong. I definitely don’t maintain it proves anything beyond any doubt whatsoever. Unless you have omniscient powers of discernment you don’t have any first hand evidence to dispute the Gospels.

          Your GW example is pretty silly. There are zero accounts claiming he flew around with a jet pack. That is an example of something without any evidence at all. Not something with evidence I find insufficient

        • you don’t have any first hand evidence to dispute the Gospels.

          The burden of proof is yours. Enjoy.

          Your GW example is pretty silly. There are zero accounts claiming he flew around with a jet pack.

          Suppose there were. Would you think that “Well, I don’t see any contemporary claims that he didn’t fly around in a jet pack!” would be a compelling argument? If not, then you see why that argument carries no weight when you’re the one positing a man raising from the dead.

        • jrb16915

          There is no reason for me to suppose they were, since no Jet Pack testimonies are available.

          I have no burden to prove anything to you or anyone else. I have reviewed the available evidence and have reached the conclusion that seems most likely and reasonable to me.

          Not agreeing with evidence doesn’t mean the evidence doesn’t exist. If you sit on a jury and someone says I saw that guy stab that other guy. You might determine that person is a liar. It just wouldn’t make sense to say “that person’s testimony doesn’t exist” because you thought they lied.

          If a carving on the said of a pyramid says there was a Pharoah named Ramses you could chose to believe that who ever carved that told the truth, or that they lied. Its your choice. But the carving exists. Same with the Gospels. They exist.

        • MR

          Ramses was also worshiped as a god. We have evidence in the form of writings and temples dedicated to him. I presume you don’t believe that he was. Why would you consider such evidence valid in one case but not the other?

        • You’re ignoring my points. I don’t feel like repeating them.

        • Howdy. A couple of quick points offered in the spirit of genuine debate. I hope this doesn’t seem like piling on.

          1. With regard to the Gospels as evidence for the supernatural claims they contain, I would just note that we have much better evidence for analogous claims in the Book of Mormon (an example I’m a little surprised Bob hasn’t mentioned, since it’s a favorite of his). As you may know, the Book of Mormon is prefaced by attestations signed by eleven men, as well as Joseph Smith, regarding the angel Moroni and the golden plates from which LDS scripture purportedly springs.

          The same skepticism with which you would view those attestations is not much different than the skepticism with which we view the miracle stories in the Gospels. (Unless you happen to be a Mormon, in which case I’ll need to come up with a different analogy.)

          2. Two thoughts about rebuttal accounts. First, what would a rebuttal look like? Or rather, why would somebody who doesn’t witness a unique event record such non-witnessing, especially in antiquity, when writing materials were scarce? It’s just hard to imagine that any of the countless people who failed to see JC’s purported resurrection would write about it. “Another day recording vineyard inventory for Mr. H. Saw a dog fight in an alley. Still no sign of an unexpectedly resurrected messiah. Fish for dinner.”

          Second, whatever rebuttals might have looked like, there’s no reason to expect them to have survived to the present. Most ancient documents are lost to us because of simple attrition. What we now have are copies of copies of copies etc. And who made the copies of early Christian writings that we now have? Early literate Christians. Written eyewitness accounts that cast doubt on the pivotal event in Christian theology–the Resurrection–would have had a difficult time enduring the many, many centuries during which Christian clergy had a near monopoly on literacy.

        • Jerry P.

          The bible isn’t evidence–it’s the claim written down. You’d need evidence to back up the claim. That you don’t want or need any doesn’t indicate anything about their truth value. The gospels exist, but they are not evidence.

        • MNb

          The Bible actually is evidence – but for what exactly? Obviously for what the authors wrote down. Very likely for what they believed. The relation with what actually happened is to be investigated.

        • Jerry P.

          Okay, yes, I agree. It’s evidence of what the authors likely believed. I don’t think that’s how jrb16915 was using the bible as evidence, though.

        • MNb

          “I have reviewed the available evidence and have reached the conclusion that seems most likely and reasonable to me.”
          But you haven’t explained your method, so this is an empty statement. The exception is “some evidence is better than no evidence.” Well, I can provide evidence that there are fairies in my backyard tending my flowers. I just wrote it down; there is your evidence. That’s more than zero evidence. According to your method as far as you have explained it you should accept it. Just because I wrote it down and claim to be an eyewitness.

        • Pofarmer

          “Unless you have omniscient powers of discernment you don’t have any first hand evidence to dispute the Gospels.”

          Virgins don’t give birth and people don’t rise from the dead. So there’s that. The Gospels pretty much match the flavor of the other Jewish scriptures, which are pretty much all myth, ao there’s that.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t need supernatural powers to see the gospels are fiction. Several scholars have identified the sources the Gospel of Mark is based on and most of them have nothing to do with Jesus. The other three gospels copy stories G MARK made up which shows they are unreliable, too.

        • Kodie

          It’s only been a little over 250 years. I’m sure there will be discovered some diary in someone’s attic soon.

        • Kodie

          Credibility is a factor; credulousness seems to also be a factor. I am not sure how my life would change even a little if the truth about Kennedy’s assassin were different than the popular accepted history of Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone shooter.

        • MNb

          Where is the evidence that those documented testimonies were produced by eyewitnesses?
          Where is the evidence that those testimonies are reliable?

          “I think modern documented miracles in Lourdes”
          Are you aware that there is a bigger chance to be cured from cancer spontaneously than by visiting Lourdes?

          http://discovermagazine.com/2007/sep/the-body-can-stave-off-terminal-cancer-sometimes

          “That would your opinion”
          No. It is called method.

          “For example I believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of JFK.”
          False analogy. Resurrections violate some natural laws. Killing JFK doesn’t.

      • D Sims

        Monkeys are superior to men in this: When a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey.

    • guest

      Really? Where? What’s your evidence?

    • I’m genuinely curious. Why did you post this here? You didn’t address any of the specific contentions Bob made in his post, nor did you offer any evidence for (or even discussion of) your thesis that God exists.

      What were you hoping for? Did you expect “Meanwhile God continues to exist” to accomplish something that the countless hours most of us have spent studying and debating religion have not?

      It simply wouldn’t occur to me to visit a theist website and write, “There is inadequate evidence to justify a belief in God” or some similar one-liner. That’s not the behavior of an interlocutor interested in bona fide debate, is it?

      • Archon

        > Why did you post this here?

        Because Frank is a troll. And it is working.

        • Trolling I get. What I don’t get is the total lack of effort and creativity.

        • Archon

          If the goal is to simply annoy, why do more work than is necessary?

        • MNb

          Frank hasn’t done the necessary work. I don’t see anyone who is annoyed.
          This is something I can evaluate – I have deliberately been pissing off people on internet for 15 years. It takes a lot more work than Frank seems to be capable of.
          He’s a total failure, even as a troll. He’s a dog barking at a caravan. With a hoarse throat.

        • Jerry P.

          Well, to be fair to Frank, he does routinely manage to deflect conversations from their point. His simplistic posts also generate many more responses in a thread than would otherwise be the case. There are more creative trolls, sure–but I don’t think he’s a total failure at it.

        • MNb

          Granted, but Archon’s standard was

          “to simply annoy”

        • Greg G.

          Trolls are toys. We bat them around until they get knocked too far under the couch or stuck on the roof.

        • MR

          Then, will someone please toss f.l. Greg on the roof.

      • Frank

        There is no debate. That’s your problem, you think there is.

        • Ah. Deflection. Still an answer, in a way. You’re just here to score points in your head.

          No, my problem is that theist commenters often disappoint me, even when I’ve set my expectations for them as low as possible.

        • Frank

          Thanks for confirming my point.

        • MNb

          Which point? I haven’t even seen you even trying to make one.

        • Jerry P.

          I agree with you–there is no debate. Your religion is a delusion. I’ve concluded that a long time ago.

        • Frank

          How pitiful. Oh well, your choice. You just want to live the sinful life you choose. You can.

        • morgan

          again, passing judgment on someone whom you don’t know.
          If this is what Christians do, then it is certainly a mental disorder in need of a cure.
          How dare you conclude that someone who doesn’t agree with you must somehow “live a sinful life.”
          What a load of self-loathing bullshit.
          Stuff your pity. We don’t need it.

        • Frank

          I know what he says. He admits he is pretending to be married to someone of the same sex.

          The only people who loath themselves are those who live proud of their sin.

        • Greg G.

          There are many Christian sects that drone on and on about how evil their sins are and thank Jesus continuously for drenching them in blood, they loathe human emotions, especially the pleasurable ones. because they don’t don’t glorify Jesus. That is what Paul was talking about here:

          1 Corinthians 15:19 (NRSV)19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

        • morgan

          Only the coward shuns from debate.
          No go in your basement with a large bowl of fruit-loops (with extra sugar) and enjoy your cpu (provided by science)

        • Frank

          As expected. There is no debate.

    • RichardSRussell

      And so does the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I assert with equal supporting evidence.

    • thatguy88

      Turek? Is that really you? -_-;

    • kiljoy616

      You mean the mental disorder know as Religion continue to exist. You have no real prove she actually exist.

    • Kodie

      I highly doubt that’s anything more than your imagination.

    • morgan

      as a sentence, and in your mind…yes.
      Anywhere else, no.

      • Frank

        You sound so foolish. Your choice.

        • Greg G.

          Euripides was referring to you when he wrote, “To the fool, he who speaks wisdom will sound foolish.”

        • morgan

          My choice? What is that? a veiled threat?
          That’s the CHRISTIAN BOTTOM LINE –
          Believe or suffer eternal damnation. What a steaming pile.
          Any religion that needs threats to survive is not a religion, it’s a disease.

        • Frank

          See above, repeat as needed.

    • Evidence?

  • guest

    There are some scientists that are like he discribes. These are bad scientists. Good scientists know they could be wrong. Good scientists write the conclusion to fit the evidence, not the other way around. The media likes to portray scientists as priests in white coats but actually, they’re humans like us, doing experiments most of us could do if we had the time, the training and the equipment. And peer review is supposed to keep a check on people’s arrogance by having the results of every experiment carefully scrutinized by disinterested parties…ok so it doesn’t always work, there are cults of personality in science like everywhere else, but at least they’re trying, instead of declaring that one book or prophet is right about everything and cannot be questioned.

    Science- imperfect but better at finding truth than religion.

    • morgan

      As Dr. Sagan once noted, “Science delivers the goods.”

  • RichardSRussell

    “The less evidence you have for your position, the more faith you need to believe it (and vice versa). Faith covers a gap in knowledge”

    That’s like claiming that a roulette player picks his numbers based on what G&T are pleased to think of as “knowledge”.

    • TheNuszAbides

      if ever the splintered faithful concur on The Greatest Apologist, we should call that person “Pascal’s Bookie”.

  • alwayspuzzled

    Atheists believe that the only valid epistemological screen is physical evidence. Christians, and others who are religiously inclined, believe that spiritual experience also constitutes a valid epistemological screen. Because they believe in different epistemological screens, even if heaven is not eternal, the bickering between Christians and atheists probably is eternal.
    Bickero, ergo sum!

    • MNb

      Sure – but there remains the nagging fact that science, using physical evidence, has changed how the world looks like more in 200 years than religions, with all their spiritual experiences, in several millennia before.

      • alwayspuzzled

        Absolutely right. But the validity of the scientific method and the current state of scientific knowledge is not the issue. Rather, what is the bridge between the validity of science and the validity of atheism? How does the first lead to the second?
        The bridging assumption is that scientific evidence is a fully necessary and sufficient condition and that any conclusion not proven (or provable) by scientific evidence is invalid. This is a plausible belief. But those who are religiously inclined assume that non-scientific evidence (e.g. personal experience) can also provide valid conclusions. This too is a plausible belief. So, the atheism/theism issue can never be resolved because they do not share common epistemological ground.
        Yet despite the impossibility of resolution (or perhaps because of it), the fascinating bickering between the two sides goes on and on and on. It may well be that the need to bicker is psychologically more powerful than even the need for a god. Of course, those who bicker do not see it as such. They are Standing For The Truth, with Feet Firmly Planted In Reality. Or maybe they are just indulging their egos, no matter which side they are on.

        • MNb

          ” the validity of the scientific method and the current state of scientific knowledge is not the issue.”
          No. The validity of any “spiritual” method and the question of any such method can provide knowledge in a meaningful way totally is the issue.

          “Rather, what is the bridge between the validity of science and the validity of atheism? How does the first lead to the second?”
          For the long answer you should read

          http://www.amazon.com/God-Age-Science-Critique-Religious/dp/0199697531

          My very short and incomplete answer: if we apply the same standards (consistency, coherence, unambiguity, explanatory power ao) used for scientific theories (and for the sake of consistency we should if we want to accommodate science with god) to theism we should reject it.
          No bridge needed. The step from methodological naturalism to (philosophical) materialism is a small one.

        • alwayspuzzled

          A bridge is needed and the step is a large one. The refusal to recognize or acknowledge that is “true belief”. And of course, “true belief” in the mind of the “true believer” – theist or atheist – is irrefutable.

        • MNb

          I don’t have any use for “true belief”. Neither does Herman Philipse, to whom I linked above. The three simple arguments that allow the small step from methodological naturalism to (philosophical) materialism are all three refutable. Thanks for thoroughly refuting your own argument. I couldn’t have done it any better.

          Here is how to block that small step, ie to refute my atheism.

          1. Show what dualism, ie assuming a supernatural/ immaterial/ transcendental reality adds to our knowledge and understanding; ie provide an event that demonstrably never can be explained in natural/ material terms;
          2. Show how any entity residing in that supernatural/ immaterial/ transcendental reality can interact with our natural/ material reality, ie which means he/she/it uses and which procedures he/she/it follows;
          3. Tell us which method you use to separate correct claims about the supernatural/ immaterial/ transcendental reality from incorrect ones.

          You’re invited, but I won’t hold my breath.

    • morgan

      What is “supernatural experience?”

      • Greg G.

        It always seems to be where imagination is substituted for adequate investigation.

        • morgan

          Great response. Thank you

    • abb3w

      The problem isn’t with so-called “spiritual evidence”. The problem seems with privileging it for explanations.

      • MNb

        To me the problem seems that “spiritual evidence” depends too much on the subjecting acquiring that kind of evidence. “Spiritual evidence” provided by Papuas from New Guinea (as far as they have not been influenced by christianity) is very different from “spritual evidence” provided by western christians.
        However “empirical evidence” regarding falling objects is the same for everyone.

      • alwayspuzzled

        Thanks for your very insightful and helpful comment.
        I believe there are cases where evidence should be privileged. Geology and the fossil record are credible and Genesis 1 and 2 are not. In this case, geology and the fossil record have to be fully privileged.
        As you point out, the notion of “privileged evidence” can be used to construct a very useful definition of fundamentalism. Fundamentalists believe that all of their evidence is fully and exclusively privileged – anything claimed as evidence that does not meet their approval is not really evidence.
        I have always been aware of the fundamentalism among conservative Christians, but I am surprised by the amount of fundamentalism among Atheists as well. I suppose any group will have some narrow-minded members no matter what the conceptual framework of the group.
        I suspect fundamentalism has mostly to do with the psychological needs of the fundamentalists (Atheist, Christian, Whatever).
        Again, thank you for your comment. It opened a door.

        • abb3w

          Privileging the geologic record over other evidence is epistemologically unnecessary; once derived, the general principle of parsimony suffices.

          I’ve yet to see a definition of “fundamentalism” which can apply to atheists and yet has even an iota of the merit as a non-subjective measure compared to the notorious unreliability of self-reporting derived measures. However, you might look into Altemeyer’s measures of Dogmatism and Zealotry, which he and Bruce Hunsberger used in their “Atheists” study. You might also want to look at Altemeyer’s overview work “The Authoritarians”, particularly Chapter 5 on the Sidanius/Pratto developed measure of Social Dominance Orientation.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I suppose any group will have some narrow-minded members no matter what the conceptual framework of the group.

          if only tu quoque said anything about the validity of either conceptual framework. humans gonna be human.

  • YoRpFiSh

    If science is based on faith:

    It’s a most peculiar psychology-this business of “Science is based on faith too, so there!” Typically this is said by people who claim that faith is a good thing. Then why do they say “Science is based on faith too!” in that angry-triumphal tone, rather than as a compliment? And a rather dangerous compliment to give, one would think, from their perspective. If science is based on ‘faith’, then science is of the same kind as religion-directly comparable. If science is a religion, it is the religion that heals the sick and reveals the secrets of the stars. It would make sense to say, “The priests of science can blatantly, publicly, verifiably walk on the Moon as a faith-based miracle, and your priests’ faith can’t do the same.” Are you sure you wish to go there, oh faithist? Perhaps, on further reflection, you would prefer to retract this whole business of “Science is a religion too!”

    ~Eliezer Yudkowsky

    • kiljoy616

      No science is not based on faith at all. Its based on evidence and its self correcting.

      So how self correcting is the made up and useless holy texts?
      Never again use anything technological because that is Science.
      Religion the most prevalent mental disorder found among humans.

      • YoRpFiSh

        Clearly you didn’t understand the meaning and intent of the quote.

      • abb3w

        “At all” overstates it, although the “faith” involved isn’t particularly exciting.

        However, in so far as “faith” may be used to encompass the taking of a premise without reliance on any inference from priors, the taking of a mathematical axiom (such as the Axiom of Pairing) may be regarded as an act of faith — albeit a quite trivial one. Science inherits from mathematics the need for about a dozen such premises without priors (to provide the possibility of a language for science to describe reality), and the additional premise about evidence relating to reality.

        Any of these points of faith may be alternately taken in refutation rather than affirmation; however, the results seem to tend uninteresting. See also the Münchhausen trilemma for another perspective on the inescapability of some iota of one or another sort of faith.

        Also, technology is distinct from science. Science is about how the world is; technology is about facilitating how the world ought to be — which is generally based from applications of (the body of understanding accumulated through) science, but that actually turns out not to be an absolute philosophical necessity.

        Nohow, the religious sometimes include in their use of “faith” a sense more akin to “trust”; in so far as such trust is provisional, I think that’s distinct and inappropriate.

        • MNb

          “Any of these points of faith may be alternately taken in refutation rather than affirmation”
          Not really – the fact remains that science works, for instance has changed how the world looks like in just 200 years in an unprecedented way. That cries out for an explanation, to use some terminology some apologists are very fond of.
          The Münchhausen trilemma is only about logic and mathematics – ie about deduction. Science also collects empirical data – ie uses induction. Comparing the results of both deduction and induction still does not provide absolute certainty (hence I object to the usage of the word truth regarding science, confirming that the Münchhausen trilemma is only a problem when our expectations are too high), but increases the probability that the outcome is correct.
          So of course things get interesting when the outcomes of deduction and induction contradict each other and scientists fail (at least up to now) to eliminate that contradiction. My favourite example is superconductivity at relatively high temperatures.
          Science is build on some unproven assumptions, yes. But faith is not required to accept them. Scientific results justify those assumptions. They are explained by the scientific pursuit and capability of increasing probability – not the pursuit of truth.

        • abb3w

          Leaving aside some subtler problems, the claim that “science works” seems dependent on empirical observations, and therefore the premise that evidence has any relationship with reality… which was noted as one of the premises for science. This reduces the argument to circular reasoning, which may be considered a form of faith.

          Inductive reasoning has an underlying formal mathematical justification, resulting from precisely such axiom (and ZF, with the result independent on AC).

          As to your claim “faith is not required to accept them”, I suggest you address application to the example of the Axiom of Pairing. “It’s bloody obvious to any idiot!!!” doesn’t mean it isn’t also “faith” to accept the conclusion.

    • Yes, it is odd that Christians who celebrate faith use “faith” to denigrate the atheist position.

      • morgan

        Right? I’m often puzzled by their use of the word “faith” towards atheists. It’s like admitting their own faith is NOT ENOUGH.
        They are actually insulting themselves.

      • It’s a “tu quoque” fallacy.

    • abb3w

      Pedantically, that’s not “science”; that’s “engineering”. The difference is subtle. Science addresses how the universe is, with language to create a common understanding; engineering is about taking the common understanding, to reshape the universe into accord with notions of how it ought to be.

      Contrariwise, under Dale Cannon’s “Six Ways” framework, Engineering indeed may be considered a form of Shamanic Mediation… and clearly, Science can be considered a form of Reasoned Inquiry.

      • MNb

        You’re right, but engineering is impossible without science, so the point stands.

        • abb3w

          Evolutionary processes may be considered as engineering without science. Drunken walks tend inefficient, but sometimes can be effective.

      • YoRpFiSh

        You’re right…that was extraordinarily pedantic.

        • abb3w

          Still, the difference can have non-trivial implications in this sort of philosophical discussion.

        • YoRpFiSh

          i disagree

        • abb3w

          You might consider how many of the evils ascribed to “science” are, in this taxonomic refinement, more exactly the fault of “engineering”.

        • YoRpFiSh

          There you go again…

          Engineering IS science.

          You’re making useless distinctions that don’t actually serve a function and certainly have nothing to do with the quote, the purpose of which was to point out and mock a hypocritical attitude about ‘faith’.

          Don’t conflate an issue just for the sake of doing so. It paints you as a disingenuous instigator.

        • abb3w

          I’m sorry, but this is an particular instance of a general philosophical point (Hume’s is-ought distinction) with larger implications (such as being implicitly foundational to both the entirety of ethics and the semantic import of “purpose”). While you do not appear to grasp the function of the distinction that I am pointing to, it is there; and the failure of the quote to maintain that distinction reduces the quote’s effectiveness towards the alleged purpose.

        • YoRpFiSh

          the effectiveness of the quote, considering its intended audience and general point, remains unscathed by your petulance.

          Further, I maintain that yours is a worthless distinction expounded upon for no other reason than to be contrary.

          We are just going to have to agree to disagree.

          Farewell

        • TheNuszAbides

          you appear to have been at odds with someone who chose to contribute only a quotation, then when challenged on EY’s formulation merely crowed about the focus of their intention as quote-puller, then implied they knew your intention and your attitude (the latter in a hilarious stroke of irony).
          kudos on letting them have the last petulant word; i probably couldn’t have.

  • Curtis Martin

    When I say that I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist I mean:
    Atheism is certain that there is nothing beyond our conscious existence.
    I can’t commit to that, I just can’t believe this is all just an accident.
    I DO have enough faith to be an Agnostic, at least as I understand Agnosticism.
    I’m not sure at all what the guys that wrote this book are talking about. I would call the people they describe as Anti-Theists or Against a God they don’t like. Not at all the same thing.
    I think there’s something more than just what we can see. I believe that there is a Divine of some sort. I follow a Progressive Christian model to try and understand that Divine. I’m not an exclusivist – I think there are other ways of attempting to understand the Divine. While I can’t prove this Divine exists, I believe it to be so – hence the term faith. To believe that all existence is merely a coincidence would be harder for me to believe, hence the phrase “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist”. What did get wrong?

    • wtfwjtd

      I don’t wish to tackle your whole post, but: “Atheism is certain that there is nothing beyond our conscious existence. ”

      This isn’t atheism, though some atheists might state it this way. Atheism is simply a lack of god belief, nothing more, nothing less.

      • Curtis Martin

        So help me out here – I believe there is no God. How is that different than a lack of god belief?

        • wtfwjtd

          Lacking a god belief implies that there is no compelling evidence to acquire such a belief. Believing there is no god is a statement that implies you have evidence for this belief.

          An atheist doesn’t claim to have evidence that god doesn’t exist. An atheist lacks god belief because there is no compelling evidence of a god or god’s existence. Stated another way, your claim implies you have evidence (for god’s non-existence), while atheism is a claim based on lack of evidence for god’s existence.

        • kiljoy616

          wtfwjtd explains it just fine but I would add, why don’t you show us your god proof. There is non and over the centuries this god has had to go farther and farther away just to make sense for the mental disorder called religion.

          You can word the sentence as you wish but your basically putting hope on a sky daddy of ancient Jews. Hard to be empresses with believer logic.

        • Curtis Martin

          I don’t really want to empresses you. I have no proof. I have faith. I’m not here to convert anyone or to be converted.

        • D Sims

          I understand what you have been trying to say and I applaud you. It’s like eating a great meal and then have someone confess there is no evidence that there was someone that prepared it. The evidence was right in front of them the whole time they enjoyed the meal.

        • Adam King

          But we actually do have evidence that chefs exist. There is no such evidence for gods.

        • MNb

          Worse – such evidence is not even possible.

        • morgan

          We also have evidence THAT WE GROW OUR OWN FOOD.

        • Greg G.

          The atheists’ position would be to figure that the meal was prepared only using the laws of physics. The theists’ position is that the meal required magic somewhere in the recipes.

        • morgan

          D Sims, that’s a ridiculous analogy that makes no sense whatsoever.

        • Jerry P.

          I’ve seen you have the same conversations here over and over again–this is not new to you. Have you learned nothing in the time you’ve been reading atheist blogs?

        • Curtis Martin

          Honestly? I have learned that you guys can be real pricks. It seems virtually impossible for someone to say “I am a Christian” without it being assumed that they are asserting some sort of superiority or trying to convert everyone. I do get that here in Seattle, Christians are just 52% of the population (including Catholics, Mainline Protestants, Evangelicals and Mormons). The unaffiliated are 32% of the population. This is wildly different from what a lot of you deal with. That said, you guys still seem to get your panties all bunched up real quick. Not only do I get immediately accused of trying to convert people, but I get accused of being someone who marches with Westboro Baptist. Those people are a vile and hateful bunch who use the Bible and the term Baptist irresponsibly. But when I try to point out that I am about as far from that group as a Christian can get? Then I hear that I am a bad Christian anyway and i just make stuff up.

          In this particular thread, the discussion was based around specific statement and a book that uses that statement. I understand that statement very differently than the folks here do and i wanted to learn a bit more about why that is. At no time have I suggested that anyone need to come around to my way of thinking lest some eternal penalty befall them. Yet for the hostility, you’d think I was preaching hellfire and brimstone and had given an altar call.

          So, more than anything, I have learned that Atheists are as intolerant of other points of view as Fundamentalist Christians are.

        • Greg G.

          We find that making decisions based on no evidence is worse than a crapshoot because you can at least determine the odds with dice.

          All you have to offer is your own credulity for your beliefs. The fact that you continue to insist that atheism means certainty that no god exists shows that you have no interest in learning so your credulity might be systemic.

        • morgan

          “you guys still seem to get your panties all bunched up real quick.”

          Perhaps, but we don’t print books calling for your death, or that you are “wicked, and none do good.”
          However, supernaturalists do print such literature.

          ” I have learned that Atheists are as intolerant of other points of view as Fundamentalist Christians are.”
          Yes, We are 100% intolerant of claims that have no foundation in reality.
          If something sounds silly and ridiculous, it should be pilloried and ridiculed.
          I respect your right to have (IMHO) incredible beliefs.
          However, I do NOT have to respect those incredible beliefs.

        • Curtis Martin

          John Calvin would have had me burned alive, if that makes you feel any better. I think it’s also fair to point out that I haven’t printed any such book, my denomination has printed any such book (ok, the UCC does trace it’s roots back to the Pilgrims and through Salem. For what it’s worth, the UCC has officially apologized for the Salem Witch Trials.), and I wouldn’t purchase or agree with such a book. I guess what I would expect is basic tolerance for views that do not affect you. I don’t think it’s fair to paint all Theists with the same brush. The folks that bug you, likely bug me nearly as much.

        • TheNuszAbides

          basic tolerance for views that have a track record of something that [more than] needs to be apologized for? (far too late to matter to those it did affect, i might add.)

          and the only “same brush” (cute to level that after broadly generalizing about how abused you are by a bunch of pricks with their panties in a wad) is dipped in the “irrational belief” paint. that is precisely what you the individual and your denomination the UCC have in common with each and every [at-least-halfway-coherent] Christian ever.

        • Jerry P.

          I understand that you aren’t here to convert or anything like that. You’re a Christian in much the same way that my husband is. He believes on faith–reasons for or against the existence of god don’t mean much to him–he doesn’t seek reasons for what he accepts on faith. It works for him and he understands very well that faith isn’t something I value or seek. We get along extremely well–he can express his belief, I can express my disbelief and neither one of us gets offended or feels pressure to change our minds about religion.

          What I am addressing in my comment to you is that you’ve been here a while, having the same conversations over and over. I agree that there have been atheists making unfair comments to you at times and a lot of the repetition I see is you defending yourself against the same charges time and again.
          However, haven’t you been around long enough to know that for someone to make a claim and someone else not to believe them requires no faith whatsoever and certainty doesn’t even enter into it? How you can come away thinking that atheism implies any kind of certainty baffles me. There are atheists who are certain, sure–but so what? The fact that there are atheists who express certainty doesn’t mean that certainty is an implicit component of atheism.

        • Curtis Martin

          Because I am not an Atheist and i was simply expressing an outsider’s view.

        • Jerry P.

          That would make sense to me if this thread were your first exposure to atheism, but it isn’t. I’ve never joined one of your conversations before today, but I’ve seen your discussions before. I don’t know if I’ve seen all of them, but I’ve seen many of them. If in the last couple of months, you’ve come away thinking that atheism implies some kind of certainty or is a faith position (a position held with faith, rather than a position about the subject of faith), then we’ve been reading completely different articles and commentary.

          I’m sure it’s tiring having to explain that you aren’t a conservative fundamentalist–but to misunderstand basic atheist positions after prolonged exposure just doesn’t seem true to me.

        • Curtis Martin

          you make a fair point. l am sure it seems to you that I’m a thick headed numbskull. Just try and understand that I am coming from a consistent Theist world view that I have held for nearly 50 years now. In my particular life, I don’t have Atheists that I would discuss such things with so lets way 50 years vs. 2 months. In addition, this was a very specific question I wanted to weigh in on as the statement in question makes perfect sense to me and not in an insulting way. I was genuinely curious why Atheists take it the way they do. In my worldview, I have always placed God out there where science ends. For ME (not for anyone else), this means that I don’t have all the answers and that I am ok with that, but that I believe in something beyond my answers. My simplistic, inexperienced, binary mind assumed that for someone certain there is no God (the simpleton’s understanding of the word Atheist), that they then believe that everything can eventually be known conclusively. Frankly, what most of you folks are describing is what I would call Agnosticism. Anyway, I freely admit I bring my limited understanding to the discussion and I was only trying to clarify things a bit more.

        • MNb

          “I am coming from a consistent Theist world view.”
          No, you aren’t.
          You claim that you accept science but rejects it when its results don’t suit you (the Big Bang as a probabilistic event).
          You can’t accept that something can spontaneously out from nothing, but are OK with an immaterial entitiy creating something out of nothing.
          Instead you claim that some immaterial entitiy caused the entire shenanigan and that he/she/it wants a personal relationship with you. But you can’t tell us (nobody can) how that entity interacts with material – created energy/matter, communicates with you, which means he/she/it uses and which procedures he/she/it follows. You don’t recognize that such means and procedures have to be material themselves and hence are not available to any immaterial entity.
          Consistency implies accepting the Law of Non-Contradiction. Still you’re totally OK, very much unlike scientists, with the thought that hindus might be as right as you.
          All that’s very inconsistent. What you do is patch your inconsistencies up with faith. That’s OK with me – but you should give up claims like I just quoted.

        • Curtis Martin

          By consistent, I meant long term. Again the topic was the cliché “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist”. As a belief in God is something that has been part of my life since I was conscious, I have a fundamentally different understanding and vocabulary than many of you. I am aware that many folks here are former Theists. Still, the discussion has illuminated just how different our language is. In a sentence, I believe that Science is the study of God’s Creation. Quantum Physics and the like are way over my head. But, I do know that there will always be questions beyond human answers. I place God in the beyond. I don’t look to science to prove or disprove God. I have learned that Atheists are really big on Evidence. I have reminded myself that faith requires a lack of evidence. This seems to be our biggest obstacle to conversation. Add on the layer of Christianity’s misdeeds toward Atheists and conversation is that much more difficult. I am tired and I am done.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My simplistic, inexperienced, binary mind assumed that for someone certain there is no God (the simpleton’s understanding of the word Atheist), that they then believe that everything can eventually be known conclusively. Frankly, what most of you folks are describing is what I would call Agnosticism.

          Perhaps sorting out this misconception might be the best place to start. It is not a one size fits all term, but you have definitely grabbed the shitty end of the stick with the definition you are holding on to.

          Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.

          Writers disagree on how best to define and classify atheism, contesting what supernatural entities it applies to, whether it is an assertion in its own right or merely the absence of one, and whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection. Atheism has been regarded as compatible with agnosticism, and has also been contrasted with it. A variety of categories have been used to distinguish the different forms of atheism.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

        • TheNuszAbides

          [a]gnostic refers to knowledge – more specifically, whether or not that knowledge is claimed.
          [a]theist refers to belief – more specifically, whether or not a belief is claimed or held.
          thus there are agnostic atheists, gnostic atheists, agnostic theists and gnostic theists. others prefer even more subsets, and obviously some people are fixated on there being merely “two kinds of people in this world”* but that grouping of 4 (IMO) is the simplest breakdown that falls between petulant hairsplitting and ham-fisted over-generalizations.

          the point being that short labels are, and more than likely always will be, fraught, and the very human tendency to fault others for perceived errors/flaws is going to misfire in a variety of colorful ways regardless of which individual from which camp is referring to whomever else.

          *the only comprehensive breakdown of this duality i’ve heard yet – and i’ve heard a few – is “those who divide people into two types, and those who don’t”.

        • And why is that? It’s not because of Atheists. It’s because of those Christians. If you are made because they are giving the rest of you a bad name, why are you complaining to us and not them?

        • Curtis Martin

          They aren’t here. And when I can, I do.

        • adam

          “It seems virtually impossible for someone to say “I am a Christian” without it being assumed that they are asserting some sort of superiority”

          Well of course, if you are claiming you have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe you are asserting superiority over those who do not.

        • Greg G.

          Count mine as three up arrows.

        • Curtis Martin

          ” I am a Christian” and “You should be a Christian, like me'” are different in my mind. As for the personal relationship with the Creator, the good news is that He likes you and wants me to be nice to you. Honestly, it’s not meant as a superiority thing, just a statement of where I am coming from. I don’t think I’m superior to anyone, and I don’t think that other belief are invalid. I know that there are a lot of Christians who do think that way, I’m just not one of them.

        • Pofarmer

          The problem is that each Christian is pretty much a denomination unto himself.

        • adam

          Such is the MAJOR problem with ‘Revealed ReligionsTM’
          each individual HAS to create its own version of ‘god’ as ‘revealed’ to them.

          And they have no problems with this kind of idolatry.

        • Curtis Martin

          not quite – but we are guilty of forming closed off groups, I’ll give you that.

        • adam

          ” As for the personal relationship with the Creator, the good news is that He likes you and wants me to be nice to you.”

          Why dont you have your personal friend tell me itself?

          ” I don’t think I’m superior to anyone, and I don’t think that other belief are invalid.”

          And yet dont you think you have found THE KEY to eternal life and claim a personal relationship with the creator of the universe?

          And if YOU dont think that is a superior position, then why is it your position?

        • Curtis Martin

          Ahhh, you have me confused with the Fundamentalists again. NO, I have not found THE KEY to eternal life (I’m not really a big believer in the afterlife anyway). I do think that I have found a framework in which much of my life can make more sense. I’m not however, an exclusivist. Just because I find comfort and hope in my faith doesn’t mean it would work for you. Yes, I do confess that the Creator is interested in my life and that that Creator is interested in yours. So yeah, you got me on that one. But you’re not going to get me to pass some sort of eternal judgment on you simply because your an Atheist. You’d have to cut me off in traffic or root for the 49’ers for me to do that!

        • Kodie

          Some of us feel pretty secure without having to go inventing imaginary friends.

        • adam

          ” that that Creator is interested in yours. ”

          Please demonstrate that your claim is true…

          Because your ‘creator’ certainly has not.

        • Curtis Martin

          He asked me to talk to you about it.

        • adam

          “He asked me to talk to you about it.”

          Did he provide you with the tools and information to convey to me, that, which would convince me this is not a delusion on your part and a REAL message from a deity?

        • Curtis Martin

          Naw, Being omniscient, He knew you wouldn’t listen……..But, He did say that Straight outta Compton is the best movie of the summer. So there’s that.

          I am done. This is not what I wanted to talk about. I think this has been beaten to death.

        • adam

          “Naw, Being omniscient, He knew you wouldn’t listen…….”

          So your ‘god’ is just toying with us.

          I think we have much different ideas on what constitutes a ‘god’ much less a ‘God’….

          “I am done. This is not what I wanted to talk about. I think this has been beaten to death”

          Thanks for going this far, then.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Croydon awaits you.

        • MNb

          What do you mean with ask? Did he use spoken language, ie make sounds? Did he write down it on paper? Transmitted it via computer code?

        • Curtis Martin

          I saw a message in my cornflakes….. (can all y’all really not tell when I am kidding?)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ever hear of Poe’s Law?

          It is an observation that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between parodies of fundamentalism or other extreme views and their genuine proponents, since they both seem equally insane.

        • TheNuszAbides

          uh, welcome to the Interwebs, mind-reader.

        • MNb

          “the good news is that He likes you”
          OK. Then he will be fine with me not worshipping him, not wanting to go to Heaven and preferring return to nothing (well, just ashes and dust) instead. In short: he’s OK with me being an atheist and also with staying out of my life.
          Everything else will be bad news to me.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how do you know whom He likes?

        • Aram McLean

          Your so-called liberal Christian outlook may seem more reasonable at first blush, but what’re you doing if not enabling loads of more dramatic make-believers a comfortable jumping off point. It’s all the same shifting shades of belief reinforcing the fantasy of some ethereal magical world beyond our own. As such, indeed you do enable churches like Westboro to exist.

        • adam

          ” As such, indeed you do enable churches like Westboro to exist.”

          Let us not forget ISIS.
          Their beliefs are straight out of the words of the ‘god’ of Abraham from the OT.

        • Aram McLean

          I hear what you’re saying, but I’m talking about the whole ‘aura’ of supernatural beliefs religious folks exude. All religions across the globe contribute to it, even when they’re killing each other. They’re essentially declaring, ‘We don’t agree with you, but yes there are most certainly invisible gods and demons everywhere.’ Which is why I don’t give so-called progressive religions a free pass. Yes, I’m glad they’re accepting of gay people, for example, but they’re still enabling the darker side by propping up Jesus on the cross, etc. They’re the boiling pot of water. The ‘crazies’ like ISIS are the popping bubbles. And the only real solution is to turn off the fucking element.

        • adam

          ” I’m talking about the whole ‘aura’ of supernatural beliefs religious folks exude”

          Understand and agree

          “Which is why I don’t give so-called progressive religions a free pass. ”

          The only pass I give them is “I am glad they are more moral than the god they worship”

          “And the only real solution is to turn off the fucking element.”

          It is very difficult to get those with childish superstitions to GROW UP, when they think they just need to be reborn.

        • Aram McLean

          So difficult I’m beginning to think it must have a serious genetic component. Many people, it seems, simply cannot see past their own emotions.

        • Kodie

          Let’s not forget the reason they are Christians is really, at root, another movement like ISIS.

        • adam

          Crusades, Inquisistions their techniques were no less barbaric than ISIS and they get their ‘reasoning’ of the same OT ‘god’ of Abraham.

        • Curtis Martin

          I’m gonna strongly disagree with you on that. First – Westboro isn’t actually a church they’re a family. No Christian or even Baptist organization will claim them (accept maybe some Arian Nations Church group). Second, I understand that you are firmly against all faiths, but the existence of Progressive Christianity enabling the likes of the Phelps family, isn’t one that I am going to accept.

        • Westboro has everything that any other church has–a building, preacher(s), regular meetings, dogma, and so on.

        • Curtis Martin

          They are mostly an extended family. And they’re Calvinists to boot. The fact that no denomination will claim them is telling.

        • There are 42,000 “denominations” in Christianity, largely because of splinter churches like this.

          This is no great matter to me, so perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but I’m just saying that thousands of churches are operating solo, outside of a larger denomination, just like this one.

        • Curtis Martin

          That is true although many are loosely affiliated with some parent organizations. I guess my point is that from right to left, Westboro Baptist is universally despised within American Christianity. To hold them up as condoned by anyone is inaccurate. If the Church at large could close them down, they would in a heartbeat. They are truly a pox on Christianity in this country.

        • Aram McLean

          Naturally you can’t accept it. But it’s true nonetheless. Your belief in supernatural beings helps enable others’ beliefs in supernatural beings by normalizing it. Including Westboro.

        • Kodie

          One of the things that helped to confirm my atheism was that people invent their own religious beliefs – no god actually needed. It is whatever you wish. You take pieces of a religion and form it into your own personal religious beliefs. The fact that everyone doesn’t find the same answers as you do doesn’t sway you a bit. Extreme fundamentalists stick to whatever the bible says, and then there are people like you who try to maintain a distance from what the bible actually says to whatever you wish it meant. God exists inside your own brain entirely. Everyone has a different one. You attribute your perceptions to a concept, and that’s all. Any time you have to interpret the bible to mean something so nuanced and metaphorical, any time you need someone to help you over those obstacles and find some gem in there anyway, it’s because you’re dedicated to inventing a god you can feel good about. The god in the bible is not a god you can already feel good about, you have to create another one.

          I recognize this is how religions are formed, and that’s all I see from any theist, especially ones who like to except themselves from the rest of those believers who don’t get it right.

        • Curtis Martin

          I don’t know what your background is, but I can tell you that my reading of the Bible is not that unique. The Bible is meant to be read in community and hashed out and wrestled with and that is part of how I have arrived at my relationship with it. I can tell you that Extreme Fundamentalists (I doubt my parents are reading this) don’t stick to exactly what the Bible says either. They too have guidelines for understanding and interpreting it. And As we’re all human, none of us have it all right and anyone claiming to, immediately has my distrust. I certainly don’t agree that I try and maintain a distance from the Bible, but I don’t worship it. Anyway, that’s my take on it, I wasn’t expecting that you’d change yours.

        • MNb

          Nothing of this contradicts what Kodie wrote.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Depends on the type of fundamentalists, some literalists do, some inerrantists don’t. Depending on who one asks of course.

          It is important to distinguish between the related, but separate concepts of biblical literalism, biblical inerrancy, and biblical infallibility. Some are used interchangeably depending on who you ask. But going by strict definitions for reasons of precision, however, they are different — many doctrinal bases or confessions for churches and organised sects require adherents to view the Bible as “inerrant” but do not support literalistic interpretations like creationism.

          Self-interpretation: The most extreme form, this argues that there is a singular true meaning which will be made evident to any “real” believer by simply reading the text. This typically forms an excessively text-literal reading which treats the text as though it were scientific data; all apparent contradictions will be held to be factual and “harmonised” with this in mind. This attitude may regard a specific translation as the only correct one (for example, Jack Chick regards only the King James Bible as truthful). It is often criticised by less insane literalists as worshipping the Bible instead of God.

          Biblical literalism: A literalist approach means that one reads the Bible in a plain and straightforward manner, attempting to discern the author, or authors’ original intent. Biblical literalists believe that the original authors of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit and drafted scripture in various literary genres and styles of the period. Thus, biblical literalists accept that, for example, poetry and allegory in the Bible are literally true but may not necessarily be written as a historical document. They examine the circumstances of scripture to determine how it should be understood.

          Biblical inerrancy: This is the basis that the Bible simply doesn’t contain any errors. There is a subtle but important difference between this and historical accuracy, as stories can be interpreted as allegorical, but their meanings remain true.

          Biblical infallibility: The least radical position. It holds that the Bible is an infallible source regarding questions of faith and redemption, but not on questions of science and history. These people may be willing to accept scientific facts like evolution as true.

          The actual interpretation of these questions further depends on the various denominations and theological schools of thought.

        • MNb

          I’m not sure what you mean with “bad” but in a way “bad christianity” is a pleonasm. No, I’m not talking morals.

          “i just make stuff up.”
          Above you did exactly that with “I can’t accept the Universe came randomly from nothing hence I believe in God“.

        • TheNuszAbides

          But when I try to point out that I am about as far from that group as a Christian can get? Then I hear that I am a bad Christian anyway and i just make stuff up.

          surely there’s another step in there somewhere. such as someone asking why you choose not to believe “God Hates Fags”?

        • morgan

          No, Curtis, but you seem to be here to belittle.
          If you don’t understand, say so. Be a man. But don’t conjure up a strawman argument just to feel good.

        • Pofarmer

          Why don’t I believe in God? Two reasons. Number one, there is no good evidence for one. Numbwr two, the evidence we do have leads us to conclude that everything we understand is based on natural principles. God doesn’t enter into ot except as an excuse.

        • Greg G.

          There is an asteroid orbiting a star a billion light years from here. It is an exact replica of me. It will be obliterated by a larger asteroid the day I die.

          There is no reason to believe that claim but it is impossible for you to refute it.

          There are some god claims that can be refuted easily and some that are contrived to be impossible to refute. The latter can only be imagined. There is no reason to think they are real and many reasons to point out that they are imagined but atheists can’t refute everything a theist can imagine.

          That puts the burden of proof on you to demonstrate that your contrived god is anything but imaginary. Accept it or shut up.

        • Kodie

          Do you give the existence of god a 50/50 chance? I would say based on your post, you give it more.

          I see no credible evidence for any gods, no reasons for any gods to exist, even. Christians claim we are made in his image for some greater purpose than just sweating and pooping and birthing and keeping our place hygienic and neat. So in order for my purpose to belong to a god, he must have reasons, and I can see zero reasons such a god could even bother. Me? You? This whole razzle-dazzle is for me and/or you. Sure. I accept that I’m a fucking animal, living on a planet among other things that also inhabit earth. I’m not going to say there is no god, but everything we know about him comes from the imperfect perceptions of an animal called human. The want and need for there to be more than “just this.” The ego about discontinuing to exist and falling off the face of the earth.

          We don’t need a god to tell us how to behave – that was composed by people, so no, I am not going to follow the instructions of a backwards superstition of an era long gone by. We learn how to exist in society among other people from an early age, we get better at it, we learn, we listen, we care about other people. Some people don’t, and a lot of those people label things called “sin” and make tasteless jokes on facebook that get them fired from their job (this happened to a relative of whom another relative griped about this “irrational” punishment). I mean seriously, what kind of asshole compares love between two consenting human adults to marriage with a dog, and doesn’t expect to get fired for being so inhuman that he should marry his fucking dog. Poor dog to even have such a confused human, but little that doggie cares. I mean, what’s really important to us matters not at all to another species, isn’t that sort of cool? It’s not because the dog is too stupid, but because the dog is secure enough not to get involved in human politics. No matter who gets elected, the dog still gets walkies and other treats.

          When you think about stuff, consider that if you don’t have enough evidence to conclude there is a god, why should you believe that there is? Humans are some of the ugliest creatures there are for as beautiful as we can be some of the time. Hate and willful ignorance, and celebration of that ignorance does not seem to fit well with admiration of scientific discovery or artistic creation. A religious person would chalk it up to “sin”, but most are on the side with the homophobes ridiculing marriage equality over social media. They don’t get how beautiful and diverse humanity can be and seem to only wish for everyone to be the same – ignorant and waiting for death to show them the world they really think they all deserve.

          Anyway, what I mean to say is, if there’s a god, he hasn’t shown up so far. Your own definitions seem to spring from personal emotional experiences or revelations. You live “as though” without being fully committed, but you pick and choose what feels right when you do. You can’t be convinced there is no god, but that’s ok. I can’t be convinced there is one. I’m not living “as though” there is one just in case he should strike me dead because I don’t. Morals come from society. If you need guidance, I don’t think Jesus is the worst, in parts. I don’t “believe there is no god.” I simply do not have a belief that there is a god.

        • Curtis Martin

          FYI, I am not from the homophobic, judgement gang. I see that even when I don’t mention anything of the sort, I get a response in relation to the behavior of the religious right. Anyway, thanks for the response.

        • Kodie

          I wasn’t trying to say you were, I was drawing a picture of this so-called reasoning, intelligent, beautiful human animal that many people believe in god because of those he created especially to follow him. I see a wide range of human behaviors with no special divinity involved, while those who seem to find the most power in admiring the beautiful side of things can’t see how ugly they are.

        • MNb

          OK. How do you determine that the “homophobic, judgement gang” ‘s interpretation of the Bible is incorrect and your is correct? Or are you not interested in showing that they are incorrect either? Must I conclude that you don’t have any standard at all on which you make your decisions?
          That’s a huge problem for me when someone “follow(s) a Progressive Christian model”. Why telling us atheists that we understand your belief system wrongly if your favourite Holy Book is abused to justify outlawing gays, like right now happens in Uganda? It seems to me that your moral priorities are wrong. Me misunderstanding you causes a lot less harm than (mis?)interpreting the Bible.
          Perhaps it’s just my prejudice, but I’m under the impression that your belief system is all about you, you and you. It seems to me that that Progressive Christian model contains a lot of narcissism – you’re far from the only progressive christian I’ve met.

        • Curtis Martin

          Short answer: If an interpretation of the Bible leads to hurtful behavior, such as the persecution of Gay people in Uganda (or Texas for that matter) then it’s wrong.

          Again, not trying to convince anyone that I have it right and you have it wrong. Not trying to convince anyone of anything, really. It just sucks to have people assume you’re a homophobic, judgemental asshole just because you say you’re a Christian.

        • adam

          ” It just sucks to have people assume you’re a homophobic, judgemental asshole just because you say you’re a Christian. ”

          We all assume that you want to emulate your ‘god’…

        • Greg G.

          Any interpretation of anything that leads to unnecessary harm of anyone is wrong to empathetic beings. It doesn’t matter what the Bible says.

        • Ron

          Short answer: If an interpretation of the Bible leads to hurtful behavior, such as the persecution of Gay people in Uganda (or Texas for that matter) then it’s wrong.~Curtis Martin

          Could you provide the right interpretation (one that doesn’t lead to hurtful behavior) for the following verse:

          “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.” Leviticus 20:13

        • Curtis Martin

          No. It’s wrong. It represents a false understanding of God. There is a trajectory to scripture that must be understood. Jesus himself argued with the Hebrew Bible. I am not, as you would guess, a believer in inerrancy. So no,I cannot fix that verse.

        • adam

          ” It represents a false understanding of God.”

          How does one determine that?
          What rules and procedures are used?

        • Curtis Martin

          See my long winded answer to Otto.

        • adam

          “See my long winded answer to Otto.”

          You mean by Idolatry.
          Creating your OWN ‘god’ by reinterpreting the bible in a way that is consistent with YOUR OWN morality.

          That is what I got out of your response to Otto.

        • Curtis Martin

          Well, I’m not on an island with my interpretation. That said, every single flavor of Christianity interprets the Bible a bit differently so I’m in good company there as well.

        • Kodie

          To start with, you have explained that you, in a nutshell, think the bible was actual people’s actual experiences with an actual god, and not their own personal perceptions of what’s happening around them and attributing nothing supernatural to a supernatural being, the same character who shows up later in the same book of stories to change things a little bit. You’re interpreting realish experiences second-hand as contact or perception of an actual god, and then you can even go further and say they were wrong about that, products of their time and place and the local political tone and such, and you know better.

          All I’ve been saying, and I think others have been saying is, you invented god. All the people all over the world throughout history who have claimed there is a spirit world with any effect on the earth and humans etc., has been attributing their personal impressions of experience through superstitious explanations, and in many cases, getting that superstition codified in the local culture, to be used and abused and interpreted and adjusted for modern times and more modern times, into infinity. Where is the reality?

        • MNb

          Uh no – it’s bad company.
          See, if two scientists interpret evidence, ie empirical facts differently they design a test to find out who’s correct (or perhaps both are incorrect). They don’t shrug it off with “it’s just my interpretation”.

          http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/01/17/the-most-embarrassing-graph-in-modern-physics/

          “The embarrassing thing is that we don’t have agreement.”
          Completely unlike your indifferent attitude.

        • adam

          I will bet that you are.

          I will bet that NO TWO people on the planet interprets every word in the bible the same.

          “Christianity interprets the Bible a bit differently so I’m in good company there as well.”

          Exactly my point, your are in the company of idolators.

          Each creates it own ‘god’ based on their own morality, wants an needs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As many Christianities as there are Christians ya mean?

        • Curtis Martin

          Pretty close, but I am sure that a couple of us might line up. There are core values and beliefs shared more broadly, but sure, there are lots of ways to express Christianity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There are core values and beliefs shared more broadly…

          As there are between Judaism, Christianity and Islam one could argue, but my point still stands. It’s the differences I’m talking about.

        • Otto

          “It represents a false understanding of God.”

          What do you use to tell the difference between a false understand and a correct understanding?

        • Aram McLean

          The billion dollar question.

        • Curtis Martin

          That can actually be a long and detailed answer with words like Exegesis and Hermeneutic and such. But to give you an answer,

          Galatians 5:22-23New International Version (NIV)

          22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

          In other words, what kind of result does this sort of interpretation bring? It is also important to consider the time and the place that the text was written and who it was originally intended for. In the case of your Leviticus example, there is no question that the Law at that time condemned homosexual sex. But as a Christian, I’m going to travel forward and then look backwards through the lens of The Cross. What I see on the Cross (and this is more of an Eastern Orthodox view, but it is gaining traction in the west and even in some Evangelical circles) is not the Penal Substitution theology that God Killed Jesus to settle up our debt of sin. Not for nothin, but that’s really creepy and not what you would call “Good News”. (time out – please guys, I’m explaining my answer, not trying to convince anyone. I know you all think this is poppycock. Fine.) Instead, I understand the Cross as the full revelation of who God is – God will to sacrifice Himself for us. This shows us His true character, where in earlier times it wasn’t quite so clear. Looking backwards through that experience of God’s self sacrifice, I see that the Levitical writers were way, way too caught up in rules for their tribal time. Moving forward, I am of a time that understands homosexuality to be something that a person is born with. So, if I see that my Gay Christian friends are exhibiting “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”, and I understand Divinity to be, at it’s essence, loving, then I have to logically determine that God has created my Gay Christian friends to be Gay on purpose and not as a mistake. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to demonstrate these positive traits.
          I know there’s a bus load of all y’all laughing, but I wanted to try and answer the question. There is much, much more to the Biblical text than the shallow approach of just reading it literally. Additionally, while the Bible is important the Christian faith, it is not a science book or a history book and it simply cannot be used as such. It is a human book that records the experience of God as best it’s authors could. Because of this, there is a lot of work that goes into understanding the Bible, including developing hermeneutics such as the one I used above. Yes, it’s a liberal understanding, no, I’m by no means alone in this way of interpreting the Bible, and yes, I probably made it even more confusing. Most importantly, I’m human and I may, despite the rules I attempted to use, have gotten this wrong. Humans sometimes do that.
          Anyway, that’s my longwinded answer to why I would discard the Leviticus text as applicable for today’s world.

        • Greg G.

          I would say that Galatians 5:22-23 is a humanistic way of interpreting the Bible. If you look at the Bible through the lens of humanism, you don’t need to look at the Bible. If you look at the Galatians 5:22-23 through a biblical lens, you must realize that gay men find “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” in “having sex with another man as with a woman”. So Galatians is wrong. There is a law against “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.

          If you can’t get morality from the Bible without first knowing morality, the Bible is useless for morality.

        • Curtis Martin

          There’s no law in my state! And I will argue a bit with you on this one. I’m gonna go with Jesus on this one and say that Love overcomes the law. Jesus was pretty annoyed with the religious conservatives of his day and the way that they read the scriptures and He said that he had come not to erase the law but to fulfil (should be translated complete) it. As a Christian (not a Jew) I’m going to take into account Jesus example of enemy love and compare it against this passage. It tells me that if someone is behaving in a certain way, that this is good. You may be correct in calling it humanism, I think God is pretty pro-human myself. Anyway, there was a question on what I’d do with one of the so -called “clobber texts” in Leviticus. I simply responded with the way that I would read the Bible. I wouldn’t expect you to necessarily agree, but if we wind up at the same place, I don’t think that that’s the worst thing.

        • Greg G.

          I’m gonna go with Jesus on this one and say that Love overcomes the law.

          But ruthless power can overcome the law. Maybe Attila the Hun is who you should listen to. Arbitrarily making Jesus your model is no better than choosing Attila.

          We each have a preference to live in a society with peace and harmony. There is nothing wrong with wanting to share that with everyone. We can see that many religions are based on that idea but some retain power and conquest as goals. You don’t need religion to justify wanting peace and harmony as reason and empathy can get you there without the baggage of religion.

          Jesus is not an ideal model of peace and harmony, either.

          Jesus endorses passive acceptance of slavery and an unquestioned authoritarianism. In contrast, Seneca anticipates the emancipation of slaves and the equality of men.

          Seneca the Younger

          ” ‘They are slaves,’ people declare. NO, rather they are men.
          ‘Slaves! NO, comrades.
          ‘Slaves! NO, they are unpretentious friends.
          ‘Slaves! NO, they are our fellow-slaves, if one reflects that Fortune has equal rights over slaves and free men alike. That is why I smile at those who think it degrading for a man to dine with his slave.

          But why should they think it degrading? It is only purse-proud etiquette … All night long they must stand about hungry and dumb … They are not enemies when we acquire them; we make them enemies … This is the kernel of my advice: Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your betters.

          ‘He is a slave.’ His soul, however, may be that of a free man.”

          –-Epistulae Morales, 47

          Jesus

          “Which of you, having a slave plowing or feeding cattle, will say to him at the end of the day, when he comes in from the field, ‘Go and sit down to eat?’ And would not rather say to him, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that, you may eat and drink’?

          Would you thank that slave because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise, when you have done all those things which are commanded, you should say, ‘We are unprofitable slaves: we have done only that which was our duty to do.’ ”

          –-Luke 17:7,10

        • Curtis Martin

          One is a rousing opinion piece and one is a parable that was relevant to those listening. Jesus isn’t always cuddly, that’s nothing new. The recorded Jesus was much more concerned with the religious situation of the day as opposed to being some civil rights crusader. Jesus was pretty annoyed that the religious establishment was in cahoots with the occupying Romans.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The recorded Jesus was much more concerned with the religious situation of the day as opposed to being some civil rights crusader.

          That’s just one version of many versions of Jesus.

          False idols of who Jesus is come in all shades and styles, but there’s nothing that’s created more false idols of who Jesus is than man’s own heart.

          Unfortunately, most people have created a “Jesus” of their own liking, fashioned in the recesses of their carnal minds (or created by some religious leader that they’ve submitted their lives and entrusted their souls to) and that’s the “Jesus” they serve and worship.Ironically, these false idols of “Jesus” bear a striking resemblance to those who created them (and their desires), but very little–if any–resemblance to the Jesus of the Bible.

          Since there are so many versions of “Jesus” circulating out there I’ve decided to create this easy to use (but non-exhaustive) resource as a way to help you know which “Jesus” you worship based solely upon what you believe about Him.

          http://defendingcontending.com/2010/03/14/which-jesus-do-you-worship/

        • Greg G.

          Mark’s Jesus doesn’t seem to be so annoyed with the occupying Romans, Mark 12:13-17 has “render unto Caesar” which signifies that Jesus was OK with the Romans while he took issue with the Pharisees who took the OT too seriously in Mark 7:1-23, the sabbath laws in Mark 2:23-28, and commerce related to the Passover with his Temple tantrum in Mark 11:15-19.

          It wasn’t the Romans who wanted to kill Jesus, it was the Jewish leaders who put him on trial with perjury. Pilate is portrayed as trying to release him.

          1 Maccabees reports that the Jews were annoyed by the Hellenists in the 2nd century BC and Josephus reports that the Jews were annoyed by those who collaborated with the Romans such as Ananus, the son of the Ananus mentioned in Luke and John, was killed by a mob for calling for peace with the Romans.

          What passages are you referring to that have Jesus opposing the Roman occupation? Are you sure the author is not expressing dissatisfaction with the Romans and using Jesus as a puppet?

        • Curtis Martin

          Mark, as tradition goes, was written for a Roman audience. So you would expect Mark’s Jesus to be Rome Friendly. Like I said, though, it was those in the establishment who had sold out to the Romans. In particular, those that controlled the temple access via the sacrificial animal market.

        • Greg G.

          Like I said, though, it was those in the establishment who had sold out to the Romans. In particular, those that controlled the temple access via the sacrificial animal market.

          How do you know this?

          People traveled from great distances for Passover. For some, a once in a lifetime event. It would be impractical to transport live lambs and birds. They would have wanted to buy their sacrificial offerings and Passover meal fixings on arrival. They would have needed to exchange their currency to the local currency. The Temple commerce was necessary for Passover. Perhaps Mark’s Jesus didn’t understand supply and demand driving up lamb and pigeon prices. Passover would have been a big business opportunity for the local shepherds, farmers, innkeepers, and unleavened bread bakers. Mark’s Jesus was OK with them being taxed by the Romans.

          But if Mark wrote with a slant toward Romans, how do you know the other gospel authors didn’t write with their own agenda? Matthew, Luke, and John each used Mark as a source. John reworded Mark more than the others but he still used Mark’s technique of intercalating Jesus on trial with Peter’s denial to show simultaneous action but nobody could be in both places to tell that both happened (or even what happened in the trial) so it is a fictional account and both have it.

          I mentioned Mark 2:23-28. First, it is not clear that picking and eating grain on a sabbath is wrong. One is permitted to eat on the sabbath and farmers are required to leave the corners of their fields for others to eat, as long as they don’t collect it in a basket. Jesus references 1 Samuel 21, but doesn’t seem to understand it. It is not clear that it was a sabbath and David did not have companions to share the bread with. The Pharisees would have nailed Jesus on those points. So, that appears to be complete fiction.

          The Mark 7 account seems to be based on the argument between Paul and Peter in Galatians 2, with Jesus playing Paul’s part and the Pharisees playing Peter’s role. Mark’s Jesus relies on Galatians in other places, too. So, that story probably isn’t true, either.

          Yet the other gospels rely on Mark as if they didn’t know much about Jesus. One might find some deeper truth in it if you import it yourself. You can do the same with Dr Seuss books.

        • Curtis Martin

          While I get that there was a practical reason for the sacrificial animals to be sold on site, it is my understanding that, in practice, the prices were such that the poor were, in fact, denied access to God. That would be the problem. Not that taxes were paid to Caesar, but that God was being cut off from His people -by his people’s leaders.

          As I have always understood it, Mark was aimed at a Roman audience, Matthew at a Jewish audience and Luke (and Acts) at a Greek audience. John is for everyone. And yes, given the timeline of the Gospels being committed to paper, it is clear that some contemporary conflicts were being addressed.

        • Greg G.

          What is your source that says the price was too high? Is it a necessary assumption to make it sound like Jesus did right? The law of supply and demand would determine the price. If they charge too high a price, they are left with lambs they must sell cheap.

        • Otto

          I appreciate the honest answer and believe it or not it is about what I expected.

          I just don’t see the need to the supernatural to explain the conclusions. I am glad however that these are the conclusions you have reached. The world would be a better place if more religious people conclusions as you do.

          My personal assessment is that the supernatural claims are unnecessary and only add unneeded baggage. While I don’t agree with you at one time in my life I would have.

        • Curtis Martin

          thanks for the civil reply, I appreciate it.

        • Otto

          I disagree with you but I don’t think your theology is that bad. I used to feel that DNA had to show something was behind it all, but that no longer makes sense to me.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I am of a time that understands homosexuality to be something that a person is born with. So, if I see that my Gay Christian friends are exhibiting “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”, and I understand Divinity to be, at it’s essence, loving, then I have to logically determine that God has created my Gay Christian friends to be Gay on purpose and not as a mistake. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to demonstrate these positive traits.

          how convenient that you seemingly have no need to know why God created Gay _____s 100 or 2000 or 2500 years ago. mysterious ways? none of your business? oh wait – they used to not possess positive traits, but then He started creating ones that do so that it will Finally, Properly be OK with the Official Invisible Seal of Approval to accept them?

        • Kodie

          There is more a trajectory to history that can be easily understood by realizing people can be ignorant shits, and that god and Jesus and the bible are more tools for politics than rules to live by.

        • Otto

          So basically you view the Bible through the lens of humanism.

        • tsig

          If you already know to avoid hurtful behavior what do you need with a bible?

        • morgan

          Which god do you not believe in?
          We don’t believe in any of them.

        • adam

          disbelief Merriam Webster
          noun dis·be·lief ˌdis-bə-ˈlēf

          : a feeling that you do not or cannot believe or accept that something is true or real

          belief Merriam Webster
          noun be·lief bə-ˈlēf

          : a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true

      • kiljoy616

        Well said, to bad believers can’t come to term with the reality of what the word actually means and have to make stuff up. Well the religion has been making stuff up for a long time so they have plenty of practice.

    • Greg G.

      Atheism is certain that there is nothing beyond our conscious existence.

      Atheism is the realization that there is no compelling reason to think a god exists and not pretending that there is.

      • wtfwjtd

        Great minds think alike! We posted almost the same thing at the same time.

        • Greg G.

          I saw that. I saw somebody else was responding while I was typing but I hit “Post” before it said “1 new reply”. But the order now looks like you posted first.

    • Otto

      To believe that all existence is merely a coincidence would be harder
      for me to believe, hence the phrase “I don’t have enough faith to be an
      Atheist”. What did get wrong?

      Following the evidence where it leads does not take faith. I used to rest my hat on the design argument too but it doesn’t explain what we see in nature…unless that god is indifferent, like nature.

    • Kodie

      I think when most people use the phrase, it’s meant as a put-down to atheists and how little evidence we apparently have that their beliefs are not correct, but it is really a put-down to the idea of having faith to begin with. I don’t think you got most of it wrong. I think a lot of Christians and other theists are abused by fear of what will happen to them if they “deny” god’s existence, and they don’t actually have enough faith to test it that it’s going to be ok. They fear god’s wrath, just around the corner, or later when they die. I’ve heard of atheists following Jesus or a progressive Christian model. It’s sort of weird, but not very different than following anybody else.

      I don’t think the “Divine” with a capital D is anything. It might be that humans are susceptible to their own impression of their intelligence as a species, a recognition that we are part of something. The more I learn about animals, the more like animals humans seem to me. Our feats are what humans do, and animals also have amazing feats. We live in a dimension called time, and if we didn’t take advantage of the luxury of imagining shit*, it would be monotonous.

      *And keep in mind, a lot of stuff humans imagine isn’t pleasant. Fear, anxiety, etc. over nothing consumes a large part of what we are. Anxiety over talking with a superior at work, who has the power to fire you for seeming too stupid to do your lowlife job, while you think you’re the best that ever did it, per se. I don’t have children, but worrying about children seems to consume a lot of adults so they can hardly think of anything else, much less some amazing contribution to humanity. Their kid might be the best they can do, especially after the fact, so there’s that. I think most people who worry about stuff worry they’re going to die without making some amazing contribution to humanity, after all, but few people do – there’s your “divine”.

      • Curtis Martin

        Interesting. To me, Atheism is built on certainty. But that is just an outsider’s view. So for me, it’s like saying that I could never be as certain as you are about things. That is why I asked for more of an explanation.

        • MNb

          Indeed. Your view is wrong. My atheism is not based on certainty. That’s what science taught me: nothing is absolutely certain. Some things are just more probable than others; the probablity of some things is very, very close to 0% and of some others very close to 100%.
          Trivial examples makes this clear in the best way. I don’t even claim with 100% certainty that you will fall downward if you jump off a bridge tomorrow (whenever tomorrow will be). Sure we have good theories saying that you will. But Euclides already showed that the conclusions of a theory cannot be any stronger than its assumptions, which cannot be proven by definition. Sure we have lots of empirical data. But extrapolations can be highly unreliable; maybe that’s the case here as well.

        • morgan

          Mnb, I concur with you 100%.
          The problem is that supernaturalists crave “certainty” and will do and think or say anything to maintain that illusion.

        • adam

          Why do you think they PROJECT this ‘certainty’ on science and fail to recognize it in themselves?

        • Otto

          And the same thing with pride…it is probably tied together.

        • Kodie

          Well, I don’t attribute sensations of anything “divine” to some outer space immaterial control booth operator, or whatever. I do accept, and it’s not that difficult, how things naturally came to be how they are now and how much time it took, and that I and other people are simply animals doing our thing. It’s the fact that we can use reason, and we have, to show some progress in affecting and surviving our world, and that most of us just take advantage of the world we’re given in this time and place, i.e., we love our new stuff and can’t remember how we used to live without a smartphone or whatever, but we didn’t make that stuff. Most of us can’t make anything to make life easier for everyone else, we are just using what’s available. We’re changing our minds and our behaviors to some extent because other people are changing and we’re fitting in. Even extreme religious people are doing what they do to fit in, listen to what they’re told, take what they’re given, and feel like part of a community without thinking they are obligated or responsible to change anything for the better.

          In the world that we have, I don’t see whatever you think you see about any kind of god, but I understand why you think you do and can’t see things the way I see them. If you could file your impressions and attributions to the proper scientific explanations, you wouldn’t see an illusion of anything divine or like god either. I don’t have any faith to be an atheist, what I don’t see is any evidence that anyone has for any god. I see personal perceptions and attributions to magical beings that can be explained another natural way, and people too incredulous to comprehend it. You even say “I just can’t believe that…” well, that’s being a little stubborn.

        • Curtis Martin

          I suppose it is stubborn. FYI, I’m not a science denier or a young earth creationist. I have no problem at all with accepting what science proves. I just stubbornly stick with the “not an accident” model.

        • Greg G.

          If you have soap, water, air and agitation, it is easier to produce many bubbles but it is hard to produce one bubble. If you were inside a bubble and couldn’t see out of it, you wouldn’t know about the other bubbles but it is more likely that other bubbles exist as it would be hard to explain how one could come into being and prevent all other bubbles.

          Our universe shows that it is possible for universes to exist but it would be hard to explain how our universe prevents other universes from forming. So it follows that there are probably other universes. With soap bubbles, each bubble uses some soap, water, and air so there is a limit for how many bubbles. But with universes, space and matter/energy cannot exist without the other as they appear to be conjoined as the matter/energy is equal to the potential energy of the distance between the bits of matter/energy. So there is no limit to to the number of universes.

          If this universe exists, it means it is possible to exist and it means many other universes exist. It is inevitable that many possible universes will exist.

          What you call a “random accident” is like calling the order of a well-shuffled deck of cards a “random accident”. That particular order is extremely unlikely, just like every other order, but one order will always be there because of the random accidents of shuffling.

          If there are many universes, each will be some inevitable condition that you will call a “random accident”. Things happen and the results are like a “random accident” but are inevitable.

          Why base an evidence-less religion around it?

        • Jerry P.

          Perhaps I read too much into it, but when I hear “accident,” the understanding I take away is that something occurred that wasn’t in accordance with will — it wasn’t on purpose. I can act with purpose, fail, and cause an accident–but the universe cannot. I have no reason to think there is a universal or extra-universal will to create with purpose or have an accident.

          I don’t think that the word accident has to imply the presence of will, but when I hear theists use the word, I can’t help but think that the concept of will is being smuggled into the premise. I’m not saying that you think there is a god who, for example, went to make lunch on purpose, but ended up making a universe by accident–but you may want to examine what you mean when you say you can’t believe the universe is an accident.

        • Curtis Martin

          I guess the simplest way to state it is that I don’t believe that something just came from nothing. I put a God at the very start of the process. But I’m happy to believe that the process began eons ago.

        • Greg G.

          Science suggests that something came from an unstable nothingness. A stable nothingness would require something to keep it stabilized but the something would eliminate the nothingness. How can a cause acting on nothing have an effect? The cause and effect have to be spontaneous and simultaneous, so a god is not necessary. A god would only be necessary to explain why the nothingness was stable.

        • Curtis Martin

          First – I’m gonna go with God not actually fitting into the rules as we understand them – hence, uh, God. Second, I don’t quite get how nothingness can be unstable either, what with it being nothingness and all. Perhaps someday will have a better understanding, perhaps not. I mean, what if we’re just a sixth grade science fair project in another dimension? And if so, I’m thinkin’ C, C+?
          In all seriousness, I’m going with nothingness becoming something needed a catalyst. That’s about all of my Creationist leanings though.

        • MNb

          “I don’t quite get how nothingness can be unstable either.”
          Due to quantum fluctuations, which are firmly established by physics. Hence you keep on rejecting science.

          “I’m going with nothingness becoming something needed a catalyst.”
          According to quantum mechanics that something doesn’t. You keep on rejecting science.

          “That’s about all of my Creationist leanings though.”
          Yup, I have noticed that the difference between you and Young Earth Creationism is only gradual.

        • Greg G.

          A perfect nothing is a Platonic ideal and an imaginary condition. It is as imaginary as a perfect equilateral triangle or a perfect circle. Those things cannot exist in reality because even space fluctuates.

          Quantum fluctuations seem to be self-caused in that there is no external cause. So they don’t need a catalyst or a god. It is implied by the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle.

          The God hypothesis is unnecessary. That leaves only wishful thinking for belief in God, which many use as thumb on the scale when weighing “goodness and beauty” against “the ugly and evil”.

        • I don’t believe that something just came from nothing.

          Why not? God created something from nothing, didn’t he?

          And if you’ll consider the scientific answer (seems reasonable, since nothing but science has taught us about nature), read some Lawrence Krauss’s A Universe From Nothing.

        • Curtis Martin

          Probably over my High School diploma head. Wikipedia isn’t all that fond of the book though. And no, I don’t know who or what created God either.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s not…but if you think it might be, you could watch him talk about it instead.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUe0_4rdj0U

        • Susan

          I don’t believe that something just came from nothing.

          Who says it did? What do you mean by ‘nothing’?

          Please be specific.

        • MNb

          “I don’t believe that something just came from nothing.”
          Hence you reject science.
          Instead you believe an immaterial entity created something out of nothing. I fail to see how that makes any more sense.

        • Ignorant Amos

          When was there nothing for something to come from?

        • Kodie

          Where do you guess he got the materials?

        • MNb

          Ah, this is why I like your comments so much. In one little question you summarized a problem Herman Philipse needed 4-10 pages for.

        • Curtis Martin

          Home Depot

        • Kodie

          An accident is typically the result of two material objects trying to occupy the same space contemporaneously. Like, when you’re driving through an area labeled “falling rock zone”, as roads are often built on the side of a mountain, and you take your chances. Falling rocks could occur, while driving also occurs, often, there is no accident as the rock chances to fall when there is no car below on the road. This once happened to me, only it was a tree branch fell off during a wicked rainstorm. I had determined that I would pull off the road into the next driveway and cars moving slowly with windshield wipers as fast as they could go, and it wasn’t doing any good. The car ahead of me suddenly pulled out kind of quick, and I could see the driveway ahead, so I started towards it, then a big branch fell on top of my car and rolled over the front. Not too much damage, but still. This is a tree branch that was finally driven to break by the heavy rain at the exact time my car was on the ground beneath it. What are the chances? The tree didn’t mean it, the rain didn’t mean it, and still I am there with dents because I was that other object. In usual circumstances, this branch might have fallen on nobody and caused no accidents. The car ahead and the car behind, “near miss”. What are the chances?

          When I hear theists use the word “accident”, I think of oddball chances. Things are just “too coincidental” to not be intentional. They don’t understand a thing about statistics. I don’t know if it’s true, but I had heard once that drivers average two mistakes per minute on the road. Think about how few accidents everyone is having with all those mistakes! That’s because usually, nobody else is trying to occupy that space with you. Accidents would occur while two people are making a mistake in the same place, which has to happen sometimes. It’s actually that so few accidents occur per person that drivers get complacent enough to think they can afford to make as many mistakes as they do. Anyway, I think when theists use the term “accident,” they really mean long odds without purpose. How can anything as amazing as the human animal spring into being after billions of years of universe crashing into shit and being the right temperature and lightning or whatever. If someone was making some sort of recipe, is this the best they can come up with? Or did it just sort of snowball from some kind of trigger like the breath of god or snap of the fingers, or a nod like I Dream of Jeannie? And how is that “divine”? We know how humans operate. When there is company coming, we move some extra chairs ourselves with our hands, and when they leave, we put them back and arrange things. So is our universe arranged for “company”, us? Or could it just be a billion years of rocks falling until they hit something and caused a chain reaction?

        • I’ll illustrate your rock fall topic with my favorite video on the subject (off topic, admittedly):

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfvmbDOeo70

        • MR

          Anyway, I think when theists use the term “accident,” they really mean long odds without purpose. How can anything as amazing as the human animal spring into being after billions of years of universe crashing into shit and being the right temperature and lightning or whatever.

          They also make the mistake of believing that we humans, or any of this, was somehow the goal, and what are the odds of this happening!? ZOMG!

          But, this is just one of a bazillion possibilities that could have happened and if this hadn’t happened something else would have happened and ZOMG! what are the odds of that happening!

          It’s like Bob’s bridge hand. Whatever hand you hold, ZOMG! the odds of holding that particular hand are crazy improbable, but at the end of the day you’re going to be holding an incredibly improbable hand… every. single. time.

          A quantum flux, the untimely flap of a proto-butterfly wing and no humans. Zorploops would be contemplating their navels instead of us. No intelligent life for another billion years, or intelligence evolves early and thousands of different species are hanging out in cafes and discussing art and wind-torphing.

          But, oh, humans, aren’t we amazing and special and so improbable that all this must have been made especially for us!

          [edit: found out my made up word was already coined, so coined a new one]

        • “Palinating”? From Sarah Palin?

          I like it.

        • MR

          NO! That was the word I thought I had coined and was horrified at the etymology. What was my subconscious thinking! I changed it to torphing.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m averse to anything that relies solely on the surname, because Michael Palin (pronounced differently, but still).

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s not pronounced differently where I come from…

        • Ron

          Really? I think there’s an audible distinction between the two. One is pronounced fuckwit whilst the other is pronounced fucking witty.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Now that did make me laugh out loud.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m going by how the individuals in question pronounce their own names, tyvm ;P

        • Ignorant Amos

          I like to recommend “Unweaving the Rainbow” by Richard Dawkins. Uncanny coincidences are really not as uncanny as the human imagination makes them.

          Yesterday I was writing a comment online about Anne Frank when I heard her name come from the telly…how freaky is that? Not. I think about, write about, and talk about thousands of things daily, so the probability of one of those things coinciding with something coming in from exterior once in a blue moon is not all that improbable..

        • TheNuszAbides

          yarp. running into people you haven’t seen in ages, one set of thoughts/speech/text overlapping-or-nearly-so with another; for most of my 20s someone had me convinced that these ‘meant’ that one was ‘on the right path’ or some such woo. granted, in peacetime it’s perhaps a useful exercise contrasted with paranoia or other anxieties … but still leaves the door wide open for arrogant presumptions if given too much credence.

        • Aram McLean

          It took me a long time to get over that last hurdle, too. Like 15 years. I know where you’re at. But once you do get over it, you’ll wonder why it took you so long.

        • Curtis Martin

          As I’m not trying to get over that last hurdle it will probably take me a bit longer. But I understand what you’re trying to say.

        • Aram McLean

          It’s not a question of trying. It’s about finally seeing. I was surprised as anything when it finally became clear, to begin to see just the beginning of reality. Oddly enough, it feels exactly like breaking an addiction. A fact I can say with confidence since I overcame an addiction to alcohol just a couple years after removing the last dredges of religion from my ‘soul’. Weird connection hey. Hmmm….
          It’s been a truly amazing ride since then. No god/s needed.

        • TheNuszAbides

          It’s not a question of trying. It’s about finally seeing.

          that’s what that theist over there said. 😉 (although to be fair, in their case the first part is usually phrased differently.)

        • MNb

          Oh, it took me more than 35 years to go from a 4 on the scale of Dawkins to a 7.

        • Kodie

          You don’t seem to be all that interested in science.

        • Curtis Martin

          Not really, but it’s cool and all. If scientists say the earth is billions of years old, then I have no vested interests in trying to prove them wrong. I don’t get the whole faith vs. science thing – It’s like ice cream vs. a corvette – just two completely different things.

        • Faith and science may be very different for you, but American society is full of Christian leaders and conservative politicians eager to interpret everything, science included, through God goggles.

        • Curtis Martin

          And it frustrates me greatly.

        • Kodie

          Science explains a lot of things you attribute to a god, so in those cases, you deny science.

        • MNb

          But if the very same scientists say that the Universe began with a probabilistic event you reject it because you can’t wrap your little brain about it. That’s enough proof for you to think they’re wrong.
          Exactly this shows why I have zero respect for progressive christian thinking, even if I appreciate that you largely share the same values with me.

        • MNb

          “I just stubbornly stick with the “not an accident” model.”
          Which means that you reject science, if “no accident” means “caused with purpose”, ie “non-probabilistic.
          But hey – science could be as right as you are. Anything goes!

        • tsig

          Your mother and father got together one night and decided to have a “Curtis Martin”?

        • Curtis Martin

          I really don’t like to think about my parents that way………..

        • morgan

          ” To me, Atheism is built on certainty.
          That’s where you’re wrong. Atheism is built on uncertainty and the emotional stability to deal with it without conjuring up strawmen, invisible civilizations, fruit salad contests, or other such nonsensical affectations.

        • TheNuszAbides

          mmm… fruit salad.

        • adam

          “To me, Atheism is built on certainty. ”

          Definition of ATHEISM Merriam Webster

          1archaic : ungodliness, wickedness

          2a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

          disbelief Merriam Webster
          noun dis·be·lief ˌdis-bə-ˈlēf

          : a feeling that you do not or cannot believe or accept that something is true or real

          Theism is based on certainly.
          Atheism is based on disbelief.

        • TheNuszAbides

          arguing the two-sided model can go on forever. i prefer the [a]gnostic-[a]theist double-axis as an optimization of the nits that dueling pedants can pick.

        • So you get to make up your own definitions to strawman others?

          I reject certainty. It implies more knowledge than is possible. There is a limit to what we can know. Yes, supernatural beings are possible, but without evidence why would I believe in any of them. And why any one or ones in particular. Why the Christian ones and not the Hindu or Norse ones?

        • Curtis Martin

          You make assumptions about me that are not correct. I am not an exclusivist and it’s entirely possible that the Hindus are just as right as I am.

        • MNb

          He asked you some questions.
          You answered none of them.
          Plus he wrote something about himself.
          He didn’t make any assumption. That’s a typical cop out Progressive Christians like to use.
          Here’s another one:

          “it’s entirely possible that the Hindus are just as right as I am.”
          As christianity (one god – and a jealous one according to the Bible) and hinduism (more than one god) make contradictory claims you either don’t care about contradictions, justifying me to say that time travel is both possible and impossible. Or you admit that both christianity and hinduism are wrong.

        • TheMarsCydonia .

          The only certainty my “atheism is built on” is that I am fairly certain that no theist has presented me a convincing case that their god, or even a deistic god, exists.

        • TheNuszAbides

          or even a deistic god

          no wonder, since that’s the quintessential god-o’gaps.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I favour theological noncognitivism.

          From that I’m certain that the Yahweh/Jesus concept is pure human mind generated nonsense.

    • I don’t know how “all existence is merely a coincidence” fits in.

      Are you saying, “Wow–think of all the things that had to happen for me to be here!”? That seems no more insightful to look at a bridge hand and say, “Wow–look at these cards! What are the chances?!”

      • Curtis Martin

        I am simply saying that I can’t wrap my little brain around the concept that the universe is a random accident. To me, that is what the statement in question means. I believe that there must be more to this existence than random chance. I know most, if not all of you here think that’s really weak thinking. To reiterate, I am not interested in trying to convert anyone or to defend my faith. I just wanted to get a better idea of why this is such an annoying statement for you guys. That, and the book you’re talking about seems lame.

        • MNb

          “I am simply saying that I can’t wrap my little brain around the concept that the universe is a random accident.”
          So what if you can’t? I can’t wrap my little brain around the concept of nanotechnology. Or that car landing on a frigging comet. It still happens.
          Plus it wasn’t exactly a random accident. The Big Bang was a probabilistic event. That’s not the same; your words betray your prejudice.

          “why this is such an annoying statement for you guys”
          Because it’s making your ignorance and stupidity (and I’m happy to admit that I’m about as ignorant and stupid) the standard of what you believe and not believe. That’s utterly arrogant and thus directly the opposite of what Jesus preached – the guy you claim to follow.

          “To believe that all existence is merely a coincidence would be harder for me to believe,…. What did get wrong?”
          Like I said – declaring that what you think hard or easy to believe is the standard of what you believe is what went wrong.
          Plus it leads nowhere. I think it hard to believe that the Bible (especially Revelation, but a lot of more stuff) should be taken seriously. According to you this is enough to reject it without any further do.

        • Curtis Martin

          Revelation is a type of apocalyptic literature common to that time. It is not at all supposed to be taken literally, but rather as a message of encouragement to a persecuted group of people. The imagery is all about the Roman Empire. The Left Behind stuff is, in my opinion, way wrong.

          As go the other stuff, I am just expressing my opinion and genuinely asking about a statement that seems to mean quite different things to different people.

        • Greg G.

          Your opinion seems to be that much of the Bible is ridiculous but let’s pretend some of it isn’t with an absence of evidence to support your opinion.

        • MNb’s comment seems to cover the bases.

          To feel awe at the doorway that science gives us to understanding is fine. To see yourself as insignificant in the big picture makes sense. But to draw some metaphysical conclusion (“All this just to make little old me?” or “This is so complicated, it must have a designer!”) is an error. You’re filling in a gap with a conclusion; what you should be doing is following the evidence (and there is none for the supernatural).

        • Curtis Martin

          Interesting. I don’t take it quite so individually.

        • Curtis Martin

          Oh, and by definition, faith requires a lack of evidence. That, I think, is the biggest sticking point in the overall conversation.

        • And therein lies the problem. That’s a fine definition of faith, and certainly my own definition, but the Christian apologists that I read are eager to correct you. No, they’ll say, faith is synonymous with “trust.” It’s belief well-grounded in evidence.

          So don’t tell them (they’ll think) that they’re not following the evidence.

          The problem is when you catch them using both definitions–the evidence-first definition for all of us but then faith becomes evidence-less when necessary for internal matters.

        • Otto

          Conflation of definitions is one of the main tools of the apologist.

        • Curtis Martin

          Yeah, I gotta say that the book you’re reviewing sounds pretty lame. Faith is faith. Sure, there are reasons that get us part of the way along the journey, but at some point, you have to go beyond evidence, that’s what faith is. I really don’t understand why anyone would try and say otherwise.

        • adam

          “but at some point, you have to go beyond evidence, that’s what faith is.”

          That is also what DELUSION is.

        • Curtis Martin

          Faith also requires doubt. Do you have a cute .gif for that?

        • Unfortunately, it also requires confidence. And that’s a problem.

        • MNb

          Yeah, I get that. Now how do you decide, when doubting between two or more options, which one is incorrect? What’s your standard? What’s your method?
          Faith. Which is why I wrote above that it leads you nowhere.

        • adam

          Faith also requires doubt.

          THAT is not what the bible says.

        • MNb

          Please tell me – at what point exactly to I have to go beyond faith and why? If you don’t have a clear cut answer you understand why I would try and say otherwise indeed.

        • Kodie

          Look, some of them listen to what everyone around them says, and the rest of them do too. There is a reason some of them developed some alternative to science that resembles science – it’s marketing. Science kills their beliefs and takes the souls of their young ones. People ask obvious questions, and the answer that satisfies sounds more like evidence and knowledge than “just have faith.” People are stupid, but not that stupid, know what I mean?

        • Memes are strong.

        • Kodie

          I don’t even think there is such a thing as pure faith. They all got to that place from reason. Not great reason, but they were hooked by some marketing effort to get them to take a closer look. Like, if you want eternal life in the good place not the bad place, that qualifies as a reason to get involved.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i agree that all have merely ‘used their brains’ in the process. i disagree that such usage necessarily involves reasoning – but then again, phenomena like rationalization of delusion gives “reasoning” a fuzzy definition, similar to the way GT fudge ‘faith’ to suit their shell game.

        • Kodie

          Fallacies are reasons, they’re just bad reasons. You can even use a fallacy to arrive at a correct conclusion, for example, “because I said so.” That’s not always a good reason to obey your parents, but if this argument gets you to stop punching your brother, it’s a reason, and most likely, the correct conclusion.

          Maybe young children told that god will know if they’re lying, they don’t question it, but if they hear it enough and are exposed to the rest of the world in any way, I think their skepticism emerges at some point. They know “god” isn’t so nice. I can imagine if they are told the nice story about the flood and the ark and all the animals (because it’s often packaged as a children’s story), they could ask about the other people and the rest of the animals and why did god do that, and the answer is “they were wicked and didn’t obey god.” That’s not a good reason, but that is an answer a child will buy, at least for a while, especially as they may be unfamiliar with the terror of dying in a flood (it might scare them off swimming, but that’s a different problem).

          We recently had a visitor from another planet who didn’t have any real reasons or try to make an argument at all. Some of these people know better from experience not to use their shitty arguments, because they never win at them, but insist they are right. We don’t get a lot of those, but mostly the kinds of people who I don’t think could have been convinced of god with mere faith, and needed someone to make a fallacious diagram for them and links to articles that will blow any resistance they probably had to such a silly idea. That’s also what they may mean by accusing us of not having an open mind. They can’t imagine that someone would read the same articles they have and not be similarly overwhelmed by the truth of god. It’s always that our minds are completely closed to these interesting oppositions to atheism that we’re not getting the same results they get. A lot of people claim to have been atheists and I seem to be the only one to believe them. You don’t need any good arguments to be an atheist at all. You just need one argument to convince you there’s a god and no knowledge to counter it. That’s why they make so many different arguments – something for everyone. A thorough marketing effort to appeal to all kinds.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but if they hear it enough and are exposed to the rest of the world in any way, I think their skepticism emerges at some point.

          good point, a developing mind especially can receive too much training that backfires.

          A thorough marketing effort to appeal to all kinds.

          that’s what makes it particularly worth challenging/undermining the core beliefs/claims.

        • MNb

          I didn’t write taken literally.
          I wrote taken seriously.
          I can’t take it seriously when taken non-literally either.

          “genuinely asking about a statement”
          And I gave you a sincere answer. Remarkable that you picked the least relevant point.

        • morgan

          bad choice of words…”random accident”
          Random event would be more like it, but it’s not really random. The universe is the result of some very definite events and situations…….things we are exploring and do not understand…….YET. (is the word “research” in the bible? probably not).

        • Otto

          Are snowflakes a random accident?

          Why does the existence of the universe need to be explained by more than natural causes by you and others? I am not saying there couldn’t be some ultimate intelligence behind it all but you seem to conclude that that must be the case. Everything that has been attributed to god(s) that we have later found out the mechanism for has had a natural explanation (lightning, etc). Why do you think ‘existence’ will be different?

      • As if my existence is somehow necessary. Yes, there are a lot of things that had to happen for things to be exactly as they are. And they obviously all happened because here we all are. That doesn’t mean they had to happen. Is that just too frightening a concept for some people?

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s too much “my brain hurts, who cares, change the subject” for people who were never sufficiently encouraged/motivated to apply their critical faculties broadly.

    • morgan

      If I may, the following statement is 100% false:
      “Atheism is certain that there is nothing beyond our conscious existence.”

      Quite the contrary. Atheism is understanding uncertainty and having the capacity to deal with it, something supernaturalists are incapable of doing without some panacea or affectation.
      However, we are certain your claims of “invisible civilizations” are ridiculous.
      So now how much faith does that need?

      • Curtis Martin

        Honestly, is it possible to have a conversation? Good Grief. I was expressing my understanding and trying to learn a bit about how it differs from yours. I don’t see why it’s necessary to be insulting. If I were trying to convince you of something, that would be different. But I am not.

        • Greg G.

          I have seen you try the same argument in other forums. You keep wanting to have a conversation but your position is still wrong.

        • adam

          ..

        • morgan

          I realize you are not trying to convince, but you are stating “conclusions” about your interpretation of Atheism that are simply not true.
          And what exactly did I say that was insulting:
          “Invisible civilizations?” “panacea?” “affectation”
          What did I say you found insulting?
          Gee, the bible has been insulting and lying about non-believers for centuries.

        • Curtis Martin

          I know you guys get real jerks sometimes. Honestly, when I stated my best understanding and then asked what part I had wrong….I was actually asking what part I got wrong – not assuming I was right.
          The Bible has been admonishing believers to treat the alien with respect for years. It’s the Christians who have responsible for their actions.

        • MNb

          Like the Hebrews treated the Canaanites, you mean? The author of that story is not responsible for its content?

        • Curtis Martin

          The conquest of Canaan almost certainly never happened. The stories were the war propaganda of their time. It is likely that the stories were written while Israel was in exile in Babylon.

          That said, there are many voices in the Bible. Along with the genocide texts, there is a consistent voice that advocates for the alien.

        • MNb

          Oh sure. But that doesn’t answer my question.

          “Along with the genocide texts, there is a consistent voice that advocates for the alien.”
          Yeah, great. But you already admitted that you don’t have a method to decide which parts should be accepted as an inspiration and which parts can be neglected. So this

          “The Bible has been admonishing believers to treat the alien with respect for years. It’s the Christians who have responsible for their actions.”
          has become a trivial statement. That responsibility you were talking about isn’t derived from the Bible anymore, but from humanism (as someone else already noticed). Exit the divine stuff.
          Plus of course this raises the question – if we can reject this as something that has anything to do with the divine, why not all the other stuff? Why should I accept that Jesus is the son of a god?
          Oh wait – you’re not here to convert me. You realize you can’t because ….. it’s just made up stuff; something you denied elsewhere on this page.
          But of course you don’t care about consistency either. Hindus might be as right as you, despite their claims contradicting yours.
          This is Progressive Christianity in a nutshell: anything goes. It’s nothing.

        • Curtis Martin

          This is pointless. I do accept contradictions. I don’t claim to have all the answers and I am not that worried about it. You are not going to change my mind and I am not going to change yours. I really was trying to understand better why the cliche statement is so annoying. It’s clear that Atheists define themselves differently than Theists understand them. That’s all.

        • MNb

          “You are not going to change my mind”
          Good, because that’s not why I answer you anyway. I answer you because enjoy it.

          “I am not going to change yours”
          How judgmental. Information on internet has changed my mind a couple of times.

          “I really was trying to understand better why the cliche statement is so annoying.”
          And that’s exactly what I told you in my previous comment. But you are “not that worried about it”, so that “trying to understand better” is not worth that much either.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “I am not going to change yours”How judgmental.

          fatalistic, even. dare i say, “self-fulfilling prophecy”?

        • adam

          “You are not going to change my mind and I am not going to change yours.”

          So since you seem to be admitting that YOUR mind is closed to ANY evidence……

          You COULD change mine if YOUR beliefs could be demonstrated as true.

        • The conquest of Canaan almost certainly never happened

          Right. But then what does that do to the Bible? Why believe the Exodus? Why believe any of it, particularly the nutty supernatural claims?

        • Curtis Martin

          The stories have meaning beyond the literal. Even many the early church fathers understood theses stories as metaphor.

        • MNb

          What exactly is that “meaning beyond the literal?”
          How do the stories make sense when understood metaphorically?
          What’s the relevance of that “meaning beyond the literal” for us in the 21st Century?
          And especially, after you have answered these questions, why can’t I understand these answeres without some god? Ie why not accept a secular explanation?

          You can begin with the Canaanite Genocide.
          Then I’d especially like you to apply this to the Resurrection. Is that a metaphor as well? If no, why must the Canaanite Genocide understood as one? What’s your method and how do you determine its reliability?

          Let me give the Canaanite Genocide a shot, using the scientific method.
          It didn’t happen. It’s made up. The Hebrew Kingdom was a small nation between two superpowers, Egypt and Assyria/Babylonia. As it didn’t have a nuclear bomb it developed a supernatural equivalent: JHWH. To clarify how badass JHWH was they added the story of the Canaanite Genocide. It was made up – just like JWHW was made up.

          Mutatis mutandis the same for the Resurrection. It’s just a metaphor. Just like your god initiating the Big Bang is made up – a metaphor for what happened 13,7 billion years ago.
          Metaphors aren’t the real thing. There is not any more reason to accept the metaphor of your god creating the whole shenanigan as for the metaphor of the Resurrection as for the metaphor of the Canaanite Genocide.
          If we are committed to the scientific method, which you already have shown you aren’t.

        • So where is the truth in the Bible? Between the lines?

        • Curtis Martin

          Not Exactly between the lines, but it’s not always on the surface. There are certainly layers of meanings. The Bible is a book written by many different people in different places with different experiences and agendas. The Bible is myth and metaphor and poetry and doctrine and diary. There are themes and there are anomalies. And yes, sometimes, the Bible gets it wrong.

        • Greg G.

          The layers of interpretation are what leads to differences of opinions between readers of the text. You are left with nothing to refer to to settle the differences. You can’t know that any one interpretation is right or even if at least one is right. You can’t verify that your own is right. Your own interpretation is likely to agree with your own mindset so why not just use your own mindset and save yourself the mental gymnastics to arrive at your predetermined destination?

        • Curtis Martin

          Tradition, Experience, Results are all part of understanding scripture. And, as I said to Mr. S, the Bible is meant to be read and wrestled with and hashed out in community, not just alone.

        • Greg G.

          Tradition is a place to start with anything but you have to question it. Slavery was a tradition. With Bible interpretation, you don’t know if the older generations got it right in the first place. It is the same with experience since you aren’t getting direct feedback except from your own satisfaction, which is essentially results. So you cannot know whether you are actually getting it right unless you know the answer from the beginning.

          Just looking at the Bible is a tradition but its interpretations have followed modern philosophy since the Enlightenment when the power of the church began to wane. Why keep reinterpreting it? Just follow modern philosophy.

        • Curtis Martin

          You are right that tradition must be continually questioned. We’re finally going through that now with the question of Same Sex Marriage in the Evangelical Church. Tradition is, however, but one of the things I listed. Experience and Results are important too. A good rule of thumb: if my interpretation of the Bible is causing pain, I’m doing it wrong.

        • Greg G.

          A good rule of thumb: if my interpretation of the Bible is causing pain, I’m doing it wrong.

          That is just a good rule of thumb in general. If you have to interpret the Bible that way, you don’t need to interpret the Bible. But you don’t know that the Bible isn’t supposed to be harmful to people. You just don’t like to hurt people and that is a good thing. Then don’t do things that hurt people. It is much simpler and clearer without trying to work that out with the Canaanite massacre staring back at you. Our species may not be capable of what the God thing needs to understand.

          There is no good way to eliminate error with your method. The scientific method makes predictions and tests to see if the predictions are correct. If the predictions are accurate, everyone can agree and science can proceed down the path. If the predictions don’t pan out, the theory can be rejected. If the God you believe in is out there, there is no reason science won’t get there faster than interpreting and re-interpreting the Bible with no measure of success.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Just follow modern philosophy.

          or grapple with it! (honestly.)

          EDIT: which still requires ‘following’ in the cognitive sense. okay, fine. 😛

        • Since you put the job of interpretation in the lap of the reader, that makes it a pretty subjective thing. The Bible becomes a sock puppet, speaking what makes sense to you.

        • Curtis Martin

          The Bible is meant to be read in community. You’re absolutely right that one person alone with one Bible can lead to lots of problems. Scripture is meant to be argued over and wrestled with and hashed out. The one on one devotional time popularized by evangelicals cannot be your only experience with the Bible.

        • Greg G.

          Yet, you still end up with multiple interpretations with unresolvable conflicts.

        • Curtis Martin

          Yes.

        • And the problem remains! This community says one thing and that says another. Westboro says one thing, and Calvin’s church says another. Saddleback church says one thing, and the church with the rainbow flag out front says another.

          There are 42,000 denominations in Christianity, so you do describe it accurately, but what claim to accuracy do we have here?

        • Curtis Martin

          Well, right off, we know Calvin was wrong…….

          Seriously – it will never be completely solved – and I’m ok with that. As an old church saying goes, “In essentials, unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things, charity.”
          I’m expecting a debriefing in heaven, complete with dry-erase boards! I wanna know who was right!
          Actually, I’m ok with there being lots of different denominations and opinions and answers and questions. We’re human and we’ll never get it completely right.

        • Kodie

          But he’s god and how could he get it so wrong?

        • Curtis Martin

          We’re people, we’re the ones who don’t quite get it.

        • Susan

          We’re people, we’re the ones who don’t quite get it.

          Except when it comes to believing in a supernatural agent.

          And that that agent was Jesus.

          Humans are right about that, right?

        • Curtis Martin

          I hope so. I know that the Christian story works for me. I don’t recognize your name so I do want to clarify, I’m not an exclusivist. If what you’re doing is working for you, great.

        • Susan

          I hope so.

          Why? This is a very serious question.

          I don’t recognize your name so I do want to clarify, I’m not an exclusivist.

          Hi Curtis. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself, just chirped in. I comment here fairly often but this is the first time in this exchange. (Hi. I’m Susan… but you already know that. :-P.)

          Pleased to make your acquaintance.

          If what you’re doing is working for you, great.

          This is an admirable position when it comes to study habits and workout routines.

          But when it comes to ontological claims, it seems inadequate.

          It matters whether those claims are true, doesn’t it?

        • Curtis Martin

          [dons suit of armor] that depends on what your definition of true is [feels clang of first tomato, notices several posters with torches and pitchforks!]
          In all seriousness, I’m not out to convert anyone so that kind of changes the equation as far as I’m concerned

          Now, my Mother probably figures that I’m way too liberal and headed to hell – and if that’s true, then I guess it matters that I’ve gotten this wrong. Beyond that, other than wasting my time on Sundays, I’m not sure that it does “matter” as long as I am finding what I need on my path. If I were leading others astray or forcing you to stop with the shellfish and pulled pork etc. then it matters quite a bit that I’m imposing my false belief.
          Personally, I do believe in the Christian Story and find that it makes sense to me. I do not limit God to Christianity, but that is my path and I find truth in it.

        • Susan

          depends on what your definition of true is

          I’m not sure if you mean ‘true’ is dependent on your definition or whether ‘true’ matters is dependent on your definition.

          By ‘true’, I mean evaluating a truth claim (even one made to yourself).

          Does it matter whether it’s true?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Now, my Mother probably figures that I’m way too liberal and headed to hell – and if that’s true, then I guess it matters that I’ve gotten this wrong.

          Sort of like a Paschal’s Wager type scenario then?

          Beyond that, other than wasting my time on Sundays, I’m not sure that it does “matter” as long as I am finding what I need on my path.

          Essentially it doesn’t matter all that much, the problem is that you are in a declining minority.

          Liberal Christianity in America has experienced a decline in membership of 70%—from 40% of the American Christian population to 12%—between 1930 and 2010. Conversely, the evangelical denominations have grown greatly in size, and the Catholic Church has seen more modest gains.

          What does matter is how succour is gained by the lunatic’s. The demarcation lines are blurred. It’s how extremism not only survives, but excel’s.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that and the TeeVee. (interesting case made by [among many others, i’m sure] Gerry Mander in the ’70s [Arguments for the Elimination of Television] and Charles Pierce (with emphasis on The Great American Crank Tradition) much more recently [Idiot America].)

        • Kodie

          If god couldn’t communicate to us clearly, he is at fault. You should not need a debriefing in heaven, that’s a bullshit human excuse.

        • Curtis Martin

          If heaven exists, which I don’t really think it does, I am not really looking for dry erase boards either.

        • MR

          Seriously – it will never be completely solved

          Really? Because understanding that there is no God resolves all of those issues for me.

          Weird.

        • It won’t be completely solved? You sound like you think things are coming together. There are 42,000 denominations, with more all the time. Christianity is fragmenting. The Bible is the Big Book of Multiple Choice. It’s whatever you want it to be.

          Get a clue–it’s not a book with the words of God in it. It’s just man made.

        • Curtis Martin

          So, if I say that I think the sky is green, would you feel compelled to keep insisting that the sky was, in fact, blue? I am not interested in converting anyone yet it seems nearly everyone here wants to challenge every single wrong thing I write. It’s tiring. I have been very clear that I think the Bible is a Human Product and not the inerrant, verbally inspired Word of God the conservatives believe it is. The Bible is words about god. Within those 42,000 denominations, there are disagreements, but there is much we have in common as well. I am not at all bothered by the diversity within Christianity.

        • Kodie

          It’s words like your words – about your impressions that you attribute to some sort of god, it’s about their impressions of the world around them attributed to some sort of god they have invented, like yours is invented. Stop acting like a disagreement with all your words about your impressions that you attribute to a sort of god character is trying to convert you. You’re just not making any sense is all. If you keep talking, you will be disagreed with.

        • Curtis Martin

          “If you keep talking, you will be disagreed with”

          Good Grief! If I wanted THAT, I’d just get married.

        • Kodie

          Your jokes are only a little better than Greg’s.

        • Your predicament is hardly surprising. This is a blog focused on arguments for atheism and against Christianity. You’re welcome to walk into the firing line. Or not.

          You make some remarkable statements. We’re on the same page about the Bible being manmade, but then you go from there to concluding that the Christian story is still more or less accurate. The 42,000-denomination diversity underscores that there is no divine force pushing us toward some Supernatural Truth. If you have kooky beliefs, can you be surprised that people challenge you on them?

        • MNb

          “if I say that I think the sky is green, would you feel compelled to keep insisting that the sky was, in fact, blue?”
          The scientist would feel compelled to define exactly what the words green and blue mean and then to design a test that decides who is incorrect – perhaps both.
          The Progressive Christian doesn’t care.
          That’s precisely the huge difference.

          You have asked several times where my annoyance comes from. Here is one source – your abusal of scientific claims to illustrate a point based on faith, resulting in a false analogy. Plus you not caring about it, because you’re totally OK with contradictions and the likes.
          It’s the total indifference you display. Anything goes. You want us to not care. You get a virtual middle finger for it.

        • Curtis Martin

          That’s what I seriously don’t get. Why not just let me think the sky is green? Now, if I told you that you were stupid for thinking the sky blue or insist that, if you would “just have enough faith, you would see the sky was really green”, then i would expect, and deserve, both barrels.

        • adam

          Because sky means something that is defined
          Green means something that is defined.
          If their definitions are such that they are mutually exclusive then you spreading mistruth, a lie.

          And mistruths/lies can damage.

          In order for EVERYONE to make the best choices for their lives and the lives around them need the very BEST information available, not mistruths, delusions and propaganda as their guides.

        • Curtis Martin

          That sounds eerily Evangelical.

        • Kodie

          In what way?

        • Curtis Martin

          The requirement that you simply must correct someone who is wrong for their own good.

        • Kodie

          What if I don’t give a shit about their own good?

        • Curtis Martin

          Then you would let them believe whatever they wanted.

        • Kodie

          That’s the same reason your attitude supports those fundamentalist Christians you disagree with.

        • Curtis Martin

          I don’t see it that way at all. Those folks are trying to convince people of something. They are not just having a private discussion either, they are trying to impose their will on others. I don’t support them and in any public forum, I would say so and vote so. But I don’t try and change my parents mind at Thanksgiving.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So special pleading for Curtism then? You want a by-ball for your beliefs but want to deny it to everyone else? Because they are doing it differently and wrong in your opinion? But, then you come on here and tell us how you are doing it and because you are not proselytising, your different. We should just sit up and pay attention to your explanation of your version of your woo-woo and be quiet….because, because, because…because of the wonderful things it does…sorry, but nope, that’s not how it works.

        • MNb

          We’re not at Thanksgiving here but on a public blog with the explicit intention to discuss matters like “Why would we think the sky is green?”. Anyone entering this blog gives other participants explicit permission to challenge the view that the sky is green. So your question “Why not just let me think” is inappropriate. Like I wrote: retire to whatever cave you crawled out and we’ll leave you alone if you want to withdraw that permission to criticise you. You can enjoy your Thanksgiving there.

        • Curtis Martin

          Well, the pumpkins have a bit of frost now, and the days are growing ever shorter. On the mountaintops in the distance, the first snow of the year is showing. The harvest is almost over and the land is settling in for it’s winter’s rest. I’ll be headed off to my cave now. (Church Organ playing Now Thank We All Our God is heard in the background). Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Exactly….hit the nail on the head. Succour is given to the even more bat shit crazy wackaloons.

          By Curtisism, ISIS is free to believe whatever they wanted and jihad is a major part of that belief. Geocentricism? Flat earthers? YEC? The education system would be fucked.

        • Pofarmer

          You are welcome to believe whatever you want, until you attempt to apply those beliefs to me, or other folks. That’s the problem, in a nutshell.

        • Curtis Martin

          Exactly my point. I had attempted to only state my beliefs here, not imply that anyone should convert. It seems, however, that there are many here who feel it is their duty to correct wrong belief rather than just agree to disagree.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I had attempted to only state my beliefs here, not imply that anyone should convert.

          No, that’s not what you did.

          When I say that I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist I mean:Atheism is certain that there is nothing beyond our conscious existence.
          I can’t commit to that, I just can’t believe this is all just an accident.

          I DO have enough faith to be an Agnostic, at least as I understand Agnosticism.
          I’m not sure at all what the guys that wrote this book are talking about. I would call the people they describe as Anti-Theists or Against a God they don’t like. Not at all the same thing.
          I think there’s something more than just what we can see. I believe that there is a Divine of some sort. I follow a Progressive Christian model to try and understand that Divine. I’m not an exclusivist – I think there are other ways of attempting to understand the Divine. While I can’t prove this Divine exists, I believe it to be so – hence the term faith. To believe that all existence is merely a coincidence would be harder for me to believe, hence the phrase “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist”. What did get wrong?

          You came declaring what we atheists believed and that was a straw man you could then address in the remainder of your comment. You finished by a challenge in the way of a question and things went south for you from there.

          So my question to you is why? Why did you feel the need to come along here and state your belief’s then ask what you get wrong, then whinge when what you’ve got wrong is being pointed out to you?

          Be careful now, because your veil is beginning to slip a tad. Lying for baby Jesus makes him cry.

          It seems, however, that there are many here who feel it is their duty to correct wrong belief rather than just agree to disagree.

          At least you admit it is wrong belief, that’s a start. You must realise this is an atheist debating forum, right? It is not a free advertising medium for every woo-woo merchant of the day to pitch up and spout nonsense unchallenged. You are in the wrong place for that me auld china.

          Having looked at your commenting history, this is your schtick…you are a troll.

        • Curtis Martin

          Well drat then. My typo infused question – What Did I Get Wrong? Was a legitimate question. I was only trying to state where I was coming from in relation to the statement “I don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist”. From my point of view, which I tried to explain in a non-superior way (and clearly failed), this statement made sense. I was not, and am not, interested in debating Atheism vs. Christianity. When beliefs are assigned to me that simply aren’t true, I do try to clarify them.
          Do you ever visit Christian forums? If you do, then you’ll know that my language here is nothing remotely like what is thrown around there when it comes to challenging beliefs. That’s been my frustration in that I have attempted to be as milquetoast as possible, never saying “The Sky really IS green and one day you’ll see” etc. I just wanted to better understand why a saying that I had used in the past was actually so offensive because (get this) I’m a nice guy and I wanted to learn better how not to offend Atheists.

        • adam

          “I’m a nice guy and I wanted to learn better how not to offend Atheists.”

          If that was your goal, then the first thing you should have done is understand what atheism is to atheists.

          For me it is a disbelief.
          Meaning I have not seen sufficient evidence to believe in ANY ‘god’s.

          If you are going to make claims about atheist and ‘faith’ you should understand what ‘faith’ means.

          If you are going to claim that you dont have enough ‘biblical faith’ (” Faith, by definition, requires lack of evidence.” according to YOU.) to be an atheist, says that you HAVE EVIDENCE.

          Demonstrate your evidence of YOUR ‘god’ and defend it.

        • Curtis Martin

          “If that was your goal, then the first thing you should have done is understand what atheism is to atheists”

          I Did. I explained MY understanding of the term and, legitimately, asked what I was wrong about.

          I also explained, as you have quoted, my definition of faith.

          It’s as simple as that. I never thought for a moment I was going to prove anything to anyone. However, it doesn’t make any sense to enter a conversation about Atheism and Faith without defining one’s position.

          According to Webster’s:

          Full Definition of FAITH

          1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
          b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

          2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
          b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

          3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

          — on faith : without question
          See Definition 2b .
          So that’s it. I’m believe that there is a Divine Being beyond what we can know or prove. You don’t. We can agree to disagree. I don’t have any need to ridicule, torture or kill you and I don’t care to change your mind. I guess that frustrates you for some reason, but I don’t understand why.

        • adam

          Thank you.

          “I Did. I explained MY understanding of the term and, legitimately, asked what I was wrong about.”

          I appreciate that.

          But it seems somewhat like going to a foreign country without doing any research about that place or people.

          I.e. “Hey, Hitler was a German, you guys are German, you all like Hitler, right? What am wrong about?”.

          It tends to fray your crediblity on ‘ I wanted to learn better how not to offend Atheists.’

          But you sure seem to be doing what you are doing as a nice guy.

          The issue with ‘faith’ is that on the whole people like to use this word in place of trust as if they had the same meaning. Which is why, like you, I stick with the biblical version

          ” I don’t have any need to ridicule, torture or kill you and I don’t care
          to change your mind. I guess that frustrates you for some reason, but I
          don’t understand why.”

          No it doesnt frustrate me that you have no need to ridicule, torture or kill or even to change my mind.

          My mind IS subject to change.

        • Curtis Martin

          I am German ( well, I’m a west coast mutt, but there’s a lot of German mixed in). (In this circumstance, I might offer something like) I am not like Hitler because I don’t blame our sanctions following WW I or anything else, for that matter) on the Jewish People living in Germany. I am also unlike Hitler because he was Austrian. And insane. Or something like that.

        • adam

          But you get the drift.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You need to work a wee bit on your reading comprehension there Curtis.

        • MNb

          There is a reason Adam used quotation marks for “Hey, Hitler was a German …..”. Ignoring that – not even wondering why – shows that you’re not a nice guy.

        • MNb

          “My typo infused question – What Did I Get Wrong? Was a legitimate question.”
          Nobody denied it is.
          You’re just not a nice guy when people take the effort to answer that question and you start whining that they do, for instance with

          “I was not, and am not, interested in debating Atheism vs. Christianity.”
          This makes your question insincere and people who ask insincere questions are not nice guys.

          “I just wanted to better understand why a saying that I had used in the past was actually so offensive because (get this) I’m a nice guy and I wanted to learn better how not to offend Atheists.”
          Step 1: don’t whine when you don’t appreciate the answers to your questions. And whining is what you do – for instance with

          “there are many here who feel it is their duty to correct wrong belief.”
          Of course atheists are going to tell you that your belief is wrong when you ask them “What did I get wrong?” If you don’t want them to don’t ask them. Simple, isn’t it?

        • Curtis Martin

          Asking what I got wrong with a definition is asking for a correction to that definition – not a discussion on my purported beliefs. “What did I get wrong?” was not a question about all of my theology and no honest reading would assume that. It was a specific question. And no, unless I tell you that what you believe is wrong, I don’t expect you to respond in kind as there’s simply no need.

        • MR

          Are you still whining?

        • Curtis Martin

          naw, just bitching

        • Ignorant Amos

          What Did I Get Wrong? Was a legitimate question.

          Yes it was, but only if being asked sincerely…that appears to be in doubt at this moment. You don’t seem to care much for the answers and are whining on about it.

          I was only trying to state where I was coming from in relation to the statement “I don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist”.

          No, no, no, no…how many times already? You keep forgetting the clarifier part of that. Let me help.

          When I say that I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist I mean:Atheism is certain that there is nothing beyond our conscious existence.I can’t commit to that, I just can’t believe this is all just an accident.

          See how different it all looks when you don’t quote mine your own comment to make it read something more innocent?

          From my point of view, which I tried to explain in a non-superior way (and clearly failed), this statement made sense.

          I doesn’t make sense because your assumption as to the meaning of atheism is totally wrong. Atheism is certain that there is nothing beyond our conscious existence. That might be something some atheists might agree to, but it is wrong to say that is what atheism means, says, alludes too.

          I was not, and am not, interested in debating Atheism vs. Christianity.

          Who gives a shit what you are interested in or not? You popped along and made a dick of yourself. When your error was pointed out, you went on to make an even bigger dick of yourself. The dick making has increased exponentially with just about every post you have made subsequently. MNb has given examples of just how you are doing this, so no need for me to present any more.

          When beliefs are assigned to me that simply aren’t true, I do try to clarify them.

          Spoooiiiing! But, when the shoe is on the other foot it is something else? Really? Do you hear yourself?

          Do you ever visit Christian forums?

          Not much, they are far too thin skinned, demand undeserved respect, and get bent all out of shape when they get pwned. Ultimately, the banhammer falls because they can’t hold an argument.

          If you do, then you’ll know that my language here is nothing remotely like what is thrown around there when it comes to challenging beliefs.

          But Curtis, you have gone to great pains to emphasis how much you are NOT here to challenge beliefs, so why would your language compared to the language on Christian sites matter?

          That’s been my frustration in that I have attempted to be as milquetoast as possible, never saying “The Sky really IS green and one day you’ll see” etc.

          So what? What does it matter the tone or demeanour of the discourse if the substance is what it is? An errant statement is still an errant statement regardless of the tone it is delivered. Stating that the sky is green and demanding that you should be permitted that assertion unchallenged in a forum where such patent absurdity is defo going to be addressed by ones interlocutors is where you went catastrophically awry.You got answers to your curiosities end of. For some reason you got all bent outta shape as a result. What is it you want here, a pat on the back for being all timid and shy at your approach…well, well done you for not being shrill and strident…there’s a medal on its way.

          I just wanted to better understand why a saying that I had used in the past was actually so offensive because (get this) I’m a nice guy and I wanted to learn better how not to offend Atheists.

          I’ve news for you Curtis, your statement isn’t offensive, it is just so asinine it gives us all the Forrest Whittaker eye. You are not a nice guy because you are lying. You have an agenda and you keep banging out the same bullshit mantra, if anything is offensive, it is your insulting other folks intelligence here with your deceitfulness, but I doubt those folk here are even offended by that nonsense. You need to get over yourself, you are not even all that.

        • Curtis Martin

          Yes, I made a statement that represented a particular, incomplete understanding of Atheism. I asked for corrections to that statement. That’s it. Somehow, stating that I am a Christian is some sort of perverse challenge for a lot of the posters here. I supposed if I had said ” I’m a Christian. What did I get wrong?” THEN all of this other nonsense would make sense. What I object to, is the assumptions as to what my beliefs are. I don’t ask that you agree with them – that is something completely different – just that you respect them. This too, seems to be a problem. I can respect your belief without agreeing with it. And yes, I was asking sincerely.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t like the answers and accused people of trying to convert you. Nobody promised you would like the answers.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t ask that you agree with them – that is something completely different – just that you respect them.

          I can tolerate the opinions of others but respect needs to be worthy. Your opinion is not based on a rational methodology. Your methodology is the religious methodology of history which is to try to explain things in terms of a god within the gaps of ignorance in human understanding. You can believe what you like and if you don’t impose those beliefs on others, then no problem. If you want to discuss your beliefs in a forum like this, you should be prepared to defend your beliefs with support. If you want to discuss it with like-minded people who won’t question you, the Atheist section of Patheos is probably the wrong place.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh to be so erudite….ah well, never mind, back to the hammer and anvil.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes, I made a statement that represented a particular, incomplete understanding of Atheism. I asked for corrections to that statement. That’s it.

          How hard is this for you to comprehend. Whether your statement was incomplete or not is immaterial, it was wrong. The corrections you asked for were given. You took issues with those corrections.

          Somehow, stating that I am a Christian is some sort of perverse challenge for a lot of the posters here.

          Nope…saying shit that is wrong is some sort of perverse challenge. It wouldn’t have mattered a fig what your world view is, if someone here thinks anyone has said something they disagree with, they get pulled on it. MNb is forever pulling those of us of a mythicist bent. Particularly Greg G and Pofarmer. This is not a back slapping club contrary to your paranoia, it’s just that on a lot of things a lot of us see eye-to-eye.

          I supposed if I had said ” I’m a Christian. What did I get wrong?” THEN all of this other nonsense would make sense.

          What I object to, is the assumptions as to what my beliefs are. I don’t ask that you agree with them – that is something completely different – just that you respect them.

          Well you know what they say about assume, it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. So with that in ind, a quick perusal of your Diqus commenting history and no assumption is necessary…it’s there in your own words the things you believe and claim.

          But don’t think you are owed any respect because you believe a lot of woo woo nonsense, no siree, not from me. Undeserved respect no chance. Next you’ll expect respect for Scientologism and Mormonism and Raëlism and Creationism and Catholicism and Moonism and yadda and yadda and yadda.

          This too, seems to be a problem. I can respect your belief without agreeing with it.

          But I don’t have a belief that I want or need you to respect. If I did, and it was bollocks, it wouldn’t warrant respect. People get respect and they need to earn it.

          And yes, I was asking sincerely.

          No you are not. You have engaged in the same sort of discourse with others on other forums and your mantra is the same. Progressive Christian this, not trying to convert anyone that, this, that, this, that, all the same stuff, so stop pretending it is all novel and new. You interlocutors elsewhere are giving the same response’s too.

          Curtis Martin- Ya know, you guys can be real assholes about just a simple discussion. I haven’t mocked any of your beliefs. I haven’t even intimated that you should think the way I do. This blog post was addressed to Christians. So I responded. Calling the Bible the Christian Handy Book – yeah, not really cool. It’s not a perfect book, but I think that, as with any sacred scripture it deserves a basic level of respect. By the way, arguing with the book is certainly acceptable and choosing to disagree with it is as well. I’m not from the Bible is Perfect school of thought. I can’t say that you’re injuring or damaging my belief anymore than your belief would be shaken if I called some of the popular Atheists names. That’s all.

          Gabriel- Yes, atheists can be assholes. We can be abrasive, confrontational and vicious when dealing with our opponents.

          All I can say is so what?

          If I say that I believe that we are all controlled by super intelligent, invisible platypuses and that nothing we do escapes their ever watchful gaze. Were you to mock those beliefs instead of giving them serious consideration would that make you wrong for not believing me? Would the truth value of my claim be in any way affected by whether you used curse words or sarcasm? Would pretending to take seriously what is illogical and unsupported by evidence not be dishonest and condescending? I recognize that your book is sacred to you, but outside of those who believe as you do it is no more special than any other work of bad fiction, and has no right to special treatment when defending those who challenge it’s contents. What I was pointing out to you is that yes, it may be unsettling when people describe something special to you from a perspective that you disagree with, but at least they are being honest about their thoughts, rather than donning masks and playing dirty pool.

          Almost verbatim on some of the interactions.

        • Curtis Martin

          “You took issues with those corrections”
          Not True. I did not argue with anyone’s correction of the question. I have actually appreciated them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So what is it you have the problem’s with precisely?

        • Kodie

          Apparently, he just wants to fix his perception of atheists (maybe) without being told he’s wrong to believe whatever he wants to believe. He has no problem dictating to other Christians (hypothetically) that what they believe is wrong, according to him. He wants to sit aside not bothering anyone and not anyone bothering him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The weasels of the No True Scotsman Fallacy?

        • Curtis Martin

          sigh. nevermind. Have a nice day.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…ah figured as much. Move along now, nothing to see here…just a Christian with a persecution complex ….SIGH!

        • 90Lew90

          “I had attempted to only state my beliefs here, not imply that anyone should convert.

          You seem to have missed an important injunction: “Go forth and multiply.” Can you possibly forgive us for taking it as read that you, as a Christian, hold what you believe in higher esteem than whatever it is we may believe, and that it is your duty as a Christian to show us the error of our ways and convert us to yours? That’s the usual run of it.

        • Kodie

          It’s more like this: I’m not trying to convert you, I’m just trying to say things so you’ll stop criticizing my beliefs, because they’re ok the way they are, I’m not hurting anybody! Maybe some of you would even say it’s a reasonable version of Christianity compared to the others, and though not my intention, you might come over to my side of things. I can’t change my mind, but I think I have a shot at appearing to represent Christianity as not an unreasonable belief at all!

        • MNb

          It may be more reasonable, but the lack of commitment manages to annoy the heck out of me.
          If CM means what he writes, why doesn’t he leave atheists alone? Why is it so important to him that we understand his particular version of christianity? Why isn’t he satisfied with joining us supporting gay rights and gender equality etc.? Why must he tell us how he backs his support up by means of Scripture or his attempts to makes sense and does he assume that I care?
          I don’t care at all. Literally. I have loyally voted for a party lead by these christians:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ria_Beckers
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Rosenmöller

          During their leadership I didn’t even know that they were christians. It wouldn’t have mattered. Their views on political and social issues did. Unlike CM they were committed.

          If he thinks it so important how his positions are backed by the Bible he should visit fundagelical sites. But no – then his cop out is that he doesn’t want to convince anyone, that he isn’t sure anyway and that anything goes.
          But we atheists are the only ones who must get rubbed this in.

        • Kodie

          Progressive Christians seem to live in a bubble. They can’t seem to figure out what the big deal is with atheism. They desperately want us to know they exist and aren’t harmful, and so why should we sweep them with the fundies? Every claim that he makes about how the bible is supposed to be interpreted as a group, what does the group think these things mean, how can we warp the shape of god into something we still think is ok? It’s ever since I figured this out that I realize all religious beliefs come from man, and his perceptions that he invents of the environment around him, the causes and reasons god could have to make things the way they are perceived by that individual. Group collaboration just makes it worse. How can we make god less susceptible to criticisms that someone might make, and therefore ourselves? Groups of fundamentalists also get together to discuss what the bible means – by their perceptions, the world is crumbling apart, and the end times must be near. They talk about how god is judging us by our gays and abortions and punishing us with natural disasters. Sorry, they “just can’t believe that..” with all the crises in the world today that everything is better than it has been, and getting better without religion. They “just can’t believe that…” all these catastrophes aren’t god’s judgment, and more and more people are succumbing to the devil’s influence of lust and murder, and it’s because the public schools teach science and not creationism. That’s how they talk about god and build him in their shared fears, that only grow because they get together to hammer out their interpretations of the bible, compared with their perception of how things seem.

          I don’t know how to explain to a progressive that’s what they sound like to me. Excuses, blindness, lack of education, wrongness. It doesn’t matter to the degree of falseness one believes, only that it provides a shield against valid criticism. They seem to think atheism hates Christianity for its disgusting bigoted values alone.

        • MR

          Every claim that he makes about how the bible is supposed to be interpreted as a group, what does the group think these things mean, how can we warp the shape of god into something we still think is ok?

          You’ve really hit it there, I think.

        • adam

          “They seem to think atheism hates Christianity for its disgusting bigoted values alone.”

          Well for any MORAL person THAT would be enough.

        • Kodie

          Being bigoted isn’t what makes Christianity wrong. They are all interpreting the bible according to their personal wishes, but if there were a god, he could certainly be that bigoted asshole. We could hate that guy all we want, but we’d have to agree that’s what he wants. Curtis believes in making up what he sees is best according to his conscience, but sticking with Christianity as though it were easily transformed into anything you want to believe and then sticking Jesus on top of it.

        • Curtis Martin

          Well, in this case, you’ve got the wrong guy. I’m not really into that whole scene of converting folks. Sure, I’d be happy if you joined up and found it helpful, but I’m not with the “you’re going to hell if you don’t repent” crowd.

        • 90Lew90

          I just thought the whole point of being a Christian was that you followed Christ as Lord and all that. Obviously mistaken. What is/was Jesus then? A really exceptionally cool guy?

        • Curtis Martin

          Just because I follow a Christian Path – and yes, I do confess Jesus as Lord – that doesn’t mean that you have to.

        • 90Lew90

          See, my problem with that is that given Christianity’s often brutal and wholly nefarious and generally baleful history, I view it as lying in wait. Organised religion is power-hungry and were Christianity to acquire the power that, say, the Catholic Church had in the past, we have no reason to suspect it would be any better if given another round. The absurdities would rapidly mount up, followed by the evils. As such, I see people like you — self-serving cafeteria Christians — as keeping it warm. I’m afraid I find that as hard to stomach, possibly more so, as raving fundies. I think people like you should know better.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As Richard Dawkins wrote in the Washington Post…

          The Rev. Pat Robertson sees the hand of God in the earthquake, wreaking terrible retribution for a pact that the long-dead ancestors of today’s Haitians made with the devil, to help rid them of their French masters.

          Needless to say, milder-mannered faith-heads are falling over themselves to disown Pat Robertson, just as they disowned those other pastors, evangelists, missionaries and mullahs at the time of the earlier disasters.

          What hypocrisy.

          Loathsome as Robertson’s views undoubtedly are, he is the Christian who stands squarely in the Christian tradition. The agonized theodiceans who see suffering as an intractable ‘mystery’, or who ‘see God’ in the help, money and goodwill that is now flooding into Haiti , or (most nauseating of all) who claim to see God ‘suffering on the cross’ in the ruins of Port-au-Prince, those faux-anguished hypocrites are denying the centrepiece of their own theology. It is the obnoxious Pat Robertson who is the true Christian here.

        • Curtis Martin

          Christianity sucks at being in power. My brand of Christianity pretty much agrees with you. We have a bit of a self loathing issue when it comes to the behavior of the Church – what with the Inquisition, Crusades, Witch Trials, Manifest Destiny and Ronald Reagan and all. I can assure you that if “Christianity” were to ever “regain power”, I’d be put on the first train to camp.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m not sure I buy the line about your “self-loathing”. How does that manifest? Do you self-harm? Find it hard to get up in the morning? Hurt loved ones? Often find yourself in jail because-Jesus? If that were the case, you’d be a candidate for some sort of treatment. It’s striking how much like addiction religion is. What you’re saying about your “brand” of Christianity (excuse me, but yuck!), is like an alcoholic saying he only hangs around with shandy drinkers and wouldn’t dream of having a whisky. If whisky was all there was he wouldn’t drink.

          Whatever of that, you’ve basically admitted that you see the moral problem in perpetuating Christianity by participating in it, and that you don’t care. There’s only so far an alcoholic can go before he self-destructs. There are health warnings and public information campaigns and people will recognise the behaviour of an alcoholic and intervene. There are no such measures in place for the religion-infected mind and I’m pretty damn well convinced there should be. What you believe is ludicrous. Tacitly presenting it as anything but bogus, which is what you do by believing, or at least claiming to believe, is immoral. And however sophisticated your palate may be for shandy, I needn’t have to tell you that there are some whisky drinkers with a very sophisticated taste in that. I’m resisting the urge to say shame on you because you’ve been temperant but that’s what I think: For shame!

        • Curtis Martin

          A) I mean we tend to be embarrassed by our conservative and ancestral brethren.
          B) LaPhroaig!

        • 90Lew90

          Laphroaig! (That’s all one word, we’re on a Scottish island with this stuff, not France.) That’s an Islay whisky. I have a special place in my heart for that stuff but have turned more to Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain, from two older distilleries on Islay farther north on the island. Less smoke and less peat. And much less money in your pocket but worth it…

        • Curtis Martin

          I was introduced to Laphroaig by a bartender in Salt Lake City. He got tired of everyone who dropped by his house drinking all his liquor. So, he started to keep a bottle of jet fuel/Laphroaig on hand because no one else would touch the stuff.

        • 90Lew90

          It probably costs you a lot more than it does me. You could throw a bottle from Islay and I could probably catch it from here. But yeah, I quite like slipping it to Americans who think Jack Daniels is a real drink.

        • Curtis Martin

          The Craft Bourbon movement has really helped things on this side of the world. And living in Seattle, we tend to like things dark and brooding anyway – especially with beer. Remember, If you can see through it, it’s not really beer.

        • 90Lew90

          A digression on alcohol. How apt. You’ve declined to take me up on what I said about the morality of your “brand” of belief.

        • Curtis Martin

          Because I’m trying to end this. Of course, I don’t agree with you, but you know that. I’m not going to make stuff up to cover or deflect or deny the very real and very awful things that the Church has done over time. I’ve been pretty clear that I’m not with the Fundagelical crowd and that much of what it is assumed I believe isn’t really accurate. Of course, here in an Atheist forum, any form of Theism, is Theism. In fact, it seems troublesome that, in the minds of many here, that I have started on the inevitable journey to an point of view, but have gotten “stuck” along the way. Whatever. I certainly see it differently. We Christians fight a lot more amongst ourselves quite a bit when it and my tradition very much disapproves of the behavior of the Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham and Joel Osteen’s of the world. We are embarrassed that they, in any way, represent Christianity. Anyway, take care.

        • adam

          “In fact, it seems troublesome that, in the minds of many here, that I have started on the inevitable journey to an point of view, but have gotten “stuck” along the way.”

          Good point.

          I do think it saddens some of us that people can cherry pick christianity for whatever they find valuable in it, while at the same time supporting the very same book and the very same ‘god’ that is responsible for the things you say you are embarrassed about. Giving credibility to those ‘others’ that embarrass you and even those like ISIS who follow the VERY SAME ‘god’ of Abraham that people like you give credibility to.

          It seems obvious that you have better morals than the ‘god’ of the bible. So why still give it undeserved credibility by claiming belief in the SAME ‘god’?

          It really IS time to dump the OT ‘god’ before it kills us all.

        • adam

        • Curtis Martin

          The God of the Old Testament is God as seen through the eyes of Old Testament people. The Progressive Christian will tell you right away that much of what is in the Old Testament reflects people simply getting God wrong. The Evangelicals are just starting down this path now and are about to go through a very interesting split. If you’d like to take a gander at Post Evangelical Biblical Interpretation – check out a gentleman named Derek Flood. If not, I completely understand.

        • adam

          “The God of the Old Testament is God as seen through the eyes of Old Testament people”

          And Jesus is seen as that ‘god’ made flesh.

          So as long as Jesus is the ‘god’ of OT, it still support ISIS’s belief in the OT ‘god’

          Derek Flood (all quotes from Derek http://www.therebelgod.com/
          “The Bible is a vehicle whose purpose is to lead us to Christ.”

          As well as lead ISIS to stone and behead, Robertson to ‘invest’ in blood diamonds,etc.

          “So you can’t just flip open the OT and follow whatever it says. It may be something awful and immoral. You need to learn to embrace the things that Jesus embraced, and
          reject the things that he rejected.”

          So WHY would Jesus reject who he IS, if he is the OT ‘god’? Why would he reject the very things he decreed and commanded as Jehovah?

          Again the problem really IS the ‘Bible’
          While it may lead Derek to a place he is comfortable with, so does it lead and SUPPORT ISIS, Robertson, etc.

          “So I say, if you can best get to that
          way of life by not reading the Bible, then do it.”

          But then you know even less about Jesus than the contradictory NT, since there is NOTHING outside the bible to define who and what Jesus was?

          It would seem that you can get the same thing from Buddhism without the OT baggage that people like ISIS depend upon.

          I am guessing that is where Jesus would have gotten most of his ‘message’ that is not from the OT. Trade routes would have brought many new ideas and philosophies to cities at that time.

          Compare Jehovah with Buddha
          Then look at Jehovah compared with Jesus.
          Then compare Jesus with Buddha and I think you will find a MUCH, MUCH closer comparison.

          But there are still problems with Jesus that carried over from the OT that makes him seem far less than divine.

        • Curtis Martin

          I simply disagree with you. I see Jesus as a clearer picture of God. My point of view is that among the many voices of the Old Testament, some of them just flat out got God wrong. And for what it’s worth, the fact that ISIS’ theology is based on bringing about the Second Coming of Jesus (I know, right!?) is quite troubling to me.
          As for Mr. Flood, I see that you did read his latest blog post. To get a better idea of where he’s coming from, you’d likely have to read his book (where he rails against Cherry Picking Liberals, by the way), but the website does give a pretty good idea of the split happening in Evangelical Christianity right now. And, as you know, I have nothing against Buddhists either.

        • adam

          “I simply disagree with you. I see Jesus as a clearer picture of God. My point of view is that among the many voices of the Old Testament, some of them just flat out got God wrong.”

          And CLEARLY they disagree with you.
          Problem again IS the bible which supports all views and not just one, it is not nearly clear enough to come down on your side vs theirs which is why each of you have a different ‘picture of God’ that is PERFECTLY clear to you all.

          “And for what it’s worth, the fact that ISIS’ theology is based on bringing about the Second Coming of Jesus (I know, right!?) is quite troubling to me.”

          I certainly dont understand it that way.

          But they DO follow the EXACT same God of Abraham
          They support OT stoning
          They support killing of homosexuals and blasphemers per the OT ‘god’.
          Their God is YOUR God.
          Your bible supports THEIR view as the ‘word of God’

          “but the website does give a pretty good idea of the split happening in Evangelical Christianity right now.”

          I am see this split personally with people I know, so I understand and frankly am VERY thankful that most people have better morals than the ‘god’ of the OT.

          But frankly the end game for Christianity is the same end game for Muslims.

          Mass murder
          Virtual destruction of the planet with billions dying.

          That is not a goal that I can support morally.

        • Curtis Martin

          has occupied a specific piece of land where they believe the Muslim version of Armageddon is going to happen. Their goal is to get the rest of the world to come and fight them there, thereby fulfilling some Muslim prophecy and bringing about the second coming of Jesus which somehow introduces the world wide reign of Allah. Is Allah Yaweh? To attempt to be consistent, I would have to say yes. I would also say that, just as we Christians have messed up in our understanding of God, that the ISIS folks need to reexamine their interpretation of the Koran.
          That said, I simply could not agree with your logic anymore than I do. To say that the ISIS theology represents the same GOD is faulty at best. Yes, ISIS is misusing texts that trace to the Abrahamic tradition. But I don’t blame their vicious theology on God anymore than I blame Westoboro’s. These theology, like all theologies, is a human creation. No Theology is 100% correct, but that’s on the Theologians, not on God.
          I fundamentally disagree with you about the mass murder and destruction of the planet nonsense. IF you’re talking about the Christian Pop Culture “Left Behind” nonsense, I would argue that Tim LaHaye, like Hal Lindsey and Jack Van Impe before him, have completely misunderstood “The End Times” (but sold an awful lot of books). Thankfully, this theology is being exposed for the bunk that it is in Progressive// Post Evangelical Christianity as well. There is no Rapture or Tribulation or any of that nonsense. The Church is NOT supposed to just get as many converts as possible and wait until we get airlifted out of here. On the contrary, the Church is charged with taking care of creation, including those who need some extra help.

        • Kodie

          Theology presupposes the bible to have something to do with an actual god, while you maintain the bible includes stories that are personal impressions about god that may be wrong. I mean, trying to make the bible make some kind of sense is a creative art form, not a way to learn anything about any god. You prefer your own impressions which you attribute to a personified god at your own whim. If the story doesn’t make any sense at all with reality, why try to force it with theology? Even your personal opinions of the purpose of the church comes from believing what you prefer. You malign people who interpret the bible more literally or use it or mold it to whatever purpose they prefer, which because it “comes from a god,” has then to be taken utterly seriously or else. You can’t hear yourself very well and don’t take any time to reflect on how you come by your own opinions.

          What I can’t understand in the first place is, if there is a god, why his plan includes billions of people fucking it up because they have no choice? It’s a really lazy, incompetent god who leaves it up to people he knows aren’t perfect to struggle with the message until it means whatever they want it to mean. Either the bible is true the way it is, or you’re making shit up. That’s what theology is – making shit up.

        • Curtis Martin

          Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief – which, of course, you would label as “Making Shit Up”.
          Again – and I’m seriously asking you a question – are you a former Christian?

        • Kodie

          Theology is the the particular art form of creating god from wishes. Theology’s tool is the shovel and the subject is manure, and the art arranges that manure using the shovel to mean whatever you want it to mean. I mean, you use the bible as a source even though your own gut feeling is that most of it “gets god wrong”, you still find value in shoveling it up to mean something.

        • adam

          Yes, I understand they have their own version of Armageddon, thats my point – WHERE would they get such an idea? From the God of Abraham.

          ” Yes, ISIS is misusing texts that trace to the Abrahamic tradition.But I don’t blame their vicious theology on God anymore than I blame Westoboro’s. ”

          There is ONE single common thread here – the OT.

          The God of Abraham whose name is JEALOUS.

          For me I can’t blame what I believe is an imaginary character in a book.

          But I can see how the texts in this book is the common thread between ISIS and Westboro

          BTW, I have read the Bible, Koran, Vedas and my favorite the Tao of Pooh amoung others..

          “I fundamentally disagree with you about the mass murder and destruction of the planet nonsense.”

          It is not nonsense to those who ‘believe’ that the bible is the word of God reading the bible and do what you say you do and interpret the way that fits with your personality and interpret in a way that fits their personality, except their personality is hurt looking for vengeance.

          It is not nonsense to those who pray every day for Jesus to return, full KNOWing what the bible tells them needs to happen before hand (again, their INTERPRETATION of the set of documents called the bible)

          This is a WAR god mythology, suited for tribalism.
          Not suited for modern society.

          I understand that many christians want (actually, I believe NEED) another reformation to both survive the information age and resolve cognitive dissonance in their own bibles.

          I appreciate that.

          I am making the observation that it is a losing proposition in keeping Jesus alive as long as he is associated with Jehovah.
          Even then you need a whole rewriting of the apocalypticism of Jesus.

          The problem for christianity is INFORMATION.

          It always has been.

          We are now living in the Information Age, probably why you yourself are ‘converting’ and moving away from things in the bible that are as Derek discribes as immoral

          “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on” Neil deGrasse Tyson.

        • Curtis Martin

          Marcionism. Something that one of my favorite Pastors, Brian Zahnd, is often accused of. His book “Farewell to Mars” is about an Evangelical Pastor turning his back on the American Evangelical love affair with “Christian Violence”

        • adam

          That’s the one.

          Now do a Jefferson on the story, and I think that is best christianity has to offer- another buddha.but with the baggage of another ‘god’ named Jesus with the history of the OT.

          But you are still under the effect of an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance…

          The ‘feeling’ of ‘GOD’ is best described with science, where science can measure the chemicals that induce this feeling. Yogi’s generate this effect themselves by altering their body chemistry through breathing, fasting and stress.
          It is also known as the ‘Shamanic’ experience.

        • Curtis Martin

          Jesusism. It exists, but I am not interested.

        • adam

          It doesnt matter if you are interested or not.

          “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on” Neil deGrasse Tyson.

          So unless christianity can regain its control over scientific knowledge and keep the majority ignorant, it is doomed.
          That is what made christianity the world POWER that it became, but it is decaying with SCIENCE.
          ISIS understands that and literally tries to breed ignorance.

          And you are just one more person to them that ‘believes’ in the same God of Abraham, giving credibility to them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No Theology is 100% correct, but that’s on the Theologians, not on God.

          Don’t you think that that is at all very strange given that you believe in God?

          This God concept nonsense, I’m igtheist btw, seems meaningless. It has claimants declaring its multi-omni attributes, yet there is none of that to be seen…ANYWHERE.

          Of course you can parse God down a bit to fit your revamped world-view…or you can rewrite the Bible, as you do, even if only figuratively….but then what is the point? You might as well ditch the silly book altogether and do a Jefferson.

        • Kodie

          You “simply” disagree. You prefer to categorize Jesus according to yourself, and decide that there are people who used the same powers of perception you’re using to “get god wrong.” Basically, you deem your own perception to be sound, right, and good, even though you know it can be faulty because other Christians and other theists have faulty reasoning that troubles you. I really think this is all anyone has tried to say to you, but you don’t like it. You’re not debating whether you’re wrong, only that other people using the same kinds of brains you have are wrong, and we’re wrong, and you’re right. For some reason, being wrong about something you might be wrong about because the reasoning you got there with might be faulty doesn’t trouble you at all. All theists think they’re harmless and want to be left alone. At the more extreme ends, they think we are mad at god, and do not comprehend why we would argue against something we don’t believe in. No matter how it’s explained to you, Christians all want to escape inspection and reasoning, and demand unwarranted respect for maintaining silly beliefs that grow into damaging behaviors. I don’t believe you’re that great a guy. You’re still willing to believe and spread damaging rumors about atheists. Fear of atheism is one of the top poisons Christians use to maintain or increase their populations, all of them – like you, like fundamentalists, everyone in between.

        • Curtis Martin

          Whoa, wait what? “You’re still willing to believe and spread damaging rumors about atheists”
          The only thing I’ve accused anyone here at being “wrong” about, is when they purport to tell me what I believe. That’s it. Now, I have said that I disagree with people, so in one way, I guess I think that a belief I disagree with is “wrong”, but I’ve been pretty clear that I might be wrong too.

        • Kodie

          My takeaway – not that anyone gives a flying filet o’ fish, is that within this group of folks, at least, “Atheist” seems more to mean “Against Theists” than anything else.

          That sounds eerily Evangelical.

          I will say, I really don’t understand the incessant need to try and deconvert me.

          Honestly? I have learned that you guys can be real pricks. It seems virtually impossible for someone to say “I am a Christian” without it being assumed that they are asserting some sort of superiority or trying to convert everyone.

          So, more than anything, I have learned that Atheists are as intolerant of other points of view as Fundamentalist Christians are.

        • Curtis Martin

          OH, that’s not about “Atheists” That’s about this forum. Frankly, I think that anything I’ve said here is stuff that you’d be all “Hell Yes!” about. Its a personal reflection of my experience in this thread.

        • Kodie

          You say you try to be careful what you say and how you present yourself as a Christian. You love us all to know how kind and fair you are to others. But you do not take responsibility in being unfair to us. If you make unsupported assertions, they deserve no respect. I don’t know who told you they do. They will be challenged, and if you are offended by being challenged, I believe someone told you a few days ago that this might not be the place for you. You continue to try to explain how you believe and why, and why we’re supposed to grant people like you protection and accept you.

          But you then go on and make blanket judgments because you don’t like the atmosphere, and you don’t have any other way to defend your beliefs, your baseless assertions, and don’t like being lumped in with other Christians (no Christians do unless they are using the argumentum ad populum to tell us how many billions of people worldwide follow Jesus) or other theists. Anyway, what I said is that fear of atheism is one of the top poisons and you ignored that. You have a fear of atheism, that’s chief reason for you being here – you “don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” Something about it upsets you. You can say you agree to disagree because that’s the kind of person you like to present yourself as, but you would never say that if losing your faith wasn’t a frightening prospect.

        • Curtis Martin

          Yes. You are right. I expect to be able to state that I believe something that you don’t with without it being challenged. Yes. IF I were to insist that you should believe that something to, or even try to explain why my way is “better” than yours or you’d be happier or whatever, THEN I would expect a challenge.
          What I have argued, is what I believe are mischaracterizations of my beliefs. I am honestly taken aback by the logic that any support of a God is taken on the same level all support for a God, no matter what form that takes. I see that is a core value here, or at least it appears to be, and I just can’t wrap my head around it.
          I have no idea what “Protection” I wasn’t you to grant me or what “acceptance” you are referring to.
          Fear of Atheism.
          I don’t know how to answer that one. I was born into a religion and I’ll die in that religion. Yes, I’ve moved from one side of it to the other, but I’ve never considered bailing on the whole thing. I choose to believe that there is a God. I can’t prove it. I know that I feel at home in my Faith. I know that it resonates with me as True. I know that this is the kind of statement that makes you sick to your stomach. For me to quit my faith, I would have to be 100% certain that there is nothing out there beyond what my senses can capture. For ME. I don’t speak for you nor do I mean to. For ME, that would be Atheism. Short of that, I will stay in my Faith and faith community.
          So, if that makes me a coward, fine. The way I look at this, I’m more fascinated with Atheism than scared of it. I simply cannot fathom it. That’s much more of a cultural statement than a logical statement, I know. But that’s just where I’m at. Where you can’t imagine anyone believing this shit, I can’t imagine someone who doesn’t believe some sort of shit.

        • Aram McLean

          Ah, there it is. You were indoctrinated (as I assumed). Well shucks, bub. It’s not impossible to get out (like myself), but it’s definitely harder when your foundational thinking process has been usurped by your parents and extended communities misguided belief in nonsense. I feel for ya, I really do. I’ve been where you are. I get it. But I have the advantage because I also know what it is to move on from childish beliefs. And believe me, bub, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

        • MNb

          “I expect to be able to state that I believe something that you don’t with without it being challenged.”
          Please reread the title of this blog.
          Cross Examined. Clear thinking about christiantiy.
          These pages are all about challenging what you (and any other christian) believes.

        • Kodie

          Here’s what I think. You’re not the only Christian who thinks they’re a good guy. All of them think so. You and they come here with unsupported beliefs and claims and defenses why your way is the right way, and you come away thinking we’re all assholes because we can’t tolerate each and every Christians’ right to believe whatever they want to believe and interpret the bible any way they want to interpret the bible. You’re not special that way. You think you’re special because we ought to tolerate your beliefs because you’re such a nice harmless guy who isn’t trying to threaten us or battle us in any way. But your attitude is poison bigotry when you say you don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. Fear of atheism is a real contributor – see, you started with your parents I assume in a more fundamentalist Christianity or more literal bible-reading, or whatever. Even though you rejected those beliefs, and maintain that you are opposed to extremist literal interpretations of the bible (first of all, for someone like you who doesn’t like to fight or impose his views on anyone else, we’ll come back to this), what’s to happen to Curtis without a god is why you sought other answers to match up this bullshit story with your personal feelings. I still don’t know how your personal feelings can be considered a correct way to interpret something that you can judge other Christians (but they judge you too).

          You read or hear something that you think is wrong, so you struggle to find it true anyway. You work it over so it’s barely worth mentioning just to stay out of atheism. What will happen to poor Curtis without a god is implied by your original question, what’s wrong with saying “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”? Part of Christianity spreading uses a straw man atheism as the thug guarding the door. You’re locked in now, you can’t leave, or what will happen to poor Curtis. You’re in a very large pool of all the Christians afraid to come out and get dry. You say, I’m not in the deep end and I haven’t peed in the pool like some of the others. I’m not trying to make you an atheist, but you have fears you express about any communication with you trying to convert you. You are like a child who has been beaten, and I raise my hand so you flinch and cower and cover your head, bracing for the conversion attempts, wail and cry, don’t make me be an atheist!

          Anyway, wishing others to respect your unfounded perception of the world isn’t going to make it so. You asked a question, and when you present yourself as an example of a harmless Christian who is one of every Christian no matter how they practice who says the same thing. You don’t like to be categorized among the assholes who harm others, as you see it. You don’t like to be accused of sheltering them from criticism, as you criticize them yourself. How do you do that? Are you just trying to make conversation here or do you actively try to reason those extremists out of their extreme position (except, of course, your parents). They all think they’re right, they’re not harming anyone, and that religious beliefs ought to be respected.

          The 1st amendment only applies to the government. Free speech, freedom of religion, you are free to neither be censored or converted out of your belief or into another one, by the government. This is something religious people get wrong all the time, and they think beliefs (which are often tied to behaviors and voting practices) ought to be tolerated and respected as a civil right. Yeah, by the government and regulations passed by the government that people cannot be denied jobs or housing opportunities. That doesn’t mean other people have to tolerate you, respect your beliefs, or refrain from engaging in a discussion with you about how your expression is wrong to them. You don’t want to fight, you don’t want to convert us to your beliefs, but you still feel free to express your own fears of atheism that seem to keep you in that big pool. You searched and searched for loopholes and special interpretations, you want us to give you an exception for that.

          I have never been a Christian, but I understand that deconversion can be terrifying to a Christian, even as it’s happening and there is no way back. I have heard enough stories to know what Christians think of us, and what former Christians went through to come out of their beliefs. Whatever they’re telling you all about atheism is a tool to hold you back, lies meant to prevent you from considering it. Without all the other ways Christianity or theism can be expressed, rightly, wrongly, fundamentally, progressively, etc., in common with each of them is the fear of recognizing the notion of a world where there is no god, and how dirty and pointless and depressing it must be, in some cases, hedonic, satanic, a world of non-stop murdering and raping and stealing for fun. When you talk about how much faith you don’t have to be an atheist, when you use that phrase talking to other Christians, you’re reinforcing this attitude, you’re reinforcing all Christians to maintain this attitude, you’re perpetuating a stereotype that’s meant to guard the gate, a blatant lie, so what other lies abound in your belief system? What other psychological manipulations are used?

          I think that’s where I’m at. When I see atheism used as a psychological manipulation tactic within beliefs, and I see theists (any theists) using that as an argument to maintain beliefs, I have to gather they are rather liberal with the lying, like how you claim the bible is meant to be worked over and interpreted as a group, for example. That’s how they all do it, even the people you think did it wrong. So how is that the way? You say these things but you don’t follow up with information. You say you might be wrong, but you also say those others are definitely wrong. I don’t know how we’re supposed to address that, but you react hysterically like we’re trying to convert you. You just want to say things and let them hang out in the atmosphere on a bubble “what Curtis Martin thinks” and nobody is obligated to join you in that bubble but nobody is allowed anywhere near that bubble.

        • MR

          Semi off-topic, but about these conversations in general:

          I was listening to an old podcast on schizophrenia and the opening lines really struck me and made me think about these conversations we have with Christians. The reporter was leading into an interview with a schizophrenic person and said:

          Reality, if you think about it, is a kind of social contract. You and I might be strangers, but we agree, at least at a really basic level, on what is real.

          So when you talk to someone who isn’t signed on to that same contract, it’s kind of unsettling.

          And I thought, that’s really kind of how it is when we’re talking to these people. You can say something, but their reality is so different, they are bringing so much more into the conversation and reinterpreting that information through their own little Christian lens, that the message gets warped.

          I’m not saying they’re schizophrenic, but there is this similar redefining of reality that the brain does. This is why we talk past each other. This is why they don’t get it when we say things like, “God is an asshole for acting like that.” They really think we’re talking about God.

        • adam

          I will say it.
          They ARE schizophrenic.

          Schizophrenia
          Schizophrenia is a mental disorder often characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, auditory hallucinations, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and lack of motivation. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the person’s reported experiences.

          What they typically have is enough social skills not to be a disturbance to the peace to the point they are destructive, usually.

          Imagine that you live in a world where 90% of the
          people around you sincerely believe in something
          that appears to you to be downright whacky, if perhaps
          relatively pleasant on the surface in many respects.
          Say they believe in Santa Claus; beard, the big red
          suit, the flying reindeer, the sled loaded with a
          billion gifts, the North Pole Workshop, Mrs. Claus
          and the elves; all of it.

          But in this fantasy world, they’re not content merely
          to believe in Santa Claus, they want you to publicly
          agree all the time that you also believe in Santa,
          in their specific version of same, and they pressure
          everyone else in numerous ways to pretend that they’re
          not strange or childish for believing in this. They
          don’t just limit it at that even, they insist everyone
          kiss their ass about their Santa belief every damn
          day of their lives and if you don’t humor them at
          the drop of hat under any circumstances, you’re being
          disrespectful, you’re out of line. No matter how
          much you humor them, they always demand more.

          Imagine, seriously imagine for a moment now, that
          these people, the vast majority of the electorate,
          vote for politicians based in large part on what
          they think Santa wants, campaign speeches all end
          with “Be good or Santa won’t come to visit”.
          And most of these voters won’t even consider voting
          for someone who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and
          his factory at the North Pole. Yet they routinely
          congratulate themselves as belonging to the most
          graciously tolerant and open minded people in all
          of history.

          Imagine that large sections of the country, the majority
          in fact, reject modern geography and want to teach
          that Santa lives at the North Pole in a giant Dickensian
          factory manned by elves as part of that curricula.
          They don’t just want to teach it at home or in Santa
          Mass every Sunday, they wanna teach it as geographical
          fact and they’re militant about it. They lobby the
          schoolboard and stack them with Santa-ists who want
          to ‘teach both sides of the geographic controversy’
          and let the kids decide if they wanna believe in
          Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole, or not. They
          want to ‘teach the evidence against naturalistic
          North Polism” and no amount of evidence, no
          sat photos, no onsite reports, no live North Pole
          Cams, will dissuade them from this effort.

          Imagine that if you even voice the possibility that
          Santa might be a pleasant legend or some aspects
          of the story may be more allegorical in nature rather
          than literal, at the local school board meeting when
          this issue comes up, you’re shouted down, called
          everything from a Nazi to a demon to a terrorist,
          exiled from the neighborhood and maybe isolated at
          work. Because while a bunch of nice things get done
          in the name of Santa, a lot of nonsense and out and
          out bullshit also is justified with the same. For
          example; your kids better not repeat any Santa skepticism,
          or they’ll be teased horribly at the very least and
          might get the shit beat out of them by other kids
          from time to time.

          Now further imagine; although the underlying story
          is sweet enough on its own, the actual uses it is
          put to by various self-serving factions are about
          as ugly as it can get: The ruling party is supported
          by a large block of truly radical Santa believers
          who want to run the entire country like they believe
          the North Pole facility operates, including sweatshops
          with kids all busy working away seven days a week
          365 days a year in long assembly lines, with hand
          tools, in the freezing cold arctic winter, all for
          benefit of a few old men with long white beards who
          live in complete splendor on that labor. Because
          that’s how Santa wants it, see?

          There is more here: http://www.bornagainpagan.com/texts/004-text.html

        • Greg G.

          But the Evangelicals see Progressive Christians as salad bar Christians who pick and choose what they want from the Bible and discard the rest. You are right about them and they are right about you.

        • MR

          I mean, you have to give some credit to the Phelps’ for unapologetically embracing the good and bad of their beliefs without shying away or making excuses. Equivocating over what every little verse really means or “their” interpretation vs. “my” interpretation does nothing but expose the weakness of religion.

        • Greg G.

          The WBC can back up their beliefs and claims with scripture all day long. Scripture comes out worse for it which is what people should realize.

        • Curtis Martin

          We don’t cherry pick as much as the conservatives think, although both sides do that to some extent. It’s more about a different approach to begin with regarding the Bible. The Progressive positions simply come about through a different process than the conservative positions do. And, as humans, we’re wrong about stuff on both sides.

        • Greg G.

          It’s more about a different approach to begin with regarding the Bible.

          To them, that is worse than cherry-picking. If you don’t take it to mean what it says, you are adding to what the Bible says.

        • Curtis Martin

          And I would accuse many conservatives of worshipping the Bible in place of God. I would call out Biblicism as and Idolatry. So you’re right, we do have serious disagreements. Where I would disagree with you is the assertion that Progressive positions are arrived at by ignoring uncomfortable parts of the Bible.

        • Kodie

          No, no, you don’t ignore uncomfortable parts of the bible. You confront them head on, and then work out what it really means according to Curtis. If the bible says something wrong, you make a reason why it would be wrong, the people were wrong but god exists and is never wrong. You make it up, you confront the uncomfortable parts of the bible and never ignore them. You have to rewrite them as you interpret them so you can remain comfortable with god. If you’re going to use the guide, abuse the guide. Never let that bible tell you what god really thinks and wants from you. Make up your own mind, but also keep referring to that bible. If anyone is an idolater, it’s you. You need that bible even though it’s very wrong.

        • Curtis Martin

          any chance you could answer my question? are you a former Christian?

        • Greg G.

          We agree that many are guilty of Biblidolatry.

          But you have moved God to a position that must be imagined and is protected from evidence for and against. You are like Fabio. Frankly, I have lost track of exactly which claims either of you make and if they are significantly different.

          PS: You don’t ignore the uncomfortable parts. You just blame the ancients for getting them wrong.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem you have Curtis is that you are talking about your version of progressive Christianity. From what I’ve gathered from reading up on it over the last couple of days progressive Christianity itself is a broad brush.

          There is no actual denomination of progressive Christians. Rather, they are found scattered among a wide range of liberal and mainline Protestant denominations; some are even found within evangelical denominations, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. They are not necessarily particularly vocal about their religious beliefs.

          While researching progressive Christianity I was taken by this analogy that symbolizes the methodology of the Progressive Christianity movement…

          It involves a Sunday school teacher and a class of 9 or 10-year-olds. Even at that age, some were skeptical of the inerrancy of the Bible. They felt that many events recorded in the Bible never happened. Rather then try to convince the children otherwise, the teacher suggested that they read Charlotte’s Web instead — an enduring story of a bashful pig named Wilbur who befriended a spider named Charlotte. The class enjoyed the book. After some great discussions, the teacher interjected the thought that pigs and spiders cannot talk. The kids protested: “Well, it’s a story.” The teacher asked whether the story was true. They decided that it was sort of true. “In a way, it was true.” So the teacher suggested: “All right, well let’s look at the Bible in the same way.”

          To my mind, there comes a point where it is disingenuous to refer to yourself as Christian.

        • Curtis Martin

          UCC, just to satisfy any curiosity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I know already, I’ve read a good part of your commenting history.

        • Curtis Martin

          Ugh. How tedious!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not at all…

        • Ignorant Amos

          I know for instance where you stand on racism for example…given your wife and two kids…iirc.

        • Curtis Martin

          The UCC is sometimes ridiculed as “Unitarians Considering Christ”. I attend a UCC church and we’re pretty uniformly liberal.

        • LOL;-) However, I knew a UCC minister who thought I must be UU because I was so liberal but actually I leaned toward pietistic Quaker at the time.
          Heard the joke about the UU being confronted by a Southern Baptist:
          “Your church is a joke! You reject all the creeds!” Then the Southern Baptist got so upset all he could shout and sputter was “YOU, YOU…!”

          And the Unitarian very politely said, “Yes?”

          Here’s an adaption for United Church of Christ:
          A Calvinist was yelling at a UCC minister:
          “Your church doesn’t preach the Reformed Gospel! Do you believe in the penal substitution?”

          “No,” said the UCC pastor.

          YOU SEE! SEE what I mean!” yelled the Calvinist.

        • adam

          Walking across a bridge one day, one man saw another man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So the first man ran over and said,
          “Stop! Don’t do it!”

          “Why shouldn’t I?” the second man said.

          The first man said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” “Like what?” the suicidal man said said.
          “Well, are you religious or atheist?”
          “Religious.”

          “Me too!

          Are your Christian or Buddhist?”

          “Christian.”
          “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
          “Protestant.”

          “Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist?”
          “Baptist!”
          “Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?

          “Baptist Church of God!”
          “Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
          “Reformed Baptist Church of God!”

          “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?”

          “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of
          1915!”
          The first man said “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.

          source: http://www.jokebuddha.com/joke/The_Heretic#ixzz3koAD6hge

        • Yeah;-) thanks for the reminder. I heard that joke back in the 80’s. It’s a very good one, though like some jokes, actually, tragic at bottom because so horrifically true.

        • adam

          I have been watching the M*A*S*H series lately, and I do appreciate a bit of dark humour.

        • Greg G.

          There was a man stranded on an island for many years. One day, he was able to signal a passing ship which sent a boat. He met them at the beach. They asked about the others.

          “What others?” he asked.

          The captain pointed to the three huts on the ridge and asked who lived there.

          The man replied, “The one in the middle is my home. The one on the left is where I go to church. The one on the right is where I used to go to church.

        • 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tremendous.

        • Kodie

          I think if you read the bible and find it hard to believe, so you change it in some way so you can still believe it, that’s really a weird thing to do.

        • Curtis Martin

          Serious question – are you a former Christian?

        • Kodie

          No, I can’t even imagine grown-ups believing this shit.

        • Curtis Martin

          Ok, thank you for answering the question. So here’s the thing – we simply cannot speak the same language when it comes to discussing the Bible. We just can’t. There is so much backstory and context to be learned and understood to have a serious discussion. Of course you think it’s nonsense – how could you not? I understand that you don’t believe that there is a God. I get it. You and I DISAGREE. It’s really ok for people to DISAGREE. And not being a former believer of any sort, means that we really do speak different languages in trying to discuss Biblical Interpretation. There is just no way to further this.

        • Kodie

          Oh, horseshit, Curtis. I was going to explain my answer, but you’re so fucking wrapped up in how your bible needs to be delicately interpreted by scholars and shit, like that’s how god intended you to learn about him and shit. You disagree with me because I tell you something you don’t want to learn. Why is your religion so fucking complicated that you need “backstory” and … jesus christ, this is how you progressives always go. If we only understood your “true” interpretations and had some background, it would all make so much more sense than those literalists we’re always fighting about.

          Horse. Shit.

        • Curtis Martin

          Dear God. I do not care to learn how to become an Atheist. Not happening. Not a discussion I’m going to have. I will lose any rational argument with you. My belief is irrational. I’m ok with that – you think that I’m an idiot for being ok with that.
          Trying to discuss the Bible and Biblical interpretation with someone like you, who I don’t have a common background with, is something that I am simply not skilled at. We’re just yelling back and forth right by each other.

        • MR

          That’s just willful ignorance.

          You want her to listen to you, but you won’t listen to her.

          Got it. Yeah, I think you are an idiot.

          [edit: Oh, Bob just posted this excellent response elsewhere. I think it applies here]:

          That’s the answer of a child. Adults investigate challenges to their worldview.

        • Susan

          Hi Curtis,

          I’m also a former theist.

          Trying to discuss the Bible and Biblical interpretation with someone like you, who I don’t have a common background with, is something that I am simply not skilled at.

          Mormons and muslims would say the same thing to you.

          You can’t sell it to people who haven’t already bought it.

          That is, whatever interpretation of whatever version of your christian book you don’t feel like defending relies on the assumption that some sort of ‘god’ exists and that yer bible is useful in determining what that god is and what it wants. .

          A false premise can lead to any conclusion.

          You don’t want to have to defend the premise in any way

          That should bother you more than it bothers me.

          If you were raised evangelical, I see it as progress.

        • Curtis Martin

          It’s not about the premise, it’s about the process. That’s what I’m referring to. But I readily admit that a belief in God is logically indefenseable

        • Susan

          It’s not about the premise, it’s about the process.

          You have a process without premises? You have a process that doesn’t depend on its premises? Show us.

          I readily admit that a belief in God (Curtis’s premise that he won’t defend)

          I would ask what you mean by ‘God’ in order to understand the point you’re trying to make and to treat it as charitably as I can but you have pretty much declared that you won’t answer a question like that.

          is logically indefensible

          Yet, you wonder why people who care about their positions being based on reliable premises would have a problem with the statement “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”.

        • Curtis Martin

          I think I explained right off the bat that for someone like me, Atheism meant being 100% certain that there is no God. So for me, the statement made perfect sense because anything less than 100% certainty meant being an agnostic. That is the perspective I brought. And then I asked what I got wrong. Several folks did explain that my definitions were too narrow or that I was just misinformed as to what Atheists believe. To my surprise (yes, I was that ignorant), quite a few folks took what I said as a blanket statement about what all Atheists believe and then I was told what I believe and how anyone stupid enough to believe in God supports Westboro and ISIS and wants to run the country and tell everyone else how to live……..

          So yes, I learned that my understanding of Atheism is a bit off the mark. I also learned that I simply need to let mischaracterizations of my beliefs just slide because no one here cares what I believe, but most folks here are just offended that I believe.

          I am really tired of this discussion and everyone here is tired of me. That’s fine. I hate leaving posts unanswered but that is probably some OCD crap that I need to look into. I will say that you have been as nice to me as anyone so thank you for that.

          Goodnight.

        • Aram McLean

          You miss the point Curtis. It’s not that you physically support Westboro etc. It’s that you contribute to the ubiquitous idea filling the human psyche that supernatural things are perfectly reasonable. In this way you help create an environment that fosters extremist viewpoints by essentially encouraging all to accept the premise of God(s) somehow makes perfect normal sense. Of course certain people are going to take it to the highly shitty end, like ISIS, and your mindless belief in God means you are a part of creating this environment inside of which the extra nutty ones can thrive.
          Capiche?

          Anyway, you say you don’t like to leave a comment unanswered, but I’ve personally been left unanswered by you a fair few number of times. Do not answer this comment. Answer no more on this site. Go back to swooning with your fellow holders of the torch about how emotional your personal pocket Jesus makes you feel. I believe in you. You’re stuck on repeat here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I see ya know Curtis and his modus operandi from some three months ago? No wonder yer getting frustrated.

        • Aram McLean

          Yeah, we encountered each other back then. Then I was offline in a wee cabin east of Germany for a bit, so imagine my surprise to return and see him still here and spouting the exact same shit. Well, surprise is the wrong word, but yeah. I try not to enable these people because I know they’re just masturbating for Jesus, but the last few days went on a bit of a rant. Whoops.
          The thing is, because of my religious background, I have friends in ‘real life’ who are just like this. Faith is the trump card and simply talking about Jesus is a victory for them. They’re addicted to repeating themselves, not actually listening. So perhaps I’m just making Curtis the whipping boy in lieu of yelling in frustration at my own friends, because politeness.
          Anyway, I’m back to ignoring him. It’s the only way to win with these people. Withhold their masturbation and eventually they go away.

        • MNb

          “That is the perspective I brought.”
          Actually that’s a perspective you didn’t put into words until now. No worries – that happens all the time on internet. You might read about the Scale of Dawkins. Lots of atheists are not 100% sure.
          I am, but it would be totally useless to tell you why, because “My belief is irrational.” That’s what I mean with anything goes.

        • MR

          I’m a former Christian and I say Kodie is spot on. Please do carry on.

        • Curtis Martin

          She may be, I just do not have the vocabulary to discuss it with her.

        • MR

          Oh, but you do. I think it’s probably the cognitive dissonance that’s the problem, not the vocabulary.

        • Aram McLean

          What a load of malarkey. I grew up full on Fundy. I’ve read and even memorized pretty much the entire Bible. Dress it up all you want but the simple fact is you’re indoctrinated (at best) to believe it is anything more than scribblings of a Bronze Age tribe rounded out by scribblings from the beginnings of the Roman Empire. Just because your parents did you a disservice (I assume) by filling your head with shite when you were of an age where you didn’t know the difference between plausible and possible (I know the feeling), doesn’t mean you get to pretend your beliefs are reasonable. It’s you who insists on believing in nonsense. Not the other way around. You’re like the earnest kid insisting to adults that Santa’s true because you feel it, there was a thud on your roof once, and hey, other cultures also celebrate mid-winter festivals so it must be true. You are not on an equal footing here, Curtis. Thinking you are is your ongoing mistake. You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

        • MNb

          To be fair – CM already admitted that his belief is irrational. His consequence is typical for Progressive Christianity: anything goes. Let fundies believe that the sky is green and teach their children as well.

        • Aram McLean

          .

        • Ignorant Amos

          The moment he mentioned progressive Christian I set about a bit of research reading to try to understand what it was about. Curtis seems not to have reciprocated when it comes to atheism…or he is lying for full effect. His comment history shows he has been aware of atheists for at the minimum a couple of months now. A rational person would have at least Googled the word atheism before making an ignorant declaration on the meaning of the term.

        • Aram McLean

          A rational person wouldn’t be Curtis. That’s the thing with him and people like him. They’ve embraced the narcissism of being God’s special child, yet at the same time they’re clued in enough to play the cultural tolerance game, so in their mind they are the absolute top of the human heap of consciousness and specialness. They think themselves better than the Fundies with their hatred for gay people, literal Bible interpretations, etc. And they think themselves better than the ‘atheists’ because, hey, they’re tight with God Himself. It’s a nasty mix playing off the usual human tendency to be full of ourselves, multiplied to the nth degree. In many ways I am more frustrated by so-called liberal Christians over Fundies, because the so-called liberal should know better.

        • TheNuszAbides

          in their mind they are the absolute top of the human heap of consciousness and specialness

          *scoffs* how absurd! it’s pantheists that are the absolute top! (i know ‘cuz i was one for the space of a few acid trips.)

        • adam

          Just like always, yet ANOTHER believer ‘believing’ that they have decoded the myth of the bible.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve been reading up a bit lately on Giordano Bruno and as a result came across one Nicholas of Cusa. Seems to have something in common with Curtis and his progressive way of thinking.

          Shortly after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, Nicholas wrote De pace fidei, On the Peace of Faith. This visionary work imagined a summit meeting in Heaven of representatives of all nations and religions. Islam and the Hussite movement in Bohemia are represented. The conference agrees that there can be una religio in varietate rituum, a single faith manifested in different rites, as manifested in the eastern and western rites of the Catholic Church. The dialog presupposes the greater accuracy of Christianity but gives respect to other religions. Less irenic but not virulent, is Cusanus’ Cribratio Alchorani, Sifting the Koran, a detailed review of the Koran in Latin translation. While the arguments for the superiority of Christianity are still shown in this book, it also credits Judaism and Islam with sharing in the truth at least partially.

          Of course there is a down side to Nicholas of Cusa’s liberal thinking…

          Cusanus’ attitude toward the Jews was not always mild; on 21 September 1451 he ordered that Jews of Arnhem were to wear badges identifying them as such. The De pace fidei mentions the possibility that the Jews might not embrace the larger union of una religio in varietate rituum, but it dismisses them as politically insignificant. This matches the decrees from Cusanus’ legation restricting Jewish activities, restrictions later canceled by Pope Nicholas V.

          Sound like that may have had something parallel going on in the 20th century? Bare in mind Nicolaus Cusanus was also a German.

        • adam

          ” Bare in mind Nicolaus Cusanus was also a German.”

          As was Martin Luther, another Jew hater…

        • MNb

          The Great Progressive Christian Curtis Martin has spoken, so we atheists only can bow our heads and mumble Amen.
          Unfortunately for you I have met in my native country The Netherlands quite a few Progressive Christians who perfectly could explain how they interpreted the Bible to back up political and social views that were/are largely the same as mine.
          So yes, it’s horseshit, Curtis.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And while the Episcopalian’s are in rapid decline, the Pentecostal’s are not.

          Liberal Christianity is wracked with doubt, ducks strong conclusions and often seems to apologise for its own existence. Its liturgy is a confusing blend of styles and belief systems.

          http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100172245/americas-liberal-christians-might-be-progressive-and-inclusive-but-they-are-also-dying-out/

        • adam

          Liberal Christianity’s problem is that they recognize that they have better morals than the god they worship, but because of the way the story is written, they CAN’T separate THEIR Jesus from Jehovah. So they are stuck.

        • The conservatives seem to double down in response to doubt.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Gnostic-Roller Fellowship of the Sunk Costs?

        • Kodie

          See how freely you take what you believe and decide that other Christians have “god” wrong. That doesn’t apply to you, you just want to be left alone.

        • Curtis Martin

          I have God wrong too. I’m human and I’m not perfect so I’m certain that I have some of this wrong. I also think the Seahawks should have handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch on the goal line in last year’s Super Bowl. The coach didn’t agree. There is not always just one answer and in most groups there is disagreement about things. Yes, I think that if you think that God wants you to hurt someone, you’ve got God wrong.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think this is getting through to you – there is no god to debate, only humans debating. Of course they’re not all going to agree, they all want whatever they want. They might be able to be talked into compromise with another person. At no time does an actual god enter into this process.

        • 90Lew90

          It seems to me that your faith is merely self-serving. I’ve explained why I think that’s immoral and selfish — because I believe religion in the main to be a source of harm rather than good — which leaves you with a moral dilemma that you are aware of and simply choose to ignore. That’s pretty poor form. No-true-Scotsman (which is what you’re doing) doesn’t wash.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the “aw-shucks-we’re-all-just-puny-mortals” element of prog-christness (esp. in Curtis’ blend) leans hard on the “there aren’t any true Scotsmen” angle. much more shrewd than the ultra-traditional down-doublers.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Remember, If you can see through it, it’s not really beer.

          Beer colour is determined by the malt. The most common colour is a pale amber produced from using pale malts. Pale lager and pale ale are terms used for beers made from malt dried with coke. Coke was first used for roasting malt in 1642, but it was not until around 1703 that the term pale ale was used.

          In terms of sales volume, most of today’s beer is based on the pale lager brewed in 1842 in the town of Pilsen in the present-day Czech Republic. The modern pale lager is light in colour with a noticeable carbonation (fizzy bubbles) and a typical alcohol by volume content of around 5%. The Pilsner Urquell, Bitburger, and Heineken brands of beer are typical examples of pale lager, as are the American brands Budweiser, Coors, and Miller.

          Dark beers are usually brewed from a pale malt or lager malt base with a small proportion of darker malt added to achieve the desired shade. Other colourants—such as caramel—are also widely used to darken beers. Very dark beers, such as stout, use dark or patent malts that have been roasted longer. Some have roasted unmalted barley.

          Being a connoisseur of beer…colour is the least important aspect.

          Just saying.

        • Curtis Martin

          In one way, yes. Although you have to know that in the U.S., people actually drink Coor’s Light. I much prefer my beer with a knife and fork, so to speak. Stouts and the like. I am aware that there are some beers that are light in color can have real character. Generally though, I like at least a cloudy beer, of not one that looks like used motor oil.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I lived in Jacksonville for a time, my second wife is an American. I drank Coors Lite while there and it is getting popular here at the mo because it is so cheap.

          I have lived in Germany twice and also in Spain and have drank all manner of beers from the Falkland Islands to Egypt….most of Europe, Africa and some places I dare not mention.

          Belgium beer is amongst the world’s best. The strongest I’ve had was 14 proof and I’ve drank Guinness at St James Gate Dublin. I’m partial to real ale and enjoy a good pint from a craft beer brewery.

          As ma Da used to say, ,”There is good drink, and not so good drink, but there is no bad drink’…me auld Da loved his drink…he died of a heart attack at 63 mind, of course that could have been his heavy smoking and love of greasy food too.

        • Aram McLean

          Now here’s another thread just begging to be derailed. But I shall refrain. Funny how Curtis only pretends to know about beer as well, hey.

          By the by, how’d you enjoy Tusker? Not to mention Guinness sure had Malawi covered didn’t it. What was that about? I agree with you on Belgium beer, though I’ve a soft spot for Czech brews (and still choked at Budweiser for stealing the name from a lager that’s actually good). And German, naturally enough. Paulaner and Franziskaner have got to be two of the best Hefeweizens out there.

          Damn it. I said I would refrain.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tusker a.k.a. nicknamed elephant beer in military circles, but not to be confused with the other elephant beer brewed by Carlsberg as consumed copiously down South Atlantic way. All very nice. The lad’s that did tours of Kenya know all about Tusker…I’ve not been.

          Not to mention Guinness sure had Malawi covered didn’t it. What was that about?

          Not with ya here…

          A recently got into Grimbergen, that is a good drink of rocket fuel.

          Paulaner and Franziskaner have got to be two of the best Hefeweizens out there.

          Warsteiner I’d add. Paulaner was readily available in Spain too.

          Weissbier…yum, yum…Belgium Hoegaarden is nice, I visited Flanders on a WW1 battle field tour. The local supermarket here at home has it on it’s shelves.

          Enough of this tomfoolery now.

        • Aram McLean

          Tusker and I became very close friends after a girlfriend and myself were jumped by six machete-wielding madmen outside Mombassa. Kenya wasn’t the friendliest country in my experience. Malawi was much more so. The deal there was only Guinness and Carlsberg were anywhere to be found, unless you wanted to dip into a Chibuku Shake Shake, which I heartily do not recommend. The shake part comes from the fact the congealed maize separated swift-like if left to sit. Made for a chunky buzz.
          Warsteiner doesn’t have the aftertaste to my liking, though the initial kick ain’t bad. I believe I’ve had a Grimbergen once, but long enough ago I think I’ve mostly recovered. Hoegaarden a classic of course.
          But indeed, enough of this daydreaming. Back to business.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Early 80’s in Cyprus it was pint bottles of Carlsbeg or the local alternative, Keo that had it sewn up…brandy sours ended up being the order of the day…but yes, I digress, back on track is in order.

        • What happened outside Mombassa? How did you get away? Please tell me it wasn’t just because you were a faster runner than your girlfriend.

        • Aram McLean

          Aye Bob, fortunately for me I’d just before then been told the joke about the two hikers who encounter a bear and the one guy bends down to put on his running shoes…
          But I went back and put up a memorial at least.

          Actually no. I’ve sent you an email with my short story (word document) about the incident attached, if you’re interested. It’s not too long and fairly readable.

        • MNb

          “Belgium beer is amongst the world’s best.”
          I disagree as far as pilsener goes (so I am not considering special beers). Belgian pilsener is not any better than the pilsener from South Limburg (if you’re in the neighborhood in summer you should spend some time at a terrace drinking a local pilsener) and the nearby German districts.
          But if you have never been in Czechia (especially Plzen of course) you don’t know the true meaning of the word pilsener yet.
          The pilsener I have drunk at a Prague beer guarden (next to the Vltava) during a hot summer Sunday in the late 1980’s is the best evidence for an immaterial creator I have ever met. It was a heavenly experience!

        • Susan

          The requirement that you simply must correct someone who is wrong for their own good.

          No. This is a discussion forum mostly focused on the weakness of religious (especially christian) claims.

          The general spirit is to ‘follow the evidence where it leads’ as far as I can tell.

          The requirement is that you support your claim. No one is accusing you of trying to convert anyone here. They are asking you to be accountable for the opinions you hold and state.

          If you’d just like us all to nod and solemnly agree that you hold an opinion and that you have a right to that opinion, then what is there to discuss?

          Of course you have a right to that opinion. Along with that, you have a responsibility to support it if you’d like it to be taken seriously at an internet site dedicated to examining christian claims.

          Did you just come here to say you have a right to that opinion and that you are not a fundamentalist?

          That’s nice. You seem like a nice chap and intelligent and funny. I see you as a christian who supports secular values. I think secular values provide freedom to be religious as well as freedom to not be religious. I’m all for that and glad you seem to feel the same way.

          That’s not the same as respecting an opinion that is so full of problems.

          I am interested in (and the point of the site seems to be about) christians providing support for their claims.

          I don’t know what to say to someone who doesn’t seem to want to be bothered with whether or not their belief is true.

        • Curtis Martin

          Actually, I came to this thread because I have often used the phrase ” I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” and I sincerely wondered why that was such a bad thing. I stated my understanding of the terms involved and why I thought the statement made sense to me. I then asked what I had gotten wrong. If someone tells me what I am purported to believe, and I find their characterization incorrect, yes, I’ll explain what I really believe. In my brief foray into Atheist land – a land that is very foreign to me personally, I have tried extremely hard to use language indicating what I believe, with out telling anyone that they must or should believe it as well.
          As for as not being bothered about whether my claims are true or not – Faith, by definition, requires lack of evidence. No Christian or any religious person for that matter, is going to win an argument with an Atheist as to what is or is not true. We simply use different measures. That’s all.
          Anyway, that is, as succinctly as I can put it, what I was doing on this thread.

        • Kodie

          Well did you learn what’s so insulting about that phrase yet? My take on the progressive Christians (and we get a lot more here than you might imagine) is that they think atheism is the bare floor = lava. They’ve distanced themselves from the center of the area rug and are standing at the fringe, telling us why it’s so much safer there, and agree, fundies are ridiculous, etc., why give them the time of day, even? First of all, you’re standing on the same rug, only inches from what you think must be the burning lava of atheism. You have what you say is not enough “faith” to be an atheist. What you have is too much superstition to step off that rug. Meanwhile, you’ve created your own god and your own religion from spare parts you cobbled together from a recognizable form of Christianity just so you can stay out of the lava. From here, it just looks like inventing your own religion primarily to avoid becoming an atheist because your own religion is, at core, too harsh and unbelievable to you. That you are frightened of what will happen to you if you disbelieve it all, and admit so, and without knowing what atheists do and don’t believe or think, you come over here to resist learning exactly what’s wrong with that phrase whenever you use it. Instead, you have used this as a platform to explain you’re not harming anyone and you’re really really nice, can’t we just leave you alone? We didn’t come over where you are and tell you these things – you asked. You pretended to be curious about it.

        • Curtis Martin

          Actually, I did have a couple of very helpful answers.

        • adam

          “Faith, by definition, requires lack of evidence. ”

          So by what mechanism do you use to determine ‘faith’ over psychosis?

          In just a couple of days on the psych ward, I met two Jesuses and one Napoleon, a few weeks later another Jesus.

        • adam

          “No Christian or any religious person for that matter, is going to win an argument with an Atheist as to what is or is not true.”

          Not with requiring a ‘lack of evidence’ to do so.

        • Susan

          Actually, I came to this thread because I have often used the phrase ” I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” and I sincerely wondered why that was such a bad thing. I stated my understanding of the terms involved and why I thought the statement made sense to me. I then asked what I had gotten wrong.

          Fair enough. I missed that in the disqus jumble. I am always glad when someone tries to understand another person’s position and checks to see what they got wrong. Apololgies for not not recognizing that your initial visit was to clarify your understanding.

          Faith by definition requires a lack of evidence.

          Agreed. For that reason, I don’t think it’s a good thing. I’m not sure why you do.

          It makes me wonder what you meant all those times you uttered the phrase “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”

          If you could link me to your initial comment here, that might clarify things for me.

          If not, maybe you could explain it again.

          I ask this in the spirit of respectful engagement.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t get it yet, do you?

          You can’t be allowed to troop along here proclaiming whatever bullshit that makes YOU feel warm and fuzzy and NOT get challenged on it. It is not all about YOU, though that might be the way you feel about it. Your good doesn’t really matter all that much. You’ve made your position clear, but there are others looking in and paying attention that might be sitting on the fence. They might read your crap and think, “hey this guy might have a point”, when you actually don’t. That’s why we cannot let your commenting roll on by without challenge. There is an obligation to teach the babies that the sky ain’t green and why, no matter what some other nutters might want to believe.

        • MNb

          “It is not all about YOU”
          Here you go wrong (check your irony meter). CM is a Progressive Christian and Progressive Christianity is all about making the Progressive Christian feel warm and fuzzy. That’s why the Progressive Christian always enters any atheist blog with “look how progressive I am – I support same gender marriage and everything, am I not admirable and shouldn’t you like me?”. Anyone – like you and me – who tries to nibble at that warm and fuzzy feeling is a nasty, perhaps even militant atheist who takes the Bible literally and can’t understand it’s a metaphor. The Progressive Christian never ever wonders if those metaphorical interpretations make sense and if – godforbiddid! – there are immoral sides to those interpretations.

          The funniest example I had went something like this (the Progressive Christian is based on two actual characters).

          MNb: Mark 5:13 makes clear Jesus didn’t care about animal rights, unlike for instance Franciscus of Assisi.
          PC: It didn’t really happen! It’s a metaphor for the dislike the jews and early christians had for the Roman soldiers! You’re a Biblical literalist!
          MNb: Literal or metaphorical, Jesus still was OK with the idea of killing pigs off. Using them to make other humans look bad still makes clear that he looked down on pigs, who actually are noble and intelligent animals. Franciscus of Assisi didn’t.
          PC: Jesus used the pigs in his metaphor because jews thought they were impure.
          MNb: Exactly! Jesus did nothing to contradict this prejudice. Instead he confirmed it. So unlike Franciscus of Assisi.
          PC: You’re taking the story out of its historical and social context!
          MNb: No, I’m making clear that the story is a product of that historical and social context. It doesn’t look good though if a divine character like a son of god for his judgments depends on that historical and social context. We still have a christian, ie a fallible human being, who not formulated, but practiced animal rights while his hero didn’t. His name was Franciscus of Assisi.
          PC: You’re taking the story out of its literary context!
          MNb: How exactly does that literary context contradict that Jesus didn’t care about animal rights? Like Franciscus of Assisi did?
          PC: Franciscus of Assisi was a christian and followed Jesus.

          That last remark comes from a frigging theologian – ie someone who studies at a University. You will understand that he did a good job undermining my respect for that profession.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “It is not all about YOU”Here you go wrong (check your irony meter). CM is a Progressive Christian and Progressive Christianity is allabout making the Progressive Christian feel warm and fuzzy.

          I know he thinks it is all about him, I was trying to educate him out of his narcissism and egotism.

        • MNb

          A noble enterprise, alas doomed to fail.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed, doomed to fail with the subject, but there is a bigger audience to consider.

        • Curtis Martin

          Hence my comment that your drive to correct all my wrong belief feels very “Evangelical” to me. In the same way that Evangelicals believe that once someone realizes that they were headed to H E double hockey sticks unless that accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, they’ll thank the Evangelical Christian for their annoying “witnessing”.

        • adam

          “Hence my comment that your drive to correct all my wrong belief feels very “Evangelical” to me.”

          There is no drive to correct your ‘beliefs’ whatever they may be, but when you start spreading PROPAGANDA that is UNSUPPORTED or UNTRUE, you get called out on it.

        • MNb

          Adam did not postulate that requirement. He made a factual statement (and imo a solid one).

          “In order for EVERYONE to make the best choices ….”
          is not nearly the same as “EVERYONE must make the best choices”. If I understand Adam even a bit he doesn’t care about you making the best choices as long as you don’t harm other folks with your suboptimal choices.

        • adam

          “The requirement that you simply must correct someone who is wrong for their own good. ”

          There is no such requirement, and not for their own good.

          For the betterment of society as a whole.

          In order for EVERYONE to make the best choices for their lives and the lives around them need the very BEST information available, not mistruths, delusions and propaganda as their guides.

        • Kodie

          My idea here, and I’m not a huge fan of people to begin with, is that, the smarter everyone gets, the better my life will be. There’s the greater good and all, but I don’t care about their own personal good exactly. I care when they make stupid decisions, those decisions affect me. Every time I step out of the house, someone’s stupidity affects me, and they can’t help it. Why shouldn’t I try to improve my experience? Is there something wrong with that? Fundamentalists, if you want to say we are the same, yes, they are doing the same thing. They don’t care if gay people go to hell and try to save them for their own good. They care that gay people are snuggling in public in front of them and their children. They want to change their experience by outlawing homosexuality, or marginalizing it so they aren’t so negatively affected. Anyway, I live here too, I oppose homophobia and other bullshit and bigotry, and it’s my mission to make those people less comfortable, and I am motivated by my own comfort-seeking. The fewer ignorant people making my life miserable, the better.

        • MR

          Says the man who comes to a blue sky site to drone on and on about green skies. “Just let me be!” Fine. Go. Continue to think the sky is green elsewhere. But if you’re going to come squat at a blue sky site, by your own admittance, you deserve both barrels.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why not just let me think the sky is green?

          No one can prevent you from thinking whatever nonsense you like, but when you open your mouth and that nonsense comes out, you are insulting the intelligence of others so don’t be surprised when you are pulled up on it, that’s all.

          What colour of the sky would you teach to the babies?

          Now do you see the problem with your wishful thinking?

        • Greg G.

          Why not just let me think the sky is green?

          The Vietnamese use the same word for “blue” and “green”. I guess it means “teal” but they modify it by saying “teal like the sky” or “teal like a leaf” to make the distinction.

          But if you are colorblind and don’t realize it, we would be doing you a favor by pointing out that there are different colors and they are used to signify different situations that might be hazardous.

          If you don’t want your theistic colorblindness pointed out, why are you espousing your beliefs on atheist blogs? We respect your mind too much to go on believing such unsupported notions unchallenged.

          Someone posted this earlier. I copied and saved it but forgot to note who it was before I had to reboot. Ignorant Amos posted this earlier. It is a mirror image to the beliefs of many Christians and analogous to your beliefs but makes every bit as much sense.

          http://lawpapers.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/evil-god-challenge-forthcoming-in.html

          Imagine that, instead of the Judeo-Christian God (omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent) there was an Evil God that was all-powerful, all-knowing, and totally evil. People who believe in this god are frequently asked by skeptics: “How can you believe in Evil God? Isn’t that hypothesis falsified by the existence of good in the world?”
          “Nuh-uh” say the believers in Evil God. “We have plenty of explanations for the Problem of Good. For example…”
          Evil God allows good to exist only so that greater evil may be achieved.
          Evil God likes evil best when we freely choose it, but allowing us free will means that some people may choose good.
          Evil God works in mysterious ways.

          EDIT: Found the original poster.

        • Curtis Martin

          Fundamentalism is always fundamentalism. I don’t need any favors. I may or may not be wrong , but I am ok either way. I know that makes you guys ill but, oh well. Time to take my green sky and head on out. Take care.

        • Greg G.

          Just remember that red means “stop”, green means “go”, and yellow means “go very fast because it’s going to turn red in a few seconds.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          The Vietnamese use the same word for “blue” and “green”.

          Japanese is similar, but i’ve forgotten the nuances (so long ago ’twas).

          so of course i’ll pad out this 3-week-old tangent with the obligatory wikinugget:

          According to Brent Berlin and Paul Kay’s 1969 study Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution, distinct terms for brown, purple, pink, orange andgrey will not emerge in a language until the language has made a distinction between green and blue.

          from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinction_of_blue_and_green_in_various_languages

        • Greg G.

          I know the Vietnamese words for purple, pink, and orange but I have forgotten the word for brown and I don’t think I ever knew the word for grey.

        • You know how we use “pink” as a single word for “pastel red”? Russian has one for “pastel blue.”

        • MNb

          “Why not just let me think the sky is green?”
          Because you show up here and hence invite me to write what and especially how I think. Withdraw to your private cave, bother nobody and I will let you think what you want. Leave this site today and I will have forgotten you tomorrow.

        • Curtis Martin

          I don’t think that stating an opinion need be considered a challenge.

          Lumbers off to cave and turns in the ball game.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, you come here with your laid-back attitude and, I don’t know, thought that saying stuff wouldn’t invite a discussion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, right off, we know Calvin was wrong…….

          In you and our veiw, not so much in a Calvinists though.

          Have you ever thought of taking the Outsider Test for Faith?

          Seriously – it will never be completely solved –

          I can’t see how you can make such an assertion.

          I’m expecting a debriefing in heaven, complete with dry-erase boards! I wanna know who was right!

          Assuming that’s where you end up. If you are not right then you won’t be in heaven to be part of any debriefing, let alone find out who was right. If you’ve been batting for the wrong team and you lost, your out.

          Actually, I’m ok with there being lots of different denominations and opinions and answers and questions.

          Ya best hope that your God is equally as easy going. If the stories in the big book are anything to go by, your gonna be in for a big surprise.

          We’re human and we’ll never get it completely right.

          Yeah, but we should all strive to get as near as dammit…your happy to settle for way short of that goal.

        • Curtis Martin

          Dude…… I don’t even think there’s a heaven and I can’t believe you took a throw away line about Calvinism so seriously.

        • Kodie

          He believes in a lenient god, who humbly accepts that he is not all that good at clear communication and doesn’t hold that against any of us for being stupid shits. I have to say that’s how I’d interpret Jesus as savior as well. God is angry to send Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and then utterly can’t handle the disappointment of his creation, so he wipes most of them out in the flood. Things just never get any better, until his fantastic idea to just let it go and die on the cross. Jesus’s death is supposed to redeem all of us sinners simply by that sacrifice, and the debt has been paid off. It’s obvious from here, you don’t have to do anything special. That’s what forgiveness means. In my book, we’re all already saved. Then there’s the catch, where you actually have to believe in it. Curtis believes in it so he’s saved. He does his best and he’s not perfect, but god doesn’t hold that against him, as long as he admires the lord Jesus. Other denominations have stricter rules, and if you fuck up, or try to get a loophole or something, god will know, and that doesn’t stop them either – like, god never goes into the men’s room or on Ashley Madison. Curtis has stated before that those beliefs have god wrong, he just can’t believe this is all for nothing, but neither can he believe that god is such an asshole. He wants us all to know that.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Other denominations have stricter rules, and if you fuck up, or try to get a loophole or something, god will know, and that doesn’t stop them either – like, god never goes into the men’s room or on Ashley Madison.

          quote bank.

        • MNb

          You’re human but you don’t even try to get it at least in a tiny part right.

        • TheNuszAbides

          The one on one devotional time popularized by evangelicals cannot be your only experience with the Bible.

          how odd that there doesn’t seem to be a reliable way to convince them of that.

        • Kodie

          I think why the bible is so popular is that it’s all things to all people, and even if most Christians disagree with or rationalize a great deal of it, they recognize that it has some kind of wholeness, something for everyone who wants advice from god or a message from history to refer to. And I think it is that fact that assures its divinity for everyone who reads what they want into it and from it. Why assume a god had anything to do with anything that’s written in it? It’s a vast story of human experiences and folk tales from ancient history. So what? You could go to the public library and take any book off the shelf and find something you want in that vein as well. Humans, as long as we’ve had language, invent stories to tell, and many experiences to read about. That’s not from any god, and the bible just isn’t that special. It’s one book that blatantly suggests to the reader that it’s the only book they need to get along in life, because it’s from god. Most Christians, I’ve heard, haven’t even read it. They hear the Cliff’s Notes version at church, the passage here and there that their pastor or priest deems relevant. Basically church is like some kind of book club, and if they don’t understand something they read in that bible, the man in the front of the room will give them his own explanation, which sounds reasonable, because they’re not there to think their own thoughts, but receive some holy message from someone they believe has been specially assigned to receive the correct interpretations from THE god himself.

        • Greg G.

          Basically church is like some kind of book club.

          Bingo!

        • Curtis Martin

          So, I had an honest question about the too much faith…… saying and I asked you folks. Mixed in with all the side trips has been some pretty helpful information. I think I have gained a bit of perspective that I didn’t have before. That was because you guys are Atheists and I’m not, nor am I really acquainted with any on a personal level.

          So as a favor (ahem), let me disagree with much of what you’ve written. Of course, you and I are going to disagree on any Divine involvement. What I will say about that is that I believe the Bible is a human book but that in that it is trying to understand God, there is value. I also believe that the continued existence and the canonization process of the Bible are not merely by chance. That’s my take, yours is clearly different.

          But, I do want to take issue with the line “It’s one book that blatantly suggests to the reader that it’s the only book they need to get along in life, because it’s from god”. Maybe some people suggest that, but there’s nothing Biblical at all about that statement. In one small bit of a New Testament Epistle (letter), the Hebrew Scriptures are said it be God Breathed and useful – even as the Christian religion was moving on to it’s own canon. People often misuse this verse to “prove” the Bible is inerrant. I don’t get that at all, but they do. That said, no place in the Bible is it suggested that the Bible (which wasn’t even aware of itself, by the way) is the only book needed.
          As for your characterization of Christians not reading the Bible, that’s just not accurate either. Now, I will agree that in many ways, the Bible is edited for consumption. Different parts of it are emphasized by different groups and yes, ministers use the Bible as the basis for their sermons. But most churches have much more exposure to the Bible than just what the Pastor says. Now, it’s true that this kind of thing is what Martin Luther got ticked about. But that was when the Catholic Mass was in Latin, as was the Bible, and it was understood that the regular people couldn’t understand what was in the Bible so they weren’t allowed to read it. This is one of the things that the Protestant Reformation was about. I think you’d be surprised at how familiar most Christians are with the Bible. Or, I could just be disappointed with how little they know. And no, I don’t think that Pastor is assigned to be the only person that can give interpretation of the Bible. I’m not sure where you got these ideas from but they are a bit more of a caricature than you think.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t said much with respect to what I said. You are defensive about the bible, but you didn’t say anything that directly responds to my post. You seem to think the bible has some stories about people and god, while I said that’s their historical experience of a superstition about a god they imagined, just like you imagine, and you interpret yourself. You don’t even really need the bible. You attribute things to a god that don’t need to be and aren’t better explained by any god. Your personal perceptions are that it is the Christian god from the bible, and your personal perceptions also tell you some experiences told in the bible are “wrong”. It is definitely Christians like you who think your interpretation is correct, because you warp so much of the bible reference to fit your own personal feelings and agendas, that keep those fundamentalists in business. How many so-called progressive Christians have come to try to explain that fundamentalists who literally interpret the bible have it all fucked up, and “we’re not all like that” as some way to introduce your own special flavor as though your way has any improvement. As has been noted, we’re all glad you’re not a total bigoted asshole to disadvantaged group.

          But what you don’t seem to comprehend from any atheists is that your superstitious beliefs still abound, and they are still to be challenged and not accepted because they are just kinder than others. You want to fit in and be accepted, but this is not some civil rights blog, it is an atheist blog. It doesn’t matter how kind you are with your beliefs, it matters that you still are maintaining irrational beliefs that you think are not as irrational if you’re kind.

        • Curtis Martin

          My response was regarding your characterization of how the Bible is read and understood in Christian churches. That’s all.
          I will say, I really don’t understand the incessant need to try and deconvert me. I’m not trying to convince anyone that they should follow my way. I’ve actually tried very, very hard to keep any sort of inference that my way is better than yours (or anyone else’s) out of my answers. I have tried merely to explain my position in response to questions. I’m not going to argue about who has it right. I don’t expect you to accept my beliefs for yourself, I really don’t.
          My last post was simply about the fact that your characterization of the use of the Bible in Christianity is, in my experience, incorrect.

        • Kodie

          You’re the one trying to insist and defend the idea that the bible is meant to be worked over until it means whatever you want it to mean. Everyone interprets the bible, even me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I will say, I really don’t understand the incessant need to try and deconvert me.

          Who here is doing any such thing?

          I have tried merely to explain my position in response to questions.

          Which is fine, but then you really didn’t expect there to be no counter. We are not in the peanut gallery. There are lurkers here who expect a good view of both sides of a debate.

          I’m not going to argue about who has it right.

          Which is of course your prerogative, but the rest of us are not bound to sit in silence while you set out your stall…especially if we think you are being disingenuous.

          I don’t expect you to accept my beliefs for yourself, I really don’t.

          That’s damn generous of you. It is also just as well, because you are far from making anything like a convincing case. And we are not trying to de-convert you either, all that can be done is to show you where you are erroneous and leave the thinking bit up to you. That’s how this critical thinking thing operates.

          My last post was simply about the fact that your characterization of the use of the Bible in Christianity is, in my experience, incorrect.

          But it is not a fact though is it? It is your experience, which I can attest to as not universal. So Kodie’s statement “Most Christians, I’ve heard, haven’t even read it.” is not incorrect. Heck, you don’t even bother with the nasty bits yourself.

          You don’t even have to take my anecdote elsewhere as evidence. There are plenty of other sources…

          Today in the United States, most people own a Bible. Or if they don’t own one, someone in their household does. Not most Christian households, but most of all households. Even atheists own Bibles, it seems. “Owning” and “reading” are two different things, however. Studies vary, but it is clear that very few U.S. Christians have read the entire Bible, cover-to-cover.

          Bart Ehrman, New Testament bible scholar, covers it in the first two minutes of this video…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfheSAcCsrE

        • Curtis Martin

          Disagreeing with and not reading are different. As for the good doctor Bart, I’ve really had enough of him.

          Yes, many Christians are less familiar with the Bible than they should be, considering it’s place in the religion. But I have never experienced anything that jibes with Kodie’s characterization. Maybe I’m just sadly out of touch.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Disagreeing with and not reading are different.

          I agree. Who said otherwise. Kodie, I and the references I cited are talking about reading not disagreeing with it, as I’m sure most Christians don’t disagree with it, largely because the haven’t read the bloody thing.

          As for the good doctor Bart, I’ve really had enough of him.

          Oh I’m sure you are, especially when what he says rebuts your silly assertion.

          Yes, many Christians are less familiar with the Bible than they should be, considering it’s place in the religion.

          That is the epitome of an understatement.

          But I have never experienced anything that jibes with Kodie’s characterization.

          Incredulous perhaps? I’ve gave you examples, but you can find your own…Google is your friend. Knowledge is power.

          Maybe I’m just sadly out of touch.

          Seems like it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Yes, many Christians are less familiar with the Bible than they should be, considering it’s place in the religion.

          That is the epitome of an understatement.

          this doesn’t merely spike the irony meter – it necessitates recalibration, just have to keep the damn thing away from it. the amazing fact that if more cultural Christians actually read the bible, the polls would be far more accurate – and the numbers wouldn’t favor their larger umbrella nearly so much …

        • Kodie

          I have witnessed countless debates here about many passages from your bible to know that many Christians find things in the bible so not to their liking that they work really hard to change what the words mean. That’s what you mean by hammering out the interpretations as a group, so everyone in the group is on the same page with the group’s accepted meaning of what the words actually say in the bible, which differs from the bible. I told you, and you admit, you disagree with some of the bible – everyone does. Every single person I have seen, not just atheists, but many many Christians, do not find the bible itself agreeable to their personal morals, and have to find some way to right it. It’s called rationalization. You know yourself, you said they get it wrong, you said characters in the bible itself “get it wrong,” according to you. There is no Christian who doesn’t interpret parts of the bible that don’t sit well with their worldview another way so that it will. You included.

          Mostly, what I had said is that the bible has something for everyone. Some like the judgments, some like the hippie dippie shit, some like to list all the so-called prophesies and read into scripture to manufacture them, and some like the numerological codes they think are in the fucking thing. It’s about families and death and war and hardship, along with local customs, and people’s perceptions of a god’s orders, a god’s punishment, or a god’s wisdom, and there is something in the bible for everyone to relate to, and it’s this selling point, that it covers a wide range of human experience and drama, that makes people believe the thing is a holy text. You claim that it is a historical document of different people’s experiences and perceptions of an actual god. I said no it’s not. I said go to your local library and tell me everyone isn’t some kind of storyteller. The library is filled with books just like biblical experiences, they are merely human experiences, and human attributions of their experiences and impressions onto some sort of supernatural entity, such as you yourself describe. Not all books are about any alleged supernatural encounters, but that might be because there are none, only claims and attributions, such as you yourself describe. Your impression is there is something behind it all controlling it, and your imagination is just as fallible as anyone in the bible. You choose to believe all those people had certain contact with the same deity you believe in, even if sometimes you think they were interpreting their contact wrong. Other Christians believe that’s god, that’s what god wants. You believe that’s god, and the person in the bible fucked it up, because he’s just human, and you’re just human, but you would judge that characters attributions to something else, and give god a pass, he tried, and that character imbued some personal and imperfect meaning to god’s message. You. You think you know better about god than someone in the fucking bible, YOU are disagreeing with that bible, which you admit, but you say god is always right and that character got it wrong.

          See what I’m talking about? You are making shit up to be right or wrong according to Curtis, you are admiring god throughout the bible, you are saying the bible gets it wrong because of the people getting it wrong, and god wouldn’t do this or that. Your religion is Curtisism.

        • Curtis Martin

          Please send your donation to The First Church of Curtisism. P.O. BOX 666 Happy Town, U.S.A.

          In the meantime, I understand what you’re trying to say. I simply do not have the rhetorical skill to explain myself any better. At the foundation of our arguments, we are diametrically opposed. I believe there is a Divine presence, if not force, that has been and continues to be engaged with humanity. You do not. I am comfortable with faith, you are not. For you, evidence is required.

          We simply come from such different places that I can’t figure out just how to communicate my position without it being taken as a challenge. You seem like you are happy, well adjusted person and quite comfortable with your beliefs. Good for you, I have no need or desire to change that. Take Care.

        • Kodie

          It’s not just evidence I seek – I simply don’t attribute my experiences to a supernatural entity. That’s like saying there’s a little man inside my refrigerator who turns the light on when I open the door. You think so, I know it’s actually a switch that’s activated by the door being opened.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s the wee man in the coffee machine I feel sorry for.

        • Kodie

          You can tell when he’s bitter about waking up so early to do his job.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and he’s such a vindictive bastard – just one misstep when the hapless regular-size human sets everything up, and he makes a mess or ruins the batch. no respect!

        • Ron

          He’s gotten tired of the daily grind.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t know a single Christian that has read it Kodie…and nearly everyone I know claims to be a Christian of one stripe or another.

        • Pofarmer

          Some sects, I’m lookin at you Catholics, are actively discouraged from reading it without proper supervision.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, that caused all sorts of problems for the RCC when that control dissolved.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know, I think they read the parts they like over and over again, and they hear about other disturbing parts, and look around or ask until someone more religious can teach them to rationalize it “in context” or whatever. They seem to know the answers they’re supposed to give regarding slavery or abortion, for example.

        • TheNuszAbides

          what if the early drafts of scripture were actually perfectly straightforward – then the way-wise patriarch dudebros realized that people wouldn’t need Special Guidance if they understood The Word too ‘easily’ …

        • adam

          “There are certainly layers of meanings.”

          Only the ones in which HUMAN BEING belief instill in them.

          Just like with the modern Jedi religion.

          And yes, sometimes,Star Wars gets it wrong.

        • Curtis Martin

          Of COURSE Star Wars gets it wrong. It’s not like an accurate and complete portrait of the workings of the universe………like Star Trek.

        • MNb

          And how again do you decide when the Bible gets it right and when the Bible gets it wrong?
          Oh wait – you don’t care. Anything goes.

        • Kodie

          The humans bash it around until they get to a common agreement on the acceptable interpretation.

        • adam

          Even many the early church fathers understood theses stories as propaganda as well.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the response was actually one explanation of “how it differs from yours”. if it offends you that beliefs you share with a wide variety of people can be subjected to such scathing assertions, then perhaps either you or your beliefs should grow a thicker skin (or keep your/their distance from the opposition you claim to want to learn about).

    • You will very rarely find an atheist who states their lack of belief that way.

      I would believe in the supernatural if someone could present evidence that it exists. They haven’t. Why is that? The only rational answer is because they can’t because it doesn’t exist.

      Also, how are you agnostic when you claim to believe that “the divine exists.” Doesn’t that make you a theist of some sort?

      • Curtis Martin

        What I guess I mean to say is that a position of “I dunno if there’s a God or not” is something I could get to a lot easier than” I am certain that there is no God”. From an outsider’s perspective, That is how I have come to understand the difference between Atheism and Agnosticism. I’m learning that I’ve got that wrong.

        • In popular usage, atheists don’t believe in god, agnostics aren’t sure, and theists believe in some sort of god(s).

          In strict usage theist and atheist are opposites. One believes and ones doesn’t. Similarly gnostic and agnostic are opposites. One believes you can know with certainty while the other does not. So, you could be an agnostic theist or agnostic atheist. You might call my position agnostic atheism, but I would not use that generally because it confuses matters and requires several paragraphs to clarify. I do not believe, and moreover find it ludicrous that people can claim to know something for which they can provide no independently verifiable proof.

          I would not claim that there are no supernatural beings hiding somewhere out in the vastness of space. I also can’t prove there are no unicorns or elves or leprechauns. I think it would be cool if there WERE unicorns, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to believe they do not exist.

        • Greg G.

          It seems to me that invisible magic unicorns would be more likely to exist than invisible all-powerful magic beings as the likelihood of existence would probably inversely proportional to the magical powers.

          How do I know this about magical beings? My avatar is a wizard.

        • Heretic! Everyone knows unicorns are not invisible. They are silvery white (the grown ones…the foals are golden). DUH!

        • adam

          Invisible Pink Flying Unicorns….

          Science demonstrates that they are invisible.
          Faith demonstrates that they are pink.

        • Greg G.

          Those are the flying unicorns.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how dare you rob Pegasus of its uniquity?!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not that unique though…don’t forget Al-Buraq, the Gansu Flying Horse of Cina, and of course my favourites, all those Flying Horse’s (pubs) dotted about the UK.

        • TheNuszAbides

          sorry, Poe’s Law struck again.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah…yes…of course. I forgot about using the old Poe.

        • Curtis Martin

          I kinda think Bigfoot’s real though…….
          Why not “incorrect” or “wrong” or even “misguided” rather than “ludicrous”?

        • MNb

          Though I don’t like the word very much one could maintain that the combination “know” and “no independently verifiable proof” is ludicrous indeed – something like dry water.

        • MNb

          “I could get to a lot easier”
          I agree here. After all I started out as an agnost almost 40 years ago and it took me more than 35 years to arrive at “we can say there is no god beyond reasonable doubt”, which is as certain as I can be.

    • adam

      “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist. What did get wrong?”

      Your premise:
      “Atheism is certain that there is nothing beyond our conscious existence. “

  • kiljoy616

    Following evidence to where it lead does not require faith. This article fails at every level but then its basically the old argument that Atheist need faith to not believe in someones sky fairy. Sorry that is not how it works. Sky fairy is not real and even if there was for some incredible coincidence that it was that does in any way mean heaven was real or that any ones of the thousand of religions made up by people are true. Sorry but lack of one sky fairy more than what believers believe in does not need faith.

    Plus Christians all wrong we all know that the Mormon, Muslim, and Hindu are the ones who got it right. Not Christian.

    • abb3w

      It doesn’t require a LOT of faith. However, the premise that “evidence” has any relationship with “reality” must be taken without inference from priors; and, like any axiom, may also be taken in refutation rather than affirmation. The results from the alternative seem pretty uninteresting (ending mired in Ramsey theory rather than something like probability and information theory), but they’re still there.

      • MNb

        “the premise that “evidence” has any relationship with “reality” must be taken without inference from priors; and, like any axiom, may also be taken in refutation rather than affirmation.”
        Again you’re formally right, but neglect the justification: accepting that premise is justified by the simple fact that the way our world looks like has changed enormously last 200 years.
        If any other set of premises manages to pull off something even remotely similar I’ll be immediately interested.

        • abb3w

          That assessment of change appears an inference from evidence, and reliant on the premise… circular reasoning

          I admit, the alternative seems bloody useless: asserting axiomatically that there is no relationship implies that any appearance thereto is a local illusion of order that Ramsey theory dictates must arise in sufficiently large infinite seas, the size of which may (in some mathematically abstract sense) be analyzed. However, such philosophical dead end is still an internally valid alternative.

  • Rather than playing ping pong with the word faith, why not can the word altogether and get on with your life here on earth? That’s what apatheists do. For those who are not familiar with the term, apatheism is acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a deity.

    An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that gods exist or do not exist. An apatheist lives as if there are no gods and explains natural phenomena without reference to any deities. The existence of gods is not rejected, but may be designated unnecessary or useless; gods neither provide purpose to life, nor influence everyday life, according to this view.

    • Greg G.

      Religion still affects too much of our lives. There are still governments based on religion which enforce that religion through violence. There are way too many hospitals where medicine is practiced according to the edicts of bishops. Creationists run for school boards to push their religion into the teaching of science. Congress is packed with people who vote on laws and control spending based on religious ideology.

      When theists get to the “I don’t know and I don’t care” attitude toward religion, then we can, too.

      • You beat me to it. I’d love to be able to be apathetic about religion. In some cases I am. The problem is that apathy is a problem because there are religious people causing harm in our world and they have to be confronted directly.

    • What Greg G. said. I’d love to be an apatheist and find another hobby. Problem is, religion is a bull in society’s china shop. It’s not society’s only problem, but it’s one that I take an interest in.

      • Sure, but how is that battle fought and won? Changes, i.e. getting religion out of our lives, comes only from the ballot box and Executive Orders. Naturally, there will be no movement from the Bible Belt/Confederate states, so action rests in the traditionally Blue states. Need another Democrat in the WH in 2016. Any of you going to work hard for candidates who don’t spew biblical nonsense? Change requires more work than rhetoric.

        • You’ve seen John Oliver’s latest prank?

          Sure, getting sensible politicians into office is a good idea. But will atheists have political cover to (1) get into office and (2) swim upstream to make things more sensible? Changing public opinion is important, and that’s what I’m focusing on (in a teeny way, admittedly).

          http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/24/john-oliver-s-bogus-church-is-a-huge-success-thousands-of-dollars-received.html

        • Atheists do not have to get into office to counteract the evangelical zealots. There are tens of thousands of progressive Christians who are fit for office who will fight to keep religion out of our daily lives.

          What may be even more important, Bob, is to work hard to get another Democrat into the WH because of probable appointments to SCOTUS. Let’s volunteer to work for whoever the Dems choose for 2016!

        • MNb

          Sorry – as a complete outsider I fail to see much substantial difference between most Democrats and Republicans. Guantanamo anyone?

          http://crooksandliars.com/2015/07/jimmy-carter-united-states-no-longer

          The last president I respected – and a practicising christian.
          I might work for Sanders, but he won’t make it. Supporting any other candidate, including Clinton and Biden, implies justifying an undemocratic political system.

        • “I might work for Sanders, but he won’t make it.”

          They said that about Lincoln. They said that about Obama.

        • MR

          They say that about Trump.

          Oh, shit, half the blog just pissed their pants!

        • Kodie

          Communication is a powerful tool. Don’t knock it.

        • …unless it never gets beyond the kiddie pool.

        • Kodie

          You never know where it’s going to go. It’s available any time to anyone.

        • MNb

          Well, if I were American I wouldn’t work hard for most candidates – and that includes Hillary Clinton. I fail to see much difference with the GOP candidates on social issues, which I think vastly more important than religious ones. Of course the two are closely connected in the USA, but that doesn’t mean I’d support candidates whose social views are seriously lacking despite not spewing biblical nonsense. I wouldn’t even support an atheist candidate (like a libertarian) whose social views I despise.
          At the other hand I have voted for a few Dutch religious candidates.

    • MNb

      I have nothing against apatheists.
      I just think the subject interesting. But if there were only few believers I probably would not be interested indeed. In the meantime I think gods both unnecessary, useless, incapable of providing purpose and lacking any influence.
      The only difference between an apatheist like you and an atheist like me seems to me that the latter likes to discuss the subject with believers. For me that’s good enough a reason.
      But I of course have the luxury of living in countries (The Netherlands for 32 years, Suriname for almost 20) where discussing religion is not very fashionable and where non-believers are left alone. If I were American things likely would have been different – then there would be something at stake. Now you could say though that in daily life I’m an apatheist indeed, though I remain curious what other people believe.

      “lives as if there are no gods and explains natural phenomena without reference to any deities”
      Exactly because of this my transition from agnosticism to atheism made zero difference.

      • TheNuszAbides

        I think gods both unnecessary, useless, incapable of providing purpose and lacking any influence.

        ‘both’ is one of our dualistic holdovers – only for a two-item set. ‘altogether’ works here, although “all-unnecessary, all-useless, all-incapable …” would have maximum snark value. 😉

  • “I’d like to respond to … Norm Geisler and Frank Turek. [Their book] continues to be popular and needs a rebuttal.” —Bob Seidensticker

    Frankly Bob, your rebuttal reads like just another rehash of the same tired arguments unthinking atheists put forward over and over and over again, invalidated from the start by an unfortunate level of understanding of reality coupled with an unsupportable arrogance that prevents them from learning anything new; e.g., “…there is [no evidence] for the supernatural.”

    Like many others, you’re not genuinely “following evidence,” nor are you even looking for evidence; you’re simply looking for ways to assuage the doubts you have as to the trueness of your beliefs.

    But if anyone reading thinks they really are looking for “evidence,” try to grok what follows.

    The “scientific method” can be nothing more than an intellectual yardstick wherewith to measure the material and physical world. But being material and wholly intellectual, it’s utterly useless when it comes to the evaluation of spiritual realities and religious experiences. “Science” can only do for us materially what religion does for us spiritually— extend the horizon of life, and enlarge our personality.

    Science is the domain of knowledge, philosophy the realm of wisdom, and religion is the sphere of the faith experience. Science deals with facts; religion is concerned only with values. Through philosophy the mind attempts to unite the meanings of both facts and values, and thereby arrive at a concept of complete reality— a true cosmology.

    Science, religion, and philosophy start out with the assumption of certain generally accepted bases for logical deductions, and they rely on the assumption of the reality of three things: 1. The material body. 2. The human mind— (the mechanism for intercommunication and interassociation between spirit and matter). 3. The supermaterial phase of human beings: the soul, and the indwelling spirit.

    The reason of science is based on the observable facts of time. The faith of religion argues from the spiritual perspective of eternity. What knowledge and reason cannot do for us, true wisdom encourages us to allow faith to accomplish through religious insight and spiritual transformation.

    This only scratches the surface of what is required to satisfactorily resolve the conundrum of our existence in reality. But to those who really want to know what you are and why you exist, I suggest you find and read a hard copy of The Urantia Book. Read ALL of it. Read the Wikipedia article on it. Read Larry Mullins’ history of how it got here. Read Martin Gardner’s book about it too if you have time, but read it last. Those of you that are sincerely looking for the truth will get the answers and the “evidence” you claim you’re looking for.

    Yes I do realize there may not even be one here who will have the stamina to even examine, let alone read The Urantia Book. Sorry I can’t help you. Good luck.

    • While I don’t agree with your dismissal of Bob’s rebuttal, you might find this more comprehensive rebuttal of interest. The introduction addresses some of your points about the sincerity of the search for evidence.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2015/03/13/index-rebuttal-to-geislers-and-tureks-i-dont-have-enough-faith-to-be-an-atheist/

      • Thanks, Jeffery; I’ll check it out.

      • “More comprehensive” indeed. Impressive scholarship, Jeffery; even a hasty bit of reading shows that you have a sense of intellectual integrity, an essential virtue in the pursuit of truth. It appears you may embrace a form of secular? naturalism, which I found rational and thought-provoking; but finally, mystic naturalism and thoughtless secularism are both exclusively concerned with things.

        “Materialism reduces man to a soulless automaton and constitutes him merely an arithmetical symbol finding a helpless place in the mathematical formula of an unromantic and mechanistic universe. But whence comes all this vast universe of mathematics without a Master Mathematician?” —The UB

        The sheer volume of work you do promoting your philosophy is also admirable; I would like to know more than a handful of people who demonstrated as much “spirit” in their lives as you appear to in yours.

        In particular I found your interest in the event of the Resurrection worthwhile, since it is after all such a scientifically inexplicable event. I was always curious about what Jesus said when he appeared to Mary Magdalene, “Touch me not, Mary, for I am not as you knew me in the flesh.”

        Not surprisingly fundamentalists Christians were the first to attempt to condemn The Urantia Book, they see it as a threat to their dogma. But atheists too, invariably without any evidence or knowledge, automatically heap scorn on it because: Scientism. Nevertheless it would be fascinating to see a “competent” atheist inadvertently attempt to do this job for the fundies. In fact, you would be an excellent person to attempt to confute— if it were possible— the account of the resurrection in The Urantia Book. Here you go. http://tinyurl.com/p9z9rz7

        Keep up your exemplary work. Ciao

    • just another rehash of the same tired arguments unthinking atheists put forward over and over and over again, invalidated from the start by an unfortunate level of understanding of reality coupled with an unsupportable arrogance that prevents them from learning anything new; e.g., “…there is [no evidence] for the supernatural.”

      I never say, “there is no evidence for the supernatural.” I hope it’s not you who’s the arrogant one.

      Like many others, you’re not genuinely “following evidence,” nor are you even looking for evidence; you’re simply looking for ways to assuage the doubts you have as to the trueness of your beliefs.

      Wrong. (But that’s what you’d expect an atheist liar to say, isn’t it?)

      The “scientific method” can be nothing more than an intellectual yardstick wherewith to measure the material and physical world.

      The “scientific method” has taught us enormous amounts about reality. Religion … hasn’t.

      But being material and wholly intellectual, it’s utterly useless when it comes to the evaluation of spiritual realities and religious experiences.

      Do these spiritual realities affect our material world? If so, you can then imagine the relevance of science.

      Science is the domain of knowledge, philosophy the realm of wisdom, and religion is the sphere of the faith experience.

      You’ve forgotten astrology and alchemy. If we’re throwing everything into the pot, you must be complete.

      Science, religion, and philosophy start out with the assumption of certain generally accepted bases for logical deductions, and they rely on the assumption of the reality of three things: 1. The material body. 2. The human mind— (the mechanism for intercommunication and interassociation between spirit and matter). 3. The supermaterial phase of human beings: the soul, and the indwelling spirit.

      I’m pretty sure that science doesn’t acknowledge the existence of the soul.

      This only scratches the surface of what is required to satisfactorily resolve the conundrum of our existence in reality.

      I have no use for the woo component, thank you. But show me the evidence that something works, and I’m there.

      But to those who really want to know what you are and why you exist, I suggest you find and read a hard copy of The Urantia Book.

      Wow. Is there evidence behind the book being true? I mean, beyond what you might have for, say, Scientology?

      • You said: “I never say, ‘there is no evidence for the supernatural.’ I hope it’s not you who’s the arrogant one.”

        Actually, you do say that. Quoting your remark to Curtis Martin:

        “You’re filling in a gap with a conclusion; what you should be doing is following the evidence (and there is none for the supernatural).”

        • That was shorthand.

          But no problem; now you understand my position correctly. If you want to respond to my actual position instead of a strawman, I welcome it.

        • Shorthand“?? Lol.

          Look, I’ll be brief and blunt. I don’t frequent atheist sites because there’s simply no point in arguing with mechanists who think they’re somehow being noble by limiting their search for truth to scientific fact. Adult logic tolerates the concept of truth alongside the observation of fact.

          I was Catholic until 14; Agnostic when I was sent to Vietnam, atheist when I returned. I was a truth seeker then, and I remain so. And just like you, I Know what I Know.

          Let me put it like this. We all have a choice to:

          A” Accept eternal life. Live forever— an eternal existence— by discovering the reality of the spiritual realm through your own personal experience and thereby ascend in a progressively spiritual universe, continually transcending time and space, becoming increasingly more evolved, more perfect, more real.

          Or

          B” Refuse eternal life. Live out the remainder of your life on this world as a temporal, material creature until accident, disease, or old age brings death— eternal cessation of existence.

          Which would you choose?

          If you choose “B,” for whatever reason— you can stop reading now, and I suggest you go do something you consider more important, because you’re wasting your precious time by reading further.

          But if you are curious, truth seeking, and enough of an idealist to recognize the sheer desirability of choosing “A,” then good for you, because the goal of eternity is ahead, and I believe certain survival will crown the efforts of every human being who will run the race of faith and trust, depending every step of the way on the leading of their indwelling spirit.

          The evolutionary religions of today are largely a vast wasteland of confused, 2,000 year old dogma that is spiritually dead. Thinking men and women should refuse to accept any religion which is inconsistent with facts and out of harmony with their highest conceptions of truth, beauty, and goodness. The time for a rediscovery of the true and original foundations of present-day distorted and compromised Christianity— the real life and teachings of Jesus— is now.

          As one human being to another, my advice to everyone is to choose “A.” The best way I know of to begin making that a reality is to start by reading The Urantia Book while you are still on Urantia. Cheers.

        • adam

          Sorry, but I missed where you demonstrated that eternal life was anything but IMAGINARY….

        • Otto

          The idea that by choosing one or the other changes the realty of the situation is ridiculous. Why do you have to make it a choice? Because following the evidence doesn’t lead where you want it to, so you poo-poo evidence like any good snake oil salesman would and claim belief in your woo is a choice…hogwash.

        • The idea that by choosing one or the other changes the realty [sic] of the situation is ridiculous. Why do you have to make it a choice?

          You don’t.

          But not to decide is to decide.

          So what “evidence” do you say I’m “poo-poo-ing?
          It’s a rhetorical question, Otto; I don’t reject any true evidence. Enjoy your time.

        • Otto

          You talk in circles and contradict yourself…why am I not surprised. (that is also a rhetorical question). Enjoy your make believe.

        • Mm. If you can’t follow a circle, you can’t hang, bro.

        • Otto

          I can follow, but I just end up where I started, like a dog chasing its tail…bro

        • TheNuszAbides

          that’s just your anti-UB bias misinterpreting the dizzy spells.

        • “Shorthand”?? Lol.

          Forgive me. I don’t qualify each and every word (as I, admittedly, should do) to make sure that I don’t need to rely on context or, in some other way, expect the reader to fill in the blanks. Urantians probably don’t have that problem.

          mechanists who think they’re somehow being noble by limiting their search for truth to scientific fact.

          You have another avenue that reliably delivers truth? Tell us.

          “A” Accept eternal life. Live forever— an eternal existence— by discovering the reality of the spiritual realm through your own personal experience and thereby ascend in a progressively spiritual universe, continually transcending time and space, becoming increasingly more evolved, more perfect, more real.

          Sounds cool. Where’s the evidence? I probably won’t get to the book anytime soon, so perhaps you could summarize or provide enough information to make the reading worth our while.

        • Aram McLean

          Here you go. Sounds like a real cracker.

          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Urantia_Book

        • MNb

          “Urantia had some popularity among some rock musicians in the 1970s.”
          That explains a few things.

        • If you’re going to go with a goofy cult, how about the Raelians? There’s more sex, I hear.

        • Aram McLean

          That one looks like an orgy alright, and the second new cult I learned about today! The thing about Urantia is it seems to be more of a solitaire affair. So probably loads of sex, just not, you know, with anyone.

        • If you just called TPK a wanker, that is about the subtlest insult I’ve ever heard.

        • TheNuszAbides

          wow.

          The papers were brought to us from the vault in typewritten form … and it required almost three months for the entire Urantia manuscript to be completed … We were told that the original script had been burned after typed copies had been made to preserve the anonymity as well as the identity of the human instrument through whom the “revelations” had come.


          So as not to depend on our judgment alone, when the book was published in 1955, we sent copies to a number of people we considered outstanding metaphysical authorities, well qualified to evaluate its contents.

          –from How to Know What to Believe by Harold Sherman (ESP researcher who believed in various supernatural elements before and after his involvement)

          On the whole, The Urantia is of no help. All the “revelations” add to the already too great burden of compulsory belief which is now breaking the back of religion. Yet, assuming that all the Urantia presentation is true, what, then, does it offer? There is a central autocratic authority hopelessly entangled in a conflict between the Infinite and the Finite, its nature being explained with a host of phrases of adoration. All of it is functioning in a mountain of bureaucracy loaded with orders of Over and Under and In-Between Beings. The very few objectors in this set-up have been interned. All that ever was and ever will be, bearing a distinct flavor of English terminology and, sorry to note, ideology …
          The anonymity of the work puts its very birth under an onerous cloud. I think the work is not only erroneous, it is fraudulent. I think the people behind this Urantia movement are trying to impose a new religion on the masses and are attempting a “piggyback ride” on the Christian religion with the new life of Jesus story to do it.
          Strangely enough, not one of the ‘whole gang’ has the slightest inkling of the dawn of the atomic age. Please note how The Urantia always comes up with precise figures when it is safe to do so. A cycle in The Urantia can never be proved wrong if a phenomenon to which it applies cannot be proved.

          –Adolph Thies, “scientist friend” quoted by Sherman

        • Aram McLean

          The Urantia Book, hey. You mean the one filled with debunked science and an even more made-up Jesus than the one we find in the NT. Blast off with the aliens and all that. I bet you’re a fan of Kansas, too.
          I’m quite surprised they still make you.

        • MNb

          Ha! That’s a reference I understand. You also could have mentioned Styx (Come Sail Away).
          Back then, when I still was a teen, Dust in the Wind impressed me. Now I have heard High Tide it doesn’t anymore. That band showed how to use the violin to rock.
          I still like Sing for the Day though.

          Thanks for your small review of that Urantia Book. I had never heard of it. Isn’t it funny how sooner or later all “spiritual” folks need to reject science?

        • Aram McLean

          Aye well, I’d never heard of it either until TPK showed up. (That resonates disturbingly like BTK.) So I thought I’d check it out. Gotta love how endless the crackjob beliefs are. Kind of like Rule 34. There’s a more thorough write-up on Wikipedia (where I’m pretty sure TPK has been involved in the Talk side of it). Though it seems to me TPK is the last of a dying breed on this one. It’s incredible to me how long the old ‘I heard a message from the beyond you guys! No, really!’ has continued to work. Science on the other hand, ‘Oh no, no why can I ‘believe’ in that!’ Sheesh.

        • Aram McLean

          ps if you go to TPK’s Disqus page he’s got a link to his Urantia blog. It makes for some *cough* interesting reading. (Though it is nice to see he’s against Trump.)
          Yes, I have way too much time on my hands.

        • MNb

          “mechanists who think they’re somehow being noble by limiting their search for truth to scientific fact.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Excellent combination of strawman and ad hominem.
          Sorry, TPK, I don’t think I’m noble. What’s more – I think truth and scientific facts are incompatible. That’s something philosophy taught me. Truth is something for idealists and dualists like you – the ones who know for certain. I don’t.
          You’re the one wallowing in pride.

          “if you are curious, truth seeking, and enough of an idealist to recognize the sheer desirability of choosing “A,”
          If you use the word “idealist” in the platonic meaning you first have to demonstrate that dualism is correct – which you thus far haven’t. As I’m curious I’d like you to tell me why “A”, ie acquiring eternal life, is desirable indeed – exactly because I don’t see it.

          “my advice to everyone is to choose “A.”
          And it’s sound advise because ……. (think, think, think) ……. your beautiful eyes?

          “The evolutionary religions of today are largely a vast wasteland of confused, 2,000 year old dogma that is spiritually dead.”
          Of course yours isn’t, even though you don’t see any need to show it’s correct (the only consensus that matters to you here is the one between your ears, remember?). So that’s more wallowing in pride.

        • Kodie

          The huge problem with choosing A is that it’s not true.

      • TheNuszAbides

        You’ve forgotten astrology and alchemy.

        classic categorization bait; i’m somewhat surprised he didn’t shoehorn the lot into the Communications Bureau of Spirituality.

    • Otto

      “”Science” can only do for us materially what religion does for us
      spiritually— extend the horizon of life, and enlarge our personality.”

      If this were actually true I would expect religion to come to a common consensus like science does. Scientific knowledge converges, religious ‘knowledge’ diverges.

      • Otto, the only religious consensus of lasting value to you is the one you reach between your own ears.

        • Otto

          So unlike Science the religion you speak of is purely subjective and is wholly dissimilar to Science despite your best protestations.

        • You say “subjective” like it’s a bad thing.
          You may have noticed the nature of self-consciousness is subjective. That makes religious experience a purely spiritual subjective phenomenon, and that experience embraces a positive and living faith attitude toward the highest realms of objective reality.

        • Otto

          Our experience is subjective, that doesn’t make the answer to the issue subjective or the evidence subjective, people such as yourself all too often conflate that.

        • MNb

          It is a bad thing when you pretend to make reality claims – like “the religious consensus between my ears, the only one that has value to me, says that I must kill TPK and his family.”
          So again: how do you decide this claim is incorrect?”

        • Kodie

          You claim so. It’s absurd.

        • adam

          ” That makes religious experience a purely spiritual subjective phenomenon”

          No it is STILL a chemical phenomomen

          Science exposes the FRAUD that religionists and spiritualists use to deceive people and create ‘religions’

          http://www.near-death.com/expe

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

          These all demonstrate that ‘spiritual and religious experience are just brain chemistry.

        • Otto

          That’s a nice word salad.

        • MNb

          Aha, I get it. The religious consensus of lasting value to A is the one he/she reached between his/her ears; let’s assume it contains “kill B”. The religious consensus of lasting value to B is the one ….. Also let’s assume it contains “kill A”.
          That’s your method to settle religious contradictions.

    • adam

      “The “scientific method” can be nothing more than an intellectual
      yardstick wherewith to measure the material and physical world. But
      being material and wholly intellectual, it’s utterly useless when it
      comes to the evaluation of spiritual realities and religious
      experiences.”

      COMPLETE RUBBISH

      Science exposes the FRAUD that religionists and spiritualists use to deceive people and create ‘religions’

      http://www.near-death.com/experiences/triggers/gravity.html

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N,N-Dimethyltryptamine

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca

      These all demonstrate that ‘spiritual and religious experience are just brain chemistry.

    • MNb

      “being material and wholly intellectual, it’s utterly useless when it comes to the evaluation of spiritual realities and religious experiences.”
      Already wrong. What you call spiritual realities and religious experiences are also material and hence can be investigated by science.

      “religion is concerned only with values”
      I don’t need religion for my values.

      “Science … start(s) out with the assumption of certain generally accepted bases for logical deductions.”
      Wrong because incomplete. It also – and this is crucial – starts out with the assumption of certain generall accepted bases for logical inductions. In fact the logic is the same. Especially religion though doesn’t use induction.

      “1. The material body. 2. The human mind— (the mechanism for intercommunication and interassociation between spirit and matter). 3. The supermaterial phase of human beings: the soul, and the indwelling spirit.”
      Wrong again.

      1. The human mind is just a part of the material body.
      2. The human mind is not the mechanism for intercommunication and interassociation between spirit and matter, unless spirit is also material.
      3. If spirit is to be assumed (because you have zero evidence and arguments for it) immaterial then that mechanism is called soul.

      There can’t be any mechanism for intercommunication and interassociation between the immaterial and the material, because any mechanism intercommunicating and interassociating with the material is material itself. Saying that the mind is, like you do, is a circular argument. The problem is that such a mechanism can’t be specified, let alone tested. That’s exactly what faith means. Which leads us to the next problem:

      “The faith of religion argues from the spiritual perspective of eternity.”
      Now how do you decide which arguments formulated this way are correct and which ones are incorrect? Why for instance do you reject the spiritual beliefs of Australian indigenous people? What’s your method, if it’s not the scientific one?

    • Velvetpage

      An important quibble: very few atheists will say something like, “There is no evidence for the supernatural.” What they’ll say is, “I haven’t yet seen evidence for the supernatural that I couldn’t rebut easily. If you have any evidence, I’m willing to be convinced by it, but until it surfaces, I’m going to go with the hypothesis that if I haven’t seen it, it’s not really wise to put a whole lot of time and effort into pretending it exists.”

    • rationalobservations?

      You appear to be setting yourself up as something of an expert on the subject of the christian religion?

      I wonder if you could provide evidence supported answers to these questions?

      1) Can you refer to any 1st century originated first hand, authentic, verified and verifiable evidence of the life and times of a messiah claimant later Greek scribes employed by the 4th century Romans named “Jesus”?

      2) Can you name a complete bible text that dates prior to the oldest/first 4th century Codex Sinaiticus christer bible and that actually matches any complete text within the oldest/first 4th century originated Codex Sinaiticus bible?

      3) Are you aware of, and can you explain; the almost endless differences between the oldest/first 4th century Codex Sinaiticus bible and those many diverse and different versions of bibles that followed it? Can you explain why significant passages regarding the later inserted “resurrection” myth are missing from the oldest NT bible?
      Can you explain why whole sections of that first/oldest 4th century bible are missing from later versions while other texts are added to later versions?

      4) Are you aware of, and can you explain; the confusion and internal contradiction, historical inaccuracies and scientific absurdity that is contained within and between all the diverse and different versions of christer bibles today?

      5) Can you explain the complete absence from Jewish literature and tradition of the Jewish messianic prophesies that the god-man “Jesus” is claimed to have fulfilled?

      6) Can you explain why “Jesus” (according to the legends within bibles) fails to meet the specification of messiah that actually exists within Jewish literature and tradition? The clincher being that the “true messiah” will be a mortal human king fathered by a human and in the direct paternal descendant line of “David” – NOT a god-man fathered by a god like all the Pharaohs, Roman emperors, Hercules/Herakles and thousands more god-men that predate the 4th century originated legends of “Jesus”.

      I hope you can provide evidence based answers to these questions and note that your opinion, the recycled opinions of others or reference to cut-n-paste apparently human authored fiction from any of the many different contemporary bibles, or the very first/oldest 4th century bibles – just doesn’t conform to the definition of “evidence”.

      • Greg G.

        He is recommending Urantia, which is not exactly Christianity. It mixes Christianity and Mormonism with other early 20th century religious notions with some mid-20th century science.

        • rationalobservations?

          Thanks for the wacko alert, Greg.

        • It mixes Christianity and Mormonism with other early 20th century religious notions…

          Well that’s amusing, just not accurate. But I suspect you’re not pretending this to be reliable “evidence”— your own personal experience—merely passing along the opinion of someone you probably do not know who made this claim, but like you, has obviously never read it.

        • Aram McLean

          You’re right TPK. Greg should have specified Seventh Day Adventist. Namely the doctrines of soul sleeping and annihilationism, am I right! Is your Thought Adjuster benefiting from being here? Or just building up a nice healthy dose of cognitive dissonance to get you through another year? For all that, I have to say it’s a pleasant surprise to see you support Bernie Sanders 🙂

        • Greg should have specified Seventh Day Adventist. Namely the doctrines of soul sleeping and annihilationism, am I right!

          Ah, no.

          Psychosomnolence— the belief that the soul sleeps until the resurrection— did not originate with Seventh Day Adventists; it has been around since the Reformation in one stage or another. The same for annihilationism, which has been evolving since Old Testament Days.

          Your error, like Greg’s, is largely unavoidable, Aram, because you’re trying to appear somewhat knowledgeable about The Urantia Book by like having dipped your little toe into some small spitwad of poorly researched and superficial analyses of other wanna-be critics who were also unwilling, unable, or incapable of doing an accurate evaluation of the material; which after all, requires a sincere and considerable commitment of time and energy. And people like that aren’t necessarily a “dying breed,” as you said; just always in the minority of the population.

          Is your Thought Adjuster benefiting from being here? Or just building up a nice healthy dose of cognitive dissonance to get you through another year?

          Again, attempting to be clever with concepts and ideas from The Urantia Book without a comprehensive knowledge of them invariably make one look foolish to anyone who knows the book. But I do acknowledge the fact that you at least seem to actively explore new things, even if its just to make you look clever in the comments section, e.g., “debunked science,” “made-up Jesus,” “Blast off with the aliens,” “*cough* interesting reading,” “loads of sex,” etc.

          IMO you’re obviously young and glib, which are after all only transient afflictions. But even a superficial acquaintance with the nature of spirit can eventually be beneficial to anyone who is unafraid to think, act, and live honestly, loyally, fearlessly, and truthfully.
          Good luck with that.

        • Aram McLean

          What a luxurious response. You see right through me, TPK. I live to appear knowledgeable in comment sections, which is why I *cough* blatantly admitted that I’d only just heard of Urantia.

          Psychosomnolence may not have originated with the 7th Dayers, TPK, but the ‘Money shall not exchange hands on Saturday’ folk are most certainly the reason why psychosomnolence was included in your Book of Urantia. As for appearing foolish to people such as yourself who believe an obviously human-created work of fiction is legit, well, let’s just say somehow I’ll keep managing to get out of bed in the morning.

          IMO you’re obviously old and stuck in your ways, TPK. You’re ‘spiritual’ in a Baby-boomer sort of way, lucky to have experienced the one period in Western human history where ignorant laziness was in no way an impediment to stealing the good life, but naturally unable to see your good fortune as it is all you have ever known. Having thus not ever been faced with true conflict, instead you have invested your full self into a magical book in your quest – brought on partly through a soul-disturbing boredom – to feel like your otherwise meaningless easy existence meant something greater. ‘Tis a transient affliction I admit, as indeed all life is, broken only by the final gong of death from which your one saving grace is that our most likely lack of existence after we kick the bucket means you will never have to face how fully you wasted this only life of certainty on such a mountain of wordy empty silliness.

          All this to say, indeed I see now you’re most definitely here for the cognitive dissonance factor, TPK. Your next year of stubborn ongoing belief in a debunked book is well ensured, my friend.
          Go in peace.

        • What a luxurious response.

          Nono, that was the appetizer; this is the “luxurious response.” Enjoy.

          You see right through me, TPK.

          I know! Cool, isn’t it?

          (I have to be careful tho; some people lash out. 🙂

          I live to appear knowledgeable in comment sections,

          That was a no-brainer, even though you hide your comments. And for that I thank you. I do too, now, but I’m guessing for different reasons. But: Recall I said clever; not “knowledgeable.” Different words, different meanings.

          which is why I *cough* blatantly admitted that I’d only just heard of Urantia.

          Right, that pisses me off, and I often blame myself. I just haven’t figured out an economical way to tell the whole world yet. It didn’t stop you from making uninformed and incorrect comments about the book tho did it. But it did make your comments even more unjustifiable; tho yeah, clearly you couldn’t help yourself. Been there done do that.

          Psychosomnolence may not have originated with the 7th Dayers, TPK, but the ‘Money shall not exchange hands on Saturday’ folk are most certainly the reason why psychosomnolence was included in your Book of Urantia.

          0 for 1. Just say “Jews,” man. See there’s this thing; this “curse of the ignorant” thing: “The ignorant are ignorant of their ignorance.”

          (Note: there’s a meaningful distinction to draw between ignorant and stupid; I won’t insult you by mansplaining it to you.)

          But that’s the compulsory cosmic kick-in-the-ass head for self-proclaimed atheists. When they say “Most certainly,”it doesn’t mean shit; they’re not just being judicious, or pragmatic when they’re forced to leave the grammatical door open for the possibility that they’re wrong; they’re also making an assertion pulled directly out of their backsides, without so much as a whiff of evidence; but still reeking of bullshit nonetheless.

          I should probably let this go, but, there is also the possibility that personality survival incorporates psychosomnolence as part of a process of creating large numbers of mortal survivors that are resurrected as contemporaries. Some of the reasons for this are obvious, but others are not explained. (Too much woo? Come on; grow a pair 🙂

          As for appearing foolish to people such as yourself who believe an obviously human-created work of fiction is legit,

          0 for 2. There it is, again: “obviously human-created work of fiction” Mm what’s that atheist mantra again? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”? But. No evidence. No knowledge of the facts. Just the usual off the bottom of the chart philosophical hubris playing fast and lose with the truth, from those with the most to lose, the same ones always making such a whiney-pissy-hissy-baby-fist pounding-shit-fit about “Show me the evidence”!
          ( See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrisy )

          No, after 44 years of study it’s very easy to spot “critics” who are winging it, many of whom say they read the entire book, some bold enough to say more than once.

          well, let’s just say somehow I’ll keep managing to get out of bed in the morning.

          Of course you will! No choice, pal.

          And each day that passes— if you can even bother to take a minute and go to the deepest part of your mind and really reflect about it— each day of your life slowly and surely tightens the grasp of a pitiless doom which a hostile and relentless universe of matter has decreed shall be the crowning insult to everything in human desire which is beautiful, noble, lofty, and good.

          IMO you’re obviously old and stuck in your ways, TPK.

          0 for 3. Ask anyone who really knows me. But I will guess I’ve already survived twice as long as you; and it’s one of those things that has to be attained and experienced to be appreciated. Because personality doesn’t get “old.” Personality is the one changeless reality in our otherwise ever-changing creature experience.

          You’re ‘spiritual’ in a Baby-boomer sort of way, lucky to have experienced the one period in Western human history where ignorant laziness was in no way an impediment to stealing the good life, but naturally unable to see your good fortune as it is all you have ever known.

          0 for 4. “‘Spiritual’ in baby boomer sort of way” A nice thought, actually, but Baby-boomers, even the majority of professed Christian boomers, are unwittingly actual secularists. I knew some ppl who were both ignorant and lazy, but it was usually because of money, not genetics. No, I like to work hard; it stems from the discipline of the athletic field and the wrestling mat. It stays with you.

          Having thus not ever been faced with true conflict, instead you have invested your full self into a magical book in your quest – brought on partly through a soul-disturbing boredom – to feel like your otherwise meaningless easy existence meant something greater.

          0 for 5. It may be relative for sure, but practically everyone, ignorant and lazy included, deals with true conflict sooner or later. I can say being in a war zone at 19 is true conflict. But what does “full self” even mean to an atheist? How can a soulless automaton have a “full self”?

          I know what it is for me; but you do not, and probably won’t ever know in this life without reading the Urantia Papers. Just learning about the true nature of the soul— let alone the Thought Adjuster— is worth the price of admission. But then death and re-awakening is not so far in the future for any of us. Yes I take my personal salvation for granted, but I also think the vast majority of urantians like you will survive as well; you’ll just have considerably more catching up to do.

          Tis a transient affliction I admit, as indeed all life is, broken only by the final gong of death from which your one saving grace is that our most likely lack of existence after we kick the bucket means you will never have to face how fully you wasted this only life of certainty on such a mountain of wordy empty silliness.

          0 for 6. Trotting out the philosophical hedge one more time: “…our most likely lack of existence after we kick the bucket…” The maudlin faux-humility of living a one act gong show; usually less than 36,000 days. Truly cavalier, Aram.

          All this to say, indeed I see now you’re most definitely here for the cognitive dissonance factor, TPK. Your next year of stubborn ongoing belief in a debunked book is well ensured, my friend.

          0 for 7. Sigh. It’s truly my fervent wish that you, and even the more vociferous little hominids on this thread— you probably know who they are— could somehow get to experience through me how wrong that last one really is. That would be awesome man. I won’t hold my breath. I’m done.

          See you in the next; don’t be late.

        • Aram McLean

          Ah, Vietnam. That actually makes more sense. I met a veteran when I was there, strolling through the tunnels at the DMZ. It was his first time back and he told me he’d had a beer with a Viet Cong veteran the evening before. Said it was truly healing. Helped bring him back down to earth. Something for you to consider perhaps.
          See you next year, TPK. All the best.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I won’t hold my breath. I’m done.

          stunning.

          good thing Dr. Sadler ‘protected’ the ~SS~ so consistently and destroyed the originals, amirite? who knows what horrible blow the whiney-pissy-hissy-baby soulless automata could have struck had he not been so groovy and insightful?

        • Kodie

          You just make it sound like you’re proud to be totally immersed in bullshit.

        • Greg G.

          Perhaps you are not familiar enough with the claims of other religions to recognize them in Urantia.

          You recommended checking the Wikipedia article on Urantia. Here are the comparisons:

          Comparisons[edit]

          Comparison to Christianity[edit]

          More than one third of the content of The Urantia Book is devoted to a narrative of the life and teachings of Jesus, and the Judeo-Christian tradition is given an importance exceeding any other.[78][79][80] The book’s teachings claim to be a clarification and expansion of Christian belief.[81] However, numerous differences are noted between its teachings and commonly accepted Christian doctrines.[79][82]

          Jesus is held in high regard by The Urantia Book, as he is in the New Testament of the Bible.[78] The following are attributed to him in both texts:
          ##He was both human and divine,[83] the Son of God incarnate who was born to Mary, whose husband was Joseph.[84]
          ##He performed many of the miracles described in the Bible, such as the resurrection of Lazarus, the turning of water into wine, the feeding of the five thousand, and numerous healings of the blind, diseased, and infirm.[85]
          ##He taught twelve apostles, most of whom went on to spread his teachings.
          ##He was crucified, and on the third day after his death, rose from the dead.
          ##He will return to the world again some day.

          Some differences with Christianity include:
          ##Jesus’ crucifixion is not considered an atonement for the sins of humanity.[68] The crucifixion is taught to be an outcome of the fears of religious leaders of the day, who regarded his teachings as a threat to their positions of authority.
          ##Jesus is considered the human incarnation of “Michael of Nebadon,” one of more than 700,000 “Paradise Sons” of God, or “Creator Sons.” Jesus is not considered the second person of the Trinity as he is in Christianity. The book refers to the Eternal Son as the second person of the Trinity.[86]
          ##Jesus was born on earth through natural means of conception instead of a virgin birth.[87]
          ##Jesus did not walk on water or perform some of the miracles that are attributed to him in the Bible.[88]

          Comparison to Seventh-day Adventism[edit]

          Gardner notes similarities between Seventh-day Adventism and the teachings of The Urantia Book, and sees this as evidence that William Sadler and Wilfred Kellogg had a role in editing or writing the book, since they both were one-time believers in Adventism.[89] For instance, two basic Adventist beliefs that distinguish it from mainline Christianity are the doctrines of soul sleeping and annihilationism, both of which The Urantia Book also supports.[90][55] Lewis notes that from the perspective of the book being a “revelation,” it could be claimed the “celestial beings” simply found areas of Adventist belief to be accurate and therefore presented and expanded on them.[91] While the book supports aspects of Adventism, it also is mixed with teachings that are heresies to Adventists.[89]

          Other comparisons[edit]

          The book can be seen as belonging in the genre of spiritual literature that includes A Course in Miracles and Conversations with God.[92] Gardner compares it with Oahspe, noting that though Oahspe is “vastly inferior to the UB both in ideas and style of writing,” they are similar in claiming to have been written by celestial beings channelled through a human conduit, teaching that there is “one ultimate God who oversees a vast bureaucracy of lesser deities” while both outline an elaborate cosmology.[93] The book’s claimed supernatural origin has been compared to similar claims of the Book of Mormon, Science and Health, the Quran, and the Bible,[94][95] with belief in it not being seen as necessarily a greater leap in reason.[91][94]

          Comparisons with facets of various world religions are incorporated in the book, including Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, Judaism, Hinduism, Shinto, and Confucianism. For example, Paper 131, “The World’s Religions” discusses the aspects of these religions that are in common with what the book claims is the “religion of Jesus.” The stance of the book is that there “is not a Urantia religion that could not profitably study and assimilate the best of the truths contained in every other faith.”[96]

          Consideration as literature[edit]

          The Urantia Book has been enjoyed by some as a form of science fiction, historical fiction or fantasy. The Urantia Book is noted for its high level of internal consistency and an advanced writing style. Skeptic Martin Gardner, in a book otherwise highly critical of The Urantia Book, writes that it is “highly imaginative” and that the “cosmology outrivals in fantasy the cosmology of any science-fiction work known to me.”[71] Gooch says that for nonbelievers, the book is a mixture of being “fascinating, inspiring, compelling, haunting, entertaining, annoying, incomprehensible, and always wordy.”[97]

          Parts I, II, and III are chiefly written in expository language. The papers are informational, matter-of-fact, and instructional. Part IV of the book is written as a biography of Jesus’ life, and some feel it is a rich narrative with well-developed characters, high attention to detail, woven sub-plots, and realistic dialogue. Considered as literature, Part IV is favorably compared to other retellings of Jesus’ life, such as The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago and Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock. Martin Gardner considers Part IV to be an especially “well-written, impressive work,” and says, “Either it is accurate in its history, coming directly from higher beings in position to know, or it is a work of fertile imagination by someone who knew the New Testament by heart and who was also steeped in knowledge of the times when Jesus lived.”[35] His assessment is that the narrative is consistent with human authorship.

          The scientific criticisms just below mention:

          ##The described formation of the solar system is consistent with the Chamberlin-Moulton planetesimal hypothesis,[103] which though popular in the early part of the 20th century, was discarded by the 1940s after major flaws were noted.[104] The currently accepted scientific explanation for the origin of the solar system is based on the nebular hypothesis.[103]
          ##According to the book’s descriptions, the universe is hundreds of billions of years old and periodically expands and contracts — “respires” — at 2-billion-year intervals. Recent observations suggest that the true age of the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years.[105] The book does not support the big bang theory.[106]
          ##A fundamental particle called an “ultimaton” is proposed, with an electron being composed of 100 ultimatons. The particle is not known to be described anywhere else and the concept is not supported by modern particle physics.[107]
          ##The Andromeda Galaxy is claimed to be “almost one million” light years away, repeating the understandings of the 1920s,[108] but the galaxy is now understood to be 2.5 million light years away.
          ##The book repeats the mistaken idea that planets close to a sun will gradually spin slower until one hemisphere is left always turned to the sun due to tidal locking, citing Mercury as an example. Scientists at the time of the book’s origin thought one side of Mercury always faced the sun, just as one side of the Moon always faces the Earth. In 1965, radio astronomers discovered however that Mercury rotates fast enough for all sides to see exposure to the sun.[106] Scientists further established that Mercury is locked in this spin rate in a stable resonance of 3 spins for every 2 orbits, and it is not slowing and so will never have one side left always turned to the sun.[109]
          ##Some species are said to have evolved suddenly from single mutations without transitional species.[110] The theory originated with Dutch botanist Hugo De Vries but was short-lived and is not now supported.[111]
          ##The book erroneously says that a solar eclipse was predicted in 1808 by the Native American prophet Tenskwatawa. The eclipse actually was predicted in late April 1806 and occurred on June 16, 1806.[112] In 2009, Urantia Foundation acknowledged the error and revised the book.[c]
          ##Controversial statements about human races can be found in the book.[114] Gardner believes that William S. Sadler, who wrote some eugenicist works, had a hand in editing or writing the book, and that this is how the ideas were included.[115]

          You might like reading Immanuel Velikovsky.

    • Pofarmer

      Hmmm.

    • abb3w

      Arguments don’t get tired. People hearing them get tired.

  • BlueBlazeSpear

    The arguments made by this book are not ones I find particularly motivating. It’s much like when I mention some atrocity committed in the name of religion and someone props up some quasi-atheist regime to point out that it has committed atrocities just as grievous.

    In both cases, I find the argument “You’re just as bad/clueless/stupid as we are” to not be particularly compelling.

    Arguing with apologists is slightly less frustrating than arguing with other atheists, but in both cases everyone involved wants to split the hairs of the vernacular understanding of words so finely that it reaches the Clintonian level of “Define ‘is’.”

  • Lorenzo david

    How does one determine that?

  • Rob

    I just took a glance at the first excerpt and am wondering, isn’t it worth noting that they refer to non-Christians as opposed to atheists?

    To me, the fact that they seem to be consciously including all other non-christian faiths as being equivalent to atheism undermines any notion of taking them seriously. Because it’s such a direct acknowledgement that “there are hundreds of religions, and they all say they the right one, but in fact we know that we are the right one and all those others are wrong and evil and hellbound.”

    One falsification invalidates all the preceding verifications. IFLS. It’s so easy.

    • Good point. So often (with Pascal’s Wager, for example) they imagine that the world is simply Christians (their flavor, of course) and atheists. Nutty not-like-me Christians and other religionists (though they are usually happy to acknowledge that the supernatural exists) aren’t worth bothering with.

      • Greg G.

        Bob,
        The comment from lorenzo david below is spam for an escort service. Click on the middle word to see.

        EDIT from about a half hour later: And now it’s gone.

        • Yep, I got it. I OK-ed the flagged comment and then saw that it was spam a few minutes later. Thanks.

    • Rob

      An acknowledgment: IFL the word hellbound, it’s the single most Judgmental word I have ever come across.

      Thank you Mo (from Jesus and Mo) for letting me steal it from him without cutting my hand off (or my tongue out).

      • I was at a Planned Parenthood counter-protest last Saturday. An atheist friend and I were chatting amiably with a small Christian group (doesn’t often happen, but it’s nice when it does). A woman came up and began with “You’re going to hell,” and it went downhill from there.

        By contrast, we didn’t have much of a productive or amiable conversation with her.

        • MNb

          That’s why I always answer “you’re going to Hell” with something like “spending eternity in your company pretty much defines Hell”. With such a person a productive and/or amiable conversatin is impossible anyway.

        • I have a thick book titled, “Who’s Who in Hell,” a catalog of the many, many thoughtful people who weren’t Christians. Hell might be where the real intellectual conversation is.

        • rationalobservations?

          It has been calculated that the god of the Old Testament/Pentateuch murdered (or caused to be murdered) many hundreds of thousands of people. Including the whole of mankind, except for Noah and his (amazing multicultural-multi-ethnic?) clan in “the flood”.

          On the other hand in the whole of the bible – Satan is listed as killing only ten people (Lot’s children) and even that was as a result of taunting from “god”.

          Perhaps those in thrall to christian businesses of religion are backing the wrong deity and going to the realm of the Devil is in fact going to the more benign deity?

          If I was inclined to believe in any super-spook, I know where my best interest could be..

        • When you look around, you see good and bad in the world. If there’s a good guy and a bad guy out there, what’s to say that it’s not the bad guy who’s in charge? Tsunamis, birth defects, guinea worm–that sounds like the work of a bad creator. He just put the puppies and sunsets in there to create the intermittent reinforcement so that we’d keep playing along.

          Or maybe the whole supernatural world thing is bullshit.

        • Kodie

          I always think god sounds like he’s throwing a party and desperate for anyone to come to it. The devil of course is having a party the same night. A “loving” god always sounds to me like a rationalization. Religious people recognize this world is kind of shitty a lot of the time, and yet god lets them live in it instead of killing them all instantly to bring them to his house for the party. When god spares you from a disaster, that’s loving on his part for some reason. Nobody wants to die and go to heaven immediately (except this one girl I used to work with, but she was apparently crazy for other reasons). But then when someone does die, they’re in a “better place.” But suicide is forbidden, because you’re not allowed to escape this earth without your ticket from god. He pounds the shit out of other people for punishment, but when it’s your turn, he’s calling you home. Does that not just sound stupid and sick? It’s made-up shit that people need to cope with random acts of nature. God doesn’t always put a hurricane on your coast, so it must mean something about you when he does. God doesn’t always give people cancer, but it must mean something about you when you have cancer. Do you want to survive it? Don’t you go to a doctor and do all they can to cure you so you can live in this shitty world instead of die and go to heaven? Maybe if that isn’t working, a faith healer. Because more than anything, people want to stay alive. Even eternal life in the best place they ever heard about isn’t appealing enough to accept your disease and just die from it as soon as possible.

        • the colosseum is full

          The world was made by God, and everything in it belongs to him…. If you don’t play by his rules, he’ll send you to hell for ever! it may not last but for a moment , but it will be forever ! lol 🙂

        • MNb

          So what? Hell is not any worse than Heaven. Sharing company with religious tools like you is the ultimate torture.

        • the colosseum is full

          I’m not a religious tool,, Just a lover of Jesus who is risen from the dead; if you mean an instrument of righteousness , then yea , I’m a hammer 🙂 lol
          also you sound bitter . 🙁 sad

        • Greg G.

          You mentioned that you had direct proof of the resurrection. Bring it.

        • the colosseum is full

          The gift of the Holy Spirit exactly as it is given to them in Acts chapter two…

        • Greg G.

          Practically any religion will give the same type of experience. It is just a manipulated human experience. The author of Luke and Acts relied on the writings of Josephus a lot. The rushing wind in Acts 2:2 and the ability to speak other languages in Acts 2:4 comes from Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews 1:4:3 on the Tower of Babel where he quotes from the Sibylline Oracles:

          When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them divers languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion. The Sibyl also makes mention of this tower, and of the confusion of the language, when she says thus: “When all men were of one language, some of them built a high tower, as if they would thereby ascend up to heaven, but the gods sent storms of wind and overthrew the tower, and gave every one his peculiar language; and for this reason it was that the city was called Babylon.”

        • Kodie

          You’re an instrument of utter gullibility. You should offer some kind of evidence instead of this juvenile bullshit. What grade are you going into this year?

        • the colosseum is full

          this juvenile bull as you call it shall remain with you for ever , you can be changed by it or live to the day you die without and then regret it for ever…at which point it will be so far away….

        • MNb

          “then regret it for ever.”
          Nothing will make me regret living without your juvenile bull.

          “at which point it will be so far away….”
          The farther the more I’ll rejoice. I’ll LOL!

        • the colosseum is full

          skool was a very horrible experience for me , even all the way to the end! lol, 🙂 but Jesus came when I was 24 … and again my azz was put in school… his school… where I learn by experience has lasted for 37 , or 38 years so far….
          he waited 33 1/2 years to tell me that I had flunked , the first day … 🙂 roflol …
          These are such happy times for me.. to be the winner when you loose and to win when you fail… lol
          you see Jesus is my champion … he covers for my errors , mistakes , sins.. they are not many because I love him so!
          no matter how good we are, we fail. My first day with God, my very first moments with him I broke the first of the ten commandments .. a sin punishable by death according to the law of Moses…..” Thou shalt have no other gods before me”
          When Jesus began baptizing me in his wonderful Spirit , in the very first moments , I thought about that other god, which I said to myself “mentally ” I’m gonna go and tell her” .. at which point God shut it down…. and I was incomplete , in the full measure of the Spirit , that I should have had…. yes I’m incredibly stupid!!!!!!
          but it is impossible for me to go back or do anything else except do what God says…..go into all the world and proclaim his gospel to every creature ….. 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          skool was a very horrible experience for me , even all the way to the end!

          No shit Sherlock…I would never had known that by the way you communicate.

          These are such happy times for me.. to be the winner when you loose and to win when you fail… lol you see Jesus is my champion … he covers for my errors , mistakes , sins.. they are not many because I love him so!
          no matter how good we are, we fail. My first day with God, my very first moments with him I broke the first of the ten commandments .. a sin punishable by death according to the law of Moses…..” Thou shalt have no other gods before me”

          You know that deep down you are fooling yourself, but if you rant about it loud enough perhaps your insecurity will wane.

          Telling lies about it is also as old as Christianity itself…

          http://api.ning.com/files/Zqk6R3wQdUm3olaBLw-kn1CEG2sfdmY3-stzPrWSe18MHwgN3IHGVMhfHUMGky60OEse8XtvENEFd7SOat7N531bqZz0REBt/MartinLutheronLyingforGod.jpg?width=750

        • MNb

          Every comment of yours confirms that you’re a religious tool.

          “I’m a hammer”
          Made of plastic.

          “also you sound bitter”
          Yes. The prospect of sharing eternity with you makes me bitter. The prospect of avoiding that horrible fate makes me rejoice.

        • Kodie

          That’s exactly how a superstition would sound.

        • The world was made by God, and everything in it belongs to him…. If
          you don’t play by his rules, he’ll send you to hell for ever! it may not
          last but for a moment , but it will be forever ! lol 🙂

          This deserves some sort of prize for the least appropriate use of “lol” ever. (Ironically, it did make me laugh out loud.)

        • the colosseum is full

          it is my expression.. lol 🙂
          there are so many angry Christians , that need not be…
          I know why they are angry….and I want to undo some of the harm they have caused through their frustrations ..
          My lol’s is because of the victory I already have and already had before I was born in this here world … Jesus did it all for me! 🙂

        • MNb

          “If you don’t play by his rules, he’ll send you to hell”
          If I do play by his rules even a worse fate awaits me.

        • If you don’t play by his rules, he’ll send you to hell for ever!

          I bask in God’s love.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sounds like Stephen Law’s hypothesis in the Evil God Challenge.

          Imagine that, instead of the Judeo-Christian God (omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent) there was an Evil God that was all-powerful, all-knowing, and totally evil. People who believe in this god are frequently asked by skeptics: “How can you believe in Evil God? Isn’t that hypothesis falsified by the existence of good in the world?”

          “Nuh-uh” say the believers in Evil God. “We have plenty of explanations for the Problem of Good. For example…”

          Evil God allows good to exist only so that greater evil may be achieved

          Evil God likes evil best when we freely choose it, but allowing us free will means that some people may choose good

          Evil God works in mysterious ways.

          The Evil God Challenge.

          http://lawpapers.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/evil-god-challenge-forthcoming-in.html

          Or maybe the whole supernatural world thing is bullshit.

          No maybe’s about it if ya ask me.

        • Greg G.

          The world was perfectly Evil until Adam and Steve ate the fruit that brought in Knowledge of Good and Evil.

        • Pofarmer

          That actually makes more sense. Men behaved as animals until they ate from the tree of knowledge. Man lost the simplicity of ignorance, but gained the fruits of knowledge.

        • the colosseum is full

          the fruits of knowledge which brought death upon every man born in the world. God’s purpose for man is to live forever, giving him , “God that is, ” Glory! 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          I’m sorry, but that’s just……stupid, for lack of a better word.

        • the colosseum is full

          Well maybe God is stupid.. but until you can extend your own life forever, you will always be much stupider than He that made the worlds…

        • Pofarmer

          No Godisimaginary.com

        • the colosseum is full

          God lives forever in me.
          He , Christ that is is risen from the dead

        • MNb

          “God lives forever in me. ”
          Your god is a creep.

        • Kodie

          You keep telling yourself you’re not crazy.

        • the colosseum is full

          actually I tell myself something a little different…I repeat what he has said to me , what I am to him and he is to me..
          one of the thing the bible says to do is that the communication of our faith is made effective by the acknowledging of every good thing that is in us, by Jesus Christ , which is of course the source of all the lols and :)’s lol

        • MNb

          “I repeat what he has said to me.”
          So you hear voices in your head and you think they’re real. That kind of mental illness is your reward for converting. Thanks, but no thanks.

        • MNb

          I don’t want to live forever. That sucks badly.

        • the colosseum is full

          I understand, as it is written , “the atheist shall make his own way to the grave! ” 🙂

        • Kodie

          Sorry, with your lols and :)s, it’s really hard to take you for more than a bored 13-year-old who don’t know shit and just got back from faith camp.

        • the colosseum is full

          gee thanks I’m 61 , I am plenty reason to be happy & care free.. God has taken all responsibility for my life….
          if well funded I would excoriate the Islamic religion before the entire world, forcing many Muslims to bow their knees to Jesus … eviscerating the extremists with much mental pain and anguish …. when their hope for an Islamic state is all but destroyed …. 🙂 lol

        • Kodie

          Why doesn’t god just do that? You really don’t sound like you have anything to say.

        • MNb

          “God has taken all responsibility for my life.”
          Another reason not to convert. I rather keep things in my own hand; I’m not a coward like you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, you really are a sad old bitter and twisted bastard.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yeah, it really says something about all the “well funded” folks on the planet that they can’t seem to manage such a thing that would clearly be in their best interests. (even if they were godless fools, they could so obviously take the credit that they would be set for life just by prompting any number of televangelists’ donors to support the Good Fight [any similarity to jihad of course unintended by The Mgmt.] … )

        • adam

          ..

        • the colosseum is full

          Call us anything you like , it’s like swinging into the wind !
          God is and I am ! 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t think this one has a decent grasp on how long to what forever actually relates.

        • Kodie

          The fruits of knowledge are not an essential component causing death.

        • the colosseum is full

          the knowledge of good and evil is what killed mankind.. God said when you eat from it you shall surely die…. by eating from that tree, man became independent of God’s judgment…determining for himself how to live… man is dead without the one who made him…

        • Greg G.

          Read the story again. It was being separated from the Tree of Life that kept them from living forever. God did that separation. So, if you believe the story and read it for comprehension, man is dead because of the one who made him.

        • the colosseum is full

          perpetual state of sin and rebellion?
          death is the only solution to that.

        • Kodie

          You are blaming a few people for eating fruit. Doesn’t that seem stupid to you?

        • the colosseum is full

          it was the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.. Eye don’t blame anyone. God will not have us living eternally in sin…
          he has chosen to save some of us through faith…we cannot stop sinning , unless the laws of God are written in our hearts ….. and how can that happen if we don’t even listen to him. Many of us argue over what he says in the Word .. Many of us attack and accuse one another , blaming one another for this or that…
          Look at this country, the most Christianized nation EVER ON EARTH , daily attack and accuse one another of this or that like tit for tat!
          and worse is that MOST OF US are unaware that we are like kids in a cafeteria fight , throwing food at each other or worse … we are like the three stooges Larry Moe and my favorite Curly .. lol 🙂
          If I had the money I would surely shame every instigator of all of these spiritual crimes against humanity …. but I would rather spend it all attacking Islam while back handing those hypocrites in the USA lol 🙂
          Just like the Three Stooges

        • Kodie

          We’re all familiar with this story. Do you have anything else to share except evangelical spam and lols?

        • MNb

          Good reason to keep on sinning and rebelling.

        • That actually sounds pretty good to me. The ability to determine how to live one’s own life is a characteristic of free adults. You seem to be advocating a return to childhood, where we can be free of any moral knowledge and responsibility and let someone else make all the decisions for us. That’s not particularly attractive to me.

        • Kodie

          It occurs to me that colloseum is full is actually still a child.

        • I sometimes forget that children are still allowed on the internet. It seems kinda wrong somehow, like seeing kids wandering around a strip club.

        • Kodie

          Well, their behavior seems kind of childish, but could be some older person who just got their first smartphone. Here is an awesome quote from 3 months ago:

          U mean the great depression caused a tsunami ? 🙂 lol

        • I wish you hadn’t given me the idea to look at his user page. Judging by statements in his old comments, he seems to be considerably older than me.

        • MNb

          The children I know tend to talk more coherently. No. I suspect one needs to be an adult to produce such drivel.

        • the colosseum is full

          Israel didn’t like it either… one way or another they rebelled against the Word of God’ but he had purchased them, He owned them, thus he had the right to destroy them… and saved only a remnant of them…
          same with all humanity …. either you follow along or you perish forever !

        • Kodie

          Everything else dies without having eaten the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Why wouldn’t we die? That is a story that explains to doofuses like you who want to know why everything isn’t perfect, and you doofus, believe that.

        • the colosseum is full

          thanks for your brilliant mind at work.. but sin came upon the whole thing all things die by the sin of Adam He Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: brought the curse of death on all things…

          Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

        • Kodie

          That’s just a story to make you feel better.

        • the colosseum is full

          I am perfect !

          Didn’t you hear about that? of course not ..

          The Holy Spirit told me so .. 🙂 lol

          and speaking of doofus’s … the bible says, so.. in this way. so U R partially right !

          Here is what the bible says, in 1 Cor, 1:27
          But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
          James 2:5 says,
          Hear, my beloved brethren: Has not God chosen the poor as to the world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to them that love him?
          so , I feel really good about being among the foolish, whom God has chosen and which of course you are witness..
          Gee thanks 🙂

        • MNb

          What the Bible says remains irrelevant.

        • Ignorant Amos

          God said when you eat from it you shall surely die….

          You are quote mining now, and that is bad form.

          Genesis 2:17
          But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

          But they didn’t die in that day though, did they? Adam allegedly lived until he 930 if one is a sucker for the bollocks. Give me a bite of that mythical cherry any day of the week.

          That causes a lot of problems for an all omni perfect entity. Was it telling lies? Didn’t it know? Could it not kill Adam? Like I said, you are quoting irrational bollocks, poorly. Or did you think no one here would notice your deceit?

        • the colosseum is full

          well, we find out later that a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day with the Lord..so it was only one day. lol 🙂 930 years is before that day ended! lol 🙂
          as it is written he has hidden his wisdom from the wise and prudent but revealed it unto babes…
          one of the first lessons I learned when I began to read the bible fer meself forgive me Irish lol 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          If the 930 year old Adam’s life was just a day, then you have created bigger problems for your silly God than you have solved with the rest of scripture…. pmslmao…;)

          Adam was made on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31) which was supposedly a thousand years long. This was followed by the 7th day which was also a thousand years long. Following the 7th day, Adam fell into sin and was expelled from the Garden. This would mean Adam lived thousands of years, which is false, since he died at age 930 (Genesis 5:5).

          You can’t have yer cake and eat it too I’m afraid ratflmao…lol 😉

          “The Hebrew word for a ˜day” is “yom” and this word can occasionally be used to mean an indefinite period of time, if the content warrants. In the overwhelming preponderance of its occurrences in the O.T., however, it means a literal day. Still further, the plural form of the word (Hebrew ‘yamim’) is used over 700 times in the O.T. and always, without exception, refers to literal “days.” (The Bible Has the Answers, Henry Morris, p. 94).

          Obviously even Creationist Morris admits the idea that each day represented an era is ridiculous. Not only is the day-age theory unacceptable scripturally, but it also is grossly in conflict with the geological position with which it attempts to compromise. My suggestion? Make a valid justification as to how the creation account can be plausible, until then don’t pimp feeble lies to cover up for your even more errant book.

          Ya buck eejit ya …lmtoaysn…;)

        • TheNuszAbides

          lmtoaysn

          ?
          you may have stumped me. “laughing my tits off at your silly nonsense”?

        • Greg G.

          Ah! Three weeks later, I get it. Thanks for the translation.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i have spent … more time than i care to accurately confess … in the Trenches of Chat.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bingo!

        • Greg G.

          You should recognize the parts of the Bible that were written as excuses for failed prophecies.

        • MNb

          I don’t want to live forever. I rather want knowledge.

        • the colosseum is full

          The bible says, Satan is the god of this world , that blinds the minds of them that believe not !

        • MNb

          What the Bible says is irrelevant.

        • the colosseum is full

          Not so, There are more than a billion people who believe in it.. it’s Champion Jesus is proven to be risen from the dead. lol 🙂
          I am witness of his resurrection from the dead.

        • Greg G.

          That means there are six billion who don’t believe the Bible. Many of the billion that you claim as believers have never read it, so they don’t know what it says. Many atheists are ex-Christians who did read it and found it was unbelievable.

        • the colosseum is full

          true, but Jesus said, broad is the way to destruction and there be many therein that path, and narrow is the way to life everlasting and there be few that find it. Sooo, you actually support what Jesus says. It has always been this way..because the way appears to be hard to live.. and what does God require of us, “that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, might, and strength ; and that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves… ” on these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets , said the Lord Jesus… 🙂
          To whom much is given much is required….

        • Greg G.

          Proverbs 16:25
          Sometimes there is a way that seems to be right,
              but in the end it is the way to death.

          Does the path you are on seem right? Even the Bible says you could be wrong.

        • the colosseum is full

          It’s because of warning s like that that I made sure..

        • Greg G.

          You can’t make sure until it is too late. It may be that you get fried for making the wrong choice but not if you made no choice.

        • Kodie

          This seems to be a case for adam.

        • the colosseum is full

          I am certain already … I am directly in communique with God continuously …. at anytime he may speak but mostly all the time he just prompts me …. saving each time to speak to me by his laws, statutes , commandments or exceeding great precious promises , which are breath taking .

        • Greg G.

          But no original material. Nothing that is not known to humans but verifiable and actually useful.

        • MNb

          “I am directly in communique with God continuously”
          Communicating with imaginary friends is a sign of mental illness. Thanks for confirming that you received a punishment, not a reward.

        • TheNuszAbides

          what’s the difference between a law, a commandment and a statute? the scriptures didn’t tell me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In case you might be expecting a reply, that goof ball was placed in permanent time out by Bob.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i didn’t know yet, but i couldn’t resist one feeble swipe of the paw at his bog-awful verbose dreck.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, I thought you may well have just been commenting for full effect…and also the entertainment of others of course.

        • the colosseum is full

          I allow God to make my choices for me. rather he has made me to accept his demands … all of them…we are allowed to make choices but , there are consequences to such decisions…In the previous 30 something years with him, I made a lot of choices own my own.. but I wanted most of all to be led by the Spirit of God most directly …..because I am not good enough to make good decision’s own my own…
          I am weak , foolish , and all the things God said he has chosen… so I am committed to submission for as long as forever is, because that is what I have by the blood of Jesus 🙂 He purchased that right you see with his own blood!
          he gave his life for me so that I can give him mines , which was his from the beginning 🙂

        • Greg G.

          If you make a decision and it turns out bad, it’s because you didn’t listen to God. If it turns out good, you pat yourself on the back for letting God make the descision. If it then goes bad later, it was your fault for not listening to God.

          You are trapped in circular reasoning with a short radius.

        • the colosseum is full

          true , the scripture there…. however, God knows my heart , and one of the things he had to do to fully persuade me to act , was to convince me , for certain…he promised in the bible to lead and guide us into all the truth ….
          therefore before I could act , or take a step , God Himself had to direct me ….
          What he did and does is , lead and guide me, in all the truth by giving me a little at a time… as he promised in the bible… I did not know this until he started doing it …When he did , he showed me in the bible what he was or is doing…
          Therefore I am safe…. The name of the Lord is a high tower , the righteous runneth into it and are safe…
          In order for me to trust God or for myself to trust him he had to prove to me that I am not deceived… and that he did,
          by his word…

        • Greg G.

          Your circular reasoning has made you dizzy.

        • Kodie

          It’s a marketing ploy. You feel like you belong to an exclusive club with exclusive benefits, right? It worked. How much money have you paid them so far?

        • the colosseum is full

          quite exclusive it is, not all shall be saved , even worse than that only few there be that be saved…

        • Kodie

          That’s the marketing, you believe that. You give no one else any reason to believe you, you are just rambling like an idiot.

        • MNb

          Am I happy that I won’t be one of those who are saved. The prospect!

        • the colosseum is full

          God has provided me with more than 60 pearls 🙂
          promising to give me a hundred ninety five…

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what you think that’s supposed to mean to anyone else.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          Jesus, if he existed, didn’t say anything. He never wrote anything and everything that is written about him, is not written by anyone that knew him….try again.

        • the colosseum is full

          Jesus has spoken to me more than 60 times in my 37 years of obedience to him. 🙂 lol
          He has also provided me with guidance , where by my own body provides me with promptings … hundreds if not thousands of times since my beginning with him..
          but he has hidden these things from the wise and prudent ,revealing them to babes such as myself 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos
        • the colosseum is full

          Jesus said it , and I believed it and reaped the reward of believing which is to receive the Holy Spirit , which is Christ in me , the hope of glory!
          Jesus is not limited to two thousand years back! He died and rose from the dead, else neither I nor any other should receive the promise of the Spirit , which is the Holy Ghost!
          The Holy Spirit is my evidence and he confirms to me what Jesus has said.. he has been fulfilling in me the promise of Jeremiah 31:31-34…. which is hidden even from most Christians … I am an extremely very powerful witness of Jesus Christ and his resurrection! 🙂 lol

        • MNb

          “reaped the reward”
          No, you reaped the punishment, but fortunately you don’t recognize it. Still we do. You’re a happy idiot.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I am an extremely very powerful witness

          that’s some high-octane desperation ya got there. peace enfold you.

        • MNb

          “narrow is the way to life everlasting”
          And at the end of that road awaits a fate worse than Hell …. listening to your drivel eternally.

        • Kodie

          Why do you lol so much? Are you about 14-15 year old girl?

        • the colosseum is full

          lol’s are for certain success 🙂 lol

        • Kodie

          Success at what? We’re not impressed so far with what you’re offering. It doesn’t seem like you care, it seems like your only assignment was to post blah blah blah all over the internet for your own amusement (or maybe to please Jesus).

        • MR

          Oh, boy, Greg, Frank and now this idiot. I can see the IQ level is tanking lately.

        • I am witness of his resurrection from the dead.

          I hope you had a camera with you.

        • the colosseum is full

          I could see inside me… with my own mind body and spirit as the fountain o living waters flowed to every particle of my body and person..

        • If you could see inside you, then you were probably using the wrong type of camera. Common problem.

        • Kodie

          What drugs did you take beforehand?

        • the colosseum is full

          The exceeding great and precious promises written in the bible… there are 6000 I am told…. too many !
          But from my beginning with God , I found him to be too good ! way TOO GOOD ! 🙂 lol
          He filled me with the Holy Spirit , like those in Acts chapters 2&4 … exceedingly above all that I could ask or think!!! Really big time.. 🙂

        • MNb

          “The exceeding great and precious promises written in the bible.”
          I’m better off without these promises.

        • rationalobservations?

          You repeatedly refer to “the bible”. Which of the many diverse and significantly different bibles do you refer to?

          However: If any one of the Bibles was divinely inspired, then why would it have so many really obvious contradictions?

          Here is the “chapter and verse” regarding just some of the evidence of internal contradiction you will find within most modern versions of bible:

          Theological doctrines:

          1. God is satisfied with his works
          Gen 1:31
          God is dissatisfied with his works.
          Gen 6:6
          2. God dwells in chosen temples
          2 Chron 7:12,16
          God dwells not in temples
          Acts 7:48
          3. God dwells in light
          Tim 6:16
          God dwells in darkness
          1 Kings 8:12/ Ps 18:11/ Ps 97:2
          4. God is seen and heard
          Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/ Is 6:1/
          Ex 24:9-11
          God is invisible and cannot be heard
          John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16
          5. God is tired and rests
          Ex 31:17
          God is never tired and never rests
          Is 40:28
          6. God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things
          Prov 15:3/ Ps 139:7-10/ Job 34:22,21
          God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all
          things
          Gen 11:5/ Gen 18:20,21/ Gen 3:8
          7. God knows the hearts of men
          Acts 1:24/ Ps 139:2,3
          God tries men to find out what is in their heart
          Deut 13:3/ Deut 8:2/ Gen 22:12
          8. God is all powerful
          Jer 32:27/ Matt 19:26
          God is not all powerful
          Judg 1:19
          9. God is unchangeable
          James 1:17/ Mal 3:6/ Ezek 24:14/ Num 23:19
          God is changeable
          Gen 6:6/ Jonah 3:10/ 1 Sam 2:30,31/ 2 Kings 20:1,4,5,6/
          Ex 33:1,3,17,14
          10. God is just and impartial
          Ps 92:15/ Gen 18:25/ Deut 32:4/ Rom 2:11/ Ezek 18:25
          God is unjust and partial
          Gen 9:25/ Ex 20:5/ Rom 9:11-13/ Matt 13:12
          11. God is the author of evil
          Lam 3:38/ Jer 18:11/ Is 45:7/ Amos 3:6/ Ezek 20:25
          God is not the author of evil
          1 Cor 14:33/ Deut 32:4/ James 1:13
          12. God gives freely to those who ask
          James 1:5/ Luke 11:10
          God withholds his blessings and prevents men from receiving
          them
          John 12:40/ Josh 11:20/ Is 63:17
          13. God is to be found by those who seek him
          Matt 7:8/ Prov 8:17
          God is not to be found by those who seek him
          Prov 1:28
          14. God is warlike
          Ex 15:3/ Is 51:15
          God is peaceful
          Rom 15:33/ 1 Cor 14:33
          15. God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive, and ferocious
          Jer 13:14/ Deut 7:16/ 1 Sam 15:2,3/ 1 Sam 6:19
          God is kind, merciful, and good
          James 5:11/ Lam 3:33/ 1 Chron 16:34/ Ezek 18:32/ Ps 145:9/
          1 Tim 2:4/ 1 John 4:16/ Ps 25:8
          16. God’s anger is fierce and endures long
          Num 32:13/ Num 25:4/ Jer 17:4
          God’s anger is slow and endures but for a minute
          Ps 103:8/ Ps 30:5
          17. God commands, approves of, and delights in burnt offerings,
          sacrifices ,and holy days
          Ex 29:36/ Lev 23:27/ Ex 29:18/ Lev 1:9
          God disapproves of and has no pleasure in burnt offerings,
          sacrifices, and holy days.
          Jer 7:22/ Jer 6:20/ Ps 50:13,4/ Is 1:13,11,12
          18. God accepts human sacrifices
          2 Sam 21:8,9,14/ Gen 22:2/ Judg 11:30-32,34,38,39
          God forbids human sacrifice
          Deut 12:30,31
          19. God tempts men
          Gen 22:1/ 2 Sam 24:1/ Jer 20:7/ Matt 6:13
          God tempts no man
          James 1:13
          20. God cannot lie
          Heb 6:18
          God lies by proxy; he sends forth lying spirits t deceive
          2 Thes 2:11/ 1 Kings 22:23/ Ezek 14:9
          21. Because of man’s wickedness God destroys him
          Gen 6:5,7
          Because of man’s wickedness God will not destroy him
          Gen 8:21
          22. God’s attributes are revealed in his works.
          Rom 1:20
          God’s attributes cannot be discovered
          Job 11:7/ Is 40:28

          I wonder if you will take your own advice and THINK about the cr@p you spout “big time?

        • the colosseum is full

          sorry but God only gives me so much, not a lot… a little bit at a time..

          Isa 28:10& 13 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
          That’s how I receive it…
          If you do not figure it out, then in the judgment God will make is all clear to you ….now he has hidden his clear path from the wise and prudent, but revealed it to babes …. and why is that…. so that no flesh shall glory in his presence…
          I thank the Lord for giving me understanding…. writing his laws in my hear t and in my mind….. I could write them all down too, here.. but they are my pearls , which God promised to babes , not to the wise and prudent…
          The Kingdom of Heaven is one place where , the wise, the noble, the brilliant will be few… instead the poor the weak the infirm , the needy the humble shall rejoice before him, for choosing them…

        • rationalobservations?

          Wacko alert!
          Wacko alert!

        • the colosseum is full

          So …. you cannot hear me!

        • MNb

          We do hear you. And the more we hear from you the less inclined we are to convert.

        • Kodie