25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God

25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God February 19, 2018

Christians are challenged about how evidence supports their views, and those answers are often embarrassing. Creationist Ken Ham admitted that his mind is made up on scientific questions, and nothing will change it. Christian apologist William Lane Craig made the same admission and also tipped his hand about the motivation for his work. It’s not been an honest exploration of the evidence but a quest for rationalizations that will soothe the fears of the little boy that he was, decades ago, when he first discovered that people die.

Now we turn the question around. Atheists, you demand that the Christians be open minded, but what about you? Are you open minded? What evidence would it take for you to say that God exists?

I want to pursue some new ideas, but first let me summarize the answer I’ve given before.

For me to have a personal epiphany of God’s existence won’t do. There are so many conceivable natural explanations for such an experience—drugs (recreational or medicinal), mental illness, hunger or mental stress, someone playing a trick, and so on—that I couldn’t trust such a thing as genuinely supernatural. The answer is to crowdsource it. That is, it’s not just me evaluating this evidence, it’s everyone. On one day, everyone in the world sees “Yahweh exists” spelled out in stars or pebbles or lines in the sand in a way that they could understand. Or, one night everyone has the same dream in which a god explains his plan. (More here.)

This still falls victim to Arthur C. Clarke’s observation that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Sufficiently advanced aliens could dupe us into imagining the supernatural when we were just seeing technology. Still, this would be far more evidence than we’ve seen to date.

Clues that we don’t live in God World

Since God won’t provide this evidence, we’re on our own, looking for clues for God’s existence. What would we need to see to know that the Christian god exists? Said another way, how would we know that we’re living in God World?

My answer: if we lived in God World, we would expect to not see things that argue that this god does not exist. This is admittedly a cumbersome way of putting it, but I think that’s necessary. We are swimming in so many clues that we don’t live in God World that my answer is: I would think that God exists only if all these clues didn’t exist.

The first clue that we live in a godless world:

1. Because we’ve seen what Christian society looks like

Christianity had its chance to create a Christian utopia with Europe of the Middle Ages. Spoiler: it wasn’t so great.

Christianity was in control of Europe for 1500 years. During that time, mystical creatures populated the world, there was little besides superstition to explain the whims of nature, and natural disasters were signs of God’s anger.

Christians might say that Christianity has no goal for humanity to learn about nature. It has no goal to create the internet, GPS, airplanes, or antibiotics. It has no goal to improve life with warm clothes or safe water. It has no goal to eliminate diseases like smallpox or polio.

And they’re right: Christianity’s goal is instead to convince people to believe in a story that has no evidence (more).

We find more data on this question of Christianity vs. social health today. U.S. Conservatives lament that loss of Christian belief will cause society to degrade, is that true? If loss of Christian belief caused society to degrade, we should at least see a correlation between the two. That is, the better the social metrics (homicides, teen pregnancies, income inequality, and so on) in a society, the higher would be the Christian belief within that society.

In fact, we see the reverse. Social statistics in 17 Western countries show that Christianity is inversely correlated with measures of public health (more). While we can’t conclude anything about the cause—does higher Christianity lead to worse metrics, or does a failing society provide a conducive environment for religion?—it’s obvious from this that more Christianity doesn’t cause a better society.

A 2017 United Nations list of the world’s happiest countries makes the same point. Norway, Denmark, and Iceland are at the top, followed by much of the rest of godless northern Europe. The U.S. is 14th.

To see this from yet another angle, American Christians aren’t a noticeably more noble subset of society.

When Christianity was in charge, Europe received no obvious supernatural benefit. Society progressed in fits and starts just like you’d expect in a godless world.


See also: How Christianity Retarded Modern Society by 1500 Years


2. Because religious beliefs reflect culture

Muslims (unsurprisingly) come from Muslim countries, Hindus from Hindu countries, Christians from Christian countries, and so on. There are exceptions, of course, but people predominantly adopt the religion (or lack of religion) of their culture. In the dozen or so countries that are 98 percent Muslim, what are the chances that a baby raised there will become Muslim?

Christian apologists will say that Muslims aren’t Muslim because their religion is correct but simply because they were raised in a Muslim environment, but they need to explain why the same criticism doesn’t apply to their community as well. (More here and here.)

Let’s take a step back to see where this (long) series of posts is taking us. This isn’t evidence against Christian apologetics, and it’s not pro-atheist arguments. There are plenty of other posts about that. Rather, I want to explore the clues all around us that we don’t live in a world with a god.

Continued in part 2.

Jesus wants to date you
but doesn’t want to put in any effort.
You should dump him.
— commenter Han Solo

Appendix: 25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God (complete list)

    1. Because we’ve seen what Christian society looks like
    2. Because religious beliefs reflect culture
    3. Because God needs praise and worship
    4. Because there’s a map of world religions
    5. Because nothing distinguishes those who follow god from everyone else
    6. Because televangelists make clear that prayer doesn’t work
    7. Because Christians want help from the government
    8. Because of unnecessary physical pain
    9. Because God gets credit for good things, but he’s never blamed for bad things
    10. Because the universe doesn’t look like it exists with mankind in mind
    11. Because God is absent from where we’d expect him
    12. Because physics rules out the soul or the afterlife
    13. Because “Christianity answers life’s Big Questions!” is irrelevant
    14. Because not even Christians take their religion seriously
    15. Because there’s a book called The Big Book of Bible Difficulties
    16. Because Christianity can’t be derived from first principles
    17. Because theism has no method to decide truth
    18. Because there are natural disasters
    19. Because the “best” Christian arguments are deist arguments
    20. Because the Bible story keeps rebooting
    21. Because doctrinal statements exist
    22. Because prayer doesn’t work
    23. Because of Shermer’s Law
    24. Because Christianity evolves
    25. Because God is hidden

More to come.

Image via Thought Catalog, CC license

 

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  • eric

    Only 2 of 25? Tease.

    Are you open minded? What evidence would it take for you to say that God exists?

    Consistently reproducible physics-defying miracles that support the Christian narrative and undermine most others would convince me there is something to their theology. E.g. if Christians could pray to Jesus then walk on water…on command. And yet nobody else could. It would also take testable predictions that turn out to be right. A one-off miracle is useless as an explanatory framework; I need to be able to say ‘if your theory is right, then x, y, and z should also happen’ and then go test x and y, and hopefully z.

    Sure, this doesn’t philosophically rule out Matrix-world. Or trickster god/alien world. In my opinion that’s a standard of certainty no hypothesis can reach, so we shouldn’t require the Christian hypothesis to reach it. Fact is, nobody is sincerely promoting the hypothesis that the matrix is real and lets Christians walk on water for reasons xyz. Similarly with trickster god. But some Christians do sincerely promote the hypothesis that God answers prayers and performs miracles, and they give theological reasons. So their hypothesis would be the best fit to that data. Until, that is, someone developed a prediction that distinguishes matrix-world from Christian-world, tested that prediction, and found the result better suited matrix-world. If that happened, again repeatedly, it would be time to switch.

    Naturalism isn’t an assumption; it’s a provisional conclusion. I’m willing to conclude otherwise, given enough data more consistent, more supportive of, another hypothesis. Frankly I would love if research into a cure for cancer could be finished with a five-minute prayer, followed by writing down the revealed response. Think how many lives would be saved. Science is slow, plodding, and expensive. We do it because it’s the best tool available, not because we ideologically prefer it over [snap fingers], [solve problem]. When that methodology starts to work, you show me, and I’ll jump on board. Until then, it’s a pipe dream and we do science.

    One more item for discussion/consideration: if, after many failures, the matrix-worlders revised their hypothesis to say that it’s indistinguishable from Christian-world and predicts all the same things Christian-world does, and nothing else, they’d have exited the realm of science. They would now, in my mind, be doing pure apologetics; defending a pre-set belief rather than searching for truth. Just as Christians who revise Christianity’s historical claims to say it’s fully consistent and indistinguishable from a non-God, physics-obeying world are.

    • Frankly, this post got a little out of hand. I thought maybe a 2-parter, but now I think it’s going to be another like the “25 Stupid Arguments Christians Shouldn’t Use” series. And, like that one, I doubt I’ll need to stop at 25.

      • Kevin K

        It’s really just one theist who is a thoroughly enjoyable chew toy. No need to change course at this point in the proceedings.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    “Evidence” Yeah, thats about ALL it would take to convince me. OTOH, even if the evidence proved (or even supported) the existence of ‘god’ (especially the bible version), I would not worship it. On the gripping hand, it is unlikely such evidence would support a specific god (or gods).Lets say that a repeated observations of a particular piece of the human genome showed that it unraveled to spell out the words ‘I made you, signed god’ when a certain prayer was spoken. It could just be a prank performed by a god of snails that has a good sense of humor.

    • If software developers can put easter eggs in their products, wouldn’t God do the same thing?

      • Cozmo the Magician

        But as Douglas Adams pointed out, something like that would actually prove the NON-existence of god. Since god wants people to have faith, providing evidence would of course prove he don’t exist. I’m about to go out for a cig. I’d link the ‘Babel fish’ article , but i’m sure you can find it yourself (if u never read it)

        • epicurus

          Jesus was pretty inconsistent on signs and miracles. One day He does them so people will believe, the next, nope – wicked generation.

        • Only if faith means “belief without evidence”. Yet most theists insist it doesn’t, so this should be fine with them, right?

        • TheNuszAbides

          “‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that’ – and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.”

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Ayup, but notice that there was/is/willbe a table of Norse Gods at the end of the Universe. No sign of a wandering carpenter. (;

    • epicurus

      I could totally see Loki doing that!

  • axially/tilted

    Are we talking about a ‘God’, or are we talking about ‘Yahweh’? One of these would be damn near impossible to prove or disprove. The other would be Yahweh.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Really?

      Demonstrate your point.

      • axially/tilted

        Well… a ‘God’ could be looked at in a similar fashion as Sagan’s garage dragon. Once one started to make inquiries into the properties of this ‘GOD’ its attributes would change accordingly in order to keep it from being properly defined. Therefore, it’d be damn near impossible to prove or disprove.
        As for Yahweh. The fingerprints for this deity are found throughout Jewish folklore, leaving this particular Gods mythos relatively easy to discern.

        • Kodie

          I will every so often say I’m not against believing in some creator, as a matter of perspective. What makes us think it is perfect or has a perfect plan? From an enormous universe, could something be outside of it that we can’t see no matter how many instruments we invent, because it’s just so large (rather than invisible)? Why do we think it is about me as an individual, or wants us to love it, or has a special plan for each of us to fulfill, and a special place we are disposed to once we aren’t alive anymore? Those are definitely fucking fantasies. If that were true, I like to think that god would be smart enough to realize how badly a book can fail. I mean, we do have a culture of humanity that idolizes reading and books ever literacy, but humans aren’t that reliable a way to relay crucial information. I’d be more inclined to believe, if there is a god, it is in some ways smarter than we are because it knows things we can’t know. It might even know the future because of past experiments. It might have prepared a situation in which life would arise. It might have interfere occasionally in ways we can’t detect apart from how things naturally go, like a scientist picking up a dish and tilting it before putting it down again. We know how tornadoes work (I’m assuming), but once in a while god stirs his finger over here to start one up, let’s say. Is this god real? I’m not saying he is. Is this god benevolent? He might hope to keep the experiment going as long as possible. Is he omnipotent? A lot more power than I have doesn’t equal all-powerful. Is he omniscient? I already covered that. Is he everywhere all the time? Does he care who I date? Does he consider murder a sin? It seems like no. Because I sincerely believe that there is no evidence of any god, it doesn’t seem like he has opinions, nor does he watch us when he’s not at work, and can’t really hear us or know our thoughts.

          Humans have partial comprehension of how some animals behave and why but we study so few anywhere near that closely. Quite a few, we understand just enough to create ways to effectively exterminate them. A mouse is kind of small, and exploits humans who drop food or don’t wrap it up really good. Does it see humans? Does it communicate to other mice a particular language about a particular type of home of a particular type of creature has the most kind of food we like and spaces we can hide? What about moths or termites or fruit flies? Can they see us, or are they just seeking opportunity (like we do)? There are lots of us, not just one. A small percentage of us can study the general behavior of termites without getting bored to death, and a small percentage of those who do might study a couple particular termites up real close for some reason how they like bugs. Are these the chosen, or actually the unluckiest termites? Christians are trying to conceive of a being that studies EVERYONE, every fucking one of us in exquisite detail, and know each of us like no other human even could, not a twin or a parent or a best friend or a spouse. And all we have to do, because we invented a reward for enduring life, is try to stand out by trying not to stand out.

          Makes me wonder if termites invent elaborate stories about how, every once in a while, after enjoying chomping all over a house, the epidemic gas comes to take them. Do they know or wonder if there are other termites chomping all over some other house. Is this all there is, chomping all over a house? Do they feel despair at the pointlessness of it? And while there are other ways a termite can live and die, what kind of god do they think we are? We must seem omniscient to them. We allow them to live until we discover them. We wait and see what options there are and price a couple exterminators, and possibly ignore the extent of the problem until later, or move and let someone else take care of it. We have the power to build houses to eat, and we have the power to gas them in a giant termite holocaust, and that’s really all they care about. Any more power than that, like the power to make a sandwich, not knowing the difference between Monet and Manet (mostly not sure which one Manet is out of other non-Monet artists), or the lack of power to beam ourselves like in Star Trek, is so far beyond their comprehension that it doesn’t matter whatever else we can or can’t do. Maybe if we found a way to use termites to cure cancer, we’d give their lives an “ultimate meaning”.

          What I’m basically saying is there’s a scale of creatures that cannot see us or recognize us even though we do exist and interfere in their ecosystems regularly. There’s nothing a termite can do to kiss up to me. I (someone in my species) have created their immediate environment, I am not benevolent toward them in the least (although some humans may be), I don’t know everything there is to know about them or anything else, and I don’t have the power to levitate or perform open heart surgery, and if there’s a termite heaven they go after they die, I’m not aware of it and certainly not in charge of sorting out termite souls. We think we’re different or that god is different.

        • axially/tilted

          This is yet another demonstration as to why you have been one of my favorite commenters here over the years Kodie. Very thoughtful. Thanks for sharing.

        • Kodie

          Glad you liked it. I wander a ton and follow my thoughts sometimes too much. I don’t know so much about animals, but it seems theists ignore almost everything there is to know about animals, unless it is a trivial idea that can be cherry-picked to promote ID. When I observe humans, I definitely see an animal that behaves like a lot of other animals, and although I can cherish particular humans, and feel something for humanity when parts of it endure suffering, I don’t feel that special or above other animals. It’s not just the eating, yawning, pooping, etc. biological functions of our bodies, but the opportunistic, cheating, prioritizing our own needs, that every species does, and pretty much without considering the survival of our actual ecosystem that we depend on. We don’t eat owls, why do we need owls. The whole thing about bees is, you know, we don’t really get along with bees in a direct way, but we should care about their effect on a lot of things we do value. People are heartless about wolves because of the livestock, for example, but if wolves are heartless about our needs, because they are hungry, we don’t try to come from their perspective as creatures of the earth. Everything becomes a battle between our species and other species or other tribes or other nations.

          Where does religion fit in? It is the invisible daddy that the chosen leader uses to leverage effort in its community to perform some act regarding some value that may or may not be in our actual best interest. It might seem to be in our short-sighted or one-sided best interest instead. There is no god, there’s only charisma and politics and using tools that might not be made of metal, they might be made of ideas.

        • axially/tilted

          Kodie, you are a treasure. Keep being you.

  • Joe

    Now we turn the question around. Atheists, you demand that the Christians be open minded, but what about you? Are you open minded? What evidence would it take for you to say that God exists?

    The answer is long and complicated, so I’ll be brief. I can think of nothing could convince me.

    Far from being dogmatic though, it is the result of careful consideration, and the way I build my view of reality: probabilistically. Note that there may be something I haven’t considered, but so far no theist has come up with anything that might sway me, instead preferring flawed logical arguments and word games.

    The key point is not so much why I won’t believe, but why so many people seem happy to accept inadequate reasons.

    • Kevin K

      I think that there could have been evidence that would have convinced me … but if you’re talking about the appearance of new evidence … well, that presents a problem, because then what you have is thousands and thousands of years of human history where everyone got it wrong, and the god in question didn’t care enough to correct the obvious problems.

      The 30 Years War is evidence enough that there will be no future evidence proving the existence of any god (that wishes to be known and isn’t an absentee landlord, in any event).

      • Jim Jones
      • eric

        what you have is thousands and thousands of years of human history where everyone got it wrong, and the god in question didn’t care enough to correct the obvious problems.

        My theory is God answers prayers. After the burning bush incident, Moses said “Jeeeesus Yahweh, give a rest already will you?” and he did. 🙂

      • Yep, there’s your problem. No matter what new argument or evidence a Christian thinks up, we’ve already got many reasons that must be overcome. Those ships have sailed, and it’s kind of impossible to call them back.

        • Kevin K

          Very true. If there had been evidence (past tense — past perfect?), then there would be no need for a future tense…

          What would convince me? Nothing. What would have convinced me? Well … evidence.

        • Tafe

          May your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth and rot there, if after your demonstration of intolerance on this blog by banning, you ever accuse anybody of intolerance.

        • Assholes sometimes get banned, sorry. House rules.

          My standards are far, far more generous than many Christian blogs, where discouraging words are enough to get you banned.

        • Ogem

          Then, may your tongues cleave to the roof of your mouth and rot
          there, if after your demonstration of intolerance on this blog by banning, you
          ever accuse anybody of intolerance.

        • BlackMamba44
        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          May you be struck dumb until you can give a coherent, fact-based demonstration of why religion isn’t just a superstition.

        • Greg G.

          How did you make the “dumb” curse retroactive?

        • BlackMamba44

          It keeps making new accounts and is getting downright nasty in its insults.

        • Greg G.

          It doesn’t seem to be housebroken, either.

        • Yep. Luckily there are few so determined to make fools of themselves. I remember only one who continually made new accounts before.

        • BlackMamba44

          Me, too. He was also pretty nasty. I just don’t remember his name

        • Raymond

          Actually there is a person with the handle “pud” that trolls several Christian Patheos sites, and none of them have banned him. Sometimes someone tries to engage with him, but it never comes to anything.

        • So pud is a trolling atheist?

        • Raymond

          Well, if you’re a troll it’s hard to know what is really in your heart. But his/her persona is a trolling atheist. Jack Wellman (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/) receives a lot of abuse from pud. Sometimes pud is the only person that comments on one of Pastor Wellman’s posts, but he has never banned him. Sometimes the Pastor has even tried to engage pud, but since he is a troll, it doesnt do any good.

        • Susan

          Well, if you’re a troll it’s hard to know what is really in your heart. But his/her persona is a trolling atheist.

          I agree. We’ve had countless “christian” trolls here who I’m not convinced are christians. The discussion is a magnet for trolls. So easy to use the discussion just to troll.

          Sometimes pud is the only person that comments on one of Pastor Wellman’s posts, but he has never banned him

          Thanks for pointing it out. I would never have been aware of that data point. I’m more familiar with sites that are frequently visited and in that experience, I have seen a real dearth of open discussion with clear commenting policies on the christian side.

          Pud seems to be a troll. That is, he just vents and never engages

          Patient tolerance is not useful. A better strategy would be to clarify the christian case and support it.

          A problem with that is that christians don’t seem to have much defense against pud’s accusations of superstitious nonsense. He’s pretty ham-handed about it but that doesn’t make him wrong.

          I don’t like his approach, I’m pretty convinced he’s just trolling.

          When fake christians show up here sadly, most of the arguments don’t seem much different than real christian arguments.

          Their motivation is different but the arguments aren’t.

          Still, I hate when fake christian and fake atheist trolls show up anywhere.

        • Greg G.

          Still, I hate when fake christian and fake atheist trolls show up anywhere.

          Speaking of fake, J.B.’s arguments are starting to sound like Gr*g, the fake lawyer.

        • Susan

          J.B.’s arguments are starting to sound like Gr*g the fake lawyer.

          Not sure it’s Gr*g (though it could be. Trolls can change writing styles but repeat tactics.) but I’m very sure J.B. is fake.

          He was last time he was here and now, he’s back, faking it again.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Betelgeuse …

        • BlackMamba44
        • Kevin K

          Snort — it’s trying magik…a curse! What a hoot.

          Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

        • Greg G.

          If you and your cousins get banned, it’s because you are over-qualified. I’m sure that is the reason.

        • BlackMamba44
        • awovuy-77

          (I need to journal my thoughts. Now where are my crayons … ?)

        • BlackMamba44

          Wow. Another good one!

        • I think God is editing this guy’s comments. Or maybe it’s me–I get the two of us confused sometimes.

        • BlackMamba44

          Haha!! You got me! I saw these through Disqus Notifications and just responded.

          This honestly seemed like something it would say as an insult. 🙂

        • BlackMamba44

          I don’t even know what he wrote on this one. It couldn’t have been any better than his other insults.

          I don’t mention my man in my Profile. I have one, so no need to mate with my cats.

        • Ziffo

          Now that you have resorted to editing comments by awovuy-77, have you considered the implications? What rashness!!!

        • Greg G.

          godidit.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m okay with attributing sweeping powers to
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(game)

        • Ziffo

          Bestial idiot, do not forget to take your cat mates when you go to bed
          tonight in your lonely uneventful miserable mal-existent miscalled life.

        • BlackMamba44

          A True Christian.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ‘Altar-net’ setup 😉

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hmmm, sounds to ME like you just don’t like being told to provide evidence or STFU & GTFO.

          AND to stop your friggin’ culture wars until you can provide the evidence.

        • Annerdr

          Hahahaha!! 75% of the Christian blogs I’ve read have allowed NO comments and here you are with your panties in a twist because Bob won’t allow rude comments.

    • Greg G.

      I can think of nothing could convince me.

      But that is no excuse for an omniscient being. It would know exactly what would convince you.

      • Jim Jones

        If I woke up in bed with Christie Brinkley . . . ;P

      • eric

        Yep. Some entity comes down and claims its God, you know how we test that claim? We say “hey entity, design a test we can do ourselves that would convince us you’re God.” If He can’t design such a test, He’s not omnipotent + omniscient, therefore not God. If He can design it but not pass it, He’s not God. If he can design it and pass it, then we will be convinced.

      • Joe

        An omniscient being would know already that I want to know the answer. For curiosities sake rather than any desire to worship them. So we can rule that one out.

    • Michael Neville

      The late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said of obscenity: “I can’t describe it but I know it when I see it.” I feel the same way about evidence for gods. I don’t know what would convince me that one or more gods exist but I’d recognize it when presented. I know what isn’t convincing evidence. Emotional appeals, logically fallacious claims, personal testimonies and every other argument that’s ever been presented to me has not been convincing.

      • Some apologists even admit that emotional arguments are the entryway into belief. In effect, you believe because you want it to be true.

        • Kevin K

          That’s pretty much all the fringe religions have. $cientology, Mormonism, et al? They all prey on the vulnerable.

  • John Pieret

    Evidence that the universe actually favors the continued existence of human beings, rather than is overwhelmingly poised to extinguish them, might make some headway with me. Otherwise, I am as apathetic to the existence of a god as any such god seems to be about my existence.

  • Kevin K

    As someone with skeptical/scientific leanings, I’ve considered how the universe/earth/humankind would be different in a “God World”. Some random thoughts.

    1. The universe would be much-much smaller. Indeed, it would look kinda like the ancient Hebrew conception of it, with Earth at the center and everything else revolving around it. But that’s not what we see. Instead, we see basically an entire UNIVERSE filled with empty space and a few hot spots where humans can’t possibly live. A large universe is incompatible with a God World.

    2. Earth would be far more-suited to human well-being. There would be no polar regions where we can’t live without technology. There would be no deserts, either. The oceans would be fresh water, not salt water (there’s no God World reason for the oceans to be filled with undrinkable water). And there wouldn’t be such creatures as the malarial mosquito, or the tuberculosis mycobacterium, for that matter.

    3. Humans would be uniformly the same — effectively clones of one another. There’s no God World reason for races, or people of different heights, or different languages. One race, one language, complete uniformity of abilities. The Olympics wouldn’t exist because there could be no possible “winner” in a God World where everyone is born exactly the same as everyone else.

    4. Humans would be healthier. There’s no God World reason for genetic illnesses. There’s no God World reason for eyeglasses, either. Nor is there a God World reason why humans have to consume vitamin C in order to avoid scurvy. Cancer wouldn’t exist, nor rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

    5. Absent those conditions and the lack of tiny predators (viruses, bacteria, et al), human life spans would be uniformly the same. There would be no hospitals in God World, because there would be no illness. People would live a certain number of years, and then be whisked up into heaven.

    Theists have to account for why everything we see around us is different from what you would expect a God World to look like. And the best they can come up with is klunky myths about talking snakes.

    • Theory_of_I

      If there was a god, wouldn’t everybody be born in heaven?
      If there was a truly benevolent god, wouldn’t everybody be allowed to quit and return to nothing when they couldn’t take it any more?

      • Kevin K

        You raise an important point. Why the need for a corporeal body at all? Why not just create more angels, which are ensouled but not corporeal?

        Makes no sense whatsoever for humans (and humans only) to have to go through the trial of “living” in order to earn their spot in heaven.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sure it does – if the underlying motive is pushing authoritarianism and/or elitism over curiosity/critique/creativity/etc.

    • Doubting Thomas

      To think of your “God’s World” scenario, think of a hypothetical situation where you were granted 5, 10, 100, or whatever number of wishes. The vast majority of people would wish for things that would improve the world for everybody. So for the Christian that wishes to, say, eradicate cancer, the logical question would be “Why?” Their omni-god, in all his loving and knowledgeable ways, set up the world to have cancer. Why would the Christian do it any different?

      I’m not wording my post very clearly, but I hope my point comes through.

      • Jim Jones

        The Problem Of Evil.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Sort of, but it’s more a question of why someone who’s a Christian would change the world if god, in his perfect wisdom and power, chose the world to be exactly as it is. Or at least chooses to keep the world exactly as it is. When a Christian has a desire to make the world a better place those desires are evidence that the world we see isn’t as it would be if there was a god.

        • TheNuszAbides

          which is why The Adversary had to be invented.

      • Kevin K

        No, I get it. It’s about the alleged attributes of “God”, which is to say Yahweh, the Ugaritic storm god, adopted as the primary and then the only god of the Hebrews. It’s supposed to be all-loving, yet demonstrates precisely none of that particular attribute when tested against the real world.

      • Great point. Why would any Christian be motivated to improve life (like eradicate smallpox) when life on earth was designed by God? Seems at the very least disrespectful of God’s plan, and perhaps even blasphemous.

        • Isiwon

          The devil continues attempting to disrupt God’s Creation for
          example by causing diseases, but God continues to frustrate the devil’s efforts
          directly and also through God’s instruments.

          God uses Christians as instruments to thwart the devil’s disease-causing
          attempts. One such major Divine intervention was in revealing to a Christian
          called Edward Jenner the secret of vaccination against diseases. The direct
          Divine intervention against disease is the equipping of man with immune system,
          to which vaccination is linked.

          The devil also uses atheists his minions as instruments of attempting
          the disruption of creation and things of God. Atheists and minions of the devil
          were those the devil used as instruments to oppose Edward Jenner’s Divinely
          inspired vaccination, leading Edward Jenner to make the following statement
          contained in this excerpt. “Jenner was a Christian who in his personal
          correspondence showed himself quite spiritual; he treasured the Bible. Some
          days before his death, he stated to a friend: “I am not surprised that men
          are not grateful to me; but I wonder that they are not grateful to God for the
          good which he has made me the instrument of conveying to my fellow creatures.”
          However, his contemporary Rabbi Israel Lipschitz in his classic commentary on
          the Mishna Tiferet Yisrael wrote that Jenner was one of the “righteous of
          the nations,” deserving a lofty place in the World to Come, for having
          saved millions of people from smallpox. “

          The continuing opposition of atheists to God and to His Creation
          and to Christianity His Church and Instrument, is clear evidence to discerning
          minds about the reality of the devil and the reality of atheists as the devil’s
          minions.

          When a so-called man, dedicates a blog to attacking
          Christianity The Church of God and His instrument, and fails to show me any
          invention ever produced by his blog, it is then quite clear to discerning minds
          regarding the absolute lack of creativity of those minions on attack.

        • Halbe

          This God you are talking about is probably the God of (your version of) Christianity, right? And this God is all-powerful (omnipotent), right? So, why does this God allow this devil creature to “disrupt His creation”? Why would this all-powerful God need puny humans as His “instruments to thwart the devil”? It just does not make any sense. At all.

          ETA: Innoculation against smallpox had been a common practice in China and India centuries before Jenner introduced it in the Christian world. Why did God decide to first save millions of heathen Hindus and Buddhists from smallpox before introducing this practice to the Christian world?

        • Isiwon

          Where
          did you get that fiction about India and China and vaccination and centuries
          before Jenner, if not from your demon-ridden mental excrescence seeped in
          falsehood which you mistaken for a mind. What about a bit of evidence to substantiate
          your falsehood. You can’t. Edward Jenner, a Christian, is the vessel through
          which God introduced vaccination to the world. Fact. Deal with it.

        • Halbe

          http://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712%2898%2990096-0/pdf
          Beware! You are doing the devil’s bidding by spreading falsehoods as facts, and by insulting people that speak uncomfortable truths (that is if you believe in this devil nonsense, which you obviously do).

          Also interesting that you react to this detail, but leave my other questions unanswered. Why did God (allow the devil to) introduce smallpox in His creation at all? And why wait thousands of years to fix that glitch?

        • Isiwon

          Your “other questions” are stupid ones. Know this truth, that the Facts of the devil being the cause of diseases, are NOT nullified by your lack of comprehension of the underlying reason behind their being able to take place in God’s Creation. That you are unaware of this truth, shows your stupidity.

          Your pointing at a link as to what is contained therein as evidence, is simply stupid. I can sit down, write an article and post it online, claiming that vaccination was first practiced by whales, and for you to to point at the article as evidence to support what the article says, shows that you do not know what evidence is, which further shows you accept things by faith and not by evidence. So, get out of here and know that you are an atheist religion fanatic.

        • Halbe

          You have convinced me of your vast wisdom and I am now ready to convert and become a Christian. Which of the 1000s of Christian sects do you recommend so that I maximize my chance to get to heaven?

        • awovuy-77

          You have convinced me of your vast stupidity, and I have long agreed that it
          is the reason why you are not a Christian. And if you believe I am attempting
          to convert you to Christianity, then you are more than stupid. Your decision to
          perish or not is more of your concern than it is mine. I refuse to love you
          more than you love yourself.

        • Halbe

          Reading comprehension is not your strong suit I see (creating sockpuppets otoh obviously is). This is not very surprising since a combination of reading skills and the Bible most often leads to atheism. I am very happy to just perish at the end of my life, especially if the alternative would be to spend eternity with people like you and this sadistic monster you call God.

        • Greg G.

          Reading comprehension? He has trouble managing line breaks. Do we know that creating socks is a strong suit or a blind squirrel event where he accidentally creates one from time to time.

        • Ziffo

          Your
          stupid comment is another indication of your stupid poor comprehension. You
          perish eternally and remain conscious eternally. Fool, continue reading the
          letters literally like the fool you are. I think your problem is yourself and not
          God, you stupid sadistic-suicidal monstrosity that has self-deteriorated to
          less than human. Now, get out.

        • You do know that I’m fucking with your comments, right?

        • Lark62

          And making my day (and prob many others). I keep wanting to upvote them, but then the sock puppet minions would get the credit.

        • This moron seems to finally be gone.

          What amused me was that, interspersed in the insults, was an attempt to debate actual issues. (“You keep banning me because you are afraid of debating me and blah blah blah.”)

          If he wanted to make a point, he could just make it.

          Hmm … maybe he didn’t actually have any points.

        • Lark62

          In the language of my teenager and an odd language that is, you’re the goat. (“Greatest of All Time” – the highest of compliments.)

        • BlackMamba44
        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Listen…if you can’t demonstrate it, why should we believe you?

          It’s very simple.

        • Kevin K

          900-1000 AD. The first precursor to a modern vaccination, however, occurred in China. The Chinese were the first to develop a primitive form of a vaccine around the 10th century, according to the NHS. Known as variolation or inoculation, the method was developed to prevent smallpox — a destructive disease that frequently plagued Europe and Asia in the Middle Ages. Chinese physicians discovered that when healthy people were exposed to smallpox scab tissue, they were less likely to get infected with the disease later on (or if they did, it was a much milder, less dangerous version). The most common form of inoculation in China was to crush smallpox scabs into powder, then breathe it in through the nose.

          — Source, Medical Daily … http://www.medicaldaily.com/history-vaccines-variolation-378738

        • Isiwon

          Your pointing at a link as to what is contained therein as evidence, is
          simply stupid. I can sit down, write an article and post it online,
          claiming that vaccination was first practiced by whales, and for you to
          to point at the article as evidence to support what the article says,
          shows that you do not know what evidence is, which further shows you
          accept things by faith and not by evidence. So, get out of here and know
          that you are an atheist religion fanatic.

        • Kevin K

          We are the hollow men
          We are the stuffed men
          Leaning together
          Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
          Our dried voices, when
          We whisper together
          Are quiet and meaningless
          As wind in dry grass
          Or rats’ feet over broken glass
          In our dry cellar

          — TS Eliot

        • BlackMamba44
        • Isiwon

          You atheists are the enemy, and you are not imaginary, and your master the devil whose minions you are, is not imaginary.

          The continuing opposition of atheists to God and to His
          Creation and to Christianity His Church and Instrument, is clear evidence to
          discerning minds about the reality of the devil and the reality of atheists as the
          devil’s minions.

        • BlackMamba44

          Discerning minds? Bwahahahahahahahaha!

          Are you talking about yourself? Bwhahahahahaha!!

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2b51e1b806d12deb020eef10f254678b74839a7295fcd1774d85a5db0b021ef0.jpg

        • awovuy-77

          You are certainly not in possession of a discerning mind. Try borrowing some
          brains from your three cats, which most probably is their function around you,
          still they do not help your mental situation. They think for you? Cat-brained
          more like.

        • BlackMamba44

          Sorry, my three cats put together are smarter than you. 🙂

        • Ziffo

          No evidence to support your wishful opinion. However, you remain a three cat-brained sub-idiot, that’s one reason why you keep them around to help your mental inadequacy. I do not need cat-brains. You do.

        • BlackMamba44

          More Christian love.

          What a good Christian you are.

        • BlackMamba44
        • BlackMamba44
        • Halbe

          Actually, the devil, Satan or Lucifer is not mentioned at all in Genesis 3 (The Fall). The Bible only mentions “the serpent”, a talking snake, nothing more. This whole devil thing is a later invention so that Christian nobodies like Isiwon can think themselves to be soldiers in the “Spiritual War” between good and evil. And you don’t even have to leave your parents’ basement to be a hero in this make-believe war! What’s not to like?

        • Kevin K

          Exactly so. It’s a cunning talking snake with legs. Satan is unfairly maligned.

        • Isiwon

          You devil’s minion, feeling sorry for your boss, are you. It is a fair description. Stop whining on behalf of your devil.

        • Kevin K

          Just stating the facts. Satan is nowhere to be found in that tale. Because Yahweh The Magnificent™ punished the snake by taking away its legs. If Yahweh The Magnificent™ had punished Satan instead, then the story would be different.

          So, you’re left with two choices.
          1. Yahweh The Magnificent™ couldn’t tell that the snake was really Satan in disguise. In other words, not omniscient.
          2. It was really a cunning talking snake with legs, and Yahweh The Magnificent™ punished the right creature. But still not omniscient, since he didn’t know the cunning talking snake with legs was going to convince the mud man and rib woman to eat the IQ-raising sin fruit in the terrarium garden.

        • Greg G.

          If it was Satan, why were serpents punished? God owes serpents an apology.

        • Kevin K

          That reading makes Yahweh something of a dunderhead, doesn’t it? Not even knowing that the serpent was Satan in disguise.

          Frankly, the whole myth is problematic on a lot of levels for the notion of an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving deity.

          An all-knowing deity wouldn’t have put the IQ-raising sin fruit where the mud-man and rib-woman could get at it. And wouldn’t have made the snake-with-legs so cunning.

          An all-powerful deity would have just poofed the mud-man and rib-woman back to their previous state of mental deficiency.

          An all-loving deity would not have kicked the mud-man and rib-woman out of the terrarium garden, but merely gently corrected their mistakes.

        • Greg G.

          An omniscient being could never get any smarter so Satan could keep pulling that disguise trick on him for eternity. He could blaspheme the Holy Ghost in an Isiwon costume to make him unforgivable.

        • Kevin K

          Heck, he could transform himself into a 1st Century preacher, get himself crucified, and then resurrect himself!

        • Kodie

          Why were serpents cursed to behave how they already behave? Did the serpent in the garden of eden have legs?

        • Greg G.

          If they could speak, maybe they had the power to levitate. Maybe they can still speak but they know to shut up around humans who will tattle on them.

        • I’ve read speculation that, based on other mythologies, that the serpent was a small winged dragon kind of thing.

          Ricky Gervais as the serpent, after God commanded that he crawl on his belly:

          But I already.… Oh no! Oh yeah, you’ve done me, yeah. No, we’re even now. I asked for that. Okay, cheers. Oh—how does this work again? Owww—I’m being punished. This is rubbish—I wish I could fly, like normal.

        • Isiwon

          Reasonable people know that you have another name other than halbe, and that you have a government issued number, and that the three appellations refer to the same person. Only a moron that you are thinks otherwise, and stupidly contends that the appellations would refer to separate persons.

        • Halbe

          So you’re saying that God punished the wrong creature for The Fall? Poor snakes, having to live without legs because the all-knowing all-powerful Creator™ makes such stupid mistakes.

        • Ziffo

          Your stupidity is obvious.

        • BlackMamba44

          Yes, I know. 🙂

        • BlackMamba44
        • Disease is part of God’s Perfect Plan®. Seems like Jenner is the bad guy in this story for upsetting that.

          And, no, God isn’t the good guy.

          I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, Jehovah, do all these things (Isaiah 45:7).

          Is it not from the mouth of El Elyon that both calamities and good things come? (Lamentations 3:38)

          When disaster comes to a city, has not Jehovah caused it? (Amos 3:6)

        • awovuy-77

          (I’m an idiot. Just ignore me.)

        • Ziffo

          Your understanding is below kindergarten. What then should be expected from
          a so-called man who is yet to exhibit to me evidence of his creativity, and
          excels only in sub-infantile banning. I challenge you to debate me in a neutral
          forum where we shall slug it out without you having any refuge in trying to shut
          me up even temporarily, and you will weep.

          Your opinion is wrong. And do you now believe God exists, so why are you
          quoting His Bible. Read the 18th book, and try and purge yourself of
          ignorance. What a world that the secular world is!!!!

        • Greg G.

          If you were capable of intelligent discourse, you wouldn’t get banned.

        • Ziffo

          Your opinion which lacks evidence.

        • Ziffo

          You ass hole moderator, why not choose a neutral online forum where we shall slug it out without you having any refuge in trying to shut
          me up even temporarily with your cowardly ban, and you will weep. You are really an sub-idiot .

        • Greg G.

          You would have to show that you can speak intelligently before you will be taken seriously. You don’t seem to understand that. All you have done is throw weak insults. You are a little dog who pisses on the carpet. You get put outside so nobody steps on you. It’s for your own good. We really do have pity for you.

        • Slug it out? With what? You get banned because you’re an obnoxious shit. Do you have a thoughtful persona? So far, it doesn’t look like it.

        • Avy
        • BlackMamba44
        • BlackMamba44
        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You haven’t demonstrated the existence of either any ‘gods’ nor ‘demons’.

          Start there, THEN go writing your juvenile fanfic.

          (Also, see Mark Twain’s “Letters From The Earth” for a master class in ‘god’ fanfic.)

        • Greg G.

          Please don’t provoke Pippi Longstockings into another binge of sock puppetry.

        • Only reason I can think of is that it was put as a deliberate challenge for them to overcome to make them better people. Which, now I think about it, is quite consistent with some parts of Bible. And at a personal level it’s the only real antidote against apathy (e.g. “Why don’t we just curl in a ball in the corner and wait for the will of God to manifest itself”?)

        • Lark62

          Mother Teresa believed god delights in the suffering of the poor, so her hospitals did (and still do?) as little as possible to ease pain. Dull needles, aspirin in lieu of morphine for cancer patients, etc.

          Of course, when she got sick, she realized her god delighted in wealthy nuns seeking care at the best hospitals in Europe and the US. What a nice god.

      • Kodie

        It’s pretty clear. I will occasionally question them whether god needed Hitler. All that suffering and stuff had to have a reason, making Hitler god’s favorite agent.

    • Jim Jones

      > The universe would be much-much smaller.

      We don’t need the rest of the universe outside the solar system. We can’t even get to it, so it’s all pointless to our species unless we redesign our DNA.

      A better version would be half a dozen planets in the same orbit so we could populate them one after another. And they should all be much more human friendly, with less mountains and deserts etc. and more habitable land.

      And key lime cheesecake trees.

      • Kevin K

        Exactly. Not to mention wine-trees.

      • al kimeea

        cheesecake trees, mmmmmmm

      • Greg G.

        Thanks. Now I have an earworm of Louis Armstrong singing “Chessecake” and a tongue worm for key lime cheesecake.

        EDIT: Not that I am complaining at all.

      • Kevin K

        I was thinking of this last night … just how much of the universe is superfluous. And the closest I can come mathematically is 100%. Because of the vastness of the universe and the extremely tiny bit of it that is necessary for human existence, it’s within a rounding of sextillionths of a percent or so.

        The sun, the moon (tidal forces being important), Jupiter (because it keeps us in a relatively circular orbit). That’s it. Everything else is superfluous.

        • Kodie

          I didn’t know that about Jupiter before I made an earlier comment specifically mentioning Jupiter. I would say everything is superfluous. The universe doesn’t need us. We worry about extinction of animals because they’re neat. We don’t worry about extinction because it would fuck up the ecosystem. I’m not saying extinction is cool whatsoever – animals that go extinct because of humans is totally fucked up. We fucked up their ecosystem by hunting them for kicks, for example rhinos and elephants are killed for sport and for useless items. If we chopped down trees making owls go extinct, I get that our species prefers certain materials…. it is almost like we think of owls as inhabiting our space, our trees that we need, not ever thinking human indulgence is necessarily imposing on other species. That’s not everything, but what I mean is we’re the termites eating the homes of other species as we wish. Try to think that’s just the way it goes. Some people are horrified when I compare humans to lowly pest insects, but we have to be stupid not to notice how closely related we are to pests of the earth.

        • Kevin K

          We’re an infestation, that’s for sure. Especially Republicans.

    • Siwy

      There is no evidence to believe your opinion. Why not provide some.

      • Kevin K

        My opinion is not a positive affirmation. You lose. How about you fuck off?

        • Jim Jones

          Report it. https://disqus.com/by/disqus_Luxx4eZqHg/ : Three dots by username.

        • Kevin K

          Meh. It’s not important enough to bother with. Just a pissant theist who complains that I’m trying to make it actually think.

        • Jim Jones

          I think it’s 14 years old and thinks it’s clever.

        • Isiwon

          At 14 years you thought of yourself as being smart and you became
          a fool by becoming an atheist and you have remained a fool after 40. Your on-going
          stupidity makes you to fail to realize that other 14 year old who are clever,
          have not followed and will not follow your foolish atheist path. Which makes it
          obvious that your foolish decision at 14,was not due to your age, but was due
          to your inherent stupidity.

        • BlackMamba44

          Matthew 5:22 (NIV)
          22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[a][b] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[c] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. ~ Jesus

          You’re pissing off Jesus.

        • Isiwon

          But you moron are NOT my brother. So, you, in order to get yourself let off the hook, you are appealing to Jesus Christ, the same Jesus Christ whom you claim does not exist. Get out of here, you fool. Mind you, it is The Word of God that calls you a fool. Bear that label, until you come to yourself.
          Ps 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

        • BlackMamba44

          Where did I claim Jesus doesn’t exist?

          You got any evidence that the Word of God, is the Word of God?

        • Siwy

          You claim that your “opinion is not a positive affirmation.”
          I do not believe you, and in fact, I believe it is a positive affirmation. Why
          not provide a bit of evidence to support your claim. Lose? Because you said so?
          How about you reel off some evidence to support your assertions, and maybe you
          may be taken seriously.

        • Kevin K

          Really? “Taken seriously”? Who the fuck are you?

          Shove it up your ass.

        • Siwy

          No, sir, I refuse to do that. The only way you can be taken seriously by me is when you provide evidence to support your opinions. That, unfortunately for you, you have remained incapable of doing, and have predictably tried your hands at bullying tactic, which have also failed. I cannot be bullied. Evidence,sir?

        • Kevin K

          Evidence for what? It’s a thought experiment. How about you provide some thinking to the situation and describe why a God World would not be any different than I describe? Why malaria in a God World? Why rheumatoid arthritis? Why mass-fucking-murderers using mass-fucking-murder sticks?

          You can start by describing the ontology of the god you believe in (obviously). What does it consist of? Until you can answer that question … you got nothing.

        • Siwy

          It is not a thought experiment. It is what you believe. And for me to accept or believe your description of a “God World” as described by you, you must have to provide evidence that such a world exists and that you have actually seen it and that it conforms to your opinionated description. Until you do that,sir, I do not believe your opinion.

        • Kevin K

          Ah. The sea lion approach. Sad. Pathetic. Answer my question. What is the ontology of your god?

        • Siwy

          Sir, the issue is your opinionated description of a “God World”, which for lack of supporting evidence, I refuse to accept as anything other than your delusions. Try and stay focused on the issue, sir.

        • Kevin K

          No. We’ve gone beyond that. I acknowledged that my opinions are a thought experiment. Now, it’s up to YOU to provide a coherent ontology of your god to counter my thought experiment. Why should a God World include malaria and tuberculosis and childhood cancer and mass-fucking-murderers using mass-fucking-murder sticks? That runs absolutely counter to every attribute ever described for your god. Of course, it runs counter to every god ever described….

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/217197169c1e8dd2d442f4c01331ca44da3b86af4ec5efb193610e5573739e5e.jpg

        • viqube

          We have not gone beyond that, and your opinion is not a
          thought experiment. It is what you believe. And for me to accept or believe
          your description of a “God World” as described by you, you must have
          to provide evidence that such a world exists and that you have actually seen it
          and that it conforms to your opinionated description. Until you do that, sir, I
          do not believe your opinion.

          And sir, the issue is your opinionated description of a “God World”,
          which for lack of supporting evidence, I refuse to accept as anything other
          than your delusions. Try and stay focused on the issue, sir.

        • Kevin K
        • Tafe

          Plotting
          a graph alleged to be representative of the power of The God you claim not to
          exist, is clear evidence of your gross stupidity.

        • Otto

          God is so powerful he needs you to defend him

        • al kimeea

          it’s a metaphor

        • BlackMamba44

          The meme is a response to YOU, who thinks this “god” does exist.

          Your god is losing power….

        • awovuy-77

          Plotting
          a graph alleged to be representative of the power of The God you claim not to
          exist, is clear evidence of your gross stupidity.

        • BlackMamba44

          I don’t claim that Yahweh doesn’t exist.

          Got any evidence that it does?

        • viqube

          I see that the stone head idol epicurus who never has any
          real existence, is your god. You must be stupid to quote some monkey to me.

        • Kevin K

          Really? Flagged for being a sock puppet of a sock puppet.

        • Isiwon

          You self-deteriorated to less than a monkey, go ahead and keep on demonstrating the emptiness of your mind, you sub-moron.

        • Kevin K
        • epicurus

          Damn straight!

        • Steven Watson

          Why is some dude from a polytheistic culture at a time when Jews probably weren’t monolatrous themselves, let alone monotheists, supposedley jabbering about God? I’ve always found that attribution to Epicurus dubious.

    • Kodie

      Fine-tuning vs. WHY IS THERE JUPITER (for starters).

  • Theory_of_I

    If every child born after today had an identical port wine birthmark reading “Property of GOD” I might consider it a sign…

  • Jim Jones

    > Atheists, you demand that the Christians be open minded, but what about you? Are you open minded? What evidence would it take for you to say that God exists?

    First, I’d like a definition of ‘god’. So far, I have heard none from theists. (I have my own).

    Second, if ‘god’ created the universe, I’d like ‘it’ to do it again while I watch.

    • Michael Neville

      The Christian god is a geezer with a long, white beard who helps people find car keys, decides which high school teams win games, and has an unhealthy obsession with sex. Unless the Christian needs a different description to bolster an argument for existence of their favorite god.

      • Jim Jones

        My version:

        “God is the ego projection of the self styled believer in the supposed being — with added super powers”.

        It’s impossible to attribute any effect from such a ‘god’ outside of its effect on the self described follower so it is irrelevant to everyone else.

        • Siwy

          I see no evidence to believe you opinion, which I honestly find completely irrelevant.

        • Michael Neville

          Who cares what you find irrelevant? You haven’t given us any reason to consider your opinion to be worthwhile.

        • Otto

          And a lot of reasons to think it’s not…

        • Otto

          Brand new account…definite troll

        • Kevin K

          Yeah. It’s trying to sea lion. It’s pathetically inept.

        • Damien Priestly

          Was thinking it was JP — but even JP would not stoop to these lows !!

        • Kevin K

          TWO accounts in one night!!

        • ganilu

          You care. And it is you making unsubstantiated opinion which every reasonable man rightly rejects.

        • Kevin K

          Again…who the fuck are you, and why should we care about your 8-comment opinions? Who are you really? What banned account are you the zombie of?

        • viqube

          Ah– I know who you are. You are an intellectually weak idiot and an atheist. That makes you a fool.

        • Kevin K
        • viqube

          Is this monkey your pet? You must be stupid to quote a dead monkey to me. By the way, I do not think the monkey ever existed outside your putrid imagination.

        • Siwy in his short existence here has already crossed the line. He’s in timeout. Oh, dear.

        • Kevin K

          Chew toys are chewy.

        • viqube

          atheists
          are fools who have no argument and are intellectually weak.

        • Kevin K
        • viqube

          So posts the idiot who shoots out stupid unsubstantiated opinions, and the fool quotes some fictitious clown that never existed.

        • Kevin K
        • viqube

          atheists
          are fools who have no argument and are intellectually weak. atheists are fools who deserve one another

        • Kevin K

          It made a new account. It is very, very stupid.

        • OWUS

          But atheists are the ones who are stupid, so you are.

        • Damien Priestly

          Could it be JP with a new name? Or perhaps JP would not use the “F” word?

        • Kevin K

          It’s persistent. Whatever it is…

        • Max Doubt

          “Could it be JP with a new name?”

          I dunno. JP seems to be proud of being an idiot. This troll keeps changing identities like maybe he’s embarrassed of being an idiot.

        • eric

          Awww. He was up to like 7 sockpuppets.* I was curious as to just how many he’d produce.

          Kinda ironic that the poster who keeps insisting one person’s personal experience doesn’t trump other people’s experiences is the one making up fake people.

          *For the record; Siwy, Isiwon, ZudD, viqube, OWUS, ezommewa, ganilu, and Tafe. As far as I know.

        • BlackMamba44

          I just got here. So…Siwy has lots of friends!!

          EDIT: Split personalities maybe?

        • And he was giving us such valuable truths. I can see why he was persistent.

      • Siwy

        But
        you are the one talking here and giving descriptions, and not Christians. Makes
        one wonder: have you seen the “Christian God” before? But you are an atheist
        and supposedly have not seen the “Christian God” before. So how can you be so
        sure His being what you described? And why should anybody believe you or take
        you seriously.

        • Michael Neville

          You need to take your sarcasm detector to the shop, it needs calibration.

        • Siwy

          I do not think so, sir. Why should I take your word for it. If you want me to believe you or take you seriously, sir, you need to provide evidence to support your assertions, and honestly, you have completely failed to do so.

          Thanks.

        • Michael Neville

          Congratulations, you’ve successfully trolled me. You can brag to your friends (both of them) that you came to an atheist blog and trolled one of the atheists.

        • Siwy

          Until you provide evidence for the existence of the “friends(both of them), which you referred to, I am afraid I must have to accept your reference as evidence for the existence of delusion. Congratulations, sir.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m sorry, I thought that you might have friends. Accept my apologies for making that assumption. And the evidence that you’re friendless is you continuing to troll me. No, you won’t gain my friendship that way.

        • Kevin K

          I’m just going to meme it. Not worth the effort of typing.

        • Siwy

          Sir, the only evidence you keep on presenting turns out to be, unfortunately, the possible existence of delusion. You referred to “friends (both of them)”, but how that equates to being friendless or courting your friendship cannot be supported by evidence.

        • Kevin K
        • Doubting Thomas

          Apparently the word of the day in your “Vocabulary for the Mentally Challenged” was ‘Evidence.’ We’re all very impressed at your ability to understand the word as well as use it in a sentence. Here’s a gold star for your effort.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c68665f88032dc2e27adbd01442f4431a6506fb97ae81a9ac40a781f863ef126.jpg

        • Isiwon

          A sub-idiot that you are that doubts the reality of your non-human status, are surely mentally challenged. The star of fools is for you. At least you tried to appear human. But you can only be believed to be human when you provide supporting evidence, which you have not done.

        • BlackMamba44

          Here’s all his friends:
          ZudD
          Isiwon
          viqube
          OWUS
          Ezommewa

          But I haven’t gotten very far into the comments section. Are there more?

        • Kevin K
        • Kevin K
        • Kevin K

          No one has seen the Christian god, for the simple reason that it does not exist.

        • Siwy

          The only evidence is your admission that you have not seen the “Christian God” before, and thus I conclusively throw away your fanciful description of Him as your delusions that I do not take seriously. However, there is no evidence that no one has seen the “Christian God” before. You can only speak about your personal experiences, and not that of others. Therefore your opinion that “no one has seen the “Christian God” before, is rejected for lack of evidence.

        • Kevin K
        • viqube

          So
          posts the idiot who shoots out stupid unsubstantiated opinions.

        • Kevin K

          So … what is the ontology of your god? Whatcha got, stud?

          Oh right…nothing. You got nothing.

        • Joe

          If somebody has seen the Christian God, why are they keeping quiet about it?

          People make millions writing books about how they went to heaven (when it turns out they actually didn’t). So, who exactly has seen the Christian God, or any god for that matter?

        • ZudD

          You
          must be one of the dumbest of the dumb atheist fools. Here it is again. PROVIDE
          EVIDENCE.

          However, there is no evidence that no one has seen the “Christian
          God”

          before. You can only speak about your personal experiences, and not that

          of others. Therefore your opinion that “no one has seen the
          “Christian

          God” before, is rejected for lack of evidence.

        • Joe

          OK, so who has seen evidence the Christian god?

        • Isiwon

          However, there is no evidence that no one has seen the “Christian God”
          before. You can only speak about your personal experiences, and not that
          of others. Therefore your opinion that “no one has seen the “Christian
          God” before, is rejected for lack of evidence.

        • Michael Neville

          Sorry, asshole, but that’s not what Joe said. He asked if anyone had seen evidence for the Christian god. You got any evidence that the Christian god has been seen? Of course you don’t, you’re just sea lioning.

        • Isiwon

          Ass hole, is joe now speaking for you?
          But
          you are the one talking here and giving descriptions, and not Christians. Makes
          one wonder: have you seen the “Christian God” before? But you are an atheist
          and supposedly have not seen the “Christian God” before. So how can you be so
          sure His being what you described? And why should anybody believe you or take
          you seriously.

        • Michael Neville

          So, asshole, what’s your “Christian god” like? Be specific or admit you’re just being an asshole.

        • awovuy-77

          (I’m off my meds. Sorry!)

        • Ziffo

          You old cow ass hole, but you are the one talking here and giving
          descriptions, and not Christians. Makes

          one wonder: have you seen the “Christian God” before? But you are an atheist

          and supposedly have not seen the “Christian God” before. So how can you be so

          sure His being what you described? And why should anybody believe you or take

          you seriously.

        • Greg G.

          An atheist by not giving respect to his Creator, deserves
          all the insult I can give.

          Being insulted by you is like being barked at by a chihuahua. You don’t have the brain capacity to come up with a worthy insult.

        • BlackMamba44

          Noting that it’s iswon that’s has to do the insulting, not his Creator…

          Hmmm…

        • awovuy-77

          When you are insulting yourself enough by mating with cats, do you still need further insults.

        • BlackMamba44

          Good one!

        • BlackMamba44
        • Ziffo

          Of yourself, and definitely less than a regular monkey.

        • BlackMamba44

          Let me guess, you’re a Christian.

        • awovuy-77

          (Apologies for the previous posts! I wasn’t talking to you, just to the voices in my head.)

        • Ziffo

          My
          insults are worthy enough to send you foolish lots scampering to hit the ban
          button.

        • Greg G.

          Your insults are stale and excruciatingly boring. If you had clever insults, rather than boorish ones, you might be tolerable.

        • Joe

          If you reject my opinion,that would then mean that someone has seen the Christian God. Who?

        • Ziffo

          Go and doze off. Maybe you may try and make some sense when you awake from your usual drugged sleep.

        • Joe

          That wasn’t an answer.

          You’re making an absolute fool of yourself.

        • BlackMamba44

          Yep. Anyone that happens to come across this comment section will get to see a truly loving Christian…and its numerous sock puppets

        • Ziffo

          How can anybody see my comments when you intellectual and
          mental cowards keep on flagging and deleting them. You see, you are habitually
          wrong.

          Now, about “loving.” It is clear that you have always hugged
          your cats when you want love. You have made it clear you do not want God or Christians.
          Why then are you complaining and whining. Shove off.

        • BlackMamba44

          Flagged comments still show up. I just have to click on “show comment”. They don’t get deleted unless you delete them. Sorry, looks like you’re wrong.

          I do hug my cats when I want love. They love me and I love them. I also hug my man when I want love. My man also hugs me when he wants love. He loves me and I love him.

          Got any evidence for “God”?

          All I see here is evidence of Christians. Like the Christian I’m responding to.

          I’m surrounded by Christians. Friends and family. I want them all in my life and they want me in their life. But they are nothing like you. They’re more like Jesus.

        • Ziffo

          You are really a fool to think I care what you think about me. Now that you have a choice between me and Jesus Christ, you have been forced to acknowledge Christ’s love which you have all along despised and unappreciated and trodden under foot. If the love of Christ is disdained by you, I consider it a waste for me to even try to win you by showing love to you. I remain unsympathetic to you. Shove off and I am sure you may continue in your habit of hugging and making love to feline creatures. What a shame for a so-called woman.

        • BlackMamba44

          “win you by showing love to you”

          Bwhahahahahahaha!!!

          EDIT: Got any evidence for Jesus?

        • BlackMamba44

          EDIT: Oh wait, Bob edited your comment! Hahahaha!

          Thanks @BobSeidensticker!

        • God and I are changing this dude’s comments. The parentheses show which are which.

          My thought is that perhaps he’ll get tired if his comments aren’t staying.

        • BlackMamba44

          Blame wine and some anti-anxiety medication. (and in the middle of cooking dinner). But I did figure it out! 🙂

        • BlackMamba44

          I think this is funnier than banning then!

        • Greg G.

          You could do the Elmer Fudd filter or Pirate Translation or the Swedish Chef.

        • BlackMamba44

          I vote for Swedish chef. That would take some skill.

        • Ziffo

          You are wrong, as usual. You are the one who have made an absolute fool of yourself the moment you became an atheist.

        • Joe

          Yet you haven’t shown why.

          Or answered a simple question. You act like a child.

        • Greg G.

          If the male you call father is really your biological
          father, I’d like “it” to Fuck and impregnate your mother again while I watch.

          My father died a few months ago. You should apologize for your classless behavior.

        • Isiwon

          If your father was an atheist, then good riddance to bad
          rubbish, and I am saying it with classy behaviour.

          An atheist by not giving respect to his Creator, deserves
          all the insult I can give.

        • Kevin K

          Flagged for sock puppetry.

        • Ziffo

          What else can a frustrated sub-idiot that you are possibly do, other than your cowardly flagging and banning. Be a man and face the heat from me.

        • Heat? Like you’re going to dish out some heat. You’re a funny guy!

        • Bob Jase

          Apologists never actually apologise – that makes them double-liars.

        • MadScientist1023

          You seem a little confused on how evidence works. The person who claims something exists is the one who needs to provide evidence. You don’t get to just demand someone provide evidence something doesn’t exist.
          If I claim unicorns exist, I can’t demand you prove they don’t and declare victory when you can’t prove a negative. The fact that you can’t prove unicorns don’t exist doesn’t make them real.

    • Siwy

      Hey guy, I fancy your logic. So, I am gonna borrow it. Here
      goes. So far, I have not heard any definition of “father” from you. (I have my
      own definition)

      If the male you call father is really your biological
      father, I’d like “it” to Fuck and impregnate your mother again while I watch.

      Once I see that evidence, I should believe that the male you
      call father should be your biological father. Until then, I do not believe you.

      Thanks.

      • Otto

        We have tons of evidence fucking leads to offspring….now do that with God and universes.

        • Siwy

          “Tons of ‘evidence'” you said. But I only asked for one type of evidence I borrowed from his logic. It goes:

          If the male you call father is really your biological
          father, I’d like “it” to Fuck and impregnate your mother again while I watch.

          Once I see that evidence, I should believe that the male you
          call father should be your biological father. Until then, I do not believe you.
          So, let him kindly provide it, ‘sir’.

        • Otto

          Virgin conception it is then.

        • Kevin K

          Flagged for being an asshole.

        • Doubting Thomas

          You have to keep in mind that this person most likely received the Christian version of sex ed. The connection between fucking and children probably wasn’t included.

        • Otto

          Well…there is that

      • Greg G.

        How do you know you were born? Were you there?

        • Siwy

          Hey guy, I fancy your logic. So, I am gonna borrow it. Here
          goes. So far, I have not heard any definition of “father” from you. (I have my
          own definition)

          If the male you call father is really your biological
          father, I’d like “it” to Fuck and impregnate your mother again while I watch.

          Once I see that evidence, I should believe that the male you
          call father should be your biological father. Until then, I do not believe you.

          Thanks.

        • Kevin K
        • Someone just learned some naughty words and is going to try them out. Fun!

        • Kevin K

          It is a bit early for 8th graders to be on spring break, isn’t it?

        • Lark62

          I have an 8th grader. He isn’t that dumb.

        • Kodie

          If he’s in Massachusetts, schools get a full week off in February and another full week in April. It’s like a fucking religion.

        • epicurus

          Make a rule that anyone can curse and swear as much as they want, but it has to be in Sanskrit.

        • Damien Priestly

          Actually video recording sex and matching it to the conception of a child is a real thing. People are doing it to show their kids how they came to be…at a later age appropriate time.

          Hear that Siwy? Maybe God can do the same for us?

        • That’s kind of an invocation of rule 34.

        • Otto

          Wow, this made me think of some really inappropriate jokes, even for here.

          And Dad said…’This is where…’

  • Brian Davis

    Sufficiently advanced aliens could dupe us into imagining the supernatural when we were just seeing technology.

    This would give us more reason to worship the aliens than we have for worshiping the Christian god.

    • Michael Neville

      Just because advanced aliens exist would not be reason to worship them. If I was convinced that the Christian god exists I’d still have no reason to worship the sadistic, narcissistic bully described in the Christian propaganda.

      • Glad2BGodless

        I, for one, welcome our new Ant Overlords!

    • Kevin K

      Well that’s true, because there would then be evidence that something is working in the world. After that, it’s a matter of attribution. Of course, an all-natural alien explanation is far-more likely than a supernatural/godly explanation.

      Bayesean logic does not favor the theist.

  • Zeropoint

    What would convince me? Well, I’ll tell you the field test I’ve already given to at least one set of Christians: my eyes.

    You see, I have both myopia and astigmatism, so I need glasses. It’s not too bad; I can function without them and my glasses bring me back to 20/20 vision . . . but there IS a defect. So the test is simple: if the Christians can pray to their god for miraculous healing of my eyes, *and then my eyes spontaneously gain perfect uncorrected 20/20 vision with no medical intervention*, then I’ll conclude that their beliefs are at least worth investigating further. Spoiler alert: the one time that the Christians had the guts to try it, nothing happened.

    When I’m feeling more flippant, I just point out that a cleric of any real god should at least be able to cast Cure Light Wounds; it’s a level one spell. If they can’t heal a small cut on the spot, their god isn’t worth much.

    • Joe

      When I’m feeling more flippant, I just point out that a cleric of any real god should at least be able to cast Cure Light Wounds; it’s a level one spell. If they can’t heal a small cut on the spot, their god isn’t worth much.

      That’s one thing I like to bring up when debating theists: There may in fact be nothing that could convince me, but the god isn’t even trying.

    • epicurus

      Funny how Jesus said his followers would be able to move mountains, but if you comment how wimpy many of their miracles are, you are met with distain like you are some unsophisticated rube, or that asking for a big miracle is testing God, or that you wouldn’t believe even if the big miracle happend, or occasionally, that Jesus was referring only to the disciples. In two thousand years a mountain has never been moved.

      • Jim Jones

        > In two thousand years a mountain has never been moved.

        In two thousand years a mustard seed has never been moved.

        • Lark62

          Years ago, I had a pet rock that could be trained to play dead, roll over and attack. I expect the same method could be used to train a mustard seed to move. ☺

      • Lark62

        Actually, after the 2011 Japan earthquake, the entire island of Japan moved 8 feet closer to the US. That moved some mountains, but I’m pretty sure tectonic forces are more powerful than middle eastern war gods.

        • epicurus

          And of course no one was praying for it to happen

        • epicurus

          That we know of – Hah!

    • Lucy

      I too figured that if God can heal things, it should be no trouble at all for him to heal simple cuts or cutter’s scars, right before an audience’s eyes. If only as a sign to show he exists. you know, sort of the way he supposedly shows Gideon that he is for real. But with a much more obvious sign.

    • al kimeea

      I have both myopia and astigmatism.

      Me too. And glaucoma and a developing cataract in one eye.

      I went to a Temple of Ophthalmology and one of their shaman performed a ritual with a Holy Relic and miraculously the glaucoma is healed!!

      A buddy has had a glass eye since he was old enough to be fitted with one. Have all the holiest of holys from all faiths pray to their various imaginary friends and have buddy’s eye become flesh. Only through prayer, no useless surgery.

      If buddy were to call me the next day to spread the good news, I’d have to admit the imaginary friend isn’t imaginary.

      Still wouldn’t worship it.

    • D Rieder

      Like your DnD reference. Never thought of it that way, but true. At least give me a level one spell, please.

  • Otto

    The Bible says that the many people did miracles in God’s name. How about if we saw that from current followers of whatever religion, and it could be demonstrated that only people from that religion could do them and they were able to repeatedly do them over and over even in controlled circumstances. I may not immediately think that their God was real but I would at least start to wonder. How about if a certain sect went from Children’s hospital to Children’s hospital across the country and cured every child of their affliction, wouldn’t that lead us to think maybe something is special about their religion?

    • Kevin K

      I had a similar thought. That if a certain religion were “true”, then the magical healing that it promises would occur — but only to true believers. Everyone else would need those hospitals … true believers, never.

      That’s why I find the “miracle” claims at places like Lourdes to be unconvincing, FWIW. Because if the place was a “real” place of healing, for those special Catholics who believed in the Catholic doctrines, then there would be a 100% “hit” rate of healing for the believers and a 0% hit rate for the non-believers who might just show up and try to fake it.

      Instead, we get a rate of “miracles” at about 1 in 500,000 — which is about the rate of the recorded rate of spontaneous remission of Stage IV (ie, incurable) brain cancer.

    • epicurus

      If all these faith healers really gave a crap (and really could heal) they would be going to every hospital and nursing home in the land doing God’s work.

    • TheNuszAbides

      and it could be demonstrated that only people from that religion could do them

      excellent point. tapping into Special Powers that are available to someone outside The Correct Followers isn’t evidence for supernatural sponsorship in the slightest.

  • Kevin K

    Flagged again for being an insufferable douche-nozzle.

  • Doubting Thomas

    You do seem determined to watch a dude fuck someone. You are aware that this type of video is readily available on the internet? Go watch ’til your heart’s content.

    • Kevin K

      It does seem obsessed with certain — bodily functions. One might wonder why … but the answer might be, well … disgusting.

  • Tommy

    1. If we live in a world with a God, then there wouldn’t be any apologists.
    2.) There are apologists.
    3.) Therefore, we live in a world without a God.

    Checkmate, theists!

    • Kevin K

      That actually is 100% accurate and true.

    • Joe

      I don’t know of any other ontologically real entity for which we need apologists. Only supposedly the greatest, most obvious being ever. How odd.

      • Kevin K

        Exactly so. We only need apologists for gods, demons, angels, fairies, huldenfolke, and such things as Big Foot and aliens who stick probes up our butts.

      • Mark Hudson

        Apologist could be any field, defending any ideology or worldview, secular or theistic. Many here on this website are apologists for naturalism/materialism as the only credible worldview.

        • Joe

          I’m not an apologist for Naturalism. I am a naturalist.

          Could you furnish me with an example for somebody being an apologist for an ontologically real (by that, I mean a physical “thing”) that requires an apologist?

        • Greg G.

          naturalism/materialism as the only credible worldview

          It is the only worldview with a method for distinguishing reality from imagination. Any appeal to the supernatural eliminates the ability to distinguish the supernatural from imagination. It is the whole purpose of the supernatural. The supernatural is an excuse to believe in things and protect them from scrutiny.

    • Uh oh. I think someone will find himself in an end-of-post quote soon. I hope you can handle the adulation–I hear it’s intense.

      • Kevin K

        Agree 100%. It’s TIME!!

    • Otto

      You ever notice all the debates among the different Christian apologists proving their flavor of Christianity are true and the others are false?

      …yeah me either

      • Doubting Thomas

        You ever seen that apologist that discovered the argument that disproves god?

        …..yeah, me neither.

        • D Rieder

          Well, I saw an apologist who realized over the course of years that there was no longer a basis to believe there was a god. He’s an atheist now.

      • Chuck Johnson

        But they are all metaphorically true.
        Peace be upon you, Brother Otto.

      • TheNuszAbides

        well, there’s the Presup equivalent, which pretty much amounts to “why do you keep hitting yourself?”

      • Mark Hudson

        Different flavors of ice cream is certainly proof that ice cream does not exist. A disagreement – since when does that prove both sides are wrong?

        • Otto

          Who said anything about both sides being wrong? What I find interesting is they have no interest is debating each other and arguing that they are actually right!

        • Greg G.

          There are over 45,000 different denominations of Christianity. At most, one is right and all the others are wrong, but there is nothing that sets that one apart from the others.

          Nothing should be able to imitate a real religion with a real divine deity. If an eternity of torture is riding on it, the deity would deserve it.

        • Kodie

          Why does every religious person feel so strongly that their version is correct? How can that happen if they are not real? How sure are you that your perceptions are more accurate than someone else’s? Come on, this is so easy, it’s right in front of your face. I can’t believe your weak typical Christian evasiveness.

    • Glad2BGodless

      I saw your comment quoted at the end of part two! Snazzy!

      • Susan

        Snazzy!

        Pretty darned good.

        He`s no Han Solo but pretty darned good.

        🙂

        • Glad2BGodless

          Han Solo! Pffft!

          Ideally, I would say his name in the manner of Jerry Seinfeld greeting the mailman Neuman.

        • Michael Neville

          You sound like one of those people who think Han didn’t shoot first.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Oh, he shot first. That would be just like him.

  • Kevin K

    1. THREE socks in one night? That has to be a new sock puppet record. Maybe you should reconsider your hobby.

    2. “Self-deteriorated”? I can speak with some confidence as a life-long speaker of the English language and as someone who has written professionally for more than 40 years — that’s actually not a word.

    • Hat trick!

      • Kevin K

        It’s up to four now…maybe 5.

    • Ezommewa

      That
      makes you a fool at more than 40. You are indeed a typical atheist fool.

      • Kevin K

        Matthew 5:22. You just consigned yourself to hell. Nice going, stud.

        • Ziffo

          Nope, you idiot got it wrong. It is you that have long consigned yourself to hell. You are an atheist, and thus not my brother, you ignorant fool.

    • Glad2BGodless

      ROFLMFAO

  • Robert Landbeck

    Religion and their theological claims may have embedded themselves in culture and history, but that the existing faith paradigm offers no path to the discovery of direct evidence of G-d simply means ‘they’ have nothing to do with G-d. And it is certainly contrary to much in the scriptural record that suggests something much more profound. As I presume there is a G-d, I’m certain that reality will have the ‘last’ laugh on both religious and atheist alike. If for no other purpose then to expose the intellectual corruption of the spiritual conception retailed to a gullible world.

    • eric

      If you’re saying there’s a God but he’s nothing like how mainstream religion portrays him…you *do* realize that mainstream religion often portrays him as loving, caring, merciful, right?

      “He’s nothing like the forgiving, wants-everyone-to-go-to-heaven dude you think he is!” doesn’t exactly fill me with comfort. There’s a lot of sci-fi and fantasy stories where a God appears and turns out to be nothing like what his worshippers expected. Most of the time those scenes end with mass carnage and people getting eaten.

      • Robert Landbeck

        The mainstream portrayal of G-d is wholly in error. For it begins with the assumption that we exist in the ‘image and likeness’ as children of God. That ‘condition’ was lost at the Fall and never recovered. Those ‘attributes of grace’ only become genuine after a return to the moral conception, ‘as in the beginning’ that was revealed at the first Incarnation but then lost through disobedience. G-d has yet to begin his final epochal event. Until that begins, everything is fantasy and chasing after wind. For natural reason, while it remains in a Fallen state, has no competence or wisdom for comprehending the mind of G-d.

        • Kevin K

          Your god’s name isn’t God, so you can feel free to drop the inane G-d thing.

          As to the rest — evidence required.

        • Robert Landbeck

          “evidence required” that is exactly my point. And true revelation from God shouldn’t be subject to two thousand years of theological argument, disagreement, schism, blood and war, but should offer the path of faith that delivers such conclusive and definitive evidence, called proof! And that is what begins true religion.

        • Kevin K

          “True religion”? You mean like thetans infecting humans?

          You’re missing the point entirely. There is no “true” religion. All religions are false. Relying on an external “other” that imposes moral standards instead of coming to them via consensus and culture is a perniciously evil concept.

          And the evidence on the ground demonstrates that. The most-religious cultures are the least moral (from my Western eyes), while the least religious cultures are the most moral. What do you make of the completely non-religious cultures of Scandinavia and their humanist values — universal health care, education, family-work-life balance, etc.? Their moral values ignore the demands of the witch doctors throwing their bones.

          You’re offering a way backwards to the Inquisition and the Witch Trials. No thanks. I’m quite sure I have no need of such things.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I hate those fucking Thetans!

        • Otto

          That was a great Star Trek episode where they made the space web though.

        • Robert Landbeck

          First of all I’m not offering any way to anywhere. I’m just speculating like yourself and everyone else that is part of this discussion. But we are in complete agreement: ‘There is no “true” religion. All religions are false.’ Why that is the case is where we part company. It is only when one begins the tedious job of deconstructing tradition that many missing parts present themselves and raise new questions.

        • Lark62

          Your speculations are unsupported by one thread of evidence and are total nonsense.

          Everything you are saying you either made up or borrowed from other equally made up religions. But that’s okay. You’re in good company. That’s exactly how Paul created christianity.

        • Robert Landbeck

          Speculations don’t need to be supported by evidence. By their very nature they are but imaginings. The beginning of a thread of thought, inquiry or reflection that may or may not precede to something more interesting.

        • Lark62

          But your speculations are not now and never will be supported by evidence. It’s just make believe.

          I speculate there is a deity. She hates groveling and is royally pissed when people disrespect her creation. Religion was created as a test. Anyone who thinks the bible contains wisdom is banished to hell to watch golf on tv for eternity. Anyone who doubts evolution or climate change will join them.

          Or maybe I’ll speculate the tooth fairy is real. That’s why paleontologists are always finding teeth.

          Or maybe we could keep this up all day, and vote at the end for most creative, most horrific, and most desirable.

          Make believe would still be make believe.

        • Robert Landbeck

          My position is simply that if there is a God, which you don’t accept, like any other known reality, there should be a proof. Like evolution, paleontology and climate change, evidence is demanded to substantiate and confirm ones position and hold on reality. Such direct evidence of God obviously doesn’t exist. To say that it never will is where we part company. But being “banished to hell to watch golf on tv for eternity” should turn anyone into a believer. (-:

        • Lark62

          We currently have evidence for evolution, paleontology and climate change.

          We currently have evidence that deities worshipped by humans disappear when their worshippers die out and possess only the wisdom, knowledge and morality of their believers. Example – Yahweh seemed quite unaware that microbes exist and was chill with the enslaving and raping of war captives. He apparently created bats without realizing they are mammals not birds. This is a clear indication that the believers created the deity, not the other way around.

          In 10,000 years of recorded human history, no supernatural being worshipped by humans has been shown to be real.

          While hundreds or thousands of supernatural beliefs have been replaced by natural explanations – earthquakes, lightning, disease, etc., not one natural explanation has been replaced by a supernatural one. Ever.

          This is more than enough evidence that the only reasonable speculation is that deities are make believe, created by man.

          Until you have evidence that anything supernatural exists, believing in the supernatural is ignorant.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i wouldn’t call that good company …

        • Lark62

          Details, details …

        • Otto

          >>>”God shouldn’t be subject to two thousand years of theological argument”

          And yet much of what you have expressed comes from exactly that.

        • Robert Landbeck

          You are correct. this conversation is part of the problem because there is no absolute knowledge being offered that would resolve the issue once and for all. My question is whether or not such absolute knowledge of God ever existed or was revealed. And I have come to the opinion, contrary to most of history, that such potential may indeed be the case. It just remains to be discovered and or revealed again.

        • Otto

          And you contradict yourself in doing so.

          If God wanted me to believe he knows what it would take, that should tell you something.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Gods always share the neurotic obsessions of their believers. Just a coincidence, probably.

        • Lark62

          Gods also hate all the same people as their believers.

          And gods always gloss over sins their believers are likely to commit but get their undies in a twist over sins more common among non believers. If something woukd inconvenience a believer, it isn’t really a sin. If something allows a believer to inconvenience someone else, god is all over it.

          Honor the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11)
          Do not divorce (Matthew 5:31-32)
          Do not flaunt your prayers or pray in public (Matthew 6:5-6)
          Do not get an abortion (no bible reference)
          Do not enter into a committed long term relationship with a person of the same gender (no bible reference)

          Who can figure out which commands tots for sure matter more than anything to the magic deity and which ones are no big deal?

        • Greg G.

          Maybe all the portrayals of God are wrong. Maybe he doesn’t provide evidence of his existence because he doesn’t need people to believe in him. Maybe he prefers it that way. Maybe he will be damning all of those who believe in him despite the perfect lack of evidence, especially those who accuse him of doing the things in Genesis.

        • eric

          Or maybe proclaiming “they’re all wrong!” is simply the rhetorical equivalent of a clickbait headline.

        • Robert Landbeck

          Lots of maybe’s and that’s the problem. There must be a difference between a true revelation and the theological ‘counterfeit’ of tradition upon which we project our phantasies and speculations about G-d. And if there is a G-d, that is the only reality that can sort of the intellectual confusion of history. I suspect that is the purpose of a second coming. But I don’t expect anyone to be pleased when it happens.

        • Greg G.

          The lots of “Maybe” was intentional. If a God was going to damn anyone gullible enough to believe without evidence, I wouldn’t want to say “fer shur”.

          One thing for certain is that no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent exist. Suffering exists. A being that allowed unnecessary suffering would either be less than powerful enough to eliminate (not omnipotent) or it would intentionally allow unnecessary suffering (not benevolent).

          Is all suffering necessary? To be necessary, it must achieve some purpose that is logically possible to achieve. If the purpose is logically possible to achieve, the omnipotent being could achieve that purpose with or without the suffering, which means the suffering is unnecessary. If suffering can do something that is logically possible to do that the being cannot do, then the being is not omnipotent. If the being allows the suffering to occur, it is not omnibenevolent.

        • Robert Landbeck

          If there is one thing clear, I have to doubt that God is subject to the limitations of human logic. And I have to take issue with your presumption that “no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent exist.” That we exist in perfect ignorance of such a reality maybe closer to the mark. I think the question to ask ones self is if the means to over come suffering and ‘evil’ were ever to be revealed, how would one respond? With the prejudice and bias that all ‘opinions’ represent or with the integrity of mind to discover what might in fact be true?

        • Greg G.

          I have to doubt that God is subject to the limitations of human logic.

          What is “human logic” but a way to think clearly? If we cannot think clearly about God, how can we talk about him at all. If “omnipotence” does not mean at least the ability to do everything that is logically possible, what does it mean? Why do you give that attribute to God. If we cannot understand the term “omnibenevolence”, how can you say that about God. If we cannot use words with clear definitions, how can you say anything about God? You then cannot say he is loving, just, or merciful. They become meaningless platitudes. If you cannot say that God is good in a meaningful way, are you sure it is a good idea to spend eternity with him? Either God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent in the way we understand or Christians have been lying.

          And I have to take issue with your presumption that “no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent exist.”

          I presented the argument that concluded that no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent exists. If your god is not omnipotent or not omnibenevolent, then the argument does not apply to your god, but why call it a god and worship it?

          That we exist in perfect ignorance of such a reality maybe closer to the mark.

          But it is not perfect ignorance. We can know that there is no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent from the definitions of the words and the fact that suffering exists.

          I think the question to ask ones self is if the means to over come suffering and ‘evil’ were ever to be revealed, how would one respond?

          No, that is not a reasonable question because the answer is imbedded in the definition of “omnipotent”. If there is a purpose to suffering that your god cannot achieve, then you can only say your god is at best almost omnipotent, which means not omnipotent.

          With the prejudice and bias that all ‘opinions’ represent or with the integrity of mind to discover what might in fact be true?

          We are following simple logic from the definitions of two words that are clearly defined. It usually takes a Christian many tries to think this through because the cognitive dissonance keeps shutting down the thought processes, and they punt to “mysterious ways” (as you have done) or “free will” or some such. When you think of some excuse to ignore it, think it through in those terms. If the Problem of Suffering doesn’t keep you up at night, you have not thought it through.

          If the god-thingy cannot do anything and everything that suffering can do, then it is not omnipotent because there is at least one thing it cannot do. So anything that results from suffering can be done by god-thingy with or without the suffering, the suffering is unnecessary. If the god-thingy chooses to inflict the suffering for ineffable reasons, then it is sadistic and not benevolent. If the god-thingy is indifferent to suffering, then it is still not omnibenevolent. If the god-thingy cannot relieve an ache or a pain as well as aspirin, it is far from omnipotent, or it is petty and far from omnibenevolent.

          The god-thingy could be omnibenevolent but not omnipotent but then it is just a thingy. I had a dog like that.

          The god-thingy could be omnipotent but not omnibenevolent. which means it is capricious. It could be a god but it would be impossible to worship in a meaningful way as it could punish or reward you no matter what you did.

          The god-thingy could be neither omnipotent nor omnibenevolent, but that describes many ordinary beings.

          Your G-d is an imaginary being so you can spell it with a vowel so you look less pretentious.

        • Robert Landbeck

          Human logic is not a way to think clearly but an attempt to think clearly. And all reason and logic is subject to and inflected by ones prejudices and bias. There is no ‘pure’ reason. If logic was immutable, we would hold the key to all understanding but that is not the case. There is no clear thinking about God as there is no proof nor does our species have any demonstrable access to God. There is only the scriptural record and the attempt to interpret that material has been one of, if not the most divisive and bloody enterprises in history.

        • There is only the scriptural record and the attempt to interpret that material has been one of, if not the most divisive and bloody enterprises in history.

          And yet you’re still optimistic that you can find something useful in Christian scripture?

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’ll go with the muddled ‘judeochristian’ amalgam … his specific references don’t seem to get past Eden. (‘incarnation’ and ‘second coming’ being couched far more vaguely than the others, which isn’t saying much of course)

        • TheNuszAbides

          if “human logic” (as a concept, not as practiced by any particular imperfectly-rational individual) is so limited, what does “integrity of mind” even begin to mean?

          perfect ignorance of such a reality

          if the ignorance has no flaw then of course it would require supernatural intervention to penetrate. how convenient for your nonsensical musings.

          if the means to over come suffering and ‘evil’ were ever to be revealed, how would one respond?

          by questioning the ‘integrity’ of the revealer, considering that some people have actually put in effort throughout history to ask pertinent questions about overcoming suffering/evil rather than waiting for a fucking ‘revelation’.

        • Robert Landbeck

          And what if that ‘means’ revealed were fully testable in accordance with all evidence based, enlightenment criteria? Do you ‘shoot’ the revealer or test the revealed means for efficacy?

        • TheNuszAbides

          how far down your slippery slope is The Proper Time for the revealer to get off its ass and help us? if it’s somehow essential to The Plot for the outlook to become even more bleak before The Cure can/will be put on display, thus vindicating your counter-current-wisdom swim club of one (or have you been conservatively salting your remarks with subtle allusion to any other like-minded person(s)?), why even be worried that there is a slippery slope? if human logic is so pathetic that we require a transcendent agency to escape a seemingly inevitable self-extinction, but this imagined First Law will be so obvious once it’s revealed, why have any concerns in the meantime? perhaps to be rewarded for making an effort? how about the principle that “should be self-evident” that making an effort is simply appropriate? do you think ‘the scriptural record’ has a few nuggets of insight that will make profound sense in light of ‘the first law’? and that that notion is anything other than banal pattern recognition?

          once upon a time someone wanted a better outcome. wow. stop the presses.

        • eric

          So the Christian portrayal of God is wholly in error…except for the fall…and a concept of grace…and the notion that humans are disobedient…and the prediction of an apocalypse….and saying science can’t comprehend God.

          Got it. Is there any other bit of mainstream Christianity you want to claim is wholly in error while espousing as true?

        • Kevin K

          Not only science … no one can comprehend the mind of Dog. Which makes you wonder, how come preachers know exactly what it wants?

        • Robert Landbeck

          Everything is in error. Even the fall is suspect until we know three things that have have been missing from all of Christology. What was the first command or Law given unto Adam, what was the nature of the ‘spiritual union’ that maintained Adam’s access to God and what exactly were the consequences of the Fall. Observing the self evident moral limitations of our species, together with an overwhelmingly dominant materialism, is to regard human nature itself, under an evolutionary paradigm as part of that Fall.

        • Kevin K

          There was no “Adam”. That’s a myth. So, everything else in your theology fails on that basis.

          Join the 21st Century. It’s nice here. We have pie.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I don’t know if we can say it’s nice… we also have Trump (and his supporters).

        • TheNuszAbides

          good point. pie can take my mind off some of the worst, but it sure can’t actually make any of it go away.

        • Sharon Horton

          And we have pi. Even better!

        • Greg G.

          They have pi but ours is 0.141592+ greater.

        • Robert Landbeck

          As the 21st century seems heading down the slippery slope towards it’s own self made hell, I’m prepared to consider any solution coming from anywhere if it works that might see our species change course.

        • Kevin K

          And your solution is to impose your moral values on the entire world? That’s some kind of megalomania you got there, Skippy.

        • Robert Landbeck

          Now you’re both dishonest and offensive. I have made no claim or suggestion in any comment, nor would I, that I have any particular moral values to impose on anybody. If you can’t do better that, why not find another conversation.

        • Kevin K

          Skippy, you’re the one coming on an atheist blog and spouting perfect nonsense. Seems to me you’re the one whose clock has run out.

        • TheNuszAbides

          As the 21st century seems …

          in some remarkable way that the 20th didn’t?

          I’m prepared to consider any solution coming from anywhere if it works

          if “it works” (however you might determine that from a vantage of “consideration”) then indeed what is there to “consider”? why not commit in advance to jumping in feet first?

        • Robert Landbeck

          Done. If it works I’m prepared to jump in feet first.

        • TheNuszAbides

          again, what’s so special about the 21st century specifically?

        • Glad2BGodless

          When you say everything is in error, does that include your statement that everything is in error?

          Oooo. I just got a little frisson! No wonder apologists love to say stuff like that.

        • Robert Landbeck

          I’m not providing any alternative, so my statement is only my own speculation. Whether it hold any validity, history will have to decide.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Yeah. I figure history is waiting to weigh in on all my message board comments, too.

        • Robert Landbeck

          Just don’t hold your breath waiting. (-;

        • Glad2BGodless

          Time alone will tell.

        • TheNuszAbides

          what does being free of “moral limitations” look like?

        • Robert Landbeck

          That’s a good question. If our current moral limitations maintain the existing ‘status quo’ of war, conflict, environmental degradation, injustice, extremes of wealth disparity, etc etc, then to be free of ‘those’ limitations would require an unknown moral advance in human understanding together with the integrity to sustain that understanding. Thus ending the ‘status quo’.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I regret that I have but one upvote to give for this comment.

        • Otto

          I’m certain that reality will have the ‘last’ laugh on both religious and atheist alike.

          Reality already has had the last laugh on the claim that there was a ‘fall of man’.

        • Robert Landbeck

          It should be self evident that human nature itself is limited by evolution as to the moral content of the cultural construct that is possible. When I think of the ‘Fall’ it is to reflect on the limitations of our species that have left us with perpetual war and conflict, extremes of rich and poor, an environmental crisis that may be leading us to a sixth mass extinction including us! How long a list would your like? Thus the only purpose for ‘religion,’ as far as I am concerned is to advance human moral progress. And neither existing religious traditions, scientism, atheism or humanism offer any means to such ends.

        • Otto

          Yeah…that isn’t what the ‘Fall of man’ is about. Sure you can try and shoehorn the whole thing into a metaphor…but that only kinda works. A ‘fall’ implies humans were much closer to perfection (God) at one time than we are now. There is no reason to think that is the case and a lot of reasons to think it isn’t. I really don’t think you believe it as a metaphor anyway per your use of ‘G-d’. Religion is a tool…ok fine.. but to say that ‘tool’ only has one purpose, or use, is ignoring a whole lot of evidence to the contrary.

        • Robert Landbeck

          “that isn’t what the ‘Fall of man’ is about” I am inclined to think otherwise. “A ‘fall’ implies humans were much closer to perfection” at least on a moral/spiritual level which are probably the samething. It is one of several great missing links of Christian/Judeo tradition that not only don’t we know anything about the first law and command from which Adam ‘Fell’, nor the nature of the ‘spiritual union’ with eve nor a clear idea of the consequences of their actions. Not knowing such things makes all religious claims nonsense.

        • Otto

          No…we don’t know there was a first law or command at all, and there was no ‘Adam’, nor a ‘spiritual union’, or consequences. Claiming there was is nonsense, unless you have evidence of such things.

        • Robert Landbeck

          You are of course welcome to what ever you wish to believe. I am only speculating on the potential that such evidences may yet be possible. And should they ever be revealed, having an open mind rather than one prisoner to prejudice and bias, may be an advantage.

        • Otto

          Sounds like Pascal’s wager. We all discussed that last post.

          Should some unlikely evidence come about that would point to such a possibility, I will change my mind at that point.

        • Kevin K

          Again … evidence fucking required. History is about the banality of genocide, the ordinariness of slavery, the commonness of patriarchy and sexism.

          My guess is that you haven’t read Pinker and wouldn’t understand him if you did. But I suggest you try. Your argument is 180 degrees opposite of the evidence.

          Next post, show me the evidence for your baseless assertions.

        • Robert Landbeck

          Pinker lives in a self publicizing bubble of his own making. You might better consider why the ‘Doomsday Clock’, that measure of risk considered by atomic scientists and Noble laureates, has moved the hands to two minutes to midnight?

        • Kevin K

          Religion is the worst method possible to “advance human moral progress”. Why? Because it depends on believing a lie. That lie being that there is some “other” thing out there that will punish us for all eternity unless we kowtow to its own strict moral code — which changes depending on which religion you’re talking about.

          Whenever theists of your stripe bring up the moral argument for religion, I like to offer the following.

          Religions can’t even agree on the status of the bacon cheeseburger, and yet we’re to understand that your particular religious cult is the correct one? No. That’s not how it works. You get together with the Jews (cheese/bacon), Muslims (bacon), Hindu (beef), Buddhists (beef/bacon), and Jains (beef, bacon, cheese) and decide which components of the bacon cheeseburger we’re allowed to eat and which we’re not. Until then, religionists have absolutely zero right to assert their moral code is the correct one.

          This is even before we get to such nonsensical stuff as the existence of god(s) who will reward or punish us on the basis of whether we eat the whole thing or eat only the bun and the lettuce.

        • Robert Landbeck

          You have misunderstood me. I completely agree with you. “Religion is the worst method possible to “advance human moral progress”. Why? Because it depends on believing a lie” Where we part company is on the nature of that lie!

        • Kevin K

          Seek psychiatric counseling. You appear to be suffering from a delusion that you have some unique insight into the nature of the supernatural. You don’t.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I’m totally stealing the cheeseburger parable.

        • Kevin K

          That and the wearing of hats. Until all religions everywhere can decide on the status of the bacon cheeseburger and the wearing of hats — leave the rest of us alone.

        • TSawesome
        • Kevin K

          When I was a college student, the Catholic girls used to carry around little doilies so the could to go Saturday night mass and cover their heads. I’m not sure that’s still a Catholic “thing” (like fish on Fridays — I like fish on Fridays!), but it struck me as very odd, because my Protestant mother would have been appalled at wearing anything in church. That’s where you take your hat off!

        • TSawesome

          I was Russian Orthodox for most of my life and if you forgot to bring a scarf to church, one of the little old ladies would scurry over to you and hand you one! No escaping it. :-/

        • TSawesome

          Ha! Love it! 🙂

        • Roman Catholicism is correct because their priests dress like wizards.

          And have cool hats.

        • Greg G.

          When the rapture happens, I get the Pope’s hat. I called it about 35 years ago. I’m just reminding the whipper-snappers.

        • Um … are you assuming that the hat won’t have an owner after the Rapture? Because that assumes that the Pope is good enough to go to heaven with all the fundamentalists, and that’s gonna be unlikely if he’s the Antichrist®.

        • Greg G.

          Good point. I’m as likely to be raptured as the pope.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Now I’m going to start wearing hats stacked up, one on top of the next, like a character from Dr. Suess.

        • It sounds more imposing if you say “the Parable of the Cheeseburger.”

          I imagine you’ve seen this one? They toast to “lamb, the meat we can all eat.”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9UnNq9srog

        • Glad2BGodless

          I had NOT seen that! ROFLMFAO

        • Glad2BGodless

          From this day forward, it shall be spoken of only as The Parable of the Cheeseburger.

        • Greg G.

          At the end it says that Youtube says the video is offensive. I find it offensive that anybody finds it offensive.

          Please pass the lamb.

        • Glad2BGodless

          “Blessed are the cheese makers….”

        • Greg G.

          The extreme Jains do not eat fruits and vegetables until they are assured that it was not plucked, which might cause unnecessary suffering to the plant. The fruit or vegetable must fall naturally. Just think how labor intensive a bun would be if it is made only from grains found in the dirt.

        • Joe

          As long as the bun is not leavened.

        • Greg G.

          A cheesy bacon beef burrito, then.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Thus the only purpose for ‘religion,’ as far as I am concerned is to
          advance human moral progress. And neither existing religious
          traditions, scientism, atheism or humanism offer any means to such ends.-Robert

          Science and rational thinking offer an ability to advance human moral progress.

        • Robert Landbeck

          We exist in times of considerable existential crisis, with issues so
          pressing, so urgent, so grave and divisive the world can barely discuss
          them let alone address and resolve them. And that crisis is a reflection of the limitations of knowledge and ‘rational’ thinking. Where does progress come from when the DoomsDay Clock of concerned atomic scientists and Noble laureates recently moved the hands to two minutes to midnight.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Where does progress come from when the DoomsDay Clock of concerned
          atomic scientists and Noble laureates recently moved the hands to two
          minutes to midnight.-Robert

          You are a sucker. – – – That’s an argument from authority.

          One source of progress is to become wise and knowledgeable enough see through such pseudoscience as the DoomsDay Clock.

        • Robert Landbeck

          True one of us is a sucker. End of conversation.

        • Damien Priestly

          Actually by most measures, the typical human on the globe is now is better off than any other time in history. No thanks to religion…Yes thanks rational thought and science.

        • BlackMamba44

          And if “religion” is to advance human moral progress, then why do we have so many “religious” politicians in the US that want to go backwards morally?

        • Chuck Johnson

          If you would ask such religious politicians about it, they would tell you that they are referring to religion in order to prevent the US from morally deteriorating (backsliding).

          They are playing to a certain kind of voter.

        • Perhaps your question is rhetorical. Religion thrives (festers?) better in a society with problems. Eliminate the problems, and people aren’t drawn to religion for a “solution.”

          The Christian meme does a pretty good job in politicians’ heads as they try to screw up society to make it more conducive to Jeebus.

        • Joe

          Thus the only purpose for ‘religion,’ as far as I am concerned is to advance human moral progress. And neither existing religious traditions, scientism, atheism or humanism offer any means to such ends.

          Actually humanism is by far and above the best method out of all those you listed for advancing moral progress. Religion is probably the worst, since the goal of most of them is not “human moral progress.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          the ideas are already out there. don’t slaughter, smother or starve each other (e.g.). i’ll bet you all the treasure that people were coming up with those ideas repeatedly long before anything was ever written down. then somebody does one of those things, and what do the survivors do about it? are you suggesting that the species could ever unring any of these bells? the best we have ever had is to strive to avoid carnage/oblivion/stupidity. why suppose that there has ever been or ever will be an overweening force that makes carnage/oblivion/stupidity impossible, or a ‘first law’ that flawlessly programs everyone to be in accordance with it (or sorts the wheat from the chaff, if you really want to go there)? if such a flawless principle is all you can hope for then you’re doing a terrible job of sharing the clues that convince you that there’s a way to uncover it; if it’s just a matter of waiting for a ‘revelation’ by some force that transcends all recorded human endeavor, including the collection of minds that come up with ‘the scriptural record’, then try feeding us a scrap of something original already, not just speculating that there’s An Answer.

        • Greg G.

          i’ll bet you all the treasure that people were coming up with those ideas repeatedly long before anything was ever written down. then somebody does one of those things, and what do the survivors do about it?

          It’s right there in Exodus. Moses murdered a slave master, then ran away for forty years until the heat had blown over. Then he returned and lead the Jews out of Egypt. Sometime during the journey, God got around to telling people that murder was wrong. If nobody knew that murder was wrong before then, why did Moses flee?

        • Robert Landbeck

          “the best we have ever had is to strive to avoid carnage/oblivion/stupidity.”
          I find nothing in history to suggest that our species is capable of doing so!

        • TheNuszAbides

          capable of avoiding it? obviously not. capable of striving? what else is there? please try to be specific.

        • Humans have done some pretty crappy things, so I think we’re on the same page there. On the other hand, every improvement to society–technological advances (transportation, energy, communications), medical advances (no more smallpox, vaccines, antibiotics), and so on–came from humans.

        • Robert Landbeck

          For all the ‘advances’ you mention, in almost all cases, there has been a downside that only appears later, in one form of pollution or side effects that are not only polluting water, air and soil and food chain, but demonstrates the incompleteness of the human knowledge and value base. I would suggest that the evolutionary paradigm that our species inhabits has fixed the limits on both knowledge and moral potential. It should be obvious from the environmental debate, that our ability to comprehend problems far outstrips our ability to solve them. So how ever one may wish to measure the human condition, there is little reason to presume we have the insights or wisdom, founded upon our own ‘reason’ to meet near and future challenges. “And progress, modernity’s central enlightenment theme burns less and less bright; the path of human development drifting inexorably towards its own self made hell! “

        • in almost all cases, there has been a downside that only appears later, in one form of pollution or side effects that are not only polluting water, air and soil and food chain, but demonstrates the incompleteness of the human knowledge and value base.

          Mankind has incomplete knowledge—of course. But look at technologies individually or in aggregate, and I think life for many people is far better than it was.

          My point was that pointing to God, who just watches soaps all day and doesn’t lift a finger to help mankind, is no response.

          It should be obvious from the environmental debate, that our ability to comprehend problems far outstrips our ability to solve them.

          I disagree, but that’s a tangent. I think we’re on the same page that there are unexpected consequences.

          FYI, search for “wicked problems” at this blog for more.

          So how ever one may wish to measure the human condition, there is little reason to presume we have the insights or wisdom, founded upon our own ‘reason’ to meet near and future challenges.

          Are you arguing that the Christian approach is the answer?

        • Robert Landbeck

          For a start I’m not pointing to God for there is no place to ‘point’. Religion as far as I can tell, is no more than a grand, theological counterfeit and intellectual vanity, which has nothing to do with what is only a potential reality, we call God. But unlike yourself, I don’t default to an atheist position, for like religion, I see no evidence that theology or secular ‘reason’ can deliver on the moral progress that a good part of humanity aspires too. And as our species approaches that place often called ‘between a rock and a hard spot’, when ‘reason’ has been found wanting in the search for solutions to the greatest questions facing both mankind and the earth itself, I shouldn’t be surprised if ‘something’ profoundly unexpected takes place. The God question remains unanswered. That may not always be the case!

        • I don’t default to an atheist position

          What else would the default be but no god?

          I see no evidence that theology or secular ‘reason’ can deliver on the moral progress that a good part of humanity aspires too.

          My first goal: believe true things and reject false things. A nice side benefit of that is that that’ll give me the best vantage point for solving humanity’s problems.

          And as our species approaches that place often called ‘between a rock and a hard spot’, when ‘reason’ has been found wanting in the search for solutions to the greatest questions facing both mankind and the earth itself

          You’re anticipating that we’ll find something better than reason? Like what? Are there any candidates? If so, we should be using them now.

          I shouldn’t be surprised if ‘something’ profoundly unexpected takes place.

          Something supernatural? Perhaps you’re already a believer in the supernatural.

          The God question remains unanswered.

          Is the unicorn question also unanswered?

        • Robert Landbeck

          My first goal is not to ‘believe true things’ until the claim that they are true is well tested and demonstrated by direct evidence and experience, and thus worthy of my confidence to effect my actions and decisions. And if unable to do so, reject the claim outright. That Enlightenment principle should apply to any and all inquiries whether of man or God. That unity of a single, working conception of the nature and confirmation of insight is the final frontier.

          The question, which applies to both religious and atheists alike, as I see both as just two sides of the same coin of acute [if sincere] ignorance, and given the baggage of prejudice and bias that all collect and carry is this: Should the God question find an answer, meeting the criteria as described above, who will be first in line to accept correction?

          “Unfortunately the world has usually preferred the soft, the easy and more convenient ways of intellectual vanity, political correctness and spiritual confectionery than the honesty and courage to confront human nature itself! “

        • Explain to me how you’d respond to a claim that unicorns exist. Do you just withhold judgment? Yes unicorns vs. no unicorns are two sides of the same coin?

          Or do you say that there’s no good reason to believe in them and move on?

        • Robert Landbeck

          Whenever one is confronted with the claim of an assumed reality, it is necessary to ask where is the evidence, where is the proof. Whether there are or ever have been unicorns is irrelevant as it has no bearing on the future progress of humanity of which I am interested. Whether there is a God or no remains an assumption that mostly certainly religion has discredited itself without the help of atheists beating a dead dog. But religious claims are either true of false. Because we both accept that religion is false, one can conclude those claims, however embedded in history and culture are no more than an intellectual self deception, something our species is unfortunately rather good at!

          Staying with the scientific method, the only way to expose and overthrow institutional falsehood and blow it out of the water and into history’s own dustbin of oblivion is to discover what is in fact true. The means to do so with the God question ‘apparently’ don’t yet exist. But if one moves beyond the canonical texts of the Bible, there is plenty of material that suggests such a proof may indeed be possible. It might only take another ‘discovery’ like the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi Library to fill the missing gaps necessary to make that such a proof possible. I’ll leave history to make that judgment! I’ve enjoyed our little exchange, but as it has no place to blossom, I’ll sign off and wish you a fine day.

        • Because we both accept that religion is false . . .

          If we’re on the same page here, why do you keep bringing up God?

          The means to do with the God question ‘apparently’ don’t yet exist.

          And unicorns “apparently” don’t exist either. And the Purple People of Pluto, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I honestly spend zero minutes per day worry about whether these exist. Shouldn’t I treat God the same way?

          But if one moves beyond the canonical texts of the Bible, there is plenty of material that suggests such a proof may indeed be possible.

          So religion is bunk . . . but God might still exist? Share this information with us.

          It might only take another ‘discovery’ like the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi Library to fill the missing gaps necessary to make that such a proof possible.

          These documents are squarely in the domain of religion, which you’ve already tossed into the trash.

          I’ll leave history to make that judgment!

          I can’t imagine what’s stopping you from making that judgment right now. You’ve already done it with unicorns. Apparently your response is, “Yeah, but unicorns aren’t important and God is,” which is no argument for the existence of God.

        • Tommy

          For it begins with the assumption that we exist in the ‘image and likeness’ as children of God.

          You missed an ‘o’ there. G-d’s gonna kick your ass for that!

        • Otto

          He is gonna smoke a turd in hell for that

        • Joe

          Don’t you mean Go-?

        • Lark62

          Or -od?

        • Greg G.

          No, no. It’s —. If expressing the name is verboten, then it follows that one should not even express a single phoneme.

        • Otto
        • Kodie

          Supposed to call it “you know who”.

        • Or “he who must not be named.”

        • Kodie

          If you’re fancy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          a handy-dandy shibboleth should take care of that serious business. Y’KWIM (You Know What I Mean), to be uttered only when tapping one’s nose with a gloved ring finger.

        • Name him “Odd” and call it done.

        • Joe

          Prefer to call him “—“

        • Lark62

          Do you really believe that nonsense?

        • Robert Landbeck

          Yes, I’m quite comfortable swimming against the tides and stream of history.

        • Greg G.

          That can be a good thing but swimming against the stream of logic isn’t.

        • Robert Landbeck

          You over rate logic. It is never dead, linear nor static, unless your a professional philosopher, but existing logic, based upon current assumptions is over turned by discovery on a regular basis. And new discovery brings with it a wholly new system of logic and often the unexpected means to search for additional understanding. Nothing destroys logic more quickly then discovery.

        • Glad2BGodless

          On a scale of 1 to 10, how do YOU rate logic?

        • I want to hear more about how logic gets discarded all the time.

        • Greg G.

          Rational people do not discard logic. Nobody discards logic more than once.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Nobody discards logic more than once.

          insulated specimens such as Paris Hilton being exceptions that prove the rule.

        • Glad2BGodless

          And then who has to pick up allll the syllogisms that careless theists just throw on the floor?!? The atheists, that’s who! Look at this place!

          This is why we can’t have nice things!

        • Do you want ants?! Well, this is how you get ants!

        • Greg G.

          It is never dead, linear nor static, unless your a professional philosopher

          You do not have to be a professional philosopher to do logic. Parrots in Australia have been shown to use logic.

          And new discovery brings with it a wholly new system of logic and often the unexpected means to search for additional understanding.

          How many wholly new systems of logic are there?

          Nothing destroys logic more quickly then discovery.

          Logic is not overturned by discovery, only the premises are shown to have been incorrect. Our brains use many heuristic short cuts. Survival in the wild often requires rapid decisions that pay off better when based on things that are usually true without taking time to consider all the possible exceptions. Some heuristics are usually wrong but prudently wrong by reacting to an unexpected sound as if it is a predator because it is better to be wrong a lot than to react as if it is not a predator and be wrong once.

          Logic separates the heuristics that are always true from those that are almost always true, often true, or not true. Those that are not always true are called fallacies. When logical statements are arranged into a valid structure, the conclusion is as reliable as the premises. The premises might be based on inductive observation which leaves room for observational errors.

          The argument I presented on the Problem of Suffering begins with the very definition of the words “omnipotence” and “omnibenevolent” so there is nothing wrong with the premises. Omnibenevolent is incompatible with preventable unnecessary suffering. Omnipotent is inconsistent with “unpreventable suffering” and “necessary suffering”. It follows from the meaning of the words that there is no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

          If you are claiming that there is something wrong with the logic, you should show it. If you are claiming that there is something wrong with logic itself, then you can’t show it but neither can you make any statement about a god th-ngy. You cannot say love or desirable are attributes because god t-in-y is “omnilogical”, which means illogical.

        • TheNuszAbides

          wholly

          “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

        • Joe

          I don’t think he realizes the “stream” he’s swimming against is a sewage outflow pipe.

        • TSawesome

          As a Christian myself, I see a BIG problem with hand-waving away reason, as you just stated. If (roughly quoting you) the human mind remains in a “fallen state” and “cannot comprehend” the mind of God, then there’s not way that a human being could even *know* what they supposedly “couldn’t” know… it’s circular and distorted logic, IMO.

        • Lark62

          The mainstream portrayal of G-d is wholly in error.

          Those people are so dumb. They think invisible unicorns are pink. But they are wrong, The mainstream portrayal of G-d invisible unicorns is wholly in error. They are blue with purple manes and tails.

        • Otto

          Heretic

        • Damien Priestly

          What is Fallen? How do we know we are Fallen?

        • TheNuszAbides

          yeah, i’m waiting for him to pull a Plato, or even a Neoplato, but he seems bent on convenient vagueness, with the occasional punt to “Noble[sic] laureates”.

        • TheNuszAbides

          wholly in error.

          missed the part where you demonstrated access to the ability to make this assessment. that’s not a ‘what if’, that’s you making a firm declaration. why not be clearer about the fragmented concepts that come after “children of God”? do you buy that there was a “Fall”? that “disobedience” is the root of it? how and why?

        • Robert Landbeck

          Just my personal conclusions and suspicions on the nature of religion in history, based upon my personal experience of religion.

      • Kevin K

        What’s the name of his particular heresy? The heresy heresy?

        It’s always so interesting when the True Believers™ (in their own bullshit) come over here and try to con us. It always sounds so … vapid.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Heresy today, gonesy tomorrow!

        • TheNuszAbides

          The heresy heresy?

          The fallacy fallacy of [generic moralist orthodoxy].

    • Otto

      Is God gonna be mad at you if you use an ‘o’?

      • Kevin K

        He needs to buy a vowel.

        • Greg G.

          The next Westboro Baptist Church sign will say:

          God
          Hates
          Vowels

      • Robert Landbeck

        Is that ‘o’ for otto?

        • Otto

          Do you spell Otto ‘G-o-d’?

        • Greg G.

          Is it alright if I spell -tt- without a capital hyphen? Maybe if I make the first one with a bold font…

          tt-

      • Lark62

        Simple. God gets mad if someone says its name. But it’s too stoopid to realize you’re talking about it if you leave out the vowel.

        • Since God’s name isn’t “God,” you’d think that that problem would’ve been resolved.

        • Lark62

          Yeah, but that would cut off the money flow.

          Priest tells sucker “1. God told me that he doesn’t like it when you [insert any normal human behavior].
          2. Bad things, very bad things are going to happen.
          3. Let me check with God on how to fix this.
          4. God said you need to sacrifice something of value to him to demonstrate your penitence.
          5. Just give those valuables to me. I’ll make sure God gets them.”

          The more things there are that piss off god, the richer the priest gets. Every old testament sacrifice meant meat for a nice meal or to sell. (Yahweh got the blood.)

          Something as easy to forget as saying God’s name makes for a nice, steady income.

          I think there was one Greek priest who told his followers that the god clearly said he only wanted the inedible parts of the sacrifice to be burned as an offering. The god did not want any of the choice cuts. Now that’s a cooperative deity.

        • Greg G.

          Gaaawwwwdddd deseeerrrvvves a Mercedes Benz-ahh! And he wants me to drive it for him!

    • Chuck Johnson

      I also presume that there is a God in the form of a fictional character, just a human invention.
      Science offers a path to the discovery that the fictional God is the true God.

      The fictional God does not do his own thinking, he has humans do his thinking for him.

      • Robert Landbeck

        I didn’t realize that science was in the business of discovering fictions. It is often known to expose fictions, but only by discovering and demonstrating what is true to overturn previous and unproven hypothesis. In that sense truth exposes what is untrue so a right choice can be made among many competing claims.

        • Greg G.

          Science is not in the business of proving things that are true. Its conclusions are provisional as they are subject to further investigation and refinement. Science progresses by proving what is not true and investigating what might be true.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Of course science is in the business of discovering fictions.
          You are contradicting yourself in this comment.

  • MadScientist1023

    “Now we turn the question around. Atheists, you demand that the Christians be open minded, but what about you? Are you open minded? What evidence would it take for you to say that God exists?”

    It would be hard to get me to say God exists for certain. Even if a seemingly omnipotent being descended from the heavens with a choir of angels claiming to be God, there would be no way to tell if he was lying. For all we know, it could be a Q playing a prank on Earth. There would just be no scientific test to verify a being’s godhood.

    That said, there are a few pieces of evidence that would make me much more inclined to accept deism as reasonable

    1. Genuine knowledge of the future present in a holy book, following verification that it was actually written before the event. So far that hasn’t happened.
    2. Genuine scientific information present in a holy book, which could not have been known to the writers. Something like a 1000 year old picture of DNA. Also hasn’t happened.
    3. A hippogriff, or some other animal that incorporated DNA sequences from unrelated biological taxa, provided it showed no signs of being genetically engineered and no transitional fossils showing how it might have evolved. So far everything has had transitional fossils.
    4. A rabbit fossil being found in Precambrian rock (though any modern vertebrate would do).
    5. Every cancer patient in the world going into spontaneous remission.
    6. Magic, as in the existence of individuals, creatures, items, or even places capable of altering the laws of reality in ways that cannot be scientifically explained.
    7. Anything that genuinely upended a core principle of naturalism. As in really found something that violated a core principle, not just something that causes marginal readjustments to the details.

    None of these would be conclusive evidence of a deity, but they would all make deism much harder to dismiss.

    • Greg G.

      4. A rabbit fossil being found in Precambrian rock (though any modern vertebrate would do).

      There is too much counter-evidence for that to be natural. It would be better evidence that time travel is possible.

      • Kevin K

        …and that the future has as many trolls as the present …

    • Even with these, they’re indirect evidence. I’d prefer something direct, like God just appears, like he did to Moses. He’s very smart, I hear, so he could make a convincing case that he’s the God of the Bible.

      • axially/tilted
        • In the same book, God and Mo just chill, and Mo talks to God face to face, as a man would to a friend.

          I think I’ll give a pass to viewing the Almighty Ass.

        • axially/tilted

          Don’t blame you for passing on that display one bit.

        • Zeropoint

          But if god were a woman, her ass would be *divine*.

      • MadScientist1023

        Oh, I would entirely prefer direct evidence myself. But since expecting the God of the Bible to actually do a single thing directly is obviously too much to ask for, I would be willing to take any of the above as indirect evidence. Right now, even that doesn’t exist.

      • Otto

        You make a valid point. Information about God always seems to need a middle man.

        • TheNuszAbides

          job security!

    • Snagglefritz Sagenschnitter

      What evidence would it take for you to say that God exists?

      The same sort of evidence a theist would demand before saying that the Tooth Fairy exists.

  • OV

    GUNS HAVE BECOME AN ACCEPTED KILLING TOOL IN THE US.

    Blame it on SCALIA’S HELLER CASE WHICH OVERTURNED 70 YEARS OF ACCEPTED 2ND AMENDMENT LAW

    Antonin Scalia’s bad law, bad history: How the Supreme Court legalized corruption

    https://www.salon.com/2014/09/20/antonin_scalias_bad_law_bad_history_how_the_supreme_court_legalized_corruption/

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZS.html

    https://randirhodes.com/blog/homework-02-19-18-well-regulated-militia-necessary-preservation-free-state/

    Google these sites and help change the law.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ebdb102b1ba4c0bff5d0895906a73653435166de49ba026bf79a7e88bd74167.jpg

  • Mefistofele

    It’s not just the Abrahamic God. How many thousands of world dieties, do we NOT have irrefutable evidence of their existence? Yes, your god exists, but only in your imagination.

  • Snagglefritz Sagenschnitter

    What evidence would it take for you to say that God exists?

    I’d ask him for solutions to the Millenium Problems of the Clay Mathematical Institute. http://www.claymath.org/millennium-problems
    I reckon that would weed out the imposters quick smart.

  • D Rieder

    “We are swimming in so many clues that we don’t live in God World that my answer is: I would think that God exists only if all these clues didn’t exist.”

    This states what I’ve concluded. Nothing, at this point could convince me to believe there was a God. Even if something happened I came to believe was an actual honest to goodness miracle (where the natural course of events was changed by something non-natural) I’d still conclude that the “non-natural” MIGHT exist but that humans can, in some way, control it. IOW I’d just as soon believe that it is we humans, coupled with some sort of magical non-natural force, who sometimes manage to change the course of events than actually conclude there is some immaterial eternal mind that somehow designed and created the world. The “world” simply doesn’t appear to be intelligently designed.

    • I do my best to be open minded, but yeah, it’s hard to imagine any intellectual argument for God that would work on me. There’s just too much evidence on the opposite side of the issue to explain away.

      • TheNuszAbides

        seems the best theism-in-general can hope for is “yeah, the utterly overwhelming majority for millennia were doing it wrong, and those who were doing it right were too selfish or too humble or had no platform to get the word out. oh well, at least that’s settled!”

  • Chuck Johnson

    Christians might say that Christianity has
    no goal for humanity to learn about nature. It has no goal to create
    the internet, GPS, airplanes, or antibiotics.-Bob

    But Christians do have those goals. It’s called “works”.
    The Christian controversy continues at to whether “Faith alone” or “Faith and works” are the keys to being a proper Christian.
    But why would God (for centuries) leave this question up in the air ?

    • TheNuszAbides

      because we’re being Tested (selectively). #ProfoundlyConvolutedMysteryMasterPlan

      • Chuck Johnson

        It’s our patience for supernatural mumbo-jumbo that’s really being tested.

  • rationalobservations?
  • J.B.

    “My answer: if we lived in God World, we would expect to not see things that argue that this god does not exist.”

    But, we don’t live in a “God World” – we live in a God + Man world. I believe your premise is flawed in that, yes, the World was created by God but it is inhabited by the human race – to be fair, wouldn’t your expectation have to encompass the fact that the creation could have “clues” that God does not exist because Man muddied the waters, so to speak? .

    • Doubting Thomas

      Yes, but an omnipotent god would be able to unmuddy the waters if he so chose.

      • J.B.

        Agreed, but that’s whole different question… let’s stay on the topic of a God’s World with clues….and whether it is reasonable to Expect this world to have within it aspects that contradicts the existence of a God – I say you are being unreasonable to expect such a World – once Man walked in you have to change your expectations….

        • Halbe

          Please be explicit: why and how do “you have to change your expectations once Man walked in”?

        • J.B.

          What I read Bob as saying is that, yeah, in this World there are clues that God exists, but there are also clues that God does not exist – Bob’s goes on to say he expects that if God created this world, there would be no clues that he does not exist – Ok, to use an explicit example -if you take a glass of water and drop oil in it – it is totally unreasonable to expect that in the contents of the glass you would not have clues that water did not exist – Man is the oil.

        • Halbe

          So, 200,000 years ago, before the existence of Homo Sapiens, we would only see clues of God’s existence everywhere, but that changed suddenly when human beings as a species appeared? And: in a glass of water with a drop of oil I can still see a lot of water…

        • J.B.

          Yup, and remember, two elements cannot occupy the same space, so in the glass of water, there are some indications that water does not exist – it’s just a glass of water with oil in it, Man is the oil.

        • Kevin K

          You dropped a drop of oil in an empty glass, declaring it to be full of water.

          There is no water. Just oil.

        • J.B.

          what about the glass? I win.

        • Kevin K

          If you want to get technical about it … no glass, neither.

        • Halbe

          “Yup”? As in, yes, 200,000 years ago, before homo sapiens came about, there was evidence for God everywhere? Please explain.

          And your oil analogy is weird. Are you saying that God created Man as “oil”, i.e. incapable of mixing with water (God)? That’s a cruel trick for a supposedly omnibenevolent God.

        • Why is that a good analogy? When you look at the heterogeneous mix of good and bad in the world, I think your glass needs to have about 100,000 ingredients in various quantities.

        • Greg G.

          But for that example to be analogous, the water would have to be omnipresent, which would make it obvious.

        • Max Doubt

          “What I read Bob as saying is that, yeah, in this World there are clues that God exists,…”

          In this world there is no way to objectively distinguish between the god you imagine and any other figment of your imagination. Outside your head there is nothing your god can do that I can’t do, and there are several things I can do, demonstrably, objectively, in real life, that your god quite apparently can’t. You’d do well to recognize the fact that outside of your imagination everything appears to be exactly as if your god doesn’t exist out here at all.

        • Kevin K

          Humans are merely an intelligent species of ape, whose brains have this quirk of looking for agency where there is none. It’s not our fault, really — it’s an evolutionarily beneficial adaptation. That rustling in the grass over there — is that a lion? Better move away. Just the wind? — well, better safe than lunch.

          Superstition is an outgrowth of this. The witch doctor shakes his bones and the child gets better — it was the spirits that helped him. The witch doctor shakes his bones and the child dies — the spirits were angry. Either way, the spirits win.

          From there, it’s a short step to giving those spirits names and specific roles, and electing one of them as the tribal leader. Monotheism isn’t necessarily a natural outgrowth of that (given the number of polytheistic religions still extant), but there’s no barrier; and the smart priests certainly seem to have figured out how to reduce the number of other priests demanding tribute.

          Since we’ve had a chance to study the world — use those evolution-given brains and look around a bit — we’ve found that all of those superstitions, spirits, and gods are merely figments of imagination. In reality, we’re animals like all the other animals. We have the same primal needs, the same carnal urges. Those are neither good nor evil — they’re just there. The fact that our species thrives best in cooperative groups, and that there are some behaviors that are counter-adaptive (theft, voting for Donald Trump, et al) gives rise to laws and culture and “morals” and ethics. The priests call counter-adaptive behaviors “sins” — but their list is often bizarrely counter-intuitive.

          There is no “god” — not even yours. That’s just a figment of some long-dead person’s imagination.

        • J.B.

          Look, we’re talking about expectations…and I know a smart guy like you has got to admit that you can question the existence of God with a lot of arguments, which I will be glad to go into with you, but this “Clues” argument is flawed.

        • Kevin K

          So, you’re saying that one should expect that a God World would look exactly like it does — with 99.999999999% of it being uninhabitable and inaccessible to human kind. That our bodies provide evidence for the existence of a God-designer who likes wisdom teeth and appendixes, et al.

        • J.B.

          I’m saying that it’s unreasonable to expect that it wouldn’t..

        • Kevin K

          Only if you have no expectations that your god has any of the omni properties assigned to the Christian god. A malign god, or a trickster god or an uncaring Spinozan-type god — perhaps. But not the god of the Old and New Testaments and the Koran.

        • J.B.

          God is quirky, so what.

        • Kevin K

          “Quirky” is a denial of “omni”. Quirky means it cannot be all-powerful or all-knowing.

          You’re denying the existence of the god of the Christians by calling it “quirky”. Again, as long as you’re OK with denying the existence of the Christian god, I’m OK with that as well.

        • Halbe

          Not so very long ago you would have been burned alive at the stake for such a heretic statement…

        • So that undercuts your argument. If God is a trickster, then don’t have Jesus promise that prayers are answered. Don’t tell us that God desperately wants a relationship (because he knows that only that will let you escape the hell that he created). Don’t tell us that God is all-good when he demands genocide and supports slavery.

        • Kevin K

          I love it when they score “own goals”…

        • J.B.

          Yes, it does appear to undercut my argument, and it is tough to iron out all the apparent contradictions, but calling God a trickster implies that this is some sort of a game that no one will win. First, Life is amazing and experiencing the World with all it’s crazy contradictions is wonderful and intriguing, and if one is lucky enough to find love in this journey, well, that too is fantastic so right there we are all winners, if we look at it right. Second, the offer of an afterlife, that is even more amazing – so I am sorry, I can’t look at God as a trickster because all I see is great things from Him. (and he doesn’t demand genocide and slavery – Jesus didn’t.)

        • it is tough to iron out all the apparent contradictions

          Try on the “God doesn’t exist” hypothesis. It resolves all the problems.

          calling God a trickster implies that this is some sort of a game that no one will win.

          It’s just mythology.

          Life is amazing and experiencing the World with all it’s crazy contradictions is wonderful and intriguing, and if one is lucky enough to find love in this journey, well, that too is fantastic so right there we are all winners, if we look at it right.

          Yes, life can be terrific. No god required.

          the offer of an afterlife . . .

          . . . is nonsense. It’s just mythology, remember? Why should the (ill-defined) Christian offer be any more compelling than the offer of the afterlife from some other religion?

          I can’t look at God as a trickster because all I see is great things from Him

          Maybe you need to read the news. The God hypothesis isn’t needed to explain anything.

          (and he doesn’t demand genocide and slavery – Jesus didn’t.)

          My posts on genocide and slavery in the Bible:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/04/god-%e2%99%a5-genocide-2/
          http://admin.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/08/yes-biblical-slavery-was-the-same-as-american-slavery/

        • Greg G.

          God a trickster implies that this is some sort of a game that no one will win.

          An eternal game played by an eternal trickster would never end, so a final winner is not implied. Every trick is a game won by the trickster god.

        • Pofarmer

          (and he doesn’t demand genocide and slavery

          Absolutely He did.

          The Catholic Church held women as slaves in the Magdalene Laundries until Nineteen Ninety fucking 6. 1996.

          First, Life is amazing and experiencing the World with all it’s crazy
          contradictions is wonderful and intriguing, and if one is lucky enough
          to find love in this journey, well, that too is fantastic so right there
          we are all winners,

          None of which requires a god, or an afterlife.

          Second, the offer of an afterlife, that is even more amazing

          Nah, that’s a fairy tale. The Mormons think you get your own planet to be a God of.

          I can’t look at God as a trickster because all I see is great things from Him

          That’s because you’ve got the God Goggles cinched down tight.

        • TheNuszAbides

          we are all winners, if we look at it right.

          Universalistically?

        • Doubting Thomas

          It’s not that god is quirky. It’s that a god with the properties espoused by Christians doesn’t exist.

          If you could save every child from starving to death, would you? If yes, I have to ask why? Your god who knows what’s best and could do it if it wanted to doesn’t save them. Should you follow his example? You’d be acting more godly to do nothing as they all starve.

        • Children die at a rate of about 30,000 per day. That’s from preventable disease–dysentery, respiratory disease (from cooking fires), and so on.

          God apparently doesn’t give a shit. Or he’s so inept that he can’t pilot this ship without much collateral damage.

        • Doubting Thomas

          It’s not just his steering that sucks. When he was building the ship he decided to add in a sprinkle of E. coli, clostridium, and mycobacteria just to make things interesting.

        • TheNuszAbides

          /demiurge’s advocate

          he wants us to help each other so he doesn’t have to*. he’s exhausted, you guys!

          * which of course makes every time he intervenes completely nonsensical.

        • Max Doubt

          “God is quirky, so what.”

          Well ain’t you special, knowing the mind of god and all that.

        • Greg G.

          If there was an omnibenevolent being, then we should expect to not see preventable, unnecessary suffering. If there is an omnipotent being, then all suffering is preventable and unnecessary. The fact that suffering exists shows that there is no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

        • J.B.

          I just don’t see how the existence of suffering “necessarily” equates to God not loving us. Nor is it necessarily true that the existence of suffering is God’s fault.
          And, as a matter of fact, the story line of how both of my beliefs are supported are set forth by the prophets in the Bible. As for your beliefs, well, you’re left to making it up as you go along…

        • Greg G.

          I just don’t see how the existence of suffering “necessarily” equates to God not loving us. Nor is it necessarily true that the existence of suffering is God’s fault.

          What can suffering do that God cannot do? If it is anything at all, then omnipotence is gone. God could achieve any outcome with or without suffering. If he chooses to include suffering, it is gratuitous torture, which is not loving, so omnibenevolence is gone. Suffering is not necessary and could be prevented by an omnipotence no matter who caused it.

          And, as a matter of fact, the story line of how both of my beliefs are supported are set forth by the prophets in the Bible. As for your beliefs, well, you left to making it up as you go along…

          I am not making it up as I go along. I am aligning my beliefs to reality. The prophets of the Bible didn’t know where the sun went at night. Their support for your beliefs is less than worthless.

        • BlackMamba44

          But hates foreskins.

        • Pofarmer

          Isn’t it amazing that a God powerful enough to create everything would be worried about the skin on the tip of my d***.

        • this “Clues” argument is flawed.

          Agreed! God should be as obvious as the sun. That he’s not pretty much answers the question.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Exactly. Christians make the most outlandish claim and then back it up with the most pitiful evidence. We know what a world with a benevolent omni-god would look like because we can imagine what we’d see if we had those kinds of powers.

        • Joe

          We can fairly say the writers of the Bible texts weren’t imagining the deistic omni-god of apologetics either.

        • J.B.

          Bob, Bob, Bob, I am so on the page as you because I wish that were true!! But, when you look at just about every religious treaty defining God, you will find that he does not work that way…you’re like a stubborn teen rebelling from his Father.. it’s much easier to give in and try to see it His way.

        • Joe

          when you look at just about every religious treaty defining God, you will find that he does not work that way…

          But reality does work that way (observation leads to confirmation). Therefore either the religious treaties are wrong, or god does not exist.

        • No idea what this means. If you’re saying that there’s a disconnect in what Christians say (God likes to be hidden vs. God knows that he needs to connect with people so they can avoid hell), I agree.

          The Problem of Divine Hiddenness (my post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/08/the-most-powerful-argument-against-christianity-problem-of-divine-hiddenness-atheism ) is IMO the biggest problem in the Christian argument.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          He doesn’t “work that way” because all religions must create ad hoc excuses for why there is no actual evidence for their position. If the evidence existed, no such obfuscation would be necessary.

        • Lark62

          Gods are like potato chips. You can’t stop at one.

          Christians are not monotheists despite their claims and arrogance.

          Protestants have at a minimum yahweh, Jesus, the holy ghost, angels, satan, and demons.

          Catholics add several Marys (Guadalupe, Fatima, Lourdes, etc.) and thousands of saint’s for every possible situation.

          Monotheistic they are not.

          Edit to add – handy saints
          Saint Bibiana: patron saint of hangovers
          Saint Drogo: Patron Saint of Unattractive People
          Saint Polycarp of Smyrna: Patron Saint Against Dysentery and Earaches

        • Kevin K

          True that. Although there’s only one priest to take the offering plate.

          But I think Jews are pretty much still monotheists, though, and they invented the deity that was co-opted by Christians. And Muslims eschew the praying to saints and such, don’t they?

          There are other monotheistic religions as well. Ba-hai, Sikhs, et al…I don’t know enough about them to know if they’ve concentrated all their gods into one single entity or if they have “saints” and such.

        • Greg G.

          Saint Polycarp of Smyrna: Patron Saint Against Dysentery and Earaches

          Poly -> many
          Carp –> fish –> seafood

          I had a mild case of dysentery after eating many types of seafood for one meal earlier this month. Six of us ate pretty much the same food all day and two of us had problems that evening for a brief time.

        • Joe

          Polycarp has always struck me as an amusing name. Reminds me of a Pokemon for some reason.

        • Zeropoint

          What? Reverend Carp is evolving!

          Reverend Carp evolved into Saint Polycarp!

          . . . I assume that the third stage is “Lord Omnicarp” or something like that.

        • Joe

          Sadly, they never evolved.

        • I had a cold, so I said a prayer to Asclepius. Three days later, I was fit as a fiddle!

          Checkmate, atheists.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Agreed, though superstition also roots itself in pattern recognition gone awry, ala the Skinner Box.

        • Kevin K

          Yes. Skinner’s pigeons show that superstition is evolutionarily ancient.

        • Just how inept is this god of yours? I can see how an experiment can get out of hand for an ordinary person, but for God? I don’t think so.

        • J.B.

          Bob, ok, if you want to call it an experiment, there’s actually three elements you need to consider, in addition to the existence of Man – remember, God, also allows the Devil to exist and wander around. It’s not God, it’s the evil one.

        • Doubting Thomas

          So since by definition anything god does is good, do you think it is good to “allow the Devil to exist and wander around?”

        • J.B.

          DT, alot of the things I have thought were good and bad have changed over the years, I would never want to set myself up as judge and jury, nor should you….

        • Greg G.

          Do you now think that preventable, unnecessary suffering is a good thing? Who enjoys that? Why not save all suffering for masochists? Anyone choosing for suffering to exist is a sadist, which cannot be omnibenevolent.

        • Glad2BGodless

          While you were getting all woke, was there a place in time where cancer in children seemed like a winning idea?

        • Doubting Thomas

          You didn’t come close to answering my question. Try again.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s sad that you think your ‘let go and let God’ approach is non-judgmental. passivity is a choice, and a judgment call. attribution of qualities is a judgment call. ‘giving Him the Glory’ is just as judgmental as “Jehovah’s a jerk, I would never worship him” or “there’s no such thing”, but it would drastically undercut your apologetics to admit that.

        • Greg G.

          That excuse doesn’t work, either. An omnipotent being that allows another being to cause evil that results in suffering for a sentient third party is not omnibenevolent. An omnibenevolent being that does that is not omnipotent.

        • Joe

          I find it amusing that people like William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga et. al. build entire hypotheses during their long careers arguing how God is so perfect, so omnipotent and perfectly loving that they couldn’t not exist.

          Then a Christian like JB comes along and undoes all that work by positing an imperfect, uncaring god. Does anyone point out to people like Craig and Lennox that “most Christians don’t believe your shit.”

        • Joe

          God, also allows the Devil to exist and wander around. It’s not God, it’s the evil one.

          He keeps his unicorns locked away though, with the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Why does he only allow the bad ones to roam freely?

        • Read Revelation, and you find that this is the most one-sided battle ever. God will win. No one’s even anxious, because the conclusion is already spelled out.

          So the idea of two titans fighting it out is ridiculous. Any victory Satan gets is courtesy of God’s benevolence.

          And anyway, Satan isn’t a bad guy. He works for God–read Job. Sure, he’s gotten a bad rap now, but that’s just legendary accretion. The original Satan wasn’t God’s enemy.

        • J.B.

          All true, but I have to disagree with you, here, Bob, the satan in Revelation and appearing at the end of time is something different than what was ever dealt with prior, super sized and all suped up on steroids or something…a lot scarier than the one placing a friendly wager with God in Job.

        • Max Doubt

          “… the satan in Revelation and appearing at the end of time is something different than what was ever dealt with prior, super sized and all suped up on steroids or something…a lot scarier than the one placing a friendly wager with God in Job.”

          LOL! Oooooh. Scary!

          From outside your imagination where we can be more objective about such things, it’s obvious you’re just scared of your very own made up monsters. If you were six years old, that’d earn you a pat on the head and consoling “oh poor baby”. Assuming you are older than six, you’re simply being childish.

        • True … and yet I’m not seeing you make the obvious conclusion.

          We’re in the domain of literature, legend, and mythology. No one was actually given a vision of heaven and wrote it up as Revelation. No one jotted down the conversation between God and his assistant Satan. This isn’t real.

        • J.B.

          Job, yes, Revelation was supposedly a vision.

        • When I back you into a corner, you sometimes cheerfully admit the facts that I bring up. And yet you cling to the tattered Christian worldview. Is it just the promise of the afterlife that keeps you going? Is it just culturally part of your self image?

        • J.B.

          This is a fair question, and when I woke up this morning, I wasn’t expecting to be reading so many views of atheism attacking my religion and some are good points and make me think. But, I didn’t crawl out from underneath a cabbage leaf yesterday, and I am carefully analyzing and processing… also there is that time I had a near death experience…

        • Greg G.

          also there is that time I had a near death experience…

          Yes, and Hindus have Hindu-related near-death experiences which makes them think their religion is true. People have waking dreams that validate their religions. It’s as if people in semi-conscious states fill in the blanks with their religious ideas.

          It is remarkable how real those experiences can seem. I had a waking dream about an intruder who broke into my house. I knew what a waking dream was and knew I was having one because I felt alert but unable to move, but the intruder didn’t seem to be a part of the dream. I was able to wake up and rise up in bed but the intruder was gone. I searched the house for him. Eventually I noticed that the door I “heard” him enter was still closed and I had definitely heard the door stay open. So I had objective evidence that the intruder was part of the dream.

          The hard part of recognizing the imaginary nature of an experience involving a supernatural theme is that it is impossible to have objective evidence that it was imaginary part of the experience.

        • I’m not sure what you’re saying. Are you saying that you will respond with something comprehensive in a day or so? Or are you simply acknowledging that there are difficult challenges to Christianity but that you have no plans on responding?

        • BlackMamba44

          Well, I was going to type up a bunch of words and then I thought, “just meme”:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef9ec253dcfa1be3f8285a876eeffbc3f659eaa745d122b7653a9d810fa5c029.png

        • Greg G.

          Imaginary Satan evolved as religion evolved.

        • TheNuszAbides

          no way! there totally used to be a killer write-up fully exposing The Great Deceiver so that The Good Guys could keep abreast of his tricks, but tragically his minions have wrecked the only copy and only left behind scattered fragments (and even those are obvious truths if you’re running Fundie 0.99). if it’s important information, it’s In The Book, ergo it must be in there somewheres!

        • Michael Neville

          God and Satan are good buddies. The first chapter of the Book of Job has Satan visiting God, they chat in a friendly manner, and make a bet about whether or not some guy who “was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1 NIV) would curse God if he was screwed over hard enough.

          According to your propaganda your god is a sadistic, narcissistic bully who kills people just because he can. He orders genocide and sexual slavery, allows rape and condones slavery. I think you’re calling the wrong imaginary critter “evil”.

        • BlackMamba44

          Well, if your god allows the Devil to exist and wander around, knowing that it can just poof the Devil out of existence, then exactly who is the evil one?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Just once, can’t we have a god that’s ept?

        • God is the wild-haired scientist in the sci-fi movie who says, “Don’t tell me that Man isn’t permitted to explore! I can succeed where others have failed!”

          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AreyWxiJz_E/VCclCJG4v6I/AAAAAAAABr8/i3hSF_MVnng/s1600/Young-Frankenstein-young-frankenstein-4185439-1024-768.jpg

        • Lark62

          Or a god that’s ruthful.

        • Greg G.

          Or a devil that walks amok.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m on my feet enough at work; i prefer to recline amok.

        • Doubting Thomas

          But god wouldn’t have to change his expectations because he knew exactly what would happen and chooses to keep it just as it is. Why blame man when god knew what would happen and does nothing to change it?

    • Halbe

      Could you be more explicit about how exactly “Man muddied the waters” so that “creation now has clues that God does not exist”?

      • J.B.

        Well, yeah, above, Bob’s first point is -“Christianity had its chance to create a Christian utopia with Europe of the Middle Ages. Spoiler: it wasn’t so great.”

        Bob’s point is that if God exists and created this world, why didn’t Christianity create a utopia – answer: Christianity is made of people, people who are not perfect, people like you and me. It’s so easy to blame God for the ills of society, but the real culprit is looking at you in the mirror.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Who gets the credit for the good things?

        • Halbe

          You are misrepresenting Bob’s point imho, and in doing so you actually confirm his point: people that claim to follow the Christian God are in no way better (or worse) than other people. If God-belief does not change people or societies positively in any way, then that’s an obvious indication that this God is just an imaginary being.

        • J.B.

          I grant you that there are many indications that God is an imaginary being, and there are also many indications that he is real – when taken all together, it is more reasonable to expect that God exists.

        • Halbe

          “there are also many indications that he is real” – [citation needed]

        • BlackMamba44

          and there are also many indications that he is real

          Every Christian that comes though here claims that there is all this evidence that YahwehJesus is real…

          But they never seem to provide it. All we get is woo-woo and deepities (or bible verses) that mean nothing.

          Why don’t you provide it? Or if you can’t, maybe ask your god to provide it.

        • axially/tilted

          I’ll invoke Alder’s razor, i.e., what cannot be settled through experiment is not worthy of debate.
          How may we go about testing, then confirming and/or falsifying these assertive God claims?

        • Glad2BGodless

          What are the top three indications your god is real?

        • I’m with you … except for the many indications that God is real. I don’t see any of them.

          What did you have in mind? And please avoid things for which a natural explanation is superior.

        • Michael Neville

          It’s been 12 hours since J.B. posted this comment and despite several requests to provide indications that his god is real, he’s neglected to do so. Probably has an appointment in Croydon.

        • Susan

          Probably has an appointment in Croydon.

          Maybe what they mean by “Heaven” and “transcendent Truth” is Croydon.

          Now, to be fair, it’s the internet and I’ve taken more than twelve hours to reply to comments many times.

          The fact that none of them have ever provided anything that separates their god claims from imagination is more significant.

        • Michael Neville

          I should have also said that J.B. has made other posts during that 12 hour period.

        • J.B.

          Bob’s post above was about Expectations and I’m saying those expectations, with a tip of my hat to Dickens, are not so great.

        • Michael Neville

          So you’re still not giving any indications that your god is real, despite several requests to do so. I doubt my nagging will have any effect either.

        • J.B.

          I like your nagging, and I look forward to this discussion, another time and post of Bob’s (God willing), but in the meantime, I believe the miracle of birth is an indication.

        • Max Doubt

          “I like your nagging, and I look forward to this discussion, another time and post of Bob’s (God willing), but in the meantime, I believe the miracle of birth is an indication.”

          You incredulity and ignorance are noted, but birth isn’t a miracle. You may imagine it is, but that indication just becomes another thing you can’t differentiate from any other figment of your imagination. Here, outside your head, everything you imagine ceases to be.

        • Greg G.

          I believe the miracle of birth is an indication.

          Is a human birth more miraculous than the birth of a litter of puppies, the laying of a brood of eggs by a bird or crocodile, or the laying of eggs of mosquitoes that can transmit malaria to humans?

        • J.B.

          Yes, because we have souls.

        • Greg G.

          How would you distinguish a human with a functioning brain with a soul from a human with a functioning brain and no soul? Wouldn’t the no soul person be subject to the assumption of having a soul?

        • Just cuz? Is this dogma, or do you have evidence?

        • BlackMamba44

          Got any evidence of the existence of souls?

        • Michael Neville

          Births are indications of reproduction. No gods are involved, only sex.

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

        • BlackMamba44

          What’s miraculous about birth? It happens all the time, in pretty much all species and it’s been going on for millions of years.

          I don’t find anything miraculous about it.

          EDIT: Billions of years?

        • TheNuszAbides

          http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38971504

          245 million! if we stick with what J.B. seems to want to refer to, live birth (of course he’d prefer to only be talking about human stuff because no other species is, y’know, Actually Important or anything).

          hard eggs hatching, earlier of course; soft eggs hatching, much earlier but not much of a fossil record …

        • Max Doubt

          “I grant you that there are many indications that God is an imaginary being, and there are also many indications that he is real – when taken all together, it is more reasonable to expect that God exists.”

          You can’t even define your god in an unambiguous way. You can’t substantively differentiate the god you believe exists from any other figment of your imagination. So really, it’s most reasonable to describe your god(s) as figment(s) of your imagination since it’s your god and your imagination, and even you can’t objectively distinguish one from the other.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Bueller? Bueller?

        • Lark62

          Christians and christian societies are just as ignorant and blood thirsty as any other human society. God is powerless to make christians one iota better than any other human.

          Because it is make believe.

          God has as much influence on human behavior as my teddy bear.

        • J.B.

          Maybe, but our World and society still exists, and, oh come on, you must admit things are much better now than in the say, Middle Ages, and your teddy bear does not have free will.

        • Lark62

          Things are better because of scientific advances and the rise of secular democracies that removed governmental authority from priests and other shamans.

          Thousands of years of religion did not stop polio or smallpox or rabies. Deities forgot to put instructions for CPR and the heimlich maneuver in holy texts. Religion did not give us phones, air travel or the internet. The first commandment forbids freedom of religion.

          No, religion just gave us jesus who scolded his followers for washing their hands. Religion gave us ruined farm land thanks to orders against planting different crops in the same field. Religion gave us the inquisition, religious wars, and the habit of burning people alive who believed the wrong version of christianity.

          No thanks.

        • BlackMamba44

          The Middle Ages? When Christianity ruled? When it tortured and slaughtered people because they weren’t Christian or wouldn’t convert to Christianity?

          Things are better now because Christianity lost its power. But now we’re having to deal with its younger sister – Islam.

        • Pofarmer

          H***, they killed other christians who weren’t exactly the right flavor,

        • BlackMamba44

          Oh yes, I forgot about those. That’s still going on in parts of the world today.

        • J.B.

          Ok, well, if the Christian is trying to follow the teachings of Christianity which says, Thou Shalt Not Kill, and then he kills in the way you just said, well then he messed up, even he knows his actions don’t match those teachings, unless, he’s deranged, or he’s making up some loop hole that doesn’t exist.

        • Greg G.

          They were following other verses like, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” If the Bible implies that witches exist, then they were duty bound to find them and kill them. They trusted God to not let them kill an innocent person.

        • J.B.

          verses and teachings are different.

        • Greg G.

          That’s not how medieval Christians saw it.

          Are you sure that you are not just calling verses you are comfortable with “teachings” and those that you disagree with “just verses”?

        • Pofarmer

          You’re gonna call No True Scotsman on the Catholic Church and fhe Abiogensien Crusade?

        • So God messed up when he drowned millions? Or does he get a pass so that he can murder all he wants?

          It’s weird when God can’t even follow his own moral rules. Should be easy for someone who’s omnibenevolent, right?

        • BlackMamba44

          That’s actually “thou shalt not murder”.

          Killing is fine, depending on who you are killing.

        • TheNuszAbides

          some loop hole that doesn’t exist.

          how exactly is it determined whether a loophole exists?

        • J.B.

          Christianity did not do the things you are reporting, it was the debris who acted in the name of the religion and the same with Islam. We’re all intelligent enough to distinguish the actions that match the teachings of Christianity and those that are the raving antics of lunatics, are we not?

        • Michael Neville

          Showing yet again that No True Scotsman is one of the favorite logical fallacies of Christians and other theists.

        • We’re all intelligent enough to distinguish the actions that match the teachings of Christianity and those that are the raving antics of lunatics, are we not?

          No, we are not. For every deeply held moral opinion of yours (about abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, or whatever), there are many people who call themselves Christian who will say that you’re nuts.

          There are 45,000 denominations of Christianity. No, there is no unity within Christianity.

        • Doubting Thomas

          When one of the founding fathers of a religion is praised for his willingness to kill his own child, lunacy is a sliding scale.

        • Otto

          Sounds like ‘Heads you win, tails we lose’.

        • Susan

          We’re all intelligent enough to distinguish the actions that match the teachings of Christianity and those that are the raving antics of lunatics, are we not?

          The “teachings of Christianity” are that an immaterial being exists who plucked reality out of metaphysical nothingness, in order to create a planet where for hundreds of millions of years it has tortured countless life forms to death, in order to create a species of hominids, while snuffing out all the other ones, so that it could manifest itself for a few decades to do miracles and get crucified like countless other people in that time and place so a small number of a single group of hominids who believe that makes any sense (based only on the stories told about it) can live after they die, even though their brain has rotted and turned to dust. Also, angels and demons exist.

          So, what’s the distinction again?

        • Glad2BGodless

          You are the wind beneath my wings.

        • Susan

          🙂

        • J.B.

          Well, those teachings are not instructive on how to live a good life so that is off topic and I haveta say you have an interesting take on the birth, death and resurrection of the lord, and this could really put a crimp in celebrating Easter, but yeah, I can go along with that… what’s your point?

        • Susan

          those teachings are not instructive on how to live a good life

          Exactly.

          I haveta say you have an interesting take on the birth, death and resurrection of the lord,

          What part did I get wrong?

        • J.B.

          He’s a loving being and doesn’t want to “snuff” anyone out and doesn’t inflict torture – it’s all there in the Bible.

        • Susan

          He’s a loving being and doesn’t want to “snuff” anyone out and doesn’t inflict torture – it’s all there in the Bible

          Reality (the history of life on this planet) says different. So does the Bible, if you ask me.

        • J.B.

          I suppose, I do already know I’m a the glass is half full kinda of guy.

        • God drowned millions of people when he could’ve just magic-ed them out of existence.

          Yes, it is all there in the Bible. Read the parable of Lazarus and the rich man to see if God inflicts torture.

        • BlackMamba44
        • BlackMamba44
        • BlackMamba44

          Right. They just weren’t real Christians.

          What are the teachings of Christianity? It seems to me that changes from Christian to Christian.

          And the more extreme they are, the closer they are to what the bible actually says.

          EDIT: Not to mention killing other Christians.

        • J.B.

          Well, the teachings of Christianity can be summed up with Loving your neighbor as yourself, and I get what you are saying but isn’t their a grain of truth in blaming an intervening non-christian thought for a terrible action – yes, they are christians, but for that one instance, they weren’t acting like christians, yes?

        • Max Doubt

          “… yes, they are christians, but for that one instance, they weren’t acting like christians, yes?”

          No. For that one instance they were acting like Christians. You have this tidy little way to divide out the real Christian activity from the non-Christian activity. You like it, you approve, you deem it good? It’s Christian. You find it wrong, abhorrent, or bad? Not Christian. You’re being dishonest.

        • J.B.

          You not getting it – it’s not that they are not Christian – yes, they are still Christian in that they believe in the teaching of the Church – what I am saying, is that for that one action they were not following the teaching of the Church, they went rogue, if you will.

        • Max Doubt

          “You not getting it – it’s not that they are not Christian – yes, they are still Christian in that they believe in the teaching of the Church – what I am saying, is that for that one action they were not following the teaching of the Church, they went rogue, if you will.”

          No, you’re not getting it. Anyone who self-identifies as a Christian is a Christian. Anything any Christian does is a Christian thing to do – because it’s a Christian doing it.

          You’re so desperate to cling to your childish fantasy, you’ve gone from making excuses to making excuses for the excuses. That’s a pretty shitty way to engage in a conversation. It’s dishonest.

        • Kodie

          No, you’re not getting it. Anyone who self-identifies as a Christian is a
          Christian. Anything any Christian does is a Christian thing to do – because it’s a Christian doing it.

          It’s because there are many teachings of many churches based on the bible which they interpret however they wish to. Anyone can call themselves a Christian if they sincerely believe something in there somewhere, and justify their actions and behaviors or grant themselves automatic immunity by forgiving themselves instantly.

          There’s no “not Christian” in there, unless they are actually faking it, going along with the crowd, pretending to be Christian to avoid persecution or banishment or punishment. If they are trapped inside a cult unwillingly, I would say they are not a true Christian. Everyone else thinks they are, so they are.

        • J.B.

          Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I do get what you’re saying. In the past century, Catholicism has suffered a black eye from the actions of a few renegades who call themselves “Priests.” It’s been said that it is incumbent on the Catholic Church, therefore, to act to “police” their religion -(which they have by the way)- bottom line – those wierdos are Christians….enough.

        • Greg G.

          It’s also the bishops that assign the renegades to different places with a whole new batch of potential victims. Then there are higher up officials that help to cover it up. There also accounts of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy going back about a thousand years. It’s institutional thing. Are you willing to defend that?

        • Kodie

          They have been actively protected and shuffled around to other parishes by the overall organization. Please don’t be dishonest.

        • In the past century, Catholicism has suffered a black eye from the actions of a few renegades who call themselves “Priests.”

          In the past 30 or 40 years, Catholicism has suffered a black eye from the actions of some people who the church itself calls “priests.”

          It’s been said that it is incumbent on the Catholic Church, therefore, to act to “police” their religion -(which they have by the way)

          This is tangential, but you kinda brought it up (you’re not Catholic, right?).

          What I find hilarious/horrendous is that the Catholic church was given the easiest possible moral test: What do you do when you find priests screwing children? The obvious answer—be transparent and proactive with the police, assist them as necessary, focus on the victim instead of the perpetrator, let the reputation of the church fall where it may as a result, reconsider the celibacy policy, and so on—completely eluded them. And now they pretend to have the moral authority to lecture us about contraception, sex before marriage, and so on.

          Hey–if God directed your response to the priest abuse problem, I have zero interest in what you think God thinks about my naughty bits. The church has lost its seat at the table.

        • Greg G.

          Well, the teachings of Christianity can be summed up with Loving your neighbor as yourself

          That is from Leviticus 19:18, but actually, it comes from Rabbi Hillel who known to be able to recite the Law. One day he had some place to be when a man challenged him to recite the Law while standing on one foot. He stood on one foot and said, “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowman. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary.”

          Mark 12:31, Matthew 22:39-40, and Luke 10:27 have Jesus expressing the idea in the same context with Luke’s version having it said immediately after Jesus addressed the disciples, so James had to be there. Matthew 5:43 has Jesus mentioning the idea in the Sermon on the Mount and John 13:34-35 has Jesus expressing it at the Last Supper right after Judas Iscariot left for the betrayal, so James had to be there. Matthew 19:19 has another rendition but it is not clear if any disciples were within earshot.

          Paul gave his version in Galatians 5:14. The Epistle of James appears to be a response to Galatians as he challenges that notion. James 2:8-10 says it is a good start but one must follow the rest of the Law. James seems not to understand Paul’s point as he seems to think Paul means that one can murder and commit adutery in James 2:11, where he is quoting from the Septuagint version of either Exodus 20:13-14 or Deuteronomy 5:17-18.

          Paul responds to James in Romans 13:8-10. Verse 8 reiterates the idea, verse 9 recites the same OT language on adultery and murder, then adds OT language on stealing and coveting and “any other commandment”. He again quotes Leviticus 19:18 in verse 10 and explains that one does not do those things to people with love.

          How can Paul understand it when he never heard it from Jesus while James doesn’t get it despite hearing it from Jesus at least three times? It seems that Paul had read Hillel and used it. It was later attributed to Jesus from Paul’s writings. It wouldn’t be the only place where that is the better explanantion.

        • That’s your definition of “Christianity.” Westboro Baptist Church has another definition.

          You’re appealing to a popularity contest. Yes, I like your Christianity better than Westboro’s, but that’s missing the point, which is that the Bible is a sock puppet. You make it say whatever you want.

          When JB says Christianity is one thing and millions of Christians have dozens of fundamental differences in their ideas of what Christianity means, what does that say about the grounding of your religion?

        • BlackMamba44

          Well, the teachings of Christianity can be summed up with Loving your neighbor as yourself

          Luke 14:25-28 (NIV)
          25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

          ~~~

          Matthew 10:34-37 (NIV)
          34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

          “‘a man against his father,
          a daughter against her mother,
          a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
          36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]

          37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

          yes, they are christians, but for that one instance, they weren’t acting like christians, yes?

          Oh, so they stopped being Christians long enough to torture and slaughter and then when they were done they went back to being Christians. Gotcha.

          *There, not their

        • J.B.

          Ok, well, these are perhaps the most intriguing passages I have found as well, which seem to teach family discord instead of family unity – two things: First, remember that the golden rule was linked to Love God with all your heart, mind and soul; so, of course, Jesus would say love your neighbor, but if your neighbor opposes Christianity, walk away, even if it means walking away from family – Second, the passages do not promote violence (torture and slaughter) to the neighbor, merely the separation from them. Gotcha back.

        • Max Doubt

          “Second, the passages do not promote violence (torture and slaughter) to the neighbor, merely the separation from them.”

          No. To speak of coming with a sword and encouraging turning “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,” etc. is promoting violence. You’d be lying – at least to yourself – to suggest otherwise. When it requires you to be so utterly dishonest to hang on to your belief that gods and fairy stories are real, while they’re objectively indistinguishable from any other figments of your imagination, you have failed to support your belief before the conversation even starts.

          “Gotcha back.”

          No. You’re just making excuses for your excuses. You’re being dishonest.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus would say love your neighbor, but if your neighbor opposes Christianity, walk away, even if it means walking away from family

          Really? Where does Jesus say that? In Mark 7 and Matthew 15, Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for not following the commandments to “Honor thy father and mother” and “He who speaks ill of his father shall be put to death” (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 20:9) because they believe they should be devoted to God rather than their parents.

          Mark 7:9-13 (NRSV)9 Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God)— 12 then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”

          Second, the passages do not promote violence (torture and slaughter) to the neighbor, merely the separation from them. Gotcha back.

          But Jesus is OK with violence toward slaves. Instead of teaching that it is wrong to hold slaves, Jesus thinks it is good and proper to beat them.

          Luke 12:47-48 (NRSV)47 That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

        • J.B.

          Please, please, please, Greg G, obviously, your use of the Luke passage would be roundly criticized by knowledgeable Christians – but for good reason!!! This is a parable Jesus used to show what would happen to those who die in mortal sin, no way was it intended to show Jesus believed in slavery or beating slaves, oh my goodness, no!!!

        • Greg G.

          It is a parable that endorses the beating of slaves. Any Christian that does not recognize that is a horrible sycophant.

          The parable makes an analogy that sinners deserve punishment according to their sins in the same way that slaves deserve to be beaten. The only way the analogy works is by accepting that beating slaves is good and proper.

          If you recognize that slaves should not be slaves nor beaten, then the analogy becomes satire that implies that there is no punishment in the afterlife. But that is not what Luke was saying here and you know that.

          ETA the last four words at 4 minutes after posting.

        • If you recognize that slaves should not be slaves nor beaten, then the analogy becomes satire that implies that there is no punishment in the afterlife.

          Brilliant!

        • Greg G.

          Do you concede the point about Jesus being against religious people rejecting their father and mother for religious reasons?

        • J.B.

          I think you’re pulling my leg, Greg G., it is as clear as night and day that Jesus wanted to turn their backs on whomever was an obstacle to their faith. Shake the dust from your sandals….

        • Kodie

          If that isn’t the language of a cult, I don’t know what is.

        • J.B.

          I think the word “cult” is overused – applied to any group to which one is opposed.

        • Greg G.

          That’s what cult members say.

        • BlackMamba44
        • J.B.

          there’s an element of slavery with a cult – if you really understand, Christianity, you know it has everything to do with freedom.

        • BlackMamba44

          Bhahahahahaha!! Christianity has everything to do with freedom??

          There’s an element of slavery to Christianity.

          Where is the freedom in Christianity?

          You are a slave to your master. That master is your favorite deity.

          And by the way: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c309dd43f3ef636df26b66d789c4aa496686983c59ee02420b16f6b97a58c2c.jpg
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c958388e45755076065248a4c6dd049d968267e39da69f27346d22de1526d57b.jpg

        • BlackMamba44

          And my name isn’t Christianity.

        • Greg G.

          Interesting use of commas. Most Christianistas use random capitalization and exclamation points rather than random commas.

        • Kodie

          I’ve seen commas where they aren’t supposed to be. Most commonly, but still rarely seen, are the comma extended ellipses,,,,,,,,, such like, or longer.

        • Kodie

          Enslave yourself to a superstition under the charge of an imaginary abuser, and do whatever you can to justify your beliefs by arguing with people you have been brainwashed to believe are rebels against the authority. When I used the word “cult” I meant it. I meant it in a way that Jesus in the bible is described to use known abusive techniques to separate people from their families. Abusers and cults promise something wonderful, and are against sensible people in their recruits’ atmosphere from trying to talk sense into them. The passage of the bible you protested was about Jesus warning people about their family members trying to come between the person and their faith. That is Domestic Abuse 101. Remove the victim from anyone else who can influence them with fucking common sense. It’s Sexual Abuse 101. Convince the victim that they should tell no one. It’s abuse. It’s how you abuse people. It’s how you make sure they have no one else around them to talk sense to them and make sure they avoid your abuse and cult.

          Christianity is everything to do with slavery. Every Christian I have ever heard come here makes excuses for god, for Jesus, and for churches. Whatever they did was for the benefit of mankind and cannot be judged ordinarily. We have to pretend if we’re Christian that everything is ok. Some Christians will even admit they are slaves to Jesus. Saying what they really think is off the board. They have to warp everything that’s in the bible as though it’s just and good and for the benefit of all mankind or the opposite of what it actually says. ANYTHING TO APPEASE THE ONE THEY FEAR, JESUS.

        • Greg G.

          Have you read your Bible? Maybe you are doing it wrong.

          Ephesians 6:6 (NASB)6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

          Colossians 3:24 (NASB)24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

          1 Peter 2:16 (NASB)16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

          Romans 1:1 (NASB)1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

          James 1:1 (NASB)1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.

        • Christianity has everything to do with freedom? You mean the Christianity defined by the Bible in which Jesus said bupkis about banning slavery? And where his dad regulated it?

          No, I think you’re thinking about another religion.

        • Kodie

          In a cult, I think the person at the top could be delusional and infects everyone who joins with delusion. I kind of remember back in school, we learned about this. It’s hazy in my memory, but there was some (probably) brief lesson about how to avoid getting sucked into a cult, what to look for, etc.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you approached my actual comment.

        • “Any group I don’t like” is one definition of cult, but it does have more precise sociological definitions that are useful–having a charismatic leader, insular focus, and so on.

        • I’m a little confused then. Show me where Jesus demands that slavery end, because I thought he didn’t ever do that.

        • J.B.

          Very clever, sir, Jesus did not demand the end of slavery – he also wasn’t opposed to paying taxes – but, in heaven, there ain’t no slavery and there ain’t no taxes…

        • Greg G.

          How do you know what is in heaven? There isn’t many details about heaven in the Bible. If there were slavery and taxes in heaven, that is something they would want to not let you in on.

        • Kodie

          Good old bait ‘n’ switch.

        • Which doesn’t resolve the embarrassing problem that Jesus didn’t seem to understand that slavery is bad.

          Whoops. Maybe you should find someone else to worship.

        • Kodie

          There ain’t no heaven, that’s just where we want to go where there ain’t no slavery and there ain’t no taxes, aka a fantasy away from real life.

        • This is a small aside, but keep in mind that “neighbor” meant “fellow Jew.” There is a clear distinction between insiders and The Other.

          These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 10:5-6)

        • J.B.

          Bob – you’re in luck, ever hear of the “good semaritan” – it comes from the story Jesus told when he was asked directly, who is my neighbor.. you’ll think you died and went to heaven…

        • If you’re saying that the Bible is a moving target, with “neighbor” = “fellow Jew” in the OT but Jesus changing it somewhat, I agree. This gets back to the sock puppet problem, where you can select verses to make the Bible say just about whatever you want. Not the kind of book you’d expect from an omnipotent Creator.

        • Greg G.

          The only thing Matthew’s Jesus has to say about “Samaria” and “Samaritans” is to stay away from them. (Matthew 10:5) Mark says nothing about them. John has the Woman at the Well in Samaria.

          Luke has invented the Good Samaritan from:

          2 Chronicles 28:15 (NRSV)15 Then those who were mentioned by name got up and took the captives, and with the booty they clothed all that were naked among them; they clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them; and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kindred at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

        • Kodie

          Why is your superstition so important to you that you can’t tolerate people who don’t have it also?

        • BlackMamba44

          “Gotcha back”?

          Bwahaha!

          All I got back was your interpretation.

        • J.B.

          Yeah, but my interpretation is accurate and it served to correct you in the error of your thinking…. why do you call yourself BlackMamba44?

        • BlackMamba44

          Haha. Sure. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

          My user name is irrelevant.

        • J.B.

          Irrelevant, is it really? When I post under my user name, I’m inspired by what it means to me and puts me in a certain spirit of conversation – Yours is very distinctive, and kind of a cool and I like the picture of the cat. Also, to be an atheist, you’re making a bold move, that implies you’ve read your Bible… I’m here to help you understand it…correctly…

        • to be an atheist, you’re making a bold move

          How?

          Perhaps you don’t know what “atheist” means. Atheists usually define themselves as having no god belief. That’s it. And that’s not bold at all, it’s simply the null hypothesis. Presumably you have an analogous stance with regard to unicorns–disbelief is the default position, even if you’re open to new evidence.

          But if you want to help us understand the Bible, you might start with one of my favorite passages, Lev. 25:44-46, the “slavery for life” passage.

        • BlackMamba44

          What kind of bold move is being an atheist?

          I rejected the claim of any gods existing because there is no evidence for any gods existing. It wasn’t difficult.

          I take the Bible at face value. What other way is there to take it? How am I supposed to know that you understand it correctly? Maybe you have it all wrong and the Christian down the street has it right? How am I suppose to know?

          Black Mamba is the kitty in the picture. She’s my youngest and we have a special bond.

        • Kodie

          Analyzing fiction is sometimes a worthwhile pursuit, but it’s art. We try to get inside the author’s intentions, but sometimes, they reveal things that aren’t there, or their words are not as precise and can be interpreted more than one way. If you focus on one part, you might disregard another part as “filler” or in your case “metaphorical”. Understanding the bible is not necessary to be a good person or to live a good life, but believing the bible as a superstitious warning about the fictional character god can be detrimental. You cannot control how people will interpret it and execute its meaning to them in their lives. You cannot say they are incorrect if they have become indoctrinated to their particular church. Underneath it all, there is no evidence that it isn’t a fiction, a myth. There is no reason to be so worried that you are even following it correctly, there is no reason to feel lost without these unfounded promises. You prey on gullible idiots, and you are a pawn. You, outside of god and Jesus, think you are able to judge its worth, and so am I. We disagree. Every single Christian who shows up here thinks their version is correctly interpreted and we should listen to them, and wind up using a lot of the same weak fallacies to argue for their faith. They are all sincere, as I believe you are sincere. The atheist isn’t necessarily intent on separating you from your faith as much as separating the faithful from their panic about their belief that motivates them to try to control others in our society. You seem to admit people with a different understanding as your do exist, and do you admit they can be harmful? Believing something without evidence is the power of suggestion, the wanting to belong to a group, the agreeing you see what others point out to you. There is nothing deeper in Christianity than that – one person such as yourself see a framework that has been suggested to you, so you become confident in seeing it exactly that way, that you can’t see it another way. Atheists and other Christians and other theists disagree with how your framework describes the environment. What has been pointed out to other gullible people such as yourself has enough of the ring of truth that they adopt another interpretation, and in some cases, another god. Not all of it is intrusive or harmful to society, where I live, but it may be harmful to the believer, or to those in community with others who believe.

          I mean, you are threatened when someone doesn’t find your arguments of any intellectual quality. Whatever you are selling isn’t worth buying. The only reason other Christians don’t buy it is called opportunity cost. Another company has won their loyalty because their marketing was better or more aggressive. The reason atheists don’t buy it is because it’s bullshit.

        • J.B.

          Thank you for your honesty and truth. I can not disagree with you and I actually do believe some of the people of which you are speaking are harmful –

        • Greg G.

          I showed that your interpretation was Biblically incorrect because Jesus was against rejecting parents for religious reasons. But, of course, the Bible can be made to say anything, thus it is not a reliable source for teaching and morality.

        • J.B.

          I just posted below in response to this – I have to admit, I did not carefully read the passages you posted, I will do so, consider and post back …. I believe I owe you that…

        • Yes, but this doesn’t make Christianity look good. Christianity was in charge, and that world sucked.

          Christianity still exists, of course, but it’s less in control. The reason things are much better is due to science and improved social policy (civil rights, no slavery, etc.). We didn’t get that from the Bible.

        • Joe

          Then what use is a god that does nothing?

        • TheNuszAbides

          he’s still running off an unlimited line of credulity for supposedly Creating All Thingies Ever.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Utopia might be the wrong word, but shouldn’t Christianity – if it is rooted in truth – manifest in some material benefit?

        • Michael Neville

          Why didn’t Christianity bring the Renaissance 1500 years earlier?

        • J.B.

          Benevolent governments are reflective of religious teachings, isn’t that a material benefit that is apparent to you, and not a small benefit at that..

        • Max Doubt

          “Benevolent governments are reflective of religious teachings, isn’t that a material benefit that is apparent to you, and not a small benefit at that.”

          Nonsense. Benevolent governments apply a humanist approach to setting or modifying social policy.

        • J.B.

          Humanist? I don’t think so. Humans left to themselves begin the struggle of survival of the fittest, as per Darwin – it is religion that inserts the concept of sacrificing oneself for the good of the all…. or am I wrong?

        • Lark62

          Which is why secular democracies like Sweden and Denmark are such “shitholes” while while countries dominated by religion like Haiti are well governed and thriving.

          /snark

          Humanism is a philosophy that advocates caring equally for all humanity regardless of tribal boundaries. (My definition).

          Humanism is the opposite of the christian evangelical “I’ve got mine. Sucks to be you.” approach to governance. (See health care, immigration, social justice, taxes, education, social safety nets, safe drinking water, and every other issue.)

          Fundamentalist christians are immeasurably selfish, and thus dangerous when given political power.

        • Max Doubt

          “Humanist? I don’t think so. Humans left to themselves begin the struggle of survival of the fittest, as per Darwin – it is religion that inserts the concept of sacrificing oneself for the good of the all…. or am I wrong?”

          You’re wrong. Ask your guidance counselor there at your school if there are any entry level biology courses you can take. Study up for a semester or two, then you’ll be able to build your comments from more than your imagination and ignorant guesses. As it is, you’re looking pretty silly here.

        • I doubt that you understand what “survival of the fittest” means or implies. Define it for me.

          No, self-sacrifice wasn’t invented by religion. Religion packages humanity’s good traits and pretends to give them back to us. Like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, we’ve had them all along.

        • J.B.

          Not sure if you were aware of this Bob, (and as pertaining to Susan’s equating the teachings of Christianity; ie: the Garden of Eden to the silly story of Pandora’s Box), no where in Greek Mythology is there a God who represented the God of Humility. The advent of Christianity was radical and profoundly influential on the society we know today, and in a good way.

        • Greg G.

          Differences between religions is how we can tell they are different religions. You are making a distinction without a functional difference. One is as mythical as the other.

        • What does the God of Humility do? He’s not very humble in the Old Testament. I’m guessing you’re saying that Jesus let himself be crucified? Is that supposed to be a lesson for us to follow? And, as you might imagine, I’m quite underwhelmed by Jesus’s great sacrifice (though perhaps that’s not your point).

          I guess I’m not sure what your point is. And tell me how this radically good influence on society manifests itself. I’m pretty sure Christians aren’t all nice, for example.

        • Kodie

          What?

        • Kodie

          Totally wrong.

        • Lark62

          Theocracies are usually he opposite of benevolent.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Huh? Are you saying that Christianity leads to benevolent government? Example please?

          If not, how does this response relate to my question?

        • Read the US Constitution. The traits of modern government didn’t come from the Bible. In fact, they’re quite against what you read in the Bible.

        • Kodie

          There is a huge distinction between religious teachings and religion. And benevolence, for that matter. I think theocratic governments believe they are governing in complete benefit for the souls of its citizens, even if they have strict traditions and strict penalties for disobeying the religion, aka the laws. Religions in the US, like Christianity, adults, parents, who manage families, may also have extreme penalties for disobeying religions, such as kicking a child out of the home for disobeying or leaving the religion. They’re not in a family anymore. They have lost status and are blank spots in that family. Why?

          I think some religious teachings can be productive, but are not the same as believing the religion. The teachings do not require belief to bring about a positive result in emotional or mental well-being. Other beliefs are toxic and also do not require belief, but may require cultural respect of the belief. You cannot deny Christianity of hateful and divisive ideas. You cannot deny Christianity of ideas that are meant to challenge reality, and once a person feels strongly about their set of beliefs, it comes as a package of beliefs about the world that may not be realistic, and a set of superstitions that they are in fear of (because of the rumor of power) upsetting with rational belief.

          You want to argue that religion is a good thing? Then you have the dirty job of trying to justify all expressions of the superstition you have. I would never say religion is always wrong, but I would say it’s always unnecessary. I don’t know that for sure – it may be difficult to motivate stupid people if they think nothing important is at stake. The good ideas are human, not religious. The bad ideas can be used to terrorize and oppress humans to serve a fictional character.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you’re barking up the wrong tree when they have the “soul/spirit is more importanter” (and conveniently subtle/unfalsifiable/etc.) card to play; save it for when they claim that [e.g.] the university couldn’t have been invented without the sponsorship of Da Church.

        • Lark62

          Your god is powerless to impact human behavior for the better.

          Police departments tend to protect abusive cops, choosing their group over vulnerable outsiders.

          But take a group appointed to lead God’s flock, dedicated to god, surrounded by prayer and bible reading. Have hundreds of people pray for their group representative every day. Now look at what happens when they learn members of their group are serial child rapists. Exactly the same as secular groups. Group members are protected at the expense of vulnerable outsiders.

          There are no new creations. No one is reborn or made new. Christianity is all a lie, every bit of it.

        • J.B.

          “No one is reborn or made new.

          With this remark, you lead me to believe you understand neither Christianity nor Man. Both are alive, both are progressing forward, not stagnant – two steps forward, one step back, that sort of thing…

        • Max Doubt

          “With this remark, you lead me to believe you understand neither Christianity or Man. Both are alive, both are progressing forward, not stagnant – two steps forward, one step back, that sort of thing…”

          With this remark you show you don’t understand the simple terms “reborn” or “made new”. Nobody is reborn or made new.

        • Lark62

          Whoosh.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          But neither is literally reborn. When an atheist becomes a Christian in a figurative “rebirth,” this is not progress.

        • J.B.

          It is not progress in the way our society today defines it, but it makes Christians happy.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          It is not progress in the sense of what makes humanity and the Earth better.

        • Kodie

          Crazy nonsensical religion uses members like pawns to approach vulnerable members of our society and teach them about Jesus. They send members to other poor countries and teach them about Jesus. Like it’s fucking real, like it’s fucking what they fucking need. We have had many idiotic Christians gullibly pronouncing their faith is a result of going through some hard time and coming out the other end thanks to Jesus (alone). Never the pawn marketer who fed them the lines they wanted to hear. I mean, whatever “works” in getting some people motivated, but it’s not reality at all. These people become pawns too. They are marked to be suspicious of evolution, to be racist, to be sexist, to be homophobic, because it is part of the package. They get lifted up by the grace of humans who can’t get up off their own ass unless there’s a Jesus, and sold the package of hate and superstition. They feel better, they have gratitude, so what about Christianity is necessary? All they needed was some idea of worth in our community, but they were sold instead no worth in our community, the only worth they have is with Jesus, a fictional character. Isn’t there a better way to accomplish the same thing without people buying a lot of bullshit that turns vulnerable citizens into toxic superstitious soldiers for a fictional character?

        • Michael Neville

          What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)

          Which is nonsense. Humanity changes, sometimes in very short times.

          In 1900, who’d a bet we’d all be surfing on the internet –: Chris Cummings & Don Schlitz “Twentieth Century”

        • Greg G.

          Ecclesiastes 10:20 (NRSV)20 Do not curse the king, even in your thoughts,    or curse the rich, even in your bedroom;for a bird of the air may carry your voice,    or some winged creature tell the matter.

          I’m pretty sure this is an Orwellian-like reference to the ancient Hebrew internet.

        • TheNuszAbides

          isn’t there a Five Eyes in Revelation? some number of eyes, anyway.

        • Greg G.

          Revelation 5:6 (NRSV)6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

          “standing as if it had been slaughtered”?!?!?!

        • TheNuszAbides

          Five Eyes is only the tip of the surveillance-state iceberg!!

        • Gary Whittenberger

          But if God existed, he would have given those people devoted to him a boost in power to make a better society. But they didn’t create a better society. In fact, they stalled improvement.

        • Max Doubt

          “But if the God Gary imagines existed, he would have given those people devoted to him a boost in power to make a better society.”

          Fixed that for you. The god you imagine is not the same as the gods other people imagine. Theirs are not subject to the rules you’ve written for yours.

        • J.B.

          Um, so, um, ever hear of the Greatest Generation? They fought WWII and defeated Nazism AND they were part of a Judeao-Christian believing society – against all odds, they found the power to safe the World from the greatest evil of all, Hitler.

        • Greg G.

          Nazism was also part of the Judeo-Christian believing society. They held Martin Luther’s and the Catholic’s view on the “perfidious” Jews.

          Hitler needed a two-thirds majority for the Enabling Act, which allowed him to make laws. He was able to get the support of the Catholic Centre Party to get the necessary votes.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enabling_Act_of_1933

        • J.B.

          Perhaps, but the discussion was on the motivation of forces for good, not on the motivation for Nazism. And, I believe you would have a Herculean task a head of you if you attempted to argue that Hitler epitomized Judeo-Christian beliefs, you know, with all the Jews and Christians he placed in death camps and all….

        • OK, you really have to let go of the idea of a single way that Christians should act. You can find Christians on all sides of every social question–slavery, civil rights, voting rights, gay rights and SSM, and so on.

          You can find support for lots of unpleasant things in the Bible. Don’t say that Hitler or Westboro Baptist were/are nuts for the crazy stuff they said/say. I can’t think of anything that’s either not in the Bible or not in Christian tradition.

        • Greg G.

          If the Nazis had won, they would be making the same argument that they were the forces for good, that they eliminated the “perfidious Jews*” and the false Christians.

          There is a long history in Christianity of pogroms against the Jews. The Nazis would just be bringing back that “Old-Time Religion.”

          * The phrase “perfidious Jews” was part of the Catholic Latin Good Friday mass until 1959.

          Martin Luther Quotes on Jews
          “I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God and his King Christ, as all the prophets have predicted. He who neither reads nor understands this, as yet knows no theology, in my opinion. And so I presume the men of Cologne cannot understand the Scripture, because it is necessary that such things take place to fulfill prophecy. If they are trying to stop the Jews blaspheming, they are working to prove the Bible and God liars.”
          Source: Letter of Martin Luther to George Spalatin, January or February 1514

          “I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them. I would not have believed that a Christian could be duped by the Jews into taking their exile and wretchedness upon himself. ”
          Source: Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)

          “Our Lord also calls them a ‘brood of vipers’; furthermore in John 8 [:39,44] he states: ‘If you were Abraham’s children ye would do what Abraham did. … You are of your father the Devil. It was intolerable to them to hear that they were not Abraham’s but the Devil’s children, nor can they bear to hear this today.”
          Source: Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)

          “Be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and veheming his eyes on them.”
          Source: Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)

          “They are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch-thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security.”
          Source: Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)

          ” … Eject them forever from this country. For, as we have heard, God’s anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!”
          Source: Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)

          “What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:

          First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly – and I myself was unaware of it – will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

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

          Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.

          Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people’s obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy.

          Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home.

          Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God’s blessing in a good and worthy cause.

          Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3:19). For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”
          Source: Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)

        • Kodie

          While the gods of love look down and laugh what romantic fools we mortals be.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q3KXAh4ihg

        • TheNuszAbides

          wtf is “sharp mercy”?? clean beheadings?

        • Greg G.

          Gentle mercy makes them worse.

          I think Luther was using the phrase “sharp mercy” as an oxymoronic euphemism.

        • Susan

          you would have a Herculean task a head of you if you attempted to argue that Hitler epitomized Judeo-Christian beliefs, you know, with all the Jews and Christians he placed in death camps and all….

          You would have a Herculean task ahead of you if you claim that people fought Hitler because of Jesus. Especially given the Lutheran background of Germany, the support from the higher ups in the RCC for Hitler, and how badly Jews were generally treated all around (which diminishes the “Judeo” part of your Judeochristian claim.)

          Hitler threatened other European countries. Those countries either fought back or made alliances. Standard in warfare.

          Canada and other members of the British empire stepped up to defend the British empire.

          The U.S. stepped up when they were attacked on their own soil.

          None of those countries treated Jews particularly well. It took decades of other factors to make progress in this area.

        • Kodie

          Why do we need a fictional character to motivate us?

        • It’s almost like there were Christians on both sides of the war. Weird.

          Good point about Martin Luther. He helped lay the foundation of anti-Semitism in Germany that Hitler built on.

        • Um, ever hear of the Dark Ages? Conditions kinda sucked. And Christianity was in charge.

          Christianity has had its chance.

        • J.B.

          Ok, I may be wrong, but King Arthur, who brought us out of the dark ages, is a prototype of Jesus…I found this on the internet::

          ” In “The Passing of Arthur,” Tennyson depicts King Arthur as a type of Christ figure with Bedivere acting as an apostle or companion to the Christ figure.”

        • Greg G.

          King Arthur is mythology, too.

          Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, a Keanu Reeves movie from when he was young, is about two young musicians whose catchphrase “Be excellent to each other” (sounds like “love one another”) is important to a society of the future.

          The sequel is Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey where they go to hell and back, literally, also like Jesus.

        • J.B.

          Again, Did “the” King Arthur exist, was there “the” Garden of Eden, wait there was a flood, but not “the” flood, I feel like I’m going around and around, for me the movie in that genre is “Dude, Where’s my Car” – You ask me what tattoo is on your back and I say “Sweet” and then ask you what tattoo is on my back and you say “Dude”….

        • Greg G.

          The Garden of Eden myth and the Flood myth are derived from the myths of their neighbors, possibly from Babylonian records during the Exile. A serpent ate the fruit that would have given Gilgamesh immortality. Another part of the story is a man in a boat full of animals surviving a flood.

        • J.B.

          Very implausible, I agree, and yet there it is in the Bible and they are stories amongst many other stories, some of which are confirmed as accurate as the story arises more closely to present time… I don’t know, Greg G., you may be right.

        • Glad2BGodless

          “…some of which are confirmed as accurate as the story arises more closely to present time…”

          What exactly are you trying to say with this?

        • Greg G.

          I took it to mean the Exile and some events in the later OT books. Some of the NT is confirmed by Josephus, but I think that is the parts that were derived from Josephus to invent the gospels and Acts.

        • What stories are “confirmed as accurate”?

          If Greg is right that the Bible borrowed mythology from the guys down the street, where does that leave your Christianity?

        • Glad2BGodless

          I knew about the boat. Didn’t know about the serpent. Interesting! Is there a particular source I should read for Gilgamesh!

        • Greg G.

          I knew about the boat. Didn’t know about the serpent. Interesting! Is there a particular source I should read for Gilgamesh!

          I didn’t know about it either. I came across it last night while Googling. I can’t find where I saw it but check this out:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Gilgamesh#Tablet_eleven

          As they are leaving, Utnapishtim’s wife asks her husband to offer a parting gift. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh that at the bottom of the sea there lives a boxthorn-like plant that will make him young again. Gilgamesh, by binding stones to his feet so he can walk on the bottom, manages to obtain the plant. Gilgamesh proposes to investigate if the plant has the hypothesized rejuvenation ability by testing it on an old man once he returns to Uruk.

          There is a plant that looks like a box-thorn, it has prickles like a dogrose, and will prick one who plucks it. But if you can possess this plant, you’ll be again as you were in your youth

          This plant, Ur-shanabi, is the “Plant of Heartbeat”, with it a man can regain his vigour. To Uruk-the-sheepfold I will take it, to an ancient I will feed some and put the plant to the test![6]:98

          Unfortunately, when Gilgamesh stops to bathe, it is stolen by a serpent, who sheds its skin as it departs. Gilgamesh weeps at the futility of his efforts, because he has now lost all chance of immortality. He returns to Uruk, where the sight of its massive walls prompts him to praise this enduring work to Urshanabi.

          PS: Apparently, this tells us why snakes shed their skin.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Interesting! I can see I’m going to have to read more about this in particular and Gilgamesh in general.

        • Pofarmer

          Interesting.

        • “Snakes! Why is it always snakes?”

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Asps! Very dangerous… you go first!

        • Kodie

          If one of the guys in Dude, Where’s My Car was smarter than the other, it wouldn’t have been funny and they would have found their car in 10 minutes. Not a movie, and probably not even funny or interesting for 10 minutes. How do I know, I’ve never seen it. You seem to be the one trapped in a lack of intellect and you don’t get the tattoo joke because it’s on your own back. Pretending not to follow the conversation because it’s too fast only means you’re too slow, not that it’s trying to trick you.

        • The sequel is Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey where they go to hell and back

          The script initially had a love interest named Helen Back, but that was too on the nose.

        • Greg G.

          I have heard that large libraries have a Helen Hunt who is in charge of finding books. If you are looking for an obscure reference, you can go to Helen Hunt for it.

        • When I was in Boy Scouts on a camping trip, some of the older boys told me to find a left-handed smoke shifter. I still haven’t found it yet, but I think I’m getting closer.

        • Greg G.

          Go ask the Scoutmaster to borrow the tent stretcher so we can have more room in here.

          I fell for that.

        • Kodie

          Expected a lot more from her.

        • epeeist

          ” In “The Passing of Arthur,” Tennyson depicts King Arthur as a type of Christ figure

          This is a 19th century poem, Tennyson’s personal vision of Arthur. There is no “Arthur who brought out of the dark ages”, at best Arthur was simply a Dux Bellorum who existed in the 5th or 6th centuries, certainly nothing like the figure that Malory, Spenser or Tennyson. As for the “Dark Ages”, the term is no longer really used.

        • Michael Neville

          Are you saying that Arthur didn’t wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at him?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I thought we were an autonomous collective.

        • “King Arthur” was from the 6th century, was he not? The worst suckage had yet to come.

          If you want a champion who rescued us from mythology and ignorance, I suggest science. I find it surprising that religion, especially in the West, is able to reshape itself to remain relevant in a time when science has shown how truths about nature are found (and it’s not through superstition or religion). But then I remember that religion thrives in poor social conditions, and the anti-social actions of conservative politicians help Christianity (which, symbiotically, is part of their base). Whoops. That was a tangent.

          Back to the main point: Christianity was in charge in Europe for 1500 years, and our modern society came from rejecting its form of truth.

        • TheNuszAbides

          if you want to dabble in Arthurian legend to make a point here, you have a lot of catching up to do. not holding my breath.
          plus, you don’t seem to know what “prototype” means. how were you imagining that a 19th-century interpretation of medieval legend was at all relevant to this thread? unless you think the Jesus narrative occurred subsequent to “the dark ages”. who even knows what “us” you think you were referring to … The Western World perhaps? using Jerusalem for the prime meridian?

        • Gary Whittenberger

          We were talking about Europe of the Middle Ages. You’re referring to the wrong time period.

      • TheNuszAbides

        it seems like J.B. is used to addressing these items on a Sunday School level, with people who have barely given any thought to the matter and who can be derailed by dime-a-dozen “but what if”s.

    • You’re giving Man quite a bit of power here. Man’s shenanigans are so powerful that they can screw up God’s perfect plan?

      I guess that’s possible, but not what you’d expect if God has the properties Christians give him–omnipotence and so on.

      • Glad2BGodless

        I have asked Christians about this. If God is as perfect as perfect can be, wouldn’t any departure from the condition where only God exists necessarily be a move away from perfection? Why would God ever create anything at all? Things were already as good as they could ever hope to get.

        • God might’ve created the universe to make things better … but how could things have been imperfect when God was in charge? And if the universe makes things worse (which apparently is the case, since one man singlehandedly broke the entire universe), then why did God do it?

        • TheNuszAbides

          he can’t help Himself! (only those who help themselves …)

        • epeeist

          If God is as perfect as perfect can be, wouldn’t any departure from the
          condition where only God exists necessarily be a move away from
          perfection?

          Exactly, which is why Aristotle’s “Prime Mover” doesn’t act at all.

      • J.B.

        “I guess that’s possible, but not what you’d expect if God has the properties Christians give him–omnipotence and so on.”

        Ok, I believe you have actually provided a good reason for your “Expectation”, and I am little embarrassed, but, while we Christians do ascribe those attributes to God, we also believe in the story that God gave to his prophets about how Man did “screw up” God’s perfect plan in the garden of eden. I am not sure if I can speak for all Christians here, but the handle I have on it is, if God can do anything then he can also allow Man to “screw up” everything, cause, well, he’s God.

        • Greg G.

          But if God creates something that can screw it up, then the created thing is imperfect which implies that God is imperfect.

          If God created man and let Satan screw things up, then Satan should be blamed, not man.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Yeah, I’ve never quite wrapped my head around how a perfect being could create such combustible circumstances and not he entirely to blame. Would anyone blame the toddler for burning the house down if left in a room full of lighters and matches?

        • Greg G.

          Exactly. It’s like blaming the person who stepped on a land mine for the explosion.

        • TheNuszAbides

          hey, c’mon, that’s a team effort.

          not to belittle victims of mines. –The Mgmt

        • Kodie

          It’s really difficult to regard him as perfect after that. It might have been some kind of plan, like a test, but Noah’s Ark kind of ruins it, because god gets so angry at the earthlings spinning so out of control that he resolves to kill almost all of them with a half-assed do-over that doesn’t do fucking anything new. Botched. God apologizes and waits another couple thousand years to patch this mistake with Jesus, but Jesus has to die to finish the job, which is when god decides everyone, no matter how wicked, deserves to be forgiven, unless they can’t logically comprehend a god-man sacrificing himself to his executors and then disappearing from his own tomb as a miracle of resurrection. If god knows you’re not buying that line, you can go to hell. Since perfection was discarded at least a very long while ago, this is another botched attempt like Noah. What kind of inane horseshit is this anyway. Around the end of Jesus’s life (if he lived), you have a book that was apparently decided by committee what should be included. Nobody at the time was up on literacy, really, and we know how easily people can be suggested to believe something that is total bullshit. I want to see someone put on a Jesus infomercial, not like the pretend ones where there’s a preacher trying to get you to send $254 or some weird amount because he saw it in a vision. I mean, produce something modern about Jesus that people would …. fucking probably buy, but I digress. Everything about the Jesus story sounds like fiction to me. I just want to see people seeing it in a more obvious context, everything meant to “spread” the “good news” is exactly how marketers work, no matter the product.

        • TheNuszAbides

          maybe the only reason scripture has been as protected as it has for so long, is that nobody got cocky enough until fairly recently to write anything as honestly titled as “The Book of Marketing”.

        • TheNuszAbides

          let’s see …

          if Bog doesn’t have the option of imperfection, suppose he Created just to see what imperfection was like? but then nobody gets to play the Omnipresent card.

          then Satan should be blamed

          if you want your tribe to have that stunted a sense of accountability, then, well, yeah!

        • Greg G.

          if Bog doesn’t have the option of imperfection, suppose he Created just to see what imperfection was like?

          I think someone recently linked to a Carrier argument that omniscience implies that God knows what it is like to enjoy being gang-banged. How could God be perfect lacking such knowledge?

        • Joe

          we also believe in the story that God gave to his prophets about how Man did “screw up” God’s perfect plan in the garden of eden

          Then it wasn’t a perfect plan. In fact, it was one of the most idiotic “plans” ever conceived.

          if God can do anything then he can also allow Man to “screw up” everything, cause, well, he’s God.

          Then why would anyone worship such an immoral being?

        • D Rieder

          Oh and I just have to chime in here and mention the flood. It’s not just that it was a horrible way to kill people, but the whole plan, if that’s what it was, was flawed because it depended on another litter of those flawed sinful humans to repopulate the world. Even I could see that would not have worked. You don’t keep putting programs on a new system you already are absolutely certain are contaminated with viruses.

        • Michael Neville

          Joe and D Rieder, remember that J.B. is a Catholic, i.e., a non-Biblical literalist. The Garden o’ Eden, Flud et al are just metaphoric, showing that God is a dick who likes to screw with people.

        • J.B.

          Let’s just say I don’t sweat the small stuff….

        • What do you mean by this? That you just dismiss unpleasantries (like genocide and the flood) so that you can focus on the part you like?

        • Greg G.

          Unpleasant major issues are small stuff that can be ignored.

        • Whatever gets you through the day, I guess.

        • Susan

          :That you just dismiss unpleasantries (like genocide and the flood)

          And natural selection.

          Sorry to keep harping on this but it`s like 99. many 9s of the unpleasantries. MOST of the unnecessary suffering.

          When we let them tell the story as though reality is obviously all about humans, we don`t ask them to address what is basic. .

          We concede way too much.

        • I’m not surprised that you saw through my equating genocide and drowning millions with “unpleasantries.” We’ll have to see if JB is as aware.

        • Susan

          I’m not surprised that you saw through my equating genocide and drowning millions with unpleasantries

          Fair enough. But…

          Natural selection beats the shit out of their flood story and their genocide loving deity. Those stories don’t hold a candle to the every day horrors of natural selection.

          We tell them we don’t like how the story affects humans and they come back with the Free Will Defense.

          “Oh, but we’d be robots if my imaginary deity didn’t give us Free Will.”

          But Free Will (capitalized or not) does not account for reality. Not even close.

          We are talking about a deity who created countless trillions of life forms and mostly tortured/tortures them all to death.

          MOST of suffering predates and surrounds our particular species.

          THAT is what JB is calling “the small stuff”.

        • J.B.

          “And natural selection.” I’m really missing the connection, please enlighten me –

        • Susan

          “And natural selection.” I’m really missing the connection, please enlighten me –

          There was never a Garden of Eden. There was never a perfect plan by a good deity that went awry.

          There was always horrible suffering. The Garden of Eden is a myth.

          Humans suffer because they are earthlings. Earthlings suffer because it’s a very cruel, very old planet.

          Our cousins, the other hominids suffered and died, as has every other earthling.

          It’s awful. It would be morally reprehensible if there were a moral agent behind it but there’s no evidence for that.

          Just claims that a moral agent created it and then excuses for why it is not morally responsible for doing so.

        • What is your stance on evolution? Do you reject it, or are you happy to accept the scientific consensus?

        • Greg G.

          It is much easier to remain a Christian by ignoring the details and contradictions while punting to irrational “mysterious ways” to escape irrational points. It is much harder when you face the problems honestly and follow them to their logical conclusion.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          But do you sweat the big stuff? Apparently not.

        • Good point. There is plenty of big stuff that JB really ought to be sweating about.

        • TheNuszAbides

          for J.B. the heavy lifting appears to consist entirely of “Trust [mushy concepts propped up by flimsy poetry] and pretend that’s refraining from judgment”.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things”??

        • TheNuszAbides

          no, let’s please say much more than that, seeing as how your efforts to respond are so frequently vague and/or under-informed.

        • Susan

          remember that J.B. is a Catholic, i.e., a non-Biblical literalist. The Garden o’ Eden, Flud et al are just metaphoric

          Technically, catholics are not required to think the Garden of Eden is a metaphor. They just aren’t required to see it as literal.

        • J.B.

          That’s true, just wondering if you are a Catholic (fallen away) – and, also, think about it, does it really matter if you can pinpoint the exact place and time for the Garden of Eden and Great Flood, it’s missing the forest for the trees…

        • Susan

          does it really matter if you can pinpoint the exact place and time for the Garden of Eden and Great Flood, it’s missing the forest for the trees…

          They are myths. Stories.

          No forest.

        • J.B.

          But where do the stories come from? Thin air? Gotcha.

        • Greg G.

          Human minds. Humans like to tell stories. Humans like to be entertained. What options did they have but to retell stories and make up new ones. Being able to tell a good story was a status thing. Being able to tell the same story in a new way was admired.

          The Greeks had mimesis, which is borrowing elements of older stories and placing them in new stories, often in such a way that the hearer/reader recognized it. The Romans had imitatio which was similar but was used to express Roman ideals. The Jews used midrash on their scriptures to dig up new revelations from God. Each are apparent in the Gospels.

        • J.B.

          If I were a lawyer, I’d say you were begging the question.

        • Greg G.

          I was writing a response to you elsewhere when you posted that.

          See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/02/25-reasons-dont-live-world-god/#comment-3773128123

          Is that the answer you were looking for?

        • TheNuszAbides

          Each are apparent in the Gospels

          abundantly so! i’ve finally reached chapter 10 of On the Historicity… and the reading list is exploding again. (as if RMPrice’s and vridar weren’t enough already)

        • Susan

          But where do the stories come from? Thin air?

          Where does the story of Pandora come from?

          Gotcha.

          I’m not sure why you do that. It’s annoying.

        • J.B.

          Pandora, (I assume is something fictitious, not sure why you picked that rather than a unicorn or something,) is most likely a cross polination of factual things or events that the human mind observed..ever hear that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts….

        • Greg G.

          The story of Pandora’s Box is another mythical story that explains the bad things in the world, just as the Genesis 3 myth explains hard work, death, serpents, and the pain of childbirth.

        • Susan

          Pandora, (I assume is something fictitious,

          I assume the same about the Garden of Eden and no one’s shown it to be anything different.

          not sure why you picked that rather than a unicorn or something,)

          I thought it would be obvious. It’s one of many, many, many stories about how suffering came into the world. Humans like to make up stories to explain things they can’t explain.

          ) is most likely a cross polination of factual things or events that the human mind observed.

          It’s a made up story (from when people didn’t know better) about Zeus providing a box and telling a human not to open it. But she did and dreadful things happened. Like when Yahweh put a tree in an imaginary garden and told a human not to eat from it. But they did and bad things happened.

          What factual things or events do either represent? Suffering was in the world long, long before humans were.

          ever hear that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts

          Yep. A handwavey aphorism in this case, when I’m asking for clarity.

        • J.B.

          The Greek Myth of Pandora’s Box – oh my, I must admit, I feel silly, without the reference to the box, I thought it was a place like Zandu – Thank you for the clarification..but, the old stories of the many Greek Gods with Zeus have been debunked long ago, where as, the story of the resurrection has not been disproven with any credible evidence…. and the evidence as set forth in the Bible has been on the table to be debunked for 2000 years…to compare the story of Pandora to the story of Eden is ludricous….you say you want intelligent discussion with honesty, that’s what it looks like, Susan.

        • Greg G.

          where as, the story of the resurrection has not been disproven with any credible evidence

          Can you reconcile the four canonical accounts of the death, burial, and resurrection? Start with whether Jesus was arrested, tried, crucified, dead, and buried all before the Passover meal or all after the Passover meal?

          In Mark 15:37-38, when Jesus died the curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom. How would anybody know? The temple doors would be facing away from the hill? Josephus (Jewish Wars 5.5.4) describes the veil as depicting the heavens and the earth. Mark says it tore from top to bottom, so the heavens would have torn first. The next verse in Mark has the centurion say, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” This reflects back to Mark 1:10-11 where the heavens parted and a voice from the sky said, “You are my beloved Son.” That is a literary device, not a historical record. That goes for all of the stories.

        • Michael Neville

          the story of the resurrection has not been disproven with any credible evidence…

          That’s now how the burden of proof works. The person making the positive claim, i.e., the resurrection happened, is the one who has to provide (here’s the word you theists hate and detest) evidence that the resurrection wasn’t pulled straight out of the air.

          Let’s suppose I make the positive claim that granite floats. Take a piece of granite, toss it into the nearest body of water, SPLASH! It sinks to the bottom. Claim disproved. Now I make the negative claim that no granite floats. We would have to test every piece of granite on Earth or even in the universe to disprove that claim. Positive claims are the ones with the burden of proof. You claim the resurrection happened. Produce your evidence. I don’t believe the resurrection happened. As it happens, I can provide arguments against it: (1) Nobody has ever been resurrected; (b) Resurrecting gods are a dime a dozen, why should I accept that Jesus resurrected and reject that Osiris also resurrected, especially when I don’t believe either of them ever existed; (iii) As Greg G. points out below, the Bible is contradictory and therefore not a reliable source for Jesus’ resurrection.

        • Kodie

          It might depend on the liquid. Granite probably floats on something. Probably most of the things that sink in water will float on some other liquid.

        • epeeist

          Granite probably floats on something

          Average density of granite is 2.7Kg/m^3, density of liquid mercury is 13.5Kg/m^3.

        • Pofarmer

          There you go with all your math and science and physics and shit again.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          13.5 g/cm^3 = 13,500 kg/m^3, water itself has a density of ~ 1,000 kg/m^3.

        • epeeist

          My bad, I am a reasonable touch typist but for reasons I won’t go into I am currently being forced to use a virtual keyboard and a crap method of copy-paste. As a result I am contributing less because of all the mistakes this leads to.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          no worries. i thought it might be something like this (or a joke).

        • Michael Neville

          You’re right. I should have been more specific about which liquid I was talking about.

        • Granite floats on mercury. Here’s a guy sitting on some (I hope he has gloves on).

          http://i.imgur.com/0dXdc.jpg

        • Greg G.

          I have held mercury in my hands. dI d nnnt HuuuurrrTTT mEEEEee nnonnne tho

        • Kodie

          It’s so shiny.

        • If mercury was good enough for Chinese royalty, it should be good enough for anyone.

        • Greg G.

          Is Clement off to Croydon?

        • You mean Mr. Buzz Kill? Yeah, I haven’t heard from him lately. Don’t blame/thank me.

        • Susan

          Is Clement off to Croydon?

          To be fair, he must be exhausted.

          Maybe he’ll come back in a few months and hit the reset button.

        • Greg G.

          Do they sell reset buttons in Croydon?

        • Susan

          Do they sell reset buttons in Croydon?

          I think it rains reset buttons in Croydon.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and they grow on trees there.

        • Greg G.

          Before anybody else is curious enough to see what sinks in mercury:

          What Won’t Float
          A handful of elements are denser than mercury and objects made of these substances will sink into it. Several precious metals — including gold, with a density of 19.3 grams per cubic centimeter, platinum with 21.4, and iridium with 22.65 — will sink in a mercury bath. Many of the actinide elements, radioactive substances that reside at the very bottom of the periodic table, also have very high densities and will sink in mercury. Plutonium, for example, has a density of 19.84 grams per cubic centimeter. Americium, another actinide element, is slightly denser than mercury at 13.84 grams per cubic centimeter.

          https://sciencing.com/can-heavy-objects-float-mercury-16222.html

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          … including gold, …

          eureka! (related to another nice story)

        • Joe

          How have the stories of the Greek gods been debunked?

        • J.B.

          1 Kings 18 20-40 “So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.”

        • Greg G.

          Let’s test this. We both get a grill, equal amounts of charcoal, and a steak. You get to use Elijah’s fire starting technique and I get to used the products of modern science and technology. Who ever eats a cooked steak first, wins.

          Surely you realize that story is as imaginary as the Greek gods you claim to debunk with it.

        • Who ever eats a cooked steak first, wins.

          That’s Elijah’s test on training wheels. Should be: whoever eats a cooked steak first gets to kill the other guy.

        • Greg G.

          The Extreme Challenge should be: whoever eats a cooked steak first gets to kill eat the other guy’s baby.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but that proposition makes it totes obvious you’re an atheist …

        • BlackMamba44
        • So you’re saying that we should thoroughly test every supernatural claim. I like it … but then you’re making your point by quoting a book of mythology for which we should have zero expectation that it’s correct in its supernatural claims.

        • Joe

          That was a quote from the Bible.

          Please answer my question.

        • TheNuszAbides

          please explain why (generously granting that this story is true and accurate) such a contest was appropriate then and isn’t now, i.e. why is there no demonstration of the superiority of Divine Favor over mundane technology?

        • Your wish is granted! In this very blog are posts about the resurrection and other parts of the Bible (Noah’s flood, Garden of Eden vs. 6-day creation, the Bible’s attempts at making scientific claims, and more). let me know if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

          No, the nutty claims of the Bible have been rejected by science long ago.

        • J.B.

          Bob, the Zeus stories, with Pandora’s Box have been throw on the junk yard of silly stories along with the Aesop’s Fables, meanwhile intelligent people for 2000 years and counting are founding their very lives on the Bible stories and teachings, I guess science just has to try a little harder?

        • Greg G.

          The point is that the silly stories in the Bible are more like the silly stories that are considered to be myths of older cultures. The Bible stories should get no more consideration than the ancient Greek tales.

        • the Zeus stories, with Pandora’s Box have been throw on the junk yard of silly stories

          But you want to pull out the Yahweh story. Just for old time’s sake, or do you think that one is actually true (even though it looks pretty much like all its neighbors)?

          I’ve written more on this here:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/why-christianity-looks-invented/

          meanwhile intelligent people for 2000 years and counting are founding their very lives on the Bible stories and teachings

          Intelligent people follow Christianity . . . unlike the people who follow Islam, Hinduism, and all the rest?

          And I’m puzzled at the “2000 years” bit. Is this an appeal to venerability? If that’s what works for you, you should upgrade to Hinduism, which is much older. If not, stop throwing out stupid arguments.

          I guess science just has to try a little harder?

          To do what? Science already is the source where 100% of our knowledge about the world comes from. It’s hard to get more than 100%. Clearly religious people are looking for something besides that which is true. Science can’t help you there.

        • TheNuszAbides

          predicting (if he ever bothers to reply) he’ll be either confused or disingenuous and think/pretend that you claimed that science has uncovered 100% of all the knowledge we’ll ever have/need/etc.

        • Kodie

          I knew a Greek who still had affinity for the Greek myths, so watch yourself. Those stories are silly but yours is also silly. Intelligent deluded and gullible people have been trying to defend the bible and god for 2000 years even though it’s so fucking silly, it’s as fucking silly as any other myth. Why aren’t you a Muslim, by the way?

        • Pofarmer

          Sam Harris made the comment once that he said something bad about the Greek Myths about Zeus and the rest of the Greek Pantheon and started getting messages from people who still believed in them.

        • Pofarmer

          And there have been Hindu’s and Buddhists for longer than that. The Egyptian religion lasted for over 3000 years. So what? Intelligent people believe in Scientology. So what?

        • J.B.

          “So what?”

          Ok, being a successful farmer means you have to use the best theories of farming at your disposal as they exist at the present time. You wouldn’t use outdated or obsolete farming methods because you’d be wasting your time. And we assume you don’t to waste your time and that you want to be successful, because that is the situation that would bring the most happiness in your life. So why don’t you want to apply the good sense you use in choosing methods for farming to the way you’re choose your philosophies for living? Don’t you want to be happy? I don’t get you at all….

        • Pofarmer

          Argument from consequences is a fallacy. Quit using it.

        • J.B.

          with 22,000.00 + posts, you’ve been here a while and seen a lot of arguments – yes, you have now learned to classify all the arguments – perhaps, the argument I am making does not exactly fit into the “Argument from Consequences” and you need to not make a snap judgment – you like movies, check out, Inception – Ending Scene Full 5/5 – just up to when the awake on the plane….

        • Pofarmer

          I’m not making a “snap judgement”. You’re making a shit argument. To paraphrase Matt Dillahunty “I want to believe in things that are true. Whether or not those things make me happy is of no consequence.:” Most theists are all too happy believing comforting lies.

        • J.B.

          “I want to believe in things that are true. Whether or not those things make me happy is of no consequence.”

          This I get… but, your putting all your eggs in the basket of atheism is based on hunches and assumptions, not truth…

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm. No. Just no. Atheism is a position based on the lack of evidence for whatever god thingies you are proposing. Why do I want to believe things on bad evidence? Why waste my time and my life on that?

        • Max Doubt

          “This I get… but, your putting all your eggs in the basket of atheism is based on hunches and assumptions, not truth…”

          Your implication seems to be that a god or gods exist, and that there’s something good about accepting that as true. So far you haven’t been able to distinguish gods from any other figments of the imagination, so why should anyone else accept as true what you quite apparently only imagine?

        • Atheism is the default. That’s where honest people start. I’m still there, impatiently waiting for the great evidence for yahweh that I’ve been promised.

          Do you put all your eggs into the “unicorns don’t exist” basket … or is that simply the default position from which you have yet to be pushed with compelling evidence?

        • Greg G.

          You wouldn’t use outdated or obsolete farming methods because you’d be wasting your time.

          What analogy are you trying to make? That he shouldn’t use 2500 year old farming methods but he should stick to the new and improved 2000 year old farming methods?

        • TheNuszAbides

          i laughed so hard my cough came back. it took me nearly two weeks to get over that thing. curse you!

        • Greg G.

          You weren’t completely over that cough. Now you are. You’re welcome.

          NEXT!

        • TheNuszAbides

          I don’t get you at all….

          that’s been abundantly clear on multiple fronts. the beauty of this community is that most of us are glad to explain ourselves in detail, if we’re receiving questions we don’t perceive as disingenuous and we get the impression our interlocutor is actually paying attention to the replies. here’s hoping you rise to the occasion!

        • TheNuszAbides

          I guess science just has to try a little harder?

          was that some lame attempt to goad people who take scientific pursuits seriously? “try” what “a little harder”? to get results? what do you think we think science is? what do you think science is?

        • TheNuszAbides

          and what’s so silly about Aesopian fables? is anyone preaching them as literal historical narratives? are you going to follow up with the inane suggestion that mythicists have to disbelieve in the existence of Socrates to be consistent?

        • Susan

          The Greek Myth of Pandora’s Box – oh my, I must admit, I feel silly, without the reference to the box,

          I knew I remembered you.

          You pretended you were new last time you were here and made a comment about my personal history that no newbie would recognize.

          I remember then realizing that there was no point engaging with you as I realized you were probably just a bating troll I’ve encountered in years past.

          The rest of your comments only serve to strengthen that hunch.

        • J.B.

          I believe you are misjudging the situation…anyone who takes the time and reads past comments can evaluate with whom they are conversing, and isn’t that a necessity in order to post a comment that has any value or relevance at all? But, I see what you’re doing, you’re deflecting…

        • BlackMamba44

          Susan doesn’t deflect. But then you already know that.

        • TheNuszAbides

          But, I see what you’re doing, you’re deflecting.

          claims the guy who’s left threads and fragments dangling for over a week but keeps dropping quips and non sequiturs (or fails to make the connection apparent) …

        • Greg G.

          I checked his comment history the other day. It is not marked “Private”. He made a some posts here 5 months ago. He was active about a year ago elsewhere. But that is about it. He doesn’t seem to be one of the prolific sock puppets of late, anyway.

        • Susan

          He doesn’t seem to be one of the prolific sock puppets of late, anyway.

          I’m not suggesting he’s one of those.

          When I checked his comment history, I discovered a comment he made about me which he couldn’t have known about from his time here. I remember calling him out for it at the time. I’d just forgotten his name and avatar.

          Also, his tendency to just throw bait around (then and now) makes me doubt his interest in the discussion is honest.

        • Kodie

          Did you mean Xanadu? Zandu is a pharmaceutical company out of Mumbai, India. The story of the resurrection, are you fucking kidding me? You believe that because it hasn’t been debunked? You can’t see the similarities? I saw it since about 6th grade when we learned about the Greek and Roman myths in school.

        • TheNuszAbides

          to compare the story of Pandora to the story of Eden is ludricous

          let me guess, is that going to remain an empty assertion or are you going to explain how it is an accurate assessment? going by your track record, the former.

        • Kodie

          We like stories. Libraries and bookstores are full of them. It’s kind of one way we learn about humanity, from another’s perspective, and relate to it. It’s not a really good reason to pick up a superstition, though.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Once upon a time, a group of venture capitalists decided to create a music algorithm to help people choose their favorite music on an app.

        • Michael Neville

          Creation myths are a dime a dozen and large “100 year” floods happen every couple of decades.

          “Boy, lemme tell ya ’bout the flood I was in when I were a lad. Rained fer weeks and weeks. Seems like the whole world were flooded. My dad and his dad threw together a raft and put all the farm animals and all the fambly on it. We musta floated around for seems almost like a year. Biggest damn flood I ever saw.”

        • Greg G.

          Raft? You were lucky. We had to cling to a bloated camel carcass.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “…and LIKED IT!!…”

          😉

        • Greg G.

          You think you had it bad? Me and my two brothers had to get up three hours before we went to bed, feed a boatload of animals for 36 hours a day, then haul excrement up to the deck to throw it over the side while our father got drunk and naked, putting curses on our grandchildren, and when we got to our cabin, our wives would complain because we never took them anywhere.

          PS: And you try to tell an atheist that and they won’t believe you!

        • TheNuszAbides

          we were evicted from our jackal carcass; we had to make do with a scrap of rabbit pelt.

        • Greg G.

          Right! And if you try to tell the creationists of today that, they won’t believe you!

        • sandy

          This is where the bible food story came from…….The story of a great flood that destroyed the earth was not unique to the Hebrews, who recorded it in the Bible. The Sumerians, who were earlier than the Hebrews, had their own version of a great flood. Read the Sumerian Flood Myth.

        • J.B.

          so I hear you as saying there was another source for proving the existence of the flood…

        • Greg G.

          You should read the source. It is pre-scientific science fiction. The Bible uses that as a source.

        • What flood? Show me that the consensus of geologists is that there was a worldwide flood like the Bible describes.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          another source for demonstrating that people come up with myths for natural things like flooding (keep in mind to those people — a large river flood looks like a global flood).

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Where did the stories come from? Are you implying humans couldn’t have come up with them on their own? Did I need divine intervention to write 200 or so songs in the past 20 years?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Dunno…did you ever come up with something while a little tipsy or stoned?

          Ohhhh, *different* divine 😉

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          A few. It’s been a while, though.

        • Where do the stories come for other religions, mythologies, and legends?

          Answer that question, and you’ll have pretty much answered your own.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          They come from imaginative humans trying to make sense out of a mostly chaotic universe — see Sumeria, Egypt, Canaan, Celts, Natives, etc.

          We humans like stories and we don’t like to not have neat explanations for stuff.

        • Kodie

          They come from superstition and wishful thinking and imaginary ways to explain the environment we find ourselves in the world so very long ago. I’m sure you tell yourself stories all the time that come from your own mind and do not accurately reflect reality or history.

        • Kodie

          How condescending of you.

        • TheNuszAbides

          they get a pat on the head from Gussie for believing it literally, as long as they keep it to themselves rather than stain the precious public image of catlick intalekchalism.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ah, i had forgotten that revelation. was thrown by the “people who call themselves priests” and thought it was more of a jab at the term itself than a NTS from within the beast itself.

        • epeeist

          because it depended on another litter of those flawed sinful humans to repopulate the world

          One that is attributed to Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          a crappy formulation no matter who said it, and no ‘definition of insanity’ (one which has eluded dictionaries to this day) has been traced to Einstein.

        • Greg G.

          Insanity is attributing the same definition of insanity to Einstein over and over and expecting different results.

        • Much better explanation: the whole thing is manmade. Everything falls into place, and nothing is left unexplained.

        • eric

          if God can do anything then he can also allow Man to “screw up” everything, cause, well, he’s God.

          Humans don’t have magical powers. We couldn’t cause other animals to change from immortal to mortal. We have no power to turn tigers from herbivores to carnivores. We have no power to make a young earth’s geology look old, or change the decay rate of uranium deposits, or change the speed of light. We have no power to make geological evidence of a global flood disappear. And while we are learning to manipulate our own DNA now, we don’t now nor ever had the capability to change all of humanity’s DNA so that it provides convincing proof that there never was any first original couple Adam and Eve.

          For any Christian who thinks any of those “screw ups” occurred, God – not man – had to be the one to do the screwing.

        • Glad2BGodless

          So… God builds a china shop. God leads bull into China shop. God waves red flag in front of bull. God gets butthurt over broken china.

          Because God can do anything, so of course he does the most stupid things imaginable.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Your argument is flawed.

          If God existed and had a perfect plan in a Garden of Eden, the world would not look like it does today. For example, God would not give priests the free will to molest little boys. That’s not a perfect plan.

        • Max Doubt

          “If God existed and had a perfect plan in a Garden of Eden, the world would not look like it does today.”

          Yet millions of people imagine gods that exist and have perfect plans and give priests free will to molest little boys. You imagine a god that can’t exist without meeting certain criteria, and you define your god as lacking those criteria. Big deal. Other people aren’t imagining the same god you imagine.

          “For example, God would not give priests the free will to molest little boys. That’s not a perfect plan.”

          You’ve invented a god who can’t exist if it has or lacks certain characteristics, then you assert that your god has or doesn’t have those characteristics, and you conclude that upper-case-G god therefore can’t exist. Your failure comes from attributing the vulnerabilities of the god you imagine to the gods other people imagine. Their gods are not subject to the rules you impose on yours.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          ” if God can do anything then he can also allow Man to “screw up” everything, cause, well, he’s God.”

          If you have a being who creates a thing and that thing goes bad and he either cannot or will not fix the bad thing, one would have good reason to questions his reputation as a Supreme Being.

        • Greg G.

          if God can do anything then he can also allow Man to “screw up” everything, cause, well, he’s God.

          An omnipotent God could do that but one that was also omnibenevolent could not do that because it would not be benevolent.

        • Kodie

          That’s so fucking stupid. God in the bible sabotaged humans. He didn’t get overpowered or screwed up. Christians as proper abuse victims have to fall to their knees and beg forgiveness because some human so-called “willfully” screwed up against god. That’s a myth story about why things kind of suck, why they aren’t perfect, as if they once were. Adam and Eve didn’t write that story about themselves, so it is a story told later. God wanting people to screw up is like a bad boss wanting an employee to come groveling to him for something. God, the character, is such an abusive and insecure and emotional fucking crybaby. Do you regard god that way, and why not?

    • Joe

      How can man muddy the waters of a god?

    • eric

      You were so close.

      In Godworld, nobody argues about whether they live in Godworld.

      • Joe

        Good point.

        Does anyone think there would be apologists in heaven?

        • Gary Whittenberger

          No, but there might be a lot of skeptics!

        • TheNuszAbides

          well … I’m not aware of anyone who posits that there is a ‘use’ for anything or anyone of any kind in heaven, so if you mean “would apologetics be a thing in heaven”, obviously not, but surely the sincerest of apologists imagine they could be rewarded for their earthly work by being *admitted* to heaven; and then they’d take up whatever – isn’t the trope that everyone just sings praises to the boss? not exactly a huge leap from apologetics …

      • TheMountainHumanist

        …in the Big Rock Candy Godworld..you never change your socks; and rivers of pure alcohol come running down the rocks.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      I believe your argument is flawed.

      If God did exist and had created a world with Man, the world would look vastly different than the way it looks.

      • Max Doubt

        “If God did exist and had created a world with Man, the world would look vastly different than the way it looks.”

        You’re imagining a god whose necessary characteristics include the world looking or not looking some particular way. Your if…then applies only to the god in your imagination. Millions of other people imagine their gods exist and created the world with man and the world doesn’t look any different from the way it looks. Your argument objectively doesn’t apply to their gods.

    • TheMountainHumanist

      “the World was created by God”

      We would need to demonstrate this with evidence before we can move to the next step.

  • RichardSRussell

    God World. Is that like Pottery Barn or Lego Land? Do they have good discounts on out-of-style or discontinued deities?

  • Gary Whittenberger

    “My answer: if we lived in God World, we would expect to not see things that argue that this god does not exist. This is admittedly a cumbersome way of putting it, but I think that’s necessary.

    GW: Bob, I don’t think it is too cumbersome. The arguments go like this:
    First Argument:
    1. If G, then C1.
    2. Not C1.
    3. Therefore, not G.
    Second Argument:
    1. If G, then not C2.
    2. C2.
    3. Therefore, not G.
    Both work.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Cue Special Pleading by many commenters in 1 2 5! 3, sir….right 3!

  • ravitchn

    The only real reason people have for believing in God is serious and disturbed personalities which need a crutch. People with intelligence, learning, and courage know there is no God and they don’t pretend.

    • Mark Hudson

      Ad hominem argument.

      • Glad2BGodless

        He wasn’t making an argument. He was just noticing your personality.

    • Mark Hudson

      Yeah, lunatics, cowards and fanatics like Plato, Descartes, Copernicus, Galileo, C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ghandi, Luther, Handel, Francis Collins, Peter Burgher, Billy Graham, Pasteur. What John Lennon groupie would want these kind of folks around.

      • M. Solange O’Brien

        I find crazy people interesting. You don’t rise to that level, I’m afraid.

      • TheNuszAbides

        we can certainly get into the personal and philosophical problems most of those individuals propagated and/or suffered from, if you have a minute.

      • Luther! How curious that you should mention him, the guy that solidified anti-Semitism in Germany. One wonders if the Jewish Holocaust would’ve happened if not for good ol’ Martin Luther.

  • When reasons are nothing more than suppositions- oh well……..

    • Joe

      What makes you think they are suppositions?

  • Han Solo

    Hey, Bob, just saw this post! I’m honoured to be quoted. Thanks for all you do. This is one of the best atheist blogs out there.

    • Greg G.

      And a worthy quote it is, too.

      • Glad2BGodless

        Um, did you see upstream a little where Bob called me — and this is a direct quote — “BRILLIANT!” Me, or something I said. I dunno, same thing, basically. Not completely sure if he used all caps, either, but he probably meant to.

        ANYway. Point is, you know: brilliant. But who gets the post-blog quote? Han Solo, that’s who. Fuckin’ Han Solo.

        It’s all, “Han Solo this” and “Han Solo” that. Han Solo, Han Solo, Han Solo. “Hey, everybody! Look over here! Han Solo wrote some stupid thing, so everyone come look!”

        Han Solo. Pffft! Makes me sick.

        • Greg G.

          I got a bad feeling about this.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I thought that was a response to Greg G.’s rejoinder to J.B.’s weak handwaving attempt over the slave-beating parable.

        • Glad2BGodless

          No, it’s about how much more I deserve the post-blog quote than stinking Han Solo does.

          TBH, I thought it would get a little more of a rise out of Han Solo. (*spit!*)

        • TheNuszAbides

          just found yours! 😀
          two “Brilliant!”s on one page – Bob must be exhausted!

    • You’re welcome!

      To those I quote, you have only yourselves to blame. You should stop being so eloquent.

  • Mark Hudson

    Okay, here we go. There is no God, right?. So what is left? Matter. Here’s a little fairy tale for you. One day atoms, the building blocks of the material world, (not sure where they came from, as self causation violates one of the first principles of logic) must have somehow decided to become a brain. (“Matter over mind rather than mind over matter). How they “decided” is unclear because decision is an intellectual function, and intellectual functions require a mind. (Brain here we must be careful to say is an organ like your stomach or pancreas). Then these atoms randomly formed a mind (???) which was if evolution is true, became single celled organisms in the primordial soup, and later these single celled organisms chose and decided to form into higher life forms, animals, then humans, and in some traditions, divine beings (??) Along this process or chain, “minds” became better and sharper, and somehow “moral.” This process sometimes is called “molecules to microbes to monkeys to man.” But all of this needed some lebensraum so some atoms decided to form a planet called earth for all the other “stuff” to live on. We needed someplace to hang with our homies. Earth became and is now our home, like your apartment or house. And like your home, may have come together accidentally or randomly, like boards and bricks coming together without an Architect, to form a house. Makes total sense, no? So the various atoms formed different entities and voila, we have an inhabited planet with just the right balances (accidentally and randomly) to make life here habitable. Lucky us. And so endeth the fairy tale. But wait! Oh yeah, where did the breath of life that came into lifeless atoms come from? From the “life on other planets” of course, maybe a moon of Jupiter, Europa, or somewhere. A no brainer. And those planets or planet as the case may be came from still yet other planets in an infinite regression of planets, in yet unexplored space, and the infinitely regressing atom/minds they came from. Since the concept of God is kind of hard to get your head around, this atomist/naturalist/materialist paradigm is our fallback position. Since it has some challenges in logic, we simply must use “faith” to accept it as an alternative.

    • Greg G.

      What kind of god thingy are you on about?

    • Let’s be clear that for atheists, “there is no God” is a tentative conclusion, not a presupposition.

      Your attack on evolution is just the Argument from Incredulity–“This makes absolutely no sense to me, so therefore, it must be false!” I wonder, though, why you don’t focus on quantum mechanics. That is actually incredible (unlike evolution). Even a Creationist must admit that QM is far crazier. It’s almost like Creationists have an agenda.

      If your questions are honest and not just agenda driven, I suggest you read up on evolution. Even Creationists accept random mutation + natural selection, which is all that evolution is.

      • Mark Hudson

        I can appreciate the tentative part, as for many the jury is still out. We should all explore both sides of the debate as time permits. I am a Creationist over a materialist/naturalist/atomist. But not a 6 day literalist. As to mutations you mention, I looked up mutations in a non-religious science encyclopedia. They apparently produce more negative effects than positive and yet the whole Darwinian paradigm requires it. And then there is DNA genetic information, information suggesting a Mind behind it, as several philosophers of science suggest. And then there are so-called missing llnks, of dubious credulity. And then there is the law of entropy, things devolving rather than evolving. And the Cambrian explosion. Micro yes, macro, dubious. Dawkins said Darwin made his atheism respectable, but he’s the same guy who thinks life came here from other planets. The whole macro-evolutionary premise has a lot of non-theistic scientific challenges to the point of many secular scientists scrambling for answers to the science of the gaps.

        • I can appreciate the tentative part, as for many the jury is still out.

          The jury is out in that few atheists will say that they’re 100% certain that there is no supernatural. I don’t say that, though I will emphatically state that that’s what the evidence points to. There’s likelier unicorns than Yahweh.

          You may have missed my conclusion vs. presupposition point. Atheists usually follow the data to a conclusion. Many Christians have a conclusion already decided, and they’ll pick and choose data to support that presupposition.

          I am a Creationist

          Which always amazes me. Unless you have a doctorate in biology, how can you not accept the scientific consensus (which is evolution)?

          They apparently produce more negative effects than positive and yet the whole Darwinian paradigm requires it.

          Not sure what you’re saying. Mutations that are bad make individuals that compete poorly. Natural selection selects against them. And vice versa for the good mutations. That’s why good mutations have a fighting chance to become part of the species.

          Have you read a textbook on evolution? You really should know what you’re arguing against.

          And then there is DNA genetic information, information suggesting a Mind behind it

          We know of no minds that aren’t in brains. Does that apply here as well?

          This post shows why DNA doesn’t make the case for Creationism. In fact, the reverse is true:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/11/argument-from-design-busted-2/

          then there are so-called missing llnks, of dubious credulity.

          You really need to get your science from a reliable science source, not Answers in Genesis, the Disco Institute, or some other anti-evolution site.

          Every species is a link between those that came before and those that followed.

          And then there is the law of entropy, things devolving rather than evolving.

          Yeah? Explain how an acorn grows into an oak tree.

          Micro yes, macro, dubious.

          Show me that this is the scientific consensus. I’m not a scientist, and that’s all I care about.

          Dawkins said Darwin made his atheism respectable, but he’s the same guy who thinks life came here from other planets.

          You understand Dawkins’ point about panspermia? I doubt it. Explain it to us.

        • Mark Hudson

          In responding to scientists, I don’t much rely on biblical literalists with dubious hermeneutics. And while I am a creationist I am not a young earth creationist ala Ken Ham or ICR. Much of what I utilize is from other scientists, PhD’s who are creationists as well. Let’s assume Darwin was right, and life evolved over millions of years from single celled organisms, where did the initial ingredients of that first cell come from? Where did consciousness arise? And what was the original cause of all effects? Do you believe in an infinite regress of natural causes? Thanks.

        • Michael Neville

          So who are these PhD creationists? I know of exactly one PhD biologist (John Stanford, a plant geneticist) who is a creationist and he admits that he’s a creationist because “word o’ gawd”, not because there’s flaws in evolution.

          Why are you fixated on Darwin? The Origin of Species came out over 150 years ago, You need to learn about more recent work in biology and evolution.

          where did the initial ingredients of that first cell come from?

          That’s abiogenesis you’re asking about. There are books and articles about it.

        • Glad2BGodless

          If I could add an exponent to my up-vote, I would.

        • TheNuszAbides

          one vote with any [non-negative] exponent is still one vote.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I hate to be negative, but I can be when the circumstances demand it!

        • Greg G.

          The demand will cause the supply to increase, if you believe the economists. What this country needs is a good, one-handed economist.

        • Kevin K

          Jonathan Wells of the Discotute was urged to get a PhD by Sun Myung Moon (leader of the “Moonies”) in order to discredit evolution. He got that PhD … the modern evolutionary synthesis is unscathed. I think it’s a little harder nut to crack than a single PhD earned with ulterior motives.

        • Michael Neville

          Thank you for talking about Wells.

          So we’re up to a dizzying two PhD creationists.

        • Greg G.

          The Creation Museum employs “PhD creation scientists.”

          Real Creation Scientists
          Did you know the Creation Museum employs PhD creation scientists who teach about anatomy, astronomy, biology, geology, and more from a biblical worldview? Jump into creation science at a workshop or special event.
          https://creationmuseum.org/creation-science/

          Is there a PhD in creation science?

          This week at the Creation Museum:

          This guy is giving a presentation today on “Creation vs. Evolution: Is Genesis Relevant?”
          BODIE HODGE: A speaker, author, and researcher for Answers in Genesis, Bodie Hodge has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

          This guy will be giving a talk about the flat earth tomorrow.
          DR. DANNY R. FAULKNER: Dr. Danny R. Faulkner earned graduate degrees in physics and astronomy and taught at the University of South Carolina Lancaster for over 26 years.

          This lady is speaking on “Noah’s Ark and the Flood”
          DR. GEORGIA PURDOM: Dr. Georgia Purdom is the first female PhD scientist engaged in full-time research and speaking on the Book of Genesis for a creationist organization.

          This guy is going to give “Quick Answers to Tough Questions.”
          BRYAN OSBORNE: For 13 years Bryan taught Bible history in a public school, and for nearly 20 years he has been teaching Christians to defend their faith.

        • TheNuszAbides

          upvote for sunlight, but omg that was a depressing read.

        • Pofarmer

          And there’s exactly one PHD Astrophysicist that I’m aware of, who got his degree for the same reason-to do apologetics.

        • epeeist

          There is a professor of thermodynamics at Leeds University, Andy McIntosh, who is a YEC. So gain, nothing to do with actual evidence just the “word o’ gawd”.

        • Greg G.

          Kurt Wise – Truett McConnell University
          https://truett.edu/directory/kurt-wise/
          Biography. Kurt Wise is director of the Center for Creation Research and Professor of Natural History at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia. Trained as an invertebrate paleontologist (B.A., University of Chicago; M.A. & Ph.D., Harvard University)

          Three! Three PhD creationists! I am the Count. I love to count. Ah, ah, ah, ah.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cdf5eed95d278bdc8e0307d1079e74d1fc41bc5d5f1b2a6acd4dd9d82efceed2.png

        • Michael Neville

          All three of these PhD creationists were named by atheists. Mark Hudson, who made the initial claim about the herds of PhD creationists migrating on the pampas, has yet to mention one.

        • Greg G.

          Is there anyone who became a creationist after getting a real PhD?

        • Michael Neville

          Stanford did.

        • There’s Michael Behe, but he accepts common descent, which makes him an odd hero for Creationists.

        • Pofarmer

          And that’s actually kind of a problem right now. There has been a conscious decision for religious types to go into fields like philosophy because these fields were almost completely dominated by atheists. So, we now have apologists attempting to reinsert themselves into academia from where they had been soundly ejected. Ditto politics.

        • epeeist

          There has been a conscious decision for religious types to go intofields like philosophy because these fields were almost completely dominated by atheists.

          It still is – https://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl

        • Yeah, its kinda the opposite of science to become a scientist with the agenda of destroying your discipline. It’s almost like the term “scientist” should be off limits to people with such an anti-evidence agenda.

        • The Origin of Species came out over 150 years ago

          Nope. You Neo-fascist-Darwinists are obliged to goose step behind Darwin, right or wrong.

        • Michael Neville

          We click our heels and shout: “Jawohl Herr Biologe!”

        • You’re an old-earth Creationist? You’re still a Creationist with no justification. Scientific consensus, remember?

          where did the initial ingredients of that first cell come from?

          Abiogenesis? Science hasn’t figured this one out yet.

          Where did consciousness arise?

          Who cares? Are you going anywhere with this or just ticking off science’s unanswered questions? If your point is that they exist, yes, I agree. Now, make a point.

        • Glad2BGodless

          It’s as if he bought a grab-bag of creationist catch phrases, but he got them at a discount because none of them have all their parts.

        • Brilliant!

        • Glad2BGodless

          Always pleased to be perceived as brilliant!

        • Michael N. raised a good point: no one cares about Darwin except Creationists. What Darwin thought and wrote is squarely in the domain of History of Science. The fraction of his writings that are considered correct by modern biologists is trivia.

          That you write about him betrays your Creationist background (not that you were keeping that a secret, of course, but it suggests that your information is from one source–the source that lost the competition within science).

        • Glad2BGodless

          Agreed on all points. How come theists never call me a Newtonist? I regard Newton’s accomplishments as highly as Darwin’s. Plus, those delicious fig-filled cookies!

        • Greg G.

          Some of them call me a Bohr but they can’t even spell it correctly.

        • Pofarmer

          . Let’s assume Darwin was right, and life evolved over millions of years from single celled organisms,

          Billions

          .where did the initial ingredients of that first cell come from?

          Earth? Possibly space? Possibly elements from the formation of the Earth? There is nothing that particularly exotic about the ingredients of cells.

          Where did consciousness arise?

          In brains? Maybe before that. Even the most simple single celled organisms have responses. They move towards favorable gradients and away from harmful gradients.

          And what was the original cause of all effects?

          Wrong question. The proper question is what was the original sequence of events and the probability of it occuring.

          Do you believe in an infinite regress of natural causes?

          It depends. Some models call for a Universe that is infinitely old. Some don’t. And, besides, before the Big Bang the concept of “time” breaks down, because time is a component of space and matter. “Time” might not even really be a thing.

        • TheNuszAbides

          since you were the one dropping Francis Collins’ name: have you seen him defend creationism? how about “macro”evolution?

        • Susan

          We should all explore both sides of the debate as time permits.

          Which one?

          The Flat Earth theory vs. the evidence?

          The Stork theory vs. the evidence?

          Demon theory vs. the evidence?

          Astrology vs. the evidence?

          So many two-sided “debates”, I’m not sure which one I should be exploring.

        • Glad2BGodless

          You know, I think he’s for real!

          Omg. Omfg.

        • Susan

          You know, I think he`s for real.

          It`s always so hard to tell.

          There`ve been so many trolls and sockpuppets that have showed up here. Some of them christian, some not necessarily.

          This is why we have Poe`s Law.

          Omg. Omfg.

          I`m with you there.

        • Susan

          You know, I think he`s for real!

          Glancing at his comment history, I think you might be right.

          When they`re real, I try to remember how misinformed I was (and still largely am) and how it was (and still is) people who patiently informed me that helped me think.

          It wasn`t that I didn`t want to think. It`s that there`s far more bad information out there than good information.

          Sometimes, the trolls and sockpuppets make me cynical. It`s hard to sort through the noise.

          But responding patiently and respectfully is a good way to separate the honest from the dishonest.

          I`m not preaching. Honest.

          I too often forget that it was that approach that made the difference for me.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Good points, well worth remembering.

        • Kodie

          Marketing bad ideas seems to be the priority for organizations with bad ideas. It’s a red flag.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Thinking about this some more, and remembering my own experience.

          When the only side I knew was the evangelical/apologetics side, I was keenly aware that I didn’t know or understand much about the opposite side. Also, the shortcomings of the apologetics presented to me were evident, even though that was the only side I knew.

          As a consequence, when I had the chance to learn from the other side, I approached that with an appreciation of my own ignorance.

          Instead of trying to tell atheists their own business, I listened to them with a sincere desire to understand them.

          If more theists approached us with the idea of listening rather than telling, I would be more patient when they present Pascal’s Wager like it’s a shiney new bike that they want to show off.

        • Susan

          I approached that with an appreciation of my own ignorance

          Agreed. I wish there were more of that.

        • Kodie

          Every time I hear about people growing up like this, I’m so glad I grew up without that. What I remember of my youth is wanting to have a religion because others had one, and made it seem so meaningful, but my perspective of religion was more like a family thing, or a family tradition thing. I did not understand that you could just believe something if your parents didn’t pass it to you, and as it turns out, that was pretty helpful.

        • Kevin K

          And now … Psst. That shiny new bike? It’s stolen!

        • Greg G.

          If you pray for a shiny new bike, you get nothing. If you steal a shiny new bike, you get a bike. If you pray for forgiveness, you get forgiveness.

        • Dave Duchesneau

          Could you be more specific about the shortcomings of the apologetics presented to you, while still keeping it brief enough for this venue? I’d prefer not to assume.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Sure. Name your favorite apologetic.

        • Sample1

          Long time ago someone told me the Bible was a dangerous book.

          I had been a visitor of an online community of mostly atheists but I was still Catholic. That dangerous book comment really triggered me. It was a game changer as I hadn’t heard that opinion so starkly before. I think the tide started to turn for me once I began to see the world from the other person’s perspective. What a concept, eh? In other areas of real life that’s how progress and understanding is achieved. But religion was always, “I’ve got it, you don’t, so let ME tell you…” me, me, me.

          Ugh. They were so patient with me and I owe them a debt of gratitude for helping me think honestly, and scrupulously. Sadly the forum is gone and I don’t know them to offer thanks.

          I’ve thanked you before. And still do. Keep up the good work.

          Mike

        • Pofarmer

          I think the tide started to turn for me once I began to see the world from the other person’s perspective.

          This is the key. You have to be able to look at both sides of the argument. I already knew the theist side, well, some of it, but I was more prone to critical thinking. When I started doing actual critical analysis of the Bible like I would of soil tests and fertility recommendations or hybrid selections, or, whatever you would do in daily life, it all just fell apart. And it collapsed in a whoosh. Not piecemeal, it just all went away. It was probably the most odd experience of my life.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Speaking of trolls and sockpuppets — Dave Duchesneau, named for a character in a video game about assassins, is seen below asking me to elaborate about apologetics.

          DD is posting with an account that has been used three times in two years, primarily to comment on topics that might be of interest to an electrical engineer.

          An hour later, an up vote to my reply comes from a year-old Disqus account that, again, has been used just three times, and is written in Cyrillic.

          Hmmm. Curious.

        • Susan

          Hmmm. Curious.

          The Dave Duchesneau comment is weird. I haven’t seen that before.

          The upvotes from non-participants (many of which are from Disqus_random keys) have been happening for many months now and are always linked to sites that sell “hot young girls”). You can’t report them. Disqus doesn’t provide a way to do that. The only thing you can do is block them.

        • Kodie

          You can actually report them – go to their profile, even if it’s blocked, it will have 3 dots next to their name, and pull down a menu to the nature of the report.
          CAVEAT 1: If you report someone, disqus won’t let you report the same account twice.
          CAVEAT 2: There is no comment section to give details or links to instances where the account has violated Terms of Service.
          CAVEAT 3: Disqus doesn’t actually seem to have a policy of what to do with people who violate Terms of Service.
          CAVEAT 4: Disqus makes it nearly impossible for a user to post a complaint to their blog “Discuss Disqus”. That seems to be a help desk for moderators about how to use Disqus.
          CAVEAT 5: If you start a help thread anyway, the person who answers your post might be snotty about being a volunteer or having too many other complaints to look at, and will suggest you just block the offending account.
          CAVEAT 6: Blocking an offending account still allows them to “follow” you (if your account is public), post responses to you, post rumors about you, and impersonate you all over the internet, but Disqus’s solution is just don’t look at it, then it can’t bother you.

        • Susan

          You can actually report them.

          I tried that for a while. I half think that people who don’t use their accounts much, have had their accounts hijacked to sell porn.

          The dropdown menu is stupid. I used to click on the “profile contains inappropriate images or text” but that seemed off the mark. It’s not that I was offended. It’s that it’s a subversive form of spamming.

          Reporting didn’t work, anyway. As you said, there is no option to comment to call their attention to what seems like a big problem (hijacked accounts and spam. Also, possibly unethical exploitation. I don’t know. I never looked into it that far.)

          Eventually, I just gave up. Now, when I get one of those upvotes, I just click on the profile and block them.

          Sometimes Disqus makes me want to spit.

        • Kodie

          I have never gotten a hacked Russian porn upvote. I have gotten creepy followers. I get some people might not post but follow, but if I don’t recognize the name from among other commenters here, I think it’s a little weird, but if I check the profile of someone I don’t know from here at all, it’s usually someone who seems ok, but occasionally seems sketchy. There was that guy a while ago who liked to read posting history extensively, and followed me, I took him off the list 3 times after I told him not to follow me, and he said he wouldn’t but he kept following me.

          For the record, I just read all new comments in my email, and don’t follow anyone. I don’t know what purpose it would serve – would I just get an email with that person’s posts in it? I think that would throw off my system. I don’t miss any comments from people I would otherwise choose to follow.

          So, anyway, the blog moderator can block someone, and you would never know if that person was impersonating your account to spam all over the internet, share your personal information, or violate any other rules Disqus has. If they are harassing you, and you block them, they can continue doing so, and Disqus doesn’t seem to give a shit. Why have policies, codes of conduct, terms of service, etc. It must be really hard to get rid of people.

          Suggesting the user block the offender doesn’t address the behavior, and the offender gets to continue being an ass in whatever way they liked being an ass. A couple months ago, I was targeted by someone named Jeff (I guess?) who alters his profile to impersonate and mock posters who make his butt hurt, and someone on another blog actually wrote ABOUT HIM as if he were me, because he goes to other blogs to ruin your reputation. I had to straighten it out myself (a patheos atheist blogger has another off-premises site about reporting these losers), and I might not have even known about it, and they would have thought it was me if I ever tried to post at that other blog. It’s the worst thing about Disqus. They have policies in place, and decoy fake complaint systems that go nowhere.

        • Susan

          I have never gotten a hacked Russian porn upvote.

          Then, you’re a rare one. They show up everywhere. Especially, on old comments.

          I observed some of the nightmares you’ve been through. One was particularly horrendous. The same guy showed up on a catholic web site threatening that he had a thousand sock accounts and could impersonate me everywhere. I got off easy. He was much worse to you. We’re talking about the sickest kind of internet asshole troll.

          That Disqus doesn’t have methods in place for the most basic kind of control over the worst kind of assholes is unacceptable.

          They have policies in place, and decoy fake complaint systems that go nowhere.

          You nailed it.

          Why do they think that’s acceptable?

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve complained to both Disqus and Patheos about various things. I’ve never got so much as a response or even an acknowledgement that my comments were received.

        • Pofarmer

          Seeing people on these blogs calling out stupid religious ideas as – Stupid, really did make a difference for me. We tend to be taught to give all kinds of due deference to religious ideas, much more than they deserve. Seeing those ideas mercilessly ripped apart, when I was already doubting, was probably the push I needed. Even 15 years ago, that source wasn’t there.

        • Phrenology vs. the evidence?
          Alchemy vs. the evidence?
          Phlogiston and ether vs. the evidence?

          I think we’re halfway to creating a new, open-minded public school curriculum.

        • MadScientist1023

          Oh, honey. You have so much wrong here. Let’s do this.

          “As to mutations you mention, I looked up mutations in a non-religious science encyclopedia. They apparently produce more negative effects than positive and yet the whole Darwinian paradigm requires it.”

          You completely misunderstand what evolutionary biology says about mutations. It doesn’t matter if most mutations are harmful, as long as some mutations are helpful. If a mutation is bad, the organism with that mutation either doesn’t survive or doesn’t reproduce. The mutation doesn’t get passed on. If the mutation is helpful, that organism can survive and have more kids, which it turn may have the mutation. It doesn’t matter if 90% of mutations are bad things, as long as some of them are helpful. Evolution acknowledges that a lot of mutants will end up dead, as long as a small handful make an advance. It’s cruel, but that’s how nature is.

          Think of mutations like accidents. Most of the time, accidents are bad, but occasionally they result in something good. Antibiotics, dry-cleaning, and microwaves were all discovered by accident.

          “And then there is DNA genetic information, information suggesting a Mind behind it, as several philosophers of science suggest.”

          No. Just no. RNA polymers came to exist through mindless chemical processes in the conditions of early Earth. This has been reproduced in the lab. We know that organic molecules were spontaneously formed from nitrogen-carbon dioxide atmosphere of early Earth, when they reacted with the iron and carbonate materials in the crust. This has been shown in the lab. It has also been shown that hydrothermal vents were capable of making RNA polymers without a template sequence. These molecules were made randomly, but make enough random sequences you’ll eventually make a ribozyme capable of reproducing itself. From there, the normal forces of evolution can select for better ribozymes, with more functions. Enclose a few of these ribozymes in a fatty acid envelope, and you’ve got yourself a protocell.

          What’s more, information is not matter or energy. It can be created and destroyed. It happens all the time. There’s a type of mutation that specifically creates new genetic information. It’s called a duplication mutation. It makes partial or complete copies of genes. This is how you get gene families, or different isoforms of the same gene.

          “And then there are so-called missing llnks, of dubious credulity.”

          Do you have any idea how many transitional fossils have been found? What do you think still needs to be linked? If your answer is “monkeys and man” (since that is the stereotypical creationist response), then you should know there are about 8 or 9 distinct species that have already been found showing the transition between H. sapiens and our last common ancestor with chimpanzees.

          “And then there is the law of entropy, things devolving rather than evolving.”

          This one’s just plain lazy. You’re attempting to quote the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the entropy of an isolated system increases over the course of a spontaneous reaction. The grade school way of explaining that is to say disorder is always increasing. It’s a simplified version used for children and idiots, kind of like saying a car eats gasoline. You’re statement about “things evolving rather than devolving” is the intellectual equivalent of asking “but if cars eat gas, why don’t they poop?”

          I don’t have the patience to give you a complete lesson on entropy. The short answer is that living systems do increase disorder by living (think how ordered our food is vs how ordered our waste is). Further, since nearly all biologically available energy on Earth comes from the sun, you need to include the nuclear reactions of the sun in your equations of disorder.

          “And the Cambrian explosion.”

          What about it? Evolution has bursts of activity. A sudden evolutionary breakthrough can have a big impact. Same with mass extinctions. Life can proliferate and diversify very quickly after either. We’ve seen it many times in the fossil record. Why do you think evolutionary biology is broken by the Cambrian explosion?

          “The whole macro-evolutionary premise has a lot of non-theistic scientific challenges to the point of many secular scientists scrambling for answers to the science of the gaps.”

          Really? Like what? I’ve yet to hear a single genuine challenge to evolutionary biology. You don’t honestly think the same trite points that you’ve been making are any kind of challenge, do you? Creationists have been making these same points for decades, and never listen to what scientists have to say on the subject. Just as I’m sure you aren’t going to listen and will keep repeating the same garbage.

    • Joe

      Okay, here we go. There is no God, right?

      We don’t know.

      So what is left? Matter.

      That assumes god is made of something other than matter. Which we don’t know.

      Here’s a little fairy tale for you. One day atoms, the building blocks of the material world, (not sure where they came from, as self causation violates one of the first principles of logic) must have somehow decided to become a brain.

      I stopped reading here when it became apparent you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Glad2BGodless

        He won’t be here long. It’s pretty obvious he’s a drive-by fundy.

    • M. Solange O’Brien

      You don’t know anything about cosmology, physics, chemistry, biology, evolutionary theory, etc. therefore god….

      is not particularly compelling as arguments go.

      • Kevin K

        I’m not sure…is he arguing that Jupiter doesn’t exist?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Not only does he not understand the science — he doesn’t even understand the creationism. His post reads as if someone stuffed a Jack Chick tract and the Banana Man video into a blender, cranked the dial to “puree,” and poured the result down a keyboard.

    • Kevin K

      …energy, actually. Matter is just congealed energy. Surely you heard about it, it was in all the papers.

    • BlackMamba44
    • MadScientist1023

      This is probably a dumb question but my inner biology teacher won’t let it go unasked:

      Do you actually think THAT is what science says the beginning of the universe and life was like? I am completely serious here. Do you actually think that’s what scientists think is the origin of life? I’ll leave it be if you’re just being snarky.

      • Greg G.

        This is probably a dumb question but my inner biology teacher won’t let it go unasked:

        It’s what his inner creationist believes.

        • MadScientist1023

          It’s just so disturbing because it looks like an actual statement of his understanding of what science says on the subject and it’s just so monumentally wrong. How on Earth does one person get so many incorrect ideas about one subject, but talk about it with such certainty?

          … Although now that I actually write that, I can’t help but hear a voice in my head saying “welcome to the internet”

        • Glad2BGodless

          Exactly this.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the internet has only made it more obvious. i have no doubt that dolts have been yammering faux certainties at watering-holes for longer than recorded history.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm. Religion?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Even for a creationist, this is a staggering quantity of wrongness to pack into such a small space.

          Any more dense and it would create some kind of stupidity wormhole, a singularity of ignorance that threatens to punch through spacetime and drag every thinking person across an event horizon of dumbness.

        • Kevin K

          I dunno…seems to be a bog-standard Gish Gallop. You could probably find it word-for-word on some YouTube video or other source of fractal wrongness.

        • Greg G.

          I just Googled a sentence with the usual tropes. The only link was to this article.

        • Glad2BGodless

          You might be right. I may have given him too much credit.

        • Pofarmer

          And this dude is supposedly teaching kids somewhere this crap.

        • Glad2BGodless

          My former pastor had a doctorate from Liberty University. Once in awhile I would e-mail him to ask questions about something he had said during his sermon. His replies were so illiterate that you wouldn’t believe it. I don’t mean a deficit of higher-order thinking skills. I mean failures of basic spelling and grammar — not picky, grammar-Nazi stuff. Essential communication skills.

        • Pofarmer

          PhD in what?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Theology, if we can give credence to his cv.

        • epeeist

          Theology, if we can give credence to his cv

          Wouldn’t this be a double-D (doctor of dvinity)?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Beats me. I’m pretty sure he described himself as a PhD, and that’s how everyone else talked about him. I’m willing to be corrected on it, though. I will consult the church’s website and see what’s on there.

        • Pofarmer

          Hard to say. They have some goofy ones.

          Well shit. Can’t copy paste the link from my phone.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Doctor of Ministry, according to his staff bio. Sounds like DD to me — I’m naive in such matters.

        • epeeist

          Doctor of Ministry, according to his staff bio

          So basically a degree in propaganda.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I think that’s a fair description. He’s a very garden-variety fundamentalist preacher. You can find his species behind pulpits all over the states of the former Confederacy.

        • Glad2BGodless

          After thinking about this a little more, he doesn’t appear to have any special training in being an effective propagandist. It’s all just the preaching to the choir that any yahoo could do.

          As far as I can tell, it’s just a degree in having a degree. It just confers the ability to compel others to address him as “doctor.”

        • Glad2BGodless

          He could barely complete a sentence without reminding his flock how fortunate they were to have a “trained theologian.”

        • Pofarmer

          Lol.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Just about every friend I’ve ever had with a real PhD got kind of ticked off if I made much fuss over it, or called them doctor.

        • Pofarmer

          I guess the other question is, is Liberty just mining these guys for money and not teaching them anything?

        • Glad2BGodless

          I think I remember seeing that they turn out capable graduates in some majors, but I don’t honestly know much about any of that.

          I can say, based on my experience with this pastor, it’s sure hard for me to imagine they’re turning anyone away who wants a theology degree and has a check that will clear.

      • Glad2BGodless

        Wow. Surely he’s a Poe? The concatenation of error is sort of fascinating. Fractal error.

  • Mark Hudson

    Patheos- is that short for pathetic theology?

    • Zinger! Whoa–that was a good one!

      To answer your question, I suggest you ask the Christians who started this site.

      • Kevin K

        I’m thinking this is J.B in a different suit. Same … “style”.

        • Perhaps, though Mr. Hudson seems to not realize that this is predominantly a Christian site, with a religious purpose, probably founded by Christians.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Not only is Patheos owned by a religious media company, but it’s specifically an evangelical media company.

          http://wildhunt.org/2016/09/beliefnet-acquires-patheos-pagan-bloggers-guardedly-optimistic.html

        • Oh, yeah. I forgot that BeliefNet bought Patheos. But even before, I’m pretty sure Patheos was founded by Christians. I think Mark H’s supposition was off the mark.

        • Glad2BGodless

          That’s how I remember it, too. IIRC, the name is a portmanteau of path and theos.

        • Pofarmer

          Which is kind of ironic, considering the Atheist side is by far the most active.

        • True. Out of hundreds of blogs, the Nonreligious section gets about 1/3 of the traffic.

          My own theory is that we’re just that much better looking than our competition.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Yeah. If it’s not him, it’s a close cousin.

    • M. Solange O’Brien

      “Pathetic theology” is redundant.

  • Mark Hudson

    Yes, good point on Darwin- he saw his day and is now largely discredited. So who is the new high priest of scientism?

    • Kevin K

      Kent Hovind.

      Or not…maybe not…I’m gonna go with definitely not. My final answer.

    • Michael Neville

      Darwin isn’t discredited (don’t poison the well, it just shows your biases), he’s obsolete. The Newtonian laws of motion have been superseded by relativity but that doesn’t mean that Newton didn’t have significant insights into physics. Similarly, Darwin had a stroke of genius when he came up with natural selection.

      • Kevin K

        True. We know more about evolution than Darwin ever did. We also know more about calculus and gravity and motion than Newton. And we know more about relativity (special and general) than Einstein. We know more about quantum physics than Bohr. And more about germs than Pasteur, and more about inheritance than Mendel and more about genes than Watson, Crick, or Franklin.

        Every pioneer started the field … none of them ended it.

    • Glad2BGodless

      “Scientism” = “when people spend more time reading actual science than they do reading creationism”

    • You’ve lost me on Darwin. Did I mention him in this post?

      No one cares what Darwin said (except Creationists, of course). What matters is the scientific consensus on evolution.

      And, just to make sure we’re on the same page, evolution is the scientific consensus.

      • Glad2BGodless

        “Darwinism” and “scientism” are just secret handshakes, the shibboleths by which one intellectual fraud can recognize a fellow traveler.

    • Susan

      is now largely discredited

      What do you mean?

      So who is the new high priest

      You don’t know how science works, do you?

      of scientism

      Define “scientism”.

      • Glad2BGodless

        Hear those crickets?

    • epeeist

      Yes, good point on Darwin- he saw his day and is now largely discredited

      He is? Nobody told me that. Who discredited him?

  • Mark Hudson

    Scientism is the philosophical ideology that science is our Savior, will ultimately solve all of mankind’s problems and is epistemologically, the only source of knowledge. Jews, Christians, other religions as well, would challenge that view, suggesting God is our only hope for the planet. I know this will raise the hackles of many. From where I stand, I love science. I am not anti science by any stretch. Science has helped cure malaria, polio, and a host of other human maladies, maybe one day even cancer, “the mother of all diseases.” It has given us microwave ovens and air conditioning, and what would life be without them? That said, it has also given us WMD’s that can obliterate the human race in the relative blink of a melting eye. But as to the problem of evil, something I believe is the product of free will (we are not robots), can science cure the bigoted and hostile mind that leads us to genocide, jihad, mass school shootings, etc? I have my doubts. I will wager with Pascal on the God horse over the human horse. Please spare me any misplaced hope that humans, no matter how bright, will bring Utopia. Seems delusional to me.

    • Kodie

      Science is about knowledge. Sometimes a particular problem instigates scientific investigation, but science isn’t pretending to solve problems like religion is. Religion solves zero problems. Religion can’t solve bigoted and hostile minds, you stupid fuck, it creates them faster than anything else!

    • Greg G.

      Scientism is the philosophical ideology that science is our Savior, will ultimately solve all of mankind’s problems

      Nobody thinks that. It’s what religious nuts tell each other that they think other people believe. They are projecting their feeling about God on to others.

      • Pofarmer

        Does this crew ever actually understand anything?

    • There are problems. Society may solve them or may not. We can debate whether the benefits of scientific advances as adopted by society are a net positive or net negative.

      How does any of this relate to Christianity? Show us that it’s more than mythology.

    • Pofarmer

      So, if you actually teach philosophy and religion (I’m presuming at a religious school) either you are exaggerating for effect or you really are rather clueless.

      Scientism is the philosophical ideology that science is our Savior,
      will ultimately solve all of mankind’s problems and is
      epistemologically, the only source of knowledge.

      I think most scientists, and people who ascribe to scientism, would say that scientism is the view that the only accurate way to gather information about the world around us is through science.

      Jews, Christians, other religions as well, would challenge that view,
      suggesting God is our only hope for the planet. I know this will raise
      the hackles of many

      It doesn’t raise my hackles, it makes me shake my head in disbelief.

      . Science has helped cure malaria, polio, and a host of other human
      maladies, maybe one day even cancer, “the mother of all diseases.” It
      has given us microwave ovens and air conditioning, and what would life
      be without them?

      All of which your God supposedly created or allowed to exist. We’re getting into nonsense territory.

      It has given us microwave ovens and air conditioning, and what would
      life be without them? That said, it has also given us WMD’s that can
      obliterate the human race in the relative blink of a melting eye.

      And religion has given us Witch hunts, Inquisitions, Holy Wars killing millions. It’s like you get all the downsides without any of the benefits.

      But as to the problem of evil, something I believe is the product of free will

      Then you’re not honestly dealing with the Problem of Evil, either. Surprise, surprise.

      I will wager with Pascal on the God horse over the human horse.

      Then you’re a fool. And you’re teaching your students to be fools. Sorry. How I see it.

      Please spare me any misplaced hope that humans, no matter how bright, will bring Utopia.

      And yet every problem, ever solved. Every social advancement, every physical advancement, has been created and implemented and overseen by – humans. There’s nothing delusional about that.

      • Glad2BGodless

        I want this on a poster.

    • Michael Neville

      So which problems has religion solved? Has religion cured any diseases, created any inventions, discovered new technologies? Or is religion just years of bowing down to invisible gods and obeying their self-appointed spokescritters? You say that science gave WMDs. Religion gave us wars, persecutions, and executions for heresy and apostasy. Did you know that the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), fought between Catholics and Protestants, caused the death of approximately one-third of the inhabitants of Central Europe?

      • Kodie

        Imagine going to war because someone didn’t believe your lucky clover brought good luck. Religion hasn’t solved any problems, it only pretends to solve emotional issues at the individual level. Get some fucking friends that are real, dead Jesus can’t help anyone.

      • When religion can finally agree on the name(s) of the god(s) and have a convincing reason for knowing that, then I might pay attention. Until then, I hit the snooze button.

    • Glad2BGodless

      Science has given us WMDs…blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

      Another way to express the same point: if your goal is to kill people, science will reveal the most effective way to do it. Religion, in this as in everything else, will be a bumbling amateur.

      Science is a tool. If your goal is to smash your thumb, don’t complain to the hammer for being good at it.

    • Greg G.

      Science gives us the problems of technology by giving us technology. Science gives us population problems by reducing infant mortality but religion also contributes to that with “Go forth and multiply”.

    • Glad2BGodless

      “…can science cure the bigoted and hostile mind….”

      Maybe, maybe not. But if these ills are cured, history indicates that it will be science that cures them. The gods will shuffle in later to eat the bread baked by the scientists.

  • Mark Hudson

    Thanks to folks taking the time to respond. I agree I need to get better informed about the history of this blog, not to mention biology. Perhaps I am missing something here, but the majority of posts I have viewed see more anti-religion than pro, as just above this comment is a link to “View all nonreligious blogs.” As to religion, I teach religion (who would have guessed?) and I agree, the vast majority of it’s history is pathetic attempts to understand the mysteries of the Cosmos, and delusion abounds. Not sure they have a monopoly on delusion. Are any of you suggesting science has been delusion free? The real question is where does Truth lie? I also teach philosophy and delusion abounds there as well. I welcome new insights from science, as I do not claim to be a scientist. But if people with degrees in science have no problem speaking to philosophical categories like phil. of religion who have no formal training in, and challenging theological worldviews, then why can’t non-scientists who may not qualify as experts ask questions of science? It seems a double standard otherwise. “I can debunk “creationism” but you non-scientists shut your faces about “science.” I think the old notion that science and religion are incompatible is a flawed notion, only bad religion and bad science will always be in conflict. Many of you humbly admit not having all the answers without repudiating your field altogether. Theology does not have all the answers either, as there is much that remains as mystery. To the degree that I have at least initially explored things like the mystery of matter, evolutionary biology, entropy, the Cambrian explosion, etc. I am open to science. Some of the latest conclusions you have posted merit further exploration, whether I agree or disagree initially. In fairness I know many of you scientists read religious texts more than some religious people do. I think we all suffer some from “confirmation bias” looking for things to support our preconceptions. I am not sure that is completely avoidable. The questions will always be which of our given preconceptions of the nature of reality will ultimately hold water, corresponding to reality. “He that is convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” seems accurate. These are emotional and volitional questions as well as intellectual. The ongoing danger of a theistic bias or theistic exploration is it may challenge or question our lifestyle, and that may be a hard pill to swallow. Fear of change or having to admit we were wrong are formidable barriers to truth seeking.

    • the majority of posts I have viewed see more anti-religion than pro

      This is an atheist blog. Most of the comments are from atheists, but Christians are welcome as well.

      just above this comment is a link to “View all nonreligious blogs.”

      This blog is in the “nonreligious” category here at Patheos.com.

      Are any of you suggesting science has been delusion free?

      Science provides new information. Religion has given us nothing. I think I’ll stick with the one with the track record.

      why can’t non-scientists who may not qualify as experts ask questions of science?

      Sure, understand your limitations and ask away. When you ask a stupid question or make a stupid argument but then adapt to criticism so that you don’t do that again, you will have our appreciation. “That’s a good point” seems to come to Christians’ lips very, very infrequently.

      I think the old notion that science and religion are incompatible is a flawed notion

      Where’s the overlap? Science tells us new things about reality. Religion gives us nothing. Show us that it’s not 100% mythology, religion, and tradition.

      Theology does not have all the answers either

      I’ve heard much pompous bloviating about all the answers Christianity offers. Some apologists seem quite convinced.

    • Susan

      Not sure they have a monopoly on delusion. Are any of you suggesting science has been delusion free?

      Who said they have a monopoly? What methodology do you use to distinguish delusion from non-delusion?

      The real question is where does Truth lie?

      Truth is not an entity. One can ask where a claim is true or false. Also, if a claim is well-supported.

      I welcome new insights from science

      Forgive me for being sceptical based on your comment here:

      https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/25_reasons_we_dont_live_in_a_world_with_a_god/#comment-3778886929

      You haven’t shown that you’re interested in what science can demonstrate. You are only quoting strawmen from apologists.

      if people with degrees in science have no problem speaking to philosophical categories like phil. of religion

      Which seems to be a subject without an object. That’s the problem. You might as well refer to people with degrees in science speaking to philosophical categories like the philosophy of astrology. While it’s interesting that people believe immaterial beings exists and that the alignment of stars and planets affects our daily lives, there’s no evidence for either.

      I think the old notion that science and religion are incompatible is a flawed notion

      I think the old notion that science and astrology are incompatible is a flawed notion. How’s that sound to you?

      only bad religion and bad science will always be in conflict.

      Only bad astrology and bad science will always be in conflict. How’s that sound?

      I can debunk “creationism” but you non-scientists shut your faces about “science.”

      You don’t need to shut your face. You just need to learn about the subjects you criticize. Having no clue about them and pointing at “God” (by which you mean, I assume, your god among many., i.e. Yahwehjesus) as a reasonable fill-in for the bits you’re ignorant about… is no way to have a conversation.

      To the degree that I have at least initially explored things like the mystery of matter, evolutionary biology, entropy, the Cambrian explosion, etc. I am open to science.

      You haven’t shown that you have. Or you wouldn’t have mangled it all in the comment of yours I linked to above.

      I think we all suffer some from “confirmation bias” looking for things to support our preconceptions.

      Scientific methodology is aimed at addressing that tendency and overcoming it. While religious thinking seems aimed at exploiting that tendency.

      Has it occurred to you that you’re talking to a lot of ex-christians here? The ex-indoctrinated.

      The questions will always be which of our given preconceptions of the nature of reality will ultimately hold water, corresponding to reality.

      I think, yes. Most people here are aware of that. Which is why I always ask:

      What are you claiming and how do you support it?

      I’d appreciate it if you’d answer that.

      • Pofarmer

        I want to fisk this post really badly, but economic considerations call. Oh his God, is he stupid. And this dude is supposed to be a teacher? What a sad, sad state of affairs. A mind – wanked.

    • Greg G.

      Science is a systematic methodology of observation. It can use tools, such as the double-blind technique, to eliminate confirmation bias. A scientific hypothesis is based on current knowledge but its implications can predict observations that might be made which can confirm the prediction or refute the hypothesis, which eliminates wishful thinking. It is the best method we have for determining reliable information and eliminating error. Bu as soon as we come up with a better method, I’m switching to that one.

      Fear of change or having to admit we were wrong are formidable barriers to truth seeking.

      Yes! I went from an agnostic atheist, heavy on the agnostic part, to a Christian. It was not all that difficult. Then I went from a Christian to atheist and that transition was much more difficult. I did not want to change but my desire to seek the truth demanded it. It was emotion vs. intellectual integrity.

    • MadScientist1023

      Thank you for acknowledging that your understanding of science is limited. There’s nothing shameful about not knowing about science. Literally every scientist there has ever been in the world has, at one time in their life, known nothing about science. What is shameful is speaking as if you understand it when you don’t. Some of your comments have demonstrated painfully mistaken ideas about science. You don’t even seem to grasp basics like how gravity caused planets to form, chemistry dictates how molecules react and come together, and the fact that brains didn’t evolve until life had been around on Earth for a couple billion years.

      To be clear, I’m not telling you that you aren’t allowed to talk. You can say whatever you want, and no one here is going to say you can’t. Bob is very adamant about letting people talk without blocking them. What I am telling you is that whenever you have talked about science, you have been factually incorrect.

      Since you don’t (currently) have enough of a scientific background to get this, let me tell you something. Creationists lie about science. Any creationist or ID website you go to like Answer In Genesis or the Discovery Institute is full of misinformation. They badly misrepresent science and never listen to criticism or attempts to correct them. They know that they are doing nothing but making strawmen or outright lying about real science. They count on their readers not knowing enough science to see the inaccuracies in what they say.

      I’m sure you’ve heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect, wherein someone with very modest understanding of a topic feels they understand it much better than they do. Perhaps you’ve even seen this chart:
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a17ca9a7a6a185316eadfd94217d839ef7544f0452bafbdf6c395b877084e465.jpg
      I’m going to tell you right now, as a scientist with a doctorate in molecular genetics and who has studied biology for over a decade, that you probably have not crested that first peak yet. Your post makes me think that maybe you’re realizing you don’t understand the topic as well as you thought and maybe you will start doing some research on non-creationist websites. If you do you will undoubtedly feel like you understand the subject even less than you did before. However, that is a good thing. If that happens, it means you’re making progress.

      There are lots of people here, myself included, who would be happy to give scientifically accurate answers to genuine questions. If you actually care about the truth, I would encourage you to take advantage of that fact. If you just want to sell creationism though, don’t bother doing any more research.

  • Mark Hudson

    “Thirteen Reasons Why God Doesn’t Exist” To those who have responded to my dialogue, how many of these 13 are subject to scientific methodology? Or are they philosophical assumptions? As to one suggestion that I am not open to science, I would respond by saying I am not studying it in college or university, working on a degree. Can’t afford it, don’t want to go in debt, but watch a lot of PBS stuff, Cosmos, Mystery of Matter, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, etc. Waiting now on a DVD on Einstein and Relativity. Please feel free to weigh in on the merits of these sources. Watch very little religious TV, esp. the prosperity teachers. After several televangelist scandals, makes one a bit jaded and skeptical. I count myself a skeptic, but don’t confine my skepticism to religion, but to science and philosophy as well. Think we have to be careful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. I hope that those who post on this blog are getting more input than what they see on religious TV. I appreciate more the responses that go beyond ad hominem attacks, (ref.Pofarmer) and have more substance (ref. Susan and MadScientist. As far as “stupid” or allegedly not knowing what I teach, I would have to claim a certain amount of agnosticism in all the areas mentioned above. To fall back on Socrates, the wise person is the one who realizes how little they know. Don’t think I realize just yet how little I know even at this point, but I am working on it. Susan as to your thought on how we judge delusions, it’s experiments and observation
    double blind as Greg aptly suggests, etc.-obviously for your field, but is everything in the universe subject to sensory evaluation/observation or experimentation? Philosophy uses at times metaphysical criterion, some “first principles of logic.” Or do we go with “best inference?” Here is still my struggle: Naturalism suggests all things have a natural explanation. So I am walking down the beach and I see a sand castle. Do I assume this is one more natural phenomenon, albeit with an “appearance” of design, as Hume or Dawkins suggest, or would it be better logic or even scientific inference to suggest a mind behind it? And isn’t the Cosmos more complex than a sand castle. Did our distance from the sun to where be don’t freeze or burn up just happen accidentally or randomly? Well, I am probably boring some of you with this same-o same-o “apologetic” stuff. I am still struggling with the Atomist/Charvakian worldview that nothing, acting unaided, produced something. Sound of Music, Julie Andrews, “nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could” makes sense to some people. So who or what is Aristotle’s Uncaused Cause or Unmoved Mover?

    • Greg G.

      but is everything in the universe subject to sensory evaluation/observation or experimentation?

      How would you distinguish between something that is imaginary from something that cannot be detected? The human mind is quite capable of imagining things that cannot be detected, but there is no way to determine that it is not real. That is what the concept of the supernatural is, it is a place to put imaginary things so that they cannot be evaluated by natural means. Anything in the supernatural can only be imagined. There is no way to distinguish a real supernatural thing from an imaginary supernatural thing. It’s what the concept was invented to do.

      Philosophy uses at times metaphysical criterion, some “first principles of logic.” Or do we go with “best inference?”

      I try to hold beliefs as strongly as the evidence supports.

      So I am walking down the beach and I see a sand castle. Do I assume this is one more natural phenomenon, albeit with an “appearance” of design, as Hume or Dawkins suggest, or would it be better logic or even scientific inference to suggest a mind behind it?

      You can make an initial assumption but be prepared be surprised. Does it look like something humans would do? Does it look like a natural process? Does it look like something an animal would do? Is the following picture the work of humans or animals?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/32eaecb4c6ae2757bd805cd616a6f124b493237deb45befa5f59900f361cdccd.png

      It is actually a natural pattern produce by freezing and thawing called “frost heave”.

      Biological systems look more like haphazard natural processes selected naturally than intelligent design.

      And isn’t the Cosmos more complex than a sand castle. Did our distance from the sun to where be don’t freeze or burn up just happen accidentally or randomly?

      There are billions of galaxies filled with billions of stars and billions of planets. There is bound to be planets orbiting at all distances from stars. Don’t think like a puddle that is amazed that the hole it is in is shaped precisely to the shape of the water.

      So who or what is Aristotle’s Uncaused Cause or Unmoved Mover?

      Before you worry about that, you have to know whether time goes in one direction. At the quantum scale, time appears to work the same in either direction. Our brains rely on thermodynamics which works in one direction. Is our perception of time the only valid one? Is it valid at all?

    • Susan

      Can’t afford it, don’t want to go in debt, but watch a lot of PBS stuff, Cosmos, Mystery of Matter, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, etc. Waiting now on a DVD on Einstein and Relativity. Please feel free to weigh in on the merits of these sources.

      So, you’re a layperson on the subjects you criticize. As are many of us. Some of us (not I) are very informed laypersons. But your very early comment doesn’t even show evidence of having watched a science show.

      Beginning with this:

      There is no God, right?. So what is left? Matter. Here’s a little fairy tale for you. One day atoms, the building blocks of the material world, (not sure where they came from, as self causation violates one of the first principles of logic) must have somehow decided to become a brain. (“Matter over mind rather than mind over matter). How they “decided” is unclear because decision is an intellectual function, and intellectual functions require a mind. (Brain here we must be careful to say is an organ like your stomach or pancreas). Then these atoms randomly formed a mind (???) which was if evolution is true, became single celled organisms in the primordial soup, and later these single celled organisms chose and decided to form into higher life forms, animals, then humans, and in some traditions, divine beings (??)

      This doesn’t sound anything like the story of the universe. Just standard tropes that apologists spit out.

      I count myself a skeptic, but don’t confine my skepticism to religion, but to science and philosophy as well.

      None of that comment showed any scepticism about your religion, nor did it show scepticism about science (because scepticism means having some understanding of the subject you’re addressing).

      If you’re sceptical about philosophy, then you’d already be dealing with the myriad problems that are well-established on Pascal’s Wager and The Blind Watchmaker.

      Instead, you try to pass them off as philosophy.

      I would have to claim a certain amount of agnosticism in all the areas mentioned above.

      You’d have to claim a lot if that’s how you describe science, the universe and if you think Pascal’s Wager and The Blind Watchmaker are worth anything.

      Philosophy uses at times metaphysical criterion, some “first principles of logic.” Or do we go with “best inference?”

      How do first principles give you Yahwehjesus? How is Yahwehjesus the best inference of anything?

      i.e. What are you claiming and how do you support it?

      nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could”

      Ah, the argument from Julie Andrews. (sigh)

      Define “nothing” and demonstrate that “something” can’t come from it. I hate equivocating nonsense. So, please be clear.

      who or what is Aristotle’s Uncaused Cause or Unmoved Mover?

      An Aristotelian concept that doesn’t seem to pan out and hasn’t for a very long time.

      Anyway, it wasn’t Yawhehjesus.

    • Michael Neville

      You do like old scientists, the older the better. Aristotle died some 2300 years ago. Science and philosophy have moved on since then.

      We don’t know what caused the universe (“we” includes you). The universe could have created itself, it could have budded off of the multiverse, it could have come about in any number of ways. The universe being created by an Iron Age Middle Eastern tribal god is way down on the probability scale.

      If you want to argue that “something can’t come from nothing” then you have to define your terms. What is “nothing”? What is “something”? What is “come from”? Be specific and rigorous. Otherwise you’re just regurgitating some creationist talking point that actually doesn’t mean a whole lot.

      • Mark Hudson

        I did mention I think if I recall correctly Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Pascal. These are a bit newer, but then there is even newer, Francis Collins, head of the NIH, Gerhard Etrl, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and William Phillips, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1997. Yeah, I know, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawkings, Richard Dawkins, the usual suspects in your court. I am playing on a visitor court here on this site. If you guys want to play away from home, off this blog, try Discovery Institute. I am strictly a minor league player here, compared to Stephen Meyer, Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, Guillermo Gonzalez, Michael Denton, Paul Nelson, et. al.
        I can’t help but come back to Pascal’s Wager, or my interpretation of it. If I am wrong, I have lost nothing really. I die, and my atoms are reabsorbed somehow back into nature, as I decompose. However if Billy Graham was right, and I am right I join God. If the atheists are wrong and God does exist, they bet on the wrong horse, and will have to give an account as will all of mankind. If I am wrong, and Billy, Augustine, Aqinas, Paul, Peter, and thousands of others are wrong, a free pass for everybody, including rapists, murderers, there is no God or judgment or moral accountability to anyone or anything or anybody but chemicals and atoms and a plethora of social concensus options.

        • Michael Neville

          I make the strong suggestion to you that you drop Pascal’s Wager when you’re talking to atheists. We’re familiar with that bit of silliness and the only thing about it that puzzles me is how an intelligent, educated man like Blaise Pascal could come up with that sophistry.

          It doesn’t surprise me that a creationist would be stupid enough to give the Wager the slightest amount of credence. Creationists have to be ignorant, incredulous and deny reality or else they wouldn’t be creationists.

        • Kodie

          I’ve lately come to realize that Pascal’s Wager is not only their weakest argument, but they know it. With all the other apologetics arguments that attract them, especially the ones that try to resemble logic or science, they are trying to appeal to atheists with some kind of statistical argument. We’re not blown away by the miraculous resurrection of Jesus, but they think if we just crunch the numbers, we can manage a superficial belief in (their) god just for the sake of eternal safety. Mark Hudson or any of these other yahoos is a true believer, and PW makes sense to them as a lock on the whole deal, but coming to atheists to try to introduce us to “the good news” with this last resort of an idea are literally trying to sell insurance.

          You know they have no respect for ex-Christians, y’all didn’t really believe; or “religion”, also a superficial ritualistic behavior of going to church and repeating what they want to hear, so why would they be satisfied to convert someone with Pascal’s Wager. They don’t seem to understand you can’t just believe something if you are not convinced. You can say you believe it, you can go to church, you can blend in with your community, and you can even vote alike with your theist community, but can you fool god if he’s real? They’re too foolish to understand this is not only betting on Jesus, but actualizing belief for the sake of honoring the bet is just impossible.

        • Michael Neville

          They don’t seem to understand you can’t just believe something if you are not convinced.

          One cannot fake belief nor can it be chosen. “I think I’ll believe in Wotan today, Jesus is getting too boring and believing in Huitzilopotchli isn’t safe this close to the equinox.”

        • Kodie

          On top of that, many of them think we already believe but we’re in denial, so they are plying us with PW to try to be more responsible about planning for our future. Wouldn’t that be a reality-embracing kind of thing to do? Feel like PW is getting in through the side door.

        • Michael Neville

          Many Christians see themselves as what Captain Cassidy at the Roll to Disbelieve blog calls the “designated adult” [LINK]:

          A Designated Adult is a bit like a Designated Driver. The Designated Adult is the parent-like figure in a relationship, while the other person becomes a childlike one in turn. On a very few occasions you’ll see (mostly kinky) couples that knowingly and willingly choose this sort of dynamic–and more power to them if that’s what they both prefer, but most of the time it’s a done to an unwilling, non-consensual partner.

          Many Christians see atheists as childlike, too immature to make the decision to become a Jesusholic. We need to be carefully guided and taught about bowing down to Jesus and, coincidentally, to the Christian masters the Christian bows down to. Generally they ignore our reasons for not believing in their god and, more importantly, not respecting their religion. It’s not about the Jesus’ love, it’s about their authority to make decisions for others.

        • Kodie

          A bunch of brainwashed idiots.

        • Kodie

          Those motherfucking condescending brainwashed pawns.

        • epeeist

          I think if I recall correctly Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Pascal

          All Christians when it was difficult, if not injurious to your health, not to be Christian.

          Gerhard Etrl, Nobel Prize in Chemistry

          I see your Etrl and raise you Harry Kroto, also a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry and an atheist.

          Yeah, I know, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawkings, Richard Dawkins

          It isn’t just them though is it. As of July 1998 only 7% of leading American scientists believed in a personal god (Source), the figure is lower still in the UK where only 3% of the Royal Society are believers (Source).

          I can’t help but come back to Pascal’s Wager, or my interpretation of it.

          Pascal’s Wager has got to be one of the most stupid arguments for the existence of a deity.

        • BlackMamba44

          I can’t help but come back to Pascal’s Wager, or my interpretation of it. If I am wrong, I have lost nothing really. I die, and my atoms are reabsorbed somehow back into nature, as I decompose. However if Billy Graham was right, and I am right I join God. If the atheists are wrong and God does exist, they bet on the wrong horse, and will have to give an account as will all of mankind. If I am wrong, and Billy, Augustine, Aqinas, Paul, Peter, and thousands of others are wrong, a free pass for everybody, including rapists, murderers, there is no God or judgment or moral accountability to anyone or anything or anybody but chemicals and atoms and a plethora of social concensus options.

          That’s only if you chose the correct god.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34e223e1f258e18043fa84d31f924295146180d91f51a298ac1036077da019c2.png

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1a840eb5c07f739a47416dcae8ac8657fb01d33d9c0fe663e6fe0242c4546c86.png

        • Pofarmer

          I think there are more options. For instance. What if heaven is real and hell is made up and everybody goes to Heaven anyway? I’m sure there are others. But there are certainly multiple ways for the theist to be wrong.

        • Greg G.

          I can’t help but come back to Pascal’s Wager

          What if the Muslims are right and the Xtians are wrong? What if the Catholics are right and the Protestants are wrong, and vice versa? What if no religion is correct and God prefers critical thinkers over gullibility and is going to damn those who believe in gods with no evidence and those who get to heaven are those who did not jump to a religious conclusion on poor evidence?

          If I have to spend eternity with an omnipotent being, I would prefer to spend eternity with one who prefers rational thought rather than one who prefers irrational faith.

        • Kodie

          As long as we’re imagining a god, like theists do, isn’t it funny to think he’s looking down at us and rolling his eyes and smacking his forehead at how gullible people can be, believing the magical stories made up by other people? I mean, what excuse for that god could there be if most people are that stupid, but then again, I tend to think any possible god is at best a student with a school project. His created beings are as smart as they need to be to live and reproduce. A lot. But if you have to get stuck in an elevator with them or network at a conference with one of them (who is never shy to blab about how religious they are*), you wish the god figure would interfere at that point and check one of you out instantly. *I also see on several talk shows that religious celebrities seem to think believing in god is something they’re supposed to keep quiet or be ashamed about, but then always have to go and be so proud they believe in god, even if it’s not cool. I don’t know what environment they live in where they think their faith needs to be kept quiet, but they are of course always Christian, and get to wear it as some sort of “bravery” badge, for coming out as a devout Christian on television. I haven’t seen anything like it for atheists.

        • Kodie

          Let me ask you why you think you have to try to convince anyone else. Aren’t you secure enough in your faith to keep this shit to yourself? Why do you need to bother me with your silly superstitions?

        • When I look at the paintings of Buddhist hell, I can only shake my head in bemused wonderment at the long, long eternity you will have to repent if you got it wrong on this bet.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/67149ea95b21912d9bbb753ce0bedde4a81c8fbd5a2a01c06d41ea6e2be94745.jpg

      • Mark Hudson

        When it comes to defining nothing vs something, I don’t use a Creationist dictionary if there is one. I fall back on common sense. What is your definition of “something?” “Nothing?” Help me out here. These terms go way beyond creationist rhetoric, do they not? I would fall back on “what is is” and “what is not is not.” Beyond that simple parameter, the sky is the limit as to what is and isn’t And when you say Creationist are we a one size fits all? Or are their variations? Please don’t put me in the biblical literalist or young earth camp.

        • Michael Neville

          No, that’s not how it works. If you claim that “something can’t come from nothing” then it’s up to YOU to define the terms you use. Don’t expect me to define terms for your claims. I’m not doing your homework for you.

          Pardon me, sir, but you must have mistaken me for someone who gives a rat’s ass about what particular flavor of creationist you claim to be. You’re a creationist, which means you’re ignorant and deny reality, regardless of the nuances you use to distance yourself from some even more ignorant and reality-denying people.

        • epeeist

          I fall back on common sense

          The problem with that is that it only works at human scales and is unreliable. Common sense would tell you that the sun goes round the earth, that the natural progression of a moving object is to slow down and come to rest. Common sense would tell you that particles can only be at one place at a time and that your watch measures the correct time whether you are on the ground or in an aeroplane.

          So, let’s have your “common sense” definition of nothing and see where we go from there.

        • I fall back on common sense

          Mark Hudson also uses common sense to decide if it’s likely a guy rose from the dead.

        • Kodie

          Duh, a lot of other people believe it, and it makes me feel like I matter, so it’s entirely probable.

    • MadScientist1023

      “So I am walking down the beach and I see a sand castle. Do I assume this is one more natural phenomenon, albeit with an “appearance” of design, as Hume or Dawkins suggest, or would it be better logic or even scientific inference to suggest a mind behind it?”
      What an absurdly false analogy. First off, people see design where there is none all the time. You probably think this picture is evidence of martian life, don’t you?
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c53277517280791b18bf6dee85ca61042e88bc222e6f0b8d8055774fe4ed41b9.jpg
      Just because something “looks designed” to you doesn’t mean it is. The human brain has an innate need to find causative forces, to the point where we attribute causation where there is none. How many people do you know with a “lucky” article of clothing or ritual? Do you think that wearing some pair of lucky socks can actually affect probability in any way? Or is the person who thinks that just seeing something that isn’t there?
      Second, this is a complete apples to oranges comparison, all so you can make an argument from incredulity. I see creationists do this all the time. “Isn’t life more complex than a [insert random piece of technology here]?” No, not really. Not when you look at what scientific naturalism actually suggests the first proto-cells were like. Life is ultimately a set of chemical reactions that allows nucleic acid to replicate itself. That was a lot less impressive back in the early days of Earth when the building blocks for it were being made left, right, and sideways by the laws of chemistry. Most of the rest of the cosmos is even less complex. We have a collection of spheres made by gravity, most of which are lifeless and boring, and some chemical reactions. What about that requires design?

      “Did our distance from the sun to where be don’t freeze or burn up just happen accidentally or randomly?”
      That is an even more intellectually dishonest question. *Of course* a planet where life develops is going to have the right conditions for life to develop. You can’t ask “what are the odds” after an experiment is already done. The answer to that is always 100%. It’s like asking what are the odds that my phone number would happen to be xxx-xxxx right after you get it. Unless you predicted that ahead of time, it’s meaningless. There are millions, if not billions of other planets in the cosmos. The fact that life emerged on one of them is not that impressive. What would actually argue in favor of a deity is if life was present on a planet completely outside the goldilocks zone. If scientists studied the Earth and concluded “we shouldn’t be here”, that would support the existence of a deity.

    • I respond to the Design Argument here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/11/argument-from-design-busted-2/

      As you can imagine, I don’t think much of it.

      • Mark Hudson

        I certainly never thought this picture of a martian anomaly was anything but the product of wind or whatever. It doesn’t make me want to argue for Life on Mars. Ludicrous. People see the face of Jesus in burnt toast. To posit that all the cosmic phenomenon are the products of random chance requires as much faith as theism. There are dozens of scientific minds much brighter than me (admittedly a lesser light) who agree. If you want a list I can produce it. My need to look for causes? Yes. Definitely. But that doesn’t rule out common sense. As far as life from chemicals, Stanley Miller tried that. Where did the chemicals come from? Spontaneous (what is the word here?) From chemicals to life as we know it is a quantum leap of faith. A “simple” cosmos seems an oversimplification. Anyone else want to argue has simple the universe is? Things like chemistry, physics, math, Love to hear from other scientists on how everything is really simple.

        • To posit that all the cosmic phenomenon are the products of random chance requires as much faith as theism.

          I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Expand on this.

          As far as life from chemicals, Stanley Miller tried that.

          This is abiogenesis. Questions remain. But so what? Science has unanswered questions, but religion has never answered any questions about how reality works.

          And none of this responds to my defeat of the Design Argument in the post link above.

        • Mark Hudson

          Lets keep working on that chemicals sprang to life problem, shall we? Send me articles or links to argue the simplicity of the cosmos. Is that the concensus? Was the “concensus” of science ever wrong? How about Sagan’s eternal universe. Hubbles Big Bang kind of made mince meat of that concensus if it was believed by the majority.
          If they didn’t believe in it, what are the ramifications of that. I have seen a Chart of the Elements and it doesn’t look so simple to mean, but them I am just a design dolt.

        • Lets keep working on that chemicals sprang to life problem, shall we?

          It’s called “abiogenesis.” As I said: yes, questions remain, but so what? Where are you going with this?

          Send me articles or links to argue the simplicity of the cosmos. Is that the concensus?

          Did I argue that the cosmos is simple?

          Was the “concensus” of science ever wrong?

          Yep. So what?

          How about Sagan’s eternal universe.

          I didn’t know that Sagan ever argued this. And if he did, so what?

        • Pofarmer

          Hubbles Big Bang kind of made mince meat of that concensus if it was believed by the majority.

          Yeah, it actually doesn’t. But you have to have a modicum of integrity and some interest to understand why.

        • Michael Neville

          Your second sentence has nothing to do with your first sentence or your third sentence. Are you a poor writer, a disorganized thinker or are you playing games?

          Hubbles Big Bang

          Edwin Hubble did no work on the Big Bang other than provide evidence supporting the theory. Atheist Alexander Friedmann and Catholic priest Georges Lemaître independently developed the equations describing an expanding universe and theorized the universe began as a single point which expanded. George Gamow developed the Big Bang theory and postulated the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), the remnant radiation of a dense and hot phase in the early universe. In the 1960s two radio astronomers, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, discovered the CMB which knocked out the rival Steady State cosmological theory.

        • epeeist

          How about Sagan’s eternal universe. Hubbles Big Bang kind of made mince meat of that concensus

          Edwin Hubble: 1889-1953

          Carl Sagan: 1934-1996

          Hubble’s paper on the relationship between distance and radial velocity was published in 1929. In other words, you haven’t got a clue what you are talking about.

        • MadScientist1023

          Ah, the Miller-Urey experiment. A tad outdated, but the overall conclusions are still valid. A few years ago one of his students, Jeffrey Bada, reproduced the experiments results using updated models of the early Earth’s crust and atmosphere. It still found amino acids and nucleotides were generated spontaneously from nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide.

          Which chemicals are you looking for the origin of? Nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide? Nitrogen gas is basically the default state of elemental nitrogen. Carbon dioxide is another highly stable gas readily made from any combustion reaction. Or are you asking where the organic chemical came from? Those are made spontaneously when you take nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water, an iron catalyst, and input some energy such as that from lightning strikes.

          If you’re looking for more information that’s readily accessible to a layperson like yourself, I recommend this website: http://exploringorigins.org/index.html
          I used several videos from it when I was teaching my biochemistry students about chemical evolution last semester.

          Nothing about the secular worldview of the naturalistic origins of the world requires faith. It’s all based on evidence that anyone can look at if they are motivated to do so. It’s all based on experiments that anyone can do if they are so inclined. Most people don’t bother to do so because it takes work to gain the technical education to understand the experimental results, and money to do the experiments. Most people take the lazy route and trust that the scientists who tell them things know what they’re talking about. That’s not faith, it’s earned trust based on a long record of finding new ways to demonstrate our understanding of science through advances in medicine and technology.

          Religion has faith. It trusts people who have shown no evidence of having any deeper understanding of the world and how it works than they do. Scientists demonstrate our deeper understanding of the universe on a daily basis. Religion has made many predictions about the world that science later demonstrates are not true. Religion keeps walking back its predictions about how the world works because the supernatural explanations keep falling short. Meanwhile, the naturalistic explanations of how the world works gain evidence daily. Trusting the naturalistic view of the world isn’t faith, it’s deductive reasoning.

  • Mark Hudson

    Anyone who wishes to indulge me for a moment let’s evaluate at least some of these so called reasons for Why We Don’t Live in a World with a God.”
    “#1. Because we’ve seen what Christian society looks like.” Have we now? Christ taught love your enemies, turn the other cheek. Which society has yet to perfect that one? The argument here seems to be that because no society has manifested perfection, the whole concept of Christianity is thus invalidated. Medieval culture, largely influenced by Catholicism as the author aptly mentions, was never a pure cultural expression of ungarnished Gospel, but a syncretism of new faith with old pre-Christian influences, witness Christmas trees and Easter bunnies, which certainly no one should associate with having a Christ/Bible foundational basis.A true definition of a Christian society would reflect a kingdom ethos of love, joy, and peace. And where or when have we seen that, amidst much hypocrisy and shortcoming?
    “#2 Because religious beliefs reflect culture” No doubt, but which culture and which religion and are these the only influences? The Abolition and Civil Rights movements were undeniably influenced by Christian faith, even though some misguided zealots with a dubious hermeneutic found so called biblical arguments for slavery. Would freedom then = no God? On what grounds?
    I agree 100% that if I had been born in a Muslim country or India, there is a high likelihood I would be at least a nominal if non-practicing Muslim or Hindu until such time as someone provided a more lucid description of reality. My indigenous or cultural upbringing itself would neither confirm nor deny the legitimacy of said adapted aspect of culture. Because grandma said it’s so or my mayor or neighbor said its so, are they expressing what they believe or both what and why? I do not believe, personally, based just on cultural input alone, I need sounder premises that correspond to reality.
    “#3 Because God needs praise and worship.” Seems to suggest more his existence than non-existence, while questioning his attributes.
    “4 Because there is a map of world’s religions” Right! Nuf said!

    • Greg G.

      #1. Jesus was a puppet made to say whatever an author wanted him to say. One had him say “turn the other cheek” and another had him say “don’t think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn’t come to send peace, but a sword.”

      #2. “The Abolition and Civil Rights movements were undeniably influenced by Christian faith”

      Christianity can be made to say most anything but it took many centuries for anybody to get around to that. Those things came from Enlightenment ideas that used select Bible passages to bring religious folks around to the ideas.

      #3. Imaginary attributes of an imaginary being.

      #4. The map shows the subjective nature of religion is due to culture. Science is objectively useful and is adopted when the usefulness is recognized.

      • Pofarmer

        What. A. Clown.

    • 4. You don’t like this one? I need a reason. Maybe for starters you can explain the point I was making.

      • Mark Hudson

        How does a “map of the world’s religions” have anything to do with whether Christianity is legit or not? It argues for its historical and modern existence but how does a map of any religion or political system validate or invalidate its premises? Communism doesn’t rise or fall on where it is located does it? Am I missing something here? I must be. And while we are on commuism, I don’t think it is validated or invalidated on its lack of a complete communist society, 100% Marxist Leninist. Respectfully, MH

        • Greg G.

          How does a “map of the world’s religions” have anything to do with whether Christianity is legit or not?

          Christianity has been around for 2000 years. It and other religions are held in different places on the map. Science has been a thing for a few hundred years. It is accepted around the world because it’s usefulness shows it is legit.

        • Mark Hudson

          So a cartographer error discredits Christianity or theism, am I getting this right? Next you will tell me that a calendar error correctly attributed to a Christian means the faith is discredited as well? We are really reaching here. Help me out fellow non-theist apologists. You buy this map argument? Really?

        • Greg G.

          No, the correct map shows science being accepted universally. The map of accepted religions shows none being accepted universally. None are accepted by more than a third. Then when you look at sects and denominations, there is a lot of disagreements.

          It makes John 17:20-23 the biggest prayer failure of all time. Jesus prayed that the unity of Christian belief would be so impressive that the rest of the world would believe. All we see is enough agreement to be defined as Christians and disagreements everywhere beyond that.

        • Explain the map argument as outlined in the post to show to us that you understand. Then you’re welcome to criticize it.

        • Michael Neville

          Greg’s map comment is about how different religions are predominant in different parts of the world. If you were born in India you’d most likely be a Hindu, a Buddhist or a Sikh. If you were born in Saudi Arabia or Indonesia you’d probably be a Muslim. If you were born in the US you’d likely be a Christian. This isn’t hard and fast, I work with some Hindus (immigrants from India) and an American-born Buddhist (her parents were immigrants from Laos), but generally where you live indicates which religion you practice.

          Incidentally almost all of the atheist regulars on this blog are ex-Christians.

        • Yes, you’re missing something. Did you read the post that this argument links to. It’s discussed thoroughly there. It’s not a long read.

  • Mark Hudson

    Turning the other cheek and saying he came to divide are not mutually contradictory. One is prescriptive, the other descriptive. And who was Jesus a “puppet” of? And whose puppets are we? If love and peace are puppetic utterances, the world could use a few more. And by the way love, joy, and peace are non-material concepts that the naturalist atomist materialist has to explain.
    So help me out here you matter to minds folks, and let this poor ignorant theist discover the roots of morality. Hard to understand the attacks on Jesus. Seems like there are so many other soft targets out there. All he ever did was (as attested by numerous eyewitnesses) was try to help and heal people. And for that he becomes a social pariah, a victim of religious jealousy and political intrigue. What a twisted world we live. Love ya Pofarmer. Hope you can contribute more to the discussion than insults.

    • Greg G.

      Turning the other cheek and saying he came to divide are not mutually contradictory. One is prescriptive, the other descriptive.

      It is preaching one thing and doing another. It is hypocrisy because of the contradiction between the two actions.

      And who was Jesus a “puppet” of?

      The gospels are fiction. Jesus was a puppet of every gospel author and every gospel interpolater.

      If love and peace are puppetic utterances, the world could use a few more.

      Don’t go to an action movie. Try a Disney cartoon.

      And by the way love, joy, and peace are non-material concepts that the naturalist atomist materialist has to explain.

      Some life forms reproduce by concentrating on producing many offspring while others concentrate on a few offspring and caring for them. Love is the drive that motivates the care for the young. It can be adapted to caring for friends and neighbors. Joy is part of the fun young creatures have while developing survival skills. Peace is when one can relax. Did you think that was a hard question?

      let this poor ignorant theist discover the roots of morality.

      Social creatures benefit by living in groups. They must interact with one another. Dogs and monkeys have a sense of fairness, with it being better developed in monkeys. Humans have large monkey brains that are even more capable. Morality is malleable for most things in humans but in-group killing, stealing, and lying are frowned upon, but even apes and monkeys don’t go for that so much either. (Even ravens don’t like thieves, even thieves other species.) As human societies grew, they had to develop new ways to deal with strangers because they need some of them. How much explanation do you need?

      All he ever did was (as attested by numerous eyewitnesses) was try to help and heal people.

      Name an eyewitness. The gospels are either complete fiction or the part about it coming from fishermen is true and the rest is lies.

      Mark attributed words and deeds to Jesus that are mostly based on other writings that were centuries old at the time and had nothing to do with anyone in the first century. The other three gospels used the same stories, meaning they were not eyewitnesses. They added more stories based on Old Testament passages. The epistles don’t know anything about Jesus that they didn’t get from the already centuries old scriptures. It is basically midrash.

    • Joe

      And by the way love, joy, and peace are non-material concepts that the naturalist atomist materialist has to explain.

      Naturalists have no problem with concepts existing.

      So help me out here you matter to minds folks, and let this poor ignorant theist discover the roots of morality.

      Evolutionary in nature, morality has become a system that societies adopt to improve the conditions of those in said society.

      All he ever did was (as attested by numerous eyewitnesses)

      No eyewitnesses attested to anything done by Jesus.

      • Mark Hudson

        The question is not existing/not existing, but the SOURCE. If societies evolve morality, which societies, the cannabilistic societies, the infant sacrificing societies, the widow burning societies, the head-hunting societies, the child-marriage societies, the elder respecting ones? Since societies differ as they “evolve” how do we know which ones to follow? Are any a role model to be followed? Should any be eschewed or practices avoided? It’s one societies claim against another with no final court of appeal or arbiter to say what is moral or immoral, good or evil. Hence relativism holds sway. So on what basis do we decide right and wrong/good or evil? If relativism is true (and it is a self refuting truth claim as the relativist truth claim makes it no better than any
        other truth claim, as truth claims go) then international law or any law is just a matter of individual or social opinion, your view against mine, with no other yardstick by which to measure than mere human opinion. It is blatant obvious that societies differ, from genocidal fanaticism to harmonious peaceful coexistence as options. Hitler and Mother Teresa have the same moral status in a relative world where human opinions vary on morals. As to no Gospel eyewitnesses who is your historical authority here? Tacitus, Josephus and Eusebius are non-biblical sources testifying to the Gospel story, non of whom were counted among the faithful except Eusebius. So as a churchman, go ahead and discredit him. What would stand up better in a court of law, the historical data as it stands including acknowleged historians or your unnamed sources?

        • Joe

          If societies evolve morality, which societies, the cannabilistic societies, the infant sacrificing societies, the widow burning societies, the head-hunting societies, the child-marriage societies, the elder respecting ones?

          All societies.

          Since societies differ as they “evolve” how do we know which ones to follow? Are any a role model to be followed? Should any be eschewed or practices avoided?

          That’s the purpose of the individual to decide, hopefully using moral philosophy.

          So on what basis do we decide right and wrong/good or evil?

          How do you decide such things?

          Tacitus, Josephus and Eusebius are non-biblical sources testifying to the Gospel story,

          Do you know what an “eyewitness” is?

        • Greg G.

          how do we know which ones to follow?

          You follow the one you are in. If you disagree with some aspect, you argue for its change. If you are persuasive, you can change it. But that’s how you get child-sacrifice, too. Slavery used to be accepted, now it isn’t. It may have outlived its usefulness because the Bible supported it.

          As to no Gospel eyewitnesses who is your historical authority here? Tacitus, Josephus and Eusebius are non-biblical sources testifying to the Gospel story

          Eusebius forged the Testimonium Flavianum into Josephus and, perhaps, “the so-called Christ” phrase, too. The Tacitus passage doesn’t say anything a gospel reading Christian didn’t tell him. It’s not like he was going through 80 year old scrolls to find that Pilate had somebody named Jesus crucified. There is nothing from the early first century about Jesus.

          What would stand up better in a court of law, the historical data as it stands including acknowleged historians or your unnamed sources?

          Historians mostly assume that Bible scholars are professionals so they accept what they say. But those who actually look at the methods of Bible scholars are appalled by their methodology.

          To stand up in court, you need to establish the chain of custody of the evidence. Since it has been in the hands of Christians with lots of evidence of interpolation and writings that were left to rot because they didn’t mention Jesus when they should have, I don’t think it would stand up there either.

        • BlackMamba44

          Hitler and Mother Teresa have the same moral status in a relative world where human opinions vary on morals.

          They just might have had the “same moral status”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef4918381fe7fdc569d0a1f4f765dcf806ddc471990b21965aabdf1dca05b4fd.jpg
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/55513218cf2db6bc8f35dbf2b20748cbcf1f2aa4c281678026d0b31e03dad024.jpg

          EDIT: removed the last meme.

        • Hitler’s crimes were more extensive, but he was just an administrator. Mother Teresa was actually on the front lines.

          We’re comparing evil apples with evil oranges–they’re both evil.

        • Michael Neville

          Tacitus, Josephus and Eusebius are non-biblical sources testifying to the Gospel story

          See, this is what I mean when I say that creationists are ignorant and deny reality. Tacitus was reporting what Christians told him they believed. Josephus’ Testamonium Flavianum was a 4th Century forgery and the forger was your buddy Eusebius. None of these people were eyewitnesses (Tacitus never set foot in Judea) and the oldest of them, Josephus, was born in 37 CE, several years after the supposed crucifixion of Jesus.

  • Mark Hudson

    Hypocrisy is not me turning the other cheek while others smite cheeks. It is me “prescribing” forgiveness and mercy and then hitting or stabbing instead. It is not practicing what I am preaching. “Describing” on the other hand, is far different. It is telling what others do or the results of something, including describing the inconsistency and immaturity of the “faithful.” I have often done both, described the actions of others to say, my students, while also guilty a times of immaturity/inconsistency (read that hypocrisy). To condemn hypocrisy or to equate a so-called students or followers actions as equal to or the result of the teacher seems unjust. Do you have children? If you teach them to be kind to animals and they aren’t is that your fault? Or does it come down to your listeners and their lack of consistency or failure to heed your instruction? As to the “fiction” of the Gospels, on whose authority do you base that conclusion? Or is it just a hunch? I would be the first to admit not only my own inconsistency and immaturity at times, indeed, too often, but I don’t shoot the messenger do I? It is on me, not any of my mentors. Good thing non-believers are so morally astute that they can stand in judgment over us “hypocrites.” (And does people’s failure to live up to their doctrine constitute an invalidation of that doctrine? I don’t get the vitriol against believers, by you or others on this website. if it was directed at Jews or Muslims it would be less acceptable. We are not the ones committing acts of terror, blowing up mosques, shooting up night clubs and military bases. Churches have been the ones building hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, fighting slavery, giving millions to charity. For which of our causes do you take offense? As to the authenticity and authority of the Gospel writers, that is a whole giant debate with voices on both sides. Some scholars hold the Markan primacy, based on a Q source or as you suggest, OT or earlier writings. This is a giant “conspiracy theory” All you blog readers out there can do is look at all the arguments and reach a conclusion. The 4 were liars and frauds perpetrating the greatest hoax in the history of mankind or truthful eyewitnesses whose records include other eyewitnesses, One view is accurate, the other a delusion. I challenge the casual observer: What fruit has been produced by atheism and what fruit has been produced by Christianity? Which has brought more good to the world? (And I am not equating atheism and science here, by no means. Different categories)

    • Greg G.

      Hypocrisy is not me turning the other cheek while others smite cheeks. It is me “prescribing” forgiveness and mercy and then hitting or stabbing instead. It is not practicing what I am preaching. “Describing” on the other hand, is far different. It is telling what others do or the results of something, including describing the inconsistency and immaturity of the “faithful.”

      Hypocrisy is telling others to turn the other cheek when you are bringing a sword.

      Matthew 5:39 (“turn the other cheek”) apparently came from Romans 12:19 (“never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God”), which quotes from Deuteronomy 32:35 (“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”)

      Matthew 10:34 (“Don’t think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn’t come to send peace, but a sword”) is using Mark 13:9-13 where Mark used 2 Corinthians 11:23-26 (“Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning”) with some Micah 7:6 (“for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother”) in there, too.

      Mark and Matthew put Paul’s voice into Jesus’ mouth.

      If you teach them to be kind to animals and they aren’t is that your fault?

      If you teach being kind to animals and being mean at the same time, then it is your fault.

      As to the “fiction” of the Gospels, on whose authority do you base that conclusion?

      Crossan (The Cross That Spoke), C.F. Evans (The Central Section of St. Luke’s Gospel), Helms, (Gospel Fictions), MacDonald (The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark), Miller and Miller. (The Gospel of Mark as Midrash on Earlier Jewish and New Testament Literature), to name a few. Most of them just point to parts and themes that are fiction while assuming that the rest is from oral traditions and such. They each make persuasive arguments for what they do cover. But when all of them are combined, there is nothing left of the oral traditions.

      And does people’s failure to live up to their doctrine constitute an invalidation of that doctrine?

      It might. Depends on what the doctrine says.

      I don’t get the vitriol against believers, by you or others on this website.

      There are trolls who change names and return. There are trolls who have all their arguments refuted so they go away for a while, then return with the same old arguments as if they hit the reset button. Then there are some who introduce themselves with the same lousy arguments on high attack. Those kinds of people get the vitriol. Your first posts were like that.

      Some come with a polite attitude, asking intelligent questions, and some interesting arguments. They are treated fairly by most.

      Some scholars hold the Markan primacy, based on a Q source or as you suggest, OT or earlier writings. This is a giant “conspiracy theory” All you blog readers out there can do is look at all the arguments and reach a conclusion. The 4 were liars and frauds perpetrating the greatest hoax in the history of mankind or truthful eyewitnesses whose records include other eyewitnesses,

      I think Paul, James, and Cephas were Messianic Jews who were expecting the Messiah to come from their Midrash readings. Unlike the other Messianic Jews, they Midrashically read the Suffering Servant as a hidden mystery about a real person who died for sins, was buried (Isaiah 53) and rose on the third day (Hosea 6:2) then did the necessary ritual in heaven (Zechariah 3). I can show that everything Paul tells us about Jesus can be found in the Old Testament. I think I can do that with the other epistles, too. James is easy because he says nothing about Jesus.

      I think Mark wrote a story that was something like Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, putting the epistle writer’s Jesus in the first century, but basing the story on the literature of the day using good, old-fashioned Greek mimesis. John modeled his story on Mark’s but added some stories. The conundrum from John 7:40-43 spurred Matthew to come up with a genealogy and a nativity to explain how Jesus could be from Galilee and descended from David. I think Luke assumed all three were eye-witnesses and tried to reconcile them but mostly rejected John, and also had to correct Matthew’s crazy genealogy and bloodthirsty nativity. From chapter 10 to 18:14, Luke departed from the Markan outline and modeled Jesus trip to Jerusalem on Moses trip to the promised land in Deuteronomy.

      Q is the assumption that Matthew and Luke could only use their sources as they used Mark.

      I don’t think the gospel authors were frauds or liars. Mark probably never expected anybody to take it seriously and the others were just gullible as every other Christian.

      What fruit has been produced by atheism and what fruit has been produced by Christianity?

      Atheism is a position on one single topic. It is a result of critical thinking. Do you want to compare the fruits of critical thinking against Christianity or religion?

      Which has brought more good to the world?

      Critical thinking, hands down.

    • We are not the ones committing acts of terror, blowing up mosques, shooting up night clubs and military bases.

      Who’s “we”?

      Churches have been the ones building hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, fighting slavery, giving millions to charity.

      Churches are insanely poor avenues for charity. $100 billion goes into religion in the US each year. What fraction goes to good works? 5%? 2%?

      Contrast that with the amount of money the government (that is, “us”) gives to help citizens.

      For which of our causes do you take offense?

      Let’s start with the cause of dismantling the wall of separation between church and state.

      As to the authenticity and authority of the Gospel writers, that is a whole giant debate with voices on both sides.

      I’ve written many posts summarizing why the claims to the historicity of the magic within the Bible are weak.

      The 4 were liars and frauds perpetrating the greatest hoax in the history of mankind or truthful eyewitnesses

      The authors of the gospels were eyewitnesses? Show me.

      What fruit has been produced by atheism and what fruit has been produced by Christianity?

      You’re comparing apples and oranges. That you don’t understand this means that we’re not communicating.

  • Kaleab Seifu

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ebc8865b38cab93b4c09367d2a63e24145ce17b483846b2cde9049e8ecbebf48.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/61c4a3a5184f0890dd60e2cf5d757bc578d9a2a9df27f975d85148a271ea2769.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e1e1c9e345b5726b3c843d13d2757595799983acc102728e4b38f0b791dacb55.jpg If you depend on science to answer supernatural things you will never get the answer .because science is limited that is why they never came with a prof of God’s existence. I can number a lot of bible prophecies that happened 100’s of years after the claim that only proves you that only God can do this. I will advice yo to research about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation that exactly shows the work of Almighty God.A prophecy was also fulfilled when Gods only son Jesus Christ will come to earth and will get crucified on the cross which was exactly fulfilled. Time is ticking and their might not be another chance give you life to Jesus Christ the son of the living God who came from heaven to die for our sin’s. Hell is for real only clean people will go to heaven and no one is sinless in this world that is why we need Jesus Christ because he was the substitute for our sin’s.So please research more after you accept Jesus then you will never deny God’s existence which you will never find in science then you will understand and find all your of supernatural questions.

    • epeeist

      If you depend on science to answer supernatural things

      So what are “supernatural things” and how would you demonstrate that they exist?

      The rest of your post is mere preaching.

    • Michael Neville

      So, got any evidence to support your claims? Remember that the collection of myths, fables and lies called the Bible isn’t evidence.

    • To the extent that the Christian god enters (that is, changes) our universe, that’s testable by science. To the extent that it doesn’t, that affects no one. So if God actually matters, that’s (theoretically) testable by science.

      You got Bible prophecies? Name one. In my research, all these claims fail.

      Isn’t it odd that your loving God makes hell for most of humanity? Doesn’t sound loving to me.

    • BlackMamba44

      Time is ticking and their might not be another chance give you life to Jesus Christ the son of the living God who came from heaven to die for our sin’s. Hell is for real only clean people will go to heaven and no one is sinless in this world that is why we need Jesus Christ because he was the substitute for our sin’s.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/85a089025aa69d86bbaacab8c3a8ad103872543cc040e6666fb6a8ad7e6d6a54.jpg

    • BlackMamba44

      Matthew:

      The Death of Jesus
      45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[d]

      47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

      48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

      50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

      Mark:

      The Death of Jesus
      33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]

      35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

      36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

      37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

      Luke:

      The Death of Jesus
      44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

      John:

      The Death of Jesus
      28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

    • Greg G.

      If you depend on science to answer supernatural things you will never get the answer

      The supernatural was invented to keep claims from being tested. When religions accidentally make a claim that is testable, it turns out the religious claim is wrong.