Never Going Back

I value open-mindedness over most other things. When I was going through my deconversion and having frequent religious discussions with my family, I often felt that they weren’t being open-minded. I know that it’s hard (perhaps impossible) to judge how open-minded someone else is being, so I hesitate to even pass that kind of judgment. At the same time, it’s not like they were answering the problems I brought up with actual solutions — it mostly centered on how arrogant I was to question “God’s word.” On top of that, they never read any of the books or articles that I asked them to — I don’t think they even read all of the stuff I personally wrote to them.

It was the seeming lack of open-mindedness that shocked me most, in many ways. During my time as a Christian, I tried to be as open-minded as possible. I was part of a strict denomination that thought most other Christians were wrong, so I often had discussions with my Christian friends to try to help them see “the truth.” In those discussions, I often admitted that I could be wrong:

Either I’m wrong, or you’re wrong, or we’re both wrong. We can’t both be right…

I firmly believed (based on Matthew 7) that as long as I was searching for the truth, I would find it. Also, if what I believed about Christianity was true, then more study would only bear that out. In other words, I had nothing to fear by discussing and examining Christianity with those who disagreed with me. If they could show me where I was wrong, then that was good! It would mean that I had believed the wrong thing, but learning that would give me the opportunity to correct it and be more pleasing to God.

Now that I have come out of Christianity, I still feel just as strongly about the merits of open-mindedness. Recently, someone suggested that I read In His Image, by William Jennings Bryan (which I’m now doing), but when he gave me the suggestion, he then backpedaled and said I might not like the book because it supports Christianity. I was disappointed by that statement. I told him that I don’t read things based on whether or not I will agree with them — I take religion very seriously, because all religion is an effort to explain reality. If this book by WJB can provide some arguments I haven’t considered before, or answer some of my questions about Christianity, then I want to know that!

But now for the admission. Now for the part that I haven’t been able to say to my family yet: I don’t see any way that I’ll ever believe Christianity again. On the surface, that may seem like it runs counter toward my goal of being open-minded, but it really doesn’t. The fact is, I’ve just seen too much. “I once was blind, but now I see.” The fact is, the Bible can’t fix its problems because it’s a closed document. No more material is going in or out of it. Nor is God going to speak to me directly or perform some miracle to overcome my skepticism. We’re stuck with what we’ve got.

We’re left with a god that’s supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, and loves us all, yet we still have evil in the world. He remains hidden from us, but supposedly wants a relationship with us. He supposedly left us a message, but no one can agree on what it says, and its books look pretty much like all the other things that were being written at the time. As this post said:

Let’s face it – I may still be open to the idea of being convinced on the matter, but this is a genie that’s not going to go back into the bottle easily. I can’t unlearn what I’ve found; I can’t simply deny the truth that I’ve been able to discover without the fear of uprooting my faith. To ask me to believe again would be to take on the herculean task of not only providing sufficient evidence but also dealing with all of the logical and evidential problems or to ask me to knowingly deceive myself – and I’m not sure I’m willing to do that for anyone.

I am still an open-minded person. But I also know enough about Christianity now to know what it is and what it isn’t. I didn’t lose my faith by forgetting things, but by learning things. And if I had known years ago what I know now, I never would have been a Christian in the first place.

Advertisements

445 thoughts on “Never Going Back”

  1. I like this post a lot, Nate. I know you and I differ on a lot of things, but I appreciate your raw honesty and the way you write that honesty. I often wish there were more Christians who wrote brutally honestly about the questions they have. That’s one of the reasons I really like Michael Spencer’s stuff (InternetMonk.com – Michael has passed away, and I’m not as into the stuff since then, but I frequently go back to his articles). I think, as Christians, we need to honestly face the troubles that people have with our worldview, and admit when we have those same troubles. I share your sentiments often, but the draw I have toward the beauty that is Jesus’ representation of God will keep me forever on the path opposite you. Glad we can communicate, though 🙂

    Like

  2. Atheists always, and I mean ALWAYS, blame God for the evil that men do. And because the atheist has blamed God for the evil that men do and declared Him guilty, God must therefore not exist.

    Such irrational thinking by atheists is exactly what they complain about in Christians.

    And then there is the other thing atheists ALWAYS do and that is lay out a set of personal standards that God must adhere to, or else he doesn’t exist.

    That fallacy is the atheist creating God in his own image and than declaring his nonexistence because the atheist image of God doesn’t measure up to the atheist’s personal standards.

    Logically, that is a pyrotechnic display of circular reasoning.

    Consequently, you are an atheist because you gave up your ability to reason.

    Like

  3. Nate, I’m right there with you since we have similar religious backgrounds and have reached basically the same conclusion as it pertains to Christianity. I have stopped short of being an atheist as I still believe in some sort of creator who started the big bang and evolution rolling.

    I can’t imagine what it would take to get me to go back to christianity for the same reasons you described. The genie is indeed out of the bottle. I have read and learned too much. My reasoning is no longer blinded by years of dogma and guilt.

    We’re not alone.

    Like

  4. Consequently, you are an atheist because you gave up your ability to reason.

    Thank you silenceofmind, this honestly got me to laugh out loud. 🙂

    Look, I understand your irritation — you don’t like what I said about Christianity. But believe me, the illogical nature of the Christian god is not something I’ve imagined. Just read the Bible, and the inconsistencies are pretty evident.

    But if you feel differently, please feel free to tell me why. As I said in my post, I’m an open-minded guy, and I’d like to hear any cogent arguments you have.

    Thanks

    Like

  5. KC, thanks for the kind comment!

    Josh, I especially appreciate yours. I still hope for a day when you and I see eye to eye on these things, but even if that day never comes — you’re a pretty awesome guy. I’m glad you keep coming around. 🙂

    Like

  6. @silenceofmind I think you need to do some reading about atheists before you start lobbing handgranades. They nor Deists like me have given up any reasoning powers. Quite the opposite. I think Nate said he likes to continue to do research in his quest for the truth. You might want to follow his lead.

    Like

  7. I couldn’t agree more. One thing, however, that isn’t discussed at all, is the close mindedness fo some atheists. I think that it needs to be recognized that it can happen both ways.

    Here’s to free thinking.

    Lux

    Like

  8. kcchief1,

    I have had an incredible amount of discussions with atheists. It’s as if they all came out of the same cookie cutter.

    They think the same way, use the same fallacies and above all they fail to see that they are just as mindlessly irrational as the people they complain about.

    I claimed that atheists had given up the ability to reason. And then I supported my claim by showing how the author of this post does exactly that.

    And you simply claim that atheists and deists like you have not given up any powers of reason.

    You give no evidence. No reasoning. You give nothing to support your claim.

    Evidently, you share another intellectual malady that afflicts your atheist brethren: You claim it. Therefore it must be true.

    Unless you can show some sort of reasoning or evidence to back up your claim, all you are doing is expressing a baseless opinion.

    Now how about you address the content of my comments instead of expressing your personal distaste for the truth.

    Like

  9. I hate to break it to you Nate, but there is nothing funny in my comment.

    It is pure reasoning that shows how irrational you are.

    You can’t argue rationally so you have to humiliate the person who has just shown how phony are your beliefs.

    Like

  10. Sorry, silenceofmind. Didn’t mean to offend. You made some claims in your original comment, but I didn’t see you actually make any evidence-based points. Could you restate them, so we can discuss them?

    If it helps, I can tell you that my primary reasons for leaving Christianity had to do with the problems in the Bible — I used to believe in inerrancy. Don’t know where you stand on that, so it may not be worth discussing. Just giving you some background.

    Like

  11. Oh, and you did make a point about the problem of evil in your original comment, so let me ask you a question:

    If a father has two children, and one is beating the other with a stick, should he intervene, or allow it to happen?

    Like

  12. I was reading a review today about “Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine.” One of the reviewers quotes her 101 year-old mother as saying: “Life is difficult, that’s why people created god.” I will never go back either. The further you get from the middle of the forest, the clearer your view becomes. Then the question becomes “how did I believe the myth so long?” Polly

    Like

  13. Please explain how someone committing an evil act affects the existence of anything.

    If I commit and evil act do you, or anyone else cease to exist?

    Of course not. Such a proposition is stupid.

    Likewise, the proposition that God does not exist because men commit evil, is stupid.

    I’m using such strong language because adult, educated human beings should not need to have something so simple and obvious explained to them.

    Like

  14. Silenceofmind:

    Chances are I won’t be interacting with you much, because you don’t seem the type to have a calm, respectful and productive conversation. That said though maybe you’ll offer a nice balance to the Ark for this blog. 😉

    I would like to correct something that seems blatantly wrong. You said this:

    Atheists always, and I mean ALWAYS, blame God for the evil that men do. And because the atheist has blamed God for the evil that men do and declared Him guilty, God must therefore not exist.

    Such irrational thinking by atheists is exactly what they complain about in Christians.

    But atheists don’t believe in God so they cannot be blaming God. You just interpret what they say as blaming God, and then insert that into your statement above, and then voila you have created an irrational statement! Nice work.

    Like

  15. @Silence of mind
    “Atheists always, and I mean ALWAYS, blame God for the evil that men do”

    Unsupported assertion. No evidence. What is asserted without evidence is dismissible without evidence. Such irrational and unsupported claims are exactly what you are asserting atheists do.

    “And then there is the other thing atheists ALWAYS do and that is lay out a set of personal standards that God must adhere to, or else he doesn’t exist.”

    We would expect that a God would exhibit a higher level of morality than what mere men exhibit. When we see the CLAIMED God decree that all men have a sin nature dooming them to Hell because of what the original 2 did, when we see the CLAIMED God killing all manner of creatures in a CLAIMED horrendous flood because He was angry with one of his creatures, when we see a CLAIMED God casting those lacking correct belief into a CLAIMED Hell for eternity in balance against how short man’s life here is, we cannot believe in a God having such a brutal and low morality. My personal standards are against unnecessary suffering. What is the flaw in that standard?

    Reasoning involves assessing the evidence and coming to what seems the most likely conclusion. If you are so dogmatic that we atheists have given up reason, why do you come here trying to use reason to persuade us? That doesn’t seem to reasonable to me.

    Dialogue (assuming you care about honest dialogue) could be enhanced if, when visiting a blog, you showed a bit of respect for the blogger, instead of disdain. Just sayin’.

    Like

  16. Please explain how someone committing an evil act affects the existence of anything.

    If I commit and evil act do you, or anyone else cease to exist?

    Of course not. Such a proposition is stupid.

    I agree, such a proposition is stupid. But that’s not what the problem of evil states. The problem of evil takes the Christian claim that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and loves everyone as its starting point. It then asks the question, if God is all of these things, why does evil exist in the world?

    For if God loves everyone, then he does not wish evil to come upon them. And if he’s all-knowing, he knows when evil is about to occur, and being all-powerful, he can stop it. The fact that evil occurs (and not just in the form of person-on-person violence — we also have “acts of God”), makes one wonder whether such a God could really exist.

    In the question, I asked you, I imagine you would think the father should step in and stop the child from beating the other. If he did not put a stop to it, he would be at least partially culpable in the beating, even though he was not the one administering it. So it is with God in the case of something like the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.

    Like

  17. God created man with free will. If God intervened to stop evil, we would no longer be human because we would no longer be free.

    And you would be complaining about God being a domineering, oppressive tyrant.

    Human beings are responsible for themselves and their conduct, not God.

    God gave the human race the Bible which is the greatest compendium of ethics, human nature and social justice in human history.

    If we follow the Bible we stand a chance of attenuating our inclination toward evil. So reality is exactly the opposite of what you think it is:

    It is the existence of God that has kept man from destroying himself.

    God’s existence provides an objective, true standard of excellence for ethics, human development, personal behavior and justice without which man becomes a murdering, self-destructive, demented fiend.

    Like

  18. God’s existence provides an objective, true standard of excellence for ethics, human development, personal behavior and justice without which man becomes a murdering, self-destructive, demented fiend.

    This is simply not true, as evidenced by all the moral, law-abiding folk that aren’t Christians. There are plenty of studies that have backed that up.

    In the example I gave of one kid beating another, the child administering the beating still had free will, even if the father intervened. Even our legal system acknowledges that with things like attempted murder. In Genesis, God stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, but he did not remove Abraham’s free will. And again, this still doesn’t address natural disasters and accidents.

    I also have trouble accepting the Bible as the greatest compendium of ethics, human nature, and social justice, since the Old Testament is filled with atrocities like God-sanctioned genocide and God-sanctioned slavery. As Thomas Paine once said, attributing such things to God is the highest form of blasphemy.

    Like

  19. What special knowledge about God would your average 100 year old woman have?

    None.

    Consequently, citing her as some sort of authoritative source is ridiculous.

    And what forest are you trying to get far from?

    I’m sorry but a personal hallucination that repeals Western Civilization is just as devoid of any special knowledge of God as the opinion of your average 100 year old woman.

    How can you folks hold so dearly to thoughts and beliefs that are so obviously and so completely devoid of reason?

    What’s going on out there? Whatever it is, it’s scary!

    Like

  20. Nate,

    Most of the law abiding atheists out there were born and raised in a Christian culture. Christian culture is where you and all your atheist brethren get your ethics from.

    That’s common sense, common knowledge and obvious under the light of reason. No studies are needed to understand common knowledge and the obvious.

    Since atheism is devoid of any ethical teachings that attenuate man’s inclination toward evil, the atheist gets his morality from the society where he lives.

    That’s why the greatest mass murders in human history were committed by atheist regimes that made it a point to reject the Christian ethics of Western culture.

    Further, Natural Law is a subset of Divine Law, so teaches Saint Thomas Aquinas. You can see how Aquinas reasons that out in his, Summa Theologica.

    Natural Law contains normative ethics for all of mankind that can be understood through reason, not Revelation or personal opinion.

    Consequently, ancient Greek pagans like Plato and Aristotle could reason out the existence of God and reason their way to a solid set of normative ethics.

    Like

  21. If ethics can be reasoned out and don’t require revelation, then we can be moral and ethical without God. While many atheists live in countries with Christian cultures, not all do (Scandinavian countries, Japan, etc).

    But really, that’s all irrelevant to God’s existence. Even if morality sprang from a belief in God, that does not mean God is real. And it’s possible that a god does exist (maybe more than one) — my main argument is against the Christian god.

    So, what makes you think the Bible is an authoritative source?

    Like

  22. What I find interesting is that Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince people to believe in god.

    His main focus was teaching people to treat each other gently and courteously, showing love even to those who you may consider your enemy.

    I have witnessed the atheists on this blog showing much respect and consideration for people who talk to them with disdain, while silenceofmind, your attitude shows so much arrogance and hatefulness that it seems to me with all your belief in god, you seem to simply ignore patience, long suffering, kindness, meekness, selflessness or humility at all.

    Thanks for proving the atheist agenda.

    Like

  23. I’m using such strong language because adult, educated human beings should not need to have something so simple and obvious explained to them.

    silenceofmind, regardless of whether you are right or wrong, you aren’t making anybody more likely to accept your views this way. Instead you only turn people off. The user above already claims your behaviour “prov[es] the atheist agenda”.

    I know that many rationalisations exist for behaving this way, but do you think this way of acting is congruent with New Testament ethics?

    Like

  24. I am new to accepting the fact that I am an agnostic…. being raised as a Christian and wanting to be liked by my friends and family kept me from pursuing my ideas until now. I hope to learn a lot from your site and appreciate all of your opinions. I find most of the people I know are not open to discussion on this subject. Thank you for this post which allows me to see that I’m not the only one with lots of questions.

    Like

  25. Not one of you has responded to the actual content of my comments. All you’ve done is object to my style.

    The truth is the truth regardless of whether it is sugar coated enough for you to accept.

    If you were really interested in the truth my style of delivery wouldn’t even concern you.

    For leftists, and that includes atheists, it’s all about symbolism over substance. Nothing gets considered unless the right words are said the right way.

    That means you and people like you exist in an echo chamber where you only hear what you want to hear.

    That means your comment is a clarion call to ingrained ignorance.

    Like

  26. Nate,

    Slavery was only abolished less than 150 years ago after being an institution so ingrained in the human psyche that it was considered normal.

    The Christian United States destroyed slavery in the 19th century and the mass murdering Communists and fascists in the 20th.

    The 20th century was man’s most blood soaked century.

    Do you know that slavery of black African-Americans was abolished because white Northern Christians fought a war against Southern white Christian slavers and died by the 100’s of thousands?

    No other civilization in history ever went to war to eliminate slavery.

    Only Christians have developed the morality to change the world for the better. Only the evil of Marxist atheism and the butchering religion of Islam have bested Christianity.

    And that has only led to murder and mayhem.

    Like

  27. @Silence of mind
    ”Atheists always, and I mean ALWAYS, blame God for the evil that men do. ”

    No, we don’t.
    Atheists do not believe in gods so to blame them for anything is oxymoronic.
    Atheists blame those men that commit such evil deeds in the name of their god/s.

    Understand?

    Like

  28. @Howie
    “Chances are I won’t be interacting with you much, because you don’t seem the type to have a calm, respectful and productive conversation. That said though maybe you’ll offer a nice balance to the Ark for this blog. ;-)”

    Thank you Howie, I love you too….;)

    Like

  29. “Only Christians have developed the morality to change the world for the better. Only the evil of Marxist atheism and the butchering religion of Islam have bested Christianity.”

    Scriptures teach that we know morality even without knowing it comes from God (see Romans). By limiting morality as only something Christians have developed and follow, you are actually limiting the force of your perspective, not to mention the force of the fact that, as a result of everyone having rather clear ideas of morality, we can provide some evidence for the existence of God.

    Like

  30. ”Scriptures teach that we know morality even without knowing it comes from God”

    This is using the bible to justify the bible.

    Why not, therefore, use the Qur’an to justify the Qur’an?

    Are Muslims immoral?

    Like

  31. Hey Ark-
    I was speaking to silenceofmind, who appears to be Christian. Using scripture as a source of authority makes sense in this scenario, does it not?

    Like

  32. Silenceofmind, I just read your first post and decided to respond to it before the posts following it… If I am a bit redundant here, then please forgive me.

    I found your statement to be house of cards. Carefully put together so that you could easily knock them down. But what you so easily knocked down in your statement was nothing of substance and nothing that anyone really uses as a real house – a strawman of sorts.

    You referenced the problem of evil. Well, Proverbs 3:27 says that if you are able to do good, then you should do it. Wouldnt it be good to save an elderly man from being beaten by three teenagers? Woiuldnt it be good to protect a 2 year old girl and her grandparents from a murderous rapist? Or is it that the biblical god is more into “do as I say, not as I do?” I can tell you, if I had the power to protect the innocent and keep harm and atrocities from happening, i would do it – does that make me more merciful and more loving than god?

    And this really highlights the rest of what you said. Atheists (I myself am an agnostic) dont need to create a god – they take what the bible (in this case) says about god, and then lay beside what else the bible says about god. When the two dont match up, it’s reason that tells us something is wrong.

    It’s funny to me how many christians will try to argue that their believe is the most reasonable, that their religion is the most rooted in logic… that’s absurdly false. Even the bible says that the faith is foolishness to man. Are you relying on faith or on your own understanding? If your own understanding, then i think you wont last long as a christian. If you rely on faith, then reason doesnt matter.

    Read your bible. in it you will what we’re talking about, but only if you search honestly.

    Like

  33. @Josh
    Oh, he is Christian all right.I think he tears out pages from the KJV and eats them for breakfast. I realise the comment was for him(?), but this is an atheist blog, after all, and we are all allowed to play,too, yes? I was just keeping you honest that’s all. Carry on, Josh.

    Besides, if he agrees with you he is merely acknowledging a different Christian interpretation of your Big Book of Lies.

    I

    Like

  34. Silenceofmind – “Not one of you has responded to the actual content of my comments.”

    BAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! oh my… I have a tear. where do you get this stuff? I’ve seen half a dozen responses to what little opinion you’ve presented (presented without any backup or supporting evidence), and seen you ignore straight and direct questions…

    1 Pet 3:15 – “always be ready to give an answer for hope that is within you…” I guess answering a question about your holy book doesn’t count?

    You must be a good christian… you’re so self righteous.

    Like

  35. Great post. Congratulations on your escape. There’s a wonderful life ahead of you.
    @Arkenaten: thanks for reblogging, matey, this was a nice read, and a rather intrigueing ongoing discussion to ‘silence our minds.’ Indeed.

    Like

  36. Hello Nate,

    I understand your scenario, more than I care to. After two decades (over half of my time as a very dedicated Christian) of much struggle, doubt and obsessively going through the Bible, it was time for me to leave Christianity. I don’t see myself ever going back to it and I don’t believe I will be apart of any religion again.

    Thank you for your blog. I wish you the very best for your family and your health.

    Like

  37. @Silence:

    You wrote this:

    Not one of you has responded to the actual content of my comments. All you’ve done is object to my style.

    William is spot on about this one Silence. I don’t see how the above statement is true at all. From the above statement it looks like to me that you are either convincing yourself of things that are obviously not true or just blatantly lying.

    Sure, several of us have commented on your style (at least one of them I think is Christian). But both exrelayman and Nate have very obviously responded to much of your content and others have responded to small parts of your content. I even responded to one small part of it, but I realize that drawn out discussions with you won’t be productive.

    @Ark: I can say that you always manage to crack me up! You’re definitely growing on me buddy.

    Like

  38. @Nate,

    This is a great post as usual. I feel very similar but can’t quite express the confidence you have. This is admittedly something that might be wrong about me – I’ve never really had huge amounts of confidence in myself given that I sometimes focus too much on the mistakes and wrong thinking that I fall into. And when it comes to things like metaphysical reality I just think that humans have not come near far enough to really form any good conclusions about what that reality is like.

    While I see pretty low likelihood of this happening, perhaps someday given new experiences or new evidences that may pop up I may be able to see that some parts of the Christian message have truth in them. Perhaps there is a god who isn’t perfect (or maybe isn’t all-powerful, or maybe isn’t all loving) but made some screwed up attempt at trying to communicate things about reality through the people who wrote different so-called “inspired” scriptures. But for me this equally includes scriptures of many many other faiths. I recently checked out a book from the library that had a very long list as well as some content of scriptures that were considered inspired by different religions of the world. When you include even some primitive cultures this list is incredibly huge. I’m rambling a bit now, but I think you get my point.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everything is on the table for me. I’ve expressed some things on your blog that I just can’t see ever being able to make sense of, and if they don’t make sense I can’t see saying that I believe them.

    Like

  39. William,

    You are using the same logical fallacies that I defined for Nate as an argument against my reasoning.

    That means you didn’t understand a single idea in my comments.

    Actions do not determine whether something exists. Because God doesn’t act the way you think he should has nothing to do with whether he exists or not.

    You applied your personal standard of correct behavior to God and determined that he doesn’t exist because he doesn’t conform to your behavior standards.

    That is like saying your child will cease to exist because he doesn’t conform to your behavioral standards.

    And what if a child accused his father of not measuring up to the child’s expectations and then declared that his father no longer existed.

    We would all say that the child was delusional.

    Well I say that the reasoning used by you and Nate is delusional. I don’t say that to be mean. I say that because that is the true nature of your thinking.

    Atheism is such an intellectual plague. Yet people deliberately choose it.

    Like

  40. I identify with this. I considered myself an open-minded Christian and even muttered the “One or both of us is wrong, but we can’t both be right” mantra on many occasions.

    When I look back I do see that its because I was open minded and prepared to question and challenge myself that I ended up turning my back on Christianity. I wanted to learn more and when I did I found Christianity wanting.

    I am disappointed by the posts by silenceofmind. The comments about atheists hating or blaming god make no sense. Why can’t I hate or blame shiva?

    Like

  41. Howie,

    Your comment is all about my style, about me lying, about everything but the actual topic.

    The reason you don’t argue the point is because you can’t. You don’t have the intellectual capacity. Atheism has robbed you of your thinking mind.

    All you and your atheist brethren can do is make declarations of personal opinion and then declare them to be true.

    And since all you folks exist in an echo chamber, you just repeat what each other says and tell each other how right on you are.

    Without the one true God, you have no choice but to become god of your own little reality.

    And what need has god to learn anything? And how can god be wrong?

    And how can anyone who questions the gods like I have done here be anything other than a heretic?

    Like

  42. Thanks to everyone so far for all the great comments!

    silenceofmind, why don’t we start from a different angle: I know you believe that Christianity is the one true religion, but do you also accept that it’s possible you could be wrong about that?

    Like

  43. silenceofmind, BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    You crack me up.

    you said – “God doesn’t act the way you think he should has nothing to do with whether he exists or not.” I was only using something that god supposedly said, and applying it back to him. And that was just one instance. So, god has higher standards for man than he does for himself? If my logic is flawed, please show me. telling me it’s flawed is only doing the job half way. You don’t want to be lazy do you? show me.

    “You are using the same logical fallacies that I defined” Which are what? Maybe we’re all missing your point because you’re not presenting it clearly.

    “And what if a child accused his father of not measuring up to the child’s expectations and then declared that his father no longer existed.” well, if that father never showed himself to his child, never spoke or wrote anything directly to that child, the child may start to believe his father either doesn’t love him, or he may even begin to wonder if he has a father. In fact, I’m surprised someone as logical and reasonable as yourself didn’t realize that on your own.

    “Atheism is such an intellectual plague. Yet people deliberately choose it.” and again, I’m agnostic, but as plague-some as atheism is, it must be telling that it is so much more sensible that being christian.

    This is funny – your exchanges. They’re funny because you run around like a child screaming that everyone is stupid, but wont stay still long enough to answer the questions given to you.

    You’re just fun.

    Like

  44. @Silence of mind.
    You make the classic apologist error by presupposing your ‘God’ and then proceeding from there, without offering any evidence whatsoever.
    And as usual, your very CHRISTIAN argument is disingenuous.
    Nate has been at pains from the very beginning to explain his reason for leaving Christianity is primarily because of the fallacious nature of the Bible.
    And this is where we find the person you claim is God – Jesus.
    So, before you (or any Christian for that matter) go off like a bottle of pop it is incumbent on you to demonstrate the veracity of the Christian claim. Namely: Yeshua is divine and the creator of the universe.
    And please quote your sources.

    Like

  45. “All you and your atheist brethren can do is make declarations of personal opinion and then declare them to be true.”

    AHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I nearly shat myself…. that’s all you’ve been doing…. this is too much. Do you have a tour planned, because I’m buying tickets.

    Like

  46. Howie,

    You did it again. You stated clearly that style is what impresses you not ideas.

    More is to be gained and more satisfaction attained, trying to think through the great ideas that have intrigued mankind since forever.

    Style is chasing the wind. It’s vanity.

    Like

  47. William,

    I am not to blame for the other fellows. They are responsible for themselves.

    And if you are cleaning cake out of your underwear as you say, why then you need someone to be responsible for you it sounds like.

    In any case, every gathering of atheists I’ve ever experienced turns into a village idiot convention.

    So I will bid this place adieu.

    Like

  48. silenceofmind,

    Part of me wonders if you’re just pretending to be a Christian, because out of everyone on this thread, you’ve done more to further the cause of skeptics. Any Christians struggling with doubts that come upon this discussion in the future will be propelled away from Christianity much more quickly because of you. You’ve been asked specific questions repeatedly, but have refused to answer. Instead, you seem more interested in spouting insults while claiming to have the moral high ground. It’s baffling.

    Like

  49. Now, silenceofmind… dont go putting words in my mouth or cake in my pants.

    Your name is appropriate. and still no attempt at providing real answers. you’ll be missed.

    Like

  50. Nate-
    You asked a question of silenceofmind, way back before about 90% of this silliness. I’ve been thinking about it a bit, and thought I’d bring it back up.

    If a father has two children, and one is beating the other with a stick, should he intervene, or allow it to happen?

    I have a couple thoughts here. Is it always right for the father to intervene in this situation? Are there ever circumstances where letting them battle it out is productive? Another thought: how do we know the father is never intervening? There are a lot of bad things in this world – there are also a lot of bad things in this world that are stopped before they’re allowed to happen. I remember after the rash of recent shootings there were a couple articles pointing out other events in which the potential shooter was stopped prior to the shooting. In these cases I think many would laud the heroism of the individual stopping the shooter. So, if we attribute the latter situation completely to human heroism, why can we not attribute the former situation completely to human evil? Alternatively, if we blame God for not stopping the shooting in the former situation, can we not also give Him the credit for stopping the shooting in the latter situation? And, if there are some instances where God stops something and some instances where he doesn’t, does that not lead us back to the first couple questions I asked about there being reasonable considerations for not stopping evil/violence at times? Just because we don’t know the reason for something doesn’t mean a reason can’t exist. People under my supervision may never know the reason I make certain decisions (in personnel decisions, I cannot share that information with anyone I supervise). They may even protest the decision, or try to start a union because they believe I’m making terrible decisions. They may also get a very one-sided story from the “victim”, and choose to believe that as reality. However, because they can’t know my reasoning, and can’t see things from my perspective, and even may be led astray by another person’s explanation does not mean that I am evil or that I do not exist.

    Anyway, two cents.

    Like

  51. “So, if we attribute the latter situation completely to human heroism, why can we not attribute the former situation completely to human evil?”

    Most of us here do that very thing.

    But being a father, if two of children were fighting and hurting each other, i would intervene. wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t let one of your children hurt another one of your children if you could prevent it.

    And I’m not talking scrapes and bruises, but serious injury. Although, if they were playing rough and were beginning to accidentally harm one another doing that, I’d intervene.

    If i had control of the weather, and a tornado was blowing through an empty field, then okay. Plowing through an elementary school? I’d definitely stop it – I’d at least prevent the children from harm. Wouldnt you?

    Now, if we’re talking about ants then i wouldnt care. let it role through, If we’re talking about roaches? Shoot, I’d purposely wipe them out. But if god thinks of us as pests, what then?

    But i dont blame god. If he exists, he’s not that in control.

    Like

  52. William-
    You’re deliberately created scenarios in which I’d have to be heartless to say I wouldn’t step in. That’s not the point of my question. What I’m asking is whether we can imagine scenarios in which we would not intervene. If we can, then we cannot make blanket statements that one should always intervene because it depends on the situation. Then, it would follow that, if we have situations in which we would not stop violence or harm for various reasons, some reasons could certainly exist for God to not intervene. That’s all I’m saying. I’m looking to put in an element of doubt into the blanket thought.

    Like

  53. Nate, I have seen someone similar to silenceofmind over on John Z’s blog. They might be one and the same. I am now referring to them as Christianazi’s . They swoop in, spew their vitriol and vanish. Oh, and they never bother answering any of our questions. 🙂 . They attack then go hide in the christian blogs like terrorists attack then go hide amongst innocent civilians.

    At least apologists hang in there and mix it up. There ! I said something nice about unkleE. 🙂

    Like

  54. But josh, these are the scenarios we’re talking about and what i took nate’s original question to include (nate, correct me if i’m wrong).

    The fact that you realize how heartless anyone would have to be in order to sit idly by when they have the power to do something means you’re reaching a better understanding of “the problem of evil,” because god supposedly has that power always, yet does not intervene… even though you and I would if we could.

    Like

  55. I think Christianity has a hard enough time with the problems in the bible before they really get too deep into the problem of evil. so many problems…

    Like

  56. @kcchief
    ”At least apologists hang in there and mix it up. There ! I said something nice about unkleE. :-)”

    You are probably feeling light headed….best go lie down for a bit.

    Like

  57. William-
    Yeah, I hear you. The problem is we are only thinking of situations in which we know all the variables. In an example it’s easy to create that. In real-world situations, especially ones in which we’re not remotely involved, we cannot possibly know all the variables (including impacts that may or may not be felt by others). There’s just no way to say that we can properly assess the situation to come to a conclusion on how to act/not act.

    Like

  58. fair enough. then I am only referring to the situations we do know about. The problem still exists, whether we say some of the time or all of the time.

    Like

  59. @josh, “In real-world situations, especially ones in which we’re not remotely involved, we cannot possibly know all the variables (including impacts that may or may not be felt by others)”

    I get your Christian perspective on this , but does this mean the legal system including all courts and juries should be abolished using the same reasoning ? Because they can’t possibly know all the variables ?

    Like

  60. The problem does exist, from our perspective. I’m just saying it’s possible that God has reasons for not intervening we know nothing about. You may think you know all the variables and all the possible impacts of a given situation, but we can’t know that. Plus, I think talking about God intervening has all kinds of impact on free will as well. Maybe God could have created beings that never disobey, but it seems he didn’t for a reason. So, why would He create beings who could disobey (for whatever reason He has for doing that), then intervene to stop anything bad from happening between them? It seems you can’t have a God who is willing to risk creating free, sentient beings who also would then stop those beings from doing anything harmfull to themselves or others. That seems contradictory.

    Like

  61. “I get your Christian perspective on this , but does this mean the legal system including all courts and juries should be abolished using the same reasoning ? Because they can’t possibly know all the variables ?”

    Not sure I’d go so far as to say it should be abolished. However, I think we can agree that, for all the good the legal system might do, it also fails much more often than any of us would like. It’s imperfect. Because it’s run by humans. We can’t ever be certain we’ve gathered every piece of evidence possible for a criminal trial, but we think we can operate the entirety of the world and history better than God (if He exists :)).

    There are problems that need to be talked about with my worldview, I get that. There are also glaring problems with the opposing view that need to be addressed as well.

    Like

  62. Nate,

    Part of me wonders if you’re just pretending to be a Christian, because out of everyone on this thread, you’ve done more to further the cause of skeptics.

    It seems utterly unlike he’s pretending, because he has a good grasp of the Roman Catholic Natural Law tradition.

    Like

  63. ignorantianescia — point taken 🙂

    Josh,
    I understand the point you’re making; however, it’s not a real argument. We can easily explain evil in the world if the Christian god doesn’t exist, because there’s nothing to make us think he intervenes in the kinds of situations we’re talking about. Obviously, he didn’t intervene at Sandy Hook elementary, or when the tsunami hit Myanmar. Granted, there are times when horrible things could happen (like the Times Square shoe bomber), but the attempt is thwarted. However, they’re never stopped in any way that seems miraculous. So the world operates as though God doesn’t exist.

    So your argument is that God might be intervening and we just don’t know it. And when he doesn’t intervene, he probably has good reason. I suppose such an argument is technically possible, but it seems very unlikely. There is no evidence to support that claim, whereas the evidence on the other side is rather compelling.

    This is why even guys like unkleE admit to being bothered by the problem of evil. Christianity has no satisfactory explanation for it, as alluded to in the title of Bart Ehrman’s book on the subject, God’s Problem.

    Like

  64. Josh, i don’t follow your description of freewill or how if god stopping harm to another would be taking freewill away…

    It may take away some of the consequences to freewill, but not hinder freewill. If that father stopped his children from hurting each other, has he just abolished their freewill? No, he stepped in when their freewill was hurting someone else. they still freely willed to do so, but were literally stopped from carrying out their will.

    And to say that “there could be an explanation that we don’t understand, so therefore we should just accept it” isnt an answer. it’s a dodge and an excuse. Sure, there could be. there could be invisible horseman riding around stealing socks out of dryers. there could be ghosts who invade peoples bodies and make them do crazy things or make them rob banks… We could play this game all day and a different version for every scenario to excuse or to “prove” anything.

    How about this, let’s imagine a policeman came upon a man beating an elderly woman, but did nothing and simply watched what was happening. The woman was killed and her purse stolen. The burglar got off with $6 for his reward. Most of us would be pretty angry with the policeman. Why didnt he step in and help? why didnt he prevent this from happening?

    no one. No one would say, “well, there may have been a good reason that none of us know about and that none of us understand, so the policeman probably did the right thing even though it’s beyond our comprehension. It was good luck that he was there.”

    nor would anyone say that the policeman had negated the assailant’s freewill by stopping him. Even if thwarted, the bad guy retains his freewill.

    Like

  65. Nate-
    Oh yeah, I’m definitely bothered by it. Absolutely. I’m just offering some of my thoughts on it. I go back and forth a lot on how I think about it, and there are no real satisfactory answers.

    I see what you’re saying regarding explaining evil being easy from the perspective where God does not exist. The crux comes in when you ask “How do you explain evil in a world where God exists?” We are no longer within the realm of explaining things without Him – that’s precluded by the question itself. So, if we are operating within the framework that God exists, and there is evil in the world, it is completely possible that He has reasons about which we do not know. We can come up with examples of our own, which is enough evidence to allow for the possibility. I think it is a real argument. It may be “easier” to come up with explanations from a world without a god, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right answer. It also doesn’t mean it’s the only reasonable answer, I think. Because, even when we’re talking about the problem of evil, we’re not JUST talking about that, we’re talking about it within the context of everything else that informs our understanding of the world.

    Anyway, I see what you’re saying. I see it differently, that’s all. Not eye to eye yet, my friend.

    Like

  66. “If that father stopped his children from hurting each other, has he just abolished their freewill?”

    If a child wants to eat chocolate ice cream, and the father stops the child from eating chocolate ice cream, has the father hindered free will?

    Like

  67. “And to say that “there could be an explanation that we don’t understand, so therefore we should just accept it” isnt an answer.”

    Agreed. I’m not suggesting it is THE answer. I’m suggesting it is a possibility. I am fully aware that many people on this site are not happy with the idea that we may not be able to understand God’s working or reasoning. However, if we are starting for a position where we allow, for the sake of discussion, that a deity exists and how could something like this possibly happen? I don’t see how anyone could claim that we can or should understand the workings of the deity completely. I know that’s contrary to opinion here, but it just makes absolutely no sense to me. There you have it.

    Like

  68. One more thing. There are, at times, some questions from folks trying to clarify “which God are we talking about?” With that in mind, if we are bent on discussing a god that we can comprehend and explain the workings of, then we are not talking about the Christian God. That should be clear from scripture.

    Like

  69. nah, whether they eat the ice cream or not has no bearing on what they want to do or try to do.

    maybe it’s like jesus’ sermon on the mount. you know? the part where he says, it’s not just murder that’s wrong, but hate. or not just adultery, but lust…

    If just making something impossible to carryout completely or at all, means no freewill, then we we don’t have that sort of freewill anyway.

    Like

  70. Great post, I’m sure it resonates with most deconvertees. There’s nothing about any organised religion that seems even vaguely plausible – but it’s impossible to see how absurd it all is when you’re inside.

    Like

  71. @Silence – RE: “Atheists always, and I mean ALWAYS, blame God for the evil that men do. And because the atheist has blamed God for the evil that men do and declared Him guilty, God must therefore not exist.”

    I’d have to take exception with that – we atheists don’t declare that your god doesn’t exist because he’s guilty of anything – a non-existent entity cannot be guilty of anything – we maintain he/she/it doesn’t exist because there is no evidence that he/she/it does.

    As astrophysicist, Neill Degrasse Tyson once put it, “God is an ever-receding pocket of ignorance, that grows smaller and smaller as time goes by.”

    As for blaming your god for the evil in the world, I’m surprised that you don’t believe your own god, when he says, “I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah, 45:7). You can’t cherry-pick, you have to believe it all.

    Like

  72. William-
    Agreed – what kind of freedom we have is a whole other discussion. Regardless, I think the problem really starts at “If God exists, can we presume we comprehend and can explain His actions?” I think the answer to that is very obviously no. Does that make explaining some things very difficult? Of course it does. I just don’t see how, if we’re hypothetically discussing a world in which God exists, we could presume to be able to answer all of these questions definitively. You all definitely have a point that the problems and holes are there, but asserting that we can and should know why and how God operates is not solid ground on which to begin the hypothetical discussion.

    Like

  73. I always feel so outnumbered here. I like reading this blog and talking to you guys, but I’m thinking I should learn to shut my big mouth (or, keyboard, as it were).

    Like

  74. “If God exists, can we presume we comprehend and can explain His actions?”

    I don’t think it’s a presumption. I think it’s taking what the bible says about god and weighing and measuring it. the bible presents god as “x.” let’s see if that fits.

    Like

  75. But Josh, just because we might not be able to understand everything about God doesn’t mean the logically impossible suddenly becomes possible.

    This is the main point I’m (and I think others are) trying to make: God can not simultaneously be all powerful, all knowing, and love everyone if evil exists in the world. Saying that those things fit together is like trying to describe a square triangle — it’s a logical impossibility.

    If God can stop all suffering and evil and chooses not to, then his level of compassion for us does not reach what’s described in the Bible. If he really cares that deeply, but can’t stop suffering and evil, then he’s not all-powerful. And if he wants to stop it, has the power to stop it, but is unaware of when and where it will happen, then he’s not all-knowing. But something’s got to give. He can’t have all 3 characteristics in the world we see around us.

    Like

  76. I always feel so outnumbered here. I like reading this blog and talking to you guys, but I’m thinking I should learn to shut my big mouth (or, keyboard, as it were).

    Haha! I know what you mean. It’s not easy being the lone voice of dissent in a place like this. But you handle it well. 🙂 I’m glad you stick around.

    Like

  77. Josh – I’ve been following your comments, and for a theist, you seem very level-headed, and I don’t mean that to sound patronizing, I mean you’re no radical, Westboro Baptist Church type.

    I bought a WeedEater the other day. It came with an Operator’s Manual. The one thing I noticed, as I read it, was that there were no parables, no analogies, and no metaphors. The WeedEater people really wanted me to understand how to operate their equipment, and so they were extremely clear in their instructions and thorough in their effort to communicate with me. When I finished reading and started my new purchase, I knew exactly what to do – there was never any reason to shake my head and say, “WeedEater works in mysterious ways –”

    archaeopteryx

    Like

  78. “God can not simultaneously be all powerful, all knowing, and love everyone if evil exists in the world. ”

    I don’t buy that as true. Can you think of no POSSIBLE reason that an all-powerful, all-knowing, and loving God could allow us to live in and through a world in which evil exists? I know your answer is ‘No’, Nate. However, my answer is different. There are many stories from which we can glean that suffering leads to character, knowledge, better understanding of life, etc. There are many, many good things that can come out of evil and suffering. Do I want people to have to suffer to learn those things? No. But, they do happen. In fact, there are a lot of people who come out of terrible times of tragedy and suffering with stronger faith in God. Sure, the opposite happens as well. But, the statement I quoted is not something I can simply accept as true. I don’t believe it, no matter how many ways it is spun. There are conceivable ways those things could all be true.

    Like

  79. Actually, Nate, you’ve paraphrased Epicurus almost perfectly:

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?”
    — Epicurus —

    Like

  80. if my kids were killed, I’d suffer, but it’s possible that I’d gain some new life understanding or appreciation – even if i cant imagine anything good coming from it, I can imagine that it’s possible.

    But even so, what good would that do my kids?

    If a person suffers Alzheimer’s and looses their mind, what possible good does it do them or their loved ones?

    Some suffering, sure. Builds character. But not all suffering. A lot of it is just tragic and horrific – no more. What possible goodness came to those killed in Sandyhook or to their families?

    What possible goodness could there be to the children killed in Oklahoma’s tornado or to their loved ones?

    Like

  81. archaeopteryx1-
    Thanks for the compliment!

    I like the story, too, but I don’t think it quite does the job you’re hoping. If we’re talking about a being who created us, and everything else in the universe, it would take a lot to convince me that the sum total of his operations would fit into a manual that I could both read (in my lifetime) and understand. And, if that did exist, and I could then operate god, he would not be god. He would be mine to control…

    Like

  82. Not one of you has responded to the actual content of my comments. All you’ve done is object to my style.

    The truth is the truth regardless of whether it is sugar coated enough for you to accept.

    Since your “style” or actions are a valid issue for an ethical debate, it can be content for the purposes of Biblical ethics.

    You have committed yourself to a Bible-based ethics since you describe it as follows:

    God gave the human race the Bible which is the greatest compendium of ethics, human nature and social justice in human history.

    If we follow the Bible we stand a chance of attenuating our inclination toward evil.

    Yet you have failed to respond to my question, reproduced below in boldface:

    I know that many rationalisations exist for behaving this way, but do you think this way of acting is congruent with New Testament ethics?

    Finally, as an immediate follow-up, do you consider 1 Peter 3: 8-17 a relevant portion within “the greatest compendium of ethics”?

    Like

  83. William-
    Those are good questions, and I’m trying to admit that I don’t have the answers. What I’m trying to do is allow for the possibility that God and evil can both exist. I cannot answer every scenario for you. I just don’t know. Sorry!

    Like

  84. no, it’s alright.

    deep stuff.

    I guess if god is all-everything, and if nothing is impossible for god, even the absurd and impossible, then anything could be used to describe and justify god – even the absurd and impossible…

    That’s a perfect and imperfect scenario at the same time. Nothing can be disproven even though can be proven.

    I guess with rationale like that, we could make my favorite argument: “All religions are true and are from the same god. Even though we may not understand how this can be exactly, god, in his wisdom, created many paths to the top of the mountain. A version of choice for all people. God is good and mysterious. Who can know his ways?”

    Can you deny the possibility?

    Like

  85. I wasn’t referring to a manual for operating “god,” I was referring to a manual, from “god” (and I suspect you know that), as to how to live the kind of life he/she/it expects of us. So which is it, are we to follow the Ten Commandments warning, “Thou Shalt Not Kill, or should we take out kids out and stone them to death if they disrespect us, as we’re instructed in Leviticus to do? As “Vinnie Barbarino” used to say in “Welcome Back Kotter,” “I’m SO confused!” – should I kill my kids, or not?

    Like

  86. I liked the weedeater analogy. If a weedeater manual, written by men without divine inspiration, can be so clearly understood, when something with such gravity from such a perfect creator cannot convey his plan clearly or concisely – as evidenced by the wide ranging varieties of christians.

    no one argues over how to operate a weedeater.

    Like

  87. I always feel so outnumbered here.

    I was thinking about adding some points to this discussion that I thought might help, but after this I’m gonna hold back. Josh, I think it’s really good that you’re hanging in discussing this with us. I’ve said this before – I don’t think this blog would be as useful as it currently is if it turns into an echo chamber (although it would still have some use of course). I really think you’ve got some points here that are worth thinking about, and I also am not being patronizing when I say that.

    Like

  88. Nate,

    I was just contemplating the verse that says man looks on the outward, but god looks at the heart.

    Could we argue that the “outward” could be all things possibly perceived by our five senses, including the sixth sense which is that which our mind comprises based of a multiplication of those five senses?

    If we can say that is so, then could we also state that our heart has faith in whatever god is, regardless of our perception of god?

    And if we are seeking truth, as I think most atheists/desists/agnostics etc are, then can’t we assume that that is enough?

    It seems that if we accept the Christian god, we are no longer truly trusting god to be whatever god could be.

    Anyhow, just surmising.

    By the way I haven’t been able to log in through my Facebook account, this is Mark J Monroe, any idea why?

    Like

  89. William-
    I guess I don’t see what I’m trying to say as absurd. I’d have to be convinced that it is absurd before I could follow you down the rest of that comment. But, if I was convinced what I believe is absurd, I probably would no longer believe it anyway, and we wouldn’t be here.

    archaeopteryx1-
    I wasn’t trying to be dismissive. I just missed what you what you were getting at. I would say you should not kill your kids, but if you study it and still feel compelled to follow Leviticus that is your prerogative. 😉

    Like

  90. I’ve been away for awhile (traveling) but have been keeping up with the posts and comments Wow! Better than reading a book.

    Maybe this question has been asked long ago and I missed the answer so forgive me if it’s a duplication: Where exactly does evil come from? All this discussion about God’s role in it makes me wonder why and how it even exists. Any thoughts?

    Like

  91. Roman Emperor Constantine thought he had cleared everything up when he convened the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, and had the Bishops sit down and come to an exact definition as to what Christianity really was.

    Prior to that, there were groups who believed the “godhead” was a big can of 3-In-1 oil, father, son and holy spook; others believed that god himself personally came to earth, had himself born of a virgin, crucified and resurrected; others believed that Yeshua (Jesus was only the Greek translation of that name) was a fully mortal man, that the “Christ” was a spirit that entered him at birth and left him at his crucifixion: still others believed the “Christ” entered the mortal Yeshua at his baptism.

    Constantine was mistaken, look at things now.

    Like

  92. Nan,

    It’s like you’re reading my thoughts, I have been thinking a lot about “evil” the past few days.

    I was considering rape for one because it seems to be an evil we all agree is evil, so lets use that for now.

    Imagine a society that has not invented dating or formal relationships for reproduction.

    Imagine if men would be valued for their ability to impregnate the most women and women would be valued for their ability to sexually attract the most men.

    In this scenario, a woman would feel great pride in being “raped”, and it would no longer be considered evil, and if you thought it was evil, you would likely just be seen as a poor sport and not a very good addition to society.

    Maybe this is a poor example, but it seems to be that we have made evil up, because its all the stuff we don’t like.

    Is our kids dying bad, when we don’t even know what death is?

    Evil schmevil.

    Like

  93. Hey Arch,

    I cannot number the times I have tried to explain to my family the fallacy of calling the Christ “Jesus”.

    As far as I can find, Jesus came from the Greek god Zeus, translated to “hesus” (Latin Jesus) then translated again to our Jesus.

    They don’t care. It’s almost as if yeshua is too hard for them to pronounce.

    This is exactly the problem with Christians, they don’t care how far their fundamentals fall away from the original truths.

    I love Mormonism, because it shows exactly how the bible has evolved into its current form, people adding to it and making it seem like it fits enough that no one will question it.

    In 2000 years from now, Mormonism will be the mainstream, and Christianity will be as rare as Judaism.

    Like

  94. Not my point, Josh – my point being that as an instruction manual, the Bible gives such conflicting instruction, that no one can follow it in good faith.

    I don’t/didn’t find you dismissive at all. Possibly you feel uncomfortable here, and feel that some might be offended by your presence, but personally, I’m glad you’re here, you are resolute, but not averse to other points of view, and you often provide a perspective that some of us may not have considered.

    I have my own website, and post regularly on another atheist site as well, and I welcome theists – we can learn from each other – otherwise, it turns into an “us” and “them” kind of thing, and that’s how wars start.

    Like

  95. archaeopteryx1-
    Sorry :-). I knew what your point was that time. I just assumed you would also know what my response was. You’re right, scripture contains a lot of messages to different people and times.

    Like

  96. One big problem I have, Josh, is with theists – and I’m not hinting you’re one – who rail against those who don’t believe the Bible verbatim, yet who know nothing about it, about when it was written, by whom, and under what circumstances.

    The first five books, for example – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, were all assumed, by many if not most theists, as having been written by Moses. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those five books are a composite of writings by at least four different sources. The Yahwist Source wrote c. 950 BCE, in the Southern Kingdom in Palestine, known as Judea (headquartered in Jerusalem), the Elohist Source wrote about a hundred years later, in c.850 BCE in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, in Schechem, while the Priestly Source wrote during the Babylonian Captivity, c.550 BCE, and the Deuteronomist Source after that – all were finally combined into a single book, pieced together like a patchwork quilt by a group of editors known as redactors, around 400 BCE, a book we now know as the Torah. This piecing together is the reason we have two Genesis stories and two Ark stories, no one knew which to throw out, so they kept them both, but both can’t be true.

    Like

  97. Oh, and Josh, the name is archaeopteryx – I first opened my WordPress account under that name (which is what I go by across the web, but apparently under a password I forgot, or misspelled, and couldn’t get back in, even under my own name, so I had to go with archaeopteryx1, because archaeopteryx had already been taken – BY ME!

    That said, you can call me Arch, it’s a lot simpler.

    Like

  98. OK, I’ve seen that scripture before about God being the author of good and evil, but that’s what is is … BIBLE scripture. Leaving that source aside, can we say where evil comes from? I kind of like the answer given by MJM. 🙂

    Some Christians say evil comes from satan, but then the question becomes where did satan come from? Created by God? I don’t think so.

    Nate, don’t mean to lead the topic astray, but from the discussion thus far, I really don’t think it does.

    Like

  99. Perhaps not, but you also didn’t try to argue with me that Moses wrote those five books, and I can respect a person who doesn’t believe the world is black or white.

    Like

  100. Nate,

    Something has been bugging me for a while, perhaps you or someone else can shed some light. It def has to do with beer going back.

    The biggest thing I miss most about Christianity is the fellowship.

    There’s nothing like having a close knit relationship with many other people who believe in living an ethical lifestyle.

    Why is it so hard to find relationships like that with non-believers?

    Why can’t we all form a “church” that exists for the sole purpose of bonding, fellowship, without having the religion. I know for a fact if they took the religion out of church, and we all had a chance to “preach” morals and ethics from any source, I would attend regularly.

    Maybe because we are so independent and free thinking we h e too many differing ideologies to mingle too often, but it seems that here that isn’t the case.

    I sense a deep love in each of you free thinkers for each other, and I am quickly coming to respect you all and wish we could all get together in the physical world for fellowship often.

    Perhaps religion will evolve into this, I can certainly hope so.

    Like

  101. I can totally relate to this Mark. There are humanist “churches” that are around but they are not that prevalent in most cities (there are no humanist churches where I live so I can’t really comment on how they are, but I would think something like that would probably fit what I’m looking for quite nicely). There are also “ethical culture” societies that are also similar to church in that they have a message each week usually on Sunday morning and time for “bonding” with others. Then there’s the standard atheist groups but that isn’t really message each week kind of thing, but you can get the bonding with people of similar views. I personally really like the Unitarian Universalists – they are extremely freethinker oriented and very liberal minded (in a religious way, but usually politically too). They do have origins from Christianity, but it has morphed so much that at this point it’s really just seeker oriented and they are extremely welcoming of people from all faiths. You’ll meet people with a lot of different beliefs (probably some stuff you’ll think is kind of weird), but again the ones I have attended have always said they are very welcoming of atheists and agnostics and I’ve met people there who fall in those categories and I’ve always felt very comfortable and met some great people. It does still have the feel of a church with the singing and message, but the message usually has a more humanist feel to it. That may not actually match UU churches everywhere but it’s a good description of the ones I have been to.

    Like

  102. @Josh, ” It seems you can’t have a God who is willing to risk creating free, sentient beings who also would then stop those beings from doing anything harmfull to themselves or others. That seems contradictory.”

    What about Angels ? They are beings with free will. Didn’t he kick Satan out of heaven with hundreds of other Angels ? Isn’t he going to stop Satan someday from harming others ? Didn’t God send Angels to Earth periodically to intervene in human affairs ?

    The Bible is loaded with these stories.

    Like

  103. I like MJM’s definition as well, but I believe evil is a multifaceted concept. I think it began as fear of the dark, the unknown. Later, as we evolved, we reasoned, in our limited capacity to do so, that which was not beneficial to the group as a whole, and we outlawed those things.

    Like

  104. Arch, I agree with you. For the most part, I think we get to define evil for ourselves (as a society). There are some things that I view as universally wrong, but I would have a hard time proving why everyone should view them the way I do. Mostly, it comes down to limiting human suffering as much as possible.

    Mark, I totally identify with what you’re saying about the camaraderie that you get from a church. I think Howie and Nan have made some great suggestions, though. My wife and I have been to a local UU church. We’ve only been once so far, but we enjoyed it. And through meetup.com, we’ve recently found an atheist/humanist group that meets in our town. We’re really excited about that and plan to attend the next meeting.

    Like

  105. RE: “There are some things that I view as universally wrong, but I would have a hard time proving why everyone should view them the way I do.”

    Some of us on thinkatheist.com, an atheist site on which I regularly post, recently had the same dilemma. A Catholic theist came on the board – we’ll call him “Bob,” because that was his name – and although he was polite and respectful and made no effort to proselytize, he was attacked by some for the pedophilia that is going on in the Catholic Church.

    He made an interesting point in his Church’s defense – he reminded us of the practices of the early Greek army, in which young men were conscripted as apprentice soldiers. These young, teenaqe boys were each assigned to an older, experienced soldier, who would teach him to fight and survive in battle. In return, the boy would do as he was told, polish the soldier’s armor, sharpen his sword, and service him sexually. The practice was common, and no one thought anything derogatory of it.

    While Bob wasn’t advocating pedophilia, essentially, he was asking, if we didn’t make such a big deal of it, would pedophilia be the traumatic event that most of us feel it is? That discussion pressured us to think long and hard about what constitutes right and wrong, and why.

    Like

  106. @Josh (in particular)

    Such posts, irrespective of what they start out as have a habit of falling back on old stalwarts, good, evil, and god.
    There is a sense of inevitability which I suspect is because these are the only core issues (along with life after death) that really interest Christians, hence their almost pathological need to
    prove – at least to themselves- that their god is real.

    But the bad news, for Christians at any rate , is if one takes a simple commonsense view it can all be dispensed with in a matter of moments – IF one is prepared to look at a few historical realities and not to cherry pick the Bible to find the best way to shoe-horn the text into your own little worldview.

    1) It has been shown conclusively by archaeologists that Moses, The Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan is all FICTION. It did not happen. This has been known as FACT for over a quarter of a century and is accepted as fact by every leading archaeologist in the world.
    Others that accept this are people such a Chief Rabbi Wolpe.
    2) The New Testament character, Jesus, mentions Moses and the ‘Law’ on numerous occasions.
    Ergo, he was under the misapprehension that Moses was real, he was insane, he lied, or he did not exist.
    Considering all the other anomalies with the text, the commonsense option is the last. The Biblical character Jesus, did not exist.

    This , of course, blows Islam out of the water as well.

    You cannot out run the truth.The question is, what are you going to do when it catches up with you?

    Thank you very much.

    Like

  107. William G. Dever, author of the book, “What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?” was raised a theist, and educated in religious schools. After nearly half-a-century of work as a biblical archaeologist, working in Israel, Dever concludes: “After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob credible historical figures.” He writes of archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus as having been “discarded as a fruitless pursuit.”

    Biblical scholar Robert M. Best wrote “Noah’s Ark and the Ziusudra Epic,” demonstrating that Noah’s “flood” was actually a Mesopotamian event that occurred when the Euphrates River flooded and overflowed it’s banks by 22.5 feet – devastating in an area we today would consider about three counties, but hardly global. It is described mythologically in the classic “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” and in fact, Genesis uses the same phrase, “god smelled the sweet savor” that is used in “Gilgamesh,” indicating a direct plagiarization.

    Other biblical scholars and archaeologists have demonstrated that many of the cities allegedly destroyed by Joshua, including his famous conquest of Jericho, had walls that came a tumblin’ down long before Josh’s time, if in fact he ever existed.

    The Israeli archeological team of Finklestein and Silberman have demonstrated that although Kings David and Solomon were actual, historical figures, their “kingdoms” were mere fractions of the size the Bible portrays them to have been.

    Most of those who profess to believe in this book, know nothing about it’s actual history, ans prefer to leave it that way – they just need a fairy tale to believe in, to fill the gaps in their lives and reassure them about death.

    Like

  108. @archaeopteryx1
    It is disgusting that fraudulent people, the likes William Lane Craig and his ilk, are never pulled up for such flagrant obfuscation.
    And it is because of such issues that atheists will continue to chip away at the stone of make believe until common sense prevails.
    If the blokes like Josh and unklee, two regular visitors to this blog, were prepared to be brutally honest as Nate was with everything they claim is truth and recognise it is nothing but make believe such nonsense would disappear very quickly.

    Like

  109. Josh, I wasnt saying that you were absurd. I was trying to say that if everything is possible for god, whether it be flying, knowledge of everything that has been and yet to come, bending physics or even suspending logic and reason (do absurd things), then ANYthing becomes a “possibility.”

    I’m saying that isnt a good defense. I’m saying that sort of excuse only dismisses issues without actually having to address them.

    This is one extreme example, but let’s just say a “holy” book said 2+2=9. I would say, that was an error. But a believer of that religion could say, “but for god, anything is possible…” or the, “maybe it does workout to 9 if there were other factors we’re just not aware of…” or “it’s too obvious a problem to be a real problem… (I’ve actually heard this from people. They’re trying to make the point that it would have been caught and edited if it were a human mistake in a human book. I would explain why this is silly, but i think it speaks for itself).

    Anyhow, I hope this clarified. Wasnt calling you absurd this time.

    Like

  110. Arkenaten,

    Let me destroy your nonsense item my item.

    1. Historians and archeologists only have a “consensus” that Moses, the Exodus, and the conquest of Canaan did not happen.

    Because the events in question happened so long ago as to be virtually lost in the sands of time there is no way to say with certainty that the events in question did not happen.

    For the intellectually stunted atheist, personal opinion becomes fact because only that which supports atheism is given any consideration.

    So you are merely expressing a personal opinion about the veracity of a consensus whose only merit is that it supports your personal opinion.

    Those who mindlessly swallow such consensus probably also mindlessly swallow the scientific consensus that supports the global warming hoax.

    2. Jesus based his teachings on the teachings of Moses. Since the famous Greek philosopher Socrates never wrote a word or left any physical evidence of his existence are we also to assume that Plato and Aristotle were insane or lying?

    Of course not. So your accusation against Jesus is the usual biased atheist crap that only fools the terminally ignorant.

    Consequently, associating atheism with common sense is like drinking 3 day old urine thinking it is rare vintage wine.

    Like

  111. COME AND SEE silenceofmind BATTLE Arkenaten LIVE! 2 shall enter. 1 Shall leave.

    Silenceofmind, before your game of wits with Ark properly kicks off, do you care to answer any of the questions you ignored yesterday?

    and I just have to briefly commend you on your calling out of the “global warming hoax.” bravo. I mean, the ice caps are melting and the US government has literally spent millions in relocating the Inuits due to rising waters from the melting ice. And the glaciers and icecaps are receding and melting at historic and measurable rates.

    Was it that the abundance of ice and snow of the past was the hoax? Thankfully you’ve come in the nick of time to educate all these crazies who believe in silliness like “global warming” and who are too naive to fall for a magically conceived god-man who flew into heaven and made wine out of water. idiots.

    Like

  112. @Silence of no mind.
    Oh dear….
    The only reason there is consensus is simply because there is no alternative evidence to support an alternative view.
    William Allbright tried to prove the bible archaeologically and failed at EVERY attempt. His work in this particular field of archaeology is often considered the benchmark of what NOT to do.

    ”So you are merely expressing a personal opinion about the veracity of a consensus whose only merit is that it supports your personal opinion.”
    If was merely expressing an opinion I would say “In my opinon…”

    The archaeology speaks for itself, and certainly doesn’t need someone like me to wave a flag for it.
    I couldn’t even dig a decent flower bed

    ”Jesus based his teachings on the teachings of Moses. Since the famous Greek philosopher Socrates never wrote a word or left any physical evidence of his existence are we also to assume that Plato and Aristotle were insane or lying?”

    it is probably wise if you read what I write carefully, I don’t want to have to resort to using crayon and single syllable. So I shall make this as clear for you as possible…but only ones, so please pay attention.
    1.Moses did not exist. This is considered fact an is NOT DISPUTED by ant recognized scholar.

    This next bit is my own point of view….

    2. Thus , if the biblical character, Jesus, referenced him (which he did) it means:.
    a) Jesus was unaware of the history.
    b) He knew the history was false but still referenced him and thus lied.
    c) He like Moses was a narrative construct.
    Personally, I prefer option c as it make the most sense and we can dismiss Islam in one fell swoop as well.

    Thank you.

    If you are able to supply any evidence to refute any of this please do.
    But if you are going to try, then please begin with Moses and the Exodus.
    I will not enter any further discussion with you until we can establish the veracity of this character, okay?
    Good show….

    Over to you.

    Like

  113. I’m sorry. Sorry everyone. I hate “snap.” Just having fun here. When having heated debates over religion, one cant help but have a good time.

    Like

  114. 1. The point is that no one really knows. So your attack on Moses is baseless and fundamentally biased.

    2. The archeology does indeed speak for itself, what little there is. There is so little that it is impossible to conclusively prove the issue one way or the other.

    Again, your conclusion is the result of bias, not facts.

    How do you know Moses did not exist? How do you know Socrates existed. Again you are merely projecting your bias.

    Repeating your bias over and over again only makes it true in your own mind and the minds of those who believe like you do.

    In the hood they call that an echo chamber.

    The rest of your comments are based on your applying your postmodern worldview to the ancient Hebrew worldview.

    Again, that is bias.

    In ancient times knowledge was passed on by tradition. Tradition took the form of stories, ceremonies and behavioral practices.

    The Jews and Catholics preserved incredible amounts of ancient knowledge through tradition (the passing down of knowledge from one generation to the next).

    Like

  115. silenceofmind,

    Contrary to the belief of Mormons, we’ve never found any evidence to indicate that North America was populated by a “lost tribe of the Jews.” Since we’ve never found any evidence, does that mean the possibility of the Mormons being right about this is 50/50? Or does the supreme lack of evidence make it more probable that the events they claim didn’t happen?

    Like

  116. It’s called normal weather between ice ages.

    Did you know that last year there were over 4 times as many low temperature records set as high temperature records?

    The sun is what causes warming or cooling, not man-made atmospheric CO2. A volcano burping puts more CO2 into the atmosphere than all of mankind has during his existence on planet Earth.

    There is no man-made global warming.

    Atmospheric CO2 is minuscule.

    And the hoax of man-made global warming depends on people believing the lie that atmospheric CO2 is massive and is caused by man.

    It’s more trash for the ignorant.

    Like

  117. ”1. The point is that no one really knows. So your attack on Moses is baseless and fundamentally biased.”

    The point is they DO know. Go and do a bit of research instead of arguing with me. It’s not my fault if Messrs Finkelstein et al widdled in your religious cornflakes.

    .”2 The archaeology does indeed speak for itself, what little there is. There is so little that it is impossible to conclusively prove the issue one way or the other.”

    The fact is there should be evidence. You remember all the places those naughty Israelite camped at for years, yes? Well, guess what, hotshot…not so much as damn pottery shard, fossilized goat dung or Quail bone in sight.

    ”’Again, your conclusion is the result of bias, not facts.
    How do you know Moses did not exist? How do you know Socrates existed. Again you are merely projecting your bias.”

    Not MY bias. I was as stunned as the next bloke when I read about it.

    It is Archaeological evidence. Pretty much the whole archaeological world agrees.
    If you want to be the lone apologetic voice pissing in the Sinai wind, so be it. I don’t care and don’t have to prove ANYTHING to you.
    Archaeology has already done this job. All you are doing is making yourself look just a bit silly.

    I have no idea what point you were trying to get across with the last bit or what relevance there is.

    And so far you have not offered up a single shred of evidence to dispute the archaeological findings.
    What’s the matter? Too difficult for you?

    Like

  118. I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but here in the US, many churches have groups that split off every Sunday afternoon, meet in the home of one of the members, and do “Bible Study” – what a difference it would make, if instead of studying Paul (who actually hijacked the Christian religion from the original disciples), and cherry-picking the parts about how much their god loves them, they would actually STUDY the Bible, it’s origins, its authors, and the circumstances under which it was written.

    Like

  119. If it’s only about the sun, why is the moon colder than the earth? Shouldn’t they be the same temperature? The gases in the atmosphere have a great deal to do with global temperature. Certainly the earth has gone through many temperature changes over its long life, but now it also has mankind contributing to the natural cycles. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere is directly related to global temperature. It’s not possible for us to contribute as much as we do without it making an effect.

    But let’s not get into global warming. There are bigger fish to fry here. I’d like to hear what your answer is to my question about the archaeological evidence for Mormonism.

    Like

  120. Silence,

    I think Ark has some really good points here. I’m curious, do you believe that there is no consensus among the experts about Moses’ existence, or do you just believe the consensus is wrong?

    I agree with your statement that because the events happened so long ago we cannot know with certainty what happened. This is an unfortunate thing for all of us, but I think Nate’s last response is a good example of why there are some cases where we can reasonably conclude that certain things didn’t occur based on evidence or lack of evidence.

    We should try to be as unbiased as we can which is impossible for every human being, but if we try to rely on the evidence or lack thereof as well as the consensus of experts (and some of the experts are Christians and Jews who would like to prove that Moses existed) then this seems to me like a perfectly reasonable way to draw conclusions.

    If there is a consensus and we choose to deny it then I think it may be fairly stated that this person may be falling prey to biases more than the one who goes along with consensus. Is this wrong thinking?

    Like

  121. Your argument now consists of the usual atheist tactic of hallucinating an infinite number of alternative realities and then demanding that each one be addressed.

    Who gives a crap about the Mormons?

    And let’s get reality settled before we venture off into the infinite alternative universes that inhabit atheist La-La Land.

    At issue is the claim that archeologists have conclusively proven that Moses did no exist.

    That claim is false.

    For lack of evidence archeologists have formed a consensus that the physical evidence does not support Moses’ existence.

    So any thinking person just leaves it at that.

    And the thinking person also leaves the Christians and Jews to believe what they want to believe.

    Like

  122. “Your argument now consists of the usual atheist tactic of hallucinating an infinite number of alternative realities and then demanding that each one be addressed.”

    maybe you’re hallucinating that. They asked a (not infinite) related question which some religious people believe, namely that the mormons make a stupid unsupported claim. Couldnt they make the same argument you are, that the lack of evidence means that it could go either way?

    the question seems fair and it does relate. your thoughts?

    Like

  123. ”At issue is the claim that archeologists have conclusively proven that Moses did no exist.

    That claim is false.

    For lack of evidence archeologists have formed a consensus that the physical evidence does not support Moses’ existence.

    So any thinking person just leaves it at that.

    And the thinking person also leaves the Christians and Jews to believe what they want to believe.”

    Nope. Not only the consensus, but also the majority, and this includes historians, a fair number of Rabbis, and Christian scholars as well. Not yu of course, but then you don’t count
    And as I stated right at the beginning. No Moses….probably no Jesus – and certainly no Jesus of the bible and definitely no DIVINE Jesus.
    Now pack it up because you are just being silly.
    Offer up some evidence to refute the statement or shove off.

    Like

  124. Silence,

    You said this:

    And the thinking person also leaves the Christians and Jews to believe what they want to believe.

    This is an interesting statement. I’m curious what you viewpoint is here. Do you believe that everyone should just choose on their own the metaphysical worldview that they believe (whether it be Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Naturalist, Non-believer, etc.) and that we should all just shut our mouths about it entirely and not discuss it with each other or help each other make an effort to arrive at what is true?

    Like

  125. the statement almost implies that christians and jews arent thinking people… which I dont agree with. I mean, I dont agree with their religious thoughts, but many of those people are otherwise very sound in their thinking.

    Like

  126. SOM, why are you so angry?

    Obviously, you disagree with us, but I’d ask you to step back a minute and think about the fact that we’re still human beings. And hopefully, you can tell that we’re not morons — we’ve come to our positions through a lot of thought and study. Now maybe we’re wrong; that’s definitely a possibility. But all of us could be wrong, including you.

    If you want to engage us in an actual discussion about what is true and how we can determine what is true, I think everyone here (at least most of us) would be willing to have a discussion like that. But so far, you seem more interested in sniping than anything else. Is that how Jesus would have interacted with sinners?

    Like

  127. Nate, great post, first time at your blog. I’ve just emerged from Christianity myself, and as you have said of yourself, by an honest acquisition of knowledge. I appreciate your candor, clarity, and patience in responding to comments that unfortunately lack those qualities. Look forward to reading more in the future. Cheers…

    Like

  128. BTW, I particularly appreciated one of your illustrations: “If a father has two children, and one is beating the other with a stick, should he intervene, or allow it to happen?” Lucid, simple, effective. Can’t say that I’ve heard it before.

    Like

  129. Thanks Brisancian! Glad to have you here — and I’m about to do a post to drive people to your site. I haven’t read much so far, but it looks very impressive!

    Like

  130. “Historians and archeologists only have a ‘consensus’ that Moses, the Exodus, and the conquest of Canaan did not happen.”

    — You’re saying that experienced archaeologists, degreed biblical scholars, carbon-dating experts, etc., have only a “consensus,” as opposed to Jewish priests, writing stories, hundreds of years after the alleged event allegedly happened, based on legends passed down by word of mouth is the more likely factual – is the one about Paul Bunyon and Babe, the big blue ox in there? —

    “Because the events in question happened so long ago as to be virtually lost in the sands of time there is no way to say with certainty that the events in question did not happen.”

    — So since the event in question, such as the parting of the Red Sea, or giant, traveling columns of dust by day and pillars of fire by night require suspension of the laws of physics, it is more logical to assume that they did not happen, until someone presents evidence that they did. —

    “For the intellectually stunted atheist, personal opinion becomes fact because only that which supports atheism is given any consideration. So you are merely expressing a personal opinion about the veracity of a consensus whose only merit is that it supports your personal opinion.”

    — how does that differ from what you’re doing? I’m sure he (and I) would gladly change his opinion if you were to provide him with evidence – have you any? —

    “Those who mindlessly swallow such consensus probably also mindlessly swallow the scientific consensus that supports the global warming hoax.”

    — Please don’t embarrass by demonstrating for all, your lack of knowledge. —

    “Jesus based his teachings on the teachings of Moses. Since the famous Greek philosopher Socrates never wrote a word or left any physical evidence of his existence are we also to assume that Plato and Aristotle were insane or lying? Of course not. So your accusation against Jesus is the usual biased atheist crap that only fools the terminally ignorant.’

    — There is no evidence that Moses ever existed – like Noah’s flood is a plagiarized version of the actual Euphrates River flood near Shuruppak, in Mesopotamia, Moses is a composite of a possible tribal chieftain of a band of nomadic Israelites, who, for a time, merged his tribe with a tribe of Midianites and adopted their desert god, Yahweh, merging him with the Israelites original god, Amurru (“El Shaddai”), brought with them from Mesopotamia – the legend of this tribal chieftain was then given the attributes of the great historical figure, the Amurrite lawgiver, Hammurabi, by those Israelis in captivity in Babylon, where such information was readily available to them. The fact that Yeshua (Jesus real name) – if he ever existed – was said to refer to Moses as though he actually existed, implies that he believed that he did, which means that Yeshua could not be divine, as if he were, he would know that Moses never was. —

    “Consequently, associating atheism with common sense is like drinking 3 day old urine thinking it is rare vintage wine.”

    — Clearly you are not one who has ever savored the bouquet of vintage wine, so unless you have drunk 3-day old urine, I must assume you don’t speak from experience in either case. —

    Like

  131. Archae,

    It is you who are pitting inconclusive archeology against religious tradition that commemorates events from over 2000 years ago.

    My claim is that there is not enough archeological evidence to state conclusively that Moses didn’t exist.

    My claim is a fact and your claim is merely an opinion based on a consensus. And that is all the difference in the world.

    Atheist don’t see any difference between their opinions and actual, objective facts. That is one reason why atheism is so intellectually debilitating.

    Regarding man-made global warming… Again, you are expressing a personal opinion based on a “scientific” consensus.

    If you understood science you would understand that there is no such thing as scientific consensus. Science is based on what is observable and provable.

    Jewish tradition indicates that Moses existed. In the case of Jews and Catholics concerning Moses and Jesus, the traditions of those religions far outweigh the archeology.

    That is because those traditions have traversed thousands of years almost completely unchanged.

    By declaring that only physical evidence is valid, the atheist consigns himself to deeply ingrained ignorance.

    That is because the scientific method is only one of various ways to gather knowledge and wisdom.

    Additionally, what is important about Moses and Jesus is what they taught.

    Making an issue about whether they existed or not isn’t relevant to those who seek wisdom. One need not believe that Moses and Jesus existed in order to benefit from their teachings.

    Like

  132. Howie,

    I am saying that consensus is what it is. And what it isn’t is conclusive.

    The social impact of Moses and Jesus would indicate that they actually lived. Judeo-Christianity powered the rise of Western Civilization, greatest civilization in human history.

    Clearly, restricting one’s knowledge and thinking to only one form of information is debilitating not liberating.

    You folks have crippled yourselves intellectually and you’re demanding that the rest of humanity mutilate their minds just like you have.

    Like

  133. The Ancient Near East believed that Gilgamesh was real for thousands of years. Does that mean he was real? People once believed that King Arthur was real. Does that mean he was?

    Actually, Arthur is a good example, because it’s possible that he was a real individual. But it’s considered fact that he is not the same individual represented in Arthurian legend. The same is true of Moses, David, and Solomon. There may have been someone named Moses deep in Canaan’s past. But archaeology has shown that the Moses of the Old Testament was almost certainly not real.

    Now, like the Mormons, you can continue to believe all the fantastical stories about Moses, but there’s no historical or archaeological reason to do so. So don’t expect to gain traction with people who aren’t believers. We have no more reason to believe Moses of the OT was real than we do to believe the legendary Arthur character was real.

    But here’s the thing, if the findings of archaeology and history are not enough for you, that’s fine. They wouldn’t have been enough for me either when I was a believer. So while I can’t speak for everyone else here, I’d personally be okay with moving to a different issue — one that might be more meaningful for you. Contradictions in scripture, perhaps?

    Like

  134. Hey Ark,

    I think it’s very interesting you brought up the “real name of Jesus”.

    I have tried to start conversations about this, countless times with Christians.

    They always deflect and say that the name doesn’t really matter.

    My question is, if the Angels themselves came down and comanded Mary and Joseph to call his name “yeshua”, and the bible states in Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” None other name means just that. None. Not even the name Jesus. Why is it impossible for Christians to see that and simply play it safe as they like to do, and start using the name yeshua?

    It boggles my inadequate mind.

    Like

  135. Silence,

    You are saying anyone who says Moses didn’t exist is a fool, because there is no evidence that he didn’t exist.

    But you are saying he DID exist, also with no evidence.

    Both are opinion, but no one is calling you a fool.

    Foolish?

    Like

  136. RE: “The Jews and Catholics preserved incredible amounts of ancient knowledge through tradition (the passing down of knowledge from one generation to the next).”

    Ever play a game called, “Telephone” or “Chinese Whispers”? What happened to the original information?

    Like

  137. I did not say that there was no evidence that Moses never existed.

    I said that Jewish tradition provides evidence that he existed and that Jewish tradition is actually much more informative than archeology in this particular case.

    Moses was the leader of a nomadic tribe. So the chances of him leaving any physical, long lasting evidence is slim to none.

    I am also saying that regimes like Pharaoh routinely wipe out all evidence of people whom they deemed unacceptable.

    Like

  138. Nate,

    How is it even possible for someone like Moses to leave archeological evidence?

    Also, the Pharaohs of Egypt, like all authoritarian regimes, were notorious for wiping out any physical trace of those they held in contempt.

    The Bible even tells of the Jews and their intention of wiping out any trace of Jesus.

    So it seems only natural that there would be a dirth of

    Like

  139. I see where you’re coming from Nate. After making the difficult decision to examine Christianity from an agnostic position – I have learned things that make it almost impossible to go back. I told myself that I should not become a Christian again just because it would make things easier on a social (and family) level. It would have to be based on evidence and the evidence would have to be compelling enough to not only convince myself of Christianity’s truth, but also allow me to convince others of it’s truth as well. So far I have not found that evidence.

    I told him that I don’t read things based on whether or not I will agree with them — I take religion very seriously, because all religion is an effort to explain reality. If this book by WJB can provide some arguments I haven’t considered before, or answer some of my questions about Christianity, then I want to know that!

    I’m glad you said this. I like to stay as open-minded as possible too.

    Like

  140. RE: “And the thinking person also leaves the Christians and Jews to believe what they want to believe.” – so why are you on this site, if not to deny atheists the same rights you would ascribe to Christians and Jews? (Why would you omit Muslims?)

    Like

  141. Silence, perhaps the egyptians did wipe out any reference to moses out of embarrassment or disdain, but they seemed to have kept detailed records of the Nile (height and such). Despite those detailed records, there isnt any mention of the nile turning to blood. Out of everything that supposedly happened, nothing was recorded outside the bible?

    And much of the moses story is filled with huge claims of miraculous events, and you’re saying that the best evidence that they happened are the old stories passed down through tradition? Is there no limit to your gullibility or do you have a method for what size fish tales you accept?

    I dont really care if moses was real or not. I dont care if he led a slave revolt out of egypt. Any and all of that is quite possible. But the far fetched miraculous events would be more readily accepted if accompanied with sound evidence – there deosnt seem to be any.

    move on to internal consistency?

    Like

  142. Silence,

    As Nate has countlessly stated, the Mormon religion is based off the same “evidence”.

    As far as Pharoahs having an agenda, the bible clearly states that after each plague, pharoah desired to let the Israelites go.

    It states, “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them” Exo 9:12

    But Moses probably was just having a hard time with words and stuff when he wrote that.

    Like

  143. For the record, it is NOT just atheists who are stating that the Moses story is pure fiction, Christian scholars say it as well.

    Okay…I am not going to play here with Silence of no mind. I fear he is winding everyone up.
    If not then he is, quite simply , a Dickhead.

    Like

  144. “It is you who are pitting inconclusive archeology against religious tradition that commemorates events from over 2000 years ago.”

    — I am pitting the findings of educated experts who find no evidence of Moses, against the hearsay evidence, passed through hundreds of generations before it was ever written down, by men with less than 1% of the knowledge of how the world works, than the experts searching for evidence of Moses. —

    “Atheist don’t see any difference between their opinions and actual, objective facts. That is one reason why atheism is so intellectually debilitating.”

    — We’re still waiting for your facts —

    “If you understood science you would understand that there is no such thing as scientific consensus. Science is based on what is observable and provable.”

    — Possibly you should listen to your own statements from time to time – show me your scientific proof, obtained through observation, that Moses existed. —

    “Jewish tradition indicates – yada, yada, yada –” – each time you use that phrase, be sure and translate it correctly, so that everyone will be able to accurately gauge the validity of whatever follows: “Millennia-old Jewish hearsay evidence indicates….”

    Like

  145. @Silence – RE: “Judeo-Christianity powered the rise of Western Civilization, greatest civilization in human history.”

    Western civilization was firmly empowered by the might and drive of the Greeks, followed by the Romans, full a thousand years before Christianity was even recognized as a belief system by the majority of the world. Judeo-Christianity was responsible for the Dark Ages, and I wouldn’t call that empowerment.

    Like

  146. Actually, Mark, I believe you mean “Arch,” rather than “Ark,” unless I missed a post – not that I’m keeping score, I just want to be sure I’m responding to the appropriate comment.

    I prefer the use of the name, “Yeshua” because, a) I can prove that’s what he would have been called, had he ever existed, and b) because it throws off-balance those Christians who all of their lives have heard their ministers speak of, “Jeee-sus!”

    Like

  147. Silence, RE: “Moses was the leader of a nomadic tribe. So the chances of him leaving any physical, long lasting evidence is slim to none.” – according to your book of fairy tales, he and a million and a half Jews wandered around in the Arabian desert for 40 years, are you telling me that out of a million and a half people, no one tossed aside a Spam can or something?

    Like

  148. Nate – “Contradictions in scripture, perhaps?”

    since you brought it up, and since I have been thinking about rereading what you’ve already written on the subject, perhaps now would be a good time to repost, or offer a post that contains links back to your writings on this topic.

    If you had new material in mind, maybe you you could do as suggested above and add the new stuff to it…

    Just a suggestion.

    Like

  149. So if I may summarize what you’re saying, Silence, two religious figures, whose evidence for existence has been erased (by Men in Black?), are evidence that there’s an invisible god —

    “Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn’t there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.”
    — Robert A. Heinlein —

    Like

  150. William, thanks for the suggestion. I do have those posts listed in my About section, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to repost the links too.

    Like

  151. Your comment is an example of an atheist hallucinating an opposing argument and then arguing with it.

    We humans call that mental masturbation.

    The point has always been yours:

    Moses and Jesus didn’t exist because there is no archeological evidence to prove their existence.

    My counter point is that physical evidence is only one kind of information and to limit one’s self to that is to condemn oneself to deeply ingrained ignorance.

    The teachings of both Moses and Jesus shaped the entire planet over millennia. We count time since the birth of Jesus. We view justice in the light of Moses’ and Jesus’ teachings.

    The very existence of Israel is senseless without Moses. Likewise Western Civilization without Jesus.

    Like

  152. You’re putting a bit too much on the shoulders of Moses and Jesus.

    But even if you weren’t, so what? The past 1400 years of Middle Eastern history and law have been based on Muhammad’s teachings. Does that mean he was really divinely inspired?

    The impact the teachings of Judaism and Christianity have had does not mean they are true teachings. And while you’re right that archaeological evidence is not the only sort that matters, it does still matter. It should at least be a consideration. Otherwise, why don’t we accept the Mormons’ claims about Jews discovering America?

    Listen, we’re not getting anywhere with the discussion of Moses and archaeology. Why don’t you tell us your other reasons for believing in Christianity? Maybe we can find something to discuss that will actually make some progress…

    Like

  153. Silence, what evidence do you provide other than old jewish tradition?

    you remind me of someone who still thinks that Aristotle was right about falling objects – that a whole brick would fall twice as fast as a half brick. This was believed a taught for more than 1600 years until Galileo showed it to be wrong.

    Galileo wasnt as concerned with tradition. he tested them, weighed and measured them, and formed his knowledge and opinions around actual facts.

    And just as an aside, isn’t scientific consensus also called a fact or a scientific law?

    And you should probably refrain from speaking for the whole human kind. And really, you should a take a moment for personal reflection because you’re a moron and clearly don’t recognize that observable and demonstrably repeatable fact.

    and against better judgement, what do you think of the bible and god? what’s your religion or theology? care to share your good news and enlighten us all? or will you merely continue to to dodge questions and a declare us all insane (as if saying it more than once makes it true)?

    Like

  154. Hmmmm, so way back when, didn’t SOM say he was leaving? Guess he couldn’t stay away.

    BTW, SOM, you wrote: “I said that Jewish tradition provides evidence that he existed and that Jewish tradition is actually much more informative than archeology in this particular case.”

    Have you even looked up the meaning of the words evidence and tradition? If you did, you would note that tradition does not equal evidence.

    Like

  155. Si – RE: “My counter point is that physical evidence is only one kind of information and to limit one’s self to that is to condemn oneself to deeply ingrained ignorance.” – your comments always seem to require translation. I take this one as meaning, “Why limit yourself to scientific evidence when you can also consider 3000-year old hearsay evidence?”

    The ridiculous nature of your question precludes a need for an answer.

    “We count time since the birth of Jesus.” – not true, if Yeshua ever existed, he would have been born in the neighborhood of 4 BCE, not zero BCE, so if we are measuring time from the alleged date of his alleged birth, then our calenders are off by four years. BTW, Demember 25th was the birthdate of “Sol Invictus,” the “Invincible Sun,” patron god of soldiers, made the official god of the Roman army in 274 CE by Emperor Aurelian, and later also plagiarized by you Christians.

    RE: “We view justice in the light of Moses’ and Jesus’ teachings.” – if I had the time to waste on your nonsense, I would comb through and show you some of the brilliant examples of the teachings of Moses and Yeshua that would demonstrate just how foolish your statement is.

    Like

  156. Sorry, but there you go again hallucinating strange meaning from your own private Idaho and then assigning it to me.

    If you think my use of simple English needs translation, than your understanding of simple English needs remediation.

    Like

  157. silenceofmind is funny. refusing to answer questions. making outrageously unsupported remarks and then casting insults when people dont understand or agree with his gibberish.

    Just answer a question, dude. or dont… it’s more entertaining this way although the joke is becoming stale. you need new material.

    Like

  158. Oh my gawd. I go away for a day, and I’m totally lost. I can’t even find my last comment.
    Good luck, Nate, et al.

    Like

  159. So if you didn’t mean, “Why limit yourself to scientific evidence when you can also consider 3000-year old hearsay?” what exactly did you mean? No obfuscation this time, be specific.

    Like

  160. Silenceofmind,

    let’s focus to one thing, if we can. otherwise, we’re turning into schoolyard elementary kids. What is your theology?

    Like

  161. If indeed Pharaoh wiped out any mention of Moses, than any record of all the disasters wrought by Moses would be most especially be wiped from the record too.

    Such disasters would glorify Moses and make him into a god who overpowered Pharaoh, also a god. Or it would indicate the actions of the one true God.

    In any case, those disasters, if they were allowed to become part of history, would totally destroy the institution of Pharaoh as an authoritative divine being.

    Looked at in that light, it would have been absolutely essential for Pharaoh to wipe any mention of Moses from the historical record.

    Like

  162. silenceofmind-
    I haven’t passed judgment on you. I have shamed you because I think you are being obnoxious.

    Ark-
    I can’t disagree with that. We Christians should tread carefully – more carefully than we do at times.

    Like

  163. oh is that so? and while you do such a good job of it, i think a change in topic is okay. Unless you have anymore un-evidence to provide in your secular argument?

    and i guess and argument tends to get religious when you’re making pro-religious claims…

    Like

  164. William,

    The so-called “old stories” are integral to the Hebrew culture and Jewish faith.

    Calling the basis of one of the world’s most influential culture’s “old stories” is provincial to say the least.

    And such labeling is further indication that atheism stunts intellectual development while putting personal bias on steroids.

    The result is a return to intellectual pre-modernity. Atheists are precisely what they accuse people of faith of being.

    Like

  165. Archae,

    The English translation of my comment is that since archeology isn’t conclusive vis a vis the existence of Moses and Jesus, there is no good reason to badger Jews and Christians for believing that they do exist.

    Like

  166. Josh,

    You said I should be ashamed of myself. That’s you, judging me.

    You must judge people as a matter of habit. That’s why you don’t notice when you do it.

    Now why don’t you put your deep, abiding hypocrisy aside and join the discussion.

    Like

  167. William,

    You folks are the ones making the claims about evidence.

    My claim is that your statement about evidence proving that Jesus and Moses didn’t exist is false.

    You people claimed that Jesus and Moses didn’t exist because a consensus of archeologists says so.

    Such a claim doesn’t pass the smell test.

    Like

  168. SOM,

    since archeology isn’t conclusive vis a vis the existence of Moses and Jesus, there is no good reason to badger Jews and Christians for believing that they do exist.

    Fine. But in fairness, this means you should have no objection to the Mormon belief that a Jewish tribe settled in America thousands of years ago. Agreed?

    Also, while we’ve all been poking fun at each other a bit, I want to make sure that you don’t view we non-believers as some kind of caricature. Most of us were once very dedicated Christians who began to experience growing doubts about several things. It’s not that we wanted to stop believing — in fact, most of us studied rigorously to validate Christianity, and it was only through those attempts that our faith was jeopardized.

    So don’t think that we’re being flippant about the subject matter. We wouldn’t know so much about these issues if we didn’t care about them.

    I, for one, enjoyed being a Christian, and I centered my entire life around it. But just as a child will eventually reach a point where he no longer can believe in Santa Claus, I eventually learned enough about Christianity that I could no longer believe it. Maybe I’m wrong in my assessment — maybe Christianity is the one true religion. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that any of us came to our unbelief accidentally, maliciously, or irresponsibly. It’s the result of deep study and deep thinking.

    Hopefully, you approach your beliefs with deep study and deep thinking as well. If so, then maybe we can all eventually get past the insult-throwing and get to an actual discussion centered around mutual respect. So far, I don’t really feel like we’ve been able to achieve one.

    Do you have any thoughts about that? Do you see where I’m coming from?

    Like

  169. RE: “Looked at in that light, it would have been absolutely essential for Pharaoh to wipe any mention of Moses from the historical record.”

    But why would your god allow that to happen? Or is he not able to control the actions of a Pharaoh?

    Like

  170. Nate,

    Mormon, like Protestantism, is a break from orthodox Christianity.

    That means it is a break with a religion whose very foundation is tradition.

    By that I mean that the teachings of both Moses and Jesus were scrupulously passed down through the ages from one generation to the next.

    Consequently, you are trying to compare apples and oranges.

    There is no comparison between one man, Joseph Smith, founding a religion out of whole cloth and Judaism which has 1000’s of years of rich tradition.

    Like

  171. RE: “The so-called “old stories” are integral to the Hebrew culture and Jewish faith.” – so you’re asking us to show respect for a culture based on fables and plagiarism? Why?

    Rome was founded by two brothers, Romulus and Remus, who were orphaned at birth and suckled by a she-wolf – do you believe that? You must, it’s an old story, and Rome was a far greater influence on Western culture than Judaism or Christianity ever was – in fact, if it were not for Rome, the Judeo/Christian religion would still be just one of a thousand Middle Eastern cults, squabbling over whose god could piss the furtherest..

    Like

  172. RE: “You people claimed that Jesus and Moses didn’t exist because a consensus of archeologists says so.”

    And you’re saying that the collective words of educated experts carry less weight than a group of bronze-age priests who thought the earth was flat and the sun orbited it. Hmmm.

    Like

  173. Mormonism is directly comparable.

    You’re saying that people are completely reasonable to accept the existence of Moses (let’s not even bother with Jesus right now), even though there’s no historical evidence, because it comes from an old tradition. But the age of the tradition is irrelevant. Gilgamesh is a much older character than Moses, and he was widely believed in. Should we accept him as well? Furthermore, Christianity becomes problematic by your rationale, because it diverges from Judaism, which is a far older tradition.

    The thing is, the complaints you have about Mormonism are the same complaints we have about Moses — there’s no archaeological evidence, and there should be. The desert keeps artifacts very well, and for that many people to wander the desert for as long as they did, there should be evidence of it. Plus, the Egyptian evidence doesn’t match. I know you say it was stricken from their record, but when you combine it with the fact that no evidence of the Exodus exists, it’s pretty damning. And then, when you put all of that with the archaeological evidence that shows the accounts of the conquest in Joshua could not have happened, there’s no reason to continue to believe in a literal Exodus story.

    I know that’s hard to accept, and I wouldn’t expect that one issue to make you question Christianity. But it’s unreasonable for you to keep arguing that treating Moses as historical is completely reasonable when so many lines of evidence are against it. Instead, let’s move on to some other claims of Christianity and see if we can find a pattern. If the rest of the Bible is confirmed, and we’re only left with the Exodus as being questionable, then I can see why that one issue wouldn’t rock someone’s faith. But if we find that many other stories, prophecies, etc, are problematic, then a clear picture starts to emerge.

    So what do you say? Ready to move onto a topic other than Moses? Because archaeology’s verdict is not going to change in the foreseeable future… We might as well move on and test another part of the Bible.

    Like

  174. Nate,

    I’d like to refer again to the first churches reference in the bible to the death of annanias and saphirus, as well as apostle Paul.

    The apostle Paul is more the head of the Christian church than Jesus in a sense that people tend to preach his teachings more than that of Jesus.

    What’s the difference between Joseph smith and apostle Paul?

    Also, can you be a Christian of you don’t follow the order of salvation according to the bible?

    Peter responded to the question of salvation by commanding them to “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sin, and o receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.”

    Also he stated that “the promise is given to all them who are afar off even as many as The Lord god shall call”

    Is it fair to say those who do not follow this, cannot truthfully call themselves Christians?

    Like

  175. Archaeo,

    Tradition is how original meaning, knowledge, wisdom and memory are passed down through the centuries, generation to generation.

    It keeps mankind from having to learn the same lessons over and over again, from having to continually reinvent the wheel.

    Atheism is the supreme doctrine of ingrained ignorance and stupidity precisely because it rejects tradition, thus also rejecting ancient knowledge, wisdom, memory and original meaning.

    Since memory is fundamental to both personal and human identity, atheism means not only the loss of age old wisdom and knowledge but the loss of human identity.

    That is why the greatest mass murders in human history have been committed by atheist regimes.

    Like

  176. Nate,

    I explained why comparing Mormon and orthodox Judeo-Christianity doesn’t work. You’re just going to have to give my explanation sufficient consideration.

    You are committing the gross error of generalizing all religions and attributing to them the same qualities.

    Again, that is very provincial and indicates shallow thinking.

    Like

  177. Archaeo,

    Again you are attributing to me something that is totally untrue.

    It is the nature of Judeo-Christianity, its history, and its tremendous impact on the entire planet that weigh against your claims.

    And supposedly educated people advocate absolutely stupid and untrue notions all the time, everywhere.

    I’m not giving you my personal opinion. My arguments are also from scholars.

    I have examined both sides and your side requires such a narrow, provincial understanding of religion and history that it simply isn’t reasonable.

    What you folks are doing is narrowing your world down into something so tiny that atheism fits within it.

    Like

  178. Nate, RE: “Christianity becomes problematic by your rationale, because it diverges from Judaism, which is a far older tradition.”

    That’s an excellent point!

    RE: “…it’s unreasonable for you to keep arguing that treating Moses as historical is completely reasonable when so many lines of evidence are against it.”

    And when you pull up the Documentary Hypothesis and learn of all of the groups who actually wrote the portions of the Bible attributed to Moses, it really pulls the sheet over him.

    So what do you want to look at next? Abraham riding camels in 2300 BCE that wouldn’t be domesticated for another 1300 years. How about the flood, stolen from Mesopotamia? Or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, sitting on a geological faultline that runs all the way to the Olduvai George in Africa?

    Like

  179. Si, RE: “Atheism is the supreme doctrine of ingrained ignorance and stupidity precisely because it rejects tradition, thus also rejecting ancient knowledge, wisdom, memory and original meaning.”

    Not at all, we sort through traditions, ancient knowledge, wisdom, memory and original memory, and if we see any evidence of value there, we keep that which is of value and throw out the rest. The Chinese had a legend that a pig was trapped in a burning house – once the fire was out, the people discovered that the cooked pig tasted better than raw, so it became tradition to lock a pig in a house and burn it. Later, they sorted through that tradition, through out the BS, and used common sense about the rest.

    RE: “That is why the greatest mass murders in human history have been committed by atheist regimes.”

    Could you find a more prolific mass murderer than Adolf Hitler?

    “Who says I am not under the special protection of God?”
    — Adolph Hitler —

    “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith … We need believing people.”
    — Adolf Hitler —
    April 26, 1933, from a speech made during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of 1933.

    I’m curious, Si – when was the last time you recall ever having been right about anything? Ever?

    Like

  180. Si, I can only assume you’re on one of those learn-a-new-word-a-day programs, I’ve noticed you’ve used “provincial” 7 or 8 times just this afternoon alone. It’s good to keep up with your education, you never know when it will come in handy.

    “I’m not giving you my personal opinion. My arguments are also from scholars.” – which scholars? Name them, I named my sources, you name yours.

    RE: “It is the nature of Judeo-Christianity, its history, and its tremendous impact on the entire planet that weigh against your claims.”

    If by “impact,” you mean that The Church gained the power, by threat of excommunication, to force kings to abide by its decisions, which included death sentences, from 600 to 1600 CE for anyone owning a Bible not written in Latin, and who could forget the ever-popular Inquisition? Yeah, Judeo-Christianity certainly has had a tremendous impact on the entire planet, it blacked out all learning in the Western world for nearly a thousand years – fortunately we are beginning to recover from it. In another 200 years, old Yahweh will join Zeus, Odin, Mithra, Ra, and all of the others.

    “Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds?”
    — H. L. Menken —

    Like

  181. Oh, and Si, RE: Mass murderers – I neglected to mention that roughly 3% of the US prison population are atheists, all the rest believe in god – I guess a man really IS known by the company he keeps.

    Like

  182. Arch. You’re awesome. As in my mouth is almost open in awe.

    I have a mental picture of IgnorantMindset bent over with you behind him spanking him with his bible.

    Like

  183. Archaeo,

    What I’m conveying comes from 3 graduate schools; one Catholic, one Protestant, one secular.

    And just a smidge of basic reasoning that I learned from reading Aristotle and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

    The power to reason is what atheists give up when they become atheists.

    That’s why I suspect that what you think you learned from your “sources” is just your personal opinion.

    You say you have sources just to lend authenticity to what is clearly stupid.

    Like

  184. Archaeo,

    That’s BS. You don’t sort through anything.

    You can’t think. You can’t reason.

    That only leaves you thinking what you’ve been told to think by other stupid people.

    The notion that Moses and Jesus didn’t exist is moronic.

    If you’re a moron you believe Moses and Jesus didn’t exist. It’s as simple as that.

    Like

  185. I asked for the names of your “scholarly” sources, and in return, I get: “What I’m conveying comes from 3 graduate schools; one Catholic, one Protestant, one secular.”

    Yet once again, I have no evidence of your claim.

    Like

  186. Archeao,

    Since all you’ve got left is being gratuitously abusive, it’s clear that I’ve offered sufficient and effective rebuttal to your nonsense.

    The abuse is standard atheist fare after they’ve humiliated themselves in a discussion.

    Like

  187. Rebuttal? Kindergartners know more about debating than you do – you offer only nebulous responses so you can’t be pinned down as professing anything in particular, and thus can never be proven wrong. When asked a question, you obfuscate. And you have the audacity to claim the high ground? Pathetic.

    Like

  188. SOM,
    I’m glad you’ve been commenting — you’ve done wonders for the traffic on my blog.

    In the end though, you haven’t really said anything. You believe Moses was real because the Jewish religion is old. That’s basically your main argument. As we’ve all pointed out numerous times, when it comes to actual evidence, there’s none to support your belief.

    I still sometimes wonder if you’re actually a non-believer posing as a Christian, because some of the statements you make are so ironic that it’s hard to believe you’d make them seriously.

    Like

  189. Mark,
    I know it was several comments back, but I thought your point about Christianity being Paul’s religion was spot on. Also your points about what is required for salvation. The Bible is not cut and dry — it says all kinds of things about all kinds of issues. Trying to fit it all together is really tough; hence, all the myriad denominations one can choose from…

    Like

  190. “I still sometimes wonder if you’re actually a non-believer posing as a Christian, because some of the statements you make are so ironic that it’s hard to believe you’d make them seriously.”

    Nate: Have you ever heard of Poe’s law? There’s a wikipedia page on it.

    Like

  191. I had never heard of it before, but just read the wiki page you referenced. And yeah, that’s a perfect corollary!

    I have a tendency to get really irritated at exchanges like this, because I want everyone to be able to discuss things reasonably. I don’t expect SOM to cave in and agree with us. But if he could just show some occasional thoughtful consideration, I’d be happy.

    Like

  192. Nate,

    Christianity defines itself.

    That means you saying, “Christianity is Paul’s religion,” is just another one of your atheist hallucinations of an alternative universe of nonsense.

    Paul worked to annihilate Christianity before God struck him down and granted him insight into Revelation.

    Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus just as Peter and the other Apostles did.

    Things have their own nature.

    Yet atheists think they can say the magic words and all will be redefined according to their personal specifications just because they say so.

    “Moses and Jesus never existed!” And “Voila La!” Two of mankind’s greatest teachers never were.

    The entire world is swimming under the influence of Moses and Jesus, yet the atheist is totally oblivious.

    Like

  193. Even if Moses did exist, and again, I maintain that there is no evidence that he did, he was certainly not one of “mankind’s greatest teachers,” as there is no indication that he ever taught anyone anything.

    Beginning in the 15th century, with Bishop Tostatus, biblical scholars have increasingly doubted that Moses was the actual author of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Today, even “The New American Bible,” the Catholic version of the King James, accepts Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis.

    According to Wellhausen, and consequently, the Catholic Church, at least four groups were responsible for writing the books attributed to Moses:

    The Yahwist Sopurce, located in Jerusalem, in the Southern Kingdom of Judea, composed it’s version c.950 BCE.

    The Elohist Source, located in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, in Schechem, wrote c.850 BCE. Around 750 BCE, the Northern priests, seeing that Israel was likely to be attacked, took their documents Southward, to the protection of the Southern Kingdom in Judea, where the Yahwist Source and the Eloist Source were then combined.

    The Deuteronomist Source was written sometime during the 7th century (800+) BCE in the kingdom of Josiah – some feel it was written by Josiah himself – and miraculously “found” in an old dusty, unused room of the temple, prior to renovation, and proclaimed to be a lost book of Moses! Hallelujah!

    The Priestly Source wrote in Babylon, after the captivity of 722 BCE. Those priests felt that Israel had caused its own destruction, and wrote in an effort to bring the Jews back to the earlier worship of their god. Gen 1 is a good example of the work of the Priestly Source – they felt that the Yahwist version was too anthropomorphic, what with god popping down to earth for walks, “in the cool of the day,” and acting as a tailor for Adam and Eve, but those who combined the various sources were afraid to toss out what became Gen 2, and so we are left with two creation stories to this day.

    The four sources were eventually redacted – pieced together like a patchwork quilt – in 400 BCE – and the Torah was born.

    So when Silence speaks of Moses as being one of “mankind’s greatest teachers,” he taught nothing. Even the story of his being placed in a basket as a baby, was plagiarized from Akkadian Mesopotamia, regarding the legend of Sargon, the great general who united all Mesopotamia under the Akkadian banner and opened trade routes all the way to the Mediterranean.

    I find his lack of knowledge unbelievable, he must live in a giant bubble.

    “If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood, or persuaded of afterward, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call in question or discuss it…the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”
    — William Kingdon Clifford —

    Like

  194. @Silence ofno mind
    “The notion that Moses and Jesus didn’t exist is moronic.”

    LOl..Should we inform pretty much the entire archaeological community that all their years of work has been refuted on a blog?

    What an absolute dickhead you are SOM.

    Like

  195. Arken,

    Atheists habitually hallucinate alternate realities in order to make their beliefs come out right.

    So what started out in this post as a consensus of the archeological community concerning the dearth of archeological evidence pointing the existence of Moses and Jesus has now genetically mutated into full blown, overwhelming, incontrovertible evidence that supports the archeological communities concrete findings that Jesus and Moses didn’t exist.

    I’ve already blasted those notions to smithereens with reasoning any kindergartner could understand.

    Like

  196. No. This is a blatant lie.
    Nobody , other than you, has disputed the non-existence of Moses.
    You have done nothing of the sort. In fact you have yet to offer a single piece of evidence to refute either claim, merely ranting on about hallucinating atheists.
    You are a childish fool and a very poor apologist.

    Like

  197. Archeao,

    Western Civilization and the Christian dynamo religion that powered its rise to unprecedented greatness is incredibly obvious evidence that Jesus existed.

    The existence of Israel is also incredibly obvious evidence that Moses existed.

    Unfortunately, atheists can’t see the obvious, even when it painstakingly explained to them.

    I’m trying to figure out how to get atheists to hallucinate any sort of alternate reality that can get them past their overwhelming bias into something approaching objective reality.

    Like

  198. ”Western Civilization and the Christian dynamo religion that powered its rise to unprecedented greatness is incredibly obvious evidence that Jesus existed.”

    No. It merely illustrates how clever those who split from mainline Judaism in the wake of the wars were able to adapt. The character of jesus in the bible is a narrative construct.

    ”The existence of Israel is also incredibly obvious evidence that Moses existed.”
    LOl..this merely demonstrates your complete ignorance of the history of the Egyptians and the geography of the area and how much of the area they ruled.

    Like

  199. Arkenaten,

    I think you and your little band of atheists are the only ones who deny the existence of Moses and Jesus.

    Judaism and Christianity are too well defined and perpetual to be the result of mere coinkydink or some nebulous confluence of people and events.

    The Catholic Church is over 2000 years old and traces its history all the way back to Jesus. At one time it was the greatest most powerful institution in Europe, if not the world.

    The Catholic Church like a time capsule full of historical treasure.

    Like

  200. ”I think you and your little band of atheists are the only ones who deny the existence of Moses and Jesus.”
    Actually the first two words of this sentence are an oxymoron. No further explanation required.
    You are a dickhead.

    Like

  201. My claim is that there is not enough archeological evidence to state conclusively that Moses didn’t exist. ~silenceofmind

    Radiocarbon, Vol 37, No 2 (1995). pp. 213-220

    Tell Es-Sultan (Jericho): Radiocarbon Results of Short-Lived Cereal and Multiyear Charcoal Samples From the End of the Middle Bronze Age

    Hendrik J. Bruins, Johannes van der Plicht

    Abstract:

    “The final destruction of MBA Jericho occurred during the late 17th or the 16th century BC.”

    In other words… Jericho already lay in ruins for at least two centuries prior to the alleged time of the exodus (1200–1450 BCE).

    That, coupled with the logistical nightmare imposed in trying to accommodate the physical needs of over two million people plus livestock camped in a dessert for 40 years, and the fact that they left absolutely no trace of their sojourn… makes the story highly improbable.

    Like

  202. SOM, I got tired of wading through the fecal fields, so I admittedly didnt read anything… sorry. A few things, though.

    1. I never said there was no moses or jesus. I dont really care. the bible stories may have been based loosely off of real people or at least real names – I dont care. I was commenting on your position that tradition bears more weight and validity than archaeology and science. If we believe the bible, then not only was there a huge exodus of israelites, led by moses, who wondered the wilderness for over 40 years, they did it with an abundance of egyptian spoils… yet there is nothing in the sand to confirm this. There should be something and there is not. Is this iron clad proof? that could be stretch, but it is more of an indication that the bible was wrong (or over exaggerated the real events) while there is no evidence to support the bible’s claims. Like Homer (and others), I think the bible has some historical parts to it, but I dont buy the miraculous and divine, for many reasons.

    2. I think you’re being unfairly biased toward judeo-christian tradition… or do you feel the same about all ancient traditions? traditions of islam, Zoroaster, Buddhism, etc?

    3. and the original post had nothing to do with moses, but we’re discussing him. Why not another topic and some insight on your theology?

    Like

  203. SOM,
    Like William said, not all of us are claiming definitively that Moses and Jesus didn’t exist. I think we’ve hinted at that before, but you’ve seemed to ignore it.

    Personally, I think Moses is a myth. But it’s possible that there was someone named Moses way back in Israel’s history somewhere, just as it’s possible that there was a tribal leader named Arthur who lived about 1500 years ago. But there’s not enough evidence to really say anything for sure, as we’ve repeatedly shown.

    As to Jesus, it wouldn’t surprise me if he had been a real person, though I think the gospel accounts we have of him are exaggerations based on inflated oral tradition. It’s hard to say how closely he resembled the accounts.

    So I’m not sure where the breakdown is in communication… what are you expecting from us? Are you trying to get us all to say that Moses was a real person who led over a million people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, etc? Considering that you’ve offered no actual evidence, you’re not going to get anything close to that from us.

    Instead, if you were being intellectually honest, I think you’d have to concede that the actual evidence for Moses is scant, to say the least. And that he’s someone you believe in solely on your faith in Christianity. While none of us would agree with you, we’d at least accept that as a reasonable position, considering we haven’t discussed any other lines of evidence yet. It would be inconsistent to expect you to abandon Christianity over one single issue.

    So why don’t you get off of this hill you’ve commandeered for your last stand, and let’s move onto another issue? Or are you afraid of what you’ll discover if we change topics?

    Like

  204. @Si, OBjective reality involves careful consideration and weighing of evidence, of which, you’ve provided none; SUBjective reality involves making it up as you go along, which appears to be your forte. Hard to believe those three universities you mentioned attending, unless you flunked out of all three, which is more likely the case.

    The existence of Israel is “incredibly obvious evidence” that the United Nations established the State of Israel, usurping land claimed by the Palestinians, and Moses, if he ever existed, unless he was heading the UN in 1949, had nothing to do with it.

    Western Civilization rose to unprecedented greatness due to the conquests of the Roman Empire, slipped into the Dark Ages for a thousand years due to the shackles of Christianity, and finally threw off those shackles, beginning the Age of Reason, which continues to leave religion in the dust, where it belongs.

    Like

  205. @Si, “At one time it (the Catholic Church) was the greatest most powerful institution in Europe, if not the world.” – and as the world matured, it began putting aside childish things.

    Bit I have to admit, Catholic Priests make great baby-sitters —

    Like

  206. Good work, Ron – add to that the fact that the oldest evidence that the Hebrews had a written language, dates to 1000 BCE – that’s what happens when you hang out with sheep and goats all day, instead of going to school.

    Like

  207. SOM is doing this blog a great service in that as long as this blog is here, people who are seeking to better define their belief system will continue to read what has been written. This exchange of views blatantly shows even the most ignorant reader (likely me) that there is a vast difference between faith and reason.

    Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.” Som has shown over and over his tree is sprouting huge amounts of enmity, cowardice, and lack of any trace of love. The atheists here are much better “Christians” than he could ever be, in a sense of caring for their fellow human, and that will be obvious to any reader.

    Like

  208. @William, RE: “Is this iron clad proof? that could be stretch” – still, that’s what courts refer to as, “the preponderance of evidence,” meaning, which is more likely, based on the evidence available? Now if we could just get Si to provide some —

    Like

  209. @Nate, RE: “As to Jesus, it wouldn’t surprise me if he had been a real person”

    I used to believe that Yeshua never existed, for the simple reason that the very first accounts of him weren’t written until 42 years after his alleged crucifiction (pun intended), but something an atheist friend said, caused me to reconsider.
    It was prophesied in Isaiah that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and there was a reason for that. Migdal Eder was a tower near Bethlehem.
    To make a short story long, it was used to watch over large flocks of sheep.
    The flocks in Bethlehem were raised for very special purposes. The shepherds that cared for these flocks would have been specially trained for their job, as a special flock of sheep were raised by rabbinical shepherds from Jerusalem. These shepherds were very knowledgeable of the ceremonial laws of cleanliness and took very seriously their job that the sheep were to be protected from harm or injury of any kind.
    Bethlehem was the birthplace of these lambs and since their final destination involved being offered as a religious sacrifice in the temple at Jerusalem, special care had to be taken that they were not blemished. Only a perfect lamb would be acceptable. These people’s god wasn’t satisfied with factory seconds. Regarding his human creations, he admits he made junk, but he expects only perfection in return.
    Migdal Edar was a two-story tower that was covered to protect the watchman who looked over the horizon to be on guard of any impending danger from both human and animal enemies. The lower level of the tower was specifically used as the place where the lambs from the flock were born. It was ceremoniously clean and orderly.
    According to historic writings, underneath the watch tower itself was a cave-like lower portion. This is where the ewes would be taken to be protected and cared for while they delivered their newborn lambs. Temple ritual would have required that the birthing place for these lambs be ceremonially clean, so a lamb used for sacrifice would likely not be born in a dirty environment as we would think of a stable in our Western mindset.
    When a lamb was born, it was immediately wrapped in swaddling clothes (described historically as strips of cloth) to keep it from injuring or otherwise blemishing itself and placed in a small stall or manger, where it could temporarily recuperate until it gained strength. This was done so the lambs would be protected from harming themselves on their unstable legs. Then, at some point, they would be examined by a priest to ensure they were fit for use as a sacrifice. This was the only function of the lower level of the Migdal Eder.
    The flock of sheep was kept outside 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This was a holy place, set apart for the sole purpose of birthing the temple sacrificial lambs.
    It’s easy to see how the legend of the birth of Yeshua (Jesus) would have been crafted to comply with the requirements of these ancient rituals, even to the point of inventing a non-existent Roman census, in order to facilitate his birth in Bethlehem, traditional birthplace of sacrificial lambs.
    While it’s true that there is no record of such a Roman census, and even if there had been, requiring every Jewish male to travel to his birth city would have brought commerce to a standstill, as shops would close so their owners could make the trek, there was no reason for Yeshua to return to Nazareth and be raised there, unless he had actually existed, as being raised in Nazareth did nothing to further the storyline – the birth in Bethlehem was BS, to fulfill the prophecy, but the childhood in Nazareth may have been true. Therefore, there is at least that one thin thread of plausibility.
    But now, however, there is some controversy among biblical archaeologists as to whether or not Nazareth existed at the time Yeshua allegedly did, so in my mind, the jury’s still out.

    Like

  210. That’s a fascinating point, archaeopteryx — I wasn’t aware of that.

    I have thought about the Nazareth problem before, though. You’re right, the gospels act as though his being from Nazareth is problematic. Could be evidence that he really existed, in some fashion. However, there’s also Matthew’s strange “prophecy” in 2:23:

    And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

    Trouble is, there’s no such prophecy in the OT. Some have suggested that Matthew may have misunderstood Isaiah 11:1, which says:

    There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
    And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

    Apparently, the Hebrew word for “branch” is something like netzer, which may be what Matthew focused in on. So, since gMatthew was written decades later, when Nazareth was a village, that may be how it was pulled into the stories of Jesus, even if Jesus hadn’t actually lived.

    Who knows for sure? When I first heard there were questions about Nazareth being in existence when Jesus lived, I was skeptical. Surely the gospel writers, being closer to the events and familiar with the geography, wouldn’t make a mistake like that. But then I realized that I don’t know many of the small towns around the area that I live, much less when they were established. If the writer of gMatthew had heard of Nazareth, then thought of Isaiah 11:1… who knows?

    Like

  211. @Mark, RE: “Som has shown over and over his tree is sprouting huge amounts of enmity, cowardice, and lack of any trace of love.”

    Your description makes him sound a lot like the fig tree Yeshua wilted, doesn’t it? If I were Si, and really believed what he claims to believe, I’d be looking over my shoulder about now —

    I have to say to everyone that I apologize if I appear to be monopolizing the thread, it’s just that it is easy for Si to say, “It’s true, because the Bible says so,” but to really counter such an “argument,” if you can call it that, requires facts, and those can’t always be clearly understood if presented in a nutshell.

    Like

  212. I think what it’s coming down to for me, is that I know if I want to be convinced of either side of the argument, I will be.

    However, I am agreeing with Nate 100% that I can never go back to Christianity.

    Even if I am convinced that Jesus Christ is true, and that the god of the bible is indeed the one true god, to follow Christianity, only leads people to being like our own version of Son of Sam.

    No thanks.

    Like

  213. Arch,
    Please never feel you need to apologize for sharing your thoughts. Anyone who makes people feel like they shouldn’t speak should be thrown in a cage of a million clones of themselves.

    Your words feed my mind and I for one am very grateful for all you’ve invested into these blogs.

    Never stop.

    Like

  214. Nate, if you’ll recall – and I don’t have book, chapter and verse at my fingertips – at one point, Yeshua revisited Nazareth as an adult, to speak at the temple there, and the townspeople became angry and took him to a cliff, to throw him off – Nazareth is located in a valley (I have a picture I wish I could upload), there are no cliffs and there were never any temples in a small town that would likely not have housed more than a couple of hundred people.

    RE: “since Matthew was written decades later, when Nazareth was a village, that may be how it was pulled into the stories of Jesus” – this happened often in the Bible. Abraham was said to have come from “Ur of the Chaldees,” in c2300 BCE, yet the Chaldeans didn’t occupy the area until c700 BCE – the writers, knowing nothing about the history of the land, assumed that since the Chaldeans were there when they wrote, they must have been there earlier. The same is true for domesticated camels (c1000 BCE) and many other anachronisms.

    Like

  215. Couple of points to ponder re: Nazareth. Eusebius lived less than 30 miles from the supposed site and never visited.
    That’s a bit like me living up the road from where Jimi Hendrix was born( Seattle) and never visiting.
    The Nazarenes were apparently an Essene sect and it was the gospel writer that erroneously assumed this meant named after a place. (Such as Bostonian coming from Boston).

    Nazareth is referred to as a CITY three times in the gospels. Archaeology has found no traces of even a single building ( And no, the dwelling Pfann etc found is NOT from this era) that can be clearly attested to being from the period Jesus was said to have existed. A city would have a synagogue at least,yes?
    Apologists have continually scaled Nazareth down until it has become a single family farm.
    Hardly sounds like a place that had a ”multitude” ready to sling out hero off a cliff – and that also highlights the ignorance of the writer of Luke concerning the geography of the area . What cliff?

    The list of anomalies is endless.
    The place is a fiction.

    Like

  216. Did you notice, Ark, that all three of the “Synoptic Gospels,” Mark, Matthew and Luke, tell the “fishers of men” story about Yeshua strolling along the beach near the Sea of Galilee, and spotting Peter and his brother Andrew unloading one fishing boat and James and John, both sons of Zebedee, unloading another, and Yeshua said to follow him and he would make them fishers of men? And they did, leaving poor old Zebedee to try and scrounge up some temps from the Home Depot parking lot?

    Well, Matthew, Mark and Luke weren’t there, but if we can believe the Bible (snicker), John was, but in the Gospel of John, son of Zebedee, and the only one of the three who should really know, it didn’t happen that way at all! John and brother James were followers of John the Baptist, until John spotted Yeshua strolling along the banks of the Jordan River, waded across, chatted a bit, then went off to spend the night with Yeshua (leaving me to wonder what he REALLY meant by “fishers of men”), coming back the next day to pick up brother James. Who to believe, who to believe? Hmmmm —

    Like

  217. If you were to remove every inharmonious line it would be a very thin book indeed.
    They had their chance with Marcion but blew it.
    The bible is just one monumental fail.

    Like

  218. @Rose Maggio
    Sorry I didn’t reply to you sooner, but this comment thread has gone crazy! But I’m glad you’ve run across my blog, and I hope you’ll check it (and comment) as often as you can. Congrats on finding your way out of the “Christian closet”! 🙂

    Like

  219. Marcion, according to Ehrman (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture), was a Docetist, believing Yeshua not to be human, but only to appear human, which I suppose also made him a Patripassianist. In other words, he was actually god, come to earth, allowing himself to be born (but only of a virgin, of course), just so he could find out what all the fuss was about. He ate and drank, but only to give the appearance that he was real, so no one would ask too many questions. He then died (but not really), then ressurrected himself and eventually – same day, or 40 days later, depending on which Gospel you buy into – levitated himself back up to the old homestead.

    But that leaves one wondering to whom Yeshua was praying in the Garden, and whom he was addressing when he asked, “Why have you forsaken me?”

    Not a peep from Si – maybe they haven’t let out yet for recess.

    (Now’s the part where we see just how well the HTML formatting works –)

    Like

  220. @Nate – I tried the HTML I’ve used successfully elsewhere for underlining, but it doesn’t seem to work here, and you didn’t include it in your “How To Format” instructions —

    Like

  221. arch, that’s funny because the first century jews would have understood the HTML formatting perfectly on this site.

    Like

  222. Archaeo,

    Can you prove atheism?

    No, you can’t.

    Then by the definition of the word, “faith,” atheism is a faith-based belief.

    For the Christian, reason is the doorway to the mansion of God’s Revelation, which we understand through faith.

    So, where atheism is a totally faith-based belief (read that, irrational), the foundation of Christianity became reason as the Apostles moved into Greco-Roman culture and started evangelizing.

    Is that my opinion? No. You can read about it in the Bible. Saint Paul says it himself.

    Like

  223. Arken,

    The rise of civilizations does indeed depend upon clever people. But cultural and ethical values form the foundation of any civilization.

    Without cultural and ethical values, cleverness gets lost in the violence and the chaos.

    And the people who split from the Jews were many and varied and lived all over the Empire. In fact, for the first 500 years, European Christians lived under Roman rule.

    And since Western Civilization took 1500 years to come into being, your notion that it was formed by a bunch of wise guys who split from the Jews in the year 0 is just more of your rot gut ignorance and highly refined and distilled single malt stupidity.

    Where do you come up with that crap? Who is disseminating all this intellectual sewage?

    Like

  224. SOM,

    who are you? Your entire statement is difficult to respond to because it’s so far from reality a person is hard pressed to understand where to even begin…

    Are you really suggesting that people who do not believe in god a strong in the faith?

    “Then by the definition of the word, “faith,” atheism is a faith-based belief.” literally, none of that is true.

    Most people dont believe in god due to the lack of evidence – as well as the abundance of evidence that shows the bible is flawed severely. That’s why the bible is so big on faith, because faith exists without evidence.

    “Is that my opinion? No. You can read about it in the Bible.” I know. All this really means is that the bible is your starting point. You dont have the courage or the will power to take one extra step back and ask, “is the bible really from god?”

    Why do you believe the unsupported claims that the human biblical authors have made? If you can manage that, you would discover that your faith has only ever been in man’s claims, as god has told/given you nothing.

    But I doubt you’re a serious christian anyways. You seem more like a recent high school graduate who just wants to hassle people on the net. Dont get me wrong, it’s been entertaining and it’s given me a lot enjoyment and amusement.

    Like

  225. What’s odd, William, is that I’m no stranger to at least some HTML formatting, and I have a friend with another WordPress site (one who turned me onto Finding Truth, as a matter of fact), and my HTML over there prints, so I don’t even try to use it. Is it something the site manager can control? Some button to click that says, “Use HTML”?

    Like

  226. SOM, there is an abundance of evidence for the jews being heavily uinfluenced religiously by the Sumerians, egyptians, canaanites, baylonians, persiand and greeks.

    Those are old valued traditions.

    Like

  227. arch, that’s funny because the first century jews would have understood the HTML formatting perfectly on this site.

    I just fell out of my chair! 😀

    Like

  228. Si, you poor, deluded child – atheism is a faith, like abstinence is a sexual position. Like “Off” is a TV chanel, “a” means “without” theism (a belief).

    “Is that my opinion? No. You can read about it in the Bible. Saint Paul says it himself.”

    And here we go back to your old failsafe: “The Bible is true because the Bible says it is!”

    Like

  229. SOM,
    I’m going out on a limb and assuming that you don’t believe in Santa Claus. How much faith does it take for you to not believe in him?

    Like

  230. Archeao,

    The meaning of reality is not delusion.

    And the reality is that atheism is a faith-based belief.

    You can’t prove it, so by definition you believe it through faith. There is no physical evidence of it so you believe it through faith.

    That means atheists are big hypocrites because they apply the standard of scientific proof to everything but themselves.

    Like

  231. sOM,

    The meaning of reality is not delusion.

    And the reality is that non-belief in santa is a faith-based belief.

    You can’t prove it, so by definition you believe it through faith. There is no physical evidence of it so you believe it through faith.

    That means non-belief in santa persons are big hypocrites because they apply the standard of scientific proof to everything but themselves.

    Like

  232. a·the·ist [ey-thee-ist] Show IPA
    noun
    a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
    Origin:
    1565–75; < Greek áthe ( os ) godless + -ist

    Like

  233. ag·nos·tic [ag-nos-tik] Show IPA
    noun
    1.
    a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. Synonyms: disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever; doubter, skeptic, secularist, empiricist; heathen, heretic, infidel, pagan.
    2.
    a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study.
    3.
    a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic: Socrates was an agnostic on the subject of immortality.
    adjective
    4.
    of or pertaining to agnostics or their doctrines, attitudes, or beliefs.
    5.
    asserting the uncertainty of all claims to knowledge.
    6.
    holding neither of two opposing positions: If you take an agnostic view of technology, then it becomes clear that your decisions to implement one solution or another should be driven by need.

    Like

  234. I wanted to cover the definition of agnostic before SOM started saying that agnosticism was really having definite knowledge.

    Like

  235. “The meaning of reality is not delusion.”

    Which is why you and reality are such strangers.

    “You can’t prove it, so by definition you believe it through faith. There is no physical evidence of it so you believe it through faith.”

    I can’t prove there are no fuzzy pink unicorns, does that, “by definition” (whose?) automatically mean i believe in them?

    Can you prove there’s no Santa Claus? Does that, “by definition” mean you believe in him? How about the Easter bunny? Zeus? Odin? Ra? Mithra? Mothra?

    Like

  236. Archaeo,

    By comparing atheism to the fuzzy ping unicorns you just proved that atheism is complete nonsense.

    And I could make the same utterly moronic reply to your constant sheep bleating demands for proof of Moses and Jesus.

    That you can’t see that you just annihilated your entire argument against the existence of Jesus and Moses is yet another testament from your hallucinated alternative universe of atheism that you are ruled by bias.

    The rules you set apply to everyone but you. That is what defines elitism and hypocrisy.

    Like

  237. SOM, I think arch compared Christianity to fuzzy pink unicorns.

    you’re saying that since an atheist cant prove there is no god, then it requires faith to not believe in god? is that really your position, because it’s just stupid?

    how would you prove no god? how about you prove he’s there. Point to him. maybe he’s sleeping? I know, i read this once somewhere. Build an alter, and dig a trench around it and fill the trench with water. Put a bull on the alter and ask god to burn it all up. he’s done it before, so it cant be too hard for him.

    oh, what’s that? he’s not answering?

    Prove allah isnt real you idiot. prove that Mohammed didnt fly on a winged horse, or do you believe that crap too?

    Your whole argument is so ludicrous, and must mean you’re so stupid, that I’m not surprised you’re having trouble understanding what’s being talked about. How have you survived this long?

    like nate has said, if you disagree, then okay. But why insist on making the most asinine remarks?

    Like

  238. Nate,

    Atheists’ inclination to hallucinate alternate realities along with the characteristic mental retardation that atheism requires of its believers is the only reason you would ask such an absurd question.

    The existence of God is provable through reason and modern cosmology as all but retired atheism to the ash heap of stupidity.

    Atheism is the stupendous delusion that possesses commonality with Santa Clause and the pink fairy unicorns.

    Like

  239. but you cant disprove atheism… and if atheism is a good example of faith, then i guess faith in your bible writers isnt all it’s cracked up to be since you’re putting it on par with atheism.

    Like

  240. I notice, Si, that you didn’t answer any of my questions. Your rhetoric is rapidly degrading into nonsense – don’t you think it’s time for your afternoon nappy-nap?

    Like

  241. SOM, how about this. For argument’s sake, and because I think you’re having difficulty with simple logic, let’s pretend that atheists have faith.

    Okay, now that that is out of the way, where is the evidence in support of your bible? this entire blog is dedicated to the evinces against it. Where’s your evidence and basis for your faith in the bible?

    Like

  242. Okay, now that that is out of the way, where is the evidence in support of your bible? this entire blog is dedicated to the evinces against it. Where’s your evidence and basis for your faith in the bible?

    Like

  243. William,

    Since the existence of God is self-evident (known through reason) and has been known for about 2500 years, atheism is automatically disproven.

    Since God exists and his existence is proven, atheism must therefore be a delusion since adamant belief in what is false is delusional.

    Like

  244. SOM – “I didn’t answer your questions because I don’t do stupid.” dont be modest. You’re doing really well at it.

    Like

  245. “I didn’t answer your questions because I don’t do stupid.”

    I’ve yet to see you do much of anything else, but we digress – do you have any evidence you can provide on any of the topics we’ve discussed? OBJECTIVE, not SUBjective evidence?

    Like

  246. What about all of the evidence I produced, proving that Moses didn’t write the material attributed to him in the first five books of the Bible, in fact, didn’t write anything that his Mama could point to and say, “My little Moses wrote that!”

    And before you say it’s all atheist BS, read the introduction to “The New American Bible,” the Catholic version of the King James, and see for yourself that they say it’s true as well.

    Let’s stop the name-calling and get back on track – Comment on Moses?

    Like

  247. William,

    That you would ask such a silly question means that you are not in any realm reachable by reason.

    You simply have no capacity for deep thinking, inductive thinking or thinking that allows the mind to reason its way from point A to point B.

    You satisfy your doubts with explanations that feed your doubts. That is another indication of your slavery to personal bias.

    Like

  248. Archaeo,

    Why listen to the very sources that turned you into a bleeding idiot?

    Here is some common sense mixed with simple science:

    1. Man-made global warming is caused by atmospheric CO2 according to Al Gore.

    2. Atmospheric CO2 is minuscule, less than .03%

    3. Plants love atmospheric CO2 and the oceans absorb it, turning it into bicarbonates.

    Therefore, only a complete gullible idiot would believe Al Gore.

    And only a complete ignoramus would think that atmospheric CO2 is bad even it existed in substantial quantities.

    Like

  249. So you’re saying you would rather not know any more than you already do – that you know all that you need to know, ever, and for you, the learning process is over – is that what you’re saying? (It’s SO hard to tell –!)

    Like

  250. William,

    The meaning of the Bible is defined by the cultures where it was produced, not by a bunch of barking mad, 20th century atheists or pin headed academics out to make themselves looks smart instead of stupid.

    The exegesis (the derivation of meaning) of both the Old and New Testaments was completed by the Jews and Christians at around the same time, roughly the 4th century AD.

    At the end of the 4th century AD, Pope Damascus I commissioned Saint Jerome to compile and translate the literature that had been picked by the Church, for the Bible into Latin.

    In the following centuries, the meaning of the Bible was officially established and codified, through ecumenical councils (Church authority) although from the very beginning, Jesus’ teachings had been passed down through tradition which was the ancient way.

    It is the Jews and Christians who get to assign meaning to their scriptures, not you or the phony sources you quote from.

    What would people think if you went to JK Rowling and told her that you knew more about her Harry Potter books than she does and that she’s been wrong about Harry Potter all along.

    People would rightly think you were crazy.

    Similarly, atheists’ attempts to redefine the meaning of the Bible is lunacy. The original meaning of the Bible has been kept by the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches.

    If you want to learn the authentic meaning of the Bible you must study from those sources. Saint’s Augustine and Aquinas are required reading in most graduate schools.

    Like

  251. At LEAST you could go over there and tell them what idiots you think they are, and why – give them some of that “Rope-a-dope” like you give us, you know, where you dance around for two or three paragraphs and never really say anything?

    Like

  252. Archaeo,

    You must stop hallucinating fantasy meanings for the things you read.

    My previous comment to you was simple and easily understood: Only an idiot would believe in man-made global warming because common sense and science say that man-made global warming do not exist.

    Like

  253. Let me speak to you in the simple language of a child, Si, which I’m beginning to think you just may be – JK Rowling made up the character, “Harry Potter” in her mind, Si, so of course she knows more about him than anyone else, but if JK Rowling were to write about John Kennedy or Martin King, there are many who would know more than she about either of those, and she would likely be the first to admit it graciously and be happy to learn from their expertise – a humility you would appear to lack.

    Like

  254. “…I just used simple logic to prove that atheism is a faith-based belief….”

    But you didn’t – just saying you did, doesn’t make it true. Atheism is a lack of faith, I thought we had made that clear to all but the most obtuse.

    Like

  255. Archeao,

    Here it is again, in English simple enough for even you to understand.

    Note that my proof is based on:

    1. A simple, obvious fact: Atheism cannot be proven.

    2. The meaning of the word “faith:” the belief in that which cannot be proven.

    3. A simple conclusion based on the one fact and the meaning of the one word, faith:

    Therefore, atheism is a faith-based belief.

    That’s logic. You saying that it isn’t doesn’t make it so. It only gives one more proof that atheism has rendered you stupid.

    Like

  256. Archaeo,

    You completely missed the point, as usual with my comment about JK Rowling.

    The point was that only the author gets to define the meaning of their own material.

    Similarly, the Christians and Jews get to define the meaning of the material they use.

    Whether the material is fiction or fact is totally irrelevant as is the basis for all you pyrotechnically stupid comments.

    Like

  257. But come on, Si, this is name-calling – let’s get back to basics. Tell us why you think the Church, that you personally maintain has kept the Judeo/Christian religion alive from day 1 (according to your calendar) is wrong in maintaining that it was four separate sources, writing at different times, after 1000 BCE, that wrote Genesis, Exodus. Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, instead of Moses —

    Inquiring minds want to know. Oh, and please provide evidence, preferably from one or more of those Universities you say you attended.

    Like

  258. I think I understand the problem now – you don’t understand the meaning of the word, “logic.”

    There’s a long list of things I don’t believe in, elves, unicorns, gods, dragons, etc, but I don’t need to PROVE that I don’t believe in them because I don’t believe they exist.

    Now, if you claim that something DOES exist, you need to prove it. You don’t have to prove that you BELIEVE in it, but if you expect anyone else to accept that it’s real, you have to prove it.

    See how that works?

    Like

  259. “The point was that only the author gets to define the meaning of their own material. Similarly, the Christians and Jews get to define the meaning of the material they use.”

    That is SO not true – going back to the four groups the Church agrees wrote the first five books of the Bible, instead of Moses (a subject you’ve been avoiding like the plague, knowing you haven’t a leg to stand on) – a Jew from the Yahwist Source in Judea doesn’t get to define the meaning of the material the Elohist Source used, or the Priestly Source, or the Deuteronomist Source, they all reserve the right to write differently, which is why we have:

    the two creation stories in Genesis

    two descriptions of the covenant between God and Abraham

    two stories about the naming of Isaac

    two stories about the renaming of Jacob

    two versions of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20 & Deuteronomy 5)

    two accounts of Moses’ striking the rock at Meribah

    And all that aside, when you release a painting or publish a book, you hand it over to the world, to interpret as it sees fit – once released to the world, EVERYone gets to find their own meaning in your work.

    You have been living in a bubble, haven’t you?

    Like

  260. In Isaiah 45:5, YHWH proudly boasts that he’s an atheist:

    “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.”

    Q: What does the Bible say about atheists?

    A: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Psalm 14:1

    Ergo, God is a fool.

    The Bible says it. I believe. That settles it.

    Like

  261. Looks like his Mommy called him home to dinner – I was hoping for an intelligent debate on a slow afternoon, and all I get is PeeWee Herman, saying, “I know you are, but what am I?”

    Like

  262. Archaeo,

    You just agreed with the absurd notion that you, an atheist, gets to redefine the Bible.

    Well, I guess if Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin could do it, you too, can join the Protestant Change the Bible to Suit Yourself party and have at it.

    But those of us who value reason and wisdom understand that the Bible was compiled by the Catholics, for the purposes of the Catholics.

    So to understand what the Bible actually means you have to go study with the Catholics.

    The same would be true for the Koran. In order to understand the Koran properly and fully you’d have to go study with that branch of Islam that traces itself back to the Prophet Mohammed.

    Otherwise, all you’d be getting was someone’s spin.

    If you feel free to redefine anything and everything to suit your fancy, how on earth are you ever going to learn what anything actually means?

    Like

  263. Ah, more cryptic comments, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    “But those of us who value reason and wisdom understand that the Bible was compiled by the Catholics, for the purposes of the Catholics. So to understand what the Bible actually means you have to go study with the Catholics.”

    So are you saying that the Catholic viewpoint is the one to accept? If so, that means that you accept the Catholic viewpoint that four separate groups, writing long after Moses bones lay a ‘moldering in the grave, wrote everything attributed to Moses, and in fact, Moses contributed nothing, either to the Judeo/Christian religion, or to the western world?

    “Otherwise, all you’d be getting was someone’s spin.

    On the other hand, if you accept the Gospels, written 42-100 years after Yeshua allegedly lived, by those who never met him, aren’t you accepting someone else’s spin?

    Like

  264. Archaeo,

    Being an atheist means that you have faith in the idea that there is no God.

    That is the same as saying atheists have no faith in the existence of God.

    Since both statements are true and since the existence of God can be proven through reason, the conclusion is that atheists are driven by faith not reason.

    Switching the words around doesn’t get you out of the faith hole that atheism digs for its believers.

    Like

  265. Archaeo,

    In order to understand the authentic meaning of written material you have to go to the original sources. You are citing all kinds of sources, but they have absolutely nothing to do with the original Christian faith.

    Therefore they are meaningless in their truth value. They are just spin from people with an agenda or an opinion.

    Back in the day (the 4th century AD) there was all kinds of written material from authors claiming to be authoritatively Christian. And there were all kinds of so-called reformers preaching their own brand of heresy.

    The Catholic Church picked the Bible canon from all that material and published it as THE official Bible. It was hoped that having an official, Church approved Bible would help strengthen the faith as it began to spread like wild fire all over the dying Roman Empire.

    The first Bible was called the Vulgate Bible. You can get it free as an iBook from the Gutenberg Project.

    Like

  266. First of all, I asked you only two questions, simple enough I thought, even for you – you’ve answered neither. Your single debating technique appears to be obfuscation.

    “Being an atheist means that you have faith in the idea that there is no God.”

    No, for the umpteenth time, it means I have no belief in a god – different thing entirely – what is there about that simple concept that is so difficult for you to understand? If you do not believe in Zeus, or Odin, or Ra, or Mithra, then you are an atheist too, I simply believe in one fewer gods than you do.

    “since the existence of God can be proven through reason”

    Then use your reason to prove the existence of your god – that shouldn’t be difficult for you, should it?

    Like

  267. SOM,

    I can’t say I’m an atheist…yet…but to say you believe that there is no god, because a god has not shown itself to you, is not faith, it’s reason.

    To say you believe in a god that has not shown itself to you is faith.

    Did you get frustrated when learning numbers too?

    Like

  268. The Catholic Church picked the Bible canon from all that material and published it as THE official Bible.

    So the Catholic Church gets to decide what they use as inspired word of god, but everyone else who decides what they use is an agenda fiend?

    You are so inconsistent you must punch yourself in the face often.

    Catholics have added more bullshit to the ideology of Jesus than anyone else. Countless shrines of bleeding bullcrap, maybe you should read the bible for yourself sometime, oh wait, the only bible Catholics read is from the fluids of their priests.

    Like

  269. So to understand what the Bible actually means you have to go study with the Catholics.~silenceofmind

    The Old Testament portion was written by Jews, for Jews. So to really understand the Torah, you would need to study it in Hebrew and learn the oral tradition that goes along with it from a Jewish rabbi.

    Like

  270. “The first Bible was called the Vulgate Bible.”

    As you’ve learned by now, whether you choose to admit it or not, I know far more about the Bible than you do. I am quite familiar with the Latin Vulgate, and already have a copy, but thanks for the link.

    The Vulgate was composed, using both the Hebrew Tanakh and the Greek Septuagint, translated from the Tanakh in Alexandria by 72 Hebrew priests, interviewed and selected to have been the best of the best – it was reputedly finished in – wait for it – 72 days.

    Any book with a flaw, cannot be completely believed to be inerrant. I have personally found an error in the very first chapter of the Vulgate. Yes, I do have a background in Latin.

    Genesis 1:20, “And god said, let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”

    The Latin Vulgate, the original source for the King James version, says: “dixit etiam Deus producant aquae reptile animae viventis et volatile super terram sub firmamento caeli.” Translated, it says: “over the earth under (not “in”) the firmament of heaven” – “super,” meaning “above,” “sub,” meaning, “below.” Where there’s one error, no book can be called inerrant.

    In 325 CE, Emperor Constantine, fearing a civil war between Roman Christians and Roman citizens of other belief systems, ordered a conclave of Bishops to meet at what has become known as the Council of Nicea, and to come up with a definitive version of Christianity. After much debate, the Bishops culled through all of the various versions of Christianity that had arisen in a mere 300 years, discarded the Docetists, the Patripassianists, the Gnostics and many others, and defined exactly what THEY BELIEVED Christianity should be. They then set about deciding which books would be included in the New Testament, and some of those were forgeries, but they hadn’t the means at the time, to distinguish the difference. The main concept they devised was that of the Trinity, the idea that Yahweh, Yeshua and the Holy Spook were one single entity. This, of course leaves one wondering what Yeshua meant when he said that he had no power except that which was given to him by his father. To whom was he praying in the Garden of Gesthemene, who was he calling to when he said, on the cross, “My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?” Those questions were never answered

    Further, his purpose on earth was reputedly as a sacrifice, but to whom? To god! To himself! How much sense does that make?

    None of this is opinion, it is history.

    Interesting side-note about Constantine, he knew he had a lot of murdering to do in order to maintain his position as Emperor, so he waited until the end of his life to be baptized, believing that baptism washed away all of his sins – had he become baptized earlier, he felt he would still be held accountable if he had occasion to murder again. Talk about covering his…bases!

    Like

  271. With all due respect, Ron, I hope I can make a slight correction without offending – the Torah consists of the first five books of the Bible, falsely attributed to Moses, the Tanakh is the full, Old Testament Bible.

    Like

  272. Ron,

    The Bible, Old and New Testament was written for all mankind.

    It is the Revelation of God about Himself that he has given to mankind.

    Jesus was a Jew without whom the Old Testament would have no meaning to anyone outside the tribes of Israel.

    The utter gibberish vomited out on this blog about the Bible is proof of that.

    Like

  273. Earth to Mark! Earth to Mark!

    Since the Catholic Church produced the Bible for itself and the spread of Christianity, YES! they get to decide what goes into their own scripture.

    Maybe the atheist pink pie monster should get to tell the Catholics what their scripture should be and the meaning it should have.

    The fits well with Archaeo telling JK Rolling what her Harry Potter books really mean. I mean, JK is such a screw up she needs an atheist to set her straight on her own work.

    Like

  274. Mark,

    No, it isn’t reason. It’s you creating God in your own image and setting arbitrary standards for him that make sure he fails.

    That way you can tell yourself there is no God.

    That is delusion, not reason. And that is the precise problem with atheism.

    Like

  275. Archaeo,

    Saying you have no belief in God, is the same as saying you have to faith in God.

    Faith and belief are the exact same thing and you are playing the usual knit witted word games that characterize atheist bilge.

    Like

  276. Archaeo, You know a bunch of factoid gibberish.”

    Translation: “Despite attending three universities, “I don’t know any facts, so I will accuse someone who does of ‘factoid gibberish’!”

    Like

  277. “Faith and belief are the exact same thing”

    So according to you, if I don’t have one, I don’t have the other, and since “a-theist” means “no belief” in a theology, you agree that I don’t have either – it really took you all afternoon and evening to finally agree with me? Whew —

    Like

  278. archaeopteryx1,

    Understood. I merely focused in on the first five books because the bulk of the comments seem to be centered around Moses and the Exodus.

    Like

  279. I know Ron, and I understand completely, I just didn’t want Si to jump on it, and he’s just the type – what I neglected to realize was that he wouldn’t even know the difference. Sorry.

    Like

  280. silenceofmind,

    There originally was no “Bible” per se — just an assortment of scrolls which were later combined into one book. And the Jews certainly don’t agree with Christianity’s appropriation and interpretation of their sacred texts.

    Like

  281. Ron,

    That’s exactly right.

    And it was the Church who examined all those scrolls and letters that had accumulated throughout the ages and chose from among them those that were divinely inspired.

    The Jewish disagreement with Christianity is seen in the way they had Jesus murdered.

    Like

  282. Archeao,

    If you didn’t have a belief about God not existing and Moses and Jesus not existing, you wouldn’t be such a windbag.

    Your fervor is proof positive that you do have a belief, and a very strong one at that.

    Like

  283. SOM,
    What right did the Catholic Church have to pick and choose which writings were the “right” ones? Why should we recognize their authority?

    Like

  284. Has anyone but me noticed this “debate” with SOM is going nowhere? It’s so plainly obvious that he is not going to give factual evidence of his beliefs, nor is he going to change his thinking, so why continue? I love Nate’s blog and look forward to reading his posts and the comments that follow, but this discussion is getting rather boring and is certainly not going anywhere.

    I do appreciate one thing, however. Ron and Arch have contributed some great information (FACTS!) that I probably would not have found on my own. Thanks guys.

    Like

  285. In my vain attempts to hold an intelligent conversation with What’s his name, I may have inadvertently left the impression that atheists have no beliefs – that couldn’t be further from the truth. These, I BELIEVE are some of those:

    AN ATHEIST BELIEVES:

    We should love our fellow man, instead of an invisible god.
    A hospital should be built instead of a church; a deed should be done instead of a prayer said.
    Heaven is something we should create here on earth; we should strive for an involvement in life, and not an escape into death.
    We can get no help through prayer, but we must find within ourselves inner strength and conviction
    Disease should be cured, poverty vanquished, and war eliminated.
    We should be good to each other because it’s the right thing to do, not because we fear being punished.
    We are keepers of our own lives, we are responsible for ourselves.
    Superstition should be rejected; facts should be chosen over faith.
    Time spent in church should instead be spent pursuing worthwhile endeavors.
    Instead of praying, we should stand up and do something. We have only one life, and it should not be wasted on our knees.

    Like

  286. And if anyone wants to start their day with a pledge, let it be something like this:

    I pledge allegiance to the Earth,
    and all the life that it supports.
    One planet, in our care, irreplaceable,
    with sustenance and respect for all.

    Like

  287. I’ve been gone 3 days and am really bummed I missed out on all of the fireworks. 😦
    There have been 231 comments in 3 days ~! (give or take) It looks like the apologists have retained the crown for substituting mudslinging for facts while the atheists retained the crown for reasoning skills. The tie breaker goes to the atheists however since they kept their cool and let Ark “The Hammer” do their pounding (when needed) for them. This blog needs its own reality tv show.
    You can’t just make this stuff up. 🙂 Nate, I think you out did yourself choosing this topic. Well done !

    Like

  288. silenceofmind,

    Two questions:

    1) How would you go about deciding which manuscripts were divinely inspired? For instance, The Shepherd of Hermas was once considered divinely inspired by the early church fathers, but now it’s not. The decision-making process seems kind of subjective and arbitrary to me.

    2) Why do you claim the Jews had Jesus murdered? Wasn’t it the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate who had Jesus crucified?

    Like

  289. Ron,

    What literature comprised holy scripture was decided by Church councils which were composed of the Church bishops who as part of their position as bishop had ecclesiastical authority to make such decisions.

    Consequently, I as an individual, wouldn’t dream of making a determination as to what literature is divinely inspired or not.

    I don’t make the claim that the Jews had Jesus murdered. It’s in the Bible for all to see. The Gospels are very clear that the Jewish establishment wanted Jesus dead.

    And clearly Pilot knew he was being used by the Jews to do their dirty work. He everything he could to wash his hands of the entire affair.

    To get himself off the hook, he gave the Jews a choice between a criminal Barabbas and Jesus.

    The Jews chose to free Barabbas and have Jesus crucified.

    Like

  290. Interestingly, Yeshua was also Bar Abbbas first name – Bar Abbas, meaning, “son of Abbas” – the other Yeshua was Yeshua Bar Yusef (son of Joseph). What, you were expecting Yeshua Bar Yahweh?

    Like

  291. I thought I’d made a graceful exit, but if IT’s back, I may have to reconsider. Nan, I left a message on your website and on your Twitter account – just sayin’ —

    Like

  292. Nate,

    It’s all there in the Bible. Jesus picked the Apostles. He gave them his divine authority and established the Church.

    With Jesus’ authority the Apostles hand picked helpers and successors and transferred their authority to them.

    That is part of tradition, the handing down, that made the Catholic Church so powerful, united and always one Church, like Jesus commanded in the Gospel of John.

    Christian tradition remained unbroken until the Reformation. After that Christianity was split into a billion pieces and essentially destroyed.

    For as Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

    Like

  293. But that authority is recorded in the Bible… which was put together by the bishops.

    So the bishops had the authority to put the Bible together, and they got that authority from the Bible. Do you not see that as circular? What other, external evidence to you have to support that notion?

    Thanks

    Like

  294. By the way, SOM, I appreciate that your recent comments have dealt strictly with information and have been couched in a patient tone. I’ll endeavor to show the same toward you. Thanks 🙂

    Like

  295. Nate, you seem to be looking for answers from Si outside of his Bible – it’s a bit odd for an atheist, or even an agnostic, to expect a miracle, which is what it would take for Si to come up with some actual evidence.

    Like

  296. Well, just trying to understand his thought process. I was a biblical-literalist when I was a Christian. Didn’t worry about external sources, because I had the infallible and inerrant word of God! So when I finally realized that I had no such thing, my faith ebbed away fairly quickly.

    But I know that many other Christians have their faith based on different things than mine had been on. That’s what I’m hoping to get from SOM. If the Catholic Church is his authority, I would like to know why they are his authority. Has God spoken to him directly? Etc…

    Like

  297. Nate,

    The Bible was compiled by the bishops, not written by them.

    Huge difference. And huge differences are completely opaque to atheists if they don’t support the atheist worldview.

    Again, an example of the unattenuated bias that rules the atheist mind.

    Like

  298. SOM, don’t forget in addition to Bishops compiling the books which is very important though you don’t seem to think so, they also used “Redactors” to stitch it all together. That meant leaving out some scripture and adding in some of their own in order to make it flow.

    Nate was trying to be complimentary of you a few comments ago but you decided to start hurling hand granades again. “unattenuated bias”

    When you get challanged with a serious question you don’t have a good answer for , you start attacking people personally . You even attacked Josh , a fellow christian.

    This really reduces the validity and sincerity of your arguements. Just my opinion .

    Like

  299. kcchief1,

    So what?

    All written material is subject to interpretation.

    And the people who possess knowledge of the original meaning of Jesus teachings are the only ones who can most accurately interpret the true meaning of scripture.

    Jesus took great pains to teach the Gospel through word and action. He wrote nothing. And Christianity was going gangbusters for decades before any scripture was ever written.

    That means the essential meaning of Jesus’ Gospel is not in scripture, it is in Tradition. In fact, scripture is a written form of tradition.

    And that makes it vulnerable to misinterpretation and redefinition by people who come along later having no idea whatsoever of Scripture’s original meaning.

    But it is Tradition that imparts the original meaning to scripture. Consequently, without Tradition, there is no way to know the true meaning of scripture.

    Like

  300. kcchief1,

    Atheists’ unattenuated bias is obvious to everyone but atheists.

    Stating an obvious fact is only a grenade to people like atheists for whom facts are only important if they support atheist dogma.

    When the facts don’t work, atheists issue speech and behavioral standards that everyone but themselves must follow.

    I have been harping on the phenomenon of how atheists suffer from the same intellectual maladies that the they see in postmodern Christians.

    Because of atheist bias you people have been self-righteously snickering at the irony of my comments.

    It’s ironic because you don’t see the blank in your own eye.

    You aren’t blinded by science. You are blinded by bias.

    Like

  301. SOM,
    I’m going to leave all the polemic aside and just focus on the core of what you’re saying.

    First of all, I know the bishops assembled the Bible — that’s precisely what I’m talking about. Why should we trust the decisions they made?

    And the people who possess knowledge of the original meaning of Jesus teachings are the only ones who can most accurately interpret the true meaning of scripture.

    But this does not describe the bishops. They lived centuries after Christ died…

    Jesus took great pains to teach the Gospel through word and action. He wrote nothing. And Christianity was going gangbusters for decades before any scripture was ever written.

    And I’m sure you’re aware that the traditions concerning him were all over the place. In a relatively brief period of time, there were countless views of who Jesus was, what he did, how he died, what happened after his death, whether or not he was a physical being, etc. It’s true that Constantine and the bishops worked to compile the Bible, but they did it to support their own agenda. How do we know their agenda was the right one?

    Ultimately, I’d like to know why you think anything in Christianity is true. Surely it’s not just because it’s survived so long. If that’s your only criteria, then in Christ’s time, you would have held onto Judaism, or Greek mythology. I’m sure you can see that that would have been a mistake… so why do you believe?

    Like

  302. Since this is Sunday morning, and no one but Si is in church, I thought you might all enjoy a short video – wish I could simply upload it, but sadly, WordPress doesn’t allow for this – don’t worry about popcorn, it’s too short for that.

    If god created the universe, as Si would likely attest, who or what created god? Darkmatter 2525, who produces some really good work, has an answer to that burning question:

    Enjoy —

    Like

  303. Archaeo,

    If you have to ask who created God, than you don’t have the mental capacity to hang out with the big boys.

    To be an atheist means that you don’t have the capacity to follow cause and effect backwards into the past until you arrive at the First Cause.

    But I’ve seen atheists pretend that they could just so they wouldn’t look stupid in front of a bunch of Christians who had earned engineering degrees.

    The Christians could always flush the fakers out because not a one of them could ever figure out the definition of the world “first,” and how that made not being created a fundamental attribute of God.

    Like

  304. Brilliant video! I’ve thought the same thing for a while about the claim of omniscience — “you don’t know what you don’t know…”

    SOM,
    I’d still love it if you could answer my earlier questions…
    Thanks

    Like

  305. I had such surprising success at uploading that video, that I thought I might try it again.

    I wear a very attractive gold ring on my right hand, my mother gave it to me, many years ago, for Christmas, but I value it for more reasons than merely sentimental – I value it because it’s a constant reminder that it takes three – count ’em – three Supernovae to create the heavy element we know as gold – one giant star exploded, throwing out dust and gas, which over millions of years coalesced into another giant star, which in turn exploded, casting off still more dust and gas, which again coalesced into yet a third giant star, which exploded, the remnants of which coalesced to form our own sun and planets, and ultimately, us. The atoms that make up ME (you too, even Si), have been through three Supernovae, and that’s what’s extra special about my gold ring.

    This brief video, if in fact I’m able to upload it, may give all but Si a greater insight into the Bible”

    Like

  306. Ironically, if the prophecy to Abram had been kept, there wouldn’t even be standing room on the Earth, much less food to feed his descendants.

    Equally ironically, for millennia, humans believed that the Earth and our solar system was all there was. With the galaxies moving apart at nearly the speed of light, the time will come, though quite likely there will be no Humans around to see it, when everything will have moved so far away from our galaxy, that it will truly appear, to any beings that may be here then, as though this is all there is, and all that there has ever been.

    Like

  307. Something worthy of consideration (for everyone but Si):

    GENESIS . . . last chapter

    In the end,
    There was Earth, and it was with form and beauty.
    And Man dwelt upon the lands of the Earth, among the meadows and the trees, and he said,
    “Let us build our dwellings in this place of beauty.”
    And he built cities and covered the Earth with concrete and steel.
    And the meadows were gone.
    And Man said, “It is good.”

    On the second day, Man looked upon the waters of the Earth.
    And Man said, “Let us put our wastes into the waters,
    That the dirt will be washed away.”
    And Man did.
    And the waters became polluted and foul in their smell.
    And Man said, “It is good.”

    On the third day, Man looked upon the forests of the Earth
    And saw that they were beautiful.
    And Man said, “Let us cut the timber for our homes and grind the wood for our use.”
    And Man did.
    And the lands became barren and the trees were gone.
    And Man said, “It is good.”

    On the fourth day, Man saw that animals were in abundance
    And ran in the fields and played in the sun.
    And Man said, “Let us cage these animals for our amusement and kill them for our sport.”
    And Man did.
    And there were no more animals on the face of the Earth.
    And Man said, “It is good.”

    On the fifth day, Man breathed the sweet air of the Earth.
    And Man said, “Let us dispose of our wastes into the air
    So the winds might blow them away.”
    And Man did.
    And the air became filled with the smoke and the fumes could not be blown away.
    And the air became heavy with dust, and choked and burned.
    And Man said, “It is good.”

    On the sixth day, Man saw himself, in skins of many colors;
    And speaking many tongues and languages, and Man feared.
    And that which he feared, he hated.
    And Man said, “Let us build great machines of war and destroy these, lest they destroy us.”
    And Man built great machines, and the Earth was fired with the rage of great wars.
    And Man said, “It is good.”

    On the seventh day, Man rested from his labors
    And the Earth was still,
    For Man no longer dwelt upon the Earth.
    And it was good.

    Kenneth Ross
    Reprinted from The Idaho Wildlife Review
    May/June 1967

    Like

  308. Awesome video — thanks for posting it. And yeah, it’s very sobering to think about a time when everything has moved so far apart we wouldn’t be able to see it.

    Like

  309. silenceofmind,

    On the first question…

    I grant that you accept the succession of authority from Jesus onward, but the question remains:

    If you yourself wouldn’t dream of making a determination as to what literature was divinely inspired or not, then what makes you think that you can establish the legitimacy of the apostolic succession? In other words, how can you be certain that this succession wasn’t usurped by dishonorable men somewhere along the way prior to your birth?

    On the second question…

    I agree that the Gospels make it very clear that the Jewish establishment wanted Jesus dead, and that the Jews asked Pilot to do their dirty work for them. However, the fact remains that Pilate had full legal authority to refuse such a request, just as a modern-day judge has full legal authority to refuse such a request now. Ultimately, the denarius stopped with Pilate, who had final say in the matter — not those who brought Jesus up on false charges. And according to the ancient historians, Pilate wasn’t exactly known for his acquiescence; they report that he was a ruthless dictator who routinely killed anyone with whom he disagreed with.

    Like

  310. Further, Ron, Paul, who never met Yeshua (if he ever existed) hijacked the Christian religion from those who (if he ever existed) might have actually known Yeshua, and it is these, the offspring of Paul’s converts, who made the decisions at Nicea.

    Like

  311. It is also the offspring of Paul’s converts that are the Christians of today.

    Arch, I copied the very moving excerpt that you shared above (genesis ending) to my blog.

    Like

  312. Nan – i’ve held onto that (obviously) for quite some time, wanting to use it, but feeling I should get Mr. Ross’ permission first. Finally, a couple of years ago, I broke down, and using Skype, called every Kenneth Ross in the state of Idaho. Having been unable to locate him, and realizing that after 25 years, it is well into Public Domain, I have since reprinted it, even to the point of having created a poster of it, overprinted on a seascape, but I always make it a point to credit Mr. Ross, wherever he may be – all that I ask, is that you continue to give him the respect, and the credit, that he so richly deserves. And I have no doubt that you will.

    Like

  313. My favorite line from the Krauss presentation:

    “So forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.” (15:34)

    Like

  314. Someone once said, you can tell a lot about a man, if you know who his heroes are, after Albert Einstein and Walt Disney, I would have to name the late physicist, Richard Feynman.

    Like

  315. I don’t mean to hijack your thread, Nate, I just have some things to say, and I’m saying them – if that’s a problem, just kick me off, it’s OK. I was going to go steal some hubcaps anyway —

    (Oh, yeah, they don’t have hubcaps anymore, do they? Never mind –)

    Like

  316. To the one who maintains there’s no global problem:

    It is 2013 – in 1950, there would be two-thirds fewer humans on the planet than there are now. Over a million different species of plants and animals would exist that have since gone extinct. There would be 90 percent more fish, a billion fewer tons of plastic, and 40 percent more phytoplankton (producers of half the planet’s oxygen) in the oceans. There would be twice as many trees covering the land and about three times more drinking water available from ancient aquifers. There would be about 80 percent more ice covering the northern pole during the summer season and 30 percent less carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. The list goes on…

    Like

  317. @som, “That means the essential meaning of Jesus’ Gospel is not in scripture, it is in Tradition. In fact, scripture is a written form of tradition.”

    There are 2 traditions that tell the location of Christ’s Tomb. Which one is right if Tradition is so accurate ?

    When going to the Holy Land, guides will use the term ,”Tradition tells us” not because it is more accurate than the bible, it’s because they don’t have archaeological evidence for the stories they are telling you.

    By the way, I am a Deist not an Atheist so don’t spew your vitriol at me !

    Like

  318. I’ve explained how the first five books of the Bible (the Torah/Pentateuch) came to be, and you, Ron, have aptly illustrated the role of the Redactor (editor), let me present an example of how that worked out in Genesis 25:

    25:1 “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
    25:2 “And she bare him Zimran and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian (is this where ‘Midianites’ came from?), and Ishbak, and Shuah.
    25:3 “And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.
    25:4 “And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and El-daah. All these were the children of Keturah.” (Eloist Source)

    “25:5 “And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.
    25:6 “But unto the sons of the concubines (he had concubines too?!), which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, into the east country.” (Redactor)

    “25:7 “And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.
    25:8 “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
    25:9 “And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;
    25:10 “The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.”( Elohist Source)

    “25:11 “And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well, Lahai-roi.” (Priestly Source)

    “25:12 “Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham:” (Redactor)

    25:13 “And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbe-el, and Mibsam,
    25:14 “And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,
    25:15 “Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:
    25:16 “These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.
    25:17 “And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.
    25:18 “And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethern.
    25:19 “And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac:
    25:20 “And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Beth-u-el the Syrian of Pandan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.”(Elohist Source)

    25:21 “And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
    25:22 “And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord.
    25:23 “And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels (he still hasn’t figured out how that works, has he?); and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
    25:24 “And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
    25:25 “And the first came out all red, all over like a hairy garment (A hairy baby? Really?!); and they called his name Essau.
    25:26 “And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years (60) when she bare them.
    25:27 “And the boys grew: and Essau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
    25:28 “And Issac loved Esau, because he (Ike) did eat of his (Esau’s) venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
    25:29 “And Jacob sod pottage (a thick soup or stew of boiled vegetables and grains): and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
    25:30 “And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage, for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.”(Yahwist Source)

    Just an example, albeit a bit lengthy, of how it worked, and an explanation as to why Moses did not write Genesis.

    Like

  319. kcchief1,

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with your question about Christ’s tomb.

    Tradition, capital “T” is the mind of God. The mind of God in Tradition is His Revelation about Himself to mankind.

    It isn’t archeology.

    Atheists, by nature of not believing in God, cannot possibly detect the mind of God in anything.

    So the attempt you folks are making to discredit Jesus and Moses is pure silliness.

    The Western Civilization rose up around the teachings of Jesus and Moses which are the teachings of God, Himself.

    So to say that Jesus and Moses didn’t exist means that Western Civilization never existed either.

    And of course, that claim is false.

    Like

  320. Nate,

    I’ve answered enough of your questions. It’s useless because you aren’t really after answers.

    You just move the goal post and blithely go on as if the answer to your previous question didn’t even happen.

    Like

  321. Ron,

    I don’t establish the legitimacy of Apostolic succession. The institutional Church does that.

    Only the institutional Church does that because as I stated earlier, Christianity defines itself.

    You atheists are attempting to redefine what already exists, in order to fit it inside the minuscule, hallucinated alternate reality of atheism.

    Like

  322. Nan,

    Christians today are not the spiritual descendants of Paul in the manner in which you describe.

    It says in the Bible that Peter was the leader of the Church. He was the first pope. Not because I say so or you say, but because Jesus said so.

    The Church traces itself through the popes all the way back to Peter.

    Paul was one of the Apostles and Jesus said that the Apostles were the foundation of His Church.

    And Paul was very clear that he preached Jesus’ Gospel, not his own.

    The New Testament is composed of literature written by various authors of which Paul is only one.

    So to say that Paul hijacked Christianity is pure nonsense since he was teaching the same thing as all the other Apostles.

    Like

  323. Archaeo,

    BS. All the people in the world could fit in the state of Texas. Do the math.

    All the over population crap is just that: crap.

    Each human being is a precious resource.

    The systematic mass murder of the unborn through abortion has probably wiped out more genius and intellectual talent than any holocaust in human history.

    When I was a kid we were landing on the moon.

    Now half a century later, because atheism has caught hold, all we are doing is driving toys round on Mars and sending civilization back to pre-modern times.

    Like

  324. SOM,

    The “pope” is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. There was no Roman Catholic Church when Peter was alive. Jesus did not say Peter was a “pope.”

    Jesus came with a message for the Jews — since he himself was a Jew. He was not a “Christian” because there was no such animal when he was alive.

    Paul was not an apostle (one of the original 12 disciples chosen by Christ to preach his gospel). In fact, he was an enemy of those who followed “The Way.” It was not until he had a “vision” that he changed his ways.

    Paul did NOT preach the message that Jesus brought to the Jews. He preached a message that would appeal to the Gentiles, which he believed he had been called to do. He was the one who developed the belief that Jesus (who Paul renamed Christ to appeal to his Gentile audience) had died to bring salvation.

    Paul also did not preach the same message as the original followers of Jesus. These people saw Jesus as the Messiah that God had promised them. They did not see him as a “savior.”

    There is a tremendous amount of information available in books and on the web about how Christianity was actually developed. I suggest you look beyond your Catholic catechism and read some of it. You might be surprised at what you will learn.

    I do not claim to be an atheist so do not attack me with the same rhetoric that you have done to others on this blog.

    Like

  325. silenceofmind,

    I understand that the institutional Church establishes the legitimacy of succession, but that is not what I asked. My question was: How can you be certain that this succession wasn’t usurped by dishonorable men somewhere along the way prior to your birth?

    And your opinion of non-believers seems rather harsh in light of recent statements made by Pope Francis. To wit:

    The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.

    Like

  326. Nan,

    Sorry, but you don’t get to define the Catholic Church.

    The Catholic Church defines itself and traces itself back to Peter, the other 11 Apostles and Saint Peter.

    And that it did so is a matter of continuous 2000 year old record.

    Like

  327. I don’t know why any of you continues to bother with him. He’s never going to give anyone a straight answer to anything. Most of you have approached him as politely and respectfully as he could ever have hoped for, but he’s never going to listen to, or consider anything anyone says. He’s going to continue to spout nonsense. He’s really not worth anyone’s time.

    Like

  328. Ron,

    The idea that dishonorable men usurped the Church is not only irrational on its face but was proven irrational by Church history.

    First, the basic doctrines of Jesus have never changed with the Church, not for over 2000 years.

    Since Jesus taught what was good, and since the Church has always taught what Jesus taught, the idea that evil men usurped the Church is irrational. Because evil transmit evil, not good.

    If evil men usurped the Church then the Church would have changed its teachings from good to evil. That is not the case since the Church teaches what is good, namely the Gospel of Jesus.

    Second, during the Church’s history and especially the Renaissance, evil men did take over the Church. That is one of the factors that led to the Reformation.

    But even though evil men had taken over the Church and committed evil, the Church’s religious doctrines remained the same as always.

    The Council of Trent 1545-1563, which was the Church’s rather anemic response to the Reformation, reaffirmed all Church doctrine that had been established since the year 0.

    Jesus words were true. From Matthew 16:18:

    “And I tell thee this in my turn, that thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it;”

    The Church will always teach the Gospel of Jesus no matter the evil that men do.

    So your claim that evil men usurped the Church is proven false by both reason and actual events.

    Like

  329. What’ll you bet, that he can’t see that he’s contradicted himself?

    The idea that dishonorable men usurped the Church is not only irrational on its face but was proven irrational by Church history.

    Second, during the Church’s history and especially the Renaissance, evil men did take over the Church.

    Like

  330. Arkenaten,

    Godlessindixie is one of your fellow sophists who would rather play word games than actually pursue the truth.

    No one is obligated to waste their time submitting to such abuse.

    That you are so full of hate that you would wander around the Net trying to assassinate someone’s reputation speaks to deep seated psychosis.

    Like

  331. Lol…hate is the stock-in-trade of the religious, hadn’t you noticed? It is a useless emotion.
    I would recommend you enjoy your game while you can.
    And for the record, you are STILL a dickhead.

    Like

  332. “would rather play word games than actually pursue the truth”

    Wow, that sounds SO much like someone we know, whose name begins with silenceofmind! As for reputation assassination, I do think though, that some reputations are better off dead.

    Like

  333. Archaeo,

    Don’t blame your inability to understand reality on me.

    I stated actual history and I recited simple reasoning.

    If you see a contradiction it’s but one of many going on within your own mind. Nobody can deal with that except you.

    And you won’t be able to deal with it until you quit blaming others and take responsibility for it.

    Like

  334. Arkenaten,

    If I said, “Hate is the stalk and trade of gays,” or “Hate is the stalk and trade of blacks,” you’d call me a bigot.

    But you said, “Hate is the stalk and trade of the religious,” so what does that make you?

    WAIT! Don’t guess. I’ll tell you because you’ll guess wrong for sure.

    It makes you a bigot, you flaming hypocrite fool.

    Like

  335. I reckon Nate is hoping for 500 comments on this thread!
    Why else keep it going?

    I would hate to imagine Silenceofnomind as a parent.
    Gives me the creeps just thinking about it. There should be law against him being allowed into the gene pool…even in the shallow end.
    Come ON Nate!!
    Close this thread and chuck this twit SOM in the pigswill. 🙂

    Like

  336. Yeah, this is getting a bit tiresome. I had hoped we were actually about to have a real conversation, but that fizzled out.

    SOM, you apparently run into this kind of thing a lot. What do you get out of it? I can assure you that this thread didn’t devolve because of us — I have Christians that comment on here all the time, and I’ve never had to close a thread before. Friendly suggestion: try to stay on topic more. When people ask you questions, try to answer them. Or at least explain why you can’t or won’t answer them without trying to blame it on the person who asked. It’s really disingenuous. You’ve given me the very clear impression that you’re not all that interested in what’s true… honestly, I can’t figure out your motivations at all.

    Last round if anyone has anything worthwhile they’d like to say. Comments will close soon…

    Like

  337. Nay, nay, Ark – first of all, it helps Nate’s stats, and who wouldn’t want to help someone who is kind enough to host a playground for us? Secondly, I’m having too much fun spanking Si, and thirdly, with him go, what would we do for humor? I have this image of PeeWee Herman, in boxer shorts and boxing gloves, trying to do Ali’s “Rope-A-Dope,” with all of PeeWee’s grace and style, and it’s cracking me up every time the insult to humanity comments. I have SO few pleasures in life, don’t take away my court jester!

    Like

  338. Nate, I don’t think any of “us” would mind at all if you closed the comments on this subject. There are always lots of other things to discuss when it comes to the fallacy of religion. And I’m sure you have topics rummaging around in your head that could easily result in a new posting. 😉

    Arch, I agree with your statement made earlier: “I don’t know why any of you continues to bother with him. He’s never going to give anyone a straight answer to anything.” The only reason I got into the fray was because he said something that was really off-base (about Paul and Peter) and I simply had to have my “say.” But then, that’s his pattern so I should have known better. sigh.

    Like

  339. Nan – For quite some time, on Think Atheist, we had a theist who was quite an intelligent and well-educated man, and though he, too dodged questions on occasion, when he knew he had no defense, such as why pedophiles in the Catholic Church are shuffled around, rather than punished, but all in all, he gave us some thought-provoking debates. Si, on the other hand, is here only for the attention, with no intention of intelligently discussing anything, and if all of us had simply agreed to ignore his comments, he would soon have tired of being his own and only audience member, and would have gone away. IMO.

    Like

  340. Shucks, I was really hoping to get him to 500 (so near, yet so far) – it wouldn’t exactly hurt my feelings, if some of you guys sent a little traffic my way!

    Before this closes forever, let me ask all of you to please go to – http://www.avaaz.org /en/malalahopenew/ – and sign this petition for little 15-year old Malalla Yousefez, who was shot in the face by Taliban last year, it may help other Pakistani girls like her, to be given a fear-free education.

    Like

  341. SOM

    1. “That you would ask such a silly question means that you are not in any realm reachable by reason.
    You simply have no capacity for deep thinking, inductive thinking or thinking that allows the mind to reason its way from point A to point B.
    You satisfy your doubts with explanations that feed your doubts. That is another indication of your slavery to personal bias.”

    I asked if you were Christian or deist. I also asked which god you meant was self-evident, Allah or some other?
    I asked those questions because of your earlier refusal to answer any question inquiring about your faith and theology. I also asked those questions after you wrote this:
    “Since the existence of God is self-evident (known through reason) and has been known for about 2500 years, atheism is automatically disproven.

    Since God exists and his existence is proven, atheism must therefore be a delusion since adamant belief in what is false is delusional.”
    If you are relying on reason to believe in god, that is similar to deism. If you’re relying on the Koran, then muslim, if the bible then Christian, etc. Perhaps you can explain why my requests for clarification were silly. Is it because the bible isn’t clear and that’s and since that’s your brand you have trouble with clarity?

    2. “It is the Jews and Christians who get to assign meaning to their scriptures, not you or the phony sources you quote from.”

    LOL. What phony sources have I quoted from aside from the bible? I once was a devout Christian until I became aware of the problems and count keep pretending there were satisfactory answers. Saying that we have the view the bible the way other people tell us to may make things easier, but it also makes us like the young prophet in the book of kings… Gullible and likely wrong.

    3. “What would people think if you went to JK Rowling and told her that you knew more about her Harry Potter books than she does and that she’s been wrong about Harry Potter all along.”

    Not an apples to apples comparison. JK Rowling is writing a fiction and she can hold interviews to discuss her own book. God isn’t going to found taking questions on the bible. If a couple of guys wrote a book and said that Rowling dictated it to them, and that book held certain contradictions, it’s fair to ask whether they were honest ion their claims if they say that Rowling isn’t taking any questions on it, nor will she even say herself whether she had any involvement.

    Now, if the bible is fiction, then no problem. If god wants to step up and confirm the bible is his, then okay. But otherwise, I am doubtful of the human author’s wild claims -0 especially when I see a multitude of inconsistencies within their composition.

    4. “If you want to learn the authentic meaning of the Bible you must study from those sources. Saint’s Augustine and Aquinas are required reading in most graduate schools.”

    When I was a Christian, this sort of thing always annoyed me. If the bible was god’s word, then why would anyone need a man made book to help them understand god’s word? Was god not an adequate author, that he needed fallible man to clarify certain things for him? It really does more to show how far short the bible falls from being perfect or clear.

    5. “Since I just used simple logic to prove that atheism is a faith-based belief, you are the one who has trouble with logic.”

    Just saying something is something else doesn’t serve as “proof” and I think you may be confused on what “logic” means.

    6. “I’ve answered enough of your questions. It’s useless because you aren’t really after answers.

    You just move the goal post and blithely go on as if the answer to your previous question didn’t even happen.” (to Nate)

    The answer to his previous question didn’t answer the entirety of his question, necessitating further clarification. If you find it hard to clarify without sounding like a fool, then that says something about your position, not the question.

    Whether it be in regard to the catholic church or protestant churches or the bible itself, taking what they say for themselves is and pointing out inconsistencies they hold is a problem for those interties – not the one who inquires about them. If you have answers for them, please provide them. Saying, “you’re too dumb to understand” doesn’t seem to be helpful, and “it is because it is” isn’t a good reply either.

    Like

  342. Just had to leave global-warming-naysayer, Silenceofmind, a little food for thought to take with him in his lunchbox.

    Something to think about:

    The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Let’s scale that to 46 years. Using that analogy, we have been here for 4 hours. Our industrial revolution began 1 minute ago. In that time, we have destroyed more than 50% of the world’s forests.

    This isn’t sustainable.

    Like

  343. I thought I would leave this for you, Silence, in case you should everr decide to further your education:

    Like

  344. There was supposed to be a video there, but for some reason, it didn’t load – let me try it another way:

    Like

  345. So suddenly it loads, and now we have two of them – that’s OK, Si – now you can learn twice as much!

    Like

  346. I ran across an article, Where Are the People?, that some might find interesting:

    “Just 10 years ago, evangelical Christianity appeared to be America’s dominant religious movement. Evangelicals, more theologically diverse and open to the secular world than their fundamentalist brethren, with whom they’re often confused, were on the march toward political power and cultural prominence. They had the largest churches, the most money, influential government lobbyists, and in the person of President George W. Bush, leadership of the free world itself. Indeed, even today most people continue to regard the United States as the great spiritual exception among developed nations: a country where advances in science and technology coexist with stubborn, and stubbornly conservative, religiosity. But the reality, largely unnoticed outside church circles, is that evangelicalism is not only in gradual decline but today stands poised at the edge of a demographic and cultural cliff. The most recent Pew Research Center survey of the nation’s religious attitudes, taken in 2012, found that just 19 percent of Americans identified themselves as white evangelical Protestants—five years earlier, 21 percent of Americans did so. Slightly more (19.6 percent) self-identified as unaffiliated with any religion at all, the first time that group has surpassed evangelicals.”

    Like

  347. The fact is, the Bible can’t fix its problems because it’s a closed document. No more material is going in or out of it. Nor is God going to speak to me directly or perform some miracle to overcome my skepticism. We’re stuck with what we’ve got.

    I realise now I been hoping that somehow God would speak to me directly or perform some miracle to overcome my skepticism. No wonder I have been stuck in limbo for so long unable to bring resolution to my position.

    Liked by 1 person

  348. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I kept thinking the same thing for a while… surely some piece of evidence would suddenly present itself to solve all these problems! Realizing that wasn’t going to happen was a pretty big deal for me. And I’m glad the realization finally came, because it made things much simpler.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s