The Folly Of Moral Conviction

Christophe Hitchens, who died in 2011, was only 7 months older than I am. I heard him in a debate a year or so before he was diagnosed with cancer. Before I learned of his illness and before he subsequently passed away, I wrote this post in response to an article about one of his books. The interesting thing, I think, is that what I said about Mr. Hitchens is true about all of us. So I’ve decided to re-post this edited version.

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Columnist Michael Gerson recently wrote a piece that appeared, slightly abridged, in my local paper, “The Atheist As Moralist” (this link appears to give you the entire article). The subject of his commentary was Christopher Hitchens, famed atheist who had recently published his memoir, Hitch-22.

In essence, Mr. Gerson saw in Christopher Hitchens’ constancy and courage and “delight in all things human,” something worth commending. He had, after all, lived, and apparently died, clinging to his moral convictions because he disdained deathbed religious conversions. “The idea ‘that you may be terrified’ is no reason to ‘abandon the principles of a lifetime,’ ” Mr. Gerson reported him saying.

These moral convictions of his were the repudiation of tyranny—even “celestial tyranny”—and the championing of the underdog. And for this Mr. Gerson held Christopher Hitchens up as one who accomplished what his beliefs could not—the provision of a moral compass.

How sadly empty! To praise a man for sticking to his guns, even in the face of terror and encroaching death, is meaningless unless he’s holding to something worthwhile. You might as well praise a terrorist suicide bomber for his example of “courage, loyalty and moral conviction.”

The fact is, Christopher Hitchens could be as dedicated and sincere, as tenacious and unswerving in his beliefs as he wanted, but if those beliefs were wrong, his conviction was foolish, not admirable.

In addition, by including God in his hatred of tyranny he exposed the fact that his real hatred was having an authority over him. He didn’t want God to have the final say—or any say—when it came to Christopher Hitchens.

But perhaps he was closer to faith than even he realized. When asked what positive lesson he’d learned from Christianity, Mr. Gerson reported him to say, “The transience and ephemeral nature of power and all things human.”

Human power and life on this side of the veil is indeed transient and ephemeral. In his letter included in Scripture, the apostle James says our lives are just a vapor. The prophet Isaiah says that we are like grass and the flowers of the field, withering and fading away. The apostle Peter quoted that passage in his first letter.

Here’s the thing. Christopher Hitchens had apparently put all his trust in humanity. He delighted “in all things human—in wit and wine and good company and conversation and fine writing and debate of large issues.” But in the end, he realized it was passing. His moral convictions were grounded in vapor. He’d invested his life in nothing more solid than dry grass that shrivels in the desert wind.

And he refused to rethink his options. After all, he was a man of moral conviction! Did that make him a great example for the rest of humanity, as Mr. Gerson seemed to think?

Hardly. It made him a sad figure, a wasted intellect, a man destined to get what he most feared—the wrath of a Sovereign God—and what he most desired—to go it on his own.

As long as Christopher Hitchens had breath, he could repent. If the thief dying next to Jesus could turn from his sin, so could the atheist determined to resist God’s rule. May God penetrate those hard hearts and bring them to their knees so that they will know God’s kindness and mercy. That continues to be my prayer.

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Published in: on September 27, 2018 at 5:41 pm  Comments (61)  

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61 Comments

  1. If there is no God then why should it matter? What difference does it make if Hitchens rejected this unreal god in the end or shook his fist to curse him like Milton’s Satan or wept because he feared the dark or trembled and screamed for the doctors to prolong his only meaningless existence just one moment longer or asked God for mercy before dying? Hitchens would still be dead.

    But if Hitchens were immortal and had a part that could live forever in endless joy and love this would make a big difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “How sadly empty! To praise a man for sticking to his guns, even in the face of terror and encroaching death, is meaningless unless he’s holding to something worthwhile. You might as well praise a terrorist suicide bomber for his example of “courage, loyalty and moral conviction.”

    Why do you think that a man who has achieved a lot during his life and has understood death to be as scientific evidence suggests, a total fact and permanent end, would have any wish to think he will have nothing worthwhile or his death is meaningless?

    He has left a legacy and he will go down in history, and if any chance of an afterlife really ever exists it would be due to other intelligent sources and not from your man made God. Not one person in the history of the world has ever gone to heaven or hell. That is a pure unadulterated fact, unless you can provide contrary evidence, beyond the ancient fable.

    “He’d invested his life in nothing more solid than dry grass that shrivels in the desert wind.”

    “It made him a sad figure, a wasted intellect, a man destined to get what he most feared—the wrath of a Sovereign God—and what he most desired—to go it on his own.”

    No, his life was based on the worlds current undisputable evidence, that is the scientific facts, truth, logic and reality. If this situation changes, he will regret it I am sure, however the God you worship has no evidence, provides no exclusive Earthly benefits, saves nobody from pain or death, including the starved children and does not win football games and has had no identifiable control over anything.

    As I maintain, all the gods in the world are nothing but structures manifested within your brain.

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    • Science is never settled but changes from one generation to the next. Scientists do not know everything and if science were never disputed there would not be any papers written or debates about the latest theories.

      Science is malleable and if it is not in a state of flux–necessary for discovery–it is no longer science but dogma.

      This argument is not against the discipline of science but the idea that it provides a rock hard foundation that never changes–the same yesterday, today, and forever.

      Liked by 2 people

      • By the way, I really am sorry that your hero died. I don’t rejoice at his death, nor does Rebecca, nor the God we worship. Christopher Hitchens has indeed left a legacy and he may be remembered long after it has been eclipsed by other scientific discoveries.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed Rachel, science changes and is questioned, tested and kicked around many times until the evidence can be verified, and in fact the door is always open for new evidence in everything science has ever claimed. There is definitely no rock hard foundation that never changes.
        Having said that, when the evidence is overwhelming such as the shape of the planet Earth, the structure of an atom, and biological evolutionary principles they are rock solid because they have been verified as scientific facts for over 150 years.

        By the way Christopher Hitchens is not my hero, he is just a good man who stood up to be counted and will be enjoying his time washing his butt in the Christian’s mythical hell of eternal fire that was kindly allocated to him on many occasions. I have no doubt he rests in peace.

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        • Steve, what does that even mean, “he rests in peace”? According to you, he is no more! There’s no peace in annihilation. There’s only nonexistence. Such a sad delusional idea about death. It’s either/or. The afterlife is true or it’s not. No intermediate idea of resting in peace. That’s a delusion for you. A real delusion that you have apparently bought all on your own. It shocks me to see you write that. Really shocks me.

          Becky

          Liked by 1 person

          • “he rests in peace”? According to you, he is no more! There’s no peace in annihilation.”

            Of course, there is Becky, when you die you are not conscious anymore, your brain dies and you will never exist again, therefore you feel nothing, so you are really at peace, exactly like you felt before you were conceived.

            “It shocks me to see you write that. Really shocks me.”
            Please be rested Becky, reality can be a shock to some people

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          • Really amazed, Steve. You don’t feel because there is no you, in your way of thinking. No peace, no rest.

            And so amazing that you miss what shocked me—your complete absence of understanding of your own belief in annihilation. And now you double down on it, as if what you said makes perfect sense. I’m guessing you simply are arguing because you want to “win,” so you can’t admit that your idea of Mr. Hitchens no longer existing contradicts your statement that he is somewhere at peace.

            I guess we’ve passed the point when logic and consistency guide the discussion, in favor of your desire to be right. That makes me sad, too, Steve.

            Becky

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        • If Hell is mythical how can he enjoy washing his butt in it? The best you can hope for is his annihilation.

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          • “Okay Steve. I guess you don’t believe things you can’t see, hear, etc. if they’re old fashioned like gods/angels/demons/vampires/or fairies. Just trendy new ones like space aliens/panspermia/and the multiverse.”

            They are not just old fashioned Rachel; these mythical things were conjured into existence by the ancient and superstitious people from the stone age onwards well before Christianity decided to get in on the act. Without any scientific explanations for the weather and natural phenomenon like the sun rising every day, it is therefore expected that primitive people will invest in a power source that cannot be seen to explain phenomenon they do not understand.

            As far as aliens, panspermia and the multiverse are concerned we will have to wait and see. They are on the scientific radar and we will see what progress is made if we live long enough.

            There were no details how the psychologists reached the conclusions and a lot of it sounds like they’re still hypothesizing. There are no links to papers or other articles.

            Adam Waytz was quoted in that article and I just Googled his name as below.

            “Adam Waytz is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations. His research uses methods from social psychology and cognitive neuroscience to study the causes and consequences of perceiving mental states in other agents and to investigate processes related to social influence, social connection, meaning-making, and ethics. Professor Waytz’s research has been published in leading journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Review. In recognition of his work, Professor Waytz received the 2008 and 2013 Theoretical Innovation Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the SAGE Foundation Young Scholar Award, and the International Social Cognition Network’s Early Career Award. Professor Waytz received his BA in Psychology from Columbia University, his PhD in social psychology from the University of Chicago and received a National Service Research Award from the National Institute of Health to complete a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University.”

            Tapani Riekki at the university of Helsinki is another mentioned in the article, type his name in Google and he also has the qualifications and publications to be legitimate. The BBC does not publish articles based on the work of cowboys.

            “I don’t know if you’re going to Hell. It’s a horrible place I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”

            Sorry, but I really cannot take that seriously at all Rachel, it is children’s playground talk.

            “My guess is you keep showing up here because you secretly want God to be real. Though you won’t admit it even to yourself.”

            If that is what you think so be it, I doubt anything I will say will change your mind or make sense to you. For example, I doubt you would have studied the science behind the biological evolutionary principles or the gods of the early Greeks and pagans and really asked yourself why they worshiped these gods and why you worship your god?

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      • I thin it, interesting, Rachel, that atheists will often praise the very trait you identify, and condemn Christianity for not being flexible. But when it’s convenient, when it serves their purpose, the fact that science is in flux is forgotten.

        Becky

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    • Steve said: “Not one person in the history of the world has ever gone to heaven or hell. That is a pure unadulterated fact”

      You have asserted this as a fact, Steve, so I ask you, where is your evidence? You want to disqualify the evidence of Scripture, but you literally have NO evidence. You simply assume that what you cannot see, does not exist. I once believed that too. I was about 4 or 5 and I was playing hide-and-seek with my older siblings. I “hid” behind a tree where I couldn’t see the person who was “It” without realizing that they could nevertheless see me. Your belief system is just like that, Steve.

      Becky

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      • “I was about 4 or 5 and I was playing hide-and-seek with my older siblings. I “hid” behind a tree where I couldn’t see the person who was “It” without realizing that they could nevertheless see me. Your belief system is just like that, Steve.”

        That is exactly where hide and seek for children should stay. To imagine someone is watching you from the sky is a myth to say the least unless it is from a drone or satellite.

        If you could provide me with bonified evidence of a place you claim with all your heart exists and believe me, I would take careful note and investigate fully, but as you cannot do so, I can safely claim without any doubt that nobody has ever gone to this place and no matter how you twist the words and meanings it is a pure unadulterated fact that I am correct.

        It is natural to human logic and sensibility to believe that if you cannot see something that is supposed to be comprehended by humans according to other humans but there is absolutely no way this can be done, it really means this place never existed and does not exist today Becky.

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        • It amazes me that the atheists think repeating the same factual assertion over and over will make it come true. Atheism is stupid. THAT is pure unadulterated fact. Bless you Becky for your patience

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          • I did not address you Wally, your previous ramble of foul comments to me are still reverberating around inside my head.

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          • Well if the shoe fits. Look Steve. You are the one who asserted as absolute fact that there is no heaven or hell. That means the burden if proof is on you. Yet all you do is scream the same assertion over again. My comments to aren’t foul. Sheesh. You think that to be disagreed with is to be insulted and that to be called to back up your assertions is foul. You don’t address me because I don’t stand by and swallow your baloney. You declared something to be pure unadulterated fact. Prove the non existence of Heaven and hell. Last thing. Quit whining lol

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          • Wally on one of your previous rebuttals you called me “A mindless mad dog atheist preacher” and “You preach death, Steve.”

            I do not recall ever calling you anything like a “deluded mad dog religious preacher” or telling you that “you preach death” when you actually have said I will go to hell. If I had, you would have found excuse to be upset and regulate me, however I am not inclined by my atheist nature to use such tactics.

            And I have answered the heaven and hell issue, but basically I can never provide evidence of something that does not exist, because there is nothing to find, lol, so it is logical that it does not exist. Please do not tell me the Bible tells me they do exist.

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          • Steve. You do preach death. If that hurts, so what?

            “I do not recall ever calling you anything like a “deluded mad dog religious preacher” or telling you that “you preach death” when you actually have said I will go to hell. If I had, you would have found excuse to be upset and regulate me, however, I am not inclined by my atheist nature to use such tactics.”

            Thanks for that laugh on that one. BTW, what the heck is an “atheist” nature, and how do you get one of those? Yes, Steve, separation from God in a place called Hell is something I preach. I did not, however, come up with it and my words of warning do not send anybody there. If you bothered to read the book you assault daily you would know that.

            ” but basically I can never provide evidence of something that does not exist, because there is nothing to find, lol, ”

            Then Steve, by the standards of your precious science and logic, you cannot declare their non-existence as unadulterated fact. So, if you continue to insist your statement is unadulterated fact, yet provide no proof other than the fact that you personally have not seen them, then you actually are about at the mental level of a mad dog. And by that I don’t mean you are stupid. I mean you are so consumed by your own anger towards a thing that you continue the attack. without realizing what you are even doing. And you don’t actually seem to realize the things you say sometimes Steve, and often contradicd yourself even within your own sentences.

            Anyway, back to the real issue. We all await your actual evidence IN FAVOR of your statement that the non-exixtence of Heaven and Hell are pure unadulterated fact.

            Put up or shut Steve.

            Liked by 1 person

          • ” to free yourself of the indoctrinated shackles that are manifested deep inside your brain.”

            Steve, there is a perfect example of you just saying things. Read what you wrote. If you don’t realize that your words, just in that one sentence, contradict themselves, then maybe I have given you too much credit.

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          • I will have to investigate these. I didn’t say there were none; merely that the article provided none. And I’m curious what techniques they used to arrive at their conclusions since psychologists use different methods of research than biologists or physicists.

            Btw, Steve, you are making assumptions about me that aren’t true. I only have a 4 year college degree but am well versed in the humanities including Greek and Roman mythology. My parents showed me NOVA episodes and encouraged me to study evolutionary theory as a child though we went to church on Sundays and studied the Bible.

            I have my own empirical reasons for believing in God but can no more use them as proof to others–especially those whose minds are made up–than the hero of Plato’s Cave Fable.

            The usual argues and apologetics for believing him are out there. I don’t have the time for rehashing them here.

            Believe me I have asked myself why I worship God. Is He real? Is He good? If so why does evil exist? Why do we call it evil? Why does it bother us? Went through a dark night of the soul for 3 decades.

            I worship God because He made me and loves me. I love Him too and His love saved me from misanthropy and despair.

            Have you asked yourself, Steve, why you keep showing up here to mock someone imaginary?

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        • And you missed the point of the analogy completely. You fixate on someone seeing you and completely miss that you are “hiding” by not being able to see. It is we humans, Steve, who are blind and don’t know it. Unless we listen to the One who DOES see.

          Becky

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          • We humans only choose to be blind Becky. There is no one who can open your eyes to find the truth about our existence except yourself. There is always a voice in your head and it can be from wherever or whoever you like.

            This cleansing takes time with a strong commitment and powerful thoughts to free yourself of the indoctrinated shackles that are manifested deep inside your brain.

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          • Steve, you have chosen to fixate on my illustration, twisting it to say what you believe, ignoring what it actually illustrates. The point I made was this: You simply assume that what you cannot see, does not exist.

            Thus you say with certainty that no one has ever gone to heaven or hell. Why? Because YOU have not seen heaven or hell. And therefore, like the child I was, hiding behind the tree, you believe reality consists of what you and you alone can detect. That’s the point, Steve. Not some kind of blindness or learning to see or whatever else you tried to say in your last comment. It’s your worldview that tells you that you are the determiner of what exists, what is true. And if “science” discovers you are wrong, that’s OK. Just as long as it’s science. Because, without any reason behind it, you have ruled out the supernatural. It cannot exist because you say it cannot exist. Whether you realize it or not, Steve, that’s incredibly arrogant. That whole worldview is because it puts existence in your hands. And it simply is not up to us to determine what exists or not. It’s a mystery to me why you and other atheists can’t understand this.

            Becky

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          • I have never assumed what I cannot see does not exist Becky. I simply do not believe it exists because nobody has seen it for thousands of years from when the earliest religions on our planet invented such places.

            “you believe reality consists of what you and you alone can detect.”

            I believe reality is what we all can detect through touch, smell and sight. I am also prone to believe something beyond these senses if experts in their fields such as foremost and main stream scientists are to explain what they know to be true and correct through the scientific processes such as space, the shape of our planet, gravity, the genomes, microbes, dark energy, black holes, the solar system etc.

            “without any reason behind it, you have ruled out the supernatural. It cannot exist because you say it cannot exist.”

            I have lifted these two following paragraphs from a BBC Psychology page.

            “Psychologists studying religion have long suspected that a belief in the paranormal can be a kind of shield from the even harsher truths of the world.”

            “researchers agree that sceptics shouldn’t be too critical of people who harbour these beliefs. After all, one study has found that various superstitions can boost your performance in a range of skills. In one trial, bringing their favourite lucky charm into a memory test significantly improved subjects’ recall,”

            The one thing I understand is that researchers do agree on the paranormal being a process of the brain, it is just the way in which you understand what is happening and how you handle the situation. Read the whole thing here, it is a very good article.

            http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141030-the-truth-about-the-paranormal

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  3. Okay Steve. I guess you don’t believe things you can’t see, hear, etc. if they’re old fashioned like gods/angels/demons/vampires/or fairies. Just trendy new ones like space aliens/panspermia/and the multiverse.

    I read the article. Yes brain damage can cause hallucinations/etc. There were no details how the psychologists reached the conclusions and a lot of it sounds like they’re still hypothesizing. There are no links to papers or other articles.

    I don’t know if you’re going to Hell. It’s a horrible place I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I sincerely hope you see the light before then.

    God bless you, Steve. He loves you and wants you to repent. He sent His Son so you too need not perish but have everlasting life.

    My guess is you keep showing up here because you secretly want God to be real. Though you won’t admit it even to yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rachel, I’ve pointed out more than once (this is at least the third time Steve has linked to this article here) the same things you noted. The psychologists are hypothesizing and they are not supporting their claims with hard evidence. What astounds me is that this article seems to be the thing upon which Steve hinges his belief system—religion is a product of the brain and nothing more. And yet it holds much less evidence than Scripture does. Scripture, which Steve refuses to read, though I’ve pointed out that his criticisms of it hold no merit since he doesn’t actually know what the Bible says. Oh, but he does, he claims, because he’s read snatches of it here and there. But actually read it, or read one of the books I suggested he try? No, he’s unwilling to do that.

      Oh, how I hope you’re right, that he keeps going to blogs by Christians because he wants to hear more about God and become convinced. It’s possible.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

      • The article may be based on legitimate research. But the tone makes it seem like an ad hominem argument against the supernatural. And the anti-supernatural bias is apparent. Which is not shocking–actually I expect this in almost every scientific article about the supernatural. (By “bias” I mean mind-set, not necessarily an agenda.)

        It’s hard to prove or disprove the supernatural using entirely natural methods. Maybe impossible. Like using 2D instruments of measurement to prove the third dimension to Flatlanders.

        According to the Bible Jesus and the Apostles worked many miracles but people still rejected the Gospel. These people were “primitive” but as farmers and shepherds they knew the natural world–the domain of science–in a practical way we First World people can’t.

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        • “But the tone makes it seem like an ad hominem argument against the supernatural. And the anti-supernatural bias is apparent.”

          “actually I expect this in almost every scientific article about the supernatural. (By “bias” I mean mind-set, not necessarily an agenda.)”

          “The tone”? I do not know if you are trying to be serious Rachel, however in case you are, this is purely a science article and the emphasis of these studies are to find out where the supernatural exists. It would be biased if they ignored the supernatural phenomenon or just decided not to investigate or study and simply claim that the supernatural world exists, would it not?

          This is science, it is the study to further knowledge regardless of what people believe to be true or false and if you cannot understand this you obviously have no idea of what the purpose of science is. What benefit of using “bias” would there be for career scientists? There is no hidden agenda or conspiracy unless of course that is your world view on scientific issues that do not support your ideology.

          “These people were “primitive” but as farmers and shepherds they knew the natural world–the domain of science–in a practical way we First World people can’t.”

          Agreed to some extent, such as their use of natural remedies for health, their social cohesion, simple organisational systems, construction and creativity in many things etc. Regardless to that, when thunder boomed and lightning crackled and flashed through the sky or the volcano erupted and even when the sun came up every day was only explained by a massive power possessed by a god or deity, they simply had no idea what they were living on or that the sun was not a god or the home of a god as such was prevalent in early Egyptian, Greek and Roman beliefs.

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          • Steve, of course the scientists have a bias. In your own words, you state that they were looking for where the supernatural comes from, meaning that it is a product of the natural. That’s clearly a bias. But more importantly, they didn’t find any firm evidence, only something that could possibly be true. Well, the supernatural existing outside the natural could also possibly be true, but where’s that acknowledgement in the article? Hence, bias.

            But you carry on about your suppositions about the “origin” of worshiping God or gods, and you show that you have no real knowledge of Christianity, or Judaism for that matter. It’s such a shame that you are so opposed to what you don’t understand. It’s disappointing. You reject out of hand what you think you know. So you create an idea of “religion” and god which is false, then you reject them. That’s not logical. You are setting up straw men and then declaring they have no heart.

            Becky

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          • “Steve, of course the scientists have a bias. In your own words, you state that they were looking for where the supernatural comes from, meaning that it is a product of the natural.”

            How would that bias work Becky? Any claim, any explanation of an event, definitely falls within the scope of science. That’s because science is a method of investigation and they will look at claims of paranormal phenomena and the supernatural world and if it exists. If they did nothing, that I believe would be classed as biased.

            They cannot just read the Bible or go and look for ghosts in buildings or find Psychics who claim to have supernatural abilities, so how do the scientists physically look into the supernatural world? Think about that, because if the scientists cannot go to the supernatural world to find evidence they have to find something in the natural world to work with.

            That is the brain, and if they find that the supernatural is not generated by the brain like everything else we do, then this would be compelling evidence for an identifiable supernatural world, right? So, you should not be complaining and be happy for here is the chance for science to find out if the supernatural really exists outside of the brain as a real place or not.

            “you show that you have no real knowledge of Christianity, or Judaism for that matter. It’s such a shame that you are so opposed to what you don’t understand.”

            I have been on this planet well over 6 decades Becky, I have known many people of different religions, some of them being my own family members, I was sent to Sunday school be indoctrinated when I was a kid and made to read the Bible, I attended Christian holiday camps and I have served as a peace keeper in a country with violence between Protestants and Catholics where I risked my life, so in fact, I have been exposed to things related to religious faith that you have not. Attack only the issues I bring to your attention if you can.

            In fact, you actually have very little understanding about the scientific process you always complain about as evidenced by your comments, and yet you have the gall to preach to me regarding my understanding of religions, talk about calling the kettle black.

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          • Steve: “Any claim, any explanation of an event, definitely falls within the scope of science. ” Now YOUR bias is showing. Your statement would only be true if all things connected with an event are physical. You have already eliminated the supernatural without any study what so ever.

            Steve: “so how do the scientists physically look into the supernatural world? Think about that, because if the scientists cannot go to the supernatural world to find evidence they have to find something in the natural world to work with.”

            No, Steve, if the scientist studies, he will find that people worship, animals don’t. There must be something there, even if he doesn’t see it in the physical, natural world. That’s why it’s called SUPERnatural. It is not something the scientist can look at as he looks at natural phenomena. But there is plenty of evidence that the supernatural does exist.

            Steve: “So, you should not be complaining and be happy for here is the chance for science to find out if the supernatural really exists outside of the brain as a real place or not. ” I wasn’t aware that I was complaining about anything or was not happy, Steve. And the scientists will not find the supernatural in the human brain. But it’s you that needs this, apparently. I don’t need it. I already believe all the evidence.

            Steve: “so in fact, I have been exposed to things related to religious faith that you have not. Attack only the issues I bring to your attention if you can. ”

            Again, I’m not aware that I’m “attacking issues.” I said in the lines you quoted, that you are ignorant of what Christians and Jews believe. I’ve tried to explain it before but you keep repeating your presuppositions about how religion began. It is pure speculation on your part and ignorance of the religion you oppose.

            As far as my understanding of the scientific method, I suppose you really ought to test that theory or at least to offer some evidence to support your ideas. But that’s OK, Steve. I understand your need to become defensive when you have no way of giving actual evidence. If it makes you feel better to accuse me of something because you realize you have no idea what Christians and Jews actually believe, I’m OK with that. But it doesn’t change the facts. You may have had exposure to religion in the past, when you were young, but that does not substitute for a) actually reading the Bible or b) understanding what Christians believe instead of attacking straw men of your own creation.

            Becky

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          • “You have already eliminated the supernatural without any study what so ever.”

            What makes you assume that Becky? I am informed enough to understand what this phenomenon is and why it is medically explained and due to the mental health of the people who see such things as apparitions, with nothing to do with being possessed by the devil or visitors from an unseen world.

            “But there is plenty of evidence that the supernatural does exist.”

            Please produce this evidence because that is in keeping with the flat earth people and the moon landing conspiracists who also claim to have evidence. This should not surprise me since you have virtually no interest in scientific processes or the facts.

            “That’s why it’s called SUPERnatural.”

            If the supernatural does exist and could be observed somehow, then it would be classed as natural phenomena instead of paranormal phenomena or the supernatural.

            “And the scientists will not find the supernatural in the human brain.”

            And you call me biased. I do realise that you wish to be uninformed by contrary views because it is forbidden by your core ideals and you do not want to be dissuaded from your faith by scientific facts or reality. This is fine by me Becky; however I feel I have as a human being done the best I can to expose you to the truth.

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          • Since you are on the subject of evidence perhaps any day now you will provide actual evidence to your claim that the non existence of Heaven and he’ll is pure unadulterated fact.

            You seem to care a lot about science

            Produce some lol

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          • You are also illiterate as far as science is concerned. Any claim, any explanation of an event always falls within the scope of science and that’s because science is the ultimate method of investigation.

            The investigation however does not cover trying to find alleged spiritual or supernatural events because science has enough evidence to suggest that this phenomenon only exists within the human brain which is something that they can investigate.

            The investigations so far have not turned up anything to suggest that a supernatural world exists and I would bet everything I own that they never find the supernatural world existing in any form like dark matter or as a translucency within our reality as your brain perceives it to be.

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          • Great. We have established that I am illiterate. That proves your fact statement concerning heaven and hell how exactly? That’s the challenge here, Steve. You saying you “would bet” they won’t find it is not evidence for you claim. So, we await. You claimed that the non existence of Heaven and hell is pure unadulterated fact. Prove that fact.

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          • It is a fact Wally, do some real investigation, do not believe everything you are expected to believe for one ideological position among many.

            You know you will fail to see, and you will always ask for proof of existence of nothing and you will always be unable to see it.

            You will always live in doubt because the reality is you cannot go within a supernatural world simply because the supernatural world is really within you. There is nothing more I can do to help you.

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          • I don’t believe everything I hear, Steve. That is why I asked you to provide evidence for your assertion. Telling me to research YOUR assertion is stupid.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Absence of physical evidence proves nothing about the spiritual, Steve. Nothing.

            Becky

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          • Steve, you really don’t get it, do you. Physical things—appropriately investigated using physical means
            Spiritual things—beyond the ability of anyone to investigate using physical means

            You keep insisting that spiritual things CAN and SHOULD be investigated using physical means, but that only shows your bias. You have already ruled out the existence of anything that is beyond the physical means of investigation. So you conclude they do not exist and someone studying them in other ways is simply wrong.

            The reason “investigators” have not turned up physical evidence for the supernatural is because it is not physical. So you can stop saying that all events always fall under the scope of science, that science is the ultimate method of investigation. Yes, that statement is undoubtedly true about physical things. But OPEN YOUR MIND, Steve. Not all things are physical! I’ll address this more in another comment.

            Becky

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          • If only you and Wally could answer the question of how do you investigate something that has so far been found to exist in your mind, tell us how to contact these so called gods and devils without using your minds?

            Religious people and mediums who contact spirits of the dead are supposed to be the experts, but really know nothing more about it than the scientists and do you not think this has been tried by Satanists, cults, religions ghost hunters with special cameras, sound etc?

            “But OPEN YOUR MIND, Steve. Not all things are physical!”

            This is the point, “the mind” is where it all happens and most would agree that paranormal phenomenon or conversing with the spirits is generally a personal and individual occurrence therefore going further into the investigation of the brain is being done because there simply is no other way, unless you bright Christians have something further to offer?

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          • I gave you an example in the last comment to this post which makes a very clear point that the supernatural is not simply in someone’s mind. Please at least read that! I know you won’t read the Bible, but if you really care about truth at all, at least read that one comment.

            Becky

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          • Since you are on the subject of evidence perhaps any day now you will provide actual evidence to your claim that the non existence of Heaven and he’ll is pure unadulterated fact.

            You seem to care a lot about evidence

            Produce some lol

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  4. Steve, there are any number of supernatural events that have been verified by eyewitness. There are many, many believers who have experienced supernatural peace in the face of danger, unexplained insight into something they had no previous knowledge about, unexpected victory over addictive behavior, and on and on. Some, like me, have experienced a regular and ongoing relationship with God that has become closer and more valuable and more intimate over time.

    I’ll give you just one specific example, which contains names and is falsifiable. But there are others. This one comes from the book Angels by Billy Graham.

    The Rev. John G. Paton, pioneer missionary in the New Hebrides Islands, told a thrilling story involving the protective care of angels. Hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters one night, intent on burning the Patons out and killing them. John Paton and his wife prayed all during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see that, unaccountably the attackers had left. They thanked God for delivering them.

    A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Jesus Christ, and Mr. Paton, remembering what had happened, asked the chief what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men you had with you?” The missionary answered, “There were no men there; just my wife and I.” The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard—hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack. Only then did Mr. Paton realize that God had sent His angels to protect them. The chief agreed that there was no other explanation.

    You can dismiss such an example in whatever way you want, Steve, but understand, you are ignoring or discounting or explaining away something that is evidence for the non-physical.

    But you already do that because you deny the resurrection of Jesus and that’s the greatest evidence of all that the supernatural does exist.

    Becky

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    • Science cannot simply take the word of a man as the reality, the explanation, or the evidence to become a fact.

      The story you tell is fantastic, but I think of many more stories where God has not delivered.

      The human mind is as amazing as the Earth we live on and the only way to find truth is to seek it, and humans will always do this and eventually find it regardless of how long it may take.

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      • Steve, it’s not the word of “a man.” The missionary, his wife, their child, the chief, all the men in the force intending to burn the missionary from that location. This is completely falsifiable.

        And as I said, this is only one in that book. The example before it came from the Readers’ Digest. Hardly a Christian periodical with an ulterior motive to print a story that hasn’t been verified. And there are others. Plus, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At least people saw Him once, another two another time. Then at least eleven. Another four or more later. At one point, over 500. All these accounts were falsifiable. But no one could provide a corpse to contradict what the followers of the Way were saying. Including the Jews who wanted this movement stopped. Including the Romans who wanted this movement stopped. Including the Greeks who wanted this movement stopped. They all had reasons to tear apart Christianity at it’s fundamental point—Christ’s resurrection. But they couldn’t do it.

        Steve, please, you are a smart guy. Don’t limit your thinking.

        Becky

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        • Limiting my thinking is not something I can be accused of. I have thought that everything and anything is possible. I grew up believing in ghosts, dragons, and with many others believing the possibility that humanoids may be found on the moon until at least July 20, 1969. New analysis suggests that it may have been habitable in the past, however although there is no direct evidence of life today future missions may be successful.

          Equate this to your ideology. The fact you may be wrong about the supernatural should be accepted but also not completely discarded. I say this because I understand that we have a lot to discover just like the moon, we may discover something does not exist as we expected, however maybe something else does but not in the form, the system or the place we believed it to be, so it is good to still keep your options open for everything.

          Of course, you will accuse me of not keeping my options open, however I will repeat that the evidence stacks up against every one of the gods that was ever worshiped including the supernatural spiritual world over the last few centuries.

          You Becky, Wally and others have of course been basically bottle fed Christianity within a solely devout Christian orientated community and country and firmly indoctrinated within Christianity by passionate preachers, therefore I understand that to expect any other perspective from you is probably unfair.

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          • Flag on the field!

            Steve, part of the reason you are hard to deal with is that you say things that are simply untrue, then after being told they are untrue, you keep repeating them. That actually makes you either really slow or a liar.
            Anyway, when it comes to other people’s experiences, you cannot actually speak to them as if you were there.

            I bet Becky will back this 100 percent to your quote.

            “You Becky, Wally and others have of course been basically bottle fed Christianity within a solely devout Christian orientated community and country and firmly indoctrinated within Christianity by passionate preachers, therefore I understand that to expect any other perspective from you is probably unfair.”

            I was never subject to instruction as a child our adult in faith. I was not indoctrinated. I simply came to believe by the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon hearing the Word preached.

            I was not indoctrinated now, as I know most of what I know due to self-study of God’s word, I certainly was not bottle-fed this.

            I am not sealed up in some devout “Christain oriented community” as you say. I actually spend far more time with the heathen than the faithful.

            Your statement is false. No one on this thread is bottle fed, indoctrinated, or brainwashed. We are all intelligent adults who have made adult, clear-minded decisions.

            Steve, when you declare what other people say about their own lives to be false, you come across as extremely condescending. You gladly accept the testimonies of those who reject faith as almost holy words, and even use them to throw at Christians, yet the testimony of Christians you dismiss as delusional or stupid

            Oh, almost forgot. We still await your evidence to support your assertion that the nonexistence of Heaven and hell are pure unadulterated fact. Facts require evidence to support them. That’s actually part of the science you love so much LOL. We await.

            Anyway, quite telling people what YOU say happens in their lives, you look stupid. And don’t forget those pesky facts. Thanks!

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          • Not surprisingly I was planning to answer your last paragraph as well, Steve, in much the same way Wally did, but from a different perspective. I actually was raised in the church. I don’t remember a time when my family didn’t attend. And yet, it was in my teen years that I had my greatest doubts about my relationship with God. Sure, I faced other doubts later, but the point is, no one becomes a Christian simply by being exposed over and over. You should know that from your own experience, Steve. You’ve said more than once that you were “indoctrinated” as a child, and yet, here you are, not a Christian.

            There’s an analogy some Christians used a number of years ago: a car does not become a car by sitting in a garage. In the same way, people don’t become Christians by sitting in a church.

            In addition, you inaccurate statement can’t explain someone like InsanityBytes who was raised by atheists, or Nabeel Qureshi who was raised Muslim or Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel or J. Warner Wallace who were themselves atheists and converted. There are just so many people who don’t fit the mold you try to pour Christians into.

            And Wally is right. We both have told you that you are wrong about Christians, but you keep repeating the indoctrinated line. I worry for you, Steve. Have you become forgetful so you simply have forgotten that we have refuted this baseless idea before? Or are you too uncaring to check out these things yourself? Or perhaps it is you who has been so indoctrinated that you believe this lie in the face of facts to the contrary. None of these is a good place to be, and I actually wish better for you, Steve.

            Becky

            Liked by 1 person

          • In answer to you and Wally. Whatever your personal journey has involved through life so far, it is undeniable that it was a direct or indirect Christian environment. Part of my point was to highlight that you could not be given a fair and equal exposure to any other religions or even given a fair assessment of a secular position because of where you lived.

            “but the point is, no one becomes a Christian simply by being exposed over and over. You should know that from your own experience, Steve. You’ve said more than once that you were “indoctrinated” as a child, and yet, here you are, not a Christian.”

            Yes, I agree totally Becky, however what is fed into the brain even if it is once or regularly will quite often locate within the subconscious if at the time you had some emotional consideration that this information may be serious enough to possibly have an effect on your life.

            You see, we learn many, many things during our growing and developing years but most are not idealistic or dramatic enough to make profound effects on our lives and futures and they will never be emotionally etched within our subconscious minds.

            A religious ideology can be absorbed by any mind at any time, and the person can become emotionally responsive to issues as they are preached such as being born a sinner, Jesus died for you and eternal life after death etc, etc. The indoctrinated seed can be planted at any exposure without knowing it and bought to fruition at a later date.

            There are some of us such as in my own case, where I was raised in a Christian environment, however the Biblical message had no profound effect. I always thought that I was not convinced. In my case the religious preaching had not left any emotional scars in my subconscious mind and I had no wishes to rekindle the subject for the sake of any reason for many years, however I was prompted through certain colleagues and family members to bring the issues back into the light. Hence, the internet explosion and you know the rest of the story, lets thank your God that I am here along with his faithful followers😊

            “Oh, almost forgot. We still await your evidence to support your assertion that the nonexistence of Heaven and hell are pure unadulterated fact.”

            Wally it truly is currently an unadulterated fact that heaven and hell do not exist, until of course you can support your claim that they do exist and that becomes an unadulterated fact.

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          • Really? I challenge that in completeness and your statement further proves that you are a condescending know it all. You say it’s a factor of where we lived. That’s fascinating really because large parts of my life were spent in places where evangelical Christianity was not the norm. Oops! Steve your attempts to tell others how their life unfolded make you look stupid. I’m done with you and frankly think Becky should be too.

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          • Ok you spent tons of time in non-Christian countries living or serving overseas. The fact is at some time you will have received some Christian instruction and formed a subconsciously maintained connection with Christianity regardless of where you were.

            Of course, I am a condescending know it all, and stupid Wally, I just cannot meet your level of Christian pride and intellect😊

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  5. Steve,. I’m taking my reply to your comment out of the nested replies again.

    I’m not done with you, as Wally seems to be, Steve. Actually I find it interesting how you dodge and backpedal and twist and ignore what we say.

    I gave you a Muslim and Indian and three atheists as examples of Christians who were not “indoctrinated.” But you come back and say, it’s where you live. Set aside the man from India for the moment, I assume you mean a country that has been strongly influenced by Christianity. That sounds good, but what do you say when native Ecuadorian cannibals—the huaorani, come to Christ? Here’s a short video of the man who killed Nate Saint, speaking with Nate’s son, the translator:

    And Steve, Wally is right. YOU are the one claiming knowledge about heaven and hell, therefore the burden of proof is on your shoulders. You can’t make an absolute statement and then say, prove me wrong. That’s not the way logic works, or science, which you so passionately say, guides your thinking.

    If you care an ounce for the truth, you’ll at least ask yourself, If Christianity is a product of “indoctrination,” why do people in an isolated tribe in Ecuador share the same faith. Or ones in Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Kenya?

    Becky

    Liked by 1 person

    • “And Steve, Wally is right. YOU are the one claiming knowledge about heaven and hell, therefore the burden of proof is on your shoulders.”

      Burden of proof is the obligation to prove one’s assertion.

      I am claiming heaven and hell does not exist because Christianity has claimed it does exist for thousands of years without producing any evidence to support the claim. I have exercised my obligation to prove my assertion it does not exist by also producing no evidence. Therefore, neither has evidence, so we both should agree that there is nothing to find and nothing to believe, it is that simple.

      Becky, If I had claimed a two headed monster lived in some part of your country I would have to provide evidence it existed, would I not? Until it is identified in some way it can only be a rumour or myth. How could you prove it does not exist?

      “why do people in an isolated tribe in Ecuador share the same faith. Or ones in Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Kenya?”

      Because thousands of Christian missionaries went to those countries and many others to evangelise the populations. I know this because my stepmother was one of them who spent many years in African countries. Many of these people were poor, uneducated, lived in remote areas and were easily converted into the white man’s western religions. Above all, the majority of these people were very strongly locked into superstitious beliefs. In fact, in 2014 a news article was published that highlights just how superstitions were ruling their lives.

      The murder and persecution of women and children accused of being witches is spreading and destroying the lives of millions of people, experts said. Aides to U.N. special investigators said killings and violence against alleged witch women were becoming common events in countries ranging from South Africa to India.

      It was agreed that poverty, the current world economic crisis, scapegoats for their misfortunes and the illnesses they suffered were responsible. But some preachers of major religions and governments were also responsible, they said.

      I can send you links to support this if you desire, however I doubt you will want to believe any of it is genuine anyway.

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      • Steve: “I have exercised my obligation to prove my assertion it does not exist by also producing no evidence. Therefore, neither has evidence, so we both should agree that there is nothing to find and nothing to believe, it is that simple.”

        Hahahah! That’s a good one, Steve. You say A and I say B, so let’s just agree that I’m right and it’s B. Where’s the logic in THAT?

        But here’s the thing: at best you could be agnostic, since you discount the evidence of the Bible. But to come out and say that YOU KNOW there’s no heaven or hell, means, at it’s simplest, you know what exists in the entire universe, every part of it.

        Of course, we Christians believe in the spiritual realm which we can’t see with physical eyes, that that’s actually where heaven is. And hell. The thing is, Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us, so there’s reason to believe that heaven isn’t finished yet. But Jesus was clear about the existence, both of a place where we who believe will be with Him and a place of judgment. So, please, stop with the “you have no evidence,” line. We do have evidence, eyewitness evidence of the best kind. That you dismiss it, ignore it, does not mean there is no evidence. It only means that you don’t accept the evidence.

        So, where is your evidence, you who apparently knows what exists in every part of the universe, and it’s not heaven or hell? Anywhere. Where is your evidence? It’s a bit shocking, Steve, that you just make this stuff up and then say you believe in science.

        Steve: “Because thousands of Christian missionaries went to those countries and many others to evangelise the populations. ” You are speaking from your ignorance of Christianity again. And apparently of the world. No, thousands of missionaries had not been in the jungles of the Amazon. These young couples that went in the 1950s were the first, and the Huroni killed the men when they attempted to make contact. It was only afterward when the wife of one and sister of another returned to Ecuador that the first of that people group had contact with “missionaries,” heard the good news about Jesus Christ, and changed. If you watched the video, the “grandfather” was the man who killed Nate’s father, but after he came to Christ, his life changed. He’s a first generation “hearer” and a first generation convert. No, he was not indoctrinated by missionaries.

        And by the way, Ecuador is not in Africa! What your stepmother did has nothing to do with what happened with the people from this tribe.

        Again, you have to make me chuckle, Steve. You say that the Africans (whichever country you might be talking about—after all, the continent is 3 and 1/2 times larger than the US, so what happens in one area may not have happened anywhere else) are “locked into superstitious beliefs” but magically, it would seem, the “white man” shows up and suddenly they convert. Doesn’t that make you realize that something besides “indoctrination” happened?

        I have no idea what you’re going on about in South Africa and India. Killings, violence, crime against women, hatred, poverty. Since when are these only third world problems? And anyone can say “some preachers of major religions” are partly responsible. That could be preachers of Islam or whatever. There is no indication that Christianity has done anything but free people from superstition and sin and guilt and the Law.

        You would be wise to study what you oppose a little, Steve, because you are truly demonstrating that all you have is our own indoctrination. You know, it’s commonly believed that people accuse others of their very own problem, and I suspect that’s precisely what you’re doing.

        Becky

        Liked by 1 person

        • “But to come out and say that YOU KNOW there’s no heaven or hell, means, at it’s simplest, you know what exists in the entire universe, every part of it.”

          The fact is Becky, you laugh at my claim, however it is a far more realistic claim than your claim that everything in the Bible to you is 100% the word of a superficial entity. That is to quote your words, “means at its simplest, you know what exists in the entire universe, every part of it.”

          “Of course, we Christians believe in the spiritual realm which we can’t see with physical eyes, that that’s actually where heaven is. And hell.”

          This is correct, so how do you know it exists, did God take you there and show you around? All religions from the beginnings of ancient man has incorporated an afterlife of some kind in religions, Christianity has just copied the concept.

          “So, where is your evidence, you who apparently knows what exists in every part of the universe, and it’s not heaven or hell? Anywhere. Where is your evidence? It’s a bit shocking, Steve, that you just make this stuff up and then say you believe in science.”

          When all religions have been unable to demonstrate that these places exist for many thousands of years it is apparent they never will and science cannot find any existence, therefore heaven and hell cannot and do not exist. I say this with 100% confidence.

          Ecuador was not singled out by my comment and I did not claim it was part of Africa. Africa as a continent had many thousands preaching Christianity to the native peoples and continues to this day. Close your eyes to whatever horrors do not suit you, however the burning of witches has been a real problem in these countries and the Christian Bible has passages about these type of people who are labelled as witches. To quote only a couple of gruesome passages that these primitive people were taught to believe and literally carried them out o their own people.

          “Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”

          “Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

          Do not believe me? Check these out.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft_accusations_against_children_in_Africa
          http://theconversation.com/whats-behind-children-being-cast-as-witches-in-nigeria-57021

          “And anyone can say “some preachers of major religions” are partly responsible. That could be preachers of Islam or whatever. There is no indication that Christianity has done anything but free people from superstition and sin and guilt and the Law.”

          Very nicely sanitised Becky. You have to admit your religion is far from being squeaky clean, and I would imagine my stepmother may not have been aware of these problems and would not have either been informed by the church or she consciously chose not to look and see. I expect and would like to think it was the former because she was a very good loving woman and would likely have been disturbed by this and I recon she would turn over in her grave if she knew the extent of the bloodshed she had helped create.

          “because you are truly demonstrating that all you have is our own indoctrination.”

          Call me whatever you like Becky, so then, what do you call village people who go on a rampage killing women and children in their own village as witches after being exposed to Christian teachings?

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        • First, Steve, God is anything but “superficial.” Perhaps you meant “supernatural,” I don’t know. But God is all knowing, so why wouldn’t I take His word for . . . anything? I’d be foolish to ignore the One who makes heaven and hell, the One who came from heaven to earth and has returned. But you repeat that evidence you don’t believe is no evidence. But that simply is not true. You can claim that I am relying on dubious evidence, if you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are relying on NO evidence.

          But you have done what so many other atheists do. When you can’t answer, you simply deflect. So when I demonstrate with facts that people of various cultures and ethnicities have turned to Christ even though they have not received the “brainwashing” you have claimed is at the root of Christianity, you bring up Africa and witchcraft, which has nothing to do with anything we were talking about.

          Nevertheless, I’ll follow your rabbit trail.

          The thing is, Steve, you are simply demonstrating to a greater degree that you do not know what Christianity says or what the Bible is all about.

          You quote a verse from Leviticus, written to the nation of Israel when God was their king, and then one from Revelation which reveals the judgment to come in the life after life. Neither of those verses have anything to do with now, and Christians know this. So you can be sure that if someone is misusing the Bible to do crime, they are not actually believers of the Bible.

          I’m wondering if you even read the articles to which you linked, or perhaps you don’t understand Christianity, so when the articles say on several occasions, “have incorporated African witchcraft beliefs into their brand of Christianity,” you don’t see that this is another way of saying, NOT BIBLICAL.

          I have seen videos of these so called “pastors” manipulating people to bark like dogs and grovel on the ground. That’s the activity of charlatans and has nothing to do with Christ and the gospel. Read the Bible and you will know this is true. Where did Jesus ever tell His followers to burn witches? Of course, He didn’t! He said to love your enemies, to pray for those who misuse you. He freed people from demon control so that they could live whole, healthy, and productive lives.

          In truth, Christians are dealing with a worldwide problem that plagues children in particular: sex trafficking. Here’s just one article that features the efforts in one African country—https://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/a-church-in-the-slums/

          This is what Christians do in response to the call of Jesus to make disciples of ALL. Here’s one Christian organization of many that addresses the needs of orphans, through adoption but also through other means. And burning the witches is not one of the activities—https://cafo.org/

          Rest assured, Steve, your mother-in-law likely had nothing to do with the abuse of power of people in Nigeria who are calling themselves Christians even as they practice superstitious, anti-Christian activities.

          Becky

          P. S. Here’s another eye-opening article about orphan care by Christians—http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Christian-Investment-in-Orphan-Care-and-Adoption-Continues-to-Climb-Dramatically

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          • “so why wouldn’t I take His word for . . . anything?”

            Many reasons Becky, the idea that the Bible was written by God through men is a good tale. The other reasons include the inaccuracies, the legitimacy of some passages and the controversial interpretations of the scriptures that make this Bible the most unreliable source of information you could possibly have.

            “But you repeat that evidence you don’t believe is no evidence. But that simply is not true.”

            I do not know what source of information you have to base this “simply not true” statement on. Please divulge. As far as I am aware, if something cannot be found there is a good chance it does not exist unless someone can prove otherwise.

            “But you have done what so many other atheists do. When you can’t answer, you simply deflect. So when I demonstrate with facts that people of various cultures and ethnicities have turned to Christ even though they have not received the “brainwashing” you have claimed is at the root of Christianity, you bring up Africa and witchcraft, which has nothing to do with anything we were talking about.”

            I do believe you bought up this question and I just gave you the facts, remember this?

            “why do people in an isolated tribe in Ecuador share the same faith. Or ones in Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Kenya?”

            Witchcraft has had everything to do with Christianity and “brainwashing” over many centuries, but I guess this is all a bit overwhelming for today’s Christians.

            “So you can be sure that if someone is misusing the Bible to do crime, they are not actually believers of the Bible.”

            “so when the articles say on several occasions, “have incorporated African witchcraft beliefs into their brand of Christianity,” you don’t see that this is another way of saying, NOT BIBLICAL”

            I take your points; however, this problem was widespread there was not just one or two isolated cases, it came down to these people taking the Biblical word at its literal meaning to justify their behaviour. Don’t forget these were extremely primitive people who lived off superstitious beliefs that believed in voodooism and witchcraft for thousands of years, but they were exposed to Christianity through indoctrination methods from missionaries and expected to live as the Bible dictated.

            It is “NOT BIBLICAL” when living in today’s modern educated world I agree; however this witch persecution has happened before in many other western countries, the USA for one, and because Christianity appears to have not learnt these lessons and wanted to evangelise disadvantaged primitive peoples and disregard the consequences it was a terrible outcome and a disaster don’t you agree?

            “Here’s one Christian organization of many that addresses the needs of orphans, through adoption but also through other means.”

            Agreed that the disasters are often accompanied by the good people from religious organisations. It is just a shame that some of these organisations and individuals are often motivated to indoctrinate victims with their ideology at their most vulnerable time.

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          • * //Please divulge. As far as I am aware, if something cannot be found there is a good chance it does not exist unless someone can prove otherwise.// I have said several times, Jesus is the eyewitness of heaven, the One who is the judge, who knows what punishment awaits those who reject Him. His word is evidence, though you choose not to believe it. I choose to believe it. Because you don’t, you cannot say I have no evidence. I have an eyewitness account!

            *Steve, I’m pretty sure we’ve gone through all the issues about the Bible, but I’ll do a special blog post just for you. But my point was based on God’s omniscience and omnipotence. I understand you don’t believe He exists, but you have to admit, since I do believe He exists, I would be a fool not to take His word for whatever He wants to reveal to us. I mean, He KNOWS.

            * //I do believe you bought up this question and I just gave you the facts, remember this?// Steve, this makes me think you care more about being right than actually having a discussion. No, I did not bring up Africa. I gave you several illustrations of people who have come to Christ outside the realm of “brainwashing” which you claimed is at the root of Christianity. It’s a ridiculous claim since Christianity grew from a culture in which Christ had been crucified. No one was brainwashing all those early converts. You would know this if you read the Bible, especially the book of Acts.

            *//Witchcraft has had everything to do with Christianity and “brainwashing” over many centuries, but I guess this is all a bit overwhelming for today’s Christians.// Another idea you have made up and have no evidence to support.

            *//because Christianity appears to have not learnt these lessons and wanted to evangelise disadvantaged primitive peoples and disregard the consequences it was a terrible outcome and a disaster don’t you agree?// I do not agree. Christianity has nothing to do with what a false teacher does. False. As in, not true. Anyone can twist anything, but that does not mean the person who originally wrote the something is responsible for the way it was twisted.

            *And there you go again with the indoctrination claim. I wonder if you understand what that word means, Steve. You are clearly using it in ways that are not true, and you continue to do so even though I’ve demonstrated with the Huroni video that what you believe is simply not so. All that to say, you really are demonstrating your own indoctrination by someone, because you keep saying the same thing in spite of the evidence to the contrary.

            But in truth, this is just another deflection tactic. Let’s not focus on what Christians actually do since I demonstrated that they have nothing to do with the witch burning you accuse them of. Let’s switch to brainwashing now. Can’t prove one thing? Just redirect the conversation and make a different accusation. Yep, these are good atheist tactics. Is that Richard Dawkins? Isn’t he the one who instructs atheists how to talk to Christians?

            And you think Christians are brainwashed. I’m shaking my head here, Steve.

            Becky

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          • It appears from your reply to my comments Becky that you are an outright denier of historic or current events and reality. What is more you also deny scientific evidence and the authority it necessitates.

            “Let’s not focus on what Christians actually do since I demonstrated that they have nothing to do with the witch burning you accuse them of.”

            You demonstrated exactly what? Witches were burnt at the stake by early Christians in Europe. This is an absolute fact so do not whitewash the truth with “they were not real Christians” or “they were all just criminals” or “Christianity has nothing to do with what a false teacher does” and “anyone can twist anything” because at the time Christian hierarchy and the laws of the land supported them for many years.

            “I gave you several illustrations of people who have come to Christ outside the realm of “brainwashing”

            I have already explained how indoctrination works in most circumstances on a previous comment and sending me videos of Christian charities are supposed to prove what exactly?

            You need to understand that real Christians as much as they can be good they can also be bad people but really believe as you do that they are doing God’s work; however they could also be mentally unstable just like anybody else could be because Christians have no exclusive hold on goodness.

            “I wonder if you understand what that word means, Steve.” and “because you keep saying the same thing in spite of the evidence to the contrary.”

            These are good throwaway lines, but I have quoted the dictionary meanings of indoctrination many times and you can look them up, but your eyes stay firmly closed and what evidence do you mean and where is this evidence to disprove it because indoctrination is as real as it gets. It is the lifeblood of all religions, you are indoctrinated to the extreme, take a look in the mirror.

            Why can you not think outside the restrictive box you are in?
            Your narrow focus and belief of everything that has ever happened on Earth or exists today is always contrary to the real world to solely defend and suit your ideological faith at all costs.

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          • Steve, I’m closing the comments to this post because we are both doing nothing more than repeating the same things to each other. You will not acknowledge that you actually do not have evidence for the things you believe and yet you stand staunchly on the idea that you are somehow scientific. It’s not true. You then want to act as if all people who profess Christianity are all the same. But if I ever said all atheists are the same, you’d be up in arms about that! You act as if I have said Christians are perfect and are different from others, but I have never said that. Just the opposite. Christians are just as sinful as anyone else. The only difference is that we are forgiven, but Christianity DOES NOT burn witches. People of years gone by who burned witches were not living out what the Bible says. I don’t know their hearts, but from their actions I would say they certainly were not living like Christians. Because some governments sponsored Christianity as the state church, means that many, many, many people professed Christ just so they could avoid governmental judgment. That’s also not Christianity. Jesus Christ said Himself, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Yet some false teachers and some misguided zealots keep trying to establish an earthly kingdom and claim it has something to do with Christ. Well, as long as it goes counter to Christ’s own words, we know that they are false. So all your ideas about what Christians believe have been scrambled by the false mixed in with the true.

            That’s not your fault, but if you were a person interested in Truth as you pretend to be, you’d do the research to separate what is Christianity from what is not.

            It’s laughable that you make a statement about me being in a restrictive box when, in fact, you are the one with the narrow view, dismissing the supernatural without cause. You and other atheists like you say, there’s no evidence for God. But when we present the resurrection of Christ as evidence, you say, well, that couldn’t have happened. In other words, you ignore the evidence and then claim falsely that there is no evidence.

            You are sad, Steve, because you make wild claims that you simply make up and can’t defend. You are the one who has bought in, hook, line and sinker, to a worldview that you cling to no matter what. And that’s sad. It’s really sad because your soul is at stake.

            You have no reason for this discussion, it seems, other than to win. To feel superior, perhaps. But I care about your soul. About what will happen to you when you die. This is not a game to me. You and your life are at stake. That’s why I care whether or not you can get past your biases and open your mind to what you haven’t considered before. That’s why I care whether or not you read the Bible, and decide for yourself based on what it says instead of believing Dawkins and following his debate tactics.

            I wish you the best, Steve. I really do.

            Becky

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