Talking To Atheists

“Black holes are cosmic objects that harbour a gravitational field so powerful that nothing, not even light or radiation can escape.”

Atheists and Christians look at life and the world from diametrically opposed views, so having a conversation between those who hold to those divergent opinions is not easy. On one hand, atheists, believing only in scientifically verifiable substance, are convinced that God does not exist. Some even question the historicity of Jesus. These fundamental positions lead them to dismiss the Bible as more myth than an accurate historical source.

In contrast, Christians know that God and an entire supernatural realm beyond the scope of science, exist. This fundamental position leads us to accept the Bible not only as accurate but authoritative since the words and thoughts are God’s, written by humans through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Most of that last paragraph would be nearly unintelligible to atheists. After all, from their perspective there is no God, therefore no Holy Spirit, no inspiration, leaving the Bible to be a book of made-up stories and rules.

Generally conversation between those holding the two opposing positions means one side creates a “convincing” argument dismantling the position of the other, only to have the reverse occur during rebuttal.

So does that mean there is no way the two can discuss the big issues of life? There certainly is a barrier. From my perspective as a Christian, I feel as if I’m trying to convince someone who is colorblind that the sky is blue. It’s an obvious fact to me, but he has no knowledge of blue and therefore considers everything I say to be nonsense.

From his perspective I imagine he has what seems to be the most obvious, basic, clear, tangible standards by which reality can be determined, but Christians claim truth on the basis of those standards plus something intangible, unclear, obscure, and convoluted.

If I’m right, both sides shake their heads at the other and say, how can they be so ignorant?

In reality, I as a Christian would like to learn to talk to atheists, but to do that means bridging this worldview divide. Oh, sure, we can talk at each other—I can quote Scripture, which they don’t believe, and they can quote “Bible scholars” who don’t believe the Bible. I can throw out names of Christian scientists and they can list three times as many atheist scientists. I can present archeological data supportive of the Bible, and they can point to detail after detail in the Bible for which no historical evidence exists. I can discuss cosmology and the need for an intelligent designer to explain intelligent complexity, and they can discuss evolution and the natural development of all life.

The point is, we aren’t actually talking to one another. Rather, I’d like to find out, beyond theory, why atheists believe as they do.

Some, of course, believe they have come to the only rational, intelligent conclusion possible, but that presupposes that the human mind can know all that is or is not in the vast cosmos, including the multiverse and the possible different dimensions, should string theory prove to be true.

Ah, but there lies the problem. We humans don’t know if string theory is true. We don’t know if there are other dimensions. And if there are? Why would those dimensions have to be like ours? Might not there be a spiritual dimension filled with the supernatural?

Humankind is still looking for evidence of life in space though we don’t know for sure if it exists or if it will be intelligent should it exist. Despite that uncertainty, atheists are certain God is not there. Life maybe; God absolutely not.

All the above to point out that claims to “the only rational, intelligent conclusion possible” are hardly sufficient to answer the question why someone is an atheist.

On the other hand, if someone asks a Christian why they believe as they do, I think the answer might also be categorical—something along the lines of, I’m convinced Jesus is who He said He is: Son of God, Savior, Lord.

And where’s the evidence, atheists will answer.

Where indeed? Within the pages of the Bible the atheist doesn’t believe in; by the witness of the Holy Spirit living in each Christian, which the atheist doesn’t believe in; through the power of a changed life which the atheist has no way to measure or to ascribe cause.

It seems we’ve returned to the impasse. But I keep coming back to the question why the atheist can’t accept what he can’t see for himself—at least when it comes to God. He can’t see gravity, but believes in it; can’t see black holes, but (most) would agree they exist.

When it comes to God, however, inferring His existence from the effect He has on life (which is how we know about gravity and black holes) is insufficient evidence. So “a cosmic accident” is a better explanation for the existence of life than is an intelligent designer.

Why?

Maybe if I understood that, I’d understand atheists better.

This article is a re-post of one that first appeared here in October 2014.

122 Comments

  1. “So “a cosmic accident” is a better explanation for the existence of life than is an intelligent designer.”
    Why?

    Sorry Becky but I don’t expect you will ever understand. You must first of all understand that religious indoctrination will not allow you to deviate from your ideological principles, you will always find an answer regardless but unrecognisable to you of how bizarre it may be.

    You only have to look at Christian theists answers of condoning sections in the Bible such as slavery, the punishments through the violence instigated by God and his people.

    You only have to listen to the bickering and condemnation of one self-righteous Christian group to another group or to another religion to understand exactly that these gods and the stories are nothing but an indoctrinated human invention.

    You only have to hear the outright rejection of archaeological and scientific evidence that contradicts the Bible from a handful of scientists with the faith based claims for the creation or intelligent design stories rather than the admittance that they do not know.

    All these items and many more like these from the atheist position are weighed up and based not just on science but on real life, the here and now, logical conclusions, education and on many hundreds of observable facts.

    The atheist ideals do not involve the supernatural world because it is not observable and identifiable, or on ancient writings from bronze age people who we know almost nothing about or on individual faith in an ideology pressed firmly into their mind, therefore you do not have the freedom of clear thought, even though you will argue that you do.

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  2. Steve, I appreciate your perspective, I really do. I just don’t understand why you think my “indoctrination” is different from that of atheists who say they were once Christians, or of atheist who were raised as atheists but have converted to Christianity. It simply can’t be both ways: if we are only a product of our upbringing, then no one should be changing what they believe and that just isn’t so.

    Most of the rest of your comment points to the sins of Christians. Steve, I hope I have not given you any notion that Christians don’t sin or simply make mistakes. I don’t agree with a lot of what other people say about the Bible. I have reason to believe that the people holding to a strict 6 24-hour day for creation, are wrong. As it happens, I’m reading a book right now by a renowned astronomer who is going through Church history, pointing to scholars who held a different view down through the ages. It seems this emphasis on the time involved in creation is a fairly new issue.

    People misusing Scripture down through time or today, is a black mark on God’s name, and it’s shameful, but those things are not reasons to disbelieve.

    At least you admit that you are limiting your thinking to a presupposition—that only matter exists. You have no evidence for that belief, and in fact the belief itself can’t be falsified, so you are simply demonstrating that there is, in fact, more to life, to thought even, than matter.

    I wish you would expand your thinking a little, Steve. Do you never ask the philosophical questions science cannot answer? Why are we here? Where are we going? What purpose does life serve? Why do we think there’s a right and a wrong? You clearly do think there’s right/wrong as you demonstrate in this comment. Where did you sense of truth come from? Of morality? On and on. Science has nothing to say to these things. Do you not want to ever explore beyond what you can hold in your hand?

    Becky

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    • “I just don’t understand why you think my “indoctrination” is different from that of atheists who say they were once Christians, or of atheist who were raised as atheists but have converted to Christianity. It simply can’t be both ways: if we are only a product of our upbringing, then no one should be changing what they believe and that just isn’t so.”

      This is exactly the crux of the problem Becky. Indoctrination can only be a mind developing system such as through a political, religious or a social nature that is usually transferred through repetitive teaching systems, peer influences or even a generative family lifestyle. The indoctrinated person will defend their beliefs and personal realities with emotional vigour regardless of anything that may contradict the doctrines or traditions of their ideology.

      Atheism is ground zero, the neutral ground, the default state of mind. To be an atheist you do not have to believe in anything, this you should know very well Becky, indeed it is the non-belief of all ancient gods and deities that are claimed by theists to rule our lives from a perceived supernatural world. Atheism has no recognition, seen as only myths just as any story in wonderland, however a spaghetti monster or an alien with an antenna’s on their head from another planet are quite an acceptable belief to have.

      Atheists have no single ideals to adhere too, atheists can pray to John Lennon or Christopher Hitchens if they like. They do not hold classes to discuss what to believe, no Hitchens miracles nor do they have any books of rules, laws and doctrines or church hierarchies to rule their lives.

      I do understand how you will not see this obvious difference as we do a complete circle and I will go straight back to your blindness due to indoctrination.

      “People misusing Scripture down through time or today, is a black mark on God’s name, and it’s shameful, but those things are not reasons to disbelieve.”

      This is a classic example of indoctrination. This fact alone, where you are so sure they are wrong, there are countless contradictions in the Bible that are taken to high academic levels of discussion but are consequently far below what the pinnacle of instruction should be for any rational person to want to commitment their entire life too.

      It appears to be like three or four mechanics who cannot agree on the right process to repair an engine fault but swear black and blue their way is the right way because it was what they were taught many years previous. This is a mild example because all are based on reality, but with further tuition from new knowledge and relevant facts for new vehicles these people will change and adjust their thinking and processes, unlike theists.

      “Do you never ask the philosophical questions science cannot answer? Why are we here? Where are we going? What purpose does life serve? Why do we think there’s a right and a wrong? You clearly do think there’s right/wrong as you demonstrate in this comment. Where did you sense of truth come from? Of morality? On and on. Science has nothing to say to these things. Do you not want to ever explore beyond what you can hold in your hand?”

      Have you never heard of “what you see is what you get”? It does not get any better than life as we know it, we are animals at the top of the food chain due to our most powerful brains, therefore life is pure survival and we then die. We can ask all the philosophical questions that by definition is speculation, we can also fantasise, imagine and make believe whatever we like, however science requires far more than this and will continue to say a great deal on these things.

      I agree Becky, it would be very nice to have another life after this one that has none of the problems this life throws at us. If there were no gods would you believe this afterlife existed? No why would you, simply silly, right?

      If you were told to believe someone could make sure you get to an afterlife, without a god you would ask how do they know it exists?”
      Of course the story continues into the supernatural with gods and various deities that cannot be seen on planet Earth and their superpowers are written about by ancient and primitive people recorded from the early Greeks to the most recent theologies. People throughout human history have seen ghosts and monsters, promoted by spiritualists, psychics and the odd human messiah or godly connected preacher and this has offered much credibility to the supernatural concept.

      If you are progressively instructed in a particular ideology and socialise with others who are faithful believers your brain simply does the rest because it can accommodate your desires by allowing this amazing God to be the truth for you and this is becoming indoctrinated, as becoming emotionally excited and spiritualistic within your conscious mind through focusing on the traditional ideological aspects that drives your faith. The brain is accommodating your will and is fooled into ignoring normal rationality and reality by justifying your theological beliefs regardless of contrary facts, similar to the placebo effect or the “sensed presence” that people experience or those who can see dead people, spirits or ghosts. Very difficult to break free of your own mind control, but it has been identified by neuroscientists and can be done.

      When you consider the history of man and their gods, the lack of observable scientific evidence that rejects the creationist ideals and every story told by man well before and during Christianity that is not physically possible it seriously is a manifestation within the most awesome computer on Earth, the human brain.

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      • Steve, I’m sorry, but atheism is “ground zero”? I’ve been told by atheists that there is no such thing as atheism. You can’t both be right.

        Becky

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        • Fair enough, ground zero or the default state of all animals on the planet is atheist and I stand corrected as atheism is a wrong term to use because Atheist is a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods and it means absolutely nothing else.

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          • And there’s an indication of the error in your beliefs, Steve: no animals have beliefs about God. They don’t worship, they don’t blaspheme. The have no relationship with Him, as His friend or His enemy. But humans actually do have the default to know that there is someone greater than they. You have to teach them to not believe—which was my point earlier, demonstrated by the belief in the supernatural down through the ages, world wide, throughout all cultures.

            Becky

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          • “And there’s an indication of the error in your beliefs, Steve: no animals have beliefs about God.”

            And there’s an indication of the error in your education Becky, I stand corrected however because we humans are more accurately classed as mammals, the only difference is our cognitive superiority, and that is often not clear cut.

            “You have to teach them to not believe”

            Do you mean in the supernatural? When churches indoctrinate the superstitious and supernatural it is no different from Psychic Mediums Clairvoyants promoting their wares. You should see this is an example of your own indoctrination as you are forced into making up irrational claims just as Tarot Readers when you are forced to protect your ideological doctrines. Children normally grow out of supernatural beliefs, however if they have nightmares an adult will often reassure them that ghosts and monsters do not exist.

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          • Steve, you make me laugh because you have no idea what my own experience is. Yet you make claims that I have disproved.

            Here’s another one.I recently watched a YouTube video of Bart Ehrman debating William Lane Craig. Both men agree that they both were reared in similar circumstances, that they even went to the same Christian college, that Ehrman even went to a Bible college, and yet one supports the existence of God and the other rejects Him. What happened to your supposed “indoctrination”? I think you’ve come up with that idea (because it certainly is not accurate, not scientific, and has no proof behind it) because you want to ignore what’s evident. You are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, as Paul puts it.

            And what a false idea you have: Children normally grow out of supernatural believes. Tell that to the millions of people all over the world who have lived their entire lives believing in the supernatural.

            I’m beginning to wonder if you had nightmares as a child since you seem so fixed on this idea.

            Becky

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          • Indoctrination is real Becky; your indoctrination does not allow you as a victim to recognise or understand it as part of your protectionism. Are you trying to prove you are free to think as you like and how can two men talking who were educated the same way disprove indoctrination?
            Check out the definitions it usually offers examples in religions and politics. If people are indoctrinated, they are taught a particular belief with the aim that they will reject other beliefs.

            Everybody does not succumb to indoctrination techniques, some of us are just too smart😊 in fact as in my own case even as a child I had no interest in claims that were impossible and obviously something similar later in life may have applied to Bart Ehrman.

            Indoctrination is a fact because it is in every English dictionary Becky, it has been proven, science understands it and is very real. Why do you deny things that happen and are obviously real?

            Western children do grow out of supernatural beliefs because it is not fixed in our culture, unless of course their heads are constantly filled with gods, devils, human sin and rising from the dead, heaven and hell, talking snakes etc.

            That is true that many millions of peoples who are from indigenous backgrounds and have primitive lives often with limited travel outside their community will naturally believe in a traditional local religion that may involve the supernatural and exploits of witch doctors and voodoo types of magical traditions, they are always likely have less education than the developed world children and therefore have minimal choices.

            Nightmares Becky, I have had only 2 in my life and both have been exactly the same, the last one was probably about 20 years ago and the first when I was when I was a teenager. The power of the brain Becky.

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          • Steve, I know indoctrination is real. But you simply do not know my experience or how funny it is that you think I was indoctrinated. If anything, I wanted to find a reason not to believe. I’m a prideful person and did not like being told I was a sinner. I kicked against the idea and tried to find a loophole. But as I’ve pointed out many times, that’s one thing that is absolutely falsifiable: all people sin. We even have the saying, Nobody’s perfect. Because atheists and theists all know it’s true. And that’s what my faith is based on: truth on a deeper level than just the stuff I can see and touch. It’s based on the truth of who I am in my person: a sinner. I can accept that and live with the consequences or I can look for an answer. The most reasonable answer is the one God revealed through His Son. It’s reasonable, kind, just, and merciful. Who wouldn’t want to know this God? I’m happy, glad, willfully eager to know Him. No need for anyone to trick me or to strong-arm me into believing.

            As far as the atheist and the theist coming from the identical background and yet making different choices, I am giving you an example of the FACT that Christians aren’t indoctrinated. Why you think I personally am, has me stumped. So I assume you are actually saying all Christians are indoctrinated. This example proves that simply is not true.

            Steve, I grew up during the Cold War, and in the public school I attended, we were taught what methods Communists used to indoctrinate their children. I not only learned it, but I could contrast their experience with my own. (And I have to say, there was much more freedom of thought in those days than there is now).

            So now you’re saying you aren’t a Christian because you are just too smart. Well, Steve, I’m afraid you’ve revealed the truth and it isn’t that you’re too smart. It’s that you think too highly of yourself. You think you are “at the top of the food chain” and that leaves no room for God.

            The real difference between Christians and people who disbelieve is that we know we are sinners. We know that we’re in trouble. We know we need help.

            But you, Steve, apparently say, NOPE, not a sinner, not in trouble. Don’t need help.

            Of course that’s the stand you have to take because you don’t think there’s anyone who could help you. Your mind is what you worship. Or rather your brain. Because actually the mind and the brain are not synonymous. The mind reasons, compares, contrasts, uses logic, rejects, accepts. Two brains can have the same input and reach different conclusions. But you revel in what you perceive to be your superior brain. And all you’re doing is proving what the Bible says. God gives people over to their own sinful desires. If you exchange the truth of God for a lie, you end up worshiping and serving your own passions. There is nothing else. So your life has what purpose? Your destiny is what? Futile. You have no hope and nothing to look forward to. I had a friend who used to say, Life is hard and then you die. That’s the life you’re living, Steve.

            Steve, you haven’t traveled much, have you? You’ve just insulted about 2/3 of the world by suggesting that they simply don’t know enough to not believe. It’s simply not true. You can say what you want about western culture. It’s true that people, even in the Middle East, who follow God, enjoy His blessing, and then start living independent of Him, stop worshiping Him. But that’s what the Bible says, too: “And although they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind to do those things which are not proper.” So that’s the West right now.

            So I’m not sure why you say, the power of the brain, because you had two nightmares in your life. I actually don’t think I have had any. Sure, I had some childhood fears (did not want to go on the stairs in the dark after seeing a Frankenstein movie, that sort of thing.) You can conclude that you have a strong mind, but Steve, you brought up the idea of nightmares. Not me. Which leads me to believe your two nightmares have troubled you and still trouble you. I mean you still remember then and when they were, so they must have influenced you greatly. But I guess belief in any god does have it’s effect.

            Becky

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          • “I wanted to find a reason not to believe. I’m a prideful person and did not like being told I was a sinner. I kicked against the idea and tried to find a loophole.”

            You did not like been called a sinner, so why be bullied into believing this fallacy in the first place? But then if you are told often enough by people you trust you would end up believing it, especially as a child.

            A loophole? You did not try very hard Becky. Surely you realised this is made to fit into the story of God, without sin this God would not exist, and did you not consider the scientific aspects of birth and genetics? How can any rational person in their right mind ever consider for one second that every baby born on Earth is a sinner, or in another words a baby who is intrinsically bad, all because some ancient people have claimed this in their holly book and how is such a thing possible?

            Born to good or bad parents and the fact that nobody is born perfect anyway is the reality, but born as an inherently bad baby? Maybe if you inherited genes from a linage of bad people indicate this or through mental problems due to a mothers drug and alcohol habits during pregnancy but it does not happen through supernatural terms.

            You were very easily led and obviously have trouble with the process of separating what really happens and basic facts from fictional stories. Other examples you recently claimed from the supernatural is God controlling the weather and the possibility of demon possession in regards of human mental sickness and are also not factual or biologically possible.

            You will defend your position against scientific issues that are indisputably true with your own truths, such as the age of the Earth or evolution. You have taken on an indoctrinated lifestyle that to your way of thinking is without compromise.

            “I am giving you an example of the FACT that Christians aren’t indoctrinated.”

            Yes I agree some are not, some willingly succumb to the rhetoric, possibly as you did due to influences from your subconscious mind, however many indoctrination’s are usually children who are fed repetitious religious ideology until they conform to the adults expectations. Whether it be any religion or politics I understand it is the major recruitment tool.

            Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality — Earl Nightingale.

            “I’m afraid you’ve revealed the truth and it isn’t that you’re too smart. It’s that you think too highly of yourself.”

            I said that as a joke, did my smiley face not show? However I do not really think I am very smart or think very highly of myself, but I have always been a realist, I lose interest in movies or TV episodes if they become unbelievable.

            “So your life has what purpose? Your destiny is what? Futile. You have no hope and nothing to look forward to. I had a friend who used to say, Life is hard and then you die. That’s the life you’re living,”

            I am extremely happy Becky; I am an old man and I have lived an honest life so far and when I die and go back to the state I was before I was born I just hope I left the planet in reasonable condition and some people on it will remember me with fondness for a while anyway. Your friend was smart.

            “Steve, you haven’t traveled much, have you?”

            I would wager I have travelled to more places around the world than you have Becky, I am not going to be big headed and list them, however I have military service and I have travelled as a civilian to many more places, starting when I was a teenager of 18.

            “You’ve just insulted about 2/3 of the world by suggesting that they simply don’t know enough”

            No Becky, it is not I who has insulted anyone but the insult comes from theists of religions who think these primitive and uneducated people should have a new god.

            “So I’m not sure why you say, the power of the brain, because you had two nightmares in your life.”

            Yes they were so realistic I woke up both times absolutely terrified. I was safe in my bed, however my brain actually gave me a terrifying experience, if that is not unbridled power I do not know what is. How have they influenced me, are you telling me it was an evil angel or something?

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          • Steve, as happens so often, I have to stop you before you get going. NO ONE BULLIED me into believing. Apparently that was what you experienced at some point, so you are projecting your own reaction on others who claim to be Christians.

            How can Christians “consider for one second that every baby born on Earth is a sinner”? Because we can see sin in every person who has ever lived. You can’t possibly think sin is society’s fault. If all people were without sin, how would society become sinful? Or maybe you think only some people are born sinful and they “infect” the rest of us. But don’t take my word for it: look into the Yale study on babies and the conclusion that the 60 Minutes anchor woman came to, and with which the scientist agreed. But they are apparently not rational, according to you, Steve. Yes, they attribute sin to evolution, which I find interesting (as in, wouldn’t no sin lead to survival better than sin?) But they do not dispute that babies are no blank slates as they once thought. Here’s the link to the post that I wrote on the subject. https://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/scientific-discovery-of-the-sin-nature/

            Steve, because you don’t know God or acknowledge Him as God, I don’t expect you to understand His “behind the scenes” work. It’s as if you are watching a play and think that no one is off stage changing scenery between acts. I get that. But I’m not sure why you think it necessary to belittle people who do see behind the curtain.

            So, Steve, since you admit that not all Christians are indoctrinated, why do you think you know my circumstances better than I do and that I am in the “indoctrinated” crowd. I’ve told you I’m not, and you now admit it’s possible that I’m not. Can we just put that issue to rest? Or will you continue insisting that a lie is true?

            I’m not going to quibble about your overseas experiences. I lived for years in other countries, so I kind of bristle at the idea that others who live somewhere else are “just not quite up to understanding what we all informed and educated westerners know.”

            But apparently you think it’s OK to teach others science but not theology. That makes sense, given your worldview. I happen to think that would be cruel.

            About your nightmares. As I’ve said, I’ve never had one, so I can’t really speak to the issue. My guess is that there are different causes for different people. But I certainly wouldn’t rule out a supernatural cause. What it is, I couldn’t say and wouldn’t even try to speculate.

            Becky

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          • Thank you for the baby experiment programme Becky.

            The point with the findings as you must be aware is that babies recognise good and bad behaviour and are able to act in either way. This in my opinion indicates they are born with certain inherent skills but do not exactly fit with your definition as a sinner that appears to have ignored the many other skills.

            Sinner, is a person who transgresses against divine law by committing an immoral act or acts.(Google)

            I am convinced that very young babies do not know or understand what good or bad is until they are exposed to these opposing actions involving kindness and unkindness. Most babies will know from birth what kindness is because they are nurtured by their mothers and they will understand and relate to loving and kindness, when witnessing anything that is not kindness they will initially reject it but this misbehaviour will be mimicked and developed as they age.

            Because the programme actually confirms these traits and many others as evolutionary aspects of human nature I am not surprised at all, because as I have said many times scientists have always said biological evolution is where we obtained our inherent survival skills and basic morals.

            “So, Steve, since you admit that not all Christians are indoctrinated, why do you think you know my circumstances better than I do and that I am in the “indoctrinated” crowd.”

            Becky, you may have been keen to take on the life of a Christian as many others have done, however that is just the first step. Once the ideology is consumed without question you have become indoctrinated. There are no two ways about it, you have defended your ideology without considering the facts from the real world, Indoctrination being one of them.

            If you do not consider that science has found much evidence and many facts over hundreds of years that contradict what theists have considered as divine truth you are not of rational thought, you are indoctrinated full stop. I know your arguments from your Bible and this is simply more futility from theists to argue their position over indisputable scientific positions and even more evidence of accepting an ideology over all odds and of indoctrination.

            “But apparently you think it’s OK to teach others science but not theology. That makes sense, given your worldview. I happen to think that would be cruel.”

            I have never said that Becky. My views of teaching creation or religious beliefs in schools you are well aware of. All religions are part of world history and should be taught as such. Teaching older children from 16 year old’s and adults about religious ideology would be acceptable because they are old enough to make up their minds and it should be done in the appropriate houses of worship, not centres of education.

            Of course the younger children are targeted by all religions for one reason only and I do not have to explain why that is, do I?

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          • Steve, your answers are always so long, I can only read a portion at a time. I’m not surprised that you agree with the Yale person that the cause of this ability to respond to good and bad is evolutionary. My point wasn’t to question the origin but to demonstrate the existence of sin within each and every one of us, even the smallest of children.

            Re the subject that will no die—your belief (so surprising in one who claims to live according to proof and evidence) that I have been “indoctrinated}: in some way you presume that my faith in Christ has been “consumed without question.” But again, you are showing what YOU believe, not what I have experienced. As it happens, I questioned for years, and actually I still question things I don’t understand. But you have no way of knowing this because for some reason it fits your view of the world better to believe that lie you continue to repeat it. Something you should know, Steve, saying it often does not actually make it so.

            You also continue to draw a false line between science and faith. Are you aware that most of the early scientists were Christians? They investigated nature because of their faith, not in spite of it. So only the false conclusions of atheists are in question, not the science itself.

            Sorry, I don’t have the context for my response to you about teaching science rather than theology. Clearly you do want to regulate what children learn. I mean, pretending that God did not create the sky, when a child asks, is the same as teaching them to not believe. And kids do ask. Why is the sky blue and where did we come from and what will happen when I die. Kids ask those questions. Answering them is not “indoctrination.”

            Becky

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          • “but to demonstrate the existence of sin within each and every one of us, even the smallest of children.”

            That did not demonstrate anything of the kind Becky, none of the individuals mentioned sin, it simply proved we have evolved with inherent attributes designed for our survival, anyway what about the good, you seem so hung up on the bad?

            “As it happens, I questioned for years, and actually I still question things I don’t understand.”

            Of course the Bible and the priests will gladly answer all your questions, you have no room for actual facts from real life, and as I have said failure to see this is indoctrination. If you have questions about communism and you ask a communist leader what answers do you think you will get?

            You like to think you have all the facts for everything you ask through God, and possibly you do, and you believe that is all you need in life. That is fine, it really is part of your religious faith to believe the doctrines, however using adult ideological beliefs to manipulate children’s minds is not ethical and grossly unfair to the child.

            “Are you aware that most of the early scientists were Christians?”

            Of course, this is so true because almost everyone was Christian in those early scientific days but they wanted to understand how things worked due to natural human curiosity thinking they would simply confirm the Biblical narratives. The problems soon arose when they got to clever and discovered too much, such as the shape of the Earth and that it was not supported on pillars, discovered it orbited the sun and why the weather happened but of course the evolutionary principles blew the Biblical accounts out of the water and it is a source of pain for theists 150 years later.

            “Clearly you do want to regulate what children learn.”

            Untrue, learning about everything including all religions is a good thing as they are a reality in everyday life, however it is an abomination to instruct children in any single ideology and declare it as fact.

            “pretending that God did not create the sky, when a child asks, is the same as teaching them to not believe.”

            You and I both know Becky just how anti-science you really are with such an answer as this.

            “Answering them is not “indoctrination.”

            Answering them with facts not faith is being truthful. You may as well say as I expect you do, that “God created everything that exists,” therefore they do not need to ask any more questions, and consequently you will be happy as they fail their school exams.

            Like

          • Actually the study did show that, and Leslie Stahl even drew that conclusion, though she did not use the word sin. The capacity for great good and great evil, I think she said, or something like that.

            Actually, I’m not hung up on evil. Good is certainly a part of the equation. We’ve been created in the image of God, and He is Good. But good is not our problem. It’s sin that separates us from God (and actually also from each other), not the good that can bring us to God. For this act of reconciliation, we need God’s good, not our own.

            “you have no room for actual facts from real life” Steve, I have no idea what you are saying here. Of course I have room for actual facts from real life. The thing you fail to accept is that I am not opposed to the material. I benefit from our increased understanding of the way nature works, and I am glad for it. I am not opposed to scientific investigation. It is YOU who are opposed to spiritual investigation, which you show over and over again, especially in your refusal to read the Bible. No, you don’t need to actually KNOW what or why Christians believe what we believe. It’s just easier to lock us all away and call it indoctrination.

            Steve, I’ve used the same argument you are using about investigating Christianity. You obviously see things only one way. To investigate Communism you do need to talk to Communists, but not exclusively Communists. Otherwise, if you only talk to those opposed to Communism, you are no better than they are. You have to actually do honest investigation. But you refuse to do that!

            Sorry, Steve, but saying God created is NOT anti-science. That’s a statement of absolute ignorance of what a Christian believes about God or about the fact that there is not a unified Christian doctrine spelled out in the Bible about how and when God created. You really need to do a little study if you want to talk about these things. Are you familiar with the astronomer Hugh Ross? Probably not because he’s a Christian. But he presents a different understanding of creation from the names you often hear in connection to creation. And he’s very much a scientist!

            Facts as you know them, Steve, are not the only facts. That’s what you can’t seem to get through your head. YOU. DON’T. KNOW. EVERYTHING. And yet you want to make yourself out to be the final authority over what is true and what is not. Well, sorry, but God is a much more reliable authority than you are. I hope that doesn’t hurt your feelings, but it’s true.

            Becky

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      • “They do not hold classes to discuss what to believe, no Hitchens miracles nor do they have any books of rules, laws and doctrines or church hierarchies to rule their lives.” You do have books. I’ve come across phrases from Richard Dawkins that any number of atheists have repeated. Of course you have books. No, atheists don’t have a governance that oversees how they behave. But I’m not sure I see why that matters.

        Becky

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      • Steve, you cannot tell me about “contradictions” in the Bible. You don’t read it, haven’t read it. Unless you’ve been indoctrinated to believe this is so.

        Becky

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        • I do not need to read the Bible to find contradictions Becky, just type “contradictions in the Bible” into Google and take your pick, but here is a small sample.

          GE 1:3-5 On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness.
          GE 1:14-19 The sun (which separates night and day) wasn’t created until the fourth day.
          GE 1:11-12, 26-27 Trees were created before man was created.
          GE 2:4-9 Man was created before trees were created.
          GE 1:24-27 Animals were created before man was created.
          GE 2:7, 19 Man was created before animals were created.
          GE 1:26-27 Man and woman were created at the same time.
          GE 2:7, 21-22 Man was created first, woman sometime later.
          GE 1:31 God was pleased with his creation.
          GE 6:5-6 God was not pleased with his creation.

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          • For goodness sake, Steve. Each one of these must be understood in context. Apart from that, take the first one: do you think the sun is the source of light? Really? Have you never studied the properties of light?

            The others you are misreading (or whoever you’re quoting from is misreading). Gen. 2. The chapter is not a chronology of events. It’s a closer look at man’s creation. Maybe you’re spoiled by movies that show things happening simultaneously by jump cutting from one to the other. The Hebrew writers didn’t write that way. Rule one of reading the Bible (which you’ve never learned because you are determined not to read it) is to do so from the perspective of history, genre, audience, intent.

            And clearly, the Gen. 6 “contradiction” is somebody stretching the truth because in between Gen. 1 and Gen. 6, humans sinned, and that changed everything. God wasn’t going to overlook sin and say, well, I made it good, but it’s not good now, but who cares. I’ll still call it good.

            Whoever made this list is obviously operating from an agenda, and clearly you are indoctrinated to believe these “contradictions” even though they aren’t true.

            Becky

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          • “Each one of these must be understood in context.”

            Now where have I heard that before Becky, every time anything such as contradictions or slavery, violence and killings are mentioned literally from the Bible we atheists have misread it, wrongly interpreted it, not read it in context etc, etc.

            If that is not a prime example of your indoctrination I will eat my hat.

            If all these things you say are true, why is it that literal people who are not Christians cannot understand your version of what it says. You say I do not read the Bible, well ridicule me to death because what is the point when I am never going to understand the secret code to understanding what it says.

            “Whoever made this list is obviously operating from an agenda, and clearly you are indoctrinated to believe these “contradictions” even though they aren’t true.”

            No Becky, you are the one indoctrinated with an agenda to make up excuses to protect your ideology, these were only a small sample of contradictions, yet you can find an excuse or rather some very unlikely reasons as confusion for each and every one, absolutely amazing.

            “do you think the sun is the source of light?”

            Why would I think that?

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          • Steve, apparently you continue to make the same mistake. Taking things out of context does not prove anything. Using your method, I can prove that slavery in the South was good for our nation, or that Nazis helped society because they furthered our understanding of science. There’s a bigger picture and you can’t pull a phrase or two out of the Bible and say you’ve found contradictions! You’re smart enough to get this Steve. I’ve said before, you can “prove” from the Bible that there is no God, if you want to take phrases out of context. Far from being an evidence of indoctrination, looking at context is good scholarship! Something you need to try, Steve.

            No secret code, Steve, in understanding the Bible. A 10-year-old can understand it. The study of it, which is what is required to debunk these charges that there are “hundreds of contradictions” is something that requires more care.

            You said you read the gospel of John, and if that were true, you’d know how easy it is to understand, Steve.

            You make me laugh, Steve, because you are so, so, so blind. You apparently do not even hear your own rhetoric that shows your closed mind. You cannot imagine that you are wrong, that a thinking person might actually reach a conclusion that the Bible is right. No, it doesn’t agree with your set of beliefs, so it must be indoctrination.

            Re the sun and light. One of your “contradictions” was that the sun was created after light was created, as if there couldn’t be light unless there was the sun. Shows you are not thinking about the things you are accepting, as long as they agree with your preconceived ideas.

            Becky

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          • Ok Becky I will wind this whole thing up because your answers to everything just get further off the wall each time and are becoming extremely illogical and nonsensical, so I do not find any reason to return answers this time.

            As far as I am concerned Becky you have more than proven your inability to recognise and understand science and the realities of human life. You are totally consumed within your supernatural world of God and I can see it is the most happy place for you and I am glad of that.

            I think if you had shown some interest outside of your Christian world I would have actually felt guilty as I understand that emotional trauma is possible when resilient theists have looked beyond their doctrine, and yes Becky, your indoctrination is one of the most entrenched states of mind I have come across.

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          • Steve, I’m sorry, but you are not in a good position to judge what is logical. I have no problem recognizing or understanding science. I have told you over and over and over and over that I embrace science, but you seem incapable of understanding that two people can look at the same facts and reach different conclusions. Because I don’t cow-tow to your brain theories or your materialistic view of the world, I’m the one who is “illogical” or “indoctrinated” or without interest in the outside world. That is all poppy-cock and, as I have also pointed out, flies in the face of the very worldview you hold to because you have NO evidence for any of your silly claims. You don’t know me, my experiences, other than what you read here, and from this small part of my life you make these outlandish assumptions, without evidence without any factually, falsifiable proof that what you think about me is even close to the truth.

            But I agree, this discussion has become fruitless because, despite my best efforts to move you away from such ridiculous ideas about my “indoctrination” you simply will not admit that you are not omniscient, you are not always right, you do not always know what makes others tick.

            You are right, or close, in thinking that the supernatural “consumes” me. That’s actually a compliment, since Scripture often admonishes us to “seek the things above,” to “store up treasure in heaven,” and so on. So that you think I’m there, is a great compliment. It’s what I aspire to, not where I’m at. I still do normal things like grocery shop and take out the trash and do the dishes without being focused on spiritual things. I read books and enjoy sporting events and lunch with friends, all kinds of things that are not part of the supernatural world. But that’s as it should be too, since God has placed us in the world. He expects us to be engaged with the world. So my goal is to interpret this world in light of God’s purposes for it and for humankind. It’s really very simple, but I understand that you think it’s foolishness. That’s actually what God said in His word that you’d think. No, he didn’t name you by name, but those who are part of the worldly way of looking at things, without God—you, Steve—will see those of us who trust God, as foolish: “since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs [and so do materialists like you, Steve] and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews [and materialists] a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” I added the emphasis and if you ever wanted to read those verses yourself, you can find them in 1 Cor. 1:21-25.

            Come back any time you want, Steve.

            Becky

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          • “but you seem incapable of understanding that two people can look at the same facts and reach different conclusions.”

            Facts are facts Becky, scientific facts are not supplied on researchers personal opinions, nor are they asking for other people’s personal opinions unless they come from other creditable experts in the same fields.

            “you have NO evidence for any of your silly claims.”

            The silly scientific claims you are meaning no doubt.

            “No, he didn’t name you by name, but those who are part of the worldly way of looking at things, without God—you, Steve—will see those of us who trust God, as foolish:”

            Exactly like the writers of the Bible want you to think Becky. Every religion has wanted to recruit non-believers and keep their faithful in the fold, so what better way was there than to express the importance of following their designated god, such as mocking the opinions of non-believers and that atheists will scream in everlasting pain as they are going to burn eternally in hell.

            It is not rocket science to work out that the idea of bad things happening to non-believers of the particular god depending on where you live is designed that way for a reason. For example in Sikhism those who dwell on thoughts of riches or worries about wealth are born again as serpents and snakes. Those who dwell on thoughts of carnal relations are born into brothels. Those who remember their sons and daughters are born as a pig to become a sow birthing a dozen or more piglets with each pregnancy. Those who dwell on thoughts of their houses or mansions, take the form of a ghostly goblin type spectre haunting houses remembered. Those whose final thoughts are of the divine, merge eternally with the Lord of the Universe to dwell forever in the abode of radiant light. Sikh religion is young and probably borrowed from the Hindus who are similar and believe in karma or ‘intentional action’. Many believe good or bad actions in life leading to positive or negative merit, determines the rebirth.

            It is quite easy to see that all religions are designed to be mind manipulating systems of reward and punishment that can be used to control the populations. It is no good preaching your Christian God is different, because he is not, Christianity copies many older religions.

            Indoctrination and propaganda train us for obedience and conformity. They discourage us from thinking differently or creatively, particularly in dealing with new problems and challenges we face every day.

            http://theconversation.com/you-have-been-indoctrinated-oh-yes-you-have-6705

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          • “Facts are facts Becky, scientific facts are not supplied on researchers personal opinion.” And as I’ve pointed out many, many times, I don’t disagree on facts. I disagree with conclusions. Those are opinions, and you show your own personal bias if you don’t realize this. Fact: objects fall to the earth. All objects. Conclusion: there is a force inside the earth, as in other bodies, that draws objects to it. As it happens, I agree with that conclusion, as do you. But it still is a conclusion based on good and reasonable and verifiable fact. But your ideas about the brain have little fact and your conclusion holds no merit from my perspective. You are free to disagree, but because you do, STOP saying I’m indoctrinated. That’s preposterous. Use your brain, please!

            No, the “silly claims” I am referring to are the ones you make without evidence about me. They have nothing whatsoever to do with science.

            Steve, your next paragraph is just a rambling jumble that has nothing to do with what I said. The Bible does not mock unbelievers, and predicting that you and those who don’t believe in God find us foolish is not a type of manipulation to keep us in the fold. You think I like the mean things the people at Ark’s site said about me? Do you think I like the fact that you misunderstand me and think I am too simple to think for myself, that my beliefs have to be the result of indoctrination? No, actually, it’s painful. I hate that you think I’m foolish. That in no way endears me to the Church. Rather, it would be a temptation to stop talking about these things because they bring pain.

            But then you bring up the judgment, and I think that’s at the heart of the issue. You don’t want to face judgment and something inside you can’t let go of the possibility that might actually be true.

            Christianity does not “copy” other religions. Your evidence, please, not your unfounded claims.

            But of course the Bible teaches there are rewards and their are punishments. That’s true of human life, Steve. Why should this be a shock? Good works get bonuses or become employee of the month. People who do a sloppy job get put on notice and fired. in courtrooms all over the world, someone makes a judgment, awarding or punishing. It’s not something that is extraordinary. Why should God do something different?

            Yes, Steve, I see that you certainly have been trained to think in lock-step with Richard Dawkins and his new atheists. No creativity, no ability to contemplate the possibility of an omnipotent person who started the universe.

            Let me ask you, in every closed set in the known world, has there ever been one element of that set which created the set? Did a tomato, for instance, determine that fruit would be classified as edible portions of plants containing seed(s) within its flesh? Or how about mammals? Did they create the class in which they belong? Or even people. We fool with our bodies all the time, but do bald people create the category of bald people? How can a thing inside a group be responsible for the formulation of the group?

            The universe is no different. The universe can’t be the cause and also the effect. This is simple logic, not hard to see, not requiring deep study or an understanding of philosophy or theology. It’s just a fact of life that anyone can understand. An object, a person, can’t be both the cause and the effect. It can’t be both in the group and the one that established the group. Someone outside needs to be the organizer, the cause. And that’s who God is.

            So, Steve, if you deny this simple fact, reached by uncomplicated logic, then you truly are indoctrinated into your beliefs.

            Becky

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          • Steve, sometimes I wonder if you read the articles you link to. I agree with much of what the author says, though I hardly think propaganda fits with educational curriculum in all instances, and certainly not in all religious contexts. Yes, in some. What concerns me right now are the things—speakers, student clubs—we in the US will not allow on university campuses. And yes, I do supposed this also applies to curriculum such as evolution: “Making an idea implicit tends to protect it from being challenged or opposed. By being constantly reinforced, the idea comes to be accepted as part of the framework necessary to even start a discussion.” So, no we won’t teach intelligent design as a possible cause of the big bang or as any other involvement with the beginning of the universe. We just won’t allow it in our schools.

            You operate that way, too, Steve. Only peer review articles have any merit. These articles are the framework for discussion, and of course the opposing view rarely finds its way into the mix to stimulate thought outside the evolutionary box. So, the Bible? We won’t read that. Miracles? We won’t accept any of those. It’s a very narrow view, as I pointed out in a recent article. https://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/intelligent-open-minded-people-and-a-change-of-worldview/

            Becky

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          • “I don’t disagree on facts. I disagree with conclusions. Those are opinions, and you show your own personal bias if you don’t realize this. Fact: objects fall to the earth. All objects. Conclusion: there is a force inside the earth, as in other bodies, that draws objects to it. As it happens, I agree with that conclusion, as do you. But it still is a conclusion based on good and reasonable and verifiable fact.”

            Well Becky that is a breakthrough, so I must ask what is holding you back from believing in the age of the planet, biological evolution and climate change?

            “But your ideas about the brain have little fact and your conclusion holds no merit from my perspective.”

            I read what is on trustworthy scientific websites just as you do on theist sites for your arguments. The difference I see is scientists are progressing ahead or rather “abrain” 😊 and this is not a one sided science because Neurotheology is an emerging field of study also called spiritual neuroscience that is a branch of science that investigates the connection of the brain with religious belief, whereas the standard theist position is fixed and attributed to God as being everywhere at all times and does everything and nothing will shift that idealistic claim.

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3968360/

            The big bang can be taken in a similar context as gravity because astronomists have for decades studied and measured the movement of observable galaxies moving away from us and the expansion of the universe and it appears this theory is the best conclusion so far. This may of course change in some ways as science moves forwards with more knowledge.

            “Only peer review articles have any merit.”

            Yes totally agree, the fact that creation or intelligent design does not make the pages of prestigious science journals is because we know absolutely nothing about the supernatural and any of the gods that exist there. Sure we have a reference for many different gods through religious scriptures including the Bible, however none of what is claimed can be supported by quantifiable evidence.

            Many people have offered huge cash prizes for anyone who could demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. The James Randi Educational Foundation had offered a million dollars and a Belgian sceptical organisation has offered a million euros. Scientific American has also offered money for authentic spirit photographs or a manifestation. None of these prizes have ever been collected.

            Your referenced article said:

            “As I understand it, neither the author of the book nor the author of the article is close to being a Christian.”

            I think you are wrong; The Discovery Institute and Center for Science and Culture were founded by Stephen C. Meyer who advocates for intelligent design and is a Christian who wrote a book claiming the existence of God.

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          • “Well Becky that is a breakthrough” So you finally believe what I’ve been saying all along? Well, good. Who said what I believe about the age of the earth. And again, determining age would be a conclusion, not a fact.

            “I read what is on trustworthy scientific websites just as you do on theist sites for your arguments.” And I have asked you more than once for the evidence, but all you have given me is a couple articles about maybe and perhaps and possibly. All theory based on the RESPONSE to religious images. That in no way is evidence that the idea of God is a construct of the brain. Oh, you also gave me an article about the mind and the psychology behind belief or religion. But again, that does not support your opinion that the brain is the origin of god.

            Interesting that you think God who is everywhere is “idealistic.” So that is the ideal, you believe?

            I’m not sure what you’re saying about the big bang.

            So you continue your blind assertion that only one perspective should be discussed. No exploration of other possibilities. You prove my point, Steve.

            Quoting from the article you recently linked to: “Making an idea implicit tends to protect it from being challenged or opposed. By being constantly reinforced, the idea comes to be accepted as part of the framework necessary to even start a discussion.” So your peer review journals are simply protecting evolution from challenge.

            Steve, I’m not sure why you or anyone else thinks a natural person can produce supernatural events. The supernatural is not of the natural, ie, not under the purveyance of human ability.

            You could be right about Meyer, Steve. I haven’t read his book. I know that the Discovery Institute is not a Christian organization, though many Christians agree with their positions (and many don’t). But the author of the article, David Gelernter, is not a professing Christian though he has reached the conclusion from his research as a Yale professor (which usually involves research more than it does teaching) has concluded that intelligent design is a more plausible explanation for an understanding of life than is evolution, though he loved what he termed the beauty of the theory.

            Becky

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          • “Who said what I believe about the age of the earth. And again, determining age would be a conclusion, not a fact.”

            You have sat on the fence with this issue in the past Becky. For a start it is an indisputable fact the Earth is older than 10,000 years. By dating the rocks in Earth’s ever-changing crust, including the moon and visiting meteorites, scientists have calculated that Earth is 4.54 billion years old give or take 50 million years. In Australia the oldest mineral grains on Earth were found. These tiny zirconium silicate crystals have ages that reach 4.3 billion years.

            “So your peer review journals are simply protecting evolution from challenge.”

            Why would scientists do that, please give me a good reason that an overwhelming majority of scientists would do that for 150 years? How can the truth be hidden by so many for such a long amount of time. Evolutionary principles are so forged in concrete that to deny them may ruin a scientists career, especially as a biologist.

            “The supernatural is not of the natural, ie, not under the purveyance of human ability.”

            How then can you know it exists? If you have a feeling or faith that it does so do all the fortune tellers, Muslims, Sikhs and Tarot card readers, or are these people not genuine in their faith? Or is it just in the brain?

            By the way Becky, Gelernter is Jewish, senior fellow in Jewish thought at the Shalom Center and a religious believer among the often disbelieving ranks of computer scientists. There is always an underlying reason when a scientist goes this far off the rails

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          • Steve, I’m going to ignore your “facts” about the age of the earth. Based on what we know and the dating method we’ve come up with, the age of the earth appears . . . But fact? No. You can only draw a conclusion. You ignore claims of scientists who have shown that cataclysmic events can alter the geology such that age is not what it appears. But you don’t allow that discussion. You have to preserve your ideas about matter and the way life came about.

            I don’t believe that scientists have conspired to create the atmosphere we’re in right now that cuts off all discussion of other possibilities. You actually gave one answer possible reason: “Evolutionary principles are so forged in concrete that to deny them may ruin a scientists career, especially as a biologist.”

            In the end, the narrow limiting of discussion just is the result of the system you laud so loudly. It cuts off any meaningful desire to explore all possibilities, including the supernatural.

            And I have not skirted the issue of the age of the earth. Maybe you missed my exchange with Ark, but I’ve said plainly—we don’t know enough to make a hard and fast statement about the age of the earth. Or of the universe, for that matter.

            How do I know the supernatural exists? For one, revelation. For another, the questions that materialism does not answer: how did the universe begin? What is the purpose of life? What is our destiny? Where did the idea of morality and ethics come from? This has no root in matter and energy. Also, pure logic. Matter and energy cannot be the cause or the starting point of matter and energy. Like everything else (except a First Cause) the substance of the universe must have come about because of something other.

            And as I have accepted God’s authority, I have, as a result, had an awareness of God and His presence, in my life and in the world. But that didn’t happen first. First I accepted His authority. I believed what He said.

            So about Gelernter, you’re saying Jews go off the rail. Interesting! Your bias (prejudice) extends beyond Christians to people of other backgrounds. In other words, there is no truth in what he concludes because he’s “religious.” That is enlightening, Steve.

            Becky

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      • “It does not get any better than life as we know it,” Steve, how do you know? And this does not answer the questions. Do you ever ask, Why are we here, is there anything more, do we have a purpose, a destiny? You just mindlessly, blindly accept because . . .? You can’t see anything more? But that’s the point, isn’t it. If it’s future, how can you see the future? Do you have no imagination? No curiosity? No ideas about what lies beyond this here and now? Most scientists do, or they wouldn’t want to explore. But I guess you simply take their work on faith.

        Becky

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        • How do I know life does not get any better? Pure bonified, absolute and ultimate evidence Becky. The real question should be, how do you know there is a better afterlife? You are the one with the claim, where’s your evidence?

          “Why are we here, is there anything more, do we have a purpose, a destiny?”

          We are given life just as every plant creature and animal on this planet, the cycle of life comes and goes as it has for billions of years and lives. What makes you think you are special to actually have a purpose? Some people become famous leaders and change the course of the world and you could say they found a significant purpose or a destiny before they died. You and I are not in that category I believe.

          “Do you have no imagination? No curiosity? No ideas about what lies beyond this here and now? Most scientists do, or they wouldn’t want to explore.”

          Of course I do Becky, I have a wild imagination, we all imagine things, have ideas of what may exist and what could be beyond our understanding, however because of what we actually currently know we have nothing quantifiable to believe that anything we have imagined and expect to happen will happen, therefore it is logical and prudent to stick to the facts that we have at this time and not commit ourselves to something currently unknowable.

          Scientists build on current scientific knowledge; they do not blunder into finding a new cure for mental diseases by mixing certain drugs without fact finding and experimentation first usually for many years.

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          • “Pure bonified, absolute and ultimate evidence Becky.’ Steve, you have no evidence for what happens after death. You have not died and you have no way of knowing what becomes of that part of a person we know as personality. I do have evidence: the risen Jesus Christ showed a tiny bit what life will be like when we receive our body, 2.0 version.

            You “believe” some people are not in a category of having a significant purpose. But that’s just your own imagination. I know from the authority of Scripture that we all have been put here for a purpose, but we have to fulfill it. We all have a destiny, but people who are left on their own to pay for the wrongs they have done, will experience a sad destiny.

            Sure, Steve, stick to the facts. And the facts are, you have not traveled throughout the universe to KNOW that there is no God. You have not died to KNOW that there is no afterlife. You are limiting “your reality” to what you personally think you know. Not even what to personally taste, touch, see—because we know you believe in DNA and black holes and gravity. So you’re accepting somebody’s word for the existence of some things. Just nothing that makes you uncomfortable, like God.

            But since you say you have an imagination, Steve, why can’t you imagine God as the creator of the universe? He’s all powerful, His word says He created it, it bears all the marks of having been created. I’m not sure I understand what the problem is. I mean, no structure in the human sphere has ever simply appeared on its own. Structures have builders.

            Not sure why you added the last paragraph here. I understand how science works. I’m not sure how that’s relevant to this discussion.

            Becky

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          • “Steve, you have no evidence for what happens after death.”

            This may come as a surprise Becky but neither do you. The difference is you think you do and tell people that you know exactly what happens when you die, and that is nothing less than a lie. It is no wonder that theists are confirmed as indoctrinated.

            “I do have evidence: the risen Jesus Christ showed a tiny bit what life will be like when we receive our body, 2.0 version.”
            “Receiving a body? That is a delusion Becky, you have been explaining to me how atheists take the Bible out of context, but I think that this is not just out of context but a complete fantasy. How on Earth can you can literally understand anything you read in the Bible when it has many hundreds of contradictions and how do you decide what it actually means?

            “why can’t you imagine God as the creator of the universe?”

            I can Becky, have done, been there done that and my imagination is second to none, however some of the Biblical accounts read like an ancient book written for children with supernatural events, impossible human feats and myths copied from earlier religions, notwithstanding the unscientific nature and the ancient morals of God, therefore it should only remain in the imagination.

            “So you’re accepting somebody’s word for the existence of some things. Just nothing that makes you uncomfortable, like God.”

            People like scientists who discover things that are logical and believable such as gravity, electricity, ultraviolet light, atoms, the rotation and orbit of Earth, the solar system, black holes and the many creatures that dwell at the bottom of the ocean are not just making stuff up. Even though I have not seen many of these things with my own eyes they are reasonable and believable especially when you compare them with a giant God person who must have floated in space or even beyond the universe to create everything in a few days including modern man and woman. Like I have said before Becky you have trouble understanding reality over fiction that comes again down to your indoctrination.

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          • Steve, you can reject the facts if you want, but that does not make them untrue. You said, ““Receiving a body? That is a delusion Becky, you have been explaining to me how atheists take the Bible out of context, but I think that this is not just out of context but a complete fantasy.” As you said, all you have to refute this event which had multiple eyewitnesses over a span of 40 days, is just your opinion. I’m not the one indoctrinated. I’m the one with evidence. You have opinion because you refuse to believe what you yourself have not personally seen. You are like Thomas who said he would not believe unless he could put his fingers in the nail prints in Jesus’s hands. So that’s what Jesus offered him—a chance to do the personal investigation.

            As for the Bible and the “hundreds of contradiction.” You are showing your indoctrination. You have yet to read the Bible for yourself and find one single contradiction. I already exploded this myth, but you cling to it with all your indoctrinated heart.

            You obviously are not grasping who God is, from your imagination or in any other way. If you did, you would realize that an all powerful God could do all the miraculous things you dismiss. Why dismiss them if there is a credible source for their existence? But you will not let yourself consider the possibility that God is credible.

            the question is, Steve, how do YOU know these scientists are “not making stuff up”? You choose to believe them. That’s it. That’s all you’ve got. Why does it seem so shocking to you that some of us choose to believe the facts we have about God? You pooh-pooh our source, but you have nothing to go on for your beliefs but a different source. What I keep telling you is that the two are not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to choose between science and the good news of Jesus Christ.

            And, no, Steve, I have no trouble understanding reality over fiction. I write fiction, for goodness sake. I know exactly what goes into fiction, far more than you do, I suspect. But you are restricted by your inability to see beyond your own experience. You have made your own perceptions your god.

            Becky

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      • Steve, the greatest thing you miss is that Christians aren’t guessing about God. We actually know Him through His Son Jesus. That is something that you could have too. It’s not something exclusive. And it’s not pretend. It’s real and is the coherent truth that makes all life make sense, the visible and the invisible.

        This has nothing to do with “brainwashing” or “instruction” or whatever else you have to hold on to because you can’t understand unless you do. It is beyond the scope of a materialist’s understanding.

        What do you do with logic? Do you not believe that we can know beyond what we see because we can reason things out? Do you think all reason is speculation? Well, then, my friend, gravity is speculation, because you can’t see that! But you believe. You reason it out and call it a force, though it could just as easily be the hand of God. YOU DON’T KNOW. But you have fooled yourself into believing that humans because of the superior brain can know, even though none of us will ever be able to travel this galaxy and certainly not to the ends of the universe—you still KNOW there is no god. That is the mistake the Bible says will take place: their foolish heart was darkened; professing to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. In other words, Steve, you have made corruptible man to be your god.

        Becky

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      • Then you said, “People throughout human history have seen ghosts and monsters, promoted by spiritualists,” Has that never made you wonder, Steve, if all these people are reporting something supernatural, maybe the supernatural exists. You never have considered that?
        Becky

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        • Yes I have Becky, I have considered that maybe the supernatural exists. I think we were all kids who got scared in the dark and loved ghost stories. Unfortunately I grew up and older and I understand completely that people claim to have seen all weird things attributed to the supernatural, tons of stuff on YouTube if your interested.

          I also take an interest on why people see these things and there are medical explanations. For example Christians believe people are possessed by evil spirits, the Vatican offers courses on how to be an exorcist and this I find most unbelievable and ignorant in the 21st century when science has identified that these people have suffered a mental illness.

          Like I have always said Becky, the brain, this is what you should focus on, this is your God.

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          • And Steve, you have arrived at that brain explanation without evidence. It’s your own wishful thinking. I don’t care that some people are shysters who try to sell snake oil. That’s happened all through history, too. I’m talking about real things that people have experienced. You dismiss them all with no evidence, no reason to do so. And as far as the evil spirits/mental illness, you have no proof that some mental illness isn’t the direct result of demon activity. No proof. I have none either, but I’m at least open to listening. You on the other hand seem content to have no explanation. Yes, yes, I know. Your explanation is: the brain did it. But I’m asking, why? Why when there’s no mental illness in a family history, does someone become schizophrenic? I’m not a student of the subject, but I think it’s still a big question mark. So making categorical statements about the unknown seems . . . unwise, at best.

            And Steve, saying that the brain is your god, is just another way of saying that you yourself are your own god. Don’t be fooled. You are picking yourself over God.

            Becky

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          • “you have arrived at that brain explanation without evidence.”

            Seriously? You can find it Becky; all the details are findable and if I were to furnish addresses would you bother to look? Here is a couple anyway.

            https://www.livescience.com/3366-scientists-god-brain.html
            https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101617951

            Of course this is science and you will not like it, you will find no evidence because it only exists in the Bible, right?

            How can you believe people are possessed by demons or evil spirits?
            You are on the same page as flat Earthers and the moon landing conspiracy supporters, what do you actually believe, do you look under your bed or in the closet every night to see if a bad spirit or something similar is hiding there?

            You know if you check out some real facts and read some bonified medical documentation and even watch some TED talks on You Tube you will understand how and why people develop mental diseases, see apparitions and dead people etc. Scientists have studied this for hundreds of years so there are many scientific facts, however demon activity has no proof at all.

            If you are convinced science is a conspiracy, just a result of guessing or has got it all completely wrong I can only explain that your indoctrinated brain is totally in control and I cannot explain anymore.

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          • Steve, do you not remember that you’ve given me those kinds of links before and I debunked them without hardly trying. They qualify every single statement, showing that someone thinks such and so might be the case, but they have no evidence. None. Not any at all.

            Now to these 2. The first one, a 10 year old article, says only that thoughts about god affect the brain. It’s right there in the first paragraph: “researchers have revealed for the first time how such religious beliefs trigger different parts of the brain.”

            The second is much the same. Nothing about God being a figment of the mind, but all about the mind reacting to God. Here’s a very clear example of what the article says: ‘Those who said they believed in God had a negative emotional response to statements like, “There is no higher purpose.” Nonbelievers had the same reaction to statements that assumed God exists.’

            And Steve, these articles are 10 years old. Where are all the peer review follow up articles that say what you’re saying—that the mind conjures up god and the supernatural? They do not exist apparently or I’m sure you’d trot them out to support your view.

            How odd that you don’t understand the very articles that you use to support your ideas.

            But here’s the thing, Steve, and the real difference between our views is what we think about God. I understand all the discoveries about weather patterns and so on. There’s good science that allows forecasters to predict weather events with a greater degree of accuracy than 50 years ago. That doesn’t change my mind that God is in fact in charge of the weather, that He can use it as He sees fit because all the patterns or anomalies answer to Him.

            Again, I’m laughing because you came back to the old false chestnut that I believe in a science conspiracy. How many times do I have to correct you on this: I. DO. NOT. BELIEVE. IN A. SCIENCE. CONSPIRACY. I never have. That’s an invention of your own brain, and according to you, your own indoctrination, apparently. Seriously wish you would discuss real things instead of ones you make up.

            Becky

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          • Here we go Becky, please be my guest, a peer reviewed article, if you can read it without nodding off or in fact even make sense of most of it, good luck to you. The reason most peer reviewed articles are re-written for media outlets and public consumption is to keep it basic, less complicated and understandable or else no one would bother reading it.

            Current Directions in PsychologicalScience 1 –6© The Author(s) 2018Article reuse guidelines: sagepub.com/journals-permissionsDOI: 10.1177/0963721418754491www.psychologicalscience.org/CDPSASSOCIATION FORPSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCEAt one point in the prehistory of our species,
            https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321887719_The_Belief_in_God_Why_People_Believe_and_Why_They_Don't

            “God is in fact in charge of the weather, that He can use it as He sees fit because all the patterns or anomalies answer to Him.”

            Yes he just loves teaching Christians lessons that he is in charge, his tornado’s and floods have destroyed many Christian families, but hey, he is God and he can destroy and kill whoever and whenever he likes, what’s not to love here?

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          • I’ll take a look at the article when I get a chance, Steve, but I don’t expect it to support you theory any more than the others do. I mean, if you misunderstand what those other writers were saying 10 years ago, how are you able to understand an article you say is hard to read?

            What you don’t understand about God could fill volumes, Steve. Scripture makes it clear that the rain falls on “the just and the unjust.” So you, my friend, benefit from God’s provision even though you don’t acknowledge Him. And yes, sometimes Christians get cancer, get caught in a hurricane, lose their houses in a fire, and more. We live in this sinful world that suffers and groans because we are not honoring God.

            So you only think a Santa Clause god would be one you could love? Well, then you’re right not to believe because that kind of god does NOT exist. One who does what is right, however, including judging humans in the ultimate judgment that determines our destiny, that God is one I’m happy to love.

            Becky

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          • OK, Steve, I read about half the article and may finish it because it’s interesting, though I agree with very little. However, at this point it’s really, really clear that this paper has nothing whatsoever to do with your theories about the brain. It’s all about psychology and the factors that influence a person’s thinking. NOTHING they are talking about has to do with brain chemistry or the neuron connectivity or any of the other parts of the brain’s anatomy.

            This just reinforces what I said earlier: the brain and the mind are not synonymous.

            Becky

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      • See, Steve, you bring the problem to the forefront in your last paragraph. To you, there can be no evidence for that which is not natural because there is no evidence. Everything that people call evidence you simply call something else because it’s not physically possible That’s because it’s not happening physically! It’s spiritual. Materialism must be a safe place in which to live. You don’t have to worry about messy things like sin and judgment and a God who judges based on what we do about His priceless gift of salvation. No, no messy things like that in materialism.

        As I’ve said before, Steve, that’s a very narrow, even blind way to live.

        Becky

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        • Let’s get one thing clear here Becky, what theists term as evidence would not hold up in a court room and would fail the pretrial conference for that matter. Another thing is the fact that a spiritual supernatural world is without court room evidence or if something like this supernatural world does exist nobody understands the first thing about it. Facts so far indicate neuroscience has found it and the supernatural is the pseudo-science used by spiritualists and fortune tellers and ironically the same people Christianity condemns in favour of their own versions.

          Nothing messy about my beliefs, I do not agonise over if I served my god well today by not committing a sin and then thinking will I get to heaven, will I see mum and Dad again, will I live in a big mansion, sit next to my lord and have no stress and no problems? Nope, not one scrap of evidence, you live and you die, simple.

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          • Steve, I’m aware that people who don’t believe in God, who live under the rule of their own hearts, have a perfectly fine time. Want to get drunk? Fine, no reason to feel guilty. What to be angry with my neighbors? No reason to hold me back. But there is a day of reckoning, whether you want to acknowledge it or not. So yeah, criminals go years without being caught, but when they are, they pay the price. Paying the price for sin works the same way.

            Your ideas about the supernatural are just so much gobbledygook, without any evidence, just your own imaginings, but I get that you have to find some way of explaining what you won’t allow yourself to believe. No, not everyone who claims some supernatural thing is telling the truth. There are liars in the world. But how can you miss that culture after culture, all around the world, down through time, as much today as ever, people believe in the supernatural. You just dismiss the possibility as if you’ve been to the stars and know adamantly that there is no supernatural. The only honest position someone who doesn’t recognize God can arrive at is agnosticism. Anything else is an announcement: I don’t want to believe, so I’m finding reasons not to.

            Becky

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          • I live under my personal rules and these rules have more moral fibre than the Christian rules. Getting drunk is fine but not so good for the health and only if you do not harm other people. Being angry with your neighbour is reasonable and up to the individual however without harm there is nothing wrong with that. Humans need to let off steam, humans have a range of emotions requiring them to socialise, relax and be angry without being frightened about sinning and what God will do to them or their families.

            The supernatural just like religions is part of the culture for all people. It has naturally evolved, it is part of our survival, to be frightened of real or imagined creatures, ghosts, devils and deities etc starts as children and is a natural human emotion, however it is not so much about belief, fear becomes a problem for some people as highlighted here.

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6250805/
            https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/the-science-of-fear-what-makes-us-afraid/

            The supernatural if it exists cannot be known, therefore I personally do not believe it exists.

            For the supernatural existing or not we have as usual science and that is our real chance of finding the facts, however supernatural is not a measurable state and known today only as a human idiosyncrasy.

            https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-it-possible-to-measure-supernatural-or-paranormal-phenomena/
            https://www.livescience.com/26697-are-ghosts-real.html

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  3. Thanks for reposting this, recently close loved ones are professing they simply don’t believe in God. Many a sleepless tear filled nights have been spent in prayer. The way you’ve presented the merry-go-round of arguments, is exactly the way it goes. The Bible says those who come to Christ, do so because of the work of the Holy Spirit. We must continue diligently in prayer for those with whom God places into our pathway, that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes. I have seen this happen, I have seen lives changed by God. My own mother was one of them. I have seen people saved from horrific situations, myself included. I have experienced a love & a peace in the middle of the raging storm. I know God is real, and will never say otherwise because once you’ve known Him there is no other argument.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Malinda, thanks for your comment. Praise God that He brought you to Himself. And yes, much prayer for those of our loved ones who are far from Him.

      You made the perfect statement at the end of your comment. Once you know God is real, you know. To say anything else would be like saying your best friend isn’t real. You know the person, interact regularly. How can there be any question? But often our personal experience is not a convincing factor since “anyone can have a personal experience with Santa or Buddha or Bigfoot.” Yes, I’ve heard all those. And the Flying Spaghetti Monster, too. I think that last one comes from Richard Dawkins. But just as we know Santa is not real, we know God is real. It’s a matter of knowing what lives in fantasy and what resides in reality. Even young children can soon know the difference between pretend and actuality. It’s sad to me that atheists can’t seem to grasp this, or that they don’t want to give us credit for knowing the difference. I used to think they were the every-doubting Thomas’s. But now I think they are more like the rich man’s brothers who Jesus said wouldn’t believe even if a man came back from the dead, which, of course, He actually did. So you are right, right, right. Prayer is what we must commit to if we want to see unbelieving people come to a knowledge of the truth. Thank you for the reminder.

      Becky

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      • Thank you for your comment as well, Becky. The information in this post is very helpful in helping to grasp a bigger picture. I have always known about God, and have always loved reading Bible stories as a child, and the Bible as an adult. I thought I knew God, but really I only knew about Him. However, A recent tragic event has caused me to seek God like never before through His Word, and crying out to Him in Prayer. This is when we Truly get to KNOW God, when we diligently seek him. Others who have also done this seeking out, even when trying to disprove God, have come to know Him. C.S. Lewis most notably, was a professing atheist until he truly began to disprove God’s existence by seeking Him. God tells us that if we seek Him we will find Him. I believe when a person begins to seek God, the Holy Spirit opens their eyes of understanding. Blessings to you Becky, hope you enjoy the weekend. Love, Malinda ♥️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. On one hand, atheists, believing only in scientifically verifiable substance, are convinced that God does not exist.

    Right there, in that one sentence, is where you go wrong.

    And because your understanding is flawed everything that leads from it with regard atheism will also be flawed, and until you understand and acknowledge this flaw in your understanding you will never be able to look at your own beliefs with any degree of open mindedness and honesty.

    I will spell it out AGAIN for you.

    Atheism is the lack of belief in gods – your god and every other .
    Do you fully understand what lack of belief means, Becky?

    This lack of belief is based solely on the complete lack of evidence for gods – ALL gods, yours and every other.

    Let me reiterate.
    Atheism does not state that gods do not exist.
    Atheism is the lack of belief in gods.

    If you want me, for example, to have belief in say, your god, then produce evidence to demonstrate the existence of your god.

    For the record.
    The bible is NOT evidence for such a claim.

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    • Ark, two things: this article is a reprint of one I wrote long before we had a conversation (maybe you missed that), but second, by doing what Steve does—ruling out the supernatural or the miraculous as evidence—you show the presupposition: there is no evidence for gods and any supposed evidence is not evidence. It’s imagination or false narrative or the documentation is flawed or whatever else. It’s really a circular argument atheists won’t admit. What you view as evidence already says what you believe: no supernatural evidence, which is another way of saying, since god does not exist, there is no way he could interact with the natural world, so anything that seems supernatural is manufactured, made up, imagined, false.

      Well, I’ve given you the link to evidences I wrote about, most scientific, verifiable things. I did not use the Bible, though you are showing by your “not Bible” your way of handling best evidence.

      Becky

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      • — ruling out the supernatural or the miraculous as evidence — you show the presupposition:

        Wrong, yet again . No evidence for the supernatural or miracles has ever been produced.

        The bible is not evidence for your claims as nothing is supported.

        Example:
        What evidence is there for the supposed empty tomb? (or any tomb for that matter): None.
        What evidence is there of the character Jesus of Nazareth walking on water: None
        What evidence is there of the character Jesus of Nazareth rising from the dead? None.

        Each one is simply a claim in a book.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Actually, Jesus rising from the dead had eyewitnesses, but you simply do not believe those eyewitnesses. So you think you can declare there is no evidence, when in fact there is evidence you dismiss, ignore, disbelieve. That’s all I’ve been trying to get you to understand, Ark. I get that we won’t see things the same way, but to make this false claim that there is no evidence simply because you don’t agree, does you a disservice. It makes you look unaware.

          And maybe you are. Saying that there is no evidence for Jesus of Nazareth doing His miraculous things shows that you don’t understand how historical documents work. Those “claims in a book” are just as valid as any other historical claims. And there’s evidence to suggest they are more valid!

          Becky

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          • Actually, Jesus rising from the dead had eyewitnesses, but you simply do not believe those eyewitnesses.

            Wrong. Just an account in a book.
            And gMark features no resurrection appearances as the long ending is a forgery.

            So you think you can declare there is no evidence, when in fact there is evidence you dismiss, ignore, disbelieve.

            No. Not evidence but only a claim.
            You would not countenance that a boy could fly on a broom stick but the ”evidence” is right there in the Harry Potter books.

            I understand perfectly well how historians work, thank you very much and NO genuine historian will give the time of day for miracle claims.

            Those “claims in a book” are just as valid as any other historical claims.

            Absolute rubbish and you have nothing whatsoever to support such an outrageous claim.
            And I challenge you to support your final sentence. … And there’s evidence to suggest they are more valid
            with evidence.
            The floor is yours,

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          • Ark, you keep going in circles: miracles are not probable, so no historian will admit to a miracle, and miracles haven’t happened because there’s no evidence for miracles. Do you not see how your very “rules” negate the possibility of you ever actually investigating the veracity of accounts about the miraculous?

            And that doesn’t even address the fallacious authorship issue of the gospels. What evidence do you have that all the gospels were derived from Mark? It’s kind of funny because some people use the differences in the gospels as proof that they contradict each other. But if they are derived from the same source, how can these “contradictions” exist? Rather, the differences are more probably explained by different people reporting on the same events. Even the atheist Bart Ehrman admits the claims of eyewitnesses, though he, at one point, decided they were reporting visions: “Why, then, did some of the disciples claim to see Jesus alive after his crucifixion? I don’t doubt at all that some disciples claimed this. We don’t have any of their written testimony, but Paul, writing about twenty-five years later, indicates that this is what they claimed, and I don’t think he is making it up. And he knew are [sic] least a couple of them, whom he met just three years after the event (Galatians 1:18-19).” (quoted from Ehrman, The New Testament: An Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 282 in “Bart Ehrman, The Resurrection of Jesus, and the Vision Hypothesis” which you can find here: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/bart-ehrman-the-resurrection-of-jesus-and-the-vision-hypothesis-2/).

            Yes, history depends on what others report. We weren’t there, so we rely on what others tell us. They might be making up stories (your silly comparison with Harry Potter, which only ever claimed to be made up, a story, not real) or they might be fact based (though we never have every single detail in any historical account).

            One way to decide is by knowing who made the reports—like historians know about Paul.

            Another is by the distance from the event, the report is made. As it turns out, the New Testament reports are much closer to the event than any number of other well accepted historical events, and it’s not even close. The comparison is something like the Bible, 50 years between event and report; Alexander the Great’s conquests, 300 years between event and report.

            A third way to judge the historical value is by how many reports there are. Usually one report is all historians have. Two is outstanding. But even if you accept the fallacious idea that the first three gospels are derived from one source, you still have Mark, John, and Paul. That’s at a minimum. Yes, the Bible is reliable as history. More than many other historical records.

            Regarding the ending of Mark, yes, most (maybe all) modern translations note that the end is not in the original. But that does not include the resurrection, only what happened afterward (some of which the other gospels do report). I mean it’s very clear which verses belong and which don’t. The whole style of writing changes. It’s pretty clear that the first 8 verses of chapter 16 are in the original, and they tell about the resurrection.

            E. P Sanders including quotes from Ehrman (the atheist): ‘That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know. “I do not regard deliberate fraud as a worthwhile explanation. Many of the people in these lists were to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming that they had seen the risen Lord, and several of them would die for their cause. Moreover, a calculated deception should have produced great unanimity. Instead, there seem to have been competitors: ‘I saw him first!’ ‘No! I did.’ Paul’s tradition that 500 people saw Jesus at the same time has led some people to suggest that Jesus’ followers suffered mass hysteria. But mass hysteria does not explain the other traditions.” “Finally we know that after his death his followers experienced what they described as the ‘resurrection’: the appearance of a living but transformed person who had actually died. They believed this, they lived it, and they died for it.” ‘

            So basically a person can accept the evidence or reject it, but to say there is no evidence is to ignore the historical record.

            Becky

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          • Ark, you keep going in circles: miracles are not probable, so no historian will admit to a miracle, etc…

            No historian recognizes miracles because there is no evidence of miracles. Period. How difficult is this to understand.
            Show evidence and miracles will be considered.

            And that doesn’t even address the fallacious authorship issue of the gospels. What evidence do you have that all the gospels were derived from Mark?

            I never said they were. You need to be more careful when you read my comments. Matthew and Luke are. This is why they are called the synoptics. GJohn is a separate issue altogether.

            Bart Ehrman admits the claims of eyewitnesses,

            But onto my point. Even though there may well have been eyewitnesses alive some 35-40 years after Jesus’ death, there is no guarantee – or, I would argue, no reason to think – that any of them were consulted by the authors of the Gospels when writing their accounts. The eyewitnesses would have been Aramaic speaking peasants almost entirely from rural Galilee. Mark was a highly educated, Greek speaking Christian living in an urban area outside of Palestine (Rome?), who never traveled, probably, to Galilee. So the existence of eyewitnesses would not have much if any effect on his Gospel.

            The same is true, even more so, with the later Gospels. Luke begins his Gospel by saying that eyewitnesses started passing along the oral traditions he had heard (Luke 1:1-4), but he never indicates that he had ever talked to one. He has simply heard stories that had been around from the days of the eyewitnesses. And if the standard dating of his Gospel – and Matthew’s – is correct, they were writing about 50 years or more after Jesus’ death. John’s Gospel was even later.
            Ehrman
            https://ehrmanblog.org/eyewitnesses-and-the-gospels-a-blast-from-the-past/

            They might be making up stories (your silly comparison with Harry Potter, which only ever claimed to be made up, a story, not real) or they might be fact based (though we never have every single detail in any historical account).

            It is not a silly comparison as there are no extra biblical accounts to verify such claims, thus they remain unsubstantiated claims.

            One way to decide is by knowing who made the reports — like historians know about Paul.
            Historians actually know nothing about Paul other than what is revealed in the epistles. The character Paul does not feature anywhere on the Historical Timeline outside of the bible.

            But even if you accept the fallacious idea that the first three gospels are derived from one source,

            They are … from gMark. Q has never been identified, so one can only work with the evidence we have – the synoptics. Over 600 verses in gMatthew feature in gMark, some almost verbatim. The writer of gMatthew used gMark as a source and simply embellished, as did the writer of gLuke.

            Yes, the Bible is reliable as history.

            No, it isn’t. How can the tale of the Virgin Birth or Walking o Water or Feeding the 5000 and the 4000 be considered reliable history? What absolute nonsense! Nothing of the tales in the gospels can be verified. They are little more than historical fiction. Even the crucifixion is only mentioned by Tacitus , and there is doubt concerning this account as only being hearsay.

            Regarding the ending of Mark, yes, most (maybe all) modern translations note that the end is not in the original.

            Please don’t shy away from the using the word forgery, as this is what it is.

            E. P Sanders including quotes from Ehrman (the atheist): ‘That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact.

            Sanders is a Christian and this is simply his opinion based on no evidence.

            What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.

            And this gives him the right to make stuff up, does it? I don’t think so!

            “I do not regard deliberate fraud as a worthwhile explanation. Many of the people in these lists were to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming that they had seen the risen Lord, and several of them would die for their cause.

            Again, no evidence for these characters outside of the bible.

            So basically a person can accept the evidence or reject it, but to say there is no evidence is to ignore the historical record.

            There is no evidence only claims.

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          • Sorry, I didn’t see this comment sooner. You said, “How difficult is this to understand” in reference to “no evidence” for a miracle. Just listen to any of these atheists talk about history. They say clearly that history is based on probability. And the probability of a miracle being the explanation of an event is so small, it is practically zero, so no miracles. But That’s because the very nature of miracles makes them unique, a once only event. Of course there is a low probability. But that doesn’t mean miracles don’t happen or that there aren’t eyewitnesses to miracles. It only means that atheist historians don’t accept them because they can find an explanation—no matter how false—that has a higher probability. So there is a higher probability that Peter dreamed he walked on water than that he walked to Jesus on the water before he started to sink. Absolutely agree. Greater probability, because walking on water is miraculous. But the dream thing is imagination whereas the walking on water had eyewitnesses who reported it.

            Becky

            Like


          • But that doesn’t mean miracles don’t happen or that there aren’t eyewitnesses to miracles. It only means that atheist historians don’t accept them because they can find an explanation—no matter how false—that has a higher probability

            Wrong, yet again.

            It isn’t that they can’t find an explanation, but rather there is no evidence for miracles only claims.

            whereas the walking on water had eyewitnesses who reported it.

            Again, you are wrong. There are only claims.
            Claims from characters in a work of historical fiction who, in the main, do not feature outside of the pages of the bible.

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          • “Matthew and Luke are ” [derived from Mark]. No, they weren’t that’s something that people who don’t believe the Bible have come up with. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise, Ark. You will believe the sources you believe. They have a bias and are inaccurate.

            Becky

            Like

          • Yes they were, and all reputable scholars acknowledge this.
            As I mentioned, over 600 verses in Matthew feature in Mark, some almost verbatim.
            The writer used Mark as a template, and so did the writer of Luke, and the evidence show is this is the case.

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          • Feel free however, to provide evidence for your claim.

            Like

          • “no reason to think – that any of them were consulted by the authors of the Gospels when writing their accounts.” I find this kind of argument tedious. Luke starts out right away saying he investigated the matter. Paul was in Jerusalem with James, Peter, John. Peter revers to Mark as “his son” (which Biblical scholars believe means spiritual son). And on and on. But conveniently those who want to twist the truth of Scripture can cut out the passages that don’t agree with their narrative. That’s why this is so tedious. If you want to believe this false way of looking at Scripture, that’s what you want to believe. But to think that Church history and tradition has accepted the Bible without all these redactions that only in the last century have come to light is to miss the central part of Christianity: this is not mankind’s religion. The Bible is actually what God chose to reveal.

            Becky

            Like

          • You want to use Ehrman when it suits your argument then you spurn him when he does not align with your creationist ideology.
            I don’t respond well to cherry picking, as it smacks of bias and hypocrisy.

            The Bible is actually what God chose to reveal.

            Evidence, please.

            Like

          • ” Over 600 verses in gMatthew feature in gMark, some almost verbatim. The writer of gMatthew used gMark as a source and simply embellished, as did the writer of gLuke.” If two people report on the same event, and especially if they rely on the same eyewitnesses, why wouldn’t there be verses that are similar or the same?

            That you do not believe the miracles proves my point. No evidence for miracles because miracles doesn’t exist, so if eyewitnesses report miracles, they are making up a story because no miracles exist. Circular argument. No logic.

            There is evidence for Paul “outside the Bible”—as if that’s some special bullet. A piece of archeology verifying the particular city ruler in a Greek city/state who Paul names. Hard evidence that Paul didn’t make this stuff up.

            To conclude that the first century Christians just did not exist because they aren’t mentioned outside the Bible, is pretty naive, Ark. Of course they existed. Otherwise, where did Christianity come from? Why would people in Rome die for something that supposedly happened in Palestine, if they had no actually contact or communication with anyone who lived and experienced these things.

            So you can go ahead and pretend there is no evidence. I’m sorry you are missing the point. I get that YOU don’t believe the evidence. But to think that all the Christians in the world are hanging on a belief for no reason, just is not rational.

            We have evidence whether you think we do or not. That isn’t going to change.

            Becky

            Like

          • No evidence for miracles because miracles doesn’t exist, so if eyewitnesses report miracles, they are making up a story because no miracles exist. Circular argument. No logic.

            I did not say miracles do not exist. I stated there is no evidence for them.
            Again … feel free to produce evidence.

            If two people report on the same event, and especially if they rely on the same eyewitnesses, why wouldn’t there be verses that are similar or the same?

            Mark was written around AD70.
            ”Most scholars believe Matthew was composed between AD 80 and 90,” (Wiki).

            ”The majority of modern scholars believe that Mark was the first gospel to be composed and that Matthew (who includes some 600 of Mark’s 661 verses) and Luke both drew upon it as a major source for their works.”(Wiki)

            To conclude that the first century Christians just did not exist because they aren’t mentioned outside the Bible, is pretty naive,

            They were regarded as a subset of Judaism.

            if they had no actually contact or communication with anyone who lived and experienced these things.

            For similar reasons why some people were prepared to fly a couple pf jetliners int the Twin Towers.

            We have evidence whether you think we do or not. That isn’t going to change.

            Instead of continually claiming there is evidence why not simply provide this evidence you say exists?

            Like

      • Oh, and I am aware that the article is a reprint.

        Like

  5. Here is a post I think you will find interesting.
    Maybe you will appreciate my perspective more coming from a former Christian like this chap?

    View at Medium.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read the post you linked to, Ark. This man didn’t say anything I haven’t discussed with atheists at the a/t Facebook group.

      The deal is, his description of his life which he thought was Christian shows what he was thinking: it all depended on what he did. The truth is, being a Christian depends on accepting what Jesus did, not on my trying to do the right stuff.

      Every point he made can be addressed based on what the Bible says, not based on what somebody else thinks it says. That’s the problem today. All these false teachers running around and saying the Bible promises this or that, or it says xyz about what a person must do. But reading the Bible is different than pulling a few verses out of context and making them say what they don’t actually say. The fact is, if this man or any other person who once claimed to be a Christian actually believed, they would not have stopped believing. Rather their “belief” was based on something apart from knowing Jesus.

      My parents have both been dead for years now, but I knew them. I don’t deny them now because my life circumstances have changed, because I no longer see them or talk to them or receive emails from them. They were my parents. I know them. If someone came along and said, your parents never existed, I would not have to dig up documents to prove that they did. I’d start by saying, sorry, but I knew my parents. We had conversations and experiences and I know those things really happened even though I don’t have pictures or videos or recordings of our interactions. They existed and my experience with them validates their existence.

      That’s similar to a Christian knowing Jesus. You don’t know Him one day and then stop knowing Him the next day. Your relationship with Him is either real or it’s not. There are lots of people sitting in churches down through the years, who were or are playing at church. Some sincerely think they are on the right track because they are doing all the right stuff, like this guy said he did. But doing that stuff is not a substitute for knowing Jesus. If he was told it was, he was sold a bill of goods. Hopefully he’ll come to realize that he never knew Jesus and was simply going through religious motions that happened to be Christian motions. But those things don’t make him a Christians. Like the saying, Because you’re in a garage, it doesn’t make you a car.

      Believe me, that blogger is not the first to agonize about knowing God and wanting to know God. Just look at Martin Luther. He was a monk in the church and he agonized over his spiritual condition. Nothing he did gave him any sense of peace or assurance. Until he finally grasped: For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.

      Not of yourselves. Not of works. A gift. Grace. Our part is accepting, nothing more.

      Becky

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      • Well, all Christians believe this of those that leave the faith, donpt they?
        ”You were never a proper Christian”

        But doing that stuff is not a substitute for knowing Jesus.

        Every deconvert I have encountered were adamant they knew Jesus.

        So, tell me, why were they wrong yet you are right?
        Exactly how do you know Jesus, whereas these people – according to you- obviously did not know Jesus

        Oddly enough, some of the most fervent Christians have been ministers. You should read some of their testimonies over at the clergy project.

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        • I don’t know what these people experienced. I’m only going by what they say, and in every one of these instances with people I’ve talked to or listened to about their experience, they report all the things they did, like going to church regularly or for a long time, holding a position of some authority—often as a youth leader—reading and/or memorizing the Bible, repeating a prayer someone told them. Those things do not make a person a Christian! Those are religious things but they have nothing to do with having a restored relationship with God. It has nothing to do with being rescued from “the dominion of darkness,” and it says nothing about repentance or the forgiveness of Christ or “loving Him because He first loved us.” It especially doesn’t say anything about surrendering to God’s will.

          One is more like playing church. The Christian who has surrendered his life to Christ, has accepted a new purpose for living. The “I was a Christian” crowd can list all the things they thought they were doing for God, but the Apostle Paul could do that too, and he called it all rubbish. Christianity rests on God’s grace, His free gift, His kindness. Our part is nothing more than receiving the gift He provided. But if someone “gives it back” were they just acting in the same way as others who had accepted the gift acted?

          There’s a parable Jesus told that applies. He likened the word of God to a seed. Some, when planted, fell on rocky soil and never got their roots down, other fell on the path where birds ate it, some were choked out by thorns, and some fell on good soil and produced fruit.

          In other words, there are false starts. There are false positives. There are pretend Christians. And there are some people who think they are Christians for all the wrong reasons. They sincerely believe they are Christians because of the things they do, but they don’t yet know that being a Christian isn’t about what they do “for God.” It’s about what God has done for them.

          Becky

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          • And yet, I’ll bet you donuts to dollars that right up to the end, each and every one thought and believed exactly as you do now.
            Furthermore, you did not even try to answer my question:
            Exactly how do you know Jesus, whereas these people – according to you- obviously did not know Jesus?

            Like

          • Actually, Ark, I did answer you to the best of my ability. I don’t know what their relationship was like, only what mine is like. Did they think they were trusting in God’s grace and not their own works? Again, I can’t say. I only know what I read and what I hear, and not one person who says they are a “former Christian” says anything about God’s grace or about repentance or about Christ. They all say what “Christian” things they were doing, just like “other Christians.” So from those comments, I deduce that they never understood what being a Christian is all about.

            I also have God’s word that says clearly, holding fast is part of what defines a believer. You don’t truly believe something if you are wishy-washy.

            As soon as someone says, I know better than God, which is what a person who walks away from God is saying, it’s like a coup. Loyal subjects of a king don’t seize power from him by mounting a coup. You have to conclude they were not loyal subjects, ever, because if they were loyal, they would still be loyal (remaining steadfast is built into the meaning of the word).

            Actually I think it’s sad that people think they were Christians when they were not. Did someone give them false information? Highly possible. There’s a lot of false teaching out there. Or, possibly, they deluded themselves. Reminds me of the Pharisees of Jesus’s day who thought they were serving God by keeping all the rituals of their religious tradition. But at one point, they declared, “We have no king but Caesar,” meaning that they admitted, maybe without realizing what they were saying, they they did not consider themselves to be under God’s jurisdiction.

            A person can’t be a Christian and say, But I reserve the right to make the final decision.

            Becky

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          • Actually I think it’s sad that people think they were Christians when they were not.

            This is such an arrogant and highly insulting accusation, Becky.
            As I stated every one I have encountered were 100% committed to the faith.
            And there are thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands who walk away every year.

            And the question I asked you did not answer. Namely: Exactly how do you know Jesus, whereas these people – according to you- obviously did not know Jesus?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Your funny Becky. No, you truly are. You post your comments and I refute your comments, then you come back and cry about my comments.

            YOU post long winded comments yourself, but then? In your hypocrisy? YOU cry about my long winded comments.

            You state we atheist cannot be moral without your god and Jesus and Christianity, but I posted showing how immoral Christians are with their Jesus and God and bible and then? YOU play the No True Scotsman line of apologetic BS. Which is usual of Christians.

            See Becky, let me clue you in. I went and got myself a long time ago? A Masters degree in biblical studies and comparative religion and got my Ministers certificate. And? I was taught all the con games you need to learn to answer questions to Christians.

            You are also taught? To deny, just like you have, all the evil that Christians have done to humanity in 1,700 years of terror and forced conversion programs on others.

            You are also taught all kinds of other defenses, which I see you have used.

            And this is why? I walked away from my ministry, from the church and from Christianity.

            Because factually? It is in fact? YOU Christians and your actions? That prove? There is no god, no Jesus and you are all as fake as your religion is.

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        • Here is something I have learned about Christians and their use of what can only be termed as their Justification Defense.

          If you expose their god for the monster he is, using the Old Testament stories? Such as when he sicked 2 she bears on 42 kids for making a joke about the bald head of his prophet Elisha and had them ripped to shreds? Or when he allowed his Tribe of Benjamin to go and wipe out Jabesh Gilead because they did not have enough virgin girls in their tribe to take as wives? So then went to Gilead, wiped out almost every living thing, including the animals, except the virgins? And got 400 of them and forced them into marriage through the Levitical rule of raping a virgin? You know, you rape a virgin and you gotta pay the father 50 shekels and then marry her for life? Only they killed the fathers of these virgins so they got away with not paying the shekels..and when those were not enough for them? They went and kidnapped the Virgin dancing women of Shiloh to force into marriage, or when one of the prophets had his concubine gang raped and then hacked into 12 pieces to be sent to each tribe of Israel? Or having children sacrificed and their bodies put in the foundation of the Temple Walls? And trust me I could go on and on and on?

          Christians will absolve their god of all of this, they will justify all his actions by saying he was a holy, caring, loving and just god, and in essence? Blame innocent and defensless fetuses, infants and children as the most evil and that is why their god had to have them murdered, butchered and destroyed. Then? They will demand we have no right to judge their god, though they state that their god has every right to judge us. and excuse their god for all the henious things that is exposed about him in the OT. Matter of fact? If these stories were not in the bibles OT but were in a horror book or movie? Most people who saw it? Would say this being was fouly evil, a degenerate, a pedophile, a child murderer, an abortionist, a mass murderer, a genocidal maniac.

          Christians? Will also demand the right to judge us atheists, or others, or say they have a right to judge us, but no atheist or others have a right to judge Christians for their evil and hypocrisy.

          But they have been so brainwashed to not even question their own god or all the evil he has actually done? Because to do so? They are told that would be evil and Satanic and would burn in hell for all eternity if they do. This is classical brain washing.

          It is the same for many things Christians have done in their history. They justified 9 Crusades into Northern Paganlands, to force convert the Pagans and do not care that hundreds of thousands of Pagans died brutal deaths, even children, whom Christians beat to death on the spot if they found them playing with a pagan statute the way a child plays with a doll.

          They justified the slaughter of tens of thousands of Jews, wiping out whole towns of them. They slaughtered more Jews on their way to the Crusades of Jerusalem and at Jerusalem than they did Muslims. They even blamed the Jews for the Black Death and put them to death for it. Yet? Their Lord and Savior? Is a Jew, and their religion? Is actually one branch off the original, the Jewish religion.

          And look at how they justified what is basically? The worst case of mass extermination and genocide in recorded human history. Against the Native Americans of North, Central and South America. Wiping out estimates of between 10-100 MILLION humans. No one will never know the true death tolls because Christians would wipe out whole villages and even cities of Natives and leave no records of them afterwards.

          But Christians, justified that then using their bibles saying that god and Jesus gave them these lands to subdue and conquer. And? All of this? Went against ALL the teachings of their Jesus, in his commands you were to love all your neighbors, do no murder, thou shall not steal, thou shall not bear false witness, etc.

          And? They even continue to justify it and excuse it to this day by claiming still? It was us Native Americans who were the savages who were attacking them, and they were just innocent settlers who did no wrong to the Natives.

          One of my favorite ones is when a Christian tells me how they civilized us. How if it were not for Christians doing what they did? We would never have become civilized and stayed as savages.

          They literally kidnapped our children. Forced them into their Christian schools, where they did all they could to wipe out any trace of their heritage and turn them into good White Man’s Christians, even though they also proclaimed again and again how we Natives could never be saved and go to heaven because we did not have souls to save in the first place.

          But you speak about this today to Christians? And you are trashed for it and called a hater of Christians. Or are a persecutor of Christians lol. And Christians will use any excuse to distance themselves, absolve themselves, or justify themselves, for all the evil those who declared themselves Christianity did to their fellow human being under the banner of Christianity.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Let me ask you this Becky and I want an honest answer from you. Or as honest an answer as you can give me ok?

        A little background first though. For 15 years now? I have worked exposing probably over one hundred thousand Christian priests and pastors who have been arrested for raping children. Some of their victims were as young as 6 months. Some? Were deaf/mute children. Some were devout altar boys, girls, choir kids, etc. All of them truly believed in god and Jesus.

        I have worked with victims all over the world. Too many to count. I have even worked with the parents or other family members whose child committed suicide because of this. And let me tell you, just in the Roman Catholic Church? We can show over 3,000 victims alone there that have committed suicide over this. We can show where thousands more victims have committed suicide because of their rapes by pastors in other denominations. There is one Christian group called the Children of God whose victim count is so high you cannot fathom it and 80% of the victims have? Committed suicide.

        Oh and I? Am a survivor of this. I was gang-raped by three priests when I was 15 and it literally destroyed my life. I actually did go on and became a minister, getting a masters degree in biblical studies and comparative religion but? I walked away due to a whole lot of the hypocrisy that was shown to me by many who DARED call themselves Christians, but were? Christian In Name ONLY.

        I admit, I became a Pagan and went to those teachings of various pantheons, my favorite were the Norse though. And I also went back to my Cherokee and Blackfeet roots. But? I became a real, confirmed atheist? After all this work with all of these victims and all those crimes I have exposed, done to children, at the hands of those who called themselves Christians.

        Now, here are the questions I want you to try to answer me.
        1. Every one of us who went through this? Prayed to god and Jesus to save us. Not once? Were our prayers, cries or screams answered. So. If the sincere prayers of a child, who believes in god and Jesus, to god and Jesus, cannot stop a “man of God” from raping a child, in a church, where god and Jesus are actually supposed to be the most? What good is praying to god and Jesus in the first place?

        2. Christians state? That if god or Jesus do not answer your prayers? That means it went against their will. Does that mean when we all prayed to god and Jesus to stop what was happening to us and they did not answer those prayers, does that mean it went against their will to do so and wanted us to be raped, tortured and terrorized?

        3. Christians tell me that those who have committed suicide? No matter what the reason behind it? Are automatically condemned to hell. There is no reprieve.

        Now, I do not know if YOU have ever met a victim or survivor of this. But if you have? You would hear how horrifying their lives truly are. Most? Become drug addicts and alcoholics. Many cannot have a civilized relationship. Many? Suffer from severe and debilitating PTSD. Nightmares that would make most horror movies look like rated G kid movies.

        Many? Were even kicked out of their homes when they told their parents what happened to them. Quite a few? Have been forced to go in front of the very congregation, where the pastor raped them, and apologize to the congregation and pastor for falsely accusing them of rape and then? Beg for their forgiveness.

        I know of one case where the mother and her two daughters were brutally raped by one priest. The mother went insane, was found naked on the grounds of the church screaming how the pope and god owed her. One daughter? Committed suicide.

        I know another case where a pastor raped a 13 yr old girl on her fathers grave after he held the funeral services for her father. That girl went insane, wondering why? God and Jesus did not answer her screams as that pastor was raping her on the very grave of her father on the day of his burial. She eventually? Committed suicide.

        So here we have victims, who were sent through a living hell, being raped, tortured and brutalized, by Christian priests and pastors, who prayed and begged god and Jesus to save them from it. And when that did not happen? They lost everything, including? Taking their own lives.

        BUT??? These same Christians tell me? That if they committed suicide? Their souls are in hell? Also tell me that if the priest or pastor repented and asked god and Jesus for forgiveness? Then? They will spend an eternity in heaven.

        So my last question is? Can you see how even this? Would make people look at Christians and Christianity and see just how sick and twisted it is? Or want nothing to do with it? Or speak out against it?

        Oh and you want to know who are the biggest proof to atheists that your god and Jesus do not exist? It is you Christians yourselves who profess to believe in him.

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        • AMR, I don’t know what you’re asking me to be honest about. I couldn’t agree more that this kind of heinous behavior is reprehensible and without excuse. I do understand that when someone who says he believes in Jesus does these kinds of awful things, people will be confused and begin to question God and what He’s doing and why He allows such a thing.

          But I know that this behavior is not actually a reflection of who God is. He tells His followers to love others (neighbors, enemies), and abusing them is so NOT loving them. In other words, the actions of someone who says he follows Jesus which are in such clear opposition of Jesus’s teaching, show that you can’t trust their words. You know, it’s true—actions speak louder than words. They can say they follow Jesus, but they don’t.

          I’m not going to pretend to know what God does or does not do when someone cries out to Him. I know He’s put people on earth to do His work—to be His hands and feet in the world. So above all, the people who did not step up and protect the abused are going to be held accountable. Beyond that, I don’t know why. But that’s true about all suffering. I don’t know why people like Corrie ten Boom suffered in a concentration camp or why her sister died there. I don’t know why Joni Tada has been a quadriplegic for over 50 years or why she had cancer on top of it.

          Suffering is part of the human condition, but it’s not God’s doing. It’s sin.

          Christians are no different from anyone else other than that we have been forgiven and that God is reshaping our lives to be like Jesus. But we aren’t there yet, so we sin and we suffer. But the sin is not the kind of disregard for what Christ said that these pretend Christians do. They say one thing and do just the opposite. They are the ones to be doubted, not God.

          Becky

          Like

          • All I just heard from you? Were excuses and justiications in a way. Funny isn’t it? A Christian will scream that Muslims who rape children are actually following the precepts of their religion. But if a Christian rapes a child? They are not. Yet? Both Muslims and Christians? Worship the same god. Muslims? Actually use the OT. Muslims actually believe in Jesus, not how Christians do, but they do believe he was a great prophet.

            The OT? Is full of stories of the rapes of children, the brutalization of children, the forced marriages of child brides. And? This was actually approved of and commanded by god in many instances.And this OT? Is the same one? Christians use, Muslims use and Jews use. So? YOU cannot say that god? Never approved of the harming what are really? Innocent children, or infants, or fetuses, or virgins, or all the other things that are in the OT that were done to children.

            Since when do you call a god loving, merciful,caring and understanding, and especially protective of fetuses, infants and children when he commands two bears to go and shred to death 42 kids for making a joke about a prophets bald head? Couldn’t he have just had their parents spank them and send them to bed without their matzos? Or one of his punishments for a child who mouths off to their parents is a death penalty punishment. Or has virgin children sacrificed to be placed under the foundation of the Temple? Or say that a virgin is raped? She must then be forced to marry their rapist for life?

            So how can you say what you have said when the bible proves very different?

            Why do I say this, especially on the rapes of children? Well apparently you truly do not know your bible or god huh?

            See, in the Old Testament? God actually approved of the rapes of virgins. This is proven with his allowing the Tribe of Benjamin to slaughter the people of Gilead except for the virgin girls because they had no virgin to take as wives. They did not legitmately marry these virgins. No, they raped them, and then? Applied the Levitical law that virgins who are raped? Must marry their rapists. And when the Tribe did not get enough virgin girls from Gilead? They then kidnapped and raped the virgin dancing girls of Shiloh.

            So here is just one example? Of god allowing virgins to be raped. But let’s go one step further shall we?

            God himself commanded his followers to rip out of the wombs of pregnant women their fetuses. He commanded his followers to smash the bodies of infants and children against rocks to murder them. Just because? Their parents either worshiped a different god or? This was the land that god supposedly promised the Israelites.

            So here is a question for you to ponder.

            Say you never heard of god, Jesus, etc. And you picked up a book and started reading stories where a being commanded his followers to rip the fetuses out of the wombs of pregnant women. Who commanded his followers to do any of the things that are described in the OT that god commanded his followers to do.

            Would you then call that being a good being or an evil being. Would you call that book a good book or a horror book?

            Like

          • OK, you’ve had your fun. If you want to actually talk, I’m happy to do that. But these rants. No. You are making uninformed comments for only one apparent reason, and it has nothing to do with having a genuine dialogue. I guess you actually answered MY question: Christians don’t have conversations with atheists because people like you don’t want them.

            Becky

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      • The ones who taught me the most? That god and Jesus were not real? Are the very ones who proclaimed? They were real. The biggest example of the fakeness of the message of Christians and Christanity? One only has to look with clear eyes and truth about how Christianity actually became the power religion it is today.

        One only has to listen too and look at all these self-professed True Believers of Jesus and God? Who go around spewing hate, bigotry and misogyny. Who go around demanding that certain people be put to death. Or who demand? That if you are not a Christian? Then you are basically evil, immoral, etc.

        Answer me Becky, what is the difference really between a Christian in the United States, demanding that our country be turned into a ChristoTheocratic country, that all our laws be based on the bible and Christian teachings. That our public schools should be having bible study, and prayers and Christian teachings done there. That our government should recognize Christianity as the only real and valid religion in the United States. That laws against abortion, same sex marriage, and many other things? Be ruled under Christian laws and rules? Than Muslims demanding all these same things?

        Christians cry about Muslims installing Sharia law here in the United States, but got no problem with Christians? Installing their own version of their Sharia laws based on Levitical teachings and other teachings of the bible.

        We have Christian priests and pastors who have actually gone to our legislative bodies and demanded there be a death penalty for homosexuals. One Christian? Matthew McLaughlin? Filed his vile and evil disgusting ballot initiative in California called the Sodomite Suppression Act where he first? He gave the government of California one year to put laws on the books that would actually? Put to death lgbts in California and deny them? All rights. If they did not? Then? Christians would have the right? To walk up to anyone they see on the streets of California cities who were showing any affection to anyone of the same sex, pull out a gun and blow their heads off right on the streets. This law if it were passed? Could not be overruled by any court unless all the judges on that bench? Were Christian. People who stood up for lgbts? Faced up to ten years in prison, a million dollar fine, and permanent loss of all civil rights. Luckily? A judge said nope. But this guy is going to try this again.

        Pastor Scott Lively? A US Pastor? Joined forces with Matt Barber, another Christian pastor. They went to Uganda, Russia and many other countries, stirring up all kinds of hate against lgbts. Lively? Joined forces with Pastor Martin “Poo Poo Pastor” Ssempa of Uganda and helped design and get passed the infamous Ugandan Kill the Gays bill. Because of Barbers work in Russia and other countries? LGBTS have come under horrible persecutions.

        So tell me how the heck is this? Any different than Muslims wanting to install Sharia law? How are these Christians? Any different than the Muslim terrorists and extremists that Christians always seem to want to call out, but never seem to want to call out these same kind of extremists who are Christian? And any time anyone does? It is Christians circling the wagons around them. and stating how Christians are being persecuted for their beliefs, when? It is actually? Christians persecuting others because of their Christian beliefs.

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        • Oh. My. Goodness. You are making such outlandish claims based on some obscure examples you seem to have discovered through whatever means. What you have said here has nothing to do with actual Christian beliefs. I said before: when someone claims to follow Jesus and then demonstrates hate, it is clear that what they say is not true.

          And BTW, is this what you believe talking to Christians means? You rant for long stretches about nothing I’ve written, only about stuff you think will show Christians in a bad light. I am beginning to wonder if you are simply being disingenuous.

          Becky

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          • I kind of figured this would be the way you would respond. But most of my “long winded rants” as you call them? Are actually responses to what you been commenting and posting. And I? Think you are being way too disingenuous to even having any kind of serious discussion or debate with atheists. This is proven not only by how you have responded to myself? But to others here.

            Now, I am also? A part of Right Wing Watch. Ever hear of us? We expose all these raving, drooling Christian Taliban pastors of hate and death. And guess what YOU are using to defend your Christianity with what you have been posting.

            Ever hear of the No True Scotsman? It is a fallacy Christians use to distance themselves from those Christians? Who did not act like they were too Christ like. But here is where the fallacy comes in and the hypocrisy of people like YOU ok?

            First? What is the NTS?

            The No True Scotsman (NTS) fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when a debater defends the generalization of a group by excluding counter-examples from it. For example, it is common to argue that “all members of [my religion] are fundamentally good”, and then to abandon all bad individuals as “not true [my-religion]-people”.

            When used in the past tense, NTS can also be used to retroactively disqualify group membership based on future wrongdoing. In this scenario, the axiom becomes “having done something bad just proves how you never really were a member of this group in the first place”, a statement as comfortably shallow and devoid of meaning as answering a question regarding which sports team you’re rooting for in a game as “the team that wins”.

            With respect to religion, the fallacy is well used, often even overused. Religious apologists will repeatedly try to use NTS to distance themselves from more extreme or fundamentalist groups (and vice versa), but this does not prevent such extremists from actually being religious — they themselves would certainly argue otherwise. Moderate Muslim leaders, for example, are well known for declaring Islamic extremists as “not true Muslims” as Islam is a “Religion of Peace”.

            Many of these statements claiming that the extremists are not true believers are often used as a reaction against Guilt by Association. The NTS fallacy likewise occurs when believers attribute any and all good fortune to divine intervention on their behalf, yet insist that the same can never be true when things go awry.

            The NTS fallacy can also run the other way when it comes to extremism. Extremists will make a religious statement, and when someone points out that there are many believers who don’t believe the extremist’s viewpoint, the moderates are deemed not to be true believers (i.e., Christians who support gay marriage or accept evolution as fact are not “real Christians” or Muslims who support women’s rights are not “real Muslims”)

            However, strictly speaking, a Christian is defined as one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ, says they have accepted them as their lord and savior, and believes he is the son of god.

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          • So you respond with another rant? You are sadly mistaken if you think any of my posts have been about anything you have brought up. I challenge you to find one post on any of the things you accuse Christians of. You want to make accusations? Find another place to do it. You want a dialogue? You’ll always be welcome here.

            And I’m sorry, but Christians are the ones who define what it means to be Christian, not atheists.

            Becky

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          • Now, you might think these are just some outlandish claims based on some obscure examples I have seemed to have discovered through whatever means.

            And this is also a TYPICAL fallacy defense of Christians when you do talk about the evil things those who profess themselves to be Christians have done.

            Now, there are thousands of other examples I can post, all backed up by news stories, court reports, laws themselves, and video and tape interviews. I can post dozens of links to videos of Christian Evangelical and Fundamentalist preachers and pastors who go around, foaming at the mouth, spewing hate and death against lgbts, women, abortion doctors, etc. ON VIDEO.

            Like say Pastor Charles Worley who in one of his psycho sermons said he wanted our government to build nazi style concentration camps for lgbts.

            Pastor Steven Anderson and his buddy Donnie Romero who actually went to congress and demanded they pass a law that makes it a death penalty punishment for lgbts.

            You got Walid and Theodore Shoebat, who go around always demanding the death penalty for all kinds of people.

            But here is the thing? THEY ALL PROCLAIM THEMSLEVES CHRISTIANS, they all proclaim that Jesus is the son of god, etc. Just like YOU do. Their congregations? All proclaim themselves Christians. They proclaim their pastors Christians.

            Go to Right Wing Watch, Go to Southern Poverty League, go to do a web search and it will literally blow your mind the thousands of pastors and ministers and their congregations that preach this.

            So YOU proclaim they are not a True Christian right? Then neither are you. Why do I say this?

            What did Jesus and the Apostles say if you had a fellow Christian who taught these things? YOU were to go and correct them. And if they did not correct? You were to bring a group of fellow Christians to correct them. If they still did not correct? YOU were to try one more time with more fellow Christians. If then? They did not correct?

            YOU WERE TO DENOUNCE THEM, TOSS THEM OUT AND SHAKE THE DUST OFF OF YOUR FEET TO THEM. YOU WERE TO STAND UP TO THEM AND PROTEST THEM UNTIL THEY STOPPED ACTUALLY.

            But you sure haven’t done that now have you? And many of your fellow Christians? Do not do so either. But you all, in your hypocrisy?

            Will sure scream at Muslims to do something about their extremists now won’t you?

            And? You all hate atheists like myself? Who are in fact? Are former Christians and have studied your religion much more than you all ever have? Hate it when we do speak the truth. So? You attack us like YOU just attacked me, for my speaking the truth.

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          • You are showing that you have not read anything I’ve written if you say I hate atheists. Couldn’t be further from the truth. As I said, if you want to dialogue you are always welcome here.

            I’m sorry you were hurt. I’m sorry you are so angry. All the examples you put together only show how sin has a hold on the world, how much we need to follow Jesus, not run from Him. May you one day find this out for yourself.

            Becky

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          • One last one for you.

            I am a proud Cherokee, part of the Wolf Clan, or as we say the Tsalgi Aniwaya. I am also part Blackfeet. So please, tell me what justifications would you use to excuse what all the Christians did to my ancestors? What excuses would you use for what was done to us at the hands of what would basically be called ChristoTalibans.

            And? How do we Native Americans forgive Christians for what they did to us and? Still to this day? Do to us. And why should we? Want to be a Christian?

            Let me put it very bluntly to you in this way.

            A Christian? Telling a Native American they should become a Christian? Is comparable to a Nazi telling a Jewish person they should become a Nazi or a black person being told they should join the KKK.

            I do not know if you can understand what I just said? But I bet it pissed you off huh? And if it did? Then there is very much truth in my words.

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          • All you’ve wanted to do is make me mad, I suspect, but actually I am sorry that you live with such anger and hatred. May you find the true God and not the one that you are so angry at.

            Becky

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  6. “Each one of these must be understood in context.”

    Now where have I heard that before Becky, every time anything such as contradictions or slavery, violence and killings are mentioned literally from the Bible we atheists have misread it, wrongly interpreted it, not read it in context etc, etc.

    If that is not a prime example of your indoctrination I will eat my hat.

    If all these things you say are true, why is it that literal people who are not Christians cannot understand your version of what it says. You say I do not read the Bible, well ridicule me to death because what is the point when I am never going to understand the secret code to understanding what it says.

    “Whoever made this list is obviously operating from an agenda, and clearly you are indoctrinated to believe these “contradictions” even though they aren’t true.”

    No Becky, you are the one indoctrinated with an agenda to make up excuses to protect your ideology, these were only a small sample of contradictions, yet you can find an excuse or rather some very unlikely reasons as confusion for each and every one, absolutely amazing.

    “do you think the sun is the source of light?”

    Why would I think that?

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  7. “the age of the earth appears . . . But fact? No. You can only draw a conclusion.”

    Untrue Becky. It should come as no surprise that the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years. Radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas. Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades. The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples. This is no conclusion; we have moved ahead and there are even more technical answers here.
    http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=2901

    Researchers tested the hypothesis that solar radiation might affect the rate at which radioactive elements decay and found no detectable effect. More here.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100915171534.htm

    All the claims of creationists are answered here.
    https://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/evolution/reliability.php

    The scientific principles regarding Evolution, the age of the Earth and climate change are all issues that are taught as solid facts Becky, not conclusions or opinions. If any scientist was to enter the scientific field of medicine and claim God created man they deserve to be sacked as evolution is a fundamental basis in the medical field taught in all medical schools. If a scientist was an archaeologist and claimed everything was only six thousand years old they would also deserve to be sacked, just as a meteorologist claiming climate change is not real should be sacked.

    Man evolved with many good and bad attributes, the morals and ethics were originally formed over many thousands of years for the purpose of survival. If you ask what is the purpose of life and what is our destiny it should be as clear as a bell that you are simply just one of the life forms on this planet, an advanced one, however just one life exactly like any animal and even a simple cockroach. What you make of your life becomes your purpose and how well you saviour your life will logically determine your destiny.

    “Matter and energy cannot be the cause or the starting point of matter and energy.”

    You may be correct, however that has nothing to imply that supernatural forces or any gods exist or are responsible for anything and any scientist Jew or Hindu and any other person that changes the accepted science into their personal ideological faith will as far as his colleagues are concerned have lost credibility.

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    • Steve, I wish you would read carefully. In the first link, the question is, “Do you believe . . .” So right off, we are talking about opinion. The answer also contains these phrases: “. . . when applied to appropriate materials,” and “. . . given the right minerals.” What amuses me is the declaration, without evidence, that this is accurate. So we measured and this is the total we got, and it’s really accurate. According to your system and what you have determined, dating is accurate since the conditions on earth must have been the case all throughout history, without any variation. But it’s a supposition!

      Second article, same problem. Right there in the opening: “…have led some to question the science behind carbon-14 dating and similar techniques.” All this paper is about is that the problems were not caused by solar radiation. This does not do away with the fact that there are problems!

      Third article, the author says, ‘these measurements are subject to certain “glitches” and “anomalies,” as noted in the literature.’ But then he sites an example that he says is an apparent anomaly. So are there or are there not glitches and anomalies? All he’s basically saying, if they are present, there’s a way to explain them away (at least in this one case). And that certainly does not say anything about creation. You assume that someone who believes in creation must believe in a young earth. Why not an “apparent” old earth? I mean, if the scientist can explain “glitches” by saying, Yeah, they only appear to be glitches, why not agree that the earth might look old, but that’s just an appearance, not a fact. You really can’t answer that. No one can say.

      Steve, I know what is taught as “solid fact” and I’m here to tell you, this is only “solid fact” because the scientists who control the narrative won’t allow for the opposing view to present their contrasting evidence. So of course people accept the standard ideas as fact because they don’t know there’s another side of things.

      It’s like when I first learned history in elementary school and middle school, everything about the US was presented in the best light. Only when I got into high school did I learn about some of the scandals and problems, and then in college I was introduced to the other side of the coin—regarding expansion, the Indian wars, the war with Mexico, and on and on. I felt betrayed by my earlier education. They had constructed a false narrative in the textbooks and the teachers didn’t challenge it.

      The same is the case now with the science narrative. Don’t rock the boat, don’t suggest that something else might be true—something more logical that actually answers all the questions and brings all things together to make better sense.

      “that supernatural forces or any gods exist” Steve, that is just illogical. If natural causes could not have caused nature, what’s left but the supernatural? Seriously! Not nature, you’re saying, but certainly not the supernatural. I’m sorry, but I’m not aware of another category. No one is changing anything. It’s a FACT (not opinion) that something within a set cannot be a cause of the set. So FACT: something other than matter and energy must have caused matter and energy to come into existence.

      Becky

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    • Steve, if you are still entrenched in the idea that only “indoctrinated” people become Christians, watch this video. https://youtu.be/B27frLTr6gk

      Becky

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      • EVERYONE is indoctrinated into their religion, especially? The Abrahamic religions. The majority of those who proclaim themselves Christians, or Muslims, Or Jewish? Were basically indoctrinated to this? By their parents. Sure, there are some exceptions to this, but this is the basic way anyone is indoctrinated into a religion, by their parents, who were more than likely? Indoctrinated into it by their parents, and so on.

        The problem with generational indoctrination? Is you trust your parents so much? You believe what they tell you. So when they tell you about the Christian god and Jesus? You more than likely as their child? Is going to believe what they are telling you.Most Christians are indoctrinated when they cannot even think for themselves, when they have very little life experience to judge whether a religion their parents are indoctrinating them into? Is actually truth.

        Another problem, like with the Abrahamic religions is? You are taught to never, ever disobey or even question your parents. I mean even one of the Ten Commandments state this. There is also many punishments in the bible for mouthy children, etc, including? Putting them to death. Read the story of the Prophet Elisha and the 42 kids and what happened to them when they joked about that prophets bald head? Will put fear into a child. So this is a basic brain-washing and mind-controlling tool Christians or Muslims or Jews use on their children, to instill fear in a child’s mind to believe in god, Jesus and a religion in the first place.

        So what is the result of this constant brain-washing?

        1. They do not want to disobey their parents. They do not want to disappoint their parents. So? If their parents tell them about a god and Jesus? They will believe them.

        2. They are taught that if they do not believe, or disobey their parents? Then there are severe consequences in that. That could include their being put to death. It does not matter if people do not do that. Just saying this to a child? Will instill great fear in them.

        3. They are also told? That god and Jesus are everywhere, watches everything you do. They know your thoughts, they see your actions. Sort of like a horrifying boogeyman haunting you if you ask me. You terrorize your childs mind about god and Jesus, scaring them to death, telling them if they do not believe, or be good? Then god and Jesus will hate them and curse them and send them to hell.And then? They will spend an eternity in hell, tortured, burning, etc.

        This? Is all classic brain-washing techniques. And they are used by Christians and Muslims and Jews leaders and promoters of these various religions because they are very effective and works on our basic fears in the first place. The fear of death, of what might happen after we die, etc.

        And that? Is what the basic belief of Christians, Muslims and Jews come down to.It is not based on faith, but fear. The only reason you even proclaim it is faith? Is because you actually have fear first, that the horrors and other things they told you that if you do not believe in it? Will happen to you. YOU basically have faith in the people who indoctrinated you into your religions beliefs? Were telling you the truth. But they too? Were also indoctrinated in the religion, not by faith, but by fear.

        Again? There are exceptions to this, but not really? Take us Native Americans. Most of those who now proclaim themselves Christians? Are doing so through programmed fear. Generations of fear, death, horror, torture, extermination by Christians? Have led to this. Christians denigrating and defaming and trashing Native Americans, calling them savages, etc? And then? Forcing their children into these Christian schools they were put in? As I have described in other comments here? Put great fear into these children as they watched their fellow Native friends be beaten, tortured, abused, even raped, and yes, even murdered for defying a Christian teacher. The Christians running these schools? Did all they could to wipe out any trace of these children’s Native heritage or ways and replace them and turn them into Christians, through fear, through terrori and through even? Mass slaughter of their parents, grandparents and loved ones and then? Telling them the reason why their parents and loved ones died? Was because the Christian god and Jesus were stronger and wanted them to die because they were not Christians.

        I could go on with dozens of different variations of indoctrination techniques done by Christians. And how do I know them? I was taught them lol. But they are all the same, indoctrination? Done by using fear.

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  8. I find it interesting how much Christians will demand we respect their opinion on their religious beliefs, but refuse to respect any atheists opinion on their beliefs. And Christians constantly demand we respect their beliefs.

    But why should we? Christianity was supposed to have been founded on their Lord and Saviors greatest commandments of loving all your neighbors as you are supposed to love your god and yourself. That you are never supposed to ever judge another person. That you are to always remember, the example of Jesus, the adulteress and the Pharisees who wanted to stone her to death.

    Seems most of you think you are god and Jesus in your judging of all other people, in your hypocrisy of your judging others.

    An example? Most Christians will condemn homosexuals based on actually? Three verses from the bible, in which two of them are in Leviticus. You hear many Christians demanding even that homosexuals be put to death according to Leviticus. Yet? These same Christians? Will play the old hypocrite and subterfuge game when it comes time to adulterers.

    If you debate a Christian who believes that homosexuals should be put to death according to Leviticus? And you then state to them how come they do not demand the same be done to adulterers according to Levitucus? They will then come back 9 times out of 10 and state? That Jesus did away with those rules when he died on the cross, so we no longer have to stone to death adulterers according to Levitucus and some will then even meltdown and demand who gave you the right to judge adulterers. Well? I guess the same person who gave you the right to judge homosexuals?

    Or Christians will falsely decry how atheists are oh so evil and responsible for some of the greatest atrocities in human history, using Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin and others as their examples. Yet? Hitler was in fact? A self proclaimed Christian and he stated in his speeches this many times and even stated in the 24 point Programme which was the Nazi Constitution, that Nazism was founded on Positive Christianity. Or that Stalin, about the only one who claimed he was an atheist? Actually used the Russian Orthodox Church teachings and rules to do his ethnic cleansing, which included the murder of atheists, agnostics, educators and professors. Pol Pot was actually a Buddhist.

    But the history of Christianity proves my point, though Christians always seem to justify their brutal history by blaming the other persons who were persecuted. From the moment Christians actually gained power in Rome under Constantine and then his son Theodoscoius? They persecuted Pagans, making it a death penalty punishment to be a Pagan, murdered hundreds of thousands of Pagans in their forced conversion programs that were the 9 Crusades into Northern Paganlands.

    Or what Christians did to Native Americans in North, Central and South America, literally committing the worst case of mass genocide in recorded human history against them. Again though? Christians will give all kinds of justifications and excuses for this, or even?

    Proclaim how none of these were True Christians doing this. The old NoTrue Christian excuse lol. But on the flipside? They will condemn all Muslims, for their extremists, and state that they are all like that, no matter the proof otherwise. And believe me, I am not defending or standing up for the Muslim religion either.

    You have Christians who seek to constantly violate the Separation of Church and State as stated by our Founding Fathers and even deny they ever spoke of such things and state with their supposed certainty that all the Founding Fathers were Christians and founded this country on Christianity, when if you all actually read the words of them? You would find? Nothing could be further than the truth in this.

    Many of them were Deists. Many of them actually spoke out against Christianity and all the harm it has done to humanity. Thomas Jefferson actually cut up the bible taking out what he considered all the bs, and was basically left with some of the Gospels, the Pslams and the Proverbs. And? They spoke constantly that the rights of the person who was not religious? Was actually more important than the right of those who were religious. This is reflected in Thomas Jeffersons Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, James Madison’s speech he gave before he gave the Congress the Bill of Rights, and John Adams saying as much in the Treaty of Tripoli with even President George Washington expanding on that.

    Many of the Republican Presidents, such as Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter also spoke about the separation of church and state, as well as Presidents John F Kennedy and pretty much every President since George Washington.

    So maybe if Christians stopped acting like they are? And stop thinking they are the top dogs because they believe in a god and Jesus etc? And if they would actually start living the commandments and teachings of their Jesus they proclaim to follow?

    Like? Loving ALL your neighbors, with all of your heart, soul, mind and body, never judging another person, etc?

    And Christians stop spouting how we Atheists cannot have any morals, etc, and how evil we are, or lie about us, proclaiming how we are really satan worshippers, or child cannibals, etc? Or how we have no souls to even save, etc? Then maybe some of these problems would stop.

    But hey, that? Is up to you Christians, because we atheists? Are no longer going to lay down and allow you to treat us, or abuse us, or deny us our Civil Rights you all enjoy? Simply because you all believe in some Bronze Age fairy tale that was actually created to control you? As all religious beliefs and beliefs in gods are? And we do not? Does not make you all morally superior to us. Matter of fact? The truth of the real history of Christianity? Proves the opposite. We atheists? Are actually more moral than you Christians are.

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  9. Let’s also take the attitude of Christians on homosexuality. I often wonder how Christians would feel if homosexuals had a book that stated that Christians should be put to death for being Christians? But it seems ok for Christians to constantly spew how homosexuals should be put to death according to their bible. And what is even more hypocritical about Christians on this topic?

    Adultery is condemned 10-1 when compared to homosexuality in the bible. As in Leviticus? Adultery is given a death penalty punishment, the same as homosexuality is. Jesus even sort of changed the rule and stated: If you even look at another woman who is not your wife with lust in your eyes or heart? You have already committed adultery with them. The teachings also says? That unless you divorce your spouse specifically for them committing adultery? Then you have violated the adultery law should your spouse then turn around and remarry, and she in fact? Becomes an adulterer herself.

    And yet? When you bring this all up to Christians, who are using the bible to condemn homosexuals? They then come around and say? Well when Jesus came he did away with all of that. Oh really?

    So you use the book of Leviticus to condemn homosexuals and that is perfectly ok. But when someone uses Leviticus to condemn adulterers? Why that rule has changed. Why? Because then? A whole lot of Christians? Would end up having to face a death penalty punishment for adultery if those rules were applied equally right?

    Hypocrite Christians will refuse to stand up for a politician who is an admitted homosexual or lesbian and condemn them and will never go and vote for them. But have absolutely no problem standing up and defending an adulterer, forgiving them and even electing them to office huh? I mean many Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians will whole heartedly condemn homosexuals. Some have even demanded that laws be enacted to have homosexuals put to death. Some? Have even went to other countries like Uganda and have had laws passed that put homosexuals to death.

    But boy, you ask them how come they are not doing the same to adulterers which are condemned more in the bible than homosexuals are? You get every excuse in the book don’t you as to why those rules no longer apply to adulterers.

    So can you see how Christians themselves, in their complete and utter hypocrisy and double standards, would then be called out for them by atheists?

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  10. “Christians define what it means to be Christian”

    I see this is stated in one of your comments Becky, they definitely do but how does this work?

    For starters Protestants and Catholics did not recognise each other as real Christians for years by killing each other and neither of these would likely recognise the sect of Jewish Christians who follow Jewish law as real Christians. Many self appointed Christians always say ex- Christians were never real Christians, but only after they left. All of these are simply personal judgments used to degrade people.

    As my atheist colleague has suggested your good book says you shall not judge, and I would expect so called self appointed Christians judging other self appointed so called Christians is an even worse sin in the eyes of your God.

    My first comment on your site this year, so have a happy new year.

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    • Roman Catholics scream how Protestants aren’t True Christians.
      Protestants scream how Roman Catholics aren’t True Christians.
      Southern Baptists scream how Northern Baptists are not True Christians.
      Moderate Christians proclaim how Evangelicals and Fundamentalists are not True Christians.
      Evangelicals and Fundamentalists scream how everyone else of every other denomination are not True Christians.

      When a Christian commits an evil act? Why they are not True Christians.

      But? Then? According to Christians? Muslims got it wrong and are evil. Jews got it wrong cause they do not believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, so they got it wrong…though Funny huh? The Jews proclaim that Jesus Christ did not fit their idea of who their Savior would be. All claims in the OT of the Savior of the Jews was he was to be a warrior, not someone going around telling you to turn the other cheek and then? I find it amazing that Christians then tell Jews they got it wrong. So basically? Christians telling Jews that their interpretation of their own religious beliefs? Were wrong and it is the Christians, whom rose from the Jewish religion and whole basis for their religion is the Jewish religion, but they do not believe that the Jews can prophesies their own Savior.

      And according to Christians? Pagans are wrong and evil, but hey, 90% of all the rituals and holy days that Christians practice? Say like Christmas, where they put up trees and decorate them? Or give gifts, or feast, or light yule logs, or hang mistletoe, or hang wreaths, etc? Are all taken from the Pagans. Their Christmas was stolen from the Pagans Yule. Their Easter? Was stolen from the Pagan celebration of Ostara.

      Even their “sacred symbols” of the fish, the cross and the star? Are all stolen from Pagan theology

      Basically? All Christians are? Are in the closet practicing Pagans anyway.

      And then? They scream about how we atheists cannot be moral, how we are evil, how we are satanists, etc. How we have absolutely no purpose in life unless we become a Christian, or a Muslim.

      Christians have historically put to death atheists. They have persecuted atheists. They have made it against the law for atheists to do many things. They continue to seek to take away the rights of us atheists. They insult and denigrate us on a daily basis. Atheists are considered on par with Muslims or even below Muslims. Sort of like when the ChristoTalibans invaded this country to slaughter us Native Americans, to teach us that thou shall not murder, etc. We Natives were considered of less value than the negro slave and even the animals.

      Yet, the truth is? Christians and their religion Christianity? Has truly shown us how much human beings can be psychotic hypocrites, psychotic butchers and murderers and genocidal maniacs for their god and Jesus and religion. But then they play the No True Scotsman line of apologetic Bullshit.

      They got no damn problem calling out the “sins” and “crimes” of others, but don’t you DARE call out the sins and crimes of Christians now.

      Yeah, typical of Christians, do as we say, do as we command, but NEVER do unto us as we do unto you cause we hate reaping back what we sow unto you.

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    • If Christianity was the truth? Then there would not be 4,200 different denominations of Christianity. There would not be over 600 different translations and versions of the bible

      If Christianity was the truth? There would be only one version of the bible and one denomination.

      And this proves? That not even Christians can get together and agree.

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      • I agree with what you say, you have obviously “been there and done that” in Christianity for a period of your life.

        I do not have any sympathy for any religions, however I do have a great deal for those that have their lives encapsulated within it and I do understand where Becky is coming from. I do believe religion does assist many people in their struggle through life and I would not like to rip it away from what are many vulnerable people whom were mostly indoctrinated from childhood. I understand from ex-priests and ex-believers I have known it is an extremely traumatic experience when your whole belief system and your life comes crashing down due to discovering the reality of what is going on.

        Having said that I believe wholeheartedly that following a god with ingrained emotive fear, devotion and love who promises an afterlife or a hell depending on certain subservient behaviour while you live is doing nothing but damaging our modern multicultural secular societies.

        Neuroscientists have recognised an evolved emotional belief in the supernatural and our brains have become wired this way. As humans are still evolving and the worm is slowly turning, it however will likely be another hundred years before religious believers in leading western cultures become a minority.

        I relate to John Lennon’s song, “imagine.” People of all colours and races, women and LGBT people would all live together without the enormous stress of religious belief dividing them. I have seen first hand the ugly Northern Ireland conflicts between Protestants and Catholics so I have some insight as to how religions also seem to take on a political influence to further their ideologies as the recipe they use to successfully divide what could be peaceful communities.

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    • Thanks for the new year wish, Steve. And may you also have a profitable and happy new year.

      I understand the skepticism that conflicts in early Church history have created. I understand the same in light of the many pseudo Christians of our day, and even in light of the many differing denominations. The thing is, none of what people have done or are doing changes God’s standard. There are “minimal” standards, if you like, that must be met if someone is truly a Christian. These standards are not arbitrary or changing. They are clearly set forth in the Bible. So in your example of “Jewish Christians who follow Jewish Law,” the Bible actually, directly addresses that issue. So the real question is, how does God define “Christian,” or Christ-follower. To know that we have to know what the Bible says about who Jesus is, and how we are to relate to Him.

      You remember, I’m sure, that I’m big on reading the Bible. This is one reason. Otherwise we’re just going by our gut or what seems right to different individuals or groups. But there is the objective, defining statement of who a Christian is, and it is not “anyone who claims to be, is” as some people believe.

      Anyway, glad for the comment, Steve.

      Becky

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  11. Becky, all you Christians remind me of the Pharisees that Jesus took care of in the Temple. Yeah, all of you.

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  12. Becky,

    While I recognize that this is a repost, and I have only skimmed the comments, the fact that you seem to have a genuine wish to understand atheists is heartwarming. A sincere pursuit of understanding is rare on either side of this divide. So I’ll give you my thoughts.

    First, I agree with a previous comment that atheists do not, inherently, *believe* that God does not exist. They merely lack belief in one. If a heavyset, uncoordinated friend of mine claimed they could do a backflip, I would be ‘atheistic’ about that belief. That doesn’t mean I believe they can’t do it – I would just need to be convinced. Either do it in front of me or show me a recording, because it is a large claim to merely take on faith. It would be irresponsible belief. If I saw them do it, I would then believe.

    Also, I think probably most atheists recognize that there is sufficient evidence to support the existence of a man named Jesus. However, no credible extrabiblical sources ascribe anything supernatural to that man. I find the story of Jesus much like that of Rasputin. If Rasputin were put in the place of the ancient Jesus, Rasputin would probably be on a cross in churches today. I think they both had cults, and gullible followers who revered them beyond reason, and who were willing to greatly embellish their dear leaders lives with supernatural claims.

    I mean, I could easily produce a book that talks about the Gods, Giants, cyclopes, minotaurs, and so on, and it can be linked to real places and events on the Earth. As you would rightly point out: That doesn’t prove it true, and as I would pedantically point out: The fact that we know that at least some of what’s included in the book is impossible doesn’t mean that the entire thing is false. But we’d both be intellectually irresponsible to believe it. The Bible is no different – or the Torah, Quran, Bhagavad Gita, etc.

    But to the heart of why I, an atheist, don’t allow myself to take things on faith:

    There are an estimated 3000 religions currently being practiced in the world, and each has followers who believe “without doubt” that theirs is the correct one. Presumably, almost all of these religions have followers who feel absolutely certain because they had a spiritual/supernatural experience or they felt that their lives improved after prayer or their cough went away or whatever their particular story is – it’s far from unique among any religions. As well, most of the religions cannot exist if another one is true – they are mutually exclusive; Christianity is certainly among those.

    No matter which religion/non-religion is correct, almost all people on Earth are wrong about religion.

    This tells us quite obviously that certainty is meaningless. Personal, subjective experience is meaningless. Your ‘feelings’ are meaningless. You cannot, and indeed, must not rely on them if your goal is genuine pursuit of actual truth, because they necessarily lead people away from the truth more than towards it. We must find a way to separate ourselves from our biases and instincts and superstitions.

    Evidence is the way we do that. Science is the way we do that. Logic. Rationality. You know the spiel. I cannot speak for all atheists, but I don’t think this an uncommon motivation behind why they are non-believers.

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    • Apologies, but I failed to mention that I’m not looking, with my reply, to merely offer my words to hear myself speak. I’m genuinely curious what you make of this. I, too, wish to understand.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, I appreciate this. Hope my response has given you some thoughts to chew on.

        Becky

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    • I would like to agree with what you say and just like to add that atheists disbelieve in any gods. In my experience committed atheists have absolutely no doubts at all in their disbelief of gods, it is agnostics and unbelievers who inherently believe in various percentages that gods may or may not exist.

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      • There are many definitions of atheism floating around, even within atheism itself. But atheism was never meant to be a *positive* belief in nonexistence. I have no doubts that agnostic atheism is the most rational position to take, if that’s how you mean it. Contentment with the position.

        The literal definition of atheism is lack of belief in a(ny) God. But that is not a positive assertion, either direction. It is not ‘belief in the lack of Gods’. I am an atheist when it comes to belief in a band better than Manchester Orchestra. 😀 I lack belief that any such band exists, but I do not assert one does not exist that I am ignorant of. One might, for all I know.

        It’s just that with God, that is such a huge claim that doesn’t make sense of what we see in the world that I acknowledge it’s extremely unlikely. Certainty, however, requires proof. That is something we will never have, because you cannot prove a negative. Even if God doesn’t exist, we won’t be able to ever prove it 100%. Not even sigma 5 certainty is enough to justify ‘absolute certainty’. Though, I’ll fully recognize that I’m pedantic. :p

        On the X axis is atheist vs theist. That is non-belief vs belief in God.
        On the Y axis is agnostic vs gnostic. That is the certainty that one claims in the belief.

        Most atheists are agnostic because they don’t claim to be certain that there isn’t a God – only that it is what is most rational to believe until evidence is given otherwise. Most theists are gnostic – they claim they have certainty that God is real and only their specific religion is correct because they do not require evidence for their belief and their instincts tell them as much.

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        • Yes you are right, the word atheist has many definitions. I have a committed disbelief and I would put my life on the fact that no gods exist today and no gods have ever existed in the past, just as ridiculous as some deluded Christians have claimed to me that they would sacrifice their own children before themselves if needed in protecting the name of their God.

          It is the neuroscience that is the ace in the pack. Science has well and truly already taken the winnings from the table, if the global orbiting Earth, the age of the universe, biological evolution and the archaeology was not enough for religions to throw in their hand the neuroscience has completed the Royal flush that eliminates all doubt.

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          • I would mostly agree – I think it unlikely enough that Gods exist that I wouldn’t have any fear betting my life on it. However, as I said, I’m pedantic. lol. I still can’t claim 100% certainty, which technically makes me agnostic atheist.

            I think you’re right – neuroscience has destroyed most religious argument from a scientific standpoint, but actually what did it for me was determinism. Not all atheists are determinists, so I’m not sure if you’d agree, but by any standards that I’m aware of, I think it obvious we do not possess free will – not in the manner, at least, that most people think. This precludes any eternal, divine punishment or reward. As I’ve said before, it’d be like pushing a kid down the slide and them punching them in the face for reaching the bottom. It’s arbitrary.

            And without freely chosen actions, the entire concept of God kind of falls apart to me. Heaven and hell become irrational concepts, morality falls into science and philosophy instead of being owned by theology, the doctrine of praising Jesus would be the equivalent of coding a program that tells you you’re great over and over… It makes no sense.

            Once I wasn’t afraid of hell anymore, the bias I had been viewing the Bible with cleared and I saw the contradictions, immoralities, et al, and it became that much more clear.

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          • RP, not sure where determinism came from. Are you saying that to believe in God is to believe in determinism?

            Becky

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          • No, rather that I lost my faith because of my realization of determinism. Determinism is something we can confidently conclude via pure logic. The lack of free will as it is generally perceived. It’s therefore something I can trust. I cannot yet do the same with God, given the lack of sufficient evidence. I don’t see determinism as compatible with the typical view of God. Unless God is far different from how he is thought of, I don’t think his existence possible.

            But really, the main thing determinism did was ease my fear of hell, which allowed me to drop some of my biases, which then led me to become an atheist.

            Sorry – I know it kind of derailed the convo a bit. :p

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          • Ah, Steve, you still have NO evidence for this claim. Hard to believe that you stake so much on an unproven idea.

            Becky

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        • Robot, I’d disagree with that last paragraph. “Most theists” might be correct, but not “most Christians.” Gnosticism is actually a major red flag (just had a FB discussion this week about a man who was being accused of being Gnostic). The certainty Christians claim has next to nothing to do with a personal experience and pretty much everything to do with trusting what God revealed “through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures” and in His Son.

          Becky

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          • That’s interesting to me. You don’t think most Christians claim certainty?

            I mean, I very much appreciate when Christians admit they aren’t certain – I respect those Christians a great deal.

            However, regardless of what the pastor seems to say in his/her sermons, doubt is very much looked down upon in the Christian worldview. Not ‘officially’, perhaps, but I have never heard a Christian speak of their doubts without a sense of shame and guilt. That was certainly my own experience when I was still Christian.

            I know that how I phrased it was a rather unsympathetic view of your faith, and I apologize for that, but call it ‘trust’ if you wish. Whatever it is, it is belief without evidence. That is an opinion I hold – that we should have evidence for belief – and I fully recognize that it’s not an objective truth that we should. You’re not obligated to set your standards at the same place I do. But I prefer to call it what it is. You are not ‘wrong’ for having faith/trust/whatever – I just don’t agree with this application of it.

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      • Steve, as I’ve pointed out to you, this position is really untenable. I mean you are basically saying that you as a finite, earth-bound mortal, knows positively, without any doubt, that NOWHERE in all the universe is there an infinite Creator. It’s really illogical to take that stand.

        Becky

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        • Yes that is true Becky, in case you have not realised, mortals are everywhere and doing everything on planet Earth and even all the theists are mortals. That no gods exist is the most logical and rational position to take because of the total lack of evidence in the supernatural world and particularly of any gods.

          Give me some reason to change my mind Becky, it can’t be too hard, such as your God resurrecting the most recently died relatives for families for just one country or one city for just 8 hours before sending them back to the grave again or for just one week or even one day he prevents every child of 20,000 that die every day from starvation and disease by providing bread and medicines. Alternatively he heals every cancer patient on the planet regardless of how advanced it is. These ideas may cause population problems but curing cancer would save heaps of money and actually prove a god exists. Unfortunately for most of the theist world it may not be their god and in fact if it is YHWH and he does not recognise Jesus and Christianity it is going to be a huge disappointment for many more theists, not to mention if the god turns out Muslim or as Brahman the Hindu God.

          Becky we all know nothing will ever happen and the best it can ever be for theists is relying on guess work, faith in an ideological person that your emotions have collectively created for you deep inside your head.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Funny how Christians tell us theirs is the one true god. And Jews? Tell us theirs is the one true god. And Muslims? Tell us theirs is the one true god. What is funny about all of this? YOU ALL WORSHIP THE SAME EXACT GOD.

          Then? There are 4,200 different denominations of Christianity. Roman Catholics says anyone who are not Roman Catholic? Are not true Christians. Episcopals say the same. Baptists say the same. Evangelicals say the same. Each and every denomination of Christianity? Calls all the other denominations of Christianity? FALSE and that theirs is the only true way.

          And then? You got over 500 different versions and translations of your bible.

          This proves not only the falsity of your religion but your claims. Because if your god was the one true god? Your religion Christianity was the one true religion? Then? There would be only ONE denomination and only ONE version of the bible. You Christians cannot even agree among yourselves which is the actual right, one true way.

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    • Welcome, RB. Glad you stopped over and left a comment. You might be surprised, but I agree with a lot of what you said. For example, I absolutely agree that personal, subjective experience should not be relied upon as the source of our understanding of God, the world, ourselves. As you say, evidence, science, logic, rationality, and I would add, history, philosophy and theology, are the tools we can use to gain understanding. I would qualify that by saying that personal experience can verify a truth.

      For instance, someone who has never eaten a banana split might be unwilling to try one, and definitely not in a place of validating banana splits as good desserts. That person could run tests on the ingredients, do polls of people going into or out of an ice cream store. But in the end, what he learns about the banana split will only be verified by his personal experience. Silly example, but I think it makes the point.

      Regarding the “extra Biblical” evidence for Jesus—all the books in the Bible were once upon a time “extra Biblical.” Just because they have been gathered together into one book is no reason to think that there were not multiple eyewitness reports and verifications of His life, death, and resurrection.

      That He wasn’t written up in the Roman Times, is not surprising. The events recorded in the gospels took place in a little, backwater providence that Rome had no particular reason to care about. It’s not like people knew ahead of time that Jesus would change the world.

      Becky

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      • Much of what you write I would consider fair answers. I was especially pleased, both with your response and your post, your apparent reverence for science. That stance is not generally look well upon, among the religious demographic – particularly the more orthodox.

        With regards to the personal subjective experience, the banana split example is using subjectivity to make an opinionated conclusion. Whereas the claim of whether God exists or not is using subjective experience to make a factual conclusion. If your banana split experiments were instead to find whether bananas actually exist, that would have painted a much different picture in your example. The issue here really isn’t opinion. It is what is claimed as fact. Most atheists, myself included, do not say that it is fact that God does not exist. What we say is that theists are wrong to claim it is fact that he does. It’s the equivalent of polling people whether they *feel* like banana splits exist, most people saying ‘yes’, and without ever actually seeing a banana, finding hard evidence of one, or having the ability to explain more of the natural world including the concept of a banana compared to explanations excluding them, concluding they exist.

        I will grant that most books in the Bible were extrabiblical at one point. The arbitrary nature of which books were included and which were excluded, not to mention the rewrites at the several Council of Nicea’s and translations of translations, etc, is alarming.

        But, you are correct. That doesn’t inherently mean they are flawed. But contradictions certainly do. Depending on which version of the Bible you read, there were either one, or several people who went to Jesus’ tomb to see it empty, for instance.

        But we also have no reason to believe that any of the words included in popular translations of the bible were written by contemporaries of Jesus. I believe that the closest one is alleged to have been written is something like 80 years after the death of Jesus? A game of telephone that lasted that long and produced hundreds of contradictions in a book that is supposed to include nothing but the ‘perfect, infallible word of God’? I’m not convinced.

        Knowing Jesus’ impact on the world would be irrelevant in the face of a resurrection. If that had truly happened, in any era of human history after language developed, that news would have been spread far and wide. We can confidently assume that whatever Jesus had been known known for prior to crucifixion, verified resurrection would quickly eclipse everything else. Yet the only unbiased historians of the era whose work we have access to mention only that he was a religious figure that was crucified.

        It may have happened. It simply doesn’t meet the standard of evidence for belief that all of us should have. I would be intellectually unjustified to believe it at this time.

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