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.

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  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

      • “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

        Like

        • 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

            Like

          • “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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      • “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.

          Like

          • “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, 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

            Like

          • “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

      Liked by 1 person

      • 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,

            Like

          • 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

            Like

          • 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.

            Like

          • 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.

            Like

          • 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

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    • 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

      Like

      • 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.

        Like

        • 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

          Like

          • 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

            Like

          • 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?

            Like

  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?

    Liked by 1 person


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