The Christian God Is Not a God At All

March 28, 2008 at 8:16 am 116 comments

CreationThe debate as to whether a god exists has been around since man first believed in a god. This debate is unlikely to end anytime soon and I do not plan to make an attempt to end it. I will instead give a few reasons why the most popular God in the world, the Christian God, is not at all the powerful being he is made out to be.

In Christianity, God is said to be the creator of the universe, perfect in every way, a being of infinite power. It is believed that God can accomplish anything he wishes, There are of course no obstacles in the way of an omniscient being. These beliefs, although fully accepted by the Christian people, are flawed. In fact the flaw, or flaws, lie in the most important writing of their religion, the Bible. The Bible depicts God throughout its large number of books and in many of these depictions God is shown as a less than perfect, less than omniscient being.

The best area to begin with is Genesis, the beginning of the Bible. In Genesis God is depicted during his creation of the universe. An admirable feat by any account, but not admirable enough. The flaw in this situation is that God is not all powerful. He takes quite a bit of time to create the planet earth and the rest of the universe. Of course the rest of the universe is created very quickly, while this little planet earth takes the bulk of the six days, but I won’t stress that point. Taking time, any time at all in fact, not to mention an entire six days, is not a quality of a supreme and infinitely powerful being. A being of infinite power would create the universe infinitely fast and to a state of complete and utter perfection. This is just the first of many flaws in which God’s lack of power is displayed for all to see.

The second comes directly after the first, the day of rest. After completing this strenuous and tiring ordeal of creating a universe God decides that he needs to rest himself, and he does so, for an entire day. Christians celebrate this day every week when they claim to take a break from their own work to rest themselves and worship God. But do they ever contemplate the idea of God actually needing to rest himself? I would assume someone would question this as Christianity is the most popular religious group in the world though it seems this issue was simply brushed to the side along with every other part of the Bible that makes no sense at all.

There are a number of other flaws throughout the Bible, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Probably none as blatantly obvious as the previously mentioned issues but many that would cause one to take a moment and think about why God would do, or had to go about doing, what he did. One of these stories is Moses leading the Israelites to the promised land. God tells Moses that he needs to lead his people out of slavery and everything else he went on about in that story. The issue here lies within the way God went about this whole little endeavor. If God was really omnipotent his people wouldn’t have been slaves. In this case let us assume there was some reason why they were enslaved for some period of time and God has his good intentions. When God finally did decide that he no longer wanted his people enslaved he easily could have just picked them up and dropped them in the promised land. It can’t be all too hard for a God who created an entire universe to move some people a few miles. In fact, if God was really feeling up to it that day he might have just moved the promised land to them. But no, he needs to ask some human to do this work for him because he is incapable, maybe he got sick that week We can at least give him the benefit of the doubt.

Another small issue with God’s omnipotence is during the burning bush scene when he speaks the ten commandments. Why God needs to use a burning bush for his method of Heaven to Earth communication is not clearly stated. Perhaps he just has a thing for dramatic effect. Regardless of his chosen method of communication God did not go about his relaying of the commandments in a very logical way. God relayed his message to a single person, one person out of the millions that were alive at the time in hopes that everyone on earth would eventually hear these commandments and know that they are to live by them. If God were all powerful he could have easily ingrained these commandments into the minds of every human being in existence and proceed to set it up in a way that every child will be born knowing these commandments in the same way they know how to breathe. God of course did not do that. This leaves us to ponder why exactly he did not. There are two ways you can go with this. Either God lacks a basic understanding of logic and thought that letting one person know the commandments will be as effective as everyone knowing the commandments, or he lacked the ability to relay this information to everyone on earth. For God this is a lose lose situation as both methods portray him as something less than perfect.

These instances can of course continue on for a very long time as God seems to do things that are not a true portrayal of a God like being repeatedly throughout the entire course of the Bible. I assume that the instances which have now been shown are at least enough to get one started onto thinking why God does not seem to act as such and it is understood that every point previously made can likely be argued.

- Bobovore (guest)
Philosophy of A. Fernandez

Entry filed under: ~Guest. Tags: , , , , , .

Convenient categories: Why Christians believe de-cons leave the faith Spirituality Without Superstition

116 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Frreal  |  March 28, 2008 at 9:36 am

    The Exodus played a huge role in my deconversion. Why would a truly omnipotent and omnibenevolent God GIVE his chosen people land that was already inhabited while at the same time requiring them to take it by force. “Here is your promised land now go kill all the men, women, and children, well…. except for those virgins and little girls… you can keep those for yourselves ”

    If God thinks that people are evil shouldn’t he take care of them himself rather than require his followers to kill children?

    It is inconceivable that a god would command his followers to plunge swords into the bellies of terrified children and still be viewed as moral and merciful. It is NOT inconceivable that MAN would use a god to justify atrocity.

    The Bible comes from the Minds of Men.

  • 2. chillinatthecabstand  |  March 28, 2008 at 9:46 am

    I agree. The exodus story has more holes in it than Tupac’s body.

  • 3. Lady through the Looking Glass  |  March 28, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Just a quick intro: Was raised as a Methodist, and transitioned almost a decade ago to Seventh-day Adventism. In recent times, I’ve grown disillusioned with Christianity in general, and my denomination specifically (which I elaborate in my blog). Presently, I’m questioning my faith, reading up on both sides of the Christianity debate so that when the time comes for me to make a final decision, I’ll have solid evidence of a case for or against Christianity. I still attend my SDA church, although I’m more of a “neutral Christian” now, and fulfil my responsibilities there. However, more and more, I’m embracing Deism as my personal philosophy. And I’m thrilled that I’ve found this blog.

    “Taking time, any time at all in fact, not to mention an entire six days, is not a quality of a supreme and infinitely powerful being. A being of infinite power would create the universe infinitely fast and to a state of complete and utter perfection.”

    I always wondered why He didn’t just think the world into existence, or even do so with a snap of His finger. Why take six days, or even a day, or an hour even?

    “The second comes directly after the first, the day of rest. After completing this strenuous and tiring ordeal of creating a universe God decides that he needs to rest himself, and he does so, for an entire day. Christians celebrate this day every week when they claim to take a break from their own work to rest themselves and worship God. But do they ever contemplate the idea of God actually needing to rest himself? ”

    In my church, the teaching is that God rested, not because He was tired, but as an example for us to “rest” from our physical and spiritual labours and find “rest” in Him. So then, the Sabbath becomes a day of focusing on Him (as well as spending time with family, etc.) and His redemptive work on our behalf. I won’t bother to go into the Sabbath doctrine, but the aspect I just mentioned is only part of the SDA teaching. Yet there’s still the valid question of why a God whose Word describes Him as one who never grows weary, should need to rest.

    “But no, he needs to ask some human to do this work for him…”

    A popular saying in Christendom is that Christians are His hands and feet, His co-labourers. Does that mean He needs help or assistants? Some Christians would probably say that it’s a glorious privilege to be chosen/called to do God’s work on His behalf.

    “Why God needs to use a burning bush for his method of Heaven to Earth communication is not clearly stated. Perhaps he just has a thing for dramatic effect.”

    I’m yet to get a plausible answer as to why God doesn’t communicate today as He did in the OT. If He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, why can’t/don’t I hear His audible voice as the OT characters?

    Although I must admit that if I heard a voice coming out of a burning bush that wasn’t really burning, I’d run hollering for the nearest hill. Or perhaps to a psychiatrist, for that matter.

    I never thought that I would ever feel this way, but it seems to me that Christianity’s God is rather schizophrenic. I cannot reconcile the God of the OT and the God of the NT. And since Jesus claims to be God Incarnate, which one is He really like, since He claims to never change?

  • 4. Brad  |  March 28, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Bobovore,

    Wow… I respect the work that went into writing this post, but where is the discussion of original audience or context? You bring so many cultural assumptions to your reading and understanding of the text… You have very different values and a perspective that the original audience simply did not have. To evaluate the text as if it were written to you (or anyone in modern society) totally misses the point. I appreciate your candor, but you’ve got to be aware of what you are bringing to the table when you analyze a text from a culture vastly different from your own….

  • 5. The Apostate  |  March 28, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Brad,
    Do you believe any bit more than 1% of Christians take the original audience or context into account when they read their Bibles?

    The fact is, most continues continue to believe God created the universe in six days – most Jews don’t even believe that! Most Christians take to heart every word of David in the Psalms without caring why or when they were written. And every Christian I have ever met gives quotes from various Old Testament books, including, of course, Isaiah, to “prove” the prophetic fulfillment of Jesus – without caring about the context of the book. In fact, wasn’t the entire religion of Christianity born out of a horrible revisionism, caused by a misunderstanding of context and cultural assumptions, of the Jewish tradition? You may not agree, but every Jew throughout history would beg to differ.

    The Christian claim is that certain values are timeless. God is timeless. What then is Christianity if we must continually re-work what we mean by “God”? Isn’t that simply showing what Frreal stated, “The Bible comes from the Minds of Men.” Or are we really suppose to continue trucking along with a two thousand year old revelation that some more sophisticated Christians are, in essence, really saying much of it is irrelevant to today’s world, or in the very least, that it may be relevant, but you must trust the elitists who can dedicate their time to researching the context, and learning Hebrew and Greek? The funny thing is, weren’t they having this discussion 1900 years ago?

  • 6. O'Maolchathaigh  |  March 28, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Well, thank god. :-)

  • 7. mewho  |  March 28, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Sam Harris has some pointed criticism of how Christians so readily brush off the nastiness which the old Testament God displays, but simultaneously declare Him to be a good God. I think it’s in “Letter To a Christian Nation” where he says (I’m paraphrasing) that Christians declare God to be good, but why? Because they bring their human intuition of what IS GOOD to the Bible, and exalt His majesty and power, that’s why. And yet, when cornered on all of the brutality of God’s character, they shrug their shoulders and say “Well, I can’t judge God. We’re just humans and He can do what He wants.” What? It’s a glaring double standard by which one declares God to be Good by His good works, and then declare not to be able to judge God’s character by his evil works. All Christians bring their human judgement to the Bible by judging God to be good, but unconciously blind themselves to the atrocities committed by God, declaring themselves unable to really know God, or be a position to judge His “mysterious” ways.

  • 8. Brad  |  March 28, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    TA,

    “Do you believe any bit more than 1% of Christians take the original audience or context into account when they read their Bibles?”

    I think more than 1% certainly do, but I would agree that it is sadly not the majority. However, does that even make it right? As I lobby for all sides to contextualize, should not all sides apply the same standard to themselves? “They do it too” is a poor argument… If you can complain that Christians don’t take historical and cultural context into consideration, it strikes me as slightly hypocritical to not do so yourselves….

    “The Christian claim is that certain values are timeless. God is timeless. What then is Christianity if we must continually re-work what we mean by “God”?”

    It is not a reworking, but an attempt at further understanding God. God’s word, properly understood, is absolutely timeless and timely. But to properly understand it’s message, one must understand it’s context. This a-contextual attitude in modern culture ignores a VERY basic and foundational aspect of human communication. You can’t just take words and make it mean whatever you want to say. If I did that in my marriage, it would be short-lived!

    Come on, man. I’m not saying that we not critique and evaluate the claims of the Bible, but let’s at least apply and consistent standard to that critique.

  • 9. Rachel  |  March 28, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Taking time, any time at all in fact, not to mention an entire six days, is not a quality of a supreme and infinitely powerful being.

    You kidding me? First of all, we don’t know that God took six days, Genesis was written as another creation narrative to contrast the God of Israel with all the other gods. Second, even if God did create the world in six days, who cares? Talk to any artist and they’ll tell you that they love the creative process. Who’s to say that God couldn’t take his time and enjoy himself?

    After completing this strenuous and tiring ordeal of creating a universe God decides that he needs to rest himself, and he does so, for an entire day.

    Again, who cares? I think that rest here doesn’t mean so much not working (albiet Christians have often portrayed it that way), but taking the time to enjoy creation.

    When God finally did decide that he no longer wanted his people enslaved he easily could have just picked them up and dropped them in the promised land.

    Yeah, and my dad could have done all my homework for me in high school.

    If God were all powerful he could have easily ingrained these commandments into the minds of every human being in existence and proceed to set it up in a way that every child will be born knowing these commandments in the same way they know how to breathe.

    Well there’s a verse in Romans 1 that says, “God has set eternity in the hearts of men, so that men are without excuse.” Is that what you were looking for? :)

  • 10. Jersey  |  March 28, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    How about Abraham dealing with God, lowering the number from fifty to 10 to try to save Sodom and Gomorrah?

  • 11. TheDeeZone  |  March 28, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Another small issue with God’s omnipotence is during the burning bush scene when he speaks the ten commandments. Why God needs to use a burning bush for his method of Heaven to Earth communication is not clearly stated.
    The Burning bush you are referring to occurred in Exodus 3. It is the calling of Moses. The 10 Commandments were given on Mt. Sinai see Exodus 19-21.

  • 12. Paul S  |  March 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Brad said,

    If you can complain that Christians don’t take historical and cultural context into consideration, it strikes me as slightly hypocritical to not do so yourselves…

    The people who dispute Biblical claims, much less the existence of God Himself, accept the Bible for what it truly is: a collection of stories and myths written by ignorant, superstitious, Bronze Age men whose lack of understanding of nature and their place in it necessitated the creation of a “supernatural being” to allay their fears. That’s exactly the cultural and historical context from whence the Bible came. Most de-converts accept this is indeed one of the main reasons they are no longer believers.

  • 13. orDover  |  March 28, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I agree completely with what Paul S has said.

    I’m confused as to how something can be both “timeless and timely.” I don’t see how a book can require a contextual, timely reading but at the same time can be applicable in modern times. If the context of the Bible is really considered then it makes the book seem completely useless for modern applications.

    Apologists are always so quick to cry “CONTEXT!”, referring to historical context, but what about modern context, the context in which the text us used and understood today by lay people? Bobovore clearly understands the context of literal Biblical interpretation that is hawked by today’s fundamentalists, which is the group that his words are aimed at. I think that this latter form of context is much more relevant to a criticism of Christianity. I don’t give a frog what a tribal Jew living three thousands years ago thought about the Bible. I care about what people today think about it, how they read it, how they interpret it, how they understand it, and how they use it to support their faith.

  • 14. His Mind  |  March 28, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I was once a fool, like most of you posting here. And please, do not be offended by the name calling. God calls you that.

    “A fool says in his heart there is no God.” Psalm 14: 1

    Waste all the time you desire waxing non-eloquent about what you believe about God and why He did what He did. Only one truth remains and is not up for debate:

    You will come face to face with your Creator; yes The One who made this grand Earth. You will have none of your great thoughts to spew. He won’t care to hear it. All He wants is your heart. Not what you can come up with. You have nothing to offer Him. Why don’t you simply bow now, get out of your despair. It’s better to do it while you are still alive. So much better.

    Let’s say for the moment you are right, and I and all other believers in Christ are wrong: who has more to lose? Me or you?

    I hope it’s not too late for you. All of you.

    Sincerely.

  • 15. Paul S  |  March 28, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    His Mind said:

    Waste all the time you desire waxing non-eloquent about what you believe about God and why He did what He did.

    Like most Christians, you continually fail to realize that atheists DO NOT believe in God, and therefore, there is no such thing as “why He did what He did.”

    Only one truth remains and is not up for debate:

    It most certainly is up for debate. And here you are… debating it!

    You will come face to face with your Creator; yes The One who made this grand Earth. You will have none of your great thoughts to spew. He won’t care to hear it. All He wants is your heart. Not what you can come up with. You have nothing to offer Him. Why don’t you simply bow now, get out of your despair. It’s better to do it while you are still alive. So much better.

    Nothing says “all-loving God” like the threat of eternal damnation if you don’t bow down like some lapdog. Now THAT’S despair!

    Let’s say for the moment you are right, and I and all other believers in Christ are wrong: who has more to lose? Me or you?

    Well, if I’m right and you’re wrong, you have already lost a multitude of Sunday mornings for nothing. Imagine the sleeping-in and football you’ve missed over the years. Such tragedy!

  • 16. His Mind  |  March 28, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Like I said, let’s hope it is not too late for you, Paul. You have spoken like a true fool.

    Have great football Sunday’s.

    Take care.

  • 17. Paul S  |  March 28, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Like I said, let’s hope it is not too late for you, Paul. You have spoken like a true fool.

    Have great football Sunday’s.

    Take care.

    And you’ve spoken like the condescending, superior, know-it-all Christian that I am all too familiar with. You’re not bringing anything new to the table. Go away.

  • 18. Paul S  |  March 28, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    His Mind said:

    You have spoken like a true fool.

    Oh yeah, and if you’re ever in CA, let me know and you can attempt to spout that load of sh*t to my face.

  • 19. TheDeeZone  |  March 28, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    His Mind,

    I’m a Christian, agree with some of the things you have written but I am offended my much of your comment. You are a visitor on a the de-con site. I get upset by some of the things I read on this blog. However the owners of this blog have as much right to write about their beliefs as I do. I’m sure some might find things written on my blog offensive.

    One last comment: The 2nd greatest command is to love others as yourself.

    dh

  • 20. orDover  |  March 28, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    His Mind is just playing out good ol’ Pascal’s Wager once again. YAWN!

    Who wants to bet that he* has never stopped to consider what will happen to his soul if, when judgement day arrives, he finds himself face to face with Allah, Yahweh, Krishna, Zeus, or Thor.

    South Park has summed up this condition quite nicely:

    * I am assuming for no good reason that His Mind is male, and apologize if my assumption is incorrect.

  • 21. OneSmallStep  |  March 28, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    “A fool says in his heart there is no God.” Psalm 14: 1

    Ironically, I think His Mind is pulling the Psalms quote out of context. It’s not really related to those who lack intelligence. The ‘fools’ say that there is no God because they yearn to do wicked deeds and oppress the poor/innocent.

    The only way Paul S. would qualify as a ‘fool’ based on this Psalms is if he says there’s no God because he wants to go out and oppress his neighbor, or steal, or pick any other sort of bad act.

  • 22. karen  |  March 28, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    His Mind is just playing out good ol’ Pascal’s Wager once again. YAWN!

    Man! What is the deal lately? Is it just thanks to the recent celebration of Easter, or what?

    It seems like we’ve had more than our share of drive-by preaching here lately!

  • 23. karen  |  March 28, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Just a quick intro: Was raised as a Methodist, and transitioned almost a decade ago to Seventh-day Adventism. In recent times, I’ve grown disillusioned with Christianity in general, and my denomination specifically (which I elaborate in my blog)

    Hi Lady, and welcome!

    If you’d like to correspond with a former SDA who has recently deconverted (in the last five years or so), let me know and I can put you in touch with her privately.

  • 24. Gary  |  March 28, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    It is my understanding that the creation narratives were pre-existent in other traditions. Given that transmission of the Torah was vocal, it is highly likely that the tradition of the history of God was developed prior to being written down. The Apostate is right to suggest that the Jews see these more as myth than historical fact, yet Christians by-and-large do not have the appreciation that Brad speaks of, which is unfortunate.

    Despite these facts about the stories of God which in many cases seem so contrary to the nature of an all-loving all-powerful being, I’m with Brad in being a sharp critique within the fold. Behind that which is altogether difficult to swallow is something which still compels me.

  • 25. The Apostate  |  March 28, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Brad,

    “They do it too” is a poor argument

    Not when its the whole point. As I said, Christianity is entirely based on a poor and even anti-Semitic interpretation of Jewish scripture.

    It is not a reworking, but an attempt at further understanding God. God’s word, properly understood, is absolutely timeless and timely. But to properly understand it’s message, one must understand it’s context.

    Rework: to make changes to something.
    Tomato Tomahto. You can declare it is timeless and timely but the sad fact is that hasn’t been the case. God, according to your book and your history, has changed his mind about pretty much everything from genocide to conditional murder and war to slavery to women, etc. etc. etc. All I am seeing here is “lets take a look at what they said, cut out the crazy parts because of ‘context’ and keep what we want until we need to change that.”

  • 26. George  |  March 28, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Hey Paul S…

    This is “His Mind”‘s husband… great job on threatening a lady. Slow down with the E-Thug mindset. I guarantee you you wouldn’t do anything to her if she was ever in CA. This is the 21st Century and nowadays women can definitely take care of themselves. Also, “His Mind” happens to have a husband and children of her own. Your threats are empty at best.

    “His Mind” is a lady and she expressed something that the Bible is rather clear on… A fool does say in his heart that there is no God, so that in his heart that fool can justify his/her actions. Also, if there is no God, there will be no real consequence to one’s actions, and by convincing oneself that there is no God, then that still small voice in our head (some refer to it as our conscience) can be quieted. I could go on forever expounding on this subject, however the deeper we would go, you would find out that your very belief system would be so thoroughly challenged, you would have a hard time understanding your own choices from a purely objective POV, you would become very uncomfortable. So it’s easier to be a fool and say that there is no God.

    In closing, ease off the e-thugging… you are not scaring anyone.

    PS… if there is no God, why are so many people going out of their way to prove He doesn’t exist??? I don’t see anyone forming websites dedicated to freeing people from the bondage of believing in Santa Claus and all the debt accumulated from adhering to that “religion”?

  • 27. LeoPardus  |  March 28, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    George/His Mind:

    You and your ghosts feel free to hang around. Or feel free to do the usual drive-by shooting(-the-mouth-off-evangelism).

    Every forum/blog needs the occasional troll. Though I fear you fall a bit short of a troll. More along the lines of a gnome.

    We don’t believe in God or gods for very good reason. Have you read the Gospels? Remember Thomas? “Unless I see the nail prints in his hands and place my finger in the wound in his side, I will not believe.” Now if a guy who was one of Jesus’ own chosen inner circle, who lived with Jesus for years, who saw the miracles, who heard Jesus’ teaching straight from the man’s mouth, won’t believe in the resurrection without personal, physical proof, why the heck should I believe on the basis of an old collection of writings? Or on the say so of the likes of you?

    By the way: should you stick around, you are expected to actually act like a Christian. Read ‘1 Peter 3:14-17′ to see what I mean. Meanwhile I, not being similarly obligated, will feel free to “insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you” Fortunately this leaves you free to “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven”

  • 28. Brent  |  March 29, 2008 at 12:30 am

    George,

    ‘Also, if there is no God, there will be no real consequence to one’s actions, and by convincing oneself that there is no God, then that still small voice in our head (some refer to it as our conscience) can be quieted. I could go on forever expounding on this subject, however the deeper we would go, you would find out that your very belief system would be so thoroughly challenged, you would have a hard time understanding your own choices from a purely objective POV, you would become very uncomfortable. So it’s easier to be a fool and say that there is no God.’

    I would differ with you on a couple of points. In no particular order, here goes: First, I don’t think it is easier to say there is no god, especially for those who were raised with that belief. Not to speak for others here, but I would say that that belief only comes after a long, somewhat painful realization that one has been duped, in many cases for the majority of our lives. Easy? It would be easier, and more comfortable to remain there for many of us. To not have to deal with changed relationships with our families and friends, to take ‘comfort’ in long-held beliefs of eternal life. You mention Santa Claus. Very appropriate, since that is probably the best analogy I can think of for my own experience. Once you realize that the chimney isn’t big enough for a man to fit through, and the windows and doors are all locked tight…belief in Santa becomes nigh impossible. Oh, sure, you may get by for one more year, but eventually you have to face facts that the jolly old elf is nothing more than childiish wishful thinking. I was raised in a fundamentalist background where we got the young earth, six days, evangelism as our main duty, apocalypse coming soon to a theater near you, etc. I could go on, but I’m sure you can figure out where the list would lead. When I could no longer hold the young earth myth together, I kept going for my “one more Christmas,” thinking that I could just keep Genesis as an allegory…of course, that didn’t hold up for long. It made me wonder what else didn’t make any sense. In fact, some of the verses in this post followed in my own investigation. Long story short, easy? Not so much.

    Second: we can shut our consciences off? HUH? Again, speaking only for myself, my conscience is much keener now than it ever was before. Why is that? Because knowing there is only one life–one chance–encourages you to make every day count, to help people while you can, and try to leave the world a little better when you’re gone. Do I still make mistakes? Yeah, I do. But I’m no longer consumed by guilt and pious penance over my mistakes. I apologize when I wrong someone, try to make it right and move on. And before you say it, I’m not supressing anything–I just stopped importing the prepackaged, processed guilt that I formerly had a steady supply of every day. In addition, I no longer look at people first seeing their “sins.” I can now look at people as fellow human beings.

    ‘PS… if there is no God, why are so many people going out of their way to prove He doesn’t exist??? I don’t see anyone forming websites dedicated to freeing people from the bondage of believing in Santa Claus and all the debt accumulated from adhering to that “religion”?

    My guess would be because there aren’t many cults of believers in Santa Claus that start wars, oppress women and minorities, and generally exploit others grief and guilt in Jolly Old Saint Nick’s name. Furthermore, most people (if not all) eventually realize that Kris Kringle is nothing more than a childhood myth. The few that are left (if any–and I don’t know of any) do not try to force their ‘faith’ down everyone elses throat. Therefore, that effort is not needed.

    Finally, understand that His Mind came in to the discussion and immediately began to preach in a self-righteous tone that many here find insulting, myself included. In fact, I found that tone insulting even when I believed what she was saying. If her objective was to tick someone off and elicit a reaction, then congratulations. But for what it’s worth, I didn’t read Paul’s reaction as a threat, but merely the question of whether she would actually take that tone in person. Can’t speak to intent, just my observation. But, from my experience around Christians, sadly she probably would.

  • 29. George  |  March 29, 2008 at 6:13 am

    Dear LeoPardus…

    Sounds like you need a hug or something. Borderline e-thug, but I’ll let you slide this time. Maybe you’re just bitter, so you definitely need a hug. You are still a fool though, according to God… but since according to you He does not exist, then there is nothing to be insulted by, Right??? You’re in waaayyy over your head, so give up now.

    Dear Brent… I would not consider you a fool, and I’ll explain why…

    First, I really appreciate your thoughts and your taking the time to put them into words. I feel that they were sincere, obviously originating from the heart and I feel I can definitely have a civilized, sincere discussion with you, so I hope to return the favor.

    First I’ll address the last item on your list, Paul S.
    I grew up in the streets, not in the church. A statement like Paul’s would land him in the hospital at best. However, someone like Paul would be considered a fool in any circle, whether the streets (where I seriously doubt he can hold his own) or in a civilized conversation (where he obviously cannot, since he took a verbal conflict to an insinuation of physical violence).

    On to a more serious topic… I really appreciated your taking the time to speak (type?!) in such a manner, so I will respond (hopefully) likewise.

    Your first paragraph, I had to re-read a few times, since there are sooo many topics you touch on. I’m glad you took the time to challenge what you believed and why. Sadly most people I’ve encountered, are only parrots, simply regurgitating what they’ve heard, without truly validating their own beliefs (whether Christian or otherwise). As I stated before, I didn’t grow up in the church, and I’m amazed at the things people believe in the church without really knowing why… I can definitely understand how once you achieve what some have termed the “Age of Reason”, you start to question and eventually discard what doesn’t make sense. In the same manner, some of the points you are making are rather subjective and I’ll start with the obvious one. You apparently grew up in a fundamentalist, religious environment, that had a lot of Law, and not much Revelation. Personally, because I’ve had a revelation of who He is, I never see the sin first when I look at a person, although I can definitely see the effects of the sin. I see someone created in the image of God, who does not know it. I’d have to say your experience with Christians (christ-like, not the religious pharisee-type) is rather limited.

    I can also understand why you would see my wife’s statements as insulting. After all they are. However, truth sometimes can be insulting, even painful. Yet if you allow yourself to face it, if it’s not truth, the statement becomes irrelevant, but if it is truth and you face it, it can change your life. The truth is that at one time I was a loser, a thief and a liar. Those were all insulting yet true statements. If someone were to call me those names today, I would actually laugh.

    You referred to my wife’s tone as self-righteous… are you sure you know what that term means? A self-righteous person sees themselves as better that others simply by considering themselves better by virtue of their “works”. However, somewhere that meaning was lost, and is now being misused to label anyone who calls out foolishness. I’d say that label fits you much better (minus the negative connotation of the word) since you are your own standard of doing your best in your life.

    Speaking of which. As your own standard for what is good, worth living for, striving for, standing for, you are in great company. If you’ve ever read “Mein Kampf”, Adolf H. believed with everything within him that he was right. That alone didn’t make him right though. There is a throne (figure of speech) in your life, and it either belongs to God or to you. Someone has to decide what is right/wrong, and if it’s not God, then you are that god. I was my own god for a long time, and once I came of the “Age of Reason” I had to discard that POV.

    And lastly, if you don’t believe there is a Santa Claus cult, why do you think that’s the only time of the year retail stores are profitable? Money is a tangible receipt in exchange for our lives and that’s when the vast majority of people spend their “lives” on mostly foolish things out of their emotions. If that’s not a cult, I don’t know what is…

    It’s rather late and I’m tired. We could go on for years, and to tell you the truth I wouldn’t mind, since you seem like a rather sharp person. I don’t like shallow relationships, rather I’ve always gravitated to deep, serious, even vulnerable (if you will) relationships.

    Thank you for reading, posting and responding. we could even exchange emails if you’re so inclined.

    Regards,
    George

  • 30. OneSmallStep  |  March 29, 2008 at 10:13 am

    George,

    A fool does say in his heart that there is no God, so that in his heart that fool can justify his/her actions.

    It would be statements like this that, to me, I would find self-righteous. THat is a huge judgement call right there. I have not found anyone on this board who has said they don’t believe there’s a God so that they can justify their actions. If anything, many have found that since becoming an atheist, they have treated people better. They have become less judgemental, more compassionate, and better listeners.

    Self-righteous means being convinced of one’s righteousness/”betterness” in contrast to another’s beliefs of actions. It’s also narrow-mindedly moralistic. Your wife took a single aspect — the idea that people are saying there is no God, and used that to make a huge judgement call on everyone’s actions. She didn’t point to any of their “corrupt” deeds, she didn’t point to any statements where they said they wanted to steal, kill, break the law or any of that. She didn’t point to where the people are oppressing the poor. She took one idea. That’s it.

    If I tell you I’m a good person (work with me here and don’t just provide the whole “no one is good” idea), are you going to take my word for it? Or do you judge my claim based on the actions? If I say I’m a good person, and yet always hit five year olds, I have proven my claim to be false. What similar actions have you used to determine whether these people are fools? Have they hit someone? Have they bragged about cruel behaviors?

    People aren’t insulted because God is calling them a fool. They’re reacting to both you and your wife, and your behavior, which they see as judgemental. You know nothing about anyone here, and can suddenly make this vast claim?

    Also, if it is your job to spread the gospel, and it is your God-given duty to be better than us, and you then have a lot of “unsaved” people telling you that they are put off by your behavior and your wife’s behavior, don’t you think that’s a sign that you should examine your own behavior? We should see the fruits of the Spirit in you. We should want to ask you why you have such hope in you. We should be shamed by your behavior, and no one is. Do you really think that when you stand before God and give an account of this, that He’ll be pleased with you?

    You’re right. Sometimes the truth can be painful. But His Mind was not speaking any sort of truth in love, and it would never be perceived that way by those who post here. It would be perceived as judgemental. The people that Jesus focused his harshest words on were the religious elite of his day, so convinced that they alone knew what God wanted.

    And even if there isn’t a God, there are still very real consequences to one’s actions. Your actions can hurt family members. Friends. Innocent people. You don’t consider those real consequences?

    Someone has to decide what is right/wrong, and if it’s not God, then you are that god.

    If the Christian standard of morality had remained consistent for the last 2,000 years, this might be a valid argument. But considering it’s treatment of the Jews, non-Christians, slaves and women, this argument doesn’t work for me. The morality has changed, based on re-interpretations of the Bible, and a subjective viewpoint of the Bible. What is being used is a subjective viewpoint of the Bible in order to determine morality.

    And please don’t tell me that Christians are still sinners, too, or I must look to Jesus, not Christians. The only method I have to evaluate your claims of morality, or of God establishing morality, are through those who claim to follow God, and interpret the Bible. If I see consistent behavior, and if I see the interpretation evolving over time of a book that is suppose to provide timeless morality, what else do I have to go on to decide if there’s objective morality?

  • 31. Brad  |  March 29, 2008 at 11:34 am

    TA,

    “Not when its the whole point. As I said, Christianity is entirely based on a poor and even anti-Semitic interpretation of Jewish scripture.”

    That is a very broad generalization. I agree that many aspects are. My own tradition (from a perspective of Covenant Theology) is exactly the opposite. I’ve taken twice as many OT classes as I have NT, and it has been pounded into my head that we will never come close to understanding the NT until we understand the OT.

    The NT authors were ALL Jews (not to mention Jesus Himself). To say that the founding fathers wrote scripture “based on a poor and even anti-Semitic interpretation of Jewish scripture,” is antithetical. Surely you see how contradictory this is?

    “You can declare it is timeless and timely but the sad fact is that hasn’t been the case.”

    Yet Christianity is the faith that has most effectively transcended across cultures and across generations. If the message were not timeless, how could this be possible?

    “All I am seeing here is “lets take a look at what they said, cut out the crazy parts because of ‘context’ and keep what we want until we need to change that.””

    I am not advocating cutting out anything. All I am saying is that a contextual understanding will more than likely explain that which appears contradictory.

    One of the worst side effects of the Enlightenment is a cultural arrogance and superiority that pervades our analysis of past peoples and generations. I hope and pray that our descendants do not have this kind of disdain for our own attempts at discerning Truth.

  • 32. The Apostate  |  March 29, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Brad,

    I’ve taken twice as many OT classes as I have NT, and it has been pounded into my head that we will never come close to understanding the NT until we understand the OT.

    Then you will know that the Old Testament differs from the Jewish scriptures and ancient Jewish eyes are radically different from classical Jewish eyes.

    The NT authors were ALL Jews (not to mention Jesus Himself).

    Most were Jews. We have no way of knowing whether the author of Luke/Acts was a Jew, although there is good reason to think he was not, and it is likely that the pseudo-Paulines were not written by Jewish hands.

    To say that the founding fathers wrote scripture “based on a poor and even anti-Semitic interpretation of Jewish scripture,” is antithetical. Surely you see how contradictory this is?

    Depends who you are calling the founding fathers. I have only come to the conclusion that Jesus and Christianity are almost entirely antithetical to each other. Most of what we call “Christian” lies in 2nd to 4th centuries – non Jewish authors.

    Yet Christianity is the faith that has most effectively transcended across cultures and across generations.

    Christianity, like culture, evolves. Do you believe that people living in Rome today are the same as those who live in Rome in the first century? What we call Christianity has little to do with what first century Christians called Christianity.

    I am not advocating cutting out anything. All I am saying is that a contextual understanding will more than likely explain that which appears contradictory.

    No, but if I bring examples to the table that were once “Christian” because of Biblical support, you will cut them out.

  • 33. Brent  |  March 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    George,

    I appreciate your desire to discuss this in a civil manner. You say that my points are subjective. I will grant you that point. However, both of us are making subjective points. It is nearly impossible to discuss this subject on an objective level, because any discussion of the existence of God on a purely empirical level soon sees the Bible invoked as proof, rather than merely as claims to evaluate.

    First I’ll touch on the issue of insults and self-righteousness. Yes, I know quite well what self-righteous means. However, in fairness I looked it up in Websters to ensure there wasn’t a second meaning I was unaware of. In fact, here is the only definition held by Websters Online: “Convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others : narrow-mindedly moralistic.” Stating this as a fact believing that the Bible justifies it is, under this definition, self-righteous.

    I have, in fact, read Mein Kampf, and at the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law further, I will point out that he justifies his own actions based on his understanding of God. I don’t want to start down this road, because it will end up getting way off topic, but only bring it up because the example goes both ways.

    One Small Step addresses the insult quite well, so I won’t say much more on that, but I would add one thing. The verity of your wife’s statement is completely irrelevant to it being an insult; the presumption One Small Step mentions is the relevant matter. Whether a statement is true or not has no bearing on insult. Calling me a “nerd” would not insult me, regardless of intent, because it probably is true. Calling me a “bastard,” however, would be very much an insult, despite the fact that the statement is false.

    You also mention the “Santa Claus Cult.” I don’t believe there is a Santa Claus cult because, as I previously mentioned, few, if any, adults believe that Santa Claus exists, and the phenomenon you describe is, in fact, commercial in nature. It is the result of commerical exploitation of a nominally Christian holiday. I doubt that many of the Christians who spend much of that money believe for a second they belong to a secondary cult, especially the ones that object to the Santa Claus story as a secularism. I won’t even mention the implications of people forming and maintaining a religion based on something almost no one believes is true.

  • 34. Jersey  |  March 29, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    The Christian deity sounds as human or as imperfect as any other mythological being. The deities of Greek, Hindu, Egyptian heritage…study their stories, and even believes of the God Krishna will tell you about how he loved to steal butter — his favorite treat — and even with wife, loves to flirt with the other cowmaids.

  • 35. orDover  |  March 29, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Yet Christianity is the faith that has most effectively transcended across cultures and across generations. If the message were not timeless, how could this be possible?

    HA! Christianity was spread with a clenched fist and raised sword! I honestly believe that the ONLY reason it has rose to such prominence is because of its use of warfare and force. You have to wonder, if the Crusades hadn’t ravaged Europe and forced belief onto my ancestors, and probably your ancestors too, would we still be practicing it today? I doubt it. If the medieval church wouldn’t have assumed absolute control, silencing every one of its critics and challengers? I doubt it even more.

    The only other religion to exert such violence and convert followers by force is Islam, which is the second largest religion. Is that any surprise? The two largest most powerful and wide-spread religions are the two that force belief through violent conversions.

    Don’t even get me started on the Christian “missionary” tradition, which I find so sick and twisted that it actually makes me feel physically ill. No one group of people has the right to assume cultural and moral superiority over another. Ever.

  • 36. Anonymous  |  March 29, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    I decided to wait until my laughter subsided before I attempted to respond to this rant. So here goes.

    George said:

    This is “His Mind”’s husband… great job on threatening a lady. Slow down with the E-Thug mindset.

    Whether or not “His Mind” is a woman or not wouldn’t have had any effect on my response to His Mind’s condescending (and dare I say…self-righteous) post. I’m not sure what you mean my an “E-Thug midset.” I didn’t threaten anyone. His Mind called me a fool, and my response was meant to spotlight the fact that the web’s anonymity causes people (like you and your wife) to write things that they would never say to someone’s face.

    I guarantee you you wouldn’t do anything to her if she was ever in CA. This is the 21st Century and nowadays women can definitely take care of themselves.

    Ease up with E-Thug mindset there, shooter. If women can take care of themselves, what gives with you riding in on your white horse in defense of your damsel? Sorry, but words have meaning, and your wife needs to learn there are places for proselytizing. This blog isn’t one of them.

    His Mind” is a lady and she expressed something that the Bible is rather clear on… A fool does say in his heart that there is no God, so that in his heart that fool can justify his/her actions.

    Hmmm…no lady I know goes around calling people fools. And I don’t give a roaring rip about what the Bible says about anything.

    Also, if there is no God, there will be no real consequence to one’s actions, and by convincing oneself that there is no God, then that still small voice in our head (some refer to it as our conscience) can be quieted.

    Oh no, you’re not busting out the tired old argument that morality comes from religion, are you? Like I told His Mind, you’re not bringing anything new to the table, so you should just save your lame arguments for someone that can be more easily indoctrinated with your rubbish.

    I could go on forever expounding on this subject, however the deeper we would go, you would find out that your very belief system would be so thoroughly challenged, you would have a hard time understanding your own choices from a purely objective POV, you would become very uncomfortable. So it’s easier to be a fool and say that there is no God.

    Bring it on, hotshot. I can’t wait to be dazzled by your mind-numbing intellect. Save me.

    In closing, ease off the e-thugging… you are not scaring anyone.

    But you’re really scaring me with that challenge to my belief system.

    I grew up in the streets, not in the church. A statement like Paul’s would land him in the hospital at best. However, someone like Paul would be considered a fool in any circle, whether the streets (where I seriously doubt he can hold his own) or in a civilized conversation (where he obviously cannot, since he took a verbal conflict to an insinuation of physical violence).

    Ah yes, George, the big bad wolf who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Come off it, man. Who’s the “e-thug” now? You say I took a verbal conflict to an insinuation of physical violence (which I didn’t), then you say that that statement would land me in the hospital…at best? Are you insinuating that I would be killed? Is that a death threat? See how ridiculous you sound?

    Grab a clue!

  • 37. Paul S  |  March 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Sorry, posted before I put my name up

  • 38. LeoPardus  |  March 29, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    George:

    Borderline e-thug

    Borderline?? Dash it all, I must work harder at this.

    but I’ll let you slide this time

    NO! Don’t do that. Administer some of that street justice you learned growing up. You let us borderline e-thugs slide, and next thing you know we’re full-blown e-axe murderers.

    You are still a fool though, according to God

    According to some lines from a very old book written by a Bronze Age, nomadic people. A book that you select lines from to insult people with, so that you can feel superior. A book that you do not apply with any consistency even to yourself.

    No. I’m a fool according to a small minded person with a frail ego. One who tries to exorcise his own self-loathing and pettiness by verbally assaulting others in the name of what he calls a “loving god”.

    You make a fine example of what the ‘indwelling of the holy spirit’ does for Christians. Nothing at all. If they are small, bitter, angry persons, they remain so.

    but since according to you He does not exist, then there is nothing to be insulted by, Right???

    Just the fools that think they can use an ancient text and an imaginary being as their excuse to treat others badly.

    You’re in waaayyy over your head, so give up now.

    Aw shoot. I’ve been over my head since the first semester in grad school. To this day I keep throwing myself in wherever the water’s too deep. Learned to swim fairly well for all that.

    But at the moment I seem to be in a wading pool. So go ahead and splash away.

    Meanwhile, you still have the challenge/problem of living up to the verses I quoted before. You’re not getting any blessing by lashing back just like any e-thug. Remember the ones who are supposed to be your example for living. Jesus, who ordered you to turn the other cheek, and then withstood ridicule and beating to make the point. Paul, who was beaten, driven, insulted, imprisoned, etc, yet bore patient witness and told you to always answer with gentleness.

    You see, I don’t think you’re any Christian at all. I think you’re a small-souled, bitter gnome. And I don’t think you will ever be able to act like a Christian. And I’ll continue to stick barbs in your side just to prove it. And you will continue to fail the test.

  • 39. TheDeeZone  |  March 29, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    George,

    You’re wife’s comments are self-righteous. Further, if she can take care of herself why are you defending her here? You have the right to believe in God but the Leo, TA & others here have the right not to believe in God. God allows humans the freedom to accept or reject him. Yes, as a Christian you are called to proclaim the truth. However, it is the tactics you are using that might not be the best.

    DH

  • 40. Gary Meade  |  March 29, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    George said:

    You apparently grew up in a fundamentalist, religious environment, that had a lot of Law, and not much Revelation. Personally, because I’ve had a revelation of who He is, I never see the sin first when I look at a person, although I can definitely see the effects of the sin. I see someone created in the image of God, who does not know it. I’d have to say your experience with Christians (christ-like, not the religious pharisee-type) is rather limited.

    Most of the Christians I’ve know who claimed a personal revelation from God were some of the most messed-up individuals I’ve ever met. They were far from gracious, and had significant moral flaws (after, rather than before, the claimed revelation). As such, I am highly skeptical of such a claim. Conversely, all of the most gracious Christians I’ve known have never made such a claim. Their humility would not allow it.

  • 41. carriedthecross  |  March 29, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    I enjoyed this, nice post. :)

  • 42. George  |  March 29, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Brent, thank you for your thoughtful response.

    Leo and Paul S. …. no comment.

  • 43. LeoPardus  |  March 30, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Leo and Paul S. …. no comment.

    Of course not. You’re in waaaaayy over your head.

  • 44. joanna  |  March 30, 2008 at 6:58 am

    You guys r funny…The bible is not just a book. It is the Word spoken by God… The earth was created in 6 days.. but the universe.. ah so quicky. could it be that God was telling us that He took extra care to create this earth, because We were going to be on it?Because we were special? The sabbath… could it be that God was telling us that since He rested we should rest to, taking delight in God only… ? God has a prupose for everything He did. If he gave the promised land to the israelites without making them to do it the hard way, they would take it for granted… being spoonfed…God always has a reason. For people who read the Bible like Harry Potter… nah you cant see the glory… But if you read it in your spirit.. The book opens to another world that only children of God, can see. Of course… everyone is a child of God.. But most of us dont want that title.
    Do you want it?
    or are you denying it?

  • 45. Frreal  |  March 30, 2008 at 8:40 am

    “Do you want it?”

    Not if I am required to delight at the dashing of little ones with stones.

    I believe most Christians don’t realize their bible says to delight in the slaughter of children. For those that do and continue to defend and revel in its goodness I only feel sadness and pity for that truly demonstrates a sickness of the mind AND heart.

  • 46. notabarbie  |  March 30, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Joanna said, “The book opens to another world that only children of God, can see. Of course…everyone is a child of God.”
    Huh?

    Dear Joanna,

    I could rip everything you just wrote apart point by point…but I won’t. It’s been done a hundred times over here by others and I’m tired of people like you. You come barging in, not caring about who we are, where we have been or what has brought us here; thinking you have “the truth,” and you are called by god to save us. Your words don’t have some magical effect on us, causing us to turn our backs on rationality and back to religion…your words are insulting and spoken out of ignorance. It’s as simple as that and I’m done.

  • 47. Brent  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Joanna,

    “The bible is not just a book. It is the Word spoken by God”

    And how do we know that? Well, the Bible says so, and since the Bible is God’s word, we can trust it when it says it is God’s word!

    Or something like that…

    “God has a prupose for everything He did. If he gave the promised land to the israelites without making them to do it the hard way, they would take it for granted… being spoonfed…God always has a reason.”

    So, the Israelites did all the heavy lifting so they wouldn’t take it for granted? An alternate reading would be: “Joshua (or, insert favorite Israelite commander here) says to his army, ‘God has given us this land (or city, or favorite military objective.) But he says we must kill every man, woman, and child (and livestock!) And we must do it all according to the book of the law!” (Good thing the law made provisions for genocide.)

    As far as the purpose argument, it falls flat whether applied to the Bible or to answers to prayer. Whatever the outcome, it is always fit into God’s “purpose.” If the Israelites win, he was with them; if they lose, he was teaching them a lesson. If you survive a disaster, he has a purpose for your life; if a loved one died in the same disaster, he was “taking them home to glory.” Recover from an ailment, and it’s a miracle and an answered prayer (never mind that you were under a doctor’s care and thousands of people get the same result with medical care and no prayer) but try combining prayer with no medical care.

    Frreal,

    Well said. I could add many more examples, but that is undoubtedly one of the most poignant.

  • 48. chillinatthecabstand  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:39 am

    “The bible is not just a book, it is the word of God”

    Actually, the bible is not just a book it is a really bad book.

  • 49. Lady through the Looking Glass  |  March 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for the welcome! Yes, I’d like to correspond with the person you mentioned. Please feel free to out me on to her.

  • 50. karen  |  March 30, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the welcome! Yes, I’d like to correspond with the person you mentioned. Please feel free to out me on to her.

    You’re very welcome! I’ve passed on your blog address to her and I’m sure you’ll hear from her before long. :-)

  • 51. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Dear LeoPardus… (and anyone else on this board who believes the quality and value of my relationship with God is dependent and to be measured by their value judgment…

    A person that needs “barbs” to elicit a response from another is a rather poor litmus test of my Christianity…

    One thing I failed to mention, that part of my revelation of who the Christ is, was an equally important revelation, and that is of who I am, outside of Him. I follow Him because without Him, I’m all those things you have described me as, and so much worse. I follow Christ because outside of him, my existence is just a futile as yours. I follow Christ because I truly desire to be like him, to be able to stand before my creator “naked and unashamed”. I follow him because I saw the gravity, consequences and end result of my flaws and short-comings. I follow Him because now I’m saved from the destruction of my sins. I follow Him because he’s perfect and I’m not. I could go on for a long time, but maybe someone gets the point…

    What you think of me is highly irrelevant compared to what My Savior calls me and what he has done for me. You truly need a reality check to think your perception of me is the looking glass through which I view myself. Maybe most Christians you’ve encountered are afraid to confront your foolishness and call you for what you are for fear that you might not think they are Christians. I truly don’t give a rip what you think about my Christianity, after all you are now the fool that I once was. . However you are free to chose your own path in life and I’m a firm believer in the freedom of choice (a freedom rooted in Christian mores, might I add).

    I don’t know if you have any children but I have three of them. And one of the reasons I have no problem calling you and others like you fools, is rather simple. Fools like you have voting power. And fools like you have requested that prayer be removed from public schools. Then fools like you wonder why other fools like you walk into public schools and shoot innocent people. God is a gentleman, and if you ask him to leave He will leave and leave you to your own devices. For the most part this society is becoming morally bankrupt and I now have to raise children that have to live with the consequences of the actions of fools like you.

    If I saw you in a burning building, I’d run in to help you out. But don’t think for a minute I’d be afraid to call you a fool for playing with matches and gasoline.

  • 52. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Hey Frreal…

    I’ll humor you…

    Go back and read Psalm 137 in it’s entirety. Under the mosaic law, that was the just repayment for what had been done to them. Aside from the reality that from the beginning God wanted to have an actual relationship with mankind, not one based on rules and regulations (read the history of the mosaic law and how it came into existence), God never asked you nor will He ask you to kill little ones. Don’t be a dummy…

  • 53. The Apostate  |  March 30, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Is “litmus test” the new Christian meme for the next couple years? Seems to be the “in” thing among the Christian subculture these days.

  • 54. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Dear Gary Meade,

    You are absolutely correct. I’m probably the most messed up individual you would ever meet. Which is why I need Jesus more than anything else. Of course, I could just latch on to a buffet, made to order religion that appeases my sense of self and now, but I’ve always been the kind that learns the hard way (wink…)

  • 55. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Hey AT,

    I’ve been using that term for about two decades… maybe I’m a trend setter and didn’t know it. lol…

  • 56. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Dear TheDeeZone,

    Oh noooo…..

    Sorry my tactics don’t meet with your approval. I’ve been having conversations like these (the vast majority face to face) with christians, satanists, muslims, fruitcake home concocted white fake-buddhist fans of Eckhart Tolle, atheists and agnostics for probably almost as long as you have been alive. I admit I have a confrontational nature, but the point is not simply to be insulting but to challenge and be challenged to the very core of our belief system. After all, I believe our lives, the success of our free thinking society and our destiny are at stake. Forgive me if I come on too strong… I’ll remember to run it by you next time, see if you approve of it.

    Sorry about the sarcastic tone, but you presume too much.

  • 57. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Dear Brent,

    You make a few rather excellent points in response to Johanna’s comments and with her permission (hopefully) I’d like to address them. You are correct that God didn’t make it hard for the Israelites to enter Caanan just to teach them the value of the promised land. I never make things hard for my children just to teach them a lesson. Things get hard for them when they chose to disregard my instructions. i.e. when I show my son the steps to unravel a puzzle, things only get difficult when he doesn’t follow my instructions. Same with the israelites. If one was to read the entire story in context one would find that the Israelites didn’t follow the exact instructions, that’s when things became hard for them. Also in context, God’s instructions for “genocide”, cannot be judged by 21st century US sensibilities. There were enough practices by the Cannanites, that even by today’s standards we would interfere with military power. I realize by making this particular statement I’m opening up a can of worms but hopefully you get at least the vector of my thought process.

    Here’s one point on which I whole heartedly AGREE (yes I said that) with you. The purpose argument is inherently flawed in the way it’s presented by most christians. The bible says that God does not do anything without first revealing it to the prophets. Sadly, a lot of christians can’t really hear the word of God, so rather than be truthful and say “I don’t know what or why something happened” they try to come up with something so that our God doesn’t “look bad”. It’s a desire to not mis-represent Him, but in the process it achieves exactly the opposite. I do NOT believe that God works in mysterious ways… His ways are rather clear… I just know that there are a lot of things I don’t understand. However if I DO understand something, I’m not afraid to say so. That makes me in some circles a not so “nice” christian, since I’m not very meek and mild, but I digress…

  • 58. Brent  |  March 30, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    George,

    “Go back and read Psalm 137 in it’s entirety. Under the mosaic law, that was the just repayment for what had been done to them.”

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that this was done outside of Mosaic law. Rather, that is the point. Whether it came from the pen of man or god, Mosaic law is barbaric. And the argument that it was just to set the stage for Jesus, to contrast with the “new covenant,” however it is justified, is weak. How can any moral authority even be salvaged after that? If it was once acceptable to kill kids, and to enslave others, and any of the other darker spots of Mosaic law, how can you call that an absolute moral authority?

    “Aside from the reality that from the beginning God wanted to have an actual relationship with mankind, not one based on rules and regulations…”

    In fact, even from the beginning he put one rule in place. If all he wanted was a relationship, why go that route? Oh, yeah, I know…free will and all. He had to give us some way to get in trouble.

    “God never asked you nor will He ask you to kill little ones. Don’t be a dummy…”

    No one said he did. But if the Bible is to be believed, it was once acceptable to God to do so, and that’s bad enough. I don’t think that’s such a dumb association to make.

  • 59. Brent  |  March 30, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    George,

    True, the genocide is not at all out of context with Bronze Age sensibilities; but then, if the argument is that God is an absolute (and unchanging, as some might add) moral standard, then that context is irrelevant, and once again the point becomes, “How can an absolute standard change so much?”

    As to the difficulties experienced by the Israelites, the exact opposite could also fit: The Israelites, when they fared badly, tried to figure out why, and the most accessible answer to them was “We must have done something against God’s instructions!” or “We must have ticked God off!” It is a trait found in numerous ancient religions, and even today in Christianity–witness your reply to LeoPardus above.

    I’d say we partially agree on the purpose argument. We would have totally agreed if you had stopped at inherently flawed… I suspect that a lot of those Christians you suggest can’t “hear the word of God” would disagree with you.

  • 60. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Brent,

    No, I don’t believe that’s a dumb association to make, rather that the perspective is a touch off…

    I take it you’ve heard others make the claim that it was done to set the stage for Jesus. Not my point at all.
    The mosaic law was simply a code of conduct for the Israelites in order for them to survive amongst other barbaric (by our standards) nations. There are other codes of conduct from other nations dating back a few thousand years (i.e. the Hammurabic code). All these codes are barbaric by our standards. A few thousand years back, my people worshipped a god named Zalmoxis and sacrificed the bravest warrior before the beginning of a battle. Not very bright, from my POV, nevertheless, those were the times they were living in. Romans, the most civilized people of their time watched people kill each other in orchestrated battles for entertainment. Rather barbaric by today’s standards, but not too many people would call them barbaric.

    Understanding the point is not the level of comparative civilization (I know… I’m a foreigner, and sometimes I phrase in english what makes better sense in a different language… please bear with me) I’ll move on to your second point and attempt to rein in my train of thought…

    My relationship with my children is the best example I can use. There are some things I forbid my children to do, for their own protection. There are some things that I allow, to test their level of maturity and to which extent I can trust them, in order for me to know that they can be in turn entrusted with more responsibility.
    I don’t believe that God set us up for failure with one rule, rather He set us up for success. We simply chose wrong and to this day we still haven’t learned. We could not follow one simple rule so more rules of conduct were added. (as an analogy/antecedent practice, see how controlled environments for habitual offenders function – i.e. prison systems). Not attempting to compare Planet Earth with a prison system, just a simple analogy for the sake of the argument.
    Adam chose wrong. Jesus is called the second Adam simply by virtue that given the opportunity, he chose to do what was right. Through Jesus, God is again setting us up for success, by providing us with an opportunity to do what is right.

  • 61. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Brent,

    You misunderstand me… it is documented fact that the israelites disregarded the instructions.

    The absolute standard never changed. Killing off your enemies children is not the standard. Rather it was the all around consequence of disregarding the original instructions. (and here’s where we could spend the next 10 years going in circles).

    As far as some christians disagreeing with me, i’m rather OK with that. There are times when I don’t even agree with myself.

    I never became a christian because I wanted to be like other christians (quite the opposite, if that were the case I would have never done so). I became a christian because I wanted to be like Christ.

  • 62. O'Maolchathaigh  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    You know, my mind first conceived of the possibility that there was no God, despite being raised devoutly. I knew all religions could not be correct. If only one was right, then all else were wrong, and who could tell? That led me to agnosticism. However, my heart, the illogical part of me, finally convinced me that there is no God, and showed me what a sucker my mind had been all along. God, as a concept, as something created by mankind to believe in, sure, that idea exists, and the idea manifests itself in certain behavior, according to belief. A nice construct, useful to instill morals and temper human behavior. Anything else seems ludicrous to me. For someone to actually try to prove that there is an intelligent being that created all and directs all, and knows all? What a waste of time, energy, and intelligence! :-)

  • 63. Brent  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    George,

    Yes, there were other codes of conduct that were as barbaric; that goes right along with what I’m saying. What, exactly, made Israel different from the Babylonians, or the Assyrians, any of the other cultures? Incidentally, I don’t know how barbaric we should consider Rome…we still watch people beat each other up, we just don’t let them use swords and axes anymore.

    “We could not follow one simple rule so more rules of conduct were added.”

    Not sure I follow the logic there. If we couldn’t follow one rule, how are more rules (volumes worth!) going to help? Incidentally, if God wasn’t setting Adam & Eve up for failure, why give them the ability to “freely” choose, then institute the first-offense death penalty? Seems that if he was truly seeking a willing relationship first, he would have set out a rule that didn’t result in death. If that wasn’t possible for him, then it gets right back to the topic of the original post–how can an omnipotent god be handcuffed as to the penalties he is to impose? Of course, it’s still quite possible that this was an attempt by an ancient people to explain why humans don’t live forever, too…

    While I understand your analogy with the prison environment, I think the analogy fails because in a prison system, the environment itself is closed. Yes there are a lot of rules, but the environment itself is structured to allow for enforcement of the rules. To respond to a failure on one rule by imposing many more, while leaving them in an open environment leaves the original problem multiplied many times.

  • 64. George  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    O’Maolchathaigh

    I looked up “bloviating” on wikipedia and your picture came up… imagine that…

  • 65. Brent  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    George,

    I didn’t misunderstand you at all. I simply suggested that, since the history you’re referring to was, in fact, written by the Israelites, they could put the chicken first, or the egg first–whatever fit into their current mindset. As I said, it is entirely consistent with the pious mindset to interpret hardships and failures as having failed your god (or gods, as the case may be) so it is entirely possible that the Israelites, being at heart a pious people, did so when recording the “facts.”

  • 66. George  |  March 31, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Brent

    What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate (sorry, couldn’t help it… seemed rather apropos)

    Why would God give Adam & Eve the opportunity to freely choose then instill the first offense death penalty – good question. I know the answer to this one, but I’d like to take the time and formulate it in a more digestible manner (never liked pat answers). I definitely wouldn’t have a first offense death penalty for my child under any circumstance.

    The controlled environment (I did call it that) was just an analogy, not intended as a case study.

  • 67. George  |  March 31, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Just to clarify your point… are you suggesting that the course of events was fabricated to explain the circumstances and or actions?

  • 68. LeoPardus  |  March 31, 2008 at 12:18 am

    From George to O’Maolchathaigh:

    I looked up “bloviating” on wikipedia and your picture came up… imagine that…

    Sheesh! I thought we’d seen some real “rectal pore” christians around here, but George is running away with the prize. Certainly one of the most despicable, bad examples of a “Christian” I’ve seen in a while.

  • 69. George  |  March 31, 2008 at 12:26 am

    LeoPardus, what happened… did mommy take the catnip away?

  • 70. Brent  |  March 31, 2008 at 12:34 am

    George,

    “Just to clarify your point… are you suggesting that the course of events was fabricated to explain the circumstances and or actions?”

    I’m assuming this was aimed at my last, so I’ll respond as such.

    What I’m saying is that there are two separate hypotheses that fit the facts:

    1) The Israelites failed to obey a commandment, and God withdrew his support so they failed. The story was then written down that way.

    2) The Israelites got their collective heinies handed to them, and in the post-defeat blame game (I’m pretty sure that’s not a new human invention) they identified some offense against God, attribuiting his absence to that offense and in turn their defeat to his absence. The story was then written down to reflect this. Understand, in this case I do not suggest intentional fabrication as a deceitful act, just that the defeat was misattributed. An analogous situation would be a Greek coastal town getting swamped by a wave, and attributing it to Poseidon’s anger for some offense that someone came up with.

    There could be more hypotheses; for example, an outright fabrication of the events themselves, but I was going off the assumption, for the sake of argument, that the battle occurred as stated.

  • 71. mewho  |  March 31, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Man, I wish I had jumped into this post sooner! It was like a bar brawl, and much better than UFC! (I was rooting for the Atheists all along.)

    I read the entire post, and it was as if a saloon, filled with Atheists talking politely and quietly over mixed drinks, suddenly had it’s doors kicked in by “Black Bart”, the meanest outlaw of the West. With both guns blazing he storms in, and his ornery band of cutthroats behind him (her).

    “What have we done to be so viciously affronted?” we ask.

    And I quote:

    I was once a fool, like most of you posting here.

    God calls you that.

    Waste all the time you desire waxing non-eloquent

    You will come face to face with your Creator; yes

    You will have none of your great thoughts to spew.

    He won’t care to hear it.

    All He wants is your heart.

    You have nothing to offer Him.

    Why don’t you simply bow now, get out of your despair.

    I hope it’s not too late for you. All of you.

    I’m glad some of you had your Colt Peacemakers by your side and could return fire. I was in the bathroom, but came out as soon as I heard the commotion.

    I think that ALL of these quotes sound best in the voice of Darth Vader, for effect.

    What “George” and “His Hands” have been doing (or, if your prefer, Bonnie and Clyde) is to give us a clear example of why faith is bankrupt, short of Muslims flying planes into our buildings. Believing in God gives you license to be as mean and vindictive as you want, granted that God has privileged you over others, by “revealing” Himself to you, and that anyone who doesn’t believe like you is going to Hell.

    The concept of non-believers going to Hell gives ANY believer the excuse to be cruel, because (in their minds) Hell is worse than nasty insinuations. Hell is worse that having your throat cut. Or your hand cut off. Hell is worse than a severe beating. To a believer, IF IT SAVES YOU FROM HELL, than it’s a good thing.

    “George” and “His Hands” really think that all the Atheists on this site are going to Hell. Therefore, they can come in, like “Black Bart” and start making converts however they seem fit. God has instructed them to do so, and if it saves you from Hell then (in their mind) it’s worth it.

  • 72. mewho  |  March 31, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Oh, and my favorite “His Hands” quote:

    All He wants is your heart.

    “All?” As if it’s a little, teeney-weeney thing? “All He wants is your bank account” would have been a better quote. Or, “All He wants is your brain.” I used to be a Christian, and I KNOW I said stupid, intellectually dishonest Sunday School talk like this, and I see it as so impotent now.

    It doesn’t persuade me to give up anything. Why give my heart to someone because they ASK me to give it up, like spare change? “Hey, Mister, can you spare a dollar? And are you gonna use that heart, or can I have it, too?” All He wants is your heart. Please.

    I wasted enough of my life pushing religion, and I’m currently restoring my heart caused by all the abuses. No, you can’t have it.

  • 73. ruraldean  |  March 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    To follow Brent’s point, the couple who let their child die of Type 1 diabetes and then blamed themselves for not having enough faith, following intensive prayer and NO medical treatment also sought to use their “God” as an excuse for their ridiculous behaviour.

    And by the way, what did God do on the eigth day? Why use the term “and on the seventh day he rested”? Why not just “and after the sixth day he stopped”? A rest indicates further work to be done. Perhaps he was off to do another project elsewhere? Oh, hang on though. Didn’t he used to have a morning stroll around his handiwork?

    On the other hand, perhaps he was just completely bushed. A whole world and it’s inhabitants is a lot to do in a week, what with the sky and everything. And he still had all the bad things to invent – wasps and suchlike. Although I suppose all the bad things were already there, living in harmony and being vegetarian, just waiting for Adam to screw up so they could eat each other. Blimey, God really did have a master plan didn’t he!

  • 74. karen  |  March 31, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Sorry my tactics don’t meet with your approval. I’ve been having conversations like these (the vast majority face to face) with christians, satanists, muslims, fruitcake home concocted white fake-buddhist fans of Eckhart Tolle, atheists and agnostics for probably almost as long as you have been alive.

    And how’s that been working for you, George?

    Does your bullying, insulting and sarcastic conversational tone bring a lot of lost souls back into the kingdom of god? Or does it just pump up your vast ego for a few pathetic moments?

  • 75. LeoPardus  |  March 31, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Karen:

    The latter of course. :(

  • 76. LeoPardus  |  March 31, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I’d love to hear George explain away the verses in the Bible that directly order him to:
    “answer with gentleness”
    “live peaceably with all”
    “not be quarrelsome”
    “turn the other cheek”
    “not repay evil with evil”
    “do good to those who persecute you”
    “bless those who curse you”
    “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice”

    and so on, and so on.

    And while he’s busy citing a certain book of the Bible to label us all “fools”, could he give a look to Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”

    I’ve got at least another half dozen verses specifically directing Christians NOT to engage in the very sort of opprobrious behavior he is evidencing.

  • 77. George  |  April 1, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Dear Leo… (and Karen)

    Interesting! People who don’t believe in God telling me how to be a believer… lol… now THAT is true hypocrisy. Oh, and is “opprobrious” your dictionary word of the day?
    Waaaiiit! Are YOU White Goodman, the owner and Founder of Globo Gym??? You know, the one from the movie Dodgeball? I remember you now… you like to exercise your mind, not just your body… Break out a mental sweat every now and then.

    Yes, I’m mocking both of you simply because you speak and behave like fools, even when you think you are wise.

    Sorry, cannot take either of you seriously, since you don’t take yourselves seriously enough to consider the fallacies of your arguments.

    Here’s a lesson in debating… If you really desire to have an intelligent conversation, make sure if asked you, that you would be able to defend the opposing point of view.

    With the exception of Brent and a few of others, quite a few posters on this board are not really making any sense beyond what I’ve encountered on college campuses… thoughtless regurgitation of a few incoherent ideas, grounded in presumptions, limited experience, partial analysis and and simple ignorance.

    Leo… before you speak again, and quote bible verses to me, consider this. Your statements are for the most part based entirely on emotion and very little logic (in it’s truest sense of the word).

    You postulate on Christian standards, without having any first premise for your understanding of christianity.

    Brent at least understands not to get caught up outside of a hypothesis, however I call you and others like you fools because you don’t see how you’re part of the same crowd that maintains “The Theory of Evolution is a fact!!!”

    Ab initio God… is where everything starts (and ends) with a Christian.

    Now let’s talk about you…

    I assume (I don’t know you well enough yet) that you are an explicit atheist and you have consciously rejected the idea of God due to your experiences. You might even hold empiricist views such as John Locke’s. Yet I maintain that your view of the bible is not based on empirical evidence according to the scientific definition, but based more on the adjective form.

    At best you might be a practical atheist, since nothing in your posts indicate your IQ is high enough to be involved on any level with the theoretical aspect(s) of your chosen belief system. You would love Bakunin (if you read at all), but keep in mind that marxism/communism were the end results of that line of thought. For those fools that like to claim christianity caused so many wars, pain and injustice, I could (in error) make the same claim about atheism, and maintain that as the reason why I’m not an atheist.

    I appreciate someone like Brent, because he likes to use deductive reasoning. You on the other hand are just someone who thinks himself smarter than he(she!?) really is.

    Go back to your catnip…

  • 78. George  |  April 1, 2008 at 3:10 am

    Sorry about the syntax and grammar… I’m tired and I’m a foreigner…

  • 79. Creationist Monkey  |  April 1, 2008 at 8:39 am

    I wish I had found this post sooner. Anyway, here’s my opinion:
    The Bible is not only full of violence and questionable morality, but the Christian Jesus is also not a god at all. Historians and biblical scholars have more questions than answers when it comes to prove the very existence of the character named Jesus of Nazareth. I am studying these things for a while now, I am working on a book dealing with all these matters, and the more I search, the less reasons I find to believe even that Jesus existed. There are a lot of things to be said.
    In fact, I just released few days ago a blog, where I posted already few articles about Christianity, and why it is mostly a myth.
    I really believe (sic), that if more Christians would know (or at least accept to look into these matters) many of them will think twice before “accepting” Jesus or whatever into their hearts.
    There are a lot of things which historians and biblical scholars questioned or even proven to be wrong regarding the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth.
    Probably you already are aware of these facts, but I’d appreciate an opinion anyway.
    Please don’t take this as a spam or self-promotion, or anything like that.
    You might check the latest post here: http://creationistmonkey.com/how-to-dismantle-jesus-in-10-steps/

  • 80. LeoPardus  |  April 1, 2008 at 10:34 am

    George:

    You came on and claimed to be Christian. Since you’re not one, there’s really nothing to debate with you. You’re just here to be a troll and as a policy I don’t feed them.

  • 81. Paul S  |  April 1, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Leo Pardus said:

    I’d love to hear George explain away the verses in the Bible that directly order him to:
    “answer with gentleness”
    “live peaceably with all”
    “not be quarrelsome”
    “turn the other cheek”
    “not repay evil with evil”
    “do good to those who persecute you”
    “bless those who curse you”
    “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice”

    and so on, and so on.

    And while he’s busy citing a certain book of the Bible to label us all “fools”, could he give a look to Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”

    I’ve got at least another half dozen verses specifically directing Christians NOT to engage in the very sort of opprobrious behavior he is evidencing.

    You’re not going to here anything from George about these verses. Perhaps you’re not recognizing these words in the proper cultural and historical context from whence they came. :)

    George said:

    You postulate on Christian standards, without having any first premise for your understanding of christianity.

    Let me try and explain something to you. The vast majority of posters here were once believers (some were even members of the clergy). We’ve spent years and years in the Church, genuinely trying to build a relationship with God. We are all too familiar with Christian apologetics. What you apparently don’t understand (or refuse to acknowledge) is that this blog is called “de-conversion – resources for skeptical, de-converting or former christians.” So please save yourself a lot of time and trouble and leave your “no true Scotsman” fallacy at the door.

    And yor are really showing your ignorance when make idiotic statements like this:

    …I call you and others like you fools because you don’t see how you’re part of the same crowd that maintains “The Theory of Evolution is a fact!!!”

    Here is a quote by Bishop John Shelby Spong from his book “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism:”

    Studies of plant life, animal life, and human life available in centuries past were primitive, to say the least. Concepts commonplace today in the world of physics, subatomic physics, astrophysics, and cosmology would have drawn from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to say nothing of the author of the Book of Genesis, nothing except blank stares of incredulity.

    You state:

    quite a few posters on this board are not really making any sense beyond what I’ve encountered on college campuses… thoughtless regurgitation of a few incoherent ideas, grounded in presumptions, limited experience, partial analysis and and simple ignorance.

    I would change your statement to read like this: “a poster on this board is not really making any sense beyond what I’ve encounted for decades in church…thoughtless regurgitation of a few incoherent ideas, grounded in presumptions, limited experience, partial analysis and simple ignorance.”

    You bring nothing here that we all haven’t struggled with at some point or another. The difference is, we have finally come to the realization that religion is nothing but a collections of myths, built upon fairy tales, seeped in superstition, all concocted by ignorant (by today’s standards anyway) men thousands of years ago.

    Sorry, George, I don’t believe in supernatural beings anymore. I’ve yet to see any evidence of God and a lot of the people that are supposedly his followers are arrogant and condescending to anyone who doesn’t think like they do.

    I’ve washed my hands of the whole mess.

  • 82. mewho  |  April 1, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Leo,

    I have to disagree with your last post, because I think George really IS a Christian. Read his rants. He’s condescending. He’s rude. He reads like so many preachers, focusing on sin, fuming from the pulpit about condemnation and judgement. Sadly, George is like so many Christians who like telling people what to do, mocking them and teaching them “lessons” all the while. “Talking down” to others is also a tell-tell sign.

    George is so sure of himself, one of the trademarks of Christianity: being sure of things that one has no evidence to be sure of, and the more sure you can sound the better.

    No, Leo, George and “His Hands” have all the trademarks. From the first post they have revealed themselves as true believers. They remind me of a pastor I once listened to. He said to the whole congregation from the pulpit during one of his sermons: “Do you get it? I don’t think you do!” I never went back to that church again. Religious arrogance is an unattractive boil on the face of humanity.

  • 83. LeoPardus  |  April 1, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    mewho:

    Well he says he’s a Christian and he may go to church. So by that standard he can be called a Christian. But all those verses I quoted were direct orders regarding how Christians should behave. So by that standard he fails utterly. I know that when I was a Christian, I would have disavowed any allegiance with such an arsepore.

    But as far as I’m concerned he can call himself a Christian, a demigod, or a tomato bagel.

  • 84. mewho  |  April 1, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Leo,

    I love it! You’re right. The Bible has a much higher standard than George is displaying. I, too, would not have wanted him as a friend when I was going to church. During the “meet and greet” time and would have avoided his pew.

  • 85. karen  |  April 1, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Yes, I’m mocking both of you simply because you speak and behave like fools, even when you think you are wise.

    Yes, it’s very obvious that you are mocking and name-calling and that, indeed, you take quite a lot of delight in doing that, George.

    But my question to you still stands: What motivates you and your wife to barge into online communities and start arguments by insulting and ridiculing people and being nasty? And honestly, if your motivation is to spread the gospel and make converts, how well do your tactics work? And why do you not follow the instructions of the bible for your behavior, as Leo laid them out for you? If you respect the bible so much, why not use it as a guideline for your behavior?

    I don’t understand where you’re coming from, other than – as I said – a strong need to feed your ego.

  • 86. George  |  April 2, 2008 at 3:53 am

    Dear Creationist Monkey,

    I read your post and actually went to your link ready to be challenged. I took the time to read your “10 Steps to dismantling Jesus”. All I have to say is …

    Don’t quit your day job.

    Your “facts” are actually your opinions sprinkled with some name dropping.

    You contradict your own points in the 10 steps.

    In a nutshell, your efforts are sophomoric at best.

    Do some real research (should take you at the very least 10 to 15 years just to go over the emipirical data available, then another few to form a hypothesis (it seems you started with one before you started your research), then test it vs other available, contradictory data.

    Hint… this has been accomplished by way more prominent atheists than you… start there.

    Have fun…

  • 87. George  |  April 2, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Leo, you ignored my last post directed at you and switched tactics… what happened? Oh, you used your immense powers of deduction and concluded I must not be a christian because I mock your “intelligence”… I’m in good company… God mocks your futile thinking and so will I.

  • 88. George  |  April 2, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Dear Paul S,

    Your last post was considerably more civil than the previous ones, so I will attempt to return the favor.

    Do you really believe I don’t know and/or understand the point of this blog? Seriously… Just because I adamantly disagree with most views here, do you think I don’t understand where this originated? Come on man!! Use your noodle. In spite of some of the foolish things you’ve stated in previous posts, I assume that since you know how to use a PC, surf the net, post on blogs, etc. at the very least you can understand that I make it a point to comprehend my debating opponents point of view.

    Your claim that my statement was idiotic… Some background to the “Theory of Evolution is a Fact!!” foolish statement. I was on a public university campus, debating the validity of the theory of evolution vs. creationism. Present were about 200+ students, a number of members of the faculty, a couple of pastors… you get the picture. While I was making a point arguing against the presentation and promotion of the THEORY of evolution as if it was an actual fact (rather than a theory) in our public education system, a student stood up and yelled out loud to me… “THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS A FACT, YOU IDIOT!!!” A couple of people laughed, some nodded agreement, but most went quiet and looked at me to see how I would respond. I didn’t laugh, didn’t get offended, I simply asked her the following question: “Since I’m an idiot and you are obviously so much smarter, why don’t you explain to the rest of us how a theory can be fact at the same time?” She turned red, and stormed out of the meeting.

    Given the immensity of the “God Question”, naturally no one wants to be wrong, after all there is so much at stake. However it has been my experience that emotion plays a much higher role in how one will support their POV, than actual facts. This is rather true for both sides of the question.

    Also, my experience tells me that once the emotions are laid aside, the real debate can take place and usually both sides walk away the better for it, even if there is no agreement reached. Occasionally, a person will trade sides.

    You say I’m arrogant and condescending. Not to everyone, only to those who are fools and think themselves smarter than they are. You can choose how you want to be treated.

    I do not treat Brent that way because he does not act like a fool. Someone who takes a condescending tone about christianity in general, and my relationship with God in particular, I have no problem confronting them on the grounds of their choosing.

    I hope you understand a little better where I’m coming from.

  • 89. George  |  April 2, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Oh forgot about

    Oh, by the way the so called “bishop” John Spong is obviously reading a different bible than the one I am.

    I don’t know of a single person that has struggled with building a relationship with God, and then walked away from Him simply because it didn’t make sense… I’ve met with literally THOUSANDS of people over the years and there is always something else underneath it all, a point of contention that that particular person did not want to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. I don’t know too many people who really have a problem with Jesus being their savior… it’s the LORDSHIP that is the problem…

    Always…

  • 90. George  |  April 2, 2008 at 4:37 am

    Yes Karen, you are absolutely right… I’m only motivated by my Ego, which knows no boundaries… As a matter of fact, I get up in the morning and my first thought is always…”how can I feed my Ego today”…

    Much like a bunch of semitic tribal members a few thousand years ago got together and came up with this brilliant idea of how they could emotionally and financially enslave billions of people for thousand of years to come…

    Yes Karen you are brilliant indeed… You finally figured it out…

    I really need to change my strategy, people are catching on

  • 91. George  |  April 2, 2008 at 4:41 am

    Mewho, you said…

    “I know that when I was a Christian, I would have disavowed any allegiance with such an arsepore.”

    That’s why you are no longer a christian… people like you are the reason why others view christians as hypocrites… you never really knew the heart of God, never understood the responsibility of a “watchman” never got a hold of the purity message and never submitted to His Lordship. Your circumstances are irrelevant, if you really know the Word, you can either do what it says or not… you chose not.

  • 92. HeIsSailing  |  April 2, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Stop feeding the troll

  • 93. Gary  |  April 2, 2008 at 9:04 am

    No, please, let us get to 100 posts!!

    Just kidding, you are right, this is going nowhere.

    It takes great force to break a fundamentalist.

  • 94. Neil  |  April 2, 2008 at 10:29 am

    “Taking time, any time at all in fact, not to mention an entire six days, is not a quality of a supreme and infinitely powerful being.”

    That is an argument I hadn’t heard before. I find it ironic that skeptics are often so literal in their interpretations that they would make a fundie blush.

  • 95. Paul S  |  April 2, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    George said:

    While I was making a point arguing against the presentation and promotion of the THEORY of evolution as if it was an actual fact (rather than a theory) in our public education system, a student stood up and yelled out loud to me… “THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS A FACT, YOU IDIOT!!!”

    Sorry George, but that student was right on the money. The Theory of Evolution is indeed a theory. But in science, a theory is not a guess, not a hunch. It’s a well-substantiated, well-supported, well-documented explanation for our observations. It ties together all the facts about something, providing an explanation that fits all the observations and can be used to make predictions. In science, theory is the ultimate goal, the explanation. It’s as close to proven as anything in science can be. Evolution (descent with modifications) is a fact. The Theory of Evolution is the explanation of how those modifications occur. Too bad you weren’t debating an evolutionary biologist. You would have turned red and stormed out of the meeting.

    Oh, by the way the so called “bishop” John Spong is obviously reading a different bible than the one I am.

    How many are there? Or is it just the fact that he interprets parts of it differently than you? And he’s not a “so called ‘bishop.'” He is the retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.

    Does anyone who does not believe like you considered a fool? Is there no room for theological differences based upon one’s personal experiences and Biblical interpretations.

    I’ve found a pretty good description of Christian fundamentalists like you, George. These descriptions pretty much fit you to a “T.” This is courtesy of Doug Soderstrom, Ph.D:

    The neoconservatively-oriented Christian fundamentalist tends to: oppose equality, be power-oriented (likely to dominate those they believe to be inferior and/or different from themselves, and to submit to those they have chosen to defer), highly prejudiced, pitiless, mean-spirited, militarily aggressive, chauvinistic, Republican, capitalist, socially-politically conservative, conventional (status quo oriented), highly religious, rather pious, trusting of untrustworthy leaders, narrow-minded, defensive, intolerant, bullying, dogmatic, hypocritical, highly self-righteous, able to entertain ideas that are highly contradictory, gripped by a rather low degree of self awareness (a seeming inability to understand the underlying dynamics of their own personality), and the possession of rather rigid patterns of thought (a tendency to think in terms of “black and white,” rather than demonstrating a willingness to struggle with highly complex ideas or issues).

  • 96. GoDamn  |  April 2, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    So, what empirical data do we have for the bible? For god? You Jesus wankers are dumb.

  • 97. mewho  |  April 3, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Just to clear things up George, I never called you an arsepore… it was Leo. Do you feel like Rambo attacking us all on at once, or what? I think you’ve watched too many Chuck Norris movies…

  • 98. George  |  April 4, 2008 at 4:32 am

    MeWho… You are correct, and I need to apologize to you, I totally misread the post addressed to you by Leo. I was wrong…

    Coincidentally, I do love Chuck Norris…

    I hear he doesn’t sleep… He waits

  • 99. George  |  April 4, 2008 at 5:01 am

    Paul

    Excellent. Now we can have a real conversation.

    Following your line of thought, in science, those well documented explanations have limitations. They have to be observed, and they have to be substantiated (replicated) by other scientists. It is true that the Theory of evolution explains a considerable amount of questions. However, for it to truly become a fact, it would require exactly what you need to believe in God… Proof. There is also a lot of evidence pointing to the existence of God. You cannot see your brain, however there is evidence pointing to the existence of your brain… coincidentally, some on this board provide ample evidence to the contrary…

    Also, the so called bishop is a hypocrite of the highest degree and a liar. He is one of those people that have twisted the truth of the bible to further their own agenda.

    As far as your description of me that you claim fits me to a T… some items are true, some are blatantly wrong… This gross generalization does not fit well with the rest of your post… you were doing very well until you included that segment.

  • 100. Paul S  |  April 4, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    George said:

    As far as your description of me that you claim fits me to a T… some items are true, some are blatantly wrong… This gross generalization does not fit well with the rest of your post… you were doing very well until you included that segment

    You are right, George, that was a gross generalization. My apologies.

    However, for it to truly become a fact, it would require exactly what you need to believe in God…Proof

    I’m not a biologist or scientist. But I am an person that can discriminate between science and religion, and to me, they are mutually exclusive. So I’ll let these words by LC Lewontin speak for themselves:

    “It is time for students of the evolutionary process, especially those who have been misquoted and used by the creationists, to state clearly that evolution is a fact, not theory, and that what is at issue within biology are questions of details of the process and the relative importance of different mechanisms of evolution. It is a fact that the earth with liquid water, is more than 3.6 billion years old. It is a fact that cellular life has been around for at least half of that period and that organized multicellular life is at least 800 million years old. It is a fact that major life forms now on earth were not at all represented in the past. There were no birds or mammals 250 million years ago. It is a fact that major life forms of the past are no longer living. There used to be dinosaurs and Pithecanthropus, and there are none now. It is a fact that all living forms come from previous living forms. Therefore, all present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different. Birds arose from nonbirds and humans from nonhumans. No person who pretends to any understanding of the natural world can deny these facts any more than she or he can deny that the earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun. The controversies about evolution lie in the realm of the relative importance of various forces in molding evolution.”

    And these words from HJ Muller:

    “The honest scientist, like the philosopher, will tell you that nothing whatever can be or has been proved with fully 100% certainty, not even that you or I exist, nor anyone except himself, since he might be dreaming the whole thing. Thus there is no sharp line between speculation, hypothesis, theory, principle, and fact, but only a difference along a sliding scale, in the degree of probability of the idea. When we say a thing is a fact, then, we only mean that its probability is an extremely high one: so high that we are not bothered by doubt about it and are ready to act accordingly. Now in this use of the term fact, the only proper one, evolution is a fact. For the evidence in favor of it is as voluminous, diverse, and convincing as in the case of any other well established fact of science concerning the existence of things that cannot be directly seen, such as atoms, neutrons, or solar gravitation ….
    So enormous, ramifying, and consistent has the evidence for evolution become that if anyone could now disprove it, I should have my conception of the orderliness of the universe so shaken as to lead me to doubt even my own existence. If you like, then, I will grant you that in an absolute sense evolution is not a fact, or rather, that it is no more a fact than that you are hearing or reading these words.”

    There is also a lot of evidence pointing to the existence of God.

    Care to provide any?

  • 101. George  |  April 5, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Paul,

    Thank you for both quotes.

    The first one left me rather cold as any thinking man would feel about any tirade on a topic worthy of his skepticism.

    However the second one was insightful, passionate, even vulnerable, worthy of consideration.

    As far as my proof of God’s existence… in my opinion that’s rather simple. Look around. Everything there is to know of Him and about Him has been clearly explained in that which we can see. Order, purpose, life, sense of right/wrong, all point to design, and conclusively a designer.

  • 102. Frreal  |  April 5, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Poor George is here with God testing his faith. An epic battle it is. Well kind of. OK well maybe not quite as bad as poor Job that had to bury his wife and children (or what was left of them).. Of little conern anyways because God gave him prettier children and more cows in the end…. but I digress…

    Every attempt George makes is met with yet another skeptic
    question George must Google. Or perhaps it is George’s wife . Did George’s wife have a question? Is George or George’s wife in that skeptic turmoil that so many have experienced? How does one “happen” upon a Christian deconversion site unless someone is actively searching for the truth.

    Just Curious, George?

  • 103. George  |  April 5, 2008 at 4:05 am

    Frreal, the only thing that made sense was your clever little quip ending your whatever that was. Unfortunately I’m not sure what you were attempting to say/insinuate/ask and therefore I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer accordingly. If you are wondering whether myself or my wife are having any issues with our faith, well, I can assure you that is definitely not the case. Neither myself or my wife are suffering from a “faith-crisis”. And trust me, the questions that have come across this board are not that new or difficult. As a matter of fact, both of us are college educated, established, well-adjusted individuals with lovely children. Both of us are avid readers, consuming on average about two books/week, and none of it is summer trash. Both of us have traveled extensively abroad and both of us speak multiple languages. Both of us have had successful careers (read: we attained our “dream jobs”) and now we have scaled back to focus on raising our children in an increasingly violent, hopeless, self-destructive society that is so very desperate for some real answers. Back to our faith. Both my wife and I got saved during our college years, at a time when both of us started questioning the insanity of our lives in particular and the world in general. The skeptic turmoil you mentioned is the reason why our faith now is not dependent on any outside factors. We have both lived, seen and learned too much to be easily dissuaded from our relationship with God. You (or anyone else for that matter) claiming there is no God since it doesn’t make sense to you, might as well claim that my wife does not exist, because I’ll view you with the same kind of (contempt is the only word I can think of right now).

    Job is an excellent example of what a man has to face when experiencing a tragedy. Can you say that your chosen belief system will help sustain you when you go through a tragedy? Will you come out a better man for it? Will you be able to help others when their world falls apart?

    IMnotsoHO, the one thing that clearly sets us apart from the animal kingdom is hope. To me, that alone is indicative of purpose and therefore design. So tell me, what will you tell the teenager that got saved, told his father about it, his father laughed in his face… three months later, that father attempted to kill the mother, then committed suicide. Will you tell him “listen, there is no God, we are all descended from animals, so just try to live a good life based on your own definitions of what good is. Just do your best, it won’t matter after all, there is no real point to any of this…”

    Is that what you would do? Some great help you would be…

    I was that teenager, and that’s how it all started for me.

    But congratulations… you made a funny. You should be proud of yourself.

  • 104. Brent  |  April 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    George,

    The natural argument for God is a weak one.

    If the “evidence” you claim is the world around us, then it is ambiguous at best. The natural world is easily explainable by
    processes described by science. These are not just random guesses, but predictable, regular processes determined by observation and tested by experiment.

    You said: “Order, purpose, life, sense of right/wrong, all point to design, and conclusively a designer.”

    Define order. Do you talk about the regular processes I mentioned above? Or are you talking about order on a more human level? Social order perhaps?

    Sense of right and wrong? Couldn’t that be a genetic predisposition to playing well with others because that’s what helps us survive? If I cooperate with others then
    we all get along and everybody wins, but most importantly, I win.

    Life? What about life points to a design? The mere fact that it exists? So what is life, and why does it necessarily point at
    a designer?

    The Purpose? Ah, now there’s the heart of the argument. Why are we here? Are we here because, quite by chance (with a lot of help from chemistry), some organic chemicals combined, forming a self-replicating molecule that somehow managed to find better and better ways of replicating itself, without the benefit of forethought? Or are we a “masterwork” of a cosmic designer, who not only designed us but wants to be involved in our lives? If it is the former, then our purpose is to pass on our genetic material, or–horror of horrors!–we get to set our own purpose for our own lives. If it is the latter, our
    purpose is to commune with the designer, serving his purposes, and receiving communications from him in the form of abstract interpretations of an ancient book, feelings, or “miraculous” events.

    As far as proving evolution, any attempt to prove the THEORY of evolution–the mechanics of evolution of life–is futile.
    That’s how science works…we make observations; form hypotheses to explain the observations; test the hypotheses
    through experiment; hypotheses that are consistently in agreement with experimental results form theories. We don’t try to prove theories–we try to disprove them. If a theory is not disproven, it becomes stronger, but it is still only one test away from death. However, the FACT of evolution–the observed change of life over time–IS evident from looking around us. It can be denied, like any other fact, but that denial does not affect the intrinsic truth of the statement.

    Look around. Use form as your measuring stick: humans have the same number of appendages as other mammals, reptiles, or birds. There is a traceable progression in the development of organs from one species to the next. Use genetics as your measuring stick: Genetic evidence indicates that there is a traceable pattern of descent. (I consider this a good example of order, and it is certainly not evidence of a designer.)

    Some say that scientists haven’t demonstrated that one species can turn into another. For purpose of my post, I will
    define species as “the major subdivision of a genus or subgenus, regarded as the basic category of biological classification, composed of related individuals that
    resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species.” (from Dictionary.com) Admittedly, it is not a perfect definition (Asian wild horses and domesticated horses can interbreed, despite being generally regarded as different species), and there is always some discussion on any taxonomic classification, but that just represents the fact that “species,”
    like “genus” or any other taxon, is an artificial division, a product of the human affinity for classifying things.

    But there are, even today, differentiations that at least generate discussion about speciation. One example is the London Underground Mosquito. In less than a hundred years
    from the construction of the Underground, a form of mosquito had developed from an above ground species that was fully adapted to the new environment. Their reproductive behavior (breeding above ground vs. underground among other things) and feeding behavior (switched from birds to mammals)
    changed, among other things. So if this were to be labelled a new species, the reaction from the design side might be,
    “But it’s still a mosquito.” “So what if new species can develop, new genera can’t develop.” This is called “moving the goalposts” and typically indicates that the goal is not seeking truth, but arguing the point.

    Evidence does not equal proof. And, as Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” There are very few claims more extraordinary than that of God. If the only evidence available for God is also consistent with the natural processes around us, why go with a supernatural explanation that requires more, and unfounded, assumptions?

  • 105. Brent  |  April 5, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    George,

    Please don’t confuse not believing in God with not making sense of the Bible. I don’t “claim there is no God since it doesn’t make sense to me,” rather I no longer think the existence of God is likely based on a lack of evidence and nonsensical arguments for his existence. While there are people that do in fact make the assertive claim that there is no God, I doubt any of them would do that from such a
    weak position as “I don’t understand it so it can’t be so.” I could be wrong…people do use that argument for other issues.

    “Can you say that your chosen belief system will help sustain you when you go through a tragedy? Will you come out a better man for it? Will you be able to help others when their world falls apart?”

    Honestly, I don’t see what difference belief in God would make in dealing with a tragedy. True, there’s no thought of a life after this one, but neither is there any anguish of whether a loved one was truly “saved.” Also, I can be realistic about the cause of the tragedy. No speculation on what “God’s purpose” was; I have no reason to think that it may have been caused or at least tacitly allowed by God. And yes, I believe honest lessons learned will make me a better man. As far as helping others…I was crap for comforting others as a Christian, and I have no reason to believe that will change
    now. But as far as physical help, I don’t forsee any change there either.

    “IMnotsoHO, the one thing that clearly sets us apart from the animal kingdom is hope. To me, that alone is indicative of purpose and therefore design.”

    First, a definition:
    Hope: “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best” (Dictionary.com)

    So the dog that stares at the door waiting for his master to come home has no hope? What if his master died some time ago, and he continues to wait? Certainly he wants a
    certain outcome, and is expecting it.

    I believe the thing that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom (we are a part of the kingdom Animalia, after all) is
    the fact that we ask questions like this, seek patterns, and try to put labels on things–even if there is no need to put a label on a thing.

    Also, how does hope indicate design?

    “listen, there is no God, we are all descended from animals, so just try to live a good life based on your own definitions of what good is. Just do your best, it won’t matter after all, there is no real point to any of this…”

    I fail to see where any of that would be applicable in that situation. If asked why God would allow such a thing, I would have to answer that I do not see any reason to believe in God, and I would see no reason to deny evolution in that case. Live a good life is good advice, and though I’m sure you meant the “based on your own definitions of what good is” satirically, ultimately it is up to us to determine that for ourselves. You seem to imply living a good life is solely a question of conduct, and standards of conduct DO come from external sources (laws, organizational rules.) However, as a value judgement, good IS something you determine for yourself. I am reminded of the end of Saving Private Ryan, where Ryan asks, “Did I live a good life?” So far as I know, he was asking if the life he led was worthy of the sacrifice made by all the men that came to get him, not “Was I a serial killer?” (And before anyone comes up with the Jesus analogy…if that’s how you want to define living a good life, fine. That’s your right. My point is it’s your decision, and not for anyone to force anything else on you.)

    The last sentence just falls apart though. It won’t matter? No real point? Why does this necessarily follow? This is a charicature of the atheist view that I have been guilty of in the past. That is like asking “Why should I worry about global warming if I’m going to be dead before it gets really bad.” There are many answers to either question–maybe you derive personal satisfaction from treating others well, helping others, or keeping the environment healthy; maybe you perceive a personal benefit, or a benefit for your decendents. But the bottom line is, lack of belief in a God, or the acceptance of evolution, does not equate to a lack of purpose.

  • 106. Anonymous  |  April 5, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    George said:

    The first one left me rather cold as any thinking man would feel about any tirade on a topic worthy of his skepticism.

    You were left cold? That’s it? And how is the first quote a tirade? Because you don’t agree? If you’re skeptical, then I would expect at least some basic attempt to refute the points of the quote. Perhaps “answersingenesis.com” has some good tips for you.

    I just want to make sure I understand your position on the evidence of God’s existence. You said:

    As far as my proof of God’s existence… in my opinion that’s rather simple. Look around. Everything there is to know of Him and about Him has been clearly explained in that which we can see. Order, purpose, life, sense of right/wrong, all point to design, and conclusively a designer.

    Well, here are some things that I see. Are these things indicative of a designer (and especially a benevolent, loving, omnipotent designer)? Pedophilia, cancer, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people by natural disasters, murder, corruption, spina bifada, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, genocide, etc., etc., ad nauseum…

    You said in a previous post:

    I could go on forever expounding on this subject, however the deeper we would go, you would find out that your very belief system would be so thoroughly challenged, you would have a hard time understanding your own choices from a purely objective POV, you would become very uncomfortable.

    It’s telling that throughout all your posts about how everyone who doesn’t believe in God like you do are “fools,” and then, when asked to provide evidence for God’s existence, with the opportunity to astonish us all with your evidence, the only thing you can come up with is another take on the same old tired cosmological argument.

    You talk a good game. But when it comes to defending you beliefs with anything substantive, you fall flat on your face. What a let down.

  • 107. George  |  April 5, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Brent,

    Before I respond to your post, I need to understand something about your POV… are you perhaps a ToM student?

  • 108. Brent  |  April 5, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    George,

    Not sure what that refers to, so I’m guessing no.

  • 109. Gary  |  April 6, 2008 at 12:07 am

    It would appear to me that this discussion involves two points of view. One, represented by George, speaks of God as an experiential reality. In other words, the guiding conviction of George’s reasoning is his own sense of the presence of God. The other POV does not have such an experience, and so speaks out of the conviction of a lack of God. It is not for lack of faith that we do not experience God; on the contrary, I suspect that there are many here who were once very devoted to God. Yet something caused us to lose our assurance.

    As such, it is perfectly reasonable for us to exclaim, “Will the real God please stand up!”

  • 110. George  |  April 6, 2008 at 12:17 am

    Anonymous,

    I’m glad we are slowly but surely moving away from the ad hominem attacks and getting down to the details that really matter.

    Let me clarify my POV once and for all. My belief in God is not dependent on anyone else in the world agreeing with it or accepting it. The very foundation of my faith in God is rooted in what one could easily refer to as “intangibles” My life experiences, including my revelation of being in the presence of God, knowing his peace, surviving tragedies and helping others cope with it, seeing the effects of the works of God in my life and in others, even though I’ve never seen God. I also haven’t seen the wind, but I can clearly see the effects, and I understand the mechanics, therefore I know that wind exists. Nothing in empirical science or in my personal experience indicates that God does NOT exist. Quite on the contrary. The more I study, the more I contemplate, the more I challenge and allow myself to be challenged, the more grounded I get in my belief.

    The quote by LC Lewontin left me cold for two reasons… the very mechanics of evolutionary biology are based on assumptions. It does require faith to accept the Theory of Evolution. Secondly, I feel it was a tirade because he is inviting everyone who believes like him to contradict the first principles on which his entire argument is founded, in order to quiet everyone who is not as well versed in his own argument… that’s hypocritical at best.

    Half of the things that you see (all of them negative) are caused by people who do NOT believe in God (their claims notwithstanding) the other half is caused by the effects of living in a fallen world.

    I’ve never claimed in my posts that everyone who does not believe like I do is a fool. I’ve only claimed that about those that do two things… either they only parrot what they do not understand (much like the “we’re fighting a war in Iraq for oil” statement), or the ones that even though they know the truth they suppress it in order to be more comfortable in their sin (usually they accuse me of seeing things in Black and White, rather than understanding the complexity of issues). I’d say about 90% of the time, once I’m able to establish a certain measure of trust with someone while speaking face to face, there is always an ulterior reason for rejecting the idea of God. The causes are inadvertently (and in order of frequency): bitterness/unforgiveness, personal lifestyle choices, no real exposure to the bible, no interest in knowing, and lastly intellectualism.

    Oh, and as far as I’m concerned, the theory of evolution is the same old tired argument… it kind of reminds me of the pre-Copernican geocentric worldview that was so entrenched in the mainstream intelligentsia, academics were adding more and more justifications to why certain aspects could not be explained, rather than scratching the whole thing and going back to square one.

    In a nutshell, the observations/calculations used as proof in the theory of evolution may be precise in themselves, however they are based on faulty assumptions.

    Just one quick example… the bible refers to the firmament falling when the flood took place. Apparently it had never rained before. Afterwards was the first time that a rainbow formed. If that statement is accurate, then I can rather clearly see how radiometric dating (which is dependent on a number of constants) can be inaccurate. And I seriously doubt, that a nomadic semitic tribe a couple of thousand years ago came up with a system to confound the wise ones of our age.

    For a long time I believed that the theory of evolution was reality. In addition, I don’t believe we can separate all aspects of our life and allow only evolutionary biology to be our “guiding light” so to say.

    I appreciated the second quote because it allowed for the understanding that only mathematics is an exact science that can provide proof.

    Aside from that we are left with compelling evidence. There is much compelling evidence pointing to both the existence of God, and to the validity of evolution. Considering all that entails our limited, tumultuous, sometimes futile existence here on Earth, it takes a rather greater leap of faith to discount the existence of God.

  • 111. George  |  April 6, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Brent,

    Theory of Mind. I think you would find it rather interesting reading… right up your alley, and I rather enjoy foraying there as well.

  • 112. George  |  April 6, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Gary,

    That’s a good observation, however it is rather likely that for some, their very experience is what has turned them away from God, and in failing to reconcile the two, discounting the existence of God becomes the more attractive choice. As human beings, we have a tendency to look for validation rather than use a more “scientific” (if you will) approach, that looks for ways to challenge our paradigm (that’s my SAT word for the day… LOL)

  • 113. Brent  |  April 6, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    George,

    Now I can say definitively, no…never studied the Theory of Mind….

    You said:

    “Oh, and as far as I’m concerned, the theory of evolution is the same old tired argument… it kind of reminds me of the pre-Copernican geocentric worldview that was so entrenched in the mainstream intelligentsia, academics were adding more
    and more justifications to why certain aspects could not be explained, rather than scratching the whole thing and going back to square one.”

    That’s an interesting take…you might want to pass that to Ben Stein and company for their sequel. Of course, the fact that the “intelligentsia” you refer to was largely composed of philosophers and theologians who had a vested interest in maintaining man’s privileged place in the universe. It is the same today. Creationism or intelligent design or whatever you want to call it is the same old pseudoscience designed to keep man, if not at the physical center of creation, at least at the figurative center of creation. The only difference is that science actually has a voice today.

    It’s ironic that you complain about the assumptions made by biologists, then in the very same response you put forward the story of the flood and why that means that radiometric dating doesn’t work–complete with the implicit assumption that the laws of physics have changed!? At least the “assumption” at the base of science is that observable processes are relatively consistent and predictable.

    As far as “scratching the whole thing and going back to square one:” That’s funny, considering you’re saying that a book whose only claim to truth is that it says so is a better source for science than observation and experiment.

  • 114. George  |  April 7, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Brent,

    What exactly is the “vested interest” of keeping man’s privileged place in the universe? Or at the center of creation?

    Radiometric dating is dependent on a number of constants. My suggestion is entirely dependent on the laws of physics remaining as a constant…don’t be silly… In order for radiometric dating results to be accurate a closed system is required. My suggestion is that the earth is not a closed system, an idea to which a lot of scientist adhere (albeit for different reasons) and also why we have been relying heavily on radiometric dating of meteorite samples.

    Coincidentally, the flood can account for a vast number of ecological changes on planet Earth.

    Hmmm… I don’t get your last statement, However, I wonder if you are a history buff at all… I mean, how do you know Temujin really lived to become Genghis Khan (and posthumously Khagan). I’d say the bible has as much if not more historical value and can be verified for consistency and accuracy. And if I chose to live by the Maxims of Ptahhotep, would you tell me that it’s pointless? That it has no intrinsical value, as it’s probably based on assumption and not on quantifiable parameters?

    The bible’s claim for truth has NEVER been solely that it says so… quite the opposite. Not only does it assert it’s validity by being historically accurate and remaining verifaiably consistent,
    but it accurately deals with issues that science is useless for. Life issues such as love, hate, greed, compassion, right, wrong, good, evil, commitment, treachery, sacrifice and selfishness. These are the things that make us human, these are the things that I think of when I look at my wife and my children, at my friends and at my enemies. When I teach my children, their success is not dependent on whether Euclidian Geometry accurately describes physical space or not (and euclidian geometry is considerably more reliable than the theory of evolution). I can bet my life, that at the moment of decision, my children could care less whether paleontology needs to be able to explain historical observation by using extrapolation from micro to macro-evolution.

    In a nutshell, the foolishness in man’s heart is not dependent on whether the theory of evolution is accurate or not. The foolishness comes to fruition when we use the theory of evolution to justify moral relativism, which is really what all this is about.

    No one in his right mind would start arguing whether Rigveda
    (Vedic Script) is accurate or not. That is because it is irrelevant to our moral state. That is why there is such a concerted effort (including this site) to discredit the Bible. Because if it can be discredited, people will feel much better about themselves.

    And that is my observation and experimentation.

  • 115. O'Maolchaithaigh  |  April 11, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    ‘Tis unfortunate that the books known as “the Bible” are NOT irrelevant to our moral state. We can certainly do better.

  • 116. Neil  |  April 11, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    You can do better than loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and better than loving your neighbor as yourself 24×7? Man, I want you for a neighbor! I’ve been a Christian almost 20 years and haven’t come close to mastering Jesus’ ideals. Fortunately, I trust in him so my many sins are forgiven.

    Please enlighten us on your upgraded plan.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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