How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists

January 11, 2009 at 11:39 pm 86 comments

My holiday reading was Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists by Dan Barker.  I had travelled a similar journey (albeit in a less publicised way).  Having made the change from being an evangelical leader, preacher, counsellor, and author (for over 30 years) to an unashamed, blogging atheist, I thought it would be interesting to read the human story.  I wondered how far Barker’s experience would parallel my own, and if his analysis of his change would help me see my own in a new perspective.  I am really glad that I read through to the end of the book. 51rqsc3s-wl_sl500_aa240_

The book is divided into four sections: his life as a believer; his loss of faith; more detailed reasons for rejecting Christianity; his present work for the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

His faith didn’t disappear overnight, and I could certainly identify with the agony of the period where he felt so hypocritical.  On the outside everything was OK and everybody was looking to him for Christian leadership and teaching, but on the inside the certainty of his faith was shifting dramatically. And once the faith had really disappeared, his experience certainly shed light on my own clinging to a pretence for so long. Not only was I clinging to a culture and people that I had known for most of my adult life, but I was also clinging to a public reputation that I had established.  In our cases, faith wasn’t just a private matter, but it also came with a history, a community, and an important identity.  The faith was private, but the ‘ baggage’ was public and, in some ways, was more ‘psychologically sticky’.

Once he had decided to ‘come out’ as an atheist and resign his Christian employment, he sent out over 50 letters to people just to inform them of the change.  It was both amusing and painful to see some of the replies he received.  Although some people have remained good friends, many tried to cope with the rejection of his faith (and of their faith) by saying the following kinds of things.  You must be rejecting your faith because: you dislike authority; or, you want to live a sinful life; or, you like stiring up trouble; or, you are arrogant; or, you have been badly hurt by Christians; or, you are disappointed that your prayers haven’t been answered; or, you are an angry person; or, you have been seduced by scientists; or, you don’t know the meaning of love; or, you never were a real Christian in the first place.

Whatever the truth, or falsehood of those statements, Barker makes the telling point that they are all addressed at attacking the person, and not one of them seriously tries to understand or get to grips with the reasons he gave for no longer believing in the bible or the god of the bible.  Barker lost his faith when he started to read and question what he had been given.  But nobody in his associates were willing to engage in a debate with him about historical accuracy, textual criticism. or contradictions.  To use his supposedly god-given brain meant that he was evil.  I certainly have shared the same sense of disappointment and frustration at the unwillingness of believers to engage in a debate using reason and fact to consider claims of truth.

At this point, the book really started to take off for me.  Barker spends some considerable time explaining in detail why he is an atheist.  I found it refreshing to be reminded of familiar things and compelling to be taken in detail into areas that I hadn’t yet faced up to myself.

Examples of the familiar:

  • Numbers don’t mean anything by themselves.  Claiming that Christianity must be true because so many people believe it is pointless.  Millions of people may be wrong (and have been in the past).  And if numbers validates truth, what about the millions of people who believe in religions that are opposed to Christianity (Islam and Judaism, for example).
  • Personal experience doesn’t prove anything.  It is well documented that we create meaning by interpreting personal experiences, but those interpretations can be wrong, and we can have experiences caused by a whole range of things.  Saying: “It must be true because I have experienced it!” can easily by countered by: “I have had an experience that proves that it isn’t true!”

As a believer I often used the books of Josh McDowell to argue the case for Christianity, especially on the historicity of Jesus, and on the proofs of the Resurrection.  Barker carefully drives a coach and horses through this kind of material.  What I found particularly sad is that many liberal Christians would also agree with Barker about the intellectual inadequacy of the evangelical case.  The material has been around for years, but I, and many others, were far too willing to accept second-hand knowledge and not look at the foundation for it.

Examples of material that I personally found compelling, new, and challenging:

  • There is no external historical confirmation for the New Testament stories, and the stories themselves are contradictory.  Barker takes us through the references to Jesus in the later secular historians and shows the paucity of the evidence.  The reference to Jesus in Josephus (so loved by evangelicals) magically appears in versions of Josephus two centuries after Josephus is supposed to have written it.  The historical Jesus is far more a shadowy figure than evangelicals would have us believe.
  • Barker also shows that the resurrection narratives are contradictory and inconsistent.  He frequently challenges believers to write a simple narrative of the resurrection, using every simple detail from the New Testament, without omitting a single detail.

Both atheists and believers could learn from this book.  Sadly, I know that very few of the latter will dare to read it.  It deserves a wide readership amongst believers, not least because of Barker’s authority.  He knew Christianity form the inside.  He knows the bible inside out and can quote chapter and verse.  Being a charismatic he knew about religious experience in a big way.  Yet, despite that knowledge, the edifice started to crumble when he began to think outside the box of his culture and do the kind of thinking that has helped civilization move forward for millions of years.

- AThinkingMan

Entry filed under: AThinkingMan. Tags: , , , , , , .

Reasons why I can no longer believe: 4 – God is not trustworthy The Power of Prayer?

86 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Josh  |  January 12, 2009 at 12:36 am

    While I have not read Barker’s book completely (my girlfriend has probably read more of it), I confess Barker’s testimony and online debates were extremely beneficial to me. Your recounting of the ‘reactions’ of believers brought back memories from this summer of all the ‘reactions’ I received. I received nearly every type of reaction Barker received (my de-conversion was rather public).

    Case in point. Just this Christmas some beloved relatives sent me a Christmas card. In it they said “We are sorry to hear about your rejection of God.” That one short sentence showed a level of misunderstanding that would probably even make beloved Jesus cry on my behalf. I spent hundreds (if not thousands) of hours studying their Christian faith deeply so that I could defend what they believed. And then when I – in agony – discover it is not true they blatantly accuse me of “rejecting God”. Personally I do not feel I did any rejecting (I feel more rejected). It just hurts so bad to have family members act this way. And in a Christmas card of all things. They included an extensive letter which contained a short gospel admonition within the first paragraph. I didn’t finish reading it. I was so hurt by their complete unwillingness to listen to a damn thing I have to say that why should I listen to them?

    It hurts – a lot. I’m doing okay, though. My girlfriend is going through a similar experience now in letting her friends and family know about her agnosticism. Going public for her is much easier than for me, but as with me it is the reaction of family members that is the most painful. All that said, things are much better now :)

    Thanks for the post!

  • 2. annaldavis  |  January 12, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Thank you for a good post. I am a Christian, but I have recently been thinking about apologetics and my faith. Really, when you get right down to it the whole thing is absurd. And you’re right, the church culture — that many of us grew up in and is therefore overly familiar– clouds our thinking. So much so, that many Christians don’t really stop to consider how absurd the whole thing is. But realizing this absurditywas a monumental step for me, because I chose to believe even so. And that’s why I don’t agree so much with apologetics — because faith by definition cannot be proven. I appreciate your intellectual honesty and courage to pick it apart, although I do hope that someday you might decide again to believe in this absurd, wonderful person named Jesus.

  • 3. orDover  |  January 12, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Whatever the truth, or falsehood of those statements, Barker makes the telling point that they are all addressed at attacking the person, and not one of them seriously tries to understand or get to grips with the reasons he gave for no longer believing in the bible or the god of the bible.

    Doesn’t that just fit right in with Christian doctrine though? God is perfect, people are flawed. That they already know. If someone has rejected God, therefore, it must automatically be that person’s fault. There is absolute refusal among most believers to open their religion up to critical thought, to consider for just one second that maybe the problem isn’t the apostates, but the apologetics.

    annaldavid wrote:
    But realizing this absurditywas a monumental step for me, because I chose to believe even so…I do hope that someday you might decide again to believe in this absurd, wonderful person named Jesus.

    Why would anyone want to believe in something that is absurd–that doesn’t make sense? What if someone was trying to convince you of astrology, and they said, “Yeah, I know all this stuff about the alignment of the stars and planets affecting our daily lives on a personal level sounds completely absurd. But just embrace it! Believe in it despite the fact that there is no evidence for it and it doesn’t even make sense!” Would you want to jump on that wagon? I certainly don’t.

  • 4. vire7  |  January 12, 2009 at 12:55 am

    I’ve struggled with some of the things you’ve mentioned, and while I admit that my faith is in large part based on ‘experience’, it’s the commonality of the experience with other people from all walks of life that surprises me. I’ve had so much in common from an uber wealthy blueblood to the most humble Vietnamese men that were tortured and imprisoned for years and years…

    I’m sure there’s something to be said about all this, but it just strikes me as odd the true selflessness of genuine Christianity.

  • 5. scaryreasoner  |  January 12, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Read this as well over the last month. It’s pretty good, but I’d read “Losing Faith in Faith” (previous book by Dan Barker) and Godless is, if you’ve already read Losing Faith in Faith, pretty much a rehash.

    If you liked Godless, or Losing Faith in Faith, you may also wish to check out “Why I became an atheist” by John Loftus.

  • 6. orDover  |  January 12, 2009 at 1:12 am

    …it’s the commonality of the experience with other people from all walks of life that surprises me. I’ve had so much in common from an uber wealthy blueblood to the most humble Vietnamese men that were tortured and imprisoned for years and years…

    I’m sure there’s something to be said about all this, but it just strikes me as odd the true selflessness of genuine Christianity.

    I hate to be the storm cloud over the parade, but if I don’t point it out, someone else will: a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist would say the exact same thing.

  • 7. Trusting  |  January 12, 2009 at 1:29 am

    I don’t know how many years I turned my back on God… I think it was a bit longer than 10.

    The thing is, that I always thought strange about God’s way is that the deeper and closer you get the harder trials and things in your life become. You can see throughout the Bible as well.

    Through the 10 years I learned a great deal. This world and it’s pleasures only last for a fleating moment. Things here make you feel good only for a short while. After the initial “feel good” feeling wears off you are stuck with looking yourself in the mirror. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m a shot out sinner. I need Christ as my savior. All the other avenues I have tried lead me to vanity. I’m happy now with what God has for me.

    I know God is real and the Bible is true because God has proven it to me over and over again.

    How can I deny or turn my back on something that I know is true? It’s reality. You can only avoid it for so long.. Are you not going to die?

    Not only that I learned that I could be rich and it would mean nothing… That wouldn’t make me happy and didn’t. As I grow in my relationship with God he shows me that I can rely on him. But you have to rely on him first for him to show you.

    All I know is, I have been in the position where I thought I “lost my faith” but in fact I didn’t. God let me go then called me back to teach me a new set of lessons that I would not have known had I not been through them.

    I feel for anyone that has seen the Lord work and forgotten about it. I know I have. That’s why you have to renew your mind daily. Otherwise you will forget the blessings and grace we have been given.

    God is truly amazing. Just look into the sky at night. We are SO small, yet he cares for all of us personally and individually.

    It all starts with trust.

  • 8. lulzworth  |  January 12, 2009 at 3:43 am

    “Through the 10 years I learned a great deal. This world and it’s pleasures only last for a fleating moment. Things here make you feel good only for a short while. After the initial “feel good” feeling wears off you are stuck with looking yourself in the mirror.”

    I agree that life is temporal and at times rather bleak, but this seems more like a justifiable cause for depression than religion. I suppose that’s an unpleasant prospect, but I’m not certain that that affects the accuracy.

    Why is it that the Christian God alone remedies that kind of existential crisis? Wouldn’t Allah, or Zeus for that matter?

  • 9. athinkingman  |  January 12, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for all your comments.

    Hang in there Josh. The pain, though never going away, does get easier.

    Several of the comments by believers seem to point to personal experience. I used to be an evangelical charismatic and know about experience. However, two points. 1) As some commentators have already noted, people in many religions and none have experiences. Suppose I said I have just had an experience that proves your religion wrong! 2) We are all capable of interpreting our experiences wrongly. Experience isn’t a convincing or a compelling argument.

  • 10. annaldavis  |  January 12, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I agree that personal experience cannot prove anything, except what that particular person perceives happened in their lives. By the same token, you cannot by the power of your own intellect be certain that God doesn’t exist. In both cases you are limited by the confines of your own experience. There’s always the possibility that you just don’t know.

  • 11. athinkingman  |  January 12, 2009 at 10:01 am

    annaldavis

    You are so right. I cannot be certain that God doesn’t exist. However, I am open to persuasion and willing to change my mind once confronted with credible evidence.

    As I said in my original postings, part of the frustration is that believers tend to say you must believe because I have experienced or because the bible says so etc. However, very few, if any, are prepared to look at the big problems raised by the genuine questions about the historicity of Jesus, of the resurrection, or about the problems with tbe biblical text.

  • 12. dragonfly310  |  January 12, 2009 at 11:28 am

    to lulzworth:

    You’re right. Any imaginary friend would do. As with children, the imaginary friend soothes adults as well. It makes me wonder if once we reach that stage called adulthood our creativeness fades, or we get too lazy to invent one of our own (assuming a person needs one because of some psychological malfunction or life situation they cannot cope with) that we jump on the ever present, all knowing, can do anything and everything, seemingly kind “god” someone else has already invented. That way, people don’t have to think of what they need or want emotionally. A lot of people are too afraid to learn about the bad and ugly about themselves and then conquer it. Now with this thing called Christianity, the imaginary friends take the sting out of it because of the promise of instant forgiveness and then instant love. This God, therefore, is nothing more than a landfill for all our guilt. It’s the easy way out. Who wouldn’t want that? But, we all know what this easy way out really does to society, don’t we? All that violence and hatred. YUCK! There’s more people hurt by religion than it actually helps. In the long run, religion (Christianity specifically) hurts more people than it helps.

  • 13. fffearlesss  |  January 12, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    The thing is, I think personal experience SHOULD be what faith is based on. If God exists in the way Christianity claims he does, we should all have genuine personal experiences to base our faith on. And not just, “I got a check in the mail right when I needed money,” or “I was an alcoholic until I accepted Jesus.” While those ARE genuine experiences for the person experiencing them, they are NOT unique to somebody who believes in Jesus or any other god for that matter. The experience that WOULD make me believe is one that I can say, irrefutably, yes, THAT was, is God. Not something that any old non-beleiver can likewise experience outside the context of X-religion. For me, I need a conversation. If god is my “dad” so to speak, I need him to treat me like an actual son. When I talk to him, when I cry to him, I just need him to put an arm around my shoulder, the way my earthly dad would, and say, “I’m here for you.” A genuine expereience like that (and not a pretty sunset or some other supposed “sign”) and I would have no trouble believing.

  • 14. Postman  |  January 12, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I wish a scientist had seduced me.

  • 15. LeoPardus  |  January 12, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    vire7:

    it’s the commonality of the experience with other people from all walks of life that surprises me.

    Are you equally surprised by the lack of commonality of experience/opinion/behavior/theology/etc with other people from all walks of life (or even the same walks of life)? You’ve got a fine case of confirmation bias going there. Note the things that fit your presuppositions and explain away the things that don’t.

  • 16. LeoPardus  |  January 12, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Postman:

    I’m a scientist. WINK! WINK! Hmmm…. postMEN don’t hold that much interest for me though.

  • 17. LeoPardus  |  January 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Trusting:

    Things here make you feel good only for a short while. After the initial “feel good” feeling wears off you are stuck with looking yourself in the mirror.

    Kind of like that rush you get at conversion that wears off with time?

    I know God is real and the Bible is true because God has proven it to me over and over again.

    We’d probably all be disappointed if I were to ask how.

    How can I deny or turn my back on something that I know is true?

    Most of us used to say the same thing. Then we woke up, opened our eyes and stopped “living the dream”.

    As I grow in my relationship with God he shows me that I can rely on him.

    You don’t have a relationship with him. Look in the blog archives for the article “A Personal Relationship with Jesus?”
    And “rely on him”?? For what? Vague silliness like “peace in my soul”, or “feeling his holy spirit”?? Try relying on him to not let you, your friends, and your kids die in some horrible way just ’cause you worship him with all your heart. Basically try relying on God for anything tangible rather than for vague, feel-goodness.

    yet he cares for all of us personally and individually.

    Joe’s dad cares for cares for his family personally and individually. When we lose jobs, he doesn’t help with the rent or groceries. When we get hurt, he doesn’t help with the hospital bills. When we are anguished, he doesn’t call or anything. etc. etc. etc.

    Do you really believe Joe’s dad cares as advertised?

  • 18. Postman  |  January 12, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Leo,

    Story of my Gawd-damned life. I finally get a scientist winking at me and, no offense, it’s you.
    However, if Miss Particle Physics 2008 is reading this…

  • 19. LeoPardus  |  January 12, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    I married Miss Particle Physics 1993. :)

  • 20. Rover  |  January 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    It may seem silly to cling to faith even after you see that it is false, but there is still something that draws me to it. Maybe it is the community of believers that draws me. Maybe it is the moral standard it provides for me to live by. Or maybe it is the purpose it gives my life. I am not sure what it is. Perhaps it is the changed lives I see in my church all the time. People clinging to something that they can believe in, that causes them to try harder. I often think of walking away, but why? So that I can be alone and and spend more of my time and money on myself? I love what Christ means to me. Even if he is not real, I love the image that we have created. The image of something or someone better then me. I think in my mind I don’t believe as I used to, but my heart refuses to let go.

  • 21. Postman  |  January 12, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Leo,
    I’d ask if she had a sister, but I’m afraid of the answer crushing me further. Maybe I should stop living this dream. It’s just that Miss Hypothetical Particle Physics & I have a personal relationship, even though I’ve never met her or, in fact, anyone who has. I know that she cares for me personally and individually and anyone who says this is only because I want it to be true deserves my pity.

  • 22. Trusting  |  January 13, 2009 at 2:05 am

    fffearlesss – If God was calling you would you listen? Would you be aware?

    I’m pretty sure if you seek with your heart opened God would reveal Himself to you. The thing is most people forget those moments or just plain ignore.

    I can say I believe because it has been proven to me. I can’t say that for anyone else.

    lulzworth – I think that an existence without God is depressing. What would anyone have to live for? The world would be lawless without God.

    athinkingman – The Bible is the proven more sound and accurate as time goes on. Archaeologically it’s the most accurate book of antiquity. There were 500 witnesses to Jesus’s assent into heaven. That would hold up in any court. The book of Romans is an entire book set out to prove the argument of Christ. Some law schools still use it to show how to prove a case. Princeton, Harvard and the like used it in the past but the movement toward the abolition of God in colleges has put a bias to them not using it anymore.

    There are a lot of really cool things that can be looked at. Ask any scientist how the giraffe is possible through evolution.

  • 23. Jeffrey  |  January 13, 2009 at 3:10 am

    >There were 500 witnesses to Jesus’s assent into heaven. That would hold up in any court.

    We have one witness claiming 500 people saw him. In court, what would happen is “Your honor, I object. This is heresay.” “Sustained.” And with that, Paul would leave the courtroom.

    Suppose you got a letter from someone in Nicaragua claiming 500 people saw a UFO. Take away all modern forms of communication and travel, and you are the church of Corinth trying to figure out what to do with Paul’s claim.

  • 24. orDover  |  January 13, 2009 at 4:08 am

    The world would be lawless without God.

    As witness by the pure anarchy in the heavily secular countries in Northern Europe, right?

    The book of Romans is an entire book set out to prove the argument of Christ. Some law schools still use it to show how to prove a case.

    Well, that’s one I haven’t heard before…

    Ask any scientist how the giraffe is possible through evolution.

    They would say that it is possible just like any other trait (even an extreme trait like giantism or dwarfism). You have a giraffe. It happens to have a slightly longer neck (and thus genes coding for a slightly longer neck). That neck gives it an advantage. Maybe it helps it reach more leaves and not die during a drought. Maybe it helps it via sexual selection: male giraffes used there necks to fight, the winner gets to impregnate lady giraffes. Either way, this giraffe with a slightly longer neck has offspring and passes on its genes. Perhaps the giraffe it mates with has genes for a slightly longer neck also, even if they are not expressed (you know, these complicated traits have multiple alleles). And then you have a giraffe with an even longer neck, which survives even better than its father. And so on. That’s now it works, across the board.

    Creationists like to pick up the giraffe because there isn’t a very complete fossil record of its evolution, and therefore they plug in their God of The Gaps argument. However, just because something is not completely known does not make it unknowable, and it certainly doesn’t mean “Goddidit.” The fossil record goes larger every day, and with it these perplexing questions are answered. Creationists also used to like to use the whale as this sort of example, because there was no fossil evidence of land mammals returning to the water. And then some showed up, proving the theories of whale evolution that were previously proposed to be true. The same will happen with giraffes. But even if it doesn’t, even if the fossil record for giraffes stays small (heck, fossils are few and far between, it’s hard to completely mineralize a skeleton), one incomplete fossil record does not disprove evolution. There are many, many more. There are mountains of fossil evidence, and some very complete evolutions can be traced.

    (Sorry for the long rant)

  • 25. orDover  |  January 13, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Oh, and Trusting might also want to read the wikipedia page on Eyewitness testimony, which is basically the most unreliable form of evidence out there, and the leading cause of wrongful convictions.

  • 26. SnugglyBuffalo  |  January 13, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Ironic, as I recall the giraffe being a specific example used in my biology classes to demonstrate natural selection leading to speciation. This was about the time that I started to have serious doubts about creationism and started to accept that it was entirely possible that God used evolution to produce it all, that Genesis wasn’t necessarily literal (or at least those first chapters weren’t), and that the ultimate method of creation wasn’t as important as the more central message of salvation through Christ.

    Looking back, this was probably when the first real cracks in my faith appeared. Rational thought processes had finally penetrated the magical thinking of my faith.

  • 27. Errancy  |  January 13, 2009 at 9:47 am

    “Looking back, this was probably when the first real cracks in my faith appeared. Rational thought processes had finally penetrated the magical thinking of my faith.”

    In some places, the debate does seem to be polarised between fundamentalists and atheists. Once you drop fundamentalism, you’re cut loose to fall where you may. I wonder whether the more liberal Christians will ever get evangelical.

  • 28. Ubi Dubium  |  January 13, 2009 at 9:54 am

    In some places, the debate does seem to be polarised between fundamentalists and atheists. Once you drop fundamentalism, you’re cut loose to fall where you may. I wonder whether the more liberal Christians will ever get evangelical.

    Once you drop fundamentalism, you are free to work it out for yourself. People who have decided to think for themselves are seldom evangelical about it. It’s rare to see someone on a streetcorner proclaiming “You are all individuals! You have to work it out for yourselves!” (Outside of Life of Brian, that is.)

  • 29. annaldavis  |  January 13, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I would describe myself as evangelical (in the literal sense, not the political sense), but not a fundamentalist. I believe that God is big enough to handle our questions, even our doubts. Honestly, if He really did create everything (in the literal 6 days or most likely through evolution over time), then nothing in science or philosophy should ever disprove Him. It may disprove religion’s ideas (ie. human ideas) about God, but it cannot disprove Him if He really does exist. I have a degree in biology from a state university and I took two semesters of secular philosophy, so I’m fairly aware of these so-called “opposing” viewpoints.

    And like you I feel that more Christians should challenge the man-made aspects of their faith.

  • 30. BigHouse  |  January 13, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Where do you get your charge to be an evangelical if not from a man-made book?

  • 31. annaldavis  |  January 13, 2009 at 10:22 am

    The Bible is God-inspired. In addition, I feel the Holy Spirit within me, urging me to talk with or pray for particular people.

    I know, you’re thinking that this is nuts and no rational “thinking” person would believe this. And that’s what I mean, when I say that faith by nature cannot be proven, and is a bit absurd. God-inspired book? God himself speaking to me through the Holy Spirit? Please!

    I get your ridicule. But I have yet to find anything that disproves God to me, and through my personal experience, through something inside of me beyond rationale, this is where I want to be.

  • 32. BigHouse  |  January 13, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Not sure where you get ridicule charge from..guilty conscience?

    The Bible is God-inspired.

    The book itself told you this. You don’t have a problem with this?

    I feel the Holy Spirit within me, urging me to talk with or pray for particular people.

    So what then, for those without these feelings?

    But I have yet to find anything that disproves God to me,

    What has proven the non-existence of Buddha to you to support for non-belief in him?

  • 33. annaldavis  |  January 13, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Can it be possible that there is something for you, beyond the borders of your intellectual capacity?

    Because that maze of neurons and electrical impulses can’t hold the answer. I have two relatives with Alzheimer’s. Do you know what happens to the brain with that disease?

    1) I understand your issue with the circular God-inspired/man-written. Again, I’m not out to prove God intellectually.
    2) I cannot speak for those who have not felt the Holy Spirit.
    3) I completely believe in the existence of Buddha. His name was Gautama Buddha (563 BC to 483 BC, give or take some years as the scholars seem to disagree on his lifespan).

  • 34. BigHouse  |  January 13, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Can it be possible that there is something for you, beyond the borders of your intellectual capacity?

    Absolutely. But if we pre-suppose that God lives in this space, how do you know if you have it right? What if a number of other religiions (or none of them) are right?

    And what does it say to you that this God that lives out of your intellectual capcaity has cast your lot for eternity and not given you the capcity to discern it?

    3) I completely believe in the existence of Buddha. His name was Gautama Buddha (563 BC to 483 BC, give or take some years as the scholars seem to disagree on his lifespan).

    Why don’t you believe that his teachings are the way to salvation?

  • 35. dcal  |  January 13, 2009 at 11:08 am

    I agree that many Christians choose simply to believe based on emotion and experience. In fact, my speculation is that this has cause alot of man-based aspects of faith. But at some point, to argue from an intellectual, rational, and logical point of view about the legitimacies of the faith meets at a stalemate, because logical minds know, that mans knowledge is limited and finite. At some point, faith and personal experience connects the dots… there are further arguments about whether this experience is man initiated or God initiated, or both… but at some point, the logic of man fails. If we are humble enough, that much has to be known. Alot of people attribute horrific events to Gods inability, or his paradox to who he claims to be, etc… but in the end, alot of these things, whether in the name of religion or not, was initiated and done by man… under their own knowledge, conscience, and free will. To me, if God falls short of expectations.. the logic, and morality of men fall shorter.

  • 36. fffearlesss  |  January 13, 2009 at 11:52 am

    @Trusting

    fffearlesss – If God was calling you would you listen? Would you be aware?

    I’m pretty sure if you seek with your heart opened God would reveal Himself to you. The thing is most people forget those moments or just plain ignore.

    I can say I believe because it has been proven to me. I can’t say that for anyone else.

    If you have followed any of the discussions and de-conversion stories on here you’d already know the answer to that question. Most if not ALL of us started out as believers. We genuinely believed. We sought God. We prayed. We deeply desired a personal relationship with him. But as time went on and all we got back was silence from prayer, from the Bible, from logic AND illogic alike, we eventually came to realize (or just feel very strongly) that the whole thing was a farce.

    It has been proven to you. I have no doubt of that. I mean that sincerely. It HASN’T been proven to me. And not for lack of trying. Not for lack of wanting. Not for lack of BELIEVING. So what am I to do with that? It means one of three things. 1) God isn’t actually there. 2) He is there but doesn’t actually require that kind of relationship or blind belief or 3) He’s there but for whatever reason has elected NOT to reveal Himself to me in a way that I can truly understand and “be aware of”. Perhaps he has chosen me to be one of the ones whose heart He hardens… which means I’m doomed no matter what I do.

  • 37. LeoPardus  |  January 13, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Postman:

    Her stepsister is actually a marketing maven who speaks at least three languages fluently. But she’s already married.
    Fear not. There’s a particle physicist out there just waiting to become quantum entangled with you. Just have faith.

  • 38. LeoPardus  |  January 13, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Trusting:

    I’m pretty sure if you seek with your heart opened God would reveal Himself to you.

    Typical response we see so often. Most of us were Christians for decades. All of us did NOT want to “lose the faith”. All of us prayed, begged, cried, screamed, sought counsel, and so forth. We sought with heart, mind, strength, and all. No response. [Now you'll insult us by telling us we didn't listen/look for/perceive the response when it came. Or you'll tell us our hearts weren't right. Or some other such insulting nonsense.] {Except now that I’ve said that, you’ll look for yet another response.}

    The world would be lawless without God.

    Assertion with no possibility of falsification or verification. I say the world would be lawless without rocks. Wanna tell me I’m wrong?

    Ask any scientist how the giraffe is possible through evolution.

    Someone got to this already. i could give you a very complete set of steps and refer you to the best fossil records, but what would be the point? You’d just hand me the “eye” argument next… then the “rhodopsin”… then the “antibody”……

  • 39. LeoPardus  |  January 13, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    annaldavis:

    And like you I feel that more Christians should challenge the man-made aspects of their faith.

    That would be the whole faith. People made it. People modified it. People continue to modify it and to pick and choose the parts of it they like. You’re doing that yourself. The whole thing is man-made, man-modified, and you are currently making your own, personal version of it.

    The Bible is God-inspired

    Pure assertion with no possibility of falsification or verification.

    I feel the Holy Spirit within me

    Mormons feel “burning in the bosom”. Buddhists may sense enlightenment. Shamanists can be transported. Anybody can feel whatever psychosomatic wilies they want. This just proves that you’re suggestible. It doesn’t prove there’s anything beyond your wishful thinking.

    I have yet to find anything that disproves God to me

    And you won’t as long as you demand that you must believe no matter what. Only when you are willing to deal honestly with hard reality will you find the truth. Until then though, you may well enjoy what you wish to believe. (And I’m sure you’ll do no harm and come to no harm because of it.)

    I have two relatives with Alzheimer’s. Do you know what happens to the brain with that disease?

    I know in a fair degree of molecular and physiological detail. What’s your point?

    BTW, have you ever noticed how many Alzheimer symptoms BibleGod shows? (mood changes, contradictory statements, forgetfulness,…)

  • 40. CheezChoc  |  January 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I know from personal experience what happens to the brains (and bodies) of those with ALZ. I am not sure what anna was trying to say, though.

  • 41. annaldavis  |  January 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I used Alzheimer’s as an example because it’s in my thoughts these days. In non-technical terms, the brain falls apart.

    After looking over your site and reading your comments, it’s apparent to me that the atheists here think we can be good, moral people without God. We can reason our way through life, working responsibly on our own “issues” so that we don’t do harm and instead make the world a better place. But in Alzheimer’s as in other neurological illnesses, the brain doesn’t function as it should.

    Additionally, brain function varies widely across individuals. IQ, developmental disorders (Down’s syndrome) and even mental illness like depression affect our ability to reason and cope with life adequately. So if you follow atheism through to its conclusion, only the brightest and healthiest among us have the best chance to become good, moral people.

    Evolution? Yes. But it doesn’t leave much hope for the rest of us.

  • 42. LeoPardus  |  January 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    it’s apparent to me that the atheists here think we can be good, moral people without God.

    No we don’t think so. We observe quite clearly that it IS so. People all over the world, of all religions, and of no religion, are able to be good, moral people and to work to make the world a better place.

    So if you follow atheism through to its conclusion, only the brightest and healthiest among us have the best chance to become good, moral people.

    Ridiculous. People of all intelligence levels have every level of goodness/badness. I can introduce you to people with Down Syndrome and other disabilities who are the sweetest, kindest individuals in the world. By contrast, I can introduce you to people in prison with low IQs who are monstrous.

    Again, observation of reality says intelligence isn’t the deciding factor. And it’s of observation of reality, and the acceptance thereof which guides our thinking.

    Now, instead of telling us what atheism is, and what it “forces” one to conclude, maybe you could consider learning about something of which you are largely ignorant and misinformed.

  • 43. fffearlesss  |  January 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    So if you follow atheism through to its conclusion, only the brightest and healthiest among us have the best chance to become good, moral people.

    Logically speaking that’s actually true, because people with compromised brain functioning ignore social norms and sense of right and wrong. That’s why you get stories of Alzheimers patients walking naked into a room full of people. That’s why insane people kill and then don’t go to jail. That’s why Rainman walks into the middle of the street and then stops. That’s why Lenny smothers the girl to death in “Of Mice and Men.” I’m not sure how this applies to God though, other than God will forgive these people for “they know not what they do.”

  • 44. Trusting  |  January 13, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    fffearlesss – I felt like you.

    The switch flipped and it was like the lights went on when I trusted. I had already believed. I didn’t get anything from believing. They say you can miss heaven by 18 inches.

    God came down from a perfect place in the flesh to this little speck in the universe to prove to us that He loved us and that He could be the perfect human. He was born in a troth lived humbly and didn’t have a home. Then he was beaten and put to a gruesome death for political reasons that had to do with the “religious” people of the day. He rose again and lives now interceding and covering our sin.

    If you trust that with your heart rather than just believing it happened in your mind the lights may go on for you as well.

    It’s a beautiful thing.

  • 45. Jeffrey  |  January 13, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    fffearless,

    You’ve recently started talking about your faith in the past tense. Is this public knowledge? (My internet self was out of the closet for about a month before my real self was out. I suppose many have done the same.)

    Btw, your alias and email provide enough dots for me to figure out who you are. Sorry to sound like a stalker…

  • 46. SnugglyBuffalo  |  January 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    If you trust that with your heart rather than just believing it happened in your mind the lights may go on for you as well.

    Yes, because no one who leaves the faith ever trusted with their hearts.

    And it’s not like this same argument isn’t used by any theist of any stripe.

  • 47. annaldavis  |  January 14, 2009 at 12:10 am

    LeoPardus —

    Observation of reality, and the acceptance thereof, is one of the reasons I still believe in Jesus. I look at the world around me and see people in pain, hurting and struggling because of sin from which they cannot think themselves free.

    If I had used that as an argument you would have said — which reality? Whose perception of that reality? Observation and acceptance are both framed by my experience, which we have already rejected as a valid proof of faith.

  • 48. Quester  |  January 14, 2009 at 1:37 am

    Trusting, @44:

    I’ve felt like you. I believed in God, as did everyone I knew. I was raised in a Christian family, went to church, attended Christian youth groups, prayed to God, saw responses in everything, then God called me to put my trust in Him. It wasn’t anything big, I’d have been publically embarassed and have wasted a lot of time and my own money, maybe made a few people upset, but I clearly felt God’s call and trusted.

    Everything worked out better than I’d expected, but also very differently. The results impacted hundreds of people over the next few years, though not in the way I’d expected. I came away from this filled with the rush of awe in what God can do and the remorse of putting my own will in God’s way. I reminded myself that God is not there to do my will, but I to do His. I should not have been surprised that my expectations were not fulfilled, but content that I had put my trust in God and humbled that He had worked through me.

    Then God called me to something bigger. This was more of a risk. I prayed for years, making sure that I was hearing God right. I pored over the Bible. I gathered other Christians, consulted with pastors, had everyone praying to God that He would either confirm or deny this huge calling. I kept stumbling across Bible verses that supported this call. Random situations seemed to underline that this was God’s will. Family, friends, fellow-church -goers and the church hierarchy all confirmed that God was telling them this was His will for me.

    I went through the official process, had every sort of prayer support, and came to the realization that I did not have the skills or knowledge inherent in me to successully respond to God’s call and perform His will. I could not do this. Only God could do this through me. I prayed for a sign. I received one. I prayed for confirmation. I received it. I put my complete and total trust in God, knowing that only God could accomplish what God was asking of me, and choosing to be faithful to His call.

    Like every main character in the Bible, other than Jesus, I was unable to answer God’s call, but God could answer it through me, if I trusted. So I did. I spent 10 years and over $40,000 preparing myself to accept God’s call. During this time, it grew harder and harder to feel God’s presence or hear God’s voice. The more I learned about the church and the Bible, the more confused I got. The less I saw God’s presence around me, the more frightened I got. But those around me encouraged me, telling me that the closer you got to performing what God wanted of you, the stronger the devil’s attacks became. So many people “missed heaven by inches” because they drew back in fear at the final moment.

    I didn’t draw back. I prayed, I prayed, I read my Bible, and I put my trust in God. I trustingly obeyed the last thing He had clearly said to me, so many years before. I chose to be faithful in the midst of His silence. I stepped off of my metaphorical cliff, without a wing, a parachute, or a fall-back plan, and I spent the next three years falling down from that cliff edge until I hit the rocky ground below, broken and bleeding.

    I needed a lot of help to get back up again, but I got that help and I got back up. And I looked around, for I still trusted in God. Still, after all of this, I trusted. God had called me to this. God had not promised that I would survive answering this call. God had not promised anything. God had called, and I had followed. I still trusted, and I looked to see what God was doing, and where God wanted me to go from there.

    The silence was frightening.

    The pain was bad, but could not shake my faith. Those I had hurt in my fall, and those who were hurt by following me down, they rent my heart, but I trusted that God had a plan. All I had lost, all I had sacrificed, these were nothing to me if God wanted them. My faith was sure, but eventually I realized that I had nothing to put it in.

    The Bible has no clear and consistent revelation of God’s character or will; neither does creation, nor the church. I wanted to follow God, but I had nowhere to go.

    There is no god.

    If you read your bible, actually think about what its saying, and try to derive a consistent message from it about God’s will for you; if you think about what you find in that text and what it actually says about God; if you look at the world and the universe and think about what you were taught about God’s will and purpose and compare it to what you see; then you may be able to learn something before you hurt someone you care about as you place your trust in something that is not there.

    It’s a painful thing- learning and growing- but there is beauty in it, as well.

  • 49. orDover  |  January 14, 2009 at 4:41 am

    I know this is a wish that will never come true, but really, if just one could be granted, I would ask to never have to heard the “good news” ever again. I’m so sick of evangelicals coming around, especially here, and starting from the beginning as if we are a bunch of ninnies who just need to hear the story “right” or once again to “get” it. Jesus was born and died for our sins. I get it. I really, really, really get it. I know the story backward and forward. We all do. Hearing it once again isn’t going to do anything but cause frustration. Go do your evangelizing somewhere else, please.

    (For reference, see Trusting’s comment 44).

  • 50. orDover  |  January 14, 2009 at 4:49 am

    Observation of reality, and the acceptance thereof, is one of the reasons I still believe in Jesus. I look at the world around me and see people in pain, hurting and struggling because of sin from which they cannot think themselves free.

    annaldavis,

    There is a huge difference between looking at the world and making actual observations (i.e. the grass in this park is green), and looking at the world and then making an inference or interpretation based on observation that is unfalsifiable and based on emotion (i.e. the grass is green, and green is my favorite color, and is a color which brings joy to many people, therefore God made the grass green to make people happy).

    What you describe is not “reality,” but your own personal interpretation of your observations. Please don’t confuse actual scientific investigation to the inferences you make based on gut reactions or internal philosophizing or cultural bias.

  • 51. annaldavis  |  January 14, 2009 at 10:08 am

    orDover, I think we’re agreeing with each other, because that is exactly what I said in my second paragraph.

    I feel like we’re going in circles. If we discount personal experience, we’re not only discounting our observation of the world, but also our observation of the events in our own life. This makes all of your deconversion stories inadmissible logically, and the same with my conversion testimony, not to mention our own intellectual reasoning.

    I just want you all to know how much I appreciate what many of you have said. In a way you’re right, LeoPardus, I don’t understand atheism, because I just assumed that most atheists discounted God on the basis of cold hard facts (which as I’ve said does nothing, at least in my mind, to disprove a supernatural God). I had no idea how much disappointment and despair you must have endured before coming to the atheist conclusion, not to mention the loss of not having God anymore.

    Take care,
    Anna

  • 52. Quester  |  January 14, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Anna,

    Athiesm is not a belief system which can be built or reached in response to cold, hard facts. It is a lack of belief caused by a lack of facts on which a belief can be based on or derived from.

    I hope that helps clear things up for you.

  • 53. orDover  |  January 14, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I think we’re agreeing with each other, because that is exactly what I said in my second paragraph.

    You said this:

    Observation and acceptance are both framed by my experience, which we have already rejected as a valid proof of faith.

    I would disagree with your statement that OBSERVATION has to do with personal experience. If something can be empirically observed, personal experience should have nothing to do with it. For example, my example of “the grass on this hill is green.” It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, the wavelength of light reflecting from the blades of grass falls within the spectrum in the green area.

    I am getting the impression that when you talk about observation, what you really mean is the inferences or interpretations made after an observation.

    If you’re looking at the world scientifically, you make an observation, and possibly an interpretation, but only one that is falsifiable.

  • 54. LeoPardus  |  January 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Anna:

    Observation of reality, and the acceptance thereof, is one of the reasons I still believe in Jesus.

    Interesting. It’s one of the things that added into my not believing in any sort of involved, loving deity.

    I look at the world around me and see people in pain, hurting and struggling because of sin from which they cannot think themselves free.

    I see people in pain because of injury, disease, and the like. I see them struggling because of job loss, lack of money, bad upbringings, bad decisions, hard economic times, and so on, and so on. You might be able to label “bad decisions” and some other things as “sin”, but many other things are clearly not “sin”.

    I also see people who are “saintly” who are in pain, struggling, suffering, and so on. And I see egregious “sinners” who are doing happy and well. There’s just no correspondence. It’s utterly capricious.

    That was another thing that got me to seeing that God wasn’t real. Any omnipotent being such as God is supposed to be, would have to be entirely capricious.

    For more on this, look at my posts “God is not trustworthy” and “God is ‘we know not what'”.

  • 55. Christopher  |  January 17, 2009 at 10:11 am

    So by way of introduction, I am a skeptical Christian. What that means to me is that I firmly believe in God and redemption of man through Christ, however at this point in my faith I do not believe the Bible in its entirety is the infallible “Word of God”, nor do I believe Christianity in its present form resembles anything of what it was intended or represents any kind of “truth”.

    Secondly, I’ve spent some time lurking here, and have spent a lot of time at orDover’s blog, reading each post and the subsequent comments. I have also gone back and forth with her on several issues, partly because I love to play devil’s advocate (I mean, mythical evil figure’s advocate ;) partly because I enjoy intellectual debate, parlty to test her arguments, and partly because it’s slow at work lately. That said, she’s an excellent writer and has made some convincing arguments.

    But I’ve found that while within the Christian community and reading Christian sites and blogs I find much hypocrisy and circular logic and arguments that have nothing to do with the point, in my discovery of the de-converted community, I’ve found a similar abundance of hypocrisy and circular logic and arguments (I’m speaking comments posted and not orDover’s posts) which have nothing to do with the heart of the matter.

    It’s seems that Okham’s Razor has dulled at both ends of this argument.

    That said, there remains in my mind one major argument for Christianity, the core of it, I mean, that I cannot get beyond. To present it would take some space. But what I would like to do is have a forum to present it, not to convince anyone, but the opposite: to have former Christians who know theology and church history but have de-converted to attack it or explain why it’s not a valid argument or to point out what I am missing.

    I didn’t want to just throw it in a post here without permission… that seems rather presumptive and rude. And less anyone thinks I’m introducing a Trojan horse, I can assure you that I have more questions than answers and am looking to change no one’s opinion, but resolve issues within my own mind.

    If one of the contributors to this blog would either comment back or email me the best way to approach this, I would appreciate your time and input.

  • 56. Quester  |  January 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Fair enough. I was at a similar point not too long ago, and could have used similar help. What I would recommend is starting your own blog, posting your argument, then coming back to this thread to post a link to it.

  • 57. orDover  |  January 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Christopher, you could start a thread in our forums and present your argument there. Just click on the “Community Site” link to the top left.

  • 58. Quester  |  January 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    A second option, now that I think of it, is to go to our forum and post the argument there:

    http://www.de-conversion.org/forum/index.php

  • 59. Quester  |  January 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Er, yeah, what OrDover said.

  • 60. Christopher  |  January 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Alright. I’ll do the community site thing. Give me a couple days (I work all weekend) both to figure out how to present it and to also make sure it’s as concise as I can make it without losing what I’m trying to say. I appreciate your time and the subsequent feedback I know I’ll recieve.

  • 61. Christopher  |  January 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Well, I appreciate the opportunity to state my one major reason for still believing in Christianity with the idea that you would argue against it, though I don’t I’ll be needing it. I found, on another de-conversion type blog, the argument put forth, though not very articulately.

    Most of the responses either used circular logic or had nothing to do with the point at hand or, in many instances, people refuted statements with more statements, never citing a source. It also seemed to get personal quick. By the end of scrolling through the list of comments, I had a head ache.

    One of the reason I enjoy orDover’s blog is her points are logical and backed by sources. Her writings tend to be completley devoid of emotional responses. And she doesn’t come off as holier-than-thou (ironic description, I know). I can debate and reason in that manner.

    I find it interesting, and sad, that in many ways, the former Christians act just like the Christians- condescending, exclusive, irrational while claiming rationality. I’ll continue to lurk, and if I believe I have something positive to add, will do so.

    Thanks. I really do enjoy the site, even if it is a little bewildering at times.

  • 62. BigHouse  |  January 23, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Christopher,

    So, you were on ANOTHER blog and found your argument presented poorly getting attacked by circular reasongin and vitriol.

    And these are reasons for why YOU won’t try to present your argumen BETTER on THIS blog? Given this line of reasoning it’s probably for the best, let you get another headache.

  • 63. SnugglyBuffalo  |  January 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I would have to say that if the argument was put forward inarticulately, and attacked irrationally, then the site where you found this discourse accomplished nothing, either for or against your position or ours. It sounds like both sides of the issue went about it in the worst possible way.

    I would like to think that if you presented your position in the forums here it could be handled in a far more mature manner. It’s ultimately up to you, of course.

  • 64. orDover  |  January 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    If you really think you have a strong argument, you shouldn’t be afraid to post it, despite the vitriol it might incur. I understand that it is frustrating to get into pointless emotional arguments, but if you actually believe you have a point, then you should only worry about making that point and “planting a seed,” as the saying goes, giving your opponents something to think about.

  • 65. BigHouse  |  January 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I concur with Snuggly and orDover, post it, Christopher! Sticks and stone may break your bones but annonymous interwebs vitriol can never hurt you!

  • 66. Christopher  |  January 23, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    BigHouse- yes, I was on another blog but saw some of the same people who post here, so it wasn’t by virtue of reasoning I thought better of posting my argument, but observation.

    Nor I am afraid either of having the argument attacked, or of the personal attack. In fact, having the argument attacked is why I considered posting it here. Had I wanted vindication, I would have simply posted it on a Christian site and waited for the emotionally based support, which of course, has no value to me.

    I was simply saying I didn’t want to spend your energy or mine if it would make nothing clearer for either party, though I sincerely appreciated the welcome to do so.

    That said, perhaps I will make the attempt at presenting it and hope for the best.

  • 67. orDover  |  January 23, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I was on another blog but saw some of the same people who post here…

    Now I’m curious which blog it was.

  • 68. Slapdash  |  January 23, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Christopher, is there a reason you are not telling us which blog it is so we can go read it for ourselves?

  • 69. Quester  |  January 24, 2009 at 3:54 am

    It’s your choice, Christopher, but while you *may* not get helpful responses if you do share something, it’s certain you *will* not get helpful responses if you don’t share something. Your call. How convincing is this one argument for Christianity?

  • 70. Christopher  |  January 24, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    The site doesn’t seem to be accepting my attempts to create an account. Too bad I’m not a Calvinist or I’d just assume it was meant to be. I’ll keep trying. Doesn’t seem to want to send me a confirmation email.

    And Quester, and I wouldn’t call it a convincing “one argument for Christianity”, but the one argument I can’t get beyond in my own mind, despite my skepticism in the other areas of Christianity. You may find it very simple to explain how you got beyond it. Which, of course, is where your help comes in.

  • 71. BigHouse  |  January 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Looking forward to your comments, Christopher..

  • 72. Dale701  |  February 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Christopher,
    I have searched and read so many christian arguments, ad nauseum. Finding a new christian argument, would be more rare than the cubs winning the world series.
    Intelligent design is just another name for creationism, etc, etc, etc,etc,etc,etc!
    Go to a few atheist sites, you will find it answered.

  • 73. LeoPardus  |  February 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Find what answered? You never told us what the “one argument” is. Waaaahhh!! We’ll never know. :(

  • 74. Josh  |  February 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Oh my? What? Someone came up with a new argument?

    Wait, doesn’t that mean that new argument is just another Christian invention? Sort of like the cosmological argument and its successor, the cosmological argument v. 2.0 (Kalam special edition).

    Thanks Dan Barker!

  • 75. Karma  |  February 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    @scaryreasoner (full disclosure, I work for Dan Barker’s publisher). Please note that Godless is not a rehash of Losing Faith in Faith, it is actually the same book. The latter was self-published, our publishing it brings the book to bookstores nationwide. That people make this mistake goes to show how much he added to the new addition.

    (not that anyone will read the 76th comment, but still!) =)

  • 76. orDover  |  February 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Find what answered? You never told us what the “one argument” is. Waaaahhh!! We’ll never know.

    If you want a general idea of his logic and philosophy, look no further.

  • 77. Josh  |  February 12, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Ahhh, but people DO read the 76th comment on this site, from my experience :)

  • 78. Quester  |  February 12, 2009 at 1:20 am

    But they refuse to follow the 78th Commandment.

  • 79. Josh  |  February 12, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Touche :)

    But now Quester, certainly you know that Jesus fulfilled the Law for us so we can now pick and choose the commandments that we should follow, so not every Christian has to follow the 78th. After all, we are under the dispensation of grace, no?

  • 80. LeoPardus  |  February 12, 2009 at 11:02 am

    The martyrs??!!! THAT’S his one, unanswerable argument????!!!!!

    Sheeeeeeeeeeesh!

  • 81. orDover  |  February 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t say that is necessarily the argument he was going to put forward, but he does say it is one of the things about the faith that is a significant difference that he can’t wrap his head around.

  • 82. icanseeformilesandmiles  |  April 27, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Um, don’t we all know by now that the stories of the first martyrs came from NON-Biblical sources such as the book of Thomas, as well as from tradition? Really, we have no ‘reliable’ accounts of the first martyrs save that of James (which comes from the Bible). Let’s go ahead and reject the book of Thomas while basing our faith on accounts from the book of Thomas :*)

  • 83. LeoPardus  |  April 27, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Yes. A definitely amusing aspect of Protestants is their belief in the early martyrs, even though 99% of them have NO IDEA where such histories come from.

  • 84. Gene3  |  December 31, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I have no problem with God, but I’ve got a universe-size load of problems with HUMANS who’ve got RELIGION. Oh dear, did today’s news headline carry something about a bloody religious conflict in the MiddleEast? Most likely it did!

  • 85. BigHouse  |  December 31, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I have no problem with God

    How do you know?

  • 86. James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil  |  September 4, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Your own experience and this book beautifully illustrates why believers will not engage in serious debate and discourage free speech and rational thought. Any of those is fatal to religion.

    If religion is discredited, what happens to the free ride they have enjoyed in so many areas? No taxes, passes on charges to ordinary people, discounts, respect – all gone with the clean breeze of freedom from the yoke of religion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Attention Christian Readers

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

de-conversion wager

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.

Twitter

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 2,011,716 hits since March 2007

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 201 other followers