Reasons for my de-conversion (4 of 4)

October 27, 2009 at 12:01 am 52 comments

I hope I have adequately described our inherent weaknesses in cognition (Part I), emotions (Part II) and dogmatism (Part III). Perhaps I can now continue with some of the reasons why I dismiss the notion of a personal god.

First, much of the ontology of Christianity is dependent on the Bible. The veracity of the Bible must be established before notions such as Heaven, Hell and sin can even be submitted for evaluation. Do not quote the Bible to “prove” to me the existence of these entities. I reject the Bible as “god’s word” for several reasons. As I list these reasons, Christians will contend that I am taking things out of context, yet I have spent years begging to see some objective, consistent and reliable standard of hermeneutics being practiced among Christians. None has emerged. This is the beauty of the “scriptures” of all successful religions; they are all ambiguous enough to provide deniabilty when backed into a exegetical corner. This lack of unity in exegesis I’ll introduce later as a failure of the Holy Spirit.

1. Moral ambiguity.
Polygamy, incest, rape and slavery are just a few of the practices condoned or encouraged in the Bible. Extravagant and elaborate apologetic arguments are employed, and usually track back to the incoherent notion that “God’s ways are not our ways”.

2. Philosophical dilemma
Persons who have not heard of Jesus are, nonetheless, eternally condemned for what the Bible claims is a clear manifestation of his eternal power and godhead in nature. In addition, a finite number of sins committed by a soul who had no choice but to be born sinful are given infinite punishment.

3. Internal textual discrepancies
While a bit over-ambitious, the site http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ is a good source. I was so intent on finding truth in the “word of god” when I was younger that I learned Greek and read the Greek NT through eleven time. I will not spend time on the alleged discrepancies here.

4. False claims of fulfilled prophecy
Having read Josh McDowell extensively when I was young, I was dismayed to realize his misuse of probability theory, and the selection bias endemic to apologists in general. There have been so many historical events that an omniscient and omnipotent god could have unequivocally and clearly stated in scripture rather than playing silly games with vague terms.

5. Canonization and textual criticism
Unlike I was led to believe when I was young, there was not the unanimity often claimed when it came to the canonization of the Bible, nor is there the consistency claimed across manuscripts from which the Bible was compiled.

6. Dependence on prior mythology
Several mythical religious characters preceding Jesus closely parallel the Gospels account of Jesus to a suspicious degree. See http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa5.htm

7. Disagreement with and hindrance to science
I’ve written a paper on this you can find at http://philstilwell.com/methodologicalnaturalism.pdf.

8. Falsehoods about a “godless” life
When I was in Christianity, I was told that those without Christ were hedonistic perverted beasts that walk after their own lusts. Imagine my surprise when I discovered atheists who were happily married, involved in charity organizations, and giving back to society to a degree not common to Christians. I was told that, should I ever leave Christianity, I would be unhappy, and have no purpose. I remember during my first year in the philosophy program at the University of Kansas, I asked a guest speaker why so many philosophers committed suicide. I got blank stares and felt embarrassed after getting to know the happy philosophers in my department. And many of them went out of their way to assist students financially, emotionally and academically, all without the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

9. Unfulfilled promises

- Intercessory prayer
There are several verses that promise something about prayer, but when asked for what can be expected of god, Christians redefine answered prayer into the entire set of possible outcomes. Christians have no criteria to distinguish what event is answered prayer and what is merely natural cause and effect. God does not heal amputees, and there exists statistical evidence to dispute the notion that intercessory prayer is effectual. See also the following promises concerning prayer.
Matthew 17:20 & 21:21; Mark 11:24; John 14:12-14; James 5:15-16

- Miracles
Though there were many miracle that god gave to demonstrate his might 2 to 3 thousand years ago, the closer alleged miracles come to scientific scrutiny, the fewer miracles there are. Why this inverse relationship?

- Unity of the spirit
There exist no more unity among Christian churches than among secular organizations.

- The Holy Spirit and truth
Christians exhibit actually less valid logic in their arguments, exhibit no more world knowledge than non-believers, and radically disagree on what many of them consider critical doctrines.

- Power over sin
This is a bit personal. I struggled many years with sexual impulses, and spent hours on my knees begging for god to give me victory. In spite of my sincerity and submission to god that many would vouch for, I repeatedly failed to gain control. It was not until I left Christianity that I finally overcame this. The problem was that I was depending entirely on god and the Bible, and did not spend time assessing who I was sexually. My Christian upbringing supplied the overwhelming sense of guilt that often results in sexual deviation by those immersed in religion. I have since come to a satisfying sense of my sexual self, and have very healthy relationships now in stark contrast to those in my Christian past.

To extend this notion, it is informative to examine rates of incarceration and divorce among Christian nations such as America and non-Christian nations such as Japan or Sweden. The statistics you’ll find on the Web.
Other indicators of the power of god over sins of the flesh might include rates of obesity among Christians as opposed to non-Christians. Based on my observations, there is no power of god at work in this respect, but a statistical study is needed to confirm this.

Let me address one further pertinent issue. Cognitive scientists have been recently more focused on this phenomenon we call religious experience in which an inexplicable sense of well-being and euphoria, often translated into “the joy of the lord”, bears witness with the individual that they are indeed experiencing the presence of god. These scientists have produced identical feelings by stimulating various parts of the brain in the lab. Before we can properly assess god, we need to assess our ability to objectively assess! If we have a predisposition to believe, we must invest time and focus on setting aside our subjective emotions, and develop an objectivity that includes essential skills such as logic and critical thinking. This is not innate. There are no shortcuts such as a plug-and-play “faith”.

Let me conclude by restating my current disposition towards religion and the possibility of a god. I’m a bit annoyed at the Christianity that exudes arrogance and condescension. A subset of Christians glory in their blind faith and pompous proclamations of their monopoly on truth. I have no problem assuming an equal arrogance in stating how wrong they are.

However, most Christians are no different than I was. I still believe they are in error, but many of them are good benevolent people. As someone who espouses the beauty of an altruistic lifestyle, I admire them. While the kindness of some Christians is based on less-than-noble incentives such as god’s anger or god’s approval, some Christians seem to really enjoy helping others as I do. However, I would be happier if they found the satisfaction and intellectual integrity that exists in a “godless” life that is based on reality.

I’m still open-minded, so if any of you have arguments for god you think I’ve overlooked, please state them. And I hope you have read my arguments with equal open-mindedness.

- Phil Stilwell


Part 1   |   Part 2   |   Part 3   |   Part 4

Entry filed under: Phil Stilwell. Tags: , , , .

Reasons for my de-conversion (3 of 4) The Inscrutable Jehovah

52 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brian  |  October 27, 2009 at 8:36 am

    RE: #3

    The mind-blowing thing is how Christians can still come right out and say that the Bible is the most harmonious book in the whole history of history despite being written by dozens of people over hundreds of years. Um… seriously guys? Are you reading the same book I am? “Jesus Interupted” by Bart Ehrman is a fascinating book that talks a lot about these internal consistencies, at least in the New Testament.

    Great series, Phil.

  • 2. mikespeir  |  October 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I like this very much.

  • 3. Joshua  |  October 27, 2009 at 11:50 am

    “These scientists have produced identical feelings by stimulating various parts of the brain in the lab, sometimes to the degree that the subject dismisses the obvious fact that the feelings were manufactured and attributes the cause to god”

    Any chance you could post a reference?

  • 4. Phil Stilwell  |  October 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Joshua,

    I added a link to one related paper above in my post. “Brain Science Podcast” also has some good stuff on this issue.

    And I’ve pull the last part of that quote until I can substantiate it.

  • 5. Titolicious  |  October 27, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    @Joshua: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet

    Phil, fantastic series. Appreciate the super-concise and focused details you have put together; you have clearly done your homework. I think staying focused on the core issues is key as there are so many factors involved.

    I like your part 1-3 treatment of human tenancies and agree the more you know about the brain and human behavior in these areas the harder it is to maintain a fundamental belief. Couple that with your points in part 4 along with details about the historical issues with the Bible (OT archeology, Daniel’s date of authorship post-dating it’s prophecies, and the ugly process of the battle for orthodoxy) and it’s a compelling case.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • 6. Titolicious  |  October 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Phil,

    I’m a big fan of the brain science podcast also! Great stuff.

    Loved the book review of “On Being Certain” and author interview. Big implications in religion as human tendency.

  • 7. Phil Stilwell  |  October 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks, Titolicious,

    It took me 2+ years to emerge from the depths of faith.

    It sounds like we are both into cognitive science. I’ve considered going back to pick up another MA in cog sci. We’ll see.

  • 8. Titolicious  |  October 27, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Yes, fascinating stuff. I’m about 1.5 years into my process and it’s about time to write my manifesto. Ebon Musings is the closest thing I’ve found as a best single source that I can relate to IMHO http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/ ; sounds like you’d appreciate if you haven’t seen.

    Wow, MA in cog sci would be awesome. I have a business technology degree so would be a tough road, but I have dreamed about doing something like that. We’ll see…

  • 9. Phil Stilwell  |  October 27, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Thanks for that link, Titolicious. It looks like good stuff.

  • 10. 37stories  |  October 28, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    PS, thank you for stopping by http://37stories.wordpress.com. I appreciate your thoughts. I am intrigued with your thought of setting aside the Bible and prove God. That is tough, because God’s Word is key to the believer. But just for the sake of consideration it makes me think about the time in history when there was no NT Bible or at least much of it had not been written.

    I am thinking about Paul. He was not a believer, yet placed great value on the written Word. Going blind on the way to kill Christians made him a believer and placed fresh meaning to the Word. I guess that sums it up.

    We are all blind until we see.
    God bless and thank you again.
    archie

  • 11. ChristReigns  |  December 1, 2009 at 8:03 am

    We cannot see the wind but we believe it exists, We cannot see gravity but we believe that it is there. What started the World: US? Certainly not. Think on these things, there MUST be a GOD. Bible or not. A GOD exists. He that doesnt believe is considered a fool. You cannot let light shine. You cannot cause the wind. Man cannot do anything if it were not for the grace of God. It is your free to believe as you wish but i must bid you to think on these things when you say these statements. Ask yourself what was there in the beginning.Science and all your research cannot deny this. Hell is real and I urge you to make your home Heaven. Accept Jesus Christ do not deny him. A friend

  • 12. Phil Stilwell  |  December 1, 2009 at 11:50 am

    ChristReigns, if you’d like to ask non-rhetorical questions, feel free to do so. Many of us thought just as you do now. You’ve left a blurb that is full of affirmations that make you feel good, but consider the substance. Do you really want to know how we can possibly reject your god? Simply ask specific questions and I promise that you’ll get specific answers from people who once wrote the very words you’ve written. Give it a try. Cheers.

  • 13. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 11:57 am

    What started the World?

    You cannot start something unless time exists. Time is a component of the universe, therefore nothing can start the universe.

    So the only logical answer to your question is “nothing”.

  • 14. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Joshua—

    But there was a definite starting point for the Universe as the “Big Bang” seems to imply. Time would have started when the explosion occurred, correct? We don’t know what existed before the explosion, but believe scientists associate the “time-space continuum” with the Big Bang. Or am I incorrect?

  • 15. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Joe, time cannot start. It could potentially do something else which would sortof be like “starting”, but we cannot even imagine what that would be. Which means that we cannot comprehend what happened before the universe existed. Heck, that sentence I just said is illogical too, because you cannot have “before” unless time already exists.

    So asking “who created the universe?” or “what started the universe?” or “how did the universe start?” are all illogical questions. The reason no one can find the answer is because there is no answer because the question does not make sense.

    Whenever I think about it it almost gives me the chills to realize that it is not the answers that do not make sense, it is the question that does not make sense. We are asking the wrong question which is why we cannot find the answer and our “answers” always run into contradictions.

    It’s not just that I don’t believe that God did not create the universe. I go one step further:

    Nothing can create the universe.

  • 16. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Oh, btw, if you take my line of thinking to its logical conclusion, I have proven the impossibility that we are spiritual creatures. Since we cannot comprehend a dimension without time and we know that time is a component that is relative to space then this means our entire comprehension of anything is dependent upon our existence in a time-space continuum. This means the idea of our co-existing in a spiritual realm is impossible, because we do not have any ability to comprehend anything outside of space and time – which is where the spiritual realm must exist if it does exist.

    This is why every description of the spiritual realm just ends up being a glorified universe. Angels have wings, teeth, eyes, exist in space dimension, have things “hold them up”, are dependent upon time, etc. Sure they can shape-shift and do “magical” things, but every magical thing they do is basically the manipulation of things in space-time.

  • 17. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    So. Weird. Both of these statements are logically true:

    1) Nothing can create the universe.

    2) The universe cannot be created.

    Yet they seem to contradict each other.

  • 18. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Joshua—–

    But time is just (1) of many dimensions. How do we know time didn’t have a start?—how can we really be sure of anything? I was reading a book where they said scientists believe there could be as many as (11) dimensions. Time is just one of them.

    So we could ask the question “what came before time existed”? and be asking a very logical question. We KNOW time, so we cannot comprehend existence without it. But if there are many dimensions, existence could be possible without time–as hard as that is for us to comprehend.

  • 19. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Joshua—(#16)

    Just because we cannot comprehend something doesn’t mean it isn’t real or doesn’t exist. Ben Franklin had to put a key on a kite in order to “comprehend” the existence of electricity.

    As I mentioned above scientists believe there are (11) dimensions, even though they have no “comprehension” as to what those dimensions could be. They also posit the existence of “wormholes” in the Universe though it has not been proven, or really even comprehended.

  • 20. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I mean “been understood”

  • 21. BigHouse  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    So we could ask the question “what came before time existed”? and be asking a very logical question. We KNOW time, so we cannot comprehend existence without it. But if there are many dimensions, existence could be possible without time–as hard as that is for us to comprehend.

    As Josh said, Joe, your use of the word “before” is DEPENDENT on time existing. There is no “before time”. So it is not a logical question.

  • 22. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Joshua—

    To add—your logic in #16 is flawed. No one could “comprehend” X-rays or Gamma rays before they were discovered to exist. It would have been “fantasy” to anyone before it was proven.

  • 23. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Josh (#21)

    Because I live in “time” I use words that reference that—that is all I know. When I say “before” I am referring to a point when time literally did not exist. Our Universe is liike a giant Balloon expanding—time is dependent on whatever “caused” the balloon to begin to expand—-time is “part” of that expanse.

    There could be a point where time did not exist. A totally different dimension or group of dimensions may have been in force—–whatever “caused” the expansion literally began what we call “time”. We are finite and live in time so it is all we know. But if we close our minds to any idea that there might be something beyond what we know we are making ourselves the “end all” rather than investigating a myriad of alternate ideas.

  • 24. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Not so, Joe. Think about it. This is a completely different level than gamma rays and x-rays.

    Gamma rays and x-rays can be comprehended because we can make meaningful statement about them that are not internally contradictory. Gamma rays and x-rays travel “inside” of space-time.

    However, statements about time starting are always meaningless. It’s not that we just can’t comprehend it, we cannot comprehend it because it is logically impossible. No amount of rewording it will eliminate the contradiction – to my knowledge.

    See the difference?

    Saying anything that remotely resembles “time started” is meaningless and only reveals that our mind is so tuned to think internal to time and space that we even think of time as a “thing” that can start and stop in space – which is just bunk.

    If you can come up with a logically valid statement about time starting, let me know. That would completely invalidate my hypothesis and I will change my mind.

  • 25. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Specifically:

    Hypothesis: statements about time beginning to exist are invalid because you cannot begin unless time already exists.

    Test: Find a statement about time beginning to exist that does not assume that time already exists.

    If you can do that, my hypothesis is flawed.

  • 26. BigHouse  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Because I live in “time” I use words that reference that—that is all I know.

    Q.E.D.

  • 27. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Haha, not to be an ass, but saying “in time” is logically incoherent as well, because it isn’t really saying anything, as nothing can live outside of time.

    Have fun with this, it will drive your mind batty and then hopefully lead to an epiphane where it will just click and you’ll realize it could be no other imaginable way. As soon as all possibilities fade into the illogical except for the one in which we exist, the universe will become more real in your mind than ever because our entire mode of thinking is coupled and dependent upon reality.

  • 28. Melanie Stephan  |  December 1, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Time is relative to the observer. Example: This morning I woke up and had to look at the clock. I had no idea how long I was asleep. It said 6 am so I got up. If had said 3 am I would have stayed in bed and tried to go back to sleep. Time does not pass while I am sleeping. From the time I fall asleep to the moment I wake up no time has elapsed in my mind. If I had been asleep for a whole month and woke up, I would think that I had been asleep for only one night.

  • 29. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Melanie,

    I think that might just be because our understanding of time is relative to our associated memories. The more suffering we experience, the more time is our “enemy” and so the slower time appears to go. The less suffering we experience, time becomes irrelevant and so we forget about it. But time still is either way.

  • 30. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    How do we know time didn’t have a start?

    Joe. Because starting is not possible unless there is a moment before the start and a moment when the start began. And two moments implies the existence of time. So to say time began is like saying time exists inside of time, which is just… incoherent and somewhat self-referential.

    Do you see it yet?

  • 31. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    As Josh said, Joe, your use of the word “before” is DEPENDENT on time existing. There is no “before time”. So it is not a logical question.

    Exactly.

  • 32. LeoPardus  |  December 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Post 11:

    vrOOOOMM. Ratat atatat atat… Screeeech VROOOoommmm.

  • 33. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    You know, Leo, I noticed we don’t get into many debates on this site anymore.

  • 34. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Josh—

    I understand what you are saying, but I also think it is possible that time did have a “start”. Time is based on an expanding Universe. Once the Universe hits it’s full expansion, some scientists believe it will begin to retract back into whatever it was when it started. In that sense time will begin to move in the opposite direction—in reverse. But once it is pulled back into the massively heavy and infinitely small area it came from time will once again cease.

    Time itself is expanding within another dimension or dimensions. Time and space had a start, and it will have an end. We cannot grasp this—we feel there HAS TO BE time because we are imprisoned by it. Not true.

    Fun discussion by the way. :>)

  • 35. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    But once it is pulled back into the massively heavy and infinitely small area it came from time will once again cease.

    No, it won’t cease, because there was a time before it compressed back to that point.

    Time and space had a start, and it will have an end.

    Time cannot start and end. What happened before time started and what happens after time ends? Nothing. But if nothing happens before time began, then nothing can make time start.

  • 36. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    The objects in the Universe are moving outward rapidly—-this causes “time”. Before the Big Bang was there “time”? How could there be? Time is based on moving planets, circling their suns, which are circling within galaxies which are rapidly moving and could be circling something even more massive. Before the big bang time could not have existed because it exists due to the big bang itself. comprende?

  • 37. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Before the Big Bang was there “time”?

    There is no before the Big Bang, unless time existed before the big bang.

    Before the big bang time could not have existed because it exists due to the big bang itself. comprende?

    No, your first part of the sentence:

    “Before the big bang”

    Contradicts the last portion:

    “time could not have existed because it exists due to the big bang itself.”

    You can’t use the word “before”.

  • 38. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    If you were standing at one site during a parade route and didn’t know what a parade was you might think it was endless. You might think it never had a beginning and will never have an end. This is like time. From our vantage point time is endless.

    But if you were in a building 10 stories above the parade you could see the beginning, middle and end of the parsde all at once. You are outside the parade watching it all at once.

    Time is like that parade. To us, time never had a beginning, and never will have an end. But that is because we are limited by our vantage point. If we were outside of time we would see it just as the man a few stories up watches the whole parade at once.

  • 39. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    You’re not getting it Joe. You can’t use analogies for this one.

    As long as I say “before X”, I am saying there was time before X.

    So if I say “before the Big Bang”, I am saying there was time before the Big Bang so that a “before” could exist.

  • 40. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Sequence of events:

    … n, n + 1, n + 2, n + ? …

    What is before “n”?

    n – 1

    But if (n – 1) is an event that occurred before (n), then that means that there was a time when (n – 1) occurred, followed by a time when (n) occurred, which assumes that time exists.

    No matter where you place the Big Bang, as soon as you posit a single moment before the Big Bang, you are claiming there was a time when the Big Bang was not, and a time when the Big Bang was, which means time existed before the Big Bang. So positing that time began leads to a contradiction, which means it cannot be true.

    You’ve got some neat analogies, but they don’t get around the logical impossibility of the proposition.

  • 41. LeoPardus  |  December 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Time and space are both infinite. End of the debate. .. Well there was no debate to start with.

  • 42. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Time and space are both infinite.

    To quote the master of reason himself,

    “Then this moment could have never happened!” – WLC, said with slightly cheesy, all-knowing smile.

    I personally just don’t think:

    a) It matters
    b) We can comprehend it

    It’s not like natural selection would equip us with ability to understand these things. Nobody’s understanding of the origin of the universe or what time is has helped them reproduce and survive.

  • 43. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Joshua—

    There are many scientists who believe that time had a beginning. Simply google it on the internet. Scientists say there is an end to the Universe. The question is always “what is beyond that”? The problem is one cannot describe what was before time without using the word “before” because we don’t live in other dimensions.

    I could continue to argue the point—but I’ll leave that to the scientists. :>)

  • 44. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Here is one scientist’s argument:

    “By analyzing the meaning of time I argue, without endorsing operationalism, that time is necessarily related to physical systems which can serve as clocks. This leads to a version of relationism about time which entails that there is no time ‘before’ the universe. Three notions of metaphysical ‘time’ (associated, respectively, with time as a mathematical concept, substantivalism, and modal relationism) which might support the idea of time ‘before’ the universe are discussed. I argue that there are no good reasons to believe that metaphysical ‘time’ can be identified with what we ordinarily call time. I also briefly review and criticize the idea of time ‘before’ the big bang, associated with some recent speculative models in modern cosmology, and I argue that if the big bang model is a (roughly) correct description of our universe, then the best current answer to the question in the title is that time did have a beginning”.

  • 45. Joshua  |  December 1, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    So we sort of agree, but you are trying to keep open the possibility for an understandable action preceding the ability for a sequence of events as we know it even if by metaphysical means. You want to keep open the possibility for God to be involved – which is understandable.

    That’s fine, but realize you are just inventing ideas or taking other ideas invented by others… since it is all speculation anyway :)

  • 46. Joe  |  December 1, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Joshua—

    You are right—–it is all speculation and conjecture. But it was fun discussing it for a while. :)

  • 47. SnugglyBuffalo  |  December 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I don’t think it’s really impossible for time to have a “beginning,” but to ask what happened before that is illogical. To ask what happened before the Big Bang (assuming that this is when time “started”) would be akin to asking what is colder than absolute zero.

    As for the whole dimensions thing, I’m not sure that really can be used as justification. There may be dimensions higher than time, but can those dimensions exist without time already existing? You can’t have 3-dimensions without already having 2. Similarly, I wouldn’t think you could have the 5th dimension without the 4th (time).

  • 48. Quester  |  December 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Joshua,

    16- You have not proven that there are not, or even that we are not, spiritual creatures- only that we can not comprehend such, were they to exist.

    17- How do they contradict each other?

    25- “There is that which is independent of time, upon which time is causally dependent.”

  • 49. Tom  |  December 30, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Hi Phil.
    I’m 45 years old. I’ve been a “born again christian” since the age of 4. It has been the christian apologists that have actually brought me to this point of seriously questioning my “faith”.

    I’ve discovered that life did differentiate through evolution on this planet. The ignorance, denial & dishonesty of so many creationists has led me to question the very core of christianity. It seems as if empirical data & critical thinking are the enemies of christianity.

    I’ve befriended many atheists & agnostics. Many of them are de-converted christians. The more I look at christianity, with a critical mind the more it looks like it’s a construct of man, not God.

    You are very coherent, articulate & concise this document. Thank you.
    Tom

  • 50. Phil Stilwell  |  December 30, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Thanks for your comments, Tom.
    If you have any further questions, please ask.
    Good luck in your journey.

    -phil

  • 51. milehigh  |  May 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Tom, I came to the same conclusion at age 42 after being born again for 31 years. I consider my journey out of the fantasy as one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! Yes, empirical data & critical thinking are the enemies of Christianity.

    The ‘beginning’ of time discussion reminds me of the argument I formerly used to show how God was outside of time… When I edit videos on my non-linear computer editing system, I am able to manipulate the elements, as well as see the start, middle, end of the video all at once which not being part of the ‘timeline’. Funny though, I was viewing it while existing in my own time, using the time to edit it.

  • 52. Ubi Dubium  |  May 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

    @hilehigh

    Interesting metaphor. But the xian god supposedly can be the film editor, while simutaneously interacting with the characters in the film. That might make a good movie plot there, but somebody has probably already done it.

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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.

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