Posts tagged ‘Bible’

Your Golden Square Triangle

It seems to me that the godless waste to much time debating Christians over the logical possibility of miracles, the nature of the singularity, or the historicity of Jesus. If someone is arguing that the square triangle in their pocket is golden, and produce genuine gold flakes as evidence, we still know with absolute certainty that they do not have a golden square triangle in their pocket.

If the biblical god is logically incoherent, we can stop there. Let’s stop playing the silly games that Christians attempt to employ to divert attention away from Jehovah’s inherent absurdities and towards issues such as an incomplete evolutionary theory as if that will somehow redeem an incoherent Jehovah.

I’ve just started a new blog called The Impossible God dedicated to arguments against the logical possibility of the bible and the biblical god. Here is one example.


P1: Christ paid the substitutionary price for our sins.
P2: Christ paid 3 days of physical and/or spiritual death.
P3: The price for our sins is 3 days of physical and/or spiritual death. (P1 & P2)
P4: Sinners can pay for their sins with 3 days of physical and/or spiritual death.
P5: Sinners remain damned even after 3 days of physical and/or spiritual death.
CONCLUSION: Jehovah cannot do math, is a liar, or is a myth. (P3 – P5)


Feel free to comment or offer additional ideas for arguments that cogently demonstrate the absurdities of the biblical god.

- Phil

March 9, 2010 at 10:47 pm 39 comments

Salvaging Santa

This year has been a bit disappointing for Santa believers. Fewer and fewer souls seem to be taking the Santa story seriously. Anti-santaists have been enticing young minds away from the Christmas magic that has been essential in the maintenance of a healthy society. They ridicule Santa as a myth, along with all the accompanying concepts that have given us warmth and comfort for all these years. They actually suggest that the notion of a Santa rewarding only “good” children is not necessary to rearing well-behaved children. They are constantly asking for evidence of our Santa, not understanding that there would be no magic if Santa was subject to scientific scrutiny.

If we are to save our Santa culture from this insidious secularism that makes mockery of our faith, we need to acknowledge our weaknesses, and adapt to the changing cultural climate. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Place Santa out of the reach of science.
    Some point to what they consider the absurdity of a voluminous man descending a narrow chimney and other mysterious aspects of Santa. Here are a few ways to deal with this form of persecution.

    • Announce that Santa’s magic is far above human understanding. Santa, in his infinite magic, can fatten flues at will, create chimneys where there are none, and leave everything intact as if he had never descended from the roof at all. Ask the secularists how they even dare with their puny minds to question the magic of our Santa.
    • Call problematic parts of the Santa story figurative. Suggest that the notion of “descending the chimney” is a metaphor of Santa’s intent. He actually may come through a window. What matters is that the presents are there in the morning. In doing this, never submit a standard for discerning between literal and figurative elements of the Santa story. That will make it convenient for you to choose which is which as aplogetics needs arise.
    • Remind non-believers that, if the Santa story could be tested and confirmed, we couldn’t employ the faith that feeds the magic. Accuse them of not listening to the clear voice of Santa that each of us carries deep in our hearts if we only listen with open minds.
    • Affirm the magic. Point out all the cases in which reindeer dung was found on roof tops. Suggest that any father who would simply throw dung on his roof in an attempt to create the illusion of a rangiferine landing would have to be either a lunatic or liar. The only sensible inference is that Santa’s sleigh had indeed visited your house.
    • Belittle science and its tools. Point out that science is often wrong and is therefore not an appropriate method to assess the magic of Santa. Claim that statistics are a silly invention, and strongly affirm the idea that anything can be “proven” through statistics. The stronger you affirm this, the more true it will become. In this way, reports that suggest poorer (not misbehaving) children receive fewer presents can be dismissed. If secularists suggest this is not logical, claim that Santa logic is not the same as secular logic, but don’t bother explaining how.
    • Suggest that science and magic fall into two non-overlapping domains. Declare that scientific methodology cannot assess the wonderment of magic. When asked about specific claims of Santaism that seem to fall within the reach of science, offer evasive permutations of the particular doctrine to make it impotent and thus unassailable. Fudging a bit on exegesis is forgivable if the net result is an increase in believers.
    • Disparage the notion of belief based on “evidence”. This is becoming one of the most troubling issues that has already led to the apostasy of thousands. You’ll hear secularists claim that the degree of confidence in an idea should match the degree of the evidence. Where is the magic in that? Evidence only goes so far and is largely linear. How can belief be linear? Choose a side! Unless we go beyond the evidence with faith, we would be left saying “I don’t yet know” on many questions, a wholly unacceptable option.
  2. (more…)

December 28, 2009 at 9:07 am 19 comments

Hearing Voices

Imagine a blind man called Henry who, during his appendectomy, has an electronic device secretly planted deep in his ear by an mischievous surgeon called Richard. This device has the capacity to transmit sound to Henry whenever Richard wishes from nearly any location.

A few days later, Richard, hiding behind a postbox, transmits a short message while Henry is slowly tapping his cane along the sidewalk.

“Reach down.”

This is the first time that Henry has heard a voice other than his own in his head. He knows that others who have heard voices have ended up institutionalized.

Nonetheless, he is curious, and reaches down to the sidewalk.

“Left.” comes the voice again.

Henry obeys and reaches left to discover a $100 bill that Richard has left there. Henry is quite stupefied by this new source of knowledge, and goes home to ponder the enigma. He wracks his brain for an explanation, but finally drifts off to sleep.

The next afternoon while walking to the barber, he hears the voice again.

“Turn right.”

Henry taps his cane to the right, and finds himself in an alley.

“Reach down”

Henry reaches down to find another $100 bill.

This same event occurs week after week with Henry becoming richer, placing more confident in the voice, and eventually losing interest in discovering the mechanism behind this source of knowledge. He goes out every day expecting to find another $100 bill.

Does Henry understand the source? No.

Is Henry warranted in his confidence in this source of knowledge? Yes.

Why? Because it works. The voice has demonstrated predictive power. This predictive power has led to a precedent that warrants continued confidence. As successes mount, Henry’s confidence increases. In this, confidence is inextricably tied to successes. The goal is to limit confidence to exactly the level of the strength of the precedent of successes.

Henry would not have been justified in placing complete confidence in the voice at day 3. Nor would Henry be justified in doubting the voice on day 1000. Henry’s confidence is solely tied to the history of the voice’s successes and failures.

Now imagine that Richard had never left any money on the sidewalk. Imagine that every day Richard (or Henry’s own subconscious mind) spoke in Henry’s ear “I promise you’ll find money if only you’ll reach down”.

And imagine a gullible Henry who reaches down every day only to find nothing…until after 3 years, he feels the ridges of a 50-cent piece on his finger tips.

Now what is Henry warranted in believing? A person with an understanding of probabilities would not attribute finding the 50-cent piece after 3 years of failure as being causally related to the voice, but rather as a rare event that had fallen well within the range of probabilities. However, as Henry is a gullible soul and unschooled in probabilities, he might attribute the “success” to the voice, and continue to stoop in search for the promised money in vain…until probabilities again connected his fingertips to another coin.

What is the point of this mental exercise? It is to show that we are only warranted in placing confidence in sources of knowledge that have a proven track record of successes that reliably out-perform chance. Knowledge of the mechanism is unnecessary. This has given those who claim that there are inscrutable or intractable immaterial sources of knowledge the opportunity to test their claims without need of an explanation of the mechanism. Such claims are fine…if accompanied by successes. However, to protest when others demand to mathematically and scientifically examine the success rate of the claims is improper.

This is what is actually happening today. Theists claim that their god answers intercessory prayer for the infirmed. So scientists have set up experiments to test this claim. The theists generally quietly wait for the results without confidently predicting the success that, if biblical promises of answered intercessory prayer were true, would most certainly follow. If, by chance, the study were to show a significant positive effect, they would no doubt immediately proclaim victory. Then, from my experience with the reasoning of theists, they would ignore or denounce any replicated studies that show the inverse.

However, evidence of successful intercessory prayer is nowhere in sight.

The Harvard study

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567

An excerpt from the conclusion

CONCLUSIONS: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.

So how are theists responding?
They are invoking the insular “god cannot be tested” clause. The god who makes claims of answered prayer, power over sin and wisdom somehow does not fall subject to the scrutiny of statistics. I’ll let readers assess the warrant in invoking this convenience.

Herein lies the absurdity and danger of “faith”. Once an individual has placed undeserved confidence in a source of knowledge, his reasoning faculties are no longer available to assess evidence; they are monopolized by the convoluted defense of an undeserving failed source of knowledge.

“Faith” requires no training. It comes easy. It is the default mode for those who can not or will not school themselves in critical thinking.

Critical thinking, in contrast, allows us to test sources of knowledge for successes, and only when a precedent of successes has been properly established for a given source are we warranted in our confidence in that source.

“Faith” fails. Claims of immaterial causation have failed, and to a degree and consistency that warrants their removal from any serious consideration. The amazing successes of scientific methodology that we currently enjoy are what have led to our confidence in its continued successes. The predictive power of scientific methodology has been rightfully earned, while spotty “successes” of intercessory prayer fall neatly within the range of probabilities. The “hits” of intercessory prayer are remembered and are presented as testament to the power of a god. The “misses” are simply ignored, forgotten and excluded from any honest analysis since the notion that there is no deity who can intervene in our lives is emotionally untenable.

Is our objective to approach truth? Then let’s place our confidence in what works rather than falling as credulous prey to the specious claims of faith-mongers who have not a single credible success to their name.

-phil


December 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm 42 comments

Whacked Bible Contradictions: 6

So here’s ole YHWH, the Alzheimer god, forgetting what he said from one book to another.

The earth lasts forever:
-Psalm 78:69, “He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.”
-Ecclesiastes 1:4, “One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever.”
The earth lasts forever, not:
-II Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
-Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”

And here he is forgetting what he said from one chapter to another.
Jeremiah 3:12, “For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever.”
Jeremiah 17:4, “Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever.” How can his anger be forever if his anger isn’t forever?

And showing that the apple does not fall far from the tree, YHWH’s boy, JC, seems to be similarly absent-minded.
Hide it under a bushel? No!
Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Hide it under a bushel? Yes!
Matthew 6:1, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven…”

Continue Reading November 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm 37 comments

Whacked Bible Contradictions: 5

“If there be any mistake in the Bible, there may well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.” — John Wesley (July 24, 1776)

Just one John? I think I found a few… hundred.

Now do y’all remember from Sunday school what Judas did with his thirty pieces of silver? If you’re not sure, that’s OK, ’cause neither is the Holy Spirit who inspired the authors of Holy Writ. Judas may have
Thrown the reward money into the temple.
Matthew 27:5 — “After he threw the money into the temple he went away and hanged himself.”
OR
Bought a field with the money.
Acts 1:18 — “With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong.”

Oh. That’s a contradiction, not a falsehood? Ah. Well then how about this.

Do badgers chew cud? The Bible says, “Yeah.” … twice
Leviticus 11:6 — “The coney [hyrax or rock badger], though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you.”
Deuteronomy 14:6-7 – “You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud. However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the coney [hyrax or rock badger]. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you…”)

Continue Reading November 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm 30 comments

Whacked Bible Contradictions: 4

Folks tend to think of the Bible as the go-to source for family values. Seems the Bible is a bit confounding on this topic though.

The Bible says Lot was a righteous man.
II Peter 2:7, “he [God] rescued Lot, a righteous man,”
But
The Bible also says that Lot got drunk, had sex with his own daughters, and got them both pregnant.
Genesis 19:33-36, “That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I lay with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.”

Now some friends of mine from the South of the U.S. like to make jokes along these lines, but honestly, if any man did this with his daughters, would anyone call him a righteous man?

Enough incest. How about looking instead at attainder?

Exodus 20:5 says that God will punish a child for his father’s sin, “for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,”.
But
Ezekiel 18:20 says he won’t, “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son…”

Continue Reading November 3, 2009 at 6:02 pm 38 comments

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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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