Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Christians sure like to pretend they are talking to atheists

or saying that the nonsense in Revelation will be happening “real soon now”

As above, Christians sure like to pretend they are talking to atheists lately, and of course, don’t allow comments on these ever so wonderful arguments they think they have. Wonder why? 😀

So, here we have Nick Watt, with his talk to an atheist.

And here is my response. Yeah, I’m bored so lots of posts.

So, here I am, an atheist.   Let’ me respond to your claims.

It’s always nice to see a Christian trying to poison the well right off.  I am interested in hearing your opinion, but I will not let baseless and false claims stand without addressing them.  If you consider that “arguing” then yep, you have nothing and only want a submissive audience.

I am need respectful of science and have reason to trust it.  I see no evidence of you respecting science.  You use the same failed arguments as those who are ignorant of it.   We can observe love, hate, jealousy etc and that is part of the scientific method.  We can also look at brain scans when people are experiencing such emotions and see the brain light up as we would expect.  Little can be technically proven except for mathematics, but we certainly can have lots of evidence to support our conclusions. 

Christians do love to pay word games since they have no evidence for their god.  They can’t prove it exists at all.  Since we know a good bit about how the brain works, nope, there is no reason to agree with the false claim that “there are elements of life and existence beyond the purview of science”.  There is no evidence of the supernatural, which is what you are desperate to show exists. 

Like so many Christians, you want to claim that if someone doesn’t agree with you, they are “dishonest”.  Unfortunately, you can’t show this at all.  Only science can discover truth so far, and religion and philosophy are baseless opinions.  And nope, the burden of showing your claims to be true is still on you.  You make the absurd claim, you get to show it is true.  I’m sure you feel the same about the claims of other theists you disagree with. 

People should indeed follow the evidence where it leads.  Theists do not since they have the presupposition that some god simply must exist.  Again, you still hve the burden of proof for your baseless claims.  I do not since doubt is the neutral stance.   And you have no evidence for them.

You claim that the universe is not pitilessly indifferent.   Show it.

The universe did seem to begin.  No evidence for any magical being starting it and most, if not all, religions make the same claim as you do.  Show your god is the creator. 

We also have no evidence for “fine-tuning”, since we  have no idea how far the parameters can vary to get the same thing.  All you have is being a puddle thinking how great it is that “something” made a hole in the ground “just right for it”.   We fit the universe, the universe does not fit us.  Your argument from personal ignorance is just more logical fallacy, that sine you don’t understand basic science, then your myth must be true. 

Reality shows no evidence for any god, much less your personal version of the Christian god.  The beginning of the book of Genesis makes vague claims that each Christain claims means something different.  Then we have two contradictory creation stories, and a god that fails to keep out satan or intentionally lets satan in, not warning its ignorant children.  And no evidence of this either “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in[i] him all things hold together.” 

Lots of theists claim that they think their personal beliefs make better sense of reality.  They are yet to show this to be the case. 

Christians also love to claim that we’ll have to die to be sure.  That’s not what your bible says.  I should be able to see every baptized believer in Christ as personal savior being able to do what their bible claims in Mark 16, John 14 and James 5.  Not a single one of you can.

You may be “captive to the word of God”, but again, every theist claims this, claims that cosmology, teology, etc agree with them, and personal belief doesn’t show that any gods exist.  There is no evidence at all that you’ve tried to “undo” the evidence for your god’s existence at all.  I’ve undone it with no problem at all.   

Then you offer Pascal’s Wager.  This assumes you have the right version of some god, and assumes you lose nothing.  If wrong, you lose time and resources and could risk pissing off the right god.  Christians don’t think very hard about their supposed great argument.

You do offer the wager to scare people and, like most religions, Chrsitianity depends on fear and ignorance.  Your sadistic fantasies about eternal torture for anyone who disagrees with you are childish. 

I also don’t have faith as you do, though Christians are desperate to pretend I do.  I can show quite easily your version of your god doesn’t exist.  None of the events it has supposedly caused can be shown to have happened.  Your god has quite a few details, and that being is no where to be found.  Chrsitians have an entire industry of apologetics to excuse their impotent god.

This is why Christians often try the “make my god vaguer” route to try to get away from the ignorant and primitive god of the bible.  It becomes a “ground of being” in Tillich’s apologetics. 

You then try an appeal to authority to try to pretend that if someone is smart and believes in your god, then there must be a god.  Hmmm, so since there are smart people who are Muslims, Zoroastrians, Hindus, then all of those gods must exist too, per your own argument.

Lee Strobel’s argument is the typical false claims of a theist and his personal ignorance is no reason to believe him.  We have evidence that indeed something can come from nothing, and again, no evidence a god is needed.  We are continuing to research how abiogenesis works and again, evidence it can and still no evidence for some god.  The universe is not random, and the laws of physics work quite nicely in ordering it with no god.  Chaos doesn’t provide information but a system that has energy in it does.  The rest, consciousness, etc are just more god of the gaps arguments, “we don’t’ understand it yet so GodDidIt.” 

I know quite a bit about Elvis.  He didn’t appear after he was dead either. 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – let us consider the pig

Let us consider the pig.   Actually, let us consider 2000 pigs somewhere in Palestine, supposedly a couple of thousand years ago.

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; 12 and the unclean spirits[c] begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.

14 The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. 17 Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood.” Mark 5 NRSV

The more popular versions say “13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea” KJV

So we have 2000 pigs somewhere in Palestine.  It rather obviously wasn’t a Jewish community that JC was wandering around in.  Gadara is a town in what is Jordan currently.  It has cliffs for pigs to plummet from but that’s about it.  It seems like a rather nice town.  And if it had 2000 pigs feeding it, then it certainly would want an idiot who put demons into them and then drowned them to leave. 

As usual, we see just how impotent Jesus aka God aka Dad is against demons or chief demon, Satan.

The bible repeatedly says that the message from JC was only for the Jews. 

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” So why was this character here?

well, because the bible and its books are made up by different people who wanted to make up different things, just like Christians now. These were written long after the supposed events and the audience was thinning.  Jews didn’t believe in a messiah who failed in fulfilling the prophecies, so Christians had to find other people to convert. 

So we have grudging Christians finding a new audience.  “19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. 20 But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus.”  Acts 11

Funny how a Jewish messiah has become something else invented by humans who need external validation and need *anyone* to agree with them.  This is typical of any cult. 

Oh,let it be know that 2000 pigs is about the size of a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation)

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The conversation continues…

Happily, a Christian has chosen to reply to my responses to the Christian claims from the earlier blog post.   It is a classic since it contains every excuse that Christians usually offer and goes out of its way to ignore the hard questions.

1. “There’s a common misconception that the answering of prayers must always be noticeable, knowable, visible etc. …”

This set of excuses is nothing new for a Christian. They have invented excuses why their god doesn’t answer prayers and ignore their bible since it is inconvenient.  The bible says that this god will always answer prayers with what is asked for and answer quickly.  There is nothing that says that the “answer is no.”  Trying to claim that prayers are only answers if they agree with this god’s will shows that there is no free will and that praying is worthless.

Alan also invents this god that allows horrible things to happen to people and others to “teach” them.  I am happy to say that I don’t want anyone hurt to teach me anything at all.  There’s also the problem that the bible says that our fates are already sealed and teaching does nothing at all for this (Romans 9, Matthew 13).  I do have to wonder why this god doesn’t answer the prayers of the children that priests and pastors rape.  Is that to “teach” them?  Hmm, maybe that’s the excuse priests give too.  “It must be god’s will since he didn’t stop me; I’m a teacher!”

2.“Well, we can look to the Bible and Church history. The scripture is not sufficient on its own (sola scriptura), but requires an authoritative teacher that is guided by God. …”

It is a Catholic thing to pretend that other things are needed in addition to the bible. It is a Protestant thing to pretend that only the bible is needed. So, which is right?  Neither can be demonstrated as true.  Alan and the RCC want to pretend that they have the only right interpretation, just like the hundreds of other sects.   The RCC also didn’t convene the various councils, the Byzantine Empire’s government did.  Every sect claims to be the original or closest to it.  Still no evidence any of these sects are right, if any at all.

No Christian can show that they are even a Christian per how the bible says you can tell.  And there is no problem with declaring that there is no “ultimate truth”.  There is no logical reason to think that there is.  Just beause someone can imagine one, or at least the vague concept of “perfect” or “greatest”, doesn’t mean it exists (that’s why the ontological argument for god fails too).

3.“I understand how it can seem that way from the outside, but to suggest that nobody has ever heard a message from God requires some kind of omniscience…”

No, it doesn’t require some omniscience.  We have evidence that none of the essential events in the bible have happened and entirely different things did happen on any date that believers may want to postulate for those magical events.  There is no reason to think that some god talks to people through their mind or through a hairdryer.  Alan’s argument also places his god into a bit of a bind since it claims it is the only one and we can’t, per Alan, think that is the case.  Gods could be speaking to people all of the time.  I’m also sure that Alan would insist that we can know if someone talked to god since people who harm and murder do this all of the time “God told me to…”

4.“Good quip at the beginning about this person being the best God has to offer, but also not really relevant. …”

That we have such poor apologists like Alan, it does become a joke if they are the best this god has to offer.   Alan doesn’t want the message judged by the messenger, but since the only evidence given is the messenger’s baseless claim, then we have no choice.  This god does a horrible job of conveying some truth since Christians can’t agree on what it is and they again, can’t show that they are Christians.

No evidence that this god cares about anything, or exists.  The church offers help only if they can proselytize.  Humans do the work, not some god.  And indeed, as per Alan says, this is supposedly an “omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Deity”.  In the myths, it provides food and water with a thought.  Why does it need humans now?  As for the “body of Christ” being active all around the world, that’s not quite true since Alan is sure that Christians who don’t agree with him are part of that body, those ol’ sola scripturists.

5.“All Christians agree in the existence of Hell. Yes, I’m being picky here. “ No, they don’t all agree on the existence of hell or what it is. And yes, Alan is being “picky” here aka trying pretend only his version is the right one. He tries to claim that Christians who don’t’ agree with him really aren’t Christians.  Again, so much for the “body of Christ” that Christians want to count in the billions, but also want to claim that many of those billions don’t’ really qualify.  The trinity is not required Christian belief, neither is that this Jesus was divine.  Alan seems to forget that there were many versions of Christianity and still are.  Christianity isn’t the one big happy family that the RCC leads that Alan would have us believe.  Even the gospels show vastly different Christianities.  Now, John does give one way to know a Christian: if they can do miracles as good or greater than JC and get their prayers answered (John 14).  Where are the Christians who can do that?

21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.”  1 Peter 3.  Yeah, that isn’t agreed upon on how it is done either.

Like C.S. Lewis, Alan would prefer that Christians not talk about their hell or their disagreements.  People tend to see a god who kills kids, who damns people for no fault of their own, etc as less than “loving”.  As for the RCC doing “fine” we see rifts in that sect also, unable to determine if they want to join the 21st century or stay in the 13th.

6.“True, all Christians make the claim that the Holy Spirit is conveying truth. Yes, these claims can contradict. …”

There needs to be no right claim at all from theists; that is a false assumption.  They can easily all be wrong.  And, that none can do what the bible promises, this appears to be the way to bet.  Every Christian claim that they can deduce that theirs is the right version; they can’t.  Alan can’t.

 

7. “To be fair, the incorrect view is that of the Christian’s here. Regarding God isn’t a requirement to have a moral standard. …”

Christians do indeed try to claim that they have an objective moral standard that is from their god.  They do not.  They do not, and evidently cannot, agree on what morality their god wants.  They all have different Paul does indeed claim that the laws of this god written on their hearts and that silly claim cannot be shown true, and can be shown false in the sad cases of feral children.  Humans must be taught how to behave.  Many Christians have the arrogance and ignorance to try to claim that everyone is “copying” from them when it comes to morals.  That is not even remotely the case.  Paul is a rather nasty character who brags how humble he is and who tries to curse anyone who dares not agree with his version of Christianity.  He also was under the delusion that women aren’t equal to men.  I’m also quite happy to throw out the other NT writers since they advocate for morals like slaves shouldn’t try to gain their freedom and non-christians should be killed.

What humans have are a set of moral rules that allow civilization to work better and those have survived the evolution of humans from hunter gatherers to the farming and then technological cultures we have now.  No god needed, just trial and error.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the gauntlet has been thrown

A fellow blogger has taken it upon himself to respond to a couple of my posts.

My post: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – that pesky free will – Club Schadenfreude

and his response: Response to ‘Not So Polite Dinner Conversation’ on the topic of free will – Christian Apologetics Ministry (wordpress.com)

and my post: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique part 4 – Club Schadenfreude

and his response: A Response to ‘A Case for Christmas critique.’ – Christian Apologetics Ministry (wordpress.com)

Nothing new here, but it’s a way to spend some time if you are bored.  I, of course, have given comments.  We’ll see if they remain.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – my notes while I was watching the video

Here are my notes when I was watching my chat with Robert.  I hadn’t known that he was going to include his comentary but that’s fine.  These notes are long.  Unfortunately for Robert, I’ve learned to not trust Christians.  I’ve also put these remarks on youtube with the video.  I don’t know if they’ll show up.

It is true that there are Christian scientists. We also have Isaac Newton, an antitrinitarian Christian, who got us a lot of knowledge but also thought that alchemy works. It is true that Christians had to step away from the bible and its contradictions and false claims about reality and try a more metaphorical interpretation.

References to Christian things isn’t a turn off, because I know how Christians think, a lot of different kinds of Christians. Just saying what you believe doesn’t bother me or offend me. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t show how it fails.

Before the Big Bang, we aren’t sure of what was in existence. Currently, we aren’t sure if the BB is part of a series, etc. From what we can see, it seems that there couldn’t have been time. However, we have nothing that says that the laws of physics couldn’t have existed. We also don’t know if infinities really work or not. They are really weird. The idea of a universe that ends seems to go against what the bible claims as some magical event with people flying around, being raised from the dead and either being destroyed or eternally tortured.

I do love the science fiction analogy but it fails since it doesn’t have an omnipotent being, which could do anything by interpretation. Other than Contact, the book “The Hercules Text” is an even better version of that story IMO.

I do understand what transcendence means and so do most atheists. I do see evidence that it happens as claimed by Christians. As for a “nest of vipers”, Christianity is so self-contradictory, and Christians make up their versions in their own image that there is no such thing as true Christianity. And yep, I am critical of Christianity from every perspective. Christians have little choice to be hypocrites since few read the bible, and as above, have made up their religion in their images.

I’m as doubtful about Christianity in general, as each Christian doubts each other. We can see that schism in the current splitting of the Methodist church.

To claim that one doesn’t believe in god, but being a theist is rather silly and seems to be a little bit of a dodge. For a theist to be a theist, there is a god. For Christian, there is the one defined in the bible. Catholics do have other sources they claim just as valid. If there is no god, then there is no eden, then no need of Jesus. Repeating something out of rote if you have no idea it is true then it is pointless.

Properity gospel is silly but it is as Christian as any other Chrisitan claim. JC (Jesus Christ) says that any prayer, any ask, will be answered. Shall we disbelieve that?

People who are different in IQ do have trouble in communicating. However, neither are omnipotent. IF this god can’t make itself understood, then it isn’t omnipotent. Even a smart person can modify their words to help others understand them. This god doesn’t or can’t do that.

That a Christian wants to ignore Paul or at least part of what he says isn’t new. If something is just an “interpretation by Paul” and we can discount it in favor of something else, then why consider any of the bible to be some magical truth? Claims of “mystery” is a way to dodge problematic issues in religion.

“go with the interpretation which leads towards love”. Here is a problematic statement. Christians constantly tell me that they love me, Jesus loves me, God loves me, and there is no evidence of this. Even if you go with the definition of love in 1 Corinthians, this god fails it, and if Jesus is this god, Jesus fails it (though Jesus sometimes seems far more loving with his concern with the poor, the sick, etc). In my experience, for most Christians love doesn’t mean a concern for someone for which you’d do almost anything to make them happy and to protect them. Love for them is obedience to this god no matter what in the belief that this god will protect them and give them what they want.

It isn’t interesting that someone goes to 1 Corinthians and says that it’s a pretty good definition of “love”. In the bible, where we hear about love, it is what the bible defines “love” as. And this god fails that definition. It isn’t that this atheist thinks that the bible is right, I think that it is fairly close to what love is, not that it and it alone has the right definition of “love”. And no, it didn’t make me happy at all. I wanted nothing to do with any bible nonsense. As I said, it made other people happy, Christians who I am related to who I do care about. That’s what real love is.

Nope, no Christ needed to be loving. I am entirely disappointed with Robert that he tries to make that claim.

Christians do indeed disagree and contradict each other. It isn’t using this as a tool, it is a fact that Christians differ from each other in very basic ways. It is true that Christians make Christ into what they want, and no, he didn’t supposedly said anything new or special. We’ve had the “golden rule” for vastly longer than Christianity has existed. The ancient Chinese had it, the ancient Hebrews had it and the ancient Egyptians had it. Jesus had a different interpretation of this god nonsense just like every Christian has a different interpretation of what Christ/god supposedly said. Resurrection comes from latin sugere which means to rise or spring up. In- as a prefix means   insurrection means act of instance of revolting against an authority aka rebel. Of course, in- as a prefix is a pain in the ass. Does this mean “not rising”? Does it mean “on or in a rising”? that last seems more like it. In any case it means the same as rebel though I can understand it can have different connotations to people rather than the denotation that it gets in the dictionary (my English teacher taught me “D – dictionary, denotation; C – connotation, impliCation”

The claim that no one “really” knows what Christ is saying and that this is where “fundamentalism” comes from, is Christians trying to claim each other are wrong. If we can’t trust the words from the authors or the translators, then there is no reason to believe any of them. Jesus says to follow the laws in Exodus, Leviticus etc. Should they all be followed? Some?

The same holds true for the question “what is baptism?” Well, we get a pretty good idea from what John the “Baptist” did. However, as Robert says, there are many different version of what Christians think is baptism. In my area, there are the Amish which are a part of the anabaptist movement. What indeed is a “truly” baptized Christian? In Mark 16, it says that any baptized believer in Christ as savior can do magic aka miracles. Is this the reason that no Christian can since none of them were “really” baptized?

Being a “manager” doesn’t help much with facts especially when you have a baseless claim that something that has no evidence is “good” for them. It also doesn’t work when a manager isn’t omniscient and this god supposedly is. There is no evidence that this god can create anything much less a “clockwork mechanism”. This is the argument that this god didn’t want to create something perfect because it wanted “free will”. As those who have read my blog before, free will never comes up in the bible. We have miracles which is this god interfering with human actions. As soon as it interferes, there is no free will. We also have very definite times where this god removes free will: killing a child for the actions of its parents, forcing the Egyptians to give up their wealth to the Israelites, hardening Pharoah’s heart so it can show off, etc.

 

This god pushes people constantly in the bible. Again, what the bible says and what a Christian wants is different. If things that are perfect are “dead”, then that doesn’t give much hope for heaven.

In regards to abortion, this is another example of love as obedience.

There is no evidence that this god is “infinite”. So one can escape. It isn’t nihilistic to be good with the universe ending. Being accepting of death isn’t nihilism. Death is part of life. I get out of the way of someone new. I would miss being alive and I don’t want anyone to be sad I was gone. Not wanting this god or this heaven isn’t nihilism.

“The bible isn’t the message”.   There is no evidence that the “message” is anything different than the bible or that it is “bigger” than the bible. As much as Quakers and Catholics want to pretend otherwise, this is where they started. That they have changed their minds and declared they have some new truth is nothing new; all Christians reinvent their religion in their own image.  There is nothing to show that this god started the message and the universe is around 13 billion years old (we keep refining that number with new information but it is around that old per all the evidence we have) not “3 trillion years old”. Not even remotely.

There is nothing to show that the Christian claims are evolving across time. That is a modern Christian claim. And again, there is no reason for this god for not giving the absolute truth. It is materially false when the bible makes claims that aren’t true. That we are still looking at the universe and though we though it was one way e.g. “steady state” vs big bang, no one said that this was a magical divinely given “truth”. Christians claims truths and then a generation later those supposed truths change, often in response to very human changes in morality or in response to scientific discoveries. Scientists don’t say “God told me this is the truth.”

The BBT doesn’t say that the universe is expanding from a “central point”. The BBT is far more bizarre than that.

We do find and refine what we think is true. The claims of Christians shouldn’t have to do that.  If this god is limited by humans, it isn’t much of a god, especially when Christians claim that this god damns people for not getting things “right”.

“who says what it says and which bible” This is in response to me pointing out what the bible says. Chrsitians all claim that they and they alone know what it “really” says. And, since this is the case, there is some truth in saying “who says what it says”. Christians make that up as they go along, with no more evidence than the next Christian who disagrees with them, “love” not withstanding. If the translation makes a difference, then why does it? Can this god do nothing about that? Why does this god allow “wrong” translations and then damns people who don’t know any better?

Robert says he is a universal salvationist which essentially means that everyone will have a chance at accepting this god and some thing that we will all agree with them that this god is what they say. Robert might not agree with this exactly but this is what I’m going with since the ‘net seems to think this is what it means.   As I noted, this is very much not what the bible says or what most Christians believe. He believes that eventually that I or everyone who isn’t Christian will “eventually lose” and we will have to accept this god’s message. No matter what it is. According to Robert, the only way to avoid the heat death of the universe is to accept his god. If this god is what is presented in the bible, I don’t want it or its afterlife. I have better morals than that and as it stands this heaven can’t seem to exist since it by being perfect is “dead”.

It didn’t surprise me much to have Robert think that C.S. Lewis’ idea of hell in “The Last Divorce” to be preferable to the fire and worms that the bible presents. However, C.S. Lewis presents a hell where Christians forget those they loved. A good review of this book is here. In short form, C.S blames the non-Christian, in my opinion blaming the victim. Honest doubt is claimed to be nothing more than intellectual laziness and selfishness, if one dares to disagree with the author. Lewis also ignores the bible and has that those in hell can leave by choice. The bible never says this and the church fathers never say this either; heck, they claim that unbaptized children are damned because they dare to be born with the nonsense of “original sin”. Then as we know, the RCC invented purgatory since such nonsense seemed too cruel.

Lewis’ argument is that people have to submit, again showing what so many Christians claim as “love” to be nothing more than obedience needed by their god. When a Christians relies on false claims like this “human being can’t make one another happy for long” and “You cannot love a fellow-creature fully until you love God” then we are in classic cult territory.

“Folk beliefs”, “infantile babyfied ways of looking at heaven and hell”.   This appears to be what a lot of atheists call “sophisticated theology”. That link leads to rationalwiki’s entry on it which describes how Christians are sure that other Christians aren’t quite getting Christianity “right”, when they are taking the bible at its word. In this, hell isn’t this god daming people to fire and worms, it is the non-believer choosing not to agree with the believer. It’s not their or their god’s fault that they are unbelievable.

“It is essentially pagan to think of God as Odin…”   This is very similar to arguments made by people like Karen Armstrong and Tillich that somehow their god is “different” than everyone else’s god, that it is the “ground of being” and can’t be held to human description so it gets vaguer and vaguer in definition. This vague entity is very hard to reconcile some god that has a blood sacrifice to “save” people.

People that are happy in believing nonsense is most humans: Muslims, Hindus, Christians that Robert doesn’t agree with, etc. That doesn’t mean that any of their beliefs are true. One’s personal beliefs aren’t true and cognitive science accepts this. Cognitive science doesn’t say that Christianity, or any religion, is true.

“It’s okay to take the bible literally.” One would think a Christian would say this since they all take some part of it literally. It just depends on the Christian what parts. And then they declare that those Christians who don’t agree with them aren’t “really” Christians. Robert wants people to take the bible morally, literally, allegorically and what I think he is saying “anagogical” which means “a mystical or spiritual interpretation” of statements and events. Per the wiki entry on “anagogue” this is some kind of a allegory that isn’t a “simple” allegory”, it is a divine revelation.

In that Christians all make claims of how their god (or the holy spirit) tells them what something “really” meant, aka knowing anagogically, there is no reason to think one Christian has a better interpretation than another.

“Religion is like science”. No it isn’t. I don’t say that I believe in science just because it can be wrong or improved. Science does come to truth across time. We are limited humans. It is not true in religion since every religion claims it has the truth and that what it interprets Jesus/God as wanting as the “truth”. What happens is that those supposed truths, declared strongly by Christians, change to another “truth” by Christians who disagree. Science is rarely declared as some immutable truth, and shouldn’t be declared that since we know things can change when we find something new. Religions, such as Chrisitanity, depend on declaring dogmatic “truth” and then they often proceed to kill each over these supposed “truths”. Few theists ever admit that they doubt what they claim is true. If they didn’t think it was true, they wouldn’t believe it.

Science isn’t about “feeling” the truth; its about facts. All Christians claim that their version of Christ is “truth” itself. All claim that Christ manifests in them and again we have drastically conflicting messages from supposedly this “Christ”.

“when there is no ultimate, infinite goodness that exists apart from us, we have removed the fixed point toward which we can aspire.” This is an argument that this god is some moral or ultimate ideal. Most Christians try this. This assumes that somehow we need this god to get better. There is no evidence for this at all. Humans have gotten morally better (subjectively of course) and it is the religions that have constantly changed their gods to catch up. Our imaginations can always make us better. Robert wants to claim we can’t get “infinitely better without his god, but there is again no reason to think his god exists or that it is infinite or better than humans. Infinities are again, weird things, and there is no reason to think that there is an “infinite” better-ness. That idea is attached to the cosmological argument that there has to be some “perfect” being that for some reason has to make the universe, under the assumption that existence is “better” than non-existence. Every religion says that only it gets you “infinitely” better, a claim with no evidence for it at all.

Newton did come up with physics and Newtonian physics works. It still works and we did need quantum mechanics. Einstein didn’t accept quantum physics. Newton’s laws work and are true, quantum laws are true, and we don’t *yet* know how they interact or if they do. We may never know it. That makes neither untrue; this is a false dichotomy argument. Religion claims an ultimate truth and it can’t show it.

Humans are bad at truth and the scientific method helps us in finding it. What we’ve found is no “third party”, and as it stands each religion claims that they and they alone have that third party that agrees with them, with no evidence again. That we don’t need a third party confounds many theists since their world depends on a presupposition that we do. That presupposition comes from the human need to think that intelligent agency is behind everything. The fact is that it isn’t.

There is no evidence for some “far distant truth” from some god. We do rely on us humans. No god can be shown to have done anything and humans reach for the stars on their own. This religion has done its best to squash questioning, killing those who questioned like Giordano Bruno, to keep us from the stars.

That I’ve stopped being afraid of this god or any god I can achieve much. I’ve decided not to believe in a god that limits humans, that punishes humans for questioning. My subjective morality allows me to move forward. Robert, though he is a very nice Christian, does try to claim he has a truth. Searching for a truth doesn’t involve saying “I *know* that “x” is true” which is what he and I discussed on his blog in the comments. Every Christian says that every other Christian isn’t getting the right answer.

It’ll be billions of years until an “end”, but that isn’t usually the end that most Christians are predicting. They have an end where this god comes back, and judges people. That isn’t the heat death of the universe which doesn’t care about anything.

Christianity would be rather bizarre with me in it, but I appreciate the thought. Christians, imo, are terrified. One happy atheist shows that the claims of Christianity aren’t true. Christianity claims a truth and that it is “greater” than everything else.

The bible is indeed violent just like Pulp Fiction the movie. I just don’t get the analogy Robert uses. This bible has that this god intentionally assigns innocents to the worst fate ever. You can try to ignore that part of the bible but it is still there. No free will in Chrisitanity at all

Those of you who don’t know Pern, it’s a science fiction, kinda fantasy series of books with dragons on an alien plant with the descendants of colonists. You can read about it here.

But at least we agree with Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin. 😊

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “Why can’t animals talk?”

of course this isn’t history but a sadistic story

Rabbi Gellman, who used to be part of the God Squad with a catholic priest, still has a syndicated column. I occasionally address them there. This time it’s a column that in my paper is titled “why don’t animals talk”.

Now many cultures have myths on why this is. They are just-so stories like Kipling wrote. Raven can’t talk anymore because he stole fire for mankind and carried it in his beak.

The answer we have from the rabbi to ostensibly a third-grade girl is that it is somehow to teach humans “not just about right and wrong but also about wrong and right and even more right.”   (Italics mine) What the hell? This certainly drives a spike into the objective claims of morality from theists. If this god allows something that it kinda isn’t good with, but there is a better idea, then why not require the truly “good” idea? The rabbi wants to have it that eating meat is okay with his god but its better if we could eat without causing some animal to “suffer and die”.

In this column, Gellman mentions Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 9:3. They are, with a little added for context (the specific verses are italicized):

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”27 So God created humankind[e] in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Genesis 1

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night,  shall not cease.”

1God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.” – Genesis 8-9

So, we have a god that has no problem with killing and burning animals for its own pleasure, so Gellman’s claim that this god is all about veganism isn’t true in the slightest. This god is so all about meat is that he rejects Cain’s offering of fruits and vegetables, and approves of Abel’s offering, also making it questionable why Abel was bothering with killing animals at all since they weren’t eating them, and why this god had to kill and skin animals to make clothes for the newly naked Adam and Eve. The rabbi claims that his god gives the allowance to Noah to eat meat “grudgingly”. That is no where in the verses.

The rabbi then gives a rather horrible little story (midrash) about how Noah wanted a hamburger. He has the snake being truthful and saying one has to make a hamburger (and seemingly implying that it was being evil, which begs the question, why was this snake on the ark?). Noah, for no reason other than personal want, kills and eats his friend the cow. This is from a person who chats regularly with this god. The end of the story is that animals don’t talk to humans because that Noah ate one of them and they are upset.

So are animals upset with this god too since it demands their death?

Which of the cows did Noah eat and how does this work with the other utterly silly story in the bible where it can’t make up its mind on how many animals Noah took with him on the ark?

If we can eat “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” then why the claims we can’t eat some of these things in Exodus and Leviticus? This god is so forgetful, losing things, forgetting what he’s said before.

This a prime example of theists making up nonsense thoughtlessly and making things ever worse for their bible’s claims.

“Back of all these superstitions you will find some self-interest. I do not say that this is true in every case, but I do say that if priests had not been fond of mutton, lambs never would have been sacrificed to God. Nothing was ever carried to the temple that the priest could not use, and it always so happened that God wanted what his agents liked. Now, I will not say that all priests have been priests “for revenue only,” but I must say that the history of the world tends to show that the sacerdotal class prefer revenue without religion to religion without revenue.” – Robert Ingersoll (lots more excellent quotes here for those who don’t think atheists used to be as feistyt as they are now)

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – talking to Christians, Christians talking to non-Christians etc

This weekend I was at an holiday craft show with my art.  Despite rather awful weather, standing in a puddle the first day and being wind-whipped the second, I did fairly well.  It’s always a nice thing when people actually buy something you’ve made or even just compliment it.  I hate to admit I do like the external validation 😊

One of the things I was selling were these little resin casts of cat faces.  The mold comes in a set with a good kitty, having a gem in its forehead and a bad kitty with little horns.  Now, if you have cats, you know they can be bad kitties often, mine currently having been chewing on my yule tree.  I sold quite a few of these little guys.

I had wondered if, since this was a Christian sponsored event, anyone would comment.  And sure enough someone did.

A nice millennial-type gal came up and bought a magnet and a holiday painting of a couple of candles with a Christmas tree in the background.  She then came back and asked me if I was into “witchcraft” and picked up one of the kitty heads, a back one with gold horns.  I said, “Nope, they are just kitty heads, if you are into witchcraft or whatever doesn’t mean much to me if you see them that way. I’m an atheist.”  I may as well have grown a third eye, but she hid her surprise well.  “Oh well, I was wondering since this is a church event. Okay, thank you.”

And then she came back again with her boyfriend.  “I mean, I just have to ask, were you a Christian before or how did you…..”  she trailed off.   I grinned and said “Yep, I was raised a Presbyterian and was one until probably my early twenties.  Then I read the bible and realized that there was no evidence for anything in it.”

“Oh. Well, did you read “The Case for Christ”  by Lee Strobel.”

“Yep, it’s a very bad set of claims that have no evidence for them.”

“Oh it’s such a powerful book.”

“Sorry, I didn’t see it that way and I can answer all of his points.  I’ve also read Craig, Lewis, and they are trying to convince Christians, not convert anyone.”  They were at a loss so I gave them my business card and invited them to email me if they wanted to talk further.  They wished me Merry Christmas and left.

I was half-expecting to be asked to leave if they ran to the organizers but nothing happened.   But this is the mission that has to ask the entire community for donations when there are hundreds of churches around, so I think they are happy to have anyone support them.  Incidentally, if you are looking for a review and rebuttal of Strobel’s books, there are a couple here: https://infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/strobel.html  and https://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_doland/strobel.html  They are all a rehash of the same poor arguments.

Now, I’ve been finding various Christians insisting that they have such great ways to answer skeptics, like these two Christians could have used.  Haden Clark, over at “Help me believe”  does this.

In this blog entry, we have Haden claiming he has 5 tips for talking with skeptics. Let’s look at how well these will work.

As someone who claims that they know “a bit” about Christian apologetics, Haden thinks these ideas will help someone.  When the someone finds they don’t, well, it doesn’t look good for an apologist.   When promises don’t come true, belief in them fails as religion is finding out as more and more people leave it.  What Haden gives are excuses.

1)   You are not Superman

This is where Haden says that the apologist doesn’t need the answer to every objection.  Aka how dare someone expect a Christian to know what they are talking about.  So, Haden advises, if you don’t know the answer, it’s okay and Christianity has lasted 2000+ years so it doesn’t need you.  The problem with this is that Christianity has changed vastly in those 2000+ years because Christians don’t know much about their own religion.

2)  Ask the First Question

Here, the first question is “If Christianity were true and you could know it with 100% certainty, would you become a Christian?”  The problem here is which Christianity?  Christians don’t agree on the most basic things, so the apologist has a problem.

Haden, like most Christians, assumes that he and only he has the “truth”.  And that any “level-minded” person would agree with him.  With the lack of evidence for any truth, Haden has a problem with his question.  If Christianity is what some Christians claim, I’d not have much problem with following it.   If it is like other Christians claim, I might believe in this god but would never become a Christian.  Since I read the bible, I certainly would never become a follower of this god if the bible’s stories were true, even if I might believe in it.

Haden also makes claims about people he has supposedly interacted with but it’s hard to know if these interactions ever occurred.  Haden claims that if someone won’t agree with him that they would become a Christian if he could show Christianity true, then he can’t discuss things with them because he needs the excuse that they will “never” accept what he says, a common Christian excuse.  As opposed to what Haden claims, yes, as skeptics, they are indeed rejecting Christianity because they find it hard to believe.  If this god was shown to be the violent primitive one in the bible, there is good reason not to accept it, even if one does believe it exists.  Haden recommends prayer to his god to get people to agree with the apologist, which never works out and offers another problem: why does this god not answer his believers?  Well, as most of my readers know, this is when this god becomes “mysterious”.

It’s easy for Haden to recommend low-hanging fruit and avoid someone who might offer some resistance.

3) Ask More Questions

A rather curious bit of advice considering the advice given above.  Haden is quite sure that most people haven’t thought about why they believe or why they don’t.   So he advises asking questions of the target of his conversion:  “What do you mean by that?  And “How do you know that?”

Those two questions get Christians in a lot of sticky situations for them.  That second one is the common one where some creationist tries such nonsense when asking “how do you know that evolution happened?”  And then when asked “how do they know the events in the bible happened?”  they find they can’t come up with a valid answer that won’t show their question to be asked in hypocrisy.

The first question is when the Christian ends up trying to redefine words so their claims work.   In Haden’s example, he says that he defines a “fetus” as a human child and non-christians claim it is  “clump” of cells”.   Well, we don’t since most of us know that a fetus is beyond the clump of cells stage.   We also know that a human child is what a fetus becomes.

He also tries to shift the burden of proof from himself and onto the person he is asking questions of.  He offers a strawman atheist claim “In this scientific age, we know miracles don’t happen” and then proceeds to attack it.   What would have been said is that “In this scientific age, we have no evidence that miracles happen.”   If Haden wants to claim that they do, then it is his burden to show that miracles happen now and have happened. His attempt to shift the burden is easily recognized and laughed at.  He also wants to try to redefine miracle to gain an advantage.  Since in his Christian context, a miracle is a action by his god that is not explainable by natural laws, then we know what he is claiming happens.   That we have no evidence of this is his problem.

Just asking questions doesn’t take the “stress” off the apologist at all.  It just shows that they can’t answer what is asked and need a trick to avoid doing so.

4) Don’t Get Sidetracked

So, here, when the Christian apologist is asked questions, Haden advises to avoid answering.  How not surprising.  And I really don’t remember asking “What about dinosaurs?” to a Christian.

He tries to avoid the problem by simply asking “who cares?”  aka “I haven’t a good answer so I’m going to falsely pretend these things don’t matter.”  These “silly questions” are posed since the Christian and their religion make claims that aren’t supported by evidence.   They make claims that aren’t supported by even their own bible.  These things have plenty to do with the Christian and their religion, despite Haden’s false claim that they don’t.

Haden claims that the only things that matte are his god’s existence and the resurrection.  Okay, then we can ask questions about those too, which makes Haden’s protests look very funny.  There is no evidence for those claims either.

Haden believes in the innerancy of the bible, but claims that even if it were true that the bible contained contradictions, it wouldn’t mean that his god doesn’t exist or that Jesus didn’t rise from the grave.  Unfortunately for Haden, that is exactly what it means since there is no reason to believe the claims about this god’s existence nor the resurrection.  The bible is his only source of claims for both.

5) Be humble.

The world “humble” is a problem for Christians because they really really want to be called humble, but they also want to claim that only they know the “TRUTH”.  They want to win arguments no matter what, despite Haden’s false claim that they don’t.

When they find that their claims aren’t being accepted without thought, that’s often when the “I’ll pray for you” comes out and the discussion ends.

I’ve let Haden know that I’ve done a post on his, but he seems loathe to let me comment.  That seems to speak volumes about his confidence in his claims.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – troopies, welcome Derek, a seminarian who is braving the leopard’s den

leopard with tail in mouthBack near Easter, I had a youngish Christian wanting to try out apologetics on me.  He’s back and I’m very pleased that he did return.  It’s not a easy thing to debate religion with an atheist, and one as aggressive as I am.

You can see his post attempting to refute my post about easter here.  I figured I’d make my answer here and there so we can have a nice fresh page to debate on.

Hah, and you think your post is long! :) Hi Derek, Again, thanks for returning.  I know that it can be uncomfortable to discuss Christianity and theism with an atheist.  I am definitely one of the more aggressive ones, so be warned.   And don’t worry about length.  You’ve certainly seen where I don’t give a hoot how long a post is. I’d love to have parakeets but I think my cats would terrorize them to death.  I need a big ol’ crow that could stand its own.

My point about the second class citizens is that the Bible has much about how second-class women are and has one very little bit about how everyone is supposed to be equal.  As always, the parts of the bible to be followed depend on the person, not some idea that the words are a divine truth. There are some sects that do not treat women as such, but most consider a woman less than a man, basing their nonsense on Paul.   Of course, most of these sects ignore the parts about women not teaching, because that’s rather inconvenient in the US.  IJM does good work (though there are some questionable things they’ve done as my research has shown).  However,  the basic idea of women as second-class is about as Christian as the idea of taking care of the least of these.

I’ve always been interested in the various sects of Christianity.  My former church was Presbyterian. It split because one woman said that this god told her that the church we had needed to be torn down and replaced.  The “new church” half was recognized by the Presbytery and the other considered well, I think heretics isn’t too strong a word since they didn’t believe the woman’s claims and kept the old church. They became an independent church.  It seems that splits like this are always happening in Christianity, there’s always someone who thinks that they have the “right” version.   Open theism is certainly a strange one.  It seems like a rather curious attempt to make God over into what reality indicates, a way to have a god but excuse its incompetence.  It certainly isn’t the god of Christianity it’s describing.

I’d like to ask you, why do you “lean” more towards Wesleyan Aminian theology? What makes it better than say Calvinism or Roman Catholicism?

Now, onto the other stuff.  There is no evidence that this cruxifiction happened at all.  If it happened on a Passover, one could recalculate it since Passover is based on lunar events.  There would also have been a Roman date which we also could figure out what it was in our calendar, and Romans are anything but “atemporal” as a people.  But we have neither.  And yes, dates are forced on other ancient documents.  We know Alexander’s birthday.  That we do not know one of the most important dates in your religion makes it seem very odd to me. I ask you to tell me what reference to Jesus are contemporary and non-biblical.  I want to know which ones you are talking about before I tear into them.  Again, there is no evidence anyone was cruxifed as this man.  But, assuming the story is true, then he was crucified as a danger to Rome.  He was also supposedly famous for doing miracles, so much so that he had over a legion’s worth of men (plus women and children) just outside of Jerusalem an occupied city.  And no one noticed this, in a country that was, as you said, known for revolts.  Or remarked upon this to the soldiers.  Knowing more than a few soldiers, I find that hard to believe considering how they gossip.  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – troopies, welcome Derek, a seminarian who is braving the leopard’s den”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Apologetics, the real alchemy

apologeticsOne of the strangest things about religion is the concept of apologetics.  Apologetics is essentially when criticism of a position is answered and rebutted, or at least that’s attempted.  It can be used for any position but the term is usually used for attempts to defend religious positions and beliefs.  The strangeness of apologetics in religion is that there should be no need for it at all.  If religion is truth and if it is from a omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent (e.g. the God is love! nattering) god, it should be self-evident within the words themselves. It should not change from person to person, culture to culture and age to age.

However, it does and many theists know that this is a problem, one made worse with the advent of easy information retrieval. They often say that apologetics is “just” the defense of their faith, but in reality, it is “defense of my version of my faith, the only *right* one”.  Those two things are quite a bit different.  

Since I know Christianity better, I shall focus on that.  However, most points made about it will be applicable to any religion. Here’s a brief overview. 

Apologetics started early in Christianity, with JC being called on the spot to defend his version of Judaism against the Saducees and Pharisees, if the story is to be believed.  His teachings were different than the other Jews but if one reads the bible, the differences were more about the intent of the law as opposed to the application.  For instance, should the draconian law of no one may work on a “Sabbath” be understood as that or should there be some leeway in the interpretation so one isn’t murdering people for tending the ill, milking a cow, etc?  And having lived on a dairy farm, I know that cows do not care about the Sabbath. You might think that this god would have “intelligently designed” them so they did.  🙂

Indeed, this concept of interpretation is the basis of religious apologetics everywhere: what does this stuff *really* mean and how can we determine it? 

Paul continued on the path of apologetics when he came up with his own versions of what this god really meant and his own defense of it.  One can find websites devoted to the idea that JC and Paul did not agree on many things (an interesting one  demonstrating the fractioning of Christianity along those lines from Christianity Today notice the “careful nuancing” aka coming up with yet one more “interpretation”.  Here’s another and another.).  Indeed, you can find websites (here’s one that will burn your eyes by the usual problem that nutty people have with designing a webpage and one about as bad rebutting it) that decry Paul as an anti-christ since he fits the warning JC gave about anti-christs nicely.(Matthew 24).  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Apologetics, the real alchemy”