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 – that pesky free will

A fellow I’ve corresponded with on Facebook gave me a link to bible verses he claimed supported the idea of free will.  I’m bored, so I went through and looked at all of them.   My usual readers will recognize quite a bit of this, no reason to waste your time again.

Okay, let’s look at these verses that are claimed to support free will.   They may even do so, but then they contradict all of the verses that have this god interfering with human action, destroying free will.

I’ve added some of the context to some of these if appropriate.  One has to wonder about the Biblestudytools.com staff if they think all of these verses support the idea of free will.   They do list some of those verses that indicate predestination but not all.   In my opinion, one can get a far more comprehensive listing of verses by subject out at openbible.info

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”

Nothing in this about free will.  It’s also a great verse to show how this bible lies when it says that this god won’t test people beyond their strength.  Christian suicides show this to be false.  Of course, Christians will always blame the victim to excuse their god.

Unsurprisingly, a little earlier in the chapter, in context, has Paul claiming that the Israelites were just examples made for Christians.  “Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. “  This destroys free will when someone was forced to do something for someone else’s benefit as part of a *plan*.  This matches what Paul states in Romans 9 that pots are used to be examples and to be destroyed.

2 Chronicles 9:7

Happy are your people! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom!”

Nothing in this about free will.  Servants are under control.  This is the queen of Sheba speaking to Solomon.  No evidence that Solomon ever existed or that this story is true.   The amounts of gold and other precious things are quite ridiculous (42 tons of gold? aka 666 talents), and funny how they all simply vanished.  For the world’s wisest man, the kingdoms in that area contributed nothing of note to the knowledge of the sciences.

Not doing so well so far. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – that pesky free will”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique part 4

Part Four – The Prophetic Fingerprint

Well, happily this is the last of the “Case for Christmas” videos.

Here’s email’s spin:

“Some people believe the Old Testament doesn’t apply to those of us who follow Jesus. They think the ancient history, poetry, and prophecies are irrelevant to today’s modern culture. Yet, the Old Testament is the foundation on which we stand. 

Against all odds [the multiple Old Testament prophecies] were fulfilled only in Jesus… confirming His identity as the Messiah and the Son of God. ~ Lee Strobel 

Someone has said the probability of a person fulfilling every single Old Testament promise and prophecy about the Messiah is as likely as if the entire state of Texas was covered in quarters 12 inches deep with only one quarter painted red and a blindfolded child selected that quarter on the first attempt: a 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 chance! 

Jesus is the One! He’s the Lord! Whether we buy gifts or give our friends and family something homemade, whether we’re in the snow or sand, whether we’ve known him all our lives or we’ve only now put our faith in Jesus through this study, let’s praise him with joyful hearts this Christmas! He’s the Gift!”

No, no one has said that bit of nonsense Lee claims, unless we want to claim Lee himself.  Always fun to see a Christian inventing someone else to agree with him.  Hmmm, who else does that?  Ah yes, Donald J. Trump, the orange moron we have as president for about another month (unless he resigns so Pence can pardon him and his family).

That JC didn’t fulfill OT promises is notable since we still have Jews around who are quiet sure of it.  I do enjoy the Jews for Judaism website when it comes to seeing just how badly Christians make up nonsense.

Of course, Lee is one of those Christians who want the OT for their supposed prophecies but oh when it comes to following those laws that JC himself said were to be followed until the earth and heavens pass away, well, those laws are legibus non grata.

Lee starts with the claim that the OT “prophecies” only apply to this messiah of his, that they cannot apply to anyone else ever.

So, let’s start with his claims about Micah 5.

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth;  then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,  in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;and he shall be the one of peace.” – Micah 5, NRSV

Other bibles break this set of verses up differently to get different meanings.  Lee uses the NIV, strangely enough, and that’ll drive the KJV-onlyists right over the edge.

Now, why Lee doesn’t include verse 5 is a mystery.  But looking at what we have, there is nothing to this that is unique and can apply to only one person.  We also know that JC never made anyone secure or was considered great to the ends of the earth or made peace. Christians had to invent a “second coming” to get this to work, something never mentioned in the OT, a messiah that had to come twice to get things right.  Finally, this passage has that the messiah is not God, showing that the claims of Christianity of this messiah being God doesn’t work.

Again, Lee tries to claim dozens of fulfilled prophecies, but they don’t exist and he doesn’t give examples.  What he does do is return to the false claims about verses in Isaiah about the supposed “virgin” birth.   Lee tries to argue that the prophecy was for someone else but was somehow *also* for his version of the messiah.  There is no reason to believe that this is the case, other than Lee needs a bit of verse to claim his god is special because of the virgin birth.  Lee offers a theory that the “first” go through for the prophecy was for some other Jewish leader, but claims that might not be right since that one wasn’t named “Immanuel”.

Funny how his messiah wasn’t called Immanuel either.

We end up in Isaiah 9, where Lee again tries the magic changing prophecy trick.  What we read there is:

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

For all of the promises here, the christian messiah fails in all of them.  The same thing happens in Isaiah 11 where the Christian messiah has nothing in common with the Jewish one “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might,the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,  and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.”

It may be pointing out a messiah, but JC fails in being that messiah.

Lee also tries to argue that since almah means young woman, then it has to mean virgin since all young women were assumed to be virgins.  However, the verse makes no remark about how strange it would indeed be to have a virgin birth.   We also have the problem of Lee’s claim that betulah can mean widow, when that isn’t exactly true.  Folks who speak Hebrew can be assumed to know their language better than Lee or Glenn Miller, an apologist who presupposes that the popular mixed version of the Christmas story is true and does his best to make the bible fit.  Here they explain the issues with betulah and almah:  Jews for Judaism | Chapter 18f – THE VIRGIN MISCONCEPTION MYTH

Now, Lee tries to reference a medieval rabbi who notes that some people consider the verse from Isaiah about the young women thought it was meant to be a virgin

This is what the rabbi wrote:

“the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign: He will give you a sign by Himself, against Your will.  

is with child: This is actually the future, as we find concerning Manoah’s wife, that the angel said to her (Judges 13:3): “And you shall conceive and bear a son,” and it is written, “Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son.”        

the young woman: My wife will conceive this year. This was the fourth year of Ahaz.      

and she shall call his name: Divine inspiration will rest upon her.   

Immanuel: [lit. God is with us. That is] to say that our Rock shall be with us, and this is the sign, for she is a young girl, and she never prophesied, yet in this instance, Divine inspiration shall rest upon her. This is what is stated below (8:3): “And I was intimate with the prophetess, etc.,” and we do not find a prophet’s wife called a prophetess unless she prophesied. Some interpret this as being said about Hezekiah, but it is impossible, because, when you count his years, you find that Hezekiah was born nine years before his father’s reign. And some interpret that this is the sign, that she was a young girl and incapable of giving birth.”

This is all he says.  Two differing opinions on what this “really” means.  If this fellow is the end all and be all of Jewish interpretation like Lee claims, then why believe the part that he mentions in passing as evidently wrong?

Lee does try to get around the problem of JC never once being called Immanuel, and saying that bible names can be symbolic.  Yep, they can be.  But Lee just wants to claim that since people want to pretend that this god is with them, then that’s why no one ever called Joshua ben Joseph Immanuel but it’s okay.  Problem is that Lee’s millions of people never ever call JC Immanuel either.

Unlike what Lee says, this supposed messiah didn’t fulfill prophecies and most certainly not all before the destruction of the second temple.  That’s why we have the “second coming” nonsense.  The psalms never “predicted” the nailing of cruxifiction, but the bites of animals.  Unsurprisingly, Rabbi Reshi, so important to Lee before, is now ignored when he doesn’t agree with Lee.  The rabbi wrote this

like a lion, my hands and feet: As though they are crushed in a lion’s mouth, and so did Hezekiah say (in Isa. 38: 13): “like a lion, so it would break all my bones.”

We finally seem to be ended up at Isaiah 53 and Lee does try to pretend it describes his messiah.  But we have problems:

“He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.”

however, JC is claimed to have been followed by crowds who lauded him.

“Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.”

When was JC ever sick and considered struck down by this god?

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,  and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” 

Per John and Mark, JC is quite chatty.

Yes, there are similarities and that’s what you get when making a story based on what you want to claim is prophecy.  It’s just a shame that they didn’t do a very good job of it.

Claims of mathematics and probability are invoked by Lee and they are meaningless since one can’t show that what he claims are prophecies or that they were somehow fulfilled JC.  Probability doesn’t work with presuppositions that magic happens.  There is nothing that shows that trillions (lee uses the term trillion 13 times, which seems to end up being something like 1156 if I’m using my scientific calculator right or maybe just 13 trillion) which isn’t what he claims earlier, a quintillion.  Lee then simply lies and claims that “scientists” have said that things “ain’t gonna happen”.  Nope, scientists would say, it is very unlikely for it to happen.  And since we have no evidence for it happening, that’s the only time when you can say “It didn’t happen.”

Jesus didn’t maneuver his life to fulfill prophecies.  There was no Jesus, son of god nor were there any prophecies he fulfilled.  There was no “rejection” of sacrifices for the years after JC, since no one can agree on when that was.  Listening to a Messianic Jew, aka a Christian isn’t the best place to get information, especially when they can’t say what these three “signs” were or where in the Talmud to look for this information.

Lee ends with the claim that Jewish people have become Christians so that should be evidence that his nonsense is correct.  He, in his appeal to popularity, forgets that many more haven’t.

There is indeed something to take away from Lee’s videos.  Christianity is based on nonsense, cherry picking and ignorance.  The promise that everyone would kneel at the mere mention of JC’s name is just one more failure of the bible.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – ooops, they said the quiet part out loud

I ran across this post today “There are consequences for evangelists’ blind support of Donald Trump. Here’s what to expect in a post-Trump America.”   I captured it on a There are consequences for evangelists as a word doc since I’m suspecting that the Christians might take it down.   One might think it is a spoof but I think it is real.

Now it goes on to list how horrible it will be.   But first it says this:

“Christians are now seen as far-right supporters of fascism and blatant racism. This is not what we are of course, but it is how *others* now see us. This mistaken characterization will drive many away from Christianity.”  

Now, look at what these ever-so NOT “far-right supporters of fascism and blatant racism” are terrified of.  This isn’t the whole list just some of the juicy bits.  :

“Federal money will only be distributed to public schools. If money is distributed to private schools, they will be forced to adhere to federal education curriculum and mandates. Secular standards of education would become a requirement.”

aka they won’t be able to lie to children

“Most people accept vaccinations as valid science but do appreciate the choice of whether to be vaccinated or not. That will end. The federal government will likely incentivize states to increase their vaccination rates by repealing all nonmedical exemptions to mandatory vaccinations for children.”

aka they wont’ be able to be selfish idiots when it comes to public safety.

“Faith-based government-funded contractors that provide adoption and foster care services will likely lose all government funding. This has been a sore point for atheists for a long time. We can expect a heavy push to secularize child services.”

aka they will be prevented from only allowing Christians that they agree with to adopt.

“No longer will religious displays on government property be allowed. The Memorandum on Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty will be replaced – likely by something much more restrictive.”

aka they won’t be able to force their religion on others

“The church’s non-profit status will be examined under a microscope and the filing of Form 990 will be required for all houses of worship.”

aka They won’t be able to lie any more about finances.

“Christian support of Donald Trump has angered many. One very effective means to combat Christianity is to change how the nation’s history is portrayed. There will be a push to change the history of the USA from a nation formed to protect religious freedom to once created purely as a secular nation. This has already been proposed by the Christian opposition.”

aka they won’t be able to lie about American history or racism

“The Department of Education could be instructed to limit religious expression in schools. Under the guise of protecting a “increasingly diverse student body”, prayer inside school walls could be much more limited than it is today.”

aka they are terrified of people who are different than them e.g. bigots and racists

“Kneeling during the national anthem or refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance will be reframed as a noble act of peaceful protest. The value and symbolism of the American flag could also be purposely diminished to allow its use in protests (e.g. flag burning).”

aka they won’t be able to force their religion on others and limit others’ free speech ignoring the US Constitution

“Christians know this is coming. It could now arrive sooner than we thought. The religious opposition has already requested changes to what is considered “politically correct” verbiage, removing “nonbelievers” from the vernacular and using phrases such as “secular Americans” and “all faiths and none”.”

aka they won’t be able to force their religion on everyone or have their Christian privilege.

“The word “faith” is used often in government programs and initiatives. Atheists despise the word and prefer words like “conscience” or “interfaith” which dilutes the meaning and attempts to transform the word from a measure of religious belief to a measurement of morality.”

aka they won’t be able to force their religion on others

“This is another sore point for atheists. We will likely see a push to change to national motto from “In God We Trust” to “E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one”.”

aka they will have to admit that other people are equal to them.

So, gee, they are exactly as they are seen “Christians are now seen as far-right supporters of fascism and blatant racism.”

Nice that the author admits that they “Rather than characterizing Christians by their love for others, we are now characterized by our hatred of liberals or our penchant for parades.”  aren’t quite the loving people they claim.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – my favorite dead horse to beat on: free will and predetermination

Christians often want their free will but to also claim that everything is their god’s will and that predestination is in play.  We can start off with the common definitions of both terms.

Free will: “is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded”

Predestination:  equivalent to predeterminism: “all events are determined completely by previously existing causes”  – both definitions from Wikipedia.

One can of course try to use philosophical nonsense to try to split hairs but I find these to be quite universal.

 

Christians claim that Christians are corrupted and their version of their god is the only source of salvation.  Verses often cited for each are: 1.  Psalm 53:3; Romans 3:12; Ecclesiastes 7:29.  And 2. John 6:44; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:19

To set the stage we need to examine these two claims.  Both types of Christians claim that humans are “corrupted” and need “saved”.   Corrupted by what or who?  Saved by what and how?

The bible has that a snake was in the garden, a garden that this god claimed was perfect.  This indicates that either the snake was considered necessary aka perfect or that this god wasn’t telling the truth.  Some Christians claim it was satan, some don’t, claiming a literal animal.  We also have Jews having their own opinions and these even nuttier folks, Noahides, which are either Jews who think that their god gave just Noah a certain set of laws or Gentiles who need an excuse feel extra special and to ignore the laws in the bible they find inconvenient but who find JC as a failure since there is no evidence for the character.  Always leave it to humans to find a smaller pond to imagine they are a big fish in.

We have this god insisting that humans not find about good or evil, threatening death on the day that they would eat the fruit.  Not death in the far future, death was, essentially, immediate.   The snake/satan countered this claim with what was evidently the truth, since neither Adam nor Eve died that day.  Eve, with the knowledge of good and evil *equivalent* to that of this god, decided that it was a good thing to give the fruit to Adam, who, having no reason to doubt her, accepted it and ate it.  Per some Christians, the knowledge of good and evil corrupted Adam and Eve in some manner.  If it didn’t corrupt this god, why would it corrupt them?

We also have the problem that this god, rather than forgiving Adam and Eve right then, starts a several millennium process of pain and misery for no reason.  It is for no reason since many, if not most, Christians, claim how forgiving their god is.

Then this god tries to correct things and fails repeatedly, an odd thing for a supposedly omniscient/omnipotent god.  It is only after millennia that this god decides it needs a blood sacrifice, like any other Bronze Age god.  It is only by a very poor attempt at “reinterpreting” the bible that we get that this god had any idea of doing this sacrifice early on.

It’s honest of some Christians that they admit that Christians don’t agree on some very basic things.  They directly contradict each other and since none of them can show that they have the one “truth”, and they cannot do what their bible promises they can do, there is no reason to accept the apologetics from either side for their supposed “truth” and attacks on each other.  All they have is baseless opinion that they all claim is supported by their god and told to them by the “holy spirit”.  This includes the vastly diverging ideas of free will and predestination.

If this god is picking and choosing which humans can accept it and then damning those it doesn’t choose for no fault of their own, then there is no free will.  A controlling force, especially an omnipotent one, eliminates free will, no matter what contradictory nonsence the bible says in other places.

Some Christians, in their attempt to make believe that these contradictory claims are not, illustrate what apologetics is all about, lying and trying to make sense out of nonsense.  It is trying to make up excuses why we shouldn’t take the bible as it is written but to try to assign some other intent that we have no evidence for.  It is built on presupposition that this god is real and *must* make sense, no matter how much the believer has to add to the mythos, and to differ from his fellow Christians.

Of course, when it is pointed out that this god damns people left and right, then the Christian claims that since the bible says that this god wants “everyone” to come to it, well, that part must be true too!  They can’t ignore one part over another since they’ve been told that *all* of the bible is their god’s word, so somehow, they have to make them work together.  They can’t accept that the bible is just a set of books by people who didn’t believe in the same things.

The verse cited from 2 Peter 3, arguing for a god that wants everyone to come to it, is problematic for our Christians, either the free will or predestination sides.  It’s a great excuse why this god hasn’t returned yet, to try to claim that this god “really” wants to give people all of the time they need to “come to repentance”.   The entire passage reads as such: “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you,[b] not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.”

As I’ve pointed out before, Christians usually only cite verse 9 and do their darndest to ignore the rest, intentionally leaving out the important context.  This causes all sorts of issues with how Christians want to claim the bible is literal in some parts but not in others.  How does this match up with the Genesis claims of a seven-day week of creation?  How does this work with JC’s claim that he’ll be back within the lives of people he is speaking to?  Well, it doesn’t since it flatly contradicts those claims.  This god should have been back long ago if days are literally 24 hours periods, but as we know, Christians don’t agree on that either.  If this god counts a millennium as a day in its experience, then seven days would have been 7,000 years, and if JC meant he’d be back in the number of millennia that the days of a human generation would be (around 20-30 years) that would be, conservatively, 7,300 days or 7,300 millennia aka 7,300,000 years.   This is the very silly number one gets when apologists want to pick and choose what they want words to mean.

Another common verse used as an excuse is from John 12, which causes more problems with its gnostic claims of a “ruler of the earth” which directly contradicts with Christians who claim that everything is their god’s will here on earth.  Either this god is responsible for everything or not.  Christians can’t cherry pick their way to having their cake and eating it too.

So, having established this background, we go on to the claim that predestination and free will can work together.

If this god is responsible for everything *and* wants every person to be saved, then an omnipotent being can have anything it wants.  If this god needs this, it can have everything it needs by definition.  If this god picks and chooses, then this god has what it wants and needs.  Free will has no place in the bible.  A god would have no reason to deny itself.  Indeed, it kills people repeatedly because it wants it to happen because an omnipotent god would not need anything.  It literally can’t fail at a task unless it chooses to.

There are a couple of verses in the bible that contradict completely free will.  They are in Romans 9 and Matthew 13.  Both state that this god prevents some people from accepting it before we were even born.  Full stop.  No exceptions at all.  Some Christians accept these verses as stated, some try to claim they mean something else than what is literally written.  JC and Paul, if they existed, say that this god needs to show off, so it damns some people so it has something to hurt as an example to the people it chose to allow to accept it.  Which makes sense how?  Why would anyone need an example made of others if it was so obvious about this god?

The Christians who don’t like such an authoritarian god try to add things to their bible so they can invent a god that is more in their image.  They insist that the context is “incomplete”, which is rather embarrassing for a “perfect” god and its supposed words.  They insist on ignoring the parts of the bible that don’t work with their new god. The parts about election and predestination are suddenly declared not true, though no where in the bible does it say that somehow those parts are null and void if you just don’t happen to like them.  All it has is contradictory verses that each Christian picks and chooses to determine their very own “truth”.

We have the following which says that predestination, not free will is what goes:

11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14 this] is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians (predestined/predetermined to accept/praise this god)

15 For he says to Moses,“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”16 So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.

19 You will say to me then, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; 23 and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?) Romans 9  (the classic might equals right morality, that no one can question this god for abusing others to impress those he chose from their creation).

This god does not allow people to do what they want and then accept them for what they’ve done, it chooses them before they’ve done anything.  And this choice, commonly called “grace” by Christians, isn’t something that people earn.  Thus there is no free will, no action that will determine what will happen.  And when we go back to the definitions of free will and predestination at the top, we see that there is no free will allowed “all events are determined completely by previously existing causes”  aka this god.

Some Christians try their hardest to pretend that if their god knows who we will become out of free will, then his choice of us to allow us to accept him is free will.  However, this doesn’t work as soon as this god interferes in what we do.  As we see, this god made the choice before we existed to make choices, not the other way around, that this god made his choice after we existed.  That would be free will, and this god’s choice being dependent on *whatever* we did with no interference.

Again, predestination: all events are determined completely by previously existing causes. Free will: is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded

The argument of the Christian only works if the bible is full of lies and this god never interferes.

“I believe that predestination and free will work together in ways that are both glorious and mysterious.”

Unsurprisingly, the Christian will claim that it’s “mysterious” at the end of it all. This is the default excuse when Christian fails.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – My chat with Ray Comfort transcripted

After some personal uncomfortableness on my part, listening to my own voice, I have transcripted my chat with Ray Comfort that was recorded by Ray and a copy given to me for my use.

 

Here is the transcript, since I personally really hate to listen to talking heads.  I read much faster than that, and a transcript is my favorite way to see what people say.  I didn’t put much punctuation to keep the feel of the chat, but I think it should be pretty easy to read.   I started with the autotranscript function on YouTube, and it was better than I thought it would be.  But a couple of times, it had issues with Ray’s accent, and evidently mine too 🙂 although I’ve read somewhere that central PA is about as accentless as it gets for an American.

There are some interesting bit that I wanted to comment on since there were some questions unanswered, and some topics we never got back to.

Here’s the bit about creationism (and the start of the discussion about morality):

V: No, well some of that did. I mean after I read it because it’s not very often that the pastors I grew up with would mention anything except for the pretty plain vanilla fuzzy good Jesus parts of it. basically I knew enough science to know that there was no such thing as a 28,000 foot deep flood and you know went on through that then I know after I read the Bible I saw where this God killed David’s son to punish David but you know didn’t care about the child and oh you know the you know the usual stuff that you’ll hear from various you know non-christians

R: so you’re saying that the flood, the noahic flood which was said to cover the whole earth wouldn’t have covered Mount Everest with 29,000 feet do you realize there was no such things as mountains in those days, they hadn’t pushed up

V: there’s no evidence that mountains are that young and there’s you know to try claim that there was no mountains requires quite a energetic geology that would essentially release so much energy that would broil pretty much everyone on earth

R: yeah well that’s kind of what happened in the beginning the mountains pushed up like volcanoes do anyway…

V: those aren’t volcanoes

R; no they’re not but they are made of stone or rock I guess… I don’t know we’re talking about things I don’t know much about well um do you want to use that name Vel or do you want to use your real first name

It’s notable that a creationist admits not to know much about the earth.  As I’ve written before, willful ignorance is behind most creationist claims.  Creationists, be they Christians, Muslims, etc, all need to either ignore reality or intentionally lie about it.  This causes them problems because their claims about creationism are contradictory, since they don’t even start out at the same place.  We have contradictory claims about how creation happened by theists, and we have many different claims about how the Noahic flood “really” happened; all dependent on an ignorance of basic science.  The folks over at Talk Origins have a good article on the failures of creationists with the bible flood.

After this we get into the morality discussion starting with my question to Ray about his god killing David’s son.  Here’s a bit about that:

“R: yes yeah he killed David son okay did God actually kill, is it David son? or yeah David son when he committed adultery with Bathsheba it didn’t bless him with the child he said the child’s gonna die there are repercussions to his actions but he lets solomon live which is wonderful (?)

V: would you be happy if someone killed one of your children and let the other one lives

R: no of course not I love all my kids

V: then why would you accept that from your God

R: oh because he’s the giver of life he’s a giver and the taker of life and he’s the one that blesses with health and and in life itself and a peace if he deems fit to take a loved one what can I do about it I just trust him I trust his integrity so let’s go back to the issue David had a son died and God took him and God says your child’s gonna die did they actually happen

V: did resurrection actually happen

R: no did David have a son that god killed

V: no no I did if that didn’t happen why should I think that the resurrection happened

R: oh no not talking about the resurrection what I’m trying to get you to say is that did God kill the son of David

V: yes that’s what the Bible says

R: yeah but it didn’t happen did it cuz you’re an atheist so you say it didn’t happen because God doesn’t exist so why are you upset about something it didn’t happen it’s like being upset about the fairy godmother turning Cinderella’s coach back into a pumpkin.”

V: (laughter) well let me ask you if let’s just say that it did happen

R: okay

V: and you said that you would have absolutely no problem with a god doing something you would be unhappy with the human doing correct

R: oh yeah I’d be I wouldn’t be the happiest man on earth of one of my children died but I know that God is the giver and the taker of life he created every bone every every drop of blood and my children he gave me the gift of children and if he deem fit that one of my children dies I can’t do anything about it but I can trust him I can trust him in it and say Lord you know what you’re doing you allowed this for some reason it may not be a perfect will but it should permissive will you’re permitted it and in that I rejoice I trust you because that’s what faith is about it’s trusting when often often things aren’t right

V: so you believe you have an objective morality from your religion correct

R: yeah absolutely

V: so if if it’s not moral for a human to do something why is it moral for your God to do it?”

If I were Ray’s kids, I’d be more than a little disturbed by this.  I’d do anything to save my kids or anyone’s kids and that includes standing against anything, god or not, that would try to kill them.  Heck, I’d do that for my cats.  Here, it seems that Ray’s best answer is that I shouldn’t care about some kid since it was long ago.  My morals don’t work like that.  Injustice and unfairness are forever.  He goes on to claim that since everyone is going to die, it isn’t a problem and that I should only be considered with my salvation.

We went back to creationism for a bit, and Ray deflected my request for evidence about which creationism is right.

“V: Christians are all they all have the one real truth but I what need to see is evidence that that is actually the case

R: well that’s it’s provable um now let me ask what’s that

V: how is it provable

R: we’ll come up to that in a few minutes

V: Laughter.”

And of course we didn’t.   That was fine with me since I knew at some point he would have to intentionally change the subject from something he didn’t like where it was going.

We discussed the Big Bang Theory a bit and unsurprisingly he intentionally misrepresented it.  That also wasn’t a fruitful path for him (get it? Fruit?).  So we ended up with the questions that Ray loves and are on more than few of his videos e.g. “Do you think you are a good person? Have you ever lied?”  Have you ever stolen anything? etc.

R: how do you think you’re a good think you’re a good person

V: I’ve heard you do this before yes I do think I’m a good person and I do not use your Bible or your interpretation to define what good is.

R: that’s what we often do that’s what I did before I was a Christian that’s what Adolf Hitler did I no doubt if I talk to Hitler he would say he was a good person because he had his own moral standard he cleaned up Germany got rid of brothels more than full employment got rid of the scum of the earth clean the German race and …

V: know that a lot of Christians think that he did a very good job you can see that on the news with the various Trumpies thinking having no problem with Nazism at all

R: you know what if I were you I wouldn’t cover the whole church with one blanket because Jesus spoke of true and false conversions he spoke of hypocrites he spoke he spoke of fake Christians and they’re the ones that often speak the loudest so don’t sweep with such a broad broom there are genuine Christians that believe the Bible love their enemies that do good they’re kind to other people they’re not nasty and if you find someone who is professing Christian and they they lack love you can say to yourself I don’t believe that person’s a genuine Christian, they are a Jew. “

Now, when he said this initially it caught me by surprise. The auto transcript picked it up as “ they are junius”. I had to rewind this several times and listen because I didn’t want to believe it but this does seem to be what he said.

We ended up at the questions about lies and stealing, oh and taking god’s name in vain later:

“R: let’s get back the question let’s get back to the question because we’re going down a rabbit hole um if you think you’re a good person how do you measure up to those Commandments

V: I don’t care about your Commandments

R: But how do you measure up to them

V: I don’t need to measure up to them

R: well let me ask you let me let me put you on the stand and see how you do how many lies do you think you’ve told in your life

V: I’ve told some and some were for a good reason just like the folks who did Anne Frank were lying to the Nazis”

This was again not working for Ray, and he had to claim I hate his god because I use his god’s name as a cuss word.  There was more about how I have to be hating his bogeyman.  There is more about morals, and I had a good time pointing out just how evil his god is.   That got me told that I was “misinterpreting” the bible, but no explanation on how this was the case.

Then Ray was revved up and his words got faster and faster as he tried to preach at me.  That preaching was interspersed with my laughter and refutations.  His attempts at sowing fear didn’t work and that did appear to confuse him, leading to more repetition and appeals to how much my parents love me.

After trying to tell me, a former Presbyterian/calvinist, that I didn’t understand predestination “correctly”, we ended up with Ray trying to tell me that this god of his was finally answering my prayers said 40 years ago.   That his god is timeless, yada, yada. Which again doesn’t match up with what the bible actually says.

“R: okay let me answer that God sometimes takes his time a day of the Lord is a thousand years to us and God is answering that prayer today and I’m trying to help you to restore your faith so you thank God that he chooses the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe. he speaks through donkeys he’s speaking through me today and telling you that he has no pleasure in your death and he’s answering your prayer and he wants to restore your faith. Okay”

And yes, I was very very hard pressed not to use the obvious joke here. 🙂

This whole thing had a great ending when Ray sent me a signed copy of his book “Banana Man”, and it had two Subway gift cards in it.  I guess that’s what happened to the other $7000 went.  You can see the saga of the subway cards here.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – not so “clever” as a theist might think

A rather silly Christian had the below on their blog.  This is a Christian who is also sure that essential oils do magic and that zyto scanning machines work.  They work as well as the e-meter that Scientologists use to look at your alien ghosts that are attached to you aka not at all.  The FDA caught the company in lie after lie.

But let’s get to the what the Christian wants to claim.

“An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he tirned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”

The little girl, who had just started to read a book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you like to talk about?”

Oh, I don’t know,” said the atheist. “How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” as he smiled smugly.

“OK” she said. Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns ou a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, Hmmm, I have no idea.”

To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to dicuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know crap?”

And then she went back to reading her book.”

A certain type of Christian is very afraid of atheists, because they have discovered that atheists don’t need their god, or perhaps more importantly, them.   They end up with really poor “stories” like this to attack atheists.

Now, asking a little girl about god is rather silly and is an attempt to make an atheist look arrogant and not just a little bit stupid.

Then we have the need for scatological humor and the need to pretend that this little girl would know anything about poop from animals.  Now, little girls might know about dinosaurs so how about we go with that?  If we present it this way, it doesn’t sound as clever as the theist wants it to:   ““OK” she said. Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first.  A Stegasaurus stenops, a Gryposaurus notabilis  and a Psittacosaurus mongoliensis are all part of the order Ornithischia, but how are they different?”  It’s is easier to see the attempt to drop nonsense into the discussion as a means of avoidance and no “crap” needed.

In any case, we have the classic theist attempt at an argument, which is nothing more than a logical fallacy, that one has to know about poop to know about religion.  Which, of course, rather inadvertently does make a point. 🙂

This is what some Christians need, a poor argument so they don’t have to discuss their religion with someone who doesn’t agree with them.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Now Oranges are evidence of the conservative Christian god

Yep, thanks to Ray Comfort, oranges are evidence of his version of the Christian god:

 

Of course no Christian can do miracles like Jesus Christ, Son of God. But heck, we should believe oranges are evidence of this god, just like bananas.

Screw the amputees, screw the cancer patients, oranges are evidence of God. Even Ray will choose a secular hospital rather than trusting that a Christian elder can heal him.  Sucks to need evidence, eh? So much for “faith”.

What complete idiots.

 

and this is the fellow that some atheists claim is a nice guy

 

S’right