The other day a close family member, who is aware of my atheism, presented me with a religious tract entitled “Why You Can Trust the Bible”.  This relative happens to be a Southern Baptist and so I could not resist pointing out that the tract being presented was actually composed by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society i.e. Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Yes, the same Jehovah’s Witnesses who reject the mainstream Christian belief that Jesus was paradoxically both a man and a God.  As you can see [here] on the scanned copy, the actual text citing the Jehovah’s Witness organization was sloppily marked though by someone wishing to obscure the true origin of the tract.  At any rate, I thought I would take the opportunity to write a thorough response to the assertions presented in the tract for both my blog and my relative.  So lets dive in, shall we.

The first two sentences are the only parts of the tract with which I actually agree.  Yes indeed, people do say the Bible is unreliable, a great number of well-educated people in fact and their numbers are growing according to national polls.  The tract opens with the argument that “[…]what Jesus Christ said in prayer to God promotes trust” and quotes John 17:17 and 2 Timothy 3:15 from “the Bible itself”.  Here we have two logical fallacies, the first fallacy is argumentum ad auctoritatem (argument from authority) and the second is circular reasoning, whereby the author has begun with what he or she is trying to prove.

The circular reasoning comes from the fact that the author is claiming that the Bible is trustworthy by citing the very book he is attempting to prove is trustworthy.  In other words, the Bible is trustworthy because the Bible says the Bible is trustworthy.  The argument that the Bible is true because “Jesus Christ said in prayer” is fallacious due to the unfounded premise that Jesus is an authority on anything, a premise that must be assumed a priori based on nothing but the very book whose trustworthiness has yet to be proven.

The author asks the reader if anyone has ever shown them an actual example of contradictions in the Bible after which he cherry picks a few minor contradictions, some of which are not contradictions so much as unanswered questions, around which he can easily tap dance.  He or she states that these discrepancies only appear to be discrepancies due to a lack of knowledge.  For example, ‘where did Cain get his wife?’.  The answer is obvious, says the author, because Genesis 5:4 says that Adam and Eve had multiple children.  This contradiction does appear to be resolved by the assumption that Adam and Eve had more than three children but it’s a fan dance performed by the apologist as it ignores the purpose of the tract which was to explain “Why you can trust the Bible”.   It doesn’t matter how many children Adam and Eve produced as we first must ask if we can trust the Biblical assertion that the human species is descended from a specially created first man and woman.  How did Jehovah magically make Adam appear fully formed out of dirt and then, oddly enough, magically clone Eve from one of his ribs.  The author just assumes the Bible is trustworthy concerning human origins without demonstrating why that assumption is valid.  I guess author expects us to overlook that mystery and just accept the premise that the Bible is trustworthy because the Bible says it is trustworthy.

The author outright dismisses a contradiction between Matthew and Luke by asserting that a reasonable person does not claim a discrepancy because the work was credited to the one who is actually responsible for it over those who carried out the deed.  However, the discrepancy of which the author is speaking is not a matter of crediting different people for the same act.

Matthew 8:5-6: When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Luke 7:1-3: When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum.  There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.

Matthew clearly says that “a centurion came to him” while Luke says that the centurion “sent some elders of the Jews”.  The author is dishonest in his explanation where he writes “it is not inconsistent for Matthew to say that the army officer made a request of Jesus but, as Luke writes, that such a request was made though certain representative.”  The dishonesty on the part of the author comes from ignoring that Matthew plainly says that “a centurion came to him”.  This is not a matter of attributing credit, the former claims it was the centurion himself who came to Jesus while the latter says it was not the centurion but rather elders sent by the centurion who came to Jesus.

Is it not odd that the author failed to quote the passages verbatim so that they could be examined but rather expects the reader to take his explanation at face value?  Speaking of what a reasonable person would think, a reasonable would think that a book allegedly inspired by an omnipotent being would not show signs that the accounts being presented as trustworthy facts are actually hearsay accounts of past events recorded by fallible humans.

Speaking of contradictions, does the Bible endorse or forbid the killing of children for the iniquity of their fathers?  I guess it depends on which book of the Bible you read.

ISA 14:21 “Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.”

DEU 24:16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

The list of contradictions contained in the Bible is daunting to say the least but for brevity I will move on to the author’s next point, my favorite area to refute, history and science.  The author writes that “the historical accuracy of the Bible was once widely doubted”, which is false, the historical accuracy is still currently doubted and for good reason, there is evidence refuting it.  The author again cherry picks minor subjects such as the existence of kings or cities or certain Roman figures mentioned in the Bible.  These sorts of things all fall under what has been commonly called the Spiderman Fallacy.  For example, the argument that New York is a real place, Spiderman lived in New York, and therefore Spiderman is real is fallacious as the conclusion does not follow from the premise.  Likewise, though the Bible may contain accounts involving real locations and people verified by outside sources, but those facts do not lend any weight to any of the miraculous or supernatural claims presented in the Bible.

Moshe Pearlman (1911 – April 5, 1986) is falsely cited by the author as being a historian.  Pearlman was not a historian but an Israeli writer who first worked as a journalist and then immigrated to Israel.  He joined the Army of the newly founded state and was the first Israeli military spokesman.  In 1960 he retired and devoted himself to his literary activity.  An actual historian by the name of Israel Finkelstein, the Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University and co-director of excavations at Megiddo in northern Israel, and Neil Silberman reveal that no archaeological evidence has been found for many of the Old Testament’s claims:

“Much of what is commonly taken for granted as accurate history – the stories of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, and even the saga of the glorious monarchy of David and Solomon – are, rather, the creative expressions of a powerful religious reform movement that flourished in the kingdom of Judah in the Late Iron Age” (Finkelstein & Silberman, 2002, p. 23). They date the Iron Age at 1150-586 BCE (Finkelstein & Silberman, 2002).

“The historical saga contained in the Bible – from Abraham’s encounter with God and his journey to Canaan, to Moses’ deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage, to the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah – was not a miraculous revelation, but a brilliant product of the imagination” (Finkelstein & Silberman, 2002, p. 1).

The author next attempts to draw parallels between the Bible and modern scientific discoveries by stating that “not long ago scientists, in contradiction of the Bible, asserted that the universe had no beginning.”  In actuality, there was simply no consensus among scientists concerning the beginning of the cosmos or if it had a beginning as there was a lack of evidence for either view.  Unlike religion or the Bible, science bases its conclusions on evidence.  When Edwin Hubble discovered via the Doppler Effect that the cosmos was expanding exponentially the question was answered, the cosmos must have originated from a single point.

Now the author stops his argument at claiming the Bible and science agree that the cosmos has a beginning and therefore concludes that science proves the Bible.  This could not be further from the truth and it is telling that he dismisses everything after that by writing that “the details differ, but the essential elements in astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same.”  That is probably the most amazing understatement ever written.  Let’s take a closer look at these differing details and see if the “essential elements” are the same.

The Bible begins with “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” which does not agree with modern cosmology in the slightest.  The earth did not come into existence until around 8.5 Billion years after the beginning of the cosmos as we know it.  Assuming that heaven means everything else in the cosmos and that the Bible was actually inspired by an all-knowing being, the accurate passage should read something on the order of “In the beginning God created the heavens, and waited for hydrogen to collapse into the first stars, and waited for the first stars to generate heavy elements, and waited for those stars to explode, and waited for that dust to collapse into solar systems, when then formed the earth.”  Of course the human writers of Genesis had no way of knowing any of that when they wrote Genesis and were simply inventing an explanation for something they could not possibly explain in their time.

The Bible says that “the earth was without formless, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” which also does not agree with modern cosmology.  Our sun, one of billions in our Galaxy, would have already started to undergo nuclear fusion and shine before the earth as we know it accreted.

The Bible says “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” which does not agree with modern cosmology.  Light, electromagnetic waves, have existed since the very beginning of the cosmos.  Light did not suddenly appear AFTER the earth formed.  The next passage says “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” which is redundant as the fact that the earth is a sphere would divide night and day by default.  Only one side could have been facing the sun, there is no need for any omnipotent being to divide night and day unless of course we are speaking of a flat earth, we are coming to that.

Genesis 1:14 says “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:”  This also is contradicted by modern cosmology.  The majority of the “lights in the firmament”, otherwise known as distant stars, were already in existence before the earth formed.  They did not magically appear after the earth came to be and they do not exist to give us signs for seasons and days and years, rather because on a cosmic time scale we do no perceive their movements, humans can use their predictability to measure seasons, days and years.

The last one before I move on is Genesis 1:16 “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.”  As has been stated, the “greater light to rule the day” existed prior to the formation of the earth itself.  The “lesser light to rule the night” as best we can tell was the result of a massive impact between a proto Earth and a Mars size proto planet which ejected much of the crust into space which collected to form the moon and contributed to the Earth’s large metallic core.  The sun and moon were not a result of an all-powerful deity magically creating them because he thought they would look cool.

The author’s next assertion is that the Bible has always claimed the earth was a sphere.  He incorrectly explains that voyages of discovery showed that the earth was a round.  That is false.  Eratosthenes (276–194 BC) estimated Earth’s circumference around 240 BC.  He had heard that in Syene the Sun was directly overhead at the summer solstice whereas in Alexandria it still cast a shadow.  Using the differing angles the shadows made as the basis of his trigonometric calculations, he estimated a circumference of around 250,000 stades. The length of a ‘stade’ is not precisely known, but Eratosthenes’ figure only has an error of around five to fifteen percent.

What does the Bible say about the shape of the Earth?  According to the author, who quotes Isaiah 40:22, the Bible says god dwells above the circle of the earth and then spins the definition of circle to mean sphere by claiming other translations say “the globe of the earth”.  It makes sense that later translations would reinterpret circle to mean globe, they had the benefit of scientific knowledge.  However, a circle is two-dimensional, as in flat.  The Biblical flat earth view can be demonstrated by the new testament myth of Jesus being tempted by Satan.  Matthew 4:8 says “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.” The only way Satan could have shown all the kingdoms of the world from a very high mountain would be if the earth was flat.  It is impossible to see the entirety of a sphere regardless of height.

Although the author asserts that the more humans learn, the greater the evidence is that the Bible can be trusted; the reality is that the Bible is constantly being revealed as a work of fiction, voted on and complied by church leaders from the writings of other men over many centuries.  No, the Bible is not trustworthy with regard to History and Science.

Can the Bible foretell the future?  Well that depends on how far we are willing to lower the bar of what qualifies as prediction.  The author claims that on multiple occasions the Bible has predicted events hundreds of years in advance which have been fulfilled in exact detail.  The author makes the specific claim that the Bible foretold the overthrow of Babylon nearly 200 years before it happened.  The claim is that before 681 BCE the prophet Isaiah predicted Persia would defeat Babylon and furthermore that this prophecy was fulfilled in 539 BCE. They cite Isaiah 45:1 as predicting that “Babylon’s gates would open for Cyrus”:

This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: (NIV)

The tract author would have us believe that Isaiah prophesied specifically that Cyrus would be Babylon’s conqueror and would enter through gates, and that he made this prediction over 140 years before the event. In reality, this section of Isaiah was written shortly before 537 BCE, so even if the prediction was not made after the event its occurrence at least was imminent and the name of Cyrus would have been known.

Isaiah’s reference to gates, although the actual means Cyrus used to gain entry to the city of Babylon, was nonetheless meant figuratively. This is evidenced by noting the continued use of obviously figurative language in the next verse:

I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. (NIV)

It should be noted that Babylon is not actually mentioned anywhere in the chapter.  It should also be noted that “anointed” as used in Isaiah 45:1 is translated into Hebrew as “messiah” and into Greek as “Christ.” Although never admitted by Christians, this passage seems to assert that Cyrus is the messiah.  The author also asserts that Babylon is currently uninhabited ruins as the Bible foretold yet people obviously live there now (modern Iraq, and Baghdad for that matter).

As far as Biblical prophecy being a measure of trustworthiness what about the failed prophesy of Jesus himself?

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.“ (Matthew 16: 27, 28)

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place…“ (Mark 13:26-30)

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Then He told them a parable: Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.“ (Luke 21:27-32)

In at least three of the gospels, Jesus is said to have predicted he would return in the lifetime of at least some of those in the generation alive at that time.  The fact that Jesus did not return as he foretold is one of the strongest reasons to reject the Bible as entirely untrustworthy.  This has not in the least hampered modern apologist who simply state that those passages are being misinterpreted, which is the usual excuse to dismiss Biblical falsehoods.

As was pointed out in the beginning of this rebuttal, the tract is a publication of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  It is no surprise then that the version of the Bible for which he is advocating is the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, a translation specifically created by the Jehovah’s Witnesses for their sect.  Lastly, it should be noted that when it comes to Biblical trustworthiness the Jehovah’s Witnesses have made at least 19 official predictions based on the Bible that never came true.

The entire tract can be downloaded here [ FRONT ] [ BACK ]

 

You keep calling it magical… Magical is the big pow .. you knw everything came from nothing. With God, its not magical because he said he created man in His own image. Magic just pops out of the air .. but God created. And not just that it came from God… So, we are saying that it really didn’t come from " nowhere" as so much as "who" because "He" answers "the where" from who. Naw, not magic. Magic can be tested to be fallacy… But Yall can’t test God. You guys are still bumfuzzled at what all he has done much less bumfuzzled over how great God is. You guys will never figure Him out. He is just tooo great for your little minds ( that he made).

And for the record I do understand what appealing to the ignorant is. It the born again creationists who try to help the atheist understand… Hence appeal to the ignorant.

Indeed, religion claims that God spoke and then everything came from nothing. TAA-DA MAGIC!

Indeed, religion claims that God created man out of thin air, well dirt technically, but the dirt he made out of nothing. MAGIC!

You are just shifting the question and not actually answering anything. You claim everything came from god but then you’re stuck with the question of where did god come from. Who created god?

Indeed, Magic can be tested to be fallacious; not fallacy. I agree. Your claim that god’s magic trick 6000 years ago cannot be tested is true, it happened 6000 years ago. The fact that it cannot be tested is reason enough not to believe it. There is no reason to assume the universe is a result of god in the absence of evidence. Thor and Oden cannot be tested either, will you give them the assumption of existence as your god?

There are unsolved mysteries in science but that’s the great thing about science, the quest for answers, real objective answers. You seem satisfied with the mystery as you seem to think not knowing how something happened, other than pretending to know who made that something happen, counts as knowledge or explains anything whatsoever.

Your god is not to great for my little mind nor did your god make my mind for I know exactly where god resides; the limitless bounds of your imagination.

If that’s what you think Appeal to Ignorance means then you are under a grave misapprehension. You are using the word “ignorant” in the juvenile & pejorative sense of calling someone else stupid.

Arguments from Ignorance arise when creationist point out something which they claim science has not explained or claim is impossible via natural processes, and then assert that since science has yet to explain it, or because the creationist cannot fathom a natural explanation, their god is required as an explanation.

You will notice that the god they propose as an explanation is their personal and preferred god. Muslim creationist who make the same case as Christian creationist will end up concluding that Allah, the god of Mohammad, is the deity who created the earth.

Nope. in fact we do not technically say everything came came from nothing.. now we do not knw where God came from because you can’t measure that much power.. where God came from is a mystery.so, … Its a place called nowhere.. but man and everything we know came from somewhere… God created.. so, we "all" and "everything else" came from God. So burrrrrrrrrnt X … WRONG AGAIN Garry. Wrong again.

And you say I’m shifting the question?? Okay… On your theory… Where did the start of the start of the big pow come from..???? Take down to the very tiniest start.. and the start of the start… And tell me where ur started from. We do in fact say that we do not know where God came from. And we say, that has always been a mystery…. We call it no where… The bible says our part of this existence began in "the beginning" .. but where did God come from .. sounds like a chore for all u scientist. Science is responsible for finding all that out and testing it. Don’t blame us or deny Gods existence because you guys aren’t smart enough to solve that problem. After all, yall said the earth was flat until u guys figured out ways to test that and make your findings. But that was everyone thought for a long time… Science and all. They were satisfied that that was the proper answer. .. so, until u find a way to test your theory that there is no God , I wouldn’t go around trying to sway plp not to believe. Because.. u don’t know…

That statement is a non sequitur. The alleged amount of power has no bearing on the question of origin. You have yet to substantiate your god’s existence so any discussion about his power is pointless.

Nowhere is by definition the absence of a location just as nothing is the absence things. Anything that IS requires a location to exist. Therefore, to assert that god came from NOWHERE is to admit that god came from nothing, if god is something and something cannot come from nothing then either something greater created god or god does not exist.

Man and everything we know did come from somewhere, claim god created us fallacious bare assertion.  All your word play and riddles cannot save you from the inevitable infinite regress.  Either god doesn’t exist or god has to have been created.

You are shifting the question, specifically from "how did the universe begin" to "how did your god begin?"  We don’t know yet, physics as we know it breaks down before 5.39106(32) × 10−44 seconds.  The very tiniest start would be the first Plank Time 5.39106(32) × 10−44 seconds.

If you are willing to assert that this god, for which you have no evidence, can come from nowhere then why is it so hard to imagine the known universe coming from nowhere?  There is no reason to consider your Bible an authority on anything.

Actually, science need not attempt to find the origin of anything which has not yet been found to exist. Science is out looking for the origin of Unicorns or the Tooth Fairy, those things are obviously imaginary. The only thing separating those things from your god is you inability to recognize obviousness.

We don’t blame you for your god’s lack of evidence, man made deities lack evidence by their nature. Science does not deny the existence of gods, though your Christian god is most certainly not real due to logical and literal contradictions.

Science never said the earth was flat, religion said the earth was flat. Science was used to determine the earth was round.  There was never a scientific claim for the earth being flat.  That belief was based purely on religious texts.

You just shifted the burden of proof again.  That which is asserted without evidence (GOD) can be dismissed without evidence. There is no need to prove the non-existence of something which you have already admitted cannot be measured. You’re set up a win-win situation for yourself. I can sway people from believing factious claims for no other reason that factious claims are unfounded.

After a lengthy exchange with a Christian Creationist Pastor he was reduced to back pedaling and playing victim.

John, I know your a self proclaimed atheist but you also know my position. I will post videos like this from time to time. You are free to comment every time. But, u also know that you don’t have to keep on and on. I get your point. I understand your position. I love also, in spite of your position. I’m not trying to change you. But u going to have to let me be me. Okay. ?? I am a born again Christian. That what I am. I’m not going to change. Respect that. Okay ?? It does get tiring answering the same thing over and over. Ill always try to give u a answer but come on man.

You say I’m a "self proclaimed atheist", as opposed to a notorious atheist? It sounds as if I’m something else but self-proclaiming to be otherwise. It’s just an odd label with which to saddle an opponent. It would be like my telling you Jesus was a self-proclaimed Messiah and a self-proclaimed son of god. We could say Jesus was the self-proclaimed savor of mankind; which is to infer that he wasn’t actually any of those things but boy he sure walked around for three years proclaiming it for himself.

Yes, I know your position better than you think because I use to hold that same position.
I have no quarrel with your posting any sort of video you like, it could be a video claiming Atheist are the sole reason evil exists and I wouldn’t demand you take it down. I despise censorship and I give you props that you’ve not be the sort of religious apologist that, when someone says something they do not like, just ban the offending party.

I don’t have to keep on but when you constantly make fallacious arguments and quote cherry picked scriptures as if the verse were an argument in and of itself I have no choice but to respond. You say you get my point but I somewhat doubt that, if you got my point you would not quote the same verse ad nauseum as if that one verse of scripture nullified any and all refutations of your claims.

You’re not trying to change me? Well doesn’t that run contrary to what your religion commands of you? Are you no suppose to share the "good news" with the world baptizing people in the name of Jesus? Is that not changing people? What else do you call that? It seems rather odd than upon, what I suspect is your realization of holding a weak position, you back pedal and act as if you’re now a victim of my trying to convert you! Excuse me but I am not the one asserting that your failure to reject superstition will lead to a eternity of fiery torment. I do not require supernatural threats to bolster my position. I do not base my arguments against religion on some authority. My refutations of all religions are based on very simple and verified rules of logic.

You say you’re not going to change, sure, I use to say that too. It’s a preemptive defensive statement to discourage, a admission of a closed mind. The human mind was build to be curious about the world around him, religion stifles that curiosity in exchange for a false sense of security. Do not ask questions, let the invisible eye in the sky take care of everything. However, nature has a way of breaking though even the most monolithic barriers. Like a weed growing through the cracks of what appeared to be a solid slab of rock. Not unlike plant seeds, the seeds of doubt grow quickly when planting in bullshit.

In a majority Christian town, in a majority Christian state, the fact that a Christian was in the path of the storm and later said she prayed is rather mundane and expected.  The implication that she was violating some prohibition on prayer is false and based on her own ignorance of the law.

Mrs. Crosswhite said she did something teachers are not suppose to do, however teachers are in no way prohibited from praying.  Her act was perfectly within her rights to do whenever she wants.  Some Christians pretend that their god is being forced out of the schools when no such thing has ever happened.  What was challenged and stopped by Engel v. Vitale was the usurpation of government power by Christians to impose their religion on a captive audience of children.

Rhonda Crosswhite seemingly believes in the existence of a god which is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present, possessing a benevolent/caring nature.  She also appears to think that her prayer somehow effected her survival.  The question arises that, if she were spared death because she prayed, why were the other 24 people who likely prayed up to the end not spared as well?  If the god to whom Crosswhite was praying was going to allow her to live regardless of her prayers then what was the point of praying?

What is implied if we hold the god hypothesis to be true?  It implies that Crosswhite’s god is actually not benevolent or caring but rather malevolent and capricious.

If her god was willing to save everyone but unable then he is not all-powerful.
If her god was able to save everyone but unwilling then he is malevolent.
If her god was able and willing to save everyone then nobody should have died.
If her god is neither able nor willing to save everyone then there is no reason to call that being a god.

The Distressed Theist

Apr 26, 2013

Mednurse wrote:

There are a lot of atheists blaming the Boston attack on religion. But you, ATR, you make me worried now. You rant and rave about our religion and about our God. You disagree with us on the Bible and its preachings. And now you tell us that there are more of you (atheists) than we think. That you are embedded in our everyday life. What would you (atheists) do to stop our religion? Would you (atheists) walk around w backpacks w bombs too in order to prove your point??? You (atheists) say you will not quit until this world is "free of religion." Does that mean you will use whatever force you deem appropriate? Please tell me at what expense you choose to change people’s views and open their eyes to your non-religion? Isn’t that what those brothers did in Boston? They killed and injured many people for their religion? Would you (atheists) do the same for your "non-religion?"

The Boston attack WAS a result of religious fervor, the Islamic sort.  So let’s get that fact out of the way first.

Ranting involves writing in an angry or violent manner, I do not do that; and raving is talking or behaving irrationally, and I abhor that.  Either you’re taking a cheap shot or do not know the meaning of the words, either way I wanted to sort that out.

Correct, I do disagree with you.

Yes, there are more non-believers than you think.

Embedded is a odd word choice, it gives the impression that non-believers are trying to infiltrate something for nefarious reasons.  That is not the case at all, we just want to live our lives free of religious interference in government or persecution for not accepting religious claims as reality.  You need not worry about anything.

I can’t speak for every non-believer, we’re not some collective hive mind but to set your mind at ease I would not wish to stop religion even if I had that power.  First, that would violate my own principles of free-thought and make me morally no better then your god in that I would be punishing people for not believing what I require.  Second, I realize that religion will exist as long as people are afraid of the dark, their own death, and things otherwise unknown.

Would I bomb people to prove my point? Tell me, exactly what point would be proven via the infliction of death and grievous bodily injury on innocent people?  What possible thing would that accomplish?  Nothing, that is the answer.

"You atheist"? Is that like "you black people" or "you Muslims" or "you Jews"?  That is the phrasing of a bigot.  If history tells us anything it is that the Abrahamic religions are the ones who are willing to employ whatever force they deem appropriate to spread belief in their god.

What expense will I go to change people’s views?  Well, if by expense you mean force then none whatsoever. Attempting to equate atheism with what the brothers did in Boston is absurd.  They were Muslims, upset over the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They acted out of a sense of revenge.

As far as atheist are concerned. "Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely soley upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake." – CH

The Pretentious Theist

Apr 26, 2013

diamond wrote:

As I stated earlier I will NOT argue with anyone over ANY religious or non religious view. I personally don’t care what anyone says or thinks. Like I said earlier I believe in God. I believe he created me. But do I have any tangible proof…nope…none of us do for anything we believe except what we’ve been taught from books, letters etc from thousands of years ago. It’s all in what you choose to believe. I choose to believe there is a Higher Power and it’s God. If you or anyone else doesn’t….doesn’t and won’t matter to me:) I am kinda stubborn and so unless "I" choose to change my mind to someone else’s way of thinking….in my best southern twang "Ain’t gonna happen"…..

It says a lot about someone who injects themselves into a conversation and begins his remarks with "I personally don’t care what anyone says or thinks" before proceeding to say a great deal about what he himself thinks.  Arrogant would be an apt description of such a person, for though they are completely within their rights not to give a damn about opposing views, the fact that they assume others are obliged to give a damn about theirs is outright pretentious.

Diamond, you say you believe in a god.  In your words, I don’t care what you say or think about god.  Show me your evidence.  You say you believe this god created you. I don’t care what you say or think created you. Show me your evidence.

Now, you admit that you have no proof but then continue on to fatuously assert that nobody else has proof of what they think.  You further assert, quite incorrectly, that we all believe things simply because we read them in a book.  This is a flat out lie and you know it but just for good measure I will give you some examples.

I once read in an astronomy book that the planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are part of our solar system. I do not believe these planets exist merely because I read about them. I have directly observed Venus raising and setting with the sun. I have directly observed Mars.  I have seen Jupiter many nights with my bear eyes and with the aid of binoculars I have even seen four of the Jovian moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Calisto).

I read in a book that when metal is moved though a magnetic field it generates an electric current.  I have done this and confirmed it to be true.  I also read that electricity passing though metal generates a magnetic field.  I have wrapped wire around nails and picked up other metal objects, confirming it to be true.

So no, your statement is absolutely and demonstrably false.  We do not believe things merely because they are written down. Truth it is not determined or effected by what we choose to believe, truth is founded upon objective evidence.  As your god claim has no evidence there is no reason for anyone to think it is true, but like you said, you don’t give a damn about that?

You may choose to believe there is a Higher Power and name it God, but again in your words I don’t care what you say or what you think about your god.  Show me your evidence, otherwise your god will continue to be considered imaginary.

If you wish to remain bogged down in stultifying myth and superstition, choosing to explain your ignorance away by appealing to some magical "Higher Power", then you only do yourself a disservice.  If nothing anyone can say will change your mind then we are quite happy not having you waste your time commenting about that fact.  You are welcome to take your magic story book and go chat about what you like to believe with others who will not challenge you to support your beliefs.  When you are ready to face your fears, grow up and learn about reality then we will be here for you.

Mednurse wrote:
But WHY does it bother YOU so much? What has Christianity done to harm you? Me stuffy ing my bible at home or at church does not hurt anyone. It’s what I have a right to believe. Just about every country in the world has a BELIEF IN A HIGHER BEING….whether it be ppl in Africa, Afganastan, or wherever…..people look for smthing greater than themselves. What is wrong w that? I would rather believe in GOD and His word for us than NOT to believe. Does that hurt you? Does that hurt anybody else. No. I don’t deny anyone medical help (I’m a nurse), I don’t deny anyone equal rights, I don’t think me believing in GOD infests our government in any way. I am just happy to worship openly, have a church to go to and am able to worship w my family any time I feel. Does that actually hurt you?

You’re asking me why your religion bothers me so much, just to be clear it isn’t just your religion.  Religion bothers me because it makes normally good people say and do wicked things.  Westboro Babtist wouldn’t be protesting funerals if it were not for religion.  The Mormon church would not be fighting to deny rights to certain citizens if it were not for religion.  Stem-cell research would not be stifled if not for religion.  46% of our county would not hold creationist views of human origins if not for religion.  Gays would not be assaulted at random or even killed if not for religion.  Of course I do not expect you to take any of these things into account, you’ll make a No true Scotsman argument and claim that none of those people are real Christians.

What has Christianity done to me?  It stifled my mind for 24 years and retarded my education as I rejected anything that did not conform to the religion of my parents.  It lead me to hate certain types of people for no good reason.  It indoctrinated me to hate myself for being human, that somehow just being born and living to a certain age made me accountable for the so-called sins of distant ancestors.  Christianity indoctrinated me to consider thoughts to be dangerous, that doubt was a crime, that rejecting the claims of one book, for any reason at all, meant I was worthy, deserving even, to have my flesh roasted from by body in a torment without end.  Christianity compelled me to become a thought slave to an invisible yet somehow telepathic father figure who said that love meant kneeling before him and begging him not to punish me for being human.  Although it has led to physical harm, like the murder of George Tiller, Christianity doesn’t have to cause physical harm to be detrimental.  The cult mindset of "think and do as you are told or suffer the consequences" is harm enough.  Christianity is a mind forged manacle which offers the promise of eternal bliss in some afterlife if only you will submit the will of select men of god in this life.

Asserting that just about every country in the world has a BELIEF IN A HIGHER BEING is completely irrelevant.  You are committing an argumentum ad populum fallacy by concluding that X is true because many or most people believe it.

What is wrong with believing in a high power?  First, there is no evidence for one and one should not believe things without evidence.  Second, people inevitably come to different conclusions concerning the nature of their higher power which historically leads to them killing each other over who is correct.

So you would rather believe in an imaginary GOD and a magic book than NOT to believe, WHY?  What does it benefit you to believe in tall tales and epic fantasy?

Does that hurt people?  You individually, no, your religion collectively, yes.

So you don’t think believing in your GOD infests our government in any way.  Then why are same sex couples still being denied equal rights?  The answer, god belief.

I do not begrudge your want to be happy to worship openly.  I do not seek to deny your going to church and worshiping with your family any time your want.  Does that actually hurt me?  NO, but I did not claim that as the reason I reject, refute, and ridicule religion.

Dear Evalyn Bennett:

In your open to letter to the SCOTUS you presented arguments in opposition to equal rights for same sex couples.  After reading your letter I found your arguments to be founded upon fallacious reasoning which, even though the SOCTUS will dismiss your letter, I thought I would take time to debunk and refute your arguments publicly.

You begin with the argument that “The reason you [SCOTUS] are having difficulty reviewing the cases [DOMA & Prop 8] is because the premise for their consideration is found in God’s moral law (natural law), not the Constitution.”  This argument commits the fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam or appeal to authority.  There is no reason to consider the divine revelation of your religious scripture to be authoritative.  Further, the laws of the United States and the judiciary are not contingent upon or bound by the allegedly revealed truth contained in your scriptures; we are not a theocracy.  The argument is also a fallacious appeal to nature, the claim that a thing is good because it is ‘natural’, or bad because it is ‘unnatural’.  Even if we can agree that some things are natural and some are not, what follows from this?  The answer is: nothing.  There is no factual reason to suppose that what is natural is good (or at least better) and what is unnatural is bad (or at least worse).

You then assert that the “interpretation of DOMA and Proposition 8 must be based on the cultural and moral context of the United States at the time the Constitution was written and ratified.”  This is false for if that were the case then slavery, being both culturally and morally acceptable at the time the Constitution was written and ratified, would still be allowed.  As a matter of fact, your Christian forbearers argued just as you are now that slavery was endorsed by their god, that it was allowed by scripture and was therefore good and moral.  Our society evolved and through the application of reason, as opposed to revelation, decided that the ownership of black people by white people was actually immoral.  Society adapted and changed for the betterment of everyone which is what you will see again with the striking down of laws forbidding equal rights and privileges to same sex couples.

You are partially correct, the “Constitution and Bill of Rights do not define or assert traditional marriage as an inalienable right” however the reason is not “because it was inconceivable to the Framers of the Constitution”. The Bill of Rights does not grant us our rights nor does it define all the rights we claim for ourselves.  By your logic, as a female you should have your right to vote revoked because the Constitution and Bill of Rights do not define or assert that women have such a right.  It was inconceivable to the Framers of the Constitution that women would actually want a voice in government.  Perhaps they were just obeying 1 Timothy 2:12.

You assert that discrimination against homosexuals has been “based on the Old and New Testament teachings of our Judeo-Christian heritage” and “has prevailed in our nation until very recently.”   The fact that something is traditional does not make it correct.  Our laws are not contingent on the Old or New Testament, if they were we would be stoning disobedient children to death and forcing rape victims to marry their rapist.  John Adams himself signed the Treaty of Tripoli affirming that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”

You cite correctly that “until 1973 homosexual conduct was considered deviant behavior by the American Psychiatric Association” but this fact is irrelevant.  Psychology is a science and not a religion; it changed its views to fit with observation.   The current research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, reflecting the official positions of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.  Your derision of the SCOTUS for striking down state sodomy laws reflects your anger over secular civil law trumping religious law.  What consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home, as much as you would like to impose your religion on them, is of no concern to you or the state.

You claim that “the institution of marriage between one man and one woman is defined by God, and it is not man’s prerogative to change God’s moral law.  His law is codified in the numerous statutes recorded in the Old Testament.”  SCOTUS is not hearing arguments pertaining to a change of your religious law, we are not a theocracy and are not governed by your religious law.  This issue concerns civil law, the law which actually governs our society.   The laws of United States are entirely separate from and in no way subordinate to the religious laws enacted by 6000 year old Middle Eastern tribes, a fact that seems to escape you.  Are you honestly unaware of how our government operates or are you being willfully ignorant so as to argue for the imposition of certain theocratic laws which have been cherry picked from your scripture?

You cite that “the Constitution does not grant homosexuals a fundamental ‘right’ to marriage” but nor does it grant heterosexuals a right to marry, it is silent on the issue.  There is no rational basis for your constitutionally undeclared “right to marry” to be granted special recognition and treatment by the government.  Your assertion that “what God has unequivocally deemed wrong, man’s law can never make right” is another appeal to authority.  Secular law is not contingent on religious pronouncements and though you have every right to shout, write letters and preach sermons about what your god has deemed wrong, unless you can provide a rational basis to conclude something is wrong, your claim is unworthy of consideration.

Your assertion that the 40,000 children being raised by gay couples is a tragedy is ridiculous on its face.  It is so absurdly bigoted that I will not insult the intelligence of the reader by bothering to refute it.

Your claim that granting equal protection to homosexual couples will lead to things like bestiality and incest is not only a slippery slope fallacy but absurd.  Adultery and sex outside of marriage are not unlawful nor do we obey your religious law whereby god commands the execution of adulterers.  Attempting to tie marriage rights for gay couples with bestiality and incest is a non-sequitur argument.

You assert that your First Amendment right of religious freedom would be infringed because “Bible-believing Christians would be forced to pay taxes to provide benefits to same-sex “marriage” partners of federal employees.”  This argument fails for an obvious reason, the reception of federal benefits by people whom your religion condemns and whom you despise in no way infringes upon your right to practice religion.  Your freedom of religion does not require the Congress to seek religious approval before spending money.  You pay taxes as a citizen of the United States; there is no such thing as Christian tax dollars or Muslim tax dollars, your religious affiliation is irrelevant.  Your right to religious freedom is in no way infringed when someone with a different sexual orientation receives equal treatment from the government.

You claim that DOMA and Prop. 8 enacted your god’s standard of marriage.  If that is true then that is the only reason needed to justify their being struck down.  Laws based on nothing but religious pronouncement clearly violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

You assert that “God’s moral law does not need the defense of DOMA, Proposition 8, or the states’ amendments”.  Then I have to ask, why did you waste your time writing an open letter to the SCOTUS?  If you actually believe what you just wrote then it should not matter if the SCOTUS grants equal protection to same-sex couples, your god does not need those laws.  You go on to cite further scriptures and even reference the myth of Sodom and Gomorrah as if you are unaware that the SCOTUS does not base judicial decisions on religious scripture.  Did you actually read the story? Lot did not seem very worried about marriage or fornication when he offered his two virgin daughters to be raped by the crowd of men outside his house.  Could that be because at the time the myth was written women were seen as property and rape was OK if you were trying to protect a couple of strangers?  I wonder if the SCOTU would have ignored that part like you?

Your claim that the SCOTUS is accountable to your god is absurd, your god is completely unsubstantiated.  Your god, if he does exist, has seemingly chosen to keep his all-powerful mouth shut on every issue you have cited.  The fact is your god, if he actually existed, is apparently apathetic about the issue.  The only people raising hell are religious zealots upset at the fact that their religion, with its Bronze Age morality and magical claims, is not being taken seriously in our modern civil society.

Like the slave owners and racist of decades past, society evolved away from irrational and immoral traditions and toward a better society.  They were on the wrong side of history and in a few decades, after you have passed away, generations to come will look back and note that you too were among the bigots and backward thinkers also on the wrong side of history.

Sincerely,

John Tremblay [EMAIL]

AccordingToReason.org

Working for the Lord wrote,

You say the rock didn’t mean truth or christ, it just meant rock, untrue. Then he adds, ‘Happy the man who takes your little ones and dashes them against a rock’—as if he would say: Happy the man who seized the things generated from you, ‘the enemy’, i.e. the evil thoughts [logismoi], not giving them a chance to grow strong in him and constrain him to evil deeds, but immediately, while they are still in their infancy, before they are fed and grow strong against him,[ flings them down on the rock, which is Christ.] In other words he utterly destroys them by taking refuge in Christ. (pp. 174-5)
St Dorotheus’s interpretation of this Psalm is completely foreign to the average modern reader, long accustomed to reading the Scriptures at a purely literal, historical level. By way of contrast with the Abba, consider John S. Kselman’s note on these verses in The New Oxford Annotated Bible: ‘Though anti-Babylonian sentiments are found elsewhere (e.g., Jer 50-51, Lam 4.21), none are so vividly compact as this’ (The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, 3rd ed., ed. Michael D. Coogan [Oxford: Oxford U, 2001], p. 894).

What I said was that, metaphorical or not, the passage says "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."  The passage is talking about Babylon being paid back for what it did to Israel which includes Israel smashing their "little ones" against rocks.  You constantly accuse others of taking the Bible out of context but here you blatantly re-imagine the plain meaning of words to force the passage to say something that you are more comfortable with, something you want your Bible to say.  This is one reason I threw out religion, I grew tired of having to perform mental gymnastic just to keep what I was reading from conflicting with my own moral compass and what god was said to be like.

If you read what it actually says the question must be asked what kind of just and moral god would approve of or require anyone to slaughter children?  The answer is easy if you are willing to honestly question your own religion; no just and moral god would require such a thing.  That answer is a problem for those who want to hold on the whole "just and loving god" claim, so what do they do?  Well, some do like you and pretend as if the text actually means something completely different.  Other exempt their god from his own moral edicts and embrace a hypocritical "do as I say not as I do" kind of god.  They argue that, being god, when he commands children to be slaughtered then, because he commanded it, slaughtering children in that instance is good, just, and morally sound.

Both of those dishonest techniques for resolving the conflict are only needed by those who have decided the answer before asking the question.  You are beginning with the presupposition that your god is good, just, moral, kind, loving, etc. etc. and hold up your holy book as evidence of this.  Except that when we actually read what the book says we find that in fact your god is none of those things.  Ah, but that cannot be, the book cannot conflict with what has have already decided, the book must agree with what has been presupposed.  So you ignore the plain language and reinterpret (subjectively comprehend) what the book says to agree with your presupposition.

I concluded that if their were a supreme being which ruled the cosmos no such being would have authored such a convoluted collection of stories nor would he have undertaken such a convoluted "plan" to "save" his creation from a problem he knew would occur before it was created.  If there is a supreme being it is not the one described in the Bible or any other man written holy book for that matter.  If there is a supreme being it would seem that after he made the cosmos he decided to just let it ride and watch what happened or moved on to something else.